Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Siri was pissing me off so I downloaded Alexa to my phone. Now, neither one will talk to me.

I just got a new phone and the iOS that goes with it which, apparently, also updated Siri. I guess the idea was to make him seem more conversational. (My Siri identifies with he/him/his.) Problem is, he’s a little too relaxed. I think he might be high, in fact.

When I say, “Hey, Siri” a full second or two will pass before he says, “Yeah.”

Yeah? Is that a proper way to respond? To anyone? I might start a request and then I’m interrupted with, “Yeah.” I’m not even sure it’s a question. It’s more like a “Yo” than a “How can I help you?”

But, then Alexa arrived in my life. While Siri lives on my phone, Alexa lives on my kitchen counter. Whenever I was cooking and noticed I was running low on something, I would go back to my office and ask Siri to add the item to my grocery list, whenever he deigned to answer me at all. It quickly became obvious that it would be easier to just tell Alexa to add the item to the list. And, since Siri was being rather aloof, it made sense to put Alexa on my phone as well.

Except she doesn’t like my phone and Siri doesn’t like Alexa and now nobody will talk to me. Except Samuel L. Jackson which is pretty fun. 

I’m just saying, nobody’s expendable. Got that, kids?

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Friday, April 9, 2021

Just like that, the beautiful mess was gone. The dynamic changes again.

On day three, the dynamic changed when the oldest decided he didn’t want to participate in the herd anymore. He’s practically a teen, you see. The herd dynamic changed and new alliances formed and feelings got hurt when one was left out. They were tired and worn out from hours in the hot sun, turning pink, their feet bleeding from rough surfaces, soldiering on so the fun wouldn’t end.

Day four, the oldest opted out again but the herd adjusted. He was missed but no longer crucial to the functioning of the herd.

And then it was over. Half of the herd left and the dynamic is fated to change again. Seven became four. The teenager wants nothing to do with his sister. The adults are busy with work. Order is restored and fun is left to each own’s devices (generally, electronic these days). Boredom and frustration set in. Adults check their watches frequently, wondering when they get their lives back. Tick, tock - don’t tease your sister!

We’ll probably go to the pool again, risking skin cancer and permanent damage to the soles of their feet in the hope there will be other kids there who can join our herd. Until 27 days from now, the youngest of our herd predicted, when they will flock back. For a week, he says.

Sounds good to me.

(How about Labor Day weekend?)

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Herd immunity?

More of the same. I was up first and went straight to work. The day was busy and consisted of feeding, cleaning, swimming, herding, feeding, cleaning, crafts, and freestyle wrap by Chicken Nugget (aka C-Man). The rest of the stage show included themed clapping (cheer clap!), and dancing in the kitchen.

At the pool, the kiddos multiplied. We started with four and ended with four (thank the heavens) but in between they swelled to an alarming number, especially when you consider we live in a retirement community. Where did they come from? The under 10 year-old-crowd outnumbered the over by, dare I say, 10 to 1. 

There’s a funny line between your space, ordered the way you like it, and another muddled space where you don’t really care about the line. Most of the time, the line is a defended border. When the border is breached, the mess can be beautiful.

I’m now immune to the herd (or, quite possibly, I’m numb from the wine). I will feel a hole when the herd is gone. Peace and order will be restored. The border will be re-established and I will need to be inoculated again.

The dynamic changes when there’s a herd. They mostly take care of themselves. Well, except for the feeding, cleaning, transporting, supplying, washing, folding, limiting… 

Somehow it all comes together.

Day two.

Monday, April 5, 2021

This is when I would normally post "10"

... but it's really 42.

Forty-two .... 


Could be worse. 

Could be 10.

Spring Break

A collaborative day. Three adults and four kids. A decent match. 

I was up by 6 and started work by 6:30 am. D was the second to rise at 7. The rest followed and soon the day was a hive of activity. Breakfasts, commutes, pick ups, drop offs. Work, play dates, indoor activities, outdoor activities. Juggling schedules and covering for each other. Sunshine, exhaustion. Clean up and do it again. Snack. Build a fort out of blankets and cushions and leave it there because it’s no longer worth the effort to pick things up. Dinner and clean up again. Laughter, games, loud. Decibels up. Decibels down. 

Slowing down, the adults unwind, the kids settle into quieter activities. I find a moment of silence. (This one, now.) A breeze. A fountain. (A glass of wine, thank goodness.) Sleep is not far behind and I am not afraid that the kids may have to fend for themselves.


It was great.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

My creation is completed.

Yesterday morning, I woke up first as I often do. I had poured myself a cup of cold coffee and was reading the paper when I heard Hubby stirring. I really like a hot coffee on the weekends and he prefers cold so I poured my joe into his cup (reading, "The Man, The Myth, The Legend") and prepared to greet him as he shuffled into the kitchen.

The sun was streaming in the windows, the day was young with promise, the fountain on our beautiful patio was beckoning us outdoors. My heart was full with gratitude for all that we have, not the least of which being each other. 

I prepared to welcome him into my open arms and greet him with a kiss but he reached for the coffee cup still in my hand. It was only a second before he realized the error, if you could call it that. He relaxed into my embrace and then went for the coffee but not before I noticed the shift in priority: coffee first, hug second.

I completely understand. My work here is complete.

Friday, April 2, 2021

It's like I've never made coffee before.

Maybe it's a sign that my mental acuity is in decline but I temporarily forgot how to make coffee. 

On my first attempt, I forgot to put the top on the carafe before pressing the brew button. This is a problem because without the lid, the coffee won't pass from the filter into the carafe. The idea behind this feature is if you pull the carafe out while it's still brewing you can pour a cup of coffee without the still-brewing coffee dripping, searing, onto the hot plate below. (In the old days, if you couldn't wait to get your first cup of coffee, try as you might, coffee would always - always - sizzle on that hot plate.) Without that lid, the water just floods the filter basket and eventually overflows wet coffee grounds all over the counter.

I pulled the plug, cleaned up the mess, and started over. This time, I forgot to put the coffee grounds in. I figured out my mistake when I noticed the warm fluid in the carafe was completely clear. I panicked and tossed the coffee grounds in the filter basket after it was already about half through the brew cycle. I ended up with a very translucent brew that looked more like tea which is the definition of weak coffee. (I like coffee dark and thick enough to chew on.) I tossed the whole batch out.

At this point, I was out of ice.

The coffee I was making was what is sometimes referred to as Japanese Iced Coffee or flashed chilled coffee. Using this method, you substitute half the water in the carafe with ice. After pouring the water into the coffee maker, the coffee is brewed directly onto the ice.

But I was out of ice so I so I had to wait.

Thank goodness I have an espresso maker because waiting will not do.

And, thank goodness I remembered how to make that because the situation was becoming dire. (Lives were at stake!) 

Later that day, I was able to make my flashed chilled coffee and order was restored to my refrigerator and to my coffee cup the next morning. And the world was safe again.