Thursday, 31 October 2013

Good Old British Humor - those pesky ear-phones

My favorite palm-sized radio that I can't live without

It's really interesting what tickles people's funny bone. The only show I sometimes laugh out loud at is : 'Miranda', a British sit-com starring the tall and lumpish Miranda Hart, who has issues with herself, her mother and her best friend and who runs a Joke shop.  (Check out some clips on YouTube).  My husband can't stand her - but then he has a complex about his figure and doesn't enjoy shows like this - it's really chick-stuff but I find it hilarious.  In one episode, Miranda sits down to listen on her ear-pieces to some music but finds the wires all in a tangle.  She tries ineffectually to sort out the knots for some minutes, then gets so frustrated, she picks up the scissors and cuts off the long bits, putting only the cut-off ends into her ears, whence she grins hugely, relaxes and pretends to listen to the music.  It made me laugh (as we do at the unexpected) - but also because I've been tempted to do the same thing. I've found a partial solution to my problem though.  I keep my earphones wound around a toilet roll and when I want to go to the gym, I hang them carefully round my neck when I leave the house.  Any other suggestions?

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Teenage Boys!

This is part of our little flat - zebra pic we took in Nat.Park

We've been really busy lately, fitting out our little flat from top to bottom to catch the High season holiday rentals over Christmas and New Year.  So much have we spent/borrowed on our Access Bond, that the bank informed us last week, that we can't have any more as we are showing no signs of paying it all back in the seven years remaining.  Well, they don't know of our plans, nor of our flat purchase, so I suppose you can't blame them. Luckily, they gave us 72 hours to borrow as much as we liked, so we gave it careful thought - and borrowed a bit more than we thought we would need.  During the course of checking out our prospective rental agent's references, (luckily, they came back glowing with praise),  one of her referees asked if by chance he could stay in our flat for one night, as he would be in town to visit his son at boarding school and his own flat (in our complex) is rented out. Nervously, I agreed and was galvanized into a frenzy of 'finishing touches'. Luckily, he only wanted hot water, towels and a bed, and he collected the key from my house, promising to return it the next day into my letter box, as I would be out at the time.  This duly came to pass and when I got home in the afternoon after his stay,  I opened my letterbox to find - no sign of my own key, but a sizeable bunch of keys with labels with his name on.  (??) Panic stations.  I dialled his mobile phone and got the message "I am overseas at the moment...."  Increase panic! Would my flat have been cleaned out - it's not insured yet?  I phoned the agent and she assured me not to worry - the gentleman does usually work out of the country, but he has been a good client of theirs for years.  I e-mailed him and asked for an explanation and later that morning he phoned me.  Turns out he had not been aware of the mix-up until he received my e-mail.  He had asked his 14-year-old son to put the key in the letterbox and not noticed that the boy had simply grabbed the first bunch he found in the car's glove compartment.  Having had two teenage sons of my own, I totally understand. Of course, I do have a spare.  Note to self:  get lots of spare keys. I'll pass his on to our agent. 

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Human Nature

Google image

My husband and I have long enjoyed watching Storage Wars with Dave Hester and the guys, but have wondered all along how certain really valuable items could be left to languish amongst otherwise ordinary household stuff.  Could they have been planted?  Huh!  It's taken a while - but just last week-end there was an article in our Sunday paper about how Dave Hester had blown the whistle on this very same matter and had been sacked by the network in 2012.  The other thing was,  we would have been extremely interested to hear the history of how come these lockers have come to be abandoned, resulting in their being eventually auctioned off to the highest bidder.  I now read that the 'network' (in its wisdom), decided that the sad stories of death/divorce/accident etc. would be unpalatable for the anticipated audience.  How wrong could they be.  Those are exactly the kind of stories that cry out to be told and it's been a constant frustration that we have watched all these shows with our curiosity unsatisfied. After all,  that's the secret of why most of us are addicted to all kinds of drama,  from 'true-life' police stories or movies to scary books.  We are just so relieved that none of this bad stuff has happened to us and we count our blessings, or alternatively,  we are equally pleased that the sort of bad stuff that has happened to us - also happens to others.  Wake up network.  I don't think I can watch Storage Wars any more though: the betrayal is too great.  We'll stick to American Restoration - our other favorite show.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Music to My Ears

Google image - at least I didn't do this

So I was at the coffee shop with my buddies, having gone to a morning movie "RED2"  (not very good) and we were catching up as we hadn't seen each other for a couple of months.  I was relating my reluctance to contact our insurance company - for the second time this year - this time to confess that I had damaged my car.  Well it was a dark night, I had our new dishwasher in my trunk and my husband insisted that we off-load it while small son was miraculously around to help. My garage is awkward to back into at the best of times due to a kink in our driveway, and I still maintain that small son had parked further over than he usually does.  No matter. While they man-handled the machine into the house, I backed my car towards my garage to put it away. Imagine my surprise when I heard this 'crunching' noise. I got out and to my amazement saw that I had backed into the raised wooden door with my hatchback still open, damaging both. (A bit fell off the garage and there was an alarming dent in the hatchback door.) In my haste to rectify the situation, I then scraped the left side back corner of my car against the white wall of the garage and dented that as well.  You can imagine my husband's face. I was so delighted when the lady next to me leaned over and whispered in my ear,  "Don't feel bad, I've done that too."

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Instructions for Dummies

google image

When it comes to technical stuff e.g. how to operate a new appliance - in this case a smart, state-of-the-art (say my children) SMEG dishwasher, I usually rely on my husband.  However, things never work when you have guests, so when I was faced with a row of flashing lights when trying to get our new dishwasher to start, I wasn't surprised when none of us - including my husband - could get the bally thing to work.  I even read the instruction book cover-to-cover, especially the 'Trouble-shooting' section.  After scratching our heads, we all went to bed, leaving a full load to cope with in the morning.  The next day, I put my clothes washer on (which shares the same pipes) and although I thought it was a bit slow to fill up, I didn't give it much thought until later, when I heard it straining to start the rinse cycle. LIGHT BULB MOMENT.  Neither machine had access to cold water. I turned the relevant tap on and voila - both machines happy and working.  Hubby had apparently had to fix a leak and had forgotten to turn the tap back on. How come the booklet hadn't said, "Does your machine have access to water?"  Do they not understand that there are no depths to which dummies may not sink?

Thursday, 3 October 2013

What Turns Your Page? Dan Brown?

I do like a good thriller filled with suspense but Dan Brown's latest, "Inferno", is not doing it for me.  I enjoyed very much, "The Da Vinci Code" because it was so different but his later books increasingly follow too much of a formula, although they are well-researched.  Several of our book club ladies enthused about this one, so I am giving it a go. I have read about 3/4 and have enjoyed it so far as an art history lesson, with my i-pad at my side and the wonderful Google Images as an instant manifestation of Brown's evocative descriptions of art works in Florence and Venice. However, the plot is too straightforward and I do frown at the red herring of our hero suffering from amnesia, a silly device here, I feel, and although the pace is hotting up (yawn),  I have never found stories which depend on the main characters constantly on the run from the bad guys to be very gripping. (I have found a soul-mate in one of our lady columnists who, when reviewing an action film asked, "Am I the only female who falls asleep during a car chase?"). Also, it seems to me to be heading for a predictable ending and why would the bad guy leave so many clues which would enable his scheme to be defeated?  On the other hand, we all have to read a Douglas Kennedy for Book Club this month.  He comes highly recommended although I am ashamed to say I had not heard of him before.  I got "The Job", about the cut-throat world of the Advertising industry in Manhattan.  I was quickly appalled by the hectic pace of the high-fliers in the first couple of chapters, but I can't wait to see what happens to the central character, who so far has bounced back from the massive ups and downs of his career.  He is a salesman - a breed which has always fascinated me (something I could never be myself) and so I need to understand what makes him tick.  Considering what has happened to him so far, I am amazed that he has not offed himself  (I would have). I shall also finish "The Inferno", it's been good for my general knowledge and anyway, I want to see if I have guessed correctly about the end.