Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cancel Your Credit Card Before You Die

Blogger's Note: Normally I wouldn’t turn something like this into a blog post but it made me laugh because I have had to deal with this kind of stupidity in real life. So here you go…it was an inter-office email and now it’s a post. Hope you get a giggle. - HistoryDiva

Now some people are just really stupid. Be sure and cancel your credit cards before you die. This is so priceless - and so easy to see happening, with customer service being what it is today. A lady died this past January, and Citibank billed her for February and March for their annual service charges on her credit card, and added late fees and interest on the monthly charge. The balance had been $0.00 when she died, but now somewhere around $60.00. A family member placed a call to Citibank.

Here is the exchange:

Family Member: 'I am calling to tell you she died back in January.'

Citibank: 'The account was never closed and the late fees and charges still apply.'

Family Member: 'Maybe, you should turn it over to collections.'

Citibank: 'Since it is two months past due, it already has been.'

Family Member: So, what will they do when they find out she is dead?'

Citibank: 'Either report her account to frauds division or report her to the credit bureau, maybe both!'

Family Member: 'Do you think God will be mad at her?'

Citibank: 'Excuse me?'

Family Member: 'Did you just get what I was telling you - the part about her being dead?'

Citibank: 'Sir, you'll have to speak to my supervisor. '

*Supervisor gets on the phone:*

Family Member : 'I'm calling to tell you, she died back in January with a $0 balance.'

Citibank: 'The account was never closed and late fees and charges still apply.'

Family Member: 'You mean you want to collect from her estate?'

Citibank: (Stammer) 'Are you her lawyer?'

Family Member: 'No, I'm her great nephew.' (Lawyer info was given)

Citibank: 'Could you fax us a certificate of death?'

Family Member: 'Sure.' (Fax number was given)

*After they get the fax *

Citibank: 'Our system just isn't setup for death. I don't know what more I can do to help.'

Family Member: 'Well, if you figure it out, great! If not, you could just keep billing her. She won't care.'

Citibank: 'Well, the late fees and charges do still apply.' (What is wrong with these people?!?)

Family Member: 'Would you like her new billing address?'

Citibank: 'That might help.'

Family Member: ' Odessa Memorial Cemetery, Highway 129, Plot Number 69.'

Citibank: 'Sir, that's a cemetery!'

Family Member: 'And what do you do with dead people on your planet???

HistoryDiva’s ‘Vacation’: Day Seven…and Day Eight

I won’t mince words about this…I’m glad we’re headed home. I miss my home, my bed, my friends and warm weather. My mother pointed out a rather alarming fact to me this morning…the longer we are in the north the more ‘northern’ my accent becomes and apparently I start talking faster. So yeah, time to get out of here.

The first day of the drive home takes us through West Virginia (which is almost too big for its own good…but pretty, very pretty), Virginia, and into North Carolina. And just so you don’t get a bad impression of West Virginia…here is what it looked like today.

Told you it was pretty…though this picture really doesn’t do it justice.

Around lunch time we got to a little town in West Virginia called Flatwoods. Now, as a child Flatwoods was nothing spectacular…heck, I don’t even think it had a decent place to stop and use the bathroom. But the town has grown over the years and has actually acquired my favorite ‘vacation’ attraction. A Fiesta Ware outlet store.

This year’s new pattern is called ‘Wild Cherries’…

*sigh* I love this stuff.

Anyway! What I like about traveling through V and WV this time of year is that you see these on every median strip and every interstate roadside:

Wildflowers. But not just any wildflowers, because this time of year the only things which have bloomed are the poppies and the daisies. And since daisies are my favorite flower (a little factoid about me which everyone who knows me already knows…except for my mother apparently) this made me enjoy the drive even more. Even when we ran into more of this:

But hey, at least it was at the bottom of a mountain this time.

The second day of the drive home is what my mother refers to as ‘the most boring part of the trip.’ Really? Not “Cemetery Roundup?” Not “Elderly Family Members at an Ohio State Park?” Nope, apparently North and South Carolina are the boring part of the drive home. Sorry about that fellow southern states. Even though I did all of the driving the only thing I can really tell you about that second day was that the big peach water tower outside of Gaffney, SC still makes me giggle because from the right angle it looks like a big butt…

And that there is a new Starbucks open on Exit 90. And it has a drive-thru. Thanks the Gods for Carmel Macchiato.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

HistoryDiva's 'Vacation': Day Six

Thursday started out just as cold and rainy as the rest of the week. I managed to talk mom into a decent breakfast today and I have to say that I really enjoyed my Bananas Foster French Toast. There is just nothing better than a trip to the local Eat ‘n Park…and I picked up some Smiley Cookies to bring back home with me.

Oh, remember that thing I mentioned yesterday about EVERYBODY supporting the Penguins? Well…here’s some proof.

My grandmother had a dentist appointment today (big excitement when you're 89) so much of the morning was spent reminding her to take her prescribed antibiotic at the correct time. Mom spent a lot of time sitting in the dining room talking to her parents because it was the last time we would be seeing them this trip as we would be spending the evening with the other side of the family and would leave early the next morning. Mom and Grandma headed out for the dentist, leaving my grandfather and I to ramble around the house together for a few hours.

My grandfather is a very interesting fellow (my grandmother is interesting too but you have to work harder to get her in a good enough mood to talk about some of the more amazing things she has done in her being president of her highschool class, the editor of her highschool and college newspapers, and the author of the her senior class play). He grew up on a dairy farm, was in the army during WWII, and is a retired electrical engineer. In other words, if you’re looking for an entertaining afternoon of stories this is the guy you hang out with. I’m not sure how the conversation started exactly, but before long we were sharing tales of our most memorable bouts of sickness (See! I come from a long line of folks whose conversations tend to wander far a-field). This was somehow parlayed into some very entertaining and ‘risqué’ stories from his time in the army. All in all, a good afternoon…and a nice visit with one of my favorite people on the planet.

(OH! And just so you know…while they were out Mom and Grandma stopped to have lunch, and apparently mom broached the subject of Grandma’s comments about my weight. To which my grandmother replied that she ‘hadn’t said a single thing about my weight the entire time we had been there.’)

We met up with two of my father’s sisters (he has four) for dinner at a local chain restaurant and while the food was fantastic the service was horrific. I won’t go into detail but I will say this much…with as poor as the service was, it was still better than the last time I dined at Applebee’s. We finished off our evening at my Aunt Alice’s apartment (who btw, is an awesome person…seriously. If I start now I might because half as amazing as she is by the time I die) listening to the latest gossip and happenings on my father’s side of the family.

And now…because I know you have just been quivering in anticipation…here are more covertly taken pictures of my grandparent’s house. (Shut up! I was bored!)

Let’s finish off the second floor, shall we?

Here is a peek into my grandparent’s bedroom, a room which until this trip, I had never been farther into than the doorway. Manners and privacy and blah, blah, blah. I happen to know, because my mother told me, that the only access to the attic is though a small pull down door in the ceiling of my grandparent’s bedroom closet. I also happen to know that these days the only thing up there is some luggage.

Here is a quick peek into the room my mother and aunt shared while growing up in this house. According to my mother the furniture placement in this room hasn’t changed…except that now there is a bookcase where my aunt’s dresser used to stand. Oh, and apparently the walls have always been this weird mint green color.

And downstairs we go!

Here is the rest of the living room, and were this a panoramic shot you would see the organ sitting to the extreme right. I remember when the carpet in this room was brand new. We (the grandchildren) weren’t even allowed to walk on it. This meant several summers of not entering the living room.

P.S. That couch is older than I am.

This is the dining room. Until about a dozen years ago my grandparents had a set of handmade dining room furniture which made this space far more crowded then it appears now. That dining room set, handmade by my great-grandfather, now lives in my parents’ house.

Oh, and that cute old guy in the corner is my grandfather.

This is the kitchen. This is seriously all there is to it. You will notice (if you look really hard) that there is no dishwasher. This means that I (being the youngest person in the house) spent the week washing dishes after every meal…and there is nothing I hate more than washing dishes.

This is my grandmother’s calendar. It hangs on the wall just inside the kitchen door. She writes down everything, always has. If you look closely you will see several birthdays and anniversaries, appointments, meetings and the arrival of my mother and I listed there. If you look really closely you will also notice that the anniversary of the death of grandma’s younger sister is also listed. I meant what I said about ‘she writes down everything.’

Because the kitchen is so small my grandfather converted the wall of the basement stairs into a very serviceable storage space.

Shall we go downstairs? The door that you can sorta see on the right at the bottom of the stairs leads to the garage…which looks like every other garage so I’m not taking its picture.

My grandfather’s favorite hobby was photography; he took pictures all the time. It really bothered him when he no longer had the strength in his hands to support his camera equipment comfortably. Happily he was able to find someone in the family who would lovingly care for and use his very nice camera…namely me. But while he was still able to indulge in his hobby he converted the small space under the basement stairs into a working darkroom, the door to which you can see here. To the extreme right (again, if this was a wide angle shot) you would see a large green utility sink and the washer and dryer. Immediately behind me stand the furnace and water heater.

Back on the other side of the room stands my grandfather’s work table. Here he spent his free time putting his electrical engineering degree to good use by tinkering with everything in the house which ran on electricity or batteries. It was here that he built the infamous ‘idiot box’ (a door bell hooked up to a battery in a metal casing) which kept my cousin ‘Bob’ amused for days until it’s batteries died.

This is the small basement window near my grandfather’s work table. I have always liked the view out of this window, because it makes me think of my grandfather and the love he has for all growing things. (He was an amazing gardener…heck, he only has to look at a plant and it will perk up and start blooming.) To the upper left you will see the base of a flowering ‘blue’ lilac. To the upper right is box privet. The ferns just outside the window have been there for as long as I can remember.

My grandfather worked as electrical engineer for a very large; very well know company which was under a government contract. He spent time working on things like super conductors, nuclear power, and radioactive isotopes. He worked in ship yards, gigantic factories, and even organized the relocation of a massive nuclear material holding tank. This is an unbelievably strong magnet from one of his many projects. As a child I was fascinated by the fact that I could wrap my hands around it and hang from it without it letting go of the metal beam overhead. As an adult I still find it very difficult to move and even more difficult to actually detach from the beam. But my grandfather could always move it…which sort of made him superhuman in my eyes.

When I told my mother that I would be chronicling my trip on this blog she suggested that I include a picture to my grandparents and the outside of their house. But I told her I wouldn’t because they don’t deserve to have their anonymity stripped away like that. While I love my readers, there are just some things that you don’t need to see.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Quick Update

I survived!

I’m home safe and sound and in one piece. Thanks to everyone for all the comments and support, it was much appreciated. I will finish the tale of my ‘vacation’ but first I have a week’s worth of work to sort out and catch up! I’ll blog soon…I promise.

While you wait, here’s a funny courtesy of the H.O.P.S.F.!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

HistoryDiva's "Vacation": Day Five

What can I say about today? Well, I could begin by slamming my head against the keyboard several times but I don’t know if it would really help me.

We (mom and I) dragged out of bed around nine and decided to try out a local bakery for breakfast and I just have to say that a bagel fresh out of the oven is the best kind of bagel there is.

Today’s adventure was a trip to the local library. My grandparents are actually listed among the founders of their local borough library and have their names engraved in the flagstone floor of the entryway along with all the other founders. My grandfather had requested the trip to the library so that we could use the satellite feature on Google maps and take a look at …are you ready? Uncle Dave’s new house. But hey, it totally made his day so I was more than happy to help him.

In case you haven’t heard, the Pittsburgh Penguins have made it to the Stanley Cup finals. There is something about this town that you have to understand in order for that statement to have the full impact. The people of Pittsburgh love their local sports teams with a passion that is almost mania. EVERYONE loves their home teams. EVERYONE is rooting for the Pens and even the major is attempting to get tickets to the local games (which is causing a scandal because he has requested to use campaign funds to purchase his tickets). Oh, and just so you know…seats for games three and four are running at about $2,180 a seat.

Grandma was in rare form today, offering to pay me for loosing weight. How tempting was the offer you ask? Well, if I get down to a healthy weight she’ll cut me a check for…wait for it…$50.

No slides tonight because Grandpa picked up a VHS tape of a PBS special of a classical music concert in Vienna. Which means that it was classical music instead…the only down side of which is that since my grandfather’s hearing is failing it had to be incredibly loud. I could actually feel my eardrums vibrating.

HistoryDiva's "Vacation": Day Four

Tuesday (day four) was a rather uneventful day. Unless you count this:

This is Half-Priced Books, a local bookstore chain in Pittsburgh. Think of it as Mecca. I picked up a book there in hard back for $8 which would have cost me $32 to pick up locally in paper back. Take that in for a minute or two and then stop hating me.

To make this even more painful (are you paying attention LibraryDiva and H.O.S.P.F.???) it happens to be next door to a Michael’s.

Once we arrived at the grandparent’s house my mother took my grandfather shopping which means that I was abandoned…and left with my grandmother for company. First there were questions about my hair color. Was it naturally that dark or did I start putting something on it to make it darker? Then there were the comments about my weight. When had I gotten so fat? I wasn’t always this fat. And finally the comments on my clothing…didn’t I realize that shade of blue makes me look really fat? What a wonderful bonding experience that was. I have never been so happy to see my mother.

We rounded out the night with even more slides! The selections this evening were truly entertaining. “The Many Homes of Uncle Dave,” a full color compendium of every home my Uncle (mom’s brother whom I have encountered a total of three times) has EVER owned. And “Cemetery Roundup,” an exhibition of the gravestones of every dead member of the family that we have actually been able to locate. Please, someone send help…I’m losing the will to live.

Here is the only picture I managed to sneak today. This is my grandmother’s organ. It sits in the outside corner of the living room. She was a ‘minister of music’ for her church for over fifty years. And that is something about her that I actually find really neat.

HistoryDiva's "Vacation": Day Three

Monday (day three) was my grandmother’s 89th birthday. In honor of the auspicious occasion she refrained from making a snide remark about my weight until 2:47 pm. Yep, she’s really happy I’m here.

It took most of the day for her to decide that she did in fact want to go out to dinner at her favorite Italian restaurant and reader; I wish you could have been there to see this place. Now, the food is okay, not great…but these are members of the geriatric set and apparently that makes them a lot less picky. But it is the décor that makes this such a memorable place to dine, and I don’t mean that in a good way. In all honesty it looks like the 1980s threw up in this place. The walls have pink striped paper on them, the carpet is forest green, and the chairs are bent white metal with pink pleather coverings. The tables have white metal legs and pink tabletops. There are gigantic mirror mosaics on two of the walls, which sets of the track lighting beautifully. Ah…atmosphere.

The evening was capped off with another round of family slides. The night’s selections included “Christmas through the years” and “Elderly family members visiting an Ohio state park.” Riveting stuff that.

So, in an attempt to stave off the mind numbing boredom which is rapidly setting in I have begun to covertly sneak photos of the house. Just go with it…I’m dying here.

This is the bedroom I slept in every time we visited until we began staying in a hotel. To the right you will see the corner of the twin bed. The door is resting against the desk which is sitting under the window. There is nothing more to the room. It is small, airless, and VERY warm in the summer.

The door to the right leads to the room my mother and aunt shared when they lived in the house. I couldn’t sneak a picture of it yet because everyone was home.

This is the view out of the window in the bedroom. My grandfather used to have a large garden which took up much of the grassy lawn. Now that he is older and can no longer comfortably garden he has let the grass reclaim the yard. You will also notice that all of the houses in the neighborhood are nearly identical. This is a very confusing neighborhood to get lost in as a child.

This is the one and only bathroom in the house. There is no ventilation fan in this bathroom…which means that you have to take a shower that is cold or else you steam up the bathroom and it warps the door and you can’t get out. Did you catch that? COLD SHOWERS.

The door on the right is the linen closet…which smells like fifty years of shampoos, soaps, clean towels and aqua net hairspray. The door on the left is the door to my grandparent’s bedroom…another room I could not sneak a picture of.

This is the ceramic frog (painted to match the bathroom) that my aunt made for my grandparents to use a door stop. He’s been in that bathroom for decades. And when I was little I would turn him around and make him face the wall while I used the bathroom. I was convinced that he was staring at me.

And these are violets.

Monday, May 19, 2008

HistoryDiva's "Vacation": Day Two

We spent last night in West Virginia, and the hotel had no internet access. I love West Virginia. It is a beautiful state full of towering mountains, broad green valleys, and astronomically high unemployment rates. But it’s pretty…it’s very pretty.

Unfortunately for us, West Virginia looked like this yesterday.

This is what a traffic jam on the top of a mountain looks like… and we were stuck in four of them.

So after a lot of driving, a lot of rain, and a lot of waiting in traffic we finally made it to Pennsylvania.

We had time to kill before we could check into the hotel so, armed with a Starbucks venti Carmel Macchiato; we went to see the grandparents. When we arrived we found them both in a panic. It seems that my grandmother had dropped her wedding ring while getting ready and they had spent the better part of the last half hour tearing their bedroom apart looking for it. I offered to help and located the wayward band of gold in about two minutes…earning me some “our granddaughter is a super hero” points along the way.

Once check in time rolled around Mom and I headed to the hotel. Apparently the hotel is doing some renovation so things are a mess. And apparently there was only one hotel employee on site (the chick at the desk) who seemed to really have her hands full. We were directed to a room on the third floor and discovered that house keeping hadn’t cleaned it yet. So we went back to the desk and demanded another room, which we were given. This one was clean but had no towels. So Mom goes back to the desk to get some. Apparently when the chick looked up and saw Mom standing there looking unhappy again she got really pale and scared looking. Go Mom!

Once we had settled into the room we headed out to a nearby grocery store to pick up some things for dinner. We went to the grocery store my grandparents had suggested and it only took about thirty seconds for us to decide to go elsewhere. Yeah…I’d never before felt like I was going to die in a drive by while at a grocery store before. The other store felt much safer and had everything we needed.

Tonight’s after dinner entertainment was slides. I’ll repeat that for your benefit…SLIDES. There will be more of the same tomorrow night. It’s gonna be a long week.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

HistoryDiva's "Vacation": Day One

Hello, dear reader, have you missed me? Yeah, I didn’t think so…but a girl can dream. Well, as I mentioned in a previous post I’m away from home this week and off to parts unknown (aka Pittsburgh).

Day One of the ‘Tour of Duty’ started off sunny and warm. My mother finally agreed that we would take my car (which is larger and more powerful) which means that I’m the primary driver for the trip. I really can’t complain about this because not only would no one listen but I also happen to like it better this way.

And now for some pictorial highlights from Day One, most of which were taken from a moving car and some of which were taken by my mother so you’ll have to excuse the picture quality.

Here is the vending pavilion of the South Carolina welcome center. The only items they sell here are bottled beverages, the majority of which are of the carbonated variety…meaning that this is the only place I have EVER been able to effectively use the line “let’s blow this pop stand” and actually get a laugh.

I didn’t take any pictures of North Carolina because it was all mostly green rolling country side and wildflowers…which is pretty but is also sorta boring. Sorry about that, North Carolina.

This picture was taken in Virginia. The Appalachian Mountains had just been a blue haze on the horizon until we got about a third of the way through the state. I like Virginia and West Virginia because the rolling foot hills of the south finally give way to mountains and valleys. Both of these states are beautiful and my pictures in no way do them justice.

This picture was taken by my mother. I had asked her to take a picture of the breathtakingly beautiful valley to our right and instead she took a picture of the road. *Sigh* I love you, mom.

Here are some more Virginia mountains. The really dark patches are actually the shadows cast by the clouds overhead. Again…you really just need to go see this state for yourself to appreciate it.

This is the entrance to the East River Tunnel, which runs under a mountain. At the other end of this tunnel is West Virginia. You know what’s funny about traveling in May? Well, at home May is a summer month. In West Virginia May is a spring month…complete with miserably cold rainy weather.

But more about that tomorrow.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Because You Just Never Know

Guess who I just got off the phone with?

Give up? (Cause you’re never gonna get this one.)

Georgia State Senator Johnny Isakson.


He called and asked to speak to the BossMan…who isn’t here…so (are you ready for this?) he gave me his cell phone number and asked that I pass it along. Which I of course did…and then I promptly shredded the sticky I had written it down on because I am all about confidentiality.

I know this must make me sound hopelessly nerdy but I’m just all kinds of impressed right now! Heck, he even asked me how my day was going! And I was all “well, it’s way better now that I’m talking to a freaking State Senator!!!”…but you know…I was a lot more calm, collected and articulate than that. I think I said something like “its fine.”

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Blogger’s Note: LibraryDiva, since you were privy to much of this conversation and the frustrated venting that followed it; I hereby give you permission to ignore the rest of this post. Love, HistoryDiva

Last night my mother and I had a fight over the phone. Well, not so much a fight, more of an over heated discussion at an unusually high volume. Frustrations abound in the world of HistoryDiva and mother, and most of these arise from the lengthy collection of preconceived notions my mother seems to have about myself.

I am a two time college graduate with two liberal arts degrees floating around gathering dust. This stated it is more than fair to assume that I have both an open mind and a well rounded view of reality and the world around me. I am my own person with a vast and varied collection of likes and dislikes; I have my own way to doing things, my own way of handling different situations, and my own set of beliefs. My mother has no respect for any of the aforementioned personal traits. And there’s the rub.

My ‘mistake’ last night was indicating, very innocently might I add because the topic simply came up as part of our conversation which had hitherto been calm, that I do not consider our impending yearly trip to visit my maternal grandparents a ‘vacation.’ I never have. There is nothing about the forthcoming week that will either relaxing or enjoyable. I feel, as I rightly should, that it is my duty to visit my elderly relatives as often as I am able to. They are my grandparents and therefore have a right to my time and presence. I am in no way attempting to martyr myself by making statements like this; I simply see it as the truth.

However, there is a down side to this yearly trip which will forever prevent me from thinking of it in terms of ‘vacation.’

Now, before I continue with this rant allow me to caution you, dear reader, in regards to what I am about to say in relation to my elderly relatives. There are two things about my maternal grandparents you must understand before I go any farther. The first is that I love these two people very much. Just as with the rest of my family I would do anything and everything for them if they asked it of me, down to giving them a kidney in an effort to prolong their lives. My family is the most important thing in the world to me. And second, my grandmother is a very mean person. She comes by this trait quite honestly. Her mother, my great grandmother was, to quote every family member who actually knew her, “a serious bitch.” This comes down to a ‘nature verses nurture’ argument really. It was due to the ‘nurture’ given to my grandmother by her mother that it is now in her ‘nature’ to be a fantastically mean person…but only to the people she loves. Strange how that works, isn’t it?

There is nothing, abso-freaking-lutely nothing, about spending the better part of two days driving almost 650 miles to spend a week sitting in my elderly grandparents un-air-conditioned home listening to my grandmother making snide comments about my weight, my hair cut, my hair color, my clothing choices, my level of education, the college I attended, the job I hold, the friends I have, the life I lead, the place I live, the car I drive, and the fact that I don’t go to church every Sunday like a good Methodist, that is in any way, shape or form RELAXING or ENJOYABLE.

I am able to judge how happy she is to see me by how long it takes her to lean over and ask me the following question: “So…when are you starting your diet?” I swear I could show up having starved myself down to under 100 pounds and she would still say that my new blue t-shirt makes me look ‘a little tubby.’ Never mind the fact that she herself was decidedly overweight for the majority of her adult life, not loosing significant weight until after her open heart surgery in her late seventies. And now that she’s 89 she couldn’t be more pleased about the fact that her weight and her age are the same number.

The most tempting response to the aforementioned question is to lean over, smile gently and whisper: “The day you drop dead.”

But I don’t. I bite my tongue, smile, and attempt to change the subject. We made it all the way to 3:16 PM on Tuesday last year. (She was really happy that I was there.)

What I find the most irritating about this trip is that my mother REFUSES to do anything other than sit in my grandparent’s home and ‘visit.’ And while I wouldn’t go so far as to call Pittsburgh a beautiful city, after all much of the downtown area is actually abandoned at this point, there is still a plethora of things to see and do in and around the city. We could go to museums, visit historical homes, take a walking tour, ANYTHING to not have to sit in that house for an entire week.

But my mother doesn’t see the point in doing things like that. Hell, I’ve never even been to D*sney World (don’t want to have the copy-write people come after me) because she and my father went in the late seventies and she sees no point in going someplace she has already been and didn’t like anyway! (Never mind that this means that I am quite literally the only member of my family who has NEVER been there.) And just for another example, she and my father decided that they would do a ‘second honeymoon’ on their 25th anniversary. They planned to visit Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Cherokee, taking about a week to just travel in the mountains and enjoy the scenery. They came home after only three days because my mother was tired of doing ‘touristy’ things.

And here I thought the entire point of travel was to go new places and see new things…how very wrong I’ve been.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Here, for your reading pleasure, are some of the thoughts that have been floating around in my head so far this week.

Why is it that the glue on the back of an envelope tastes so nasty? Couldn’t envelope manufacturers pick out a pleasant flavor to add to their glue? Something nice like cherry or orange.

Has soap really gotten so expensive that the common man can no longer afford to purchase it? And if the price of soap products really has sky-rocketed then what does it say about my level of income that I’m still able to comfortably afford to purchase these products at whim without damaging my budget?

What is it about me that makes me come across as someone who is both intelligent and willing to help to people whom I have never before encountered? Is it the same trait that apparently makes me appear to know the location of the items that random strangers are looking for in every store on the planet? Is there just something about me that inherently screams “Oooh, oooh, ask me!!”

It’s the glasses, isn’t it?

Why must people eat while on the phone with me? (I am not referring to my friends/family/people I like.)

Standing in line at the post office so that you can mail a 13.5 pound box to Germany is seriously one of the least fun things on the planet. (Love ya, Kati!)

Do you have any idea how bitchy people in line behind you at the post office get when they realize that you are standing in line to mail a 13.5 pound box to Germany and will have to request the ‘special’ customs form because your package is ‘overweight’?

Every phone on property (here at work) stopped working at 8:16 AM this morning. Every single phone. Do you have any idea how inconvenient it is to have no working phones and have visitors show up who need to meet with someone who works on the other side of the plant from you?

Do you know how long it takes to listen to the 34 ‘new’ messages that accumulated in your voicemail box before the phones were returned to working order at 1:36 PM?

Is it wrong that I am in no way looking forward to my ‘vacation’? And is it wrong that all I can focus on when I think about the aforementioned trip is the fact that I’ll be loosing a week’s pay in order to go on this ‘vacation’? Does this make me a ‘bad person’ on some level?

I got another email about the impending class reunion today…and I deleted it without opening it. Does that make me a ‘bad person’ too?

Oh, and this made me laugh.

And just what does that say about me?

Monday, May 12, 2008


Laziest Cat EVER

Spoiled Rotten

Place: Living Room of Diva World Headquarters
Time: Friday Night
Details: SugarBear, our friendly visiting canine, smelled like a sewer.
Solution: BATH

(Photographic evidence of LibraryDiva bathing a dog ruthlessly deleted in an effort to preserve personal PR!)

Result: One ridiculously spoiled dog getting her fur brushed and blown dry.

Comments: Thing One and Thing Two were unimpressed.

“I Claim This Land For Britain.”

I swear I can almost hear Thing One saying “Do you have a flag?”

Blogger’s Note: If you’re an Eddie Izzard fan that was funny. If not…it’s still funny.

“Dance Monkey, Dance!”

Our all time favorite kitten-taunting game.

Thing Two takes the bait instantly…

Not to be out done, Thing One comes to investigate…

The prize is secured…

Kitten fatigue exploited for close ups!!

Wow…my life is just … riveting.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Fifth Monday of the Week

This morning was a hectic one at Diva World Headquarters.

First, some background. As I mentioned several weeks ago, the CD player in my car had decided that the second disk of my new audio book was such a tasty and delicious snack that it refused to give up the goods. Early last week the car went into the shop and after a day of poking, prodding, and computer-like tinkering it was determined that the entire unit would need to be replaced. So the part was ordered and away we went. The part came in this Tuesday afternoon so I called and made an appointment to bring the car in the next morning to have the new radio/CD player installed.

Once the car was returned to me (late Wednesday) I noticed that while the new radio had been install perfectly and would not only recognize CDs but would also return them to me when I asked, not everything was functioning as it should be. Namely all the controls on the steering wheel that control the radio. This would require re-programming which meant…another trip into the shop.

What with one thing and another (and preparing for a trip to the frozen north) yesterday was not an option so the car was headed back to the shop bright and early this morning.

Now last night, according to preexisting arrangements, LibraryDiva set out to meet her parents and retrieve the family dog. SugarBear (that’s the dog) is an adorable, lovable, cuddly mutt. She is mostly white, has the body of a Labrador a very short tail and very short legs. She’s a one of a kind and everybody loves her. SugarBear has no fear, has never met a stranger and snorts like a pig when she is content.

Thing One and Thing Two were noticeably alarmed when SugarBear arrived last night. According to LibraryDiva (cause it was like midnight and I was asleep), Thing Two disappeared under the bed in wide eyed terror while Thing One went into full ‘mongoose’ mode, hopping up and down in an attempt to defend territory. Once the fuzzy punks were separated peace returned and long night’s sleep was had by all. (Except for maybe LibraryDiva who reported that Thing One spent the night wrapped around her head.)

This morning, disgustingly bright and early, I attempted to start my day off on the right foot…only to trip over SugarBear who was lounging in the hallway in front of my bedroom door. After a good morning tummy rub, which brought about a chorus of piggy grunts, I took my shower and then shuffled out to the kitchen to find some breakfast. SugarBear managed to score a piece of bagel.

I managed to make it through the rest of my pre-work routine without too much trouble and was headed out the door at 7:25 AM so that I would have plenty of lead time on day that I knew would be long and complicated. When who should squeeze their way past me but SugarBear, moving as fast as her short little legs would carry her. She tore across the breezeway, down the stairs, through the parking lot and into the woods on the far end of the building. I ran after her, calling her name and hoping that she would actually listen to me.

LibraryDiva appeared a few seconds later, clutching a hoodie over her pajamas and the two of us spent the next fifteen minutes attempting to wrangle one wayward dog that has no fear of roads, strangers, or cars. It was a trying few minutes but SugarBear was finally convinced to jump up into the front seat of LibraryDiva’s SUV.

I made my way through morning traffic (much heavier now that it was 7:40) and had a sinking feeling about the direction my day was taking. My mother was already waiting for me when I arrived at the dealership, a sure sign that I was fantastically late. I turned over the car, hopped into mom’s passenger seat and we headed toward her place of employment. On the way there she nearly rear ended another car.

The good news is: I’m still in one piece. The bad news is: I was over fifteen minutes late to work. *groan* Since then I’ve felt incredibly behind with everything even though I’m actually well ahead of schedule. So here’s hoping that things get better after lunch.

Oh, and for your viewing pleasure, here is a picture of SugarBear and Thing One having a face off in the kitchen this morning at around 9:00 AM. (Thanks for the pic, LibraryDiva!)

The End…or is it?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Random Picture Thursday

Yet Another Link

I’ve added another link to the list and thought I would let you know about it! Cause I’m thoughtful like that.

I give you “Tales from the Liberry,” an entertaining insider’s view of a small town American library which was recommended (funnily enough) by LibraryDiva.

So go check it out. You’ll laugh, you’ll cringe, and you’ll never look at a librarian the same way again.

The End.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A Definition

Cougar (noun)

1. A large wild cat of mountainous regions of the Western Hemisphere, having an unmarked tawny body.

2. An automobile sold under the Mercury brand of the Ford Motor Company’s Lincoln-Mercury Division. Cougar was important to Mercury's image for many years, and advertising often identified its dealers as being "at the sign of the cat." Models holding big cats on leashes were used on Cougar ads in the early 1970s.

3. A 35+ year old female who is on the "hunt" for a much younger, energetic, willing-to-do-anything male. The cougar can frequently be seen in a padded bra, cleavage exposed, propped up against a swanky bar waiting, watching, calculating; gearing up to sink her claws into an innocent young and strapping buck who happens to cross her path.

Today’s lesson has been brought to you by the number 26 and the letter R.