What A Buzz

coffee can

You Know You’re Drinking Too Much Coffee When…

  1. Juan Valdez names his donkey after you.
  2. You grind your coffee beans in your mouth.
  3. The only time you’re standing still is during an earthquake.
  4. You can take a picture of yourself from ten feet away without using
    the timer.
  5. You lick your coffeepot clean.
  6. You spend every vacation visiting “Maxwell House.”
  7. You’re the employee of the month at the local Starbucks and you
    don’t even work there.
  8. Your eyes stay open when you sneeze.
  9. You’re so jittery that people use your hands to blend their
    margaritas.
  10. You can jump-start your car without cables.
  11. All your kids are named “Joe.”
  12. Your only source of nutrition comes from “Sweet & Low.”
  13. You go to AA meetings just for the free coffee.
  14. You’ve built a miniature city out of little plastic stirrers.
  15. People get dizzy just watching you.
  16. When you find a penny, you say, “Find a penny, pick it up.
    Sixty-three more, I’ll have a cup.”
  17. The Taster’s Choice couple wants to adopt you.
  18. Starbucks owns the mortgage on your house.
  19. You’re so wired, you pick up FM radio.
  20. Your life’s goal is to “amount to a hill of beans.”
  21. Instant coffee takes too long.
  22. When someone says. “How are you?”, you say, “Good to the last drop.”
  23. You want to be cremated just so you can spend the rest of eternity
    in a coffee can.
  24. You go to sleep just so you can wake up and smell the coffee.
  25. You’re offended when people use the word “brew” to mean beer.
  26. You name your cats “Cream” and “Sugar.”
  27. You get drunk just so you can sober up.
  28. Your lips are permanently stuck in the sipping position.
  29. You can outlast the Energizer bunny.
  30. You don’t even wait for the water to boil anymore.
  31. You think being called a “drip” is a compliment.
  32. You don’t tan, you roast.
  33. You can’t even remember your second cup.
  34. You introduce your spouse as your “Coffeemate.”
  35. You think CPR stands for “Coffee Provides Resuscitation.”
  36. You have too much blood in your caffeine system.
  37. The barista asks you how you take your coffee, and you reply, “Very, very seriously!”
  38. You find sleep a weak substitute for coffee.
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’18 A To Z Challenge – E

Challenge '18 Letter E

Hold your nose and vote.  The last-minute surprise (and disappointment) winner of this year’s A to Z Challenge for the letter E is

ELECTION

Ballot Box

If the word ‘election’ is the winner, the voters here in Ontario are the losers.  We are about to hold a Provincial vote on Thursday, June 7th, and there is no good choice, only, the least of the worst.

The Liberal Party, who regard themselves as ‘the Natural Ruling Party,’ have, during their 14-year rule, financially run the province into the ground.  With their social engineering fascination with ‘renewable, Green Energy,’ like the wind turbines and solar panels that I wrote about seven years ago, they have made Ontario’s the second highest cost of energy in North America.

High electricity costs drove jobs and companies out of Ontario, reducing tax income.  Last year, the Premier cut the cost of electricity by 25%, by borrowing Billions that will have to be paid back plus interest over 30 years – not merely our children, but our grandchildren are mortgaged.

In a cynical bid to be elected in their place, the New Democratic Party – the NDP – promise that they will reduce electrical costs by 30%….  while also cutting taxes.  Even a first-year vocational institute bookkeeping student can see that that just can’t be done.

They’re having troubles with their list of candidates.  In 2012, one young man took part in a rather spirited protest at his University, and can be seen in published stills and video, holding up a large sign that clearly says, “FUCK The Police.”

A middle-aged female candidate has been on Twitter and Facebook about the wearing of Memorial poppies.  She thinks that they are just a way for the present government to brainwash and control the electorate, glorify war, and become more waste in the landfill.  She refuses to wear one, and sticks to her peace symbol.

Near my home-town, some yahoo published a post saying that he was going to soak a poppy in bleach, and “let the red bleed out,” to get one of those white ‘Surrender’ poppies.  The Royal Canadian Legion owns all rights to the red poppies, and published an article decrying the desecration.

Another middle-aged female candidate jumped in, claiming that the original article was relevant, supporting the writer.  She objects to the Legion having a monopoly on red poppies, says that they (the Legion-and the poppies) glorify wars – ALL wars – and ends with, “A plague on their house.”

It’s hard to know what to hate most, the fiscal incompetence, the cynical manipulation, or the social malfeasance.  “I’ll take all three, for $500, Alex.”

The Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, owner of the world’s most confused and contradictory name, recently installed a new Provincial caucus leader.  He has been favorably (or is that unfavorably) compared to Donald Trump.  With The Donald’s impressive abilities, I think that the Ontario version is just a Mini-Me, even though he tips the scales (and SmartCars) at 300lbs.

He is everything that you would not want your daughter to marry – brash, impulsive, self-centered, ill-mannered, sexist, entitled.  He has little political experience.  He did run a multi-million dollar business in Toronto, but can he run the multi-Billion dollar Province of Ontario, where tact and restraint will be required?

Claiming that he didn’t have enough time for normal nomination protocols, he simply appointed his picked candidates in 13 ridings – so much for his promise of transparency in government.

In my local riding, we’ve had a P.C. representative for the last two terms.  He has been efficient, and caring of his constituents.  His name is Michael Harris.  Some years ago, Ontario had a P.C. Premier named Mike Harris. Now his son – also Mike Harris – wants to get into politics.

The P.C. Association played a dirty #metoo trick on our Michael Harris, dragging out years-old sexy tweets to some woman who never worked under him, and suspending him, to parachute in Mike Harris.  Even with the transparency, did you follow that?  Who’s on first??!

You Americans should try to get Trump to put up a wall at the Ontario border by Thursday.  If things go the way I fear they might, you may need it.  With the prevailing winds, most of the fallout should carry into Quebec.  I will not waste my ballot by not voting, nor refuse my ballot, to make a political statement.  I will not give it to the Libertarian or Green Party, one-trick-ponies.  I am in a quandary.

E was for Election.  Stop back in a couple of weeks to see if F will be for, “We’re F**ked.   😯

I Have Poor Relatives

Shabby Man

Once upon a time there was a poor little boy from a poor family. His Father was poor.  His Mother was poor.  The maid was poor.  The cook was poor.  The butler was poor.  Even the chauffeur was poor. One day, he went to his father and asked if he could have a pony.  His Father said no, because they were too poor to afford a pony.  The poor little boy went to his piggy-bank, took out enough money to buy himself the pony, and put the rest back….

We are often so busy with our own lives, that without really obvious clues, we think that everyone is pretty much like ourselves. It takes an observant and analytical mind to notice the struggles of those at the bottom of the financial, pissed-on trickle down ladder.  I am distressed that a $180 pair of distressed designer jeans looks just like my four-years-old $24.95 Wal-Mart pair.

This is why politicians, who are already being paid far too much to do a job that their predecessors did without pay, as a Public Service, feel free to waste millions – Billions – of our dollars, and still fraudulently pad their office budgets and expense accounts.  They have no idea, and don’t care, what it’s like at the bottom of the pile, and it’s been this way since long before Marie Antoinette offered to “let them eat cake.”

It is just as illegal for a millionaire to sleep under a bridge, as it is for a homeless man to do so.

I recently had a conversation with a friend. It seemed that both of us were keeping an eye on family finances – total income vs. expenses – only I think that he was doing it at a much higher level than I was.  I’ve never asked how much he makes.  It’s none of my business, and doesn’t affect our friendship.

With his experience, training, intelligence and education, I suspect his annual salary is somewhere north of $100,000/year. His talented wife probably makes half of that.

With my learning disabilities, and poor short-term memory adding to my tendency for procrastination, I’m lucky to have accomplished what I have during my life. About 15 years ago, before I retired to live on Government and company pensions – with a bunch of overtime, I grossed $44,000, but the wife had been ‘downsized.’  Earlier, when I made $38,000, she added $19,000.

This is not a whine! I’m still doing better than a lot of people, including the little guy who busks in the cold, outside the local grocery store.  As an engineer, Jim Wheeler says that it is not worth his while to stop and pick up a penny.  I still grab the occasional one or two from the ‘Need A Penny/ Leave A Penny’ tray at the corner store.  People abandon them because the Mint has stopped making them.

I always check the reject chutes of the coin-counting machines in stores. Sometimes I find Canadian coins, as well as foreign ones which I add to my collection.  It’s quick and easy to eyeball the change chutes of vending machines.  I’m not too proud to (discreetly) stick my finger in the few payphone chutes that still exist.  The last time I did, I found $2.  It’s all relative.  $2 to a millionaire is nothing, although Bill Gates (or his minions) cashed a check for 39 cents.  $2 to someone who is eating cat food (We don’t.) means a lot.

Having pets is a wonderful experience. I would not want to get rid of any that we have, but the wife wants even more.  I cannot convince her that, between food, treats, litter, and vet bills, each animal costs us about $1000 a year.  I would sooner have that money to pay down our still-existing mortgage, or use it to take enjoyable trips, while we are still physically capable of doing so.

Some people waste money, too often MY money!  Some people scrimp and save, show restraint and fiscal control, and budget their money to get them the most they can.  I’d be patting myself on the back, but I’m busy crawling around on the floor, trying to find that quarter I dropped.  I’ll be back up at the computer in a couple of days.  Please come back again then.   😉

April Challenge – B

April Challenge

This blog-post is brought to you by the number 3.1415926, and the letter B.

Letter B

Basement; a story of a building, partly or wholly underground.

***

When they were first married, they were madly in love, always together. Couldn’t keep their hands off each other, joined at the hip – frequently. Went everywhere together.

He had to go to work to support his wife, and soon, their children. She became a housekeeper, remaining at home, to cook and clean, and raise the kids.  Still, they loved each other, and often expressed it – a quick kiss or a pat on the bum.

His career progressed. He worked longer hours and had to take courses.  When she wasn’t tied up with the kids, she got to coffee-klatch with other neighborhood wives, but they always made time for each other.

While they still liked each other greatly, and showed it, they found that they had different interests. He took up golf; she joined a bowling league.  He read only best-sellers and wondered what she got from the Historical Romance novels she read.  Still, there were the pecks on the cheek, and the rubbing of a forearm.

His job required him to travel occasionally. When he was out of town, she took the opportunity to visit a sister he considered a loud-mouthed trouble-maker.  When he returned home, they had little of interest to discuss with each other.

She moved into one of the children’s abandoned bedrooms, because ‘he snored.’ He might not snore if she didn’t stay awake all night, reading.

With the kids married, or off at college, organized evening meals became infrequent. One or the other might make food for them both, but it was seldom eaten together at the table.  She lounged in her bed and watched Downton Abbey.  He rocked back in the rec-room recliner and watched baseball or football.

One day he realized that they hadn’t spoken a word to each other in days – and he didn’t worry about it. They were down to having corridor sex.  If they met in the hallway, she would hiss, “Fuck you!”  He would reply, “Screw you, Bitch.”  Life had become an armed truce.

He realized that living together – separately, was better than splitting up. His benefits package covered her.  They only had one cable TV bill, one phone bill, one Internet provider.  The mortgage was retired, so neither would have to rent an apartment.

One day though, she gravely approached him, and told him that she wanted her space – without him in it. Somewhat sadly, he signed the divorce papers, and made arrangements to sell off the house and contents.  That was how he had come to be living in this basement, bachelor apartment.

 

Flash Fiction #15

antique-desk

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inheritance

He went to visit Grandpa again.  As he had for almost a year, he’d ply him with beers, and impress him with how great a guy he was.  Surely he wouldn’t last much longer.

“Come in Rob.  I just finished writing up my will.  I’ll get us some Coors.”

Quick, while he’s out, read it.

“The house is on reverse mortgage.  The bank gets it when I’m gone.  Being of sound mind, I spent it all.  To my grandson Robert:  Stop waiting for it to fall in your lap.  Go get a job.”

 

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

 

Under Pressure – Overtime

Recently, the son climbed out of the car and left his choice of radio station on.  When I climbed in, I left it playing.  Because of this, both of us heard David Wilcox’s, sexual innuendo, double-entendre song, Layin’ Pipe, with its line of, “Eight shifts a week is never enough.”

People like young, up-and-coming doctors and lawyers put in huge amounts of hours to guarantee future success, but often, hourly-paid workers will do the same, working two or three jobs, to get ahead.

One of my fellow auto-workers put in an 8 AM to 4 PM shift every Saturday at a cookie factory in the next city.  There was no problem when he was on day-shift, or afternoons, but, when our week ended after a midnight shift, Saturday at 7 AM, he had an hour, to drive 20 miles, and punch in by 8.

The son has a co-worker who works as a bus-boy/prep chef at a local family restaurant every Sat. & Sun.  On a straight midnight shift, he gets a few hours sleep, and works Saturday, from 2 till 10.  The plastics plant has offered a couple of Saturday midnight shifts recently, and he took them.  Leave the restaurant at 10 PM Saturday, drive across town and put in an 11 to 7, grab a few Sunday ZZZs, and back to the diner.

Fortunately, they were the weekends before, and after, Easter, giving him a week to recuperate.  The son worked both weekends also.  He had a four-day week with Easter Friday off, but followed by a six-day week.

My auto plant had a five-year stretch of prosperity, where there was overtime available every week and weekend.  As a union shop, the work went first to the person on the required job, and then by seniority.  A young man hot-forming vinyl sheets went through two packs of Hall’s Mentho-Lyptus cough candies per shift, to keep his mouth moist.

Someone suggested doing something on his day off, and he replied that he hadn’t had a day off work in 17 weeks, and many of them had been 12 hour days.  It was either the work stress, dextro-methorphan poisoning from all the Hall’s, or a combination of both, that lost him his job.  Not once, but twice, he phoned the plant manager’s house (who, of course, wasn’t home) and screamed at his wife and daughters and threatened them with violence and death.  I’m not sure if he demanded less overtime, or more.

The inspector/packer on my Jeep line was a little, Muslim, Turkish Cypriot.  As such, he had a great need for male children.  His wife first presented him with two daughters.  He bitched at her, but she was sufficiently Canadian to tell him that he only got back what he put in.

She finally gave him a son, but – Oh Horrors – the boy’s right ear was malformed, and he held it against her, loudly, constantly.  They had a nice little house, with a nice little mortgage.  She must have felt that, if he was going to either ignore her or belittle her, she wanted something that included room away from him.  Before long, they had a nice big house, with a nice big mortgage.

Soon, between abandoning her and paying down the mortgage, he was spending huge amounts of time at the plant.  One day, the supervisor distributed our pay checks and, without thinking, I asked, “Did you work any overtime last week?”  Then I slapped myself!  I worked the standard 40 hours.  He had a slow week at 80, 24 at time-and-a-half, and 16 at double-time pay, and yet, his check was exactly double mine.  All the premium pay had gone to the government as taxes.

He would work four hours over, each day – five 12-hour days by Friday – then come in on Saturday and Sunday as well.  If he wasn’t asked for overtime, he had a system.  Even if he worked till 11 PM Friday night, he was back at the plant by 6 AM Saturday morning, “Just to get something from his locker.”  He knew that, of a crew of 10 or 12, at least one would get drunk, or forget to set an alarm, and he would be invited to fill in.

He had another trick.  He would work the Saturday day-shift, come back at 11 PM and work the overnight midnight shift, get a bit of food and sleep, and return once again and work the Sunday afternoon shift, getting in three shifts over two days.

A few times, he managed to stretch one of the weekend shifts to 12 hours, giving him a total of 88 hours for the week.  Wilcox’s “eight shifts a week” is nothing; that’s eleven! At least once that I know of, he managed to get 12 hours on two of the weekend shifts, setting his record (and anybody else’s) at 92 hours.

He showed me a picture in his wallet once, of a handsome young man.  I thought it might be a younger brother or cousin.  It was just him, shortly before I met him, pinched, dried, wasted!  I own an 11-year-old car that I may not be able to afford to replace.  At 70, my mortgage isn’t paid off yet, but people still don’t believe I’m as old as I am.  I worked to live.  I didn’t live to work.

Huge work hours, and dedication to a job or career can buy you lots of “stuff”, but it often doesn’t leave you enough time or energy to truly enjoy your stuff.  I tried to attain a middle ground with my employment, and still often shake my head at those who don’t leave time for life or family.