Wednesday, February 25, 2009

News Flash(ing)

I had a job fair today at the local University.  I don't mind going as it gets me out of the office for a time and I can also meet some pretty interesting folk. 
What I don't like is having to avoid the cameras of various media outlets as the scrounge for news of some sort to slap on their channel or publication. 
I have been on the cover of the local paper and on at least one newscast since I began my reign as HR lackey. 
Today was no exception. 
Bill Murray, a local personality known for his Woody (the car) and now his new smart car, came up to me, pulled out the front of my shirt and said (not asked) "Can I clip this mic to you and film you while you interview people."
"uhhhh - " was my awesome response. 
"Stand up, I have to put this battery on your shirt" he said and then flitted away. 
There I was, having been pawed by a local celebrity and desperately wishing someone would talk to me and release me from my microphonal chains. 
"No one's really coming by,"  I said, messing with the mic on my black and white shirt.
"And why is that?" Bill asked me quickly while walking over to my neighbor's vacated table. 
"Um, maybe cuz it's noon and everyone's at lunch, or," I watched as he bit into a Snickers bar that he plucked from the table, "maybe they're eating candy off other people's tables."  He shrugged and walked around to another table. 

I then unceremoniously accosted a Journalism major in order to get my mic removed. 
"That's it," I said to my co-worker friend after WSAZ had wandered off to another employer's booth.  "I'm going on a diet.  These damn chubby cheeks make me way too damn approachable!"

You can view me - talking oddly out of the side of my mouth, like Peter from Heroes, and about "giving back to the community"on video - here.

Oh crapola. I'm on there twice!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Gilly Beans the Jumpin' Bean!

I just read this post from my sister's Myspace blog. I laughed so hard I had to share:

When [Gillian] introduces herself to a grown up, my quirky lil girl quips, "My name is Gillian:

G-I-L-L-I-A-N. Not J-I-L-L-I-A-N. Momma says Gillian wif a J is some other lil girl named Jillian. Not me, right Momma?" EVERY stranger gets this introduction. Yesterday I glanced her way as we were veggin out during SBSP (SpongeBob Square Pants) and her eyes were crossed upward, eyebrows squished down all cave-mannish and she was stickin out her tongue, biting down on it. I should mention that she was nakey 'cept for a pair-o-tighty-whiteys so the caveman reference wasnt too far off. I studied her for a while. My daughter was lost in complete concentration. Finally, I had to ask. "Gillian? Are you trying to look at your eyebrows?""YES!" she said, not breaking her attempt. "But it's NOT WORKING!"She helped Mammy make brownies today. Gillian took a big lick off the spoon when Mammy wasn't looking. Mammy is a germ freak and I giggled as she ate a giant Gillian-flavored brownie after dinner. Did YOU notice the extra sweetness Auntie Holly?! :)Speaking of Holly, last time she and Harry tried to leave her, Gillian wrapped herself around Holly's legs and said, "You're staying wif meeeee" in a weird creeeepy lil voice. Holly was laffin so hard I think she peed a lil.Yesterday I told Gillian to wake Brian up. It was later reported to me that Gillian whispered in his ear, "Don't wake up. Don't ever wake up." Kids can be sooooooo scarrrrryyy sometimes! Every night @ bedtime she asks "What am I gonna dream about tonight, Momma?" It's uzhe something about Cinderella, the Wicked Stage or Thomas the Train. Whatever we decide she repeats to herself with a smile and a whisper. Like: "Me and Cinderella on the beach, spwashin an havin fun" And I hold her hand every night as she falls asleep.There are words i have heard associated with Gillian from the very moment of her birth. Beautiful, busy, quirky. Since she has gotten older I have been complimented on her impeccable manners and her big brown eyes. It amazes me the love I feel for this crazy lil kid. The phrase 'love so much it hurts' has a whole new meaning.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Daddy Dearest and the Quest to be Blogged

No sooner had I sat my expanding posterior in my father's La-z-boy recliner than a small styrofoam bowl was shoved under my nose. 

"Look! Here's something for your blog!  Look!" My dad was standing over me, blocking my view of ICarly (Gillian was running around - somewhere) and he was giggling.  "Look!  I asked mom where the sugar was to put on my strawberries and she said 'Over by the coffee pot' so I grabbed it up and poured it on my strawberries and LOOK!  I took a big bite." He paused for emphasis as I continued to stare at him quizzically and wonder why his sugared strawberries were "blog-worthy."

My sister could barely contain herself as dad's face reddened and he guffawed with laughter: "It was CREAMORA!" 

"Dad!" I said like I was shocked he'd do such an amazingly absurd thing but really - I wasn't.

This is the same man who once cut a hole in the ceiling four times as big as the tiny hole he was trying to fix, he once broke our washer trying to fix the dryer, fell off a ladder trying to get to the roof, cut the tip off his finger trying to retrieve a nail that was under the lawn mower -
while it was still running, and who almost blinded himself when he mistakingly used super glue instead of eye drops. 

So, really, the fact that he survived the Strawberry and Creamora incident is, I 
guess, "blogworthy" in itself!


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Home Alone: Part 1,029

Harry broached the subject with his normal amount of decorum:  "Andrew has an extra plane ticket and wants to know if I can come visit him in Houston?"  It wasn't a question, but was presented as one.  He barreled on: "Can I go?  I shouldn't go. I'm leaving for D.C. for three whole weeks in March. I shouldn't leave you. Right?" It was a question.   But it wasn't one I was willing to entertain. 

"Duuuuude," I said, using my creative pet name for my dear husband. "Duuuude," I repeated, "if Tiffany called and said "I have a free ticket to Korea.  And she wasn't actually in Korea but in California or TX or something, I wouldn't have asked you.  All that would be left of me would be a cloud of smoke and some hair pins like in those Looney Toon Cartoons.  Go." 

Later the discussion continued. 

"Go, really. I'm okay. Go have fun.  Pretend you're a bachelor again."  I paused, swung my head around at him and poked at the air between us with my eyes narrowed with menace. "But not too bachelor-y!"

I convinced him to go and only now, in this large house, in the basement when I'm cold, damp and alone - I ponder the rationality of my decision. 

And as the weekend looms before me, lacking of any 8am-5pm workdays and mocking me with its endless possibilities I can feel white hairs springing up from my hairline as I truly freak out. 

But only a little. 

I can see tons of things around the house that NEED to be done - but do I want to do any of it?

Maybe I'll pretend to tour my hometown as a tourist.  
Anyone game on meeting me at Pullman Square and try on every pair of shoes in "Heels" and then popping over to the Latta toy store to molest the stuffed lion display?
Anyone willing to drive down Fifth Avenue and moon the frat houses?
To order only a water and nachos at Max and Erma's?
To see a movie and sit in the very front row, eyesight be damned?
Check out the old scary cemetery in Barboursville and make up fun love-triangles between the dead-and-gones buried six feet (or so) under?

Le Sigh....

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Holly, the Cryptmaster

"It was so quiet here without you! It was tomb-like!" My boss had popped her head into the doorway of my office and smiled at me over a stack of paperwork. "People had their heads down, they were working and it was just so quiet!"

"Why would they do such a thing?" I feigned horror. "Well, no worries now! I'm back and I'll make sure that doesn't happen again!"

SEE? They may say I'm too loud. Too brash. Too giggly- but when the chips are down, the work is piling and the boredom sets in like a large crow on a pile of paperwork roadkill - they need me to be there to bring them Holly-cheer!

I'm like a care bear, peeps! That's right.

hee hee

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Not much... And you?

Last week a wind storm hit Huntington, WV and blew us back into the Dark Ages.  
I was in the middle of making grilled chicken for my poultry-lovin' hubby when BOOM! Out goes the power.   
I had already preheated the oven so I opened up the garlic powder and sprinkled the contents on the laid out twisted bread sticks.  
I watched in dim-sighted horror as the entire bottle ended up covering the doughy sticks.   In the darkness I had opened the "pour" side instead of the "sprinkle" side and had now invented a new dish:  Garlic with breadsticks.  
Shrugging,  I quickly opened the door and tossed in the cookie sheet and hoped for the best.   The chicken, on the other hand, felt firm to the touch and, by flashlight, looked pretty good.  As the sky darkened to a deep urine-colored yellow I wrapped the chicken in some found foil and went to find the small weather station I had plugged in after our last outage.  
The wind pounded the windows and the rain seemed to strike from all directions.  The house, all three floors, seemed hell-bent on caving and I jumped and almost tripped over a box of Calphalon pans when my phone rang. 
It was sis.
"Aaaaaaaaaaagh!!!!" I answered. 
"Hey mom! Mom!  She answered like this 'Aaaaaagh!' hee hee.  Yeah!  She's alone! hee hee!"  I could hear my sister cackling as she regaled my fear to my parents.   "Yeah - we're going to stay put.  We were going to come over there but - oh - what's that? You have no power? Yeah, we're really going to stay here now!"  with a snigger indicating that she was enjoying my pain my sister hung up and went to sit on our mother's couch with a warm cup of joe and a relaxing smile while I stood in my creaking house, alone, waiting for a hubby with take-out. 
Trying to make the best of things I lit candles (xmas ones - it's all I had!) and made a nice romantic dinner for Harry and me. 
He arrived home a few minutes later, white-knuckled from driving a rented Xterra on the highway and clutching a bag of alfredo under his sweatshirted armpit.   
"Should we call AEP and report our outage?" he asked. 
"Sure, I mean, I'm sure they know, but we can try!"

I dialed the number on my bill and was greeted with an impersonal automated female.  
"Enter your ten-digit account number, located in the top right hand corner of your bill," she said.   
"There are eleven digits!" I said back to her. 
"I'm sorry," she apologized.  "I didn't get that. Please enter your ten digit account number."
I frantically recounted. 
"There are eleven! ELEVEN!"
"I'm sorry," she apologized again.  "Please wait while I get someone to assist you."
I relaxed a bit as I knew a real person would understand my saga of the missing number. 
A series of beeps sounded in my ear. 
"I'm sorry," she said again, sounding as unapologetic as ever, "there is no one to assist you at this time. Please call back."

So there I was. In the dark. Literally and figuratively and all at the mercy of AEP and their confused Automatic Reporting System. 

I gussied myself up by flashlight the next morning, got to work and fired off an email to AEP explaining that the frustrating event of a blackout is only further complicated by the fact that the account number listed is LONGER than the one asked for by the automatic operator. 
To which I got this response:  "Thank you for contacting AEP.  Unfortunately, due to severe weather conditions and outages, it may not always be possible to speak to a live agent."
After I got done scratching my eyes out and beating my heat with my keyboard I responded with this:

Good evening,
Perhaps my original email was unclear.
I wanted to communicate the difficulty I experienced when reporting my outage.
The "convenient" automated reporting system asks for the ten digit account number located on the upper right hand corner of my bill.
AEP has an eleven digit account number.
Not knowing which of the ten digits to enter - I was hung up on - four times.
Therefore not being able to speak to a live agent was the least of my concerns since I was, quite literally and figuratively, in the dark on how to even report my lack of power.

Since my street seems to have more than the average number of blackouts - severe weather or not - perhaps this automated system should be re-evaluated.
After all, what is the point of being a reliable, on-time paying, customer if the "convenient" way of reporting an outage only adds to the frustration of the event?

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.

Yeah - I'm evil - but they drove me to this!  They did!  
Anyone else have a fun utility-related story to share? 
Or a generator to sell?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Dust Buster

"See all this here dust built up on the back of your tank?" the kindly gentleman had pulled the equivilant of a small woodland creatire from behind the unit. "Know what this is to an open flame?"

"Uh, it goes poof?" I guessed.

He tossed the lint to the floor away from the tank. "It turns into explosive material. It's really good you called when you did..."

I found out that not only was my hit water tank located entirely too close to the drye, but it was plotting to kill me too! With a lint bomb! Further proof that my appliances really are trying to kill me is that as I was finishing up making my plate for dinner the pan full of freshly made Alfredo JUMPED from the stovetop and dove at my bare feet. I sidestepped the goo but not before it spooged all over the front of my pants.

I'm convinced my house is really trying to kill me!!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Dang it all to HECK!

I really did try to be THAT girl.
You know the one.
The gal that picks her teeth with a toothpick and removes a wedgie in public. The kind of girl who can sing along to every song by George Strait, Patsy Cline, Tool and Metallica. The kind of girl who can FIGURE OUT HOW TO LIGHT A FRIGGIN' PILOT LIGHT ON AN ANCIENT WATER HEATER!

Seriously - I tried EVERYTHING! I cussed at it, banged on it, looked up manuals on line and cursed the man who built my house for giving me a state of the art unit with NO AUTOMATIC PILOT STARTER THINGY!
And nothing worked. I was on my hands and knees trying to unplug it, unscrew it and un- anything it to even FIND THE DAMN PILOT.
And then - I gave up.
I scooted the compartments back to where I found them, wiped the old kitty litter from my hand, collected the $5 in change that I found under the unit and slowly made my way back to the tv room.

Holding back the endless sea of oncoming tears that seem to linger daily - I called the Plumber and left the following message:

"Hi, um, yes. I tried to fix my water heater. It was broken. So I took off some, um, parts. And then I couldn't figure out where the light was. Oh, and I made sure to unplug it first! So, yeah, my water heater - is broken. Can you come fix it? Call me? Please?" I sounded stupid at first, stupider in the middle and downright stupidest (and desperate) by the end.

I'm completely fed up.
I'm sick of being the only one here to deal with these things when they go wrong and how nothing is allowed to function unless it's on the weekend. I'm sick of my job making feel peon-errific as of late and I'm sick of feeling powerless (not literally since my power is on and should stay that way for a bit longer, I hope) to change what's around me.

Or maybe I just have the winter blues...


I mean, it's definitely ONE of the two of those...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

(Not) In Hot Water

Aaaaaaand - my hot water tank just went kaput.

I may have to bathe it ol' school: big pots, hot stove and an, unfortunately, a rather large tub. This normally works better with two people. One to heat and one to take a seat! But I'll make due!!!

Anyone got a spare tank (or pair of pot-carrying hands) send them my way!