By Linda Hall
The Christmas tree is up, the decorations are all over the house and the lights - well, they are finally on.
Of course all the batteries were flat so on Monday I bought some more. Right, let's open that little plastic box that houses the batteries. I tugged, I pulled, I pushed, I got a knife and attacked it — it broke.
After half an hour fighting with them and saying very un-Christmas like words, I had a brainwave. I asked Google.
I typed 'how do you open the plastic battery boxes?"
The answer was "find the four vertical lines in the shape of a triangle, press gently and slide the lid back."
No way, I thought. It cannot be that easy. I found the lines, I pressed gently while sliding the lid back and guess what? It worked a treat. Amazing.
After years of battling with these silly plastic boxes the answer was right under my nose.
It's funny how our minds work. We battle away with a problem when often the solution is just a matter of asking a question. Not just on Google.
People ask all kinds of questions on Facebook, followed by "asking for a friend".
However it was nothing to do with social media that solved another problem for me.
Quite the opposite, in fact. When my beautiful mum passed away nearly three years ago, in one of her drawers was a gadget for opening jars. I have had jar-opening gadgets before that don't work.
This is old and consists of just two parts, the handle and the part that clicks onto the lid. Any size lid — you simply push the handle until the top part is tightly gripping the lid and turn.
It works every time. I'm not sure how old it is but it just goes to show you that sometimes old is good, and simple is best.
Speaking of simple. On Saturday afternoon the School Girls and I had a simple lunch on the deck at home. It was our Christmas party - unfortunately one of them couldn't make it because they weren't feeling that flash and did the right thing by staying at home.
There was fish and chips, secret Santa - although one person forgot their secret Santa (she didn't miss out, though) - lots of talking and laughing and a flying umbrella.
Silly me presumed ( I should know better) that the umbrella was securely positioned to the table. In fact, one of the girls asked me the question as we were putting it up as it was a bit windy.
Just before lunch we were sitting there enjoying the beautiful outdoors when a gust of wind hit the umbrella. I watched in horror as it started to lift out of the umbrella stand.
It was if it was in slow motion. Gently lifting up. I made a grab for it at same time as one of the other girls.
It's a big umbrella, and I had visions of it flying straight through the ranch slider - it most likely would have if the guttering didn't stop it as we held on for dear life, trying to put it down while the wind fought with us to send it sky-high.
The guttering, like our hotdogs and fish, was left rather battered.
I won't say who didn't secure it properly. It is now firmly secured, so next time it's up I won't be carried away over the stream like Mary Poppins — hang on — I might unsecure it.
Linda Hall is assistant editor at Hawke's Bay Today