Thursday Thoughts

Can You Hear Me Now?
Sometimes I embrace technology; sometimes I want to throw my cell phone/iPad/laptop computer right out the window. Nevertheless, overall, I know technology has improved our lives. Still, my heart sinks when my cell phone rings, and, upon answering it, I get that dreaded quiet lull indicating a computer-generated voice will pipe up. The other day when my telephone rang, my phone showed it was a call from my primary care doctor’s office. That’s never good. But that dreaded lull came on just before a cheerful computer-generated voice said, “Hello. We are trying to reach Kristine McLain. Have we reached the right number?” “Yes,” I said firmly and clearly. “Is this Kristine McLain?” said the nonhuman voice. “Yes,” I yelled again. After several more attempts, I finally convinced the computer I was who they wanted. “Our records indicate you have not had your annual mammogram,” said the voice. “Is this true?” “No,” I yelled into the phone. “If this is not true,” said the voice, “please indicate verbally when you last had your mammogram by telling us the month and year.” So I said, “December 2016.” “You said December 2015. Is this correct?” “No,” I yelled into the phone. “If this is not correct, please tell us the month and year of your last mammogram,” said the voice. “December 2016,” I repeated, loudly enough that Bill looked in from outside where he was doing yard work to see with whom I was arguing. “You said December 2015. Is this correct?” And so on, until after three identical attempts, at which time the voice said, “It appears we are having trouble communicating. We will call you at a later time,” and disconnected. I considered calling my doctor back to talk to a human, but know full well that the place at which I had my recent mammogram had sent her my results. Unfortunately, no one told the computer. This odd encounter once again reminded me that I will not drive or ride in a driverless car until technology has succeeded in inventing a workable automated phone system.

All Hat and No Cows
Yesterday afternoon, Bill and I went to Jimmy John’s for lunch (his favorite). We decided we weren’t in the mood to go back to our house, so we decided to visit a place we’ve driven by many, many times, and each time we have said we should stop just for the fun of it, but never have. You will be surprised when I tell you it was a business called Tractor Supply Co. “I went to one of these kinds of stores once a long time ago, and got a bucket,” Bill said. And apparently he was in the market for a bucket once again. It was about what you would expect. Lots of tools, lots of animal feed, the makings for chicken coops, a small display of ranch clothes, and a large selection of buckets. Bill happily chose one, after taking a bit of time to decide between the black bucket and the red bucket. Hey, I’m not going to complain. I do the same thing at a kitchen supply store. For the record, he picked black. And he told me that his rancher friends would say that we were all hat and no cows. I’m not sure that’s a bad thing, though admittedly he made me laugh.

Speaking Sharply
Last year very shortly after we arrived, Maggie’s husband Mark came to our house packing his knife sharpener. He commenced that day to sharpen all of our knives, much to my delight. So I began nagging him almost upon our arrival this year to once again sharpen our knives. His heart was willing from the get-go, but circumstances never allowed it to happen. Happily, day before yesterday, he and Austin appeared at our door with the knife sharpener. Maybe 10 minutes and a lot of whirring noises later, my knives were sharp and ready to go. He’s very kind to do this for his mother-in-law and his wife’s old auntie. Of course, it might have helped some that I threatened to stab him in the heart with my dull knife if he didn’t help me out soon.

Speaking of Love
While looking for something else altogether, I stumbled upon this old photo of the McLains when they were considerably younger. My heart just melted when I looked at it, and it melts every time I look at it again. I think I mostly love how Alastair has his head on Addie’s shoulder. Today? Wouldn’t happen….

camping-mclains

Elementary, Dear Watson
I got hooked a few years ago on the PBS mystery series Sherlock (not to be confused with CBS’s Elementary). I’m pretty sure that a lot of the reason I was so taken was because I’m quite frankly very smitten with Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of the famous detective. Smitten. Who uses that word anymore? Anyway, I don’t particularly think the actor is terribly good looking in any other role in which I’ve seen him; however, as the sherlock-1600x720great detective, he is simply dreamy. Dreamy. Who uses that word anymore? With the exception of one show that aired last January, PBS’s Sherlock has taken quite a break. So while I’m recording the program, I haven’t watched any of the new episodes yet. Instead, I am watching the old ones on Netflix to get caught up and back into the swing of things. And I had forgotten just how BIZARRE the show is. Bill watches bits and pieces and looks at me like what the….?  I might be getting too old for the program, but then there’s Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock. Dreamy.

Ciao.

Chillin’

There are three reasons why a new refrigerator currently lives in my Denver kitchen.

First, the ice maker stopped working in our old refrigerator. For a while before we left for Arizona, I made do by purchasing ice from the grocery store. That worked reasonably well, though it was admittedly kind of a pain in the, well, you know. But for some reason, since we’ve been back in Denver, I have been wholly and completely unable to remember to buy ice. I put it on my grocery list and still don’t buy ice. It only becomes a crisis when I go to make a gin and tonic and I don’t have ice. Similarly, a martini cannot be either shaken OR stirred without ice.

Second, it came to my notice several months ago that on the television program Elementary, the refrigerator which Sherlock and Joan Watson have in their PURPOSELY VINTAGE NEW YORK CITY KITCHEN is the exact same refrigerator in MY VERY OWN KITCHEN, which is not vintage. Or at least not meant to be vintage.

And third, Bill and I moved into this house 23 years ago. One of the first things we did was to replace the existing appliances. Since I can’t remember what I did yesterday, I certainly can’t remember why we were so hell-bent on replacing the appliances, but we were. And the first thing we replaced was the refrigerator.

“Let’s be cutting edge,” either I said to Bill or he said to me. “Let’s not get a white refrigerator. Let’s do something a bit different.”

Back in those days, stainless steel was not really an option unless you were purchasing appliances for a restaurant. Black may or may not have been an option, but we instead chose to go with a sort of off-white beige color, thinking that we would then buy all of our appliances in that color. Live like it’s your last day!

What we didn’t account for was the fact that there were NO OTHER APPLIANCES sold in that color. In-wall ovens, dishwashers, range tops – none of them were made in that particular color. And so for a 23-year period, we have lived with a refrigerator that doesn’t match any of our other appliances. While it hasn’t bothered me all that much, I’m sure every visitor I’ve ever had to my kitchen has cringed when they noticed that my fridge was a peculiar color.

Old Fridge

But given the no-ice thing and the fact that the refrigerator looks like Ma and Pa Wilder might have used it in their little house on the prairie, we elected to bite the bullet and purchase a new refrigerator.

We made a couple of trips to the Sears Outlet Store and eventually decided on a nice, contemporary-looking, WHITE refrigerator. I hear the gasps that we didn’t go with stainless steel, but I’m old-fashioned and I like my white appliances. I just don’t like my off-white appliances. And besides, last summer we purchased a new dishwasher in white, and I didn’t want to go off on the same tangent as 23 years ago. White it is.

new refrigerator 2016

It was kind of sad to see my refrigerator go on Saturday when the extremely nice and extremely strong refrigerator delivery fellows took away our old fridge. Still, I don’t have a list of fond memories of the thing, though it has served me well. In fact, about the only refrigerator-specific memory I have of old Mr. Chiller is an incident that took place shortly after Bill and I got married. It’s safe to say that we had a bit of a difficult time figuring out just who wore the pants in the family for a while, until we realized that neither of us did. Anyway, one day I got mad at Bill for something, what, I don’t even recall. But I was MAD. So mad, in fact, that I took an as-yet unopened Taco Bell burrito and threw it at him, as hard as I could. He, being quite agile, ducked. The burrito missed him and went under the refrigerator. And so, rather than having a satisfactory ending to our fight, it just sort of petered out as we had to work as a team to move the refrigerator away from the wall and find the burrito. Not one of my prouder moments.

My rangetop and my double wall ovens, though they will likely show up on some television show or other (maybe Antique Roadshow), are here to stay for a while. They work fine, and we always come back to our same mantra: WWWD. That is: What Would Wilma Do? And as long as something works, she would keep it.

And we will too. Unless it somehow comes between me and my martini. That’s the death knell for appliances in our household.

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