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Ship Log

Eleven Sure Signs I’m (still) in Council Bluffs, Iowa

Or, how I pass my time in the family home of my S.O.

1. I’m entering every damn contest I come across…especially if it involves travel. No worries if the entry takes hours to complete; I have plenty of time. And I’m motivated. (See #5.)

2. I’m playing not one, but four, Scrabble games via Facebook.

Stunned woodpecker after crashing into the window

3. I started using the Peterson Feeder Birds phone app, to track birds I see in the backyard. I quickly upgraded to the more complete Peterson Birds of North America so I can include my lifetime sightings. Highlights of this activity include spotting four types of woodpeckers, learning the difference between House Sparrows and Song Sparrows, and being able to play bird songs on my phone. Wish you were here?

4. I studiously complete surveys related to retail and online experiences – especially if there are cash or travel prizes involved. (See #1.) Walgreens and Ace Hardware, for example, offer a brief online survey which, when completed, yields a coupon for savings on the next visit. Whoop! Another reason to go shopping. (See #10.)

5. I’m a self-taught videographer. I made my first video via iMovie in order to win a Travelocity trip around the world. The next one won’t take as long.

The midget house. Owners Jean and Inez Bregant worked for the carnival.

6. I know the time (4:30 p.m.) and channel (8) for Jeopardy broadcasts.

7. I’m almost accustomed to the train whistles and air traffic, which in dreamland are frequently confused with lifeguard whistles, disasters, cat fights, and thunder.

8. I’m a card-carrying member of the YMCA/Omaha which includes the Council Bluffs site three blocks away.

9. I’ve learned a few things about conversing with my sweet mother-in-law. Speak loudly and slowly. Avoid certain topics, like gas heaters, Creighton Prep, casinos, and my husband’s happiness quotient. Humor her through retellings of the ‘hate stories,’ as one of her friends called them, about a former gas heater, a former jewelry repair service, a former eye doctor, and anyone who requests another blood test.

10. I’m always willing to run errands. It’s an excuse to get out of the house and a means of menu planning.

11. I have a tendency to document this town as if it were a foreign country, because it is.

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