This girl is funny...not skinny.

This girl is funny...not skinny.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I can still hit my weight loss resolution for 2013...but it won't be pretty!



I was worried I'd done something stupid...what's new...and posted my 2013 resolutions on this page.  HAH!  I didn't.  What a rare moment of not sharing for me!

So it's that time of year again.  I don't think of it as a time for resolutions so much as marking an anniversary of the day I swore I was going to lose the extra weight. This would be, what, now, 14 years?  I love how, back that first time all I had to do was lose an innocent 30 pounds.  Ah yes, I'm waxing nostalgic for the days when I wasn't twice the size I should be. 

So maybe this time around I do something a little different.  Maybe, just for fun, I don't swear I'm going to lose the weight because let's be honest:  At this point the fluffy has grown roots and dug into my bones.  It's doubtful I will ever be able to fit into my wedding dress again, but it's okay because why would I want to wear it again?  I'm not getting married...and certainly not in a dress with sleeves that poofy!  (And I don't do hats anymore, so the broad brimmed sun hat thing I wore is out too.)

Let's think about this.  What do I really want to make my New Year's resolutions?  What do I really want to fix about myself?

That could take a while. How about if I just narrow it down to the top five?

So here are the top five things I'd like to change or fix about myself in 2014.

5)  I'd like to limit my after work grazing time to an hour.

Oh don't look at me like that, we all do it.  You get home from work and dinner isn't even close to being done...or defrosted...or planned, and you're hungry like you haven't eaten in a week. So out come the chips and salsa, the chips and dip, the cheese doodles, the bagels, the peanut butter, the sticks of butter, those cookies you thought you'd thrown away, but SURPRISE, they're still in a plastic bag on the counter.  And before you know it, you've been eating for three hours, and your family is staring at you.  So for 2014, instead of that being a three hour feeding frenzy, I'd like to limit that to one hour.

4)  I'd like to get to the gym every month.

Baby steps.  I tried making that 3x a week goal.  Too harsh.  So let's just focus on getting there 12x a year, and build on that.  At least then I won't feel guilt every time I look at my keys and see the gym card attached to my key ring.

3)  I'd like to let it be okay that the cat drags my underwear around the house.

We have this cat, we call him Stupid.  Well, Skippy and I call him Stupid.  Hubby and Peaches love this beast and call him by his given name, which I think is also stupid.  This cat, unlike the other three cats in the house, simply cannot leave laundry alone. He must, must, MUST bring it up from the basement, dragging it in his teeth, and leave it all over the house.  I never know when I get home if it's going to be a bra, panties, or sweats that great me at the door, but I know it will always be dirty laundry...unless I'm caught up with the laundry at which point Stupid will simply find the baskets of clean, folded laundry, dig through them until he finds something he wants to drag around, and then yank that out of the basket.  There isn't a darn thing I can do about this cat or his habits because no one will let me give him away or lock him out of the basement.  So I guess I need to just be okay with it, and boy, that it going to take some doing.

2) I'd like to care enough to want to work on the pile of mending that's growing next to the couch.

I took sewing in 4-H for three years and managed to produce two blouses, a
skirt, several square scarves and the world's most uncomfortable pillow.  (Stuffed with my mother's old panty hose...how could anyone think that was comfortable?  Bigger question:  My mom made a LOT of those pillows... A LOT of them. Just how many pairs of pantyhose did the woman wreck on a weekly basis?)  In spite of that experience, I'm not what you'd call a motivated seamstress.  But, since I'm the woman in the house, my children think I am the only one who knows how to thread a needle, put a button on a shirt, hem pants.  In my head I do, but only in the academic sense.  I have a pile of mending...the kids put things next to my spot on the couch.  In 2014 I'd like to WANT to actually work on that.  Of course, all that is going to have to take a back seat to Hubby's blanket.  The hem has been tearing off that thing for ten years.  That would have to be my first project. Which might be the big delay because...well, it's a really thick blanket and hand stitching that sucker is going to hurt!

1)  I'd like to remain calm and squash the rage every time I have to call customer service.

I am a customer service rep.  I spend my days on the phone helping people with their issues and I never let the fact that I believe they are morons come through on the call.  So why is it when I have to call customer service I go from zero to insane in less than three seconds?

I'm pretty sure I'm allergic to automated phone systems. 

I find myself screaming, "I WANT A PERSON!"  like a madwoman and I do it so loudly and so physically that I'm in a heaving sweat by the time I get a live person.  And, since no one calls customer service when everything is fine, I'm calling for a problem that is pretty pressing and therefore I'm stressed.  So when I finally get a live person  (and for the record, Stuff Installed's main line rings right to my desk. There's no "press one" for anything.) I'm already in the red zone.

This next year I need to do one of two things:  I either need to pour a glass of wine before I dial customer service OR I need to just not call and let the universe or my husband take care of whatever it is  (cable, credit cards, bank issues, cell phone issues).

Here's the downside, though.  I do work up a really, really good sweat when I'm on the phone with customer service.  So it's probably the best work out I get.  How can I cut THAT out of my week?  I mean, sure, I do have to lose 44 pounds this year  (you know, in the next six hours) to hit my goal for the year.  I can do it, but it's not going to be pretty!

How much does a spleen weigh, and can I really live without it?

Happy New Year everyone!  Be safe!  See you in 2014!


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

it's Christmas: and Ebenezer's ghosts were NOTHING like mine!

Merry Christmas!

I'm a big fan of the "A Christmas Carol."  I love the timeless tale, no matter how it's told  (For the record, I think Bill Murray's "Scrooged" is hilarious.) holds up and reminds us all of the wonders of Christmas.

I especially needed a good old dose of Dickens while strolling through the aisles of my local grocery store yesterday morning.  Normally I wouldn't go out on Christmas Eve day.  I'm usually pretty much set.  But let's just say that one of my novels over performed slightly in the UK and Canada  (thank you, readers of Fresh Ice!) so I set out to purchase one last, unexpected gift for Hubby.

For the record, those in the liquor store part of the grocery store were in a lovely mood.  I was almost in despair that I wouldn't get a good Christmas story.  And then I crossed into the grocery store and it took about five minutes to find...I'll call them Wanda and Rollie.  Rollie wore a "Dusty Dynasty" style of beard and had a cart that contained three grocery items and his cane.  Wanda had recently colored her hair ten shades too dark and also had a cart with three grocery items and her cane.  Wanda and Rollie were doing sort of a square dance in the middle of the meat aisle.  She'd move forward and he'd turn around. While going through this choreography, she'd mutter something and he'd reply back in what I thought was a very calm, normal tone.  Finally, he turned one more time, facing me and said, "It's okay, I'll just go back for it."  To which she replied in a loud, and utterly enraged tone, "YOU MAKE ME INSANE!"

Merry Christmas everyone!

But I'm not writing to you on this frosty Christmas morning because of Rollie and Wanda.  No, I want to talk about ghosts of Christmas past.  Monday night I worked late at Stuff Installed and decided, since it would be sort of rude and pointless to call people the night before the night before Christmas  (also I wasn't in the mood for any more grumpy people answering the phone and yelling at me for calling them), that I would clean the office kitchen.

If you've read Not While I'm Chewing! you have a pretty good idea of what the kitchen at Stuff, Installed looks like.  (And if you haven't, remember, it's available along with "Unsafe at Any Speed" on Amazon and at Smashwords.com) So you know it's more a wall of cabinets, a counter top and a sink.  It's become sort of a pit of despair with the cabinet shelves covered in coffee grounds and granola  (apparently PM and NBM aren't terribly tidy when it comes to food stuffs) and broken, dirty plastic ware and coffee cups are stacked everywhere.

For the record, I don't really use the kitchen.  I use the microwave to heat up my lunch.  I make sure I wipe up what I use and clean if I've dripped or made crumbs.  But other than that, I just don't use it.  So I was, yes, slightly stunned and SHOCKED when I started opening door and finding evidence of a ghost of Christmas past.

Elsie W. was gone, but certainly NOT forgotten. 

It started with coffee cups.  Chipped, cracked, and clearly from an old lady collection, I found a handful of coffee cups, all with a ring of hot pink lipstick on the lip of the cup.  I tried washing them.  I have no idea WHAT sort of toxic waste lipstick she used, but it wasn't washing off.

Then I found...well a couple plastic bottles of spices.  You know the ones you get at the grocery store?  Okay, one was a bottle of Lawry's seasoned salt which I'm guessing Elsie used on her trout when she microwaved it, or on her meatloaf she cooked in the George Foreman grill before it was banned from the office because that plastic bottle was so covered in old grease, I couldn't read the label until I scrubbed it clean in hot water and soap.  Even then, I could really only clean a layer of the petrified animal fat off the bottle.  That followed the coffee cups into the trash.

Then I found...well, the label sound ground mustard. 

Ground Mustard is a lovely yellow powder.  I use it all the time when I cook, which isn't that often, but still...anyway, I found a little plastic bottle of the stuff and it wasn't covered in grease!  I was pretty jazzed, until I opened it.

Ground mustard should never, ever, be a liquid...nor should it be black.  I don't know what sort of kitchen death voodoo Elsie performed on that little bottle, but clearly it had been the victim of something she did.  That I set in NBM's "in box" because that was too good not to share.

Finally I opened the bottom cabinet door. This was a door I know no one has opened since the day Elsie stormed out of the office while calling down the wrath of the Almighty on NBM's head.  How do I know?  Because when I opened the door I saw two things:  Elsie's have broken, very stained, possibly disease covered coffee maker, and under that...a wide yellow stain that looked for all the world like egg yolk.  A lot of egg yolk.  A LOT of egg yolk.

Friends, I didn't have the strength to deal with that.  So I did what anyone would do, I put all my unpleasant ghosts of Christmas past in that cabinet  (I shoved the NESCO roaster Noelle C left behind when she stormed out of the office while giving PM the iciest of silent treatments onto the top shelf of the cabinet and I shut the door.  I doubt anyone will dare go in there again, and hopefully much like Scrooge, I will now be rid of the ghosts of Christmas past! 

(At least until I forget about it and offer to clean the kitchen next year.)

Merry Christmas to all and to all a wonderful holiday time of peace and joy!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Sarah's pre-Christmas Rant: If you don't know how to use the phone: DON'T TOUCH IT!

Good evening!

When I was in third grade, we had a class in school on phone etiquette.  It was part of our social studies class:  you know, the class that taught us how to function in an every day world without angering those around us?  Yes, social studies.  The study of a society.  And in that class I learned how to answer a phone properly, how to take a phone message properly, how to dial a phone, and how to communicate with someone on the phone. 

Almost 40 years later, I have a job because I can do what, apparently, fewer and fewer people are able to do:  Operate a telephone.

In this day of texting, email, and other forms of non telephone communication, I don't have to look too far to see that future generations are going to not know how to use a phone.  And I don't have to look too far back to find a generation...still living...that has always been clueless "about them new- fangled telephone voice machines."

Every day I dial a phone, and let it ring, and I either leave a message with the voicemail/answering machine on the other end or I talk to the person who answers the phone.  What shocks me, and what the source of my rant is today, is how few people know how to manage a telephone or a telephone conversation.

I've managed to narrow the categories of people who answer the phone to five.  All five are annoying, all five are clueless, and everyone in each of these five categories needs to go take Mrs. Carol Zimmerman's "phone etiquette" class.

1)  Can't be bothered because "Maury" is on.  But then again, Caller ID is just too hard to deal with because that involves reading and whatnot.

I'm shocked...SHOCKED at how many phone calls I make land into this category.  Seriously, if the phone rings, now that we have a little thing called CALLER ID, if you don't want to take a call from someone, you don't have to.  Your voicemail can pick it up.  So there's really no need, if you're deep into a multi-layered plot twist of a paternity test on Maury Povich, for you to answer the phone.  Really. No need. In fact, we as telephone professionals would PREFER you NOT pick up the phone, and then drop it on the floor, and leave it there while your television blares for three minutes which is about the length of patience most telephone professionals have with this nonsense.

This category also includes the people who will answer then immediately hang up the phone without bothering to say anything.  I realize I've been guilty of this in the past, but now I have to think:  Are we really that busy or that anti social that we can't possibly be bothered to say, "No Thank you?" (I guess "No Thank you" falls into the same category as "Thank you."

2)  Two ears, one mouth...can't shut the one and won't open the two.

I love it when people call me to ask questions and then simply will not SHUT UP to let me answer them and then get angry at ME because I'm not answering their questions.  The flip side of that fun coin is that when I do start talking, they immediately start talking again, making any attempt at answering questions impossible.  If you want answers, SHUT UP.  And if you can't shut your yap long enough to take a breath, then don't get bent out of shape when the person on the other end of the line doesn't start talking immediately...leaving a bit of dead air where your voice has been for the last ten minutes.

3)  Doesn't understand how to conduct a phone conversation from stage one.

Okay, let's review:  Your phone rings. You push a button or whatever, opening the line to the person who is calling you.  What next?  Well, obviously you say, "hello?" acknowledging that you're ready to speak to the person on the other end of the line.  Obvious, right?  Wrong!  Many of the people I call simply open the line... and say nothing.  And then I have to say, "Hello?"  And sometimes I get a live person, but more often I get nothing. More dead air.  So I say "Hello" again and then something will finally click in the person's brain and get the ball moving.  Now, what I'd like to say is this:  I say hello and then you say hello and we can start."  But I don't dare.  I have to go through this little dance because the person who picked up the phone maybe has some sort of social phobia  and can't speak into the phone.  I can sympathize, if that's the case, but I have to think there just aren't that many people with that specialized a phobia.

4)  Sure you can take a phone message.  Sure you can...

I leave a lot of phone messages.  A LOT of phone messages.  I will listen to a recording and leave a voice mail message a hundred times if I don't have to talk to some dimwit who picks up the phone but isn't the person I am calling and can't answer the one question I'm asking. I'll say, "Can I leave a message with you?"

Before you correct me, remember, I'm an English major.  Yes, I fully know I probably should say, "MAY I leave a message," but I've done this job long enough to know the problem isn't a matter of manners.  It's a matter of skill.  And rarely does the person on the other end have the skill it takes to write down a name, a phone number, and a four word message.  I say, "Can I leave a message?"  They always say yes.  I say, "This is Sarah from Stuff,Installed, and my number is..." and that's when 99 out of 100 times, the person on the other end will say, "Just a minute."

What follows is a multi minute search for a writing tool.   During this time I want to shout all sorts of colorful things into the phone about how telling a person they can leave a message is a verbal contract and by making said person wait and then repeat 2/3 of the message because you didn't have a pen is clearly a breach of that contract.  But then I realize that a person who agrees to take a phone message without having clear view of a writing tool is probably not going to know what I'm talking about when I talk about contracts.

5)  Drunk, angry, stoned, asleep, and driving.

I realize this seems like a repeat of the first category, but it's not because this includes those who dial me and get me, and then are furious because they got a live person on the other end of the phone.  Or, and this is always my favorite, I dial the phone and get the person who is clearly in the middle of some sort of personal crisis, so they start screaming at me and demanding to know where I got their number.  "Um, you gave it to me yesterday and told me to call you back today."  

I love being called a liar.  Because, see, I have nothing better to do with my day than to open the phone book...(what's a phone book, grandma?)  and start dialing random numbers.  Yes, that's exactly what I do.

This category also contains third shifters who need service calls, but refuse to answer their phones until they are dead asleep and therefore they get to rage at me about calling them when they are asleep.  I worked third shift.  If you don't want to answer the phone, you don't have to answer the phone. No one has a gun to your head.

As for those who are in an impaired state of mentality...stop.  Stop using the phone.  Stop filling my voicemail with incoherent mumbles and then stop complaining to my corporate office that I don't return phone calls.  Stop calling my number and hanging up just as I answer. And if you're in a bad mood, how about if you sit down with an episode of Maury?

Stop yelling at me when you answer the phone when you're driving.  You're breaking the law, not me.

And by the way...if you're in the middle of a domestic dispute, don't dial the phone, don't answer the phone, don't look at the phone.  I don't want to hear you and your significant other scream at each other.  Well, I do, because it's sort of entertaining, but really, it gets old when you decide you're going to treat me like some sort of free couples' therapy.

6)  You might be old, but you have had a telephone in your house since you were a child.  Stop pretending you don't know how to use it!

I've done the math.  Every person alive today (and I'm talking about industrialized nations here, I'm sure there are people on an island someplace where this isn't true.) has had a telephone in their home at very the least their entire adult lives.  My grandmother is 97 years old.  She's almost blind, she care barely hear, and she knows how to use a phone.  Ad if my grandma can manage it, everyone else can, too.  That means you don't get to pretend you don't know what to do when someone calls you.  You don't get to yell, "WHO? WHAT?  HUH?"  every time I try to say something.  I'm not Alexander Graham Bell.  Phone reception is pretty awesome these days.  Stop pretending you can't hear me.

Also, stop pretending you don't know what a phone is for.  Believe it or not, I'm not buying the idea that a darling little old lady is just randomly picking things up in her house until the ringing stops.  Don't answer that phone and then start shouting at your house mate that you "don't know what the hell the call is about. It's some damn thing or another."  Stop.  You know how to listen.  I know this because the minute I mention a big old discount you're able to focus in on what I'm saying.

And for the love of all that is holy, don't pretend you didn't get my 77 previous messages.  If you have voice mail or an answering machine, you've probably had it for eons and therefore you know how to get the messages.  The only person I've ever met who couldn't retrieve her voice mail message was Elsie W.

Do you really want to be in her category?

And finally, this isn't so much a category as it is a pet peeve of mine and since I'm giving you my pre-Christmas rant, I may as well throw this in:

Answering machines have been around for a long time now.  And yes, we've all fallen victim to wanting our outgoing messages to be personalized, funny, cute, whatever.  That said, let me just clue you in on how things are in 2013, now that we have voicemail, and digital everything.  I can speak to this because I've made about 1600 phone calls this month and this is what I run across all the time:

A) Sound clips taped from the TV or your favorite radio station are terrible.  No one can understand that garbled mess.  Erase and start over, this time with your own voice in a normal volume level saying normal adult things. you might be the biggest Princess Bride fan  (but you're not...because you're not me) but listening to some fuzzy, echo mess of you telling us you'll call us back and then Wesley saying "As you wish" from across the room is only a good idea in your head.  In real life it's terrible.  Stop it.

B)  Your children/grandchildren might be the apple of your eye, but their goo-goo gaa-gaa mess on your outgoing message only annoys everyone.  Yes, everyone.  Yes, even your best friend.  I'm the only one honest enough to tell you.  They aren't cute, they aren't adorable, they make everyone who calls you want to poke their ears out. And oh yeah, unless your pets have developed opposable thumbs, stop putting their names on the outgoing message.  I have four cats.  Do you really want to listen to, "You've reached the home of Sarah, Hubby, Peaches, Skippy, Jasper, Tacocat, Belle, and Jude" every time you call me?  Are you planning on leaving a message for the cats?  Then STOP!

C)  Only Dr. Suess is allowed to speak in rhyme.  You are not Dr. Suess.  Stop trying to come up with a cute rhyme on your outgoing message. It's terrible.  Stop it.

D)  The "press this number for this person"  Really?  Is your land line THAT busy that you have to have multiple lines for each child and each pet?  (true story)  I'm not pressing six to speak to Mr. Cuddles.  And chances are, if I want to talk to your kids, I'm not calling them on the phone.  So unless you are a business, stop it.

Well that's enough rant for this eve before Christmas Eve...I await your angry retorts or your comments of praise.  Whichever you prefer!





Tuesday, December 17, 2013

JUST IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS! Unsafe At Any Speed is FINALLY here!

JUST IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS! Unsafe at Any Speed is finally here!
Good morning all! 

Well, after many fits and starts, and one major melding project, "Elsie W.;  Unsafe at Any Speed" is FINALLY available for purchase!

TA DAH!

 

Now, I know you all want to get in on this so here are the links:

FOR THE KINDLE CLICK HERE!

FOR A PRINT BOOK CLICK HERE!

FOR EVERY OTHER ELECTRONIC DEVICE CLICK HERE!

I'm really proud of this one, and I'm pretty sure this is a good one for you to give to that friend of yours who is stuck working with a horrible co-worker!  If you liked "The Office" and "Office Space"  you are going to LOVE Elsie W.!

ENJOY!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Peace on earth, goodwill to all...but manners are right out the door!

Good morning!

It's been a wild wooly couple of months here, and I'm in the throes of final edits for the long promised second Elsie book, BUT I have to take a moment to share this delightful little bit with you because, IT'S CHRISTMAS and hey, let's all celebrate the season of giving, peace on earth, Baby Jesus...all that.

So I did what I don't generally like to do this time of the year:  I went to the post office to ship packages.  I got there when the lobby was open but the main post office was not so that I could just use the self serve kiosk in peace.  I'm a pro at the post office, thanks to the years I worked for the Evil Bossman, so I knew I'd spent about ten minutes at the self serve thing and get my four boxes labeled, addressed, and shipped.
Sarah plus the self service
kiosk:  WIN

Ten minutes.  That's all I needed.

However, you and I both know that waiting behind someone for ten minutes can seem like a lifetime.  So, after getting the first package done, I noted there was a woman behind me looking non too excited, given the stack of boxes I had with me.  I said, "I'm so sorry, this is going to take me a few minutes."

She started to say what we all say, "Oh, that's okay."

But I thought, hey, it's the season of giving.  And someone opened the doors for me to get into this building, so now it's my turn to pay it forward.  I said, "Do you have a lot to do?"

But not more polite.

She said, "Well, could I just buy some stamps?"

"Sure,"  I said and I removed all my stuff, my purse, address book, boxes, everything from the area so she could move forward and buy her stamps.

While she was buying stamps a guy got in line behind us.  Now, I was really full of the holiday spirit and there was not another soul in the lobby so I said, "Are you just buying stamps?"

He nodded, and I said, "Well, go ahead of me then."

At this point the woman was done with her transaction, and she walked away.

So you see what's missing here?

SHE WALKED AWAY?

She didn't say please at the front of me letting her go ahead of me and she didn't say thank you when she walked away.  And meanwhile, the guy was almost done with his transaction...having not said please or thank you or anything when I asked him if he was buying stamps.  Remember, he just nodded and then got right behind the woman like it was his God-given right to bump ahead of me in line because he was well dressed and in a hurry.

So he finished up and walked away...again without saying one single word to me.  No please, No thank you.  No nothing. 

 I realize we aren't supposed to expect anything when we do something nice for strangers, or when we're paying a good deed forward.  But friends, I'm SHOCKED at just how rude people are.  It wasn't like saying thank you to me would have cost money.  It wasn't going to take any time.  And it could have changed my attitude about those two people immensely.

As it is right now, as far as I'm concerned, that fifty something woman with the short blond hair who was in the Waukesha post office at 8 AM this morning and that skinny hipster guy with the sweater vest and the glasses and the curl-ish chestnut hair are ungrateful meanies.  Forget the meaning of Christmas...they don't get how to be a human being and if I see them again I'll tell them that...as I'm letting them cut in front of me again, because I am a firm believer in killing people with kindness.

So friends, it's Christmas.  It's also a lot of other holidays, and if you celebrate something other than Christmas, then Happy Holidays to you.  But this is a holiday season, a time of year when we're supposed to be a little kinder, a little gentler to our fellow man.  So please, do those little things that will make someone else's day easier.  Sure, you might have to wait a couple minutes, you might have to stand outside a minute longer, you might have to bend down and get your fingers dirty picking someone up for someone.  But it's okay because the feeling you'll get from helping someone is super worth it.

Even if they don't say please or thank you!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Next time I'm handing out a questionaire before the concert.


 Good afternoon!  It's been a month now since I last posted and I have some news.  I did manage to write 50000 words on my new novel "Spark of a Hero," so I completed my Nanowrimo goal this year.  Now, for December, I'm fully focused on getting the Second Elsie book out, so that you can just get both of them for holiday gifts.  That will be my focus in the next two weeks.

I wasn't planning on blogging today, but sometimes things just happen to me and I have no other choice but to share with you.  After all, the blog is called "It Can Only Happen to Sarah" and boy, is that true this time.

Most of you know I'm a gigantic Rick Springfield fan.  (If you're uncertain about that, check out my first novel, Dream In Color ((which has a brand new cover!)) and you'll get the idea.)  Anyway for my birthday this year, (which was two weeks ago) Hubby did very, very good.  Hubby got two tickets to Rick's solo concert "Stripped Down" which was at the Barrymore Theatre in Madison, WI. This was to be different from the other concerts I'd been to because it was billed as "an intimate solo performance of music and storytelling." 

I was super excited.

Dressing for these things is always a problem for me, but Hubby did good there, as well.  He suggested I NOT wear my usual attire of Rick T-shirt and jeans and instead class it up a bit.  He wore a bow-tie, I wore a sparkly holiday-ish top.

The Barrymore, if you haven't been, is an old theater in one of the more fun, funkier neighborhoods in Madison.  I've never been there, but I knew right away we were at the right place because MY PEOPLE, (fluffy middle aged girls) were flocking to the place.  We got in, found some fine seats  (general seating, but I was okay we weren't up front.  I have a thing about theater seating, I have to be on an aisle.  Not only was I on an aisle, I was slightly higher than the seats in front of me, giving me a very clear view of the stage.) and we settled in.

The opening act was a pretty cool guy who sang some folksy songs about beaches and dead artists and drinking...believe me, he was a lot of fun.  While he was playing, the woman behind us, and this is key, started consuming beer. (In retrospect, my guess is the beer was to fill in the holes left by the quantity of other alcohols she consumed before the concert.)

He played for about a half hour.  After he left the stage, this woman leaned over the seat and started talking to us.  I didn't think much of it, Hubby and I sort of are those people who wind up just talking to people...sort of like the nice lady at the last Rick Springfield concert...you remember her...the wildly drunk woman behind her dumped a gigantic beverage all over her?  Yeah.

Anyway, so this woman starts talking to us.  And at first, while she's talking way too loud, and too close, and it's clear she's "deep into her cups" as they say, she's seems normal.  She asks if we're from Madison  (we're not) and she tells us where she's from  (also not Madison). Then it gets...well, I'll let you judge.

She says, "When my husband told me he got these tickets I asked him why?  He said we needed a date night.  We've been married 25 years, what do we need with a date night?  We have two kids.  We don't listen to the radio, we don't watch TV, we just do whatever the kids need us to do."
Yep, I should have moved right then and there.  Warning bells went off in my head.  She doesn't listen to the radio.  She questioned her husband about why he bought her Rick Springfield tickets. 

She doesn't watch TV.

We should have moved, but like I said, we had seats that really suited us.

The concert started...and her husband brought what I believe was her third round since they sat behind us.  And that's when the inappropriate WHOO HOOing began.

For those of you who haven't been to one of these, it's a quiet affair.  Sure, there's singing and cheering, and singing along, but for the most part, this was a lovely, cultured, grown up evening  (no one was wearing concert t-shirts) except for Date Night behind me.  Her only goal was to goad the front rows into standing up and dancing to cover the fact that she wanted to charge the stage...but only when Rick started singing 'Jessie's Girl.'

Ah, okay, I see the problem. 

See, there are two kinds of Rick Springfield fans.  There are those of us who have all the albums and know all the songs, we've read his book, we've gone to a ton of concerts, we've watched "Hard to Hold" RECENTLY.  And then there are the fans who just like "Jessie's Girl."    And it seems lately that I wind up sitting next to or in front of women who drink until he plays Jessie's Girl and then make idiots of themselves.  (We had the mean lady in the Dells, "Red" in Nashville, and now Date Night.)

So Date Night is sitting behind me and every five minutes, no matter what is going on up on stage, she WHOO HOOS and then said, "Come on front rows get off your asses and DANCE! And when she's not yelling this, she's talking...out loud...with her husband.  About what, I cannot imagine, because I'm trying to hear the stories Rick is telling on stage.  I wanted to turn around and say, "Hey, if you want to talk on your date night, go someplace that encourages that...like a coffee shop, or your own living room.  BUT SHUT UP I AM TRYING T HEAR RICK!"

(I didn't say that.)

Well, bad behavior begets bad behavior and this started a sort weird echo from the other side where a younger gent decided it was super cool to shout, "YOU ARE SO CUTE" every time there was a quiet moment in the show.  First time, funny.  Tenth time, not so much.  And oh yeah, there was plenty of quiet time in the show.  IT WAS AN INTIMATE PERFORMANCE OF SONG AND STORYTELLING.

Date Night is undeterred.  At some point she leans in, between my face and Hubby's  (I got a buzz from her fumes)  and she says, "I'm going up.  Are you with me?"

Hey, I've been on stage with Rick...couple times... but this was not that kind of thing.  I shake my head.  THEN, Date Night leans in closer and starts talking really loudly, and she puts her hands on our shoulders.  "I'm GOING, are you with me?"

I say, "I'll pass." and I lean forward in my chair so her hand sort of falls away.

I'm not sure at what point she dumped her drink.  I did enjoy the fact that unlike the woman in the Dells, Date Night didn't dump it on anyone in my row.  Instead, she dumped it down the aisle, ice cubes and all.  And she kept yelling for the front rows to DANCE.

And her husband kept getting up to get her drinks.

Here's the funny thing:  At some point during the concert...they left.  They just left.  And yes, they left BEFORE he played "Jessie's Girl."

So here's what I've decided.  I think the next time Hubby and I go to a Rick Springfield concert I'm going to have a questionnaire ready for the person behind me.  It's going to have just a few questions:

1)  Have you locked yourself away from society for the last 25 years, thereby rendering you incapable of understanding how to behave in an adult social setting?

2)  Have you already or do you intend to drink your body weight in alcohol?

3)  Are you just here to hear Jessie's Girl?

A "yes" answer to any of these questions is going to guarantee we find alternate seats.

If you haven't been to one of these "Stripped Down" shows, I highly recommend it.  Rick fans, music fans, fans of just good shows will all enjoy this.  But a word of caution:  Don't be an idiot during the Q and A section.  Don't bring some award you won and ask him to rub it on his body.  If you feel the urge to ask such a thing...chances are you've answered "yes" to at least two of the above questions and you have no business being in that auditorium.





Sunday, November 3, 2013

Strangling myself on a door handle wasn't even CLOSE to the dumbest thing I did this week!

Good afternoon!

This really should be a "Five for Friday" BUT since it's SUNDAY and I can really only think of four things...it's not.

This past week seemed to be, for me, a series of really, wildly unfortunate events, or just terrible choices.  So instead of burying a week of embarrassing, frustrating, and down right goofy moments of my life, what does a good blogger do?  A good blogger blogs!

Sooo, enjoy!


Yes, I can be taken down with a necklace and a door handle.

My grandmother was a big fan of the long necklace and I wear one of hers all the time.  It's not a precious antique or anything like that.  It's just really, really long string of odd shaped pearl-like beads.  I wear it looped twice around my neck, so that one loop is right up at my throat and the other dangles almost to my waist.

One of the things I do at work each day is, at the end of the day, go to the shop and make sure the two back doors are closed and locked.  It's not a difficult thing to do and 99% of the time the doors are closed and locked.  But I do it because in those last five minutes of the day I try and do as much as I can AWAY from my desk so I don't get that last minute phone call that puts me at my desk past quitting time.

This past week I was wearing my double looped necklace while doing this. Now I've worn this necklace to work a million times, without injury, but on this day, on this one day, the bottom look of the necklace caught on the door handle while I was opening and closing the door and checking the lock.  I did not notice it so when I turned to check the other door, I couldn't move and, thanks to the fact that I at first had no idea what was going on, the upper loop of the necklace instantly strangled me.

You'll be happy to know the necklace is in tact, the doors are locked.  As for oxygen loss to my brain, well, who will notice, really?  (Especially after you read the rest of this list.)

And if the necklace and door handle can't finish the job, French fries might.

For quite some time now I've not eaten French fries.  I used to LOVE THEM, but as I age, I find they don't really agree with my digestive tract all that much and, frankly, since I have to limit my caloric intake more and more with each passing year, I'd rather not eat something that doesn't make me happy anymore.

Last week, however, I had a craving for Culver's French Fries, extra crispy.  (If you go to Culvers, you can order them "extra crispy" and they have to double deep fry them.  MMMMmmmmmmmm.)  So I got a small order at lunch and ate them in the parking lot where I eat lunch and take naps along with about a half dozen other office drones from other businesses.  (We don't speak, we nod to each other from our cars and everyone keeps their radio volumes down.)

I then decided to forgo the nap and instead clean out the rubbish from my car.  Somewhere in the up and down motion of cleaning the floor of my car, my body said, "Well if you're just going to toss your stomach contents around, then you may as well have them back."

Yep, I blew chunks in the Culvers parking lot.  More specifically, I blew French fries in the Culvers parking lot.  Unfortunately, it was the same day Peaches and Skippy came down with some sort of stomach bug, so for a brief bit I thought I was actually sick.  But...no...it was just my fat old body telling me that 1)  We are done with the French fries and 2) physical activity immediately after eating is never a good idea.

Oh I'm sorry...I thought the express lane was for 15 ITEMS or less...not three items and your endless personal and financial issues.

Immediately after said barfing episode, I got a text from Peaches requesting white soda and crackers for her stomach ailment.  Since I wanted to distance myself from my soiled parking space, I ran over to the local Pick and Save  (and we all know how I feel about that store) for TWO THINGS!  TWO THINGS!

I figured, two things, and the express lane only has three people in it, I'll be in and out quickly.

WRONG. I chose...poorly.  See, the first woman in line had about 30 items...and was trying to redeem a cash reward from her store card before the reward expired.  (That would be...on that very day.)  She was arguing with the clerk about the amount of the reward. 

The next woman behind her only had two items.  And seven coupons.  And she also, wanted to redeem her cash reward from her store card...again, because those rewards were expiring.  SHE argued with the clerk about how many of her coupons she could use.  (again, this is in the EXPRESS LANE.)

The gent directly in front of me had 8 items.  I counted them because I had so much TIME in line.  He had a store card, which he had out and ready and he was paying with a credit card.  I was overjoyed.

She scanned all his items:  two bags of peanuts, two loaves of bread, three of those HUGE chocolate bars and the BIGGEST bag of sugar the store carried.  He handed her the store card, which took off half his bill, leaving him with about $20 to pay. I had to wonder just how much that huge bag of sugar was...but I didn't have a chance because old guy then said, "Well, you have to take the sugar off, because that's  three more dollars than what I have."

Dude, you are paying with a CREDIT CARD! 

I know that feeling.  I've been there more often than I care to talk about, with credit cards.  BUT, I also know that if you're banging on the ceiling of your limit, you add your totals BEFORE you get in the EXPRESS LINE.

Finally, after the longest 9 minutes of my life...and remember this is the EXPRESS LINE, it was my turn.  I had my two items there, and I put one of those plastic dividers between my two items and the soup the woman behind me was getting.  She said, "Oh, you don't want to pay for my soup?"

Looking back, I may have been a bit short with her when I yelled "NO! I AM NOT PAYING FOR YOU SOUP!"  But hey, I'd just spewed in the parking lot and spent 9 minutes of my life watching three people  (and does it surprise any of you that they were elderly?  Nope, that's how my life goes.) try to argue and adjust things with a Pick and Save clerk like we're at some camel market.

And finally...I get vengeance on Woodman's gas station for making me look uncool.

I like Woodmans' markets.  We just got one here in my home town, but there are some hither and thither around Wisconsin.  Woodmans' markets are low priced and do not take credit cards.  They do take debit cards.  And, they have gas stations.

While visiting my friend Linda this weekend, I realized I needed gas.  I decided that, before we went to breakfast, I would fill up at the Woodmans'.  I'd never gotten gas there before, but I thought I'd give it a try.  I pulled up to the pump and got out.  I realized I hadn't pulled up far enough and there was no way the hose would reach my tank.  So I had to get back in the car, start the car, pull the car forward about a foot, and then stop it again.  Not cool.

THEN the pump said, "PREPAY."  No problem.  I always prepay because I don't like going into the gas station.  I got my debit card and looked for the slot to plug it.  There was none. Nope, they wanted me to PREPAY by going in to the station and paying up front.  Not looking cool at the moment.

So I go to the station, and hand the girl my debit card.  She tells me to go fill up and she'll run the card when I'm done.  I do so and return to the station where she hands me my card and tells me to swipe it.  Which I do.  "Oh you have to wait until I tell you to do it."

I thought you just did. 

Well, no matter, she then says, "Go ahead and I swipe it again.

This time, the machine pretty much explodes.  I mean, there's no explosion, but it shuts down and it shuts down hard.  It starts something she calls a "reboot" and she, clearly, has never in all her years at Woodmans' seen this.  (Note:  She looked all of 17, so it's not like we're talking a vast experience here.)  We wait a few minutes, but here's the thing: when the computer goes into reboot mode, apparently NOTHING ELSE is going to happen in that gas station.  So, to the old gent who gave her his license and then went to pump three, and couldn't get gas?  Yeah, that was me...and I'm sorry, but you're at the receiving end of my wrath from the other day at Pick and Save.

To the woman who came in to prepay and heard clerk child say, "It's going to be a few minutes, I have no idea how long,"  Sorry.  But hey, at least you didn't have to wait in line for twleve minutes...like the guy behind me did.

And to the guy behind me who thought getting gas was going to be a quick little errand, sorry.  But, no, I'm not really, because you were good looking and gave me something to look at while clerk child was trying to say clever things about how long we'd have to wait.  (Hint:  She failed at that.)

So yeah, thanks Woodmans' gas, for helping to perpetuate the world view that I'm super uncool.  Next time, you can mess with some other complete dork who may, or may not, be able to unwittingly shut down your gas operations for twelve solid minutes on a Saturday.


Friends, this is going to be my last blog for the month of November.  Most of you know that I do nanowrimo in November and this year I'm hoping to write almost an entire novel.  Pretty steep stuff, considering I haven't written anything since November started.  So I'll be out until after Thanksgiving.  In the meantime, check out past blogs...because there's no way you've read them ALL, OR, click here to purchase my past novels AND THE FIRST ELSIE BOOK to pass the time until we meet again!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Kindle Users: Last TWO DAYS for FREE ELSIE W.!

Hey Kindle Readers!

Today and tomorrow, October 26 and 27 are the LAST TWO DAYS for you to get Elsie W.'s FIRST BOOK for free!

CLICK HERE!

Last two days, and then Elsie goes WORLDWIDE for Nook readers, Sony e-readers, and everything else!

Birthday fantasies change as you get older!

Good morning!

My birthday is approaching in a couple weeks and lately I've been thinking about how my birthday wish list has changed from when I was a kid.

From the time I could speak until the time I was old enough to drive I wanted two things:  A pony and Randy Mantooth to fall in love with me.  Every year that was my wish list.  Now my parents were hardly the type to get me a pony, and in the days before the Internet, all this Wisconsin girl knew was the Randy "Johnny Gage" Mantooth lived somewhere in
My birthday and Christmas wish, every year.
California.  So every few months I would "borrow" a stamp and send a letter to "Randy Mantooth, California" and use varying zip codes.  Funny, I never got them back.  Knowing my skill at handwriting, and paying attention to things like return addresses, I probably did something creepy like put "Your Biggest Fan" in the return address. 

In my teens, I gave up the idea of a pony. 

I still wanted Randy Mantooth, or Bruce Willis, or Barry Manilow, or Rick Springfield to show up on my doorstep and take me away from my hopelessly mundane life.  Who wouldn't?  I rarely opened a door without picturing my celebrity crush of the day standing on the other side, pining for me and ready to make me the princess I knew I was.

But birthday dreams definitely change as you get older.  Yeah, in my teen years, I wanted a stereo, (with a turntable and two tape decks so I could tape stuff from the radio, from my record player AND from cassette tapes.)  I wanted a car.  I wanted a word processing typewriter.  (I actually bought that one myself.)

In my early married years I wanted a car that was paid off, maybe a new bedspread, books, CD's, portable electronics (you know, so I could take my tunes with me when I went on a hike, or a run. HAH!)

As the kids got older I started asking for things that would just make my life easier.  Coupons from them for hugs, room cleaning, laundry.  I still put books on my list, CD's, movies,  and maybe a dinner at a favorite restaurant. I still enjoyed thinking about that dream guy standing just on the other side of the door, and I can assure you, hubby did NOT feel at all threatened by that.  Nope, not at all.

Well, my kids are all but grown and I'm in my middle years and I realize I have pretty much all the STUFF I want to deal with.  I'm far more selective about the books and movies and music I request and, I'm finding, I'm getting far more practical.

At this point in my life, I'm pretty sure if Rick Springfield or Randy
Mantooth or any of my dream dates showed up, I'd still be thrilled.  I'd be thrilled because maybe THEY could clean my kitchen and my bathroom and do my laundry and do SOMETHING about my living room while I spent some quality time on my computer writing my next novel.

I mean at this point my big fantasy is that I get a new couch, one that doesn't hurt my hips when I sleep all night on it.  I'd like a new dehumidifier for the basement, one that doesn't freeze up after four minutes of operation.  I have an idea for the living room, I'd like to get one of those storage ottomans, so I have a place to hide all the ratty blankets we use because, thanks to the rising cost of EVERYTHING we can't afford to heat our house much above "brrrrrr."

But my mom sent me an email the other day telling me that in two weeks she's coming to give me my birthday present.  She's going to clean and organize my kitchen.

Ten years ago I would have been insulted. But now, wow, that's an AWESOME gift.  Maybe if I'm pitiful enough the day she shows up, she can start work in my basement, where all four of us seem to be hiding our hoarder tendancies.

But hey, that's a Christmas fantasy. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

According to my leg hair, my big toe should be speaking Portugese.

Good afternoon!

Before we get started, I just want to say, TODD...please keep your fun, snarky comments  (oh, and there will be plenty) to yourself until you read the end!  Thank you!

I am a student of history and somewhere deep in the recesses of my schooling I recall being taught about the Line of Demarcation. Click here to read up on this bit of history!  The thumbnail is that when Christopher Columbus came back from his Spanish funded voyage to the New World, he stopped first in Portugal, and got the Portugese King all riled up about the fact that he was getting hosed by the Spanish because the previous treaty for domination of the whole undiscovered planet didn't give him enough
It looks like a map of the world.
But is it really a map of my leg hair?
land.  So he got the Pope all involved in it and tah dah, the Pope drew a longer line around the undiscovered world and now Brazil speaks Portugese even though everyone outside South America thinks they speak Spanish.

I bring this up because I've been noticing something interesting...and fairly weird...going on with my leg hair.  See, it's getting to be that time of year again when middle aged women in the northern reaches of the US stop shaving their legs because, well, hey, we're wearing pants to work and sweats to bed anyway, what's the point?  Except for that rare weekend at a waterpark someplace, it's gonna be furry below the knee until Ground Hog's day.

Now, that might see terrible, but keep in mind that I have a skin condition that makes shaving my legs sort of a painful experience, and so really not worth the burning and itching and overall annoyance.  So for the last couple years, since I developed the skin issues, I really don't pay too much attention to my leg hair from October until Christmas, when I'm forced to wear a skirt to church, and then again until the first thaw.

This year I noticed something really, really, really weird.

I was only growing hair on half my legs.

And it wasn't the half I thought it would be.

I can't speak for most women, but shaving our legs is time consuming, and really, if you think about it, stupid.  If you have the courage to be hairy for a couple years, your body figures it out and no longer goes into a hair producing panic every time you shave.  Given enough time, a woman can stop growing leg hair.

The outside of both my legs proves that point.  I do not, really, grow leg hair on the OUTSIDE of my legs...not at all.

Below the knee, on the inside of my legs, however, is an entirely different story...and I'm starting to wonder if there's something going on I don't know about.

On my inner calf, on both sides, I can, and do, produce some pretty impressive leg hair.  Now, it doesn't grow in the way it did when I was in my teens, where I have a week of stiff, black stubble, and then it gets longer.  No, I go from no hair to half an inch of softer, albeit, dark hair pretty much over night, about two weeks after my last "hack and slash" session. (Back in college when none of us had any money, we used our single blade Daisy razors until they fell apart...those last few shaves were
really more of a machete job.  hey, we were 20 and we were idiots.)

I thought I was imagining things when I noticed this a few weeks back, so I did what any blogger who likes to mock herself would do...I shaved my legs, and then I watched.  And sure enough, my legs stayed hair free for several days and then BAM, the inside of my legs were coated with long, flowing locks of hair.  (That's the romance author in me coming out...)

Now don't get me wrong.  I like that I don't need to ever think about shaving the outside of my legs.  But, am I the only one...I can't possibly be the only one this happens to...can I?

CAN I?

On a sillier note, don't forget my friends, you can get Elsie W.'s FIRST BOOK in print by clicking here!  OR, you can get it for the Kindle by clicking HERE! (Those of you who read on a different device, never fear, I'll have it available in a few weeks!)
 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Is there such a thing as a Seeing Eye Mousse Dog? I think I need one.

Good afternoon!

I'm taking a break from the Green Bay Packers/Baltimore Ravens wonder of a defensive struggle  (I love a good defensive game, but come on...the two highest paid QB's in the league, and NO touchdowns in the first half?) to talk about something very disturbing I've noticed lately.

I've forgotten how to use hair mousse.

See, I'm a child of the 80's when mousse and Aqua Net hair spray were the tools we used to keep our teased, curling ironed hair looking slightly damp and very tall.

I love Rock and Roll...and really tall hair.
Over the years I went to very ,very short hair which needed very little in the way of hair product because, well, there was no hair.  But the last several months, under the expert tutelage of my hair girl, Meghan, I've rediscovered my love of tall, heavily layered hair.  And, since my arthritis has made pump spray hair spray almost impossible to use, I've also rediscovered Aqua Net hair spray.  (They keep it waaaaaay down on the bottom shelf, so it's hard for old 80's chicks like me to 1) see it and 2) bend down to get it, but it's there. I sometimes bring Peaches on shopping trips so she can spot it for me.)

So recently, having reached a length of hair I haven't had in multiple years, and having gotten some really cool rock and roll layers, I decided to return to my other hair product standby:  mousse.

Mousse, for those of you who do not know, is a foamy sort of hair product.  You can use it in your hair when your hair is wet or dry, but I prefer to use it when my hair is wet.   The mousse comes out of a narrow nozzle when you push on the little flat part of the plastic top.  Unlike pump hair spray, you can get a decent handful of mousse with one push, so my arthritis isn't as big an issue.

I didn't think I needed any refresher courses on how to use mousse, but, after two disasters, I realize something very sad:  I have, in my old age, forgotten how to use hair mousse.

It's a true sign of senility for a child of the 80's.

The first disaster I sort of laughed off.  I mean, it's been a good 20 years since I've used the product, so OF COURSE there's always a chance that the first time out of the box I'm going to do something stupid like look directly into the nozzle as I'm pushing the flat part.  And that would result, of course, in mousse hitting me square in the face and the neck and the chest, resulting in a complete change of wardrobe and ultimately, a late arrival at work.

All of that happened, except for one thing:  I wasn't looking directly at the nozzle.  Nope, I was actually aiming for my hand, which was positioned 20 inches below my face.  And I still managed to hit myself in the face, the neck, and the chest which resulted in a complete change of wardrobe since I managed to unleash so much mousse on myself it felt more like I was trying to unfrost a cake.

Go ahead, laugh.  I did.  Hey, that's funny.

This morning was NOT funny.  I was getting ready for church and, having learned a thing or two from my last fail at the mousse, I was more careful, way less cavalier, about dispensing the hair product.

This time I managed to hit my glasses, my pink boom box, my jar of moisturizer all located on the shelf 18 inches to the left of my target...my hand...AND I HIT THE FLOOR!

It didn't take a CSI to see, with so much spatter, that the person operating the can of mousse was clearly, maybe getting a little senile.  I mean, really, who forgets how to put mousse into your hand?  I used to do it in the dark, after a night where not only did I get no sleep, but I probably took someone's dare to try and cram myself into something.  (In college, I was much smaller than I am now, and I was able to crawl into fairly small spaces, like a drier, or under the bookshelf headboard of our dorm bed, or into a washer...yes, the agitator made that one very uncomfortable.)

So I'm thinking maybe I need to get a service dog that can help me release the mousse from the can into my hand.  I'm pretty good from there, although I have managed to hit my shoulder a couple times, I am getting better at that. 

Some would tell me to just give up using mousse.

Are you kidding?  Have you seen how tall my hair is lately?  I can't possibly give that up!   (I'm not saying I'm John Stamos height yet...but it's close!)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Gloria Vanderbilt, thank you for listening, Now, Lee...it's your turn to feel my wrath!

Good evening!

It's been about two years, maybe a bit longer, since I published my well received rant about Gloria Vanderbilt's black slacks and how, while the jeans fit, the slacks were ridiculously tight in the waist.

Well, friends, I'm here to tell you that I don't know if my blog is just that well read  (welcome those of you reading in Russia!)  or just I'm not the only fluffy girl who didn't appreciate the nasty surprise Gloria's dress slacks gave us when we got them home, but I can say this:  We whined, she listened, and Gloria Vanderbilt black pants are back on the list of things I love!  (Take that, Oprah!  I can love things, too!)

Yes, I found, after several months of fruitless searching, buying, and returning, that Gloria's black fit comfortably, and were perfect for that fuzzy "office casual" look we are all forced to wear.  Well done Gloria!

Now, to my next rant.  While Gloria figured it out, Lee jeans has let me down in a huge way.  For two years, more than two years, I've purchased Lee Comfort Fit pants in size 14W.  I've not bought one other pair of pants than LEE in more than two years because I knew that a 14W would fit.  14W is a rare thing, because sometimes a 16W is just a tiny bit too baggy, but something happens in when you try to jump from a 16W to a 16...makers of "misses" pants feel that those who are size 16 are still thin and therefore do not need any space in gut or butt area.  They make the pant leg fluffier, but not the waist.  And it's true, too, for a size 18 without a W.  Seriously, why is there one INCH of difference between a Lee comfort fit in a 16 and a Lee Comfort fit in a 16W?

But I digress.  For TWO YEARS  I bought Lee Comfort Fit pants in Size 14W and rejoiced because hey, a 14W is the tiny size in Fluffy Girl Land.

But now...now, when my 14Ws are falling apart after two solid years of wearing them everywhere all day, every day.   (I have three pair, brown, blue, and black.  They go in a rotation.)  And now, I'm in the market to put down some serious buckage on Lee Comfort pants.

But no 14W to be found. Not in the stores, not online, not on Lee's own website.

No, only the 16W which is WAY too big.  I look like I'm wearing a pair of blankets on my legs.  And I tried the 18, the 16, and the 14 in regular sizes because, in a fit of optimism, I thought I could squeeze myself into one of those.  No.  The legs fit perfectly...on all three pair.  BUT THE GUT AND BUTT areas were far too tight...if I could even get the pants zipped.

Riddle me this:  In what world would a woman have the exact same sized thighs, calves, and height...and be wilder thinner or wider in the g and b area?  But apparently, all Lee's models are 5" 5' tall, have 30 inch thighs, 16 inch calves, and a 34 inch hip. (oh, and no gut)  Until we get to the 16W where everything balloons upward. 

So congrats there, Lee Jeans.  You have now lost a dedicated customer because none of your seamstresses can MEASURE.

I'll come back when you decided to acknowledge that women with larger guts do not always have pontoon runners as thighs.  Get your measuring straight and we might talk.

But for now, I'll plunk my dollars back at Gloria!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Five for Friday: The crazies may be gone, but my job is still insane...and hilarious.

Good afternoon!

I was starting to think that, with the departure of Elsie W., Noelle C., and Aqua Girl/Pandora, my job was no longer going to be funny.  I especially thought that when the newest in the line of ISP's showed up.  Her name is Kay and folks, I'm delighted to say that since Kay showed up, I no longer wish to die every single day.  I no longer wish to leave Stuff, Installed. 

Now part of that is that Kay is hilarious.  She's a fluffy girl, like me, and we laugh a lot.  Yes, she's twenty years younger than I am, but her sense of humor and mine a very close.  I think our boisterous laughter is starting to confuse NBM.  He doesn't know how to deal with two women in the office who like each other and have zero interest in him on any level.

Part of the reason I like my job once more is because, well, I'm a genius.  Rather, I'm being hailed as a genius.  See, in order to get someone normal into that ISP chair, I had to figure out how to make the work schedule more normal.  NBM wasn't going to do it, he's not an outside the box thinker.  But, after some serious pondering, I hit upon a plan that not only gave Kay a two day weekend, but also gave me...a THREE DAY WEEKEND!

Yes, I now work a 12 hour day on Mondays...but I have Fridays off!  TAH DAH!


The downside to all this, however, is that my face book posts are no longer filled with misery and stupidity. I was starting to worry that I was no longer funny.

And then I started to really listen to our customers and I realized that I am working in a gold mine of ridiculousness.  Which brings me to my five for Friday:  Five things that happened in the last ten days to remind me that my job is still insane and hilarious:

5)  "My job is wait for someone to insult me like that."

I'm really starting to think that the AARP population is out to make my life difficult on purpose.  Earlier this week a gent walked into my showroom and started asking me questions about what we do and don't install here at Stuff, Installed.  He asked if we installed toilets or sinks.  I said no, and explained what we do.  He asked if we installed windows.  Again, I said no and again I explained what we do.

He then asked me, "Well what good are you?"

Hey, I'm a lady.  And I was wearing jewelry and perfume and nice lady like looking clothes that day and darn it all I didn't feel the need to have Mr. REALLY Old Spice question my purpose in life. 

And so I let fly with, "I wait here all day for people like you to ask me that very question,"

4)  "And I assumed you weren't a jackass. Guess we were both wrong."


Mr. Really Old Spice didn't stop his insults. Most of you know I have a candy dish on my desk.  And when people say, "May I take a piece of candy,"  what I say, nay, what everyone in a polite society says is, "Sure, help yourself."

This jackwagon decided he was going to be cute.  When I said that, he picked up the whole dish and started heading for the door. Now, granted, he was old, so it wasn't like he was moving at the speed of light, but still, I sat down at my desk and waited to see if he was really, truly, going to walk off with my entire pile of candy...and the dish as well.

By the time he got to the door, he stopped  (I think he was winded from the walk) and he looked at me and said, "Hey, you said I could help myself."

Now, I wanted to say a lot of things.  But what I said was, "Well, I didn't think you were the kind that stole from ladies.  But hey, if you truly need that candy dish, well, you're right, I did say help yourself."

It took him about five minutes to old man stroll back to  my desk, put the candy dish in its spot and go back to the door. 

3)  "Just how filthy are you?"

Part of my job at Stuff, Installed is to take customer calls  from people who have questions or problems with the stuff we install.  Most of the time it's very simple and I'm able to solve a problem in a few minutes.  I'm just that awesome.  But then there are days that I get a call that's so wildly out there I start to think about just how I managed to fall into a job where all of our customers are naked when they are using our product.

This week I took a call from a lady, let's call her Edna.  Edna was old, OF COURSE, and had a problem.  See, we installed a bath tub in her home.  Now we installed that tub almost ten years ago.  But hey, there's a lifetime warranty on the tub so long as she doesn't do anything stupid with it, like clog dance in it wearing golf shoes or drill a hole in it.

Edna wanted to install a safety bar.  No problem, I said, and I quoted her a price.  All was well.  Then Edna launched into a complaint I'd never gotten before.

"When you installed my tub I had a lever that I could pull up and down to empty the tub. But when you installed my tub you put the stopped in the drain and that's how I'm supposed to get the water to drain out, but pushing on that stopper."

I'm with her so far.

"Well, when you installed the tub, you told me I couldn't have that lever because you didn't install that kind of thing."

"That's correct," I tell her.  "You drain our tubs by pushing on the stopper in the drain."

"Well I just say your TV commercial and I watched it very carefully and you have that lever on your tubs now, and I want one."

I curse the day we ever put together a TV commercial.  It's a nice commercial, don't get me wrong.  But we can't afford to run it during prime time, so we run these commercials during the day, on the Game Show Network, or on those networks that run reruns from the 1950's.  The people who see our commercials are people who are watching 1950's TV during the day.  They are not people who can see the TV screen that well, or who can hear all that well.  I know because I take calls from them and 99% of the time the TV is SCREAMING in the back ground.

"Well, Ma'am, I don't know what to tell you, but we do not install those levers."

"You are trying to withhold the lever from me.  I want you to install that lever because I don't want to get out of the tub and then have to put my hand in that nasty bath water to empty the tub.  And now you're lying to me because I watched that commercial very carefully."

(It might not even be a commercial for Stuff, Installed.  Most people confuse us with the other 99 stuff installation companies out there.)

I tried to explain to this lady that I wasn't lying to her, but in the back of my mind I just couldn't help wondering just how dirty this woman was...and why she was so loathe to put her hand in the water mere seconds after she'd been SITTING IN IT.

"Well I'm going to have someone else put that grab bar in because you're just lying to me about the lever."

"Ma'am, I would not recommend having someone else install the safety bar because if you have someone else drill a hole in our product, you will void your warranty with us."

"I don't have a warranty with you."

I could go on...but I'll just say she accused me a second time of lying to her, this time about having a warranty.

2)  Three accents, two time zones and one computer later we discover that I'm not the idiot.

My computer has been a source of aggravation since the day I started at Stuff, Installed.  It's slow, it's unreliable, and it shuts down for no apparent reason some days.  But hey, I'm not a whiner...at least not at work.  But two weeks ago NBM realized that everyone's Internet was too slow for words and since it was starting to affect his ability to access ESPN.com on his work computer, he had someone come in and look at things. The tech informed him that if he had to work on my computer, he'd quit.

I got a new computer a week later.

I was not all that excited to install it.  See, even though my computer is slow, everything I need is right where it's supposed to be on it.  NBM assured me that the IT guy at our home office in Tennessee would transfer all my files from my computer to another computer in the office, we'd install my computer, and then he'd transfer all the files to the new computer.  "Should take five minutes" says NBM who has the technical knowledge of, well, let's just say I'm his go-to person when he can't figure out how to operate Face Book. Which is pretty much every day.

I won't bore you with the details, but the transferring of files from old computer to other old computer took two solid days.  See, the IT guy in Tennessee got stung by a Brown Recluse spider and had to leave early and the IT guy at the home office in Canada couldn't figure out what Tennessee had done with my files.

One day three, I called Canada after installing my new computer.  Canada again couldn't find my files, so I called Tennessee. Tennessee wasn't picking up his phone.  Finally, on day FOUR, Tennessee transferred my files from the second computer to my new computer.

Couple things:  I couldn't print.  I couldn't scan, and there was clearly no word processing program on the new computer.  I couldn't open any of my files.  Sure, they were there, but I wouldn't open them.

I called Canada because THAT'S where the computer came from.  After answering several questions, Canada again reloaded my files. This time I could open them...but still couldn't print or scan.  (No big deal...it's just that that's WHAT I DO ALL DAY.)

On day five I got an email from Canada.  Turns out...they sent me the wrong computer.  They sent me a computer destined for some other desk...one that was going to load all sorts of fancy programs and that's why it literally had NOTHING on it. They'd also sent us a second computer, one NBM was going to use to replace another ancient machine.  Canada wanted one of those back.  Since NBM didn't feel like crawling under my desk to get mine it was agreed he'd send the other one back.

One day six, I called Tennessee twice, asking that he help me load a scanning program onto my new computer. I never heard back from him.

But I'm a smart girl and I have an empty desk next to mine.  So now, on Monday, which will be day nine of the five minute file transfer, I'll hook up my old computer on that desk and I'll officially have command of two desks and two computers.

All because IT won't return a phone call.  Probably another spider bite.

1)  "Well, if you're out of band with, you're out of band with.  And yes, I see how that is my problem."

I fill out permits for building inspectors.  This involves talking to a lot of older guys, guys who were builders and plumbers, but retired and now inspect building and plumbing.

Last week I mailed a permit to a small town.  The building inspector is roughly 100 years old.  A couple days later I called to schedule the inspection.  He scheduled it, but informed me he hadn't received my paperwork yet.  I said it was weird, since I mailed it a week earlier and the town was four miles from my desk.

He inspected the building a few days later and still insisted he hadn't received the paperwork and the check.  (The check being the more important thing.)  He then had his secretary call me. She's younger than he is...by about four years.

She asked me a series of questions, implying that I was lying about mailing the forms.  Then she asked me where I'd mailed the forms.

"I mailed them to the address at the top of the form."

"Oh, well, there's your problem," she said.  "That's our physical address.  We don't get any mail here."

"Where should I have sent it?"

"Oh, to our P.O. box."

"I see," says I.  "And is that P.O. box number on the form?"

"Where did you get the form?"

"From your inspector.  He faxed it to me."

"Well he got it from our website.  And we ran out of band with on the website and just didn't have enough room for one more line on the forms.  So the P.O. Box number got left off the forms and it's not on the site."

So let me get this right.  You don't get mail at your actual location  (doubtful, since I've mailed things to them many times) and you have to get mail sent to an address you don't have listed anywhere on your forms.  And this is my problem how?

Oh yeah, my job is still insane. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

See, K-Mart, this is why you suck.

Good afternoon!


K Mart Sucks...and now I know why.
I love the movie "Rain Man."  If you haven't seen it, you need to.  Go, right now.  Rent it, buy it, see if Netflix will let you stream it.  I'll wait. 

Okay, now that you've caught up, I was in college when Rain Man came out and I always thought they were a little harsh to that department store giant, K-Mart.  When I was a kid, we'd go to K-Mart when we were doing gift shopping or special shopping.  I loved the announcements for blue light specials.  I'd run around the store, at the risk of infuriating my mother, so that I could find the blue light and BE THERE when they said "Shoppers for the next ten minutes the blue light special will be No Nonsense pantyhose!"

I'll be honest, though, since I got older, and Walmart showed up in every town, and then Target started selling groceries, and Sam's Club sold me cheese pop corn by the drum, I haven't spent a lot of time at K-Mart.  I understand they've been going through a bit of a downturn lately, which is a shame.

At least I thought so, until I stopped at one this morning.

I needed a loaf of bread, some cat food, and a roll of birthday wrapping paper.  (Today Skippy turns 20.)  I didn't feel like making a trip out of may way for any of these things, and K-Mart just happened to be where I was.  So I stopped in for these three things.

And that's when I found out why K-Mart sucks.

In case the owners of K-Mart aren't aware, I will share my shopping experience with you all.

I stopped at the store at about 10 AM.  The store, according to the sign, opened at 8 AM.  Apparently, however, the automated doors didn't open until sometime AFTER 10 because as I was walking briskly into the store I aimed for the automatic doors.  I have issues with opening doors.  I also have issues paying attention to whether or not a door is open.  See, it's an automatic door which means when I'm near it it should OPEN automatically.

That didn't exactly happen.  At all.  I about smashed my face into the door.  And then I did that dance, that side to side dance to see if I could activate the door.  No dice.  So I pulled open the other door and went in.

The store was abandoned, which was fine by me since I have no patience for crowds.  I found the cat food and the wrapping paper right away.  All I needed was bread.  A loaf of bread. That's it.

Fifteen minutes of searching and I realized one thing: K-Mart had more shelf space devoted to Toffifay candy than they do to BREAD.  Don't remember what Toffifay candy is? Don't feel bad.  No one does! 

I eventually found bread...sort of.  There was a basket of reduced loaves of bread.  $2 for some no named loaf of paste white bread.  See, I was looking for something with maybe some fiber...or flavor.  I was NOT looking for an expired loaf of store brand glue.  And friends, that was literally the only bread, the only bread like anything in the store.  There were no bagels, no English muffins, no other breads of any kind in that building.  Two rows devoted to soda and chips...one shopping cart for expired bread. (Where's Michelle Obama...why isn't she picketing K-Mart?)

Well, armed with two of the three things I needed, I headed to the checkout.  This is a store that had, according to the signs, been open for more than two hours.  There was not ONE LANE OPEN.  Not one.  I
couldn't find anyone willing to admit they worked there.  In fact, after wandering around for five more minutes, I actually set my stuff down on an open shelf  (there were a ton of them) and I was about to leave when on single lane light popped on.

The woman scanned my items and asked me if I had a membership savings card.  I said, politely, "no."  What I wanted to say was, "Why would I want to admit I shop in a store where the employees are hiding from the customers who aren't here?"

I noted that this particular branch of K-Mart is hiring. I'm just putting that out there.

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