Wednesday, September 18, 2013


First off I want everyone under the age of 55 to say collectively to me, “Get a life!” If you have said that, you can now proceed to read what my curmudgeonly self has to say.

I would like to know what, if anything, parents of teenagers today have taught their kids about what is and what isn’t the polite thing to say in the workplace. I also would like to know what kind of expectations and/or training bosses give to those same teenagers.

Case in point: the Jer and I went to lunch yesterday and were referred to as “You guys” from the moment our cute little hostess led us to the table (Is this ok for you guys?) to the receiving of the bill at the end of the meal (Here’s the bill, you guys. Thanks for coming.)

I’m not asking for “May I’s” and “Ma’am’s” here. And I’m not concerned that “You guys” sounds disrespectful. What does concern me is that no one apparently has told these kids in the service industries that there is a nice, polite way to interact with customers, and referring to them as “you guys” isn’t it.

The manager of that restaurant probably did not think to give his kids a crash course in appropriate language usage. But I'd like everyone reading this who employs teenagers to stop a second and think about how they want their customers to be spoken to.

Second, I would like to lodge a protest at the loss of the phrase, “You’re welcome” which for eons past has been the appropriate response to “Thank you.” Frankly, I would rather get NO response than to have said to me, “No problem.” This last expression has insidiously crept into our language and one can hardly eat out anymore without hearing it. I understand if I have asked the waitperson for something out of the ordinary, a response of “No problem” is, well, no problem. But it grates on me that when I thank a person, any other response than “You’re welcome” feels like the thanks has been rejected as not significant enough for a decent acknowledgment.

Ah, now I hear you saying it – “Get a life!” But wait, I have one more – this final one not being so much a misuse of specific language but misdirection of it.

Here’s the third scenario. I go into a grocery store, step to the check-out counter with $150 worth of groceries, and while I stand there watching the clerk ring up my purchases – no insignificant amount – I am totally ignored, while I have to listen to a running commentary between the cashier and the box person over their love life or lack thereof. Where is the ethic that the customer is important, or comes first, or even should be coddled so as to generate repeat business? It is obvious that the person holding $150 or $200 in their hands is not very important to these two employees. And I wonder if management ever has taken the time to see how pervasive this behavior is and has tried to get these people back on track. I know of few other jobs where two people can stand around while they are working and carry on such a private conversation in front of customers.

Those of us over 55, who – believe it or not – do already have a life, mostly do not feel it is our job to tell parents and tell employers what they should do to prepare their kids and their employees for the real adult world. So we mainly fuss among ourselves, knowing that we are not so relevant anymore and are shaking our head at the direction things seem to be going.

For the few of us who have the opportunity to put our thoughts onto paper, we implore the multitude of parents, teachers and employers who have an opportunity to hone and mold these young people – mostly good kids to begin with – to turn them into first class young adults, setting standards for interacting properly with their elders and with customers of any age.
It would be wonderful to think someone is listening to my curmudgeonly self.   But alas....

Friday, September 13, 2013


THIS WILL GO DOWN in history!  September 2013 is when I re-joined the real world.  After putting a “hearing device” (high-falutin’ word for hearing aids) into each of my ears, I had to laugh at how much I have been missing!  I quickly discovered that the turn indicators in my car actually kept up a running click in addition to a green flash when I set them to turn a corner or change lanes.  Jerry will now lose the privilege of reminding me that my turn indicator is still on. 
I always explained to Jerry that the green flashing lights on the dash were out of my line of vision, being directly behind my steering wheel on both sides.  I did not know they also made a sound; Jerry should have said to me “Well then, listen for the click, stupid!”  But he was, and always has been, kind. I'll never leave my turn indicators flashing again! 
And the poor guy was practically spending all his time with me acting as my interpreter.  I thought I was just missing words from bank tellers, cashiers, waiters and waitresses – especially from anyone like my littlest granddaughters who had a high-pitched voice.   I was missing a lot more sounds, though:  the left and right click of my computer mouse.  Water running from a faucet in the next room.  The sound of my scanner doing its know, little sounds that are not particularly important, but that I just didn’t ever hear.
I am SO delighted with my new very-usable toys!  I am also happy that they are very visually "understated," although I would not have objected to anything, even an earhorn, I think!  Just gotta' figure out now how to pay for them!



MY DAUGHTER FROM ALASKA is coming down for a visit next week.  This is good news, as it’s hard to not be able to see her as often as I’d like.  Her visits are few and far between.  Her sister has planned a big family picnic in the park for Saturday the 21st, and if the 100+ temps don’t come back, we should have a great time.  We’ll still go, even if they return, but then perhaps we can sweet-talk the Park Staff to turn the sprinklers on so we can run through them. 
Remember when we were kids and that was what we did on a hot summer day?  Picture above with my little sis and me dates to about 1943.

I HEARD SUSAN DUNN, author of a fascinating new and well-researched book titled “1940,” give a talk on BookTV a couple of weeks ago.  Through an Interlibrary Loan I was able to get a copy of it to read.  Those of you old enough may remember that 1940 was the year Franklin Roosevelt ran for a third term, and the year before we became physically involved in WWII, although our nation was well aware of what the Nazis were doing in Europe.  Our country was divided on whether we should look beyond the isolation position and begin looking at ways we could come to the aid of Great Britain as the bombing of that country went on.  The setting of the paragraph below deals with the Republican and Democratic National Conventions of 1940 as they struggle with this issue:

  “While Senators Wheeler, Walsh and McCarran as well as former war secretary Woodring wanted the platform to state unequivocally that the party stood for “nonintervention in the political and military affairs of the Old World,” German agents were working behind the scenes for a similar pledge.  It was later revealed that the German charge’ d’affaires, Hans Thomsen, who had subsidized the attendance of isolationist congressmen at the GOP Convention in Philadelphia, did the same at the Chicago convention.  In his memo of July 19, 1940 to the German Foreign Ministry, Thomsen credited embassy staff with sending “several reliable isolationist Congressmen” to Chicago “in order to exert influence on the delegates with the purpose of including . . . in the Democratic platform . . . a pledge of nonparticipation in a European War.”  Thomsen hastened to reassure his superiors in Berlin that no one was aware of his behind-the-scenes machinations.”
To say I was dumbfounded is an understatement.
What I remember about WWII, being only a 5 year old in 1940, is the obvious later stuff: relatives in uniform, victory gardens, War Bonds, and V-mail letters.  As I am reading Dunn’s fascinating book, I am surprised over and over again at all that I failed to pick up as I grew in knowledge while moving into adulthood. 

 I can't put this book down!



JURUPA VALLEY, our newly incorporated city – of which Mira Loma (where we live) is a part – is on the verge of disincorporating after two years of existence.  Now it is no secret that I thought incorporating in the first place was a stupid thing to do.  There is NOTHING in Jurupa Valley that was worth incorporating, as far as I am concerned.  However, since we are not property owners and our lives wouldn’t change in any way if it incorporated, I chose not to vote either way but to let those whom incorporation would affect make the decision.  And incorporation went forward, with the “aye’s winning.
 Without going into great detail, for many years the State of California had been providing all newly incorporated cities with a loan that was to carry them through the process and fund them for two years of cityhood.  Every newly incorporated city in California had been provided this help.  The monies came from some revenue collected by the DMV, as I recall.  Anyway, because of the financial problems the State of California was having, right after Jurupa Valley incorporated the Assembly decided not to fund new cities any longer.  That offer of financial help was withdrawn.  The city has been operating on a borrowed shoestring for these two years.  A newly elected State Assemblyman has been working hard to get “us” some money, but two weeks ago the news came that if no money was voted for us by the time the Assembly adjourned on 9/12 for the year, disincorporation proceedings would begin.
You guessed it.  9/12 has come and gone, as have the Assemblymen.  Apparently we are now caput and will once again (after all the i’s have been dotted in the legal papers) become simply a corner of Riverside again.
It doesn’t matter to me now, either.  The only difference is that I had finally gotten around to putting Jurupa Valley on my little return address labels.  Luckily, the zip code remained 91752 throughout these changes, so any mail sent to the now-defunct city will still get to us as long as the correct zip is used.
 And that’s that!