Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Stupids are running rampant

Stupid people really bug me.

And there's different brands of stupid. Right now, I'm dealing with teacher stupids, school administration stupids, controlling IT stupids, helpdesk stupids, OfficeMax stupids, professor stupids, and busy-body stupids.

Teacher stupids:
As you know, Son has been struggling with "mood problems." Some days, I can't even get him out of bed. He's also been out with dental problems. This has resulted in spotty attendance at school. He came home last week MAD. One teacher had been hassling him about his absence the day before. "So, are you just playing hooky?" she said. "Do you fake sick and get your mommy to call in for you?"

This ass-load of judgment on the teacher's part, without bothering to find out the situation, humiliated him. It made me mad, too. So, I wrote an email. It went to all of his teachers, the principal, the vice principal, and the junior counselor. In it, I laid it all out on the table. I told them the struggles we're having, and how such comments do nothing but make a difficult situation worse. I didn't name the teacher, but she recognized her words.

She wrote back and told me that "chiding" a student will motivate them. And that I should realize how lucky we are that she's been cooperative with Son and his absences.

No, lady, we're not "lucky." Being cooperative with excused absences is school policy. Stupid.

School administrator stupid:
So, Son will be homeschooling. I go to the district office and register him as such. They give me paperwork to give to his school. "Make a copy and give that to them," they say. "Don't give the school your original." See, they have experience with these people.

I go to the school. "No, we don't need that paperwork," the counselor lady says. "Sign this checkout sheet and he'll get his teachers to sign off on it at the end of the semester."

So, Son goes to get the checkout form yesterday. "You can't have it," she says. "Your mom has to sign it."

He texts me about the same time the counselor lady emails me. "Son tells me he's going to start homeschooling," she says, like it's news to her. I've already talked to her about it twice.

"You need to register him as a homeschooler with the district and bring the paperwork to me," she says. "And you must come sign a checkout form." mean the paperwork I tried to give you last week? And the form I signed last week?

I write and ask. I call and leave a voicemail. Silence for awhile. Then the backpedaling commences. Stupid.

Controlling IT stupid:
Someone in particular in our IT department is very controlling. When I first started here, I was placed in her office temporarily. She seemed to think she was my boss. "Where are you going? For how long? Who are you meeting with? What about?" Uhm...we're not even in the same department. In the hierarchy, we're on the same level. Back off, lady.

Still, she wants to approve and control what I do with our online courses. I'm sorry....that's the heart of my JOB. Don't fuck with it.

So, I get a request from a prof to re-use his course materials from Spring 2007. I go looking for it and can't find it in the online system. That means it's been archived. I look through all of the archive materials. No Spring 2007 courses exist anymore.

I write to two people in IT who deal with this, including the controlling lady. The other guy doesn't know where they are. She tells me that it's all on the IT drive that I can see. Nothing is there.

"Am I to assume the courses are just gone?" I ask.

The guy says yes. They're just gone.

On his heels, the controlling lady says, "It's on the server. I've restored it to the system for you to use. Whenever you need an archive, ask me to restore it."

Hmmm. Strange. I know how to do this, but she's saying she needs to do it?

"Where did you find them?" I ask.

"They're on the server," she says. "You can't see it."


That's the sound of a comment not going over well in my office.

"You can't see it." The slow boil in my blood begins. She is withholding a tool I need to do my job. No reason exists for her to withhold it from me. If she doesn't want me mucking around on the server, fine. Put the archive with the others, where I can find it. Where I can do. my. effing. job. And don't tell me how to do it, either.

I'm resisting my kneejerk reaction to tear the bitch a new one. I'll consult with my boss and make sure I don't overstep my bounds. But this is majorly pissing me off. Stupid asswipe woman.

OfficeMax stupids:
This one really gets me. I'm actually going to do something official about this.

So, Daughter has saved up almost all the money she needs for a laptop of her own. We've been looking for a deal on one. The brand-new Sunday ad comes out and there's our deal. A laptop with the right specs, a Bluetooth mouse, and a 4-in-1 printer for $599. My folks need the printer and want to pay a fair portion to keep that. So, off we go to OfficeMax to get our bundle deal.

They've been open two hours. There's like three cars in the parking lot. No rush happening here. Mom and I walk in that ask a guy working about where to find it.

He makes an abrupt stab at the ad with his finger. "I'm out of those."

"Which?" Mom says.

"That." Another stab. "The bundle."

"You've been open two hours and it's all gone?" Mom asks.

"Yeah," he says. "And I can't order it. I tried for someone who was here earlier."

"So, you haven't had them at all?"


"It's in today's ad and you don't have anything available?"

"No," he says. And he makes a fatal mistake. He smirks. "You can get the laptop by itself. For $599."

"For the same price as the bundle?" I ask, incredulous.

"Yeah." Smirk.

Anyone else out there smell a bait-and-switch?

It gets better. We decide to go look it up online. It's there! We add it to the cart and click to checkout.

Guess what?

"This item has been discontinued."

Discontinued?? You can buy the individual pieces, for a higher price, but the bundle is "discontinued."

I wrote an email.

I got a response.

From an idiot.

She says they still have bundles available, if I want to order it. My response: How? Your store doesn't have it. They can't order it. Your web site says its discontinued. Huh?

She says that they stock individual stores with enough to meet the need. Sometimes, they sell out. My response: On the DAY of the ad, they didn't have it and never did. And couldn't obtain it. But we could buy one piece, for the same price.

She says that it's not unusual for technology to be discontinued. "New technology becomes obsolete in 4-6 months," she says. "This is an industry standard."

An industry standard?? My response: Listen, fuckwad, I'm no flunky here. I work in the "industry." Discontinuing an item does not happen on the same day it's advertised. And the technology is still available. How does a bundle become obsolete? (Okay, so I didn't actually call her a fuckwad....yet.)

Stupid ass OfficeMax. I don't have another response yet.

Professor stupids:
This is an ongoing thing. Some people think that a PhD means they never have to follow instructions or fill out a form again. Everyone else has to, but not them. And they think I'm the one who needs to do it for them.

I'm in administration, sweethearts. I'll eat your course for breakfast, if you want to be snotty with me. I don't like to pull my position over them, but I will if I have to.

So, I sent the form I need. They send it back incomplete. I send it back again. They send it back incomplete. I send it back again. If they want their course posted, they can do this the right way. I don't create a form if I don't have to, but sometimes I have to. Idiots.

Busy-body stupids:
I did a bad thing the other day. Not on purpose, but it was definitely a screw-up on my part. I was backing up in the parking lot, to go home. As I shifted into drive, I heard a big thunk!

Oh crap. I hit something. I checked the rearview mirror. I couldn't see anything behind me. WTF? I pulled forward slowly, still looking in the rearview.

And there it was. On it's side. A motorcycle. One of those crotch-rocket things.


I backed up and swung into a parking place, so I could fish around for my briefcase and something to write on. I finally found a pad of paper and pen, wrote a note, saying I bumped the bike and please call if there's damage. I gave my name and office phone number. I couldn't right the bike on my own, so I tucked the note on it and went home. Cursing myself for doing something so stupid, and figuring out where money for motorcycle repairs would come from.

The next day, the bike's owner called. Nice kid. A student. Totally over the moon that I left the note. No damage. Thank God!

But guess what? The local police called him that day. I seems someone said they say what happened and reported it as a hit-and-run.

A hit-and-run! I left a note and someone pulls this crap? I mean, I didn't go more than 15 feet away from it!

So, the kid told them that I left a note and no problem. Go away, police.

And I have a certain finger for whoever reported that. Stupid.

Okay, rant over. Until a new rash of stupids comes along.

UPDATE ON OFFICEMAX SITUATION 12-18-09: I didn't hear back from the idiot for two days. So, I wrote and asked for a response. She replied: "You said you didn't know if you wanted to order the item. I've been waiting to hear." WTF?!?! She ignored everything else I said and only focused on the sale. Brilliant.

I wrote back: "I would like a response to each question I asked in that email. So far, none of my questions have been addressed. In my last line, I asked why I should consider doing business with OfficeMax. Please answer."

Her response: "I will not debate those issues. You've made your decision. As far as OfficeMax is concerned, the matter is closed."

Can I get a resounding "fuckwad!" here? I've spoken to her supervisor and forwarded all communications. If I don't hear from him soon, I'll just go up the ladder.

She. Pissed. Me. Off.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Those pesky exes

Ranger has not been divorced as long as I have. I remember being at the same stage, where you're working out how much you hate this person, who isn't entirely stable, and you still have kids whose well-being you have to think about.

Whew. It's not fun.

He's been back and forth with the "don't call me unless it's about the kids" thing. She gets nasty and awful, and he goes back to that. Then, something happens with the kids and she's back to calling again.

I've done the same thing. I understand.

The trouble is that he's become her personal counselor. She has dating trouble and calls Ranger about it. She doesn't understand why men are only interested in sleeping with her, and not in relationships. They send her clear signals that they aren't interested in anything but the "benefits" (not even the "friends" part), but she still pushes for more and is upset when she doesn't get it.

And this is what Ranger is hearing over and over. It's disturbing for him because this is the woman his teenage daughter looks to for an example of how women should behave with men. His ex makes no effort to separate her dating/sex life from her mom life.

She's been asking questions about me. She saw our profiles on MySpace, where he refers to me as the love of his life. She sees our pages on Facebook. She actually added me as a "Friend" on Facebook. We're all one big Friends list now, with Ranger, me, her, their kids, and my kids. My daughter and his have fun chatting.

Kinda weird, isn't it?

His ex laments, though, that it's not fair that he found the relationship she thought she was going to have, once she divorced him. See, she divorced him because she started having an affair with a friend of his. She fell for him and decided that it was what she really wanted. So, she divorced Ranger. And the new guy backed off. He still doesn't want a relationship with her, but they still see each other.

She left Ranger all alone in Utah. Ripped his world out from under him. Shattered him. And didn't care one wit how he'd deal with it. Now, the irony has come home to roost. She turned him loose, and he found the kind of love he'd been missing all along. She is the one alone, dealing with an impressive series of mistakes.

It's not fair, she says.

Here's where I get antsy, though. These personal counseling sessions are happening very often. Sometimes, they are lengthy conversations. He never answers when we're together or on the phone already. One night, I told him to answer because she called and left a voice mail about their son. It was an urgent need concerning his children, but she was surprised I "let" him answer the second call. Why wouldn't I?

She's a little surprised by me, by how open I am. I apparently caught her really off guard when I called during the trouble in Utah. I was a little too resourceful in finding her number, it seems.

Anywho.... The thing is that, well, I'm afraid. I'm scared that she'll call before me in the evenings and hear about his day, then he won't talk like that with me. This happens with my son. The first person to talk to him gets the whole story, and no one else does. A few nights, Ranger has been fairly silent, and I've wondered if it's because he's already talked out.

So, I told him this. He assures me that's not the case. He's making an effort to not answer each call from her. He doesn't want her to feel like he's there for her at all times. He's making sure to tell me about each conversation. Still, I worry. This is someone he has a long history with. Children with.

"I'll never go back to that," he assures me. "You've shown me how love should be. You've allowed me to love with abandon, and you love me back that way. I could never go back."

You all know my history, though. So many times being bitten in the ass by this kind of thing. My fears aren't really rational, but they are there. Maybe it's a matter of unlearning what I've learned from bad relationships, to truly believe a good one is here to stay.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Oh the weather outside.... delightful! I love the snow. And so does Matsi.

I've added a link to the left, to Matsi's photo album. I've added a bunch of snow pics there now. It's neat to see her from her first pic, before she was "ours", to how she is now.

Apparently, snow is to be eaten. And it has toys hidden in it! Okay, so it's fruit from the trees, covered in ice (which makes it hard to hang on to!). I've added a video here, for you to see her in action. You see her checking out the tree first, then finding what she wants in the snow.

Click here for the video (at YouTube)

You also get an idea of the slope of my backyard. We've put hay bales at the bottom, in case someone decided to go sledding when we're not around. That happened last year. And you get to hear my early-morning-stuffy-head voice. Yay.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Shameless Mommy-bragging

Okay, I know I've been a neglectful blogger lately. I'm in my intense time at work and Christmas parties and I had to make a bra purse, so time gets away from me. I'll post the bra purse pics :o) That was fun. I have other things to blog and post, too, but I'll get to it soon!

In the meantime, I have to brag on my kiddo. He's had such a hard time lately that this is truly a ray of sunshine.

Son got his PSAT scores today. Now, they've gone and screwed it all up and changed the scoring from how it was when I was a kid. But they were nice enough to make it easy to convert to the "old" scale for us clueless parents.

The old scale was based on a possible 1600 points. Just for perspective sake, I got 1140 on my SAT. And I graduated with honors in high school, so I like to think I'm no intellectual slouch. On most days. I've had kids since then, and they make you wonky. Anyhow, my ex got like a 900. My dad got a 1200-some-odd.

Son got a 1450.

I'm over the moon, I tell you! He missed one question on the math portion. One.

The new scale is based on 20-80 points per section. And there's a new writing section. We just had to deal with two sections, but these kids now have three sections of scores. All in all, his "new" score was 205. The national average for juniors is 147. They're saying this puts him in the 3% range, and within the range for National Merit Scholars.

Can I get a big "Woo Hoo!" for my kiddo? With all of his struggles lately, this was a very much needed boost. I hope he takes it to heart and finds inspiration in it!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

First trip to the vet

I'm being spied on. By a dog in panties.

Finding a vet is not easy. I've known bad vets. Ones who care more about the money than the pet. So, I asked people who have dogs. I did a Yahoo search and read reviews. Then, I started calling and pricing vaccinations, County licensing, and spaying.


Planned Pethood Plus has $70 spaying clinic, but they are booked for December and are forming a waiting list for January. No clue who the vet is.

PetSmart was $250 plus $25 if she's in heat. Vaccinations would be about $30. Office visit would be $34.

The extra fee for her being in heat was a surprise to me. I've never dealt with a dog in heat before. I always did the Responsible Pet Owner thing and had it done at 6 months. So, I kept calling.

Vet #1 was $250 for spaying plus $35 if she's in heat. Vaccinations would be $45 plus an office visit fee.

Vet #2 was $250 to spay, but it went up to $270 if she's over 60 lbs. If she's in heat, it's another $35. If she's ever had a litter of pups (and the doctor would determine this on the spot), it's another $85. They could also do a laser treatment on the surgery site to reduce inflammation and pain. For another $15. Vaccinations are $59 plus an office visit fee. The County license is included in that, but they didn't give me the breakdown of the cost.

Vet #3 was $160 to spay (for dogs 40-61 lbs), plus $35 if she's in heat. But the assistant said the vet doesn't like to do spaying while the dog is in heat. "The risk of excessive bleeding is just too high," she said. "He'd rather wait until it's safer."

Hmmm. That was interesting. No one told me that before.

"The vaccinations run $45 plus the visit if we don't do it with the surgery," she said. "And that includes the County license. It's not mandatory, but the pound will fine you if she's ever picked up without it. It's just 10 bucks to have a license on file."

This lady was full of information. "It's the first of the month, so call the Animal Shelter. They have a few certificates each month for $35 off of spaying. Just call and see if they have any, then go pick one up before they run out." She gave me their phone number and directions to the shelter. No one else had told me about this certificate.

Guess which vet I picked?

So, Matsi went for her "New Pet Exam" yesterday. The assistant held a treat so she'd sit still for her picture (to keep in her file). Matsi sat very still and pretty.

"What a good girl!" the assistant cooed.

"She'll do 'shake' and 'down,' too," I said. The assistant tried it and Matsi happily complied. More treats.

The assistant scanned her for a microchip. I held my breath. It seemed inconceivable that a dog this well-trained would not have a chip.

No chip. Hoorah!

More treats for Matsi for holding still.

The vet came in and made a joke about Matsi's panties. She licked his hands as he examined her.

"She looks good," he said. I told her how skinny she was a week ago. Yesterday, I had to loosen her collar. She's filling out!

He checked her teeth. "She's between a year and two," he said. He looked again. "Closer to the two mark, I'd say." He ruffled her ears. "She could be full Lab, but something in her face seems different. She might be some kind of mix." I don't really care. He explained about the "heat" process and what to expect, about waiting to spay her, and then we scheduled that for January 9th.

She held still again for her shots. More treats. The whole office was falling in love with her, too.

The vet walked out to the receptionist's desk with us. "Just the shots and tag today," he said. She went to the computer and removed the office visit charge. Gotta love this vet.

"This is why I work for a vet's office and not the shelter," said the assistant. "Here, all the animals already belong to someone else. At a shelter, I'd be taking them all home!"

So, home we went. This pooch is showing more smarts each day. She cracks me up, too!

Matsi was asleep under the coffee table. Something startled her and she raised up, smacking her head hard on the table. As we cooed "Oh no!" and "Is she all right?", she brought her head out from under the table and literally put her paw on the top of her head, where she'd smacked it. I've never seen a dog do that before! Except in cartoons.

The other day, I took her outside to...well, use the outside. She wanted to play, but I'd left her ball inside. She went barreling down the hill to our two fruit trees - a peach tree and an apple tree. The peach tree had a low-hanging branch with a peach still clinging to it.

Matsi ran to the branch, grabbed the peach and pulled until it was free. She turned around a ran back up the hill. Straight to me. And dropped the peach at my feet, wagging her tail and waiting for me to play fetch with it.

No kidding.

We did, until it fell apart. Just before bedtime, we went out again. She disappeared in the dark at the bottom of the hill. And re-emerged with an apple. And dropped it at my feet.

Again, no kidding.

This morning, my mother was home sick. I said goodbye to Matsi and left to take the kids to school and go to work. Just after the garage door closed, Matsi went to my mother in her room, whining and whimpering. Mom put on slippers and took her outside, assuming that's what the fuss was about.

Matsi didn't need to "go." She ran back and forth in the yard, whining. She went to the fence by the driveway, looking to where I park and whimpering. She carried on for some time, until Mom took her back in the house, where she whined at the garage door.

Mom is convinced, Matsi was looking for me.

That just makes my heart melt, you know? From an empty belly, alone out in the freezing wet and cold, to a full belly with lots of love and a wood-burning stove to snooze by every night. And for us, a void filled by someone who focuses all of our positive energy, and gives so much of it back. We're all having a Merry Christmas already.

Monday, December 01, 2008

It's been one week

And I'm so happy to have a dog in the house again! She's delightful. A very sweet personality. Completely trusting of me. She's getting attached to the kids, too. In the morning, she wants to go visit them and wake them. Son responds much better to her waking him than to me!

In my original post, I forgot to mention my Daughter's reaction to this pup. Thanks for reminding me, Muse! My mother went to pick her up from school that day. I stayed home with the dog, who didn't have a name yet. Everyone was very careful to not spill the beans, so we could all see her reaction at once.

On the way home, my daughter spotted a "lost dog" sign in the neighborhood, for a Black Lab (no signs for Matsi, even today). She said to my mother, "I really wish we could have a dog." My mother visited with her about the responsibility of it and the commitment it takes to care for a dog. They pulled into the driveway.

As I heard the door opening, I went to the kitchen to greet Daughter as she came in. The dog followed me, peering around the corner between me and the wall. My daughter walked in and said Hi to me. She didn't look down.

"Hi," I said and pointed down.

Daughter looked down into the dog's big brown eyes.

"Awwww!" she said, making the cutesy face. "Who is that?"

"She doesn't have a name yet," I said. "We wanted to wait for your input before naming our dog."

Daughter's eyes went wide and she looked at me, not sure I was being serious.

"She's ours," I said. Daughter's smile said it all. Ear-to-ear and so excited that if she could have smiled more she would have. She dropped to a knee and started petting her.

We went to the den, and Daughter whispered in my ear. "Are we really keeping her?"

"Yes," I said. She giggled. "Be sure and thank your grandpa when he gets home."

So, we told the story of how she came to be part of our home. We batted around name ideas before finally settling on Matsi.

The kids are sharing the duties with her now. It's been good for both of them. Son is excited, too. The other morning, I heard my dad talking to Matsi as he got ready for work. Yeah, he's warming up to her quickly.

Thanksgiving about put Matsi on sensory overload. Too many smells, people, and activity. She barked twice, which is out-of-character for her now. I took her outside to play and she settled down.

Here's a picture of one of her favorite things to do. She plants herself on the stairs and looks through the rails, to spy on people in the kitchen.

We've discovered a few things about her. She doesn't beg. She will play outside, but not in the house. She knows some basic obedience commands. She comes when you whistle. And...she's not spayed.

Her first appointment with the vet is tomorrow. So, guess how we figured out this last tidbit? Oh yeah, just our luck. She came in heat. Dang, that's nasty.

So, now, she has pants.

Boys' boxer briefs, to be exact. They work nicely and are less expensive than the doggie-panties you get at the pet store. Oh, is she hating it! But she's a patient dog, and puts up with us fussing about this.

I could just kick someone's can for not having this done already. Ugh. Poor dear. I hate to put her through it, but I don't want to go through putting boxer briefs on a dog again.