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Buglegate

When I was a kid, I used to babysit regularly for the families in my neighborhood. There were a lot of kids around back then and I was able to find steady gigs for a couple of years until high school and marching band took me off the market.

Truth be told, I was a pretty shitty babysitter.  I can say that now that I’m a parent and realize how little caring and nurturing skills I possessed,  but back then I thought myself pretty capable. As long as the kids were put to bed with freshly brushed teeth and all their limbs intact, I figured I was doing my job well.

Never mind that I once forced the five year-old across the street to sit through an episode of “Amazing Stories” in which Christopher Lloyd spends most of his screen time walking around with his head lopped off.

In my defense, I had REALLY been looking forward to that episode but it had been pre-empted by the seventh and final game of the 1986 World Series.  This was way before the invention of TiVo and I couldn’t miss the show when NBC finally re-scheduled it a few weeks later.

Yeah, I know. That’s not so much a defense as it is an admission of shameful narcissism. His parents trusted me to keep him safe and instead he spent a good hour cowering behind the couch begging me to turn the channel.

You’ll be happy to know this boy grew up to get married, have kids and become co-owner of his own business, so apparently I did not inflict any permanent damage.  Still, it would be interesting to hear how he feels about Christopher Lloyd now.

Another time I was watching the kids of the family two doors down from the first when the boy wet himself. This was apparently an isolated incident as he had been potty trained for some time, but he had the bad luck to slip under my watch and I was completely clueless as to what to do. He stood in a puddle of urine while I placed a frantic call to my mother who was thankfully only a few hundred feet away.  My mother, God bless her, dutifully walked over, changed the boy and slipped his soiled clothes into the wash.

I probably should have given her a share of my wages that evening.

It was with this same family that I experienced my most embarrassing babysitting faux pas, one that thankfully had nothing to do with the care of their children and everything to do with a box of Bugles.

As I eventually discovered from yet another young neighbor who was sometimes a little bit of a prick, I had cultivated a reputation as being a babysitter who liked to eat a lot.  As he put it, his mother didn’t ask me to watch him anymore because I ate too much, and while I found the accusation hurtful, it wasn’t exactly untrue.  I just had no idea anyone else but me was aware of the problem.

I always chose to snack after the children went to bed and I always went through the cupboards to see what was already open. I never opened a bag or box of anything myself and I never left evidence of what I had eaten for the parents to discover later.  At the time I thought I was pretty slick about it all, not once realizing how large a void I left in the pantry at the end of every shift.

As this story so far illustrates, I wasn’t concerned with how my actions affected others and never suspected that those in charge of replenishing the stores might realize how quickly and thoroughly they disappeared.

So one evening I was pawing through the cupboard and came across an open box of Bugles. Bugles aren’t my favorite thing, but if I’m bored and in need of something to crunch on, which I was, they’ll do in a pinch. I took a handful and put the box back on the shelf.

A few minutes later I went back for seconds. Hand, Bugles, back on shelf.

I can’t tell you how many times I went back to that box, but I can tell you my last trip to the cupboard occurred at the very moment the parents came home.

If I was careful to never leave evidence of what I’d eaten, you can bet I wasn’t going to get caught in the act of eating it.

I had just taken my last handful of Bugles when I heard the key in the lock.  Shit! What to do? There were too many Bugles to just shove into my mouth and if I pulled the box back out to replace what I had taken the parents would find me in what I considered to be a compromising position.

In the seconds it took for the door to open behind me, I weighed my very limited options. Trash? No, they’ll see the Bugles sitting right there on top. Sink? Crap! They don’t have a garbage disposal.

So I did what any moderately sane teenager with food issues would do. I took a quick tug at my waistband and dropped the Bugles down the front of my pants.

This was back in the ‘80s when we wore our pants tucked into our socks, and as I turned around to greet the parents, I could feel the Bugles travel down my right leg and pool at my ankle.

Never in my life have I wanted to leave someplace as much as I wanted to leave that house.  Dear God, I thought, please just get me out of here. Just get me out of here without revealing to these nice people that I’m walking around with corn snacks stuffed in my pants.

I grabbed my coat, accepted my payment for the evening and was just about to leave when the dad said, “Hold on a sec.  I’ll walk you home.”

“Oh, uh, that’s okay,” I said. “I’m only going across the street.”

“Nonsense,” he insisted. “It’s late and I want you to get home safely.”

“But it’s only across the street,” I said getting frantic. “I’ll be fine!”

It took him all of two minutes to walk me home.

They were the longest two minutes of my life.

I talked loudly as we crossed the street, hoping my exuberance would mask the sound of the Bugles crunching above my sock.  The house was dark, my parents having already retired, and as I slipped my key into the lock, I thanked the father for the escort home and quickly escaped into the seclusion of my garage.

Oh. My. God.

Waves of mortification and shame bombarded me as I pulled my pant leg out of my sock and shook the Bugles out onto the garage floor. Who does that? Who stuffs food DOWN HER FREAKING PANTS just because she doesn’t want people to know she likes to eat?

Knowing this, is it any wonder I eventually found myself weighing over 350 pounds?

To this day I have no idea if either of the parents suspected the lengths to which I went to disguise my snacking that night, but I’m fairly sure that was one of the last nights I watched their children.

It was one of the last nights I watched any of the children in my neighborhood.

Parents talk to each other. I know that now.

It was probably just as well. Not long after this I found myself a lucrative gig at Burger King.

They did not frown upon eating at Burger King.

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Gobsmacked

The past couple of weeks have not been great.

There’s been stress at the job. The workload never diminishes, which is a great thing if you want to stay employed but not that great when you just want a little time to catch your breath. There’s also a part of my job that requires me to deliver bad news to people. I usually deliver this bad news via letter with an illegible signature at the bottom.  Yesterday every caller who asked to speak to me was responding to bad news I sent through the mail. None of them were happy and all of them knew to ask for me because that signature is scribbled above my name printed in a completely legible font.

I dealt with that stress by allowing Nathan talk me into visiting our favorite Chinese buffet. I have not been to that buffet since I returned to Weight Watchers in October. Everything was incredibly greasy and none of it made me feel any better.

Tonight we’ll be having soup. That won’t make me feel better either, but it won’t make me feel worse.

I’ll also be experiencing more stress as I continue to rebuild my lost iTunes library.

A week and a half ago I lost every single song, TV show and movie I’ve ever downloaded, ripped or stolen (come and get me, RIAA).  It was a result of a system backup gone wrong and I lost. it. all.

But get this, I sent a pleading email to Apple and they very generously let me re-download everything I have ever purchased from them at no additional charge. They didn’t have to do that but they did and they said I could only do it once.

But I also restored part of my library from a two-year old backup CD of my purchases and whatever else I had on my iPod Touch. After I re-downloaded everything I needed from iTunes, I went through the library and deleted all the duplicate tracks.

The thing is, after I would delete a group of dupes I’d go back through my library later and see the existing tracks of the dupes I just deleted were no longer there either (because they had the ! next to the track title). I’d scratch my head, wonder what was up and retrieve the missing tracks from the Trash bin.

This is the point at which most everyone who is not me would start to wonder if they were, in fact, deleting duplicates.

So last night I thought I had my iTunes library good and cleaned up and as a final measure I emptied my Trash bin.  And that’s when I found out I had not been deleting duplicates.

I had, in fact, deleted most of my iTunes purchases. Again.

I also deleted several of the albums I had just ripped back into my library.

Oh, the f-bombs they were a-flyin’.

I don’t understand exactly how the iTunes file system works, but I do now know that it is entirely possible for a song to be sent to the Trash bin and play from the Trash bin if iTunes still thinks it’s in the library somewhere.

I will not be emailing Apple again.  If they didn’t already think I’m stupid, admitting I deleted the library again would just confirm that I am.  Instead, I will be sitting down with my iPod and every CD I can find and very carefully replace what was lost. It has already been a very time consuming process and it annoys me to no end that I have to do this again.  As great as Apple is, they don’t exactly make it easy for you to retrieve anything other than what you purchased from them from an iPod Touch.  Getting your own lost music off the device requires an investment in 3rd party software. And in my case I guess we really can call that an investment, can’t we?

In the end I’m really no worse off than I was had Apple not allowed me to re-download everything. I have lost every movie I ripped from our own DVD collection, a couple of movies purchased from iTunes in addition to an entire season of Spongebob Squarepants.

In the grand scheme of things, my loss is a trivial one.  Nobody died or lost a loved one.  It was just music and crappy TV.  As I told Nathan, it could have been worse. I could have lost every photo I’ve ever taken. That would have been tragic.  Needless to say, I have a brand spanking new external hard drive ready and waiting to serve as my media backup. Every photo, video and song on my computer is going to be backed up regularly from now on so long as I don’t screw things up in the process.

And that’s the Reader’s Digest version of what’s been going on over here.

How’ve you been?

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Swan dive

Yesterday I forgot to bring my bag with me to work. My bag contains whatever I think I need during the day. Sometimes what the bag holds varies depending the day and yesterday the bag held my sneakers, my glasses and a box of Fiber One bars.

I realized I’d forgotten the bag once I got to work and threw everything on my desk. Oh hey, I’m short a bag, I thought. Luckily Nathan was at home and I asked him if he could bring it in.  After issuing a big sigh he said that wouldn’t be a problem.

Three hours later he showed up with my glasses.

“Where’s my bag?” I asked.

“I just brought these,” he said and handed me the eyeglass case.

“But I asked you to bring the bag,” I said.

He started to ask why I needed the bag and then remembered something I’d said about wanting to take a walk on my lunch. I needed the sneakers in the bag.

“I’m sorry,” he said, “I forgot you wanted the shoes, too.”

Because I can be kind of a jerk sometimes, I started to press him as to how he could reach into THE BAG for my glasses and pull them out of THE BAG and not remember that I had asked him to bring THE BAG with him.  Then I dropped it because he’s a guy and probably did not want to walk into my office and down the aisle to the very end where my desk is while carrying THE BAG.

My husband is awesome and I thanked him for bringing in the glasses. I shrugged off the forgotten bag because he wasn’t the one who left it home in the first place.

A while later I called Nathan and told him I’d probably be coming back to campus that evening to work out since I wouldn’t be walking during my lunch. He suggested we make it a family thing and he’d take Autumn to the pool while I worked out at the Rec Center. I could then join them in the pool when I was done.

So that’s what we did. I checked them in at the pool, checked myself in at the Rec Center, worked out on the arc trainer for a half hour and went back down to the pool.

But this is what happened when I tried to get into the pool.

As I was lowering myself down the ladder, my foot missed a step and my hands, all sweaty from the workout, lost their grip on the rail. I banged my left knee and right shin against the side of the pool and fell into the water.

I surfaced and gasped from the pain.  Christ it hurt.

The lifeguard, who up to that point had seemed very disinterested in his job, called over and asked if I was okay. I waved him off. Yes, I was okay. I just felt like an idiot.

As we were walking back out to the car after our swim, Nathan and I chuckled about my graceful entrance into the water and he asked if I was going to post about it on Twitter.

I told him I wasn’t going to mention it but that I wouldn’t be surprised if someone else had posted that they just saw a fat lady fall into a pool.

Because that’s what our lives have become. Moments that are Twitter-worthy and moments that are not.

Some people like me, who tend to be a little more narcissistic, like to stretch out a story beyond 140 characters.

Long story short, I fell into a pool last night and bruised up my legs.

That is all.

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Trick or treat?

So guess who’s brilliant enough to get locked out of her own blog?

Yep. I’m once again posting from my iPod touch because of security issues. Unlike earlier this year when a severe LACK of security led to my blog getting hacked and hijacked by Latvians, I have fallen victim to my own beefed up, and apparently very effective, gatekeepers.

I have no idea how long I’ll be locked out, but for now my entire IP range has been blocked and balcklisted, leaving me unable to post from a home computer.

Oh yeah, hi. I’m home today.

Autumn and I are a little sickly. She’s had a cough for a couple of days and I woke up this morning sounding like Kathleen Turner, though the voice was more scary than sexy. Much like Kathleen Turner herself these days.

Since Autumn is really geeked about trick-or-treating this year and I’m geeked to go with her, I hoped a day home would help us kick this bug, though I know whatever’s vexing my respiratory system will probably travel north to my sinuses before it’s completely gone.

And even if we do manage to right ourselves in time for Halloween, it appears as though we’re going to have some crappy weather. Rain, rain and more rain is forecasted for Friday and Saturday.

And even though I shudder to think how much candy she could potentially bring home, candy which she’ll ask for EVERY DAY until it’s gone, I don’t want to be the one to tell my daughter Mother Nature will not be favoring princesses this year.

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Polyjuice

Last night Nathan and I had dinner out.   It was just the two of us since my parents had picked Autumn up from school earlier in the day, so we were free to have a relaxing meal at the restaurant of our choice.  We picked Wendy’s.

As we sat down at our table, I couldn’t help but look back at the young man who had taken our order.  He was about 17 or 18, thin with brown hair and glasses.  He was sort of plain an unassuming, but I couldn’t help but think he looked really familiar.

After about the third time of noticing my glances over his shoulder, Nathan finally asked what had caught my attention.

“That kid up at the counter,” I said.  “He looks just like Harry Potter.”

Nathan shrugged.  “I guess he does. Sort of.”

I turned my attention to my salad, a little disappointed that Nathan did not share my enthusiasm for the Harry Potter doppelganger.  And so we sat, politely ignoring the double’s presence until I put my fork down and said, “I have to get a picture of him.”

“What?” said Nathan.

“I want to take a picture of that guy.”

“Why?”

“Because he looks just like Harry Potter,” I insisted, obviously leaving out the part about how I’m actually a crazy lady with a camera phone who has little respect for the personal boundaries of strangers.

I sat there for a few moments, chomping on my salad and calculating how to surreptitiously take the young man’s picture.

“Why don’t you just go up and ask him if you can take his picture?” asked Nathan.

“Because he looks enough like Harry Potter that he’s probably sick of people telling him he looks like Harry Potter,” I said.  And I also didn’t want to look like an idiot.

In the end, I chose to turn my camera on and put the phone up to my ear pretending to make a call.  I then wandered up towards the counter and turned to the left corner where the condiments were so I could take the shot.  Only the condiments weren’t in that corner.  The only thing in that corner was a line of high chairs and a bib dispenser, neither of which I needed.  Crap.  I quickly hit the button to take the picture, tore a bib from the dispenser and hustled back to my seat.

“Well?” asked Nathan.

“I took a picture of the wall,” I said.

Eventually Harry wandered out into the dining room to clean some tables.  I tried to follow him with my phone without being obvious that I was stalking him and missed my shot several times.

I had all but given up on the picture, and as we threw away our trash and walked towards the doors, I tried one last time by putting the phone up to my ear and engaging in a phantom conversation with nobody.

I kept the phone in position and hit the button several times.  Each shot yielded a breathtaking vista of the menu board and very little of young Potter.  Nathan stood patiently in front of me, obviously amused with my foolishness.  He kept his eye on the counter and when a shot presented itself, he told me to take it.

“Now!  Do it now!” he hissed

I pushed the button.

And this is what I got.

Photo_092309_004.jpg

For the record, my parents had brought Autumn to this same Wendy’s earlier so I asked them if they didn’t think the guy behind the counter looked like a candidate for Hogwarts.

My dad said he did. Sort of.

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Here we are on day six of the Gratitude Challenge, and while I did say I was going to post every day, I suffered a minor gratitude fail yesterday by not posting at all.  It wasn’t intentional, but the day got away from me because I actually cooked dinner, washed the dishes and made eight mini loaves of chocolate chip zucchini bread.

The manicotti dish was a little more challenging than I thought it would be.  How does one fill a cooked manicotti shell without ripping the thing apart?  How do you even cook the manicotti without them falling apart in the pot? The recipe was a win win win with everyone, but presentation most surely would have elicited an ass chewing and a few f-bombs from Gordon Ramsay.

So anyway, considering yesterday’s oversight, you get a Gratitude twofer today and I’m going to start with one of the most hilarious tweets of all time. OF ALL TIME!

megstweet

Is that not brilliant?  It combines the timeliness of Swayze’s death with the train-wreck douchebaggery of Kanye’s display at the MTV Video awards (Drunk? Ya think?) and spins it into something you might hear in an opening monologue on the Tonight Show.  The best part is that this came from a gal in Oklahoma who happens to be a good friend of mine.  She’s someone I’m grateful to have in my life so go follow her. She rocks!

The second bit of gratitude comes from being able to improvise this morning.  Improvisation is one of those skills you develop when you become a parent because you always have to be ready to turn things around when they go bad.  This morning things went bad when I spilled coffee on my white (why? why do I continue to wear white?) tank top and found out my Tide pen was empty.

In the grand scheme of things this was not an epic tragedy, but the stain was huge and right smack dab in the middle of my shirt where anyone who bothered to look at me would see it.  So I went to the bathroom and turned the thing around.  Voila! A clean canvass on which I can spill manicotti leftovers later.  It doesn’t even look like I’m wearing it backwards and the tag is gone so that I’m not getting scratched in the throat.

I still smell like coffee, though.  I love the smell of coffee, but the lingering scent of spilled coffee on clothing does nothing other than remind me that I will forever be that woman with the Tide pen in her purse who has to brush crumbs from her chest after every meal.

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Pearls of idiocy

This will be the last post before I leave for Chicago and I have a very important life lesson to share.

If you make travel plans several months before your trip, it would probably be a good idea to double check the vacation calendar at work so that you don’t show up on your scheduled day off like I did today.

And if you do show up on a scheduled day off like I did today, please take your boss’ advice and just leave.  Get the hell out of there.  Don’t be noble and don’t worry about how short-handed they are because everyone else is on vacation or maternity leave.  Just leave and don’t look back because you will get stuck with a shit job you could have avoided if you had checked the vacation calendar like a normal, organized person would have.

That is all.

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