Wednesday, January 31, 2007

T minus 3...and counting

Ahhhhh. Back to the world of blogging.

Many apologies for my absence yesterday. The elves at Blogger insisted that, after months of procrastinating, that it was high time I moved over to the Google site. Not sure the reason for this, but it was my time to migrate and there wasn't a thing I could do about it. I'm also not sure what is involved with moving, but seeing as how it took almost all day I imagine there were little virtual movers packing up my digital files into virtual boxes, loading them into a virtual truck, then moving them to the new location. The new digs feel great, don't they?! Yeah, I can't tell a difference either.

So M went to town with Sears, jumping through the same hoops I did and getting just as far. He took control Monday night, and the conversation devolved into him repeating, "That's not an acceptable solution. Try again." over and over. He got essentially the same response, "Ummm, I'll have to have someone call you back." Riiiiight. That's what we've heard for months now.

He did actually get someone to call him back, only to have that person tell him the same thing I've been told, "We can't (don't want) to help you." The reasons have changed throughout all this, but the topper came last night when he was told that had we documented every call we made, then they might be able to do something. So, let me get this straight. I call you fifteen billion times, you don't return any of my calls, and because I didn't write it all down, you can't help me. So, essentially, it's my fault that you sold me defective merchandise, refused to service or replace it, and wouldn't communicate with me about any of it. My fault. So not pleased.

M has decided that we are never to set foot in a Sears store again. Even if it's blizzard conditions and we have to go to the mall and the nearest entrance is through a Sears store, we will walk around the outside of the mall to use a different entrance. He has requested that all of you who buy him gifts to please never get him anything from Sears ever again. The regular part or the softer side. I sensed some sadness on his part, as he's a Craftsman junkie, but he's quitting cold turkey.

On a whim the other day, I googled "I hate Sears." You wouldn't believe the number of sites that came up. Holy crap. The company has some serious issues. Also, since this whole ordeal started, we've heard from multiple family members about equally appalling encounters, and how they refuse to shop there ever again. It's a shame, because Sears used to have such a strong, solid reputation. Funny how quickly a brand can become tarnished, huh?

We're three short days away from the Event of the Year, namely, Bridal Beano's wedding. Everything is falling into place, and other than the fact that we're going to freeze our collective ass off that day, I'm looking forward to it. The Z family has a starring role, what with my being maid of honor (I refuse to use "matron" as it makes me feel about 80 years old), M being a groomsman and Zozo being Flower Girl. We gonna look gooooood that day.

Monday, January 29, 2007


That's it. I'm there. I'm now on a one-woman mission to bring down the behemoth Sears Corporation.

Have I told you how much I hate Sears?

Well, it's gone to a whole new level.

After more phone calls, and more promises to call me back which never happened, I got to Carol on the Teleservice Recovery Team. What the hell is a Teleservice Recovery Team anyway?

Here's the tail end of our conversation:

Carol: We can't help you. The defect is cosmetic.
A: No, it's not. A cosmetic defect is a scratch or a dent. This thing DOES NOT WORK. That's not cosmetic.
Carol: We consider it cosmetic because it doesn't interfere with the function of the washer.
A: No, it doesn't interfere with the function of the washer, because it's not part of the washer. The washer can function just fine whether it's even there or not. In and of itself, this unit is broken. BROKEN. Defective from the beginning.
Carol: It's cosmetic. The washer works fine, right?
A: Yes, the washer works fine. But I'm not complaining about the washer. I want the base replaced, not the washer.
Carol: Well, we can't do that. Because it's just cosmetic.
A: IT'S NOT COSMETIC. THE UNIT IS BROKEN. {Sigh.} So, let me get this straight. I paid $XXX for this, and you gave me a defective unit, and now you're saying that you won't replace it, even though you admit that it is defective and needs to be replaced, but you won't replace it because you consider it to be cosmetic even though we both know it's not. So I shelled out good money for something that's broken and you won't do anything about it?
Carol: That's right.
A: So my money is just down the toilet. Gone. Wasted.
Carol: That's right.

You have got to be kidding me.

I asked her if I could talk to someone else, and she told me no, that I've gone as high as I can go. Apparently the Teleservice Recovery Team (?) is on the same level as the ^&*%$ CEO at Sears.

Okay, I've spent more than enough time on this little issue today. And I'm steaming mad and ready to spit nails.

So, it's time to take a break, regroup, and figure out my next steps.

Anyone have the home phone number of the Sears CEO?

The day after the day after The Night

Well, I'm on hold with the customer serviceless department at Sears right now, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to blog a bit. I've been on hold for over 10 minutes so far. Love the fact that my phone has a timer on it.

Didn't blog this weekend as I was too busy preparing for, then participating in, then recovering from Bridal Beano's Bachelorette Bash. Yes, it's Monday morning and I'm using alliteration. Fun!

I was sober driver for the bash, and I had a blast watching the bride, and most of the other bridesmaids, get tanked. Hilarious. I don't know that I've ever really seen my sister bombed like that, without being bombed myself, so it was a new experience. One that I wouldn't mind seeing repeated, because she is so funny. For one thing, she gets about an inch away from your face when she talks to you. On top of that, she opens her mouth way wider than normal when speaking, and my guess is that she is desperately tring to enunciate her words so as to be clearly understood in her drunken stupor. She also feels the need to check the time on her cell phone on a regular basis, although she can't see it very well and so ends up with the phone right up against her nose trying to read the time. She does this for a moment or two, then shoves the phone at anyone standing near her, whether she knows that person or not, and yells, "Hey, what time is it? Can you see this? I can't see this!"

I've never seen someone go blind while drinking alcoholic beverages, but apparently this happens to Bridal Beano. With sobriety her vision returns to normal.

Meanwhile, I've got Trish, a bridesmaid, insisting that she has the best husband in the world. Yeah, they've been married five months are so are still in the honeymoon phase, but sweet Jesus, girl. We know already. We got it. We had it the first million times you told us "Randall P" is the greatest guy in the world. Unfortunately for Trish, what she will never understand is that I am the woman with the greatest guy in the world. I know Randy is cool and all, but he doesn't compare to my M. I didn't argue with her that night though. There is absolutely no point in arguing with a drunk girl.

The pub we were at gives young ladies the opportunity to earn free shots by dancing on top of the bar. They offer this about every 45 minutes or so, and as the night goes on the sober people (actually, the sober person, as I believe I was probably the only one there) begin to worry for the safety of these inebriated young women dancing on a narrow ledge in stilettos. They all stayed up, though, and one of our party actually joined them on the side bar at one point. Isn't it funny when someone you know for awhile you see in a new light and think, "Damn, that girl can dance!"

Bridal Beano was easy to spot in the club throughout the night, and not just because of her white veil. One of the b'maids had purchased, and decorated, an inflatable...ahem...certain male body part. This thing was about two and a half feet long and had big eyes and a giant grin on one end. I'll let you figure out which end. The other end had...ahem...round parts that she had painted blue. The rest of it, except for the grinning end, was painted camouflaged, as Bridal Beano's groom is a hunter and is frequently clothed in invisible garb. So, of course, we named our new inflatable friend after the groom, and Bridal Beano carried him around on a string all night. A few of the rest of us had And Bridal Beano of course had a straw with a...ahem...part on the end.

As for the boys, I got bits and pieces from M as to their exploits. The groom was handcuffed to a bowling ball that had been painted with Bridal Beano's name, and had a shot glass superglued to the top. He had to lift the ball (and it's chain) any time he wanted a shot. Apparently his arms got quite a workout that night. Also attached to the ball were Midol, for when She's PMSing, Tylenol for the nights She has a headache, and Viverin for the nights She just wants to stay up and talk. I'm pretty sure those were ditched quickly.

So fun was had by all, and we were able to send the bride and groom into their wedding weekend with a blast. They should be de-toxed enough by Saturday to do it all over again.

Update on Sears, someone named Beverly answered and went looking for Ron, the jackass who won't call me back. She found him but he's on the phone. Beverly took my number and promised, again, to call me back personally and get him on the phone for me. Good luck, Bev. Two Angies, two Joes, Sheryl and Ryan couldn't do it. The local folks nor the national folks couldn't do it. If it happens, it will be a miracle. I'm beginning to think there is no Ron, and that they really have only five people that work in all of Sears Customer Serviceless, hence the fact that I've now talked to two Angies and two Joes. Stay tuned...this is going to get interesting as my patience has now worn down to nothing and I'm starting to get snippy with the new people who happen to answer the phone when I call.

Friday, January 26, 2007

I Hate Sears

I am officially adding the ^&*%$ "customer service" idiots at Sears to my "Things and People to Smite" list. You'd think that after spending several thousand dollars on a washer and dryer, and the pedestal bases that go under them, that they could service them in a timely manner. Nope. I put "customer service" in quotes because what they call "customer service," laughably, is anything but. They ought to rename that whole division "customer serviceless."

I put Sears Customer Serviceless right up there with the fine folks in the Ameren Frequent Outages department.

I have talked to about 400 different people, all of whom tell me to call here, call there, I can't help you, we can't help you, blah blah blah.

They might as well have said, "Go jump off a bridge."

I wanted to type something extremely inappropriate there, but I'm trying to keep this family-friendly. You can guess what I was going to type after the word "go."

I have been dealing with this little issue since May of last year. May. That's eight months, people. Eight months of calling and waiting and calling and waiting. And now? Now they're telling me, "Oh, it's out of warranty, we can't help you." Are you $%^&* kidding me?!? You don't return my calls for eight months and then you claim it's out of warranty?

So, here's my not-so-subtle way of "getting even" with Sears:

I plead with all of you, dear readers, to never, ever purchase anything from Sears again. Ever. And if you ever meet someone who works there, you tell them about your friend/family member who got royally jacked around by their service nuts.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

"Hey, do you know..."

Stopped by Walgreen's this morning to pick up soda for today's management meeting (last time I have to do that, as I've taken it upon myself to delegate the task of planning the meeting to our events planner) and Pam, Beauty Department rung up my order. After swiping the corporate AmEx, she asked, "Are you related to Margaret? I went to high school with her." "Yes, she's my aunt."

If I had a dime for every time someone who saw my last name asked me if I was related to Margaret, Shelley, Marty, Mary, Mike, Milt or Mark, well, I'd have about $10. Margaret and Shelley are definitely the most well-known in my clan. Shelley is so popular as to have been spotted by friends when she's in another country. This absolutely amazes me.

Along the same lines, on my recent business trip I took the parking lot shuttle to the airport and watched as a man got on with an Operating Engineers Local 513 jacket on. I caught a glimpse of his luggage tag, which was his business card, and that was also Local 513. Huh. So I asked him if he knew Papa, and sure he did, and knows where he works and such, so we had a nice chat. Turns out he's the cousin of my Uncle Jim, who passed away, what, 12 or 13 years ago? The man said, "I've even met your mom. I met her at Jim's funeral." Dude, you met me at the funeral, too. How crazy is that?

Even crazier, on the way home from San Antonio, I boarded my airplane in Group 1. This isn't crazy, by the way, it's the story that's coming up that's crazy. So I got to board in Group 1, right after First Class, because my seat was so far back as to possibly be on the tail, and as I'm doing the tired-passenger shuffle down the impossibly small aisle of the aircraft, the line came to a screeching halt. Usually happens when someone with an overstuffed carry-on struggles to put his/her bag in the already-crammed overhead, which is funny given that we're the first ones on the plane and this person apparently thinks that his bag must remain directly over his head, instead of in any of the empty overhead compartments surrounding his seat. So anyway, during my brief pause in First Class, I did what I usually do. I looked around.

Glancing to my right I am eye-level with a gentleman's luggage tag in an overhead compartment. The business name catches my eye, as it's one that M worked with quite a bit in his old industry, and even entertained a job offer from them after his company moved to OK. They're in Salem, Illinois, though, and there would be nothing for me to do there. At all. It was just far enough away to be a major inconvenience and pain in the rear as far as family goes, or a job in the Lou. But I digress.

So I confirm with a second look that it is indeed the same company, and then, as the line starts to move, I catch a glimpse of the gentleman's name. Holy cow. It's the guy who is M's primary contact there. Who he's met countless times and spoken to on the phone about a bajillion times, and who he stays in touch with, every few months, even now. I don't know this guy from the man in the moon, but his name is very distinctive, being Seamus and all. That's Irish, which of course means he's one of "my people."

At this point the line is indeed moving and I'm trying to be a conscientious passenger and not hold everyone up, while also straining to confirm what I just saw on the luggage tag and scan First Class to recognize a man I've never met. This means that my feet and lower legs are about three feet in front of my body, and I'm leaning back trying to look. Not the most graceful of positions.

Anyway, I went back up to First Class after we took off, but the only guy who I suspected might be Seamus was asleep with headphones on, and I thought it a bit stalkerish to wake him up and say, "You've never met me, but you know my husband, M, and he says 'hi.'"

All this to say, simply, that it's an incredibly small world, so don't do anything stupid because you never know who might be watching.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Minions and Mignon

Prepping today for our management meeting tomorrow, and over lunch a colleague and I discussed, as we frequently do, new ideas and new concepts. We also re-hash old ideas and concepts, and try to psychoanalyze nearly everyone we work with. It's a good time, and we typically choose delicious places to eat, so it's win/win.

We determined today that our business would be considerably more successful if we, the two of us, were allowed to make major decisions and implement sweeping change with wanton abandon. We also determined that this sort of workload dicates a hefty staff of minions to carry out our incredibly creative and sure to be successful plans.

Then we spent 10 minutes debating whether minions could be singular, as in minion, or if it's inherently plural and must always be said as minions. If it's the latter, then we would need at least two minions, in order to fulfill the plurality rule, although we'd probably be much more efficient with three or more. This, in turn, led to a discussion of minion versus mignon, as in filet mignon, and another five minutes or so of speaking in ridiculous French accents.

Yes, we actually do accomplish good work. We just have a ton of fun doing it.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Happy Birthday M!

Today is M's birthday. The anniversary of the birth of my husband, best friend, confidante. My rock...the person who keeps me grounded while also raising me higher than anyone else could.

My husband is, unequivically, one of the finest men in the world. He is a good person. A genuine, true person with the highest integrity. He is honest, almost to a fault. He is kind, generous, and caring. He thinks nothing of sacrificing for his loved ones, or for anyone he feels needs help.

My husband is not one of those men who thinks it's macho to never show his feelings. He wears his heart on his sleeve, and he gets tears in his eyes when something moves him. I will never forget how he cried as I cried and Mom cried when we had to put our beloved family dog to sleep, even though he's not a "dog person" and wasn't particularly fond of ours. He cried not because he was going to miss Abby, but because he respected how much we loved her, and how much we were going to miss her, and because we, people he loves, were hurting.

My husband, with each passing year of his life, continues to keep his heart and soul young. He is still mesmerized by dry ice, and will hunker down on the kitchen floor with a glass of water to "play" with it. He loves remote control vehicles, whether they roll, float or fly. He loves science fiction movies, no matter how unrealistic or horribly written they might be. And he loves Christmas lights. Everyone knows how he loves Christmas lights.

Words cannot express how I feel about M. I feel foolish even trying. Rarely in your life do you come across someone who is as special as he is. I thank God every day that not only do I have the chance to know him, but I have the chance to be married to him, and to share every single day of his life.

This is one of my most favorite quotes of all time:
"To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one's self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived - this is to have succeeded."

It's by Ralph Waldo Emerson, and it inspires me every day, just like M does.

In my humble opinion, by this definition, M has succeeded already, at the tender age of 35.

Happy Birthday, Husband. I love you.

Remember The Alamo Salsa!

I'm baaaaack!

SA was fantabulous! Great time. Good conference, awesome food. Lots of fun. And although it was hard to be away from M and Zozo, it was at least bearable. The amount of time was long enough to accomplish what we needed to, but short enough that I didn't feel as though my heart was physically being ripped from my chest every time I saw a child. That's what happened last year, and I darn near cried every time I saw/heard a baby. This year I was able to smile and say, "What a darling baby!" while thinking, "But mine's cuter." Which is what I'm pretty sure every parent does.

I'd have to say one of the best things ever invented by the hospitality industry is table-side guacamole. Being in San Antonio, one must of course take full advantage of the proximity to Mexico and it's delicious culinary culture. I had guac two days in a row and would have had it more had we stayed. Delicious!

Got to see The Alamo, which was great. The Alamo is one of those things that everyone must see before they die. It's not particularly that spectacular, but it's an important part of US history, and inspiring and all that. Plus, they have a fun gift shop where I got a yellow "Remember the Alamo!" t-shirt for Zozo, and a little stuffed armadillo, which she hugged and kissed this morning, before throwing it on the floor. After I picked it back up she inspected its ears and then tried to scratch its eyes off. She likes to show the love.

I also got a coon-skin hat (ala David Crockett) for Joejoe, and an Alamo Ranger pin that says JOE. M got two jars of official Alamo salsa, in two different varieties, because I'm just that generous a wife. Funny story about the Alamo salsa: so I completely forgot about the pesky TSA rule that says you can't bring liquids on board airplanes now, at least up top. I'm heading through security congratulating myself on my wise choice to wear my Merrills, which slip easily on and off, when I hear the x-ray screener call another agent over for a "liquids check." They pulled the bottle of water out of my bag first (Doh!) then got to the salsa ($%^&*). I ran back to where I had checked my big bag, but it was long gone.

I ended up stuffing the salsa, some paper materials from the conference, my scarf, and my heavy wool coat into a small duffel bag provided by the conference and checking that. One American Airlines person called down to the baggage folks to let them know another bag was coming while a second took my bag and ran it back himself. Awesome folks in SA. Then I got to run through security again and run to my gate. We had bumped up to fly standby on an earlier flight, so I was cutting it pretty close.

Needless to say, I made it, and M's Alamo salsa made it, which was great because I had spent the flight wondering a) if I'd ever see the bag, and my coat, again, given that it was so late in getting checked and b) if I did see the bag and my coat again, would my coat be Alamo salsa flavored?

Another funny story from the Alamo: when I was perusing the gift shop I found several items that we actually sell here at the spa. Which was rather distressing to me, until I started calling it The Spalamo, which I think is hilarious but which makes M roll his eyes and think, "I hate it when she goes out of town."

Picked up a new joke during the final keynote, which rivals my standard ha-ha joke of How does Hitler tie his shoes?

So, here's my new joke:
What's the difference between mash potatoes and pea soup?

Are you ready?

Wait for it.

It's great.

Anyone can mash potatoes.


I've got tons more I could write, but I've got some catching up to do and should get back to that.

Plus, there is a work crew outside my window bringing a giant tree down, and it's making me quite nervous. Think I'll find some excuse to wander up to the front...

Friday, January 19, 2007

Back in the groove

Not much to report today. We still have power. Wooo hooo! This probably doesn't seem like news to those of you who don't lose power all the time. But for those of us who do, this is major.

Heading to San Antonio tomorrow for a conference. This is the same conference I attended last January in San Diego that sucked beyond belief. It sucked for several reasons: the conference content was non-existent, the keynote speaker was so horribly bad as to be insulting, and I was away from my little Zozo for four days. This year, I planned the trip so as not to have any extra time there whatsoever. We fly in, attend the opening party, two days of seminars, then fly out the evening of the second day. I minimized the "have to be away from Zozo and M" time as much as possible. However, it looks as though the conference planners listened to the feedback that I, and I'm sure darn near every other attendee last year, gave them, and the content looks fantastic. Strategic planning, effective communication, teamwork, and the like.

M and I cleaned the house last night so tonight we can all just relax and hang out together. Zozer needs a bath, and we have to play with our blocks and balls and our Baby Tad who sings whenever you press his paw. After she goes down, we'll kick back and watch a few West Wing episodes.

It's nice to just do nothing every once in awhile.

It's also nice to be all caught up, and back in our routine. We've pretty much been on-the-go since about Halloween. That kicks it off what with the whole "oh crap, we need a Halloween costume for Zoe" realization, then there's going here and there to show her off, and that's also when M starts putting up the Christmas display.

Next comes Thanksgiving, which is more running here and there, and still working on the display, and I start putting up the interior decorations. This year we had a wedding to go to in there, too, which meant going out to purchase presents and a card and make sure my clothes are back from the cleaners in time, yada yada yada.

Right around the corner from Thanksgiving is the Grand Lighting party, because that's typically the first week in December. Only this year we lost power, so we moved out and then moved back in and had the party the second week in December, which also coincides with Bridal Beano's birthday.

Then, of course, there's Christmas, which involves an enormous amount of running here and there to first buy presents and then get together to exchange them. Fam in from out of town presents more opportunities to go go go, and before you know it, you're downing way too many beers on New Years.

Normally it's time to deflate after that, but not this year. Bridal Beano and Groomtay are getting hitched Feb. 3, so there's lots to be done with that. Bridal showers and power outages do not mix, but we managed to make it work. Now I've got my business trip, then the bachelorette party, then the actual wedding, after which I plan to kick off my very cute new shoes, slip on the Crocs, and have enough champagne to make me forget my hatred of all things Ameren.

I have no plans after February 4. None. Well, there's a Parents as Teachers meeting in there near the end of the month, but that's nothing, really. I'm thinking about completely blocking out my entire calendar for the rest of the month, and maybe March, too. Time to hibernate.

But, on this day, everything is good. Bills are paid. House is clean. Heck, even the cat boxes got cleaned yesterday. Beanie's bachelorette party is pretty much all planned, and promises to be loads of fun. My dress will be done at the alterations place Wednesday, a full week and a half before the wedding. Zozo's dress fits perfectly, and M's tux is reserved. We do have to find some cute white patent leather shoes for Zozo for the wedding day, but methinks that won't be too difficult. Today, we're ordering pizza in for someone's birthday here at work. All is right with the world.

Don't know that I'll have access to a computer while I'm in San Antonio, so this may be my last post until Tuesday. Perhaps I can convince M to sublet my blog while I'm out of town. Perhaps not.

Which is probably just as good, since this here post is boring as hell. Many apologies. Just nothing of any interest to write about right now.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Wine Whine

Oooooooo. I have cobwebs in my head. You know, that kind of mucky feeling you have the day after you drink too much wine? Not so much hungover, or headachy, or anything like that. Just like I'm running a little slower today than normal. Head feels a little thick.

I've gotten a good jump on my work day, clearing lots off my "to-do" lists, returning phone calls and e-mails, etc. It's just at a slightly slower pace. I'm startin' to speed up though, so watch out!

This afternoon M and I get to take a field trip to the orthopedic surgeon. He's been tentatively diagnosed with a torn labrum, which is this little ring of cartilidge around the socket part of your shoulder. He's getting an MRI today to confirm the diagnosis, and to plan what surgery/therapy will be needed. Because this is his right shoulder, he won't be able to drive his stick-shift sportmobile afterwards, hence my excuse for going. He typically doesn't like his pesky Wife going along to doctors' appointments, but I prefer going so as to avoid conversations afterwards that go like this:

A: How was the doctor's visit?
M: Fine.
A: What did he say?
M: Nothing.
A: What's the diagnosis?
M: It's not a big deal.

Then later, when he's talking to various other people, I get the much more of the story. I am of the belief that the Wife should know news of a medical nature before others, and that the Wife should know greater detail than others. He is of the belief that he doesn't like going to the doctor, talking about going to the doctor, or even thinking about going to the doctor. It's easy to brush off the pesky wife when she starts pelting him with questions, but it would be rude to do that to others, so he grudgingly answers them. That's typically how the Wife learns about the doctor's visit when she doesn't get to go along.

Wish us luck!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Red Red Wiiiiiine...

I didn't post today, as I was too busy at work.

But now. Now I am at home. In my home. Where there is wine, unfortunately. A whole bottle of Yellow Tail Chardonnay, which has made its way through our kitchen, into my wine glass, and then into my mouth. It's not red wine, as indicated in the title, but wine nonetheless. I am entirely too tired to search for any sort of appropriate title that would aptly reflect my indulgence in Chardonnay this evening.

Yes, yes. I am posting, once again, under the influence of alchohol.

And yet, yet my friends, I am still able to self-edit. Somewhat. I at least still know the difference between its and it's. It's is a contraction for "it is." Learn that people. It's pretty simple. Also, the only other way you would use an apostrophe and then an "s" is when it's possessive. As in, "I own this." Like, "It's my house that has power now." See that? Yeah, I wrote, "It's my house that has power now" because it really is my house that has power now.

Dear God. Take away the bottle of wine. Right now. Oops, too late. I drank it all!

So. We watched American Idol tonight. I must admit that we only watch this show for the first episodes, with the freaks, and the last show, when it's phenomenal, to use M's words. I adore Simon Cowell. Love him. M said, "He says the things we all think, but don't have the balls to say." Which is sort of how my FIL described me a couple weeks ago, only my FIL won't say anyone has the balls, or doesn't have the balls, to say anything. Because my FIL is very much a gentleman and wouldn't use those words. I myself try to make it a little less rough in that I usually refer to them as cajones, like using a foreign word will make it a little less crude.

You know, touch typing becomes a lot more difficult when you have your fingers on the wrong keys. Just a little tip from me to you.

Secret Message to Saara: You can call me anytime you want to talk, about anything, even the deep stuff you don't think anyone else would understand. I hope you know that.

Secret Message to Jen-Nay: your e-mail about the A/C vents cracked me, and M, up. We're pretty sure that at our last house, our cats left enough milk rings (the rings that come off gallon-milk containers when you first crack them open) in our A/C vents to re-build Wichita entirely in plastic. Just so you know, our "new" A/C vents are about a foot from our 8' ceilings. However, our return air vents (yes, our house is 50 years old) are very low, and I'm sure will be filled with toys by the time Zozo is 12.

Not so secret message to Bridal Beano: Thank you very much for our conversation this evening, where you pretended not to notice that I had indulged in almost an entire bottle of wine this evening. Use sunblock! (I can get that for you. I work in a day spa, you know. We have good shit there.)

Not so secret message to Groomtay Shawntay: Good luck, buddy!

Okay, M is telling me he is tired now, so I probably should wind this up. I could go on and on and on (wine does that to me, you know), but I will sign off now. And so continues my almost-every-day record of posting to my blog.

Dedication, people. I am nothing if not dedicated.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Gratitude with Attitude

I'm trying hard to stay positive during the current power outage, and for the most part I am successful. However, every once in awhile, it all just feels overwhelming and then I dissolve in a big puddle of tears and self-pity. Which I hate. So then I get pissed at myself for doing that, because who really wants to be around a whiny baby after all? And right now there are a lot of people who are forced to be in close proximity to me, due to the fact that I have no power, along with my MIL and my FIL, and we're all camping out at Grandma Frank's and Uncle Milt's.

So I'm trying hard not to be a whiny baby. And I was doing well, until this morning, when I stood in my now 50-degree house and determined with M what we needed to take with us, and how it's probably time to shut the water off to the house so the pipes don't freeze, and it all just built up and started to push tears out of my eyes. I looked around my beautiful home, that M and I have worked so hard to make for us, for our family, and it feels dead right now. It's cold, and dark, and there are none of the little noises that make it alive. The clocks have blank little faces, and there are no whirring and humming noises of the fridge or the furnace. It feels like a tomb.

It's downright depressing. Because I want to be there more than anywhere else, and yet we can't be.

I just checked the Ameren Outage Map, and they are making progress in my zip code. I really shouldn't check, because during last summer's outage I kept checking and it got to the point where it said there were only two houses without power in my entire zip code...and we were one of them.

In an effort to stave off my reprehensible self-pity, I shall now attempt to list the things I am grateful for:

1. The health of Zozo and M. Although M did go see the ortho yesterday and it looks like he's going to need surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder. But for the most part he's a pretty healthy guy.

2. A warm, inviting place to stay at Grandma's. We crowded around her TV last night and watched "Shall We Dance," with Richard Gere and J-Lo. Cute movie. Brain candy.

3. I have a fantastic job that I adore, and that I look forward to coming to every single day.

4. I have phenomenal in-laws, whom I also adore, and who have welcomed me into their family without so much as a blink, so that when I stay at their house(s), I feel comfortable and at ease.

5. I have a mom who is such a mom in that she does mom things like taking on a bridal shower I'm supposed to be hosting without so much as batting an eye. And who makes me laugh in the middle of the day by calling and asking, "Does Zoe have one of our cordless phones in her shopping cart?" Once, on my way back to college after a long weekend, she called on my cell and asked if I had her cat in my laundry basket.

6. I have an awesome sister who has turned into one of my very best, dearest friends, and who is marrying a great guy who makes me laugh, and who I know will take care of said sister and my nephew like no one else could.

7. I get to eat White Castle for lunch.

I have more, but those are the ones that are particularly top of mind today.

I'm going to try a new tactic with the fine people of Ameren. Instead of smiting and directing thoughts of anger and ill-will toward the powers-that-be there, I'm going to try cheering on the line people who are working hard to restore my power.

Go go go Ameren! Go!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Powerless. Again.

Ahhhh, yet another electricity-less weekend has come and gone. Those whole-house generators are looking better and better with each passing day.

Lost power at 6:30 a.m. Saturday. Called Bridal Beano at 8, and Mama at 8:02. Within a short time Plan B was revised to keeping the shower on that day, but moving it to Mom's. I have to give tons of props to Mom, Papa and GG for their on-the-fly hosting of a bridal shower with six hours' notice. Don't know that I could have pulled that off! The b'maids were fantastic in their regrouping, and the shower was a success. Bridal Beano and Groomtay received loads of wonderful gifts and everyone had fun. Well, I think they had fun. There was lots of laughter and merriment, so that's what I'm going to assume.

Regained power sometime in the afternoon, discovered when I called home and got our oh-so-personal mechanized answering machine voice. I think I actually jumped up and down when I got it. The mechanical voice actually sounded warm and inviting to me. What he said was, "Hello. Please leave a message after the tone." but what he meant was, "You SO totally have power now! Come on home!" We packed ourselves up, including Zozo and all her toddler necessities, and headed for home that evening.

It felt so good to sleep in our own home, in our own bed, and I mentally thanked the elves at Ameren for taking care of us so quickly.

Unfortunately, the elves took a smoke break at 11:30 p.m. and we went out again. Been out ever since. We stayed in bed as the house was still quite warm, but by morning the temperature was starting to drop. Finally, around 6, M went and retrieved The Bug from her bed and brought her in with us. We're not sure if she was still half asleep or just shocked at being with us under the covers, but she laid there, very still, and just sort of zoned. We all snoozed a bit, then M booted me out to repack while he snuggled with Zozo. They were so sweet, all cuddled up. I'd have taken a picture if my fingers weren't frostbitten.

Hung out at Mom's all day, then spent the night there last night. Tons of thanks to Mom, Papa and GG for hosting us, yet again. There aren't many people who will take in two adults and a toddler on short notice, much less do it with a smile. We appreciate your gracious hosting!

This morning we awoke early, and this time I got to stay under the covers while M loaded the car in the freezing cold. We're equal opportunity misery-inflicters, we are. After the car was loaded and warm, we got Zozo up, dressed her in her mittens, coat and hat, and loaded her in. As we drove from Mom's to Grandma Frank's to drop off Zozo, I realized I feel like an itinerant. I have an impulse to re-read "The Grapes of Wrath" or "On the Road."

This is the third time in six months that we've been forced to leave our home and stay with others due to a power outage. You'd think I'd get used to this, and be able to handle it with grace and a positive spirit. Nope. I'm pretty much spittin' mad, and ready to smite someone all over again.

This time, though, I learned from the past. This time, in that brief window of electrified bliss Saturday night, I ran around like a chicken with its head cut off. Dishes in the sink where crammed into the already-packed dishwasher and run through a cycle. What was left was washed by hand, dried and put away. The kitchen counters were cleared off. Clothes were put away. Toys were stashed. Basically, I got us ready to go again, should the need arise, which it did an hour after I went to bed.

I feel much better when I can leave my house in good order, and not total disarray. Although M and I put it in disarray all over again this morning with our insistence upon taking showers in our own home. The bed is covered with the guts of our suitcase...we made it as easy as possible to quickly dress and get out of there. My shower was fantastic, mind you. It was forcing myself to turn off the water and step out into my 56-degree home that sucked. Brrrrrr!

Hung a hand mirror from a knob on my inside shutters, then stood by the window to apply my makeup this morning. I probably look like Bozo the Clown for all I know, but I figure I get an A for effort. Dried my hair once I got here, so I know that's lookin' pretty scary, but again, I tried.

Slow day today, as many folks are still without power and it's MLK Day. Assignment for today: Listen to U2's "Pride (In the Name of Love)" and/or find a copy of the "I Have a Dream" speech on the internet and re/re-read it. Life-changing, powerful stuff.

Everyone stay warm! And go home and hug your furnace tonight, those of you who are lucky enough to have working ones.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Praise be to God

Thank you, God, for the safe return of Ben Ownby and Shawn Hornbeck to their families. May you continue to look over all the other missing children still out there.

Plan B, among other things

I'm sitting there last night, and my sister calls me and says, "What's Plan B for the shower?" I grunted, "Huh?" She said, "You know, because of the weather." "Again, huh?"

Obviously, I need to watch/listen to local news more. I had no idea that we are about to get shelled with horrible weather. As she's telling me about the giant ice storm that's forecasted, I'm wandering into the library where M is pounding away on his laptop. It's easy to find him these days, as he's quite frequently on the laptop, and if I just follow the gray CAT-5 cable from my computer as it snakes through the house, he's at the other end. Why don't you get wireless, you ask? Metal-lathe walls prohibit anything of recent technological origin from working in our house. Even the baby monitor is full of static. But I digress.

So I ask M, "Are we really supposed to get pounded this weekend?" He says, "Not bad. You know, just some cold weather and some rain." He pecks in and waits for the page to load. "Uh oh. We're f&^%$ed." Great. Greeeeaaaaaaat.

Beanie and I created Plan B, which essentially just calls for the shower to be re-scheduled for January 27, as I'm in San Antonio next weekend for a business conference. To top things off, in my haste to get Plan B out to the guests this morning, I quickly created an e-mail that contained a huge typo in the first sentence, lovingly pointed out to me almost immediately by Bridal Beano. I typed, "bed weather" instead of "bad weather." I reasoned to her that bad weather = bed weather, as when it's nasty out all you really want to do is stay in your nice, warm bed anyway, and that I meant to do that. I don't think she bought it.

While I welcome extra time to plan, clean, and get my house in order, I do not relish the thought of moving myself, my husband, my child, my cats and my food to other residences until our power is restored. Again. For the third time in less than a year.

Whatever we're doing to piss Mother Nature off, we need to stop it. I can't smite Ameren much more, really, as they're quite smote already.

The cell phone is charging just in case, and I'm taking a stack of industry pubs home to read if I'm unable to vacuum, watch West Wing, or host a bridal shower.

On a lighter note, my new specs came in today, and I'm quite sassy in them if I do say so myself. Behold, the new glasses:

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Date Night

M and I had Date Night last night. The first Date Night since before Halloween. It was fantastic.

We both ate our meals slowly and deliberately. Not stopping to cut pieces into weensy bits for someone with no teeth to eat. Not stopping to wipe off someone's grubby little paws, or picking bits of food off her face and out of her hair. Not lunging to grab a purple plate before it goes flying off the tray. Our meals were hot when we first started eating, and still hot when we finished. It's amazing how wonderful eating warm food can be.

We were able to talk to each other using "big boy" and "big girl" words and voices. I had a glass of wine, he had a bottle of beer, and no one drank through a straw or dribbled milk down her chin.

There was no impatient pointing or grunts, no tears, no squeals.

And yet, the best part of the entire evening was coming home to her.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Bookmobile

Every once in awhile, when I'm out driving here or there, I see a St. Louis County Public Library Bookmobile, and I smile.

The summer before 7th grade, my folks moved from Jefferson County to South County. Not too far, but to a 7th grader, well, they may as well have taken me to Guam. All I knew was that I no longer knew where I lived, and I had no friends. That summer I spent a lot of time on my bike, exploring the subdivisions around my new home and generally trying to get my bearings. Finding another kid my age would have been a perk, too. Eventually, I found my way through the subdivision behind us and discovered a path that led directly to my new middle school and my sister's new grade school.

Then, one day, while riding up there and circling around as I usually did out of sheer boredom, I saw something in the grade school parking lot I had never seen before. There was a big truck that had pulled a large trailer onto the lot. The markings on it said, "St. Louis County Public Library Bookmobile." Huh? Now, I was an avid reader even at that age (always have been, actually: my former elementary school librarian had made special rules for me in second grade because I had read almost all the second grade books in the library, and when no one was looking she let me skirt the ropes blocking us from the third grade section), but I had never seen a bookmobile before. Hell, I didn't even know bookmobiles existed.

After sitting there on my bike, scrutinizing the outside of the trailer for a long time, watching people go in with books and come out with different books, I finally steeled up my nerve. It looked like they let anyone go in, after all. I parked the bike and gingerly climbed the metal grate steps, pulling cautiously on the rectangular latch of the door. I peeked inside, and it was like nirvana.

Books! Shelves and shelves, rows and rows of books! In a trailer, for Pete's sake! I think my eyes must have been the size of saucers, because finally the bookmobile librarian explained to me exactly what a bookmobile was, and how I could use it, for free.

I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

Once a week, I could ride my bike up to the grade school and visit the bookmobile. I could check out seven books at a time, for free, just like at the big library, and return them up to two weeks later. I got my very first library card that day, on the spot. It was laminated and it had my name on it and everything. I think that library card became one of my most cherished possessions, alongside the bike.

I have no idea how many books I checked out and read that summer. I can say that I took advantage of the seven book maximum and stuffed my backpack full every week, racing home to start on my newfound treasures.

What had started out to be the worst summer of my short life (my parents had moved me to Guam after all) ended up being probably one of the best, thanks to the Bookmobile.

So, whenever I see a St. Louis County Public Library Bookmobile, I smile. And remember.

The image below isn't of my Bookmobile, but a cool one I found while visiting Stef in Ann Arbor. Tweaked it a bit in Photoshop because it was fun, and besides, Bookmobiles are supposed to be a wee bit psychedelic.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

You want me to advertise where?

Tried to post earlier today but the elves at Blogger were diligently working behind the scenes on something and the whole dang site was sidelined for a bit.

It's the new year, which means that every rep in the world is crawling out from his or her hole and calling me, wanting me to advertise. Today I spoke with a gentleman (?) from Hooters of America who wants to work a trade. Ummmm, no.

I've also been stalked by an annoying woman trying to sell me on participating in a "prom show" for local high school girls. Again, no. I was completely turned off by two things: 1.) she showed up here with no appointment (huge pet not do that if you ever want me to buy from you) and 2.) she mentioned that her publication was very popular, and in fact was just picked up by her daughter and all her classmates at "Viz." Let me just say that I've only met a few people associated with Viz and I'm not impressed. At all. One was a pushy intern who felt that she was too good to do the grunt work I did every day for my job. So yeah, that's an immediate turn-off. (Many apologies if one of M's aunts went to Viz...I can't keep track of where ya'all went, and so if you did, you are excluded from my rant about Viz people.)

Also dealt with a pushy guy from a one-off yellow pages directory type thing, who tried to convince me that despite the fact that the Bell pages are known and used by everyone, and go out to everyone and their grandma, I should use his new directory that is hitting a very small part of our target market.

I've been hit up by the Val-Pak folks, Channel 2, some dude (and by dude, I mean he actually used "dude" in his voicemail to me) telling me that he's run a Web page analysis on my site and it's not ranking well and wouldn't you know he can fix it, the local society rag, a sports radio station, a company that publishes newsletters for subdivisions, an idiot from another radio station who feels the need to tell me how he's recovering from yet another night of partying, some guy named Ralph from the a business I've never heard of who sounds like a sleezy lounge lizard, the on-line yellow pages guy (who hadn't talked to his co-workers at the regular yellow pages to find out we weren't interested and so pestered me with voicemails until I finally gave up and answered), and various students from local high schools who think that we should be running ads in their papers and sports bulletins.

Limited budget, people! Limited budget!

Of course, even if I did have the money, I don't think I'd be spending it on these things.

Monday, January 08, 2007

"I've been Zoe'd"

So we're all ready to leave this morning, all three of us, and M figures out that his wallet is missing. This is not a good thing, obviously, as he needs his license to drive and it is a safe bet that his credit cards should not be in some stranger's hands, especially if that stranger is not an honest type, not that we would know since we've no idea where the wallet actually is. As usual, I went into my mental checklist mode, first narrowing down where he might have lost it, going through the many stops we had this weekend and remembering if he used his wallet or I used mine, and eventually reaching the conclusion that he last used his wallet yesterday evening when we got gas at Sam's.

Then I ran through the mental checklist of things that need to be done if it is indeed lost. Check the credit cards on-line and see if someone's getting a new entertainment system in time for the SuperBowl. Call the credit card companies and have them issue new cards. Go through last month's statements and list the utilities who automatically charge the cards every month, then jump through whatever hoops I have to jump through to get them changed to the new account. Set up new on-line passwords for the new accounts.

I called M later, as when I left he was frantically searching the house.

"Did you find your wallet?"
"Great! Whew! Where was it?"
"I've been Zoe'd."
"Uh oh. Where was it?"

It seems that our darling daughter had "borrowed" his wallet to play with, then, doing what Zozo always does, "hid" it under the bed. She likes to hide things, and we frequently find her toys stashed under chairs, ottomans, couches, etc. He claims that he knows it was her as the wallet was not folded and laying flat, but rather was open and standing on end. Which is the hallmark of Zozo. I believe him. His final statement was, "I think this gives me the impetus I need to clean off my over-crowded nightstand." Uh huh.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Hello Shoes, Goodbye Lights

Today was devoted to Bridal Beano, for the most part. We had a blast, being sisterly and all. First up: new blouses for the upcoming Bridal Beano Bridal Shower, Bridal Beano Bachelorette Party, and Bridal Beano Rehearsal Dinner. Then, new shoes for Bridal Beano (to be used at aforementioned events) and for the Maid of Honor, yours truly, to wear with her Bridesmaid Dress. Found an absolutely darling pair, pictured here:
Just to clarify, my pair of shoes are both black, not mixed as the image above shows. Can't find a shot of two black ones on the 'net, so this is what you get. Anyway, they are pretty comfortable, and with a bit of bling, so I'm happy. I should clarify: they were pretty comfortable for the few moments I walked around the shoe department at Macy's in them, but it will probably be a different story the night of the wedding. Not to worry, though, I'll be bringing my new red Crocs to the reception with me to dance the night away.

Bridal Beano and I then headed back to the house where we worked on the attendance gifts. I can't tell you what they are because then you would know and that would ruin the surprise. Suffice it to say we sat across my dining room table from each other and worked for awhile, I don't know how long, because it went by way too fast. It did for me, anyway, as I was having a great time just being with my sister. I can't speak for Bridal Beano, but I hope she had as much fun as I did.

She bolted before dinner, though, and I think I know the reason: twice now she's been served mashed potatoes here that didn't have enough butter. I'm thinking she wasn't going to hang around and find out if we'd do that to her a third time. Smart girl: since M does the cooking, and he's Mr. Healthypants, I can't guarantee anything as far as butter is concerned.

This weekend was pretty laid back, all in all. The ornaments are off the tree, but we left the lights on it so we could shoot The Display (both still and video) tonight. After 11:31 p.m., the lights will be off until next Christmas. I would like to voice my opinion here and say that they should be on for another week, especially since we were sidelined by Ameren at the beginning of the season, but M says "no can do" and is determined to turn them off tonight for good. I don't know why he, who worked for months to plan it and then weeks to install it, should get to be the deciding voice, but so be it.

We successfully shot the display tonight, with sound, and I hope to be able to figure out in a reasonable amount of time how to post the video on here. I know it's possible, as I've seen video clips on other blogs, but I've never done it myself. Should be an exercise in total frustration before I'm through, but I'll work on it.

Tonight: laundry, taking the lights off the tree and the tree off the trainboard, and possibly screwing around with iMovie on the Mac. May not sound like anything exciting, but it's comfortable in it's routineness.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Eyeglass Lenses or Camera Lenses

Ahhhh. Friday. Finally. At last.

Several good things about today:
  1. The Zoemobile is back in commission.
  2. Nothing but "fun" stuff planned this weekend. Not that the holidays weren't fun, but that whole "getting ready for the holidays" stress sorta carries over. This weekend has just a few fun things tucked into an otherwise perfectly normal weekend. Perfect.
  3. Going bowling with the cousins tonight. These cousins are much fun to hang out with. We never fail to have a great time when we're with them. And, as usual, we're doing something competitive, which always means lots of trash talking and swagger and insults. Good times.
  4. Eating Dewey's Pizza tonight with aforementioned cousins, which alone would make today fantastic. If you've never had Dewey's, you're missing out. Locations in Kirkwood and U. City. And no, I don't get a kickback from Dewey's for posting this. It's just great pizza and I like to share great things.
  5. My Christmas stuff is almost all down. I only have the tree and the trainboard left, and I can bang those out in no time. The rest of the house is D-O-N-E. I love the holidays and the decorations, but I also love getting my house "back."
  6. I've just started re-reading Edward Weston's Daybooks. Weston is my all-time favorite photographer. Paul Strand is right up there with him, but Weston rocks the house all the way around. I read his Daybooks about once a year, and it is always inspiring to me. This man dedicated his life to his art, foregoing luxuries (both major and minor) in the pursuit of better photography.

Weston has taught me priorities. "You may have to give up this in order to get that." In his case, it was sometimes food vs. film. I'm not really in that dire of straits, mind you, but I try hard not to be materialistic. I try hard to not want things just to want them. Most of the time I succeed. Sometimes, however, I fail miserably.

For instance, next Thursday I will fail miserably when I purchase new eyeglasses. Now, there are two sides to this. The first side, the justification side (or Prada side, if you will), says that these new glasses, which are more expensive than my old glasses, are richly deserved after 4.5 years of the old ones, and are necessary to create the sort of image a person in my position in my industry should have. They are also just another step in my effort to improve my appearance, along with losing weight and wearing nice, tailored clothing and sunblock on my face every day.

The second side, the Weston side, says that I ought to just be happy wearing anything, as long as I can see clearly, and instead I should look at what new camera lenses are available, or find some really great photo paper, or take another photography class. Or, even better, just shut up and shoot and don't spend any money at all, except for paper and ink...the "consumables" of my art now that I've gone digital.

These two sides are warring quite a bit. Prada is winning, much to the horror and dismay of Weston.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

We we we all the way home

Spent last night de-Christmasing my basement, so as to get ready for Beano's Bridal Shower in a little over a week. It's lookin' darn good, if I do say so myself. Tonight I'm tackling the upstairs.

M and I had this conversation last night:

A: How come every night I walk around for an hour and put things away?
M: Because we like to have a clean house.
A: No, I'm asking where all this crap comes from.
M: Oh. I don't know.
A: I'm calling a moratorium on any new things coming into the house. Nothing new may pass through our doors.
M: {Rolls eyes}

We successfully had a lovely dinner last night, all three of us, with none of us breaking down into hysterics. We had Mary's homemade tomato bisque, which is about the closest thing to culinary heaven as I've ever tasted and was a greatly appreciated Christmas present, and grilled cheese samiches. Zozo ate half a samich by herself, plus some pineapple, a few puffed stars and an apple wagon wheel (which is essentially just crunchier puffed air). She did quite well, although she did end up with some pineapple and cheese stuck to various parts of her face. And in her hair. And on her jeans.

After dinner we had a bath. Well, Zozo had a bath. I'm so used to saying "we" now when referencing her, which I swore I would never do but which is inherent in having a child. We also say things like, "Someone is tired," which I also swore I would never do. It's idiotic, really, to say that when you know perfectly well who is tired. Why I can't just say, "Zozo is tired" is beyond me. It's a parent-thing, I think. You don't even know it's happened until one day you hear yourself say "Someone is tired" or "Do we want a drink?" and you cringe and realize you've become one of those people who aggravate the piss out of you.

The Zoemobile is at the car spa today, having her 105,000 mile service package. Which means I am "stranded" here at work and going through my mental list of apocalyptic things that could happen when I don't have my car.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Drama Queen

Dinner, just in case you ever wondered, is more enjoyable when you aren't seated next to a screaming child. Just slightly better than that is when the screaming child is not your own.

Unfortunately, M and I experienced the former last night.

Zozo decided that she wanted Mommy's applesauce, and nothing else would do. No green beans, no rice, no salmon. No star puffs. To achieve her aim of eating all of Mommy's applesauce while Mommy ate nothing (being too busy feeding the applesauce to Zozo to feed herself), she decided on a course of action which included real tears, dramatic waving of her arms, and blood-curdling screams. We decided to wait her out. She decided to keep on screaming.

The entire dinner consisted of strained, louder than normal conversation whilst trying to ignore the apoplectic tyranical toddler seated in her highchair throne between us.

I do realize that this is just the beginning, and that we will deal with this many more times, and sometimes even out in public. I just wish I had asked for ear plugs for Christmas.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Good Life

Wisdom from the side of my Starbucks cup:

The Way I See It #138

The good life is the middle way
Between ambition and compassion
Between action and reflection
Between company and solitude
Between hedonism and abstinence
Between passion and judgement
Between the cup of coffee
and the glass of wine.

-Jay McInerney
Author of Bright Lights, Big City and The Good Life

Fresh Start, First Steps, and New Bras

Well, it's the new year, and I for one am glad. I like the fresh start. There's just something good about a fresh start. I'm freaky like that, though. I like finishing up a tube of toothpaste and starting the fresh, new one. Same with deodorant. I like Sunday nights and Monday mornings simply because trash and recycling pick-up is Monday morning, and it's a fresh start with our trash/recycling cans. I like receiving new slippers for Christmas (thanks Mom and Dad Z!) and finally throwing out my 13-year-old cruddy slippers with the holes in the soles.

This morning I cleaned off the bulletin board by my desk, filing last year's thank you notes from charities the spa donated to, old press clippings and the like. It's all clear and ready for another accumulation of crap. Sadly, though, I had to take down my beloved 2006 calendar received from Stef and Melsy last year for Christmas. It was one of those artsy, incredibly unique calendars that I'd bet no one else in the Lou had. However, my '07 calendar is a Red Cross one, and a pretty good one at that, sent to me by darling Jen-Nay. Total surprise, and perked up an otherwise bland workday when I got the mail, and now it makes me smile whenever I look at it. The calendar contains reproductions of old Red Cross posters, and January's is from World War I and says, "Our Boys Need Sox...Knit Your Bit."

The cover of this month's Real Simple magazine (which I adore, by the way, and highly recommend) says something like, "What can you do in 15 minutes?" There are all kinds of tips right there on the cover like, "Plan a party" and "Declutter your car," and it's been so effective that I've done just those very things instead of actually reading the magazine. The Zoemobile was decluttered, in fact, while I sat in the Starbucks drive-through this morning waiting for my coffee.

Decluttering...ahhhh, feels good, doesn't it?

News From Zozo: she took her first steps by herself this weekend. Shocked the heck out of both me and M, and was the coolest thing in the whole world to see. My girl is goin' mobile! I'm sure this means we're entering the phase of bumped heads, bruises and scrapes, which will darn near kill me but is inevitable.

Other than that, we've just been total couch potatoes while watching episode after episode of The West Wing. Total junkies, we are. But intellectually stimulated couch potatoes.

Did the thing yesterday that most women absolutely hate: I went shopping for new bras. We hate this because it always seems like once you find a great bra then the company goes and discontinues it. Bastards. My current bras are starting to look rather ratty and probably aren't providing the support The Girls really need, so I figured it was time. Besides, Macy's was having a great sale and I had a coupon.

I made the mistake of going up there even though I wasn't really in the mood to bra shop. Guys, trust me on this, women have to be in the mood to bra shop, or it's just not gonna happen. Now, I'm pretty darn particular about my bras, as I imagine most women to be, and have some set criteria. It's like my BIL Steve with his pants. And just about everything else he purchases. I need wide straps, an underwire, full coverage. (I'm not saying that Steve requires wide straps, an underwire and full coverage with his pants, but that he has particular criteria when he shops for pants. Although I'm thinking full coverage might be a good thing when it comes to pants...) Macy's does indeed have a giant selection of bras, but you need a map to find any of them. The racks are overstuffed, and there is no rhyme or reason as to how they are displayed. Had to wait over 30 minutes just to get some help with fitting and with finding suitable options. Ended up purchasing some, but am not sure I'll keep them.

Next stop: Victoria's Secret. They have beautiful garments, and some are quite cute. However, they are not made for anyone who has anything to speak of, really. There are no wide straps on any of their pieces, and I believe only one style was "full coverage." Honey, when you're dealing with as much as I am, full coverage is the only way to go. Anything less and you're gonna start scaring people. Complete strike out at VS. At this point I was so exhausted from bra shopping that I called it a day and headed home.

Here's my question: how come all the "cute" bras (plaid, polka dots, pretty colors, etc.) are for girls who don't have, shall we say, an abundance of assets? Seriously. The bras for us big girls look like they were crafted by the U.S. Army. No offense to the Army, but I don't really want to look like a tank with my foundation garments. I'm lucky if I can get any colors other than white, tan and black. Pink would be lovely. Once I found a beautiful copper color and was so thrilled I purchased multiples. Message to the fashion industry: big girls want to feel pretty, too!

And now that I've expounded on the intricacies of bra shopping, I'm off to finish my lunch and work on planning Beano's Bridal Shower.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Is it it's or its?

You know what's really funny? Being totally drunk and going back and re-reading what you've just posted and finding that you've screwed up "it's" versus "its" and being completely hacked at yourself because that's totally a rookie mistake and one of your worst pet peeves.

"It's" is a conjunction and is short for "it is" or "it has."

Its is for everything else, including possessives.

I think. Damn the alcohol!

Happy 2007~

Good morning! I write to you from the wee (drunken) hours of 2007. Many apologies in advance for any misspelling and grammatical errors, but I fully and completely blame Messiers Anheuser and Busch for inadequacies in this morning's post.

For instance, I just typed "Good morning~" four times until I got the exclamation point correct instead of that little squiggly thing which I believe is called a tilde but which I'm too inebriated to remember for sure. I'm also too intoxicated to google it right now.

I will do my best, as a graduate of The World's Finest School of Journalism, to have a literate post.

As you can see, I've sent 2006 out with the recycling and have greeted 2007 with a bang. Tonight's party was sponsored by my FIL and my MIL, who, despite not being drunks themselves, can throw a helluva shindig. See, I just typed "party" there twice, then went back and typed "shindig" because my journalism profs would be POd if I used the same word in the same sentence twice. Welcome to the anal retentive club, where I'm not only a member, but I'm also the president.

I will not blame myself for my current stupor, but instead will state that I only retrieved one beer for myself, the rest being provided by M, Ryan, Shelley, Jim, and possibly others whom I cannot recall. This means, of course, that I had at least five beers, and they were the new, cool ones in the aluminum bottles that are "SIXTEEN OUNCES!!!" (to quote Michelle) instead of the regular size, whatever that is (apparently smaller than 16 ounces, hence Michelle's excitability at the new size). My daughter (who remaines alcohol-free, I assure you) and my husband (who definitely does not) are now sleeping peacefully. I should probably also mention that I had a glass of champagne at midnight to celebrate the new year, and am only reasonably sure that I am spelling "champagne" correctly.

You know what totally cracks me up? Despite my intoxication, I still managed to brush my face and wash my teeth (to quote my Papa), and take my vitamin and fiber (although I'm skipping the normal insomniac pillsies tonight, as Bud Select will do the trick I'm sure), and get ready for bed in a somewhat normal fashion. I guess old habits are ingrained, eh?


Just wanted to type the longest word in the English language whilst drunk, so I can check it in the morning and see just how bad I am.

So, I am one of those funny drunks who, when drunk, love everyone and everything. I hereby, in my drunken state, absolve those who have been added to my "Things and People to Smite" list lately. Although I reserve the right to re-add you when I'm sober. Smiting is just too much fun to give up altogether.

Which makes me think...what are your New Years Resolutions? I myself have none, as my resolutions from last year remain wholly unresolved and I do not feel the need to set myself up for failure for a second year. They weren't hard, mind you, and many wonderful things happened instead, but if I can't do things like, "Eat at the new Busch's Grove" and "go on a tour of the St. Louis Frank Lloyd Wright house" then I figure it's pretty pointless to come up with new ones. I hear Busch's Grove isn't doing well anyway, and I've seen many other cool houses such as my friend Chris's, so I'll just be thankful for the many good things that happen seemingly on a whim.

I'll sign off now, and will probably turn on the next installment of The West Wing, which in my humble opinion is only the greatest television show ever produced and which now I own in its entirety, thankyouverymuch, during which I plan to slowly fall asleep before starting awake later and stumbling to bed.

Happy New Year to you all!

(P.S. The tilde -or whatever it's called- in the headline is a joke reference to the four times it took me to get the exclamation point correct in the first line of the post. I'm too tanked to think about whether you'd get that or whether you'd just think I'm hammered. But not too tanked to care, apparently. Hence the explanation.)