My favorite meteorologist, Channel 4’s Paul Gross, says “rain reigns” and, as if last weekend was not bad enough, it will rain through the course of the next few days and maybe next week as well – talk about a soggy Spring!
Well, despite those gray skies, I got a walk in yesterday, and today as well. I’m up to 155 miles so far for 2017, so I’m pretty happy with that tally, considering it is only the first quarter of the year.
Well, yesterday I was overdressed, so today I was determined not to make the same mistake and so I left off one layer. But, Council Point Park was windy and chilly, so I just walked faster to get warmed up. I doled out peanuts on the fly, without lingering for a visit, leaving the squirrels running behind me like crazy to keep up.
Spring has not yet arrived at Council Point Park, though the grass seems a tad greener than the last time I was here … must’ve been all that recent rain. But, along my route to the Park, Spring is definitely in the air. Yesterday’s humid and rainy conditions brought out the worms and the hungry robins who plucked them right out of the ground with their sharp yellow beaks. As to color, I saw some yellow cold-weather pansies, snowdrops and crocuses, and the waxy leaves for the tulips and daffodils are about five inches high already.
I had very good intentions of walking on Saturday morning, and, before I laced up my walking shoes, and put on my coat and hat, I stuck my arm out the door first, as it was a mighty gray and gloomy-looking morning. Nope – not a drop of precip, so out I went. I thought I’d take the car for a spin first. I unhooked it from the battery helper, put the cords away and pulled the car out. It was idling in the driveway, then … “well look, here comes the rain!” Soon there were splatters all over the windshield, so I grumbled a bit, no … make that a lot, then pulled the car back into the garage, and hooked it all up again. By the time I finished with that business, it was a steady downpour.
Well, I could have just stayed inside where it was warm and dry, not drizzly and drippy.
I didn’t try that exercise again on Sunday – in fact, I stayed in the house all day and continued the big Spring cleaning project which I began in the heart of Winter.
Plus, it was time to tackle learning the new smartphone at the same time, so might as well kill two birds with one stone.
You’ve probably heard the expression uttered by the sexy and defiant Johnny Castle, Patrick Swayze’s character in the movie “Dirty Dancing”: “Nobody puts Baby in a corner!” Well, I spent most of my rainy weekend in one room, in the corner, and no – I wasn’t wearing a dunce cap either.
As to the big cleaning project over last weekend, Saturday early morning, I pre-treated spots and shampooed the wall-to-wall carpeting and the braided rugs in the kitchen. I left the back bedrooms untouched, as the carpeting really didn’t need cleaning. Then, I went outside for my ill-fated drive and walk. So, because I was back much more quickly than anticipated, I had to hang out in the basement for a short time while the carpeting dried a bit. Looking at the mess and disorganization down there turned my stomach, so, I came upstairs, treading lightly as I walked down the hall.
I had already grabbed the smartphone and its box so as to settle into a room, in the corner, and improve my learning curve while the carpeting and rugs dried … up to that point, I only knew how to turn it on and make a call if needed.
Well, first things first … before I used my brain, I needed a snack. After all, the challenge was daunting – was I up to the task? Best fortify myself with nourishment first.
Then I had to guzzle some more of the dozen or so glasses of water I now chug down a day.
I really knew I was delaying fiddling with the phone, when I decided to shampoo the entire carpeting and rugs a second time … for good measure.
Finally, that chore done, first, I had to charge the phone, then read, read, read. I pulled out the phone package – inside was a handy guide which I set aside, and no fewer than three booklets on loading your Go Phone. Well, I’ve gone that non-contract phone route for years, so I set those aside. Next, out came the handy guide (which was not so handy) … a diagram mostly and a quick list of how-tos.
So where’s the rest of the info on understanding the phone … oh wait, all I got was that little fold-out guide?
This was going to be a long day.
There was a litany of lingo to learn … like how to interact with the phone. Talk about letting your fingers do the walking! There was swiping left or right, then tapping and double-tapping, dragging and pinching.
What did I get myself into?
Perhaps I should have stuck with the flip phone?
First, there were some “swiping issues” … Deena, the kindly manager at the AT&T store said to bring the phone to life, after turning the power button on, by swiping my fingers across the screen.
I did a feather-light sweep of my fingers, more like dismissing something, or someone, … not enough swiping action apparently, as nothing happened.
I pressed harder … to the left … to the right … nope, dead as a doornail, even though the phone was already 3/4s charged.
Finally, I waved my hand the correct “magical way” and there was a sign of life from the device.
Next to plug in a few phone numbers, from a handwritten list I had jotted down.
Not wanting to bother anyone, I tried just calling my own landline … big mistake as I had not yet located the icon to hang up and thus stop the call. The phone rang incessantly yonder in the kitchen, and I, not wanting to tread across the damp and still slightly soapy carpet, had to listen to it until … hurrah … the red hang up icon appeared and I jabbed it hard with my finger.
I already had a colossal headache.
Well, I then knew how to dial and hang up a smartphone.
Next, I decided to put in my contacts because how difficult could that be anyway?
Well, I opened up the first contact and decided to make it my friend and neighbor Marge. I know you are supposed to be all thumbs when it comes to texting, but my fingers could not hit those dinky little letters and her name did not in the least resemble the moniker of “Marge” … so, I decided to return to that part later, and I piddled around some more and miraculously got the home number in, which was a little silly really, since I have had that number committed to memory since the early 1990s when she and her husband moved next door. I saved that contact thinking “of course I’ll remember that NZ stands for Marge – surely I will.”
Next, I was inputting Marge’s cellphone number, which I don’t know from memory. Well, this time the cursor skipped right down to the number so I plugged in the number, tried to return back to the name field, and dialed her by accident. I never call her from my cellphone, since I rarely use the cellphone, so she answered, albeit a little reluctantly. I was so taken aback, I hung up the phone. (Thank God for that little red phone hang up icon!)
Well, I knew I had to speed up the learning process and exhibit more telephone courtesies than I had thus far, so I tried again to edit the contact, and pushed or jabbed too hard and irritated the phone which zoned out and soon I had a black screen. Well, what the ….?
Irritated, I started a new contact, trying valiantly to input letters which ended up like gobbledy-gook, and that happened a total of 23 times … and no, I don’t have long fingernails.
Finally, I got one complete contact in for Marge and by accident I called her again … she thought I was a random caller, and probably was ready to give me a piece of her mind, when I, who recognized her voice, said “no wait … it’s me!” “Linda?” she responded. So, we had a nice chat for about 3/4s of an hour.
Next, I tackled my boss Robb as a contact … also dumb of me to waste my time on this, as I memorized his cell and home numbers nearly 17 years ago when we first began working together. I even added the office number – heck, I worked there … but, I was being thorough in case of an emergency, so that I had at least inputted my “ICE” info. I got in all three numbers on one contact – yeah for me, except after saving that contact, my fingers obviously zigged when I should have zagged, and I phoned Robb by accident. He didn’t answer, so quick like a bunny, I hit the hang up icon.
Must. Be. More. Careful. People. Will. Lose. Patience. With. Me.
Two minutes later I get an incoming call. Well, geez … I hadn’t gotten that far on how to answer an incoming call. I scrambled around, jabbing my finger all over the shiny screen, found the green receiver icon and said “hi” and he said “what’s up – you okay?” I said “yes, I sequestered myself in the back of the house to wait for the carpet and rugs to dry and I’m trying out the new phone” and he said “want to practice with me?” I thanked him and said that was okay and I was ready for a break at that point and didn’t want to deal with it anymore.
Well, I took five, and stepped down the hall with plastic bags over my feet to get another snack, before sliding back into my stool in the corner of the room, to attempt to learn texting. Well, that would be fun since I’d never done that, except at the computer to people’s cellphones.
I used Marge as a guinea pig and it took twenty minutes to get a simple message to her. I was getting a little fed up.
Frustrated, I finally turned the phone off and the carpet was dry, so I wandered out to the kitchen and to the computer and decided to search online for a manual, which should have come with the phone. I found a 51-page manual which was similar, but I needed my model (AT&T Alcatel Ideal) … how difficult could it be? It was the simplest smartphone they had at the store. I found a match … the manual was 80 pages long. Way too much information than I needed. I scrolled through, page after page after page, and finally decided … I needed to know just the basics … kind of like when Dragnet’s Sergeant Joe Friday said: “just the facts, ma’am.”
That manual WAS a treasure trove of information, including how to delete things, so the errant contacts were the first things to go, and, I found out how to add contacts an easier way – by flipping the phone sideways – everything was bigger. Why didn’t I think of it and why wasn’t that in the handy-dandy guide?
I put in a few more contacts, and, for the heck of it, texted my friend Evelyn who lives in Richmond, Virginia. I often text her from the computer and her fingers move so quickly when texting, she can match me for keyboard speed.
She texted me right back, and before long, we had generated a thread of 25 messages, and by then, my thumbs were in sync with the keyboard, plus I started relying on bigger words thanks to the auto-complete. A half-hour later Evelyn sent me a message “Atta girl” with a graduation cap emoji. I wrote back “not before I send this thumbs up emoji” … then, all boastful and such, I took a picture and texted it, and Evelyn replied “you won’t be able to turn that phone loose now!” “No way” was my reply and I stated emphatically that I was done for the night. The carpet and rugs were bone dry, so my smartphone education was over for the present time.
Sunday, I scrubbed and waxed the kitchen floor, and, once again was sequestered from the hub bub of the house. I took to improving my learning curve on the smartphone once again – you know … just in case I might have forgotten something from Saturday. Admittedly, I was happy with my progress to date, and even wondered aloud – “why am I fiddling with this again … could it be that I’m addicted to the texting like Evelyn said?” No, I decided that this was not the case at all, but, instead I needed to verify that you CAN teach an old dog new tricks.