Friday, August 31, 2007

Call Me Ishmael. I Wasn't Pregnant. Tiny Appendages.

The new post over on my blogfriend Sparky's * blog reminds me of something that happened on the very first day of my very first teaching job, ever.

I was 21 years old, so it's been a while back.

Fresh out of college, and still believing all the malarky that was in my textbooks, I entered the high school feeling like a grown-up. This lasted until all my old teachers started greeting me, and, oh my gosh, asking me to call them by their first names now that we were colleagues.

"Call me Helen." "Call me Valera." "You can call me Byron now." "Please, call me Pat."

I couldn't. The level of fear respect was still so high that to call these people anything that didn't include a title was beyond my comprehension.

Also, whenever a student called ME by a title, I got the giggles. I hadn't yet made the big crossover, you know, to the OTHER SIDE OF THE DESK. That took several years. I mean, the first time I chaperoned a dance, students asked me to dance and I DID. Mistake. But I digress.

Still on that first day of official adulthood, I was trying to navigate the huge new building my old high school was now using. Schedules be damned, the brand new building still wasn't quite ready to be populated, but that never deters school corporations from opening right up anyway; after all, it's just kids, not voters PEOPLE.

In other words, the stairs had no banisters and the restrooms were not labeled yet.

I could deal with the banisters, but the restrooms were important; when I have to really, really "go," I look pregnant. By mid-afternoon, any stranger would have taken me for eight-and-a-half-months, so I decided to take my chances and run for the nearest one before someone called an ambulance and rushed me to obstetrics.

I peeked inside the unlabeled room and the coast was clear. I went into a stall and did my bidness. When I emerged, ten pounds lighter and with a flat stomach (which I really miss. . . .) I noticed for the first time that one wall was covered with urinals. Standing at two of the urinals were two of my former teachers. Two of my former male teachers.

I was in the wrong restroom.

"You might as WELL call us by our first names, now, Janie," said one of them.

I ran away and sucked my thumb in the corner for a while, and then I emerged, all grown up and unafraid.

Here's why, and I've never confessed this to a living soul until now.

Anyone with a penis that little was not to be feared.

*I call her Sparky because, wherever she goes, she sets something on fire. I find this endearing, but after she visits my house, which I sincerely hope is soon, I might not. Fortunately Unfortunately, almost everything with moving parts that resides in my house is broken right now, and awaiting the arrival of trained personnel with large tool boxes ** so there really isn't much she could do in the way of arson unless she comes armed with a pack of matches.

** Is this a euphemism? I don't know yet. I'll keep you posted.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 5:57 PM | |

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The New Carnival of Education Is Up. I'm Not Extraordinary.

The Carnival of Education is up and running, so please head on over there and take it all in. If you don't keep up on what's going on in your child's schools, how can you have an intelligent voice in it? You can't, that's what. So keep up! The Carnival of Education, right HERE.

In every one of my five new classes, there is at least one student who must work harder than anyone else, and who must ask more questions than anyone else, and who seems to have more of an invested interest in education than anyone else, and who seems to want to learn more than anyone else. I want those five students to know that it is because of them that I love my job so much that I go in early (unpaid) and stay late (also unpaid) so that just in case any of them needs me without the audience of the other students, they can find me. Those five students are also the reason that I put my home phone number on the syllabus.

No, I'm not extraordinary. I like to think, however, that I am good.* Those are merely things that all good teachers do.

It's the ones who teach only on the clock that you've got to beware of.

*. . . at TEACHING. Why, what were you thinking?

Darn right. DARN right.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:43 PM | |

Anybody Else?

Am I the only person in the known universe who has never, ever seen Oprah's show? Is there anyone else out there who has never, ever seen a single Survivor show? Did anybody else hate Raymond?

It just seems like every season, the shows are dumber, nastier, more violent, and glorify people who are actually nothing but whores and pimps and murderers and semi-illiterate louts. Why would someone WANT to watch a saga about a person who hops from bed to bed, hurting person after person in search of her true self? The true self of such a person wouldn't exactly be gratifying, now would it? Really? Why would anyone CARE about such people? Is there really such a thing as an endearing hit man?

As for shows about women who are obsessed with shopping and shoes and who can sleep with the most men. . . . oh dear LORD, what are we coming to? I have students who are like that and I think they're dumber than a box of rocks. Shallower than a griddle. And cheaper than second skimmings.

Discount people. Yeah, that's who made our country great. Words of more than one syllable? Sure. "Whatever." Ask Miss South Carolina: now THERE'S intellect!

Don't mind me. I'm in a bad mood because apparently our local power company and the Mothership power company don't communicate well, and my online payment wasn't recognized locally so the guy came out to shut off my service. Fortunately for me, I was home and went out on the deck to ask him what was going on. Unfortunately for him, this is my day off and even at 1:30 p.m. I still wasn't dressed, so he had to look at me in my genuinely horrible nightie. He was a really nice man, and turned my power back on to give me a chance to find out what kind of error had been made and who might have made it. Thank you, Power Guy. Amazingly, it wasn't my error this time! Everything is fine now, even though I had to, once again, start my computer in safe mode and go to system restore to get it going.

Duke Energy, please get your act together. Encourage the Mothership and the Locals to communicate. Fire everybody who doesn't know how to use the internet.

I'm nervous now about making my payments online. I'll still do it, but I'm nervous.

Oh, and of the two separate phone calls I had to make to Duke Energy this afternoon. . . .I talked to two different women. The first was hateful and condescending, and the second was helpful and understanding. Please fire the first and give the second a big, big raise. Yes, the difference was that much.

I can SEE! I have POWER! My computer is working, even though it believes it's three weeks ago!

Living in the past. Yeah, I'd do it myself if I had the technology. Way to go, computer.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 3:50 PM | |

I'm Cheap, But I Ain't Free. Probably.

Why? Why do I have to go back to system restore, via safe mode, over and over again? What am I doing wrong that is upsetting my computer this badly?

I am amazed by people who regularly wash their cars. Where do they find the time? Isn't that what rain is for?

We haven't had much rain this summer, which is why the grass is brown and crunchy and I have no roses, but even so.

I am amazed by people who regularly run their cars through the automatic carwash. That thing costs TEN BUCKS. I have never in my life ever had ten bucks to "throw away" on washing my car. If I had ten bucks, I would waste it on something like, oh, say, food. Or something for my kids.

Ten dollars for the carwash. Wow.

I know I'm extraordinarily cheap, to the degree that people sometimes point and laugh, but I just can not imagine spending ten dollars to have my car washed. That's forty dollars a month!

Sorry. When you've never had any money, and now you've got less, it's easy to become flabbergasted by simple normal expenditures more because I know I can't have them, than for any other reason.

But you know, if I won the lottery tomorrow, I wouldn't change much about my life, other than getting out of debt so I could sleep at night, and eating out in nice restaurants all the time.

By "nice restaurant," I am referring to one that doesn't have a drive-through window.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 3:02 AM | |

Sunday, August 26, 2007

I Need To Win The Lottery. Also, I Want Cake.

I sure wish I knew why my computer is constantly malfunctioning. This morning Around noon, it happened again. I turned it on and. . . . nothing.

We couldn't even reload XP because the cd drive had vanished without a trace. Oh, the DRIVE was there, it's just that the computer refused to recognize it.

So Hub put it on wayback and sent it to happier times and it finally came back on, circa last week. If you understand what that means, I'm sorry; it's happened to you, too, hasn't it.

I still have no cd drive, but at least I can post!

WalMart deli this afternoon: one harried worker. Poor thing, I hope she gets some rest tonight; people were treating her badly. Shame on them. And what kind of person would demand a huge personalized birthday cake on a Sunday? I know the answer to that question, for I met her at the WalMart deli today. A description of her would rhyme with what poison ivy makes you do.

It is very true that if a business is going to offer a service, that business had bloody well make sure the service is available when a customer asks for it. I also think it's disgraceful that a store manager, ANY store manager, doesn't know how to perform pretty much every single service his/her store offers. Back in the day, managers knew. A manager could always be relied on to perform whatever needed to be done, in the absence of a clerk. Now, they don't know much of anything, to watch them in action. Shame on them.

WalMart checkouts: Four cashiers, two of whom were working the '20 items or less' lanes. Ten thousand customers, all in line at once. No happy campers. When did they remove the "If there are more than five customers in line, we will open a new register. We promise!" signs? Remember those? Those were always good for a laugh. They probably took them out around the same time all the "WalMart sells only products made in America" signs disappeared.

Why do I go back? I don't know.

Yes, I do. It's the only place in this town where I can buy lemons by the bag.

I used to shun WalMart. I would always go to K-Mart if I could. But I'm fast changing my mind, in spite of everything.

I seldom return anything to a store. I have always figured that anything that didn't work out was my mistake, and why should the store have to cover for me? (Unless it was broken or missing a part; that's entirely different.)

But a few weeks ago, I bought a "universal Motorola car charger" for my cell phone. I have a Motorola phone, and the charger said "universal." I assumed, silly me, that "universal" meant that the charger would work for all Motorola phones.

What do I know? After trying unsuccessfully to make it fit my phone, I realized that the charger was mislabeled: it should have said, "universal Motorola car charger for all Motorola phones in the known universe except yours."

So I took it back to K-Mart, where I was told that since it was from 'electronics,' I was not 'eligible' for a refund, but would have to walk back to Electronics (which is, naturally, in the north forty) and find something that cost $19.99, and trade off. So I walked back to the north forty, found a phone card, walked back to the front desk, and gave it to the clerk. It would not work in her register. She took it over to the main register. It would not work there, either. She told me that I would have to walk back to electronics and find something else. I did, and brought back another phone card. It would not work in the register, either. She send me back to the north forty again, to ask the clerk to try it in THAT register. It didn't work. None of the phone cards worked in any of the K-Mart registers. By this time, I was limping noticeably. The clerk at the front desk finally took pity on me, and gave me a gift card, labeled, in large letters, "Returned merchandise card." But after all that, who cared.


About a month ago, I bought a landline phone at WalMart. When I got it home and opened the box, there was nothing in it but a base and a cord. I lost my receipt somewhere between the car and the store. I showed it to the man at the service desk and he was horrified, apologized because I'd had to return to the store, and gave me an instant refund. No questions asked.

Now, where do you suppose I'll be making most of my purchases from now on? Hmmmmmm?

I did get a few files organized for the new semester. By "a few" I mean, naturally, enough for tomorrow. Sigh. I need a secretary.

Also, if Chase Bank calls us one more time with that recorded voice that says "Hello! Please hold for an important message!!!" I'm going to start screaming and I don't think I'll be able to stop.

Dear Chase Bank, I know I'm late, but I can't pay you until I get paid! You know you'll get it! I've never not paid.

So lay off. Thank you.

I hate it when the phone rings and I'm scared to answer it. When is the lottery going to pay off? When?
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:20 PM | |

Saturday, August 25, 2007

My Brand Loyalty Stops Where My Wallet Begins

Ordinarily, with me, it's Coke products all the way.

Let me rephrase that, because honestly? Who can afford actual Coke any more? Nobody I know, that's who. So I'll try that again. . . .

Ordinarily, with me, it's store-brand Coke-like products all the way. Especially if it's a Marsh brand; those babies are perfection.

However, my loyalties waver when it comes to price. If you want my brand loyalty, you'd better be the cheapest. I sell out quickly when I start to compare prices.

That is why I went totally against my upbringing and my own personal preferences, and purchased. . . . Pepsi.

I had no choice. Nothing "Coke" was on sale, Marsh was thirty miles away, and Pepsi had their "buy four for ten bucks and get another 12-pack for free" deal. What else could I do? With a deal like that, Pepsi became the same price as Marsh brand!

I still like Marsh brand better, and Pepsi is not my favorite, but it's hot, really hot, and I'm addicted, really addicted, to caffeine.

Get on the stick, Coke. Lower your prices; cripes, in this town, Coke costs more than beer. Marsh, open a store in my town. You both could probably pay your utility bills with my business alone, but neither of you is getting any this week.*

I swear, if I were Queen, the world would certainly be a better place more to my own personal selfish liking.

*I was referring to me shopping at Marsh and purchasing actual Coke products. Why, what were YOU thinking?

Oh, get real. It's too darn hot. It's too darn hot. It's tooooo, darrrrn, hot. Bonus points if you know the title of that reference.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 5:20 PM | |

Scattergories and Kwashiorkor and Kitten Bikinis, Oh My

I took my three kittens to the vet's today to be scooped. Since it's more complicated to neuter a female than a male (snip snip, you're done!) I really thought all three girls would be taking it easy tonight, lying around sipping water and trying not to irritate the stitches.

Not so.

All three girls have bikini-shaped shaved areas and an inch or so of stitches, but to see them scamper and play, nobody would ever know that today was Fertility Cessation Day for them. I paid extra for pain medication, but they don't seem to be in pain. They're too busy scampering!

I'm glad they're feeling so well, but I sure hope they don't bust a move on those stitches. I took them in at 7:30 this morning and picked them up at 3:30 this afternoon, and while they were gone I really, really wanted to go back to bed scrubbed down the floor of the laundry room, messed with the flowers on the front porch (the deer keep eating them!) fixed spaghetti and meat balls for Zappa's last meal at home (he officially moved into his new place tonight) did nine hundred thousand loads of laundry, and bagged up a bazillion pounds of poopy kitty litter.

Then, I took a shower, and while Hub was loading the pickup with one more load of furniture to take up to the new apartment, I escaped from it all and hung out with my Tumorless Sister and some dear, dear friends. We had dinner and then headed over to their house for some wild and scandalous drinking of diet coke and playing of Trivial Pursuit, 90's version, and some killer Scattergories.

Item: I am not very knowledgeable about the nineties, apparently. However, I redeemed myself with Scattergories, although I did not win. Tumorless always wins. Nobody else has a chance, if she is playing.

However, I was the only person around the table who knew what "kwashiorkor" was. And when the assigned letter was "K," don't think I didn't use it to my advantage.

I learned about kwashiorkor in seventh grade. The word was so funky, I have remembered it all my life.

Tomorrow, I'm meeting Tumorless and our mom for lunch. Tomorrow night, I plan to organize my files for the new semester.

One of those plans will definitely come to pass.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:51 AM | |

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Where's The Old Testament Justice When We Really Need It?

I am a nice person, really I am. Ordinarily, I love people. My heart breaks for people, and I lie awake nights trying to think of some way, any way, I could have helped them, or might help them now. I've paid consequences for trying to help others, but I still do it.

There are exceptions to this mindset.

When it comes to children, I have no mercy on anyone who mistreats them. I have no compassion for anyone who abuses a child, and I honestly don't care what might have caused someone to wreak havoc on a little boy or girl. Those who touch a child sexually are not even worth a thought, for such people are not people; they are monsters.

People who cause physical harm to a child are not people, either. Monsters walk this earth, and we can tell who they are by the way they treat children.

Back in the Old Testament days, entire cultures were wiped out by God, or by something else if you'd rather, because of their deviant ways. I am rapidly coming around to this way of thinking.

Then I saw this video, and I have not been quite "at" myself since. I've been a mess. Inside my head are all kinds of scenarios, from wanting to grab this child and run BEFORE the monsters got him, to wanting to be the lucky person who gets to push the button that will wipe these monsters and all who are like them off the face of the earth, forever.

After Noah and the ark (believe what you will, and so will I) God declared that He would not interfere and wipe out any more civilizations. I really wish He would reconsider.

Cultures that nurture, encourage, and then hide monsters who feel it is their duty to harm a child do not consist of "people." Such places, such mindsets, are made up of monsters. Sub-human nothings with no hearts, and no souls. Oh, definitely, no souls. When they die, I hope they meet up with these people.

These creatures may have a Y chromosome, but they are not men. MEN don't harm children, or women either, for that matter. MEN behave themselves and show respect to all persons. MEN have nothing but scorn for Y-chromosome carriers who pretend to be MEN but who show their real selves by their actions.

Such creatures are not and never have been and never will be MEN; they are now and always will be nothing but the lowest of scum-feeding monsters. Vicious, snarling, mindless evil-doers.

God be with this precious little boy and his mother.

And I hope the monsters who did this to him find justice. Not mercy, only justice. Justice for them and for all who think and act like them. Justice.

The Old Testament kind.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 2:21 PM | |

That's Only The Outside; Inside, I'm Still Perky! Honest!

I got my instructor's ID card today, to be worn every time I enter the building. I looked at the picture and immediately looked around the big room; obviously, some old woman had left her ID in the machine and I had picked it up instead of my own. That poor thing; I pitied her. Such a face, feh.

But wait, it had my name on it! And my stats!

It's true, then. I'm old.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:53 AM | |

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Oops, I Did It Again. . . .

First day of class: lovely. Seriously, everyone was great. I anticipate a good year.

I do think a grown man who wears a Britney Spears t-shirt to college is perhaps a tad bit off-kilter, though.

Let me re-think that statement.

I do think a grown man who wears a Britney Spears t-shirt, period, is nuckin futz.

It was a midi, too. Ick. Hairy tummy, up in my personal space. Hairy back.

38 years old and still makin' a statemeeeeent.

Maybe he thought it was manly because he'd ripped the sleeves out?

I think he is in my class tomorrow, too. Maybe he'll hit me baby one more time.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:45 AM | |

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Hi-ho, Hi-ho, It's Back To Work I Go. . . .

Vacation's over, and tomorrow is the first day of classes for me.

When I taught in the public schools, I was depressed beginning on the Fourth of July, because it was "almost time to go back to school."

Now, I'm happy to go back, because the difference between this gig and that gig is like night and day, or any other extreme antonym you could come up with.

I've got classes on the home front (regional campus) and classes on the main campus (only thirty miles away), and this pleases me greatly, too. It means that I will be doing our primary grocery shopping on Wednesday nights this semester, for after class is over at 9:00 p.m., I will be driving right past my favorite Marsh store on the west side of the city! Yay, Marsh; I make fun of you all the time, but you are my FAVORITE GROCERY STORE EVER! It also means that two days out of the week, I'll be saving the gasoline, because the regional campus is only three miles away, and right in the middle of town. MY town. And I love it there, too.

New this year: Picture ID's for all the instructors. Hub's had them at the high school for a few years now, but we've not gone that route at the college until now. They'll have to trust that I am who I say I am until Wednesday, though, because that's when I'll be on the main campus. I really loathe getting my picture taken; I mean, who IS that large old woman, anyway? I look at pictures of me and I don't recognize myself. I'd best get used to it, though, since I'll be wearing my picture around my neck for the rest of my career.

Since I go to class in the morning, I'd best get my papers organized. I threw them in the garage on the last day of summer session, and now I have to go through them and organize all the chapterwork. I've got my five syllabi updated and printed out and forwarded to the head of the department, who is a really great person: she's smart and savvy and snarky and has a wonderful sense of humor. I'm extremely fortunate in my boss; it wasn't that way in the public schools.

Anyway, except for some organization and sorting, and a lot of Xeroxing in the morning, I'm ready.

The instructors have a dress code now, too. It was a matter of time; some of the professors looked like beachcombers, and others looked like they were warming up for a track and field event. I do not own very many clothes, but I always tried to look professional up on the main campus where something would be said if we didn't. On the regional campuses, things are not as strict. But I do agree that when visitors can't always tell the professors from the students, something needs to be done.

Even in the public schools, I believe that students of any age behave better when the teacher looks like a professional.

So here I go into the dining room, where I have tossed all the papers from the garage onto the big table. My haphazard filing system (I have more folders labeled "misc" than any other kind) has gotten all messed up over the summer and I have tonight to straighten it out. And gather all the papers I will need for tomorrow. And dig out the proper textbooks from that big pile under the kitchen bar. And lay out some clothes that are not capris and t-shirts, because if I don't do that the night before, I'm sunk trying to focus on anything in the early morning hours.

Wish me luck, if you would. So far, my students at the college, with only a few outstanding exceptions, have been wonderful, and have given me hope for the future of the universe. Those few exceptions WERE outstanding, though. Tee hee. Firly brinkmire, indeed.

I am going to have a great semester, because I'm going in fully intending to have a great semester. Attitude isn't everything, but it's a great deal of it. And I love, love, love my college, both campuses, and almost every person I've met there.

And now, to get at those papers and files, before the kittens who have destroyed almost everything in my house and who are going to the vet's to be "done" this coming Friday, hahahahaha after which they'll be living mostly outdoors and doing their shredding and major pooping outside those sweet soft purry little thangs, find them and shred them into confetti, as they've done to everything else they touch.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 8:54 PM | |

Saturday, August 18, 2007

It's A Scary World Out There

This has been making the internet rounds for quite a while now, but it came back to me tonight and it hit me right on the funny bone.

A magazine recently ran a "Dilbert quotes" contest. They were looking for people to submit quotes from their real-life Dilbert-type managers. Here are the top 10 finalists:

1. "As of tomorrow, employees will only be able to access the building using individual security cards. Pictures will be taken next Wednesday and employees will receive their cards in two weeks." (This was the winning quote from Fred Dales, Microsoft Corp. in Redmond, WA)

2. "What I need is an exact list of specific unknown problems we might encounter." (Lykes Lines Shipping)

3. "E-mail is not to be used to pass on information or data. It should be used only for company business." (Accounting manager, Electric Boat Company)

4. "This project is so important, we can't let things that are more important interfere with it." (Advertising/Marketing manager, United Parcel Service)

5. "Doing it right is no excuse for not meeting the schedule." (Plant manager, Delco Corporation)

6. "No one will believe you solved this problem in one day! We've been working on it for months. Now, go act busy for a few weeks and I'll let you know when it's time to tell them." (R&D supervisor, Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing/3M Corp.)

7. "Teamwork is a lot of people doing what I say." (Marketing executive, Citrix Corporation)

8. My sister passed away and her funeral was scheduled for Monday. When I told my boss, he said she died on purpose so that I would have to miss work on the busiest day of the year. He then asked if we could change her burial to Friday. "That would be better for me," he added. (Shipping Executive, FTD Florists)

9. "We know that communication is a problem, but the company is not going to discuss it with the employees." (Switching supervisor, AT&T Long Lines Division)

10. One day my boss asked me to submit a status report to him concerning a project I was working on. I asked him if tomorrow would be soon enough. He said, "If I wanted it tomorrow, I would have waited until tomorrow to ask for it!" (Hallmark Cards executive)

I think I've had some of these people in class. . . .
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 10:10 PM | |

"Swear" Is the Word, Actually

When people get in the "10 items or less" line with a loaded cart, in spite of the forty-seven signs lining the path stating "10 items or less ONLY" and act all embarrassed and swear they hadn't noticed the forty-seven signs stating "10 items or less ONLY" when they get up to the cashier, and then proceed to unload their eighty gazillion items anyway, even though there are a dozen literate people behind them with less than ten items. . . . does anybody really believe them?

I don't.

Raise your hand if you think they did it on purpose, and that they're actually nothing but rude beasts who think rules are for OTHER people, and who just wanted the shortest line. Ooh, a zillion people, a zillion hands.

That's right, rude beasts. Everyone in the sentient world hates you.

And have you noticed that every one of these rude beasts has the same simpering expression on his/her face when they get up to the cashier?

I hate that expression.

It's the same expression "those" parents give the teacher when they come in demanding requesting homework ahead for a Bahamas vacation scheduled for during the school year, or an exception for athletic practice attendance, or a pity party for an earned below-passing average.

Yeah, it's usually those same people.

Jeepers, I'm whiny. But it's for a good cause. Heh.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:12 PM | |

Friday, August 17, 2007

Sharing Isn't Always A Good Thing!!!!

When I worked at that BBQ restaurant a few years ago, I all but did an English Butler imitation, so I'd get the big tips, and most of the time, I did. At the end of the shift, I added up all my tickets and emptied my big waiter-pockets of the right amount of cash, and whatever was left was mine to keep, and believe me, I kept it. I took home more in tips each night than I made hourly.

What I have never understood, and in fact it makes me really, really angry, are restaurants that have a tip jar, where each waiter is required to deposit his/her tips. At the end of the shift, the money in the jar is distributed equally among the waiters.


Doesn't it mean that bad, lazy waiters who don't DESERVE tips at all, will then get the EXACT SAME amount that the hard-working, diligent waiters get? How basely, how grossly, unfair is THAT?

Also, any restaurant that pays less than minimum wage, counting on tips to even things out, has evil, Satanic managers. And if that same restaurant also has a tip jar, then even Hell wouldn't want the managers.

Is there a website that lists restaurants who do this? I would love to see the list, so I could avoid those places, completely and entirely. Poor servers don't deserve to be tipped, and excellent servers deserve BIG tips. As for being required to share the tips, that is criminal.

Why, a society that condones such horrendous doings would probably approve of schools that mandate community supplies. . . .after all, everybody is the same, and nobody has the right to have more or better things than anybody else. If you're hardworking and industrious and honest, that just means you should be happy to kick in for those who aren't. Right?

Apparently, it is.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 3:19 PM | |

Thursday, August 16, 2007

High Society in the Toolies

Hub was exhausted when he got home from school today, and I'm still exhausted from moving two kids from two apartments. So when he suggested Pizza Hut, I was all over it, even though Pizza Hut is far from a favorite with me. I once chipped a tooth because of a little pebble in the salad, and they charge extra for cheese with the breadsticks. But he likes it, so we went, and I was cool with it. Several of my former students are working there right now, and I love to see former students out there in the real world. . . you know, "working." Mwahahahahahahaha. Being an adult is every bit as much fun as they expected it to be, right?

After we'd finished, he suggested that we go to WalMart; he had found a good deal there on the fancy calculators his calculus students need, and wanted to order some more for them.

So, we ate out, and we went to WalMart.

In this town, my dears, that's a very social evening indeed.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 10:12 PM | |

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Blowing Hot and Cold, and Blowing Them Out of the Sky

According to the digital thermometer in front of the Medical Center, it's 108 degrees. I hadn't really noticed; I haven't had time to be hot.

Interpret that any way you wish; you'll be correct. :(

I think I'll get a big cup of crushed ice and section a few lemons into it. It's the coldest thing EVER for weather like this.

And then I think I'll watch Independence Day. I have no idea why; I'm just in the mood to see somebody kick some serious non-human ass. It's been a long week, and I've got some serious dishpan hands.

I don't do violent movies concerning people, but I do love me some funky out-of-this-world space opera wherein the good guys win. If the bad guys win, I won't watch it. Or read it.

My nerves will not stand up under a lumber-truck ending. I'm a fragile and delicate flower. Movies with horrible endings traumatize me. Movies that are just plain horrifying all the way through traumatize me even more. I saw all three of these movies in the same week and I've never been the same. Some would call that a good thing. I call it Nightmare 101.

Now, I'm off to suck some lemons and blow some evil aliens out of the sky.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:05 PM | |

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Town & Country Apartments. The Ones Across From The College Mall.

Finally, FINALLY, my daughter and her friends are out of that dreadful apartment in that dreadful complex run by those dreadful people, and I use that word loosely.

I don't think it's run by 'people.' I was just being polite.

For days, Belle has been scrubbing and polishing and re-painting. Yesterday and today, I drove up to help her. It wasn't easy, either, in an apartment that was so hot, the new paint wouldn't stick to the walls.

You read it right: the apartment was so hot, the paint would not stick to the walls.

With perseverance, determination, and a lot of naughty language, the apartment was turned into something anybody's daughter would be proud to call home, as long as she didn't mind living in Hell.

When the succubus apartment representative came this morning for the final walk-through, Belle was dumbfounded to learn that her efforts were simply not good enough; her apartment's grooming was rated 'inferior' and the word 'dirty' was said aloud. Not true.

Then again, what basis for rating would a person who worked for Town & Country Apartments and saw nothing wrong with its filthy hallways, non-existent ventilation system, and garbage-filled pool every day have?

Belle was so exhausted and so in shock from the verdict and so sleep-deprived, that she signed it. Her roommate is going in to their office in the morning to argue their case. They won't win, because Town & Country Apartments is well-known for being unreasonable, oblivious, and insensitive. The word "dirty" comes to mind; is there an echo in here?

Parents, if your children are planning to attend Indiana University in Bloomington, and you are seeking an apartment for them, do NOT allow your child to sign a contract with Town & Country Apartments. The location is good, their silver tongues are out (unless you're already a tenant) but please believe me when I tell you that nothing I say about them is an exaggeration. These people are the absolute WORST businesspeople I've ever dealt with. Bad, bad people.

Hub is frantic lest we be sued, but I'm past caring. When the room is so hot the paint won't stick to the walls, "someone" is a horse's ass, and that someone, in this case, is the landlord. And when that same landlord threatens a tenant with a large re-painting bill, "someone" is a spawn of Satan, and that someone is also the landlord.

Please, Town & Country Apartments, I wish you WOULD contact me. I've got something to say to you, and I don't think you'd like it. I know you don't care; you proved that these past six years by treating my daughter and her friends like this, so I take this opportunity to tell the Blogosphere the truth about you.

Parents who are going to shell out the big bucks to some lucky apartment complex in Bloomington, Indiana: the one to avoid is Town & Country Apartments, on Kingston Drive, just across the street from the College Mall.

I'm serious. Let your child live in a tent on Dunn Meadow and bathe in the creek, rather than submit him/her to the indigity and intense heat and shabby treatment that Town & Country Apartments are so famous for.

Look them up on the 'net, if you don't believe me. I wish I had done that before I allowed my kids to move there.

Zappa has his walk-through tomorrow morning at 11:15. I've been helping him scrub and sweep, too. I didn't quite finish tonight, and had planned to do that in the morning before the walk-through. I'm still driving back up there in the morning to help him load his final few things, but will we char like there's no tomorrow, as we did for Belle?

Oh HELLZnah. If Town & Country is going to label Belle's hospital-fresh apartment "dirty," then they might as well do the same for Zappa's, and do the scrubbing themselves. I'm done with them.

That's Town & Country Apartments, on Kingston Drive, right across the street from the College Mall. The landscaping is new, and the maintenance guys are, wonder of wonders, working on the air conditioning units in front of (coincidence, I'm sure) the main office, but don't think for a minute that your child's apartment will be endurable, because it won't be.

If you want more details, I'd be happy to oblige. Anything to save someone else's child from the hell my children have lived through in this horrible place.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:11 PM | |

Monday, August 13, 2007

PC? Go Away.

They don't make cartoons like* they used to. Unless, of course, you're talking about The Simpsons or Family Guy or Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, or the Venture Brothers, and those aren't really "cartoons" as much as they're indescribably hilarious superbly-written animated sitcoms. Or, in the case of Space Ghost, talk shows.

Modern 'cartoons' aren't much more than advertisements for action figures and elaborate playsets that don't really do half of what they promise a little kid they'll do.

Back in the olden days, though, people knew how to make a CARTOON, dagnabbit. And this one is my favorite. I'm embarrassed to tell you how much I love this cartoon, and even today I can't watch it without laughing out loud and snorting Diet Coke out of my nose.

Warning: Humorless twits Some people consider it very politically incorrect, which is, of course, one of the reasons I love it so much.

On second thought, I'm not really embarrassed about loving this cartoon. I'm not embarrassed at all. I LOVE this cartoon.

*it should really be "as" but this post is about cartoons, so who cares? Just so you know I know better, and that I didn't write "like" from ignorance.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 8:06 PM | |

Meteor Shower

You ARE all outside watching the Perseids tonight, right?

Wake up the children and get out there! It's not like you can see it again any time soon. This ain't Tivo.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:37 AM | |

Floral Tribute to My Friend

Is there anything in this life as wonderful as good friends? I don't think there is.

My friend Scott came over this afternoon, with his daughter and her boyfriend, and planted my flowers for me. It was 102 degrees and they didn't stop until they'd filled the entire limestone planter.

Thank you, dear Scott and family. I love you.

He knew, you see, that it was really bothering me to see those flats of impatiens sitting there week after week, month after month (I bought them in the middle of MAY, for crying out loud) and he took the time out of his really busy life to come out here on the very hottest day of summer so far, and plant them. He did that for me.

I have never in my life ever let the flowers 'go' like that; I don't know what is wrong with me. I always planted them pretty much the moment I got them home, and by this time of year, the flowers were mounded high and beautiful. This year. . . maybe for Halloween?

Now, when I look out my front windows I no longer have to listen to the little flowers crying mournfully, "Plant us, please plant us, don't let us dieeeeeeee, help us, HELP US. . . . ."

Sometimes, I wish this family didn't anthropomorphize everything quite so completely.

Anyway, thanks to Scott, I will eventually have pretty flowers right where they're supposed to be.

Thank you, dear friend. I really appreciate you. You rock.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:41 AM | |

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Advice From A Former Waitress: If the Service Stinks, DON'T TIP

I know what it's like to be an overworked, underpaid, harassed waitress server in a crowded restaurant; back in the mid-nineties, I went to work in a BBQ restaurant so my daughter could go on the Big Band Trip. I taught seven sections of junior high classes all day, waited tables from 4:30 until 11:00, lather, rinse, repeat. I worked at the restaurant all day and night on Saturdays and Sundays. Sometimes, Hub would bring the kids in to see Mommy and have supper; he's a pretty good tipper! I did this so Belle could go on that trip with all the other music students, not because I have some kind of work complex, although I do.

Nice people are almost always happy to tip big when the service is extra-good, and believe me, I knew how to bow and scrape and EARN those tips. There were, of course, occasions when nothing is good enough for some people, and I did get stiffed a time or two even though the service was, if I may so so, superior. Waitresses Servers soon learn to mark for death recognize those people, and we would try to arrange things so no one person had to endure them every time.

Tonight, I did something I have never done in all my life. Tonight, I did not tip the server.

I spent today helping my kids pack up for their respective big moves, and after many hours of misery in their indescribably HOT apartments (shame on you, Town & Country Apartments!!! SHAAAAAAME) we decided to call it quits for the night and I took Belle and some of her friends to Steak & Shake, formerly my favorite hamburger shack.

I hate to say it about a restaurant I once had nothing but praise for, but tonight, the Steak & Shake on the east side of Bloomington was the pits, the absolute pits.

I can endure slowness. I can endure being ignored. I can even endure rudeness, if it's aimed at me. I won't come back, but I can endure it. I endured all these things, and more, and since we weren't really in a hurry, I was going to overlook it.

But lady, when you aimed that caustic tongue and that hateful attitude and that tone of voice at my daughter's sweet friend, something in my head snapped. Yes, I saw the whole thing, and I heard every word you snarled at him. I also noticed that you saw me notice, and I loved the look on your face when you looked over and saw me, taking in your every movement. I also loved how you assumed that the only old person at the table was going to pay the bill, and began your suck-up dance.

The problem was, it was too late. I already knew you for what you were.

That is why I did not leave you a tip, for a $60-buck table. Your loss, lady.

NEVER be cruel to my children or their friends. You're lucky the manager wasn't there tonight. But with a little luck, he googles for his restaurant on occasion and will find this. If he asks, I will tell him your name, Perky.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 3:18 AM | |

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Hell-Hole, Dead Flowers, Tall Grass, Sweaty Kids, Cold-Blooded Murderers, and Voldemort-Tongue

A smattering of thises and thats. . . .

1. Both of my children and a few of their friends have chosen to move out of Hub advised me to remove the name of the complex and the link as most companies with business practices this slimy are also just the kind that tend to sue when the truth comes out an anonymous apartment complex somewhere in southern Indiana right smack in the middle of the worst hot spell in a million years. I'd be more than happy to email you the name of the complex and the link and a full list of outrageous practices. Guess who is sacrificing her very last week of vacation to drive up there to help? That's right. Mommy. Because you never stop loving them, and you never stop helping them, and unless you're a BAD MOMMY, you'll sweat for them until you're dead.

Also, I'm hoping to melt off a few pounds.

2. I still haven't planted my flowers. Most of them are hanging onto life even in those tiny "Plant me quickly or I'll die" pots from Lowe's. I guess they'll stay there till the autumn leaves cover them up. Sigh.

3. I cut the grass, but it's too hot to trim. And the trim is the THING, and it really, really, really hurts me to see all those untrimmed areas. The mown lawn just makes the untrimmed areas stand out. Solution: stop mowing? Could be. . . .

No, it bothers me far too much to let the lawn go. I don't want to be THAT homeowner. You know, the inconsiderate one with the neighborhood petition thumbtacked to the front door.

4. How clumsy and uncoordinated am I? I can't even talk and chew gum without slicing my tongue practically in two with that vampire tooth on the right. And when I showed my rheumatologist, he was horrified and wrote a prescription for a medication to take care of it.

We have health insurance, so I wasn't worried about paying an arm and a leg for the medication, but when I got to the pharmacy, the price tag on that medicine made me give out a little shriek. Just a little one, but the cashier went back inside the pharmacy and asked the pharmacist about it. I was not happy with the answer.

This medication, without which I will have Voldemort-tongue for the rest of my life, isn't on the Blue Cross approved list. A 24-year-old kid with an Associate's Degree had decided I didn't really need it. If I wanted the meds, I had to pay full price.

How comforting to know that the Power of Life and Death for many people now lies in the hands of the School of Business.

I think the least the insurance companies could do would be to make public the name of the individual who was ultimately responsible for putting the kabosh on a drug or procedure for someone, despite the medical doctor's prescription or recommendation for it. That way, when the death certificate is filled out, the doctor could write in the ACTUAL CAUSE OF DEATH.

You know, as in, Cause of Death: Muffeigh Geonnipherre Perkins-White, ABA

I'm not kidding.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 4:46 PM | |

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

It's The Journey, Not The Destination. . . etc.

It was supposed to be a musical thing. . . .

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 6:06 PM | |

An Unfortunate Coincidence of Initials

Am I awful for laughing?
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 3:01 AM | |

Monday, August 06, 2007

Big Shef Burgers: None Better, and They're Back!

When I was a kid, I watched Cowboy Bob on WTTV, Channel 4, before it sold out and became the WB. Cowboy Bob was a local hero; when he told you it was time to go take a nap, by golly, little kids got up and went into their bedrooms and took a nap.

Mom wasn't so easily wooed, though. She would never buy any of the cool things Cowboy Bob told us to go out and buy. He told kids to drink Choc-cola, but my mother refused to buy it, even after Yoo-hoo acquired it. I did finally get a sip at a friend's house once, and it was vile. He told kids to eat Jiffy-pop popcorn, but Mom wouldn't buy that, either. Before I die, I want to make some Jiffy-pop. I'm not interested in eating it; I just want to watch it swell up like a huge alien brain-in-a-frying-pan, and stick it with a pin.

Cowboy Bob also told kids to eat at Burger Queen, Burger King, and Burger Chef. Yes, there really was a Burger Queen back then, complete with Queenie Bee, who was a slightly creepy woman in a bee costume, who 'buzzed' around the Burger King because apparently they were a couple. Ick. But it was Burger Chef that was the coolest. Burger Chef and Jeff. I loved them.

Big Shef burgers absolutely rocked. None better.

On the way home from Mom's birthday party tonight, Hub and I stopped at Hardee's. We NEVER go to Hardee's; it's not that we dislike it or anything; it's just that it's across the street from a middle school and we hate to buck big crowds of kids when we don't absolutely have to.

But people, Hardee's has BIG SHEF burgers! Apparently, they acquired all the Burger Chef "stuff" and they'll be featuring it occasionally, and tonight we got BIG SHEF burgers! They were just as good as I remembered, too.

I think people remember with their taste buds, sometimes.

For about forty minutes tonight, we were kids, having a Big Shef burger. It rocked.

P.S. I have no idea why Burger Chef burgers were spelled Shef instead of Chef.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:43 AM | |

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Mamacita's Mamacita Has A Birthday

Happy Birthday, Mom.

You're the best mother in the world, and any one of the four of us would fight anybody who said otherwise.

We love you, Mom. We'll be at your house in about an hour to take you out to Sunday birthday lunch.

Now, please put the gun down.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:46 AM | |

Thursday, August 02, 2007

It's Just A Piece of Paper

I'm sitting here watching my students take their final exam, and they all look so scared and serious. . . I want to hug them all and scream, "It's just a piece of paper! It doesn't define you!" but I guess that would hardly be PC. Not that I care about PC; I just don't want to get sued.

The class next door is having a very loud party. I wish I'd thought of that That's actually against the rules, so next semester, maybe I'll just take my students across the parking lot to Pizza Hut instead of being really, really loud in a room with thin walls during the official college finals week celebrating in the regional campus building itself where we might get caught we might disturb someone.

Oh, students dear, don't take it so deadly seriously; it's just a test. You're all lovely people no matter what a percentage on a piece of paper might end up being.

Dear people: it's just a piece of paper. It doesn't measure worth. It doesn't measure attitude. It doesn't measure talent, or propensity for lending a helping hand to people in need. It doesn't measure your capacity for love and devotion and caring. It doesn't measure personality traits, or good manners. It doesn't even measure work ethic, although application of such might help relieve some of the stress of the moment.

I want you all to do well on this test, but even if you don't, you're the best class I've ever had, collectively, and some of the finest people I've ever met, individually.

Relax. Calm yourselves. Take a break and run down the hall and get a Sprite. It's going to be all right. Really. You've all been out of school for a very long time and your nervousness is natural. Just try to tone it down; this test really isn't worth the strain you're putting on yourselves. Chill, my darling students.

It's just a piece of paper.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 6:49 PM | |


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