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Jill Pertler

Slices of Life


Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, playwright and author of "The Do-It-Yourselfer's Guide to Self-Syndication." More columns are available at the Slices of Life page on Facebook.



Survey says . . .
By Jill Pertler

We’ve all partaken in the occasional survey, whether it be for business (customer feedback), pleasure (what’s your personality type), political purposes (donkey or elephant) or just to get a head count of your household (U.S. census). Back in the day, I used to peruse my Seventeen™ magazine in search of a survey about boyfriend types or what my nail polish color said about me. In college I took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® personality inventory to find out if I was an INFP (or maybe it was an ESTJ.) Even TV is dependent on surveys — the Nielsen ratings and Family Feud couldn’t exist without them.

Questionnaires, inventories, surveys — whatever you want to call them — have been around for eons. The concept is ancient, literally. According to my sources, the Babylonians were the first known society to survey the population in the form of a census. They counted people,

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 11:20 AM
 
Charger envy
By Jill Pertler

It’s become an integral part of my family’s everyday life: Charging. And I’m not talking about the kind you do at a store with a plastic rectangle, although I am proud to announce we are pre-approved at least once a week.

Plugging in has become a part of our daily routine and at my house we’re suffering from a new-millennium malady — charger envy. It all stems from cellphones. You’ve got to keep them powered up if you want to stay connected. A solid connection is required if you want instant access to reddit, and who doesn’t?

My family is preoccupied with keeping

Tuesday, June 10, 2014 1:58 PM
 
The day of Doug
By Jill Pertler

He bounded into the yard Saturday morning around 10 — unannounced and uninvited — with an enthusiasm usually reserved for squirrels. He was off-putting at first, in part because of his exuberance and in part because of his mouth. It had teeth and a tongue and when it comes to unknown dogs, you’re never sure which is going to take precedence. Thankfully, this 80-pound transient was all tail wags and slobbery kisses.

But I didn’t know that during the first moments of our meeting. He was a strange dog. I even said it out loud, “Hello, strange dog.” I could tell right away that wasn’t his name, so I decided to call him “Dog.” No one wants to be strange.

It was one of those day-changing or weekend-changing

Tuesday, June 03, 2014 10:10 AM
 
Half-empty nesters
By Jill Pertler

Fledgling birds know instinctively when it is time to leave the nest. Thing is, for them there is no going back. Bird nests are high up in trees, making it impossible for baby birds to hop back up. Once they jump out, they are on the ground and must learn to find food, fly, get up early and otherwise survive on their own. Baby birds do not have any time for hokey pokey or fooling around. Move it or lose it never took on such meaning.

Empty nester is the term used to describe a parent whose children have grown up and flown the coop, leaving the nest empty. Or so the theory goes.

Fledgling humans, otherwise known as 18-year-olds,

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 12:59 PM
 
Car talk
By Jill Pertler

As drivers, we all possess certain pieces of equipment related to the operation of our vehicles. A license is a good start. Keys are a necessary second. GPS comes in handy for new and distant destinations. We all understand the importance of plenty of window washer fluid and regular oil changes. Car air fresheners work as fragrant reminders of a tropical island while on the Interstate. All these items help make life on the road safer and easier. But something’s missing. It’s a tool that we don’t have — yet — but I wish we did. It involves communication. Not with your passengers. Not with your spouse via cellphone, but with those who share the road with you. Drivers have a need to communicate

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 9:46 AM
 
An ode to true love
By Jill Pertler

My husband and I have been married for 20-something years. I thought I knew the exact number by heart, however, during a recent conversation, he corrected my math. I’d been adding an extra 365 days to the duration of our wedded bliss. That’s a whole year. This made me feel a little guilty. Like I take our time together for granted. Which I try not to. But I do, I guess, on occasion.

Twenty-something is a long time, by anyone’s standards. Together we’ve weathered one baby’s colic and three teens’ behind-the-wheel instructions. We’ve made car and mortgage payments (on time, mostly), installed kitchen sinks and bathroom fixtures while attempting

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 11:02 AM
 
Living room hockey
By Jill Pertler

For more years than I’d like to admit, there have been two mainstays inhabiting my living room floor: mini-hockey sticks and nets. (Dust bunnies are a third, but they don’t go with my theme.)

Bright orange floor hockey nets serve as near-permanent fixtures, flanking either side of the room. I step over them to readjust the coffee table, which was displaced to make space for the boys’ game. Returning the furniture to its rightful spot is often a twice-daily ritual, completed in the morning and then again before dinner. It’s a real biceps builder, but I don’t like to brag.

I contend with floor hockey equipment.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014 9:30 AM
 
Pet talk
By Jill Pertler

Yesterday, I accidentally stepped on the cat’s tail, and she let me know I’d committed an error of a horrendous nature. I apologized profusely, of course, but she wasn’t in the mood to forgive. She doesn’t take kindly to tail endangerment.

This isn’t the first time I’ve apologized to my pets — or conversed with them. Far from it. When my dog is lying on the stairway landing and I have to step over her, I say, “Excuse me,” like I owe her that. I also speak platitudes to my animals. They are so pretty. So darling. The nicest kitty — or puppy — ever.

I don’t know if they understand a

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 10:23 AM
 
The biggest losers
By Jill Pertler

I live in a family of losers, and admit somewhat reluctantly that I am one of the chief contributors to our misplacements. I am responsible for some sort of loss nearly every day; and it’s not in any way related to weight, unfortunately. My purse, sunglasses and car keys are all fair game. I am not alone. My oldest son occasionally loses money at the casino. My husband also loses cash but in a different way; it jumps from his wallet to the kids’ pockets. We lose hockey games and the TV remote. Our batteries lose their charge. We lose socks in the dryer all the time.

Our home is like a black hole for any number of losable

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 9:29 AM
 
Backside bling
By Jill Pertler

I grew up in an era where cool jeans came outfitted with a tiny red rectangular tag and a number somewhere in the 500s. The choices were straightforward — boot-cut or straight leg, stonewashed or regular. Mom jeans hadn’t been invented, because those of us wearing them weren’t moms yet.

It was a simpler time, when jeans were jeans. They covered what they needed to cover and served as a practical staple in one’s wardrobe. Times have changed. Hip, fashion-forward folks make statements with their derrieres by way of fancy stitching, rhinestones and other gaudy adornments. Bling, baby — it’s hit our rear ends and it’s hit them hard.

I’m not merely talking about the attire of 20ish trendsetters,

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 12:58 PM
 
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