Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tying Up Some Loose Ends

Yesterday, I headed to the FedEx store to return some property owned by my former company. They had given me a VoIP phone and a laptop to work from home that last month.

I guess they weren't very worried about me sending the stuff back. I mean, they didn't hold my final paycheck hostage or anything until they got their stuff back. Which either means that they trusted me, or that the stuff wasn't worth much. I'm voting for the latter.

I had printed out the email that had the mailing address for the stuff, and their FedEx account number to use.

The phone had come new, in a box, bearing the brand name of said phone. That box came in a FedEx box. I already had the laptop from the office. So yesterday, I shoved all the parts of the phone back into the box in which it came. Then I took the FedEx box, and shoved the laptop and its peripherals in there. I walked into FedEx/Kinko's with my two boxes, and told the girl behind the counter, Melaney, that I wanted to ship them.

Can I say something quick here about Melaney? Why do parents do this to their kids? The girl looked to be about 18 years old, and I'll bet she has spent the better part of that 18 years saying,

"No...it's M-e-l-a-n-E-Y," then sighing deeply and silently cursing her mother. I know people think that these creative spellings are really cute and all, but what they really are is a huge pain in the butt to the person that has to spell their name out to everyone seven times a day. If I had a nickel for every time I've had to tell someone "No, it's E-Y" about my own name, I would never have to work another day in my life.

Anyway, Melaney was wearing a name tag that said "Crew member since 2009." I'm assuming she is a recent hire, since we're still near the beginning of 2009. Aren't you impressed by my deductive reasoning skills?

I dump the boxes on the counter and tell Melaney I want to ship them. She says,

"You'll need a box for that," pointing to the box that the phone was in.

"Don't you have those here?" I inquired.

"Yes, they're right over there," she said, pointing behind me.

I pointed at a sign over her head that said "Professional Packing Services Available."

"Don't you have packing services?"

She looked at me, wide-eyed.

"You want me to pack it?"

I smiled at her.

"Yes, I would like you to pack it."

"Um...that's gonna cost like $15 to have me do it."

I smiled again.

"That's fine. In fact...make it cost as much as possible. Do you have some packing materials that are more expensive than others? Use the really good stuff. In fact, if you can wrap it in gold leaf, go ahead and do that."

She gave me a strange look as she took my boxes, and I set about filling out the shipping form.

Name, address, city, state, zip, phone of sender. Name, company name, address, city, state, zip, phone of recipient. Shipping options. Hmmm.

"Hey Melaney...what's the most expensive shipping option?"

"Um...that'd be overnight air."

Overnight air. Check.

"Ok, so I'm using this company's account number for this. Where do I put that?"

She pointed to the spot on the form where I carefully filled in the company's FedEx account number.

"It's going to take me about 20 minutes to pack this. Are you going to watch while I do it, or do you just need the receipt?"

"Oh, just give me the receipt, that's fine. Thanks."

I took my receipt, and with it, made the last break with my job.

Yes, I know it's petty and juvenile. But it made me feel a little better.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Inappropriate Card Day - February 26th!

So, Diesel at Mattress Police is trying to get everyone to celebrate his made-up holiday, Inappropriate Card Day again this year. I'll admit, it's a lot more fun than other made-up holidays, like Valentine's Day.

But this year, he really wants to spread the word. So all his readers are supposed to whore themselves out by putting the above counter on their blogs. You can copy the html from his website and add it to yours.

There's just one problem though: In the instructions (Lord, I hope I used that colon right) it says to paste the html into your blog template. Ok Diesel, we don't all work for Google and we're not all way smart computer programmers. So I really have no effing clue where in my template I would paste the code. I tried a couple of different places, like right after the body tag for one, but it didn't show up. I took one semester of web design once, but clearly, I didn't learn much.

Since I am hopelessly unable to put the code in my actual template, Diesel is going to have to settle for a post to all three of my readers, advertising his holiday. Basically, the premise is that on Feb. 26th, you send an inappropriate card to anyone. Not like, sexy innuendo inappropriate, but something like Happy Bridal Shower to your father-in-law, or Congratulations, Graduate! to your brother. Unless your brother just actually graduated from something, in which case that card would be appropriate, and therefore inappropriate. I think.

Christ on a cracker, Diesel...I am done whoring myself for your cause. It's a lot of work.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Unemployment "Benefits" and Knitted Stuff

On Thursday I had lunch with my former co-worker, current friend and fellow blogger, Bonnie. We traded barbs about our former company and talked about the woes and hassles of filing for unemployment. Good God, people...the hoops you have to jump through. File online, so they can send you a form to fill out with the exact same questions that you filled out in the online form. Fax that form back to a fax number that is always busy. You have to do with within FIVE business days, or your claim may be denied or delayed!

They also send you a lovely pamphlet titled something like "Welcome To Your Unemployment." There's another form to sign stating that you have read the entire pamphlet, you have had an opportunity to have any questions answered, and that you understand it all completely. For some reason, this particular form must be mailed back, not faxed. Within the same five business days. Or, you know, your claim may be denied or delayed.

Plus, Arizona's unemployment compensation is pathetic. Out of 50 states, I think we're number 54 in terms of good unemployment benefits. Because even though they're not states, I think Puerto Rico, Guam, and probably Guantanamo Bay have better benefits. In Arizona, the maximum benefit you can receive is $240 a week. That's like...um...$960 a month. You could have been making $150,000 a year, and that's still all you get. Although under the recently-signed federal stimulus package, that may go up...to $265 a week. Hot damn.

Anyway, the main reason I mentioned having lunch with Bonnie is this. When she first found out we were moving to Colorado, she decided to knit a hat, scarf and booties for all five of us. She knitted, with her own hands...for all five of us. That just blows my mind, because it sounds like a helluvalotta work. So Bonnie, thank you so much. Shannon absolutely LOVED her bright purple booties. And as I told her, the kids and I are driving to CO in about three weeks for spring break to visit Steve. As the weather in Denver is highly unpredictable, those hats and scarves may get used very soon. The booties are being used already!

Of course, Kylie is the only one I could get to actually pose for a picture with her new hat and scarf:

Bonnie, she loves that hat. She wore it to school on Friday. With capris and a t-shirt. I wish I had a picture of that.

Speaking of driving to Denver in a couple of weeks, Steve is home this weekend, and as I am still in bed typing this, he is over at Discount Tire equiping my van with four brand-new, all-weather tires. Isn't that sweet? $550.00. GAH. Sorry kids, there will be no eating this week. Actually, that's more than I spend on groceries in a whole month. Ouch.

Edited: Steve just got back with my four brand new Goodyear all-weather awesome tires. It seems that my monster van is big enough *cough* to qualify for SUV tires, and they happened to have a $100 rebate on four Goodyear tires that size. Total cost with balancing, tax, road hazard, etc...$496!! We're still not eating this week, but hey, he saved $50 AND got the good tires. Yay!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


What kind of champagne are you supposed to use with Mimosas? This would probably be a question for Sue. I got some Cook's (I know, but it was on sale, ok?) white zinfandel champagne and orange juice, and it doesn't taste quite right. Maybe the bubbly isn't cold enough, I'm not sure. But I've had Mimosas in a restaurant before, and I know they tasted better. Perhaps it's my champagne to orange juice ratio, which I'm thinking is a little champagne-heavy.

What do you mean, 9am is too early to be drinking? Bah.

So Friday was my last day of work, and I am now officially unemployed. I applied for my unemployment benefits online yesterday, but since I'm getting a severance and some holiday pay, they have to mail me a questionnaire to fill out, which I have to fax back, blah blah blah. I'm really hoping to be receiving benefits by the time my severance runs out.

You know what's weird? I still have the phone and laptop that they gave me to work from home for the last four weeks. I guess I will be receiving instructions soon as to what I am supposed to do with them. I signed onto the laptop this morning to clear out my personal mailbox and any personal files I had on there. The thing is though, it's now asking for a password to access the customer support email box and the company webpage. And of course, when I put in my name and password, I am denied. I have been officially erased from the company.

It's so easy to do that...you're fired/laid off/whatever, and you're just gone. One day you're there, and now you're not. I'm not sure how I feel about that yet. Part of me is happy. I'm no longer encumbered by "work hours." I can pick up children from school. I can attend softball games and school activities and maybe even be brave enough to volunteer in the kindergarten classroom. I can keep my house clean. I can be home with someone if they are sick. It will make my life simpler. You know, except for the whole losing my income thing.

It's just strange to be erased from something that you've been a part of for almost five years. One day you're there, and the next day you are denied access, like you no longer exist.

Mimosas may be the cure. The first one tasted funny, but the second third one is going down quite nicely. What?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Parenting Teenagers...It's Not Always Pretty

Last night, Shannon and I had a fight.
It started when she kicked her little sister in the head.
She didn't mean to, they were just on my bed goofing around.
But you know that sound, that sickening thud when something is hit?
You think to yourself, OH, that's gonna hurt.
When that thing is your baby's head, you freak out a little. At least I did.
And then she cried that cry, the one where you know they're really hurt, and not just whining?
I yelled at Shannon, even though she hadn't meant it.
My baby was crying, and I yelled "How could you do that to her?"
"It was an accident!", she screamed, before stomping out of the room.

Kylie knew that Shannon was upset, so she wrote her a card, in her little kindergarten writing.
It said, "Dear Shannon, I am ok. I know it was an accident." I helped her spell "accident."
Then she drew a picture on the front of two girls holding hands, and a heart.
She slid it under their bedroom door, where Shannon had holed herself up.
No reaction at all. She couldn't be bothered to look at the note.
I knocked at the door and I said, "Could you please just read the note your sister wrote?"
She yelled through the door, "I'm busy!"

It turns out she was busy painting her nails. On the carpet.
Their bedroom floor already looks like a clown exploded in there, with nail polish and makeup on the carpet.
Two weeks ago, I had the carpets cleaned, but they couldn't get out the colorful spots.
So she had found a nice clean spot of carpet to put green nail polish on.
And of course, she got some on the carpet.
I exploded at her.
"Are you retarded?", I yelled. "What would possess you to paint your nails ON THE CARPET?
When you know that it won't come out?"
She glared at me and said, "I guess I'm just stupid."

Of course this did not stop me, I continued to rant and rave.
No matter that this is a rental house, and the carpet is already 20 years old and trashed.
Really, what's one (or two) more green spots? But it makes me so mad when she just doesn't think.
I went into the bathroom where she was straightening her hair. Her face was streaked with tears.
"Why can't you just leave me alone?", she screamed. "I don't want to talk to you!"
And then I lectured her some more, when I should have just let her be. Because sometimes I am truly a bad mother.
And all the while she is crying and saying, "Just leave me alone!"

Yesterday after school, I bought her some brown hair dye. She's been asking for a while.
She dyed her hair black a couple of months ago, and didn't like it so much.
The brown dye worked fine, except for one thing.
Most of her hair is now a nice shade of brown again. Except...where her natural color was starting to come back in, at the roots? Is now a little bit...orange-ish. Not like Bozo orange, but definitely not a color you see in nature.
She was upset about it this morning, she said it looked stupid. It does look a little strange.
I tried to be helpful..."Why don't you wear that black and white knit hat? It's cold enough for a hat today."
It turns out, that hats of any kind are not allowed at school.
I told her that we could get some root touch-up after school.
"That doesn't help me for today!", she wailed.

It doesn't look that bad. But she is in 8th grade. Someone might tease her.
She's not an outcast at school, she's relatively popular. But someone still might tease her.
And she'll get over it. She will not be scarred for life by having orange roots for one day.
By this time, she was going to make her little sister late for school.
She was just sitting and staring in the mirror. And whining.
I had been calm all morning, but she was starting to make my blood boil again.
"Just get ready, we have to leave!", I yelled.
"I can't!", she screamed back. "It looks stupid!"
Stupid or not, you are not staying home from school because of your hair.

Finally out the door, dropping them off, right as the elementary school bell rang.
Home again, deep breath, exhale. Silence.
Move the laundry from the washer to the dryer. Unload the dishwasher.
Sit down at the computer and do some work, for work. Four more days.
After a while, go upstairs to shower. Look at my unmade bed.
Looking at the bed, I remember how I got up at 4am to use the bathroom.
And when I got back into bed, I noticed I wasn't alone.
Shannon was in the bed with me, sound asleep.
When I told her this morning at 7am that it was time to get up, I said in a friendly tone,
"What are you doing in here?"
She replied, "I don't know. I don't remember coming in here."
I patted her leg and went to wake up Kylie. That was before the fight this morning.

Now, a few hours later, I go to make my bed.
I pull the covers up, and out flies the small baby blanket that Shannon has slept with since birth.
She still has it in her bed.
When she came into my bed last night, she brought it with her.
I pick it up, and hold it for a moment. I hold it to my face, breathing in her scent.
I hold it to my cheek as I walk to her bedroom to toss it back onto her bed.
And I dissolve into tears.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Decisions, Decisions

As many of you may know, our family is moving to Colorado at the end of the school year. I have an issue that I need some help with.

The issue is my blog. When we move, I want to start a new blog for my friends, family and in-laws so that I can post pictures of the kids and what we're doing, since both sets of grandparents are in AZ. I already have a blogger address reserved for this.

The problem is, I don't know what to do about this blog. You see, there are some things I've written here that I would not necessarily want my family or other certain people to see. I think I've mentioned that my mom sometimes bugs the crap out of me with her ultra right-wing Christianism, and I'm thinking that might hurt her feelings.

I think I've also talked about my husband's brother and sister, and I'm guessing that they might be offended if they went back and read about how I call them losers. My point is, there are some things on here that I wouldn't want certain people to read.

So, I'm thinking these are my choices, and granted this wouldn't happen until the end of May, but for some reason it's bugging me now:

1. Make this blog friends only, continue to post whatever I want here, and make the new one public. The problem with this is that I know of a lot of people who read my blog but never comment. I think a lot of them come here via Jen's blog (Hi Susan!), and I wouldn't want to leave them out, but I don't know who all of them are.

2. Go back through this blog and delete anything I ever said that might offend someone. Wow, that sounds time-consuming.

3. Leave this one as it is, and only tell family, in-laws, etc about the new blog. The danger there is that someone who reads I Miss My Sanity leaves a comment on the new blog, then someone follows the link back to here, and ... yeah.

4. End this blog in May and just have everyone move with me to a new blog, where I will have to carefully censor myself so I don't offend anyone. Bleh.

I have no idea what to do. Any comments, thoughts or ideas appreciated.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Penguin Lives!

Dick Cheney Dr. Strangelove The Penguin Dr. Evil Former vice-president Dick Cheney really just needs to shut the hell up. No one cares what you think anymore.

Actually, I never cared what you thought, but you're not in office anymore, so you can stop trying to scare us. Newsflash, the election is over. Oh, and you weren't even running. And you no longer have the authority to raise the terror alert level to fuchsia or burnt umber or whatever color meant, "Live in fear, citizens!"

The time for government through fear is over. Go away. You're retired. Why don't you go hunting? Just try not to shoot any of your friends in the face this time.

Please...tell me you don't see the resemblance.

P.S. Please feel free to disagree with me. I'm totally fine with that. However, if you're going to leave a comment, please man up (or woman up) and have the balls to sign your comment, Steve Anonymous. Comments by Anonymous will be deleted.