Posted on July 30, 2008 in Life, the Universe and Everything by Jay26 Comments »

SyringeXeniaMorgueFileAlright. Here’s the thing. I went to the doctor’s this morning for a routine blood test – I have an underactive thyroid and they do regular checks to make sure my supplementary hormone is at the right level, which is fine by me, since I neither want to put on huge amounts of weight or go into terminal overdrive and die of a heart attack.

At exactly the time on my appointment slip, I was called into the nurse’s room. Yay!

I sat down, she made the usual polite conversation while she was getting things ready, and then she put that strangle-your-biceps thing on and picked up the syringe and she said:

‘Just a little scratch … !’

Just a little what?? You know, they always say that these days, and I started to wonder why. I mean, it isn’t a scratch, she’s about to poke a hole in me with a sharp instrument, viz, one needle. Scratches just glance across the surface. There’s no way you’d get a syringe full of blood from one, and that being her aim, she was definitely going to make a hole right through one of my veins. That is not a scratch!

You know what I think? I think it’s another example of a Worlde Gonne Madde! I mean, of course, political correctness.

What nurses used to say, and what they seem reluctant to say these days is:

‘Just a little prick … !’

I’m guessing that she wants to avoid –

a) sniggers and smart-arse retorts from both sexes,

b) threats of compensation suits from insecure men with small appendages and hurt feelings, and

c) offers to prove she’s wrong from men at the other end of the dangly bit spectrum.

But, for goodness’ sake! How many more perfectly good and useful words are we going to allow to be quietly shuffled into the Lexicon of Unacceptable Words? What next? Are we going to have to come up with a different word for a ball?

Or maybe that would only be a problem when there’s more than one of them!

BottleIPod2Anyone who knows me at all well knows how much I hate shopping for things*.

I don’t mean the weekly groceries, although that can be tiresome in the extreme, especially if the place is full of children and their harrassed parents, or women standing gossiping right in the middle of the aisle, or teenagers choosing their alcopops, or just, you know .. people.

No, top of the list of things I hate shopping for would be mobile phones, and close behind comes white goods. I mean, come on – who wants to spend more than a nano-second looking at rows and rows of washing machines trying to decide which of the nasty, boring cost-an-arm-and-a-leg things is the least nasty? Good grief, the tedium!! And just don’t get me started on furniture. It took six months recently for Other Half to get me into a furniture warehouse for long enough to choose a sofa!

Part of it is the salesmen, of course. Now, the perfect salesman is one who watches from a distance (preferably about a quarter of a mile) and just exactly at the moment you want to ask him a question, materialises at your side, knows his stuff and talks to you without rubbing his hands together. If he has a sense of humour, that’s a definite plus, and I might actually buy something from him. But he is a Rare Thing.

Right now, we’re in the market for a treadmill, on account of Other Half has cancelled my gym membership**. I figure with the iGallop, a treadmill, and a few weights, I can manage to keep myself reasonably fit – but only if the treadmill is the right treadmill. I want a treadmill which folds out of the way. I want a treadmill which isn’t flimsy. I want a treadmill with the deck and the hand grips in the right place and I want one without unnecessary frills.

We looked at one yesterday. For me to be able to hold the hand grips on this not-particularly-cheap item, I was treading on the plastic shield which covers up the front end of the moving belt thingy. I need to be able to hold the handles because I have seriously weak ankles, and I need to have those handles available. They’re no use six inches in front of me, on account of if I do fall, I’m going to be shooting backwards at several miles an hour.

Shame about that, because the salesman was one of the good guys who actually knew what he was talking about and had the intelligence and wit to be able to crack jokes and laugh about his equipment. I like that in a man. Sadly, the one he had which was good for both of us had a huge fancy chunk of metal and plastic on top, designed to hold two water bottles and an iPod and featuring a large pair of speakers. Yes, we’re still talking about the treadmill, folks. Do try to keep up.

So why would anyone need speakers? There is only one reason I can think of – with speakers you can have the volume up nice and loud and hopefully no-one will be able to hear you sing along. However, I don’t know about you, but when I’m on the treadmill, I don’t have enough breath to sing much above a hoarse croak anyway.

This afternoon will see us in yet another sports equipment shop looking for that elusive simple, well-made, folding treadmill that has a belt that goes round and a button to make an incline with. Oh, and a simple read-out which tells you how fast you’re going and how long you’ve been at it. And nothing much else. Except, hopefully, a guarantee. Oh yeah, and a salesman who doesn’t make me want to use one of my knives on him in a completely inappropriate way.

Wish us luck. All of us. Salesman included.



* Except knives

** I was finding it harder and harder to get myself down there three times a week.

Posted on July 27, 2008 in Life, the Universe and Everything by Jay22 Comments »

OverlockerManual2So. Crotchety Old Man Yells At Cars decided to take questions from the ladies and has a piece up today answering just a few of those niggling little questions that we all have, which usually start ‘why the fuck do you … ?’ and commonly end up with bafflement. The woman shakes her head, the man grins.

It’s all very amusing. Crotchety offers us answers just as baffling as those we get from our own menfolk and in the end we shake our heads, wryly, thinking, ‘Men, huh? You’ll never change them’. But there, dear ladies, you are wrong!

If I may, I’d like to offer you a couple of solutions to common problems which I’ve come across over the years.

Problem No. 1: You are on your way out somewhere. Your man waits until you are locking the front door behind you, and then says, casually ‘Could you put my keys in your bag? Oh, and here’s my wallet, cigarettes, cigarette lighter, sunglasses case, a book I fancied reading while you are in the shops and a couple of assorted and nameless Manly Things.

What most women do: Sigh, ask their man somewhat crossly why he doesn’t a) put these things in his pocket or b) bring his own damn bag, then sigh again and accept said items to add to their already bulging bag – a bag, I might add, which is often bulging with things that both of them might want and weighs a ton.

The Depp Effect solution: Take a smaller bag and tell him there’s no room. There. Simple and effective. Or you could buy him a bunch of carabeners (men love hardware!) so that he can hang all those things from his belt. This will have the extra added bonus effect of making him clank (men love to clank – especially if there’s hardware involved!).

Problem No. 2: You ask your man how to do to something, and he comes over all scathing about women and technology and says he told you this only last week, and then you ask him not to shout at you and he says he’s not shouting, and if you’d only paid attention the first time you’d know how to do it, and anyway, why don’t you read the fucking manual?

What most Women do: Remind him that he lost the fucking manual, and request that he explain the thing again, while attempting to keep things peaceable. When this proves impossible, they will shout back, only to have their man say something like ‘Don’t you bloody shout at me!’ Whereupon swearing and/or name-calling ensues, swiftly followed by tears of frustration. At this point things may go seriously downhill and many couples have ended up not speaking for days, or even weeks. However, there is no need for such histrionics.

The Depp Effect Solution: Ask him if he knows how to use the dishwasher. If this doesn’t work, remind him that he’s scared witless of the sewing machine. Then hand him the manual for the overlocker*, which should shut him up, if nothing else does.

I could, of course, go on for quite some time, and list a dozen or more scenarios familiar to us all. However, I thought it might be more fun to invite you all to add your own favourites. After all, while it is true that too many cooks spoil the broth, you can never have too many back-up plans. Right?

So let’s hear your own hard-won solutions to age-old problems. It will help out our poor benighted sisters no end.

Disclaimer: Other Half is such a Jolly Nice Chap that he would never dream of behaving in a less-than-gentlemanly way, certainly not. He carries his own stuff and everything! And he does his own laundry!

This is no doubt because why we’ve been married over thirty years.

*I believe Americans call them ‘sergers’.

Posted on July 26, 2008 in Life, the Universe and Everything by Jay16 Comments »


Well, I do, anyway!

Driving back home along the M25 recently, we came up behind this rather delightful vehicle. I was extremely tired and wondered for a split second if I was hallucinating, but no – Other Half could see it too!

Bowling along at a useful 70 miles an hour, there they were. Six chimney stacks riding along in the back of an open truck! I wondered, in my punch-drunk state, if there was there another one inside, doing the driving.

Could they be on a Young Stacks outing or something? Perhaps it was the inaugural meeting of ‘Smokers Anonymous’ – political correctness having come down sternly upon the very fabric of the building? That’s it! They were probably off to rehab!

Apparently not. For shortly afterwards we came upon the second Funny Thing to see on a Motorway. One house, on the back of a low-loader, minus its chimneys, naturally.


Those young chimneys had got left behind! A sort of ‘No Home Alone’ situation, I rather thought. They were merely trying to catch up.

Not off to rehab at all – but I was nearly right.

They were … dare I say it? … off to prefab.