Archive | March, 2016

When the Cat Clucks …

20 Mar

Spring is my most favorite season. After struggling through the cold dreariness & inches of snow in January & February, spring bursts forth with its multitude of colors … minty green new leaves, the pinks & whites of dogwood, red bud & Bradford pear trees …& offers hope of renewal, warm days to come & walking to the mailbox barefoot.

After surviving a life-threatening illness 8 years ago I have learned never to take anything for granted; most especially the beauty of spring. Heck … I don’t even mind the layers of thick yellow pollen that turn my husband’s white vehicle a light mustard color & my blue car green … except for the watery eyes & sneezing, of course. It can’t be ALL good.

If we are Christians, spring offers a time of joy & celebration at Easter.

In a recent pleasant conversation with our minister, he & I touched on some of the challenges we face in life. I shared with him that I had, just moments before our conversation began, indulged in one of the pleasures that comes with the Easter season that has an extreme calming effect on me. I had eaten a Cadbury Egg.  He responded, “I wish you had told me 8 years ago that Cadbury Eggs have a calming effect on you…I would have offered you some along the way in our journey together had I known!” He is a special human being.

My husband knows that I like chocolate & at Easter I really enjoy an occasional chocolate bunny. I don’t much care for those hollow bunnies, though. Somehow the chocolate doesn’t taste “rich” enough & I could swear I’ve heard an echo from deep within the empty bowels of those bunnies from time to time when I’ve bitten their ears off. So Willy, all knowing that he is, came home this year with a good-sized Hershey chocolate bunny that was solid through-and-through. I started at his feet & nibbled my way to his ears. It took me several days to finish him off & never once did I hear a grumble or an echo. Now THAT’S a chocolate bunny!

But Cadbury Eggs are my absolute favorite!

I don’t know if it’s because they are just plain good & satisfying to my lust for chocolate or if it’s something else entirely. What I REALLY think is that it’s a combination of good chocolate & good marketing.

To begin with, Cadbury Eggs are different as well as good. If a product can be really good AND different, the manufacturer is half way around the bases & headed for home. The chocolate is rich & smooth & delicious, but here’s the hook (or hook #1). Inside those fantastic eggs is delicious cream filling & there’s … wait for it … a YOKE. Not only does finding a yoke inside those candy eggs thrill children, it also thrills & especially delights adults … well, me anyway. I just think it’s the coolest thing ever … & I continue to be delighted EVERY time I enjoy the guilty pleasure associated with eating a Cadbury Egg.

Hook #2 is that you can only find Cadbury Chocolate Cream & yoke-filled Eggs once a year … at Easter. While the chocolate product itself is right up there at the top of the Yum-Yum Scale, the fact that they are rare & can only be found a couple of months out of each year makes them even MORE desire-worthy. There have been times during bleak Februarys that I would have KILLED for just one of the smaller Cadbury Eggs.

Hook #3 is marketing .  Several weeks before Easter while watching TV & being accosted by no less than 8 commercial advertisements every 12 minutes during an hour-long favorite television show, suddenly there is an advertisement for Cadbury Eggs. It delights me & I sit back & just say, “Awwwww.”

Cadbury must have the most brilliant advertising team of any product on the market today… if there IS a team. That team, if it exists, must have a tremendous amount of free time on its hands because advertising must surely only consist of lining up which shows to sponsor. The reason for this … & it is brilliant … is that the Cadbury Egg people use the SAME advertisement year-after-year because it is EFFECTIVE. It is also timeless & has TERRIFIC appeal. If I am any indication of that appeal, the ad / commercial appeals as much to the adult, TV-watching population as it does to children. Perhaps more, because we, as adults can appreciate the nuances of the commercial with a laugh & a simple feel-good moment.

If there’s anyone who hasn’t seen that once-a-year Cadbury Egg commercial, please do watch for it while there’s still time. Very soon after Easter it will disappear & you will have to wait a full year to have the pleasure.

The commercial involves a variety of animals … a pig, a horse, an occasional turtle …wearing bunny ears on a head band clucking like chickens. There’s even a bunny that clucks like a chicken because he / she is delivering Cadbury Eggs to Easter Baskets around the world. My favorite, though, is the cat wearing that bunny-ear head band & clucking. Being a cat person since birth, THAT is the hook that gets me every time because it combines 2 of my most favorite things EVER – Cadbury Eggs & CATS. It also reminds me that Cadbury Eggs are on the market again & I’d better rush right out & replenish my stash.

When my minister responded that he would have offered me Cadbury Eggs along our journey together the past 8 years had he realized that they had a calming effect on me, I responded, “I didn’t realize just how calming until this year when they appeared in stores & I bought my FIRST 5-pack. (I’m on my second).

So I am thoroughly enjoying this pre-Easter season & my recent discovery that Cadbury Cream & yoke-filled chocolate Eggs now come in 5-packs. I also can appreciate the genius that the Cadbury marketing folks show in their advertising efforts & making those delicious eggs available only once a year.

Mostly, I appreciate the commercials. My mouth waters on command (Pavlov’s dogs have nothing on ME) & I take unexpected trips to the store in search of just one more Cadbury Egg every time I hear that cat cluck.

cadbury bunny cat

 

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Hardwood Floors

1 Mar

I’ve been doing some very personal research on owning hardwood flooring & I just wanted to take a moment to share my findings with you. If you … like I … put in carpet 26 years ago in an effort to save money when your new house was built, but always really wanted hardwood floors & finally got them, then you may be able to relate to the findings of my research.

In the end … my research not withstanding … I love our new floors, but here are a few “truths” I’ve learned after owning hardwood flooring for a little while:

  1. Hardwood floors are beautiful & especially popular right now.
  2. Wide planks are just plain cool.
  3. The beauty of hardwood flooring may be enhanced by just the right area rug.
  4. They come in gloss, high gloss & any number of finishes depending on your taste & preference.
  5. All hardwood flooring scratches but you see the scratches much easier on dark wood flooring.
  6. Buy a “Magic Marker” the color of your flooring for quick fixes.
  7. A dust mop is your best friend.
  8. If you have shedding pets, their shedded hair resembles tumbleweed on hardwood flooring just 45 minutes after vacuuming.
  9. If you have dark wood floors, get dark-haired pets. They are available in every shelter, available for adoption, are looking for forever homes & are just as lovable as blond & light-haired pets.
  10. If you have a long-haired, cream-colored or white cat that you had before you installed dark hardwood flooring … dye the cat. It’s an investment in your cleaning future & makes cleaning a lot less labor intensive.
  11. If you own a “senior” cat that pees on his foot in clumpable litter & makes concrete-like tracks on your dark wood floors, buy the economy-size refill bottle of Bruce Hardwood Floor Care.  Keep it handy, because you will need it.
  12. If you own a geriatric cat (as referenced in #11), you will ALWAYS know where he is simply by following his concrete-like tracks on your dark wood floors to almost any location in your home.
  13. It is a GIVEN that NO ONE will drop by the afternoon after you’ve spent all morning cleaning your beautiful dark wood floors,  but EVERYONE you know & a bunch of people you’ve never heard of will drop by just as your geriatric cat has disembarked from the litter box & left tracks all over your dark wood floors. You can suggest a game of “Tracking the Cat” to your visitors but that’s pretty lame & in the end they KNOW you are the world’s WORST housekeeper who apparently tortures animals.
  14. When the concrete-like cat footprints disappear at the side of your bed & reappear on the floor at the other side of your bed … wash your comforter.
  15. If you own a senior, long-haired cat (as referenced in #11) that enjoys spending time in your empty bathtub where he leaves dark litter, concrete-like footprints (the gray litter turns dark when it gets wet), be resigned to scrubbing your tub with some regularity & especially before going for a leisurely soak just before bed.
  16. Develop a good relationship with a dependable, reputable plumber. Once that clumpable cat litter falls off your geriatric cat in your whirlpool tub & you wash it down the drain, it clumps when it dries & you will need that plumber if you ever hope to enjoy a leisurely, bedtime bath again. When he leaves & hands you a bill for extensive drain cleaning that actually required a jack hammer, try to avoid looking shocked at his fee per hour. You will need him again … & probably soon … & you don’t want to risk poor communications with the one person who will be responsible for your next leisurely bedtime bath.
  17. Whether your geriatric, long-haired cat pees on his foot & leaves concrete-like tracks on your dark hardwood flooring or not, he will definitely choose the middle of your dinner party to hop into the litter & cause a “pew” that will permeate the air, flow from room to room on an atomic-like cloud & clear a formal dinner table in a heartbeat.
  18.  With the proper care & maintenance your hardwood flooring will serve you well & retain its beauty for many years to come.
  19. With the proper care & maintenance, your geriatric long-haired cat will bring you more years of joy & unconditional love. And who can’t find it in their hearts to work around a few cinderblocks in the drain of their whirlpool tub or the task of removing frequent concrete-like cat footprints from dark hardwood floors?

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