Expect laughter! Expect learning! Expect lasting ideas!

To Pull Up, or Not To Pull Up?

First written for WTAD.COM WHITE PAGES 9/14/16

Recently,  Jeff and I got fast food VIA the drive-through lane. Not to throw any business under the bus, but the little girl on the logo has red hair, pig-tails and freckles. Her name may or may not start with “W”.  We had a fairly simple order, a triple-burger and a salad. There were three cars ahead of us and four behind us. The cashier returned my debit card, without a food bag, and said, “Please pull up. We’ll bring it out when it’s done.”

“How many minutes until it’s done?” I asked.

“We really don’t know.”

“You don’t know????”

“Nope, there’s no timer on it.”

“Then, how will you know when it’s done?”

“We just will. It just lies on the grill ‘til it’s done.”

I’m imagining the burgers getting very cooked, while sunbathing. Except their beach is the grill.

“Before we pull up, I need a small, vanilla, ice cream. We have a nervous dog in here.”

The cashier smiled with half of her mouth. She hadn’t grasped my goal yet: to consume as much time as possible, so that our triple sow-cow might be done, before we pulled up to wait. She snatched my debit card as she announced, “Fifty-four cents.”  This was possibly a new White house record: lowest debit card purchase EVER!

Still, there’s no burger-bag in sight. Begrudgingly, our car crept ahead to the dreaded waiting zone, as slow as when exiting the car wash and the dryer flashes, “35 seconds”, but your car is already 7/8 of the way through the process.

“I wouldn’t have pulled up,” Jeff said. He just won’t. I represent the other half of humans who’re compliant; we pull up. When our kids were little, they would chirp at times like this, “Daddy won’t pull up!” Would they be AATPU’s (Adults Adverse to Pulling Up), too?  We’re all motivated differently. Personally, I fear how they’ll treat my food, if I don’t pull up.

Then the fun began, because this is a single drive-through lane, with no wiggle room. There were at least five cars behind us. The possibility of maneuvering around me was zero. Picture this: we’re waiting, Lily White, the black Lab, is happily eating vanilla ice cream to kill time, and the cars who received their orders, can’t get around us. It’s a perfect storm! Jeff and I laughed, because, the restaurant and we had each gotten what we wanted: they got us to pull up, but it had the same effect as if we’d waited at the window. For once, Jeff and I were both glad that we’d pulled up!


Written for WTAD.com blog 9 05 16

Seriously? Still Watching Our Weight in our Nineties?

My mom turned 92 yesterday. It sounds better in dog years: 13.14. But she’s not the oldest of her resident family. We had Cassano’s Pizza, Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake and Pepsi for the residents and some family at Bradford Villa, an assisted living facility at 12th & Kochs Lane. Oh yes, and also Diet Pepsi, as requested for a 95 year old resident, we’ll call, “Pearl”.  Pearl STILL watches her weight and I’m quite disturbed by this, because of what this means for those of us under 95.

The first time I heard Pearl pass on dessert and exclaim, “I’ve gained two pounds!” I laughed. Until I realized she wasn’t kidding. It’s never occurred to me that weight would still be an issue when I’m 95. I was so hoping that, eventually, I wouldn’t give a hoot in an old age stage.  Great, just great.

On the other hand, I realized, this is kind of cool : here’s this 95 year old Pearl, a gem who still catalog shops for clothes and jumps (well, hops low) at the opportunity to go to the mall. In Yiddish, that’s what we call having, “Chutzpah”! And she’s got it BIG time. Pearl also loves the cosmetic gift bags; you know, spend “X” amount and get free Lancôme stuff in another zipper travel bag, of which we all have dozens. Pearl dresses fabulously for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And THAT’s daily.

Recently, she showed me her new Chicos scarf.  It’s beautiful, but it’s longer than she is tall and could double as her bedspread. I offered to take her scarf home to steam it, due to shipping wrinkles. I smiled, while steaming her scarf, because Pearl’s weight-watching is not a curse, as I’d originally thought. Instead, it is a blessing; a high level of pride and a sign that life and hope pulses strongly through this woman. In that respect, and as much as it wears me out to think about weight-watching all my remaining years, I guess I should hope I still want to watch my weight, wear makeup, cologne and cool clothes, whether I’m 61 or 101. Hold the chocolate sauce, just give me the ice cream. Make that one BIG scoop. Oh, yes, and a Diet Pepsi.

Bunk Beds & Fluke Fishing

fluke 2Last week-end, friends offered us their Long Island, NY home. Jeff and I slept in their 7 year-old’s bunk beds. That was fun.  Not since college, had I bottom-bunked. As many times as I’d sat up quickly in bed, there should be permanent grid marks on my forehead, from hitting the top bunk. (Womp! Owwwww, not again!) Top-bunking should’ve been a better choice. However, there are different hazards sleeping “upstairs”; the biggest being ladder navigation; the next rung’s never where you think it’ll be. When my foot finally hit Earth, a Martian-sounding Emoji pillow chirped, “HELLO!” I nearly wet my pants, which would’ve made the ladder trip a waste. My foot retracted; the Martian chirped, “GOODBYE!”  By morning, the ascend/descend count was three. It felt like I’d attended a nocturnal YMCA boot-camp. I awoke to three American Girl Dolls, staring creepily at me. Next up: the bed-making and when you’re 5’3”, it’s not easy. I jumped and tugged, until someone taller, helped pull it together. The second night, I limited my descents to one and done, opting for the couch, after the first descent. “If the family’s gone, why didn’t you use the master bedroom?” you ask. Mom always told me, “That’s rude,” so, I can’t do that. I just cannot. Some lessons last a lifetime.

Saturday, we fished with friends in Point Lookout* Bay. Ahhhh, friends, boating, fun, sand, sun, sea, vodka and go-wits**. We fished for Fluke, a/k/a Flounder, which are flat as pancakes. (Oh, the joy of unplanned alliteration!) Their bellies are lightly-colored, like pancakes; their topsides are spotted brown. Both eyes are on top of the pancake. Not kidding. Its mouth is on the crease, so it can swim sidestroke – as opposed to butterfly- to gobble up bottom food. They’re so flat, that they couldn’t possibly have much of a brain, which explains how even I landed a bunch of these beasts, faster than Usain can bolt! Perhaps the flatness is why Flounder’s often served stuffed with crab meat. The stuffing enhances the Flounder, to look like she’s wearing a padded bra while presented on the plate. I know how she feels…

Later, we girls opted out of fishing, settling at the “Buoy Bar”. The kiddy beach is to the right of the dock; adults’ beach, to the left. As it should be. Not that we needed another fruity concoction, but an 11 year old (?) waiter, said some guys were sending us a round. We laughed, because we had not fished for attention and, besides, our ages spanned 25 – 61.  Pubescent Patrick approached again, “To clarify, it’s the second table from the left; one guy’s wearing white.” Like we cared. Just bring us the drinks. Disappointingly, drinks never materialized and those schmucks*** had disappeared. The New York nerve!  I’d bet there was a wager: “Yo, Roscoe, betcha we can get those babes to come talk wit (with) us!”  (“Well, maybe, not the old one with the white hair and the one-piece swimsuit, but those other two…”) Some things are simply universal, like friends, fun and funny flukes. Both the fish and the fellows. bw


*Point Lookout, NY, a Hurricane Sandy casualty (2012), is now proud of rebuilt homes, businesses, docks and boats. Only an occasional empty lot remains.

**Go-wits: mixers, such as lemonade, tonic, soda, etc. We LoVe, LoVe, LoVe this eastern shore term.

***Schmuck: dufus, dweeb, douche bag.



Unexpected Olympic Lessons      

(Article first published for WTAD.COM 8/23/16. Bobbe writes weekly under “The White Pages!”)

    ryan hair                                                                                            

We expected doping allegations. We expected unfair judging. (Cough, Russian Boxers, Cough). We expected a few ballplayers to be caught in a brothel.(“Oh wow! We’re in a brothel? Who knew?”) But we didn’t expect The Ryan. America is still red-faced, both from embarrassment and anger that an athlete of this caliber could be such a dope. You really have to try. You really, REALLY have to try. But if these are some lessons we needed reinforced, then we were awarded some real gold, through Ryan’s immature behavior.

The lies. How long does it take a human to realize that concocted alibis just don’t hold water? And his mama believed. What a dopey mom she must now feel like. The truth is so much easier to retell over and over, than lies, especially when you’ve got a tag team of four dudes being asked to retell it. Mais oui, they had soggy brains from the French Hospitality House. Oh, please. Do you really think the French would over serve these guys to the point of stupidom? Maybe the hospitality houses were all lined up, like Frat Row, during recruitment week and Team Ryan crossed all 205 nations’ welcome mats. I would be surprised zee French would find zee boys funny, if they were this, how do you say, “kaboozled.”

The damage. If there’s one thing travelers need to remember it’s that we are guests in the host country, any time a shop, home or Shell station is entered. Damaged property is so junior high schoolish. By 6:00 a.m. how could any part of this not begin to look like a bad idea? A soap dispenser, a sign and a mirror. A trifecta in their foggy minds. Oh yeah, and the kicked in bathroom door. Impressive, you idiots. You make me want to spit on your Speedo.

The sacrifice.  If  Speedo and Ralph Lauren, among other sponsors, were lining my pockets handsomely, there wouldn’t be one day I’d awake and say, “Puhtooey on them!” It takes years to develop a good reputation and about one bathroom soap dispenser to destroy it. Beyond the reputation, though, is ALL. THAT. MONEY. He was set. During his swimming career and far beyond. Ryan was America’s Darling. Unfortunately, what you do in Rio, doesn’t stay in Rio. Or anywhere. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

The hair. Ryan’s hair color was, in one word, ridiculous. Personally, swimmers hair is to die for, but not to dye for.  In an attempt to identify what product Ryan used to achieve his hair color, I researched the Clorox Company and here are my findings:   It might have been Tilex, by mistake: he was in the shower and thought it was shampoo. Or it might have been S.O.S. pads, as he had that blueish tint for a while. Then it seemed like Lochte’s Locks may’ve been doused with Pine-Sol, because of the green water tinge. That was weird.  Or perhaps, he used Clorox No-Drip Concentrate. But that would’ve made it whiter, wouldn’t it have?  THEN I FOUND THE PRODUCT. Scoop Away, super clump cat litter.  Because, clearly Ryan Lochte has (pardon my French) sh*t for brains.

Olympic Fatigue

Can someone please pass the toothpicks? My eyes, and those of quite a few coworkers, are bleary-eyed these days, from staying up late, to watch the Olympics. Sure, Katie (Ledecky) and Michael (seriously, you need a last name?) have worked hard to churn the pool for gold, but do they have to wait on the public, wanting to do their banking? Accurately, of course. No. So, Michael’s pool cap ripped about two nano-seconds before his relay leg. Did his office run out of coffee? I don’t think so. And, yes, the cupping marks (weird circle bruises) on athletes’ arms and shoulders are cause for conversation, but do my customers think my chin resting in my coffee cup is appropriate? Not in a million flip turns. So, why don’t we just Go. To. Bed?  Because we can’t! Are you kidding? And miss the 4 x 200 Women’s Free Relay? Not a chance. If Michael can swim 200M Individual Medley at midnight in Rio, I can hang on my couch in Quincy (IL) at 10:00p.m. for a few minutes longer, it’s the least we mere mortals can do.

If only a little naptime could be found. It occurred to me yesterday, when I got into my car at lunchtime, how delicious a power nap would be. Alas, there is cleaning to pick up, oil to be changed and a peanut butter sandwich to be consumed. Besides that, at 94 degrees and 94% humidity, the car is the worst place for ten winks with the windows down, and it isn’t good for the 2004 Pacifica to crank on the A.C. while idling either. Maybe I could steal an itty-bitty nap after work and before the nightly coverage. That’s a great idea, except Lily White, the black Lab, has been snoozing all day and is ready for her own Tricathlon: walking, eating, barking. Maybe I could sleep through the first few events – swimming and gymnastics are ALWAYS later on the schedule, to keep us engaged. Right, have you tried sleeping through Women’s Beach Volleyball, when Switzerland is taunting our USA team, “Bisch du am Gold schurfe*?” First of all, you’ve got four beautiful women, built like Diane Von Furstenberg’s girls. Plus they have braids down their backs that are thicker than my thigh.  And does anyone else out there think it’s odd that volleyball outfits are skimpier than the swimmers outfits? I’d think the gals would prefer those lycra Bermudas, so sand doesn’t get into their Chuchichaschtli**.

Oh well, once every four years, I -and much of America- can tough it out and fight Olympic Fatigue, with the rest of the world. Besides that, there’s much more to watch in the next week ahead. Not only that, the water polo pool is green this morning, and that is another “oops” Rio hadn’t planned for. And do you want to know the very BEST part of Olympic coverage? Political Spuckaffares*** are forced to take a back seat. Thank heavens for small favors. bw


*Are you digging for gold?  (Alternate translation: Are you picking your nose?)

**Kitchen Cupboard? Call it what you want…

***Spitting affairs. Exactly.

Bobbe 21

Bobbe tries  to pull herself out of the garbage of life, to carry on.

It’s Friday, June 17, 2016…

…and it’s a tough world out there. Within the past week,

  • A talented singer is killed in Orlando,
  • 50 people gunned down in Orlando nightclub,
  • Two-year old is killed by alligator outside of Orlando.

Poor people, poor families, poor community, poor Orlando.  Makes a person understand what “being under a dark cloud” means, right? If we ever needed to feel better, it is now. But where do we start and what can we do? Is there anything right in the world? It’s called, “basic”, People, “basic”.  Basic comfort for pain. What’s that?  It might be a chocolate chip cookie, cuddling your child or sipping a nice glass of merlot. Basic pleasures for uplifting your attitude: pet your dog, peak at a sleeping baby, watch Jimmy Fallon and President Obama write thank you letters out loud, set to melodic piano. Then, try to live with Positive Expectancy (Steve Wilson). What does this mean? It means: approaching life, as we know it, not as a Pollyanna, but with hopes for good things, which make living worthwhile. To me, it means looking harder than ever for bits of humor, wherever they will pop up. And they WILL pop up, if you play attention. That’s right, it’s not a typo, I said, “PLAY” attention. Be aware, be alert, be alive! It’s okay to carry on. And besides, (queue Leslie Gore), “It’s my birthday and I’ll smile if want to, smile if I want to, smile if I want to. You would smile too, if it happened to you!”  Yep, it’s my birthday and at the risk of sounding like a goat, I’m going to have a goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood day. Why not? At my age, that’s 427 years old – in dog years, I don’t know how much time I have left. And in dog years, I might have 14 glasses of wine and 7 pieces of cakea tonight!  You’ve got to love dog years. Cheers and happy weekending in spite of it all.  bw

Several things I do at the bank for customers:
-Complete the debit card form for traveling customers going to different states/countries. (I designed the form and am quite proud of this.)
-Increase debit card daily limits temporarily, as requested
-Open, close, or rearrange most kinds of checking or savings accounts
Recently, I’d explained to customers how to freeze their credit, to thwart further fraud. What a grand idea, so, to be prudent, I froze my own credit. I’m so resourceful.
Occasionally, I get customers who’re ready to pull their hair out, because of some financial frustration. Recently, I got an opportunity to feel that kind of pain…
Last month, I visited our daughter, Korey, in Denver. Call me “Savvy”, regarding my traveling abilities, when it comes to being prepared financially. This includes taking a debit card, two credit cards and cash. With Uber now, less cash is needed than before, and my bank refunds me up to $20/month on ATM fees, so no problem, if more cash is needed.
Denver, Night #1: Alert informs me of “questionable credit card charges”. The fraud line representative described the suspect charges, but was difficult to understand, seeing as she had a heavy accent. I cancelled the card immediately.
Mountains, Day #2: Saturday, we used my debit card for coffee, en route to skiing. What’s sweeter than sun, moderate temperatures and spring skiing? Between Korey and her roommate, I was fully outfitted: jacket, gloves and helmet. I could’ve packed ski clothes, but they’re bulky. Except Korey had no extra pants and Meghan’s about 5’9” and slim. Surely, there’d be end-of-season sales in Keystone Village. Sadly, sales boiled down to one pair of ill-fitting, men’s, ski pants for $195 (I know…) and no further options. I prayed the snap wouldn’t pop getting on the lift each time. My debit card was declined. Hmmmmm, I wasn’t overdrawn. Wait…NOOOOOOOOOO: I’d neglected to complete my traveling debit card form! Apparently, the card worked at Starbucks, but using it twice, rather rapidly, unfurls a red flag. If I hadn’t designed this form myself, it wouldn’t be so ironic. Plus, I’d helped customers with this form, the day before at work! The card would remain frozen from until Monday. I’m now: 0 for 2. Declined debit and compromised credit cards. No worries, as I, the savvy traveler, present credit card #2 for the pants. DECLINED; I break a sweat. Korey uses her card for my pants, lift tickets and lunch. I call customer service; apparently, my credit limit is just $500. WHAT? Who even has a credit card this low? Me, apparently. I requested a limit increase and paid off my balance, by phone, to reinstate the card. However, the payment wouldn’t show for 2-3 days. Lovely. Soon, an email regarding my credit limit request arrived: request was on hold. It seems that my credit was frozen. ARRRRGGGHHH. “Inform us when you’ve lifted the freeze.” Right. Except I couldn’t remember my password for Transunion, the credit reporting agency. What else is new?
I survived on Korey’s credit until Monday; when my debit card was revived and my credit card payment was applied. We’re back in business! Yes, I owe Korey oodles, but she saved me, and besides, she earned air miles for the assist. Eventually, credit was unfrozen (once I found my password) and a letter arrived, regarding the two, suspect credit card items. The first: $5.00 charge to Yad Vashem, Holocaust Museum, Jerusalem. A worthy cause, but this wasn’t mine; the other item, Amazon.com credit, for returned merchandise. “A credit”, you say? Who on earth call’s a credit for returned merchandise suspicious? I’m not sure when I’ll travel next, but remind me to fill out the traveler form, make sure my kids always have a higher credit limit than and leave ski clothes at Korey’s. For now, I must run to an alterations appointment to make my ski pants a bigger! bw