Friday, December 20, 2013

Safety tips from the Scanner

I grew up listening to a police scanner so imagine how great it was to find that a scanner App is available for our modern day devices!!  Even better, one can choose to eavesdrop on just about any safety force of choice from all over the country! Now I don’t really care about the dastardly doings in downtown Dallas, but a local (not MY town local, but close enough) dispatch provides more than enough entertainment. After several months of almost daily listening, I can recognize voices, know the codes and have learned to tell military time. I love our safety services men and women, but they can be pretty funny at times.

What follows are some things I have learned and in this modern day and age of having to be careful of our surroundings and proactive in our personal safety, I am passing along the following tips to do my part in educating the public.

If robbing a $ store or other such venue, don’t dress in outlandish clothing or better yet, don’t cross dress and wear heels. It becomes very easy to give a description of what you are wearing and even an overindulging doughnut

downer with a badge can catch you in those heels. The subsequent fashion tips come free with apprehension.

If you do manage to outrun the coppers, do not return to your own home, where they already know your name and address and have it programmed on speed dial in the cruiser’s GPS. As a matter of fact, they probably bring gifts to the kids for their birthdays because they visit so often.

If there is snow on the ground, and you are on foot….no need for the dog, finding you will be easy. If you don’t know why….you deserve to be caught.

When robbed by three (yes, 3) prostitutes, be sure to take your pants with you. Otherwise some cop has to write a report about why he found some pants and then another cop has to write a report about a guy who was robbed by three prostitutes and is running around town without his pants. Since they are on different channels sometimes, the pants guy did not know about the pant-less guy….. no mention however about how or why the victim was with 3 prostitutes.

Do not drive a really distinct car if you plan to use it for a getaway vehicle. They don’t even have to drive around and look for you…..if you have to ask why, you deserve to be caught…(see the GPS reason above)

Being declared a “non-breather” is not a good thing. It is evidently not the same as a DOA but they both do not seem to muster up much urgency.

If you call 911 to report a crime, try to do so in a timely manner, like close to when it occurred. Waiting a few hours or a day or so until you could find a phone seems like a lame excuse. Perhaps that relates to the non-breather thing.

If you plan to return your breast pump to “one of those places” which are not identified, you might want to include a note. If not, then they have to call in the bomb dog and put on big suits and shut down the surrounding area until the object can be identified. The finer points of how the “bomb” looks a lot like a breast pump are discussed (by male officers) until the female officer decides to end this fiasco and declares said “bomb” to yes, be a breast pump. Call off the dog….it will not go boom boom because it goes on the …….and as far as we know, terrorists are not lactose intolerant.

I am sure I could recall even more of the amusing situations overheard on the scanner App, but I need to get off this computer and back to my NSA practice.  God bless our men and women in uniform of all branches of security and safety, both civilian and military. Be safe this season and I thank you for being there for all of us! Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

What the F was that?

Porcelain for the Paranoid collage (still for sale!)

I had to open with an F word because I live in Ohio and we are number one is swearing! Wish we had a team for that so we could at least win at something. Can’t you just envision that contest! Wonder what the cheerleaders would chant……

Anyway, my title refers to this nasty nasty (NASTY!!!!) bug going around. It needs a name but anything with a swear word in it will do. Perhaps some of you have fallen victim…it not, allow me to enlighten you with some immersion therapy.

It starts ever so suddenly. One minute you are hauling in some last minute Christmas decorations, having just polished off the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers, and you feel a “roll”. Deep in your guts, both psychologicaly and physiologically, you know something is just not right…..

Then it happens….if you are lucky enough to reach the alter of procelin rulers, good for you, but if not, any handy item that holds caustic substances will do. Once the leftovers are gone, any organs not needed at the moment like your pancreas, gall bladder, appendix and so forth will decide to join the party and go on an evacuation vacation. You do start to analyze some of the contents because you can’t go anyplace and some of those organs may need to be reclaimed. 

As an added bonus, the remaining unconnected parts of your internal system decide to liquefy and find out where everything else is going. Must be fun because they are in such a hurry to get there! The sofa (lined in plastic bags of course) becomes your new home. A defensive perimeter is set up with aerosol cans of disinfectant strategically placed, a phone, an ipad and a garbage can nearby, and some old coat for a blanket that was the closest thing between you and the sofa. 

The world goes black….sleep, broken only by other organs deciding to move through customs and join their friends including the stomach and intestines because those won't be needed for days and days anyway….sleep, becomes your best friend. 

When you wake up, you find your legs paralyzed and you are unable to breath….fear sets in until you realize that two hungry and neglected cats have breached the perimeter and set up camp on the sofa with you…the best spots having been taken they climb on top of the unmoving mound of an old coat. Ever heard a cat bounce off a hardwood floor? 

Any concept of time has been lost…it could be night, it could be day, lights are on or off…who knows….but perhaps a change of clothes would be a good idea……note the word “perhaps”…. lack of food and fluids isn’t great for one’s balance. I do not consider pedialite (what am I…2?) or Gatorade (what am I….12?) to be “real” fluids but they do help with vital organ replacement.  I don’t recall much about trying to find a change of clothes. Perhaps the unexpected contact with a coat hanger and the closet wall have something to do with that. So a little DNA is left scattered about……and the sofa looks ever so inviting again.  More days pass…..

…and IT passes….whatever the F it was. Bread and water are your best friends for a while. The calendar continued to turn taking all of your “to do” list with it that still remain to be done…and add themselves to the ones already there. If I sent out some crazy email about area 51 or Elvis or something, I apologize. If I signed up to do something…well, forget it, I have to go search the sewers for my still MIA pancreas. 

So my friends, wash your hands and avoid crowds, this little F-er is contagious! Oh let’s just do that little cheer shall we? I am a former (not by choice) cheerleading advisor/coach so little chants just run through my head all the time….

                I had the nasty F-ing flu
                I had that F-er
                How ‘bout you?


Hurled it once
Hurled it twice
Holy F-er its not nice!
Rolling innards, Son of a B***h
Rah Rah S**t!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Serpentine Table

View from some previous Thanksgiving

What is that?, I get asked frequently whenever I mention my “new”, now 3 years old, holiday tradition. The Serpentine Table (capital letters required) is how I bring together all strays, orphans, misfits and assorted others who need a place to go and people to be with for one reason or another on official holidays. What started as only a Thanksgiving thing, became Easter the following the year and we now are adding Christmas Day to the list.

I am rather short on traditional family for assorted reasons. With my kids grown up and parents growing older, we got rather bored with celebrating with just our little group that did not even need a leaf in the table. In the midst of casual conversations, it became apparent that couples in my parent’s age group, whom I have known for many years, were facing the phase where their children lived far away and were making plans of their own. These older folks would be alone.  That broke my heart and made me realize that I really did have a big family, we just didn’t share any biology.

As the calendar passed, a core group formed, some who come every time, others who cancel their reservation but hold a spot for the next gathering. A standing list of invites exists, but I reach out each year to those who may be facing a sad or solo holiday. The recently divorced or newly separated, those with family far away or financially not in reach right now, those with an ill family member who can’t do the work themselves….whatever….I add another table and explain the “rules”.

Rule #1 – No separate tables hence the title of my event. I just connect one on to the other and zig-zag a bit. The standing joke is that someday we will wrap all the way through the front hall and back into the kitchen. First timers get a “good chair” and after that, it depends upon where I place you in the mix.

Rule #2 – We use the good stuff. The china, the crystal glasses, the silver flatware, the real linens, the fancy wedding present serving pieces….and transfer foods to real serving dishes (unless it is a crockpot), I’m not stupid. I polish and dust and iron and sparkle the stuff as best I can because why else do we have it all taking up closet space?  Even candles get lit on everybody’s table, each decorated to the hilt. No one is shorted on feeling like their table is not the “main” one, all of them are the “grownup” tables.  Your place settings are right out of Emily Post so if you don’t know what “that” fork is for, who cares, but it looks nice right?!

Rule #3 – Everybody brings a dish to feed the total number attending and you have to pre-sign up for what you want to make so we have a balanced meal. Updated numbers and menus are sent out weekly the month before.

Rule #4 – We accommodate all allergies and food preferences, but don’t subject them on anybody else. You wish to experiment with some new creation? Have at it!

Rule #5 – No cleaning up, getting up from the table early, texting or phones (unless on call for the hospital) and everybody has to talk to everybody else. I make a seating chart to keep the conversation going from one end to the other and putting newbies into the middle so they can be most comfortable.

Rule #6 – Nothing is precious. If it breaks, or spills, or falls flat etc…we laugh it off and move on. Life is too short to care.

Rule #7 – A window of time is provided to allow for early birds who socialize but don’t come so close to seating time that I trip over you. The bar (with anything you could possibly want) is open and coffee /tea/special liqueurs come with dessert.

Rule #8 – Dessert crashers, last minute change of minders, the suddenly orphaned and so forth are welcome at any time…I have plenty of dishes and we always seem to have enough food to feed an army. The door is open. Don’t ring the doorbell or bang on the glass…just walk in and say Hi!

Rule #9 – Laugh. Relax. Linger. Switch seats for dessert etc…I don’t care. This is my home, not a house or a museum. The mortgage pays for every square inch so let use it!

Rule #10 – Before leaving for the evening, you are welcome to confirm a reservation for the next official Table, hold a reservation, decline but hold the one after that, or just think we are all nuts and find something else to do. The years are slipping away fast for all of us. So what if we hear the same stories….

Oh, the most important rule of all….we pray before we begin. I give thanks for having a crazy assortment of misfit toys as my “family”.  

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!