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.