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Extra Funds

by Layla

I need some extra money so I am going to find a job. I will have to work it into my schedule between school and watching Jerry Springer. It may be good bye Jerry for a while. I will welcome him back when I have finished the short-term job and have secured the necessary funds to get me through a cash crunch time. I have had such jobs before so I am looking for something a bit different than babysitting, tutoring or working at a fast food chain. I want something that will be fun if I am going to put in that extra time. I don’t want to dread going to the job every day. But time goes fast and it will be over soon. So I look at the student job market bulletin board and scan the offerings. Nothing looks good until a notice pops up in my line of vision: lifeguarding at a community pool. I take the notice and walk over to the address listed. It is a nice, but small, above ground pool suitable for an average group of children. It is open during the daytime only and one lifeguard should suffice. In ground pools tend to be on the larger size, so this should be a cinch. It is just hard for the lifeguard to dive in quickly if there is a pending problem.

I told the summer pool program coordinator that I have an eagle eye and would be ideal for the job with my flexible schedule. I had passed the lifeguard’s course months ago just for my own benefit. The coordinator wanted me to pass an exam, a kind of proof of knowledge and rules, and a refresher course that would take an hour since I had been recently licensed. Sure, I said, just say when. I liked the pool area. It was clean and accessible and there was a special lifeguard stand so I could readily see what was going on.

The job started a week later and I loved raking in that extra money while having a good time. I like kids and watching them frolic and play. They talked to me all the time. Apparently, I was part of the fun. The pool was busiest at lunch time and after. This was the time when I had to be most alert. I tried to always get enough sleep to be able to get to work on time and perform my job properly. No late night cavorting. My friends understood. There is a great deal of responsibility when you are a lifeguard. Kids get rambunctious and can dunk each other a little too forcefully. I had to talk to a few of them personally to get them to calm down. Occasionally a parent or two would be at the pool sidelines observing my reign. They told the coordinator that I was a good choice. He was pleased and offered to extend my contract an extra month.

Have Hot Tub, Will Travel

by Layla

Owning or having access to a hot tub is not something I ever imagined. Being athletic and working out a lot, I do get my aches and pains, so it is not inconceivable that I would value a regular soak in the hot steamy water. Besides, friends love to use it and they drop in for a bit of water fun. I love the company and the spontaneous surprise of these visits. Just imagine. I have my own. It sits quietly on the back patio near a faucet so we can attach a garden hose and fill it at will. Then the temperature is set and we wait for the heating element to do its magic. It is pure heaven no matter what mood you are in. It can relax the worst grouch after a busy, hectic day. It can soothe an already happy soul.

So how did this all come about. My roommate and I were watching an ad for a portable hot tub on TV and it looked so inviting. We imagined hot tub parties and just time alone when we wanted a private moment to calm and collect ourselves. We saw that it offered many advantages and good times. If you have friendly neighbors where you live, a hot tub can be a hub of activity. So my roommate used her parents credit card to buy them a small unit. We insisted that it be portable as no doubt we will move at some future time. We want to be able to take it with us without great pains. You need to get a certain type that has collapsible parts and is made of separate components. Otherwise, it may rest in its first home forever. We decided that we would likely be roommates even in another location. Sure, we could move to an apartment complex that already had a hot tub, but what if we elected to rent a house. Our current abode had a huge first floor patio so it made it an easy decision to purchase the hot tub now and start to enjoy it. While we aren’t too worried about the next place we will go, we wanted to be sure the hot tub was movable without hiring a service.

So the hot tub was easy to install (as easy they said at the vendor as taking it apart). It takes one day of planning ahead so you give it time to heat up properly. Occasionally you need to clean it but it doesn’t need much more than a hosing off. If there are leaves or debris caught inside, a simple net on a short pole will take care of the matter. Maintenance-free would be an apt description for our hot tub. We use it often with or without guests and it is a great place to read, listen to music, or enjoy a glass of wine. If you make the right decision to go portable, you will have the thing for the rest of your life.

This Episode Proudly Presented By…

by Layla

Jerry Springer’s program can be a freak show when it covers certain topics. You would be disappointed if it were any other way. One of them is domestic violence. Horror stories in this area abound, yet audiences eat it up—me included. It is human nature. I think it makes those of us who are not facing this scenario feel better about our lives. We sort of live vicariously through others, however, and it is a psychological fact of life.

When couples turn to ugly violence, the subject of weapons sometimes comes up. I have heard more than one battered wife complain about a ruthless husband who either threatens with a gun drawn at her or makes mention of it as a kind of challenge. It is a way to have complete dominance over another person and it is insidious. Organisations like Gun Allegiance are working to promote responsible gun ownership – after all, every right comes with a responsibility. Wives who live in such fear need a safe house for protection. Far too many accidents occur even when the bearer of the firearm does not have a specific intention. People in anger easily get out of control.

It is interesting that show sponsors are companies that in some way relate to the topic of the day. In terms of domestic violence, I have seen wall and gun safe businesses buy advertising. I have also seen such companies get free promotional consideration when the subject turns to safety in the home. Any family that has a gun on premises needs to hear a sponsor out on eliminating access. You must never leave a dial combination lock inactivated or give out an electronic code. You must not keep the guns in plain sight.

More often than not, a wall safe is used for multiple purposes. People keep important documents there, jewelry, cash, as well as a weapon or two. You want fire, flood, earthquake, and theft protection. But on the negative side, the safe gets opened a bit too often, posing risks for the home inhabitants. It is never a good idea for children to see an exposed gun on regular occasions. You can explain that there is one without divulging its whereabouts.

While guns are certainly within the law and are often needed for self-protection, they should never be used as a threat in a domestic situation. Too many of these can go awry if tempers flare to the boiling point. I can appreciate that these gun safe sponsors are not touting the possession of weapons for their own sake but focus more on housing them to keep family members from harm. They suggest that one person be in control and warn others of possible peril.

Beyond touting extreme care and caution, I also appreciate the way gun safe companies offer options and safeguards. For example, you can elect to operate your safe by voice command, fingerprint, date of birth, etc. It is called biometrics. You can also place the safe on a closet wall as opposed to the den or rec room for example. No matter what you do, security is the major concern and the motivation for having the unit in the first place.

He Gets an ‘A’ for Creativity

by Layla

I have some time between classes and I wanted to get this down for all of you to see what you thought. I watch a regional talk show that airs here sometimes so that I have a comparison base to the Jerry Springer Show. It’s very similar in format—host that asks serious questions amidst a tremendous amount of chaos, guests who seem more interested in threatening and bodily harm than talking out their issues, and a lot of craziness. Jerry Springer created this style of show and has ruled the airwaves with it for years; sometimes I’ll watch shows like this just to see the influence he’s had over daytime television.

This particular episode was real terrible. On Springer, it is intentional chaos to sway viewers, and this show looked like the host was overwhelmed by the antics of the guests. He looked hopelessly lost as the guests—a married couple where the husband just found out he was being cheated on—completely attacked each other and the boyfriend, who of course was a guest too. Chairs were thrown, again, not entirely unusual, but they usually don’t hit a cameraman! The husband was furious, and I guess he was a contractor, because he started yelling about all these tools he was going to go home and attack the boyfriend with. One of them was an air compressor, which I didn’t get at all. How would that work? It’s just air. Although he did say he was going to blow the guy up like a balloon, which was pretty funny.

I tell you what, if you google that, you’ll find sites like this can find out some scary stuff. Apparently a guy in New Zealand fell on an air compressor hose while it was on and basically did inflate himself like a balloon. He had terrible swelling in one leg and fluid in a lung, so I guess it is possible to do it to someone deliberately if you’re determined enough. Apparently you can get an embolism (an air bubble that blocks a blood vessel) if it gets into your system either through a break in the skin or if it makes one on its own. This can be serious and even sometimes fatal, depending on where it is and if it travels. You know how they found this out, though? People were blowing air on themselves after working to get themselves “clean.” Not the greatest of ideas, people! If you want to be a jerk, it seems you really can do some damage if you are mean (or in this guy’s case, angry) enough. According to my internet research, if you were to intentionally aim it at someone’s mouth at a high pressure, you could damage their lungs and esophagus; if you aim it near someone’s ear, you can rupture their ear drum. There were other injuries but I think I had grossed myself out by then and stopped reading.

I did learn that regular and safe operation of a compressor that is properly maintained doesn’t typically result in bodily harm, but like anything else, if you don’t follow safety procedures and wear safety gear, you can hurt yourself with compressed air or with any debris you’re blowing around.

So I guess the moral of that episode was don’t cheat on a contractor!

No College Dorm Room is Complete Without…

by Layla

I love college life and will be sorry and sad when it is over. These are the best years. You are getting educating, learning about yourself and the world, and just having a really good time. Social life is your entrée into a successful future as you learn communication skills. But when all is said and done, you can do your best socializing over a plastic cup of beer (nothing to wash, nothing to break!).

College keg parties are notorious and have been the staple of life for students since time immemorial. In fact, no college dorm room is complete without a mini fridge to house some personal brew. Better yet is when you can join the group for an outdoor beer fest that revolves around a big kegerator. A what you say? Yes, a kegerator. This wonder machine stores, chills, and dispenses beer in a flash. They come in one to multiple keg sizes. It is a must for any dorm to have on collective hand.

Big fan of Jerry Springer that I am, I have to mention that I heard one mother complain on the show that her college son was getting to be a drunk at the age of 20 and was acquiring a beer belly way to soon. Yes, we have heard these stories before. She wanted help in controlling his behavior while away from home at school.

Kids often act differently when they feel independent and it is not always something to fear. It usually happens in group settings for short periods of time. A keg party is a way to let loose and feel free, something that is going to pass way to soon as we get entrenched in the responsibilities of adult life. Mom should come to one and see for herself that it is just a lot of harmless fun. If her son is talking too much about it, it is probably because he is popular and wants to share the news.

College students do get drunk, of course, and some wield that kegerator tap a bit too often at times. Hopefully there is a dorm RA to set limits. But in the long run there is also peer pressure to stay in control. After all, you want to pass your exams. You don’t want anyone to flunk out. Those who stray from the straight and narrow for too long hear about it for sure from their companions. When was the last time you visited a college classroom and found the students drunk and asleep? Not ever I bet.

Dorm life is a huge u-turn away from home. They tend to go a little nutty the first semester. Freshmen are notorious for overindulging because it is the first time. Then things tend to even themselves out. You learn how many beers you can toss back before your head starts spinning. Anyone who has ever passed out will not want to repeat the unpleasant experience. With these caveats, enjoying a keg party on campus can be a great part of college life and is not to be missed, teetotalers aside. It is a mixture of rebellion, social initiation, let loose abandon, and controlled ecstasy all in combination. It marks the entry into a new world of experience.