Wednesday, October 31, 2001

Happy Halloween

To the millions of pagan (a)musing readers, a blessed Samhain, to the rest of you, be safe as you go out and festivus in the various not quite pagan observations you choose. The kids are good and ready for tonight. We will embark on a trick or treat escapade at 6:30pm after I get Jessie from her voice lesson.

Geoff is being a pirate, and Jessica refused to be a pirate and wants to be an Australian. Yup. An Australian. I asked her if that was somehow scary, because you are supposed to dress up as something scary even though most people don't WANT you dressing up as anything more frightening than one of the 101 dalmatians, and she didn't have an answer. So we started to put together this costume... I called our pastor, an Ozzie, and a co-worker who is also of Oz, to ask them what she should bring and if they had any cool props. They both said a can of Fosters was all she needs.

How funny is that. I mean, most Americans will be appaled that my daughter is walking around with an (empty, albeit) alcohol container, but the Aussies out there still seem to have a healthy sense of humor.

So this is what she's got:

  • A cool hat, looks outbackish even though it is something Doug bought at Ozarkland in friggin Missouri
  • A bunch of beanie babies, koala, kangaroo, ostrich, platypus and I'm looking for a crocodile right now... must go to store at lunch.
  • An "Outback Steakhouse" long sleve henley shirt that has a kangaroo on it that one of my former co-workers (Peg) handed down to her after her own daughter quit working there and abandoned the shirt in her wake. It actually is a really nice article of clothing.
  • A paper boomerang which she made in 2nd grade in a class on aboriginal art. Knew it would come in handy someday...
  • A lasso, to celebrate the Australian ranching tradition, perhaps a beanie sheep or cow too.
  • An Australian flag that I printed off the internet.
  • And I'm looking for a Fosters Label online, and I will attach it to our dog, who is playing the role of Dingo Eating Your Baby.

I ran all these by my Aussie pals and they loved it. Naomi told me to make sure Jessica says 'It's a fair dinkum,' and 'Bonza!' a lot, in addition to the 'Gidday, mate!' that she's been practising. As for the Foster's... I'll probably go pick up 2 cans and Doug and I can each go with one in hand to show our Adult Beverage Solidarity with Australians worldwide.

Geoff's got his 'Ahoy, mateys,' and 'Avast, ye scalliwags!' down pat. Should be fun. I plan on leaving here around 4 at the latest. I want to take pictures of the kids in costume outside the house in the yard. It is gorgeous out, and there's nothing nicer than the exterior shot for pictures. A couple years ago it was so warm on halloween that I have pics of Geoff on the porch barefoot. Not so this year. It will be cold, but hopefully no rain like last year when we got drizzled upon the whole time and it dampened our fun.

And there is a full moon tonight.

I heard on the radio this morning it is the first full moon coinciding with Halloween in 46 years, and it won't happen again for another 20.

By then, my kids will perhaps have kids. That is scary in and of itself!

Yesterday was Geoff's eye doctor appointment. The doc chastised me, as I knew he would, for the lack of diligence with the glasses. That kind of pissed me off. It made me feel guilty, but didn't motivate me. Why do doctors do that, and on the same token, why do pastors do that at church when you don't come often. They give you the look, and the you really should... bla bla bla ... and that makes you say "okay, I suck. I'm not gonna bother. It's one of the reasons Doug dislikes going to church most of the time, our pastor says "Oh, nice to finally see you here, it's been a while, hasn't it." and Doug gets mad that he's keeping track of when people are there... like you get little gold stars in a book.

I told Doug it's Charles' job... but see how he feels so clearly now that I got the same kind of crap from Geoff's doctor. He wrote Geoff a new prescription for glasses (his eyes have improved from the last prescription) and he wants to see him in 6 weeks, so December 11 we'll go back. I have to pick Geoff's glasses up today. I'll do so after tricking and treating. Geoff has to wear them all day, all the time, and hopefully he will oblige. The little nerd.

Last night we finally got around to taking our home computer to the Gateway store for service. Around February our DVD/CD drive wouldn't read some CDs sometimes, and other times would... it was getting painfully annoying and more frequent. The system would freeze up. The drive wouldn't open. I called Gateway, spent about 10 minutes determining the DVD/CD drive sucked so they sent me a new one. Over 2 months later I get around to swapping the stupid thing out because Doug is pissed that he can't play a game or something, so I go in there after his hissy fit to swap drives.

The system doesn't see the OS, won't run, and gives me a dead black screen saying Operating System Not Found. Hello, Gateway, Hi, yeah, I'm fucked. Can you help me?

After 2 hours of living in the BIOS and reassigning the order the drives will be seen, I get it so the OS is seen, but no DVD drive is found. The guy tells me that I need to take it to the store. The nearest store isn't that far away, but it's in Peabody (or Peobody as my friend Dan once spelled it and will never live it down). But it needed to be done, and we took it in. Damn. What a pain to schlep out at 6pm when all you want is for someone else to make you dinner, and go to bed.

We decided that we'd drop the PC off, and go over to Outback Steakhouse, since it is in the same plaza. I'm normally not into chain restaurants. I'll go to Bertuccis because it's local to my office, sometimes Burger King, for the toys of course. For the most part I'm into eating at places which are original, one of a kindish. But we figured hitting Outback was easiest, as it would be after 7pm by the time we got anywhere else. We were, after all, in the heart of mall-town, where there is nothing original, nothing but chain stores.

The place was mobbed, Geoff was sort of impatient. They finally got us seated, and we ordered really big beers (essential after dealing with stress inducing boy and traveling all over Massachusetts and New Hampshire with him that day), and tucked in. They screwed up our order, so the guy gave us Buffalo wings, or whatever they call them there, for free... nice! Bonus! They were different from the usual kind of Buffalo wings you get, this was more India/curry spicy. Jessica loved them... the girl who won't eat pancakes but loves hot wings. Whatever.

Geoff ended up falling asleep, which was cute, and we had a lovely time. Our waiter sat at our table with us while taking our order and it was sort of odd, but he was really nice and we liked him. He played with Geoff, said he loved when the kids come in cause he gets to color.

Whatever makes your life more fun, man. More power to ya.

When we got home, I remembered that today was slated to be "Crazy Hair Day" at Jessica's school, where the 4th - 6th grade rabble do funny crap with their hair seeing as they don't "dress up" like the K-3 kids. And here she was with just ordinary blonde hair. We had no spray-on hair junk to color it. No food coloring either (we'd used it all this past winter to color in the snow).

She wanted me to put in a million little braids, but I had no tiny elastics. I ended up braiding her hair in said tiny braids, and tying the ends off with yarn. I knew the yarn wouldn't hold overnight, and sure enough the back of her head was unbraided where she slept, but the sides and front were braided. I made her take all the braids out and her hair was HYSTERICALLY funny. We laughed our ASSES off this morning while I brushed it and messed with it. I wanted to put 2 big poofy pony tails in it right on top of her head and leave a ton of hair hanging down... she refused.

What fun you can have with children. eh? This was awesome. Her hair will hopefully still look wild tonight, which will make her even cooler with her Aussie get up... I'm looking forward.

Monday, October 29, 2001

Daylight Savings Time

I meant to mention something in the last entry and totally forgot. Today is the first Monday after the dreaded "Leap Back" of daylight screw up time.

It is 5pm eastern and it is pitch fucking black out there right now. My body is in shock. My eyes hurt. I just got summoned to an office for a brief meeting and I stared out the window at the streetlights which are already on, and sat slackjawed and gaping at the sight.

I hate this time of year. I don't care if it is brighter in the morning, I can't stand driving home in the dark. In a few weeks it WON'T be bright in the morning, it will be just as dark as right now, and I'll be just waking up.

When I used to work for a small company in Beverly, MA, the head technical writer would sit at his desk and refer to himself as Mushroom Man. I never got it until Doug explained to me that drives to the office in the dark, early hours, sits in a room with no light, and leaves after the sun sets and they throw shit at him all day. Mushrooms live that way too in caves, I guess.

It was a gross and disturbing analogy for what this man's life was like. His name was Rick and he'd sit and smoke at his desk. It was when people could still smoke in the office, back in the day as it were, and Rick would light a butt and leave it smoldering in his ashtray while he wrote. That always bothered me. I mean, it's one thing to smoke at your desk, it's another to just light it and have it burn, being all wasted and unused and still stinking the place up (I dislike smoking, but have tons of friends/relatives who smoke... hate the sin, love the sinner as they say). So I'd point this out to Rick and he'd get mad. Dude, just trying to help you save some cash... man!

Our receptionist used to do that too. She smoked these abysmally stinky very cheap (super cheap... cheapest things on earth) "Montclair" Cigarettes. This lame brand had the stupidest advertisements... Some Mickey Rooney-esque old fart in a sailor hat and scarf around his neck making some horrible astonished/surprised/aghast/amazed face. I should see if I can find an old advert from that. Doug used to run around the office pretending to be the "Montclair fag" as we called him.

That office stuff brings back a lot of memories... my friend Morgan used to like to walk over to the Kwik-E-Mart and get what we lovingly referred to as a "Black Death" slushie. You basically take all the dark colors and add them into the slushie ice and it comes out black. It was awesome. Black Death. mmmmmmmmm...... I miss Morgan, and it has been years since I've enjoyed a Black Death slushie.

Anyway, I am on my way out of here but just thought I'd share my horror at the blackness in the sky. I feel like the troops of Rohan in "Return of the King" as they faced the darkness to go fight for Minas Tirith...


Only a couple more days of this Halloween themey stuff and I'm done. I actually like the blue and grey layout I've used a couple of times in the past week, but I'll return to this because Halloween is Wednesday, and there is just so little time left to enjoy the ghosties and the orange and black gloominess.

I actually love the concepts of the wiccan holiday of Samhain, which sort of lead to the concepts of Halloween, only dragged through the Christianization attempts to clean up pagan holidays. As much as I dig God and Christianity, man... I gotta say the early Christians sucked at trying to un-Paganize the Pagans and should have just left well enough alone. I think my approach of letting people believe and sharing if they want to learn is better. It actually is contrary to what Christ has instructed us to do, but when it really comes down to it, forcing faith on others just sucks. I am a big fan of cultural and religious ceremony and practices. I love going to Jewish festivals and celebrations, Buddhist weddings, and it makes me think of all that is lovely about difference. Boy, don't I sound like someone with a "Celebrate Diversity" bumper sticker, but it's true... I like stuff like that. It doesn't detract from my own liking of my own celebrations and religious practices. I think it's beautiful. And anyway, there is enough intolerance in the world as is. So live and let live. Do unto others. Yadda yadda yadda.

The thing about Halloween this year that irritates me is the fact so many people don't want their kids dressing up as scary things. "The world is scary enough as it is!" they cry out. Well, kids have to act out that which is scary so it becomes less scary. Geoff's school and Jessica's school both sent home notices about Halloween dressup, and both were very clear about how no "scary" costumes would be welcome in school.

I think that is kind of wrong.

Scary monsters, pirates, ghosts, ghouls, goblins and that stuff become far less frightening when kids learn and realize that it is all make pretend.

Exorcising that (or exercising, if you like) is important for the little ones. Osama bin Laden and anthrax are scarier than Frankenstein monster dressed kids. Allowing kids to realize that there is scary shit in the world, and getting your fears and ya yas out all in one night, plus getting rewarded with some candy, is all right by me.

There are also art programs that I've heard of where they are discouraging kids from drawing scary pictures. That's really wrong -- I think that a lot of kids right now are working through a lot of their fear, and sometimes that has to be done through art. Whether the teacher is comfortable with it or not. Stifling that can backfire. After all, the world isn't always a pretty and hunky-dory place... And not all kids benefit from drawing puppies and rainbows.

My kids are going to be pirates this year. They won't be extra ghoulish pirates because conceptually the idea of pirates is pretty damn scary in and of itself if you really think about it. Ruthless hate-filled bastards who plunder other ships, filled with bloodlust and greed. Ay! Ahoy! Prepare to be boarded, Matey! Pirates are pretty mean. And I'm psyched because the costumes don't require much on my part... the simpler it is the happier I am.

Easy costumes... that's where I'm at this year. I have to find some big white dress shirt for Geoff. Jessica has one with a frilly collar, so that will be extra funny. All we need are a couple swords, a fake parrot, and a pirate hat (not sure which one will be the captain and which will be the matey) at least one more sash or bandana, just for fun, and we're all set. Argh! Yahoo. A stress free dressup. Lord knows I'm not feeling Martha Stewarty this year with the costumage.

Speaking of Martha Friggin Stewart, I went to a party on Friday night at a co-worker's swanky bachelorette pad. She lives in a condo across the road, it used to be a mill, then it was a boys' school. Now it's condos. It's a fabulous place, with 20 foot high ceilings, floor to ceiling windows, a tiny little galley kitchen, a breakfast nook, and 2 bedrooms and a bath.

She's decorated pretty much 100% out of the Pottery Barn catalogue, and has done an amazing job of it. And the holiday festivus spread was gingerly decorated with daintily tossed fall leaves, and apples cored with votive candles in them. It was textbook Martha, and it was lovely. I hate Martha Stewart, but this party was pulled off without looking at all like the normal "I am so damn smart and kitschy!" shit she (Martha) usually embodies.

The swanky bachelorette pad was gorgeous, and it pissed me off to no end to know I was going to have to go back to my ghetto "shabby chic" house with crayon on the walls, baskets of semi folded laundry on the dining table, a bathroom that smells atrocious (thanks to my stupid 4 year old pissing on the wall because he has lousy aim... the place smells like an NYC Port Authority Bathroom in the pre-Giuliani years), dog hair on everything, and used furniture in every room (EVERY room. We have only 1 piece of furniture that we bought new, and that's our bed, which I don't like and would replace in a heartbeat if we had the cash).

I let her know of my raging jealousy. Must be nice to earn like 90,000 clams a year and have no kids, no school debt, no nothing. She smiled and shrugged and said "must be nice to have a husband and two kids who love the crap out of you."

I shut up... Touche. Maybe, just MAYbe she's right. I thought so until I got home and the place was even more wrecked than when I left. Damn.

Our executive VP of HR (my big big boss) was at the party, and he was a riot, totally contradicting my earlier rants against C-- level people. He put on a Lenny Kravitz kind of sweater that one of my co-workers had on and proceeded to dance and act mentally deranged for over an hour. It was a good time. And I think this was the first time since I got hired that he and I have actually talked... which was odd. I made him laugh, but then again, I could have said "Banana" to him and he would have shit his pants laughing. He was in a great mood and nothing was gonna stop him from having a great time. So that was kind of nice.

What else... oh yeah. We went for a long drive on Saturday. The clouds couldn't make up their mind whether or not they were going to let the sun shine on the foliage. It was a cold and overcast day, and looking at the leaves was kind of dull until suddenly there would be a break in the clouds and a hill or two ahead of us would glow like gold. It was kind of nice. We drove out to the Quabbin Reservoir and back, all told about a 4 hour car ride round trip. Longer than we'd intended, but we had a nice stop for dinner in Barre, MA, and enjoyed going through the small towns out there. For East of the Quabbin the area is really rural... one minute you're in Harvard, MA, the next your on Rte 62 in the deep woods past Clinton without any traffic or another car to see. We saw some bikers (pedal bikes, not motorcycles) out enjoying the day, near Mt. Wachusett, and it seemed to me a perfect day to be out doing that.

A&M stopped by yesterday. Aaron had his motorcycle helmet from when he crashed his bike and gave it to Geoff because G-love likes wearing it around the house. He looks like a power ranger. The kids had a lot of fun with that. A&M attended a party at the home of some friends of theirs from college and spent the weekend. So while they were at our house for less than an hour, it was still fun and eventful.

Geoff is getting better about saying goodbye too. He used to cry and weep and freak out when we'd leave people that he loves, or when they left us, so now he just pouts for a minute and gets on with his life.

I did want to mention that Doug makes me laugh. It's nice after 14 years with someone when they still can crack you up... We were doing yard work the other day and our garden this year wasn't a Victory Garden. There were no bumper crops. We were miserably disappointed by our technique and the results. It doesn't help that for a whole month he wasn't there, and I didn't weed well. So it being the time of year to knock down the grass one last time and pull up any remaining veggies before the big frost, Doug goes out to do the job. He returns to the house with a handful of scrawnyassed onions, not even a handful really... holding them by their shoots and swinging them by his side. He had a big piece of some reedy shit sticking out of the corner of his mouth, and he was filthy.

He saunters up to me, I'm at the stove cutting some potatoes for dinner. And he puts this thick east-european/russian accent on and flops the lame onions onto the stove, saying "Today we will TRULY eat, no?" and he slaps my ass. I play into it immediately and put on a good accent myself, "Da, the winter she will not be the bitch we thought! You've done well by your family, Uri, you sexy hunter-gatherer you." I was going to say "come over here and fill me with your borscht" or some crap like that but Jessica came in the house. We were laughing at ourselves, and she was undeniably confused.

Friday, October 26, 2001

Thousand Dollar Cars

Thousand Dollar car it ain't worth nothin, thousand Dollar Car it aint worth shit.
You might as well take your Thousand Dollars and
Set fire to it.
-Bottle Rockets
One of the guys who works in my building had a beautiful 1990 Volvo Diesel Sedan, which died a horrible death last weekend. We often talked about old Volvos, as I had one back in college. And the discussion with this guy (he bought a 1999 Honda somethingorother) got me reminiscing about all the really stupid cars Doug and I have had since college. Before we made enough money to buy something that would run longer than 10 months and cost more than 2500 bucks. Thinking about the Dead Show memories also made me reflect upon these piece-o-crapmobiles we've driven around, and I thought I would take the time and write about them here. I am not sure on some of the dates of acquisition or demise, so apologies up front.
Levon - 1985
My very first car was a canary yellow Mercury (?) Gran Prix (?) something or other named Levon. Two door, hatchback. Levon got his name from Gregg, who conned me into driving it to an Elton John concert the very first day I owned the wretched little beast. I told GPJ that if Elton played my favorite song, the car would be named. He did and the car was. Levon's hatch hydraulics had long since stopped working, so I used a broomstick to hold the hatch open when I needed to fill or unload crap from the way back. I had 2 very important bumper stickers on said hatchback. One from the University of North Carolina where my best best friend Rob was going to school ("If God Isn't A Tarheel, then Why Is The Sky Carolina Blue???") and a USNaval Academy Rams sticker from my other best best friend Jonathan, who was a plebe that year at Annapolis. Levon had issues starting below 40 degrees and I used to call my ex-boyfriend to have him jump start that rolling banana in order to get to my internship at the newspaper. At 5am. He was a sport. Especially when I cried. Levon died a horrible death and ended up at my mom's mechanic's shop. I swear a few years later I saw that same car, same bumper stickers (that was the give away), broken down on the side of the road on Long Island, miles from the mechanic. I still possess a set of the keys.

Portnoy - 1987-1989
Named for the Bloom County Character, not the Complaint, Portnoy was
the 1978 Dodge Omni, which is exactly the same as a Plymouth Horizon. Same shit, different bucket. It was brown. Like Portnoy the hedgehog. I bought it for $300 from the head of our college's co-op job placement office. His name was Dan, and he was THE nicest guy on earth. He scored me a great job at the Hammond Castle Museum where I was a tour guide, and I needed this car. He sold it to me because it was his wife's car, and they were moving to Illinois, and needed to unload it. It was a stickshift, and Dan taught me to drive it. It took me weeks to get the system of driving manual transmission down pat, and I recall swearing like a bitch on wheels (which I was) when the car wouldn't go into gear (Smitty, you can attest). Portnoy was awesome, and I had some really nice dead stickers in the back window. The car had been rearended long long before I got it, so the hatchback never closed all the way or could be opened. It had a large gaping hole where the hatch was supposed to contact the rest of the car body, and when I went to renew inspection in 1989 the garage flunked it. They stated that it was dangerous and I could die from carbon monoxide poisoning if I sat idle at a stoplight. So they forced me into getting:

Sven the Mighty 1989-1991
Ah, Sven. Sven. Sven. The love of my life. My favorite car ever. I bought it from the garage that killed Portnoy for $900. Sven was a very special and wonderful car. It was a 1970 Volvo Sedan (aforementioned in the intro to this section), Green, with sky blue doors. It looked like a psychadelic saddle shoe. Because I didn't have the money to paint it (Uh, oh better get Maaco costs more than $300 for their "ambassador service") I decided it would look cooler if I just slapped some more deadhead stickers on the car. So it was a fucking sight. I was known to the cops in the towns in which I attended college and lived because they were tony, chi-chi towns with lots of nice new cars, and one big ugly piece of shite. Sven could turn on a dime, a huge sedan with a u-turn radius to die for. Great mileage, reliable (only had one major problem in that the heat never turned off, so I rigged up a clamp on the hose that sent air into the vehicle). Sven died, sadly, the April right before Doug and I got married. I was driving to the T station to go to work and ran over a rubber snakey looking thing which got sucked up into my engine, punctured and shredded my radiator and sent green death spewing all over rte 1A in Revere, MA. Sven was towed back to my apartment, and attempts to heal him would have cost me over $4000. He was towed away right after my honeymoon. I grieve to this day.

Doug's Chevy Monza, aka the "Smitty you better not puke in my car" mobile 1987 -1990
Doug doesn't name his cars. Doug's powder blue Monza took us camping a whole bunch of times and provided a lot of fabulous memories. Aside from Smitty puking in the front seat, the way back was an awesome viewing spot for the star filled sky due to the long sloping angle of the glass. For Doug's birthday one year, I believe it was 1989 or 1990... we were coming home from a dinner out and the alternator died. The police tried to jump start us, but it wouldn't take. Doug was very crest fallen. It was snowing and sleeting and cold as a witch's tit out, and the cop was giving him all sorts of grief that we should give up and get it towed. The car turned over. The cop seemed irked. We made it to my driveway where it died again. Thankfully, we made it home.

this isn't a picture of Doug's Monza. I'm sure I have one somewhere. I found this online. It is a similar car to his, only grey.
I forget what happened to this sucker, but after it went away Doug's dad did a hand-me-down of his car:

The Rust Never Sleeps Mobile, 1990-1995
This was a white Chevy Celebrity, and all Chevy's from this time period developed horrid rust on the doors. When we got married we didn't rent a limo or anything, so this car was driven by my new husband Douglas to the wedding reception, with me, his fat and happy bride hanging out the car window with my veil riding the breeze. The wedding party decorated it for us, we got lots of cheers and beeps as we rode from the chapel to the reception hall. We took this car on our tour of Nova Scotia for our honeymoon. We had Jessica, we got missy and rode around with her in the car, I have a wonderful picture of her behind the wheel hanging out of the driver's side window. We lived in the city of Lynn, MA for a while and one night this car was stolen. The police recovered it a few blocks away with the steering column cracked open and the seat pulled up so that the driver's chest would be flush with the wheel. They figured 10-12 year olds had stolen the car and it was a practice mobile. We never paid to get the steering column fixed. We started the car with a small screwdriver which we shoved into the steering column to pull on the ignition and get it started. And we also bought the club so that the car was somewhat inaccessible to thieves. The car pictured here is not our car, but is from a page on mullet madness. When I searched for a rusty old Chevy Celebrity, it came up with this page, and I died.

Doug's Sexy Mercury Cougar, 1993-1995?
We were at a wedding in the summer of 1993 and Doug told one of his former highschool classmates that he had a Mercury Cougar. Which was true. Only it was a 1985 or so stationwagon, brown, with fake wood sides
. Before Mark could get too too impressed with Doug and his super car, I corrected him, pointing out it was an old station wagon and Doug was none too happy with me.
This car is more a blip on the radar screen for me. We didn't have it long. Actually, I might even be underestimating its lifespan. We could have had it longer but it was so unmemorable that the fact I even remembered it is remarkable.

The True Blue Clue, years unclear.
The true blue clue was another Olds, no where NEAR as boss as the last one. Missy ate a headrest out of it. Doug bought it from some shady dude in Salem, MA... a used car lot that looked like a total front for heroin trafficking. The door panel on the drivers side was never quite attached, and eventually the door was hard to close. Not sure what we did with this one. It's all becoming a blur. I am pretty sure we used this car as a trade in on the next car:

The Old Jewish Lady with the Son Who is a Doctor mobile, 1994-1996

This was a 1988 Olds Delta 88. Maroon. Power EVERYTHING. We had to buy it on a credit card. It was lower interest than getting a car loan. Go figure. Anyway, this car made us feel like an old Jewish lady from Long Island whenever behind the wheel. All I needed was a big wig, a velour jumpsuit, a cigarette with a long filter and I'd be all set. Oy! It was a very smooth riding car car, like buttah! Excellent power and acceleration on the highway, and I enjoyed it even though it made me feel really old. It died an untimely death, though, and almost took my husband with it. Doug was on his way to work in a snowstorm, at some ungodly hour of the morning, as was his duty to do, and a snowplow came rocketing out of a parkinglot in reverse like fucking Apollo 11 into orbit, and Doug smashed right into it. The cop tried to blame Doug, but when it came down to it, the plow jockey was at fault. We got a very nice insurance settlement for it, about $5000. Doug bought another car, see the next one, for like $1200, and the rest of it we used for a downpayment on the house we now own. How you like them apples.

The Pokey Red Pony, unsure of timeframe... but I had it when I was in the hospital trying not to have Geoff in 1997 (I remember because I had to leave it in the parking lot at the doctor's office and I was very upset that it would be towed)... The Pokey Pony was a little red Buick Skyhawk Stationwagon. It was small but useful. The springs were poking through the seats. I remember the day we bought it, it was hotter than hell and I thought I was going to melt in the car lot while Doug signed the paperwork. Meh. The pokey pony, like the true blue clue eventually died. We drove cars into the ground at that point in time... and usually they died horrible irreparable deaths. Deaths that would have cost over $4000 to repair. That's why we moved on to the next piece of whatever. But we're starting to enter a new phase here... The phase of cars that last.

Except this one:

The Waynemobile, forget the time frame again. what is wrong with me!
We bought a big blue fake wood-sided stationwagon from our friend Wayne, who was using it as a tractor on his property. Isnt' that a riot? Wayne would load the way back up with yard stuff and wood and all kinds of dreck that needed hauled around, the car wasn't registered. It had a way way back seat, which Jessica loved to ride in. He sold it to us for a couple hundred bucks, and he thought it would last a few months. It lasted for quite a while, kept us going, not a bad deal. We gave friends of ours the nice tires that I bought for it when their tires on their very similar station wagon died... It was a good car. 

We traded it in to buy our first real grown up car:

The Starship Shapiro, Warp Speed 10!, 1997 - 2000
Shapiro, Shapiro! Fans of Kablam! and their Sniz and Fondue segment will recognize the song and sing it loudly. A Saturn SW-II, the larger version of their station wagons... Gold. 14,000 miles on it. Wonderful car. Geoff was about 5 months old when we bought it. We had this car for quite a while, only trading it in recently when it got too small for the 2 dogs, 2 kids, 2 big parents. We didn't want to buy a minivan or anything... too suburban and soccer mom for me. Having a stationwagon is great because there is room for the big smelly dogs in the way back. We put a lot of miles on this sucker. At the same time, we owned, and still own:

Doug's Maroon Car - which is the exact clone of His Mom's Car, 1998 - current
We bought this car right after Doug got out of Graduate School. It is a 1994 (?) Maroon Chevy Lumina. Needs some work to get it through the winter, like a new blower for the defroster/AC unit. Has over 166,000 miles on it right now. Has seen a lot of road and hopefully will live through the wonderful winter ahead, getting us to at least the end of the school year. Doug uses this car mostly, and it serves us well. And, our current long term holding is:

Rudy, The Red Saturn - 2000 to current
Last Christmas we decided we had enough money and the first Saturn to use as downpayment on a nice new big wagon. So we bought Rudy. He's just now starting to lose his new car smell. I use Rudy most of the time, lucky me, and it rocks. Doug drove Rudy this summer on our vacation to the Great Southwest, and the car performed awesomely. Rudy currently is in need of a tuneup and an interior cleaning before the winter starts.

The maroon car will be driven til it can't be driven no more. We also have been through a lot of alternators as I look up this list. I think every car other than Rudy has needed an alternator. We drain them I guess. The Starship Shapiro needed one two weeks after we bought it. The Saturn mechanics and sales guy were embarrassed and I gave them shit for selling me a car with a doomed alternator.

Okay. So that's the list. That's a lot of cars. Many of them overlap... I'll have Doug draw up a Visio flowchart..

Wednesday, October 24, 2001

St. Pat's Vs. St. John The Divine

My entry for today concerns New York City and Christmas. With the holiday approaching, and the upcoming NY Thanksgiving pilgrimage I've been thinking of my favorite things to do to mark the celebration of Christmas in the city.

I believe the events outlined here took place at Christmas 1995. Almost exactly a year after I'd miscarried my 2nd child (Geoff was my third pregnancy, my 2nd actual kid). Here's what it was like:

We had breakfast at my parents' house and ditched Jessica with them and hopped a train right before noon to Manhattan from Huntington. It takes about an hour to get into the city from there. We got into Penn Station and went right straight uptown to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Cathedral Parkway, 110th street.

St. John the Divine is dark, large, and rather ominous. It is being hand tooled, and is yet to be finished after over 100 years of construction. It is an Episcopal cathedral, with a church school (Ben Stiller went there for a couple of years I understand) and is sort of a liberal Episcopal church. They have a strong ministry into Harlem, and many of the workers building the church are residents of Harlem who are being taught stonemasonry and other skills. The place is astoundingly beautiful, with stained glass that depicts modern life (complete with TV sets and firemen) and has seven sub-chapels dedicated to different walks of life, including one specifically dedicated to AIDS patients, which was designed by Keith Harring before his death.

The decoration scheme for Christmas the last time we were there were rather somber. Lots of poinsettias, not a lot of flash, a large tree with origami birds as ornaments. It was sedate, quiet, low key and kind of sad. I got the feeling from being there that Christmas is actually a sad holiday. The birth of Christ, while an event that would eventually bring redemption and joy to mankind, is actually an unfortunate and sad event. The gentle and respectful darkness of the cathedral reflected none of that potential joy, but a sorrowful acceptance of the event itself. The reality of the night as opposed to the promise of what was to come at Easter.

I was brought to tears as I circled around the chapels, looking at the firefighter's memorial (this was a few years ago, I can hardly imagine what that memorial looks like today in the wake of September 11th and the loss of so many of these fine servants). Christmas as a sad event had never occurred to me. And here I was, hit in the face with it. A whole new dark perspective on the day. Not enough attention is given to this cathedral in my humble opinion, but to me it is far more beautiful than anywhere I've ever been.

Sad and humbled, thinking of the ultimate gift and sacrifice that God gave to us that night, it is time to go out. We dawdled around the Columbia Campus, got a snack, and made our way south via subway.

We emerged in midtown, at Rockefeller Center. The area was packed, filled with holiday shoppers, singers, walkers, cops. The skating rink had a 2 hour wait. The tree at Rockefeller Plaza was amazing. A Rockette's show at Radio City Music Hall just got out. There were enough people and no wind, and the area felt warm and close. Walking up from the rink to the road, St. Patrick's Cathedral appears to the left.

Police directed traffic and chastised walkers attempting to step into the crosswalk against the light. There was so much pedestrian traffic that the sidewalks are cordoned off -- preventing anyone from stepping out into the road in the middle of the street. Like cattle we're all encouraged towards the crosswalks, and all the pedestrians use them dutifully.

St. Patrick's is decked out like a glorious golden angel, bathed in white floodlights, crowds of people moving in and out of the doors so much so that it hardly seemed worth it to have doors at all. Golden gilded boughs, candles, trumpets, women in fur coats, men in expensive woolen dress overcoats covering their Gucci suits. Children overdressed for the weather. Patrons dressed in their fineries all mingled with one another, extending holiday greetings, hugs, kisses, lighting candles and basking in the incredible sense of jubilation that filled the building. It was a stunning contrast to St. John the Divine, where there was sadness, quietness and a sense that something sad and awful was about to happen. Here I was looking for the dancing girls and champagne. The service was about to begin. We did a quick walk through, recognizing that here Christ's birth is an EVENT, like only New York can throw. Lots of flair, flash and glitz, lots of bright lights. Lots of excitement. This is wealthy church, wealthy Christianity at it's gaudiest and most proud. Lovely, but too flashy.

It is like "Joy to the World" as opposed to the sad "O Little Town of Photo courtesy of Rod WatsonBethlehem" found uptown.

There is no humility or fear about what this night heralds, this eve of Christ's birth. Just a great sense of excitement. A thrill. A welcoming, with arms thrown open, the angels sing, the masses cheer. It is a joyous coming, nothing to be regretted. Nothing to fear. A celebration to be marked with great noise and gleeful smiles and cheers. Huzzah! As beautiful and glitzy the place is, it was overwhelmingly too much for me. The lights, the sound... I remember longing to sit on a quiet pew in contemplation and prayer, but there would be none of that here. When we left I recall finding a bench near Rockefeller plaza crying. Marking almost the exact moment of losing a child, combined with the overwhelming sense of sacrifice made for me in my life, the horrible sense of loss, and the fact that we're all pretty meaningless in this world, it all kind of hit me hard.

The quiet space of St. John the Divine seemed more of where I wanted to be, not the consumerism style of Christianity presented by Midtown Manhattan, and I was ready to go home.

Since that night we've done this at least two other times. Doug wants to go back this year, as I mentioned, I don't know if I'm emotionally ready. I want to go down to SoHo and go to the Indian restaurant we like so much down there ("Namaskaar") and bring Jessica and go to the top of the Empire State Building. We've tried to take her there before but it was a 2 hour wait to go up. And the last time we tried to go up on the WTC the observation deck was closed (we were 15 minutes too late).

[Sidenote: The first time we went to St. John the Divine was in 1989 when a friend of ours from the Oregon Extension took us there. He lived in a building right on the edge of Central Park, and had a cathedral view. I'd never heard of this cathedral at that time, not being interested in anything really north of 85th street, so I was amazed when he brought us there. Dave has since come undone, and currently resides somewhere in a mental institution just upstate, across the border from New Jersey. But that's another story all together which I will write about soon, it's been heavy on my heart... always is when I think about the lovely cathedral that he introduced me to, and he loved so much.]

Tuesday, October 23, 2001


Doug is making an appointment for me to get the old peepers checked. I'll crap if I need glasses. I so didn't budget for that with the HCRA/DCRA thing we do here. Oh well. I can fill the prescription after January 1, 2002 if necessary, when the new year and new balance start.

Got feedback on the latest editions of the Grandma pages. All good. Everyone loves Grandma! She'll be going to Atlantic City at Thanksgiving. Oh boy howdy, that'll be some funny shit. ME AND MY DERANGED SISTER RUNNING AROUND TOGETHER ... oh, that'll be too much! Stay tooned for more seriously stupid crap from the sistahs.

I had wanted to talk about Geoffrey's new imaginary friend situation.

Geoff recently started playing with an imaginary friend named "Corey." He's got an actual friend named Corey at school, and I think he brings "Corey" home with him so they can just keep playing. This has been in the last week or so, and it sort of was freaking me out.

Not because I don't think Corey is a good idea. I love the Corey thing. All the reading I've done states that really highly imaginative kids have imaginary friends that they play with to act roles out with and enjoy interactions with... I'm cool with the concept of Corey.

I was freaked out because I don't know what MY interaction with "Corey" is supposed to be. So, do I invite Corey to do stuff when I ask Geoff or do I wait for Corey to be invited by Geoff? Do I yell at Corey or talk to him, address him at all???

I also feel that perhaps I am not paying enough attention to Geoff, so he needs to play with an imaginary friend. Lord knows his big sister is no fun, she kicks his little butt often, or, he plays very aggressively with her and fights when she won't let him drive the playtime. Then he ends up pinching or scratching her... and it gets mighty ugly. So I was thinking that perhaps the poor little matey is just not getting enough good, fun interaction at home. I did some reading and looked some crap up on the web but couldn't find any guidance for parents.

Both of my kids have always been good at story making, character play, but this is the first real embodiment of an invisible playmate. Geoff used to weave these insane and complicated stories of two guys named "Tom and Hike" who would go on all sorts of adventures, usually resulting in bodily injury of some sort and a hospital stay. But Corey's been with us for a few weeks now. Corey is who gets blamed when Geoff does something bad, even when he's caught red handed. We've sat him down and explained that Corey is make believe, and Geoffrey is real, and when something happens that it's Geoffrey who will be punished. And he is slowly starting to accept that.

The cool thing about Corey is that it keeps Geoff busy. When I'm doing dishes or something, making dinner, Geoff will get his hotwheels out and he and Corey will race... he's really into racing. And he'll shoot the cars across the kitchen, one in each hand, and he cheers for himself and for Corey.

So Corey isn't so bad.

There are actually a hoard of imaginary friends. Usually the come out at bedtime, and I have to tuck them all in. Corey sleeps on the floor next to Geoff. Lesson sits on the book case. Stephen sleeps on the floor at the foot of the bed, and there's someone I'm forgetting. But I have to tell them ALL a goodnight story.

He's got me wrapped around his 4.5 yr old pinkie. I'm now just wondering how long Corey et al should live in my house before I start to worry...

Geoff has new nicknames for everyone. Jessica used to be "Jessica Juice," now she's "Classy." Uh, I'm laughing just typing that because she is anything BUT classy most of the time. And he says it so sultry. "Hey, Classy," like a 70s ladies man or something. The dog is now "Chocolate," not Kinger. I'm "Grandma," HA, and Doug is "Grampa." We're not too happy with those. And he, himself, is "Basin."

Not sure where Basin came from. But when you see Geoff next, call him Basin. He'll love it.

I got a salary increase. I'm still below what is considered market value ($56,000 is the low end of "market value" according to salary surveys) but it makes no difference to me. Two years ago at this time I was making $33,000 a year to work my big fat ASS off in a stress filled environment that was leaving me with anxiety attacks at night as I was trying to go to sleep. In October of 1999 I got yet another letter from the President of the College letting me know that I was great but just not eligible for a salary increase. She got one every year, the bitch, but I got bupkis. So I resolved to quit.

I didn't start interviewing until February, had three offers in March, quit and came here. Best move ever. I got hired at $40,000 which I thought was the greatest thing ever, then got laid off, but picked up on waivers for another position within the company (thank you Kerry) and have been here since. I have increased my salary from 33,000 to 55,800 in 2 years. It probably won't ever get much higher, but I'm so happy to have a job. So happy to have a short commute. So happy to have cool co-workers (even if some of them are a little catty) and so happy to not be working at the college.

I also am so happy because my skillset has grown SO much since I left. I've grown so much in my knowledge and my abilities that I couldn't be happier unless I actually knew everything, which will never happen. I never had the chance to learn anything when I was working at the college because I was constantly fighting fires and working hard and maintaining, that I couldn't learn ASP or PHP or DHTML or find out how to make a server side includes page, or anything. This is so much nicer.

I'm doing half the amount of work for almost twice the money.


One of my coworkers, LLP, is from China and she asked me what are some good funny movies that she should watch so she could "get" why I am so funny. We had been discussing "Office Space," which from a Human Resources perspective is just drop dead hilarious ("Looks like you've been missing a lot of work lately, Peter..." "I wouldn't say I've been missing it, Bob.") so I gave her a list. I told her to rent one movie a week, and then come in and we'd talk about it, if she didn't get it. I also said that some of them aren't funny per se, but have funny parts. So LLP is going to rent:

"A Christmas Story," "Raising Arizona," "Blazing Saddles," "Young Frankenstein," "The Princess Bride," "Office Space," "Better Off Dead," "The Jerk," "Parenthood," "Brazil," and "Ferris Buehler's Day Off" ... I figure this is a good start.

I also explained to her that there is a lot more to figuring me out than these movies. There's Monty Python, all together very important. There's the entire series of "MASH" episodes. There are movies that you have to watch because they defined my age group, like it or not, like "Breakfast Club" and "Risky Business," which I don't necessarily think are good movies, but impact my age group. Define a lot for the time in the 80s that they came out. So I'll start her on the above, see how she does.

I'll let you know. And should you have suggestions for LLP, email me.

Okay, that's it from here. I registered with a log to get my site rated and loved by the masses. I'm hoping to increase some traffic here. Part of me craves an audience, part of me dreads it because someone out there will find what I have to say offensive, or hypocritical (see previous entries). I guess that's what you open yourself up to when you start keeping a web journal.

Finally finished all of Scott Anderson's journals. Whew. Wish I was as creative with language as he is. Anyway. enough.

Monday, October 22, 2001

what comes of gossip

My daughter insists she is not trick or treating this year. I'm horribly disappointed in her, seeing as she is 9 and this is one of the last opportunities she has to be a complete freak in life. And get free candy. Geoff wants to be Dexter from Dexter's Lab. Not sure I can find a size 6 boy's lab coat but I shall do my best. I'd rather they both dress as pirates. Geoff's been on a big pirate kick lately, ever since we let him use a shovel in the yard (we're excavating the area where the dreaded "shabby chic" white fence used to be) and he's digging the area up looking for treasure. So I am hoping to sway his opinion. I have all the makings for said costume. Fake swords, Bandanas, I can make a big gold hoop earring for him. Eyeliner facial scars and evil mustachio and goatee, and viola, pirate boy!

The weekend wasn't a total washout, but we did "burn the day" (contrary to the advice of Dave Matthews...) on Sunday. That was too bad because I was all gung ho to do something fun. And the leaves are so pretty. They'll be gone so soon. Sigh.

Saturday was at least productive, yard wise. Doug mowed the lawn and mulched all the leaves, thus readying the yard for winter. The aforementioned cleaning and deforestation of the behind-the-fence area happened. Long awaited and happily cleaned. Doug cut out the grapevine that had all but taken over the trees. So the leaves on the grapevine had changed color and now will wither and die. I almost regret it, but man, this thing is so out of control. Our own version of the Kudzu vine I guess. My neighbors are removing two trees in front of their house. I'm now painfully aware of how noisy the road is.

We napped a lot. The kids played together well. It wasn't a complete loss. No one fought too badly, adults or kids, and few tears were shed. I still can't believe the Patriots beat the Colts, giving them an intense on-field spanking, but... whatever!

Sunday I also went to a baby shower. It was at a restaurant, a breakfast buffet. There had to be about 100 guests. It was mental. She was "showered" unbelievably... I didn't stick around for the whole thing, but suffice to say, she needs very little for this baby. In fact, it was overkill.

At the shower I sat with some of the girls I work with. I'm not too catty a person, shying away from office gossip and politicking... I love the people I work with a lot. The talk turned to a coworker of mine who works in another division, someone I actually consider a friend, and they got my attention (my normally non-catty ears perked up)...

The accusation against said friend is that he's screwing around on his fiancé (he's slated to marry in June of next year) with someone in yet another department here, who is also slated to marry next year. I was stunned. The evidence presented: They've been seen leaving together late at night, in the same car. Giggly and playfully at that. They also were at the luxury booth at the stadium and someone said they came out of the bathroom together, giggling, and flushed.

Well, I gotta say, I'm stunned. First of all, that two coworkers, one male, one female, would dare to giggle and have fun together. As for the bathroom, was it really that they came out together or was one going in and one coming out and a joke was exchanged, and the witness caught the exchange from the corner of the eye while exiting the booth into the main hallway? I'm not sure.

And would any two engaged adults, not engaged to each other, have an affair or behave in an extremely poor fashion with witnesses? Please. Considering they both would jeopardize their jobs here, as well as their engagements, I'm in doubt that there is anything actually going on.

Plus, another thing that caught my attention in this is that if my male friend was laughing it up, leaving at night, and hanging out in tight hallways at football games with another guy, would ANYone say they were gay? I seriously doubt it. Everyone is so quick to jump to the conclusion when a guy and a girl are spending any time together, but it wouldn't ever dawn on them that the guys (or girls) were sharing a tryst.

One of my coworkers said that no one had mentioned this to me up to this point because "you are friends" with this guy. Gee, I guess it is better to disparage someone to people unfriendly or uncaring to the person than to mention it to someone who might mention it back to them... in hopes to clarify shit or to maybe put a word in that the actions are being noticed by the backbiters.

Part of me is really tempted to go to him and let him know that the appearance of impropriety is causing a whisper campaign against him, and that some particular folk are disgusted and have dropped their opinion of him substantially due to what is perceived... even if it isn't true. But part of me says "fuck it." Don't mention it, don't give a shit. Don't get involved.

In the past I'd mentioned something that was passed on to me by someone else, and it got right back to that person. The results were catastrophic... permanently damaged relationship between and the guy in question and myself. We had been really close in college, and over the years grown apart but still share a great deal of close friends. It isn't worth it to get involved. If shit is gonna be found out, baby, it isn't from me, I've learned THAT lesson.

It also proves to me why I never let myself be seen alone with Ben, Brian or Dan when I worked at Salem. I mean, none of them would want to have an affair with me in any way, shape or form, I'm so incredibly sure, but folks see what they want to see. I remember one day I borrowed Ben's yellow north face shell jacket because I was freezing on a walk, he was kind enough to give it to me. I had on short sleeves, he was all together too warm. It worked out well.

Later on, someone made a comment to me, "Oh, I saw you walking with Ben. You were wearing his coat... what's going on there?"

Oh, we're going steady! Wearing his coat is a loud and clear sign that I want the world to see. Just like when a guy you were dating in junior high gave you his coat... yeah. That's the ticket.

Oh please, you idiot. I was COLD. Dan was with us too, does that mean I'm doing both of them???? What is wrong with people. It pisses me off to no end that we're all mentally and sexually subject to those who are still trapped in junior high school.

I so very hope this is the case here at my office with my buddy over there. I'd love to be right for a change. I want him to have the benefit of the doubt, that for once a guy isn't a pig, porking another cute girl in the office behind the fiancée's back.

Okay, I'm out of here. More later when there is something substantial to say.

Friday, October 19, 2001

Brevity and the Bossman

I beat myself up pretty badly yesterday and got a couple emails telling me to lighten up on myself. I will. Geoff will be blind and I will no longer chastise myself for not being a stronger influence or better parent.

Today's entry will be short. It is late in the day, a beautiful Friday, the Boss has been gone since 1pm and we all stuck around because we think we're being watched by someone else in the department who will report to her what time we split. I have no idea why we are all so paranoid. Suffice to say, we all should have bugged out at 3 pm and we didn't. We are all suckers.

And I also have to vent.

I was walking down the hall today and a VP of another department was coming the opposite direction. He was 50 yards away from me, and stared at me the whole time. When we were about to pass one another, having about another 10 feet to go, he looked down at the ground and moved closer to the wall.

Uh, okay.

Hey Mister Stick Up Your Ass, am I intimidating or scary or something? I mean yeah, I'm big and fat and uncomely. But I am a simple drone here, am I not? An employee who makes this place run. Throw me a politeness bone and fucking say hello. I must be someone to shun or avoid, right? An unwashed mentally deranged fat woman who would slice your throat open if given opportunity?

So I leaned forward and said "Hi Mr. [name]." His glance flicked upward, annoyed and surprised. "Hi."

And fuck you while you are at it, have a great day, you prick.

I hate when executive level people feel it necessary to not speak to employees. At all. I mean, what. Am I going to bore them with stories about how mah ole pick up truck don't start, or the coon dog had puppies in the barn again, or damn it all my walmart shoes done split their soles a week after they was purchased.

Dang it all.

We're all illiterate, stupid, slackjawed, yokels who sit around picking our noses while these mighty execs strategize and sweat blood in order to bring the company profits. Don't waste your breath on one of them! It isn't worth it. You're a Harvard Educated MBA! You have a 6 bedroom house in Acton, or Lincoln, and a boat! You go to Tuscany for fun. She... she sits around her house watching the Real World Marathon when it comes on MTV cause she's easily sucked in! Avoid her.

It's like that to them, right? We're boring proles and they are highly educated elites who simply can't waste the time to hear from us, so why bother opening the door by saying "Hello," or "Good Morning." Opening that door means we're gonna chew their ears off and bore the shit out of their tightly strung sphincters.

I am not one to beg to be noticed. In fact, I honestly like that people do not know who I am. But there are just basic human interaction issues that most of the execs here, and many other places on this earth, just refuse to abide by. They only need to speak to their own, if something must be said to the rest of us, they'll send an email.

I'm sick of that shit.

An old friend of mine recently moved from Texas to Kansas City where he took a new job. He said the people there aren't nearly as nice as they were in Texas. I laughed. I had to. Jesus... not friendly in Missouri. Oh man, don't you know! Well, you could come to New England where pickle juice flows through the veins of all residents and your company's VPs, EVPs and C-- level folk don't acknowledge your existence.


Anyway, the weekend ahead is rife with the possibility of fun. I have got to get out and take pictures and romp around in the woods during the day tomorrow while the weather is supposed to be smashing. We have to get pumpkins and figure out how to abuse, I mean, dress the children up for Halloween. We must go buy baby gifts as my friend JS (I shall protect his anonymity) and his lovely wife had a baby and one of my Coworkers is being surprised with a shower on Sunday, and one of Doug's oldest friends who now lives in Boston had a baby (we had no idea she was even expecting... shows how close a tie we have with her...). So it should be a damn near decent weekend. I hope. Cross your fingers.

Thursday, October 18, 2001

Eye Doctor update for Geoff

We went to the ophthalmologist yesterday for Geoff. It does not bode well, and I feel incredible guilt because of it.

When Geoff was about 15 months old we noticed he was running into things, falling down. We knew immediately it was vision-based because of Doug's bad eye history. We took him to see a doctor who declared Geoff to be severely farsighted, like his daddy, and he also diagnosed esotropia, which is where the eye turns inward (you can really see it in some of these pictures...) because the muscles are getting weakened due to the overwhelming strength of the other eye.

So he sent us to a specialist in Boston. A really nice doctor who after three visits declared that Geoff was super and to keep up the good work in keeping his glasses on and patching his stronger eye until further notice.

Well, he (the doctor) had retired to Florida. We kind of lapsed in patching his eye. The boy is violently opposed to wearing glasses at all, so we went through about four pairs, with intermittent periods of the glasses in limbo, missing somewhere in the house. And time just kind of flew past us while we weren't paying attention. The last time he saw the doctor was August of 1999. I thought it was August of 2000. Damn.

He hasn't worn his glasses since May. We have no idea where they are. So I wanted to get him a new pair, and wanted his eyes checked to make sure the prescription is still the same... after all, if his vision is better or worse or whatever, I didn't want him to be wearing glasses that weren't going to help.

So off to the doctor we go. I saw on the chart that he has Geoff at 20/70 vision... which caused me to drop my shit. I was stunned. I think it was 20/50 the last time we went.

Geoff was a trooper, sat really still, behaved really well. This particular pediatric ophthalmologist is awesome... he was very patient. We were there over 2 hours, with the initial assessment and then dilatation of the pupils and a full hour of Geoff sitting on my lap while the doctor peered deep into his baby greys with a retinoscope (if that's what it's called).

This doctor wants us to see a surgeon, to have Geoff's eyes operated on... to correct the problem because obviously glasses and patching (what little we did) aren't the path to go down. So we've got another appointment on October 30th with the specialist to spend time assessing Geoff and what we're going to do with him.

I feel horrible, and kind of defeated. We were incredibly lax with this and we knew that it was incredibly serious for him to be well watched after. The last 2 years have been rough, with him being the biggest whirling dervish and pain in the ass and us just being unwilling to day after day after day deal with fighting with him. He is hard to handle as is, and freaked when we'd cover his eye or make him wear the glasses. He gets mad and wrenches the things from his face, twisting the frame, dislodging the lenses. It's so hard that he simply won't listen and doesn't grasp the levity of this -- that we only want to make him see better. We gave up very easily in this fight. And should not have.

I think that now he is a little older and he can be reasoned with, that if we got back in the regimen of patching and making sure he has on his glasses we could still improve his eye without surgery, but we shall see what the specialist doctor says. Geoff did really well in the past couple of months when he had the glasses with keeping them on all day, and putting them away carefully.

I think starting a kid before he is two on an eyepatch and glasses, and trying to explain why you are pinning them down to patch their one good eye is so hard. We did well for a while... but we failed miserably. So we'll see where things end up.

Sigh. I am sad. I am feeling guilty. I could have done so much better. He's my charge, my love, my little man. And I'm a fucking failure at taking care of him. This makes me sick to my stomach, and I'm not feeling much like talking about it anymore.

Wednesday, October 17, 2001


I put in for a half day today. Geoff has a doctor's appointment at 3:45 so I figured instead of rushing to get him at preschool and rushing to the doctor by staying here until 2, I'd take a half day off, leave at 12:30, and be relaxed about it. Sure I'm eating up like 5 hours vacation time, but who gives a shit really, I'll be laid back, relaxed, and I earn that back at the end of this month, so it's quite alright.

I think I have finally earned enough vacation time to have a nice cushion to take time off at Christmas, or, if I get laid off it'll make a good addition to whatever measley severance pay I would receive, seeing as I've been here for 18 months. I think you get 2 weeks severance if you make it a year, and then a week's worth for every 6 months you have under your belt thereafter. So I'd currently receive 3 total weeks worth of severance, and if I am still here in March that goes up to four.

Like I'm counting or thinking about it. Right.

Our network is down right now, so I can't FTP anything I've been working on into the servers. I can't even FTP the Grandma's Adventures that I just finished, nor can I send any email out into the world. I hate this feeling of not being able to communicate with the world. Our email works in-house, but nothing to or from the outside world.

Welcome to cyber hell or cyber prison.

At least I have something to do and can entertain myself for a few mintues.

I need to get my hands on a Windows 98 machine with a CD drive and USB ports damnit! I have a load of pictures on the camera that need to come off, and can't get them off (I've lamented my situation before, as lame as it is) and I want to do another pictureshow!

My latest struggle in life concerns what to get for lunch. See, the Simpsons toys are at BK, and they rock the party, and I need millions of them... but Wendy's has the bacon mushroom cheddar thing going on, and that rocks the party too.

Either way, they are fatty nasty meals, but hey... toys or cheddar. This is the dilemna I face. Must decide... must decide.

Here is a picture of Milhouse in his "Fallout Boy" costume, please note, he is not "Radioactive Man Milhouse," but "Fallout Boy Milhouse. Those jackasses at Burger King are getting a nasty email from me later! And the picture above of Apu, I cropped the title off of it because it irritated me so much. It calls the figure "Apu-mkin." Isn't it spelled pumpkin? Not Pumkin? What the fuck is wrong with these people that they can't spell pumpkin correctly when slapping it in a toy name? I mean Apu-mpkin is hysterical!!! Where is the extra P???

Oh ye gods, I am weary of being smarter than marketing people. I mean, I'm not even THAT smart, but I can spell Pumpkin. And I know the difference between Radioactive Man and Fallout Boy.

Okay, that makes my mind up for me. I'm going to Wendy's, where their commercials have Darrel Waltrip referring to a cheeseburger as a "sandwich." That's less offensive.

Well, I'm out of here for the day. Sorry for the lame entry, I have some stuff to write about Geoff and imaginary friends, perhaps I will attempt to pen that later tonight. The weather is sterling, glad I get to leave early. I will enjoy some mom-boy time, which is so important in this world today.

Tuesday, October 16, 2001

Found the keys...

Indeed, they were under a table that I didn't even look under, how they got there is beyond my imaginings. Needless to say, I'm relieved.

Other than the relief of finding my keys and an inner pledge no never allow this to happen again, I got this in email today:


The tickets you ordered on October 13, 2001 for BARENAKED LADIES, have been printed and will be shipped to you shortly via US Mail.

Confirmation number: xxxxxxxxxx
Event Date: Saturday, November 17, 2001

If you do not receive your ticket order at least 48 hours before the event or if you have other questions about your order, call xxxxxxxxxx

So I'm a happy little girl this morning.

I was kind of pissed at Doug on Saturday morning. I slept in, all the way to 11am, and when I got up he was on the computer, where he always is every morning he is free. I asked if he bought the tickets. He said "What tickets."

On Friday afternoon I'd told him about the concert, asked if he thought we should bring Jessie, he said no, asked which of the two shows I would want to go to -- we settled on the Saturday night show seeing as Monday nights make Tuesday mornings hard to cope with. I told him tickets went on sale at at 10am on Saturday. I figured he'd be online, he'd buy them. But no. There I find myself Saturday morning with him all shruggy and like "uh, what concert?"

Fuck. I'm taking someone else. So I got a tad angry, and he said "well I didn't think it was all settled. Who is gonna watch the kids?" I said, "We have a month to worry about that, we have only a little time to buy good tickets. We should buy the tickets NOW!"

So he got up off the computer "Well I can't read your mind..." and walked into the kitchen with this pissy look on his face. Asshole. I was so pissed. I grabbed my wallet and went on to buy tickets. He came back and kind of made a noise and said "well I was gonna buy the tickets. What are you doing?"

Look. Jerk. You're making me actually make the purchase of my own birthday present. Thanks a whole fucking lot you caring and considerate amazing super guy. Go the hell away, I'll buy the tickets myself and think about taking you. Perhaps you can stay home with Geoff, I'll take Jessie, and we'll say happy birthday to me. fuck off.

I didn't say that, I thought it. I said "I'm buying the tickets since you don't seem to know how or know when or know what to do, I'll be off the computer in a minute and you can have it back to look at whatever you look at."

So I bought the tickets and am seriously considering telling him I don't want to go with him. It's my birthday. I shall take whomever I please.


On another note, my boss came up behind me yesterday late in the day when I was running spell check on my entry for the day, and I had to explain to her what I was doing. Seeing as it was 6:15, I figured it was no problem. I'm sure she's gonna mull this over and on Friday when we meet face to face will tell me to stop doing this here at the office... which I totally understand. I told her it is mostly personal, some movie reviews, and nothing explicit about the office because I signed a Non-Compete/Non-Disclosure form when I was hired and hold that as sacred. So she seemed relieved.

I really like my boss. No. I'm not just saying that in case she's reading over my shoulder or comes across this and starts reading. I'm also not going to go back through and edit out anything I've said in the past... that is censoring the moment that something was written and I don't think that is right. So if she does start reading this, hopefully she'll like it. And I won't get in trouble with the company (cross your fingers).

In yesterday's movie reviews I was so busy being totally upset about the Poor White Crap movie that I totally forgot to give a nod to the kid feature of the weekend. We rented "Spy Kids," which Jessica had seen with Doug last spring or whenever the hell it came out. She also saw it three times while they were driving cross country because the hotels they stayed at featured the movie on their "In Demand" or whatever system they had.

Doug had told me it was a movie I had to see. I kind of laughed at him, but lately kid movies have been pretty damn good. So I watched and enjoyed. I'd recommend this as a rental for anyone really, not just with kids. The message is kind of sappy -- family is very important. But the wrappings around this soft gooey center are hard and crunchy and tasty. The film is only at times complete malarkey, and if you can suspend disbelief for a few minutes it becomes quite enjoyable.

I like the way Roberto Rodriguez combines Latin culture and American culture to make an almost seamless new culture, which is beautiful and vibrant. I love what he can accomplish with changes in camera angle, shadow and speed. I enjoy his filmmaking a lot (even if sometimes the plots are ridiculous, like "From Dusk 'til Dawn," which I liked even though it was stupid). I'd watch this one again and again. I loved Alan Cummings as Floop, the children's TV program star who just wants to have a nice show but is the tool of a demonic ex-OSS agent who wants to wage war using robot "spy kids." His world is beautiful and surreal... Quite enjoyable really.

I just had lunch with "my buddies" Ben, Brian and Dan, my old pals from my last job. They came all the way out here to see me, and because my office is very close to the nearest Fuddruckers, and Dan Loves Fudds... (remember, Dan is the one we swap dogs with periodically. I just had his dogs for a long weekend, and he's taking Kinger for Thanksgiving).

It is nice to be able to still get together with them... a lot of times you have a job and you feel really close with people, but that closeness is sort of a bunker mentality -- you're knee deep in some shit related to your day to day work that forces you to bond. After one leaves (in this case me) usually the bond totally wears out and the perceived friendship disintegrates. I feel blessed to have three good friends who I don't have to call every day, or see all the time, or perform for. Three guys who are just guys who like football and take my money week after week in football pools that I so consistently lose.

I spent a lot of time bitching about Doug to them today, which isn't good. I shouldn't do that. It isn't fair to Doug because he's not there to shrug his shoulders in his defense... or even defend himself at all. And they don't need to hear the fat chick whine about her husband. I must remember not to do that again, even if some of what I am whining about is slightly amusing.

When I set out to do this journal I insisted it wouldn't be a personal bitchfest about my interpersonal relationships and failures in said relationships. So I'll get off that subject.

On that note, gotta get to work and not journal before I get in trouble. sigh. sigh...