Bold Statement of the Day- I Invented Apple Pay

I know what you’re thinking: this woman has finally lost her mind. But I kid you not. I invented Apple Pay. My friend Angela can vouch for me.

For those of you still living in the dark ages (not judging – I love to visit there myself), with certain newer Apple devices you can set up Apple Pay through the Passbook and pay for stuff with your phone. Basically, it’s a digital wallet. You can read more about it HERE if you are interested.

I don’t know how it works. Magic, I guess. Still, I invented it.

Angela and I dabble in writing screenplays (bear with me), and in 2013 prior to the existence of Apple Pay, I started a screenplay that took place ten years in the future. The protagonist was a girl named Liberty and she was born on September 11, 2001, and when the story took place in 2023 she was twenty-two years old.

Trust me, my screenplay writing skills lack a whole lot, but the premise was kind of neat. Libby was born into a world where relationships and social interaction were replaced with devices; however, she longed for human contact. The screenplay gets a little dark. I won’t go into details, except to say dating was a lot different in the world I created, and Libby starts to get sucked into the darkness in her quest for a personal, human connection. (Not that I think too much about Libby, but Abigail Breslin maybe plays Libby and Selena Gomez can be her roommate, maybe Ian Somerhalder will play a role, etc. etc. I’ll confer with Hollywood and Angela over casting. I digress . . . )

Back to Apple Pay. So in my screenplay, people use their devices for everything. They unlock doors by scanning their phones over lock pads. They don’t shop anymore, instead using their devices for ordering anything they need. They have to travel far distances to find cash – cash is a thing of the past. Libby finds an underground bar that’s a throwback to the old days. It accepts cash only and in order to enter you have to leave your device at the door. Many people turn away when they realize they have to separate from their device.

Libby comments that people don’t go anywhere anymore – they attend school on-line, their personal trainers are on line, books, television, radio all on-line. Nobody drives anywhere (lessening our dependence on Big Oil), except people delivering packages. In my story, phones don’t even have a phone function anymore – nobody talks live. People call their device their “smarts,” deleting the “phone” off the end, and providing a not-so-subtle reference that these devices have become an extension of people’s brains.

Apple Pay, right. You know where this is going. Of course, in Libby’s world, all you need to do to pay for things is to scan your device over a register or a machine. As an example, I wrote a scene where Libby goes to a coffee shop that has only one employee. She self-orders her coffee by tapping on the buttons on the coffee machine, then goes to the “register,” scans her smarts, and voila, done. Then she sits and charges her phone at the table.

See. Apple Pay. I INVENTED IT, people!

Look. I’m not going to harass Apple over this (although it would be great if they can throw me a couple of bucks to pay off my student loans), but I will mention that I typed this screenplay on my MacBook. Now, I’d never insinuate that Apple somehow found my idea *clears throat* . . . just sayin’. MacBook. :)

I have to admit that Apple trumped me on the Apple Watch. As I wrote the screenplay, I debated how these people would carry their phones around comfortably (I did invent charging stations for them in the middle of the sidewalks, and like everywhere, to take care of the pesky battery issue). As you can imagine, these devices were people’s entire lives and hell broke loose if they were lost or damaged. My brainstorming led me to some sort of special pocket on all clothing. Apple Watch is a way better solution. DAMMIT! Smart Apple people . . .

Anyway, if anyone in Cupertino is listening, please contact me. I have other Apple ideas I’d love to share. Seriously, I missed my calling. I belong at Apple (or in Hollywood, if anyone wants to buy my half-finished Libby script before the entire thing comes true :)  ).

My house or the Apple store? You decide. (Missing from picture: a Nano Shuffle, two iPhone 6 pluses, and an old school iPod touch).
My house or the Apple store? You decide. (Missing from picture: a Nano Shuffle, two iPhone 6 pluses, and an old school iPod touch).

Thanks for reading and have a nice day.

Mother’s Day Stuff

Two man-made lakes, landscaped with beautiful trees and flowers, sit in the middle of our development.  As you can imagine, the mile-long paved pathway around the lakes is a magnet for dog walkers, joggers, bikers, strollers. It’s lovely to have the lakes in our neighborhood and to me, they are the shining point of our development.

That being said, I’m a nervous wreck when the boys are near the lakes.

Historically, my best bet for making it around the lakes with my sanity in check was to pull the boys in their two-seater wagon. At least they were contained and I had some control. But sooner than I’d hoped, they grew big enough that when they crammed into the wagon they were forced to rest their chins on their knees. Suddenly, I was pulling over a hundred pounds around the lake and we looked ridiculous. I had to retire the wagon and my semblance of control.

So if we wanted to walk the lakes, we had to do just that – walk. For a million reasons, I never enjoyed walking the boys around the lake. Mostly because a mile is a long way around with two little kids. We’d make it halfway and someone would be tired, hot, cold, hungry, bored, whatever. And they’d either be painfully sloooowww or way too fast. No leisurely strolls for us. Either I was running to catch them or dragging them behind me. Yelling was often involved. “Let’s go!” “Slow down!” “Wait for mommy!” “Don’t eat the dirt/snow/flowers!”

And the lakes? They’re full of water! With two little boys and only one me? What if they both fall in at the same time? What if they run off the path and I can’t catch them and they get to the street and get hit by a car? What if there’s a sexual predator lurking in the bushes? What are they wearing in case they get kidnapped? What if I drop dead, leaving the boys to cry and wander the lake on their own forever and ever? What if we pass out from heat exhaustion? Hypothermia? Did I bring water? Sunscreen? My phone? Bugs! Ticks! AHH! **

A few weeks ago, JC and I went for a walk and strolled the lakes. I had some thoughts and snapped this picture:

JC
JC

When JC approached the water, my first instinct was to yell at him to get away from the edge. So I did. “Not too close!” I screamed. JC, being the feisty eleven-year-old he is, ignored me. Then I realized.

He knows how to swim. If he falls in, he’ll be okay.

He’s loud as all heck and he knows about stranger danger. If a predator jumps out of the bushes, he’ll scream and together, JC and I can fight.

He knows our neighborhood. If he wanders away, he’ll meet me back home.

He has a phone in his pocket. If he wanders away and manages to get lost, he can call.

If he’s hot, he’ll take off his fleece. If he’s cold, he’ll . . . well, be cold. He can deal with (some) things on his own.

I also realized that it’s nice to look out over the lake. I can take my eyes off him and check it out and he won’t disappear. He can be fifty feet away from me and I don’t have to panic.

Don’t get me wrong – I won’t necessarily relax. Maybe, being a parent, I’ll never truly relax again. But I don’t have to panic, either.

I’m slowly learning to give the boys a little freedom. They’re not going to be kids forever. It goes by quickly. JC is eleven! He’s been around more than a decade! If I keep panicking in his presence, I’ll screw him up. Every parent hopes they aren’t the ones to screw up their kids! Not only that, but I’ll miss out on enjoying him and, in some ways, my own life.

I don’t want to miss out on the good stuff, so I’ll try to contain my overprotectiveness. No promises that I won’t slip into panic mode now and again, but I’ll try not to make panicking the default.

That’s all I wanted to say. Tomorrow on Mother’s Day and every day after, I wish you all panic-free peace with your children. Thank you for reading and have an enjoyable weekend.

** These thoughts may sound crazy to some of you more laid-back parent people, but in my defense, JC did lose control of his bike a couple years back and ended up flying down the hill right into the lake! Thank god I wasn’t there because I’d probably have a heart attack on the spot. My husband fished him, and the bike, out of the water and everyone was fine. Slimey, wet, and miserable, but fine.

Socks! (Try to contain your excitement!)

When two friends separately mentioned to me a book they read about decluttering their lives starting with their sock drawers, I knew the Universe was trying to tell me something.

My sock drawer is crammed so tightly that it refuses to close unless I jam it shut with my full body weight. It’s a disaster. Oh no! Does that mean my life is a disaster, too? I wondered.

I know what you’re thinking: That Jess must really love her socks to have an entire drawer dedicated to them!

I don’t, really. No sock fetish here. I tend to wear the same socks over and over. So, what the heck is in my sock drawer? What is jamming up my furniture and my life? HOW will I EVER declutter the mess of EVERYTHING?

I wasn’t convinced it was possible, but on the advice of Shaunna and Angela and their excellent book (I’m hoping one of them comments below to name the book and give credit where credit is due), I thought I’d give it a shot.

They directed me to take everything out of the drawer. Look at each item. Cherry pick my favorite socks and roll them up, then place them lovingly back in the drawer. The remaining socks – the ones still out free in the world – were either garbage and needed to be thrown out, or “maybes” which needed to earn their way back into the drawer. The end result should look like a drawer with one layer of rolled up socks, where I’d be able to see every pair, love every pair, live every pair.

Here’s what I started with:

The Original Sock Drawer: A Metaphor for My Life ?
The Original Sock Drawer: A Metaphor for My Life?

It’s messy. You can’t tell from the picture, but that pile of socks goes about six inches deep. I can’t see anything except the lucky few socks that wiggled their way to the top. That green pair? That was a parting gift from a medical procedure I had last year. I thought I needed to keep them since they have those rubber gripper things on the bottom. That pink pom-pom you see? That’s attached to a giant grey knit sock with a flannel layer inside capable of heating your feet to astronomical temperatures. That big white blur is a gaggle of ankle socks I recently picked up while waiting in line at Old Navy (they are the current faves – shh, don’t tell the others).

I sighed, then followed directions and took everything out of the drawer, spreading the mess across my bed:

Oh my! Help me, Sock Gods!
Oh my! Help me, Sock Gods!

Despite my initial shock at seeing the suckers laid out like that waiting for some sort of action from me, I did manage to dig out some interesting artifacts. Behold, the non-sock items found in the sock drawer!

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Magazine article that JC carried around when he was a baby (he was interested in lighting systems), a hat (knit by Mom or Angela, apologies but I can’t recall), a green dog poop bag (unused, thankfully), two ticket stubs from Monsters University circa 2013, half of a plastic Easter egg, an army man, a King Tut bookmark, a bathing suit, and a pair of earbuds.

I played with the non-sock items for awhile, then looked back to the pile of socks and started to sweat. The pile seemed to grow before my eyes, taking on a life of its own. I don’t know, I thought. Maybe I don’t want to choose between my socks. Maybe I like my drawer (and life) cluttered.

My head began to throb. The pressure was too much. AHHH, stupid socks! This must be why cavemen went barefoot!

Every instinct screamed at me to scoop the socks up, shove them all back into the drawer, and go binge watch House of Cards. After all, those green medical gripper socks could come in handy with hardwood floors. The new socks from Old Navy were bright enough to see through the masses. And the pink pom-pom heated socks? It got really cold this winter, friends. With global warming, you never know with this crazy weather when you may need really, super warm socks. Not to mention, I’d never find matches – my dryer eats socks. This is a lost cause, I thought. HOW WOULD I EVER DECLUTTER MY LIFE/SOCKS?

I ran out of the room screaming and took the dog for a walk:

Kiri Dog
Kiri Dog

When we came back, I ignored the socks for a few more hours, then decided it was time. Time to do something with the lost little buggers. Time to find their matches. Time to part with the old timers and celebrate the newbies. Time to declutter my sock drawer and my life. TIme to put on my Big Girl Socks and tackle the pile (also, bedtime was quickly approaching).

Here’s what I ended up with:

Decluttered sock drawer, decluttered life!
Decluttered sock drawer, decluttered life!

It doesn’t look like much in the picture and my rolling technique leaves a lot to be desired, but I assure you, there is only one layer and now I see every pair. I’m already breathing easier knowing that each sock coupling has earned a well-deserved place in my drawer. (Just in case you’re wondering, the green medical procedure pair had to be sacrificed for the greater good).

Being unemployed certainly has its advantages. No way would I have tackled that sock drawer in the middle of a work week! I know you’re all jealous of my day, reading this and itching to get to your own sock drawers. The excitement of my life is overflowing into yours, so you’re welcome. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the fun never ends here at WOAW.

If you’re still awake after reading this, thank you. From me, my sock drawer, and my new, decluttered life!

On Time and More of It

For those of you who don’t know, I was recently “restructured” out of a job. Remember my lovely job in downtown Trenton? (I posted about Trenton here and here). Well, it is no more.

On one hand, this is not terrible. I wasn’t thrilled with the job anyway and financially and emotionally, it made sense for me to walk away. No condolences necessary, please.

On the other hand, now I have to be concerned about money and making a life for myself, two things I never had to worry about during my thirteen years on the gravy train that is the federal government.

So here I am. Kicked off the train right onto my butt. It’s 9:30 on a Tuesday morning and I’m blogging. I’ve been home for a month now, taking it all in, and here’s what I’m ready to share:

It’s weird being home. I’ve worked since forever, besides taking a few short breaks for maternity leaves (if you could classify those as “breaks”) and for studying for the bar exam (which also shouldn’t be considered a “break” since I actually studied all summer).

Why is it weird?

I’m freaked out by the idea that I can use my time as I wish. I’ve never had that before. My time was always dedicated to something– morning hours were for getting the boys where they need to be, then I’d rush to work, then after work I had to get the boys from wherever they were and rush back. In the evening it was a juggling act with my husband over activities, homework, dinner, baths, etc. Finally, bedtime would arrive and I’d have about two hours to decide what I wanted to do.

Now though? I still dedicate the mornings to getting the boys out of the door. After that, until 2:30 when I have to get JC (no more After School Care for us), I have to decide what to do.

Um, yeah, I don’t know how to do that. It’s like when I tried to take “Self-Paced Logic” in college, and had to drop out after two weeks since I hadn’t yet bought the book. Now I’m trying to work out a “Self-Paced Life.” Hmm.

First off, let me give a shout out to all the stay at home moms. I get it now. There’s a lot to be done. But before, while working-for-pay, I didn’t feel the guilt of not doing it as much. I was literally imprisoned by my office, with no chance of parole prior to 5:30 p.m. Now? I sit here typing this blog post and feel the guilt creep up (I should be cleaning something, I should be calling someone, I should be doing something, anything, because I’m on the outside now!).

Of course there are a million things I want to do for the house and family. I’ve done about five of them so far (cleaned out the boys’ dressers, organized the kitchen cabinets, started a renovation project with a contractor, made about a hundred doctor appointments, signed the boys up for activities that we can now do with our new schedules).

There are also a million things I want to do for myself. I’ve done a couple of them (worked on my writing, sort of started a workout routine).

I’m still working out the details of how to actually get stuff done. My dad asked me yesterday, “What have you been doing?” (I think he missed my blog posts- Hi Dad!). The answer is, I’ve been busy, but I’m not sure what I’ve been doing.

I haven’t turned on the television during the day (… not much, anyway. I do enjoy Empire and started House of Cards again), so I’m not sitting here binge watching.

I’ve been working on my writing. I want to start the moving process for my projects- moving from draft to final, moving from the laptop to the world. I also joined an online writing group that takes some time, and I’m helping others with their projects.

I’ve been “cooking.” I use the term loosely. I hate doing it and think I’m terrible at it, although my husband claims I’m doing great (beggars can’t be choosers). I make a kick-ass loaf of bread though:

Kick-ass loaf of bread, from scratch, people.
Kick-ass loaf of bread, from scratch, people.

I walk the dog, a task I dread but end up enjoying once I’m out there. Isn’t she cute:

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Sleepy Time
Kiri Dog
Kiri Dog

I food shop during the day, which is probably the greatest luxury ever- working people cannot possibly understand the joy of food shopping on a Wednesday morning at the Shoprite. The difference between the Shoprite on a Saturday afternoon with two kids, and on a Wednesday morning solo, is like night and day.

I also spend some time looking for jobs, which freaks me out and makes me nervous. Dealing with unemployment in New Jersey freaks me out and makes me nervous, too. If you need a reason not to vote for Chris Christie if he runs for President in 2016, look to the New Jersey unemployment office. If he can’t make that work, how is he going to make a country work?

AND, I did this:

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My hand (with a photo bomb by this blog post). No, I didn’t get remarried! Look at my nails, friends. The nails.

I painted my nails blue. This is significant because (a) I’ve been biting my nails for the past two years from stress with the crap going on at work and now that I’m home they are growing, (2) I had time to paint them and let them dry, and (3) that’s Wonder Woman nail polish that I bought from MAC years ago and never had a chance to enjoy. I bought the blue (awesomely called “Spirit of Truth”) and the red (amazingly called “Obey Me”) solely because of the marketing. What employed person with money to spend could resist this:

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Where am I going with this post? I forgot. I seem to have drifted into my favorite relevantly irrelevant-ness arena, so I’ll just end it with a quote:

“Time is an illusion.”

(Albert Einstein)

Have a great day, whether you are at work or at home, whether you are in survival mode or self-pacing. It’s all an illusion, enjoy what you can.

AHH, the House is on Fire! Or, L’Eggo my Eggo!

From the Daily Post’s Daily Prompt:

Your home is on fire. Grab five items (assume all people and animals are safe). What did you grab?

  1. My MacBook (wouldn’t want it to melt with my masterpieces living inside).
  2. My cell phone (to call 911 and so kids can watch Netflix at shelter/hotel).
  3. Our coats (it’s friggin cold out).
  4. My car keys (Duh).
  5. My wallet (for access to credit cards and driver’s license).

Wouldn’t that just make sense? I hope my light switch did not cause this fire.

And speaking of fires, after I brilliantly installed the light switch, I almost DID set the house on fire. I dropped a waffle through the grate of the toaster oven onto the heating element. The waffle caught and started to FLAME, people! Orange flames, like bursting and crackling! In the house! Scared me to death.

The kids played in another room, completely oblivious. The dog came to my immediate assistance to growl at the fire and try to trip me. I blew on the waffle, like I was trying to put out birthday candles. Probably not the best idea to give an oxygen supply to a flaming breakfast treat, but sadly, this was instinctual. At least I didn’t throw water on it?

In seconds, the flames were out and I’d successfully fought my first fire. I blame the entire incident on a design flaw in the toaster oven. The heating element is unprotected and exposed (my toaster oven at work has a metal grate that covers the element, this one does not). I’m wondering if I should email Cuisinart?

The toaster oven involved in the incident. Notice the unprotected heating element.
The Toaster Oven involved in the Incident. Notice the unprotected heating elements.
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The Delicious Waffles involved in the Incident.
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Close-up of Directions: “Toasting Should be Supervised”- I’m a living testament to that directive. You never know when a waffle will tumble to the bottom of the toaster oven  (or accidentally be pushed through the grates by an impatient mother).

Ah, the exciting life I lead! The adventure never ends.

Have a happy, flame-free day.

 

Snow Day Time Lapse

Time it takes to find appropriate clothing for two boys on blizzard days:  45 minutes.

photo 1 (2)
Two boys= 2 sets of underwear, 4 pairs of socks, 2 sets of thermals, 4 shirts, 2 pairs of pants, 1 snowsuit, 1 snowpants, 2 coats, 4 gloves, 2 hats, 2 scarves, 2 pairs of boots, and a partridge in a pear tree.

 

Amount of time spent putting said clothes on boys: 15 minutes.

Size of snowsuit that you are cramming your nine-year-old into:  6/7.

Time it takes for little one to decide he has to pee after said clothes are in place: 1 minute. Time it takes him to unwrap and actually pee: 5 minutes.

Time spent arguing with eleven-year-old over which pair of gloves he will wear:  3 minutes.

Time spent outside in 24 degree weather: 20 minutes.

photo 2 (2)
JC and M, adventures in the snow.

 

Number of times you open the sliding glass door to yell at children: no less than 20. (Do you care? No, because at least you are inside.)

Number of times husband complains that you are letting the cold air in: no less than 20. (Do you care? No, because at least you are inside.)

Number of times you yell at children for throwing snow at each other and dog: no less than 10.

Time spent undressing freezing cold, suddenly starving children: 10 minutes.

Time for various layers of clothing to dry: 2 hours.

Portion of kitchen covered in wet clothing: 50%.

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The Aftermath

Time between stripping children and first cries of “I’m bored” : less than 5 minutes.

Time it takes for parents to pop the cork on the wine as soon as kids hit the sack: 30 seconds.

Here’s to Spring!

 

My Littlest Artist

My nine-year-old, lovingly referred to as “M.” on this blog, recently took a liking to art. The other day, we sat together with a pile of paper and he drew for awhile, then I gave him suggestions and he drew some more.

Here are some of his pictures:

photo 1 (1)

This one looks like an angry dude in a doorway.

photo 2 (1)

Ahh, happy people. With many ears. Seven ears, to be exact.

photo 3 (1)

Happy person, two ears, lots of birds flying around.

photo 4

This one looks like a surfer to me. Shout out to Steve, the sweetest surfer on WordPress!

Finally, my favorite picture of the day. I asked M. to draw Kiri dog:

photo 5

That’s her drinking water. I love the smile and her tail.

Since my littlest artist, M. has autism he doesn’t say much, and I find his drawings interesting. A window into his mind. I wonder why he made a surfer-looking dude. It’s not something he’s exposed to. Also, all those ears on that one guy! What’s that about? And angry guy in the doorway? I wonder if he meant that to be his brother.

His art teacher called us recently and asked if she could put one of his masterpieces in an art show. Of course we said yes. Here’s a picture of his art:

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The teacher had asked M. to make stripes with acrylics, and then gave him some items to add texture. M. used a fork through his stripes, and some sort of tire. To me, his picture looks like a boat at sea, with the sun in the upper left corner. We named it “Sunset at Sea.” It was pretty cool to see his artwork hanging on the wall of the gallery.

Also, I think there’s a uniqueness to the picture that a typically-developing nine-year-old couldn’t, or wouldn’t be able to express. The painting is messy, but it’s an ordered mess. M. wasn’t worried about being perfect or staying in the lines. The painting is pure emotion, yet not “scribble-scrabble.” The stripes and texture are present, but there is a lot of feeling coming through, too. I wonder if a typical kid in art class would, or could tap into their emotions to let loose like M. did.

That’s all I have. Just thought I’d share and be the bragging parent for the night!

Thanks for reading!