Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mad Props To All Moms

I hardly ever get stomach viruses. Seriously, Hubby brings home all sorts of fun and interesting germs from the nursing home all the time, and I hardly ever get them. So I wasn't too worried when the latest stomach thing started making the rounds until I woke up at 4:30 a.m. Saturday with a mad urge to use the facilities. I knew I was in trouble when I was on my fourth trip in an hour and I was feeling worse instead of better. As I was cleaning projectile vomit off of the toilet seat, floor, walls and myself while slumped over in pain from the severe stomach cramps this thing was causing (all for naught, as literally three seconds after I finished round 2 started), I wondered: how on earth would I have done this if I had kids?!?

It is now day 5 and I still have a long way to go before I am 100%. I can barely function, which is due largely to the fact that I have barely eaten since Friday night. And now Hubby is sick, so I lost my caretaker and have to fend for myself. I would feel sorry for myself, except I know several women who just went through the same thing, except with kids for an added bonus.

So for all you moms out there, I bow down before you. You are my heroes. I don't know how you do it.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Life: 1, Me: 0

Remember when you were a kid and you were playing some game like kickball or foursquare at recess and things weren't quite going your way and you'd call out "DO-OVER!" and more often than not you'd get a second chance? Who ever decided that your supply of do-overs expired when you got too old for recess? I think there should be a do-over system for adults, similar to vacation days that you accrue. So when you have days when life just seems to be constantly kicking you in the heiny, you could call out "DO-OVER!" and just go back to bed and start from scratch.

Like those days when you wake up and it's below zero outside, and all you want to do is stay in bed, but you can't because you have to go to work. And then you end up running late to work anyway because you hit the snooze button one too many times because it's just sooooo much nicer in your bed under your cozy electric blanket. And then when you're getting dressed, you find you have to raid the dirty laundry pile for something to wear, because you are going out after work and every article of clothing you own that would be appropriate for the venue is sitting in that pile of dirty laundry that you didn't get a chance to finish washing last weekend because your husband tried to be helpful and you haven't had time to do any more laundry since. And then when you finally are ready to leave, after spraying half a bottle of body spray on your pants to mask any suspicious odors, you go outside to have your daily battle with the frozen garage door only to find that, this time, it's really over. The garage door, after raising about a foot and a half, apparently decides that it dislikes the cold weather as much as you do, and refuses to go any farther. No amount of pushing, pulling, kicking, pleading or jumping while pushing to add velocity has any effect. Clicking the remote control only produces a weird humming noise from somewhere inside the garage. No, the door will not budge. So you call the construction superintendent that works for your company and who lives north of you, and hope that the status of his morning commute currently puts him somewhere in the vicinity of your house. Fortunately, the construction superintendent agrees to help you with your garage door problem, and, upon arrival, the first thing he does is click the remote control. The door immediately opens. However, your dignity is partially restored when the construction superintendent clicks the remote again, and the door makes the strange humming noise it did for you earlier and refuses to move. The construction superintendent does something construction-y to your garage door so that it will at least close and not remain wide open all day.

Your car now having been freed, you are able to go to work, albeit an hour late. Upon arrival, you discover that your boss wants to make revisions to a large document pertinent to your line of work. However, there is a slight problem. Your office only has a hard copy of this document. The original electronic file was not something you created. It wasn't something anyone in your office created. An attorney created this document in the same year you were beating Super Mario Brothers for the first time. This attorney is now retired. Of course you have no way of contacting him, or even verifying that he is still alive, and even if you could reach him, the electronic file was probably created in some archaic word processing software that you wouldn't be able to open on your computer anyway. Your company does not own the software that allows you to scan in a text-based document and make changes to that document. Your company will not buy the software that allows you to scan in a text-based document and make changes to that document. This means that you will spend your day retyping the entire 40 page document, all the while trying to figure out, why, exactly, you bothered to get a college degree.

If adults got do-overs, today would be one of mine.

But I suppose I should stop complaining and get back to typing...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

My Nose Hairs Are Freezing!

Some of you might think that "My Nose Hairs Are Freezing!" is just the title to this post. There's no way I'd write an entire post literally about freezing nose hairs, right? Wrong. For those of you who have not been privy to my blogs on Myspace, it is time for my annual I-hate-the-cold-why-did-I-ever-move-here rant. Minnesota has been experiencing subzero temperatures lately, and for those of you who have never experienced such cold, let me enlighten you as to what you are missing:

First of all, when the temperature falls below zero, the cold sucks some of the oxygen out of the air, leaving you feeling like you are out of breath the second you step outside. This feeling lasts for the entire duration of your time out of doors. Secondly, if there is any moisture in your nose, which there will be because in cold this severe you will all be sick, your nose hairs will freeze and stick either to each other or to the side of your nose immediately upon contact with the Siberian air Mother Nature has foisted on you. Not only will this result in the further impediment of any attempts to draw breath, it will also mercilessly and without ceasing create the sensation of your nose being tickled, making you want to continuously scratch it, which you are unfortunately unable to do because your hands are buried deep inside gloves which are buried deep inside mittens so that your fingers will not get frostbite and fall off in the time it takes you to get to your car, office, house, or wherever you have unwisely chosen to go in such circumstances, and, because your hands are thusly buried, levels of optimum nose scratching are unable to be obtained. This means that you are also stuck with this tortuous sensation until you are able to get someplace warm and your nose hairs have a chance to thaw.

All this happens in the first second of being exposed to subzero temperatures. (I'm not kidding.) In the second second (did you follow me?), you will usually realize that it is also extremely windy, and the wind is resulting in a further reduction of the temperature by at least 20 degrees. You will try to hunker down as far as you can go into the outermost coat you are wearing (because you will be wearing more than one), all while pulling up whatever loose material is available to cover any skin you foolishly left exposed and trying to hold your coat closed (if the buttons don't extend all the way to the very bottom hem, which they won't) to trap in as much heat as possible. Once you have done this, you are now ready to start walking toward wherever it is you are going, and you realize that rather than running as fast as you can to get out of the cold as soon as remotely possible, that the cold air has frozen any moisture that happened to be on the ground before Jack Frost blew into your region, and since this is Minnesota, the moisture that is on the ground just happens to be a foot and a half of snow, which is now one big block of ice. You must tippy-toe as carefully as possible to avoid slipping on the ice, breaking your leg, and having to lie out in the cold for hours until someone hears your cries of help and comes to rescue you. If your destination is to your garage to retrieve your car, upon arrival you will realize after painstakingly traveling the ice terrain that used to be your driveway that the automatic garage door froze mid-opening, and you now have to release your grasp on your coat, thereby exposing some skin to the harshness of the elements, and proceed to manually lift the stupid door the rest of the way. Then you have to get in your car, which, if you're lucky, might be a few degrees warmer than the air temperature, spend five minutes trying to convince the car that it isn't too cold to start, and another 10 minutes waiting for the car to warm up so that you can actually drive it, back the car out of the garage, jump back out in the frigid air and manually close the stupid garage door, all while being careful not to lock yourself out of your car in your haste. However, if your journey is long enough, you might actually get a chance to warm up before having to repeat the process all over again.

One note to all of this: it is important to remember to blow dry your hair, as if it is in the least bit still damp from washing when you step outside, it will freeze, just like your nose hairs.

I can't believe there's still at least two more months left of winter. On the bright side, it warmed up to 7 degrees today.

Monday, January 21, 2008

What Do You Think?

If your husband valiantly washes the swimsuits and towels from when you took your 9-month-old Goddaughter to her swimming class because her parents were in Mexico, but then forgets to take them out of the washer and put them in the dryer, and you find them days later when you go to do the regular household laundry, and now find that you have to rewash them to get a rancid mildew smell out of them, and on top of that treat stains of baby food that got on the towels because your husband dumped them in the bag with the open containers of baby food even though you asked him not to and then dumped them in the wash the first time without treating the stains, and now you're not going to finish all of the regular laundry because you have to do a load you weren't counting on, does your husband still get brownie points for trying to be helpful?


Friday, January 18, 2008

Dude, Where's My Car?

Yesterday, my co-worker experienced some car difficulties. As in his key stopped working and he couldn't get into his car. He went to go open his door as he was leaving work, but his key would not fit into the lock. Since this was the same key he had used that morning to get himself to work, he tried again, this time carefully inserting it into the lock. No go. He walked over to the passenger door, and tried to unlock it. The key did not fit there either.

By this time, a guy on the second floor of our building (we'll call him Second Floor Guy) had noticed my co-worker fumbling around, and ran out to tell him about a funny thing Second Floor Guy and Second Floor Guy's coworkers had seen earlier in the day. They had noticed that a gentleman (we'll call him Einstein) had been trying to get into a car (presumably his own), but to no avail. Now, Second Floor Guy and his co-workers immediately noticed something that Einstein didn't that made the situation so funny. There were TWO cars, of similar makes/colors, parked right next to each other. One was my co-worker's, the other belonged to Einstein. However, somehow, shockingly, Einstein had failed to notice this, and assumed that my co-worker's car was his. He apparently tried for 15 MINUTES to get into my co-worker's car with his own key, first trying the lock on the driver's side door, and then on the passenger side door, before realizing that IT WASN'T HIS CAR. Now, I admit, I have, on occasion, walked toward a car in the parking lot that I *thought* was mine, but really was just the same make/color. But there is always something that alerts me to my mistake before I actually attempt to get in the car, like, oh, you know, a license plate? But apparently Einstein didn't bother to look at or into my co-worker's car for any identifying objects. He did, however, through trying to force the locks for 15 minutes, damage them bad enough so that they had stopped working by the time my co-worker was ready to go home. Of course, Einstein didn't leave a note or check to see if he had done any damage once he did manage to pull his head out of his posterior and realize his mistake. He just got in his car and left.

My co-worker was able to fix the locks himself without having to pay an arm and a leg. But it just goes to show you that nothing is safe from idiots.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Customer Hall of Fame

This is the story of Jane.*

Jane and her husband, John,* an elderly couple, bought a unit in one of the first communities built by the company I work for. Jane was one of those buyers who assumed that every time something went wrong in or with her new house, it was the responsibility of the builder to fix, regardless of whether it was a valid warranty issue or not. When a light bulb she purchased from Home Depot burned out in her kitchen, Jane called us. When her toilet overflowed because she tried to flush something non-flushable, Jane called us. When someone littered on her lawn, Jane called us.

Jane had the habit of demanding rather than requesting our assistance, and when we had the audacity to meet her demands with anything less than a full scale emergency response of federal proportions, she resorted to insults, threats, and phone stalking. After about the 4,389 call from Jane wherein she complained that her sleep was interrupted by the sound of cars driving by on her street and what were we going to do about it, our vice president decided he'd had enough, and put his foot down. He agreed to meet once with Jane to go over any concerns she had with her house, that we would fix only the legitimate warranty issues raised at this meeting, and that she would be on her own for everything else.

The meeting occurred. Jane was her usual winning self. At one point, our vice president told her that we would not be addressing one of her concerns, and to make sure he understood just how unacceptable this was to her, she laid down on her couch and wailed a chorus of "That's not fair!" for the whole world to hear, all while kicking her feet and flailing her fists, for added emphasis. (Think of a two-year-old having a temper tantrum, and you get the idea.) Meanwhile, John, who Jane said had suffered a stroke and therefore had difficulty speaking and had limited mobility, sat there meekly while our VP got a full dose of her ranting.

When our VP finally did make it out of their house, he thought to himself that it was probably a good thing that John had permanent damage from the stroke he'd suffered. After all, our VP thought, how would his wife treat him if John was completely healthy and therefore able to be available for her every beck and call?

Just as he was thinking this, poor John feebly opened the door to his house, gingerly stepped down onto the patio outside his door, and began a slow shuffle-walk with the help of a cane toward his mail box, his body bent under the strain of its own weight.

"Poor guy," our VP thought, and was getting ready to go help him, when he saw John cautiously glance back toward his house to see if Jane could see him. When it became obvious that he had made it safely out of her line of vision, John promptly straightened up, tucked his cane under his arm, and confidently walked away from his house as fast as he could.

Apparently John had already encountered how his wife would treat him if he was completely healthy, and had no desire to relive the experience any time soon.

*Names changed to avoid being sued.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

An Endless Supply of Stupidity

Did you trip over your own two feet as you made your grand entrance into the office this morning? Say something out loud that sounded soooo much better in your head? Feel a sense of accomplishment at having managed your day fairly successfully until one of your children said or did something that brought public humiliation to a whole new level? This should make you feel better.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Finicky Little Bugger...

Here are the details to the war the MP3 player and I had this weekend. But first, a little background:

Hubby and I bought ourselves MP3 players during this year's (well, last year's now) annual day after Thanksgiving shopping binge. They came with a free 30-day trial to Best Buy's digital music library, but I haven't had time to sit down/sign up/peruse music downloads what with finals/holidays/etc. So this weekend I found myself waiting for Hubby to get out of the shower so I could clean our bathroom, and thought that since I had 20 minutes or so to kill, it would be a perfect time to install the software quick and download a few tunes.

I grab the disk and insert it (Best Buy makes you install a specific software to download music from its digital library). It begins like any software installation. I tell it I accept its licensing agreement, I tell it that I do not want its icon on my desktop, and then I tell it what type of files I want to be able to download. So far, so good. But then it tells me that it needs to check for updates, which it does...and then it asks me what type of files I want to download. "Wait," I thought. "I just did that." But maybe it just didn't "take," so I do it again. It says it needs to restart, so I tell it to go ahead. It shuts down our computer, doesn't seem to be able to restart our computer. The computer goes black, with one lone blinking cursor staring back at me. "Uh-oh." I think. I wait for the computer to wake back up. It does not. I manually shut down the computer, and hold my breath hoping that it will restart and the black screen I saw a few minutes ago was just a fluke. This time it starts up just fine. I go to launch the software so that I can start downloading music. I open it, and it asks me to accept its licensing agreement.

I don't understand why it's making me repeat steps in the installation process. It's starting to make me a little crabby. But maybe something went wrong in the installation process, so I take a deep breath to calm down, uninstall the software, reinstall it, and try it again. I tell it I accept its licensing agreement, I tell it that I do not want its icon on my desktop, and then I tell it what type of files I want to be able to download. It tells me that it needs to check for updates, but this time it says that no updates are needed, and asks if it can restart our computer. This time it actually does manage to shut it down and restart it properly. "Success!" I think. I launch the software, asks me to accept its licensing agreement??? What is going on here?

I decide to go to Best Buy's Web site to see if they have a help section. I find the page for their digital music library, sign up for an account, and see that you can download the software directly from their site. I decide on a whim to try this method of installation to see if it works any better before having to resort to tech assistance. I uninstall the software I just reinstalled, and then go back to Best Buy's site and download it. I tell it I accept its licensing agreement, I tell it that I do not want its icon on my desktop, and then I tell it what type of files I want to be able to download. It tells me that it needs to check for updates, says that no updates are needed, and asks if it can restart our computer. It shuts down/restarts fine, I go to launch it...and it launches!!! Hallelujah! Maybe there was something wrong with our CD? I sign into the account, and begin perusing their music library for tunes. Hubby is out of the shower by now, and I should really stop goofing off and do something productive, but I figure I won't be too much longer.

I make my selections, download them into the "my library" section that Best Buy has created for me, and then transfer them to the MP3 player. The MP3 player tells me that the transfer was not able to be successfully completed, because Best Buy's digital music library could not verify the MP3's certificate of authenticity. Huh? I notice a link for a help menu in the error message. I click on the link. It provides a list of seven possible solutions as to why this error might have occurred. I begin to try them all, in order of easiest to hardest. I make sure the date/time on my computer matches that on my MP3 player. It does. The next easiest solution is to shut everything down and start it back up again. I turn off the MP3 player, unplug it from the computer, exit out of the digital library and reboot the computer. Then I launch the digital library, plug the MP3 player back in, turn it on, and try the transfer again.

"Certificate of authenticity could not be verified."


I rack my brain to try and figure out why this isn't working. It shouldn't be that difficult. What can it be? Hubby sees my frustration, and suggests that since I have been downloading the music into the "my library" section, but not directly to our hard drive, maybe this is what's preventing the transfer. That makes sense, so I redownload all of the music I have selected directly onto our hard drive instead of my library, and try to transfer it directly from there to the MP3 player.

"Certificate of authenticity could not be verified."

ARGH!!! I decide that maybe I can trick the system. I exit out of the digital library, shut down the software, retrieve the music files from our hard drive, then open the MP3 player through our hard drive, and once again try to transfer the files.

"Certificate of authenticity could not be verified."

No, no, no, no, no, NO NO!! All the "easy" solutions have been eliminated. Now I either have to figure out if the MP3 player is formatted correctly, or if it really IS compatible with the software Best Buy said it was. Yippee. I have no idea how to format an MP3 player. I read the help section again, hoping that within it will be contained the directions for how to do just this.

"Please contact your product manufacturer to ensure device is formatted properly."

I make a mental note to inform the Webmaster of Best Buy that its "help" section has been improperly named, if I am ever afforded the opportunity. Instead of "help," it should have been called "thwart." I go to the Web site of the product manufacturer. It makes you enter in the product information before directing you to its FAQ. I enter in the requested information. There is nothing in this list that discusses how to format the device. I do a search. The search yields the same "FAQ" I just read.

I go back to the help section of the digital library, hoping to find something there. I peruse the help section, and find nothing. It has now been two hours since I sat down for my quick, 20 minute time-killing music downloading session, but I decide that I am not giving up without successfully downloading some music. This is somewhat problematic for a minute or two, as I realize that even though I'm not giving up, I don't know what else to do.

I look for a "contact us" button on the product manufacturer's Web site. All it gives you is an e-mail address. I don't want an e-mail address. I want an answer. I go back to Best Buy's site, and visit its "contact us" section. There is a number. It says it is currently staffed. I call, on the off chance that someone on the other end of the line might know how to format my MP3 player.

"Hello, und tank yu fo callink Bes Buy. Mih naem isz (and I have no idea what his name was). How caon I bee of assistunss?"

Thank you, George W....

I explain to the guy on the other end of the line, which apparently is located in India, in my best, clearest, slowest-without-being-too-rude, annunciated English, what the problem is. I tell him what I have already done to try and rectify the problem, and that I am out of ideas.

"So maom, eef I unterstant yu correktlee, yu are havink deeficultees transsfurink muuzik to yor eempeetree playir?"

I answer in the affirmative.

"Maom, I neet yu tu go tu de settinks menoo on yor eempeetree playir, and heet rezet. Caon yu du dat fo mee?"

I think about what would happen if I told him no, but decide against it. I go to find the "settings" menu on the devil-spawned MP3 player I have somehow come into possession of, except...I can't find it. I hit the button that takes you to the main menu, and there is nothing there that says settings. I hit the arrow buttons, but still no settings menu.

"Maom, haav yu heet de rezet buttan yet?"

I tell the guy that I'm having trouble finding it. He keeps telling me to go to the settings menu. I finally tell him there doesn't appear to be a settings menu.

"Maom, I tink yu are cunfuzd."

I tell him, that indeed, I am very confused, and, just as I am doing that, I find the settings menu! Oh, you hit thhaaaaat arrow. Oh, wow, look at all these menu options! I hit reset, and the guy on the other end of the line tells me to try the transfer again. I plug the MP3 player back in. The computer won't read it. I unplug it, shut the MP3 player off, plug it back in and turn it back on. That did the trick.

"Maom, wut iz happeneenk?"

I explain that it is taking a little longer than I anticipated, but that I am trying the transfer again. Then I tell him what the computer just told me, yet again.

"Certificate of authenticity could not be verified."

The MP3 player has just earned the number one spot on my boo list.

"Dat iz ok, maom. Now I want yu tu trie tu formaht yor eempeetree playir. Go tu de formaht menoo und heet ok."

I go to the format menu and hit okay. says it's formatted! Wait. That's it? That's IT??? I sat here for three hours trying to figure out how to do something that took literally three seconds??? Must. Control. Self.

Sure enough, that's all it needed, and you will be happy to know that I now have actual music on my MP3 player (although I never did get to those bathrooms, as those of you who read my
previous post know.)


Sign of the Times

I remember when I used to look at the Sunday ads, and only looked at those pages advertising clothing, shoes, jewelry, or, depending on where I was at in dorm moves, furniture, because, really, why look at anything else?

Man, are those days long gone. The highlight of my Sunday ad perusing this week was when I got all excited because Target has Soft Scrub on sale. Not that I always use it when I should, mind you, but it's nice to know that when I do get around to using it, I didn't pay full price.

I'm getting old.

"A" For Effort?

Things I Wanted to Get Done This Weekend:

1. Pay bills and balance checkbook
2. Clean bathrooms
3. Vacuum and sweep all floors and carpeted areas of house
4. Take down Christmas decorations and Christmas tree
5. Some form of cardio workout in my renewed effort to regain once slim figure (stupid birth control pills...)
6. Finish laundry that was left over from last weekend's effort
7. Wash dishes

Things I Didn't Get Done This Weekend:

1. Pay bills and balance checkbook
2. Clean bathrooms
3. Vacuum and sweep all floors and carpeted areas of house
4. Take down Christmas decorations and Christmas tree
5. Some form of cardio workout in my renewed effort to regain once slim figure (stupid birth control pills...)
6. Finish laundry that was left over from last weekend's effort

Things I Did Do This Weekend:

1. Finished Reading all books in "A Series of Unfortunate Event"s by Lemony Snicket (thanks Mom!)
2. Spent hours trying to get music to download properly onto MP3 player (more on this later)
3. Polished off box of Helen Grace truffles Hubby gave me for well as the rest of the Lindt Truffles also received from Hubby for Christmas (okay, so maybe the pill isn't the only reason I've put on weight since college...)
4. Watched Rescue Dawn and Hot Rod (this movie should be avoided at all costs if you haven't already seen it) with Hubby
5. I did wash some of the dishes, but only because I had to clear off some counter space to make room for future dirty dishes, as there was no counter space left (I guess I should probably clarify that we don't have a dishwasher.)

As I look over what I did manage to accomplish this weekend, I'm not sure how the items on that list managed to occupy two full days' worth of time...or what my house is going to look like when we have kids...

Friday, January 11, 2008

On Second Thought...

After reading about this couple, maybe Brittney Spears' marriage wasn't as big of a disaster as we all thought?

Someone asked about the inspiration behind the selected url of this blog. It isn't to honor any Jewish ancestry (most of you know I have none), but rather was selected as a tribute to all those moments in life (or people we encounter) that make us slap our hand against our forehead as we are shaking our head in disbelief. (I have a lot of those moments, as you will come to find out.) One of my goals for this blog was to write about these things in a way that made others, and consequently myself, laugh about these little occurrences, which are ultimately so insignificant, thereby serving as a reminder of all that we actually have to be grateful for. After all, is getting cut off on the freeway really such a big deal when we could wake up one day and discover we've inadvertently married our long lost twin?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

And the Oi-Vay award of the day goes to...

Apparently my current place of employment isn't the only entity whose phone services are terminated due to lack of payment...

I haven't decided yet if this is hysterical or pathetic. I wonder...if these bills get too far past due, does the FBI get turned over to a collection agency like the rest of us?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Seriously? Seriously.

So for those of you that don't know, I work for a construction company. We routinely have buyers contact us with legitimate warranty issues. And then there are buyers like the one who contacted us yesterday and said the following:

"When the snow melts, my driveway seems to get really wet."

There's just nothing to say to that. Well, there is, but I doubt explaining geography or the water cycle to someone like this would have had any effect...


I've decided to give this blogging thing a try. I'm not sure how this will go, or how often I'll post, but I've enjoyed so many other blogs lately that I thought I'd attempt my own contribution, even if it does start out with a really lame first post and an unoriginal title that probably 1 million other people have...I hope those reading enjoy.