Tag Archives: birthday

It’s Race Time, Sports Fans!

2 Mar

What was intended as another boring weekend turned out to be one of the busiest in recent memory. Sleepovers, Nerf battles, park visits, and racing got packed into a two day extravaganza. It was great–but is this what going back to normal feels like?

The most excitement I was expecting in my weekend was doing my taxes on Sunday afternoon. I got all my forms to fill out the “more difficult than it should be” tax form, but in truth, it’s a lot less complicated now that I only work for one company. Back when I was a consultant, and I had to fill out up to three state tax forms, it was a bear. (Pro tip: never work in Maryland.)

However, I never got to any of that. Instead, someone texts us right before candle-lighting to confirm a playdate for one of my daughter’s friends. Cool–almost forgot about that. Then a family friend stopped by later that night and realized he forgot to invite Asher to his son’s birthday party. They were going to K-1 Indoor Racing on Sunday; well, of course, we said yes.

So after services on Saturday, the wife and Eliza went out to the park to play with her friend Sophie and her mom… who came back with them. So I had a nice time half-reading, half-talking to Sophie’s mom while the girls had scads of fun. (I don’t get to use the word “scads” very often–my great-grandma last used it in 1914. True story.) Meanwhile, my son was over at his neighborhood friend’s place playing Nerf battles in their house (not MY house). That took all day for both of them, and Eliza and Sophie had so much fun, they asked if Sophie could sleep over.

Why not? It turned out to be the first time that Sophie ever successfully stayed the night anywhere. They had THAT much fun.

Which led to Sunday, where we almost forgot about Asher’s Hebrew tutoring session, so the cantor and him had a quick half-hour on Zoom singing, and then we went out the door. Because they put this racing place in an industrial park, and no signage, I made three wrong turns before I found the place. Asher was at least 4-5 years older than any of the other kids at the party, but because they met at a Montessori school, this is not that unusual. They did three races around this track in side a warehouse. (To my non-Arizona readers, you HAVE to have this inside, otherwise, it would be too hot to use for half the year.)

This was expensive as hell and not something we could do more than once a year, but thankfully, I didn’t pay for any of it! When I did something similar his age, it was outside, and it was with little lawn mower engines… and I’m sure it cost much less comparatively.

Anyway, they topped off Sunday afternoon with both my kids hanging out with different friends, different activities, and my wife even getting to hang out with her friend while I got to play computer games. Lord, that was a good weekend! Even before this shutdown, we usually only did one of those things–we crammed in four events! Are we overcompensating? Is it just a strange confluence of different events? Did you go go-karting as a child? Let me know in the comments below!

Lying to the Apathetic

10 Sep

This is my passive-aggressive fight for freedom. I don’t hate the checkout clerk when they ask me what my phone number is. They don’t care, it’s their company who wants to know, and not to give you discounts. And there’s a way to fight back.

So I lie to people who couldn’t care less what the answer is. Their POS machine (point-of-sale, not piece-of-#$&*) tells them they have to enter their customers’ phone number and/or email. They can’t get past that screen without entering something. Now the better checkout clerks will just enter nine nines and get past that screen… but apparently that’s asking a lot of them, or their bosses lean on them to get that information, and it’s not worth their time stickin’ it to the man.

So that’s why I have my phone number ready… oh, not the one on my phone, the one I had for a landline I owned ten years ago. That’s why it’s easy to remember. It satisfies the POS machine, it satisfies their bosses, and it satisfies me… because no telemarketer is going to reach me on that number.

Junk email accounts are easier and more widespread. Believe it or not, I still check it every so often, because you never know when you’ll get a notification for something you actually want to buy. However, I created it as my junk account, so I have no worries giving it out. I do have to worry about the future of Yahoo being the repository of all these junk mail accounts.

However, this one is my particular favorite – the internet birthday. Feel free to post your birthday on social media… just not your correct one. My internet birthday is July 1st. It’s easy to remember because it’s close enough to the actual one for government work, but not enough to let anyone steal my identity, because otherwise most of the other information is up there. That way I still get all those birthday promotions at the beginning of that month and get past all those uncaring algorithms who just require something to fill in.

Android phones now have this option to “screen calls,” which shows you via text what’s being said to you, without actually having to listen to the telemarketer. It’s frickin’ awesome!

If you’re wondering why I bother, and you want to get really depressed about this topic, read Cathy O’Neil’s book Weapons of Math Destruction, which goes into exhaustive detail about what automatic computer algorithms do to us in every aspect of your life. I only got halfway before having to put it down because it was SO depressing.

However, how do you stick it to the man? What are your tricks for defeating the telemarketers, the electronic snoopers, and the threats to your privacy? Let me know in the comments – every little bit helps!

When Dinosaurs Invade

5 Jul

Somebody did a nice thing for us – they stuck dinosaurs in our yard! At first blush, this doesn’t sound like a great idea, but in this case, the dinosaurs were plastic… about two feet high, and sprinkled in with 13 and 10 number signs and a wish for a happy birthday!

You see, both my kids have birthdays in July… in fact, they’re a few days and three years apart from each other. Since the #*$&% that is Coronavirus has happened, they see few of their friends, they can’t get out to many of the same places they used to, and they’ve been mostly stuck at home. Mind you, having birthdays in July suck because most of your friends are somewhere else, but they’re great because you don’t have to go to school!

So someone did something really nice – they hired this company called Flamingos by Night to put a bunch of signs overnight in front of our house, left some t-shirts and stuffie flamingos on our doorstep, and gave a really big surprise to our kids when they woke up. We live in an apartment complex, so it was really amusing to all the dogwalkers in our community, too. I forgot to take a picture, so I took one off their website.

What’s something you can – or have done – in the Age of Coronavirus? Leave your nice thing in the comments below!

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