2048: It’s Just A Number…Or Is It?

I started the week as just a normal human being. I arrived for the weekend at my sister’s with my girls in tow and ready to celebrate a bridal shower. All went off as planned, but in the meanwhile, I was introduced to an addictive gaming app.

Hey, do you know 2048? No, I don’t. Well, just sign up for free and start playing. We all love this game, and we all hate it. It’s as addictive as crack-cocaine and we have deleted it as often as we’ve downloaded it. Oh, really! And my genius, programming nephew conquered it immediately? Like a Rubick’s cube? I see…I’ve never mastered the Rubick’s cube, but I know there is a formulaic answer….one which I refuse to look up so that I can cheat.

I was up for the challenge and soon had the game downloaded onto my iPhone.  In this game, you start with a couple of two’s. If you click them together you get a four. And so it goes, as you click the tiles together you form higher and higher numbers. The goal is to get a tile denominated as a 2048. It is frustratingly difficult to get the necessary numbers next to one another and keep building up to higher and higher tiles.

Soon enough, I had downloaded the app and given it a try. Dang, I didn’t get very far. I tried again. And again, and again. The weekend ended and I returned home with only a meager high-score in the 7000’s. Throughout my week off of work, I tried it over and over again, and then one day it clicked.

I rhythmically bashed those tiles together in a sort of trance, not even noting the pattern I was making, just knowing that I was keeping the higher numbers along the top and repetitively building up the numbers from the bottom. I stopped trying to think through the process and instead went with the flow as I rhythmically built up my numbers.image

Time was going by without my noticing it…what seemed a mere few minutes turned out to be hours. Oh, but in the end it was worth it, wasn’t it? I got that elusive tile only to learn that I could keep going! I wondered if I could get to 4096! I didn’t…but I mastered 2048 and could do it again. I decided to hang up my spurs and move on to greener pastures.

There is something addictive about games, so I limit myself to a few. I play Scramble With Friends with just my sister. I play Words With Friends with several Friends. I like that Words doesn’t have the pressure of being timed, so I play more of those games and can do so more at my leisure. The only other game I play is Spider Solitaire…ironic given my phobia of spiders and having to look at them on the backs of the cards…it makes me feel like I’m conquering something, anyway.

So, 2048 is gone. I achieved my goal and moved on. I guess I wasted some of my vacation time, but it did help me to decompress, and maybe that’s just what I needed.

Find the Joy in the Journey…sometimes it’s okay to take a detour!

Why I Hate The Cable Company

Six days without internet and cable, and I was ready to be re-hooked up. My eyes were buggy from staring at my tiny phone screen to catch-up on Facebook, e-mail, and to play games with friends. I really couldn’t go off-the-grid as long as I had one last device to use, but I sure missed my computer. I didn’t miss the cable, but I did finally succumb to Downton Abbey fever. Even so, I anxiously awaited the arrival of the cable guy on Tuesday. He never came. That is why I hate the cable company.

I called customer service and was told that “someone” canceled my appointment two days after it was made and gave no reason. Funny how I got a confirmation e-mail as soon as the appointment hit their system, but someone could mysteriously cancel the same appointment and I would get no notification whatsoever. There was a question of whether or not I’d been “verified” by the third party verifier and if I’d passed the financial screening to waive up-front payment. Now, even so, if I’d needed to take an additional step, I think I would have been notified. No, I think they just got too busy and dropped my appointment with no notice. The customer service rep cheerfully set me up with a new appointment for Friday.

With my daughter in activities every evening, I pulled-out my unopened set of Downton Abbey DVD’s, grateful that at least I didn’t need cable to watch them. I was soon lost in the world of a noble British family circa 1912. By the eighth day, I was into the third season and worried about when the fourth would be available. Entails, heirs, class, society, maids, valets, butlers, and scandals filled my evenings. Reading, writing, and running were forgotten as I lost myself in the series.

I’m not much for moderation…I go on reading jags when I find a fun series, I write a blog every-other-day for 2+ years after pushing the button on the first one, I go on half-marathon training schedules when I decide to try running. I love TV on DVD because I hate being beholden to the TV schedule and when I “discover” a show, I want to watch the entire thing, season after season, as fast as I have time to do so. I usually watch with my kids, but two have flown the nest (at least temporarily) and my youngest is incredibly busy in the evenings. Over the years, we’ve watched many series together, but this time, I’m watching on my own. Tonight my youngest is on a school trip, so I’m really feeling the empty nest as I write my blog in the coffee shop.

Time to go home and watch a few more episodes and pray that the cable guy doesn’t stand me up again. There is one hopeful sign that did not happen the last time…I got a confirmation call.

Find the Joy in the Journey…sometimes that means losing yourself in the story.

How To Kill An Orchid–Almost

Over a month ago, I went to the bridal shower of my nephew’s bride. My younger daughter and I traveled to Chicago by car…a ten hour round trip for a 2 hour party…and well worth it! We had a lovely time and became the winners of three gorgeous orchid plants. She won one as youngest guest, we won one for traveling the farthest, and I won one for having a wedding anniversary closest to the wedding day (one day apart). We gave one to my niece, as three were just too bounteous!

I wish I’d taken a picture of the two or three…they were gorgeous cascades of lavender and purple blooms. Back home, I kept them well watered, but the blossoms fell off, one by one. I meant, really I did, to do some research on orchids so that I could keep them alive. I got busy. Busy with running, writing, work, and my younger daughter’s basketball and softball schedules. Busy with graduations , reunions, and weddings and all the ensuing celebrations. Busy with the quarter close at work. Now, here I am with a forced week off from work and time, finally, to do my research.

OrchidHere are my orchids…one has no blossoms left at all, and one has only a small, single bloom left. Finally, I looked up the care of orchids on the internet and found answers on about.com in an article by Jon VanZile entitled, Growing Indoor Orchids. Oh my, I’ve been caring for them all wrong. Fortunately, all is not lost. The normal conditions of natural orchids are as such:

  • Strong light, but not direct late-afternoon sunlight
  • High humidity
  • Turbulent air flow around the roots
  • Regular periods of drying, alternating with drenching rains
  • Temperatures between 50 degrees and about 85 degrees

The article goes on to describe the normal state of a store-bought orchid, and it exactly matches the conditions of mine:

“Most store-bought orchids come packaged in cheap plastic pots with the roots packed in soaked moss. Obviously, this violates two of the main rules of successful growth. There is no air flow around the roots, and the roots are never given a chance to completely dry out.”

Fortunately, the article also cautions against repotting while the plant is blooming, giving me the reprieve I need. It also gives me the time to buy the appropriate pot and potting soil so that the roots can completely dry out in-between waterings.

So, in the midst of my busy life, I will take the time to cultivate some orchids. I will buy the right paraphernalia and pause to learn the proper care of the delicate orchid. I hope to be rewarded with a new set of cascading purple and white blossoms!

Find the Joy in the Journey and the rewards of learning a new skill!