Conversations At Our House v.38

Tuesday, November 16, 2010 | 1 Comments

SSB: Did you want to work out on the Wii Fit before you go to bed?
Sy: No.
SSB: Are you sure?
Sy: Yeah. Maybe I want it to ask about me, to know that it misses me.
SSB: It did ask about you before.
JD: Yeah that was disturbing.
Sy: [as Wii Fit] "Hey, SSB. It's been awhile since Sy has logged in." It says suspiciously.
JD: Yeah that's it.
Sy: I wonder if you stay away too long if your Wii calls the police to report you as a missing person.

Conversations At Our House v.37

Friday, October 22, 2010 | 0 Comments

[online trying to figure out how many people the University of Minnesota Field House holds]

Sy: mmm...says here that the track was built by Mondo. [in a neanderthal voice] "MONDO!! Mondo build track--"

SSB: [reading over Sy's shoulder] "Olympians Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Suzy (Favor) Hamilton--"

Sy: Wait! "Favor"?

SSB: Yeah, Favor is her "nickname".

Conversations At Our House v.36

Wednesday, October 20, 2010 | 0 Comments

[talking about Christine O'Donnell's confusion over what the first constitutional amendment actually says.]

Sy: They spout off about protecting the constitution and they don't even know what is in it. They know: Freedom of My Speech, We All Get Guns, the Law of Northern Aggression, ... and after that they just start throwing in some of the Ten Commandments. And they don't even really know those either.

Speaking of that, turns out I didn't know the Ten Commandments very well myself. I was just reading the various versions of them and most have something in there about not coveting your neighbors slaves and that your slaves get the Sabbath off. Really? Commandments on how to deal with slaves? Like it's OK to have slaves.

You know, if God is supposed to be omniscient and omnipotent, why was Jesus so different. I mean, there seemed to be a serious generation gap there.

SSB: God was all like, "Oh geez, they've really got this wrong. Now I'm going to have to go down there and straighten things out."

And then they killed him and he said, "Oh, yeah really should have seen that one coming."

Sy: Yeah, God says, "Oh, this talking to just a few people with just a voice in the sky really isn't cutting it. I guess I need go in to get this job done. I'll need to be careful to not spook them. I'll have to go as one of them. I should be sure to --"


"Goddammit Leeroy!"


Wednesday, October 13, 2010 | 2 Comments

We've had our exchange student, Pedro, for two months now. So far it is going well, in fact it is almost spooky as to how easily he shuffled right into our household. It is almost as if he had training. He gets along well with JD, in fact they do some things together. Pedro even tries hard to take an interest in the things that JD does. Now if I could just get JD to make an effort to return that consideration.

The only problem that we have had with Pedro is that he has been pressing the issue of going into the Twin Cities with a boy from school. We even sat him down and went over our ground rules for going out:
  1. At all times while away from the house you must be accessible by phone.
  2. For every outing we need to know where you are going, when you intend to be back and who (full name) you are with.
  3. As long it is in the city limits (would take you no longer than 5 minutes to be back home if needed) you can go without pre-approval but you must leave us a message ASAP.
  4. Anything out of the city limits (would take longer than 5 minutes to get back home) requires our pre-approval.
  5. Being in a car without an adult/experienced driver is OK during the day and within an 8 mile radius of home.
  6. At night and out of that radius an adult/experienced driver is required, unless we give specific approval.

I consider these simple, reasonable rules. These are rules that our son has, although I am a little lenient with him since I know his routine so well that I can guess where he is if he doesn't show up at home when he normally would. Pedro is just setting his routine, so I have to make him adhere to this a little more strictly. But he keeps pressing this Twin City thing. He wants to go into St. Paul at night with a bunch of teenagers.

Nope! I could never see me allowing my own son to do that, why should I allow Pedro? I told him that I have an obligation to his parents to send him home in one piece. He says that he understands, but then keeps asking anyway.

Another problem I have with this request is that we don't know the boy. He will not come over to meet us either. I did get to see his and his friends' driving habits and I have to say, I totally feel vindicated in my decision! They drive like a bunch of assholes. This boy also either is really flighty, or he is a real dick. He will invite Pedro to do things then not show up, he'll leave without him, or he won't let him know what is going on until it is too late. In either case, he's not really racking up the trust points with me, that's for sure.

Part of me feels that I should allow him to go for the experience, but then, I work with people who have just gotten out of high school and so far all of the ones that I asked said that their parents didn't let them go in the Twin Cities without an adult driver either. Seems like I am not alone; although I'm not sure that me being alone on the matter would matter that much to me. Right now I have a strong instinctual feeling that I should not let him go, and as those of you have followed my blog for awhile know, that feeling -- The Force, as I like to call it -- has been very, very good to me. So I will listen to it, even if it doesn't really make total sense. Problem is that it is hard to convince other people that they should listen to it too, since it doesn't make total sense at first. But I can be formidably tenacious, so I usually prevail.

I'm thinking that when he turns 18 in a couple of months we will re-visit the rules; but until then I am going to trust my instincts.

My Dream Home

Sunday, July 18, 2010 | 2 Comments

I love efficiency, especially multipurpose items and spaces. I have been telling my husband for years that if we ever built a house, I would want a ship builder to be on our architectural team.

Well strike that. I want THIS guy!

During the spring and summer I like to get up early, before everyone else is up and about making noise, so that I can enjoy the only peace and quiet of the day. My dog is up and ready to go out and enjoy the same thing. He loves to sit quietly in the yard and listen to the birds sing and smell the flowers. We both suffer from stress and he suffers from anxiety, so this is our way of ramping up our relaxation meter so we can deal with our days.

Well, we used to. Lately, every morning at 7:30am our neighbor's kid starts playing his trumpet.


The loudest, piercingest friggin' instrument that I know of.

And with all the windows open.

And for 30 minutes all he plays is scales. Then it is another 20 minutes of short, crappily played pieces of compositions. Nothing all the way through, just spurts of chopped up crap.

Right now I am a whole 60' lawn and two rooms away and can still hear it clear as a bell even though all our windows are shut. My jaw is aching from the clenching from the stress. My head is literally throbbing.

I would say something, but this kid is not always up to productive things; plus how do you tell a kid that even though he is devotedly practicing he still is utterly annoying?
And then there is the father. He comes over every morning to play with him. He's a semi-professional trumpet player with a very rocky past. Very rocky. He's divorced from the mother and sometimes disappears for months at a time. This is something that they can do as a bonding experience and something to perhaps get this guy on the right track. I would ask him if he could come later, but even if he says sure, it may be that he will find it more difficult to consistently come over at a later time and will just end the tutoring.
I don't want to take away their time together when it is such a meaningful time they both could use.

But despite all this, I can guarantee one thing, if I am tired and trying to sleep late and they wake me up with that racket, I will bee-line over there and shove their horns up their asses!!

Conversations At Our House v.35

Saturday, June 26, 2010 | 4 Comments

[Discussing the "Twilight" phenomenon]

Sy: I think that women love vampire stories because it speaks of the most exciting type of love. Like, "I know that you are dangerous and bad for me, but I love you so much, I'm willing to take that risk and sacrifice myself to be with you."

SSB: I want to see the story of them later in life when they have a bunch of kids and he's an insurance salesman.

Sy: That can't happen because they are vampires. They can't stay in a place too long because they don't get old. Like Casey Kasem.

SSB: So can they be killed, can they die?

Sy: Well they could be torn apart, and burned. Also, I think vampires need to eat.

SSB: What? You mean you have to feed vampires? I suppose you're going to tell me next that you have to clean up after them as well. [referring to a stupid comment made during our city's chicken ordinance meeting where someone said we shouldn't allow chickens because the owners might not realize that the chickens would need food and water and to be cleaned up after. Really?? Come on ignorant chicken haters, can't you come up with something better?]

Sy: Do vampires poop?

SSB: I wonder if that would make good fertilizer. We could have a coop of chickens and a coop of vampires...

Sy: I should go to this TwilightLexicon blog and ask the lady there if vampires poop. She's an expert; she would know. I bet that would make great fertilizer -- high in nitrogen...
I could write: "Do vampires, as the book "Everyone Poops" implies, actually poop?"

SSB: I'm sure they'd love you for it. They'd ask, "Why did you have to spoil all the romance with your poop talk?"

Sy: "Because I'm Sy. That's what I do. I need to know these things."
The key phrase in this story is "condiment-related crimes". Does that come with a special unit?

Cops bust woman, 74, for pouring mayo in book drop from Yahoo!News
Mon Jun 14, 9:27 pm ET

BOISE, Idaho – Police in Idaho think they might have solved a yearlong condiment crime spree. Authorities said a 74-year-old Boise woman arrested after pouring mayonnaise in the Ada County library's book drop box is a person of interest in at least 10 other condiment-related crimes.

Joy L. Cassidy was picked up Sunday at the library, moments after police say she pulled through the outside drive-through and dumped a jar of mayo in the box designated for reading materials.

Cassidy was released from jail and faces a misdemeanor charge of malicious injury to property.

Boise police say Cassidy is under investigation for other cases of vandalism that started in May 2009. Library employees have reported finding books in the drop box covered in corn syrup and ketchup.

Holey Cow!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010 | 2 Comments

I was trying to get some laundry done yesterday when I ran in to a slight road block - no detergent. I have really sensitive skin and delicate clothes, so I can only use certain detergents - Dreft has been my detergent of choice for some time. Well Dreft is really expensive, so I usually only purchase it from Sam's Club. Well, it was still really expensive - $25!!

I have been reading No Impact Man after watching the movie (I highly recommend both) and have since been even more convinced that I should try laundry detergents better for the environment, and hopeful also better for me. There are quite a few recipes online for baking soda and bar soap (or in my sensitive case - baby shampoo) detergents that are supposed to be just as effective as the industrial chemical detergents I have been using. For tougher loads, you just add a little Borax (that's a laundry booster powder, not the guy that goes around acting like he's from Kazakhstan). So I get 8lbs of baking soda to go with the 10 bags of kettle chips I already have in my cart. And don't forget the rechargeable batteries and fair trade coffee! I now have my mega McGruber list (my husband and I used to refer to these as our McGyver lists -- as in those crazy scavenger lists that McGyver would create in order to solve a problem -- but I thought "McGruber" was probably more inline).

On my way home I was passing by the university experiment farm and I see something that makes me doubletake and gasp. There is a hole in that cow!!

I raced home and Googled "why is there a hole in that cow" (cuz that's how it's done), and I get back this:

I'm sure most of you could have gone your whole life without seeing that. But I know you are dying to know if the baking soda worked...

Like a charm. :)
I thought I would get more time to blog with the new job, but things just seem to come up and fill the void.

My son has suddenly decided that he will join everything in school. Although I really appreciate finally seeing ambition sparked in him, it also means that I am lugging him all over Western Wisconsin. Next year looks to be even worse as he has even bigger plans for his final year in high school.
Can you believe it? He's going to be graduating next year! We have absolutely NO money saved either. My big plan for the rental properties helping to pay for his college came up empty when the myth of property values only increasing was busted. Thanks Bush. Deregulation really does work! (note sarcastic tone; cause you know that the people in the Gulf of Mexico are living deregulation right now -- but that's another post...)

My parents came for a rare visit to see my tulips in bloom. And the early hot weather almost left them with nothing to look at! Luckily we got some cool weather right before they came and the ones that were left hung on long enough for their visit. We also took them to the MN Landscape Arboretum. They had tons of tulips left there.

And I was going to go to the arboretum this Saturday to see all their peony in bloom, but that plan was shot in the ass when a bizarre thing happened earlier this week...

My husband got a call asking us about our next door neighbor. Apparently she put us down as a reference in her application to host an exchange student. After my husband told the woman how great our neighbor was, the woman asked if we would take an exchange student. They had a student whose host family had backed out at the last minute. He said that he'd get back to her.

I was, as usual, ready to leap into the adventure; but SSB was, as usual, a little more hesitant to take on the challenge. JD, our son, was excited yet nervous. We decided that I would call her and ask her some more questions.

The woman was practically signing me up as I spoke to her. She was a very positive, energetic person and it was hard to say no. She said that she actually still had four boys to place and went over each of them with me. In the end, I couldn't say no. We decided to take the Brazilian boy that she had originally asked my husband about. His letter to his potential host family sounded like something that my son would write, and the parents letter sounded like something we would write about our son. Sounded like a perfect fit.

We've always talked about getting an exchange student, but never got around to looking into it. This just dumped into our lap. It was Fate. And when Fate throws something like this my way, I don't think too much about it, I just do it. It is generally a great gift.

Besides, I figured that we'd have all summer to get our house in order. And that put everyone at ease.
Then I got a call from the exchange woman asking if we could set up a time this weekend to meet at our house so that they could look things over and take pictures.

WHAT?!! Ugh! My house is in shambles because it is growing season and I have mud and planting stuff everywhere. Plus there are tons of home improvement projects that we have been putting on hold. We have a huge hole in the plaster in our stairwell that we have been living with since we bought the house. The ceiling in the hall upstairs still has water damaged wallpaper hanging from it from before we bought the house. I never completed the trim in the bathroom after we tiled. The house exterior had never been completely painted since I got injured at work so it is half green, purple & blue and half white in no pattern that makes sense. Our front steps are falling apart. Our screens on the porch are still shredded from the hail storm about ten years ago. In other words, our house is a mess!! And don't even get me started on my son's room!

So I am scrambling to put a ginormous bandaid on everything. I am almost finished painting the front of the house so at least when they take a picture it will look nice. You can actually see the carpet in my son's room now. SSB cleaned the porch - WOW, does it look nice! And now I just have to do EVERYTHING ELSE!

Wish us luck :)

PeepShow 2010

Wednesday, April 07, 2010 | 2 Comments

Peep chefs in a grueling cook-off. Peeps have to be extra careful not to get too close to the hot equipment as they have a low roasting point - mmmm.... roasted Peeps...

BTW: this was put together by a coworker, but I knew you'd like to have your annual PeepShow fix

I Know I Promised, But...

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 | 0 Comments

OK. I know that I have said some very scathing things about word verification in the past. AND I said that I would NEVER resort to it.


WV has been making amends with me as of late. Offering up some pretty silly words to make me laugh, and trying to be all easy going... it's hard to resist.

Then there's that damn spam. I was using moderation here to combat it, but I don't check this blog enough times in a day; and I personally love to see instant gratification. And WV promised it would play nice for me and my friends.

So, I am going to give WV a chance. I'm a sucker, I know. I should be stronger, I know. But just look at how it tilts the letters in those crazy words just right. *sigh*

But, be a good friend and let me know if you think WV is out of line. Maybe it's out doing stuff behind my back, causing you guys all sorts of grief and making me look like a fool.
I'm counting on you.

And thanks for not making me feel all cheap and easy for giving in.

WV Word of the Day

Friday, March 26, 2010 | 1 Comments

"Bitches Get Shit Done!"

Friday, March 12, 2010 | 8 Comments

I am ecstatic because I just got one of my credit cards to drop 11% off their finance rate.
Yeah, their rate was truly outrageous.

When they answered the woman said, "I hope you know that Xcard truly values you as a long standing, excellent customer."

I said, "I sure hope so, and I hope that you are willing to prove it because right now I'm not feeling it. Our rate is completely unacceptable and I am requesting that you reduce that rate."

"Oh, let me take a look at your history...Well, it looks like you have had this rate for some time; but I'm not sure why since you have excellent credit."

"I know I do. We are great customers. Our rate should not be that high. Especially since your company is sending me stuff telling me that because we are such great customers they are willing to offer us a fabulous transfer rate. Why don't they just give me that rate on what I have on the card now?"

"I could get you to a specialist that could help you with your rate. I'm sure that we can get your rate lowered for you."

"Well, if you can't make my rate reasonable, I will do whatever I can to pay it off in the next couple of months and close that account."

"Let me get you to that specialist."

Wham, bam - 11% lower than we had been getting charged, effective immediately!
They already make enough off from us, they really don't need to be so damn greedy!

How Lohan Can You Go?

Tuesday, March 09, 2010 | 2 Comments

Lindsay Lohan is apparently suing for some big bucks over the E-Trade commercial aired during the Superbowl that has a baby asking another baby if "that milkaholic Lindsay" was there with him. Lindsay Lohan, of course, immediately assumed that they were talking about her.

Lindsay, if even you assume that they are talking about you, how can you claim defamation of character?

Oh, wait...what? She's suing for exemplary damages? As in, she's suing because they are cashing in on the reputation that she built?

For real, Lindsay?

Oscars Goes Avatard

Sunday, March 07, 2010 | 6 Comments

I have to say that I am disappointed in the Academy's decision to allow "popular" contenders into the awards. I feel that the Academy's stamp on a movie has always been an indication of the quality of the movie. We already know what's popular!

Avatar is my biggest gripe. There. I said it. It was OK as far as movies go. I love the fantasy world that Cameron creates, but that is basically where the magic ends. I didn't feel that the story revealed anything special or new. I didn't feel that they spent enough time on character development for me to feel especially close to any of the characters. It felt like a movie whose theme and story has been done to death. The only thing new about it is the specifics of the environment. That is it.

Avatar's only real claim for an award might be in technology. And even then, eh. When I saw it I wasn't entirely convinced that it was real. It didn't feel real to me. It still felt animated - or maybe like a dream; not a real environment. When I saw Jurassic Park over 15 years ago, it felt real! So, is Avatar really that advanced? I don't think so. I think that it was cool, but not so ground-breaking as everyone would make it out to be.

Academy Awards should not be given out to movies merely because they are popular. I've been around enough people to know that most of them like cheap, flashy garbage - that's why Walmart is so popular. I think that the Awards should be reserved for movies and people that show something special or new. They should go to movies and people that make you feel something so strong that you just can't get it out of your head. Movies and people that keep you talking about what they have done on an intellectual and emotional level.

My favs this year are Inglorious Basterds (what an interesting alternative ending to WWII!), UP! (that movie was tight!), The Hurt Locker (the character development was amazing), and District 9 (this movie still has me talking). A movie that should have gotten in instead of Avatar was Moon. There was basically one actor in the whole movie and he was AWESOME!! I can't get that movie out of my head. A true great. See it. You'll thank me -- unless you're an Avatard.

Now Playing

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 | 4 Comments

What else do you need to know?

It's Official. I Am AWESOME!

Thursday, February 11, 2010 | 5 Comments

Part of my parting duties at the job that I am leaving is to notify companies that we work with that there will be organizational changes. Today I contacted the company that we hired to advise us on Medicare accreditation matters to let our representative (who also happens to own the company - he made us his special project :) know of the changes and ask if he felt certain title changes would cause conflicts of interest that might put us in jeopardy. He said that my solutions to the problems were fine -- and since I wasn't going to be working there anymore, would I like to come work with him?

Yeah, another job offer! It's making it hard for me to believe that the economy is in such dire straights.

He said that he was always impressed with my skills in the field and would very much like to bring me on board. He had in the past actually alluded to the possibility of my running a Midwest branch of his company to save him from having to run up here so much (from Florida). But at the time I wasn't sure if he was serious, or just trying to compliment me on the job that I was doing to get our pharmacy accredited.

This information leaves me both giddy with the knowledge that I truly am great at what I do; and it makes me angry that my boss made it impossible for me to stay at a job that I love doing.

He's My Hero!

Monday, February 08, 2010 | 0 Comments

I thought I loved Ralph Nadar, but he's got nothing on Rahm!
Yes, I know that this is an SNL skit and not really him, but the stories that people tell of the real Rahm aren't far from this portrayal!

OK. So my boss did not take the news well. She tried to play it off like it was no big deal and she never needed me anyway, so what if I leave. One of my coworkers said she was acting like a person who just got dumped and is now trying to make it like they were really the one who ended the relationship. She kept snapping at me every time I turned around. So I snapped back, as usual. I hate it and am just about ready to call it quits right now.

So, I quit going to work for a couple of days. I had quite a bit of vacation built up and thought I should probably finally take some of it!

When I came back, her whole attitude seems to have changed. She is much more respectful of me and is actually coming to talk to me, not bitch at me. Maybe she just needed a couple of days to realize that she could deal with this a little better - after all, it was that attitude which led me to find another job in the first place! And she really doesn't want to know why I'm leaving. I tried to tell her, but I think she knows my opinion of her as a boss is not a good one. I tried to warn her that I wasn't the first, and won't be the last, but she wants to live in denial.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring. Yet another reason that I'm leaving.

Oh, and for all of you with bad bosses - you need to see BAD BOSSES. My boss - 27 out of 28!

When Can I Start Not Working

Tuesday, January 26, 2010 | 0 Comments

I talked to HR at my soon-to-be new job today. She went over the basics such as hours I will be working, the time my shift starts and ends, my probationary period, wages...

Then she told me about my sick time - 5 hours every two weeks, personal holidays - 36hrs this first year, vacation - I can't even remember how much of that I get, and the mandated furloughs - I need to take 8 days in the next two years.

Then she asked when I would like to start.
Can I start not working now?!

But seriously, I can not figure out when I should start. I would love to start next week, but I also want to give two weeks notice. BUT, my boss is very unpredictable and reactive, so I'm afraid that there is a possibility that she might just fire me out of panic. I have thought that I could start now because I would still be able to make myself available for training for awhile -- but then I'm afraid that my new job might have a problem with moonlighting, even though I'm doing it right now for them. AND my boss is planning a vacation in a couple of weeks where she is supposed to go for a whole week. Right. She did the same thing last year though - started out as a 2 week vacation, then slowly whittled down to three days. And she wouldn't have even gone for those if I hadn't cornered her and forced her to go.

SO what I did is call HR at the soon-to-be new job and asked if it would be OK if I started right away at their job, but continued working at my old job for awhile just to get everything settled - since I'm not even sure how much more training I would have to do. She said that shouldn't be a problem, but that she'd need to contact my soon-to-be new boss to see if that would be a problem with her (I can't really see that being a problem - I've already talked to her about it, and I've worked both positions for their benefit many times in the past).

I'll find out this afternoon, and then I can talk to my boss.

Wish me luck!

2010 Whirlwind

Sunday, January 24, 2010 | 0 Comments

It's been a very busy time for me. Right before Thanksgiving I was asked by a past employer to interim for a position that had suddenly gone vacant. I knew that this was going to happen since a good friend of mine had held the position and had told me he was planning to move out of state to be with his girlfriend who had gone to grad school. I accepted the interim position and have been working my full-time business manager job during the day and serving as library supervisor at night (as well as running around trying to find renters for two vacant apartments!!).

Well, of course the job was open for hire, and they really wanted me to take it. In fact I had been offered the position two years ago, but ended up turning it down due to some major commitments I had made at my current job (switching wholesalers and getting Medicare accreditation); among other things going on in my life. But I wasn't going to turn it down twice. I've worked there on and off since 2001 and love all the people. I found out Friday afternoon that I got the job. So, I will be switching jobs soon. I go in on Tuesday to take care of the paperwork. I already do the job so there's not much in the way of training to take care of.

So, yay for me!

This really couldn't have come at a better time. My current boss has progressively been treating me more and more badly. She resents me for my capabilities and the work I do - even though she asks me to do it! I believe she is threatened by me - even though there is no way that I can take her job away! Instead of feeling really smart for having such a capable person to help her run her business, she has gotten to the point where she is undermining a good portion of what I need to do to get my job done and she is outright cutting me down almost every chance she gets. Not a healthy place to be, and I'm too old for bullshit.