Rrroll Up the Rim

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Things were much simpler when I was a kid.

The TV had twelve fuzzy channels. Anyone could operate it. Even me. Even me as a child.

In 2014 we enjoy digital sound and pictures so clear it’s like being inside the tube, except there isn’t a tube. It’s a magical flat screen that beams fantastical images accompanied by digital surround sound.

It’s supposed to be a huge improvement over the old poor quality sets, but it’s not. Instead of facilitating relaxation, the TV has caused numerous hissy fits when I want to catch the final reveal on What Not to Wear only to realize someone left the remote set to something other than TV. If there’s no one around to help me, I press buttons randomly, swear and toss the remote on the coffee table before grabbing a book. At least I can still open one of those without assistance.

Along with my beloved books, there are a few things that haven’t changed over the years.

The fridge still uses 1970’s technology. You plug it in once and that’s it. To use it, open the door and voila–cold food and snacks!

The dog is another fun retro addition to our home. She works in much the same way as childhood pets of years gone by–add kibbles, apply cuddles and walk daily. Anyone can operate the dog. Even me.

The Roll Up the Rim to Win contest at Tim Hortons is another of those familiar things I enjoy because I understand it. It never changes and the rules are pretty simple–buy coffee, drink coffee, roll up the rim on the cup and claim your prize if applicable.

I drink lots of coffee during Roll Up the Rim time at Tims. Who doesn’t like coffee, especially when it’s accompanied by the chance to win cool prizes like a donut or a Toyota?

Everything was good and I was happily rolling up my rims until I noticed something that changed everything on my third cup–a big blue arrow across from the yellow one.

This year’s cups have TWO spots to roll for prizes!

I might have thrown away two brand new Corollas!

I’d be tempted to just hibernate in my house until Roll Up the Rim to Win time is over if only I knew how to turn on the TV.

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How to Move Far Away with a Sailor

006A successful blogger recently explained that she attracts readers by offering advice. Posts titled “How to” anything are especially popular.

Since I love to tell people what to do (hello–I’m a mom and a teacher!), this seems like a perfect fit for me.

I present the first of my friendly suggestion posts: How to Move Far Away with a Sailor.

Anyone connected with the military has had to deal with involuntary moves far far away. While this can be an opportunity to see different places and meet new people, it can also be daunting, particularly if you’re the timid type.

I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into when I moved to Halifax with my sailor. It was a bit of a struggle, but I got through it and I think I’m more independent and (dare I say it?) daring because of the experience.

This is what I learned.

1. Force yourself to get out and meet people. A job can be a great way to do this, but sometimes good jobs aren’t easy to come by. When I arrived in Halifax, no one was hiring teachers. Wandering around the mall alone everyday soon got old, especially when my sailor went off to sea for months at a time. I volunteered for the Canadian Cancer Society, worked at a pancake house and even (briefly) joined the Officers’ Wives Club bowling team. I’m way too uncoordinated to bowl regularly, but I stayed long enough to make a couple of friends and get myself invited to other social events that were more my style.

2. Find a new hobby. Mine was cooking, which is actually a solitary pursuit, but it gave me something to do when I was bored and kept me out of Tim Hortons. (I became addicted to their cinnamon sugar doughnuts.) To complement my developing prowess in the kitchen, my sailor and I became a wine making team–he made it and I drank it. I still enjoy cooking, but the wine making fell by the wayside when I got pregnant and couldn’t drink.

3. Perhaps the most important suggestion for anyone feeling lost and alone in a strange community: do NOT make any major changes the first time you visit a new hair stylist! I was bored, lonely and for some reason thought a zippy new do would be the answer to all my problems. Since I didn’t have a stylist in town, I made an appointment at the salon in the mall, printed a photo of a young Meg Ryan with her shaggy blonde mane and honestly thought my life would change for the better once I looked like America’s sweetheart. Years later I still have trouble breathing when I remember the result. It was more Meg Griffin than Meg Ryan.

Although these tips are based on my experience of moving far, far away with a sailor, they will apply whether you’re leaving your life behind for a grand romantic gamble with a professional bowler, a chicken rancher or anyone really.