Monday, December 31, 2012

Bad Dates- Story 1

Part of the "Why I Am Still Single" series, here is a look at some of the worst dates I have ever been on:

One outstanding memory is from my time working at Books-A-Million, back in NC. We had several  semi-creepy regulars, some of whom kept trying to get dates with the female staff. (And on one memorable occasion, one of the male staff members) Two of them were good matches for me IN THEORY as we had several interests in common. However, they had zero social skills and as superficial as it sounds, were both kind of odd looking. (Like I'm a real prize, but still they just didn't do it for me)

Anyway, one of them, who I shall call Wolfie (as he was on a werewolf kick when we met), came into the store a lot. One of my coworkers, A, warned me about him. She'd given in and gone on a date with him shortly before I started working there and said it was the longest night of her life. So I made a point of keeping our conversations brief, yet friendly, and heading him off at the pass whenever he started veering into "will you go out with me territory?"

We were doing a scanning inventory of the store, which meant going shelf by shelf, scanning barcodes, and pulling out any titles the chain wanted to discontinue. It was my turn to scan and I was on my knees working on a low shelf of art books. (and cursing a blue streak under my breath) Wolfie came in, asked a coworker where I was, and proceeded to come stand over me as I worked, yapping away. I wasn't entirely paying attention to the conversation as I WAS WORKING, so my end mostly consisted of the occasional "uh-huh" and "Sure." Until I heard him say "Great! When should I pick you up?"

WHAAAAAAA? I looked over at the service desk and 3 of my coworkers were doubled over laughing. Apparently one of my absent minded "sures" was in answer to the date question. DAMN.

Since there was no graceful way to get out of it without being an utter cow (I am sometimes a nice-ish person), I decided to bite the bullet and go ahead with it. Also, I knew I was moving to Kentucky in a few weeks weeks, so it's not like there was a chance of any further dates. I flatly refused to give him my address- I told him I'd meet him at the store- but relcutantly gave him my phone number.

When he called later, we discussed ideas and went with the classic first date combo of dinner & a movie. We both liked Chinese, so I said any restaurant but the one where I'd gotten my first (and worst) case of food poisoning would be fine. We were both Godzilla fans, and he wanted to go see that, but I told him I'd already seen it with my brother (true) and didn't like it enough to go again, so we agreed on something else.

Date night came, and I reluctantly went to BAM to meet him. I got there at 6 on the dot. Wolfie was on the payphone as I walked up to the building. He saw me, hung up in mid sentence and snapped "You're late!" Um, we'd agreed on 6. (I found out later that he'd started calling my house at 5:45 and was arguing with my dad about my whereabouts until I got there & he hung up) Not a good sign.

We went to his car, and the first issue came up. We had driven past 2 very good Chinese places and I realized we were heading toward the ONE restaurant I had said I would not eat in. I tried to tactfully make that point, and he said "But it's my favorite place and it's cheap!" Um, oooookay. Sure enough, that's where we went. I had a glass of terrible iced tea and watched him eat. No conversation, just him shoving food into his mouth like he hadn't eaten in a month. Our server came over during one of his 6 trips to the buffet and whispered "Good luck honey, he's a cheap bastard that doesn't tip."

He didn't tip either, despite the fact that he kept our server busy refilling his drink and demanding she go tell the kitchen they needed to add various dishes to the buffet. I surreptitiously left a couple of dollars on the table and he actually picked them up and pocketed them.

Issue number 2 came up in the parking lot. He said "We're going to see Godzilla!" I said no, I'd seen it and would prefer to see almost anything else. "But I had my heart set on that movie!" I suggested that he drop me off back at the bookstore and go see it himself. I mentioned that I'd rather see King Kong Vs Godzilla than the movie in theaters at the moment. He accused me of making the movie up. I told him it was a real movie, and he should look for it at the movie section of Wal-Mart the next time he was there. So he insisted on going to WallyWorld right then to see if I was right. Bought himself a copy, and then he wanted to go back to his place and watch it. "And my roommate's gone, so we'll be alone!" Oh no. Not me, not tonight.

Issue 3- Since I wouldn't go to the movie he wanted to see, and I wouldn't go back to his place, we needed to find something to do. (I was mentally pleading with him to take me back to my car) So off to the local indie record store we went. Just my luck, a former coworker was working there and was on duty when we dropped by. J grabbed my arm and hissed "What are you doing with that freak?" I hissed back that I was on the date from hell and would appreciate any assistance he could offer to get me out of it. We were in that damned store for 4 hours. Wolfie had to look at EVERYTHING. And criticize the music I was looking at. The only reason we left is becasue they were closing.

At that point, I thanked him for an interesting evening and insisted he take me back to my car. He said we should go clubbing since it was too late to go to the movies. I told him I needed to be at work early the next day, so I really needed to go home. (not a lie, actually)

He tried to follow me home- I shook him off in a residential area that was maze-like and hard to get out of unless you knew where you were going. I walked into the house and my dad informed me that if that fool ever called and argued with him again SOMEBODY was going to get their feelings hurt. I told him that I wasn't going out with the fool again and he could feel free to make things up if he was insane enough to call.

Don't you know he called 3 more times that night? 2 in the morning and he calls. (Dad had a great deal of fun with that) Then he showed up at the store when we opened to ask when we were going to go out again. Never, that's when.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

And they let these idiots have guns why??? -or- Why I Should NEVER Sign Up To Work Overtime

It snowed here last night. This produced the usual panic in the streets and the grocery store shelves were instantly denuded of bread & milk. (We got maybe 1-2 inches, so clearly NOBODY was going to be able to get out to the stores *eyeroll*) It also had the added benefit of making it a slow night for me as even the criminals freak out and stay in when it snows.

Since there's still snow on the ground (but not the streets), I was kind of hoping for another slow day at the office for the OT shift I stupidly signed up for. It probably will be slow for the rest of the night, but I just had a trio of chuckleheads come in and send my blood pressure through the roof.

Chucklehead 1 comes in with 2 cell phones that he says are evidence, and some personal property for the same suspect. No problem. Knock that out, wish him a good afternoon. He tells me that he's waiting for his partners, Chuckleheads 2 & 3. OH NO. Chucklehead 2 is the same idiot from an earlier post who tried to tell me I'd mistaken a cell phone for an MP3 player and dragged his Sgt down here to yell at me, only to get chewed out himself when it was revealed that I HAD done my job correctly and he was a moron.

2 & 3 show up. C2 proceeds to tell me how everything I just put in for C1 was wrong & I need to fix it. 1 phone should have gone in as personal property, the other should have been evidence under another suspect. C1 & 3 take one look at my now murderous expression and back away, slowly, while C2 keeps flapping his yap. I open the door, grab C1, hand him a release form and tell him to fill it out for the phone they're giving back. This is the easiest way to fix things since it's already in the system. Otherwise I'd have to request a deletion from IT (which usually takes days) and re-enter both phones on new slips.

I asked C2, who was still telling me how I should have done things, to give me the name for the person whose phones is being kept as evidence. He told me it was "hers" and started talking about something else. WHO IS SHE? is what I needed to know. "The girl that was with the guy." Give me a name & address or I'm going to just kill you now and be done with it. Finally manage to get that and then he proceeds to tell me again how the other phone should be personal property of the original suspect. We're done with that, idiot. Shut Up.

Now they've got more evidence to put in on the same suspects. Chucklehead 2 tells me that I need to put both their names on it. We have been using this stupid, inefficient computer system for 5 years. It does not allow us to put more than one name on a property record, and we have this conversation EVERY FREAKING TIME this asshat comes in. I proceed to ignore him and ask C3 which name they want put on the record. He opts for the male suspect.

Among the evidence being put in is money....which is short from what is on the log sheet.  Since I tend to be bad at numbers due to my dyslexia, I count everything twice before I tell someone there's an error. (if I get the same number twice I call myself lucky) I tell them this and they tell me to count again. I count it again and it's still off by $30. C2 tells me I have mistaken a $20 for the lone $10 bill that should be there. I point out that there is no $10 bill in the stack. C3 tells 2 to shut up and go check the car...and is ignored, so he goes and looks for himself. Sure enough, it's out there. He brings it in, everything adds up, I finish my entries, package the stuff, give them their printouts and try to send them on their merry way before I totally lose it.

Chucklehead 2 isn't finished yet. (1 has fled to the car, recognizing the signs of my impending explosion) "You didn't put both suspects on the sheet."


I called that fool everything but a child of God. Chucklehead 3 quickly grabbed the envelopes with the drugs & money, threw them in the drop and frog-marched C2 out the door...only to come back a second later and sheepishly tell me he'd thrown them both in the same drop and could I please let the bosses know so they can fix it on Monday? (They go in separate drops- my bosses deal with the money, but only the narcotics techs can get into the drug drop) Am I surprised? No.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

SNAFU Christmas

Well, we had what is becoming our traditional family christmas. Last year, on Xmas Eve, my father began having a series of horrific nosebleeds that necessitated several frantic trips to the ER. Poor Dad wound up spending Christmas with the equivalent of a super tampon shoved up his nose.

It looked like things were going to be calm this year. My psycho coworker had tried to screw me by putting in for vacation time for the entire week, with the result that our boss got mad and gave her Christmas Eve & today off, gave me Christmas off, and we both work tomorrow. Frankly it wouldn't have bothered me if she had tomorrow off too, but I'll take what I can get.

Then I got home after my shift on Christmas Eve...walked in the door with a bag of assorted junk and an armful of mail...and proceeded to trip over a cat, several shoes, and a roll of giftwrap. I wasn't smart enough to let go of the stuff I was holding and try to catch myself on anything, so I would up doing this really odd crash on my knees (bad knee first) followed my smacking my chest on the edge of the couch and my face on a book on the couch, all while twisting my back in some demented effort to stay upright. The thud as I hit the floor literally rattled the whole house, and any neighbors who didn't hear that surely must have heard my standard cry of dismay in falling situations. "SHIT!"

Both cats took off for parts unknown as I hit bottom. I've warned them repeatedly that if they kill me by tripping me, Gramma's going to send them to the pound. I stayed in my awkward position for a few minutes while I reassured myself that I wasn't dead and nothing appeared to be broken. Truthfully, I was afraid to move at first becasue my back was sending distinct "not happy" signals, but I slowly & carefully hauled myself upright. The first thing I noticed was Greymalkin peeking around the bathroom door at me. He mewed softly as if to say "Oh Thank Goodness- I thought we'd really killed you and we haven't been fed yet!"

Let me back up and explain the shoe thing- Nightshade has taken to viewing my shoelaces as a plaything. She drags every pair of lace-up shoes I own over to the front door (her favorite play spot) and does acrobatics trying to pull the laces out of all of them. It's funny as heck to watch, but a pain in the butt when I have to put them away again. And a pain in several other places when I trip over them.

I texted Mom & BFF's Laura and Drew to tell them about my latest mishap. Drew is a nurse and called immediately and told me to haul myself to the ER. I told him I was pretty sure there wasn't any major harm done except to my pride and promised I would call Mom for a ride to the ER if the pain got worse or I started feeling dizzy. Made the same promise to Laura, via text.

Did I mention that since I had been a lazy lump all weekend, I hadn't done any of the baking I was supposed to do for our Christmas dinner? I had promised a trifle for dessert for Mom & myself, and a yellow cake with chocolate icing & black walnuts for Dad. So I had cakes to bake, custard to make, and fruit to deal with. I cheated and used extra creamy Cool Whip for the trifle's whipped cream and tried the new Cool Whip Chocolate Frosting for dad's cake. The frosting is actually fairly good, but has a mild chocolate flavor instead of the rich fudge Dad prefers.

So I stayed up until 4 a.m. limping around my kitchen and working on dessert prep. Mixed up way too much cake batter and had to bake the layers in batches. The custard cooked up fairly quickly, but I stupidly put the double batch in one bowl so it took forever to cool. Then I tried to get cute with the bag of mixed frozen berries that I'd bought and cooked them with some sugar & a splash of brandy. I was aiming for a mock-jelly, but didn't quite get there.

By the time I went to bed, every part of my body was screaming in pain. I took my last painkiller and slept until 3 p.m. Christmas Day. We were originally planning to have dinner at 5, so I frantically called Mom and begged for an extension. Luckily they'd had a late lunch, so that worked out. I threw the trifle together, frosted Dad's cake, and started wrapping presents. (yeah, hadn't done that yet either) I was still stiff and sore, but was able to hobble around.

Dinner was excellent, the desserts turned out well, and we were all happy with our presents. I talked to Uncle John, who was home from the physical rehab center on a day pass, and he was in good spirits. The new computer my mom has let me get online to play games, so it was a nice evening.

Today- still hobbling. I have a nice assortment of bruises on my legs and chest. Part of my pain is the arthritits in my knee & back flaring up due to the lovely rain/sleet/snow we're experiencing right now. But I successfully avoided the ER, and hope to continue to do so!

BTW- my favorite present came courtesy of my dad. We watch MeTv together every Sunday night and they always run a commerical for a product called Strutz. The commerical features this goofy animated critter- we think it's a kangaroo- hopping about singing a weird little song before they get to the 'user testimonials.'
picture courtesy

I had jokingly told my parents I wanted some for my birthday and professed to be quite disappointed when I didn't get them. So I told Dad that he'd better get me some for Christmas, and the old stinker did it! I'm wearing them here at work today (yes, I'm blogging from work- it's dead tonight) and they are surprisingly comfortable and make walking a bit less painful.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Property Room 12 Days of Christmas

On the 1st day of Christmas, the police brought to me:

A protester chained to a tree

On the 2nd day of Christmas, the police brought to me:

2 search warrants & a protester chained to a tree

On the 3rd day of Christmas, the police brought to me:

3 crack pipes, 2 search warrants, and a protester chained to a tree

On the 4th day of Christmas, the police brought to me:

4 broken tasers, 3 crack pipes, 2 search warrants, and a protester chained to a tree.

On the 5th day of Christmas, the police brought to me:


4 broken tasers, 3 crack pipes, 2 search warrants, and a protester chained to a tree.

On the 6th day of Christmas, the police brought to me:

6 meth heads tweaking, FIVE DEFACED GUNS, 4 broken tasers, 3 search warrants, 2 crack pipes and a protester chained to a tree.

On the 7th day of Christmas, the police brought to me:
7 copper pipes, 6 meth heads tweaking, FIVE DEFACED GUNS, 4 broken tasers, 3 search warrants, 2 crack pipes and a protester chained to a tree.

On the 8th day of Christmas, the police brought to me:

8 keys of cocaine, 7 copper pipes, 6 meth heads tweaking, FIVE DEFACED GUNS, 4 broken tasers, 3 search warrants, 2 crack pipes and a protester chained to a tree.

On the 9th day of Christmas, the police brought to me:

9 giant weed plants, 8 keys of cocaine, 7 copper pipes, 6 meth heads tweaking, FIVE DEFACED GUNS, 4 broken tasers, 3 search warrants, 2 crack pipes and a protester chained to a tree.

On the 10th day of Christmas, the police brought to me:

10 grow operations, 9 giant weed plants, 8 keys of cocaine, 7 copper pipes, 6 meth heads tweaking, FIVE DEFACED GUNS, 4 broken tasers, 3 search warrants, 2 crack pipes and a protester chained to a tree

On the 11th day of Christmas, the police brought to me:

11 drug lord’s cell phones, 10 grow operations, 9 giant weed plants, 8 keys of cocaine, 7 copper pipes, 6 meth heads tweaking, FIVE DEFACED GUNS, 4 broken tasers, 3 search warrants, 2 crack pipes and a protester chained to a tree.

On the 12th day of Christmas, the police brought to me:

12 bags of pills, 11 drug lord’s cell phones, 10 grow operations, 9 giant weed plants, 8 keys of cocaine, 7 copper pipes, 6 meth heads tweaking, FIVE DEFACED GUNS, 4 broken tasers, 3 search warrants, 2 crack pipes and a protester chained to a tree.

Some liberties were taken with regards as to what we do/do not take here, but all in all, I'm pretty pleased with this. I expect they'll be singing it around the department for years to come. Heh.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Are we still here?

Oh good. I was really worried, you know. I hated to think I was going to die with bad skin and before I got to see the 7th season of Doctor Who. On the other hand, it sucks that we didn't all go up in flames because now I have to go out into the madness and buy Christmas presents. Guess that's what I get for hedging my bets....

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Casual Vacancy- J K Rowling

The Casual Vacancy

I can sum this book up in one word: Blech. Rowling succeeded at one thing- this book is nothing like her Harry Potter series. I didn't expect it to be and was quite hopeful when I heard it described as dark humor. There was plenty of darkness, but very little humor.

 The premise is that a man drops dead unexpectedly and leaves a vacancy on his town council. The surviving councillors are engaged in a war for supremacy for their group's views while trying to get a replacement. The story focuses on their internal warfare and the crumbling relationships with their children, class war, and how people cope with loss.

There wasn't a single likeable character in the book. Not even the teenagers were tolerable. I was slightly amused at them taking metaphorical potshots at the adults around them, but overall, this thing left me cold. One character is vaguely interesting- the sterotypical bad girl who has a horrible family life but is recognized by an adult as a diamond in the rough. The problem is that the adult in this case drops dead at the beginning of the book, nobody else cares enough about this girl to try to keep her going, and she winds up committing suicide at the end.

I'd like to thank J K Rowling for one thing. It's said that all fiction has a base in fact. If life in a British village is that dismal, with politics that pervasive, I am changing my future retirement plans to live in a flat in London!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Channeling my inner Garfield...

I would prefer to stay in bed until it's no longer Monday, but since my landlord and other assorted creditors expect money for various things, I HAVE to get up and go to work.

Last Monday was one of those days where I really should have stayed home. After a week of 60-70 degree temps, it had dropped to 40 overnight and was dropping even lower as the day progressed. my painfully arthritic knees & back were less than thrilled with this, and my long-suffering sinuses were even less so. I woke up early to go get a new work ID made (my last one had an ugly encounter with the gun vault door), looked into the mirror and decided to go back to bed until I looked slightly more human. Thanks to my inflamed sinuses, my eyes were puffy, swollen, and almost blackened. I looked like a domestic violence victim. Not a look you want to sport on a picture ID. It didn't get much better. By the end of the shift, officers were asking me if I needed help and/or who they needed to shoot.

Still have to finish the holiday shopping. My parents & I agreed not to spend a whole lot of money, but it's still hard to find things I think they'd like. Dad is next to impossible to shop for unless I give him nothing but lottery tickets.

I've been working on stitching Christmas ornaments too. I've been trying to stitch one penguin design for the last 2 years and I STILL can't get the damned thing to come out right, no matter how carefully I count. So I gave up on that one and decided to try a different one. Started that, ripped it out three times, and the 4th attempt is the closest I've come to getting it right. It's still slightly lopsided, but my plan is to tell the person it's for that it has Bell's Palsy like me.

Not much else going on right now...more later....

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Devil In Me Strikes Again

So, I was at Wal-Mart, in line and cranky. There were 3 cashiers, 2 U-scans, and about 75 people divided among the lines. 

1 cashier was running a 20 item or less lane. There were 3 ghetto fabulous witches in her line with a cart overflowing with groceries. The cashier politely explained that she was a limited line and these three bitches started throwing a fit."There's no sign that says that" etc, etc. (There was a sign clearly displayed that they were apparently too illiterate to read) She offered to go ahead & take them if they'd allow her to take the girl behind them (the last person in that line) first as she only had 3 items. Their response was that the bitching got louder and angrier. "We had to wait, why shouldn't she?"

Then they started accusing the poor woman of being racist. At this point, evil Mickey came out to play. I've shopped in that store for years, that cashier has waited on me countless times, and is as sweet as she can be. So I pointed at the bitchiest one and cried out, "That's why you look familiar! You used to have a bright red weave with black streaks, didn't you?" All three of them turned to stare at me, so I kept going. "My sister is a nurse at the free clinic and I was picking her up for lunch. You were there complaining about an oozing rash and a guy that beat you up because he said you gave him crabs. You're Syphilitic Sally, right?"

Everyone around us was cracking up. The bitch and her friends started sputtering that they didn't know me and I was mistaken. I kept laying it on louder and thicker. Then a guy in the next lane joined in. "Hey, you told me that rash was just a reaction to your perfume! And you weren't  worth the $20 I paid you!"

By this time, everyone within earshot was hysterical. The terrible trio stormed out in a rage, leaving their groceries. A manager was coming just then, having been alerted to the trouble brewing at our end. He looked at the 30 or so people laughing hysterically, and began laughing himself. I explained what had happened and the cashier they had been abusing shrieked, "You mean you made that all up?" and started laughing so hard that she had to sit down. 

The guy in the next line admitted that he thought what  I was doing was so funny, he couldn't resist joining in. His wife expressed her gratitude at knowing it was a joke. I apologized for costing the store a big sale, and the manager (who was also laughing at this point) said that they could afford it at this time of year. He helped the still giggling cashier void the sale and took the cart back to the grocery department for restocking. My new buddy on the next aisle and I got high fives from the people around us as we got checked out and left.

So remember-be nice to those tired cashiers, especially at this time of year. Because you never know which of your fellow shoppers might decide they've had enough of your bad behavior and embarrass the hell out of you...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Men In Black III

I *LOVED* the first Men In Black. It's one of those movies that I sporadically quote from, watch every time I catch it on TV, and even occasionally attempt to do the dance Will Smith does in the video for the theme song. (You're welcome for the mental image that probably just left you, and no, I won't come clean the drink you just snorted through your nose off your monitor)

The second movie? Eh. It had some funny moments, but just didn't live up to the first one.

Then, many moons later, they announced part 3 was being made. Part of me got giddy, part of me wanted to crawl into a hole and cry. The longer a series goes between sequels, the worse the movies seem to get. See Red Dwarf, the Star Wars series, and the Indiana Jones movies for proof of the depressing decline. (Digressing, I do have to admit I joined the rest of the theater in whooping wildly when the shadow of the hat rolled across the screen and you got to see that Indiana WAS back) I couldn't bring myself to go see it when it was finally released, just in case it really was bad.

Then, I was walking past a Redbox at the grocery store. Most of the time, getting a new release at that box is a no go. On a whim, I pulled MIB3 up and was startled to see it was in. So I rented it, went home, picked up an ornament I was cross stitching and settled in expecting the worst.

A couple of hours later, the ornament was forgotten, I was laughing and crying, and my fears were gone. This was a good movie. Not as humorous as the first, but very well done. The premise is that Agent J (Will Smith) has to go back in time to prevent the death of his partner, K. (Tommy Lee Jones) He meets the younger K (Josh Brolin) and the 2 don't see eye to eye, but wind up getting along and saving the world, just like they do in the future. Brolin is amazing as a younger K. He gets so many of Jones' quirky mannerisms down that you'd almost think it was him.

I suspected I knew what one of the plot twists was going to be, and I was partially right. Then, once I figured out the rest of the twist and it was played out onscreen, I cried like a baby. Won't tell what it was in case you haven't seen it yet, but I will say it explains a lot about a lot of things, especially the relationship between J & K. And despite the sadness of the plot twist, the movie ends with a smile (pretty much literally) and hope for the future.

Will they make a 4th movie? Probably not. I almost hope not, because they left it in a really good place with this installment.

One very minor gripe- I was totally bummed that there wasn't an extra scene thrown in at the end, during or after the credits. There also weren't any bloopers- you just KNOW there had to be some terrific ones from this bunch!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Because sometimes it's not all about you...

When I was in high school, our student council would take donations and adopt families via the Salvation Army for the holidays. Because the money was coming from students, it meant lots of loose change and I got quite adept at rolling the stuff. (a skill that still comes in handy) The SU advisor would tally up our collection and work with the SA to get as many families as we could provide a happy holiday for as possible. I always enjoyed working on that project, and my senior year was head of the fundraising committee. We raised enough for 25 families (a school record that still stands!) and it took 3 days of shopping and 3 days to make the deliveries.

I lost the habit of helping others after high school. Well, sort of lost. I would always stop and throw a few items in the canned food collection at the grocery store when I came across one, and I always dig into my pocket for donations to the Salvation Army bell ringers.

One year, working at Books-A-Million, I begged and pleaded with my coworkers to chip in and adopt a child from the Salvation Army. It took the addition of a prize of the homemade goodie of the winner's choice to get them to donate, but we collected $75 and I threw in $50 of my own and we got a teenage girl most of her wishlist. Our district manager won the raffle (I had no shame and hit up everyone for donations- got him on a random visit) and gave his prize to the bell ringer stationed at our store. (chocolate chip cookies if I remember correctly...)

After moving to Louisville, the independent bookstore where I worked collected books for various children's charities for the holidays. Well, of course I'm going to buy books for kids. EVERYONE should have books that wants them is one of my personal mottoes. And I continued to support food drives.

Then I started working for LMPD. The first year, I suggested to my coworkers that we adopt a child or do some other civic minded project. Louisville had lots of Hurricane Katrina refugees, so we contacted one of the shelters and adopted a displaced mother & son. My coworkers were all for the idea until it came time to contribute, and then it was like pulling teeth. It took pleading and a collection jar on the counter for the officers to help out, and even then my colleague J & I wound up putting in more of our own money than originally intended. But it was worth every dime and bit of stress to be able to fulfill their "needs" list and throw in quite a few "wants" as well. (Turns out that J & I were both power bargain shoppers)

After that experience, I decided not to bother with my coworkers any more. I try to adopt at least one kid a year, usually an older child because they often get overlooked. I still give to food drives, book drives, and for the last few years adopted a senior citizen from the giving tree at Wal-mart in honor of my late Gramma. Last year, instead of presents for my ingrate coworkers, I donated the money I would have spent on them to the food bank and to the First Reads program and plan to do it again this year.

This year, the department sent out an email from one of the children's home asking for help giving their kids a happy holiday. My parents & I had planned to do one anyway, so I requested one. Then, in a moment of insanity unbridled enthusiasm, I requested one for the office. I sent out a plea for donations, but expected to cover most of it myself. Much to my surprise, I got an overwhelmingly (for this place) positive response. Even better, I got actual cash from half my coworkers and the management! 

Mom went shopping with me and we had a blast. We bought tons of clothing and gift items for both of the 'angels' and still had money left. So, with the blessing of the home & my fellow donators, I bought an assortment of random clothing & gifts for the home to distribute as needed. We even had enough to throw in some gift wrapping supplies!

Reading back over this, it sounds like I'm blowing my own horn. That's not how I intended this piece to sound. I wanted to show that even in these days of excess, there are people out there who don't have it as good as most of us. Even the smallest donation can make an impact on someone's life. It's not about having the newest and flashiest gadgets, designer clothes, and biggest house. It's not about how cool you appear to be, because if you can't take a few minutes or spare a few dollars to help someone else, you're not that cool. We just helped make a 13 year old girl and a 12 year old boy feel like they're important enough for someone to care about them. They don't know who my coworkers, parents, & I are. They don't need to, because it's not about us. It's about THEM.

And you know what? That makes ME feel pretty darn good...

Friday, December 7, 2012

Where Do They Come From & Why Do They ALL Find Me?

Just had the world's dumbest woman come into the office. She called 4 times from the parking lot, trying to find out how to get into the building. Then she stood there at the door and called 3 more times. I couldn't answer the phone because I was tied up on another idiot call, so she called dispatch. They called to tell me that she was outside and I needed to go let her in. I told them to tell her to put her hand on the door handle and fucking well pull it and if she was too stupid to open a door she didn't need her frigging laptop back. Then she calls FROM THE LOBBY and says she doesn't know where to go. I told her to look for the door DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF HER WITH THE BIG RED SIGN THAT SAYS "PUBLIC ENTRANCE"

Seriously, how do some of these people manage to make it from day to day?!?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

5 Books Due In 2013 That I Am DYING To Read...

Here I Go Again: A NovelJen writes fiction as well as she writes humor!

Tao of martha cover WANT. Seriously. THIS should be EPIC.

The Cats of Tanglewood ForestWritten by my favorite Fantasy author, illustrated by one of my favorite artists- WIN

Peach Pies and Alibis (A Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery)Culinary mystery with a paranormal splash...

Is It Just Me?This one is actually out now in the UK, but probably won't be released in the US until next year.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Today's cat lesson- Not EVERYTHING that falls on the floor needs to be eaten

So, when I went to the grocery store the other day, I bought a ginormous pork roast that was on sale. Seriously, this sucker weighed over 7 lbs BEFORE cooking. And as much as I dig the pig, the prospect of eating all that was a little daunting. Since it was marked down, it needed to be cooked quickly or I would have saved it to take to my parents for Sunday dinner.

Anyway, last night I studded that bad boy with almost an entire head of garlic. Then I got out my herbs & spices. I threw a merry, mad concotion (italian seasoning, Trader Joe's 21 seasoning salute, fines herbes, & 5 spice powder- sounds weird, but it worked) together and decided it needed a liberal dose of fresh ground pepper. My mill was almost empty so I had to stop, kick a cat out from underfoot (Malkin), root around for my peppercorns, kick the cat out of the way again, and then try to fill the grinder.

I rarely allow the cats to have people food. Most of the time they get bits and pieces of meat that fall to the floor when I've gotten overly-enthusiastic stirring something or chopping, or that have fallen out of an over-stuffed sandwich. The unofficial rule is, if it hits the floor and they get to it before I do, they can have it. They usually beat me to things on the floor.

You know where this is going, right? I spilled some of the peppercorns while filling the grinder, and they went bouncing all over the kitchen floor. Malkin was quickly joined by Nightshade and they proceeded to go on a seek and destroy mission for those little beads...and quickly discovered that NEITHER of them like the taste of fresh peppercorns. Now I have two spitting, sneezing cats stumbling around my feet and wailing to the heavens that "You Fed Us Something Nasty and WHY Did You Do THAT?!?"

Got the brats calmed down, liberally rubbed my roast with the spices and some olive oil, and popped it into the oven. It didn't take long for the aroma of roasting herbs & meat to fill the house. I looked around after about an hour and realized both cats were perched in front of the oven, waiting to get at the source of that good smell.

Nightshade, bless her furry little heart, really is her mama's girl. I can't eat anything pork based without her doing her damndest to get some of it. She likes it all, if she can get it, but especially bacon. I literally have to stand in the middle of a room to eat it in peace, and even then she tries to climb me like a tree to get some. Sitting, I can expect a furry little paw to dart from over my shoulder, trying to hook a bite of my food. They've taken to tag-teaming me- one cat will launch a frontal assault and when I hold the plate away from them- say off to the side or behind me- the other will attack.

When I took the roast out a few hours later, both furkids were dancing happily around my feet. Oh was it a beauty! Crispy crackly skin, an aroma of meaty goodness mixed with garlic and herbs...couldn't wait. I hacked off some bits of the crackling and a bit of meat from the end & proceeded to burn the hell out of my tongue. Then I cut a little more off and tried to dice it. I should have let it sit for a bit longer before I cut it (there's a reason that you're supposed to let roasts rest for 5-10 minutes before carving), and sure enough wound up dropping a few bits on the floor.

Did my idiot cats learn their lesson from the peppercorns? Did they, hell. They dove right onto the meat, which was still too hot and burned THEIR little tongues. More wailing ensued.

We did all finally get to eat some cooled roasted pork. It tasted as good as it smelled. Can't wait to go home tonight and have a roasted pork sandwich on rye...or some chopped pork in gravy w/rice...or scalloped potatoes and pork....mmmmmmmmm

Monday, December 3, 2012

Goverment Stupidity in Action

The former mayor of our fair city couldn't resist a bargain. So when the sewer company offered to sell the city a condemned building for the princely sum of $1, he leapt at the chance. Then, (and this is the good part) SOMEBODY decided that this condemned biohazardous building was the PERFECT place to stick the PD evidence room.

So we've been here for 6 years now. We've all developed health problems, the cockroaches in the basement  constantly challenge us to turf wars (we've ceded them territory, but they want more), and the buliding is all but falling down around our ears, but HEY! We got it for a dollar!

We have begged for a truly functional HVAC system. The current system is all the heat we want in the summer and all the cold we can take in the winter. If they do get the a/c running, it only works at arctic blast levels. If they get the heat running, we work in the KY equivalent of the Sahara desert. It is not uncommon to see us sporting swimsuits and parkas in the same week as we try to cope with the temperature. (sometimes in the same day)

Our parking lot is a wasteland of lumps, bumps, and things that make our tires go flat. Because police officers have no idea how to park intelligently, we have BEGGED for someone to come paint lines on the lot and create actual spaces. Hell, I offered to go do it myself if they'd provide the paint. No dice.

We have broken windows that Facilities tell us they can't fix due to asbestos. If they did what was needed- i.e. rip everything out and install new windows with security grates- they'd have to spend a fortune removing asbestos and we couldn't be in the building for a few weeks. So obviously that can't happen. We now have plastic sheeting duct taped over the windows on one side of the office. Tacky, but effective.

What have we gotten? A federal grant to create a 'green roof' on the top of this broken down dump. They spent something like $1.5 million to resurface the roof (causing the removal of our exterior surveillance cameras which have STILL not been replaced, loss of half the parking lot to the work crews, exposure to all kinds of noise and chemicals, and- GASP-  the loss of the cable tv signal for several days. long term readers know which of these was the biggest issue for my coworkers) and put in a lovely little garden. This is supposed to help keep the building cool, and do some other crap that I can't recall at the moment. Oh, and provde a haven for employees to take a break. Which would be great if the only way to get to it was anything other than 4 flights of stairs that lead to another, uber-steep narrow flight of stairs. NOBODY goes up there.

After the rooftop debacle, they got another Federal grant...for a rain garden. Another million or so went to digging up 1/4 of our parking lot and installing this garden with succulent plants and a bench for employees to sit on. It's supposed to collect water from the roof of the unusable garage next to the main building, thus alleviating the amount running through our dying sewer system and keeping the plants pretty. So if summer 2013 is anything like this year's, we'll have our own little Gobi desert out front. And what employee wouldn't want to go sit on a stone bench in full sunlight surrounded by the aroma of homeless guy urine (did I mention that it has become a public potty?) and car exhaust?

Last, (so far) but not least, we have been blessed with the addition of new solar lights in the parking lot. In the section that was already fairly well lit. Not in the far corners of the lot where we can't tell if that shadow is a transformer or a nutjob waiting to run up and kill us. And then they disconnected the old lights, so all we have are the 2 barely glowing solar lights that might illuminate the 3 cars parked directly under them.

THIS is what my tax dollars are going toward?