Saturday, January 30, 2010

People Without Propriety

I hate the human race today.

I realize that the 100 or so people I've dealt with on this fine Saturday morning do not by any means represent the earth's population, but I've taken enough crap to think that manners and decency are dead.

Let's back up and explain my situation.  It's tax season.  I prolly don't need to say more, right?  I mean, most of you understand the meaning of the tax season.  You also understand that there are many things more enjoyable.  (Like a root canal or a pap smear, for example.)

During this tax season, I provide customer support services for those filing their own self-prepared tax returns.  It is an on-line service, not telephone.  They send an e-mail from their account with a question, I(we) respond with an answer.  It's a great service.  Especially since most of these people without propriety are receiving a free prepared and e-filed tax return. They're also receiving their state return for almost nothing.

To keep the anonymity and my job, I'm not going to tell you who I work for.  I'm also going to refrain from discussing how much they charge, because you are all very smart and covert in your deductive reasoning.  With limited info, you could figure out who I work for.  This is the listening blogger, 'member?  This is where I go so as I can be heard.  If I cannot throw up my frustrations here, where else will I go to throw them up? 

For the record however, I would be over-and-out if I were required to provide service via telephone.  No amount of money would be worth the yelling and cussing that people toss at you over the tax return.  These people do not realize that we, the tax preparation company, do not make the rules.  They also don't realize that the IRS doesn't make the rules.  It's the people we elect.  If you don't like what you see, write your congressman and/or senators.

For giggles (taxes and giggles - uh right), you can find two of my favorite questions from last year, here and here.

Now.  Because I care, I'm going to help you all out.  I'm a giver, you know.  I am going to give you some guidelines for proper conduct if and when you decide to get help from people who provide help for people who provide help for people who provide help.

They are:
  • Don't call the person helping you a dummy.  Especially if you're the one who doesn't know that you have to wait for a W2 statement in order to file your tax return.  And especially if you cannot spell IRS.
  • Don't swear.  It ain't cool.  
  • Provide detailed information.  Don't say stuff like, "It don't work" or "I'm getting an error fix it"  or "how come I owe money" or "why won't it let me do anything." 
  • Recognize that there is a reason CPAs charge what they do to prepare your tax return.  It is hard work.  If you are not willing to pay a CPA to prepare your return, don't expect someone else to offer the same service for free.
  • Review your tax return over and over and over and OVER before you send it.  Once the IRS accepts your return, it cannot be changed without amending it.  Amending a return is a hassle that can be prevented easily with proper review of your information.  Which brings us to the next one...
  • Don't yell at the person helping you if you forgot to include something.
  • TURN YOUR CAPS LOCK OFF.  Andusespacesinbetweenyourwords.  I actually asked someone today if their space bar was broken.  Or was that yesterday?  It's all mashed together now.
  • And finally, say please and thank you.
See?  Is that so much to ask?  I mean, if I'm going to spend an hour crawling through the trenches of the IRS' web site on your behalf, the least you can do is be nice.  Geez.


Incidentally, this is a totally lame post, but I'm going to post it anyway.  Then I'm going to run to the top of a mountain.  With Ted Nugent.  And prolly some other people. 


-

Friday, January 29, 2010

Busted!

Look at what showed up on my doorstep. A note and gift from the mother of the Filthy Nelsons.

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I suppose she wants me to wash my mouth out with this Zest stuff.  But wouldn't it be more appropriate to wash the keyboard?  Technically, it was the keyboard that typed "bastard" not my mouth.  My mouth never says "bastard."

I must point out, however, that I'm not the one who has Filthy for a first name.  Maybe she should be giving this Zest stuff to her own child, husband and grandchildren.   The Nelsons are the ones who are Filthy, you know.  I, on the other hand, have this foam at the mouth problem.  Adding the Zest will only make the foaming worse.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tuesday Tune Vol 26 - January's Departed

I moved into the right neighborhood.  I'm sure you tired of me saying that.  But it's true and I will say it again: I moved into the right neighborhood. Why all the neighborhood fuss on this Tuesday?  The fuss is because, in this hood, we have a Vera.

Every neighborhood should have a Vera.

A Vera is someone with whom you can spend many summer days and nights on the "stoop" listening to Blues, someone you can call on the phone and sing badly to, someone who will shovel your walk and teach you how to make Rad Beanies.  A Vera is also someone with whom you see live shows and someone with whom you can travel to Chicago for Lollapalooza so that you can see the Dandy Warhols (and maybe run into them at the airport and get a photo with 'em) and G Love and the Pixies and Billy Idol and Primus and... it went on for days!  Two days, to be exact. 

In essence, a Vera is someone who speaks your love language of music.  It means you like and appreciate the same kind of music. (Which for us is just about everything.) 

Quite often, the Vera and I exchange mixes.  Do you know this mix term?  It's a collection of songs that all run along a specific theme.  Having a theme is the important part.  It usually goes like this:  Vera phones. "Hey.  I got a mix for you."  Then I squeal like a pig and run over like an inbred hillbilly.  (That was so BAD, wasn't it?  BAD RABID, BAD!)

And so it is, that today's Tuesday Tunes are compliments of Vera.

Vera's current theme de mix is a good one.  So good is this theme that I just cannot keep it to myself.  I must share.  As January is departing, Vera has brought us the departed - those who have passed in the month of January.  Enjoy.

Hey Good Lookin - Hank Williams
Great Pretender -  The Platters (RIP Buck Ram)
Bringin' On The Heartache - Def Leppard (RIP Steve Clark)
Honey, Don't - Carl Perkins
I Ain't Superstituous - Howlin Wolf 
Stayin' Alive - BeeGees (RIP Maurice Gibbs)
Slim Harpo - Ti Ni Nee Ni Nu
The Beat Goes On - Sony & Cher (RIP Sony Bono)
The Crusher - The Cramps (RIP Bryan Gregory)

She also sent me a mix for February's Departed.  Now that made you squeal like a pig, didn't it!?  But don't run over here like an inbred hillbilly because that mix will make the Tuesday Tunes for February.

-

Monday, January 25, 2010

Thoughts Worth Remembering

- Each and every time I run a race, The Winder calls me the day before and sings a made-up song about tomorrow being my race day.  These songs always remind me to have fun and run my hardest (which I'm convinced cannot happen during the same race because "Fun" and "run my hardest" rarely go together.)  Surprisingly, that Winder has turned out to be a great friend.  Yes, surprisingly.  She's super weird.  (And don't start with that pot-calling-the-kettle business.)

- Did you know Joe Strummer (of the Clash) ran a 3:20 at the 1983 Paris Marathon? 

- Speaking of celebrities and running, Runner's World had a delightfully entertaining article about the celebrities who run and how they are invading our sport.  You can read it here.  Actually you cannot read it there because the tightwads at Rodale didn't publish it on their web site.  Bummer. It's called "Stars Run Wild" and is written by the clever Robert Sullivan.

- Here's a quote from that article, just for fun:  "'Wait,' you ask serenely, 'what's the worry?  Why,' you wonder, 'is it wrong, per se, for a celebrity to run?'  Well, it's not that they shouldn't run.  It's just that by running so much, they threaten to take over the mundane, real-life world that we, the non celebrities, live in on a day-to-day basis.  We allowed them their compounds in the Hamptons, their special cars and yachts and beach resorts.  While we perhaps envied their fun, we recognized that the decadences came with the job (being stars).  An agreeable balance had been reached, a celebrity/non celebrity detente.  But now that they have come down to our level, and started running and sweating and entering our races, and started getting their pictures taken by the paparazzi while doing something we've been doing quite happily without them, then yes, we must face the fact that today a celebrity running crisis is upon us, disrupting the balance, or so it seems to me."

- Real carrots are so very tasty.  Those fake baby carrots are not tasty.  The Yahoos want real carrots all the time now.  I suppose I can accommodate that request.

- This is the Happy Hooker in action at our hotel in Saint George:

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- Here's another photo of the Happy Hooker in action:

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- Will someone call me and invite me to go somewhere?  Maybe that will give me the motivation to "do" my hair.  I might hand you a slew of excuses about not having time and whatnot, but you could respond with loving words of encouragement.  You could also respond with "get off your ass and go out."  Either would work.  Prolly.

- The Yahoos like sushi.  Do you have any idea what it costs to take a family of four out to eat sushi?  Good sushi?  Like, hundreds.

- Thanks to Megan, who sent us clothespin chopsticks for Christmas, the Yahoos can eat sushi with chopsticks.  See exhibits A and B below:

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- I made the Mother of the Filthy Nelsons blush by using "bastard bulbs" in my post about the Filthy Nelsons.  I feel badly about this one.  The Mother of the Filthy Nelsons is the nicest person you'll ever meet.  And now she's going to blush again because I said "ass" earlier in this post.  Someone should tell her to quit reading the Rabid because Rabid is a foul-mouthed hooligan.  I took this picture for her in Saint George (I'm so nice that way.):

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- Speaking of Bastard Bulbs, the loving neighborhood should come claim theirs.

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- Jimmy went to court today for domestic violence.  I wanted to go sit in the back and represent the Ghosts of Domestic Violence Past.  But didn't.  Not sure how it went. My inside connection, who can provide public records easily, will call today. Court appearances are public record, you know.  I can only hope that this isn't his sentence:

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- I'm starting to look obsessed, yes?  As if I'm constantly checking up on this Jimmy person?  Well I don't check up on this Jimmy person.  Haven't spoken to him in more than twelve years.  How I came to know of this domestic violence charge is a bizarre story worthy of its own post.  Might save it for later.  Might.

- I've cleared the day to ski tomorrow.  Don't know how that happened (some help from above, I'm sure), but I'm going.

- I hate January.

- Being as I hate January, why did Spouse and I decide to marry in January?  And why did we have a child in January?

- Speaking of our January Child (aka Yahoo #2), he turns 6 this week.  I'm so very sad.  I really, really, really like 5.  You won't see or hear me wishing for the baby years but you'll see me wishing for a 5-year-old.  Anyone have a 5-year-old I can borrow on occassion?

- I'm excited about tomorrow's Tuesday Tune.  It will be totally rad.

- "Rad" has made it into my vocabulary as of late.  Reminds me of the junior high.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Potatoes, Saints & Geeks

This weekend, I jammed the Dyke Mobile with five of the wackiest chicks I could find and took 'em to run a race in Saint George, Utah.  Saint George (also known as St. George) is a city named after a pioneer called George.  Back in "the day," this George figured out that potato skins held all the nutrients of the potato and instructed his fellow pioneers to make sure and eat the skins or else.  It's a sad story, really for George discovered this little known pioneer fact after he had lost his entire family to malnutrition.  See George thought he was doing his little family a service by eating the skins and giving the white fluffy stuff to the rest of them.  Turns out George got the nutrients, the family did not.  George would spend his life educating others about the importance of tater skins.

They called this George guy the Potato Saint.

This information was taken from the car ride home wherein my Olympic Hopedful friend told us this tale.  It's not on the Saint George wikipedia page, so I kind of question its validity.  Olympic Hopedful just might be pulling it from you-know-where just like the Rabid is known to pull stuff from you-know-where.  I see now why we are friends...

As an aside, I looked up "potato saint george" on wikipedia and you know the first thing to pop up?  Funeral potatoes.  Do Funeral potatoes honestly deserve a wiki entry? And who's brain fart developed this funeral potato recipe?  As if funerals are not bad enough, they hand you potato slop and call it food.  Not to mention there aren't any skins in funeral potatoes.  People need the skins or else... there just might be another funeral.

Anyway, while in Saint George, I had the pleasure of lunch with Jessica.  Jessica is a great sport.  I sent her a little text message asking if she was up for lunch.  She said sure and joined the five wacky chicks (four of which were wacky strangers) for Mongolian barbecue.

We were getting acquainted.  Jessica hails from downtown Los Angeles.  We're middle-town Utah folk and don't necessarily relate to L.A., so naturally we ask questions about her living situation.  The conversation ended up on the famous people of L.A. and who of these famous people she has seen in the flesh.

Jessica lists the famous people she has seen, then ended with, "Oh! I've seen Aragorn, but I cannot remember his real name.  What's his real name?"

"Strider!"  I yelled.  Then we laughed big-belly, slap-your-knee laughs while the other four just stared blankly. 

See friends, that is why the blog world is so very wonderful.  The geeks find each other.  And then they hook up now and again and share geek jokes.  It's absolutely, positively wonderful.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Quarterly Running Post

Today's post is mostly about running.  If you aren't interested in a read about running, then you might want to just skip me today altogether.  If you do decide to skip today's post, I won't blame you.  Not one bit for I find talk of running, rather um... repetitious and mundane.

I run a bit.  I enjoy it a lot.  But I don't necessarily like talking or reading about it.  Sound strange?  Prolly.  But you know, there isn't much to talk about when it comes to running.  You can talk shoes, miles, pace, hills, speedwork and that's about it.  Do you know how many running blogs I read?  Not-a-one.  Mostly because these running blogs try to turn every dang run and it's accompanying post into a life-changing, earth-shattering, save-the-world, deep-thought phenomenon.  Sometimes running is just running.   I find it refreshing that running can be just running.

Cycling on the other hand is interesting to read about. I like to read blogs from cyclists.  Cyclists tend to be more entertaining because they know how to write and have witty banter.  And they have gear that is rad.  And they don't consider every ride an epic event.  I read the Fatcyclist and through this Fatcyclist found Skibikejunkie and Dug.  This world is so very small.  Turns out the Fatty is dating a friend of a friend and Skibikejunkie was a Leadville proxy for my broken femur friend.  Then there's Dug... I used to work with Dug but I don't think he knows that.  Come to think of it, I don't think he knows I exist.  I'm that forgettable. 

Anyway, shall we talk about running now?

I'm off to run a race this weekend.  It's a dumb race that I do every year so that I can get a guaranteed entry into a dumber, longer race.  As luck would have it, I'm recovering from a sinus infection.  So obviously the race will be thrown out with the bath water before I even start it.  For some reason, however, I'm having trouble conceding to this one.


Here's the deal:  I want a marathon PR this year.  Badly.  So badly do I want this Marathon PR that I'm seeing stars and might consider reading a running blog or two if I thought it will help.  (Now that's a serious case of the Marathon PR blues.)

I've got a few mental hangups, however.  For example, I'm feeling as if the result of this goofy half marathon will decide how the rest of the year will go.  My all-or-nothing logic has decided that if I do bad in this race, the marathon PR is a bust.  (Bad is relative by the way.  My bad is someone else's good and my bad is another someone ele'se worst.  Oh... and I realize that my use of  "bad" was grammatically incorrect.)

I'm also a bit bent that the snow has finally descended upon us and I'm going to St. George to run in the rain.  I wish I were staying here to ski.  Actually, I'm more than a bit bent.  I'm a lot bent.   Hopefully I'll get to see Jessica and that will make up for not skiing.  Right, Jessica?

Again, back to running.  I have other mental hangups as well.  Like I'm thinking that if I do great, I'll turn into a head case like some of the other people I know who have knocked the socks off of their own Marathon PRs.  Suddenly running becomes everything and that's all they talk about.  That's all they do and they start to think they're better than everyone else and their self-esteem rests upon their race times.  It's a tragedy really.  Running is great, but not 24/7 great.   Deep down, I think that meeting my "Goal" will turn me into a head case about running (as opposed to the head case I am currently, about other stuff).  I don't want to be a running head case.

On second thought, as you might have figured out already on your own because you're smart, it's quite obvious from the above paragraphs that I'm already a running head case.

Now how do I fix this?  How do I fix all these hang-ups?  Where are my friends in the Psych Grad School?  Can you help me with that?  I really think I'm afraid of success.  I'm comfy with Mediocrity.

So, with you reading me bare my running soul, I've created a Marathon PR attack list.

Here's what I need to do:
  • Run faster.   Duh.  I want a coach, though.  Anyone know a coach?
  • Learn to love pain.  I don't even like pain, so how do I learn to love it.  I'm the first girl asking for an epidural when it comes to baby birthing.  And for running?  I like a cozy endurance pace.  That's why my 5k and marathon pace are the same.  Running Brother Bruce says I have "Cruise Control."
  • Eat better.  Like no more Nutella and powdered sugar sandwhiches.  
  • Stretch more.  It's too bad I don't have time for two yoga classes a week.  Too bad.
  • Start the weekly Suncrest climb earlier.  Normally I start the Suncrest beast in May.  Maybe I should start next week.
  • Build me a stronger trunk.  Not the elephant trunk, not the traveling truck, but the trunk that holds my guts.
  • Lose 10 pounds.  This one hurts.  I prefer that weight loss be a side affect of recreation and not the other way around. 
  • Develop a powerstride that puts the shuffle to rest.  I shuffle.  Without any power.  I need power and I need a stride.  None of this weekling shuffle crap. 
  • Believe in myself.
Piece of cake, right?  Right?  RIGHT?!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Penicillimony

I have a new Mony to add to my list of Monies.  It's the Mony I get from taking the Penicillin.  The Penicillimony.

I developed a nagging head cold about ten days ago.  It was only nagging -- not enough to wipe me out or change how I do things.  This cold was just enough to annoy and make me sound "sick".  Well... all of that was about to change within minutes of my saying, "I wish it would either knock me out or get over itself."

Careful for what you ask for, right?  Within minutes of my wishing for the cold to sh** or get off the pot, the cold decided not to get off the pot.  The cold shat.  I ended up with a gnarly case of the dizzy fatigues and a sinus headache.  This sinus headache was so very painful.  Torturous.  Imagine, if you will, a golf ball shoved into your left eyeball socket.  Now image someone, Saddam Hussein perhaps, holding that golf ball as tight as possible and someone else, Adolf Hitler perhaps, duct taping it there.  And as if the whole golf ball in the eye socket isn't bad enough, somehow that pain went down the left side of my face and lodged itself in my jaw.  As if someone, Mussolini perhaps, punched me in the chops.

That was my fascist dictator sinus headache and nothing helped.  Not even the sudafed, ibuprofen, excedrin, and acetaminophen varieties.  I tried it all.  And being as I'm mostly stupid, I went running Monday morning.  Running with a bad case of the fatigues and dizzies isn't a great idea.  During this run, I had just finished a hefty complaint about the golf ball lodged in my brain, when my friend -- The Olympic Hopedful (who qualified for the 04 Olympic trials with a 4:14 1500) -- says, "you have a sinus infection."  

(Get it?  Olympic Hopedful?  As in Hopeful in the past tense?  Because it was 2004? Just checkin'.)


Ah man.  Going to the Doc was not on my list of things to do, but I went anyway.  The Doc gave me a subscription for a penicillin derivative and within 24 hours of first ingesting it's moldy magic, I was a brand new girl.  Like Pinocchio.  Only I wasn't a boy.  And I wasn't wooden.  And I don't talk to crickets.  And my nose doesn't grow when I lie. Other obvious stuff happens when I lie.  Ask Spouse.  He'll tell you how bad I am at lying.

It's been a while since I last took an antibiotic for an infection.  I did, however, take an antibiotic in India to prevent the Malaria.  Did you know that the mosquitoes in India carry all four kinds of Malaria?  It's true.  Our guide announced it like this, "Malaria?  Yes!  Malaria!  We have all four kinds!"  As if they deserved a medal or something for it.

That penicillin stuff?  It ain't just for Gone-ta-Korea and Syphilis anymore.  It's for sinus infections too!

And there it is: My Penicillimony.


Now speaking of the Doc.  The Doc didn't have other patients at the time and was in a chatty mood.  He asked about the trip to India - how I spent my time while the Spouse was working and whatnot.  We talked about third world poverty and war and how lucky we have it here in the U.S.  He had just returned from a humanitarian thing in a South American country.  We swapped stories.  Then somehow, the conversation led to Bollywood movies and he said something that made me think, "Dude.  Do you read my blog? Docs don't read blogs, they read medical journals and such."  I realize the Doc is supposed to know all my ins and outs and what-have-yous, but I don't know if I'm okay with the Doc reading my blog.  I mean, there's some seriously personal stuff here. 

For the record, I doubt  the Doc reads my blog.  I'm just paranoid.  But if he does start to read my blog... I just might have to go private.  I don't want the Doc seeing my privates.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The New York Marathon

This might be the year I do it.  I qualified so I should just go for it, yes?  Yes!  For some reason, the commitment is giving me butterflies.  Registration opens on Monday...

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tuesday Tune Vol 25 - Mony Mony

Today's Tuesday Tunes are a direct result of Lars calling my tax opinion, a Taximony.  Taximony is a play on the term "Testimony" where a Testimony is used to reveal a set beliefs and sometimes more unnecessary information that doesn't relate.  But only sometimes.  I have reviewed the cerebral spewage of this nerdspace and realize that it's all a Mony. Therefore Today's Tune is:

Mony Mony - Billy Idol

You all know I cannot stop there.  I must list some of my Monies (pronounced moan eaze) and assign a Billy Idol tune to each of these Monies.  I do this because a) I obviously have some time to waste or am choosing not to do dishes and b) it's totally freakin' entertaining.

First, we'll start with the Taximony by reminding you about the Making Work Pay and Taxation 101 posts. The Taximony gets Rebel Yell.

Second, we reach for Findimony and present a post about People Who "Find" Themselves.  The Findamony gets Tomorrow People.

Third, a view called Pornogimony where we uncover a scandal that involved something that starts with "P" and ends in "ography."  Pornogrimony gets Flesh For Fantasy.

Then we'll turn to the Princessimony wherein I divulge my distaste for princesses and their fairy tales. The Princessimony gets Sweet Sixteen.

And now it's the Vinylimony and I get on my high horse about vinyl lettering.  The Vinylimony gets English Dream.

Are you tired of this yet?  Don't go away.  I've saved the best for the last half.  We'll turn to the Textimony and remember the negative impact of texting on the English language.  My Textimony gets Eyes Without A Face.

In the news a while back, we developed a Polygimony over a particular compound in Texas.  The Polygimony gets Body Snatcher.  (This is my favorite Idol tune, by the way.)

Remember the Consumer Cleanse?  The Consumer Cleanse helped me gain a Cleansimony.  The Cleansimony gets Trouble With Sweet Stuff.

The winter of last year brought the Driveamony wherein we had a driving tip or two.  The Driveamony gets Daytime Drama.

Then there's the Markimony where we learn the Utah press cannot reivew the Mark accurately.  The Markimony gets Dancing With Myself.

We rescued a Hound from the Pound and developed a Houndimony.  The Houndimony gets Don't Need A Gun.
  
This is taking forever!  Time to condense.

The Friendimony had many episodes:  One, Two and Three and gets License to Thrill.

The Momimony gets Cradle of Love.

The Crackimony gets Summer Running.

The Deplete-imony gets Dead On Arival.

The Trustimony  gets Catch My Fall.

The Moneymony gets Wasteland.

The Thankimony gets The Right Way (to live and be happy!)

The Navigatimony gets Blue Highway.

The Matrimony gets White Wedding

Finally, after many hours of not washing dishes and entertaining myself, we bear our Hoodimony.  The Hoodimony gets Hot In The City.

Now that I've given you all my Monies, it's time for you to bear your Rabidimony.   Go on.  Don't be shy.

-

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hickup or Hickout

Last night we were watching some home video.  It was video of Yahoo #1 playing the piano while I was giving instructions in the background.  You can't see me, but boy-oh-boy can you hear me.

I sound like a hick.

I realize everyone has issues with their own recorded voice.  But I sound like I grew up in Spanish Fork or worse... that dreadful desert called Delta.  Or even worster, Sanpete County - that place with all the turkeys.  Once we finished watching the Yahoo receive instructions from his hick-mom, I turn to Spouse.  "I sound like a hick, don't I.  Do I sound like a hick?  Come on, be honest.  Do I sound like a hick?"

Spouse is the right person to ask when it comes to all things hickish for he spent all of his high school years in Memphis, Tennessee.  He knows a hick when he sees one.  And he worked his darndest to ensure that when he left Memphis, he wouldn't return, and he wouldn't have an accent.

As a side note, can you believe that Spouse never made it to Graceland?  He spent four years in Memphis and never made it to Graceland.  I dare say that's a shame.  I'm trying to convince him that he should attend his next high school reunion so as I can drop him off at the party then head on over to Graceland and pay some respects to Elvis.

So there I was, asking about the nature of my hick voice, to see if I've acquired that redneck Utah accent, and you know what he says?  "Babe.  You wouldn't be here if you spoke like a hick."

This is good news, yes?  Of course it's good news because Mr. Too-Good-Fer-Memphis has deemed me hickless.  However, one must read between lines.  "You wouldn't be here if you spoke like a hick" also says that my speaking the hick dialect is a deal breaker.  As in Spouse'd drop me like a two-bit cowgirl if'n I were ever to speak with that lazy Utah drawl. Do you see what this means?  I cannot develop any sort of hick accent.  Else Spouse and the Yahoos would be living in this here house without me.

So... does anyone know a good speech therapist?

-

Friday, January 15, 2010

Ample Atmosphere

Get a load of this e-mail that came in the e-mail box the other day:  "We are looking at renting the same place at Big Sky at the same rate as we paid last time. So far, the dates that are looking the best are Jan 27-31.   Are you interested at all?"

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Am I interested at all?!  Am I interested at all?!  I'm ALL interested.  However, "interested" must come with "able" and it's looking like we are not "able."  Spouse and I are up to our eyeballs in our jobs and will not be able to join them this year.  At breakfast today, Spouse informed the Yahoos that we would be unable to join the two funnest families around for northern style skiing.  The news produced tears and snarls and complaints and on-the-floor body-thrashing complete with fists and kicks. 

Two years ago, on those somewhat exact dates, our family and two others ventured north to the Fat Firmament of Montana.  It's a lovely place.  The house we rented was bigger than the homes of all three families combined and its location was just yards from a ski lift.  It was a cozy ski-in-ski-out arrangement.  No dragging the gear to the car to drive to a parking lot.  No dressing in the car and no hiking to the chair lift.  'Twas sweet.  We played games until late, ate like kings and skied 'til we couldn't see no more.

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On this trip, there were six adults and six kids.  Each adult would take a 1/2 day to babysit and would therefore leave each adult to enjoy 2.5 days of blissful skiing on the biggest, longest, giantest ski resort in the world (at least in my world anyway.)  There is a run on this mountain that is ten miles long.  Ten miles!  We even had a GPS to verify the authenticity of this ten mile run.

Whoever had the morning shift, would get the kiddies all geared up and ready to go so as everyone could make a few runs after lunch.  Then whoever had the afternoon shift would take the kiddies home to play their computer games and whatnot.

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Here we are... 5 adults, 6 kids.  Everyone but me.  
You can't image the planet alignment necessary for this group photo.
 
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On the last trip, Spouse and I turned eight and Yahoo #2 turned four.

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Now excuse me while I drown my sorrows in a Nutella and powdered sugar sandwich.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Festering and Felicitous Funny

"So... How was Christmas?"

How many times were you inquired upon about the state of your Christmas?  Once?  Twice?  Many?  Raise your hand if you were not asked about your Christmas. I'm not seeing any hands.  See?  Everyone gets asked, "How was Christmas?"

 Truth be told -- 'cause we're about the truth, whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you You-Know-Who -- I don't really like Christmas.  My poor kids. Do you feel bad for my kids?  You should feel bad for my kids for many reasons.  This is one of those reasons. 

Halloween?  Oh yeah.  St. Patties Day?  Oh yeah.  Groundhog Day?  Oh yeah.  April Fool's Day!  OH YEAH!!  Valentine's Day?  Why sure.  But Christmas?  OH NO!

I was born a Scrooge.  Actually I wasn't born a Scrooge.  I became a Scrooge when my parents rudely let the Santa secret out of the bag.  One Christmas Eve, when I was quite young still, the Mom and Moe went to the neighbors for the loot and locked themselves out.  So at two in the morning, they ring the doorbell and duh we open it because obviously Santa really is too fat for our chimney and needs to use the front door.  Only we discover that the Mom and Moe are standing there with a big bag full of toys.  Now... they could have made some excuse/lie about the nature of their doorbell ringing and why they were out at 2:00am, but I recall the Mom saying something like "What the hell are you two doing out of bed!?"  She really did say hell.  That's where I learned to say hell.

I can blame it all on the parents.  ALL OF IT!  Laugh laugh laugh.  I can also write up this stuff about the Mom and Moe because they rarely visit this here cyberjournal.  Hell, they might not even read this until I'm dead, which heaven forbid happens before they decide to kick it (got kids to raise and whatnot.)  I'm beginning to think, however, that this post might drive someone to call the Mom and Moe and inform them of my public slander. 

So back to the question, "How was Christmas?"

How do you answer that?  Truthfully (there's that whole truth, nothing but the truth thing again), Christmas is exhausting.  It's always exhausting and a lot of work and there's always family drama of some sort and I always break a nail (kidding I don't do nails and there's never any drama in my family).  So when you answer accordingly, people look at you as if you've eaten a chocolate baby Jesus.  They really do make chocolate molds in the form of a Nativity Scene, did you know that?  I've seen 'em.  But no one wants to eat the baby Jesus, so why even bother.  That's a total waste of chocolate.

This year, however, Christmas was different.  I liked Christmas this year.

It all started with a humbling trip to the other side of world -- to a country called India.  A place where more than half the population lives in poverty.  A place that forces you to give your own person an honest gander.  A place that grows gratitude.

Then to kick off the Christmas season, we came home to lights all over the exterior of our house.

You see, we have these neighbors.  We'll call them the Filthy Nelsons.  They're a handful, I tell you.  Always doing stuff for us.  And how do we repay them?  By racing them to church every Sundee.  We always win too because we have four and they have six.  And then to stab them with our supreme success, Yahoo #2 always says, "Victory is ours!!!  And tell your parents!!!"

He really does say that.  Every week.

Anyway, those Filthy Nelsons, who understand fully that I say foo-foo to the fever for the festivities that fester during the felicitous month of December, pull a funny.  Those Filthy neighbors decide to string lights all over the house of the girl (me) who swore up and down and sideways that she'd never ever have Christmas lights on her house.  See that's why those Nelsons are filthy.  Makin' fun of the neighborhood Scrooges.  (Spouse is a Scrooge too by the way.  We're a match made in heaven.)

So those Filthy Nelsons call all the neighbors and ask them to bring their unwanted leftover lights from their own house hangings.  The neighbors respond, because, well, they're the Filthy Nelsons.  And you just do what the Filthy Nelsons say.  In the which the Filthy Nelsons and neighbors hang their unwanted bastard bulbs all about our bungalow.

And it was beautiful!  I felt just like Tiny Tim.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Damon Is So Hot Right Now!


I cannot contain myself. Damon is so hot right now!


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Who is this Damon person? It's Damon Lindelof, writer for Lost.
He gives me giant nerdgasms.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tuesday Tune Vol 24 - Church Music Edition

Today's Tuesday Tune is brought to you by a broken piano.

On Sundees I play the piano for the little folk at my church. It's quite fun. The most fun I've had at church ever. That's aside from when I had the Lost is Jacob gathering revelation, but that only took, like, three meetings to extract. I get to do the piano thing every week.

A few weeks ago, the piano playing gig became not so fun. The piano broke. It started with a squeaky sustain pedal that squawked every time it was pressed. It was loud. Louder than the lowest G. I cannot compete with louder than the lowest G. So I contact the authorities to inform them of the squeak. Told 'em my piano at home had the same problem and it's not a difficult procedure. He said, "Okay. I'll put it into the book."

The next week I returned to my hiding spot in the back of the room to begin the quiet-time music. I went to press that squeaky pedal first to see if it was still squeaky. It wasn't squeaky! I was so happy - except now the pedal didn't work at all! The pedal didn't engage the sustaining mechanism necessary for quiet-time music. Quiet-time music is impossible without that pedal - it all comes out sounding like Pizzicato Five. (Did you watch that video? Someone should buy that girl some groceries!)

I returned to the authorities and explained the situation. They said other piano players who share the building have complained as well. The next week I returned and the piano was still broken. The next week after that I returned and the piano was still broken. The next week after that, I returned to find a new old piano - meaning it was a new piano for the room, but definitely a piano older than me (that's old) and most definitely older than Spouse (who is even older than me.)

This new old piano had a sustain pedal that worked but it was annoyingly out of tune. I get my piano tuned once a year. Fer Christmas. It's like a Christmas present to myself except when my mom pays for it and then it's like a Christmas present from her. Having the piano tuned is a big priority. You keep that piano in tune and it will sound great for many years.

Well having the piano tuned is not a priority for my church, nor is repairing a piano. I found out later that the new old piano I was playing was one that was swapped from another room. Now someone else gets to deal with the broken piano. When I inquired about this swapping decision, the authorities told me there wasn't any money in the budget for piano repairs.

What the? Oh my mother would shame you! I shame you! No money for repairs? Cancel one of your Scout Camps I say! Let the youth stay home from ice skating! Make the Will-Eat society go without food fer once! This is a living, breathing, working piano that we're talking about!

My Sister's church, another affiliation altogether, has working, cared for instruments. And get this: My Sister's church pays their musicians. With cash. They pay the Sister each week to belt a tune or two. Heck, they even have some "anonymous" donor handing out specific cash just so the Sister will sing in church each week. (I say anonymous with quotes because we all know it's our mom again who's paying. Kidding! Had to say kidding to avoid the lightning.)

Now don't be thinking I've lumped myself into the same category as my Sister Opree, the Opera Star. There's really no comparison. I'm no musician. Opree's the musician. Classically trained and all. So naturally, I don't expect my church to pay me to play. Naturally I get to pay them. (Kidding again! Had to say kidding again to avoid the lightning again.)

Opree, with all of her musical intellect, can be quite intimidating. If you want to talk music with her, better bring yourself one of those music dictionary thingees to keep up for she'll throw all sorts of swanky terms your way. And then be prepared to stare blankly and say "uh hum" a lot.

During one of our swanky-term-blank-stare music conversations, she brought up Coldplay. Mostly she brought up Coldplay because her mePod was offering up a serving of Coldplay. I started to mumble something about Coldplay not being among my favorites because they need a different singer and the songs lack pizazz and they take too long to get to the point of the tune. But then I expressed how I do like that many Coldplay songs make me feel stuff. Many of those tunes bring calm and content with a side of groovy soothe.

"It's the chord progressions they use," Opree says. "Those chord progressions are genius. Coldplay uses augmented sixth chords or Neapolitans. Chopin uses them often. And Beethoven began to use augmented sixths towards the end of his life. That's when that period controversy started with Beethoven. His music spanned the Classical Period, which used traditional modulations, and the Romantic period which didn't care so much about modulating everything exactly."

"Oh" I said with that blank stare. Also notice that she refers to Chopin in the present. As if he's not dead. She just might have a problem bigger than my yarn problem. Don't you think? That Opree thinks Chopin is still alive! Someone should send her my Friday Flashback of 2/29/2008.

Anyway, this got me thinking. I want my church to commission some tunes from the Coldplay folks. They could get Coldplay to write the chord progressions, Janice Kapp Perry to fill in the extra notes and Craig Jessop to arrange these songs for organ and giant choir.

Questions is, who should write the lyrics? A tuffy, fer sure. While you ponder the answer to this question, please enjoy selections from Coldplay's Groovy Soothe repertoire:

Warning Sign
Amsterdam
Swallowed In The Sea
Strawberry Swing
Low
A Message
Don't Panic
Spies
High Speed
We Never Change
Daylight
Cemeteries of London
Fix You
Twisted Logic

Monday, January 11, 2010

Making Work Pay

Today's topic is sure to tickle and tease for it involves the tax return. YOUR tax return. Line 63 of Federal Form 1040, to be exact. It's called the Making Work Pay tax credit.

I hear you now, saying stuff like "It doesn't involve me" and "I don't qualify for anything" and "what's a tax return" and "my work already does pay" and "why don't you write about masala chai" and other such declarations. I realize that aside from accountants and tax attorneys, I'm among the few who actually like to discuss the tax return. I've also found myself under the delusion that I can impress people at parties by talking about the tax return.

Uh huh. Impress people by talking about the tax return. That's just about as popular as a turd in the punch bowl. And a turd in the punch bowl is quite popular.

Even though I know and feel that today's post might bore or cause the anxiety that only money can buy, it will inform. Promise. Shall we get started?

Here's the technical babble: The Making Work Pay Credit is a refundable credit claimed on line 63 of the 1040 form. All taxpayers are entitled to a tax credit of 6.2% of their adjusted gross income (AGI) up to $800 for married returns and $400 for all others (single, married separate, head of household, and qualified window/er). Retirement income, social security benefits, retirement income, foreign income, net business losses and wages earned while in prison are not subject to the credit. A reduced credit will be given to taxpayers who's AGI is over $150,000 married and $75,000 for all others. No credit will be given to taxpayers who's AGI is over $190,000 married and $95,000 for all others.

In a nutshell: If you are married and have income that is more than $6451 but less than $150,000, you're gonna pay $800 less in taxes this year. Isn't that great news!?

It is great news! But I'm still going to complain about it.

First of all, I take serious issue with its name, The Making Work Pay Tax Credit. Work already does pay, does it not? Are you working for free right now or for pay? I don't know about you, but I don't work for free. I work for pay. Therefore my job already does pay. If Mr. Federal Government feels the need to give us a tax credit to make it feel like our work pays, then there's a problem with the current tax code. (Hahahah! That was funny. A problem with the tax code. As if this credit is the first place to find problems with the current tax code. Hahahhaah again!)

I'm also in the midst of some visions of bureaucratic grandeur whereby twelve staffers are stuffed into a conference room for three days all in hopes to agree on the perfect name for this credit. I'm sure it only took three days for all twelve of the chosen to agree on a name because it didn't involve a nifty acronym. Can you image if it did have a nifty acronym? Would have taken 'em a whole month.

The second reason I have issue with this Making Work Pay Tax Credit is because of it's used car salesman approach to communicating. As in let's give 'em the good news up front and slide in the bad parts of the deal while coughing into the sleeve. However, in typical government endimanché, those with the authority have done it backwards. They coughed the bad news into their sleeves several months ago and are now telling you the good news - long enough for the Pavlov response to lapse and you don't put the two together.

Let me explain. Several months ago, as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the President and company made changes to the tax being withheld from your paychecks. Basically they changed the withholding tables so that the government would take less cash from your pay each month and you'd take home more. You are getting more money in your pocket right now. This is great news, yes? Not necessarily. At the end of the year, when you figure your tax return, the tax due for the entire year will be the same. The government is letting you keep more of your earned money each month without changing your total tax due.

Are you used to a big fat refund at tax return time? Prolly not gonna happen this year.

If you happen to be like those who try to make it break even every year, you better take that extra cash the government let you keep and put it in a bank account or change your withholdings. Why? Because you just might have to give all of that extra cash back. Unless.... unless you qualify for the Making Work Pay Tax Credit. In the which you can spend that extra money each month and the government will give you a nice little number on Line 63 of your Federal 1040 to compensate. Will that number be enough? Maybe. It's a gamble though. Be warned.

Do you see the back door salesman approach to this? Hey! We're gonna let you keep a few hundred bucks right now and hopefully, if you don't make too much money, you'll get to keep it. But if you don't play your cards right, or you end up windowed or divorced or you and the spouse file separately, then you might have to pay all or some of it back.

See? Backwards. How about a quote from www.IRS.gov?

"A limited number of people, including those who usually receive very small refunds, could in some situations owe a small amount rather than receiving a refund. Those who should pay particular attention to their withholding include:
  • Pensioners (see more information under Pensioners, below)
  • Married couples with two incomes
  • Individuals with multiple jobs
  • Dependents
  • Some Social Security recipients who work
  • Workers without valid Social Security numbers"
Here's the link to the above quote.

Why not cut taxes in general and save all the bureaucratic headache? Oh right. That's not how taxes are practiced in this country. They'd rather spend a few million administrating this goofy credit then say cutting the program and letting taxpayers keep their hard-earned cash. The government wouldn't get to "own" that $800 per tax return either. If they take something from you then give it back, the governmental folk are the good guys doing favors. If they let you keep the cash to begin with, then they don't get to own your dollars.

Owning dollars is what politics are all about. I dare you to disagree.
I dare you! Come on! Don't be a chicken. Brock, brock, brock!

Wow. This is turning into a book. I need a break.

The third and final irritation I have with this credit is the simple fact that it's refundable. Meaning, it's just like you paid the government $800 when you didn't. Confusing? I know, right? Taxes are bloody confusing.

For the purposes of this Making Work Pay argument, I'll explain it like this: A refundable credit is a credit you get even if your tax is zero. Let's say you earn $10,000 a year. There's a good chance that a $10,000 year income makes you tax free - your tax bill for the year is zero. So you don't pay the government anything and the government doesn't pay you anything. Right? Wrong. With the Making Work Pay Tax Credit, the government will pay you money you never had withheld. In essence, you could be bringing home $400-800 more money than you earned. The feds are paying people to keep their income low. Simple as that.

I don't want to delve into the controversial black hole of that spread-the-wealth dispute, but I will say this: The tax return is no place for welfare. If you want to hand out cash to people who need it, do it somewhere else. It's the Internal REVENUE Service. Revenue means bring money in, not send it out. I believe that it is every American's privilege to pay taxes. I don't care if it's a buck or five, but all people living here and taking advantages of the supplied services should have to pay something - however minimal it might be. The truth is: lots of folks in this country are not only living tax free, they're being paid more than they earn.

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Okay. I'm done. Have a nice day. Maybe next time you'll get an earful over the first-time home-buyer credit.

In other news, did you know that Andy Warhol was the manager for The Velvet Underground!? Me neither!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Yarn Ho


I think I have a serious problem.



Friday, January 08, 2010

The Broken Watch, Repaired Life Metaphor

I guess you're wondering what is up with all the nostalgia this week. Maybe you don't feel like I'm obsessing over the past, but the truth is: I'm obsessing over my past and it's all due to the fact that my watch broke.

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Now why would a broken watch cause me to "trip down mammary lane?"

This watch was given to me on June 20, 1997. You might want to remember that date because it's my birthday and you won't get a reminder for I am not facebook. Jimmy (the ex) gave me this watch on that June 20, 1997 date, just before telling me he loved someone else. As in "Happy birthday. Here's a watch. And by the way, I'm cheating on you."

Isn't that a sad, pathetic story? Did you just sigh in that "oh bless her heart" kind of way? Is your heart full of pity?

Well if you did sigh, or fill that heart full of pity, don't. That June 20, 1997 was a day of jubilee! A day for celebration for it was the beginning of the end. A day for, "well good, let someone else deal with your sh** now."

I kept the watch. It's a rather expensive and nice watch. Not one of those cheap one-battery types you toss aside after a while. Mostly I kept the watch because it was presented around the time that the gangrenous limb of my life was amputated. Lucky for me, that limb was let loose before the disease could be spread. (Which could mean a lot of things... like it's great that the marriage didn't present any fruits or the fact that I escaped without a drug problem. Or the fact that the cops didn't come get us both because of whatever shady operation he had running from the house. Or the fact that I was alive. Okay I'm revealing too much and will stop now.)

That watch has become a symbol of my second chance; a giant reminder not to blow it.

The watch is now dead, however. Does this mean I no longer need the reminder? Does this mean I've passed the probationary period? Have I finally graduated? Prolly. But what it really means is that Spouse should get me a new watch for our 10-year anniversary that just so happens to be around the corner.

Now if that ain't poetic, nothin' is.

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(Spouse, just in case you're reading, I'd like a Citizen Eco Drive in stainless with crystal non-scratch glass and water resistant to at least 100 meters. That will do 'til we turn 20.)

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Paula, The Gym Rat

This is the story of Paula, the Gym Rat.

Paula, a former beauty queen, was married to the perfect man who had the perfect job. They had four of the most perfectly beautiful children on the planet. Each year, Paula and family would hand out their perfect family portrait at Christmastime.

Paula liked to strut her hot, tight bod in public. She called it exercise. Each day Paula, dressed in one of her many small 'n tight exercise outfits, would drive her two youngest to the holy grail of all hook-up joints, The Gym.

At this Gym, Paula would drop the young ins off at the daycare, slide on those gloves she used for "lifting" and sashay about while many an ogler would drop their jowls over her buoyantly bogus double-Ds. Sometimes you'd get to see an ogler or two wipe the slobber from their chins.

This was Paula's routine and she received a lot of attention. Which was good because Paula was too hot for only one person to enjoy. Paula figured that out. She was entirely too hot for that Mr. Perfect she was married to.

After a while, we all began to notice that Joe Football, a former college footballer gone pro, would show up at exactly the same time as Paula. After weeks of "casual" conversation, their flirting became fallacious and Paula changed her routine. Paula would drive her kids to The Gym, drop 'em off at the day care, climb back in her van with Joe Football and drive away. Paula and Joe Football would come back to the gym an hour later, just in time to do a few reps on the peck deck. There was no need for the flat or inclined dumbbell press because that was already accomplished in the back of the van.

Get it!? Flat or inclined dumbbell Press?

After a few weeks of vehicular rendezvousing, Paula realizes she's in a pickle and begins a smear campaign against Mr. Perfect. She had that entire Gym feeling sorry for her cheating ass. Being as the Gym is full of thugs with thimble sized IQs, it wasn't hard for Paula to get them all singing her sob story. So these fellow Gym Rats convince Paula that it's time to leave Mr. Perfect. "But I don't have any income!" she'd cry. "How do I support my children?" As if the children are a priority at this point, right?

Paula then sets out to find a job. And find a job she did! As a stripper - complete with g-string, pasties and that brass pole. Speaking of brass pole. Have you ever considered the bacteria running about on those things? Ewe. Anyway, Paula figures that if she works as a stripper for a few months, she can stash enough cash to get away from the tortuous tyranny of Mr. Perfect. That's the plan anyway.

Mommy and Wifey by day - Stripper by night.

The need for Paula to be more than 90% naked begins to make her a bit self-conscious and she hires a trainer. She hires Jimmy. This means I was married to a personal trainer who had a stripper as a client. Jealous, aren't you? I'll bet you're jealous.

Being the unorthodox oddball that I am, I get curious and want to see this Paula girl show her stuff. I convince Jimmy and his meat-head buddies that we need to go see Paula disband and dance - let's go see her protein shake. (Okay so convince might not be the right word for I had them at protein shake. I suppose the convincing part came when I begged them to take me along.)

Get it?! "Protein Shake?" Sometimes I think I'm so funny.

In the which the Rabid (before she was the Rabid) had her one and only strip club experience. It's very shocking at first. But then you get used to eight or so dumb-broads dancing about in the buff while dirty old men throw cash at them. The girls that night were quite lucky. The LA Clippers were in town to play some Jazz and they were tossing hundreds like taffy. During Paula's break, she jumped down from her red velvet stage, wanders over to us and using her best vocabulary says, "Thanks so much guys for supporting me guys! It means so much guys!"

Whatever toots. I'm down here making some serious fun of you.


Rumor has it that Paula was brought to her knees with ridicule. This is Rumor to me for I was out-of the loop by then. Jimmy had moved in with his own Paula-esque Gym Rat and I had given up that grody gym for pavement pounding. (That's when I became the Rabidrunner, by the way. Running soothed the soul and the fury of infidelity made me foam at the mouth.)

One day, on a cold dark night, one just like tonight, Paula's Mr. Perfect, suspicious of her recent behavior, follows her to "work." And while Paula was up there gyrating away, Mr. Perfect marches up to stage, throws a handful of quarters at her and screams, "Show me what you got!"

Last I heard, they were still married.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Tuesday Tune, Vol 23 - The Beautiful People

Today's Tuesday Tunes are all about the Beautiful People.

It's the New Year. As is customary in this free-to-eat-what-we-want country, many make that pledge to drop some weight. They take that solemn vow to shed some elle bees. Every January, year-after-year, it's always the same.

Yawn.

Statistics show that the first of the year is the absolute worst time of the year to set goals. The chaos of the holidays and the stress of year-end obligations make it difficult to stick to the goals set at the New Year.

Statistics also show that 85.3% of statistics are made up on the spot.

Anyway. It is fact that many people decide to loose weight on January 1. And that same many run to the gymnasium (aka The Gym) to reinstitute usage of that neglected membership they purchased last year.

This makes the gymnasiums crowded. It also makes the gymnasium a good place to eves-drop because you're squished together more than normal. I'm a snoopy person. If you're having a juicy repartee within my audible region, know that I'm a-listening. Intently.

There's a group of seven or eight women who frequent this gymnasium place I go to. They seem to be great friends. Collectively, I'd say that their combined body fat percentage is 10%. They are lean and muscly. They spend hours and hours toning that hot bod they got, flirting with the hunks, and doing their "cardio".

Incidentally, I really hate that word "cardio". To me, "cardio" means you get on a dumb machine with only one goal: to burn calories. I hope and pray I don't turn into one of those "cardio" people. I want a point to my exercise - like to increase endurance or strength or speed.

So these women, I like to call them the Gym Rats. Today I overheard a conversation or two. They were going back and forth over diet tactics. One of them even admitted to eating whole grain bread on her cheat day. No! Not the whole grain bread on your cheat day! Drop down and give me ten extra minutes on the stairmaster!

This is where I thought, I'll bet you're fun to live with. And I'll bet a Benjamin that you are five days away from leaving your picture perfect life (with the big house, four kids, dog and fancy SUV) for something or someone else.

You see, these Gym Rats are too hot and too beautiful for just one person.

That's why you get:

Beautiful People - Marilyn Manson

(This might be one of the best songs ever written. Don't listen and/or watch this one if offended by language and a dude that looks just like Satan.)

I'm Too Sexy - Right Said Fred

Now. Who do I think I am? Making a rash judgment over some one's hot bod and their ability to maintain fidelity? How is it that I can see it coming? Lemme tell you!

It's because I've seen it happen many times.

You see, I had this previous life. I was married to a beefcake named Jimmy. Jimmy was Mr. Utah. Jimmy ate nothing but chicken, brown rice and broccoli. Jimmy wasn't fun to live with. Jimmy was a personal trainer. Jimmy spent a lot of time in The Gym with the Rats. I kinda became one of those Rats by default. So embarrassing! Please know I've changed.

I am a watcher. I did a lot of watching while I was doing the Gym Rat thing. And I have lots of stories. Would you care for one?

Tune in tomorrow. I plan to unveil the story of Paula. Paula is the creator of my favorite Gym Rat story.

Monday, January 04, 2010

The Lost Training Plan

Do you know what happens in four weeks? The season premiere of Lost. It's three hours long! That's three hours of "No way!" and "I didn't see that coming," and "You idiot! Don't do that." and "Remember? They referred to that in Season x, Episode y!"

We do a lot of yelling at the TV during our favorite TV show. It's better than football.

Since the season premier of the sixth and final season is in four weeks, I need to get crackin'. My Lost knowledge is out of shape. You might say I'm fat and slow. Or slow and fat. Whatever. I need to get training for I've only recapped/refreshed Season One.

With only four weeks to go, I've come up with a training plan:

  • Week 1, the toughest and most strenuous - Monday: 4 x Season 2, Tuesday: 4 x Season 2, Wednesday: 4 x Season 2, Thursday: Rest day, dinner at Sister's house, Friday 6 x Season 2, Saturday: ski day no TV, Sunday: 6 x Season 2. Completes the 24 episode Season.

  • Week 2, almost as strenuous as week 1 but not quite - Monday: 5 x Season 3, Tuesday: 2 x Season 3 (active recovery), Wednesday: 5 x Season 3, Thursday: 6 x Season 3, Friday: Rest and recovery, Saturday: Leave open for ski day, Sunday: 4 x Season 3. Completes the 22 episode Season.

  • Week 3, remember the writer's strike? Yeah, Season 4 is short. But this is good timing, because we'll need a "chill" week after the intensities of Seasons 2 and 3. Monday: 3 x Season 4, Tuesday: 3 x Season 4, Wednesday: Rest, Thursday: 3 x Season 4, Friday, 1 x Season 4, Saturday: Ski day, Sunday: 3 x Season 4. Completes the 13 episode Season.

  • Final week, I know you're tired, but keep it up! You're doing great! Monday: 4 x Season 5, Tuesday: 3 x Season 5, Wednesday: 5 x Season 5, Thursday: Rest, Friday: 2 x Season 5, Saturday: Rest and ski, Sunday: 6 x Season 5. Completes the 17 episode Season.

This training program is not for everyone. As always, consult your physician and/or psychiatrist before engaging in any rigorous activity. And you'll prolly put on weight what with the butt not leaving the couch 'n all...

(I'm such a geek. Such a geek.)



Sunday, January 03, 2010

Spoilt!

The spoiled brat has left the house. At least for now.

I've learned a few things, however. My life - our lives - are full of junk. Full of clutter. Our first concern is not "how do I feed my children today," it's more like, "how do I get my kids in the right preschool and doing the right extracurriculars so that they can get into the right college and graduate with the necessary honors." Not that I'm saying this is a bad thing, it's just our grass roots concerns are not the bare necessities. And that leads to clutter.

We are also crowded with books and television programs that tell us what we do is wrong. Disciplining this way or that way is bad for your child's self esteem. Your kids don't eat enough veggies. All children should be reading Tolstoy by kindergarten. You're too fat. You're too thin. You watch too much TV. Your house is not clean enough. Buy this washer and dryer - it's what you need to be happy. You need flu shots to stay alive. Your house is full of bacteria. The Planet is dying and it's your fault - you exhale too much carbon dioxide. Pay us money and you can continue to breath. On and on and on and on.

See? Clutter.

Two days ago, on the first day of this 2010, I was in need of a defibrillator for the year. I needed something to get me going. Yesterday I found it. 2010 will be the year for removing the disarray by purging the physical, spiritual and mental clutter. It's time to get down to the basics and embrace what is really important:

Food. Water. Shelter. Family. Friends. Jesus.
(Running, skiing, blogging, and biking... hehehe)


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This is an elderly gentleman who lived outside our hotel in India.
Yes... that is where he lives.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Drama Queen

Brace yourself, this is a dramatic one.

So dramatic is this one, that I expect to get at least 15 phone calls at by the end of the day to make sure I'm okay.

First lets just start with the fact that I am the self-proclaimed PMS Avenger. It's a bad one. Bad, bad, BAD. The Sister has even offered to make me a cape. This will be good for the future. But right now it's of no use. NO USE. Because as I bark expletives at passers-by, they just think I've gone wack-o. Or wack-o-er. Whatever.

Would anyone care to experience this PMS business? I mean, aside from those who get to experience the PMS business already? Sure you do. And you can handle it, trust me. Because you will only experience this business for a limited period of time. NOT EVERY DAMN MONTH FOR THE LAST 24 YEARS. Yes - 24 years. And prolly 24 more to go.

Joy.

I've been warning the housemates (yes housemates - they don't get to be relatives right now) about my current condition for about two weeks now. See they're very lucky. They don't have to guess. I give them a good heads-up with stuff like, "I don't feel well. Can you just pick up stuff and do what I ask after five requests as opposed to ten?" And, "I don't feel like myself, can you help out." Or, "I am the PMS Avenger right now (which means it's worse than normal). Can you just listen to me?"

Yeah, right. "Can you just listen to me?" Thank the Lord that I have this thing called the blogger so that I can be heard.

Dramatic enough yet? NOT HARDLY.

My Sister says some smart things. About 10 days ago, she said another smart thing. Her first born was pitching a fit over something. (I know gasp right? Your kids don't pitch fits only hers and mine pitch fits.) After the Sister works through the current fit pitching, she says, "The only way to stop a room is to throw a fit. You can't stop a room with kindness but you can stop a room with a fit."

Today I pitched a fit. And not only did I stop the room, I believe I stopped the whole damn neighborhood.

This particular fit pitching needs some background for there are several variables. To start, we spent two weeks away from home right before Christmas. It took me roughly three weeks of preparations to go on this trip. I left tired. I spent the trip tired. I came home tired and got sick. Then there was Christmas. Which required more senseless and useless preparation. There was shopping and parties and cooking and cleaning and staying up late and wrapping and more stuff.

The other more crucial element to my current state of mind is the fact that I work for a company that provides software for self-prepared tax returns. This is a nutty time of year. I have much on the plate this time of year because I help with the gettin' it ready for customers.

To make the matters more worser, this tax stuff is about to get nuttier for I provide customer support services to people preparing their own tax returns. That nutty support stuff starts on Monday.

Aside from being the PMS Avenger, I'm Captain Insanely Stressed Out.

We had plans to ski today with the Yahoos. As is customary for any time we do something fun, one or both of the Yahoos start whining because they'd rather stay home and have friends or move their digits about on a wireless controller of some sort while staring at some dumb video game.

I couldn't do the cheer leading thing today. I'm just too spent. Yahoo #1 was whining. So I said, "Yahoo. If you don't want to go, we can stay home." He said, "Okay." But then after five minutes of thinking, he said, "I want to go skiing."

Have I mentioned that I haven't been skiing yet this year? No? Okay, let me mention that.

I haven't been skiing yet this year.

Yippee! I exclaimed. Not really for I'm still the PMS Avenger with the double personality of Captain Insanely Stressed Out and cannot muster anything close to Yippee. But I was excited to go skiing and began the preparations of long unders and warm socks and whatnot. Spouse went over to the neighbor boy's house to see if we could pay him to to let the dog out a time or two.

While pulling on the left sock for skiing (yes I remember this detail), Yahoo #1 comes in the pout-face and says, "I'm not going."

I lost it. Told him to go tell his Dad before he gets hurt.

He runs to tell Dad and returns. Looks at me once and notices that I'm very very serious and very very upset. He begins the frantic pulling-on of his ski pants.

In the which I yelled - no YELLED, "YOU DO NOT GET TO GO. WE ARE CLEANING CARPETS TODAY."

And that's exactly what we did. We cleaned carpets today while Spouse and Yahoo #2 made turns in the sunshine and the snow.

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While I sit here and spew stuff onto this listening blogger (that prolly shouldn't be spewed), I'm here to say that I'm done with doing what's right. I'm done preparing and cleaning so that my housemates can have fun. I'm gonna join the selfish Betties out there who spend four hours at the gym every day, go to lunch on a whim, shop like it's free and do pretty much anything they dang-well please.

I'm done saying "no" to myself. I wanna put me first all the time. I wanna take care of number #1. I'm tired of saving money. I'm tired of not spending money so as to stay out of debt. I'm tired of missing out on fun because I've put someone else first. I'm tired of being responsible. I'm tired of my crappy furniture. I'm tired of being the only one in the neighborhood without a flat-screen TV. I'm tired of my 13-year old car. I'm tired of budgets and avoiding debt like the plague. I want it all right now.

Now.

How's that for gratitude? Where's that Thankimony that I wrote while in India? Would someone provide me with the link because I seem to be unable to find it.

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Here's the trouble with being a woman now days. It's not enough to be a mom. I was raised to believe I needed an education. And a big-girl job. And then I was convinced that in order to have a family you need to quit the big-girl job. So I quit the big-girl job and realize I cannot be happy with the goo-goo and ga-ga and I get a part time-job that stretches the mind a bit.

See? We women cannot have it all. We cannot. We've been raised to believe we can, but we cannot.

Now where the hell is that Gloria Steinem when I need to punch her? Huh? And who does she think she is getting married after all these years of her telling people to burn their brassieres and turn their noses up at matrimony.

Bitch.

So how did I do? Dramatic enough? I can do better... oh can I do better...


(P.S. I'm in bed. Spouse just brought me some food on a tray. I'm gonna publish this post now and feel better.... Later!)

Friday, January 01, 2010

CLEAR!

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I need a defibrillator for my new year.

It's January 1, 2010 at 11:20am. I'm watching Lost (all 5 seasons, for the second time.) I'm also thinking that I would be perfectly happy if watching Lost was all that I accomplished this year. I might just sit here all year long with a beverage in my left hand and my right hand nestled cozily in the waste band of my pajama pants.

Anyone got a defibrillator?

This is metaphorical of course. What are your defibrillators?