Schmit Family
Welcome to , , , and virtual front porch. This web site is just that; a place to visit for family, friends, and anyone, who are too far away, to stop by in person. Pull up a chair and stay a while....

30 December 2010 12:33 pm

TYR Durafast!

It's been nearly two years since I started swimming laps regularly, and I'm afraid that I've lost count of how many swim suits I've had in that time. What I do know is that I've found one I'd be willing to pay more for: the TYR Durafast material.

According to descriptions on their website, "Durafast (TM) is 100% chlorine proof for 72 hours of exposure. This durable fabric lasts 20 times longer than traditional swimwear." What I've found with my suits is that it is no longer the fabric that hits the end of its life, but it is the straps that lose their stretch. I used to be able to get ~3 months of wear out of a swim suit, and I think I have gotten more like 6-8 months out of my recent one. Granted, I'm not wearing any of them until they fall apart, but I am wearing them until I'm afraid they may lead to indecent exposure at the YMCA.

I've been pleased with my Durafast suits, especially since I bought them both on sale! Here's to many more years of swimming, but many fewer swimsuits that those years require.

Posted by geoff at 12:33 in /rants and raves

11 November 2009 6:38 pm

Popcorn Teleconferences

I had a brilliant thought last week. At least I thought it was brilliant.

While on a teleconference, I made a comparison between microwave popcorn and, well, teleconferences. For those who aren't familiar with large teleconferences, a bit of background is necessary.

As people join a teleconference, we have two options to announce their presence. One is to play their recorded name, so you actually know who is joining. The other, which is more widely used for large calls, is to simply beep when anyone joins or leaves.

At the start of the teleconference that I was leading last week, there was the beep---beep-beep----beepbeepbeep--beep as the thirty or so participants started to join. I wasn't exactly sure how many people were going to join, and was debating when to officially start the meeting. As the meeting start time passed, I heard the beep-beep----beep---beepbeep to announce the arrival of yet more participants. Then, slowly, the pattern changed to beep--------beep-beep---------beep---------------------beep. And, like microwave popcorn, I knew that it was ready.

Posted by geoff at 18:38 in /rants and raves

24 July 2009 8:19 pm

What Comes Around...

Call it what you wish, but I wish people would keep the golden rule in mind. Two relatively recent incidents make me wonder sometimes...

Without going into detail here, I learned through an incident in May one reason why insurance premiums are high: to pay for people who file ridiculous claims to repair their cars. All I'll say here is that I expect that there will be a day when the woman, who's car got a minor scratch on it, is the one who causes similar "damage." I certainly hope that she'll be treated with more reason and more respect than I was.

The other incident was yesterday when I was on a Southwest Airlines flight. In case you aren't familiar, Southwest has no assigned seats. Toward the end of the line boarding the plane was a woman with her daughter who looked somewhere between eight and ten years old. At this point, there were only center seats available not near each other on the plane. The woman helped her daughter sit in one seat not too far from me, and then went to find one for herself. The daughter was visibly upset, but neither passenger sitting next to her offered to help, nor to switch seats with the mom. When the flight attendant indicated that we needed to find two seats together before we could depart, neither passenger made a move. Fortunately, someone else with an empty seat near them offered to move to a different seat. The girl, with tears streaming down her face, was able to move and sit with her mom. Unfortunately, those two unhelpful passengers got to sit next to one of the few empty seats on the plane. I'm not a big fan of a center seat, but I'm willing to sit in one if it helps someone else out!

I guess I can just keep trying to do the right thing... and hope that goes around too!

Posted by geoff at 20:19 in /rants and raves

21 March 2009 8:39 pm

Toys Aren't Us

The return policy at Toys R Us makes me not want to shop there. Especially, not for a birthday present.

Dylan got a Power Rangers toy for his birthday that sat unopened for a couple of weeks. We decided to ask him if he'd rather return it and exchange it for a toy that he would enjoy more, and he actually agreed. That's when the "fun" began.

Of course, any gift receipts were long gone, since I never entertained the idea that he'd be willing to exchange a gift. I looked at Target, but they didn't sell the toy. I found the toy at Toys R Us, and tried to return ours. Unfortuantely, that's when I learned of their no tolerance return policy: no gift receipt, no credit card used for purchase, no return. No. No. No.

I have devised an elaborate scheme to return it, but just don't have the time to try implementation! Here's how it goes: (1) Buy Power Rangers toy, with cash. (2) Get gift receipt. (3) Get a friend and each return a Power Rangers toy simultaneously. (4) Be sure to do an exchange and not get store credit! (5) Hope that their computer systems aren't good enough to track returns done at two stores miles apart within minutes of each other! If only I had the time...

Anyone interested in a Power Rangers RPM Formula Wolf Transporter? I'll give you a good deal!

Posted by geoff at 20:39 in /rants and raves

6 October 2008 9:12 pm

Trash Collector

I am now a trash hauler. Okay, maybe that's being a bit extreme. Trash collector is probably more accurate.

At work, I have now lost my trash can at my desk. If you recall, over the summer, I lost my walls and door. Now, my trash can. This is part of an initiative that is called "cooperative cleaning." Instead of a cleaning crew coming in after hours, they work while we work. In order to minimize desk-side disruptions, everybody will dispose of their own waste into centralized containers. Since folks in a pilot of this process were not able to empty desk-side trash receptacles regularly, we now have only four large trash containers for the entire floor. Instead of one member of the cleaning crew taking a moment to dump my trash can into the bin that was pushed through the floor, I now have to either collect trash on my desk (used piece of gum anyone?) or I have to walk approximately 25 yards to and from a trash can whenever I need to throw something away. Cost savings at its finest.

I'm just waiting for the list to be distributed that tells me which day I have toilet-cleaning duty. And I'll take vacation that day.

Posted by geoff at 21:12 in /rants and raves

24 September 2008 9:32 pm

iTunes Genius Sidebar Rocks!

Apple's latest great idea to come my way is the Genius Sidebar in iTunes. Geoff pointed out the feature to me when he was putting together a playlist for a gathering at our house a couple of weeks ago. It probably isn't all that complicated, but it is one of those features that make you wonder "why didn't anyone think of this before?!?"

My simple explanation for what it does it to help pick music that is similar to what you know you like. It can generate a playlist based upon one song. Or, it can suggest songs that are in iTunes that you don't have that you would like, again based upon one song. It is uncanny in how good the predictions are. It's amazing to hear those songs that I never knew the artist or title of, but that are soooo familiar to me. So far, I've shown restraint. But, it would be very, very easy to run up quite a tab at a dollar a song.

Posted by geoff at 21:32 in /rants and raves

10 August 2008 8:22 pm

Dead Watch Battery

Often, we don't appreciate something until it is gone. So it is with my watch battery. Yesterday, it was fading and I could only read it when I looked at an angle. Today, all hope is lost. The funny thing is that I've realized it provides me security. I think that I look at my wrist less often when I have my watch on it, even when the watch is useless.

I have had my current watch for over thirteen years. The battery has been replaced at least half a dozen times, and the watch band has also. This past January was the first time that I could not find a watch band that was the same as the original. I somehow can't bring myself to replace the "guts" of the watch, even though I have looked into it on several occasions. This one works, and with minimal maintenance, it keeps on ticking...

Let's just hope I don't go crazy not knowing what time it is before I get a new watch battery.

Posted by geoff at 20:22 in /rants and raves

1 August 2008 8:38 pm

Goodbye, Starbucks!

I have never been a frequent visitor to Starbucks. I'd guess that I visit 1-2 times a month. Actually, it appears from our financial records that it is much less than that - only 9 times in the past year; I think that must be flawed. But, the frequency is not the point.

I was disappointed while at Starbucks a week ago. My favorite drink, which I know isn't why Starbucks exists, is a Caramel Frappucino. I always order it decaf. Typically grande. Until last week. Starbucks has ceased to make the decaf frappucino mix. They offered me some alternative, which involved the vanilla blended creme mix with decaf espresso. Trying that doubled my disappointment. It wasn't even close to being enjoyable.

I'm also still disappointed that my free Starbucks T-shirt never arrived. Geoff was kind enough to try to order one when I was out to lunch with a friend one day, and managed to place an order. Unfortunately, they didn't follow through. At least I'm not doing free advertising for them. But, I will have to pick a different shirt when I get to painting our bathroom.

So, close as many stores as you like, Starbucks. I'll need something new to motivate me to visit, anyway.

Posted by geoff at 20:38 in /rants and raves

13 July 2008 9:30 pm

Crunchy or Creamy?

Today for lunch, Dylan asked me to make him the apples with peanut butter and chocolate Teddy grahams that are on the back of the package. I asked whether he wanted crunchy or creamy peanut butter. We usually eat crunchy, but I had recently used creamy peanut butter to make him the convertible that was on the back of the graham cracker sticks box. Dylan picked the crunchy peanut butter out of the cupboard.

While making his apples, I thought about, and realized why I have a preference for crunchy peanut butter. I explained it to Dylan, but he didn't seem at all interested. So, perhaps I'll find a more compassionate audience here.

I like crunchy peanut butter because it allows me to keep the ingredients inside of the crackers. One of my favorite snacks has always been graham crackers with peanut butter, or peanut butter and fluff, inside. I like to put a decent amount of filling in the crackers, squeeze the crackers together, and first eat what gets squished out; I know, Miss Manners would not be pleased to hear this technique. With crunchy peanut butter, there is a limit to how much of the filling can be squeezed out. There is always some peanut butter, and possibly fluff, that is left to eat with the graham cracker. And that is why I prefer crunchy peanut butter.

Marshmallow Fluff... it might come from humble origins, but it has gone where few people have gone... into space. But we can talk about fluff some other day.

Posted by geoff at 21:30 in /rants and raves

18 May 2007 8:47 pm

Kindness of Strangers?

Today, we made the mistake of going in the express grocery check-out with well more than the limit of 15 items. Unfortunately, our groceries were half on the conveyor before I realized our mistake. Also, unfortunately, the 'kind' 'gentle'man, from whom I learned I was in the incorrect check-out lane, decided to talk indirectly about my mistake rather than to have pointed it out when I could have selected a different lane.

What contributed to the mistake?

Well, for one, the grocery store has changed to lighted displays that do not indicate "EXPRESS" nearly as prominently before. The difference between a regular check-out and the express check-out is whether a small sign is back-lit. I looked to see whether the lane was express, and I did not notice the light. I was trying to make sure that a one-year old and three-year old did not melt-down as we were leaving the store, but that shouldn't be an excuse...

The aforementioned 'gentleman.' Please, please, please, if you are going to complain to a store employee about me being in an express lane, have the courtesy to mention it to me first, especially if you see me get in the line right in front of you. I would actually appreciate the help discerning which lane is appropriate for me. After my (too many) grocery items are on the conveyor, it is too late.

The store employee who ushered the person, who was in front of me in line, to the self-check out also could have noticed and mentioned that I had too many items. Perhaps she was just hoping that we'd leave the store before one of the kids got even more tired and hungry.

Perhaps there are people who blatantly ignore the rules, but I'm not one of them. I felt terrible for being in the express lane and slowing down those who ended up behind me. My apologies to them. It was an honest mistake, which could have been avoided if someone was willing to communicated directly to me instead of complaining about me.

Posted by geoff at 20:47 in /rants and raves
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