Saturday, July 23, 2005

Listmaking for the road trip departure

The date on this entry is somewhat false, it is 11pm on the 22nd, and I find myself once again waiting for laundry to finish drying. My day was hectic, annoying, and tiring, and I'm going to be up late finishing our packing. But. We'll be ready to leave at 7pm if it is the last thing I do while my lungs move air about my body. Whenever we travel, something gets left behind... and Doug more often than not will have the opportunity to yell at me. For instance, in 2000 when his grandfather died, I packed everything except his suit pants and dress socks. Nice. So he made do with some dockers, and had to borrow socks from his dad. He was so pissed at me. But to be honest, I hate packing. I always forget something for someone... either toothbrushes or shaving cream or underpants... When we went to North Carolina in April, I packed and left an entire dufflebag on our bed. I thought Doug would have seen it.

No matter how hard I try to be organized, I'm just plain not... I am the single most disorganized person on this planet. So, I've started making lists. And the lists help a little bit, but I end up being obsessed with the list, and then I become anxious, and I start to hyperventilate...

You get the picture.

Today I left work later than I'd intended. I had a lot to do, but I had to cram two weeks worth of work into one week, and I got pretty much 80% to where I wanted to be. I wanted to make sure there was little or nothing that C and MB or G had to do in my absence. As is, all they need to do is preview the content, make sure I didn't totally F up the order and whatnot, and insert the specials for one chain, which won't come until like Wednesday anyway. I did get to enjoy one beverage for our Beverage Friday. Would have liked two, but... I needed to jet.

There were errands I needed to complete. I wanted to get the car inspected, get home by 5pm, and get the dogs to take them to the kennel. Part of me said "Leave the car for Doug, and take the truck. That way if you are running late you can just get the dogs and HE can get the car inspected."

But I figured I could get it done.

First, I went to a service station where there were two cars ahead of me. Waiting. After a few minutes wait, I got out of the car to ask how long the wait for an inspection might be. The woman in the car ahead of me got out and said "Excuse me, I'm ahead of you."

I was somewhat astonished and said "Uh, yeah. I know that. I am just asking how long this is going to take."

"Oh." She said as she crossed her arms. "I thought you were trying to jump the line."

"Uh, no." Y'all know me. I'm not into entitlement.

I turned back to the mechanic and he told me that he was experiencing some technical difficulties with the machine, and it might take a little while. There was a car in the bay, and another guy was messing with the machine. It appeared as if the thing wasn't printing, or something. And these things are hooked up to the state so if you try it again it'll show fraud and it gets ugly...

"Well," said the woman ahead of me, "Perhaps that car failed the inspection and you should try another car."

So now, she's an expert. Pfth.

The mechanic let her know kindly that indeed, the car didn't fail, the machine was spazzing out. I decided to leave and try another garage. There used to be one at every gas station. Not every gas station has the emissions inspection station anymore, so I ended up in Salem.

I got in line behind another car. There was a car in the bay. After a few minutes, the guy came out and said "Hey, I'm closing at five. I can't go past five. You're gonna have to come back tomorrow."

Well, I won't be there tomorrow.

I realized, to my horror, it was now 4:50pm. I called Doug. He was just getting to camp to get Geoff. There was no way he was going to be able to get back to the house and get the dogs to the kennel on time. I thought of calling and postponing our ferry reservation tomorrow just so we could inspect the car and drop off the dogs.

I ended up rushing my ass home and calling the kennel to let them know I'd be late. They normally close at 5. The kid said he'd stick around for me. I owe him a cake. I got there at 5:45, dropped off my furry boys (I miss them horribly already!) and came home to beer. Doug will take the car to get inspected on Monday August 1st, a day later than we need it done by... but there is a garage 200 feet from our house that he can hit on that morning, and get the car taken care of.

We really do try to take care of stuff in advance. We try to get all our ducks (oops, I typed dicks. Ha!) in a row. But sometimes, that just does not work. Today was one of them.

So I did indeed make a list. Before leaving and after leaving, there are a number of things I must accomplish. The list is fairly simple for the next couple of days.
  • I need to mail a request to our doctor to HIPPA release some medical files to camp for Jess and Geoff (I can't find my copies, so if I send them an envelope addressed to the camp they should have no problem).
  • I need to fill out forms for them for the weeks that got monkey wrenched.
  • I need to swing by the bank and check our balances to make sure that we have money.
  • I need to make sure I have a note to the tenant to put the trash out on Wednesday, and to water the plants if it does not rain over the next few days.
  • I need to decide if I'm shaving my legs, or doing a massive Agent Orange deforestation of my inner thighs...
  • I need to finish packing.
  • I wanted to burn a mix CD for our trip. But that may not happen.
  • I need to pack the travel bugs, the camera, the GPS...
  • I need to print out CJK and Smitty's cell phone numbers to have them handy for the ride.
  • I need another beer...
The great thing is, as far as work goes, I left nothing that needs done at the office next week that C can't take care of. And that feels like a massive accomplishment.

There is a lot I have on my mind too, in addition to our lives, vacation and listmaking.

A really, really good friend of mine and his wife (another really, really good friend) may be splitting up. Dimes to dollars. If I were a betting man, I'd put money on the "so long it's over" square on the craps table.

I've spent a shit ton of time talking to him, but she won't talk to me... which breaks my heart. I always thought she would be able to pick up the phone and just talk to me and I'd let her know what I think or just let her say things that she needs to say. But she's avoiding me. As happens in this kind of situation.

This friend, the guy in the relationship, may be moving very very very far away, and this is something that totally breaks my heart.

I want him to be happy. I want her to be happy. I want them to make decisions that work for both of them. I don't want me and my feelings about where they should be (married and together and happy, damnit!) to impact their decisions.

I'm so sad. Really, painfully sad. And over the course of the next couple of weeks their future hangs in the balance. If he moves far far away, I will be devastated. I can't even imagine how he and she both feel (devastated) if I'm outside the picture and feel this way.

Several of my friends have split up. Some of them not so happily. Others are friends now long into the years after they've gone their own ways. It's like a lame Fleetwood Mac song. And I can't listen to "Landed" by Ben Folds without just falling apart.

The other night on the phone with me, he made me cry. He asked me "What do I do with the dog? The dog never broke my heart... I can't leave him behind... can I?"

I don't know.

You gotta do what you gotta do baby. That's all I can say. If he or she is reading. It'll all work out in the end. I love you both so unimaginably deeply. Please know that.

Alright -- that is too damn sad. I need to go move some laundry around. I'm outta here for a week. I will update you all and regale you with tales of utter joy and fun from the road, in August.

Cheers, yinz.

Friday, July 22, 2005


So, tomorrow morning early-like we're hitting the oily black roads of America for yet another amazing and mind-blowing trek in the truck. We're going to my parents and to a family reunion over the weekend, and then out to the wild, wooly western stretches of Pennsylvania for a 5 day visit across the hills of Beaver Valley. Someone commented to me that we "get away a lot," like it was something odd or weird. She said, "I haven't gone away in a few years. I honestly wouldn't be sure where I'd want to go." And that got me to thinking...

We do get away a lot. Mostly to Family (ie: Relatives) destinations, or to Aaron and Michelle's house. Our trip to the Outer Banks was the first non-family vacation we'd taken since 2001 when we went to Arizona and Utah. The person speaking with me lives within a half hour of her entire family, and she sees them just about every other weekend. They'll all be at her house for a party this weekend. In August, it is grampa's 90th, so there's a big family thing in Southern New Hampshire.

She's doing every 7 to 14 days what we do twice or thrice a year. We schedule our trips around the relations. We tend to see my parents more, because they're geographically easier to get to (5 hours) and to be honest heading out to Western PA is a haul and a half. We stay at a hotel, so it costs us a lot of money. So we don't do it nearly as often as conscience and good family values and love would probably require us to.

In fact, this week trip will cost us more than it cost us to rent the obscenely huge house we scored in April in North Carolina. We have to kennel the dogs, that'll cost us a pantload of dough. Gas is ridiculously expensive. Hotel and then eating elsewhere, that will add up after several days.

So yeah. It's gonna run us close to a grand this week, by my guestimate. But... it's family and sometimes visiting comes at a cost.

Doug has a grandma who lives in Ohio. I know we'll take her to lunch at Das Dutch Haus and spend a whole day there watching Geoff do his monkey shine and whine that he's bored. When we go see her, she always cries when we leave, which breaks my heart. "It's been so long since I seen ya, honey," she says as her gnarled hand squeezes mine and the tears start. "I don't know if I'll get a chance to see ya again at this rate."

When we travel back and I see her, I always say "See, Middie? I told you I'd see you again." She smiles and she's so happy.

And then we leave.

Our friend CJK lost his father this week after a long illness. Compared to both Doug's grandmothers, Mr. K was very young, too young to die and too young to have fought the kind of battle over the last decade that he had. I remember meeting him, the only time I got to, at CJK and CA(T)K's wedding. I think he was talking to my husband for quite a while, and then turned to me and said "Who is that nice young man?" So I filled him in and he was surprised...

"Oh! Doug!" he then pondered. "I haven't seen him in years!" And he smiled.

"And who are you?"

CJK and CA(T)K are out there helping with arrangements and the like. We'll miss the funeral, and we'll miss them by one day, it seems. Hopefully we'll catch them on our way home.

Because it sucks to not be able to see friends.

My friend Mare in California recently took her mom in. Dad H. died in 1988, and Momma H. moved to South Carolina after selling the house on John Davies Lane, where they raised five beautiful daughters together. Life was good in South Carolina, until she got a boyfriend... and slowly over time, the boyfriend spent all of her money. Momma H. had no idea, and was left with almost nothing in the end. So Mare and her sisters talked it over, and she drove out there and "saved momma." Momma H. has pre-dementia, and over the past few years her condition has gotten worse, to the point where she sometimes isn't sure what the hell is going on. Mare's got a long journey ahead of her, but I praise her for taking her mom in, and having the space and heart with which to do so.

I talked to Momma H. recently, and she went on and on about how happy she is living with Mare and the four boys (yes, she had five daughters, and one of them goes and has four sons!) and what a happy place it is and how fun it is to be there. She talked with me for like a half hour before I finally said "Barb, do you even know who this is on the phone?"

"You're one of Mare's friends. I'm not sure who though, but if you're Mare's friend you're okay by me!"

I told her who I was and she was all excited it was me, and asked after my parents to see if they were still in our hometown. It was like a light went off... not only was she happy about where she was, but hey! A memory that is still there! Mare told me those are rare.

Old people are sometimes really cute. Sometimes they are just downright nasty. Doug works with them daily, and he tells me stories that crack me up to no end. Once he asked a woman if she was having any problems, and she yelled at him "I don't have any problems! SEXUAL OR OTHERWISE!!!"

Uh, okay!

I don't want the chance to be a woman in a home. Seriously. I don't want to have some illegal alien wiping my ass while bitching to her friend who is standing there (in Creole or Spanish or whatever) about how fat and disgusting I am. I don't want someone taking all my money from my checking account while I think life is rosy and joyful. I don't want to look at my kids' friends and wonder "Who the hell is THAT guy?"

And I don't want to hold my grandson's wife's hand and cry because I won't see her for a good long time, or, won't ever see her again.

So yeah, we get away. We deserve it, and our families deserve it. Our families deserve to get to know our kids, to realize Geoff is difficult sometimes but a lot of the time he's just hysterically funny. I feel as if you folks reading this know my kids better than our family in Pennsylvania.

And that makes me really, deeply and honestly sad.

You won't hear from me for a while. I should be able to write Sunday night when we return. Or, sometime Monday. Until then, the Archives are not quite finished in their reconstruction, so if you want a little dose of something, feel free to visit the days of yesteryear.

Go call your grandma. She misses you.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

How my experiences as a parent serve as birth control for others...

I was talking to my sister the other night, and she can tell you that my life and experience as a parent are the biggest form of birth control for her. After the day we had with Jessica on Saturday, and a lot of the things that we've gone through with the boy, any discussion I have with her often leaves her saying "I'm so not ever having kids."

Yesterday I spent the better part of the morning jumping through hoops trying to fix things for summer camp arrangements. Yes. I said fix things. You totally believed we had everything lined up. Ha!

I got a letter and a phone call Monday, both of which monkeywrenched my life.

First, the letter -- the cub scout camp cancelled the bus service for the next 2 weeks because only six boys signed up, and they need 20 to make it worthwhile. The week after next, Geoff is out of luck -- no bus. And there is no way I am driving like I did last week. If you remember, I spent the better part of last week driving. 20 minutes to camp, 90 minutes to my office, 90 from office to camp, 20 back to house. Four days of the week, and then Doug was able to get him in the afternoon last Friday, so I only had the 110 minutes worth of driving in the morning. I caught a break.

I called the camp and they gave me the names of three other campers in the area who were also taking the bus, and I decided I would call and make arrangements to carpool. I could take, if a parent could drive. The very first parent I called told me he'd take AND bring home, because he was staying at the camp as a volunteer, and it wouldn't be a problem to take Geoff with him.


He and I had a long talk about camp and life and living where we live and me working where I work and my commute, and he was tremendously cool, and it was awesome. So that problem was solved.

The phone call that I got Monday night was from the camp where I signed the kids up for the last 2 weeks of summer. They noticed I'd written on the application that I wanted Day Camp for Geoff. Well, they're not doing day camp, they're only residential. And they're rate is a lot higher than that which was listed on my form (which I received in the mail from them)... to the tune of $400 bucks a week. Gah.

Jessie still wants to go, but for only 1 week instead of two, which I'm feeling is fair because she really looks forward to going to this camp. Next year, she'll be too old.

So for one week I think I can push her off on friends, or take her to work with me for a day or two. But the two weeks in question are late in the summer, right before school starts, and I was wracking my brains trying to figure out what to do with the BOY. Every camp I checked was DONE by August 15th... and I'm looking at that week and the following week of August 22.

Then, it pops into my feeble little bear-like brain.

The YMCA camp Clayton used to work at, where he took Jessica for 2 years. Bingo. I found their webpage, the rate was the same for members and non-members, AND, on top of that, they have openings AND they're open that week. I called the camp and spoke with the director. I asked how long she'd been working there and she told me 25 years... so I asked if she knew Clayton and she did -- and we had a long lovely talk about how much fun he was there at camp. She totally remembers Jessica "How could I forget a big black man like him with a little blonde five year old girl hanging around with him!"

So we're in.

Flaming hoops? Pfth. Yeah -- life challenges got nothing on my phat, mad parenting skillz, yo.

Tuesday morning, my son got on the bus and there was only one kid on it. Sitting in the very last seat, all cool and having the bus to himself. What does Geoff do? Get in the seat WITH the kid. They were about the same age, and I bet that kid wanted the seat to himself, and is thinking "Dude, the whole bus is empty and you've gotta sit right on top of me???"

I'm going to have a little talk with Geoff about personal space and the unspoken rules of bus riding. I'm hoping this moring he sits in the row opposite.

On that note -- gotta finish packing up for lunch and getting the laptop into the bag. Have a good day you guys.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Harry and the halfblood...

I just finished reading the latest installment in the life and adventures of everyone's favorite nerdy cursed wizard boy, and all I can say is "Woah." I won't spoil anything for anyone, but I have distinct thoughts and feelings about this latest installment, more than I've had about the previous books. Continue reading if you want to know what I think, or visit later after you've finished and we can discuss.

There is a lot in this book that really strikes me about Rowling and her style of writing. I really do think she makes it up as she goes along, that her writing is a product of her times. The first book was published in 1998, obviously before the events of September 11, 2005. Harry's introduction to the world was that there is this boy, he finds out he's a wizard, he survived a horrible attack when he was a baby, and now that he is going to be trained in his craft, the wizard who tried to kill him is working on making a comeback. Rowling's stories were lighthearted, and fun... as fun as a young boy learning to make friends and fly a broom can be. September 11th cast a dark shadow on the world, and in a lot of ways, on Rowling's prose. Each book is somewhat darker and more sinister than the last, as our own climate grows dark along with that in the wizarding world.

This latest book is rife with jabs at homeland security and how they don't work, fail, and the darkness seeps in no matter how hard you don't want it to... just like with the London Bombings of a few weeks ago. I know Rowling didn't KNOW these things were going to happen, I know she didn't plan on the world turning into a dark and scary place for us muggles out here. She's been able to do what every author should do best. She writes what she knows. And she is giving the characters a current events feel, sharing our fears and our trepidation with the students at Hogwarts. And this is giving her series a feel and excitement that I think they would totally lack if it weren't for the events in the world around us.

While the darkness seeps in, and scary shit happens, people fall in love, sporting events still are played, and life goes on. While the rest of us are living, there are those who obsess with the ever present dangers and fret about them, quietly and thoughtfully, preparing for the worst. There are those who work to mechanize the terror and bring it to the doorsteps of the rest of the world, in secret and quiet, where afterwards all the friends and relatives will say "He wouldn't ever do something like that! He had so much to live for!"

To quote Jim Infantino, "And in the middle marching there are me and you."

Each of us reading are the other characters, the witnesses to the happenings in the magic world. We aren't Hermione smart, or Cedric Diggory strong and brave, or Malfoy evil, but we're like the Patil twins, or Lavender Brown, or Luna and Neville. We're on the sidelines watching that which goes on around us... and we know people like Hermione, Harry, Cedric, Ron, Malfoy, Crabbe & Goyle. We have had bosses or teachers like Snape or like Dumbledore. And Rowling is able to write these characters moving through their parallel universe along with our similar joys and fear. We can relate. We know these people, even though they yell Latinesque jinxes and hexes and green goo shoots out the end of their wands.

People have criticized Rowling and said that she brazenly steals from classic literature, specifically Tolkein, that some of the scenes in her books are right out of LOTR. Perhaps. Tolkein denied over and over that his LOTR was in any way an allegorical work about England in the face of Nazi Germany... the Hobbits being the UK and all of the dark forces being the scourge which spread over Europe. Deny as he might, he was writing of his time and his thoughts and feelings. With a dose of good old Christian sacrifice and martyrdom, spiced with the possibility of redemption of one of the most foul creatures in the end, Tolkein borrowed from the Bible, from the Greeks, from Beowulf... all good literature through history gives a nod back to the predecessors. There was even a little Star Wars reference in the reverse going on (if you're reading it right now, I won't say it... I won't tell you who, but you'll see it). And it made me smile and laugh as I was reading.

So Rowling has the world by the tail. And she's got another book to write. Will it be the last in the series? Harry has one more year of school... but will that be all? Will his adventures end upon graduation? Will it take her two more years to crank out the book that she claims she has "in her head" and nowhere else? What happens if JK Rowling is hit by a bus? Or a sheep in Scotland mauls her (an evil sheep). What happens then?

What will become of us? And this story... which could be left untold.

No spoilers intended, I'm pondering what will happen in book seven. I am looking for someone to be redeemed... another steal from Tolkein or from religious literature if you will. I want there to be some sort of amazing redemption, some cleansing, not of the main horrible character -- that will never happen just like Sauron is never "saved" in the LOTR series, but there are two characters who may have a chance to walk away in the light, even though the Dark Mark is burned into their souls. I wonder wholeheartedly if the scar on Harry's forehead will play an unbelievably important role in the next or final chapter.

I would like to say I always loved Dumbledore because I think he "gets" it. His character is aware that there is a distinct lack of love in the world, and those who are capable of love can conquer anything. It is an age old philosophy dating back to Christ and Chaucer, that love conquers all. In the environment where we live, and where I've said it here a million times, there is NOT enough love out there. And Dumbledore would want us all to go out and do loving, kind things. Hold your opinions, keep your belief, but DO kindness. That is why I've always loved his character, his wisdom, his gentle kindness even when kicking Harry's ass as the stubborn teen sat across from him arguing. Thinking of Dumbledore's kindness right now brings a tear to my eye. Hell, it's just a book Christine.

Oh, but it's more.

If you want to know what I think, email me and I'll share, we can dialogue. That'll be nice. In the meantime, if you're unfamiliar with the series, and you like a fast paced read and a good mystery or six, start reading. And JK Rowling -- start writing the next one NOW. I don't want to wait two years to know what happens next. Especially if there are more terror attacks and other dark and evil events which could color your words and work.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Welcome to the Working Week

We didn't go to Vermont this weekend. We decided that for one night worth of camping, doing the whole packing, fight with kids, haul the dogs thing was just too much. Saturday was just stellar and beautiful... so we decided to go Geocaching. And that's when things got ugly.

Jessica, as many of you know, despises the activity of geocaching. She hates ANYthing that requires movement. She hates anything if it does not involve reading, listening to music, or watching TV. She moans and complains each and every time we take her out. This time was no exception, and she decided to turn up the defiance by about 50%. She went nuts. She refused to get out of the car. I took her MP3 player and told her she could have it back after we were finished geocaching. She said she didn't care. She fought, cried, freaked out and generally ruined the day. We were sitting on the side of the road, dogs on leashes... geoff 500 feet up the trail waiting. And she wouldn't come.

We begged, we pleaded, we dangled carrots in front of her obstinant donkey nose. She wasn't budging. So we decided if she wasn't going to enjoy the outside in a pastoral relaxing way, she was going to enjoy it in a back breaking yard work labor way. And we brought her home, and put her to work.

She weeded the garden. She weeded the driveway. She mowed the lawn. She walked up and down our street picking up trash and filling a bag (including 2 dead turtles and a dead frog). She did an exceptionally good job. And we told her that we anticipated that we'd be out until 8pm, so she wasn't allowed into the house until 8pm. After she did all the work while Doug and I sat and watched, we had a talk. "Next time you think being outside taking a walk is difficult and no fun, we've got a wood pile that needs consolodated, and a fire pit that needs rebuilt. Those will be your next tasks."

Sunday she went willingly with us on our geocaching, although she did start complaining after the first long hike. We did three of them, the weather wasn't nearly as nice as Saturday, but all told, we all got the exercise we needed and our yard looks spectacular.

Today Geoff gets to take the bus to cub scout camp, so I'm greatly looking forward to getting to the office early for a change. I have a lot of work to catch up on at the office, so I need to get the nose to the grindstone as it were. A week from right now we'll be waking up at my parents and heading off to western PA. I'm finding that really hard to believe.

Oh -- and I got the New Harry Potter Book. I have read over 500 pages of it and will probably finish it tonight. I am not enjoying it as much as the past books because I feel she's simply setting the stage for the unbelievable and tremendous final book in the series... I have a lot of thoughts on the tone of the book and what is going on with the story as well but I'll keep my mouth shut until I'm done and others have read.

On that note.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Things I love about my job

I love my job. Have I told you that lately? This week was rough because I spent more than my fair share driving all over North America to drop the boy at camp and get to work and go back and get him and oh, yeah. Take Jessica all the way over there and then get Geoff to camp and then get to work... I think I put over 400 miles on my car alone in the past 3 days. It's not normal for me to do so. But. Even though I wasn't AT work a ton of time this week, I love work. We have Beverage Friday, sometimes it is simply Beer Friday. Sometimes it is Margaritas. MC and Captain and Coke today, and felt really weird putting the bottle of booze into his desk like he's the closet alkie. Beer is kept in the fridge, so there isn't any sitting in your desk drawer drawing aspersions towards the nature of your character.

I had Guinness tonight. It was "brilliant!" Mikey, you shoulda been there. It was a thing of beauty.

Anyway -- one of the features of Beverage Friday is blabbing. We chat. We talk. We get to know one another. Sometimes it is all business. How was your week? Did this go well? What is our plan for next week? Other times, like today, it's just jibber jabber about life, the universe and everything. C, MC, and JTF and I had a lot of fun talking about engagement rings and the philosophies of 2 months salary as a good price for a freaking ring. My ring cost less than 300 bucks, and it is lovely and perfect and wonderful, and you'll note that I'm too fat to wear it anymore (since having kids and getting extra squishy). Unless I get it resized, of course.

And while we were chatting, I continued to work. Scheduling the content. Gotta schedule the content. DL discovered that if you only programmed 1/3 of a week's content across one of the chains, it would break everything. So... I set to making sure 2 weeks from now's content was fully 100% scheduled across the board.

While chatting.

And you know what happened? I messed up. I put the wrong content on the wrong screens. And I'm glad I caught it. But it is official. I can no longer work during Beverage Friday. Unless everyone else is far, far away from me. I did okay until people came a'talkin'. And then I mussed the bed.

I stayed until about 6:15 fixing things, and kicking myself.


What's on the agenda this weekend? Well, there was initial discussion of going to Vermont tomorrow and camping overnight. Not sure if we're going to do it or not. Jessica DESPERATELY wants to go to some bookstore at midnight tonight for the stupid Harry Potter book. I told her we'll wait five days when it will be on sale at Sam's Club for 70% off the cover price. And I so don't want to be in a bookstore at midnight with elevendy million squeeling pre- and post-pubescent kids.

I'd rather stick forks in my eyes.

So if we don't go to Vermont, I'm not sure what we'll do but I bet stalking Tupperware containers in the forest will come up as an option. Next weekend we go on vacation. I don't think I'll be sticking around for Beverage Friday next week. But we'll see how things go.

On that note. Jessica -- shut up. Go away. Stop reading over my shoulder.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Observations on the Roads of the Eastern Seaboard

I spend a lot of time in traffic. Way more than I'd like to. My commute is relatively painless. I know the routes, I know the back roads. I know if I want to get trapped like a drowning rat in a box in the hull of a sinking ship I can always go to rte 114 in Peabody and sit and await the Apocalypse. It'll come first before I make it to I-95.

Lately, I'm not sure if it is the nice weather, but people are driving extra turdy and it is really getting to me. I thought I would share some of my latest observations on the commute, and see if you all have had similar experiences. I already shared about the woman who drove like she needed help, and how when I tried to assist her she gave me "'tude." So we can add this in the similar theme, vein, motif, category, if you will.

First, the other day I was cut off by someone driving a Roach Coach. For those of you unfamiliar with the term "Roach Coach," it is a truck laden with equipment and accessories which makes it a rolling restaurant. A "Canteen" truck is another term used in polite society. Usually the back is all silvery and patterned with diamond shapes, and the drivers are fucking retards to begin with, in a huge hurry to get to their next dollar. Not really realizing that they're spending ten times as much on gas as they would be if they just parked it and stood still and allowed customers to approach them. So he's in the left turn lane, I'm going straight. He cuts me off and I beep. Yes, I beeped. And then he slows down to negative two miles per hour to irritate me (and the 8 million other commuters behind us) and flips me the bird when he finally turns right.


Fuck him. I hope that his customers get botulism or salmonella poisoning and die, and the surviving families sue him into destitution.

Next are the people who pull out in front of me by jack rabbit starting, and then they slow down to negative eleven once they are in front of me. "Whew! So glad I didn't get hit by that lady! I think I'll just slow it down some now... how about to negative eleven? That's a good speed when the posted speed limit is 40 mph. Yeah." These people suck long and hard. The thing that irritates me the MOST from these folks is the fact that 9 out of 10 times no one is behind me. They simply have to wait a few millisecond until I pass, and then they have the entire vacant roadway to pull out into at their leisure. But no. They cannot wait. They are entitled to be in front of me. They are usually "Yummy Mommy" types, size 2 after four kids, in the Lexus or Acura MDX or Beemer Mobiles and they are entitled BECAUSE. They insist on cutting my ass off. Why? So they can get there before me. Wherever there is. Usually in Marblehead, it is to getting their nails done at a posh salon.


Fuck them.

I hope their Vietnamese illegal alien nail doer lady jabs the cuticle too hard and they get some sort of horrible infection which renders their hands useless and handicapped forever. Maybe then they can hire a driver who knows the rules of the road while they sit in the back seat lamenting their poor choices in life and why the judge ruled against them in the lawsuit.

Next is the landscaping truck. The other day I was cut off by one of these trucks in Swampscott. None of the tail lights on the gianormous humongous obscenely big trailer were functioning, so I had to keep my distance and use my keen sense of depth perception to know when they were coming to a stop, or slowing down. I was behind these guys almost all the way to my office. And I decided, as with the lady who couldn't drive for shit, that I would follow them, and inform them that they suck the wool off passing sheep, and suggest that they get a clue and fix their trailer connections.

So I follow them, and they are working on a little side street near my office. They're all like Mexican or Guatemalan or something. Only ONE of them speaks any semblance of what I might call English. They get out of their big assed Ford Pickup truck, all eight of them, and I stop my car and tell them what the problem is.

I let the driver know, that I'm only letting him know this so that he doesn't KILL someone on the way to the next job or back to the shop. I let him know that I almost DIED because they don't know the blue plug goes into the blue thingie. He barks at the orders to some of the guys, and they set to fixing the connections.

Yeah, the Marblehead police would pull you over and what. Ticket you? Deport all of your illegal asses back to wherever it is you came from? Neither. No one would care. Except for me. The driver thanks me in broken English, and I feel I've done something somewhat nice, but deep down inside I know tomorrow some yahoo is going to hook up the trailer incorrectly again, and it will be same shit, different day.


No Fuck them for these guys... they're just trying to exist. I just wish they'd plug the right color cable into the right connector. My eight year old can figure this shit out. Why can't they?

Today there was a contractor in front of me with Marblehead business address and phone number painted on his truck, but New Hampshire plates secured to his vehicle.

I won't even get started on what kind of insanity this boils up inside my brain. I hate that shit. Oh. My. God. You cheap bastard. Register your goddamn vehicle in the state where your business is. You suck. And yeah -- a hearty Fuck You for ripping off my state. It isn't even like you live in a BORDER town like Haverhill or Salisbury or Douglas or Webster... you are in Marble freaking HEAD you bastard.

Oh, I need a drink...

My commute will be the undoing of me. I'm sure.

Doug is napping, and Geoff is trying to wake him up. He wants to go canoeing so badly that it isn't even funny. We stopped at WalMart and bought PFD vests for all of us. Geoff is wearing his. He's particularly excited. He really wants to go. Perhaps we will. Perhaps we'll wait. Either way, we'll probably have our asses run over as we're crossing the street.


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Canoe? Canoe!

File this under "As If I Don't Have Enough Crap In My Life." My husband took the dog for a walk tonight. He came home while I was writing tech documentation for work and said "You've gotta come help me get the canoe in the truck. Kiss my what?

No seriously.

Yeah -- he had me hop into the truck and drive around the corner where a 17' Fiberglass Old Town LLBean Style canoe has been for sale for the past several weeks. He's been pondering the purchase, and on his walk this evening with old Jack there, he stopped to look. The seller restores sailboats and canoes, and has had several different models for sale out in the yard for the past several years. So they got to talking. He was asking $250, but Jack charmed him and he let her go for $200 WITH two wood paddles.

A brand new Old Town goes for over 1,000. I didn't want a huge Fiberglass canoe. I wanted something that Doug and Geoff could handle by themselves if they wanted to go out... but this one was there, and it is ship shape, and yeah.

We own a canoe.

Seeing as it is 17' long, and the interior of our truckbed is only like 6' long, the drive home was slightly precarious. I grabbed a safety orange vest and tied it to the end (it being pitch dark out, I figured it was my best option). Doug rode in back and had tied the ropes inside the canoe to the frame of the truckbed and cap. Luckily we live less than a quarter of a mile away... the ride home could have been devilishly difficult otherwise, what with the way jerkasses drive around here. Seriously -- even with my hazards and safety orange flying off the back, I had a tailgater.


So it's in our yard. It's ready to go. It's got a little rust, nothing too too bad, and I've already spent about 800 bucks in my mind's eye on canoe accessories like this and this.

First we started with the fishing. Now we're up to canoes... the outdoor addiction spreads. At least I know I'll get some tan lines this summer. Nothing like the tanlines one gets from a personal floatation device.

I'm outta here, to quote Nance.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Cub Scout Camp

My most gianormous tactical error this summer is that I signed Geoff up for three weeks of Cub Scout camp in southern New Hampshire. The fact he is going to camp isn't the gianormous error -- the fact that this week they don't provide transportation IS the error. I have to drive him.

Which isn't bad, if I didn't need to drive to work and back daily. The camp is about 20 minutes north of our house. Which means I drive 20 minutes north, then drive right past my house, and continue to work in a trip that takes about an hour and ten minutes with no traffic. I get to the office. I leave pretty much ten minutes after I get there. Okay. Slight hyperbole. More like 45 minutes.

And it is one of those major "what the hell was I thinking" moments that finds me here at 7:30am instead of getting ready for work. Geoff is eating breakfast. We can't really leave until 8:30 because camp starts at 9. I guess my mistake affords me the minor convenience of taking it easy in the morning for a whole week, and I should look at that as a gift instead of grumble about how it makes me late for work. But I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around a 5 hour work day with nearly 2 and a half hours of driving on either end. It isn't so much the 5 hour workday, it's the drive that is bearing down on me. Meh!

Yesterday morning when I dropped Geoff off at camp the entire situation was a fustercluck. I had mailed in all of his health forms, but I still had to stand in the line for "drop your health forms off and get them checked over." They didn't have a "drop off your health forms and get them checked over" line and "check in because you were smart enough to plan ahead" line. The line was taking forever, filled with 9 billion boys and their parents patiently waiting (except for one woman who jumped the line in her business suit... another "I'm entitled" kind of bitch and I wanted to trip her into the poison ivy). The mom behind me and I couldn't figure out what the hell could possibly take this long. She said last year it was totally different. You went to find your den assignment, and if you needed to turn in your health forms you went and did that, and if you were all set you went to your den. Ba-da-bing.

We finally got to the table after nearly a half hour in line... and the person doing check in shook Geoff's hand, asked him what rank he was now (Bear) and asked what he was looking forward to doing at camp this year, and welcomed him because this is his first year there and...

Yeah. That was what took so long. I was rather angry when I was in line that it was taking a stinking dog's age to check in, but my ire dissipated as this woman very kindly asked my son (and every other son coming through this line) personal questions to make him all at ease.

It's hard to argue with kindness. For a change.

We got checked in, and got his den assigned. He made friends immediately with an 11 year old named Chris who has a mohawk. Nice. Chris wants to be in the Navy when he grows up. Geoff talked about how he wants to be in the air force like his grandpa was, but I didn't have the heart to let him know his vision would forever preclude his participation in the skies for the military, if that truly is his wish. He changes his mind weekly as to what he wants to be...

I left him at camp with all new boys and a huge \m/ from him to me. Which rocked my heart and made me smile the entire way to the office. He had a super day and can't wait to go back.

Next week and the third week he is at camp there is a bus that picks up and drops off. So that will make my life easier. I won't have to drive past my house on the way to work. Actually, this morning I'm going to take the GPS with me and figure out an alternate route to 95. Perhaps I can get over there quickly without driving through Haverhill to go south.

My sister is on vacation this week, and I never truly realized how occupied she kept me while I was at work. The constant flurry of emails back and forth each day with innanities and funnies and "meh, meh, mehs" is truly missed. Gah. I never realized how BORING my job was.

Anyway. That's my update. More later.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Fisher Cats and Bunny Rabbits

This was a geocaching filled weekend. Saturday we went out somewhat late and intended on clearing a few caches in the Lynn Woods, which we hadn't managed to clear. It is a HUGE reservation, one of which we've only scratched the surface of in the past 15 or so years of living in this area.

We got the first cache, one which we attempted over a year ago but we didn't approach it correctly and bushwhacked up from the main trail to some precarious and dangerous spots. This time, I found the right trail which kicked our asses but provided us with some tremendous views from the top boulder. It was pretty awesome. We meandered down from the "summit" of Mt. Hermon (I believe is the name of the top of the boulder) and got to the main, flat, nice trail which everyone who walks or mountain bikes the area is familiar with.

We took another skinny trail up over rocks and crazy vistas, wandering like Moses and the Israelites through the wilderness hoping that some bottled water or manna would appear from heaven. Looking at the map we thought we'd have a half mile walk to the second cache. Ha! not so, when Doug leads the way. None of us were properly prepared for this walk, it was hot, we had no water and very little bug spray with us. We were beat by the time we got there. But.

There are two nice things about screwing up which are sometimes very true. The first is that you get to see unexpected stuff, which you wouldn't have seen if you took the right path in. For instance, we ended up at a spot called Overlook Crag, which provided some breeze-laden, tremendous views of Walden Lake, all the way to Rte 1. It was something we would have totally missed out on if we'd gone the "right" way. Second, is once you make a mistake while out in the woods, especially a big but still small and manageable reservation like this one, you can find the quicker route out, which we did.

We got back to the car right before a gianormous thunderstorm dropped on the area, and drank a lot of water and came home and crashed.

On Sunday, we got another late start. Jessica went to K's house (she's fresh out of the hospital after having her major brain surgery, and so Jess went to spend time with her). Doug planned out 8 caches, most of which were tiny little micro caches, of which we couldn't find two. Micros can be tricky... or they get stolen because they are in heavily trafficked areas. We found four, missed two, and gave up on finding parking for two others because it was already 7pm and we were all getting cranky.

We did, however, see fisher cats on the first cache. Doug startled them from about 10 feet away and they treed themselves, hanging out up there checking us out. There were two of them, and if I didn't know how ferocious they're known for being, I would think these were some cute and cuddly little guys... they have sweet little faces and inquisitive eyes. I tried to take pictures of them, but the sun was behind the tree and I don't think I can even photoshop the image enough to make them look like anything other than brown lumps.

And all I gotta say right here is thank Jebus for Wikipedia. I wanted a webpage about Fisher Cats, and Google returned a couple of light-in-content pages about the animal, and five gagillion pages about the baseball team in Manchester NH. Pfth. Yay for Wikipedia, which immediately returned a very detailed page, just what I wanted.

At another cache, there was a lavish garden and bunny rabbits living in the bushes. The one we saw was very brave and didn't run when I approached to take pictures. He must be used to people.

Well, I'm going to slap this entry up even though I'm not quite done with it. I've gotta jet to take Geoff to camp in NH. Why I signed up for this week when they don't provide transportation is beyond me. What was I thinking!!! Luckily I got up hella early, did about an hour's worth of work for the office, and managed to crank out this entry. I'm hyper productive. All on just 2 cups of coffee! Woot!

More later.

Friday, July 08, 2005

"You drive like you're lost and you drive like an asshole."

Today as I was driving to work, I got stuck behind a woman driving an SUV talking on her cell phone. Her green vehicle was covered with hippie stickers like "Imagine" and "Give Peace a Chance" and "USA out of the world NOW" and the like.

She was going exactly half of what the posted speed limit was (for those of you keeping score at home, half of 30 is 15). She slowed down as she came to each and every side street off the main road we were on. I figured she was talking to someone and getting directions, and was looking at the street signs to see whether she had hit the right road... and in my heart of hearts I was begging for her to be merciful to the masses and just pull the hell over. I looked in my rear view mirror to see traffic backed up to Cambridge behind me. Mind you, we were in Marblehead, so for those of you unfamiliar with Eastern Massachusetts geography, that's a stinking huge back up. Cambridge, I say!

She went to make a left hand turn, put her blinker on and everything. Hallelujah, says I. I went to go pass her, the way people do, and she changed her mind, sped up, got in front of me again and slowed down to the woeful speed of 15 mph.

Yes, I beeped.

At this point, I could have ditched and bailed and gone down some random side street to get around her. Chances were, though, that I would get stuck behind a landscaping truck, or a tourist from Indiana, or another woman driving 15 mph talking on her cell phone.

We got to the VFW, and she pulled into the parking lot. I decided that she must be lost, and I thought I'd be a good neighbor and ask her if she needed help. I was honestly concerned for her. I know the town well enough that I could help her get to some major landmark, maybe not one of the tiny sidestreets but I could at least offer to help. I try, ya know?

The passenger side window of her vehicle was down, so I pulled into the lot and parked beside her. She gave me a sideways glance as I rolled down my window.

"Are you lost?" I asked in my most concerned voice.

"What?" She asked me, giving me this lip-curly surly look.

"Are you lost or something? Do you need some help?" I asked a bit louder, now believing this aging hippie, this woman about 10 years older than I am but the guess of it, was just plain fucking daft.

She gave me this look of absolute incredulity, and sneered at me hissing "NO!" Like I was a fucktard for even asking her. Like I had some sort of damn NERVE or something. Well, excuse me for caring, beeotch.

"You drive like you're freakin' lost!" I yelled.

I got ready to unleash a can of verbal whoopass on her, I was going to say things like:

"Hey, why don't you "Imagine" driving the speed limit!!"
"'Give the drivers behind you a chance' instead of just giving peace a chance, jerkass!"
"You! Assy! Out of the world of drivers NOW!"

Her cell phone rang and she picked it up, giving me the "hold on a second" finger motion with her other hand. Oh, no she didn't. She did NOT just gesture to me to "hol'on a sec" as I'm about to kick her crappy driving ability ass. She started babbling into the phone and I just blurted out:

"You drive like you're lost and you drive like an asshole."

Nowhere NEAR as clever as my wordplays on her bumperstickers. I yelled that, and I drove away. If I see her again... I may have to get out and kick her. Hard. I got to my office and was furious. I needed to kick something. Shove someone. I wanted to go back to the VFW and see if she was still there just so I could yell "Yeah? What. You want some of this? Bring it on..."

But work got busy and I quickly forgot about the incident until I was just now sitting here pondering what I would share. I will say, I'll keep my eyes out for this one. She looked quintessentially Marbleheadian... not a "yummy mommy" in an SUV, but a limousine liberal of sorts, with her hippie stickers and her greasy assed hair and way more expensive than the GNP of most African Nations vehicle. I'll kick her ass. I will.

And before you get me wrong, I love hippies. I love young hippies and aging hippies. I love that people want to give peace a chance and stuff like that. Whatever. Just whatever you do, hippie, commie, ultra-right wing mental case, whatever you are -- do not get in front of me and talk on your cellphone and drive like an asshole. And do NOT give me that air of disbelief when I lovingly take my time to ask if you need a hand. I will rip you a new one, so help me Jebus.

If my kids had been with me, they would have both quoted Ed in the BNL Rock Spectacle CD where he yells 'Lady, you're an IDIOT!' Because they're that way.

Anyway. That's about it. I can't believe it is freaking raining again... but it is what it is and I'm gonna go hang out with the fandamily. Talk at you later.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


The alarm goes off here in our house at 6:45am. From a quarter of the way around the world, the news announcer informs me that chaos reigns in the subways and roads of London England. Subways, busses, many injuries and deaths. Casualties as a result of simultaneously executed explosions, immediate statements of knowledge that that this is a terrorist attack, but no one knows the source: I ponder jokingly if it is IRA, Al-Qaeda, Pissed Off Parisians Furious Over Losing Olympics (POPFOLO, the new terror nightmare network in Europe).

I hit snooze.

Drifting between awake and asleep, I slowly begin to surface, wondering if what I heard was right. The alarm goes off again, nine minutes later (like clockwork, imagine that) and this time they're talking to a legislator about the crappy sex offender laws here in the Commonwealth.

I get out of bed. I start the coffee.

The TV is turned on. The local news shows Michael Chilkis being interviewed by the guy who is usually in the helicopter telling me that traffic sucks (duh) through Boston. He is talking about being The Thing in the new Fantastic Four movie, which looks to me as if it might suck beyond belief. But they are not mentioning London or bombings or anything. Another station has weather. Another is talking about how London was just granted the 2012 Olympics, but no mention of the bombings.

But at the bottom of the screen I see a statement that Tony Blair will be doing a press conference. No one does a press conference for no particular reason. I feel the fog begin to clear from my mind as I do what I normally don't -- I turn to FoxNews. And there are the pictures, and reporters with beautiful thick accents. There is London, and it is true.

Just yesterday I made a comment to a coworker that I was glad London had been granted the Olympics instead of Paris, because they have better security there. And I believed it would be a safer venue for visitors and travelers.

I spoke too soon.

I feel awful this morning. I feel like crying. I hope the Londoners I read are okay, that they are safe and their loved ones are safe. I hope that the answers can be found quickly as to what the source is here. Not that it matters. The fact of the matter is safety is once again taken for granted. And it is a sad, grey day.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

More interesting than initially expected

Our July 4th Monday took a decidedly surprising turn after I posted my entry. The phone rang. And you know when the phone rings, once in a while the call is from someone other than a friend of Jessica's.

On the phone was Christopher J. Kelly, cash cow of the Scranton Times stating he and the Missus were on I-95 heading back to home from Maine. They were literally at our exit. They were wondering if they could stop by. I handed the phone to Doug and told him who it was, and he had this "Pfth. It is so not Chris Kelly and he is so not on I-95 near our house so shut up!" expression, but he was quickly proven wrong. He gave the directions to the doorstep and we awaited their arrival.

We had a nice, albeit short, visit with CJK and the Missus CAK and I even allowed CJK to touch and actually play the Steven Page guitar (oh yes I did). We sat in the shade of the apple tree and chatted about hiking and newspapers, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, BNL, my constant efforts to analyze CJK's bizarre antisocial behavior, Beaver Valley and old times. And in about 2 hours, as quickly as they were here, they were gone. Hopefully we'll see them again in less than five years, and we can sit on the front step and spit watermelon seeds at the moon (thank you to the late Joe Tronzo for the newspaperman's image of idyllic childhood musings).

We then went out geocaching, as is our wont whenever we have a minute. There were no train tracks to be walked upon, and I didn't get cranky except when we had to go up a big mother hill in Danvers. I always get cranky if a hill is involved. We found three good caches and three travel bugs. That's never happened, where we score that many bugs. But we did. They came home with us and we grilled burgers. Our neighbors just did the big backyard light show, complete with stuff hitting things in our backyard. I didn't like that part, and I'm slightly paranoid that stuff is right now up on my roof smoldering away and will burst into flames when we are fast asleep, killing us. Our tenant's daughter sang "God Bless America" at the top of her lungs and we applauded under her window.

Our lives is a circus, I tell you what.

We didn't go see any fireworks this year. In fact, we usually don't because we're shooting stuff off on MDI that we bought in New Hampshire. So we watched the Boston display on TV. I was surprised to learn that when Doug was Geoff's age he wanted to go to Boston to hear the Pops and watch the display, a young lad living in Western PA. I thought "Jeesh. Didn't KDKA show Pittsburgh Fireworks on TV instead of Boston?" But I guess they show Boston's display all around the country. I can't remember what we used to watch. I think my parents took us out to watch them in town. I can't ever remember watching them on TV.

Last night's music choices were just downright bizarre, except for the opening U2 song. My favorite part was the smiley faces that were blowing up over and over. I thought those were the best. I don't know that we'd ever take the kids into the city to go see this. It's easier and less crowded at home.

Anyway. July Fifth. I've already done my muttering, I've got nothing super to add here. Kind of feels like a Monday, but I know it is a Tuesday. Go visit Chrissy when she gets her blog updated with pictures and stories from their Maine trip. They made it this close to Aaron's house (picture me holding up thumb and forefinger about a centimeter apart) and made me even more jealous and longing for the Acadian coast this time of year. Sigh.

Off to work. Meh.

Monday, July 04, 2005

We have our Jessie.

We went to meet auntie Lee Lee down in New London on Saturday afternoon. On the way we cranked a fair deal of The Refreshments, did some geocaching, saw a wedding party getting their portraits done at Connecticut College, saw a snake, saw coasties doing their marching thing all over the field at the Coast Guard Academy, and we went to Ft. Griswold and the monument in Groton, took a mess of pictures.

We had dinner at the Bank Street Roadhouse, and the hot wings were cooked to perfection. I'll be back there, I'm sure. The waitress tried to dissuade me from having the "hot" setting for the sauce, but with some beer and good dipping bleu cheese, it was just right. Very happy. It was a nice dinner, beautiful afternoon with the harbor and the sky and the sun... we met a K9 cop and his partner, General.

All told, even without the 10 geocaches we planned it was a red letter day.

Sunday dawned and we ended up heading out for some caches in Andover. Doug planned three in the Billerica area, but the one we did pissed me off and made me tired, so I threw in the towel when we got back to the truck. Top that off with Kinger giving up on the trail and refusing to walk any further, and I knew we'd had it as a team. He needed to go home... I just needed to get out of stupid confusing to drive around Billerica and Freaking Just as Confusing Tewksbury. Doug was not pleased with me for quitting, but I'd just had enough.

The thing that pissed me off about the cache we did was that we were required to walk about a quarter of a mile along the train tracks. There is a monument buried in the woods, where some six people who died as a result of smallpox are buried. It is a really cool historical spot, but damn -- the tracks and the gravel and the dust and the sheer knowledge that we were doing something illegal and dangerous by walking along the tracks really got me mad. There was only one good approach unless you wanted to wade through a bog or cross even MORE train tracks or walk through someone's yard. The cache itself was pimpy and crappy, and I was just pissed off by the time we'd finished. What a freaking waste of time, when we could be hiking in some nice woods somewhere.

I honestly don't know why anyone would actually make a cache out like this, or why my husband would choose it. He gets pissed that the kids don't keep up with him -- but he won't go out caching on his own when it comes to doing ones that really aren't good for the family as a whole.

Today, so far, we're hanging around here. Doug has managed to not speak much to me over the past 12 hours, so I'm not sure what our plans are. We didn't go see any fireworks this weekend, mostly because they're always too damn crowded and just not worth the hassle in the end. My neighbors shot off fireworks in the backyard for about an hour last night, and at about 10:30 I was just shy of going out there and yelling at them, but that's when they either ran out or decided to quit.

I'm slightly bummed out this weekend, because for the past three years we've done July 4th up at Aaron and Michelle's, and it wasn't working out for any of us this year for our clan to go up there. And in my heart of hearts I'm sad that we're missing that kind of funness. I was looking at pigroast pictures from last year, and fun pictures from the year before when we threw the second greatest party ever... and I really wish we were there.

Such is life.

Well. I've posted a ton of pictures up in the flickr gallery. I have to catch up on my organization into sets... if we don't head out anywhere today, I think I'll end up doing that and weeding the garden.

Friday, July 01, 2005

kick at the darkness...

Today was the kind of day where you wake up, and you say "I pretty much have everything under control today!" Confidently you stride to work. You think there will be no worries, no problems, and you aim for the office and set to work getting things done.

You're cranking. You're making progress. And then. To quote Alanis in her song "Ironic" which isn't a series of ironic things at all but is actually just a series of unfortunate events:

Well life has a funny way
of sneaking up on you when you think everything’s okay
and everything’s going right.
And life has a funny way
of helping you out when you think everything’s gone wrong
and everything blows up in your face.

I'm talking about the "blows up in your face" part of things.

This week was slightly stressful, but no more stressful than most weeks when we don't have the content that we need for our programming delivered to me early in the week and we find ourselves sitting around waiting for it to arrive. By the time I left yesterday, things were in shipshape, tip-top, seaworthy status. I was convinced I'd had this week by the tail and it wasn't going to turn around and bite me hard.

I was confident too soon. At noon I found a mistake. Someone else's mistake. A spelling error that I'm sure NO one else would even notice (luscious has an "s" in it...) and we were all slated to leave to go to lunch and have a few drinks and hang out and enjoy an early start to the fun weekend.

Not to be.

So I had to rework the schedule, and that's more of a bear than it sounds like... right now it isn't as simple as clicking a cancel box that wipes the content away on all servers. I had to do it for eight sets of programming, and then replace the canceled piece with something that doesn't have a spelling error, and then repreview the content.

God bless my girl C for repreviewing for me. I'd still be sitting there watching the content if it wasn't for her.

We got to lunch late, and sadly the new guy didn't get to come with us... nor did the VP of technology who was fighting other fires of his own. I'm relieved to be home. I'm happy to be here. And it is the weekend and I am ready to just ... aaaaah.

Well -- this is a no fun entry. And it gets no more fun. Before I go and I hang out with the boy and do some laundry, I would like to ask you all for prayer.

I have a good friend who lost her job. She said things in her journal that were deemed... inappropriate by her employer. She was fired. And today, Unemployment denied her claim, for all the wrong reasons. She has 2 mortgages, because right before she got fired she moved into a new condo. She has the other condo on the market, but it probably isn't going to move fast enough to make a difference in her life.

She has a little boy.

She has a burden... and it is easy to say "be a lilly of the field" to someone in this situation, but these words will not bring solace. What will bring solace is resolution in a positive way. She will need us to pray for her if we live far abroad. She will need mojo to be sent her way to help her keep her chin up.

So please keep LD in your thoughts and prayers. Her journal is locked to all but those who are on her read list through journalspace, so you can't go read. Suffice to say -- take my word. She needs lifted.

It takes a village to raise a heart. And I think of the struggle she'll have and hear Bruce Cockburn singing in the back of my head, and the quote is on the sidebar.

I think that'd make an excellent name for a blog. "Kick at the Darkness"... if I were to start a new one...