Friday, November 28, 2008

Not just a job, but an adventure

Ah, the station. I probably spend more time here than I should. In fact, I'm writing this here. Mostly because we have a big flatscreen monitor on the computer and the keyboard isn't full of crumbs like the one at home. (I'm not to blame. I'll leave it at that.)
Anyway, the station is a little like college. You sometimes share close quarters with other people of whom you have a certain fondness. A certain camaraderie. Okay, you tolerate them. Sometimes.

We don't have a live-in program or anything, so there isn't a full kitchen, though we do have a bunkroom that has been used now and again. I camp here myself in inclement weather, since I have a car that isn't the best handler in snow and ice. I'd rather be here already if its really bad out.

Some time ago it was decided that someone should be cleaning this place on a regular basis. I won't get into why. Just trust me. It was necessary. A price was negotiated, and the job fell to myself. I don't really mind it. Twice a week I chase away the cobwebs, wipe up the smudges, and clean the bathroom. This is a pretty uneventful experience about 98% of the time. Today was a two-percenter. I performed an intervention. Then left this note.

Some Thoughts to Ponder

1. The throne on which
you are sitting delivers water at the rate of 1.6 gallons per flush.
2. Despite the impressive WHOOSH it makes when you pull the handle, it
3. If you, in the course of business here,
believe that the payload you are delivering will not be sufficiently moved into
the sewage system of Our Fine Borough by 1.6 gallons of water, a mid-transaction
courtesy flush is in order.
4. The average human anus is approximately
the size of a dime. It does not require FIFTEEN YARDS OF PAPER to clean.
5. Should you experience a plumbing emergency worthy of intervention,
a plunger can be found across the street (in the firehouse) in the ladies
room. Knock first; it’s a one-seater.
6. Should I ever have to clear a
plumbing emergency like the one I found tonight, and the perpetrator does not
make an effort to solve the problem, and leaves it to me, and said perpetrator
can be positively identified, they might find what they left behind in the
pockets of their turnouts.

Brothers and sisters, this holiday season, if you stop at the station for a little 'You Time'....just make sure all systems are clear before you go about your day. That's all I'm sayin'.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pleasing your Man

Whoo hoo, sounds like a spicy one, eh? I grabbed this the other day and stuck it in my draft file, aka the doomed to never be published if I don't do it now file (Still sitting on one about my first attempt at canning, making fundraiser 'bread in a jar' for an organization I've since quit, complete with disturbingly glistening photos.)

Since, let's be honest, we're all pretty much pretending to work today, I figured I'd make today a two-fer. Because this article, from the Fount of All Dubious Advice, needed to be mocked. The sister-in-law had one not long ago about whether its okay to cry at work. This one is equally insightful.

So this is what MSN believes one needs to keep one's man.

1. Your backing when he takes a risk. Guys need to keep in touch with adventure—why else would Man Vs. Wild be a TiVo staple? “When I wanted to switch careers, my girl said to go for it,” says Will, 30. “Having her in my corner gave me the courage to try.”

2. The right to keep Secrets. Why should he have to tell you his friend is having an affair, or that his cousin lost his job and hasn’t told his wife yet? If it’s not integral to your relationship, don’t feel threatened. His discretion shows he’s a grown-up.

3. A guilt-free boys’ night out. The cure for “girly-man” syndrome is contact with other high-fiving men. This may mean a trip to the bar or an Ultimate Fighting Championship—but it’s definitely without you, and that’s OK. “See me off with a smile,” says Al-Teriq, 38. “That trust is critical.”

4. The green light to actually have sex, should the opportunity arise, with someone on his Celebrity List of Five. And by all means, hop on Brad Pitt if you ever get the chance.

5. Some space when his team loses the big game. And you can save your “maybe next year” optimism; just give us time alone to weep.

6. A heads-up when you just need us to listen. Sometimes all you really want to do is vent to us about something. A simple warning in advance and we promise we’ll stay quiet and let you talk it out.

7. Patience when he says the wrong thing. Like when you ask, “How’s my hair?” and we say, “Fine,” instead of “Amazing!” Give us a break: We’re trying.

8. Big guffaws and tiny giggles. We like to hear laughter—preferably following one of our silly jokes. We know, we know: Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld we are not, but anything you offer will be very much appreciated.

9. Frequent (and enthusiastic) trips downtown. Yes, we all request this, but that’s because it really is that good. We’re happy to return the favor.

10. A GPS for the car. You want this too. It will end those “where the *#!? are we?” arguments once and for all.

11. The freedom to be himself. It’s important for people in a relationship to retain a sense of self, and for guys that’s achievable in some unexpected ways; leaving the toilet seat up or spending the weekend in boxers.
Good God. Where to begin. First off, is changing careers really on par with staggering through the desert swathed in a t-shirt cooled with your own pee? If your job is that demanding perhaps your girl would do better to be in your corner while you go buy some term life and name her as the primary beneficiary. I'm so glad that going without pants is enough to help a man retain his sense of self, especially since he is apparently one missed trip to the bar and a denied celebrity 'do' list away from becoming a screaming queen, which would actually be good, since MY sense of self revolves around whether or not he can appropriately assess my hairdo and maybe if he did bat for the other team I'd get some honest feedback. I can't mock these separately because all together they form this giant ball of stereotypey goodness that just gets stuck in my intellect like cotton candy with hair in it. So here's my own list.

1. Let's not fancy up the reality of things by calling it a 'Celebrity List of Five'. Its a wank bank. You know he has one. He knows you know he has one. Better to not speak of such things. Also: Brad Pitt gives me the heebies and he's starting to look like an unkicked jack o' lantern that has been on the front step about a week too long. And given his present company, if you apply the 'you sleep with everyone that person has ever slept with' theorem we're talking about a sexual history roughly the length of the OED. So, no. Also, ick.

2. I'm all for frequent and enthusiastic trips downtown. After all, its less than a mile and that's where the restaurants are. And the post office. And the park with the disturbing statue. And 19 churches. After that, its all deer and trees.

3. He cares about your hair about as much as you care about fantasy football. There. You're even.

4. Don't ask him why the underwear is in the trash. Just leave it there. No, really. You have bleach but he has plenty. Just leave it there.

5. Don't get a GPS if you think he'll dink with it WHILE he's driving. Rims are expensive.

6. If you don't want to touch the seat to put it down, clean the bathroom. Otherwise, shut up about it.

7. Just empty his pockets yourself. At least you get to keep the money you find. Yeah, its irritating. So is picking bits of tissue off your black pants.

8. Men do like to hear laughter. Just maybe not right after they run to you claiming something is terribly wrong with their gums, when actually they just discovered that weird little connector between their top lip and the rest of their face.

9. Regarding the sex thing, have some.

10. Operate on the general principle that your man is not an ornament or an accessory. He does not exist to get you stuff. He is a person that you've been given the opportunity to care for in a way that you care for no one else. Remember that he is a human being with an immortal soul and should be cherished accordingly when you are arguing with him in the cat litter aisle at Walmart.

Blitter Twogs

I've had some stuff wandering around my brain that, while amusing (at least to me) was too short for a whole post here, and too long for Twitter. Others call it their 'Sock Drawer' or some kind of 'Meandering', I call it 'something to do to look like I'm working while I pass the time at the office because no one wants to work and anyway my boss is making me breakfast even as we speak'. Which is admittedly unwieldy and not particularly clever. I had intended to have some interesting photos each week also, but lately the camera has stayed in its case because there is precious little of interest going on while I drive the same stretch of NYS Route 17 trying to find a radio station that isn't playing country-music Christmas songs that pick me up and toss me into the gaping maw of depression. (What is WITH that, anyway? If I want separation and death I'll watch a Disney movie.)

(Pause to take a big bite of a bagel sandwich with cheese and Canadian bacon and a perfectly cooked egg)

Where was I?

Oh, okay. So this morning I'm driving to work, listening to NPR. Because that's what I do, Obama lovin' tree-hugger that I am. Since National Public Radio is, as the name implies, public, it is supported by various foundations, charitable trusts, and, say it with me, "Listeners like YOU." Every morning, the important-sounding fellow says something like 'Support for NPR comes from (fill in the foundation, charitable trust, or vague guilt-inducing implication that you should send us SOME MONEY)'

Today was special. "Support for NPR comes from the Department of Homeland Security."


Yes, I'd heard correctly. Apparently they are hiring, because I was encouraged to 'visit their website at '.

Thanks, guys, but my past is sufficiently checkered that you would probably give me a pass. But you already know that, don't you?

The other day I was sitting at my desk watching a co-worker earnestly try to fill out an online form. (I wasn't spying on her, she has a giant flat-screen monitor.) I didn't know what it was about, only that she'd been flogging away at it for a good half hour. When I got up to get coffee she waved me over. She was trying to enter a contest online that she'd read about in Cosmogirl.

"I'm so frustrated! How can I get this password to be orange? I don't have the toolbar to change it when I'm in this form!"

"Why does it have to be orange?"

"Because look," she says, pointing to the page in the magazine, "the directions say to go to this website and enter the password in orange."

"I think they are showing you what to enter, not what color it has to be entered in."


This woman is thirty-two years old.


I listened to a story earlier that started out:

"This guy and his wife were over my house one night...and she ain't got any teeth either...."


I was drivng back from Syracuse the other day listening to 80's music, contemplating the awesomeness of this lyric:

You know I feel so dirty when they start talking cute, I want to tell her
that I love her but the point is probably moot......

Never at any point during my big-glasses and docksiders time of life did I stop and say, jeez, this has got to be the stupidest song I've ever heard. You know why? Because its awesome. Give it a listen while you make stuffing or whatever-it-is you are supposed to do the night before Thanksgiving.

Also... Rick Springfield was SMOKIN' HOT. I forgot about that.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Twelve Years

Tomorrow is my 12th wedding anniversary. Twelve years ago tomorrow, on the 34th Sunday in Ordinary Time (aka Christ the King Sunday) and five years to the day after I became a real live Cath-o-lick, Himself and Myself got married, at St. Patrick's church in a little South Jersey town.

I had the requisite South Jersey Catholic Big Hair, courtesy of a can of spray that requires a license and a hazmat certification to use and a hairdresser so fiercely bent on day-long perfection that not a single strand moved all day. (Nor, for that matter, for three days afterward. )

I was never one of those little girls who sprawled on her pink canopy bed fantasizing about her wedding. Once we picked the date, something I referred to as a 'Bridal Dictatorship' was initiated. Pick it, buy it. Say yes, say no. No foo foo nonsense. No quietly dying inside while someone else insisted on something you didn't give a toss about. When dress buying time came about, I purchased 1 (one) bridal magazine, picked an Alfred Angelo bridesmaid's dress that was under $150 and wouldn't cause any of my 3 (three) bridesmaids to do the Guantanamo Bay detainment diet, and I drove to 1 (one) David's Bridal and had this conversation with my mom in the parking lot:

"Okay, here's how this is going to go. I'm going in there, I'm going to find a dress, and I'm going to buy it."


I bought tried-on dress number three, once the helpful salesgirl realized that the DRESS was okay, but the ivory material made me look like I had decreased liver function. We tried the white, Mom cried, it was the right one, they shoved it into a pink wardrobe bag, and away I went.

I only really had one wedding image in my head that guided me. The one above. I wanted a big ol' train to drag down the aisle just like Maria. (Not so much the instant family and singing nuns. Just the train.) So I got it. For the uninitiated or not-as-insane its referred to as "a Cathedral Length Train".

So began a small problem that, if it had a Sound of Music-type song for it, would need a song called 'How do you solve a problem like a giant caboose and a bustled Cathedral Length train crammed into a folding chair'. Which isn't nearly as musical as 'a problem like Maria', but every bit as disconcerting. And for the record, you 'catch a chair and pin it down' by putting it against the wall behind the head table, perching on the edge, and jamming your feet against the floor. 'How do you solve a mark-ed lack of traction' is another story altogether.

I used the ladies' room exactly once during the reception. I took the dress completely off. It was easier. Plus I could readjust my foundational garments. (Read: briefly re-establish blood circulation to my thighs and various ladyparts.)

Still, it was a lovely day. Last Saturday, I took the Bustle of Doom to a consignment shop, hanging it up for the ladies to sigh over while I shamelessly reminisced about November 23, 1996. I felt a little sad as I left it with strangers. Oh well, I still have the best part of that day anyway.

Tomorrow: Perhaps scanned photos if I can get himself to hook the scanner back up. And sage advice from MSN about 'pleasing your man', complete with snarky heckles.

Physics is Not Your Friend

I have no kids. Some might say I have no business dispensing advice to kids. I'm going to anyway. Its not particularly loving or kind. Too bad.

List of Realities For A Seventeen Year Old Male

1. You are too young to drink.
2. Anywhere. Anytime. Four more years to go. Wait.
3. Drinking anyway makes you a lawbreaker.
4. Drinking and driving makes you a selfish dickhead lawbreaker.
5. Such decisions are expensive. No one is impressed, least of all your parents, or the person whose rather new sportscar you totalled.
6. See #4 re: selfish dickhead
7. That body you are walking around in is essentially an animated bag of meat. It is fairly easy to break and poke holes in, particularly when you are too stupid to wear a seatbelt.
8. We all know that you know better. Since you aren't dead you get a chance to prove it. Don't screw it up.