Monday, January 28, 2008

Great Gift Ideas!

Yes, I am at work. Yes, I am bored. So I went shopping!

I do love a good Amazon wish list as most of you know. Heck, today I even went shopping for items on my own wish list! These items are after all on my list for a reason. I'm outta holidays for this year and really wanted something on my list. (It was the DVD of the original Poseidon Adventure with Gene Hackman and Shelly Winters if anyone had the need to know that!)

After I made my purchase, since one item came off of my wish list, Amazon gave me the option of inserting the person's name for which I purchased the items. That way, you can keep track of what items you've purchased for whom and all that.

Having a barely controllable case of OCD, I can appreciate a good list. I inserted my name on both items and I was then forwarded to a page that listed all the names of people who I have purchased items from their wish lists. I also had options to look at their current wish lists, or I could see recommended gift ideas for this person.

Aha! Amazon is not as all-knowing and all-loving as I thought!

For example, I have four great-nephews. (Well my regular nephew is pretty great too, but I mean the next generation with the great-nephew part!) The boys range in age from just over 18 months to barely six years old. While they are all great kids, I seriously doubt any of them would want what Amazon suggested I buy for them.

Let's start with Grady. The youngest of the bunch had a recommendation for a cool Canon Digital Camera that is pictured here:

From there we'll go to Isaiah, who is a few years older than Grady, granted. But how this Kitchen Aid fits into his gift wishing future is perplexing me!

Now, is this a case of parents messing with the wish lists and getting things for themselves through their kids? I think not. I think Amazon thinks I'm crazy! After all, who else would spend $14 on a DVD and then spend another $11 to get $5 in free shipping.

Actually, I spent another $17 on myself to save the $5 shipping charge.

Now as for the wish lists, I think I'll stay away from Amazon's recommendations and stick with the parents' recommendations. The parents do a much better job at recommending gifts for their kids.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

It's $5.39 Cold

It's cold out there. It's damn cold.

When the temperature drops to a certain level, it really doesn't matter the number you put to it. Is 14 degrees really any better than 12 degrees? No. They are both just damn cold.

That's how I judge the weather now. It's damn hot, hot, warm, cool, cold and damn cold. Today I came up with a new name for weather. Today was $5.39 cold!

I had to stop to put gas in my car on my way home from work. When I gas up, I always fill the tank. I might not like it, but I fill it. A tank of gas for my car usually runs between $40 and $45, depending on the gas prices.

Today, I was standing out there filling my car and I stopped the pump. I was just too freakin' cold to stand out there and wait for the gas to fill my car!

Yes, it was $5.39 cold out there.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Ok, I have to brag. I made my FINAL car payment yesterday! I checked this morning and Honda Finance has my payment posted to the account leaving a zero dollar balance!

After all of these years, my car really is mine!

Now if I can only one day say the same thing about my house.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Back To Reality

Talking about a long crash back to planet Earth!

First, thanks to all for the phone calls, the text messages, the post comments and the e-mails for my birthday! That truly made it an awesome birthday!!

Then, the next day, I came crashing back to reality.

I had my yearly eye appointment the day after my birthday. During the last few years, the appointments went very well. My vision had changed so slightly that it did not necessitate a new perscription for glasses or contacts. That all changed this year.

It's official. I hit the big 4-5 and it all goes to pot! Yes, I had to order my first pair of b..b..b..bifocals. Argh, the horror! Bifocals! This is what I get for laughing at brother Jim when he got his bifocals!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Happy Birthday To ME!!

I haven't mentioned my birthday on here before, so I decided I needed to do it.

Not every body likes birthdays. (My sister Barbara for example.) I happen to love birthdays, especially my own. I figure what the heck. Celebrating another birthday is sure better than the alternative!

You know, so many people celebrate Christmas, or Kwanzaa, or Easter, or Cinco de Mayo, or 4th of July, or Memorial Day etc. But - this day, today, is for ME. It's MY day.

So c'mon, help a girl out! No, I don't want presents. All I want are Happy Birthday wishes!! And LOTS of them!

So, call me. Or text me. Or e-mail me. Or leave a comment here. Or, send smoke signals. Or, send happy thoughts. Whatever works for you, works for me!

Happy birthday to ME!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

Every clock I own seems to be on a different time. This morning I was driving to work wondering how late I'm going to be and I hear the morning DJs stating one time while my clock in my car has another time and my wristwatch has yet another time. For once, I want to know the actual time!

I'm sitting at my desk still thinking about this. I'm sure there is a myriad of ways to figure out the correct time. What did I choose? I called 814-452-6311!

That was the number for the time and temperature in my home town of Erie Pennsylvania!

As a kid, I think we called that number daily. It was just something we did. That way, you knew how to dress for school, or how many layers to put on to go out to play. I know, I could have just looked outside and if I saw snow I'd know to put a coat on. But this was just part of the routine of getting ready when I lived in Erie.

It was always the same lady's voice, stating time the current temperature in Erie in that nice broken robot voice of hers. But it was familiar like an old friend, I had heard her so often.

I haven't called that number at least since I left Erie 12 years ago. And I STILL remember that number! And it STILL works!

The free service is now corporate sponsored but I guess that is to be expected in this day and age. But, the important thing is - The time is 11:28 a.m. and current temperature is 30 degrees.

I got the warm fuzzies over here over that! Good times.

Monday, January 14, 2008

I Knew I Was Good For Something

One of the ladies has a nice little 10 or 20 gallon fish tank in her office. She has some live bearers in there, a few platys and a few mollys. One of the few things I know about since they are in our tank as well.

One morning last week, I was in her office chatting with the office inhabitant as well as the supervisor. The three of us dispensed with work quickly but then started to chat a bit about the fish.

I told them that we were looking for some female silver mollys since our two males were looking lonely. Both ladies looked at me and were surprised that I could tell the boy fish from the girl fish. HEY! I'm suddenly an expert here!

I said sure I can tell and I offered to show the two of them. They got in close to the tank as I knelt on the floor to get a good look. I started to explain that the boys would have a gonopodium and instead of a gonopodium, the girls would have two little fins. It's easy once you know the secret! (Thanks, brother Michael!)

These ladies were so impressed with me. Then, the supervisor said to me "well, I've finally learned something useful from you!"

Ouch! In four years, and with all the money she has paid me for my services and THIS is what she finds useful?

I'm glad I came in handy for something, but if we could not tell my boss that sexing fish is what they find helpful, I'd appreciate it. He thinks it's my auditing skills that keeps this division profitable.

Pizza Time

Friday was our last day at the Chicago audit. There is such a large staff at this audit, we can’t take everyone out of the department at the same time to go to lunch so we usually order some pizza to be delivered for everyone right before we’re done with the audit. Friday was pizza day!

I called Papa John's on Thursday evening to place an order for eight large pizzas to be delivered at 11:45 am. That should be an easy task, but has anyone ever tried to come up with eight combinations of pizzas on a whim? I tried to do a mix of a few with meat, a few with only veggies and one plain cheese pizza for the kid from Home Alone. So, I got all of the pizzas ordered, and we start the process of where we want them delivered. I gave them my work cell number, and he rattled off the address of the audit site complete with “second floor”. Dang, I am known just about everywhere! Ok, it probably had to do with the fact that I ordered pizza from them last year, too.

I don’t know if Papa John’s doesn’t trust their employees, but they wouldn’t take my credit card number on Thursday night, I had to call them with it on Friday. I was told to ask for the manager, Jim, and give the number to him.

Unfortunately, when I called this elusive “Jim” I was told he was not there nor was any manager on site. I explained that I had called an order in the night before for eight large pizzas to be delivered and I was calling to give my credit card number. I swear, if English is not a good language for you, you probably shouldn’t be on the phone with customers. He kept asking me something that I swore was “what’s your orders?” to which I replied “eight large pizzas”! In a frustrated voice, he then said “NO! What’s your orders???” Um, ok, I again said eight large pizzas! Now in an exasperated voice, he asked again for my “ORDERS”. I said I’m sorry, I don’t understand what you’re asking. Then he yelled again “YOUR ORDERS”! You know how people do when you don’t speak their language. Because everyone knows that if you only speak more slowly and a lot more loudly, everyone will understand you no matter what the language.

Then, one more time, “WHAT IS YOUR ORDERS?” I said “my orders? Do you need to know what each and every pizza is that I ordered?” By now the guy is ready to punch me in the nose if I had been close enough and I wasn’t much better. Finally he tells me to hold on while he did whatever he did. He finally came back and said “is your ADDRESS (sorry, it kept sounding like ‘orders’ to me) 123 Any Street? Ahh. Now I get it! I confirmed he had the right address and then he yelled when he asked my what my credit card number was. After I gave him the number, I made the mistake of asking if they had two liter bottles of soda. He said yes they did, but he had already rung up my order and if I thought I was going to order sodas NOW he’d have to void the whole order and start over again.

Now he’s put me in a bitchy mood. So I said hey, I do NOT want to cause you any more work than I have to; I’ll spend my money elsewhere. He seemed happy to hear it. Oh well.

C’mon Papa John’s. You claim to have a better quality pizza, how about some better quality employees? It was easy enough to find another store to take my $15 for soda.

On the good side, out of eight large pizzas, only three pieces of pizza were left after lunch! Now that’s a hungry staff!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Alexander And His Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

As far as Mondays go, this one really belongs in the crapper. The title of the above book just seemed so appropriate since it really was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. I know of what I speak! I own this book!

We both had a rough night last night. Poor Ron wasn’t feeling well (I’m the one that cooked supper, that’s all I’m saying about that) and when he’s up during the night, it usually means that I wake up too.

That aside, I was up early this morning, in anticipation of catching my flight to Chicago. I was going slow and steady getting ready, basing my timeline on Ron taking me to the airport. Did I mention he wasn’t feeling well? By the time we decided that it’s best he stay home in bed and I drive my own butt to the airport, I had to put some speed into my movements. If I have to park the car and walk forever from long term parking to the terminal, I better get a move on. Besides, it’s Monday morning, and as anyone who travels knows, Monday morning trying to get through security can be a nightmare.

So, I drive to the airport and at first, pull into the wrong parking lot. You’d think it would be as easy as watching for signs but it just ain’t so. I followed one set of signs and it took me right into the Sheraton’s parking lot. So, now I have to exit that freakin’ lot and beg them not to charge me the $6.00 fee for 0-3 hours and find my way back to where I was supposed to be.

Guess what. Yes, I missed it again. Now I’m in the uber expensive lot and by now my frustration level is at about maximum. Obviously, I have a low tolerance.

I find a parking space I hope I can remember (on the right just before the ramp that heads up in case someone is available to remind me that on Friday) and I head to the trunk of my car to get my luggage. Suitcase and laptop accounted for, I lock the car then I open the flap of my laptop case to throw my car keys into it. Guess what’s missing? Yes my wallet.

Hello??? MY WALLET???? My wallet is ALWAYS in the front flap of my laptop bag! Where is it? Where can it be??

Aside from not being able to pay for my meals or hotel room, I can’t even get on the plane since my identification is obviously in my wallet. Holy crap, can this be any worse? It’s 7:00 a.m. and my flight is at 8:20. I do NOT have a lot of leeway here people. I definitely don’t have time to run home, grab my wallet and get back. I also don’t have the option of just having Ron overnight it to the hotel. I need my freakin’ driver’s license to get on the plane. Actually, to even get into the airport.

So, I did what I do in crisis. I called Ron and cried.

I actually made the poor guy get out of bed and run my wallet to me at the airport. We agreed on an out of the way place to meet to alleviate him having to negotiate a lot of traffic and there I stood as if on point.

The smart thing to do would have been to load the car back up and move it to the correct parking lot – if I could find it that is. But no. I was rooted to my rendezvous point from when I hung up with Ron until later when he pulled up to me with my wallet in hand.

I get into the terminal and now it’s 7:45. Keep in mind my flight out is at 8:22 and they close the gate 15 minutes prior to the flight. At best (if my wristwatch is correct) I have 20 minutes to get my bag checked in, get through security and run through the airport to the God forsaken D terminal (the absolute FARTHEST point from where I am in the airport) to catch my damn flight. It ain’t gonna happen. To change my flight is going to personally cost me close to $200 in change fees and a taxi to the audit site from the airport since my team won’t wait for me plus a personal day, since I would HAVE to go home and continue my breakdown in private for the rest of today and then see if I could get a flight tomorrow. I’m too cheap and I can’t afford to throw all that away.

Inside the terminal, I see the line at the counter is very long. I run outside to my buddies, the Skycaps. I get right through, tip double and explain that my flight is leaving at 8:22, is there anyway to get my bags on that plane? She took the tip and assured me my bags would make it.

I ran in the door to see the line at security was at least an hour long and it’s now 7:50. There is no way to make it through security let alone the 10 miles to my gate. I am crushed. I walk outside and back to my Skycap. I ask her if there is any way to uncheck my bag as I am likely not going to make it out today and here’s hoping for a flight tomorrow. She looked at her watch and looked at me and said “oh you can make it. Just use the other security check point!”

Bonus points for her! I hadn’t thought of that. It was a bit of a trek in the wrong direction, but chances are I’d get through a lot more expeditiously than at the main security checkpoint. Sure enough, I’m through and running back through the airport heading for the D terminal. I walk past my original checkpoint at 8:00. Holy crap, no way I can cover that much ground in five minutes.

Then . . . I saw the electric cart! Crying so helps. They don’t like to run the carts for just one person. I told him that I was dangerously close to missing my flight in D and was there any way he could help? I also had some money in my hand. Go figure, he said he’d be happy to help! He whisked me way and to the stairs that take you under the runway over to D. I couldn’t get an electric cart through the underground area, but I was able to hustle on my own accord and get through there and up the next flight of stairs. So lucky for me, my gate was only two down from the escalator and I was able to jump right on the plane a few minutes before they locked the gate! Go me! I texted Ron to tell him I made it as the flight attendant was making her last trip though the plane before shutting the door.

What a way to start a Monday.

First and foremost, thanks go out to Ron. I would not have made it if he hadn’t jumped into action at the first cry of hysteria. I am really sorry that I couldn’t let you sleep like I promised. I am truly more trouble than I’m worth.

And the bright spot for today? My bags did indeed make it on the same flight I did. Bonus.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

How Much Is That Doggie In The Window?

Well, I warned you - I am definitely mentally unstable. That was for the few of you out there that might not know that fact yet.

I am not a pet person. Even the fact that we have fish sometimes amazes me. I’m not one to care for another creature to the point of sustaining its life. And, if I have to clean up after it to boot, well, that is just not going to end well. I really don’t like when you have to clean up pet hair, or poop in the yard, or food out of the bowl, or muddy foot prints, etc.

Also, I am afraid of most everything. Especially if it moves of its own free will. I don’t care if it has two legs, four legs, eight legs or one hundred legs. Chances are I’m afraid of it. Dogs especially are at the top of this list. I don’t want to talk about them, be anywhere near one, or even think about one! The mere thought of a dog nearby will start my heart racing in a panic. I can usually spot a dog a hundred yards away and when I do, I am trying to climb up on Ron’s shoulders to get away from it. Yeah, he’s not crazy about that part.

Anyway, we came back from California with a few days down time to blow before having to get back to the grind. On one of our days off, Ron and I headed to our local Petland. While Petland does have an assortment of creatures I don’t care for, on the whole, I can avoid those creatures. When you walk into the Petland building, you’re in a vestibule. From there, you either walk through another door to where the dogs, cats, mice, rats, etc are kept. Or, you can walk up a flight of steps and be in what I call the “safe zone”; the fish department.

I swore I wasn’t buying any more fish, but I’m down to only two mollys left and they are both male. They are starting to look at each other kinda funny and are getting way too chummy. So now we’re thinking maybe we need to get a couple of female silver mollys in there to get them males back in line. Between that excuse and the fact we needed more frozen food for our fish, we made the trip to Petland.

For us, it’s usually straight up the steps, look at all the fish, pay for the food or chemicals or whatever and back out of the store. Only once was I confronted by a dog and I hid behind Ron upstairs in the fish department while the puppy’s owner decided to check out the aquatic section before taking his puppy home.

But, this last trip of ours found the store to have no female sail fin silver mollys so we grabbed our frozen brine shrimp and a pack of emerald entree (the fish's favorite!) and started to head out the door. As a last minute decision, I told Ron I wanted to go downstairs and through the door and look at the dogs. Yes, Ron looked at me like I suddenly had two heads, but he went along with me. The dogs are behind glass, so I thought I might be safe. I walked up and down all of the glass cages, and even petted a puppy one of the workers was holding. Who was this girl? I don’t willingly get within 10 feet of a dog! And here I am petting one!

And then, there she was. The cutest little black fur ball that I have ever seen. She was napping when I walked up to the cage but when her neighbor started squawking at me it woke her up. The neighbor puppy started jumping at the glass and biting it, as if to take a chunk out of me. Yeah, I usually have that effect on dogs, and a few kids, and a few men. But I digress.

As much as the neighbor puppy was making a scene, my new little passion just turned around, looked at me, and walked right up to the glass. She pressed her little nose against her side of the glass and I had my hand pressed against my side of the glass. I stood there for awhile talking to her, and I swear, she looked me right in the eye and understood everything I said. She was begging me to buy her, I swear she was!

She was just a little maybe 10 pound fur ball. She had a little white stripe that ran from her chest down her tummy and little white spots on her toes. I swear, she was just too much. In my mind, I had her bought, paid for and in obedience training before the day was out. I looked at Ron assuming he’d be on the same page with me, maybe even grabbing a cute blue leash to go with her! But no! He was looking at me with a look I’ve never seen from him before. It was the “ARE YOU FREAKIN’ CRAZY???” look.

C’mon now, people. We’ve lived together for almost five years now. He’s seen a lot of good and bad and yes, even crazy, when it comes to me. But this was totally a new look for him. I’ve never seen him look at me like that! And, he said NO! What the heck is that about?

According to the puppy employee, I was told that the dog was part poodle and part something else. She didn’t believe that the dog would get much bigger, maybe another 10 pounds at the most. But c’mon now, this is Petland. The girl looked to be about 16 years old. Does she really know that the dog will only grow another 10 pounds or so? Or did she miss a zero and really mean the dog will only get 100 pounds or more? After all, the employees up in the fish department aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer, so why would the employees downstairs be any better trained? I walked away from my little girl and made the rounds again, even looking at the mice and rats, but made my way back to her again. She was right there, waiting for me. Her little tail just thump thump thumping away as I walked back by her cage.

Even now days later, in my mind, I still see my little puppy in our house, I have her named and I already know what furniture she’s allowed on and what furniture she’s not allowed on. It’s absolutely crazy, she’s become an obsession, my little Sadie! (that would be her name in our house!)

It has taken everything in me to not go back to the pet store and see if my little Sadie is still there. I know if she is, I’m coming home with a dog, regardless of that look on Ron’s face. Maybe that’s why he hasn’t let me out of his sight in the last three days.

I don’t know where this obsession has come from. I’m still terrified of dogs, I’m not a pet person, and here I am aching to bring that dog home. I think I need to be medicated. Or admitted. Or both!

Although one thing just might cure me of wanting to stampede back to Petland and bring home a puppy. I never did ask them . . . How much IS that doggie in the window?