Hanging Up & Flipping Off

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Behold! The craptuclar phone!
Technology has never been a bandwagon I jumped on - maybe because I'm wearing heels that make running and jumping a bit difficult.  Whatever the case, I'm walking around with a Nokia flip phone that I got free with a two-year contract back in 2007.  It's been mocked by a waitress - not to mention my tech-savvy coworkers, a friend who told me that he'd seen homeless people in Washington D.C. with nicer phones and most recently, even Mom conceded that my phone is a piece of garbage.  When Erica Martinez was in from our Dallas office a couple of weeks ago, she responded to the sight of my phone with, "Hello, 1991." It's true - I've been calling the 90s with my Zack Morris phone, but it's time to hang it up.

This phone is the Murdoc of mobile technology.  It's been dropped too many times to count.  Gotten wet.  Pieces of the plastic have broken off around the plug hole for the charger, which means that doesn't stay in very well.  And then there's the front piece that came off completely.  The sticky strip intended to keep it on is now covered with a piece of Scotch tape so that it won't stick to everything I own.  Can you say classy?

The camera is ridiculously bad.  The SIM card is constantly getting full from text messages.  And forget it if someone sends me a photo from an iPhone - it's like total system shutdown.  The volume button is stuck on ten.  For a brief time, the hinge was stuck in the open position, requiring a rubber band to hold it closed.  But then I dropped it again, and that seemed to fix it.

Periodically, it experiences some sort of electrical hiccup and the screen freezes up and then shows horizontal lines that make the think Max Headroom is about to make an appearance.  Alas, it's just another dropped call and a three-minute reboot process.

Goodbye, 90s phone!
I shall miss its monophonic ring tones.  Its tweety bird text notification.  Its Wayne's World dream sequence sound cue alarm clock.  The callous on the inside of my right thumb from texting alpha-numerically.

But it's time to drop it like a call between cell towers.  It's time to get more bars in more places, ditch the rollover minutes and get smart.  Tomorrow I'm going to AT&T for an upgrade.  I'll also be purchasing a 15-year-old to teach me how to use my new phone.  Or maybe there's an app for that.

Let There Be Light...and Make it Purdy

Sunday, March 13, 2011

My den has no overhead lighting...which I don't mind so much, as I much prefer natural light or ambient lighting.  But have you folks checked the prices on lamps lately?  They's expensive!  New lamps for the den could easily run me $100 or more. 

So I went bargain hunting...in my sister's attic.  She donated several brass lamps to my cause.  But they weren't exactly jiving with the decor in my little ranchero.  And while lamps are expensive, spraypaint is not.  I turned those brass badboys into some citrus delight in just a few hours.

A few tips:
  • Use painter's tape to cover the electrical parts
  • Paint in a well-ventilated area
  • Apply a coat of primer to cover any rust spots and give yourself a nice even coat of paint
  • Buy a plastic spray gun topper for your paint can - you'll save your index finger, keep from getting messy and be able to spray in steady strokes.
  • Put the lamp in an oversized cardboard box to catch the overspray (thanks, Dad!)

Brass monkey...a less than funky monkey.

Primed and ready for a citrus overcoat.

Freshly squeezed orange paint

Orange you just loving this?

Clap on!

Godspeed, Lone Ranger

Monday, March 7, 2011

He wandered into our garage more than a decade ago and took up residence in the seat of my grandfather's old Cub Cadet riding lawn mower.  At first, we weren't going to encourage him.  But then Mom couldn't stand to see him go hungry, so she set out bowls of food in the garage.  When it got cold, a folded towel in the seat gave him somewhere to snuggle.  And soon, there was a cat bed for him to weather the weather.  Before many months passed, he breached the threshold between indoors and out because it was just too cold to leave him outside anymore.  And so he became officially ours.

My brother dubbed him Lone Ranger because of the dark fur that circled his clear (though slightly crossed) blue eyes.  He was put together by a committee that couldn't agree using parts that were rejected from everyone else - a too-skinny tail, short bandy legs, and a purr that had a hitch in the giddy-up.  He wore the same expression every moment of every day, forever and ever amen.  And his unerring ability to live by a schedule, his particularity about his place in the world, and his lifelong belief that by taking his picture, I would steal his soul, earned him the descriptor of "special kitty."  Ranger, it seemed, needed to be handled with care and came with his own special instructions.

Ranger was a poor fighter, missing a bite of skin out of one ear and a toe off one foot, making his nickname "Ranger Danger" all the more ironic.  His compromised immune system was constantly challenged by bites and scratches until Mama saw fit to just keep him inside all the time.  We battled through countless oral infections and finally pulled almost all his teeth, but he still insisted on eating his morning treats.  I guess he gummed them to death.

Today, we lost our battle with the final infection.  It was time.  Time to let Lone Ranger ride off into the sunset.  I will miss his yowling meow at the door demanding to be let out.  I will miss his swaying gait across the kitchen that made it so easy to imagine he was saying, "dumpity-dump-dee-dum-dum" as he went.  I will miss his soft snores from the chair or the back of the couch.  I will miss the intensity with which he used the cardboard scratcher.  I will miss his straight-legged resistance when picked up and his complete indignation when kissed.

I will miss our sweet Ranger Cat.