Monday, June 26, 2006

The worst thing

OK, so occasionally (?) I've harped on a few of my pet peeves, job-wise. It can be maddening to see different people make the same mistakes ad infinitum -- understandable. Customers leaving empty carts willy-nilly across the front of the store now drive me almost as crazy as the rogue apostrophe.


There is one thing that I absolutely loathe. It's been known to send me to the bathroom in tears (not as regular an occasion now, former roomies!). That is when customers treat me as mentally inferior -- not when they simply repeat an instruction multiple times. I can handle that. I mean the full-on, over-enunciating, complete-with-miming-hand-gestures, spoken-with-wide-open-eyes-and-raised-eyebrows treatment. I get that and average of once every other week. More during the holidays and right after an ad campaign.

Now, mind you, much of this isn't the customer's fault -- I already came to this job with certain issues. Namely, I absolutely hate it when I'm treated like an idiot. It's incredibly important to me that I be recognized as an intelligent person.

So naturally I have a blue-collar job which contains in its job description certain skills that are usually delegated to individuals who (since there's no delicate way to put it) perhaps rode the short bus to school.

Jordana, I do believe that I'm going to pull out my mammoth copy of The Riverside Chaucer so that I can learn to recite whole sections of Troilus and Criseyde in the original. I imagine that it'll work like a charm to calm fussy toddlers.

All that to say, how are the rest of y'all faring? This is especially directed to those college graduates of us who may not be (in the words -- or thoughts -- of our parents) "living up to our fullest potential," but I'd love to hear from those lucky ducks who actually are doing something related to their respective majors and/or requiring a college education.

Slightly different from the old "if you had it to do all over again" question: if you had the opportunity (or ill fortune) to be headed into college as a freshman (bachelor's degree, you mental giants!), what would you major in? Same degree as before, different classes? Same classes, better grades? Same classes, better social life?

I'd major in anthropology. Seriously -- I wish I had taken a little more while at Wheaton, because it would come in handy with my current job.

Friday, June 09, 2006

(Wo)Man vs. Nature: the Suburban Years

First, an apology to those of you who may have made arguments for my sanity in previous years -- I have made a liar of you. Of course, it should be noted that I wasn't a very good bet to begin with, so there.

I have been engaged for the last two years in a contretemps (insert corrections here, Jord) with a certain Bastard Squirrel. [Mental Husband here protests, "You don't know that his parents weren't married." - To which I state, firmly, "Yes, my dear, sometimes you just know."]

To be fair, I have given this squirrel mixed messages. I hate wasting food, so if it looks like some fruit will not be consumed by humans, out onto the balcony it goes. It is always consumed within two days. This food is never in a container and obviously then has never been buried in dirt.

Cut to two years ago, when I attempted a container garden. I knew it was going to be difficult to discourage the squirrel from digging, so I spiked the topsoil with lots of chili powder. This, I have read in multiple gardening publications, should discourage them. Squirrels don't like spice, you see. It seemed to do the trick; only a few scrapings occurred in the pots for the next few months. I lost a few green Roma tomatoes, but they could have fallen off in the high winds we get on a third floor in Chicagoland.

Then came the time when we had some beautiful jalapenos ripening. Normally these are picked green, but I was waiting for them to ripen so I could smoke them (somehow) and make chipotles. I noticed one missing one busy morning, another the next. They kept disappearing at the rate of one a day until they were all gone. I thought nothing of it, as Husband was making breakfast omeletes at the time, and his love for all things spicy will one day become the stuff of epic songs. About a week after the jalapenos were harvested, I remembered to ask him how he'd liked the jalapenos. I told him I wasn't upset that he'd used them before I was ready -- after all, they were for his consumption, be they jalapenos or chipotles. "Wait -- we had jalapenos?" was the reply.

Bastard squirrel.

Cut to this year. I'd given up gardening for food as lost, but I still have a few precious houseplants that love the balcony in the summer. One of these is a purple shamrock, my special pride and joy, simply because it was a spontaneous purchase 5 years ago, has survived multiple splittings-off, the parent plant has died, and still it thrives. Until two weeks ago, when BS decided this was its personal playground. Not the imminently replaceable Peace Lily, not the scrawny Jasmine I've almost given up on, but the beloved Purple Shamrock. And only the shamrock.

I've used the hot pepper wax spray (note: don't ever stand downwind while spraying. You'll feel like you've been screaming for hours.). Didn't work, but it did damage the deep purple color of the plant's leaves. Now I've put up a fence of toothpicks in the dirt surrounding the plant and have sprayed the toothpicks with concentrated Red Fox urine. I can't begin to describe the scent of my balcony; suffice it to say that I'm glad the neighbors moved away last week.

Further bulletins as events warrant.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

And the winner is ...

The award for Originators of the Singlemost Traumatizing Name Ever goes to ...

The parents of Richard Wankit!

How much you want to bet he goes by "R.W."? I hope he sued.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Up on a hill

Ten extra points if you can guess the title's reference.

Quick update on volunteering at the DuPage County Animal Shelter: I pulled up today in front of two pens of livestock. It seems some local farmer surrendered his dozen or so goats (5 ewes - does? - and 7 or so kids) and 2 sheep. Lots of staff members standing around and staring, perplexed furrows between their eyes.

Goats are good comic relief.


A Royal Snark that I'm sure all the girls will understand (except, perhaps, for the veryvery skinny ones) ...


Honestly, does anyone know? I actually like some of the vintagey-frillish things that are out there right now, but they're never styled for anyone with, how shall we say? Jordana could help me out here, anything of a chest. Even larger sizes don't work. It's like clothing designers don't realize that when a woman, well, is a woman, she doesn't get bigger at the exact same rate all around. The proportions are different. Just look at Lindsey "Nyah-nyah, they're real after all" Lohan -- 15 or so pounds was the difference of a couple cup sizes.

I'm healthy, I bike to work, I eat my leafy greens, I can lift dozens of cases of wine a day, I can do everything except find a decent blouse (non-Oxford-type -- sorry, Land's End) to wear to a wedding.

If anyone knows of a retailer -- online or otherwise -- who makes sensible clothing, please let me know. I'm just not a good enough seamstress yet.