Saturday, January 31, 2009

My Debit Card

So the other night my husband tells me that he took $100 cash out of our account. That is a normal occurrence as he is a truck driver and can't ask me for cash anymore. The next morning I stop at Costco (my favorite place in the whole world) and I try to buy gas. The gas pump tells me to "pick another card for payment" and I am thinking that I must have mixed up my PIN numbers like I do sometimes. I repeat the process and it comes up with the same message. I get back into the car and get my other debit card and it works like magic.

I am worried that maybe I don't have any money in the joint checking account. I am sure that could happen. Dan is using the card like a drunken sailor all across the country and did just tell me he took $100. I call the automated number and check my balance. Yes we have some money. I just can't have any. I sent Dan a text message telling him my suspicion. I had just seen on the news that someone hacked into the Visa/MasterCard system and they were cancelling the cards and patrons will need to wait 14 business days for a new card. I am sure they didn't mean ME.

At lunch I called a human being at my bank. I explain my predicament and she nicely asks my card numbers. I read them off and she happily tells me that my card was compromised and I will receive a new card in 14 business days. She sounds happy about it. Guess she thinks she did me a favor. I feel weak. I need to sit down. I have no debit card. The other one doesn't count. I want THAT ONE. I ask about my husband's numbers and she tells me that his card is fine. I guess that is good.

I send him another text letting him know that he can continue spending and that I will not be able to access any money for quite some time. Actually that isn't true because the next day, I dusted off my checkbook and wrote a check for cash. How weird was that? I had to remember how to do that. Fortunately back in 7th grade we learned how to write checks, balance checkbooks, etc. I USED to write checks. It's just been a while. This bank is nowhere near where I spend my workdays. I don't pass by my branch until if is getting ready to close and now the ATM is off-limits to me.

Last night Dan came home and he tossed me his debit card. For a few days I can feel like myself except I can't buy a pizza from my favorite place as they continue to ask for ID when I try and use my debit card. I don't look like a Daniel. But everywhere else I go I am sure his debit card will be handy. Fourteen business days is a long time.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Jack's Closeup

Originally uploaded by jntrowley
The room lights were off. Jack was standing on my chest. The only light in the room was my little reading lamp. I love this little guy. Now if only he would have stepped a bit to his left.....

Monday, January 26, 2009

Trivia Award

Ok, so Jeanne tagged me for a trivia award. I am to list interesting trivia about myself. Here goes:

1) My husband and I moved to Michigan in 1976 on a whim. Actually he was my boyfriend at the time and it sounded like an adventure. What did I know? Sure didn't know that in 2009 we would still be here.

2) I have a degree in Journalism and never used it. I have been a secretary, a fast food manager, and spent the majority of my years working in eye doctor offices.

3) I should have had a head-on collision many years ago driving home from work in the wee hours. I was headed north and the car that was headed south, coming in my direction kept changing lanes until he was in my lane and we were about to crash (I could hear the crash in my head) and he honked his horn and drove off. I still don't know why I am not dead.

4) When I was a manager for Arby's, a man came into the restaurant at closing time and pulled a gun. He made us all go in the backroom and lay down. I looked at the dirty floor and knew I was going to die there. All my hard work for nothing. The police came in and the man drew his toy gun and pointed it at the police. I heard the shot but it took me a moment to realize that the police had killed the guy and I needed to get up off the floor.

5) My nephew played basketball in Indiana for high school and in Missouri for college on scholarship and played professionally in Spain for three years after that. My regret was that neither of my parents ever got to see him play. It was so wierd because on the court he looked just like my brother did back in the 60's when he played.

6) My first cousin's granddaughter was first runner-up to Miss America 2008.

7) I never told my husband that we were dropped from GEICO because of Danielle's driving record.

8) I learned to cook, clean, do laundry, iron, sew, knit, crochet, embroider all at a very young age and my two daughters have no clue how to do any of that stuff.

9) I was fired from Wendy's. I still don't know why except that I was a woman and if I had been there 3 weeks longer, they would have had to pay me 3 weeks vacation and a tiny portion of a pension for the rest of my life. My only satisfaction from that experience was that years later I got to participate in a class action lawsuit and I received $3000 for my trouble. The lawsuit was in regard to their policies of hiring, training, and promoting women (or the lack of all that).

10) I got married on a Saturday and had a baby the next day. And no, I don't tell that to many people.

I don't feel comfortable tagging anyone else for this. But if you want to dig deep and come up with some trivia, be my guest. Thanks Jeanne, I think. It was a soul-searching experience.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Visit to the ER

Ok, so the hospital we picked does not resemble Seattle Grace as in Private Practice. It is more on the lines of ER after a tired 10 seasons or so. Danielle called me crying on Thursday night. After a long day at work, I was just pulling out on Telegraph Road in Southfield anticipating a long drive home, when my cell phone began vibrating. I looked at the caller ID and saw Danielle's name. That is odd as she rarely calls me. I answer the phone to hear her crying and telling me that she was doubled up in pain and I tell her that I am on my way home and to call her sister and see if she can come over and sit with her or take her to the emergency room if needed.

The rest of the drive was not pleasant. On a good night I can make it home in 50 minutes. I have no idea how long it took me that night. I called Stef to see how Danielle was and if she thought that she should just take her and I could meet her there.

Well, I won't go into detail about Danielle's problem but just enough to say that she is having some tests and will find out next week exactly what is going on.

The hours I spent waiting for her at the hospital were unbelievable. I felt like I was in an episode of ER actually. I was waiting for the car to come crashing through the glass or someone to wave a gun at us or a love affair to break out among the disgruntled employees. None of that happened. However, just the people watching was quite entertaining. There was the tatooed lady that talked to herself. We had the young heavyset girl in the wheelchair with her mother. The girl said her brakes failed and she hit her chest on the steering wheel. The mother relayed this to the father on the cell phone and proceeded to look down her daughter's top to check for bruising or swelling I imagine.

The two couples with newborns I did feel sorry for. One had a fever and cough and won't eat. The other baby had a reaction to a formula and that family responded by hauling the grandparents into the hospital too to wait with us. They compared formula and feeding problems with the first baby family and we all got to listen.

The mom and the teenage daughter looked and acted normal. The mom must have sprained her ankle and the daughter was bored stiff. Finally the dad came with the brother so that the daughter could go home. I was happy for her as she almost ran out with the brother. We checked in with them later to make sure everyone was getting ready for bed. (Or at least the father did that. I just listened).

The mom with the 2 little boys was interesting. They spent a great amount of time checking out the snack machines. I don't know why as all she had was a $5 bill and no machine took anything larger than a $1 bill. The youngest boy held his penis the whole time. Never did go to the bathroom.

I also felt sorry for the young normal couple that waited a long time. The woman looked like she might be pregnant and held a small child's bucket in her lap the whole time. Every so often she took her bucket to the bathroom. When the husband sat down he looked around the room like he couldn't believe what he was seeing.

There were lots of older people wheeled in by attendants. Some were moaning. Some didn't know what day it was. It makes me thankful that I am who I am and I am glad I can't see into the future to see if one day I might become one of those people.

Danielle finally came out and we left. I had lots of text messages to return by this time, not to mention calling my husband to give him the latest. Not a fun way to spend the evening. Glad Danielle has insurance.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Fear of Furnaces

The house I grew up in was built in 1914 and I have no idea when the furnace was put in. It was a pot-bellied, coal burning contraption with large cylindrical tubes that sent the warm air to the upstairs rooms. I thought they resembled long arms which even made the monster (the furnace) seem more human. I remember on Saturdays when I was playing outside, the truck would arrive full of coal. The truck would back up to the side of the house and dump black coal into the small basement window that emptied right into the coal bin inside the basement. The coal bin was like a separate room in the basement near the furnace. I wasn't afraid of the coal bin.

I was always afraid of the furnace. I don't think it helped matters any when my oldest brother threatened to put me into the furnace. He opened the little door in the stomach of the beast and I saw flames inside. The coals glowed. That was enough for me. My brothers used to stoke the furnace by shoveling more coal into the center of the ugly beast. I also remember them taking the "clinkers" out to the alley. I haven't used that word in a long time. Clinker just doesn't come up in normal conversation.

Well, I had a bad dream about the furnace. I dreamed that I was playing alone in the basement. That would never happen in this lifetime. Anyway, in the dream the furnace started to chase me and I ran up the basement steps and through the kitchen to the back porch. My mother was hanging up clothes in the backyard and ignored me as I ran around her screaming. I looked back and the furnace was coming through the back door. (That also could not happen as it was way bigger than the doorway). Dreams are not always logical however, I was always afraid of that furnace.

When I was in sixth grade we got a new furnace. It was a large and boxy and didn't look like a monster. It didn't look like it had arms and I was never afraid of it.

I am sure there is a clinical name for an unrational fear of furnaces. I was also afraid of rivers as a child. Subject for another day.....

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Honest Scrap Award

I would like to thank Andrea from for giving me the Honest Scrap Award. I think she is a sweet, sensitive, talented writer/photographer. I am honored to be her first follower and hope I have led some nice people to her site.

I am supposed to list ten honest things about myself. Actually my first post on September 6, 2008 listed 13 honest things but if you never read that, here goes:

1) I am a very shy person. Most people would not know that because I tend to dominate the lunch conversation at work but I hate being the center of attention. That is why we had a tiny wedding and why as a kid I hated getting haircuts because everyone felt obligated to tell me that I had a haircut!!!! I still hate haircuts because it requires me to pick up the phone and make an appointment.

2) I am sometimes a bit envious of other bloggers because they have lots of followers, or because they seem to put so much work (thought) into their posts, I just tend to sit down and the words just flow out of me (good or bad).

3) I have tremendous feeling of guilt and inadequacy about my past. I always have felt that I could have helped my mother more when she was dying. I was 16 and really didn't realize that she was at the end. I thought I would see her the next day.

4) I make coffee first thing in the morning even before my eyes are open. That is why I stepped on the cat yesterday walking down the stairs. Jack (the cat) is fine. I scared him and I almost fell down the steps but I am fine too.

5) I neglect emailing people that I correspond with so I can read blogs or write blogs. I am sorry.

6) My immediate family has no interest in my blog and has not read my blog.

7) I thought they would be interested.

8) I love sweets. Not interested in chips,crackers, nuts.

9) I have been told all my life that I am too tall, too pale, and my hair is too curly. I am tall, pale, and have curly hair. I am 5 feet 9 inches tall. For years I told everyone that I was 5 feet 8 inches. I tried tanning when I was young. It just isn't me. And I tried to straighten my hair for years. I did the chemical straighteners, big curlers, etc. It is what it is.

10) I am a voracious reader. I read stuff I don't even like. I cannot return a book to the library unfinished. It is just wrong.

11) Bonus. I actually bought the Blogging for Dummies book before I started this blog. It helped a little but I am still struggling sometimes.

As far as passing on the award, I really don't know who to tag. If anyone wants to play this game you are welcome. Let me know. I will read it cuz I have to read everything. As a kid I tried to read the entire library. It didn't work out so well.

Anyway I hope I did ok telling honest things about myself. Oh no. I forgot that these things were supposed to be interesting.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Winter Doldrums

The days are short. The air is frigid. The ground is covered with ice and snow and salt and sand. I thank God for my garage even though when I stepped down on the first step into my garage this morning I stepped on a small bag of trash that Danielle had deposited there sometime in the middle of the night. She must have cleaned her bathroom. Lucky me. I had my hands and arms full of course as I was headed off to my semi-frozen car parked in my rightful spot in the garage. I somehow grabbed the short railing to keep myself from turning an ankle or spilling my travel mug of coffee. Just another day in the neighborhood.

This is the time of year that I find myself arriving home at night and sitting on the couch until time to go to bed. It is dark and cold out. In my head I know that I am still able to run errands, exercise, clean my house, etc. But it is dark and cold out and my couch needs me. So if anyone wants or needs me I will be holding down the couch waiting for spring.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Update on the Bathroom Scale

I went to work and told the story of the new bathroom scale that weighs ten pounds heavier than my old scale. They think I look just fine and don't need to lose those same ten pounds again. I am thinking that they are just being polite.

I think that running it over with my car is good. However, I was so motivated this weekend that I have already lost two pounds and another eight pounds isn't a whole lot to lose. But what about the five pounds that I originally wanted to lose before I bought the new scale? Now we are up to thirteen pounds. That is significant.

I also discovered that all my jeans are either too big or too small.

I think this is making me crazy.

We have another snowstorm on the way. And high winds. And colder temperatures. That really makes me crazy.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The New Bathroom Scale

Last night while browsing through my absolute favorite store (Costco) I found two bathroom scales. I had a $10 off coupon for one and of course, the other one was not on sale. Being a devoted Costco shopper I picked the more expensive one. It can keep track of 4 users. It measures body fat, weight loss or gain, bone mass, and body mass index. It knows how tall I am, my birthdate and tells the actual time and date. What more could I ask for?

So today I take it out of the box and put the enclosed batteries in the little compartment where they belong. I look at the multi-lingual instructions and try to make some sense out of the English directions. I program the date, time, my birthdate, etc. I am officially user number one. Hey, I bought it. Danielle can be user number two. The other two users are not home. That is the subject of another blog posting.

After weighing myself, I call the number for my new gym to see if it is really opening on January 15th as noted on the flyer I kept in my purse. Nooooo they aren't on schedule. The construction will be finished next Friday and then the wait for the Fire Marshall to inspect. Try back at the end of the month. I am trying not to fall into my deep January depression and eat a half gallon of ice cream followed up with a bag of Reese Cup Miniatures. That is what I do in January. Gee that was the subject of a previous blog of mine, "Twenty Pounds".

Now I knew that my old bathroom scale had problems but I think now that I liked it better. I had read that my old scale worked on a spring principle and that after time, the spring stretches out and the scale isn't accurate anymore. Maybe that is why I had to constantly adjust the needle to read "0". So now I find myself needing to lose the last ten pounds all over again. I weigh about ten pounds more than I thought I weighed. Maybe there is something wrong with the new scale? I am convinced there is a problem here. Danielle walks in at that point and I program her weight, age, height as user number two. She steps on the scale and says, "That's right". I look at her. She tells me that is exactly what she weighed at the doctor's office yesterday. "What doctor?" She looks at me and tells me that she likes the old scale better too but the new one is the accurate one.

Great. Now I have too much body fat and too little bone and I need to lose the same weight all over again. AND my weight is programmed in as user number one for the world to see.

Good thing I bought that jumbo tub of organic lettuce last night.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Room 100

I grew up in a small Indiana town where everyone pretty much knows everyone else or you went to school with their brother or sister, etc. I was known not for being me so much but for being the policeman's daughter, the girl with the sick mother, the sister of the basketball star, or being the sister of the town's antique collector/historian. My dream in life was to move away where no one knew me and just start over. I got that wish and it isn't so great.

Lately I have found myself thinking more about my past and why I am the way that I am. I was talking to my oldest brother last night on the telephone and we were reminiscing about a teacher that I had and that my mother had also had in high school. Miss Garn was known far and wide around the town. Everyone had a story about their time in Room 100 with Miss Garn. She had such a reputation. She probably didn't stand more than 4 feet 10 inches I imagine. She didn't need size to strike fear in the hearts of her World History students. I don't think her teaching methods were actually good or fair. But she did teach me things that no one else ever did. She required us to buy ink eradicator and cartridge pens. I don't think I have used an ink cartridge since. On test day she required the "written work" to be handed in to her and she checked our work while we crammed one more minute for some little known fact that just might be on the test. Then this teacher would call a list of names of students that had made some error on the "written work". They scrambled to the front of the classroom to retrieve the sheets of paper that needed to be corrected before they could start their exam.

Calmly Miss Garn would start the oral exam. "Number one", she would say and our hearts sank and we started the test. She had hundreds of possible test questions so you couldn't possible tell the next class what questions might be on their test. Meanwhile the poor people that were trying to correct their work were missing the test questions. One by one they ran to her desk and she would either approve or disapprove of their efforts. Talk about stress!!!

Well, I was so terrified of this tiny lady that I got straight A's in her class. I remember my mother telling me stories of her time with Miss Garn and she still remembered each detail of
how she was taking a test and didn't even know that her book was open and Miss Garn walked past and loudly snapped the book closed and my mother gasped in horror and tried to explain that she didn't know and by then the tiny teacher had just continued to make her rounds around the classroom and never looked back at my horrified mother.

Well, time passed and Miss Garn retired and there was a big article in the hometown paper and everyone again talked about what it was like in Room 100. My brother was in her class too (for one day). He was too scared to try to make it through her class and transferred out immediately. He went on to graduate from Indiana University and received his Masters and PhD from University of Michigan in Art History. Miss Garn was so proud that he "was one of her former students" that she often referred to him in class. He never told her that he wasn't and they remained friends until she died. She left him $500 in her will and never knew that he was not her student.

I learned that Alexander the Great's horse was named Bucephalis and Frederick Barbarosa's beard was red. I think his favorite food was sauerkraut or maybe that was Charlemagne's favorite food? And I will always remember the little lady that ruled Room 100.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Me and My Girls

danielle me & stefanie
Originally uploaded by jntrowley
This is the first photo I have posted on my blog of any human members of my family. This was taken in Indianapolis at my mother-in-laws 80th birthday party. This is where the extended family (my husband's) actually put down their differences for the day to celebrate a happy occasion. We don't always like our family but when it comes down to it we can come together and act like a family. I am including the members of the immediate family here when I say that. My daughters are so different and not just in hair color and skin coloring. Personalities don't always mesh in our house and sometimes I wonder how it will all turn out. The girls do have their good times together though. They don't admit it but i think eventually they will realize they have more in common than their handwriting and their voices.

Danielle left me a note one evening apologizing for leaving a mess after one of her cooking experiments and signed it "Stef". I read it in the morning and laughed and left my comment. Later, Stefanie walks into the kitchen and sees the notes and cracks up laughing because she knows I can't tell the difference in their handwriting. Their voices are the same on the telephone and I have for years now had to talk to them for a minute to determine which daughter I was speaking to. Thank god for caller id.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Stefanie's Room Makes a Mom Proud

Ok so here goes the last of the entries meant to humiliate my lovely daughter into cleaning her room. She did stop in last night and after a couple of meals and a couple of loads of laundry, actually went upstairs and started packing her belongings into white trash bags. She isn't leaving our house because she is angry, humiliated, or resigned to the fact that my house isn't a large dumpster. She has decided to leave (for the second time actually) to move into an apartment with the new boyfriend.

I did tell her that she isn't financially ready to go out into the world again. She says it's different this time. Last year she moved out to live with a friend from school. It turned out that Stefanie really didn't know this girl like she thought she did and the bad situation got worse quickly. After about 5 months she moved home and vowed, "I'm NEVER moving out again!!!!!" Well, that wasn't what I had in mind but I didn't say much. She had left her room in a horrible mess last year and promised to come back and clean it for me. I waited and waited. Finally, I found myself drawn to that room again and again until I had hauled all the trash, clothes to get rid of, clothes to wash, water bottles, returnables (in Michigan we have to return all pop cans, and bottles to the store to get our deposit back), I found missing belongings that she was thrilled to get back and I found the carpet. I knew she had carpet. I saw it in 1994 when we moved in.

Danielle at this point had visions of turning the room into an office and I had random thoughts of a true guest room. All of our dreams were dashed last April when Stefanie moved back home. And all of the clutter was redeposited back on the disappearing carpet. But she is my daughter and I love her dearly and she needed to come back home and regroup.

Which brings us back to today. She plans on returning today to get more of her "stuff". Little does she know, her father is coming back this way with a load to be delivered on Monday in the Detroit area and will be back in the bosom of our shrinking family later this evening. He is an over the road truck driver and usually stays out a month at a time. But you never know when he will be in the area and they will just tell him to go home for the weekend. Stefanie hadn't planned on that. I told her that she needs to tell her father this time that she is moving out. Last year she left that to me. That sounds like the subject of another blog....

Jack and the Beanstock

Originally uploaded by jntrowley
On New Year's Day I gave in and took the tree down. That is early for the Rowley household but I was at the end of my rope. I just couldn't put one more branch back where it was supposed to go. I couldn't chase one more ornament around the living room. Unfortunately, the cat was still hanging on to the tree until the bitter end. I am surprised he isn't in the basement tucked away in the Christmas tree box reliving those holiday memories just one more time.