Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Lock Down Your Charger With Charger Cuff

Recently, I was given the opportunity to check out the new Charger Cuff. Inventor, Terry created the Charger Cuff after he and his wife experienced the frustration of having their chargers walk away (presumably in the hands of a technology-obsessed teen.) This handy little invention is a pretty cool gadget. Several times a week I have to get up and walk allll the way to my bedroom in order to get my phone charger. Of course I never remember to take it back to my room when I go to bed and once in bed, let's face it, I'm much too lazy to get up and retrieve it so I just hope I have enough charge left for my phone's alarm to go off come morning. It's a whole Russian roulette of "Will Dawn Wake Up In Time For Work?"

What makes this charger stand apart from others is its ability to be locked down. For those of you with kids who like to walk off with your charger, this is for you!


A special tool is included with this charger so you can install it (in any standard outlet) and your kids won't be able to remove it, unless they find the special tool, of course. (I recommend hiding it with important items like your passports, last will and testament, family jewels, and your secret stash of chocolate.) Another cool feature is that each unit includes a 1 amp charging block and a multi-cable with 3 different charging cords (type-C, micro USB, and 8 pin x 2) to fit most any phone. So when an android-using friend is over and asks you, "Do you have a charger I could borrow?" Your i-Phone using self can say, "Why yes, yes, I do!"

I'm giving away 2 Charger Cuffs here. You can enter by leaving a comment, liking Charger Cuff on Facebook, and by tweeting. This contest is open to U.S. residents.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, May 20, 2019

Searching For Yellow Cars

image: CC low probability by banalities
I have a 30 mile commute round-trip to work every day. I hate every minute of it. I get in my car and my stomach tightens, dreading the next 30-45 minutes, knowing I'll encounter every jerk on the planet (or at least in central Florida) on my way to and from work. Before I even leave my apartment complex, I'll be confronted with a person blowing off a stop sign, and with someone tearing around the corner into the wrong lane, causing me to swerve dangerously close to the parked cars in order to avoid being hit head-on. As I wait for a break in traffic so I can pull out onto the street, I'll meet the people who, despite the fact they're stopped at a red light and have literally no place they can go, will not let me out. I'll also meet the person behind me who gets impatient waiting, pulls around me, and darts out into traffic the second the light changes causing several people to slam on their brakes.

I'll meet the people who drive 20 miles under the speed limit for no particular reason, I'll meet the ones who play pole position, weaving in and out of traffic attempting to get just one car ahead, and I'll meet the people who fly through red lights. I'll experience the ones who drive just barely the speed limit in the passing lane, oblivious to the fact there's a string of cars tailgating him in an attempt to encourage him to move over.

My exit is always backed up at least a mile and this is where I encounter the worst of the worst - those people who are so privileged (in their minds anyway), they don't need to wait in line like the rest of us filthy peasants. No, they can just speed along to the very front, bypassing the 10+ minute wait, and cut in front of everyone else patiently (or not so patiently) awaiting their turns.

My drive home includes half a dozen jaywalkers who are seemingly trying to get themselves run over, construction traffic, and a toll that narrows from 5 lanes to 1.

By the time I arrive at my destination, I'm so stressed out I vow to become a hermit and never leave my home again. Seriously, when I grow up, I'm going to be a hermit. I can combine that dream with my Cat Plan! It's brilliant! I'll move to a cabin in the middle of Montana, adopt 27 cats, and spend my days in my bathrobe eating Ben & Jerry's from the carton and washing it down with sangria. I'll be livin' the dream! But until that glorious day, I decided I needed to make a change (besides looking for a closer job!)

I recently heard something about looking for yellow cars. There aren't a whole lot of yellow cars on the road, right? You see them infrequently. Until you start looking for them. Then suddenly, they're everywhere! It's called the Yellow Car Phenomenon. Now of course there aren't more yellow cars on the road when you're searching for them. They've been there all along. When you shift your paradigm, however, you notice them. And that's the thing - you'll find what you're looking for. So you have to ask yourself - what am I looking for?

When I leave for work expecting to encounter entitled, self-absorbed, inconsiderate jerks, I find them. When you enter your meeting expecting a terrible outcome, you'll find it. When you think your boss, coworkers, or family will let you down, they will. Every time.

But when you change your way of thinking, amazing things can happen. 

I was visiting a friend who works part-time in a gift shop situated in an independent living/assisted living home for seniors. A resident was perusing the shop and struck up a conversation with us. She went on to complain about the marinade that was on the chicken at lunch, the food in general, and the chef himself. She lamented the lack of activities, the fact there aren't enough people who like to play cards, and how she can't even go shopping because it's like she's a prisoner there. Now this home is a pretty luxurious place with many amenities, activities galore, and a bus that takes them to local shopping and restaurants every day. But this woman was ultra-focused on everything negative. And she seemed pretty unhappy.

Then there's my Aunt Vasiliki. She's had many health issues over the years. She's a breast cancer survivor. She was divorced at a pretty young age and never remarried. She lost her parents while they were still young and recently lost her sister. She probably has cause to be bitter. But I have never seen her without a smile and a laugh. She also lives in an independent/assisted living home, and let me tell ya, she's never in her apartment! Because she's busy playing cards, doing puzzles, driving someone to a doctor's appointment, reshelving books in their little library, eating with friends, making jewelry, and anything else that looks like fun. Everyone knows my aunt and enjoys her contagiously effervescent company.

When I drive to school this week, I'm going to look for yellow cars - those people who let others in. Those who patiently wait their turn. Those who aren't consumed with road rage, and those who do stop at red lights, let pedestrians cross, and use their turn signals. I'll remember that there are good people in the world. Will the entitled, self-absorbed, inconsiderate buttheads still be there? Of course they will. They always will. But time is too short, and life is too precious to concern myself with them. I will choose to focus on the positive and will continue to strive to be the kind of person that makes other people feel good; not the kind that makes other people want to throat-punch me.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8 New International Version (NIV)

Monday, May 13, 2019

Shopping With My Kids No Longer Makes Me Want To Gouge My Eyes Out With A Pencil

Creative Commons
Once upon a time I wrote a story about grocery shopping with my 6 young children. At the time, I was convinced that shopping with kids was the worst torture on the planet. Worse than having your ankles broken by a sledgehammer à la Kathy Bates in Misery. Worse than sitting in front of a white chocolate raspberry cheesecake and being on a diet. Worse than even going to the dentist. Just worse. Than anything at all. 

I remember back when Brooklyn would throw a fit and cry her way through the entire store. I remember how Clay would maneuver his way out of the seatbelt and try to get brain damage by flipping himself out of the cart. I remember how Lexi would insist on dressing in a princess costume, and she'd pirouette down the aisles. Jackson would alternately tease someone and beg me for candy. Savannah would ram the cart into my ankles, Austin would walk around, bored and fed up with his siblings. Then my kids grew up. And now they're (wait for it . . .) helpful!

This weekend, I uncharacteristically walked around Walmart without a list; just a vague idea of what I needed to get. My kids said stuff like, "Hey Mom, we're out of bread." I hadn't realized we were out of it. They said, "Can I get a frozen pizza to eat for when you and Clay are at his band banquet?" Oh crap, that's right! I'd forgotten about the banquet. Instead of trying to sneak random junk food into the cart, the reminded me to get celery and beans and almond milk.

I don't always even notice all the help they give me, but I'm reminded of it on those rare occasions when I run to the store by myself. The cashier will give me a raised eyebrow look and wonder if I'm completely stupid as I stand there waiting to pay while the little carousel of packed bags fills up. "Um, can you put those bags in your cart ma'am?" Oh right! I belatedly realize my kids aren't here to do that for me. I'm so used to them transferring the filled bags to my cart. They are totally helpful these days!

As I wheel the cart outside, I head down an aisle to my car. Only my car isn't there. So I scan the parking lot, searching for my van. I make my way up and down two more aisles. Where on earth did I park?! The little "beep beep" thing on my key fob ceased working years ago so I continue to march up and down the aisles, searching for my vehicle. At some point, usually when I'm about to call the police to file a stolen vehicle report, I'll remember that I didn't even park at that door and I'll head across the parking lot to the opposite side. This never happens when my kids are with me. When I head out the door with the cart, they immediately turn me around. "You parked over there, Mom. How do you not remember? It was like 20 minutes ago!"

And these days, I no longer get embarrassed. I was shopping with Clay and Brooklyn this weekend and as we headed toward the refrigerated section, a song came over the speaker system, so naturally I started singing along.

I'm not a present for your friends to open
This boy's too young to be singing, the blue-ooo-oooos, 

"Hey Mom?"

"What, Brooklyn?"

"Who sings this song?"

I mentally pat myself on the back for instilling a love of music in my kids' hearts. They have eclectic tastes and will sing along to an enormous variety of tunes, many of which are from when I was a kid and even before. I answer her, "Elton John."

She looks at me, deadpan and says, "Let's keep it that way."

Oh no she didn't! She wasn't interested in knowing who the artist was! She just set me up for a burn! Clearly, I had only one option.

So I sang louder.

Oh I've finally decided my future lies
Beyond the yellow brick ro-oa-oad, 

See kids? I'm impervious to embarrassment. All of those years of shopping with you guys and wishing a hole would open up and swallow me as we shopped have rendered me numb. Those times when I'd be embarrassed because you were wearing a Cinderella dress, cowboy boots, a flannel shirt, and a Cubs hat? Gone. The times I'd be embarrassed because you would just. not. stop. crying? Gone. The times I'd be embarrassed when you'd point to an overweight woman and loudly ask, "Does she have a baby in her tummy?" Gone.

So you moms of little ones who would rather (to steal a phrase from that old post) be a contestant on Fear Factor when they're having pig brains for lunch than to go shopping with your little ones, take heart. It gets better. So. much. better. I promise!

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