I feel the need

I feel the need

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Song I'll never sing with a Straight Face.

Good evening!

Sorry I've been out of touch this month...apparently once I released Fresh Ice, my body gave out completely and I've been one of those Walking Dead Zombie people...only less attractive.  No, really.  It's been the Snotpocolypse on my face.  I've had drainage run from my nose, throat, eyes...and I gave up cleaning out my ears when what I was pulling out of my ears didn't seem like something that should be percolating in a human body.  Oh, and I haven't had a voice.  Not at all.

Not having a voice for someone like me this time of year is really hard.  A big part of getting into the holiday spirit for me is singing.  I love singing Christmas songs in church, at work, at home.  I am a person who loves to sing.  This year, without a voice, it just hasn't been the same.

But not being able to sing brought to mind one of my favorite Christmas stories.  I've shared this before on this blog, but a good story is a good story, and hey, there are those out there who haven't heard this one.

So kids, gather 'round, and I'll tell you why, even if I had a voice, I will never be able to since "Peace, Peace"  without laughing out loud:

One of the cornerstones of traditional Christmas Eve experiences is the Children's Christmas Eve service. This is a church service where little girls put on a lot of velvet and curl up their hair and boys are wrestled into sweater vests and clip on ties so that they can stand up in front of church, sing a few Christmas hymns, and recite in unison "FORUNTOYOUISBORNASAVIORWHICHISCHRISTTHELORD!"

It's a big deal, Christmas Eve services. Cameras, cam corders whir in the back as 8th graders sit sullenly until it's their turn to stand up and recite, and there's always some 4 year old who cries so hard he wets his pants.

When I was one of those surly 8th graders, our Christmas Eve service was lead by the pastor's wife, an imposing figure of a woman we're going to call...wow, I don't have a clever name for her because, well, she's was so singular. I'll call her Mrs. because if I call her anything else, someone, somewhere, might sue me. But I swear to you every word of what I'm about to tell you it true.

The high point of our Christmas Eve service the year I was in 8th grade was the singing of Silent Night and Peace Peace. This is a musical number that is performed generally with a children's choir and an adult choir. The kids sing Silent night and the adults sing Peace Peace, which goes like this:

Peace, Peace, Peace on earth and good will to all
This is the time for love
This is the time for joy
Now let us all sing together
For peace peace peace on earth.

When done correctly, it's magical.

Mrs. was one of those grand women who believed in over dressing for everything. At 6'3" 275 lbs., she was hard to miss. But when she did up her mountain of curly red hair, painted all nine of her fingernails bright red (you read that right, she was missing the pinky finger on her right hand at the knuckle. Just a stubby finger...no red nail.) and donned something sparkly and flowing, she was a vision of Vegas like chic. She was the choir director for the entire church, which means the choir, the junior choir, of which I was a member, and the school kids who couldn't really sing or didn't want to be in junior choir but were forced to be in the church service all fell under her bedazzled, fleshy flapping arms.

Her vision for this song was sort of a theater in the round magic that really should involve a couple of teamsters to pull off. The senior choir was to line up behind the junior choir on the altar area. No risers, so the senior choir was sort of buried in the back. The non singing kids were on either side of her standing in lines. The organist...and this is key...was in the balcony BEHIND HER. And the bigger logistics issue was that the organ was backwards in the balcony. In order for the organist to see what was going on on the main floor of the church, he or she had to look in the mirror on the organ. Oh, and the organ bench was actually higher than the balcony railing, so there was always a certain degree of danger in playing the organ.  You never knew if THIS would be the day the organist crashed over the railing to certain death.

The service itself went pretty well. No one cried that year, or wet their pants. All we had to do was get through "Peace Peace" and we were free to go home and enjoy the real meaning of Christmas...you know, the present part.

The organist, a darling woman who shared my maiden name, and I will call her Ruth, because that is her name, fired up "Silent night" and the kids started singing on all three sides of Mrs. Then, with a point of a long red claw, Mrs. started the senior choir.

I'm not sure how it happened...okay, sure I am. The members of the senior choir couldn't see Mrs., so therefore they buried their faces in their music and ignored the fact that the organ, and with the organ the children, were pulling farther and farther ahead of them. (Average age of the senior choir...84)

In a move that was unheard of...and is now legendary, Mrs. stopped the show. "Stop, stop! Ruth! Stop playing!"

Mrs. just stopped Christmas Eve. Just like that. I was in the front row of the Junior Choir...it was all I could do to stop from laughing out loud.  No one, in the history of Christmas Eve services, had EVER stopped anything.  No, I've seen kids pass out.  I've seen wailing kids run in fear from the front of the church to their parents.  I've seen kids spill hot wax on themselves  (back when kids were allowed, nay, ordered, to hold actual live fire.)  But no one ever stopped a Christmas Eve service.  The tension in the church was a heavy cloud.

Not for the senior choir though...the bass section, God love them, didn't hear her shouting to stop...and in a silent church, the four basses growled out, "NOW LET US ALL SING TOGETHER!" before an Alto shoved them with her folder.

There was a horrible, delicious stretch of time when the room was silent, waiting for something, anything, to happen. Mrs. took a deep breath, raised her enormous arms, the light of the Christmas tree twinkling off the five diamond rings she wore on her nine fingers. "Ruth, take it from measure 84," she said.

We moved from that town a year later, and I don't know what became of Mrs. I do know this: That Christmas Eve became a legend across many parts of Wisconsin,  and to this day I will run into someone and we'll get to talking about Christmas music and they'll say, "Well, I'll never be able to sing "Peace Peace" with a straight face again."

And neither will I.

Hey, you all have a marvelous Christmas, or, whatever you celebrate this time of year, I hope it's marvelous.  And I'll see you in 2013.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Ladies and Gents...FRESH ICE!

Hello all!

I try to keep my two blogs separate, but this week I have to make the same announcement I made over at It's a Writer's World!

After much blood, sweat, and tears, countless cups of coffee and more pinot noir than I care to admit to, Fresh Ice, my latest romantic suspense novel, is finally available in all formats!

Want it in print: Click right here!

Got a Kindle: Click right here!

Got a Nook: Click right here!

Got a different sort of e-reader, or want to read it on your computer: Click right here!

Remember, like all indie authors, my books live and die by word of mouth! If you love Fresh Ice, please leave a positive review on the site where you bought it.

If you don't love Fresh Ice...maybe just keep that to yourself!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Sarah's (semi) triumphant return to Gold's!

Good afternoon!

As many of you know I was in a car accident this past July.  Since then, my life has been a whirlwind of doctor's appointments, physical therapy, chiropractor's appointments, and rest.  Well, finally, last week, the physical therapist cleared me to go back to the gym...to swim.

See, the injury to my neck was sort of mysterious for a while, and now that they've figured out I won't die if I exercise  (which blows my theory about exercise) they feel it will be okay if I swim a little.

So, eager to be back at Gold's gym, I packed my bag and headed to the pool after work.

Here's the thing:  It's November.  It's Wisconsin.  It's COLD right now.  So I was cold when I get to the gym.  I was cold when I checked in, cold when I went to the locker room, cold when I changed into my new swim suit which looks fantastic on me  (well, it looks as good as a swim suit can on my body) except it has a snap at the waist band that keeps popping open.  It's not like it's a load bearing snap, it's just there and it pops open all the time.  Annoying.  Anyway, I was cold getting to the pool and really cold looking at the water.

I stood there, telling myself that once I got into the pool I would be okay.  I would swim a few laps and feel really good about myself.  So I stepped down on the first step into the pool. 

I'm not saying the water was cold.  Maybe my foot was already in the first stages of frostbite.  Who can say?  All I know is, sticking one foot in the water was quite enough for one day.  I decided we were going to take this return to Gold's slowly...baby steps...like today a foot in the pool, and maybe next month I'll go in up to my ankles. 

Perfectly satisfied with my progress for the day, I hit the hot tub. 

My time in the hot tub, because I have a weird form of eczema, had to be short as well, but being warm for the first time all day was sort of intoxicating, so I sat in the water a bit.  Two young women (I'm guessing they were young, women over the age of 30 and the dress size of 12 shouldn't wear string bikinis, but I didn't have my glasses on.) entered the pool area.  There was no one else in the entire space, no one in the hot tub, no one else in the pool.  Not wearing my glasses, I had a hard time really making out features and was shocked at first to think that one of the women was bottomless.  Then I realized that her string bikini bottom was the exact same pale pink as her skin.

The two women got into the pool and stood there.  Just stood there, talking.  Now, I've had a lot of conversations with friends, and many of them in the pool.  But I can't think of one time I had a conversation with someone in a pool while I was standing completely still, unless watching children was involved.  So here these two women are, in the tiniest of bikinis, each of them, standing in the pool at Gold's, doing nothing.  (Which, by the way, is completely different from me...I stuck a toe in and moved along.  That's doing nothing, but doing it out of the way of everyone else.)

I don't know if these women got annoyed that I was just sitting there, minding my own business, but I started to feel like they were not pleased that I was encroaching on their chat time.  (Gee, sorry.  Ya know, Starbucks is just across the parking lot, and THEY encourage people to do nothing and chat.)  After a few minutes of trying to just enjoy the hot tub while unable to ignore the fact that both of them were staring in my direction the entire time, (and seriously...it's a big space, you gotta look at me the whole time?)  I finally gave up and got out of the hot tub.

Now, pay attention here, because this is where Sarah starts to believe in Karma a tiny little bit.  See, I was feeling all superior to these women because, hey, I came, I did something, and I was going.  They were just standing there, doing nothing.  So I had a rare moment of feeling superior to someone in a bikini.  That doesn't happen often.

And it didn't last long.  Did I mention I was NOT wearing my glasses?  Oh, and if you have ever been to a gym pool, you know the doors to the men's and the women's locker rooms look waaaaaaaaaaay too much alike. 

Do I really need to tell you more?

Okay, so there I was, feeling superior to the two do nothings who were STILL STARING AT ME.  And, as I made the turn for the locker room, they burst into laughter. 

You guessed it.  I'd headed through the door to the men's locker room. 

Yes, baby steps back to the gym. Like maybe next time I get the courage to go in there, I DON'T go to the men's locker room.  That would be a magnificent next step.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Noelle C Thinks we ALL should have a Life Coach.

Good morning!

Like most people this time of year, I've been busy with holiday preparations.  I won't bore you with my Thanksgiving story...you can hear that when Bob and Brian start reading their Holiday Horror Stories.

No, today I want to share with you the wisdom of Noelle C.  You see, she just got back from vacation where she took a three day painting class and now believes she not only is a master painter  (and wants to sell her paintings of flowers and pumpkins for anywhere between $25 and $5000 dollars...and I'm not saying she's a bad artist, I'm saying I've seen similar work emerge from a 6th grade school art class) but that she now holds the key to happiness and peace.

Oh yeah, this is going to be good.

Lets' start with the painting class.  I'm not an elitist.  Not even a little bit.  But she informed me yesterday that since she's taken this three day class, and since the teacher of this class  (I don't use the word "pyramid scheme" all that often, but boy howdy, does this smack of it) is trying to get make the class a college credit...somewhere...that now she, Noelle C, is a college student.

I hate to tell her it sounds more like she's the victim of a traveling snake oil salesperson, but hey, we all have to find that out for ourselves.  Besides, if it makes her happy and gives her something else to talk about other than how miserable her entire life was to this point and how much she loves Lumbergh  (and you can hear that whole story, too, every day, if you say something to her like, "How was your weekend?"  or "Good morning.") then I'm perfectly fine listening to how she's going to be able to retire on the sales of her paintings and on the money people are going to pay her to teach them how to paint now that she's a Level One instructor in this painting method.  (Three days...and she's an instructor.  Does anyone else see this for what it is?)

Anyway, that's not why I'm blogging today.  No, today I have to share with you the wisdom Noelle C gleaned from a Life Coach she met in Florida.  Well, really, she heard about this woman from the guy who picked her up in an airport shuttle the last day of her vacation.  See, he used to be married to the woman who is now a life coach and shares her secrets to a happier life online.

And people think I'm gullible.

So yesterday, after a 45 minute profanity laden diatribe against everything from the temperature in the office (which is always cold) to her new computer monitor  (which Lumbergh bought while she was on vacation and now she feels she doesn't deserve it) to her career in the medical field to her former co workers to the fact that she, and I'm quoting here, "has never worked in a setting where she had to interact with people"  (I'll let you digest how someone who used to work in the medical field as a nursing assistant AND was a model AND worked at Initech for a year has never had to interact with people.)  she shared with me her new found secret to life.

Don't blame me...all I said was "good morning" when I was on my way to the bathroom...and apparently that turned on the launch sequence.

See, the guy who picked her up in the airport shuttle apparently picked up on the vibe that Noelle C isn't completely happy with her life.   Probably because he said "hello"  and she spent the next hour listing all the things that were wrong with her past and how she's now all alone, having declared her siblings "dead to her" recently.  (She says they were ignoring her at a recent family gathering.  Realistically, she probably couldn't hear them talking since she's so deaf and won't do anything about it.)

Being a woman willing to try...and believe, pretty much anything except that Lumbergh is not going to fire her...Noelle C checked out the woman's online affirmations.  And now Noelle C's decided this will also be the key to my personal life happiness.

"You have to do a daily affirmation with this woman,"  she cheered while I was doing the "potty dance" in her doorway.  (Why did I not just leave?  Because I'm super polite and was trained well to show my elders respect no matter what.)

"You go online...and I don't remember the woman's name, but she's wonderful.  She says life is three pronged and you have to get in touch with all three sides to life.  You have to tune in to your spiritual side, your creative side, and your practical side and make everything work in harmony by doing these daily affirmations."

All I can picture is Stuart Smalley from "Saturday Night Live."

So that's the secret to life.  I have to find this woman, who's name I do not know, and listen to her daily affirmations because her ex husband picked up Noelle C and told her to do it.

No, you know what the secret to my happiness is?  The idea that one day, when I've completed the books about the whackadoos I have to work with, I can quit my job and all this will be a faint memory.

But I couldn't tell her that.  I didn't have time for another diatribe.  After all, I did have to hit the bathroom.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

It's Thankgiving! Let the joy and dysfunction begin!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Here in the US, we take a Thursday late each November to put our lives on pause for a moment and share a meal with family while we count our many blessings and watch football.

Let's take the animal with the least flavorful
meat and stuff bread up its butt and
call it dinner
Every grade school child is told that we eat turkey, stuffing, cranberries, sweet potatoes covered in marshmallows, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie to commemorate the first meal shared by the Pilgrims and the Natives.  Personally, I find it very unlikely that these two groups of people had the time and the ability to make a meal like this, given the limited cooking capabilities and actual food resources each group had.  Oh, and marshmallows hadn't really been invented yet, so there's that.

Note the bottle of wine in front of the CHILD.
Thanksgiving dinner...not for the
faint of heart.
What Thanksgiving has become in reality, is the gateway to five weeks of insanity and dysfunction wrapped up neatly with a night of complete debauchery on December 31st.  I think we actually have to have New Year's Eve simply because by the time we've survived multiple family gatherings  (BUT YOU HAVE TO BE THERE...IT'S  CHRISTMAS AND WE'RE FAMILY) we need a night to drink away the images of the uncle who set his house on fire while deep frying a turkey or the grandmother who made everyone cry with her "What I'm thankful for this year" speech at the dinner table...mostly because her top thing was that she was thankful she was old, and wouldn't have long to live with the ingrates and losers her children had become. 

Don't believe me?  Check out Bob and Brian's Holiday Horror Stories.  They'll start reading those soon, and every year there are more than enough stories of family dysfunction to destroy your faith in humankind.

I believe in Thanksgiving, I really do. I love the idea of everyone taking a day to breath and think about what's really important.  I like the idea of multiple generations of family gathered around a lovingly prepared meal and sharing their reflections on the year.  I like the idea of pie.

Reality, however, is that 2012 sort of sucked for my family.  Let's review:  Hubby lost his job in January. Skippy and I totalled two cars.  Peaches was involved in a very serious personal drama that lost her a friend. I spend more time at doctor's offices these days, thanks to my car accident, than I do at home, it seems. That's a lot to absorb in a short 11 months. 

But there have been good things, too.  The car I totaled wasn't paid for and not having the payments each month is a good thing.  Hubby is happy in his new job.  Skippy learned more about people while traveling 20 hours by bus from Montana to Minnesota than he may learn the rest of his life.  And Peaches realized that her parents might not be the worst judge of character when it comes to her friends.

2013 is going to be a much better year for us.  As I always say, "It can't possibly get worse...right?"  All we have to do is make our way through the minefield of the holidays these next few weeks and I'll be sitting at my friend, Linda's, house on New Year's day, sharing our own holiday horror stories.

Today, we dine with family, tonight, we go out and try to find the best bargains we can for Christmas gifts.   I'm a purist, I'm not leaving my house before 3 AM to shop.  Stores that open at 8 PM today should be ashamed of themselves...unless they are always a 24 hour store, that's different.  But retail folks need time to experience family fun and dysfunction while stuffing themselves with overcooked holiday fare, too.  Anyway, tonight we shop.  And tomorrow, Friday, after the shopping is done, and the taste of dry turkey and burnt stuffing and pumpkin pie made accidentally without sugar are all a distant memory, we look forward to the joys of the Christmas season.

God help us all.

Have a happy and Safe Thanksgiving everyone...and if you're looking for a great Thanksgiving themed movie to watch today, there is none better than "Home for the Holidays."

Friday, October 26, 2012

Dating...according to Noelle C.

Good afternoon!

Sorry for the long absence my friends, but I've been slaving away to get my newest novel, "Fresh Ice" out to the formatters so you all can BUY IT AND READ IT AND I CAN RETIRE FROM MY JOB AS AN OFFICE DRONE and write for a living.

But until THAT happens, I have this to share with you:

So most of you know that my female coworker, Noelle C, is a lady in her mid fiffties.  She's not, what one would call, a young mid fifties.  She's pretty much me, ten years from now...only with a way more ancient and dim view on everything  (except for Lumbergh, whom she loves) and a whackadoo mental capacity.  She already thinks we're twins, so if you see her, do not mention that I said we're in any way the same.

Anyway, a couple weeks ago she strolled into the office on a Monday looking all, I don't know, happy in a normal way. Not the usual giddy, can't-wait-to-be-in-the-presence-of-Lumbergh happy she usually is. No, this was something different.  So I said, "You seem chipper."

I should have just kept my mouth shut.  When will I learn?  See, yes, my work life gives me great material for this blog and ultimately a few books down the road.  But what I print here is sifted through and boiled down.  I don't bore you with the endless, endless, endless analysis and details of something like...a date with Noelle C.

The story goes like this:  Apparently Noelle C has a new upstairs neighbor.  They were out on their respective patios watering their plant boxes. Now I can only imagine that he struck up a conversation with her because he was blown away by the fact that a women in her shape would have the guts to reveal so much cleavage on a chilly Saturday afternoon, or maybe the guy just didn't know what he was in for.

Poor soul. He knows now.

Anyway, they struck up a conversation, and he invited her to dinner at his apartment the next night. 

"He pulled out all the stops," she told me, "he grilled steak and there was shrimp and he made a really nice salad and there was some wine."

Oh boy, here we go.

"I of course didn't have any wine because, you know back in my modeling days  (right modeling days.  I've seen the pictures.) I drank too much and the cult I was in that wouldn't let me go to college (are you still with me)  didn't seem to care if I drank too much so I smoked and I drank and I modeled.  So I didn't have his wine."  (There's a logic there if you really think about it.)

And now wait for the next thing she said.

"And I didn't have sex with him either.  I told him that right away.  I wasn't going to have sex with him."

Now, granted, I haven't had to date anyone in a very long time.  But I watch enough television to know that just because you share a meal and watch a movie, that doesn't mean sex is going to happen.  Not one the first date.  Well, maybe if the two people are super attractive and one of them is a spy and won't be alive the next day...wait, I digress.  Dinner and a movie is sometimes just dinner and a movie and sometimes it's more than that, but it's not always the direct route to the bedroom.  Am I wrong about this?

Well, in case her mission statement at the start of the evening wasn't clear enough, Noelle C told me that while they watched the movie, she stayed at the very far end of the couch..."as far as I could possibly be from him."

Ya know, I'll bet he just wanted to get to know his neighbors.  And she's a chatty sort of person as long as you don't chat with her more than a few minutes and you realize she never STOPS talking.  I can see why he'd want to spend an evening with what he thought was a normal, outgoing, nice neighbor lady.

At the end of the evening, she said, "I didn't kiss him or anything.  I just thanked him for dinner and walked away."

If upstairs dude hadn't gotten the message by then, he's a moron.

She told me also that he has money problems, and that she's just not equipped to take on someone with money.  All I wanted to do was say, "Hey, he wasn't asking you to marry him.  He was asking you to share a meal with him."  But then I realized, if he was sharing his money woes with her, then he might just be as nuts as she is.

So I guess that's the dating guide according to Noelle C.  Be sure, no matter what you do, that the person who asked you on the date is very clear about whether you are, or are not, going to have sex with him/her.

And who knows?  Maybe this sort of brutal honesty is just what the older generation needs as we chemically prolong our sex drives.  Maybe she's on the cutting edge of something here.

Or maybe she's just whackadoodledoo and left yet another person shell shocked in her wake of whacky destruction. 

Oh boy...I may have just stumbled onto a book title!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

And You Wonder why I need a Glass of Wine every Day after Work.

Good evening!

Noelle C, as it turns out, is not a funny person.  She's not like Elsie W, who was loud, annoying, messy, completely unaware of whether or not her clothes were inside out, that sort of thing.  Noelle C is a different person entirely, and yet, the result is the same.

She is driving me out of my mind.

I could look past the fact that she never, ever, EVER stops talking.  It doesn't seem to matter that no one is listening or even within earshot.  It's like that old proverb...if Noelle C is talking in the office and no one's around to hear, will she continue talking?

The answer is YES.

And it's not that she is a complete, total, and utter fanny fluffer when it comes to Lumbergh.  It's almost sad the way she can't have a thought on her own without first clearing it with him.  It's also very sad that she's in love with him.  He seems to enjoy it, except since he's a completely self centered brain fart of a boss, he has no idea the weird repercussions there can be to allowing a whackadoo like her to think he's okay with the overt romantic attention.

Oh, and that part makes me want to barf.

No, the reason Noelle C is driving me out of my mind is that she is deaf in one ear, has almost no hearing in the other, refuses to do anything about it and gets mad when she can't hear what anyone's saying.  She's convinced, since no one talks to her, that everyone thinks she's worthless.  Thing is, people talk to her all the time, she CAN'T HEAR THEM. 

She went in to try on hearing aids.  She was amazed at how loud everything was in the store.  She decided not to buy them.  I get that they're expensive, but if you saw how she does her job, and the complete disconnect there is, you'd want to throttle her and yell, "GET THE HEARING AIDS!"

See, one big part of her job, and, most of the time, mine, is getting phone numbers and addresses from customers.  Elsie W was terrible at this, but mostly because I'm pretty sure she was illiterate, and therefore everything was spelled really, really wrong.  BUT, Noelle C, since she is fairly deaf, instead of turning up the sound on her phone headset, she pretty much just fills in the blanks with whatever she figures sounds good.  This would be fine...except we are sending sales people all over the state, and getting things like the ADDRESS and the CITY right are sort of key.

Today, however, I was at my wit's end mostly because she has this way of blaming me for things that I barely have anything to do with.  For example, this week Peaches is having a fund raiser for her school orchestra.  We are selling candy bars.  Very nice, high end, candy bars.  I put a box out at work.  Everyone loves them, especially Noelle C, who bought 4 in two days AND ATE THEM ALL.

I love chocolate...I would have died with that kind of cocoa intake.

Today, she informed me that she had to stop eating chocolate because she was experiencing allergic symptoms.  (She's convinced herself that the swelling of her butt is exactly the same as the swelling of someone's tongue or lips.)  She said, "You brought that in here and now I'm getting so fat."

Yes, yes, I rammed four gigantic candy bars down your throat in the past 24 hours.

Not happy that I didn't apologize for my sin of bringing candy into the office, she turned to the one person she knew would give her a sympathetic ear:  Lumbergh.  What follows is the precise conversation between a woman who is 90% deaf and won't do anything about it and  a guy who never speaks above a whisper even though he knows she's nearly deaf and can't hear anything he's saying.


"Yes Noelle c?"

(giddy, because now he's looking at her)  "I can't keep eating like this.  Sarah brought those candy bars in here and now I'm having allergic reactions to the candy."

"So stop eating the candy."

(She doesn't hear this.)  "I'm going back on my diet."

I should mention she was on the diet when she started working at Initech, which is why on her first day she had to pull down her pants in front of me and show me that she was a size 16.  I'm also a size 16. I have never had the inclination to show anyone the size tag on my pants.

"Oh, that's good."

"Yes, I'm going to lose 80 pounds next year."

"Oh, by when?" (now he's interested because well, he's a gym nut.

"January first."

Now,  I know what she means, but since she can't hear his question and he refuses to speak up, I know I'm up for some good theater.

"No, "  he whispers, "by when?"

"January first.  80 pounds."

"No, how long will you take to lose the weight?"

"January first."

"But how many months will you give yourself to lose the weight"

"Next year.  8 pounds a month."

Worst "Who's on First" routine EVER.   This conversation actually goes on for a few more minutes but it doesn't matter.  These two are the number one reason I reach for the pinot noir when I get home.  He whispers, she can't hear, and yet they insist on talking to each other fifty times a day.  And the minute he leaves the building, do you know what she does?

Oh you know what happens....

Yes, she hovers over my desk and tells me how jealous she is because Lumbergh and I have conversations, while he just ignores her.

Folks, I cannot make this up, and I don't think I'd want to....real life is just way too funny.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Chronicles of Skippy: The final chapter

Good morning!

I've learned two things in the last few days:

1)  You never, ever stop being a parent and

2)  Your children really do inherit a lot more from you than you might even think.

Skippy got to Seattle last Thursday after several days on the road.  He'd visited his last friend, he'd toured his last book store/record store/unusual fast food place/donut shop.  (He really liked Voodoo Donuts in Portland OR)  He was headed for home and he had a deadline:  Minneapolis by 7 Pm Saturday or his cousin, Annalee, was going to punch him.

I should back up.  See, Annalee got married this past June, you may have read my blogs about the hilarity we experienced on the wedding trip.  But Skippy, through of series of events I have yet to decipher, did not get to the wedding.  So, when Annalee her sister Dana planned a surprise B-day party for Hubby's sis Joanie, Annalee made it very clear that Skippy was to get his fanny to the party, or she would punch him.

Now you're caught up.

Skippy's plan was to drive, sleeping briefly in rest stops.  We weren't too concerned, he'd done long driving trips before, so the 24 hours between him and the birthday party wasn't all that long.

He started the trek early-ish Friday morning with plenty of time to make it with stops along the way.  He had his car loaded and Susan, his faithful GPS companion.

Montana...Skippy gets there October 5
About 3 AM Saturday morning, he sent me a text.  "It's Toasty"  he said, and included a picture of the the local weather forecast in Montana.  18 degrees F.  Quite the change from Arizona's 108 degrees F a few days earlier, but that's how things are in a country as geographically huge as the US.  I sent him a motherly text  (I'm fairly good at those now) and, as unlikely as it seems for me, I went back to sleep.
Arizona...Skippy got there
September 25.
I should catch you up on that.  Since my car accident in July I haven't been sleeping well.  I can't fall asleep much before midnight, I always wake up in the middle, and I can't get back asleep.  By 5 I'm up for the day.  This non-sleep habit has actually worked out well while Skippy's been on the road, since he and I have conversed by text quite a bit in the wee hours of the day.

So falling sound asleep after a 3 am text was not normal for me.  I woke at 7:30 thinking all sorts of good things, like how I might have turned a corner with my injuries, or how spending a couple hours with Dee, catching up on what's happening at Gold's gym  (and I've been cleared to do a few things there, so I'm getting back to the gym soon!  Watch out!) might have eased the load of the mental black hole I've been carrying around.  Anyway, I was refreshed, awake, and in a good mood.

That did not last long.  A text from Hubby, who was in La Crosse to get his mother to take her to Joanie's b-day party in the Twin Cities  (are you following this travelogue?) changed everything.

"Call me when you get this.  Everyone is FINE."

Well we all know that just isn't true.  When you get a phone call that starts out with "everyone is fine,"  your first response is always  "WHAT HAPPENED?"

Oh, see, Hubby and Peaches went to the B-day party.  I was a last minute scratch since I just can't travel that far right now.  Between the blinding headaches, the achy leg, and the sore neck, sitting up in the car for more than a couple hours sounded like far too much torture.  So I'm in Milwaukee, Hubby and Peaches are headed to Minneapolis, and Skippy...

Well, it's like this:  Skippy was driving down a mountain in Montana, going well under the speed limit since it was snowing. A truck in front of him was going far more slowly, so he moved into the other lane on the interstate.  In doing so, his vehicle hit a patch of ice, spun, clipped the truck  (seriously, there are two vehicles on the road, it's 5 AM...3 AM local time...and he manages to make contact?  Yes, he is his mother's child.)  spun again, and wound up on the side of the road.

He very suddenly had a new respect for my accident in July.  He also recalled an accident I had when he was in kindergarten...and yes, check the back blogs, it's there.  He wasn't hurt...until he got out of the car and fell on another patch of ice and bruised his leg.  His car, however, was another story.

Skippy's a smart kid.  instead of calling the parent he figured would probably be awake, he called the parent he knew wouldn't freak out.  Which is why, by the time I called Hubby at 7 AM, Skippy was already ensconced in a hotel in Livingston, Montana.    He was able to drive the 8 miles from the accident site, but it was clear from pictures that the Oldsmobile wasn't going much further, certainly NOT to Minneapolis.

Annalee was gearing up for a punch.

Hubby and I worked out a plan where Skippy would get on a Greyhound bus and get from Livingston to Minneapolis, sans vehicle.  Hubby would contact a body shop in Livingston  (there is one...but only one, we're told) and figure out what to do with the car.

Skippy didn't like the idea of leaving the car, and most of his possessions.  That car has been home to him for almost seventeen days.  I tried to assure him that bus travel is great...but having logged more bus time than everyone else in my house combined, I have to admit, it's not as romantic as one might think.  Still, it was cheaper than a plane and faster than Amtrak.  Thus, by 4 pm Montana time, Skippy had repacked only the most important items and got on a bus.

20 hours is a very long time to be doing anything, but riding on a bus with no headphones for the iPod, and very little juice left in the phone, and no way to charge it since his charger was attached to the car, that seems like an eternity.   I hope Skippy took notes, because a trip like that can start a literary career.  (I should know...) 

His texts along the way were great.  He had five transfers through the night, but his first one was probably the worst since a young gent approached him and asked him to "hold something of value" for him. 

Skippy's text to me:  Everything's great except this drug dealer won't leave me alone.

Oh yeah, bus travel...it's romance and adventure.

Skippy and the rest of us made it through the night.  Joanie's party went off just fine, I'm told.  Annalee was ready to punch Skippy at the bus stop at 11 AM Sunday morning.  I was surviving on gallons of coffee, prayer, and a lot of pacing.  (Hey, I got my steps in!)

He arrived, on time, in Minneapolis, to much rejoicing and yes, Annalee did give him a punch.  But the family spent some quality time at Mall of America  (I still haven't been there...) They made there way home at a fairly relaxed pace...while I was sitting at home, waiting and waiting and waiting!  Sure, I was happy he was okay, and yes I was glad they were having a good time.  But moms, you'll all understand this:  I needed to hug my boy!

Finally, by 9 PM Sunday, a mere 38 hours after I got the first text, Skippy was home!    He was a little funky...bus travel is too full of romance and adventure to include showers...but he was home.

He shared with us the high points of the trip, and the low points.  I'm sure as the days go on, he'll share more stories from the road.  He unpacked his bags, all the vital items he couldn't leave in Montana.  He brought his lap top, the coffee mugs he'd purchased along the way, all his new shirts...

and a box of VooDoo donuts. 

"I actually have another box, but I couldn't fit it with my stuff, so it's still in my car."

Other things he left with the car:  The accident report sheet he's supposed to fill out for the state patrol...oh, and all his dirty laundry.

I pity the guy that has to open that car up once we decide what we're going to do with it. I can't imagine that a box of donuts, 14 days of dirty laundry, and a crate of semi non perishable foods are going to smell BETTER after sitting in a closed car.

Still...it's so great to have him home.  This experience has taught me one thing:  I'm not ready for my kids to leave the nest just yet.

Of course, check in with me in a week...the euphoria will probably be gone once I start tripping over Skippys' shoes in the living room again.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Apparently, Biggest Loser isn't the only thing I'm not fluffy enough for!

Good morning!

Pardon the dangling preposition in the title, but somehow saying, "For which I'm not fluffy enough" seemed a little too formal, given the topic of discussion today.

The sandwich that changed
my life...
Most of you know I was in a car accident two months ago, and since that car accident I've been on a very strict schedule of Physical Therapy, Doctors' appointments, daily headaches and dizzy spells.  Well my doctor finally decided to read my physical therapists' notes two weeks ago, and now we can add MRI and Neuro surgeon to the list of medical professionals profiting from my love of McDonald's McChicken sandwiches.  (which I have not had since the accident, BTW.)

So Wednesday was my MRI.  For those of you not familiar which this process, Medical Resonance Imaging is where they shove the affected area of your body into a large tube which is, I'm told, loaded with magnets and they they take images of the affected area, tiny bit by tiny bit, sort of in layers.  That way, if there's even the tiniest bit of your brain, or your neck, or whatever that's damaged, it will show up on the images.

Not so bad, right?  Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

Well let's back up.  Two weeks ago I went to a completely...utterly...and ridiculously pointless office visit with my doctor.  This is the guy who forgets what meds he's prescribed me for my hands, and always seems surprised when he reads my chart.  "Oh, why are you taking Meloxicam?"

Dude, you prescribed it for me..and renew the prescription every other month.

Anyway, after a PT session, the therapist wrote another strongly worded email to Dr. Duh, as I will now call him, telling him, again, that I needed an MRI, that there was something really wrong with my neck.  So his nurse, Nurse Also Duh, told me that we'd be doing an MRI at my next appointment.  At least, I'm pretty sure that's what she said.

No, in reality, he wanted to see if I really NEEDED an MRI.  Or something.  But first, he wanted to be sure I was good an riled so the night of my appointment he made sure he was running more than an hour behind.  We finally get into the room, and I'm already cranky, and he yanks on my head a little and they weigh me...why...why...WHY?  And he says, "Yeah, you should get an MRI."

Doctor Duh...thank you for wasting two hours of my life.

The he says, "And here's a number for a nuero surgeon.  Call him, get on his radar."

That's what he said, "Get on his radar."


Well I'm a dutiful soldier, so I called the Neuro guy...and left a message.  Then I scheduled and MRI, for which Dr. Duh had not sent a note for preauthorization to my insurance company as he said he would.  Which mean another phone call to Nurse Also Duh.  All of this from the Culver's parking lot during my 54 minute lunch.  (You now, because Lumbergh won't let me make personal calls during the day and doctors and lawyers don't answer their phones after 4:30 Pm.

A week went by, and no call from the nuero guy.  So I called Nurse also Duh and said, "So what does, 'get on the rader' mean?"

"Oh, you're supposed to make an appointment with him.  Dr. Duh called in a referral."

Clear, concise English.  What a concept.

So, like you're gonna, you know,
like fill out paperwork.
So I call nuero guy again, and this time his Valley Girl picks up the phone.  (For those of you who don't know what a Valley Girl is, look it up.)  Turns out Dr. Duh DID NOT call in a referral, so I have to spend 27 minutes of my 54 minute lunch going over everything with Valley Girl.  But I have an appointment.  All that's left is doing the MRI.

So Wednesday after work I don every piece of clothing I own that doesn't involve metal, right down to the jog bra.  (I've been wearing them more often lately, funny how comfortable you can be when you really don't care how your boobs are positioned.)  Hubby drove me to the hospital, three blocks away. 

I should mention, I'm slightly claustrophobic.  This was something I brought up with Dr. Duh. This was something I brought up with the scheduler. This was something I brought up with the skinny nurse who walked me into the room with the tube.  Someone mentioned sedation...

Skinny Nurse gave me earplugs and the soft ear muffs...very sexy...and she explained the test.  I lay back on the sliding table.  Not bad, there was a picture of mountains and rivers on the ceiling.  Then she handed me a squeeze thingy and said, "If you need anything squeeze this."  Then the table started sliding into the tube.

The minute my hands brushed the side and top of the tube I was able to answer the question, "How claustrophobic are you?"


I think I broke the squeezy thing.  I kept saying, "no, no, no I need out of this right now!"

They got me out and suddenly there was this lovely gentleman, we'll call him Gary, standing there.  He had the look and sound of a younger James Earl Jones.  Maybe not, but in my head he did.  He and skinny nurse talked about doing the test a different day, maybe a day when Dr. DUH actually prescribed something for me that wouldn't make me feel like an Edgar Allen Poe character while in the tube.

Then I thought I about all the appointments depending on the results of this test.  I thought about the lawyers and the doctors and the nurses who all needed this information and what a pain in the butt it would be if they had to wait.  And how they could make my life even more jumbled and less my own than they all already have.

I stuck the earplugs back in my ears and said, "Do this quickly."

If you haven't had an MRI, this might be hard to imagine, but it's sort of like being stuck head first in a tiny garbage can while the cast of STOMP is beating the can on the outside, to the tunes of the soundtrack from everything loud, violent video game ever.  There's cold air blowing on your head all the time, I think that's supposed to help the claustrophobia, but it just made my eyebrows itch, which I couldn't scratch because my arms were pretty much pinned to my sides which made the claustrophobia WORSE.

Every so often where would be a break in the buzzing, banging, whirring, pounding sounds and then Gary would say, "how are you doing?"

I wanted to be a smart aleck, but I also wanted out as soon as possible.  So instead of saying, "How do you think I'm doing you sadist in scrubs?  I'm living a nightmare and every movie I've ever seen about being buried alive is running through my head."   I said, "Fine."

I started to wonder why I had so MANY movies about being buried alive in my mental repertoire.  Seriously, it's shocking how many movies I've seen where being buried alive is the central theme.  And it's shocking just how fast all those scenes flicked in my head like they were on a film loop.

I would have rescued Sarah from the
evil tube.
At one point I knew I was starting to feel a bit less creeped out when Gary said, "How ya doin?"  And I said, "Any chance we could get some Rick Springfield music pumped in here instead of all the banging?"


Oh sure...I get the one middle aged guy on the planet who doesn't know who Rick Springfield is.  (Meanwhile, a Facebook friend of mine reports she got to have Rick's music playing while she had her MRI.  Clearly, my medical system is sub par.)

Finally, the table slides out of the tube.  Gary is there and he helps me sit up.  "We3'd better be done,"  I say, "I'm not going back in there."

"No, I'm giving you a break.  We have 15 more minutes.  You were squirming too much."
Sarah...I am your

At this point I'm about in tears.  Skinny Nurse comes in and she says, "How did you do?"

"I don't know, I have 15 more minutes."

"What?  No, you're done...right?"

"No, Gary says I was moving too much, I have to go back in."

Skinny nurse glares at Gary who says, "Uh, I was KIDDING."

Dude, you don't know who Rick Springfield is AND you're joking with me about putting me back in that high tech coffin?  Strike one and two.

I will give Gary this...he came out later and talked to me about the test and about how he is also claustrophobic.  I then asked about the open sided MRI machines I'd seen before.  He told me there aren't many of them around, and really those are only for extreme cases, and the pictures never come out as good. 

What I heard was, "Sarah, you're not fluffy enough for an open sided MRI."
Yes Conda, I can hear you laughing at me.
Oh great...so I'm too skinny to be on Biggest Loser and I'm too skinny to be put in a tube that doesn't resemble a gigantic tampon holder...of DEATH.

So there's that.

And now we wait.  We wait for someone other than Dr. Duh to read the tests.  We wait for Valley Girl's boss to see me.  And we wait.

I hate waiting...

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Chronicles of Skippy. part 2

One of my favorite shows right now is "The Amazing Race."  For those of you who don't know, this is a show were several teams of two race around the world for a million dollars.  Along the way they are required to perform tasks, tour landmarks, and be nice (and foolish) around local populations.  The show is educational, it's dramatic, and it makes me realize that if I'm going to travel around the world, doing it under time deadlines probably isn't the best way to do it.

Skippy should really watch that show. 

If he did, he'd know that most landmarks have closing times.  I realize this might seem like a "duh"  thing to say, but apparently he left our house thinking that any stop he made along the way in terms of landmarks would be open no matter what time he reached it.

So when he left Lake City, CO several days ago, his goal was to stop at Four Corners Utah, a neat spot where four states meet at a perfect corner.  Given his inexperience in mountain driving, and the fact that he puts complete trust in Susan, his GPS, it took him far longer than he imagined it would.  Put another way, he didn't leave early enough to reach Four Corners before it closed  (prior to ten PM)

Had he watched "Amazing Race" with me, he'd know he could just sleep outside the gates and they'd let him in at dawn with the other racers...oh, wait, maybe not.

He was disappointed.  What he should have been was thirsty.  Had he been thirsty, he might have reached into the cooler his father and girlfriend packed so lovingly with the supplies I bought.  And he might have avoided something unpleasant.

But he wasn't so he didn't.  Instead, he drove on to my cousin Jane's home in Scottsdale Arizona.  There he spent a couple days in the 90 degree weather hanging out with Cool Cousin Tanya  (that's what we call her here)  and just enjoying  not being in the car.

Next stop, Los Angeles.  I think of this as the scary leg of the trip, this drive up the entire west coast.  Why?  Because now he's staying with people I've never met and don't know.  And, I'm afraid he's going to wind up sending me texts like this one:  "Jaci's mom is in the hospital and I can't stay with her.  Can I use your credit card to get a hotel room?"

What's a mother to do?  Of course he got to use the card.  That's why we sent it with him.  In case of emergency...or friends we 've never met not actually being able to let him stay with them.

Again, though, instead of being concerned about his sleeping accommodations, the boy should have been thirsty. Had he been thirsty, he would have reached into his cooler and possibly avoided something unpleasant.
I like my milk with a few miles on it.

You know, like a couple small plastic bottles of milk exploding somewhere in the mountains, curdling in the Arizona heat, and then crusting over pretty much everything in the cooler.  I can only imagine, when he did finally open that cooler, expecting to find apples, cheese, maybe a juice box, instead he found some soured infection sort of stank covering what could have been a nice little meal in his hotel room.

We're waiting for the Boy
from Wisconsin to bring
us fries.
I will hand it to him.  He didn't try and blame me, too much.  I did buy the milk, so I didn't get off completely free.  But after grumbling about it a bit, and dumping everything in the dumpster for the feral cats  (you didn't know that some of the LA 'burbs are silly with feral cats, did you?  Well my son likes to feet them at In and Out Burger.)  he got into the shower...and started grumbling again.  Apparently his shower head was broken...as was his room window.

Well, says I, the wise mother two time zones away, I guess you're going to have to tell the front desk you want another room.

First I need food, says he.

A few hours later, not late by West Coast time, but well past my bed time here in the Midwest, he announces that he's been moved, but that his new room is half the size of his old one.

Wonder if they charged my card half the amount.

He moved on to Sacramento, were he's staying with a friend named Amy...I think.  He sends pictures to his father, and apparently he's met a singer Peaches likes a lot.  All I know is she spent a big part of Saturday morning squealing, looking at her phone, muttering something about being jealous of Skippy, and squealing again.  I think she's hoping Skippy will bring said singer home with him.

Why not?  There's room in the cooler now.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Lumbergh vs. the basic laws of biology.

Good morning!

As many of you know, one of my very favorite movies is "Office Space."  I used to think it was very funny.  This week I realized I'm living the movie plot.

Fact:  I loathe the office copier/fax machine.

Fact:  I have a commute that sometimes takes a lifetime.

Fact:  My boss has few social skills and no concept of personal life outside the office...other than his own.

Fact:  Half the office escapes the office because take it, and then return talking about how awesome such and such an eaterie was.

Fact: I am very protective of my stapler.

So, without changing jobs, I went from the whimsical mad cap world of Dunder Mifflin to the soul breaking, mind numbing world of Initech.  And yes, if I really bust my A## and Initech ships a few extra units, I don't see an extra dime.

My review's coming up next week.  My one year review.  Lumbergh...that's my new name for NBM...had me fill out my own review on my own time.  I suggested he do it since it was an evaluation of my performance based on his expectations.  He declined.  I started calling him Lumberg.

yeah, I'm going to have to have you come
in on Saturday and take
care of the fruit flies.

BUT, that is not why I'm blogging this morning.  No I'm blogging because once again I seem to be working for someone with half my brain power, half my practical skills, and half my ability to function on the planet. 

Case in point:  Our chronic fruit fly problem.  Ladies and gentleman, I may have been too harsh on Elsie W for this last year.  Granted, the woman drank soda from 2 liter bottles and then left the bottles uncapped, on her desk, with a little bit of soda in the bottom. And granted, she did bring a bowl of chocolate chips from home, and when she opened the bowl a swarm of fruit flies flew out.

HOWEVER...she is gone.  The fruit flies are not.

We noticed this in August, and Lumbergh (NBM) tried to figure out where they were coming from.  I suggested, since the man is NEVER NOT EATING, that they might be coming from his bucket of banana peals he keeps under his desk.  Seriously, not one man in that office is capable of emptying his own garbage can.  Me, I eat little at the office and never put the remains in the can under my desk.  Hence, no fruit flies originate from my spot.

And Noelle C, for all her whackiness, does manage to take out the trash on Saturdays when she's there.  So the kitchen trash gets emptied every week.

Lumbergh's trash, however, sits until the can is full.  And he eats fruit and crackers and yogurt and fruit all day long.  And he puts the remains in his office trash and it sits there, in his 90 degree office, until it's full.

And he wonders why he has flies.

Check that, he's completely befuddled as to what the flies are, where they come from, and what he needs to do to get rid of them.
Because I still don't know what to do
about the fruit flies...or how to
wash a spoon.

He's one of those guys who just has to be the boss because he has no actual skills.

Anyway, I digress.  (Can we tell I'm not over the whole having to fill out my own evaluation yet?) 

So I suggested he empty his personal trash more than once a quarter.  Now he does it every three days.  And still, we have flies. Many, many fruit flies.

He expressed amazement to me the other day when a swarm seemed to be hovering over the sink.  "Why are there flies here?"

Yes I'll be happy to explain every aspect of the database to you...
even though I never got trained on it and I've been here less time that
any of you people, I'll be happy to explain how the basic operating system of
the company works.

I walked over and pushed my way through a cloud of fruit flies...yep...just what I thought.

See, Lumbergh does two things every single day.  In the morning he eats a bowl of cereal.  In the afternoon he has a bowl of something else, usually yogurt.  He uses one spoon, it's the only spoon in the office kitchen.  He licks it clean and puts it in the drawer.  The bowls he fills with water and sets in the sink...maybe thinking fairies will come and wash them properly.  And usually a fairy by the name of Noelle C does...because she loves him...but that's for another blog.

However, Noelle C was out sick the other day...and his bowls did not get washed.  So there they were, swampy with fetid water, fruit flies teeming over the bits of food still stuck to the bowls.

And he was absolutely, and without any doubt, clueless about where those darn critters were coming from.

Did I tell him?  Did I wash the bowls?


See, I'm the lowest paid employee in the building and it's become increasingly clear that I'm the only one who truly understands how the company's database works. Lumbergh, Noelle C...they all make WAY more money than I do...and I have to explain crap to them every single day.  Crap they should know because it's their...you know...JOB.  And I don't see that changing any time soon.  So no, I did not explain to my boss how fruit flies work.  I told him how to clean up things to keep them away, he didn't do it.  It would take away from his face book time on his cell phone.  (We aren't allowed on Face book at work...but he can access it by phone...so there's that.)   I don't feel the need to repeat myself and I certainly don't feel need to
clean up after him.  I've got a family at home I don't clean up after.

Think of it this way:  If they start paying me what they're paying Whackadoodledoo Noelle C...I might think about showing Lumbergh how to wash a dish.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Chronicles of Skippy!

Good afternoon!

As many of you know, my oldest, Skippy, is an independent, learn on his own sort of kid.

He's taking a year off between high school and college to travel the US and maybe find something he'd like to do for a job...you know, something other than picking out music on iTunes and watching "The Hunger Games" for the 19th time.

Last week Thursday he turned 19.  He planned a major driving trip around the western US as a celebration.

This is a travelogue of his adventures.

Wednesday, September 19. 

Skippy meets me at the door informing me that he's decided he needs to stay at a KOA in Nebraska instead of driving 23 hours straight to my sister-in-law's home in Colorado.  I'm coming home from one of my very best 16 hour work days.  I point out that he owns a phone and that most people are able to make a phone call by dialing the number and talking the person who answers on the other end.

He says, "I don't know what to say."

So I call KOA and a make the reservation.  He watches, and pays for it.  It takes me four minutes.  And now he has a campsite, with electric and water.

Thursday, September 20.

Birthday boy gets himself a tattoo.  He's never had a tattoo, and we always said he had to be 18 and he had to pay for it himself.  We also said he might not want to get a tattoo 12 hours before leaving on a long driving trip.  He initially was going to travel with someone, but his friend dropped out at the last minute.  Apparently we ARE the only parents who let our kid wander the country for nearly three weeks without supervision.  I thought everyone did that. 

Anyway, Skippy has a cleaning regimen for this tattoo.  Molly, Skippy's girlfriend, shows him how to wash it and lotion it.  He isn't paying attention because it hurts.  Hubby and I are mildly amused and very, very quiet.

Friday, September 21

Skippy loads up the car...and then watches a couple movies with Molly in the afternoon before getting in the car and actually leaving for his first leg of the trip, a leg that, under the very best circumstances, will take 9 hours.  Skippy leaves at 6:30 PM.  He has not practiced setting up the tent yet, but Hubby said he "talked him through it." 

I know, I know...but he'll
always be my baby.
I leave for my writer's group in Madison, but remain in contact with Skippy late, late late into the night. He's decided he doesnt' like KOA. Why?  Well, apparently his GPS didn't lead him directly TO the campground so he had to read signs and whatnot...and then it took him longer because it was DARK to find his spot.  He did not set up the tent.  He slept in his car.

Saturday, September 22

This is the Nebraska to Colorado leg.  AT the end is family, so we are all very certain nothing can go wrong.  I don't hear from Skippy for several hours, so I text him, and ask how he's doing. He says, "Tired, hungry, something wrong with the car, and I'm at a WENDY'S."

I feel his pain.  I don't like Wendy's.

I ask him how the tattoo is.  He says, "Scabby and sore."  (He's learning something on this trip.)

I'm more worried about the car.  So I text hubby who is midnight bowling with the church youth group.  (Yes, this really is our life.)  No response, and Skippy is starting to sound like they're going to kick him out of the Wendy's.  So I go old school.  I call the bowling center, and I have Hubby paged.

Hubby and Skippy talk. Turns out his aging vehicle isn't used to mountain driving and therefore balks at the idea of cruising at more than 50 MPH up and down the Rockies. After making several unplanned stops, and texting me play by play at each stop, he gets to my sister in law's house at about 4 AM.  He's concerned her dogs will eat him.  I'm concerned the bear the dogs are there to drive away will eat him.  At least he thinks her cat is cute.

Oh, and his bank shut down his debit card.

Sunday, September 23
Sunday is uneventful, thank goodness.  Autie takes him into the mountains, they have a good time, he hangs out with the cute cat. 

The car is fine. The cat is cute.  The debit card is restarted. Turns out the bank was worried about the out of state activity and shut it down.  Yay, for the bank. 

The official drink of the 19 year old cross country driver who just got a tattoo.
So the first two legs of his 17 day trip are in complete.  He's headed to see my cousin in Arizona as we speak.  He says it's been raining hard the whole way.  I'll be he arrives at about 4 AM.  That's sort of his thing.

All in all, I'm proud of him.  We wanted him to stay in touch, so I can't say a word about the late night texts.  He's dealing with stuff as it comes, and he sorted out the bank thing on his own.  So if that's not growing up, I don't know what is.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Move over Katniss...I've got my own "Girl on Fire.'

Good morning!

Many of you know I once upon a time sold Partylite candles.  Some of you know I recently returned to the candle selling business after I realized that I really hate working in an office and I really love selling candles to women who are happy to be drinking wine on a weeknight.

I have shared some of my hilarious mishaps in the past here on this blog and at my parties.  It seems that, while in the office I'm not funny at all, when I'm out in front of people extolling the joys of scented fire, I'm hilarious.  Most of the time people like to laugh at me as I trip, make mistakes, break stuff, and sometimes set a household pet on fire.
So pretty...so peaceful...so full of
ways I can be funny.
Yes, I am always the most hilarious thing in the room during a Partylite party.

Until last night.

Last night I was doing a party at my friend Dinah's.  (remember, I never use real names)  Dinah's parties tend to be a little wild because 1)  most of her family members come and they are a riot and 2)  Dinah's work friends and neighbors are also ridiculously hilarious.  It's usually a wild, loud couple of hours and I love it.

Last night Dinah introduced me to her friends Darla and Kiki.  Darla and Kiki sat in the corner of the room right next to my display.  Darla and Kiki were also drinking what turned out to be very strong chocolate wine.

Throughout my presentation, Darla, being the person on the end of the row, would put whatever item I was sending around the room back on my display.  I got to the point where I trusted that Darla would just get stuff back to where it was supposed to be without mishap.

I should not have trusted her that far.

Do we really need to put a warning
label on these?
One of the few rules I have during a party is that I don't walk about with something lit.  I've learned that the hard way too many times.  I've burnt myself...I've scalded my hands with melted wax, and I've done damage to a couple pets and countless carpets.  (seriously, I'm a disaster and I work with fire...who wouldn't want me to come do a party?)  HOWEVER, Partylite recently developed a really cool candle with a wood wick.  The wick crackles like a little campfire when lit.

You can see where this is going.  I walked the candle around the room, holding it close to each person, close enough that they could hear the wick above the din in the room, but not so close as they would...you know...set themselves on fire.

I held the candle to Kiki's ear, and then handed the candles, as I had done with everything else that evening, to Darla.  I then turned and was about to answer a question when I heard Kiki shriek, and laugh.  I turned to see Kiki whacking Darla in the head.

Darla's hair was on fire.

Does NOT make middle aged
women impervious
to fire.  Only makes them
think they are.
I'm not sure what is more disturbing, and therefore more hilarious:  The howling of laughter that erupted from the rest of the room...or the fact that Darla, for a very long second, was not aware that Kiki was trying to put out flames on her head.  I took the candle from her and Kiki batted out the flames and everyone, and I do mean everyone, laughed.  (Made me wonder what, exactly, was in that chocolate wine.)

It's not a Partylite party until someone is
on fire.
But they laughed harder when Darla said, "Oh this isn't so bad.  I've burned my fingernails before."

Folks, I've worked with candles and fire for a long time.  I've done a lot of things to my fingers with a curling iron.  But I cannot recall EVER burning my fingernails.  This is a woman who needs to be selling things that are on fire.  She NEEDS to be on my team!

She did make the suggestion to Kiki that instead of smacking her in the head, she should have put out the flames by pouring the wine on her hair.
I don't know about the rest of the guests, but I saw two problems with that suggestion.  1)  Kiki's glass was empty, as was Darla's.  (Who could blame them?  Chocolate wine?  YUM!)  2)  Doesn't wine contain alcohol...and isn't alcohol, you know, FLAMMABLE?

Dinah should keep plenty on
hand...in case of fire.
To put your mind at rest, she's fine.  Not much of her hair actually burned off.  However, there has now been a suggestion that Partylite make a "burned hair" scent for their candles.

I don't see that happening too soon.  Burned hair won't be pushing "Black Raspberry" out of the PLG lineup any time soon.

Would you like to have me do a Partylite party for you and your friends sometime?  Maybe I'll set your pet on fire...maybe one of your guests will burst into flames.  I can promise you a fun time and lots of free gifts and candles.  Check it out

Friday, September 14, 2012

Five for Friday: Maybe God likes me Fluffy.

Good Friday morning!

Well, it's a good day for me.  Why?  First, NBM went to the Green Bay Packers game last night and stayed out past his bedtime.  This means there will be no NBM in the office today.  Also, it's a Noelle C Free day, so there'll be No whackadoodle doo.  Finally, The Green Bay Packers WON last night over their arch rivals, the Chicago Bears in a game that was so fun to watch, it made me feel sorry for countries who DON'T have American football on a regular basis. 

Today's Five list is the product of a lot of thought.  I've got a birthday coming up in a few months and I realize that I'm really, really tired of a lot of things and fighting what is turning out to be a losing battle might just be one of those things.

Anyway, enjoy!

Five reasons I might be meant to be fluffy.

5)  All my favorite relatives are fluffy.

Even as a kid I didn't enjoy the company of my less fluffed relatives as much as I did those who were fully fluffy.  I'm starting to resemble my beloved God mother, my Aunt Carrie, and each day I look in the mirror, I realize that's not a completely bad thing.

4)  Something always seems to get in the way, and it's not just that I'm slowly forming a physical bond with my couch.

I've been trying to lose weight for years, but the past nine months I wanted to train for a 5K.  I never said anything about weight loss, I just wanted to train for the race.  But it was one thing after another, starting with the speedy degeneration of my thumb joints earlier this spring to the car accident this summer.  Now my after work time is filled with doctor's appointments and physical therapy and I'm starting to feel like maybe God likes me fluffy.  (I don't want KRAM or any of my friends at Gold's Gym to fear, however.  My PT has given me a laundry list of exercises I must do everyday.  It's very nearly a 20 minute workout.)

3)  Randy Mantooth, Rick Springfield, David James Elliott, and Russell Crowe aren't showing up on my doorstep to sweep me away and my Hubby loves me the way I am.

If you lost weight, I'd write
a song about you.
If you got skinny you could ride
in the squad.
Oh if only you'd lose weight, then I'd fly you off in my F14.


Ladies, we all do this:  We all dream of a day our favorite actor/musician/whatever shows up and takes us away from everything...right after we lose twenty pounds.  Shoot, it's a big part of the premise for my book Dream in Color.  And while the daydream is nice, and a good motivator (How many years have I said I'm dropping twenty by the time Rick Springfield shows up in town?  What do I really think is going to happen?  He's going to look out over the of women and say, "hey, look, Sarah's lost some weight.  I love her now."

Meanwhile, my Hubby loves me, and has loved me for more than 25 years, just the way I freaking am.

2)  I'm starting to sort of like my clothes.

Don't let the double X fool you.
There's no room for Fluffy.
See the heart?
Even their logo loves
the fluffy girl
As much as I've griped over the years about the lack of selection for fluffy girls in normal stores  (and seriously, TJ MAXX?  You're a glorified rummage sale store....and the best you can do for 52% of the female shopping population is ONE RACK of fluffy clothes?  Guess I won't be a Maxx-inista.  And guess what?  I drive my daughter and her friends shopping all the time.  I don't go where I can't shop.  Burlington Coat Factory is the same type of store and yet I've found some awesome clothes there.  Ponder it.)  I looked at my closet the other day and I realized I may have found my groove stylistically speaking.  I have a wardrobe full of comfortable, semi stylish, clothes.  Would I like to be a size 10 and shop in the normal departments?  OH YEAH!  But then, what would I do with all these great clothes I have NOW? 

1)  Just how ugly would I be if I weren't fluffy?

My fluff is filling out what would be wrinkles and my double chin is actually overlapping my unwanted facial hair.  If I lost the fluff, I might be more hideous than I am now!  I'm not sure I can take that chance!
But I'm thin!

Does this mean I'm going to stop going to Gold's altogether?  No, of course now.  Half my hilarious material comes from that place.  My PT has moved into a maintainance phase, as we slowly realize that my neck injury may not get better.  So they've got me working on some machines now, machines I can use at Gold's.  (You know that thing you see on the health channel where the super obese people get their sweat on by pedaling with their hands because they're too huge to move anything else?  Yep,  that's what I can do now.)

What this does mean is that I might just stop beating myself up for my weight. Hey, who knows...maybe I'll get lucky and I'll be one of those old women who just sort of shrink as they age.  By the time I'm 80 I might be my ideal size.

Meanwhile, maybe I just need to work on being happy instead of working on being thin.

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....