Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Being a Grown-Up is...

... not reacting when my distinguished older gentleman of a boss drops the word "tampon" in casual conversation.

(Or maybe that's just because my father would shake his head, make an "ew ew ew" face, and suggest we use "feminine hygiene product" whenever it was mentioned in his presence.)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

People, people, people

If you're in business, it might be a good idea to be comfortable with basic math skills.

(I'm just saying.)

I corrected one dude twice for two errors in my favor.  Just responded to the third error (also in my favor) with "hey, if you're happy with this price, I'm happy with it."

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

And on a complete different note

Exactly why is that, when I bury my head in my cat's fur, she smells like a Cup O' Ramen?

It's OK; we can deal

I used the watch The Apprentice.  I enjoyed it -- particularly the final challenge -- in which each person would be in charge of putting together an event, and somehow it would all go to shit and you'd have to watch them deal.  At first, I thought that maybe Trump did something in the background to make certain something would always go wrong for each event.  Once I started co-producing our Awards show, I realized that this was unnecessary.  Something will always go wrong on its own.

Here's what happened with our Awards show yesterday...

The plan:  Leave house at noon, pick up sandwich platters (for rehearsal) at Ralph's and pick up balloons at Party City.  Get to theatre by 1:00.

Here's what actually happened:  Small ticketing emergency as we needed several extra tickets for people but were already sold old.  Made calls; sent emails.  Small program emergency in that the programs would not arrive as early as I needed them unless we sent someone to pick them up.  Conveniently, someone had called earlier and asked if we needed help.  Why, yes, we do.  Left house at 12:30.  Got to Ralph's.  Waited in line at Service Deli only to discover they'd lost our food order and hadn't made the sandwiches yet.  Can I come back in 15 minutes?  I can.  Went to Party City.  Got balloons.  Spent 15 minutes cramming 15 balloons in the back of my car while two or three kept floating up to block my vision when driving.  Returned to Ralph's.  Waited some more.  Got platter.

Arrived at theatre to find several of our crew had already gotten lunch.  

3:30 rehearsal went well.

4:00 rehearsal went well.

4:30 rehearsal went well.

By now the programs had come.  Someone picked a random one off the top and discovered it was printed wrong -- two pages duplicated and we were missing two other pages.  Someone else pointed out to me that her program was right.  There followed me and our sound person frantically flipping through 300 programs to sort out the defectives -- turns out only about 10 were wrong -- but I'm glad we found that out before the show.

5:00 rehearsal was supposed to be missing 2 people.  Was actually missing 4.  Ended up fairly concerned about whether this number would actually work, seeing as only two people involved in it actually rehearsed it.  Also:  didn't get started until 5:30.

Around 6:00, it dawned on me that the we were opening the doors at 6:30, and wouldn't it be nice if I was wearing a dress?  Changed in the green room.  While in that delicate ladylike position of hiking up my hose under my dress, our host walked in on me.  Quipped, "I'll always remember you this way."

At some point, it was made clear to me that one of three volunteer ushers was at home sick.

And our second came to theatre sick -- and would help as much as she could, but bail within the first hour.

So I did usher orientation to an usher and a half.

Got presenters oriented, and handed each one a premarked program telling them what to do.  (Did I mention I was marking programs in the background to all this?)

7:30, we get everyone in the theatre and the show starts.  At this point, I am informed that one of my performers from broke a shoe -- I mean broke it -- the wedge heel is in two pieces now.  She'll do the number barefoot.  I am ok with this -- I have to be.  I'd bought a lot of emergency supplies from CVS, but had nothing in the way of "spare shoes" or "really really Super Glue."

I have a momentary "I'm glad that wasn't me," thought, which is, of course, followed by, "what a selfish thing to think, something will probably go wrong for me because I thought that."

I skip the opening number (hey, I saw it rehearse) while I run into the bathroom to do my makeup.

(If I made one mistake in the evening, it was not using a dressing room here.)

Set my eyeglasses on the teeny half-shelf above the sink.  In the process of putting on my makeup, they fell.  I caught them before they clattered -- by throwing my arm against them.  Where the stem of the glasses got caught between my arm and the shelf.  And bent back.  Badly.

I put the glasses on my face and they're sitting at a jaunty forty-five degree angle.

(Yes, I may have deserved that.)

Madly start doing emergency work on the glasses.  (Listening to laughter coming from the theatre -- good, the number is landing.)  While my glasses are apparently very easy to bend out of shape, they seem stiff as a board when I'm trying to bend them back.  I push and shove and, luckily, get the damn things in a reasonable approximation of correct, without just snapping the damn stem off.

Put them on my face and admire the result -- only a degree or two off from normal.  I drop my hand from my face and, on the way down, it brushes my necklace -- snapping a huge piece right off.

("Really?" I think.)

The big pretty dangly bit came off in my hand -- it's now a very delicate choker.

Back to the mirror.  Glasses are straight; remains of necklace work.  Broken bit of necklace thrown in my make-up bag -- I run back to my seat for the show.  It's all good.

The fact that the woman did that one number without shoes made it twice as funny.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Wow. The incompetence amazes me.

For the Awards show, I like to put together a "Backstage basket" (inspired by a bridesmaids' basket at a wedding I once attended), including all sorts of emergency items one might need.  Anything from Pepto to emergency panty hose.  My motto is "Everything but condoms."

So, I went to my local CVS to buy out their "trial size" section.  I came home with $100 worth of stuff.

Not exactly true.  I came home with $90 worth of stuff but was apparently charged $100 for it.

A close review of my receipt indicates I was:
- charged for 3 trial packs of Advil when I'd only bought two
- charged for 2 packs of Wisps when I'd only bought one
- charged $3.99 for a "Tiger Choc Mu 22" -- I have no idea what this is, but I didn't buy one.

Indeed, my receipt helpfully tells me I bought 39 items, but there are only 36 in the bag.  That's like, one overcharge for every twelve items.

On the other hand, they also gave me $5.85 in CVS savings -- the nice lady behind the counter swiped a CVS card for me even though I do not have one.  What was interesting, though, is that the card ended up in my bag.

This is not my card.  It is, in fact, the card the nice lady uses for everyone who doesn't have a card.  I know this because my receipt includes a summary of "my" Spring 2010 spending on my card, and indicates I've spent $1.00 on digital prints (when I've purchased none) $8.16 on candy (none again, except maybe the mysterious "Tiger Choc Mu") and that I've purchased a roll of bath tissue.  Which I didn't.  (Because the theatre we're using does, in fact, have its own toilet paper.)

Next time, I'm going back to Walgreens.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Take it, Doctor Freud

OK, so I'm totally freakin' stressed about our Awards show on Monday.  (Zits.  Grey hairs.  The return of my eyelid twitch.  Standard physical manifestations of stress -- and this time I seem to be in for all at once rather than just one at a time.)

So I have a dream last night -- very vivid and memorable, which is unusual -- and rather than having anything to do with what I'm stressed over, I dream about my house.

Here's how it went down.  I drove home from work, pulled into the garage.  [Reality moment: I have a curving driveway to get into the garage (which faces sideways).]  Around the curve I saw a really bright light.  This was weird, as I don't have one there.  But, in my dream, I thought, "I need to change that to one of them CF bulbs."  As I pulled in, I noticed my front door looked great.  It was black.  [Reality says:  my front door is painted light brown.  My house is off white with light brown trim.  But the design is very stark.  The simplicity is almost suggestive of an Asian style.  In my dream, the front door was a black lacquer.]  There was even one of those Asian paper screens nearby.  It was like the paint and decor were working with, rather than against, the style of the house.

Went in the house, not really asking myself why the light in the driveway and the finish on the door had changed.

Next day, the gardener, Marco, shows up.  [Weird thing about this dream is:  it was my actual house and it was my actual gardener.]  Knocks on the door, asks, "Do you like it?"

I go outside and Marco proudly shows off his work -- he and his crew had:  (1) resurfaced my driveway; (2) widened the driveway by removing a bunch of grass and putting concrete down (that's where he'd put the new bright light); (3) removed even more grass a did a little rock garden thing; (4) built up a retaining wall which they'd decorated with [and this, honestly, I don't get at all] painted tiles featuring logos from superhero movies -- including one Marco was very proud of, which is apparently going to be the hot new movie this summer [wish I could remember who it was ... it was something like Captain Bad-Ass]; (5) replaced my garage door with a garage door that had a physical door in it, so you could walk in -- there was a space between the door and the rest of the garage door through which bees were getting in the garage; when I complained to Marco about it, he turned the door around, which didn't really solve the problem; (6) changed the color of my car -- but they hadn't repainted it, they'd wrapped it in another color -- looked like a really bad kludge.  I mean, the car was pretty much wrapped in tan paper held on with tan duct tape.

Marco was really pleased with all this work -- I liked most of it but the bee-letting-in garage door and the wrap-job on my car.  He said he and his guys did it as a gift for Christmas.  I was amazed by all the labor they'd put in and was trying to figure out how much money you "tip" someone for voluntarily resurfacing your driveway.  I think I settled on $500.

I decided to take my car down to the dealer to get its original color restored.  [My car is a Ford.  In my dream, I wanted to take it to a Saturn dealer.  My previous car was a Saturn.]  Partway to the dealer, I realized that my car was a Ford so why was I taking it to a Saturn dealer?  I realized Marco had wrapped it so that it looked like my previous car.  Partway down the hill, my brakes failed.  [It's not a Toyota.]  I pumped them a bit and eventually got them functioning, but decided to pull into a nearby gas station and call a tow truck.  While I was waiting, I started peeling away the wrapping on my car -- there were several layers of it -- the tan crappy paper seemed to hide a red car finish over a blue car finish.  [My car is actually blue.]  I was looking at all the different layers trying to figure it out -- and trying to figure out at what point my car would start looking like the Ford rather than the Saturn -- when I woke up.

OK, kids.  What's it all mean?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I Knew This Time Would Come

I'm old.

I am officially old.

No... not the grey hairs.  I've accepted that.

I went dress shopping today and I saw ... shit I used to wear as a teenager.  It's back.  Fashion (in the broadest sense of the term) that was hip in the 80s is now in again.  Bustier tops with big ratty skirts and little black boots.  I swear, all it needs is a "Boy Toy" belt and it's right out of a Madonna video.  You don't believe me?  Look at what Jessica McClintock is pitching as part of its prom collection!  And dresses with leggings, people!  They're back!  We are just one scary step away from leg warmers as a fashion statement.  What I grew up with is now ... retro.  :::sob:::

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Found a worm in the laundry room.

Thought the cat might like it, so I picked her up and carried her in there.  She did, indeed, like the worm.  I put her down and she stared at it for a while, then started batting cautiously at it.  

I left my furry little predator in there.

Came back a little while later.  Cat had gone.

Could not find the worm.

Had a couple thoughts on where it might be.  (Its little wiggly corpse a gift on my pillow?  Feline ate her prey in triumph?  Worm is still alive, now crawling around my kitchen?)  None of these fills me with happy.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Why I Cheat

I am scrupulously honest in most things.  My job.  My personal life.  My taxes.  On the internet.  When I'm undercharged for a purchase... in all of these dealings I am pretty darned honest.

On the other hand, I'm very happy to cheat at wedding shower games and cruise ship trivia contests.

I woke up this morning thinking about something that happened probably 30 years ago, which may be responsible for this.

I was at someone's bar- or bat-mitzvah.  A friend or a distant relative -- I can't remember.  I'm at the kids/friends table.  There's a DJ spinning records.  Every once in a while, he would have all the kids get up and take part in some silly game, for a prize.  Usually a record or something.

He got us up to play one game where he lines up the boys on one side of the dance floor and the girls on the other.  He tells us that when he says "Coke," he wants the boys to drop to one knee and all the girls run over and sit on their opposite's knee.  When he says "7-Up," he wants the reverse to happen.  "OK?  Everyone got it?  Let's practice.  7-Up!"  And all the girls drop to one knee and the guys run over.  "Good," he says, "Let's practice the other one.  7-Up!"  And I drop to one knee and every other girl doesn't -- running over to the other side.  Ha-ha.  It's a trick.  I got it right and every other kid got it wrong.

At the end of the game, he picks up the prize (a 45 of something or other) and walks toward me.  I probably even stick my hand out to get it, because it was very clear to everyone in the room that I won this game.  He walks past me and gives the record to a little old lady who was standing next to me.  Someone's grandma had taken part in the game for a lark, and she gets the record because she's so cute and old.

I am pissed off.

I sit down at my table, still pissed off.  I deserved that prize.  Life is so not fair.

A little while later, it's time for the next contest.  We're all supposed to get up on the dance floor and rock out, or do the craziest "punk" we've ever done, or whatever the hell the silly dance craze was back in 1980.  And all the kids get up on the dance floor and gyrate around like mad, trying to catch the DJ's attention.  I don't.  I am not interested.  The whole damn thing is rigged anyway.

Someone -- probably the Bar Mitzvah boy's mom -- comes over to my table and suggests that I get up and dance.  I don't want to, but I'm young and I do what I'm told.  The damn song is nearly over anyway, but I get up, stand in a corner of the dance floor, and wave my arms in a fairly half-assed manner for about twenty seconds.

The song is over.  The DJ grabs the prize and brings it directly over to me, complimenting me on how I was really rocking out or going crazy or whatever.  I thank him and accept my 45.  ("Celebration."  Kool and the Gang.  It was actually a Top 10 hit at the time.)

I go back to the kids' table and the other kids are now mad at me.  "How'd you win that?"  "You were hardly dancing at all!"  This was, of course, true.

I processed it.  I'm not an idiot, you know.  The DJ gave me the crazy dancing prize, which I didn't deserve, because he hadn't given me the Coke/7-Up game prize, which I did.  This was, according to some bizarre set of grown-up rules, fair.  Except it wasn't fair.  Because by now, he's jerked over some other kid who should have won the crazy dancing prize (and pretty much every kid deserved that one over me) and I wondered if he was just going to have to keep giving prizes to the wrong kid all night, just to make up for giving Grandma the prize he should have given me.

For the longest time after that, I felt guilty every time I played my Kool and the Gang record, because I felt like I hadn't deserved it.  I didn't care that it was making up for some other record that I had deserved -- what mattered was that I had this record which someone else, by all rights, should have had.

I eventually came to terms with the fact that these sort of contests don't matter.  That someone's Grandma got my prize because everyone wants to see a grandma playing a game with the kids, and I got someone else's prize because they figured they owed me one, and giving the prize to the person who actually deserves it is simply not the prime consideration.

Which is why, now, I cheat.  :)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Small Protest

I will never buy a John Scalzi book.

You probably don't know why.  It's not that I don't like his writing.  Or that I'm protesting anything in particular that he did on his website.  It's just that he broke a promise to me.

A good long time ago.

Look, I've been reading Scalzi for, like, ever.  I've read him before Whatever.  I've read him before Athena.  Hell, I've read him before blogs (back when he ran a little secret area behind the AOL welcome screen).  I read Agent to the Stars back when it was "shareware" and I read Old Man's War before it was published (when he wanted beta-testers to read it).  And... that's pretty much the last John Scalzi book I've read.

Or will.
Because, see, Mr. Scalzi ran a contest on his website, years and years ago, for an autographed copy of his Rough Guide to Universe.  I won that contest.  I sent him my address.

The book never came.

About a year or so later, I wrote him, asking if he was going to send the book.

He admitted kind of sucking at the whole "sending books" thing and said I'd get the book.

No book.

Some time later, he even posted on his website -- asking people to whom he owed books to write an email with the subject line "You owe me a book."  I think he said something about giving Zoe's Tale to the folks to whom he owed books (as this was his then-upcoming release) -- although I wasn't entirely sure if that was in lieu of or in addition to.  In any event, I sent the requested "You owe me a book" email.

No Zoe's Tale.
No Rough Guide to the Universe.

No freakin' reply to my email.

I wrote once more -- again, no book, no reply.

Since Scalzi said I won his Rough Guide to the Universe, Pluto has been demoted.  I've moved twice, and changed email addresses twice.  Scalzi has become a Campbell- and Hugo-award winning author.  I should have -- on my pretty pretty bookshelf of autographed books -- a lovely autographed Rough Guide to the Universe, cheerfully attesting to the fact that I read him back when (and had the smart ass-iest entry in his contest).  I don't.  So there won't be any of his books on my shelf.  Ever.