Friday, August 29, 2008

Reasonable Road Rules

All week while traversing the roads of Ocala during the morning and afternoon school rush hours, I've noticed an annoying trend among drivers: speeding and tailgating. Speeding is an easy offense to commit, but lately with gas prices I find myself really watching the speedometer and the average miles per gallon computation. As for tailgating, I have personally never felt any vast measure of satisfaction in driving so closely to the bumper in front of my own that a wreck is inevitable simply to convey the message of "Your too slow!". No, where another might tailgate, I just wait - wait for an opportunity to pass, and when that opportunity does arise the pass is completed without any rude gestures or profanities. Seemingly, I'm in the minority here.
A couple days ago while driving the speed limit, it seemed that I royally offended another driver. I came to this conclusion as I heard an engine rev and vehicle fly past with driver hanging out the window screaming some sort of profanity and sticking their tongue out followed by the primary hand gesture of choice on the road. Obviously, the speed limit signs were wrong and we should all be going ten or more miles over the speed limit.
Yesterday, after dropping my son off at school, I took the opportunity to explore this new area in search of a playground. Though I was going at least five to ten over the speed limit, I was fraught with tailgaters. Finally, I turned off onto a promising road in my quest for a park; there I slowed down to a more sensible speed, and observing a school, proceeded to slow down even more. Unfortunately, the pressure to not offend the drivers behind me persisted and I found myself pulled over for going six miles over the speed limit in a school zone. Fortunately, the officer only gave a warning, but little did he know how far that warning would go. If other drivers didn't like my *slow* driving before, now I was really going to be cautious of speed limit signs - particularly in school zones.
Which brings me to today. Today I had the privilege of putting into practice my newfound respect for speed limits. While traveling a rather lengthy two lane road, I followed the law - not wanting to get a ticket and uncertain of where the favorite police sitting spots are. Unfortunately, the driver behind me (who happened to be male) was sorely disapproving of my decision to obey the rules of the road. He commenced tailgating for an extensive period, and eventually passed me. No big deal, but I did wonder why he bothered - there was a large group of cars not far in front of me, so clearly he wasn't going anywhere even though he passed me. I continued going the assigned speed and observed this neurotic driver tailgating the cloister of cars now in front of him. Eventually the road widened to four lanes. Slowing down while going through a school zone, and not long thereafter I found myself at a stoplight. Much to my delight, guess who was right beside me? Yes, the same vehicle: an old white Chevy with a 30ish year old good ol' boy type. I turned politely towards him and made sure I had full eye contact before smiling smugly. . No, no commentary or gestures were needed. He surely felt like an ass and looked like one too. This fellow's driving is far too common - particularly among males. Really, it demonstrates their innate handicap in being testosterone driven (literally). It just goes to show that using a little brain power coupled with some impulse control will take you a lot farther than all the show of power and ego in the world. I plan to continue teaching the greater Ocala region the satisfaction that comes with following the rules of the road - one driver at a time.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Engineering Kindergartener

Since infancy it has been hard to overlook my son's similarity to my own father. For starters even as a newborn preemie he had the very distinct look of my dad (yes, he looked like a baby knowledgeable beyond his years). He was never the sort of infant whom I would believe really enjoyed being one, but rather he seemed to be waiting at each phase of development to be able to do more - to grow up and figure this world out. Over the years the similarities have abounded, not the least of which is his interest in the way things work (as a child I remember noting one of my Dad's favorite items of house decor, a prominently placed coffee table book by the same title) - AKA: engineering of any sort.
While Jimmy's interest in the interior-most workings of electronic items will likely serve him extremely well as an adult, for now it's driving me mad. I can't seem to apply any measure of reason, force or threat to convince him to quit taking apart nearly every electronic item he can get his hands on when I happen to have my back turned for more than five consecutive minutes. It has happened on more than one occasion that his newest and most favorite toy has been de-gutted; I usually find the remains of electrical wires, screws and little electrical boards (I don't even know what they're called) tucked away under his bed (where I might also find the wrappers of some candy items he was not supposed to have) several days after the destruction has taken place.
For his first day of kindergarten, the students were each instructed to bring in three items which were very important to them. One of Jimmy's three items was an electrical board with some little wires etc. hanging out - I don't even know what this piece belongs to, but I suspect I'll find out sooner or later. So until Jimmy reaches an age whereby he can really use a soldering iron and accurately place wires and liquid metal to create something functional, I plan to try and just pull together some of these items for him to *play* with.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

2 Days of Big Kid School

My son attended his first day of kindergarten yesterday. I cannot believe we're to the point in life where we're saying goodbye to our boy for a full day in order for him to begin his education. His teacher seems perfect - that special balance between firm and fun. So far all seems to be going well, but you probably wouldn't know it from Jimmy's commentary. Here are some little glimpses of his life from school which he's shared with me:
-We did music and dancing, and I thought it was STUPID because I don't like that.
-A little boy told me he wouldn't be my friend if I laughed at him again, and I thought that was STUPID and petty.
-I couldn't open my drink at lunch, and that was STUPID.
-I made 2 girlfriends and 1 boyfriend.
-A boy was pulling on my backpack, and that was STUPID.
-I found a rubber band and showed it to a little girl; she didn't say anything and that was STUPID.
-There's a girl in my class with the same name as my sister's, and that's STUPID! I just want to vacuum her up!
-I couldn't reach this thing on the playground jungle gym, and that's STUPID.

I've tried to get some more positive feedback out of him, but for the most part, everything that I ask about is, you guessed it, *stupid*. I've gathered from the fact of his teacher still being on speaking terms with me today that things have been going alright. Still, I think I'll pursue this hunch and send a note to confirm belief that things may in fact still be on the up and up.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Scammers. . .

Anyone else out there sick of these asinine responses anytime you try to sell or purchase online? It's just obnoxious really.
----- Original Message -----

Sent: Tuesday, August 19, 2008 1:18 PM
Subject: Re: Gas Fireplace - NEW! NEVER BEEN USED! - $300 (Summerfield)

Thanks for the prompt response and i will love to make an instant purchase, so please and please do withdraw the advert from Craigslist, i dont mind adding an extra $50.00 for you to take the advert down from craigslist so that i can be rest assured that am in hand of the item. I will also like you to know that i will be paying via check,and it will be over night payment due to the distance. You dont need to bother yourself with the shipment ok, i will do take care of that. So i will need you to provide me with the following information to facilitate the mailing of the check.
1. Your full name
2. Your mailing address be it residential or postal address
3. Your Phone Number.

Once again, I will like you to know that you will not be responsible for shipping...i will have my mover come over as soon as you have cashed the check. Thanks
Donald, Donald, Donald (as you call yourself). . . Scams are a waste of my time. Further, you'd get a lot further in American scams if you brushed up on your English and grammar; as it stands you just sound extremely uneducated, which tends to send up red flags in anyone's head. Maybe you can find a book on English and grammar somewhere on Craigslist; best of luck.


Talk about a letdown! I was really looking forward to hunkering down and letting mother nature take it's course. Sadly, as I look out my window while typing, the sky looks overcast but not in the least bit threatening; I've seen far worse weather almost every day for the last 2 weeks than today. This is the type of hype and build-up that we Florida natives are so sick of. If the weather people really have absolutely no clue as to the extent or direction of a *system*, then why are there some many "predicted paths" or "5 day forecasts"? I for one could do without all Fay-kery. Really there shouldn't even be weather-persons; it's a job that shouldn't really exist. It's fine to note weather related happenings in the past or present, but to make predictions which are approximately 99.9% of the time wrong is just shameful. Further, I know I wasn't the only one looking forward to some real roughing it; my husband for one would've liked a day or two off of work to brave the storm. But for those who did miss work or school (as did my child his first day of school) for this total psyche out by the meteorological gurus of America, what a washout.

Consequently, I've decided to start making my own weather predictions for our family. This will involve a lot of observation and study on my part each morning as I prepare for the day ahead. In order to accomplish this, I plan to physically exit my home and use most of my senses to determine the weather pattern for the day:
  • Feel - Is it muggy as usual? Hot or cool?
  • Smell - How dense is the horse manure scent from next door? Can I detect any floral scents in the spring? Any smoke from forest fires in the summer?
  • Sound - Can I hear wind, rain or lightning?
  • See - Is it cloudy? overcast? sunny?
  • Taste - I don't foresee any need to taste anything in my weather observations, so this sense will likely remain unused in my morning study.
And on those mornings when I'm running late or can't bring myself to perform the full spectrum of my duties as the meteorologist of my home, I will resort to simply lifting the blind and glancing outside. I expect my new role will eliminate a lot of the confusion, excitement and disappointment previously brought about by the media. Feel free to direct immediate weather related questions to me, and I'll do my best to provide a complete, up to the minute, scientific answer.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Woof! Woof!

Twice now (not including leftovers), I've had the privilege of having dog food for dinner - and let me tell you, it was TASTY! Now, it's not the kind of dog food you're probably imagining (Kibbles 'N' Bits or Beggin' Strips); no, this was food for dogs of a different class - miniature schnauzers to be precise - 3 of them. You see my spouse works as a property manager at the residence of a rather well to do man, and he has opted to feed his dogs real meat as opposed to the standard food you might find for dogs at, per say, Wal-Mart. When this man embarked upon his journey in feeding his four-legged friends real meat, he purchased some foods that might be considered a bit too high in fat; later, his vet suggested he select leaner cuts and types of meat. Thus, we have reaped the bi-products of the dogs' former high-fat lifestyle. Recently when one of the maids/cooks was cleaning out the kitchen, we along with some of the other workers on the property, inherited several pounds of ground beef; cooked over an open flame outside, the stuff was quite delish! And just this evening, we enjoyed some chicken dogs; I don't think I'll have the stuff again by itself, but surely mixed in some sort of soup or stew, the gelatinous consistency would be somewhat diminished. All in all, we've been quite satisfied with the food which has been deemed inedible for the dogs; obviously there's no alpha dog syndrome happening here.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Princess PJs

At last, I've found a suitable alternative to my beloved *sleep shorts* (see a previous post). This sleep set is awesome! It's a pair - shirt and shorts, so no need to try and find a matching top. I saw it at (begin music of doom) Wal-Mart, of all places. It was orginally marked at $10, but last week, I saw it on the clearance rack at a scant $5; I couldn't pass it up. The only problem was they didn't have my size!!! Fortunately, they did have my daughter's size, so I purchased it for her instead (with the intention of, yes, even at age 1, living vicariously through her to enjoy these new pjs). They're perfect! Soft and cozy, yet somewhat feminine with chiffon and ruffles. The shirt features the three main Disney princesses from stories we all love - Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and The Little Mermaid. I'm sure you'll agree, it's the perfect pj set. I'm considering writing Wal-Mart and Disney to suggest they make this same set in adult sizes.