Friday, November 30, 2007

Things that I did today when I was home for lunch.

  • Let the kitties in the house (“quickly because now, now, now, what if there is new food, aaaauuuggghhh, noooowwwwww!!!!!” plus little kitty clawing at the locked door to magically unlock it.)

  • Let kitties back out of the house (“same food as was in the dish when we left this morning… stupid human… grumble, grumble…”)

  • Set the egg timer for 35 minutes, because that’s how much time I have at home once I deduct the time to bike home and bike back to work, and because otherwise I will either forget to go back or possibly fall asleep on the couch.

  • Put a microwave pizza in the microwave oven. For my microwavey meal goodness.

  • Fall asleep on the couch. But only briefly.

  • Let one kitty back in the house – ("any new food yet? How ‘bout now? How ‘bout now?...")

  • Flip back and forth between an ABC soap opera and an NBC soap opera, trying to decide which makes me feel less dirty inside when I watch it.

  • Give up and watch Tivo’d Scrubs from last night instead.

  • Push great big, food-wanting kitty off my lap so that I can fetch melty, soggy, disgusting but WARM microwave pizza from microwave oven for microwavey goodness that I will now eat.

  • Pause from my eating to allow some skin to re-form on the top of my mouth where now there is only scalding-hot melted cheese. (cry just a little bit – don’t want the kitties to see me be weak.)

  • Let kitty number one out of (“stupid human, grumble…”) and kitty number two in to (“hey guys, what are we doing???”) the house.

  • Check the mail.

  • Throw away the mail.

  • Envy other people’s mail, which sometimes contains things other than junk mail and sales temptations from the evil department stores

  • Remember that to have other things in my mail I’d have to write cards and letters to other people. Which isn’t going to happen.

  • Let kitty number two out of (“there’s nothing fun in here… grumble…”) and kitty number one in to (“How ‘bout now? How ‘bout now?”) the house. Tell kitty number one that THERE WILL BE NO NEW FOOD AS THAT BOWL IS PRACTICALLY FULL OF FOOD AND YOU BETTER EAT WHAT’S THERE BEFORE THERE WILL BE ANYTHING NEW, AND NO AMOUNT OF GOING OUTSIDE AND COMING BACK IN WILL MAKE IT DIFFERENT!!!

  • Let kitty number one out of the house.

  • Let kitty number one back into the damned house. (“this time for sure!”) Weep a little more, but in the bathroom to hide the weakness.

  • Finish the Lava and Pepperoni pizza.

  • Get super excited when I see both a woodpecker AND a hummingbird in the tree out my window! Very cool! Watch them flit around each other! Wow! Nature happening right there! Take that, Steve Irwin! Take that, Marlon Perkins! I’m gonna take excellent pictures of this and they’ll be great and finally give me something cool to post on my photo blog and-

  • Watch kitty number two attempt to get back down out of the tree, having successfully chased all cool bird life away in a completely futile attempt to catch THINGS WITH WINGS.

  • Clean up bloody thighs from the punctures left there when kitty number one fled lap, startled by the egg timer that goes off every single afternoon and yet always scares the hell out of her.

  • Re-bundle for the cold and/or wet bike ride back to the office. Remind myself that I still have to invent that hat/ear-muff/ski mask combo-thing so I can be famous and also rich. I’ll do that tomorrow for sure.

Thanksgiving's impact on the laws of physics and me

Hey everybody! Did everyone enjoy their traditional, completely normal and expected, par-for-the-course and not at all questionable or extravagant Thanksgiving week holiday, which would (of course) run from Thanksgiving Thursday all the way until the following Thursday and therefore exempt you from any kind of working or responsibilities… or blogging… or whatever…

Me too!

Sorry I’ve been AWOL – just way too much happening and apparently way too much need to crash the second I get anywhere close to a couch. Not even my couch – just couches in general. Somewhere around Thanksgiving the gravitational pull of all couch-bodies increased by at least twofold. So it’s not my fault.

I will say that Thanksgiving was excellent, which is always a good thing. I love that holiday, but slightly less so since I became some form of grown-up and was expected to actually contribute food. (please see previous mentions of me being a crappy and super-unenthusiastic, and possibly even bitter and resentful, cook) still, thanks to my friends at Costco, and their "so simple even a blind monkey with one hand and super-serious fits of spasms can't screw it up!" cooked hams, I was able to do my grown-uply duty and bring both a major course (the ham) and a dessert course (brownies, baby!!) and thereby enjoy the foods of my foody-family with no guilt.

In other words, Yay Thanksgiving!!

But I think I’m back to functioning again, so watch this space for more words and such!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

This is why offices need to have ovens...

You know how when you’re being interviewed for a job they pretty much always ask what area you need improvement, which is a good way of both finding out how honest someone is and also what areas they need improvement? And if you’ve ever been the interviewer you also know that the lamest, most cop-outish of all answers to that question is the classic “I’m too much of a perfectionist and way too hard on myself when I make a mistake.” because it’s like saying “I’m way too beautiful and it’s distracting to the other employees.”?

Well, that being said I am too much of a perfectionist and way too hard on myself when I make a mistake. For instance, right now I’m trying to decide if you can kill yourself by eating an entire box of paper clips.

Oh ugh, I SO made a mistake. Here at work, yesterday – no really, a BIG one.

I generally avoid talking about work because one should always learn lessons that others are kind enough to live through for you (thank you, Heather Armstrong) but I have to tell you enough so that you know how much I suck SUCK. So on a very high-level, generalized and all, here’s the deal:

I screwed up while scheduling a meeting and basically added an email that said “this dude is so pissing me off!!” into the meeting invitation.

And now I die.

Now in my defense (which sounds stupid as I type it, because HOW DO YOU DEFEND THIS STUPIDITY? ONLY BY CLAIMING TEMPORARY STROKE OR POSSESSED BY ALIEN GHOST MONKEYS!!!!) I ask you, why would someone send an email asking to schedule a meeting, and then mention “oh by the by, isn’t Senior Doody-head being a Doody-head? Dang him!” in that same email?

Of course the answer is “because you are supposed to READ THINGS in your job, right?” Apparently I learned nothing from all of those tests in grade school that start out “Step 1: read ALL of the directions before you start this test” and end the list with “Step 15: don’t do anything at all – we were just seeing if you could follow the simplest of directions. Now turn and mock all the people in your class who are half-way through cramming Kleenex into their shorts (step 4).”

The good news is that my boss is super-cool and understood how I made the mistake, and yet also didn’t take responsibility for the mistake which so many bosses do, and which is super nice (which makes me feel even worse) and yet not appropriate because it is NOT their mistake (and therefore makes me feel borderline suicidal). She put the onus on my as it should be, and now I just need to figure out some way to stop wanting to stand in traffic from the guilt. Because I’m too much of a perfectionist. And I’m way too hard on myself when I make a mistake.

Happy Slapsgiving, everybody.

(raise your hand if you wanted to giggle like a 10-year old boy when you read the word “onus.” Yep, me too.)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Big Finish!

Get Prescription for new glasses: check!

Get new glasses: check also!

Get the actual glasses in your hot little hands on your hot little face: Will do, cap’n!

The process so far has been kind of, bordering on extremely, painful, I think we can all agree, but now there’s a finish line; a light at the end of the tunnel, if you will. This gives me ridiculous hope, which is a mistake you’d think I’d have stopped making in these kinds of cursed scenarios! But no, hope actually does spring eternal.

Stupid hope.

Anyway, after 5-10 days (which actually was 11, but who’s counting? ME! I’M COUNTING!) I get the call from New Guy, letting me know my glasses are there. I show up with a good hour before closing, figuring all I have to do is three little things: 1) give plastic money card, 2) sign receipt saying “here, have a big wad of not-real money, on the promise that eventually I’ll give you real money, in exchange for my hard-fought-for glasses”, 3) take new glasses. That should take all of 5 minutes, right? 10 minutes if I forget how to spell my own name. No problem!!

The only person working the store when I get there is New Guy. But me, I’m optimistic. “He’s had almost 2 weeks by now, surely he’s feeling more confident? Surely he’s less panicky? Surely he’s going to be able to help me with this very simple task?” Plus we get off to a good start. He finds the glasses (good start #1) AND they’re the right ones (good start #2). And I’m thinking that we’re almost scott free – give that man your Department Store card and flee! And right then New Guy asks me to try them on to make sure they fit right.


See, I’d forgotten that another mutant aspect of me is that my ears are not level. Or my eyes aren’t. Or my head is crooked, something, all I know is that when I put nice, normal glasses of any kind onto my face they are NOT STRAIGHT. There is an extremely visible and unsettling difference between where the right and left lens hits my face. It looks a lot like I’m near-sighted in one eye and far-sighted in one cheekbone. But it had been such a long time since I last had to adjust any glasses, so I’d really forgotten. And as these new glasses slid down the left side of my face I had that feeling of impending doom, because there was nobody to help New Guy adjust them. We were on our own.

I must say this: his heart was in the right place all the way. He didn’t shy away from the task at hand, and he said with all the sincerity in the WORLD: “you spent a lot of money on these glasses and you should be 100% happy with them.” These are good words. These are the kinds of words that lift your spirit and make you feel really good about the customer experience that you’re about to have! They give you hope, dare I say even confidence! I knew he could do it, and he knew it too! This was going to be the magnificent pay-off for the interminable process of picking out the glasses almost 2 weeks ago! This ugly duckling was about to become a glasses-adjusting swan!

New Guy took a long look at my face and the crooked way my new glasses hung on my miss-shaped head, and then he took them from me and began to manipulate things. With a big, confident smile he handed me back the glasses and I placed them back on the face… and they slid even faster down toward my left shoulder, evaporating both of our confident grins.

What followed was an endless series of attempts to find the sweet spot between my ears and my face. He’d bend and twist and hand them back and they’d be closer, and then he’d bend and twist more, and they’d be much further away. Each time the goal got farther from us he’d put the glasses down on the counter and stare, and stare, and stare, as though this were one of those optical puzzles where if you could just focus your eyes 3 feet past the glasses you’ll see a dolphin jumping out of the water. Every once in a while he’d try to argue with me about whether or not we’d gone in the wrong direction, as though there was anything that he could tell me about what he did that would carry more weight than the fact that the glasses were now practically parallel with my neck! And each time he’d hand them back to me they were more and more hot.

Did you know that when they want to adjust glasses there is this box of hot salt that they put the frames into? Apparently the idea is that they heat things up to make them more willing to bend. At first I thought that was cool new information, but after a while I started to worry about the effect of so much hot sand on my poor plastic frames. Finally I had to ask him if he’d ever broken a pair of glasses while adjusting them.

“Yah, earlier this week. The first pair that I ever adjusted. They just snapped -- it was not good.”

Two new pieces of information there: it is possible to break the glasses in this process, and he’s been adjusting glasses for less than a week.

Somewhere along the line I couldn’t stand it anymore and asked New Guy to explain to me the theory he was operating with, and it was obvious that he had it backwards. I walked him through how this had to work, using my poor, hot, salty glasses as the visual aid, and sent him off to try it again. He decided to bend them back to square one and start fresh from there, which seemed like a solid idea, and he got it almost right the first time around! Second time and they were practically perfect! At least for as broken as they were!

Between the heat and the 30 minutes of vicious manhandling both stems were only partially attached to the frame front. They weeble-wobbled ever so sadly, as if to say “no mas, no mas, we will tell you whatever you want to know!” I pointed out the tragically loose stems to New Guy, and without skipping a beat he replied “You want me to send them in? I’ll send them in.” and grabbed a repair form.

At this point I knew I was done, but there was no point in being done to New Guy. He was without any power, without the tools to do anything with my fury, and without the stamina to stand up under the hurricane of frustration that I felt rising up within me. If I let loose on him he’d crumple like a condo of so many playing cards and what fun would that be? So I took my wobbly glasses and my hand-written itemized receipt (don’t get me started) and left.

Three days later I returned to the scene of the crime and met Not New Lady Who Knew What Was Going On (NNLWKWWG – don’t try to pronounce it, you’ll dislocate your tongue). She took my complaints in stride, and explained that a series of health problems and spontaneous quittings had left the local BFD Optical Shoppe tragically under-staffed, which is why she was there, some 4 hours away from the city in which she normally lived and worked. “That’s too bad,” I replied, along with “gimme my money back.” She did.

On Friday I picked out a new pair from the Optical Shop right here where I work. They’re fancy and stylish and DEEP CRANBERRY RED and I already know that I will love them, LOVE THEM, LOVE THEM. And the lovely lady who helped me with them seemed all knowledgeable and experienced and not at all panicky or terrified! I’ll get them in a couple of weeks (seems there’s some kind of holiday this week that is delaying everything good in the world, but comes with pie, so we’re putting that in the “win” column) and then everything will be so much better. I can’t wait. (knock on wood.)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Femtastic hates getting her new glasses

Get Prescription for new glasses: check!

Get new glasses: on it!

In years past when I had to get glasses I mostly always went to this department store that sold clothes and shoes and sheets and blenders and also glasses. The main reason for using the Big, Fancy Department store (BFD) was because my vision benefits required that I pay for the glasses and get reimbursed, and I never seemed to have a spare $200 in my pocket any of those times. So I could use my BFD card, which is kind of like having the spare $200 in someone else’s pocket, like for instance the pocket of my good friends at BFD. But I’ll also say that in the 10+ years that I’ve been going there I’ve never had any complaints.

Let’s bask in the glow of the previous, non-complaint-filled time for a moment…

I get to BFD and meet New Guy (NG) and his “helpful” friend Not New Gal, From Another Store (NNGFAS). New Guy appears to be VERY new – still has New Employee smell (interesting mix of fear, anticipation and HR), still has his tags on him, still looks like he’s constantly trying to decide whether or not he should make a panicky break for it. Not New Gal, on the other hand, has glasses-picking experience dripping from her pores. She also has a tremendously thick (so much that it sounds almost fake) New York accent, a super-abrupt personal way about her and fingernails that have probably been registered with the local authorities as lethal weapons.

NG has no idea what kind of glasses I should wear, and NNGFAS thinks it’s cute, even funny, that I think I should have an opinion about what kind of glasses I should wear. I lie somewhere in between, where I'm not completely sure what glasses I should wear, but get the f*ck away from me with the pink leopard-print ones!! The process of finding my new glasses went kind of like this:

“How about these? Love the shape on you!”

“I’m not crazy about such round lenses, they look goofy on my face.”

“You’re totally right, that shape is not right on you at all. How about these? Great color!”

“Normally I’d try to steer clear of really dark glasses…”

“And these are too dark you think?”

“Well, they’re black. So yes. They’re kind of completely too dark.”

“how about these? These aren’t black. They’re not too dark at all, right?”

“No, they're not dark. But these are the round ones we tried on before. Like right before. Like 30 seconds ago.”

“ that's a no?”

Sigh. Amazingly, though, we did find a pair that was the right color and size and shape and everything, with poor NG mostly just along for the ride. He’d mastered the art of the encouraging-but-lost emphatic nodding, which I think will come in very handy as long as NNGFAS is there. Once the right glasses were picked we then had to enter everything into the computer. (shudder…)

I would have to say that it’s a bad sign when you find yourself walking someone through the computer screens of their job. NNGFAS thought that the best way to get NG up and running on the computer system was to turn on the computer and then walk away with a “call me if you need any help.” over her shoulder. I’m not necessarily against the 'sink or swim' form of training, but the problem with this system was that if he didn’t swim he was taking me down with him! I could figure out what was required on each computer screen up until we got to the “enter the prescription magic numbers” section, at which point NG announced that he knew this part. Yet each time he’d enter the info he’d get a “warning” screen. Over and over. Warning, Warning, Warning... You could see the tiny sliver of confidence he got when we reached familiar computer ground evaporating as he kept doing the same thing over, over, over.

Finally NNGFAS came over to find out how things were going and he sadly displayed the warning screen he couldn’t seem to conquer. And guess what? It was my fault. Well not mine, per say, but the fault of my special/rare/bizarre eye condition. (Remember from before? Antimetropia? Remember?) Turns out if you enter a prescription that goes one way on one eye and the other way on the other eye the computer is going to ask you “hey, are you sure that’s right? Because those are some MESSED UP eyes!” And it will ask you this EVERY TIME you enter the numbers. Or pass by the numbers. Or look at the numbers. Or fondly reminisce about the numbers. These are disturbing numbers and the computer really wants you to know it. They want to make sure that you, at some point, took a good look at the mutant customer that you’re helping right there because dude, who knows when such a freak of nature will sit in your glasses-shopping chair again. You can tell your grandchildren about the time you helped someone who’s eyes are trying to get as far from each other as they can while still sharing the same face.

Finally, finally, FINALLY we were done. It had been over one hour. The shop was overdue to close. I was exhausted and not entirely sure anymore about the choices I’d made – what if I said yes to the special scratch coating thing just so that they’d let me leave? – and the strong New York accent of NNGFAS had developed into a hatred from me every time she spoke. And for my patience? She gave me some glasses cleaner. But not just a little bit of cleaner. This was a 6-gallon jug of cleaner! This was the largest container of glasses cleaner I’d seen since I’d toured the factory that makes the special glasses cleaner chemicals, which is a tour I’ve never taken, so it’s just THE largest container of glasses cleaner I’d seen ever!

And when would my glasses be ready for picking up, thereby finally giving my eyes the rest they’re dying for? 5-10 days. Oh joy. But hey, at least that gives me the triumphant third part of my story. Because yes indeed, TO BE EVEN MORE CONTINUED!!

Big Finish: Femtastic hates her new glasses.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Femtastic gets new glasses

So technically I wear glasses, although if you asked most of the people I’ve hung with i the last few years they’d say “oh her? No, she doesn’t wear glasses.” And when you insisted that I did they’d be very “nu-uh!” and there might be eventual fisticuffs. But I really am someone who wears glasses.

It’s not that I have trouble seeing stuff – I see fine. But apparently my seeing fine requires major heavy lifting by my eyebones. Apparently I’m near-sighted in one of my eyes, and yet far-sighted in the other one. No really. It’s so rare it even has a name – Antimetropia. An·tee·me·tro·peeah. AntimetropiaAntimetropiaAntimetropia... Say it fast, it will totally mess up your tongue! Now I’m all “lookit me, I got a fancy eye condition! I now own a word that nobody else but eye condition enthusiasts – eye goo groupies if you will – will know anything about! I’ll get a pin that says “Ask me about my Antimetropia!” Everyone else will totally wish that they had Antimetropia – all the cool kids are doing it these days!”

Anyway, although my antimetropia (giggle, tee-hee!) doesn’t impair my actual vision, a side-effect of making your eyes work really hard is that they get tired. And like most sorts, when they get tired they get cranky. And the eye-version of a tantrum just happens to be a migraine headache. Bleah.

I started getting the headaches, and then right after wearing the glasses, 10 years ago or more. Here’s what I discovered about me wearing glasses: I look good in glasses. They make me look smart! Good-smart! I’d even go so far as to say they make me look hot-smart, like the naughty librarian right before she whips off her glasses and lets her hair come flying down! Not that I have naughty librarian body or hair or whip off my glasses or let my hair fly or would continue to look hot-smart if I did whip off the glasses and let the hair fly. I’m mostly look just like me, but average-smart and kind of disheveled. But with the glasses? Look out, baby! I even got this pair once that were purple, which I would have thought “no way, that’s too goofy for me.” and would have totally avoided, but then when I tried them on they looked so cool! Fun and also still hot-smart, and I made this classy chain-thing to hang them around my neck and I was rockin’ the glasses look.

But then right after I moved away from my former super-good job, with the Capital-M Money and darn good benefits, and came home to the land of the rare good job and even more rare benefits (of which I had none) my eyes had the audacity to change. Not enough so that I couldn’t see still, but enough that wearing the glasses started causing the headaches. Instead of the headache-stopping which was the whole point of them. (the whole point above and beyond the looking cool – I still looked cool. I just looked cool as I lay on the couch, planning to drill a hole in my head to let out the demons.) So I decided to just stop wearing my glasses until I could afford new ones.

Fast forward to now, with the new good job and SUPER-UBER-GOOD benefits, and also the return in full force of the migraines from my eyes who are officially done doing all the heavy-lifting w/out help, and it’s time to get glasses again. And remember, I’m pro-glasses because of the smartness-making and the possible naughty librarian thing, right?

Tangent: As much as I like wearing glasses, I hate going to the eye doctor. Specifically I hate the eye tests. They’re too much pressure! I hate tests full of subjective questions (“raise your hands as soon as you think you hear something?” “how bad is the pain, on a scale of 1 to Z?”, “do the voices in your head sound angry or more scared?”) where you can’t study and therefore can’t be sure you answer them right! What if I think I can see more clearly on this one… when really I see slightly more clearly on this one…? One time I tried “pass” but that’s apparently not an option. Well fine. (end tangent)

The last time I got my eyes checked (about 5 years ago) I trotted right back to work and finished my day, even though I looked COMPLETELY STONED and freaked everybody out. It was a little tricky to read things, but not impossible. Well, apparently they’ve really suped-up the dilation stuff, because holy crap I could not see ANYTHING! They dropped my eyes and sent me out to this waiting room to wait for the drops to work their eye-bulging magic, and so I did what you do in waiting rooms: you read crappy celebrity magazines and judge the poor, broken celebrities who have it all and can’t seem to keep from crashing it all into walls and down into ditches and stuff. A little waiting, a little judging, a little feeling superior to someone rich and famous just because I’m wearing underwear… good times.

After about 10 minutes I gave up completely because I couldn’t even make the big, bold headlines clear enough to read! Did Brittany really bake her kids? How horrible! Is it possible that Madonna sold peyote to a blind nun prostitute? Gosh, I guess? Oh right, like George Clooney would get into a fight with Fabio! (note: the last one turned out to be true. Oh George…) Not only did the drops hit my poor pupils like a tone of eye-bricks, but they stayed like that for HOURS! It took at least another hour after I got back to work before I could read anything and several more hours before I stopped looking like everything I was seeing was made out of cotton candy and sequins and smelled like hot strawberry-Jello.

Still, in the end I had me a brand-spankin’-new prescription with which to go get me new glasses. Even with the specter of having to get bifocals this time I was still excited about picking out my new smart-hotness accessory. Maybe something in a hot-pink-leopard print? You’ll have to wait and see. Yes, my friends, it’s true – TO BE CONTINUED!

Next: Femtastic hates getting her new glasses.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Mouths and irony and aluminum foilishness

My mouth tastes metallic.

This started night before last – I was eating dinner, a lovely turkey kielbasa all spicy and good, and I kept thinking “this kielbasa is not quite right.” But then neither was the Red Delicious apple, later that night, nor the cookie right before midnight. Nor any food I’ve had since then. It all starts off tasty goodness, but when it gets to the back of the mouth it goes all bad. Like it’s been dipped in aluminum foil.

So at first I treated this possible medical concern with my same normal process, which is a combination of ignoring and procrastination which can run anywhere from a few months to 4 years (and counting!) Initially I was working on the tried and true “I’m sure it’s nothing, it’s temporary and it will go away. See, that last bite tasted a little better, didn’t it?... gleh.” You can do that for some things for quite a while, such as excrutiating pain, but not so much when it’s ruining every single thing you eat.

So that pushed things to the next level a little quicker then normal. I next did that thing that anyone who’s been hanging out on the internet for more then six months already KNOWS you should never do, and that’s go do my favorite medical expert, Dr. Google. He’s friendly, he’s full of info and he’s always available! What’s not to love? So according to Dr. Google I’m apparently suffering from cancerous post nasal drippy taste buds with infected mouth batteries. So no worries there.

Of the 83 gajillion possible things that could leave a metallic taste in my mouth my favorites were these:
1. That 2 fillings of 2 different alloys in my mouth have somehow combined to create a battery. I’ll test that theory by sucking on a sparking Wint-o-green Life Saver and see if my head explodes!
2. That the taste buds at the front of my tongue were damaged, causing my crappy back-of-the-tongue taste buds to step up. Which are crappy. Leading to crappy tastes.

Last night I think I noticed that a filling at the back of my mouth, which I think I got when I was still breast feeding (in other words, it’s super-old), isn’t looking so good. Even for a filling. So now I’m thinking this is less a medical problem (which is too bad, because you can’t swing a dead domestic-animal-of-your-choice in my new job without hitting a doctor) and more a dental problem (swing all the cats you want, you’ll only hit a dentist if they’re in here being treated for their own health crappiness.)

Tangent: I hate dentists. Seriously I do. No, I don’t mean “oh gosh, I sure do hate going to the dentist. Gee and also darn.” And a playful punch in the arm. No, I mean “For the love of god, I can live with this pain of the infected, impacted, inflamed and possibly radioactive wisdom teeth! Just don’t make me go to the dentist please because if you do I’ll have to KILL EVERYBODY!!!” And a playful loading of my gun. I will get teary-eyed sitting in the lobby not reading Highlights and the waterworks flow freely during a teeth cleaning. Which, I might add, FREAKS OUT THE CLEANER-PEOPLE. There is no amount of warning ahead of time that will prepare them for the tears, and then they need to know if there’s anything at all they could do to make me feel better? Anything? Anything? Puh-LEASE??? To which all I can suggest is that they quit their job and become a baker or lion tamer or anything that isn’t dental in nature. Which wouldn’t really help me right there, because then someone else would just have to take over, and are you seeing the problem here yet? So any time the solution to a problem is “go to the dentist” I don’t so much see it as a solution as much as a massive, terrifying escalation of the previous problem.

Even so, I called my dentist. Oh, and here’s the other thing about that: I really like my dentist. Don’t get confused, I do hate “dentists” as a category of profession/torturer, but I really like the guy who happens to be my personal dentist. As dentists go, he’s a peach! He’s funny and he explains everything with just the right amount of detail (because really, there is a point at which I don’t need to know that much about the evil you’re about to do in my mouth, people!) and he gets my fears. He won’t freak or beg me to stop or offer a solution. He just puts his great, big dental hand on my shoulder and gives it a warm, “I wish you weren’t at the dentist either.” Squeeze.

The only thing I don’t like about my dentist is this: he’s closed on Fridays. I should remember this, too, because I swear to you that every dental thing that has ever popped up in my entire life has always done so, without fail, on a Friday. And because he’s not there it means that I always, also without fail, have to suffer through the entire weekend with whatever new miracle of agony my mouth has come up with. It’s the cute little irony-joke my mouth plays on me, so that I remember to be nice to it.

So now I get to spend the weekend not enjoying any food. Which is depressing. And you know what I like to do to cheer myself up when I’m depressed? EAT.

Stupid mouth irony.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Where I think I’m being robbed by Television-Badguy-Persians

I know this sounds paranoid, but here’s the deal: I was at this tradeshow/fair/fest/thingie on Friday and I made a purchase at the booth of some oh-so-classic Persian dudes as to be played by Horatio Sanz and Rob Schneider, as to be used as spokesdudes for moustache wax; as to portray the wildly-inflammatory villains in the next 24, next Die Hard or next James Bond story. My purchase was $30 worth of stuff. Thirty Dollars. Three-Zero-point-Zero-Zero, right?

The first guy packs up my stuff and sends me over to the second guy to make my purchase, and like a big dufus I’m using my plastic. The second guy is busy with “We are always, always the most cheapest of silver, you can tell everyone!” as well as the occasional “I see other people going to other people and I know they will be here, soon they will be here…” He is so busy that he somehow, mystically manages to charge me not the $30 that I was supposed to be charged, but instead $141.52. And he slides me the receipt to sign and I get lost in trying to find a number anywhere on this receipt which resembles the dollar amount that I’m purchasing. That one with the 3 and the trio of zeros. But I’m finding ones and fours and fives and twos and no threes and no zeros and where the hell did an additional number before the decimal point come from?

At this point Mr. Second Dude gets involved with big, swoopy apologies and “I am no idea how that happened. Somebody had a $141.52 somewhere, for sure! For sure!” He asks for my card back, and at this point I’m 97% “hey, it’s a human mistake” and only 3% “I’m on to you, you swarthy back-stabber, and luckily I brought my oozy and know the ancient art of Karate!!!!” He pushes some buttons and runs my card and out pops another little slip. And then he asks me to sign them. Both of them.

Wait, I have to sign the one that says “yes, please, I will give them $141.52 of my money, and thank you for coming.”? Why should I do that? I don’t want to give you that money, that’s MY money. And so I say “I’m not so happy about signing the receipt that says $141.52.”

“Oh, but you see here how the other is saying “Return”? See “return” there? See that there? That is the return of the other. You sign this, but then you sign that and there is a “return” and it’s all good. It’s all good.” (twirls his evil mustache, even if he didn’t actually have a mustache.)

I stood there for what felt like about 15 minutes, but was probably only about 30 seconds, and I can hear the voice in my head saying “you do NOT sign anything with that many extra numbers on it! No signing!” but the other receipt DOES say “return” and he DID say that it would be all good… That’s a legally binding contract, right? So guess what I did? (all of you who said “signed it!” make me sad that you have so little faith in me. And are right.)

Now we jump to Monday morning and my checking to make sure that my rent check (scheduled to go from my bank this very morning all automatic and robot-like through the wonders of the internet and modern science) has gone like it’s supposed to. But it hasn’t. Also the difference between “the money that you have in your account” and “the money in your account which you can have” is way different. WAY different. By something around $141. And fifty two cents. Gah!!!

I go through the soft-and-cuddly automated phone jail to where it lists all the pending debit card transactions – it sounds something like this:

“Yes, I remember that. Yes, that too. Yes…, yes…, yes…, No. NonononononoNOnoNO! Where is the negative $141.52? I hear the positive one, but right after that should be the negative one! The return! Where’s the return??? I have the receipt that says “return!” It’s all good! IT’S ALL GOOD!!!!” (this is where I remembered that I was at work and some portion of this emotion is coming out of my face at a volume called “audible by others” and there are concerned heads popping up over cube walls like panicked groundhogs. And I shut up. And I press the key to talk to someone.)

The helpfully-intended but less-helpful girl from somewhere far, far away (I could feel 100% humidity and smell cumin through the phone) could only explain to me that it’s not uncommon for the transaction to happen right away but for the return to take “longer.”

“how much longer?”

“I am sorry, I do not have that information.”

“because it’s holding up my rent check, you see? And I’d just like to let my landlord know when the funds are coming, so about when will that get fixed?”

“I am sorry, I do not have that information.” (twirls her evil mustache, even if she didn’t have a mustache.)

Long story short here (if you say “too late” I’ll send my luck to you!!!) is that the money returned to the bank account this morning and the rent check is going tomorrow and my landlord is super-cool about it always, and now for you my fabulous readers I can be one of those excellent cautionary tales, because NEVER, EVER, EVER sign the receipt for the wrong amount, and you don’t want a RETURN, you want a VOID. Tell them Femtastic told you so!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Where I see myself in an iconic icon of iconry

I saw the Hairspray movie this weekend at the cheap theater. I love the cheap theater, because you get the big-screen experience (well, you get the “bigger then my tv” screen experience, although probably about the size of the tv that my brother in law will someday own, so whatever) at rental prices, and if the movie is only ok you really only feel like you’ve been cheated out of the hours of your life, rather then the life hours and also the cost of a week’s worth of groceries. And since I never get to see movies (because as I mentioned before my friends who are supposed to be the people with whom I see movies decided that it was a higher priority to have kids. WHATEVER!!) I even more love the cheap theater because it makes it that much easier to get my parents (who have kids but who don’t have to stay home because of them anymore and who really should get out of the house more often and do fun things because isn’t that the GOAL when you have kids? To get to that point where you don’t have to plan your life around their tendency to start fires and make crank phone calls?) to go see movies with me.

Taking a breath.

So I went with the parents and the favorite aunt to see Hairspray for the low, low, bargain-basement cost of $2 plus popcorn. And a soda that I smuggled into the theater in my pocket. Which never did warm up ever again. (the pocket, not the soda) Now, I know I saw the first version of this story like 20 years ago but it left a very specific impact on me, which reads something like this: fat girls can be cool, rich girls are bitches, if you wear your hair too big you’ll go to special ed and that mother is awfully dude-ish. In my memory the integration part was so tiny as to have poofed from my recollection entirely. So I was pretty surprised with how much it was the point of this movie, with dance numbers and star-crossed loves dedicated to it and everything. But the thing I most kept thinking was this:

I’d have been that fat, pushy, idealistic girl. I totally would have.

I know we all want to believe that we’d fight the good fight and stand up for the underdog and [insert music-swelling, heart-expanding good deed here], but then it seems like many folks don’t actually do it when push comes to shove. Which would probably make them the smart ones. But you can totally ask all of my embarrassed friends who have, on multiple occasions, tried to wander away as if a total stranger while I rail on, in public, about some injustice, such as someone littering right there in public or some kids picking on a smaller kid or someone smoking where people could be trying to breath. I’ve had dude friends convinced that I was about to get them killed as I challenge a group of testosterone-infused would-be gang members on a subway train, and no amount of “Hey, I would never have let them hit you!” from me made them feel any better. Something about how it wouldn’t have been up to me, which is a concept complete foreign to me, because I’m pretty sure that EVERYTHING is up to me! That would be the cornerstone of having the universe revolve around oneself, right?

So I watched all these scenes in the Hairspray movie where the pudgy little go-getter with a heart of gold pushed everyone around with sugar-coated naiveté and a very nasal-but-loud singing voice and I thought “That’s me, baby!”

And I understood once again how I could be celebrating my 11th year of re-virginity. Why don’t you people smack me around more often??

Thursday, November 01, 2007

To Treat, to be Tricked.

So yesterday was Halloween, and though I know I’m too old to trick-or-treat I really get into being trick-or-treated. Or mostly just the giving of treats. No kidding, I’m almost as giddy about it as I think I was about T-or-T’ing when I was a kid! Like the other day I was thinking about what Halloween would be like if I did have a kid, because I’d be a single parent so then I’d have to decide between taking the kid T-or-T’ing or being there for the T-or-T’ers in my neighborhood, and where as most sane people would only think about it for three seconds before automatically knowing that they’d take the kid out for candy I’m the one who starts wondering “who else could I get to take the kid door to door?” because I so hate the idea of being that dark house! That dark, crappy house with no candy at all! Who among us has not hated the dark, crappy house from which we get no candy-joy?

Anyway, I really love Halloween and I rush home after work to light my punchman and make sure the bowl is full and by the door and well-tossed (a sugar-salad, if you will) and to unlock the (normally locked because I never use it because the side door has a carport and so HELLO?) front door and all that stuff. And then I sit and eagerly await the first bing-bong of costumey-goodness!

Last night I realized that part of my love of Halloween is it’s one of my chances to get a barometric reading on our nation’s youth. Here’s how my brain sees it: “if the kids who come to my door on Halloween are mostly cool then we’re all gonna be OK.” And by “we” I mean the whole dang world. And by “mostly cool” I mean clever costumes and they know to yell “Trick or Treat!” and when you say “one each please.” they take ONLY ONE, rather than sneaking 2 or more and forcing me to have to say “Dude, there’s more than one there. Drop the extra, dude.”, and they say thank you and, if they’re VERY cool, they even shout out “Happy Halloween!” as they’re rushing to the next spot. This, to me, is evidence of a well-raised society and proof that we’re all gonna be ok, my friends. It’s a simple theory, but one that works for me.

Based on my criteria I’d say the future looks pretty bright! My groups were very good about saying the right things, I only had to bust 2 over-grabbers (who were pretty young, so I cut them some additional slack) and there were many superheroes, which makes me very happy. More than a few of the grups (grown-ups, for those of you who didn’t watch Star Trek reruns forever, ever, ever) were generous in their praise of my Bert punchman, which made me preen and offer them candy. My favorite costumes were the little kids dressed as Scooby Doo and Daphne (though sadly I was the first person who’d recognized Daphne – what a sad comment on my generation!) and I was ever so glad to see how many of the grups were dressed up too!

Of course, just when you think you’ve received your proof that the future is gonna be excellent, along comes the Douchebag Patrol to poop on the end of my night. Round about 10:30 last night I got a knock (ok, so a POUNDING) on my door and I open it to find 2 high school kids (I’m guessing 16ish?) standing there. They have no costume. They have no bag. They have the lamest, least-inspired “trick or treat” I’ve ever heard. And they’re asking for, nay DEMANDING, that I give them candy! Now I have no rules about “too old” or “too late” – if my punchman is glowing then I’m still open for business, and as long as you have a costume you’ve satisfied my only real requirement for gifts of candy. I’d give a funsized Snickers to a 40-year old investment banker so long as he’s got a pink wig and fishnet stockings on!

However, to quote comedian Greg Behrendt, “is this no-costume-candy-give-away-day?” I don’t think so! I told these hooligans (yes that’s right, I said it. HOOLIGANS! And they were totally hooligany too!) to take a hike, they were not getting my candy. And they fought me about it! Heck, they were incredulous that I would say no! Phrases such as “This bites!” and “Come ON man!” were yelled. Yelled! At my closing door! Like they were somehow entitled to candy just because they didn’t have a car or bike and had to walk home from whatever criminal behavior they’d been enjoying and took the time to knock on a door. With no costume!!

And then, just in case I wasn’t hating these total wankers quite enough, they capped it off by throwing Bert. Busted his noble Bert face right down the middle. Broken Bert. I knew they were gonna do it, but by the time I had the realization he was already sidewalk décor.

So in summary, I think the world’s mostly gonna be ok. But I’ll be our current governmental administration used to roll up on houses w/out costumes and demand candy. And break punchmans. I can totally see them doing that, can’t you?