Friday, February 29, 2008


I'm not very good with whaddya call 'ems? Oh, yes (had to go running to MDH for the word) acronyms and abbreviations which is kind of a dangerous thing for someone working in IT.


Right there, I - T

What the hell does that stand for anyway? Idiot Typing. Idle Tapeworm. Internet Tranny. Introverted Timebomb.

Just kidding! I know that it stands for Information Technology, but to be perfectly honest, sometimes I forget.

Anyhoo... My new job is riddled with so many acronyms and abbreviations I can hardly keep track of them all.

Regardless, somehow I'm doing really well and the person who has been training me says that I've caught on more quickly than anyone else in the department, and as a result they have given me even more responsibilities.

I think they either haven't noticed or don't care that I don't know what the hell anything is called. I'm trying so very hard to learn the lingo, and although the powers that be at my new place of work seem to be impressed with my amazing skills and abilities a typical conversation overheard at my cubicle might sound like this:

Me: I found a discrepancy between the O-F-Whoosie Whatsis thingy and the M-F ing B-L-T

My coworker: The Manufacturing Lead Time?

Me: Yeah, that.

My coworker: How'd you get BLT out of that?

Me: I'm hungry M-F'er.

ByTheWay - Please enjoy the artful cartoon above, courtesy of my friend Playtah.

Why Do We Live Here?

Western Michigan blows.

It blows especially hard this time of year, when I swear to you it snows every goddamn day. I bundle up in the morning like a fucking marshmallow. A fashionable marshmallow in my fur and velvet earmuffs and Calvin Klein parka, but still. It's hard to sashay around and maintain maximum cuteness in all this gear. I might slip on the layers of ice and snow that have been building up since it began snowing nonstop at Thanksgiving and break a hip or chip a tooth and that ain't cute at all.

There is a 4 block stretch of road on my commute that I've started calling "the Black Eye express" because of all of the pot hole induced boob jostling.

Why hasn't somebody invented a form of pavement that doesn't buckle, cave in on itself and disintegrate in cold weather?

Why don't they bring back full service gas stations so that I don't have get out of the car to pump gas? I would pay extra for this. I really would.

What moronic clan of mouth breathers decided this type of environment was habitable enough to build a city that my husband would be unwillingly transferred to hundreds of years later causing us to move away from our beautiful and cozy home in a place where it doesn't snow every goddamn day and I never once dreamed of owning a parka, waterproof snow boots or any type of fleece whatsoever? ? ?

Here is a photo that I took while I was driving to work this morning.

(Insert blood curdling scream here.)

I realize that the roads were shitty and that I probably shouldn't have taken my hands off the wheel long enough to take a photo., but I felt it had to be done and look I'm totally fine.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Bringing Home the Bacon, Smacking You With the Pan

Well hello stranger.

I temporarily dropped off the face of the earth, blog wise, while I have been adjusting to my new lifestyle juggling dual careers as a full time cubicle dweller and full time nurse maid for a perfectly competent and healthy 44 year old man.

My husband has become quite spoiled over these past several months of my unemployment, during which time I willingly chose to take over all of the household chores as a trade off to not contributing to the family coffers. As a result, now that I have rejoined the workforce my darling has apparently forgotten the meaning of the key words from our marriage vows "equal partnership". His memory has also slipped about such things as how to unload the dishwasher, run the sweeper, and scoop the litter box.

I reached the end of my rope as well as the end of my nursemaid career last night when he put an empty soda can on the counter directly above the recycle bin. Then he neatly wrapped the last slice of pizza in aluminum foil, placed it gently into the refrigerator, and walked away. Leaving the empty, opened pizza box on the kitchen counter and went to bed.

I'm not a very confrontational kind of person, especially when I'm angry. I'm more of a stew for awhile and think things over so that I don't say something that I regret later kind of a person. So even though I wanted to shove the pizza box and soda can up his ass, I left them where they were and went to bed too.

Saturday afternoon I asked him to sweep the living room, den and dining room. It is now Thursday and he hasn't even asked me where the vacuum cleaner is.

It's my fault.

And my mother's fault, and her mother's fault and every woman before us. I was raised to mollycoddle men, to cook and clean for them without complaint. I'm a housewife at heart. I actually LIKE doing most of this stuff, but a lady gets tired of doing it all - ALL THE TIME.

After I hit the publish button here, I'm making a chore list.

Let's just see how that flies.

Picture at top: See what I mean??? A toy vacuum cleaner at age 3. I also had a toy iron, toy mops and brooms, toy pots and pans and look at me now. I'm like fuckin' Hazel over here. If Hazel were a housekeeper AND on a data management project team.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

i-ron-y - consisting of, containing, or resembling iron

Hey Mr. DJ, the older man who sits in the cubicle next to mine, uses the phrase "think outside the box" ALL THE TIME. Like all day long when he is discussing one of his current projects on the phone with people. While I like Hey Mr. DJ very much, I really hate this phrase and want to "box" his ears when I hear him say it to random people all ding-dong day.

What does it mean, really? It sounds like something you might learn at mime school.

He's trapped inside an invisible box and he can't think of any other words or phrases to use to describe thinking of things in new way. I firmly believe that people who continue say it, years after Taco Bell used it for their "Think Outside the Bun" tag line, are lacking, for example, Freshness, Originality, Innovation, Creativity, Resourcefulness, and Vision, and need to think outside the fucking box.

In other news...

I have pre-ordered the newest Sims2 expansion pack and it should be arriving early next month. It's called "Free Time", in which the Sims can now have hobbies like sewing, ballet, belly dancing, sports, etc.. They can even restore old cars.

It's very exciting and I've been on tenterhooks, waiting for this expansion pack to become available since December when I first heard about it. It sounds painful, no?

Anyhoo... Now my Sims can have interesting hobbies to help them pass the time, and yet the closest thing I have to a hobby, other than blogging, is playing the Sims.

I see the irony of this and I really don't care.

I'm a Perky Bitch

Your Extroversion Profile:

Assertiveness: Very High
Cheerfulness: High
Activity Level: Low
Excitement Seeking: Low
Sociability: Low
Friendliness: Very Low

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Music Makes the People Come Together

It's very quiet where I work. It might even be much more quiet in the building where I work with about 3000 (literally) other people than it was when I worked from home by myself all day.

Oh sure, there's some noise. Someone the other side of the enormous room that I cannot see honks very loudly when he blows his nose. At least I hope it's a "he". There is a constant hum and murmur of voices talking quietly broken by the occasional cough, sneeze or laugh.

I mostly don't mind it, but I've already had a few moments when I've been tempted stand up from my chair so fast that it rolls backwards and bangs into my credenza, raise my open arms to the sky, or the dropped foam ceiling, and burst into song. Possibly including a little modern interpretive dance number where I gyrate all sexy-like.

Especially because the man in the cubicle next to mine has a name that makes me think of a song every time I hear it. I want to butcher his name with music. He's a nice man who has been very helpful and supportive of me during my first week of work there. He's an older man who has worked at this company for almost 30 years. His oldest child is the same age as me.

I find myself humming the song or singing it under my breath when he answers his phone, so cheerfully, "Hello! This is So & So!" Still, I don't know that he would appreciate me singing

Hey Mister D.J.
Put a record on
I wanna dance with my baby
Do you like to boogie-woogie
Do you like to boogie-woogie
Do you like to boogie-woogie
Do you like my Acid Rock?

at top volume, like I want to do, in his sweet, silver haired, old man face.

I don't even like Madonna that much, but his name demands that this song should be sung. In his face.

I'm a singer. Did you know that?

I sing constantly. In the shower, in the car, in the kitchen, this house is constantly filled with noise. My noise. My singing. I didn't realize just how often I was singing until I chose to go to a place every day where it really isn't appropriate to make noise all day. People are trying to work. It's very serious.

Which, naturally, makes me want to sing Big Noise From Winettka at full volume.

BTW - My best friend Amy is also a constant singer. She's really good at changing the words to songs. Most recently when I was down for a visit she was spouting out that old Ace of Base song All That She Wants Is a Baked Potato. Catchy, eh?

Another of my favorites for you Who fans out there:
Welcome back my friends to the butt that never ends
We're so glad you could attend
Come inside, come inside
You have to use inward waving hand motions with this one for the "come inside" part.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The "No Idea" Mix

Sometimes crap just magically shows up on my iPod. I don't know where the hell these songs came from or what would have possessed me to download them.

I don't drink or use drugs much stronger than Midol on a regular basis.

I'm thinking perhaps that MDH was screwing around, clicked on something and downloaded them maybe? I really don't know.
I call them crap because mostly they are (to me anyway) and it's kind of shocking to be contentedly listening to my music and suddendly an accordian solo comes on.

OK. There's never been an accordian solo, but it's still upsetting.

It's weird and I know immediately that it is not my music.

Normally when my ears have been violated in this way I delete the song eventually, but every once in awhile some strange song comes up and I really like it. I check my iTunes library and it's not from a compilation or movie soundtrack. It's a stand alone mystery song. I just chalk it up to voodoo, wonder if I paid for it and it stays in the mix.

Here's a sampling of the keepers:

The Last of the Golden Palominos by Goodbye Blue Monday - or maybe it's Goodbye Blue Monday by The Last of the Golden Palominos. It's confusing because The Golden Palominos is a band that I like, but this isn't them.

Just a Body by The King of France - I remember this song from a movie soundtrack, but do not remember downloading it. I think it might be an MDH special.

Chinese Boots of Spanish Leather by Anton Barbeau

Miss Allysa by Eagles of Death Metal

The picture at the top is another mystery. I found it in a box of old family photos my mother gave me. I have no idea who the fuck that is. It's too old to be me and I think I would remember wearing a grass skirt and dancing the hula. I think it might be one of my cousins, I'm just not sure.

Calendar Girl

This past Christmas money was a little tight so MDH and I agreed not to exchange gifts. We also made the same agreement with my parents. Of course I sent presents to my mother in law because I'm the only person who ever does and if I didn't she wouldn't get a goddamn thing from any of her 5 sons.

I was fine with the 2007 no gifts policy, but realized this week that something was missing. A void that is normally filled at Christmas time - new calendars. I usually get two every year, one from MDH and one from my mom.

I didn't even notice until I started my new job last week. My cubicle is empty but I'm not planning to decorate it with hoo-haws and doo-dads like my Troll Doll collection, clipped Cathy and Dilbert cartoons, and framed family portraits because I don't have any of those things and also because I'm a temp, so that would be a little ridiculous. However, I do like to keep a nice big wall calendar at my desk because the one that comes with Windows is useless as far as holidays and such. Plus I'm old fashioned and like to write shit down with a pen.

No Christmas gifts - no calendars, so this weekend I perused to see what kind of personal cubicle statement I'd like to make.

The selection was as endless as people have hobbies and quirks and as I shopped I couldn't help but be fascinated by the fact that there are enough people out there who like some of this crap to make it profitable to compile a calendar about it. Animals are popular I guess. There is a calendar for every breed of dog, kittens, puppies, pigs, horses, and pairings of smaller animals with horses with titles like "Barn Buddies".

Here are some of my favorites:

Who wouldn't love a year's worth of color photographs of smirking, red-eyed rodents?

Sexy Vatican Alter Boys - disturbing on many levels.

World traveling Marshmallow Peeps. Good thing it wasn't raining.

Pictures of ganja for your viewing pleasure with tips for growing your own crops. It would be cool if it were printed on rolling paper.

Does somebody actually come up with new photo ideas each year and audition roosters and hens for this? I kind of hope so.

What did I finally end up with? This one:
I have fond memories of Toronto and the Bada Shoe Museum.

PS - I wrongly assumed that Blogger would have gotten their shit together by now and fixed the fucking spell checker and loaded all of the pictures before I realized that they still have their head up thier collective ass. So sorry for any moronic-ness, but I'm not going to paste this thing into Word. I'm sure you know what I mean.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Seeing the world through rose colored goggles...

Things are good.

I haven't been able to say that for a very long time indeed.

At the moment I have nothing to bitch about, except the fact that I have no ideas for blog posts and we are out of the "good" coffee. Our Gevalia shipment hasn't arrived yet so I've been brewing the swill otherwise known as Starbucks Breakfast Blend instead of my usual tasty, mildly roasted Mocha Java that I love so much.

Perhaps this is very boring, but there's a story coming. Bear with me.

I'm busy, which is something I haven't been for quite some time. I missed being busy and had forgotten how it makes the hours fly by almost as quickly as when I'm watching Project Runway (the shortest increment of time passage in my personal universe). My new job is not the kind of job where I will have much free time. It would probably not shock you, thanks to my moniker, to know that I barely have time to eat my PB&J.

I haven't told you the tidbit about how I've already been promoted, have I?

Well, it's true. Apparently they were so impressed with me that they decided to give me a higher paying job with more responsibilities than one I originally interviewed for. So I got promoted before I even started working. Marvelous! And I say that with not even the slightest trace of sarcasm.

Like I said, things are good.

Anyhoo... Thanks to all of you for your well wishes in the comments of my last post on starting my new job and commiseration in dealing with my husband's unnatural fear of natural disasters.

Since I have nothing exciting or upsetting to report I will instead share a story about my friend Amy. She called me last night and we were swapping tales of temporary employment from our pasts because as you may or may not know my new job is a temporary contract position. It's a very long contract (a year or possibly more) for an involved project, but anyway you slice it - I'm a temp.

Amy and I have both worked lots of shit jobs in the past including taking various temporary assignments. Being a temp can be weird. You are often treated as a second class citizen, and depending upon the length of the assignment and what kind of work it is, you may not even be given a place to sit. Often times the instructions on what it is you are supposed to do are unclear, especially if the temporary assignment is to take the place of a person who has had to leave unexpectedly.

When you are a temp nobody is expecting you to set the world on fire, so innovation and new ideas are not really high on your list of qualities you want to "wow" your new boss and coworkers with. Basically, you want to do what they tell you to do, how they tell you to do it and ask as few questions as possible. You tend to take everything very literally and this is why Amy's story is worth telling.

The story involves a one day temporary assignment at a metal working company. Amy didn't have a car at the time so she walked to this place through a very bad part of town. How she arrived to the job isn't pivotal to the story or even the least bit relevant, I just thought it seemed kinda sad. Anyway... When you are a temp you are not always told what is appropriate to wear so Amy chose to err on the side of caution and wore a suit and dress shoes.

She shows up on time and is met by a woman wearing safety goggles, who hands Amy a pair of safety goggles. Not the glasses kind, but the kind that wrap tight around your head with a piece of elastic. The woman instructs her to put them on and then guides Amy through a factory kind of building that is surrounded by offices with windows that look out into the factory area. Amy follows the woman to a back room office area filled with blueprints and the woman gives Amy her assignment for the day: Go through all the blueprints and sort out any of the ones that contain a certain part number.

The woman left and Amy got down to business.

It would have been an easy enough assignment were it not for the fact that the writing on the blueprints was kind of small and Amy was wearing a pair of scratched up safety goggles. The goggles impaired her vision and made if very difficult to read the blueprints, but she tried her best.

Hours go by... Amy is left unattended and keeps plugging away at her task.

Finally, late in the afternoon the woman returns to check on Amy and see if she wants a break. The woman informs Amy, who by this time has developed serious eye strain, a throbbing headache and a red, irritated goggle shaped indentation on half of her face, that the goggles only needed to be worn when walking through the factory, and that she has been needlessly suffering and sweaty faced all morning and afternoon.

If you look hard enough you can probably still see the goggle shaped indentation on Amy's face to this day. Well, maybe not, but the emotional scars remain.

UPDATE - 2-16-08 - after re-reading this post I have realized that one might think that I believe my new job is shitty. I'm a temp, but the job is not shitty. Not at all. It's fabulous and I love it. Of course I have only been going for three days, so it could go south in the future, but for now all is well.

I have a big giant cubicle that is is almost the same size as my home office and this company and the people I will be working with have made me feel quite welcomed and appreciated. They are all so nice and accomodating that it may even be a touch Twilight Zone-ish, but at the moment I'm just happy to be leaving the house every day and earning some bread.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hi! It's so nice to meet you, I'm Insane.

Late on Sunday morning, the coldest day of the year so far at minus 20, we lost power. It was really no big deal to me, but my husband suddenly sprang loose from his moorings on the sofa and began a freak out of epic proportions, convinced that we were sure to freeze to death within the first 15 minutes of being off the grid.

He thinks I don't take these kinds of situations seriously enough. I, on the other hand, think he needs to calm the fuck down.

I humored him for the first half hour by putting on shoes and a cardigan, packing up the cat supplies, and playing along with him as though it was the end of the world by preparing for evacuation or nesting a bunker (I packed sandwiches). He always gets a little nutty during thunderstorms, tornado activity (it only has to be in the same state for him to make us retreat to the basement) and turbulent air travel, but this was his first winter weather related freak out and it threw me for a loop.

I don't get too worked up about losing power. Actually, I lived poor for so long that my first instinct is to check to make sure the electric bill is paid. After that I tend to use a relaxing "wait and see" tactic, which may or may not involve reading a book or magazine by candlelight and has always worked for me in the past.

That is not to say that I'm not proactive and sit passively by. No no. I have devised a plan of action:

Phase One: Relax and read a book or magazine.

Phase Two: Make a hotel reservation in case the power is off for an extended period of time and we really do need to bug out.

Phase Three: Call the power company periodically to listen for restoration updates on a recorded message.

Phase Four: Alternate Phases One and Three as needed.

Phase Five: Cancel hotel reservation when the juice comes back on.

The power was restored after just under 2 hours and the temperature in the house had only dropped down to 64 degrees. We all survived unharmed and without the slightest hint of frostbite, although I seriously considered beating MDH unconscious with my cell phone during the ordeal when he demanded that I call everyone we know to see if they had lost power too.

What good would that have done, now really?

Even if our friends and relations were without power what would we have to discuss? How dark is it where you are? What magazine are you reading? I felt it wiser to save the cell phone batteries for calls of more pressing matters.

Later on that same evening our cable went out and with it our Internet connection. MDH heaved a large sigh and went to bed. It was 6pm. It came back on several hours later, but we've had a shaky connection ever since. With the cable, I mean.

Anyhoo... It all sounds like a good excuse for me not to have posted or written anything for the last couple of days, but it wouldn't be true.

MDH freaks out over random acts of nature over which we have no control and I freak out over things of an internal nature.

I haven't written or posted anything because I'm a whack job, getting whackier by the minute. Every minute of every day that leads closer to 8:30am tomorrow when I report for work for the first time in several months.

Maybe it would be less weird if I'd had a normal job prior to this new one.

I've worked from home for the last 4 years.

At my last job I had no coworkers and only talked to my boss once every couple of months. I didn't even have to get dressed, put on make up or wear shoes. I traveled a lot yes, and I wore shoes for that, but when I wasn't on the road I was here in this very same spot where I'm typing this very second.

Tomorrow begins a lifestyle of all new rituals that involve showering every morning at the same time, wearing clothes, making sure the car has plenty of gas and then driving it to a big building. Of course then I'll probably have to get out of the car and interact with people.

I've been working some job or other since I was 13 years old. I have done just about everything short of hooking and stripping:


Housekeeper - it was my parents house but hey, they paid me for it and I will tell you that I was so good at it that within weeks after I quit to go to college my mother hired a maid.

Made Muffins in Dixie Cups with a mircowave in an appliance store (I don't really know the job title for this one)

Retail Cashier

Recovery Specialist - this is the person who goes around with a shopping cart and puts the merchandise in the store back where it belongs when asshats change their minds and just drop shit randomly wherever they happen to be.

Retail Manager - at a kitchen supply and specialty coffee store where I was fired for allegedly having friends in the store after hours. It was untrue, but I got shit canned anyway.

Secretary at a fire restoration company where I was fired for allegedly being rude to a customer, but it also happened the same week that my boss, the owner's wife, found out that her husband had mauled and tried to kiss me one evening when he drove me home from work. I should've known his motives. Bastard.

Accounts Payable Clerk where I was fired for not getting an executive's end of year expense report in on time. We actually did the expense reports for these useless retarded worms because they were too stupid and lazy to do them by themselves. He hadn't given me all of his receipts until it was too late and I tried to cover it up for him. My bad. On the upside, this is the job where I met Amy.

Secretary for a small contractor - one of the best jobs I have ever had. I was the only woman among 20 or so nasty men that I adored and who mostly adored me. I picked up the fun nickname "Crazy Bitch", but this company had tuition reimbursement which enabled me to go back to school and get my degree.

After that I had various IT jobs:

  • Website Designer - boring and lonely
  • IT Specialist - my boss was a mean old toad
  • EDI Coordinator - same mean old toad boss
  • Software Trainer/Veterinary Practice Consultant - traveling around to Vet Clinics probably in a town near you
Starting tomorrow I'm going to sit in a woven polyester cube, mining data and whipping out spreadsheets for 9 to 10 hours a day.

Lot's of other people do this, right?

I snagged the graphic at top from here.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Cold Turkey Blues

This morning, while MDH was sleeping, I watched His Girl Friday starring Cary Grant, Rosalind Russel and Unfiltered Lucky Strikes. The plot involves constantly lighting one cigarette after another with various types of matches, lighters (and sometimes the previous, still lit cigarette), deeply inhaling and langorously blowing smoke out of their noses and mouths, without a care in the world, in each other's general direction. There was some other back story involving a divorce and a newspaper. I couldn't really concentrate because I WANT A CIGARETTE.

I expect I will feel this way for the rest of my life. Wanting something I can't have.

It blows, so to speak.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

A Ramblin' Post About My Whacked Out Granny

I spent half my weekend crying with one orifice or another of mine aimed over the toilet bowl and now I've caught some kind of head cold. I feel OK. I'm a little sneezy and snotty, and I've got a bit of a headache and even though I'm not feeling that great myself, I'm still taking care of MDH who has started to recover from his own rotten head cold.

When I'm sick I'd much rather be left alone than pampered. Today's story is inspired by bad childhood memories and attempts made by well meaning, but misguided adults, namely my grandma, to pamper or take care of me.

Get ready for some father and grandmother bashing and exaggerations. Yes. Grandmother. Bashing.

Hold tight, I speak (mostly) the truth!

My mother was always too busy to fuss over me the way that I perceived of other mothers doing. I got what I needed, but she didn't fuss. She worked a full time job, took care of a special needs daughter (my sister) and took care of everything having to do with our household.

My dad, on the other hand, did nothing. Unless you count drink beer, lord over the television and golf. It was a different generation and back then men were only required to earn a paycheck and their household and child rearing responsibilities were considered fulfilled. Dad was basically useless and not to be relied upon for fussing or pampering.

The only time I was ever pampered and fussed over was when my grandma stayed with us and I didn't much like it.

I always had the feeling that she was only being so nice to me so that she could stick it to my mom, as if to say "Watch this, Unworthy Daughter-In-Law - If only you weren't so busy setting the accounting world on fire, you could stay home and take care of this poor, neglected child properly."

Grandma didn't approve of women who had careers.

Grandma never listened to me and always got me all wrong too. Like the time I spilled orange juice down the front of myself as I was rushing out the door for school. I was in the 4th grade. Grandma happened to be on the phone with my mother at the time, who was at work. "Oh Dear God - I've got to hang up!", she yelled, "Lady has just vomited!" Then Grandma grabbed me and ripped off my shirt and told me there was no way I was going to school.

When I told her that I'd only spilled the juice, she thought I was lying and made me stay home.

It might sound like a good gig, but it wasn't. I would rather have gone to school than have stayed home with my grandmother watching game shows and soap operas all day long. She wouldn't let me eat anything all day either for fear that I would throw it back up again and periodically she tried to take my temperature with the old fashioned kind of thermometer.


When my mother got home from work I complained to her that I wasn't sick at all and had been held hostage, starved, tortured with bad TV and subjected to fighting off regular attempts at anal probes. She understood my dilemma, but was unable to do anything about it because apparently nobody ever questioned the wisdom and authority of my grandmother.

I didn't understand the full extent of my family's support and blind loyalty to my grandmother until I was a teenager and my mother went on a week long, ladies only vacation with a couple of my aunts.

Since my father was completely useless in the household and child care department, he took the week off work to stay with my sister and me while my mother was away, because apparently working all day and taking care of children when he got home was way more than he could handle.

It wasn't even like it was summer time - we were in school all day.

So incompetent was he, that merely taking time off work was not enough. He called my grandmother to come and help him out during his time of need. I begged him not to and argued that I was 15 and old enough to take care of all three of us while Mom was away. It was no use.

It was one of the most miserable weeks of my life which started off with a lecture from my dad in which he basically said, "Do everything your grandmother tells you to do - AND NO LIP!"

The madness began almost immediately when my sister asked for macaroni and cheese for dinner. My sister had some pretty significant speech problems and my grandmother never seemed to understand what she was saying. My frustrated sister went to the pantry, grabbed a box of Mac & Cheese and handed it to my grandmother.

Grandma correctly took this to mean that my sister was hungry, but refused to make food from a box as requested by a child, so my sister watched in horror as Grandma threw the Mac & Cheese in the trash and made instead something from scratch that our dad liked called SOS. AKA "Shit on a Shingle", which is essentially flour gravy with ground beef served on toast.

It is every bit as disgusting as it sounds and my sister and I hated it.

In my grandmother's world men ruled supreme, especially the ones she had given birth to, and children should be seen and not heard. Especially girl children. I hated her.

My sister and I both got in trouble with our dad because we refused to eat the SOS. Apparently not eating it would hurt grandma’s feelings so he forced us to choke it down. Now I hated him too.

My grandmother and I had a complicated relationship. I didn't really hate her. I loved her, but I certainly didn't understand her.

The best way I can put it into perspective is to say that if you've ever seen the movie Coal Miner's Daughter, my father's family lived in the the next holler over from where that movie took place, the rural, coal mining Kentucky of the first half of the 20th century. My grandfather, grandma's first husband, wore overalls with a straw hat, mined coal and in his spare time made corn whiskey in a bathtub still he hid in the woods behind their house. Like the perfect caricature of a hillbilly, he smoked a corn cob pipe.

Grandma didn't understand me either. She was concerned that I wasn't interested enough in boys or getting married and thought I spent way too much time reading. She thought I was "uppity" and warned my parents, when I expressed an interest in going to college that I was "gettin' above my raisin". I never let her find out that I didn't believe in God. It would have killed her.

Anyhoo... let's get back to the week my mom left my sister and me alone for an entire week with my grandmother and my dad, AKA the Hillbilly Mutual Admiration Society.

OK, so we had to eat food we didn't like, and do chores that we didn't normally have to do while Dad and Grandma laid around all day watching soap operas and game shows. Unpleasant yes, but totally survivable.

Then I stepped on a broken Coke bottle in the garage and sliced the bottom of my foot open and my grandmother tried to kill me with my father's blessing.

Why I was barefoot in the garage and how a broken bottle got there I don't remember, but suffice it to say that it was a deep gash of the won't stop bleeding variety. It hurt too.

Still, in hindsight, I probably should have kept my stupid mouth shut, knowing that under the circumstances I was going to be subjected to my grandmother's favorite backwoods remedy and answer to all problems of the open wound variety - Campho Phenique.

Under normal circumstances and had my mother been home I probably would have gone to the hospital and gotten stitches.

Instead, I squeezed my father's hand off while my grandmother doused my deep open wound with liquid camphor. It was all so very World War One in the trenches. I was surprised they didn't just pour moonshine on it and cut my foot off at the knee with a hacksaw while I chewed on a leather strap.

Needless to say the cut didn't heal. Not only didn't it heal, but I developed a fever and my foot swelled to gangrenous and pus-dripping proportions so large that I was not able to put on a shoe - thereby not able to go to school. Meaning I had to stay home all day, tolerating the painful, periodic reapplication of the Campho Phenique and eating left over SOS with the two people at the top of my teenage shit list.

At one point I pulled my dad off to the side and tried to reason with him. "Dad, I think my foot is infected and Grandma just keeps putting Campho Phenique on it. I think I need stitches and a prescription for antibiotics." But he was too far under her spell. "Shhhh! Don't let yer Grandma hear you talkin' like that", he whispered. "That'll hurt her feelings. Besides she raised 15 children to grown. She knows what she's doing."

Of course common sense, reason and penicillin replaced folk wisdom and Civil War era camphor poultices when my mom returned home. I was whisked to the doctor and cared for properly, given stitches and antibiotics.

In yer face batty old woman.

I still have the scar on the bottom of my foot.

So there you go... this big long gripe about my grandmother to explain why I do not like to be fussed over.

I can take care of myself just fine thank you and stay the hell away from me with that Vick's Vapo Rub.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Patch Key In My Man Hands

Today I am feeling mighty low.

I've got a lot working against my favor as I am recovering from a couple of days with a stomach flu and taking care of MDH who returned home from a Las Vegas red eye flight yesterday with jet lag and a rotten head cold. We've barely spoken because he's been sleeping almost non stop and when he's awake I'm staying the hell away from him so I don't catch his... whatever it is. I slept in the guest room last night.

Then the cashier at the supermarket called me "sir".


One time was no big deal, but the second time caused me to question my sexuality and to nearly twist off the rearview mirror in my car in an effort to search my body for signs of a mustache and back hair. Being called "sir" twice in 5 minutes can make a girl a bit paranoid. After I came home and put away the items that needed refrigerated, I abandoned the canned goods on the kichen counter so that I could immediately run to the bathroom to further scrutinize my appearance in the magnifying mirror.

Crazy bitch cashier. There is nothing manly about me.

Even if MDH was feeling up to par this is not a subject I can broach with him. He'd think it was ridiculous and he would be correct.

On a brighter note, yesterday when I was at the salon getting my highlights retouched my stylist Becky offered me something called a Paczki (Patch-Key) and it was fucking delicious. Anyone heard of this? Apparently it's some kind of Polish doughnut made especially for Lent. Anybody ever hear of Lent? This is all new to me. I bought half a dozen cherry filled ones today at the store.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Hey Sailor, Wanna Teach Me Oracle?

I decided that I felt good enough today to try to set up an appointment with a local university that I discovered recently has exactly the degree program I've been looking for. I'm hoping that most of my credits from the degree I already have will transfer and that I can take a few courses and get a second degree with very little fuss. I despise a fuss.

I've known about the program for a couple of weeks and probably should have tried to set this shit up before today, but I tend to put off most things that require communication with total strangers unless it's an emergency - or a pizza delivery.

I set out, as is my usual habit with all things informational, by pulling up the university website and trying to find a "Contact Us" button or link. There was none. I finally decided to click on a "Questions & Answers" link which brought up an e-form that I reluctantly started filling out.

First Name, Last Name, email address, Date of Birth, How did you find out about us, radio buttons to choose my interest in a bachelor's or graduate program that upon clicking opened up another e-form, which I also reluctantly started filling out and soon realized was similar to an admissions form.

Whoa! Slow down there Sailor. I barely know you. Can't we sit down and have a drink and some harmless flirtation before you feel me up?

At some point another little window popped up that asked me if I wanted to chat live with a university representative. I clicked the "Yes" button and started asking my questions via chat with "Angela", who was no help at all.

Angela: I will be happy to email you all the information you need.

She then proceeded to email me exactly the same useless shit that I already had looked at from their website.

Me: Can someone just call me?

Apparently this isn't how they do things. I have to fill out the forms and give them, my name, address, phone numbers, email, and left tit before anyone will be able to contact me to answer my questions.

Does this seem dubious to you? It felt wrong. It seemed cheap and impersonal and now I'm furious and sure I'm going to get a dozen spam emails a day from this place.

All I want is to ask some questions and possibly set up an appointment to meet with someone. How fucking hard is that?

Why do they need to know my birth date?

After I cooled down I looked them up in the good old fashioned phone book. There are about 10 numbers and I intend to call them all, one by one, until I speak to a real live human being who can answer my questions and convice me they are on the level and not trying to screw me before I agree to go there in person. Not today though. Tomorrow for sure.

Hello I'm Miserable

For the first time in I don't even remember how long I am ill.

Nasty ill.

You can read about it here. I haven't got the strength to post about it twice.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Tink Itt's Brocken?

Haz annyboddy elst notaced tat teh spelcheker on Blogger iz nit werkin?

Friday, February 1, 2008

True Romance Really Stinks

Long ago when MDH and I first met and fell in love, we agreed that we would treat each other with love and kindness every day of the year and that we would never, under any circumstances celebrate Valentine's Day.

As a veteran single gal I spent many a Valentine's Day alone and dateless watching other women gushing over roses sent to the office while they twittered excitedly about engagement rings and candlelit dinners.

Of course I wasn't single for that long without recieving my fair share of cheap teddy bears, heart shaped Whitman's samplers, awkward greeting cards addressed to "My Special Friend" and single red roses wrapped in plastic tubes purchased as an afterthought from a stooped over old lady selling them from a bucket in a bar (a single wed wose, how womantic). These empty gestures almost always seem to be followed by the inevitable break up.

Valentine's Day = bitter disappointment

MDH shared my feelings about this trumped up Hallmark holiday and I was enchanted.

I knew that MDH was the man for me after we had been dating about 8 weeks. Not because of all of the mushy stuff that people normally wax romantic about. In fact, it's probably kind of gross. We had been to the movies and were walking quietly, snuggled close, hand in hand in a misty rain through the parking lot back to the car, discussing our feelings about romance in general and ours in particular. When the rain started to come down harder I quickened my pace. He let loose of my hand to let me run ahead and when it seemed I was just out of earshot, he farted.

I was astounded.

MDH always looks as if he has just stepped out of the dress shirt section of the Eddie Bauer catalog. Starched button down shirts with pressed khaki pants and polished dress shoes is his standard uniform. He is very put together and corporate looking, always freshly shaved and not a hair out of place. He dressed this way for our dates, even when we went drinking at dive bars or out for pizza slices and it was a welcome change to the sorts of bewhiskered slacker clowns I had become accustomed to dating. He was a well groomed breath of fresh smelling Irish Spring air.

Honestly? He seemed a little too perfect. It was intimidating.

We were at the stage in our courtship where we had become intimate, confessed a true and deep emotional connection to one another and had spoken out loud that we each saw this relationship as "really going somewhere". But our love was still quite new and although we had been open minded in the boudoir, we were still getting to know each other and had not yet reached that place where either one of us had admitted to the other or to ourselves that we were human.

The man gave every indication that he believed I was a goddess and I planned to keep it that way for as long as possible, which meant a closed bathroom door and gaseousness in all forms supressed. That fart, and the fact that he waited to release it until he thought I wouldn't hear it, spoke volumes about his high opinion of me and I was honored.

But at the same time I realized I could finally relax and then I couldn't resist...

Me: Did you just fart and then pretend like you didn't?

Him: I had to clear an obstruction.

His authoritative and official sounding response still makes me laugh out loud to this very day, and it opened the floodgates, so to speak and set the tone and unspoken rules about openness and bathroom humor we follow to this very day.

Romance isn't flowers and candle light. Real romance is being kissed with morning breath and finding someone sexy while they run the sweeper or mow the lawn.

It's knowing that you are free to be yourself and share opinions.

It's looking at that person in a new way every single day, seeing them change and grow, but knowing they are exactly the same as they always were.

It's knowing that that person will be there every single goddamn day for the rest of your life, in your face, behind your back, in and out, back to front, upside down and not only not minding, but looking forward to it.

Finding sweat pants, messy hair and stinky feet adorable is true love.

I say Fuck Valentine's Day, but if you do choose to celebrate this bullshit holiday - DON'T BE LAME. At this point you've got 2 whole weeks to plan something meaningful so don't wait until the last minute - book a reservation at the romantic restaurant now so you don't end up at the fucking Sizzler.

Seriously, it's better to not give anything at all than to end up resorting to one of those goddamn bucket roses or a teddy bear purchased from a gas station.