Monday, November 3, 2014

How do you pimp your ride?

I've been trying to figure out how I want to make Scout my own. Right now, she's very non-descript. She could be almost any blue Chevy Sonic. I have a scraper and an umbrella in the window. I have Giles's vet records in the back seat pocket. I have a USB cord in the mini glove box. I have an apartment building permission parking tag hanging from my rear-view mirror,  but it's very small. My sunglasses are in the console. And I have a magnet bumper sticker that reads "My Greyhound is faster than your honor's student." There is nothing else I have that is significantly expressive of who I am.

(An aside-- also, if you look in my car or the trunk, there is no trash, no paper bits, no cups, nothing. It's spotless and trash-free.)

I don't want to do anything until I feel like it just says "me." I look around at other folk's cars and think "uhhhh no" I don't want that. People put all sorts of bumper stickers on the cars. I saw a car with a giant pink fuzzy mustache on the front bumper. Some hubcaps are pretty fancy in color or every spin. Some people jack their cars up or they bounce or have a glowing light under it. People hang all sorts of crap from their rear-view mirrors or put something on their antennas. Also to be notes are fuzzy steering wheel covers, fuzzy seat covers, and fuzzy dashboard covers. Uhhh- no to all that is fuzzy.

But there is also a part of me that says I should come up with something because I want to be able to find my car in a parking lot. The other day I was at Panera Bread and when I left I tried to get in a car that wasn't mine. I NEED something that, perhaps, makes it stand out a bit to me? Not sure what that would be.

Do you pimp your car? And if so, how? Suggestions welcome.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Where am I going? Where have I been?

I'm very thankful that Scout came with a trial subscription to OnStar because I get lost all the time in the city. I have zero sense of direction to start with and then to have a new city... well, I get lost. Often.

I know basics like certain landmarks are on X side of town. The pyramids are on the west side, a certain mall is on the north. I live on the east side. That helps. A little bit.

I've always had a certain issue with direction. When Mac was small and we'd go somewhere new and get lost, instead of getting upset and freaking him out, I would tell him it was an "adventure", a chance to see something new and unexpected. To this day, if he's with me in the car and I get lost, he asks, generally with a smirk, if we're going on an "adventure". I generally reply, with forced cheerfulness, yes. Then he pulls out his smart phone and GPS's us in the right direction. (I have a smartphone with GPS as well but I'm usually driving and it would involve pulling over to figure out the directions and such).

Overall I don't often mind being lost but if if being lost is going to make me late for an appointment or meeting, then I'm irritated and OnStar can come to the rescue with just a push of a button and uttering the words, "I'm lost. Could you give me directions, please?" I sometimes get a little freaked out if I'm lost and there is a LOT of traffic. I hate "big city" traffic and it must raise my blood pressure to be bumper to bumper and unsure if I'm headed in the right direction.

I get the most lost downtown, which I know doesn't make a lot of sense, but it seems that's the way I'm wired. There a market I go to at least one time a week all winter long and I still get lost when I leave. I'm ridiculous in that sense. Yes, I sometimes get lost coming home from places I've been before. Ugh! I KNOW!  And do I even need to go into details about how many times I get on the interstates that makes a circle around the city and I'm going the wrong directions? If I want to go north, and my options at that exit are west and south, which way to do I go? I always go the wrong way.

Once I decided to print directions on a piece of paper, only because I needed those directions ASAP and didn't have time to make the OnStar connection and wait for the download.  I knew when I left the office I had no idea at all where I was going so I figured paper would work. It was fine except for being in the wrong lane to make my left turn and had to go around the block and then there was a one way street and then a round about and... yeah, I asked OnStar for help...

TheGuy doesn't always help. He thinks in guy format as far as directions do. If we're going to eat at a burger joint we both like, he'll go there one way and then take us home a different way so I can see all of my options to get there. I've barely remembered 3streets to get there let alone a whole new way. I want some repetition to ingrain it in my cerebral cortex before giving me some options. I wouldn't say I'm a creature of habit but as far as going somewhere to not get lost, I certainly am. I figure out one way to get there and I go that path over and over again, which doesn't always make sense or isn't always the shortest/quickest way, but it's the WAY I know without getting lost!

And when there's construction or if the city has closed off streets I know and use often for some reason (a marathon, a parade, a festival), then I'm screwed. I'm usually stuck in traffic with a million other cars who didn't know THAT road was closed and we're all being forced left onto a one way street I've never seen before. And neither have the other half of the people so we're going slow and brake slamming. The other half who know where there's going are horn honking and yelling, and driving around me like idiots which don't help matters. Oh, the joy of being lost and thank you OnStar for letting me just tap, tap, tap a button to easy directions!

What would help me most is if I invested in a paper map and could get a visual, overall view of the city. I want to highlight/circle places I often go and home and the office and then I could see the big picture of how it ties everything together. I'm a big picture type of person and it helps when I can see the whole and not just a piece.

Getting lost has taken me on some cool finds. I found 2 different coffee shops that I didn't know existed, a cupcakery, and a vintage clothing shop. I found some beautiful homes that were lovely to drive by, and I actually discovered a more direct route for me to get to the art museum from my house... all because I got lost.

I suffer from wanderlust and my feet are itchy right now so getting lost does feed that part of my soul. But, overall, getting lost just ticks me off... but not too badly because I do have the magic OnStar button. At least for 2 more months. After that... back to having "adventures"!


Friday, October 31, 2014

Mother Nature dressed as Elsa

It's snowing on Halloween. It's like living in the Wild West again! Right now, if this snow fall keeps up, there should be at least 1 inch (or more) on the ground tomorrow.

I like snow and winter and all but I wasn't sure I was ready for snow today.

And speaking of Halloween, my particular apartment building doesn't get any trick or treaters. It's not a weather thing; no kids come here. I would've thought the kids who live here in our complex would've gone to every door in the place and we have about a million kids who live around here now but not a single trick or treater.

It was a quiet night. I sat curled in the rocking chair and drank my spiked apple cider and a bowl of popcorn, watching a movie. Now, I'm eating chocolate and blogging- and watching another movie. (And no we didn't watch Halloween type of movies but I wanted to see PRACTICAL MAGIC. ) It doesn't seem like Halloween with no trick-or-treaters so it wasn't imperative to see a Halloween style flick. I WAS going to on a walking haunted tour but in the cold rain turn sleet turn snow, I decided staying at home in my jammies with an adult beverage and snot snackies would be much more fun!

I didn't even wear a costume today since I worked from home.

Hope you all had a more exciting day than I and that it was Spook-tacular!

Happy All Hallow's Eve!


Saturday, October 18, 2014

It's about forgiveness...

I'm having a really hard time with forgiveness right now.

I don't want to be a person who carries a grudge. Actually I don't usually carry a grudge. Generally I'm someone who forgives pretty easily in most circumstances though I must admit in the last several years of my life, I've not necessarily "forgiven" easily but I just don't care about some things anymore. Maybe that's a form of forgiveness? I'm just don't care anymore to still be mad or upset. I don't know.

But lately something happened and I find I am MAD and not forgiving and I'm thinking super hateful thoughts, and.... I don't want to be that person but man, oh, man, am I having a hard time of putting that burden down.

I'm furious with one single person and his huge inaction that caused harm to someone I dearly love. This person is not someone I know well at all but I know "of" him and he's not a very nice human. That probably doesn't help me. He's inability to do the right thing almost killed someone I love and knowing he's overall a crappy human, makes me have some pretty ugly thoughts about him. And that freaks me out.

Talking to someone professional would help me. By professional I don't mean a hit man (though...??? Yeah, yeah, okay, not) but I mean a minister or a counselor. I don't know. I think about the incident and I hate this guy and don't care if he dies. Yes, that makes me about as bad as him.

Yes, I need to get rid of the anger and that might let me forgive him. I don't know. The event in question happened more than a month ago and I think of how much I hate this person at least once a day. Not good.

I won't do anything to him- that's not in my nature at all. The idea of ME hurting him or having a hand in something happening to him freaks me out, but if I heard he was killed in a car wreck I wouldn't be all that sad.

Yeah, I have an issue. I can't give the specifics of what happened---legal ramifications, but suffice it to say this guy is scum and most people would agree. (Those who know the details do agree!)

Anger isn't good. It screws with my mojo and my happy place. I don't like having bad thoughts or negative juju. All the pictures of kittens and hippos and giggling babies don't help. I hate it when something stomps on my karma. It's just NOT me to be like this and I really hate it.

I thought writing this might help purge a little so we shall see.


Friday, October 17, 2014

Fall Down, Go Boom

Being in a hurry doesn't do anyone any good. Watch where you're going. Pick up your feet. All three wise statements I'm sure I've been told numerous times in my life. And yesterday would've been a good time to adhere to these three pieces of advice- all at once, too.

I was in a hurry. I needed to run into the apartment really quickly to drop something off, pee, then leave again. I parked in front of the building instead of in my usual parking space.

And I fell down.


The first thing I wanted to do was jump up and look around and make sure no one saw me except for Mac, who was with me. But some how in trying to get up quickly, I fell back over.

Somehow I became a turtle. Laying in the grass and sidewalk, on my back, and I couldn't get up. Well, shit.

I was rushing, I was scuffling along in a pair of shoes that fit when I bought them but are a bit stretched after so much wear so they slide around so I wasn't picking up my feet, and I tripped stepping up over the curb and fell down. Then didn't get my feet under me in my haste to stand back up and down I went again.

I have a skinned knee- like bleeding skinned, skinned palms, and a very sore elbow. Oh yeah, I'm 43 years old with a skinned knee. I felt like an idiot.

Mac was all "Mom, are you okay? Mom, let me help you up. Mom, what the hell happened?" He said one minute I was up and the next minute I was a turtle on its back. And I am so glad he went with concern instead of a laugh.

I want to make only one feeble excuse in my defense- a very feeble excuse- the curb is exceptionally high in that spot, where I was stepping up. Instead of being a few inches off the ground like a normal curb, it's about 18 inches, like a high stair step. Yup... lame excuse...

Thankfully I didn't land in dog poop, though I was covered in grass because the lawn had just been cut and no one bags the clippings. But no poop! Other good things- I didn't rip my pants. I have no idea how I managed to skin my knee but not rip my jeans- thank you Fall Down Go Boom Gods for that small favor. I was wearing my favorite jeans! It seemed that no one saw me go splat other than Mac. Ego not as bruised as it could've been because normally our apartment complex has kids outside running around, and LOTS of porch sitters. I have no idea where everyone was at but I was glad they were NOT outside!

And I used a really cool Spiderman band-aid on my knee.


Monday, October 6, 2014

TV show inspires weird thoughts

Okay raise your hands if you watch LAW AND ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT.  This is my fav of all the LAW AND ORDER options.

But it made me think...

You know how every time they have have a victim and they do a rape kit or during the postmortem Dr. Warner finds a hair in the vic's panties? They have to send the hair to the crime lab and usually it gives them some info on a possible perp, right?

Here's my fear... what if I die in some horrible way that a CSI team has to do analyze hair found in my underwear? And then it comes back as a dog hair?

I hope their thought isn't, "this chick was into kinky shit with her dog. Bestiality is wrong, man" (said like Det. Tutuola).  I hope their thoughts are more like, "Oh, she has a dog and it sheds so the hair must've gotten in her underwear when she folded laundry while sitting on her couch while watching  LAW AND ORDER: SVU."

This is the stuff I think about...

Saturday, October 4, 2014

I got the dentist blues....

Regular readers of this blog and fans of "Maggie" as well as my real life friends all know that I am scared to death of the dentist. As in irrational fear of the dentist. There aren't enough words to encompass the dental fears. Intellectually, I have complete control of it-- emotionally I'm a total basket case.

Back in 2009-2010 I had to have a root canal. I was living with Daddy-O then and that experience should open the gates of heaven wide open to him when the time comes. The poor guy went above the parental duties and took me to all my appointments AND also dealt with me before and after each of them. Our friend Curly helped us through with ride alongs and moral support, too. These 2 people love me unconditionally (only God knows why!) and took it all in stride, never once making me feel like an idiot, a fool, silly, a loser, ridiculous. Neither of them got mad at me or told me to "suck it up" or "get it together" or to "stop acting like a baby." They may not have understood the irrational-Maggie-needs-therapy-to-deal-with-the-dentist fear i have but they understood me and, in the words of Vonnegut... so it goes.

Well, I've moved and life is different and I had to have another dental procedure. (Yes, I intellectually I understand if I went to the dentist for regular check-ups/cleanings then I wouldn't have to have surgery every few years. Dental fear outranks irrationality). This started about 8 weeks ago.

BAAAAAAAAAAAAAD toothache. Shit.

Find a new dentist here in the Capital. I have no insurance so I had to find someone who would take payments, new patients, and who could deal with my hysteria. And well, holy cow, believe it or now, I found such a guy.

I made my first appointment. Mac took me- we knew it was going to be a consult and Mac had the day off so there was no reason for TheGuy to take the day off. It was a get to know the dentist/patient and talk and take a look in my mouth. That appointment went fine. I hyperventilated on the way there, Mac talked me down and I only cried a little in the waiting room. The dentist who specializes in people like me said I would have to have either a root canal ($3000) or have it extracted ($900). Okay, an extraction. We made an appointment for 10 days.

I was feeling pretty okay because the dentist said he would give me a pill the night before to help me sleep, a pill to relax me the morning off and he would give me and IV and knock me out. I wouldn't feel a thing. Okay, I could do this. I was fine. I was going to be out like a light.

TheGuy and I took the day off to take me. Apparently things didn't go according to plan... I took the drugs like I was supposed to but I'm a pretty hard stick so they couldn't give me the IV. I was pretty loopy and I was told- because I remember none of this- that when I saw the needle he was going to give me  a shot in the arm as a different approach I cried and begged to now stick me. Okay, the dentist reasons that he would send me to a dental surgeon who could do a better job.

Remember I'm basically unconscious. I don't remember any of the following. They wheel-chaired me to the car, TheGuy drove across town, picking up Mac from work and dropping him at home since he got done early, took me to the surgeon, had me fill out paperwork and took me to an exam room. The surgeon there said he couldn't do the extraction because of all the drugs I already had AND because he wanted payment up front. TheGuy and I left and he took me home and put me to bed. I woke up at 5PM feeling like a truck has driven over me, then back up and did it again, and I still had the freakin' tooth.  I remember none of that paragraph.

TheGuy was pissed and said i was a baby and should suck it up and I was being ridiculous. I guess I was apparently lippy to him about his ex-wife. I do NOT remember. I have no idea. He was completely pissed and douchebag to me over nothing I remember- I don't even remember now.

So, I still have this infected impacted tooth and I have to get rid of it.

I call my dentist back on Monday. His entire staff was so nice and they said how bad they felt because I was so upset. They were so kind. The doc had a plan. He said he had a friend who is a phlebotomist and she would come in and give me the IV if I wanted to try again. I can't believe they were willing to try again, all things considered. We also agreed no silly pills. I was going to take one Valium before, then I was going to listen to music with noise canceling headphones (I made a dentist play list) and have some nitrous. He would give me an IV if necessary.

Now, who was going to take me? I checked to see how much a cab would be and it was close to $60 from the office to my apartment. Over my dead body was asking TheGuy (it's very telling about him. You know in marriage vows the whole "in sickness and in health" part? He obviously isn't very "sickness". good thing I'm not married to him. This is very serious food for thought, in my opinion.). I sorts of hinted to Daddy-O but didn't come right out and ask. It would've been a lot to ask of him though and I wanted to see if I could come up with my own plan. My Boss said he could pick me up and trust me, I was ready to go that route before I was ready to ask TheGuy... but alas, it turned out that Mac had the day off and he VOLUNTEERED to take me.

So my 21 year old kid who is mostly messed up in his own right, said he would drive me. And he did. My appoint was at 7:30 am and he was up on time and ready to go. He was making silly jokes. He was nice. He got me there and held my hand until I was out like a light. He didn't make fun of my dentist play list I created.  The IV was necessary but Mac was there through it all. He drove me home, picked up my extra prescription, got me in the house and to bed and he stayed with me all day long to make sure I was okay. He made me soup and Jell-O.

I feel icky physically today but I'll live. I got through it. And this time, I'm going to work really hard to go to the dentist every 6 months for a cleaning and check up. My new dentist said he'll give me free nitrous for a cleaning if I need it until I get relaxed to have one without. He said it's his goal to turn me into a dental pro. He's a good person. Mac is a good person. I think yesterday he earned some "heaven points."*

So, now I'm just taking it easy today.

Nursing the hole in my head,

*An aside---- a while ago my friend Lori and I were talking about crap we did and wished there was a reward system when we had to deal with stupid people or do stuff we didn't want but felt we "had" to do. We figured it was a way to earn "heaven points." We don't have a tight number system more just a catch phrase like... Lori: "I have to chaperon a field trip because the math teacher got the flu and couldn't go at the last minute." Me: "You just earned a ton of heaven points." Her: "no shit."

PS- In the above post I also mentioned that I created a dentist play list. I did. I wanted great music to listen to while this was happening in case I didn't need the IV. Okay, I needed the IV but I had to be ready. I was in a complete conundrum about what to play. First, I didn't want it to be something quiet/soothing/calm because that is all soft music and I was afraid it wouldn't be loud enough to cover the scary dentist tools and tooth pulling sounds. I didn't want head banging stuff that would cause my blood pressure to raise which would then force the nurse to kick my drugs lower and then I might wake up and hear dental scary stuff. So I had to found a blend of happy music that was also pop/rock/loud. Below is a list of music I used as my dentist play list (and my dentist LAUGHED) when he looked at the titles... Google and enjoy yourself:
  1. Stacy's Mom- Bowling for Soup
  2. Almost- Bowling for Soup
  3. Like a Virgin- Madonna
  4. Hit Me with Your Best Shot- Pat Benatar
  5. Don't Stop Believin'- Journey
  6. Material Girl- Madonna
  7. Vogue- Madonna
  8. Bohemian Rhapsody- Queen
  9. Give 'em Hell- American Rejects
  10.  Drive By- Train
  11. Toucha Toucha Toucha- Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack
  12. Note Ready to make Nice- Dixie Chicks
  13. Tiny Dancer- Elton John
  14. I Kissed a Girl- Katy Perry
  15. Hate Myself for Lovin' You- Joan Jett
  16. Hot and Cold- Katy Perry
  17. American Woman- Lenny Kravitz
  18. Whiskey Girl- Toby Keith
  19. Since You've Been Gone- Kelly Clarkson
  20. You May be Right- Billy Joel
  21. The Way you Make Me Feel- Michael Jackson and Brittany Spears
  22. Rockstar- Nickelback
  23. Hey Soul Sister- train
  24. Eye of the Tiger-Survivor
  25. We Will Rock You- Queen
  26. Little Red Corvette- Prince
  27. Mamma Mia- Mamma Mia soundtrack- performed by Abba
  28. Stuck in the Middle With You- Steeler's Wheel

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Good-bye Ms. Hepburn, Good-bye GreenBean, Hello Scout, Hello--?

Two years ago after Mac got his first job and needed a car, Daddy-O helped me lease a Black Chevy Cruze that I endearingly named Ms. Hepburn so Mac could have The Blue Goose (aka the Malibu). She and I had a lot of adventures over 2 year but alas, in June I was nearing my mileage "deadline" and it was either trade her in, buy her, or keep her for a few more months and pay 25 cents per mile.

Through much finagling, we (daddy-O to the rescue again!) I was able to BUY a new car; the best deal was to buy a new one rather than buy Ms. Hepburn. So I bid her farewell and said hello to my new set of wheels: a bright blue 2014 Chevy Sonic:

A little smaller than the Cruze but still a sweet car, and it's a BUY not a lease so no more mileage worries- which is great because as of today I would be over my allotment by 3,000 already! And yes, there is ALSO a keyless/remote starter! AND-- with this car, I can actually use a free On-Star perk and start the car with my MOBILE phone! How. Freaking. Cool. Is. That?!?

And of course the new car needed a name- and no I was not going to name is Bluey-- to whomever suggested that! A smaller car, a little sportier looking that Ms. Hupburn, a little zippier... of course I named her Scout... yes Scout from TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Need I say more?

And after TheGuy had his accident last week, it turned out that his wrecked car that was a green 1996 Ford Taurus station wagon we endearingly called "GreenBean" was totaled. Good-bye GreenBean we loved you so. So... yes, TheGuy had to get a new car, too. Yes, 2014 is the Year of the Car at our place it seems. (Or the Year of the Car payments!). TheGuy didn't get a 2014 but a solid previously owner car... er... SUV. Sorry- it's NOT a car. Oh my! He got a 2005 Mitsubishi Endeavor and it's pretty cool:

It's good for us to have an SUV so we can haul stuff and to have leg room. AND to navigate snow!

The debate has raged on what to call the SUV. It was easy for me to pick a name for my car- everyone knew I would go classic film start of literary but for TheGuy it's not so easy... It's not a car and not really a truck. It should have a name. I suggested Yars, after TheGuy's fav Atari game. He liked that. Then the other night  a friend and I were talking. She and I thought we should call it the Batmobile- his vehicle is black and the Dark Knight is my fav comic character. Then the men go into the act and before long it was determined it should be named after TheGuy's favorite comic book hero. So now the SUV is named Steve... Steve the SUV. Steve, after Steve Rogers who is Captain America.

Steve and Scout. Yup. (Between you and me, I'm still going to mentally call it the Batmobile!)

On a side note... I drove the Batmobile Steve yesterday and it's like driving a tank- or what I think driving a tank would actually be like. It's huge and I sit up so high and it was an all powerful feeling! Okay, driving anything after my little Sonic Scout would be huge and powerful but it was pretty nice to be driving along and have the feeling that I owned the road. Being the chicken that I am, though, since it was the first time I had driven the Batmobile Steve I took all the residential roads to work and back home because I was scared of what sort of power I would have on the interstate. The interstate makes me angry. Me in a tank and angry would be a bad combination--- sort Incredible Hulk-like... hmmm.

Now we can both drive with safe vehicles and don't have to try and share one auto. We have one with great gas mileage and one with snow power. I hope we're in a good car place for a long time.

Oh... did I mention Mac is saving for a car as well? 2014- the Year of the Car payment trifecta could be complete if he buys before the end of the year, too. Guess we'll see!

Drive on,

*the pictures in this blog came from Google images and are not pictures I took. These are not pictures of the actual vehicles we own, just a mere likeness.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Belated Happy Birthday to...


Yup, I had a birthday last week, (Fri. 9/26). It wasn't anything extraordinary though, I think, I always want it to be.  My parents always made a fuss over our birthdays when we were kids, with parties and cake and presents, which was completely AWESOME and WONDERFUL... and I still wish that carried over into adulthood.

Though when turning 43 years old, it does seem a little silly to want or have a big birthday bash. I mean, really.

Age 43 is so boring, too. Not like 16 when you can drive or 17 when you can see an R rated movie, 18 when you can vote-buy lottery tickets and cigs-join the military, 19 which is the last of the teen years, 20 when you're no longer a teen, and 21 when you can drink... other than hitting milestones of multiples of 5, after age 21, birthdays are sort of blah...

It was NICE, though! Daddy-O came to The Capital for dinner with Mac, TheGuy, and me. There were presents. People wished me a happy day. It was nice.

And nice isn't bad...

Quietly aging,

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

My new job in the Capital-Part I

I alluded earlier that I have a new job since I've moved to The Capital. Yup, I'm no longer the Librarian/Substitute Teacher/ Weekend Receptionist. I'm not even in education. I'm doing something completely different. Drum roll please............... Executive Assistant.

That's right, I'm the executive assistant to the CEO of a small computer company- we provide managed IT services to small to mid sized companies and do everything from their help-desk work to their server and network work.  And I'm the assistant to the man in charge.

I'm here to tell you 1- is sounds waaaaaaaaaaaay more glamorous that it really is. 2- It really sucks 3- I miss libraries and/or teaching.

I do 1- love wearing jeans to work every day and 2- I like that my boss is in our office about 10% of the week, 3- that I am the one in total and complete charge of the AC settings in the office, and 4- that we're a small company so everyone but the Boss and me work from their homes, so I like being on my own.

I said I like being on my own MOST of the time, is a more true statement. It's hard to eat lunch alone every day so I usually eat a salad at my desk through my lunch and work. And when you work alone and you've moved to a city, it's hard to meet people and make friends. I would guess that most people my age who have relocated somewhere started their friend base through their place of employment and I don't have that. It can be lonely sometimes.

My office is on the 13th floor of a high rise on the north side of the city. It has a nice view and the people who manage my building are nice. I like to look out the window when it was snowing last spring- it was like being inside of a snowglobe! Being on 13 is scary, I must admit. Oh stupid superstitions! One day the elevator was out and walking down 13 flights was NOT fun! And at the beginning of the summer, when the Capital (as most of the state) was having a huge tornado scare, it was frightening to be in a stairwell. But the view is lovely.

I hate my commute. I *insert f-word here* HATE HATE HATE my commute. I live 17 miles away but it takes me about 45-50 minutes in rush hour traffic to get to the office. It sucks. It beyond sucks. And that's going to and coming home from work, both. I can't win. I spend almost 2 hours a day on the road. I HATE that. Have a I mentioned I hate my commute?  Maybe if I liked my job better I wouldn't mind it so much. Or if I made better money? I do listen to lots of audio books, NPR, and I treated myself to a subscription to XM radio.

Really, my boss is super nice. He's a brilliant guy, a big thinker. He never treats me like an idiot as I learn the ropes. He is a GOOD PERSON, which I'm learning is a rare thing.

Being his personal assistant has a funky job description.  Many of you might remember the running gag in the TV show FRIENDS about Chandler or in HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER about Barney- what the heck did they do for a living? Even their friends weren't sure! I'm that person now. My friends know my job title and what sort of company I work for but don't know what I do. When people ask me what I do, my first reply is usually a pregnant pause followed by, "Weeeellll...  it's  complicated." I do answer his phone, manage all his emails and his calendar, and I open all the mail. After that it gets tricky. I write proposals for new clients and renewals for current clients. I also have many projects I'm working on; my Boss has these "visions" of things he'd like the company to do but the research/legwork/set up falls to me. I've r-re-written our company handbook and I've set policy. I'm working on a company wide "best practices" document for employees and a training manual. I've written job descriptions and updated our onboarding policy. I renew all software licenses for our clients. I actually do some customer service work for finicky clients. I planned an luncheon so we could sell a multi-million dollar project (we haven't sold it yet but the Boss is in mad amounts of meetings over it. I guess these things take time!). As you can see, I do a lot of stuff, all over the place (One day I dropped my boss's car off at the garage for an oil change and once I hired a tree trimmer for his house. I also schedule his doctor appointments. And buy wine for his wife.)

I like the guy I work for. I don't like the job really, because I miss teaching and libraries. As far as being able to do either of those jobs, I'm back to square one. Yes, I need to either go to library school or take the stupid state exams to teach.

The other problem with my job is that our company is young and we don't make a lot of money. We're growing slowly and getting in a position to either make money or close the doors, I would guess. When I was hired, I was told in 90 days I would be evaluated and then made salary. I took this job with a very, very low hourly rate (barley more than minimum wage). I worked by proverbial ass off the first 90 days. I didn't know anything about the industry so I did a lot of homework at night, on my own, just to be able to keep my head above water. I worked a lot of overtime. At the end of 90 days, my eval was pushed to 120 days. I finally forced the issue and my boss said I was great, wonderful, best assistant every but right now he had no money to give me a raise and he was sorry. I told him I was going to look for another job. I held my breath because I thought he might just let me go but he said he understood but doesn't want me to go so now he's scrambling to find money. I have no health insurance and the paid vacation benefits suck. The whole situation really sucks, to be honest. But I need to make a living and I want insurance. (I applied for 2 jobs and both called me with a desire to interview and neither had insurance so I turned the interviews down. I'm not wasting my time).

So I'm in the Capital, employed, but looking for a new job.... again. That's why this post is a Part I title- part 2 will be the NEXT new job. Whatever that may be!


Sunday, September 21, 2014

The best and the worst of customer service- a day in the life

Yesterday I wrote the whole day ordeal of the post- accident aftermath. It also was a good day to reflect on the idea of "what is good customer service?".

I knew since I volunteered to help TheGuy, it was going to be lots of red tape.  I knew I had to have a good attitude and I was probably going to have to be patient.

We walked into the insurance office with no appointment and immediately we were assisted by the agent. She was sympathetic. She offered beverages. She immediately started the paperwork, made phone calls on our behalf while we were there in the office, on speaker phone so we could hear everything. She gave us copies of everything. She helped us with phone calls TheGuy actually had to make to the claims dept.; she didn't need to be part of that but was, in case we had questions. Then the rest of the day she stayed in contact with us to see how we were doing, to update on her progress, and to see if I needed any help with my mission. I was super impressed with her. This was an example of the most excellent customer service.

I went to the city impound lot and that wasn't without some bumps. I could tell in my short time waiting in line that the women who are the clerks there do NOT have an easy job. People who come there are mostly angry. This is the lot where cars what need towed post- accident but don't go to a garage are deposited. Also... it's where people's cars get towed who park where they aren't supposed to and where cars are put when they're impounded from a crime scene. So, yeah, mostly people who show up there are pretty pissed off. Additionally, this place is in a rough part of town AND there is a city policeman on duty, armed, in a patrol car, the entire time they're open. Not an easy place to work, I would guess. But I have to say, the 4 women who were working the windows were calms, cool, and professional, often friendly as well. I had never been to this place and had no idea what to expect. I was prepared. When I stepped to the window I gave her all my paperwork, my ID and my credit card. Since my name wasn't on anything, there was a SNAFU. She explained TheGuy could call in and give phone permission for me to do stuff for him. She told me after I called him I could come back to her window without having to get a number as soon as she was done with the person who would be at the window at that time. I stepped out and made my call and came back in. She was true to her word and we completed our paperwork. I told her I didn't know what to do next and she was so kind and helpful. She told me she was sorry they didn't have a waiting room but I was welcome to wait in the parking lot while I waited for our tow truck. She also told me she had called a lot attendant to come up and chat with me if i had questions about the car. She explained all the paperwork and what I needed to do with each piece of it. Again, excellent customer service AND this is a woman who has a pretty tough job! (I heard her get yelled at for no reason, and someone else in line called one of these clerks a bitch.)

I called the tow trucking company. We had several phone calls and every time I called Nicky was super sweet. She was not only professional but she was also sympathetic and helpful. She gave me all the info I needed, even letting me know it would be better for me to have cash than deal with credit cards with the driver.  The only thing I wasn't happy about was that she told me someone would meet me at the impound lot in 30-45 minutes but it was really was an hour and 15 minutes later. So, customer service was alright.

The tow truck driver- Larry- was great. He was a nice guy. He made sure I had directions to get from the lot to my apartment. He also knew where I lived because he has a relative there so he knew the perfect spot to get the car into so it would be out of the way (next to the dumpster, by a fence, in a corner). That really helped! He also said they're the tow company who's contracted by our apartment complex to tow cars who are illegally parked so he said he would call the office and make a note in the computer to NOT tow us! See- excellent customer service.

I talked to our maintenance guy - Brian- at the apartment complex- it's not even his job to help me with the car thing- but he listened, AND he also then told the leasing agent when she returned. The leasing agent touched base with me to double check the info Brian gave her. YAY- go our apartment complex staff! Yay great customer service!

I picked up Mac and we got Starbucks coffee. (After the day I had I thought I deserved a coffee. I was tired. I was mellow. I wasn't in a hurry and I wasn't angry or impatient.) I ordered. I ordered 2 drinks, nothing special- 2 venti salted caramel mochas (no special milk, syrup, nothing, just as is- the standard version). I waited. I saw the 5 people who were in line behind me all get their drinks. I finally asked one of the baristas making drinks, nicely! I asked NICELY!- if my drinks were being made. She asked what they were. I told her. She said, "I don't have cups for that." She used a super snotty tone, like that was my fault. The woman as the cash register heard and said, "Oh I didn't make those cups." The barista I asked turned to me and said, "See, I can't make drinks if I don't have cups." Really. REALLY?!? Oh fuck you barista bitch. She made the drinks, slammed them on the counter and then slapped a free drink coupon down next to the drinks and said, "next time you come in you can have a free one." and she walked away. Did you notice at no point did anyone apologize? And in the process some how tried to make this out to be my fault? So far this ranked as the WORST customer service of the day. This was not at my 'usual' Starbucks, either. This one is located in a prissy-pants, hoity-toity, snobby fashion mall so their rude-ass behavior is pretty much like most of the people you encounter in the mall- shoppers and employees. I try to avoid this Starbucks at all times but I wasn't thinking. And I expect better from Starbucks. I spend A LOT of money a year (it's abhorrent what I spend on coffee since I moved to the Capital) there so I have high expectations. This just makes me angry. Bad customer service. Bad, bad, bad.

We decided to eat dinner at Boston Market that night for dinner. We were in line and a girl dipped up half a plate of food. Her manager walked up to her and asked if she gave the person already seated her turkey dinner since it was now cooked. She said to him she didn't know it was done. He took our plate out of her hand, slammed it on the counter and said to her, "Go get the woman her dinner." Then he walked away. She did as she was told and then came back to help us. I felt really bad for her since he treated her like shit in front of customers. I was pissed because he never looked at us or said "excuse me" or "I'm sorry." I've done a slow burn about this since Friday night. Poor customer service.

Ya know, I had great customer service experience all day long with people who have to deal with those who are primarily angry: an insurance agent and various insurance reps who had a client in a crash, an impound lot employee who deals with people whose cars have been impounded, tow truck employees who deal with people with car trouble... and my worst customer service experience is at a Starbucks and a Boston Market? Really? What does this say?

I haven't drawn any conclusions that are earth shattering or revealing. I guess I just find it more or less an interesting assessment of human nature. The Starbucks and Boston market employees sure would suck doing anything high stress if they can't really cope with food service customers. I've waited tables, tended bar, dipped ice cream, worked as a barista, been a dining room hostess, washed dishes in a kitchen restaurant, and did a little bit of short order cooking so I know food service. I've also been a social worker, an insurance telemarketer, and a teacher so I now what it's like to deal with angry people- the Starbucks and Boston Market folks are out of line.

Like I said, it's merely an observation of all my incidents of customer service in just one day.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Red tape makes for a long day, even if you're a superhero

The events of yesterday inspire this post. It's actually given me the idea to write many posts: a "what happened yesterday" post, thoughts about time, thoughts about my job, and thoughts about good customer service. I think there's enough that happened that these could all be different posts, but we'll see what comes to fruition as I write this one, the "what happened yesterday" post.

First, with things like this, I need to preface everything with EVERYONE IS OKAY.  NO ONE WAS HURT. So, yesterday early morning TheGuy was in his car on the way to work and he and full school bus ran into each other. He was going straight and the bus turned left in front of him, he swerved but not enough and the rear end of the bus ended up ON TOP of the hood of his car.

I repeat, everyone was okay! Shaken up but okay. He called me and I immediately started heading toward the accident site from my office. By the time I arrived a second school bus had arrived and taken all the kids on the school. There were police everywhere. There was a rep from the school on site to answer questions and "facilitate". There were people directing traffic. I let TheGuy know I was there, I took pictures from a distance with my camera, and then I sat in my car until he was ready to go.

Tow truck moving the bus off the car was interesting and it ripped the hood off the car like popping a tab on a soda can. The bus was drivable and off it went. TheGuy's car was not. Off it went attached to a tow truck.

TheGuy got in the car and after some deep breaths and such, he told me what happened. Then we decided to just go to the insurance office IMMEDIATELY- it was across the street from where the accident happened- yes ironic.

TheGuy's car was 17 years old so he only carried PLPD on it. Do you have any idea what sort of issues this causes? Ohhhhhh... so many! If he's found at fault or there's a "no fault" then any of his expenses come out of his own pocket, like towing, impound lot fees, repairs, replacements, rental cars, etc. If the school bus driver is found at fault, then all those things are covered by their insurance. However, because this happened in a BIG city, the official police report won't be available for 3-5 days so no one has any idea whose fault this is- he says the bus turned left in front of him, on a yellow light. So, if we left his car in the impound lot where it was towed and he was found to be financially responsible, ALL the lot fees would fall on him- to the tune of $100/ day.

He told the insurance agent what happened and all the paperwork got started. YAY- he had a towing rider on his policy he had forgotten about so the tow from the accident site to the impound yard was covered! The agent is doing her thing to contact the school's insurance company and sort out all the details. What TheGuy (we) had to do was figure out the other stuff.

Because the car is so old and had such extensive damage, the police and TheGuy were guessing it's going to be totaled which is why it was taken to the impound lot. We didn't have a garage to do repairs, and really, TheGuy was so frazzled about it all, he didn't process where his car was being taken when he said he didn't want it to go to a garage. (If I had been able to walk up to him, under the police line tape, I would've handled it, but oh well.... lesson learned)

We had 6 hours to get the car out of the impound lot before the fees started. TheGuy has a HUGE IMPORTANT thing happening at work and short of death, he really needed to be there. He now is car-less. We only have a few issues. We had a brief talk with the agent and we decided to get the car out of impound and tow it to our apartment parking lot to our space until it's all sorted out- the agent approved that.

And this is when my powers of organization kicked in. I would singlehandedly take care of the red tape. I would be RED TAPE GIRL! I took him to run an errand he had to do for work. While he was in that office, I called three towing companies to get quotes. I called the impound lot to find out what we had to do to get the car. I called my boss to update him as to what was happening (I told him TheGuy was in a wreck and that was it.)

Then I took TheGuy to his office. Now remember, I live in a big city now, so nothing is nearby (except for the wreck and the insurance office). My office is 30 minutes from where the accident happened and we were still in the same city. It was 30 minutes in a different direction to his office- downtown. I get lost downtown- thank you car gods for giving me OnStar right now!

I told TheGuy what he would have to do for me to get the car from the impound- he had to call them to release it to me. I told him he would also have to pick one of the quotes on towing I found and call them and tell them to release the car to me. We're aren't married so legally I can't do anything AND none of this is jointly named. I suggested he do those 2 calls while I went to the bank (the tow company needed cash) and went to the impound yard.

I used the Chase Bank locator app and found the bank. Then I used OnStar to get to the impound. I waited in line and of course, the information from when he called wasn't in the system. I went outside to call him back and he called impound again. I went back in, took another number and then we were set. I paid the impound lot with the money from the insurance company. Then I went back to the parking lot and called the new towing company. The woman there said the tow truck would be at the impound lot in 30 minutes and I had to be present to sign a release form.

One hour and 15 minutes the tow truck arrived. I waited in my car that whole time (talking to daddy-O and my boss) because the impound lot didn't have a waiting room and it was in the boonies/ the hood so I had nowhere to go.  Tow truck driver finally arrived and loaded the car- after he unloaded what he had when he arrived. That took another 30 minutes.

I OnStar directions to my apartment. I got there before the tow truck and then proceeded to search the apt to find TheGuy's spare key- the tow truck driver said if would unlock wheels and make it easier to put it in a parking space.

Car unloaded, tow truck driver paid, paperwork filled out. Okay- almost done, right? Oh Hell no. I had to let the leasing agent of our building know about the car so it wasn't re-towed. But she wasn't in her office. Okay. I went to my apartment and peed. I walked my dog. Then I started going from building to building to find out maintenance guy who is the assistant leasing agent as well. Find him. Explain. He said it was fine to leave the car sit.

It's 3pm. Mac calls and said he just got off work 2 hours early and needs a ride. Did I mention I haven't had lunch? Oh, and he got dropped off at my office because that was our plan before the whole day exploded? i finally called my boss and left him a voice mail and told him the day was a wash and no I wouldn't be in after all.)

Back into the car I go, drive north- took me 20 minutes with less traffic this time- pick him up. Grab a coffee at Starbucks for Mac and me. 10 days ago I promised Mac I would take him to the video game store after work... Oh and just because I haven't had enough, I called Mac's bank for him to check his bank balance because I am stupid awesome.

We stop back at the insurance agent's office to drop off all the paperwork I collected. We stopped at WallyWorld so Mac could pee, and then we went to Game Stop where Mac made his purchases. I took Mac back to our apartment.

Oh yeah... TheGuy doesn't have a car so I drove downtown to pick him up and then came back home.

Good news- TheGuy is BEYOND appreciative of everything I did to help him out.
Good news- all people involved in the car situation were super, super nice, kind, helpful and understanding.
Good news- the school's insurance company's adjuster already called TheGuy and is coming to assess the damage on Tuesday
Good news- My boss (who is friends with TheGuy) is going out of town next week for a conference and offered to loan him his truck for the week so he'll have a vehicle to drive free of charge for one week

It was a tremendously LONG and arduous day. I'm glad it's over. I'm glad I could help. Of course I'm glad TheGuy is fine (and all the kids, the bus driver, etc.). There's a lot left to do with the whole situation.

I was a total superhero. Without a cape. Because... well... you know... capes are just an accident waiting to happen.


Friday, September 19, 2014

In Praise of the 'Boob Tube'

People used to call TV the "idiot box" and it was a mindless way to occupy your mind. People who were "readers" often looked down on those who would prefer to watch the "boob tube" than pick up a book. There used to be talk of shows that "intellectuals" watched because it was considered "smart TV."  But lately, as in the last several years lately, more and more television is becoming less idiot box, less boob tube, and is just compelling as books.

I, for one, know I've watched more TV in the last several years than I have in my entire adult life. My access to Netflix and the ability to binge watch TV has heightened my awareness for what I think is good TV, and I'm willing to sacrifice my reading time to watch. Netflix is my hook. I didn't watch WEEDS when it was on; instead I watched hours and hours of it at a time. The same with LAW AND ORDER SVU and THE WEST WING. I became addicted, a junkie. If I wasn't at work or sleeping, I was watching. Because I could. Because it's GOOD. Because of my need to have the occasional instant gratification.  I didn't watched DEXTER or BREAKING BAD or TRUE DETECTIVES one episode a week, for years and years. No I waited and now I watch in big gulps.  I think we all now, have a tendency to binge watch a TV show, since we can stream entire series or seasons at a time- thank you technology for all the streaming capabilities!

The only television show I watch week after week, retiring to my chair, stopping the world, is to watch MAD MEN. Even with that, I didn't see the first 2 seasons when they originally aired. No, I rented them one season at a time from either the local library or video store but since then I've been hooked and I watched every Sunday night. And when it comes back on in February for the series finale, you can find me glued to my chair on Sundays at 10 pm to watch Don Draper and crew play out the advertising game to the bitter end, win or lose.

Let's face it, TV is good. It really is, and I know I don't even like most of the stuff that wins Emmys but I do LIKE lots of TV now. Good TV is a crack in the levee, but a flood is coming to Hollywood and the world of entertainment. There's going to be less theater movie watching (because TV is good AND movies are soooo bad right now!) and less reading. Records are showing that books sales are low and so are theater ticket sales. I know, that for one, because I'm watching more TV, I'm certainly reading less. In 2009 I read 117 books. Compare that to last year when I read a total of 67 books. This year, as of today, I'm at 51 books read. My other hobbies are being hit hard as well, but my reading is the one suffering most. When I have time to relax, I find I'm not minding spending some of that rare down time watching good television.  I think TV is better developing characters and story arcs, diving deeper into backgrounds, providing such rich visual details, plots evolve, characters evolve--- there's less stock characters and stereotypes, there is more textures to a story... some TV shows are taking on that book-like quality which leaves me wanting to watch.
I'll never abandon books for they are my true and constant companions, and I do love my other hobbies but right now, I'm enjoying what television has to offer. Bring on the 'boob tube.'


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Why blog?

I have a lot of personal back story to tell about what's happening with me in the last 9 months. I've taken to Twitter and I've found time for that medium; blogging seems to take more of my brain power than I often have at the end of a day, but I've missed blogging and I've had the desire to write. I've been writing letters to my penpals all over the world, to my friends, and to my family. I've been writing a journal, addressing each entry like a letter to Mac. When each one gets full, I give it to him. Bottom line, though, I've missed blog writing and blog reading. I feel like I need to let my brain do something creative daily- I'm going to be very unhappy if I don't get my creative outlet.

Didn't I hear somewhere that if people want to write they should write every day, even if they write something every day?

Oh, I do write every day but not creatively. I write hundreds of emails. I write reports. I do research projects and compile abstracts (or summations) of what I researched for my boss. I write instant messages to staff. I write contracts and proposals, so yes I do write but nothing fun.

One thing hasn't changed, I still with I could be a writer. I'd love to write a book.

If I could train my brain I'd work my day job and then come home and write for several hours at night. But I can't do it. Maybe "can't" isn't the right word. I spend all day, for 8-10 hours a day in front of three computers. My brain works hard. At night, there's laundry to do and dinner to be fixed, cleaning to be... cleaned? I have at least a 1 hour commute home. I'm in a small apartment- small to the tune of 600 square feet- with 2 other adults and my 69 pound Greyhound Giles. I seriously have my computer in the corner of the living room, instead of having a dining table. My computer is next to a 50 inch television. I am NOT whining and I am not complaining. I'm really trying to give a realistic representation of how challenging it would be to write.

By the time I make my hour commute home, fix dinner, eat, dishes and would leave to go to the local Starbucks to write, I would have about 1.5 hours before they close.

I'm not whining or complaining but it certainly does sound like excuses. Yeah, all that you can do anything you put your mind to it stuff-- I'm almost 43 years old and I'm tired.

So blogging... yeah. That's part of the reason I'm blogging again. I need a creative outlet. I like an audience who isn't going to redline my work. I want to pretend I'm a writer.

Thanks for reading me and giving me an audience, for being my audience.

Letting the writing commence,


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A wild trip to the grocery store

A few weeks ago, we went to an international market outside of Cincinnati called Jungle Jim's. I can't put into words how amazing and fun this place was! There was an entire section of American, traditional groceries, but the rest of the store was broken into regions of the world, of countries and continents. I just was overwhelmed- in a good way. There were tons of free samples, and amazing foods. There were huge live fish and poultry and... well, just a "wow" shopping experience. This wasn't some little shop; it's a WAREHOUSE of International goodness, and some quirky fun stuff, too! Check out their web site for more!

Singing corn on the cob, scarecrow and stick of butter greeted us as we came in the doors.

These electronic anamatrons were all over the store. This is Elvis in the American food section, singing... what else: "Hound Dog."

Just outside the doors to say hi or farewell...

File under "stuff I didn't buy": green bean ice cream. I think not.

I didn't get this but should've! Those who know me would "get" this!

Yes, this hot sauce actually has a price tag of $5000. FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS!

No idea why we all thought this was hilarious!

Some of the goodies we did get. Yes, that would be Wild Boar bacon!!!!! And of course that's Oscar Wilde on the 10 year old Irish Cheddar. Us Irish lovers and book lovers will buy anything!

Entertainment in the Mexican food section

Hell no we didn't buy this! And I don't know why anyone would. Ick! Ick I say!

Pink pasta!

The bathroom appears to be your ordinary port-a-potty... it's bigger than it looks. Ha- it's actually a regular bathroom with a port-a-potty door!

A beautiful Indian summer day- the view out the car window on the drive home

Who else would be guarding the Great Britain section?
Yes, that is camel meat. Yes, that is kangaroo meat. No we didn't get any but perhaps next time?

I have no idea what I would've done with it but I wanted to buy a stalk. I didn't but...

And last but not least, TimTam cookies. If I'm honest with you, buying TimTams was the main reason we even went to Jungle Jim's to begin with. These are the best cookies in the world, hands down. Even better than Oreos!

The caramel ones are the BEST. And yes, we paid $( per package of these yummies that hail from Australia!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I was late to work TODAY and it was because of the Colts game played LAST NIGHT‏

Okay, so maybe the fact that I was 90 minutes late to work today wasn't ENTIRELY the Colts fault. More like my boyfriend's fault. Who went to the COlts game last night and got drunk and said events spilled over to this morning...

Let me back up.

Yesterday, TheGuy rode his motorcycle to work but came back home at noon to get his car because it was supposed to rain. He put his helmet in the back seat of his car when he got home so he didn't have to go inside; this was just supposed to be a quick switcheroo of vehicles. The helmet plays an important part in this story later.

Also, I think I should point out that TheGuy was going to the game with a buddy of his from work who is notorious for his drunken escapades; however, I was told by TheGuy that he wouldn't drink because he had to much to today. Famous last words.

At 11:11 pm last night, I was woke by the sound of the ringing phone. Oh the drunk boyfriend. Really, really drunk boyfriend. Slurring words. Giggling. Attempting to sing. Repeating his word. I'll spare you the details, but though he offered to sleep in his car I decided it would be better to just pick him up.

Did I mention I was asleep when he called?

Did I mention I got up and got dressed?

Did I mention it was pouring down rain?

I hoped he was where he said he was- in his office building parking lot. Which was 14 blocks from the stadium. Oh yes, he staggered (drunkenly) or walked 14 blocks from the stadium, in the rain. Thankfully he was there when I arrived. In his car. Passed out drunk. On the backseat of the car. Wearing... his motorcycle helmet. I rapped on the window, rousing him from his drunken stupor.

He got out of the car and stood, swaying, staggering, trying to right himself. He looked like a human bobble head, which his giant helmet on. I thought it would be better to get it off rather than have him decide he wanted it removed half way home. I pulled and tugged and TheGuy wanted to know why I was yanking on his ears. I told him I was trying to help him get his helmet off, per his request. He put his hand on his head and said "oh, helmet." Oh. My. God. We went back to pulling and tugging, him bent over like a charging bull and me pulling. In a darkened parking lot. In the rain. At almost midnight. And it wouldn't come off. Because he didn't realize he had fastened the chin strap. For God's sake. 

Helmet off. TheGuy in car. Seat belt on. On the entire drive to the house  he talked and talked and talked, saying nothing. Though it does sound like his drink count was around 9 or 10. Ah, no wonder he needed a ride. And was half passed out in the backseat of his car.

Home. In the house. I helped him get undressed. He managed to get to the bathroom alone. He overshared with Mac. TheGuy said, "I'm so drunk my balls are numb." Like Mac or I needed to know that? So, I put him into bed. He thought he would be sick so I got him a trash can. Then he decided his phone should be plugged in. I got up and did that. Oh, and then, the alarm needed to be turned on. Yes, out of bed I went again. And he talked and talked... ugh, just shut up, I wanted to scream. I didn't. It's almost 1 am. He did say he would go to work around noon and he finally drifted to sleep.

This morning... I got up. It was rough. I don't feel well when I don't have much sleep. And as I was getting ready, TheGuy looked at his work calendar (apparently me moving around to get ready slightly woke him) and he HAD to be as work first thing for a meeting. He thought he could take the bus. No- time schedule wouldn't work. He thought he could ride the motorcycle- no, it was supposed to rain again. Yes, I said I would give him a ride. And since he was sweating beer, I waited for him to shower. And use the bathroom at least 3 times. Ewwwww....

Finally we leave the house, drive to his office downtown, totally in the opposite direction of MY office. I drop him off. I head toward my office. Did I mention this is also in the middle of rush hour traffic? I get half way to work to find TheGuy's CAR KEYS in my car. Oh *insert a lot of swearing here*!!!  I was supposed to be going out of town and leaving right from work so I had to figure out how to get him the keys. Oh he offered to find a ride home or to take the bus but really, wasn't the whole point of me giving him a ride to work was to have keys to drive his car home? I don't even care at this point, and I drove BACK to his office and handed over the keys. 

One cool thing- I discovered that one of my fav local coffeehouses has a building downtown and I found it! I did drop in there for a mocha- thank you Java Gods!

Finally I arrive at my office. 90 minutes late. Now you can see why it's totally the Colts fault, right? They lost the game in the last quarter to the Eagles after leading the whole game so it's not above reason that this was their fault!


Friday, April 25, 2014

Thinking about my mom today, her birthday.

Today is my mother's birthday. If she were alive, she'd be 66 years old. And she'd hate every minute of it. I've been thinking of  my mother often over the last few months. Missing her lately, more than I have in the entire almost 8 years she's been gone. I don't know why now. It doesn't even matter. I just miss her and I feel like a part of me is hollow.

My mother... growing up she always fixed a meal and we gathered around the dining room table to eat. Looking back now I always wondered when she found time to eat herself, making sure we kids ate, used table manners, asking us questions about our child lives- school, friends, the neighborhood gossip, about our chore lists she left us, our lessons... and later about school, our friends, our jobs... She always seemed interested in what we had to say. Maybe she worked that day. Maybe it was her day off-- which, of course, involved staying home and cleaning, cooking or doing laundry.

Chore lists. I swear to this day the reason I'm the list maker I am is because she was a list maker- lists of things to do when we got home from school, list of emergency phone numbers, grocery lists, chore lists... the woman was a list maker for us all, dad included. I can picture her perfect cursive on the page, some cutesy note paper, numbered items down the page. Oh, nothing extravagant or hard. We were hardly house servants but as children that list felt so long. But usually it was things like "set table", "empty dishwasher", pick up all of your personal belongings downstairs and put them away in your room". Those lists kept us kids out of trouble in the 45 minutes we spend alone after school. It taught us organization. It gave us direction. All skills that I carried with me into adulthood, which is mostly certainly a gift from my mother.

Mom wasn't necessarily what one might called an educated woman, an intellectual but she was so smart. She read everything, it seemed. I can't remember a time when she wasn't in the middle of reading a book and there was always a collection of magazines arriving at our house that she read. My earliest childhood memory is of her taking me to the library and indulging my need to get piles of books, until I was old enough to go myself. And my mom had the talent of making her children, me, feel special. And that is better than any secondary education one could ever have.

Growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, while isn't that long ago, was still my childhood. We lived in a big, old, drafty house, during the Carter administration, with high inflation. You know, we were probably poor but we kids never wanted for anything. We had new school clothes and shoes each fall. We had presents for our birthdays and Christmases. We had well rounded meals. I had a new Easter dress each year. We always went on field trips for school. Now I know how much both of my parents sacrificed during those years so my brother and I didn't have to. My parents never had a new car, mom didn't have a new Easter dress or take a vacation. Kids growing up never see what their parents didn't have so they could have- and that was my mother.

For a long time I was mad at her for dying. Who was going to be my mom? How was I going to be a good mom without her to be my role model? Who would fix potato soup with the special dumplings? Who would tell me everything was going to be okay when I couldn't sleep in the middle of the night and I thought the world was ending? How dare she leave me alone? And you know what-- she would be okay with the fact that I was mad at her. Because she would understand it. Because she was my mom.

My mother and I are exceedingly different. I struggle with that because I want to be like her. I want to carry her forward but, alas, I am not her. I love her so much that I want to honor her by being more like her. But what would truly honor my mother is for me to be myself. She never asked me to be anything but myself.

I miss mom's laugh. She was always one to smile or chuckle but to make my mother laugh, a deep belly laugh full of mirth that caused tears to roll down her cheeks- to hear my mom laugh was an amazing feeling. It was good to make her so happy.

She was the keeper of the traditions and the keeper of secrets. She knew all the stories and had the mom magic. She cooked meals for big family gatherings and was usually to tired to eat it. She loved Kenny Rogers. She imparted the importance of writing thank you notes. She liked pretty things. She liked to wear hats. She went to church on Sundays.  Her favorite color was red. She smelled like Wind Song perfume. She liked ice cream. She hated to do laundry. She always planted flowers in the yard in the summer. She never missed a school play or choir concert or awards program.

I don't have her patience or her cooking skills. I don't listen like she did. I don't have her artistic ability or her beautiful voice. I don't have the ability to soothe or comfort those in need. That was my mother.

I wonder about the memories my son has of her. And her 3 youngest grand-kids were never lucky enough to meet their grandmother, my mom. I wonder who will keep her memory alive when I'm gone. You know the day she died was a beautiful day, sunny and oddly warm for September. She died and the world didn't stop turning. People didn't cry in the streets and traffic kept going. No choir of angels sang, the heavens didn't part, God didn't tell me he was sorry for taking my mom. Death is part of life and while me, my family, we were shaken, hurt, devastated... well, life went on. And for now, I'm one who is a keeper of the memories of my mother as life goes on.

Happy Birthday, mom. I love you.

your daughter