Little Spies

It must have been a challenge for parents to hide Christmas presents. Some things were more difficult than others–for example new bicycles, sleds.

As adults, our children confessed to finding hidden Christmas presents, unwrapping, and carefully rewrapping them. My parents several decades before, had different options.

They hid presents at grandma and grandpa’s large, two-story house. The most sneaky, was when mom hid presents at one of her teacher friend’s homes, ten miles away.

Mother’s sense of humor came through one Christmas. Our family had a tradition of letting us kids break the wishbone of turkeys or chickens. We happened to raise chickens.

Gathering eggs from setting hens could be hazardous. They guarded their eggs, at all costs, and pecked anything that came their direction.

Freshly killed frying chickens were a real treat in summer. It was crowning point of a home-grown feast, presented when the local pastor came for a visit.

Wishbone breaking rules: The participant with the shortest piece, after both sides of the wishbone bent to the breaking point, was the loser. My older brother incessantly protested his lack of participation opportunities in the contests

It must have tried mother’s patience one too many times that summer. That Christmas, carefully wrapped, box within a box, within a box was a wishbone, marked with my older brother’s name. It was all in good fun, but my brother missed the point.

Cord Cutting 101

The advertisements made it seem so simple. “Break away from the clutches of subscription TV! With this simple device, that attaches to your window.”

Like most everything in life, if it seemed too simple, it probably was. Why? Because every situation was different.

“Let me know how it works. I may do this myself,” So, said my neighbors and friends. I was their test subject.

My true purpose was to bring back the local NBC station, denied because of a never-ending dispute with Direct TV. Other stations received over the air, would be added benefits.

The window antenna failed. Even with the supplied booster. Not even one channel received. It was returned for refund.

A more conventional antenna purchased to be mounted outside. It was called the “mini-yagi”. Didn’t know exactly what “yagi” were–mini or otherwise.

Mounted outside, then later in the attic, with an additional booster amplifier, success was limited.

Alternative methods to secure the elusive local NBC affiliate were plentiful. Need I mention down streaming from the internet, CATV, the other satellite provider? All of which required additional subscription charges.

There was no logic to it, at all. Some days ABC and NBC came in beautifully from the “mini-yagi,” Last Wednesday evening, my three favorite NBC dramas came in clear as crystal. Thursday, the day after, no signal.  I’ve spent too much time, money, and effort already.

As a “mini yagi” test subject, I can not make a recommendation.  Do further research, before you attempt to cut the cord.  Apparently, I reside in a “black hole” for TV signaling.  If you reside near a major metroplex, good for you.

Don’t believe advertising claims.  If the antenna is purported to have a 70 mile range–it may not always be true.  Like EPA car mileage claims, it’s only under ideal conditions.

Antennas receive broadcast signals in a straight line.  Applying “digital or HD capable” to TV antennas is somewhat of a misnomer.  Old-fashioned rabbit ear antennas would pick up digital or HD, if the broadcaster’s signal was clear.

 

Turn Back Time

Time: One of the most talked-about subjects in the world.

How many songs have been written about the subject? How many movie scripts?  Too many for me to count. I don’t have that much time.

Did I want my state to go on daylight saving time year round?

Did I want my state to stay on standard time year round?

What was I going to do with the extra hour gained when time fell back in fall?

The same silly, tired, internet questions. Did anyone believe they were gaining/losing hours in spring and fall? There are still 24 hours in a day.

No, I didn’t wish my state to make either of those choices. Why? Because I reside near the borders of three states. What a mish-mosh it would be, were they in different time zones? Because, in that case, time would not be on my side.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a time savings bank?  It would be, but there isn’t.  Most of us would be overdrawn, anyway.

I’m Glad It’s Over

Asked the same litany of questions by different medical personnel. The pre-surgical nurse, the anesthesiologist, the admissions clerk. It had to be a test. Would I slip-up and give inconsistent answers?

“Have you had any surgeries before?”

“Only, if you count my tonsillectomy 57 years ago.”

“I don’t remember much about it, after all these years.”

“I can tell, there aren’t many entries on your medical records,” The charge nurse commented.

“Yes, I try to avoid invasive medical procedures–be they from space aliens or medical doctors,” I answered.

“You won’t feel a thing, once the anesthetic takes hold. It will be like going to sleep.”

I thought they would never find a vein to hook up the IV. Of course I had to wear one of those “fashionable” medical gowns, open in the back. Luckily, I was lying down covered with a blanket.

In the operating room, I waited while the staff kibitzed, and time stood still–at least it seemed that way.

An older man with gray hair came in and things got underway. It was my doctor. I didn’t have my glasses on, recognized him when he came closer.

“Lie on your left side,” Ordered the surgical nurse. “The anesthetic may burn when it enters your IV.”

That was definitely an understatement. I had a round plastic mouthpiece for the procedure.

“That hurt bad,” I attempted to communicate to the nurse.  “Don’t worry, soon the pain will go away.”

What a refreshing nap. I wanted to continue sleeping. The fog in my befuddled head lifted.  There was no one around. This wasn’t the operating room.  Somebody had some explaining to do.

It was the recovery room. The process was over. For having had an upper GI, I was none the worse for wear–except for a swollen lower lip.  Which is black and blue today.

Samples taken for biopsy will take a few days for analysis.  I was sent home with the doctor’s report, complete with color pictures of the inside of my stomach.  Not something I cared to share with friends.

Chicken Or Egg?

Which headlines were more compelling? “Cruise ship left passengers stranded in foreign port of call,” “Passengers missed ship departure, because of failure to keep track of time.”

I cringe every time I see the first headline.  Because the implication is, “Once again, the big, mean, cruise lines stomped on the rights of passengers.” What about the rights of the rest of the passengers that were on time?  Not that departure times weren’t publicized well in advance.

Received my sleep apnea home study kit today. The next two nights, I will retire with monitors to check breathing, heart rate, oxygen concentration. After two previous unsuccessful attempts, a home improvement project was completed today.  I’m tired.  Probably a good thing.