Subourbon Mom

Laptops for T-Rex

thMy kids should be so proud of me. In my new-ish job, I’ve learned lots of things, including how to design a marketing trade show banner, conference call, video chat, and edit a website. I also recently learned that there is such a thing as office Karma.

As our company has prospered and our technology needs have grown, our computers have gotten progressively smaller – so small in fact, that I commented to my boss (because I clearly have no filter) that he looks like a court stenographer when he’s sitting there, hunched over his laptop. He has to squeeze his arms together so his hands can fit onto the tiny keyboard.

My observation was politely ignored.

Naturally, I was due for some Karma after that comment. In fact, I’m probably due for heaps and heaps of steaming, putrescent office karma thanks to my verbal diarrhea and 12-year-old sense of humor (apparently not everyone thinks poop jokes are funny ALL of the time).

So my old computer finally started to die on me, first by thinking for really long periods of time about how to find a website (for the record it was actually work-related, and had nothing to do with the “Listen Linda” YouTube video). My boss was kind enough to approve the new Surface Pro laptop for me, too.

Don’t get me wrong – the Surface Pro is really cool, and has a lot going for it, especially after I lugged my old laptop around a tech conference for 4 days. This thing is like carrying a tiny, literary magazine around – it’s small but self-important.  And I’m well aware of how cool it is that my work was deemed worthy enough to get one – so thank you, Workplace. But of course I can’t just let it go at that.

The Surface Pro, which is slightly larger than the iPhone 6 Plus (a.k.a. the “ear pad”), is incredibly portable and weighs as much as a People Magazine.

And it was clearly made by and for pubescent boys. Here’s why:

  • You can make the font/text bigger on the screen, but only in a distorted way, and certainly not big enough to compensate for my CVS 2.0 reading glasses. No one over the age of 40 can see what they’re doing.
  • It will fit in my purse (not that I would EVER be so careless as to do that, Office/Security Manager) – not a great place since my purse houses pharmaceuticals, lotions and liquid soap. But it’s tempting.
  • The keyboard is tiny – you have to place it on a table with your hands so close together to type that you look like a T-Rex, or a raccoon washing its food. For men with broad shoulders it must be awkward. For women, it squishes the girls like you wouldn’t believe – and my girls are, shall we say…petite. My heart goes out to my more endowed co-workers. In fact, here’s my million dollar idea – the Surface Pro could double as a mammogram. It would be a daily check– how awesome is that? What a way to save on healthcare costs!

That said, I know in light of everything in the news this week these are clearly first-world problems. Every now and then I have to remind myself that I now live in a world where computers fit in your purse, and we have isolated cancer genes – I was still using a typewriter when I went to college, and nobody talked about cancer – EVER. Hopefully, smarter folks than me will use these magic devices for good, and overcome some of the obstacles we have in this world that keep us from being the excellent species we have the potential to be.

Bless our hearts.


Birds on a Budget

Every now and then Hubby and I have a Come-To-Jesus meeting about our budget, where we both agree we eat meals out too often, among the other things we spend too much money on. That’s an easy way to cut back. Then we promptly go out with friends to a Mexican place and have beer and margaritas.  I’m always lecturing the girls on not spending their money at restaurants, and to save it for something they really want—and they promptly go to a local dive called Satterwites and order breakfast. Shocker…

Come to find out, the Animal Kingdom isn’t much different than the People Kingdom in that regard. Nobody likes to eat what’s in their own house.

We (okay, really it was Hubby and friends) recently finished the back porch. I was the SOA (Sr. Outside Assistant, handling things like running to the kitchen for rum and cokes and beer).  The porch is another dream come true (seriously, I’ve been thinking about it for years—BIG points for Hubby)—and then came the opportunity to get some good karma from the Animal Kingdom, to balance out the massive amounts of fish we’d been catching and eating.  (I’m sure that someday I will come back as a catfish—that will be my punishment—in fact, I’ve already got these suspiciously long hairs around my mouth that I now have to get waxed off…seriously, getting old is so gross.)

Unfortunately, a family of wrens built their nest (complete with 3 eggs) in the stack of cushions we were storing on the porch.  By the time we got the screen done and were ready to move the whole stack outside, nest included, there were three baby wrens in the nest instead of just eggs.  What a dilemma—make birds happy, or push on with my dream of sitting bug-free on the porch.

Newsflash: I’m not a bird fan, Baltimore Orioles excepted. They creep me out—all twitchy and beady-eyed.

I spent some time trying to determine how to move the nest without dropping the babies, but finally, better people (Mom and Daughters and Niece) decided the right thing to do was to leave the nest where it was and leave the porch doors open so Mama and Daddy Bird could feed the babies and teach them how to fly. According to the internet, this takes about 2 weeks.

I was not happy to have to share my porch with my feathered friends.

So we spent the rest of the time with the doors open and citronella candles burning, watching wasps, ants, mosquitos and other creepy crawlies enjoy their new home. It was also entertaining to watch the bugs have to re-route their flight paths once the porch was enclosed in a no-fly zone–lots of smacks against the screens. Those smacking sounds were almost as satisfying as hearing a bug zapper, or hitting them with the electric for swatter.

Finally, after dodging yet another angry, Kamikaze wasp, Big Brother said, “If those birds are going to live in here with us, the least they can do is stop going out for dinner. They should eat what’s here.”

I guess even the birds need to have a Come-to-Jesus budget meeting, too.

Bumper Stickers Picker

Being the parent of teens who can’t drive yet, I spend approximately half of my day in my car, driving to and from sleepovers, sporting events and subsequent visits to the orthopedist. I have become an expert at iPhone games, deciphering vanity license plates (if it takes more than 5 seconds you need to pick another one), and reading bumper stickers. It’s the bumper stickers I want to talk about.

Bumper stickers came into popularity after WWII, in the form of flags attached with wire to car bumpers, according to that bastion of nebulous truth, Wikipedia (Since I’m in my car right now I don’t have a way to verify this). Magnets have been around even longer. So why has it taken us 70 years to figure out how to make flat magnet stickers that don’t ruin your paint job?

As if FaceBook, Instagram, and SnapChat aren’t enough, we have bumper stickers/magnets for everything, announcing to the motorized world our political affiliations, accomplishments, beliefs, and travel habits. There are stickers for Republicans, Democrats, Tea Partiers, and someone named Ron Paul who I still haven’t Googled; there are pro-life, pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, pro-term limits, pro-America, anti-war, anti-Israel, anti-Islamist, anti-Christian, anti-Wall Street, and anti-gun stickers, to mention a few.

Please explain to me how, if I can watch an entire debate and still not know who I’m voting for, why you think a bumper sticker is going to make up my mind? Same thing for the religious bumper stickers–if I’ve been going to church my whole life, have read books on various world religions, and I’m still searching, do you really think that criss-cross fish thing is going to make me Born-Again?

There are Soccer Moms, Baseball Dads, Football Fanatics, and entire families made of stick figures on every mini-van and SUV. My favorite of these was one that has a parent stick figure missing, and hand-written in marker were the words “Position Vacant.” Maybe they could add stick figure step-parents by having them on a staircase; or, half-brother and –sisters by cutting the stick figures in half. The modern family defies stick figure decals.

And let’s not forget the rampant joggers and runners who brag about their marathons, half-marathons and 10k races with stickers. If I put a running sticker on my car, it would say .1K—Car to Bar Relay.

Last year I finally bought a bumper sticker. It said, “Don’t use your turn signal –keep me in suspense”—a HUGE pet-peeve of mine. Turn signals are NOT optional. I was excited to put it on until I realized no one across an intersection would be able to see it if I put it on the front of my car. So, there it sits on my kitchen counter, taunting me with the knowledge I will have to keep my snarky comments inside my car instead of telling the world how I feel. Perhaps it’s just as well. Very few people would understand a sticker that says, “1 frozen chipmunk =3 car accidents—I dare you.”

Tips for “Manthers”
November 6, 2012, 2:46 am
Filed under: Middle Age | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Hubby #1, in an effort to go back to being just plain Hubby, decided he could help me out by giving me a week off from writing. This was a great idea, because the Chipmunk Popsicle has gotten his revenge. I hit a deer with Hubby’s car and got rear-ended since posting that blog. The whiplash is just now starting to fade. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up. The animal kingdom is a firm believer in Kharma.

So, Hubby went to a local bar (with the same friend who suggested covering the paralyzed chipmunk in peanut butter for a kitty snack) and took some notes on an actual attempt by a 50-ish guy to pick up a twenty-one-year-old girl. Peanut Butter’s Wife and I have since decided this was just an excuse for them to talk to 21-year-olds without seeming too creepy.

Tips for “Manthers” Trying to Pick up 21-Year-Olds:

1) Buy their drinks—seriously, Dude, that’s still the rule.
2) Don’t talk about your own 20-year-old kid.
3) Worse, don’t call your 20-year-old kid and have them talk to each other. It’s not a play date.
4) Don’t take a call from your (ex?) wife.
5) Don’t beat her playing pool—let her win. Chivalry ain’t dead.
6) Pay for your own games of pool—a half-assed offer to get quarters from your car says “I’m cheap and still paying off my divorce lawyer.”
7) Don’t ask them where they go to school and act interested.
8) Don’t start dancing like you did 20 years ago—you may pull a hamstring, and The Sprinkler was never cool.
9) Tuck in your t-shirt to avoid your beer gut sagging from underneath. And that soul patch/goatee and earring aren’t fooling anybody. Billy Ray Cyrus couldn’t pull it off either.
10) When the 21-year-old boyfriend shows up, call it a night!

Chipmunk Popsicle
October 26, 2012, 1:49 am
Filed under: Misc. Humor | Tags: , , , ,

Usually, I can tell when I’ve got good or bad Kharma coming to me, since most of my actions are pretty straightforward. But sometimes the line gets a little fuzzy. Like last week, with the Chipmunk Incident. (PETA members, you might as well stop reading, but for the record, I really was doing the best I could.)

I came home for lunch one day, and Hubby called.

“Did you see what I left in the trash can?” he asked.

“No. Why would I look in the trash can?” (Does he really think I look in there each time I pass by?)

“I left you something.”


“The cats left a paralyzed a chipmunk on the back porch, so I put it in there.”

“Is he dead?” I asked, hesitating. Why else would Hubby be telling me this?

“He might be by now. But, I put him on top of the bag,” Hubby said, defensively.

So of course I had to go out and look. Sure enough, there was Chippy, only he wasn’t on top of the bag anymore—he’d slipped off and was gasping in a puddle of trash juice.

“Why didn’t you kill it?” I asked, enraged. “You can’t leave him out there to starve to death! That’s a horrible way to die! It’ll take days.”

“Well, I couldn’t do it! You have to do it.”

Now I was angry for two reasons: first, I’m not a big fan of the circle of life, and second, my husband has demonstrated a repeated lack of understanding of one of the fundamental rules in our marriage: I clean up the poop and vomit, he, being the man, finishes off small animals. So far, he’s managed to convince me to take a paralyzed bunny to the vet to be euthanized, and has now left a poor chipmunk in the bottom of the trashcan.

“I can’t,” I said.

For several minutes we debated the best way to put poor Chippy out of his misery. Finally, after being called several choice names, Hubby asked, “Well, what are you going to do?”

Not able to hit the side of a barn with a gun, that option was out. So was a friend’s suggestion to smear it with peanut butter and leave it in the garden so something else might finish it off (You see? These are the people I have to deal with!) Another friend suggested using a sharp shovel. Euthanasia by the vet was out of the question, since the last time I tried that (see bunny incident above), they were going to charge me $80 to stick a needle into the bunny’s heart. How is THAT humane?

Finally, I hit upon the best solution I could think of: I would put him in the freezer. Hubby reminded me that friends of his in Bermuda put lobsters in the freezer to kill them before cooking, and since Chippy was already in shock, and it would be quick and painless.

When the deed was done, I sent Hubby an informative text: “The deed is done, you big pussy.”

Instead of being ashamed and remorseful, this is what I got in return: “S-s-soooo c-c-coooold…”

Me: “You left him gasping tiny gasps in trash juice!”

Hubby: “I thought you said he was going to starve. He could’ve lasted for days on that juice.”

Hereafter, Hubby will now be referred to as Hubby #1. I hope the Kharma that comes back from this remembers that I really did try to be humane. It’s the cats who have something to answer for.

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