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Michael Picarella: Random bits from the ‘burbs

Picarella Family Report

Posted: September 18, 2009 10:16 p.m.
Updated: September 19, 2009 4:55 a.m.
ATM troubles
While waiting in line for the drive-up ATM, the woman a few cars in front of me struggled from the driver’s seat of her vehicle to reach the buttons on the machine.

So she stepped out of the car and accomplished the transaction on foot, accidentally bumping her door shut. The automatic door locks went into effect, locking all four doors and her baby inside.

After failing to coach the baby into unlocking the door, the woman called someone on her cell phone, and within five minutes, a man in a blacked-out sedan came speeding into the parking lot, left arm extended out the window with a keyless-entry remote in hand, clicking away at the button. The woman’s doors unlocked, allowing access inside the car and access to the child.

The man in the blacked-out sedan sped out of the parking lot as fast as he’d entered—the woman’s embarrassed husband, no doubt.

Free couch

My 6-year-old son and I were on a walk to the park when we came across a couch someone had placed in front of their house at curbside, a sign on the couch indicating it was free for the taking. I stopped my son before he could sit down — the couch was filthy.

Nobody in his or her right mind would accept this free gift, let alone put it in their home as an actual piece of furniture.

The couch sat on the street for about a week. Even the “Free” sign made it all seven days. One morning, while driving by, I noticed someone replaced the “Free” sign with a sign that read “$50.” Someone stole the couch within the hour.

Attention Hillary
I sometimes write about family friends in my column, prompting one friend, Hillary Agamata, to request I give her the “heads up” if I write about her.

Since it’s such a small town, she didn’t want to find out about such news secondhand.

This is to you, Hillary: I’m writing about you in my column today.

You speak window?
My family and I were wandering through the neighborhood strip mall when a kid, banging on the window from inside a store, seemed to be speaking to us.

The boy was clearly telling us something important, and we stopped and tried to make it out. I couldn’t hear a word he was saying nor could I read what he was saying by his lip movements. I asked my wife if she could understand the kid. She said she doesn’t speak window.

My wife and I finished some exhausting housework, then took a stroll down Town Center Drive to find a place to eat—neither one of us wanted to cook.

As we strolled, my wife told me how she’d hit her limit, that she was mentally and physically worn out, that she wouldn’t be able walk back to the car after dinner, that she might not make it though dinner without passing out in her plate of food, that she couldn’t remember if she was even hungry anymore ... and then she saw that “pearlized leather” Coach bag in the store window and regained energy to go inside and gawk.

While eating dinner at a restaurant, my 6-year-old son held his knife and fork together and said that the two were magnetic.

My wife and I played along, not wanting to discourage the use of his imagination.

And then he showed us that his knife and fork were, in fact, magnetic, dangling the fork from the magnetized knife.

Michael Picarella is a Valencia resident and a proud husband and father. His column reflects his own opinion and not necessarily that of The Signal. To contact Picarella or to read more stories, go to


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