Friday, April 30, 2010

But Enough About Target...

Really? I had that post up about my new belt for how long?

This is what happens when work takes over my life. I'm not putting in more than my usual 40 hours...of work working... But lately a whole bunch of stuff has been going on that involves me in meetings about updating/upgrading/making my life at work better that apparently sticks with me long after I've shut my computer off.

Like this morning, when I woke up realizing one of the awesome new changes they are trying to implement for a payment module simply will not work. It took me dreaming about it to realize that we were heading down the wrong road.

And I just finished sending the email to the appropriate contact, who, if she sees the time stamp, will think I maybe need to not be in office mode at 5 AM. I reread the email about 7 times because, yes, this was before coffee even.

And moving on from that...I think I've realized what I'm really good at. You know how people have made it a business to come in, take a look around, and then tell you what you are doing wrong and how to fix it? I don't quite despise those people, but it's close. Simply because they come in and without actually trying to do your job, they are telling you how it "should" be done because it's worked in the past for the hundreds of prior clients they have had. Cuz we are all automatons or something.

I am not one of those people. Who I am, though, is someone that needs to use the systems in place, work with what I am given, see the pros and cons, AND THEN, once it's been something I do for a month or two, start changing them to both benefit who I am, how I work, and those around me.

Too bad it's not the career-making ability like those people I dislike so much who can do it in a day. But it has put me in the position where I am in hours-long meetings to review/revamp/shed light on what has been done and what I think should happen moving forward. Which, in it's vicious-circle style, now has me working ALL THE TIME.

I need a raise.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I Just Spent the Best $7 Ever!

But before I go on and on about my new bad-for-the-environment/made-in-china/children's/labor (no I don't know any of this for sure, but hi, $7?), I want to note here, for future reference, when exactly I resigned myself to becoming my mom.

I promise I will not be all, "That'll never be me" again. Because those "nevers" keep disappearing and I keep thinking, "Well, I guess that explains that particular crazy-assed behavior. And it makes PERFECT SENSE! EVERY TIME! I know not why I ever doubted it." (Except maybe, of course, people of the younger generation that will have to deal with me will be shaking their heads and/or saying, "Crazy-assed lady," to themselves about the exact same behaviors I shook my head at. All I can say is, your time will come, oh yes it will.

See, in the last week I almost got cheated out of $60 dollars.

No, some guy in an shiny leather coat did not come up to me all Lucky-Lenny-style to try to sell me a $30 Rolex. We don't seem to have those guys here in Seattle. Down in LA? I've been offered "leather" jackets, "gold" necklaces, roller skates, even a laptop by fellows (and ladies, let me not be sexist here) in semi-nice looking get-ups trying to scam you out of your fun money (usually at gas stations, in case you're curious).

No, this near loss of almost 4 hours worth of wages has happened at two grocery stores and, well, depends what your Target looks like, I was just going to say Target but my second (or third) topic of conversation today was, when did Target become a grocery store?

Okay, okay, I get that cashiers are only human and they might punch in the wrong code and charge me for $40/oz saffron instead of the $4/lb cumin for the million bulk items I tend to buy, this explains the two grocery incidents. I mean, the numbers can be very very similar and if they have been at the register all day? I get it, bound to happen. And I only noticed it as I stood there and read the names of my items and thought, hmm, I didn't buy saffron, nor did I buy tangerines. Both times we all laughed about it because yeah, I definitely did not have $35 worth of saffron and nope, mushrooms and tangerines look nothing like one another.

But scanning? I've been there, I've done it. The formula has not changed in those 14 years:
One beep = one item.
Two beeps = did I just scan this twice?

And to that Target cashier, I have to say, yes you did. I saw you stop, I saw you look at what you had in your hands, and then I saw you CONTINUE TO SCAN THE REST instead of looking to see if you had one too many items on your screen.

Were this item the $1.00 magnetic note pad I found in the dollar bins (love those bins by the way) even I would have said, too much trouble, or maybe even the gum. But it was that tiny pack of refill blades from my razor. You know, the ones you use until they won't shave no-more because they cost a mint to replace? Yep, I kinda noticed the $20 jump in price there immediately.

She apologized when I mentioned it, and really, her eyes getting that wide was enough for me to see that she hadn't realized how much that wee little box cost, but still, I totally get each and every store visit I ever made with my mom as a kid. She watched hawk-like as the prices appeared on the little LED screen and would not let us talk to her or interrupt her as she stood there making sure the numbers didn't go against what she knew the item cost. At the time I totally thought she was bonkers.

I mean, why would the cashier charge her the wrong price? A million apologies mami, I will never doubt your paranoid old-lady ways again, especially as they have saved me from spending and extra $60 in the last 7 days.

But the $7 purchase that I did make...

I bought a belt!

Okay, I know this is only awesome news to you if you too have taken to wearing the newer style of jeans/pants out in the world of fashion and noticed almost immediately that none of your belts fit anymore because they were bought back in the day when we all wore our pants "at the waist."

So I've been going without. And this is fine for the "first wearing" of most of my clothes. And as most of my clothes are work clothes and accounting work is dirtier than you'd think (paper = dusty like you would not believe, and stress = sweat, so I wash, often.) I put off buying a belt to go with the new sit-on-my-hips pants. After-all, aren't hips there to stop the pants from sliding down, right? And with the main reason I've had to buy all my new pants, my permanent lovely lady lump, there is no way I will ever have a wardrobe malfunction at work.

Then, I got my very favorite pair of jeans. They are "curvy" jeans from Eddie Bauer. They are super comfy because they are JUST DENIM and not a lick of spandex that seem to be in all the other girl jeans I have recently acquired (hello 80s? I have your pants). But after wearing them for 10 minutes, I understand the need for the spandex. They go from sitting "just below my waist" to "on my hips" to "why is my crotch keeping me from taking a step" in 20 seconds flat. Attractive, I know. This does not make running errands all over Seattle a happy thing.

So, in a moment of WTF, Target basket in hand, I walked over to the Accessories department and was ready to plop down some serious cash for something that would keep me from having to haul my pants up every three steps.

That's when I noticed that all the belts I was looking at were $6.99. A sign from the gods of fashion, or something. Whatever the case, I grabbed one that fit and put it on right there. I had no idea why I waited so long to get a belt. The difference was amazing, life altering, almost. Seriously, as far away from home as I was, and Target being only the first of 3 stops I was planning on making, I was ready to go home and give up today's excursion.

As I was in line taking off the belt to get ready to pay, I noticed the lady in front of me asking for her belt to not be placed in the bags and was there a pair of scissors she could use to clip off the plastic bits that I had pretty much ripped off with my bare hands. The cashier said she didn't have a pair so as her husband paid I told the woman I could do that for her as I'd done mine about 20 minutes prior. Then she and I both laughed because we were both buying "emergency" belts so we could run our errands today.

But yeah, before I sign off...I know it's been a while since my last visit, but um, when did Target start selling so many groceries? And really I wouldn't find it so odd except for the fact that the motors for all the cooling fridges and freezers drown out all the noise in the store, so it's just you choosing your shampoo down the way from the wall of frozen pizzas. Not that it's all that different from the big grocery stores out there, except for the fact that I can see the women's clothing section from their chip aisle and that seems kinda weird to me.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Another Post Brought to You By the Paint Fumes...

But different.

When I got off the elevator this evening, the prevailing smell was the very same combination of almost dry paint and industrially cleaned/new carpets that transported me back to my high school, Butler Hall, circa 1980 or so during the warmer part of the day, about late July/mid- August. All the major maintenance done and the classrooms repainted and ready to go for the start of the school year. (I almost posted this on Facebook, but seeing as people from my high school have been friending me, I get that uber-insecure feeling about reminding them that I was the janitor's kid and therefore maybe grew up at that school...I know this is silly of me, but hello, me = very silly and insecure sometimes.)

Right. By the time I reached the end of the corridor and slid my key into the lock? I was already lost in nostalgia, which I think should be classified as some kind of (mild) mental disorder. Or who knows, maybe it is? The fact is, by the time I was stuffing the towel in the crack under the door and opening up a window? I'd been sucked down the nostalgia whirlpool.

So instead of watching LOST (via the abc site), I found myself clicking on the season/series finale of UGLY BETTY. No, I have not actively watched this show since the first season. Once I realized they were not going to follow the traditional mexican soap opera formula and were going to keep Betty as ugly as they could for as long as they could? And make the mexican family so uber-tacky mexican with worse accents than what I have? I lapsed. Bad first generation Mexican-American, no churro for you.

But like the good American soap opera it became, I had absolutely no problem picking up the story line and getting caught up on just about everything (except for the Scottish lady, and maybe the surgically altered sister...but that's what the internet is for). And though it didn't quite end the way I'd expected (and dreaded) it to? Okay, really really didn't want it to? It was a great thing to watch. (I hope that was vague enough for anyone out there who hasn't watched it yet but is still going to.)

See, I never got past the nasty, skeevy, ookie Daniel. The fault is completely mine. I could not separate the Daniel character from the skeevy, ooky, nasty character he played on the L-Word. In fact, he pretty much WAS the same character! And we all HATED him. Yes, I may have seen the entire first season of that show, I mean Jennifer Beals! Am I aging myself when I say her + Sting in The Bride inspired countless terrible fake victorianeque short stories that filled journals that even my best friend never saw? And hello? As 'Alex' she was a freakin' welder in Flashdance! Okay, and maybe a stripper or whatever, but dude! WELDER! Hmm, this explains so much about me that I am laughing as I reread this paragraph.

But yeah! UGLY BETTY, skeevy Daniel, cheesy stereotypy mexicans, and Macy Gray's "Beauty in the World."

The other day I actually wondered out loud how I'd lived (so very long now) without ever having heard anything by The Insane Clown Posse, and now I'm thinking I need to not only listen to ICP (they are rude and crude and make me LAUGH, but I will not subject you to a link), but hi Macy Gray and the lyrics to the song they played to end the show made me cry and feel so good at the same time.

Dude, LIFE SUCKS, but blue skies, butterflies, and shaking your booty to the beauty in the world can make it just a little bit better. Even in front of the Watts towers...or the sketchy alley with the um, interesting decor...Oh LA, how I've missed you:

"Throw your hands up and holler
When you don't know what to do,
when you don't know if you'll make it through"

And yeah, I'm in uber-polyanna mode right now, but it seems to be what I need, so we're all good.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Epsom Salt is My Friend

The rumors of my alien abduction have been enormously exaggerated.

I am, in fact, still here. So lethargic I wonder if I'm anemic or maybe have mono. Or maybe I'm just in one of those moods.

I've been dragging bills and thank you cards and stationary of other sorts back and forth from work and not even once getting a chance to pull them out and do something about them. The same goes for the socks I had on the needles...had being the operative word here. Totally hit complete ennui state with that one.

Maybe it's that "time of the year." Yeah, taxes smaxes, mine are done and have been done for over a month, but, hello? IRS? You lie when you say electronic filing = faster returns, because I am still waiting. And now I have to call, or so my tax guy told me to (yeah, I work in accounting but I don't do my own taxes...I used to call that the uber-lazy factor, now I wholeheartedly say it's due to the safety of internal controls). See, apparently no information regarding my filing/taxes can be found via the quick "status of your return" page. Yet another thing to put on my "to do" list that just keeps getting longer.

What I really mean is that I'm burnt out...of being sick, of winter, of having my office torn apart by the yearly audit, of my life right now. I need a break from it all.

And then there's the quiet time that my brain spends mulling over all the bad and wrong and dark thoughts that I need to stay buried when I'm knitting (or unknitting) or cooking or know, when you're reading something easy like The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor (I warn you now, it's a trilogy...yes, I went out and got the second book yesterday). You know, books that are light and easy to get through and leave the rest of your brain to muddle through the thoughts you wish would stay locked up deep inside you.

Or worse, the super quiet time in the Epsom salt bath.

Okay, can someone tell me why it took me 36 years to find out about Epsom salt? It's not just for old peoples' foot baths! It's like the wonder-cure for all your ails! I wanted to wait a bit before I went on my soapbox and preached about the new snake oil, but dudes! It is doing my broken body good!

See, this time of year? The weather is not my friend. Yeah, there are allergens, there are always those, but the extreme weather shifts do a number on my multiply layered injuries (damaged knees from fencing, busted tailbone from crossing the Pacific Ocean to Hawai'i, busted hand/arm from catching my fully-loaded (i.e. all my teaching stuff) bike that one time in my classroom, busted hip from being forced off the road that one time on the way to sign my divorce papers, busted sternum/elbow/back from the orange F150 that I was almost killed by a couple years ago in the rain when biking home).

So instead of drowning in some probably-expired vicodin cocktail, I dragged my sorry self to the local Bartell's Drugs and bought some of the magical salt to see if it could do something for me. And man, does it ever!

I sit in my too-shallow tub letting my hip and shoulder take turns being underwater (if you too have access to a too-shallow tub you know exactly what I'm talking about), as I watch the time tick away....Twelve minutes minimum sitting there listening to myself breathe and trying not to get caught up in all the thoughts that are trying to take over my brain...pretending they are being sucked out of my system along with the swelling and the toxins and whatever else the Epsom salt promises to do on the package labeling.

I know I sound bat-shit insane this morning. I think I shall blame a big chunk of this on the paint fumes. Remember the fire in my building? They've finally gotten around to the painting stage of the repair job. We have crammed a sacrificial towel in the crack under our front door to try to keep most of the fumes out. Seeing as it's all of 40 degrees outside, it's kinda hard to keep a window open so we don't die of fumes instead you get posts like these.

Happy Monday.

Friday, April 02, 2010

No, Yesterday's Post Was Not A "Fool"

The canned air I own officially gave it's lase apoplectic fit last night when I tried using it between the keys to force the water out/channel it to an exit point... So I gave up, turned everything off, turned the keyboard upside down at an angle, and gave it my best, "go with god" look as I went to bed.

It's still kinda "damp" on the inside (if you call big droplets of water that I can see through the clear plastic back "damp," but I have space bar usage once more!

The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
...all the letters seem to work
as do the number & numeric pad keys

I guess I'm back in business.

It must be my punishment for wanting to share what happened yesterday.

I'd blame it on scoring the wrong score on that "How Autistic Are You" quiz that's going around Facebook, but um, I know better. It was just my normal runaway-mean disease. It's happened before, with the same girl. (And yes, I think I'm using that particular label on her because maybe someday she will be all growed up, but her innocent hippie ways make me think of her as very very young...)

Okay, I can blame it a wee bit on the fact that I haven't shaken the poopie cold/cough/eunni/exhaustion that has seriously been plaguing me since my birthday week. I had this super silly notion that it being APRIL yesterday, it would all magically melt away...But it didn't/hasn't, only my patience has, it would seem, for self-righteous/hippie/stupid people.

To refresh everyone's memory, this is the girl who asked me, "Why don't you bike" as I was limping around on a leg swollen to twice its size sometime last year. I maybe got a little offended by her back then, but now I wonder if she'd bust out, "Look at the beautiful sunset!" to a blind person...she is that oblivious to the world...which makes what I said yesterday, with only the barest hint of sarcasm that even I almost didn't recognize in myself, SO MUCH BETTER.

See, she drove in to work yesterday. She looked ABSOLUTELY MISERABLE about not taking the bus or biking, "but it was cold, and raining, and I couldn't get out of bed, and I'd left my umbrella here..."

And I genuinely felt sorry for her and said something like, "Better than getting completely sopping wet trying to get here and getting even more sick." (She too has the office crud.) BUT...instead of agreeing or letting herself feel better, she then goes on to berate herself about how the bus stop is JUST OUTSIDE HER DOOR!

When asked what bus she takes I realized it was one that left you off blocks away from here and said so (again, she's sick and it was pouring) she actually looked at me as if I was an alien and said, "but that's only three blocks away! I could have easily walked that! I do! Every day!"

And right there was when I decided I needed to smack some sense into her mightier-than-thou attitude. So I said, "Yeah, you're right. What were you thinking?"

But it got better. We used to live in opposite ends of the same neighborhood so she asked where I was living now, "About three blocks South of here."

She got all excited, "Oh by the blah blah blah" (Artist lofts/more people fresh out of the peace core/hippie-wanna-bes like her.)

"No, that's North, I said South."

The look on her face was priceless. "But that's like, right next to downtown!"

"Yes. But it's better than right next to the freeway." (The blah blah blah she mentioned.)

"But there are no trees and just other buildings around you."

"We do have trees and grass, on the 8th floor, right next to the dog run."

"The 8th floor?!?" Again, another wonderful can't-believe-you-live-in-such-an-unsustainable-artificial-place-look. (My Xhusband used to get that look, I know it well, and realize he is why I must make this poor girl suffer.)

"Yep, and a pool, sauna, jacuzzi, and the whole building has air conditioning."

If you know me, really know me? You know this is not the way I've ever lived. Nor do I take advantage of the amenities here...I am the strange "country bumpkin" neighbor. I am the person who would live in shared housing with a million people. I was that girl. Had there not been a million people trying out for the "core" when I was her age, I'd have been her even instead, I went off to teach the children of migrant workers the fundamentals of the English language and tried to make their world a better place because dammit, I wanted to save the world! I've mentioned this to the girl. We graduated from the same University, but I'm a decade older.

And tired and broken. And, I've said this a number of times, VERY jaded. And more than just a little mean. And I know I'm gonna burn because as I sit here, listening to the rain smash against my window, I'm wondering if that girl is going to take the bus and get sopping wet and sicker that she should get, just so she can prove (to herself more than anyone) that she is NOT becoming anything like me, ever. And it makes me smile.

Thursday, April 01, 2010