I feel the need

I feel the need

Monday, October 31, 2011


Hey all!

I know you're probably out with your children...or on your own...reaping the harvest of free candy that is Halloween...BUT

Today is your last chance to vote on the title!

Tomorrow...we will have a title for the new book!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Laundry List Friday: (Sunday edition) 5 ways I'm trying to battle old age

Hello all!

So I'm getting older.  I'm a couple weeks from my 44th birthday, and my children, who have reached an age where they no longer need me to do much for them, believe I'm ready for "the home."

And, I have a sneaking suspicion that TV network execs are starting to feel the same way.

HOWEVER, I have done a number of things recently to PROVE I'm not completely ready for the glue factory.  Am I succeeding?  You be the judge:

5)  T-shirts still rule my wardrobe.  (And cover the "mom" jeans.)

Okay, I'm now in a job where I have to wear grown up clothes every day.  That doesn't stop me from donning some super hip T when I get home.  Case in point, I recently it a writing goal last weekend and rewarded myself with a NEW Rick Springfield thermal T.

  No, that's not me modeling it....but it could be...right?

So T's rule...and I'm cool!

4)  Covering the gray, at any cost.

I finally took the plunge and got my hair DONE at a PLACE.  I'm most annoyed by this halo of white hair that so nicely frames my face.  So I had it done....and I bought product to use on it.  And then I bought more product.

Total cost for covering the gray  $90.

Length of time my halo was hidden:  2 wks.

BUT in those two weeks, I was YOUNG, and PRETTY and I had great hair!

3)  Trying to pretend JAG wasn't truly the last written drama on TV that I couldn't miss.

Maybe the TV guys have the right idea.  Look, let's be frank. As much as I enjoy  "Hawaii 5-0" and "Castle" and anything called "CSI" that isn't set in Miami, I just don't make a ton of time for appointment TV.    I've given up shows like "Gray's Anatomy" and "Desperate Housewives," (Both shows I never missed three years ago) mostly because...I have no idea why.  Is my attention span so shot from watching too much reality TV?  Can I no longer enjoy a show that doesn't involve someone getting outsed at the end of every episode?

No, because if you recall, I LOVED "Scoundrels."  Granted, it was short lived...very short lived...but I loved it.

Maybe there's just a lack of David James Elliott on TV, and I can't find anything to fill the gap?

Possibly.  But I do love some of the dramas on TV.  Tonight I'm going to check out "Once Upon a Time."  But will it be good enough to make me give up "Amazing Race?"  Or reruns of "Monk?"

2)  Meanwhile, I also try to pretend I care about the winners of certain reality shows.

Maybe it was the fact that Survivor moved to Wednesday, which completely up ended my TV viewing life  (Ahem  CBS,. how about moving it BACK to Thursdays?)  but last season's American Idol run was barely a blip on my radar.  And that was in a season where Skippy and I sat for 15 hours to have him audition.  Maybe it's the fact that I can't get excited about 16 year old wannabes who say they've "waited their whole lives" for this moment.  Yeah, well, that hasn't been a very long wait...so shut up.

Oh, ummmmm, what I meant to say was, "hey, you're right sweetie.  I hope you make it because you've had such a trying life...in all your sixteen years."

Okay, that was a fail.    So let's try this as a number 2:

2)  (For Real)  Finding a bar

Those of you who know me know I enjoy a cocktail now and then.  But if you've known me well, you also know I'm not a bar person.  So last week, when hubby suggested we find a bar that we could call our place, I was surprised.  And shocked, since he's really not a drinker. 

"You know, a place we could go and watch the game."

(Right now I call that my couch.  It's warm, it's nice, I don't wait in line for the bathroom, and the heating pad is close by.)

Egads...we need a place!

So on Friday, since we were headed to a concert, we stopped in an establishment we'd never been to, and enjoyed a nice fish fry and some adult beverages. 

Note to self:  Happy hour at an Irish pub ROCKS.

Granted, that place is geographically too far from home to be our place,  (We're trying to be younger...but gas is still over $3 a gallon.) but it's a start, I guess. 

1)  Staying for the main band to get on stage...even if that means staying out past 11 PM.

Skippy goes to A LOT of concerts.  I got to Summerfest in June and I hit Pottawatomie in May to see Rick Springfield.  The difference in what I do and what Skippy does is that I can pick and choose who I see based on when the concert starts. In the case of Rick's shows, he's on stage pretty close to 8/8:15 and we are done by about 10 PM.  It's an awesome show, and I can still be home, on my couch, by 10:30.  (seriously, what am I, 80?)

Skippy's concerts are a bit different.  He will tell me he's going to see "Bright Eyes."  (I pretend I know who that is.)  He tells me the show starts at 6:30.  What he doesn't tell me is that Bright Eyes won't get on stage until 10:30 at best.

I'm telling you that to tell you this:  Friday night, after we found our Irish pub at happy hour, we had tickets to see "Trampled by Turtles."  Hubby won the tickets from a local radio station, and since we got the tickets we have familiarized ourselves with the work of "Trampled."  And we like it.  So, I looked forward to a show that would, at all reports, begin at 7:30.  (Home by 10 was my plan.)

When we got to the venue, we were told that the doors didn't open until 8 and the main band, "Trampled" wouldn't be on until 10.


Undaunted, and determined to see "Trampled"  we stayed.  We stayed through a decent band "Four on the Floor"  (Think Charlie Daniels Band with a more local flavor) and through a bad band "These United States"  (hint:  If a band wants to impress the audience, they should actually FACE the audience when they play.)  And we stayed until 11:06 PM when "Trampled by Turtles"  took the stage.

And no doubt, it was worth the wait.  But by 11:45 I was BEAT.  I'd watched all the college students in Halloween costumes I could take, and I'd seen a bit too much drama in the ladies' room for one evening.  So we didn't stay to see the end of the show...but we did rock it out for almost four hours.  I do believe I get youth points for that...right?

So there you go...five ways I'm battling old age.  Win or fail.  You be the judge.  Personally, I need a nap before I spend two hours catching up on "Once Upon a Time."

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Hey everyone!  I'd love to write something hilarious because it's been that sort of week, but NanoWriMo is starting in a few days and I NEED to get to work on my Elsie W book so it can be ready for Christmas!

Anywhoooo....I just wanted to remind you that you have TWO MORE DAYS to vote for a title for Elsie's book.

I will tell you this...Elsie spent three hours on Thursday yelling at the owner of Dunder Mifflin by phone.  3 HOURS.  If there's nothing in her office on Monday...who will be surprised?


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Shameless promotional Tease: Elsie's first hour at work

Good evening!

So...we now have a little less than a week to vote for the official title of my book about Elsie W, my Lady Coworker.  I've decided, mostly because I don't think anyone would want to read a 5000 page book about my life with Elsie, that I'm going to limit it to about the first 100 days of my employment at Dunder Mifflin.

So today was pretty much the cut off for all new material for this  "first" installment of Elsie books.  (I might make it a series...let's see how long she lasts at this gig.)

I am going to give you a shameless teaser because 1)  I am eager for November to start so I can NaNoWriMo the crud out of this book and get it on those reading devices by Christmas and 2)  I am out of funny ideas for a blog topic today.

So now, I give you ....Elsie's first hour at work today.

Elsie is to arrive at work at 11AM.  This means her first hour is from 11 Am to Noon.  By the time Elsie arrives, I've typically been at work and actually working for about 3.5 hours. But this isn't about how the rest of the world spends their first working hour of the day...this is about Elsie.

11:03 AM  Arrive.  (This is just pulling up to the building in her car.  This isn't, as Frank Barone would say, "A. I. S.")

A. I. S. Means "A** in Seat."
11:07 AM  Make first phone call of the day.  (Elsie's ONLY task at work is to make sales calls.  She is to make 100 calls per day...the idea is that in making 100 calls in 8 hours, you might just land 5, 6, 7 sales appointments.  It should be noted that  she runs to her desk most days and makes that first call right away to detract attention from the fact that she's always late.)

11:08-11:32  Make a four dish snack in the microwave and eat it.  (Oh, you didn't think she was going to make a second phone call before her first at work meal, did you?  BTW, I eat breakfast at home and then do not eat until 1:30.)

11:33  Answer the phone.  (Oh, and she's the #1 person to answer every incoming phone call...again, because setting sales appointments is her only job.)

11:36 Complain about the phone call.  (This goes on for a bit.)

11:47  (I told you, it went on for a bit.)  Realizes her shirt is on backwards.  Announces it to the entire office, and goes to change.

Oh no!  I came to work with my shirt on backwards...so I told everyone!
11:50  Cough (She has a cough that can, and does, peal paint.)

11:51  Dial a phone number, get a wrong number, hang up before acknowledging she dialed a wrong number.  (Because no one has caller ID, so we won't look stupid if she doesn't say anything.)

11:53  Cough  (for a good spell)

11:57  Take a personal call on her cell phone.

12:01  Argue with the boss about whether or not she should be allowed to take a personal phone call on her cell phone.

12:05  Misdial another number...hang up.  Cough.

12:10  Make another snack in the microwave.  Rinse dishes.  Complain there's no paper towel.  (There's is plenty in the shop...she doesn't go in there unless she's on her way to the office next door to buy their 25 cent soda)  cough.

Elsie's cough is like gentle music to those around her.

It gets better from there, but if you're doing the math like I am, if she's supposed to make 100 sales calls a day...in an 8 hour day that's an average of about 12.5 calls an hour.  Granted, some days are harder to make those calls.  But, and we were told this, "robo dialing" where you dial and then hang up, does not count.  So...with an hour in the books...she's made one call and answered one call.

(And she doesn't make another call for at least another hour.)

What did I do during this hour?  Well, I made13 sales calls.  Answered the phone twice.  Booked two sales appointments.  Booked a service appointment.  Took a phone call from a sales guy  (they don't like talking to her.) filled out two permit applications and talked to a plumbing inspector for five minutes.

Have I mentioned she makes significantly more than I do?

Want to know what she did the with the next five and a half hours of her day?  Vote for a title!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Laundry List Friday: 5 reasons I know I am NOT the worst parent in the world.

Hello all!

Raising children, some will tell you, is a tough job.  I once bought a refrigerator magnet that said, "Raising teens is like nailing jell-o to a tree."

One of the hardest parts of raising children is the constant concern that our children are right:  We really are the worst parents in the world. 

Well, I am not one of those people who worries about that.  No, sir.  I KNOW  I am NOT the worst parent in the world...and I have five points to prove it.

5)  I don't nag about household chores.

I'm not one of those tightly wound parents who gets all wicky when their kid's room is a mess.  Frankly, I just don't care...unless my in-laws are coming, and then I care just enough to say this:  "Shove everything under your bed...I don't want your grandmother thinking I'm a pig."

4)  We all have our seats around the coffee table at dinnertime.

Studies have shown that families that eat dinner together stay together longer.  Some people were so into this whole thing that take out places went full bore on a campaign to get families to talk to each other.  One pizza place actually printed topics of discussion on their pizza boxes...just so families would have something to talk about.  I do not have that problem.  As long as The Simpsons are on at 6 PM Central...the Bradley family will have something to discuss while they are eating.

3)  I don't fear my kids' music.  In fact, I sort of like it.

One of the weirdest things my parents ever did when we were teens was, at dinner...(and again, does anything good really come from a family eating a meal together without benefit of a TV?)  we were required to play a record of our choosing and explain the lyrics.  My brother, the sneaky one, on his nights, choose things like "A Charlie Brown Christmas"  or "Disney's, The Jungle Book."

Meanwhile...I, the honest one...had to recite and explain the lyrics to "Superfreak" over my mother's burned potatoes.

That moment taught me a lesson:  I am never going to completely love my kids' choice in music.  But I'm certainly not going to fear it.  I grew up with Alice Cooper, AC/DC, and Anthrax.  And those were just the A's.  Sure, I listened to more than my fair share of Barry Manilow back then, but I knew every word to "Relax" and I totally got it.  And I turned out just fine...

Music is always going to be about rebellion.  Hey, Bach and Beethoven where the shock rockers of their day.  We just don't think that way because let's face it, the harpsichord is sort of a sissy instrument now and it's hard to feel the rage and madness in a neatly phrased 3/4 time piece entitled "Sheep may safely Graze."

So now I'm listening and screamo and Lady Gaga bleed through the walls of my house...and it's okay. 

2)  I've not yet been invited to be on Maury Povich.

I might seem like I'm this really repressed, ultra conservative, super religious, backward thinking Midwest mom.  But nothing could be more wrong.  Well, except for the repressed...conservative...religious Midwest part.  Anyway, I always laugh when I see those commercials on TV telling me how to start a conversation about drugs with my kids.  Here's what I tell them every day:

Don't drink
Don't smoke
Don't do drugs
Keep your clothes on

And, in case that daily reminder doesn't always seem to fall on listening ears, I will, at random times offer various other tidbits of parental advice and encouragement:

Don't you make me a grandmother before you make me a mother in law.

This, right here, is a felony now.  So keep it clean.  (Skippy, who is 18, has a girlfriend who is a bit younger.)

No, you don't have to go to school...I'll stay home from work, and we'll watch "Master and Commander" just like we did when you faked being sick in grade school.  Oh, you're feeling better?
Go to your bloody classes!

You think vodka tastes like nail polish remover?  Well, let me tell you...all alcohol tastes like that.  All of it.  The only reason I drink it is to kill the pain in my back.  Believe me, it's harsh to have to drink it.

1)  I've never encouraged my children to endanger themselves so we could get a reality show.

Two words:  Falcon Heene.

A perfect family...and their balloon...and a hoax they planned to foist on us all. 
How did this not turn up as a TV show on ABC?  I mean, they have room in their
schedule after canceling "Scoundrels"  JUST AS IT WAS GETTING GOOD!
So there you go...my children will probably disagree...although given the vast amount of parental leniency they're getting tonight so I can write, I would doubt it, but there are the reasons I am NOT the worst parent in the world.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Where's the moisture wicking article of clothing for this?

Good evening friends!

Again, I apologize for not checking in more often this month.  I'm working feverishly on my first draft of "Fresh Ice" as well as blocking my Elsie W book.  (By the way...have you voted?)  November will be worse since I've just signed myself up for NaNoWriMo  (National Novel Writing Month.)  The idea is to complete a novel in a month.  Why they picked November, one of the socially busiest months in the year...I do not know.  But I am determined to get two books out by Christmas...okay, Valentine's day at the latest, so I must, as they say, sally forth.

However, I have to pause and share with you a problem I'm sure many people, fluffy women especially, have.

There are parts of my body that are simply never, ever dry.

Okay, I'll give you a minute to get your minds out of the gutter.

Thank you.

As we age, ladies, gravity stops being our friend.  Everything gets pulled downward, which means there are portion of our body that are covered by other portions of our body...and therefore these covered portions don't get the sweet drying relief of a soft breeze because...well, these are portions that really, no one wants to see out in a soft breeze.

You've got to have friends...
friends who know where to get
good supportive moisture
wicking bras.
When I was in college, one of my favorite milk through the nose comedy routine was of the Bette Midler talking about taking the pencil test on her upstairs female bits.  The theory was that you could go without foundation garments if you stuck a pencil under your breast and it fell out.  I believe Divine Miss M shared that she stuck a wing backed chair in there and it stayed. 

See, it was funny because I was thin and had a small upstairs.  Now I'm fluffy, and two kids (and countless bags of Cheetos) later, I'm hitting wing back chair status.  Which means there are large portions of my upper gut that are not getting dried by a cool breeze.

But it all evens out...because a liquid mass will fill the space it's put in, and thusly my gut drifts downward toward my knees, hanging gently over my undergut...for lack of a better term, and putting yet more acreage of skin in the moist dark of my flab.

I could live with that, except for one thing...skin that stays moist tends to get rashy and itchy and not so pretty.  Think athlete's foot...under the mammaries.

So I hit the stores to find undergarments that will magically wick away the moisture.  (I hit the stores to find undergarments that will magically make my body think it's been to Gold's gym four times a week so it weighs 140 pounds...but I haven't found that product yet.)  I've tried sports bras, but here's the secret about athletic clothing...


I'm not making this up.  Go look in the plus size department of any store...sure there are T's and sweats...but not work out clothes.  It's like...if you're heavy, it's assumed you're going to wear the workout clothes for lying on the couch, so why bother making anything fashionable or pretty?  Or supportive?  (that's what the couch is for, right?)  Go to the sporting goods store and look for a plus sized sport bra.  NOT HAPPENING.  I know, I've looked.

Okay, so if I am a fluffy girl, and I want to work out, I'm relegated to the ugliest clothing in the world....the sweat pants with the elastic band at the ankle.  These pants say one thing:  I'm afraid I might sneeze and lose a cookie down my trouser leg, so I'm binding the cuff.

And if you want to jog, but you have a bit of back fat...for get it.  If you have massive missiles, but no back fat, you can get your pick of jog bras.  (I know: Hubby's workout regimen includes reading "Runner" magazine and they go into tremendous detail about good supportive jog bras.  Just not for the fatties.)

So back to my original problem:  I have not been able to find anything that will wick away moisture from glacial fat covered areas.  I've tried powders, I've tried lying naked on a bed and holding my fat pouches up while a fan blows on me.  Believe me, it's not nearly as sexy as it sounds. 

Short of hanging upside down from one of those anti-gravity things, I'm not sure what to do.

Don't mind me...I'm just drying my undergut.  Get in line..
The blonde is next, but then it's your turn!

So hey, wanna make a million bucks?  Try designing some workout clothing for plus sized girls that 1)  Doesn't cost as much as a Vera Wang wedding dress and 2) actually wicks away moisture from those covered areas.

Oh, and a pair of really comfy, sexy sweat pants wouldn't be bad either.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Laundry List Friday: Five reasons I AM TV Mom Material!

Hey all Happy Friday!

Sorry...I know I promised this post last week, but I have been working on the new novel like an insane woman...oh, and the Elsie book is coming along nicely, too.  So I got a little sidetracked on my way to this list.

Two weeks ago I pointed out five TV moms that prove I am NOT TV mom material.  This week, I'm calling up five other TV moms that prove I could could a TV mom!

Here we go:

5:  Debra Barone

Juggling nosey in-laws, a goofy man child husband and kids?  Debra was a housewife in the truest sense of the word, because except for a few rare episodes, the woman's whole world was her house and her family.  Granted, I sometimes did wonder where those kids were...but the episode where Debra and Ray are retelling the story about the can opener and the tuna?  Been there, done that!

4:  Roseanne Conner

My husband loathes the show "Roseanne," but something, for me, always rang true.  Hey, a mom who struggles with lousy jobs, trying to find her voice as a writer...in a basement room?  I learned how to "pay bills" from Roseanne.  Granted, I've never told my kids to go play in traffic, but my living room bears a very scary resemblance to hers....oh, and mother issues?  Sing it sister!

3)  Claire Dunphy

My family may not be quite as modern as hers...but a well meaning hubby who thinks he's cool?  Kids that make her crazy? A brother that pushes her buttons?  The desire to DO SOMETHING and MAKE THINGS BETTER?  (Okay, maybe not so much that one.  LOL)  But still, I see a lot of myself in Claire's endless struggle just to get from one end of the day to another without pushing a family member into traffic.

2)  Marge Simpson

She's loved the same man for more than twenty years.  Her son is a handful, her daughter is an over achiever.  (Sorry Maggie, I don't have a third kid!)  She tends her home with as much energy as she is able after a day of being a Simpson, and she serves different dinners to her different family members.  Oh...and I, too, have lost hair to stress, discovered the joys of drinking wine, and wish my family would dress up more often.

1)  Frankie Heck

"The Middle" might be my favorite show of all time.  How much do I love it?  I miss the first half of "Survivor" to watch it.  Why?  Because every word that comes out of Frankie Heck's mouth is something I have said!  The most recent episode, she's trying to prepare her eldest, Axel, for the PSAT's.  (We call Skippy "Axel" now.)  her daughter is always optimistic, and typically falls short.  While Peaches hasn't had quite the set backs Sue Heck has...I see a lot of myself and my own teen years in the girl.  To make me see myself in mother and child...that's genius.  Oh...and my house could be a secondary filming site, right down to the toaster waffles in the freezer.

So there it is my friends, five TV moms that could be me.  (And if you're not watching "The Middle" you should be.  ABC Wednesdays, 8/7)

Finally....HAVE YOU VOTED?  Look, over there, on the right...that Elsie Book needs a name!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Elsie sorts out corporate politics with her truly dizzying logic.

WARNING!  Today's blog is rated roughly PG-15.  While there is no actual language, violence, or nudity, there are adult situations...so if anyone catches my kids reading this blog...stop them!

Good evening!

One of my favorite movies, in the top 200 anyway, is "When Harry Met Sally."  Billy Crystal was at the top of his game, Meg Ryan hadn't done that weird thing with her hair and stopped wearing bras...it's a great film.  One of my favorite lines from that movie is the conversation they have about whether or not men and women can be friends:

"Because no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her."

Sure, there've have been times I subscribed to this theory, but not recently, and certainly not in my work place.  There are just some thoughts that have never crossed my mind when it comes to my male coworkers.

Apparently, Elsie does not have the same such mental edit button.

See, NBM is casting about to find new and exciting ways to drum up business.  All business, as you know, is based on sales.  Doesn't matter what the business is, sales is the lifeblood, and NBM was, in the last couple days, looking for new sales and marketing ideas.

Elsie and I had a mini powwow yesterday  (Okay, she draped herself over the counter on my desk and I had to sit there, looking up her nose holes while she hacked and coughed and spittled through a fifteen minute monologue on why men suck.) and we came up with a few ideas.  Some of them were good...some of them were Elsie's.

Today, at the end of the day when frankly no one really wants to be facing customers, when we're just marking time until we can start the computer close down sequence, NBM was asking us for those ideas.

I gave him a couple mine, Elsie gave him a couple of hers.  NBM is not a demonstrative guy.  He is also really not comfortable around female coworkers.  Not all bosses are.  (Take my old Bossman, there was a guy who had zero clues about how to relate to women in a corporate world.  At least NBM, though he is awkward, he does try to carry on a conversation with Elsie and me every day.  The good news for him...I speak MAN fluently.)

But I digress.  Not all of our ideas were good ones, and some were down right goofy.  I knew that.  NBM knew that. 

Elsie...did not.

She got the distinct feeling he was ignoring our ideas.  (Maybe he was...so what?  It was something to do until I could legitimately shut down my computer.)

When he left for the day  (about nine minutes before I could) she took the opportunity in that nine minutes...nine minutes I'd hoped to spend looking at potential cover art...to explain to me her thoughts on why he didn't jump at our brilliant marketing ideas.

Was it because he's a pompous beast who only listens to men?  No...I would not say that of him, and she can't possibly say that of him. 

Was it because about 70% of the suggestions she and I made were neither serious nor good business? No, although I don't think she understood that NBM and I were joking when we suggested she put on a giant foam mascot's outfit and dance at the local mall to drum up business.

No...according to Elsie, the reason NBM didn't praise us for our remarkably brilliant marketing ideas was....

he wants to sleep with us.

Folks, do you have any idea how hard it is not to let out a big, gut clearing guffaw into someone's face?  I thought I'd wrenched all my control muscles two days ago when she announced that most of our coworkers...including me...were getting sick NOT because she's been a cloud of communicable disease for the last three weeks, but because Al Qaeda was using germ warfare again us.  Us...middle aged and aging women in a home remodeling business in Wisconsin.  Yes, we are the new target for Al Qaeda.

You see, Al Qaeda wants to hit us where it hurts most...crazy eyed older women.
Oh, and I didn't laugh in her face yesterday when she shouted for all to hear that she worked with a bunch of "uncircumcised Philistines" because remnants of the the deli lunch that NBM very nicely brought in were sitting willy nilly on a table.  (This is the same woman who only washes her dirty dishes in the office sink when the cloud of fruit flies is too thick to walk through.)

It doesn't matter that my office is a toxic waste dump. 
You left the rye bread out and it got dry.
So no, my friends, I did not laugh when she suggested that NBM wasn't taking us seriously because he wants to sleep with us.  No...I tightened my muscles and bit my lip and firmly said, "I highly doubt that's his reason.  Oh look, my ride is here."

The good news is that this restraint on my part is turning out to be something of a workout.  I was able to tighten my belt another notch today. 

I wonder if KRAM at Gold's will count it?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Cats: 1 Boundary shattering relatives: 0

Good morning!

First things first.

I just opened a NEW AUTHOR PAGE for Face book.  Click here to find out the latest on what's going on in my writing world.  Since I hope to have two books out before spring, I figured it was a good time to launch that.

Next:  The deadline for voting on the title of my upcoming humor book is soon upon us!  Get your vote in...over there on the right...by OCTOBER 31.  Remember, YOU get to pick the title!

Now...this past week I got a very interesting phone call at work.  It went like this:

Sarah:  Thank you for calling Dunder Mifflin, this is Sarah. How can I make you smile today?  (Yes, I am contractually obligated to answer the phone this way.  Please...buy my books...)

Caller:  Really....that's the way you answer the phone?

Sarah:  Yes, how can I help you?

Caller:  You sound like some 1-900 phone sex operator.

Sarah:  Ummm....okay.  How can I help you?

Caller:  This is your brother.

(My brother has zero phone etiquette.  Zero.)

Sarah:  Oh, hi.

Brother:  So on Friday  (the next day)  we're going to come to your house and celebrate Goober's birthday.  (Goober is his youngest kid)

Sarah:  Um, Hubby and I have to go to Peaches' game on Friday.  Mom and Dad are coming too.  I mean, you're welcome to come along...

Brother:  No, Dad is going to the Brewers' game with me and Mom is bringing Goober and Grindle  (His other younger child.  Twinkle, his eldest, is off being a teen and we rarely see her.)  and then we're coming to your house for cake and ice cream.

Sarah:  (Remember, this call is being recorded for training purposes.  Plus NBM is sitting in his office listening.)  Um...okay.  But I don't have a cake.

Brother:  Look, Mom is bringing the cake.  DO YOU HAVE A PLACE IN YOUR HOUSE WHERE WE CAN CUT IT?

Sarah:  (Not really excited about getting yelled at for this.)  Fine, yes.  But it's going to be late and we have to help with concessions.

Brother:  Just be at your house at 9:30 and we'll do this party.

And then he hung up.

My relationship with my family is complicated and I probably should get therapy, but I like to write heroines who have family issues  (In Lies in Chance all of Shara's immediate family members are dead.)  and that works for me.

I spent the rest of the afternoon sort of stewing about this.  I've been trying to get my parents to see Peaches cheer at a football game all season.  This was the last home game of the season.  By the time Hubby picked me up from work, I was furious...and sick  (Oh yeah, Elsie's bug finally hit me.  Hard.)  I continued to stew about this one the way home.  By the time I got home I was nauseous  (thanks to Elsie) and still furious.  So I called Mom.  I won't bore you with the details of that phone call.  It's one of those calls that sometimes a grown up has to make to their relatives to let them know they are making you insane. 

I've never actually made that call before.

The end result, however, was that yes, we were going to be having a small party for Goober after the football game at our house.  And yes, Mom was going to be watching Goober and Grindle.  "But they'll be so good and they'll sit for the whole game."


Friday I was on the couch sick.  Down hard.  Check the records...I barely looked at Facebook, and there was nothing here.  Thusly I had no time or energy to "de-cat" the house like we usually do when Brother and Father, both of whom are allergic, show up.  Usually our measures take the better part of a morning, and stave off major attacks for the length of a Packer game.  But...I didn't do that this time around.  (Hey, every relative I have tells me not to spend a lot of time cleaning.  "I'm here to see you...not your house.  I took them up on it this time.)

After the football game  (where Grindle dropped my scarf under the bleachers, sat in my special stadium chair all night, trying very hard to break it, and Goober kept losing his "it's my birthday" crown over the railing so we had to go get it) we headed back to the house to set up, balloons and all, for the party.

The kids ran amok and I forgot to shut the cats in the office, which is where I put them when allergy sufferers come over. 

As Mom and I set up the party  (and really, how do I get sucked into this?  I WAS SICK!)  Brother stood in front of our TV and watched a recap of the Brewers game...a game he'd just seen in person. 

And he started sneezing.

"LIGHT THE CANDLES NOW"  he shouted.  So we did.


"CUT THE CAKE.  CUT IT NOW!"  He shouted.

He then went outside.  He'd been in the house nine minutes.  Two weeks ago, he was able to stay for an entire Packer game.  

We served him cake and ice cream outside. 


So, Mom and I helped pack up the kids, load them, the cake, the ice cream, and the presents, into the car.

Length of the party?  20 minutes.

A must have for pet owners
who want to stay friendly with
their relatives.
You might think I'm evil, telling you this in a somewhat gleeful tone.  But I'm not telling you this to mock cat allergy sufferers.  I adore my sisters in law, and Marie, my very good friend, has a terrible allergy to my critters.  And if and when they come over, we work very hard ahead of time to make the house as dander free as we can.  (The Dyson "Animal" vacuum cleaner is a MUST HAVE for pet owners.) 

I like to think of it as a sort of immediate Karma.  You don't plan a party at my house, yell at me on the phone at work, insist we have the party even though I'm sick, do nothing to help with the party and expect that everything is going to go right...or that I'm NOT going to share the story with my readers!

And now, I must go...it's time to give my cats an extra treat!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Elsie hits her locker room door...again.

Good morning!

I know I've shared with you the story of the locker room door, but if I haven't, I will do a quick sum up.  When I was nine or ten, I went to the YMCA with my cousin, let's call him Tad.  Tad was one of those guys who was friends with a lot of girls, so it wasn't a problem for me to go into the locker room with his friends, with the understanding that I would meet him at the pool when we had all changed.

I got changed before the rest of the girls, and I went to find the door to the pool.  I couldn't find it anywhere in the locker.  I asked and they all said, "It's through there."

"No," says I, "Because all that's through there are showers."

This exchange went on for a bit, and I stubbornly refused to follow the girls to the door which they swore led to the pool.  In fact, i was so adamant about not following them, they had to bring Tad in to the girls' locker room so he could  show me that yes, the door led to the pool.

I use this story a lot to sort of explain moments in every one's life where we hit an obstacle of some sort and, no matter how small the obstacle or how simple the solution, we simply cannot get through that locker room door.

I told you that story so that I can tell you this one:

Friday is Elsie's day off.  We very much enjoy the peace and quiet and non crazy on Fridays.  In fact, this Friday was especially quiet because PM was out filling in for one of the install guys and NBM was contemplating how much fun he was going to have at the Wisconsin Badger game on Saturday.

Something else about Fridays you should know:  While it is Elsie's day off...she is never too far from our minds because the woman calls the office no less than three times EVERY SINGLE FRIDAY.  Show of hands, how many of you call your workplace on your day off...on every day off?

That's what I thought.

So Elsie calls, and I wind up picking up the phone.  This is apparently her third or fourth call of the day and NBM and PM no longer taking her calls.

"Hello Sarah, it's me," she says halfway through the phone greeting I'm contractually obligated to say.  "I want to talk to someone about our non-existent vision insurance."

Knowing NBM and PM have already spoken to her and knowing that we are busy, I bite the bullet and chat with her.  "So what's up?"

"I went to the eye doctor and they said I wasn't covered.  And can I tell you something?  (her favorite phrase)  This insurance is terrible because it doesn't cover anything I need.  And this company is trying to rip us off by not taking care of us, so I'm going to have to think about finding a different job is this is the insurance they are giving us."

In my mind I'm thinking...right...you're sixty, you're a nit wit, and you can't get through a sentence without making that weird, loud throat clearing noise.  There's a GIANT job market for ya out there. 

I'm also thinking...SAY NOTHING.  This is your opportunity!

But, as we all know, I spend a lot of time NOT hurting people.  So, I say, "You know...that's weird because Peaches had an eye check up and they paid for EVERYTHING except the actual contacts."

Elsie was quiet for a moment, breathless, probably, from her rant.  "Wait...so our vision isn't paired with our dental?"

I don't have dental through the company.  I have vision and medical, and Elsie, in a moment of clarity, remembers that.  "Right.  You use your medical card for vision."

"Oh, well that explains it.  I gave my eye doctor my dental card and he said I wasn't covered.  Well, so you think I'm covered?"

"Yes, I know you're covered."

Actually, the resemblance is shocking.

The whole conversation reminded a bit of the old Saturday Night Live "weekend update" where the glorious Gilda Radner, as her alter ego Rosanne Rosannadan, went on a rampage about "violins on TV."  She was gently reminded that she was arguing against "Violence on TV."  Her response?

"Never Mind."

Fun Fact Friday: Now that it's dead, Sarah reveals a childhood dream.

Happy Friday all! What do you want to be when you grow up? That's a question we ask little kids...and I haven't a clue why....