Monday, April 30, 2007

The Voice Mail Lady hates me.

I have a new phone at work.

I am not happy about this.

This phone is nice. It’s black and matches my décor much better than the old one. (To be honest, I don’t really have a “décor”. If I do, it would probably called Graveyard Eclectic. I should totally post some pictures of all the junk I have in here…) The phone blends well with the gargoyle pens. I am a total button geek and the new phone has many, many buttons for me to push, which is cool.

This phone is totally freaking me out, though. It has a huge display of the day and date. The number 7 is mysteriously blacked out anywhere it appears in the display. It’s odd. I reported it to the phone guy, but I’m sure he thought I was a total loony. I wasted a lot of time on Friday, the 27th, staring at the screen, waiting for the time to change to some sort of variant of seven, just to make sure I wasn’t nuts. I wasn’t, as I discovered at 7:35, 8:57 and 9:17.

The 7 thing is weird. Also weird is the fact that the computer-generated operator-voice is the same exact voice our old system had. Makes me think maybe there is some well modulated, out of work switchboard operator living in the storeroom next to my office.

But what really freaks me out is the fact that the phone displays my name. Not my full legal name, like in my signature, which would give it sort of a professional, impersonal feel. It simply says my name. My Name. It’s way too personal for a damn phone.

It’s sitting right in front of me, staring at me and making unauthorized use of my name. Every time it catches my eye, I can hear Anthony Hopkins’ voice.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Friday Cemetery Blogging

This stone gives me the creeps. Bizarre Freudian creeps.
It makes me think this poor woman had a pale, unemployed, unhappy son living in her basement.
The next one, however, makes me think this guy was a ton of fun. Don't you wish you'd known this poor nut who couldn't make up his mind which nickname to use?

He probably died with his boots on.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

If you would like to make a call, please hang up.

The antediluvian town of Fugly McCreepyville, which is 30 miles to the north of here, got blown halfway away in a tornado Saturday night. The same storm smacked our office building with a huge electrical body slam.

A dozen valiant little surge protectors paid the ultimate price to keep our computers in mostly working order. Their charry remains sizzled and smoked a bit on Monday morning. The hotwater heater was a casualty, as were all the security cameras. The cameras were not much of a loss because all but one monitor had died of natural causes over the last couple of years. The one remaining monitor is somewhat off the beaten path, and therefore remains perennially unmonitored.

And then there was the good news: Our phone system was fried. Toasted. Cremated. Annihilated. It perished in the smite-yer-ass storm. Adios. Sayonara. Goodbye. Do not dial nine for an outside line.

And the really good news: Its going to be two weeks before we can get a new system installed!

In celebration of this most joyous occasion, I thought I would post a few pictures I took of my tulips a couple of weeks ago.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Random Thoughts For Monday

I bought two books on Saturday: Dragon Art: How to Draw Dragons and Other Fantasy Creatures and Drawing Cutting Edge Comics. They are so cool! Especially the dragon book. I spent Sunday night drawing a nifty little dragon while watching Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

Katie had never seen that movie, or any Robin Hood movie. And she’s never read the book. Poor kid. That’s like growing up without ever going to Sunday School. (You think I’m kidding – I’m not. If I had to choose between the normal Sunday School claptrap and a great hero myth on film, the kid is totally going to the movies every time.) So, that, coupled with the fact that she also had never seen Alan Rickman in anything besides Harry Potter movies and can’t comprehend why I find him so ab-so-lute-ly divine, meant we needed to watch this movie.

I can’t stand Kevin Costner. I really can’t. He makes me want to hit him with my car. He just grates on my nerves something fierce. Unfortunately, I really like a lot of his movies. The aforementioned Robin Hood, (although he was the most god-awful wimp of a forest-dwelling outlaw that has ever graced the screen), Silverado, Bull Durham, and Open Range to name a few.

Anyway, I hadn’t watched this particular movie in years. Since sometime before 1999. It took on a whole new feel and was actually very timely. About halfway through the film, Katie said, “Hey! He said Allah! He’s a Muslim!” She was horribly surprised that he was a Muslim AND a good guy. Verrryyyy timely.

I planted my garden yesterday. I still have to go get tomato and pepper plants. I planted seeds for peanuts, black-eyed peas, sugar snap peas and bits of Yukon gold potatoes. I’ve never planted any these, other than the blackeyed peas, before. I totally ignored the planting advice and sowed ‘em all together in a tiny space. And I think the potatoes had molded. It will be interesting to see if this works.

My back is killing me.

That’s partly because of the gardening. And partly not.

Yesterday I discovered that good nylon rope only lasts three years when tied to a tree in my backyard.

I’ve always wanted a hammock. I finally bought one four years ago. Since there is no way you’re going to find two hammock-suitable trees in any sort of close proximity out here, I sunk a random 4x4 post in the middle of my yard and twisted an eye-bolt into its side. I hooked one side of the hammock to that and the other to a really good bit of nylon rope, tied around a tree trunk. It was well with my soul.

Yesterday, I hopped on the hammock and the rope snapped. I crash-landed. It was ouchy. And now my back hurts.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Friday Cemetery Blogging

In honor of Presbyterian Gal's quest for the strange this week, I'm posting a strange stone for you. This is the side that faces the cemetery road:

At first glance, it appears to say "Young". But it really starts with a backwards J, followed by y, o, u, backwards n and g. The back side is equally enigmatic:

No names, just Father, Mother, and the date they died. In 1926. Any ideas?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

I feel like a character in West Side Story

So, I decided I wanted to start carrying my briefcase again. There is a reason why, but it is so convoluted and ultimately insignificant that it's not even worth explaining. Suffice it to say, I have spent the last three days making half-hearted attempts at finding the damn thing. Last night I came home determined to tear the house apart if need be to find it. I knew it was there somewhere - I just couldn't find it.

Turns out, it was in the last place I looked!

(Ain't that always the case?) (heh, heh.)

So, I opened it, expecting it to be a yawning chasm of empty space, pleading for me to fill it with accumulated crud. It wasn't empty.

Do any of you who actually know me in surreal life recognize this knife? Seriously? I don't carry weapons, as a general rule. My theory is if you need a weapon, you're not talking fast enough. I don't remember this at all. Where did it come from? Why the hell is it in my briefcase?

Its old and the leather sheath is brittle and cracked. The knife is a little rusty but its still quite sharp. It has a comfortable heft and fits nicely in my hand. When I hold it, I have an almost overwhelming urge to stab things.

Jackson doesn't recognize it. No one I work with claims to know anything about it. In the most approved CSI fashion, I analyzed it carefully and determined that the rubber band is of a type found in my grandfather's rubber band stash. And the knife is impressively sharp like he would have kept it. However, the sheath and blade show evidence of having liquid spilled on them and he would never have let something like that happen. No sir!

So, my forensic investigation has gotten me no where.

I am clueless. This puzzle remains unsolved. Anyone else wanna take a stab at it?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

He's a really nice guy, even if he is a poo doctor.

I took Katie to the doctor on Monday. She was out of school anyway, so we scheduled her semi-yearly checkup with the pediatric gastroenterologist.

Say that three times fast.

It must take some special sort of weirdo to want to be a pediatric gastroenterologist. Maybe that’s why Katie’s doctor is the only one of his ilk this side of Dallas. Gastroenterologists are basically poo doctors. When we entered the doctor's waiting room we were immediately greeted with the stench of dirty diaper. Ugh. Not much in the world smells worse.

Then some poor woman hauled in an amazingly pale, 8 or 9 year old boy, wrapped in a blanket. The kid was obviously unwell. As they signed in, she asked “Can we have a trash can please? It’s been a really rough morning.”

I’ll take stinky felons over puking kids any day.

Katie gets really nervous about her doctor’s appointments – it’s somewhat embarrassing for her. So, one day I told her not to worry about it – bo-bos are his business. She found that hysterically funny and it’s become her new doctor visit mantra: Bo-bos are his business. (Can I just point out – I usually don’t use obnoxious kiddie-words for body parts, but somehow ‘asses are his assets’ didn’t work as well.)

I think I may be the one who’s a little nervous about her doctor’s appointment next time. You can’t believe all the stuff they expect you to know about the kid. You have to squirt out her date of birth without even thinking. I know the month and day, but hell, I hadn’t even met her father until a nearly three years after she was born. She was three when we got married, so it takes me a second to do the math and figure out the year.

By the time I got it figured out (with the help of Katie blurting out “1996!”) the nurse was quizzing me about her medications. I thought I was doing well to remember the names of them, but she wanted to know dosages as well. What’s up with that? It’s a green pill and a brown pill. That’s all I know. ‘Hell, y’all prescribed ‘em. Figure it out yerself,’ I thought. I tried to play it off with a ‘talk to the kid – she’s your patient, not me’ attitude. I don’t think she really bought that though, and I’m fairly sure there were some comments about incompetent adult supervision added to the file.


Seriously – I am way behind the curve on this responsible adult business. The doctor told me her weight and height are on track. She’s starting to stretch out, he said. That I got. Then he went on with some schmaltz about her being in the 75th percentile. What is that about? Is she doing poorly on some sort of intestinal achievement test? Does she need glasses? Remedial reading? What?

I think I need a t-shirt that says something about “Not Officially a Parent”.

Somebody at church asked me a couple of weeks ago about when I was going to adopt her. Not if, when. If I’d known her better, I would’ve said “Well, hell! I never even thought about that!” Adopt her? Why? Is there something I don’t know?

I always sign her permission slips and medical forms and all sorts of other things that require a parent or guardian. No one ever questions it. And if they do, who cares? What are they gonna do, take away my PTA card? As if!

I like things the way they are. We’re on a first name basis – I call her Katie, she calls me Rachel. She sends mother’s day cards to her grandmothers. That’s cool with me.

She scares the crap out of me way too early in the morning by yelling “It’s EASTER!!” right into my sleeping face. And she gives me a bite of all her blizzards. I’m cool with that, too.

I’ve never wanted to be a mother and I’ve done my part by not contributing to global over-population. (My boss often leaves my office, shaking his head and telling anyone who will listen, “well, at least she never reproduced.” High praise, in my book.) I much prefer the role of bodyguard, chauffeur and official denier/granter of permission to do stupid stuff.

As we were leaving Big Flat City yesterday, we passed a few less-than-respectable joints. I asked her if she wanted to stop at one of them and get a tattoo. I told her I’d even pay for it.

She declined.

This time.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Then it played La Vie En Rose, which always makes me laugh...

I have switched from Yoga to riding the exercise bike at five-freakin'-twenty in the morning. Yoga was really good for the blood pressure, but not so much for the cholesterol. It's not that I'm all concerned about my health or anything, it's just the M2 and I both have high cholesterol and I don't want her to beat me at the numbers game.

We tend to be a bit competitive around here, heh, heh. We compete over who has the lowest delinquency rate (she always wins that one) or who can put the most members of a certain pathologically obnoxious family in jail for Christmas or who can collect the most urine or make the most people cry in one week, etc. etc. I'd be ticked if she got her cholesterol lower than mine.

I have a recumbent exercise bike that works out pretty good. You don't actually have to be awake to ride it. I just set the timer, and snooze while my feets do all the work.

The only problem is that I like to listen to the I-Fraud while riding. (Hat tip to Cheesehead and her T-Faux.) I've really got to do something about the music on that thing. When it plays the theme song from Speed Racer (Go Speedracer! Go Speedracer! Go Speedracer! Go! Go!) right before Barbra Streisand singing "Papa, Can You Hear Me?" it makes it tough to keep any sort of consistency going in the workout.

And it makes you weird.