Thursday, February 27, 2003


Being a parent is sometimes difficult. I was talking to a friend this morning who told me her next door neighbor's seven year old daughter got her period this past weekend. My friend was in a complete tizzy about it.

Is it something in the water? Something in the air? Hormones in the food? What would cause a seven year old little girl to get her period? She has a three year old -- is this what she has to look forward to in just a few short years?

She asked me if Jessica had started hers yet. Jessie will be 11 in a few months... and to my knowledge, she hasn't gotten it yet. Nor, to my knowledge, have any of her girl friends.

A few months ago I tried having "The Talk" with Jessica. She covered her ears and ran away.

Honest to God -- covered her ears, and ran the other direction. It was as if I was confessing to her that I hadn't inherited 50 million dollars and she wasn't taking it nearly as well as Sarah and Zora.

I followed her and asked her what the deal was -- she told me "I know all about that stuff, I'm all set. You don't need to explain it to me."

You do?

"Who told you?" I asked.

"I am not telling you," she said, covering her ears and saying "la la la la la I can't hear you la la la la la."

"But I want to know what they told you so I can make sure they have their facts straight and that what you know is correct and right instead of retarded and stupid," I continued. I was answered with ...

"La la la la la I can't hear you la la la la..."

I'll try again some other time.

My daughter and I have always had a good, honest, open relationship, except when she lies to me and I catch her. I want to make sure that she knows what circumstances can lead to pregnancy or disease, as well as what to expect when she gets her period. I want her to be knowledgeable and prepared, not shitting her pants scared worried in the girls room at the middle school.

I want her not to have to go through what one of the girls in my sixth grade class went through when she got her period for the first time. The boys called her Red River for years after her classroom debut as a woman.

When I got my first period, I didn't quite know what to do so I went to my best friend's house. She lived three houses down from us, and she knew everything there was to know about everything. My mom had sat me down in the backyard in the folding chairs and explained everything to me one hot summer day, so I knew exactly what it was and not to panic. I just didn't have the requisite courage to ask my mom for feminine protection. So I asked Jenssie what to do.

She took out a box of pads and tampons and explained each to me. I settled on pads because tampons were just rather unappealing. She warned me to be vigilant and check the pad often to make sure it was catching everything. I had only one negative experience a few years later in band camp at the high school. I had gotten my period, it must have been my junior year, and we were doing field formations in the hot sun for hours... I realized that this much activity was having a detrimental impact on my protection situation, and told the band director that I desperately needed to hit the ladies room. I informed her that I'd sprung a leak, and she gave everyone a break to go get water and ... take care of business.

In the ladies room, I realized that I'd been a very lucky girl to get a break at that exact moment. My underpants were a total loss, but fortunately my shorts had not yet been affected.

Problem was, without underpants, how does one wear a pad? I realized at that exact moment I had no choice but to change teams from the pad fan to tampon user.

I had avoided using them because friends of mine had told me horror stories about getting the tampon stuck in their bodies, hung up on the hymen or some other part of their interior design.

I didn't want to face the same fate... What to do? What to do? I had no choice.

The majority of my friends, enemies, casual acquaintances and strange female co-schoolers left the bathroom, and I sat in the stall trying to figure out what to do. One girl was still in the bathroom, and I felt relatively safe and asked her to give me a hand. Kind soul that she was, she did.

She used a dime to buy me a tampon from the vending machine and gave me a water soaked paper towel to do a little self-cleaning with before returning to the field.

I had no real clear concept on how to use a tampon with an applicator, so she talked me through it while waiting on the other side of the door, and handing me dry paper towels to finish cleaning myself up. She brought the bathroom trash over to the stall door so I could pitch my underwear, and she pulled a years supply of paper products out of many dispensers to cover up the deposit.

Fortunately, band practice ended a couple hours later and I made it home in one piece. I figured out the whole how to use a tampon thing, and switched teams for good.

I didn't use pads again until I gave birth to Jessica several years later. And that was only out of necessity.

I want to make sure my daughter is well prepared without freaking her out. I want her to always have a spare ziplock bag buried somewhere in her backpack in case she or a friend ever has a need. I want to make sure she's the helpful one on the other side of the bathroom stall door, instead of the confused one sitting on the American Standard porcelain throne. I want her to know about the mechanics of sex, but not all the different positions that are out there waiting for her. I just want to make sure that she knows you can't catch AIDS from the swingset or doorknobs, that you can't get pregnant if a boy sticks his finger in your belly button, that oral sex IS sex and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Being chaste is a better thing than being experienced, and that for cryin' out loud to be careful out there.

So far she hasn't admitted to me any crushes. There is a boy who has been in her class every year they've been in school. They are close friends, but I don't think it's a love connection thing. He's incredibly brilliant, and the two of them sit together and make nerdy smart kid wisecracks in class and make each other laugh. I asked her if she like-liked him or if she just liked him as a friend, and she wasn't sure, "I've never actually thought about him that way."

Her best friend has a burning and all-consuming crush on a boy in their grade. She'll often beg Jessie to go over to the park with her during baseball season and sit on the swings with her so she can oogle the object of her desire.

My daughter is a loving and caring friend who goes with, and doesn't chant "Maddie and Jeff sittin' in a tree..." She plays along and makes it look like they're just a couple of girls sitting on the swings, instead of being an accomplice to a stalker. It's kind of sweet and cute. They don't have to go far to see him. He's a neighborhood boy. The ballfield is in close proximity to the house. She tells me what they're doing... and I like that.

I'm glad they have each other like I'm glad I had Jenssie in 8th grade. What are girls without girl friends?

Speaking of girl friends, Leigh had her surgery for her collapsed lung and is recovering.

Continue to pray for her strength and healing. She should be in hospital through Friday or Saturday.

I am staying home with Geoff today. As we were walking out the front door to go to school he hurled all over the kitchen. Great. The illness that has thus avoided our entire family aside from some minor sniffles and a week or so long cough for both kids may just be breaking through our defenses.

I do believe I'm responsible. I took him to Maine the other day. Baby Nathan had gotten very sick and ended up in the hospital (they have to come to Massachusetts to go to hospital, due to Wayne's insurance plan, even though they live in Maine...). So when Nathan was released from the hospital I gave him and Marcia a ride home, and we brought Geoff with us so he could play with Peteman.

So I'm sure he picked something up. There was a stomach virus that went through his school during school vacation week. Most of the teachers and students got it. Between school and the Hydes, I am sure Geoff's exposure has resulted in this fit of throwing. He's on the couch, slight fever, bucket at his side, watching Blues Clues. He's thrown up three times since 9am. I am wondering when I'm going to come down with it now...

Aaron has returned home to Northern Maine from his big adventures down where the water flows the wrong direction down the drain. He has many tales to regale us all with, and it was good to catch up with him by phone. I look forward to seeing him and Michelle in person some fine day in the not too distant future. We need to figure out how to have a campfire in the backyard so we can sit around it with some nice cold brews and listen to his intrepid adventure tales about the cold and God-forsaken continent of Antarctica, and the fun and beautiful nation of New Zealand.

I miss them, A&M. I wish we could hang out with them more.

I had a job interview yesterday. A headhunter had contacted me a year ago, and the job he had for me was too far away. I gave him my global coordinates and the distance I was willing to go in order to earn money. He told me he'd keep me in mind if something came up in my picky stretch of road. The job he was pitching to me was one town past what he called my "threshold of pain" for commuting to. He asked if I'd consider it. It is a webmaster position for a small networking company. It's flexible scheduling, okay pay (18 bucks an hour) and would be part to full time for a six month contract. I said... sure. If they're truly flexible, I'm there.

He told me that they're keen to having me telecommute once I get in there and get things all ironed out and designed. Sounded pretty cool to me. So I went in to meet with the headhunter, and it was a great interview. He should hopefully be calling me back today to let me know if I'll be interviewing with the company sometime soon.

They want someone to start MONDAY.


Whafuh? You call me on a Thursday, and you want me to possibly start Monday? What's the rush? I'm not even sure I can come in for an interview before Monday!

So we'll see if that all works out. And the job I interviewed for the other day in my old office building called me back for a second interview. So I'm hoping to schedule that. Not sure how it'll all fit with a sick Geoff on the couch. As usual, I'll keep you posted

Monday, February 24, 2003

Bad Mommy, Knockout Drops

We always leave things until the last minute here at the wayoutinn. This morning as Doug is getting ready for work, I told him to check the Joymobile (little blue chevy) to see if the keys are in it from before we left for vacation. We left the keys with Jen & Pete so they could move cars to move snow.

He came back in to report that they keys were not in the car nor were they in the mailbox, but that Pete was home and I should call him. Doug left for work.

Pete told me that he would grab the keys for me, then called five minutes later to say he couldn't find them in the house... Jen must have them with her, at work.

Jen normally is home by 7:30 a.m., but she wasn't back yet so he had called her, but got her voicemail.

I waited until 9, called him back to find him not there. I was going to just ask to borrow his truck and bang Geoff over to school. When I realized he wasn't there I figured he had gone to work, so I called Geoff in sick to school, I called Doug to let him know that he didn't have to pick Geoff up. I let Geoff get back in his pj's to finish his breakfast (he even messed up his hair, which I'd just brushed after getting him dressed, yelling "Alright! I get to stay home!"). I started the dishes.

Ten minutes later, Pete knocks on the door. Jen's home, with the keys.

I thanked him, let him know that his effort to track the keys down was appreciated. I tried to talk Geoff into getting re-ready (dressed, shoes, hairbrushing) for school but he said that he wanted to stay home with me.

So I let him. I figured hey, it's kindergarten. I doubt that today is the day he'll be learning that one piece of the academic puzzle which will help him in his adult life find a cure for cancer and a vaccination for AIDS (remember kids, there is no cure for a virus, just preventative vaccinations to protect you from them).

He asked for a second bowl of Kix, and I sat down with second cup of coffee to check mail and do this.

I'm a bad mom. Aren't I?

If this were Jessica, I'da had her in the car and on the way to school. Actually, I'da kept her home too. It's all good. I just have to remember to go help my favorite older folks with their computer this afternoon after Doug gets home.

Last night I was watching Simon & Garfunkel on the Grammy Awards singing "Sounds of Silence," and I started laughing.

Back in Junior High School choir, we performed that very song. This guy Chris used to add an extra line to that song... we'd sing the regular line, "But my words like silent raindrops fell,"

and in the pregnant pause, where the silent raindrops are allegedly falling, he'd add "And Meltzer smells."

It was a rank on this kid Gary, who I later became friends with. He was a shy and kinda nerdy guy, and Chris was the big popular clown guy... everyone would laugh and Meltzer (who didn't smell at all) would be embarassed. Mr. Selezner, the choir director, told Chris that if he did it in the concert he'd be thrown out of school, drawn and quartered... etc.

Chris did it. In concert.

And to this day, I can't hear that song at all without singing "And Meltzer smells."

Gary Meltzer, if you're out there -- forgive me. But I think of you often and smile, laughing towards you, not at you.

So last night, I sang right along. My husband laughed at me. And a little later while talking to my sister on the phone we wondered what ever became of that Chris guy.

Here's what he's up to. Funny. I wonder if they cover "Sounds of Silence?"

Mr. Garfield emailed me a little late on the cell phone pick-up thing and agrees with Doug that it was creepy, but wanted to know if it worked. I thought that was a funny thing, asking if it worked... like you'll use it, Mr. G? Hee hee.

In short -- it sort of worked. She's called him a couple times. They went to see a movie, but his roommate (her friend) was with, so it wasn't like a date date. She's spent a little time with him but doesn't think it's a love connection. I think it is. Kissy kissy schmoop schmoooooop!!!

Oh what is wrong with me?

Today I am filling out a paper application that I downloaded from a website for a job as webmaster... it's for a state agency, and I'm already dreading the 12 pages of stuff I have to fill in. Of course, nowhere on the website or application do they tell me the mailing address, so I sent an email last night and may just have to call this morning.

Do I want to work for people silly enough to leave their address off of their application? That's something very serious for me to ponder.

Something else that is serious for us as a family to ponder is the possibility of Doug changing jobs. He can go work in Boston as a speech therapist in the schools and make about 15,000 more a year doing exactly the same thing. What we need to weigh is the time required and cost of commuting, and what I'd be doing with my time. Geoff will be starting first grade next year, so our daycare costs would plummet with him not needing to go to private school, that's good. We'd keep a lot more money in our pockets. And if I go out and drum up more business for myself or hook up with more professors who write good grants that get tons of money, I could effectively stay unemployed in the traditional sense and just be a web lackey for many different clients.


I enjoy this non-9 to 5 schedule greatly. This morning I would have been having a massive heart attack if I had to be to work at 9 and the car keys were with Jen. Now, I'm all mellow. I'm cool. I'm laid back. It's all good.

I like this non-freaking out me. I'd like to keep this me. But I'd like more money and should be actively contributing to the income level of this house.

On unemployment and with what I earned above/beyond last year I made out pretty darn good. The unemployment stopped, so I'd have to put a lot more effort into making money in order to keep that level of income up.

The best thing that could possibly happen to me would be that professor CM would get some wicked grant money for his new project at the campus and he'd ask me to come work for him there in a grant funded position. I'd be doing exactly everything that I want, with a flexible and wicked cool boss... the only person on that campus that I could ever want to work for again. It would be my dream position. Working for the college in exactly the respect I want to be, without the upper bureaucracy of the IT department or upper administration. I'd answer to CM. I'd be happy. He'd let me flextime. He'd let me geocache in the middle of the day. And it would be good money I'm sure. Or, just the right kind of money.

We shall see... we shall see...

Continue to pray for Leigh and her surgery (see yesterday's entry, towards bottom). I'll update you all on what is going on with her when I hear from her next.

I have a lot to do today -- regular readers and my close family and friends are well aware that housekeeping has never been the primary task of my life. Over the last couple weeks I've let it all slide. And I have to finish cleaning my bedroom, which I started when we sprung the roof leak a few weeks ago.

So much to do... not enough caffeine.

I cleaned Geoff's on Saturday. His room is so nice and cute when it's clean. Then, he dumps ALL his crap out onto the floor and we have to clean it all over again. Thing is, this time he helped me clean. That was pretty sweet.

Hopefully he'll get to the point where he can organize and put away everything on his own. It really isn't that hard, but when you've got no attention span and hate doing it in the first place, well, that makes it extra hard.

Jessie gets mad at me that I clean his room but make her do hers. I point out that while I make her do hers she does a crummy job and perhaps she should spend less time whining at me that I help her six year old sibling and recall when she was six I cleaned her room for her... the time for acting like a 10 year old is upon you girl. Clean your own room.

She storms away angry. And then only half cleans her room. I don't ride her on it -- I figure if she wants to look at the mess that's her business. But, if the room is not clean, she cannot have a friend over. So there is a double edged sword. She understands it... but still doesn't clean her room.

I have to get to my tasks and duties. I'd like to get all the clean laundry put away, the bathroom, kitchen, and livingroom cleaned all before 4pm. I'll crank on some Brian Setzer Orchestra and Geoff will dance while I work.

Perhaps he'll even pretend to help me. Or, I can do what I usually do -- "Hey, Geoff, can you take this to sissy's room? Can you put this up there? Can you take this box over to my room?" Get him to be my workhorse. If it is one task at a time, he does pretty good.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, February 23, 2003


I've been thinking a lot about the 96 people who died in the West Warwick nightclub. I've been thinking about the blame game, the finger pointing... the almost immediate reaction by Great White's lead "singer" Jack Russell where he stated they had the club's permission to shoot off pyro in a 8 foot high little cubby of a stage. The posturing, the shoulder shrugging, the childish behavior. All those people died and lawyers will make some money and maybe someone gets fined or goes to jail.

In my honest opinion, I bet the club owners had NO idea these guys were going to use flashpots and sparklers. I bet the stage manager didn't do a walk through on the stage immediately after the band set up to look for anomalies in the stage layout. The rider made absolutely no mention of the use of fireworks, but show after show on this tour this band set them off. Sometimes the club owners or stage managers freaked out (Russells in Bangor, ME, the Stone Pony in NJ) and other times they just kinda shrugged their shoulders and said "Oh, that was unexpected but hey. Nothing bad happened."

I've also been thinking a lot about fire codes. The Station, the nightclub that burned down, was built prior to 1975 so it was "grandfathered" in to the fire codes that require all clubs to have sprinkler systems.

This makes no sense to me. Clubs built back in the day are mostly wooden shacks. But because they are old, they're exempt. Shouldn't it be the other way around? Old clubs are NON exempt because they are tinderboxes and little fire traps? I saw the owner of a prominent Boston music spot (The Middle East) in an interview last night. He was happy to show off the fact that even though the building he occupies is very old and he was exempt from the fire sprinkler requirement, he had them installed. He stated that in his opinion the exemption is foolish and it falls on the club owner to make the right decision for the safety of everyone AND the future of his business to go ahead and install them, whether or not they are legally required.

Sounded like a big no-duh to me.

But how often do any of us step forward and do something when we are not required to do so? Going the extra mile to ensure the safety of our kids in the car used to be a parent's decision... now it's a law. Kids are required to wear safety belts, "click it or ticket" is the slogan applied to such a law. But I still see parents driving around holding infants and toddlers in their laps. I still see kids standing up in the back of station wagons.

Legislation makes no difference to some people. Passing yet another law to have clubs install fire sprinklers or add more escape routes won't make a difference. Passing laws isn't going to help.

The only thing that will help is individuals like Jeff and Michael Derderian (owners of the ill fated nightclub) stepping up to the plate and saying "You know what, I think we need to install fire sprinklers even though we aren't required." It calls for guys like Jack Russell to put the flashpots back in the truck after a personal inspection of a stage (hmmmmm, 9 feet high, 20 feet wide, foam insulated? I don't think we'll use the sparklers tonight.) It calls for bands to have riders that are written specifically to include such pyrotechnics, rather than how many bottles of beer and trays of finger sandwiches they demand.

I don't know. A lot of personal responsibility is being shirked in this situation. And it's just plain sad.

On that note... let's move on to cheerier topics, shall we?

For dinner last night Doug whipped up a wicked bitchin' awesome Corn Chowder. Hell yeah. My husband rocks.

Tess emailed me to let me know she bought her plane ticket and will be here in Massachusetts in July. So we'll be able to show her some fun. I figure between me, Amy and Taunia we'll keep her entertained. She's going from here to NYC, so I'm scoping out some places for her to stay in Manhattan that won't break her bank. Staying in the city you have three choices -- unbelievably fucking expensive; expensive as hell but worth it because it's relatively clean and safe; heroin flophouse.

At least, that's been my experience. If you have any recommendations for good hotellage in NYC, email Tess through her website and let her know where to reserve a space.

I finally got around to upgrading my copy of Dreamweaver from version 2 to version 4. I like it much better. It's far easier for me to use, and I can set up stylesheets if I want. Sweet. I can also do serverside includes, sweet. I am working on a new site for Prof. CM for a side business he's starting up, and hopefully it will generate some more work for me once he rolls it out. Extra Sweet.

Geoff was out playing in the yard on Friday and lost a boot. His tan workboots come untied pretty easily, and I guess when we were unloading the car he played and ran around, thus causing said boot to get stuck in the heavy wet snow. Doug and I looked for it for a while, to no avail.

It has done nothing but rain and rain for the last two days. I looked out the kitchen window today and saw the top of the boot sticking out of the snow. I went to get it, and Geoff held it up and dumped out two gallons of rainwater.

"Oh, no! It's all wet!"

Of course it is, silly. But. Someday it'll dry. I brought it in and set it by the baseboard heater. I think two days will be the time needed to dry that puppy out. Prettydurnwet.

My friend Leigh, AKA Tanager, is suffering from a collapsed lung at this time. She'll be going in for surgery this week.

Please pray for her if you're the praying sort, or at least send good mojo, for both her, her son, and her son's dad. (and pray for me, because I stole this cool picture of her off her site without permission!!!!!)

Here's her email:

Hello friends,

Just wanted to drop you all a note to tell you I'm having surgery Monday (hopefully) or maybe Tuesday. I have had my third spontaneous pneumothorax (lung collapse) since August, this last one right on the heels of its predecessor. The collapses are small (about 10%) but painful (and scary.) I was at Mass General for hours yesterday, and they said they could admit me until surgery or I could go home with medication. Obviously I came home to my own bed.

Gary is taking care of Gabriel. This surgery has a very good success rate (as in, I should never have one again, at least not in this same place) but, surgery is surgery, and it's in my chest, so.....for those who pray, I would appreciate your prayers. I'm not much up for phone calls but brief ones - I was on oxygen for hours yesterday and I think it messed with my voice, it's almost completely gone. Emails are very welcome so I don't feel so alone.

Please also say a prayer for Gabriel, who has been much away from me this past month through either snowstorms or this illness, and is having a hard time away from mommy. I don't know how long my hospital stay will be following surgery, but I'll let someone on this list know and they can pass it along.

I actually quit smoking last week because of this - although it's not smoking-related, it seemed a good time to quit, but...mostly because I've felt God impressing upon me the need to quit for good. For such a light smoker (5-6 smokes/day) you'd think it would be easy...but no! So prayers on that front are also welcome.

Thank you all for being my friends. I cherish every one of you.


So, for those of you who've ever tried to quit smoking, or HAVE quit smoking... send her mojo. For those of you hospitalized with scary shit happening... send her mojo. For those of you who just care about the greater family of friends in the blogsphere out there ... send her mojo. She can use it, and I thank you in advance. I'll keep you posted when she lets me know how things are going.

The verdict is in on the cellphone pick-up that my sister experienced recently. Everyone who wrote in thought it was kind of cute and clever. Here are some of the responses:

"That's not creepy at all, how can anyone think that's creepy? They're
probably just jealous. It's the perfect solution to asking someone for their phone number, which is pushy and rude and makes some folks nervous. My number is unpublished and unlisted, thanks very much. I don't wanna give it to some guy stranger. Not that anyone's asking. And it's so arrogant to say, "Can I give you my number?" At least, it sounds kind of arrogant to me. This way, the number's there, she can use it or delete it."

"I think Bob's approach has a subtlety and suavity that's kinda nice, and different (although it's been a while since I've been in the game--maybe all the guys do this now. Back when I was single we only had email.). As you note, no high pressure tactics, no verbal prodding. So, she can take the gesture as a fine compliment and decide if she wants to pursue it. A good arrangement, I say."

"I think it was cute what he did. It was a low key, no pressure way of
him saying "call me". He didn't have to ask for her number or offer his
without a risk of rejection. Seems like he's quite interested but not all
up in her grill about it. Smooth move! Two Thumbs up!"

Mind you, all responders were female. I guess no guys read my journal, except my husband, and he was the one who thought it was creepy.

So the girls say it's cool... if a guy is reading this, go ahead and use that tactic next time you're trying to pick up a lady (a babe, a ho, a skank) and see if it works.

It actually reminded me of the Simpson's episode where Marge's old flame Artie Ziff asks if they can be friends with privledges, and he scoots over to her and makes yummy noises while mock-licking his way up her arm, fingers wiggling in juicy anticipation. She says no, and says "Does that even work on anyone?"

The cell phone thing might work -- Artie Ziff's yummy licking noises do not.

Aaron is coming home very late on Tuesday night. Here's raising a toast welcoming him back -- and Michelle, I hope you got that bathroom painted! It'll be nice to have him back. We got a post card from him at McMurdo, and I must say I'm super psyched to have gotten one -- that's some pretty far away shit!

His flight gets him to LA on Tuesday afternoon, all the way from New Zealand, and then he comes to Maine. No long layovers, no great big stops. I'll bet he'll be a mess for a few days, but hopefully in this month upcoming we can get to see him and once again rock the casbah!

When A&M lived a few towns away from us we didn't see them nearly as often, or even talk to them as much. Funny how the distance between us has forged a closeness. I miss talking to my buddy there, and will be psyched to joke and jape on the phone with him and in person once more. Hurrah!

I feel better now than I did when I started this entry. Thinking of good friends like Tess, Leigh, Aaron and Michelle brings me to a good place (Happy Gilmore's "Happy Place" comes to mind, but without the girl in lingerie... the beer and the winning slot machine, yes... oh, and the little person on the tricycle... yeah... that's good stuff)

Friday, February 21, 2003

AC recap

Not to make light of a sad situation, but I can't believe over 300 people went to see Great White at a Roadhouse. It's not that I can't believe that they went to a roadhouse to see a show... Roadhouses traditionally have great bands and cheap beer. Jim Morrison sang all about the roadhouse and a good time. Hell yeah.

What I can't believe is that over 300 people went to see Great White.

Worst. Hair. Band. Ever.

Pay your cover to get in, hear the beginning of a song. Don't make it home that night. Whatever went wrong, it's "Not so good, Al. Not so good."

I feel badly for the victims in this situation. I've long been a fan of music in clubs in a live setting, and it's been a bad week for any such kind of event. First in Chicago where hoards are trampled in panic as they try to exit a club that should not have been open, then this one where a cheapassed crappy pyrotechnic display sets fire to a cut-rate cheapassed "soundproofing" curtain behind the stage.

There is a long history of places going up in smoke. Regionally there's the Coconut Grove fire in Boston, and the Happyland Arson in NYC. Doug also brought up the Hartford Circus fire which took the lives of dozens as the paraffin (sp?) soaked big-top.

I'm sworn off live shows and circuses for quite a while.

But when I go back out to see a movie or hear a concert, you better believe I'm checking fire exits and sitting right next to one. I'll even set off the alarm to test the stupid thing just to make sure it works and isn't blocked from the other side or locked or something. I'd rather have the management yell at me and have firetrucks show up than be trapped and dead.

We're back, as you can oh-so-plainly see. Our mini-vacation was very nice. The kids were pretty well behaved for ole Grandma, Grampa and Auntie Lee Lee (thank you again folks for taking them off our hands for a spell).

As you can see here, we got a little snow. Our grill looks like Kid from Kid 'n Play. It was an amazingly light and fluffy snow, the kind you can brush off with a broom. So getting out and on the road was easy.

The snow tried its best to prevent us from going. I wish we had heeded the ominous warning -- "Don't Go! You'll Lose All Your Money! Alllllll yourrrrrrrrr monnnnneeeeeeeeyyyyyy!!" I'm glad we didn't bring the deed to the house. It wasn't that bad, we didn't lose like Nick Cage in that Vegas gambling movie he did with Sarah Jessica Parker and James Caan.

Driving down we tried to think of all the songs that have ever been featured on "The Simpsons," either with the band/artist performing on the show (in cartoon form) like REM or Aerosmith, or sung by the characters (Homer singing Steve Miller's "The Joker," Apu singing Cheap Trick's "Dream Police).

We may compile a good list and burn a CD. It'd be "excellent." Jessica is aces with remembering who sang/played what, so we had a good time. "The Coast Guard's covering the Dooobs!"

We ditched the kids and made tracks, seeing as it's about 3 hours to AC from my folks and we'd be going during rush hour.

We got trapped like rats going onto the Garden State Parkway at the first tolls. The express lanes to the left of the tolls were closed so everyone was forced to merge right. The snow removal teams were still clearing snow off the sides of the highway in the express there were 20 lanes of traffic trying to merge to the right. Some people who were already over to the right figured "Hey, there must be a problem over here in the local lanes, so I'll go to the left and take the express lanes!" So those jerks were fucking things up even worse for those of us already on the right trying to get left.

It was a cluster.

But we made it. We saw a car accident on 440 on Staten Island. We saw a wicked nice sunset, pictured here. And we also saw an amazing moonrise, no picture... but it was totally unbelievably almost crash the car gorgeous.

Staying at the casino was fun. The hotel was great except for a few peculiarities (ie: remote control missing from room, no soap/handcream/shampoo in room, which I took as an oversight by the hospitality staff).

Our Jacuzzi was ghetto, only one of the four jets worked and it worked ferociously... so that was disappointing. We got to take a nice walk on the boardwalk on Wednesday, the weather warmed up enough for us to be out of doors.

Tuesday night there was no one (hardly) at the casino. Wednesday the bodies began to flow in. By our departure time on Thursday the place was mobbed with tons of old smoky men and women, some of whom sat there pumping coins into one-armed bandits while the ash on each cigarette grew and grew.

It was time to go -- and time for some serious fresh air.

We gambled enough to earn comp dollars for our meals, so breakfast, lunch and dinner were gleefully enjoyed in some pretty darn decent restaurants in the building. And, before we left we cashed in the remaining 30 comp dollars and had some beers and sat at the central bar soaking in the atmosphere. It was nice.

The view to the east and the west from our window. On the left, you see why it is called the Trump Marina. There's a marina and a yacht club in this little bit of land, and the rest of the AC boardwalk and action are down the shore a little bit. The large gold bouillon which was dropped from heaven and landed in the open fields of south Jersey is a brand new casino hotel which is being built. We couldn't see it at night as we drove in. It was a gigantic ghostly lump of an object in the darkness as we approached the Trump, but in the morning, this is what it looked like. Quite dazzling, and sorta damn ugly and out of place compared to the rest of what AC looks like.
Doug sits at the bar, I photograph him without his knowledge.
And casinos are chock full of mirrors. So I caught this nice one for a mirror project shot. Of course.
These are two of my favorite pictures I've taken in a long while. I used the macro feature on the camera (now that I know what the hell it does) and I used the moonlight setting for low light exposure. Doug's hand is in a blur in the left picture. But the one on the right is so cool. Our last 3 dollars of the night, floating in the bottom of a beer glass. How poetic. How casino. How "1-800-Gambling."

We laughed a lot at people we saw, and noted that there were no totally insane crazy people like there were when we were at the Tropicana in November of 2001. No one cut Doug in the buffet line. We liked the way the sunlight played through the roof of the main level. It was fun to be grown-ups away from kids. I didn't have to break up any disputes between my children, I didn't have to tell someone not to touch something 1000 times (actually, I lie -- I told Doug to stop playing the slots 1000 times... just like I tell Geoff to keep his hands off of things. Now I know where he gets it!)

We missed seeing the Village People by a couple nights. And saints be praised, Tony Danza's coming to perform at one of the casino ballrooms and we missed it! Yay!

The best part of the trip though was the music played over the soundsystem at the Trump Marina. I'm not joking -- best music ever. If you like deep cuts from Album Oriented and Progressive Rock of the 70s and 80s. No lie. We heard things like "No Quarter" by Led Zep (who even knows that song exists!!!???), Doug heard "Guillotine" by Rush (hello?), and I rocked out to "Vahevalla" by Loggins & Messina while we sat at the bar relaxing on Wednesday night. I think I may have been the only one in that building who knew that song.

They played some obvious songs too, not every single song was some sort of obscure deep cut off some album Kansas released long after "Point of No Return." Some Grateful Dead, CSNY, a little Bob Seeger. Pat Benatar declared that Hell is for Children but didn't dare you to Hit Me with Your Best Shot. Heart's Barracuda blared through the sound systems and there was a fair share of Who and Springsteen. (Baba O'Reilly/Won't Get Fooled Again blends right in with the sounds of a casino, in harmony. Beautifully).

They played some dogs too. I never need to hear another Van Halen song as long as I live, especially "Runnin' with the Devil." Puh-lease. Doug and I disagreed on George Thorogood. I don't like him. Doug can't understand what's not to like. Musically I can listen to him, until he starts singing. The music itself is great -- the voice. Eww. Hate him. So we discussed that for a while. He's in that Delaware/South Jersey kind of cult of rock, so it fit in with where we were.

The funniest was when Doug went down to get coffee on Wednesday morning, He found it slightly ironic that they were playing "Big Shot" by Billy Joel at 8am as bleary-eyed gamblers (himself included I guess) dragged themselves around the lobby.

There were no Eminem songs played. No Nelly or Naz. No No Doubt. No Cold Play. And ... no Great White.

Just some amazing songs pulled of some of the powerhouse albums of my childhood. I must have said twenty times "I haven't heard this song since... junior high school. It ROCKS ON FIRE!"

And I felt very old. But. At least I wasn't in the casino where they play Wayne Newton and Sammy Davis, Jr. Fly me to the moon... baddaba boo baddaba deee. That's old. Oldy and moldy.

If you live on the east coast, a mid-week trip to AC in February is really relaxing and nice.

Oh, we took the Outerbridge Crossing from and to Staten Island on our trip, and drove right by the gas storage tanks that blew to high bloody blazes today. All they could talk about on the New York News was how the explosion automatically made "everyone think it was 911 all over again..."

That didn't cross my mind until they said it. Accidents like this happen a lot and I don't automatically turn on my panic response. But once they said it I'm sure that all the people watching who lived through 911 were brickshitting in their seats.

That's pretty much the muppet update over here. Tess, you can rest assured I'll be sending you email. Great to be back all... great to be back

Monday, February 17, 2003

Ice Skating, and going to Atlantic City

If you have a TV, or you live in the Northeast Corridor, the Bos-Wash part of the country, you know it's snowing or has recently snowed, or is just about to start snowing... depending on where you are sitting.

We're delaying our departure until tomorrow morning as we're forecasted to get 8-12 inches of snow TODAY, and my parents have a good foot of snow drifting around their sidewalk and backyard, and Atlantic City is getting some sleet right now.

It's just our luck. I hope THIS is the only "bad" luck we have in this whole going to AC process, and that any money related luck is nothing but good.

My sister and I were talking about ice skating.

Geoff wants to go ice skating in the worst way.

I found a rink near here where we can go but have yet to take him. Linda and I were talking about how when we grew up we always went ice skating. My dad worked for the town, and often times it was one of his duties to test the thickness of the ice (by cinderblock and rope as I recall) and he'd take us down to the pond at Mill Dam or Heckscher Park to skate. Linda told me that to her recollection no one has skated at Heckscher in years because it hasn't been cold enough.

But we were reminiscing about how cool it was to skate around the islands and under the stone bridges, ducking down and tucking in so as not to bash our skulls in on the overpass. It was always so much fun.

I think as children we never recall how damn cold it is. It must have been quite cold in order for us to be out there skating on that pond because there's a waterfall at the far end, and the water is always moving underneath.

She told me that the last time she went skating was in high school. She wanted to go very badly and nagged my dad until he took her down to Mill Dam. It was night and she was the only one out there. He sat in the car with the headlights on her, and she went out for a few minutes. She rushed back to the car after hearing some loud cracks out in the distance. My father tried to assure her that it was certainly cold enough for the ice to be ICE and it was cracking and settling the way ice does, way out in the far end of the pond where the ice was always thinner. She was still too scared to go back out even with his reassurances and decided to have him take her home.

I don't see kids skating on ponds anywhere around here, not that I know where skating ponds would be. We've got a great sledding hill, and kids are always over there... but I've yet to find a place where kids skate outdoors.

My sister is planning on taking Geoff to the town ice rink where we used to also skate as kids. When the ponds weren't safe, the ice rink run by the town was the next best thing. So hopefully she can get him over there. He's in need of some serious active fun.

Her plan for Jessica is to take her to a store in the mall where you can build your own teddy bear. Initially I thought Jessica might think this is too babyish, but the more I think of it the more I like the idea. I'm sure she'll be stoked about making her own bear. That's a good auntie for ya, right there.

I've gotten a couple of good email responses on the cell-phone pick up that I wrote about the other day, but I'll wait for other responses before I post opinions. Be sure to email me what you think about it (click the above link to go back and read if you don't know what I'm talking about) and I'll put together a nice comments page on it later.

I guess that's about all to report here. I'm going to trudge down to the basement to move some laundry around that I wasn't going to do until after we got back. But, seeing as we're not going anywhere I may as well make good use of the time. I should clean out the fridge... do some hair farming on my legs (ewww. Too Much Information!), perhaps give my son a bath, definitely do the dishes... I'm actually glad to have this extra day to finish up all the stuff I need to do.

Sunday, February 16, 2003

Winter, Church, Pickup Lines, Movie Reviews.

There's a lot that I think about but don't do. For instance -- church.

Many of you readers know that I do go to church. Usually every other week. Except in the summer. I'm not a stellar participant. I often times am bored. Other times I'm thrilled to attend and the liturgy of the Episcopal communion service touches me deeply.

But in this household, we've suddenly stopped going. Christmas eve was the last time we were there. And it's starting to have an impact on the other parishioners. I've gotten two phone calls and a little "thinking of you" note from one of the older ladies in the women's group.

They think we've stopped coming altogether.

Fact of the matter is, we haven't. No conscious decision has been made to cease being churchy people. It's just that I've got a list of rather good excuses, at least, I think they are rather good.

1. I like sleeping.
2. A lot... I have been sleeping until 11 and I could sleep a lot later if I put my mind to it.
3. It is very, very cold out and I just don't feel like being up and out the door at 9:30am when it is 8 degrees and windy.
4. I ...

When I say "we've" stopped going, what I mean is I've stopped making a big deal out of it and making everyone go. Doug's not too excited about our church. He didn't grow up Episcopalian, and just doesn't really jibe with the format. The kids like it for the most part, but I kind of feel they aren't getting a lot out of Sunday School. Jessica is two academic years away from confirmation age, and just doesn't seem interested in her faith.

I feel we've stuck with the church for a long time here because they're in transition. Part of me wants to go somewhere more dynamic and fun. Another part of me wants nothing to do with modern evangelical culture, which is why this particular Episcopal church is so nice.

No one is in Promise Keepers.

No one gets into these women's conferences about Faith and Makeup.

No one gets all into someone's face about whether or not they are for or against abortion.

They're all really nice, quiet, mellow, polite and sometimes very funny people. And I'm very very happy and comfortable with them.

In the past two weeks I accidentally blew off meetings with professor MF. We are getting ready for our presentation that we are doing in March at a conference in Worcester. I didn't "accidentally" forget once. I forgot/skipped out knowingly three times.

Once I was napping, and when she called no one in the house picked up the phone so I didn't know she was calling. I didn't hear the message until several hours after she called. The second time I had a phone interview and was supposed to call her afterwards but someone else called me immediately after I hung up and I got to talking and ... an hour went by. And the third time, I just ... forgot. And that was honest.

She took it personally. She got rather terse and short with me the third time. I told her in all honesty, trying not to laugh, that I swear to God I totally forgot and didn't INTEND to blow her off. I told her that I've become rather forgetful in the past several weeks. I forgot to go get Jessie after choir one day, and remembered about five minutes after I was supposed to be there. Luckily for me I didn't get yelled at by the school. What made me remember? It was 4:15 and Geoff and I were watching Pokemon, and I suddenly realized she wasn't there yet. Oh yeah -- Tuesday. Pick up girl. Riiiiiight.

MF told me that I sound like someone who is depressed. It hadn't crossed my mind -- perhaps I am and I'm not really aware that I am. I mean, I prefer sleeping to human interaction. I would rather lay around than do dishes. Going outside of the house for anything -- shopping, laundry, Church, is not a priority. I blame the cold for my lack of interest in outside activities, but deep down, perhaps she's right.

Winter this year is long and painful. I long for the melting. The rebirth of spring. The joy that is Easter. The resurrection of my personal spirit. Flowers. Gardening. Geocaching. All these things are like Persephone herself. Below the ground. Awaiting the warmth of awakening.

Here's one for ya. I've told two people about this and gotten their feedback. I'd like you to drop me a line and let me know what you think.

My wonderful sister moved back home to NY. A few weeks ago she was out with some friends. There is this kid, we'll call him Steve, who she knows. He was there with his roommate, whom we shall refer to as Bob. Linda is hanging out at the bar with this Bob guy, and he asks if he can see her cell phone.

She hands it to him, and he programs his phone number into her phone, and hands it back to her.

No "call me, babe" kind of stuff. No piece of paper for her to lose. No "what's your sign?" sort of skeevieness. No request for HER phone number, although Bob could always ask his roommate Steve because Steve and Linda are friends.

So here's what I want to know -- do you think that what Bob did is cute or creepy.

Doug thinks it is creepy. My friend Carrie thought it was really cute and she thinks Doug might think it's creepy because he didn't think of it (not that he should or would... if he's in bars programming his phone number into cell phones of chicks he just met, I'll smack him. But, I digress). I thought it was rather clever. Very unique move on his part.

What do you think? Clever and cute, or creepy and just plain wrong?

We rented some movies this weekend, which we haven't done for a while. Geoff picked out the Crocodile Hunter movie. I must admit, Steve Irwin is kinda sexy, but he's a fucking WHACKO and that is kind of a major turn off. Insanity and snake handling just do not do anything for me. But. He's kinda cute. I think his wife/snake-wranglin' partner Terri looks like the brains and sanity of the operation. The movie was lame. Someone at some studio saw him as a money-making opportunity. And there was no real compelling story other than the USA is bad and hates the environment and Steve Irwin loves nature. Yay! Meh.

Best part of this movie was the outback rancher widow, Brozzie. A great big burly beast of a woman, she was out to kick the croc's spiny ass for eating her cattle. The fish and game nature police were no help. Notably, she played the wife in Babe, Pig in the City. She was awesome. And I asked Doug if he thought it was funny that Aussies are always portrayed as hat wearing, farm ownin', gun totin' whackos with nice tans. We would fit in nicely in the outback if it weren't for how lazy we are.

In the end, of course, Steve and Terri save the day.

That wasn't the only exposure to Mr. Steve Crockmeister we had this weekend. Discovery Kids was showing Croc Files, and geoff wanted to watch that as well. They followed the four most dangerous snakes found in Australia. It was gross. Doug wouldn't have watched it at all, and it made me think of how Doug's mom would have a severe stroke by seeing those snakes (ooooh, she hates them) and his grandfather Pappy would go get a hoe from the garden and start smashing the TV with all those snakes being shown. There is no love of snakes in my husband's lineage. Jessica often said she was going to grow up to study snakes, and I think she said it just to piss Doug off and watch him froth. hee hee.

The best part of the episode was the end where they talk about what to do if you're bitten by a snake. Steve starts in with this whole act about how he got bitten by a rope snake and Terri comes to his rescue. They are obviously making up the dialogue as they go... and there are a few times Steve starts laughing when he's supposed to be the panicky victim. Very funny.

Steve (in Aussie Accent): "AAAAH! Crikey, I been bitten by the deadly rope snake!"
Terri: "Not the dreaded Rope Snake! Anything but that!"

She bandages him up with a pressure bandage to the arm to keep the venom isolated in his forearm (I learned something this weekend) and prevent it from moving up through his lymphatic system while he kept yelling "It's still on me!" (the rope was still on his leg).

Also on the docket was "Goldmember," Austin Powers 3. Lame, but had it's moments. The subtitle part with the Japanese businessman was very funny. Fat Bastard was extremely revolting and I just couldn't look. Best part of the movie was the descent into evil by Scott Evil. Seth Green is awesome. And Beyonce was very good as a blaxploitation style foxy mamma, with a body and voice that can kick yo ass. I also liked the whole Harry Potter Hogwarts kind of spy school they attended. And the kind of Star Wars-esque family twist at the end there -- I thought that was lame. But, it made sense. They built up to that from the very start.

Overall, the cameos and the silliness of the Hollywood surroundings made this movie a parody of itself and I didn't like it nearly as much as I'd hoped. Michael Cain as Austin's dad -- that was great casting. So much of Austin Powers is based around characters played by men like Michael Cain back in the 60s. So that was kind of like seeing Indiana Jones and his dad. There was a lot more potential there, but... meh.

And lastly, a little movie called "Scotland, PA." Which I give thumbs up to, even though it is way too close to it's original tale to have been clever (and if you go to the IMDB link above, you'll figure out very quickly what story I'm talking about by the character names in the cast listing).

They could have done more to make you figure out what the story was going to be... but on the whole a very well done movie with a great soundtrack (lots of Bad Company, and a great original song called "Pennsylvania Turnpike," which cracked my shit up).

Maura Tierney (News Radio, ER) is very good here. And Kevin Corrigan, the brother from "Grounded For Life," has a nice role where he turns out to be a lot smarter than the stupid ass you think he is. Christopher Walken is very funny and smart as the detective (smart compared to the local cops, that's for sure).

The kicker is the lead guy is some dude who had a great 80s Jon Bon Jovi kind of look to him, and he did a great job. I've never seen him before but he's been in dozens of movies that I've seen. Funny how that happens.

I won't tell you what the story is, you'll have to rent it and see how it turns out for yourself.

Another movie I'd recommend while I'm on the topic of weird little indie films is "Buffalo 66." If you've never seen that -- do. Vincent Gallo and Christina Ricci are awesome. Great story. I was scared off from it almost by the beginning "commercial" at the start of the tape where they hawk the soundtrack. They use "Yours is No Disgrace" by Yes as the music for the suspenseful ending, which is great -- nice to see old Yes songs getting put into soundtracks. But the selections of images and moments from the film that they put around it made me nervous. I didn't want to see the film if this was what I had to look forward to. But... I stayed with it and I'm glad I did. So, if you rent it, don't be put off if you have the same feeling I had in the onset. You'll be glad you watched it.

My daughter and her best friend are currently on the phone. They are watching the rebroadcast of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show from last week. They are both real dog fans.

Even though Jessica knows how this turns out in the end (Kerry Blue wins) she and her friend are still enjoying it together with a running commentary about this dog being cute and that breed is awesome.

She sounds so... intelligent. Like she knows all about breeds when really the extent of her knowledge comes from this program alone over the last three years.

Kind of nice to hear her talking this way instead of talking about pop music and Aaron Carter rocking on fire. Which, I know she wouldn't. But it's still always nice to hear how she sounds when she talks with others. She agrees and validates other opinions. When she disagrees, she isn't rude and bossy. How nice!

Anyway -- Geoff wants to play Grammar Rock on the computer. I should get off. I doubt I'll post again before leaving. Cross your fingers and blow on the dice for me. Lucky 7s here we come! Woooooooo

Friday, February 14, 2003

Happy VD

Happy VD to all.

Every day is valentine's day for Doug and Chris. That's the way it usually is. We don't buy into the commercialism just to say "i love you." We normally buy a little something for the kids, but ... we didn't this year. They know, we know. There's love. Why make Russell Stover richer?

I didn't buy him anything and he bought me some flowers.

I feel like a shite. But hey -- it's nice to once in a while get appreciated. If I don't pass out at 9pm perhaps I will be able to show that appreciation. But you'll notice that I speak no more of that sort of thing and I move on....

I saw on someone else's blog that Valentine's Day should be renamed "Steak and BJ Day," and that women ought to be giving both to their men, instead of men giving chicks worthless boxes of chocolates and some flowers. It made me laugh. What a concept!

But I don't see women jumping onto that bandwagon. And could you imagine the Hallmark cards for such a holiday.

Hee hee.

It's been a good day. I babysat Mr. Baby Ben. I brought my two dogs with me for the first time. It was absolute chaos there for a while... all these legs and tails and tongues all over. Buddy, Dan's yellow lab, loves to lean all over me and get love, which is very hard to do while holding a 4 month old. Tiger got very defensive of the food dishes so I had to send them to safer ground. And Jack and Kinger both attempted to be dominant by humping Tiger and Buddy... with hilarious results. I wish I'd had a cam corder. It was some funny stuff. I can't write it well enough -- suffice to say Tiger and Buddy are still dominant in their own home.

We played Taboo. Ben (not the baby, but my buddy) and I kicked Peg and Dan's collective ass. We're both very good at giving and receiving clues. I felt accomplished, smart, and I don't think Dan will play against me ever again. I'll end up with him as a team mate because he'll believe his chances are better that way.

And he's right.

We are going to my parents' and sister's house on Monday. In Massachusetts they give a week off in February, which made absolutely NO sense to me at first and now... it is genius. We totally need a week off. We need it to be above 10 degrees though so we can enjoy our week off.

We'll enjoy our week off nonetheless, but... it'd be nice if we were in Tucson instead of NY/NJ.

Doug and I are ditching the kids with my folks for two days and we're going to Atlantic City to gamble away the last few pennies we have. Rubbing them together has done us no good, so we may as well slap them down on the craps table and pray for lucky seven.

I'm not a big gambler.

I like playing the quarter slots. I like watching the people. I like the free booze. It's fun to go there. Doug likes Roulette. He's won and lost some money there. The best I've ever done at gambling was with fake money at a monte carlo night at a conference that I went to in 1998. Clayton, Ben, Brian, Dan and I skipped out on the actual conference evening festivities. We had enrolled in a pool tournament, and all got eliminated in the first round. Rather than stand there and watch strangers win, we went to the hotel across the street where they'd set up a gambling room with free chips, no money needed. We were given 2000 in chips when we walked in, and proceeded to the Black Jack table.

I had no idea how to play, I just knew you were supposed to beat the house without going over 21.

The guy running the table was a handsome African American dude, who taught me everything I needed to know and kept the drinks coming.

In no time flat, Ben and I were drunk and laughing our asses off as we quietly swiped money from Dan's stack of chips. Brian, an avid anti-smoker, was chugging on a stogie and saying "my wife would KILL me if she saw me right now." We had such a wonderful time. I ended up with a gazillion chips, had no idea how I got them but I think Ben kept putting them in my pile (stolen from Dan).

It was by far one of the most fun "gambling" nights I've ever had. We all went back to the hospitality suite that was hosted by one of the vendors we worked with, no one was there... we drank all their beer and stayed up until 4am. It was tons of fun. I had to give a presentation at 10am. I got about three hours of sleep, drank four big giant coffees and did a great job presenting. So much so that my boss (who sat in on the presentation even though I didn't want her to) gushed to the president of the college about how great I was.

Those were good times... goooooood times.

Brian said to me today "Aren't you the least bit nervous about traveling to the greater NY area this week with this heightened terror alert?"

To whit I replied:

1. No. I'm not worried.
2. I have a big truck. I'll run people over in it and survive.
3. I have plenty of duct tape.
4. If I don't go there, line Donald Trump's pockets, gamble and win or lose, the terrorists win! You don't want that do you???

hee hee hee.

A "boss of me" once told me that I am too flip. I don't take anything at all seriously. He was and is absolutely correct. I am flip. I joke in serious or possibly serious situations. It's just my way. If I was on a plane that was in the process of crashing, I'd be serious and pray, and then sing something. Probably "Always Look On The Bright Side of Life" by Monty Python. And I'd die with a smile on my face.

While I do joke about the "heightened" alert I'm not worried. I kind of would like to go to the heart of Northern Maine and visit with Michelle... I think my peace of mind would be better being far from a metro area, but really.

I have a life to lead.

We made these plans before this alleged Al Qada increased activity and maybe/maybe not threat was put into play.

I just don't see myself sitting on my hands and sweating the situation.

My kids will be with my parents. If there is an emergency, I will instruct my mom to hightail it the fuck outta Dodge via any means necessary, back to our house. We'll regroup/regather there. I know that if we end up stranded or something South of the City, we'll be all set -- the kids are being watched, and we'll eventually get to where we need to be. I'm optimistic about such things. And you really have to be.

We did toy with the idea of going to Vegas. Tickets are cheap, hotels are cheap. We could have gone out there for the same amount of time and had the same kind of fun for just a little bit more of our nonexistent money. But deep in the heart of me I'm glad we'll be close to "home" and not halfway across the country, where getting stranded could be a lot more serious, lonely and long term...

I have a friend whose parents used to always plan for disaster every single time they traveled. Life ending disaster. She and her brother and sister would be sat down every time her parents were heading out of town. Soberly and with great gravity, mom and dad would tell them that "in the event of our deaths by whatever means while we are away, here is the plan..."

The entire time their parents were away, the kids were shitting bricks. Convinced the plane their parents were on was going down in flames. Convinced the hotel where they were sleeping was on fire at that very moment. Convinced that the cruise ship was going all Poseidon Adventure on them. These kids were scarred for life..

I think it is good to have a plan.

I don't think it would be necessarily good to sit Geoff down and tell him that "When Daddy and I die, you'll go live with Grandma!"

Although, he'd really like living with the Nintendo Game Cube.

Seeing how it is Valentine's night. I should get off the computer. Doug rented some movies. We'll drink some beers, lounge on the couch. He is in the process of kicking the kids out and making them go to bed. I'm sure I'll post one more time before we go to Atlantic City (even though I dislike him, I love Bruce Springsteen's Atlantic City anthems).

I hope that there is much love in your life. If not erotic and romantic, please embrace the love that you have which surpasses all understanding... the love of your family, friends and God. Meditate on that, and have a love filled day.

Thursday, February 13, 2003

Heaven Assumed Shoulders High In The Room

Having been politely reminded that I didn't report back to you, dear reader, on the status of the phone interview I had the other day -- here's the update.

They make and distribute spam.

And you all know how much I love the global spam monkey. So in all good faith I know I couldn't ever join the ranks of the spam monkeys out there... The interview went very well, but I got an email today letting me know they were all set and found the right candidate, and that person was not me.


If I had been offered the job, it would have been hard to say no. The salary was good. It would have been a learning opportunity as well (some serious database development/management stuff).

But being a spam whore just didn't appeal to me in the least. At all. Ever. Money or no.

In other news, I had a phone call Tuesday from another company I'd sent my resume to through Mind you -- I have sent out about 599 resumes through and have heard back only twice (spam monkey position and this new position).

The position is a customer support position, being the liaison between customers wondering where the hell their returned/being repaired equipment is and the warehouse/service center. The initial call was a phone interview with the HR generalist. She wanted to know why I was interested in it.

Being completely honest, the way I am, I let her know that out of the 598 other resumes sent out specifically for web design jobs I had only one call back. This one resume for her customer service job I send out, I immediately get a call. I told her that I was willing to do just about anything for money, other than send spam to people. She liked me. Brought me in for a full interview today in person with the training and customer service director.

It was a great interview. The guy I interviewed with, let's refer to him as Joe Manager, was really nice.

He offered me coffee and I politely declined stating my reasoning -- I didn't want coffee breath while interviewing. There's nothing worse. He laughed and laughed and confessed to me that he used to smoke AND have coffee breath AND he worked in retail. No wonder people didn't like him waiting on them!

We laughed and laughed.

He told me now that he walks around all day with his coffee cup. I told him I really liked the coffee cup. He told me all about it -- he likes it because it's so nice and big that he can fill it half way, and that's a full normal cup. And the it won't slosh and spill.

We spent quite a bit of time on the cup. It was a very nice color.

And I asked him if he'd ever seen "Office Space." He confessed he had not, so I told him about Lumburgh and the coffee cup, and did an imitation of him. And then I told him that if he sees the movie on my recommendation that I hope he doesn't misconstrue and think that I think HE is like Lumburgh, but that Lumburgh is the quintessential bad manager with suspenders and a tie and a coffee cup. He told me he wouldn't feel that way at all, that he's heard it's a great movie, and that he was gonna rent it one of these days so he could joke about it too.

Then we talked about the job.

It was a half hour get to know you session. I think I'm a shoe in for the job. I know I said things to the guy which made him say "YES! That's EXACTLY what I want to hear!!!" And I think the rapport between the two of us was good.

I think I would really like this job.

There is one problem, which deep in my heart I should never consider to be a problem.

The pay.

This is an entry level, newly created position, and the pay is written in stone at $11.00 an hour.

I mentioned to Doug that I thought it was kind of lame, but 11 bucks an hour is much better than the zero bucks an hour I currently am being paid and that I'd go for the interview.

This morning when I dropped Geoff off, I mentioned the interview and the pay rate to one of the teacher mommies at the school (Naomi, the mom of Geoff's new girl, Lexie). Her face lit up and she was thrilled for me, I could see it -- she told me that 11 bucks an hour is fabulous... but I wrinkled my nose at it and said, "Yeah, but I was making almost three times that amount of money a year ago."

She just kind of looked at me blankly. She continued changing one of the toddler's diapers.

On my way to the car I realized I sounded like a whiny complainy bitch in front of someone earning 8 bucks an hour while changing someone else's kid's shitty diaper. Someone who is really worth a hell of a lot more. I sounded like someone who perceives herself to be "above" things and in real life I always thought that I'm a get in there and do anything kinda gal.

As I drove away from the school and headed home and get ready for what could be a really nice, great job with a stable company that has a profitable portfolio and stable business plan, I realized that I am a picky bitch deep down.

I'll change diapers for 8 bucks an hour 10 hours a week and float from classroom to classroom in a situation where I know I'm smarter and much more fun than half the teachers in the school.

I'll make canapés and hors d'oueveres for 10 bucks an hour 20 hours a week in a 110 degree kitchen, breaking my back and getting corrected because I once misshaped an avocado crab cake.

All because these are "just tiding me over" kinds of jobs. But because a job is in an office, and I have a particular view of myself and my value, I turn my nose up and whine about $23k.

I'm worth $60k in my mind. Screw the fact that this job would help us pay our taxes and all our bills and would keep us solvent through the summer and beyond. I do. I do feel I'm above it.

This would be a great job for me. And yeah, the money sucks, I will admit that. Loud and clear. I'd prefer to make twice what I'd be getting paid there should I get the job...

But sometimes you have to start with a clean slate somewhere, walk in, prove yourself, and climb a ladder that you thought you'd already done gone up to the top of at least twice before.

I feel that at 36 I should be someone's manager, a department head, a team coordinator. Not some entry level customer service schlep. I need to shelf the attitude. Embrace reality. And be psyched that a company wants me. It's not settling for less, it's accepting what's offered. And I think that's what I will do.

I feel I owe Naomi, the teacher mommy, an apology for my attitude.

Joe Manager told me that he was sure they'd be calling me for a second interview, and that he'd drop me a line or call in the next day or so. I'll keep you posted.

In my mind -- this is a nice stable company. They are upstairs from the company I used to work for. I know the commute, I know the schedule would be flexy for dropping kids off in the morning and once in a while needing to leave early when Doug has an afternoon meeting.

This could be a great job.

Send mojo... and I will keep you posted.

Michael sent me a nice email explaining why he likes Queens of the Stone Age (see last entry where I try and figure out their popularity) and it was nice to get the scoop on them. He recommended one of their CDs and I'll see if I can't hunt it down somewhere. Nice discourse -- I love it.

I think my beef isn't with the fact they are popular and that I don't get it, it's with the one song being played into the fucking ground. All the stations are playing it. I can hear it on at least seven different radio stations. SEVEN. Jebus. You can't get away from this stupid one song!

They are doing the same thing with Beck's new album.

They are ALL playing the one single, "Lost Cause," and that single alone. I'm sure there are other songs on the damn CD here people. I don't need seven different stations playing the exact same fucking playlist, under the guise of "alternative," "rock," "grown up rock," and "top forty album oriented rock." Ugh!

Today when I was on my way to the interview I heard an REM song that I haven't heard in about five years. And that was such a blessing. Thank you. A gift from God. Someone actually deviated from a fixed playlist, and gave me the biggest smile I've had in weeks.

You may wonder why this bothers me so much -- I have no CD player in my Joy Mobile, so I'm subject to whatever gets played on the radio airwaves. I'm a slave to the airwaves, and another REM song comes to mind. I'm a prisoner, radio listener. Baby baby baby BABY!

Alright -- enough babbling. Gotta get some work done around here, decide what's for dinner. Blah blah blah