Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Feel The Love, Baby!

I opened the first letter of a large stack that was handed to me this morning to read the words, "I can't tell you to go to hell because you're already there..."
Wooo!  I love working for a health insurance company!  The hate mail is incredibly entertaining.
Before I continue, I should mention that PR and sales is what I have been doing with my professional life for the last 25 years, and for some reason I only seem to take on the impossible missions, in which I swear I can perform a miracle and sew a sow's ear into a purse (a lot like my love-life, I might add), so, consider me a retarded optimist if you must, and let that be your guide as you continue reading.  I'm a bit of a blithering idiot who always looks for the best in a person, even when they don't deserve it.  Polly-freaking-Anna.  That's who opens the hate mail.
The truth is, as much as is wrong with health insurance, and, there is a LOT (don't get me started), I believe to the very core of my soul that they can be fixed.  How?  By hiring a whole bunch of people like me...people who hate health insurance companies.
(Yeah, you didn't think your hate mail would land in the hands of someone who thinks health insurance companies can be evil did you?  Surprise!  You didn't think your hate mail would land in the hands of a single mother who has to hustle just to make ends meet, and even though I HAVE insurance, still got stuck with a three THOUSAND dollar medical bill when my evil insurance company refused to pay something, even though they admitted it was a legitimate medical expense.  You think I'm OK with paying $400 a month in premiums that I can't afford, only to have them blow me off when I really need them?  I don't think so...I HATE health insurance companies.  Hate.  And for the record, I am not insured by the company for whom I work...)
I am not, and have never been, a Toe The Party Line type of person, and because of my long-standing feelings about health insurance companies, I can assure you that I look at every directive in my work day with a questioning eye.  Why?  Because in my opinion, health insurance is broken, and as the Queen of Lost Causes, I have taken it upon myself fix up my teeny little part of it in my own personal bullshit removal effort.
You might be thinking, Dear Hate Mail Writer, that you and I are not so different--after all, we both feel the same about this product I'm hawking every day--but here is the difference:  You got angry, and wrote a pissy letter.  I get angry, every day, and I go to work.  You want change?  I suggest you do the same.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Things I Need

You can think of it as a wish-list if you want to.  Since I'm not one of those who keeps a wish list on the blog--always thought it was a bit strange, in a begging for stuff kind of way--I just want to say up front that as usual, I'm just venting, and expect nothing in return.  However, if any of you feel compelled to step up, don't let me stop you...
In no particular order:
  • To be able to be beamed to work and back.  And to be able to do the same for my children, for their various activities in which I need to drive them.  Seriously, every time I get in my car anymore, I just look at the gas gauge and think how dumb it is to be in my car again, using, using, using...the bus schedule and I are about to get very friendly.
  • Magic wand for kitchen cleaning purposes.
  • Todd Rundgren to sing his entire album, A Wizard, A True Star, from end to end, right here in Minneapolis....What?  He's actually doing that?  Cool...I'll start working on getting a seat! (Strange....I didn't know I needed that until somebody put it right in front of me....what is this, Sharper Image?)
  • Somebody to get me coffee.  Not on a regular basis, just, right now.
  • To know where my daughter hid the brownies.
  • To have an amazingly restful night of sleep, preferably in the arms of someone fabulous.  Like an all-night hug.
  • Total confidence with the kids' school transportation arrangements.  I realize I did a bad-bad thing by moving out of Edina...(HA!  just kidding...) and the fact that transportation is provided all the way over to my house a whole 3 miles away is an amazingly wonderful thing.  I'm just a worrier.  I want someone to say, "If the children stand at this exact spot at this exact time, a big yellow bus will take them where they need to be, and home again, and there will be no problems, and there will be much rejoicing through the land," while I continue to be thoroughly amazed by the transportation infrastructure in this city.
  • More magic wands, for purposes of making large piles of paperwork and mail disappear from my desk.
  • Someone to get me coffee.  I wasn't kidding about that.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Tonight, We Hug Our Children

A friend of my daughter, aged 14, passed away this past weekend.  As a parent, I couldn't imagine it, and am incredibly fortunate that I don't have to.
In the atmosphere that I've been living in this year, thick with change and not just a little chaos, where the trick is to just keep running from fire to fire with a bucket of water, I have made no time to consider, what if tomorrow, it all went away? 
I feel foolish, and a bit arrogant today, for always thinking that success or failure of a thing is entirely dependent on my actions.  Sometimes, things happen that are completely out of our hands--nothing to be done, never saw it coming--the reasons why, we don't want to think about, maybe not for a long time.  One day, though, maybe soon, maybe not, something will happen to remind you of someone that came into your life, and left again--maybe you haven't spoken to them for a long time, or they have passed on--and in that thing becoming a precious memory, you will find your reason.  Rest in peace.  Your friends will miss you.


I was of the mind that I would write a quick summary of the 10KLF, which I attended on Saturday, but I knew, even before I was halfway through the day there, that there would be no quick summary.  That's the thing about putting me in the middle of a crowd of 30,000 people--I notice things, and relate those things to some deeper thing that has nothing to do with anything in the present moment.  My head was full on Saturday, almost to the point of distraction.

Mostly, this manifests itself in not talking, which I suppose can be annoying to the person you're with, but I think my friend was doing pretty much the same thing.  I'm sure we would have been perfectly happy not saying a damn thing all day--for me, though, that sort of conversation-free existence begs for cuddly leaning on each other in some kind of semi-dazed, totally relaxed state, but not only are we not that kind of friends, we also didn't indulge in any of the abundant cannabis floating around that evening.  Might have helped.

I'm always struck by the huge variety of people at giant festivals, from absolute die-hard fans of a particular band, to those who thought, "Meh, it's a decent way to spend a Saturday and/or Its a good reason to drink, and everyone in between.  We met Mike and his wife Desiree, who travel all over the country, going to Dave Matthews Band shows, and who chastised my friend for not being excited enough about being in the presence of Dave.

I guess everybody needs some kind of church.  Theirs was the Church of Dave.  And, much like anyone else moved by some Holy Spirit, they couldn't help themselves from having a little two-person revival, right there in front of us--dancing, singing, stomping, hands in the air, emulating the man himself.  We liked Mike and Desiree, even though they thought us sinners.

Kyle, the happy-drunk, maybe-21 year old formerly known as Red Shirt Guy (I insisted he tell me his name while we were both grooving to Ozomatli) never once lost his spunk--you know how some people get hammered early in the day, and sometime around 8PM, you spot them sitting alone and puking somewhere?  Not Kyle.  Two and a half hours into Dave Matthews, he came stomping through our row, high-fiving people, still going strong.

We ran into some media people, covering the event for their various outlets, and because we are gluttons for punishment, walked up to the promotional vehicle from a radio station where my friend and I both used to work, and introduced ourselves to young children who insisted that they were all disc jockeys there, just like we used to be.  I'm certain that I was never that young when I worked in radio.  The children stared at us blankly when we explained that we used to be them.  I'm sure I would have never stared blankly at a hundred and fifty-year-old woman at a rock concert when I worked in radio.  My friend talked them out of some swag, which I gave to my daughter when I got home, after I also gave her the history lesson on the significance of an ugly pink t-shirt with Black Eyed Peas lyrics printed on the back.  And I would like it noted that it wasn't the Peas lyrics that made it ugly, it's just a nasty color pink.  My daughter seemed to like the shirt, and the story.

There were other, random people--the guy who, 3 or 4 songs into the Dave Matthews set, loudly asked, "Is he gonna play anything I know?", and the couple directly behind us who not only knew, but sang, every song, all while simultaneously entertaining their 4 year-old son, Micah.  To my left was a woman of color from Minneapolis, and to her left, her very Caucasian sister and her two sons, from Great Falls, Montana.  At the campground, reporter Ted and his son were our neighbors.  The son played guitar while his father tapped away on his laptop after the show at midnight, trying to make a deadline.

30,000 stories, and ours--a couple of old friends with minds mostly elsewhere, people-watching and trying to unwind, both of us with hearts freshly scrambled by separate love affairs that didn't work out the way he had hoped.  What a weird mood we were in.

There are people who believe, or want to believe, that shaking your butt for a couple of hours makes all the bad go away, right away, and some of those people voiced their confusion with us, two supposed betrayers of happiness, with our asses firmly planted in seats.  I realize with some sadness that I'm much nearer the end of confusion and loneliness than my friend, and I feel for him tonight as I write, but also admit that the only way I was able to shut out the world and go to sleep myself last night was by thinking of someone I wished was there with me.  Comfort.  It's the same way I fell asleep the night before last, and all of the nights before that, for many, many months.

It is strangely appropriate that we were there to see a man who's most recent lyrics speak of loss, and also honor a dear friend.  Hopefully, in singing those words, he can at least make the bad go away, a bit at a time, much the way it works for us in the listening.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sharing is Caring

Why is it that some people are organized and do their sharing on one particular day of the week and I am clearly nothing like that at all?
Here are a couple of web sites for you to check out:
Nathan Kensinger is a photographer and filmmaker whose images of New York will suck you in, for hours.  I know this because I just got back from his blog, and, I didn't really want to leave.  Check him out at
Also on Blogger, Confront Your Bully.  I like the idea of this--write a letter to someone who has bullied you--could be in your distant past, or something that is happening to you right now.  There is a lot of healing in this process, which you can feel coming right off the page.
I've said it before, but...I'm a big Marc and Angel fan, and also heart Barrett Chase.  They're nothing alike...Barrett's more like me, poor thing.  Go there, bookmark them, and never be disappointed.
And last, but not least, a bit of insight, some perspective...Motivational Speaker Craig Harper.  Yeah, its full of "buy my book"s, but also, some great blog posts.
Have fun!  See ya later!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Things Customer Service People Should Never, Ever Say

Here is a collection of things I have heard, and things that have been said to me by customer service people that make me absolutely twitch, and the reasons why they should never, ever say them.  Ever.
1.  "Can't"
I am of the mind that the word "can't" should be avoided, not just by people who work in customer service, but by everyone, whenever possible.  I make exceptions for times when I need to spontaneously sing "Can't Get Next To You" and/or "You Can't Always Get What You Want" at the top of my lungs, which does happen, from time to time.
"Can't" is such a catch-all, lazy, defeated word.  "I can't..."  Bullshit.  There is no "can't", there is only, "I don't feel like it" or, "You're not worth the effort to try".  Be honest!  A man with no legs climbed Mt. Everest!  That fact alone makes all of your "can'ts" complete crap.  (Also, a double amputee climbed Mount Kilimanjaro...I'm just sayin'...what's your excuse?)
Whenever someone in customer service uses the word "can't" with me, I counter with one of two questions:  What are you ABLE to do? OR, Is there someone there who CAN (insert whatever it is that I need done), not meaning to be snotty...Because what I want to hear instead of "can't" is someone telling me what IS possible, and what I need to do, or who I need to speak to, in order to achieve the objective.  It's not that I call customer service thinking I'm going to stomp all over them and bully them into doing something they wouldn't normally do, it's that I want to know how to solve my problem.  I'm calling to find out what my options ARE, not what they AREN'T.  Even if what I'm asking for is completely nuts and "impossible"...
Me:  Hi, I'd like a loan for a million dollars
Bank:  OK...well, we do have some loan options available.  What were you planning to use the money for?  Are you buying a home?
Me:  Nah, I just think I need some massive retail therapy.
Bank:  ....OK...well, do you have any collateral for a loan that size?
Me:  Hmmm....I have a cheapy watch, this Uniprise travel mug that I got for free when I worked there, and a 7 year old car.
Bank: Well, we do have some consumer loans and lines of credit available, up to $3000...
See what they did there?  Completely blew off the insanity of what I was asking for, remained calm and went straight to what my real options were, without once using the word "can't".  That's what I'm talking about.  A bad customer service person would have said "we can't do that" or worse, "you can't do that".  Don't ever say the word "can't" to me--I immediately become stubborn, arms folded, and ready to prove you wrong.  Of course, I don't stand a chance of getting a million-dollar loan for anything.  I'm in the middle of a divorce, for cryin' out loud--I couldn't get financed on a used Yugo. (and remind me, later, if I ever utter the M word again, how badly my finances get effed up by doing this...and to run, screaming, for the hills.  Thank you.)  But I really don't want to hear about how pathetic I am--I want to hear that they want my business in SOME capacity--that they want me to keep being their customer, and that it is worth it to them to at least TRY.  Even if the person suggested that I marry a millionaire (AAAAAAAAUUUUUUGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!) as a solution to my financial issue, it's still better than saying that I can't have something...of course I CAN--you can have anything you want, it's just a matter of what you are willing to do to get it.  How about, instead of saying "you can't", just leave it up to me to decide what (or whom) I'm willing to "do" for a million dollars?**
2.  "You need to"
In the immortal words of Eric Cartman, "Whatever!  I do what I want!"  You say you need some paperwork in order to make this happen?  An 8X10 copy of my driver's license?  How about you just ask, instead of telling me?  Or simply explain, politely, that you'll be happy to process the paperwork for the million dollar loan, just as soon as I can provide proof that I'm legally tied to someone who's good for it (AAAAAAAAUUUUUUGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!).  What I liked to say, when I was working in customer service and the law required that I get a signature on a document, or some such thing, was to just say something like, "We CAN take care of that for you, but we (or the law) require(s) ________, and you can either fax, mail, or email that".  The customer doesn't "need" to do anything if they don't want to--they can just leave that problem unsolved, or seek a different solution that doesn't have anything to do with customer service at all, like, sell a kidney, for example...
3.  "We have nothing to do with that..." and/or "That's not my department"
How about simply saying, "That particular issue is handled by the _________ department" then offering to connect me with them?  I'm just some schmoh, after all--I don't know all of the things that a customer service person would (SHOULD) know about how their company operates.  I am aware of my limitations in this regard.  But more importantly, I'm not calling because everything is peachy in my world!  Who does that?  Have you ever called customer service just to say "hi"?  Me neither.  I call because I have a problem, and more importantly, because I sincerely believe that this problem CAN be solved, by SOMEBODY at your company.  If I didn't believe that there could be a resolution, I wouldn't bother.  I might get lucky and have the problem solved by the first person I get, but that doesn't always happen, and I'm OK with that.  I know that sometimes, people who solve problems don't answer the phone--if they did, they might not have time to solve problems!  Just make sure that I'm not passed around like a hot potato, then back to the same person twice, or things will start to get ugly.  KNOW YOUR COMPANY!  Know who does what and how to get ahold of them!  Educate me on how it works!  I promise I won't mind.  Don't just tell me "it ain't me"--if not you, then who?
4.  "That's not our policy" and/or Using "our policy" as an excuse not to help me reach a resolution.
Perhaps this is a bit Pollyanna of me, but I don't believe that companies make policies solely for the purpose of shutting out customers and their annoying problems.  I believe that "policies" are created with the customer in mind.  I believe that companies WANT to help, and I know for a fact that they want my money, and so, want to keep me as a customer.  If you work in customer service and you don't believe this, then you are in the wrong damn job, my friend.  What about the Big Picture?  Do you think that they guy who started your company would have blown off potential or current customers with a simple shrug and a "that's not our policy"?  Hell no...entrepreneurs are all about GROWTH, and POSSIBILITIES.  They started the company because the saw a way to solve a particular problem AND make money, not to shut people out with limiting "rules".  More likely, they started the company because they didn't like the limiting "rules" of OTHER companies.  Policies at (good) companies are constantly changing to suit the needs of their customer base.  If someone is asking you to do something outside of the norms of your guidelines, how do you know that they're not the first of many who will ask you to do the same thing a dozen times this week?  I once worked for a very, very large company, where our un-official motto was, "The only thing constant at ______ is Change", and that company absolutely kicked ass--they were ever-evolving, breaking new ground.  If you're stuck thinking some policy will never, ever change, or shouldn't, then you're just not a very good employee, period, because you are not honoring the original vision that created your company in the first place.
My customer service rants are scattered all over the internet--mostly raving and long winded comments on other people's blogs.  Perhaps one day, I'll put them all together in one place, sell it, and make a million dollars, and then I won't need that loan OR a husband (AAAAAAAAUUUUUUGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!).  Even better, I'll be so fabulously busy that I'll have to hire someone to take calls for me...
**My "what I would do for a million dollars" list is so short that it startles most people...OK, I actually don't have one.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Just Close Your Eyes And Listen...

Steve Earle is looking a bit rough... I mean, he still sounds fantastic, so who cares? But I'm thinking there might be a part for him as a serial killer in some movie yet to be named...
Replace that guitar with an real axe, and you're good to go.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Blatant Re-Post

I'm a big Marc and Angel fan, and invite you to check them out using the link below, but I found this article particularly thought-provoking, and wanted to share...

via Marc and Angel Hack Life by Marc on 7/12/09

Questions to Change Your Mind

These questions have no right or wrong answers.

Because sometimes asking the right questions is the answer.

  1. How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?
  2. Which is worse, failing or never trying?
  3. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don't like and like so many things we don't do?
  4. When it's all said and done, will you have said more than you've done?
  5. What is the one thing you'd most like to change about the world?
  6. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?
  7. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?
  8. If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?
  9. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?
  10. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?
  11. You're having lunch with three people you respect and admire.  They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend.  The criticism is distasteful and unjustified.  What do you do?
  12. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
  13. Would you break the law to save a loved one?
  14. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?
  15. What's something you know you do differently than most people?
  16. How come the things that make you happy don't make everyone happy?
  17. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do?  What's holding you back?
  18. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of?
  19. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?
  20. Do you push the elevator button more than once?  Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?
  21. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?
  22. Why are you, you?
  23. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?
  24. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?
  25. What are you most grateful for?
  26. Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?
  27. Is is possible to know the truth without challenging it first?
  28. Has your greatest fear ever come true?
  29. Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset?  Does it really matter now?
  30. What is your happiest childhood memory?  What makes it so special?
  31. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?
  32. If not now, then when?
  33. If you haven't achieved it yet, what do you have to lose?
  34. Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever?
  35. Why do religions that support love cause so many wars?
  36. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil?
  37. If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job?
  38. Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing?
  39. Do you feel like you've lived this day a hundred times before?
  40. When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in?
  41. If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today?
  42. Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous?
  43. What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
  44. When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right?
  45. If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?
  46. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
  47. When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?
  48. What do you love?  Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love?
  49. In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday?  What about the day before that?  Or the day before that?
  50. Decisions are being made right now.  The question is:  Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you?


Photo by: Sanctuary




Thursday, July 9, 2009

Ready For My Traction Mr. DeMille

C5, you troubling little vertebrae.
I'm sure somebody out there can sympathize with my overwhelming desire to hang upside down until my spine pops back into place.  Or is that just weird?
It's can say it's weird.
I have never really felt the need to go to a chiropractor, but today, I would love to.  Pleeeeeeeeez, somebody, just pop that bitch back into place. 
Of course, if my insurance doesn't cover deadly infections threatening to invade my bloodstream, what makes me think they would foot the bill to have somebody return C5 to it's proper location?  I mean, we're talking anywhere from a quarter to a half-inch here...this is bound to be expensive.
When I was first injured several years ago, after all the soft tissue stopped freaking out, I spent a lot of time in traction, which, I must tell you, was lovely.  Don't believe anyone who tells you that it isn't.  You lay on a table, relaxed and meditative, and things are slowly pulled back into place, and after that, some muscular physical therapist (mine happened to be a guy) gives you a killer neck massage.  Let's face it--each and every one of us has been on worse dates than that.
That same physical therapist showed me how to do The Home Version of traction, involving hanging my head and shoulders off the edge of my bed (and mind you, this is for MY particular issue, so don't try this at home unless somebody with an MD tells you to) and that is definitely in the plans for the next several evenings. 
What a total geek thing that is...
"What are you doing tonight, Shell?" 
"Traction!  It's gonna be awesome!  You should come!"
 I wonder if I can get a super-long straw for my drink.
As a young and healthy person, this particular injury is incredibly annoying--and it is quite difficult to look "cool" when you're using a neck pillow while driving, or leaning way back in your office chair so the weight of your head can temporarily align things (which looks an awful lot like a series of workplace naps).  And the symptoms are a pain in the ass.  It makes you feel friggin' OLD.  At times like these, I regret not pursuing any civil action against the fine oral surgeon who did this while yanking out some teeth.  A two-year headache followed by a lifetime of "Shelly, you have to be extra careful" and intermittent bullshit you would never have even thought of.  Nice.  Maybe I'll just find him and kick him in the balls every time the fingers on my left hand start to tingle.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I'll Tax Your Feet

Looking over my cell phone bill today...
And I realize that nobody likes to look at their cell phone bill, but check this out!  I lived in Mobile, AL, when I got this account, and my cell phone area code is still 251--didn't feel the need to change it, since it's been my number for over a year now, but, I live in Minneapolis, and so, apparently must pay taxes in both Alabama and Minnesota.
I want you to take a good long look at this list of taxes, pasted directly from my cell bill, and tell me what you think...
Alabama State-911 Tax - $0.70
Alabama State-Utility Tax - $0.92
Minnesota State-911 Tax - $1.50
Minnesota State-Sales Tax - $6.65
Minnesota State-Telecom Access Fund - $0.12
Hennepin County-Sales Tax - $0.38
Minneapolis City-Sales Tax - $0.47
Grand and Groovy Taxy Total - $10.74
I will add that, I'm not a "no-tax" activist of any kind, and, having lived in both Alabama and Minnesota, I do prefer Minnesota.  The schools are DRAMATICALLY better here (Minnesotans, picture your kid in an all-day study hall, and see how you feel about that...that was our experience in Alabama public schools), and though Mobile was a lovely city and the infrastructure (roads, etc.) appeared excellent, I'm ultimately more at-home here than I was there.
My experience (or rather, what I heard) was that Alabama politics was rather notoriously corrupted--I suppose they didn't think they could get away with being corrupt AND charging high taxes...
But...just look at that list!  What the hell?  I'm just one person--imagine everybody in the state paying that, every month, just for their stupid cell phones!  Makes you awfully pissy about driving over pot-holes, paying through the nose for student field trips (we paid NOTHING in Alabama--the kids didn't learn anything, but the field trips were fabulous...), crazy choir directors, and a host of other things that make you wonder what you're paying for, which is the REAL list we all ought to be paying attention to. 
I believe that I shall keep my Alabama phone number for as long as I possibly can--changing it only saves me a buck and a half a month anyway.  Wait...what if there is a "You Have A Minnesota Phone Number Now, Bitch!" tax?  Better stick with the 251.  Besides, I want to keep looking at that list...makes you think.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

And...What Have YOU Contributed To The World Today?

I'm sitting at work, listening to the various conversations going on around me, and a few people are talking about Michael Jackson memorial, saying things like this... "So he what?"
And I have to ask...what would you like people to say about YOU when you die? 
"So What?"
What is wrong with people?  You don't have to be a die-hard fan to be respectful.  Never mind the fact that he accomplished more by age 15 than most of these people will ever accomplish in their entire what? 
Ignorant people make me grouchy...actually, they make me incredulous, and prone to debate.  They are especially annoying when they are white and when they are women, because I'm a white woman, and in my opinion, it's tough enough getting anyone to take you seriously without some moron making the whole lot look stupid.
I've long since given up expecting people to pay as much attention to minutae as I do, or care as much as I do, but is it that hard to NOT be a totally thoughtless jerk?

Monday, July 6, 2009


The most important thing in the world, bar none.
Communication or lack thereof can make or break pretty much anything--marriages, business deals, you name it.
I know this to be true.  I believe it to the core of my very soul.
So when stupid stuff happens, I don't know whether to roll my eyes, shake my head, or grab somebody by the shirt and violently shake them.  It makes me crazy.  CRAZY!  People not talking and espcially not listening MAKES ME CRAZY.  And I end up doing a little of each of the outward expressions of frustration, depending on the occasion.  Like, for the last five years of my marriage, I sort of shook my head, and there was some eye rolling, though what might have been more effective was the violent shaking--could have saved the deal, come to think of it.  I'll have to remember that...
In the end of June, a guy faxed me an important document, which, like most documents we deal with, had to be handled by the end of the month.  I noticed there were pages missing, so I called him, and he assured me that the missing pages would be forthcoming, ASAP.
"OK, Great!....Because we need it before I walk out the door on Tuesday..."
Time sensitive, you know.
Tuesday, June 30th, comes and goes--no document.  I call again, tell him that we can bend a little on this, since we got most of the paperwork last week, but we NEED the document, ASAP, or no go.
July 1st and 2nd go by, no document, despite a third reminder from me.
Today, July 6th, we got Part 2 of the document, along with a screaming note expressing how IMPORTANT AND TIME SENSITIVE the materials are and how they CAN'T BELIEVE WE HAVEN'T PROCESSED THIS YET!  WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?
...Eye roll?  Shake head?  And exasperated combination of the two?  Or, violent shaking?  Which would you choose?

Buckshot's like writing, only not.
  • I changed the password on my work computer early Thursday, and now I'm all confused.  Because we change passwords so often, I type in the wrong one fairly often.  Also, because we change passwords to often, I am quickly running out of cute boy names to use for passwords, so I ended up using a variation of MY name.  Boring...  It is far more helpful for me to think of Vincent D'Onofrio (Donofrio8) first thing in the morning than myself (ShellysLamePW22)
  • Favorite spam subject line of the weekend?  "Become her Brutal Banger"!  HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!  *sigh*  Yeah, I just liked that one...
  • But let us not forget the actual SPAM--I spent the weekend in Austin, MN, home of SPAM.  I kept threatening the children with the SPAM Museum, because there is an actual SPAM Museum, and also an accompanying restaurant just across the way, and I know that the kids would have totally hated it, so, what better way to torture them, right?  Now that I'm home again, I'm kinda bummed that I didn't go...I believe that I will try to retro-fit the SPAM Museum into the schedule.  I'll just leave the kids in Minneapolis, and they can be all Spoon and Cherry while I'm all Canned Meat Product.
  • Wow, did I eat an obscene amount of food this weekend or what?  But, no SPAM.
  • Sometimes, I worry about my in, I cuss like a sailor.  This morning is one of those times.  I manage to contain myself while at work or while around very old or very young people, but like a lot of people, let lose in traffic, or while venting.  This morning, my best friend called me and said, "Who am I?  '#)*&*@%^*(&^*%$&%$@#$^!!!!!!'", and, I thought she was talking her mother-in-law, but she was talking about ME!  Sh*t.

Friday, July 3, 2009

I Am Not Supposed To Be Writing This...

Neither of the kids were home last night, since they both had sleep-overs, and I had a total bachelor wake-up this morning--I was on the couch, fully dressed, the TV was on, lights were on, and there was a fast food bag on the floor next to me. This might not have seemed terribly unusual if I had tied one on last night, but as it happens, the strongest thing I had to drink was a diet cola, half of which was also sitting on the floor next to me.

Add to that the fact that I was waking from a dream in which I woke up next to someone delicious and we were talking (in the dream) about how wonderful it was waking up next to each other, and you have all the makings of a disappointing morning.

I'm not terribly panicked about not waking up next to Mr. Delicious today, but it occurs to me that in a few short years, teenage daughters will be vacating the premises, and when that happens, I need to be a very careful that I don't turn into a complete slug.

Apparently, with no one around for me to take care of, I just don't give a crap about anything...don't cook, don't clean up, don't even move. Not even enough motivation to put on my jammies...

On the other hand, I can justify this whole thing by saying that I work very hard and at the end of the day, when exhaustion hits me, I don't fight it, and I don't need to give in to the formalities of going to some designated sleeping chamber and changing into the appropriate outfit.. From the hours of 5:30AM to 10PM, I'm hustling. The sleep is earned. It's a very primal thing--think of a caveman just trying to stay alive from day to day, hunting, gathering, running away from things that might kill's exhausting. You need some sleep. But cavemen didn't have sleep sanctuaries like we do, and also, no super-cute pajama short/tank combos. They just found a safe spot and slept where they landed, in whatever clothes they were (or weren't) wearing.

I will try to rein myself in from the Grand Mind Wander, where I ruminate about how weird and sad it is that humanity has come to this--a succession of thousands of years of "supposed to's" designed to separate us from the animals, and all we get out of it is a bunch of reasons to feel bad about ourselves. I mean...I woke up feeling bad because I was tired and fell asleep. How fucked up is that?

OK...I really don't want to rein myself in on the Grand Mind Wander. What really separates us from the "animals"? Not much. Other animals wake up, go about their business, work to keep and defend their shelter, and fight for survival just like we do. They do some strange and delightful things to attract mates, just like we do. They eat when hungry, and sleep when tired.

I want to free myself from a thousand "supposed to's", mainly because the "supposed to's" are different from person to person--for example, there are those who don't think people of the same sex (or different race) are "supposed to" be attracted to each other, and to me, that particular "supposed to" is complete bullshit. Duh. There are also people who believe that they are "supposed to" make a certain amount of money to be happy, or they are "supposed to" have children, or they are "supposed to" drive a particular type of vehicle or live in a particular neighborhood, or eat only one particular kind of potato salad (!!!), or fix their hair in a certain way, or wear a particular type of clothes. It's all bullshit. What separates us from the animals? The fact that some of us don't think it's bullshit.

Why do we limit ourselves in this way? It would seem the height of stupidity. Plenty of people (lots and lots of people--pretty much EVERYBODY) live differently than we do, and still have perfectly wonderful human experiences. It is only the fact that we are incredibly judgmental that makes us believe otherwise, and it is definitely worse when we turn that judgement on ourselves, for no good reason. If we are not harming anyone, then we should not be so fearful that we're not doing something the way it is "supposed to " be done. There are no rules, save for "Be Excellent To Each Other".

And now that I have rid myself of the "supposed to's" of the day, I'm going to get on the the business of being excellent, to myself and to others. Let us all have a SAFE and beautiful weekend, filled with loved ones and future good memories, and also remembrance of those who sacrificed to allow us this incredible luxury. This country is like no other place on the planet--founded by people who felt differently from the "supposed to's" of the time. Let us never forget this.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Total Bitch Revival

I had another unique opportunity at work today, to TOTALLY GUILT SOMEONE INTO DOING WHAT I WANT....
I wouldn't have done it, but I'd only asked them nicely 27 times already, and while getting blown off is mostly just annoying, sometimes, it's all about the bottom line.  On those occasions, they better just shut the hell up and do what I say.  When it comes to money, I get all serious.
In those times, you have to make them feel your words--and since dropping an anvil on their head is not allowed, you go with the next strongest thing--hideous, gut-wrenching guilt.
Remember, people, your expectation of quality service depends on whether or not one scatterbrain has been strong-armed into not losing your paperwork today.
Thank me later.