Friday, May 30, 2008

Not Again

Some of you might remember reading about my last encounter with a spider. For those of you who missed that post, let's just say that due to my extreme case of arachnophobia, I almost destroyed our bathroom in my attempts to dispose of an Eight-Legged Nasty. Since that time, Hubby has been extra alert to any presence of spiders in the house, and has been systematically eliminating them before I see them to prevent any ensuing disaster. So I haven't had any close encounters since that time, and was just beginning to slip back into a happy mode of blissful ignorance of all things eight-legged...until I got into my car on Wednesday.

It started out like any normal morning. I got into my car, backed out of our driveway, and began the commute to work. Then, suddenly, as I was stopped at a red light, I saw it. At first, I couldn't believe it, and thought I was seeing things. "Maybe it's really on the outside of the car," I thought. "There's no way it could have gotten in here. All the windows were rolled up in the garage last night."

And then it moved. And I realized that it wasn't a hallucination, and that it wasn't outside. No, it was a medium sized, plump Eight-Legged, and it was inside my car, crawling around in the space where the roof of the car meets the front window, which, in my car, is about 6 inches from the driver's head. "HOW DID THIS THING GET IN HERE?" I wondered.

I screamed and went to do the is-it-on-me-is-it-on-me dance, but then realized I. Was. Driving. The light has by this time turned green. There are people behind me. And I cannot have an arachnophobic conniption fit while driving if I wanted to continue to observe safe driving methods, like, um, avoiding crashing into anything. So I mustered all of my composure, managed to make it across the intersection and another 100 feet to the nearest parking lot, pulled in, parked, and then proceeded to get out of the car as fast as possible.

And then I had to figure out what to do.

I obviously couldn't leave it there and allow it to roam free in my car.

I wasn't sure I would be able to get my boot in the space where the spider was hanging out sufficiently enough to kill it. Plus, I didn't want people driving by to witness a crazy lady with one boot on one foot and the other one in her hand madly swinging at something inside her car.

I wasn't in a position to flush the Big Nasty down the toilet.

Which left me with only one other option. It is the least used of all spider-eliminating options, and only used when there is no other viable choice.

I would have to make contact.

I looked in the trunk for proper spider squishing material. There was nothing. I looked in my glovebox for tissues and then remembered there weren't any because I'd used them all up when I had pneumonia, and I haven't replaced them yet. I looked in my purse, and found a travel-sized Kleenex pack with three tissues left in them. I decided two would be sufficient to protect my hand from spider guts, wadded them up, and then carefully aimed the wad at the Big Nasty.

Bam! I went in for my attack, and then examined the tissue to gauge the success of the attack.

There appeared to be brown spider guts on the tissue, but there was no spider skeleton. I looked to see if it was still hanging from the window. It was not. I looked to see if it had fallen anywhere in the car. I couldn't find it.

Which left me with a grim possibility: I had failed to kill the spider on the first attack, and would have to go back in for a second attempt.

I aimed the wad again. This time I wiped it across the area where I had seen the spider, hoping this would result in the spider skeleton appearing on the tissue. But no such luck. I only got one leg. I looked inside the car again, but still did not see any evidence of a spider. "Well, where did it go?" I wondered.

I waited a few minutes, but nothing moved. I decided the odds were pretty good that I had killed it, so I got back in my car, and drove to work without further incident.

I have not seen the spider since. So either I killed it, or I'll see a seven-legged spider crawling around my car in the next few days.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Redneck Nation

If a force of nature that could destroy your house and rip you into pieces was barreling toward you, wouldn't you want to know?

If the tornado sirens in your neighborhood had been going off for the past 2 hours, wouldn't you want the option of being able to turn on the TV to find out just, where, exactly, this tornado might be located? And headed?

I would answer a resounding yes to those questions, especially after yesterday when we had several tornadoes rip through the area. Our house escaped unscathed, but two of our friends, who live in Hugo, were not so lucky. The back window of one of their cars was blown out, and the siding on their house suffered significant damage due to the hail and winds. Fortunately, they were out of the area at the time, and so did not actually have to live through it.

Being from California, I have yet to get used to tornadoes. Some of the natives here will stand outside with video cameras until the thing is so close they can practically reach out and touch it. Not me. I run downstairs to the basement at the first hint of a green sky, and I stay there glued to the TV (assuming the storm hasn't knocked out the power) until I can see the sun again.

So yesterday, as I'm honoring my severe weather tradition, I am flipping through the TV stations to decide which one has the best coverage. As I'm doing this, I happen to land on Fox News. I never watch Fox News on principle, but the weatherman was saying something as I was cruising by that made me pause for a moment to figure out what was going on.

He was apologizing. Because the station had to interrupt it's regularly scheduled coverage to tell people that there were tornadoes on the ground. And by interrupt, I mean they had moved to a split screen format, so you could still see what had originally been scheduled to air at this time. You couldn't hear it, but you could see it. Apparently, however, that wasn't good enough for many viewers, because the weatherman was making repeated references to all the complaint calls the station was getting for interrupting their regularly scheduled programming for something as mundane as a tornado warning. Keep in mind, these storms went on to kill people. So it's not like all the news stations went into "Stormwatch 2008" mode for half an inch of rain. This was serious business.

What was their regularly scheduled programming, you might ask? NASCAR. A NASCAR race. And the race hadn't even started yet. It was all the pre-race coverage. I don't know about you, but I'd much rather know if a tornado is about to destroy my house than watch a video montage of a smiling Dale Earnhardt Jr.

I'm sure the parents of the child who was killed yesterday really felt bad that NASCAR fans' race viewing time was interrupted. Or the people who are still in the hospital, or those that woke up this morning in shelters because their homes were destroyed yesterday. I mean, what was Fox News thinking? Interrupting NASCAR to alert people of impending, life-altering destruction? Sacrilege!

But I guess nothing comes between a redneck and NASCAR. Not even a tornado or the safety of others.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Getting Edumicated

After I finished my undergraduate degree, I swore I'd never go back to school again.

Four years later, I was back in school wondering what form of insanity overtook and motivated me to apply for graduate studies.

But I am happy to report that the hard work finally paid off, and I officially graduated with a masters in theology on Saturday. Yay me! No more reading 500 pages of text in a week, no more research papers, no more exams!!!

Now all I have to do is find a job to justify the substantial amount of money I just spent...

It's been kind of a crazy week what with family in town and all, so I'll get back into the swing of things as far as blogging goes later in the week. See you in a few days!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

My Eyes, My Eyes!

I would like to ask that each of you spend a few minutes thinking and reflecting on the following questions:
  1. Do you have family pictures that you've set as your computer background or screen saver?
  2. Do you have these pictures on a laptop in addition to or instead of a desktop?
  3. Do you travel for work?
  4. Do you use your laptop for business purposes?
If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, but in particular questions 2-4, then I must ask for the sake of all that is Holy that you comply with the following request:

If your "family" pictures include a picture of your significant other dressed in lingerie and posing suggestively on a bed, please please please take any and all necessary precautions to ensure that when you go to give a presentation on affordable housing at a church and you take a break from fiddling with the laptop/overhead hookup and said break is so long that your computer defaults to screen saver mode, that the screen saver image now being projected onto the giant jumbotron the church has set up specifically for your presentation is not, I repeat, NOT the do-it-yourself photo you took of your significant other posing suggestively on the bed in tight red lingerie. This will result in extreme embarrassment for you, and your significant other should they happen to be in the room, not to mention the dozens of people who innocently happen to be within eyesight of the jumbotron. And if, for whatever reason, you choose not to heed my warning, then please, if you are going to leave your computer unattended, at least monitor the jumbotron so that if your computer does go into screen saver mode and does project your Victoria's Secret photos, you will notice it sooner rather than later and be able to deal with it in a timely manner. Please do not get so engrossed in the buffet table that you are the only person in the room not aware of what is going on, forcing the rest of us to have to figure out a way to tactfully inform you that the entire room now knows your taste in lingerie. And women.

I'm still trying to shake that image out of my head a week later.

Monday, May 12, 2008

So You Think You Had A Bad Day?

I know in the past I've complained a lot about my job on this blog, like here, here, here and here. But after talking to my brother on Friday, I realized that little things in the workplace like inept managers and male chauvinism really aren't that bad in the grand scheme of things.

My brother is a teacher at a private school that is dedicated to teaching students with "learning disabilities, emotional disturbances, behavioral disorders, Autistic Spectrum Disorders, Asperger Syndrome, and pervasive developmental delays." Except the students are light on the learning disabilities, Autism, Asperger Syndrome and pervasive developmental delays, and heavy on the emotional disturbances and behavioral disorders. And the terms emotional disturbances and behavioral disorders are really just politically correct phrases for a condition known as "I've been in jail so many times I've lost count and I'm only 15." And we're not talking jail time because they decided to "borrow" a parent's car so they could take it for a joyride and mowed down a couple of mailboxes in the process. We're talking assault, drugs, etc. His students are from broken homes, group homes--these are the type of kids that are almost destined to become felons because the situations they were born into are short on the options for anything else.

It's basically a glorified continuation school, and my brother isn't so much a teacher as he is a prison warden.

The students routinely attack each other, and, on occasion, the teachers. Fortunately my brother hasn't been on the receiving end of such attacks as of yet, although one of his students did draw a picture of him, complete with a butcher knife through his head, and then proceeded to announce "Hey, Teacher, this is you," in case there was any confusion. When I talked to him about it, he told me that this particular budding artist/student of his was the least of his worries. Nice, huh? My boss might insult my intelligence, but at least I don't have to worry about him killing me.

Anyway, that's not what made Friday such a bad day for my brother. No, Friday one of his students had enough of the Life he had carved out from himself and hung himself from a tree on campus. There were no parents to call--the student lived in a group home. There was no massive outpouring of grief or sympathy--this kid fell through the cracks too long ago for that to happen. The kid's entire legacy will be summed up by the paperwork my brother will have to fill out today.

I think I'll be nicer to my boss today.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Parade of Stupid Marches On

I've had my car for more than a year, but that didn't stop me from pulling up on the wrong side at the gas station this weekend. I didn't even realize what I had done until I had gotten out of the car. Then, because I was too embarrassed to get back in the car and drive to another pump in front of everyone, I quickly eyeballed the hose to see if it looked like it would stretch, and, since it did, I nonchalantly acted as though I had meant to pull up on the wrong side the entire time and proceeded to unscrew the gas cap, slide my credit card in the reader thingy, and grabbed the pump handle. I made it about halfway around the back of my car before being snapped back like a rubber band because the hose was about half as long as I thought it was. I had no choice but to put the hose back, wait for the machine to cancel the transaction, and then do what I was trying so hard to not do in the first place: get back in my car and drive to another pump. By this time of course, there were twice as many people at the gas station as when I first got there. Oh, and I forgot to screw the gas cap back on when I moved, so it was clanging against the side of my car during the whole process. As if I needed anything else to draw attention to what I had just done. I wish I could just say "It doesn't matter because I'll never see any of those people again," but since the gas station is on the corner of where our church is and there's a good chance that most of those people there thought that they would fill up quick on their way home from church just like I did, I'm betting the odds are pretty good that I'll see most of them again this Sunday.

I did something else the same day that was even more stupid, but it was so bad, I'm too embarrassed to write about it. Let's just say it's a good thing that 2 gallon milk cartons don't fit between the shelves in our kitchen cupboards, otherwise there would probably be a pretty rancid stank coming from one of them right about now.

I think I'm living proof that Alzheimer's is genetic.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Say What?

This morning I was sitting in a co-worker's office preparing for an impending closing. Our CEO called my co-worker's line and asked a question, to which she responded "I don't know, you'll have to check with Mrs. R. She's sitting right here, hang on."

She then proceeds to hand me the phone. I expected him to ask me a question, but he did not. Here is the extent of the conversation:

Me: "Hey."
CEO: "I'm on my way." Click.


I handed the phone back to my co-worker and relayed to her the conversation. She was taken aback, because our CEO had just asked her a very specific question, which he did not pose to me.

So I went back to my office and called him back.

Me: "Co-worker said you had a question for me?"
CEO: "Yes, I asked you if the title company would provide title insurance in light of the last minute escrow."
Me: "Oh. No, you didn't ask me that, you asked Co-Worker that and then she said you'd have to ask me and then gave me the phone. You're wondering about the title insurance?"
CEO: "I already asked you about the title insurance and you said they could do it."
Me (and I probably should have acted in a more subservient manner, but I just couldn't believe what was coming out of his mouth): "What?!? You asked Co-worker the question, and she said that you'd have to ask me. And then when she handed me the phone, all you said was that you were on your way. I feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone here."
CEO: "I asked you about the title insurance, you said yes, and then I said I was on my way."
Me (trying to resolve the situation and not letting my impatience show but failing miserably): "No, you asked Co-Worker the question. We need to work on our communication, because I can't do my job if I don't know what I'm supposed to do."
Me: "Okay, well I did just happen to talk to the title company about the escrow, and while I didn't ask specifically about the title insurance because I didn't know I was supposed to, they indicated they would still close the deal. Bye." Click.

I went back to Co-Worker's office to tell her what had just happened. Having overheard my portion of the first conversation when I was in her office, she couldn't believe it. The only thing we can figure is that CEO didn't allow for the time that it would take her to physically hand me the phone, and that he just started talking to the air right after she said "hang on." And then mistook my "hey" for a "yes."

What I learned today: Always, always, always answer the phone with "Hello."

Thursday, May 1, 2008

A Must Read

I read something yesterday that was such a great story, I wanted to pass it on to everyone. It's a post that fellow Minnesota blogger Jeff at View From The Cloud wrote yesterday. It's one of the most romantic things I've ever read, and is 10 times better than most chick flicks. Actually, if it were a chick flick, I would own it on DVD and would probably be just as obsessed with it as I am with the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice.

Anyway, I would highly recommend that you take a few minutes to read it. The post can be found here. Enjoy!