Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Modern Fairy Tales

I was sitting unsuspecting in the ladies' room this evening when two short people (ages three and five) in matching Barbie Cheerleader outfits invaded. They were not, however, pretending to be Barbies. No, they were princesses of some sort (they could not remember their pretend names) and did not let nature's call stall (no pun intended) their fantasy. I kept as quiet as I could, so that I would not scare them back to reality.

The fantasy unfolded before my ears. The two princesses were apparently in great mourning, as over the course of our stay in the ladies' room, several of their fellow royal children were struck down by either plague or witches' curses. (their mothers were the witches, oddly enough).

What struck me as a harbinger of this century, however, was actually that the death notices came via text message. No joke! Some previously dead prince named Peter kept texting them with sad tidings. Whatever happened to scrolls? Heralds? The Pony Express? Sigh.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Please Don't Do This

My friend, Jon, whom I have never seen with one shoe off, posted this on his journal. (You will need to click in order to understand)

So, here's the thing: Stuff like this? Doesn't help. While I can understand kinda-sorta where this woman was headed, the end result is yet another 'Christians are stupid and closed-minded!' experience. Do I disagree with most things our current president does, including aiming for nationalized health care? Of course. But, um, I have news: While Jesus died to forgive our sins, and hence paid for my life with His own blood, He is all powerful and really, did not charge people to heal them (as the sign might mistakenly be read to say), nor were such healings paid for by His death. He even healed ungrateful jerks (remember the 10 lepers?) for free. Now, that last part might be a bit closer to nationalized health care than is comfortable, but my point remains.

Think things through before painting them on signs, saying them, etc. Especially when dealing with unsaved people. Slogans like this are just too pointless and confusing, do nothing to help our country or our unsaved friends and, really, are a waste of poster paint.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Quiet, Dedicated Space

I have three days to set up my home office.

This would not have been quite the imposition that it now is if I had realized, prior to Friday, that I can't have my home office in my dining room. The rules call for a door that shuts. This leaves only one possibility: my bedroom.

When we moved into this house two years ago, I took the small bedroom. The boys moved into the larger one, and that made sense. There's only one boy in there now, but that's a possibly temporary thing, so moving him into the small room doesn't make much sense in my book. But my sewing stuff is all in my room, along with my full-size mattress and box spring (no room for the bed frame!) and rather large dresser. Adding a desk and chair feels like putting together a puzzle that has too many pieces. I think the sewing room is going to have to go, somehow, which just about breaks my heart. If money were no object, I would buy a daybed and a dresser that was taller than it was wide. Money is quite the object, however, so I will have to spend the next few days putting that puzzle together.

The upside of all this whining is that, clearly, I was chosen for the work-at-home pilot :-)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hard Walk Tonight

At first I thought it was just because Nate wasn't walking with me, but by the end of the mere 11 minutes that I walked tonight, I was limping and wondering if I would make it home. Not sure what the difficulty was-three days off doesn't seem like it would be the reason, since I have had longer breaks. I did eat shortly before I left, and wonder if that could do it. And I wasn't feeling great today, but a nap cured most of that. Hmph. We'll see what tomorrow is like.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Shaking My Head

You know every mother's curse on her children? It's the one that goes, "I hope you have one just like you!"

Nathan's response?

"I WANT that to happen. I want a whole bunch just like me. Then I will curse them so they have several like me...and pretty soon, my clones will take over the world!"

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Not Enough Magic

Where I work, we talk about having magic. I think this actually began because customers frequently say we have magic (since they can't grasp how we fix things). I even had one customer say he was taking me to Las Vegas to be his lucky charm. But sometimes, customers want things that we just can't do-like yesterday's cruise ship customer. Yeah, we have great magic, but we can't defy the natural laws of the universe.

That is why articles like this one make me laugh. Entitled 'Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin' and with the subtitle blurb 'Whether because exercise makes us hungry or because we want to reward ourselves, many people eat more — and eat more junk food, like doughnuts — after going to the gym' it is both absurd and stating the obvious. It seems researchers found that physical activity makes you hungry! No DUH! Any parent could tell you that (any mother who doesn't have a snack ready when the kids are done swimming clearly hasn't been paying attention).

Our bodies were indeed wonderfully made (no matter how you think they got made) and, lo and behold, when you ask them to use energy, they ask you for more energy. It's normal, natural and good.

As for eating junk food (if you believe there is such a thing-we don't use that term in our home) as a workout reward--well, that thinking is a natural outcome of faulty thinking about 'workouts'. Our culture in general sees exercise as a punishment for imperfect eating or imperfect bodies. If that is how you view physical activity, then you get caught in a loop. I ate a piece of cake, so I have to punish myself on the treadmill. I was so good at the gym that I can eat a piece of cake... and on and on. It's just so wrong, so self-defeating and so psychologically messed up!

Physical activity isn't a punishment or dues to be paid. It should be done for the joy of doing it. That is why I will never have a gym membership. I don't like treadmills or other machines that simulate real-world activities. I'd rather take a walk by the river where the scenery is nice, knowing that I will feel all warm and gushy afterwards, and enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. That is a joyful experience, where walking on a treadmill is...well, more like filing taxes.

It is also much easier to continue an active lifestyle if you are doing things that you find enjoyable AND when you are doing those things for reasons other than trying to obtain an unreachable goal. Because dieting and exercise rarely make someone thin (for long), and the exercise is associated with the dieting, people who do it for the sake of trying to be thin soon give up on both.

I have found that, after spending a couple years disconnecting dieting/trying to lose weight from physical activity, that physical activity is much more enjoyable, more varied, and now contains its own motivation. I will never be thin, but I get more active as time goes by. Maybe someone should do a study on that.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Not long ago, I told you about MOT (mandatory overtime). VTO is MOT's evil twin...or vice versa, I haven't figured out which yet.

Voluntary Time Off. I got some today. It's always a happy surprise, but if you aren't careful, you happy-surprise yourself out of a decent paycheck. Today I thought my chances were slim, but I was fresh out of patience, so I signed up. After half a day of back-to-back calls, everything went dead and they sent me home.

Why was I fresh out of patience? Well, in addition to adjusting to a new schedule, I had some, um, interesting calls.

"So, someone ran my Thingabob over and I need to know what you can do."
It's in how many pieces? Didn't occur to me until after we hung up that, for his Thingabob to be run over, it had to be, you know, in the path of motor vehicles. Still trying to figure that one out.

While asking various security questions, I asked a man his zip code. He didn't know. He told me I could look it up 'in my book' and that it was just the same as all the rest of Manhattan! I think he missed the point...or several points.

One customer was mad that, after we made him a special offer that included making a choice as to which offer he would like, and he made his choice and clicked on one, then called to complain that 'the email didn't say I couldn't change my mind after I clicked!' (Bob, I will take door #2...no, wait, Door #3...wait....!)

And then, to top it off, I had a customer today who claimed I had provided him with the worst customer service experience of his life. He had broken his Thingabob, and was in London, about to step onto a cruise ship, and wanted me to either magically fix it over the phone or get him a new one...now, where did I put that magic wand?

Come to think of it, I should have sent him to talk to the British guy who called me 'a complete legend' this week. I hear that's a good thing, but I am still not sure. Sounded cool with his accent, though.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Looking a Gift Horse In the Mouth

When I left for work this morning, I had one set of living room furniture, and when I got home, I had another. I am not ungrateful-my couches were falling apart, wires poking out and scraping paint off the walls, cushions coming apart. They were well used and well loved couches. But they were also very large, comfy, and nice colors. My new couches are small, ladylike, don't match anything in my room, and don't have room for friends to sleep over. Also, I spent part of the day wondering if the discarded couch's cushions held something of importance. No, really, I had no idea I was getting new furniture. I guess the suddenness is why I keep looking at them and thinking 'not right!' instead of 'finally!' Give me a few days, and I will be fine, I am sure.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I'm Driving a Red Lincoln

Why, you may ask, is Jennifer driving a red Lincoln, when Jennifer bought a black Buick two weeks ago? Because Jennifer used her Mommy Voice at the dealership today. When I bought the car, the driver's side window would not roll down (note to car shoppers-try all windows!). Two days later the dealer called to ask me to bring the car back so they could fix it. Bonus points! I took it back and, two hours later, they still had not fixed it and said they needed another part. Um, okay....so back there today. Keep in mind, I have to drive thirty miles up the valley to get there. When I got there, I politely explained that prior to the last 'repair' appointment, all of the buttons worked on that door (save for that window) but afterwards, the lock/unlock and rear passenger's window buttons did not, and I expected they would fix those as well. We sat in the waiting room for FOUR HOURS. At the end of the four hours, my window was fixed, but not the other two buttons. The man just did not listen to me. I said it was unacceptable and ridiculous, and I work far too many hours and live too far away and do NOT get the gas mileage that the salesman told me I would get, and it was too much to expect me to come back even after I already explained the problem in time for them to fix it (and waited twice as long as expected). I spoke firmly enough to get the attention of this man's boss, and then had to explain the situation again to him. He gave me the red Lincoln to drive and said he would bring me my car when it is fixed. I sure hope it's soon because, remarkably, I can't stand the Lincoln.