Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Center Of Attention

My home state of Michigan is getting a lot of attention tonight. We're having our presidential primary today, which is a good thing. It means an end to all those political ads and robo calls we've been getting!

Aren't those robo-callers getting clever. They even know and say your name when you answer. "Hi Dave, this is . . . " I was a little skeptical when wife Wendy told me that an automated calling program referred to me by name.

"How do you know it wasn't a real person calling?" I asked.

"Because he called me Dave," she replied.

Oh. Duhh.

Those robo-callers are getting more sophisticated. I got a call this week from someone trying to sell me a health alert pendant and was quite insistent that I hold on the line while they got a specialist to talk to me.

"We're not interested," I responded, at least four times when they kept asking. Only after they relented and said goodbye did I realize I may not have been speaking to a real person at all, but to some voice recognition software program that kept delivering canned responses to my repeated refrain of not interested.

If I would have guessed that sooner, I would have said something completely nonsensical. Or started talking in Spanish just to see if the robo-caller would do the same.

"Como estas, usted?"

Anyway, back to the Michigan primary. Yes I did vote. Not Wendy. She didn't like any of the candidates. But I thought I would vote for Romney, not necessarily because I'm a big Romney fan or even a card-carrying Republican, but because I don't like to see a Michigan guy lose to some guy who spends a lot of time in Ohio wearing a sweater vest, like U of M's arch-nemesis, former OSU football coach Jim Tressel.

That's Santorum who wears the sweater vest. While walking back from the polls, I ecountered a man wearing an Obama sweatshirt who said he was headed himself to the polls to cast his vote for Santorum. Since Michigan has an open primary, all anybody has to do is ask for a Republican or Democrat ballot. Even Obama himself could ask for a Republican ballot, if he lived here in Michigan and wanted to be mischievous.

I just checked and Romney is a few thousand votes up. More importantly, we haven't had a robo-call all night.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Et Tu, Cookie Monster?

It's up. My new garage door was installed last week by a couple guys from a local company. Looks pretty, doesn't it?

And it only took them a few hours to tear down the old door and put up the new one, after which the installation contractor showed me some of its features. That included an electric eye that stopped the door from closing if someone or something was in the path of the closing door.

Additionally, if someone actually was standing in the way of the door as it came down not in view of the electric eye, the door would reverse course as soon as it touched the person in its path. "That's the code now," the repairman explained.

The code. Hmmmmmm, that's okay I guess. But when the work crew asked me for a couple light bulbs to complete the installation, I didn't give them the new corkscrew type, but the recently outlawed incandescent bulbs. Call me a rebel but sometimes the government gets too intrusive.

There was a recent news item about a little girl whose lunch was replaced (with chicken nuggets!) because, though it comprised healthy fare like turkey, juice and a banana, it apparently didn't contain a dairy item.

Isn't the government going too far? And if it's not the government, it's the P.C. police. I remember watching Sesame Street when I was a kid, Cookie Monster being my favorite character. And what did Cookie Monster like almost exclusively?


Fast foward to this past weekend. We got a new children's book for our grandson Grant. It features Cookie Monster, the same character I remember growing up with. Well, almost the same.

On the first page, Cookie Monster says, "Me like many things, not just cookies."

Not the Cookie Monster I remember.

This new book reveals that Cookie Monster likes soccer, ice skating and most of all, good healthy food. "Turkey sandwich, salad, apples, milk . . . and cookies." That's cookies almost as an afterthought?

Probably the next edition of Cookie Monster will have him eating healthy cookies, made without flour, sugar or butter, but instead oats, flax seed and olive oil (I saw those ingredients in a recipe for the world's healthiest cookies).

*sigh* Better publish this quickly. They might be putting guidelines on blogs next.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Following Up . . .

Following up on previous blogs . . .

Our new garage door is supposed to be installed tomorrow. Hoo-ray. The past couple nights I’ve been tearing down a shelf in the garage rafters that the installer said had to come down first. After prying free one of the plywood panels, I unscrewed one of the support bolts, figuring that the remaining frame would still remain intact and keep the panel from tumbling down.

Wrong. The plywood panel came crashing down, tearing the frame from the wall. It hit the ladder I was standing on and I was lucky not to be knocked over. Now, remember my last blog when I said Wendy didn’t come to check on me the last time there was a large crash in the garage?

This time she did. Though it took a while and she opened the door slowly, almost going through the motions as if preparing to encounter a salesman ringing our doorbell. But at least she did check on me. Blogs do make your life better in ways.

We had grandson Grant for an overnight on Saturday. And he slept in that crib I blogged about earlier, the one my kids slept in and now has been deemed illegal because of its drop sides. I fixed it so the sides won’t drop, even if we tried to force them to, and checked to see if it passed muster otherwise with newer child safety guidelines. It passed Grant’s own sleep test too.

Speaking of the little guy, I have a funny “grandpa” story to tell. Wendy and I took him to Wal-mart, which was a treat for him—he went, “Ooooooooo” in awe as we carted him down the aisle. After picking up a few things, Wendy was trying to put him back into his carseat. This took some effort and Grant began to grump in his own way.

“Is somebody getting fussy back there?” I asked as I started the car. “Yeah,” came the clearly spoken, perfectly timed response from our one-year-old charge in back. I had to laugh. It HAD to be coincidence that among his usual grunts and gibberish, he managed to fashion a response completely in context with my question. But . . . you never know.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

I'm Okay, Thanks

It’s been a topsy turvy week, evidenced by the photo of my garage door here.

To be honest, the door needed to be replaced. It’s badly rusted in spots, some of the welds have given out, and though it’s supposed to function with an automatic garage door opener, it hasn’t done that in probably a decade. And opening and closing the heavy door manually is a chore my better half finds nearly impossible to do, which is somewhat aggravating for Wendy.

Sometimes when I closed or opened it, part of interior support steel would come loose from the steel frame and I had to connect the frame back together or else it wouldn’t shut properly. I've done that many times over the years. But I wasn't prepared for what happened over the weekend.

I was opening the door like I'd done many times previously, but then a plate that connected the door to the rollers and rail assembly broke free. Free being the key word here since the door was free to flip backwards and upside down, which it did hitting the concrete with a noise like a cannon shot. Not a gunshot. A cannon shot.

Thankfully, neither of our cars were in the garage or else they would have borne the brunt of this mishap. Even more fortunately, I was out of the way as well.

After surveying the damage for a moment, I went inside to inform the missus. She was in her recliner watching TV.

Wait a minute! Watching TV?? I could have been writhing in pain under tons of twisted steel (never mind a garage door salesman told me afterward my door weighed 200 pounds). I could have been gasping out my last breath, hands in the air, trying to wave down a passerby for help.

Wendy said she heard the bang, which I figured she must have since to me it sounded like a plane came down. But she said she heard me moving around right afterwards so she figured I was okay.

I'm a little dubious of that. It's winter. No windows are open. The TV's on. She's in a downstairs room that's at the back of the house. Hmmmmmm.

Now if our grandson Grant below should have as much as a sniffle, Wendy rushes over with kleenex in hand to take care of his runny nose. Can't I get just a little of that kind of attention?