Wednesday, February 28, 2007

u m p f !

A vendor faxes a copy of an invoice I'd paid along with the check stub showing the relevant payment, with a hand written note; ‘Deb, thanks for your payment of $4,716.77, however, the payment should have been $4,716.87. Invoice 8976 was paid 10 cents short. Please include this amount with your next payment.

The bookkeeper persona in me is devastated that I dropped a dime.

The customer service persona in me is apologetic and wanting to correct the grievous error, A S A P.

The other persona in me is seething, internally screaming, "kiss my grits! Who the hell said you could call me Deb, we aren’t friends" while entering the 10 cents to be paid with the next round.

Vacation day or days. Soon, I think. Yes.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Workin' for a Living

I had planned a perky little post about pickles, peppermint sticks and pomegranates. Instead, though I need to release some work-related mess.

Ours is a small shop, just nine of us to satisfy the demands of the business. Accordingly, we all were multiple hats. My hats are labeled anything related to the finances and the day-to-day operations, making sure *the office* runs smoothly.

Suffice to say, my days are pretty full, what with keeping the books, paying the bills, collecting the debts, dealing with service people, ordering supplies and being the answer lady. Since I don’t have any back-up or any assistants, any time off, means extra added burdens to the constant barrage of to-dos.

This week the captain has been in a snit. His snit is the result of multiple failures of areas under his direct supervision, sales, marketing and customer service. The guy charged with the day-to-day of these areas has fallen down on the job. In my opinion, he was never up to the challenge, but, nobody asked for my opinion. Truth be told, the captain is...well, he did allow this situation to fester for over two years.

GS has not ever shown any talent for organization, supervision or administration. He has been building, for the past 2 ½ years, a shrine on and about his desk. This shrine consists of files, mail, reports and whatever that else has come across his nose. He quite literally has stacks on his desk and on the floor around him topping off at three feet, I kid you not.
Captain, freely admits being unable to get an answer from this guy about anything, without him having to rummage through one of the various shrines. It takes hours to uncover information, if ever, often re-construction is necessary. Deadlines have been missed, goals have not been met.

The boss, the captain, shrugs, sighs and pulls his hands through his rapidly receding hair.
Thursday, the snit hit a fever pitch and as usual I’m holding the catcher’s mitt. "I’m going to ask you please to supervise the clean-up of that desk..I want you to look at and assess every piece of paper. I know I’m asking a lot, but..." The boss wants me to take on more responsibility, to enforce suggestions I’d been making to the BOTH of them for over two years now.

I started going through some of the stacks before I left work Thursday. Based on what I found, it is crystal clear that we should be looking for a trade. I don't know why it's taken so long for captain to act and I am not at all thrilled with the direction this action is taking. The trade talks may include a face the captain wasn't expecting.

Monday, February 19, 2007

My Girl

We’ve know one another a long time, DB and me. We met in high school, home room, day one. Over the course of the next four years we laughed, cried and danced together. DB was older by a year, yet we were in the same class. That first year we had nearly every class together. Many the second. By the third year we’d begun to separate. She went the way of Business Sciences, I went to Art. Still, we hung out as much as possible.

She was not an only daughter like me, but she was the ‘go-to’ daughter whenever her family had a crisis, which, like mine, was often. DB liked to forget her troubles by going drinking and dancing. She liked to take me with her. I couldn’t go much, because I couldn’t get out of the house as often. Besides, I was very shy and didn’t like being around a lot of people. DB helped me with my shyness, she was extremely gregarious and fun-loving. Unlike my friend Vee, who was more like a big sister (before becoming un-requited love interest), DB was a pal, one of the first, one of the best. She took me to my first bar. I was 16. We met a couple of Kenyans who, we found out later, wanted to get married. We chatted, drank a couple of rum and cokes, went to the ladies room and didn’t return. DB liked one of the Kenyans. He was cute, she kept saying later.

DB lived on what I thought was the edge back then. She was a regular at a few bars, she dated older men, at least one of whom was married. I was visiting DB one Saturday. We’d spent most of the afternoon playing tennis and cards. She decided she wanted to go visit her boyfriend, who’d been ill. We took a bus to his house. Rang the bell, was invited into a living room, where we saw two women of different generations and three children. DB announced the purpose of her visit and was led down a hall to I presume a bedroom. She returned in pretty short order. We left. DB quick stepped to the corner, where she stopped and screamed, "shit!" As it happens, the younger of the women, was the boyfriend’s wife.

After high school, DB and I went our separate ways. We did stay in touch via cards and letters, through some college, marriages, children and divorces. We are still in touch, mostly via email, even though she lives and works in Chicago, we don’t see each other often. When we do get together, it’s like 1976 all over again. We laugh about the past times we had and the times we have with our respective children and families.

For all intents and purposes, DB is my best friend. She certainly is my oldest friend. Yet, I haven’t been able to tell her about this past year. The full some of my past years. I haven’t been able to say to my girl friend that I am attracted to women and that I am pro-actively seeking to date persons of the female persuasion, towards the hopes of finding a steady girlfriend, partner.

I’ve wanted to tell her, have tried to tell. Since a recent promotion, she’s been extremely busy and hasn’t been as responsive to my emails and invites to lunch. So, my news is tabled, for now. Recently, the news has begun to burn a whole in my throat and I am resisting the urge to hire a sky-writer to pen the message among the clouds.

I really should tell my mother before I do that, though, I’m thinking.

Friday, February 16, 2007

I Don't Paint Myself Into Corners

I don’t paint myself into corners anymore
In a brittle heart of clay
I threw my brushes away
The tools of the trade that chained your memory to me
Are out the door
I don’t paint myself into corners anymore

When I was 13 I was hit by a truck.

My aunt, who was taking a break from her marriage, on our living room sofa sent me and my older brother to get some chicken. Back then, there was not a chicken or burger place on every corner, we had to take two busses, to get this chicken. Since we were trekking to the chicken place, we asked if she’d buy us burgers, the burger place was next door to the chicken place. She agreed.

The trip to the chicken and burger places was uneventful. We get the chicken. We get the burgers. We head back towards home. We’re on the first of two busses to get home. My brother, who is carrying the burger sack, exits the bus on the west side of the street. This was not a stop. The bus was stopped for the light. I waited on the bus until the light changed and the bus stopped at the sign, on the east side of the street.

The second bus we needed to get home was coming. My brother yelled for me to run. The light was still green, so I took off, running across the street. I’d barely gotten off the curb when I went flying. My glasses went left. The chicken sack I was holding went right. I bounced a couple of times before I came in contact with the curb. The guy driving the truck, I was told, had been drinking.

My brand new coat was getting soaked and soiled. That was the only thought on my mind. I really liked that coat. It was the first new non hand-me-down coat I’d gotten in a long time. I really hated lying there on the ground waiting for the ambulance, my brother yelling for me to stay down. The milling spectators all had opinions as to what happened. Some absconded with the chicken from the sack. One was kind enough to retrieve my crumpled glasses and hand them to my brother.

Emergency vehicles arrived, I was taken to the hospital. I spent much of the next several weeks getting treatments for a sore back. Some months later I got new clothes, including a new coat and we ate better for a time. My aunt eventually left our sofa and went back to her marriage. She was a little bummed that I’d lost the chicken.

Whenever I hear, "I Don’t Paint Myself Into Corners" I always think about the year I got hit by a truck, running to catch a bus, substituting my own lyric, I Don’t Run for Busses, Anymore.

I miss many busses.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I'm It. Again

Bill over at The View From Here was very kind to include me in his Meme game. I'm happy to respond as it has diverted my attention from THE SNOW. We were not hit this hard...but it will seem like it when I'm trying to get to and from work over the next several days. For the time being, I'm thinking about questions regarding my book habits. Hardback, Trade Paperback or Mass Market Paperback?

A book is a book is a book. I'll buy whatever I like, when I find it, in whatever manner I happen to find it; hard, paper or cloth--all the same to me.

Amazon or brick and mortar?

I'm going to presume that Amazon is representative of all on-line outlets. I tend to shop on-line because I have such an aversion to many stores, their employees and even the customers. I do like looking at books and will browse, on occasion. Generally, I'll be in a store on an un-related mission, see something I like. I'll buy it.

Barnes & Noble or Borders?

Between the two, Borders as there are more near me. I like the independents also. We have several in my town and I visit them as often as I do Borders, which frankly isn't very often because of the aversion.

Bookmark or Dog Ear?

Bookmarks. I have several.

Alphabetize by author, alphabetize by title, or random? I sort and stack by size.

Keep, throw away, or sell?

I keep everything initially and for awhile. When the shelves are groaning under the weight and stacks have been started in more non-traditional locales, I donate them to the high school. They hold a huge book fair every year, a two day event. I heard about Paberback Swap some time ago and have been meaning to check out the site.

Keep dust jacket or toss it?

I keep them but....

Read with dust jacket on, or remove it?

I remove them while I'm reading the book.

Short Story or Novel?

Yes! Please.

Collection (short stories by the same author) or Anthology (short stories by different authors)?

Yes! Please.

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket?

I haven't read either, that is not to say that I won't.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?

At chapter breaks. I do not, can not stop in the middle of a chapter. If I'm tired, I don't start.

"It was a dark and stormy night" or "Once Upon a Time"?

Mysteries, thrillers and intrigue are my prime reads, so "It was a dark..."

Buy or Borrow?

In keeping with the budget and to minimize those stacks (hauling cast offs to the high school is a trial without a car, since my wagon broke) I am a more than frequent guest at the local libraries. I don't borrow from friends and my son is the only relative I've ever asked to borrow a book.

New or Used?

Generally new in the sense that no one has owned it before. However, it is worthy to note that I rarely buy a book "hot off the press". Should I hear about something new that I might like to read, I put it on a list. Should I become anxious about it-I check the library holdings.

Buying choice: Reviews, recommendations or browse?

There is a core of favorite authors, but I do step out of my comfort zone from time to time, usually based on a recommendation or luck into an interesting read by browsing.

Tidy Ending or cliffhanger?

I like the endings tidy and plausible but they don't have to be happy or uplifting.

Morning, afternoon or evening reading?

Rarely afternoon, unless I'm in a line someplace. I try to always have reading material along when doing errands. Helps to minimize the affects of many adverse situations.

Standalone or series?

Mostly series. Many of my favorite authors have written stand alone books, but I read others as well.

Favorite Book of which no one else has heard?

I can't imagine that I've read a book that no one else has heard about. If I know about it, many others likely know about it as well. If pressed for a reply I'd say, "Third Girl From the Left" by Martha Southgate

Favorite Books read last year?

Fiction: There were many

Non-Fiction: Again there were a few, but the one that resonated the most, "From Wedded Wife to Lesbian Life" Deborah Abbot, Ellen Farmer

Favorite Books of All Time:

I really don't like naming 'favorites'. So many books speak to me for so many reasons. Favorites of all time? There are many. Several. To name but a few would diminish the import of the others.

Feel free to play along.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Tat. Me?

I've seen many tattoos. Some I've liked and some, not so much.

Some time ago the question was posed, "Do you have any tattoos?" The answer is no. The person posing the question further queried, if I were to get a tat, would I design it myself.

Frankly I'd never, ever, given any thought to getting a tattoo. The topic, however, has come up frequently, recently. My daughter, for instance, has been wanting one for some time now. The only thing holding her back is indecision. She cannot decide what or where. She has not asked for my assistance and I have not volunteered, except to say, if she thought she must have one, it should be on her upper back, shoulder blade area, on the right.

Tattoos are not for me. I am dark complected and I don't like how tattoos look over time on some other dark skinned people. Further, as I'm rather conservative in manners of dress, no one would ever see this tat, unless of course, I manage to get myself one of those partners I hear are all the rage. That might be fun but still, it would seem a waste of time, money and ink. I'm not a big supporter of waste. My eczema, too, gives me pause.

Since the friend mentioned the possibility of designing my own tattoo, I haven't been able to get

this image out of my head, so I put it on paper. If I were to get a tattoo it might look something like the image shown here. Or. then again, it might not. The point is moot, as I am not even thinking about getting a tattoo. The images, however are continuing to materialize.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


It was early, a very early Monday morning. In fact, morning had yet to break when the pains began. I was alone, the hub-ex had gone to work. I tried to ignore the pain deciding they couldn’t be that pain, it was too early. Too early in the day, too soon by a couple of weeks. The pains became more insistent and harder to ignore, the thought circling around and around as they did, I did not want to go to the hospital in the dark.

I willed the pains to slow and miraculously they did. The day broke, I called the ambulance and 3 hours later my baby boy was heralded into the world, twenty-five years ago, today.

We’ve shared much over these twenty-five years. He conspired with me to get his dad to quit smoking. Well, more like he was conscripted, as he was only 7 months old. He performed his duties admirably, however they came about. His coughing on cue would surely be worthy of a Tony.

From his early childhood obsessions with the World Wrestling Federation’s Hulk Hogan and Randy "Macho Man" Savage and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to his introduction to poetry and spoken word, which ultimately led to drama and acting, we’ve shared much. Not just the times, the actions and the events, but also the stories.

What I cherish most these twenty-five, especially the last five, are the conversations. He has talked, eventually, about everything. I’m pretty sure it was the muscle relaxant he was taking for an aching back that had him discussing the merits of boxers over briefs and why it was urgent for me to know those merits, just then. Whatever made him share, I welcome the information.

The infant boy who once laid on my chest as we slept through watched football, the toddler who made sure I was aware (in a very loud voice) whenever his sister was crying, the little boy who constructed elaborate scenarios for his action figures, the adolescent who struggled until finding his voice, his strength, his calling through poetry, this gentleman, my son, is twenty-five today.

He’s going out tonight. He will enjoy a very nice dinner, go to the symphony and then....samba.

Tomorrow he will tell me the stories.

Happy Birthday Son.

***photo from 2006 graduation. He won't stand still long enough for me to get a more current shot. If I manage one, I'll post it.

Monday, February 05, 2007


It is a million degrees below zero, I could be writing about the cold, but I'm not. The Bears are slinking back into town singing the refrain of all big game losers, 'there's always next year!' and I could be writing about that, but I'm not. My son will be 25 this week and certainly I could write about that, and I will later this week. Today is the day for this month's challenge inspired by Bent Fabric, who by her own admission, doesn't "do jolly."

The jimjams had a hold of Jillian, or Jilly as she prefers to be called. She’d been too nervous to sleep after the messenger left, so she got up. Looking into the bathroom mirror and seeing the dark circles under her light-blue, almost gray eyes and the frazzled brown hair it was hard to understand why Qmax thought Jilly would make the perfect heroine to deliver jollies to a jolly-less world.

The first order of business was to assemble a costume. Unsure as to how she was going to jolly up the world, Jilly thought that a costume, at least, would be in order. Qmax didn’t mention it, but Jilly was sure she would agree. The costume Jilly envisioned would be presentable and indestructible.

Washing the weariness from her face and mind, Jilly thought her black wrangler jeans would work, they were indestructible and they fit perfectly. She would pair that with her green airwalk lace-up boots with the silver lining. She wished she had silver boots. Silver boots would be fabulous, but she’d have to settle for the silver lined boots. Jilly was stumped as to what to do about a top and then wondered if she’d need a cape. What could she use for a cape?

Jilly applied some gel to her frazzled mane. The much stronger gel Qmax left had Jilly’s nose twitching. Her head spinning from trying to think of how to jolly the world and the rest of her costume, combined to make her a little woozy and a little....aaahhhccchhhhooooo! Whew!

The big sneeze provided the answers to Jilly’s questions, for out of her nose blew the most beautiful sweater. A sweater of deep forest green, trimmed with silver threading that shimmered like sterling. There were silver glitter sprinkles and teeny tiny twinkle bells. The sweater even had wings. Oh. My.

Jilly almost fainted at the sight of such an extraordinary sweater.

This was fantastic! Jilly was beside herself with excitement. She quickly shed her pjs, trading them for the black wranglers, warm socks, the airwalk boots, a tee shirt and finally, her very own...her very own...Jilly pondered a name for the sweater and for the mission. Jilly surveyed herself in the mirror, twisting and turning to get better views. The teeny tiny twinkle bells making teeny tiny sounds like...jingles. Jingle Jangle!

Jingle Jangle Jollly! That’s it! Jilly would fly around the world sneezing out Jingle Jangle Jolly sweaters to all who needed some jolly. Who could resist the jollies after donning a Jingle Jangle sweater? Each sweater would be tailored to fit the recipient's personality to assure maximum jolly.

Jilly sent word to Qmax, assuring her that the Jingle Jangle sweater mission was up and about to be running, or rather flying. Jilly got out on the roof, stamped her boots twice and in a whoosh was off to her first jolly stop, Juneau. Jilly decided it was only fitting to sneeze jolly sweaters to *J* places first.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Dunder Heads

I like staples, not the store…well, I do like the store. While Staples is not the outfit professing passion for office supplies in a marketing campaign, I still like them. Staples, the outfit trying to get us all to jump on the easy button, is an acceptable outlet for staples and other supplies. This, however, is not about stores, but about supplies, specially, staples and paper clips.

I like staples. Staples are handy for binding pieces of paper together. (I know there are other kinds of staples for other purposes-but for today we are talking paper-just paper). For me, staples are a more permanent binding solution, for use when you don’t intend for the papers to be loose, not wanting them to run amok. Of course, staples can and sometimes must be removed. Removal of a staple is not that difficult, provided you have the proper tool. The tool, staple remover, is available in several styles. I prefer this style.

However, I don’t like removing staples. It can be messy. The paper can rip and you wind up with broken, now useless staples littering the desk. More times that not, the handy little remover is not at hand when you need to remove a staple. Your choices are to wrench the papers apart or use your fingers to try and pry the staple loose. While not overly painful, the stab of a pried staple can be annoying.

For temporary binding of multiple pages I prefer paper clips. Paper clips are sturdy and a perfectly acceptable temporary paper binding agent. A paper clip can be removed without any damage to the papers or fingers. A paper clip can be re-used, over and over and over again.

I receive faxes. Many faxes, usually multiple page faxes, often, throughout the day. More often than not the fax requires some action and a return fax. The fax machine will not scan a stapled sheet. A staple can damage the fax machine. I don’t have a stapler near the fax machine. I have equipped the fax machine area with a container full of paper clips.

The guys in my office apparently don’t like paper clips. They appear to have a passion for staples. They staple everything. Sometimes, multiple times, as if one staple is just too weak to hold 2-3 pages together. When the guys in my office retrieve faxes from the machine and they see it is address to me, they leave the fax machine area, staple the pages and place in my tray—which is inches from the fax machine, very near the container of paper clips.

DUNDER HEAD! Paper clips rule!