Swamp Gas

As he stepped into their old Victorian kitchen, Craig took a deep sniff and got a scowl on his face. He looked around for his mother, but she didn’t seem to be about. He saw her cast iron kettle on the hot stove with steam coming from its spout. He walked closer to it and sniffed again, but this time he had to run over to the sink, as the smell coming from the kettle triggered his gag reflex. He was ultimately able to control himself and didn’t actually throw up, but he stepped lively out of kitchen to escape the stench.

A few minutes later his mother ambled into the old house. She took one look at Craig , who was sitting on a deep cushioned sofa in the living room, and asked him if he was okay. “You look a little green around the gills,” she said. It was her way of saying that someone appeared nauseated.

“I feel green around the gills, Ma,” Craig said. What are you boiling in the kettle? It smells awful.”

“I’m just heating up some bog water I got from the pond down at the park,” she said.

“Why on earth would you do that, Ma?” Craig asked. “That pond is a quagmire. No wonder the kitchen stinks like swamp gas.”

“Mr. Grayson from up the street stopped by and said his wife was feeling poorly and asked if there was anything I could brew up that might help her with her ills,” Craig’s mother said. “All it needs are some of my secret spices and it should do the trick.”She walked over to her special kitchen cabinet and took out a few vials.

“Dammit, Ma,” Craig said. “I told you that hanging that sign outside of the house was a bad idea.”

Written for these daily prompts: Word of the Day Challenge (sniff), Ragtag Daily Prompt (kettle), The Daily Spur (lively), Your Daily Word Prompt (amble), and Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (quagmire).

TMP — 5G or Bust

Every Monday, Paula Light, with her The Monday Peeve prompt, gives us an opportunity to vent or rant about something that pisses us off. Today I’m more irritated than peeved, but Paula wants us to share. I apologize that this is, for me, a lengthy post. Anyway, here we go.

I’m the last holdout in my family. I’m the only remaining iPhone user. All the rest — my wife, my daughter, and my son — have the Pixel smartphone from Google, which is an Android device. My son has always had a dislike for Apple products and has been a big fan of all things Google. So ever since Google introduced its mobile operating system, Android, he’s opted for Android devices. And when Google came out with its own smartphone, the Pixel, he was one of the first to order one.

Then, around three years ago, my persuasive son managed to convince my wife and daughter to ditch their iPhones and switch to the Google Pixel phone. But despite the pressure from the rest of my family to follow suit, I did my best Charlton Heston imitation and said, “I’ll give you my iPhone when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.”

At the time we were an all Verizon Wireless family. Except for my son, whose wireless carrier was T-Mobile. But when Google introduced its own cell service, known as Google Fi, my son was quick to jump on board. Google FiAnd then, in late 2019, he managed to convince my wife and daughter to upgrade to the latest Pixel model and to ditch Verizon and switch to the Google Fi for cell service. Once again, I was the lone holdout because I was concerned that Google Fi was optimized for Android devices and wouldn’t work so well on an iPhone. But my son assured me that it would work on an iPhone and then he pointed out that Google Fi would cost about half as much per month as Verizon. So I caved.

The good news is that Google Fi has, indeed, worked fine since I joined with the rest of my family. And because the four of us share the plan, my portion of the monthly wireless bill has been less than $30. So yeah.

Then, this past November, I traded in my iPhone 8 Plus for the iPhone 12 Pro Max. I upgraded primarily because the iPhone 12 is the first iPhone model to support blazing fast 5G connectivity. And that was enticing.

But when I got my new 5G-capable iPhone set up on Google Fi, I discovered that Google Fi does not support 5G on iPhones. My 4G LTE connection worked fine, but 5G? Fuhgeddaboudit. Google Fi does support 5G on compatible Pixel and other Android phones. But not on iPhones. I went to the online Google Fi help center to find out when Google Fi would start to support 5G and here’s what it said.

Right now Fi 5G is not supported on iPhone 12 series; we’ll keep customers updated on the latest via our help center.

So I recently contacted the Google Fi help center and was informed that the Google Fi engineers are working on it but have no date for when Google Fi will support 5G on the iPhone. Hmm, sort of like the WordPress happiness engineers are working on fixing the iOS bug I’ve been whining about for almost five months, but have no date for when a fix will be available.

I admit that with the lockdown, not having 5G on my iPhone hasn’t been a problem because I hardly leave my house and our WiFi is plenty speedy. But with people getting vaccinated and the likely reopening — hopefully — of society by this summer, I’m giving Google Fi until November of 2021, the one year anniversary of getting my iPhone 12, to come up a 5G fix for iPhones. If it’s not available by then, I’m going back to Verizon Wireless.

Boy Did I Get It Wrong Five Years Ago

Let me start out by saying that between the time I ended my previous blog in April 2015 and started this blog in May 2017, I created an entirely different blog that I never took live. I just used it as a platform to occasionally write about my thoughts. To that end, this is one of the posts I wrote — but never published — on this day, March 15, 2016. And boy did I get it wrong.

Trump Is So Over

In primary parlance, today is known as “Super Tuesday II.” Some in the media are calling it “Mega Tuesday.” Primaries in five states, including two that are “winner take all” in terms of delegates — Florida and Ohio — are being held.

Establishment Republicans are lining up against Donald Trump and are hoping that the governor of Ohio, John Kasich, can take his home state, while the freshman Senator from Florida, Marco Rubio, can win his home state. That would take away much of The Donald’s early momentum and potentially open the door for one of the other candidates to get the required number of delegates to win the nomination or, alternatively, lead to a contested convention in Cleveland this summer.

The GOP establishment is coming together to fight Trump. Failed 2012 GOP candidate, Mitt Romney, who gladly accepted Trump’s endorsement four years ago, now not only disavows Trump, but calls him “a phony, a fraud,” and says, “His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University.” Romney also accuses Trump of bullying, being greedy, being a misogynist, and engaging in “absurd third-grade theatrics.”

The candidates seeking the GOP nomination are doing some strange things as well. Rubio has encouraged Ohio voters not to vote for him in that state, but to vote for Kasich in order to take Ohio’s delegates out of Trump’s reach. Kasich did not reciprocate by asking Florida voters to vote for Rubio and not him or Trump.

Ted Cruz is asking the other candidates to get their delegates to support him. He has gotten an endorsement from Carly Fiorina, but, inexplicably, both Chris Christie and Ben Carson have endorsed Trump.

Bottom line, though, is that I think all of this anti-Trump sentiment is going to take its toll. His competitors, the Democrats, as well as late night comics, have all talked, joked, or attacked him about his failed enterprises, such as Trump Steaks, Trump Airlines, Trump Water, and, most damaging, Trump University. They’ve highlighted how Trump clothing lines are made in China and Mexico and how Trump hires immigrants, rather than American citizens, at his resorts. They’re critical of Trump for not disavowing David Duke and the KKK and for inciting violence at his rallies. And I think even some Republicans and conservatives are getting tired of Trump’s antics.

One of these guys might be the next GOP nominee for president

So my prediction is that Trump’s 15 minutes (or 10 months) of fame as a politician are over. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he didn’t win any of the five primaries today. And if that’s the case, it’s all over but the shouting. Which means that Grampa Munster will likely be the GOP nominee when the Republicans leave Cleveland this summer.

Share Your World — My Happy Place

Share Your WorldMelanie is once again asking us to share a piece of our world in this week’s Share Your World edition. Here we go.

How well do you know your next-door neighbors? Do you like them?

I moved into my new house last year in early February. A month later, we were put under stay-at-home orders due to the rapidly spreading pandemic. Before the quarantine started, I did get to meet a handful of my neighbors and they were welcoming and seemed to be very nice people. But over the past year, due to the lockdown, my interactions with my neighbors have been limited. So, my direct answer is that I don’t really know my neighbors very well, but from what little I do know of them, I like them.

Do you have a full-length mirror?

When we first moved into our house last year, my wife insisted that I hang a full-length mirror in our master bedroom walk-in closet. So yes.

Do you shave every day or do you like the ‘stubble’ look, or a beard?*

I have had a full beard from most of my adult life. Before I retired, I used to trim my beard with my handy-dandy electric beard trimmer once a week and I would shave my neck below my desired beard line. Now that I’m retired, I just don’t bother shaving my neck anymore, and I’ve reduced trimming my beard to every two or three weeks. That said, I also shave my head when I trim my beard.

How many items of clothing are in your bedroom (or closet) and not hung up?

I have a chest of drawers with my undershirts, underpants, and socks folded up inside the drawers. I also keep some sweaters folded up in that chest of drawers. In the closet, I have sweatshirts, sweatpants, and a few other sweaters folded up on the shelves. Other than that, I have my clothing that needs washing tossed into a hamper.

Do you have a happy place?

I’m still among the living, so wherever I am, I’m happy. As the song goes, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”

*This question was specific to men. Melanie asked an alternative question directed at her female readers: How long do you spend putting on make-up in the morning?

Blogging Insights — Reboot

Blogging insightsAfter a six week hiatus, Dr. Tanya is back with her Blogging Insights questions. Welcome back! We’ve missed you.

This week, Dr. Tanya wants to know…

Have you ever taken a hiatus from blogging?

This seems to be a popular question lately. Back on February 3rd, I asked a similar question on my Provocative Question prompt. And then, just last week, in his Truthful Tuesday prompt, Frank, aka PCGuyIV, asked a question about whether “real life” situations have caused any of us to take a “temporary absence” from our blogs.

So I’m going to answer Dr. Tanya’s question the same way that I responded to Frank’s question last week. I wrote…

Back in the spring of 2015 a personal matter, the details of which I shall not go into here, reared its ugly head. I was still working at the time and I knew that something had to give in order for me to deal with this urgent personal situation. I decided that I had to step away from blogging, something I’d been doing for ten years without interruption at that point. It was difficult, but necessary, action.

Do you think that it is necessary to announce/declare the hiatus?

I suppose that depends upon the situation. When I stepped away from my previous blog in April 2015, I did announce my abrupt departure in my final post. I wrote…

For reasons I will not go into here, I have decided to shut down my blog as of today. I have been blogging here on WordPress almost non-stop for about 15 months and, quite frankly, it’s taken its toll on other facets of my life that require my undivided attention. So I am going to take a break — and I mean a total and complete break. I am even going delete my blog entirely. Poof — here today, gone tomorrow. Will I be back? I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe not. We’ll see.

Did your blog “suffer” from the hiatus?

Well, since I deleted that blog, I suppose it did suffer. When I returned to blogging with this blog in May 2017, I basically had to start from scratch.