Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thank You!

Yesterday I wrote about my desperate need for attention.  (It was subtle but it was there if you read carefully...you know, between the lines.)  I was rewarded by having many, many people go and visit my blog and wish me a happy birthday on Facebook.  I would like to say thank you.  I appreciate it all!

Thanks to you all this month has been the third most visited that it has ever been.  The first of course was that month when I gave away something in a contest.  You remember, the one of a kind artwork, styled solely for the readers of this blog and penned in the handcrafted fashion that can only be described as an early American masterpiece...otherwise known as a doodle.  Well people clamored to the site to submit their applications for ownership.  It was mentioned as the second greatest gathering of people trying to get something, only surpassed by the black Friday that didn't involve pepper spray.  (according to the New York Times)  I think there were well over six people who came to that event...electronically.

I realize that you have many choices when selecting your entertainment and the fact that many of you keep coming back to read this is humbling.  I will try to continue to write in the same manner to which you have become accustomed.  Whatever that is.  I would like to say that without readers like you and the kind words you say I would be banging out this drivel for no reason at all.  It brings to mind a quote from none other than my lovely wife, Sylvia, when she repeatedly says,  "Don't laugh.  It only encourages him!"  Thank you for encouraging me.

Don't worry that I have been making desperate pleas for followers and begging for attention.  I will be right back to the hard-hitting reporting about the silliness in my life soon enough.  Here's to silliness!  Here's to Friends!  Here's to thanks!  No seriously, thank you from the bottom of my heart.  And I suppose it could have been worse...I could be thanking you from the heart of my bottom...but I digress


Monday, November 28, 2011

Shameless Appeal!!

That's right!  No writing!  I am just using this opportunity to make a shameless appeal to have people click the "Like On Facebook" button over there on the left.

The reason?  I would like to gain notoriety.  I would like to be able to see how many of my Facebook friends come to this site.  I would like to have a reason to post a really embarrassing video of me recreating Sally Field's famous "You like me!  You really like me!!" Oscar speech.  But most importantly, because it's my birthday and it could be like a little gift to me (without paying any money).

If, of course, you are the senior adviser in charge of handing out free stuff, at the Porsche plant...then you are excused from clicking the button.

If you are not on Facebook for time constraint, moral, or privacy issues...I understand.  But, would it be so bad to sign up to make my birthday wish come true?  I mean really.  What's a little less privacy among readers?

If, however, you are one of those people who have five thousand Facebook friends, this would be the perfect opportunity to hit "share" and get the word out about my blog!  You know you wanna!

Actually, I would just like to take this opportunity to say thank you so very much for reading.  I am awed by how many people are coming to my site and leaving such nice comments.  I humbly accept your kind words and I am asking you to forgive me for trying to force you to do something related to Facebook.  Please know that I am doing it with my tongue placed firmly in my cheek.


P.S.  You really don't need to click the "Like" button...even though for everyone who doesn't, a large corporation will cut down an acre of the rain forest.  Your choice!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

It's a Tradition! (that I just made up)

Yes folks, traditions have to start somewhere and I think this is a fine place to start.  My new tradition is; whenever I get a new keyboard for the computer I write a blog post the very next day just to try it out.  I realize that it's an obscure tradition and based on past occurrences I would say that I am safe from having to do this particular tradition for another few years at least.  Considering that we haven't had a new keyboard in ages and the only reason we have one now is that my mother-in-law bought a new computer and it came with a keyboard that she didn't want.  Also, our old keyboard had been abused, and banged on, and rubbed, and dirtied, and whatever, so much that there were a lot of letters that were no longer recognizable.

I considered using the missing letters to explain the complete randomness of some of my recent blogs...but I cannot.  It seems that I am burdened by a complete sense of morality and I am forbidden from relaying something that isn't 100% true.  Nay!  As I sit here in my silk Armani tuxedo and white gloves to protect the keys while writing this blog, I am not looking at the keyboard at all so I cannot use a malfunctioning keyboard as a crutch.  You can use a nice sturdy piece of pipe as a crutch but I digress...

Actually, it is really close to my birthday (tomorrow!) and I don't want to anger anyone who may be in the mood to buy me stuff.  I'm kidding of course.  But that does bring me to a different tradition that I have been adhering to for quite some time.  Whenever someone in the family asks me what I would like for my birthday I say, (help me out guys) "Nothing."  No seriously.  I'm good.  I cannot think of a thing that I need.  I have a loving family, I have food to eat, I have a great job (some years greater than others), I have a place to live.  I'm set.  There are things that I would want but, honestly, those aren't in the cards.  

Because I get smacked every time I say that I really don't want anything I decided to bump it up a notch.  So now when someone asks me what I would like for my birthday I have two things that I ask for.  "I want an official Red Ryder carbine action two hundred shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time."  Either that or a new eight hundred dollar phone.  Yes folks, I am desirous of the new Droid Razr.  As much as I have spurned technology in the past, I even have a watch that is a sundial (seriously), I have been awed by this new hunk of electronics.  It's got an enormous screen.  It's faster than any other phone I've ever seen.  And it is so far out of reach that I feel I can ask for it without fearing that someone would really get it for me.  I may as well ask for someone to recreate the parade from "And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street" and a Porsche for me to watch it from.  It's not going to happen.  

You see, the problem is that this blogging venture hasn't taken off quite as lucratively as I originally planned and we, perhaps, could afford a picture of the new Droid Razr...if they happened to send us one in the mail, as an advertisement, for free.  Hey look!  Right by the new keyboard!  A picture of the Razr!  My life is now complete!  Yes, I had visions of my writing being made into a movie, a really weird movie, (Fred Flinstone will play me) and I would be rich.  Well, that hasn't happened and in fact the revenue I have generated from this blog (not counting the $2.00 off coupon for nasal spray) hovers around the nineteen dollar mark.  Not per month.  Total!  It is increasing at a rate of approximately one cent per month so I can practically feel that new phone in my hand.

Actually, the truth of the matter is, since it is my birthday tomorrow and I haven't reached the level of visits to the site that I like per month, I decided to just sit and bang out a random collection of thoughts (on a new keyboard) in a shameless ploy to get people to click over.  I would like November to be a month where lots of people come to my blog for some reason.  And, as long as I am telling the truth and all.  I am not sitting here in a silk Armani tuxedo...it's Brooks Brother's.

happy birthday to me.....happy birthday to meeee.....

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Rude-olph the Red Faced Shopper

I realize that as a blogger I took an oath to uphold truth, justice, and the American way.  Yesterday, I failed to uphold my duties.  I suppose I could justify myself in saying that being rude to cashiers is rapidly becoming the American way...especially around the holidays...but I still felt bad after I left.  Before you start gathering the villagers and setting up a pitchfork and torch stand outside my castle...the moat would keep you out anyway...let me assure you that I was not the one who was dishing it out, so to speak.

Let me say that I have encountered my fair share of dimwitted and/or ill-prepared cashiers and clerks in my day. I have felt the frustration creeping into my being.  I have dealt with the injustice of being told one thing and then experiencing another, more expensive alternative.  I have been held at bay, even in an extreme hurry, by the customer ahead of me who seemed to be purposefully taking their time so as to make my day a little more stressful.  And in each and every encounter there is one thing that remained the same.  I cut the poor person some slack.  I know you must be thinking, surely you must have lost it at least once and blown your top at just one person in your past.  I can honestly say, "No, I have not...and stop calling me Shirley."

The reason that I have never gone into full blown meltdown mode is twofold.  Primarily, that is the way I am wired.  I try to see the other person's point of view.  I assume that if there is something that should be happening to make me a happy customer the clerk is probably not given enough authority to make it happen.  I have spoken to managers to explain situations and try to get resolutions.  Whenever a clerk is in the wrong and a manager is able to rectify the situation I will usually say something like, "You may want to explain this policy to your employees since I think not all of them are on the same page.  Teachable moment you know."  I try to avoid conflict most of the time and I realize that making a scene is going to take a lot of energy and probably get me nowhere.  I would really hate to look like a giant ass in the middle of, well, anyplace really, only to find out that I had made a false assumption and was in the wrong.  And then have to walk out with my tail between my legs as customers everywhere point and laugh and tell their children not to be afraid of the rude man.

The second reason is that I have been that poor unfortunate clerk.  I know how awful it is to have to tell someone that I have no idea what they are looking for and I would need to get someone else to do what should have been my job.  I know the frustration of having to tell someone that I had no authority to deal with the problem they were having and then stare blankly as they retell their tale of woe only to hear again, "I'm sorry.  I have no authority whatsoever.  Would you like to speak to my manager?"  And most importantly, I know the amount of sheer willpower required to not pound someone into a whimpering pile of bruises even though they desperately deserve it!

Allow me to explain that last bit.  It was a few decades ago and I was the only person behind the counter at San Leandro Electric Supply in San Leandro California.  The organizational chart had me as low man on the totem pole and that meant that I covered the counter while everyone else was out to lunch.  All of the regular customers knew it and would only come in if they desperately needed something.  I was the least experienced.  I was the most overworked.  I was lucky to know where a third of the things were let alone what they all did.  Most days, thankfully, were extremely boring since it was common knowledge that you just don't come in at that time.  One day, however, was an exception.  I had every seat at the counter filled with people who needed their things in a hurry or their jobs would shut down.  I was literally running from one customer to another and I was in the zone!  "What do you need?  20 amp fuses?  Got it!  How about you?  Starter?  Size?  Got it!  And you? Safety switch?  With lockout? Be right back!"  I ran and got these three taken care of at one time.  I heard, "Great job!" "Thanks!" and "You saved the job!" more times than I could count.  As soon as three left, three more came in.  It was my worst nightmare!

There was one person who was there the whole time watching this all and aware of the desperate situation these people had.  It was fifty degrees in that warehouse and I was sweating from running for fifty full minutes when Ron came to the counter.  (That is his real name and if I could remember it I would give you his real phone number so you could call him and tell him to stop being a jerk)  Ron, after seeing all of this action and my attempts at saving the day for people whose jobs were in the balance, proceeded to tell me his random, refill his supply, order in as lazily a way as I have ever heard.  The people who had come in after him audibly groaned as he counted off a large list of items that would never, ever, have been considered emergency items.  I asked if I could take care of a few of the customers who needed things to continue working and he just looked at me blankly, as if to say, "It is my turn and they can wait."  After getting his impossibly mundane list that would have easily been work enough for two people, I turned and started to run to get the first item.  As I  began to leave the counter he turned his back and said, "And Hurry!"  Had I been David Banner I would have turned large and green and kicked him into the next county amid the cheers of the customers with real emergencies.  What did happen is that I turned back and put both hands on the counter, I raised one knee as if I was getting ready to hop over a fence, and the customers who were next gave me looks that communicated, "It's ok.  We know he's a jerk.  It's not worth it kid.  We can wait."  I turned around, went back to filling his order, and was thankfully relieved by the regular crew coming back.  Good thing too.  I would look terrible with prison tattoos!

Suffice it to say, I understand what it is like to be overwhelmed and I don't want to be the person that other clerks blog about in the future.  Having said that, I witnessed something unbelievable while out shopping yesterday.  I realize that it was 'Black Friday' and I had no business being out and about, but my mother in law needed a new computer and this seemed like a good day to do it.  We avoided all of the early morning pepper spraying, crowd shoving, line standing nonsense.  We had a nice lunch together and went in the early evening to do a little shopping.  We were hoping to catch the tail end of some sales on the craziest shopping day of the year.  We found what we wanted at Fry's Electronics, made our way to the register, and waited in line.  If you have never been to this store it is set up with about sixty cashiers.  You wait in one line and a person at the front sends you to the next available worker.  It actually works very well.  By the time you get to the front there is a cashier with a green light and they tell you "number 30" and that is where you go.

Well we went to the cashier and did our two transactions while the green light stayed on.  The 'sender' never sent anyone because she could see that it was a mistake and there were still people at the register.  A manager type person came by and said, "You don't want to leave your light on.  You need to turn it off until you finish."  Obviously, this was early on in her training.  It was early on in cashier # 31's training too.  He accidentally turned on his light so the sender sent a lady on over.  The trouble began when his customers came back to ask a question about their multiple receipts.  As the poor cashier explained that each one was to be sent into a different place for different mail-in rebates we started to hear a banging.  I honestly had no idea what it could be.  It continued...LOUDLY!  I tried to concentrate on my transaction while this annoying rhythmic sound kept going.  I looked again, the woman who was sent, was waiting to be rung up but she was being the opposite of patient.  The sound was her, pounding her 24 pack of AA batteries on the counter next to these poor people as they tried to find out how to receive hundreds of dollars in rebates.  The pounding continued.

Sylvia looked over and caught this 'woman's eye.  She was met with eye rolls and "what are you looking at?" stares.  This customer was doing the best impersonation of a female dog (I think you know what I mean) that I have ever witnessed.  Still I said nothing.  Sylvia explained that she almost told her that she needed to stop instinctively as if she were telling one of our children to stop making an annoying sound, and would have if she had been pounding at us.  Sylvia even tried smiling at her.  There is a saying in her native German that goes, "You give an attacking dog two treats"  The pounder wanted none of it.  We looked at the people she was trying to intimidate and they seemed to be able to blissfully ignore the rudest behavior I had seen in a long time and kept on talking.  Still she pounded.  We finished our transaction as they were finishing up and we all walked out leaving the pounder to her miserable life.

I thought about saying something like, "It is really difficult to concentrate while someone is making rude noises like that and it will probably slow them down."  But let's face it...she would have just attacked me for something that was none of my business.  And you know what they say, "You can't teach an old female dog new tricks."

Thursday, November 24, 2011


I have inadvertently tortured many of my Facebook friends for the last year or so.  Which is so unlike me.  I would much rather torture people advertently (which is actually a word...I hate when that happens).  Way back in January, the 23rd to be exact, I simply posted a percentage "0.3%".  I have been updating this ever increasing percentage throughout the year and only yesterday, the day before Thanksgiving, I reached 100%!  What started out as a means to hold myself accountable has turned into something fun.  But I am done now and I will keep you in suspense no longer.  I have read 100% of the Bible, via the 'Bible' application on my Android smart phone!  There it is.  The secret is out.  I hope I haven't disappointed you all.

When I downloaded the YouVersion Bible on the Droid I had no plan in mind.  I merely wanted to see what it was.  While exploring, I found out that it had notes, more versions and languages than I could even begin to explain, and a little thing called "plans".  I clicked on it and found that there were quite a few plans.  I could have chosen to read through the New Testament in a month, the Old Testament in two years, the Psalms and Proverbs in 372 days, or the whole Bible in a year.  I chose the latter and began, on January 23rd, and much to my surprise (many things surprise me when it comes to technology) after I read the passages for the day, the app said, "You have completed 0.3%!"  Seriously!?  I just read for twenty minutes!  All I made it was a lousy 0.3%!?  It struck me as funny (but honestly there isn't much that doesn't) and I thought, if I am going to make this all the way through I am going to need an accountability partner.  So I posted the percentage and the torture began.  I had decided to post about every ten percent (so I wouldn't annoy people with daily increases) but lately I have been posting fractional increases!  I had no idea that I would have so many unwitting partners in my move to stay focused, but there you are.  Thank you all for keeping me on track.  I have had fun...most of the time.

There were some interesting things that happened along the way.  I was surprised to find out, remember me...untechnology man...that the Bible app would not work when I had no coverage for 3G.  Whatever the heck a G is.  But due to proper advertising on the part of Verizon, when I get my next spare three hundred dollars (somewhere around the middle of the next century at the rate I am going) I will purchase a new Droid that has 4G!  I still don't understand what a G is but I know I need four of them...but I digress.  I went away for the night to a place with no coverage and I couldn't do my reading for the day.  I was disappointed but it taught me a lesson.  When I took a group of junior high kids from our church to snow camp I planned ahead and wrote out the passages that I would be missing so I could read it the old fashioned way.  There is a group of about six boys who have known what this was all about and they haven't said a word!  (Great job keeping the secret guys!)  When we traveled away for a week to the Ganado mission in Arizona I wasn't so lucky and I fell behind, but I wasn't trying to win a race so I forgave myself, picked it up where I left off, and forged ahead.

For the most part I would read first thing in the morning when Fudge would nudge me to say that it was time to be fed, get some water, and do his business.  I was up before anyone else, quiet time, I read.  On more than one occasion I would jump up to take care of Fudge and it would be pitch black in the house.  We have shutters that make it midnight dark whenever we want.  Instead of fumbling and tripping my way to the hallway I would simply turn my phone around and use the light from the Bible App to guide me on my way.  It struck me, when this happened, that the Bible was guiding my way both figuratively and literally!

When I was having such a terrible year last year in school I had decided to spend some of my before school time reading in the classroom.  I found that I could squeeze in an extra day's reading after I dropped Kristiana off at choir but before my little cherubs (with dirty faces) came in.  On one particularly difficult morning where I was seriously considering becoming a truck driver, pizza delivery guy, oral surgeon...whatever!...it was obvious to me that I wasn't supposed to be a teacher.  I decided to read the passage out loud in the classroom.  I wanted the echo of positive words in the room to combat the difficulty that was coming.  So I started reading out loud and the passage was all about students obeying their teacher!  I sent the passage to Sylvia in a text, I tried to bookmark it in my phone, and subsequently lost all record of it.  But it was there I swear!  If anyone has the passage I am thinking about I would love to know.  I would like to embroider it on a plaque in the room.

While not explaining what all of the percentages have been about I have had all sorts of people offering guesses.  When the percentage was low, people guessed about my level of sanity.  When it got high, people guessed about my level of insanity!  When it was in the teens I even had one dear friend suggest that she hoped it wasn't my percentage of body fat!  Since it was increasing steadily I would hope not.  Little did she know that I have never had body fat in the teens!  My DNA hovers around the 27% range.  (disclaimer...I have no idea what my body fat percentage is.  27 just seemed like a humorous number.  Sort of like kumquat is a humorous fruit...but I digress)  Well the body fat guesses seemed to be the fallback position for everyone.  Thanks a lot AnnMarie!  (still love you!  but I can't get over there to give you a hug since my friends think I am a big tub of goo with no bone structure at all, and I would roll over and crush you and your 3.2%!)

Some of the more interesting guesses have been:
"Body fat?" (138 times)
"Your level of sanity?"
"Your level of insanity?"
"The percentage of days left in the year?"
"The percentage of days left before your birthday?"
"The percentage of your blood that you have donated?"
"The amount of school days you have before you snap and start smacking kids?"

More recently when people were getting frustrated about the ever increasing phantom percentages:
"The level of disappointment we will have when you explain?"
"The chances the (insert your least favorite team) choke in the big game?"
"The percentage you have completed on your next blog?"

Some people have just made comments and skipped guessing altogether:
"I want to know what this is!"
"Tell us!"
"Will you just tell me what the freakin' percentage thing is!!!!!!!" (which I suppose is technically a question but I don't think Anne meant it that way.)  *I also don't think I am going to befriend any more people named Ann(e).

Well there it is.  I read through 100% of the Bible.  Nothing crazy.  I committed to do it and I did it.  I learned a lot and it was remarkable how often the passage for the day applied to the day I had.  I liked reading the Bible every day and I will have to look through the plans to see which one I will choose next.  Who knows, maybe I will write about days that stick out as I go.  I hope that you are not disappointed with me and my percentages.  I really didn't start out to cause anyone any stress.  I was actually surprised to see how many people even paid attention at all.  Thanks!

And in conclusion I would like to end with my, without a doubt, very favorite comment on Facebook from my son, Jacob.  On a day when the general theme of the guesses was 'tease Jeff in a mean way', Jake, who has known since I explained it to the junior high boys in the freezing cold cabin at Hume Lake last year, said:

"I know what it is about and when you people find out you are going to be very proud of him!"
Thanks Jake, that means a lot.

Friday, November 11, 2011


Today's message comes to you from deep down in the laughter factory of the cosmos.  It is one of those stories that, when mentioned to those directly involved, will cause the memory to come rushing back spreading smiles around the room.  In fact, one us will burst out laughing as if it just happened!  I hope I do it justice with my retelling of it here.

Did you ever have one of those dinner parties where things didn't go quite as planned?  If you have ever been in charge of feeding someone who isn't related to you, in your own kitchen, then I am sure you have.  Growing up, having my mom say facetiously "I hope everyone enjoyed the (rolls, green salad, rice, jello) since they are still in the (oven, fridge, pot, counter)."  Yes, it was common for our family to have way too much food and then forget that we had prepared something that never made it to the table.  (Yes mom, I am saying 'we' made stuff but everyone knows it was all you.  Don't tell.  I have a blogging reputation to uphold.)

Dad was no stranger to creating laughs at a gathering but his was more of a shock factor.  My parents had prudently bought "unbreakable" dishes when we kids were still little.  They weren't merely crack resistant.  They actually said, unbreakable.  No, we didn't eat off of prison issue tin trays.  They were kind of nice.  They were completely white and they held food.  What more could you ask.  The salesman, in true showman style, sold my dad on these dishes by reaching out to hand him a plate and, as my dad was reaching to take it, he let it go and sent it falling to certain doom.  The plate fell to the floor, clattered and banged and caused heart-rates to soar, but it didn't break or even chip.  It was my dad's favorite ice breaker to re-create this demonstration in our kitchen.  I had seen him do it at least two dozen times and it was always hysterical.  The problem is that these plates were designed to not break if they accidentally fell to the floor once or twice.  After being dropped dozens of times their luck falls short and eventually they will break.  I know this from my dad's final, and equally hilarious, demonstration.  Can you say millions of pieces?!

When Sylvia and I got married we decided that we didn't want to carry on the tradition of leaving food un-eaten or dropping dishes.  We decided to come up with our own shtick!

One night, several years ago, we had invited some friends, Bob, Jeanine, and their kids, over to dinner.  The friendship and the conversation was the goal and the food was secondary.  So no one would have to work in the kitchen we collectively decided that we would just "pop in a frozen lasagna" and spend most of the time talking and laughing.  (laughter is a pre-requisite around here)  The evening was going as well as any evening where we got to visit with good friends and we started to set the table and get everyone ready to sit and eat.  We all sat.  I probably picked up my knife and fork and started banging them on the table chanting..."food food food."  (I didn't really, but you totally believed that I am capable of that right?)  The timer went off and Sylvia got up and walked over to the over to bring the lasagna to the table.

I'm not sure if you have ever eaten a frozen lasagna, but if you have you'll know that they do not use the most sturdy of pans.  The pan is made up of a very thin grade of crinkled aluminum that is rolled at the top to make a lip.  The pans, in fact, seem so thin that it seems entirely possible for it to develop a hole and have a large portion of the sauce and noodles ooze out and coat the bottom of the oven in a blackened hardened shell.  That is not what happened.  No, the lasagna looked great!  It smelled great!  We were all starving!  Bring on the grub!

Sylvia got the patented oven mitt with the non skid coating (I'll mention the real name as soon as they sponsor my blog) and she bent down to grab the food.  Did you ever notice that your dog, whether invited or not, will always check to see what you are taking out of the oven?  It happens so often that eventually he will get tangled between your legs and cause a slapstick juggling act worthy of most of the silent film stars!  Food will fly.  People will dive for cover!  And the dog is rewarded with a meal fit for a king!  Well that didn't happen either.

No, Sylvia grabbed the edges of the 9 by 13 aluminum lasagna pan, took it out of the oven, and carried it two and a half feet to the table.  Almost.  She was about two and a quarter feet short of the distance.  We had forgotten the cardinal rule of frozen lasagna baking.  The pan, which seems solid as cast iron while frozen, is as flimsy as wet facial tissue (another sponsorship opportunity) when the contents are piping hot!  There, in black and white on the package, it reads, "If you don't put this flimsy aluminum pan on a cookie sheet while it is baking, when you try to take it out of the oven the ends will fold up, the middle will drop down, and your friend Bob will laugh so hard that tears will stream down his face!"  It was oddly specific but that is exactly what happened!

When Sylvia tried to take it out of the oven, the pan held on until she was past the oven door.  Had it begun to crease there, she could have set it down quickly and then slid it onto a cookie sheet.  We would have talked about how lucky that was as we ate slightly disheveled lasagna.  No, this lasagna pan held on until it was over the floor and when it started to give Sylvia later explained that her first thought was to put her knee out to "catch" it and keep it from crashing to the floor.  She thought better of that and stopped her knee from going out since third degree burns really put a damper on an evening.  The lasagna went crashing to the floor and so did the tears that were rolling off Bob's face.  You see Bob and I operate under the same theory that if you are going to laugh about it someday, you may as well start now!

Bob turned out to be the hero in our story and as we cleaned up the mess he ran to the store and got everything we would need to make spaghetti and the dinner was saved, but we forgot the garlic bread in the oven...I hope everyone enjoyed it!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

So Now We Know

I've heard loads of people say that they could use more hours in the day.  As a teacher I know that it could be a Gregorian chant coming from schools around report card time.  "I need more time....ohmmmm.  I need more time....ohmmmm."  It would be an interesting anthropological study to be able to actually give people extra time, to see how they used it.  It is often said, by imaginary people in my fake research staff, that if people were given extra time they would use it to do something that was very important to them.  This morning I have been given an extra hour and I am using it to write.  So now we know.

This morning is the morning that we in most of the United States turn our clocks back one hour at 2:00 A.M.  and then leave them an hour back until six months from now when we turn them an hour ahead.  The saying pertaining to the seasons and the hands of the clock, for the uninitiated, is 'Spring forward and Fall back'.  As a public service message I would like to tell you that it is now really 5:54 in the morning but it feels like 6:54!  I would also like to say, "You have an extra hour to sleep so go back to bed!"  Well, unless you are reading my blog after it has been turned into book form (and paid dearly for the privilege of owning one of the leather bound editions...thank you) then I say, "You paid big bucks for this book!  What is it doing in the bathroom?! I am NOT signing that now!  (...and light a candle for crying out loud! phew!)"

Do not ask me why we Americans do this weird, arbitrary, apparently random thing with the clocks, but we do.  I know, from paying attention to National Treasure movies, that Benjamin Franklin was the first to suggest it.  But he also wanted the turkey to be the national bird so we know that he was a loony!  I know it had something to do with saving energy at one point because if it is brighter longer then you don't have to use lights at night.  Yes!!  Of course when you get up in the middle of the night to start your day and it is pitch black, then you need to use the lights in the morning.  D'oh!  I know that there are parts of the country that don't participate in this odd ritual.  My dad is in one of those places now.  The first few minutes of my phone calls to him always deal with the time issue and is it too late or too early to be calling.  "Sorry Dad, I lost my slide rule.  What time is it there?"  Interesting side note...When my dad was a teenager a sweet young lass had caught his fancy.  (Yes, my dad grew up in Scotland during the 1700's)  Well he and his intended date set it up that he would pick her up at 6:00.  He showed up at 5:59 and was greeted by slurs and slams!  Apparently my dad lived in part of Indiana that didn't feel the need to do something moronic like change clocks twice a year and the girl lived across the border in obedient Kentucky.  So she thought he was an hour late.  She would hear none of his excuses.  She didn't care about the time difference.  She was not even very fond of Benjamin Franklin!!  She slammed the door and never spoke to him again.  (Really, what do I care?  She wasn't my mom but I thought the story was funny)

There are also those who think that it came about, "For the farmers."  The people who think that have never worked on a farm.  Animals don't really care if it is light or dark and they especially aren't concerned that you want to sleep in an extra hour simply because the newspaper headline says, "FALL BACK!"  They want to be fed, milked, moved, and generally tended to.  When the clock changes that just means that farmers get up an hour earlier.

It is actually due to an animal that I am up now.  Fudge, the wonder dog, has a routine that usually works out well for me.  Every morning just before my alarm goes off Fudge comes and nudges me.  It is his time to, ahem, use the facilities (he doesn't light a candle either).  I feed him.  I go back to the room.  I turn off the alarm.  I start to get ready.  Nice, right?  And then it comes to fall.  Fudge, even though I have bought him several nice watches, refuses to let me sleep in!  So here I sit.  Using my 'extra' time to write.

And now, I would like to leave you with one of my favorite daylight savings stories.  It was about thirty years ago and we had a fairly young and relatively new associate pastor at our church.  I was a teenager so I squeezed every last ounce of sleep out of the morning and my magical extra hour.  When I drove into the church parking lot I noticed that the new-ish pastor was by the door hugging everyone she greeted.  She was always very emotional and very demonstrative but something about this morning was different.  Everyone who walked by got a special greeting like she had been away on a long trip...and yet I had seen her the week before.  After church, as I was talking to her, I said something about feeling a little extra rested this morning and how I appreciate this time change WAY more than when we go the other way.  She leaned in close and said, "I need to confess something to you.  I forgot to change my clock this morning so I got up and got ready an hour early.  When I got here and there was nobody here I thought that the Rapture had happened and everyone else was called to be with Jesus and I didn't make it for some reason!  I was so glad when I finally realized that it was just the time change that I missed!"

OK, everyone...get up and ready for church!  Be early...but not too early!