Friday, June 29, 2007

Back On The Chain Gang

Okay: I took a nice long break from formal work while raising my kids (ho ho: as if that job is done) so maybe I'm still in a honeymoon phase, but..... I'm surprised anew every day that I arrive at my current job and am still as excited to be there as I was the day I started. It's not like it's always easy/pleasant/fulfilling, necessarily, but I seem to've found my niche. I still can't believe I get PAID to service my addiction (that would be my PRIMARY addiction: books. Books. Boooooooooks) and was a bit unsettled to discover, during my vacation this past week, that I actually

I went directly from work to my brother-in-law's 50th birthday party tonight (I've become someone who has engagements IMMEDIATELY AFTER WORK, which isn't and brought my girls home not too long into the evening. What this family needs is some grandchildren. We seem to be in a holding pattern of blandness while our kids mature, though, God willing, not TOO soon. The granddaughter of a friend was there tonight (gorgeous little child; smart and polite, too. Her parents are divorcing now, after...I don't know. Yes, they were very young, but I can't convince myself that those marriages are doomed to failure) and it gives me an odd feeling to realize that while I'm anticipating that next step, some of my own peers are just starting their own families. Yeeeesh. I wouldn't want to start over again, but what would I know, if I didn't already have a half-grown family? Forty isn't considered "old" now, gestationally. Huh. I don't want to sound ageist,'s a young woman's game. In my opinion.

Sisyphus In A Dress

The standing tub (I wouldn't call it a "clawfoot tub" as it has no claws) in my bathroom is so old now that the finish is letting me down, appearance-wise. Wednesday (not coincidentally, the day after I colored my hair) I poured a gallon of bleach into the !@#$%^ and started the hot water running while I tackled the groceries Sarah and I'd just bought (goodbye, $200.) I'd covered for a friend at work that morning and was due back for a meeting in the afternoon, so I was attempting- as always- to make the most efficient use of my available time. I've been a bit overwhelmed since arriving home from vacation and the days are just flying by, with a handful of tasks that need to be completed just plain not getting done while I sprint through my house like a chicken with no head. So: I manage to forget that the tub's running until it was too late. Upon realization, I hoof it into the bathroom, where there's an inch of extremely hot, bleachy water on the floor and more spilling over the sides of the !@#$%^& tub. I- reflexively- wade in, burning the bejesus out of my feet. But wait! Even as I register the sensation of my feet being incinerated and try to levitate up and out of the area, straining something in my back, I crank the tap off and STICK MY ARM INTO THE BOILING, BEACHED WATER in order to pull the plug. It was a veritable trifecta of stupidity. Floor's really clean in there now, though. Or was until today- when I couldn't help but observe, while contorting myself in order to install the new toilet seat I'd just purchased this morning (I had no idea what a crisis it is when ones toilet seat breaks down) that the floor is once again hairy and grimy and disgusting. How does this happen????

I was thrilled to finally leave and get to work (no toilets to repair here!) but still. Sheesh. As I was crouching by the potty, all dressed up for the afternoon shift, screwdriver in one hand, clock ticking away, I couldn't help but think, "Someone else has MY life... and I want it back."

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Back To......."Normal"

I tend to forget over the span of the school year what summer vacation is really like. We've been back from the beach only two days total and already I'm on the verge of a nervous breakdown: I should not have had children, or rather, I should've stopped at two. (I remember how I felt back when making these decisions- ho ho, as though I REALLY "made decisions" regarding this area- that two kids wasn't quite enough, but three was too many. A dilemma, this.) Sarah (aka "The Barnacle") is draining all the life from me, one loony question at a time. Thank God for my job, which I'm delighted to report I still have despite the bizarrely irate customer I "helped" my last day at work prior to leaving town. To say that I worried about the impact this dude's over-the-top and completely unfounded anger would have on my career ("career!" Ha ha! Ha ha ha haaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!) understatement. I obsessed so thoroughly about what had happened that I may as well have brought that nut along on the trip.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Rodent-Free Zone

In the wake of my recent mouse dilemma (if he's still there when I get home, I'm giving him a name) I'm reminded of the only other rodent I was able to tolerate: Bob, aka The Mouse Saved From The Jaws Of Death. My daughter Sarah had come home from school one day when she was in the first grade and showed me her closed fist. "Susan (not her real name) gave me something, but I know you won't let me keep it," she said. Susan was a friend situation tended to make my hair stand on end, and I braced myself: what was it? Something that belonged to Susan's mother? A piece of her jewelry? Her crack pipe? "Well, what is it?" I asked, and Sarah opened her hand to show me a tiny black mouse. I screamed so loud that he shot up in the air like he was levitating, then collapsed back onto Sarah's palm.

Susan's mother kept snakes, and that morning Jessica had smuggled the mouse into school in her backpack to prevent him from being consumed. I don't like mice. In fact, I HATE mice. I have a physical reaction to mice/bats/birds when they appear in my house that I swear will one day kill me: my heart pounds painfully, I can't breathe...the sight of something scuttling/flying/swooping indoors turns me into a screaming, sobbing maniac, and this time was no different. Against my better judgment, I agreed to provide temporary foster care to the vermin. We named him "Bob" and made him a home in a mayonnaise jar. The first night, he fell into his water dish and I woke up to find him soaking wet and shivering. The next night, he moved into my room, where I could keep an eye on him. I plugged in the heating pad, covered it with a towel, and put Bob's jar on top of it. I touched the jar several times during the night to make sure it wasn't too hot, but the next morning Bob was stretched out on his back, limbs splayed, sweating and panting. So far he'd spent a day in a backpack, had been frightened out of his wits by a shrieking giant, then endured back to back nights of alternately freezing and roasting. I borrowed a cage from friends who kept rodents and Bob seemed visibly relieved to move in.

While I was fond of Bob (who lived to a ripe old mouse age and was charming and friendly to the end) he didn't exactly change my opinion about vermin as a whole. I'm not sure if our current mouse will, either, as I'm leaving on a long-anticipated vacation this morning and told my son that there'll be a cash reward if he disposes of the interloper while I'm gone. "A mouse?" he said when I filled him in. "I HATE mice." Atta boy!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Velociraptor Girl

Sarah is being, so....kind to her cousin's velociraptor that it's alternately charming me and creeping me out. Like anything she does, it's just loony enough to make you kind of uneasy. It's not like she neglects her own dinosaurs (there's a sentiment you don't hear very often) but she doesn't exactly pamper them, either. Cade's misplaced velociraptor now has a sort of kitchen area set up alongside his bed, nightstand, plant and motorcycle. It has everything a plastic dinosaur needs, most of it borrowed from Barbie's kitchen. (I asked Sarah why she didn't just use Barbie's entire freestanding pastel kitchen and she looked at me as one might look at someone who'd asked a really, really stupid question. "He's too SHORT," she said. "He'd have to use a stool to reach anything." Oh. Of course. Silly me.) In addition to Barbie's various bottles and pots and pans are the items Sarah has crafted for this velociraptor's use: napkins. Towels. Wads of aluminum foil that I can only assume are....well, I don't know. I'm afraid to ask.

I left dinner (tacos) prepped and instructions for Sarah to do the last-minute things (heat bean dip. Get out salsa and sour cream) but I don't know how much attention she was paying me. I wrote instructions down then and slapped the Post-It right on the counter next to the Velociraptor Hostel, figuring she couldn't miss it there. In fact, the lettuce and tomatoes and taco shells, etc., were encroaching on the dinosaur's temporary headquarters (hey....does she intend him to live there until we leave for the beach and can return the damned thing to her cousin???? That's two weeks of an ever-increasing Chez Velociraptor ON MY KITCHEN COUNTER) which earned the prospective sustenance a few irritated glances while Sarah was earnestly tidying the dinosaur's bedding and straightening his kitchen. Sigh. I know, I know: I should talk. I myself walked past the counter this afternoon and thought, "I bet that velociraptor's getting tired of riding his motorcycle." I'd tucked him back into his bed and was slipping his teddy bear under his arm before I realized what I was doing.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Really, Now: Is This Too Much To Ask?

Please.....PLEASE....bring your library card when you come to the library. I swear: you would not believe how many people assume that no card is needed to check out/renew/look up their account/use the computers. Yes, we can use your license to check out (although I think we shouldn't: you can't hand your library card to a cop when he pulls you over) but the process is simpler if you have your card: your library card. After all, you're at the LIBRARY. Checking out LIBRARY BOOKS.

It's been a day for wacky transactions. We've started a "renew everything" policy when dealing with phone renewals, as these can be time-consuming ("...and I think I have something due on the 3rd but I want everything due on the 6th so I can keep track blah blah blah") if the customer has lots of items with different due dates. So when you tell the person, "Okay, I've renewed all your items and they're now due on th-" nine times out of ten they'll snap, "But I didn't want EVERYTHING renewed!" not? It'll save you from calling back two days from now.

Another interesting conversation I kept having today was the my-internet-was-down-so-I-couldn't-renew-and-I'm-not-paying-the-fine. Hmmm. I have a certain amount of sympathy, buuuuuutttttt......we really don't forgive fines for that reason. Or because your phone was disconnected and you couldn't call. Or you went out of town and assumed that since you weren't home to return your items, we would waive the fine. THEN I heard this today: "What, there's no grace period between when these were due and when you start charging?!" Why, sure there is! It's that two weeks you had the books out!