Incredible journeys

socks

Hubs and AGMA are hitting the road again. Finally.

We haven’t been on a long trip since May. I’ve been getting antsy.

Ya’ll know how I am…

We leave in almost exactly 48 hours. I have yet to do any serious packing. And I have an all day job tomorrow. Not the best job of planning on my part.

I did start pulling a few things together earlier in the week. Essentials like socks and underwear. The “base layer” some might call it.

There was much sighing as AGMA went through my sock drawer and came across several single socks. These are socks whose mates are long gone, sucked into that purgatory where naughty single socks are banished as punishment, never to return to the land of light.

Why do I keep single socks without a mate?

Who knows… Maybe to keep the memory alive of what a beautiful pair it and its significant other made. Maybe I’m holding out hope that the missing sock will enter the Narnia closet and come out back home in AGMA’s sock drawer. Maybe I’m just sentimental.

Whatever the reason, I can’t risk getting rid of the left behind sock lest its partner in crime magically reappears and I’m stuck with a single sock again.

Oh – what cruel irony that would be…

Then there’s my earrings. Oh, my earrings! The same alien force that transports my socks away from their mirror twin, also seeks to break up the unified bliss of my earrings.

And when it’s a pair of earrings that I REALLY like, I hold tightly on to the one that remains in hopes of a joyous reunion someday. In some cases, I’ve been waiting for a very long time for that reunion. 20 years ago, AGMA got an extra pierce in one of my ears to hold my single remaining diamond stud of the set that was gifted to me by Hubs a few years before.

I won’t give up on it finding its soul mate.

Perhaps I think it’s like that old Disney movie, The Incredible Journey, where a stylish black and white running sock, a thick brown wool sock and a shiny silver dangle earring are trying as hard as they can to get home despite the seemingly insurmountable obstacles during the 365 mile trip from Cincinnati to Atlanta.

Or every Toy Story movie ever made where Woody and the gang face unmentionable dangers trying to get back to their adorable owner of the moment.

They are all out there somewhere trying to get back to AGMA.

In my heart, I just know they are.

In the meantime, I need to get my arse in gear packing for our 3 week trip through 4 different climate zones. In a carry on.

Which is why this post shorter than the normal AGMA-dribble.

I have my work cut out for me today.

Hopefully AGMA’s next post will be from the other side of the world in a different hemisphere where the water goes counterclockwise in a sink, the national rugby team does a ceremonial war dance before each game, and the skies are so dark at night you can see to the far end of the Galaxy.

I think it will be an incredible journey!

P.S. Don’t even get me started on plastic storage container lids…

White House wedding?

traditional-ukrainian-cloth

Every now and then, AGMA likes to review my WordPress spam folder to see what mischief some of the folks out there are up to.

I don’t have any special WP spam blockers like some of you.  I like to see the unfiltered messages of my adoring public.

AGMA must not be on the radar of the “really” fun people anymore because of late, my WP spam has been pretty boring.  Mostly because I can’t read any of the languages of this segment of my fan base.

I did however, receive a VERY heartfelt message from Zana in my email last week titled, I believe that there is my love in this world somewhere, could it be you? :

“Hello, from the first lines of this letter I only intend to explain to you that I really dream to meet a faithful man who will not just be a
husband for me, but a true friend, a passionate lover and possibly a papa for our future kids.
I really want to create a family based on love, good understanding as well as care and attention. It really is also really essential to have common ideas and needs about lifestyle.
Please, write me, what are your favors and dislikes, what are your personal motivations.
Do you have any dreams you have and exactly what your plans in the future??
If there is anything you don’t want to write to me right now, I am going to understand, don’t
worry. And of course, i will tell you everything about me personally u would like to find out!
And now i wish you all the best. i will be patiently waiting for your mail.

P.S! I am 28 years old and also im from Kiev, ukraine.
What is your age and exactly where you from???”

Sigh.  Just a gal looking for her Prince Charming…

You gotta believe in the magic of true love after reading that.

I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I’m not a man.  And I’m already married.

AGMA’s thinking that maybe I can be her advocate by forwarding her email to some folks I’ve heard spent a lot of time in Ukraine.  I bet Rudy Giuliani and his wacky buddies can help her out.

At the very least, maybe RG can show this to the Big Orange Cheeto currently squatting in the Oval Office.  Melania’s turns 50 next year.  Based on his matrimonial history, BOC is surely ready to trade in her in for a newer, younger model.

(Ha – model – get it?  I crack myself up!)

I bet he can get Zana a genius visa (like he did for Melania, widely known in her country as the Genius of Slovenia) and she’ll be ready to take up residence in the White House faster than you can say Maria Yovanovitch!

Zana even writes like tRump.  All those missing letters, lack of punctuation and bad grammar.  And I’m sure RG and his band of merry Ukrainians can convince her that she has some dirt on Hunter Biden.

Get her a Twitter account and it’s a match made in heaven.

It’s been a long time since there’s been a good old fashioned White House wedding!

Putin will be the best man and Paula White can officiate (of course, after everybody invited to the wedding sends her their stock dividends from the last year.)  There will be a cat fight between Kellyanne, Sarah and Ivanka as to who will be the matron of honor.  I predict that the groom will choose Ivanka, secretly wishing he was marrying her…

How glorious it will be with hamberders and covfefe for all!

Tricia Nixon Cox, eat your heart out!

 

 

 

Nec-ked and unafraid

 

Part-PAR-Par8140055-1-1-0

CAUTION:  This may be a TMI post to some.  Especially some of you gentle testosterone laden souls.  You’ve been warned… 

A friend I hadn’t talked to for a while called me the other day.  Her husband was out of town and she had just finished up a very busy month of travel and obligations at home. 

She was in bed planning to take a nap after our call.

But during the conversation, her brother decided to pop in for a visit and just strolled unannounced into her bedroom.  AGMA’s pretty sure he has boundary issues…

She whispered, “I gotta go.  I’m naked under the covers and need to shoo him out so I can get dressed.”

She took all her clothes off for a nap?  And her husband was 100’s of miles away?   She was naked just for the fun of it?  WTF?

AGMA was taken aback.

I’ve never been very fond of prancing in my birthday suit and it kind of surprises me when people are.

When I was young – 5 maybe – my mother, sister and I went on vacation with my aunt, uncle and cousin.  We shared a rented cottage on…wait for it…

Lake Erie!

And this was back in the day when it was spontaneously combusting because there was so much industrial waste/toxic chemicals in it.  Okay, maybe the fire was a little bit later – 1969 – but you know that sh*t had to have been building up for years!

But hey, the cottage rental was probably cheap and we could drive there. And we weren’t going to spend that much time submerged in the sludge so it was all good.

I remember getting ready to go to the beach and running out of the cottage without my bathing suit on because I was so excited.  

AGMA was evidently fine going commando back in the day.

I don’t remember anything else about that vacation other than running out of the cottage naked, and getting yelled at by everybody to go back in and put some clothes on.

And the body shaming begins… 

Like most young women, when I hit puberty, things started changing and looking “different”.

My step-mother took me to the lingerie section of the local department store to get fitted for my first bra.  I remember lots and lots of wooden drawers with bras and panties in them, and the whole place smelled like my grandmothers parlor.

It was the shopping trip from hell

It was bad enough that I had to take my shirt off, but then this “old” lady (probably the age I am now…) had to actually touch me when she measured me in various places. While my step-mother and the rest of the store staff looked on.

Okay, maybe not the whole staff, but it felt like a lot of folks were staring at my “buds”.

Once the measuring was done, the torture was to continue…

After rifling through multiple wooden drawers, the sales lady came back to the fitting room with several bras in my size (probably 26AAAAA).

The trying on process involved pulling and pushing and strap adjusting and lots of clinical touching trying to make everything fit the way it should.

AGMA understands that this was normal protocol for the Are You Being Served crew, but to a 12 year old, it was totally humiliating.  

As I got older and the “girls” blossomed, it became evident to AGMA that something wasn’t quite right.

I’d seen my older sister without her bra and her girls were happy, perky and at attention.  She could totally get away without wearing a bra underneath her shirts and look great. 

I mean, this was the 60’s and bra burning was a thing right? 

My girls, on the other hand, appeared as if they’d just run a half-marathon without carb loading the night before.  They looked exhausted, sad, and were definitely unperky-ish.   

AGMA realized it was a bad case of saggy boobs.

No bra burning in my future.  I needed all the help I could get.

As a matter of fact, as I got older, I started having to buy steel reinforced bras (underwires) with wide straps and backs to help winch the ladies up to at least appear to act like they were trying to pay attention.

Sometimes it works.

But once the bra is off, they’re off to the barcalounger to watch Oprah reruns.

AGMA’s pretty sure that my lazy ladies are a big part of the reason I never liked going commando as an adult.  

All that flipping and flopping just isn’t comfortable. 

But one of my best friend is YUGELY BIG up top.  I mean so big she has to custom order her bras.  Massive, to the point where she gets backaches at times.  

And she prances around her house naked all the time.

WTF?

Maybe AGMA has other issues besides the flipping and flopping?

The times I tried to sleep naked, I’d have the “cafeteria” bad dream.  You know, the one where you are either behind the counter serving or you are in line getting food, and you’re naked.  But nobody else seems to notice or care but you.

It’s quite unsettling.

So yeah, maybe something else is going on.  But at this stage of my life, AGMA thinks it’s probably a moot point.

Although I’ve often thought that maybe a trip to a nudist beach or resort might help.  

I’m pretty sure that, years ago, I bought into that perfect body image lie that our culture promotes with such vigor.  The unspoken notion that we should be ashamed of our bodies and need to “fix” them if they aren’t happy, perky and attentive.

Maybe seeing other imperfect people might help.

Doubtful.

But if I do go, anybody else interested?  It could be a vacation of a lifetime.  One you’ll never forget.

No matter how many pharmaceuticals you take.

Let a smile be your umbrella blah blah blah

hedghog

Source: hedgehog_azuki Source:Instagram

It’s time to lighten this joint up!

AGMA’s last three posts have been of a somewhat somber nature.  My apologies for the barrage of Debbie Downer posts.

To be totally honest, life still seems to be a bit more on the old, dirty shoe leather side than the rainbows and unicorns side.  And it’s so easy to settle into a comfy seat and start chewing away at it.

Like I’ve been doing for the last 3 weeks.

It’s really hard to write a light, funny, fluffy post when you’re just not feeling it.  At least for AGMA it is.

I was never a very good liar.

So my go to in the ‘I need to write something that will make folks smile, but have no clue what to write’ department is my AGMA spam folder in WP.  It’s usually full of potential for humor.  Here’s one of my spam themed posts… Love is Love

But it was not to be.  I guess WP automatically purges spam folders on a regular basis.  The last time I looked at it there were 12 spammies in it.  Today, there are 2.

And one was in Russian:

“Добрый день. Предлагаем Вам наши услуги в области международных перевозок грузов.
Работаем международных грузоперевозок по основным направлениям: Россия (Челябинск, Екатеринбург, Пермь, Новосибирск, Красноярск, Омск, Тюмень, Томск) – Беларусь – Казахстан.
Но можем выполнить перевозку грузов по любым иным маршрутам.
Более подробно можете почитать на сайте компании “МиТур” ”

According to Google translate, it says:

“Good day.  We offer you our services in the field of international cargo transportation.  We work international cargo transportation in key areas.  Russia (Chelyabinsk, Yekaterinburg, Perm, Novosibirst, Krasnoyarsk, Omsk, Tyumen, Tomsk – Belarus – Kazakhstan, but we can carry out the transportation of cargoes on any other routes,  You can read more on the website of the company “MiTour”. ”

ZZZZZzzzzz…

So AGMA might have to consider the nuclear option.

I might have to go all Julie Andrews on everybody.   “Raindrops on roses, and whiskers on kittens…”

Noooooooo!!!

Yup.

So here’s a partial list (in no particular order) of what makes AGMA smile:

  • Hedgehogs in lawn chairs
  • Minions (the yellow, cartoon kind, not the tRump kind)
  • Champagne bubbles in Epernay
  • The name of the country Djibouti
  • The thought of a Blue Tsunami in November
  • The Tour de France
  • The Crones of Anarchy Facebook page
  • The idea that there is really a pee tape
  • Hearing my grandkids call me Nana
  • Memories of “Hulking out” for my kids when they were young
  • German chocolate cake
  • Robert Downey Jr.
  • Hearing an Al Green song.  Any Al Green song.
  • Cappuccinos in Rome
  • The opening number of Hamilton
  • The Kangaroo Sanctuary in Alice Springs, Australia
  • The possibility of a US Senator Beto O’Rourke
  • Meerkats
  • Reading your blogs (some of you make me LOL!)
  • Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars and Happy by Pharrell Williams
  • Hubs and 1 year old granddaughter watching the Five Little Ducks video
  • Any trip requiring a passport
  • Grandson and DIL dancing to We Know The Way from Moana
  • Any meme with Cadet Bonespurs and family/friends in orange jumpsuits
  • Hugs from either one of my sons
  • Roadrunner cartoons
  • Wonder Woman
  • Hitting that Publish button!

Whew.

So…I feel better.

What about you?

What makes you smile?  Laugh?  A funny story that made you belly laugh (so much so that maybe a little pee pee leaked out?)

Tell all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My evil twin

eviltwin

In my quiet moments, AGMA thinks ‘interesting’ thoughts.

Uh oh…

We bought a new iron a few weeks ago. Actually I ordered it online. AGMA feels very millennial when I do something like this.

I unboxed the new iron and set it on the dresser beside our old iron that had given up the ghost after years of faithful service. And I wondered what kind of a conversation they might have if they could talk. Seriously.

Would the new iron taunt the old one, saying, “I’m going to make ironing great again (MIGA)!” AGMA would have to chime in, “What do you mean “again’??” Or would the new iron be the student sitting at the feet of the old Master. “Steam, Grasshopper…” I can hear the Master iron say, “She likes a lot of steam. Even when she shouldn’t be using steam. It is her way of taming the storm inside.”

The above being a compelling reason for NOT allowing AGMA to have many quiet moments.

The latest ‘interesting’ thought is about faces.

AGMA’s doesn’t know a lot about the science of genetics other than Hubs regularly asks me to spit in a test tube. Then he ships my spit off and in a week he tells me that I’m related to Gengis Kahn or a 5th cousin twice removed of somebody who was the wife of mayor of Philadelphia once.

From what I understand, there are seemingly unlimited combinations of genetic material inside chromosomes. Okay, the number is actually a little shy of 71 trillion (yes – trillion with a ‘t’.) To AGMA, this qualifies as unlimited.

This YUGE number of possible combinations is why, other than in the case of monozygotic twins, everybody is genetically unique. Kind of like the old ‘there are no two identical snowflakes’ concept.

Except in the case of monozygotic snowflakes I guess.

But AGMA believes that this unlimited genetic combination thing doesn’t hold true for faces. AGMA believes that once you’ve lived ‘X’ number of years on this earth, faces start repeating themselves. The actual number ‘X’ depend on how much you get around.

So for example, somebody who has lived all over the US/abroad and traveled extensively might reach that ‘X’ number in 40 or 50 years. But somebody who was born, lived and died in the same small town and didn’t travel much may never have reached that ‘X’ number.

AGMA believes that it’s all about the number of faces you’ve seen in your lifetime.

I had this epiphany two weeks ago at a political gathering of progressive women in Atlanta. As I walked around the crowded room, AGMA saw people that I KNOW I knew. Their faces looked so very familiar.

But I didn’t know them.

I was sure I went to high school with one woman until I realized that, if I did go to high school with her, she would be in her mid-60’s, not in her mid-40’s as she was. That’s okay though, this high school person was a mean girl.

But people definitely have doppelgangers. Even AGMA!

I’ve had a number of people tell me they knew somebody who could be my twin. I have yet to meet one of them. I’m not sure I want to. It could be shocking seeing somebody that other people think looks like me, and she looks like old, haggard and cranky.

Reality is a beotch.

Doppelganger is actually an interesting word. German in origin (hence an umlaut is sometimes used over the ‘a’) I just thought it meant a double in appearance until I did a bit of research.

According to the source of all life, knowledge and wisdom, Wikipedia, a doppelganger “is a look-alike or double of a living person, sometimes portrayed as a ghostly or paranormal phenomenon and usually seen as a harbinger of bad luck. Other traditions and stories equate a doppelgänger with an evil twin. In modern times, the term twin stranger is occasionally used. The word “doppelgänger” is often used in a more general and neutral sense to describe any person who physically or behaviorally resembles another person.”

Which begs the question, is AGMA’s doppelganger the evil twin or am I?

OMG. Something new to obsess over.

I’m pretty sure they did a Star Trek episode about something like this back in the 60’s…

Getting back to my crazy-ass idea about faces, AGMA is pleased to announce that I am getting ready to expand my inventory. Of faces that is.

Hubs and I leave next Monday for a boondoggle in Belgium and France (with brief stops in Holland, Luxemborg, Germany and Switzerland) And you know what that means…

The posts will be few and far between for a few weeks. I’ll try to get a post written to schedule to publish when I’m gone. And I might even grace you with one of the now famous infamous AGMA haikus.

In the meantime, we can all hope and pray that I don’t get too much quiet time to come up with more ‘interesting’ thoughts. Or crazy-ass ideas.

Ya’ll behave yourselves!

Unspeakable guilty pleasures

costco-shopping-toilet-paper.jpg

Yesterday, AGMA bought two yuge…I mean YUGE…bags of that horribly addictive kettle corn popcorn stuff.

These bags are so large that my most adorable 7 month old grand daughter and a couple of friends could fit in them. So large that they could probably pull in her exersaucer too. So large the Cheeto man-child’s ego could fit into them.

Actually, they’re probably not THAT bigly yuge…

Last night Hubs filled a large cereal bowl with these deceptively evil delights from one of the bag. You could barely tell that anything had been taken out of the bag.

The sweet and salty popcorn contained in the massive bags IS deceptively evil. The advertising on the bag seduces the hunger crazed consumer into thinking this is a weigh control product. “Only 70 Calories per Cup!” it proudly announces knowing full well that no normal person can stop at any less than 10 cups. AGMA can’t.

It’s all air right?

So why would I, a perfectly logical person and savvy consumer, purchase two gargantuan bags of snack product when there are only two – count ’em two – mouths to feed at Casa AGMA?

It was a BOGO of course at….

COSTCO!!!!

Many a diet and marriage has been ruined by this irresistible purveyor of unmanageable massive quantities.

I won’t let Hubs come with me when I shop there. Too dangerous. He wants to come home with a four pack of electric toothbrushes or a package of 25 chicken breasts.  Or a two pack of inflatable floaty islands for our pool.

We don’t have a pool.

But the temptation is hard, very hard, to resist.  It’s like temporary insanity.

For those of you in parts of the US who don’t have Costcos (are there such places?) or in other countries, be thankful. Unlike AGMA, you probably still have space in your pantry, freezer, basement and garage.

Costco is a giant warehouse store that sells most items in bulk for a relatively low price.  Why by a 16 oz bottle of ketchup when you can buy a whole gallon for only $3 more?  Makes perfect sense at the time.

Temporary insanity.

You get the picture.

While Costco isn’t the only giant warehouse store in the US, it’s the one with the cult following. There was a documentary about Costco in 2012 called The Costco Craze: Inside the Warehouse Giant. And it asked the question, “…whether customers save money by purchasing large packs of goods or simply consume more?”

I don’t feel I have consumed more as a result of my bulk purchases.   Except for one item. Reference AGMA’s post of two weeks ago.

I’m now an extravagant consumer of Kirkland (Costco’s home brand) toilet paper. So soft. So strong.

So plentiful.

I look at that 36 roll package sitting in our garage (the only place we have to store a veritable mountain of TP), and believe that I can throw caution and frugality to the wind. And down the toilet.

Not counting how many sheets I use; one of AGMA’s guilty pleasures…

One must buy a membership for the privilege of buying super-sized bags of kettle corn and a mountain of toilet paper at Costco. Membership fees were a whopping 70% of their $1.911 billion total income in 2016.

AGMA has been proud to contribute to Costco’s bottom line since 2006.

And since 2006, I’ve had my share of banana’s go bad (3 lbs. for $1.99) and cheese (1 lb. for $5.99) go moldy and organic spring mix (1 lb. for $3.99) turn brown and slimy.

But I’ve also had lots and lots of satisfying lunches there from the sample ladies.

FYI, AGMA shared her tips on the prime time to get filled up with all kinds of goodies from Costco in this post if you’re interested.

Over the past 11 years, I’ve become wise. Or wiser. I no longer buy half gallon tubs of mustard. No place to store it in the 5 years it would take us to use it. Or the 3 lb. bunch of bananas (see above). Or a 5 lb. box of veggie soy burgers.

I ended up throwing them away after they turned white because they had been untouched in the freezer for so long.

Now AGMA sticks to the boring regulars – paper towels, TP, laundry detergent, dishwasher soap, white vinegar, and cat litter.

ZZZzzzz….

The cat litter comes in a 42 lb. bag. Between Hubs and I, it takes about 3 days for the bag to migrate up to the litter box two fights up from the garage.

I do go a little crazy now and then, and go off script. Yesterday, I bought 2 doormats ($2 off each) and the YUGE bags of kettle corn (BOGO for heavens sake!). Oh – and a 2 lb. package of frozen wild caught Alaskan pollock patties.

Here’s to hoping they don’t turn white. The sample was fabulous.

American excess – ya gotta love it…

My crappy week

Poopfairy

A couple of weeks ago, my life turned to crap.

Literally.

Decide now if you want to hang with AGMA or bail to a blog about cats or Whole30 testimonies.

This isn’t going to be pretty.

But then again, as 45 has reminded us so many times just by having his image broadcast digitally or in print, life isn’t always pretty. Or even semi-attractive. Or meh.

It all started two weeks ago in Chicago when we were visiting our son, DIL & adorable grandchildren. We’d all enjoyed a stress-free (NOT) lunch on Saturday with 4 adults, a 6 month old and a 2 year old.

On the way back to the car, Hubs unknowingly stepped in a pile of doggie doo doo. On the sidewalk. Evidently the myth of the Poop Fairly is alive and well in Chicago.

It soon became very apparent something was seriously amiss after we all piled in the car. My son said, “I think I stepped in some dog poo. Something stinks.”

That seemed to catch my 2 year old grandson’s attention. “Where dog poo?” he repeated over and over. And over.

Hubs discovered the offending blob on his shoe. We all held our noses until we got home to a chorus of “Where dog poo?”

We cleaned the offending excrement from Hubs shoe – unfortunately, it was a two person job – then attempted to enter my son’s condo. Evidently some extremely tidy alien has taken up residence in my son. He inspected the scrubbed shoe to ensure every molecule of dog digestive by-product was removed before we were allowed though the door.

I’m pretty sure about the alien thing. His room as he was growing up, and his apartments during and after college until he got married were Hoarders TV show worthy. Now he’s a total neat freak. Aliens…

For the entire rest of the visit, my grandson was dog poo obsessed.

O-B-S-E-S-S-E-D.

“Where grandpa dog poo?” “Where go dog poo?” “Dog poo stinky.” “Grandpa got dog poo.” and “Where dog poo shoe?”

My DIL texted me after we got home that he was still talking about the dog poo all that next week. Every pile of yard debris on the side walk was, “Dat dog poo.”

The day after the great dog poo escapade, AGMA received a text from a friend who had looked in on our cats. Clearly one of them was not happy that we had left them and decided to go all passive aggressive on us.

There were 4 – countem’ 4 – piles of cat doo doo on our living room rug. Our off-white, long shag living room rug.

Sh*t. Literally.

He said he tried to start cleaning it up, but didn’t know where our cleaning supplies were and didn’t want to make a bigger mess. So he just left it all.

Nice.

So we had an extra special treat when we came home Sunday evening. And guess who got to clean it and the carpet all up? Hint – not Hubs.

The final blow (or blow out) came on Monday.

This is probably TMI, but Hubs has a “slow” metabolism. “Things” don’t necessarily move everyday. And when we travel, it’s worse. He tells me it’s difficult to relax on an “strange” toilet.

He relaxes when he gets home. Sometimes he relaxes so much it stops up the plumbing. Which is what happened that dreadful Monday.

Can you see where this is going?

The commode in our master bath is somewhat finicky. It will act like it gets stopped up, but will clear out with a 2nd flush. I’ve learned not to use the plunger until after the 2nd flush.

And this was AGMA’s fatal mistake that miserable Monday.

My assumption was that I could clear the blockage with another flush. Had AGMA lifted the lid, I would have discovered that this was NOT a normal situation and another flush would be a disaster of monstrous proportions.

I flushed.

It overflowed.

Double sh*t. Literally.

AGMA won’t go into any more detail. You seriously need to be thankful for this.

But I will tell you that the clean-up was a multi-day effort. It involved scores of towels, rubber gloves, throw-away shoes, old clothes covering every inch of exposed flesh, a mop, Spic-n-Span, beach (lots of bleach) and many loads of laundry. Plus emptying out floor of the closet that was in the path of the fateful flush. More bleach and Spic-n-Span. And lots of stuff beyond salvation getting trashed.

It was an exhausting effort.

So, as a public service, here is AGMA’s top 10 take-aways list from my crappy few days…

10.  Never mention dog poo to a 2 year old even if you are knee deep in it.

9.   Plan on having somebody visit your cats more than once over a long weekend.

8.   FaceTime with the cats as often as possible to let them know you miss them and will be coming home soon. Encourage them to use their litter box.

7.   Have cleaning supplies on the counter and plainly visible for cat caretakers.

6.   Offer a free bottle of champagne or spirit of choice to said caretaker if said cleaning supplies are used in an appropriate manner.

5.   Encourage Hubs to eat more fiber on out of town trips.

4.   Encourage Hubs to purchase an OTC “relaxing” stimulant on out of town trips.

3.   Keep a supply of old towels handy in the bathroom. Really handy. Always.

2.   No cardboard or paper items on the floor of the water closet closet. Gross.

And my #1 takeaway from this weekend from bodily function hell…

For the love of all that’s holy and sacred, always…always…ALWAYS lift the lid before flushing to get the lay of the land to see what you are dealing with.

DON’T FLUSH BLIND.

If AGMA can save just one of you from her horrible fate…well…then, it was worth it.

πάντα χωρεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει

toilet

I know, right…it’s all Greek to you.

FYI, the above phrase translates to “Everything changes and nothing stands still.” According to Plato in his dialogue titled Cratylus, this was written by Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus (535 BC – 475 BC)

AGMA is aware that this is pretty heady stuff. Thank you Wikiquote.

I was going for “Nothing is constant except change.” but there seems to be some dispute as to who really said that. AGMA tries to avoid conflict at all costs.

Aside from having a name that 14 year old boys would love to make randy comments about, Heraclitus was a very wise man.

He was all about change.

And it’s more of a constant in our lives now than ever before in human history.

Just when you think you’ve mastered how to take advantage of the “smart” in your smart phone – or at least the 10% that you actually know about – an updated operating system downloads and boogers everything up.

“Rizzle frazzle what the hell sh*t frack damn now what??”, as heard in AGMA’s house after such an update.

Or SmartPhone V108.5 comes out. Now you have to go back to the very beginning and learn  the new 10% of the new phone that doesn’t operate at all like your old one.  Yet again.

Some of us have children or grandchildren who can help us. The lucky ones have children or grandchildren who actually do help us. There’s a difference.

AGMA’s still waiting for her younger son to reprogram our universal remote because we changed from cable to satellite. Over a year ago. In the meantime, our coffee table is once again littered with remotes of various shapes and sizes that don’t get along with each other at all.

Kind of like Congress.

There are dozens, nay, hundreds, of other examples of the constant changes in technology, meant to make our lives easier, that actually screw it up. At least in the short term.

Please don’t think AGMA is a “Make America Great Again” type who wants a general store/soda fountain on every corner, a black and white television with rabbit ears in every living room, and telephones connected to walls. With cords.

On the contrary, she has been known to be an “semi”-early adopter.

We bought our first PC in 1984 and had an email account shortly afterwards. We also had a Betamax back in the 80’s. I know, AGMA was young and foolish about the Beta thing…

I bought my first Prius in 2006 and got the first Google smart phone, the G1, when it came out in 2008. Both went better than the Betamax debacle.

AGMA also uses cloud storage for her pictures/videos. I just need to remember where they are – Dropbox, Amazon Photos or Google Drive.

I’m hoping the dementia onset will be delayed until I can figure it all out.

But there are times when AGMA takes great comfort in the unchanging nature of some things. Familiar things.  Things that I grew up with and have basically stayed the same my whole life.

The flush toilet for example. Invented by John Harington in 1596, but bought into common use in the late 1800’s by Thomas Crapper (14 year old boy alert!), the flush toilet is brilliant piece of engineering. Other than the occasional need for a plunger, it’s the execution of a near perfect concept in public sanitation that has withstood the test of time. And Hub’s occasional splurge of pork and beans.

And the iron. While the design has changed a bit over the years, it’s still basically a water chamber and a metal plate that gets hot, and is used to get wrinkles out of fabric. And, if too hot, as AGMA learned the hard way, melts synthetic fibers together into a disgusting lump that has an alarming smell. And sets off the smoke detector.

But that’s another post…

Other than setting the correct temperature (see above), there aren’t many tricks to the iron. You fill the water chamber (if you want to generate steam that can burn off your face), plug it in, and press it down on the wrinkled fabric strategically positioned on an ironing board.  The ironing board – yet another comfortingly unchanged household item.

AGMA is, of course, assuming that the iron hasn’t changed over the last 10 years or so. It has been that long since she has actually used one, but she’s pretty sure they’re still the same. She believes that if God had intended for her to continue to use an iron, God wouldn’t have put the $1.99 dry cleaner so close to her house.

And then there’s the toaster. Again, simplicity that’s hard to improve on. Bread, a heating element and time = toast. Pretty damn basic. And comforting.

Just make sure you unplug it before you stick a fork in to pry the toast out that got stuck.

So the next time your head starts feeling like it’s going to explode learning yet another “indispensable” app, or programming your new Nest, or figuring out the difference between Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat and 10 other social media sites AGMA doesn’t even know about yet, go back to basics.

Think of the simple, familiar, unchanging, comforting toilet, iron and toaster.

You’re welcome.

Namaste.

Under the sink strategery

Raiders_Of_The_Lost_Ark_Government_Warehouse_new

Photo from Google Images courtesy of Steven Spielberg and Indiana Jones

Yesterday, AGMA heard about her worst nightmare. Okay, that may be a bit dramatic. Redo. I heard about something that caused my head to pound and my eye’s to glaze over.

Not that far off of a typical morning for AGMA.

NPR’s Morning Edition reporter Nell Greenfieldboyce did a segment on the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS).

Does that sound like an oxymoron to anybody else?

For AGMA friends across the globe, NPR stands for National Public Radio. It’s non-commercial, not for profit, as close to unbiased media as you can get in the U.S. It relies on a combination of listener contributions, corporate donations and some public monies for funding. In other words, it’s independent, fact-based journalism at it’s best. Old school stuff.

Walter Cronkite would be proud.

So evidently there are these six huge (double super WalMart sized) super secret warehouses in super secret locations around the U.S. that the government is storing medical stuff in case of a bioterrorism attack or other catastrophic national health emergency.

So basically it’s the “under the bathroom sink” storage for America.

According Greg Burel, the director of the program for the Centers for Disease Control, the SNS inventory is valued at 7 billion (that’s billion with a B) dollars. That’s around a around 5.25 billion Britsh Pounds.

It would have been more last week.  But that’s another post.

7 billion dollars. That’s a lot of Pepto Bismol and Alka Seltzer. Plop, plop, fizz, fizz.

I immediately reflected on the many, great challenges this must present in “expiration date control”.  This seems to be a major stumbling block for AGMA in her under the bathroom sink management skills. Whenever I pull out something to use for the rare cold or allergy symptom, it’s always expired. I take it anyway.

But since that won’t probably work for the SNS, they make a big deal out of inventory management and expiration date control.  To the tune of $500,000,000 a year. Post-Brexit = 375,000,000 GBP.

It was more last week.

If somebody paid AGMA $50 (37.57 GBP), she’d make a little bit more of an effort to make sure the Nyquil still packed it’s nose drying, cough stopping, headache calming punch.

It makes me wonder what the SNS does with stuff when it expires?

Hubs got a burst of uncharacteristic energy this past weekend and cleaned out the vast wasteland under his sink. He put the expired stuff in a trash bag and dumped it in the garbage can.

They probably can’t do that.

Nell’s report mention one area in each of the SNS warehouse’s that’s caged off and locked. That’s where they store the items that could be addictive.

AGMA totally gets that.  Inevitably, I ask Hubs to hide the extra boxes of the Girl Scout Thin Mints so I can’t get to them.  It’s just safer for everybody.

Then there is the question of what to stockpile in the National Stockpile. That’s where the strategery comes in. They use consultants to look into their crystal balls to try to figure out what makes sense given the logical, perceived threats. One consultant to the SNS said, “We could start stocking piling cobra anti-venom if we really wanted to, but should we?”

Seriously?  Didn’t he see Snakes on a Plane?

The deployment plans – getting the stuff from the warehouse to the people who need it – sound a bit more dicey. They plan on relying on state and local public health officials.

These are the very same public health officials who have had their budgets slashed and staffs reduced year after year. They are over worked and underfunded, and don’t have the resources to carry on their everyday critically important work let alone prepare for a national emergency.

Sounds like a good plan.  If your Donald Trump.  Like Mexico paying for a wall.

Thankfully, they have a back-up plan to the plan. Kind of. Not really.

Public health officials have a list of volunteers who have make a pinky swear to help out. Cross their hearts. And with a few noble exceptions, we know how well that all worked when Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005.

At this point, AGMA would kiss her sweet Aging Gracefully ass goodbye, get a bottle of champagne from the wine fridge, dive under the bathroom sink and start popping open expired bottles of whatever she found.

I give my self a 50-50 chance.

AGMA and her ass will take those odds.

Check out the article here.