No More Cleaning, No More Snow

One of the great things about blogging is meeting people – electronically that is – from all around the world.

Imagine my surprise when I realized a fellow blogger who I’ve been following for over a year now is practically my neighbor. Yes Jackie of Ambling and Rambling is a fellow Bergen County resident.

Serivce Industry Neighbor

My neighbor and fellow blogger.

She has been married to Fang (an homage to the late, great Phyllis Diller) for almost 25 years. They have a teenage daughter, “Fangette”, for whom she has little patience, but great love. What parent of an adolescent can’t say the same?

Jackie has been in the service industry for thirty-two years. She has worked in all types of establishments.  These days she is at a steak house where she splits her time between serving and bartending.

Ambling and Rambling focuses on the trials and tribulations of being in a long-term relationship, raising a teenager, and working in the service industry. Her perspective is often funny and insightful.

Make sure to check out Ambling and Rambling.

I’m tired of snow!

I’m sick of all the extra work snow involves. I’m of the opinion that something as simple as retrieving the mail shouldn’t require crampons — not in the wilds of suburban New Jersey, anyway. Don’t even get me started on the shoveling. Or the ice-covered everything. Winter wonderland, my patootie!

While I’m not too old to enjoy a little cold weather fun, I’m not sure that sliding down my driveway on my hind end, owing to the fact that we don’t actually own crampons would fall into that category. I’m getting pretty good at it, though and have come to call it “driveway surfing.”

In fact, I’ve grown so proficient at it that I’ve been giving some real consideration to petitioning for its inclusion in the next Olympic Winter Games. I’ll have to come up with rules, a scoring system, and money for bribes of course. However, the work involved and the financial considerations will be small prices to pay for indulging my gold medal dreams.

Sure, rock salt would eliminate the need for hanging ten on the driveway, and rumors of its existence abound. For something that in any other year has always been an abundant and readily available substance, procuring such has proven as elusive here in 2014 as finding a Cabbage Patch doll was in 1983. When driveway surfing becomes, as I suspect it will, all the rage, I will undoubtedly be grateful that the shortage of this product made it all possible. Invention being the mother of necessity and all that.

Working has been a challenge, as well — and an unprofitable one at that. Members of the general public, not to mention the majority of my co-workers, do not seem to share my level of commitment for getting to the restaurant.

As if going to work and coming away without any financial remuneration isn’t, in and of itself, enough to make anyone a mite cranky, the expectation that while I’m there — because I’m there — I will do cleaning projects is enough to send me round the proverbial bend. I’d rather pick nits out of ferrets.

Ferret grooming aside, there is very little that I enjoy participating in less — even in my own home — than cleaning. I clean the hovel because I have to. Unlike my bosses at work, I don’t have any members of the slave labor force hanging about that I can press into service. My teenager, not surprisingly, has better things to do.

Luckily, I maintain low standards for cleanliness. Still, household tasks don’t do themselves! Over the years my enthusiasm for this nonsense has given way to a general sense of ennui. Truthfully, I was never all that enthusiastic about cleaning to begin with. To be honest, I have always greeted tasks like mopping the floors, doing the dishes, and sanitizing the bathroom with about as much fervor as I would a trip to the lobotomist. (And don’t think THAT hasn’t been suggested!)

I finally arrive at work wetter and colder than I generally like to be due to a few practice runs of driveway surfing and trudging through hip-deep snow. At that point, I can’t get excited over the prospect of scrubbing shelves, relocating supplies, and spit-polishing equipment. It’s childish, I know, but in my head I’m stamping my feet, balling up my fists, and shaking my head back and forth while tearfully screaming, “I don’t wanna clean!!!!”

It’s all I can do to keep this immature and unseemly behavior contained in fantasy world. I’m convinced that the sole reason I’m able to keep it from spilling forth into the real world is how embarrassed I would feel after such a meltdown. It’s really no way for a future gold medalist to conduct herself.

I’ve discovered a way out, though. For years I’ve observed others successfully employ this method. I’ve always subscribed to the theory that “A job worth doing is worth doing well.” So, I could never bring myself to participate in the kind of subterfuge that I am now wholeheartedly embracing.  Unlike the positive attitude I’ve adopted where driveway surfing is concerned, I’m doing the bare minimum in the area of workplace cleaning. And, I’m doing it well.

I’m happy to report that I’ve calculated my laziness score to be 8 out of a possible 10.  I think that’s pretty good for a novice!

Sand, Beaches, Sun, Oh My

Freezing Man - Cold!

it’s Freezing Man!

Sand, Beaches, Sun, Oh My. I kept repeating these words to myself during my walk to the bus stop today.

I pictured these warm scenes.

I also did so as I paced back and forth at the bus stop bursting for joy when the bus came. Well, I was definitely bursting.

Anyway, I think my Jeddi mind trick helped. I think. And that’s all that matters.

Last year during a particular cold stretch I wrote a post. I have reposted it below with one addition.

However, I want to see your additions. You can go to my facebook page( for your addition. I will note the best on my blog later this week.

Thanks for your help and good luck staying warm.

Today, Monday, is the first day that the temperature is predicted to go over the freezing mark in about a week. Yeah, I know it’s January, it’s winter. I get it. So, I expect it to be cold. But these temperatures have been crazy cold. Want to know how crazy? (Yes, Larry, how crazy cold has it been?) Thanks for your interest – let me tell you.

It’s been:

Touching my cheeks to make sure they are there kind of crazy cold.

Soup for every meal kind of crazy cold.

Cell phone works with bare hand only then stay in my pocket kind of crazy cold.

Spit turns to ice upon hitting the ground kind of crazy cold.

Insist kids wear gloves and hat no matter how much they complain kind of crazy cold.

Need to knit your dog a sweater kind of crazy cold.

Afraid of the heat bill kind of crazy cold.

Can we retire to Florida now kind of crazy cold.

Wish I had a way to preheat the car kind of crazy cold.

Where can I buy one of those scary ski masks kind of crazy cold.

How many layers can I wear with out falling over kind of crazy cold.

Keep food cold in the garage kind of crazy cold.

Didn’t know that body part could get that cold kind of cold.

Hell freezing over might be warmer kind of crazy cold.

Hey it’s in the 20’s and that’s not so bad kind of crazy cold.

Counting down 51 more days to spring kind of crazy cold.

It’s been… ahh you get the point. Anyway, as my childhood friend, MG, reminds me, the past couple of winters have been relatively mild. So, this crazy cold streak is just the odds coming in.

So let’s hear from you – what would you add to my ‘that kind of crazy cold’ list? Remember you can also add your suggestions at

Pic can be found at:

All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go: The Party That Never Was

The ingredients were purchased.

Fonzi's freezer holding food from the Post- Chanukah Chanukah Party

Fonzi’s freezer holding food from the Post- Chanukah Chanukah Party

The food was made.

The house was cleaned.

The chairs were arranged.

The gifts were bought.

And then came the phone calls. Texts. And emails.

Forty two people were supposed to be in my home today for a Post-Chanukah Chanukah party. That’s nearly as many Jews as went down to Egypt during Jacob’s time. It’s also nearly every relative I have from my side of the family (other than those that are out of country). And each relative was going to bring a dish to complement the food that my wife had already cooked.

Why didn’t this party happen today? Continue reading

The Electric Bill That Ate My Budget

Remember how excited you were when you moved into your first house? Everything is new and exciting. How are you going to lay it out? Isn’t it great to have more space?  What memories will you make?

Then, there was the inevitable first repair. After an exhaustive search, you find the right plumber, electrician, or handyman to fix the blemish on what has become your home.  Between the time the repairman comes and he gives you the estimate, you pray – “please don’t let it be a big expense, please don’t let it be a big expense, please don’t let it be a big expense.” Then you get the estimate and either you are left relieved or muttering.

Either way, residential innocence has been lost. You now know that the house is not only a place to raise your family, have bbq’s with friends, and watch Modern Family in but is also a place that can drain all your money. Yes knowledge is power, but it can also cause fear.

Well, I am over my residential fear. Sort of, kind of. Actually, the fear is now way back in my mind and no longer overwhelming.

Unfortunately something else has taken its place.

It’s been hot in my part of the world (and many others from what I have noticed). Really hot. Hot like take off all your clothes and still hot, hot like I see the lawn browning before my eyes hot, hot like please don’t make me go out there hot.

Now, empty houses have their noises. There is the hum of the refrigerator, the ticking of a clock, the rattle of a window. And depending on the season, there are the sounds of the air conditioning or heating system.

When the central air kicks in at my house, it sounds like a gentle blowing. It is quite pleasant and those of us who are in the house are made to feel comfortable. It’s actually a beautiful thing. Very fortuitous that we live in the times of air conditioning – wouldn’t you say?

These days my air conditioner is running practically non-stop. And the noise no longer sounds like a gentle blowing. No, no, no. It sounds like Darth Vader’s harsh breathing. It sounds like a powerful vacuum cleaner sucking up everything in its path.

Image courtesy of Flicker

Image courtesy of Flicker

One of those things it is sucking up is my budget. Each Darth Vader-like breath of the central air leaves me ever more fearful of the electricity bill.  Will the massive bill forced my family and I to go on a pasta-only diet for the rest of the month?

I am going to extreme measures to combat this. I walk around my house looking for electricity to turn off like a traffic cop handing out tickets in New York City. Every light, television, and computer is turned off immediately as I silently (or not so silently) curse the family member who is guilty of this horrendous offense.

The beast that is eating my budget!

The beast that is eating my budget!

I sit and wait for the heat wave to pass and for the next PSE&G bill to arrive. I won’t underestimate the power of the dark side. May the force be with me.

P.S. Please, does anyone have any reasonable electricity saving ideas?