Archives for posts with tag: problems


I can handle  big problems  like paying bills, packing up and moving to a new apartment,  buying a new car but it’s  the thorny, knotty little problems  that defeat me.  For example……

1-    –LIGHTBULBS   Not the regular kind, I can certainly manage them but. halogen bulbs, that’s a  whole different ball game.  I own three halogen lamps and one by one, the bulbs have  burned out, I can’t even get the old bulb out much less insert the new one.  I read the instructions and as near as I can figure,  you’re not supposed to touch the bulb or something terrible (like death) will happen but the instructions don’t say how to take out a bulb without touching it.  Right now I have two non- working lamps in my living room so I have to read in bed where there is a normal lamp.

2–  BATTERIES    I can’t figure out how to   insert them  There is the television remote, the flashlight, the CD player,  the scale to name a few. As they stopped working I bought new batteries (after I figured out which ones I needed, (double A, triple A or one of the hundred or so other choices) but I never seem to insert them properly.  Evidently the plus sign has to be opposite the minus sign  (or not) but the way I do it is  always wrong so I can’t weigh myself on the scale  anymore and I use the manual buttons on the television.

3—KNIVES     How do you sharpen them and what do you use to do it?  My  knives were razor sharp when I bought them; now slicing a  grapefruit or a pineapple or a raw chicken wing feels like I’m using one of those little plastic picnic knives.  I  end up sawing halfway through a grapefruit  and then give up in frustration and rip the rest of it apart with my bare hands.

 4–DIRECTIONS–  How do you reverse them?  I can follow directions to somewhere (friends house, restaurant, shopping mall) just fine but I can’t seem  to reverse them to get home. It seems to me that, if I turn right to get someplace, I should turn left on the return trip but, it never works out that way. I end up hopelessly lost and confused (or the street names change or dead-end or become one-way streets going, of course. the wrong way. I just found out that I have a  GPS on my phone and as soon as I can figure out how to tell it where I want to go, I’ll be able to scratch this problem off my list.

5   COFFEE POTS    It sounds silly but I have never actually gone into a store and bought a coffee pot.  My late husband was a real coffee expert; he used to order a special blend of coffee from some exclusive company and they always included a coffee pot.  He did this once or twice a year.  I don’t know why the coffee pots wore out but he said they did and he would get a replacement.  My current  coffee pot has lasted for over a year and I keep waiting for it to deconstruct or detonate or something and, when it does, what will I do?    Maybe I’ll just switch to tea.’

6    AIR IN TIRES— I can put gasoline into my car, take it in for a tune up,even  go through the car wash but how do you put air into tires?  Wait!  How do you know when the tires need air? It must be a guy thing because tires always look the same to me.  I go to this one gas station and the attendant is always willing to  check the tires for me and put air in (if I remember to ask him) but, I’d like to be able to do it myself.  I need someone to show me how  (and show me again  because I didn’t learn the first time.  Okay, I’m a slow learner.

7–      RADIO–  I’d like to listen to the radio in my car when I drive (and even sometimes at home) but, no matter how I turn the dial all I ever get is static!  Why?  I’m know my car radio can play music; when I valet park and the guy brings it back  there is alway music playing. I’m so happy until I park and turn off the engine.  When I turn it back on I only get static  and I’m back to listening to  CDs.  Other people  find talk shows, country music, top forty, oldies. I’m sure they must be  there but …where?

8–  BUYING PINEAPPLES AND MELONS –The ones I buy are either too hard or green inside or over-ripe, the ones other people buy and serve are perfect.  It seems you have to sniff the melon and pull out a spoke from the pineapple (or the other way around) but I never learned so now I mostly buy strawberries!

I know there aren’t earth-shaking problems but, it would be nice if I could solve them or at least, some of them.


A friend recently told me that she had to call the pharmacy because the instructions for her medicine were wrong. She was worried abut calling because she was afraid she wouldn’t or couldn’t explain the problem properly.

“I know I’ll get all confused. I  never seem to say what I mean so I end up saying too much or all the wrong things.”

I had one piece of advice for her.

“Write it down,” I said. “Write down exactly what you want to say, what points you want to make and then call the pharmacy and read it; read exactly what you’ve written.”

This is a method I use all the time.  Did someone hurt my feelings, make a mistake, say or do something I thought was wrong?  I write down what I want to say; sometimes just the act of writing is enough and I don’t  have to actually confront the person.  Other times, I do have to act and at those times  my thoughts are organized and I say exactly what I want to say. Sometimes I even anticipate their answers and prepare a reply or rebuttal.

The pharmacy says, “the instructions on the bottle came from your doctor.”

I say, “they are not the instructions I received in the past.  Please check your records.”

The person I’ m confronting  says “oh, don’t be so sensitive, I didn’t mean it”

I say, “my being sensitive isn’t the point, the point is that I think what you said (or did) was wrong  and I wanted you to know.”

Writing,venting on paper or on the computer is a great release; it’s my therapy.What I do is write  everything I feel or think as fast as I can.  I just let the words pour out;  I don’t worry about spelling or punctuation or complete sentences.  I just write and write until I’ve said everything I want to say, until I get that “wow, that felt great” feeling.That’s when I  go back to  use spell- check, to  punctuate and make corrections, Then, I either delete it or file it away under a code name so I can read it another day. This is important.   Never send an angry letter over the internet; it will be there forever and you can never take it back.

Writing can even solve problems for me.  I had a situation with two friends and I wrote a short play about it.  I wrote it from all three viewpoints and when I finished the situation didn’t bother me so much anymore.  Seeing the problem on paper reduced it to  (almost) nothing, made me see that it really wasn’t much of a problem after all.

I wrote a whole book of memories when my mother died  and another,  Widowpedia,  when i lost my husband.  Writing about them softened my grief, made it (a little) more  manageable.

One of my best gifts ever came from a friend who wrote a “this is your life” poem for our twenty-fifth anniversary.  She summed up our whole marriage, children, jobs, vacations, places we lived, in thirty lines of poetry. It was and is one of my favorite possessions and it gave me the idea to try writing life poems myself, maybe for senior citizens who want to leave a remembrance of themselves to their families  without  writing a whole autobiography.

Writing is the best thing I can do for myself. I was feeling headachy and sneezy when i started  this article but, somehow, I feel much better now.  Writing can even cure a potential cold!