Thursday, January 24, 2008

I've been suffering with a case of, "there isn't much going on" so I haven't been able to come up with anything fun or interesting to write about.
I spent a few hours at Big Box Store this past weekend amazed that anyone would even bother to leave the house in below 0 weather to save a few dollars on socks but there they were, the masses. Of course they stuck me at the register by the door so I nearly froze to death. It was the usual slew of customers. One womans credit card was denied. She told me to hold onto her purchases while she went to get cash at the bank. Never saw her again and I felt bad for her especially since it was all items that people NEED, not necessarily want. One lady had attitude all over her as she threw her things onto the conveyor belt. She barely looked at me and other than yo criticize the way I bagged her soda, didn't say two words. I knew I would do something wrong. Whatever! People are just darn picky about the way things are bagged. I mean really! If all a person has to worry about is how their two liter bottle of 7-UP is bagged, they either pretty darn lucky, or pretty darn miserable. I've found after all those years in the Restaurant profession, that nothing really surprises me much anymore. There's an old man I've seen come in every Sunday. He grabs a cart. He's in the store for at least 2 hours walking the aisles and he buys absolutely nothing. I wonder if the greeting he gets when he walks in the door and the goodbye he gets when he walks out, is the only human contact he has.

Since Psychology has always interested me, I enjoy working there because it's a great human study. Everyone I had contact with has some issue they are dealing with. One woman is going through a divorce so she's been asking me about the process. One has Kidney Dialysis every other day. One, is working two jobs to support three kids. One is a cancer survivor. One has really nothing at all except her husband. She doesn't get me at all. The first thing she told me is, I should find a husband so I don't have to work anymore. I laughed. I tell ya, if I had a nickel for every time someone has said that to me, I probably wouldn't have to work. I told her that none of the men I dated and certainly not the one I actually married, solved any problems at all. They just created new ones. Usually, it's the guys that say such things. When I worked at Berghoff, I heard that same line from every waiter in the place. I kept telling them it was because I kept meeting guys like them that I was still single. No wonder they never listened to me.

Ma Bell is the same. Have some project I'm supposed to be doing and some testing of some new features on our old applications. This has resulted in at least a half day worth of meetings pretty much every day. I absolutely HATE meetings! I really try to pay attention. I'm even taking notes but after awhile I find myself wandering over to EBAY and looking at glass and coins. Picked up a nice 1935 Mercury Dime with full split bands for $14 and got outbid (fortunately) on 6 Fostoria Wisteria Parfait glasses. Tomorrow, my morning is taken up by our quarterly District meeting. Everyone asks the same questions namely, how many are getting laid off this year? How many jobs are going overseas this year? And, when will our esteemed company give us decent health insurance instead of a choice between three crappy HMO's and a high deductible plan? It's nice to know me and the rest of the cubicle brigade have the same thoughts. I figure I'll just play the game below.

How to Stay Awake in Boring Meetings!

Do you keep falling asleep in meetings and seminars? What about those long and boring conference calls? Here's a way to change all of that.

1. Before (or during) the next meeting, seminar, or conference call, prepare yourself by drawing a square. I find that 5" x 5" is a good size. Divide the card into columns-five across and five down. That will give you 25 one-inch blocks.

2. Write one of the following words/phrases in each block:
Synergy, strategic fit, core competencies, best practice, bottom line, revisit, expeditious, to tell you the truth (or "the truth is), 24/7, out of the loop, benchmark, value-added, proactive, win-win, think outside the box, fast track, result-driven, knowledge base, at the end of the day, touch base, mindset, client focus(ed), paradigm, game plan, leverage.

3. Now check off the appropriate block when you hear one of those words/phrases.

4. When you get five blocks horizontally, vertically, or diagonally stand up and shout "BULLSHIT!"

"Real Testimonials" from satisfied players, after the jump...

"I had been in the meeting for only five minutes when I won." - Adam W., Atlanta

"My attention span at meetings has improved dramatically." - David T., Orlando

"What a gas! Meetings will never be the same for me after my first win." - Dan J., New York City

"The atmosphere was tense in the last process meeting as 14 of us waited for the fifth box." - Ben G., Denver

"The speaker was stunned as eight of us screamed 'BULLSHIT!' for the third time in two hours. The Bullshit Bingo Championship will be played at the next meeting." - Rod H

That's all for now. Creativity is stunted and I need to get up early. Em has been having coniptions about being in her big girl bed so it's been hairy at night as I have to fight her for an hour and listen to her scream. She just has a lot of issues with transitions even when they are transitions she wants. Overall, she's been pretty well behaved the past couple weeks. A small but welcome blessing.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

One of a zillion reasons why the US should not adopt a single payer system/universal healthcare system besides the unconstitutionality of the whole thing.
The Constitution mentions "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". Essentially, this is not a definition of what the Government will do for you. It expressly means, that the Government can't do anything to impede those things for you. A "socialized" plan gives the Government sovereignty over your health insurance. If you vote for this, you're voting essentially to allow the government to impose mandates like this one thus interfering with your liberty. Be careful what you wish for. We have totally glamourized the National plans of European neighbors which work GREAT for anyone with no issues with health. Once you are diagnosed with cancer, things get murky. In London, cancer patients are denied drugs such as Avastin, Taxol, and Anti-angiogenesis drugs because they are costly. I can go on and on but the article below is frightening and sickening to me. Healthcare, public or private, is not free and does not guarantee treatment.

"Certain hospitals in the UK who have imposed a ban on smokers and the obese from receiving particular treatments have been defended for their action by the Health Secretary.

Patricia Hewitt says it is a perfectly legitimate clinical decision for primary care trusts (PCT) to set a collective policy to deny operations to certain patients.

Miss Hewitt's comments were made in response to a survey which found nine PCTs refused joint replacements to obese patients and four blocked orthopaedic surgery for smokers.

The minister says hospitals are entitled to get together with their doctors on any particular area of clinical judgement and decide which guidelines are put in place, and the issue is one for doctors to decide.

The National Health Service helps smokers quit and Hewitt says if that is the doctor's advice operations should be postponed until patients have stopped smoking.

The Health Secretary's comments are opportune as they have been voiced amid growing calls for the NHS to take a tougher line on heavy smokers and the seriously overweight.

A survey last year found that two in five hospital doctors believed that smokers should pay for bypass operations.

Hospital trusts which deny surgery to obese patients include North Staffordshire, Stoke, Lincolnshire, North Linconshire, Milton Keynes, Hereford, West Hertfordshire, East and North Hertfordshire, and Suffolk.

Those denying orthopaedic surgery to smokers are North Staffordshire, Lincolnshire, North Lincolnshire and Milton Keynes." Source:

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

What a boring weekend!
Spent a few hours of it at big box store.
Discovered Yahoo Answers!

I am a Politics junkie and I like a good debate. For some reason I can no longer remember, I thought Yahoo Answers might be a good place to have an intelligent debate. It works quite simply. You find a question that another person asks and you answer it.

Here is a spattering of the kind of intelligent questions you will experience on Yahoo Answers!

"Why do the Republicans think America is so great?" I guess the Democrats think it sucks.
"Do you really think the Constitution is still good for this country of should we get rid of it? Yes, this is a college student.
"Is Barrack Obama a sleeper cell terrorist" This is too stupid to even answer.
"If we hand over Manufacturing to China, will there be a world wide Lead shortage?" This one made me laugh
"Why is Switzerlands freedom better than our freedom? Why don't terrorists bomb Europe?" Apparently, this person flunked History.


More intelligent than the questions are the answers.

"Why do the Republicans think America is so great?"
Answer: Because Bush is an idiot!

"If we hand over Manufacturing to China, will there be a world wide Lead shortage?"
Answer: Yes, because Bush is an idiot.

"Is Barrack Obama a sleeper cell terrorist"
Answer: Yes, because Bush is an idiot.

So much for intellectual political debate. In a debate about whether Government should take over healthcare, one person said yes, because Medicare sucks!
Well Einstein, lets fix government run healthcare (ie Medicare) by making everyone have government run health care (ie Medicare). The answer to my debunking to his point, "Oh yeah? Well Bush is an idiot!"
God Bless em! God bless em all! And God bless us because these people VOTE!

Another common theme, "Tax those rich bastards! Make em pay for illegal aliens healthcare and mine and EVERYONES! Down with Corporate America! Big Business Assholes should be taxed until they choke!!

I guess it's OK to pay Hollywood millions, every raping, lying, roid using athlete deserves his bucks. But the Company that brought you the Z-pac, heart valves and ultrasound machines should be taxed to death. I guess these Yahoo Answer Rocket Scientists have forgotten how many Americans Big Business EMPLOYS! And since the nameless witch who wants to be President and her dog husband, are responsible for passing the NAFTA agreement, Big Business really doesn't have to employ Americans anymore! Yup, lets tax them so they leave. Who needs em? The Government will save us!!

Teachers, I feel for you. You have to teach these people. Intelligent Democrats, have a good look at the youth in your party. They're idiots! One of your brainiac youth will never vote for Obama because Hussein is his middle name and that proves he's a terrorist Muslim Jihadist. This same person said "Hillary is at least "HONEST" LOLOLOL..OH MY GOD!! HONEST!!! Let's hand THAT young Democrat a Darwin Award.

I'm giving up Yahoo Answers while I still have hope for America!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Today I hired a teacher to help me with this music. I see her next Wednesday at noon. I don't know if I'll fanagle lessons after that or just have her teach me this piece. Kristopher is being awfully cocky about his part. He practiced for a whopping 5 minutes today and said "See mom, I know it." Provided he plays every day but he is no Louis Armstrong and he sure didn't sound good enough to win this solo contest. I was able to listen to a teeny portion of the music online (before they wanted me to give them $5.00 for the rest of the music) and I tell ya, it's not an easy piece. It'll be a little harder when we start practicing together but I'll let my 14 year old ride on the coattails thinking he knows all.

Monday, January 07, 2008

The kids went back to school today. YAY! My work day was the same just lacking the sound of my two kids screaming at eachother in the background. Emily woke up around 7:30am, went to the bathroom and was very upset that neither Kris nor Cass were in the house. Then she spent the day pestering me and poor Molly cat who is her new abusee. Molly runs and hides when she sees Em coming and I don't blame her one bit. I told Em if she whaps you with a paw, you deserved it.

It was a big day for Emily yesterday. She moved from her crib to her first "big girl" bed. About 2 weeks ago, she refused to sleep in the crib anymore and announced that she was too big. She slept with me for two weeks. Thursday, her crib was disassembled and Joe and I both commented that we still remembered setting up her little crib about 2 weeks before her due date. After the crib was gone, I spent two days cleaning the area and yesterday, we moved her temporary big girl bed into the space and set it up for her. She was so excited last night, she couldn't lie down. Finally after midnight, she fell asleep. At 3am, I woke up and she was in my bed. Go figure! Another rite of passage for my little girl. It's depressing in a way. She is the
last child I'll ever have and her rites of passage are also mine as I leave the child bearing years behind and move into whatever comes next. I guess whatever that is, is up to me.

I went and chose paint for the downstairs today. I looked through scads of paint colors to find the right one. Colors were called, Mystic, Indian sand, peanut butter, Scandinavian Sunset, Harvest Moon, Cinnamon Stick and after I searched through all those I settled on Taupe. Yup, that's what it was called "Taupe". It was in the special section for male patrons along with the neato colors "brown" "red" "blue"... ;-) The painters are coming on Wednesday. After I get the flooring in, I'll have finally finished the basement after the flood of 04. I hadn't even lived here a full year when a storm came through that knocked power out for 12 hours and then of course it rained all day with no working sump pump. It was a day that will live in infamy here in the raised ranch in HP. I got my very first taste of some of the joys of home ownership sloshing through a foot of water in the utility room trying to get the sump to work while a 2 month old Emily screamed bloody murder in her crib upstairs. Of course, I was by myself with the kids, severe weather all day. Joe was at his friend Matt's house tying one on when I interrupted in a panic and sent him to the store in the middle of the night to find something that would get the water out of my basement. My brothers room was dessimated so he wound up sleeping on an air mattress for two weeks. It just sucked. It sucked all the way around. Everytime I found some cash to fix the basement, something came and took it. I had to give $8000 to an attorney so that worthless waste of a human being that calls himself Emily's father can don my doorstep. Ouch! I would have rather had the new paint and flooring. So here I am, FINALLY 2 plus years later with some cash to finally get it back to good starting with taupe paint and hopefully ending with some new furniture.

Kris handed me some sheet music today and told me I'll be accompanying him in a solo contest at his High school. SAY WHAT??? It's been like 20 years since I played in front of anything outside a couple of cats and some dust bunnies. This makes me nervous. I have anxiety disorder and it's part of the reason I never really pursued music performance as a hobby. I'm frickin terrified of playing in public. I used to sing in Choir and that was alright. 200 other voices drowned out mine and it wasn't like I was on stage by myself belting a happy tune. When I was asked to sing at a wedding 20 years ago, I felt like I was drowning up there despite all the prep. I got through it by staring at the stained glass windows while trying hard to pretend that there weren't a few hundred people in there with me. So, I'm now deciding whether I should hire a teacher for a couple months or get a prescription for Valium. Is it too late to find a person who looks like me who can play the Piano? Any takers?

This concludes today's version of My Mundane Life. Ya'all can wake up now.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The holidays are officially over and not only because today is the Feast of the 3 Kings, but because all our Christmas decorations and accessories are now tucked back into their boxes under the stairs and the usual stains, wine, beer, salsa, cat yak and the mystery stains are scattered all over the carpet and couch cushions. It's unseasonably warm. Even all of last weeks snow is melted and now what looks like a creek is running alongside the curb. My second job at the big box retailer is less hectic. No one has any money. I've run into more declined credit cards this week than before Christmas. I seriously hate when that happens and I try not to embarrass the person. I show them the decline slip and hope and pray they have another one that will work. Scanning groceries isn't too hard. For mental excercise, I look for patterns and many people buy what, how most people pay etc. etc.
This week, Wiper blades and windshield wiper fluid are almost in every cart.
Most Hispanics pay cash and have lots of large bills 50's, 100's
Most white people pay with the credit or debit card.
30% of my customers buy food with the IL Link card. It used to be they had to separate the food from the non food. Now, the card automatically figures out what is food and what isn't.
Today was back to school shopping based on the amount of lunchables, lunch meat, juice boxes, bread and fruit snacks I sold.
The average that people spend in a trip is about 60 bux
A woman used a credit card for a 2.00 item today.

After talking with the Co-workers, there is not a single one among us who doesn't have some serious problems in their life. Whether it be health, relationships or financial, everyone there has something going on. Based on the amount of declined cards, that goes for life beyond the big box. I try to remind myself that others spend lots of time behind the facade. Yes, that person may drive a BMW but how much is really his and how much belongs to some bank? A woman made a $75 payment on a Visa today that had a balance of over $3000. I doubt it was her only card. From what my Father-in-law the accountant says, he deals with more people with six figure incomes that are closer to poor than those of us in the middle class. Apparently, 6 figure income for some means 6 figures of debt (beyond the mortgage). If they should lose that 6 figure income, their house of cards will come crashing down.

I'm not sure what my point is. I guess I compare myself to others though I really shouldn't and convince myself that others are better off. Working at the big box, I have been shown time and time again that this is not so. We're all struggling with something and if you're not at this time, don't worry, your time cometh. For now, though, my contributions to those customers lives is minimal, I try to smile at each one and thank them. For some that patronize our store, it's the only bit of kindness they see in a day. One of my customers told me, "I had you last time. I like you." I think that was nice :)
We are not alone.
We all can make a small difference.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

My first New Year pet peeve.

The winner is *THE PHONE*!

Yesterday, after returning home from my lunch break, there was a note on my computer from Cassie the informer that said something like "Mom, Kris was texting downstairs when you told him not to. I hope you make him pay! Love, Cassie. PS You're my best friend." Texting is not on my plan and I had umpteen discussions with the boy regarding the responsibility that comes with a cell phone. Before I jumped down his troat, I went onto the web to check out the summary.
Under Kris's usage were no less than 236 text messages. GAH!!! Under minutes used by Sir Kristopher, drum roll please........ 335!! He has used 335 anytime minutes in ONE WEEK!!! Yes, that is pathetic! What was even more pathetic was under my usage, I used 60 and only because Ron called this month. The 335 minutes is not going to cost me money. I have 750 in my plan but should the trend continue, 335 minutes for one normal week means I'll be paying overage charges up the ying yang. Once again, I told the boy to cool it. There is no reason why his friends should use his minutes when we have a perfectly good land line I pay a perfectly good flat rate for.

Today, at about 10:00, our phone rings. I had my business calls come to my home phone temporarily. AT&T supposedly installed a business line for me two years ago but I've never been able to get it work even after a friend and a phone tech came to hook it up. Anyhoo, the call was from a co-worker and I reached for the phone charger but THERE WAS NO PHONE ON IT! Cassie slapped the speaker button on the base station and hurried me over there to talk. I told my co-worker to hold on a sec, placed the phone on mute and told Cassie to FIND THE CORDLESS PHONE NOW! She scrambled off and came back 5 secs later with the cordless. When I attempted to answer the phone however, there was no talk button. Yes, the talk button was missing. I told her to go find the other one. By this time, I was fuming. I slapped the mute button and told my co-worker to hang on and said I was sorry. Then turned around and yelled at my kids that if they put the bleepin phone back on the bleepin charger like I asked they wouldn't bleepin be ground from the bleepin phone for the NEXT WEEK. Cassie tells me to calm down, she found the other cordless, I grabbed it and GUESS WHAT?? It had no juice because it wasn't on the BLEEPIN charger all night. I was pissed! I accidentally hung up on my co-worker which fortunately was not a management type and grounded both kids from the phone and confiscated Kris's cell. Then I spent the day watching the kids friends call while I purposefully didn't answer the phone. Every time the phone rang, Miss Cassie looked agitated. "Aren't you going to answer that?" "No, says I. Payback is a bitch isn't it?" "Well at least tell them I'm grounded." I will when I feel like it.

Such is life in the Raised Ranch in HP.

When do they go back to school again?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Back to work... MUSH!

Hello fellow drone office workers.

The holidays are over. No more excuses to screw around by the water cooler. Today, the majority of America's workers are over NYE and the ILLINI'S absolute WHOOPING! from the Trojans and returned to the office to about 500 emails and all that beginning of a new Fiscal year paperwork. I've been working on a clean up project for the Inventory Mangement people.

NYE was nice, very low key, quiet but fun. When my brother starts singing showtunes, it's a warning that the fun is going to end soon. When he moves from show tunes to John Denver, it's time to freaking RUN FORREST RUN!! NY day was spent watching movies, starting with the Simpson's Movie (I'm not a Simpson's fan but it was pretty cute) and the 9-11 movie "United 93" which I would recommend whole heartedly to people who can handle it: Simply made, simple story telling, powerful movie! It's proof that technology, mega budget special effects and stunts are not needed with good solid material and good directing. I know that 9-11 images are still hard to handle for some and after watching this movie, I remembered everything that I saw and felt on that day. My parents generation remembers where they were when they heard JFK was shot. Ours will remember every detail of where we were when we heard the news, what we felt and what we saw on 9-11-2001. Though, I was mostly an observer of that days events and knew no one that died, THANK GOODNESS, it affected us all in a uniquely personal way and all of us either knew someone, worked with someone, or heard of a someone in one of our six degrees of separation, that was directly affected. The movie was tastefully done and honored those passengers that decided to take a stand and showed true courage in an absolutely horrifying situation that 99.9% of America will never have to face. What they did saved many more. Until the very end, I had hopes that they would succeed in saving their own lives even though in the back of my head, I knew the outcome.

Hope you all aren't having a Bad day at the office