Cashing in the Flowers

Pick a flower

And you will see

The jobs you’ll pick

This week for me!

Mothers Day Flowers

Does this sound familiar girls? This was you first grade Mother’s Day Card to me. Sorry to say, Jamie and Casey, that Kelly was smart enough to remove hers from the house. Apparently, I never cashed in the flowers, so on your next visit, I plan to pick the flowers and put the two of you to work.

There was some overlap. Both of you offered to wash the dishes, which is clearly not a good chore since we have a dishwasher. I will make sure we cook something with lots of pots and pans with messy, caked on food particles.

Your both offered to help cook dinner. I will happily cash in Jamie’s purple flower and Casey’s pink, knowing what great and adventurous cooks you both have become.

The remaining flowers in each vase have different chores. Jamie will make ALL the beds, set the table, spell her name right (It took a while for her to realize I did not spell it the French way: Jaime.), and the best, which never needs asking was to “give you a kiss and a hug.”

Casey will wash the table, dust the stairs (no dust buster for you there), get the mail, and fold the laundry. What—no kisses and hugs?

I must mention another card I found from Jamie. It was a “fill in the blank card,” and there are two particular things she liked about me. Item #6: “I love to hear my Mom sing the On Top of Spaghetti Song.” I always liked that song and need to teach it to Bryce and Lily. “I lost my poor meatball when somebody sneezed…”

#3 was the best and most accurate of them all. “I know my mom is smart because she knows everything.” This is still so very true.

I will not get eggs, toast, juice and tea delivered by the three of you this year and any other years now. But I will never forget. You always made my Mother’s Days very happy. Thank you!

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Policies to Live By

You must know by now that I live my life by an ever-growing list of policies. I looked through my list and realized there are far too many for one posting—15 so far.

  1. No price, no buy. When I go shopping, if the price is not listed, I walk. Some people would disagree saying, “Why not just ask?” I respond, “How difficult is it to post the price and why should I have to seek out someone for the answer and then be stared down when I put the prize back because it’s too expensive?” Dad will confirm that it’s a rare occasion that I ever break this rule.
  2. No try, no buy. This refers to pants and shoes. I absolutely will not purchase these two items online, particularly the shoes. I hate shopping as it is, so I will not take the chance of “adding to my cart,” to only discover that the item just does not fit when it arrives at my doorstep. That would require further shopping that could have been prevented!
  3. Look for the elevator. I am not a fan of elevators because I have this secret worry (now it’s not so secret) that something mechanical behind the scenes will snap, and I will plummet to an untimely death. Once I step inside, I have lost control. What I can control is looking first to ensure the elevator has arrived at my floor. I have read stories about people stepping into nothing, and dying a horrible death, simply because they did not take the time to look. How long does a quick glance take?
  4. I will never wear corduroy pants again. Why, you ask? The answer is simple. They are noisy (so you cannot sneak up on someone) and they represent cold weather, which I hate. I was shocked when I discovered corduroy pants selling in the JC Penney store in San Juan. No, no, no! That was so wrong and I will never wear them again because I will never purchase them.
  5. Always do my hair and makeup every day. I learned that from Grandma, who reasoned that you just never know if the phone will ring with a request to go out with someone. Not being ready for that unexpected invitation can result in having to say no.
  6. Only one dessert per day. I admit that I have broken this rule, but not often. Some will question this policy because I do not have a weight problem. I answer by saying, “This is one reason I do not have a weight problem.” Also, I am interested in keeping my arteries soft, so I watch what I eat to stay healthy.
  7. Never leave before the end of a game or movie. Regarding the former, no matter how much my team is losing, I feel it is demoralizing for them to see their fans leave, which is why I stay. As for the movie, I really like to stay until the end of the credits. As you know, during Ferris Bueller, good stuff happened after the end. That is when I adopted that policy.

Well kids, that’s all for now. Stay tuned for more another time. What are your rules for living your lives?

Leading Lady and Inventor

After college, I began my professional career working as a computer programmer at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill and then in Whippany. My first was job was as a hacker. Did I ever tell you that? It fits my personality, don’t you all agree? I was given an office and told to try to break into the computers of some of my coworkers using what I knew about them to try to determine their passwords and usernames. As a new employee, my personal knowledge of them was quite limited. I had to be creative, so it was both a fun and boring job. I recall little else of that job and soon moved on to my assignment in Whippany in the cell phone group.

I shared my office with two other people: a woman not quite old enough to be my mother who also worked as a programmer and an engineer named Ed who was about Grandpa’s age—Old—but very nice. He instructed me on day one to call him Ed, and said that if I ever met the CEO, I was supposed to address him by his first name as well. That was a difficult concept to accept, but since I never met the man at the top of the organizational chart, I only had to deal with learning how to call Ed by his first name.

Cell phones were in their infancy then, so my job was to take data gathered in field trials and write programs to make various charts and graphs, something now done by Excel.

We had a lot of young people in the organization, and I was invited to join their lunchtime bocce ball team. The company encouraged these games and even had regulation-sized courts on site.

I was the “leading lady” of the group, which meant I was the one to throw out the little ball known as the pallino followed by the first regulation-sized bocce ball. It was a nice way to relax after a busy morning of heavy thinking.

After our games, it was not uncommon to go out for lunch and a few beers. I always felt a bit awkward taking such long lunches, but everyone did and no one seemed to care. Our team was quite good.

When I moved to New York, my team took me out to lunch and presented me with a creative keepsake, which was quite thoughtful and funny. It was a rectangular board with a bocce ball glued onto a pyramid of beer bottle caps. It was tangible proof of what went on during lunch. Below the beer caps was a small engraved plaque which said, “Leading Lady.”

I brought that trophy to our home in New York and displayed it in our family room for quite some time. It was a great icebreaker when inviting our new neighbors to our home. Sadly, I think it met its demise in our trash. It’s such a shame. I think you all would have enjoyed seeing it.