Sunday, October 29, 2006

Mirror, Mirror

I broke a mirror tonight. It was a medium hand held mirror that was leaning against my nightstand but had slid down onto the floor, face down right next to my bed. I stepped on it and heard a crunch. When I looked down I wasn’t happy. I’m actually not all that superstitious, but there are two things that do cause me to pause and shudder.

I don’t like crossing the path of a black cat or breaking mirrors. These two superstitions evolved for me after suffering some bad luck after doing both of the above. I don’t specifically remember what happened after the black cat incident as it was many years ago. I just remember that I credited whatever misfortune I suffered to the cat and wishing I’d just turned around or at least spit out of the window three times after crossing its path like one of my friend’s mom’s always used to do. Since then, I’ve been known to actually turn the car around if a black cat crosses in front of me. Did I actually admit that right here in black and white?

The mirror thing is also big for my husband. A few years ago I broke one while sitting in our tent on a camping trip and didn’t really think much of it until much later when my husband pointed out to me that we’d had a string of bad things happen the following year and he brought up the whole mirror breaking incident. I looked back and had to admit that we’d certainly had some bad luck after that happened. I won’t go into all of the details but will just say that the year following the mirror incident was a bad year. (My parents had a bad wreck, my grandfather passed away, our finances were extremely strained, big and expensive things around the house and cars were breaking, and life was throwing some other curve balls our way) Don’t misunderstand me, I’m very grateful that we’re all healthy and know things could always be worse, but I did find myself questioning what role, if any, the broken mirror played in the string of bad things that happened over the following year.

After I heard the crunch tonight I looked down and said, “Oh, no!” When I told my husband what I’d just done I knew he was thinking the same thing I was. Oh, great! Just what we need, another broken mirror.

I actually looked up a few things online tonight about breaking mirrors and superstitions but just wasn’t up for taking the pieces of shard glass outside to burn or burying them in the moonlight, nor did I react immediately as suggested by turning counter clockwise three times afterwards. I’m just going to hope for the best and that it’s not actually seven years for that first mirror and another seven for this one, because that would mean I now have about 11 more years of bad luck still left to go. So, wish me luck!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Black Heads

When I was growing up my grandmother owned an antique store for many years and had a house full of expensive antiques in a variety of shapes and sizes. She still has a house full of antiques, though she’s long retired from the business, but she’s also distributed many things out amongst my mother and her siblings. One of the things my mom inherited when my grandparents retired and moved to the country were these three black heads, which were near and dear to my heart.

When we were little and stuck for hours at my grandparents house, which wasn’t all that fun for us kids considering we couldn’t take two steps without touching something old and expensive, I would stare at these three heads that sat on the fireplace mantle and just admire these three heads. I loved them and always thought of them as my sister, brother and myself up there, regardless of their skin color. They were appropriate in age to each of us and for whatever reason I made the association between them and us, and was just always very fond of these three heads. I once told my mom that I wanted the black heads one day so when my husband and I moved back home after our Military days, my mom gave me the black heads.

I was excited, although I wasn’t sure how they would look in my very plain house, minus the variety of antiques and things to go with them. When I brought them home about ten years ago, my husband asked me exactly what I was planning on doing with these three black heads, laughed and told me flat out they would look really stupid up on our entertainment center. I guess I was a little unsure myself, so I stuck them in a glass cabinet sort of hidden and waited until we moved into our new house then tried pulling them out and he again gave me a hard time again so I kept them hidden.

A few years later I redecorated our living room and was feeling really good about the “new” look, which wasn’t really done in a theme. I’d just decorated with lots of flowers and had new rugs and lamps and accessories, so I felt brave about going out on a limb and putting my beloved black heads on display, so I finally put them out on one of the shelves on the entertainment center and decided that if they meant something to me then I was going to display them, regardless of whether they went my motif.

They’ve been up there for several years and as recently as last week, I had a visitor whom looked up on the shelf and asked me why I had those three heads up there. Normally, my husband will just smile that I told you so smile and let me tell them about where they came from and why I have them. Apparently, they are out of place in my plain and simple living room. My oldest daughter informed me that her friends were also asking her about the heads. Seriously, if anyone came inside and sat down, their eyes would eventually find the heads and they would ask why we had those heads up there.

One night she had friends over and they decided to take the following pictures of the heads and then made them their own My Space. I was mortified to see that they had been carrying around my priceless heads and could’ve broken them while posing them for these pictures. They even took some outdoor pictures that almost sent me over the edge. Actually, I don’t think they’re all that “expensive” but they are sentimental to me. I also learned from my mom they were a Jamaican mom and her two children, not siblings like I had imagined them to be.

So, I ask is it really that out of place to have these three beloved heads displayed up on the entertainment center? Whether we were also black, or the heads were white, or brown or whatever, what’s the big deal? Do they really look that out of place? I love these damn black heads! If it’s such a controversy would it help if I changed the entire d├ęcor of the house to make them fit in? Maybe I’ll just print this out and every time someone new comes in and inquires, I’ll just give them this print out and let them read it for themselves.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

I've Been Watching You

My friend Teresa commented that I should write about “the Barbie phone” and a few of you were curious to know the story behind that. About ten years ago Santa brought my oldest daughter a really cool phone for her room. It was actually called a “Clueless Hands Free” phone and is pictured above. It had this really cool voice changing option. You could talk normal or change it to four or five other choices. They ranged from making your voice sound like a “Chipmunk” cartoon character to that scary one that was featured in Mel Gibson’s movie, Ransom, where his son was kidnapped and he was getting those calls from the kidnapper using that exact voice. When we first tested the scary voice on each other it actually gave me chills.

I’m never one to pass up a good prank or not love acting like a kid again, so it didn’t take me long to pull out the old address book and start dialing up almost everyone we knew. (Well, those who could take a joke and didn’t have a heart condition) I’d call using the scary voice saying I was watching them or something along those lines. Yes, I know, that’s not very nice but let me tell you we had a blast doing it and almost died from laughing a few times. One of us would talk and the other would pick up the other phone and listen to the call, trying not to laugh out loud.

Of course caller ID was a bit of a deterrent but I was pretty clever and up to speed on some ways around it, such as “call block” which would not reveal the number you were calling from. Of course there were some people who had their phones set up not to accept blocked calls so there were a few foiled attempts, but most of the time we (the husband and me acting like two 10 year-olds) got through and totally scared the crap out of some of our friends and family. I know I really should be ashamed. Snort, snicker, bahahaha!

The absolute best one we pulled off actually lasted for several days. It was played on an old friend from our Military days. I had called the wife using the scary voice and then eventually told her what was going on. She wanted me to play a prank on her husband and for several days would call me with details of what they’d done that particular day, where’d they’d been and more or less what to say. I would call and say stuff like I've been watching you, I saw you at the beach with your family riding four wheelers, and I saw you do this or that. I never said I was going to kidnap anyone or really gave a reason to him for the call, other than just informing him in that scary voice that someone was watching him. I would find out from his wife what his reaction was in between the phone calls and learned that he was really tripping out about the calls. He even put the movie Ransom in the VCR to show his dad and wife so they could hear exactly how the caller sounded. If you're wondering if I felt bad about this, the answer is yes, in between my bouts of laughter I had small waves of guilt. I can't recall exactly how long we let him suffer or how many calls I made, but I'd say it was over a period of a several days before his wife finally told him the truth. Luckily, he took it well and we’re both still alive.

Teresa refreshed my memory yesterday that the trick I'd played on her was telling her that I'd seen her out at a club and thought she was hot or something along those lines, more or less posing as a psycho stalker/secret admirer. That was back when she was in the prime of her partying days so I’m sure I went with that line thinking it was believable since she went out a lot at the time. I can’t remember all of the calls we made or exactly what was said but I do know it was funny at the time. As a matter of fact, I’m now on a mission now to find that phone. I know I kept it and it’s in some closet in this house. I’ve made some new friends over the past ten years and am always looking for cheap entertainment!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Happy Birthday, Monkey!

Happy 12th Birthday, Cassidy!

This is daughter number two. She thought she was a boy until she was about four. She's always been a little tomboy, as in Santa better not even bother with barbies for this girl and just bring on the cool boy toys. By the time she was six months old she'd earned her official nickname, "Monkey". She had long arms and legs and would wrap her legs around my waist (back when I still had one) and wave her arms around in the air. People would remark to us all the time that she looked like a little monkey. I was never offended because she actually had monkey mannerisms. Our oldest daughter never required child safety locks or really got into much of anything, but this girl was born trying to walk, crawl or climb her way into mischief. They were like night and day. She's got more energy than anyone I've ever known. She loves all kinds of sports. She played baseball until last year at pitcher and first base and always held her own against the boys. She's head strong and extremely stubborn, competitive, smart, kind, hard-working and beautiful. However, if she's not happy, then none of us are. To know her is to love her (and sometimes want to lock her in the closet). We also call her the elephant because she can remember stuff vividly from when she was like three. She remembers things we have long forgotten, so we often call on her for details of things we can't recall. She's my only child with a dark complexion and my other daughter and I just want to slap her for staying so tan all year round. We also call her Harriet (as in the spy) because nothing gets past her and she always wants to know what's going on around here, whether it concerns her directly or not. (I think I might know where she gets that).

I love you, Monkey and hope you have an awesome birthday!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

My Poor, Poor Car

Friday night our daughter called to invite us over to her boyfriend’s house to play Farkle and drink some margaritas with his parents, sister and a few friends. We all hung out and had a very good time as you can see from the pictures.

His sister had a friend over and as soon as I sat down next to her we became instant friends. She was so friendly and funny. I had no idea that she’d been drinking a little bit of this and little bit of that, probably long before she even arrived at the house. She needed to be home by a certain time so when it was decided that she wasn’t driving herself, my husband and Khristin (the boyfriend’s sister) decided they would drive her.

They were gone for almost an hour when Travis (the daughter’s boyfriend) said they’d just called to let us know they’d be back soon but that their trip had turned into somewhat of a nightmare. Rosie (the friend) had apparently gotten sick on the ride home and puked all inside of the car and they’d been cleaning it up. Luckily, there was someone at the house to clean Rosie up and get her all taken care of.

We all discussed how she seemed so normal at the house and that we had no idea she’d had so much to drink. Travis’ dad made a comment about how he hoped they’d gotten the car all cleaned up, and then I heard him say something about them leaving in the white car. About that time my ears perked right up and I confirmed that they had indeed driven off in the white car. Well, that white car would just so happen to be MY car. I immediately started asking myself why they had to take MY car when both Rosie and Khristin had cars there, too.

They arrived back shortly after the phone call and then filled us in on the grizzly details of Rosie hurling right there all inside of MY car before they could manage to get the car pulled over for her, and then operation puke clean up in which they used an entire roll of paper towels and a bottle of Kaboom trying to get it all up. Poor Rosie felt so bad and was crying and apologizing about the mess. Apparently she’d mixed wine, margaritas and who knows what else earlier in the evening and it all hit on her on the ride home.

When we left to go home that night I opened the passenger door and immediately saw that they’d missed a few spots so I rode in the backseat, where according to my daughter, they’d also missed a few spots. She informed me that Rosie had obviously eaten chili and macaroni for dinner. Ewwww! I told her not to say another word about what she saw on the floorboard and to just keep her feet up. We had the windows rolled down and it was all I could do to keep from adding to Rosie’s mess on the drive home. No amount of wind or fresh air could mask the odor. It was overwhelming. You all know the smell. It’s so distinctive, unmistakable and lingers forever. It’s got to be one of the worst odors there is, although I’ve never smelled a dead body. (YET!)

Saturday morning I woke my husband up and told him that I had errands to run and that he had two choices, go and have my car shampooed or drive me around in his company car since I’m not allowed to drive it. Even though my husband didn’t actually do the puking himself, I still blamed him. I couldn’t help it! I just kept asking him why he had to drive MY car to begin with. I’m really not mad at anyone and Rosie was just too sweet to hold this against her, but you wouldn’t believe how bad my car smells and how much I dread even having to get inside of it. He took it and spent forever at the car wash and shampooed it and when he first brought it home it actually smelled good. Then I took off to run those errands but after my first stop where the car had sat parked for about an hour, the stench had already set back in by the time I got back inside. I left the windows cracked all night and he drove it this morning to get donuts and admitted that unfortunately, he could still smell it. I’m so bummed. Maybe I should just sell it!

Thank God it’s not August, though. If it was still 100-degree weather around here I can only imagine how bad it would be. I’m sure by next spring when the smell has finally faded; this will just be a forgotten memory.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Who's Laughing Now?

I know a few of you have been emailing me that I’m overdue on updating the blog. I’m sorry I haven’t been around much but I’ve been really busy digging a very large hole out in the back yard. It’s the hole where I’m going to bury my husband the next time he decides to blog about my hairy legs and me stealing his high dollar razors. I can take a joke and am only joking myself. I’m just not sure he really wants to open the can of worms on personal hygiene habits because I’ll win hands down. So, if he really wants to go there I'll be happy to reveal information about his grooming habits (or lack of). Actually, I wouldn’t do that to you guys. I wouldn’t want to scare anyone off forever.

Okay, I’m kidding. Honestly, I really can take a joke, so stop sweating and thinking that you’re about to witness blood and guts. I’m smiling as I type this. Okay, my tongue is bleeding, but I’m still smiling. In all seriousness, I am trashing my loofah and just for the record, I shaved my legs tonight (someone write that down!) and I used the fancy razor, then put it back on the sink and do hope he gets lockjaw! Wouldn’t that shut him up? Then I could break his right hand and he wouldn't be able to type either. Now that sounds like a plan!

In case you missed his lovely bio about me and the razor, you can find it here:

Did I mention that I was married to a wanna-be comedian? He spends many hours out in the dog house working on his stand-up routine.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Office

In my house, we just can’t get enough of The Office. If you don’t watch this show, you’re missing out. I’ve told a few people about it and they later told me they just couldn’t get into it. I can’t even imagine that because to us it’s just so entertaining. If you’ve ever worked in an office setting you will be able to relate to all of the different characters in this show.

A friend and former co-worker suggested that I write about the annoying habits and personalities of my co-workers in the workplace. It didn’t take me long to start thinking back to some of the people I’ve spent forty hours a week with. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made some great friends at previous jobs, but have also encountered many types of people I’d never willingly choose to spend time with after 5:00pm.

The following information is from 1991 through present and taken from a variety of offices I’ve worked in. (Some names have been changed for obvious reasons).

The Unidentified Pooper- My friend and I could never pinpoint who this mystery person was but we'd narrowed it down to two people. Nan or Judy- This person needed to see a gastroenterologist immediately. She flushed but always left a little something in the toilet every morning for the person behind her to find, which is why I know she needed to see a gastroenterologist. It wasn't normal! Why she couldn't ever stick around long enough to make sure it all went down is beyond me.

Judy- I could probably do a whole blog entry on Judy alone. She was about fifty, short, overweight but not obese, lazy, sneaky and extremely nosey. She was the food police in our office, among other things. Whenever we held training classes for the field techs or customer's our sales department would order lunch for the class. If there were leftovers they would be put out in the break room for everyone to snack on for the rest of the day. She would usually be up at the front desk by 9:00am asking our receptionist what we'd ordered for lunch that day. Whenever the food would arrive the receptionist would transfer the phones to the service department and she and I would take the food over to the classroom, which was out in the warehouse in a big theatre style room, and set it all out buffet style. Judy would always follow us out there to preview the food if not sneak a plate off before anyone saw. Her desk was right outside of the break room/kitchen and when the leftovers were brought in she would literally sprint in there and start making huge plates. We found out later that she’d hide them under her desk to take home for her husband and kids. No, she wasn't poor! Trust me on this one, she was just greedy for any free handout. She was always trying to scam and steal free stuff for her brother's home business, too. She would always hint around about how she was fixing his business up and if we were going to throw anything away to please let her know, but she was hoarding supplies for him every chance she got. She really was a piece of work and gave my friend and I plenty of material to discuss every day. Once someone brought donuts in on a Friday and she’d saved them in the frig and ate them on Tuesday, which grossed me out. She carried a tote bag everyday and I know it was for the food and supplies she was collecting to take home everyday. We fondly nicknamed her “the mooch". She just wasn't a very nice person or I wouldn't have cared that she hoarded food.

Vance - He needed to see an ear, nose and throat doctor or at least take some Sudafed for his sinus issues. He would sniff constantly and then do the throat-clearing thing pretty often. It wasn’t just regular sniffing either. He would sniff so deep and hard that I had to bolt down the stuff on my desk. It literally drove me nuts.

Dustin- He came to work with a bit of a big head like he’d been there for years. I, unfortunately, had to sit in the cube next to him. He had no sales experience or a clue about the equipment that we sold, which wouldn’t have been so bad if he’d had the salesman personality and skills needed to push the product. If I were a customer I would’ve been turned off by one simple fact alone. He talked so slow that you could’ve custom ordered your product and had it delivered from someone else before he finished his sales pitch. He would make cold calls from his desk and ask for the person responsible for making the decisions to purchase our particular product, then he’d get their voice mail and start leaving a long winded message, talking so slowly that I could only imagine the person on the receiving end sitting there with a pencil and paper waiting on a name or number and for him to spit it out and get to the point of his call. I can’t tell you how many times I actually thought he was talking to a live person and how floored I was when I realized he was actually leaving some unlucky person a four minute voice mail. Do not mistake that statement to mean that I am a fan of speed talkers who leave voice mails talking so fast that you can’t get the number written down after three tries, but there is something to be said for a happy medium in between those two extremes.

Craig - He was a good-looking and funny guy but had such chronic bad breath that we (myself and a co-worker) seriously considered putting several packs of gum in each of his desk drawers. He could be standing four or five feet away from me talking and I literally had to hold my breath. I will give him credit though because he often asked for breath mints. I was more than happy to share. He also loved to use the endearing term “Hey, partner” which was just plain annoying.

Bonnie - She was the “one-upper”. Everything you’d done, she’d done bigger and better. If you had a cyst the size of a grape fruit removed from your ovary, she had one the size of a watermelon. She also reminded me of Debbie the Downer. She was always having a bad day. People were always screwing her over causing her to do back flips at work. (Well, that was her version of events, anyway.) She was also a "close" talker and got in my bubble. I just hate it when people invade my bubble.

John - He was another “cubicle” neighbor from the job where we had the lower walls and could all see each other. He was an older man who could sometimes be amusing with his Minnesota accent, “Don’t ya know?” but he yelled when he talked on the phone and he liked to stand up and look around a lot. Sometimes he stood up right in front of his desk chair just watching everyone. He also liked to stand up and walk around and lean on the counter top in front of my cube, though his cube, which was directly next to mine had the exact same countertop facing the exact same direction. He would just stand there and stare at everyone in the office for about five minutes causing me to shift in my chair. Why did he need to stand at my counter when he had his own dang spot identical to mine? He also clipped his finger nails at his desk and that noise sends me over the edge.

The evil receptionist- She was a bitter forty-five year-old recovering drug addict whom enjoyed being mean to our customer’s and employees just because she could be. She gave callers the runaround even when they didn’t deserve it. She would also burp loudly right there at her desk in front of anyone. The first time I heard her I thought I was imagining it. It was so loud and gross that I was totally blown away. She's another one who also needed to see a gastroenterologist. At least if break down and absolutely have to poop at work, which I try my hardest not to do, I get in and out as quickly and painlessly as possible. Not her. She always wore sandals with big toe rings and it was easy to spot her feet from under the stall doors when you walked in. She would sit in there for thirty minutes sometimes reading magazines but she would also be doing her business with no qualms whatsoever if someone came in. I cringed whenever I walked in and saw her feet under the stall doors, knowing I needed to get in and out as quickly as possible for my own well being. I learned my lesson and tried to avoid using the restroom if she wasn’t at her desk. My nose couldn't take it and neither could my stomach. She was also the classic “It’s not my job” and loved to pass the buck. I always love those types.

Floyd- He was the strange old man who used to throw paper spitballs at me all day long. At first it was funny and I threw them back but after about two weeks, it grew old and ignoring him didn’t work. He eventually threw one that landed in my drink and sprayed me, my entire desk and computer monitor with Coke, causing me to blow a gasket and retaliate for a final show down. He had other ways of picking on me and his peace offering would always be food that he would leave sitting on my desk. I learned later that he’d freeze anything, (like a leftover hamburger or French fries from his lunch at McDonalds’s) and keep it for weeks to eat later. Someone once brought White Castle hamburgers to the office after a trip to the casino. Floyd heated one up for me and I ate it. It tasted kind of funny but I had no idea it was from six weeks earlier when the other co-worker had brought them. I never ate any food from Floyd again after learning that! He reminded me of an old man who would have lots of cats in his apartment and always be peeking out of his window at the neighbors.

Mona - She had a mullet. It was 2005. Need I say more?

As always, I could go on and on, but I better stop myself now.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Happy Birthday, Dad. I know you insist that you're only 49, and you still look 49 and all, but according to my calculations you're actually 67!

Thanks for being such a stand-up guy. I couldn't have handpicked a better Dad, though I didn't always realize that in my younger years. Had God given me a multiple choice form to complete, I wouldn't have changed a thing about you. Well, maybe one.....................I do wish you could operate call waiting without losing the other caller, but I still love you.

P.S. I knew Mom would make sure you read this one!