Tuesday, September 22, 2009

More Driving Woes

I am going to be somewhat evasive in this blog, because I need to tell one more person about something that is happening to me (I will relate what that something is in a future blog). But I CAN tell you that some of it has to do with money and insurance.

As one with little income, like so many Americans enduring this failed economy, I am faced with having to spend my negative income on such things as housing, utilities, gas, and car insurance – must haves for anybody LIVING. I personally think insurance sales people are some of the most boring people on the planet.

OK, not really. That's what I used to think though. I've now engaged in conversation with many of them, not because I sought them out but because I know them personally, and while I find the subject of insurance boring, the people are definitely not.

My own insurance agent, believe it or not, told me that because I moved, I should probably look for somebody closer to my home. And I thought, what? I've been loyal to you all these years and now you're dumping me? I think he just couldn't imagine somebody moving so far away and still wanting to pay for insurance at such a distance.

The way I looked at it though, was that I hate listening to boring insurance quotes and spending time talking about it when I can read it online in MY time. So I looked online. And, being the impatient soul that I am, I stopped at the first place I found. Finding affordable car insurance is an absolute necessity. And my time is absolutely important. So I'm going to share this website with you in case you are looking for cheap IL car insurance. Yes, I said cheap, not as in unworthy, but as in inexpensive.

If you're as impatient as I am, and if you would rather do your own research on car insurance costs, do what I do: look online for your Illinois auto insurance quote. It's better than inviting a bunch of insurance agents into your home to quibble about rates.

And as far as that something that is happening to me is concerned, please be patient (yes, please be the exact opposite of me) – I will relate the details in a future blog. I promise.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Drivers Who Annoy Me - One of My BIGGEST Pet Peeves

Today I am going to write about one of my biggest pet peeves – driving while playing games – with other drivers.

My Dad had an annoying habit of driving in the left-hand lane of a four-lane highway at the same speed as the driver on his right. If the driver on his right slowed down, my dad slowed down. If the driver on his right sped up, my dad sped up.

As a child I was fascinated by this game and I watched his face in the rear view mirror whenever he played it. As the cars lined up behind him, his cheeks rose higher and higher and the grin that spread across his face grew wider and wider as the line of cars behind him grew longer and longer. I figured he was probably playing some kind of follow the leader game, and he was winning.

Faces of the drivers behind us were contorted into all kinds of shapes, and the gestures they made were frightful.

The drivers in the cars next to us were sometimes oblivious to what Dad was doing. Other times I'm sure they couldn't help but wonder if Dad was stalking them, despite the fact that Mom was sitting in the passenger seat.

Having grown up with a father who loved
playing the game I now refer to as the "Control Road Antagonist Ploy" game (CRAP for short), I learned that other people enjoyed controlling the road as well, and I discovered that my father's idea of enjoyment was diametrically opposed to my own idea of fun.

I hate to judge anybody, though, so I'd like to give those other annoying drivers the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they are the daydreamers among us, taking a leisurely drive down a crowded highway, oblivious to the tantrums being thrown in cars around them. Maybe I am just being hypercritical.

All these many many years I sincerely believed in the goodness of other drivers UNTIL I spoke with my brother-in-law, Craig, about this issue. When I told him my theory of what I believed to be a game drivers played when they speed up to join a slow driver on their right, he acknowledged that he played that game all the time. I knew it! I knew they were doing it on purpose.

So I've been thinking about how to out-annoy them. And here's what I've come up with – an ear-shattering horn that looks like a gun. I roll down my window and aim, and as the sound comes out of the pseudo gun, out pops a flag that says, "You win! Now move on!" If only I could figure out how to get between them and the car next to them.

Monday, September 14, 2009

My TOP TEN SURPRISES about Giving Birth

Pregnancy is an exciting period in any woman's life, filled with a combination of expectancy and anxiety. Concern about the baby's welfare begins at conception, and the entire nine months is pregnant with surprises, not the least of which is the birthing process itself.

During the initial phases of childbirth, women begin to feel what some people refer to as "uncomfortable." I remember calling my mother and telling her I was on the way to the hospital, but not to get too hopeful, because it was probably just gas. In my top ten list of amazing discoveries made during childbirth, counting down from ten, my Surpise #10 – it wasn't gas.

A pregnant woman mentally prepares herself for the anguish of knowing a thousand people will be parading through the room at any given moment, and unless she has been perfectly prepared, she will be as surprised as I was by my Surprise #9 – getting shaved.

Surprise #8 was later discovering that when hair growth begins (almost immediately), those tiny little standup straight hairs get caught in the fabric of whatever you happen to be wearing.

Surprise #7 is my all-time favorite surprise, because this one includes the significant other who, instead of being your helpmate, your stronghold, your soft shoulder to lean on, has to tell you exactly WHEN you will be getting your next contraction. "Oh, here comes another big one, Honey!" Along with uterine contractions, you may experience the same vengeful loathing I felt as the muscles in my eyes contracted into a scathing squint.

Unless you give birth at home, interns and residents will poke and prod your belly. They, along with your husband, watch the monitor in gleeful anticipation of your next contraction. If you're lucky, you will get a doctor who uses her palm to feel the contraction. Surpise #7 is finding a doctor who loves to prod with the points of all of his fingers – on both hands – stabbing you at once and disovering that your reflex is to kick him in the groin.

Reflection time: I remember the first moment of feeling a flutter – a tiny movement, something so uniquely different from anything I had ever felt before, a tiny foot, or perhaps an arm or an elbow pushing me at some midway point in my pregnancy. I remember the exhilaration I felt upon first feeling "life" – so imagine my Surprise #6 – pain so intense I could have crushed the hospital with my thoughts. Nobody can prepare you for that level of pain, because you will probably hear numerous stories about how "I went to the hospital at 3 AM and by 3:01, she just popped out." I hated those people.

Surprise #5 was discovering I would not be able to engage in sex for several weeks. But the surprise was more of a "Why would I ever want to do THAT again," than a whiny, "Oh why not?"

Surprise #4 was a surprise filled with regret – oh why oh why did I not allow you to drug me? Why oh why was it SO important for me to go through a "natural" childbirth?

Surprise #3 actually came when I realized, after experiencing the ultimate joy of being pregnant for nine months, that I was warning myself to "NEVER DO THIS AGAIN – NEVER FORGET" combined with a deep-seated wish that my husband were the one giving birth.

And yet, moments after giving birth, I completely forgot the warnings I gave to myself, the regrets over having a natural childbirth, because my #2 surprise was discovering the intensity and depth of love I felt for this little infant I had been carrying around with me for nine months. Giving birth and the process of releasing a child into the world may have created a void in my womb, but it was instantly filled with a love so deep and so profound, I marveled at my ability to love so strongly and to feel so protective.

But the biggest surprise of all, my #1 Surprise was realizing I would be willing to do it all over again, and again, and again.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Oh! No! Christmas and More Birthdays Are Coming!

One of my grandsons loves his sister's tooter. For those of you unfamiliar with toddler speak, I am referring to a scooter. So when I looked online to find a boy "tooter," I came across a website with LOTS of ride-on toys, including wagons and rocking horses. Then, while I was on that same web site, I found something called, "Roller Racers" and "Plasma Cars." I love toys that involve some sort of exercise. And when you combine exercise with fun, all the better! Look HERE for more of those kinds of toys.

Of course, every time I think of toys, I think of my grandchildren. With so many birthdays every year, not to mention Christmas in less than four months, I decided to look now for an October birthday gift for one of my granddaughters. What I found though, was something I would have loved to have had as a child – a doll house.

I remember going to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago (I lived down the street) and seeing this amazing doll house with so many intricate details in each room, from paintings on the wall to tiny cups on a serving tray. I wanted it to fit in my house. My dad refused to open the ceiling though, so I had to suffer my whole childhood without that dollhouse. But oh, how I would have loved to have had any of the ones found HERE.

And lest I forget my older grandchildren, I can't overlook electronic toys, so I found several possibilities HERE. I even found one some adults might like – an "American Idol All Star Challenge DVD Game" and a portable DVD player. The best thing though, for those of us with limited incomes, is that everything I've looked at so far is reasonably priced.

Now to look into getting that scooter!