Sunday, June 3, 2012

An Orange at the Apple Store

A few weeks ago, I found myself in want of an Apple product.  A simple adapter.  But nothing is simple with Apple.  They are hyper-proprietary and monopolic* by design.  They set rigid prices and not-so-secretly want to punish you for buying their products from anyone but them.  Even online was a little dicey, as I needed a guarantee that this adapter was going to do what I wanted it to do (the online comments were mixed), and if it did not, I wanted to return it (without paying shipping and a 50% restocking fee). In the end, I thought it best to go to -- dun dun dun -- the Apple Store.

I had never been to the Apple Store.  I had only heard intimidating things about a bar full of geniuses.  Young, hip, geniuses.  Since I could neither beat them nor join them, I decided to throw myself on their mercy.

Before I even entered the store, I could see it:  The Genius Army.  In loose formation at the front door, back lit by a soft heavenly glow, these boys (and they were all boys) were clean and earnest and outfitted with enough communications equipment to invade a small South American country.  But I was not daunted.

I limped in with my cane and my shawl and announced a little too loudly, "I remember when music was pressed into black vinyl."  With the squad of young geniuses thus stunned, I bluntly confronted them with my true purpose. "I need to buy something," I said.  "But, it's a small something.  I just need an adapter."  The smallest grunt was pushed forward.  He looked smart enough.  But he had no idea what he was up against.

"I need a Digital AV Adapter," I said.

"Right this way," he said, deftly navigating the crowded store.  I followed, mesmerized.  (Are the walls glowing?)  Just then, I was almost hit by a genius as he repelled from the ceiling.

"Sorry about that," my genius said, as he pulled me to safety.  "Special Forces," he explained.

"Special forces?"

"Yeah, someone probably called the new iPad, the iPad3.  We can't have that kind of street talk in here."

"Oh," I said, disoriented.  (Does the room have a pulse?)

At the accessory wall, he handed me a Digital AV Adapter; a little white gizmo about six inches long, in a solidly built white box.

"Is this the latest model?" I asked.  I'd done my research.  I knew the older model was not what I needed.

"Yes.  We only have the latest models in the store."

"Will it do thus-and-so?  Because I really need it to do thus-and-so."

"Yes, it is designed specifically to do thus-and-so."

"But will it do thus-and-so with my 'I *heart* Quilting' app?"


"And if it doesn't, can I bring it back?"


"Even if I break the factory seal."  I used finger quotes for that bit.

"Of course.  We know you'll have to open it to make sure it does thus-and-so."

"What about fascist restocking fees?"

"We don't charge restocking fees here."

"Do you have the cable that works with it?"

"Here you go," he said, before I had even finished asking.

"It's black," I said, not taking it from his hand.

"Yes, it is."

"The adapter's white," I said.  Surely a genius could see where this was going.

"Yes," he said.

"If the adapter is white, why is the cable black?"

"Well, the cable is designed to work with a TV and most TVs are black."

"But it is also designed to work with the adapter."


"And the adapter is white."

"Yes."  He smiled at me.  And blinked.  And said nothing.  They must teach that at Genius School.

"Okay, where do I pay?"

"Actually you can just scan it with your iPhone and go."

"I don't have an iPhone."

"Oh. **coughs something that sounds like 'orange'**"

"Did you just call me an orange?"

"Why would I do that?"

"Can I pay cash?"

"Of course."

"I mean real US Federal Reserve Notes.  Not iBucks."

"Yes.  Of course.  We accept United States Currency.  We have to.  It's the law."  He knows this because they got sued for refusing to do just that.

My items were small.  And, relatively inexpensive.  But my genius knew his customers.  "Would you like me to put those in an Apple Store bag for you?" he asked.

"Oh, could you?"  I should be embarrassed by how excited I was (I think I clapped a little),  but I don't care.  I was an old orange in the Apple Store.  What did I have to lose?

He handed me my beautiful drawstring bag and ushered me out to the front.  I wanted to ask if I could just stand in the corner, clutching my bag, and watch the place fluoresce, but thought better of it.  Those Special Forces guys don't mess around.

*I did not make this word up.  I innovated it.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Do I Have Your Attention

Sometimes, I am not the most attentive mother.  No, no, it's true.  With three kids, homeschool, the house, the laundry, the cooking, and the husband, it is possible for the kids to sneak things past me.  So, a few weeks ago, while I was unpacking boxes from our move, it took me awhile to notice Jonah scuttling out the back door with random household items.

Why a cat with a lime on his head?  Because every post needs a picture, and this one got my attention.

 "Jonah, what are you doing?"

"Preparing," he said, as he raced out the back door, and just as quickly, back in again.

"Preparing for what?" I asked.

He paused, looked me straight in the eye, and said, "The battle begins at daylight."

"Oh, well that explains everything," I said.  Or, I would have, but he was off again.  Preparing.

"Mom, you'd better get ready, too," he told me, on one of his passes through the room.

"Uh-huh," was my attentive reply.

Several more times throughout the day he asked about my state of preparedness for The Battle.  I was ready, I assured him.  I even made a few declarations about my talent for military strategy and experience in battle.  Then I forgot all about it.

Until daylight.  Are you ready?  The sun is coming up.  Get dressed.  Shower?  Coffee?  No time!

I managed to put him off for a few hours; a shower and coffee being the backbone of any good military action.  Noon is still daylight, I told him.  Finally, he hounded me out onto the field of battle.  Also known as the backyard.

He wasn't kidding about being ready.  He had several card board boxes stacked as a barricade.  His weapons included three toy swords, a bow and arrow, spears made from tree branches, and wadded up paper which turned into balls of fire with one spark of imagination.  He made a stone fortress, thirty feet high, to which to retreat.  Okay, it was brick pavers from the flower bed, stacked about to his ankle, but we agreed that he would be safe there.  He even conscripted an army; his brother Sam, who pledged his fealty for the price of a single banana and his choice of weapon.  (He didn't want to get stuck with the sword held together by duct tape.)  They were prepared to defend the stretch of grass next to the garage with their lives.

While their base, as they called it, was the lawn, mine was the patio.  I walked out and knew immediately that I owed these boys a battle.  I picked up a plastic sword off the pavement and planned my attack.  What else was I going to do?  I had no defenses, no provisions, and no where to hide.

I charged, with a primal yell, sword held high.  Like Mel Gibson in Braveheart.  But, with less kilt, and more apron.  I swashed.  I buckled.  I deflected a flying ball of fire, off the broad side of my sword, and over the fence.

Then Cate, to whom we had not been paying much attention, ran out, demanding to fight.

"No!"  Jonah yelled.

"Jonah, don't be like that.  Give her one of your swords."

"But, Mooooom..."

"Just give her this little floppy one, and she can fight on my side."

"But, Mom.  She's too aggressive."

"Jonah, she's three.  Give the baby a sword," I growled, and he did.

Cate took the small, limp sword, and without a second's hesitation, charged through the cardboard barricade.  Before they could respond, she began hitting them, furiously and hard, right on their hands, until they dropped their weapons and recoiled, in real pain.  With her enemy stunned, she penetrated deep behind their lines.  Toward the back of their base were two ice chests, which I hadn't eve noticed until then.  She grabbed the larger of the two by the handle and ran, fast, dragging it behind her, the full length of the yard.  She pulled it up on to the patio, clambered up, and danced upon it, victorious.  With hands and sword raised over her head, she shouted, "I stoh yoh thwe-zhuh!"*

Of course!  The chests were treasure.

And, yes little girl.  You have our attention.

*"I stole your treasure," for anyone who does not speak Cate.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

My Brush With Infamy

Have you ever had your mind wander away from you, only to return with a story to tell?  I have, and this is one of those stories.

For the last ten days or so, my children have had the stomach flu.  That's all you need to know.  (You're welcome.)

Two Sundays ago, before we were sure one sick kid was an epidemic, I was in (our brand-spanking-new) church, when I began to feel a little queasy.  This is where my mind started to wander.  (Don't tell any of my friends from church.)  What if I, too, became ill?  I've never seen anyone vomit is church before.  What's the etiquette?

I was in the worst possible seat from which to make a discreet exit: near the front, near the center aisle.  Near, but not, to my great horror, on the aisle.  There were three new, upholstered chairs between me and my escape, two of them occupied.  And, the new carpet was so new, it still smelled like new carpet.  I was not going to be the first one to defile it.  No sir.  I needed a plan.

Then, I saw my purse sitting next to me.  It's a lovely black leather bag I got for Christmas (last July, when I bought it for myself and then called Hubband to compliment him on his excellent taste).  I am very fond of my purse.  But I could regurgitate my breakfast into it if necessary.  It was even unzipped, ready to go.

So, that was my plan.

In the event of an emergency, I would get up, very calmly and excuse myself, but if the worst happened, I would use my purse.

Perfect plan.

But, wait.  My Kindle was in there.  It is a lovely Kindle Fire that I got for my birthday (which isn't for a few more weeks--Hubband is an efficient gift giver).  I am very fond of my new toy, but it is not, as far as I know, vomit proof.

New plan.

In the event of an emergency, I would get up, very calmly and excuse myself, but if the worst happened, I would dump the contents of my purse on the floor before using it.  Distracting, sure.  But it would spare the carpet, the chairs, the people between me and the aisle.

As my mind wandered back to the sermon, (I swear this is true) the pastor was teaching about one of our sister churches in Southern California which, in the early 1970s, tried to make their hippie-surfer congregation wear shoes, so that the tar from their feet would not ruin the new carpet.  That policy lasted only until the pastor found out.  He cared more about the hippies than the carpet.  People are more important than things.  Amen, brother.

But, I kept my plan.

I never did get sick, which is a good thing, because as the service was wrapping up, I realized that the purse in my plan, was not, in fact, my purse.  It was identical to my purse, but it belonged to the woman sitting next to me.  The woman whose small frame I was prepared to knock to the floor to make my escape.  My purse was under my chair. 

I am so glad that my stomach did not wander where my mind had led, because, while I do believe that people are more important than things, and I know my pastor cares more about his congregation than his carpet, I do not want to go down in church lore as the woman who lept up in the middle of service and puked in someone else's purse.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sometimes, Uniform Isn't

My three little square pegs are going to have to make their own holes, I'm afraid.

He is actually wearing his uniform in this picture.  He is just wearing it with pajama bottoms, external underwear, and sunglasses.  The sunglasses are tucked in the underwear, in case you missed it.

At the beginning of the school year, I went and outfitted my children with uniforms.  Why?  Because it saved money.  And, time.  And, laundry.  But mostly because they were adorable.  Nothing is cuter than a three-year-old girl in a skort.

I know it is a little silly to have homeschool kids wear uniforms, but it worked for us.  I use the past tense because we haven't really followed through.

The uniforms attracted attention, and, understandably, questions.  Not malicious; just curious.  People wanted to know, "Are they in private school...a club...a cult?"  "No.  They're all mine.  They're homeshooled," was my usual, smiling reply.

Then one day, at the park, a retired gentleman sitting on a bench asked me, "Do you run a special school?"  As I prepared to give some variation of my standard answer, I turned to gaze lovingly at my children.  Jonah was prone in the middle of the play ground with his face pressed against the recycled-atheltic-shoe-rubber matting, because it felt warm.  Sam was trying to ride his scooter backwards, hindered greatly by the Captain America shield he had strapped to the bottom of his foot.  And, Cate was licking the slide.  It occurred to me, maybe the gentleman on the bench was not asking about the uniforms.

But the real down fall of the uniform, was this boy.

The benefits to me did not out weigh the struggle with him.

So now, when you see us in the park, I am indeed running a special school.  But, we won't be wearing uniforms.  Matching clothes just attract unnecessary attention.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Way Awesomer

Wow...would you look at blog is still here. 

I've dropped in to say, "Hi."  Many of you have been really sweet about missing me.  Though those of you who actually know me, and see me in person, (and by in person, I mean on Facebook, because let's be honest...I don't get out much), I know it is not me you are missing when there is no blog.  It is the blog.  Which is a way awesomer.  

But, I am rusty.  (I can barely type anymore!  I had to ask Hubband where to find that exclamation point.)  And, I feel like I need to catch everybody up before I just start posting again. 

So, let's catch up!  (Found it myself that time.) 

September to January is our busy season.  And this is why...

There's school.  I do that at home.  You might remember this big day back in mid-August.

Then in late September, we celebrated Sam's birthday.

If you think he has a blue smile, he does.

That used to be Cookie Monster.

Then, two days later, I left on vacation.  All alone.  [A hush falls over the room.]  Well, not completely alone.  My mom and I went on a whirl-wind cruise of New England and Eastern Canada.

It was awesome!  I finally got to meet Boston, and my friend Jane, and the Rockettes (yes, in Boston!), and my first Dunkin' Donut, and Canadian airport security.  I was nude-y scanned and they took my maple syrup.  There is a lot of story here.  But, I should save it for another day.

By the time I got home it was October, and we had to catch up on school.  This involved, baking an apple pie...

..."churning' our own butter...

...and, some "real" work.  Like building and using an anemometer. 

There was the annual apple picking trip...

 and the annual pumpkin patching trip...

and the annual Halloween.

In November, Cate turned three.

We celebrated by taking her to her first movie.

Yes, she look a little manic.  She's drinking a soda, and eating popcorn, and watching the biggest TV she's ever seen.  And, it's her birthday.

We had Hubbnad's family stay with us for Thanksgiving.  I cooked.  The turkey was dreadful, but the sides are always more interesting than the bird anyway.  My oven has never been so proud of itself.

After Thanksgiving things slowed down a bit.  There were only three more weeks of school until Christmas break, when there would be time to breathe.

So, we decided to move.  On the tenth of December, we decided to move on the nineteenth.  We could have waited until the first, but I thought I would rather spend my school break unpacking the new house than living half-in and half-out of boxes at the old house.  It sounded reasonable.  It would have worked too, if it weren't for that meddlesome Christmas.

We spent it at my mom's which made it easier.  And, Nana enjoyed having all of her grandkids under one roof, and they enjoyed being there, even if you can't tell from the best picture I could get of the four of them.

We rang in the new year with family, and more family.

Then Jonah turned 7.

Notice how there are no pictures of Jonah's birthday party or cake?  That's because he had neither.  We chucked him a new box of Legos, and told him we'd make it up to him next year.  Okay, so it wasn't quite that bad.  We did celebrate the way he wanted to.  And Hubband and I promised each other that next year, we will pace ourselves.

Well, that's it.  You're caught up.  

Also, I have widened my page to allow for bigger pictures.  I am interested in feedback.  Is it too wide to read?  Are the pictures too much?  If you have an opinion, please, don't keep it to yourself.