Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Hiatus

As you've probably guessed, I've taken a hiatus from the blogging world. I am now officially a law student. It's only my third week of class, and I'm busier than I've ever been. But I have to say that I'm loving every minute of it. I knew from the first day in class that this is where I need to be.

Maybe I'll post during the winter break, or when I have some funny or interesting things to report ... like the guy in the first week in class who thought he was being funny. The professor asked him if he worked; a legitimate question since we are part-time evening students. The guy said, "Nope ... unless you consider partying a job, heh, heh, heh." Yeah, stuff like that makes me wonder whether it really was an accomplishment getting into law school if this guy got in.

I've already missed reading your posts (those of you who haven't given up on checking in on my poor little blog). Hopefully one day soon I can check in and see how everyone is doing. Until then, keep writing great stuff!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Little Boogie-ism #513

Boogie: Mommy, do you know what God's last name is?
Me: No, what?
Boogie: In Heaven. You know, God In Heaven?

Makes sense to me!

The Tipping Point

I need a littlel tipping advice. Typically, when I'm out at a restaurant, I tip 20%. Not only because I think it's a good tip, but because it's easy to figure out. I know some people just double the tax, but that's only 15-16%, which I don't think is enough. Sometimes, if we're out with the kids, I'll tip a bit more, just to compensate for the hassle of the whining of impatient children and crumbs on the floor.

The dilemma I have is about tipping for takeout. I'm just not quite up to speed on it. I figure, I'm paying for the food that's prepared. All the hostess has done is take the bag that someone brought out from the kitchen, and put it in my hands. Does that deserve a tip? Doesn't the cost of the meal (which is way more than the actual cost of the food) cover the labor of both the cook and the hostess? And what about the host who goes back and gets the food for me? Does that deserve a tip? And if so, how much? 20%? Definitely not. 10%? Still too much I think. But then if it goes any lower, than what's the point of tipping?

The reason I write this is because the other night we got carryout from Macaroni Grill. I used a gift card as payment. The guy gave me the receipt, along with his copy, as if I'd given a credit card. I started to sign it, and then said, "Oh wait, I don't need to sign this do I? It was a gift card." He looked at me with this patronizing glare and said, "No, but I'll need my copy of the receipt back then." It was after I walked out that I realized he was mad about the tip.

Em and I have had this conversation before. Her sister, who was a hostess at one time, says yes, you should tip the hostess. Others I've talked to say no.

So which is it, gentle readers? What's the appropriate thing to do? I don't want to be blacklisted from all of our favorite take-out places.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Why I love my husband #241

He kills bugs for me. And not just any bugs. Weird giant beetles never-before seen in this country. Like the one that flew into my car on the way home from picking up pizza tonight for our Thursday-night takeout.

I had just slowed down for the red light when I heard this buzzing sound, followed by a swish, and saw this giant bug, flailing upside down on the dashboard in front of me. My heart started racing as I tried to figure out what it was in the rapidly fading dusk light.

It was furry like a moth, but the underside of the body looked like a large bee. Or maybe a really fat cockroach. I watched in horror as it struggled to turn itself upright. I was so afraid that once I started driving, it would finally free itself and go flying into my hair (one of my biggest fears). "God, please let me get home safely," I prayed.

The light turned green just as this freak-of-nature bug turned over and started to fly. Luckily, he flew toward the passenger side of the dashboard and made itself comfortable near the defroster vents. I kept my eye on it as I turned into my neighborhood and drove into my garage.

I went inside to ask my husband to rid my car of its demonic possession. Grabbing a flashlight, a piece of old wooden molding and some windex, he went to work. After a bit of hissing/buzzing from the bug (seriously, my husband says it's their defense mechanism, something he probably learned on all of those National Geographic and Discovery channel shows he watches), my husband scraped it closer to the driver's side with the molding, then went trigger-happy with the windex. After a long struggle, the beast was finally dead.

You know how most bugs don't look as scary once they're dead? Not this one. He was still just as big, just as furry. But we figured out that it was some sort of beetle. My husband gave it a proper burial in the garbage cans outside.

What is it with me and bugs? Seriously, I'm a bug magnet. I once felt a swish by my hair while I was shopping in a drugstore. An hour later, while lounging in my dad's recliner at home, I felt a tingling in my hair and out walked a wasp from my hair.

Several times, I've had a bee fly into my window while I was driving, causing me to silently freak out as I pulled over and jumped out flailing my arms to rid myself of the bee. Once I heard a loud buzzing in the backseat of my car and looked over to see the largest hornet I've ever seen. It was at least two inches long. No one believed me until my husband and I watched some Killer Hornets show on the National Geographic channel and I saw the thing from my car. That time, I was able to ever-so-slowly roll down my window so that it could fly out.

I was once at a bar and felt something hit my chest. I thought someone from another table had thrown something at me. I looked down and saw a June bug crawling on my shirt. Bleh.

But the worst by far had to be one night when I was going out with a friend of mine. I had my window half-way down while I was driving. At the light, my friend looked over and said, "You should roll up your window." "Why," I asked. "Because there's a bug on the window." I looked over and saw nothing. "Are you sure? I don't see anything." "It must have crawled away," she said. So we drove on for a few minutes toward a gas station. Just as we reached the gas station, I used my fingers to brush my hair back behind my ear, and felt something that didn't belong on my head. I instinctively brushed my hand down and felt something fall into the front of my shirt. I jerked the car into the gas station, and car still running, jumped out, pulling on my shirt, while stamping my feet (don't ask me why), trying to get whatever it was out of my shirt. I saw nothing, but when I looked into the car, I saw a gigantic roach crawling on the seat (I lived in Florida at the time, and if you've ever been there, you'll know that they have the biggest roaches ever there ... they're called Palmetto bugs ... and they fly). My friend, calmly as you please, flicked it out of the car and it flew away. A couple of really cute guys were getting gas, and one of them asked, "Are you OK?" I looked over and said, "Yeah, I just had a roach in my hair." Note to self, not a good pick-up line.

So there you have it. My life as a bug magnet. If you ever need a bug repellent, just invite me over. They'll leave you alone for sure.

Crossing with the light

There's a new person in my life who is the bane of my existence. I don't know her name. I've never even officially met her. But I've seen her every morning for the past month, and she's driving me crazy.

She's the new friendly neighborhood crossing guard. She's located at the corner where I turn right every morning to drive the not-even-a-quarter-of-a-block to Boogie's preschool.

I know this woman fills an important role, holding up her hand-held stop sign to allow the little kids to cross the street on their way to school. Notice I said little kids. That's what crossing guards should be for. I'll even give her a little leeway when it comes to the young high school kids. Usually they jaywalk across the street, so if they're actually using the crosswalk, they deserve a little safe passage. I have no problem waiting until kids completely cross the street.

But that's where it ends. Crossing guards do not need to help adults cross the street. Yes, I said adults. This old woman, who is spending her last years on earth wearing a neon green plastic vest, will hold up that damned sign whenever an adult crosses the street.

This is a four-lane street that has a median that divides the two sides of the street. If an adult is crossing at the far side of the street, I still have time to make a right turn before they ever reach the median. But, this woman still feels the need to hold up the sign, and her hand, and stare you down, daring you to make that right turn.

Today, though, she sent me over the edge. She was on the far side of the street. No one was around. She decided that all of a sudden she had to be on my side of the street. So when the light turned green, she started walking back across, holding up the dreaded stop sign. Are crossing guards allowed to help themselves across the street? It sounds like a conflict of interest to me.

And did I mention she was old? It took her the entire time of the green light to cross the street. I sat there helpless, staring longingly at my daughter's preschool, knowing I wouldn't be able to make the light before the traffic started moving again on the intersecting street. Traffic, I might add, that has the luxury of a REALLY long light.

So I waited, praying a child wouldn't come up by the next green light so that I could finally make that turn. Luckily I was able to continue my journey on the next light. Is it wrong to hate a little old lady in a lime green vest?

Friday, June 02, 2006

I want to be a dad

Last night, my husband had his annual Open House at his school, so I had to take Boogie to her "Dad's Night" at her preschool. I went with her and her grandpa and it was great.

It started with us sitting outside while all of the kids in the school got together on the bleachers in front of us. Along with the music director and his acoustic guitar, they sang 4 songs that they've been learning this month. The pastor said a few inspirational words, and then it was on to the activities.

For food, they had pizza and chips, watermelon and cookies, cheetos and oreos, all the scrumptious things you love to eat. At different stations on the playground they had various events. You could eat dirt and worms (chocolate pudding with crushed oreos and gummy worms). You could get your face painted. You could stand on stumps and hit each other with those noodle things that you use in the pool to knock each other off the stump. You could use your whole body to wave these gigantor bubble makers to make the hugest bubbles ever. You could gather a pile of wood and molding, using glue and nails (along with saws and hammers, which I wasn't quite sure was age appropriate for the kids), to make a bird house or an airplane or whatever else some of the talented dads could make. You could get shaving cream and fake razor and shave your dad. Or you could get some paint and make your own pet rock.

We had so much fun. Boogie's grandpa made her a birdhouse. She got her face painted and ate some dirt and worms. Little Dak was happy because he had food (I had to get him a plate after he stole some chips off some little girl's plate). A great night.

Then I thought, "What the hell?" I had attended the mom's night last month (excuse me, it was called Mother's Tea ... which should give you an idea of how different it was than the dad's version.)

Ours started with us sitting in the chapel. Each class in the school (the 2 1/2-3 year olds, the 3-year-olds, two classes of 4-year-olds, the 5-year-olds who aren't ready to go to kindergarten, and then the big kids who come to the school before and after their regular school until their parents get out of work) came out to sing three songs. While it's nice when your child is out there singing, it's pretty long to sit through five other classes of kids you don't know singing their songs until they all come out at the end to sing a couple more songs as a group. Just singing four songs total, as in the dad's version, was definitely better.

We also listened to a motivational speaker talk about how important our role as mothers is. But she came across more as, "look what a great mom I am with my great kids" than telling us we were doing a good job.

So an hour later, it was on to the activities. Oh wait, there were no activities. Just iced tea, punch and little cookies. No pizza. No watermelon. No giant bubbles.

Why do they think that mom's aren't interested in that stuff? Why is it that when a group of men and women get together, the women congregate in the kitchen and talk about shopping, while the men sit outside by the firepit drinking beer? I'd much rather be outside. Sometimes, i think it would be better to be a dad.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Does anybody listen anymore?

Today at work, I had to purchase a gift card for one of our clients. I had looked at the American Express Traveler's Cheque card, but the minimum denomination was $300. I decided to check out the Visa TravelMoney card, but after searching the entire Visa web site, I couldn't find anything on a minimum order. I decided to call their customer service center for help.

VISA Rep #1: Hello, this is Visa, can I have your card number?

ME: I don’t have a card number. I’m looking for information about your Visa TravelMoney card.

VISA Rep #1:You don’t have a card number?

ME:No, I am just looking for information about your Visa TravelMoney card.

VISA Rep #1:Are you traveling right now?

ME:Pardon?

VISA Rep #1:Are you traveling right now?

ME:No, I wanted to purchase the card for someone who is attending an event, so they don’t have to use traveler’s checks.

VISA Rep #1:So you want to purchase a card?

ME:Yes, but I wanted to find out if there is a minimum denomination to purchase the card.

VISA Rep #1:Oh. Do you have the card number?

MEUmm, no, I don’t have the card yet.

VISA Rep #1:Oh, well let me transfer you to our special services department.

When he transfers me, I'm connected to a recording that asks me to press numbers for security issues. When I don't press any numbers, it puts me through to the hold music, which is interrupted by a voice asking me to please have my report number handy for the next representative.)

VISA Rep #2:Hello, can I have your report number?

ME:I think I may have the wrong area. I was just transferred here by the main Visa customer service area. I’m looking for information on your TravelMoney card.

VISA Rep #2:Oh, what is your card number?

ME:I don’t have the card yet, I’m looking to purchase it.

VISA Rep #2:Oh, what phone number did they give you to call here?

ME:They didn’t give me a number. They just transferred me here.

VISA Rep #2:Oh, let me find someone who can help you.

I was then placed on hold for 10 minutes before the guy came back to apologize for the wait before he put me back on hold for another five.

VISA Rep #3:Hello, how can I help you?

ME:Yes, I had a question on your TravelMoney card.

VISA Rep #3:Yes?

ME:I just needed to know if you had a minimum amount that you need to purchase the card.

VISA Rep #3:That is a good question.

ME: (Thinking in my head ... that IS a good question).

(He proceeds to read directly from a brochure about the Travel Money card, and all of its features and benefits.)

VISA Rep #3:It doesn’t say anything about the minimum amount. Let me go to our Internet web site.

ME: Never mind, I was already on there. I'll just go to one of the locations that sell the card and ask. I was just hoping to save some time by calling.

VISA Rep #3: Well, if there is anything else we can help you with, we're here 24 hours for you.

ME: (Thinking to myself ... yeah, because you guys have been such a big help already.)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Scenes from a car

Here are just a few of the things I've witnessed while driving in my car this past week ... I think I spend too much time driving.

1) On Saturday, I drove to the party store to pick up balloons for Boogie's 4th birthday party (we had a great party. I can't believe she's 4 already ... although at times, I can't believe she's ONLY four.) Once I got off the ramp of the freeway, I had to make my way across four lanes of traffic so I could make a left turn at the second light after the ramp. Not a lot of time to make this maneuver, let me tell you. I got stuck at the first light and was in the third lane over. When we started going, I turned on my turn signal to let the drivers behind me know that I was merging over. The first car was a little close so I let him go. I knew that the driver of the truck behind him clearly saw my signal. And since we were only going about 10 miles an hour after the light had turned green, I knew I wouldn't be cutting him off. But nevertheless, I saw him start to speed up, so as not to let me in. But since I still had a bit of room, I made my way over. As I turned into the left-turn lane, he passed me, gunning his engine, and flipping me off out the window. Seriously? Are you so angry that you have thick fingers the size of sausages (the kielbasa kind, not the little Farmer John kind) that you have to flip off an innocent lady? Sad ... very sad.

2) I had just dropped off Boogie at preschool and was in the left turn lane (what is it with me and left turn lanes?). The cars in front of me made the light, with the last one clearly running a yellow, no wait, make that red light. From out of nowhere a cop with flashing lights passed me on the right to turn left to go after the guy (although, he could have just turned them on to make the light ... who knows?) Standing on the corner was a group of people: the crossing, guard, a few kids, and a mom who was walking her kids to school. "HAAAAHAAAAHAAAA," I hear out my window and see the mom, dressed in her baggy black T-Shirt and surprisingly baggy workout shorts on such a big woman, laughing much louder than is necessary at 7:30 in the morning. She's pointing in the direction of the guy who ran the red light. "IT'S ABOUT TIME. THERE'S NEVER A COP WHEN YOU NEED ONE, BUT NOT TODAY!" she shouted. While I may have thought the same thing, I didn't feel the need to shout it from the rooftops. But it didn't end there. She started laughing some more, nudging the crossing guard with her elbow and pointing in the guy's direction. The crossing guard politely nodded as if to say, "yes, I know, I saw, now let's get going." As they crossed the street in front of me, one of the mom's children looked back in that direction and started laughing again. The mom reached the other sidewalk and swung around so that her long, stringy, bleached-blond with dark roots hair sailed around behind her. And she proceeded to point and laugh again in an exaggerated way. It must be sad to think that a little incident like that is such an amusement to her. Kind of like the woman I used to work with who laughed at everything. Not even remotely funny things. EVERYTHING! Whenever she said anything she'd laugh. Not a nervous laugh, but a long, deep-throated gaffaw everytime. But I digress.

3) I was driving to lunch yesterday and was at a light (NOT in the turn lane) next to a large Yukon. I wasn't exactly parallel with the car so I couldn't see the driver's face, but I could see her hands. More specifically the gloves on her hands. While it would be weird to be wearing gloves in May in California anyway (sorry, Em), these weren't typical winter gloves. Nor were they leather driving gloves. They were the rubber gloves used in doctor's offices. In an eggshell blue. Maybe she's a hand model and has to keep her hands protected ... but wouldn't the powder inside those gloves be rather drying? Maybe she's a germaphobe. But it was her car ... wouldn't she have scoured that car inside and out? My husband often plays basketball with a guy who wears rubber gloves when he plays so he has a better grip on the ball. But do you really need that kind of grip driving a car? What kind of daredevil stunts are you doing?

Anyway, as you can see, I've had a pretty eventful week of people watching. I'm sure I'll have other random observations soon.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

So I guess I'm going to law school!

As many of my small readership know, I took the LSAT last December. It came from a discussion that my husband and I had had a few months before. He asked me if I could do any job, what would it be. My first thought was ... a lawyer.

So I decided to take the LSAT to at least see if I'd do well enough to apply and get accepted to a law school. I scored in the top 35% (not great, but good enough to apply to the law school near my home). I knew I'd never move away from home to take on this endeavor, so I only applied to this one school.

While I waited to find out if I was accepted, I pondered whether this was something that I should do. I'm already insanely busy with a full-time job and two small children at home. How could I take classes three nights a week for the next four years? I also knew it was an expensive plan, with the yearly tuition at around $18,000. I had applied for financial aid, so I just kept telling myself that when I found out how much aid I'd get, then I'd make my decision on whether to actually move forward.

So last week, I got my acceptance letter. It was nice to know I was accepted, even if it isn't Harvard. But then I read the second letter. They've given me a scholarship. And not just any scholarship. I got the dean's scholarship award, the most prestigious scholarship that the school gives out. The scholarship that will pay for my first year's tuition in full! The one that will be given to me again for the second year if I can score in the top 20% of my class after the first year! How awesome is that?

So it made my decision a bit easier. How can I pass up a free year (well, I will have to pay for books, but comparatively speaking, it's free). Yes, it will be hard. But I'm up for the challenge. I feel so rejuvenated, so excited for the coming year. I think after spending the past couple of years not being challenged mentally, I'm ready to move forward full force. Yes, my new job is great, and I'm learning a lot about design and layout that I never knew before. But I feel like I want a bit more.

So starting in August, I'll be sitting in a classroom with a bunch of young people who could be my kids (If I had them at 15). At least now I won't have to worry about trying to get the seat next to the cute boy, or figuring out where to go for nickel beer nights (yes, I AM that old!).