Questions about Random Things

I’ve written before about how, no matter how tired I may be, my mind has to go through a series of circuitous thoughts which often have nothing to do with each other and often have nothing to do with my life. I thought I’d share some of them with you, in case you have an established answer that will allow me to take any of these questions off the list.

Whatever happened to Aflac? I remember when there were seemingly constant commercials touting the benefits of adding Aflac to your current medical insurance, stating that it would help pay some of your expenses when, for medical reasons, you cannot work. In theory, that sounds great. Nobody I knew bought it, much less used it. I always thought it was something that only ‘rich’ people could afford to buy, and those same ‘rich’ people probably wouldn’t have a pile of unpaid expenses in the first place. I checked the Internet and Aflac is still in operation (at least according to their website). Maybe they just decided to spend no monies on marketing? Which is a shame, because I miss the duck!

My dad’s last wife had been the widow of my mother’s brother, having been married to my uncle for many years, and was addressed by the preface of aunt. When she married my dad, she became my stepmother, right? And didn’t the children of that marriage, who had once been my cousins, become my stepsiblings? I have a friend whose mother, after divorcing her father, ended up marrying her father’s brother. In effect, she always said, my uncle became my dad, and my dad became my uncle. Is there some set procedure for how this all falls into place? Maybe I should be asking the rednecks since people say that they always marry within their family! (I’m joking, of course!) My dad’s last wife told me in no uncertain terms when I made a mention about gaining sisters, that these two were my cousins and would always be my cousins. This is the same person who later vocally scolded me, while still at the cemetery after the burial service, that I didn’t include her granddaughter (who would have been my cousin’s child) as one of my dad’s grandchildren in the obituary! All these years later and this still gets my anger stirred up! Needless to say, we’ve had no contact since that time. So, were they legally my stepsiblings or still my cousins?

It’s that time of year when non-profit organizations are increasing their presence to the public in the hopes of getting us to feel more inclined to donate because it’s nearing a sentimental holiday. I get that, and it makes sense to me. But here’s what I don’t get… More than one of these organizations are offering you a tangible “gift” in return for your pledge for a certain amount monthly for an entire year. “Just $29 a month for 12 months and we’ll send you…”. It might be a blanket, a beanie, a calendar, and, in some cases, also include a photo of a child or animal you will be supporting. That is a double ploy on the old heart strings, in my opinion, but that’s not my issue. Some companies are donating and providing these organizations with whatever the tangible item/items they are offering to the general public as an incentive for making a commitment. Those companies will use that donation as a tax write-off. But hey, why not just make a financial contribution directly to the organization instead? I donate blood every two months, as allowed, and there are often these tangible trinkets offered to get people to come out to give blood. Honestly, I don’t believe that any of the people who consistently show up to donate do so because they want the t-shirt or water bottle or baseball cap or whatever else as a reward. I seldom see anyone under at least 35, and often the average is more like 55, in line to make their donation. I certainly don’t do it because I need another little goodie that will immediately go into a donation box upon my return home. I wish those companies who donate these products would just make a financial donation to the American Red Cross rather than some tchotchke that doesn’t really meet a need for the recipient. Plus, it irks me in some way to feel like these non-profit organizations feel like they need to bribe the public to help them out. I’m pretty sure that people make donations because the charity calls to their hearts, not because they want some tangible goodie they don’t really need and CAN live without.

Here’s a question that haunts me every time I’m forced to deal with this product: Why can’t plastic wrap companies make a container to hold the roll of plastic that actually CUTS the plastic wrap when you press it to those little “teeth” things? And in conjunction with that, why does plastic wrap always cling better to itself than to the object(s) you are trying to wrap with it? I now use zipper bags 99% of the time when I want to store something in clear plastic because it is so less time-consuming and less frustrating. I have a canning funnel (wide-mouthed to use with canning jars) and I simply insert that in the top of the open bag to help any product get down into the bag. I now even store soups and stews and other assorted items in these bags for my freezer because they take up so much less room than a plastic container. Lay the item flat to freeze and then it will slide anywhere you have a little bit of space. You can even use a permanent marker to label the bag before inserting the food. Still, there are a few times when plastic wrap is necessary, and sometimes I have to deal with the frustration of trying to cut the darned stuff!

After my recent hospital stay (I’ll write more about that in the future), I decided to think about noise-canceling headphones. The patient in the room next door had a very loose and productive cough and then the ‘spit out’ of whatever she had managed to get up from her chest. Part of me felt bad for her because I’ve had bronchitis and know how painful that kind of coughing can be, especially when it’s ongoing. Another part of me felt angry that I could hear every cough in my room next door and far too often, the coughing would jar me away just as I was about to doze off. After minimal dozing and no sleep that first night, exacerbated by her coughing, I thought about how helpful a set of noise-cancelling headphones would be in that kind of situation. So why, when I came home and looked for them, did I only find, in my search, some product that cancelled out the noise around you so that you could more clearly hear whatever you were choosing to listen to through the headphones? To me, if you say “noise cancelling”, I define those words as meaning “creating silence” in the eardrums while wearing them! I prefer total silence when I’m trying to fall asleep, which is partly why I use a fan 365 nights a year – for the white noise – and the product advertised doesn’t do what its name implies!

That’s just one night of random thoughts (I’m sure there were more, but these are what I remember offhand). I’ve started taking a 12-mg Melatonin every night (sometimes a second one after 3 hours) in hopes I will fall asleep before my brain travels around for hours about these innocuous things that truly mean nothing in the big picture.

8 thoughts on “Questions about Random Things

  1. I, too, miss the Aflack duck!

    In answer to your second question- If the woman who married your dad had children with your uncle from a previous marriage, they are biologically your cousins. However, when your “aunt” married your dad, you are correct that her children then became your stepsiblings. Personally, I think the point is moot. There are people I claim as “family” with no red ribbon to bind us. Likewise, there are people who wear the same shade of red ribbon, but I cut the ties that binded us years ago. Cousins/siblings, they are whatever you see fit to call them and nobody has the right to tell you differently.

    I have asked some of the charities I donate to if they could take the money they would spend on incentives to give and reinvest it back to the community they serve. Why am I giving you money if you have the means to give everyone who donates a free gift? It has never made sense to me. Thank you for bringing this up. With the holidays approaching, I wish people would research more of the charities they donate to. Not all of them are what they claim to be, sadly. I’m a big fan of out of the box thinking when it comes to charities. You have inspired a blog post about ways people can give back in big ways without breaking the bank!!

    I believe Reynolds Wrap now makes a plastic wrap with a box that has a built-in cutter, so all you have to do is slide the blade, and there are no perforated edged to cut yourself on! Have you heard of Beeswrap? They are reusable seals and come in a variety of sizes. They’re a bit expensive, but they last forever and are easy to clean! I love them!! Even the shipping products are biodegradable!

    I’m sorry to hear you were in the hospital. I hope you are better now! Please don’t ever hesitate to reach out if there’s anything I can do. I’m happy to lend an ear, or send a little care package to brighten your spirits!

    I’m not sure my comment answered any of your questions, but it’s always good to chat with you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There is a lot to unpack here, so I think I will pick just one topic to weigh in on. As for the tchotchke (so proud you know that word) given as a reward, it is not about how needed, wanted, or desirable the gift is, it is usually something that tells people around you how generous you have been. It is a badge of honor, not a gift for giving. At least it is in my humble opinion. I do know how this “my brain won’t stop” thing feels. Love you, sis!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Totally agree with you about the plastic wrap and the donation “gifts”. A good point about the headphones. Good thoughts, just too bad that they come at the wrong time of day. LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. If people need this “badge of honor” to put on display – for themselves or to show to others – then there is a good bit of selfishness in the act of giving. And I think the “my brain won’t stop” feeling is probably quite common. We keep our brains occupied and busy during our awake times, so all of these kinds of thoughts only have the spotlight upon them when everything around us is quiet. I wonder if that’s why so many people like to fall asleep to the TV?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That TV hypothesis probably has some merit, similar to white noise I would guess. I like white noise sometimes, but anyone speaking makes it impossible for me not to listen actively.


  6. It’s validating to know that someone else questions the giving of incentives by charities. I have made donations at different times to charities other than my ‘favorite’ ones to whom I donate regularly, and for several years following, I got an envelope from them a year later about making a donation. After several months of similar mailings, I wanted to tell them to save the cost of printing and mailing and use it towards the charity’s mission! Also, for your blog, I will soon be giving my 16th pint of blood to the American Red Cross (that’s 2 gallons’ worth!) which costs me nothing but the gas to drive to wherever the drive is an about an hour of my time every two months. Great way to donate without breaking the bank!!!

    I found the Reynolds Wrap with the built-in cutter on Amazon (where I shop for almost everything except groceries) and it’s been ordered! THANK YOU for solving one of the questions that will roam through my head from time to time (usually right after I have to use the blasted stuff I have!). For me, that’s a game-changer, since I spend time in my ‘happy place’ and always have a freezer full of bulk meats that I’ve divided into meal-size servings.

    I have the intent to write a multiple article post about my hospital stay now that I can find some humor about some of the things. I’m home and have one follow-up visit (only one more is what I’m hoping for) to check where some additional sutures needed to be added). Thank you for your offer of anything you can do, but this was something that had to be done eventually, and there was nothing anyone else could do to help. My surgery was on a Monday afternoon and I got to go home on Wednesday morning, so it wasn’t a long stay and I’m okay except for a little spurt of dull pain once in a great while, which is normal when nerves have been messed around with.

    I’m so glad I found your blog (another thing to be thankful to Brad for!) and I enjoy our chats! Thank you for always having a kind word to say! Heck, thank you for taking the time to even read my blog, much less respond!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, good! I’m glad you found the plastic wrap! I hope it’s a little easier for you to cut, at least!

    I’m glad I found your blog, too! I am thankful to and for Brad for so many reasons, and my connection to you is one of them!!

    Liked by 1 person

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