Monday, January 31, 2005

Admission is the first step

Boss-Man accused me of being addicted to Quiznos.

I am NOT addicted to Quiznos.

I am a creature of habit, rendered incapable of developing new and exciting ideas for pick-up lunch cuisine, especially when left with a 2.5-minute* timeframe in which to make such decisions.

Be ye not so quick to judge, lest ye be proven inescapably WRONG.

*I work in the Restaurant Capital of the World. Literally. There are more restaurants per capita here than anywhere else on the entire planet. Therefore, everybody and their mother's brother comes here to eat between noon and 1pm. As a result, 2.5 minutes is the window of time between the realization of "I need to get lunch before noon or I'll be standing in line for 45 minutes," and noon.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

How to Make Me Grumpy

Wake us up by placing your claws on the outside of the door and SCREEEEEEEECHing them down until we let you in. Once inside the bedroom, jump onto J's side of the bed and be soooooo lovey and sooooo haaaappy and purrrrrrrr in his ear to let him know how much you love him. Then walk around him and across my chest (OWWW) and leave a dribble of liquid poo right next to my pillow before scampering off to the litterbox.


It's because I trimmed your claws, isn't it. ISN'T IT!?!

Saturday, January 29, 2005

The day I discovered online shopping.


I love my job. I love my job because I had a real knock-down-drag-out with The Boss yesterday and still have a job. An invigorating fifteen minutes of yelling at eachother ended in laughter and (him) telling jokes. Dirty jokes. I love my job. I still wish I had actually won the argument though.

Here's a quick reference for any future posts about the people I work with:
  • The Boss: President of the company. Has been in direct marketing for over 40 years and seen just about everything. Blatantly (and refreshingly) the most politically incorrect man I've ever met. Has opinions and advice on just about anything, can talk a blue streak and is mysteriously sharper than he presents himself. Analyzes personalities of those around him (almost) impeccably. Pronounces "business" as "bidnuz." Has a lot of unconventional methods based on experience, which drives everyone crazy, especially since he usually turns out to be right.
  • Boss-Man: The Boss' subordinate. Partner in the company, his official title is something like "VP Marketing." Primary supervisor, comes in to work approximately 3 hours out of the day to write checks and pay bills. Also heads up on-location meetings. Other than that, we're not really sure what he does except that he's the only Partner that is in the office on a regular basis. Has a lot of traditional business sense, which conflicts at time with The Boss' methods. Is also 6'2", 280 lbs, and enjoys approaching within three inches so you are tempted to take a step backward to avoid being squashed.
  • Partner-Boss: More company partner than boss. The motivational/inspirational leader of the three. Rarely in the office, knows everybody in the whole world. Personal acquaintance of GW Bush. Stays with the President of Nigeria when he visits. Gets SUVs and Superbowl Tickets for free just for being a nice guy (to the right people). Former nightclub owner that shut his businesses down to go into the ministry and open a BBQ restaurant at which he holds weekly meetings of encouragement and accountability for his fellow brotherhood and anyone else that cares to attend. Has an unusual and almost unintelligible accent that mainly consists of dropping every consonant. Has never met a stranger.
  • Jamie: My one and only co-worker. We keep each other sane.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Abortion Stops a Beating

To those who know me, it comes as no surprise that I am pro-life. I was the result of an unplanned pregnancy (which is the PC way to say that my biological mom got knocked up as a teenager). In addition, I had a fairly noticeable physical birth defect that required immediate (and very costly) attention.

That’s two major strikes against me in the matter of deciding whether to go through with a pregnancy, yet my biological mother did so and put me up for adoption at birth. Consequently, I was raised in a stable, loving home by two remarkable people I know as Mom & Dad.

I once asked my parents if they had negotiated a better price for me because I was a “sold as-is” baby. They didn’t appreciate that question. I just think they should have gotten me on sale because they had to pay for repairs.

But I digress.

Anyway, it’s no great mystery that I am a pro-life supporter. Therefore, you can imagine my shock and dismay when we drove past this hand-painted sign in front of a church in Oklahoma:

“Abortion stops a beating”

At the time, I was unfamiliar with the (apparently) common adage and did not know that I was supposed to interpret the itsy-bitsy-almost-invisible drawing of a heart squeezed into the corner of the sign as the last word in the sentence.

So I’m thinking Crimminy, is this the new pro-choice movement? Dead babies are better than abused kids? Somebody shoot me now.

If you’re reading this and belong to a church in Oklahoma that has such a sign in front next to the highway, please – for the love of God and the emotional condition of the highway travelers – change your sign.

Battle of the Bulge Update

I was told by a member of a select group that I was the only one in that group who had not gained weight since highschool.


Actually, I have gained weight, but we're working on that. It was comforting to hear that apparently it's not as noticeable to everyone else as it is to me. It was especially comforting this morning when FOR NO REASON AT ALL I woke up a pound heavier than yesterday. Doh.

Thursday, January 27, 2005


Here's a word to the wise for all passers-through.



Martha Stewart, I am not

"I hate housework. You make the beds, you wash the dishes and six months later you have to start all over again."
-Joan Rivers

I might be having company tonight, so I cleaned the house. Hear that everybody? I CLEANED THE HOUSE. I vacuumed, emptied the dishwasher, filled the dishwasher, dusted the mantle and tables (even the little ones in the bedroom), cleared the countertops (no small feat in our house), cleaned the countertops, watched the dog track dirty paws all over the freshly vacuumed carpet, and mopped the kitchen floor...well, at least the part you walk on.

It's really not the cleaning part of housework I hate so much. It's not really the fact that it takes forever to accomplish such temporary results. It's not even the fact that dirty bathrooms are icky and I can't stand to clean them (I solve that by putting Jens in charge of bathroom cleaning).

It's the fact that when I'm finished, YOU CAN'T TELL I EVER DID ANYTHING.

We live in an ugly house. There's no getting around that. The walls are dark (except for the squares of swooshing pastel textured paper) and the carpet is dirty (and it's that burber stuff so you can't tell where you've vacuumed), and there simply isn't enough light in the house to escape notions of living in a cave. So when I'm done cleaning and I wipe my hands and look around...I can't tell the difference between when I started and when I've finished.

So why, you might ask, do I ever bother cleaning in the first place? The answer is quite simple, and it's the same reason I never cheated on tests and have dreams about assignments that aren't completed on time.

Guilt. I don't have enough to make me keep a clean house, but do have just enough to occasionally embark on a cleaning fit. (And yes, I am holding an experiment to see how many times I can use the word "clean" in a single post. Clean clean clean. So there.) I think it goes back to my theory about finding the meaning of life in balance. Some, yes, but not too much.

I dated a guy once who thought I would make a good Mormon wife. HA. He would have been sorely disappointed. I don't even make a good Baptist wife half the time. I live in constant bafflement at how I managed to secure such a wonderfully patient and laid-back husband. Who is willing to wait until I'm ready to have kids (we're pretending that he has a choice here).

So I have a (mostly) clean house now. There are still piles of laundry spewing out of the bathtub, which we use as a back-up laundry hamper because the drain doesn't work...and because it's one of the few places the dog doesn't sneak in to steal dirty socks...and yes, because we're dreadfully lazy people who hate to do laundry. Especially me.

So if you live in Dallas and get an invitation to come over for dinner, it's because the house is clean and we feel obligated to take advantage of it. Accept that invitation, because you won't get another one for 6 months.

PS: Please don't tell me I'm shallow because I'm annoyed that we own the ugliest house in the neighborhood. You would be very wrong. I'm annoyed that we rent the ugliest house in the neighborhood. Geesh.

A Message from Andrea

"Hello Everyone!
Thank you so much for all your prayers. Ryan is doing much much better. He has regained all movement and feeling back in his arms and legs. Right now the doctors are still speculating and trying to figure out what caused his potassium levels to drop from the normal range of 3.5-4.5, to way under the deadly range with levels of 1.1-1.6. The doctors and specialists have ruled out Gillan Bare Disease (I thought it was called Garretts Disease...sorry about that) by the main factor that Ryan lost movement from large muscles to small, and with that particular disease, it starts in the fingers and toes and then moves to the larger muscles. Praise God Gillan Bare Disease has been ruled out. Ryan was moved today from ICU to the floor and will hopefully be out of the hospital tomorrow, Friday at the latest. Right now dietitians are working with this 6'2" 180lb kid to eat foods other than pizza and $ .99 burgers, which will definitely be a challenge but Ryan understands the severity of his condition and is definitely taking the right steps. Though the doctors know that his diet is only a small factor to what has caused this, at this point they are not sure how to diagnose his rare condition. They will be putting him on potassium pills, since the potassium is what he responded to so well, and will be monitoring him very closely with doctors visits and blood work. Thanks again everyone for all your prayers. We all felt your prayers, and were filled with strength peace and joy! Thank you! God is so good!"

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Local Emergency

I received a phone call last night from Andrea, an old friend from high school. Her brother (who is also a friend of my brother) has been put in ICU here in Dallas due to waking up without feeling in any of his limbs. He was rushed to the hospital and tests revealed that he had an extremely low potassium level (just above 1.1) and the doctors were amazed that he was still alive. Evidently he should have had cardiac arrest before his levels reached that low.

They pumped him full of potassium and he seems to be responding to the treatment. As of today, he has some mobilitiy back in his legs. They are calling in specialists to figure out what went wrong and the theories they were tossing about didn't sound too appealing. They included a blood leak in his brain, a degenerative disease that could leave him permanently crippled, and other options that were all a little scary.

The fact that he's responding to the potassium treatment is encouraging though, and we're hoping the only diagnosis they have to come up with is what caused his levels to drop so dramatically.
Please pray for healing and peace - both for Ryan and his family. He's still in ICU and the doctors are only allowing 2 visitors at a time, twice a day for 30 minutes, so the family is unable to see him very much.

On a lighter note, I think I get the stupid award for the month. I walked into WingStop last night and paid for my pickup order. And left it on the counter. And I didn't realize until I got home and had no wings to take inside. So J had to make an extra stop on the way home and pick up the wings.

Proof positive that a day and a half of correcting legal documents can turn my brain to mush. Sigh.
Thank goodness for patient husbands :)

PS: Besides low potassium, there are other things
that would give you a heart attack...

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Birthdays & Screamers


Hey, good news from yesterday's vent about the
$130 sandwich. It looks like the problem will resolve itself, as Bank of America doesn't seem to be charging us any overdraft fees. That's the first time I've ever witnessed a banking problem resolve itself, so I'm still a bit skeptical, but it appears to be the case. Wahoo!

We got a Screamer on the phone today. Not a huge surprise, I predicted that she was going to be trouble when she first signed up. One of those lovely people who (in addition to being annoyingly high-maintenance) doesn't read the literature and gets all upset two months later when things aren't the way they imagined. Fun times.

One thing I have noticed about this job though is the fact that I seem to be developing an imunity to screaming customers. I remember working at the bank a few years back and when a customer would start being unreasonable and demanding, I would get tongue-tied and freeze up like a rabbit in the road and it would completely ruin my day...sometimes my week, depending on how demoralizing they were. I think I still have scars from Mr. Green.

Anyway, perhaps it's because I really feel competent in what I'm doing now, or (more likely) because I've grown up a bit. I now have much less of a problem telling someone exactly where they can put their money-back guarantee. In so many words. While maintaining my professional persona, of course.

Monday, January 24, 2005

$130 for a Sandwich???

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we were actually charged $129.55 for two sandwiches this weekend. At Quiznos. They tried to remedy the error by voiding the transaction instead of just crediting our account, which left a temporary authorization of $129.55 held out of our available balance.

Subsequently, about 6 transactions went into overdraft. I was really hoping to spend a day this week chasing down a Bank of America manager to fight a ton of overdraft charges on an account that never actually went negative, while listening to "not a bank error" sixty-four times. Really.

For the record, if we ever visit that Quiznos again, we will be paying in CASH.

I think the worst part is the pain and the sorrow that gnaw at my heart like millions of tiny evil gnomes...or doves. Evil Doves.

Friday, January 21, 2005

I know something you don't know...

I know something you don't know (insert nanny-nanny-boo-boo tune here). That now makes a total of 3, count them, three pieces of personal gossip information that I am privvy to at this moment in time. HA. Am I easily entertained or what?

You gotta love casual Fridays. There's nothing quite like throwing on an old pair of jeans and a t-shirt to make you feel better about going to work for one more day out of the week.

Guess what??? I DID IT!!! Last night I finally finished my writing assignment (insert Chariots of Fire music here)! Granted, it's not the best thing I've ever done, and it borders on completely ignoring the directions. But it's done and that's what matters to me right now. That's what gets me through today, knowing that my free time this weekend will not be spent punching keys into a keyboard, staring at a computer screen, and hitting the "Delete" key 57 million times. Yes, fifty-seven million.

Nor will it be spent in guilt over not doing the above. I had a guilt dream last night about this assignment. Actually in my dream the assignment was an oral presentation on the Atlantic Ocean and I got attacked by a biting lobster with no arms. But I think it was because of this writing assignment.

Thursday, January 20, 2005


"Everyday is a struggle between what I wanna say, and what I should keep to myself..."

-Toby Lightman, Everyday

"****** Marketing, this is Amy."
"I'm a distributor and there's a sticker on my box that says 'Distributor ID Number: 5714.' Is that my Distributor ID Number?"
"Well it's certainly not your IQ."
(NOTE: Distributor ID Number has been changed to protect the stupid)

"Olive Garden, may I help you?"
"Yes, I need to add a soup to the pick-up order I placed a few minutes ago."
"What kind?"
"I can't remember the name, it's the one that starts with a Z."
"The Pasta e Fagioli?"
"Did you pass kindergarden?"

Personal Victory of the Day: I am slowly winning the battle of the bulge. Of the 12 pounds I gained after I got married (actually, after I graduated and quit walking around a 5-level campus all day) I'm down to 7 as of this morning. Yee-ha! Of course, that probably has less to do with any efforts of my own, and more to do with the fact that last night's dinner didn't stick with me very long.

I think I have developed some sort of a food allergy, but can't for the life of me figure it out. Sometimes I make notes on what I eat, and have come to the following conclusions:

Milk: OK if I drink it on a regular basis. BAD if I haven't had it in a while
Milk on an empty stomach: BAD
Milk + Wings: BAD
Chocolate Milk + Wings: OK
Chocolate Milk on an empty stomach: BAD
Milk + Cereal: OK
Pizza: OK
Pizza + Coke: usually OK
Studio Movie Grill Pizza + Pepsi: Bad...sometimes
Cheesecake: BAD
Crab: BAD sometimes, but I don't care. I like it too much.
Wienerschnitzel Hotdogs: BAD...but that probably goes without saying.
Alfredo: BAD
Tai Noodle Dishes: BAD
Fajitas at On the Border: OK
Fajitas at Colorado Restaurant: BAD
Coke: OK
Penne w/4-cheese marinara: OK
Coke + Penne w/4-cheese marinara: BAD

After all that, I still can't figure it out. I guess I'm not lactose intolerant, or dairy products would always bother me, right? It seems that carbonated beverages and cheese don't go well together. And I don't know what was with the hotdogs and fajitas. Ideas, anyone?

I'm a glutton for punishment. It's free lunch day at work (yay) and we're having Olive Garden. Cheese ravioli and lasagna. And Coke. Bad for diet and food allergy. Yummmmm...

On a side note, I have discovered why cowboys walk bow-legged. Contrary to popular belief, it has nothing to do with riding horses. It's so they can keep from scuffing up those pretty boots. I need to take a lesson from them, as I have just succeeded in ruining yet another pair of great leather boots by scratching up the sides with my heels. Doh.

And on another side note, I can't even teach my cat to do this.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Multiple Personalities

Yay, done with crappy project from yesterday! And more thankful than ever that I didn't go into accounting.
Now for the daily work vent session...Does anyone besides me notice that a startling number of customer service representatives seem to have the IQ of a cow and the personality of a rotten grapefruit?
As a minor example, I attempted to (painlessly) get the address of a motel where we're holding a company meeting next week...

WOMAN: aslkdjcoicjewej kdmnclkj, how may I help you?
ME: Is this the Pine Valley Motel?
WOMAN: Yeah.
ME: Ok, can I get the address of the motel please?
WOMAN: Elevenuh827highwaaay226south
ME: Was that 11827 Highway 226 South?
WOMAN: Uh-huh.
ME: Ok, thank you.
WOMAN: Who wants to know?
WOMAN: Yeah, but why?
ME: ...So that I can get there...
WOMAN: (silence)
ME: Our company is having a meeting there...and I need to be able to tell people where it is.
ME: Um..bye now...

Did she think I was going to come by and steal the motel? It can't be unusual for people to call the front desk and want the address of the building they plan to spend the night at.
I also wonder what it was about her interview that made the owner of the motel say "this woman would be a great customer service representative." She wasn't exactly Miss Personality. Maybe she was just a good interviewer...multiple personalities or something.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Good Thing, Bad Thing

Good thing: Mocha Coconut Frappuccino
Bad Thing: Said Mocha Coconut Frappuccino has been discontinued by Starbucks. Must settle for plain Mocha Frappuccino.

Good Thing: Opting for healthy smoothie instead of traditional Mocha Frappuccino
Bad Thing: Finding out (after finishing it) that smoothie has more calories than Mocha Frappuccino

Good Thing: Remembering to bring book for slow periods at work
Bad Thing: Forgetting to bring reading glasses

Good Thing: Going home during lunch to get reading glasses and accidentally being there when the pest control guy shows up and needs access to the locked gate
Bad Thing: Being late in returning from work because pest control guy showed up

Good Thing: Finally having reading glasses at work
Bad Thing: Never having a chance to read because suddenly things are busy

Good Thing: Being really busy at work
Bad Thing: Being really busy at work because of crappy project

Good Thing: Going home after crappy project.
Bad Thing: Getting stuck in rush hour traffic because of crappy project

Good Thing: Arriving home to find that long-awaited scrapbooking supplies have arrived. Can finally continue scrapping pages that have been put on hold waiting for supplies.
Bad Thing: Still haven't finished writing lesson (aaaggghhh) so scrapbooking gets put on hold again

9:00PM. I think I must be the biggest procrastinator in the world. I just created a account (like I'm ever going to use that) to keep from doing my writing assignment for 10 minutes. I'm having a really hard time with this one for some reason. I'm supposed to write a 750-1000 word short story. Piece of cake, right? Wrong. I think I've started over completely at least 4 times already. Sigh. So far I'm 675 words into my latest draft and my story hasn't gone anywhere. Double sigh. Why is story-writing so easy when it's NOT for an assignment? Grrrrrr...

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Back on Track

I'm taking a writing class to improve my creative and copywriting skills and by all accounts, I really should be doing my current assignment right now (since it's already a week late). However, I had to take a break from my 3,000 word story that I'm frustrated with right now because I no longer care about the plot or characters I have thusfar created. This indicates a major problem and probably means that I should start over with something new, but since I'm short on time, the prospect of starting over makes me groan. I therefore feel obligated to continue muddling through the structure I have already set up.
Anyway, I wanted to take a break to express how happy I am that J has this marketing job. It's fun to be watching TV with him and when a commercial comes on hear him say "Hey, we did that." For the first time in two years, he's not hating his job and for the first time in three and a half years, seems to really be enjoying his job. That's priceless.
Until May 2003, we were trekking through life at a relatively amiable pace. We were financially and otherwise independent, both working, and had bought a house. Suddenly, our lives were run off the road and brought to a screeching halt when J's boss took a dive off the deep end of sanity. Added to that major problem was also the issue that our mortgage company had originally mis-estimated our mortgage payment and sent us a letter in May stating that the monthly payment would go up by 20%. That was 20% we didn't have.
Before we knew it, J was out of work in a dead economy, and we had to sell our little house and move to Texas seeking shelter from my parents. We lost everything we had put into the house that we had only lived in for ten months, were unemployed, and J was still recovering from the emotional hell that boss-man had put him through. The situation wasn't helped by the fact that our beloved puppy, Japp, escaped from the yard the day we arrived in Texas and was killed by a speeding driver.
Since that point, try as we might to get back on the track of life and progress over the last year and a half, we seemed to be doing little more than spinning doughnuts on the side of the road. J bounced from junk job to junk job, each time getting further from his intended field (we soon discovered that the job market in Dallas was not much better than the job market in Seattle) and while I was generally steadily employed, it was never enough to pay the bills. For the first six months of our stay in Texas, I was working for my Dad, and although I enjoyed the job and took it very seriously, I couldn't help but feel that it was something of a handout. A handout I was extremely grateful for, but I still had the need to earn my own way.
There were times when we were able to save a little money, but something always came along to instantly eat away the savings that we had painstakingly accrued.
And now, J and I both have jobs that we love and obtained "on our own." Even better, we don't have to choose each month between paying the bills or paying rent (gasp!). Though it may have suffered some dents along the way, it appears that our little car has made its way back onto the highway and is once again heading in the right direction. Hope is a powerful thing. And God is good.
And now I'd better get back on track with my writing assignment.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Neurotic Boxes

So I'm at work getting some shipments ready when I come across a stack of boxes (that weren't packed by me) to ship. Rather than dragging them to my desk to prepare the shipments, I find myself staring at them.

Edges that aren't aligned. Pieces of tape too long for the side of the box, dangling off the end. Flaps that aren't closed completely and corners that aren't the sturdy 90-degree angles the box-makers intended when they created the design. Items thrown in haphazardly without any padding so they rattle and bump around inside a box three times too big for its contents.

And I feel my right eye start to twitch. I have taken the box to the shipping table, cut the tape, repackaged the contents and am meticulously securing the new smaller box with tape before I realize, "What the heck am I doing?" I've just wasted the last five minutes on some utterly meaningless task so that a box will look pretty. What is wrong with me?

I have come to the realization recently that I am my father's child. Perhaps not literally, as both my brother and I are adopted. But in a manner of speaking, I have to admit that I do share characteristics that I see in my father.

Characteristics that I have spent the better part of 24 years teasing him about.

One of my father's more endearing traits is his obsessive compulsive tendencies. I think I actually cleaned my room twice during my entire 18 years at home. Not for lack of intention, but simply for the fact that my father couldn't wait for me to get home from school before cleaning the room. At least four times a week, I would come home to an organized room - bed made, floor spotless, and bathroom counter impeccable.

It was never a guessing game whether or not Dad had been home from work yet. One had only to look at the message pads by the kitchen phone, perfectly aligned to the corner of the counter and pens placed precisely on top, parallel to each other and equidistant from the edges of the notepad. Each kitchen appliance was aligned and spaced just so, and the counters were always immaculately cleared. His closet was (and still is) organized by color and sleeve length and each pair of shoes has its proper place. Socks are never rolled together, but folded neatly and placed in the drawer by color.

Did you ever see that Full House episode where DJ puts the bottle of cleaner on the kitchen table (and even - gasp - off-centered on the table) just to see how long her dad could stand it before he had to put it away? Yeah. Played that game a few times.

Unfortunately for my dear husband, I did not (repeat NOT) inherit any of my dad's cleanliness. I'm a dreadful housekeeper. However, I have noticed over the past several months, that I do seem to have some odd obsessive-compulsive traits, most of which I wasn't even aware of until I recently when I overheard a conversation in which two OCDers discussed their vices. And I painfully realized, "...hey, I do that. And that. I thought everybody did that."

It appears that I haven't inherrited any of the USEFUL OCD quirks. Only the ones that are utterly stupid, meaningless, and don't enrich my life or the lives of those around me in the least. So here's my confessional:

  • I sort my MM's by color and eat them accordingly. I didn't actually know that was weird until recently. But it bothers me when there are more of one color than of others.
    I don't step on cracks.
  • As previously mentioned, I'm very particular about boxes and packing. J and my mom had a few laughs unpacking our stuff after we moved to Texas, when they discovered that everything I had packed was..."gift-wrapped" as they termed it. Ha freakin' ha ha.
  • I have been known to spend hours inventing and reinventing a company form so that it looks "just so" and meets a certain standard for aesthetic perfection. We're talking about redoing border lines 4 times because they're too thick or too thin.
  • I generally have to turn on every light in a room when I enter it. At least when it's my own house. I have managed thusfar to keep my psychosis contained to my own domain. Of course my husband would mention that he wishes I would develop a neurosis for turning the lights off when I leave the room too.

Yes, I think I have the disease. And unlike the other OCD's I know, I haven't even contracted the useful strain. My desk remains cluttered, my house remains dusty, and there are large piles of laundry spewing out of the bathtub. But dammit, those boxes look fantastic.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Squirrelly Dogs & Friggin US Mail

My puppy is so cute. He somehow managed to piss off both a bird and a squirrel this morning and when I looked out the window, the squirrel was sitting on the fence yelling at him (have you ever heard a squirrel in a yelling fit? It's quite entertaining) and the bird was swooping around him trying to...attack? him without getting eaten. And Hastings was racing around the yard (shibas are good at that), enjoying the game and having the time of his life.
I have found a new pet peeve. Computers that try to be human. Auto-response systems that try to act like a real person. The following conversation occurred when I tried to talk to a real person about an international shipment that was lost. Let's just say I lost more than my shipment...

USPS: Thank you for calling the US Postal Service. To continue in English, say or press 1. To continue in Spanish...
ME: (pressing 1)
USPS: Ok, "Track & Confirm." Does the label number begin with a letter?
ME: Wait, I didn't want "Track & Confirm." Go back. (pressing buttons to return to main menu)
USPS: I'm sorry, I didn't understand you. Does the label number begin with a letter?
ME: Customer Service, please.
USPS: I'm sorry, your response could not be understood.
ME: I need to talk to a live person.
USPS: I'm sorry, I still didn't understand you.
ME: (Still pressing buttons to return to main menu.)
USPS: I’m sorry, I’m having difficulty - That’s not a valid – I’m sorry – Your response – I’m still having – Ok, let’s try a different question. Does the label number begin with a letter?
ME: (hanging up and dialing again.)
USPS: Thank you for calling the US postal service. To continue in English say or press 1.
ME: (pressing 1)
USPS: To check the delivery status, please say “Track & Confirm.” Otherwise please say “Schedule a Pickup,” “Order Supplies,” or “Other.”
ME: Other.
USPS: Did you say “Track & Confirm?”
ME: No.
USPS: Ok, “Track & Confirm.” Does the label number begin with a letter?
ME: (Click. Dialing again.)
USPS: Thank you for calling the US postal service. To continue in English say or press 1.
ME: (pressing 1)
USPS: To check the delivery status, please say “Track & Confirm.” Otherwise please say “Schedule a Pickup,” “Order Supplies,” or “Other.”
ME: Other.
USPS: Did you say “Track & Confirm?”
ME: No.
USPS: To check the delivery status, please say “Track & Confirm.” Otherwise please say “Schedule a Pickup,” “Order Supplies,” or “Other.”
ME: Other.
USPS: You said “Other Information,” is that correct?
ME: Close enough.
USPS: I’m sorry, I didn’t understand your response. Was that a yes or a no?
ME: Yes.
USPS: Does your question concern a domestic or international shipment?
ME: International.
USPS: Ok, “Track & Confirm.” Does the label number begin with a letter?
USPS: Ok please say each digit your label number slowly and carefully.
ME: (Sigh. Repeating label number.)
USPS: I’m sorry, but I didn’t understand your response. Let’s try a different question. Was the package sent to an address within the continental United States?
ME: No.
USPS: Was the package sent to Guam, Puerto Rico or an APO box?
ME: No.
USPS: Ok. Please say each digit of your label number slowly and carefully. Or if your label begins with a letter say “Go Back” to return to the previous menu.
ME: Go Back.
USPS: Ok, “Track & Confirm.”

Somehow - and I can't for the life of me recall how - I finally got in touch with a real live person.

USPS: Thank you for calling the US Postal Service, this is *****, how may I help you?
ME: I need to file a claim on a package sent to Mexico two months ago that was never delivered. USPS: Ok, what’s the tracking number?
ME: There are three tracking numbers on my receipt, which one do you want?
USPS: Is there one that starts with two letters?
ME: There are two. One starts with EC and one starts with CP.
USPS: The one that starts with CP.
ME: (relaying the number)
USPS: Ok, I’m showing that the investigation on this package was only started a month ago and Mexico has 60 days to respond, so you have to wait another month to file a claim.
ME: But the last time I called, the person told me I could file a claim on today’s date.
USPS: I’m sorry, you have to wait 60 days.
ME: So there’s absolutely nothing I can do right now to find out what happened to this package or get my money back.
USPS: You can track the package through our automated tracking system. Let me put you through to “Track & Confirm.”
ME: (Click.)

The above conversation resulted in an amendment to our international shipping policy. We no longer ship internationally.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

It's Raining, It's Pouring

4:00PM. It's totally raining outside the window at work. Hopefully it will let up before I have to walk out the door in thirty minutes. Oh crap, did I shut my sky roof? Yes, apparently I did. Well that was my panic attack for the day.
I found blogs for some people I knew in highschool today and it sent me back. I suddenly found myself reminiscing about how messed up things were in highschool. And I would wager that I had a pretty good highschool experience, as they go. I can't seem to remember anything particularly warm and fuzzy about it, but I mainly chalk that up to bad memory. There must have been something good about highschool.
I think I experienced some sort of selective amnesia after hs graduation. I had to ask friends today to send me pictures of people I knew I should remember, but can't. I don't remember very many events, and the ones I do remember seem to always be those that involved my utter mortification...such as - well, we won't go into that one. This isn't a diary after all. But the list does include my best friend having seizures, a bomb threat at Prom (though that wasn’t so bad, I was ready to leave), a myriad of speech and theatre tournaments that I hated, one very messed-up relationship, and a never-ending battle with eyebrows that refused to cooperate.
I think most teenagers go through a "finding self" phase sometime around sophomore year of highschool. I didn't hit that phase until my freshman year of college, so I spent the majority of highschool with a sense that everybody else knew something I didn't. I guess that pretty much sums up my highschool experience: a (quite possibly accurate) sense of cluelessness.
Perhaps that's why I can't bring myself to scrapbook highschool. It seems that for me, life began in college.
It's finished raining now. I love Texas rain. It's one of the things I missed in the five years I was in the Northwest. It rains, it pours, and it's done. Bam bam bam. Likewise, I'm done reminiscing about highschool. Soooo many better things to do with my day. Like play video games while I wait to go home.
8:30pm. AAAAGGGGHHHH. Scan scan scan scan stitch stitch stitch crop shrink sharpen save open upload save. Scan scan scan scan stitch stitch stitch crop shrink sharpen save open upload save. Somebody has to invent a better way to get 12x12" scrapbook pages on the internet. I'm done for now. My eyes are crossing and my back feels like it's made out of Legos.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

A New Year, a New Fad

I have just discovered this fad called Blogging, where one writes a semi-daily account of one's activities and reflections on life. I went running into Jamie's office (my coworker) to share my newfound discovery and was confronted by the fact that apparently it's all the rage and I'm the only person in the entire world who hadn't participated in it thus far.
Since I'm all for trying out new things - and since this fad seems less painful than piercing or kickboxing - I decided to start one and see how it goes...although I have to admit I've never really considered my daily life momentous enough to write about.
If there is anyone else out there who has been living in a dungeon over the past year, and is wondering what the heck I'm talking about, some example blogs that entertain me daily are
Joi and This Fish. Feel free to check them out.
Actually, from what I hear, blogging was a fad in 2004. Sooo last year. But since it's new to me, I still want to try it. So here I go again, attaching myself to the world of "cool" and "in" just a hair too late. Or in this case, a year too late. One day "almost cool" will be fashionable and then I'll be set.