In Which The Beans Discuss The TV Remote Control, Unnecessary Complexity Of Said

ZEN-DEN POLITELY EXPLAINED TO ME that I needed to re-frame my irritation.  That I had to let my mind embrace a new way of thinking about some of the little daily irritations that bug the snot out of me.

“Chickiedoodle,” he said, “it’s all just dust in the wind. Insignificant.”

[Yes, he sometimes call me Chickiedoodle.  Grow up people, we’re married & cutesy nicknames happen.]

“It’s not worth worrying about these small things.  I respect your feelings about them, and you’re right– but you gotta let it go.”

There’s a reason why he’s called ZEN-Den, you know.  He can get mellow, philosophical at the interconnectedness of life, almost without trying.  Little things in daily life don’t bug him so much.

But me?  I see the faults.  I remember the faults.  And then I tend to mutter.

Which is how this conversation started.

~ • 📺 • ~

Artist’s rendering of sensible TV remote control that has only what is needed on it, written in large letters and numbers.

~ • 📺 • ~

YOU SEE, I WANTED TO watch something on cable TV, but I was once again thwarted by the unnecessary complexity of our remote control.

Hence, I was muttering to Z-D about how ridiculous it is that to turn on the television one does not use the “TV” button on the remote control.  No, one uses something called “Input” while ignoring the button that you’d think logically turns on the television.

But it doesn’t.

And if by chance you forget and hit the logical “TV” button, then everything goes wonky on the screen, and you’re left not watching television because you, a woman who dislikes gadgety things on principle, can’t remember how to turn on the darned television.

So I end up not watching cable TV, while complaining loudly about the intentionally irritating nonsensical TV remote control.

Dust in the wind?  Not buying it.

It’s a conspiracy to drive me crazy crazier.

Pondering A Neighbor: The Difference Between Gossip And Information

Dude, I’m not impressed with you. [Photo by Samuel Zeller via Unsplash]

~ ~ • ~ ~

WHILE ATTEMPTING TO MAKE A left-hand turn into our driveway I had to stop to allow a jogger, the neighborhood registered sex offender*, to run by before I could turn into our driveway.

He turned to look at me and snarled.  I looked at him and tipped my head, slightly, to acknowledge his presence.

I didn’t attempt to run over him with my car nor did I give him the finger.  Both options occurred to me as I sat there waiting for him to get out of my way but I realize that with some people indifferent is the best you can do.

I’D LOVE TO LEAVE THIS story at that, but here’s the thing– and it’s something that’s weighed on my mind since seeing this guy, a man who has served his prison time and is now merely listed on the state registered sex offender website.

In the last year, or two, this man has fathered a baby girl with his wife [girlfriend?].  They live down the street.  In this family neighborhood.

Uh huh.

Interestingly enough, it’s my understanding that soon, in the next year, he will be eligible to have his name removed from the sex offender website.  Meaning that only those of us neighbors who are here now will know about his past.

SO GETTING TO MY POINT, I’m left with three questions:

  1. would any parent knowingly allow their child to play with his daughter at his house?
  2. how unfair is it for this daughter to live her life under the shadow of his crime? and 
  3. when new neighbors move into the neighborhood, should someone tell them the rest of his story?


• • •

* UPDATED: This afternoon I got a chance to use the search function on The U.S. Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Website.  The neighbor is no longer listed there.  HOWEVER, there were 13 other people listed as registered sex offenders who live within a 3 mile radius of my house.  I had no idea…

• • •

Voting Day 2017 And Last Year’s Election Day Sadness Lingers

An old downtown building in the process of being improved: out with what no longer serves, in with what will make it safe.

  Later this morning I’ll make my way to our current voting precinct in its current polling place. 

It’s in an old Greek Church now.  The decor in this church is gold and overstated, think My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but the church members who welcome you to their church/polling place are as sweet as can be.

They stand in sharp contrast to the election board people who, it seems, would prefer to not be doing what they’re doing, as shown by the snarls on their faces.

Same grouches, every year.

  When we first moved here over 20 years ago we voted at the VFW Hall. 

Situated back a long creepy lane, to get to this polling place you followed the signs for the “Sunday Turkey Shoot” that lead to a grass parking lot.  Then you stood outside in the weather until the election board people allowed 2 voters at a time inside the building.

We’d moved here to this big city suburb from an upscale small town and were shocked that the polling place, reeking of cigarette smoke, still used paper ballots– and consistently ran short on pencils.

We learned to take a Benadryl before we went to vote and to take a pencil with us.

  Our next polling place was at a fancy golf course. 

It was easy to get to this place that had a real parking lot, lighted even.  At first it seemed ideal, however this is the polling place where Zen-Den, Esq., got mad and made a point.

He was not pleased about how the partisan people who lurk around the outside entrance into the polling place were positioning themselves;  they were too close to the building, thus breaking the law.

Inside the building he told the election board people this was wrong–and they shrugged. So Z-D called the sheriff’s office and filed a complaint. The pushy lurker people got in trouble, and the election board people have never forgotten about it.

Or Zen-Den. Or his wife. Who they consider to be has much of a troublemaker as he was.

Guilt by association, you know?

  All of which brings me to today’s foray into the American voting process.

I’ve paid no attention to any of the people who are running for office this election cycle.  In what will a first for me, an Independent voter, I’ll be voting a straight Democratic ticket.

If the GOP won’t do the right thing and depose our so-called president, a sexual predator, business fraud, Russian-backed, draft-dodging old man, then I’ll start the ball rolling by getting rid of the GOP.

Are you with me here, kids?  If last year’s presidential election confirmed one thing for me, it’s that you can do everything right and still fail;  BUT it’s important that you do that right thing anyhow.

Words to live by.

15 Hours Without Electricity Because– Well, We Don’t Know Why

Think of this as a rambling “Dear Diary” post…


{ feel free to skip if muttering and complaining bother you }

Around 1:00 a.m. Saturday morning I was awakened from my slumber by the loud *click-clack-thunk-bunk* sounds of our machines, powered by electricity, turning themselves off.

What kind of forking shirt is this, I asked myself, emulating Eleanor Shellstrop from The Good Place as I used her creative vocabulary to express myself.

As one does.

Inside our house it was dark except for where the moon beamed in some light on the back of the house.  The front of the house, along with all of our neighbors’ houses, was dark.

Of course, having not recently fallen off the suburban homeowner turnip truck, I didn’t do a thing, except to look out a few windows, confirm that the whole neighborhood was without power, and then go back to sleep.

Next morning there was still no electricity anywhere on our street, so being the trooper that I am I got dressed and drove elsewhere to find us hot coffee.

[And what a sad bedraggled bunch of folks were we, the coffee fetchers, at the local Kroger Star$ kiosk.  Barely alert, yet focused on our mission to get the sustaining elixir of life for ourselves and our loved ones.]


{ probably want to skim over for context regarding the photos to come }

By 9:00 a.m. we still had no electricity, no idea why we didn’t have electricity, and our cell phones were almost without juice, so we did the only thing we could think of and went out to breakfast, at what turned out to be the world’s worst Bob Evans.


Then, needing to charge our phones, we drove to the other side of somewhere to go to a garden nursery;  we like this garden nursery, but buying mums, which we did, was the secondary reason for our visit.  We required a long car ride to help our phones get going again.

Modern life, ain’t it grand?

Then, having called home to find that our answering machine wasn’t picking up, meaning no electricity, we decided to stop at a little new-to-us township park to wander around its flat paths and see what was there.

Short answer: kids and chairs.

Then, it being the middle of the afternoon on a day that wasn’t working out like I’d hoped, we went to the bar of a local restaurant that is known for chicken.  There we had delicious chicken sandwiches, watched some football, and drank beer.

Because… Saturday… in the fall… and bored.


{ make sure to look at these ‘cuz it was a clear day meant for snapping pics }

Pond at garden nursery.

• • •

Geese on pond at garden nursery.

• • •

Ducks avoiding geese on pond at garden nursery.

• • •

Island in middle of pond at township park.

• • •

Human beings gathered around play area beside pond at township park.

• • •

Old stately home, available to rent for private events, beside pond at township park.

• • •

Chairs waiting for guests beside old stately home, available to rent for private events, beside pond at township park.

• • •

Farm with corn in the field across from pond at township park.

• • • • •

I Believe Sheldon Was Right, The ATMs Are Starting To Rise Up

“I don’t trust banks. I believe that when the robots rise up, ATMs will lead the charge.”
~ Sheldon, The Big Bang Theory

• • •

HEY! DID YOU KNOW… that an ATM can take your card away from you? A legitimate card that you’ve had for a while? A card that attaches to an account that has your money in it?

Well, it can. And one did.

Here’s what happened: I drove to our local bank branch, got into the stay-in-your-car ATM lane, got to the machine, put my bright red ATM card into the machine– and WHAM BAM THANK YOU MA’AM the machine ate my card.

Just. Like. That.

The message on the ATM screen said that my card had been confiscated for security reasons and that I needed to contact my financial institution for further assistance.

Considering that I was at my financial institution I found this message ludicrous.


Off-putting, even.

• • •

• • •

SO I SWORE AT… the ATM, as one does, then I drove around to the front of the bank, found a parking spot, got out of my car, wandered into the bank branch, waited in line– and finally got to a teller.

This teller, a pleasant woman, told me that the bank doesn’t want its customers to use our old bright red ATM cards, so the bank is confiscating them when you try to use one. Thereafter, I was quickly issued a new light blue ATM card that the bank wants me to use.

Uh huh.

And it worked when I used it so… *yay* I guess.

• • •

• • •

BUT HERE’S THE THING… what if I’d been on vacation when this happened?  Or at the airport stuck waiting for a flight? Or I needed the cash immediately for some reason*?

What would have happened then?

The reality is that I would have been in dire straits through no doing of my own– all because the bank, who has my money, doesn’t like the ATM card it issued to me.

So instead of just sending me a new card, the bank decided that it’d be better to risk my safety and experience my ire, than waste the money on an envelope and postage to send me a new light blue ATM card.

That gets me to my money.

All of which has me thinking that Sheldon might be onto something, ‘ya know?

• • •

* Actual real-life examples of when I needed cash now:

  1. in the hospital emergency waiting room late at night by myself, hungry, in need of cash to use in the vending machine
  2. in a foreign country too tired to use public transit back to hotel, in need of cash to use to take a taxi
  3. at a local art show, having found a beautiful piece of art, in need of cash to buy it from the person who made it

Images courtesy of Library of Congress: |1| |2|

The Tale Of Getting Our Held Mail Upon Return From Vacay

I DID NOT START THIS.  I want to be clear on this point.

I inherited this feud from some women who used to live on this street when all the houses were new, and the street wasn’t finished yet.  Women who moved to the midwest from big sophisticated cities.

Women who had never dealt with a small town misogynistic resentful male postal clerk who grumbled loudly about doing his job, poorly.

For reasons never fully explained to me they hated him, and being who they were, they launched a letter-writing + email-sending campaign to get him fired.  They found the names of everyone in the U.S. Postal Service who might be influential enough to get this resentful male postal clerk axed from his job– and set about trying to make it so.

Their campaign, organized and relentless as it was, did not work.

THEN they moved away leaving me the only woman on this street who knows what they did– and still suffers for it because he remembers which part of our street was out to get him.

The block I live on.

# # #

# # #

SO KNOWING WHAT I KNOW, I went over to our local post office branch to get our mail that had been held while we were on vacation.

As usual he was the only clerk working behind the counter and I had to stand in a long line.  No big deal.  Totally expected.

What I did not expect, however, was our resentful male postal clerk getting into a prolonged shouting match with a male customer who was trying to decide which box to use to send something somewhere.

Our resentful male postal clerk had strong opinions on what this customer guy should be doing– and the customer guy was. not. buying. it. at. all.

I found this tense conversation fascinating because this is my first experience with our resentful male postal clerk turning vicious on a man.

He’s branched out.  [pun intended]

# # #

# # #

EVENTUALLY I GET TO THE COUNTER.  With a sense of foreboding I hand my driver’s license to our resentful male postal clerk, and I wait for the inevitable hateful glare.

The snarl.

The shout.

“Greenwood Street, huh?”

But this time, my gentle readers, I was ready.  I put on what might be my best dramatic performance ever, playing the part of a contrite suburbanite.  When he squinted his eyes and glared at me, I slouched, I looked down at the floor, and I hung my head in shame for living on the street that I do.

Oddly, this performance seemed to light a fire under his heretofore slow-moving butt and he went into the back of the post office branch to retrieve my mail.  Lickety-split-like.  Without whining.

# # #

# # #

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE.  As if this story could get more exciting and amazing, when our resentful male postal clerk returned from the back with our mail, that included 31 catalogues + many letters, he had it in an official U.S. Post Office rectangular white plastic toter that he handed to me.

This is unprecedented.

Never before has this resentful male postal clerk NOT dumped all of our mail on the counter for me to grasp, as best I can, in my arms.  He has previously enjoyed making me look like a klutz as I scramble to not drop anything while skedaddling out of his post office branch.

But this time, he was, for him, in his own way, almost kind to me.

And I gotta tell ‘ya, I find this a bit disturbing.  It’s just not normal– like he’s playing some new game with me that I have yet to figure out.

Taunts & Tears: In Which I Wonder About Humanity Whilst Shopping

“Do you want $13.47?”

That’s the first thing she said to me.

I told her “no” and explained that I had money.

I was in Best Buy in an upscale part of town and after a long wait in line I’d finally made it to the cashier, a pleasant efficient girl, a bit on the plain Jane side, probably college age– totally confused about what to do next.

“But what do I do with it?” 

She was holding the change from the transaction that had just taken place in front of me when two Kardashian-esque high school kids had purchased some candy with a twenty-dollar bill– and refused to take their change.

“I tried to give them the $13.47 back, but they wouldn’t take it.  They told me to keep the change.  But it’s theirs, not mine.”

I’d been watching and listening to these kids directly in front of me while standing in line.  I knew them for what they were.  Troublemakers.  Snotty rich kids wasting Daddy’s money.  Pointing at the cashier, snickering about her looks.

“But what do I do with the money? It’s not mine.”

As if on cue, we heard a car engine outside the front window of the store and turned to see the two high school kids in a convertible Mercedes, top down, driving by the window laughing and waving at us.

With that my cashier began to cry.  Somehow being mocked by these two had really gotten to her.

So there I stood, waiting for the tears to stop and for her to look at me.  When she did, still sniffling, I answered her question about what she should do.  I said:

You’re ok.  You did everything right.  This is not your fault, no one is going to blame you.  After your shift when you turn in your till tonight you explain that there’s $13.47 too much in there because some rich idiotic spoiled kids wouldn’t take their change.  You’re ok.  This is not your fault, no one is going to blame you.

And you know what?  My words calmed her down so that she stopped sniffling, rang up my sale– and was back to her cheerful self quietly saying her newfound mantra.

“I’m ok.  This is not my fault.  No one’s going to blame me.”