Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Rhode Island thoughts The beaches here are different from anything other beach I’ve ever seen (not that I’m a beach expert or anything). The beaches in Florida – the ones that I’ve seen the most of – are pure sand. Sand for miles – and I’d guess that the entire Florida coastline is nothing but miles and miles of sand. Sandy beaches are a wonderful sight; they all but reach out and beg you to grab a towel and a good book and stretch out in the sun for a few hours. The water begs just as shamelessly for you to jump in and play in the waves. And with the temperatures in Florida, the water usually looks very inviting. I love playing in the ocean– even after my encounter with a Portuguese Man O’ War last year. The ocean in Rhode Island looks just as tempting. Even though the temperature is only in the mid-70’s, it’s humid enough right now to make the water look like a place to cool off and splash around. Even without much sunshine, the water sparkles enough to make people jump in – even if they have to wear a wetsuit to stand the water temperature (and many of them are wearing one). What is dramatically different is the beach. The beaches up here are gorgeous, but in a wild, untamed sort of way. The only places I’ve seen sand are on the strips of coast line designated as public beaches. The rest of the time, it’s a mangle of broken rocks and debris from the ocean – seaweed, plants and the occasional shell. The rocks are dark, black, jagged things that seem like they’ve been tossed down like pebbles to coat the shore. And instead of being able to look up or down the beach at miles of the same landscape (as you can in Florida), you can rarely see more than a mile at a time. The coast weaves and waves in and out of the ocean – and that provides an entirely different sort of temptation. In Florida, I want to be lazy on the beach. There’s no need to explore or go to a new one – they all look the same (except that the color of the condos/hotels/houses vary slightly), so I tend to want to just stay in one area. Walking around pathways along the beaches here (you won’t get far walking on the beach itself), is a constant adventure. You never know what the cove will look like around the next curve, and the next cure always looks much closer than it really is. The lighthouse looks like it’s only a short walk away. I’ve never been a lighthouse fanatic. But seeing them sitting on a piece of land jutting out into the ocean with the waves crashing around them on the rocks and their light shining out over the waters, it’s easy to understand how their practical purpose can so easily be romanticized.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Homeward Bound

Well, I guess technically I'm not really homeward bound, since my parents' house isn't where I live anymore. But I love that song....and when you're going to see your mama, you're always going home. So I'm Homeward Bound. Tomorrow, the Hubby, StepSon and I leave for our next traveling adventure. We'll get to my parents house by dinner tomorrow (probably a couple of hours earlier than that). And the traffic better not slow us down, because Mom is making not only lasagna but also cheesecake. And she's hinted that she has something for me....are there nuts and bolts in my future???? {hint, hint} Saturday morning, we'll be up before the crack of dawn yet again to drive further north. All the way to Rhode Island. We'll spending 4 days with Hubby's family, and I don't think I'm going to have time to take a deep breath at any point. One day we're driving up to Boston with my in-laws for lunch, then continuing up to New Hampshire to enjoy the low prices of duty-free shopping. Since the car had a minor nervous breakdown this week at the thought of the upcoming trip, we won't be enjoying the shopping quite so much as we had planned. I have it on good authority, though, that my father-in-law has over 2 cases of wine for us to bring home. So I'm not going to complain. We're having a pool party one day at my brother-in-law's house, we're going to spend an afternoon sightseeing around the state, we'll go to the beach at some point, we're doing lunch at an aunt's house, dinner at the other brother-in-law's house...and there are a couple of other things that I've forgotten about. But the hardest part of the entire trip? My parents-in-law don't have any kind of internet access. They don't even own a computer. The computer part is no problem - my laptop goes where I go (much to Hubby's disgust). Hopefully there will be an unsecured network around somewhere that I can find. note to self: look up bookstores, cafes or nearby MacDonald's with wi-fi connections around their house. After all that, we'll be heading to Virginia to visit my aunt and uncle, and we'll get an entire day to go to Williamsburg. Luckily for me, I get paid the day we're there - so my shopping funds will be renewed and my aunt and I can drag the boys around to our hearts' content. After the night at my parent's tomorrow, I'm going to spend an entire week going places I've never been. So rest up, because I'm sure there will be a phenomenal increase to the amount of photos on my Flickr account in about a week and a half!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Happy Summer Solstice

It's that time of year again - SUMMER. In Alabama, that only means one thing - heat. In Montgomery, where I work, it got up to 98 degrees yesterday. And our hottest weather doesn't usually come until August. I really need to start digging that pool for the back yard. Anyway, a patron had a question that let me use one of my favorite reference books: Chase's Calendar of Events. This is one of the most fun books in our entire collection. (note to Stacey: you can stop calling me a nerd now; I get the picture). Did you know that today is WorldVegan Day? Or that Mississippi and Tennessee are both starting their Miss "State"pageants? How about the fact that today is "Pee on Earth" Day? There is actually an organization that is promoting not only water conservation but also adding nitrogen (via your urine) to the soil by urging people to pee outside on the ground today. Um, not me. But I'm sure my hubby will be happy toparticipate. And of course, today is the summer solstice, which has been observed in one form or another all over the world for centuries. But tomorrow is the absolute best: Stupid Guy Thing Day. As if they need a whole day to do stupid things, but don't get me started. Or maybe I should start - according to Chase's, "Women everywhere are to make a list of 'stupid guy things' and pass it on!" So, in the spirit of tomorrow:

  • If something is wrong with a car engine, many men feel that they look smarter if they open the hood and grunt at it (preferably with a beer in one hand). I'm not sure why they think grunting makes them appear intelligent, but there was lots of grunting going on under the hood of my car last evening.
  • The toilet seat is made out to be an issue between men and women, but it really isn't. If they would just learn how to aim, all the problems would be solved and there wouldn't be an argument at all.

So what do you think should go on the list?

Friday, June 16, 2006

Just messing around

Showing someone how this cool blogging thing works.
I was about to start daydreaming about my upcoming trip, which led me to thinking of past trips...which led me to my blog so that I could read about Paris and daydream again. But whaddya know, I couldn't find anything on my blog about Paris. And when I went to blogger I found the post...but it said draft beside it. Because I'm a dumbass and I (apparently) never hit publish. Being the person I am, though, I'm going to blame it on Blogger, and just be thankful that the whole thing isn't gone. So, for those of you that are beyond nauseated by the mere mention of The-Trip-That-Everyone-Was-Tired-Of-Hearing-About...you may want to just leave now. The rest of you can stick around. This should have been posted months ago.... I put up the Amsterdam pictures a few weeks ago...and then lost track of time. I put up the Paris pics a couple of weeks ago, too...but it took me forever to get around to writing stuff, naming them correctly, adding tags, etc. But now, it's all done. I think. Amsterdam is HERE Paris is HERE There are 211 Pictures in all. Oh and, um... warning: Very Long Post ahead. :) We got to Paris on Monday afternoon, arriving a day early so that we could get there ahead of the strikes planned for Tuesday. Clark met us at the train station and led us through the city to his apartment. I immediately fell in love with the view from his small window - which had a ledge just a wee bit smaller than my behind, making it almost comfortable to sit there. After a couple of glasses of wine, I actually believed that it was comfy. Anyway, we hung out in the apartment for a couple of hours, and spent the first day close to home. The two days of fun and partying in Amsterdam had caught up with us. We wondered around the area a bit, had some wine, some coffee, and then went back to the apartment for more wine. The next morning was kind of dreary and overcast - the perfect weather for going to visit a cemetery. Not to mention that the long-awaited strike/march/protest was due to begin/happen/whatever that day, and we didn't really want to get in their way. After reading a couple of papers and listening to the radio, we still didn't know where the students/unions/marching-people were headed, so we struck out to go look at a bunch of tombstones. And this may sound kind of crazy, but the cemetery was a remarkably cool place. Not to mention very beautiful. The graves/headstones/mausoleums were all different, and crammed in close together. And with so many famous people buried in there, it was almost like a treasure hunt. The cemetery is massive - we found a few important graves, looked at lots more, found a black cat lurking and snapped some pictures. Then it was time to move on. After all, I couldn't spend an entire day in Paris in a cemetery! We headed into the heart of the city, to Notre Dame. Somehow, visiting an old gothic-looking church on a dark and dreary day seemed just as appropriate as visiting a cemetery. Notre Dame didn't seem as big as I thought it would be, and I didn't see the Hunchback...but it is absolutely beautiful. The back of the church is more impressive to me than the front, and I took lots of pictures of that. We went into the crypts underneath the cathedral, but we didn't climb up to the Bell Towers. The inside was very dark, with the altar shining across the church. Along both sides of the nave, small chapels to various saints line the walls as you walk towards the altar. Some of them are very elaborate, some are very simple. I snapped pictures, but many of them just didn't turn out in the dark. After we finished with Notre Dame, we wondered for a bit, then Clark took us to La Mémorial des Martyrs de La Déportation, a memorial to those deported in WWII. It was a very sad place, and very simply constructed. The simplicity made it more haunting. We left the memorial and ended up (I'm sure I'm going to get the order of things wrong) going by the Sorbonne, as well as the medieval museum (umm...I think it was the Musee du Cluny...I should probably look this stuff up, so that I sound like I know what I'm talking about...). The Sorbonne had barricades around it (because of the riot/protest/student problems), and the Museum was closed (because of the riot/protest/student problems) so we just kept walking and looking. Before long we ended up at the Place de la Bastille...and that's when we found out where the march was ending. We found out, because it was arriving at about the same time we did. We had noticed that there were more riot police in this part of the city, and now we knew why. Watching the march was a LOT of fun. There were thousands of people to watch - climbing on the monument, climbing on the Opera steps (the Opera de la Bastille, by the way, is a VERY ugly opera house), marching by all dressed-up, walking by with big clubs in their hands.... Ok, the last one made me nervous for a few minutes, but I had two big strong men to protect me. Except that Clark kept running out to march...and I kept forgetting to pay attention to the guys with clubs, because people in the march were all dressed up (take a look at that picture of the Viking woman - I still can't explain that one). I kept Robert pressed up behind my back, and started snapping pictures. Luckily, Robert was paranoid enough for all of us, and kept his eyes on everyone. There weren't any problems while we were there, though - everyone was quite well behaved. Robert took his turn marching in the crowd, and after a while we moved on. That night, we ate some terrific food (I think I had some kind of fish that night, in a really good sauce with a few veggies. And, of course, wine), then went to check out the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower. I really can't say much about them, other than how pretty/beautiful/gorgeous they are at night, with all the lights on - especially the Eiffel Tower. We couldn't climb anything after dark, of course, but we got some great pictures. And everyone who visits Paris should wonder around the city at night. It really is a very romantic place. Wednesday morning we started off with a visit to the Louvre. We decided to do this while we were fresh, not at the end of the day when it would be packed. It was still packed, but not too bad in most of the places we went. The three big draws to the museum are the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo and Winged Victory. The museum is more massive than you can believe. Over and over, people will tell you facts and figures about how long it would take you to look at everything in the Louvre - and still, I didn't really get how huge it was until I went. Exact measurements? Un-freakin'-believable by hu-freakin'-mongous, that's exactly how large. After a few hours wondering the Louvre, we were hungry and realized that it was a beautiful day outside - or at least, not miserable. So we headed to the Arc de Triomphe to see the city from on high. Climbing the Arc's staircase is an adventure all by itself. There are 190 steps in the curved staircase that will make you unbelievably glad you chose not to wear your favorite black boots that morning. Getting to the top makes you tired, hot, thirsty and ready to collapse on the nearest bench and begin demanding alcohol as a restorative. But then you step outside, and forget all that because when the sun is out, and there are just a few big white fluffy clouds chasing each other across the sky, being on top of the Arc makes you wish you could stay up there forever. I could see many of the places we had visited, and lots more that I knew I wouldn't get to see up close. But it was a beautiful place to look out at the city. Until you look in the direction of the Eiffel Tower. I'm going to be really honest here. The Eiffel Tower is a must-see - even if you don't spend crazy money to jam yourself in an overcrowded elevator with children and smelly people just to climb to an unbelievable sight that could make you pee on yourself if you're not ready for how high it is. At night, it's a gorgeous monstrosity, all lit up against the city lights and the dark sky, towering above you like a giant light bulb. But during the day, it really is nothing more than a large amount of steel sticking straight up into the sky. I guess that some can appreciate the beauty of the construction, or the mere idea that it was, at one time, the tallest man-made structure in the world - beating out the pyramids, which had held that title for many thousands of years. To me, though, it just looked like a bunch of black steel in the middle of the city. So, when we had looked at our fill of the city from on top of the Arc, what did we do? We climbed the Eiffel Tower, of course! No, we did not climb the stairs - although that would probably have been much faster than the lines we had to wait in to get on the two elevators that took us to the top - because I paid to go all the way up. And if I had thought that the view from the top of the Arc was beautiful, then the view from the top of the Eiffel Tower is simply breathtaking. The sun shone more on that day than it did all of the other days we were in France combined. Looking down on the city with the sun shining, it looks like a city of white. The Seine goes through the heart of the city, and the sun shining on the water was sparkling, making it look incredibly blue from our vantage point. I guess, to be accurate, the heart of the city is actually an island in the heart of the Seine - La Isle de la Cite. Whatever. It was beautiful. Robert pretty much stayed back against the inner part of the Tower, where he could feel the wall at his back. Every now and then he would reach out an arm to grab me back when he thought I was being too reckless at the very edge. Which is really funny for two reasons: 1.) I used to be absolutely terrified of heights (some will remember the Washington Monument terror from my 8th grade trip) and 2.) There is absolutely no way to simply 'fall' off the Eiffel Tower. You would have to actively pursue falling off, and I'm not that crazy. After all that (we did the Louvre, the Arc and the Eiffel Tower all in one day. I'm exhausted now, but was pumped up then) we decided it was time to go back towards 'home'. Robert wanted to do laundry, and I decided that a glass of wine and some time on the loveseat in the apartment would be lovely. I'm not sure what happened at the Laundromat, but Robert was gone a very long time. I guess French washing machines are more complicated than American ones. :) Thursday was the day we chose to take the train to Versailles. It was a moody, blustery almost-but-not-quite-raining morning when we left. After about an hour on the train we arrived, and after a short walk Versailles was right in front of us. This is another palace that is so monstrous it is almost impossible to take in how large it really is. And, as with so many other places on our trip, it was undergoing renovations. /sigh But you can't be too sad for too long when you're in Paris on vacation. It's just not allowed. So we got in line for about an hour and then went inside. First up was the chapel - which was one of the most golden rooms that I've ever seen. And we're talking real gold. Pictures are hard to get just right on my camera because there's no flash photography allowed (the fact that all these museums allow cameras at all surprised me. In the States, you aren't allowed to photograph anything that anyone can make money off of. But I think their idea is "yeah, take a picture because you know it won't be as good as the ones in the gift shop, and we'll still get your money."). And waiting for things to focus and trying different settings tries my patience too much...so I just got some quick pics in. But the chapel was incredibly golden. I won't go through all the rooms that we saw (my way of saying "I don't remember what they were all called"), but the Hall of Mirrors was impressive - and would have been even more so if more than a third of it was available for viewing. The rest of it was - you guessed it - undergoing renovations. After we finished inside, we went out to look at the palace's famous gardens. In March they really aren't in bloom - they're just really green - but there's some pretty famous fountains and statues lying around, so we started out to explore. The gardens, by the way, are free, so if you're ever in France you can put that down on your list of cheap excursions. Just as we got past the second fountain it started to rain. So we ducked to a little stand that was selling some munchie-foods, and Robert got an ice cream cone. They had little benches with umbrellas over them, so we huddled for a while...but it was no use. The rain wasn't going to stop, and I had chosen to wear my favorite black boots that morning. Walking around a garden in the rain in black suede boots = not so much fun. So we left to get on the train back to Paris. I think this may be the night we went out for Chinese....or maybe it was the previous night. Whichever night it was, ordering Chinese food in French was an experience. Clark was an invaluable translator for us the entire trip - but I was most appreciative of him in the restaurants. Yes, I'll try anything once - but if I already know I don't like something, then I don't want to end up with it accidentally on my plate. He and Robert both got some type of duck that night, and I had some kind of yummy chicken and veggie with noodles and sauce. And, of course, more wine. Our last day was Friday. We slept in, and for some reason that I don't remember I didn't take very many pictures that day. The sun came out in the afternoon, so we went back to Notre Dame - The outside was beautiful, the inside was still just as dark as it had been three days before - and we ended up walking around a lot, just looking at people and things. I also did most of my shopping this day. I got some great prints of city landmarks from a street vendor, then hit a few touristy type stores for the requisite mini-Eiffel Tower loving people. We also went to a WONDERFUL department store that had some amazing jewelry. We took Clark out for a great dinner that night - I got to try fois gras for the first time (and loved it, much to the disgust of my conscience). Robert got a steak that was amazing, and the wine was... well, it was France. There was a lot of wine, all of it good. For dessert I had some type of crème thingy with mandarin oranges. It was warm, sweet and to die for. I really wanted a chocolatey dessert, but that wasn't an option on the menu I was choosing from. Robert hadn't gone with the price-fixe menu option, though, and he got a chocolatey gooey mass that I had to practically steal bites from, because once he got a taste of it, he became very possessive and did not want to share. Luckily, I have a very fast fork hand (and Robert is very easily distracted when I play footsies with him under the table), and I was able to indulge. Hey, all's fair in love, war and chocolate. This was all three. Saturday morning we had to take the train to the airport. I'm still trying to forget the first 45 minutes that we were in Charles de Gaulle International Airport, because it was just an absolute mess. Robert and I ... 'had words' …at the airport a couple of times (that always happens on the way home from traveling, ’cause I just want to be home, and he's dreading the plane ride). We were so early for our flight that it wasn't even registering on the monitors yet - which meant that we had no idea which terminal to go to. And you have to take a shuttle between terminals, so we didn't have any idea what shuttle to get on. Robert figured out the acronym for our airline and then we saw that all those flights were leaving from the same place, so we knew where to go...but finding the shuttle was an adventure. But we found it, we got to our terminal and we hit the duty free stores. Then we went to our gate and rested for a couple of hours....the plane came...and before I knew it, I was looking out the window at the ocean again with Paris behind me. So now, I get to look forward to our next trips. In June we go to Rhode Island (which is in the heathen north, and is basically another country). For New Year's we're hoping to go to an island somewhere for a few days, and next year's Spring Break will take us to London for a week. But I'll never forget Paris.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

John Griffin Montgomery

Meet my newest nephew. Does my family make cute babies, or what?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Picasa Web Albums

Google's taking Picasa online....does Flickr need to be worried? Thanks to my sis, I'm a Flickr Girl. It's easy, it's quick and I love looking at pictures. Even if I have no clue who or what's in them. Flickr's built up an entire online community around their public-picture concept, and it works really well. So do you think Google can get in on the action? I downloaded Picasa onto my desktop, but was just disappointed in it. I wanted the pictures to be online, I wanted to put them in albums and write descriptions and tags, and I wanted to look at everyone else's pictures, too (apparently I'm a lot nosier than even I gave myself credit for). In short, I wanted Flickr. So I use Picasa as my storage on my laptop, and I use Flickr (thanks to one of the best older sisters in the world, I have a Pro account) as my storage on the web. The only way that I see myself switching from Flickr to a beefed up version of Picasa: If Google's product can do EVERYTHING that I use Flickr for - and do it all for free.
But I'll have to wait to try it out. This is another one of Google's limited releases, which means that I wasn't quick enough to get one of the first accounts. But that's ok, cause I love my Flickr.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Monday nights I drive home from work between 10 and 11 PM, so I listen to the local news on the radio (why can't NPR be 24/7 in Alabama?). Of course, the only news that's on is my absolute least favorite TV Channel. Their weather people are some of those ultra-dramatic people that drive me batty. They also have no skill at actually forecasting the weather, but that's another subject. Well, last night they were talking about Tropical Storm Alberto. And right before the commercial break that comes before the weather, the weather guy says something along these lines: "And coming up after the break, we'll take a look at the last storm named Alberto. That was in 1994. We'll give you the latest information on that storm, as well as a look at our local weather, coming up." And all I could think was: Why in the world do I need updates on a storm that happened 8 years ago, when there's a tropical storm a few hundred miles away NOW? How about you give me some local weather predicting for tomorrow? This is a NEWS program, not a retrospective! And why do you need to say the phrase "coming up" 3 times before every commercial break? Are you afraid that we'll think you've suddenly just quit broadcasting? We know how commercial breaks work, already! And then, just when I think that I've misunderstood and they're actually going to discuss the storm that's happening right now (because this is a news program, not the History Channel), they come back from a commercial and talk about Tropical Storm Alberto from 1994 and how it hit Alabama and produced lots of rain....and I keep thinking "Hooray for the people that lived here in 1994! I live here now, and I want rain this week! Can you tell me what my chances are on that while I go work on a time machine to take me back to 1994? Please, can you just give me the weather forecast?" I need to get some new CDs to keep me busy in my car.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Open Letter

Dear Parent of the Children Swinging From our Fake Trees, It's rough being in the military these days. You're probably getting more than you bargained for when you signed up. Or maybe you signed up knowing exactly what you were in for. Whatever the circumstances, being sent here to go to school for 11 months must have seemed a far better deal than getting sent to the Middle East for a year. After all, here in the Deep South there are rarely bombs exploding outside your SUV windows, the food is actually pretty darn good, and - best of all for everyone concerned- you get to bring your wife and children with you. Ahh...the children. The 9 year old daughter wasn't so happy about the year-long stint in the South, was she? Still isn't, if the conversation she is currently having on her cell phone in the copy room is to be believed (and at the moment, about 20 people are "enjoying" her version of why you moved). In fact, it sounds like she really would prefer that you had been sent somewhere overseas. Nowhere dangerous, mind you...someplace safe. Like Guam or Fiji. And may I ask why your 9 year old daughter has a cell phone? Are military bases really that dangerous these days? As for the two precious twins that you have also brought into the library today...they are cute. And I'm sure that you have established a routine at home that allows you to study while they either play together or murder small amphibians. Or do they always murder small amphibians while playing together? Maybe the dead frog that fell out of their pockets into our fake tree isn't really indicative of how they spend all their leisure time, but this is the first time that I've seen them...and let me tell you, the frog made an impression. Still, a dead frog is better than a live one that I would have to chase through the stacks. The real issue that I need to discuss with you concerns the trees. You see, those trees that we have in pots all around our computers and periodicals stacks are not real. Although it may be completely normal for some libraries to have 15 foot tall trees in pots that are only a foot across, your government would only spend your tax dollars on trees that don't need to be maintained. Real trees might die, and then need to be replaced. These will last forever. Unless, of course, your twin boys destroy them while climbing on them. Please don't think I am concerned about the fake trees with dead frog parts around them. I really am thinking of your child's safety. Fake trees aren't as sturdy as they used to be, you know, and one of these days when two 50 pound boys climb up the same side of the same fake tree, well....I really would hate for your two sweet angels to have the tree fall over on top of them onto a computer station, squashing them between layers of dead amphibian guts, smashed flat panel monitors and plastic tree leaves. Blood is really hard to get out of the industrialized carpet that we have in here. Which is another reason that I am grateful to your twins for apparently draining the frog's blood from his lifeless body before bringing it into the library. To get to the heart of the matter, I just wanted to let you know what was going through my mind as I saw these precious angels begin yet another ascent this afternoon and asked them if they would like me to log them into a computer to play some games. Because I'm sure that when you got angry with me, you were just taking out the fear that you felt for your children. You weren't really upset with me for "overstepping" my bounds. You weren't really trying to tell me that you are "perfectly capable of looking after your own children." You didn't mean it when you said that the boys - those adorable little imps! - "were just being boys, and wouldn't harm anything so LEAVE THEM ALONE!" I'm sure you meant to thank me for my patience in not telling all three of your loud children to get the hell out until they were old enough to know how to properly behave. I am certain that as soon as your family left the library, you went into great detail on the proper decorum and manners that should be used in any public building. In closing, I should probably thank you for using the library. This is a rather slow time of year for us, and your children certainly livened things up a bit. That, however, might be taken as encouragement to bring them back again. So instead, I'm just going to attach a map to this letter to show you where the other library on base is. They've been dying to have someone climb their trees for a while, and I always like to share my good fortune. Sincerely, The Librarian.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

I won! I won!

Well, I won Third Prize, anyway. In the Campbell Soup Wedding Bells something-or-other sweepstakes. All that matters is that I had a prize in the mail today:

Friday, June 09, 2006

All Alone

It's my last night of solitude. Hubby's been gone for a week, doing his yearly duty in Nebraska. I miss him terribly, but I have to admit to the guilty pleasure of somewhat enjoying a week alone to watch Star Trek as much as I want with my faithful laptop at my side (or on my lap, as the case may be). At the same time, I miss him terribly, and can't wait to see him tomorrow afternoon. So for now, I enjoy my coffee and Irish Cream, watching a final episode of Star Trek with Sis' newest ms in front of me. It's been a week of geeky pleasures. But I'm ready for DH to come home.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Suggestions, Please

There are 2 little boys climbing the fake trees about 15 feet in front of my desk. The fond parent is standing beside them, flipping through magazines and chatting with a friend.
1.) How long should I let this go on before I say something?
2.) Will I be able to phrase "get your crazy kids out of our fake trees" in a polite way and do it without laughing?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Sick, Or Just Pretending?

Cold Begone! I'm tired of you hanging around and making my otherwise lovely days miserable. I'm tired of sniffling and coughing. You have worn out your welcome, so leave me in peace! When I worked in restaurants, one thing that constantly amazed me was the way that managers reacted to sick employees. Unless a worker was sick enough to need hospitalization, the best they could hope for was a manager with no sympathy. More often than not, you'd get accused of faking illness to get out of work. And if you didn't come in, none of the management would ever believe you were really sick - they had always known that you were a lazy good-for-nothing, even if you did save their butts on more occasions than you can count by answering their 10:00 AM summons on your off days - and then working double shifts. I saw this up close in my last job, where I went from being a waitress to being the Administrative Assistant (capital letters more than deserved, as I worked for 7 managers - usually all men). Whenever a server would call in, whatever managers were present would have five minutes of conversation about the fact that the employee was obviously faking. They would inevitably try to convince the employee to come to work anyway. If that failed, then the server would be told to get a doctor's note before coming back to work. Even when the servers provided the note, they often still weren't believed. Even if the doctor told them that they had strep and needed to stay away from every living soul for at least 3 days, the managers would be suspicious. Only if said employee were actually admitted to a hospital and had an IV tube inserted would they be believed. The end result? In the 5 1/2 years I was at that restaurant, I called in sick for a total of 3 days - and two of them were because of some horrible pukey-sickness that made my doctor tell me not to go near anyone. 99% of the time when I felt ill, I went to work sick and let them see how miserable I was. About 33% of the time I would be sent home. I vividly remember waiting tables with a cough so bad that I had to leave a table of four on three separate occasions - while I was trying to take their order. They did not appreciate the fact that I was working while sick. And I'd be willing to bet that most people would rather their server not be sneezing and coughing more often than not during their shift. And heaven forbid you should make a joke, smile, or in any way display anything other than complete misery while you're "supposed" to be sick. The second you do, a manager will jump out at you and declare "OH! You must be feeling better! Told you that you didn't need to go home." And that attitude is considered putting the customer first. Well, this weekend I got the cold from Hell. Luckily, the worst of it has been amazingly short-lived. Or it might be the fact that I took such a large quantity of Day-Quil (or Day-Quil knock-offs) over a four day period that I am actually still medicated, 24 hours after taking my last dose. Monday afternoon, though, I was not feeling quite this well. I work 1-10 PM on Mondays, so I got to sleep in (which is always good). But the hour-long drive to work made me realize that the drive home - at 10 PM - would seem a lot longer than usual. And then I got to work, and was reminded that sometimes supervisors don't want their employees to come in sick. My supervisor happens to be on vacation this week. But by 6 PM - my dinner break time - I had been asked by more than one person why I felt the need to come to work while I was sick. "Don't you know we get sick leave for a reason?" And then, two other supervisors said the magic words. They told me that if I'm sick, I shouldn't come to work, because A.) I won't get better any faster and B.) No one else wants to get it. I should stay home and rest. And they sent me home. I think I was actually a little shocked. I felt like a wimp. "Wait!" I wanted to yell. “I can handle a 4 table station on a Friday night when I've lost my voice and can't breathe without coughing up mucous! And you won't let me sit behind a desk for 4 hours because I have a cold??!! I'm not a wimp!" And then I realized: I'm now in the real world. Not the artificially-ego-centric world of restaurants. I can go home and still get paid. And if I don't feel good tomorrow, I can call these people and tell them I'm not coming to work because I’m still sick ---- and they'll believe me. It was a weird feeling. Still is. But I like it.

Monday, June 05, 2006

These pictures should give you a brief idea of what I've been doing with my weekend. Hubby's out of town for the week, so I planned on staying up late all weekend and watching my musicals on DVD and Star Trek-athons on G4TV (what is the deal with that interactive stuff? Do they know how annoying it is?). Well, I stayed up late all right. And I was even watching my shows. And hacking and blowing and sneezing and coughing. Ugh.