Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The One Where I Play Santa Clause...

I recently had to go pass out gifts to our clients.  Envisioning myself as a Santa I practiced saying "Ho, Ho, Ho" and walking around for B:

Me: [walking around] HO HO HO
B:  What are you doing?
Me: Practicing playing Santa for when I give out gifts tomorrow.
B:  What are you doing with your arms?
Me: What do you mean?
B: You look like an ape.
Me: That is me holding PRESENTS!

Of course, Partner and I picked one of the worst winter days to go pass out presents. That, among other things, made him crabby.  That made me crabby.  To console ourselves, we went out to lunch first.  Cappuccinos cure everything. At least for me. He does not drink those. He remained grumpy.

As we were driving away from the restaurant (more like crawling through the snow), I noticed a TV van parked across the street.  Trying to lighten the mood, I said:

Look! There's a TV van and a camera and a girl and everything. I wonder what she's going to say - "Hi John, I'm live in the parking lot where it is snowing. Can you see the snow John? Yes, I am in front of the diamond store. No, I don't know why. Maybe because snow is shiny like diamonds? Ha ha John, back to you in the studio."

Partner asks me to tell him what girl from the station and I say "Some brunette from Channel 2."  As Partner declares he HATES Channel 2, it happens:


We get rear ended.  And my head actually bounces off the headrest and back before I even hear the sound.  And it hurt dammit!  Turns out there was no damage, which was good, but it sure didn't lighten the mood. It just made me grumpier.

Partner took that opportunity to call his wife and warn her to stay off the road. Unfortunately, he still has not figured out how to work his bluetooth phone in the car and could not get it off speaker phone.  That conversation went something like this:

Partner:  Hi wife!  Stay home. The roads are really bad.
Wife: Too late. I am already on the road
Partner: Okay.
Wife: Hey...

Click [the sound of her hanging up on him].  I was laughing. He was not. I dont think he wanted to tell her he couldnt talk because she was on speaker coming through the car, that I was in the car listening and that he could not figure out how to turn it off.  We all have troubles.  He got grumpier.

We delivered the gifts. I did not say HO HO HO though.  In fact, I started saying Merry Christmas because, after all, we were passing out gifts mere days before Christmas, but realized that was probably politically incorrect. So then I started saying something like this:


Smooth, right? I blame it on my head injury.

And if you are wondering what our clients got, they got wireless digital frames. No, they did not have pictures of strangers in them.

Hope all of your Holidays were bright and cheerful. Unlike this story.

Away for the Holidays

As you may have noticed, things have been oddly silent here. We went away for the holidays, to Vegas. More posts to come on that and other things soon.  In fact, a new post will appear tonight.

I hope each of you had a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, or whatever else you may have celebrated this holiday season. 

And let 2009 bring you all the happiness in the world.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Not So Secret Santa Stuffed Stocking

Say THAT three times. A riddle for your tongue.  But not a real riddle...I apologize to all of you riddle searchers who must be disappointed in this blog, but I will discuss that at a later time.  This post is all about the Stuffed Stocking I won from Brandy, a fellow blogger. 

I entered her giveaway and won a lovely stuffed stocking which arrived today.  Want some pics? Of course you do!  Here is the stocking:

Look at that detail! I tried to capture it up close:

Inside the stocking was all of this:

In case you cannot see it clearly. The stocking contained:

Fun holiday socks
Cookie cutters
Holiday Dish Towel
Little bags to put your cookies in and give out to people
Sprinkles and decorating gel; and
Starbucks GC in a cute little handmade holder. Check it out:

And the little button on the back:

I am in love with it and will cherish it always Brandy!

As for you dear readers, you really should check out Brandy's blog. Not just because she gave away this lovely prize package, but because it is a pretty awesome blog:

Want to see tattoos? Check.
Want to make a kickass cookie that you will not stop eating until you throw up? Check.
Want to see a beautiful Christmas tree involving Harley Davidson? Check.
Want to see how she only spent 72 cents at a trip to CVS that included, among other things, a Crockpot? Check.
Want to read one of the greatest post titles ever that is really all about Beyonce playing Wonderwoman? Check.

Everything you thought you wanted and more!  Check Brandy's blog out!

Thanks again Brandy. Mucho holiday love to you and yours.

And Merry Christmas Eve to the rest of you that celebrate!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Winter Wonderland

Winter is definitely upon us as we received in excess of 6 inches of snow on Friday. I don't know what the official measurements were because I don't pay attention to that kind of thing, but I know it was A LOT. That is my official measurement anyway. 

All that snow made for a terrific snow day for many people. Not I, though. I braved the weather to get to the office, make a good impression and GET THINGS DONE. Three quarters of our office did not. Know what I am? A sucker! That's right. I did get free pizza lunch out of it but that did not make up for the lack of sleeping-in-and-lounging-around-all-day-while-looking-out-the-window-at-the-cold-instead-of-driving-in-it that I missed.

Later that night, with my co-sucker by my side, B, we once again braved the weather to go out with friends. That ended nicely though. The snow had stopped, the idiots were off the road, and we did not feel like we were endangered at all. Always good for a Friday night. On the way there I told B about my fascination/obsession with kicking the snow clumps that form between tires and wheel wells. Yes I am really a six year old. I saw a car with a kick ass snow clump and pointed it out to show B what I was talking about. He then challenged me to get out of the car run over and kick it. Deciding I would rather not get shot, I declined. That did not stop us from giggling about it as if it really had happened.

All juiced up about the possibility of kicking snow, I noticed that there was ice forming at the bottom of the window. I decide to let out my pent up kicking frustration by knocking out the piece of ice. Wise move, as I am sure you can imagine. I rolled down the window, punched at the ice and a piece FLEW UP AND HIT ME IN THE HEAD before making its way to the back seat. I screamed:

Me: AHHHH a piece of ice just hit me in the head
B: What? Come on.
Me: Didn't you see it? AHHHH it just came up and hit me in the head
B: I saw no such thing.
Me: It happened! It really happened. The ice is in the back seat. I will find it!

I could not find it. This led B to believe my story was a lie. It was not. When we stopped at his parents house, he went into the back seat to retrieve something and found a huge chunk of ice. He said "Huh" like he wasn't a Doubting Thomas the whole time. I took revenge on him by running around and kicking the snow clumps under his wheel wells while he was inside (say THAT three times fast). Yes, that is my idea of revenge.

Friday night was not the last of our winter adventures. On Saturday we accompanied B's family to the annual tradition of walking through the Village. Last year it was SO cold with high force winds. This year - still cold minus huge winds. I guess that is an improvement. Oh, and this year I had long johns, a definite improvement. I also did not trip and fall to my knees like last year. Although I did trip. this time I managed to stay upright. Ahhhhh good times.

This is the same place that B and I went with them for the Halloween walk where B proceeded to act like paparazzi and follow us around taking pictures. The same was true on Saturday. He got some good ones which you can see here and here at my SIL's blog, And Baby Makes Five. He was so good in fact, that like true paparazzi and celebrities, we tended to forget he was there. This resulted in a lot of Where's B? Did he go ahead of us? Is he behind us? Is he playing on the snow hill? You think I am kidding about the snow hill. I am not. Check out those links.

B and my BIL decided that they would race to the top of one of the big snow hills and play King of the Hill. You know, like all of the other children. In fact, they nearly killed some children in their quest. I threatened to reveal their true ages to the crowd to make them come down. This really struck a chord with B who is older than my BIL. Of course they could not just walk down or anything. BIL decided to slide down. B, not one to be shown up, decided to tumble down in what can only be described as a painful maneuver. In fact, if you have ever played Wii Fit ski slalom and your mii doesn't quite make it from the start and begins to roll like a huge snowball, that was B. He assured us he was not hurt. I was not so sure about that.

Other highlights included Santa up on the balcony calling out not only my nephew's name, but also my SIL's and mine. I was so excited that when Santa cried out WELCOME, I cried back THANK YOU SANTA. I am bound to get lots of presents for this.

There was also real live reindeer, glass blowing, tin making (for which B had quite the fascination and many questions. Tin making may be in his future. Too bad it is not lucrative), yummy turkey dinner and pumpkin pie. Not bad for a Saturday night.

Best part? A new bobblehead. He will be making his debut soon. Kind of like Santa.

I wonder what the new bobblehead is...

Friday, December 19, 2008

You Can Call Me Sharon...

Yes, we are still on  Monday.  A lot happened on Monday. After being set free from the office, I drove home chatting with my Mom about not being in the office and other important stuff.  Upon arriving inside I noted to her that we had received a really pretty Christmas card.  It was three trees that stood up.  I looked inside and it said "Merry Christmas from Margaret." I had no clue who Margaret was.  I looked around for an envelope and found nothing. Convinced B must have thrown it out when he opened it, I looked in the recycling - nothing. Looked in the garbage - nothing.  I told my Mom that I must go solve this riddle and would call her back.  After hanging up, I realized I needed to check B's garbage and that is when I found the envelope.  There was no addresses on it so it was clearly placed into our mailbox or door. It said:

Sharon and B

Sharon? Who the heck is Sharon?  It dawned on me then that Margaret is our zany downstairs neighbor.  But where did she get the idea my name is Sharon? It is not even close to my name. And she put it first implying that she was closer to, or knew me more than, B.  Or at least she was closer to Sharon, whomever that may be.

I should not even be that surprised.  This is the same lady that almost burned the house down.  She is also the lady that decided she wanted to get a dog and then decided she wanted to get everyone's permission.  Nice gesture, I suppose, although there are no rules against animals in our complex.  This made for a priceless moment.  First she tried to ask me:

Me answering door: Hello?
Neighbor: I want to get a dog and I am asking everyone if it is okay.
Me: Well I don't see why it would be a problem, but you should really ask B as he owns this place not me.

This was before we were married. I am pretty sure she didn't call me Sharon. And I know I didn't introduce myself as Sharon.  Anyway...

I warned B that she was going to talk to him. He spent the next week dodging her figuring she would just give up.  Nope.  She cornered him in the parking lot one day and he reluctantly rolled down his car window:

Neighbor: I want to get a dog and I am asking everyone if it is okay.
B:  What kind of dog?
Neighbor:  A brown one.

HAHAHAHA - a brown one. I am pretty sure that B meant what BREED of dog, not what COLOR when he asked what KIND.  In fact, he confirmed this to me when he told me she was insane.  Of course he always says that.

So in the end...she got a black and white dog.

Does black and white equal brown?

Maybe Sharon* knows.

*I have told B that he now has to walk around the house yelling SHARONNNNN like Ozzy does.  So far he has refused.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

And Then It Was Dark...

Yikes! Is it Thursday already?  Time flies when you are busy at work and then have no inclination to sit at the computer again while at home.  And that is my explanation for my absence.  

So let's talk about Monday.  Yep, all the way three days ago.  The day I had to go back to the office because I was not a millionaire.  I didn't even have secret santa fun/drama in which to partake. A sad day indeed.   It was approximately 3 pm and I found myself staring at the computer screen, having looked at one too many documents, and wondering, when the heck I would get to leave.  Then the answer came.

The lights went out.  

Technically everything went out with a WAH WAH WAHHHHH sound.  It was kind of freaky. No lights, computer, phones, nothing.  A few more tries and the electrical system totally gave out.  People milled out of their offices and cubes and said brilliant things like "we lost electricity" and "what happened to the lights."  I knew we were done because the security lights were on casting a creepy looking haze over the office.  As one coworker pointed out, it looked like we could be in the Cloverfield movie when you walked down the hall.

Excited at the prospect that we might be down for good, people walked around asking others what they thought was happening.  Finding a window I noted the traffic lights were out too. Score!  At that moment someone talked about finding a radio WITH BATTERIES to find out what was happening.  It was then that I pointed out that we had cell phones that worked and could, in fact, make contact with the "outside world." 

So I called my mom.  However in order to call my mom, I had to navigate a totally dark office as I do not have a window office. That is right folks - no window office. First time in my career and sometimes I am bitter.  I make up for it with cozy mood lighting, but it is not the same.  After painfully running smack into my chair, I grab my cell phone, walk out of my office and yell to the two partners within my eye sight:

"I can't see ANYTHING in my office because it is SO DARK in there because I have no WINDOWS! If I had a WINDOW office, I probably wouldn't have ran smack into my office chair while retrieving my phone from the DARK office, would I?"

I am subtle.

A partner handed me a flashlight.  No kidding, I laughed and gave it back to him and ran off to talk to my mom while wandering the halls. My mom knew nothing. Nothing on TV or the internet about our predicament.  So I told her I would call her back.  As I rounded the corner I heard someone say:

"I am going to call the electric company, nobody's thought of that"

And she was right.  I found this to be very hilarious what with the radios with batteries talk like we were at war.  However, I made sure to point out to her that I had DONE SOMETHING.  I had called my mom.

Well, the electric company told us that the power would not be back on until 7 pm.  Twenty minutes later we were cleared to go home. That was not quick enough for one partner who was running around with his coat on yelling "why are you people still here? Are you going to sit around for three hours? Can't you see it is DARK in here? There are no lights."  He had already checked out I guess.

The end result? We all scored some extra hours away from the office.  We all learned some valuable lessons as well:

~A scary place to be when the lights go out is our bathrooms, according to a partner who informed me that's where he was and that there are no windows and apparently no safety/backup lights.  Is that possible? Safe? Legal? Sounds like a problem waiting to happen.  Good thing that other partner had that flash ligh as about 8 women decided to go to the bathroom as a team.  Apparently no electricity makes you have to pee.

~Every entrance door has a keypad operated by what? Electricity. We were not sure we would be able to get back in through any of them.  Of the five in the main entrance, two you could access with your code still, two you could not and one was just totally open to anyone. Fort Knox I tell ya.

~There is absolutely nothing to do in an office without electricity. Not.one.thing.  Except going around unplugging everything in case of a power surge only to have a partner yell out "isn't that what power strips are for?"  The man has a point.

~The correct order to obtain information about a power outage is (1) the electric company, (2) your mom or anyone in the outside world and (3) a battery operated radio.  Of course, the person in charge of the radio only seemed to report traffic news and news from a German station.  That was very helpful.  

~Clients do not care if you have no power. They will show up anyway and will not want to reschedule.   It is fun to just sit across the table from them and remark about the weather or the lack of power. I wouldn't actually know as I did not have clients that day, but that is how I imagined it would be.

~It is hard to actually get word to someone that his clients have arrived without email or a paging system. It involves a lot of walking around.  And if he is walking around at the same time, you could be doing it for hours.

Finally, it is fun to come into the office the next day and have this conversation:

Partner: There are pictures of strangers in my picture frame.
Me: What???
Partner: In my digital picture frame, there are pictures of people I don't know.
Me: Are you sure?
Me: Who are they?
Partner: I dont know. I DON'T KNOW THEM.
Me: Let's take a look.

As I suspected, his USB stick was not plugged into his frame. There were pictures, however, flashing across the frame.

Me: I think those are the pictures that came with the frame...
Partner: Are you sure?
Me: Pretty confident.
Partner: How do you know?
Me: Um, it says "Insignia" on the bottom left corner of every picture and it is an Insignia frame.
Partner:  You are so smart.
Me: Thank you, can I have a raise?

No, I did not ask for a raise. I did, however, threaten to one day replace his pictures with pictures all of me.

And I think I just might do that.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Who's Your Santa?

This year at work, an ambitious assistant decided to organize a Secret Santa. The joke was clearly on her. I doubt she will ever organize anything office related again. In fact, I am surprised if she is still talking to some people. Nothing in offices ever goes smoothly and Secret Santa was no exception. In no particular order:

1. It was SECRET Santa. However, some people immediately told other people who they had. When the group only totals 14 participants, it becomes rather easy to guess your Santa.

2. The dollar limit was low during the weekdays ($2 - $3 per day) to keep costs down and then a $15 gift at the reveal lunch (you know, because it was a secret and all). Seems like a perfectly well thought out approach to please all budgets. Didn't quite work out that way. Some people went over, some people went under. Not even sure how that is possible, but it is.

3. This resulted in a wide array of presents. Wide arrays do not make everyone happy. In fact they make some people downright bitter.

4. Bitter people are not happy.

5. Secret Santa is supposed to be full of happiness, or at least fun.

6. A second Secret Santa made an appearance to try to bring happiness to those without.

7. This created drama about whether the original Secret Santas would be offended.

8. So a third Secret Santa (I kid you not) made an appearance to level the playing field.

9. This all happened in the span of four days.

10. There was to be a big game to guess your Santa at the luncheon.

11. Almost everyone cheated.

12. Yet, only one person got 100% of the Santas right. She got $25. We each had to put in $2. That was the least drama filled part of this whole event.

13. There was a fight about our lunch food.

14. There was a fight about the plates we were going to use.

15. There was a fight about almost every damn part of this whole game from start to finish including fighting over who was going to draw names first.

16. Only women played.

17. Enough said.*

In the midst of all of these shenanigans, as a participant I received gifts. This was the highlight of my week, in addition to giving my recipient gifts. There was one particular gift I was most excited to get and I am sure you will all be able to guess which one. But let's hit them all one by one, shall we? 

On the first day of Office Christmas Secret Santa, my Santa gave to me:

A pair of reindeer socks and BBW lotion in peppermint! 

Okay, there is no lotion in that picture. I left it at the office by mistake. So just picture a small bottle of yummy smelling peppermint with a hint of vanilla lotion that I use on my hands every day in that picture. Got it? Okay, moving on...

On the second day of Office Christmas Secret Santa, my Santa gave to me:

A reed diffuser in Vanilla Spice!

I love these and currently have one on my desk. Everyone comments on how nice my office smells. This one rocks because the container, which is usually a plain bottle, reminds me of a beautiful ornament. Take a look:

Pretty, right? Okay, moving on:

On the third day of Office Christmas Secret Santa, my Santa gave to me:

A puzzle! A very hard looking puzzle to be exact.

Look at the full picture on the back!

Scary hard, no? I might have to do this over the holidays if I can convince the cats not to run off with any pieces.

On the fourth day of Office Christmas Secret Santa, my Santa gave to me:

A Harvey Birdman Attorney at Law bobblehead!

I think I am in love! Dwight has already accepted him as has the two baseball players. The Tropic Thunder guys don't know about him yet, however, because they are still in their box facing the wall. One day I will display them. They are starting to feel neglected. 

Finally, at the reveal lunch, I received my final gift:

Four cocoa mugs, with cocoa inside and a Starbucks gift card (not pictured). Perfect. Also, my Secret Santa bought every participant an ornament with a lotto ticket attached. Then all of us got copies of everyone's ticket and we had the understanding that anything over $10,000 would be split amongst us all.

Alas, I did not wake up a millionaire on Saturday so I had to go to the office today. However, the day was cut short by a big power outage which was kind of like winning the lottery.

At least for a few hours.

*I love women, but too many are not a good thing. Testosterone is our friend. The same with men. Had it only been men participating, there would have been a lot of competition and, quite possibly, a couple of punches. Who needs that? It's all about balance people.

**Did you figure out which is my favorite?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Think of the Children...

As you are all aware, times are tough right now. We may or may not be in a recession, depending on whom you talk to and at what time of the day.  However, the fact remains, people are tighter with their money these days. Who knows what tomorrow will bring.  I would imagine this would make it harder for charities to get donations.  Even if people want to help those in need, they may not be able to at the moment.  So, how are charities dealing with these hard economic times? Well, if the guy in the local Walgreens is any example, apparently by yelling and guilting customers into donating.  

The only reason I found myself in Walgreens at that moment is because out cats needed some water. Yes, due to Mooch's recent illness, the cats now drink fancy distilled water. And they were out. After being in the office all day, I was tired and hungry and really did not want to be buying water.  I only had $1.00 on me. Enough for one gallon of water.  Pathetic, I know, but I don't like to carry a lot of cash on me.  

Upon entering the store I see a guy wearing a suit in front of a table that contains a bunch of pamphlets. Luckily he is talking to someone so I do not have to dodge him.  I make my way to the water and get in line to pay where there is one person ahead of me. While I am waiting, the guy in the suit attempts to get people entering and leaving to make a donation. No dice.  So, he decides to change tactics:

Guy:  What? You cannot give money for the CHILDREN??? Who doesn't love CHILDREN?
Cashier: I love children.
Guy: Of course you do. Who doesn't love CHILDREN?
Cashier: Of course that's because I have four of them.

At this point the cashier and the person in front of me proceed to have a conversation about her four children. The guy in the suit, oblivious to the fact that he is no longer conversing with the cashier, keeps up his tirade:

Guy: And what would YOU do if one of your children were missing?
[no answer]
Guy: Go to the police I am sure.

Now, people are dodging this guy or, as in my case, trying to pretend that he was not in the middle of the store shouting about children and not making a lick of sense.  I thought about telling him he needed to tone it down, no one likes to be scolded into donating.  I thought about asking him what kind of charity he was working with so I could be sure to contact them about the lunatic collecting donations.  I thought about asking for the manager. I even thought about asking suit guy what missing children, the police and his charity had to do with one another. 

Instead, I went home.  I gave my cats 99 cent distilled water.  I did not give that guy one dime. 

Hopefully the fate of all children does not rest on this guy's shoulders.  They will surely be doomed.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The One Where My Mom and I Are Mistaken for Lesbians...

With my recent car troubles, came a rental car.  It was a four door compact car which was quite a change from my midsize SUV.  No one felt the change greater than my Mom and me right along with her.

On Sunday, after getting the rental, I went to visit my Mom and we decided to go to breakfast and then out shopping. Okay, we really didn't decide that just then. That is something we do every weekend. It is our routine.  So we got in the car and routinely went on our way.

Immediately upon pulling out of the driveway, my Mom informs me that she cannot figure out how to pull the seat up.  I look over to see her sitting awkwardly with the seat back in an almost reclining position.  That doesn't look comfortable, I think. So I tell her the little lever is down the side of the seat. She cannot find it.  I tell her it is right below where the seatbelt connects.  No dice.

We approach a stop sign and I am puzzled as to why she cannot find this lever.  So I put the car in park and reach over.  Mom protests the entire time saying "it is really not a big deal." Maybe not to her, but I had a riddle to solve.  Why wouldn't her seat go up?  Considering that I was, at the time, buckled into my own seatbelt, it should come as no surprise that this whole encounter turned awkward and that hilarity ensued.  It did.

I reached over my mom and down the side of her seat which placed my face directly into her chest.  Which resulted in her gasping and making an "OH!" sound and face.  At the same time, I find the latch and attempt to maneuver it up which is no easy task seeing as how my face is in her chest and my leaning over is causing me to exert pressure into the very seatback I am trying to raise. So I decide to put my other arm around the back of her seat to lift it up.  

Are you listening?

I am at a stop sign with my face in my mom's chest, my arm around the back of the seat and she is making "OH" sounds and faces.

So not right.

As I raise the seat up, I say "see, it is working" all excited.  My mom looks mortified because she thinks she has spied a neighbor gawking at the window.  She responds with "great! You are crushing my chest."  At that exact moment I realize:


Stuck in my mom's chest with my arm around her!

This caused me to break into a fit of giggles. So I giggle into her chest and say breathlessly:


Now she is laughing which is causing pressure on my face.

Somehow after an eternity, or 30 seconds, I manage to wrangle my hand out from the side of her seat and we were on our way laughing the entire time to the restaurant.

I can only imagine what that gawking neighbor thought. "There goes the neighborhood, we  have dem' der lesbians making out at the stop sign."

That's us...just doing our part to slowly alienate all of those around us, laughing maniacally all the while.

*I totally giggled throughout the writing of this post. In fact, I had to stop and put my head down because I was chuckling so hard.  Luckily, no one was around to witness this.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My New Best Friend Ben

I have a new best friend named Ben. We have only met twice and he does not know that we are BFFs, but that is okay.  Ben works at The Dealership where I took my car the other day.  I took my car in on Saturday for an oil change and was told I have a major transmission leak. Who knew? Not me apparently. Ben gave me a rental car and promised me that mine would be fixed on Monday. Thank God for warranties.  When I told B this he said, "yeah, right it will be ready on Monday."  I told him Ben was different and I believed him.

You see, we have a history with The Dealership and with Frank, my last service advisor or whatever they call themselves.  When I first leased this vehicle, it came with free satellite radio for 6 months.  Within 3 months the damn thing had stopped working. After calling the satellite radio company and performing crazy circus contortions like:

Press the On button and hold for 3 seconds
Next open the driver's door and shut really quickly
Then press Satellite
Open the driver's door again but keep open for 2 minutes

(you get the point), the satellite radio people told me it was my receiver and to take it back from whence it came.  So I ended up at The Dealership with Frank.  After giving me a rental and taking two days to look at my car, Frank told me it was indeed my receiver. However, they were out of those and they were on backorder.  Off I went.

THREE MONTHS later I finally got a receiver and only because B got involved.  I would regularly call Frank and check on the receiver only to be told the same thing - on back order. Frank also gave me the number to the car manufacturer customer service which I utilized to complain about the lack of movement to no avail.  Frank promised me that my satellite radio service would be extended so I would not miss out on my free service.

B finally got involved right after we got back from our honeymoon. He called Frank because he had HAD ENOUGH.  There was a lot of

and cursing
and logic such as

 "How is it possible that there is a satellite radio receiver shortage in this country? What are they putting in the new cars?" and

"Why don't you go take one of the satellite radios in one of the billion cars on your lot and install it in our #^@&#^@* car and then wait for a backordered one for the unsold car. This is RIDICULOUS!"

So Frank assured B that we would have a radio within a week. We had it the next day. THE NEXT DAY. Now I was livid.  And, actually so was B.  He took to that customer service call center like a dog to a bone, or in our case, the cats to some catnip.  It went a little something like this:

"How absolutely sexist can your company, The Dealership and Frank be? My wife has been calling every couple of days about this problem.  But the minute I, a man, calls, the radio is somehow miraculously found THE NEXT DAY.  Are we supposed to sit here and believe that is true?  Either Frank lied to us all along and there was a radio, or you and Frank decided to kick it in to high gear now that a man was involved.  I thought we were past those days, but apparently not."

There was more said, but you get the picture.  As a result of B's calls, the following occurred:

I got an apologetic phone call from Frank
I got an apologetic phone call from Frank's supervisor
I got an apologetic phone call from the car manufacturer customer service
I got 6 more months free satellite radio
They paid one of my monthly car payments

B rocks me world! Even he was impressed with all that was done after his call which, of course, just confirmed his theory that yelling gets things done.

Now, when I see Frank at The Dealership, he just averts his eyes.  Which brings me back full circle. You can see why B did not think the car would be ready.  However, he totally underestimated my BFF Ben. The car was ready by noon on Monday.  I went to pick it up and overheard the following exchange between Ben, Frank and unknown third service guy:

Ben:  Guys, I am going to leave some CDs in my upper left drawer for Ms. Smith when she comes in tomorrow. If I am not here, that is where they are, okay?
Unknown: Yep
Frank: [silence]
Ben: FRANK? Did you hear what I said?
Frank: Yes.
Ben: What did I say Frank? [totally said in a long drawn out tone you would use for a 2 year old]
Frank: It's in your upper left drawer.
Ben: What is in my upper left drawer Frank?
Frank: Ms. Smith
Ben: NO FRANK, Ms. Smith is not in my upper left drawer.  What is in there? [now I am cracking up]
Frank: Ms. Smith?
Ben: CDS FRANK, there are CDS in my upper left drawer.

Frank was schooled by Ben.  And that is why he is my new BFF.  B laughed when I told him this story.  I told B that if Ben had been on the satellite radio problem we would have had it in a week.

B - slayer of Frank, The Dealership and car manufacturers in one fell swoop
Ben - slayer and schooler of Frank

I love the men in my life!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

One Fish, Two Fish...

Yesterday's post about our Christmas tree reminded me of our fish tank. Well, it was actually the photo. You can see just a little part of it in the Christmas tree photo.  Let me tell you a little back story.  B has always had a fish tank.  It is his thing.  Prior to this recent one, he had a small tank the equivalent size of say a 20" TV.  I have no clue about gallons and such.  That tank lasted quite some time until it developed a big crack and dumped massive amounts of water on to our floor.

Despite the fact that I am almost always in the same room with the fish tank, I did not notice. I did, however, hear a bunch of cracking, kind of like someone walking on ice.  Upon hearing this, I would get up and investigate, but never quite figured it out.  A few days into this, B remarked how much water the fish tank was losing. Yep, that was because the water was on the ground, in our carpet to be exact.  The fish tank was cracked along the entire bottom.  I am so oblivious.

A new fish tank had to be obtained right away.  B could not live without one and the fish were dissatisfied living in my dishes in the sink.  Actually, I was a bit dissatisfied with that as well.  Off to Craigslist B went a searching.  The next day he tells me he has found a tank, is off to pick it up and will need my help when he returns.  Great.  Upon his return, I hold the front door open for him as he brings in a tank the equivalent size of a plasma TV.  I say "oooooh" and "ahhhh."  That's when he tells me he really needs my help.  I look puzzled and go downstairs to find the hugest base/cabinet thingy ever. And it is wood.  Like 1980s wood.  I say "Oh my GOD that is ugly."  B looks a bit surprised and maybe a little hurt, so I say no more.  Instead I assist him in lugging this thing up.  B remarks about my surprising strength, which he does anytime I move anything:

"I can't believe you carried that big computer monitor all the way up the stairs by yourself"
" I can't believe you carried that huge TV into your parents' house all by yourself"
"That cabinet was heavy, you are more woman than I thought."

But I digress.  B assembles the fish tank and it looks like this:

Kind of ugly 80s wood, right? But I have to admit that it looks okay in our house. Much better than the former fish tank. This one elongates the wall or your eye or whatever other secret interior design language I do not know. It really made the living room look better, in my opinion. Score one for B.

However, this just made me notice more that the inside was, shall we say, colorless. B goes to great pains to "decorate" for the fish, but it all looks like green, brown, and nothing. Take a look:

I bring this up to B and he says it is not a salt water tank, apparently it is a fresh water tank. Thus, it won't look bright blue with colorful fish and many colors like the bottom of the ocean. To which I respond, "so it looks like the bottom of a lake?" Tell me that doesn't look like the bottom of the lake. I guess it doesn't matter because the fish don't mind. 

You know who else is a big fan? Chester. It is like we upgraded his entertainment center from a 20" TV to a plasma and he cannot get enough. He spends most of his days "watching" the fish tank and trying to catch one fish he has his eye on. A colorful red one. B thinks it is because the fish moves fast. I think it is the only spot of color in the lake that Chester can see.  So he must try to "get it" with his paw on the glass.

Let's hope this one doesn't crack.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...

Behold...the unveiling of our 2008 Christmas tree:

This year I decorated it all by myself. I am such a big girl.  Usually B and I do it together. The routine is (we are all about routine have you noticed?) that B goes and buys the tree, puts it in the stand, puts the lights on it and the tree topper on and then, together, we put up the ornaments.  This may or may not include my wearing a Santa hat and B taking pictures.  We desperately need a dog to dress up.  In the 4 or 5 years we have been doing this (I obviously have stopped counting), we have only used B's ornaments.  This is mainly because mine are all stored in many boxes at my parents' house and I either (a) forget that they are there, or (b) am too lazy to go get them. This year I wondered why I never put MY ornaments on the tree. B said "go get 'em."  Yep, just his ornaments are on the tree again.  Oh well, maybe next year I will add mine.

Before the tree's arrival, I had discussed with my Mom whether we were actually going to get one.  You see, this year, we are celebrating Christmas by going to Vegas on Christmas day with B's family.  Since we will be gone and it is now only a few weeks before Christmas, I wasn't sure if we would get a tree although B assured me that we would. And we did. I came home from the office on Saturday* to find a real live tree with lights and a topper.  Alas, B had to work that night so I decorated it alone.  However, those of you that follow me on Twitter will remember that I discovered at least one ornament had been hung on the tree before B's departure. Behold:

If you cannot see this because the picture is sorely out of focus, that would be the Millennium Falcon...

B is a dork. We are two peas in a pod. Now remember a couple of paragraphs ago when I said that all of the ornaments belonged to B? That is not exactly true. We do have a few that we purchased as a couple:

This is the tree of cards purchased in Las Vegas circa some year.**

And this is a scary looking witch purchased in Italy on our honeymoon. There is some meaning behind this witch that has to do with bringing kids presents and good luck or something, but I cannot remember.  Man, I have a horrible memory.

And the final two, the Vegas sign we got our first year together in Vegas and a hand blown glass ornament obtained last Christmas.


There you have it folks, our tree. And, if you are counting like I am apparently:

Together ornaments: 5
Dani ornaments: 0
B ornaments: 1,000,000
Our Christmas tree: beautiful.

*Sometimes I am in the office on Saturday. Sometimes I am  not so happy.

**I cannot keep all of the wonderful years B and I have been together straight. They just blend into one beautiful rainbow.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

What's Old Becomes New Again

Or my fancy way of saying:

I Love Recycling!!

I really do. I love the sorting, the organizing and even the carrying to the curb.  It's Thursday and it is recycling day!  It wasn't always like this.  It all started when B found an extra recycling bin in the back of our building. We claimed it as our own.  Then, I went online and downloaded the guidelines. Yes, I downloaded them. Yes, I refer to them often.  However, I know most of them by heart:

B: Can we recycle the paint cans?
Me: Yes, has to go to the center though, not in the bin.


B: We can't recycle these batteries can we?
Me: Yes, they just need to go into a plastic baggie and placed at the bottom of the bin.


B: Are you planning on taking these hangers to the cleaner?
Me: Nope. They are going in the bin.

I am full of information and excitement for this new gig. B wants no part of it and calls it my "job" and says I am "in charge of it" which I thought meant I had to carry the bin to the curb (I do), not that I would have to follow B around the house to rescue the recyclables (I do that too). B will only remember to recycle about half the time.  This results in my peppering him with questions and statements like these:

"Why are you throwing out that envelope - it can be recycled!"
"That's a plastic bottle in your trash!"
"Where are you going with that cardboard box?"
"The newspaper does not belong in the bathroom trashcan"

B responds with one of these two answers:

"I don't know" which means "recycling is your job, I want no part of it" OR
"Oh" which means "Oh"

B also wants no part of it because he believes that recycling is just a big conspiracy coverup and that they merely collect all your stuff and put it in a big trash pile. Nothing I say can convince him otherwise. Even pointing out that by now someone would have figured this out and uncovered it. Like one of those crazy investigative news teams that follow everyone around.  Nope, B is convinced it is a scam.  He also loves conspiracy theories. Enough said.

This weekend, however, was extra exciting as I had to go to the actual recycling center so that I could give them the huge cardboard box from Black Friday's TV.  B thought that was a great idea and handed me two cans of paint to take with me.  Never having been to the center, I did not know what to expect. 

I love the recycling center!!  Seriously. There are big huge bins everywhere for everything you can think of, all nicely sorted.  Between recycling, diner dash games and my love for the mail, I probably should have been a mail sorter.  But in any event, the center was full of organization, sorting and rules, and, apparently I broke one of them.

Upon driving up to the chemicals section which consisted of a crazy looking shed and a man with a cart, I got out of my car to give him my two small paint cans.  We have the following exchange:

Man: Do you have an appointment?
Me: No. Do I need an appointment [reviewing guidelines in my head and noting they did not mention an appointment to drop off paint]
Man: Yes.
Me: So should I make an appointment?
Man: We have to have appointments because we service 13 different cities [note, I was the only one in front of him at the time]
Me: So should I make an appointment?
Man: Just show me your ID

I did. He took the paint. On a cart. Despite the fact that I was able to carry them with one hand. Now you know since he took the paint, I probably won't make an appointment next time either. As I got out at the next stop - big cardboard box bin, I saw a guy go over to the paint guy with three cans of paint.  And of course he was asked if he had an appointment. The guy thought he might.  No he did not. Yes the guy took the paint.  But he is not going to stop recycling that line about the appointments.  Oh no.

Meanwhile, back at home I tell B about my newfound love for the center and how I am going back this weekend with something.  At that exact moment I look out to see the recycling truck picking up the bins.  This usually happens on Friday when I am at work but with the holiday, it was happening on Saturday.  I took that moment to point out to B that the truck had separated bins in which they were separating the stuff they picked up.  B declared it was all for show, that it was just going into one big garbage pile and they really FOOLED ME.

Yes, I have been fooled.  We all have been fooled.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Just Another Manic Black Friday

Yes, this post is less than timely, but I still want to post it.  You see, B has this new thing where he shops on Black Friday.  I avoid even thinking about shopping on that day or the day after. B, however, thinks he has become a master because he does a "shop online, pick up in store" maneuver. This worked out quite well for him last year when he bought our 42" flat screen TV and then picked it up in the store about a half hour later with virtually no wait.

This year he decided we needed another smaller flat screen for the living room (the bigger one is in the den/game room).  Who am I to argue with this logic? So he orders from the same place, again to be picked up, but this time at a location closer to us.  This year was not like last year.  First, I went with him to pick it up although I did not know that at the time. It was like a surprise party that you didn't really want, but was forced to attend anyway.

We were on our way to help his sister move when he said we were going to make a "quick stop" to pick up the TV.  I told him that was NOT a good idea.  It was just before 11 and mad Black Friday shoppers were still out in force.  He dismissed my concerns.  After zipping into the parking lot, he parked, told me I could wait in the car, declared he would be "right back" and ran off.  For the next FORTY MINUTES I sat in that freezing car watching the shoppers go in and come out (usually without purchases interestingly enough), and wondered if we would ever get to help his sister move.

B finally called and told me to pull the car around as close to the door as possible.  It was obvious he had not been outside in some time as there was no way to just stop the car in front of the store with the steady and quite crazed stream of traffic in and out of the parking lot.  However, I made a valiant effort and managed to squeeze into a spot right outside the front door.  Although I would like to attribute this to my majorly awesome driving skills, the fact is the place was starting to clear out.  Either all of the specials were had or the shoppers needed lunch.  

Parked, I see no sign of B.  Try calling and get no answer. So I go inside and find him in the craziest longest line for "web pickup" ever. Seriously. There was NO ONE waiting to check out at the regular cashier but about 20-30 people in this line and the return line. Apparently some people had already purchased, took home, and were now returning their items from that morning. Then there was the lady there to get a price difference.  Not sure they honor those on Black Friday, but whatever. I was relieved to see B at the front of the line.

As I walk up, his transaction is complete and they tell us they will pull the item so we should step off to the side. B is disgusted and tells me there are only two people running for items and that "tall skinny guy better get his ass back here."  Oh, you mean the guy I just saw leave the store?  B was getting redder and angrier. I was kind of wishing I was back in the cold car.  In fact, I took that opportunity to go clean out the back of my car for the TV as I was not expecting to pick one up when we left.  When I return, B is in the same place ready to explode.  

So, he walks up to the first woman he sees who I believe to be a manager, based on her outfit, and asks her quite angrily if someone is going to help him. I do not know what B said exactly as I could not really hear, but I certainly heard and saw what came next:

The lady put her hand in front of her face, flat palmed, moved it in a circular motion over her face as if clearing it, pointed to herself and said to B:

"Are you talking to ME?"

I thought B's head was going to explode. I heard him yell something like "I'm talking to whomever will help me out" (with a lot of cursing involved as well), saw the guy next to B raise his eyebrows and turn away like he didn't want to be involved, and I just put my head into my hand.  I thought two things:

1. How are we going to get out of here with our TV in one piece without either this lady getting killed or B getting killed; and

2. How on earth did that lady think it was okay to say to a customer "Are you talking to ME?" like she was in an Al Pacino movie (or whatever guy movie that was from - guy bloggers - help?).

Amazingly enough, after that crazy reaction, the woman jumped into gear and TWENTY MINUTES later we were finally out of the store with the TV.  There was a problem "releasing" us so we went from cash register to cash register which also provided me with some amusement as at the first register, a guy came up to purchase stuff, saw how involved we were and went to the next register.  However, because of our problems we had to go to the next register, just in time to cut him off again before he could get his purchases rang up.  He, unlike B, did not yell.  Because of that, he still may be at the store waiting for his purchases to be rung up. Who knows.

B is of the opinion that nothing gets done unless you yell. I do not believe that to be true but he keeps proving it to me time and time again.  I did insist that he apologize to the woman and he did - twice.  In  her defense, she did also apologize to us at the end. For our wait. Not for her crazy mime demonstration and ridiculous comment, however.  Nope, I guess that was perfectly acceptable.

There you have it.  And here's the breakdown:

New TV $some hundreds of dollars
Blood Pressure medicine for B $10
Witnessing a manager of a store say "Are you talking to ME" while moving her hand over her face? 


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Text Me Not

Remember that time I got an email from someone that thought she knew me? Well apparently I get text messages from people like that too.* Oh! And I am psychic.  Case in point...

Early in the morning I got a text from a friend. One of those pass it along texts. Kind of like a chain email, but cuter.  But that got me thinking later about people spam texting. Does that ever occur, I thought?  A short while later I was alerted to a text message as follows:

[insert 5 billion "Fwd:"s here] / // // /___/ /__________
that would be my heartbeat if i ever lost
you.  Send 2 everyone you care about 
including me!

Okay, my first thought was basically "okay..."  My second thought was "who the HELL sent THIS to me?"  And what were those lines about?  So I look at the phone number. Yep, I have absolutely NO clue who this is. Clearly, I do not know this person and clearly they do not know me.  If they had, I probably wouldn't have gotten such a message.  Now, rather than simply ignoring the text like a rational human being might, I decided to inform the person that we did not, in fact, know each other.  That was not as easy as you would think:

Me:  Who is this?
Text: KK [real name redacted]
Me: I don't know you?
Text: From [name redacted] technical school

HUH?  Okay, I REALLY do not know this person. Time to end this nonsense:

Me: Nope. You have the wrong number.
Text: You taught a cooking class there in 2005.

Seriously. The texter seriously said that! Me! A cooking class! Not only does she not know me, but she has clearly never read this blog.  Otherwise she would know about this, and this, and this.  Cooking teacher....ha.

Me: No. I did not. You have the wrong number.
Text: I guess if you do not remember me even though that's the number that was given to me.

Okay. I did not say I did not remember her. I said I AM NOT THAT PERSON. I never went to that school. I did not teach the class. You have the wrong number.  So what do I do? Of course...I call her:

Text:  Hello?
Me: It's Dani.
Text: Hi - you taught me a cooking class in 2005.
Me: No I did not. I have NEVER taught anything, let alone cooking. I am sorry, we do not know each other. And, actually, you would not want me to teach you cooking. Believe you me. You are better off.
Text:...okay...[clearly not believing she doesn't know me]

Meanwhile, I am IMing my Mom to inform her that I am busy arguing with a stranger about whether I know her or not.  Oh and she thinks I taught a cooking class.  I don't think my Mom ever laughed so hard in her life.  

The girl went on to say that SOMEONE gave her this number so I must be the teacher. I am not. I know it. She does not know it or refuses to know it.  I just hope she loses my number.  On another note...why would you wait almost four years to text an old teacher only to send them THAT message?  Really? You heart would stop beating if you ever lost me? How's it been for the past four years without me?

Still beating I bet.

*While looking up old posts to link, I forgot that this is not my first stranger text.  There was the one where the lady wanted me to babysit.   Not sure if mistaking me for a cooking teacher is funnier than a babysitter, but they both get chuckles from me.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Vampire Butter Breakfast

Over the years, B and I have established a Thanksgiving routine that goes a little something like this:

1. I go to breakfast with my family.
2. He goes to the football game with his friend
3. We meet up later and head to his family's dinner
4. We eat a lot and sleep well

The breakfast with my family thing is rather new but it is a way for me to eat a meal with them that day.  And, of course, you know I like me some breakfast.  In fact, we go to the same place that the EMMICD people go. Alas, none were there on Thanksgiving.  I guess on a holiday they can eat "real" food, or at least give dairy the day off.

There were five of us at breakfast (my brother brought his girlfriend and God love them, they had to eat 3 meals that day - breakfast, lunch and dinner. Holiday meals, my friend, not just ordinary meals. And I thought WE ate a lot).  We sat around eating and just chatting about this, that and the other.  Almost all of us ordered omelets except my Dad who is a rebel and ordered a waffle. Why am I telling you our breakfast orders? There is a point. Trust.

With our breakfast came toast. I love toast.  This time I noticed it was quite buttered. In fact, I could actually see the butter piled up on the toast.  This is unusual because normally it is barely buttered.  I  chalked it up to good holiday spirit on behalf of the cook. First mistake.  After my first few bites, I noticed it had a garlic taste to it.  I decided I was crazy and ignored it while also subconsciously scraping the butter off my bread.  Second mistake.  This went on for my entire meal. Multiple mistakes.  I even ate two slices of my mom's toast. I love toast.

My bro, who declares that he loves toast because it is a "built in dessert -mmmm jelly on bread" bites into his toast and immediately says "this tastes strange."  I tell him it has a garlic taste to it. That is when it finally hits me - the cook totally buttered our toast with garlic butter.  The kind you put on that toast - garlic toast.  It tasted liked it and looked like it.  And it was.  My bro threw down his toast in disgust because apparently jelly and garlic butter on toast is no dessert.  Despite having eaten 6 pieces myself, I decide I have lost my appetite.  Or was I just full? Who knows.

We told our waitress who investigated and found out in the mad "rush" that morning, the cook had in fact buttered our toast with the wrong butter.  She apologized and offered us more toast. Even I could not take her up on that.   And because she was so sweet and so apologetic and it was a holiday, we left her a 30% tip.

We totally paid them to give us the wrong butter.

Happy Thanksgiving!*

*I know Thanksgiving was four days ago, but who has time to post when they are full after eating a lot, sleepy and trying to digest garlic butter?

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