Paper Or Plastic?

 

That used to be the question when grocery stores asked how you wanted your purchases packed. Now, here in Canada, it could be the question of how you want your change.

In my Funny Money post of about a year ago, I mentioned that Canada was switching over from paper money, to bills made of polymer plastic.  Working from the Hundred, they’ve finally changed all the bills over, down to the Five, which is the smallest Canadian bill printed, since we replaced the One and Two-Dollar bills with coins several year ago.

Often kidded by Americans about our “Monopoly Money”, I thought they, and perhaps other non-Canadians, might like to see the changes.  These are the most recent, non-plastic 20s, 10s and 5s, first the fronts, and the backs.

SDC10603 SDC10605

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are the new polymer versions, again, first fronts, then backs, showing the uneven-shaped clear strip, the security strip, and (hopefully) the holograms.  The first thing I found is that they “talk” to your computer/scanner, and refuse to resolve, to prevent color-copier counterfeiting – after the third try, and checking the computer, and then the scanner.  I finally had to use the digital camera, upload to the computer and hope that they publish.

SDC10599  SDC10600

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At our income levels, hundred-dollar bills don’t enter the house very often, but thanks to a son who lives at home and doesn’t have to rely on government pensions, and the wife’s stash from selling candles, we have the three most recent iterations of the fifty-dollar bill, the ten-year-old, pure-paper version, the modified version with the security strip, and the new, all-polymer edition, bottom to top.

SDC10606

SDC10608

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite some snide, condescending, redneck comments about our cash, Canada doesn’t even come close to having the most flamboyant bills.  I have some very pretty, and colorful, foreign examples with my coin collection.  Perhaps later I could publish pictures of bills from places where it’s a good thing you’re already wearing sunglasses.

Housecleaning Memories

This post will be a sort of guest post from Granma Ladybug.

Recently she has assisted me with our Fall Housecleaning.  She has been reluctant to do so, not because of the labor, or the allergies, but because of the need to divest ourselves of many things which bring back strong memories.

Some years ago, when she was downsized out of a job, she took advantage of a government grant to return to school and upgrade her computer and English skills.  To assess incoming students’ language abilities, the English teacher asked them to write a one-page essay.  She recently came upon a file with hers, along with some other submissions.

The prompt was, “Write about something which strongly affected you, hopefully pleasantly.”  Her mother died when she was only three, and she was raised by a succession of older sisters and an evil sister-in-law.  When we engaged, my mother took her in like her own.  Read how this affected her.

A SUNDAY AFTERNOON DRIVE DOWN THE
SOUTH SHORE OF LAKE HURON

“Welcome to Bruce County!”  This is a sign that, over the years has come to mean a homecoming to me.  Unfortunately, this spring my mother-in-law had a stroke that affected her short-term memory, and she had to be placed in a nursing home.

Every trip home means visiting my father-in-law, who still manages to live at home, and fitting in three visits with Mom over the weekend.  This trip home, my husband and I decided to take Mom out for a Sunday afternoon drive.

After getting Mom settled in the car, our first stop was The Chip Shop, for French fries which we could enjoy during the drive.  Our journey took us down the main street to Lake Huron, and a view of Chantry Island.  We then travelled along Huron Street, taking a right onto Adelaide Street, down to Lake Street, left on Lake Street past the tennis courts, and another right to Beach Street.

Lighthouse

 

 

 

 

At the end of Beach Street is Chantry Park, where the Long Dock was.  You can still see the rocks which made up the dock, stretching far out into the water.  We then continued down Front Street, which turns into Harmer Street, then becomes Harmer Road, paralleling Lake Huron.

Lighthouse II

 

 

 

 

 

The road winds along the shoreline, curving to accommodate Mirimachi Bay, where a lower water level reveals mud flats with pools of murky water that house bulrushes, and other aquatic life.  We pulled over to the side of the road and watched two sailboats rounding Chantry Island, the sailing conditions being absolutely perfect.

mini-railroad

 

 

 

 

As we continued down the shore road, the brightly shining sun made the calm water sparkle with diamonds….almost too brilliant for the eyes.  On we meandered, past the miniature gauge railroad tracks in the lakefront park, past Port Elgin’s marina, up to the main street and to the Tim Horton’s, to pick up Timbits for Mom and her roommate, Christina Eagles.

Returning Mom to the nursing home was very difficult for Mom and us; however, Christina was glad to see Mom, as she has become very attached to her, and is frightened to be left alone for too long.  We brought out the Timbits, which are Christina’s favorite treat, and had a small party to celebrate the end of an enjoyable day.

While it was pleasant to take Mom out for the day, it brought to mind past years when Sunday meant putting on a roast and loading the car with grandparents, parents and children, to take a tour of the Bruce Peninsula.  We have, in past years, gone to the flea market at Mar, seen the spring and fall colors at Lion’s Head, and investigated many, many garage sales that dot the countryside during the fine summer weather.

Outings that were taken by the Smith family include a litany of small town names such as Chesley, Tara, Allenford, Wingham, Oliphant etc.  These were memories in the making, something to bring out later, and to let the remembering heal the hurt that adverse changes can bring.  To make pleasant memories is a very important detail.

This was the bitter-sweet last time we were all able to enjoy such a get-together.  Mom remained in good physical condition, almost until her death from a virulent case of flu when she was 92.  Soon after this day though, the mental light in her eyes faded, and there was almost no spark of who she’d been.

While we may be forced to jettison some of our physical things, we hold our memories dearly.  They remain almost as bright and strong as the days they were created.  They take no room to store and, not only can we pull them out and enjoy them at any time, but we can share them with others.   😀

Flash Fiction #35

Fishing boat

 

 

 

 

 

Walking On Water

Mischa had made his living fishing this little inland sea all his life, and his ancestors had done so for untold generations, back into the mists of time.

First the water had got thick, and saltier, then the fish had all but disappeared.  Now it was the sea itself which was disappearing.  The little cottage where his parents had raised him was now half a kilometer from the new shoreline.  His fishing boat sat stranded on the mud flats.

He recently met a group of outsiders, “scientists”, studying the Aral Sea.  One had taught him a new term – Global Warming.

 

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and used the Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Coffee And Doughnuts

CB750K

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cordelia’s Mom recently published a post about inadvertently getting pulled over on her way home from work, in the middle of a SWAT takedown.  She escaped with clean underwear and no bullet holes, and asked if anyone else had had something like this happen.  While not quite that exciting, I’ve had a couple of times that I’ve been pulled over when I was completely innocent.  🙄

For about 20 years, I rode a series of motorcycles 8-10 months a year, from when enough ice melted off Canadian roads to make it safe – to when they iced up again the next winter.  This all stopped when I fell off my bike and broke my wallet.  Being on medical leave for 8 months for reconstructive surgery and physiotherapy at 80% of average wages, followed by a 500% increase in the cost of insurance for a car that wasn’t even involved in the accident will do that to you.

I used to ride the bike to work.  Taking the same route a thousand times, I soon had the traffic lights timed.  A full stop at a red light in a car is irksome, but at least you’re comfortably seated.  A full stop on a bike means supporting the machine.  I learned where to speed up a bit, and where to go a bit slower, so that lights turned green just as I arrived.

One night I left the house at 10:20 PM, for the 5-mile, 10-minute cross-town ride.  Four blocks from the plant my road was crossed by another, hanging on the side of a small hill.  The pavement flattened out to cross, then dipped down the hill again.

As I approached, I could see the orange light on the cross-street, but no headlights from any vehicles enticed to run the orange/red.  As I reached the white stop line, the light went green, and I scooted across at 30 mph.  Just over the rise, coming out of the driveway from a doughnut shop, was – a police car.  How cliché.

I slowed slightly, in case he pulled out broadside, but he slammed his brakes on.  I swerved around his protruding nose and continued, keeping an eye on my mirrors – and he turned out.  Three blocks to the main street, and I made a careful, legal right turn – and he followed.  It’s the main drag, not to worry.  A block up the street to the road my plant was on, and another cautious right turn.

The company offered parking for motorcycles on a concrete pad over an underground tank, at the end of the parking lot.  It was under some trees, away from streetlights, and next to an abandoned house.  Most of the plant’s bikers elected to park on the cement apron beside the stairs to the front entrance, where constant traffic offered a little more security.

I eased across the sidewalk and stopped the bike.  Officer Officious was still following. As I rocked the bike up onto its center stand and started peeling off my riding gloves and leather jacket, he swung onto the other side of the road, pulled a U-turn, and stopped facing the wrong way again, beside me.  Do not try this at home kids.  Only legitimate police officers are authorized to violate traffic regulations that we must obey.

I pulled off my bug-stopping riding glasses and undid my helmet strap as he swaggered his way over.  It is entertaining to see the facial expressions when someone’s preconceptions are dashed.  Perhaps he expected some teen/20s rider that he could intimidate, and seemed confused to be confronted with a 50-year-old man, old enough to be his father – but he fired the first (verbal) shot.

“Are you late for work?”
“Yes!”
“I’ll need to see your driver’s licence, ownership, and proof of insurance.”

I pulled my licence from the wallet and passed it over.  Most bikes have a small, lockable plastic box beneath the seat with a toolkit.  That’s where many bikers carry their paperwork.  I unlocked mine, dug it out and handed it over.  He retired to sit in the cruiser while I leaned on the bike.

I’d had a minor highway speeding ticket about ten years before, but my record – driving and otherwise – is surprisingly clean.  After his computer forgave my few minor sins, he returned my documents.  I put everything back where it belonged and picked up all my junk and headed for the door.  As I passed him, he took one more swing.

“I guess you have to admit that you were going pretty fast over on the other street.”
“No!”

Canada doesn’t have the Fifth Amendment, but we do have laws which prevent self incrimination.  I wasn’t going ‘pretty fast’.  He was just inattentive, and embarrassed, and possibly pissed because he’d spilled his coffee; but even if I was speeding, I don’t have to admit it.

He’d eaten ten minutes of my time, and got two words from me for his trouble.  I walked into the plant, leaving him to clean up the soggy doughnuts, and wondering why I wasn’t awed by the force of his personality.

Adaptability (Humor In Business)

SITUATION ADAPTABILITY EVALUATION
FOR MANAGEMENT PERSONNEL

This test has been designed to evaluate reactions of management personnel to various situations.  The situations are based on actual case studies from a well-known educational institution, and represent a cross-section of test data, correlated to evaluate both reaction time to difficult situations, as well as the soundness of each decision selected.

There are 8 multiple choice questions.  Read each question thoroughly.  Place an X by the answer you feel is most correctly justified by the circumstances given.  Be prepared to justify your decision.

You have 4 minutes.

Do not begin answering the questions until you are told to do so.

1.  You have prepared a proposal for the Regional Director of Purchasing for your largest customer.  The success of this presentation will mean increasing your sales to his company by 200%.  In the middle of your proposal, the customer leans over to look at your report, and spits into your coffee. You:

(a) Tell him you prefer you coffee black.
(b)  Ask to have him checked for communicable diseases.
(c)  Take a leak in his ‘OUT’ basket.

2. You are having lunch with a prospective customer, talking about what could be your biggest sale of the year. During the conversation, a blonde walks into the restaurant, and she is so stunning that you draw your companion’s attention to her, and give a vivid description of what you would do if you had her alone in your motel room. She walks over to your table and introduces herself as your client’s daughter. Your next move is to:

(a) Ask for her hand in marriage.
(b) Pretend you’ve forgotten how to speak English.
(c) Repeat the conversation to the daughter, and just hope for the best.

3.  You are making a sales presentation to a group of corporate executives in the plushest office you’ve ever seen. The hot enchilada casserole and egg salad sandwich you had for lunch react, creating a severe pressure. Your sphincter loses its control, and you break wind in a most convincing manner, causing three tumblers to shatter, and a secretary to pass out. What you should do next is:

(a) Offer to come back next week, when the smell has gone away.
(b) Point to their CEO, and accuse him of the offense.
(c) Challenge anyone in the room to do better.

4.  You are at a business lunch, when you are suddenly overcome with an uncontrollable need to pick your nose. Remembering that this is definitely a NO-NO. You:

(a) Pretend to wave to somebody across the room and, with one fluid motion, bury your forefinger in your nose up to the 4th joint.
(b) Get everyone drunk, and organize a nose-picking contest with a prize to the one who make his nose bleed first.
(c) Drop your napkin on the floor, and when you bend over to pick it up, blow your nose on your sock.

5. You’ve just spent the evening with a supplier who invited you to an all-night boiler-maker drinking party. You get home just in time to go to work. You stagger to the men’s room and spend a half-hour vomiting. As you’re washing up, the Sales Training Manager walks in, blows cigar smoke in your face, and asks you to join him for drinks after work. You:

(a) Look him straight in the eye, and launch one last convulsive torrent at the front of his Hart Shaffner & Marx suit.
(b) Nail him right in the crotch, banking on the fact that he’ll never recognize your green face.
(c) Grasp his hand and pump it till he pees his pants.

6.  You are at a dinner with a customer and his wife, who looks like the regional winner of the Marjorie Main lookalike contest. Halfway through dinner you feel a hand on your lap. If you are resourceful, you will:

(a) ‘Accidently ‘ spill hot coffee in your lap.
(b) Slip a note to you server to have your customer paged, and see if the hand disappears.
(c) Excuse yourself and go to the men’s room. If he follows, don’t come out till you have a signed order.

7.  You’re on your way in to see your best account, when your zipper breaks, and you remember that you forgot to put on your underpants this morning. You decide to:

(a) Call on the customer’s secretary instead.
(b) Explain that you were trolling for queers.
(c) Buy a baggy raincoat and head for the school playground.

8.  You’ve just returned from Green Bay, Wisconsin, in January, and tell your boss that nobody but whores and football players live there. He mentions that his wife is from Green Bay. You:

(a) Ask what position she played.
(b) Ask if she’s still working the streets.
(c) Pretend you’re suffering from amnesia, and don’t remember your name.

Remember, there are no “correct” answers, except perhaps to take up Yoga so that you can practice bending over and kissing it goodbye.

 

 

Flash Fiction #34

Desolation

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE GRASS IS GREENER

As Bob stood waiting for his fiancée and her parents to arrive for dinner, he thought of his old friend Paul. He missed his childhood buddy, but he was glad he hadn’t gone with him to Chicago.

Ugh, Chi-town, cold, windy and bleak.  Route 66, indeed.  New York City was the center of the universe.  He’d done well enough in advertising to afford this fine apartment in a prestigious building on Central Park.  Too bad he couldn’t get one with a view of the Park.

He had added mums to his end of ‘the courtyard’, but somebody kept stealing them.

 

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple website and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

 

Triviana Fore

 

What I Did On My Christmas Vacation
I’m retired!!  It’s ALLLL vacation.

I received my WordPress email outlining my year.  I ignored it.  Last year I displayed my stats.  This year…Pfft!  I’m not disappointed; it’s just that guys like BrainRants and The Byronic Man get year-end notices that include the statement, “The population of the Earth is seven Billion.  Every one of them visited your site last year – twice!”  I think mine mentioned a Mini car….or was it an electric scooter?

SDC10603

 

 

 

I found some money (what a surprise), and got panhandled for a bit of it – twice in one day.  If Ace is the place for Americans, Canadian Tire is the place for Canucks.  I went there with the wife to buy the grandson presents – tools he’ll need for his welding apprenticeship.

While she was dithering deciding, I ambled up the aisle.  I’m planning a post about written stuff I find on the floor/ground.  Halfway between me and an oncoming woman, there was something on the floor.  Probably just someone’s shopping list – but I hurried a bit, to get there first.  I picked up $15 – a ten and a five.

I went into a non-usual grocery store, and checked out the coin-counter machine, as I always do, and got 45¢ for my Scottish trouble, a quarter and two dimes.  The next day I went to my usual store, and was barely inside the door when some young colored female asked me for a dollar.  She was well dressed in figure-displaying clothing, but had a Muslim modesty scarf over her head.  Oh, that sexy hair.  That’s what guys go crazy for.

She and her friend had come in to purchase a single-use aluminum roast pan.  Probably going to cook up a camel haunch.  They had brought their little change purses, but had both left the big ones with the real money locked in the car.  The roast pan cost more than they’d thought it would.  They didn’t want to have to go all the way back to the car in a snow storm, and would I just give them a dollar.  Uh, NO!

The nerve!!  The absolute gall!!  I was about to tell her what she could do for a dollar, when I realized she already had.  This tale alone was worth more than the dollar.  As I left this store, I checked out their coin counting machine – and picked up another 45¢, this time a nickel and four dimes – including a 1952 silver, King George one to add to my collection.

silver dime

 

 

 

I went a quarter-mile down the road to another supermarket which carries a house brand not available elsewhere.  As I exited, I was accosted by a mid-20s male, slightly scruffy, but warmly dressed.  He politely asked if I could spare any change toward ‘bus fare.’  Yeah, right – but his girlfriend?, seeing that he had a big one hooked, came rushing over – on her power wheelchair.  Oh damn.

I kept the silver dime, but bought some Karma by giving them all the change in my pocket – not a lot, more than a dollar, perhaps less than two.

The wife and I shopped for groceries together one day.  The couple checking out – the guy ahead of us – and we were third in line.  As the first pair bagged up and left, the guy in front of me stepped forward, and onto, and then off, what appeared to be a coin.

I moved forward into the area he’d vacated, and bent forward slightly to see if it was a quarter I might later pick up.  Suddenly he was all in my face!

“What the FUCK are you lookin’ at??!  Just keep your goddamned nose out of my business!  I don’t want you snooping at my shit!  Just stand the FUCK back, asshole, and mind your own fucking business.”

Dear Lord!  Take a chill pill Bill.  Increase the medication dosage, and attend those court-ordered anger management courses.  Nosy??  Snooping??  Your business? – in a grocery store??  All for looking at a dirty spot on the floor?  Does your wife have you picking up panty liners, or are those yours Nasty Nancy?

Even my wife, who is usually judgemental and unsympathetic of my ‘shenanigans’, was amazed at this over-the-top paranoia performance.

General Motors recently sent me a letter, telling me that, if I attach a bowling ball to the keychain for my Chevy Impala, it may cause the jet engines to fail in midflight, and kill more than the AirAsia crashes.  Nice going idiots!  This 54¢ part recall has been going on for years.  I’ve owned this car for almost 11 years, and you finally got around to telling me that my vehicle is one affected.  I feel so cared for.  🙄

I had an awkward moment recently, when I wasn’t sure if I actually had some free time, or if I was just forgetting something again.