Tuesday, 2 October 2012


I love pens. I especially like those with ornamental or novelty heads at the end. I have a few that are squishy for those moments when the pen is willing but the paper is blank. I can get inspired squishing the alligator's head so his cheeks and eyes bulge becomingly. Truthfully? It doesn't really inspire any great thought, just creates a bit of fun distraction. I also have a pen that, if you bash it against the palm of your hand, its green bulb flashes on and off. Another distraction for a few moments. My favourite had a goblin head but it fell off one day when I was writing like fury. The replacement pen with the squishy monkey head and pink rubberized hair wasn't quite the same. And the weight of the head made the pen feel top heavy so that writing was a chore. My bug-on-a-green-leaf is cool but it feels awkward when I write so I tuck it in my Snoopy pen cup, along with a few others. I have three different pen cups, all stuffed with pens of fine, medium and thick tips, markers, highliters of various colours, permanent pens for writing on tapes and dvd's. The list goes on.

I find pens are important. You can never have too many because when you need a pen in a hurry, there they are--ready when you are. And, have you noticed when someone lends you a pen, it somehow ends up in your pocket or purse? Or, vice-versa.

Recently, I bought a pack of regular pens--these were the Bic's ultra-round sticks with an easy glide. I like these pens because they start immediately--no scritching on scraps of paper to get the ink started. I've left several lying around but they seem to mysteriously disappear, so someone else must be enjoying them too.

Of course, with my collection of pens, I have to have my pads of many colours. Notepads not only come in a choice of lined or unlined pages but now comes in different motifs, colours and cute slogans or messages. I liked "Sex is Better Than Coffee But Chocolate is Best," or "Don't Tell the Boss, Send Him a Memo," or my favourite phone message pad with "Monkey Business Only." My stickly notepad has a message too.

The other day, I had this crazy inspiration and just had to write it down before I forgot it. I wrote the few lines on my lime-green sticky pad and tucked it in my purse. This morning at the bank, while searching for my bank card, my sticky pad fell on the teller's counter. Prominently across the top, in big black letters was "This is a Stick-up" and in much smaller letters, directly below, "Stick Me on Anything!" Thank goodness the teller didn't panic and had a sense of humour!

Okay--enough of these distractions--back to work. . .

Monday, 1 October 2012

Manual Woes

There is nothing I dislike more than having to read a manual. It's probably not that big a deal, but when this issue comes up, it's a biggie for me.  Most times, I don't have to read any manuals unless it becomes absolutely necessary--at which point, I become thoroughly traumatized.

Hubby and I have devised a system (of sorts) over the years--Hubby does the assembling and fixing. When needed, I read these folded bits of paper or booklets with the instructions and important information in sixteen different languages. Sometimes the assembling instructions are quite detailed, but stated in an unique mode of English that defies interpretation, especially if the article is made in some place like Outer Bhurkistan. And conversely, there are the English instructions and information that are quite sparing in words, leaving you to fill in the blanks.

The worse is when the instructions comes in pictures, sometimes hand-drawn.  I know, I know--it's suppose to supersede sixteen translations when pictures are assume to be universal. Hubby has a fantastic grasp of what is needed to be done as he can imagine which part fits where. However, I can never figure out the pictures, no matter which way I turn the diagram.

The one and only time I didn't mind reading the manual was when we were assembling my desk.  This project had a perfect manual. The instructions clearly showed every nut, bolt, screw and washer included. Each piece and part was labeled clearly. The desk was packaged to be assembled in sections that had to be done in a specific order. It was a "dream" project and one that went smoothly and frazzled-free.  Best of all, the instructions were written in clear, concise and real English. To this day, I'm still using the desk which has held up well.  But I digress.

Manuals were never part of my genetic setup. I'm the type of person who likes to watch how various stuff is put together and then do it. My brain does not absorb the printed words or pictures of a do-it-yourself manual. I always figured the good Lord did not put me on this Earth to nut-n-bolt stuff unless it was something edible. And in that situation, I can out-perform anyone.

But it's not just popping the pieces together in the how-to section. It's the other part of the manual that explains the what-for's, why-for's and where-for's. I really don't need to scare myself knowing these things, since the only time I'll dive for the manual is when something goes terribly wrong. And hopefully, Troubleshooting will give me the answer or the 1-800 number for Customer Assistance. For now, I'll just stack all these booklets and bits of paper together and file them under "M" for manuals.