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Friday, June 27, 2014

Five for Friday: Sarah goes to Summer Fest and makes friends...and also gets annoyed.

Good morning!

Well, yesterday was the saddest day of the year.

Why?  Because, June 26th is the day I have to stop yelling at people to take down their Christmas lights.  They are no longer lazy slackers.  Now, as of yesterday, they are over organized and ahead of the rush.

But, that aside, on Wednesday I got to go to Summerfest, the world's largest music festival.   I love Summerfest, which I know surprises most people.  It's a lot of lines...a lot of noise...a lot of people who probably haven't taken down their Christmas lights, all stuff I hate.  But I LOVE Summerfest.  The music, the food, the people watching all makes up for it.

Oh, and Rick Springfield was playing.  So, yeah, I was getting there.

I know those of you who read this blog must picture me as a grumpy old woman who yells at random strangers, and most of the time you'd be right.  But today, I wanted to share a GOOD Five for Friday.

5)  I wonder if she made it out alive.

I always take the bus down to Summerfest.  Since my car accident I don't like driving, and I've never loved driving in a downtown setting.  I'm from the suburbs. I want wide streets, short buildings, and free and ample parking.  So I take the bus.  Since I was going with Peaches and one of her friends, I wound up sitting next to a woman who looked like a deer in the headlights.  I asked if the seat was taken and she said no.  So I sat down.  She opened with, "I'm so glad you're not a kid."

Turns out Becky was going to Summerfest for the first time.  She wasn't from the area but she was taking four young teen girls down to the opening day of the biggest music festival in the world.  And she was going really early for a show that started at 10 Pm.

She was probably going to die.

I spent the twenty minute bus ride giving her tips and pointers on how to manage Summerfest.  She asked about lines (long) and food prices (high) and liquor availability (ridiculous). She asked about the return buses at night.  I gave her as much knowledge as I had, but some things you just have to experience...and she was NOT dressed warm enough for a cool, gray, Lake Michigan day.

A success for her, would be if she managed to return with the same number of children as she left with.  Not the same kids...we can't hope for miracles.


4)  Lord of the Dance he is not, but gold star for effort!

After getting ditched at the gate by Peaches and her friend, I was on my own.  That's fine.  I love wandering and watching people.  It was a lovely, breezy, chilly day, so I wasn't sweating like I normally do.  I had eight hours to kill before Rick hit the stage, and I was on my own.

Like all children of the 80's, the sound of any 80's music is an irresistible siren song to us.  So, when I caught the intoxicating notes of "Don't stop Belivin'" on the wind, I followed it to one of the many stages.  There was an 80's revival band.  They were pretty good so I stopped to take in the show.  Like others, I was enjoying the music, tapping my feet to the beat.  But there was one guy who was really enjoying things.

Tie-dyed shirt, high waisted jeans (WITH A BELT) this guy was ten shades of uncool...but he did NOT care.  He was dancing, and dancing HARD.  I would describe his moves as a cross between disco, River Dance, and some twisted polka/fox trot.  He travelled up and down the aisles, dancing continuously through song after song.  By the time the band started a sixth song, (Kashmir by Led Zepplin, not exactly a dance hit), the dancing dude's energy sort of felt like a guy at the end of a dance marathon.  he was still moving, but had lost much of his zip and was looking at the band as if praying for them to finish.  the band was good.  Lord of the Dance was great.

3) I'm a FAN (but not of bad behavior.)

I always come away from Summerfest loving a new band and this time around was no different.  I got to take in three bands that caught my attention:  Skinny Lister, a delightful sort of folk band from England, a sort of family friend Pogues-esque band rocked the crowd, especially the 7 year old girl next to me who clearly was familiar with their work.  Then there was Dehli to Dublin, a techno/drum jam/love mother earth band that completely had the crowd going.  (Which is saying something because the Rick Springfield fans had marked their territory and were camped out so to be NOT RICK and still get the crowd going was really something.)  as a former percussionist, I gotta say, I loved that their drummer seemed to be the happiest guy ever.  Never stopped smiling.  (Oh, and the lead singer...super HOT!)

While waiting between bands, I got into a conversation with two gents who were NOT there for Rick, but instead were friends of the band right before Rick:  The Trews.  They explained to me why The Trews were awesome and I explained to them why the front seven rows of the venue were packed with older women who knew nothing about The Trews.  After listening to The Trews, I am a FAN!

What I wasn't a fan of, however, was the behavior of some of the Rick fans...or rather, the Rick fans' husbands.  After sitting on hard metal benches for six hours or more, it was clear that a couple of the husbands were losing their patience with the experience.  It was cold, it was damp, it was Wednesday and it was getting late.  (Not going to lie:  Rick starting a concert at 10 PM is sort of getting late for many of his fans...and I'm including myself in that.)  By the time The Trews were doing their sound check, one of the gents had lost his patience, and his mind, and started yelling "we don't care what you sound like...just start playing!"  (Oh, like if they got going and got done sooner, Rick would maybe get on the stage BEFORE 10 Pm and we'd all get out early?  Sorry, dude, Summerfest doesn't work like that.)  And then there was the guy who got into some sort of argument with the guitarist.  (I'm guessing the dude said "You suck."  That's not something you want to yell at a man with a microphone.)  The guitarist suggested the gent come up and play better, but then wondered aloud if perhaps the gent wouldn't because he was clearly trying to cover for the fact that he had a small manhood.  So, the guitarist gently suggested that the gent either come up and play or perhaps remove himself and then perform an act of pleasure on himself.

Which brings me to the MOTHER of the young girls sitting next to me who started complaining about the language.

Sweetie, it's Summerfest.  There's a ton of drinking, a lot of smoking, (and not all of it tobacco and e-cigarettes) and a lot of bands, although none of them, the last time I checked, were Christian bands.  Yes, there's a kids area at Summerfest.  This stage was not the kids area.  And if you're going to insist on dragging your two precious princesses to a ROCK CONCERT that is going to take place AFTER THEIR BEDTIME just so you can hear JESSIE'S GIRL LIVE, then you can expect this sort of thing to happen.  I'm not one to cuss in public...but I mentally cursed her out while giving her the death stare.  And she paid me back by dragging the princesses past me a dozen times to get food/drink/bathroom.  And then the princesses decided that the balloons and beach ball that were being bounced around the crowd were theirs.  (Again, if your kids don't know how to behave according to the rules of the venue...don't BRING THEM.)

But I enjoyed chatting with the two guys and I loved the bands.

2)  Yes, Rick is on stage...is that extra 12 inches really going to be worth the pain you'll have in your hips tomorrow?

Seating at Summerfest is all benches.  Metal benches about a foot off the ground and about eight inches wide.  For reasons I'll never understand, everyone stands on those benches during a show.  We all stand there, balanced on those metal benches, because hey, being 12 inches higher is going to make it possible for Rick to see us, to love us, to take us home with him and make us his queen and rule in his universe.

Right.

I got it when we saw Shinedown...I mean, Shinedown's fan base at the time was young white guys who were going to stand on the benches and be cool.

But Rick fans are a bit older, a bit more frail, and a bit smarter, right?

I told the guys behind me that NO WAY would this crowd risk HIP DAMAGE by standing on the benches.
If only you would stand on the benches...then I will see you
and single you out...and take you home with me.
And I was wrong.  The opening chords sounded and everyone got up on those stupid benches.

"Ya know, if we all stood on the ground, we'd all have exactly the same view of the stage as we have now," I said aloud.  Princess' Mom nodded with exasperation.  But I couldn't help thinking...the people who were REALLY exasperated were the people who had to stand behind Princess' Dad...who was about 9 feet tall and standing on the bench.

I'm a fairly fluffy girl in my mid forties and I'd been on my feet for ten hours.  Standing on a bench was killing my knees and my lower back.  So I decided, about two thirds into the concert  (which was great, by the way) that I couldn't deal with it anymore.  Gingerly, I stepped down, which made me eye level with butts and genital regions as I made my way to the outer edge of the venue where there was bleacher seating.  I climbed to the top of the bleachers and sat down.  I had a better view, better sound, and was sitting.  Sure, I was surround by Rick's more ELDERLY fans, the ones not willing to sit in one spot for six hours...mostly because their oxygen tanks had to be recharged...but I had a blast.  So...next time...row seven will not be for me. You'll find me sitting comfortably on the bleachers, singing in key, and pretending I'm really Ramona from my novel "Dream in Color."

1)  The funniest thing I heard all night.

Summerfest is a large gathering of people...so bathrooms are well, or not so well, used.  And those of you who read this blog know I have an issue with public bathrooms.  But, at the end of the park where I was, there was a delightfully huge bathroom that wasn't horrible.  So, at the end of the evening, before getting herded onto a bus, I hit the restroom one last time.

Am I glad I did.

As I was using a stall, the young woman in the stall next to me was experiencing some issues. her friends were outside the stall yelling, "hurry up!"  She, however, was going to be there a while.

"All of my shit fell out of my purse and into to the toilet which is full of shit!"

(Apologies to my younger readers for the language.)

Yep, somehow this young lady had managed to unload the contents of her purse into a toilet after she'd used it but before she'd flushed.  (NGTJ and I spent most of yesterday trying to figure out how that could happen, but we failed.) I wanted to stay long enough to hear how that problem got resolved, but I had a bus to catch...so I had to leave poor Precious there, with images of a pooh covered iPhone dancing in my head.

So, see?  I can go places where there are people and I can have a lovely day and not get into a huge rage.  Summerfest runs through July 6, so maybe check it out!

Of course, today I have to go to the Sam's Club Pharmacy...

BTW, if you live in SE Wisconsin, I'm doing a book signing TONIGHT at Martha Merrill's Books from 6-9.  Come on down and see me!  All books are discounted!



Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Well, I've gone and done it this time.

Good evening!

I honestly didn't believe I was going to do it.  In fact, I spent quite a bit of time telling people I wasn't going to do it.

And then, one day, PM and I were talking and NGTJ was laughing her head off  (I love it when she laughs her head off at my stories.) and I decided I had to do it.

I have to write the Noelle C book.


For those of you who are new or have forgotten, Noelle C was the woman who took Elsie W's job at Stuff, Installed after Elsie was...told she no longer needed to keep showing up late for work.  And Noelle C was just as big a disaster as Elsie, but not quite as easy to explain. Noelle was sort of like Rachel's one boyfriend in Friends, you know, the one who goes mental when only Ross is around?  

That pretty well sums up Noelle C.  She was, for much of the time she worked at Stuff, Installed, wildly disasterous, but only in front of me.

However, in relaying my stories about Noelle C, I discovered PM had his own stories and, as we shared them, NGTJ pretty much sealed the deal by laughing her head off.  

So, this summer, in addition to starting a new inspirational mystery series...I'm going to give you all one more Stuff, Installed book.  I can't promise it'll be the last...not if Captain Nubbin keeps up his antics.

I've outlined it.  I've even done a rough cover.  Wanna see?

It's rough, I know.  But I like it.  

What I don't like is the title.  I'm pretty bad at titles.  

So hey, how about a little help!

FREE COPY OF THIS BOOK (when it's finished) to the person who comes up with a title I use.  

Want to find out a bit more about Noelle c and her antics BEFORE you title the book?  Check out any of the blog posts that involve Noelle C.  

And I will tell you this:  What I've written in this blog is only a tiny bit of what will actually be in the book.  My goal is late summer, just in time for everyone to pack the kids into a school bus for another year.  Keep me to my goals everyone, and let's get this book written!
And if you'd like to read my other two disaster coworker books, both about Elsie W., just CLICK HERE!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Five for Friday: Adventures of Captain NUBBIN!

Good morning!

Most of you remember that I've renamed my Boss.  We no longer call him NBM  (New Boss Man) here.  I mean, he's been my boss for almost three years.  He's not exactly rocking that new boss smell anymore.

Now we call him Captain Nubbin!  Why Captain Nubbin?  Fans of "Friends" will recognize the term as the word they used to describe Chandler's third nipple.  Connecting the dots, you'll realize that yes, I work for a man who is as useful to the business as a third nipple.

This week was especially super Nubbin-y and I knew, by Wednesday, what my Five for Friday was going to be.  

So, without further explanation, here we have it:  Five for Friday:  The Adventures of Captain Nubbin!

5)  Stop trying to use economics and logic, no one goes home early for any reason!

So Captain Nubbin decided, after those of us who live and die by the jacked up/semi illegal phone and  internet in our office, to change phone and internet services.  But, CN being CN, he was not as interested in good service as he was in "best deal."  (This is a guy who locks up the pens in a cabinet.  NGTJ and I bring our pens from home.)  Since he's really only interested in the bottom line, things like...quick, efficient, CORRECT installation becomes less of a priority.

Thusly, installation of our new internet/phone service, something that takes ten minutes for most people, is now, as we speak, entering it's third week.  

At some point last Friday, during the second attempt at installation, the Mensa Member doing the installation from "Joe's SUPER LEGAL INTERNET" disconnected the phones and the Internet.  And he disconnected them so completely that, according to NGTJ, it was HOURS of dead air, dead phone, dead internet.

In case you've forgotten, her job and mine are 99% making calls and entering information on the company database on the internet.  In short... she was sitting at her desk, doing NOTHING.  She thought, hey, it's Friday.  It's in the afternoon.  We close at 5 anyway, maybe I can go home.  So she tried to locate CN, who was sitting in PM's office, chatting.  (Yes, CN does not have to obey his own rule about chatting in the office. He can do it all day if he wants. He's Captain Nubbin!)  She made a request to leave a couple hours early since it had been a couple hours, there was no indication that Joe's Super Legal was going to get things rolling before five.  Nubbin said no.  Because, you know, why would anyone be allowed to leave early? No, instead, she had to sit at her desk...not doing anything since she couldn't go online, she couldn't make calls, she couldn't do anything other than stare at the wall.  For which she was paid.

He probably paid her out of all the money he saves by not giving us pens.

4) Better yet, how about if you just stay home and we handle things?

This week has been one of those rare weeks when it's actually nice weather here.  Not too hot, not too cold, a bit of rain, sure, but more sun than rain.  And Captain Nubbin has spent quite of a bit of time finding reasons to leave the office for short spans of time.  Yesterday was probably the worst.  He went to the bank and the grocery store.  Then, having put in a torturous half hour in the office, he realized he had to go to the post office.  For those of us who have to pay for our own gas in our cars, we might consider making one trip for all these errands, saving gas.  But, see, CN drives the Nubbin-mobile, a vehicle provided by the company and all gas is paid for by the company.  So, while he's keeping overhead low by locking up the pens and post it notes  (something else NGTJ and I have started just bringing on our own, paper for phone messages and what not) he's making multiple short little jaunts out and about.  By the time he heads out for his last errand of the day, one that ALWAYS has to be done a mile from his house...convenient...he's started up the Nubbin mobile a minimum of four times.  

3)  Do not try using your logic, or facts, or Jedi mind tricks on me. This is still your fault!

A big part of the way we generate business is through a booth at festivals and home shows. Our Events Girl  (EG) is great at getting people to fill out cards with personal info so NGTJ and I can schedule appointments for our Crack Sales Staff to go out and sell stuff to be installed.  (Notice what's not involved in that line?  Yeah, Captain Nubbin isn't what you'd call an active participator in the process.  He doesn't go to the shows, he doesn't gather information, he doesn't make phone calls, he doesn't sell anything, he doesn't schedule anything, and he certainly doesn't install anything, service anything, or follow up on anything.  CAPTAIN NUBBIN!)  Anyway, on Tuesday there was an appointment, scheduled at a festival over the weekend, set up for a sales guy. Now, probably number one was the appointment scheduled to happen during the weekly sales staff meeting.  CN knew the appointment was on the schedule.  On Monday I told him to look at the schedule.  He saw the appointment.  In fact, he moved the appointment from one guy to another.  No comment on the time. Check number one.

Tuesday dawned, the sales guy left the meeting early.  Okay, it wasn't all that early. The meeting is scheduled to end at 9:30, but for the last several weeks, it's been done by 8:30.  So, check number two,  a 9 AM appointment shouldn't have been an issue based on the meeting length of the past several weeks.  This week, however, CN decided the Crack Sales Staff had made a few too many mistakes measuring stuff to be installed, so he was going to CRACK DOWN and MAKE THESE GUYS SEE THE ERROR OF THEIR WAYS. That meant that PM was going to have to spend two hours with the guys teaching them how to measure things...again, CN wasn't actually doing anything because, well, that's not his deal.

So, since, for the first time in many weeks, the sales meeting was going to actually last until 9:30, CN felt the need to reprimand SOMEONE for the 9 Am sales appointment.  And that someone, since I was the only woman in the office at the time, was me.  He sent me an email  (yep, and email)  REMINDING me to NOT schedule appointments during the sales meeting.  I was not interested in taking the heat for something I didn't book.  I fired back an email  (because we sit eight feet apart) apart, that I didn't book the appointment and that the time to raise this question was YESTERDAY when he looked at the schedule.

The sales guy called from his appointment telling me that what the customer wanted installed we don't install.  That prompted email number two:  You need to tell the customer what we install because this was a waste of time.

Hey, I called the customer, I dropped him an email telling him to call me so we could do just that.  I can't force people to call me.  And I haven't quite perfected ESP with strangers.  Again, I relayed this information to CN.

That meant nothing.  I had clearly conspired to break up his perfect training time with the sales guys (which he didn't actually attend the whole time) and scheduled (nope) and appointment for something I clearly knew was not something we install.  And when I refused to be apologetic via email, he stood in front of my desk and informed me that I need to do my job more carefully.

Bite me.

2)  But apparently I'm the only one who can spell or read.


When she started at Stuff, Installed back in August, NGTJ noted that our official company phone list was a hot mess.  She wasn't wrong.  But it's easier for me to just cross out names and phone numbers and write them in than to actually sit down with an EXCEL sheet and correct everything.  A couple months ago, however, I decided it was time to do a really good job of making a new phone list.  So I took an hour, double checked phone numbers with everyone, and got everyone's names on a shiny new phone list.  I then put a copy of the list on everyone's desk.


On Wednesday one of the installers decided he no longer wanted to install the stuff we install.  So he sort of just...quit.  And, in quitting, started a sequence of paperwork that CN actually had to fill out.  (which mean he had to take time from checking up on the US OPEN gold scores to actually fill a couple blanks on a piece of paper.)  At one point, and I'm not making this up, he shouts of out of his office:  "HOW DO WE SPELL SHANE'S LAST NAME?"

"Just a minute, " says I, "I'll check the PHONE LIST I PUT ON EVERYONE's DESK."

Instead of realizing I was telling him to look up his own darn phone list...he waited.  (Knowing how to spell his employee's last names would be way too much to expect, of course.  There are, you know, 15 of us and keeping the spellings of 15 last names, one of which his OWN, is too much.)

I don't have to look it up.  I spelled it for him.

"Are you sure?"

"THAT'S WHAT IT SAYS ON THE PHONE LIST!"

He's silent. It's at this point I'm starting to wonder if he's illiterate and just doesn't want to share the sad fact with me.

1)  And finally.

We've been having a TON of street construction on the road in front of our office.  So much so that the construction guys moved our mailbox to a spot a couple blocks away from our building.  It's not a big deal, but it does take a little more time for me to take out the mail and go get the mail and, since I can't walk on the street and there is no sidewalk, I have to cut through a couple parking lots. Not a big deal, but there's a certain amount of grass and gravel and dirt I have to traverse. 

Wednesday it rained.  Hard.  All day.

While running the mail to our box in front of the building would have been little issue in the weather, the walk to the new mailbox in a downpour wasn't exactly something I was excited about doing.  And, since most of the road in front of our building is torn up and full of construction men and vehicles, it's not wise to try and drive it during the day.  So, I told CN that since I didn't have anything pressing that needed to go out, I would see if the rain was better in the afternoon and I'd walk to get the mail.

It didn't stop raining. Not all day.  It was wet, it was soggy, and everything was muddy.

Captain Nubbin took and opportunity to go do something silly in the afternoon.  So he got in the Nubbin Mobile, drove past the mail box going out of the office park.   Then he did the errand, and drove past the mailbox coming back into the office park.  And it rained HARD the whole time.

But, Sarah, you say, surely he picked up the mail for you...right?  Surely he didn't make you walk to the mail box in the pouring rain to get the mail when he'd driven past the box twice!

Surely, you'd be wrong.  Nope, he waltzed back into the office, made a comment about how hard it was raining and then asked me if I could get he mail because he really, REALLY need to get all the bills into the daily mailier for our home office.  (Which yes, meant he'd be taking another trip past the mailbox to go to the post office.)

So I put on my raincoat and walked out into the downpour.

And thus, this week's Five for Friday was born.

ALL HAIL CAPTAIN NUBBIN!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

This is not good for my rage.

Good morning!

My kids will tell you that I'm an angry driver.  When they were young they'd have to explain to their friends

that no, I'm not yelling at anyone in the car, I'm yelling at other drivers.

It's not that I think I'm the best driver on the road.  I don't.  It's just that I feel there are a few things every driver should be doing and when they aren't, then they are MORONS!  

The list is simple:

1)  Use your directionals when you're making a lane change or a turn.
2)  Drive at a steady speed.  If you're a slow driver, that's okay. Then drive slowly.  Don't drive slowly and then speed up when you realize everyone is passing you and you feel like a dork.  
3)  If you're not willing to drive ten MPH over the speed limit, for the LOVE OF ALL THAT'S HOLY, STAY OUT OF THE LEFT LANE!
4)  If you insist on putting on your makeup, talking on your phone, or texting, that's fine.  I'm not going to tell you how to live.  But if I'm late to work, or can't make a turn, or get in a crash because you can't get your crap together BEFORE you get in the car and therefore you are overcompensating by DRIVING MORE SLOWLY AND TAKING UP THE ENTIRE ROAD, then yes, I'm going to yell at you out of my car window.

Well, this past week, on several different driving occasions, I realized there's one more thing I have to add to the list.  And it's so stupid, I can't believe people are actually doing this on the road, but this week it's happened often enough that I have to put it on the list.

THE LIGHT IS GREEN:  WHY ARE YOU BRAKING FOR A GREEN LIGHT?

Admittedly, since my car accident two years ago, I'm a far more cautious driver than I was and no one prior to the accident would have labeled me a maniac.  I tend to err on the side of caution at lights.  I try not to push faster at a yellow, I tend to stop.  But, come on, GREEN MEANS GO.

This past week, on no less than four separate moments, while behind four different cars at four different intersections I witnessed this.  People are braking, slowing down, and coming to a near stop at GREEN LIGHTS.

This is not good for my rage.

Who are these people?  Isn't like cluttered enough?  Don't we have enough stop lights and signs and idiot drivers who think they're driving extra careful because they're distracted or impaired and we wind up getting behind them and can't get around them because, since they can't be bothered to follow ALL the rules, they think they're making up for it by following a few rules EXTRA WELL.  (Hey, soccer mom on the phone while reading your kids' report cards...you AREN'T FOOLING ANYONE!)

Where was I? Oh yes:  Aren't there enough reasons to have to slow down or stop while driving, does a GREEN LIGHT actually have to be one of them?  Is there there we are as a society?  We stop for green lights and merrily drive through red ones?  I know we wanted to be a color blind society...I just didn't realize it was going to apply to traffic lights.

So, as a public service announcement, let me say this:  

Green means GO.

Red means STOP.

Yellow does NOT mean "punch it faster."

But mostly:  GREEN DOES NOT MEAN STOP!

We now know what Hubby does NOT have in his pants.

Good morning! So last weekend Hubby and I joined my parents, brother, and my brother's kids on a trek to Kentucky to see the Crea...