Tuesday, April 30, 2002

I noticed I've been rather negative lately. When that happens I just take a quick peek at these sweet little guys and all is right with the world again. Sweet little potatoes :)
ARGH!!! The little plastic slider on my bra just broke! I have no safety pins here at work, so I'm going to be walking around the rest of the day wondering if I'm lopsided. I don't care what the calendar says it must be the 13th or Monday or something.
Lord I HATE screwing up at work. We had a candidate coming in today. I thought at 1 PM, he thought at 9 AM. I went back through my emails from the recruiter. He was right. Not only was he supposed to be here at 9 AM, but I had specifically requested that he start at 9 AM! I don't know where I got the 1 PM from, but I goofed big time. Luckily, everyone here was pretty cool about it. We just started the interview anyway. It's just so embarrasing! Add in the fact that I was late this morning anyway, due to car trouble...are you sure today's not Monday?

Monday, April 29, 2002

I've just found out that the paper towels in our bathroom smell like hotdogs when they're wet. I just wanted to wipe my face off with a cool towel and was rewarded with the pleasing aroma of hotdogs. EWW.

Sunday, April 28, 2002

I've always had an overactive imagination. Especially as a kid. There used to be one of those "tree" lamps in my room as a kid. You know the kind. Long thin aluminum pole with three round lamp heads attached on alternating sides. Well, as a kid I hated going to bed for more than just the normal kid reasons. I was convinced that the lamp was out to get me. I swear the thing moved closer to my bed as soon as the lights went out. Eventually it had to be taken out of my room because I developed a mild case of insomnia. Maybe that also explains my later sleepwalking problems, although it doesn't explain why I'd always wake up in the kitchen with half a glass of orange juice.

I also hated flushing the toilets because I was convinced the noises in the pipes were ghosts on a hungry rampage, and they only ate chubby blond little girls. So my grandmother eventually learned she shouldn't be in the hallway after the toilet flushed, since I would go tearing out of the bathroom as soon as my fingers left the lever; trying to get to the other end of the house as fast as possible.

Axe murderers were always waiting in the bathroom, after a recent slumber party viewing of Psycho. The balloons on the ceiling were alien eggs, after a slumber party viewing of Alien. Why do they call them slumber parties anyway? And why was there always a scary movie? The balloons came loose of their tape at three in the morning, floating quietly down to land on 6 little girls in their "My Little Pony" and "CareBear" sleeping bags, maybe somebody had "Rainbow Brite" (the rebel). Imagine the screams, the chaos, the grumpy parents, the reason Emily wasn't allowed to have us over again for a good while.

I think I've managed to outgrow most it, except for those rare occasions when I freak myself out. Every once in awhile, there's still an axe murderer waiting in the bathroom, the house has managed to burn itself down in the hour I've gone to the store, or the lamp in the basement is an inch closer isn't it?

Friday, April 26, 2002

I've been trying to get healthier (read lose some weight) hence the joining of the gym back in February. Not much luck so far, but if you do it right it's supposed to be slow, right? Well, I've been trying to run around our lake when it's nice, since it's good for the dog and me, but usually I'll go about a quarter of a mile and switch to walking.

Last night I skipped my Pilates class, I just felt like pounding something after being on the phone all day, and that would have been too soothing/relaxing to the point that I probably would've punched the instructor. I decided to see if I could run the whole mile and a half around our lake instead. One of our friends has recently taken up marathon running (bravo!) and with the thought in my head that if she could run 20 miles, surely I could run a mile and a half, asthma and all.

So that's what I did. It felt so good, and I was so pumped up afterwards I cleaned our basement and cleared out the bookcase and entertainment center that we're giving away. The catch? Now that I know I can make it all the way around, I'll have to run the whole way around from now on. The curse of progress!

Thursday, April 25, 2002

WARNING: Major venting session follows. If you're not interested please don't read.

I've spent way too much time on the phone today. Why is it that everything breaks at once? I've been on the phone arguing with three different people about our phone service and T1 lines and the problem's still not solved. I've called our payroll/HR administrators 5 times about different things including duplicate mailings, rate increases, 401K rollovers and I actually need to call back again to two different offices about two different things that just came up.

UGH! I hate making these kind of phone calls! I decided to make the first two early this morning to get the "nasty stuff" out of the way first so I could do what I enjoy doing the rest of the day. Then it turned into the phone day from hell. Everytime I think I've gotten everything figured out enough so I can hand this stuff off to someone else, some new question comes up and I have to get back on the phone.

OK all vented now. Thanks. Happy-bouncy-fun stuff tomorrow, I promise.

Andy's kindly mentioned that when you blog, it's best to blog about the things you like (which are more fun anyway) and if you're going to bitch and moan, do it about anonymous people you don't know (like the crazy lady with the hat I met at the mall). So, those of you that read my post from a few days ago will notice it's been deleted, just in case it came around to bite me in the ass. I was trying to be, as my grandmother puts it, "too cutesy". So just remember the funny way I was trying to write it, forget the content, and let's move on.

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

We brought home our brand new leather chair and ottoman last night. From Restoration Hardware of course. Only the world's most perfect store. We've made many a purchase from that happy place, including a very interesting one that involved a very long drive to their store in Paramus, NJ (we live in MD). Why did we go? It was the last store within reasonable driving range on the East Coast that had the 2 wrought iron patio chairs that we wanted. Yes, we are slightly demented people, but what a conversation piece, eh? Whenever we have people over and out on the deck we get to trot that story out.

I also never used to think of myself as a leather chair person. I've always considered leather furniture an old school, men's lounge, cigar smoking type of thing. But when they started carrying that line, and I sat in one on one of our (almost) weekly visits to the store...I fell in love.

The chain's recently started carrying a new line of stuff, and we had to stop in and see it. When we got there on Sunday they had the floor model grouped with ottoman for such a good deal, and talking to our regular sales guy (Yes we have one. The other sales people there even asked us once why we were there one day when it was Roy's day off) he knocked an additional $100 off. Add that in with the gift certificates we got for Christmas (THANK YOU Steve and Lynne and Ellen!) and the certificates we got from our Yahoo! card rewards program...well it was just too good an opportunity to pass up.

So Andy and I spent a good chunk of time last night going to pick it up, getting it home, getting it in the house and down the stairs UGH! and putting it in a good spot. Then we lounged in it. Lounged luxuriously. And the dog had a fun time sniffing it all over while I batted at his nose. Hopefully, he'll adjust to it as quickly as we have, so it doesn't end up a very pretty, very expensive chew toy.

One added bonus, aside from all the other cool aspects of owning a leather chair...the dog hair brushes right off!

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

You've got to love "Oddly Enough from Reuter's." Where else can you find a story about Osama Bin Laden dolls being produced en masse. Also for sale, the accessory kit. Be sure to check out the whole line at www.herobuilders.com

Monday, April 22, 2002

Soda...Cookies...Potato Chips...Anything that tastes good in any way...

That's all food that I want to eat but shouldn't. I'm trying to go on a diet, since 100 and COUGH-ty eight pounds is just too much for my 5 foot 1 inch frame, and my efforts at the gym so far don't seem to be paying off.

It always sounds like a good idea, except around lunchtime.
We seem to be plagued by an unusual number of solicitors lately at work. I don't know if like every other type unpleasant pest, the warm weather brings them out, or if it's been clinically proven that when you harrass people in the spring they're more likely to buy something from you.

Not all of them are bad, there are some local merchants who are just stopping by with a menu, or to annouce their new opening. I don't mind those, since they're usually very friendly and just stop in for a second. Then there are two types of slimy ones. The first kind talk slick, but tend to run quickly if you pressure them for any kind of details, information for them to leave for us to look at etc. And they usually don't come back.

The second are the real talkers, and these are the ones I hate. You have to tell them several times that you're not interested "But why not our widgets are the greatest widgets on earth?" or in a couple of cases, we already used their service (or the service they were supposedly selling) and they don't seem to believe me. Like a Verizon "rep" who stopped by and tried to use my phone to call in and make sure we had "all of their latest services." I had to physically block my phone from her. Or the ones who ask if they can come in for a meeting with our CEO, our CFO, or anybody more important than you little girl...

Then there's the phone sales. "Could I speak to whoever is in charge of your IT department?" We're all of 12 people big. We don't have an IT department. "Well could I speak to whoever is in charge or ordering your office equipment?" You got her. "Oh! Could I interest you in. . .?" No thanks.

BLECCH! I suppose it's a job, but how could you stand to do that to people all day? I think I would come home nauseous if I had to do that.

Sunday, April 21, 2002

DOG HAIR! Everywhere! I love my big yellow lab, and he's been pretty well spoiled by me. You can check out Andy's page for a picture and description. The one thing about him I do not love, is the whole other dog we could build with the hair he leaves behind everywhere. I got out of the shower this morning and grabbed the towel that had just come out of the linen cabinet. After I'd dried off and was looking in the mirror to put in my contacts I noticed three little yellow dog hairs on my face. They'd come off the freshly clean towel, that'd I'd folded on the bed that apparently had DOG HAIR!

Friday, April 19, 2002

Jury Duty or the Day of the Boookworm

Yesterday I had to report for jury duty. Now, I've never been to jury duty before. I've gotten summoned, but I was lucky enough to be at school, or in the case of the last summons I got, was from PG County, right after we had moved to Montgomery. HAHA! But this time, no such luck, and no acceptable excuse. I let everyone know at my office (read, I complained to everyone in my office), and Andy had a good laugh at me because I was a registered voter, and like a sucker, actually got called to do "my civic duty".

So I got up bright and early yesterday morning to make my way to downtown Rockville to report in. I brought along two books and a sweater. Now the sweater I'm so glad I brought with me. A friend of mine suggested I bring it, since in her experience with jury duty, it was a cold room, with uncomfortable chairs. It was 67 degrees yesterday when I got up. I got up a 6 AM. It was a warm day, and I almost didn't bring it. But remembering the uncomfortable chairs part of her advice, I thought it would be good for a pillow if nothing else.

I arrived at the juror parking lot about 20 minutes early, walked up the street, and went in. I had to go through security before I was allowed in the building and there was a small line. I don't know if the two middle-aged women in front of me were wearing steel earrings or what, but both of them set off the alarm and had to be passed over with the hand held wand the security guards use. I thought the thing must be really sensitive, because these women were not wearing belts with big buckles, large earrings or anything you might blame the problem on. I passed through with no problem, maybe the security guys just have a thing for middle-aged women.

I went upstairs and sat in the "Jury Lounge". When I walked in, the temperature felt comfortable, the chairs looked comfy, and I felt like an idiot with my fleece pullover on a day that was supposed to reach 90. But I looked for an empty space and sat down. 20 minutes later we went through the checking in process, where you prove you're there so they don't send the cops to your house, and you get your stupid little maroon JUROR badge. The folks were very nice and seemed very friendly and walked us through some basic instructions and gave us some funny "real stories" of what not to do. I don't know if the stories were fake, or if the woman giving the presentation had just said the same thing so many times it just came out canned, but in either case they were a bit cheesy.

Then one of my favorite parts of the day. The Video. It had one of the guys from 60 Minutes doing a spiel about how important our legal system was and then we got to see clips of how old legal systems worked. Maybe for the actors in the video, it looks very good on their resume that they were "Drowned Witch #1" in the Montgomery County Juror Orientation Tape, but somehow I doubt it. This wasn't the best bit though. After the little scene plays of old judicial systems, it switched into how to be a juror mode. The first part of this section of the video started with a voice saying and a title appearing "So you've been called for jury duty". I almost died. I wanted to pick up my cell phone right then and there and call my husband and tell him what was going on. To preface, when we were at college, there was a set of pamphlets in the health center, our favorite was of course " So you've got Mono". It was running joke. When I got Mono later on in college I got to have one of those lovely pamphlets. It's still in one of my memory boxes somewhere.

After I'd managed to calm myself down to keep from laughing or dialing rapidly, the video was over and then it was time to meet the head judge of Montgomery County. Nice man, but also very canned. Then the original woman came back and told me my second favorite thing of the day. "We don't just pick from voter registration anymore. We also pull from Motor Vehicle records." Again complete use of self control was necessary to keep from laughing out loud or rapidly dialing and laughing loudly in Andy's ear.

Then the DULL part. The waiting. We waited from 9 AM until 11 AM when we got our first half hour break. During which the room got incredibly cold (thank you thank you thank you for telling me to bring a sweater!) Then at 12 we were told to go to lunch and not come back until 2. Till 2??? I could drive home have an hour long lunch and drive back and still have some time to spare. What was I going to do, by myself for 2 hours? I would've gone home, as mentioned, if not for the parking problem. Free parking being limited, and myself being cheap. So I walked around near the judicial building. It was a really lovely day yesterday. I found a nice place to eat, with a terrific southwestern chicken salad and plopped down outside with my book and read while I ate. I love to read so even though that's what I'd been doing all morning, it wasn't really boring. After I finished my salad, I noticed there was a Ben and Jerry's scoop shop next door. Now, I haven't been in one of those since my (very fattening) summer in Vermont. Ok, I KNOW there's one in Annapolis, but I'm not driving an hour away to go to a scoop shop. So I went in and bought a cone. I know I know what you're thinking "can I have a massive Big Mac and a diet soda?" But I couldn't resist, it was a warm day and their ice cream is just so good.

Now that I've killed 45 minutes of my 2 hour lunch, what to do next? I spot a little park across the street with some nice looking benches. So I walk on over, plop down with my icecream, my book, and my very handy sweater-pillow, and you guessed it, read.

After lunch I went back in and waited some more, until finally at about 4 they came out and told us to go home. One trial had settled out of court, and the other was still in preliminary hearings. District court was done for the day, so they wouldn't send any cases over. HURRAH!

I got my $15 check and went home. All in all, not a bad day or experience. I got to read a good book, I got some good icecream, and I got a day off from work. Plus, I'm excused for at least 3 years. Not a bad deal.

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Remember when you were in middle school math class thinking "When am I ever gonna use this crap?" I just used the "heart method" to figure out a proportion! Wherever you are, thank you Mrs. McKenzie!
I went to a career open house last night. Not for any real desparate reason, just because I like staying open to new opportunities. It actually turned out to be a bit of a flop. A recurring theme, unfortunately. I seem to be vastly overqualified for a lot of jobs that are available right now by about 3 years and quite a bit of money. Or I'm incredibly underqualified by about 10 years and a seemingly illegal amount of money (who actually makes that much? and probably gripes that they're underpaid?) Well, I suppose if nothing else it got me out of the house, and I got some free food (YUMMY chicken with peanut sauce and some amazing little chocolate things). Of course I didn't win the huge lottery last night either. It apparently is not in my cards to be rich.

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

They're repaving our parking lot at work. Aside from being a major pain in the butt, they didn't notify us.

I pulled up to the building yesterday to be confronted by orange cones and a demolished looking parking area. So I pulled around the side entrance, parked where there weren't any cones and went inside. There was a very chatty woman in the elevator (there seem to be a lot of these in my building, but we'll save that for another day) and we started to mutually gripe about the inconvenience. I mentioned that I didn't mind parking away from my normal spot, but I wish someone would have told me earlier. She responded with "Oh but they did! The landlord sent out 3 notices about a month ago!" I thanked her very much, got off the elevator at my floor, walked straight in to my desk, and made my call. It rings about 8 times (they never answer right away). I get the receptionist, who is usually very curt until you make the point of being an irate tenant at which point she becomes all sweetness and light. I demand to know why we weren't notified about the repaving. "Oh that's not possible. We sent faxes to everyone March 25th, and then one 2 weeks ago with the resecheduled date, and one on Friday as a reminder." I responded that we've gotten the faxes about the recent thefts in the building and the hit and run incident in the parking lot, but nothing about repaving. "Are you a sub-tenant?" Ok, yes we are a subtenant..."Then it's the main tenant's responsibility to make sure you get the notices." When I try to question why we get some notices and not others..."Take it up with them."

Ok, I give up and decide to go talk to our friendly neighbors across the hall. One problem, they don't have a receptionist any longer and I don't really feel like approaching their CFO (my only other contact there) with a question about notices from the landlord. So I go talk to my boss, to see if he has any better contacts to talk to. He tells me to get the landlord back on the phone and get the number of a woman in their main office in St. Louis, whom he's spoken with before (again, have to save this one for another day).

So these are my marching orders, and like most of the ones I get from him, I decide to try a less abrasive way around the problem first. I go to the landlord's website to see if I can find any other contact information. No such luck. I call the landlord again and speak to the receptionist, and ask her for the woman's phone number. She stutters and puts me on hold. She comes back on the line in 2 seconds "Is this about the parking lot again?" Yes, of course. It seems my question has had the desired effect. "You know our building manager is right there, why don't I have her stop by."


The building manager stops by, we have a nice little chat and magically we got an apology email and a guarantee that we will receive all notices from now on, if not by fax then from the building manager personally.

So all is well. Sort of. They're still paving today, meaning I have to park next door in the Holiday Inn parking lot. And there's no way to get to the door of our building from the hotel next door without walking across some section of sticky tar. It being 90 degrees today in APRIL is not helping the situation. So I managed to ruin the bottoms of my sandals, but happily I also managed to mark the carpets on my floor with sticky black footprints as well as leaving a little trail of mulch wherever I go since I also managed to pick some of that up on my way in.

Lesson of the day: I really need to learn when I should be a hardass about things, and when I should bring along a cruddy old pair of shoes.

Monday, April 15, 2002

Isn't it amazing how only the slightest thing can bug you on a Monday? And then when there's lots of things going wrong...like your timesheet system crashing, your bill reconciliation not balancing, your boss having that slightly pissy edge to his voice...makes me wish I'd called in sick.

Friday, April 12, 2002

Do you know what I find odd? There used to be a show called "The Great Space Coaster" which I loved as a kid. I had the biggest crush on Speed Reader, who my husband now informs me would not have been interested in me, being that he prefers the company of men. But this isn't what I find so odd.

What I find odd is the number of people out there that remember the show and claim that no one else remembers it. There are whole websites devoted to this phenomenon. I've read the postings and EVERY OTHER EMAIL says something to the effect of "I thought I was the only one who remembered this show" or the ever popular "people look at me like I have three heads when I talk about this show". Now, if there were enough people that remembered the show so that when I do a search on Google some ungodly number of websites come up...how is it that so many people think they're the only ones who watched it?

Thursday, April 11, 2002

Along the same lines...there's also Diaper-Butt at the gym. I can't tell which I sincerely hope more...that she is wearing a diaper or that she isn't. Can you tell by now that I'm basically a mean person?
Do you ever wonder if other people think the same way you do? For example, I make up names for people that I see on a regular basis, but don't know personally. At my office, we have a communal women's bathroom for the entire 5th floor and so I run into women from the other companies fairly regularly. So I often see Ugly-Hair Woman, Smells-Like-Smoke Lady, and Miss That-Butt-Must-Belong-To-A-Secretary. But there's one woman in particular I'm thinking of...Elephant Feet. I've only ever seen her feet in the stall next to me, and they are painfully swollen, large feet. How can I tell? She wears flip-flops. Even in the dead of winter when it's freezing outside.

Now, I've never actually seen her face, and I honestly hope I never will. Because I've assigned her this name in my head I don't think I could look at her eye to eye without blushing. I actually once fled the bathroom because her stall opened as I was washing my hands. But maybe I could face her. Maybe she's got some bizarre name for me in her head. Like...Scuffy Black Shoe Girl.

Wednesday, April 10, 2002

First blog ever and I have nothing to say right now. I'm gonna go shopping instead.