Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thanksgiving Edition (in which I flip the bird)

(photo credit:  
It's like six days away from all of us sticking our hands up a bird's cavity at some ungodly hour in remembrance of Pilgrims and Indians Native Americans.  Is it safe to say you guys are all past this advice:  Buy the turkey, don't run into it?  Defrost the turkey?  Don't get salmonella?  Make sure the oven's on?

So, I decided since you guys clepped out of that drivel you might need some real tips to help take your Thanksgiving to the proverbial 'next level' (let's hope it's not the burning ring of hell level).

You're welcome.

Here we go.

1.  Read this.  It has nothing to do with Thanksgiving, but I'm thinking of making it my About Me page. 

2.  Thanksgiving is stressful, but it pales in comparison to the next 30 days.  So, instead of those name plates from paper you wove yourself, give everyone a shiny party blower and some fireworks.  It's kinda like the last day of summer (except you might not want to wear a bathing suit).

3.  And don't wear a costume either.  It confuses your guests.

4.  I'm an introvert (see #1).  But, damn it if like four of the five people in my inner circle have birthdays near Thanksgiving.  Sucks for them because they get Turkey Surprise! for their birthday dinner and their presents all come wrapped for Christmas.  Try to avoid making friends with these people.

5.  Don't eat turkey before Thanksgiving.  I recommend leaving approximately 364 days in between the times you eat turkey.

6.  Become a vegetarian and go gluten free right before Thanksgiving.  This will annoy the crap out of everyone you know thereby greatly relieving your stress.  You will have no family and friends left to dine with on the big day.

7.  When you cook the bird, flip it.  I did this completely by accident about 20 years ago.  It was my first turkey (I think I can tell you that, right?) and I had no idea what kind of protection to use, where to put my hands, what went in where, or which way was up.  Everyone raved at how smart I was because the breast? thigh? wing?  testicles? came out so juicy and moist because they were left to simmer in their own juices.  (I have no idea what I'm talking about, but it sounds like we're ready for #8.)

8.  Any mistake can be covered up with a "delicious gravy."  (This tip I actually stole from NPR.) 
This is what "delicious gravy" looks like.  I think you can find it on aisle 10.
Author's Note:  Turns out this isn't entirely true.  "Delicious gravy" does not remove gum from the dryer.

9.  Hubby knows a little rhyming joke about pumpkin pie (circa The Bible - or when he was in middle school).  As much as I cringe when I hear the joke I cannot get it out of my mind and it goes without saying that I cannot eat pumpkin pie.  Unless there is a lot of whip cream.  Or just whip cream.  Straight from the can into my mouth.  And a shot for my coffee.

(photo credit:  That's about right.
10.  Alcohol.  If possible start drinking it right after your first pot of coffee (which will be at about 5 in the morning if you are cooking a 20 pound bird and want to eat while you are still upright).

11.  If you need a new foundation (or I would venture to say any home repair costing more than a grand), consider frying your turkey.

12.  If you have kids, you may need to brush up on Sqanto and the Wampanogs, so you can appropriately discuss this at the dinner table (you might want to follow that with The Trail of Tears just so that everyone is sufficiently depressed and so that there is an edge of reality to your history).  (Hint:  Wampanog is not a verb as in:  I'm gonna wampanog your a$$ if you don't make your bed.)

14.  Just in case there is not enough tryptophan in your turkey this year, I recommend crushing up sleeping pills in the stuffing.  This will ensure you can watch Not Football on TV.  

15.  This came from NPR, too:  When all else fails there is always The Google.  I've used this search before 'Restaurants open on Thanksgiving this year.'

Have a good one and I'll save you a piece of pie (or the whole pie).

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Dear hackers: You're gonna need to build a taller wall.

Someone once said (it may have been Jack Handey), "Your valleys will be as low as your mountains are high."  And I immediately wanted to vomit in my mouth.  Until a few days ago.

When I found out (damn it) - it's true.

Sunday night I started to do paperwork for my job and found that I couldn't open a few of my files.  When I was finally able to open a few files - they were in Japanese (or something that looked like my six year old wrote it) (and, ironically, some six year old hacker in Russia probably did write it). 

I did what I often do when faced with an alarming problem that might eventually destroy my entire family, I casually mentioned it to hubby and tried my best to ignore it.

Monday morning my laptop became possessed.  And by 'possessed' I mean it acted as if someone else (let's call him The Devil) was controlling it.  I would press 'enter' and my trusty laptop would scroll to the top of the page.  I would press the scroll button and I'd end up on another site.  And all kinds of unsavory pop-ups asking me to buy enhancers were popping up. 

But, I had my oil to change, prints to complete, 27 loads of laundry to do, and basically everything that should have been done the previous three days because, um - Halloween.  So, again I reverted back to hubby.  He was incredibly patient with me while asking me a series of questions:

Is your computer plugged in?
Is your Maleware turned on?
Have you backed up your files recently?
Do you have spyware?
Have you recently scanned and deleted unnecessary files?
When was the last time you did a complete scan?
Did you send money to long-lost relatives in Africa who were in trouble???

I answered his questions to the best of my ability and then he sullenly pronounced me with an irreparable virus.

My response was something like this:

And then:

How could this have happened?  I was using protection?  Sometimes double protection.  (And - just FYI - my pleasure was not diminished by double protection.)  Are you sure?  Is it possible the files are just temporarily corrupted?  Shouldn't there be a record of them somewhere?  Y'know like how the Interweb knows what color underwear I'm wearing?  Shouldn't they also know what all my files look like?  AGAIN, HOW COULD THIS HAVE HAPPENED???  I never opened any emails from people telling me about my inheritance!!!  I SWEAR.

Calmly and patiently hubby told me how to go about "fixing" what had happened to the best of his knowledge.

This took quite a bit of time.

It was ugly.

Monday I got the ransom note from the hackers when I was attempting to delete infected files. 

The ransom note basically said:  We have  your files.  If you ever want to see them again in their unaltered form you will need to pay us one million Bitcoins (which in case you don't know is a form of currency similar to Monopoly money that people who fancy themselves to be those blue and pink little plastic people use to basically terrorize normal people) (one million Bitcoins is roughly equivalent to 500 U.S. dollars - although its value changes daily in accordance to astrological signs).

It was creepy and scary and naturally I wanted to call the police.

Instead I asked hubby:  Isn't this illegal???  Can't we sue these people and put them in jail???

Hubby patiently said:  Yes, this is illegal, but let's not involve the police.  Let's use the Google and find out what we can do. 

The next 48 hours were spent learning everything we could have ever wanted to know about a little virus called CryptoWall 2.0.  It's a nasty thing.  It's main symptoms are:  runny nose, fever, body aches.  No, wait.  That's Ebola (also a nasty little thing).  Crypto King's main symptoms are:  encrypted files, explicit pop-up messages (which albeit interesting - do get annoying), random possession of the keyboard, and basically the Devil on your shoulder.

Sidenote:  If you are (not even remotely) a techie, using the Google to research a computer virus is a little like going to a party where everyone is dressed up in Star Wars costumes (except you) and speaking a language where you understand every fifth word.   At this party you are not sure what you are supposed to be doing, so you just kind of stumble forward while everyone else is dancing wildly with abandon, having a great time, and drinking this purple juice.  You come home from the party with a bad headache feeling like you drank way too much even though you are thirsty.  You go to sleep and have nightmares about going to a party where everyone is dressed up in Star Wars costumes except you..........................................

I will lead you to the decryptor.
End of the story?  Roughly 48 hours later?

I lost everything important to my actual work while all my files like this one:  What's For Dinner?  (which included 31 Very Important dinner ideas) remained uncorrupted (of course).

I had not backed up my files in about a year. 

I know you are sitting there smugly reading this (if anyone is actually reading this) thinking, "Ms. Dayinthelife - WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?  You don't back up your files?  What century do you live in?  You should have a calendar and a strict schedule for precisely these types of activities!"

What can I say?  Backing up my files is like cleaning the fridge for me.  The last time I cleaned the fridge someone had dropped a jar of pickles inside of it.  

I have no defense.  I hide my head in shame.  But, I did learn some important life lessons.

Lessons learned

1.  When in trouble it's not always necessary to call the police.  Instead consult the Google.
2.  Hackers are the parasites of humanity.
3.  Parasites are very, very smart.
4.  Back up your files and then back them up again in case your back up gets a virus.  In fact, there can never be too many back ups.
5.  Do this regularly.
6.  Ditto for protection.  You can never have too much protection.  Sometimes you need so much protection that you will never be able to just have good 'ole irresponsible fun.
7.  When all is said and done, this is a First World Problem.  There are people starving in the world who don't even have laptops.  And in that respect I am thankful to just have been hacked and not starved.
8.  I will and have survived fairly intact.  My computer has been set back to Factory Settings (Google it - it's basically like when you shot out of your mom's womb).  I am resilient.
9.  I believe what hubby says.  He and I - we are Mexicans not Mexican'ts.
10.  And last but not least, I believe the other thing hubby has told me:  It takes a lot to stop a Mexican.  Hackers will need to build a taller wall to stop us. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

My first call from prison will be to you. Count on it.

It would be bad if a family member put an entire pack of gum through the washer and the dryer.

But, it would be worse if you were in a hurry to get your girls to school when you discovered said incident had occurred and you had to rush out and couldn't quite manage damage control then.

It would be bad if you didn't have time to attempt to clean the dryer, but you did have five seconds to quickly run the Vitamix so that it would be easier to clean later, but you didn't quite get the top on securely and the soapy/smoothie water sprayed all over your shirt.

But, it would be worse if you didn't quite have the two minutes it took to change your shirt.

It would be bad if while you were gone your dog (who recently developed a common? hankering for chewing gum) discovered that an entire pack of gum had gone through the laundry and there was still some scent of the gum on the clothes and so he decided to drag all the clothes out of the clothes basket searching for the clothes that still had particles of gum on them.

But, it would be worse if he found the clothes with gummy bits on them and chewed them to a point so unrecognizable that when you rushed in fifteen minutes later because you forgot to put the frozen smoothie items back in the freezer you thought you'd been robbed and somehow the robber threw up while robbing your house.

It would be bad if all this had happened and nothing else happened all the rest of the day while you were at work.

But, it would be worse if your husband helped you with the laundry - something he's not done in approximately 20 years - while you were at work and dried another load of laundry in the gummed up dryer.

It would be bad if all of this happened today.

But, it would be worse if I decided to just clean it all with Goo Gone because Goo Gone is flammable and could potentially catch the dryer on fire and burn down the whole house.

But, I'm pretty sure we need a new foundation for our house, so it might not be worse?

It might be really, really smart?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Today there was a phone message in a cheery robotic voice on my answering machine (remember those?) that said (paraphrased), "Hi, Ms. Dayinthelife!  It's Your Phone Company!  We just wanted to let you know that you have a bill due in a few days.  You can pay online, pay by mail, or pay by phone.  Just don't pay it late!"

I was almost happy when I thought, "Thanks, Phone Company!  Let me find that bill I owe right here in the pile of 1,000 other bills I owe!"

I checked my pile of bills and found a bill from said phone company for $.10 (no, that's not a typo - I owed ten cents).  (I won't even address how ridiculous a ten cent bill is in this post because there is already enough rage here.) 

Now, I usually pay my bills by mail (yes, probably my 97 year old father and I are the last people in the free world that still do that), but I think stamps are now like $1.47 each so I decided I would hop online while my ground beef was browning and take care of it online.

Here's how that went.

Me:  Hopped online.

Phone company's website:  What do you want to do online today?  Change your service?  Add a line?  Disconnect your cable?  Schedule a service?  Cancel a service?  Postpone a service?  Order a pizza?

Me:  Searched for Pay My Bill.

Me:  Typed in the Search Box - Pay My Bill.

Phone company's website:  I'm sorry nothing matches your request.

Me:  Great!  I won't pay my bill.

Me:  Searched again for how to pay my g*d d*mn bill.  Clicked on Billing and Payments.  Ah.  Thought, "Finally and good because my ground beef is almost browned."

Phone company's website:  Please enter your Phone Company login and password.

Me:  Cheesus Christ.  Login?  Password?  Where is my login book?  In the flippin' car.  Where someone could steal it and know all my passwords.  Note to self:  Take password book out of car.  Clicked - Help with login and password.

Phone company's website:  Type in your email and we will send help to your email within five minutes.  Just check your email.

Me:  Perfect!  I'll have this wrapped up soon.

Phone company's email:  Your login is your email.

Me:  OHMYGOD.  Why didn't they just say that?  The meat is done and I need to put the pasta on now for the love of all that is human.  Okay.  Login done.  Password?  Clicked on - password help.

Phone company's website:  Help with your password will be sent to your email within five minutes.

Phone company's email:  Type in your login and click reset your password.


Spent the next two minutes logging in and resetting my password.

Clicked on PAY BILL (and felt quite smug).

Phone company's website:  Type in your account number.

Me:  (Smugly) typed in my account number.

Phone company's website:  It appears your account number does not match your login and password information.  Please click here.


Me:  Okay.  Clicking here. 

Phone company's website:  Hello, Mr. Dayinthelife.  Please answer your two preset security questions.


Phone company's website:  Question #1:  What size shoe did you wear in second grade?  Question #2:  When your first pet fish died, how did you dispose of the body?

Me:  I'll take dead body for TEN CENTS.

Spent next two minutes successfully hacking into hubby's security questions for his secure PHONE COMPANY FREAKING LOGIN.

Phone company's website:  You will need to set a password for your secondary phone company login.  This password cannot be the same as your main phone company login and can only contain letters, numbers, hyphens and underscores.

Me:  Perfect.  I know just what my password will be.

For the next 10 minutes I typed every conceivable password I could beginning with IhatePhoneCompany_- and ending with YOUSUCKLIKEAHOOVER. 

Every single flippin' one ended with this error message:  There has been an error in your password.  Please read the terms and conditions of passwords and try again.


After 10 minutes of being utterly and completely defeated by the password administrator I clicked "cancel" and "log out."  After loudly cursing the phone company with every word I know, I picked up the phone.  I called the number on the bill, talked to a robotic female (I think the very same one who left a message on my machine saying that I better pay my 10 cents) and paid my ten cent bill in about five minutes.

I was filled with rage, my dinner was burned, but I can rest assured that I was not late in paying my (ten cent) bill. 

Thanks, Phone Company for the friendly heads up!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Memory Making 2014 (in which I do math).

So, recently I have been learning that you need an advanced college degree and a year to do nothing but plan in order to successfully get a family of six to Disneyworld.

We recently made our annual trip to a smaller scale amusement park (and by smaller scale I mean:  no college degree needed and - I can imagine - slightly less gleaming restrooms?) and although I would do it again (in approximately 360 days) I think a time allowance chart for less experienced parents on par with the Disneyworld planning blogs might be helpful.

I wanted to make you guys a pie graph (blueberry?) for this post, but I got too distracted with colors and accurate percentages and I was afraid that before I knew it my oldest would be filling out college applications and hubby would be asking me (again), "What are you doing?" 

Amusement Park Trip Time Breakdowns (approximate) For a Family of Six's Ten Hour Day 

1.  20% - walking around lost because everyone is too excited and then too hot to look at the map.
2.  20% - waiting for all the rides to open because you get there at Opening Time because you think logically it's the time the rides open
3.  50% - explaining that your admission ticket does not cover the cost of all the carny games that actually open at Opening Time and that there isn't really a "Winner every time!"
4.  60% - waiting in line for drinks because you waited until August to go and it's 106 degrees outside with 117% humidity.
5.  60% - waiting in line for bathrooms (see #4).
6.  20% - yelling at kids not to touch anything in the bathroom.
7.  40% - touching things in the public bathrooms (this applies to kids under 5 who you've told not to touch anything see #6).
8.  60% - in line for rides because of all the people using the Flash Pass.
9.  40% - explaining to four kids that yes, the rules are different for people with more money.  They don't have to wait in line with The Other People at amusement parks. 
10.  20% - applying sunscreen.
11.  40% - examining all the nuts and bolts on the two rides you convince yourself to go on.
12.  75% - praying your kids don't get their bathing suits stuck up their rears requiring surgical removal from the ride they continue going on which they proclaim loudly and enthusiastically gives them "a major wedgie".
13.  95% - in line for a funnel cake on the way out the door (right behind the approximately 1005 people who had the same idea).
14.  2% - inhaling said funnel cake with five other people.
15.  50% - talking about where to buy a funnel cake maker and what exactly is in a funnel cake that makes it so good. 
16.  50% - exclaiming repeatedly how that funnel cake is the best use of $10 since you bought two Frappuccino's in a row.
17.  20% - proclaiming earth shattering sentences that start with, "When we come next year..."
18.  20% - proclaiming equally earth shattering sentences that start with, "Remember last year..."
19.  100% - enjoying the heck out of the last days of summer.

No danger of lost bottoms or a wedgie.  And?  When I go next year I'm wearing the same red suit.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

It's either writer's block or menopause. Either way I've gained 10 pounds.

Summer is almost over and I've not written a blog post since June 4.  I will not try to explain this except to say, in a move reminiscent of Janet Jackson at Superbowl VIIXIVITIT, I lost my swimsuit bottoms in a public pool shortly after summer started.  I might have PTSD.

After a long pause in blog production there are some things that are bound to annoy the crap out of readers.

1.  Trying to explain why there has been an extreme pause in writing. 

So, let me attempt to explain the long pause in writing.  I cleaned my copper bottom pans.  Jesus.  My lack of tricep muscles are still sore and I think I found the decomposed remains of Jimmy Hoffa under the black burned stuff that was on my pots.  On the upside - I can now taste my food and I will not be mildly embarrassed if Paula Deen chances by and decides to melt me some butter sprinkled with cheese and then salted (under the guise that she is a reformed diabetic racist).

2.  Trying to explain previous blog topics and why they didn't work. 

So, here are some things I have tried to write about in the past month and then after a rereading - promptly eaten the results (which could explain why I've gained 10 pounds).

a.  How Much I Hate Barbie.  Did you know that along with being an astronaut, physicist, hooker, veterinarian, and entrepreneur, she writes books now?  And (surprise) they read a lot like the genius script from Two Broke Girls.  Because I would never believe it unless I saw it, I've included one of the pages from the book that clearly makes me proud to support public libraries through all my fines.  In case the captions look like they're in Chinese (the book was made in China, after all), I've included the (interpreted) script for you below.

Unnamed character:  Barbie!  Ken's here!  Barbie:  Oh no!  I don't have my brain in yet!  Brunette:  Barbie!  Remember, you don't have a brain!  Barbie:  Oh, yeah!  That's a relief!
  And now I think I should be a published (paid) author.

b.  How Much I Hate Insurance. 

Insurance - n.noun
  1. The act, business, or system of screwing.
  2. The state of being screwed.
  3. A means of being screwed.
  4. Coverage by a contract binding a party to indemnify another against specified loss in return for premiums paid unless such premiums go toward a "deductible" in which case the party paying the premiums is screwed out of their premiums and stuck with said specified losses.  (See #1-3.)
  5. The sum or rate for which such a contract insures something or not (See #4).
  6. The periodic premium paid for this coverage.  "Coverage" being a relative term dependent on the amount of said deductible which is relative and rises in relation to the amount in which the paying party is being screwed.
  7. A protective measure.
  8. Bullshit.
Term in use:  I f*cking hate insurance.

c.  My inability to cook even with a recipe.

Here is what I made just this morning from a biscuit recipe:


Y'know how some people have suffered tremendous stress and then go on to like win the Olympics?  Well, I'm kind of like that.  I have suffered the loss of ruining virtually every recipe I've set out to cook and yet I've managed to come out a winner almost every time.

*Eating that idea now.  (And, it's quite delicious I might add.  Score!)*

e.  Like every other female on the planet my hormones are all out of whack.  I think I've narrowed down my afflictions (thank you, WebMD) to either ebola, menopause, a stubbed toe, or a hangnail.  The list of symptoms of menopause is a blog in and of itself (the title of that blog is:  Menopause - Serve Yourself Some More Cake).  I seem to have experienced just a few symptoms (not a comprehensive list) in the time I've had writer's block:  fatigue, depression, hot flashes, mood swings, sudden tears, inability to articulate or write, inability to cook or do laundry, sudden bouts of bloat (although apparently not enough to make the elastic in my swimsuit bottoms hold), gastrointestinal distress (could be related to my cooking?), disturbing memory loss, increased tension in the muscles, and tinnitus (could be due to my kids not being in school?).

3.  Trying to describe how much you have missed your readers.

If it weren't for virtual friends, I'd have no friends at all and I know you guys have all been reading everyone else's superior blogs and having a party without me.  What can I say?  It hurts.

So, I will not try to tell you why I've been gone, what I've been doing instead of blogging, what topics have just not worked, or how much I've missed you guys.  As some guy once said in AA, "Today I am not enjoying life as it occurs.  Today I am blogging about it instead.  I'm not sure when I will do this again and I will not make any promises.  But today I hope you guys will join me."  (Or something like that.)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Marathon training. It's hard work, y'all.

This post is dedicated to all the people who have supported me during the training period for my marathon.  I couldn't do it without y'all.

So, the marathon starts in two days.  Here's what I've been doing to train.

1.  Gradually increasing the time that I watch TV. 

2.  Staying up consistently past 10:00 p.m.

3.  Eating a variety of foods consistent with a 'marathon body,' i.e. popcorn, peanuts, ice cream, chocolate, Dagwood sandwiches, Doritos, etc.

4.  Watching the last few episodes of Season 1.  If you remember I learned the importance of this training technique when Season 2 of House of Cards came out and I'd forgotten all of Season 1 so I had to waste time watching Season 1 again and all of the people passed me for Season 2 and I probably came in last for viewing time.  So annoying and totally preventable.

5.  Finding comfortable positions on the couch in order to avoid marathon injury.  (Hubby:  We may need to buy a new couch in the next two days.)

6.  Buying the proper shoes and clothes.  The importance of shoes and clothes during a marathon cannot be discounted.  Here's some quick and super easy advice from a 'professional.'  Choose clothes that are comfortable, loose fitting (see #3) and that are easy to get off (see #7).  Choose shoes that are soft and easy to kick off (see #5).

7.  Practicing peeing in less than five seconds and researching catheters.  (Kidding!)

8.  Finding everything I can on the interwebs about characters so that I can fully understand what I'll be up against.

9.  Buddying up with like-minded friends so that I can have encouragement and solidarity along the way.  (Research shows that this is really important for marathons, y'all.)

10.  Lastly, preparing my family for the test of my endurance the lies ahead.

It's all about the training.  Are you with me?

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