Location: Minnesota, United States
Cost of the War in Iraq
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Monday, February 26, 2007

A Gorilla Mooned Me

...and I took a picture, because I'm just that kind of overgrown child.

Eryn, LissyJo, Niece A and I went to Como for a couple of hours today.

Highlights included a snowball fight;

- the construction of a snow sculpture on the path that Eryn entitled "Snowman with Scorpion Babies;"

-evidence of why one shouldn't open the digital camera in the new tropical area;

- a monkey feeling brave behind the glass; and

- the same silverback from the first photo, peeing. Unfortunately, I stopped filming just before he turned around, walked to the "far" side of this little pool, and began to drink. I'm sure his urine wasn't in that part yet.

One more, because it's cute: Eryn and A, in front of the Spider Monkeys.

I don't want to talk about the tarantula (HUGE) or the mice (little, but running around loose in the tropical area.)

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Maybe This Really Is Minnesota?

Now, if only the Autotrack on my car hadn't gone wonky, so that with every vaguely slippery patch, the tires just give up and spin.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Tripping Over A Mousetrap

A la J Money (except I am not nearly as funny), I will now subject anyone who chooses to read this post to whinging about my work place. I have to be up front about the fact that my workplace is - for me, at least - far preferable to many, including those I've had. I don't have to deal with things I did in previous employment. Here's what I don't have to deal with anymore, in chronological order:

Coca-Cola Taste Test Administrator: "Can I have the whole can?"
alternatively: "Do you have Max Headroom in the van with you?"

Order Filler For Music Company: The temp agency sold it by suggesting I would be packing boxes with sheet music orders in the back room of a music store. Um...no. It was actually a non-climate-controlled two story warehouse. My first day of what was meant to be a one-week stint, it was 90 degrees outside and raining. They opened the monster truck sized garage door at noon to let some "air" in. I was 17 and college bound, and all the other workers were women in their 40's and 50's who had been working factory or warehouse jobs since they were 17. At noon, I got on the phone and used the fact that I had broken my big toe the day before starting to convince the temp agency I couldn't do this job. Broken toe + up and down stairs and ladders all day = my ticket the hell out of there.

Receptionist, Construction Company: More loveliness from the temp agency. Mostly it was me answering phones and explaining to the guys in the back/warehouse that I wasn't going to go out drinking with them because I was 17, and that was also the reason I wasn't going to go home with any of them. Yeah...that was the reason.

Concessions Monkey, Northtown Cinema:
Every Other Customer: Which pop is the large?
Concessions Monkey: The one that's biggest.
EOC: Which one is that?
CM [pointing to cups sitting on the counter directly in front of EOC]: The largest one is the large.
EOC: Oh, okay. How big is the medium?

Coffee/Eggs/Pizza Monkey, 24-hour Dive Restaurant: Do I even have to explain this one? Does it help if I tell you that this particular dive restaurant was across the street from a bar in the northern Twin Cities suburbs?

Secondary School Substitute Teacher: Where do I start? With my first day, where a 7th grader in remedial reading pierced his ear with the pointy thing on the eraser doohicky on his mechanical pencil, stood there bleeding on my desk and insisting he didn't need to go to the nurse? Or the six-foot eighth grader whom I had to physically prevent from throwing a desk at a much smaller classmate? You get the idea. Think those incidents x 7 years. Part-time, which saved most of my sanity. Well, slivers of it.

(Second Round of Graduate School - yay, I got it right this time!)

Psychotherapist, Residential Treatment for Prostitutes with Substance Dependence: Male boss (only man involved in the entire program) who insisted on getting his emotional needs met through the clients. Ew, ew, ew.

Now I'm in private practice. I don't even have partners to accommodate! But...I rent space. (Did I hear a shoe drop?) There are issues, of course. The salesman in the office next to me is so loud I can hear every word of his phone conversations through our shared wall. His fake-friendly-used-car-salesman laugh is incredibly distracting. Not the sort of thing that blends well with people trying very hard to talk about incredibly painful feelings and experiences. The sink/coffee station is outside my office door. My fault for selecting this office int he suite, but it truly wasn't a problem until Big-Haired-Widowed-But-Loudly-Dating-Octogenarian-Receptionist started. She is loud about everything, including her new boyfriend, but especially at the coffee station. She actually yells from there to the reception area, to ask the other receptionist where the coffee is - (isn't it where it always is, and if not, why not?) - or just to continue their conversation about the Oscars or why it's great "That Arab Guy"was killed by U.S. soldiers in Baghdad.

So, on to today. After my first session, I walked out to get a glass of water. Big Hair was there making new decaf. We had this conversation:

Big Hair: Oh, hey, Pooteewheet, Clint wanted to know if there's any way you could put that thing [white noise machine] inside your office.
PTW: Who's Clint?
Big Hair: Um, you know, Clint B., of B&B? (not owners or managers of the building; accounting firm 2 floors down)
PTW: Huh. No.
Big Hair: He said it looks like a mousetrap. Or someone will trip over it, and then we'd be responsible.
PTW: Trip over it. You mean, like this? [I have to lean against my office door as I walk even to come into contact with the white noise machine set outside it.]

A mouse trap? With an electrical cord attached? And no hole?

The best bit is that Big Hair is a bigger reason than Sales Guy for my putting that thing out there in the first place. It functions more to remind her to shut the hell up than it does actually to block noise.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Blue Eye Shadow

The Scene:
Northern Twin Cities suburb Walgreens, 8:00 p.m., Saturday night. The register.

The Players:
Eryn, age 3.75, with mother on her way home from grandparents' home

Cashier with Fake Eyelashes and Copious Amounts of Blue Eye Shadow (henceforth known as "Blue")

The Background:
Approaching a Walgreens by car, Eryn's mother remembers they had used the last Pull-Up in the house the previous night, and inquires whether Eryn would be willing to use a diaper for one night. Indignant at such a suggestion, Eryn says they should stop and get some Pull-Ups. She adds that she wants to get Cars Pull-Ups, pointing out that "I know they are made for boys, but I don't care!" Her mother tries to make a point about silly sexist marketing schemes, to which Eryn responds "I don't care, I like Cars!"

Eryn [putting package of Cars Pull-Ups on the counter]: I LOVE Cars!
Blue: Ooo, me too!!!! Corvettes, and BMWs, and Cadillacs! Ohhhh, and PORCHES!!!!!!
Eryn: I was talking about the movie.
Blue: You're going to love cars, too, when you grow up!!!!!!!!!!

For tips on how to apply blue eye shadow, this will help.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

How Difficult Is This?

A quick trip to the neighborhood Cub Foods last night left me muttering under my breath about useless bastards who cannot peek outside their own desires for two seconds and consider that there is a world outside themselves.

Returning to my car, parked a few spaces down from the handicapped spots in my row, I saw that two carts had been parked in the open handicapped parking spot. Which, by definition, makes it not open. I don't mean on the line that separates one spot from its opposite in the next aisle - poised to blow into some poor schmuck's vehicle who will probably put his/her cart away when he/she returns - but parked solidly in the space, like they belonged there.

I put my things in my car, put my cart in the corral, and then went to get those two carts. I decided the person who left the second cart was the bigger jackass. What's the thinking here? "Hey! What a good idea! Then I don't have to walk an extra 25 feet to put my cart away." Perhaps the ever-popular "Well, he did it!"

More demoralizing: as I was driving out of the lot, I saw that there were two carts in an "open" handicapped space in the next aisle.

It was cold out there last night. I think next trip, I'm parking my car on the sidewalk in front of the store and leaving my cart on top of an old lady.


Monday, February 05, 2007

It's Cursed

Remember this post about turning over a rental property, how much it sucked, and how disgusting were the previous tenants? Either Scooter or I also ranted about how much it sucked even more, kicking a tenant out of the same house six months later and having to clean up her disaster. GREAT NEWS! The new tenants in that house called Scooter's brother to say they might have the February rent on Friday. Um, February 9th. It's their first full month in the place (they moved in mid-month, so only had to pony up half.) They said "We ran into extra bills." Oh, well, then that's okay. We'll just cover it until you decide to get your act together.

Scooter wondered "So where the [bleep] is the portion they do have?!" Excellent question.


Saturday, February 03, 2007

Gymnastics II

This is Eryn monkeying around with classmates before formal class began today. Apologies for the terrible photo quality. It's tough to get good shots from halfway across a very large gymnasium.

She did much better on the balance beam this time, despite a serious malfunctioning of her wardrobe:

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Introduction to Leotards

New! From Aunt LissyJo. If you need to see the live-action version, here it is.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Lord of the Flies, Eagan Style

The sign behind Eryn should read "WARNING: Other people's children will piss you off. Your kid might bug you, too."

I nearly titled this post "Your Kid Is A Cretin," but I would have had to have added the subtitle "and Mine is Kind of a Whinger," so I skipped it.

It's damn cold today, so it seemed as if half of Eagan was at The Blast. I figured that was great - Eryn could play with a bunch of other kids, and I could read my stuff for class. Alas, it was not to be. Eryn has not yet acquired the skill set required to ignore pushy little buggers. Mom, some boy said I couldn't go in there! Mom, those boys are punching the things hanging from the ceiling, and I can't even get through! Mom, they were chasing me! Mom, they have sharpened sticks! Mom, those two girls told me I can't go up in the rocket - they told me "NO!" right in my face! She'd go try to do something, and Pushy Little Bugger would be in her way, and she'd try saying "Excuse me," (which you can hear in the video below), but when PLB didn't move, she came running back to me to whinge about it. I had to make the speech where one explains that "even when we are very nice and try to share and play nicely, not everyone acts nice all the time. If someone is mean to you or says you can't play, you can ignore them or tell them they're not in charge. If someone hurts you, you should come tell me, but if they're just being mean, you need to stand up for yourself." Then I had to explain what standing up for yourself means.

The Pushy Little Buggers become the adults who can't merge. No! This is my lane!

In the video below, you can experience the whinging for yourself.