Monday, February 28, 2022

History and Games

Began a beautiful morning with Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. Super Daniel and Firefighter Katerina Margaret's baby rattle to alert people when they're going to save the day, but Margaret wants it back. Mrs. Tiger shows them how to make their own rattle. "Daniel Makes the Neighborhood" when he, Miss Elaina, and Prince Wednesday build their houses from ordinary household items Lady Elaine has on hand..

Went downstairs for a quick breakfast next, then headed out. I had a couple of errands to run, starting with a quick trip to PNC Bank. Needed to take out money for my neighbor Brittany. I borrowed cash from her to pay the movers on Saturday. I also got a bit turned around going back to Oaklyn, but at least it was a nice day for a ride. It was windy and chilly, but also bright and sunny, and warm when you could get out of the blustery air. 

Rode around to Dollar General next. Couldn't find my dry erase markers, so I bought another pack. Gave Coke Starlight another chance after I picked up the Zero the other day. Not bad. Sort of a weird; fruity note; kind of like Birch Coke. (It's even reddish in color.) Went across the street to deliver the money to my neighbor, but only heard her dogs, not her. I'll try again tomorrow or later in the week. 

Got home, set up my schedule for a week, and spent the next hour going through boxes and moving furniture. I can start setting up the back room. I moved my two narrow and low Ikea shelves to the back wall for dolls and large books. 

Watched Match Game '74 while I worked. The first episode featured a joke about a sequel to Blazing Saddles involving exotic dancers; later, the panel made jokes about Charles' answer to "Brand __" in the Audience Match. Gene made his entrance rolling down the shag-carpeted steps in the second episode!

Had a quick lunch of a leftover chicken dish. I'll probably buy my own cereal, since she's carb-free, but I'll use another container for it. The container I've used for years is getting old and grimy. She has her own sugar and flour, so once that's gone, I'll use one container for cereal and put the others in storage.

Headed off to work after lunch. Between the nice day, this being the last day of the month, and us being between holidays again, we were dead for a lot of the afternoon. It got mildly steady around rush hour. Otherwise, I did a lot of standing around. At least we aren't required to wear masks anymore (for now), and I was able to work on story notes and write down what I needed to do tonight and tomorrow.

Went straight into the shower when I got home, then went upstairs and online. Since I missed the African-American Greats marathon on Buzzr Saturday, I held my own tonight. What's My Line knew no color barrier. Their Mystery Guests could be anyone famous from any industry. I went with the Supremes at the height of their fame in 1967 and legendary vocalist Ella Fitzgerald in 1962

Comedy knows no color barrier, either. Match Game frequently made use of popular and prominent African-American comedians and TV actors, like Isobel Sanford at the start of The Jeffersons' long run. In 1976, she helped a sweet young woman with the Head-to-Head match, and even heard Charles and Marvin Hamlisch write and impromptu song for her. 

Given the ultra-cool vibe Richard Dawson exuded, most of you probably won't be surprised to hear he was friends with members of the Rat Pack. Sammy Davis Jr. appeared on an episode of Family Feud in 1979 to greet his buddy and ask the first question. He did quite well, too, even being almost as charming with the ladies as Richard. I don't know who had more fun, Sammy asking the contestants the first question, or Richard laughing like crazy watching him.

Davis Jr wouldn't be the last African-American to host a game show. "Poet Laureate of Television" Nipsey Russell had his only shot at hosting with Your Number's Up in 1985. After Nipsey's opening poems, three contestants spin a wheel. It lands on two numbers that go up on a board. They choose one of two phrases with initials on it. They guess the initials to gain diamonds. The numbers allow for calling random audience members to the stage to play for their own prizes. Nipsey and the winner then award another audience member prize money before doing the bonus round, which has the contestant guessing initials on a push-button phone board to win a car.

Very strange and complicated show. Even Nipsey and his poems can't do much with this one. It's kind of like a cross between Whew, Jeopardy, and a numbers-based Wheel of Fortune. Between the trivia, the spinning wheel, and the audience getting to play along, there's just too much going on. Audiences at the time agreed; the show only lasted a few months. 

Former football star Ahmad Rashad didn't have much more luck with Caesar's Challenge in 1993. Too bad, because this game was fun, kind of like a Vegas Lingo. A man in a gladiator's costume pulls a lever to send letters into slot machines. The contestants had to guess the scrambled words to win the round. It was fun to play and to try to unscramble the words, but game shows not called The Price Is Right were vanishing from daytime. This would be NBC's last crack at a daytime game show to date and would be the last new daytime game show to debut on a network for 16 years. 

CBS revived Let's Make a Deal in 2009. Popular comedian Wayne Brady took over hosting from Monty Hall. Even in the very first episode, he's already running with the zonks and the people in their crazy costumes. He continues to host Deal on CBS to this day. 

Celebrate African Americans on television with these pieces of history! (Look for the original commercials on many of these posts, too.)

Sunday, February 27, 2022


Actually, I started off my first morning in my new home with a very quick breakfast. Someone must have dumped out the whole wheat flour cannister before we left yesterday...which really gets me angry. That stuff is expensive. And I still can't find my lunch bag. I grabbed the lunch bag I used to carry snacks on the trains.  At least I still had cereal left.

Hurried out to work shortly after. Even with having to cross the White Horse Pike, I actually arrived five minutes early. Work was off-and-on steady, nothing terrible for a Sunday. It did pick up a little later in the afternoon during rush hour, but other than that, it wasn't bad. Sunny but gale-force windy weather and it being close to the beginning of the month were probably factors. 

Brittany appeared at my register just before my relief arrived. I ran out this morning and left my cell phone in my room. I had no idea Melissa invited me to her birthday party. I was too tired to say no. Besides, Melissa was a huge help with moving. I ended up riding my bike back to Hilcrest when Brittany couldn't fit it in her car. Jodie said I could put it in her garage. (She somehow managed to convince the realtor to let her stay until March 14th!) 

Melissa and Janice's small house was teeming with people when we arrived. Melissa is Italian and wanted Italian dishes for her birthday. We had yummy baked ziti, chicken Parmesan, sausage, and giant meatballs. I appreciate that Melissa thought of me and thinks so much of my writing, but I didn't know many of the people there and felt awkward. I had more fun playing Trouble with a neighbor and Brittany's kids Savannah and Ryan. (I won the first game, Ryan the second after he took my neighbor's spot.)

When I got home, I finally changed, set up the record player next to the TV, and went online. Watched Playmobil: The Movie to make up for missing last night's review. I go further into this action-packed tale of a sister and brother who are whisked into the world of the German toy line at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Movin' Out

Began the morning by calling out of work. Beyond having to move today, I'm not crazy about being stuck working nine days in a row again. I had to call twice because the manager wants to hear that 

with breakfast and the first episode of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. It's "Daniel's Birthday," and he's excited about the cake he helped decorate with Baker Aker. His delight turns to disappointed when he brings it home, and it's smushed. His dad helps him find something good about it anyway. Dan and his friends Miss Elaina and Prince Wednesday are excited about "Daniel's Picnic." First, their ball deflates...but it helps them discover a new game. Then they're chased inside by rain, but decide you can have a picnic inside, too. 

Put music on YouTube as I bustled around, trying to get everything done. Washed the dishes, then packed them. Threw anything that was still loose into boxes and taped them. Striped the sheets and bagged them and the remaining stuffed animals. Packed up the laptop and its accessories. 

I was still working when my neighbors arrived. One came earlier and swept around the front steps, so no one would slip. We started making piles of what would go into storage and what I wanted to take. There was no way around calling a storage facility. I wouldn't need my kitchen things in two small rooms, and my Christmas things wouldn't fit. (I did point out that we're close enough to Easter to bring my spring decorations bin, and I only have one small bag for the summer and patriotic decorations anyway.) Even the children of my neighbors next-door and across the street helped.

Kevin the mover and his partner arrived around quarter of 10. For slender guys, they sure were strong. They loaded everything I wanted to take into their big square truck. The little boys were fascinated by that truck, until they ran down the street to play other games. Jodie, her son TJ, and his husband Eric would take anything that didn't fit or wasn't needed to my new storage room in Lawnside later.

Yes, I now have a storage unit. It's the smallest one they have. This wasn't super-cheap, but it was also the closest option for storage. Most storage facilities in this area are in Cherry Hill or Maple Shade. My neighbor across the street helped me get through to them and sign everything. 

Melissa, Brittany, and I left Jodie waiting for her sons and followed Kevin and his truck to Cindy's. She was more than happy to chat with the ladies while Kevin and his friend did the lifting, with occasional help from me. (I do heft 35 count containers of bottled water for a living!)

It took almost over a hour and a half to get everything in. Thankfully, the desk did fit...but the futon did not. I finally decided not to keep it. My remaining furniture consisted of shelves, a table, and the long, narrow entertainment center and fit just fine. If anything, height was more of a question than getting them through the door. More than three-fourths of the boxes and bins wound up in the closet. 

I organized the spices while they finished. I took out some bottles she didn't have or only had small amounts of, like ginger and orange peel. Gave the rest to Kevin, who said he liked to cook, to thank him for doing so well (along with his regular pay). 

We went back over to Jodie's around 12:30. TJ and Eric only just arrived and finished loading the truck. Melissa, Brittany, and I took a quick side detour to Dollar General. We couldn't find a lock there, but we did get soda. I tried the new Coca Cola Starlight. I thought it tasted metallic...until I realized I grabbed the Coke Zero version instead of the regular. Oh well. I probably don't need that much sugar.

 It took us a while to get everyone going in the right direction, but we did manage to get there. The series of low white and green buildings were near the cemetery and Dunkin' Donuts. We stopped in to ask the young lady at the desk about getting in and if we needed a lock. They provided the locks, but I did need to get my number to open the gate from the information they sent me online. 

Turns out, I should have been more discriminate about who packed what and what they packed. I retrieved several items I knew would fit at the other house, including tea and bag of important folders I kept under my desk. I didn't want records in the small space I rented, because I wasn't sure they'd fit or survive being in a small cramped room. TJ and Eric said they'd keep the remaining box of records at their house outside of Philly until I was ready for them. 

Brittany and I stopped for Chick Fil'A on the way back to Oaklyn. I ate a grilled chicken sandwich while she took us to her house next-door to Jodie's. I went in to clear out the refrigerator. Some half-empty condiments I got rid of, but I did bring others, frozen and fresh vegetables, and the two packs of chicken. 

We were eventually joined by another neighbor, who offered to pick up my bike and go out to dinner with me. Everyone else had other plans. After briefly stopping so my neighbor could visit her feisty older mother, we went out to eat. We were going to invite everyone, but the others were all busy. Truth be told, I was tired of dealing with crowds anyway. I was fine treating my neighbor to a mararita and taco at Jalepeno's Bar and Grill. I had the same iced tea and veggie quesadilla as I did when Lauren ate there in September. We enjoyed our meal and marveled at the two enormous men who had six beers between them.

She finally dropped me off around quarter of 6. Having moved my things off of it, they deemed my old mattress too far gone and got rid of it.

After we took the mattress downstairs and my neighbor left, I made the bed, unloaded the stuffed animals, and went through the closet. I couldn't find my work lunch bag, and I needed it! It was the one thing I needed that I just couldn't find. Everything else missing reappeared. My neighbor threw the electrical safety strip into one of the entertainment center cabinets. I put the remote control for the TV in my purse so it wouldn't vanish. Unloaded a few boxes with questionable items, some of which should have been discarded, donated, or put in storage. Took more boxes to the bedroom. I went over every inch of that darn closet, and I just couldn't find it. I'll try again tomorrow.

It was so late by the time I got in the shower, I only had the time for a Match Game '76 episode before the Super Password premiere on YouTube. Talk show host Mike Douglas turned up in the opening, jokingly asking if he went in the wrong studio and congratulating the panel for the show being such a hit. Brett was delighted to have someone else around to flirt with. Gene wasn't as happy, though, adding to the gag by claiming Douglas hit him on the head. 

Friday, February 25, 2022

Weathering the Storms

Began the morning with breakfast and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. "Mickey's Handy Helpers" break down right before they're supposed to make a huge dinner for the Disney crew. Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Pluto go below the Clubhouse to the Handy Helper Machine to find out what's making the squeak inside it.

It poured cats, dogs, and chickens as I quickly rounded up my lunch and changed. There was no way I could ride to work on the bike. Called Uber and waited for them on the porch. I took me a while to find someone, but I still managed to get to work just in time.

Work was on-and-off busy, mainly because we continue to be short on help. They just didn't have anyone else they could assign to the morning shift. I did manage to shelve candy between customers.

I was not happy with my schedule at all. On one hand, relatively short shifts, all cashiering...but I don't get another day off until next Saturday! My last day off was Thursday. I know, a lot of people are out of work and I shouldn't complain, but it's a lot. How the heck am I going to organize my new rooms or get my laundry done or start looking for a job? 

Thankfully, by the time I got out of work at 4, the weather had greatly improved. The rain vanished in the late morning; the sun came out around 2-3PM. I still had a hard time finding an Uber at the start of rush hour. And I was supposed to be meeting the ladies at my apartment so we could see what we could take over! It took me 10 minutes to find a ride, and another 20 for them to arrive.

They came in as I tried to start packing more items. There are just some things I'm not going to be able to take with me. Books and DVDs and dolls, things, no. One woman gave the rest of us a number for a moving company she knew...but for some reason, it kept connecting us to a Mediterranean restaurant. We must have called those people six or seven times. I felt sorry for them. They probably didn't know what was going on. She did finally get through to the guy and convinced him to help move my furniture. 

And I'm worried. I love my desk, but I'm not sure it'll fit. The opening to that attic is so narrow. I didn't think I had so much stuff. I've gotten rid of a lot of over the past two or three years, and actually just handed more over to the ladies to be donated. I was hoping I could get all my holiday stuff with me, but the Christmas stuff might have to go into storage. There's also some of the shelves may be too tall for the room. The apartment at Manor also had a low ceiling, but that had a very high center section. Not only is the front room big, but not that big, but the center section isn't quite as high.

And they say not to feel bad, but I can't help it. This is so unorganized! I thought I was an organized person, but I've been panicking for weeks now. I've been trying to get everything done, too busy and scared to even sit down and write a list. When I moved to Hilcrest in July 2020, I had two and a half months to do it, thanks to that busted left elbw. Dad recruited half the family to get my things to Oaklyn in 2006, and I had almost three months to get ready. 

The ladies headed out after an hour to find boxes and have dinner. Switched on Match Game '77 to cheer myself up while I figured out what to do next and had a quick egg dinner. Two gorgeous female contestants named Tom and Chris turned many heads in an episode, including Richard's and Dick Martin's. Brett's more interested in handsome soap star Tom Hallick on her left. 

They returned shortly after I'd changed and cleaned up from dinner. They boxed up kitchen supplies and brought in anything that I wanted to keep in the bedroom. Anything that went into storage would go into the living room/kitchen. There's still a lot of loose items in bags they had me put in boxes to be moved tomorrow. (I did convince them to let me keep the spring and summer decorations out. I don't have as many of them as I do fall and winter decorations anyway.) 

And...they sat me down and talked to me about trusting them and being hard on myself. I've had too many people in my past say they'll help me, then get fed up with me, decide they can't handle me, or just have other things to do and walk out. All of them said they read my blogs, liked my writing, and thought I was very smart and talented. That's so sweet of them. 

Finished the night packing what I could, and repacking a box of media history books that fell out when I moved them. One of the women brought sturdier boxes than what I dredged up from Dollar General, anyway. When I finally broke to (belatedly) chat with Lauren, I watched the Match Game PM episode I missed earlier. Brett was even happier to be between TV drama hunks Robert Walden and Bart Braverman. Bill Daily was a lot more nervous about having to answer "Opening __" on the Head-to-Head for $20,000.

Been trying to make my way through TV show episodes featuring one or more Match Game panelists. Richard Dawson turned up on a chilling 1964 episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour from its second season, "Anyone for Murder?" A psychiatrist (Barry Nelson) puts an ad in his local paper claiming he knows how to commit murder. What he really wants is to get his cheating wife (Patricia Breslin) and her young lover (Dawson) out of the way. He convinces a colleague to take her out...before the lover comes to him asking to get rid of the wife, too. Turns out this cold-as-ice twosome are more in love than they believed...and it's the lover who may end up taking the fall. 

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Moving Harts

Began a gloomy, gray morning with breakfast and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. I'm not the only one learning about asking for help. Katerina discovers "Friends Help Each Other" when Daniel offers to clean up the tea-party table she knocked over and the water she spilled. O the Owl is upset that the last page of his dinosaur book is missing and he won't know how the story ends. "Daniel Helps O Tell a Story" and make up their own ending.

Switched to Supermarket Sweep as I cleaned up from breakfast. Came in just as they began the sweep. The contestants spent so much time gathering bonuses (including frosting a cake and scooping candy and coffee into bags), none of them had terribly high scores. Pair number 1 did well enough to make it to the bonus round...where they proceeded to win in record time.

Continued with Match Game '74 as I packed up what was left in the living room. We open with many jokes about what Colonel Sanders is starting to resemble. They have more lucky with the Audience Match for "Run for __." Brett complains about the strap on her sandal breaking in the next episode. Richard is so unamused by her complaining, he tosses the shoe onto the stage!

Went to The Roku Channel for Hart to Hart as I packed. Johnathan and Jennifer rescue a young figure skater with her eye on the Olympics and her father from a flaming wreck. The wreck caused the girl to lose her hearing, to her absolute horror. Johnathan and Jennifer turn to the latest in audio technology that'll allow the girl to hear her "Silent Dance," then try to figure out what she and her father witnessed at the skating rink that made someone run them off the road.

My neighbor Brittany finally picked me up shortly after 2. We were at East Clinton in less than two minutes. The lady who owns the house is pretty easy-going about most things. They actually managed to clear out most of their things in the two rooms; I could move in that night if I wanted to. 

And yes, I signed the lease. I think this is my best option at the moment. I can continue saving for other things, like online business and library sciences courses. I'll give it a year, then see where I, the world, and the housing market are next March.

Brittany was going to take me to the bank to get money for the rent, but she had trouble at home. Her husband Ron ended up driving me to Collingswood. I walked into a quiet PNC Bank, got my money for the rent for the next few days and next month, and walked out. 

Went back to my place to pack. I was hoping to sleep at East Clinton tonight...but truth be told, I wasn't ready. I had to pack my clothes and toiletries, the remaining dishes, the DVD player, the CD player, the remaining food, the extra computer paper in the entertainment center, and figure out what to do with the Wii and two bags of donations. Not to mention, I needed to find someone to help move my furniture, bins, and boxes. And I still need to figure out how to explain all this to Rose and ask for her help. 

It was past 6:30 when I broke to have scrambled eggs with mushrooms, and celery for dinner. Dick Martin takes Charles' place in the Match Game '77 episode. Candy bar jokes abound when the Audience Match is "__ Henry."

Cleaned up as Match Game PM ran. This episode got pretty wild, what with Debralee Scott and Bill Daily nearly making out when they had the same answers, Bill sporting a dapper tuxedo, and Brett teasing Debralee every chance. She and Betty continue sniping through "I Don't Do __" in the Audience Match.

Finished the night on Disney Plus with Black Is King. I go further into this lavish "visual album" retelling of The Lion King and salute to black culture and identity at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

A Big Step for Health

Started off a sunny morning with breakfast and, since I'd be getting a shot later, Doc McStuffins. Count Clarence the Magnificent is "The Flimsy Grumpy Bat" when the cardboard toy tries to fly on a windy day and ends up in the wading pool at the park. Doc and the others first try to make him feel more positive about his predicament, then figure out how to dry him off. Rockstar Ruby is a singing toy with a microphone Doc got from a yard sale. She's ready to form "Rockstar Ruby and the Toys," but can't sing when her microphone won't work. She won't admit the problem at first, until the others get her playing and remind her of what she was created to do.

Went into Match Game '74 as I did the dishes. For some reason, Buzzr always skips the last day of the Don Adams week. They went straight into the next week, with comedians Morey Amsterdam and George Kirby and comediennes Jo Ann Pflug and Betty White. The first episode features a few really interesting answers about what Dumb Dora thought the porthole on an ocean liner was and a couple of cracks at Gene's bow tie. Brett makes more clothing jokes about the comedians on either side of her and their colorful jackets and ties in the next episode. Richard has less luck with "__ Rogers" in the Head-to-Head.

Went on the computer for an hour after that to look over my blog. I wanted to see what I missed in the past few months, where I went wrong, and why I couldn't find a place sooner...and not upset my family doing it. This has all been extremely frustrating. On one hand, I really appreciate everyone in the community stepping up to help. On the other hand, I didn't mean to upset Rose or leave her out, but she's the one who hasn't texted me since last week. I wish she'd just reply. I'm hoping she's out of town.

Hurried out for my booster shot appointment around ten after one. Got to the Acme just in time. No wonder I had two days off in a row. There was no line, either at the pharmacy or the registers. Once the pharmacist found my information from when I was vaccinated last April, I sat down, got my shot, and got out in less than five minutes.

I wanted to buy more get well soon cards. In addition to my friend Kristie and her broken leg, another friend of mine is going through rough times at the moment. Linda Young's husband James just had a toe amputated and fractured bones on his spine. I originally took advantage of the wild 72 degree temperatures to check out Five Below, but they only had birthday cards. I ended up riding over to Dollar General for them, with a brief stop at WaWa for a Mint Matcha Smoothie.

Went straight home after that. I'd been texting Brittany and the owner all day. I'm going to sign the lease to officially move at 2 tomorrow. Brittany, one of my next-door neighbors, will come with me as a witness. Why not Rose, the lawyer? Because I still haven't heard from her. Another neighbor said she or Melissa would deal with her. 

I really should deal with her myself...but I'm also not up to her anger right now. On one hand, I shouldn't leave her out. She helped me early-on with organizing everything, dealt with Jodie's lawyer, and did get me the two extra months. On the other, she's the one who threw a fit when I wouldn't move in with Mom. I understand she's concerned about me, but why was that her solution? Because she thought if I haven't changed before now and gotten to a neuropsychologist, I never will? She doesn't think I'm responsible enough to take care of myself, because I relied too heavily on her and Dad for support and didn't manage my money better. 

It was past 3:30 when I finally had a strawberry-banana smoothie for lunch. Watched the second half of Tattletales while I tossed fruit, yogurt, milk, and peanut butter into a blender. One of my favorite couples, goofy Charlie Brill and Mitzi McCall, were the big last-minute winners over the more glamorous George Hamilton and his wife Alana and James Brown and his lady Deidre. 

Press Your Luck got kind of wild today, with no one getting a lot of spins either time and one guy being slammed with Whammies in the first round. It came down to the previous champ and another lady in the second. The older lady won at the last second when she picked up a trip to Tokyo. 

Whew! switched to a celebrity-contestant pairing in November 1979 to jazz up ratings. Southern belle Mary Anne Mobley and Linwood Boomer of Little House on the Prairie paired with the contestants, alternating answering the questions with them and running the Gauntlet. It was a nice try, but I can see why this didn't work. The alternating made an already-complicated game even more hard to follow and the pairs added nothing to the show.

Finally got to working on my fanfic after the show ended. Patti Dee and Donald Dum do not appreciate being poked like waxworks. They're the guardians of the 4th Square for White King Gene, but has no problems letting the others long as everyone listens to Donald's new comedy compositions, and no one sees a broken rattle on the floor....

Broke for dinner at quarter of 7. Heated up fish and roasted veggies while watching Match Game '77. Beloved Broadway star Ethel Merman and Dodgers pitcher and future Atlanta Braves announcer Don Sutton. Gene jokes with Don about his pitching career in the opening. Don's not overly happy with an answer to "__ Practice" in the Audience Match, either.

Cleaned up and cleared out older pans I couldn't use anymore while Match Game PM ran. Charles finally got to kiss a guy on the cheek when he helped him win an Audience Match. Brett's hoping to do just as well with "__ Do You Do" in the Head-to-Head.

Did another favorite Backyardigans episode while packing pans and appliances. "Samurai Pie" from the second season is arguably the most creative episode of the entire series. Master pie maker and samurai Tyrone teaches eager young recruit Austin how to make The Great Pie and please demanding Empress Tasha. Ninjas Uniqua and Pablo will do anything to get that pie, including dodging all the traps set up around the bakery.

Finished the night online after a shower with Carmen: A Hip Hopera. I go further into this MTV movie and the debut film of Beyonce Knowles at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

A Little Drop of Rain

Began a gray and gloomy morning with breakfast and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. "Daniel Visits School" for the first time and brings quite a few things to remind him of home. Teacher Harriet assures him that they can have just as much fun at school as he does at home. "Daniel Visits the Doctor" for his first check-up at her office. Doctor Anna  and his mom explain what a doctor does and how she helps make sure he's healthy.

Found a couple of e-mails from my neighbor after breakfast. She wanted to show me the room that night. That was fine. It would have to be late, after 7, but at this point, all I wanted was a room. 

Headed out to run errands next. It was warm and very windy - so warm, I went back in to get my purse and ended up exchanging my heavy winter coat for a lighter raincoat. The laundromat was busy with people trying to get their clothes done and avoid the weather. I threw my clothes in the smaller washer that took less time, then dashed to Family Dollar. Wanted to get my friend Kristie in North Cape May who offered me that room a get well soon card. Poor girl broke her leg shoveling snow on New Year's Eve. I don't intend to live with her, but I do appreciate the thought and would still like to visit. 

Next stop after the laundromat was the Oaklyn Library. Bad news there. The borough is shutting them down as of April 1st. It's supposedly temporary, but the librarian didn't sound to sure about it. The building is so small, and with the virus, there's fewer people using it. I hope someone can convince them to change their minds. The library is a lot more important to the community than they want to believe. I did end up with two more of the Laura Childs books they were getting rid of for free.

Headed home just as a light shower began. Put on Match Game '74 as I defrosted black bean dip for lunch over lettuce. The first episode opens with Brett showing off a doll that holds liquor someone in the audience gave her. Elaine Joyce just wishes she'd hush and let her talk for once. In the next episode, Gene is delighted when one of the contestants speaks Serbo-Croatian like he does. 

Spent the next hour and a half on the computer to find apartments...but frankly, I'm done. I'm worn out and frazzled and have had enough. The condo was $1,000, cheap for here, but still a lot. If the rooms and their owner were even half-way decent and didn't mind Lauren's week and a half visit in June, I'd take them. 

Called Uber for a ride to work. Even if I wasn't going to see the two rooms afterwards, the rain came down harder by 2:30. It was no day for a bike ride, no matter what I was doing afterwards. The driver took a little longer than they have; I just got to work on time.

Between the weather and us being between holidays again, the Acme was quiet for most of the night other than at the height of rush hour. It never got more than a little steady. More help, too. I got to meet a very pleasant new cashier who just transferred from the store in Mt. Laurel. Today was also "Supermarket Employee Appreciation Day," so there were lots of goodies in the back like mini-muffins, candy, cookies, bags of chips, fruit salad, and a hoagie tray.

Another one of my neighbors picked me up at 7. The one who was supposed to pick me up had some trouble and asked her to do it. We headed across the White Horse Pike to the second block of East Clinton Avenue. I cut through there to Collingswood all the time, plus they usually have a neighborhood yard sale in the spring. We had to park some ways away, but we did find the small 20's-era house. 

An older lady met us at the door with a cat on her heels. The house, while larger than Rose's similar layout, still isn't huge. There's a laundry room, too...and unlike Jodie, she doesn't mind sharing that as well. She mostly lives downstairs. 

The room turned out to be two rooms, one large, one smaller. It was mostly used for storage. She intended to clear out the junk and repaint it. She doesn't eat carbs, but I can eat in my room, and she has streaming. She has no trouble with my two best friends visiting, either, especially since we really don't spend that much time at home when they're here. 

Frankly...I'll take it. Between the two rooms and two closets (one large, one small), I should be able to get all of my things in. The walk-in closet is big enough for my linens, holiday decorations, and the dolls' boxes. I wanted to get rid of the kitchen table and the two black shelves, anyway. I've had the kitchen table since I moved here, and it's a cheap piece Rose and Craig bought from Walmart. Bought the shelves for DVDs, and now that they're in slimmer cases or boxes, I don't need them anymore. 

My only concern, besides my kitchen things, is my bike. I could keep it on the porch, or even bring it in the living room during inclement weather. 

And in all honesty, I'm not planning on staying for that long. I intend to give it at least a year, then see how I'm doing, how the housing market is doing, and how the world is doing. It'll be no more than two to four years tops, and certainly nothing like my 15-year stay at the apartment on Manor. I only intended to stay three to five years at Dad and Jodie's. This was intended to be a stopgap measure to get me out of Manor and a chance to figure out my next move.

Finished the night online with the Match Game PM episode I missed tonight. Dallas alumni Steve Kanaly and comedian Richard Paul joined in for a racy joke about what a modern snake offered Eve in a revised version of the Bible and a less obvious one about what Lawrence Welk counts to get him to bed. Charles tries to convince the world to go Kosher while helping the contestant with the Audience Match "__ On White."

Monday, February 21, 2022

Looking for Signs of Spring

Began a sunny, beautiful President's Day morning with breakfast and Mickey and the Roadster Racers. Mickey and the gang help Commander Heist "Stop Lazlo!" when his cat steals Professor Ludwig Von Drake's Smarty Hat and uses it to steal the secret formula for Hot Dog Hills hot dogs. Minnie, Daisy, and Cuckoo Loca help groom pooches for "The Hot Diggety Dog Show," including Ivy Beaglesnoot's prize pooch Champ. Cuckoo Loca does her best to keep a cat from riling up the contestants while Daisy and Minnie try to do something about Champ's fur when a trim gets a little out of hand.

Went straight online after that. Called two local realtor companies to see if they use third-party guarantors and got an e-mail from a third. Friedman Realty Group, owners of the Audubon Arms, does; SEBRealty, owner of The Residences at Whitehead in Stratford, do not. Left a message with the owners of Oak Terrace in Oaklyn and Oak Ridge in Runnemede. The Audubon Arms does have an apartment open, but no room outside for my bike. My neighbor texted me right before I left to say the apartment they wanted to look at was too expensive and didn't allow animals. Denise has a support dog.

Continued to look up and call companies at work; left more messages. Work was steady for pretty much the entire afternoon. Between absolutely gorgeous, sunny weather, it being in the 50's, and this being the last major holiday weekend for a month and a half, most people were probably on vacations, or at least on day trips. Switched to express mid-way through the day when the cashier there went home. Other than my first break being a little late, there were no major problems, and my relief was right on time.

I was still feeling lousy when I got home, though. I have less than a week to find an apartment, and my family is falling apart. Hearing Jodie bawl again about how she feels sorry for me but has to serve me eviction papers on the 26th if I'm still here whether she likes it or not didn't make me feel any better. I don't WANT to block the sale of the house. She can have the house. The movie producers can have the house. I don't want the house. I want a little home of my own. 

Jodie continues to insist that I should move in with Mom or Rose. Rose stopped talking to me because I wouldn't move in with Mom. Mom's angry at Rose because Rose won't let me move in with her. I understand they want to move on, too, but I wish they'd see the big picture. Everyone lives in a small space and can't spare the room or aren't allowed to have roommates. Period. No ifs, no ands, no buts. 

And Rose can get me moving to Cape May County out of her head right now, too. That is not what I need. There's no help for me there. There wasn't in 2006, and there isn't now. I'll visit my friend Kristie in the late summer or fall after things get settled. I need the things they have here - better public transportation, resources, and internet. Just because I haven't made use of those things before doesn't mean I can't now. 

Not to mention, how the heck would I and my stuff get down there? I can't make a car appear out of thin air. And if I went down there, it wouldn't be for a few months, like Rose thinks I can do. I'm not hiking down there, then back up here in a few months. Not going to happen.

Put fish, carrots, and broccoli and cauliflower in the oven while Match Game PM ran. Had southwestern-crusted tilapia with roasted carrots and broccoli and cauliflower for dinner. When Gene read a joke about Allen Ludden being out of touch with things, Betty's very offended by the contestant's answer! (For the record, Password Plus out-ran Match Game Syndication by a couple of months.) We also get the panel starting off a question about a chain gang with a song and Patty Duke helping the contestant with "__ Twister" on the Head-to-Head.

My neighbor texted me while dinner was still in the oven and wanted me to come over to talk about seeing apartments. I made it over there by quarter of 8, soon as I cleaned up after dinner and did the dishes. She settled me down in front of the roaring fire in her brick-enclosed living room and said she, Melissa, Denise, and half of Oaklyn put out feelers for me everywhere they could. They asked church ladies if they had a room. They asked cops. The asked apartment buildings. 

Trouble is...following leads is going to take time I don't have. That's a big part of why I've been so upset. I should have switched tactics and started asking about church ladies and cops ages ago, but I'm not good at problem-solving. It's easier to keep doing what you're doing than change to something else. I wish I'd been able to sit down with Rose and Jodie and discuss all this sooner. Because...while I'm glad I was there for Dad when he died, I wish things hadn't gotten so messy afterwards. 

Oh, and I heard from Melissa Martelli later in the night. Seems they might have found a room for me. At this point, I'll take just about anything. 

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Charades, Children, Hexagons, and Passwords

Started off the morning with banana pancakes for breakfast and Raisin, a musical adaptation of A Raisin In the Sun. In Chicago in 1951, Walter Younger hopes for a better life than that of a chauffeur and hopes to buy into a liquor store with his father's life insurance money. His mother would rather he used the money to buy a house and further his sister Beneatha's education. 

While some of the songs are very moving, especially Mama's numbers "Meet the Valleys" and "A Whole Lotta Sunlight," most of them don't really seem to have a lot to do with the story. There's an "African Dance" for Walter and Beneatha initiated by Beneatha's African boyfriend that has nothing to do with anything. This was a hit in 1973 that ran almost a year and won a Best Musical Tony, but it's rarely been seen since. 

My neighbor called while I ate and said she'd gotten several prospects. I took her suggestion and went online to see what I could find apartment-wise. Ironically, the only thing I ran into that I hadn't seen before was a 1-bedroom apartment open in the Castle Arms, one of the buildings we got the number for on our drive yesterday. Had enough time to write down the specifics before I headed out.

Work was steady the entire afternoon. I was cashiering in the express lane, so I mainly dealt with people picking up food for weekend birthday parties or get-togethers. One older woman gave me a hard time about bagging. Otherwise, there was really no major problems. Texted my neighbor the Castle Arms listing during my break; she mentioned that they were going to see the outside of a house I could share with Denise, who has a service dog and needs help finding a place. They forgot I was working! I haven't heard from anyone, so I don't know if they did.

Put on my Purlie cast album when I got home and put defrosted leftovers in the oven. This has almost the same background as Raisin - based after a popular play with an all-black cast that probably didn't need the music, a year-long hit in 1970, rarely heard from since. This time, the title character, a young preacher who just came home to the South in the 1930's, has to use pretty Lulubelle to get money off the miserly owner of a plantation. The owner's liberal son does everything he can to help out. The problem here is less the decent score than a story that hasn't always dated well in spots. 

(Wikipedia mentions a cable production of this in 1981 for Showtime. Apparently, many original cast members reprised their roles, including Sherman Helmsley. I might have to look for that.)

Talked to Mom after I ate. I've begun to realize just how much of a mess I've made of things. I need to stay up here, or at the least, in an area with access to public transportation, good internet service, and mental health offices...but I haven't always done my best at it. Once again, I come up with an idea, then drop it when another idea that sounds better comes along. 

I need to call the local apartment building companies about third-party guarantors, but I keep putting it off. I made a complete hash of the rental counseling appointment. I've tried to make a budget, but I keep running out of time and don't know much about spreadsheets. I have the habit of easily losing focus on things (especially online) and a hard time listening to people. That's why Rose is upset. I don't take her advice. I wasn't going to live with Mom in Cape May (and that probably wasn't a realistic idea anyway), but I should have pushed harder to get a second or better job. I dropped the idea after Target rejected me in November, and I shouldn't have. 

Attempted to apply to the Audubon Arms apartment after this...but it took so long to look up the information, it timed out. I'll try again tomorrow and call the realty companies.

Finished the night online as I worked on the application with the later games from producer Mark Goodson. Todman died in 1979, around the time Password Plus came on the air. Allen Ludden returns, at least for the first year, as celebrities give clues for contestants to guess words. This time, the clues lead up to a puzzle to solve. Super Password from the late 80's is very similar, only there's a Ca$hword mini-game between rounds for extra money and the bonus round is named Super Password rather that Alphabetics. Bill Cullen and Tom Kennedy took over from the cancer-stricken Ludden later on Plus; Bert Convy was in charge of Super.

Goodson didn't do as well with new formats. His Card Sharks came out well in two versions during the late 70's and 80's, but Child's Play and Body Language didn't work out nearly as well. Child's Play was one of their stranger shows. Adults guess words described by young children. Later, the kids come in the studio to guess words the adults describe. I can understand why this one didn't work out. Watching Bill's amused reactions to the kids' descriptions is a lot more fun than the dull and rather odd game play. 

Body Language is a revival of their short-lived charades game Showoffs from 1975. Basically, it's "Showoffs Plus." Two celebrities act out words for their contestants to guess, and the words lead to a puzzle. Whomever solves the puzzle gets the money. There's two bonus rounds. The contestant has to guess 10 words, and then 3 to earn however much money they got from their guesses on the previous round. Too bad neither Showoffs nor Body Language seem to have worked out, because I really enjoy them. Considering they did a whole "teen month" with kid contestants and celebrities and had teen celebrities at other times, I wonder if this format would have done better on on family-oriented networks like Nickelodeon or the early Family Channel.

Their one bit of luck with new formats in the 80's was Blockbusters. Bill Cullen reads off trivia representing a letter on a hexagonal board. Two family members play a lone contestant. The winners go on to the Gold Run, answering three-letter questions across the board. If they get all the way across, they win. While this did well enough in the US, it really took off in England, where it was played by teenagers and ran from 1983 to 1993. 

Other than a few shows produced for state lotteries, Goodson's last major producing efforts were revivals of two of his biggest hits in 1990. ABC ran Match Game for a year; it almost moved to syndication, but they changed their minds at the last minute. Charles Nelson Reilly (and for a few weeks around Halloween, Brett Somers) joins more urbane host Ross Schafer to deal with some extremely 90's loonies. 

The 1990 To Tell the Truth didn't even make a year. This version went through several different hosts before finally settling on Alex Trebek midway through the run. Both shows had mini-games added. Match Game had the "Match Up," a more intense one-on-one mini-game between celebrity and contestant. Truth had a game at the end where the panel tried to guess what someone really did for a living. It didn't help either show, which vanished without a trace after their runs except for brief appearances on Game Show Network. 

And once again, it's too bad, because both of these had potential. Match Game in particular could be a lot of fun. The "Match Up" segment is divisive among fans. Some say it's a welcome touch of drama in a comedy program; others find it too intrusive and complain that it breaks up the flow of the show. 

Check out the final shows in a long and storied career! (And look for the commercials from their original or Game Show Network run on many of these!)

Saturday, February 19, 2022

What Is Home?

Started off a brisk, sunny morning with a knock at the door. The neighbor who held the party on Thursday was there. She said she'd look up more apartments for Denise and I online and make a few phone calls in the neighborhood. I'd look up apartments as well later. 

Went into breakfast and two episodes of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. "Daniel Visits the Dentist," who happens to be his new neighbor Dr. Platt. She shows him her equipment and explains how she'll clean and polish his teeth to alleviate his fears. Jodi's Nana has a hair salon in part of her home. "Daniel's First Haircut" makes the cub a little nervous, so he watches Prince Tuesday get a trim and Miss Elaina go for adorable braids before he jumps in her moving chair. 

Katarina is sad when Margaret opts to play with her brother instead of her, as she's an only child. Mrs. Tiger reminds her to "Find What Makes Your Family Special." She gets her mother Henrietta all to herself and appreciates the time she spends with her. Dan tries to figure out what makes his family special when he has to talk about the branch for the family tree he created for "Family Day" at the library.

Went online for a few hours after that to do research and find more apartments. My neighbor called twice as I worked. I related the addresses to her. Apparently, she hadn't heard from the other lady who wanted to share a house, but was willing to go apartment hunting today.

It was almost 2 when my neighbor called again. She just came back from helping her mother and wanted to know if I was able to look for apartments. Sure! I didn't have any other plans. I met her at her house as it clouded over and settled in her cozy, dark 70's-esque living room. Showed her the two-bedroom apartments I looked up that morning. One in Oaklyn was already taken, and we needed the busy older lady to see the other two.

She also said for me not to compare myself to Rose or anyone else. I can't help it. She's a lawyer, even if she's not a working one, and I'm not. She had a decent job, at least, and I work at a grocery store. She has a life, and I don't. I don't really want kids (I can barely take care of myself), but I do want a home of my own and a decent job. 

Flurries fell lightly from a pewter sky when we headed out, but the sun was already coming out, even as she pulled down Manheim. By the time she stopped a cop she knew at City Hall to ask him about whether Jodie could legally throw me out, the snow vanished, and the sun was glowing in a watery blue sky. (The short answer, by the way, is no. She'd have to take me to court, and that could take as long as three years to figure out. Which is why I don't want it to get that far.)

We then spent the next hour pulling into the parking lot of almost every apartment building from Oaklyn to Haddon Heights to write down or photograph their numbers or try to talk to their offices. Unfortunately, with neither of us having kids or travel plans, we forgot that this is a Saturday and a holiday weekend. No offices were open. One place did have a room open, or almost open, the Audubon Arms. I need to apply for them. I've applied to and been rejected from most of the apartment buildings in Audubon and Oaklyn. I don't make enough money for them. The only three buildings we saw in Haddon Heights were for seniors.

On the way back, she pulled in at two churches, the Hispanic church in Audubon and the Baptist church in Oaklyn. She pointed out that, not only are church ladies one of the best offline sources of information about a community, but one of them might have an apartment or room I could rent. We did get someone at the second church. They didn't know of any rooms right off, but they'd ask around tomorrow.

Made a quick smoothie lunch while watching the most recent - and last - Muppet Babies episode. "The Muppet Babies Show" has the kids putting on a production for Nanny and their friends on the last day before summer vacation. Kermit does enjoy playing MC, but first he's upset when the kids keep changing their acts, then tries to prolong the show to keep them all from leaving him. 

(And yes, this does appear to be the series finale. Too bad. I was hoping this would run longer than the  original cartoon. The episodes were more consistently entertaining, often better-written, and made more use of other Muppets besides the ones in the '80's show.) 

Went back online, this time to get caught up on writing down everything I've seen or e-mailed or phoned over the past few weeks. It's a lot! And there's things I still haven't gotten to, like looking up more on the Audubon Arms apartment that's available and applying to Scribbr.

Had dinner while watching The Backyardigans. "The Legend of the Volcano Sisters" from the second season is one of my favorite episodes of the series. Luau Brothers Tyrone the Strong, Pablo the Swift, and Just Austin have to appease the angry Volcano Sisters (Uniqua and Tasha), or they'll make the volcano blow its top! Tyrone and Pablo dash off in search of lavish gifts, but it's Austin who knows what the girls really want.

Called Mom after eating pizza from the other night. She's glad I now have more help in the neighborhood finding apartments. She also agreed with my neighbor that once I settle in, I might try checking out some local churches. Religion and faith are very hard for me. I like things you can see and touch. You can even see air when it's windy like today. Faith has never seemed to do me much good. It's hard to believe in anything when you're always making trouble like this. I did try church in Wildwood, but it was mostly families and old people, and I had no one to talk to. Plus, I usually work on Sunday mornings.

Finished off the night online after a shower with The Fearless Four. I go further into this animated adaptation of the "The Bremen Town Musicians" from Germany at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Friday, February 18, 2022

Winds of Change

Started off a quick morning with breakfast and the last Backyardigans episode I hadn't seen in full. Rodeo cowgirl Uniqua and jockey Pablo each insist their horse is the fastest. They compete in a race to see who is the better rider...but all their "Horsing Around" may end with them losing to Farmer Tyrone and his slow but steady burro Molasses. 

Dashed off to work after that. I got incredibly lucky. It poured last night, but despite the heavy and wild wind, the rain was long gone by the time I went to work. Good thing, too. I pushed carts for most of the morning. The sun gradually came out, even as I was pulled inside after another bagger arrived. Spent the rest of the afternoon on a register, dealing with chilly folks looking to avoid the massive gales. At least a manager suggested her son, a real estate agent, might be able to help (even though the listing she mentioned already rejected me). 

I made the mistake of checking my texts during break. I figured Rose would be thrilled that I finally had help, and it wasn't her. Nope. She was angry I still hadn't found an apartment, and now wants me to handle Jodie's lawyer myself. What the heck am I supposed to tell him? I can't say anymore than I have. I am looking for a place. I am doing my best. I'm sorry I can't run off and live with Mom like she wanted, or squeeze into Rose's house. I seriously regret letting this get so far. If we'd all worked together from the start, including Dad before he died, we might have had a better idea of what to do now. 

Went straight into a little bit of grocery shopping after work. I mostly just needed fruit for the week. Strawberries are on a good sale with a digital coupon, and they still have blood oranges. Found a bag of almonds and dried blueberries on the clearance rack. Restocked fish, milk, yogurt, canned pineapple, and bananas. 

Weird schedule next week. In good news, two days off in a row...but they're not until Wednesday-Thursday. A lot of late days, including one until 7:30. And if things get really bad on the 26th, I may have to call out. 

Once again, I didn't want to go straight home. My phone went off three times while I rode down Kendall, but I didn't answer it. I should talk to Rose, but I just couldn't deal with her anger. It's cowardly of me, I know. I'm the one who shut her out. She wanted to see apartments with me, but I figured it would be easier for me to see them myself. I'll bet she could have convinced three or four of those owners to consider me. 

I continued to be frustrated and angry with myself when I called Mom back. As I figured, Mom was not able to persuade her landlord to let her take me in. The previous residents of her house did too much damage. Not to mention, she still intends to go live with my brother Keefe in Virginia sometime before August. I don't know why Rose thinks that's selfish of her. I see it as sensible. Her family is down there, she gets along far better with Keefe than she ever did with Anny, and Keefe has the money to take care of her as she grows older.

We talked so long, Match Game PM was on by the time I got to putting my groceries away and making baked fish and roasted broccoli and cauliflower for dinner. Eva Gabor would be happier to help a contestant from the Air Force with "__ and Proper," if he didn't accidentally kick her toe and take off her toenail while they did it! Meanwhile, Gary Burghoff nearly takes off after the audience boos his answer to what a deli owner puts on all the doorknobs and Eva argues with her answer as to which of his wife's garments a husband would wear on his honeymoon. 

Made oatmeal cookies while watching more Match Game episodes on YouTube. My neighbor called as I pulled the oatmeal cookies out of the oven. They were all out by the time she came over. She basically said the same thing Mom did between cookies. Most of this is not my fault. The Camden County side of the family are dealing with their own problems and can't really do much to help mine. Jodie, Mom, and Rose being at each other's throats has nothing to do with me, either...but I'm caught in the middle. Jodie can't legally throw me out, and even if she can, if this goes to court, it will drag on for ages. I don't want court or dragging or anyone to be angry. I just want an apartment. 

I just wish I knew how to explain all that to Rose. I still haven't called her back. I keep hoping I'll have something concrete to tell her. 

Finished the night with Purple Rain at Tubi. I go further into the first vehicle for 80's pop star Prince at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Making Friends

Began a quick morning with breakfast and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. Prince Tuesday is "Daniel's Babysitter" when his parents go out for the evening. Dan's nervous about them going, but Prince Tuesday distracts him by playing jungle. Even when Dan can't find his beloved Tigey stuffed animal, Prince Tuesday reminds Dan that "grown ups come back." "Daniel Goes to School" and helps Miss Elaina and the others find her missing locket, a reminder of her mother when she's away.

Hurried off to work after that. At least it was a nice day for pushing carts. South Jersey was off-and-on sunny and in the mid-60's. I was able to wear my fleece jacket to work and was actually too warm. Didn't get out as often later when a teen arrived after school to help with the carts. Ended up in a register twice, once for someone's break, and again for a half-hour when we were really busy during the evening rush hour. 

Texted Mom during my first break and told her about the woman I talked to about a room. I was so excited...until I checked my text and saw that Linda gave the room to a friend who was giving up her apartment. Darn it! That's the second room or apartment someone lead me to believe I had, then gave it to a friend at the last minute. I just can't compete with everyone's friends needing homes. 

I was depressed the rest of the afternoon. Everyone keeps saying I'll find something. I told customers at work and my co-workers I need an apartment in a week. They all say they don't know anyone who has a room, or they're looking for one, too. You'd think someone would know something!

Made a lot of phone calls in the back room. Called the Housing and Urban Development office; left a message. I've checked them a hundred times. They never have anything but housing for seniors, the disabled, and families listed, but someone gave me their number, so I called it. Called another number that also turned out to be assistance for seniors; left a number anyway. Called the agent in charge of an apartment I saw listed on the White Horse Pike, across from WaWa. Checked my e-mail after work. Somehow, the apartment was already leased, even though I only saw it listed yesterday. 

I'd had enough. I couldn't go home. What home? I don't have a home. I rode back to Oaklyn after work, hoping I'd see a "For Rent" sign somewhere, or a sign in someone's window, or something. A neighbor said he thought he saw a for rent sign across from the post office in Oaklyn. Though it was getting dark, I still rode across the White Horse Pike to see if I could find it. Didn't see anything, even though I rode up and down the block. It was just getting too dark.

Ran into a neighbor riding by on my way home. She invited me to her house to discuss my troubles. It turned into a party when she invited several friends in the neighborhood, including one lady who came with most adorable corgi named Louis who ate pretzels under the table. The ladies had margaritas; I had white cranberry juice. We all shared pepperoni and mushroom pizza. There were multi-grain chips out, dried fruit, nuts, pretzels, and cheese. 

Turns out that one of the ladies had a sister who also needed a place to stay. Two can live a lot more cheaply than one. At this point, I don't care. I just want an apartment. They looked at two-bedroom homes in Oaklyn while I chatted with the others and told them everything that's been going on. She's hoping we'll be able to see houses together on Saturday, my next day off. 

I got in so late that I didn't have the time to review a musical, but it was worth it. At the very least, I now had something to tell Rose. I don't know how happy she is about it, but it's better than nothing. At the very least, the ladies genuinely wanted to help, and talking to them did make me feel a heck of a lot better. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Finding a Place to Call Home

Started off a quick morning with breakfast while doing some quick online checks. My friend Kristie did respond. The room is still open, but she needs to clean it out. Truth be told, I consider this to be a last-ditch idea, but once again, I may not have a choice. I also put in a message for a roommate in Audubon. The room was a bit pricey at 900, but the security deposit was cheap, the room seemed to be a good size, and she mentioned a laundry room and big kitchen. 

Rushed out to work around 11:40. The rush turned out to be unnecessary. It was never worse than steady for most of the afternoon. We were too nice to be busy, in the upper 40's. The few times the lines did get long, it had less to do with it being busy and more with us not having enough help. I did tell several customers who asked about me that I was desperately looking for help, and asked the managers about transferring. The night manager said I'd have to see if there was anything open at the Shore stores. I don't know about the tiny Cape May store, but North Cape May or even the huge Cape May Court House store might have something. 

The trouble isn't getting a job there. It's transferring between unions. When I moved up here in 2006, it took me nearly two weeks to start working again because the unions are different. Almost lost the money I made, too. Apparently, you get more for working at the Shore. I had to beg them to keep my then-current salary.

(Also, I didn't know Acme bought the old Super Fresh in North Wildwood. I used to shop there occasionally during long walks when I lived in Wildwood. While the store wasn't huge or in the best of shape, it was much bigger than the one in Wildwood proper. The customer who mentioned it said it had been remodeled and looked beautiful. As I learned the hard way when I lived there, the Wildwood Islands are too out-of-the-way for me to be there on a permanent basis, but if I ever make a day or weekend trip, I wouldn't mind seeing it.)

Got some other numbers, too. A customer gave me the number of a friend who might have apartments for rent. Another manager wrote down the number of the Union and the Housing and Urban Development. I already tried HUD - the vast majority of their apartments are for seniors and the disabled - but I need to call the Union about transferring anyway. 

I still feel like a dummy. Every time I think I have all the answers down, I remember five or six things I didn't think of before and should have months ago. I should have asked about transferring ages ago, but I was hoping to find a place here. I should have called about third-party co-signers ages ago. And I still haven't texted Rose, mainly because I still don't know what to tell her...and I still don't want to fight with her. 

Went straight online when I got home, even before I changed. The lady who owned the room in Audubon responded to my message. I called her right away. Her name is Linda, she's in her early 50's, and she was living with her boyfriend in a townhouse in Audubon...until they broke up after 13 years. She's still trying to clear out his stuff, but she's willing to do it faster. I even offered to help. Her second job is as coordinator for something called Celebrity Boxing, which apparently is "tabloid stars doing boxing in Atlantic City." I'll be seeing the room on Saturday.

Got off in time for Match Game PM and a very quick dinner of black bean dip over romaine lettuce. An adorable little old man contestant who sounded like Wally Cox and called himself "Tiger" turned a lot of heads on the show. Even the young woman contestant next to him claimed they were getting engaged! David Doyle was more nervous when he had to help the winner with "Pawn __." 

Gave the new Mickey Mouse Funhouse a shot while I did the dishes. Here, the "clubhouse" itself, named Funny, talks, moves, and opens the doors for the gang's next adventures. Funny is "Homesick" when he keeps sneezing them into the desert, the moon, and on a snowy mountain, none of which are appropriate for the picnic the gang planned. "Goldfish Goofy" is thrilled when his pet Goldie gets to choose where to go on their next adventure, since she can't play the games the other pets can. She's happier when they all go on an adventure in an underwater world. 

Finished the night online looking up local storage facilities and e-mailing to see an apartment in Oaklyn while watching The Bionic Woman at The Roku Channel. "Assault on the Princess" takes Jamie aboard a gambling cruise liner. The owner, Lucky Harrison (Ed Nelson), is suspicious when she's a stowaway, but quickly falls for her. Jamie's looking for a pair of stolen nuclear energy cells that could explode if they get too hot. She has to try to locate "Iceman," the head of the ring that stole the cells, and dodge a persistent Italian tourist with a crush on her (Vito Scotti), before the smugglers rendezvous with a submarine. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

When Things Get Worse

I'm going to try to make this quick, as this was a very bad day. It started off with a ringing phone. Rose wanted to know what I was doing, and she wanted to know yesterday. She wasn't happy. I'm not happy with me, either. She doesn't understand why Mom is dumping all this on her and accused me of being self-centered and not knowing anything about her. Maybe because Mom is in her 60's and is trying to move down to Virginia with our brother, and has been for years. 

Mom thinks Rose has it easy because she owns her home. Rose thinks Mom has it easy because she's on her own. The truth is, no one in my family has a great life. There's only five adults in the entire family who are actually working at the moment - me, Rose's husband Craig, my brother Keefe, and Jessa and her husband Joe. Keefe and Craig work insane hours at a Naval shipyard and a popular local restaurant respectively, and Jessa's working two jobs. Anny's having problems with her sons, Jodie's having an equally hard time finding a place to go, Rose is out of a job, and Mom and Jodie don't have jobs and have had to deal with the deaths of their husbands in the last three years or so. And all this on top of a world-wide pandemic with many families going through the same problems. 

Don't get me wrong, I love them all, but I've had it up to here with their drama. That's one of the huge reasons I moved up here - to get away from the drama. Everyone on this side of the family just seemed to get along so well...until Uncle Ken died, then Bruce. They were the patriarchs who paid for everyone and solved everyone's problems, and no one's been able to step up and replace them. I finally explained to Rose that I had those two appointments today and would get back to her after them.

Then I dressed quickly and went online, and waited for that phone call from the rental counselor. And waited. And waited. I finally checked my e-mail around 9:16...and the counselor said I hadn't posted all the necessary paperwork and files, like credit reports and my W2s and a budget. God, I felt like a complete idiot. The last time I checked my account on their website, there wasn't anything there, but that was a week ago. I figured you'd bring those in or send them to them. And she can't see me again until later in the week, maybe. I completely ruined that appointment.

And then Rose texted and asked me how the appointment went. Not only do I not know what to tell her, but I don't want to get into another fight like I did with her this morning. Some of us are not lawyers and don't handle anger well. In fact, I've panicked over what to say to her the whole day. I called Mom about it after I sent the information. She says I don't owe Rose anything at this point...but Rose is my sister and my lawyer. I need to tell her something. I just don't know what to say that'll not make her blow up all over again or think I'm even less competent.

I also contacted my high school friend Kristie Cohen, who offered me a room at her aunt's home in North Cape May, on Facebook Messenger. I don't want to move down to Cape May County again. I think it's a bad idea. I need the resources here. I also don't have a choice. I don't know anyone here who is offering me a place to stay. Everyone I know up here just does not have the room, and neither do my other close friends. I am out of time and about to be evicted. That will be on my record, and I will never, ever get an apartment.

Had a quick breakfast after I finally got off with Mom while watching The Backyardigans. Tyrone, Pablo, and Uniqua think "The Tea Party" will be boring. Not the way Tasha does tea parties! She takes them gliding through the jungles of Borneo, to the palace of the grumpy Emperor Austin of China, and out-racing a gushing geyser in the Gobi Desert, all in search of the perfect pot of tea. 

Went right back on the computer after the cartoon ended. I uploaded more paperwork, then tried to figure out my finances until my appointment with Mrs. Stahl began. At least this went without a hitch. She also liked the idea of me moving in with Kristie and pointed out that we're in crisis mode now. She and Rose both pointed out my inability to problem-solve. I think it's less that than I don't push the whole thing through. I come up with ideas, get excited about them, then drop them when I can't figure them out or they require skills I don't have (and until recently, couldn't afford to get). 

I am just...gone. Done. Kaput. I was running on four hours' sleep. Mrs. Stahl says I'm not a failure or a bad person, but I can't help feeling that way. She says I can't get on a spiral of negativity. It's very hard to stay positive when everything is going wrong and you are dead on your feet. I am losing everything - my home, my independence, the things I cherish, my relationships with my family, any chance I have of getting help with my problems. 

I really don't want to stay in South Jersey at all. I know how expensive it is here. I've searched pretty much all over South Jersey online, from Cape May to Cherry Hill, for homes. There isn't much I can afford anywhere. Plus, I have never fit in anywhere in my entire life. College was the closest I ever came to actually feeling like I belonged somewhere. The trouble is...I don't know where to go. I have no children I can share a home with. All I want is to write in a home of my own, but I don't know what to do with that, or how to get to that goal, or where I should be to get that goal. 

Broke for dinner at quarter of 7. Watched the second half of Match Game '77 while heating up my own home-made frozen dinner of leftover chicken legs, bulger, and carrots and green beans. Let it run into Match Game PM as I did the dishes. Gene and the others found themselves dealing with a bubbly contestant who had bouncy blonde curls and a honey Arkansas accent, but not the best answers. 

Finished the night on Peacock with Hairspray Live! I go further into the TV version of the hit Broadway show at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Oh, and I still haven't heard from Kristie. I'm hoping she'll get back to me tomorrow. 

Monday, February 14, 2022

No Valentines for Me

Started off a lovely morning with a phone call from Mom wishing me happy Valentine's Day. She's not doing anything for the holiday this year, either, not even sending out cards. Neither of us are really feeling very romantic. I feel terrible for making such a mess of everything. Mom says not to look back, only forwards, but I can't help thinking of how badly I bungled all this. I figured I could get an apartment first, then look for a decent job. I hoped they would count the money in the bank, but too many landlords were burned by people who spent their savings and couldn't pay rent. I figured they'd understand once I explained my situation, but supposedly, a lot of people who can't afford their own homes right now are in a similar situation. 

After I got off with Mom, I made banana chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast while watching Valentine's Day specials. Bugs Bunny's Cupid Capers is one of their shows that's a series of segments from shorts tied together by a thin story. In this case, Bugs argues with Cupid (who looks a lot like the early Elmer Fudd) that love will find its own way without his help. Cupid thinks everyone needs a little romance in their lives, whether it's Pepe Le Pew posing as a desert sheik for Penelope, a duplicitous dame trying to snare private eye Daffy, or Bugs saving Granny's fortune from gold digger Yosemite Sam. 

Went right into Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown as I did the dishes and rounded up my laundry. The many Peanuts romances - or what they think are romances - are in the spotlight here. Linus agonizes what to get his teacher Miss Othmar, whom he has a huge crush on, while Sally tries to figure out what to get her "Sweet Baboo," Charlie Brown waits in vain for a valentine in the mail, and Snoopy's putting on dramatic and messy puppet shows.

Rushed out as fast as I could to get the laundry done. Good thing they were fairly quiet and I didn't need to run any other errands. I was able to check my e-mails and send out two messages to apartment buildings in Somerdale and Stratford. Saw an e-mail from the Audubon Arms Apartment building telling me there's nothing open until March 3rd. I e-mailed them and told them I still wanted to see it.

When my laundry was about five minutes from being done, I quickly got it out, raced home, changed, packed a lunch, and rushed back out. Figured that, cold as it was, it was warm enough for me to get by on the bike. Just got to work on time. It was off-an-on steady all afternoon, until the evening rush hour hit and the lines doubled. They just slowed down about an hour before I finished. Once again got out with no trouble. Even got to sample a hoagie from the tray left in in the employee room for Valentine's Day. (They also had fried chicken, which I didn't sample. Too greasy.) 

Was off-and-on with customers, too. One nice old man gave me the number of a friend who might have a studio apartment available when I explained my predicament to him. An older woman wasn't nearly so pleasant a few hours later. She was upset when the whole wheat bread she wanted didn't come up on sale. Turns out the people from the bread companies who stock the shelves put the whole wheat bread in the wrong place. After she went to see for herself, she accused me of removing the tag or moving it so she couldn't see it. I'd had enough. I told her I wouldn't do something like that. Someone just put them in the wrong place. I did give her the sale, but I didn't appreciate her accusations, either. 

Rose texted me around the time of my second break. She wanted to know whether or not I'll be out on the 26th, so she can tell Jodie's landlord. I have no idea. As of right now, it's not looking like it. I'm trying as hard as I can, but I'm not having much luck. In addition to the financial problems, there's too much competition in this area. White collar workers who can now do their jobs from anywhere and families looking for more space are coming from Philly and Camden...and they have the income most landlords are looking for. I hate that this is going to end in a lot of everyone suing everyone else, and it's all because everyone assumed someone else would shoulder the burden...when no one bothered to ask if they actually could. Everyone was too used to Bill, Bruce, and Uncle Ken handling everything, and no one knew what to do when they weren't around to deal with problems anymore. 

Had leftover black bean dip on a bed of lettuce for dinner while watching A Charlie Brown Valentine. This time, the focus switches to Chuck's crush on the Little Red Haired Girl. He tries everything he can to get her attention without actually getting her attention, from winking at her (he ends up in the principal's office) to calling her (he ends up getting a date with Peppermint Patty and Marcie), to asking Snoopy for help figuring out what to say. Meanwhile, Sally is still trying to get Linus to be her "Sweet Baboo," Lucy's having even less luck getting Schroder's attention, and Snoopy spends most of the special writing Valentine's for the demanding kids.

Called Mom again after the cartoon ended. I put off telling Rose what's going on because I wanted to wait until I had something concrete to tell her. I don't want to end up exchanging angry words with her again via text. I really just want to smooth over everything between everyone. We're supposed to be family. Families help one another, as a lot of my customers keep reminding me. At the very least, I need to pick up the bin with my dolls from her house. I left them there for safekeeping, but I don't think it's a good idea to keep anything there anymore. 

On one hand, Mom said she's proud of me for being able to do all this on my own. This is way outside my comfort zone. I really did expect to find something ages ago, and it's just so frustrating that I haven't. I know I'm a good tenant. I don't drink, smoke, party, do drugs, or even have a car to park. I'm quiet. I have two visitors a year. I'm at work a lot of the time, especially right now. 

She's after me about getting a second job...but it's going to have to be an online job. If it was some time before late March-early April 2020, I wouldn't have been happy, but I might have tried to get a second retail job because I only had 20-30 hours a week. Now, I'm regularly getting between 35 and 40 hours doing demanding physical work, and I'm exhausted. I did make a list of jobs I could do last week, but didn't have the chance to pursue it further. I'll do it tomorrow. 

Finished the night online after a shower for Buzzr's Love Is On the Air marathon while I did more research on online jobs. With them having used up their store of Betty White/Allen Ludden Password episodes on her birthday tribute last month, the focus this year shifted to Classic Concentration and Sale of the Century

In 1989, Classic Concentration had a "Love Week," with young newlyweds or engaged couples solving two puzzles together. Sale of the Century went with "True Romance," with contestants who had unusual stories of romance. They festooned their sets with huge lace and tulle-covered hearts and flowers or neon hearts and had prizes intended for couples, like scuba diving lessons for two, a honeymoon trip to Hawaii, or a luxury sports car. At least three couples got the cars on Classic Concentration; the car on the end of "True Romance" was won by the unassuming gentleman who didn't have much luck with the bonus round on the previous episodes. (And I still want to see "True Romance" week in its entirety.)

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Super Valentine Bowl

Got a quick start this morning with breakfast and The New Moon. This is the original British cast, singing most of the songs as heard in the 1928 West End production. This operetta about a French aristocrat who becomes a servant to a wealthy ship owner's daughter in New Orleans was Sigmund Romberg's last major stage hit for almost 20 years. The songs certainly helped, including the yearning duet "Wanting You," the intense "Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise," the lovely "One Kiss" for the ship owner's daughter, and the sprightly chorus routine "Try Her Out at Dances." 

It was snowing when I rolled out of bed this morning...but as I figured, the snow never stuck to anything but the grass. The roads and sidewalks were wet, but not icy. It wasn't even that cold. I normally would have called for Uber, but I finished at 5:30. I'd never get a ride a half-hour before the Super Bowl. I took the bike and got a little damp going there.

As you can well imagine, between the weather, the game, Valentine's Day tomorrow, and this being a big birthday month, it was mobbed for most of the afternoon. At least we had a little more help this time, especially later in the afternoon. By 4:30, the lines were long gone. As I told a customer, everyone had rushed home to their Super Bowl and Valentine's parties. I was able to leave with absolutely no problems. 

Went straight into dinner when I got home. Made my favorite black bean dip to go with the last of my Triscuits while watching episodes of Match Game '74. Football player Rosie Grier joined in for the first episode, where everyone had some really interesting answers to a question as to why Prince Valliant wears his hair in a pageboy. 

Gene had an embarrassing moment in the second when his microphone cable got wrapped around soap star Trish Stewart's leg and yanked her clean off her seat! She laughed it off, but Brett gave Gene a good smack while Kaye Stevens chewed him out for not being careful, Richard Dawson asked him to pull up a girl for him, and Charles pointed out the fishing is better on the Santa Monica Pier. 

Tried to get that application for the apartment in Stratford off while watching the Super Bowl on This year's game was a heck of a lot more interesting than last year's. The Rams and Bengals played a rough and intense show. They were so rough, they knocked out three players (including one of the Rams' offensive stars Odell Beckham Jr.). The Rams were down during the second half, but they came back in the fourth quarter to just barely win 23-20.

I didn't have nearly as much luck with the application. I looked for information for two hours on e-mail addresses and phone numbers...then couldn't attach my necessary paperwork. It just would not attach to their website, no matter how hard I tried. I'll try again tomorrow. Research reveals other open apartments in the Stratford area that might be worth looking into as well.

Finished the night after the game and the Password Plus YouTube premiers with a triple-dose of Tattletales for Valentine's Day. It was Game Show Host week in 1976 as Bob Barker, Jack Narz, and Richard Dawson all got to take a turn hosting for Bert Convy while he played with his wife Ann. Barker did the first episode I watched, Nartz the second. Betty White and Allen Ludden appeared on an earlier episode in 1974 with Gavin McLeod and his wife Patty and Marjorie and Pat Harrington. Considering they're usually good at this, Allen and Betty only managed to get one question right in the end.

Celebrate the most romantic of all holidays with these lovey-dovey celebrity couples!

And here's even more Valentine's Day blasts from the past!

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Matches Before the Storm

Started off the morning with breakfast and Paw Patrol's second season. "The New Pup" is liver-loving husky Everest, who helps stranded snowboarder Jake to safety after he loses his phone and backpack over a cliff. Ryder and the other pups take a very long bus down to the snow fields, but they have trouble controlling it in the deep snows, then finding Jake and Everett in the blizzard. 

Spent the next hour working on my finances. I spend about 34 all told on streaming and normally somewhere between 30 and 50 dollars a week on groceries. I know I shouldn't go out, that I shouldn't spend money or do anything, but I do. It's stupid, I know. And recently, I've just needed to get out of the house. It's stupid, I know, spending money when I shouldn't be. 

Headed to work after I put aside the finances to finish tomorrow or Monday. Work was a mob scene the entire afternoon. We're supposed to get that little bit of snow tomorrow. It's highly unlikely it'll do anything but look pretty, but it's still making people crazy. There's also the Super Bowl tomorrow and many birthdays and Valentine's Day parties. Didn't help that we had two cashiers call out, too. There were lines down the aisles until about an hour before I finished. Thankfully, no one was in a bad mood, and there were no major problems. It died so fast by 7, I was able to shut down without a relief.

Went straight home and into a quick dinner. Watched two Match Game '74 episodes while eating eggs with the last bit of mozzarella and red grapes. The first one featured a very pretty contestant in a tight flowered top that was so skimpy, she even turned Charles' head. Richard showed off an old photo of Gene knitting a sock for his radio show in the 40's in the beginning of the second. 

Finished out the night on Peacock with Jack and the Cuckoo Clock Heart. I go further into this dark and delicate stop-motion romance from France at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.  

Oh, and Match Game Productions (with the help of fellow game show channel owner Sam Mitchell) posted the first two episodes of Password Plus tonight. Elizabeth Montgomery of Bewitched and Robert Foxworth of Falcon Crest were the first starts that week...and Elizabeth showed why when she proceeded to lead her contestants to win almost every round. I think Robert got up there once in the first two episodes. 

Pass the word - here's the start of Allen Ludden's last hurrah and the return of this venerable franchise!