Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Quiz - It's Fun!

Below are two options to see an eye doctor - choose the one that seems easiest for all involved:

a. A doctor close to your office - just a few blocks away.

b. Have your spouse drive you to the train station where you can take your usual train to work - the early train, the one that comes before the sun rises - so you can take a different train later on a different system to another part of town where you'll need to have your spouse come and pick you up after the appointment, which will require driving in rush hour traffic on streets clogged with construction equipment, with three lanes merging down to one and no easy way into/out of the area where the doctor is located

If you chose a., you're crazy and probably a total bore. If you chose b., you're my husband and isn't this fun!?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ready for Fun

Bring on the winter festival of fun! My good friends Ms. Crafty and G-money SnowSports will be visiting in January and there's already a week-long list of activities to look forward to.

Skiing, ice skating on an actual frozen lake, tubing, and snowshoeing. I don't even ski and I want to go right now.

Cabin fever? It would seem so.

And, I get to wear snow pants. Never had snow pants before. I saw them at Costco the other day and today I went back to get some.

If you've ever shopped through the clothes at Costco, you know it's not as much like shopping as it is like digging through a huge mess of a closet.

Whatever size you think you want will always be at the bottom of a heap of clothes, everything unfolded and chucked hither and yon.

I dug through the pile for so long, I thought management was going to come out and ask me to please be on my way. I even fended off several women who thought they might try to brave the pile - they saw my determination and realized I'd be there a while.

What I was digging for was a pair of black pants in the only size they did not have - small. Lots and lots of extra larges, larges and a few mediums and even one XTRA small.

The one small I found, alas, was purple. Well, more like "wine," or burgundy, or claret let's say. Not my favorite, but paired with the black turtleneck sweater I found on the table behind the pants, I'll look a little less like a cat burglar.

Now I just have to re-break in my very old ice skates and I'm good to go. Today I did the dishes in them and practiced spirals in the living room. I should probably look for a job pretty soon.

Friday, November 14, 2008

El Retardo Strikes Again

He did it again – thankfully that doesn’t include biting me again.

The boy cats play/fight fairly frequently, sometimes very early in the morning, but something sounded very different this morning.

At 4:30 am I jumped out of bed knowing something was wrong – Gato Tardo and Neo had raced into the bedroom fighting, but I saw Neo still in the doorway while Ninja was somewhere else, hissing and meowling like he was dying. I thought a raccoon or another cat somehow found a way into the house.

On the other side of the bed I found him. He'd managed to get a claw on his back foot caught in his wooly “security blanket” and he panicked. He was hissing and fighting the blanket – and fighting with us as we tried to get it free.

While he was struggling Neo pounced on him - attacked him for real – almost like he wanted to put down the rebellion or take out a weak herd member. We got Neo out of the way and I scruffed Ninja as hard as I could but he still got free and almost chomped me.

He tore out of the bedroom and all through the house, finally stopping in the kitchen where he rolled over onto his back, as if to plead for help. I grabbed the kitchen shears and managed to cut the blanket near his foot and he ran off.

I followed him up to the loft where I talked to him to try to calm him down. As soon as he relaxed, the little shred of blanket that was left on his foot came right off.

It took over an hour to calm ME down and get back to sleep. We would like to trade him in for some Tupperware.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Birds Might be Stupid

Maybe not all birds, and maybe not most parrots, but my bird - he's either a little stupid or very smart, or maybe I'm the stupid one - that's usually the case.

Just about every morning I bundle up in my sexy microfleece robe and I'm instantly warm and ready to work. It's become my Wonder Boys robe, only because I seem to never take it off, especially since we moved here.

Henry loves this robe - I *guess* because if I'm wearing it, it means I'm not going anywhere too soon. He wants me here at his beck and squawk at all hours of the day.

And usually my hair is down and a complete mess. Because if I'm going to schlub around the house in a robe all day, why on earth would I bother combing my hair? I can't be a crazy cat lady if I get dressed and GROOM myself. I have an image to maintain.

This morning was trash day - very exciting - and that means not only gathering up the trash, but scooping out the cat boxes so it's ALL gone and out of the house. To do this, I take off my cherished robe and put my hair up.

This is when Henry goes from being a goofy, loving pet bird to an insane, homicidal maniac who will kill me if I get too close.

The sweet pet bird sits happily on his tree with slightly fluffed feathers, chattering to no one in particular, then the maniac comes out with tail feathers splayed to full width, head feathers in the tell-tale triangle of death, wings pulled out from his sides and eyes pinning wildly while he makes an eerie trilling noise - the last noise you'll hear before he rips your jugular out of your neck.

When this transformation happens, I speak to him in quiet, soothing tones, go about my business and maintain as much distance as I can. He's been known to jump off the cage at me. Nothing more fun than dodging a crazed bird in mid-flight with a 1000lbs/psi beak coming right for you.

He kept up his menacing display while I finished the cat boxes & got the trash ready to take outside. I came back inside and thought I'd try a little experiment. I went to the bathroom to wash up, then I put the robe back on and took my hair down.

I came out and walked over to his cage and he was still prancing around like an idiot, but he immediately started talking to me instead of making that shitty noise that means he wants to see me dead.

I talked to him and kept my distance, but his attitude had instantly changed. He was still excited, but he was happy. A few minutes later, he was asking "do you wanna come out?" which means any/all of these things: I want to come out of my cage, I want whatever you're eating, I want to sit on your shoulder and look out the window, I'm in my cage with the door open but I've forgotten it's open - can you please let me out, or Those cats are really stupid and you should let them out - permanently.

He seems to know that if I'm wearing shoes I'll be leaving the house, even if I'm in the robe, if the shoes are on, he knows it's time to get into his padded cell and take his nap.

He seems to know if I'm putting things into a bag and zipping zippers, I'll be leaving the house. He's started making the zipper noise, maybe thinking I'll grab him along with the other stuff and take him with me.

What's really insane about all this is he's still just a baby - he's only 10. I have another 40 or 50 years (or so - we'll see how the vitamins do) to observe this strange creature and try to understand what's going on in that walnut-sized head. He's got another 70 years or so to learn fluent English so his next caretaker might have an easier time figuring him out.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It's the Little Things

I learned the other day that a friend from one former employer is now working with another friend at another former employer (ye olde Electronic Arts), and though those two friends didn't know each other before, they do now and that makes me very happy.

They're both great people and will no doubt enjoy working together. Weird that both jobs where I met them feel like a lifetime ago, like a story I read years ago.

Part of that story from EA includes perhaps one of my proudest professional achievements. An achievement that still benefits the female EA employees to this day.

Once upon a time in the early days of the gaming industry, a little start up company named Electronic Arts wanted to build a new campus with fantastic amenities that included a sweet cafe/restaurant, a Club One-run gym, and actual locker rooms where one could shower after abusing the gym equipment (or the cafe).

Excited about our new home away from home, we went on a tour soon before it was finished to check out the beautiful lobbies with glass walls and gaming set ups for guests, and the huge gymnasium with a giant EA Sports logo painted on the boards.

After admiring the fine work in the gym, we proceeded into the locker room area. Still unfinished, it was large and really nice. Big, spacious lockers and plenty of room for many babes to clean up, change, dry the hair - everything.

And then my eye caught the large stainless steel box firmly installed on the wall near the toilets. With coin slots and pull levers, but it wasn't a million-dollar jackpot slot machine.

Oh no, this you see is where we were going to have to dig up a quarter to buy a tampon. A tampon that costs maybe a dime retail - I'm going to be charged for that when I just walked through a huge gym sporting an EAS logo? Really?

So, EA Sports gets not only their own, exclusive sports bar that the commoners are not allowed to use, they also get their own gymnasium and I have to pay for a fugging tampon? Again, really?

I was sooooooooo offended. Wouldn't you be? I was voicing my disbelief about this [shocking, I'm sure] and a friend of mine told me I should take it up with the VP of Facilities. Which is exactly what I did the moment I was back in front of my computer.

I sent him the very nicest, well-written email I knew how to write asking if sanitary products could be made available for free. I carefully outlined all the benefits that would be enjoyed by the employees as well as EA, making sure to tie it all into the main purpose of the new campus - provide everything we need so we never have to leave. Ever.

Maybe uncomfortable with the topic, he kicked it over to the CEO/Chairman who was refreshingly open to the idea and said Yes without any debate whatsoever. How wonderfully progressive is that?! A company run mostly by men, kicking down the free cotton ponies & pads.

Of course, I and all my girlie friends were ecstatic. Life went on and it was good. I enjoyed another few years there, never having to worry about getting caught off guard without change - that's a very nice thing.

I forgot all about it until this week when my friend who just started at EA confirmed that yes, sanitary products are still available for free in the bathrooms. I couldn't be more proud.

Friday, November 07, 2008

No Order Return Policy

(the old screen, soon to be replaced - cat sold separately)

As some readers might remember, I've had a little trouble finding a new fireplace screen here in BC. Because I'm such a wuss that I was looking for one in September, I was laughed out of Home Depot et al. "We don't carry those." "No one has those." No one.

But it was as if my screen was meant to find me when one day I noticed a tiny fireplace shop tucked into a strip mall just down the street. They sell all sorts of electric and gas fireplaces, mantles, tools - everything.

I stopped in a couple of weeks ago and saw no screens on display. The nice lady behind the desk said I could order one and it would be in the following Wednesday.

Usually I'd do a ton of research online and weigh the options of shipping charges & waiting vs. the time saved by getting it locally. But I was so happy to find the store and get it taken care of, I went ahead and ordered it.

When she finished charging my credit card and stapling my receipts together I asked about their return policy. You know, just in case it doesn't work out - it's nice to know what I'm getting into (or had just gotten into, having already paid for it).

She sheepishly said, "Well, I mean, I guess if something's wrong with it... but I know no one else is going to need that, so..." So... what? I can either return it or I can't - are there special circumstances I need to know about? She never did finish that sentence.

Being a fireplace store, wouldn't she be able to SELL the screen if I had to return it, it being a basic item one might expect to find in a FIREPLACE STORE? I let it go - it was highly unlikely I'd need to return it - I'd measured carefully and was certain it would work out fine.

When I relayed all this to David I told him I felt like returning it out of spite. Because she weaseled and said "I know no one else is going to need that." He told me that was maybe a little too harsh and he's probably right.

A week came and went, so the Friday after it was supposed to arrive I stopped in to pick it up. A different woman was behind the desk and she diligently tried to find a copy of my order.

When she couldn't find it, she explained that the other lady was out that day and she had organized all the boxes in the back, so she would have to come in and sort through it to find my order.

Really? She's the only one who can find my screen? Well, OK, if she's the only one who can do it, I'll come back tomorrow. Nope. She told me the lady would call me the next day to let me know if it was in.

I forgot all about it until this week when the weather turned dreary again. I phoned them up and got the same story. Only Lady #1 can sort through the boxes in the back and Lady #1 again was not there.

This is where the unfortunate DNA springs to life and I channel a little Charlotte. It's not pleasant and honestly I don't like becoming that person, but no one likes getting a bullshit runaround for something so simple. But, we left it on good terms with a promise from Lady #2 to call Lady #1 and get back to me immediately.

She came through as promised and told me Lady #1 hadn't answered any of the three calls she made and the owner didn't answer his phone either. She said she'd call me again first thing in the morning. Alrighty then.

She came through on that as well, putting Lady #1 on the phone to explain that she'd made a little mistake. She put my paperwork in the "done" pile and never placed the order. Did I still want her to order the screen? I reminded her that she'd already charged me for it. She giggled and said "I know!" Isn't it hilarious!? I told her I was in the middle of something and I'd call her back in a little while.

I went to eBay and found a much nicer screen for less money and bought it. I called Lady #1 back and asked her to refund the charge. She totally saved me the trouble of returning it!

What's funny about this, besides the hilariously poor customer service and the hysterical blooper of stealing my money, is that as soon as I signed the credit slip I felt like maybe I should have done some homework first. That maybe I'd just made a mistake.

That little voice - she's always right - she's just not LOUD enough sometimes. Or I'm just too stupid sometimes.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Happy Birthday, Smack Jackson

I know how you all love reading about me and all the riveting things that happen to me and my brilliant ideas about the world - I know it's the best part of your day to stop here and get your Nootsmaak fix. You don't have to thank me... although you could. I wouldn't stop you.

But today we're going to take a brief - BRIEF - break from the gift that is me and wish my hubby a happy birthday. He wasn't ecstatic about turning 40, but maybe after a little while he'll realize it's a meaningless number. Except when it's time to renew the health insurance.

Smack is a Midwestern boy and I'm glad he found me. It's difficult to find quality mates in San Francisco. My single girlfriends will back me up on that. Lots of self-absorption and "you're so lucky to know me" going on. And I should know since you're soooo lucky to know me.

Bear in mind, I'm not dissing all potential partners, just some. Or most - your mileage may vary. By the time Smack hinted that he might want to be more than friends, I'd given up on dating in SF. Taken myself off the market. I'm a terrible dater.

When Mr. Man sent me that email (we're both geeks) about maybe going out sometime, I sort-of became Kristen Wiig's Excited Sue character.

I'd known him for a year or so - we were both involved with other people most of that time - but even when I first met him, I instantly respected him. That's rare.

He's a good person, through and through. And so damn funny. The shit he says kills me. And omigod, he has such a fine ass. I can't not mention that. Dreamy. And he loves cats. Loves them. He's the reason we have THREE of them. And I love the little lines around his eyes when he smiles. Gorgeous.

And it's not just me who thinks he's great - my family prefers him over me most of time. I don't think he realizes how great he is, and maybe that's another thing to like about him.

So, Happy Birthday - I love you and can't wait to see what the next 40 years has in store for you.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Stoopid Time Change

I don't understand why we keep doing this. Stupid, stupid, stupid, stoopid, and obviously, it's making me cranky.

The cats are pissed, too. They have regulated stomach clocks that do not just automatically adjust. Now we're tired, cranky AND have to watch our backs.

The only good thing that ever happened as a result of "falling back" was many, many years ago when I was first living in San Francisco.

I'd been to an almost all-night Halloween party the night before and ended up sharing a cab home with some guy who thought he was coming home with me. Too much beer can make a lot of things seem real.

When the cab got close to my neighborhood, I told the driver to pull over, got out and sprinted through Park Merced - where everything looks the same - and easily lost the guy with plans for a slumber party.

Upstairs, face down on my bed, the last thing I remembered from that night was wondering how I got inside my apartment. Seems I'd forgotten how keys work when you put them into the lock and turn them the right direction. Seriously, seriously drunk and impaired.

Woke up later that morning with an awful hangover and realized I was late for work. The job I just got back at another store closer to school - that morning was my first day back. And I was late. Awesome.

I called the office and the phone rang and rang and rang. Holy shit, it must be so busy they can't even get to the phone. I'm screwed, I'm screwed, I'm screwed, I'm screwed. No, no, no, no, no - what a colossal blunder.

Standing [slumped over] in the shower, I realized - holy shit, FALL BACK. I actually got there on time. Since then, I haven't had any use for standard time.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Stuff For Stockings

Just in time for the shopping no one wants (or is able) to do, thanks to the fine state of the economy: calendars!

Finally got some stuff organized and I'm building an empire. Why pick a time when the economy's doing well? That's for sissies.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Romantic Weight Loss

Got a piece of spam yesterday I almost deleted - I'm so glad I took a moment to read the preview before losing it forever.

My new friends at ColonMed700 are offering me a wonderful Free Colon Cleanse Sample enabling me to Lose Weight With My Mate Today.

Isn't that terrific? We'll grow even closer while we race each other to the toilet with horrific abdominal cramps and explosive diarrhea. I ordered a 90-supply.