Thursday, April 03, 2008

Thursday 13: Conveniences

A few weeks ago, kj posted a list of modern conveniences that make life easier. My list is below:

1. iPod: Changing CDs after 12 songs is just a pain in the butt. Plus, I can hear Pablo Cruise and Sammy Hagar concurrently. Try THAT with FM radio!

2. Memory stick: Or flash drive, or USB key, or whatever you choose to call it. This thing allows me to store work done at home and retrieve it on the school computers, or vice versa. I lose this thing so much that I should be wearing it around my neck like some sort of nerd bling. In fact, I probably would if it was pink instead of white and day-glow green (Q bought it).

3. Debit cards: I haven't gone inside the mini market to pay for gas in over 10 years!!!! I no longer carry a checkbook, either.

4. Live streaming: This allows me to listen to The Adam Carolla Show over the Internet. The former FreeFM station in Phoenix changed its format to bad pop music and rap last June. Imagine my surprise when the radio alarm went off and instead of hearing AC rant on about airport security, we got Paris Hilton music! Rude awakening, indeed!

5. Remote control for the ceiling fans: No more getting off the couch to adjust the fan speed.

6. Caller-ID: This feature came in REALLY handy when Q was sick. Some days, I wouldn't even answer the phone unless the readout indicated that the call was from the hospital. In those cases, it was usually Q calling to tell me he got his test results. Oh, and could I please bring him some clean t-shirts and when I come in tomorrow?

7. The on-screen program guide that comes with digital cable: We used to buy a Sunday newspaper just for the TV listing insert (and Parade magazine). Later, we'd see what's on by consulting the TV Guide Channel. The latter method was fine when the schedule scrolled up the whole length of the screen. Nowadays, TVGC is less TV Guide and more Channel. If it weren't for the on-screen guide, we'd probably get rid of digital cable. There are far too many crap channels on our cable system. Did you know there's a C-SPAN 3?

8. Cell phone: Surprisingly, I don't use mine that often. I make maybe 10 calls per week...most of which are to Quinton's office or to check on the boys. Sometimes the battery dies at the bottom of my purse. Even so, my cell phone is like a security blanket. I just know something bad is going to happen if I don't have it.

9. Swiffer SweeperVac: Lightweight and cordless, this battery-operated broom vac allows me to do quick sweep ups of dust bunnies, crumbs, and errant kitty litter. Definitely better than a broom and dust pan. I just wish it had better suction.

10. The ability to get cash back at the point of purchase: I don't understand why people complain about ATM fees. They are the easiest thing to avoid! Just go to the store, buy some beer and Cheetos, and pay with a debit card. When prompted, tell the little machine you want cash back, and how much. Most grocery stores big box retailers make this option available. And unlike an ATM--which only dispenses twenties and fifties--the cashier will break it down any way you wish. The only problem is, most places allow you to withdraw a limited amount...usually $40.

11. Air conditioning: Living in Phoenix, I use the car A/C year-round. Even in December, the inside of a parked car can reach 80 degrees, plus.

12. Spray-on sunscreen: This stuff is expensive and one can doesn't last very least not around here. But application is quick and not nearly as messy as regular sunscreen.

13. Online bill pay: Check writing is down, and postage stamp use is WAY down. We only have a handful of expenses that require us to write a check and mail it. I only use online bill pay if it's free. There's an online service I could use to add money to the boys' school lunch account, but they want to charge a $2.50 transaction fee. To this I say: "Lucas, please drop off the lunch check on your way to band practice."