Wednesday, February 28, 2007
I'm pretty damn boring right now.
The highlight of my day was finding out that it should only be another day or two before I get my computer back. Yeah. The highlight wasn't even something as big as actually GETTING my computer back, just merely checking on it and finding out that it would only be another couple of days, that's the bright spot... Pathetic, I know.
In other boring Lizzle news, there is still no baby, and grandpa got mad at me because I didn't drink coffee or eat eggs for breakfast the last couple of days. To rational people, the explanation is simple. I don't always have time to cook eggs in the morning before dashing off to work, and the morning that I didn't drink the coffee? Well, I was nursing a MEAN hangover, because I just can't drink the way I used to anymore, and the thought of spending part of the morning after imbibing a hot beverage laden with a few tablespoons full of nasty coffee grounds made my stomach turn. (And to be honest, I haven't been drinking his coffee for weeks anyway. I've been dumping it down the sink because he doesn't make good coffee... And in my focus to rid myself of my hangover headache, I simply forgot to dump the coffee that day. Damn it all to hell.)
Oh, yeah, I had a hangover. And to be honest I didn't even get all that drunk. It was BEYOND pathetic... Especially for me! ME! The former bartender, and champion drinker/4 A.M. bar closer extraordinaire. I'm not old enough to use my age as an excuse. I have no excuse. I am just pathetic. I'm going to have to remedy this problem by upping my intake of alcoholic beverages gradually on consecutive nights to build up my tolerance again. I feel like such an amateur having a hangover that bad from a couple buckets of beer with my brother. I mean to have a hangover that bad, I had better have pissed myself in an unconscious stupor, or at least fallen down and sustained some substantial bodily bruising. But I didn't! I wasn't even seeing double! I wasn't slurring words! I just drank beer with my brother while playing photo hunt at the bar!
Well, at least I can look forward to being connected to the internet on a connection which works only slightly faster than engraving hieroglyphs into stone tablets and then exchanging tablets with other sufferers via pony express deliveries... But that's still a day or two off.
Monday, February 26, 2007
I have tried to simply state things by saying that I am a family counselor. This apparently doesn't do justice for some people. And so, this post is more of a clarification.
To most, rational people, any occupation in the social services field is an inherently noble profession by trade. There are most assuredly some naysayers. It's a part of my job to clarify for them the exact role which I inhabit.
To hear my grandpa tell it, I might as well be a drug dealer, or a street walker, (both of which I could EASILY have gotten into while still living happily in Chicago... though they wouldn't have looked nearly as good on a resume.)
I'm pretty sure that in his little window on the world, he thinks that I am a godless heathen who steals babies from stable homes.... I blame this view on the Kennedy-era "Camelot" view of the world which his generation seems to have. I hate to say it, but today's world just ain't so!
For starters, I'm not the one taking babies away. That's left to the department of child services, and the police. My job is with a separate, albeit linked, company who does the leg work for the department of child services.
More specifically, my job is to go into homes where children have been removed, and do my best to equip the parents with the tools they need in order to be decent parents to the children whom in one way or another they have let down.
My job includes, but is not limited to, teaching parent aide, teaching parents appropriate discipline techniques, budgeting, helping them find employment, cleaning and maintenance of a child-friendly home environment, supervising visits between parents and children, and in cases where the children are older, and youth mentoring so that the kids understand that they are not at fault, and that they can go on to healthy successful lives despite being let down by their families. Essentially, it falls on me to reunite families when it is possible and all parties are willing, and to help people understand where they went wrong when reunification is not immediately, or at all possible.
It's not an easy job, to be sure.
In only a week on the job, I have already seen cases where kids have been removed due to parental drug use, sexual or physical abuse, neglect, and lack of minimum levels of home maintenance. My primary goal is to reassemble the pieces of these broken homes. There are certainly cases where I am hindered by the parent's lack of concern, the red-tape of the system, and the fact that some people are utterly indifferent to the young lives for which they should be responsible, and so reunification is not a feasible or healthy option.
Grandpa seems to think that all children should be raised by their natural parents. But what he doesn't choose to recognize is that some parents sadly don't give a damn for their kids. He doesn't see that some parents see their kids as a punching bag, or as an outlet for unhealthy sexual activity, or that toddlers are sometimes thought of as entities which can take care of themselves when mom or dad want to go away for months on end for a drug binge.
Basically the fact of the matter is that these children have been removed for a reason, and it is my job to be an advocate for their needs when the parents are unfit to do so.
Grandpa doesn't seem to understand that families who maintain healthy and stable homes are not the ones involved with social services.
It takes a great deal of patience to supervise a visit between a mother and a child when it's clear that the mom would much rather sit and draw pictures than interact with the children she is supposed to love. It takes an immense amount of dedication to tell that mother, that even though I don't have kids, this is not the way you should interact with them, and then demonstrate activity that should be second nature to her, but somehow isn't... or to tell a parent that you can't have a home where some form of feces has been spread all over the floor and there are roaches on the wall, and to still expect a child to function normally... I don't knock anyone else's job, but I think it takes someone special to be able to calmly diffuse the anger associated with people removing children from any home, and then trying to aid people in fixing the reasons why it occurred.
I was in a meeting last week, and one of the supervisors emphasized that this is not the kind of job where you can take your work home with you, because you can't be responsible for other people's negative choices. He said, "There are only two places where a person is at peace, one is at home, and the other is the grave." And while I think he speaks the truth in part, I also think it is our job to recognize that there is no peace for the kids in these homes. And while, for our own sanity we have to leave whatever happens at work behind when we go home of an evening, we should grow from what we see, and do our very best to change the ugly things we see in the world. Because before you can have an impact on the world, the world must have an impact on you.
Whatever the case, it beats hookin.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
That being said, I hate to say it, but I'm already using work as an alibi and my co-workers as witnesses.
I was out, shadowing Julie (who is probably already my favorite co-worker) on some of her cases, and Julie can tell you that I didn't leave her sight long enough for me to be responsible...
Responsible for what, you might ask.
Well... Grandpa fell.
What happened was that he threw a towel down to the bottom of the basement stairs, just outside the laundry room door. As it turns out, he didn't throw it quite far enough, because part of it was still on the last step. Later in the afternoon, grandpa decided he needed something from the basement. (We don't know what it was, and we don't ask.) But as he went down the stairs, and stepped on the last step, he tripped on the towel that he threw down in the morning, and he fell. To most people, only falling off the bottom step would be ok, because you're not really falling all that far, but it's different when you're 86, and your reflexes aren't what they used to be.
So Grandpa bit it pretty hard, though all things considered not nearly as hard as he could have.
He split open his eyebrow, needed 5 or 6 stitches, and he's a little bruised. Not at all bad when you consider that he could have broken a hip, thrown a clot while laying at the foot of the stairs, and ended up having a stroke or a heart attack which could have meant his end. (And no, I don't wish this on him, or on anyone else for that matter, I'm just saying it could have happened and that we're glad it didn't go down like that.)
So when mom gets home, finds him covered in blood, and takes him to see a doctor, and the nurse asks her how this all happened, what did he say?
"She pushed me."
This is SO NOT FUNNY. My mom was out having her taxes done, and I was out working with Julie, so he was home alone... He was joking, but all humor was lost on everyone else in the room. It was also lost on me when I got home and hear all of this, because knowing the position I now have, and the responsibility to report anything like that which anyone might say, no matter if they say it jokingly or not, I didn't see ANY kind of humor at all.
And then a few minutes later, after I'd had a chance to process this, I began cracking up. I found the situation utterly hilarious, because I had an alibi... If it had all gone down the same time a week before, I'd have been home, I'd have been the prime suspect... I laughed incredibly hard because I knew I was nowhere near the scene of the accident!
But yeah, there's been a little drama around here.
In related news, Grandpa doesn't approve of what I do for a living. But more on that topic later!
Friday, February 23, 2007
I am defying my own desires to sleep in order to inform you that I will get around to posting all pertinent information as soon as I possibly can, but that I can't now, because if I did, it would be a huge disgrace as far as trying to do justice to the normal level of writing, story-telling, and the actual events of the day... And these events deserve all the justice that they can get!
(Just so you don't worry, I AM still employed, grandpa is still alive, and my cousin STILL hasn't had her baby.)
More important and informative news to follow in later posts.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Today was another busy day for the Lizzle though. I was actually out in the field as opposed to being stuck in the office doing paperwork today! And while I'm still learning the rules, and I don't want to break any kind of confidentiality, I will say something about my experiences... And that even in the two days I've done this, I am already feeling like I have no right to complain about my life, because I've already met many people who have it a hell of a lot worse than I do.
I know it's human nature to complain about one's own situation no matter how good you might have it, but I think this job is going to rather rapidly teach me just how good I've had it all my life. Which goes back to that whole "personal growth" thing... And how the learning curve is more than a little accelerated when you're not in what you consider to be an ideal situation. (And while I know it's good for me, and that the job is not only valuable to me as a resume feature, and valuable to the community as a service I provide, I have to say I REALLY HATE constantly having to learn all my lessons this way! But I suppose if you're going to have a rough time of it, you might as well get something out of it.)
The update on grandpa, for those of you who are so worried about his old ass, is that he is still alive, still cantankerous, and that I have far fewer urges to kill him now that I only see him for about an hour every day before he goes to bed... It's kind of nice. (Nice for him, because he doesn't have to worry about dying at the hands of a relative, and nice for me, because I didn't like being the grumpy person who wants to bump off an old geezer.) There are still moments of interrogation when I still get a little twinge... You know the kind of twinge when you're dealing with someone who just generally rubs you the wrong way, and you might not want to kill them per se, but you certainly wouldn't mind something like, say, punching them in the face. (But given the time limitations on our relationship now that I have a job that requires odd hours, the twinges are fewer and a greatly reduced in the level of imagined violence, which, let's face it is a better alternative to imagined homicide.)
I'll let you know when I have something of more interest. I'm sorry if I'm boring you with this stuff, but it's all I can muster at the moment, because I am tired, and I don't want to over-step any kind of boundaries with the new job by posting information I shouldn't, and let's face it, when you have all day to sit around and formulate a post because you're waiting on a call-back about being hired, odds are the writing is going to be quite a bit better than if you've been running yourself silly dealing with other people's problems all day long. Please judge me using a sliding scale, and be gentle. (Because, like Cole, my ego is a delicate flower!)
Be good eggs today!
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
I'm sure more of you are interested in my first day at the new job than you are about reading my ranting... although I have repeatedly heard that some of you just LOVE the rants, so there are a few cases where the rant is of more critical importance than the job news... either way, we'll get to both.
Moving through events chronologically, I suppose the rant should come first. So let's just jump right into it.
Two weeks ago (as of Monday) I took my computer in for the minor fixes it needed. Like I noted before, there was nothing major wrong with it, and if I were a fully operational service center, it would probably take me all of 10 minutes to quickly repair everything, as they are problems easily fixed with a couple of screws, and the necessary parts... But since I'm not a service center, and I don't have the parts, and that bad boy is still under a comprehensive warranty, I let the professionals do it for free. When I dropped it off, I was told it would be 10 days to 2 weeks. This was expected. Not pleasant when it leaves me with dial up, but expected nonetheless. And since Monday, despite being a holiday, was the official 2 week mark, and I hadn't heard anything, I figured I'd go ahead and stop in to check and see when things would be ready for pick up... The answer to my query did not please me at all... No. NOT. AT. ALL.
Me: "Yeah, here's the info sheet you need, I'd like to know when to pick up my computer."
Tech Nerd: "Umm... It looks like the service center only got it today."
Me: "EX-CUH-USSSSSE ME? How the hell is that possible? I brought it in TWO WEEKS AGO!"
Tech Nerd: "Well, it looks like someone screwed up the paperwork when you initially gave it to us, and nobody noticed it until it got to the service center, and once they noticed it, they sent it back saying that they couldn't fix it until the paperwork was accurate. So we corrected the paperwork, and sent it back to them, and they just got it today."
Me: "They just got it today... So are they working on it today, or what?"
Tech Nerd: "No, there's a seven to ten day wait from the day they get it to the day they actually work on it."
Me: [VISIBLY IRRITATED at this point] "WAIT, so basically what you're telling me is that I have to wait ANOTHER two weeks to get my computer back because someone here is incompetent at the job they are paid to do?"
Me: "I need this computer for work. Which is why I brought it in two weeks ago. Is there any kind of a loaner that you can give me, since it was your error and not mine?"
TN: "Umm, no. We don't do that here."
Me: "Is there any way that we can put some kind of a rush order on my computer?"
TN: "No. If there were such a thing as a rush order here, EVERYBODY would want it so that they could jump the line."
Me: "Yeah, but I've waited the two weeks already, and nobody called to tell me that you all messed up, so I was not informed that there would be an additional delay... Are you telling me that this is MY fault?"
TN: "No, it's not your fault, but I'm telling you that there is nothing we can do."
Me: "Is there anyone else I could speak to who WOULD be able to do anything."
TN: "There's a manager, but he can't do anything about this either."
Me: "I know it wasn't YOUR fault, so I don't mean to 'shoot the messenger' on this, but this is ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS... You know that, right?"
TN: "Yeah. Sorry."
Me: "I'll be placing a few calls and writing a strongly worded complaint to the general management, because this is just... BEYOND gross incompetence."
TN: "Well, here's the information to do that. I'm sorry for the delay."
Me: "I accept your apology, even though it does me NO GOOD when I have to explain to my boss why I don't have the computer I'm SUPPOSED to have in order to do my job. Have a nice day."
TN: "You too ma'am."
So I will be forced to suffer the slings and arrows of dial up for another two weeks. Please don't be mad at me for not commenting on your posts! I assure you that I am still reading, and I will try very hard to comment as much as I can, but it seriously takes like 5 minutes for a comment window to load here, and my patience is already worn thin as it is.
I just don't understand why I am constantly penalized for the idiocy of others. I mean, I do appreciate that other people have problems too, and I know the adage that "into each life a little rain must fall" but I'm WAAAAAAAAAAAAY overdue for a SEEEEEERRRRIOUS stretch of good fortune. I wish I had some way of finding out if I'm just getting all of the unfortunate debacles out of the way now so that the rest of my life is a cake walk... (For the record on that point, I am dubious.)
Last night I found out that my oldest sister was in town. She wanted to take me out to dinner. We went to Texas Roadhouse, and it was marvelous... What made it even more marvelous was the fact that in this town, since there are no REAL, ACCEPTABLE bars here, the restaurants run really sweet drink specials... Mondays at Texas Roadhouse = 99 cent margaritas. (This pleased me immensely, although I couldn't drink to my heart's content, because I knew I'd have to get up for my first day on the job today.)
But while I was out with my sister, she informed me that a family friend, (one whom I view as more of a half-brother or a close cousin rather than just a friend) has been nominated as the "HOTTEST GEEK in Louisville." He was not only nominated, he has made it into the finals. And in the finals, his only competition is a girl who attends the same preppy high school as my little sister. This girl cannot win! In fact, she must be crushed. And so, I am doing my part to ensure that Cole takes home the title. As a result, I am asking you to not only go here, and vote for Cole, but if you are so inclined, please ask all of the people you know to participate and do the same!
And here is a personal plea from the HOTTEST GEEK himself!
Alright, the votes are in for round one, and the person sending you this
email is in the top two. I hate to bother you all again, but go to http://www.themaxfm.com/PhotoWall.asp?id=26734 and vote for
Cole for phase 2. Now it is between Megan and I.
I can’t lose to a HS girl people. My ego is a delicate, quick (pointy at
parts,) flower. And so we must crush her dreams of taking my title. On the
upside, this should be the last phase. I can’t imagine them prolonging it much
more, so the next email should be of my ever impressive
Hope your weekends went well.
I beg you to take a few minutes and ensure my dear friend's superiority in the land of geekdom. (He'd vote for you!)
So after learning of this, and deciding to disseminate the news as far as I could, I went home and went to bed so that I might be well rested for my first day at work.
Let me tell you that no matter how much sleep I might have gotten, it wasn't enough. I am pooped! Day one was BUSY... I've been tested for drugs. I've been tested for TB, I've been finger printed, I've been asked for my driver's license 8 separate times, I've had my background checked, I've had my license run for outstanding warrants. I have done paperwork, I have learned about my insurance and benefits package, I have demonstrated the installation of three different kinds of car seats, I have been to meetings on client coverage, and client violence... It's been a LOOOOOOOOOOOONG day. But it was good, and I think I'll enjoy the job. I made it out alive, and I'm feeling good about going back tomorrow!
I'll give you more stories and details from the first day some other time when I'm not quite so near to needing some kind of adhesive to keep my eyelids in the "UP" position.
I love you eggs!
Please be good, and I will get back to you as soon as I possibly can!
(And PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE vote for Cole!!)
Monday, February 19, 2007
Monday will be spent taking care of all the last minute business that needs to be done before starting my new job on Tuesday. Some laundry, some errands, getting the oil changed in the car, and if I'm lucky, I might get to sit around and read a book for a little while, because once I start a job that will by all accounts require frequent 12 hour days, it's pretty likely that I won't have a great deal of time for recreational reading. This of course comes as no surprise to me, but it is still an unpleasant thing to know that now that I can afford to buy all the books I've been wanting to read, I now won't have much in the way of time to do actually read them.
But I'm not going to start complaining before I even start the job, because I am really excited about working as a family counselor. I have a feeling that this is going to be so much more than a job.
And so that's how it is. I'm a bore right now. Hopefully I can come up with something clever or mildly interesting before too long... It's less a matter of if, and more a matter of when.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
"The thing I REALLY want to know is....WHO SENT THE FLOWERS???? Even if it wasn't a guy that sent them... I sense romance is going to enter your life soon!"
Well to avoid leaving you all hanging, the flowers were from my darling mother. A kind of congratulatory bouquet. As for the romance... Well, I credit Brenda for issuing a comment which more or less forced my hand in saying what I have thought but not said since coming to the conclusion that I would be leaving Chicago.
And that is; I BETTER NOT FIND LOVE HERE, DAMMIT!
Yes, you read that correctly. I don't even remotely want any romantic involvement with anyone here! ME! The closeted hopeless romantic, and cynically-hopeful champion for the cause of finding a long-term love interest, wants nothing of the sort!
And I will tell you why.
As you all know, I DON'T want to be here. I consider this hellish present situation an exile from the life of rationality and intelligence which I actually deserve. And while I know a great many people who are content to live in this sparrow fart of a town, I am not among them. This town is widely regarded as something of a black hole... It is VERY difficult to escape, and after six years in a reasonable, respectable place, a city where things actually made sense, and where there were no stop lights on the expressways, I thought I had actually fully extricated myself from the horrid gravitational pull of the spinning black vortex of idiocy. Apparently I had that thought a bit prematurely, got too cocky or complacent about my situation, and wouldn't you know it, I am back at square one.
(And to those of you still focused on one particular point I just made, YES, there are stop lights on the "expressway" here. And I'm not just talking one or two, I'm talking MANY, placed much closer together than any rational person would have them... Not that any rational person would put stop lights on an expressway to begin with, but I digress...)
The fact is that if I find love here, the odds are exponentially increased that I will never get out again! EVER. Let's not even mention the fact that the irrational and nonsensical thinking which goes into planning our city roadways is usually expanded outward into the overall thinking and general mindset of the VAST majority of those who choose to reside here. This would imply that I would have to dumb down my mental capacity standards in finding a mate. And personally, I prefer someone with the capability for abstract thought.
I don't mean this as an insult to those of you who live and love in small towns. Small towns have their charms. And I'm sure that you have every reason to live happily where you do. If logic holds any underlying truth though, I think that the fact that you appreciate the humor here, and are capable of reading and understanding complex sentence structure means that no matter where you live, you are not an idiot or a simpleton. I'm just noting that in MY small hometown, there is a certain marked complacency for being an idiot, and not wanting anything more. The person who originally coined the phrase, "Ignorance is bliss," was most assuredly talking about the people who happily live and die here. And despite being fully aware of, and completely embracing my rather sizable imperfections, I certainly don't count myself among those who are happy as a clam to reside here in hell... I am more like an oyster, one who is deliberately focused on turning the irritating grit that I must deal with into a beautiful pearl. (Preferably a rather large and highly valuable pearl.) The ultimate goal being to hopefully get that pearl into the collection of some wealthy city-dwelling socialite... I could even settle for it to be housed in a museum collection of precious stones, as long as it got me back into a real city.
Although, if my luck plays out much the same way it has my whole life, OF COURSE I will find love here. I can only pray with every fiber of my god-fearing essence that the person I end up smitten with is a a man who is also in a temporary exile from a more rational place. It's either that, or he's going to have to be perfectly ok with uprooting and moving to a real city to humor the need for sanity in his beloved, or this relationship will be doomed from the start... Though that whole "doomed from the start" thing would be my luck too.
Maybe I am just an idiot for hoping and praying that it'll all turn around one day.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
Sorry, I'm gonna post it up anyway...
- So my dad was supposed to come into town today... But something came up, so he put off the visit until next week, which was fine. He asked me what time I'd be available, and I told him that I wasn't entirely sure because my new job requires me to schedule my time around when my clients are available to meet with me. He said, "Well, surely you won't be working at 8 or 9 in the evening." I told him that it was entirely possible that I would be working then, but I don't know for sure until I set the appointments. He then replied, "Well, whenever you get finished, we'll go have a nice dinner and a few drinks. Surely there will be a bar open somewhere!" ...Upon hearing this, the epiphany bulb above my head went on. I now know that my dad has begun to acknowledge that our visits go better when one or both of us is drinking. The benchmark for this theory, of course, is the annual family reunion. That visit always goes well, and I think that is due in large part to the free-flowing liquor involved. I'm convinced that the theory is sound.
- My cousin hasn't had her baby yet. Apparently she spent the whole day walking around, trying to help things move along, but to no avail... The wait continues. I am just anxious to know if it's a boy or a girl, and what name they picked out. I hate it when they wait to find out the sex when the baby is born... You can't plan anything in advance!
- I got flowers today. And getting flowers made me think a little bit. I thought about the scientific standpoint of flowers... Technically speaking the flower is the plant's housing of reproductive organs... So when you're sniffing a flower, you're actually sniffing the plant's vagina... Of course, this is the reasoning behind men giving women flowers... They just want to smell vagina.
- The sooner I can get back to making my own cup of coffee in the morning, the better. Grandpa tries so hard to make coffee, but what I end up with is about 1/4 of the strength I would like it to be, and it usually is absolutely riddled with grounds. Most of the time I pour it out, but occasionally I'll drink some of it and humor him. I just don't get how EVERY MORNING there are grounds in my coffee... I mean I have personally rinsed out the coffee maker half a dozen times, and he does use a filter... WHERE THE HELL ARE ALL THE GROUNDS COMING FROM!?!?!
- I love all of my cheerleaders! (You kids are included here.) I don't have much history on many of you, (though there are some exceptions) but if you've been a reader here for very long, you know that I've been on the bottom of a rather sizable shit heap for quite some time, and it sucks, but when you're under there, you lose sight of all the people who are rooting for you, it's not until you find a way out of the shit heap that you find them still there, and they're cheering because you made it out of the shit heap alive. So to all of you who were quietly rooting for me, and those of you who were more vocal in your efforts, I thank you for helping me to survive the shit heap... The next step is to shower and get all that smelly mess off of me!
- Speaking of those who have been here for a long time... I imagine you've probably noticed a marked reduction in the number of comments that the Lizzle has been leaving for you... Allow me to explain. I thought the warranty on my computer expired next month, so I took it to the shop to get all of the minor crap that was wrong with it fixed, so that it was pearly and perfect before the warranty expired and I was left to deal with the bigger problems that were sure to arise from the minor stuff that was going on... It turns out I still have another year on the warranty, but still, I figured since I was there, and the computer was handy, I might as well let them fix it, so as a direct result I've been contending with the craptastic world of DIAL-UP. (Yes, there are still people in the stone age of DIAL UP! And in this particular case, it stems from grandpa's unwillingness to have cable of any kind installed, and thus there is no internet unless you're willing to grind it out over the phone lines. Though we might be better off with Morse code, I hear that's pretty fast!) So anyway, once I have my computer back, I'll be back to using my wireless, and I'll be able to leave you all comments galore without having to wait five minutes for the comment window to load.
I suppose that's all for now. My visits drop wayyyy down on the weekends anyway, so hopefully I haven't bored too many of you. Please resume your regularly scheduled weekend amusements.
Friday, February 16, 2007
Before you say it, no, I didn't bump off the old man. So this is not the post where I incriminate myself by telling you all about how I finally snapped and *smothered him in his sleep.
*It should be noted that pretty much any way that an old man can die and have it not be an obvious homicide would pretty much directly implicate me through my writings... Even if I have nothing to do with it. Think about it. Let's say he stumbles and falls down the stairs... Someone could say I pushed him. Or he suddenly mysteriously falls ill... Someone would think I poisoned him. Or he should just passively go in his sleep... Undoubtedly someone will come looking for me, to find out if I smothered him. Great... So even if I don't kill him, it's on me.
No, this is that other post you've been anxiously awaiting.
The Lizzle was informed today that she got the job she wanted.
Those of you who have plodded along with me through the entire length of this arduous journey are totally out of your seats cheering now. Thank you. I encourage that behavior, and I'll be looking for more of it in the future.
So we all know that I'm not geographically where I want to be, but professionally, I just got to where I needed to go before making the jump into graduate school, and pursuing my ultimate career goal... It's a big healthy step in the right direction.
So what is it that I will be doing, you ask?
An excellently timed question my dear reader! I'm so glad you get right to the point.
My new professional title: Family Counselor.
All of you go ahead and have a REALLY GOOD deep belly laugh on that one! I know it really is worthy of a hearty guffaw! (This is my subtle way of implying that the irony of my new position and its title is in no way lost on me.)
Yes, I acknowledge that the irony is so thick that you're going to need a chainsaw and several of those lumberjack fellows who compete on ESPN to cut that bad boy up!
Yeah, I just mentioned a homicidal hypothetical directed at a member of my own family, and then I informed you that I have become a family counselor... A little awkward, I know. But here's the thing. (A) My degree technically qualifies me for the job. (B) I will not be dealing with my own family. (B and a half) Everybody's family is a little fucked up, and MANY people have a family member who makes them crazy, but nine times out of ten you don't have to live with that family member, and even in that tenth case, it's rare that familial homicide actually occurs... Yeah, it happens, but it's relatively rare. (C) Working all day will keep me far away from grandpa. (D) Being seen at the office, or out at an appointment with a client will totally be a solid alibi when I end up having nothing to do with his eventual death, no matter the circumstances.
So there you have it, I am back.
(Mom even noted a marked improvement in my demeanor and level of personal animation upon announcement of the blessed event.)
I celebrated by taking my mom out to my brother's restaurant for a proper drink. And though I've had better chocolate martinis, this one was just a little sweeter because I could taste victory! (But the best chocolate martini was at a restaurant back up in my old Chicago neighborhood... They made a damn fine cosmo too. And the pasta was perfection... Dammit, now I'm missing home!)
In other news, my cousin Kara went into a false labor today, and based on what we were hearing there is a very very good chance that we will have a new family member sometime on Friday. Please direct your positive thoughts toward this situation, as it is the one to which we need a positive end at the earliest deadline. Other situations have been de-prioritized until I advise a status upgrade. I'll keep you posted.
Well, Eggs, I hope you all have a GREAT weekend. But behave yourselves! I don't have enough money for your bail just yet... I just got the job.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
I don't watch that bullshit show. I'm making the following comparison from my vague familiarity with the concept of the show, so this is not any direct plot-following factoid infused comparison.
But here is why I think Jack Bauer is a pussy.
First off, Jack makes people give him the information he needs by being all threatening. GREAT.
Jack, it's easy to scare someone into doing what you want when you have a gun pointed at their head. It's also easy when you have lots of technology and a fully-staffed government agency feeding you the crap you need. Try going solo, unarmed, and unable to issue body-blows to the offending party... Yeah, Jack ain't gonna get too far.
"But, Lizzle, Jack occasionally gets caught and tortured, BLAH BLAH BLAH..."
Jack doesn't know torture.
Torture is living in an inescapable situation with an irrational person who frays the last threads of your sanity as a matter of daily habit.
I could totally handle taking a few punches, or Chinese water torture, or having bamboo chutes inserted under my fingernails, or whatever else with ease... You recover from physical torture a hell of a lot faster than you recover from being stripped of your sanity.
"But, Lizzle, Jack operates on a time constraint!"
Bullshit. That asshat has 24 hours to stop the threat of terror, and even if he didn't, whatever the resulting tragedy might be, he would not be the sole person held accountable.
You want to know what makes me say all of this? OK.
Picture it. The Lizzle is quietly sleeping. Not bothering a soul. Just snoozin away, having happy dreams of a life that doesn't so closely resemble hell. And then suddenly it hits me like a ton of bricks.
Mom --in that scarily panicked tone that only mothers can produce-- says, "LIZ!! Get up!! I broke the toilet!!"
There are few things that will wake you up faster than the threat of water damage that you didn't cause but will undoubtedly be held accountable for. Yeah, sure I'm betting you've got a running list in your head of worse things, but this is my story dammit. And in this house and in this living situation, water damage and a broken toilet ranks right up there at the top.
(A bit of background: The toilet in the main floor bathroom has a tendency to run continuously after flushing. Mom was trying to fiddle with the mechanisms in the tank and broke a piece off that caused the toilet to run, but not drain anywhere. As of that second, even though I was only sleeping when the event occurred, I was the one on a clock in panic mode.)
You're thinking, "But, Lizzle, couldn't mom just explain what happened, and that she was responsible?"
Mom had to get to work, and grandpa had just left for morning mass, which gives me only 45 minutes to fix this mess, or incur the wrath. It doesn't matter to grandpa who ACTUALLY broke the toilet I would be the only one home at the time when he discovered the situation, and thus the suffering would be all mine.
So in a panic, my grogginess was rapidly overrun by adrenaline... It's go time!
45 minutes, and counting.
I run up the stairs, assess the situation, and try to shut off the water intake to the toilet tank. (Mind you this valve has not been touched, let alone fully shut off, for MANY MANY YEARS.)
With my super-human adrenaline-fueled strength, I wrenched the knob as hard as I could, and got the water stopped.
I then proceeded to drain the tank most of the way, and figure out a plan.
"Mom, I'll fix it. Get in the car."
"Well, but... Can you..."
"Yes. Get in the car."
I drove at a somewhat rational speed, dropped mom off at her office, and proceeded to the nearest hardware store. I got the part that I needed. (And for the record, in a totally NOT dirty way, I knew the proper name for the part before ever going in, and it was a "ballcock assembly." And to you juveniles over there, quit laughing. This situation is in no way funny... though I will say that it was the first time in a long time that I've had my hands on a ballcock... Ok. Fine. Laugh it up.)
Ok, so factoring in drive time, time at the hardware store finding the part I needed, and then waiting in line, I've used a good portion of my 45 minutes before ever really getting started.
T-minus 20 minutes and counting...
I get back in the house. I grab the household items, and tools I know I'll need before going back to the task. I maneuver the things I need into the tiny space where I need them to be, and proceed to remove the broken ballcock assembly... (I'll pause now, while you continue to snicker... Ready yet? No? ...How about now? Ok. On with the story.)
I figure at this point I've got about 7 minutes left, and every second is loudly ticking away.
I install the new ballcock assembly. I make all the proper adjustments so that everything appears to sound and function as it always has. I restore the water flow. I begin to posture in my victorious glow... I realize that I have about a minute and a half to wrap things up.
I put the lid back on the tank. I packed up all the evidence of the problem, including the packaging from the new piece, the broken old piece, the tools, and the household items I needed. I put everything back in its proper place. I hide the evidence... All is as it should be, and about 6 seconds later grandpa pulls into the driveway.
Victory is mine.
And I didn't even have to shoot or threaten anybody.
Damn I'm good. (And I felt like a seriously butched out lesbian for knowing how to single-handedly fix a toilet without instruction or consulting a plumber, but you know... A totally butched out lesbian who isn't really a lesbian, because she isn't into chicks.)
Take that Jack Bauer! Crisis averted.
You may all issue your praises of my glory in the comments at this time.
And for the moment, I don't mean to imply that I'm going to kill grandpa, though I know the theme has been established.
No, you see, in the fair hamlet I now call home, we got a bit of nasty winter weather. It was not supposed to be at all bad, but as the rain changed to snow, and the collective precipitation froze rapidly on the roadways, things got really ugly in a big hurry. (So much so that I was braking to avoid sliding into the back end of a fellow motorist, and ended up sliding on the ice directly into a curb instead, thus throwing my alignment all outta whack, and booking my whole day tomorrow waiting at the repair shop to make sure that the alignment is all that has been compromised.)
So basically, we are all operating on the old theory, "If you don't ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO BE out, then keep your retarded ass at home." Grandpa seems to think that this conventional wisdom does not apply to him. How charming. And so, despite the fact that he is 86, and clinically diagnosed as 90% blind, and that his driving record is SEEEEEEERIOUSLY tarnished because he has repeatedly hit all the things he couldn't see, grandpa is of the belief that he simply must attend morning mass. GREAT. Factor in the particular geography of this town which puts not one, not two, but THREE school zones between him and church, and well, we can all see that this is a recipe for disaster. So basically, if he doesn't slip, fall, and break a hip before getting into his car, it's fairly certain that the St. Valentine's Day Massacre is going to not only refer to an event of Chicago mafia lore, but also to the group of school children that grandpa mows down on his way to morning mass... The upswing is that when he's put into the clink for reckless endangerment and vehicular homicide, I won't have to worry about being the one to shank him.
I have another tale for you, but I'll save it for tomorrow, because I am a tired panda!
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
And now that I think about it, the fact that I've posted these thoughts here for you probably cuts into my insanity/justifiable homicide defense... So let's just pretend this never happened, shall we?
Today I went to visit my mom in her office while she and the other ladies were on their lunch hour, and while I was still standing there, she looked at her co-workers and said, "You know, if she DOESN'T kill him one of these days, I'll be surprised." ...You know it's bad when your last bastian of sanity is telling her coworkers that it would be more surprising if you DIDN'T kill someone than if you did.
Tonight was another adventure in mind-numbing network television with piss-poor reception (because the old man doesn't believe in cable,) inane questions, repeating things for the hard of hearing, and defending my use of the household electrical supply. Honestly, it's a wonder I wasn't guzzling the vodka straight out of the bottle. And I own that I slid in a couple of cheap jabs out of frustration, and I admittedly over-poured the alcohol content in my cocktail, but it was either that, or punch an 86 year old man in the face, causing him to choke to death on his dentures... Alcohol was the sound alternative. (Now I TOTALLY know why grandma drank so much, and why her happy hours always started so early!) (A martini or two with lunch is not only an option, it's the smart bet.)
I know that moving back here was supposed to be all about rebuilding my financial status, but SERIOUSLY, I've got to get out of here in a hurry! Felony murder charges do nothing for a resume! (They even look bad on the resume of a hired killer, because that means your retarded ass got caught... And nobody wants to hire a killer who gets caught!)
Sunday, February 11, 2007
And we've established that he is in all likelihood losing it.
And now I know why old people like watching PBS. Namely, PBS re-airs the same tired episodes of the same tired shows week after week. (To old people it all seems so new and different, because they are losing their grip on reality, and can't be convinced that it is a rerun.) In this particular case, Grandpa was watching a professional dance competition that was aired in the exact same time slot last week as it was this week. Same dancers, same routines, same outfits, same outcome... They literally re-aired last week's episode this week. Grandpa's assessment, "Well these dancers aren't nearly as good as the ones they had on last week." Of course, to rational people they are 100% as good as the dancers last week, because THEY ARE THE SAME DANCERS AS LAST WEEK! We are watching a re-airing of the same episode. Of course, if you mention that FACT to grandpa, he's going to argue with you. Just like he argues with me over the fact that he thinks people only paid $600 to get into the Superbowl... Even though there was evidence documented in the local newspaper stating that people had paid upwards of $7,000 to get into the Superbowl. Evidence which was shown to him. And still he denied it. (I try to figure out where he's getting his information from, but that only makes things worse.)
Tonight we also got into a verbal disagreement when the local news aired Obama's announcement that he would pursue a the Democratic Whitehouse bid in 2008. I casually mentioned that I would vote for him, and I was promptly told that I was an idiot. I mentioned to him that I voted for Obama when he ran for the Illinois Senate seat. "Oh, well, then you were an idiot then too," was his reply. When I mentioned that he was running against the clearly insane Alan Keyes for the position, and I gave sound reasoning for casting my vote the way I did, I was still obviously regarded as an imbecile. Lovely.
This of course comes from a man who insists that the shower curtain in the bathroom be drawn together in the middle of the shower when it is not in use because, "If someone should sneak into the house and hide in the bathroom, if the shower curtain were gathered on one side or the other, that person could hide behind it... but if it's out in the middle, you can see him!" Great.
This is my life. I live with one person who is so irrational and argumentative about any and every little thing that goes on that I want to strangle him, and one person who basically keeps me from actively doing so. In the succinct words of Dwayne from Little Miss Sunshine, "Welcome to HELL." That about sums it up.
This reminds me, I'm going to need to buy more vodka...
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
There is another little part of my brain that harbors a persistent nagging doubt.
Part of me wonders if I've not walked into a delicately crafted scenario, wherein an old man deceives his family members into thinking he's totally lost it, and he only gets through the day as a direct result of following his fixed routine, but in reality he is totally lucid, and just drives them totally and completely nuts with his demands and "idiosyncrasies" as a form of personal amusement. This is totally the sick type of sense of humor I have, so the problem comes from figuring out if that nagging doubt in my head is a subtle part of reality, or if it's just me projecting onto grandpa the kind of octogenarian I'd like to be.
The question remains, is my grandfather the Keyser Soze of his generation? Is he pushing my mom and I to the breaking point just to get his jollies, or just to see how long we'll put up with it, or just how far we'll go out of our way to appease him? Is it just an intricately crafted facade to get us to think we are leaving the house on a daily basis for the sake of our own sanity, when in reality it's just his way of getting rid of us long enough so that he can do whatever it is that he does without us around? Because let's face facts here, being a demanding and generally cantankerous old geezer generally lends itself to getting your way and then being left alone because nobody wants to deal with you and your demands.
The truth remains to be seen.
So, I bet some of you are wondering why I mention this now, instead of leading off with the answer to yesterday's photo contest. Trust me, the two are related.
Decide for yourself if you think it was deliberate or an accident, but yesterday evening as my mother and I entered the home at the appointed time we noted a thin haze of smoke in the kitchen. And though nobody was in any kind of panic mode, there were no smoke alarms going off, and no fire extinguisher was present, the home smelled distinctly of a fire.
We called out that we had arrived.
We checked the oven. Nothing.
We checked the pots on the stove. Not being heated at the moment.
We wondered what the hell was burning.
We wondered why SOMEONE ELSE who was actually home (someone who supposedly has all of his faculties) hadn't noticed it.
We looked in the breakfast nook which is just off the kitchen and found the smoke a little thicker.
We opened the microwave to be greeted by another puff of smoke briefly billowing upwards, and that previously pictured object fully charred, still smoldering, and resting comfortably in the middle of the microwave. The following conversation ensued:
Mom: "What is that?"
Liz: "You're asking me?"
Mom: "What was that?"
Grandpa: "What was what?"
Mom: "THAT! That black thing that is still smoldering in the middle of the microwave and smoking up the kitchen!"
Grandpa: "Oh, that was your baked potato."
Mom: "A baked potato? How long did you put it in for?"
Grandpa: "Ohh.... about 13 minutes."
Mom: "A potato that small probably only would have taken three minutes!"
Grandpa: "Well eat if it you want it. If not, throw it away." (Moves to throw it in the trash)
Liz: (As grandpa drops the charred sphere that was once a potato into the garbage) "Umm, you might want to run some water over that."
Grandpa: "No, it's out."
(Not wanting to issue a correction and incur his wrath, I let him drop it in the trash and secretly prayed it would land on something that would flare up for a moment and prove me right... It didn't but to avoid a more serious smoke and fire situation later, as grandpa exited the room I plucked it from the garbage can and ran water over it, as it was clearly still glowing and sizzling... And then I photographed it for our little guessing game.)
Ok, so he knew exactly when we were coming home. (Down to like a five minute window.) He put a tiny potato into the microwave for 13 minutes. He didn't put it on a plate or a paper plate, and he didn't cover it with a paper towel or anything that would burn quickly or out of control. He didn't wrap it in foil, so there was not a risk of the microwave wigging out, the wiring melting, and the whole house going up in flames. He put it directly onto the spinning tempered glass disk in the bottom of the microwave. After 13 minutes of burning, (plus however many minutes of smoldering after the time on the microwave had expired) he conveniently didn't see or smell the smoke. He left it for us to find as we walked in.
So, what is it? The handiwork of a senile old man who should never be left alone, or the work of an evil genius adding yet another carefully calculated layer of "error" to an aging-genius/ Keyser-Soze-like image of incompetence that he may or may not be so skillfully painting for us. At the moment, I think it's really a toss-up. He's smart enough that I wouldn't put it past him, or at least he WAS smart enough... I don't know anything for certain anymore.
Monday, February 05, 2007
Pictured above, perched in my semi-manly chubby fingers, is an object. Can you guess what it is?
Clues will be given as needed as the guessing progresses!
Mel must have said something that had Pat all blushingly incredulous.
Lonnie and Lady Fanny of Omaha looking hot.
The one, the only, NACHO!
If she still worked there, I've got little doubt that Lady Fanny of Omaha would have been the prime suspect in some kind of sexual harassment suit.
Sean seems to be suffering from a little heartburn, or a good chuckle, I can't tell.
No better way to finish off the night than with a canned Hamm!
Lonnie is the hotness. No contest.
Well, maybe we rushed to judgement on that statement...
And after I spent a few days packing, moving, unpacking, and being generally over-emotional, I went camping out it in the middle of NOWHERE!
Someone thought it would be a good idea to purchase this DAY-GLOW highlighter yellow hat... For the record, I disagree.
This is the view of the little pond from the cabin.
Yup, there's no doubt about it, we were out amongst the country folk!
Shannon thought trying on the DAY-GLOW highlighter yellow hat would be fun... Again, for the record, I disagree.
I told you all that it was karaoke night! Here's the song catalogue to prove it!
This is where my toes go: By the stove in the cabin in the middle of NOWHERE!
Shannon and Eric, AWWW.
If you've stuck around acting like you give a crap for this long, I give you credit... I'm pretty sure I even bored myself to sleep with this post!
Sunday, February 04, 2007
And since it was a party, and there were abundant numbers of varying flavors of jello shots, we played a game. (Pretty basic really) There was a cup full of papers upon which something to do with the Superbowl was written, (for example: Lovie Smith, Tony Dungee, Beer Commercial, Car commercial, challenge, flag, touchdown, etc.) And every time that thing appeared on the screen you had to do a jello shot. You changed papers every quarter. My selections in order were: Flag on a play, Interception, Tony Dungee, and Bears first down. Needless to say, I consumed more during the second half... I know there were at least 6 Bears first downs during the 4th quarter, it's too bad they couldn't capitalize on any of them. Crimeny! When you add in all the "SOCIAL" shots, there came a certain point where we all just had to say, "I'm sorry, there is no more room for jello!"
I'll have to get back to you kids with a real post tomorrow. I hope you all had a lovely Rex Manning day!
It's Superbowl Sunday.
We've already been through my game predictions, as well as who I will be rooting for despite their quarterback ruining their chances... I'm a Chicago girl. It's not gonna change.
I'll be partying it up with Whitney and a few other folks... Beats the crap out of watching with Grandpa! (Nevermind that since he doesn't have cable that his reception is CRAP, odds are that he won't have changed the battery in his hearing aid by kickoff, and so we'd be forced to scream all the important info that he missed the first time around.) Not my idea of a good time.
You're going to have to wonder about Prince playing the halftime show, because since he recently found religion he won't be playing any of the vast majority of his classics... And that's kind of sad. Though seeing as it's Prince, you can't really rule out the possibility of a "wardrobe malfunction" because there was that one year that he wore that assless number to the VMAs.
Friday, February 02, 2007
I'm going to say that while there is no doubting my dedication as a Bears fan, the Colts will in all likelihood win it. (It's simply a matter of quarterbacking at this point.) Now the real fun will be to see just who shows up and decides to leave it all on the field... That and that alone will dictate the excitement level of this game. (And while I'm pretty damned sure about the outcome, I am still REALLY REALLY excited to see the game!)
Other than that, I have nothing new to report. I am a total bore. My sincerest apologies. I haven't even done anything that will translate into a few more acres in hell lately! And that was an everyday occurrence there for a while. (Although I suppose plotting the death of the bad drivers and my familial interrogator around here might qualify... But plotting and action are actually quite far apart on the acreage scale... I think I might have only purchased an easement of a few feet on the plotting alone.)
Ugh... I'll stop boring you now. I really don't know what keeps you all coming back here!
Thursday, February 01, 2007
We traded info, but as it is only paint on both cars and since there was no police report filed to confirm her idiocy, I think we're skipping the insurance thing... Hell, the deductible would be higher than the cost to fix the paint.
As if that is not bad enough, I think it should be noted --nay, ILLUSTRATED IN FULL COLOR, HIGH DEFINITION, AND SHARP RELIEF, -- That I have gone from a life of total and complete freedom and independence to a life of confinement and interrogation. Seriously. My grandfather, though his intentions are good, doesn't let anyone out of the house after dark... (If you're heading out and the sun is down, you'd better be prepared for a fight! And there are bells hanging on every out-bound door in the house to announce your departure or arrival, so you'd better be ready...) His logic is that if you're going out after dark, "Someone will get you!" To rational adults, this is utterly laughable, because this is not a big city, there is very little crime, and we live on the nicer side of the proverbial tracks. (I see this is going to put a big damper on my social calendar.) And even when you want to leave during daylight hours, you still better have a verifiable reason to be going anywhere. An example:
Liz: "I'm going out to run some errands."
L: (In a louder, more emphatic voice, because it's hard to tell if he just couldn't hear me because he's let the battery in his hearing aid go, or if he's asking for further details) "I'M GOING OUT TO RUN SOME ERRANDS."
G: "Well what do you need to do?"
L: "I have to go to the bank and make a deposit, I need to get some envelopes, and I need to drop some pants off at the dry cleaners."
G: "Well, why do you need to go out and do all that?"
L: "Because I couldn't do it last night... And I also am going to run by and pick up some of my clothes from the house [where my things are being stored]."
G: "Well why do you need to pick up more clothes?"
L: "Because I don't have the ones I need."
G: "Well what's wrong with the ones you've got on?"
L: "Nothing, but these are going to need to be washed... I need other ones."
G: "You've got a couple of bags of clothes with you, why do you need more?"
L: "I appreciate a little variety. And 3/4 of what I wear on a regular basis is still over there."
G: "Well, ok... When are you going to be back?"
L: "I'll probably be an hour or so."
G: "Why would picking up clothes take an hour?"
L: "Because I've got other things to do while I'm out."
G: "Oh. Ok."
L: "Is there anything you need while I'm out?"
G: "Pick up some cheese."
L: "Ok. BYE!"
Seriously... I go through this EVERY TIME I want to go anywhere to do anything. You can't answer one question without nine more cropping up. It's like living in a halfway house where you have to wear a tracking device to account for your whereabouts at all times, and then answering any and all questions upon arrival or departure. (And in all honesty, the questioning is much like that of a curious three year old, lots of "Why?" followed by your explanation followed by another "Why?" in a vicious repetitive cycle.)
We're not even going to get into the issues he has with technology... I never knew ordering a book on Amazon could be such a long, drawn-out three day saga. (And no, it's not just the internet he takes issue with, he also has issues with a digital alarm clock, a TV remote, and pretty much any electronic device excluding the microwave... He's got the microwave down pat.)
And the whole job situation, well, that produces a whole other myriad of questions. And to avoid intense scrutiny I have opted to "get my story straight" with my mom before either of us has contact with the old man, because if he hears one thing from one person, and something else from another, you can bet you're going to be grilled for an hour about what's going on, and you'll probably have to tell him again an hour later, because he'll forget that he asked and that you already explained.
Frustration doesn't even come close to doing justice to the feelings I go through here... Seriously, I am in HELL. Fortunately for me, I've got mom to keep me sane, and we keep each other from putting arsenic in the morning pot of coffee, or slipping a large batch of waterborne smallpox into the city water supply.
As Jay put it in the comments yesterday, I've got to JUST KEEP SWIMMING. (Which was the same sage advice I have him when he was down & out a while back.)
Oh, and I guess a few of you are interested in that interview I had... Well, there isn't a firm offer on the table, (yet) but I will more than likely get the opportunity to tell those bitches at the nut house exactly what they can do with all those damn macadamias on the night shift!