Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Will Someone Please Answer My Boob?

For the last few days, a couple of times a day, the side of my left boob feels like it's vibrating. You know the feeling when your phone is on vibrate in your pocket? That's the feeling.

Ok, yes, my phone is almost always on vibrate but to the best of my recollection, it's never been by my left boob.

I've been hearing things on the radio and on the news this past week about people having phantom feelings regarding their phones. For example, you don't even have your phone on you but you feel it vibrate in your pocket or you hear it ring even when it's not ringing?

I never thought I was that attached to my phone (after all, I have been known to leave it in my car all night when I don't want to talk to anyone!) but what else could it be?

Either that or someone really wants to talk to my boob. C'mon now. I feel ya calling.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Dirty Dozen

Can you believe it's been 12 years?

12 years ago today, I left my hometown of Erie Pennsylvania for what I thought was greener pastures in Houston Texas. I've been thinking a lot about this today.

I was trying to remember back that far. We all have defining moments in our lives, this was definitely one of mine.

I hardly remember the girl that left Erie all of those years ago. I know I left with a dream based on a promise. Both were broken, but that helped make me who I am today.

So here we are, 12 years later. I am no longer in Texas, I am now in Ohio. I am working on new dreams with no empty promises attached. I am smarter now, a little stronger, and a little less naive. I'm scared of what tomorrow will bring, but hopefully I will be strong enough to face it.

That girl that left 12 years ago is definitely gone. Here's to the new and improved (?) model.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Christmas Came Early

I know my Sissy loves me!

In the mail today, I received a box of home grown California pomegranates!

My sister has Pomegranates growing all around her property and from what I hear, they grow faster than she can eat them. Luckily, she knows someone that can help her out with them. Yes, that would be me!

So, if anyone is interested in one, c'mon over. But you better hurry . . . they won't last long!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Only Me

From the files of these things only happen to me, I have had serious issues with the blow dryers in the rooms at the hotel.

Last Friday morning, I showered in the morning and was running late so I had to blow my hair dry. There I was, half dressed in the bathroom, bent over from the waist, my hair hanging down in front of me, blow dryer in hand.

Suddenly, the blow drying was coming to a screeching stop and something was tugging at my hair. Somehow, my hair got sucked into the back of the blow dryer. I was so stuck.

The blow dryers are mounted to the walls in the hotel. I can’t reach my cell phone in the other room nor can I reach the door to the hallway. Then again, I’m only half dressed, so who the heck am I going to call to help me? I did start to panic and then just started ripping. Some hair was ripped from my head and some hair was ripped from the dryer. A little hair was left in both places!

Ok, I chalked it up to just a bad morning. I was safe, I was able to escape the evil blow dryer, I was ok.

Then, Wednesday night, I took a shower and didn’t want to go to bed with a wet head. Again, I started up the blow dryer. Again, bent over from the waist and my hair all in front of me when suddenly, I hear a grinding sound and smell smoke. Yeah, that was ME smoking! Well, my hair at least.

Somehow, out of all of that on Wednesday, I had the best hair day I’ve had in a long time on Thursday. Everything went right where I wanted it to! Ok, I couldn’t see the back of my head so well, so I may really have a huge hole back there from ripping my hair out, but from the front, my hair looked good!

Dufus Update

Believe it or not, Dufus # 1 never got out of the hospital until this past Wednesday. He had his feeding tube taken out last Friday and they were starting to introduce clear liquids to see how he tolerated them. Well, I guess he didn’t do so well with that, as they had to insert the tube back into him on Saturday.

We went to see him Monday night and the tube was still there. Tuesday they finally took it out again as well as his drainage tube and his IV. He did look a lot better Monday night in spite of the tube up his nose. And, he was joking around and worrying about work. Those are both good signs of recovery!

Things finally went well for him. He was released on Wednesday evening and got home Wednesday night. I talked to him today and he really sounded good.

This is one trip he will never forget.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I’ll Give You Black And Blue

I travel so much that in my mind, I have suitcase packing down to a science. I will only take one bag, so I must be frugal with my packing as to make it all fit. After all, I don’t have a valet to carry my bags, so the less I pack, the less I have to carry.

I bring with me only two pair of slacks, plus a sweater or blouse for each day. Add in some underwear, pantyhose and a toiletry bag and I’m out the door. The two pairs of slacks that I pack are usually picked so that both will go with one pair of shoes. I don’t pack anything extra. Usually I go with black and blue slacks one week or black and gray to go with black shoes and the next week will be brown and tan to go with the brown shoes. Hey, in my world, this makes sense.

My only problem with this is that I’m color blind. Some days it’s more evident than others. I can’t tell any difference between my black slacks and my blue ones. Ask poor Ron how many times I’ve woken him up in the morning to ask him which slacks are in my hand! It’s sad when your man has to help you get dressed in the morning! When I’m on my black and blue week, I’m careful not to get them mixed up. If I start the week with black slacks on, when I get to the hotel and hang up my clothes (yes, I always hang up my clothes at the hotel) I will hang the blue slacks right in front and when I undress for the night, the black ones will hang in the back so I can tell them apart in the morning.

I don’t know what I was thinking last night when I got ready for bed, but when I was getting dressed this morning, both pairs of pants were hung right next to each other. I am in big trouble here. I can’t remember which ones I hung in front.

I turned on every light in the room and I still see no difference. I closed my eyes and picked one and hoped for the best.

So, if anyone out there sees me and notices that I have blue slacks on with my orange blouse, please tell me!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

You Want Fries With That?

Some times, you just come across something that just makes you laugh. This was one of those somethings! Some people should just join the food chain before they breed. The bottom of the food chain that is.

What’s The Number For 911?

I have been in such a mood lately to cook. I’m only home on the weekends right now, and I want to spend my time home in the kitchen making real meals. I think about it all week long; what am I going to cook on the weekend. I am just so tired of restaurant food. I want real food, even if it is only my cooking.

Last week, I knew one of the things I wanted to cook this past weekend was sauerkraut. What goes with sauerkraut? Pork. What a winning combination. I knew I had a pork loin in the freezer which is one of my favorite cuts of meat. I’ve made pork loin numerous times and it’s not often it comes out good. That’s a shame since it’s an expensive cut of meat. The meat is not the problem, it’s just that I’m a terrible cook, especially when it comes to pork.

Sunday afternoon I was scouring the internet looking for a good recipe for the pork loin. I found what I thought was a winner and it looked easy to do, as well as the fact that the ingredients were common, as in what I carry in my kitchen.

It called for an easy glaze with honey, orange juice and EVOO, then some broth in the baking pan and let it go. The bad part came in with the fact that I was to baste “often” over the hour cooking time. How often is often? I threw caution to the wind and set my timer for every 10 minutes. Hey, any time I have to get off my butt and “do” something every 10 minutes, to me that was pretty damn often.

The first two basting sessions went well. The third try, however, turned out to be disastrous. I opened the oven, pot holder in hand, I went to tilt the pan to bring all the juices to the corner and suddenly, the darn pork loin shifted. It was actually in two pieces! Yeah, who knew? Top part fell off the bottom part, splashed in the liquid, I jumped, yada yada yada. End result? All of the liquid from in the roasting pan was now on the bottom of my oven.

If you can picture this; between the honey and the EVOO, spilled all over the bottom of my oven. Yeah, what a winner. It immediately started to burn and of course, smoke. And I do mean smoke. Shortly thereafter, all of our smoke alarms were going off. Each of us with only two arms was not enough to fan the smoke away from all of the alarms. So, before the neighbors called the fire department, I turned off the furnace and Ron and I ran to open all of the doors and windows. Once the smoke billowed out of the house and no sirens came racing in, I thought we had the battle won. Wrong. I can’t believe how much smoke came out of that oven. The last recourse was to take all of the batteries out of the smoke alarms. I know, not a good idea. But that incessant alarm going off until the meat was done was just not bearable.

After all that, our house smelled like crap because of the remnants burning in the oven. And, now the last of what was in the pan is just burning to the bottom of the pan. At least Ron had the presence of mind to put some water in the baking pan to help alleviate that part of the problem. To top this fiasco off, the sauerkraut I bought said “Polish style”. Yeah, that was a new one on me. Too bad I didn’t notice that at the store before I bought it. Come to find out, “Polish style” means with little caraway seeds. Yeah, I could have done without that. So, the sauerkraut wasn’t perfect. The mashed potatoes came out good though! And the applesauce was yummy, especially when mixed with the mashed potatoes!

Actually, the pork came out better than I’ve done in a long time. It was still tasty, and moist, even if the glaze ended up on the bottom of the oven. So, it wasn’t what it was supposed to be, but it was good as what it was, whatever that was. We ate half of it and the other half is safely packed in the freezer. Perhaps I’ll make a nice gravy to warm it up in this weekend.

Oh, who am I kidding? After the trauma of that fiasco, I think this weekend is going to be calling the delivery guy to bring us pizza. The neighborhoods will definitely appreciate the peace and quiet.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Welcome Home

Every Friday night after a week of travel, one of the first things I do when I get home is to study the fish tank. Yes, I said study.

I can't just "look". I have to really go over the tank. I judge how dirty or clean, I count the fish to make sure Ron didn't have to flush any while I was gone and just take awhile and relax and study.

Last night, Ron and I were both studying. One of our female gouramis looks really fat. We did some research on getting baby gouramis and that just looked like too much work. The fish tank is only there for fun and relaxation, not work! So, we decided that we weren't going to make the habitat special for breeding the gouramis which would include taking out all but six inches of water from the tank. It's a 65 gallon tank for crying out loud. No, too much work. So, our fat gourami is either eating too much or she might be full of eggs. I don't think we'll be able to bring the eggs to baby fish, but that's ok. It's all about letting nature take its course with this tank. What will be will be.

So that's what I look at and study. One of our platys looks pregnant as well. Ron and I were talking last night that it's time to take the tank apart and give it a good cleaning. That means taking out all of the stuff in the tank like the plants and the slate, we clean the glass inside and out, vacuum all the poop out of the rocks, clean the filter and take out 1/3 of the water, build new hiding places with the plants and slate and then fill it back up with clean water. That's the most work we do with the tank. We thought before these fish have more babies, if they are pregnant, we'll clean the tank. That way, there is no way of putting the babies in danger by taking out all of the hiding places to clean the tank.

Then I saw it!


Yes, there is a baby platy in there. At first I saw the one, about 1/2 inch long. I was so excited! The more I looked, I thought I saw another, smaller one in the same space. Sure enough, here he came. Almost totally translucent, and about half the size of the first one I saw. Teeny tiny baby! Two confirmed babies, and here's hoping there are more under that rock that I just can't see yet.

So, we'll still clean part of the tank this weekend. I won't touch the area that is hiding the babies but at least it will be better than nothing.

Yeah, that was a great welcome home present on Friday night.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Stuff Happens

It’s been quite a week and it’s only Thursday.

To update you on my computer issue, my corporate IT department was not able to save my laptop. They were no more successful getting it to boot up than I was. So, the good news there is I finally have a brand new laptop; my first brand new one during my tenure with this company. The good and the bad of all that is this is my fourth laptop in 4-1/2 years and each laptop is coming with less Ghz and less Ram, whatever those are. All I know is each piece of crap is slower than the one before it. That sucks.

But, at least I’m up and running. And, they were able to switch hard drives (I type like I know what I’m talking about, huh? Actually, Ron will explain all of this to me when I get home!) and in switching hard drives, it has been the easiest transition to a new laptop yet. I don’t have to install all of my printers again, or set everything up again just like I like it. It’s all done for me. After what I had to go through trying to work without a laptop, I’m happy to have even this POS to get me back in service.

As much as I complain about the two dufuses that I am forced to work with, something has happened that even I wouldn’t wish on them.

One of the dufuses is actually in a local hospital here recovering from an emergency appendectomy. His appendix burst, so unfortunately his recovery will not be as easy as it could have been had the appendix stayed together.

We did put a care package together for him the other night and found our way to the hospital to bug him. The magazines we picked up for him will probably be enjoyed. Not today . . . but some time during his recovery. Unfortunately, the candy and the cookies were probably not a welcome sight as he was busy enjoying his dinner through a tube in his nose.

We’ve definitely had better weeks.

As an update on dufus, he's still in the hospital and probably will be for the rest of the weekend at least. He has had the feeding tube taken out today so that's at least a step in the right direction.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Can I Get My Change?

Friday was a crazy day.

To start with, as soon as I got to the audit site, I tried to boot up my laptop. No go. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

I did the best troubleshooting I know how. I called Ron and woke him up! Over the phone, he talked me through a few things. I took the battery out, left it out for a little bit and then tried to boot up again. Nothing. Then I switched power cords with one of the other laptops and tried to boot up. Nothing. Lastly, I switched batteries with another laptop. Nothing. Finally, Ron said that without seeing it, he really couldn't talk me through any more over the phone. Time to call my Corporate IT department.

That call was less than productive. When I told IT all that I had tried already, he told me that's what HE was going to tell me to do! I said, ok, I've done that, so what's next? He said to ship my laptop back to him. What? How does that help me? I need my laptop. I am on a travel audit. It's not like I can go to plan "B". All my plans are on that damn laptop. Grr. Talk about lost. IT told me to find a Kinko's, ship the laptop back rush delivery, and as soon as he gets it, he'll work on it. What choice do I have?

So that's how my day started. One of the guys remembered a Kinko's over by where we had lunch last week. I headed over that way, hoping I could find it again. That was the easy part.

I filled out the paperwork at Kinko's, watched them box up my work life line and walked out the door. Here's where the fun began!

Kinko's is in a small strip plaza. When I walked out the door I saw that the business next to it was a bank. Sort of. It was called S&T Bank. Wouldn't you think that was a bank? I've been carrying around a $50 bill on me, and I've been wanting to break it. I don't spend enough money to pay with a $50! It won't work for a tip for housekeeping, it won't buy me a soda from the machine. I don't want to give a $50 to the toll booth operator on the PA Turnpike where I need to pay a $1.50 toll. So, how fortuitous that a bank is right next door to where I am. I will just walk over and break the $50 and head back to the audit site.

I walk in. There, in the vestibule is an armed security guard. Hmm. I walk in the door only to find this looks nothing like a bank I've ever seen before. There is a greeter inside of the door and then nothing but offices and one window which on the other side was a woman at a desk.

The greeter asked me if she could help me. She asked this as I was trying to quietly back my stupid ass out of the door. I tried to explain that I was mistaken and that I thought this establishment was a bank. The greeter said it IS a bank. Well, it may be a bank but it was obvious that I didn't belong there.

So, with my exit route blocked by security and the greeter standing in front of me like a female marine, I explained that I was from out of town and that I was just here to break a $50. First she asked if I had an account at that bank. I again explained that no, I didn't have an account since I was from out of town. She then asked if she could see the $50. What was I supposed to do? I handed it over! She in turn handed it to the lady behind the desk who proceeded to grab one of those counterfeit detecting pens and swiped the pen right across my $50. Once the $50 was verified to be real, the woman behind the desk left with MY $50! A minute later, the lady was back with my change.

I apologized for interrupting their day and thanked them for their assistance and quietly and innocently as I could, left the premises.

What a way to do some banking! Makes me happy for the 5/3 Bank I belong to! At least they LOOK like a bank!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Coincidence? I Think Not.

My hotel room is haunted.

I was going to post this yesterday but I figured being Halloween and all, no one would believe me!

Let me first start by telling y’all that I am sick this week; I have one heck of a cold. I found a Rite Aid here and I stocked up on Puffs Plus (with lotion!), Sudafed PE for day time and Tylenol Cold and Flu for night time. All I needed was some chicken soup.

Anyway, I didn’t make it to work on Tuesday. I stayed in bed at the hotel all day long. I kept hearing the toilet flush. It is not like it is continuous or even once every hour. But, the toilet would flush and I wouldn’t be in the bathroom, so what’s that about? Then I thought maybe it’s just that some hotels have thinner walls than others. Sometimes you hear your neighbor flush, or hear the shower running. I started to think that perhaps this was the cause of my hearing the toilet flush.

Then, on Tuesday, I was out of bed and actually heading towards the bathroom when I heard the toilet flush. I rushed as much as I could rush across my 15’ long room and into the bathroom. While I might not have seen the actual flush, I did watch the toilet bowl fill back up with water. Strange, huh?

Couple that with the fact that I’ve had dreams about my Dad all week long. And, they haven’t been the good kind, either. Dad just died in September so on one hand, it was good to see him in my dreams, but on the other hand . . . it’s hard finding out now that Dad has been so disappointed in me all this time.

Separately, these incidents are no big deal. But together, they have great significance. You see, the toilet and my Dad are quite synonymous.

Anyone that knew my Dad knew that the toilet was his favorite seat in the house. But, that’s not the story of Dad and a toilet that I’m talking about now.

Shortly after moving to Ohio, I had a nice townhouse apartment. The bathroom upstairs used to baffle me though. When I’d leave for work in the morning, the bowl would be full of water. Since I have no pets to drink out of the bowl, one would expect the bowl to be full of water when I returned home from work. But, there were a lot of days that the bowl was almost empty of water! What the heck was happening?! Where was the water going?

My first line of defense was my brother Michael. He lived close by, and he thinks he knows almost everything. I told him of my toilet issue. He gave me some far off story about the wind blowing over the vent on the roof and that it was sucking the water right out of the toilet. Well, while Michael is indeed a smart man, he has been known to talk out of his ass now and again. Hard to know when he’s being serious and when he’s not!

On to line of defense # 2. Brother Jim. I told him of Michael’s story of the wind and the vent pipe and he whole heartedly agreed. Was this a conspiracy to mess with my head? How could this be true? I called shenanigans on the brother alliance against the baby sister and went right to the embodiment of knowledge of all things plumbing – my Dad!

I told him the story of the water missing from the toilet bowl and right there, in front of the two brother conspirators, my Dad came up with the same story of the wind over the vent pipe! Oh NO! They got to him too! Not to be mean here, but I don’t think Dad was smart enough to mess with my head that much. You almost had to believe him. So, it became the running joke about my toilet losing water through the vent pipe on the roof. Because to be honest, I still don't believe that story, even though it was "confirmed" by Dad, too.

I know, that was a long story to tell you that I think my Dad is flushing my toilet in the hotel room. Either that or I really need to lay off the Tylenol cold and flu medicine.

To top this story off, last night, I fell asleep with the tv on the USA channel. I’ve been sleeping a lot this week with the help of the meds but it hasn’t been solid sleep. I’m dozing a lot is more like it. Last night, one of the times I woke up during the night, I heard the program on television. It sounded like a Law and Order episode or a CSI or a show like that. All I heard them say was “It looks like the woman in room 502 was murdered”. Guess what MY room number is! That’s right! 502! I found the remote control right away and shut the damn tv off. Like I need help with my nightmares!

Since I figured out the Dad/toilet correlation he didn’t visit me in my dreams last night. Mom however, was a different story. Who knew that she was so angry with Aunt Annie? And over what? Wow. That was a surprise.

Yeah, I need to lay off the cold medicine. And, based on the premonition of my murder, perhaps sleep with one eye open.