If you've ever found yourself in one of these situations, we've got something for you:
• You're chatting with a group of coworkers or friends, and they're all going on about some piece of news that happened today, and you don't know anything about it because you haven't had a chance to catch up on the latest reports.
• You're dashing out to grab lunch, or some groceries, or pick up your children, and you realize you really should've grabbed a coat, or an umbrella (or this past winter, a third extra scarf).
You've got a million ways to get all sorts of information, but it can be really helpful when that information is brought directly to you. That's why, starting this week, Suburban Life is offering readers a chance to sign up for free for text messaging alerts.
But don't worry, this isn't one of those deals where we spam your phone with all sorts of nonsense that's irrelevant to you. You can personalize exactly what sorts of messages you'll receive.
Among the options are:
• Breaking news text alerts for your county or your community (or both). Just pick the cities or villages most interesting to you. If you live in a smallish town that's not listed, you can pick the nearest bigger community. Select as many or as few cities as you like.
• AMBER Alerts from local authorities for children reported missing and in danger.
• Breaking weather alerts from the National Weather Service. If the NWS issues a severe weather watch or warning, you'll get an immediate message with the details. In cases of severe weather, that can make a big difference for your safety.
• A daily weather forecast. Just the expected high and low temperatures and a few details about what to expect for the day's conditions.
• High school sports news and scores. If you have a high school athlete in the family, or maybe you're still a big fan of your alma mater, then you'll want to select one or more of these.
If you're interested, you can sign up online at shawurl.com/texts. In the electronic age, it's the Internet equivalent of the newsboy on the corner shouting "Extra! Extra! Read all about it!"
Dave Lemery is managing editor of Suburban Life Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 630-427-6250.