This girl is funny...not skinny.

This girl is funny...not skinny.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Couldn't I just get the flu and be normal for once?

Hello all!

So here we are..the first day of school, at least for some of the bigger districts in Wisconsin.  Peaches is starting high school, Skippy is starting his last semester of high school.

But I'm not here to drip sentimentality all over you.

No I'm here today to talk about another of my growing list of odd ailments.

Apparently...I have prickly heat.

I know...what person over the age of 3 gets prickly heat?

Well, I guess I do.  At least I'm hoping that's what it is as opposed to what I've been calling it which is "A rash fat women get in various crevices of their lumpy fat rolls."

Yes, Prickly Heat sounds better.  Cool, in sort of an old Western movie sort of way.  Like John Wayne would walk in a say, "Ma'am, that's a mighty fine batch of biscuits you're cookin' there, but why don't you set a spell and take some easy from that Prickly Heat that's tormenting you?"

See, if you say it that way, it sounds almost romantic.

Reality, for me, is of course far more hilarious. 

Parting the Red Sea was just a cover for
a raging case of prickly heat.
I've been suffering from this rash in odd places for about a week.  No amount of Benadryl, calamine lotion, or scratching seems to help.  The worst of it is in my elbow and knee pits.  You know where those are, stop laughing and pay attention!  Standing at my desk with my arms open wide isn't allowed at my place of work  (What...no Christ complexes allowed at Dunder Mifflin?  How about a really convincing Moses?).   

 I have to suffer as my acidic sweat  (Those of you paying attention remember that I cannot wear Sterling Silver because of my acidic sweat.  I really should be analyzed.  My sweat might be worth money, like Panda Bear pooh is right now because they THINK Panda pooh they can make into grain alcohol and burn it as a fuel.  I'm not making this up.  Brian from the The Bob and Brian show said it this morning, and that makes it so.  Brian does not lie.  And if we can use the pooh of Pandas for good, how much longer before we realize that sweat that can eat through sterling silver is worth something?)  collects in the various pits of my lumpy form.

But none of that is the funny part.

No, the funny part came, as it usually does, while Hubby was trying to help.  Baby powder, says he, will cure your sweaty suffering.

So off he goes to procure me baby powder.  He returns with something better!  GOLD BOND EXTRA STRENGTH...in a GREEN BOTTLE.  (Anyone care to guess what the green means?)

I'm so excited about this find, because I know, I KNOW that it will be the cure to my itchy ailment.  So I shower, and I dry off.  Then I open the green bottle of the powder and apply...liberally.

Beautiful form, long legged
extensions...All covers
for a raging case of prickly heat.
I apply it to the affected areas and to my other sweaty spots.  Ladies...you know where I'm going with this.  Bette Midler style, I hoist up the gals and dust with the soothing white powder.  And then I return them to their customary droop.  The powder, that isn't stuck to the prickly pits blows off me like new snow in a Budweiser commercial.  But what sticks covers my rash and the itch seems to dissipate.

As I emerge from the bathroom, (And I should mention I look like a Soviet Olympic weight lifter at this point and the bathroom looks like Nadia Comenici's parallel bars)  I  and filled with a tingle of optimism.

No...that's not optimism.

THAT'S MENTHOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Green...green means mint.  Green means menthol.  Green means a minty, mentholly fresh tingle that eases into a chilly cold burn when moisture is added.  AND I HAVE PUT THIS ON MY SWEATY SPOTS.  ALL  OF MY SWEATY SPOTS!

Do you know what sort of calms the effect menthol has on sweaty skin?  Because I do.  It's a sort of weird little dance that keeps your droopy bits from sticking to any other skin, thereby trapping the menthol in a moist 98 degree cooker ready to explode with an icy menthol burn. 

After a few moments, it passed.  And there I stood, in the middle of the kitchen, a little circle of excess powder around me, my husband trying very hard not to laugh.

BUT you know what?  My elbow pits aren't driving me crazy.  Bonus...I'll bet that dancing counts as a workout.  Which means I don't feel guilty about not going to Gold's today!

WHOO HOO!  BRING ON MORE MENTHOL!

Quick reminder! (And a bit of a tease)

Good morning!

Just a quick reminder to my friends and readers:  This FRIDAY I will be putting up my favorite title suggestions for a vote.  I have several great suggestions, but I want to get as many as I can! 

Remember:  The winner of the best title gets a complete set of my published books!  (And if you already have those...then I'll send you some McDonald's coupons or something!  LOL)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Once again, a fluffy girl is CRUSHED by the metric system!

Good evening!

Before I get started, the contest for the best title for my new book about my work life has been extended one week.  THIS FRIDAY I will post the five titles I like best.  Author of the winning title will receive free copies of all my published writing  (having a computer or an e-reading device is sort of a must.)

Now then, as you all know I wear a step counter on my shoe.  I've been measuring the number of steps I walk each day for probably the last 7 or 8 years.  Not that it's done me a lot of good in the weight loss department, but I am able to tell you how many steps I take on an average day at Great America  (22477)  how many I take in the office on any given day when I take a walk at lunch time  (6482)  and how many I take on a normal day at church when I'm teaching Sunday School  (3644.  I pace a lot when I teach.)

The other thing I thought I had down to a science is how many of my steps equals a mile.  (between 2300 and 2400, depends on the counter.)  This I have been as certain of as my own name for a long time.

Which is why, for the last several weeks, I've been really excited to see that while my actual steps seem to have slacked a bit, my actual distance has increased, almost doubled!  Sure, I was only taking about 5000 steps at work...but I was covering nearly 4 miles, when up until recently, I'd have to do close to 10000 steps, (My daily goal) to reach a distance of 5 miles.

I attributed this to different things:  I had a longer stride, (due to the massive muscles I was now suddenly forming in my legs)  I had finally, FINALLY found the $5 step counter that ACTUALLY WAS CORRECT, and I'd been walking all these miles all along.   I was just that awesome and the step counter gods had decided to finally reward my loyalty by giving me a bigger distance number.

So imagine my complete sense of defeat when I took a closer look at that distance on Friday and saw the letters KM behind my distance number.

It's not that I wouldn't...but since I live in the US
I don't think I could...just finding a pole that
length would be impossible!
My step counter was, and is, stuck in the kilometer setting.

I'm not well versed in metrics, but I know that KM is a smaller unit of measure than MILE.  (I grew up in a decade when Americans didn't think metrics or computers would really last...so I was only exposed to metrics a few times in my formal schooling...and I think I was sick both those days.)

This of course means only one thing:  I did not deserve the ice cream bars I ate each night, as I cheered myself by saying  "I may not have hit 10000 steps today, but I walked 7 miles, and that has to count for something!"

I guess the moral of this story is, as many of mine tend to be:  Don't get fat.  It just makes more work for you later on.  Like then you will have to know the metric system!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Don't think of it as hair product. Think of it as spackle.

Good evening all!

So I was going to get a head start on my Laundry List for tomorrow, but that is going to have to wait.  (Oh, a late Laundry List?  You don't say!)  I've just come from doing something that I've decided is more awful, more tedious, and more ridiculously stupid than getting a mammogram.

I got my hair cut and my eyebrows waxed.

It was time.  I haven't had my hair cut in probably 8 months...and I'm betting it's been that long for the eyebrows.  (I pretty much just get the waxing done when I can no longer see THROUGH the eyebrows...and yes, I said eyebrows.  You heard me.)

So, since going to see Skippy's friend Mystique at her hair academy wasn't in the cards  (because I had to do this after work)  I went to my local don't make an appointment hair place.

I never get the same person twice.  In fact, I never get to ask for the same person twice because every time I work up a good relationship with the cutter  (last time, if you recall, it was Roberta)  they leave.

This time I got Karen.  That's her real name...according to the waxy crayon on the mirror...and I'm using it to warn those of you who may want to use her.

Let's start with the wax.  A typical eyebrow wax takes four minutes.  Not for Karen.  No, the Right eyebrow took four minutes...

The Left took 9.

She did so much work on the left, I'm afraid to look.  And they always hold up the mirror and say, "How does that look?"  When you DON'T have your glasses on.  9 minutes.  I could have plucked every strand of hair from the eyebrow at that time.  WHAT WAS SHE DOING UP THERE?

No matter.  After the longest wax in history I was ready for a cut.  I showed her the two pictures I always have to show every cutter when I go in there.  I should just tear out the pages.

"Wait a minute," she says to me, "Let me put on my glasses."

Wait....you just applied hot wax and tweezers to my FACE and you need glasses....and you weren't wearing them?

I show her the pictures, I explain in great detail what I want.  "SHORT" says I.  "SHORT AND LAYERED."

Every ten minutes, after removing a minuscule amount of hair, she says, "Is it short enough?"

"NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Meanwhile, she's grousing to the girl next to her  (the one who has completely cut four heads in the time I've been sitting there) about how BOOKED she is.  It's not that she's booked.  SHE'S SO DARN SLOW.

I guess cutting by Braille takes a little longer.

So, after telling her for a third time that it is not what I wanted, she puts her glasses back ON, looks at the pictures again, and says, "Oh, right...you want it short."

More razoring, more cutting.  She holds up a mirror.  "What do you think?"

We both squint at the mirror because neither one of us can seen without our glasses.

"NO... I DON'T WANT SIDEBURNS..."  I say.  "CUT THEM OFF."

Yes, right here...women should not wear side
burns as lush as mine.
"Cur them off?"  She is truly stunned that I don't love the weed whack job she's done because the sideburns...if I were a man and lived in the 70's, are impressive.  (As a fan of Emergency...I loved Dr Brackett...I just don't want to look like him.) 


SO the sideburns were gone.   And still she kept cutting and razoring...but only on one side.  Oddly enough....on the LEFT, you know, the eyebrow that held all her focus...now that side of my head was sooooooo time consuming!

The upside was that I got to listen to her complain about a customer who just booked an appointment with her...

"I hate doing flat top hair cuts,"  says she.  "I usually tell him I'm booked so I don't have to take him.  I hate doing flat tops...they take so long."

(I've never had a flat top...but I also haven't had a haircut take longer than 12 minutes in the past ten years.  I just don't have a lot of demands and I don't have a lot of hair.)

After being in her chair for 30 minutes...just for the cut...She was done.  Sort of.  She held up the mirror and again we both squinted. 

"I really don't like the left side,"  Says I.  But at this point, even without our glasses, it was clear that there wasn't enough hair to do anything about it.

"I'll put some hair putty on it."

I let her work in some sort of sticky substance, which I think she believed would make the hair on that side of my head longer.  (Of course, she could have just taken some hair from the back...a place that saw little of her scissors in spite of my directions...and the pictures I showed her.)  It wasn't so much hair product to enhance the hair...it was Spackle to fill in the gaps and holes.

As I left, Peaches, who was with me, said, "Cute hair, mom."  (She always means well.)

I haven't really looked at it yet.  But I know, I'll wash the putty out, blow dry it, and possibly trim the bangs which, for reasons I have yet to understand, she cut in a V shape with the longest part of the bang right in front of my eyes.  Very Sci Fi channel.

The good news is that haircuts for me, much like mammograms, are few and far between.  By the time I go back, she won't be there anymore.

Or she'll still be doing that one guy's flat top.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Do not poke the aging English major...you will not like the result.

Good evening!

I wasn't going to blog today.  I haven't been feeling great...the weekend was  packed with a lot of stuff that the kept me off the couch and away from the healing power of the nap.  But something happened at the end of the day that was so astounding, I had to share it with you.

When I was a kid, my parents, my dad mostly because as a man of words  (He taught high school English for a couple decades) he enjoyed using words that sounded made up, but were real.  It was his way of sort of testing his audience, seeing who had a grasp on English as their first language and who did not.
One of the words he enjoyed using was jackanape.

As he used the word, in conjunction with things like "slack jawed" and "Dim witted" and his favorite  "culvert dwelling"  (look that one up)  I gathered that it meant something none too complimentary.  (Later, when I majored in English in college, I learned more uses for the word.  Again, not complimentary.)

After a particularly tedious phone call with a person today...the kind where you know from the first second that this person is never going to buy what you're selling because 1) They can't afford it  2)  The job involves far more construction repair than we can do or 3)  They "know a guy" who can do it for half the price but they won't admit any of it, and they wind up mouthing breathing away half an hour.  (They will also waste 60-90minutes of the sales guys' time tomorrow, but that's not my concern at the moment.)  Once off the phone, as I wiped my ear sweat away, I muttered the words, "dim witted jackanape."

LCW, who can't hear anyone when they are on the phone with her, and can't hear the radio even though the walls are bleeding with volume, heard me say that.  She asked what the word jackanape meant.  I admitted that while I did not know the exact definition, I knew it to be an insult, probably dwelling on the person's intelligence or manners.

It is no secret in the office that LCW thinks I use too many big words.  (She, like NBM, was confused by the word "thwarted.")  It is no secret to my friends that the minute someone who speaks English as a first language insults me for using more than 4% of the words in my native tongue, I tend to really get going on the vocabulary. 

Therefore, I did not, as she suggested I do, look on the Internet for the meaning of jackanape. (She has the Internet on her computer as well...something she forgets until she wants to ignore her job completely and download videos on belly fat.)  I had work to do.  Also, I'd already make a second pot of coffee at her command...(one she did not drink,) and I unhooked her headset from her phone, ending two weeks of rage and battle that cannot be put in a blog, but will make the new book I intend to publish by the end of the year.  (Still looking for good title suggestions for that one BTW.)

After thinking about this for an hour or so, not doing any actual work during that time, but you know, before she took a lunch break, LCW decided, loudly, to look up the word "on the web."  (Since I wouldn't do it for her.  Sorry, she makes more than I do and I'd spent the morning cleaning up not one but multiple messes she created over the weekend.  Why they let her "work" unsupervised on Saturdays is beyond me.)

Part of my job is to make phone calls to various inspectors and set appointments vital to the legal completion of the work we do.  In short...if I don't do my job...bad crap happens to the bottom line of the office.

Keep that in mind as you read the following:


Sarah:  (Dialing and the phone, slogging through voice automation, and getting a live inspector.)  Good afternoon!  This is Sarah from Dunder Mifflin...I need to set up--

LCW:  HOW DO YOU SPELL JACKANAPE?

Sarah:  Oh, yes, I'll hold.  Thank you.
LCW:  HOW DO YOU SPELL JACKANAPE?  BECAUSE I CAN'T FIND IT ANYPLACE ON THE WEB.

Sarah:  (trying to maintain a business like voice while Shakespearean banshees are howling three feet behind her.)  Yes, good afternoon Lenny, thank you for taking my call...

LCW:  IT MUST BE A BAND NAME.  THAT'S ALL I CAN FIND IS THE NAME OF A BAND.

Sarah:  Yes, I need to schedule and inspection...I'm sorry, you can't hear me...let me turn up the volume on my phone.  Is that better?

LCW:  OH WAIT...THIS IS A GUY!  JACK AND APES....WAIT, NO, THAT'S STILL A BAND.  BUT THEN THERE's THIS GUY WHO HAS FOLLOWERS.  I WONDER IF A JACKANAPE IS A GUY WHO HAS FOLLOWERS.  SARAH....IS IT A GUY WHO HAS FOLLOWERS?

Sarah:  Yes, I need an inspection on the 25th.  the 25th.  THE 25th.

LCW:  NO.  IT'S GOT TO BE A BAND.  BUT THAT'S NOT INSULTING.    SARAH...THERE'S NO DEFINITION ANYWHERE ON THE WEB ABOUT THIS JACKANAPE.  BUT I MIGHT BE SPELLING IT WRONG. 

Sarah:  Yes, I'm sorry about the noise...They're sandblasting our building.

LCW:  I JUST WISH I KNEW HOW TO SPELL THE WORD OR THAT THERE WAS SOME DEFINITION PLACE ON THE WEB.  WAIT...DO WE HAVE A DICTIONARY IN THE BUILDING?  SARAH, WHERE IS THE DICTIONARY?

Sarah:  Yes, the 25th.  And I do apologise for the noise.  I think someone is slaughtering water buffalo in the shop.  (Sarah hangs up.)

LCW:  WELL I COULDN'T FIND IT.  ARE YOU SURE YOU DON'T KNOW HOW TO SPELL IT?  BECAUSE I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHAT THAT WORD MEANS.

Sarah:  (Picking up the phone and pretending to make another call...not daring to make an actual call because LCW is shouting at the top of her glass scratching voice.)

LCW:  WELL I'M GOING TO LUNCH.

I should mention that the last time I suggested she Google a term...she wondered aloud if I was trying to tell her to translate it into another language. 

I should also mention that the link I have put here for jackanape is the FIRST entry for a Google search involving the letters j-a-c-k-a. 

Tomorrow..."Enigma."

(I'm really hoping Bob and Brian, the guys from my favorite radio morning show on 1029 THE HOG will bring back "Job Horror Stories" sometime this year.  Clearly, I have a winner.  It's just a matter of picking one.)


Finally, don't forget, I'm still looking for titles for my work horror story book.  The five I think are best will go to a vote on My Laundry List Friday Blog this week.



Saturday, August 20, 2011

Laundry List Friday (Sort of) 5 things everyone should know. Everyone. No exceptions.

Good afternoon!!

Sorry, I'm running a day late.  I did an interview yesterday at SOS Aloha, (You should check it out...someone MIGHT win a free copy of Lies in Chance!)

Anyway, this week I talked to my mother...and the phrase "That's just walking around information" came up.  I realized in talking to her that I'm not alone in working closely with someone who is woefully unaware of basic information to get them through their day.  Forget college education and what they teach in schools, these are five things everyone over the age of 12 should just know.  Not sure I'm right?  Try sitting next to someone who doesn't have basic walking around knowledge and NOT yelling at them  "HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW THIS?"

(Also, while I did not set out to write yet another column on LCW...this one sort of turned out that way.)

5)  How to locate your country, state  (or province) county and city on a globe or map.

Geography seems to be something so many people lack.  I had a friend once who said she didn't know how to get anywhere except to the places on her "little goat path."   And this isn't about world travel or knowing where a foreign county is...this is about me, pointing to Wisconsin on a globe and saying, that's Waukesha County, and I live there."  (You'd be shocked at how many people can't do that.  And then again, maybe you wouldn't be.)

4)  John, Paul, George, and Ringo

Anyone over the age of 12 and under the age of 82 should have at least a rudimentary knowledge of who the Beatles are/were.  I'll admit, I'm not a gigantic fan, but I know most of their songs  (who doesn't?  Oh, wait, people for whom this blog is written.) and I cannot miss the influence that they have, even today, in music across the world.

3)  E  Means empty.

Basic rules of car maintenance.  It should come as no surprise to you all that LCW has run out of gas and had to borrow money from co workers no less than three times  (That I know of) since I started working with her.  E means empty.  You shouldn't drive on a flat tire.  Get the oil changed every 3000 miles.  When smoke starts coming out from under the hood  STOP THE CAR!

2)  The "Tour De France" is in France.  And yes, it is a sport.

Granted, not everyone in the world is a cycling fan.  However, if you say "Tour De France" to pretty much anyone, wouldn't you think everyone would know it's in France?

You would be wrong.

I'm not going to point fingers, but I had a very depressing conversation with a French Canadian gent and LCW.  The topic of sports came up.  The gent and I spoke about hockey, football, soccer, baseball.  I then asked if he was following the Tour.  He didn't know what I meant.  I then said, "The Tour De France."  He was, again, unsure about what I meant.  LCW, trying to be helpful said, "Is that a sport thing?"  I said yes, it was cycling.  Both of them looked confused, and the gent asked  "Is it in France?"  And LCW piped up, "France, the country?"

(Yes, there is a dent in the top of my desk...why do you ask?)

1)  20% of 100 is 20.

I realize I'm not good at math.  I'm okay when it comes to adding and multiplying and dividing.  I have issues with subtraction and geometry, and don't get me started on higher math.  I barely eked through high school algebra with a lot of tutoring and prayer.  That said, I think anyone and everyone, especially those armed with a calculator, should be able to figure out 20% of any number without asking their co worker.  Hubby says I should just give LCW a different answer each time she asks.

To prove my point, I asked both my children a neighbor, a friend, another co worker, and a complete stranger if they were able to figure out 20% of any number.  While I got 6 different ways of doing it, every one of them had a way to go about it.

So my friends, these are five simple things that everyone over the age of 12 should know.  If you find someone who doesn't know this five things....make them a T-shirt that warns those around them. These are dangerous people and should be marked as such.

Now, on to other topics.  I have decided, after much encouragement, to put to publication my workplace stories.  No, they won't all be about LCW, but she will be featured.  Bossman, NBM, they will all be there. 

What I'm looking for is a title.  I'm terrible at titles.  So, feel free to make a suggestion here...or friend me on my Face Book page.

Top five suggestions will be put to a vote in next week's Laundry List blog.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Teens and 4 year olds...Moms don't sleep if either is in the house.

Good evening!

Remember, parents, when the kids were babies, getting you up in the middle of the night and you'd slog through your day exhausted, but eager in the knowledge that just as soon as the kids slept through the night, your life would be back to normal?

Weren't we idiots?

I haven't had a full, uninterrupted, 7-8 hour long night's sleep since early 1993.  I have a sleep debt that rivals the national debt...of any country.  My sleep debt is worse than my credit card balances.  And I know I'm not the only one.  How do I know?

I stop at either Starbucks or Kwik Trip every morning on my way to work for one thing and one thing only:  the life giving, energy creating black gold that is coffee.  And I've discovered another amazing "Mother's Helper" in the form of "Five hour Energy."  Tastes vile, but it gets me through the afternoons and to dinner time.

But I'm not here today to talk about coffee.  If I were, this would simply be a hymn of praise to the beverage I discovered so late in life  (33).  But it's not about that.

No, today I want to weigh in on the myth that once your child is able to get him/herself around to things, your stress and worrying days are over.  Sorry...they have just begun.  See, once the kid can drive, you stop knowing where they are every moment of the day.  You stop knowing who they are with, who all their friends are, what they are eating.  Once a kid goes mobile, it's all over but the gray hair and the sleepless nights.

The kids have no idea why we worry because 16, 17, 18 year olds are sure that since they are behaving and obeying the laws of the road, everyone else is.  Nothing bad can happen to them as long as they behave.  I guess I sort of blame modern day parenting, because haven't we spent a lot of time teaching our kids that if they behave they won't get into trouble?  So we give them that false sense of security, and release to the world. Meanwhile we parents sit at home, and conjure up about 900 different ways our kids are being injured, maimed, abducted, brainwashed, drugged, mugged, mauled, and sold into a cult.  By the time they roll in to the house, no matter what the time, we are in a full on parental stress lather, and furious at the kid.  Kid doesn't understand why we are furious...and thus begins yet another round of eye rolling, door slamming,  Face book status wailing that makes up much of teen/parent relationships.

Case in point:  last week Skippy wanted to drive to Chicago to see some friends.  For the record, I've never met these friends, but every friend of Skippy's I have met has been polite, well mannered, and well behaved.  He's gone to see these friends before, so it wasn't like this was a wild request.  So, with much parental admonition to "be careful"  and "be smart" and "don't drink, don't smoke, don't do drugs, and keep your clothes on"  (my four point plan for keeping my kids off Maury Povich), we waved him off to the Windy City.

Now, since Skippy is very close to his 18th birthday and since he's been a pretty responsible kid all along  (Following, as he had, the four point plan to avoiding the Maury Povich show) we don't really have so much a curfew for him in the summer as we do a suggestion that if he's going to be later than 12:30, he needs to text us.

As a side note, let me weigh in on texting.  I think the immediate link we have to everyone via cell phone and text is wonderful.  I loved having a cell phone because it ended my need to look up phone numbers of movie theaters on the rare nights Hubby and I actually went out and hired a babysitter.  However...since we have that immediate and direct connection, and moms I know you feel this way too, isn't it TOO ANNOYING when we text our kids and they don't get back to us IMMEDIATELY?  Seriously...what is wrong with them.

(Which is about the time I get the lecture from Skippy  "Mom, what do you want...you want me to text and drive and wind up dead?  Or on Maury Povich?")

So texting is almost as much of a curse as it is a blessing for us moms who panic when we don't hear from our precious darlings immediately.

But I'm telling you all that to tell you this:  The day we sent Skippy careening into the big city, we didn't give him a specific time to be home.  "You're not spending the night down there."  (After all...the friends he was going to see are females...a year older, you know  COLLEGE GIRLS...)

At 11:00, which is my bedtime, I texted him and asked when he'd be home.  His response?  "Later." 

I'd like to say he's a man of few words, but really he just likes aggravating me with one word answers.

So, as I do when my kids are out late at night, I watched TV on the couch until I fell into a fitful sleep.  At 3:30 AM, the cats all bounded to the door, because, since our cats are really more like dogs than cats, they run to the door every time someone pulls into the drive.   Skippy skipped  (hence the nickname) into the house, gleeful at his fun day in the big city.

Parents, which of us is ever in a mood to be amused at 3:30 in the morning?  Right.

I said, "I'm glad you're home safely. Did you have fun?"  Normally a question like this would illicit a one note grunt, but not at 3:30 AM.  No, at 3:30 AM he wants to TALK...better yet, he wants to SHOW ME HIS ART PROJECTS.

Adorable...but at 3:30 AM...really?
What? 

I sent you to Chicago, to hang out with college girls, and you come back with ART PROJECTS?

"Mom, I made a boat!  I made a boat and rocket ship!"

You know, parents, how we are always wishing our darling babies could just stay innocent and enthused about life?  Before they got iPods and girlfriends, and concert tickets to see bands made up of young folks who need a sandwich and a hug? 

Well, at 3:30 AM, I had that.

We talked for about fifteen minutes about his day, the artwork he did, what he and his friends had for lunch.  We talked about all the stuff we used to talk about but haven't lately.  We talked about nothing, and everything.  For fifteen minutes in the middle of the night, I was not the enemy.

Was I tired the next morning?  OH YEAH.  I hit the coffee and the 5 hour energy really hard.  But would I do it again?

This is Skippy's senior picture.
Those of you who are parents know the answer to that. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Car windows are see through...no matter how much I'd like to believe they aren't.

Blame it on the tofu.

I've always tried to be careful about what I do when I'm in the car because I know people can see me when I'm driving.  (Well, except when a Rick Springfield song comes on, then I'm not responsible for how I look or sound to the outside world.)  However, yesterday I completely forgot my own rule about behaving myself when on the road.  And I blame tofu.

See, for the past two weeks Hubby and Peaches have been slowly but surely turning me into a vegetarian.  Playing on my lack of desire to cook, Peaches picks out a recipe and Hubby cooks it.  And it's delicious.  Thursday night they made something involving fried polenta and a mushroom ragu.  I have no idea what I was eating, all I know is it was yummy and would have been great with a steak.

But after two weeks' worth of vegetarian meals and two weeks' worth of lunches involving peanut butter and jelly  (because I'm also too lazy to shop for deli meats apparently) I realized that I was exhausted at work NOT because I stay up all hours of the night watching crap TV with the kids or waiting for Skippy to come home from where ever he's been  (and wait for a blog on that tomorrow.)  but because I have not had any MEAT.

So yesterday, after a hearty lunch of grocery store sushi, I was STARVING for some MEAT.  Hubby picked me up from work and told me we had to stop at this cute little grocery store on the way home to pick up a few things for a dinner he and Peaches were planning.  Something called Sesame Tofu with Mung Bean Pasta.

I don't hear STEAK or CHICKEN in that title.

Wandering around this really trendy, pricey grocery store looking for vegetarian items  (I knew we were in trouble because the only tofu they had was ORGANIC tofu.)  I smelled something that made my mouth water beyond control.

Chicken.  Cooked, breaded, fried chicken.  The grocery store's claim to fame was its chicken and I didn't have to walk past the deli counter too often to decide I was going to buy some.  I WAS GOING TO EAT SOME MEAT.  So I grabbed a number and waited to be called.  I had them bag up two legs and a thigh...you know, because Hubby also looked hungry.

We weren't even in the car when I tore into the first piece.  It was so good, all juicy and hot.  The skin...and when did I last have chicken skin?...was crispy and perfectly seasoned.  I didn't care that my fingers glistened with the delectable juices...I was eating MEAT.

As I was gnawing the last bit of sweet bird flesh from the bone, Peaches sent a text that she wasn't going to be home for dinner because she was going to a friend's house.

Well, vegetarian delights postponed to tomorrow.

Gleefully, I dove in for the second piece.  There's nothing more glorious, I think, than the feel of a perfectly cooked chicken leg in your hands.

I beheaded two of my wives
far less egregious sins
than the ones Sarah committed
against good manners.
"Did you want this other piece?"  I asked Hubby, who was driving and trying really hard not to laugh out loud at the site of his wife eating a chicken leg like Henry VIII in the middle of a drunken feast.   

"No, "  he said, "You go ahead.  Then you've had dinner and I'll finish the leftovers from last night."

Hey, warmed over polenta for you...more chicken for me.

With all the regal manners of a convict I tossed the leg bone into the bag and drew out the third piece of chicken.  It was then, as my starvation was starting to slake, that I became aware of my surroundings. 

This is what I looked like in my mind.


We were at a stoplight.  I was in a sort of reclining position, my gut hanging into my lap.  Looking down I realized that, as it typically happens with me, my chest was acting as a shelf, holding up bits of skin and meat that had fallen from my mouth onto myself.  The people in the car stopped next to us were staring at me and laughing.

"What are you looking at?"  I shouted through the skin, bits of chicken spattering with my words, "I'm hungry!  My family is trying to turn me into a vegetarian and I need meat!"

I think the kid in the back seat was scared then.  I'm almost positive the mother, at the wheel, comforted the child by saying something like, "Oh I'm sure that big lady is going back to the group home where she lives honey.  She won't get you.  But remember Timmy...healthy diet and exercise is key to avoiding that poor woman's fate."


This is a bit closer to what the rest of the world saw.

I slumped lower in my seat and gnawed on the bone until it was bare, then licked my fingers clean.  Only then did I, with great daintiness, pick the bits of chicken off my shirt and eat that as well so that by the time we arrived home, I was full and happy...if somewhat greasy.

As we got out of the car, Hubby didn't comment much on the grease marks that dotted my shirt.  All he said was this:

"So this would be blog worthy, right?"

Friday, August 12, 2011

Laundry List Friday: 5 hours closer to my mental breakdown.

Good morning!

So yesterday was Thursday and, after the stressful week we'd had here at Dunder Mifflin, I was sort of hoping for a quiet day sans crazy.

I sort of forgot that LCW's day off was Friday.  Not Thursday.

So today, I'm going to relate to you as best as I can, the five hours yesterday that nearly pushed me over the edge.

5)  11AM-noon

LCW arrives late and in a foul mood.  Not sure why, although with the new Girl quitting after two days, I thinking LCW realized she may have said a bit too much negative about NBM and that affected New Girl's attitude and thusly new Girl quit.  then I realize this is LCW we're talking about and therefore that sort of self realization is not within her grasp.

Not when she asks me this question...again.  "How do you figure out what 20% off a price is?"

I should explain, the biggest part of her job is to call customers who have had a quote done to see if they'd like to revisit that  quote.  She offers them 20% off their original quote, a thing that makes the sales guys insane because some of these people had quotes done as long as 5 years ago.  But what makes me crazy is that when a prospective client says, "Well, what will that cost me then?"  she has to put them on hold and ask me to figure out what 20% off is. 

I've explained the magic of my calculator versus hers.  I've explained the very complicated formula I use to figure it out.  Keep in mind, my friends, that I barely passed high school math. 

But that's not the killer.  I explained what the new price would be and she returned to the client and gave them the price.  They must have asked a detailed question...one can only guess...and then LCW said something that made me want to howl.

"I'm sorry, i don't know anything about the sales department or what they do.  You'll have to ask the salesman that when he gives you the new quote.  I have nothing to do with sales, I just set the appointments."

Her title is....INSIDE SALES REP.    But don't ask her any questions about sales.

4)  Noon-1

LCW has been complaining for a couple days that her back hurts because she has to sit so much and because she has to be on the phone.  Now, I have to question this because every day for the past two weeks I've booked as many appointments as she has...and i still find time to stretch a bit and walk about the building.  just sayin'.  But she was especially whiny today about the fact that at all of her last phone jobs she had a headset.  I said she should ask NBM for one.  She said she'd done that and that he pooh poohed her request.

So she returned to the phones.  Not, as I thought, to call a client and you know, do her job....no, instead she called her counterpart at another branch to find out if that woman had a headset.

She did.

Knowing full well that NBM has the ears of a bat, I again suggested that she ask him for a headset.  Five minutes later, he was on his way to the store to buy her a headset.

I should ask for a raise.

He returned half an hour later and set a box containing a headset on her desk.  And then he went back to his office.  "Do you need help hooking that up?" he asked.

"Oh no," she cackled.  "Sarah and I have it handled.

Really?  When did this become my project?

But, watching her unload the wires and connections, I realized that I had to step in.  I had to.  She was doing bad things with that stupid head set.  So I ask her to let me take a look.  She removes herself from her desk, goes to my desk and proceeds to...no, not really do her job...she proceeds to eat the last of the candy in my candy dish.  (If you're keeping score, that's two BIG bags of Hershey's kisses she's plowed through in 9 work days.  I initially thought having the candy dish on my desk was a nice touch for customers coming in to the office.  I had no idea I would be singlehandedly feeding my co worker.)

3)  1Pm -2PM

It took me an hour to hook up the headset.  Not because it took me that long but because LCW  is a little like a 4 year old.  She cannot keep her hands OFF things.  (And once there is no candy at my desk, there's really no point to sitting there.)  So, after an hour, and given the fact that, once again, my lunch hour will come in the last two hours of my work day, I finally am ready to have her test the headset.  We work out all the steps needed to make it work and, so you are all clear about this, here is what she is supposed to do when the phone rings.

a) take the hand receiver off the cradle and set it on the desk
b) push the headset button on her headset control device.
c) talk.

"I shouldn't have to pick up the hand receiver," says she. 

"Yes, you have to do that," says I.

"Why?"

"Because that's how it works."

AT this point NBM, tired of hearing the children's theater that is this past hour, walks out and asks if we need any help.  I tell him no, that I have it all hooked up and that it's ready to go.

"But I shouldn't have to pick up the hand receiver" says LCW.

"Yes, you are," says I.

"How do you know?"

I hold up the directions and point to the steps to answering the phone.  "Because I can read."

And then I go to lunch...for an hour.

2)  2:45-3:45

You may have noted that I didn't get an hour for lunch.  Well that's because I made the mistake of coming back from my lunch time walk a few minutes early.  That's when I see PM, another coworker, sitting at LCW's desk...testing the phone.

In the 45 minutes I was away from the desk, LCW had managed to foul all the settings on the headset receiver, and convince PM that I didn't know what I was talking about.

PM, who hadn't read the directions  (because LCW was holding them in her hand and sitting in another office) looked befuddled.  In muted tones I explained to him the steps to answering the phone with the headset.    He in turn explained it to her.

"But I shouldn't have to pick up the hand receiver.  I never had to at any of my other phone jobs."

(I've often wondered about her other jobs...she keeps saying she's had jobs before.  I have my doubts.)

At my wits' end...I take the directions from her, unfold them, and point to the step that says, "TAKE HAND RECEIVER OFF CRADLE AND SET IT ON THE DESK."

PM leaves for the day.

1)  3:45-5:15

Since my day is done at 5, I send LCW on her lunch break.  Although...what she was breaking from, I have no idea.

I'm not going to bore you with the mini drama involving her car, except to say that the oil light came on in her car...(along with all the other lights in the dash.  It happens when you start the vehicle).  She admitted she hadn't had an oil change in some time, but that she'd "poured some oil in a week ago."  NBM, on his way out the door to go home, was of no help.  I called Hubby, who said the car was safe enough, he was sure, to drive to the nearest gas station  (two blocks away) to get more oil.

Instead, she conned the guys who work in the other half of our building to give her not only a quart of oil, but 5 gallons of gas.  Then she checked in to make sure she was still  "on lunch."  (She had 15 minutes left on her hour...) 

So half an hour later...(Not only are her math skills lacking, her concept of time as it applies to her is way out of whack.)  she comes back, still chomping on a burger and griping about how she had to eat it without tasting it.  (Hey, try not getting lunch until you've been in the office 7 hours because the person you work with is a nitwit.)

No, I'm not going to bore you with all that because the number one moment that has pushed me closer to that mental breakdown I so completely deserve is this:

Yesterday was payday...which means we got paychecks...which means, say it with me class:

I had to explain her paycheck to her.  Again.

See, NBM has been having her come in an hour early to "help" me.  (Not necessary.  I get more done without having to deal with her.  I think we all know that.)  But because that hour is overtime...she makes $21 an HOUR on those ours.  (Way more than what I make, BTW)

She was CONVINCED, however, that she'd only been paid for one hour of overtime at the rate of $8.75. 

So after I explained that, I also told her the good news:  They'd taken out deductions for health care this check, and not doubled up deductions on our next check as we expected.

Except...they forgot to take out her medical deductions.

Why, I have no idea, but, as I was waiting for Hubby to pick me up, I was faced with yet another round of wailing and the mantra "I'm all alone in the world...I can't live on this."

(You're getting free oil and gas from strangers...stop whining!)

So I told her to email the woman in charge of benefits.

"Well, how am I supposed to email her?"

Oh yes, I forgot...she's unable to read and respond to emails.

So I gave her the woman's phone number.  Which she called.  At 5 Pm...and the woman works in the Eastern Time Zone.

"What time is is there?"

Why I should expect a person who doesn't get the concept of 20% to understand time zones, well, I'm the idiot.

SO I tell her to leave a message, which she does.  And then...

She calls PM AT HOME.  Why she called him can only be traced back to the day when she filled out the paperwork under his very patient eye.  HE spent 3 hours one day helping her fill out forms.  So of course, he's the one to blame for a corporate mistake that happened a time zone away.

As I was leaving, she hung up from shouting at PM, and informed me of two things.

a) her headset wasn't working at all
b) I clearly was wrong about her having to pick up the hand receiver.

Weighted down with the realization that her co-worker's idiocy
will kill her one day, Sarah gives up.
Is it any wonder then, that when Hubby offered to stop at the store and pick up some Vernor's to mix with a touch of Irish Whiskey I was more than HAPPY to say yes?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I can't fix STUPID, but I sure would like to poke at it with a stick.

Good evening!

Well, I have been absent from my beloved blog, my friends, and not because I'm having a breakthrough on my newest novel. Sadly, not.  No, Instead, I've taken these several days and soaked up the Au jus of stupid that seems to glisten like moonlit waterfall on us all.

And how is it I'm not on the NY Times list?  Hmmmmm?

So today I want to just share with you three random acts of stupid from last week.

Random act of Stupid #1

It should come as no surprise to those of you who have been reading the last month , that the first act of stupid comes from none other than LCW, the woman I sit next to at work.

Let me say again, LCW is a dear woman with a good heart.  And one of these days she is going to drive me over the edge.


Have fun storming the supply closet
There is but one key...and I have it.

On Thursday NBM was out of the office for that big evaluation.  (Why are we #1?  Why is he so awesome?  I think it has something to do with the fact that the office supplies are kept locked and only he has the key.  Very "Princess Bride" if you ask me.  )

So anyway, Thursday we were supposed to bring in our insurance paperwork.  Everyone in the company had to fill out new paperwork for insurance.  And while the deadline was Friday, we were asked to bring it in on Thursday.  Now, LCW first of all was late getting to work because, and I am not making this up, she left her purse and her rollaway cooler, the one she always brings to work, in her driveway and didn't realize it until she was halfway there before she had to turn around and get it.

Which means, my friends, that the insurance paperwork was OF COURSE...anyone?  Anyone....NOT WITH HER when she walked in.

I asked her, "Do you have your paperwork?"

"No.  It's not due until Friday."

"Yes, but you don't work on Friday."

"I know but today is Thursday...the paperwork isn't due until Friday."  Says she.

"I know, " says I, "but you don't work on Friday.  So did you bring it with you today?"

"But it's not due until Friday."

This goes on for a few more minutes.  After I managed to show her that without having the paperwork on her person TODAY, she would have to make another trip, and after her episode of hysterics which always follows on the heels of a correction no matter how slight, I tried to tell her to take her lunch hour and go get the papers.  She lives 25 minutes away, it would be fine.

She didn't want to do that.  "I'll come back tonight and drop it off in the mailbox."

"You're going to come back, after leaving work at 8 pm, and you're leaving the papers in the mailbox on the street?"

"Sure.  I don't care.  I don't want to use my lunch hour going home."


Her logic was nothing short of genius...sort of. 

I let that sit for a few minutes and then suggested again that she take her lunch hour and do the errand.  Again, she refuses.  Saying she'll come back after work, that will make more sense.

TO WHOM?

An hour later, about the time I was thinking I should have a lunch break...you know since I'd been at work since 7 and she'd been there an hour...she said, "I think I will take my lunch and go get the paperwork.  When were you thinking of going to lunch?"

NOW!  I wanted to shout, but hey, I'll wait until 2:30.   Again.

So off she went.

105 minutes...yes, one hour and forty five minutes later, she arrives back at the office, with a white envelop in her hands.  "Oh good, you have them."  Says I.

Wait for it.

"No," says she.  "These are the papers from my OLD insurance company."

I know, you have 1000 questions.  Believe me, I mentally asked all of them.  Clearly we could not send her back home to get the papers, which, she was sure, were in her house. Probably.  "But before you go to lunch..."

No sweat.  It's only 2:45.  I do have to take a lunch before 5 PM.  That's when I leave.

Later, when I returned, the poor soul in charge of collecting our paperwork, let's call him PM, told me that her solution to the problem, in this day of emails, faxes, scans, and whatnot, was to white out MY PAPERWORK, make a copy of the now blank sheets, and fill in her information and then have me just fill mine in again.

Fortunately, PM stopped her from doing that.  It meant he didn't get to go home until 6 PM that night, going step by step with her over everything in what I can only imagine was the most tedious lesson he's ever taught...and he has two potty trained children who I believe can tie their shoes, but he got all the papers in.

And that's not the most stupid thing I experienced last week.

So on Friday, I realized on my way home from work, that I was out of my feminine products.  There's a Walmart on my way home, so I stopped in.  Now, if you've read this blog you know that purchasing feminine products, for me, is never quick because I have to weigh all the pros and cons of each product.  So it's a high concentration moment for me.

I'm standing there, in the Walmart, in front of the wall of feminine protection, and a young lad, of perhaps 17, walks up to me.  He is carrying a basketball and a clipboard.

Nope, still not making it up.

He says to me, "I'm collecting money for my school so I can play basketball.  Can you donate?"

I look at him, my concentration broken.  What I wanted to say was, "Oh great! Now my concentration is broken.  Do you see where you are?  Do you not realize that making a purchase of these products requires a significant amount of detailed study?  You want to play basketball?  I want to wake up not drowning in a puddle of gooey tissue slough because I couldn't pick the proper protection for the money I'm willing to pay.  You want to play basketball?  How about if you do my laundry this week?  How about that?  No?  No?  You don't want to chance it because it might be gross?  Oh I promise you it will be if I don't pick up the right package RIGHT NOW!  IT WILL BE GROSS!"

I didn't say that.

Instead, I said, "No, not today.  But congrats, you're in my blog."

Still not the most stupid thing that happened to me.

Out of Walmart, I decide, against my better judgement, that I'm hungry, too hungry to wait until dinner, which is more than 3 hours away, so I'm going to stop at the local Mc Donald's.  All I wanted...ALL I WANTED was a double cheeseburger.  I'm willing to pay the extra .25 they charge for that second slice of cheese.

So I roll up to the drive through and give the box my order. 

"That'll be $#$$&%$^"  she says.

Well it doesn't matter because I know, after buying double cheeseburgers for so long, that it's going to be $1.30.  I take out a nickel, a dollar, and a quarter.

So I roll up to the window and hand her $1.30.

"I need another six cents"  she says. "It's $1.36."

I hand her a nickel and a penny.

"No," says she, "It's $1.36."  and she hands me a nickel back.

So I hand her the nickel again.

"NO," says she, handing me back a nickel.  "It's $1.36.  I just needed a penny."

"You're holding $1.31."  says I. 

"Oh, wait...yeah.  I need the nickel."

And those...my friends...were the three most stupid moments of my week last week.

How am I not ruling the planet yet?



Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Forget gun permits...there should be a three day waiting period on this!

Good evening all!

One my favorite parts of the movie, "Gone With the Wind" is the scene after the war when Scarlett and her band of misfits are bathing and feeding the returning Confederate Soldiers as they stop at Tara on their way home.  Mammy's line is so brilliant:  "The whole Confederate Army's got the same troubles - crawlin' clothes and dysentery."
I warmed you...I warned you and warned you!
In the book, if memory serves, she elaborates a bit.  And if  you're still reading this and haven't picked up on what I'm about to say, then you have not been paying attention!  Beware!

The point I'm making is that forces that can destroy aren't just bombs and guns and various fighter jets.  As much as I loved the show JAG and pretty much most military movies  (And sorry Bob and Brian I do like the movie "Pearl Harbor."  I also like "Titanic."  It's the romantic in me.  Morbid romantic, no doubt, but romantic.)  I believe I have digested enough research on a weapon of mass bowl destruction so unsuspecting and quiet, I might be in line for a Nobel Peace Prize.

With this and those plastic divider
things from the grocery store, I
will dominate the world!
I am referring, of course, to tofu.

First of all, how on earth did a full blown meat eater like myself, a woman who has long mocked the ways of the meatless, a woman who gives up meat during Lent mostly to see if she can outlast her Catholic friends and family, a woman who thinks of bacon not as a meat but as one of God's proofs that He loves us, come to even have tofu near me?  How did I let this weird concoction of burn curd formed with soy whey even in my house?  How did it happen?

I birthed a vegetarian.  I know...I don't know how on earth it happened.  One day I'm going along feeding my children hot dogs and chicken nuggets and the next one of them is a vegetarian.  Peaches has been veggie since New Years'.  It's not a huge problem, since we don't generally eat as a family unless pizza is involved.  Most of the time I just buy her something from the frozen foods section and she fends for herself.

But over the weekend Hubby, who has purchased no less than 4 vegetarian cook books, decided it was time to give those books a look.  And thus, dinner on Saturday night was born.

He made a really beautiful stir fry full of peppers and pea pods and chopped up tofu, which, when fried and piping hot reminds one of chunks of chicked breast.

I had two helpings thank you.  IT was, strangely, delicious.  And, since it was completely meat free, I had plenty of calories left in my day to enjoy a gigantic bowl of ice cream...you know, the bowl I was going to have anyway, only now without the guilt.

STarting about three hours later and lasting...well, what day is this?  Wednesday?  Yeah, until even now, the mighty tofu attacked the blocking defenses I've spent decades building in my colon.  Saturday night, we made a joke of it.  Sunday, I lay on the couch, waiting for the next violent explosion to destroy another blockade.  Monday I dragged my tattered, battle worn self to work, praying that back up...in the form of a cheeseburger...would arrive.  It was not meant to be because Hubby, it seems, was taken prisoner and was now firing vegetarian selections at me!  My wounded shell of a body couldn't take one more heat seeking missle attack, so I evacuated one last time today...and waved the white bath tissue in surrender.

I once lived in Detroit, Michigan, where the local newscasters reported on a rash of car bombings...and then showed the viewing area step by step how to make a car bomb.  As of this week, I no longer believe that was the most dangerous every day normal thing there is.  How is Tofu not under lock and key?  How do we not need a prescription for this stuff?

Much rumbling has gone on about gun control and the new conceled carry law in Wisconsin...yet no one is saying a word about how grocery stores are selling tofu, the C4 of foods, out in the open for children and old people to trip on. 

I'm just sayin'...

Two adults discuss...achieving their Fitbit goals.

Many of you know that I've been getting up before work and taking a walk for my health and weight loss goals.  (Don't get ex...