Our Old Computer is Dead—Long Live the New Computer!

Well, it was bound to happen; our old desktop computer had finally slipped its mortal coil, taken the big dirt nap and has gone to the happy hunting grounds. In short, our old desktop finally bit the dust.

So we now have a wonderful new Apple computer with an enormous screen. Our faithful IT guy got it all set up for us and we are still learning the machinations of our new computer. However, here’s what I always think of when I am faced with something new in my life: My Two Weeks At the Bakery.

When I was a teenager I worked at our local bakery for two weeks at the end of one summer. It was run by a man and his wife who had absolutely no sense of humor. Oh, now and then the wife would utter a low ‘hah-hah-hah’ now and then, but they both were focused on their work. Everyone from miles around loved that bakery; everything from donuts to pies to muffins to bread and fancy cakes were sold there. They also made fabulous cookies, and each kind of cookie was priced differently.

As the place was always packed, there was no time to go looking up the price of a chocolate walnut cookie vs. an oatmeal raisen cookie; you just had to memorize them. Which is exactly what I did; I never thought I could do it—the bakery sold dozens of different cookies. But I did do it; I managed to remember each and every price of each and every cookie.

From that time on, whenever I had a hard job or task to do, I would remember how I memorized all those cookies. Then I would say to myself, ‘well, if I could memorize the prices of all those damned cookie, I can do THIS!’

Which is exactly what I’m doing now; learning how to navigate this wonderful new computer. Wish me luck!


The Restaurant Gripe Du Jour

The other night the Crankee Yankee and I went out to dinner at a new place (opened in December). We’d been there a few times before, enjoyed the food, the service and the atmosphere. It’s sort of a mix of elegant pub and date-night dining, and the atmosphere is welcoming.

However, I have a few gripes—not only for this restaurant, but restaurants in general.

Gripe 1: We arrived around 4:30 at the restaurant I mentioned to avoid a crowd. About ten minutes later, we had a young father with a screaming and coughing baby near us. As we started our meal, a family of five sat down at the table next to us. Granted, the kids weren’t babies, but they were loud and whiny. So we gave each other the “waddayagonnado” look, and just ate our food and left.

Seriously, I can’t be the only person who doesn’t like hearing wailing babies and yappy kids at a decent restaurant. As there used to be smoking sections and non-smoking sections (way back in the dark ages), it seems to me there ought to be a “family” section far, far away and perhaps in a soundproof area.

Look, I get it that parents need the occasional night out. I also get it that the noise level is so entrenched in their heads that the volume of the screeching, yelling and crying may no longer register with the parents. However, the rest of us who came out for a nice dinner do not appreciate it.

Gripe 2: Then there is the issue of “high chair” tables. No, I don’t mean actual children’s highchairs, I mean those tall tables with tall chairs to match. I don’t like climbing up on a chair to sit down. Conversely, I don’t like sitting at tables where the seats are so low that my chin is practically resting on the table. Honestly, they make me feel like a very old child with the plate at chin level. Seriously, what’s wrong with regular height tables and chairs?

Gripe 3: There seems to be some prejudice about single people who go to restaurants by themselves. It starts with walking in the door, and you’re asked “just you, then?” as if there’s something indecent about eating out on your own. Those who seat the “onester” are either dismissive (head bubble would read: “Just you? You’ll probably give me a 5% tip, if at all! What a waste of my time!”) or dripping with phony sympathy because you are there on your own (head bubble would read: “oh the poor thing! All alone, no one to talk to, poor dear!”).

Then once you are seated, the server calls you “dearie,” “darling,” “sweetheart,” “sweetie,” ad nauseum. Or you are given the bare minimum of service; they plunk down your food and that’s the last you see of your server.

Should you need a drink refill or another napkin, you’re going to have to get up and ask someone. When the check arrives, the server looks as though he/she can’t wait until you get your sad and lonely ass out of there.

Oh well. It’s a different world out there now. Perhaps this is the new normal. But if you ask me, I think it’s time for a change, restaurant-wise. Over the years the restaurant folks have figured out that, in the main, most people don’t like eating somewhere where people are smoking. So why not add on a kid-zone in restaurants? How about some regular chairs and tables? And how about not treating the single diner as a pariah?

Just saying…

Reasons for It All

How many times have we howled to the heavens, “why ME?” Something happens that we didn’t plan on, “life shocks” puts our personal world in a spin, and so on. We would love to have life flow smoothly for us like fish through a sparkling river. But things happen.

We wonder what the reason is for that flat tire on a busy day, a bill we didn’t expect, a leak in the roof, one of the kids needs braces, and on and on it goes. Sometimes it just seems like the tide is against us and we are fighting to get to shore.

I began to get tired of getting upset over things I knew I couldn’t control. Being angry or swearing couldn’t change the circumstance, so I decided to change me. I began to look at those unforeseen circumstances in a new light. If someone cut me off in traffic and scared me, I turned my knee-jerk angry reaction into thanks to whatever angels were watching out for me. I realized that most of my anger was seated in plain old fear.

Years ago one summer I was running late for an appointment, and although I didn’t have that far to travel, traffic moved like molasses in January. As I fretted and worried and swore about being late, I got to the actual traffic jam. Two guys were running madly after a large pig who must have gotten out of the back of their truck. A policeman was directing traffic, and the two guys were laughing their heads off as they ran. It even looked to me as if the pig was having a grand time.

Luckily, they were able to stop the pig and load him back into the truck. Looking around me, I saw smiles on everyone’s faces. The circumstance didn’t make me that late, plus it was too funny for words.

Just imagine the effects of not falling into the old “why me?” way of thinking. For me, it’s lower blood pressure, a healthier attitude on life in general, and a more effective way of dealing with stuff I can’t control.

But I’m not perfect. There have been plenty of times when I have surreptitiously flipped someone off (under the dashboard, though) or gotten angry with situations I can’t control. However, when I slip and go into rage mode I remember that pig.

And I laugh.