Wednesday, December 23, 2009
So, I called 1-800-ASK-USPS for help because you said "We're here to help." In truth, no one was there to help. I went through a wild goose chase of menu options, none of which were "talk to a customer support representative." I gave up and sent an email through your "Contact Us" link only to be told that a postal service worker would contact me in one to two business days. One to two business days will probably translate to Monday...three days AFTER Christmas.
I called my local post office and finally did talk to a person, Marilyn. She was friendly enough and thought I nailed it right on the head with my OK/OH theory. I asked her if there were any way we could expedite the package, even pay extra. She said no since they have no idea where the package is until it checks in again, which, really? I mean, seriously? You all don't know? So, seeing as how it took 5 days to travel the wrong direction, I'm sure it will take at least that to get back. Which translates to Monday...three days AFTER Christmas.
So here's my theory: The package will arrive in time for Orthodox Christmas and We'll get a call from your representatives around Easter. We'll get no apology and the box will be crushed and have stamps from FL, PA, OK, OBX, NS, TGIF's and USSR (having gone back in time before hitting our doorstep).
The worst part about this is that, yeah, it kind of sucks that my daughter won't get her impossible-to-find anomatronic hamster toy and habitrail for Christmas (Occidental), but at no time did I get an apology for the mistake. I got: Your item was misrouted by the shipper. The error has been corrected and every effort is being made to deliver it as soon as possible. How much extra would it have cost to add "We apologize" at the end of that statement? Why didn't Marilyn apologize to me. Why didn't she have the power to find the package, find a plane and get that thing on there? Oh, yeah...I forgot: you're with the government.
Don't get me wrong; I support the government. Hell, I'm a liberal and I'm all for big government. And I understand you may have had to lay people off and you don't have anyone to man the phones. And it's the holidays...you want some time off too. Fine. Then don't then lead me to expect I'll get service by using a friendly 1-800-Ask-USPS number. Don't give me a shipping window that, while a generous estimate for UPS, would be considered wildly creative wishful thinking by postal workers. And don't mislead me into thinking that the post office cares any more than it did 25 years ago. If you're not going to be a stickler for details, let us know the truth. Change your motto from "Connecting People and Business" to "Using the shotgun effect to deliver mail and trusting that eventually we'll sort it all out."
You'd think that since mail volume fell some by some 28 billion pieces this year, you'd have time to look at an address and put packages on the proper trucks. Or would it just be easier for Ohio to change it's name to Ziox, in order to avoid further confusion. Perhaps you've cut employee's vision care so they can't afford glasses and therefore cannot distinguish between a "k" and an "h." Whatever the reason, I'd call this a fail on the level of urban legend.
Let's just hope Santa bails your ass out on this one.
Update: My Mom received a phone call from an apologetic and patronizing woman. She said she was sorry but the package wouldn't arrive until Saturday. She also kept saying that "Parcel Post is 3rd class mail" and we should have shipped it some other way. Now, my Mom is totally bummed. Thanks, John, for ruining Christmas.
- All the bells and whistles with lots of presents
- A spiritual and inspiring day to celebrate life in mid-winter
- A sky-clad dance around the burning yule log
- A long sob and a tall Long Island ice tea
I'm gearing up for a special event myself; I'm hosting my Dad's side of the family for Christmas. On Sunday, I'll have 13 people in my little house. It's been a bit of a logistical struggle. My house isn't exactly palatial. I actually don't have a dining room, so having a meal has proven to be a bit of tricky business.
But Doc's been a real trooper and the kids have started to help out too. Last weekend we got the basement, kitchen and living room standing tall. Last night we got Riley's room spiffed up and we got started in Lucy's room and our room. Lucy has been a big help since she is willing to give up most of her toys to charity. We actually had to go through her box and put stuff back! Riley is very sentimental and reluctant to part with much of anything. To clear her clutter, we'll be bagging it up and putting it in the basement so she can still get to it if she wants.
So, what we do we have left to do before Sunday?
- Finish cleaning our room
- Finish cleaning Lucy's room
- Clean front bathroom
- Clean back bathroom
- Magic-erase the walls (just to take the crayon off of it, not remove the walls entirely)
- Go grocery shopping
- bake cookies
- prepare large batch of mac and chees for the vegetarians
- Do a final number-puzzle shuffle to maximize room in the kitchen
- Set up a table in the basement for people to eat at (the basement is finished so they won't be eating in a cave...ooh...maybe I should get some candles to warm it up down there!)
Everything else can be done on the day of the party, such as preparing the roast and if I'm feeling lucky the Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna Roll-ups with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce. Doc thninks we'll be spending Christmas day cleaning, but I think we'll be fine. We got a lot done yesterday and I think I can knock out the bedrooms and the bathrooms tonight.
The rest is gravy.
Anyhoo...We're busy and happy and everyone seems to be playing on the same team. It's not too cold out and January still doesn't seem like a reality yet. But when winter finally does heft herself up and plop down on our heads, we'll find a way to remember that spring is just around the corner. Until then, we can enjoy our de-clutterfied home, play with our toys and laugh our heads off.
Merry Christmas to you. Hugs and kisses!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Anyway, I ran into one of them the other day and he was all like "Ahh!" and I was all "Shut up!" and we laughed and laughed. Then we went out and got some of those hot drinks at that coffee shop near the back of the school off of what used to be Route 62. While we were there they were playing that song by that chick and he got all weepy. And I was like "Aw," and he was like, "I know, right?" And then we laughed until we spit coffee at each other.
After we cleaned up we were walking past the video store that used to be a movie theater and we were remembering the time we all saw that one movie with that guy in it before he was married to that one actress but after he married the other one. That was before the spitting, of course...we were just kids. But we were laughing at how dumb that movie was and I told him you and I still hung out and he was all "No way!" and I was like "Duh!" and we almost got hit by a car when we tried to cross that street over by the green house that burned down.
Anyway, he wanted me to tell you "Hi."
Monday, December 14, 2009
Thursday, December 03, 2009
I'm sure you've probably already heard from Doc that our kitty, Midnight, was struck by a car sometime Tuesday night and died, we are sure, instantly. Those who have met us know that I wasn't crazy about this old cat. We adopted her as an adult cat in 1999 from a wealthy family. I remember going to the door of their HUGE house and waiting for the lady of the house gather up Midnight's gear while her many priviliged children stared at me.
I got Midnight in the car and she curled up shivering at my feet as we made the 45 minute drive home. She was scared at our house and she tried to hide in small places, which was tricky because she was HUGE too. Fortunately, she had a bell on her collar at that time and we could usually find her. One day, while we were at work, she got behind the dryer. I couldn't find her, but Doc did. He tipped the dryer towards him and she hopped up on it, then up on his shoulders. Ever since then, Doc has been her favorite.
Don't get me wrong, she could be nice to me if I were feeling sick. She'd snuggle up on my side or back and keep me warm. She was especially fond of me when I was pregnant. But once I had Riley and then Lucy, she and I didn't see eye to eye. I became averse to her and she to me. Every now and then, she'd attack me for no good reason. She'd just be walking past and something in her little kitty brain would just SNAP and she'd jump for my head.
But since the kids are no longer babies, she and I developed a kind of detant. Since I'm the first one up in the mornings, she would make sure I was up at least 10 minutes before the alarm went off. I'd feed her and let her out and go about my day. She'd greet me in the driveway sometimes when I got home or she'd look up and nod "hey" to me if she were in the house. She returned to snuggling with me on my puny days and we grudgingly pressed on together.
Originally, Midnight was an indoor cat, but when we got her, we lived in the country. She was itching to get out and see it all. She'd stay close to the house and was content to sleep near the bird feeders. But eventually, she'd get brave and she started crossing the street to head up the forested hill. We worried about her crossing the street. It was not a busy street, but when someone came down that road, they flew. But she survied and never got hurt.
We eventually moved to a town house in the suburbs, where Midnight didn't get to go out. We tried putting a harness on her, but she would just melt to the floor. It was very strange. She would not stand up if you put a leash on her.
Eventually we came to our current house, which has a great big back yard but is on a busy street. We've been here almost four years and all that time, Midnight has gone outside. One time she left and didn't come home for three days. But other than that, she's stuck close to home and never ventured to the front yard...that we know of.
Sadly, she must have found her bravery or curiousity drove her to try to get to the other side of the street. Adventure lured her and she took the bait. Only to be struck down on the street.
I was punched with a fistful of grief in the gut when I saw her remains. She's been a part of our family for 11 years or so and the girls have never known life without her. We've fed her, cleaned up after her, pet her, endured her moods, and tripped over her in the middle of the night. I blamed noises in the house on her rather than get scared by creaks I couldn't rightly explain. But I will miss that old girl.
Hail and fairwell, Midnight. We'll miss your imperious presence and your warmth on days we feel puny.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
I know this is the time; this is the time to be
More than a name or face in the crowd
I know this is the time; this is the time of my life
The time of my life
--David Cook's "Winner's single" from American Idol
I listen to the local top 40 radio station in the mornings while getting ready and heading to work. It's not too obnoxious and I get to hear the weather report pretty regularly. Some of the songs they play are all right, but it seems like they have a repertoire of about 25 tunes. And they play the crap out of Time of My Life. And when I hear the line about "living out loud" I cringe and regret that I can't un-hear it.
First of all, the line "I'll taste every moment and living out loud" doesn't even make sense nor is it a shining example of good grammar. But I forgive grammar issues in songs because it's more about rhythm and meter and sometimes you've just got to fudge it.
When I hear the phrase "living out loud" I instantly picture the scene from the movie of the same name where Holly Hunter is high on Ecstasy and sniffing Danny Davito in an elevator. So then I can't unsee that for a while.
It starts a train of thought about what the hell "living out loud" even means. I suspect it's some sort of antiwallflowerianism brought about by a mid-life crisis. At least that's what I think that movie is about. And certainly, David Cook might be nearing his mid-life crisis point so it nearly fits (if you squint). At least the person who wrote that little gem of a song was likely to have decided to ditch the pocket protector to grab the tiger by the tail and ride!
Call me old-fashioned, but I'm not sure I want to be around people who are living out loud. I mean, good for you and all for the breakthrough and what not, but I'm unlikely to be swept away with you on your tiger ride. Please don't be offended if I'm not overwhelmed by the new awareness you have. And don't ask me to join you at the top of the water tower to proclaim, well, pretty much anything. I'm really not good with heights or proclamations; both give me vertigo.
But I am happy for you. Just keep it down, ok?
Monday, November 16, 2009
My stomach turned over as I then saw next vehicle, a green minivan, honk and go around the downed man. I turned into the Mr. Hero parking lot and dashed inside. I needed to get paper and pencil to jot down the licnese before I forgot it. They were already on the phone to 911...
"A man just got hit by a car on Tusc in front of the Mr. Hero..."
And then she turned to me, "Was he dead?"
"No," I said, shivering. I had seen him moving as people began to gather around his injured body, half on the curb and half in the street.
She reported this to the ambulance as I finished writing down the license and description of the truck. I went back outside and pulled my car into a parking spot rather than leaving it in the middle of the parking lot. I got out and stood about 50 feet away from the poor guy; other samaratans were trying to keep him still until the ambulance arrived.
In the meantime, his friend from across the street came over. She was very upset to see him. He was crossing the street to buy her a pack of cigarettes. She was barefoot and distraught when she learned that the truck who hit him continued on it's merry way but she was somewhat relieved that I had grabbed most of the license plate number.
Once he was safely in the ambulance, the police arrived and an officer started questioning the witnesses. As is always the case, our stories differed. One lady had witnessed the hit and run from behind and couldn't swear it was the truck or the minivan that hit him. I defiinately saw the truck hit him, but I thought the truck had a cap and she said that it didn't have a cap, but was full of junk in the back. Neither of us could describe the driver. The officer gave us clip boards, pens and statements to complete and sign.
I stood on the sidewalk next to Tusc trying to capture everything I remembered. Once I paused to look down and think and I realized I was standing right where he had been struck. I saw a pool of blood and a bloody handprint on the street two feet away from me. I looked away, suddenly recalling the last time I had seen a pedestrian struck by a vehicle.
I finished my statement, handed it over to the officer in charge and he sent me on my way. To get another close look at our mortality and the fragility of life at a service for my cousin's husband's grandfather, Pap. Before I went into the funeral home, I paused to call Doc and tell him what happened and that once the calling hours were over, I was coming home and never leaving the house again.
Needless to say, this was not a typical Sunday for me. I am usually gathered around the tiki with the neighbors, while our kids gad about in the leaves and we enjoy the last warm days of autumn, standing in it's long light and shadows. But yesterday, I stepped on a rake, which knocked me on the head and let loose chaos in my mind and in my heart. I could barely continue without imagining the pedestrians near the road getting knocked about like rag dolls. I also couldn't get out of my mind the fact that the people attending the calling hours were more inclined to talk about their own problems rather than remember the dearly departed and his impact on their lives.
It made me think about my cousin, who's lost so many people in her life and how many Memory Boards she's had to put together over the years. I thought of how, even though she had a total hysterectomy three weeks ago, she still pulled on a dress and pantyhose and heels to show up for the family. And how she'd had to sit down (at my insistence), take some medicine and rest, since hugging aggravated her abdomen a great deal. I parked myself next to her, blocked the huggers, and shooed off anyone who looked like they might upset her in any way. I sat there for an hour and a half, observing, serving and trying not to concentrate on the violence I had recently witnessed, but being reminded when I'd happen to glance over at Pap's embalmed self.
When asked, I said, I was fine, never better. I listened to the family stories that trickled in, the detailing of other people's recent surgery, the pat offers of sympathy and respect. Finally, when the calling hours were over, Pap's siblings and cousins, all elderly, gathered around his open casket and knelt or stood to say the Lord's Prayer. It was moving if surreal, against the back drop of the casual others who stood around talking about the mundane.
It's unlocked something for me. I'm feeling the pain of the loss of those who have walked on and I don't think I've fully begun to deal with. Even for those who have been gone 15 years or more. Some of those folks were old and it was reasonable and not unexpected to see them pass. Others were too soon, too sudden. Still, I couldn't grieve. I would be sad for passing moments but I didn't feel the gulf of our separation. I'd dream about them and still feel connected.
But...I don't know...today they're all close and I'm missing them. And I want them here. I also want things I know I can't have, like seeing what my children would look like as little old ladies. But most of all, I want you to cross the street carefully and pass that message on. We take so much for granted, but there's so much random violence out there. Why take the chance and shave 2 minutes off your trip only to end up forever in a wheelchair? Think about it, won't you?
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
But then I joined Facebook and hooked up with a bunch of ghosts from the past, namely Friendwhores who happened to go to my high school. I'm an old softy from way back and I found I couldn't resist someone who wanted to be my friend, even someone who for all intents and purposes was a complete stranger to me.
Well, today, I unfriended someone for the first time. This asshat, let me call him "Brent," would fall into the "complete stranger" category. And his status updates would alternate between the very banal to Howard Stern-lite type remarks. For example, one day he would say, "I have to stop treating my body like an amusement park." Then next day: "Happiness is mostly a byproduct of doing what makes us feel fulfilled."
In fact that last remark is what finally gave me the courage to jettison him from my Friends list. If I wanted to hear that kind of bullshit pablum, I'd go hang out at the flea market and read the appliqued sweatshirts or country-style wooden signs. Also, the amusement park remark was not even clever enough to be entertaining. it was too obvious.
These type of status updates beg the questions: Where is the profundity? Where is the irony? On Blogger, that's where.
I guess I blame blogging for having my expectations set too high. Bloggers of a certain age are so much more like what I imagine my generation is like. And having run into so many like minded bloggers who started off as strangers for the most part, I was given over to the assumption that most people my age who are online are exactly the type of people I'd point to and say: there's a fellow Gen-X-er! Sadly, many of the people who find themselves in my graduating class are cheesy and outwardly wholesome-sounding and don't represent themselves well as cynical, frustrated, unmotivated slackers I expected them to be.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Getting to Trader Joe's meant driving almost past our old house. It really stirred up bittersweetness. Lucy was a baby in that house but we were so isolated. No close friends or family and a house that was sucking the life and money out of us. It was a very tough time emotionally for me for many reasons.
But still...I drive by and recall the sunny Saturday afternoons when the orthodox folks clad in black travelled on foot to Temple past our window. I remember my elderly neighbors' wild flower garden. I had a great little car and we could walk to about any store we needed to go to.
But mostly, it kind of sucked.
And driving past there opened a wound in my heart. Here I am on the road again, yet near some place I once called home. And I don't have Doc or Riley or Lucy with me. It was a pang and a longing. And some pretty deep sadness. We'd really been through the shit there.
I got back to the hotel and logged into Facebook so that I could dive into my photos of the kids and Doc and soak them up until someone picked up the phone at home.
Poor Doc...all hemmed up with a cold and donuts everywhere at work. The kids are pooped...Grandma is pooped. We're all strung out and discombobulated.
But tomorrow, I'll land back in my nest in my cozy home with near my family and friends. I really want to soak it up to, because, in a way, we've really emerged from a tunnel in into that far-distant light. Sure, we may still be essentially broke. But we've got everything we didn't have in Cleveland: good friends, good neighbors, family close by, jobs we like if not love, kids in school and thriving. And I can't remember the last time I felt depressed.
Maybe the force is finally with me...
Monday, September 28, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
The worst, though, was the adnoidal woman of a certain age who went on ad nauseum about how nice and "womanly" it was to have lunch with just women. Imagine! They only talked about sales and it was so relaxing! No one mentioned construction, or, one presumes, math. They just were girly!
She also went on at length about a trial she was on the jury for, which I won't burden you with. I was ready to impale myself on my drinking straw by the end of my meal when she started talking about someone's birthday at the table and whom did that man secretly want to spank ::winkwink::.
Needless to say, I read 1.5 pages of my book...8 times. Next time, I will trust my instincts and go ahead and ask for a different table before I even sit down.
Now I'm in such a bad mood, nothing but a ton of comments on this post will make me feel better.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Monday, August 31, 2009
Here's a list of what I've done so far:
- Organized the kitchen cupboards
- Removed the excess layer of crappy toys from the girls rooms
- Set up a "cozy corner" in their bedrooms so they have a spot to read
- Organized Riley's armoir...I ran out of time to do Lucy's drawers and closet yesterday
- Rearranged furniture
- Adopted a stern tone and voiced my expectations clearly and resolutely
- Cancelled the cable (just internet and netflix. It's good for you...)
Doc and I are the baby and the only child respectively in our familes and let's just say that we've both experienced some discipline issues in the past. To put it plainly, we procrastinate. Well, not anymore. Now, it is my plan to get the work out of the way before goofing off. It's just like my Mom told me it should be. And I hope to have all hands on deck for this. I'm sure it's going to take more than a whistle to make it happen; we are all so daggone independent. But I think the benefits of teamwork will reveal themselves in this endeavor.
Mom was right of course. I'm happier when I leave the house and it's standing tall, rather than dashing off and coming home to one mess or another. Also, it feels good to have everything ready in advance. I'm hoping the feeling is addictive...and contagious. I'm also more open to others when I know I don't have anything hanging over my head. I want to be a better friend, daughter, mother, wife...
Wish me luck and bon voyage that I can trade my clunker in for style, grace and peace.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Recently, my friend and colleague, Valerie, posted the above picture on Facebook and asked if anybody wanted the furniture. I happened to catch the notice first and jumped on it with both feet. So as of Sunday, my family left and this furniture arrived. Well, my Dad and I went to get it. Of course, there is far less snow on it now.
Over all, the furniture is in decent shape. It's a bit weather-beaten and it might need some reinforcement, but, then again, who doesn't need a bit of TLC? So, my project for the week has been to beautify this wonderful Adirondack furniture.
- Went to Home Depot and bought sea foam green stain, indoor/outdoor paint, brushes, etc.
- Began to stain the furniture.
- My mind wandered as I spread stain and listened to the crows and locusts. I was glad to be able to do this project uninterrupted with no one giving me advice or taking it over
- My neighbor Wally walked over and took the brush from my hand and showed me how I ought to do it
- I finished the stain, the 50% chance of thunderstorms falling in my favor
- I walked over to the Tiki and had one beer on an empty stomach
- I staggered home and hit the hay with some Murder, She Wrote
- I grabbed a bite to eat on the way home
- I goofed off on the computer for too long
- I began painting the decorations on the furniture, whose stain looks lovely (I can't take a picture; Doc has the camera)
- I completed the design on one of the love seats and nearly completed the other, but ran out of light
- I had one beer, hit the hay with some Newhart
Tonight I plan on going straight home and finishing my designs while it's still light out. I also want to paint a quote or aphorism on the cross-pieces of the love seats. Something short and sweet. I was thinking maybe "Tempis Fugit," but I'm not completely sold. What do you think?
Friday, August 14, 2009
- Organizing the junk drawer
- Painting the living room
- Getting the kids' clothes ready for school
- Finishing my novel
- Squandering every night sipping mojitos in the swamp
Got any other ideas?
Sunday, August 09, 2009
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Message Rocker v. Real Rocker
Amy Winehouse’s Rehab
No pain inside, you’re like perfection…But how do I feel this good sober?
The question is, do addicts really want to know how to feel this good sober? No. I don’t think so, though I’m open to information to the contrary.
Judgment: Sober is bullshit and throws in the towel at the mere sight of Rehab.
Green Day’s American Idiot
Well maybe I'm the faggot America.I'm not a part of a redneck agenda.Now everybody do the propaganda.And sing along to the age of paranoia
I think these two are saying the same thing; however, I appreciate the directness of CCR. I think that Green Day is being too abstract here. It’s not personal enough, damn it. Stop tossing off half-baked imagery.
Judgement: CCR by a nose.
Lee Greenwood’s Proud to be an American
Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA
And I gladly stand up,next to you and defend her [America] still today.‘ Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,God bless the USA.
|I don’t have to tell you that Greenwood’s song is a pile of sugar-coated pablum pops for the masses. I’ve probably told you this before.|
For instance, one can’t gladly stand up and literally defend her and still be honest. I mean, Are we talking about defending her at the water cooler or in Afghanistan? Because I’d gladly defend her at the water cooler but I’d have to say I wouldn’t be so happy about the prospect of tromping through the Hindu Kush mountains to defend her.
Nickelback’s Rock Star
‘cause we all just want to be big rock stars
Nickelback are basically lying here. They are claiming that WE all want to be rock stars. Well, maybe we don’t, Nickelback; but sadly, you already are. So why are you patronizing us pretending to want what you already have? Is this supposed to build kinship for with your fan base? Or is this supposed to be ironic? If so, nice work, Alanis.
Monday, July 20, 2009
- King Sized Bed
- Two TV's
- Leather furniture
- A chair with wheels and a wood floor to roll it on
Sadly, though, I'm sitting here working, watching a Friends Christmas episode. Ah well...
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
- Nobody move! I dropped my contact lens!
- Mind if I smoke, Doctor?
- Can you please adjust the TV antenna?
- Hold the record by the edges!
- Honey, where'd you put the Jarts?
- I just got my Edsel back from the service station...
- AM Radio plays the best music!
- I've never seen this episode of the Brady Bunch!
- Leaded or regular?
- Ok, kids, hop in the back of the truck!
- Ginger, would you please get me the Peterson file and a cup of coffee? Thanks, doll!
- I went to New York City and paid three dollars for a hamburger, can you believe it?!?
- I've got to hurry or I'll miss my trolly!
- Welcome to Sears, Mr. and Mrs. Jones...for newlyweds like you, I recommend this handsome twin bed set.
Monday, July 13, 2009
- Recite tongue twisters
- Stare thoughtfully at your calendar and try to replicate REM condtions with your eyes open
- Play a guessing game with yourself: "Who's real and who's a hallucination?" or "Did that happen or did I dream it"
- Take a typing test, save scores as a baseline so when you've had a good night's sleep, you can take the test again and win a "Most Improved" award
- Hone your old man/woman face by pursing your lips and frowning
- Really try to listen, you'll be surprisd at how much you miss!
- Think about Pitfall for the Atari 2600 and try to remeber how to get over those ponds
- Talk in a southern accent (if you're already southern, try a midwestern accent)
- See if you can pass a roadside sobriety test
Thursday, July 09, 2009
My tendancy is to be in constant contact with my loved ones. I'd prefer that we all be in the same room, if we are all home. If one of us is gone, I need to hear from that person, usually if he or she is going to be late. I'd really like a call when anyone is about to head home so that I know when to expect him or her and I don't have to watch out the window and worry that he/she is dead in a ditch.
I suppose I can dispense with the vaguries of him/her...I'm talking about Doc here. He's more of a cat. His philosophy is "If the phone doesn't ring, it's me." If I don't hear from him, I should assume all is well. Which is kind of a logical leap for this pup, because I also wouldn't hear from him if he were dead. So, really? Not helpful for herding purposes. There's also a matter of our different interpretations of what "I'll be back in about 20 minutes" means (See this post, #3 for more information).
I know he hates the phone and would rather never have to use one. And in general, we're an awesome team; I have no complaints. For example, when we cook in the kitchen, we communicate almost completely implicitly; no words are necessary. I aspire to this level of communication with the people in my life and I'm lucky to have it. But it would be nice, for me, if he would just call on his way out the door from work to let me know he'll be home soon and to check to see if we need anything. Or let me know if he was going to be late or off on walk-about.
But that's an old saw and really off the point.
I was talking about me.
My herding instincts really come out at night. It's very difficult for me to be the first one to go to bed. I really can't settle down until I know that everyone is home, safe and out like a light. This is tricky for me and Doc, him being a night owl and working afternoons and me also being a night owl but on the early shift. I want to stay up with him, but it ruins me for the next day.
Last night, however, I had to go to bed first, even before the girls. I had the world's worst stomach ache, complete with cramps and chills. I hadn't slept well the night before and I was just worn out. I slugged down some Pepto and reluctantly headed off to bed. I should have been comforted. I had the bed to myself, I had the heated mattress pad turned up to ward off the chills, I popped in a Bob Newhart Show DVD, but I had this feeling of fear/emptiness.
Everyone was still up. My herd could drift while I'm in here. What if Lucy sleep-walked again? What if Riley runs away? What if Doc scarpered off to the back yard for a whiz and slipped and fell and cracked his head open?
Stop it, I told myself. Just enjoy sprawling out and drifting off. I did, eventually. Then at about 4 a.m. I woke up, still alone. I experienced a sheep dog frisson of fear. I got up and wandered through the house, eventually discovering the girls on the couch and Doc sleeping on they chair with his legs out on the ottoman. I thought about waking him up and dragging him back to bed. And then I thought better of it. They were fine. They were herded. I could go back to bed.
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
The other day, I was cruising Netflix's Watch Instantly list and found two more teaching videos: "Wine for the Confused" and "The Human Face." The former is probably more overtly instructive while the latter is more of a documentary. If you ever want to do any training, I recommend watching "Wine for the Confused" to see a great facilitator in action. He knows how to probe for deeper responses and he also knows how to sum things up. There's also a good blend of humor and instruction combined with good transitions. I'd say it's a master class in Training and Development. Hmmm...maybe I should share it with my team at work...
Check it out if you get the chance.
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
But I went to WebMD to see if there might be something going on I ought to have checked out or if this was just a stress related thing. What's first on the list of possible problems I have?
A brain aneurysm.
I suppose that's better than a tumor...
Perhaps I just can't decide whether I'm more torn up over Ed MacMahon's death or Jon and Kate's divorce.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
There's been a bit of talk lately around here about the importance of fathers to daughters, that leaves John Mayer in the dust. We've decided that daughters need to know that they are beautiful, special , accepted. They need to know what a good man looks like. They need to be able to smell a rat and cross the street to stay away from them.
One thing I've learned that I hope to gift my daughter with is the knowledge is that when you're facing something you rather not, a Cornish Horn-Tailed dragon, an audit, or court, for example. You need to do the right thing, keep your head, pray and do your best to not freak out. It's hard. It hurts. It's scary. But as old Bill Cosby once said, "Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it." I've done this myself and it works. It's a way to love something hateful.
I can't pinpoint how I learned to do this, but I'm glad I did. I know my Dad did't tell me directly; he preferred to let me find my own way and offered his opinion only when asked. But his faith in me and his love showed me how to be strong and true. Sure I'm scared. But I just conjure up Captain Kirk or Hawkeye Pierce (another Captain, by the way) or some other larger than life model of bravery whom I wouldn't have know without my Dad's influence.
He pointed me in the direction of many things that give me strength:
- Star Trek
- Rock and Roll
- Classic Cars
- The Lord of the Rings
- Attention to Detail
And, Doc...the influence he has he uses well. He laid down "Rule Number One: Do No Harm." I like this rule very much. We've even started using it around the neighborhood (and not just with the kids). But kids respect it. It's simple. It covers a lot of ground. This will help the girls make HUGE life decisions in the future. It's an inspirational parenting tool and a stroke of genius.
Doc also takes his time. He explains stuff. He shows the kids stuff I don't know how to do. With my good looks and his know-how, they are going to be unstoppable!
Another bit of Doc's wisdom that we haven't shared with the kids yet (though Riley is reading this over my so the jig is up) is the idea of giving someone "A Pass." Imagine this. You're Doc's friend, right? You've been friends for a while. You've had a good time, shared some laughs. Then you goofed it up. Royally. You apologize to him and he looks you straight in the eyes and swings in close. "You. Get a pass." And he means it. I've never gotten a pass and then had the record of it thrown up in my face. This will also be of great service to the girs. It's unwise to harbor ill will to the people who are closest to you.
All in all, my girls are really lucky to have two wonderful gentlemen they can look up to and measure other people by. Pop and Daddy are the tops, so hopefully the girls will look for people like them to form their circles of friends. If that came true, baby, then I'll be on top of the world.
And I'm pretty lucky too.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
I know Genn6 will be joining us. And the Cap'n and Doc, of course. We've got the players we're just looking for a playground. But frankly, we're getting older. We're tired. We're sore. We're wore out from the day to day grind.
But dammit. The kids will be at my parents and I'm going to be irresponsible! I think I might have wine and liquor. I might wear a mini skirt at my advanced age. I'm going to take some wooden nickels and make sure my nose is NOT clean. I will welcome Greeks bearing gifts and I will suspect nothing. I'll count my chickens prior to hatching because all my eggs will be in one basket. I'm not going to walk on the sunny side of the street and I will not avoid talking to strangers. I'll put the cart in front of the horse and cry over the resulting spilt milk. I will leap not look. I plan on wasting nine by not stitching in time and I will serve up my revenge piping hot. I will practice moderation in NO things. I will watch the pot 'til it boils and it will boil. I'm going to be sorry instead of safe. I'll make my bed, but I won't lie in it. I will prove that youth is wasted on the aged.
In short: I want to have my cake and eat it too.
And at the suggestion of my pals, I will also:
- Skyler's Dad said...I think you should burn the candle at both ends!
- Cid said... While you're at it you should make hay while the sun shines and do someting really bad when it sets. Have fun!
- The back in action Frank Sirmarco said...Mow your lawn in the dark. That usually freaks the neighbors out.
- BeckEye said... I'll do a few cartwheels down 10th Avenue for you when I get off work.
- Bubs said...And if you have to do any measuring, only measure once. You can always cut twice.
So, in conclusion, party people, If you're in the area, stop by Saturday night. There will be cartwheels.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
It's funny. When you're first married, you think: This is forever! Yay! Then when the honeymoon's over and you hit your first rough patches, you think: This is forever...we can do it. But then you have some kids, hit some rough patches and maybe go broke in the process. Then you maybe think: Hey, who's that hot piece of ass over there? And run off. Or Maybe you think: This is forever and I made a committment and we're going to make it through this. Or maybe one of you says the former and one of you says the latter.
And maybe layered over that is this whole mantle of holiness that one of you, the former, has cloaked yourself in. You've made "authentic" movies about what it means to be a patriot, a freedom fighter, a martyr. But you're human, right? Maybe you just needed a roll in the hay with someone new for a change. There's no harm in that, if you don't get caught, you might think. But being human, your emotions got entangled and you trip yourself up. And now you're in a right mess and there's a baby involved.
And, being a Hollywood icon/leading man, you'll pick yourself up, dust yourself off and walk away unscathed. People will cut you a break. You may go on talk shows where people thoughtfully say, "huh," as you describe the problems in your marriage, your struggles and strife. They may even tear up over your ordeal, your battles with alcoholism/assholery. Then they'll coo over your new baby and snip/snap Bob's your uncle, you receive a lifetime achievment award and go to your new child's middle school graduation all in the same year.
But what if you're the latter? Sure, you're sitting on the pile of money that the State of California has awarded you. And you are enjoying your grandchildren in your golden years. But it kind of feels like failure. Where's my lifetime achievement award?, you might ask the universe. All you've gotten is invitations to Lifetime Movie pitch meetings to tell "your side of the story." Maybe you're thinking how unfair it all is, when you've tried to hold your family together only to watch your marriage fall away like so many Christmas tree pine needles.
I can almost imagine the day they had the conversation that started, "Honey, I'm having a baby with the other woman." The former, just trying to get through the moment. The latter having all suspicions confirmed. "Fine you can have the divorce" finally seeps from lips that once had a determined set, from a person who never dreamed that they would utter such defeat.
Then again, maybe the latter is the winner here. Afterall, she will get to see all of her children grow up. She gets to go through early middle age unecnumbered and independently wealthy. Maybe it is her turn to cry "Freedom!" and savor the time that is her own.
But what am I trying to say about this, you might ask. Good question, I'll say as I look off into the distance. Nothing, really. It's not a gender issue, so much. Though good luck having a baby after 50 as a woman. It is all Mel Gibson's fault, I'm thinking, as usual. More than anything, it's just the human condition. And sometimes, no matter how hard you try to honor your commitments, things just don't work out.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Saturday, May 16, 2009
It was a white plantation style house, straight out of Atlanta. I knew then that Beth must also be joining us and I worried that I might not have packed a tiara. Doc said, "Don't worry, Darlin'; I'm sure they sell those in there."
Well, needless to say, I did finally make it to Chicago to meet with Bubs and Ms. Bubs and the lovely Nora. Sadly, there was no driving off buildings, nor was there any Beth or tiaras. But it was wonderful none the less.
We had agreed to meet up at the famous Hala Kahiki Tiki Bar and I arrived first. I let them know that I'd be there in a black sweater and my hair would be standing on end due to the high humidity. I found a place to park and grabbed the swag Doc had sent along with me, which included several Vampirella comic books, a Starlog magazine from back in the day and a few other comics. As I made my way through the door, I could smell the stale cigarette smoke which lingered even though the place was probably now smoke free for several years. I headed into the bar and tried to get the attention of the waitress.
"Are you selling something?" she asked, noting the books I was carrying.
"No, I'm meeting friends," I said.
She gave me a table and an eight page menu of drinks to entertain me until the Bubs's arrived. I flipped through the menu and watched the door as I wondered how this would go. So far, I have met Chris, from Some Guy's Blog, Coaster Punchman and Poor George, Beckeye, and Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein and I shouldn't be concerned as these have been delightful encounters, to be sure.
And it was.
Let me tell you, these are some of the sweetest, funniest, warmest people I have ever met. We chatted as we sipped our tropical drinks and watched the place fill up. Nora joined us and was as delightful as could be. After a while, we decided it was time to eat and made our way over to Gene's and Jude's for some of Chicago's famous hot dogs. Though, according to Ms. Bubs, they weren't the most authentic ones, since they lacked celery salt and some other key ingredients. But they were the bomb.
We headed back and said our goodbye's to Nora, who had school the next day. This time we were seated by a window that overlooked the atrium at the tiki bar. There were flowers and plants and a pond with a fountain, all dramatically lit by the thunderstorm. We chatted some more and had another drink. The waitress took our picture and then we decided to call it a night.
We parted company with promises to meet again. I told them to keep Groundhog's Day open. I also vowed to find a way to get Doc out to see this amazing place and meet these lovely people.
If you ever get the opportunity to meet fellow bloggers, I say this: Do. It is always a joy.
Monday, May 11, 2009
And what better way to collect oneself than to be in the company of long-time blogger buddies, Bubs, Johnny Yen, Grant Miller and possibly Splotchy? I'll be meeting up with them and any other Chibloggers that can make their way to the famed Hala Kahiki Tiki bar on Wednesday. I'm totally stoked! I'm also bummed that Doc can't be here. But hopefully, he'll be so jealous, we'll have to plan another trip out here together in the very near future.
I'll let you know how it goes and I promise to take lots of pictures. But for now, I'm taking my exhausted, travel-weary self to bed with a trashy novel. I realize it's only 6:30 p.m. central time, but I don't care. I'm butt tired. And those of us who watch Murder She Wrote know the value of an early bird special and an early bed time.
Oh, and about the title of this post: I did get felt up on the top half on the way through security. Apparently because my fleece sweatshirt was deemed "bulky" and might possibly be hiding incendiary devices. Lucky me.
Friday, May 08, 2009
I don't know about you, but I LOVE getting my eyes examined. I've always had fine vision (except in college when I was experiencing the same issues I have now for the same basic reasons). So I get to sit in the dark and answer tons of questions I totally know the answer too, all while having my head in some super-sci-fi contraption. I have trouble governing my glee.
This last time was no different. I was really enjoying the exam. That is, until the doc went into his hard sell. I want to test you for cateracts (!) and I can do that by giving you the drops and basically fucking up your day or you can pay $35 and I can use my new toy to take a picture of your retina.
I told him I wasn't prepared to do either today and he said he'd set me up for an appointment when I pick up my glasses. I couldn't think of a way to weasel out; his sales mojo was too strong for me. So I submitted to the $35 test because I just couldn't obligate myself to one more thing. I don't have all day to waste with blurry vision and light sensitivity. In hindsight, I could have agreed to the appointment an skived off of it later. Rats! Why didn't I think of that at the time.
Once all the testing was done, he informed me that I was farsighted and that close up vision troubles occur earlier in our kind. That fact combined with my eye strain at work prompted him to give me a perscription for spectacles. He then escorted me over to the shopping area where I could pick out my new frames. He handed me off to the eyeglass sales person and bid me adieu. The glasses lady then immediately tried to sell me anti-glare lenses with all the tomfoolery of a warranty.
"I don't need that type of protection; I'll only be wearing these for work...I won't be driving or wearing them outside," I said.
"Well, it would still reduce glare..." she said, but I could see she had given up. She's obviously not the salesman her boss is.
After running through all the options, and telling her I wanted the type of frames where I pay nothing and my insurance covers it in total, which amounted to plastic lenses and plastic frames, she offered to find some frames for me. Why I couldn't walk over and look for them myself, I'll never know.
"Do you like trendy frames?" she asked.
"Sure," I replied.
She brought over eight pairs of glasses all identical but for the color. I tried them on and they were really too small for my face.
"Are there bigger frames than these?" I asked.
"You won't need bigger frames for what you're using them for," she snotted. Touche, I thought.
"Are these the only frames in my price range?"
"The only trendy ones..."
"How about the non-trendy ones?" I asked, knowing she was hiding something from me.
She sighed and gallumphed her way over to the frame ghetto where the cheapo frames were and I dogged her every step. She finally admitted that I could get any frame for $100 or less and she waved her hands in a general area of the frames that met my criteria. My eyes landed on the exact pair I wanted.
I tried them on and they were perfect. Black frames with rhinstone accents (natch). They fit my face just right.
"I like these!" I said.
"I didn't bring those over to you because I thought they were too big," she said, lamely.
Somehow, this felt like victory. That is until she told me that she'd call me when the frames were ready...in about a week.
Sunday, May 03, 2009
Thursday, April 30, 2009
It's been chilly and rainy around here and I've been reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets to Riley. It's a dark and kind of spooky book, what with the development of the Nearly Headless Nick character and his Deathday Party. I'm thinking this too has something to do with my general mood.
But it's Friday and if the weather clears up, I'll be able to take the new mower for a spin this weekend. In the meantime, I'll keep my chin up and think of this:
Thursday, April 23, 2009
The Good Doctor and Sparky kept me laughing and laughed at my silly self. We learned that we are all pretty much normal too, which is a comfort. Their home was lovely and cozy. We gabbed and gabbed and drank and I got the tour of Monkey Central and and a private showing of the impressive Swag collection. I actually got to sample a monkey mint, courtesly of GKL.
I'm glad they welcomed me into their home because the could have just as easily told me to shove it. See, I thought I was flying in on Monday, which is usually the way it works for business trips around here. I had all kinds of plans lined up. I had even packed. Then I learned Monday morning that the trip was actually for Tuesday...UGH! All that angst for nothing! I then spent Monday feeling like I may have slipped into a Final Destiny situation.
But all scheduling sins were forgiven and the Trip was a huge success.
So now that the girl's birthday party is over and I made it through my conference last week and a business trip this week, I finally found the time to send off the Blog Card. I'm ashamed to admit that I've had it for over two months. But it's on it's way to the lovely Bad Tempered, Snow-Covered Zombie, Barbara. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
As you may have noticed, I have a bit of a time management problem. But take heart, we got a new riding lawn mower that has reduced our grass mowing time from 4 hours to 13 minutes, if you consider the time it takes to do donuts in the monster during your victory lap around the lawn. Othewise, it only takes 11 minutes. I hope this improves my response time.
But back to the topic of blogetherness. I'm going to be in Olympian Fields, IL May 11th and 12th and my evenings will be free. I wonder if anyone in Chicago blogs...Let me know in the comments or via email at GREENPEARL42 at yahoo dot com if you want to get together.
And in other news, my co-workers have learned of my vendetta against Mel Gibson. I came back to work today to find that scraggly-assed picture of Mel Gibson tacked to my cube wall. A certain co-worker spearheaded this escapade, let's call him Buttercup. He's been surruptitiously planting pics of MG at my desk all day. I just keep taking them down and giving them back to him. He then tapes them up on his cabinet. He's going to have quite the collection.
So all's well in the kingdom as I settle into a new summer routine, filled with good will and a spring in my step. I'm lucky the people in my life both here and out there are endlessly entertaining and wonderful. Thanks for being the you that you are.