Living Retired — ‘Phone Technology Gone Too Far’
By Gary Chalk
Think hard. Really hard. Can you remember a time when you made a telephone call that went into voicemail and the voicemail message made you laugh out loud? Can you recall this happening? Ever? It happened to me a couple of weeks ago. And I still chuckle. This is what occurred…
I called a friend who calls himself ‘Handsome Doug’ (that’s another story, fiction!). Doug’s voicemail came on, “We are experiencing a higher volume of calls so please leave a message and Sandee or I will get back to you.” This was his home phone! After the beep I was laughing so hard that I wasn’t sure if Handsome Doug would be able to understand me.
At least Handsome Doug’s answering machine doesn’t use the technology that prompt’s callers to say a word or a phrase that connects you to the correct department quickly. Here is an example…
You awake in the middle of the night and discover someone has broken into your house! Immediately, you call 9-1-1.
“You have reached 9-1-1. Please say a word or phrase. For example, if this is an emergency please say ‘EMERGENCY.’ Or … Read the rest here
Living Retired — ‘Chalk Talk’
By Gary Chalk.
Professionally-trained marriage experts — people who learned their craft in laboratories studying female rats tossing decorator pillows on beds, while the male rats throw empty beer cans on the floor beside their LazyBoy recliners — say a successful marriage requires two-way communication. I agree. I also believe spouses need to ‘say what they mean, and mean what they say.’ This is what I mean…
One afternoon last week Jan walked into our family room modelling a dress she ordered online. She swooshed the dress away from her hips showing its design.
“Gary, do you like this? I don’t. It looks blah on me. It doesn’t hang properly.”
“Dear, I agree with you. I don’t like it.”
It wasn’t five minutes later when Jan returned. She stood at the kitchen island folding the dress back into its packaging. “Gary, I thought this dress looked quite elegant.”
“Jan, before I could say whether I liked you in the dress you said you didn’t like it, so naturally I said I didn’t like it. What’s not to like with what I said? Did you mean what you said?”
I am also guilty of not … Read the rest here
Living Retired — ‘Planning Spontaneity’
By Gary Chalk.
As Jan and I approached retirement, we contemplated what we would do with more time on our hands. We decided we wanted to become more spontaneous. With no work commitments we would finally be able to just pick up and go. Wouldn’t that be fun!
Well, it has now been five months since Jan left her career and joined me in retirement — but our plan to be impromptu has, well, not gone as planned.
“Jan next week let’s go to Maine. We can get tickets to the Kennebunkport Coastal Kitchen Tour and snoop around designer kitchens and see what people’s new stovetops look like before the burners get greasy crud all over them.”
“But Gary, I have an appointment Tuesday and we are having lunch on Wednesday with Pat. Let’s plan to go in January.”
“Jan, the kitchen open house is next weekend. Besides, we said now that we have the time we will be more spontaneous.”
Jan — okay mostly me — need to be careful about being spontaneous. For example, when I left the broadcasting business to become a partner at an advertising agency, Jan decided I needed a … Read the rest here
Living Retired — ‘For the Birds!’
By Gary Chalk.
You know I don’t make this stuff up.
There is a movement afoot — or is it a-wing? — to rename all the birds in North America that are named after people.
Think about it. As we try to address legitimate issues such as climate change, poverty, and what on earth to do with all that leftover sourdough bread your husband made during Covid, some birdbrain has concluded there are birds flying among us whose names are not politically correct.
I cannot say that a little bird told me about this turn of events. It was Mike Farwell the popular radio host on CityNews 570 who I listen to frequently. Mike couldn’t believe it either, and was chirping something about, “This is for the birds.”
It turns out the flap about renaming the birds has a Canadian connection: a Mount Royal University student whose name is Fisher Stephenson — I sure hope for his sake that Fisher isn’t the short form for the tropical bird the KingFisher? Just saying. Anyway, Fisher made a film about birds and says there are birds all over the world whose names honour people who used … Read the rest here
Living Retired — ‘Electric Hedge Trimmer Is Shear Madness’
By Gary Chalk.
Our recent lovely autumn weather provided an opportunity for me to complete the fall yard work.
“Jan, I am going to the garage to get the electric hedge trimmer to cut back the hostas in the gardens.”
“Okay Gary, I’ll go to the bathroom and get a tourniquet from the first aide kit.”
Minutes later I was standing on the driveway. At my feet was a 100-foot-long outdoor extension cord in a tangled blob. Grey duct tape was wrapped at three separate places where I have accidentally sliced the extension cord in half — so is that thirds?
I plugged the hedge trimmer to the extension cord and attached the cord to a wall outlet in the garage. Then, I made my way — tripping only twice over the cord! — to the front gardens.
That is when it happened…
The extension cord had been stored in the garage and the cool autumn nights made it stiff. This meant I couldn’t maneuver the hedge trimmer very well. All of a sudden ‘PUFF!’ Sparks flew! Yikes. I sheared the cord in … Read the rest here
Living Retired — ‘Raised Eyebrows’
By Gary Chalk.
Friday got off to a good start: I arrived at the breakfast table with my fly done up and the toilet seat down. I thought this would impress Jan.
“Good morning, Dear.”
“Gary, your eyebrows are up.”
That was a new one for me.
“Jan, what do you mean my eyebrows are up? Are they up overtop my eyes? The last time I checked that is where eyebrows are supposed to be.”
Jan explained that when I said good morning my face took on an expression that turned my eyebrows upwards, more than normal.
“What can I say Jan, I am an expressive guy. Like when I saw the outfit you were wearing when we went out to dinner with Paul and Susan, I expressed my pleasure. When Codi cuts our lawn each week I express my thanks. So, when I said good morning, I guess my eyebrows raised. All I can say is just face it.”
Jan also expresses herself. But she does it without raising her eyebrows. One time Jan, Tyler and I were in New York City. We were in a taxi returning to our hotel after seeing a … Read the rest here