03 March 2015

It's A Small World

I blew up my Facebook newsfeed last night and this morning.  It started innocently enough.  A childhood friend mentioned her Girl Scout uniform in a status update.  I remembered that I posted a class photo a few years ago and she was wearing it.  So, I reposted the photo.

An online class/school reunion ensued.  It was kind of awesome.

Then I offered to post the rest of the class photos that I have.  I did it this morning, tagged everyone I could, and invited others to tag also.  Holy crackers.  Approximately eleventy billion notifications later, it is as if the entire school has reconnected.  I found and friended three classmates and can facebook stalk a few others. 

The downside is that tagged people's friends can comment or like.  I have to double-check to make sure it's not someone I know.  Fourth, fifth, and sixth grades were combined so there are older and younger kids in the photos as well. Also, two different elementary schools are involved. It's my own Six Degrees of Separation.

One of my friends (a guy) was teased about the oh so attractive 1980's haircut.  He was one of the cutest boys in our class for forever.  So, I commented "I can attest on behalf of the girls, chicks dug that haircut back in the day."  That was kind of fun.  I was teased about having perfectly feathered hair in one photo.  So, essentially, it was sixth grade all over again. But in a good, happy way.

I did have some hesitation that someone might not appreciate being tagged but I figure they can go back and untag themselves. I wouldn't be offended.  Also, they were already my facebook friends so it probably wasn't going to be an issue.  But one never knows.

Also, I think nearly everyone was named and updated in the photos.  There were a few kids that we only had a first name and collectively we were all "That's so-and-so and they live in Texas now."   The names that some of us remember are nicknames that no longer used.  Ron was Ronnie back in the day or I only remember him as "DJ" and someone else says "Oh, that's David..."

It's been a fun experience, all in all.  Right now many folks are at work so I imagine the fun will begin again this evening as people settle in and realize they have time traveled via the facebook.

I highly recommend that you do it if you have access to your classroom photos!  I just thought if nothing else, some of the people either don't have theirs anymore or couldn't get them back in the day and now they can have them.

26 February 2015

Page By Page

I've been diligently working on the massive bookshelf over the past few days.  Diligently defined as shelf by shelf, book by book, and in between other chores, television shows, and anything else that distracts.

I'm surprised and horrified to find that there are three full shelves of books that I still need to read.  Three shelves.  It's safe to say: I have issues.  No more book buying for me for a while. (<---total br="" lie="">

I try to not keep a book that I know I'm not going to read again but that hasn't always been the case.  It used to be that I kept them willy-nilly until the house threatened to cave under the weight. 

When we first moved into this house, I didn't have the big bookcase yet.  I lined up the books below the big window in my office.  I loved how it looked but it drove Kevin mental.  Now I try to keep them in the bookcase as best as possible.  And I'll admit, once I had them picked up and put away, I did feel a little better too.

Fun fact: when we packed the old house and moved into this one I didn't mark the unread books.  They became all mixed up and I'm still finding a book that I bought years ago and never read.  A fun surprise sometimes.

It's difficult to cull through books because I have a wide range of "Why did I buy this?" to "I can't believe I still HAVE this!" to "I don't know that I ever read this." For one thing, there is something pleasing and comforting about looking at stacks or shelves of books.  All the potential.  The "Oh, I loved that book!". The pleasing esthetic look of them.

I will admit that I have an entire shelf of old-school paperback Danielle Steel novels dating back to my high-school days.  Imagine my horror when I realized these books were thirty years old.  
In my defense, back-in-the-day Danielle Steel used to write these epic novels. Well written, complicated storylines, multi-character stories. Stories about the Romanovs, the Titanic survivors, behind the scenes of a television show.  Now it seems like she churns out novels as if she just copy and pastes character names and descriptions into different settings.  It's disappointing, really.

But I've kept these older novels because of the rainbow color bookcovers.  They sat on a lower shelf and were just lovely to look at.  But now that shelf space is at a premium, I'm going to have to let go.
As I took them off the shelf, the dust was thick, the bindings stiff and brittle, and the pages yellowed.  I feel badly now that they've been left to deteriorate on a shelf.  I'm still keeping a few of them, age be damned.  The rest of them will go to Goodwill.  

I have a big stack of books by two different authors that I'm now wondering why I have them.  I read the jackets or just a few paragraphs and I'm over it.  I don't know what happened there. Perhaps I liked one or two books so I did the "BUY ALL THE THINGS!" and that's why I have them. I blame second hand shops and Amazon. Tastes change, I realize.  Maybe if I made an effort to really sit down with them then my interest would be rekindled, but that defeats the purpose of this whole exercise.

Book snobbery has come into play a bit as well.  Oh, the jacket cover is gone: can't keep you. The binding is cracked: nope, off you go! Cover is out-of-date and unattractive, thanks for playing but no.

So, I have the categories of "Haven't Read" "Can't Bear to Part With" "Read but Look Forward to Reading Again" and "Not Sure but Feel Compelled to Keep."

 It's daunting but I know that I will probably cull again when packing the remaining books into boxes and unpacking said boxes back onto the shelves.  I'm also going to play the surgery card and have Kevin load them into the 4Runner so I don't get all wistful and sentimental.

Stacks of books whose fate has yet to be determined

24 February 2015

Disassembly Required

Kevin and I have clearly gone mutually insane.  We have decided to change the carpet and flooring in the house.  The whole house. Every room.

It's not the money, I'm not so much worried about that.  It's the disassembling of the entire house.
Everything has to be moved out in order for the carpet to be laid.  Everything.  All my books.  I'm supposed to be working on those right now, don't tell Kevin I'm here. All of the CLOSETS.  OMG, Monica's Closet!!  Two big china cupboards full of antique dishes and toys.  My 200 lb. war-era, oak desk. 

Sweet baby jesus.  I need a drink, stat.

I'm trying to tell myself that it will be an adventure.  Think of how nice it will be to cull stuff.  Everything can be returned better, cleaner, more organized.

And then I look at this:

two layers of books on some shelves. Mostly hardbacks.

200 lbs.  I have to clean out the drawers.  I have to file.

I'm steadfastly ignoring the case on the left, which is FULL of Hot Wheels.  One, two, three, NOT IT, Kevin!  Or the fact that it's sitting on a bookcase full of Kevin's books.

Also, I feel compelled to state that I'm not a pillow fetish person, they are a lame attempt to keep the puppy from jumping up on the desk.  It failed. 

And the above is only an example of the office.  Again, I repeat: two china cupboards.  One more bookcase. Our entire bedroom. The closets.  The kitchen.  Did I mention that they're taking out the kitchen island to lay the flooring?  I didn't? Oh yeah.  And all the appliances.

*deep breathing*

I am going to implement Swistle's technique of "Does it bless or oppress?" and be ruthless about my babies, I mean, my books.

I should say that I feel a little like a spoiled brat complaining because "Wah, you're getting new carpet and wood flooring."  But the mere contemplation of disassembling this house after living in it ten years is daunting, at best.

So, I think the best first step is to take the puppy to get coffee.

Warning Signs

Well, that was quick.

I went to work earlier this week, the first time since they took out all my bionic parts.  I was so frustrated to have to return to work because I was beginning to hate and resent the job.  It was starting to make me anxious and grumpy. Also, like no other job I'd ever had, there was no contact last week regarding my health or anything.  I know I'd only worked there like five minutes but I was still surprised and disappointed.

On paper it's a very good job. On. Paper.   In reality, it is almost an episode of The Office.

The first three days I was there, I didn't have a desk.  So I hovered at others desks and felt awkward the whole time.  Then the person that was supposed to be training me was either not there, too busy, and just didn't participate.  I spent the first two weeks feeling like an outsider, even when I had a desk. One of the ladies helped train me and so did the assistant manager when he had time but really, three different people training someone is setting that person up for certain failure. (warning sign!)

To add insult to injury, the person that was supposed to be training me (who wasn't my supervisor, but yet kind of was) is socially awkward and often takes...no exaggeration...to the count of ten to respond to you in any way.  With eye contact, verbally, or even a hand gesture.  This is not fun to learn to cope with while you're still trying to learn the job.  The assistant manager is quiet and non-confrontational.  He spent time slumped behind his monitor, working. I would ask if there was something I could be doing and often there wasn't. In theory, it sounds fun to be paid to do nothing but that is not how I'm wired.  Also, the non-profit manager in me was silently screaming that I should be sent home if there wasn't work.  On some level, I think they intended this to also be part of the orientation; to just absorb the environment and learn by osmosis.

Now, the business is just one really large room.  There aren't any offices or even cubicles.  It's just a huge open space with desks arranged in kind of an organized fashion.  There are 18 people in this room so a person hears 18 conversations, 18 phones, 18 ringtones, etc.  This is fantastic with those of us that are wired like me.  Also, so not productive for anyone. I don't know how anyone thought this was a good idea.

I should also mention that nearly everyone there was ill and out of the office at least a day a week.  I was only there two months.  The room  design and absence connect seems obvious to me but not to anyone else, apparently.

Now, this is where I also say that the owner/manager has a standing desk in the middle of everything.  He literally stands at his desk all day, no chair even exists.  He's in the middle of everything so you hear his calls, etc.  This means you also get to hear when he has disagreements with his employees or does any kind of interaction really.  I listened to him chastise two different employees in front of everyone.  I tell you what, if that had happened to me directly I would walk out so fast.

The owner/manager is also one of those people that reads self-help and motivation books.  You can tell that by talking to him and by looking at how he manages people. In some ways, he was very much Michael Scott.

He is also conservative Christian.  I found this out on my first day, by his own admission. That was one of my first warnings and I should have listened.  He takes lunch every day at 11:30 and he sits in his car and listens to the radio. (I know, right? He owns the company)  One day I overheard that he was listening to Rush Limbaugh (to which I thought "OF COURSE!")  Imagine my surprise when later that afternoon he mentioned that he was listening to his bible study tapes in the car during lunch.  I so badly wanted to shout "Your pants are so on fire!" LIAR!"  This was one of my other warnings.

He also had the tendency to make blanket proclamations like "I don't like the Big Bang Theory, it's stupid." As if others opinions or tastes doesn't matter. Remember, it's a big room with 18 people so everyone hears. Another warning sign that I should have heeded.

Now, it's a security company so their products are used throughout the building.  This means that there are security cameras all through the office. AND every work station has software so that you can tune in to see all the cameras.  Essentially a person could spend all day watching their co-workers on the security footage.  This is just weird to me. I can understand that you can tell where someone is if they are needed and that can be handy.  But, it seems overly invasive and controlling.

I spent a good portion of my day surfing the internet (the cameras missed me. You could kind of only tell if I was at my desk)  because there just wasn't anything for me to do.  There would be little pockets of busyness that would last, at most, 30 minutes.  They kept saying that it was going to get busy but it just never did.  I don't know if they didn't plan well or over-estimated the need for that position or what.

All this being said, the one thing that wasn't made clear and I underestimated myself was the inventory part of the job.  Most inventory has bar codes which are alpha-numeric. Guess what dyslexics struggle with?  Alpha-numerics!  On this portion of the job, I was not a good fit for this position.  At ALL.

Which brings me to the point: I'm no longer working there.  We mutually agreed that it wasn't a good fit for me.  I very nearly skipped out of the building.  I called Kevin (almost from my desk) to tell him.  He said "You sound upset, are you upset?"  I was all "NO! I'm so relieved.  I'm actually pleased!"

In case you're wondering, yes I left the nerf gun behind.  It didn't feel right to take it.  Shoot it at people, yes. :)

Oh, and if you're wondering but what if? about the job...here's where I tell you that it is required that you bring a treat for everyone ON YOUR OWN BIRTHDAY.  I thought they were joking when I was told about it but not so much.  They also advertise everyone's birthdays and work anniversaries on the bulletin board so everyone knows it's your birthday.

16 February 2015

Just Checking In

The surgery is all done and it went well.  Now I'm in that weird space of trying to recover as quickly as possible even though I have no control over how long this will take.  I'm on the pain meds, which are different than the ones I had before.  They make me sleepy and I don't like it.  The meds I had before slowed me down but I could still function.  These pills knock me out the moment I stop moving.  Yes, I realize that's the point but it doesn't mean I have to like it.  I tried taking them only at night but they still make me stupid during the day.

As it stands, I can't wear shoes and can barely get a sock on my foot.  I'm able to walk around the house and have ventured outside twice.  I'm starting to get cabin fever, for sure.

So, as always, I set the bar way to high for myself.  This time was based on the surgeon's instructions of weight bearing from the get-go and it should only take a week of recovery.  I'm at one week tomorrow and I don't see myself returning to work very quickly.  Especially since work requires shoes.

05 February 2015

Special Shoes

The official countdown to surgery has started.  I'm actually excited, with only a little bit of nervousness.  I am just ready to have this whole thing over with.

I should be off my feet for only a few days.  There is a change that it will be longer but I won't know that for sure until I wake up from surgery.  That will be a fun little surprise. In the meanwhile, I have 34 Gilmore Girls episodes to watch while "relaxing".

If the bones are damaged from the loosening screws, then the recovery will be longer.  If they aren't then it should just be a few days.  I don't know if I will have physical therapy this time or not.  I'm hoping a little that I will.  A little added insurance, I think.

I will admit to having a little psychological trust issue with standing on my leg without the bionics.  I mean, I know that they won't let me do anything that isn't possible or safe. It's just reversing the thought processes that have developed over the last three years.

As an incentive to recover quickly and regain strength/mobility that I've lost, I have new sneakers to wear.  I received them from my brother for Christmas but I just can't wear them right now.  My ankle just isn't strong enough yet.  Also, it's weird to say but there is a learning curve when wearing a new pair of shoes.

With these, because they are light and low, I felt like I was high stepping when I wore them.  It's just a habit to develop is all. But in the meanwhile, they're a goal to reach for this summer.

If I can wear them without issue, come summer I will buy a pair to match the racecar.
Photo from Amazon

03 February 2015

Static Cling

My mom gave us sheets for Christmas.  This isn't an unusual gift, it's actually sometimes requested.  It can backfire: she gave us lime green colored sheets once.

This year she went Christmas shopping at Ross with her best friend.  She bought herself a set of these sheets and loved them so much, she returned to get them for us.

We use flannel sheets all year long.  I like how cozy they are, I hate the feel of cold sheets.  During the summer, I just take a blanket or two off the bed.

She bought us FLEECE sheets.  Fleece, like blankets or sweatshirts.  They are super cozy and warm.  It's like sleeping amongst kittens.

But it's winter.  The house is static-y.  I regularly shock Kevin accidentally, which is greatly entertaining to me but I always fear it will someday be paid back to me.

And it was.

I had noticed that the sheets sparked when you pulled the covers back or when you roll over. Like when you were a child and scooched your feet back and forth to create them.  I'd shocked myself a few times but no big deal really.

Eventually I shocked Kevin.  He sleeps soundly so he didn't really notice, at most rolling over.  I admit, I giggled.

Until, in the middle of the night Kevin rolled over and put his arm around me.  In doing so, he shocked me right at the base of my spine.  I swear to sweet baby jesus, the room lit up.  You could hear it crack like lightning.

I muttered to him and rolled over back to sleep. Not before hearing him stifle a giggle.  So, he had this story to tell at Friday night dinner and he was still laughing like it just happened.

His mom seemed interested in the sheets so I was considering giving them to her. (Kevin banned them from our house)  It occurred to me that she's on oxygen.  So I asked Kevin if that was a real concern or if I was over-thinking it.

"Well, it could be a small concern of lighting my mom up but do you really think it's a good idea to give these sheets to our 75 year old parents?"

Fair enough.

26 January 2015

Blue Friday Night Dinner

Usually the family goes out for Friday Night Dinner every Friday.  Lately, Kevin's mom hasn't been up for it so we haven't been going.  Kevin and I have both realized how much we prefer to stay at home.   We're just over eating out at restaurants.

So, the deal is that if he works on Saturday we don't go.  Or if we do go, we take a separate vehicle. Sometimes, and these are good days, Kevin just decides he doesn't want to go.

Last Friday, I texted him in the afternoon and said that I was thinking about take-out for dinner.

He writes: "I told them I would go to dinner. Sorry. I understand if you stay home"
Me: "Dude"
Him: "I know. I suck."
Him, again: "Brother bought mom a Seahawk shirt and she said she can't wait to wear it out of blue Friday night."

It turns out that she wanted to wear her Seahawks shirt for Blue Friday.  Kevin had to explain that it's Blue Friday and not Friday Night.  A person wears their Seahawks gear all day, not just to dinner.


Coincidentally I had ordered a hoodie for Kevin and it arrived that afternoon.  So, I wore my hoodie and he wore his.

She was so pleased that we were all honoring Blue Friday.

Then, during dinner, she explained that she won the shirt as a bet from Kevin's brother.  Kevin was all "What, now?"  She explained that she said "If the Hawks win, then I get a shirt!"  Somewhere in her muddled brain, she has decided that she won a bet versus just making a wish for a shirt.

So, Kevin's brother bought her a shirt when they won on Sunday to settle their bet.

Now, she's looking at the sweatshirts that Kevin and I were wearing and "betting" that if they win again, she could have a sweatshirt.

This is where smart phones are invaluable.  I clicked on my Amazon app and tried to reorder the sweatshirt like Kevins.  It increased by $20 in less than a week.  Yikes.  I kept browsing and found one slightly different for less.  One-click-purchase and it will be here tomorrow. She is none-the-wiser.

Now she can really celebrate Blue Friday and the Super Bowl.

22 January 2015

Two Plates, Two Cups, Two Spoons

The kids watched movies at our house on New Year's Eve while the adults played games next door. The plan was they would watch movies and have popcorn then come down just before midnight.

We had already left when the kids dropped off the kids. I dug out every extra pillow and blanket I could find so that each kid had their own.  We were pretty specific with the Nephew and Fiancee about "rules" because we don't have a kid friendly house, really.  But there were only two instructions: no horseplay and stay out of our room and office. They've been there before and they're good kids. But there are five of them and they're kids.

The Nephew and Fiancee joined the adults after getting the kids settled.  Although Fiancee has been in our house before, getting the kids settled gave her the opportunity to really see the house.  A person doesn't feel quite so conspicuous looking around when the owners aren't there.

"It's so TINY! So clean! I kept thinking Is This REAL?" she exclaimed to us.

I just laughed because it is tiny and it is clean.  I told her "Honey, we don't have five kids like you do!"

This spun her off onto another exclamation.  "We had to get bowls out for all the kids and we opened the cupboard and there were just a few bowls and I was confused.  Then it occurred to me: there's only two of them.  Isn't that sweet?  They only have what they need. And they only need two!"

She meant it genuinely and lovingly. Being a mom who needs at least of five of everything AND make sure that one child has the green one and the other has the blue one, etc.  this probably is a dream to her.

19 January 2015

Suddenly, I Can't Concentrate

We know that I don't like medicine.  It doesn't help my attitude that I'm allergic to most everything.  But mostly, I just resent that there is a pill for everything and that it seems like the go-to for solving health concerns anymore.

When I had to begin taking nerve blockers for my leg, I was pretty hesitant about it.  But I was desperate to feel better so I took them.  Turns out, they make me stupid so I could only take them at night anyway.

The fun part of this medicine is that you're not supposed to quit it cold-turkey. They are addictive. As I take the lowest dose and only nightly, the suggestion was to alternate nights and gradually taper off.  I am not wired in a way that makes this feasible without charts and graphs and babysitting.

So, of course I bucked the recommendation and quit cold turkey last week.  I figured, like I do about most things, What's the worst that can happen?

Luckily, it hasn't been all bad.  But it's been a trip, if you will.

Firstly, I decided to go off them not only because I hate medicine but with my upcoming surgery I felt like I needed to not have anything in my system so I could truly know where I am afterward pain and mobility wise.

Wait, did I explain that I'm having an allergic reaction to my bionics and it all has to be removed? Yeah, that's fun. All the screws are loosening (insert joke here) and the tissue is rejecting the parts.  I went from planning on just getting one screw that was troublesome removed to getting all eight screws and both plates removed.  *fun*

The point of this story is that I had the displeasure of detoxing.  I understand why addicts avoid this feeling and I wasn't going through the whole process like an addict would.

The job of the medicine is the exact description of the problem and the withdrawal: nerve blockers.  It dulled the nerves in my leg so that I didn't want to saw it off all.day.long.  So when a person stops taking these, the nerves wake up and party.

I thought that I would just have issues with my leg and had kind of a game plan for coping with it. What I didn't anticipate was the whole body reaction.  I've been dizzy, like just got off the merry-go-round dizzy.  I've been hot, which is really weird because I'm never hot. I've been squirmy and a little more ADD than usual.

I remember noticing when I started taking the medicine that it slowed the ADD down a little. It was a pleasant side effect and now I'm missing that a little.  I'm not too worried about it, I just have to remember what it's like to feel "normal" for me again.

Also, I will miss the sleeping.  I used to be able to sleep through the night and now I'm back to my wide awake until 11-midnight hours and awake again around 3:00 am.  Sigh...

As I write this, it seems like there are more entries in the Pro category than the Con category.  I am probably going to need to think about this more.  Less ADD behavior and better sleep are good things.  I just wish it didn't take a pill to change those.

It will take a few weeks for everything to subside and return to normal so I do remind myself that this will level out.  This was particularly challenging when I felt like coming out of my skin while watching a movie the other night. I felt like my very own After School Special.

The shiny side is that I'm not totally miserable.  I think that I will be just fine without these meds, if the parts weren't trying to leave my body.  My hope now is that the new surgery doesn't make them necessary again.

18 January 2015

We Believe

So, you might have heard the Seahawks are returning to the Super Bowl.  Trust me, if you live in the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia, there's no way not to know.

Except if you're Kevin.  With three minutes left in the game and Seahawks down by over two touchdowns, he declared himself a Fair Weather Fan and went out to the shop to work on the racecar.  I started doing my chores and ended up folding laundry in our room while watching the game. 

I am superstitious so I thought maybe this will change the game. (shut up) And it seemed to have worked.

I might have yelled.  I might have clapped.  I absolutely cursed.

Two minutes left and the Seahawks tied the game.  Unbelievable.

So, I text Kevin:
Lynch Touchdown under review.
Touchdown reversed.
Wilson touchdown.
Seahawks interception.
Lynch touchdown.

I even posted on the facebook "Holy wow Beast Mode"

He didn't answer, which was a little unusual but I thought maybe he was next door or listening and not able to respond.

And then he comes into the house and is on the phone, like the world is not exploding in excitement.  I walked out to say what the hell when he sits in his chair and looks at the screen.

His jaw dropped and his eyes got huge. "Wait, what? What is HAPPENING!?!?!  It was over. What is going on!?!?!"

I yelled "ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?!  CHECK YOUR TEXTS! We're still in it!"

He was talking to one of our Canadian friends that wasn't interested in watching the game so he don't know either.  I'm all "GET OFF THE PHONE!!!"

And then we won and OMG OMG OMG.

One of the major things about Russell Wilson, the quarterback, is his steadfast gratitude. If you're unaware of who this gentleman is, look him up.  He's the person we all want to be.

So, instead of celebrating on the field, the players huddled and gave thanks in prayer.  No one disturbed them, just stood quietly by and let them finish. They're going to the Super Bowl and they're huddled together in gratitude.  After proper thanks were given, then the celebration began. 

This is who the Seahawks are. Positive. Humble.  Grateful.

16 January 2015

No Christmas Present for Them

I'd forgotten about this happening until it randomly popped in my head again.

On Christmas Eve we went to get coffee with the puppy before we had to leave on our Seattle adventure.  We always take the girls candy on Christmas Eve as a thank you gift.  Kevin handed it to them the candy and we chatted while we waited for our drinks.

We have punch cards that earn free drinks after a certain amount of punches.  Over the holidays and vacation, we usually end up with extra free drink cards.

Kevin is really good at paying it forward.  He will randomly give one of his cards away to the car behind him or the State Patrolman that comes through about the same time as he does.

So, he gestured with one of the free drink cards and said "Should we give this to the car behind us as a Merry Christmas gift?"

Distractedly, I looked in the rear view mirror and said "There's no one behind us."

Kevin sighs, like he does when I'm not paying full attention, and says "I know that but there eventually will be.  So we can do that or should we just say 'eff those guys' and that's what they get for not being here right this minute? Nice. Real nice Christmas attitude."

It was one of those moments that still makes me laugh, weeks later.

15 January 2015

It's Always the Quiet Ones

In light of recent events in the world, I've written this very gingerly.

So, I have my first official Nerf gun fight story.  It seems that exchanges break out around the tired hour (3:00 pm)  daily.  Short little bursts happen throughout the day but an all-out skirmish seems to happen about then.

Today one had broken out and almost everyone was involved, so nearly eight people.  One of the guys involved was one of the nerdy IT guys.  He's usually pretty quiet and seems very nice.  He spends a lot of time staring at video screens and on the phone.

Apparently he sassed somewhere along the way so he was taking fire.  The rule is no shooting at people while they are on the telephone.  (this rule appears to have a lot of wiggle room) Unfortunately, he had to take a phone call during the exchange.  He did the international time-out sign and sat down.

He uses a wireless headset so he can move around where he needs to when on the phone. He put his headset on and sat down at his desk.  A few minutes went by and his neighbor shot him.  He gestured at him like "Effing really?" and kept talking.

About a minute later, I watched him calmly stand up while still talking.  He quietly picked up his Nerf gun and began "So, I checked the ABCDE and if you could check the FGHIJK then..." Pew Pew Pew.

Dude picks up his nerf gun and just takes everyone out all the while having a perfectly normal conversation with the client on the phone. "Great, if that works then we can test the XYZ switch and..." Pew Pew Pew " then we can proceed onto the.." *Pew Pew Pew*.

His voice didn't waver, his demeanor never changed.  He bobbed and weaved while being shot at by those who weren't doubled-over laughing. Everyone was laughing so hard they could hardly stand.
Then he calmly sat back down like nothing ever happened and eventually finished the call.  All the while, the client is completely unaware of what's just transpired.

This just supports the cliche that it's always the quiet ones you have to keep an eye on.

07 January 2015

Let's Go to the Movies!

Santa gave me a movie gift card this year.  I thought this was a very good present, one that I've given to my nieces before because I knew they couldn't afford to go the movies..  It makes people go to the movies, instead of putting it off because it's too expensive or whatever.

This the part where I say that I hate going to the movies.  Hate it.  Obviously, Santa didn't know this.  The way I am wired, it's just too difficult to concentrate.  People bug me.  It's too loud.  Don't sit so close to me, jeez.

I wrote about this a few years ago, the last time I went to the movies.  We sat next to a teenager who was trying to impress his date with his not witty and not clever comments THROUGHOUT the whole movie.  I told him to be quiet, Kevin told him to be quiet. The person behind him told him. Unfortunately for the rest of us, he was the funniest guy in the room.  When we left after the movie finished, I stood up and leaned toward him, and said "You owe your mother an apology."  Kevin just walked away, laughing.

Anyway.  The point being is that it's been years since Kevin and I went to the movies together. I had to go look it up, it was 2009.

The city where I work just built a brand new multiplex.  It's really, really nice.  Well, look:

Isn't that something?  It's a nice mix of old and new.  It's huge, you can't quite tell that from the photo. 16 theaters are behind that facade.

It was nice adventure from the beginning to end.  I actually felt excited to experience it. It felt like being a kid at the movies for the first time, so much had changed. I could remember going to the movies the first time (Snow White, with my eldest brother, I think I was six or so) and marveling at the whole place.

While Kevin was just happy to have me at the movies with him.

This is the lobby/concession area.  This is where I started to get overwhelmed. The reader board above the counters are television screens that scroll the menu, advertisements, and movie times. It felt like something out of a movie (haha, get it?)  I leaned into Kevin and said "I feel really old standing here.  All this newfangled technology surrounding me.

One of the things that I don't like, along with every single other American, is the cost of the food.  We had two dollars left over from the gift card and we still paid $18 for two sodas and one bucket of popcorn. $18!!  

There was also a sign at the ticket-taker booth stating that large bags, etc. aren't allowed.  I, of course, was a little eye-rolly because we just paid $18 dollars for food.  Then it also occurred to me that now they're worried about guns as well.  Sigh...

This is the theater that we actually sat in.  See that railing? We sat right there, next to the stairs.  We chose exactly the right movie because the theater was nearly empty.  It was a Christmas miracle!

We watched The Gambler with Mark Wahlberg.  I think he could stand in an empty room and read the phone book and it would come out in the accent of "Eff you."  I do enjoy him.
Oh, the movie was good too.

I might consider going again.  The theater is so nice and if we go to the matinee, it's less busy and I'll not hate so many people.

A Team Builder, in a Weird Way

So, I was asked by Life of a Doctor's Wife about the nerf guns at my new work.  It's a strange thing, really, as I'm sure you all think.  I don't know about the origin of how it came about.  My suspicions are around one of the owners sons, who seems to be the instigator 90% of the time.  (this instigator once army-crawled across the office to surprise someone...he's over six feet tall)

Everyone has a nerf gun.  It seems that some of the people have different kinds of bullets though. One set of them whistles, another travels like a curve ball. Someones are colored by sharpie.

Some people hardly use their guns.  It's like a personality type determination test.  I haven't used mine; being the new girl, it feels weird.  I do foresee using it though.  I owe the Instigator a few shots as I was caught in the crossfire, twice.

The pattern seems to be that the gunfights break out in the afternoon, about the time that everyone falls into that lull that happens around 2:30.  Everyone is quietly working then you hear the "thwack" of the gun and usually a giggle or a "Dude!" followed by more "thwacks".

It's funny to watch people's reactions when they don't work here and a melee breaks out.  Think salesmen, repairmen, new hires.  One of the new people was trying to complete paperwork as nerf bullets are whizzing by him.  Yesterday I took a call and when I said that the person was unavailable, the man on the phone asked if he was taking fire.

It appears to be a stress reliever and strangely a team builder.  When bullets land near me, I usually collect them then return them to the two girls whose desks seem to be the front line. Thus building an alliance. (I've watched Survivor)

The tech guys don't have them, as they're working out of the building most of the day I'm guessing.  I've seen them steal/borrow guns and join in at the end of the day though.  I always enjoy that part of the day.

Actually the way my desk is located I am out of the fray most times, save the occasional misfires that wing bullets my direction.  Again being the new girl, I think some are uncertain to shoot at me just yet.  I'm sure that will pass before too long.

(P.S. Life of a Doctor's Wife: I think she bought the Sheldon pen online.  Ebay, maybe?  CBS Store?)

02 January 2015

The Gift of the Magi

Everyone had kind of a rough year financially so Kevin's family decided for the adults to not exchange gifts.  When we were first together, it was a big extravagant process with stockings and presents from everyone.  Over the years it has gotten pared down to choosing a single name, buying for all the kids, and your spouse.  This year, presents were only for the kids and your spouse.

Kevin and I usually give each other two gifts, one at each family's houses.  This year, we were non-committal because we've reached the age where we don't need anything per se or what we want are big ticket items.

When I did my Christmas shopping on Amazon, I ordered the West Wing dvd set.  I figured it could be a present for the both of us but I would wrap it up for Kevin.  So, there was one present done.

When we were in Vegas, there weren't any event hoodies left to buy and Kevin was really disappointed.  I had to wait for the email saying they were in and it was getting close to being too late so I was starting to fret a little. Finally, just in time, the email arrived and I ordered one.  The next day I received another email for a different sweatshirt so I ordered that as well.  Okay, now I'm done with him.

Then, at dinner, Kevin asked about presents.  I told him that I didn't go big and to not worry about it too much.  I mentioned that we don't really need or want for much at this age.  He said that there was one thing that he wanted last year and didn't get.

Yeah, that feeling...the disappointment and dread.  I sat there hoping it was something I could order quickly.  He wanted a bug shield for his truck.  I had totally forgotten about it.  I had it saved on his wish list and everything and I still forgot.

I waited for him to fall asleep then grabbed my phone to order it.  Thank sweet baby jesus for the Amazon app and Amazon Prime.  I ordered it and it was due to be delivered the 23rd.  Cutting it close but I can roll with it.

So, I told Kevin's parents that it was arriving on the 23rd and could they please tackle the UPS guy and hide it at their house.  Yes, for sure.

The 23rd came and no present.  All day.  I was starting to panic.  We ate dinner and I was doing the dishes when I heard a truck.  They didn't come to our door though.  Soon, Kevin's dad called to say that a package ("From Vegas" he whispered into the phone) was dropped off.  It was his sweatshirts and not the shield.
I went over and got it, just to make sure.  As I came in the door, Kevin happened to be in the kitchen.  "What's that?" he asked.  "Um, well, it's, um, something for the niece. I totally forgot about it."

Half an hour passed and I was doing laundry, which is thankfully where the back door is.  Kevin is in the living room, cozy in his chair with the puppy, out of sight.  I heard a truck and immediately broke into a flop sweat.

Sure enough, they knocked on the door.  The puppy freaks out and I'm silently hoping Kevin just stays put.  It was the UPS guy and he had two boxes.  One was our magician's magic kit and the other was the shield.

The box for the shield was over six feet tall.  What.the.hell do I do with that?

We live in a tiny house so hiding places are non-existent. I stood in the laundry room like a Stooge, going back and forth trying to figure out where in the world I was going to hide this.  Laid across the washer & dryer? No. In the coat closet? big no.  In the office?  No place to put it. *bad words*  I couldn't sneak it next door because I'd already been over there and lied my face off to Kevin.

Finally, I thrust it in the extra bathroom shower.  Kevin rarely uses that bathroom and I knew it was super unlikely he would shower in there in the next 24 hours.  That would have to do.

We went to bed and I was still trying to figure it out.  Because of our trip to Seattle, I couldn't get it next door without being noticed.  I didn't have time to wrap it and even if I did, it wouldn't fit under the tree and he would know what it was.  Finally I just decided that I was going to put a bow on it and figure it out on Christmas morning.

Kevin always gets up before me because he's one of those annoying morning people.  I heard him in the shower and wondered what I was going to do with his present.

After he got halfway dressed, I told him "I couldn't shower in the other room, there's something in the shower and it's freaking me out."  (this is no lie, really)  He knows I'm not the kind of person that freaks out over bugs so he was a little concerned.

I hear the shower curtain move and a startled "Oh, sh*t! What is that? Oh....Totally Cool!"

So, I win.  Whew!

Three presents for him didn't go unnoticed.  He worried a few times that I felt bad but I assured him that I was fine. I've bought two books since then so I figure we're even.

31 December 2014

Happy New Year!

New Year's Meme

It’s back! The New Years Meme!  

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?
I’m not sure.  It was a weird year.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Not really, at all.  Massive car repairs took replacing appliances off the list.  Write daily was better than years past but still not achieved.  I have culled and converted our CD’s but I’m still stalled at what to do with the remaining ones. I suspect separation anxiety.

My resolutions for 2014:
1. Replace three major appliances. This is a resolution and not task because I keep putting it off.
2. Write Daily...be it an email, a tweet, a post, something.  Facebook and to-do lists don't count
3. Deal with the three million obsolete cd's that we have, which means learning to convert them. 

My resolutions for 2015:

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Not this year, but a friend is pregnant.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes, we lost a friend to suicide this summer.

5. What countries did you visit?

"Oh Canada, our home and native land.."

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?
Healthy Family Members 

7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
My last day at my work.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

9. What was your biggest failure?
Kevin would disagree but I think caving and taking a private sector job instead of waiting for a non-profit job.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Sorta.  It turns out I’m having an allergic reaction to my bionics & will need to have them removed.

11. What was the best thing you bought?


12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
The Nephew, again. He's a champ.  

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Former and current “leaders” of my former job.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Same as every year: Bills, Racecar, Vegas trip. Books. Amazon. Mochas!

15. What did you get really excited about?
I can’t really think of something.  It was kind of that kind of year.

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?
Happy by Pharrell Williams.  Stemming from multiple 30-second dance parties with my former coworker.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? I’m ambivalent, right now.
– thinner or fatter? Same-ish
– richer or poorer? About the same

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Read.  I didn’t seem to have time to read this year.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Experiencing melodrama

20. How did you spend Christmas?

Eve - at my parents after a very long day at the hospital
Day - Next door, immersed in children's excitement and food

21. Did you fall in love in 2014?
Every day.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

I always have a difficult time choosing favorites. Doctor Who. Castle, Big Bang Theory, Parenthood, Scandal, Project Runway. Greys Anatomy

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No. I'm not a hater. It's a waste of time

24. What was the best book you read?
The Lemon Orchard.  It wasn’t at all what I expected.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Eric Church

26. What did you want and get?

27. What did you want and not get?
A CPSA championship (same as last year)

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
The Best Most Exotic Marigold Hotel. (not necessarily a 2014 movie but that’s when I watched it)

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
46 and I had to work for the first time in many, many years.  Inventory, nonetheless. Kevin and I went out to dinner sans family then went to the local bookstore.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Not being laid off.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?
Hoodies. New sneakers.  Purple.

32. What kept you sane?

Mochas. Kevin. Lucy. Television.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Craig Ferguson. I’m so bummed that he’s not doing his show anymore.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

Legalization of gay marriage. I'm loving watch the number of states increase.

35. Who did you miss?

My former co-workers.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

I’m not sure.  I have new coworkers but I don’t know them very well at all.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.

Go down swinging.

30 December 2014

It's Magic

The kids came over unexpectedly on Sunday, what a nice surprise.  We were watching the Seahawks playing when there was a knock on the door.

It was the eldest Big, with magic card tricks in hand.  He's been obsessed with close-up magic for a the past few months.  I'm sure his parents were happy that we were his audience for a little while.

He did one of those Guess Which Card tricks and it unfortunately didn't work.  He heavily sighed and muttered "At least it didn't happen at school."   Bless his heart, it made me giggle.  I told him "You're right, C, it is better to practice on us."

Kevin doesn't have much experience with kids and is skeptical of magic so I would have to nudge him every once in a while.  While watching magic, he's always looking for the trick in them.  So, he watched out of the corner of his eye while also watching the game.  He played along pretty well and even managed to look impressed.

After C left, Kevin mentioned that while he could spot the trick, there was one that he just couldn't figure out.  It bothered him a little and that made me laugh.

Now, fast forward to Christmas.  He received 7 decks of cards and three magic kits.  The kits weren't hokey little kits either, but geared toward pre-to-young teens.  He freaked out.  Each kit had a specific trick that he wanted so badly.  It was so much fun to listen to him.

We ended the day with him doing card tricks on Kevin.  I have a great photo of Kevin looking very skeptically at him.

Who knows, maybe one day we will travel to Vegas not to race but to watch the Great Carsinni.

Marathon Christmas Eve

Kevin's mom is doing really well, I am happy to report.

We left for Seattle at 11:00 in the morning on Christmas Eve.  We took a separate vehicle than the parents and siblings because we had to go to my family that evening, all going well.

Traffic was kind, until we got into North Seattle then we stopped.  This is where one of the few differences between Kevin and I becomes abundantly clear. I don't mind traffic.  I don't mind driving in Seattle.  Kevin, however, not so much.  Seriously.

We found the hospital pretty easily.  I forget that downtown Seattle is all uphill, everywhere. Fun for Kevin in a four-wheel-drive, stick shift.  I would have just abandoned our vehicle.

We parked in a pay lot simply because it was easier than parking in the garage and trekking through the entire hospital.   As I was getting ready to pay, a family approached Kevin and offered to share the space they had paid for but didn't need all the time for.  How nice is that?   We couldn't take it because they only had two hours left and we had to be there until up to five hours.

In hindsight, we could have taken it and just returned to pay the reminder but we didn't think of that. Also, it would be our luck that we would forget or be late or whatever.  More to the point: what a kind gesture of that family. They had obviously just gotten good news and in the spirit of Christmas Eve, decided to pay it forward.

We still got there in time, only to wait an hour and a half.  It's difficult to complain because clearly someone's surgery/day has gone wrong but seriously.

We've spent enough time in hospitals that we have a routine. Kevin and I sit together, then the parents and siblings opposite of us.  This alleviates chances for gunplay.  I carry a kit for the hospital: book, water, snack, headphones, tablet, jacket that can double as a blanket.

Emphasis on the headphones.  Remember that my father-in-law is a whistler but indoors he usually just whistles without actual sounds.  This makes every single person in the family (perhaps, world) murderous after an amount of time has passed.

Then there's the b-i-l that sighs heavily about everything.  Pair this with "patting" his wife's leg sporadically.  "Patting" is in quotations because it's more like a slap.  It actually pisses me off when he does it.  I told Kevin that one of these times I'm going to walk over and simply poke him in the eye when he does it.

And, oh there's more, the s-i-l that nervously giggles at everything. You know what's loud and annoying in a hospital? Nervous giggling.  Slapping.  Not-whistling.

Finally they took her in.  The doctor wasn't optimistic that they could get everything by doing the procedure via colonoscopy. ( I know there's a proper word for it, this just explains it much easier)
This was disheartening but nothing we weren't already aware of.

We were mostly alone in the waiting room.  An older gentleman came in for an appointment alone.  I wondered where his family was.  He checked in then began talking about the Seahawks with everyone.  His procedure was quick and he wished us well and said he would pray for our mother.  I thought that

Two hours later, she was done and they were able to get it all.  Whew.  They took a section out and tattoo'd not only that place but the site where the first tumor was removed.  Now we wait for the biopsy of the section that was removed and hope for the best. We're hoping that it's benign, even though it's unlikely, and that there shouldn't be any further need for treatment.

The most difficult part of this was that Kevin's mom couldn't quite understand why they were doing the procedure this way and not an actual surgery.  She felt like they were just "band-aiding" it.  They explained it all different ways, including just being blunt of "You won't live through the surgery".  But because of the stroke and vascular dementia, she just can't understand.  It's sad.

So, now it's a little after 5 pm. We booked it out to the truck and was on I-5 in minutes.  Lucky for us, we were going against traffic so we were making good progress.  This is where I say that we have to go 30 minutes past our final destination to our house in order to get the Christmas presents.  There was just no way that we were going to leave the presents in the truck in downtown Seattle.

As we went past the exit we should be taking, I spotted a Starbucks.  I wistfully mentioned that it would be nice to stop by there on our way back. Kevin worried that it would be poor form to walk into Christmas Eve late with drinks in our hands.  I told him "Yeah, I don't care."

We hurried into the house.  Kevin took care of the puppy while I pulled out storage bins and pulled presents out from underneath the tree.  A wise person would have done this prior to leaving for the day or even the night before.  I never claimed to be wise.

Within minutes, we were back on the road.  Neither of us in the holiday spirit at this point.  I texted my s-i-l that "Santa is on his way in his red sleigh".  She answered "Santa is crazy."  I didn't disagree.

Soon we were back at the Starbucks.  While there were cars in the drive-through when we went by, there weren't any cars now.  We were just considering continuing on when a voice came over the speaker.  "Welcome to Starbucks. You're our last customer tonight.  Merry Christmas and come on down!"   And there was cheering in the background. How fun is that?

We got our drinks and tipped handsomely.  They were very friendly and excited for being 7:00 on Christmas eve night.  As we got our drinks, one of the girls said "Merry Christmas! Now hurry and get out of here so people don't think we're open!"  It made me laugh.

So, if you're counting, that's three Faith in Humanity Restored episodes.  In one day.

We finally arrived at the fams house.  Everyone was eating so our timing was good.  My mom was the only one who eyed our drinks a bit. No surprise there.  We snacked a bit then sat down to relax and open presents.

With a baby/toddler in the house, Christmas was rejuvenated.  He had a great time opening presents and pushing all the boxes around the house. His toys were fun too, the boxes were better though.

Finally we were back in our own home around 11:00 pm, exhausted and grateful that Christmas didn't start again until noon the next day.

25 December 2014

22 December 2014

Today's Chapter of Please Stop Talking

Kevin's parents anniversary was yesterday.  They've been married 57 years.  I know, right?

We bought them a book about the history of diners, movie theatres, and restaurants in Whatcom County so  they could sit together and reminisce about their adventures while growing up and in their early married years. 

One of the pictures show the motel where they stayed for their honeymoon.  It's a run-down, sketchy motel now and Kevin's mom said that it wasn't anything fancy back then.

I mentioned that I remembered her telling us that they had food poisoning after the wedding.  She said, and I quote for full impact, "Oh yes, he was standing there getting undressed..."  (This is where I'm mentally shouting "Please stop there, please stop there.") ... then she continued:  "when he made a mad dash for the bathroom."

That could have ended so differently.  Turns out there was bad shellfish of some kind at the reception and many people were sick.

Kevin, on the other hand, said "Well, they were both virgins so food poisoning? maybe not."

You hush your mouth, Kevin.  Oh, and thanks for extending the awkwardness.

19 December 2014

Stop Kicking My Presents

I haven't wrapped any of the Christmas gifts I've bought yet.  This is depressing for all involved.  So, I put a birthday present package under the tree to wait for Friday morning.  Then I went on with my life, doing chores around the house.

Fifteen minutes later, the package is over by Lucy's dog bed because everything on the floor is hers.  She didn't damage it, just moved it. Because she can.

I knew Kevin was coming out in a few minutes so I left it there to show him naughty dog behavior.  

Kevin, not thinking, nudged it with his foot and asked about it.  I told him that the dog moved it there and we tried to remember how she was with presents under the tree last year.  (she left the presents alone mostly, she hates bows)   At the end of the conversation, he scooched it with his foot toward me again (a little harder) and asked where it came from. Then he scooched it AGAIN.

"Um, well, you're kicking my birthday present from BFF K across the floor."

He was so embarrassed, he was speechless.  He thought it was just an empty envelope that Lucy had stolen.  "I'll just pick that up and give it to you now." was about all he could muster.  Then he recovered with "At least it doesn't feel like cookies."  

"Not anymore." I said.

I swear, we should be under constant adult supervision.

15 December 2014

Sneeze or Don't Sneeze?

I listen to Lance Bass on Sirius on the way home from work.  They often play "Would You Rather?" but their questions seem more random than just the regular game.  Sometimes they're gross or silly choices and sometimes they're really thoughtful ones.

The other day one of the questions just made me giggle. And then there was this long discussion about one of the choices, of which I'm still thinking about.

This is ridiculous, I know.

The question was: Would you rather Not be able to determine the difference between a baby and a muffin (I know, right?)  OR change gender each time you sneezed.

I told you: ridiculous!!  Yet...

It wasn't the muffin question that made me wonder. I mean, I just would never, ever, eat muffins again.

The Gender Change was the one that had me thinking and them as well.  One of the people had lots of questions: What happens if you're having sex when you sneeze?  What happens if you're pregnant? Couldn't you just not sneeze?  Could you cause yourself to sneeze if you wanted?

See?  It's a deep, philosophical question.  Who knew?

I just thought it was fun to think about.  I asked Kevin on the way into family dinner and he immediately rolled his eyes.  Yet, I could see that it was making him think about it.

And now you're thinking about.  You're welcome.

PS I can't decide...

12 December 2014

You're Yelling at the Wrong Person

I had to go to the post office this morning.  I thought if I went early that it wouldn't be too bad.  I was wrong.  At 8:45 am, I was number seven or eight in line.  Like always, the counter was only staffed with two people.  I don't understand  how the post office determines how many people to keep waiting and for how long.  I'm sure there are charts and graphs.

Almost twenty minutes later, it was almost my turn.  The second person ahead of me was a woman with two small children.  (a four year old and a one year old, as we heard many times later)  The kids were fairly well behaved, considering the setting.  The other bystanders quietly ignored them as they chattered and ran around.

Then, all of a sudden, the mom calls across the lobby to the toddler "Have you made a stinky?"


Why, yes, he did.


Luckily for everyone who could smell, it was their turn next.  Who had previously seemed like a perfectly reasonable human showed us that she was not so much once she reached the counter.
The patient and verbose parent turned into a dis-satisfied, yelly customer who was not to be appeased.

The gist of the story is that she ordered something online from Target.  She received a slip from the post office to come pick it up.  There was $7 postage due.  And she was pissed.

Well, this does indeed suck.  We were all in agreement there.  But here's the kicker.  Her voice immediately raised to the poor young girl who seemed like she was new on the job.  The clerk went to find a supervisor, leaving many customers waiting in frustration.

At least a few minutes passed when she returned, with no supervisor.  Again, the woman's voice raised.  "It's been TEN DAYS, I've been waiting to resolve this. I've come in three times, with the pleasure of the company of a four year old and a one year old. I've called but no one will talk to me or help me." Shocking, because she was so reasonable and accommodating.

She explained that she paid shipping through Target and there shouldn't be any charge. She refused to pay it. While she's right, she's arguing with the wrong place.  Her issue is with Target, not with the Post Office.  The clerk said that she could either refuse the package or pay the postage. Those were her two options.  She thought that was ridiculous.  Meanwhile, we all felt she was being ridiculous.

She said that she could reach anyone by phone and that there had to be someone to call directly.  Why won't anyone answer the phone!?!?!  The agent helping me quietly said "Because it's CHRISTMAS time and we're busy".

She demanded to speak to a supervisor RIGHT NOW.  When a new clerk came out to begin helping customers, she verbally accosted him. "Are YOU the supervisor???" He kind of giggled and said no.
The clerk helping me kind of muttered "Just grab the next person you see back there." to the clerk being yelled at.  I thought this was kind of clever, as the irate person wasn't really going to listen to anyone, she just wanted to yell at someone.

I quickly finished and scurried out.  The lady ahead of me, turned and nervously giggled "Whew, we're lucky to get out of there!"  

I think the others who were waiting probably would have given her the $7 just to be able to go on with their lives.  It's too bad really.  She really was yelling at the wrong people.

11 December 2014

My Brain May Have Been Rewired

I have an over-active imagination that I think I keep a pretty tight rein on, in real life.  Sure, there are closet monsters but we're all in agreement about that, right?  Closet monsters are real.

A few years ago I was chatting with one of the physical therapists and describing a situation where I *might* have been doing something I shouldn't have and I *might* have had an issue, but thankfully did not.

When what *might* have happened, happened, I immediately started swirling the drain.  "I've re-injured it. I knew I shouldn't be doing this but I did and now I'm going to have to re-do this whole thing" etc.  I do, after all, believe in Karma.

I justified myself over-reaction with a shrug and "I just have an overactive imagination."

She countered with "Or it's anxiety."

Wait, what?

I thought about it a second and asked her why she thought so.

She explained that often it's anxiety that makes you swirl the drain instead of reacting with "Oh, that was dumb. Don't do that."

Well then.  I must to think on that for awhile, I thought at the time.

So I did and have and I think some of that statement is true.  Some of it.  I think with me, it depends on the moment.  If I'm feeling guilty, like the above example, then I tend to swirl the drain. If it's something unfamiliar and I feel like I don't have enough information, then I swirl the drain.  Or if it's three in the morning.

But, if it's an emergency or trauma, I flip into Problem Solving Girl.  Or if it's someone else swirling the drain, I can deal rationally with them.   I think it might be situational and not a constant state of being.

Finally, I think this might be a recent trait developed after having thrown myself down the stairs, Kevin being sick, and other life's dramas that have rewired parts of my brain.  Maybe I need to call an electrician.

10 December 2014

Riding in Cars with Boys

This new job, man, I just don't know.  It's been a lot of sitting, doing nothing. BY DESIGN.  They want a lot of observation and easing in, with promises of busyness as time goes on. We have learned that THIS IS NOT THE WAY I AM WIRED.

So. Yeah.  Sigh.

A large part of orientation WEEK (yes, week) is doing ride-alongs with the tech guys.  There are three different areas of tech so I rode around with five different men.  Like I described to my friend, it's kind of a messed up speed dating.

Yikes, right?

Lucky for me, I live in boy world so I wasn't too intimidated.  I can speak their language. But I wondered, a lot, about girls who aren't comfortable. I'm guessing it's a whole lot of awkward.  I had awkward moments, even with common ground.

Kevin was a little surprised and maybe even a little concerned that the company would send me out with random guys all week.  I mean, I know everyone is licensed and bonded but still.

Back to the dating comparison...

They would actually come to my desk to pick me up.  They all, without fail, mentioned cleaning out their trucks so they would be clean for me to sit in. They were attentive while we were out on the call.  Most of them held the doors open for me. One of them, the quietest of the bunch, even bought me lunch at a restaurant. It had all the elements of dating, without the romantic tension.  It felt a little cheaty, frankly.

Now that I've mentioned that, I wonder if that's ever happened?  An office romance.  I imagine it must have.  It's a large enough group to provide the opportunity.

Like dating, there were all kinds of demographics.  Older gentlemen, younger guys, and in the middle-age range.  I think all of them are married.  (So, maybe that's why there is confidence in sending me out with them.)  Unlike the office guys, they are all active.  Three are musicians and two of them are mechanics.  Not a nerd among them.

It made me feel like I was back in my teens, dating.  Not necessarily a part of my life that I wanted to repeat.  It's terrifying to even consider doing something like that again.  If something ever happened to Kevin, I'm thinking I will just become a hermit.

09 December 2014

Things Our Traveling Partners Do While Traveling

Things our traveling partners do: 

Singing to the radio, commercials on the televisions in the airport, or street performers/bands
Reading signs as we pass by. (I actually spotted a business named "Pretty Kitty"... think waxing.)
Giggles as punctuation...my sister-in-law giggles at everything. It's a nervous habit that wears.
Heavy sighs...the Eeyore b-i-l sighs. Because vacation is hard. (*sarcasm*)
Repeating...both of them repeat things.  Gah.

One is kind of a good navigator and one is not.  This can be challenging.  Thank sweet baby jesus for GPS.

It's difficult to travel in a group so idiosyncrasies arise.  I'm sure we're not a piece of cake, the ADD pair of us.  I just made this phone using the Blogger app to keep from losing my mind/flying into a murderous rage/both.

Impromptu Tree Shopping

For years we've had a fake Christmas tree.  We tried twice to have a real one but it's just never worked for us.  This entails two stories of getting stuck in snow, throwing up, and a lost gun.  We'll tell that story another day.  (it wasn't our gun)

We had a wood stove for years so we bought a fake tree on sale years ago.   Last year, a few lights went out and I just decorated around them.  This year, most of the lights were out.  I was prepared to just buy lights and throw them on  there but Kevin had been making noise about having a real tree. After about 30 minutes of debate we went to buy one.  Because that's how we roll: no planning, no prep. Just GO.  When we left, we were still undecided so we took the 4Runner. (remember this for later)

We were on a time crunch because Kevin had plans and we both hate shopping.  We stopped at Fred Meyers to look at both fake and real trees.  Fake trees were either cheap but small (only 4 foot tall. They made me sad.)  or big and super expensive.  There was no mid-range trees available.

So we looked at the real trees and were unimpressed.  We found ourselves standing in the middle of the section trying to figure out what to do and why this was so difficult to accomplish.

Our options were: go to Wally World for a cheap, fake tree.  This was not actually an option but an item to be checked of the list. Or to buy an expensive fake tree there, when we knew we could get one less expensive elsewhere.  If we bought a real tree we would need a stand and lights so we had to figure out the math of what is the best purchase.

Off we went to the local farmers market that sells real trees.

I really want to do this again because it felt like walking into a Hallmark movie: Christmas tree smell, Christmas music playing, people wearing warm clothing and holiday hats.

Two random references: the trees are hung by twine from the ceiling so it was like a packing house for trees.  Also, I remembered the Friends episode where Phoebe was morally against Christmas trees and Chandler explained how the trees life purpose was to be a Christmas tree.

There were so many trees that it was like a corn maze walking through. Because they're hung, they spin when you brush past them. adding to the disorientation. Randy was still wearing his safety gear hoodie from work so he was easy to spot.  But all the trees were taller than me so I was easily lost.

The owner explained the two different kinds of trees so we would know more accurately what we needed.  I think it was a Noble Fir, but I can't swear to it.  One lasts and one doesn't.  The other difference is cosmetic.

We were wandering around and admiring trees when Kevin wondered aloud about getting a taller tree.  This surprised me a little because he's always been ambivalent about it.  He hesitated and I mentioned that for seven more dollars, or two mochas, he could have a taller tree. Why wouldn't we?
Then there were short jokes. As in "Then you can't reach the top" followed by my response "Then you'll have to help" then "I guess we're having a half-naked tree".

There was more qualities to consider than I thought.  You don't want a spindly weird top, you don't want an apple-bottomed, odd shaped tree.  The branches can't be too dense so decorations won't hang properly.  There can't be multiple weird gaps that can't be hidden by placing them toward the wall.

After about ten minutes, we chose a tree.  We kept gravitating back to it and finally just committed. The girl helper laughed that we likened it to dating, we kept being attracted to that specific tree.

Now, here's where the 4Runner comes into play.  4Runner...no truck bed.  It has a luggage rack but we didn't bring tie-downs.  Also, we had to travel on the freeway which would effectively make the tree into a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

Here's where choosing a taller tree could have been a bad idea.  Luckily for all involved, it fit inside. The helper guy was pretty confident it would fit.  As 4Runners are common where we live, we believed him. Even if it did mean having the stump between the two of us on the way home.  (we didn't get any pitch on anything either. It's a Christmas Miracle!)  And needles everywhere!  It's okay, the truck will smell good for a while.

We got it home in one piece, had it set up quite quickly, then Kevin went off to play with his friends. Kind of a painless adventure, actually.

I decorated it while Kevin was gone and finished it through the course of the next day.  I still have too many ornaments, even with the bigger tree. Must.Stop.Buying.Them.  (futile statement, really)

The puppy is interested in the tree but I'm not too worried about her bothering it.  I think worse case she drinks from the base or knocks an ornament down while we're gone.  Missy used to do that with her tail, while I think Lucy would do it because Shiny Toy That Must Be Played With.  We'll see.

I guess we're Real Christmas Tree people now. I think that's a good thing.  We'll revisit that in January though.