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09.30.03 Sometimes fortunes are right on

Last Friday I had my annual review. Better late than never, right?

My whole working life, I've been told that I've got a bad attitude. I try to temper it, but it creeps out of me without me even realizing it. The first two years at SCG I was not only NOT told I had a bad attitude, but praised for my possitive attitude. I was floored. Either they had really low expectations or I was, on a base level, happier than I'd been in other jobs. I still like my job, but probably due to other life stresses, my bad attitude has crept out once again and it was the major beef of my review. They're otherwise happy with me, and I know the tendency is on my part, so I'll be "fixing" this.

The best part, however, is that since we'd gone to Sawatdee, at the end of our discussion I opened up my fortune cooking and got the following:

Be expressive and positive
in words, act and feeling.

My boss and I had a good chuckle over that and I stuck it on my monitor.


This weekend I completed not one, but two items off of the "home" todo list. This is a special list of stuff that I'd really like to get done eventually, but will just riddle me with guilt if I put it on my regular, day-to-day todo list. Anyway, I finally got extra shelves for the armoire in the den and finished unpacking my computer books (yes, it's been 6 months) and I put up the wallpaper border in Mara's room.

If you count ordering the picture frames and picking up glass, then I got three things done. Must be fall, I'm cacooning.

09.25.03 Bunny

Apparently I didn't save the text relating to the very large Energizer Bunny hot air balloon I saw in St. Louis, but here's the picture.

09.17.03 Stress and PHP

Mongo stress on the go-live of the client's beta thing. I don't know -- I couldn't sleep last night because I was trying to figure out what I needed to do -- which meant that now, at 3pm, I'm in pretty good shape today. Uh, work wise.

But the client still hasn't done their look and feel part, so I kind of wonder why they even bothered to ask us. Oh well. Soon it will all be over and I'll be driving on the big black highway. Yeah!

09.16.03 Feast or Famine

My job has always been feast or famine. It seems that's the way the web is. No one wants a site, then when they do, they want it immediately. It's the web, right? It's instantaneous to surf, so that means it must be instantaneous to build. There's none of that waiting for the printer, etc. I want it now!

But part of this is exacerbated by an account team that can't or won't think ahead more than a couple of days. They're running scared and would never even dream of pressing a client to provide the information needed sooner or whatever.

So here I am, two days before a vacation, with three web sites and three sell sheets due. What was I doing last week at this time? Picking my nose.

(Oh, there's the whole issue of the corporate site that I could be working on during down times, but y boss has dreamed up a scenario in her head where the big cheese said what she wanted them to say and now she's going to being the next round of design. That was over two months ago and I'll be damed if I'm going to pick that project up...)

09.15.03 Too efficient for my own good

Long time readers with amazing retention to the minute details of other people's lives will remember that I was pretty excited about my garage sale this past summer. They'll also remember that I was excited about the "changing colors" of my wardrobe since it now felt like fall. I've recently discovered that my obsessions have nullified each other.

Part of my spring and winter rituals involves this big elaborate laundry & ironing binge where I sort out the season's clothes that didn't get worn (off to charity with you) and box up the things that did. Then, like Christmas in September, I pull out the clothes from storage.

I put this project on my list last week, but in a fit of silly, I went shopping instead. Then I went to do it the next day -- only I couldn't find the box of fall clothes. There was something good on TV, so I didn't look very hard and told myself I'd do it the next day. Well, on that day, I looked all over -- no box of fall clothes. Now I was worried, because it was slowly dawning on me that I'd sorted through all my clothes viciously for the garage sale. Looking back in my closet, there were* a few sweaters and pants in there. Things I usually wore. Oh my god, I sold all my clothes.

Granted, I'm sure they were things that probably would have gotten sent to the Goodwill next spring because I hadn't worn them this Fall. But now that I don't have them, and the summer clothes have been removed, the proverbial cupboard is looking a little bare and the wallet is not in any shape to bulk it back up. There's only one word for actions like this:


09.08.03 Can't take the Spiders Anymore

Tim and I have always had a somewhat unspoken agreement -- he kills the bugs and I kill the spiders. In the condo, this was no big deal because the bugs were practically non-existent, and the spiders were these little white spindly things that didn't really bother me. The townhouse is turning out to be a different story altogether.

Now, for some reason, Tim seems to think that he shouldn't be getting rid of all the webs that are piling up in the entry way since the spiders eat the bugs. But good GRIEF, the spiders we've got are FREAKING ME OUT. They're huge. They're ugly. They're all over the garage, deck and entryway. Fortunately, I haven't seen any of these monsters inside... yet. I'm super worried that it'll get cold and they'll come for a visit.

Judging from the U of M Extension Service, they're mostly fishing and sac spiders, but they're still about 2"-3" leg to leg and I don't like 'em. I'd bomb the garage to kill the ones in there, but I'm afraid that it would just drive them into the house. You can't really bomb the outside either, but I've got the spider-kill-juice on the ready right inside the garage door and I'm not afraid to use it.


09.05.03 Plane Guy (as opposed to Wing Man)

planeWho should be on the front page of the today? None other than Greg Herrick. The Zeos "dude" that I wrote about in a Babble that turned out to be surprisingly popular. The article "Vintage plane tour scheduled for Twin Cities" looks like a fun event. Too bad it's a Wednesday during the day thing -- especially a bummer that it's after shcool has already started so parents won't be able to take their kiddies. The timing of it pretty much guarantees that these folks will be preaching to the choir -- the rich or retired who already love and cherish vintage planes. Anyway, still kinda neat. Good luck, Greg.

09.04.03 Obsession Triggers

More than in any other season, Fall's cool weather triggers my clothes horse obsession. Yesterday, even though the TCF sign said it was 68 degrees (no way*) it definitely felt chilly. Especially if you're still dressed in short skirts, t-shirts and sandals.

That means my lunch break was spent at Daytons, er, Marshall Fields, checking out lightweight jackets (scored) and pants and sweaters (denied.) The bright side is that it's one of the few times in my life when I'm actually inspired to do my laundry and ironing. That will pass, but the manic drive to shop will continue until I start freaking out about Christmas. Which should be any day now.

AND Tim and I agreed last night that it's time to break out the down comforter. Yeah!

09.02.03 Labor Day Weekend -- Feels like Fall

The weather seems to know what day it is. Almost immediately when Labor Day hit, the humidity fled and it started cooling down to the 50s at night. It still gets warm during the day -- reminding me of the first few weeks of school where I'd sit, sweltering in my new "fall" clothes.

I'm sure I've mentioned this before -- I hate winter. As much as I can convince myself that there's many nice days left, I'm starting to feel the dread of winter. Plus, it'll be different this year what with no heated underground parking, shoveling sidewalks, and fires in the fireplace. Maybe it won't suck after all.

Labor Day Weekend -- Neighbors Suck

As I pulled out of the driveway on Sunday morning, I saw a woman digging in the octagonal planter in front of my house. By the time I came back from the grocery store about an hour and a half later, she had turned on my sprinkler and was now watering the sidewalk, street, and plants she'd planted in what I'd kind of considered "my" planter, since no one seemed to take any responsibility for it, or the big patch of dirt that Tim and I had turned into grass.

I was mad, so I turned off the water from the inside shut off valve. Within minutes, my doorbell was ringing and the belligerent woman was berating me to turn my water back on. I told her I thought it was presumptuous of her to use my water and sprinkler without asking me -- that I was on a budget and watering other people's plants wasn't in it. She claimed that she waters the whole backyard (poorly I might add, it's all dried out and dead) to which I responded that she still should have asked.

Hosta. Yuck.Then she went on to expound on how she'd put all kinds of plants in and they would be pretty and I should be more gracious. I asked if they were perennials -- yes, she said, Hosta (blech.) I said I was disappointed because my Christmas present from my mother, the horticulturist, was a garden plan for that planter and front yard. She snottily said she'd dig them up. I said that I wouldn't be doing the plan this year.

The conversation ended with me saying I'd turn my water back on, but she should have asked first. She stormed off.

Granted, it's communal property -- you snooze, you loose. But she tilled my dill, parsley, alyssum and chives to plant her stupid Hosta and if she's so dumb that she doesn't know what an herb looks like, she's got no business planting nasty old Hostas anywhere. Hell, what was wrong with her* front yard. I think the fact that our front has grass for the first time in 5 years is evidence enough that Tim and I care about the aesthetics of our lawn and we had plans for that spot.

At present, I plan to go ahead with my mom's garden plan -- digging up the Hostas and depositing them on her front step. She can deal with them at my convenience since she decided for me that I could deal with them at my inconvenience.

Shade loving plants that are prettier than Hostas...

08.29.03 Roundy's Rainbow vs. Cub (Really boring, leave now)

Yesterday, the Star Tribune had an article about how consumers feel about the "new" Roundy's Rainbow. It was interesting to me because I have an unnatural fascination with all things grocery store related. Ask Tim, we broke up once with a grocery issue. (For those that are concerned for our marriage, as it turns out, not only can I imagine grocery shopping with Tim, I do it on a fairly regular basis. The last time we went, we almost plowed Brian over with our shopping cart -- he was so surprised that he actually said "hi".) Anyway, I digress. I was going to give my personal opinion of Cub vs. Rainbow.

Back when I lived in St. Louis Park and again when I lived in Uptown, I was definitely a Rainbow devotee. The store on Hwy 55 in Plymouth was a sight to behold. Big aisles, amazing produce, clean, quiet, good meat, etc. etc. This was especially welcome since the nasty, rotten meat smelling stores in San Jose full of crying babies and tripe!

When I moved to Southeast Minneapolis, I was set a bit adrift. The Cub Foods up by Apache Plaza hadn't been built yet and no one had even dreamed of the Quarry. While I was still working at Graco, I shopped in Plymouth, which is a long way to go for groceries. When I stopped working at Graco, I didn't have any money for groceries, and honestly, I can't remember buying any. Not long after I was working the day job thing again, the Cub Foods in St. Anthony opened. I was hestitant to shop there since my prior expereince with Cub was as a little kid, marking foods with grease pens with my parents. Turned out it was a nice store. A really nice store.

When the Rainbow in the Quarry opened, I was really excited -- after all, Rainbow was my first choice and the Quarry was 5 minutes away (instead of 15). But it was crowded, instantly dirty and the whole meat department smelled like rotten chicken. Bleck. After their opening jitters, they got the meat coolers fixed, but it always was crowded and dirty. I shopped there when I needed something quick, but for a big trip, I always went to Cub.

I've been in the new Roundy's Rainbow a few times now. It's much better than it was -- the aisles are wider, there's actually, oh, I don't know, FOOD on the shelves (although they still have some* stocking problems) and the produce is nifty. They've even started getting some crazy fruits and veggies that you'd only see at Bylerly's or Lunds before. But you can't really change the clientelle, which means that it's still kind of a noisy and somewhat dirty store.

Really, I think though, the damage has already been done. I "switched" in the years where they sucked. I don't think I'll leave Cub as my "big trip" store, but I don't think I'll dread Rainbow as much, which means they'll get a few more of my bucks than they did before.

08.28.03 Sickly

My low-level cold that I'd been keeping at bay for over a week whacked me on the head Tuesday night. I stayed home from work yesterday and pretty much slept all day. Surprised Tim that I could sleep through the jackhammer noise. Didn't much surprise me, really.

Back at work today, and feeling better in the regard that my ears and head don't feel quite so uh, full, but I'm sure that I could still sleep through jackhammers, given the opportunity.

Despite being sick, I went to my Aunt's birthday dinner last night. (I know, I know, if you're too sick to go to school, you're too sick to play.) We went to the Lake Elmo Inn and had an absolutely amazing dinner. It's a bit pricey, but wow! I highly recommend it.

08.26.03 Every date seems significant

I noticed a couple of years ago that I had spent so much of my brain working with and remembering different dates (due dates, birthdays, old Graco board meetings) that now pretty much every date seems significant. It leaves me with the lingering feeling that I'm forgetting something almost every day. How do you stop this? Is this a byproduct of having an aging numbers mind?

08.25.03 Monday, again.

It was a really busy long weekend -- the kind of weekend that Tim and I used to have all summer long. While it was fun, I don't think that I really miss being that tired. I suppose it's compounded because I'm sick. I've got one of those lingering summer colds that wears me down extra fast.

I read "The Age of Innocence" by Edith Wharton over the weekend. A glutton for punishment, I guess. I swore after reading "House of Mirth" that I would never read that depressing author ever again. But I love that kind of writing style with all the descriptions of the lush settings and tortured minds and this book didn't disappoint on that front. It wasn't even as sad as "House of Mirth." Now that I think about it, Harry Potter is kind of a similar type of book.

I also got back to reading "Couples" by John Updike. I had picked the book up at the Goodwill because I thought it was the full novel of a bunch of stories I'd read in the New Yorkers. But instead, it's really an Edith Wharton type book set in the late 60s. Again, I'm enjoying this one as well.

My reading always goes in fits and spurts like this. When I get into a novel, I just want to read it for hours and hours until it's done. I can't read for a half hour every night like Tim does. This isn't really a problem except that I always feel like there's just so much to be done. That's why I usually read magazines or nonfiction. I have the power to stop reading because there's no drive to find out what happens next. Anyway, since this is such a laid back time and I'm not getting anything done anyway, why not read novels? Except that after I'm done with "Couples" I don't really have anything else I'm all that interested in.

08.17.03 Short Week, Jam Packed

I had one of those nights last night where you think that you've laid awake the whole night. But there were 2-3 hour gaps between when I looked at the clock, and I don't think I'd have the self control not to look every 20 minutes if I'd actually been awake. Whether I slept or not, I'm not feeling very rested.

On the bright side, it's a short week. Sort of. It's chocked full of 3 doctor's appointments, the State Fair, a work boat ride, a cousin's wedding, a dinner party, and overnight guests. At work, two large sites (a b) were supposed to go live last week and didn't, so they'll probably be freaking out this week, and two small sites need functioning drafts by Wednesday. Oh, and it's Dave's birthday on Wednesday.

Not the kind of week that you want to start out tired for.

p.s. Pirates of the Caribbean was really good.

08.16.03 Entertaining myself at home

Yesterday was payday, so yesterday was bill day. After mailing off all my money, I'll be spending the next couple of weeks entertaining myself at home. That means a lot of baking, cleaning and this morning, fuckin' with the web site.

If things are broken, well, that's because I broke them. I don't think I'll be changing the design -- not sick of this one yet. Mostly, so far, I've deleted a bunch of crud that was living on the server for no good reason. Now I'm going to start thinking about content -- deleting old stuff, updating other things, putting things here and there. Suggestions, of course, could be welcome.

08.15.03 Skeleton Pirate Army

The big exciting plan for this weekend is to take Mara to see Pirates of the Caribbean. Let's hope that the Star Tribune is correct that it's no scarier than Harry Potter, otherwise we'll have to apologize to Michelle for 3am nightmares. Eep!

08.13.03 Midweek

The middle of week is always the a killer. My boss keeps buzzing me, freaking out, obviously wanting me to take over something she's working on, but I've got other stuff that's equally important to complete. She won't get it done by 5 and I'll be here late doing it for her, or doing it over again, when they're already getting an extra half hour outa me cuz I came in at 12:30 and we're not allowed to take vacation in less than 4 hour increments.

Two more days and then I'm free again for a little while.

08.11.03 Bands & Discharge

If you get a chance, go to the Red Sea tonight and see Eyes to Space -- JJ's band. I plan on hitting it!

I have been officially discharged from finger therapy. Yeah! Now I just have to use it and keep doing the exercises to make sure that it stays limber. I don't think I'm in a whole lot of danger of not using my right index finger... I'm not so happy about the big old calcification bump that apparently is going to hang around for pretty much oh, ever.

08.06.03 Shiny Shit Wins Again

When I learned that the "Last Comic Standing" was going to be determined by audience vote, I knew that the winner would not be the funniest comic. I've seen too many road hacks have killer sets to be that optimistic. I won't go so far as to say that Dat Phan is everything that is wrong with comedy, but I will say that he's indicative of what is wrong with audiences.

Tim is trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, and I will grant that several of the annoying things about him may simply be due to the fact that he's green. He's been doing stand up comedy for two years which means he's basically one step off of the open stage. He's gotten this far not because he's a compelling presence with fresh ideas, but because he's one more driven actor whose charts and graphs show that it'll be easier to make a break in acting if he spends some time as a stand up comic. Great. He'll get a Barq's commercial and be ecstatic and in the meantime, the rest of America will miss out on the next "Seinfeld" or "Friends" because Mr. jump around and talk in a funny voice was deemed funnier than Mr. or Ms. clever writing with a point by the public.

Why does it matter? Am I a humor snob? Maybe. But that's only because I see in humor the ability, and perhaps therefore the responsibility, to reach, test, educate and heal the masses. If the show had been "Last Poet Standing" the viciousness of the house would have been the same or worse, and the voting would have been based on the rich quality of the poet's language, form and content -- and there would have been about 12 viewers nationwide. That's really unfortunate, but it says that some other medium has to get the messages across.

For the couple thousand road comics out there, that are concerned about the issues of the world, that love comedy deeply in their bones, that endure the little deaths of one-nighters in "Population 638" every week of their life, I'm sorry they had to see that show. (I know they watched.) I have one phrase that hopefully will make you feel better -- "I am funny and positive with my virgin material."

For the American public that truly thought Dat Phan was the funniest comic, if you ever stop and wonder why a store screwed you or your taxes went up again, I hope you think back to the time when you laughed at /voted for someone that blinded you with the shiny shit so you wouldn't have to watch anything that might make you think, feel or learn.

08.05.03 Evilly Pleased...

For months, my coworkers have been bugging me on "How do we get a domain name that someone else has already registered." Well, I told them, if you really really want it, you should call up the people that own it and ask them how much they'll sell it for. They didn't want to do that, so they kept asking me the question in a million different ways with me giving them the same answer.

They finally settled on paying $80 to to supposedly track and register the domain name in question. SnapNames would send my coworkers an e-mail anytime anything would change -- they'd forward it to me and ask me what they should do. Of course, the answer was always, "Wait, or call the company that owns the domain and see if they want to sell."

The name finally expired and was released over the weekend and SnapNames took our money and failed to secure the domain name. Gee, that's a nice little business scam. Now one of those "This Domain For Sale" brokers owns the name and if they want it they'll have to pay probably a lot more money than if they'd just contacted the original owner.

It's unfortunate for our client, and fiscally unfortunate for us. No one will ever come up to me and say "Gee Steph, you were right, we should have at least called XYZ Corp." But I've learned that in the privacy of my cube I can smile and whisper to myself "I told you so" and get almost the same amount of satisfaction.

08.04.03 Mondays

Man, I'm continuously amazed at how much Mondays blow. I don't even dislike my job that much -- it's just the whole waking up and fulfilling someone elses* needs and fantasies instead of my own.

Supposedly going to have a web site go live this Friday. Still waiting for content. Gonna have another one go live next Friday. Again, need content. Can't bitch too much though, they've actually gone much more smoothly than normal. The rest of the company seems too busy to second guess the design, and when we sent it to the client, he loved it with no changes. Really, a web dork's dream.

Did I already tell everyone to go play the Shampoo game at All the Flash thingies are done by Eric, my coworkers SO. Very fun.

08.01.03 Fun Fridayish Fare

Okay, maybe not "FUN", but certainly not the whiny variety that's been spewing lately. A friend asked me for some recommendations of old movies which got me thinking about which ones are my favorites. I came up with this list:

"It Happened One Night" with Clark Gable & Claudette Colbert
"Auntie Mame" with Rosalind Russell (best movie evah!)
"The African Queen" with Katharine Hepburn
"Roman Holiday" with Audrey Hepburn
"Some Like It Hot" with Marilyn Monroe
"Harvey" with Jimmy Stewart
"Top Hat", "Holiday Inn" "Daddy Long Legs" and "Funny Face" with Fred Astaire
"Singing In The Rain" with Gene Kelly -- some people (TIM) like his macho, graceless style more than Fred Astaire, but what can you do?

07.31.03 A Fiendish Fingie

On Tuesday, my general doctor told me I could stop wearing the splint on my finger. I did that, but still kind of favored it. When that seemed okay, I used it on Wednesday. In the morning, it felt pretty good, and I even typed a nice long e-mail to my mom. By the end of the workday on Wednesday, it was pretty sore and I wasn't doing as much typing. By the time I was supposed to go to bed, it was throbbing and tingling and generally keeping me awake.

This morning, it felt pretty good. But my early appointment today was at a physical therapist to check out my range of motion etc. She put me through a battery of exercises and tests to see how I was doing and so at the ripe old time of 10:30am, my whole arm aches not unlike it felt at the end of the day yesterday. This recovery shit hurts more than the injury!

But she was somewhat optimistic -- the pain is most likely caused by using the atrophied muscles especially the ones in my wrist and elbow (huh) and that she was surprised that they told me to ditch the splint as soon as they had. I've got a bunch of exercises to do and an appointment on Monday. I'd say screw it to all of this, but I can't deny that it hurts and she put the fear of permanently doomed right index finger in me. Worse, though, is that a previously doctor free week (next week) now has two appointments. Bleah.


Almost at the end of July and I'm craving a vacation big time. No trips in sight, but this morning when I got the car washed, I looked at the sparkling sides and wished wished wished I was going on a road trip. Alas, I'm swamped at work, chock full of doctor's appointments when I'm at home (finger is getting better, even if the typing is still sucking) and there's just no cash to take one of those irresponsible quick flight things. Maybe a nice fall trip...

07.23.03 Anniversary

Today is the Mitchell's 4 year anniversary! Yeah for us! Insert all kinds of gag-me psycho affectionate stuff here.

In less pleasant news, I'm working on the frog at work. Sure, I've got a ton of other, billable, work to do, but they're reviving the frog which means I'm rebuilding in all it's warty glory with a new, even slimier frog. When I get disgusted, I hop on over to Google and search on "Web Design Kill Me Now" and get this. Huh.

07.21.03 I fought the fridge and the fridge won

Friday night I fixed the shower. Not quite as smoothly as I'd hoped -- I had some trouble getting the old cartridge out and the O-Ring repair kit I bought had the wrong sized Os. After a call to dad and a trip to Home Depot, the shower doesn't leak. Later that night, I lied in bed flipping through my Time-Life Fixit book looking up how hard it is to replace a gasket on the fridge. It looked pretty difficult. But what did look easy was pulling out the door switch, fixing the spring and voila, having a working light.

Well, it proved tricky, and I proved incorrigible. I ended up gashing myself with a knife. Even though there wasn't a ton of blood, I felt pretty woozy. I asked Tim if he could do me a favor without giving me a bunch of crap -- when he found out I needed Band-Aids, he gave me that look. The "you did it again, didn't you" look. Sigh. After I thought the bleeding had stopped and I put a Band-Aid on it, I passed out cold, much to Tim's dismay. Disgusted with my wimpiness, I went to bed. Didn't sleep much, since my ankle and elbow were sore from where I'd bonked them meeting the bathroom floor. D'oh.

Saturday morning it was pretty swollen so I swung by the urgent care to make sure it wasn't infected. It wasn't a bacteria problem. It was a broken finger problem. Bleah. So I spent the rest of the weekend feeling like I had a "We're #!" finger puppet on and not doing much else. Bear with my typing for a while. The finger pretty much only hurts if I torque it somehow. The tetanus shot, however, hurts 24/7.

Stupid fridge.

07.17.03 Energy Pigs

My electric bill last month was $71. This month is is $97. That's a lot of cash that I would prefer not to spend. I blamed our vintage fridge, which we can all agree sux rox. Researching better ones left me with a $1200 investment that I can't afford right now even if they do use less electricity in a year than mine uses in 3 months.

But the whole calculation formula for determining how much the fridge was costing me each month ($15) was interesting and it started getting me to think where I could save a little electricity, and therefore a little cash.

Our house is full of stairs. We walk around at night. We don't want to break our legs, so we leave a lot of lights on. The basement nook has a 25w bulb on 24 hours a day. Its' costing me $1.29 per month. The living room -- 60w/24/7, $3.11/month. The office -- 150w/24/7, $7.77/month.

We're geeks and we leave our computers on all the time. All of them. All the time. Emac, 170w/12/7, $4.40/month. Laptop, 45w/24/7, $2.33/month. The printer has a standby mode, so that's only costing us 45 cents/month. Tim's computer will never get shut off, so I won't even calculate that.

If I turn off my computers, get a timer for the office and a couple of nightlights for the basement and livingroom, I theoretically should be able to save $17 per month. Not bad. I might even try a couple of stopgap measures on the old fridge -- replacing the gasket and sacrificing my ice cream to the energy saver. And in a mere 5 years, I'll have saved enough for a new fridge.


Had a nice visit with Tim's Grandmother Syd this week. Kept us on our toes and all of the news of this week is stuff like "Went to Cousin Ella's for dinner" etc. Family stuff is pretty much only of interest to your family. Tonight I plan to rest rest rest. After cooking cooking cooking and yakking yakking yakking, Syd's vacation leaves me ready for a vacation. Love to see folks though -- I'd do it again too.

07.09.03 My parents did everything first

My parents were the first of their friends to get married. The first to have children. (Hmm? Coincidence?) The first to bury their parents. I have one remaining grandmother, but the others died 15-20 years ago. This means that I was pretty young and probably not as aware of the signs of grief or the magnitude of loss my folks must have felt. Now that my parent's friend's parents are dying and being buried, I have a new appreciation for their losses.

It's amazing for me to see the kind of love and support my parents offer their friends and vice versa. These aren't just buddies they met at work, these are people that have been their best friends since they were 8 years old. They're my godparents, my "uncles" and "aunties". So even though Arling and Bud weren't my grandfathers, I feel that these were deaths in the family.

My parents will not be the first of their friends to retire, but when they do, they're going to move from St. Louis, Missouri, to Cross Lake, Minnesota, to a cabin they just purchased -- next door to "Uncle" Bob's place. For a time I was kind of perturbed that when they finally moved "home" that they wouldn't live in the city, but I think that they'll love living next door to their friends.

07.07.03 Queen of petty tech support

While I call myself a geek, I feel like I'm a poser. Sure, I know a little about computers and I can get my way around, but there are people that I know whose knowledge so far eclipses my understanding that I feel unworthy of the title.

But that doesn't seem to stop my coworkers from calling me 100 times a day with their petty tech support needs. I guess I wouldn't mind if their questions had anything remotely to do with my job or my experience. I don't know where the market research server backs up their data. I don't know where the PC version of Outlook hides its spell check preferences, and I sure as heck don't know the dialup settings of their computers at home. I end up frustrating them and me with phrases like, "Well, on a MAC, you find the preference setting here..." or "Gosh, that's a question for RJ." Worse, when I say things like "I have no idea" they come back with "But will you look at it?"

What I know that they don't is that computers all work about the same. Most programs have preference files that live in "Edit" or "Tools" menus, most file systems are comprised of files and folder and almost everything has a "Find" function. Finally, if you can't reproduce the problem, it was probably caused by operator error no matter how many times they claim they didn't do anything "different". Because I understand this, but more importantly because I don't seem to be able to get these facts across to folks, I end up "fixing" all kinds of things that people who use computers 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, really ought to be able to fix themselves. To these folks, I'm the queen of tech support and it's a damned thorny crown.

07.02.03 Sound

I slept like a rock last night. I woke up this morning with the feeling like I hadn't moved for 7 hours. I'm not surprised, after work I set about laundry and ironing. All the washing was piling up because the weird smell that the dryer seemed to be making. On Sunday I bought a new exhaust pipe (I know it's not called that, but I'm having a blank right now) and installed it. After a load the bad smell went away. Good -- since I'd originally assumed the bad smell was lubricant from the new bearing wearing off, and later researched that it was probably nearly constant lint fires, I was glad. Apparently, if I work 8 hours in the office, then wash and iron for 5 1/2 when I get home, I'll sleep well. Or maybe I should try some of that Simply Sleep!

07.01.03 Congrats!

Congratulations to Jen & David Russell on the birth of Emory Wall Russell at 1:30 am last night! Pictures forthcoming, I hope.

(First & Second Quarter 2003 Archives)


Tim Mitchell, Comedian

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