Monday, August 29, 2011

In The News

We've had a couple of strange news stories these last couple of weeks.  One was strange/silly and the other was strange/horrifying.

The first story was from a week or so back.  One afternoon, our lights 'blinked.'  The power wasn't off long enough to affect anything other than the clock on our ancient microwave, but it blinked nonetheless.  Within five minutes, the lights blinked again.  This really had K and me puzzled.  At first, we thought it was only our house--I do worry about our wiring, as it needs a total overhaul--but nothing more happened, so I forgot about the incident.  Until the next day.

The headline on the front page of our paper read:  "Errant Squirrel Blamed for Power Outage."  Yes, a squirrel got into a substation and caused several thousand people to be without power for upwards of an hour.  (We were lucky, but we are in an area that rarely loses power for some reason.  I guess it's the way the grid is laid out.)  The article didn't go into detail as to exactly WHAT the squirrel did to cause the power outage, but it did mention that the little rodent died.  I guess justice was served.

A couple of days ago, the front page had this headline:  "Man Dies in Chainsaw Accident."  The article went on to say that it is assumed he slipped and fell and the chainsaw killed him by cutting his throat and chest.  It also said he was wearing protective headgear and a face shield and that the chainsaw somehow slid under the shield and cut his throat.  Police don't suspect foul play.

Now I am not saying that the police are wrong in this case, but how many cop-dramas would let THIS go by the wayside as 'no foul play suspected?'  'Law & Order' would not only make this a major case, but it probably would use at least TWO episodes to solve it.  Strange, strange.  I have never heard of anyone getting killed by a chainsaw--accidentally or otherwise--here before, so this is very unusual.

You have to understand just how prevalent chainsaw usage is here.  At one time, we owned TWO of the things--one gas powered and one electric.  Early on, we used to heat our house--well, as a supplement to the furnace--with a wood-fired stove.  Many people still do.  In an area of the country where firewood is very easy to get, it is a viable alternative to heating with any kind of fuel oil/gas/propane.  During the summer, we would get a load of LOGS dumped into our yard and then K--along with anyone who wanted to help--would cut the logs, split the pieces, and pile the wood in preparation for the winter.  And during all this time of cutting, splitting, and piling, K only hurt himself once.  While he was cutting a log, the chainsaw 'bounced' on him and nicked his cheek.  It wasn't a terrible injury, but it could have been much worse.  However, he wasn't even close to death with this accident.  AND he wasn't wearing any safety gear of any kind, so it must have been a very freaky accident that killed this man.  Horrifying, indeed.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

One of Those 'I Hope This Never Happens To Me' Posts

I always read the obituaries online from my old home town.  And it isn't because of the old cliche "You know you're really old when..."  ;)  The Oldest doesn't know all of the names of people I remember from when I was younger and there really isn't anyone left there that will let me know when someone dies.  (Hell, I'm lucky if anyone in my family even lets me know if a relative dies, much less a friend's parent, etc.)  So, every day one of my stops on the world wide web is the obits.

Today there was an obituary of a woman who I don't know.  (The last name is familiar, so she is a relative of someone I went to school with.)  She had lived a good, long life and was 81-years-old at the time she died.  The thing that was different about this obit was WHERE she died.  She was in the Bahamas on a FAMILY VACATION when she passed.  OH.  MY.  G--!!!!

The death of a relative is extremely stressful, as we all know.  Making all of the arrangements--whether the person had a 'pre-paid' plan or not--is exhausting.  And this is when the person dies at home--or close to the home town.  I cannot imagine WHAT this family went through to not only have 'Grandma' die, but they had to make arrangements to get her out of a foreign country and back home for the funeral.  What a nightmare.  'Vacation in the Bahamas' is definitely going to be something this family never thinks about the same way ever again.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lesson Learned

One of the first things that you are told when you call tech support is, "Make sure all cables and cords are plugged in tightly."  It is really surprising how often they loosen--and of course this causes all kinds of problems.

Way back when, there used to be TV repairmen who actually came to your house.  One day, a friend of The Mother's had just gone into the living room to watch her 'stories' but was unable to because the TV wouldn't turn on.  We were lucky to have a small TV store in our town and the repairman was able to get to her house within the hour.  He walked into the living room, went to the TV, plugged it into the outlet, and turned it on.  He then charged her $25.  She was NOT amused--and called the store owner to complain.  His answer:  "We fixed your TV, didn't we?"

Yesterday, I got out of bed and headed to the Bunn to make my coffee.  After I poured the water into the Bunn, I turned on the switch that starts the heating of the hot plate.  The light blinked on and off once, and refused to do anything else.  The coffee came out fine, but there was no heat to the hot plate AND the heating element didn't heat the water I had just poured in.  (With a Bunn, the water is heated and stored in the coffee maker until you pour a potful of cold water into the machine--and then THAT water is heated after your coffee is made.)  Great--ANOTHER Bunn bites the dust--and this one I only bought about three months ago.  At least I could return it.

First thing I had to do after drinking my first cup of caffeine, was look for the register slip to make sure I could still return the Bunn.  Sure enough, I had bought it on 26 May, so I was still in the time frame to return it--barely.  Next I went into the basement to find the original box it came in.  And it was gone.  After all these years, K has decided to try and organize the basement and the first thing he did was get rid of all of the cardboard boxes that we had down there--and one of them was the Bunn box.  I called the store where I had purchased the Bunn and they said it would be okay for me to return it in a paper bag.  AND they said I would get a full refund, as it was less than 90 days since I purchased it.  HOORAY!  Now I knew what I would be doing after dinner.

I started to clean the Bunn to a certain extent.  I rinsed and dried the carafe and started to move the Bunn so that I could empty out the water and the plug fell out of the outlet.  Oops.  Could this POSSIBLY be the source of the problem?  I plugged it back into the wall, turned on the switch--the light came on!!!!--and listened to see if the water would start warming.  Sure enough, after a few minutes I could actually feel the heated water through the sides of the coffee maker.  I didn't need to take it back for a refund, after all.

Obviously, if I EVER have a problem with something electrical/technical ever again, I will check all cords and cables and make sure it is fully powered.  Within the last two weeks, I have had TWO different instances where I thought something was broken and it just was a power issue.  I couldn't do a thing with the printer one day and was SURE I needed to go and buy a new one.  I fretted over this for most of the day and when I decided to move it to another room to try the power from another outlet, I noticed that it wasn't plugged into the power strip where it usually is.  OF COURSE it wouldn't work without power!!!!!  And a few days ago, I thought my NOOKcolor was completely bricked--possibly due to my turning it into a tablet--but NOOOOOOOOOO, it just needed to be charged.  And still I didn't check the Bunn before I panicked.  I'm really getting the feeling that I will NEVER learn this lesson.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bits and Pieces

A few days ago, I posted a police log about a woman who 'saw electricity traveling outside the wire.'  While I think it is one of our whackos who reported this, Janet did question whether this actually could happen.  So, I decided to ask K about this.  After all, he DOES keep the machines going that make electricity, so he might know more than I do on the subject.  He thinks this is questionable, but he shared some thoughts about it.  First, he has walked around the power plant property extensively through the years.  He has seen the power lines arc, but THAT is NOT a good thing and is usually connected to a problem.  He also said that in the right conditions, you can 'hear' the electricity flowing through the wires.  AND during the proper conditions, some people have said they can see a 'halo' or 'glow' around the power lines--but K has never experienced that.  So, that is as close to an explanation as I can give for 'escaping electricity.'


K went to open the door on the storage shed last week and when he did, a swarm of yellow jackets flew out.  They had begun building a nest on the inside of the shed door and got it to the size of a large silver-dollar pancake.  K didn't want to spray the nest with Raid because it was so close to our tomato garden, so he took a shovel and slammed it on the nest, causing it to fall to the ground.  For many hours after that--actually for a few days--I watched 6-12 yellow jackets continue to figure out what happened to their home.  If the queen would have been killed, I believe that would have been the end of it, but she was still around, being tended to, a day ago.  I believe the nest is being rebuilt.  Yuck.  Anyway, I digress.

The day after the nest was knocked to the ground, I watched a chipmunk go to it.  He ripped it apart and stuffed whatever was in it into its pouches.  When he was done, there were just tiny little bits of grey 'paper' left on the ground.  I never knew chipmunks would do something like this.  I may start liking them after all.  ;)

Our neighbor said that they had a huge paper wasp nest last summer and after the first frost, a half dozen blue jays ripped that one apart.  They proceeded to eat everything that was inside.  And THAT was surprising to me.  So, am I the only one that didn't know this about our wildlife?


I'm sure I have mentioned that I got a NOOKcolor a few months back.  As it turned out, I had a lemon and had to get a replacement in July.  Of course, I didn't know that it was a lemon until it completely crapped out and I got one that actually works right, but I'm pleased with my replacement.  But, obviously, I'm not pleased enough, because I have now turned the NOOK into an Android tablet.

Almost from the beginning, the geeks have been working out a way to turn the NOOK into a full-on tablet.  I started reading about this before I even got my NOOK and figured it was something I may do down the road at some time.  When everything finally was working right and the geeks figured out a way to change the NOOK without changing anything on the inside--no hardware or software changes to the original machine--I knew it was time to see what the NOOK could do.  Unfortunately, despite the fact that this was something pretty easy to do, there seemed to be a lot of information that had to be read and sorted through before I could attempt this transformation.  And I dragged my heels, not wanting to spend the time necessary.  Basically, one had to take an SD card, download some files, put the card in the NOOK, boot it up, and there you have a tablet!  (Of course, there was a bit more to it.  ;))  And all it cost was the price of an SD card and your time.  Still, I couldn't bring myself to do this on my own.

A couple of months back, an enterprising young man realized that there were a lot of people like me and decided to cash in.  He started doing all of the work involved in this transformation and selling the cards to people who didn't want to do the work themselves.  Last week, I bought my card.  And so far, I couldn't be much happier!  The NOOK is now like a bigger version of my phone--without the ability to take pictures or make calls, of course--and I can put almost any app I want on it.  I'm pretty pleased and hope everything keeps going well.

The thing that amazes me most about this is the cost.  If someone wanted a 7" Android tablet, they could buy a refurbished NOOKcolor for $170 and a card to transform it into a tablet for $35.  For a little over $200, a tablet could be had--much, much, much less than the $300-600 or more that full tablets are going for.  A good deal all around.


And so we get back to wildlife.  Specifically, the cardinals that have been frequenting our window feeders.

I know this isn't the greatest picture, but it will have to do.  As you can see, there are Mr and Mrs Cardinal eating out of the same feeder.  Not only am I thrilled to have them at my window, but they are quite fascinating.  Whenever the two of them are together, one feeds the other.  Most of the time, it is the male that feeds the female.  He will take the shell off of the seed and then give her the nutmeat.  One day he did this for a couple of minutes.  Adorable!

It would be great to get better pictures of these birds, but they are extremely skittish.  And, for the most part, they like to come to the feeder at low-light times, like just at dawn or right before dusk.  Those aren't times when you can get good pictures.  I certainly hope they stick around for the winter--it will be nice to have their red coloring along with the blue of the jays during the long, white, winter months.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Real Downer

In advance, I want to apologize for this post.  I am, by nature, a pessimist and this is more of a 'downer' post than I really want it to be.  But, this blog is my way to vent and journal, so, you are warned.

Before and just after every election--presidential, mostly--I find myself fearing for this country.  It doesn't matter who is elected, it always is the fear of the unknown--even if the guy is RE-elected.  This last election scared me more than most--and it seems as if my fears were NOT unfounded.  But, this ISN'T a gripe session about Barack--even though I dislike him even more than I did before he was elected POTUS.  This is a gripe session and I have no idea WHO to aim it at--everyone in power seems to be at fault these days and with the crop of 'wannabes' that are trying to get into office next year, I am not optimistic that things will be any better in the next few years.  For the most part, before this last presidential election, we were able to live our lives--and this is personally, not necessarily as a nation--pretty much in a 'business as usual' manner, no matter WHO was POTUS.  Things have certainly changed in the last couple of years.

So, personally, the big changes in OUR lives are health care and retirement.  With the state of the economy, K's retirement account is nowhere near what it was a few years ago--and this is with him adding to it with every paycheck.  He has always talked about working for a few more years, but there always was the possibility of him just saying 'the hell with it' and coming home one day and say he's done.  No, we wouldn't probably be able to live quite in the manner we have become accustomed to, but we would have done okay.  Because of the way things are, he will HAVE to work at LEAST two more years, like it or not.

Right now, I haven't seen any huge changes in our health care, but we also haven't needed anything more than routine doctor visits or medications.  However, it certainly seems as if there ARE big-time changes for those who have retired from the company.  And that will be a (possible) disaster for me.  I really don't think that my Enbrel will/would be covered under retirement benefits--and that scares me so much.  Before the Enbrel, my psoriasis covered MUCH more than 10% of my body--I had it on my back, trunk, knees, elbows, scalp, fingernails, buttocks--and now I am ALMOST symptom-free.  (Actually, I have some problems with my fingernails and a couple of smallish spots on my elbows and knees--and that's it.)  After going off of a biologic medication, many people experience a resurgence of their psoriasis that is MUCH worse than anything they experienced prior to using the meds.  Of course, this doesn't mean that EVERYONE has this happen, but I worry, nonetheless.

Another major worry I have for K and me is housing.  Before this economic downturn, we had every intention to build a new house.  As of right now, we can't see any way that could be possible.  This leaves us with an old, old house with major problems--problems that we will NOT be able to deal with as we get older.  So, we have to have things fixed--new siding, new windows, new roof, electrical, plumbing, etc.  And those are just the things that HAVE to get done--we would LIKE to do something about the basement, but THAT is not an all-year problem, so it is way down the list of things needed.  As we get older, a garage would be nice to have, but we've been without one THIS long, so we have to set priorities.  Right now, we're just happy to have a roof over our heads--for as long as that roof STAYS over our heads and doesn't fall down.  ;)

And all of my concerns for K and me pale in comparison to how I'm feeling about the future for our girls and their families.

The Youngest and her husband both work.  They don't work at the lowest paying jobs, but they certainly aren't even in the middle-middle class, either.  At the best, they are in the lower-middle class, but I don't know if they are doing that well.  And they are barely keeping up, much less getting ahead.  Every time things look like they are getting better, something else happens.  Right now, they are facing the probability of having to get a new vehicle.  In all actuality, they should be looking for a SECOND vehicle--they both work and their work sites are in completely different directions--as it would be much easier for each to have their own.  But, that won't happen any time soon.  They want to adopt a child, but THAT is equivalent to BUYING a baby and the money just isn't there.  Both of them still have student loans to finish paying off, so they can't really think about trying to get a house or new place to live.  (Frankly, I think they are overpaying for the place they are living right now, but that is just an opinion.)  Still, they MIGHT be staying even, or not falling back too much.  At least, I hope so.

And so, we get to The Oldest and her family.  I know a lot of people don't have much sympathy for her and her husband--after all, they did nothing to permanently prevent having 7 kids--but the size of their family is a moot point.  They have to take care of the family, no matter HOW big or small it is.  And they just are not making it.  Up to a couple of months ago, things weren't SO bad for them.  Okay, they weren't making much--if any--progress toward getting ahead, but they aren't even breaking even these days.  And I can't see any possible way for them to cut costs any further than they already have.  She makes all of her own laundry detergent and cleaning products that she can.  She never buys 'brand-name' ANYTHING and makes everything she can from scratch.  They have no cable and just went to 'basic phone' with their landline.  Other than underwear and socks, I don't know the last time she bought any brand new article of clothing for any of the kids--unless it cost less than $5 on sale.  While I admire her ingenuity, it can't be easy to do all she does while trying to raise 7 kids AND homeschool at the same time.  Plus, she does a couple of part-time jobs to bring in a little extra money--just so they can have the NECESSITIES, NOT the WANTS.  And I worry.

My first thought for people who are under-employed is 'just go somewhere that jobs ARE available'--and I know a lot of people feel this way.  This would be a solution for someone who is single--after all, there would be a lot of travel involved and that means money to travel to job interviews and looking at places to live, etc.  NOT something that is readily available for either family.  To go somewhere else for a job, they would have to have one GUARANTEED for them.  AND moving expenses would be a great bonus.  Neither family can just up and move on a whim--there is no money for them to do so.  At this point, our girls are 'stuck' where they are.

At this point in time, K and I are discussing what we can do for the girls.  The only solution we can come up with is to send them money.  As K said, "It's either THAT or have them move into our house."--and that isn't a solution at all.  But, this also means that his retirement is probably further off than even HE imagines it is.  While I want to feel sorry for myself, I do have to be thankful that we have enough where we are able to help the girls--little as it is.  {sigh}

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Good Idea or Bad

I certainly hope no one invites me to one of these parties.  Maybe it's my age, but I really don't think I'd be too comfortable.  So, what do you think?  Good idea, or bad?  Discuss.

Police Log

--10:45 PM, subject dressed in black walking on road

We have the politically correct police, we have the 'guvmint' getting up in our faces, now we have 'colors you are not allowed to wear.'  Do some people REALLY have so little in their lives that they have to call the cops about things like this?  Good grief.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

No Words...


Me: “Hello, this is ***** Healthcare line. What can I help you with?”
Caller: “Hi, I’m calling because my son just ate a bunch of ants.”
Me: “I’m sorry? Your son ate ants?”
Caller: “Yes! I was wondering if I need to take him to the hospital and see a doctor.”
Me: “Well, ma’am, I don’t think you need to worry. I don’t think the ants will make him sick, but I advise that he doesn’t eat any more of them.”
Caller: “Well, I gave him some ant killer to get rid of them.”
Caller’s friend: “Get him to the emergency room, now!”

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Police Log

--1:00 AM, caller reports she can see the electricity traveling on the outside of the wire;  unfounded

Okay, is this something like 'I see dead people?'  Or is this a phenomenon that actually can happen?  As far as I'm concerned, I think this is a case of 'the crazies are BACK!'  :D

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Youthful Stupidity

The late 60s-70s was a turbulent period of time in our nation's history--actually, in the WORLD, not just the US.  During that time we saw protests of all kinds.  Women's lib, civil rights, sexual revolution--an entire re-thinking of society came into being.  Growing up and living in the UP kept us a bit isolated from the worst of the turbulence--Really, now, were the Finns going to riot against the Italians?  Were the people of the UP going to march on the French-Canadians?--but we WERE aware of what was going on.  The local universities had a semi-diverse population, so we did see some unrest, but not to the extent that the rest of the US did.  And just like everywhere else, we had our locals who described themselves as 'anarchists'--and THEY turned out to describe themselves as that in order to disrupt our classes and waste time, more so than because of any ideological beliefs.  Two of these 'different' thinkers were in my high school class.  And these two are who this story is about.

I graduated from high school in 1972.  The Vietnam War was raging and the country was still reeling from the riots of a couple of years earlier.  Anti-war protests were still being held and 'Black Power' was still something that many feared.  While things were 'quieting down' to a certain extent, there still was a sense of nervousness because we had no idea what could trigger an explosion again.  (As it turned out, we were about to 'get out of Vietnam' and become more united as a nation as we watched the downfall of Richard Nixon.)  But this was still in the future.

The school I graduated from is small.  The ENTIRE enrollment in grades 7-12 was smaller than The Youngest's graduating class--by quite a lot.  Our graduating class had less than 40 kids in it--and some of those were in the 'special education' classes, so we weren't REALLY 'classmates.'  (This was many, many years before anyone even CONSIDERED 'mainstreaming.')  One of the traditions with graduating classes was the 'class trip.'  And with less than 40 kids, the options opened up considerably.  Our class went to Chicago for several days--and that is where this story takes place.

To put it mildly, the UP is very much 'backwoods.'  TV, the internet, newspapers, magazines, etc, etc, all have helped us move into the 'modern age,' but we pretty much live our lives in an 'outside looking in' sort of fashion.  We ARE getting more diverse here, but race and ethnicity still aren't all that much of a factor.  We pretty much are 'white-bread, middle-America,' even though we are changing--slowly.  So, you can imagine how 'backward' we were in the day.  Other than TV--which still was pretty much in its infancy (maybe adolescence)--and some 'underground' publications like 'Rolling Stone' magazine, the only other avenue that there was for ANY news about what was going on in the world were university students--and THEY didn't have all that much use for the 'locals'.  But, there was enough interaction and news coming in if someone wanted to know--and our 'anarchists' trolled to find every piece of info they could.  And they had some information that they were going to use in Chicago.

For the most part, every minute of our time in Chicago was mapped out for us.  However, we were given an afternoon of 'free-time' to do whatever we wanted.  Some of us went to a baseball game while others went shopping.  And our two anarchists had other plans:  They were going to find the Chicago headquarters of the Black Panther organization and go and visit.  And that's just what they did. (This story was told to the rest of us at our 25th class reunion--NO ONE knew this had happened until then.)

So, here is the scene:  Two 18-year-old kids from the UP of Michigan.  They have NO concept of the world.  They come from a part of the country--the UP--that has less of a population than a Chicago suburb, decide to present themselves to a BLACK (possibly terrorist) organization.  (I'm even wondering if either of them had ever TALKED to anyone who was black, at this point in their lives.)  And the only way these two could be WHITER is if they lived in Scandinavia.  They make their way to the front door of the Black Panther building, walk up the stairs, ring the bell.  When the door opens (by a person with a full-on Afro, wearing a dashiki, and carrying a gun), they introduce themselves and say they would like a tour.  AND THEY ARE INVITED IN!!!!  They are given a tour--complete with being shown their weaponry, etc.  And from what they said at the reunion, they were treated quite nicely.  I'm sure it was only because the members couldn't believe anyone could act as stupidly as these two did.

I don't want to label every Black Panther member as 'bad' or a 'terrorist,' but the reputation of the organization was NOT a good one.  And from what was reported, they certainly didn't look kindly on 'whitey' at all.  And two idiots--who should have known better--presented themselves to this organization on a platter.  For all they knew, they could have been murdered and buried along with Jimmy Hoffa--and no one would have known!  They went off on their own and never told anyone where they were going.  They could have 'disappeared' and the entire thing could have remained a mystery for all time.

Ah, the stupidity of youth...

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Good Drivers

Way before there were driver ed classes, people were taught to drive by other drivers.  Here in this part of the country, it wasn't a bad deal, as there are plenty of country roads--read that as 'not busy'--that can be used for driving practice.  While I DID take driver ed in high school, I didn't get my license until after getting married--K kind of forced me into it.  (Actually, he told me he wouldn't pay for the insurance on a car that wasn't used, so I got my license rather than letting the car sit.)  I did most of my practice driving on the country roads and it worked out well.  I remember The Mother practicing when I was very young, as she needed to drive when The Father went into the hospital for that year.  And not too much before that, my paternal grandmother learned to drive.  And that is the story...

My grandfather died before I was born and my grandmother remarried several years later.  Her second husband taught her to drive.  One day, The Mother was riding with Grandma through our little town.  The Mother wasn't too comfortable riding with Grandma, as she wasn't the best driver.  Rather than taking the highway back to The Parents' house, Grandma took the other 'main' road which had numerous stop signs on it.  As Grandma drove straight through EVERY stop sign, The Mother saw her life pass before her eyes--she was SURE that she would never make it home alive.  After the two of them finally made it to the house, The Mother asked Grandma why she didn't stop at the stop signs.  Grandma answered, "[Her husband] said good drivers don't NEED to stop at stop signs."

And my grandmother drove for 20+ years after that--and never had an accident.  I guess she WAS a good driver.  :D

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

12 Years

On Friday, I will celebrate 12 years since I had my last cigarette.  And every year I buy myself an anniversary gift.  But, this year I have no idea what I'm getting for myself.  The whole idea behind this gift giving was to spend some of the money I saved by not smoking--and so far, I've never even come close to spending what I would have spent on cigarettes for the year. I have one rule when buying my gift:  The item must be something I WANT and definitely don't need.  And so far, almost all of the items have been electronics/tech gadgets.  Over the years, I have gotten cell phones and PDAs, music players and TVs, and everything in between.  And this year, I don't have anything in particular that I want.  NEXT YEAR, I might be in the market for an Android tablet, but they're too new right now and I DO have the nookCOLOR, so I'm not looking for one of those yet.  And it isn't as if there aren't things I WANT, but I DO have a price limit to what I want to spend--and the laptop that I REALLY want is far too expensive for me to get right now.  So, I will wander through some stores and surf the interwebs and come up with something that will make me happy.  If nothing comes to me, I'll probably get a new TV for the computer room--after all, hockey season isn't far off and there will be 82 games to watch.  :D

Tuesday, August 02, 2011


In so many ways, I feel very, very old.  I remember when ALL phones were hardwired and had cords, when computers were accessed through punchcards, and when TV stations actually went off the air at night.  These are things that many, many people don't remember...

Something else that I remember are 'service stations.'  At one point in time, The Father and his brother owned a 'service station'--a place where you would go and say 'fill 'er up' and get your gas tank filled, your windshield washed, your battery checked, and your oil checked.  (They also 'fixed' cars--The Father was a very good mechanic.)  The attendant would also walk around your vehicle and give it a 'once-over' look to make sure the tires were properly inflated and that nothing was about to fall off.  A lot of high school students--read that as 'guys'--would have these jobs.  While they were minimum-wage jobs, they filled the need before fast food restaurants became the normal place for high school students to work.  And once self-service became the norm, these jobs became a thing of the past--and I mourn their passing.

I have never pumped my own gas.  It isn't because I am lazy or stupid***, it just is because K has always done it.  I never wanted to pump my own and as long as someone else will do it for me, I'm happy to let them.  (Hey, when the wind is whipping at 40 MPH and the temp is -10, I appreciate not having to get out of my vehicle.)  I realize that there probably will come a time when I will HAVE to learn how to pump gas, but I can wait.  Over the years, there have been times when I needed gas in my vehicle and K wasn't around to fill it, but I always had the option of going to the full-service station that was down the street from us.  Sadly, that place is now gone.  One other station in town had full-service, but earlier this summer THAT was discontinued.  And if you think THAT didn't create quite a stir around here, you are deluding yourself.

As I said, I've been lucky to have someone do this--in my opinion--very distasteful job for me all of these years.  But, there are many who HAVE to rely on someone else to do this--and these are the ones who were hurt the most when this service was discontinued.  Many handicapped and elderly people were quite distressed over the thought that they would have to find some way to fuel their vehicles, as too many of them were UNABLE to do it themselves.  People in wheelchairs--besides making it inconvenient and time consuming--have problems reaching some gas pumps.  Elderly people, especially with arthritis, can find it hard to remove gas caps.  These were who relied on the last station in town to offer full-service.  And they were NOT happy.  Of course solutions were 'suggested'--'honk' when you get to the pump and 'someone' will come out to help you, or come into the station and ask for help, etc--but these really weren't good options.  After about a month, the station relented and now has an attendant on hand one day a week, for certain hours, to pump gas for those who need the help.  NOT the greatest solution, but it is better than nothing.

mental_floss did an entire story about 'pumping your own' and the states that don't allow this.  Personally, I wish full-service stations were the norm in ALL states--I really think it would help with the unemployment rate.  This could also be a way for some to learn a new skill, as so many guys learned how to do minor repairs and maintenance of vehicles when they were attendants.  It's ALWAYS a good thing to learn something new.  With all the talk about us becoming a 'service society,' it is strange that this is one 'service' that has gone by the wayside.

***If you go to read the mental_floss article, take some time and look over the comments that were left.  I'm amazed at the *hate* some people have for those who live in Oregon and New Jersey, and for those states not allowing self-service.  (As well as for those of us who never have, or don't want to, pump our own.)  I also can't understand those who 'don't want ANYONE to touch their vehicles' and WON'T allow anyone else to fuel their cars.  I guess they do all repairs themselves, too--and are completely self-sufficient in every aspect of their lives.  ;)  The things people get hot under the collar about...***