Shut Up, The Machine!!

Did everyone wake up lazy and illiterate one morning?  Srsly, it’s like the robots are taking over.  I haaaate when things that aren’t supposed to talk to me talk to me.  Talking toys?  Creepy.  Talking idiots?  Annoying.  Talking dogs?  Um, have you SEEN Beverly Hills Chihuahua?  (I haven’t, I’m making judgments based on the previews.  Because come ON.)  S0 what is the DEAL with these machines that suddenly won’t shut up??

They’re sneaky, is what they are.  I’ll be happily using a machine, be it the ATM, the gas pump, the little machine that spits out your tickets at the movies, etc., and suddenly I’m being engaged in conversation by some disembodied voice that is commenting on what I’m doing right then.  And they’re not quiet about it.  Noooo sir.  Me: Swipes debit card to get my movie ticket.  The Machine: HEYYYYYY THERE PERSON GOING TO SEE Justin Bieber: Never Say Never*!  DON’T FORGET TO STOCK UP ON PLENTY OF HOTDOGS AND SUGARY, SUGARY SODA BEFORE WANDERING IN TO THE THEATER!  ALSO, BASED ON THIS SELECTION YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY GNOMEO AND JULIET – PRESS 1 TO BUY TICKETS AND MAKE IT A DOUBLE FEATURE!

Machine, I will beat you down.  I hate being yelled at by people.  At least I can tell people to tone it down.  But when a machine yells at me, all I can do is stand there and look around while people stare.  All I can do is be like “Uhhh yeah…this machine’s talking to me.  Anyone else seeing Justin Bieber Movie*?  No, just me?  Cool…”  It’s ridiculous.

Whatever happened to just employing normal (or at least functioning) human people to do things like give me my movie tickets and complete transactions at the checkout line?**  At least when they were super peppy, made odd suggestions, and yelled at me I could glare at them and make snide comments back.  “Gnomeo and Juliet, you say?  I promised my seven grandchildren and their elderly mother that I  would take them to see that next weekend.  So it’s just The Beebs* for me, thanks.”  When I talk to the machines, people look at me funny.  Dislike.

* You people know that the only way I’m going to be present at that movie is if they play it at my own funeral, right?  Kgood.
** This is a hypothetical question.  Please do not tell me what actually happened to any of those things.  If you want to complain about something, go get your own blog. 😛 I love you.

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Right now, I live in God’s freezer.

If you are located in or have even one friend located in Texas, particularly south of Dallas, you are probably already painfully aware of this ridiculousness.  But y’all, it is FREEZING out there.  And you may or may not remember my lime tree?  I’m desperately trying to keep it alive.

So  this unacceptably cold weather blew in on Monday night.  I woke up Tuesday to temperatures were above freezing but already in the lower 40s.  COLD*!  So I decided that I needed to go ahead and do what I could to save the tree!  It’s still rather small and I don’t think the roots go down very deeply.  I went to the garage to try to find mulch to insulate the roots, but no luck.  I had a half a bag of potting soil, so I took it, a blanket, and some duct tape out to the backyard.  I was on a mission!

Ok, I have lived in Texas my whole life.  I played in a soccer tourney in San Antonio during a cold snap when I was about 8 and my hands got so cold that I nearly got frostbite.  I cried and cried while they warmed my hands back up after a game, it hurt SO badly.  I can run around outside in August when it’s 100 degrees and sunny but I do NOT do well in cold weather, at all.  It’s just not me.  So there’s my backstory.

It was freaking windy outside, so  I dumped the potting soil around the base of the tree while the dogs sniffed around, really interested in what I was doing.  Now for the blanket.  My dad said just to wrap the whole tree with the blanket.  No problem right?  Umm…well for starters, the wind was whipping the blanket all over the place.  The dogs were in my face, being jerks.  My hands, even inside their toasty gloves, were already cold and stiff.  I was losing already!

Finally, finally, I managed to get the blanket tossed over the tree, long enough to get the duct tape.  Turns out, it takes more duct tape than you think to get a blanket wrapped around a lime tree.  Oh, also?  Lime trees are POINTY.  So now I was cold, a little out of breath, and all scratched up.  FML.  But eventually, yay!!!  I got the tree wrapped up with a blanket and duct taped together!  I’ve actually never done that before.

I dumped a little extra potting soil on the sago palms and RAN back to the house, making sure that neither of the dogs (or I!) fell in the pool on the way.  Success!!  BUT THEN…!

I checked from the kitchen and the wind was catching the blanket like a sail and bending the tree waaaaaay over.  Like I said, it’s still a small tree.  It’s only had one fruit-bearing season and even then only produced one teeeeeny tiny little lime.  So as much as I didn’t want the tree to freeze, I also didn’t want it to snap in half.  I needed a way to brace it.  And then, LIGHTBULB!  I ran back out, grabbed one of the plastic lawn chairs off the porch, and put it on its side up against the tree with on set of legs on either side and the bottom of the chair bracing the 3rd side.  I win!  And it’s a brilliant solution!  But unfortch, my backyard now looks ridiculous.  And a little bit redneck.

Ok, a lot redneck.  But we have a lime tree!

* “Cold” to me is anything below 55 degrees.  But it’s been below 30 for two days now and the wind has been ridiculous and I know that to some people out there, that’s April, but to me, it’s hell.  And if you’re thinking “Mere could never survive where I live,” you are definitely not wrong.  And that is why I live here. 🙂

A Table For 4…For SEVEN!

Has it srsly been since October since I wrote here?  Jeez, this is ridiculous.  Right now I’m mostly just writing to write – I can’t think of too much ridiculousness that has happened to me lately.  When did my life get so drama-free?!

In housekeeping news, feel free to check out my new and improved list of “Shiny Things.”  In addition to fun blogs you can check out a trivia podcast that people swear to me is funny but I’ve never listened to.  So now, on to something stupid that happened to me this week.

SO, Kt has finished her OT degree and had to take her board exam this week to get her license.  She’s completely awesome, so I’m sure she did just great, but either way, we all knew we needed to celebrate this huge accomplishment by our awesome friend.  So we scheduled time for Friday night and let Kt pick wherever she wanted to go for dinner, drinks, and general mayhem.  Kt’s poor brain is a bit fried from cramming it with information and then brutally tearing that same information out of it while taking the test, so she had trouble coming up with ideas for a place to go after the rest of us got off work on Friday.  So she went with an old standby up north.

Keep in mind, this is a particularly popular Tex-Mex restaurant that is frequently super crowded, especially on the weekends.  So we expected to wait.  But it’s no big deal – we’re celebrating!  The Gebs (that’s Kt and her husband Mark) arrived between 6:30 and 6:45 and requested a table for 7.  Seven.  The number you learned to count to when you were three years old.  They were told by the hostesses that it would be about an hour wait.  No big deal at all, we figured.  The seven of us hadn’t been all together since we got back from our cruise at the beginning of the month, there’s plenty to catch up on!

So an hour comes and goes, and we don’t hear anything.  Then about an hour and fifteen minutes after the Gebs had originally gotten there, the buzzer goes off.  Yay!  But wait: they buzzed us to tell us that they don’t have a table.  Oh…kay?  I don’t know if this is policy or what, but it’s kind of like calling someone up when you owe them money and just being like “Hey…I still owe you money, dude.”  It’s not necessary.  We didn’t forget that we were waiting for a table, we’re hanging out right by the hostess stand, actively waiting for a table.  The hostess then brilliantly tells us: “We have a table for four.”

Sha-WHAT?  I’m not sure what she wanted us to do.  We could try to SQUEEZE seven grown-ass adults around a card table built for four.  Or we could have a death match and only the four who survive get to stay and eat.  OR four of us could sit and eat while the other three stand there, then we all switch places and the rest of the group gets to eat!  I’m still not sure how any of these are a solution, but I want to poke that girl in the eye.

So back to waiting.  Except we had all gotten up when the buzzer had gone off, so this really obnoxious woman with two horribly behaved children and an indifferent spouse had already stolen the bench where we were sitting.  So now we’re standing around, pretty much hovering over the hostess stand, not trying to be annoying, just standing.

Thirty more minutes go by.  Drinks are ordered and finished.  Seasons pass.  Tex-Mex starts to sound less and less awesome but by now we’ve invested nearly 2 hours of our lives in getting a table and eating a friggin burrito so we figure we might as well stay.  We located the tables in the restaurant where large groups of people were eating and we started sending mental “Hurry the f up!” vibes.  The buzzer went off again.  Hooray!

The hostess tells us she has a table for six.  Can we put a chair on the end for our seventh?  No.  So it’s a table for six.  Ok – I understand being a busy, popular restaurant on a Friday, but if you’re not going to have a table for seven, you’re just not going to have a table for seven.  Don’t tell somebody it’s going to be an hour and then make them wait two.  And honestly, offering a group a table that they clearly don’t fit at isn’t a solution at all.  And Ben, who had gone to the gym and worked out with his trainer, was in dire need of food.  He literally couldn’t wait and was ready to walk.

They told us they were calling a manager over to comp a round of drinks for us.  So the manager, who is totally nice and seems infinitely brighter than his host staff, comes over and schmoozes us for a little bit.  We’re definitely not sold on waiting any longer, free drinks or no free drinks.  And then, suddenly, as if by magic, the manager gets us a table for seven.  Which happens to be a table for six with a chair on the end.

So…WTF?  Two hours later, we are escorted to our table, all seven of us, with a round of free margaritas (Sprite for me).  What a weird freaking night.  And I was way too tired for post-dinner mayhem, since dinner didn’t end until after 10:00.  And it wasn’t even that we had to wait 2 hours for a table that irked me so badly.  It was the “solutions” that we were offered.  I srsly have no idea how any of those would have been better than just saying “We’re really sorry, but it doesn’t look like we’re going to be able to accomodate you this evening unless you want to wait two hours.”  To quote Ben: “I’m never coming to this branch again!”

Reply To All (Except Me)

Hi again!

Let’s talk about technology.  It’s good, right?  I obviously love the interwebz.  I don’t think I could get through a week at work without e-mail, instant messenger, and/or internet access.  I think that if Liz stopped sending me adorkable pictures of baby animals five times a day I’d go a little bit nuts.  From the first IM I get in the morning to the weird picture of a dog in a diaper on my desktop, my computer is probably my work BFF.  Every now and then, though, technology is just friggin annoying.

About two days ago, someone who works for the same agency as me accidentally forwarded one of those chain letters to me.  You know the ones.  They start out with some sad sob story or something, then they end with “If 9000 people sign this petition then (fill in the blank) will donate (insert amount of money here) to (whatever charity)!  Send this to everybody you know!”  It popped up in my inbox, I eyed it warily, and then I disregarded it.  I didn’t even take the time to read the whole thing, it was so obviously a scam.  I decided that the sender (who I have never met) sent it to me by accident and I just ignored it.

Is that irrational?  Is that not EXACTLY what you would do?  Is there something about my actions that makes you raise an eyebrow and exclaim “You did WHAT?!”

Because here’s the thing: that e-mail got forwarded to EVERY employee at my agency whose last name starts with the letters A-C.  And it’s a BIG agency.  And I’m sure that most people did exactly what I did, because it just makes sense if you don’t want to be ridiculous.  But apparently, some people decided that they needed to tell the original sender that he had made a mistake.  And at least twenty eight full grown, educated, gainfully employed adults couldn’t tell the difference between the button labeled “Reply” and “Reply To All.”

Oy.  So the first e-mails that came back were pretty harmless.  “This is a scam,” they said, or “I don’t think you meant to send this to me.”  Ok, whatever.  Then the “helpful” people started giving the “confused” people computer lessons.  “Please stop hitting ‘Reply to All.’”  Because I guess your best advice only applies to everyone in the world except you.

Then the “helpful” people were replaced by the “hostile” people. “STOP HITTING REPLY TO ALL.  We are all adults, we know how to use e-mail.  The next person who hits REPLY TO ALL is getting reported to I.T.!”  Uhhh…ok?  And what, pray tell, did YOU hit, immediately before sending that e-mail, “hostile person”??  Yeah that’s what I thought.  You’re annoying.  Besides, what is I.T. going to do?  Remove the “Reply To All” button from the e-mail system?  Order the offender to complete 3 hours of e-mail training on the agency’s dime?  Time-travel back to this morning and give me my wasted time back?  But whatever, I guess sometimes it just feels good to threaten somebody you’ve never met.

So eventually, an entire page of my e-mail was taken up by the responses, and I did exactly what any of you who know me would expect me to do.  I got out a sticky note, titled it “Idiots,” and started a tally.  At last count, I was up to 28.  And counting…

The Ocean: Still Not A Petting Zoo

Hi kids!

No I haven’t forgotten you, I just haven’t blogged in a while.  Anyhoo, here’s a fun story.

D and I recently (like, last week) took an awesome vacation.  Seriously – an entire week on the beautiful Carnival Conquest, cruising from Galveston to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel.  It effing rocked.  We made friends (awesome ones!), ate tons of ridiculous food, drank spiffy tropical drinks in the sunshine, and took naps.  Naps.

Do you know when I last had a nap?  I fell asleep at my desk for a total of three minutes about five weeks ago.  Before then, I don’t think I’d taken a single nap since I started my job.  They just don’t fit in to my schedule.  BUT, my friends, I love me a good nap.  And last week, I took at least six of them.  It was downright glorious.

Any time D and I take a cruise, the last port day, regardless of where it is (even though it’s always Cozumel) is our designated beach day.  Again, this time it was Cozumel.  We have a favorite beach there, Paradise Beach, which is about a 5 or 6 minute cab ride straight down the main road away from Puerta Maya.  It’s free to get in, they’ve got an awesome bar, they serve good food, and the beach ROCKS.  Unfortunately, a certain part of the beach rocks literally, but more about that in a minute.

Anyhoo, you might not know that I am an avid snorkeler (that’s a noun).  I’ve snorkeled all over the world – the Pacific, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, the Adriatic – I’m not making this crap up, I seriously, seriously love to snorkel.  So in Cozumel I decided to do a little shore snorkeling.

Paradise Beach has a nice little wooden pier that you can wander out on to into deeper water so you don’t have to spend your time getting pounded by the waves and then trying to avoid the crazy children and drunk adults (and maybe some drunk children, it’s Mexico after all, who knows?) bouncing around on the water trampolines and giant inflatable toys (which are awesome) when you really just want to get your snorkel on.  I got out into the deeper water and kind of floated around for a while, and when I decided to get back to D and our bucket of beer, I noticed I was way closer to the shore than to the pier with the ladder.  No biggie, I’ll just let the waves kind of drag me back to shore.

Oh but wait, there’s some rocks in the water.  Another thing you should probably know about me: I’m super scared of stuff touching me in the water.  I’m pretty sure I am destined to be eaten by a shark at some point in my life (let’s face it, probably near the end of my life…), probably somewhere stupid like a public pool or the duck pond by my house.  Stuff in the water freaks me out.  Fish, seaweed, rocks, whatever, I don’t care, get it off of me.  Odd, I know, for someone who actually spends a great deal of time looking for stuff in the water.  I’m fine when I can see it, I’m even ok when it’s kind of close to me.  But if any of the cast of The Little Mermaid actually comes within an arm’s distance of me, I freak.  Ask anyone I went to college with: I wear shoes in the river.  I’m not ashamed.  I’m smart.  Because there’s crap at the bottom of the river (and lake, and ocean, as I am about to tell you) that you just don’t want to touch your feet.  Or any part of your body, actually, but what are you going to do, wear overalls?

Anyway – back to my story.  The rocks.  I tried to kind of avoid them as I made my way back to the shore, but one bastard wave knocked me down, causing me to kick a pretty good sized rock (about 2 feet tall in about 4 1/2 feet of water), knocking my left fin off of my foot.  Keep in mind, these are rented and the beach guy has my driver’s license as collateral (but really he has my old expired DL with my old address on it so joke’s on him).  Chihuahua.

SO, I embark on a flipper rescue mission.  Luckily they were bright blue, so I was able to see it, kind of wedged oddly between the rock and another rock (God I hope it was just another rock!).  Doing my best to balance on my be-flippered right foot while being relentlessly smacked around by the waves (THANKS, waves), I reached for the flipper.  Success!!  Except now I’ve been knocked off my right foot (again, with the waves).

Annnnd now I’m totally off balance and my choices are two.  1) Do nothing, get knocked the eff over by the waves, possibly lose at least one of my fins permanently, probably lose my snorkel and mask, probably land on my back and/or side up against the big rock, get rolled around under the water, probably swallow a gallon of seawater, and look completely ridiculous in front of a lot of people on the beach.  OR: 2) Voluntarily put my bare left foot on the rock (EW!) and regain my balance.  It may seem like an easy choice, kiddos, but I promise you: it was not.  Unfortunately, reluctantly, I rested my naked little left foot on the rock long enough to let the wave pass without getting completely rolled over.  Ugh.

But wait, isn’t this story about some kind of aquatic petting zoo?  NO.  It’s about the stupid little sea urchin that had decided to make that particular spot on that particular rock it’s little sea urchiny home right at that moment.  Of all of the chance meetings in my life, I’m not really scared to say that this was in my top five suckiest.

Sure enough, I managed to get back to my beach chair (all of my snorkeling gear present and accounted for, thank you very much) and dust off my sandy feet to find – YEP – a lovely little black sea urchin spine RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE of my big toe.  Yowza.  And, just for good measure, there were two other spots on my foot that the little guy managed to sink his little spines in to.  Jagweed sea urchin.  What did I ever do to you?!  Aside from entering your ocean home and fee-fie-foe-fumming my way around your rock until I stepped on you, I mean.

I managed to make it back to the ship (let’s face it, a big toe isn’t all that necessary when you’ve got an extra one and have maybe had a few beers) and dug out most of the spine from my toe with a handy sewing needle that happened to be in one of my bags.

And if the story ended there, you’d be done reading now.  But alas, there is the aftermath.  Apparently, this girl is allergic to sea urchins.  And my life got RIDICULOUS.  Perhaps you are familiar with Janice from Electric Mayhem?  That is what I looked like when I woke up on Saturday morning.  Srsly, my lips were like…I don’t know, sausages.  Giant.  Huge.  Out of control.  The rest of my face?  I have no idea, I couldn’t stop staring at my lips.  Bring on the ice and Benadryl!  Ugh.

Over the course of the day, they slowly (sllloooowwwwly) deflated.  I finally felt sort of comfortable leaving the room by about noon (I’d first gotten up about 4:30 or 5:00 AM and had been icing my face since then).  It’s Tuesday now (technically Wednesday, I guess) and they’re still not back to normal.  They’re a little closer to the “right” size but they’re still ridiculous.  And wonderfully scaly.  It’s so sexy.  And I’m on a combo of Benadryl and steroids, which makes me the perfect amount of weird, so there’s that.

But yeah, even given the bizarro ending, that vacation freakin rocked.  FREAKIN.  ROCKED.  We’re cruising again in January (this time with TToA!) and I can’t wait. 🙂

We Are Raptors

Yeah, so my dogs and I are going to start a wolfpack.  I have a pug (Rygel) and my grandmother’s old lab (Angel, yeah I didn’t name her).  We’re not the most likely of wolfpack-ninjas.  But wolfpack-ninjas we are, my friends.

Tonight, there was a giant waterbug.  GIANT.  Like 2 feet long, with antennae and pinchers.  I saw it eat a baby.  It was huge.  And it was smugly hanging around near the top of one of the walls in the living room, as if to mock the three of us and our inability to climb walls or fly.  I hate most things creepy and/or crawly, so I immediately leapt off the couch to go wake D (yeah poor guy) and ask where the flyswatter was.  D’s been working super long hours lately, so not only did he take forever to wake up, he just kind of laid there whispering “Flyswatter!  Flyswatter!  Flyswatter!” over and over like it was a hilarious word.  Ok…funny, but not helpful.

So I left him to sleep and sought other options.  Then it hit me: shoes!  Not shoes, so much as flip-flop.  D’s flip-flop (he deserves it for not getting out of bed) to be precise.  Angel was going bananas watching the Eevil bug.  She’s a bug connoiseur to be sure, and I’m sure she was beside herself with the anticipation of tasting the crunchy, delicious Massive Four-Headed Roach.  Alas, the bug was still out of my reach.

This might stop one person and two dogs.  It does not, however, stop a wolfpack.  Instead, I chunked the flip-flop at the roach, scoring a direct hit (!!!) and knocking that mofo off the wall.  Angel and Rygel both nipped at it as it tumbled, but it managed to regain its composure and settled a little lower on the wall.  Then Angel, who may be old and slightly decrepit but is a crackerjack bug nabber, knocked the giant roach off the wall and both dogs began chasing it around the living room.  Angel managed to pin it and gave it a pretty good nip, and then I finished it off with a solid THWACK of the flip-flop.  FREAKING AWESOME.

That’s right, we’re pack hunters.  Like velociraptors.  Or a wolfpack.  And my wolfpack has three.

“I’m British. I know how to queue.”

I would just like to announce to the four of you who read my blog that I am completely annoyed (shocking, I know) by people at the grocery store.  Specifically, people in line at the grocery store.  Inevitably, I end up in the Most Ridiculous Line Ever any time I end up in a line, anywhere.  Unfortch, this is made worse by people who put their groceries on the little conveyor belt, then stand there and read a magazine (like a real magazine, not “reading a magazine,” sickos) so that I have no room to put my groceries on the conveyor belt behind yours.  Which wouldn’t matter anyway, because you can’t be bothered to lean over and get the little grocery-divider stick that separates your nasty and weird foods from my delicious normal groceries.  So then finally the conveyor belt moves enough so that if I’m standing at the end of the belt I can kind of start slowly loading my stuff on it.  While you’re *so* caught up in pictures of Kim Kardashian going to Starbucks.  And yes, I saw you leaning over the conveyor belt while you were standing there ignoring the cashier and being an obnoxious human being, so I did intentionally place a few objects where I knew they’d hit you as they slid by.  Know why?  Because I’m mean too.  But at least when I do it, I do it for a reason.

Also: Bonus points for anyone who can identify the origin of the quote in the title of this post.  Without Googling it, cheaters.  Now I know how Duffy feels.

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