Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Just what is it about being "southern?"

This is a question for my darling sweet tea and anyone else from the deep south.

What's up with having the identity tag? I spent a bit of time cruising blogs today in attempt to relax enough to think straight, and I'm sooo amazed at how many southern peeps have to use "southern" in their identities. Southern this and southern that. And it's only notable because folks just don't do that in the north. Think it over a second. It's so true. You'll see a blog called "southernbitchin" or "southernsmack" or "southernbelle." Would you ever see a "northernbitchin" or a "northernsmack" or a "northernbelle?" Not a chance. It would just simply be bitchin, smack, or belle. (Likely with some reference to a mood altering substance or illegal activity, such as vodkasmack or pimpinbelle. Just kiddin....)

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE the south. I'm heading right back down to sunny Atlanta this weekend, matter of fact!

I just took note of the millionth difference I've found between northerners and southerners. I wonder if someday we'll just all be pretty much the same culture? Doubt it though.

Anger Management?

I just realized that this blog is where I throw all my anger at. Hmm. Is that healthy? I guess it's better than keeping it all inside.

When I finally get all of the pent up business out in cyberspace, maybe my posts will be more lighthearted and fun. Then I'll have some readers and online friends. For now, I'll just rant and be pissed off by myself. :-P

This might be a better healing tool than thousands in therapy and prozac.

Things I Must Learn - Now...

The top of the list: how to say NO. Practice with me here. No. No. No. No.

Let's use it in a sentence. No, I will not create a new committee for x, y, & z. No, I will not make everything my personal responsibility. No, I will not proofread everyone's marketing strat plans. No, I will not always drive to your location. No, I will not... No, I will not...

Whew. I feel progress already.

I've been in a position where I feel no progress in life. I've been there for about 6 months. I know full well by this point that it's because I take on too much. Actually, I don't take on too much, I take on EVERYTHING. And I must stop this madness. Right now.

I'm not acheiving my goals at normal pace and in normal fashion. I hate myself for this lack of acheivement. I beat myself up for it daily. All I know is how to be an overacheiver and be a head and shoulders above all competition. Anything other than that causes severe guilt and self destructive thoughts and feelings.

I really think this is caused by childhood experience. When I was young, the only time my mother really paid serious attention to me was when I was doing something five years beyond the capability of a kid my age. The only time I got any really positive feedback from my dear overworked dad was when I had a stellar report card or tested at a genius IQ.

So I won spelling bees and kicked ass however I could. Until I got a little older, and school was soooo boring and I began to not care if my parents talked to me or not. (The stage that every live breathing child goes through in that pre teen era of life.) At this point, with the school systems aimed at underacheivers and learning disabled kids, I just didn't really give a rat's ass. I did what I had to just to get by and finish. I had way too much responsibility for a kid in junior high and then high school. My junior and senior years were spent working two jobs, and most of it wasn't for money so much as it was to escape other responsibilities that I had prematurely and just couldn't handle. I seriously hated life in the latter half of high school, and there was no good reason for it. I was decent looking, talented, smart, and should have had the whole world in the palm of my hands. Instead, my hands were full with tasks that should have belonged to others. Life slipped away at light speed. There were no social events. No parties. No important life experiences. No fun. Those should have been the best years of life - but they were very much the worst. Worse than even the days of imprisonment in bad marriage.

Yeah, sure, I know kids in third world countries have to work 18 hour days at age 12 and so on. (Which is also crap.) But at least youngsters putting in serious work efforts in other places besides my life get a sense of acceptance for just being an individual person.

I get that from my grandmother, my grandfather, my father, and my best friend. That's it. I don't even feel it from my Mocha. I think he likes me in great part because of the package deal. I hate that. It's been going on my whole life.

My ex husband literally told people that he loved that I was so much more than just a pretty face. I had great income potential. Not exactly what you hope to hear from someone who is supposed to be in love with your very essence of being. He wasn't kidding either. He was ferocious when I got layed off.

I just feel so much that if I ever stopped doing everything that everyone admires, nobody would accept me at all anymore. I'd just die alone. If I didn't run six committees and save the world on a daily basis, ending up exhausted and unhappy, nobody would see much in me. I used to be a really fun person just to be around. I was funny and energetic and lively. Now I feel like an empty shell. I get more tired every day. Some days I really seriously think I can't possibly live for too many more years on this downward spiralling path. I will just die of exhaustion.

This morning for example. Got up at 6. Stomach in knots. Got ready and ran out the door at 7. Stopped for bagels for 8 am meeting. They didn't take AmEx. Dammit. Rounded up meeting members and got going around 8:20. Tried to keep group focused on tasks at hand instead of side discussion about construction equipment and God only knows what else. Got good stuff to happen at the meeting. Not without way more effort than I had in me to give. Then on to a company wide meeting on financials right after. Focus. Stay focused. Too tired to think, but stay focused. Got out of there, headed to my desk for the first time despite being at work for three hours, and I just don't even know where to begin. I didn't mention that I had to step out of my 8 am meeting twice with severe diarrhea and stomach cramps that would kill a small animal for sure. The pain alone would stop it dead in its tracks. All from stress. So I get back to my desk, settle in, try to decide what to work on first, and I decide to call Mocha to hear his voice and relax a little before tackling a project. He is out of work right now. Laid off from a job he loved, so I know it's really hard for him. He's been at home for two months. He depends on me to do everything for resumes and cover letters, and I have literally no time to give to the effort. If I were him, I'd have researched and hired a head hunter by now, but no, he waits for me to get around to anything and everything that needs to be done. So I say hello to Mocha, and get the distinct impression that he's sitting on his bloomin ass. Anger swells throughout my soul. My whole life force propels forward with the directive to scream at him to get off his lazy ass and make life better for both of us. At least pick up after yourself. There are weeds to pull, bushes to trim, dusting to do, bathrooms to clean, dishes to wash, floors to sweep and wash, and I could literally go on forever. And ever. But the instinct to scream at him to get off his ass is thwarted by my conscience and sense of logic. I know he feels bad. He's not in a great place right now. And even more importantly, the logic is unmistakeable. Screaming at him doesn't help anything. He gets pissy and defensive. I don't even feel any sense of relief afterwards.

While I'm on task of getting some baggage off my chest and out into the world so I can let go of it, I hate that I'm always faced with all of this expectation but given no reasonable means to make anything come to fruition.

My parents insisted that I do well in school, but loaded me with 50 lbs. of other responsibility and never even did so much as made sure I had a place to study.
My parents insisted I go to college, but never paid for so much as a pencil.
My ex husband expected me to make a six digit salary as soon as possible, but didn't want me to go to class and bitched forever about what tuition cost. Then, if I would surrender in exhaustion from his whining and complaining and stay home, he would be disappointed if I didn't do well.
Will people in my life ever realize that I have two hands? And, if I'm going to do something, it's gonna have to get done my way within the boundaries of reality and the laws of nature? Two hands!

Right now I'm supposed to be excelling immensely at work and I'm stuck in a rut. I'm so tired and sick I could die. This is the first time in my life I've felt this bad.

I'm growing some strength to say no when I'm supposed to and fight back. I am no longer the path of least resistance to get something done. Let one more motherf-er dump shit on me. And God forbid that man still be on the couch when I get home tonight.

Well, now that I've taken an entire spontaneous lunch hour to rant, I should get back to all that has caused the need to rant.

Monday, June 27, 2005

The Weekend Recapped

I have never been so happy to see Monday come.

Friday I left work exhausted, but what else is new? Got home, scrambled, did laundry, ran crazy, ended up leaving at 9 p.m. for "up north." Packed two large dogs, two people, and lots of stuff in a Grand Am with no air conditioning, and headed for the hills. 3 hour drive. It turned into 4 because the map to actually find the place we were going to was a little off. We both hate Burger King. It was the only thing we passed, and neither of us had eaten much at all. It was midnight. We had to have something to put in our tummies. So we flew through the drive thru, he got nuggets, I got a veggie burger. Found the campground. Let me also mention that when we got to the campground, which does not take reservations, they had no way to process our reservation. They did not hold the site that my associates had requested for us, because there was "no tent" to put on the site until we arrived. So we were instructed to go set up camp wherever we found a place, and head to the office in the morning to pay for the night in the park. We found a site. All my associates were already sleeping. Put up a tent in the dark that we'd never used before. Got things settled. Sat down to eat the nasty BK at about 2 am. Bun was so soggy it was not edible. I ate half the patty by itself. Went to sleep around 3:30. Clearly wishing I'd thrown caution to the wind and ignored my corporate responsibility to be present to assist in hosting the plant appreciation event.

Dogs were up at 6 wanting out of the tent. He got up to let them outside, and I had to get up and out the door. I was tired, achy, and felt like having an hour long shower just to feel the slightest bit clean. Got in the car, drove out toward the front of the place, then followed the outer perimeter "road" until I saw a bath house. Grabbed my stuff and headed in. The showers were the kind that take money for a certain number of minutes. I've been to one other campground with that sort of shower deal, and vowed I'd avoid them at all costs. There was no turning back this fine Saturday morning. I was already there, and needed a shower. So I went back to the car, got my purse, headed back in, got undressed, and fished for a couple quarters. They didn't fit in the slot. Found a dime. It fit. I followed the instructions, but nothing happened. Got a nickel. Same deal. Figured there must be a minimum cost for any time in the shower at all so I went ahead and put a dollar in, and then a dollar fifty. Nothing happened. I'm standing there in a towel, needing to be at the plant with some parts, and I'm stuck. Hmmm. Maybe that shower was just broken. I grabbed my stuff and headed into a different shower stall. Put in another dollar fifty in dimes. Nothing happened. Suddenly, the shower next to mine started up. There was someone else in the place! I waited for this girl to come out and asked her how she got it to turn on. Yes, I was embarrassed to have to ask, but I had somewhere to be! She was a huge tall girl with a strawberry birthmark that literally covered almost half of her face. It was the most amazingly huge birthmark I'd ever seen. She was very nice, and told me that the showers only work on TOKENS. Not coins. I looked around to see if I'd really been crazy and missed that information. Nope. There was not a single sign in the place.

So I got dressed, and had to pass our campsite in the way to the front office to buy these tokens. I slowed down to let Mocha know that the showers needed tokens. He nodded and said he know. WTF??? Thanks for mentioning it. I'd now lost more than an hour on this whole ordeal. F-ing beautiful! So I went into the store feeling (and likely looking) gross. The woman behind the counter was helping someone already, and the conversation was just too ridiculous. Beyond smalltalk. The woman could have held onto this customer and chatted all day. She finally finished, and I paid her for two nights and four shower tokens. This woman's demeanor was so stereotypically what you'd envision in your mind of a northern country person tolerating the presence of someone who she just senses is from the city. She had been bubbly and chatty and completely drawn out of her shell with the last customer, but she was curt and standoffish with me. She barked out short, fragemented requests like, "License plate on vehicle? Number of nights here?," and then two very weird things happened. First, I gave her what I thought to be our llicense plate number, and I'd actually left a letter out. She went on to write the plate number down on two different documents, and she wasn't writing what I'd told her. I pointed out that she'd added an extra letter in there, and she actually argued that the letter was in my original statement to her. I promised her that I didn't think that letter was on the plate, but she could write it any way she wanted. It turned out that letter really is on the plate. It was as if she was comparing what I told her to notes on a prompter behind me from Big Brother. Then the other weird thing happened. She wrote on the car pass that we had two adults, one shelter, and one vehicle in our party. But she'd not asked me for that information, as she'd asked the previous customer. She just assumed - or already knew. I think it was the latter. I found out later from Mocha that they had trucks around at 4 am reading off license plate numbers on every site. Kept him awake. Of course, that was during the three hours that I was completely comatose, so I had no idea. I'd have complained. That's just a little spooky. The whole thing was weird. I won't ever stay at this place again.

So now with shower tokens in hand, I headed back for the bath house, got me act together, and returned to the site so Mocha could go shower with some of my magic tokens.

He comes back, and I head out for the 25 minute drive to the plant with some parts, then to the local grocery story to pick up 4 dozen ears of sweetcorn and some other supplies. Then I headed to the pavillion to drop of the corn and help set up for the event. Got that done, and headed back to the weirdass campground to pick up Mocha and the dogs. We ran over to the party, and I had to bounce back and forth between Mocha and work people. I had to play co-hostess, so I had to mingle, but yet my shepherd is literally scared of small children, and my chow chow is not always the most friendly dog in the world. So I felt pulled in two directions. Hate it.

Party was nice. Plant staff had a great time. Clean up was a breeze because we had many hands on deck. Headed back to the campsite. It was about 9 pm by this time. It felt like 3 a.m. I had not even enough energy to cook a veggie dog. I did go buy some firewood at the campground store. That experience was par for the course, too. The gal working inside was doing everything at once. Scooping ice cream, ringing up sales on the register, making change, etc. So when she got through the line of 7 people waiting for ice cream, she moved over to the register and started ringing them up one at a time. Eventually she got to me, rang in the firewood, and then had to stop and start searching for a key to open the shed outside where it was. It was missing. So she grabbed the walkie talkie radio on the wall, and had to figure out how to use it. She got a hold of a ranger, found the key, and someone was walking it over to the shop. I went to wait outside. The guy came with a key, stuck it in the padlock, and the lock fell apart. It turned out the key wasn't really required anyway. Then this guy stood back and instructed me to climb inside and pick my own firewood. Yep. That's right. Five feet tall and I'm trying to reach the wood inside this shed from up on a platform. It's too hard to describe this exactly the way it was. It was just ridiculous. What an ass he was. Anyway, I got a hold of one of the strings on a bundle, and managed to hoist it up enough to grab it with only one sliver. I scooted it out, and then stood up to turn and carry it to the car. As soon as I turned, this redneck guy with nasty teeth who smelled like 2 weeks worth of booze grabbed my wood intending to take it from me. I asked him what he was doing, and he said something about having rode his bike up to get wood. Um. Yeah? Okay? And you are touching mine why? So I told him this was my wood, and he was free to climb in the ranger's shed and pick out his own wood, but I had to get going. And with that, he finally let go and I left. At this point I'd been creeped out beyond belief at everything having to do with this campground.

I returned to the site, and made a s'more for dinner. It was delicious. My Mocha enjoyed a cigar and a drink next to our spectacular campfire. That half hour or so, there next to the fire, was the best part of the whole weekend. Just him and me, relaxing. Perfect. It didn't even matter that I was a walking zombie from lack of sleep. It was still perfect.

We went to sleep around 2, and the dogs were so worn out that they actually SLEPT. All night. I didn't get out of bed until almost 8:30. Although we woke up before 6 to the sound of the RAIN. Yep, rain. While camping with dogs. Mocha got up first and started some coffee. I love that man. We had eggs for breakfast, and headed out around 3 in the afternoon after relaxing for awhile, then breaking down camp.

Construction made the ride home take 5 hours. The dogs were miserable. It was just the worst time in the car any of us have ever had. We really need to get a more suitable vehicle if we're going to take them places. They are way too big to share a standard back seat of a two door car.

We got home around 7:30 at night, and started unpacking the car. We were welcomed home by a very angry bird who kept divebombing Mocha's head. The looney children two doors down had a stepladder under a cluster of treebranches, so we are thinking they messed with the nest or took the eggs/babies. This bird was fearless. Ready to take us both out. When I left for work this morning, it was still in the same place squawking. I felt so bad for it. It's obviously suffered some injustice so serious that it dwarfs the redneck campground with Big Brother running around at 4 am. I was thinking of setting out some dryer lint to see if it will take it and build a new nest. Poor little bird.

I'm out to get my roots done. It's LucyTattooed's birthday. Yay!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Praying for Boredom

Does anyone in the world realize how badly I'd love to say that I'm simply home from work on a Friday evening relaxing? With nothing to do? Flipping through a magazine or looking at a book? Surfing the web? Killing time?

See, you can't afford to kill any time when there isn't enough of it in the first place.

I have an hour and 35 minutes to have three loads of laundry done, be packed, have a serious pile of tutoring stuff done, and remember to take care of some special parts for work. Now the funny part is, any of the first three items mentioned could easily take the whole hour and 35 minutes on its own.

Well, for five minutes of the hour and 35, I'm sitting here on my ass wishing I had a halfway normal life for just one weekend. I'm on my way to a weekend trip to celebrate the efforts of one of our plants. A nice idea, but it means I'm working ALL weekend. And have no time to collect my thoughts or catch up on anything. All this after working 80 hours. Bleh.

On a good note, it was a way productive day at work. Had a big meeting that went very well. Good stuff.

So my better half has gone to pick up some stuff for the trip. I am sitting wishing to God I could have just a tiny bit of sleep. Just a tiny bit of sleep. My dogs are both sprawled out on the living room floor having just that - a tiny bit of sleep. Oh to be a dog for a half hour. A dog with no worries of work obligations, laundry, and the rest of the whole kit and caboodle. Or even better yet - a cat. They don't care about anything. Not even the mailman or the squirrels in the yard.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

A counter! A free counter!

I have no idea why I want this, but I figured out how to put the code in the template and it actually WORKED! I'm so excited! :-)

RRRRIIIIIINNNNNGGGGG goes the false alarm!

The espresso bean is NOT, I repeat, NOT, with child.


She has no idea what's wrong with her. The hormones and girly parts are not behaving normally. Something is awry.

Now this is silly, I know, but I'm the teeniest bit sad. It would have sucked, given the timing and all, but there's something so wonderful about the thought of holding your own baby. There was a part of me that was a little excited at the thought. Now that I'm with a normal human being and all, and have been with him for five years, which is long enough in the coffee bean world to know if he meets appropriate specifications as a husband specimen.

I got online and found a woman's clinic that was staffed with MD's and did walk in prenancy testing for $20. Results in a couple hours. Wonderful. Yeah, until I got there and found out it was also an abortion clinic. I had to get through the raving picketers to get in the front door. Here's kinda how it went:

Head Picketer: Miss! Please wait!
Me: Pauses and looks over at this weird guy.
Head Picketer: Can we talk to you?? Please give us a minute before you go inside!!
Me: Why? What can I do for you?
Head Picketer: We want you to know your options! You have options! There's a counseling center right down the road! We'll accompany you there if you want.
Me: Does this counseling center do pregnancy testing? Are there doctors?
Head Picketer: No.
Me. Well, I guess I really do need to go inside then, huh?
Head picketer: Puts down sign and says nothing more.

Now I have a very very hard time with the subject of abortion. I'm not a fence sitter on the issue, but it's still a hard issue. I am pro-life as far as my own personal ethics go. I would never have an abortion. Even if I were raped or in some horrid ungodly situation. If a life were created, I'd raise the child. However, despite being pro-life for myself, I'm pro-choice politically, and pro-choice as far as viewing the grand population covering the earth.

I don't expect that everyone in the whole universe would see things the same way that I would if I ended up pregnant, even in not the best of circumstances. Some women may not have a better choice than to abort. And seeing as they will find a way to do it in a back alley if there are not clean, monitored, available clinics to go to, I guess there really does need to be abortion clinics in the world. Better to have the woman safe and cared for than to lose both the lives of the woman and the child after she takes matters into her own hands and tries to end the pregnancy with common household items.

Given that, I do not believe for ONE STINKIN MINUTE that anyone, regardless of circumstances, needs to abort after the first trimester. And that's even pushing it. I think that 98% of women should be using the morning after pill. The other 2% should be on the table within 1 month. No exceptions. Aborting a full term baby is ridiculous. Take care of the mistake or accident or stroke of really bad luck right away. You don't procrastinate when a human life is involved.

And now, for the biggest reason of all that I am politically pro-choice. Even bigger than my personal view of the big picture that abortions will happen one way or another and need licensed doctors involved. Here it is: the government should not be telling me or any other woman what to do with her body. Period.

I think that everyone should take the time to go out and get a personal education of both sides before making any judgments. If you are pro-life, take a closer look at the lives of the women in countries where abortions are more prevalent. If you are pro-choice, take a closer look at the methods used, how the baby parts look on the way out, and what they do with them afterwards. Always make educated decisions. I respect both sides, as long as folks are using the noggin God gave and thinking it through. If one more person tells me he/she is pro-life because he/she belongs to a church I will go postal. Think, people. For the love of all things holy, think. God forbid you should dismiss the implications society has placed on you and actually evaluate things on your own. How scandalous would that be?

Why do so many posts end up a rant? I must really have pent up frustration with the world. Thank God I have an outlet. Finally.

By the way, I wonder where LucyTattooed is these days? She's not posted... I'll drop her a line.

And with that, I bid adieu, and run to join my fiancee for a bite to eat.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Thoughts on when to cut ties and when to keep ties.

No, not the ties you wear. :-)

There is a radio show up here in Michigan that has a catchy name I've already forgotten, but it basically has people call in who had a first date go well, then the second date fell apart for some reason and they have no idea why.

So this guy calls in. Dustin. He had a date with Tracy. He asked her on a second date, and she apparently accepted, and then stood him up. Didn't call, didn't cancel, didn't follow up, just disappeared. Now I think we can all agree that it's not the nicest thing she could have done. That in itself is not the issue.

The issue is why she claims she decided not to see this guy again. The radio station called her up with Dustin on hold and asked her if she would be willing to discuss this situation on the radio, blah blah blah. She says she will. They bring her and Dustin on the line together, live on the radio, and she tells him that she thinks he is not over his ex girlfriend yet, and might want to consider patching things up with her.

Dustin apparently did talk about his ex girlfriend, but not excessively. He did, however, talk about her SON excessively. This son of the ex girlfriend is not Dustin's child. She already had this child when Dustin came into her life. She and Dustin dated for just over two years, and broke up. They keep in touch, but more interestingly, Dustin and her son are still buddies. They have scheduled play dates. From the sound of it, Dustin has basically some form of regular visitation with this child who isn't his.

This is a dilemma. Don't jump too quickly to one side. This is actually a pretty tough situation once I really thought about it for a second. Overall, the situation is good for this little boy, who is of the most importance here. He obviously doesn't have a father, and Dustin has opened his heart wide enough to fill that void, and seems to be doing a good job.

However... It's not as if he is a "Big Brother" through some mentoring organization with no ties to the parents, just a huge will to improve the life of a child. This child happens to be the offspring of his ex girlfriend. It's difficult enough to date someone who has a child of his/her own and thus a direct ongoing connection with a past lover. But to put up with the "ongoing connection" when it's not his child? That's a little bit much to ask most people to do.

And yet, it's wrong to just turn your back on a child who you've become a father figure to, and I guess that shouldn't change depending on whose sperm created the child.

So I'm actually a bit of a fence sitter on this one. I'm rarely, if ever, a fence sitter. But for now I don't really know which way my heart wants to go on this one.

Regardless of whether it's right or wrong to keep ties with an ex's child that isn't your own and expect future dates and future mates to deal with it, I don't think Dustin was appropriate to make this little boy the focus of his conversation for a first date with someone he allegedly really likes. It's not appropriate to talk about ex lovers while on a first date getting to know someone and making a first impression. Chatting endlessly about her child is really no different, given that he wasn't a parent of the child himself. (Now if he had been a father to a child, chatting about his own child with little or no reference to the ex might be okay in the right setting, and if the date obviously doesn't have a problem about it.

And my last cause for wonderment on this complicated issue.... If it is appropriate for Dustin to continue seeing this child and having major involvement in his life, which Tracy, incidentally, thinks is completely inappropriate, what happens if and when the mother of this little boy dates a new guy or gets remarried? How confusing do things get for this child? And how confusing would things be for her new significant other? Tracy explained thoroughly her position that since this was not the father, and the two adults were never married, the mother should simply explain to the boy that Dustin would not be around anymore because they had decided to part ways. Then let the child accept the reality. Sounds harsh at first glance, but there may be some logic and sense to it. I'm just not sure.

I think my own experiences have made this situation complicated for me to draw conclusions on. Had I not had any similar issues in my life, I'd be so inclined to say that Dustin should be this boy's father figure indefinitely and if anyone doesn't like it - tough cookies. But I had a situation in my life where I had to turn my back on four children that I loved more than written words on this webpage could ever really explain. I had one in my life from the time she was about a year and a half, maybe almost two. I was at the hospital for the births of all the other three. They were the most amazing babies. All of them. These were my ex nieces and nephews. The children of my ex-husband's two sisters.

For reasons and circumstances that are too long and complicated to explain here, I had to cut all ties when I got divorced. It was hard. Being married to someone who I knew needed a whole lot of help on a whole lot of issues, then leaving and not even being able to keep in touch, was hard. Cutting ties with him had to mean cutting ties with his friends, our mutual friends, any friends I started with that became mutual friends, and his entire family, which included the children. By this time, I didn't much care about the adults I was leaving behind. It hurt because I had earlier felt like I got two extra sisters out of the deal. But they had done so many hurtful things that it didn't really matter. The kids were a different story. It felt like I was turning my back on my own kids. I felt so guilty that they probably thought I stopped loving them and turned my back on them. God only knows what their parents told them, too. One of these days I'll have to post the story of the divorce...

But the bottom line is, when my ex husband remarried one of my good friends a matter of weeks after our divorce was final, it probably was a bit less confusing to the kids to not have her and me both around as simultaneous aunts. So, in that sense, I think Tracy has a point about Dustin cutting ties with the boy. It's so hard to say. I'm almost inclined to think that each individual situation has to be looked at separately.

Knocked out. Or maybe... Knocked up?

I am sooooo very TIRED. Wiped out. Can't even think straight. Feel like someone plugged me in and drained me of all life force. This isn't the normal "I need a break" or "I need a vacation" kind of tired. This is a "Let me lie down and die for three weeks" kind of tired.

This alone can be explained. My lifestyle is ridiculous and I am BURNED out.

However, I also have swollen, sore, hot things on my chest and some funky superlight spotting. Sooo. There are other potential explanations. Sure, it would be a blessing and all, but let's hope it's all a false alarm coincidence, shall we?

Friday, June 17, 2005

A word about seat covers:

That's toilet seat covers.

Do most people use them? I don't always because they seem way too thin. There are plenty of public bathrooms that are way too icky to be satisfied with only .3 mm of material between your skin and the bacteria infested toilet seat. For this, toilet paper folded over four times seems more appropriate. A much thicker barrier, if nothing else.

Do you think that seat covers should be privately offered? Where I work, there is a dispenser in each stall. But a customer site that I am always at has one main one in each bathroom and everyone is supposed to grab one and carry it into the stall with her.

So being in such a strange place with sooo many people, I would opt for the toilet paper layers in lieu of the cover, of course. But when I walked past the cover dispenser and into a stall, I got some "looks." Also when I came out to wash my hands. Then it occurred to me - those women thought I had completely forgone the need to cover the seat. Horrifying! I had an inkling to walk back into the ladies room to explain the t.p. layer theory. But of course I couldn't do that. How embarrassing. They thought I followed unsanitary pee practices. Damn.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

30 Days Worth of Thought on Differences

There is a way cool documentary done by Morgan Spurlock about the fast food obsession in our country. It's called Super Size Me. I recently bought the follow up book, called "Don't Eat This Book." When America loved Super Size Me, Morgan went on to start a television series called "30 days." The premise being, what else can you learn from putting yourself in another pair of shoes for 30 days? (What a great thought.) So Morgan plans to be a Muslim for 30 days, a gay man for 30 days, a binge drinking college student for 30 days, etc. The show debuted last night. The topic was minimum wage. It was fantastic. I hopped on Morgan's blog to read any updates on the show's success, and I saw there were an exhorborent amount of comments on his posting that announced the show's scheduled time. So I had to go read them...

One of them stuck out among the rest. Please open your mind wide and read what Tom says:

welcome to my reality Mr. Spurlock. I work two jobs that total $11.65 per hour. Working eighty hours a week means that you basically have no life. Any off time is spent cleaning the apartment or doing yardwork or sleeping. The thing is that you will make more money from this show than anyone working minimum wage will make in a year. It's kind of like Bruce Springsteen writing songs about us poor working stiffs, while he charges $75 to see him perform, and when it's over, he goes back to his mansion in Beverly Hills. As much as I applaud your effort for making this show, I feel it won't change a thing. Anyone who is in any position to do something about it, won't even watch it. Any American businessman won't have time to watch it, because they are too busy searching for third world countries to exploit the cheap labor. I think what your show failed to realize is this: minimum wage means, if the businessman could pay us any less, he would. And the politicians in this country are there to see that they get away with it. Unless I win the lottery, this is my reality until the day I die, becuase there is no pension for me. Tomorrow, when I'm enjoying the two hours I get every day to be entertained, I'll watch the second half of the NBA Finals, because I don't need to be reminded how bad my life is.

Posted by tom at 12:15PM on Jun 16, 2005

Here is what I must say to Tom: I hear you loud and clear. I respect your view point SO MUCH, as well as your taking the time to hop online and voice it. You are clearly a fluent expert on making a living working way too many hours for too little pay. I don't discount your assessment of your own life (and the tens of millions just like it.) However, I hear some clear statements mixed in there on how another class thinks and behaves. A class of people that I'm not sure you've spent much time entwined with. Experience being the best teacher, it's always best to walk barefoot on both sides of a fence before making any judgments.

I've spent the majority of my lifetime on your side of the fence. In fact, I had many periods of my life spent working 3 jobs just to make it. My least favorite of all was waiting tables. I am the biggest tipper around because I know how horrible that job can really be. I grew up in a very loving, very wonderful, blue collar family. I didn't see my father much growing up. I saw him for a matter of minutes each day between jobs when he came home to eat an early dinner at 3:45 and change clothes and head out again by 4:30. When he got a Friday evening off, we had some family time. But he was often exhausted. The oldest of four, I spend my junior high ahd high school days babysitting at night. (Until I was working two jobs myself on top of school.) Until very recently, I lived in such a modest abode that you could almost literally stand in the middle, stick out an arm, spin around, and manage to touch all four walls. I spent years praying I'd have no serious accidents because I had no health insurance at all. I spent those same years praying I'd have no accidents because PL/PD insurance wouldn't give me enough to get replacement transportation if mine got ruined. (I live in a place with NO public transportation. If you don't have a car, or a very good friend with a car, you aren't going to work around here. Job postings in this state will commonly mandate reliable trasportation as a requirement to be considered a candidate.) I always appreciated everything I've had, but there were times in years past that I was just as frustrated as you seem to be with the realities of the world we live in. My point is simply that I know how it feels to run barefoot through the grass on your side of the figurative fence that separates classes. I know that feeling better than any other.

However, I managed to climb over the fence over the course of several years of no money, no social life, no sleep, a mounting heap of debt, more stress than any dozen people should have to endure, etc. Don't get me wrong. I am abhorred by what it takes to make it in this country and do something that you are interested in, satisfied with, yet still pays the bills in a chosen lifestyle. (Unless you are born with a silver spoon in your mouth.) Americans should be able to get a college education if society deems it necessary. And while I'm on that soapbox, let me also say that I think it's pure CRAP that a flaming idiot can become a lawyer before celebrating a 25th birthday, but there are so many bright people out there who end up answering phones or sweeping floors. I'll stop there. That's another rant for another day.

So given that I've had the strange and rare experience of living on both sides of the fence, so to speak, let me enlighten you on how things really are with "businessmen." (Though I much prefer the term businesspeople, since I'm a female and just as effective as the next "guy.") Here's the message... People don't simply turn a cheek and not care. Sure, that happens, but more times than not, I've found that people don't REALIZE these things are happening right in the 50 square mile radius from where we all work and live. I speak from experience when I say that folks around me who were born into privileged families and then went on to college and to live a prosperous life as an adult just don't really have a firm grasp. Some of them, limited only to what they hear and see in the media, are left thinking people who are hard pressed are simply LAZY. That couldn't be further from the truth!! I guarantee that you work your ass off, Tom, and you are NOT alone. There is nothing lazy about you. But if that's all these "businessmen" hear is that anyone can make it in this country and everything is about choice, that's all they'll ever believe. Until and unless something comes along like a coworker to organize speakers and charity events at the workplace to open eyes and make people see reality, or someone like Morgan to work hard enough to get it out on national television. Your assessment seems accurate in regards to politicians, but not at all in regards to the collective "businessmen." When you look at how these people grew up and the path that lead each of them to where he/she sits today, wearing Prada or Calvin Klein and sipping coffee over the latest WSJ with classical music playing via streaming Internet feed behind a mohogany door with a brass handle, you'll see that most of them have been aware of that lifestyle and walking toward it for years without even an inkling that there are other ways of life.

It's really no different than how you will see less fortunate children, say age 4, and not a single one of them have any grasp of the reality that they are poor. They have no idea. They live in poor areas, associate with other people of the same basic criteria, and their reality is presumed to be everyone's reality. I grew up thinking that everyone's father worked a gazillion hours, and so on. My reality was all I saw, and all I knew. Why is it that we tend to think that more affluent people should be smarter than that right off the bat? They aren't. Rich kids grow up thinking that everyone has a 6000 square foot house with a cleaning service and an in-ground pool. And remember, we don't have any control over where we are born, who our parents are, how much money is in their bank accounts, what our culture or race is, etc. Rich kids aren't stupid or wrong. They're exactly like poor kids.

Until they get a bit older. That's when it suddenly seems to be obvious, through travel, the media, movies, etc. that there really are other classes of people in the world. And right at that same age, they start learning prejudices. All kids do. Rich, poor, middle-of-the-road, and even the children of tycoons like Bill Gates. Poor kids start learning prejudices that rich people are snotty and selfish and greedy. Rich kids start learning that poor kids are stupid, uneducated, and lazy. Poor adults see a Jaguar drive by and say things like, "how ridiculous! That person has more money than sense. You could feed a third world country for what was paid for that car." Their children hear it, and believe it. Meanwhile, rich adults see poor people standing at the bus station smoking a cigarette and think, "how ridiculous! That person has a child! Yet spends money on tobacco! Look at that child wearing plastic sandals. What a disgraceful excuse for a human being." Their children hear it, and believe it.

Now in some cases, both might be right. My point is in most cases, they're dead wrong.

The key to all of this is opening people's eyes and educating them. I don't mean the academic type of education. I mean real life education. And we need to do it with some tolerance. It's not just class and levels of wealth that become sensitive issues in life. I happen to be a Caucasian person. One of my jobs at age 19 was working in an office. The majority of my colleages were African-American. I have never had an ounce of ill will toward anyone of any skin color. But I was also fairly ignorant to other cultures, too. One gal brought in her wedding pics one day. They were beautiful. She let me look at them too. I was a teensy bit jealous, as any 19 year old girl is. We all start running around with a pillow case on our heads at age 4 and don't stop dreaming of our perfect day until it happens. Or, at least until we have the grueling process of planning it. Anyhow, I got to the pics of the broom jumping ceremony. I'd never seen it before. I innocently asked her what they were doing in the pictures. She and another gal took huge offense to my question. They seemed to think that I should know exactly what goes on at an African-American wedding. It was a great injustice to them that I didn't know. I apologized, but it didn't do much good. Then, a fellow worker jumped in and gave a firm talk on tolerance and the value of experience and exposure. She asked this girl if there happened to be any Caucasian people invited to her wedding. The sheepish answer, "no," was whispered toward the floor. This person made the simple statement that until races become more accepting of one another, there will be a dividing gap. If Caucasian people don't attent African-American weddings, how should they know what goes on there? Now stick any words you want into that brilliant question. If rich people... If poor people...

Then I got an explanation of the broom ceremony. Which sparked interest, since of course I only knew of one type of wedding. I researched Jewish weddings, Muslim weddings, and any other I could think of. (My motivation was simply to not offend anyone again, but I got a nice culture education out of the deal too.)

And don't think my personal horse blinders of life stopped there. I've stuck my foot in my mouth plenty of times. Innocent, but still embarrassing beyond words. I was once driving through a town I'd never been before with a guy I was dating. I was around 17 or so. We were going to meet his mother. The town was primarily Jewish. It was Saturday, the Sabbath, so the orthodox Jewish folks were walking. I was shocked to see this, and asked this guy about the "Amish" people living in his hometown. Good Lord was I sheltered...

Tom, also has a FABULOUS point about exploiting third world countries. I could not possibly agree more. But why is this really happening? Sure, greed, as you've identified it, is certainly a factor. But there is another, possibly equal force at work. These "businessmen" are tasked with making money and staying competitive. If the common people in our society will walk past a t-shirt at Kohl’s or Mervyns or Marshall Fields that might be made locally with a price tag of $18, and head for Wal Mart to buy a similar shirt for only $4 because it came from a sweatshop in Bangladesh, how easy is it for the "businessmen" to keep making t-shirts locally? They can't do it. They come to the decision of either closing up shop and failing, or responding to the competition and local climate and moving the manufacturing to third world countries.

Yes, I KNOW that if you only make $11.65 per hour, it's difficult to justify the $18 shirt in lieu of the $4 shirt. This is the ruthless cycle of American economic crap. "Regular" people don't get paid enough to justify buying American made products. They don't get paid enough because Wal Mart, and other big importers of crap from sweat shops and places that exploit child labor, are only paying minimum wage, and apparently aren't even always paying for hours worked. Wal Mart can get away with paying miniscule wages for several reasons. We won't go there right now. It's a choice we make. If every American would suddenly decide to purchase American goods today, even if it meant buying less "stuff" overall, what would happen to the economy? Hmmm. Well, that t-shirt factory would have a major increase in orders. They'd need to employ more people. Their suppliers would get an increase in orders, too. Fabric, cloth, sewing machines, labels, shipping materials, paper goods like invoices, etc. There's six suppliers right there that all need to start working more. We're up to 7 separate entities that would be hiring more Americans, and/or promoting more Americans. Let's say each hired two people. 14 Americans are now living better. Then the places selling the American made t-shirts need a few more people, and they open three new stores. We continue buying American stuff. Wal Marts start closing, and people return to the privately owned and run places of business. People have better hours, better working conditions, and better wages. Fewer kids are working in sweat shops overseas. We buy more t-shirts, and the cycle continues.

The point here is that if we continue to purchase the junk from Bangladesh, we are choosing to encourage the very cycle that we are pissed off about. Americans need to have principles. I love that Tom mentioned Springsteen shows. I'm a fan too. U2 came to town not too long ago. I didn't go. Sure, I had the money, but couldn't justify the price. I thought it was ludicrous. I got online to see if the proceeds did anything important for the world, and they didn't. Then went into greedy pockets. So I stayed home, and had no regrets. If you visit many European countries, you find people that are more full of principles and personal convictions than they are hunger and thirst. Check out the French people. Let their economy take a nose dive with crap from Bangladesh. They wouldn't welcome it. America is a special place of sheep-like folks who grow up not understanding what their neighbors do at weddings or why the guy down the street wears a beanie hat with tendrils sticking out the sides. How do we fix it? Each person makes a difference. You can argue all you want. One person can't change everything, but it always starts with just one. Both good and bad - things start with the efforts of one. If based on principle, you feel it's unfair to pay the Boss $75 per ticket to spend 2 hours on stage, then leave in his custom touring bus to return to his mansion in the hills, then DON'T DO IT. EVER AGAIN. If you want things to change about what people are paid and how hard people have to work just to eat, first educate yourself on who makes these decisions. (Hint: they are called politicians.) Second, get involved and make a difference. You'll be shocked to learn how many others feel just like you do. Stand up and be heard. Tom - you are a smart guy who knows the value of a dollar and the value of an honest day's work. You are more equipped to stand up and be counted than you think. But don't sit back and just say it won't change, or sit back and think that it's the "rich" folks who would need to change it. Power is found in numbers. There are far more people living life as you are than people sitting at a desk wearing Prada or Calvin Klein and sipping coffee over the latest WSJ with classical music playing via streaming Internet feed behind a mohogany door with a brass handle. Find them. I work on that same task often. I write letters to politicians CONSTANTLY. About everything I think is an incredible injustice in our society. If the politicians don't hear from us, how should they be expected to have a conscience and make decision based on our best interests if we aren't standing up to be counted?

Yeah, Tom, I know you are busy. Really honestly busy. You are one of the many who has "two hours of entertainment" each night. I feel that pain. Imagine if you spent that time writing papers and reading textbooks. Ugh. I get hives just thinking about those years. But we make time for what we think is important. You are a smart guy. Very articulate. It would not take you any more time to shoot an e-mail in to your local governor or even the President himsorryself than it did for you to read and post on Spurlock's blog. And while you are at it, shoot one to the Boss and tell him his ticket prices suck. I will too.

God gave us all 24 hours in each day. What we do with them defines us. Tom, you said regarding the 30 Days episode last night that "anyone who is in a position to do something about it, won't even watch it." Being in a "position" to do something about it includes having a motivation and a reason to do something about it. Do you really think men and women in suits commonly have that motivation? Or how 'bout politicians? Nope. They all seem quite content from my perspective. The people who have the motivation to do something about it are people like YOU and ME who know how hard people have to work in this world. We are the people who are in a "position" to do something. I'm sorry you missed the show. I hope the NBA finals were exciting.

Last of all, let's think about the view that "this" is your life until you die unless you win the lottery. Make no mistake. Some options are harder than others. Some may even be perceived as nearly impossible. But you are chuck full of choices. From the cradle to the grave, you have choices. You make each one yourself and you live with each one yourself. I'm here as living proof that if you are willing to make the appropriate sacrifices, winning the lottery is not the only option to change your lifestyle. I could have stayed where I was making $11.65 or less per hour too. You can. But you don't have to. It's all your choice.

My father finished his associate's degree. He changed careers in his mid to late thirties. It wasn't easy, but it was his choice. My fiance's stepmother went back to school at 35. She has a couple letters after her name now and she's been in a private practice for several years. Sure, she's got student loan payments bigger than her mortgage payments, but her lifestyle has done a 180 and she's happy. It wasn't easy, but it was her choice. We choose. And the best part is, we can change our mind at will. But please believe me when I tell you that your assessment of life mandating 80 hours of work per week with any off time spent cleaining up and getting things done does NOT necessarily change if you wear a tie to work. It might, but there's no guarantee. I work more hours now than ever. But it's different work for different pay. I still don't have much of a "life" the way you are referring to it. So please don't think that a tie becoming part of a work uniform automatically brings football tickets, black tie parties, and Saturdays spent on someone's yacht five times a year. I will be home from work by around 8:30 this evening. I started at 7 this morning. When I get home I will make dinner, clean up, and do laundry. Just like you, probably.

All the very best to you, Tom. Life will always be what you make of it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Christianity and the missing idiot

I'm a Christian, but not a crazy holy rolling one. I have strong faith. But I question the need to "witness" to other people. I think that everyone who lives in a first world country has information available. We can all make our own decisions, and being a Christian, for me, means being tolerant and accepting of all kinds. Most faiths appear to be a basic way of living, congregating, and worshipping a higher power. Whatever works for each person is fine, including not believing in any of it. As long as the decision is thought out.

I once asked a guy I know why he calls himself a "Republican," and he literally shrugged and said he "just always has been." Politics or religion - if you are thinking with the mind you were blessed with and have reasons for your beliefs, you have my every respect. And speaking of politics, I hesitate to call myself a strong word like Democrat or Libertarian, but it appears to be a village in Texas missing its idiot. I voted, and I claim no responsibility whatsoever for this.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Eustress and Distress

What a buncha crap. We had a speaker come in today to talk to us about the physical dangers of acute or cumulative stress. Great topic - and kudos to both whomever organized this seminar and the company who puts it on.

So here's how it went... It was a lunchtime seminar, so we all brought in lunch and sat down. Two very caaaaallllm people walked around and passed out materials. These people had to have been trained in how to be so calm and gentle. When I'm at work, I go a hundred and fifty miles an hour all the time. So they appeared, to me, in slow motion. We were all asked to start with a survey in our packets of materials. The survey was a list of things that each had a value next to them. If that "thing" or "event" applied to you or had applied to you within the past year, you were asked to write the value shown on the line next to it, and then when you are done, add them up. So off I go happily filling out my survey, not thinking much of it. Got through it, added it up, then relaxed and enjoyed my fourth cup of coffee. Mmmm.

So the calm folks begin their presentation. The fourth or so slide in the show had a line on it with markers at different intervals. It went from 0 - 300, with the middle mark of 150 marked too. The calm folks went on to say that if you fell in the 1 - 150 range, you have a healthy level of stress in your life and are only 30% likely to end up with phyiscal ailments from stress. If you fell between 150 and 300, you are in the dangerous zone. Check your pulse, simplify your life, and seek medical help if you need to.

My score was 655. The red flag page describes what I've felt every day for about 6 or 7 years.

So what do I do about it? Run away to a carribbean island with a supply of string and beads and sell bracelets to tourists? Somehow I think that would send my score up past 800 at least.

So I went ahead and made a wishlist... A wishlist that I think would help me inch closer to the demeanor of the slow motion calm people.

1. Forget about guilt and the burning sense of obligation. I do not have to take care of everyone and everybody. If someone gets mad at me, and I haven't done anything wrong, I should be fine to walk on and not be bothered by it. I wish for more of a backbone.
2. Set better boundaries in my relationships. I am nobody's mother. It is not my job to plan, manage, and orchestrate everything that needs to happen in my world and his. I wish for more equality and respect in the realm of "gender roles" at home.
3. I wish to learn to say no for Christ's sake. To anyone who needs to hear it from me. No!
4. I wish for more personal time to unwind and laugh and just exist.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Good news and bad news

Good news first... the $502 hotel bill was actually expensed back in December, and they just didn't charge the card for some reason. So he did get paid for it.

Bad news last... The $502 still wasn't budgeted to pay now. When that reimbursement check came in December, it was a lump sum payment on the credit card. So I still have the pleasure of figuring out how to cover it now.

And... they didn't like the cars. They were only interested in one of them, and decided against it.

I was mortified to be 7 minutes late meeting the guys to see the car. One of them has a radio in it with a special security feature. If the battery is disconnected, it won't work without the right CD being inserted into it. That way, if it's stolen, it becomes worthless to the theif. So on the way there, I found out that someone had actually disconnected the battery for some reason and suddenly remembered that we needed that CD to let people see that the radio works. We went flying to Target to waste money on a CD that neither of us would want just to make the radio work, and Target didn't even have the darn thing.

Oh - if you screw up and put the wrong CD in 3 times in a row, you are locked out until you contact the manufacturer, prove you are the rightful owner, and get help to reset it. Smart but yet dumb.

Icky day...

Mocha is working on the cars today. He's not happy. It's hot, muggy, and raining. Not a great day to work on cars. But it has to get done... Poor honey.

We emptied the pond in the backyard yesterday, cleaned it all up, and refilled it. I got bit by God knows what. My legs today are blotchy and red and nasty looking. Itchy too. It's horrible.

Yesterday was a really frustrating day. I had so much on my list of planned things to do, and I didn't get most of it done. I had a ton of tutoring to do for one of my sisters, who we'll call string bean, and wouldn't you know it, the other sister ended up needing some serious homework help too. The other sister we'll call chick pea. We're all some sort of bean. So chick pea had some issues with macro economics. So I think in total I spent almost 6 hours on other people's homework. Not that I would normally mind. I'm happy to help. But this week is a crunch week and I really needed to catch up. So I was up late, still didn't finish, and today I'm tired and stressed all at the same time.

Then, I first find out why the city never cashed my check for the tax bill for Grandma's house. What a mess. Good Lord. Then, I find out that a hotel in another state charged my credit card for $502.00. I've never been there. So they search it and find that it was Mocha's doing back in December. They claim that he stayed in December, but for some reason they didn't charge him the rooms at that time, so they are just realizing it now. Here's the kicker... The trip was for work. He got laid off. So there is no expensing this $502 for a hotel bill. It gets charged to the international bank of espresso beans. !@#$%^&*() So crappy.

Okie doke - the rant session is done. Sorry about that.

On a good note, I may have a buyer for my car. My neighbor's grandson needs a car. He called last night. I'll sell it cheap. Money is pretty tight right now. Ugh. He's coming over at 7:30 to see them. That's why Mocha is working on them. Making them all spit shined and detailed pretty. My fingers are crossed that he wants it. Both cars run really well. I had to get a car for my job, so I got a new one with my car allowance, and Mocha bought my Grandma's car. She bought a brand new one to last her through retirement. Her car only had 80K or so miles on it, and the price was right. She basically gave it to us. It was too good a deal to pass up. So the two cars we were driving before are sitting there waiting for buyers. Whilst that same international bank of espresso pays insurance on four cars. Not good. Granted, three are just PL/PD, but still. It's money wasted. Right now we could probably get away with having one car if we had to, but God willing, Mocha will find a new job soon. Fingers are crossed.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I was running behind.

Literally. I'm supposed to be running five days a week. But I'm a lazy cow most of the time who is too tired to move much less put on a sports bra and some running shoes.

But tonight, I did it. I got off my sorry ass and ran. 2.5 miles. Go me. Then I came home and iced my legs. (Prevents soreness afterwards.)

Peachtree is in a month! Gotta get in shape. At least enough to finish the race and not die on the hot, hilly, southern pavement. Speaking of southern pavement, I have to say that I love the signs people make to hold on the sidelines during the race that say "Git R Done."

Which brings up a funny story. My best friend, who we'll call boiled peanut, since she's a sweet southern belle, used to say "git er done." I had never heard that until she uttered it in my presence for the first time. I thought she was out of her gourd. When I realized it was common in the south, I tried to be svelte and use this expression. However, when the occasion came, I forgoth how it went and said "finish her off" instead of "git r done." Boiled peantut laughed at me. I shall never live that one down. But oh well.

Yes, by the way, boiled peanut is the same person referred to in the earlier post. Crotch gave her a hard time too. Come to think of it, Crotch gave everyone a hard time.

Monday, June 06, 2005

what goes around comes around, and today it came around...

This might be a bit long, but it's juicy.

A definition of the law of karma that I found online here. "In Buddhist teaching, the law of karma, says only this: `for every event that occurs, there will follow another event whose existence was caused by the first, and this second event will be pleasant or unpleasant according as its cause was skillful or unskillful... Therefore, the law of Karma teaches that responsibility for unskillful actions is born by the person who commits them."

So in plain talkin, what goes around comes around. Buddha was just a whole lot more descriptive. Sometimes it takes sooo long to come around that it just doesn't seem like it's going to. Well, some of it came around today.

About 5 years ago, I took a job. The job posting was for an engineer. The folks liked my resume and all, and it was a great fit, but I wasn't done with school yet. So, they gave me the job, presumably at a much lower pay than they otherwise would have, and just wouldn't give me a formal title. (EEOC stuff and all. Qualifications have to be proven if anyone asks.) Now, there was a fellow engineer who had been with this company for a few years, and happened to be the one who typically got assigned to working with interns when the company took any on for the summertime. We'll call her Crotch, to be appropriately discrete. Now Crotch really got into the intern thing. Most of them were boys. (engineering students usually are, statistically speaking.) Crotch had many pictures of herself hanging out sipping drinks with these interns. In fact, she once went to Florida to visit one of them. She also spent weekends at the college of one intern when his time at the company was finished. Oh, I should mention that Crotch was (and presumably still is) a married woman. Crotch, IMHO, was a stinking whore. And I actually found e-mails to prove it. I copied them before I left that company. They were ammunition. If she did just one more thing to make me miserable, those e-mails were going airmail to her husband's place of employment.

Anyway, back to the story. So in all fairness, Crotch was currently mourning the loss of her last intern who had left as the summer concluded and headed over to Europe for three or four months, also on his parents' dime, as if the tuition wasn't quite expensive enough. I was hired in September. Crotch was told that someone was hired for the position, and it was being reclassified, at least temporarily, low enough to overlook the absence of a degree. Thus, Crotch believes another intern is coming. Innocent. Then, Crotch is asked to be a buddy and show me the ropes. Crotch then believes she has a new assistant, which is really great because her last one is riding a gondola or some shit. So up until now, Crotch is believably not being the least bit horrid.

Then I start work. Hello Crotch, nice to meet you. Crotch quickly obtained my resume for her own research efforts, and commented sheepishly that I'd done quite a bit in my career. Why thank you, Crotch. I appreciate that.

Then the fun began. First, Crotch was really rude. If I were on the phone, whether it be to a customer or to my sister at noon while I ate microwaved frozen veggies at my desk, Crotch would stand unbelievably close to me and wait until I was finished or put the person on hold. She was extremely haughty. Always. She wasted no time bringing me "tasks" that had nothing to do with my job. She would ask me to create spreadsheets for her, and maintain them. She would ask me for my notes from a meeting, I'd share them, and she'd give them back with red pen on them adding details she felt were necessary, then ask me to type them for her. I was understandably confused. What was up with Crotch? I don't mind helping her and all, but this shit was really weird.

Now I promise you all, from the bottom of my heart, that this was not me avoiding a funky political responsibility to be initiated into a certain culture. Kissing Crotch's smelly ass offered no advancement of any sort. It only offered, potentially, a special friendship with Crotch so that pictures of us sharing a huge strawberry daquiri with two straws could be added to her cube wall. What it really did was waste my time and make it harder to complete the work that I'd both been hired to do, and would be evaluated on. So Crotch lost. I was very gentle at first, then a bit more direct, then came right out and said things to her privately like, "I'm not sure this is what I should be doing with my time." Crotch was not receptive. So I got a bit more catty, and made sure her red pen marked task requests were out in the open when I met with my boss a few times. It didn't take him long. Boss: "Hey - what's that?" Me: "Oh that's just something Crotch asked for a bit of help on." Boss: "What?" Then boss takes papers away and Crotch is really steamed. Crotch gets a talking to, and is really pissed off. She takes a few vacation days.

About three weeks after this, Crotch asked me to meet with her in a conference room. Sounded fine to me. I grabbed my notepad and pen, and off we went. She sat across from me and began to describe to me the wonderful reviews that all the interns received who had worked for her thus far. When they were done with school, they all had very lovely opportunities awaiting them with the company, based on her recommendations. Now Crotch had crossed my invisible line. I told Crotch that I was glad she trusted me, but didn't think it was appropriate that she share details of the interns' evaluations with me, as I'd not been any guidance to them and really hadn't even worked in the building simultaneously for any of their stints. In fact, I added that I really only knew of the interns through the pictures she kept on her wall. Crotch looked crestfallen, then recouped and came back for more. Crotch dared to go a step further. Crotch chuckled a little, and said, "No, you don't understand. I can offer the same for you if we work together correctly. I want you to succeed here." At that very moment I realized the extent of her fear that I would continue to show her up at the office by doing better work than she did, and knew this was a careful, albeit daring, attempt to establish some control. Was she f-ing kidding me? I leaned forward and told Crotch that I was confident that my own work ethic and accomplishments would speak louder than her recommendations ever could, and planned to focus more on my projects and building customer relationships than I would on cultivating any special friendships at work. We were, after all, there to get a job done. And with that, I left Crotch to smolder in the conference room.

I was sickeningly nice to Crotch, but she got nothing she wanted from me. In fact, her three huge attempts to get me fired all backfired on her. She hated me because I had big boobs, invaded her spot as the only one in the office who anyone notices, and I wouldn't be her special pet.

Crotch had a very close friend at work. We'll call him Anus. He was the kind of work friend that would stay an extra moment or two and watch her walk down the rest of the hallway. Be reminded this is an engineering environment. There were three females in the whole damn building. Crotch was no prize. In fact, she literally had no chest at all. None. Anyhow, Anus was smitten and thought he was really lucky that Crotch would share a lunch room table with him and give him an ounce of attention a few times a week. I soon found that Anus even had a very special private nickname for Crotch. How inappropriate. Anus handled some of the test requests I had to submit. His job was to schedule and perform these tests, then gather the data and give the reports to the requester. Anus, who had immediately started to snub me in an obvious way after the conference room Crotch fiasco, would simply never have time for my stuff, wouldn't talk to me directly, and even the slightest questions regarding my work he'd take directly to my boss, as though he was too good to work with me directly. My boss even mentioned this to me and wondered what Anus' issue was.

Not only was the workplace terribly hostile, but I was going through the mother of all divorces. So I was likely even less tolerant of Crotch's shit than I otherwise would have been.

Eventually, a new employee was hired over in the CAD department. She came all the way from Florida with her whole life packed in a little white car, and not a friend in the state. Her plan was to stay in a efficiency studio until she had settled, collected a bit of savings and had found a place she liked well enough to kick her shoes off there every night. That was not an easy plan. As there was a serious cost-of-living difference from where she came from to here, and I had a huge 9 month old home sitting empty save for me and one cat, and I was really lonely anyhow, I invited her to room with me. She did. It was perfect. She did her thing, I did mine, we were great friends. Still are. Anyhow, Crotch got wind of this arrangement and she and Anus suddenly were convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that we were lesbians. It was all over the company in 45 seconds flat. After all, as the rumor went, I never did mention dating anyone. There were no pictures on my desk. It had to be true. I was mortified for about 10 minutes, and then decided that we should just start hanging up gay pride stickers and go along with it. Life at that job got worse every day, and all of it was related to Crotch. She was livid anytime I got nice feedback for any of my work. I was given a special project that she didn't know the details of, and it just about killed her. I caught her snooping around my office a few times. She had no shame whatsoever.

Now for the record, I hadn't mentioned anyone at work because I was technically dating and still legally married to someone else, because it took 2 and a half years to get divorced. Not exactly stuff you want broadcast at work. Now before you all go and get excited about how horribly immoral that is, think about this. If a 24 year old girl lived with a guy for 2 years, unmarried, and then they break up and she moves out, is it wrong if she dates again? Should she wait longer than a year after they separate? Hell no. Life is too short. Now what difference would it make if they were married? A coworker of mine has a daughter who caught her fiance cheating. She moved out, and had a date with someone new the next Friday night. Nobody thinks anything of it. As well they shouldn't. Now had they been even a minute past her wedding date, and she decided to go out on that Friday night, she'd have all sorts of labels to wear in society. I waited plenty of time after separating from my ex and eventually filing for divorce before I dated anyone. In fact, I regret losing what time I did while waiting. I should have left earlier, filed earlier, and ultimately got on with life earlier.

Now I've moved on from that job times ten. I went on to grad school, and have a job I absolutely love. A bonus, a car, the works. I am blessed. I worked extremely hard for it, but it still feels like a gift anyhow. I take nothing for granted for even a minute.

Crotch up and quit that job about a year or so after I parted ways. She did truly hate her job. That's a story for another post. This one is already five times too long. Not too long ago, I found out that she'd never found another job. She was now working in an ice cream shop, scooping and serving cones. You go girl. Get on with your bad self.

Today the other side of the cake was frosted. I had a special class to attend based on a big project I'm doing with a customer. Guess who else does too? Anus. He sold out to a competitor a few months ago, who supplies to the same customer I do, and is still processing test stuff and measuring samples. Anus, you go on with your bad self too.

Anus and I spent 8 hours in the same room today, and he wouldn't make eye contact. Maybe he didn't like my suit. We'll be doing the same thing tomorrow, Wednesday, and Thursday. I think I may ask him to lunch. In my, um. company car. Oh, and I'll be sure to tell him that my best friend, who was a lifesaver throughout my divorce, especially given the difficulties I faced at work, is now happily married and expecting a baby. I'd mention I was getting married myself, too, but the ring is probably fairly obvious. And best of all, I hear his friend Crotch is scooping ice cream. That sounds like lots of fun.

I'm never catty like that. But... These people made me miserable for a very long time. I think I'm entitled to a few hours of gloating. I'll be nice tomorrow.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Procrastination, Tofu, and Scuba

I cannot believe it's almost 9:30. Where has the time gone? I spent so many hours playing on the computer today that I'm actually ashamed. I was just tempted to go into a list-like description of everything that I was supposed to do today and really still have to do tonight. But I digress.

Why does tofu have such a strong stereotype? I have family members myself that won't consider tasting it. They've probably all had it in something or another over the years and just didn't know it, but the thought of eating tofu is far too much for any of them. IMHO anyone who eats beans and eats cheese should have no problem with tofu. Why? Because tofu is made from soybeans, in almost the exact same method that cheese is made from milk. What should gross folks out is exactly where that beef hamburger came from and how it was obtained from the cow. I personally love the taste of red meat. Mmmmm. Especially filet. But seriously, please take the time to learn about how the meat gets from an animals body to the dinner table. Everyone should know this. While your at it, you should all read Fast Food Nation. It is by far the most "must read" book I know of. It will change your life.

No, I don't really have the qualifications of saying that I'm a vegetarian. I don't eat much meat, but I still do eat some. And I don't think I could ever give up fish. Although I've learned a bit about how fishing methods are actually extremely cruel to the fish.

Speaking of fish, anyone out there a scuba diver? I was until I had a class with a really ridiculous instructor who made me nervous. I have not been on scuba since then. I drove home as fast as I could and have never even touched my fins to so much as take them from the trunk of the car into the house. Either my fiance did it or they are still in the trunk.

Time for my evening coffee and to get some work done.

Have a great night.

Cute shoes

Target has a little $1 section. They have the cutest little flip flops with flowers on them. I wish I could figure out how to post pictures here...


We're having Thai for dinner. Yum.

Do you have Animal Planet?

There's a neat show on Police dog training. Those dogs are amazing. They look just like my Mackenzie, but she's not quite as, um, well behaved... She starts school in September. I found a great community obedience training organization that does the whole 8 or 10 weeks for $55. It's a must. I can't tell you how hard it is to handle a high strung 100 lb. puppy who just doesn't know what you are saying to her. She was a rescue, so she didn't have a whole lot of training to begin with. We've had her since the last week of February.

Our other dog is past any hope for obedience training. Although, he's a very good dog. He's a Chow chow. 13 years old. Best guard dog I've ever seen. I never worry when I'm home alone. A robber would certainly leave minus an appendage at very least. His name is Hurley, and he and his blue tongue are boss around here when it comes to interaction between the dogs.

So the police dogs on television learn commands in German. I think I'll teach Mackenzie in Spanish. I doubt very much there are many GSD's that know Spanish.

I should mention that my mother, who incidently I'm not speaking to right now, is normally seriously afraid of Hurley and quite hesitant with Mackenzie too. The whole lot of family peeps came over for a BBQ the day before Memorial Day, and she was okay around the dogs. Hurley was very kind to her. He's normally a big talker. He just talks. It's sort of like growling, but his real growl is much more fierce than his conversation. He makes my mother nervous. She is not a fan of large dogs. But he stayed so quiet and sweet. I was very proud of him. It was as if he knew it made her nervous, so he acted different just to be nice. Good boy.

If you have Animal Planet - check out the dogs. Pretty cool.

Welcome to the Caffeinated World

that I inhabit. Today is a beautiful Sunday. A bit hotter than we're used to up here in Michigan. Oak Park to be exact. It's in the mid 80's today. Gorgeous.

Today I won't post a whole bunch, because I have a heap of crap to do that is a mile or two long. And I want to get my profile done too. This blogger thing has been really easy. (Watch me have spoken too soon, and now it won't work...) I will plan to get a little more creative with skins, but one thing at a time. (To be perfectly honest, I didn't even know what the word "skin" referred to until a bright and kind blogger from Florida mentioned blogskins.com. Thank you K.)

If anyone else is slightly HTML and XTML challenged as I am, check out this site! It was pretty helpful to me so far. If anyone knows of better sources, please share.

I'm on cup #2 of plain coffee. It's been a really funny morning. Yesterday I asked my fiance if he would do yoga with me. (We've both been running to train for the Peachtree in Georgia, and we could really both use a bit more flexibility.) He said he would, but not at the gym. Only in the privacy of our own home. (Let me clarify to the general reading public that we are by far not health nuts. His idea of a great dinner is macaroni and cheese and a side of fries. I'm not much better myself. But we're both making efforts, as we have both packed on quite a few extra pounds in the past year and a half and are both feeling pretty crappy.) So last night, as soon as he agreed, I made sure no time was wasted before we headed to Dunhams, which is a discount sporting goods store in MI, and bought our very own cheap yoga mats. I knew I had a "yoga for beginners" DVD at home that I had literally never opened. It came in a gift basket years ago and I just stuck it on the shelf and let it collect dust while I ate chocolate.

Last night he went running and I was busy tutoring until late in the evening, so there was no yoga attempt. But this morning came, and by God I was going to get with the program. I set out the mats, ripped the plastic off the dusty DVD, and got ready to go. I hollered up the stairs and he came down to join me. And that's when the fun started. We are so out of shape it's just ridiculous. We watched this tiny woman fold herself in pretzel shapes and hold poses that we could not even do halfway.... A few times we looked at each other like, "Is she kidding?" It was hysterical. We must have looked like complete asses. Thankfully the blinds were still closed. I'll definitely do it again, but it's going to take awhile before I can actually do it well, if ever. It's only been a matter of hours and I'm already sore from this morning.

My dad stopped by last night in the Mustang. My fiance has a 68' Mustang that my father is kind enough to allow us to store in his garage until we have a home of our own with a garage. Don't picture a really shiny, sexy car. It needs a whole lot of work. It didn't run until late last fall. It's still a cool car, but like I said, it needs a whole lot of work. And being that it will be a major expensive project, it will have to be done in microscopic increments over the course of life. At the rate we're likely predicted to go, the car will be done when he's 92. But nevertheless, we'll work on it over time. The next Mustang project is the floor. It's rusted completely through in the backseat. Not good. Oh well - it's older than either of us so it's entitled to new parts.

Today I'm helping my darling with his biology homework, and studying for a marketing test he has to take tomorrow. We're actually both procrastinating right now. But we're really good at it. ;-)