Saturday, January 31, 2009

You're Fired!

Firing people is the most difficult part of my job. Managing affordable health insurance for the hundreds of people who count on me to do so is creeping in behind as close second. I hate to fire people and while it evolves and becomes different with time and experience, it never becomes easier. The only good part of that responsibility is that I am the one doing the firing versus being the employee on the receiving end. That is my wanna-be optimist, keeping the glass half-full.

I initially considered titling this post, “Firing people in the local community since 2000”, while accurate, sends the message that I am proud of that statement, which couldn’t be further from the truth. The problem with firing people in the local community for nine years is that while they are multiplying in numbers, the town isn't getting any larger. Over the course of the past month, I have repeatedly run into many of these “former employees”. It is an epidemic. Did they start a club? Are they strategically aligning their positions to correspond with my weekly errands? These situations are the epitome of social awkwardness.

It starts when I realize that someone is innocuously giving me the Don’t I Know Her From Somewhere Look. You know the look I am referring to, repeated glances in your direction, small smiles, and desperate grappling for anything that would indicate mutual recognition. I can see the wheels churning as they play the mental game of trying to place me in the sitcom of their personal history, the syndicated version. What role did she play dammit? I am sure the ratty clothes, lack of make-up, tennis shoes, and toddler affixed to my leg throws them for a loop, providing me a substantial witness-protection-program type of advantage. Despite that, suddenly, over bins of fresh produce, I realize that they succeeded at making the connection. Next comes that uncomfortable moment of minimizing eye contact and politely nodding their head.

I nod and move on, pushing my cart, hoping that they aren’t compelled to address me. Panic. What would I say, “How are you doing?”, “Sorry about that job thing”, or “I’d reconsider continuing to have potential employers contact me – especially financial institutions if you catch my drift.” While they are busy sizing me up, my mind is racing as I am trying to remember just how horrible their termination was, and the speed at which I should be headed in the opposite direction.

Simultaneously, I am trying to place them. Wait, were you the one who showed up to work drunk and proceeded to engage in a verbal altercation with me regarding the technical degree of your intoxication? Perhaps you were the one who locked yourself in your work area and refused to leave the premises. How about the one who fell asleep, only to be awaken when the next shift employee arrived? No? Okay, hold on, I’ll place you too.

When a relationship ends, a well known phrase intended to soften the blow is, “It isn’t you, it’s me.” In each of these awkward past-employee situations, I have to resist the urge to politely say, “I’m sorry, it wasn’t me. It was definitely you.”

Friday, January 30, 2009

Good thing I didn't bet the house

I’m sorry, were you talking to me?

I think I heard you say my name.

I cannot resist the urge to correct you. If you wish to say my name, you are hereby directed to follow that up with the initials of SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources).

Okay, glad we clarified. Don’t let it happen again.

I am preparing to indulge in some celebratory activities, commencing my version of jello-shots and table dancing. This equates to throwing study materials into the fireplace, turning on some mindless television show, and reclaiming my life.

Thanks for bearing with me (and supporting me) during this brief hiatus.

I now return to my regularly scheduled programming.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A convoluted glimpse into my psyche

I spent yesterday at a conference, which was primarily focused on Dr. Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. While I don’t proclaim to be an expert in this area, I thought I at least sort of had it together. However, according to the class, I have a long, long way to go. Lovely. That was just the pat on the back that I needed.

It is no secret that I am a procrastinator. However, I am technically classified as a perfectionist procrastinator, which is decidedly the worst kind. In short, this means that I have to wait until the conditions are perfect to start anything. Then, I push myself to achieve perfect results, yet waiting until the last minute to start. The facilitator kept talking about the stress level that creates on an individual. I was too busy frantically arranging my mental notes and antagonizing about not being prepared for the three-hour lecture I had to give my class that same night. Seriously. Maybe I should be their poster child.

Another trait I apparently have is refraining from proclaiming my goals and projects to others, lest they actually hold me accountable to them. If I keep them in my head, I can procrastinate as long as I choose and not run the risk of public failure. All I could think of is the fact that I have not admitted to many people I know that I am taking this test on Friday. Why? Well, because I am likely not going to pass thankyouverymuch. But, I was too busy stressing about that to listen to what he was saying about accountability. Maybe I could write their jingle.

The facilitator recommended finding a friend or resource to confide goals and deadlines to. However, he cautioned to find someone who could hold you accountable and would not be the person that would say, “Screw that project; let’s go have a margarita.” Well, that pretty much eliminates the majority of people I know.

As far as the test, I am still horrifically unprepared. I will spend tonight and tomorrow night studying. Otherwise, I am hoping that a combination of astute multiple-choice selection, common sense, and luck serve me well. I will possibly place these books under my pillow tonight in hopes that I will learn by osmosis.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Kate: Month Thirty-Six

Dear Kate,

On Wednesday of last week, you turned thirty-six months old. Yes, three years old. While I’d like to say I can’t believe it, since you remind me about every half second, I’d be lying to claim that I hadn’t already gotten accustomed to the fact. In accordance with all clich├ęs, I feel compelled to say “time goes by so fast” and “I can't believe how quickly you've grown.” In fact, I am so used to hearing those phrases, I came close to saying, “I can remember the moment you were born like it was yesterday.” Although, we’d all know that I was stretching it, since I was in a drug-induced sleep when they extracted you from my uterus, but we will save that story for another day and a few martinis later. As overused as those phrases all are, there truly is something about introducing children into your life that increases the time-machine, with days, hours, minutes, and seconds flying by at warp speed.

Leading up to your third birthday, you developed an attitude unrivaled by anything we had ever witnesses before. Believe me, we have witnessed our fair share. Claire, one of my blog readers, coined this phase the “Oh Dear God Threes.” My first reaction was to be very, very, very afraid of the Oh Dear God Threes. In fact, I was moments away from trying to conjure up way to see if you could just live at daycare for the next year. After a week of the Oh Dear God Threes, you came home from church and threw-up hot pink puke all over me for an entire afternoon. The next morning, you woke up, completely back to normal. Your normal borders on the Oh Boy God I Might Need Your Assistance Threes, but I’ve inherited special certification in that area through years one and two. Suffice to say, puking has never been such a welcomed activity. I hope you got the subliminal message that the Oh Dear God Threes should be saved until about a month prior to your 4th birthday.

You have contracted a serious case of Princess-itis over the course of this month. Disney has succeeded at ripping you out of our protective clutches that block stereotyping, gender-biases, and commercialization. Ariel, Snow White, and Beauty have taken up residence and crapped all over anything in this house bearing adult-friendly taste. So far, I’ve managed to win the battle of keeping you out of character-clothing. That would equate to a score of Mom (1) and Kate (1,298,345). In addition to Princess-mania, you’ve developed an irresistible desire to be a ballerina. While cute initially, it eventually morphed into a full-blown obsession that was growing impossible to ignore. For weeks, I pretended not to hear your ballerina shrieks, assuming that you’d quickly move onto the next obsession. I mean, if you have one consistency, it is your insane ability to not be consistent about anything.

However, the ballerina thing just wouldn’t die. One night, I walked in and caught you talking into my phone. All I heard was, “Uh, this is Kate. Puh-lease call me back. I want to be a ballerina.” Apparently since your mother was proving inept at navigating dance class enrollment, you decided to take manners into your own hands. The next week you attended your first Jazz-Nastics class. You call it your ballerina class and I don’t, but I am oh so very careful not to tell you it is NOT a ballerina class. However, you absolutely adore your class, so I am not sure it would even matter. You are the most attentive student, determined to always volunteer and be the star of the class. While cute at three, you’d better start working to contain that, or you’ll end up turning in to “that” kid. Believe me. That would, in turn, make me the parent of “that” kid, which isn't really how I roll.

As these months continue to fly by, I become more and more convinced that somehow we obtained different copies of the Life Instruction Manual. The one I’ve known for 29 years and the one you inherited at birth may, in fact, be written in different languages. I’ve read and re-read the chapter on How to Parent Your Spirited Toddler, while you have been reading How Toddlers Can Overtake the Universe and Parent Their Parents. I’ve learned quickly that since you turned three, you sincerely believe you are an adult. You are quite skilled at associating everything you do with being big and remind us on an ongoing basis than you are now a big kid. To illustrate my point, I recently said to you, “Kate, are you having a spaz attack?” Without missing a beat, you replied, “No, I’m having a BIG GIRL spaz attack.” Ah, big girl spaz attacks, I can relate. I suffer from the same affliction occasionally.

My big, big girl, I cannot envision life without you.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Trade you my vanilla yogurt for your Injectable Hypnotics & Sedatives

Yesterday, I was having a conversation with my friend Sarah as I was leaving work. The ten-minute interval from work to daycare is the only guaranteed time I have to engage in uninterrupted, adult conversation. In most cases the “adult” portion is optional, but such is my life. I use these precious moments to engage in very important, life-altering conversations, like the following:

SARAH: Why is it so disgusting when people store their medication in the work refrigerator?

ME: That’s just gross.

SARAH: But, why is it gross?

ME: It is. It’s just gross. I feel violated just talking about it.

SARAH: How it is any different than someone having a container of Tylenol in their desk drawer?

ME: Totally different topics. I’m okay with your desk drawer. The fridge though? It's a boundary issue for me. There is something repulsive about placing your medication in the fridge next to my salad; does it really need any additional explanation?

SARAH: It has a lid on it though. It’s not going to grow fleas and jump onto your salad.

ME: Okay, I am confused. Do you think it is gross or not, because I can’t interpret this nonsense.

SARAH: I think it’s absolutely appalling. In fact, I can’t even bring myself to put my lunch in that fridge anymore. I don’t understand what makes it so disgusting though, so I needed to come to you for help. I think you need to ask the internet Lyndsay.

So, there you have it. My friends are now using me to get to my inter-peeps. Help us out, would you?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a colon-prep kit I’m thinking about sneaking into the office fridge. You know, a little experiment of sorts.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Humor me

You didn’t think I could totally stay away, did you? I just finished my third study book (half-way point) and thought I’d reward myself with a quick blogging break. I didn’t realize how much I would miss your witty comments, clandestine jokes, and funny commentaries – but I do.

I recognize that you haven’t each been with me since the start of time ... also known as the measly five months I’ve been blogging. So, during this hiatus, I am going to pilfer a little technique from my friend Beth and link you up with some of my favorite posts from the past few months. I can still stay connected and I don’t have to do much work. Brilliant!

Besides, I’d prefer to read about summer sun and playgrounds and ignore the fact that it was five months and seventy-degrees ago. Some people might classify that as an inability to face reality. I just call it a coping mechanism with a dash of optimism.

Red Beans and Rice Didn’t Miss Her – Take Two

We've Become THOSE people - Take Two


Monday, January 19, 2009

Once upon a time ...

I am going to tell you a story. This story is of a girl, we will call her Wyndsay. Last summer, Wyndsay was coerced into joining a group of fellow HR professionals who were planning to take a professional certification test in January. While Wyndsay was horrifically busy, the appeal of study groups and others in the group to hold her accountable, trumped those worries. Unlike normal circumstance, Wyndsay completed her application early and turned it in at the end of September.

Unfortunately for Wyndsay, none of the well-intended study buddies completed theirs. Without the kick in the ass needed by attending study-groups, Wyndsay did no studying. In fact, Wyndsay just assumed she’d call in early January and reschedule the test and take it in the summer.

This test isn’t a wimpy test. It is often referred to as the bar exam of the HR field. It also only has a 52% pass rate. In other words, this isn’t Wyndsay whining that she won’t pass the test just to get sympathy "you can do it!" encouragment.

Imagine Wyndsay’s surprise when she called the testing place, only to find out cancellation is prohibited. To cancel would be forfeiting the entire examination fee. In other words, one might as well roll down their window and throw $375 into the wind. So, Wyndsay picked the last possible day to take the test this month, Jan 30th.

Over the past three days, Wyndsay has made it through two of the six books that this test covers. The remaining books need to be studied over the course of the next week and a half. Of course, this would also be the time that Wyndsay might be having a three-year old's birthday party.

The next two weeks of Wyndsay’s life look like this: eat, sleep, study, bathe if there is time, study, work, study at work, pretend to prepare for class, teach class unprepared, and study some more.

In the event that Wyndsay fails the test, we will all just pretend that no such test ever existed. Wyndsay doesn’t handle failing very well, but I think you’ve gathered that. If, through some course of divine intervention, Wyndsay passes the test, we will have a major Bloggyland celebration.

Bear with Wyndsay on the blog posting in the meantime. Things around here might be a little light sporadic, but she’ll throw something out there to keep you entertained. That's what she told me anyway...

Dude, I love this kid!

Yesterday we were enjoying our typical post-church breakfast at a local eating establishment. Craig ordered a Diet Coke, I ordered water, and Kate was finishing some of her Acai juice she had snuck in from the car. Kate kept suspiciously eying up Craig’s drinkfrom a distance; quietly assessing the situation. When he left the table for a moment, she gave me this know it all look.

KATE: Mom, Daddy’s pop isn’t healthy.
ME: Oh.
KATE: No, it has lots of sugar in it.
ME: Well, I guess it does Kate.
KATE: It’s isn’t healthy at all mom.

At that moment, Craig arrives back at the table.

KATE: Daddy, your pop isn’t healthy.
CRAIG: (looking at me) Did you tell her to say that?
ME: Um no, I swear I didn’t.
KATE: It isn’t going to help you grow big and strong.

Then, she shook her head and continued eating her breakfast.

If she were about twenty years older, she would have finished that conversation with, “Ugh, I sound just like my Muh-ther!”

Saturday, January 17, 2009

She's growing up!

Miss Kate, we took you to get your three-year photos taken today. My, how time flies when you are having fun. Tear, big sloppy wet tear.

Wait, wait, wait; I am supposed to be the one calling the shots people!

The whole ordeal made me quite nostalgic. How did you get so big? When did all of this happen? I still remember you being my itty bitty Nugs. Nugs, Nugget, Boo, Boo-Baby, Bug, Peanut, Peanut Butter, Kater-bug; you'll always be all of these to me.

I look so sweet and innocent here. This will serve me well when I get older.

I am crazy in love with you and words just can't do it justice tonight (or any other night for that matter). Let it be known that you are wild and crazy, but it really just makes mommyhood all that more rewarding.

Little do they know, I am plotting revenge people, revenge! Or, I can be bought with M&M's.

You only have four more days left before you turn three. Please excuse me while I try to remove the giant watermelon that is permanently lodged in my throat.

No, really, it wasn't me ... I have no idea what you are talking about mommy.

I hope you never lose your spunk, your curiousity, and your determination. I am continuously both amazed and grateful that I am lucky enough to be entrusted as your mom.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Dine and Dash

We reserve the time immediately following church on Sunday to be one where all food is calorie-free, fat-free, and health-related advice is temporarily suspended. As such, we typically indulge in breakfast at locations that would otherwise provide heinously unhealthy food laden with trans-fats and grease. Kate typically chooses a great local bakery, where we stuff our faces with our share of weekly carbohydrates in one sitting. If we are feeling more adventurous, we will go to Bob Evans.

Regardless of where we go, Kate has assumed the role of paying for our food. It happened by accident initially and is something she has just continued to do. At both of our Sunday eating establishments, you pay at the counter. This is a job that Kate takes very, very seriously. Almost as seriously as she takes ownership of her vast collection of Polly Pockets.

A couple of weeks ago, we decided to be brave and venture out to IHOP. I’m not sure why that decided like a good idea at the time, but it did. Perhaps because we had been continuously quoting the IHOP line from Two and a Half Men all week (anyone got it? Some TV trivia here!) The service was horrible, we waited forever for our food, and my mind was sore from the entertainment I had to provide to keep Kate semi-well behaved during our wait. When the food arrived, we hastily ate our meal, and handed the Waitress Who Needed to Return Home and Wake-up On The Other Side of the Bed our debit card for payment.

At about this time, Kate moved past impatient and tired to inconsolable and socially unacceptable. It was about six-degrees out and I suddenly realized that we should go out and warm up the car prior to leaving. I enjoy the cold about as much as I enjoy dental-surgery, and I never offer to warm up the car. However, I did a quick mental calculation that involved either freezing my ass off in the car, or sitting the restaurant waiting for the receipt, while trying to contain the she-devil emerging in my child. Nonchalantly, I said, “Hey honey, I’m going to go outside and warm up the car. I’ll meet you out there as soon as you grab the check.”

A few minutes after I got in the car, Craig opened the door and gave me the look. He then proceeded to sigh, mumble and shake his headed, as he proclaimed that last few minutes as the most embarrassing he has had ever. Apparently, after he received the slip from his debit card, he got up to leave and Kate started shrieking, “Daddy, you can’t LEAVE – you need to PAY!” Craig quietly told Kate that he did pay, the waitress had just taken his debit card at the table. “No, you did not pay Daddy. You need to pay before we leave” she wailed at decibels loud enough to encompass the entire restaurant. Again, Craig tried to silence her, when she finished by sobbing, “Then just give them your credit card!”

Is it wrong that I laughed? Okay, I know, but I couldn’t help it. I totally picked the right day to warm up the car, I just didn’t realize how right of a decision that would end up being.

Ladies and gentlemen, perhaps my luck is changing.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Apparently not my strong suit

Kate has the tendency to become slightly obsessed with some of the strangest things. When we are being sweet and endearing, we refer to her as our little OCD-baby. Lately her fixation has been the sun and the moon. She knows when the moon is full and where to locate it in the sky. Every morning we have to assess the sky and locate either the sun or the moon. One morning she found the sun rising on the right and the moon still in the sky on the left. She was thoroughly confused to locate both and sincerely questioned the legitimacy of the earth-science lessons I had been giving her in the car.

One morning this week, I was getting the typical narrative from the back seat, which went something like this: its dark mom. Mom, mom, its dark. It’s dark out mom. I can see the moon, the moon, look mom the moon. Is it a full moon? The sun isn’t out because it’s dark and because I can see the moon. Do you see the moon mom? Sing me a song please. If you’ve never heard Kate speak, those 8 sentences would contain approximately three breaths and would leave an innocent bystander wondering if she was aware of the fact that periods, commas, and question marks require a pause or change in intonation.

KATE: Mom, please, sing me a song.
ME: Umm, star light, star bright, first star I see to…
KATE: No, mom, not THAT song.
ME: Okay, what song.
KATE: The sun comes up song.
ME: We don’t have a sun comes up song.
KATE: Yes we do! Just sing the sun comes up song.
ME: Uh, uh, the sun comes up. The sun comes up. When the sun comes up, the moon goes down. Waiting for the sun to come up …
KATE: Ugh. No, not that sun comes up song mom.
ME: Sorry Kate, then I’ve got nothing.

How do you fail at making up the words to a made up song?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Pants Victim of a Man-Laundry Accident

In the late hours of January 10th, a lovely pair of Ann Taylor pants was severely maimed during a laundry incident of great magnitude. Reporters were on the scene early to uncover the details of this shocking and catastrophic incident. Upon arriving to the household, two individuals were interviewed. Both were present as the horrifying laundry events unfolded, and they shared the harrowing details of the night.

“They were just such an important part of our family. They’ve only lived in our household for two short weeks. It isn’t very often that you adopt the quintessential pair of paints. They had an ideal fit, gorgeous material and undeniable style. We just spent last Friday together, the only time they were ever worn” declared Lyndsay, pants-owner, between heart-wrenching sobs and fits of belligerence.

In a true victory for men everywhere, Craig, the alleged suspect, said, “I sorted the darks from the lights. I only washed the darks this time.” Upon further probing, the reporter heard Craig mumble “I didn’t realize that I needed to check the tags. I don’t own clothes that say dry-clean only. If she didn’t want them washed, why were they laying near the dirty laundry? Why does she keep yelling that DRY CLEANING ONLY is NOT subjective?”

Shortly after the pants were pronounced in stable condition, they were immediately transferred to the local Thrift Shop for recovery. “It’s going to take a really special person to take these pants into their home. There are not many women out there less than 4’11” tall who would be willing to accept such responsibility” one onlooker said.

Officials are urging the medical community to intensify their efforts on research between the Y chromosome and the inability to successfully complete a load of laundry. “If research cannot support this claim, there is just no saying what Craig’s fate is going to be” stated the first officer on the scene. “It’s getting ugly here and this discovery would be his only saving grace at this point.” That research just might not come soon enough. Authorities have opened up a special investigation to see if this was a brilliant case of intentionally ruining a sacred piece of clothing under the guise of helping out. It is suspected that it was an attempt to permanently relieve the suspect of laundry duty for eternity.

“I hope for his sake that the assumptions aren’t true” said the investigator while shaking his head.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Red-dye comes back up hot-pink

After a solid afternoon of being thrown-up on, I'm finding it very difficult to not curse the human being that allowed Kate to eat a cherry donut this morning.

This is the crappy (pukey?) part about leaving a lot of to-do's for Sunday. I've accomplished nothing and now I'm so tired, I'm going to bed. I'm just hoping we all stay sleeping ...

I have a great blog post I'll try to get up tomorrow.

Friday, January 9, 2009

For REAL this time

It is long and rambling and not that witty, my apologies. I think I have a case of the Friday's.

That trip down memory lane was a fun one. In fact, I haven’t thought about many of those events in years. During the course of this exercise, a few random thoughts have come to mind.

First is the overwhelming difference of me then versus me now. I can envision friends that have known me for a lifetime reading my truths and ruminating over how lame they are. I can hear them now … I can’t believe she didn’t write about the drivers ed car … or the time we partied on the No News and woke up to the boat onshore … or the trip to the airport in the van that magically relocated a car. On the other hand, I can see people that came into my life at a later time reading these truths convinced that they all must be lies. Surely she means nine lies and a truth, right? I cannot even envision her being brave enough to wear a print shirt, or fun enough to accompany anywhere outside of business hours. It is utterly outstanding how quickly one can grow up and get their act together when life circumstances say, “Put on your big girl panties, the fun and games are over.”

Second is the fact that barely anyone chose the inebriated options that demonstrated a true lack of common sense. That must mean my reputation and character are more in question than I initially thought. Or, perhaps, you now can put a name to the face of the crazy person you saw in the fountain at Ceasers Palace.

Third is that while I won’t make this the longest blog post ever, I will have to expand upon some of those truths in later days. There is some blog material in those stories that I never considered before now.

How annoyed are that I haven’t told you the lie yet? First, I am going to address the most commonly picked TRUTHS. In other words, those of you who were wrong.

Unfortunately, the tattoo story is true. No matter how cool you think the idea is at the time, listen to your mother. You will regret it later.

The alphabet story is true. I grew up very close to Canada at a time when cable television wasn’t an option (and I walked uphill to school both ways in my bare feet, right?). Our antenna picked up the Canadian Sesame Street channel, which aired in French one day per week. Apparently that was during a time when it was okay to leave your child glued in front of the television while you attended to more important things, as NO ONE realized we were watching television in a different language. During this time, my mom was petrified to be the preschool room mom for the first time. She had received the warning that during this time, your child will spontaneously turn into an evil monster whose sole mission is to make you look like an inept parent. So, when I started blurting out, “ah, bay, say, day, uk, ef …” my mom gave me the look only a mother could give and told me to straighten up and say my ABC’s. The teacher interrupted and said, “Oh my! I think she IS following directions. She is just saying the alphabet in French.” A pain in the ass from the start you could say.

The bear story is true as well. Do you think I could make that crap up? My sister was there to affirm it. I was seven years old and playing at the end of our driveway, which was about a mile from our house. In retrospective moments like this, I honestly cannot believe I survived childhood. There was a bear in our driveway, conveniently placed between me and my access to home sweet home. I started towards the neighbors house with my mind frantically screaming, “Walk, walk, walk. You aren’t supposed to run if a bear is near or they will spook and chase you.” This conversation was occurring as my legs protested in an effort to not be eaten for lunch and picked up the speed, thinking "dumb ass, I couldn’t slow down and walk if I tried.” Incidentally, the bear did start following me. I made it to the neighbors’ house and despite the fact that they weren’t home, I went inside. I called my mom, but when she made it there I had to stay in the house for an excruciating amount of time because the bear refused to leave to premises. Fun times growing up in the backwoods ya’ll.

I am a horrible liar, in fact my lie is not all that far from the truth. It was the MAJOR. I changed my major THREE times (psychology > elementary education > business) and not because I decided what I wanted to be when I grew up. In fact, I still don’t know the answer to that question. I chose it because I had a minor amount of interest in it, it would allow me to graduate in the least amount of time, and it wouldn’t require taking any additional math classes. I had high standards that year.

Okay, duh, I guess that would be I changed it TWICE, thanks Beth! It is still the lie though. On second thought, if you count that I started as "undecided", I could claim three. I started college undecided and ended undecided. Why do I still owe them so much money?

The BIG Reveal ...

will come as soon as I return from lunch.

Ha. Gotcha.

I also can't believe that from the hundreds of people reading this blog daily, only 22 of you were brave enough to guess. I'm highly disappointed.

Since my big "reveal" includes some additional rumblings (would you expect anything else?), I need to wait and finish it after I stuff my face.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Where is Nancy Drew when you need her?

Earlier this week, I was reading Ann’s Blog and she had a post that provided so much entertainment, that I can’t help myself but to steal it and play it here. Originally it was supposed to be a “list 10 honest things about you” type of post. I mean, really, do you care to know that much about me anyway? But Ann spiced it up and posted nine truths and one lie which was much more fun. So, humor me and guess which of the following is a BIG FAT LIE.

1. In preschool, I recited the alphabet in French instead of English. My mom was the “room mom” of the day and was not aware that I knew my alphabet in any language.

2. In Key West, we accidentally meandered into an awesome store named Peppers, which amazingly only sold Pepper-related things. We got drunk in the middle of the afternoon with the owners instead of exploring the rest of the island with our “cruise ship comrades”.

3. I spontaneously got a tattoo while vacationing in Sun Valley, Idaho.

4. I once met Maya Angelou when she was a guest at a hotel I worked at. We chatted in the lobby while she enjoyed her nightcap. I refrained from asking for her autograph, as it was strictly against company policy. In retrospect, it would have totally been worth the job sacrifice to have done it anyway considering she is one of my favorite authors of all time. Why do I always have to be such a good upstanding employee?

5. After a few too many drinks at the Voo Doo Lounge in Vegas, my friend Tiffany and I ended up in a fountain at Caesars Palace. What happens in Vegas gets written about on the internet baby!

6. I once babysat Alan Trammell’s children.

7. When I was 8 and my sister was 6, my parents would often fly us to my grandparent’s house (courtesy of dad’s employer); despite the fact that they were only a five-hour drive away and that we were mere unattended children.

8. I changed my major in college four times before I finally decided what I wanted to be when I grew up.

9. I was once chased by a black bear through the woods. I illegally entered a neighbor’s vacant house for safety while the bear roamed around outside licking his chops and envisioning a lunch that included my appendages.

10. I’ve only broken one bone in my body. It was the result of a foot-reclining chair accident. The chair won.

Go ahead and guess … then you will have to return for the big reveal. Unless my list has totally scared you away and you don’t want to be associated with such company. In that case, I totally understand. I feel that way about myself on occasion.

I’m not really good at blog-games (they typically have rules and require instructions, and we all know how well I do in that area), so I am not passing this on to anyone. If you are so inclined, feel free to use it on your blog and play along.

(Insert Jeopardy music here)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I Swear I Showered

Setting the stage: This conversation occurred as I entered Kate’s room this morning. They were the first words out of her mouth after I woke her up.

KATE: We aren’t going anywhere?
ME: Yes we are. You get to go and play with the kids today.
KATE: I don’t want to. I want to stay home with you.
ME: I’m not staying home. I’ve got to go to stinking work.
KATE: I’ll help you take a shower mommy.
ME: What??? I already took my shower.
KATE: But you can’t go to work stinky!

Perhaps it's dyslexic Wednesday (get it? someone?). I shouldn't give her that hard of a time. My brain doesn't even function that well until at least after my second cup of coffee.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Dear Snow Plow Driver

Dear Mr. Snow-Plow Driver,

I’ve heeded all popular advice in “taking time to cool down” before I decided to address you about THE snow issue. It has been two weeks and I still feel like sneaking into your home and stealing all of the light bulbs out of your fixtures in the middle of the night. I’m not sure the cooling down period was all that effective.

I am not certain what prohibits you from plowing the massive amounts of snow from our subdivision into the nice empty area between our driveway and the neighbors in the cul-de-sac. Instead, you repeatedly relieve your plow right in front of my mailbox over and over and over again. After the snowfall we had the week before Christmas, you left a pile of snow as high as the mailbox. Pile upon pile upon pile provided a nice embankment that spanned about 4 feet to each side and a generous 6 feet in front of the mailbox.

When you do this, our mail lady leaves scathing messages about clearing the approach to our mailbox or she is going to STOP.DELIVERING.OUR.MAIL.

The task is undaunted by a mere shovel. If I attempted to tackle the pile via shovel, we would likely see the spring thaw before I reached the half-way point. The other option we have is our ATV with a plow. In the event that I figured out how to operate the machine without injuring or maiming myself or innocent bystanders, I am still left in a predicament. What do I do with Kate? Our mailbox is not visible from the house. So, my first option would be to leave her unattended in the house while I plow out the mailbox. The second option would be to strap her car seat to the back rack of the ATV and have her wildly screaming “faster faster faster” as I careen recklessly through the snow. I am fairly certain that both options would result in a friendly visit from Child Protective Services.

As such, I ignore the love letters that the mail lady leaves until Craig gets home.

Mail lady isn’t so fond of my lack of response to her threats. So, she upped the ante and left a diagram in my mailbox that showed me exactly how to clear the approach and what it should look like when it is completed. In case you are unaware, she needs unimpeded access that does not require her to get out of her car or put it into reverse. If you see the mail lady, please flip her off, and let her know I lack muscles, not the ability to read.

Remember the snowfall that we got the week before Christmas? No? It was when you left a snow mountain at the end of our driveway so high that we thought someone might have stolen our house when we arrived home and couldn’t find it. Well, during that particular week the mail lady decided that she didn’t want to play anymore and the only thing she delivered was on her word to stop bringing our mail.

Since she decided to throw her hissy fit, I didn’t get my Christmas cards that I was eagerly anticipating from the printer for two additional days. I do realize that I was cutting it close as it was asshat, but I had timed it just perfectly. I obviously hadn’t provided the allowance for the tantrum thrown by the mail lady and the utter incompetence of the plow driver (yeah, you). During this diatribe, my darling daughter looked at me and said “Is Daddy plowing the freaking driveway?” You forced me to speak in pseudo-explicatives to get my point across, which apparently has earned me yet another Mother of the Year Nomination.

Mr. Snow-Plow Driver, you screwed with my reputation by making my cards late amongst your other infractions. I’m working on a neon sign with flashing arrows that will direct you to the empty area that is perfectly suitable for dumping snow. If you need a diagram, I’d be happy to provide it. The mail lady learned me real well.

If you fail to oblige, I will find a way for my darling Kate to accompany you on a day of plowing, while jumping up and down screaming “We are FREAKING plowing.”


While the rest of the city has lost their snow already, we are still hiding behind the white mountains at the end of our driveway

Sunday, January 4, 2009

SOS: Send computer help

Instead of spending the weekend accomplishing anything productive, I worked endlessly on trying to fix my computer. First priority oxygen, second priority internet. Apparently it has contracted a horrible case of gonorrhea or something. I know laptops have a short life span, but after I completely reinstalled its operating system this summer, you think it could have given me another measly year.

I’ve tried every disk clean-up option possible, removed programs, and even tried numerous system restore options, all to no avail.

Not only is my computer moving slower than a stoned turtle, but I have to reboot it about once an hour. This is putting a crimp in my style. On top of that, my computer won’t open Microsoft Money any longer, which is not a good thing. I have no access to any of my bank information and despite backing up the program, uninstalling it and reinstalling it, it still won’t open.

My brain is fried and I’ve made no progress.

I’m off to research a new laptop. I think it is the only reasonable solution, don’t you? Any suggestions?

This is perhaps the strangest blog post I’ve ever written. See, I told you, the computer ate my brain cells. Thankfully I didn’t take up a career in IT.

Friday, January 2, 2009

This is what happens when ...

… our DNA collides.

I can’t decide which scenario is more disturbing. On one hand, you have a construction worker, equipped with measuring tape and ear protectors. This construction worker happened to show up on the job complete with fairy wings and their beloved baby doll. One could only imagine the ridicule that would ensue.

On the other hand, you have the fairy princess, preciously handling her darling baby doll. In the midst of completing all of her girly duties, she grabbed the measuring tape and ear protectors to take care of some business. If I were her future husband, I’d be really really afraid right now.

Who needs a boy and a girl when you can have just one and enjoy the benefits of both? I’m resisting every urge I have to make a Calliope reference right now. However, anyone who hasn’t read Middlesex (do you exist, if so, read it NOW) would be totally lost. Any other crazed attempt of referencing hermaphrodites in the same post as my daughter would certainly guarantee that she will disown me when she’s old enough to read this. So, I didn’t reference Calliope, I just told you that I thought about it.

If we didn’t have Kate as entertainment around these parts, I’m not sure what we’d do. At least we know she'll keep me in blog material for a loooooong time.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

My Anti-Resolution

Happy Freaking New Year! Let's try that again ... Happy New Year everyone!

I’m not much for resolutions. In fact, I’m not sure I have ever made a New Years Resolution. I don’t understand the benefit of setting myself up for complete and utter failure that way.

This year I’ve approached 2009 a little differently. I still resolve to absolve myself of resolutions (did you follow that?). However, lately I’ve found myself focusing on taking a different path in many facets of my life. I just haven't been able to wrap my mind around exactly where this path is going. As long as the path heads south, far away from the snow and cold, I’m pretty much game for taking it.

The other morning when I was getting ready, I looked at this picture in our house, much like I was noticing it for the first time. Immediately, I realized that all of these plans, organization, purging, and goal making I’ve been focused on suddenly made sense. I’m on a path of simplifying.

So, instead of making a New Years Resolution, I’m making a New Years Word. Let me introduce you to my friend Simplify. I’m getting warm and fuzzy feelings thinking about her, so I hope she sticks around and keeps me company for awhile.

I’m not exactly sure what direction simplification will take me and I am okay with that. Maybe it will be my first attempt at wetting my toes in the spontaneity pool again. It’s even more attractive because it is a start to 2009 that I think I can keep on track with for more than a measly week.

If I knew what my journey towards simplifying meant, I would share it with you. But, like any un-well laid plan, errr, I don’t know. Now, THAT is profound! However, I do know what simplifying does not mean:

… a closet haphazardly strewn with clothes, yet nothing to wear. Something tells me in might be time to part with some of my clothing from 2005, even though it will feel like chopping off my appendages with a butter knife. They will never fit right again. Repeat it again slowlllly and mean it this time … they will never fit right again.

… a basement full of boxes that haven’t been unpacked since we moved in here four years ago. If we haven’t missed it in four years, it likely needs to find a better home. Yes, even those gifts of events-past that I’ve felt too guilty to part with.

… an email inbox with 19 pages of unsorted, unread, and unanswered emails. If one of them is yours, I’m sorry. Chances are I lost it around page 17.

… reorganization of my home office area. There is NO excuse for incurring a late-fee charge on my credit card this month. Did I have the money? Of course I had the money. Did I realize the bill was due? Nope, it somehow got loss in the abyss of paperwork on my desk. I kid you not. In fact, I’m embarrassed to even write this, but you know things are bad when you are so busy, disorganized, and exhausted that you just don’t pay a bill.

… a 3,000 square foot house that is bursting at the seams, yet only occupied by 3 people and one cat who is the spawn of satan. Ever since we lost the ability to pay for a housekeeper, I hate about 1,800 square feet of our house.

…waking up in the middle of a dream that I showed up to the first day of class without any of my material to teach. Highly likely fear if I don’t get my act together since it starts in 11 days and I haven’t pulled out the stuff from last year, let alone done anything with it.

I am assuming that you are catching my drift. I could provide you with examples all day, but I would humiliate myself with each additional revelation. So, with that, I’ve provided my obligatory New Year’s post. If you’ve read this far, I applaud you. This post was more for me than for your reading enjoyment.

We will return with the chaos, hopefully sprinkled with some simplification tomorrow.