Tuesday, May 29, 2007


One of my famous sayings is “I don’t know nothing about nothing”. Trust me; what I don’t know could fill up a couple of libraries.

Sunday, Ron and I went and caught up on some overdue shopping. I know, a few days before a holiday is never a good time to go shopping, but we were out of almost everything. It was now or never.

We started our adventure at Sam’s Club. Sam’s Club seems to have gotten some new shopping carts. These were the nice, large, plastic coated carts that were still big and wide but not so deep. In case no one has ever been to a Sam’s Club before, it’s a very large warehouse with a cement floor, and everything is displayed on simple steel shelving. Nothing fancy.

When we’re shopping in a store, I am usually the cart pusher. I am walking through the store and ZAP. My right palm suddenly felt like I was pushing a needle into my hand. What the heck? I looked down, expecting to see a spider or some other creature that I was going to have to scream for Ron to kill. I saw nothing. Just the plastic covered handle. It must have been my imagination.

Walking, walking, walking and ZAP. Again, someone is jabbing me with a needle! I have a vivid imagination but c’mon, I don’t usually get that excited about canned vegetables.

About the third time I couldn’t take it anymore. I no longer thought that this was my imagination, and I still don’t see a bug on the handle so what the heck is going on? I stopped the cart, showed Ron my hand (which looked as normal as it gets) and told him that something keeps biting me on the handle of the cart.

He looked closely at the offending handle and said that there was a little piece of the handle where the plastic has been scraped/worn away and bare metal was showing. I was just getting shocked from the metal on the handle.

Hello? Did I mention that I don’t know nothing about nothing? In my feeble mind though, I should NOT be getting shocked on a cement floor while just walking through the store holding on to a plastic coated shopping cart while wearing sneakers.

This should have been added to my book “That’s Just Wrong” because it’s just wrong!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Let Are Kids Walk

It's been over the news recently that students and parents are protesting schools that are not allowing seniors to walk across the stage at graduation and get even an empty diploma if their grades will not pass them through the grade or if they fail the skills tests.

This picture, from WFAA-TV, Dallas-Fort Worth, is of seniors at Trimble Tech High School picketing the Fort Worth Independent School District on their decision to not allow the students to walk across the stage at commencement because they did not pass their TAKS, (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills,) tests.

This student should be ashamed as should her parents. Are these our future leaders? Heaven help us all.

Mrs. Lavenka Revisited

Since no one is in the office but me, I'm having a hard time concentrating on anything productive other than surfing the internet. Lucky for me, I told my boss not to call here after 3:00 since I also plan on leaving early!

Anyway, I wrote recently about how I thought I was turning into a junior Mrs. Lavenka. Then I read this article.

I don't know if my grass is worth all that.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

What's In A Number?

Traveling does get old after awhile. One of the hardest things for me is remembering where I am or where I need to be.

When I’m staying in the same hotel every week, the first room I am assigned in that hotel sort of gets imprinted in my head. Last week, our first week at this audit, I was in room 316. Nice room, right off of the elevator.

We are up to week two, and I still have room 316 on my mind. However, I am down a floor and across the hall in room 219.

Monday night, I was exhausted when I was climbing into bed. I figured since I was so tired, I’d need more than the alarm on my phone to get my happy ass out of bed in the morning. So, I called down to the front desk and asked for a wake up call for room 319 at 5:30 a.m. The attendant downstairs told me she’d be happy to enter my wake up call for me before she added “but ma’am, you should know that you are actually in room 219, not 319.” Fine. Whatever.

I mean, what am I supposed to say? I had $0.99 margaritas at dinner and I’m not exactly sure of my room number? Even if you know I got it wrong, did you have to call me on it? I don’t need it pointed out that I’m an idiot that doesn’t know where she is!

So there. That was that.

Until last night.

I went down to the front desk last night to make a couple more reservations for my stay here as I know I’m going to be here at least six weeks. After we dispensed with all of that, I said, “oh, since I’m here, how about a wake up call in the morning at 5:30 a.m.?” She answered sure; she’d love to help me with that. She asked what room I was in. I told her 316.

Needless to say, this morning my phone never rang so I ended up taking one heck of a fast shower, just washing every other body part in order to meet my audit team on time in the lobby. I hate starting a day like that, in such a rush.

I think room 316 was good to me. Room 219 is also very nice, but I just don’t seem to have an attachment to it (obviously!). Wait until next week when I’m just going to walk up and down the halls trying my key in all of the doors until I find one that opens!

On the plus side, I had another nice note in my room tonight from the housekeeper! I didn't think the tip I left was THAT big! But, she does do a great job on my room, my things seem to be left alone, and she doesn't throw out my started bottles of shampoo. I see another call to a hotel manager about a great staff member in my immediate future. Perhaps I can keep her on retainer so she can leave me a trail of notes so I can find my room in the evening.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Uh Oh!

I’ve had sounds that go crunch in the morning, and now I’ve had a sound that I can’t even put into words to describe it in here!

The company we are auditing has all of their documents on microfilm. For the record, this is NOT my favorite medium. I usually have to take a dose of Dramamine in order to read the films and not throw up from the motion sickness and then I am fighting to stay awake to analyze them as the Dramamine just makes me want to sleep. At least this company has a better microfilm reader than most I’ve worked with.

The reels of microfilm come in a little box. I open the box, take the reel of film and insert it into a plastic horseshoe shaped holder. The holder is then slid into the microfilm reader and the reader automatically threads the film into the machine preparing it to be read. There is a keypad on the machine that all I have to do is punch in the appropriate number for the frame of film I want to see and the reader will advance the film to the exact frame I requested. Since most of it is automatic, I don’t have to watch the film roll by, therefore reducing my motion sickness.

Then it happened. I put the reel into the plastic horseshoe shaped holder. I inserted the holder into the machine. The, as the automatic threader took over, I suddenly heard the most horrific sound. Sounded like glass and bone being put through a wood chipping machine. Everyone came running and guess who was sitting in the chair, at the machine, looking guilty! ME! Talk about wanting to crawl under a desk and hide.

We realize we are guests when we are on an audit site. We try to act accordingly. We are respectful of others, and we try not to make a mess or leave anyone’s desk in disarray. Then I go and break the toys.

Luckily for me, (I mean them) there is a service contract on this piece of machinery. Service was called and a few hours later a nice person fixed what was broken and they gave me the word that I can go back to the machine. Are they kidding me? Like I’d risk breaking something twice in one week! Oh heck no.

I will wait until next week to get back on the machine. That way we can have some excitement next week too. Lock up the copy machine and the fax. They could be next.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Planes, Trains, Automobiles And Smoke Alarms Too

Ok, two out of four isn’t bad seeing as how I only have something to say about two out of the four listed.

We all know there are good train crossings (the ones with the lights and gates) and there are bad train crossings (no lights or gates). Has anyone ever seen a flashing light on a door that goes outside that signifies a passing train? I can now say that I have.

Most of our work is done in one building. But we do have a few contacts that we must meet with that are in the next building. Going out the side door, you have to first notice if the red lights are blinking that are over the big yellow sign that says “CAUTION! TRAINS”. I thought at first that was a typo. It’s not.

There is enough room to open the door if a train is on the tracks, but that’s about it. You have about two feet of room out there and then there is the train! Needless to say, it shakes the building as it goes by. I’m a little apprehensive about standing outside when a train is going by as it would only take a small shove from my boss to put me into the train. I’m not that willing to give him such an easy shot.

Today I did stand inside the building though as the train was going by. And for some reason, it made me giggle that I actually had to stand there, inside of the building, and wait for the train to go through so I could cross the way to go into the next building.

Yes, this job is sometimes an adventure.

And you know how I’ve been lately with fire alarms. I heard another one today, but this time, not at the hotel. This one was right at the audit site. To say I was indisposed when the alarm went off is an understatement. (Read: in the bathroom) I hurried to finish what I was in the middle of and hot footed it back to the department I am working with. The alarm is blaring and everyone is going about their business like nothing is happening. I did ask our contact if this was something that we should be worried about. She sort of looked around and said “oh, the alarm is going off.” Hmm. I took that as it was nothing to worry about!

A short time later, my audit team and I left for lunch and there was a fire department SUV parked outside. I’m assuming they were here testing the alarm which is why no one was worried about it. I guess I was too busy in the bathroom to get the memo on that one.

Have I mentioned that some days this job is an adventure?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Small Town America

It’s a new day and a new audit. For once, this one is west of me, so I’m not the one that was stuck driving since I was the farthest one out. This time my boss had to be the one to leave an hour early on Monday to come and get me, and on Friday he’ll get home an hour after I do. I like it! I’m on the right side of town this time!

This is a new audit for us, and it’s the first audit our client has had. It’s in the middle of nowhere, or at least close to it. The drive down showed us a lot of farm lands and a lot of nothing. I was definitely okay with that. Beats the hustle and bustle of downtown Buffalo for sure!

So far, the staff seems very nice and is really showing us the ropes around here and around town. They seem to feel badly for us since our hotel is “way on the other side of town!” After all, it takes us a whopping 10 minutes or so to get here in the morning! Darn those cross town drives!

Two other warnings I’ve received since yesterday:

1 – If you’re in the bathroom washing your hands, and someone flushes the toilet, get your hands OUT OF THE WATER. The cold water all seems to go to the toilets and the hot water is funneled to the sinks. People have been burned. I appreciate this advice.

2 – If you choose to go across the street to one of the two restaurants located there, you must walk to the corner and cross at the cross walk. Otherwise, you run the risk of a $95 jay-walking fine and from what I’ve been told, this street is monitored closely just for that purpose. Small towns gotta generate revenue any way they can, I guess.

As a side note, I wonder how much a speeding ticket is through town. I bet it’s cheaper than that jay-walking ticket!

Other than that, not much else is going on. I am back on the road again, so hopefully this will bring out some good stories from on the road.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Taa Daa!!

I really did win a major award!
There was an award ceremony at work today in which I received the award to the left. It's a hand blown crystal gadget about 7-1/2" tall. Ron wiped my name off of the picture version of my award to protect the innocent.
The VP gave a nice speech of which some of it was factual.
It's kinda hard to get a good picture of a crystal award. Some may think I'm a good auditor, but I'll never be mistaken for a good photographer!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Sweet Sights of Spring

Ahh. It's finally spring. I truly believe that summer really is just around the corner.

Some nights after work, I like to take the long way home. Lots of farm land, lots of trees and no turnpike, very little traffic. Yes, it takes a little longer but it's much prettier and much more peaceful. Today was one of them days when I really needed a nice, peaceful ride home.

On my peaceful ride home, I happen to drive by our friendly neighborhood correctional facility.

Here's how I really know it's spring time.

The guys are out in the yard, some playing softball, some just sitting in the stands watching the game. The last group is always seen standing on the fringes of things, arms crossed across their chests, and the lot of them just staring through the concertina wire out at the road.

I like to beep and wave at the guys. Just like our neighborhood firemen, the convicts will always wave back too! It does wonders for my ego when even someone like me can make a bunch of guys wave at her.

Ahh, the sweet sights of spring. Convicts out in the yard.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

What's That Noise?

I'm sitting here in the living room watching TV. I keep hearing this noise. Sort of like a "crack". It's not a rhythmic cracking, and it happens so quickly I'm having trouble zoning in on where it's coming from.

Finally I gave up. I called Ron over to listen with me and figure out what is that noise. He said not to worry, it's just the sound of the fish. How can fish make that much noise?

Well, there is a thermometer in the tank. It's stuck to the front of the tank by a suction cup. Because of the suction cup, the actual thermometer sits back from the glass probably 1/8 to 1/4 of a inch.

One of our gold gouramis attacks the thermometer. He swims towards the thermometer then turns quickly and his tail flicks the thermometer which taps it into the glass of the tank. He plays this game for awhile, goes away and them comes back to it to do it again.

So, now I'm worried about my one gourami! Is he hurting himself doing this? Is this how he plays? Is this normal behavior? Does he need therapy for self injuring? Does Dr. Phil make fish calls??!!

Still A Kid

The other day, Ron and I were sitting in the living room. Suddenly, siren after siren went flying by our house. Being my father's daughter, I had to run outside to look!

Fire truck, hook and ladder, EMT, police. They all went buzzing by our house. Ron and I stood in the yard for awhile, to see if they were stopping in sight anywhere. They ended up just passing through, so since there was no excitement to see, Ron and I decided to walk around the yard and check out the spring growth. As we're walking and talking, I heard one of those big diesel engines coming back.

I turn around, and just like a little kid, I starting pointing at the fire truck that was now returning to the firehouse down the street. I'm actually yelling to Ron, "look! look! The firetruck!" Ok, in hindsight, perhaps I am an idiot! But for some reason, it's exciting to watch the firetruck driving down my street when it's not an emergency.

There I was, standing like an idiot, pointing to the firetruck, probably doing a little happy dance. That did not go unnoticed by the staff in the firetruck. As they drove by the house, the guys waved at ME and even tooted the horn! Yeah, baby! Waved at ME!

So, thanks guys from Station 1. Thanks for the beep and wave while going by. You made my day while making me feel like a kid again.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Call Me Mrs. Lavenka

For those of you that don't recognize the reference above, here's a little background.

When my siblings and I were growing up, we spent a lot of time at Grandma's house. That's just what people did back then. There were a lot of adults visiting at Grandma's house and even more kids. Back in the days before Wii, before the Internet and even before cable TV, what kids did was played outside. If you were a kid and you played outside on 11th Street in front of Grandma's, chances were good that you got yelled at on a regular basis by Mrs. Lavenka.

Mrs. Lavenka was about 1,000 years old, and we thought she lived just to yell at kids. She would yell if you were on her grass, close to her grass, or even thinking about being anywhere near her grass!

Now I am an adult. I have a house. My house comes with a lot of grass. This property is actually on two lots. The first lot on the corner is all grass, and the second lot is where the house sits. So, there is a lot of grass.

The kids across the street, their family and their friends and for all I know their friends' families all like to play in my yard! In this litigious society, I don't want 20 kids playing football in my yard. That's all I need, to be sued because someone broke their leg on my property.

If my property were the only green space these kids had to play, I might be able to work something out with them. BUT, there are two city parks, each only one block away. One is one block to the south and one is one block to the west of me. If you have enough energy to be out there playing football, you have enough energy to take your butts one block to a park and play football.

Twice now, the last being Sunday, I was outside yelling at the kids! I think I've turned into Mrs. Lavenka! If you listen closely, you can hear her in my voice yelling . . .