Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Not ever as bad

The weather hit us last night at about 3:30 a.m. Chef slept through it like he was in a coma. I, on the other hand, kept waking up to hear the wind ripping through the tunnel-like area between the two apartment buildings in the complex. However, when all was said and done, the rain didn't flood us too bad, the winds didn't rip anything apart and we are still standing.

Schools were out here today in anticipation of the flooding. I would pray for snow and it would and we STILL wouldn't get out of school. The only time we ever really got out for anything funny would be extreme heat (even though our school had air conditioning, we still got the benefit of a day off for those that didn't) and the one weird time that our cafeteria lost power so they sent us home before lunch. I think the Southern schools need a longer, more temperate climate to accommodate the extra days they need to tack on to the end of school year to hit their required 180 days.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Buy Me a Ticket for a Hurricane

Ain't got time to take a fast rain. Lonely days are gone. I'm a goin' home. Our Office. It's closed in 2 hours.

(Imagine that to the tune of the 60s hit "The Letter" by the Boxtops)

What was once Katrina is supposed to hit us late tonight spawning smaller tornadoes and major flooding here. Because of this, our office is closing an hour early to let us go get milk, bread, eggs and some other essentials that cause mass hysteria at the grocery store.

I'm actually hoping my friend in New Orleans still has a condo to go to in the morning. The city is already built below sea level, so our office branch there is currently completely submerged under water. There are two offices along the coast line that are closed for a very long time.

And while I hope to survive the storms around here, I am glad for some extra time at home tomorrow. If the weather is too bad, we've been instructed to stay and work from home tomorrow. Even if electricity gets knocked out, Chef is off of work tomorrow too, so I'll have someone to keep me company.

The impending doom that's looming here is not helping me get my plans finished. I had a couple of things that I wanted to schedule before I leave on vacation this Friday, but today is obviously not the day for it. In fact, one of the items included shooting a commercial with a local meteorologist, but I have a feeling I'm not going to get a hold of her today.

Hope everyone has sense enough to get out of the rain!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Why can't I get a makeover?

I'll admit it. I can't resist a makeover show. Not EVERY makeover show, because that'd be enough to fill up about three Tivos, but if I catch the beginning of a makeover show, I have to watch until the end. It's like seeing the first 10 minutes of a movie that's on TV. Even though you own that movie and sitting less than 3 feet from your TV in DVD or VHS WITHOUT commercials, you still end up watching the movie on TV. Or at least I do. I'm just that lazy.

There are so many makeover shows that they're hard to avoid: Extreme Home Makeover, Extreme Makeover, Trading Spaces, Clean Sweep, I want a Famous Face, Pimp My Ride, Emeril's Kitchen Makeover, What Not To Wear, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, etc. Not to mention the "special" episodes of every talk show that make people over and the local networks that do smaller makeovers using local vendors.

Anyway, I get sucked in to makeover shows very easily. Show me an ugly duckling. Show me trashed house. Then show me $50,000 worth of dental work, cosmetic surgery and wardrobe help to make the Swan (but not that TV show, because I don't really dig on makeover shows that are beauty pageants).

I know these shows are just playing up to what aspirational advertising has been tapping into for year, but I'm hooked. I want the flat screen TV generously donated by Phillips or the new bathroom fixtures by Kohler.

I want to be madeover.

I don't care if they extremely makeover my house, tell me what not to wear or pimp my ride. Just pump some of that cash into my clearly inferior material items. I'll wear crappy clothes for weeks on end and you can videotape me "secretly." I'll put rusted out holes in Cam's floorboard and let kittens live in his trunk. I'll adopt 42 one-legged Cambodian orphans to live in my one-bedroom apartment. Let's make this makeover happen. Let's move that bus. Let's commence with the liposuction.

Or maybe I'll just stick to watching other people get their plasma TVs and settle with the fact that my TV is good enough. My smile is good enough. My home is good enough. My life is good enough.

It'd be nice to have a Plasma Flatscreen TV though.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

You're in Charge!

Yesterday, we had computer training to help initiate us to the new human resources software. A fun little afternoon of listening to information about how the new online performance reviews will work. Glorious.

Of course, the title of the program (because we always have to have a title for training--our last one was called E1 is for EVERYONE!) was You're In Charge!

I giggled like an 8 year-old every time he said it. Partly because I'm immature and partly because I had just read an article about a urine powered battery. Something that would give off a urine charge?

It's a disposable battery that uses the ions in your body, or more specifically your Mello Yello, to transfer the energy. Perhaps I'll just stick to Duracell.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Hey wait, I know that guy

Peyton Manning was on the Bob & Tom Show this morning doing his charity auction thing for his foundation. I got to hear about 20 minutes of it and it made me giddy for the upcoming football season. Much like many people who have a love of the cream and crimson (both the school and the delightful Aver's pizza), I have limits to which I can get excited about the college football season.

Anyway, I went online to check out the auction and started surfing around. I looked at the program notes from a couple weeks back and saw a familiar name. Honestly, most of the names are familiar because they are either famous or comedians that I've heard on Bob & Tom many times. Nonetheless, I saw a name that wasn't famous OR an comedian. He was my teacher.

My old magazine writing class prof was a smart ass New York journalist taking it easy in our little college town. Actually, he lived in Indianapolis because the thought of having only 60,000 people around him made him nervous.

Anyway, Professor Salerno wrote a book about the sham of our self-help nation. I'll probably end up buying it and if it's anywhere near as good as fast food nation, I'll probably love it. The fact that Steve wrote a book with even a portion of it devoted to making fun of Dr. Phil is a good time.

Now if only I'd get off my ass and write a book....

Friday, August 19, 2005

More Things About Me in a Self-Indulgent List

Precious tagged my ass and now I'm obliged to write down 5 things that are weird about me. The trick will be to pick 5 that are quirky enough to be interesting and yet, not weird enough to make me look like the deranged person I truly am. Here goes:

id*I*o*syn*cra*sy- a structural or behavioral characteristic peculiar to an individual or group. Write down 5 of your own idiosyncrasies, then if you wish, tag 5 people.


  1. My rolodex is in order by the person's occupation (print media, university, pharmaceuticals) and THEN by the last name because I always seem to forget one or the other.
  2. I wear make-up, have painted nails and toe nails, have facials, and love accessories, but I won't wear earrings because they make me feel too girlie.
  3. I still wish when the clock's time is a palindrome and I notice. My favorite is 11:11.
  4. I still believe that if I don't hold my touchdown monkey when the Colts are on offense, they will turn the ball over in the red zone.
  5. I hate it when stores purposely misspell words to highlight their alliteration. My least favorite offender: The Kountry Kitchen.

Okay, enough with the idiosyncrasies, here are just some weird ole facts about me:

  1. I still take pride in the fact that my brother's colic as a baby made my mom return to smoking.
  2. I won a teddy bear at our company's software training for answering the most questions correctly.
  3. This is where Swampette's inner monologue starts screaming something about STILL being a teacher's wet dream.
  4. I was once reprimanded for having too much Scooby Doo decor in my former cubicle. I had two items.
  5. My closet is organized by item (shirt, skirt, pants, dress), then by length (of hem or sleeve), then by color. I am that anal when it comes to my closet.
  6. Since the move more than 50 pairs of my shoes are sitting in a garbage bag at the top of my closet. I'm still trying to find a place for them.
  7. Chef and I have only one picture of the two of us together and it was taken by a camera phone.
  8. I have seen Deuce Bigelow: Male Gigolo.
  9. I have made a list of items that are mine in case I'm ever fired and someone else has to clean out my office. I'm just that paranoid.
  10. I keep a list of funny names of real people I've come across. One of my favorites is Wayne Chung.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Fool Me Once

Have you ever been in situation where the outcome was less than desirable? I was asked to hold a ceremony where there were several players involved and tried to please them all. That was my first mistake. When there are that much politics involved in making a decision, things get screwed up.

So now there's an occasion to repeat the ceremony with slightly different players involved. I have a feeling the outcome is going to be the same. I'm going to end up getting angry phone calls form a variety of different parties for things that weren't ever discussed.

Basically it translates to this: Work sucks.

Today it was announced that the soft drink industry is going to be cutting back on their stranglehold in schools. I'm reading the book Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. One whole section of the book was dedicated to how marketing companies are now negotiating deals for schools to help soft drinks companies get more of their product in the schools.

In fact, one school system had a quota of how many cases of cola they had to sell. If they didn't sell that amount, they had to give the money back. So, do I think this sudden development of social conscience is for real? Hell, no.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Our New Arrival!

Yesterday at 6:47 p.m. we welcomed to our household a brand new Dell! We haven't decided on a name yet, although I'm sure that Chef will nix the idea of naming our beloved toy. I'm really excited to have a new home computer. Especially one that is very fast and came off the assembly line in this millennium.

This morning on the Today show they continued their series on various ways to save money. They were going over creative ways to cut costs at kid's birthday party. Of course, they had to interview a couple that spent WAY too much. This couple spent $3500 for their 7-year old's birthday. There were 32 kids invited. That's more than $100 per kid.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!? When I was a kid, I wanted a skating rink party or a McDonald's birthday party more than anything. Do they even have McDonald's birthday parties any more? I can guarantee it didn't cost $100 a kid for some Happy Meals and McDonaldland Cookies, that's for damn sure.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

That Donut Has More Calories Than My ASS

I've been counting my calories for about a month now. I've written down what I've eaten for the day and calculated the calories thanks to calorieking.com. I'm not vigilant about it, but I'm trying to cut my calories by about 500 calories each day and I don't count on weekends because if I did I would feel trapped and quit.

I also don't make a big deal about counting the calories because I'm a big girl and I don't want to be condescending or rude to others. What I eat has been and will always be, my damn business.

So this morning we had a breakfast for a girl in our office who is getting married next weekend. The spread included cantaloupe, grapes, bananas, donuts, coffee cake, crumb cake, chocolate chip cookies and cereal bars. I weighed my options and decided to have a banana and some cantaloupe. One of the ladies who works here then commented: "You know, a banana is the worst fruit you can have."

I got pissed immediately. A banana is a fruit and fruit, by nature, is something that is at least moderately good for you. What pissed me off even more was that she had her plate loaded down with three donuts and some crumb cake. I held back on pointing that out, because frankly, what she eats is none of my business. However, she later said "I can't eat fruit. The acids burn my mouth (which had been sore)."

The whole commenting on the food is such a woman-based thing. And not just girl-on-girl attacks, either. I've seen many guys that have commented on girls' eating habits and many girls who've latched on to a man's diet like it was a half-price pair of shoes. I've done it.

Unless there's a health reason to be concerned about someone's diet AND they ask me to, I'm determined not to comment on anyone else's eating habits. Unless that bitch is skinny.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Two Hours in Sam's is Like a Week There

I went Friday to Sam's Club to get a set of new tires for the Cam. Hoping that I would get a jump on the crowd, I got there at a little before 4 p.m. When I purchased my new tires, I found out that it would take 2 hours for them to be installed. Two hours of Sam's Club is a long time.

I walked up and down every aisle. At one point, a man who worked there asked me for help and I politely declined. He saw me later and asked me if I was lost. I explained that I was waiting on tires to be installed and he said "Are you SURE you aren't lost?". You ask a 5 year-old that. Not a 26 year old.

The highlight of the evening was sitting at the "Cafe" having a Diet Coke and having a 30-something guy hit on me at the urging of his mother. Luckily, my name was called over the loud speaker right when things were getting really awkward.

Despite my long-ass wait, I did get about $40 back because they took more than their 59-minute guarantee.

Needless to say that I when I saw myself as a grown-up, I never imagined that my Friday night would be spent being picked up at a Sam's Club.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

No Jeans that hit the floor

There's a school system around here that has started enforcing its strict dress code. It's a PUBLIC school with what consistutes as a uniform. A uniform that I would've not had in high school.

This school system forbids:
  • Any pant that touches the ground
  • Collarless shirts
  • Jeans have to be a solid color, no bleaching or fading
  • No black tops with black pants
  • Logos can't be more than 3/4" big
  • Tops have to be tucked in, even when arms are raised
  • No strips of any kind

Are you kidding me? How does this help facilitate learning? This is the third year for the code, but the first year that the school actually enforced it. 900 kids were sent to in school suspension on the first day of classes.

Hmmm, you know those test scores that you bitched about being so low? Well, they aren't going to get any higher unless the kids ARE IN CLASS.

I'm glad that all kinds of tackiness was allowed at my school. It let me wear the giant ripped jeans that I had, the hideous brown clogs that I fancied and what became my uniform through the first part of college: white v-neck t-shirt, plaid button-down and jeans. Oh, the good old dressed down, looking like shit days.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Dude, we're getting a Dell

It all started with a chair. We needed a desk chair for our office (which is supposed to be a dining area). The desktop was at home and the wireless access was just set up. It seemed like we were using it more and more and the tailgating canvas chair special wasn't cutting it. So, I started scouring the Sunday circulars (or as Lara calls them, "sale bills").

Office Depot had a leather chair on sale for half-price. An absolute steal. Of course, they also had desks on sale and since my particle-board piece of crap was heavy and not grand to use, I caved to Chef's request for a new desk.

So on Monday we set off to not one but TWO Office Depot locations. The first one didn't have the chair OR the desk. The second one seemingly had both but when we went to check out, the chair was not in stock. After nearly 30 minutes of arguing that I didn't want the thing shipped to my house and no, I was NOT paying handling charges, I walked out with a receipt for the chair, but no chair. The chair would come two days later to another Office Depot and I would have to pick it up.

Anyway, with the desk and soon-to-be chair in two, we were happy with how the office was shaping up. Then I got the call. Chef had run a virus scan that had inadvertently cleaned something that was vital to my operating system. At first we thought the information was gone and I had a hysterical "BUT I HAD FIVE YEARS OF WRITING ON THAT COMPUTER!!" moment. And before you ask, I only had half of it backed up but all of it was on hard copy.

In between the time it took for me to panic and recover and then go home, I had made up my mind. We were getting a new computer. So we did some more shopping and ended up getting a Dell. And yes, I know that my title was a throwback, but I like to take you back to happier times, like 1997. It reminds us what it was like to not live in such a populous area.

I gotta go pick up the chair.

Monday, August 08, 2005

The Elephant was Tried for Murder

Chef was reading off a bunch of odd facts to me this morning as I was getting ready for work and of course, that one stuck with me: Tennessee is the only state to ever try an elephant for murder.

The only thing I can think of is that I'd hate to be the prosecutor on that trial. You already know that you won't be cross-examining the defendant. Besides, if you do win, what do you do? Send the elephant to jail? Forced imprisonment for an elephant... isn't that called a zoo?

And if the elephant gets the death penalty, PETA will be all over your ass before the gavel hits the bench. An elephant trial is totally a lose-lose situation.

Speaking of lose-lose situations, I chose to stay out of one this week when the ubiquitous collection envelope came around the office. Another wedding, another donation. Except this time I took some good advice. I just signed the card.

It's not that I don't like the bride-to-be. However, we have had two other weddings and a new baby that have gone completely unrecognized in the office in the last couple of months. It's hard to donate to someone's wedding when you know that if it was your wedding, there'd be nothing but a hand shake involved.

Office politics suck.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Work distractions? It's really life distractions

There was an article today that says that ever three minutes, someone is interrupted in their work. A phone call, an email, an instant message (which thankfully this office has yet to install). Something pops up to interrupt the process of working. The story goes on to say that it takes a full 8 minutes for someone to get into their full-on, ass-kickin' creative mode.

While I agree that I'm distracted at work a lot of the time, I also know an important point: Work is actually a distraction from life. I've never really gotten those people that get so obsessed with their jobs that they forget about anything else.

I'm not saying that I'm perfect. I've gotten totally stressed out about work and made the mistake of taking it home with me on occasion, but I also remember what my priorities are and my priorities are centered around me and my needs. I've always had a need to be successful, but I'm learning that the only definition of 'success' that counts in the one that I make for myself.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Dueling Horoscopes

I spent some of this morning reading my horoscopes in the two newspapers in town. The larger newspaper said that I was going to have a lucky day and everything, even small things, would go my way. The smaller newspaper said that it wasn't a time to talk to people, but to let them be on their own.

I was hoping that since the larger newspaper had more people reading it that perhaps it's astrological sources were better informed. Faulty logic in whatever way you look at it. Seeing as how the morning already had gone up to that point, I knew I was screwed anyway.

First, I went into a clinical research facility to see if I qualified for a study they are doing on psoriasis. I got up early and made my way in there to hear a couple of thing that were pretty discouraging and/or embarrassing:
  1. "Is that all you've got?" In response to me showing the nurse my areas of psoriasis. Although I know that there are people much worse off, it's still disgusting and bothersome. Especially my scalp psoriasis, which wasn't even being offered medicines for research.
  2. "Well, we do have some weight loss studies, if you're interested." There's nothing like going into a place to have my skin looked at and being told that I qualify because of my fat ass. This is especially encouraging after I'd spent the last month adjusting my eating habits. There I was happy to have looked down and lost 6 pounds in 4 weeks and my moment of glory was killed by yet another reminder of how fat I am.

I also had a meeting with a representative of the state comptroller (who was neither cute nor elected nor had a penchant for being peed on). I got out of that and had lunch at home. Chef was apparently tired and not in a particularly warm mood, so I got even more confirmation that horoscope #2 was the one for me. I now hate the other Aquariuses that had a perfectly lucky day according to horoscope #1.

Anyway, I will continue my sock knitting journey tonight and hopefully watch some decent TV. Or at least some decent TV shows that are on DVD or TiVo. Actual TV right now sucks ass.

Monday, August 01, 2005

I'm a Knittin' Kitten

I'm so proud of myself. I created one crappy ass sock and one not so bad looking sock. I had never tried knitting socks before, but wanted desperately to be able to buy yarn from Precious's Simply Socks Yarn Company. She's got some cool yarn that she taunts me with daily. It was like showing me a Borders and then taking away my ability to read.

Anyway, I finally took the plunge and knit a pair of socks, cursing the whole time. Chef was nice enough to say "Don't worry about them. They're gonna look bad until you get the hang of them." Of course, he also laughed a little at the first sock and what he called "the nipple toe."

Anyway, socks are done and now I have a need to knit more socks. I've got some cool self-striping yarn that I've had for over a year as I put off learning how to knit socks. Now I need to figure out what size needles are the best for average sock knitting. I think my first pair were too large for what I want to do. They're size 5, but I didn't know any better when I bought them.

Anyway, my weekend was spent knitting. Plus I took a trip to Borders and bought 3 books. I hadn't read anything new in a while until the Harry Potter book came out and it made me remember how much I love sitting on the couch curled up with a book and some wine.

On another note, after months of my pleading for some additional testosterone in our office, we finally got some. We hired a guy who literally made some of the older women's jaw drop when he walked in the door. Here's the catch: He's a grunter. His response to every question is an guttural "uh" and the occasional chin nod. I had one conversation with the boy and it concluded with a "well, okay then" and me inching my way backward towards the door.

It seems like we finally put the shoe on the other foot. We hired a man. For looks.

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