Friday, November 30, 2007

Things is always better'n they seem....

I love this song. I always do a little happy dance when I hear it.

Don't pay no nevermind to the video. It's a fanvid put together by a fan of the show Supernatural, which I've never seen. It's the only video I could find for the song.

Handcuffed To A Fence In Mississippi,Jim White, No Such Place

Don't know anything about Jim White, the artist, although I will after I get done looking at his website that I just found for y'all.

Regardless, this song is rockin' my Friday.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Don't let this happen to you!

Got this in an email fwd from my sister. She asked, in as horrified a tone as possible in an email, if this could really happen. Since I spent a year as a grocery store cake decorator, she hoped that I might be able to calm her fears.

The original note said:
We had a 'going away' party yesterday for a lady at our [redacted] office. One of the supervisors called a [redacted] store and ordered the cake. He told them to write: 'Best Wishes Suzanne' and underneath that write 'We will miss you'. As the picture shows, it didn't quite turn out right. It was too funny not to keep it though!

Unfortunately, yes, Virginia. This can really happen. As is evidenced by the fact that it really did... happen.

The real tragedy is that the poor decorator didn't even spell "underneath" properly. That would have been really funny. The roses look great though.

I worked once with a very sweet girl who misspelled "birthday" on a cake. To be fair, she wasn't a cake decorator. She was a bakery clerk who occasionally was called upon to write a message on a pre-decorated cake when the decorator wasn't available*.

Remember that the cake decorators at most chain grocery store bakeries, while generally fairly skilled, are usually not tested for IQ, spelling, or grammar. And this could be a potential problem depending on the quality of your local school system. So approve those school funding levies, people!

If you are the anxious sort that would positively freak out if there was the slightest error with your $11.99 sheet cake, do not place your order over the phone. Go into the store, make eye contact with the order taker (who might well not be a cake decorator**), and ask to look over the order form before you go.

If you are the super-hyper-anal sort who is considering asking the minimum-wage-earning cake decorator in the chain grocery store bakery to design from scratch and execute freehand a complicated design not in The Book on your $11.99 sheet cake, and is expecting it to look just like the picture in the latest issue of your favorite lifestyle magazine for those above a, ahem, certain income bracket, STOP.

Unless you know for a fact that the cake decorator at the chain grocery store bakery is an amazing artist***, you should proceed immediately to a custom bakery or freelance decorator and pay whatever amount of money they ask.

I'm serious! It is possible you might get something similar to what you want from the chain grocery store bakery, but it is more probable that you will get stuck with the efforts of someone like me who can copy a design from The Book passably fair but cannot draw a decent stick figure freehand.

Why, you may ask, are you so adamant about this?

Well, when I was working the front lines, I had this very experience. Are you surprised?

I was filling in at a chain grocery store bakery in a higher-income area for a decorator who had just quit. She had been there for years and had an amazing reputation.

I was... competent.

A patron fitting the above profile requested that I design a paintball-themed scene on her $11.99 sheet cake, including figures of two kids shooting paintball guns, for her twin sons' birthday.

Huh? I don't play paintball and have no idea what such a thing should look like. I can barely execute a proper stick figure with its arms sticking straight out. Forget depicting anything that could resemble a gun.

After a major freak out, I came up with a decent looking cake****, IMHO, that resembled a concrete wall spattered with paintball-ish-looking blobs with the message written in a passable imitation of graffiti-script.

Luckily I wasn't there when she picked it up. She refused it. Refused it! She refused my effort on an $11.99 sheet cake. That's harsh. I talked to her on the phone and she wanted TWO FIGURES SHOOTING GUNS. I told her I was not able to do that. She insisted I was. Then the truth came out: the other decorator always did special cakes for her.

Ooohh... kaaaayyy.... Sorry, but that doesn't make me any more competent.

Anyway, I ended up producing something that fit her criteria. I was so embarrassed by it I didn't even take a picture. Young Son does better stick figures. She was pleased. I was horrified. And yes, I did give it my best effort.

FWIW, the customers at the chain grocery store in the high-income area were some of the most inconsiderate, rude people I'd ever dealt with. And most of the kids were terribly spoiled brats. Oops... is my bias showing?

*BTW, this practice is not uncommon in a grocery store bakery.

**See the above note.

***Or unless it's an arrangement of flowers. Most of us can kick ass on flowers.

****I think I have a photo somewhere. If I find it, I'll post it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Question of protocol

How long does one keep the baby teeth?

I discovered last week that I still have most of Lovely Daughter's baby teeth.

She is 24.5 years old.

At some point in the past 18 years, while quietly aging in my secondary jewelry box, the teeth have transitioned from sentimental mementos to icky discarded body parts.

But can I just throw them away? And should I just throw away Young Son's as I go? Or do I need to archive them for an appropriate amount of time to meet some unbeknownst-to-me Sentimental Mom Protocol?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I get it. I usually recognize the correct answer when I see it.

But can I at least keep the first ones? After all, I gotta leave something behind to gross out the kids as they fight over my meager possessions.

They should be grateful that I misplaced the stump of Lovely Daughter's umbilical cord those many years ago.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Gittin'er done (aka Support Secrets)

I had to call Comcast yesterday to clarify a couple of things about my new services. I saw a few things in my notes (read: illegible scribbles on little wads of stuck-together sticky notes) from when I ordered the services that didn't match what the tech told me upon installation. So I girded my loins for battle and called.

Over the years of giving and receiving customer support I've learned some techniques which I feel increase the odds of 1.) getting helped and B.) actually getting the correct help. As most of us know, those can be two completely different things indeed.

As with any endeavor, preparation is crucial. Know what you're asking for and have any information handy that you or they might need. Old statements, order forms, account numbers, bank statements, whatever. Find it before you dial.

Once you are ready to engage, start off nicely. Approach the situation with the best of intentions. Most support folks will respond well if you are polite.

OK, here's the big secret; the Magic Phrase that can at least partially unlock the door to customer service satisfaction:
"I've noticed this problem, I'm not sure what to do about it, and I'm hoping that you [of all the nameless, faceless cogs in your big, clueless organization] can help me".

In most cases, this harmless trick plays to their ego just a wee bit and offers them a chance to show off how clever they are and maybe even be a hero by solving your problem.

Don't be in a hurry. It's going to take as long as it takes to get put through to the right person and have them do whatever they need to do. Be sure you have attended to bathroom needs, pets, and small children. Stock up on beverages and snacks. This is no time for an attack of low blood sugar or puddles of bodily fluids* at your feet.

Oh yeah, and don't forget to take notes**!

If you're dealing with a somewhat responsible organization, these tips will get you most of the way there most of the time.

Anyway, when I talked to the first Comcast rep who recognized that my question was outside of his purview and sent me on to the second rep, who then sent me on to the third rep, I didn't get annoyed. I stayed polite, had my facts (at least those I could read) in order, and after about 15 minutes I was told that my issues were resolved.

Which segues neatly to Follow-through. Watch for that next bill or statement (or two) and verify that it reflects what you were told. No matter how nicely the conversation went or how competent the rep on the other end of the phone sounded, there is a 50/50 chance that whatever they did didn't "work". Or some final critical step was left undone. So you'll have to call again.
Painful personal example: I spent a year wrestling with Qwest. Long story short, there was a billing issue that, I kid you not, took me a whole year to get resolved. Every month or two I would call back and the new rep would tell me that the previous rep, who was obviously not nearly as competent or clever as the current rep, had left some small yet critical detail undone which caused the whole process to unravel. And this process was repeated ad nauseum for a full year. Painful? Extremely. Tedious? Zzzz.... Crazy-making? Oh, yeah. But eventually it was resolved.

But occasionally, even if you've stayed nice and positive and rational, you may need to Swing the Hammer. As you might suspect, there are some tricks to that as well.

When it becomes clear that you are getting jerked around or you have called about the SAME ISSUE A MILLION TIMES, it's appropriate to let that brittle edge of irritation and dissatisfaction creep into your tone.

CAUTION: Whatever you do, don't launch into a rant against the rep or the company. Avoid like the plague the words "always" and "never", as in "You people always..." and "Qwest never..." Because once you tip the conversation over the fence into Crazy-land, you have given them permission to slap the Loony label on your forehead and tune you out.

Trust me, getting slapped with the Loony label will never aid you in your quest to achieve customer service satisfaction.

Probably the best part of my Comcast call was when I had to put the rep on hold to take an incoming support call. I knew I was taking a chance and that I might have to start all over, but I had to answer that call. And even though it just took a minute I was surprised she was still there when I returned. I apologized and explained that I, too, was in tech support and made some lame comment about feeling her pain. We had a brief moment of kinship and she got my issue wrapped up*** shortly thereafter.

I tell you, putting a customer service rep on hold was almost as much fun as making the doctor wait for an appointment. Although that's still just a dream...

*Yours or anyone/thing else's.

**I'm not kidding. Read the Qwest story. Again! Document, document, document, people!

***I hope... I'll find out in about 4 weeks.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Ah, yes. The Seven Ps.

Stated in positive a light:

Prior Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.

Or, more realistically (in my experience, anyway):

Piss Poor Prior Planning Precedes Poor Performance.

That pretty much sums up how my move went last week. Not sure what happened, exactly, but let's just say that if I received a grade for my management of this project, I would have been grateful for a Pity "C".

I am shamed. Any experienced military spouse, current or former, would be well within her/his rights to regard me with scorn and even mock me heartily.

But derision aside, the actual moving portion of the program is more or less over. (Almost) everything is contained within the 1800 sqft cube that I call my own. I got the main hub of my media/entertainment system set up last night, including my wireless network. Maybe tonight I'll get around to unpacking our clothes. A girl has to have her priorities, you know.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Shining, Shooting Stars

Here's a little edu-tainment to keep you occupied while I'm away today, most likely standing pale and slack-jawed, slowly turning in circles.

Awwww... isn't it romantic? I heart science!

And those of us of a certain age can't think about that without thinking about this:

Puts it in a whole 'nother light, don't it?

Monday, November 19, 2007


I am embarrassed to admit that I am suffering from a severe case of Moving Paralysis.

It's rather humiliating since I've moved a whole bunch of times in the past 30 years. I've had lots of experience managing household moves and consider myself somewhat skilled at it.

Over the past three decades, I've thrown black plastic garbage bags filled with my earthly possessions into the back of a pickup truck for a drive halfway across the country. I've endured the onslaught of professional packers piling stuff into boxes willy-nilly*. I've watched movers throw my goods into a BFT (Big F'n Truck, of course) and drive away to another time zone, leaving me to wonder if I'd ever see them again. I've imposed on friends, family, their good natures, and their vehicles to haul my crap across town.**

I've done it and survived it and even managed to get most of it unpacked before the next move. Which is no mean feat, considering that I can only make so many decisions per 24-hour period*** before my brain seizes up and I'm left pale and slack-jawed, turning in slow circles in the middle of the room.

But for some reason, this time I am flailing around like a moving rookie.

I've bought the house. I'm finally old enough and smart enough to hire movers even though it's "only a local move". I've transferred every known service and utility, and updated every conceivable account.

But the movers are coming in less than 48 hours and it is time for me to stand tall and declare that I. Am. Not. Ready. Boxes are still unpacked. Dressers are not emptied. Toys, papers, and knick-knacks litter every visible horizontal surface. I do have a whole lot of boxes of books, though. I can pack a box of books like nobody's business.

The bright (?) side is that regardless of what I do or don't do, the furniture and boxes will be moved out of the apartment tomorrow. At this point, all I have control over is how much stuff is left over for Mr. Bicycle and me to deal with, car-full by miserable car-full.

Tuesday will be a Very Late Night, Wednesday will be a Death March, and then I'll have the rest of the T-Day weekend to pick up the pieces.

Needless to say, you probably won't hear much from me until after the dust settles.

*My favorite was the time the packers opened up a box of baby clothes that I had packed and topped off the box with Hubby's tools from the garage. Thanks,
guys. I was thrilled to discover that the oily, grimy tools were adequately padded.

**That's how you know you're pushing mid-life. The prospect of moving your friend's sofa bed down two flights of stairs loses its allure. Even the promise of a case of beer isn't enough lipstick for that pig.

***Can't tell you what that number is, but it seems to be generated via some ill-defined formula involving blood sugar, caffeine levels, available mental energy, and exhaustion.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Where It's At

For some unknown reason, it turns out this week is Beck week. I've fancied a couple of his songs over the years and this week I finally downloaded mp3s of my three favorites. This being one of them.

Where It's At,Beck, Odelay

Is it weird that I, at the ripe old age of 47 years and 11 months, even have favorite Beck songs?

I suppose it's no big surprise. One time, when I was about 10, my mom gave me some 45s. The two I remember were The Immigrant Song (Led Zeppelin) and Tears of a Clown (Smokey Robinson). As I recall, at the time my mom was into Broadway, opera, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (here's an audio clip that takes me back!), and Tom Jones.

So the argument could be made that my tendency toward a diverse musical palate is genetic.

Speaking of Tom Jones, looks like he's still at it, bless his heart!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Magical Moments in the Dark

Setting: Driving home at 5:09 pm. It's dark. It's cold. It's raining. I'm stressed; Ex is out of town so I have to pick up Young Son before the daycare closes at 5:30 pm or he will be turned into a pumpkin or some such shit. And I'm freaked out because I'm moving in a week and I'm way behind.


All of a sudden the realization dawns that the windshield wipers are keeping the beat of the song* on the radio. I always like it when that happens. Usually, though, the timing is just that much off so the synchronicity lasts just a moment or two.

This time, however, the beat stayed rock steady for the duration. Truly magical.


*Porcelain, by Moby

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

News from afar: Back East

The other day, one of my oldest and dearest pals -- a federal civil service employee -- was attending CPR training at work. Here's a note she dashed off during her break:
So, the Michael Scott-like supervisor selected the young, attractive Ms. J. as his partner.

She rolls her eyes.

During the Heimlich maneuver, he has his arms around her, fists in place, when he starts to giggle.

She ignores it as best she can, but he giggles again.

"What?" she says

He says, "I'm so embarrassed!"

"What?" (OMIGOD, she thinks.)

He giggles again. "Did you feel that? I am so-o-o sorry!"

"EWWW!" she says, and breaks away.

Apparently, he had his cell phone in his pocket, set to vibrate, and it went off.

I am so-o-o grateful that I work for a company of introverts.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Straight from the Boss's Mouth

This is another genuine no-shitter: an excerpt from an article written by my boss for a journal of conference proceedings.

"In the past, [our] users had a hard time if they wanted to change or add a style. The advice of our tech support staff has been:
  • You don't want to do that.
  • You shouldn't do that.
  • You can use [redacted] to do that.
  • You can rewrite the [redacted] file.

We no longer give the first two responses...."

Crap! I really liked the first two responses.

But I do treasure the knowledge that my boss has a sense of humor.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Ferry Follies

We're enjoying a lovely stormy day today, which reminded me of these startling pix from our last storm

No, they're not mine -- they're the work of professional photographer Ross Fotheringham*.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Washington State Ferry System, these boats are huge! This was the M/V Cathamet which can hold up to 124 cars, 26 commercial vehicles, and 1200 passengers. It takes an amazing amount of force to move these babies like that.

If you look closely at the first photo, you can see outlines of vehicles on the outer lip of the car deck. In the last photo, poof! They're gone. Not washed overboard; probably shoved forward toward the center of the car deck. That's going to leave a mark.

I've only once been on a ferry that's even come close to moving like that. The passenger cabin is so big, it's like being in a building that's rocking and rolling. Urp!

*If you copy and use these pix, please leave them un-cropped, retain the copyright notice in the upper right corner, and include a link to the photographer's website

Friday, November 9, 2007

Treat Yo Mama

Since I am Such The Mom, I figured this would be the perfect entry for this week's Fridays Rock! Because it is Friday and this shit does indeed rock. Yes, yes, yes.

Please set aside 10 minutes, with an adult beverage if possible, to enjoy this righteous jam: The John Butler Trio busking in Fremantle WA (Western Australia) last year.

Treat Yo Mama (Live),John Butler Trio, Sunrise Over Sea

The drum solo (time -3:33) makes me weak in the knees. I am a life-long frustrated percussionist wanna-be. I tried to get Lovely Daughter interested in percussion with little success. But now with Young Son I have another chance! Bwah-ha-ha-haaa!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Such The Mom

I am Such The Mom.

I'm not the best mom, nor the mom with the most kids, and I'm certainly no Soccer Mom or Supermom. But even being the minimally effective yet lazy mom that I am, I am Such The Mom through and through.

Young Son and Lovely Daughter, my two "onlies" ("only-es"??), were born 16 years apart. Young Son is in 2nd grade. Yes, I have been mom-ing for a long time and I still have a fair amount ahead of me. After such an extended soak, the salty yet slightly sweet brine of mom-ness has permeated my very core.

Now that I am in A Relationship with Mr. Bicycle -- a person who has never reproduced -- I am, for the first time, becoming acutely aware of the effects this extended state of mom-hood has had on my personality.

I am hyper-aware of other people's business. Now granted, some of this comes from being married for just under 60% of my life, but I think the mom marinade has had a profound deepening effect. Other people's shit left undone can drive me to distraction; indeed, even more so than my own shit. It doesn't have to be important shit, nor does it have to have anything at all to do with me. But if I am aware that someone in my inner circle has an uncompleted action item, I cannot rip that mental sticky note from the inside of my skull until I have verification* that the task has been completed.

The rainy season had begun and Mr. Bicycle hadn't yet stowed his new electric lawnmower in the garage. It haunted me. Why? Is it my lawnmower? No. Do I have to buy the replacement next spring when he drags it out from under (half-under) the back steps only to find it's a moldering heap of rust and moss? No. Did it bother me? Immensely.

What did I do? I eventually moved it into his garage. After asking his permission, of course. Yes, I am Such The Mom, but see? I did manage to remember that he's Not My Kid.

Also, there are some key phrases that I have at times repeated daily that some people never utter even once in their life.
  • Leave your penis** alone.
  • Don't eat your boogers.
  • Do you have to pee?
  • Eat it. It'll keep your poopy soft.***

Mr. Bicycle informed me that he has never once said any of these things. Not even once. I advised him that they might spice up conversations with his coworkers. There's something about lobbing a flaming bag of poo like that into the middle of a conference table that just makes my day. Which segues neatly into...

The last -- and to me, the most telling -- indication of how deeply this state of mom-itude has affected my being is that my delight in embarrassing my children has morphed over the decades into a complete willingness to embarrass myself and anyone within a 10 foot radius for a laugh, regardless of how cheap.

Comedian Josh Sneed advises that, when faced with a choice of actions, one should "Do what makes for a better story." Amen, brother! This tendency of mine can launch Mr. Bicycle directly into a severe attack of jaw-clenching, hyperventilating mortification. Which is pretty entertaining in its own right.

Yes, indeed. It's good to be Such The Mom.

*Yes, there must be verification. Trust but Verify is my Mom Mantra.

**Or pants, if talking to the female child, or if in public with the male child. But since Lovely Daughter in in her mid-20's now and living on the opposite coast, I rarely have to say it to her anymore.

***With Young Son, however, I've adopted the minimally more sophisticated "It's good for your colon!" But of course I have to say it in my really loud Wanda the Fairly Oddparent voice.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


A couple of years ago, Young Son comes home from school and blurts out excitedly
"Hey Mom! You know the guys with no backbones? We learned about where they live."

I'm thinking, like, what in the hell could he possibly be talking about?!? After a moment of frantic kidslation, it occurred to me that they had been learning about invertebrates.
Kidslation: "Mother, today we studied the habitats of invertebrates."

There was a time several years ago when the family unit was playing Balderdash, where you invent definitions to unusual words to bluff the other players. Lovely Daughter was about 10, I think.
The word: 'ophecleide.'

Her definition: "A snail that lives off of SweetTarts."

We laughed ourselves silly and the poor kid just couldn't figure out how we guessed hers was not the real definition.

Here's a Lovely Daughter Classic Moment from a few years earlier: One night, she was drowsily telling me about her evening with the babysitter.
"Mom, you know that talking hand on TV? We ate it's food...."

After several moments of total befuddlement, I got it! The babysitter served Hamburger Helper.

Then there's my other most (read: least) favorite game of all time: the Instant Momslation Game. As in "Mom, what's a ______?" That phrase strikes terror in my heart. It's usually played in lightening round fashion, often in public.

Lovely Daughter Classic Moment: LD and pal, age 12 or so, are sitting in the back seat of the car. We pull into the gas station and Hubby jumps out. The girls immediately lean forward. Lovely Daughter whispers:
"Mom! What's a dildo??"

GAK! I actually though my heart had stopped. Slowly, as my field of vision cleared, it dawned on me that I only had to answer the freakin' question, not explain the care and feeding usage of the thing. The answer popped into my mind like the single clear tone of a silver bell.
"It's a plastic penis."

Case closed. That's all they wanted to know.

Young Son is just now starting to ask those questions about babies and eggs and external genitalia and such. I really think I'm getting too old for this. I think this time I'm going to go buy a book.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

It's Tuesday! Time for a Tech Support Nugget.

I just remembered another George story. This is a no-shitter excerpt from one of George's weekly status reports* a few months back.
Mr. K__, who asks lots of questions (about 30 messages in the last 30 days), reported an error.

A search of the code finds the comment,
"// display a message that the user is a dickhead."
Figured out a more polite way to solve his problem.
OK, maybe so it's no so much strictly a George story as a cautionary tale of how completely bored and frustrated programmers can get. Yeah, I've left my fair share of snide comments in code over the years. But nothing as glorious as this!

Way to go, Long-since-lost-to-history Code Monkey Guy!

And way to go, George! I can only aspire to such chutzpah.

*Disseminated to the whole company, btw. All 25 of us!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Monday mini-moment

Setting: Driving to work... 5 mins late already... almost there... barely conscious... I spy this bumper sticker on the car in front of me:

I'm no longer with stupid.


Friday, November 2, 2007

Hot Pockets

On this edition of Fridays Rock!, I'm going to taunt you with the knowledge that my guy (aka Mr. Bicycle) & I have tickets to see Jim Gaffigan tomorrow night. Nyah, nyah!

Beyond the Pale,Jim Gaffigan

And, best of all, Jim's a Hoosier, just like me*!

If this doesn't get your mind right for the weekend, you might need to check your meds.

*You know, that explains a lot. David Letterman is a Hoosier, as is/was Kurt Vonnegut.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Biking fish

So we've all heard this one, right?

A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle
-Irina Dunn*, 1970

This phrase has been a part of my consciousness for a long, long time. For me, it distills the essence of the late 60s-early 70's, when female-kind first started down the path from "Gotta Get Me a Man" to "F--k All Y'all" to "Chrissakes, Aren't We There Yet?!?"

Believe it or not, back in the day the whole notion was novel, intriguing, and subversive -- especially to young girls (I was 10 in 1970) -- this radical concept that we could be good enough and strong enough all on our own. X-treme, in fact, for girls raised on Cinderella, Snow White, and the original Mystery Date.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Nice history lesson, Grandma. But so what?

Today I stumbled across this lovely blog. Lovely writing, and c'mon, who can resist that logo? But it was her "About Me" that got me thinking.

What about my fish**? My fish likes bicycles. I don't think my fish needs a bicycle. Does it follow that my fish should feel guilty for wanting a bicycle? Should my fish never have a bicycle ever ever again?


On the one hand, my fish relied pretty heavily -- more than I would consider optimal -- on a nice, sturdy bike for a long, long time. And even enjoyed it some of the time. It was a perfectly fine bike although it never did fit quite right***.

On the other hand, my fish was then presented the opportunity to learn to live happily sans bicyclette for the first time ever. Fantastic opportunity, that. Nothing to sneeze at.

But... all of a sudden (poof!) there appeared this really nice, shiny, high-tech bicycle. My fish liked it a lot and couldn't resist the chance to give it a go.

Well, let me tell you. It's not easy to learn to handle a new bicycle after riding the same bike for nearly 30 years. Lots of work, some spills, fair amount of fear and uncertainty, and always in the back of the fish's very small brain there's this annoying, thin little reedy, whiny voice going 'But, but, you said you didn't need a bike! I don't think this is a good idea....'

You know what? My fish really likes the bicycle enough to take the risk, even though it's scary and frustrating to learn to ride again, and it definitely would be easier not to have to deal with the new, super-complicated operating instructions.

And who knows? With the passage of time, this particular fish might end up needing this particular bicycle after all.

*I learned a new thing today! Here's the origin of the phrase. Who knew?

**It is all about me (and my fish). Just ask my pal Peggy.

***Ouch! That's going to leave a mark.