Tooth or Dare

I would dare to say my transition from 2017 to 2018 was very painful.  Not because I sat home watching Hallmark Christmas movies.  Not because I actually cried at the end of Romance at Reindeer Lodge when the reindeer showed up, under a full moon, with a gently snow falling, while the pair of “we-meet-five-days-ago-and-hated-each-other” lovers kissed.  No it was painful because I had a toothache.  This whole ordeal began on December 28th when my tooth hurt so bad I had to make an emergency appointment to see my dentist, Dr. Sam Sticka.  I was trying to remember when the last time I had a toothache and I came up with…NEVER!  Certainly I would not have forgotten such pain. However, I did somehow forget that I had a tooth with a crown on it because that was the one throbbing.  Dr. Sticka was very kind and very apologetic about having to tell me that an ordinary x-ray didn’t show anything.  He diagnosis was that the tooth under the crown was probably infected, maybe cracked and the nerves were dead.  These three things equal a root canal that can be done at a specialist in Bismarck.  He assured me that the referral would be sent immediately so I could get in a soon as possible.   Also he suggested I start antibiotic to start clearing up any infection.  Dr. Sticka went on to explain that Custom Endodontics would be able to do a 3-D imaging of the tooth and then know what is actually going on under the drown.  Pain was going on under the crown….that much I knew.   Wait, can’t a person download a 3-D imaging app onto your phone for $2.99?  But I suppose getting my 3” x6” phone into the back of m =y mouth without gagging may be a problem.

As usual my timing was perfect.  Toothache on Thursday, dental offices closed on Friday, Saturday/Sunday weekend plus New Years Day on Monday.  I couldn’t even call to make an appointment until Tuesday morning.  At this point of the story I decided to do a “choose your own adventure” option.  A) I either spent 5 miserable days in constant pain 24/7 or B)I had some really great Opioids that worked very well the next day.   You choose.

To my surprise when I called on Tuesday they had an opening the very next day.  I would be more than happy to drive 100 miles to Bismarck to get this 3-D imaging/Root Canal done and over with ASSP.  I asked the receptionist if I would be okay to drive home by myself.  She assured me that after a couple hours of numbness I would be just fine.  She also informed me that I could fill out all the paperwork on-line and submit it to their office that afternoon.  Then when I came in the next day they could get my digital signature.   In hindsight I wish I would have asked why my real signature wouldn’t be better. Whatever…..minor detail. I then asked where they were located and she said that they were right next to the MacDonald’s on Main Avenue.  Perfect, now I knew exactly where I was going.  She did however make a special point to tell me that they share a parking lot with MacDonald’s and therefore I would need to park specifically in one of their marked sports.  Again, I wanted to ask if I went to MacDonald’s first and then walked over to the building would the MacDonald’s parking lot police tow my car.  Another minor detail, I guess.

The next day I arrived promptly at 10:30 for my appointment.  I happily swung into a Custom Endodontics parking spot close to the door.  I took this as a good sign.  Except when I actually bother to read the sign I was actually a parking spot for the law firm that shared the building.   Since I was afraid I might get sued, I had to get back into the car, start it and move it to a clearly marked Custom Endodontics parking spot not quite so close to the door.   To be perfectly honest,  I was a nervous wreck walking into that building.  The nerves in my tooth underneath my crown may be dead but all the rest of my nerves were on high alert.  I didn’t help that when I opened the door the first thing I hear was that annoying whirring of a dental drill.  The receptionist had given me an estimate for a root canal.  For what she quoted me I would have for sure thought that they could have some soothing music piped in to calm the nerves.   I just happened to get the receptionist that did not speak a single decibel above the dentist’s drill.  I finally understood her to say she would check me in, tell the girls I was there, and get my digital signature.   So there I stood and there she sat looking at me with the expression on her face that said, “Why are you still standing there?”  In my confusion as to how she was going to go about getting my digital signature I did find out I could go and sit down (and start waiting.)  I really didn’t wait too long before the receptionist came over to me with a mini ipad and to please sign my name.  There I sat looking up at her holding just a mini ipad and there she stood looking down at me wondering what I was waiting for.  She must have realized that I didn’t know what to do because she asked if I wanted a stylus. My confusion only got worse as the first thoughts that raced though my head where how bad my hair must look.   Then I realized that she was offering me a computer pen and I answered, “Yes Pease.”   WRONG!    She brought me the smallest, stubbiest, flexi-rubber topped stylus on the planet.  I couldn’t hold the stupid thing in my hand like a pen.  It didn’t have any kind of a tip except this malleable rubber that I squished into the screen.  I smashed the rubber tip numerous times into the signature box only to get nothing.   The signature box remained completely blank while I tried in vain to sign my name. I got absolutely nothing, not even one squiggly line.  The receptionist was trying to help me along by giving me directions like” hold the stylus straighter,”  “don’t push down so hard,” and “lift your hand so it doesn’t rest on the screen.”  After much frustration and embarrassment I finally got most of my signature scribbled on the screen.   I was relieved but I also hoped to God this is not my official digital signature for the rest of my life.

The dental technician that took me back to the 3­-D imaging area was named Baili.  She was extremely nice and made a point to explain what was going on and answer all my questions.  However, when I asked what the 3-D imaging showed she said it didn’t show anything.  When I asked about infection, cracks, and dead nerves she said that the Doctor wouldn’t be able to tell until he got into the tooth.  Yup I could already see that the 3-D imaging was well worth the $100. I did ask Bailie, why I had so much pain if my nerves were dead and isn’t that an oxymoron?  But by now I knew the drill (pun intended) …..”we won’t know until the Doctor gets inside your tooth.”  All I really want to say about the actual root canal was that Dr. Wayment was an expert.  He knew exactly what he was doing inside that tooth.   I mostly kept my eyes closed but I got the distinct impression he was deciding something every 15 seconds and Bailie was right there with the right piece of apparatus. I really was impressed.  Those two worked together efficiently and effectively.   I think I did open my eyes about three times.  The first time was to see the 3rd gigantic syringe of Novacane go into my mouth.  The second time I opened my eyes I saw smoke coming out of my mouth like there was some sort of soldering going in there.  The third time they were shining a alien glowing green light into my mouth and studying  fluorescent dancing  images on the screen.  In the end, the tooth was saved and I survived the root canal.  As I left Custom Endodontics, Bailie gave me a sheet of information as to what to expect after the Endodontic treatment.  She also advised me to take some Aleve before the Novacane wears off.  (What she didn’t mention was that it would wear off by the New Salem exit.)  She also handed me a prescription for Opioids and said with a smile, “Now if you don’t need these be sure not to fill the prescription and shred it.  I took the prescription from her, turned to leave, and mumbled (I was only capable of mumbling at this point)…. Bite me!

 

 

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A Christmas Story

It has been a very long time since I have posted on my blog.  If  I am looking for excuses they are “a dime a dozen.”  If I am looking for reasons, they are long and complicated.  But something happened today that I must share.  There is no excuse for me to not write this and after you read it , the reason will be very clear.

Early this morning I went to Walmart to do some shopping.  I needed ordinary stuff like laundry soap and light bulbs.  I picked up some Cosamin DS for my mom which is outrageously expensive.  However, it must work because my mom has the bones and joints of someone half her age. Her peri-osteoporosis daughter much prefers the Caltrate Chocolate Soft Chews.  I highly doubt they are as effective but they sure taste great.  Chocolate candy first thing in the morning is definitely my kind of bone health treatment. [ BTW, this is the same daughter that broke her foot by stepping on an alarm clock that was setting on the floor.  It was a 5th metatarsal beak that took 2 casts, 3 foot boots, 2 pairs of crutches, and 10 months to heal. ]  But back to my Walmart shopping.  I also had two more Christmas presents to buy.  Actually three if you count the necklace and earrings that I gifted myself. Plus my cart was full of packages of pop, ice tea, and bottles of Ice Mountain drinking water.   As I head towards my usual checkout from one direction, a young man was approaching from the opposite direction.  It seemed to me that he had already been through the checkout once since he was carrying two plastic Walmart bags. He must have decided that he should “go green” because he had one of those blue Walmart reusable shopping bags and a package of Tic Tacs.  Me and my Christmas cartful stopped and waited for the other guy to go ahead.  Those of you, who know me well, know I am a Walmart regular.  Now that basically the oil boom has busted, I can happily get everything on my list!  Also I don’t have to move open and half empty cheese and cracker snack packages and half cans of Mellow Yellow off the book shelves to find and unstained copy of the paperback copy of Turbo Twenty Three.  This morning like usual, I was at checkout number 13 where Barb is usually cashiering.  Barb was indeed at register number 13, but this morning she was training in a new guy. Lucky guy, because he was being trained by the best.  Barb has worked at Walmart since it opened in Dickinson.  In spite of long days on her feet she is always exact, efficient and friendly.   Best-Cashier Barb and New Guy Cashier were busy helping the guy ahead of me put all his purchases together in the bright blue reusable shopping bag.  I was busy unloading my cart.  The cashier in training started to check out my items but the guy if front of me didn’t move.  Barb realized that he hadn’t moved either so she kindly asked if he had all his purchases and even checked the plastic bag carousal to make sure he had everything.  By now the guy in front of me had stood their maybe a moment too long.  Barb and I shared a questioning glance, while the trainee continued to scan my items for checkout.  The very next moment the guy still standing at the checkout said that he would like to pay for my purchases!  The three of us all stopped and looked at this guy with wide eyes and dropped jaws.  My immediate response was to tell him that he could not do that because I had a full cart and it was way too much stuff.  This mystery man insisted that he wanted to do this for me.  I then thanked him for his very generous offer but I could not accept since I had Christmas gifts that I needed to pay for.   This young man was not fazed by my protests at all.  Mr. New Cashier announced the grand total to be $158.08. The man of great mystery preceded to insert his debit card, punched in some numbers, handed me the receipt, wished us all a “Merry Christmas” and left.  That left the three of us just standing there looking at each other wondering what had just happened.  The new trainee said that he had never seen anything like this ever happen before and I am guessing by the look on Barb’s face, she hadn’t seen something like this in all her years of cashiering either.  I myself was just stunned.  Why would a complete stranger do such a thing?  By the time I drove back home, I decided that evidently this amazing person obviously understands the meaning of Christmas giving way beyond wrapped presents for family and friends.  When I got home I decided to share a shorter version of this story on Dickinson Classified Facebook page.  I ended the story by wishing everyone who reads this to allow their hearts to be filled with the Joy of Christmas and to share it with family friends and even strangers!  Throughout the day over 800 people have liked the post and each one of the 55 comments is profound and heartwarming.  This extremely generous young man not only paid for my Walmart purchases but touched the hearts of over 800 people and spread a tremendous amount of Christmas Joy throughout Our Town of Dickinson.  With so much hate, violence, and meanness in our world, it is a joy to share this Christmas story of generosity and goodness. Merry Christmas to all and “God bless us everyone.”

 

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Veteran’s Day 2016

I have never reposted a blog but today I am making an exception.  It is Veteran’s Day and we owe our most sincere thanks to all the brave men and women, past and present, who have served our country to protect our rights and freedoms. Please join me in giving thanks to all of our Veteran’s who answered the……..

Call To Duty

You have taken an oath to serve our country

And to take up your post of command

You have been assigned to protect our freedoms

Our values, our citizens, our land

You will give everything you possibly can

And never ask for anything back

I know I can’t go with you

But will you let me help you pack?

Courage

Take all the courage you know that you have

And then find some and take even more

For where there is no courage there is fear

And cowardly fear never wins the war

Allegiance

Stand firm on respecting the rights that

Our founding fathers deemed as most important

For there are many who demand respect with

Powerful guns and a meaningless rant

 

Loyalty

Believe in your country, your commander

Your comrades, our nation as one

For it is our faith in each other

That provides the greatest protection

 

Love

Fill your heart with love for family, friends, coworkers

And all those whose lives depend on you

For what better defense against the enemy that

Hates all the good that you will do

 

Time

You will have too much of it when you are lonely and sad

At other times endless responsibilities will fill your day

You may not have time to think, to eat or to sleep

But not matter your schedule always take time to pray

 

Obedience

Give it and demand it because strength comes

From unified cooperation and discipline

A weak and easy enemy is one that operates on

Chaos from within

 

 

Dedication

Commit yourself to all those who will look up

to you for guidance and purpose

So they will understand what their dedication

Means to all of us

 

Unity

Our country will remain great if it stands together

For our freedoms, our morals and for what is right

Our enemies will look closely for any division

Or uncertainty that will enhance their fight

 

Tolerance

Not for the enemy; but for your fellow

Soldiers who also took the oath to serve

Promise them that you will look out for them and

The life we all deserve

 

Yourself

As your family, we know you will face challenges every day of your tour

We know you will face fears that you must have the strength to endure

We fervently pray that God guides you and keeps you safe in everything you must do

And with His unrelenting help you come home as a better version of you

 

 

 

 

 

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Eclipse

Eclipse

Now I am determined to try and understand why for the last 245 days any word from the Daily Prompt Challenge prompted my brain to do a complete shutdown.   I want to know why accessing the linguistic area of the brain is completely denied.  However, just before the dark shadow of oblivion was about to pass over my right frontal lobe, this tiny glimmer of an idea snuck out. I got this idea that maybe I could trick my brain out of its unconscious state with a role playing game.  Heaven knows my mind is always playing ticks on me!    So I get this idea that I would fantasize that I really am at a psychiatrist’s office taking part in the word association analysis.  In my fantasy the good doctor looks more like Fabio than Freud.  Anyway, I am lying on the leather couch with my eyes closed and Dr. Fabio in a deep sexy voice says, “Eclipse.”

In a millisecond I respond, “A virtual haircut.”

At that point I open my eyes and Dr. Freud is leaning over me and saying,  “Vhat fur ein answer ist das?”

Sigmund stares at me blankly, wrinkles his forehead, blinks and says; “Vould you explain dein answer, Ja wohl?

I actually answer no but then I go on to explain that he said “e-clips”.  I immediately thought of the ‘e’ as meaning Internet Explorer and ‘clips’ means haircuts to me.  My answer ignited more conversation.

Dr.  Freud:  Ach Ja, Do you believe a virtual haircut is possible?”

Me: Can I count watching a haircut on YouTube?

Dr. Freud: Vat is das U-Tube?

Me: Forget it.  I actually was fantasizing about my Avatar getting a haircut.

Dr. Freud:  “Ich Versteh nichts.  (translation:  I understand nothing.)

Me in a mumbled voice: “Big surprise there”

Dr. Freud: vould you pleeze  explain mehr (translation: more) uf dis Fantasies?

Me: Nope.   I will only discuss them with Dr. Fabio.

 

By this time I am realizing the part of my brain responsible for word association capabilities is suffering from a total eclipse of the brain. In which this thoughts reminds me of the song, “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”  And now I have that song playing over and over and over  in my head.  And you know how frustrating it is to have a song stuck in your head.  Then if you don’t know any of the lyrics there is a lot of dah-dah-dah rolling around in your head to the melody.  Hey, I just realized that the word “Melody” was the Daily Prompt for September 2nd.   Maybe I will get this one word prompting concept to “turnaround….every now and then I get a little bit……dah-dah-dah.

 

 

 

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Sidewalk

I have wanted to participate in the daily challenge of the one-word prompt for months.  In fact I would say 8 months.  I vaguely remember New Year’s Eve, as probably 88.8% of the rest of the population.  The thing with New Year’s Eve is that I don’t do New Year’s resolutions no matter how much I need them.  Just for an example, if I would resolve on New Year’s Ever to start eating a healthy breakfast of fruit, granola, and yogurt by 8:00 am New Years Day I will have already eaten 2 chocolate chip pancakes with a can of Redi-Whip.  So even though I officially don’t make New Year’s resolutions, I sort of consider some in my own mind.  In my own mind I will tell myself I am going to use my Pedi Perfect electronic foot  file religiously every day until the heels of my feet are as soft as New Year’s baby’s behind. By January 10th the bottoms of my feet have such a dried thick layer of impermeable skin that I could walk across the Sahara desert barefoot at high noon.  So since January 1st I have been unofficially dedicated to attempting to write a blog based on the one word prompt.  To be honest this is something I really thought I go do.  I always loved writing assignments in school that included a challenge of some kind.  I remember in 2nd grade we were to write a sentence using as many of our spelling words as possible.  To this day I still remember the sentence.  The rat hit the hat off the fat cat that sat on a mat with a bat. I remember the sentence so well because 88.8% of the other students wrote the very same sentence.  Sadly 8 months have gone by and I have not written a single blog from the one word prompt challenge.  However, I have faithfully checked every day for the word prompt.  For the first couple of weeks I operated on the mindset that obviously not every word is going to speak to me and I had to be patient and give the challenge a chance.  After 3 months of unsuccessfully prompted by one word, I realized the whole challenge wasn’t clicking for me.  Daily I would read the word and my mind would go completely blank.  When I say completely blank I mean that my mind would experience a black hole of complete nothingness.  It makes me wonder how I would do on a personality profile test when you are asked to say the first word that comes to your mind when they say a single work to you.  I shudder to think where I would be right now if someone knew that after 245 different words my best response is a blank stare and a slow blink.  Until today!   Today’s one word prompt is “Sidewalk.”  Considering the fact that the name of my blog is ‘Sidewalk” Thoughts I got this one.   On July 23, 2006 I decided to start taking walks every day before I had to go back to school as the High School Librarian.  When I returned home from my very first walk I realized that while I was walking I was thinking of all sorts of random thoughts.   For some reason I decided to write down what I thought about on my walks. So for the next 28 days I kept what I called a walking journal.   Just for clarification I didn’t take the journal with me on my walks.  I would write my thoughts down after the walk in a notebook.   After school was in session for a couple of months I found my walking journal and re-read it.  I thought some of the things I wrote down were funny.  I thought that if I thought some things were funny, maybe other people would think they were too.   So I typed up my journal and submitted it to Publish America for their consideration to publish the journal.  I choose Publish America because it cost me absolutely nothing to have the book published.  Basically I had nothing to lose when hit send.  That was what I liked most about the whole process.  Publish America accepted my journal and agreed to publish my walking journal.   However, they informed me that I needed to come up with a different title as “The Walking Journal” was already being used or was too similar to another book with that title.   I renamed my book “Sidewalk Thoughts”.   The sole purpose of the book is to the same as the purpose of my blog.  I strongly feel that everyone could use more laughter in their lives.  The next summer I wanted to repeat the walking/writing process but I found out that I really loved to rollerblade.  As a result I didn’t keep a rolling journal because I realized that the only thoughts I had in my head were about not falling down and breaking something.   Since my book Sidewalk Thoughts is 28 daily journal entries it is much like my blog.  With many thanks to Word Press I am able to post my Sidewalk Thoughts in blog form.  Every once in a while someone will ask if I have written another book yet.  After my divorce, I thought about a sequel title, “Life in the Gutter” but so far the blogosphere seems to best suit my needs.

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OK, Fine!

OK, Fine!

Our special on fines, “You bring the roll, we’ll pay the toll” is in full swing at the Public Library. We thought this was a neat and easy way to excuse fines for our patrons. We also thought we were very specific as to explaining how the event worked and what we could accept as payment. I think we need to think again. My first experience was with a thirty-something guy.   He came up to the circulation desk carrying roll of gift wrapping paper.

He laid the roll of purple and yellow paper with pink and red hearts on the counter and said: Here, I would like to pay my $5.00 fine.

Me: Could I have your library card so I can look up your information on the computer?

Guy: I didn’t bring my library card.

Me: Of course you didn’t, nobody does when they come to the library. Then could I have your driver’s license for identification?

Guy: Really? I don’t think I even have to show my drivers’ license to vote.

A couple of replies to that statement came to mind, but I didn’t say them out loud. The guy pulled out his wallet and found his driver’s license behind “you know what.” Thankfully he set it on the desk close enough so I could see his information without me having to actually touch his license.  I typed in his name. After the computer took what seemed like forever to find his information the guy started to tap the roll of wrapping paper on the circulation desk. A couple of thoughts came to mind as to what he could do with the roll of wrapping paper but I didn’t say them out loud either. Finally his library card information came up on the screen.

Me: Yes sir, you do have a $5.00 fine.

Guy: Yeah, I know. I was late with some DVDs because I got called out to the oil rig in the middle of the night and had to sleep the whole next day and didn’t get them back on time. My girlfriend was going to drop them off for me but she had morning sickness really bad. So here is my roll of paper for my fine.

Me: Sir, you need to bring a roll of a paper product for each dollar you owe.

Guy: This roll is the length of 5 rolls of toilet paper. I measured.

Me: It doesn’t work that way. Besides the roll of paper has to be in its original wrapping.

Guy: What do you mean? This is wrapping paper.

Me: No, I mean the roll should still be sealed in the original plastic wrap and unopened.

Guy: So, I used just a little bit of it to wrap my girlfriend’s Valentine’s day gift last year. So what is the big deal? Most of the paper is still on the roll.

Me: Well, we have to make some restriction or people would just bring us partially used rolls of toilet paper or paper towel.

Guy: Really? People would do that?

Me: Believe it or not, people would do that.

Guy: So are you saying I can’t pay my fine with this roll of wrapping paper?

Me: I am sorry; sir, but we cannot accept one roll of opened wrapping paper for your $5.00 fine. For example, you could bring in an unwrapped 4 pack of toilet paper and 1 unwrapped roll of paper towel.

Guy: I only buy paper towel in two packs. If I brought in a two pack would I get a dollar in change?

Me:   Well, no. We would hope you would just be willing to donate the extra roll to the homeless shelter.

Guy: And really, who would buy 1 roll of toilet paper? Does toilet paper even come in single rolls?  With all the Mexican restaurants in town I doubt there is one person in this whole town that buys toilet paper one roll at a time.

The guy picked up his roll of wrapping paper, tapped it quite forcibly on the circulation desk, pointed it into my face and said: I’ll be back.

I hoped I would be at lunch if he did come back. But before I could leave for lunch a young mother with two little boys came up to the desk with an unwrapped 9 pack of toilet paper.

Mother: I would like to pay the fines on my son’s cards.

I scanned their library cards and there was a $4.50 fee on each of the little boys’ cards.

As I begin to open my mouth to explain the $1 per roll concept and that there was no 50 cent deals, the older brother pulled a book off the New Books shelf and hit his little brother on the head. The little brother let out a blood curdling yell. The older brother dropped the book on the floor and kicked it. The mother tried to grab a boy with each of her hands, but they took running in opposite directions.

I grabbed the package of toilet paper and said: “Ok, fine. And have a nice day.”

After my lunch break, the thirty- something guy came back carrying a Walmart bag. I was silently praising myself for successfully getting the point across to him. The praise was premature.

He took out two rolls of toilet paper wrapped in the Valentines wrapping paper and said: Here

I started to open my mouth, but before I could say anything he said:” Before you say anything. These are Charmin double rolls so that is $4.00. I figure the fact that I wrapped each roll with curly ribbon is worth another dollar. Ribbon is technically paper, it is rolled, it counts.

Me: Ok, fine!

giftwrapgiftwrap

 

 

 

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Take Notice

Take Notice

For those of you that know me [or for those of you through no fault of their own are related to me] you know that I work at the Public Library.   Actually I work at the same library while I attended college. My littlest sister, Jodi, was two years old at the time.

She told everyone that I worked at the “puppy lick” library. puppyLittle did she know how close she was to the truth.    Our awesome children’s librarian, Lane, set up a program where a therapy dog comes to the library. The children have the opportunity to cuddle up with the pooch and read a book.   Now that I think about it, some of the children are very young, so now I don’t remember if they read a book to the dog or the dog reads the book to them. [After all, there is a Dog with a Blog!] Whichever is the case, it is a terrific program and I have no doubts that puppy licks are part of the program.

In spite of Nooks, Kindles, MP3 players, computers, i-pods, i-pads and smart phones, libraries still do exist. I have had many people tell me that they still prefer to hold a book in their hand a turn real pages.   That being said, collecting fines remains a huge problem for libraries. People are always shocked when we tell them they have a fine. It doesn’t matter if the fine is 15 cents or 15 dollars, they can’t possibly have a fine and there must be a mistake. The other day a teenager came up to the desk to check out a book and her card had a $5.00 fine on it. When I informed her of this fine, I got the usual response.

Patron: That must be a mistake. I don’t remember returning any books late. What was it for?

Me: The book, “Breaking Dawn’” by Stephenie Meyer.

Patron: I returned that a long time ago.

Me: Yes, the book was returned, however it was returned late. It was actually due on September 17th and you returned the book a couple months late. The total fine for returning the book late is $5.00.

Patron: Did anyone ever call and tell me that the book was due?

Me: No, we send out overdue notices in the mail.

Patron: I didn’t get any notices.

Me: Of course you didn’t. Nobody does. We print out overdue notices every single day and faithfully mail them out. From what we can tell the Post Office has a vendetta against us.

Patron: What is a vendetta?

Me:  Well, the post office just wants to make our lives miserable so they refuse to delivery any overdue notices that we mail out. Instead once a month they have a huge bonfire and burn them all. We tried to sue the Post Office but the government doesn’t have any money and all the evidence was burned.

The patron looked at me for a few seconds, blinked and said: See, I told you I never got any notices. So can you just delete my fine?

Me: No, all the information on the computer is accurate and you owe us $5.00.

Patron: Well, the computer is wrong. Besides why would I check that book out when I can watch the movies?

Me: I am sorry, this is the information we have and you are responsible for the $5.00 fine.

Patron: This place bites.

Me (trying to be helpful):   Wait, next week we are having a special on fines.

Patron: You mean like a coupon or something?

Me: No, We are having a special two week event called “Bring a roll, we pay the toll.”

Patron: I don’t get it.

Me: Let me explain. All you have to do is bring in a roll of a paper product like toilet paper or paper towel. For each roll you bring in we subtract a dollar off your fine. So if you brought us a 4 pack of toilet paper, your fine would be reduced by 4 dollars and you would only have to pay us 1 dollar.

Patron: I don’t get it. Are you guys short on toilet paper or something?   Like, to work here you have to bring your own toilet paper. Geez, that would suck.

Me: No. We are collecting the paper products for the homeless.

Patron: If they are homeless where do they keep their toilet paper?

Me: I meant to say the homeless shelter and yes the shelter needs toilet paper.

The patron was more or less talking to herself as she was trying to come up with a way to bring a roll and pay her toll. I heard her mumble something about her mom would notice five rolls of toilet paper missing. She started to walk away and then turned back to me to ask a question.

Patron: Hey can I bring in hemp papers?

My turn to ask a question: What are hemp papers?

Patron: You know those cigarette papers that you use to roll your joints. My boyfriend has tons in his car. He wouldn’t miss a pack. Besides there are like, 30 papers in each pack so that should more than cover the fine.

Me: No, that would not be appropriate.

Patron: Why not? You said bring in a roll of a paper product. They are paper and you roll them.

Me: Yes, but…..

Patron:   This place bites.

And she stomped away.

 

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Confessions of a Blogging U Dropout

It all started when I tried to put the Blogging University icon on my blog page. I can’t remember how I even tried to do it.   All I know is that on my blog page the icon didn’t fit. Part of the icon was cut off and I was too embarrassed to go the Commons and ask another blogger how to fix it. I think it was another sign from the blogging gods that I should accept the fact I am in over my head.   Now a week later I have to admit defeat and dropout of Blogging 101. I failed because I am too old to keep up with the technology and the strange terminology. I would like to confess that I don’t understand “link back.” On Day Twelve our assignment was to increase our commenting. I was so excited for this assignment because I love to get comments (positive ones anyway).  I was so ready to leave comments until the assignment directed me to “link back” to the original post. I don’t even know what “link back” means. I can barely link forward. My first posting for Blogging 101 I didn’t share the correct linking address. A fellow classmate was kind enough to point this out to me. My wrong link, linked to nowhere. How embarrassing is that? I guess it could have been worse. It could have linked to a Persian kitty porn site.   I did manage to eventually get the right linking address to my blog. So now when I post a link I test the link so many times my computer crashes. On Day Fourteen the assignment was to extend the Blog’s Brand with a custom site icon or a custom image widget.   I am clueless and I am sorry but the definitions didn’t help me at all. What is an “avator?” I thought that was a gaming system. What is a “widget?” I thought that was a hoop you shot the croquet ball through. Whatever widgets are, mine came with wings. One innocent little click and the widget flies to a different place on my page or flies off the page completely. I confess that I am afraid to monkey around with PicMonkey. This is coming from someone who has never been on Shutterfly or Snapfish. My son, Nik, is really very patient with me when it comes to answering tech questions, except in the case of Adobe Photoshop.   I think I called him once and asked what “shrink to fit”  means.  He started to explain about size and space but I wasn’t understanding one word of the explanation. Being as patient as possible he threw in an analogy. He said it was like when you buy a pair of new jeans and after you wash them the first time you put them in the dryer to shrink so they fit better. I snapped back, “You aren’t helping. I haven’t had to shrink jeans since I was 12.” The next time he came home to visit he locked me out of Photoshop and threatened to disable WordArt.

I guess you just can’t teach “an old dog new tricks”. My best explanation of this is getting gas at the gas station. When I was “just born” I remember that my mom would drive into a gas station, drive over a hose on purpose and roll down the window as a guy approached the vehicle.   Dangerously, strange behavior, right? Let me explain. [Some of my blog friends will understand the explanation, but I am telling you don’t admit it.] When my mom drove over the rubber hose you would hear a clinging bell sound. This sound would alert the person working on a car in the garage of the gas station to come out to the vehicle that just pulled up to the pumps. My mom rolled the window down to say to the helpful gas station attendant “filler up and check the oil and water.”  And he did!!!!   Believe it or not my mom could stay in the car while the guy unscrewed the gas cap, wrestled the nozzle into the gas tank and then popped the hood of the car to check the oil. He kept an old rag in his back pocket so that he could wipe off the dipstick and get an accurate measure if the car needed a quart of oil or not.   All this time my mom could leisurely sit in the car and yell at us kids and the six neighbor kids to sit still and stop hitting each other.   They guy collected the money through the window. My mom drove off with completely clean hands, a full tank of gas and no oil level worries. I was actually thinking of all this yesterday when I had to get gas in my car because for some reason I never remember to look at the pump number where I am filling up the tank. NEVER   So once again this is the conversation I have with the clerk inside the store after I dripped gasoline on my shoes and got grease all over my hands.

Clerk: What pump are you on?

Me: The one right out there.

Clerk: Lady, all our pumps are right out there. What number are you on?

Me: I forgot to look at the number.

Clerk: OK then what make or model is your car?

Me: It’s grey

Clerk: How much was the total gas amount?

Me: About as half as much as it was last year at this time.

 

Eventually we get it figured out. I pay and then ask if he could please punch my gas refill card. He looks me straight in the eye, grabs the hole puncher, and clenches his jaws. He is just dying to say, “Lady I would love to give you a punch.” Sad, but true, I can guarantee you that the next time I get gas I will NOT remember to look at the pump number.

Now if you will excuse me, this old dog is going to try and bark up some brands, wag up some widgets, and growl at some gravatars.

 

 

 

 

 

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Our Sister’s Call

This weekend my sister, Sargent Major Jodi R. Renner, begins her 12 month tour of duty so this is my special posting for her from the family.

Our Sister’s Call

You have taken an oath to serve our country

And to take up your post of command

You have been assigned to protect our freedoms

Our values, our citizens, our land

You will give everything you possibly can

And never ask for anything back

I know I can’t go with you

But will you let me help you pack?

Courage

Take all the courage you know that you have

And then find some and take even more

For where there is no courage there is fear

And cowardly fear never wins the war

Allegiance

Stand firm on respecting the rights that

Our founding fathers deemed as most important

For there are many who demand respect with

Powerful guns and a meaningless rant

Loyalty

Believe in your country, your commander

Your comrades, our nation as one

For it is our faith in each other

That provides the greatest protection

Love

Fill your heart with love for family, friends, coworkers

And all those whose lives depend on you

For what better defense against the enemy that

Hates all the good that you will do

Time

You will have too much of it when you are lonely and sad

At other times endless responsibilities will fill your day

You may not have time to think, to eat or to sleep

But not matter your schedule always take time to pray

Obedience

Give it and demand it because strength comes

From unified cooperation and discipline

A weak and easy enemy is one that operates on

Chaos from within

Dedication

Commit yourself to all those who will look up

to you for guidance and purpose

So they will understand what their dedication

Means to all of us

Unity

Our country will remain great if it stands together

For our freedoms, our morals and for what is right

Our enemies will look closely for any division

Or uncertainty that will enhance their fight

Tolerance

Not for the enemy; but for your fellow

Soldiers who also took the oath to serve

Promise them that you will look out for them and

The life we all deserve

Yourself

As your family, we know you will face challenges every day of your tour

We know you will face fears that you must have the strength to endure

We fervently pray that God guides you and keeps you safe in everything you must do

And with His unrelenting help you come home as a better version of you

Jodi, as you answer your CALL TO DUTY

We are so very proud of you

We are missing everything about you

We are sending all our love with you

Ted and Marie Renner (parents)

David & Jill Renner and Family

Mickey Renner, Nik and Emily Butz

Kathy Renner and Family

Mike & Collette Renner and Family

Ted & Kim Renner and Family

Luis and Mary Mercado and Family

Jayme & Michele Renner and Junebug

Note: The mechanics of this poem was to “pack” something that started with the letters to spell out CALL TO DUTY.  I am not so sure that is visible in the post.

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Care to Comment?

For my blog followers that know me personally you will be horrified (as I am) to know that I did not complete my last two Bogging 101 assignments to the level of satisfaction that I have set for myself in the past. True disclosure: I got two days behind on the assignments. I tried to catch-up but failed to follow the directions of the assignment and then just didn’t do them. This is radical coming from me, a former teacher.   Especially since, I was one of those math teachers that took off points if you didn’t show all your work. “But I got the right answer” fell on deaf ears and if I didn’t see every single step towards the solution I subtracted points in bright red ink.   Knowing this about myself and knowing I didn’t successfully complete the last two assignments I am left in a quandary. In order to bring order to this moral malady I have come up with a self imposed compromise.

Dear Blogging 101 Instructor: @michelleweber

I apologize for skipping assignments 8 and 9 on the Comment segment of the curriculum. Pleas accept this essay on Comments as a substitute for the two lacking assignments. I am not submitting this essay for course credit but please consider the possibility of awarding me participation points.   Thank you for your consideration.

Respectfully yours,

mickeyrenner

 

The Consciousness of Comments

One of the unintended consequences of our hi-tech society is that Commenting has become a credible structure of consciousness. There is no where you can surf to on the Internet where you won’t be encouraged to rate your experience, rank your purchase, or write a review. Social Media thrives on our posts, tweets, likes, and comments. Such expansion into the consciousness of Comments calls for some intellectual consideration.  First though, I would like to make a clarification. For the purpose of this essay I will be addressing positive and respectful comments as there seems to be a voice inside my head telling me, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

At this point I would like to present three Insights to Leaving a Comment on a WordPress Blog

Insight #1: Comments are Invaluable

Comments are invaluable to everyone. If you leave a comment for the writer you validate for the blogger that someone actually did read your blog posting and that the words you chose to write down touched someone’s life in a way the writer probably did not ever imagine. For you, the commentator, leaving a comment is valuable to you for its intrinsic values. Leaving a positive complimentary comment just may leave you with a warm and fuzzy feeling. Leaving a comment that enhances the blog post or raises a question is an intellectual accomplishment with innumerable responses. Your comment just may educate, inspire or entertain someone beyond any limits you may have ever imagined.

 

Insight #2: Comments are Instantaneous

Ok, maybe instantaneous is too strong of a word. The point I am trying to make is that if you read a blog and an idea for a comment come almost immediately, then that comment was meant to be shared. In other words, you should not have to dig deep inside your brain for just the right comment. You needn’t force a comment. If the blog really speaks to you the comment will surface fairly quickly without much effort. That, I believe is how leaving a comment actually works. I don’t feel like I am explain this very well, so let me try another way that may be easier to comprehend.

Let talk facebook. Let’s say one of your facebook friends posts 253 pictures from their Christmas trip to Disney World. If you did not win the 1.4 billion dollar lottery on Wednesday you maybe have a job and need to make a living. I say you probably can look through 253 pictures fairly quickly and you may even have time to actually do that. As you swipe through the pictures one here or there may catch your eye. If you pause to take a closer look the picture may remind you of something, somewhere or somebody. That picture you can easily make a comment on. Here are the results: you had fun making a comment, the facebook friend had fun reading your comment, and other creepers had fun trying to figure out what the comment actually meant.  It is a Win-Win-Win situation. I think this view of leaving a comment simplifies the whole overwhelming concept on commenting. Just be in-to-it. If you are still struggling with my attempt to clarify this 2nd Insight, let me try a visual.

Comment1

I ask you, how hard is it to come up with a comment for this picture?

 

Insight #3: Comments are Intricate

Comments provide the opportunity to make an infinite number of intricate connections. The obvious connections are the links that are posted and gives us access to another site, which leads to another site, which directs us to another link to another site and so on. They don’t call it the World Wide Web for no reason. It is another type of interconnectedness that I find intriguing. For example on my Blog Post: Identify your Audience a high school friend and classmate left me a comment. The comment was very clever, made me laugh, and made me think about people and events I hadn’t thought about in a long time.   That one witty comment created for me a complex cyber connection that crossed over time and space. For that moment, at least, I was interconnected with my entire graduating class listening to our Valedictorian speaker. I have no way of knowing, but maybe other members of my class had the same thoughts at the same time. If they did, that would have been some intricate synchronicity which invites me to believe that Leaving a Comment is infinitely meaningful.

 

 

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