Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Snakes and snails and puppy dog tails

I suppose we’ve held you all in suspense long enough. So here’s the big news (in case you hadn’t guessed or been told already):
It’s a boy!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

It's all about me

Kudos to Andrew Andrew for putting up more fun questionnaire thingies. I love to read these about other people and to answer them too.

What time did you get up this morning? 6:30 a.m.
Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds…for sure
What was the last film you saw at the cinema? In Her Shoes. It was pretty good.
What is your favorite tv show? Law and Order, SVU and CSI. I’m a crime junkie.
What do you usually have for breakfast? Either cereal or a cinnamon raisin bagel and juice.
Favorite food? Pizza…with sauce that’s tangy and not too spicy. And thick crust.
What foods do you dislike? Anything white and creamy or that once lived in water.
What is your favorite chip flavor? I hate flavors.
What is your favorite CD at the moment? I don’t like CDs…I like play lists.
What kind of car do you drive? Chevy Cobalt
Favorite sandwich? PB&J with Smucker’s strawberry jam and Simply Jiff peanut butter (reduced salt and sugar)
What characteristic do you despise? Self-righteousness. Also smugness.
Favorite item of outfit? Definitely blue jeans
If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? Russia
What color is your bathroom? Shitastic off-brownish white thingy
Favorite brand of clothing? I’m not a brand shopper.
Where would you retire to? I have this crazy feeling I’m going to be a bit transient if I ever retire.
Favorite sport to watch? Lions football…But I’m still learning how to watch sports.
When is your birthday? October 11
Favorite flowers? I love pale pink or white Peonies.
Are you a morning person or a night person? This is hard…since I think I’m neither. I go to bed at 9:30 and can hardly drag myself out of bed at 6:30.
What did you want to be when you were little? A writer
How are you today? Nervous…there’s a blizzard warning and we have a long drive ahead of us tonight.
What is a date on your calendar you are looking forward to? April 16. It’s technically my due date (though we all know how THAT works).

I wrote this whole blog while on hold with Dell...

This morning NPR aired a story about a blogger who is publishing shortcuts around the annoying telephone triage systems that many large companies use to route calls. It’s not uncommon for people to be shuffled around these systems for 10 or 15 minutes trying to perform a simple task such as paying a credit card bill or canceling a cable channel.

Today, I am trying to order replacement ink cartridges from Dell. Dell sucks because they do not let companies such as Quill or Office Max sell their cartridges. You must buy them directly from Dell. And, might I add, nobody at Dell speaks fluent English AND has a static-free telephone connection. As I write this, I have been on the line with them for 20 minutes and have been transferred through at least 3 different divisions and as many “customer service” reps including home office, government and medium and small business. This is because I am not allowed to order things from the internet directly. I must mail, phone or fax in my orders. But, alas, that is a blog for a different day.

So I have a brilliant flash back to this morning’s NPR story. (By the way, I am now on hold with a rep from India who is trying to find HIS fax number so I can fax in a tax-exemption sheet. 5 minutes because he doesn’t know his own fax number.) I pull up the link on NPR’s website and find the blog address only to open and it and see, alas, there is an entry for Dell’s system but, unfortunately, I now have other problems with Dell. I have just learned that they set up my account wrong and want to charge me sales tax. I can’t pay sales tax or it will reflect poorly in our annual audit. I can fax them a new tax-exempt form but, unfortunately, because of the holiday there will be nobody to approve it until next week. Bugger. I trudge on. Perhaps, if I’m lucky, I’ll be finished before lunch.

HHHHEEEEEEEYYYYY wait a cotton-picking darn minute! I know damn well they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in freaking India. What a crock!!! They lied to me….and I fell for it. (Up to 40 minutes and counting. In fact, the call timer on my phone has given up keeping track….this would have been so much easier if the person needing the ink wouldn’t have waited until their cartridge was empty before telling me…)

Incidentally, the blog with the shortcuts is fantastic and has a TON of shortcuts on it. You should check it out.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Head, shoulders, knees and toes...

Well….I have to make this quick because I have an afternoon meeting to get ready for. But I thought I’d just let you all know that Owen and I took the baby (we don’t go anywhere without it!) to the doctor this morning for a general accounting of body parts. As the doctor said, there’s one head and two arms, so everything’s great. As of Sunday we were 19 weeks along. I’ve posted some of the ultrasound photos below. We DO know the baby’s sex now, but we’re not making any formal announcements until we see our families for the holiday weekend. Grammy Sylv will be mighty perturbed if she can’t be the first to know this time since she was almost last to know last time. However, those of you who are trained observers might just be able to figure it out on your own.

A big smile for the camera (above)

Can you guess what these pictures show? (above and below)

Monday, November 21, 2005

Is it cold in here?

Because of escalating heating an energy costs, my place of employment has elected to keep the office at a lower temperature this winter in an effort to cut costs. Apparently, what with the feds busy hating poor people and cutting funds for the programs that serve them, we are in a bit of a budget pinch. Not a crisis, mind you, just a pinch. In any case, the office will now be kept at 68° during open hours and 60°. In addition, the use of electric space heaters has been absolutely forbidden as they cost too much to operate. (I am the exception. Because my office has poor duct work and is notoriously 10° colder than any office in the building during the winter – and 10° hotter in summer – I am allowed to keep using mine.)

I know what you’re thinking: How are we going to keep warm, especially given the fact that we actually DO have clients who were born in barns (literally) and, therefore, never feel a need to close the door? As can always be depended on, the management has come up with a thrifty and logical solution: lap blankets. And no, I’m not kidding. We’ve been instructed to put blankets over our laps to keep warm in the frigid, raging winter winds.

In other completely true news: I’m proud to announce that we now have a new piece of artwork for the office. It’s a shitty, old, faded water color portrait of a Native American woman on a horse. The kicker? It only took $400 to have it framed and matted. Can you believe it? Hmm...I wonder…can we burn it for heat?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Here it comes again...

Owen and I are considering doing a Christmas comeback album this year…reviving the gone-but-not-forgotten tradition of stealing a few excellent songs and compiling them all into a Charismas masterpiece. The problem (and the reason we backed away from it a few years ago) is that we have used up a lot of the good songs and are running low on materials. Granted, I’m sure we missed a few, and some new worthwhile tunes have come to our attention, but we’re not sure we have enough to make a whole album.

So…we need your help! For those of you who already own the highly collectable set, let me know what we’ve missed in the past that you think should be included. Or, perhaps, what has come out recently that you think deserves a fair shake. You can post your ideas here to the blog. For reasons of not wanting to be discovered and fired from my job, I’ll not post my email address here. However, if you already have either mine or Owen’s email address, feel free to drop us a line there as well. All submissions will be considered but, as creative directors, Owen and I will retain the final say on what makes the cut.

Thanks everybody!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Mea Culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa...

I’m sure we can all now agree that I am the worst blogger in the world. In fact, I’m not even sure why you’re reading this – I certainly don’t deserve it. Come to think of it, you don’t deserve it either. I have an excuse, though. Not a note from my mom excusing my absence, but I hope you’ll accept it anyway.

I have been away doing some work for school. I spent 3 days hanging out in 5th grade. This has inspired me to come up with the cure for adolescence: quaaludes. Seriously…these kids need to be drugged. Either that, or they need to be allowed to actually be kids again…they have energy to burn and no gym time or recess in which to do it. But, I digress…

I also spent two days at a conference on early childhood. I go to these conferences because of my work with education, though I don’t see myself working professionally with kindergartners any time soon. Still, it can’t hurt and it’s a lot of fun.

In trying to figure what to do by way of a make-up blog, I scoured my life for the most interesting tidbits that I could entertain you with. And so that’s what I have: some interesting tidbits. I like to lump them in together as a set of things I have recently noticed/discovered.

1. I have become so convinced that the shitty-slow drivers are driving that way just to spite me that I now turn on my turn signals at the very last possible moment. I do this in the hopes that they won’t know I’m turning and therefore won’t have time to turn in front of me on purpose so they can torment me that much longer.

2. Elfie is convinced that Velma (the cat) is her mama. I know this because she regularly tries to nurse on her. Keep in mind that Elfie is now well over six months old. Velma has come up with a solution to this irritating habit, though. She bites Elfie’s face.

3. Velma (again, the cat) has decided that the cold wet deck is no place for a lady of her stature to stage her groveling. She has, therefore, decided that the top of their water dispenser is the right elevation for her regal nature. It’s a small platform, about 6 inches by 6 inches and about a foot off the ground. She sits on it regularly now, looking much like a totem pole with a single, dumbfounded animal on it.

4. I passed my MTTC (Michigan Test for Teacher Certification) with flying colors. This is noteworthy only because I was almost positive I failed it and cried to Owen that it was, without a doubt, the most difficult test I’ve ever had to take. I was glad it was so hard, though. You ought to have to be smart to be a teacher.

5. Owen just doesn’t get it. I asked him to quit leaving his trimmed whiskers on the bathroom vanity because (duh) they’re disgusting and I don’t want to have to look at them or clean them up. He agreed. I caught him several days later, standing in our sunken tub and trimming his beard. This way, he figured, he could just rinse them down. Of course, he had also just finished watering the plants, which were sitting in the tub draining and, as it happens, being covered in whiskers.