Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Visiting With A Friend, Take Two

I had a blast on Sunday with Paula and Jeffrey, and wish they lived closer (or I had unlimited frequent flier miles, take your pick!). To continue on with that camraderie, I visited with another of my YaYa sisters last night.

I've known Elaine for wow, over five years now. Time flies. She was one of the founding members of the YaYa thread on that board. One of the other members of the group, Beth, was a regular patron of my store and invited me to join it. Join I did. When our vacations overlapped about six months later, Ed and I made plans to meet up with Elaine and Beth at WDW.

Since then, I've been fortunate to either have an overlapping vacation or get a heads up that she was on her way down here. Hanging with Elaine is always fun-I love her very dry wit (in some ways, her humor so mirrors my dad's).

Last night, we walked the Boardwalk, had a lot of fun (calling the hotel we were in the Carp had her laughing), rolled our eyes at the events that have transpired and just had a nice relaxing meal with a friend.

In the next few months, I've got some more visits like these to look forward to, the benefit of living less than an hour from WDW. We may have all met because of the DIS, but we're friends and keep in touch without having that place to congregate.

I love the internet for forging these friendships!

I'd share pictures, but I took not a one.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mario Kart Wii

Once again, Gameboy has succeeded in having multiple versions of a game. For his birthday, we purchased him Mario Kart DS. He plays Mario Kart on the Gamecube all the time. Seriously. He still plays the Gamecube more than the Wii. I think that has to do with the jittery hands he has due to his meds. The Wiimote is not very forgiving of that condition.

We went and picked up the Wii version after dinner tonight. He'd been given birthday money from Mema and AJ (Jane), which was enough for a game. He waffled between that and a Pokemon game, but Mario Kart won out.

Strangely, the child who reads instruction manuals for pleasure didn't bother this time-he dove right into the game because he only had 90 minutes until bedtime. This left Mom to figure out something for him: how he could play as his Mii. I am really showing the decline of age, I cannot read those things without glasses.

I didn't find the answer to that question. Apparently, others have-or they've played it 36 hours non stop and have unlocked all the other characters! People clearly can enter races as their Miis. The game allows you to race (via the Wii's internet accessibility) competitors from among your friends, across the region, nation or world. Most of those who raced against him were racing their Mii's.

I suppose we'll figure it out.

Meanwhile, the salesperson at Game Stop was good (the one we frequent has great staff). He saw me looking at the Wii fit box and started in on me but good. "You should reserve it-the demand is really high." Really? "Yeah, they're saying it will be very hard to get for months, like the systems themselves." Further talking back and forth convinced me to put a few bucks down for it. It looks like I may be able to use the balance pad for two (possibly three) no impact exercise games.

Is it sad that the kid is happy that he can play his new game with the Classic remote, or a sign that he's Old School?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Fans of Call For Help, Rejoice!

Back before G4 was TechTV, it was ZDTV, for Ziff Davis Television. We got that channel back in the days before the changeover and Ed, then I, got hooked on the incomparable Leo LaPorte's shows, Call for Help and The Screen Savers.

Call for Help was his live question and answer program where users could call live and ask tech questions about their computers. Sometimes, it'd be a caller who was overwhelmed by a new computer. Other times, people asking questions about ethernet , pc-mdia cards and how to create firewalls for their new BBSs. Leo handled all those calls with patience and tons of humor, too.

The Screen Savers was a show that featured all sorts of news about computers and the people who used them, kind of like a Today show for the tech world. Leo and his cohost, Kate Botello, held court for an hour each weeknight and educated and informed while making people laugh at their exploits.

As much as we enjoy our Food TV, back in the late 90's, you could find me watching either Tech TV or Food Network. It was intelligent programming.

Heck, a couple of weeks before Monsters Inc came out, Leo did an appearance at a Circuit City in Fairfax, VA. Ed, the boys and I all drove down to meet Leo and have our pictures taken with him. I had to go to work that Sunday afternoon, so I waited to meet Leo in my new CM Monsters Inc shirt. Just a few days before, they'd aired "The Tech of Monsters Inc" on Tech TV, in which they showed HOW those cool effects came to fruition (I'm still amazed by how they created Sully's hair).

When it was our turn, Leo took his time with us, admiring Chef's curls, commenting on Gameboy's huge eyes and telling me he wanted my shirt! We got pictures. In person, he was just so mellow and funny, just like on TV.

Well, Tech TV became G4 and while Ed still watches, I felt that they dumbed down the network. It appeals to sophomoric young males (sorry honey, it does). Soon after they were acquired by G4, the programming was destroyed and many of the shows (and hosts) we'd enjoyed watching were given their pink slips.

Enter the podcasts. Yeah, I know what you're thinking "big deal, a podcast." Well, back then, there weren't many people doing Podcasts. Leo is not the first, but he has one that is a roundup of news from the tech world, This Week in Tech (or TWiT).

Lucky Canadians still got Leo's Call for Help TV show. Good beer AND good tech info? Guess it's a good trade off for being cold, eh?

Anyway, when they started broadcasting TWiT( with many of the great people of Tech TV: Patrick Norton, Kevin Rose, John C. Dvorak, and others), it was produced in Leo's garage and Patrick had to sit on a pillow on the floor.

Many years later, the show is still going strong, and it's like a taste of the old days when I do catch it (Ed listens regularly, I still don't access iTunes enough to download all my casts in my queue).

Leo announced that he's rented a space and created a video production studio in Petaluma, near wine country (they're all in the general vicinity of San Francisco. He's hired a former cheese monger to help run the board. He wants to start broadcasting to the web every Sunday and asked all his cohorts to participate.

The drive is a little far for them, so Leo offered to hire a limo and pick the TWiT gang up and bring them down there. The lure of wine and cheese, without the fear of driving drunk. Fans of the old show-they're going to do it!

(I want them to webcam the limo ride back after taping the shows-that should be hilarious!)

I think it's time I start downloading my podcasts, don't you?

Fresh Starts

Today, I start training. Woohoo. Two weeks of classroom time. Did I ever tell you that I love training? Wait, maybe you have a clue, because that's what I want to do for this company.

I'm impressed. Training was originally scheduled to take place in Orlando. Instead, the location was moved, so that we didn't burn up so much gas each day. When I got that information, I also was told "come hungry, we'll have breakfast every morning." Never had that before! Sweet.

The only thing it changes is my plans for visiting a friend. Originally, WDW would have been on my way home from class. Now, I'll head east after I'm done training one night. This means I don't have to deal with the rush hour traffic, too. Cool.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday

This week, the topic is Mondegreens. What are those? Songs where you hear something other than the lyrics spoken. This was inspired by hearing "Circle of Life" while borrowing Jane's van (and thus, her CD changer).

First up, the song that made me think of it, Circle of Life from the Lion King. Thanks to one of my CM's at the Disney Store, I cannot hear that song without thinking they're singing "Pink Pajamas, Penguins on the bottom" underneath the main melody. Next time you listen, you tell me you DON'T hear that!

Secret Agent Man. Currently, Chase is using the song in their Fraud Protection ads, but when I was a kid, I thought it was "Secret Asian Man". Still sounds that way. Obviously, this singer (in this case, Johnny Rivers) did not have a voice teacher that was a stickler for diction like Mr. Thayer. Back then, I wondered why anyone would have to keep being Asian a secret.

Blinded By the Light, Manfred Mann's Earth Band. (this song has inspired a future SSS, in which I discuss covers that are better than the originals). Part of the confusion here is that the lyrics aren't the most coherent even in the best of hands. I thought the line was "Wrecked up like a dude another runner in the night" What the heck does "wrecked up like a deuce" mean, anyway?

Sometimes, I will hear songs the wrong way and only uncover the real words when I've got a pair of iPod ear buds on and can hear the songs without distraction. Admit it, the same has happened to you, right?

It's always amusing when one is discovered. Why did I think the lyric was the incorrect word? Did it fit in the context of the lyric? Is it because the lyrics make absolutely no sense already? (A la Paul McCartney or Bob Dylan?) Or is it as simple as the first example, someone sang the wrong lyrics and it got permanently imbedded in my brain.

What about you? Care to share any misheard lyrics?

You Can't Take That Away From Me

Thank you, Gershwin Brothers.

One thing that my six years of participating has brought me is friendships. Great friendships, with people who would do anything for you.

This week, I get to see two (three) of the people that I met through my connections to that place. In a few minutes, I head to the Port of Tampa to pick up Paula and her hubby from their cruise. As their flight doesn't leave Tampa until 7pm, we'll do something together. We're finally meeting face to face after numerous phone conversations and even more IMs, thanks to meeting on the YaYa thread.

Then, later this week, I get to met another-one I've met a few times before. Part of my excitement about moving to Florida is that I'd get to meet my friends from time to time. Some may find it strange that I found my friends on a message board, but I think it's cool to find like minded individuals.

So for that reason, I'm getting ready to leave for my day with friends and have that song going through my head.

Some pictures from around the Tampa Bay area, while enjoying the company of Paula and Jeffrey!
Sand Key

Flowers at Sand Key

Bird among the Mangroves at the Florida Aquarium

Invertebrates you could touch. (They felt like stucco)

Cool perspective of one of the huge tanks of fish.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Time to focus on some of the OTHER Google hits

The past week has brought more traffic to the blog in one day than it gets in a typical week. Partly in response to a "Google is your friend" comment.

Anyway, there are other things that get hits on a fairly regular basis, thanks to our friend, Google. Not a lot of them, but heck, I'm about to put stuff up on eBay, so this might help. Might hurt, but what the heck!

In any event, this is almost like having an index at the back of the book. If Google's webcrawler picks these up first, then people can go right to the post in question.


Various hits, in no particular order (and I'm skipping the one that currently gets the most, because I don't want to add more to the search engine!)

** "Rack 'em and Stack 'em. I'd titled a blog entry a while back with this. Growing up within a 90 minute drive of four major (and several minor) airports, you tend to hear that phrase a lot-and know someone who works in the airline industry. I just used the phrase to describe the multiple doctor's visits I had that week.

**Unna Boot, Unna's Boot, Una Boot, Pictures. I think this one is pretty obvious, because I post about My Stupid Leg (trademark pending) quite a bit. However, if you came here to get a picture, you'll find it here. BTW, The ICD9 code is Unna Boot.

**Mike Wazowski costume. I'm not sure when I talked about that, but I get hits looking for it pretty steadily. It IS a cool costume, one that Gameboy wore for only one Halloween. Other than the feet having unusual wearing out because they were HUGE for a little guy, the thing is in great shape. My advice with this costume is to put a towel in the body of it so it really looks like Mike.

It is going on eBay in the next day or so. If you want to skip the middle man, email me with the link found in my profile. (and I'll probably add another post once I've decided what else goes up-who knows what people are looking for?

**Octipos. This entry contained a paragraph Chef Jr wrote at school about how he and I were going to have a show on the Food Network. He mispelled Octipos-apparently, a lot of people do this!

**Aquatica+Pictures. A few weeks ago, three of us visited the park and we were like the others in thinking the Aquatica website just didn't have enough pictures to give us an idea. I posted some of mine-and plan to take a heck of a lot more the next time I visit.

**Steven Banks. Again, I'd found one of my favorite shows of all time on You Tube (in 7 parts) and had to share. As is stated in Steven Banks Home Entertainment Center, "He was the greatest rock and roller of all time. Too bad nobody saw him in his prime"

**JJ Smoothy. I blogged about a business in South Tampa that has huge lettering on their entrance that states "Free WiFi", but I've yet to ever find a signal there. I've even had staffers tell me that they don't have a router. Interestingly enough, after I posted it, some person got mighty defensive on my blog. Sorry, you advertise a service, you provide the service.

That's probably enough indexing for today.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Little Goodbyes

I finished my tenure with my current employer today. The day went as many of the past three months have-skeleton crew. I did have the holy grail-an 8 hour shift.

Quite a few of my coworkers popped in to say goodbye. It definitely warms my heart to know that as much as I will miss them, they cared enough to come in person to say farewell.

I'm excited about the path ahead, but a little wistful about those who won't be joining me...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Webmaster Alex speaks Anonymously

**Please note, this post was written in 2008, over 7 years ago.  This is not current, but remains to detail the DISboards bannings.**

The other day, I wrote of my banning from the Disboards, a site I belonged to for six years. I was banned for participating in another site, as were approximately 35 others. The list will be posted further in this entry.

If you skip this post because it doesn't mean anything except to the participants, I don't mind. This is mainly out there for the hundreds (over 7,500 now!**) of Google searches that have been directed to my blog since the bannings. Lord knows, anytime anyone asks a question on the Disboards, it'll be poofed faster than you can say "delete."

Curiously, I received an anonymous comment that rambled on and on. It rather reminded me of Socrates, my older brother who has delusions of grandeur. When I first read the comment, I thought, "Oh goody, a moderator has come to call me a bully."

Wanna read it? The comment that I didn't publish? Well, here you go:
_________________________________________________________________________________
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Numb":

This would be sad if it was true but unfortunately it isn't. The COS does not work the way you described, it has nothing to do with free speech etc. The truth is the same old thing happend time after time. Someone would start picking on someone on the dis, then they would go over, private message the person and say "look what people are saying about you". They would then come over to the COS and a war would start that often got drug back to the dis. It is simply an excuse to say mean things to people that they would never say to their faces. If it was about free speech why do they keep threatening to ban people? If they just want to comment why not make it a private board? I'll tell you why they tried that once and it wasn't any fun if they couldn't get the dissers to "see" the comments. If you step back and are honest with yourself you will see it's nothing but a home for bullies. Go to any page of the COS it's about nothing but putting people down. Go ahead count the number of posts that are "free and honest" discussion and the number that are hurting someone.
If you post on a site that exists to hurt people how can you expect to not get any backlash?


_________________________________________________________________________________
I don't know about you, but I have a hard time reading things without paragraph breaks. I'm not going to quibble about writing abilities, but I will address several points made in this comment.

I don't agree with most of this post, but hey, that's what happens in this world. As far as banning members of the COS, I can count maybe a dozen in the past two years. Except for three people, it was trolling. Admit it Alex, the trolls that were banned would have been dumped from your site far sooner than Bridget did.

You know, Webmaster Alex, most of the people who are what you classify as 'bullies' don't even post under their real names. You still haven't found Jay, have you? I guess I'm a bully for posting most of the same stuff in both places.

I guess you don't understand that, since you took to sending me a comment anonymously. I freely used the same name in both places. I own up to what I say. I don't hide behind anonymous. Never have, never will. I also learned a long time ago to investigate things on my own, and not take someone's word on what is going on. Especially when that person is posting 'the truth' anonymously as a comment on my blog.

What I find saddest of all is that a few were banned and then reinstated. They begged to be forgiven, and then had to promise not to post on the UnDIS. That is the coward's way of dealing with things, asking for blind adherence to your rules. Anyone emailing the Webmaster without begging forgiveness is fed static.

I'm not asking to be reinstated. I'm not going to even ask for a reason. I know the reason. It's because the bullies run the DISboards. To tell people where they can post and what they can say on other sites? Ridiculous.

For those wondering HOW I know it's Alex, well, his location and IP address showed up on my blog over 60 times in three days. The same location that posted this anonymous comment. I know where he lives, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out. Especially since each one of those hits looked at the Numb entry and then the comments made on it.

So, if you're googling "banned" "undis" "disboards" and are wondering where your friends are, they're probably on this list that Disney PhD has been keeping: (the numbers next to the names indicate how many posts the person had)

1 DisneyPhD- 8,515
2 PoohandWendy- 19,120
3 Poohnatic - 10,200
4 KariC- 3,009
5 Janet2K- 6,978
6 Kejoda- 10,296
7 Katerkat- 7,449
8 Becka- 15,943
9 Kribit- 2,730
10 Thats for Shore (3 times)- 2,509
11 Boomhauer- 6,459
12 WatchinCaptKangaroo- 2,197
13 Mirthmaiden- 2,916
14 Helenabear- 49,902
15 Disneyholic ***(Reinstated) ***
16 dcgrumpy- 6,029
17 suzibrat- 232
18 Kylara- 1,575
19 Miss Jasmine- 19,187
20 Bob Slydell- 11,165
21 Tiggersmom2 - 8,623
22 Kribit husband (not his name)
23 LindsyDunn ***(Reinstated) ***
24 Aidensmom- 10,763
25 Chloe'sMom- 2,456
26 ASFCurly- 7,013
27 jgmklmhem- 2,055
28 CheshireVal- 6,682
29 TiggerPiglet- 3,741
30 Queen Quinnella- 528
31 6 time momma -616
32 beagle744- 632
33 Hixski- 2,029
34 TinkerbellMama- 3,046
35 Nienor- 830
36 Mice Pins- 160
37 coqui Helenabear DH- 629
38 Art Vandalay- 1,409

**These people were banned for questioning why the first round happened and those who decided to go out in a blaze of glory because all their friends were banned.
39 Yasmia (Mmecam)- 1,850
40 Kimmie5870- 605
41 Montana Disney Fan aka Buzz- 5,798
42 Texas Munchkin- 313
43 Eclectics (FreddieFillmore)- 9,967
44 Yearbook50- 3,358
45 DisneyDotty- 2,481
46 Southern4sure- 5,718
47 ShayMaraysMom- 2,282
48 Tiziminchac- 2,815
49 Warden John -31
50 1Prince2Princesses (Robin3P) -8648
51 Sassyat30 -1,426
52 Delswife -1,262
53 Brother 32
54 Scuba Steve (Delswife's hubby) -71
55 Reeeoga- 4,138
56 Jackson66 (muzzbee)- 34
57 kayeandjim00 (AristoKat) - 2,101
58 Kaw1218 13,950
59 aplejax76 -930
60 Darlene9947 (Tink4me) -690
61 Taylorl25 -244
62 Beth76- 14,212
63 Toby'sFriend- 8,372
64 Pam- 14,029
65 The Paint Nazi (invisible posts) -83
66 Missy Mouse (disneynurse) -1,215
67 bjmach-47
68 CinderellaIam- 1,671
69 DakotaLynn- 2,935
70 Crossfamily- 10, 443
71 Nynaeve (Malkierprincess)- 787
72 Junkyard Willy (Jay Santos)- 9
73 2bemarried- 5,113
74 Tag Fairy (Am I There Yet?)- 6,600
75 Mudpuppy- 1,090
76 MitziWitzi- 40
77 Kama89- 10,666
78 BigDaddy101
79 Cass (Bree Hodge) 3,215
80 jaymie_g -49
81 VA32h- 4,673
82 Mickeyfan2- 16,138
83 New Jersey- 11,500
84 Amapola -485
85 Blondy876 - 3155
86 dreamin in pa - 796
87 PoohBearLovinMama -870
88 Mugg Mann -2,504
89 Disney4Drew-5,660
90 DVCScrapper 17
91 LeftCoaster -1,132
92 ToasterWaffle-92
93 Byrd-1,431
94 hundredacrewood -300
95 TCPluto- 2,272 **reinstated**
96 NorgeKathrine -424
97 solferino - 3,661
98 Ally_DeVille -144
99 kdibattista - 7,941
100 Glass Slipper Girl - 768
101 rascalmom -- 2,862
102 luv2crash -- 418
103 strollerpatrolmom - 2,403
104 3crazymice - 144
105 dutch_girl_scout - 1033
106 Passions71203 - 1,900
107 lunabkat -604
108 Imsorry -10,343
109 tink38 -2,295
110 Turbokitty - 2,516
111 Devil_Dog99 725
112 Al and Kate's mom - 2, 269 (10 day ban for asking why she received points.)
113 meandtheguys2 (10 day ban)
114 thop529 - 56
115 Honu -4,999
116 Acklander -1,683
117 RSoxFan - 1,063
118 sydally9367 - 2,936
119 reddixie - 397
120 MUDNURI - 5,021
121 KoalaJanie - 140
122 Nikel - 1459
123 - Disneymom3 - 8521
124 Autumnbaby9 - 1653
125 MareQ - 3912
126 mommylicious - 250
127 grlpwrd - 5,873
128 HollySox -207
129 JennymominRI 12,000
130 madysophiemom - 3,315
131 FSUMARCHIEF -1,199
132 fitswimmer - 11,824 Global ignore, can't post or be seen.
133 hydster -3,800
134 JRJStarman -55
135 CyranoJones - 1,206
136 Virgo10 - 10,062
137 tinaluis -2,932
138 SuBeat -538
139 Aunt Polly - 7,785
140 Daxx -6,586
141 paigevz 27,535
142 Auntiem03 (10 day ban) 2,152
143 sanctus - 364
144 wdw4life (30 day ban) 12,290
145 DisneyfeverTN -1,555
146 PrincessTiff 2,601
147 mugmunster -326
148 Magickndm -3,759
149 Sherbiedoo 11
150 momof3littlelilos 755
151 ladysoliel -776
152 Bichon Barb -5,600
153 Goudaman40 -762
154 lovetomow
155 Dead-metal - 350
156 fan_of_small_world - 2,254
157 salmoneous 6,467
158 Chattyaholic, 5,666
Bangate part 2
June 2008
159 marlynnp, 1,126 (bite me)

Alex, I know it was you. Now the rest of the people searching google for details has the information you keep dumping from your site. In the future, if you have something to say, don't hide behind 'anonymous'. It just makes you look like a coward. You can't ban me for speaking out, because you already did.

What makes you look like a bigger coward? Hiding behind "I can't discuss this", deleting posts, and banning any poster who asks questions regarding the situation. The smart people (smarter than you, anyway) will see that for exactly what it is: desperate measures to cover up YOUR mistake. The more I look around the UnDIS, the more it looks like you banned most of the smart people.

**ETA In August 2015, that number is now over 7,500 hits for various combinations of the following words: banned UnDIS Cos Webmaster Alex Circle of Sarcasm. Thought I'd update the stats, since I'm still getting several dozen hits a week that link to this particular page, written over seven years ago.**

**UPDATE 1/21/09** Back in late December, I mentioned a website that was streaming live webcams from WDW and how enjoyable it was to watch. It was awesome that a couple of people would share in the pleasure of their WDW vacations (Dave) or on jaunts over (Mike) with the rest of the Disney loving world.

Well, apparently, the owner of the DISboards sent them a Cease and Desist letter, stating that "Dislive.com is intended to confuse and misdirect customers seeking their website to this one." A 'few emails' to owner Pete Werner from people 'confused' by the name drove him to this action.

Pete, consider the source of those supposed emails. I didn't even know your email address worked, considering the high number of people who said they've never heard from you, despite many emails. Besides, how is dislive confusing? Do you think that DISney could have the same argument with YOUR website?

As stated on dislive: DisLive does NOT seek to confuse anyone nor was our / my intent to associate to their site disboards.

Those of you googling "Disboards" "Banned" "UnDIS" "Webmaster Alex" and permutations, bookmark Mike's website. I suspect you LOVE Disney and can live vicariously through the streaming they provide free. They're don't have to lie that they aren't affiliated with a 'dreamy' travel agency, because they don't even HAVE a travel agency!****

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Validation

This is the time of year in retail that we management types get our annual reviews. This years was going to be unusual in that my employer has frozen everyone's salaries. Tough times call for cost containment. I was okay with that news, but not the cut in hours.

In any event, getting a review when you know you're not getting a raise despite your efforts is weird. Stranger still, getting your review the last week on the job. This is the second time for me, I think I blogged about the other occasion two years ago. (Back in the days when my friends complained I didn't write enough!)

Anyway, Monday night, my boss and I did my review. On the sales floor. In a half hour. That was a first. Mind you, in that time, we only had one customer walk into the store, so it wasn't like the customers were hearing what was said.

Not that I would have minded. It basically was a valentine to Suzanne. Yes, there are areas where I need improvement. I look as that as creating interest in my work. If you have nothing to work on in bettering yourself, the job would grow very boring.

I did see snippets of things that weren't supposed to be in my review because my boss had cut and pasted portions. That was pretty funny! I think she had to line out about four things when all was said and done. These comments clearly weren't meant for me.

Many times, I felt like my contributions weren't noticed. I was wrong. In the review, I was commended for:
Excellent customer service
Outstanding product knowledge
Great communication with supervisors and associates
Taking initiative
Being a team player
Having a positive outlook
Taking ownership of the markdowns and the customer classes

Basically, when you run down that list, it's the major components of the new job. Pretty neat that I can take out all the things that even my district manager thinks I excel at and write most of my new job's description.

Apparently, my review was the best in the store, with me having several areas where I exceed expectations. (she told me that I was the only one who had any exceeds). My boss got teary eyed several times when she was reading it to me. She's really taking it hard that I'm not going to be there, to take the bad and put a positive spin on it.

The areas where I didn't do as well, I know they are areas to improve upon and own up to it. She said that they know that I was on the medication, and that and the pain itself plays a HUGE factor in how I perform. It's an interesting thing to finally have it acknowledged that I find those things challenging because of my health issues, that I don't perform as well as my peers due to personal limitations.

I almost take away from it that when you put it down in black and white, I DO make a difference. A big one. So, while it was surreal to get a review when my last day is this week, it is empowering to walk out the door knowing that my contributions were noticed.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Because it Wouldn't Be My Blog without Talking about...

My Stupid Leg! (trademark pending)

Longtime readers probably have noticed a strange thing-there have been very few mentions of RSD/CRPS, Venous Stasis Ulcers, Plantar Faciitis and all the other things that go along with the valve incompetency, Factor V Leiden lately. Far be it for me to not mention something positive.

I think I'm turning the corner with this thing. No, it's never going to be normal. I've accepted that. I will live the rest of my life with pain-but I'm learning how to deal with that pain without the need for vicodin every eight hours. Thank God for that-because that crap SUCKS.

Here's a status report on the issues, with a rundown on the improvements:

1. Venous Stasis Ulcers: The open wounds are gone, but the affected area is still road rashy and may be for another year. Once you have the darn things, it's not a case of IF they come back, rather it's a WHEN they come back. It's a bummer, but I've still got two legs to stand on. Through trial and error, we've found that the amazing Oasis heals open wounds quickly. Thank you, Cook Medical!

2. RSD/CRPS: Still a bear to deal with and it is likely it always will be. However, I have found a couple of things in combination have brought it to a level that is tolerable without painkillers (and Joyce, Donna, Jeff, Rich and Giggles know how hight that level actually is). What is working? A compression stocking (40 weight) on the leg almost 24 hours a day. Keeping the road rash (for lack of a better description) extremely moist is also a must.

If I let this thing air dry, within a half hour, I've got the nasty shooting pains that have indicated Vern Troyer came back with his machete and is using my calf for a pin cushion. However, over the past few weeks, the diligence in keeping that stocking on has definitely helped. So what if I looked like a freak at Aquatica recently? I am a freak!

3. Plantar Faciitis: I am unwilling to go under the knife for this one. Some days, it is what will drive me to the vicodin. If this flares bad, it won't go anywhere without it's friend RSD. My podiatrist had recommended icing it four or five times a day and felt the Crocs were making an improvement. Small problem: Ice exacerbates RSD. It was a vicious cycle. I took a leap of faith and decided that maybe, just maybe, treating the Plantar Faciitis would keep the RSD down to a dull roar.

It worked. Well, that and the fact that work finally acquiesced and allowed me to wear the Crocs (despite the three previous doctors notes). Some days, the ice pack sits on the floor of the car on the way to and from work and boy, it helps.

4. Valve Incompetency: See, if I was smart, I'd put a little PayPal widget on my blog with a cute "pay for Suzanne's leg surgery" type banner. I'm not a beggar, though. The issues above all originate from the faulty valve. They won't go away until it's fixed. That requires a trip to Hawaii, to the top doctor doing the surgery.

Insurance will pay for the surgery, but not the airfare or hotel accommodations. I've got to start saving pennies for it and I'm hoping there's a Ronald McDonald house that'll let me bunk there for a couple of weeks. So we are at an impasse, the valve and my psyche.

5. Factor V Leiden: If all the above issues were caused by the valve incompetency, Factor V is what started it all. It's the ticking time bomb of clotting abnormality that could drive me insane if I had the mind to dwell on it. It's what caused that DVT in 1996 (blog about that fateful day coming in oh, about 6 weeks) and three clots. It's what made my belly a pin cushion when I was pregnant with Chef Jr (blog about that experience in July).

I can't do anything about the Factor V, other than taking an asprin a day. That's all I can do. It's a humbling experience to know you have an health issue and you can't do anything to fix it. For now, I'm lucky, but Dr. J has told me another clot and I'm out. This means lifetime Lovenox, Heparin or Coumadin for me. Most people would opt for the pills, but they work too well on me. I'll take the shots, thanks.

That's it, in a nutshell. I may have missed something here or there, though. It's a lot of problems for a short stubby leg, but it's MY leg (said in that same overly possessive voice Kate uses on Jon and Kate plus 8).

Yes, it hurts. It always will. Yes, I may seem crabby sometimes because of it. However, I'm not going to let it rule my life-just a small portion of my blog.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The new cure for social anxiety!

This had me laughing out loud! It's too good not to share!



I have to add this, there will be NO Rickrolling on my blog. I'll let the other 3,099,307 people do that on their blogs!

Don't Judge A Book by Its Cover

This blog topic has been waiting in the wings since Thursday's interviews. However, I knew I needed to do the story of Gameboy's arrival in this world, the recap of my job interview and Soundtrack Sunday, so I figured that it would wait until Monday. Little did I know that it would hold more importance to me.

In life, we all endure people passing judgment on our abilities before they know the facts. Some examples, mostly from the retail sector:

Working at Montgomery Ward, I was the quasi manager of the small electronics area. I call it that, because there was a Divisional Merchandise Manager who oversaw Appliances, TV/Stereo and Small Electronics. Within those three areas, there was someone who handled the work that in any other department of the store was the responsibility of a manager. We were commissioned, so we really didn't care-it gave us busy work in the slow hours throughout the week.

Anyway, I was the top dog in my department. This was 1989, and the era of 8088 home computers that had 20 megabite hard drives, MS DOS 3.3 and a home computer that set you back 1200 to 1500 bucks(for cpu, vga monitor and 24 pin dot matrix printer). Even at a retailer like MW, who had a lowest price guarantee.

It was my mission to learn everything I could about those computers, because to sell one meant I'd earn 6% commission. Not bad money. It was one of those jobs where I was 'the answer lady' (those who have worked with me are nodding their heads knowingly right now). The type A in me does not rest until I've conquered the product.

One day, I'm in my department. It's a weekday and it's just me and Dan. Dan was fresh out of high school and looked out of place in his suit and tie. He was tidying the department and I was doing whatever administrative paperwork the powers that be had bestowed on me that day. A man in his late 50's/early 60's walks up to the camera display cases and pounds his hand on the counter. "I want your best MAN to sell me a computer."

I cheerfully say to him "I'm the computer specialist, sir."

"NO, I want your best MAN to come here and sell me a computer." Uh, okay. Realizing that there was no getting through that thick skull, I call Dan over and point him towards the man and state simply "Dan, he wants you to sell him a computer."

Dan looked at me, confused. "Dan, he wants our best man to sell him a computer today." Dan says "But Suzanne, you're the expert~" and I stop him with a "No, no, help this man."

They go over to our display of computers (two brands, four models-all wired and set up by yours truly in computer desks assembled by yours truly). The questions start:
Customer: What's the speed of this processor?
Dan: Uh, Suzanne, what's the processor in the Headstart?
Me: That's a 286, Dan.
Customer: What's the dot pitch on this monitor?
Dan: Suzanne, what's the dot pitch on this monitor?
Me: That would be a VGA Monitor with a .28 dot pitch, Dan.
(I am amused at this point. Dan, on the other hand, is feeling mighty uncomfortable)
Customer: How big is the hard drive?
Dan: Suzanne...
Me: (not even looking up from my paperwork) It's a 20 meg hard drive and comes with XYZ software.

And so it went, Dan increasingly looking like a guy in need of a life raft, the customer stony faced and me, bemused by it all. The customer finally decided that he wanted the Headstart and off Dan goes to the stockroom to make sure we have the computer in stock.

The customer decides to come up to the register to wait for Dan's return. Meanwhile, I'm standing right there, paperwork spread out across the counter. I look up, smile brightly and say to him "Aren't you glad you got the best MAN to help you today?" He grunts at me and waits for Dan to return.

We had the computer, Dan rings his purchase and the guy walks away in search of Merchandise Pick Up. I comment to Dan "That was pretty funny, don't you think?"
Dan's response was priceless "Oh, you got the last laugh, Suzanne, because I rang that sale under your number. After all, you did all the work."

A few years later, I was a manager at Babbage's. At that time, I'd been playing on the Internet (Prodigy, AOL and a few BB's) for four years and was well versed in what modems do. We had two tiers of modems, with a forty dollar difference between the cheap ones and the good ones.

The reason for the disparity was a UART chip. That little chip allowed people to view GUIs* fluidly. If you use AOL (and at that time, it was the new kid on the block), you needed that UART chip, otherwise, your modem would 'hang' in the middle of loading the "Welcome" screen. (Steve Case would say "welcome" but not let you in the house of AOL if you bought the cheapy modem.)

Me being me, type A product knowledge geek, I would ask people what they planned to do with this modem, while they saw a 49 dollar modem in among all the 90 to 149 models. "Uh, go on AOL". Yeah, you can't use that 49 dollar modem. Over time, I earned a reputation with the coworkers-send all modem questions to Suzanne. She can explain them to the customers. Meanwhile, I was the girl telling them to buy the expensive modem.

Only problem was, I was the one female in the sea of men. There were more than a few customers who didn't take me seriously. They'd buy the cheap one because they didn't believe me, then return it a few days later because what I said would happen DID happen. It became a joke that after three or four returns in a row, I'd go in the back to let out a primal scream and say "just because I've got boobs doesn't mean I don't havea brain!" The guys would laugh. Heck it was easy for them, because the book people saw was one they expected to know about peripherals! (meanwhile, I was the only one who could explain the jumper settings in the store!)

Even the guys I worked with judged the book by its cover. By nature of the job, I dressed pretty conservatively. Mom and Dad both schooled me well on not talking politics or religion on the job, so much so that I'd keep my mouth shut, even when the political conversations that ran rampant were counter to my beliefs.

One day, three coworkers were talking (Jeff, if I say Sam, Brian and Tim-it becomes crystal clear, right?) about some political commentator and before I knew it, I'd thrown out a zinger that made it clear that my views ran completely opposite to theirs.

They were aghast. You're one of THEM? The sarcastic monster took hold of my tongue as I said "well, we don't all have horns and tails!" Over the next few months, it was the source of much interest for them-the first time they realized the spent a lot of time with someone who had diametrically opposed views. The contents of this book ran counter to what they were seeing on the outside. Thankfully, they realized that you could be smart and have an opposing political view.

What makes this timely, I guess, is that banning. I've been painted with a broad brush-if you post on the UnDIS, you're a threat to the DISboards. Never mind that I'd never been a problem on the DIS and I wasn't a troublemaker on either site.

The contents of the book that is me is a fairly nice person who occasionally has fits of sarcasm and snarkiness. I think most people I know are the same. But like the library who bans books, the DISboards have looked at me and others on that other site and figured they should do the same to us.

Like my work experiences, I just have to pity the small mind that judges the book by the cover.

*GUIs - Graphical User Interface. It's the pretty layouts you see (like here on my blog) when you visit websites.
*UART - Don't make me get all technical on your butts. Basically, it's a chip that converts the graphic data sent by websites into the pretty pictures you see. If you want more info, Wikipedia has a great explanation that techies will understand. :)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday

The post I made earlier today fulfilled my Blog365 obligation. As a result, I was going to skip SSS today. However, even though I've done the 180 something consecutive post, the inner Mary Poppins told me I needed to have a Spoonful of Sugar and talk about songs that make me happy.

What makes me happy? Why, Disney songs, of course! I vividly can retell the memory of my first Disney movie: Pinnocchio at the Lynbrook theatre, 1969. I made my Dad take me out of the theatre as soon as Monstro appeared on the screen because I was terrified. However, one song stuck in my head "I've Got No Strings" and I'd sing it a lot.

In third grade, a schoolwide musical production cemented my favorite character and movie. We performed Mary Poppins. I'd auditioned without singing, but Marjory Loonin asked me to go up with her to sing because she was too shy to do it alone. That earned me a place in the chorus. I got to sing "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" and "Let's Go Fly A Kite." One of the sixth graders played Mary (fitting, as it was her name, too) and her performance of "Feed the Birds" sent shivers down my spine. (It's still my favorite song from the show)

Over the years, more things Disney came along that stuck in my personal soundtrack. In 1984, Dad, Giggles and I went to Walt Disney World. It was the year of Donald's 50th birthday and we enjoyed the parade celebrating this milestone. As is typical, I can STILL sing you this song:
Happy Birthday,
It's Donald's Birthday
Happy Birthday, Donald to you
YAY DONALD!

In 1980, the Tron soundtrack (so loved by Gameboy) registered on my radar, thanks to all the synthesizers.

When I began working at the Disney stores, finally, there were many like minded fans of the music of Disney. (Ed was, too, but he and I were but a small segment of the population.) A coworker, once she realized I was 'one of them' and not some retail weirdo that just happened to come work there because it was a job, made me a tape of her favorite show at WDW. Tina traveled the parks multiple times a year.

That tape? IllumiNations. To this day, it ranks as my all time favorite Disney music. When I had a cell phone that you could program ring tones into, I figured out the "Celebration" portion of it and made that my default ring. It is so ingrained in my head that when I get to view that fireworks show (easily my favorite), I can sync my photos perfectly to get the best shots. If I'm in a bad mood, 14 minutes of this will pick me up.

Also while working the store, we could only play Disney music after hours. I became a huge fan of the Legacy of Song box set and the Classic Disney Discs. Apparently, my favorites still jog coworkers memories years later-because they heard so much of two discs in particular. FTR, Legacy of Song disc two and Classic Disney, volume 2 were the ones the store owned that I played. My personal collection has a couple that made their way into the store, Classic Disney 4 and IllumiNations.

Tell me you can listen to Kirk Douglas singing "Whale of a Tail" from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and not get into it? Or the Ugly Bug Ball? Or Red Yellow Blue Blue Blue? Even our store manager, not known for being 'into' Disney, got so hooked on IllumiNations that I had to get her a copy for her home. That my friends, is magic happening!

Once the CDs get unpacked, it's time to crack some of them out. They certainly chase the blues away.

Numb

I think it's pretty clear that I love Disney. There's Mickey shaped DNA in my body (along with all that weird stuff). A fellow coworker, when I started working for the Disney Stores, suggested that I join the DISboards. As I'd been pretty active in some other Disney fan sites, I didn't follow her lead for a couple of years.

In 2002, I finally jumped in. I started hanging out on the Cast Member board, because DUH, I was a Cast Member. I found the DISabilities board, which made sense for my medical woes and Gameboy's newly diagnosed issues. The Budget Board was great for information on saving money for those twice a year treks to the House of Mouse.

One day at work, sometime in 2003, a fellow CM and I were working in the store one night when she came to me and excitedly said "Those two ladies are DISers!". Beth and Von were regulars of a 'clique thread' and had chosen our store to meet face to face while Von was visiting Northern Virginia. They'd asked the other CM to take their picture, and we all started talking about the DIS.

We were invited to come meet up with them on that thread (which wasn't cliquish at all). The other CM popped in and said hi-I stuck around. In the five or so years, those women (and a few guys) became my family in the computer. I've met several, had an online baby shower for one, been consoled by them when Mom and Nancy passed and just had a big happy family to talk to about everything and nothing.

Along the way, the information I gained, the friendships I made and the pixie dust shared was immeasurable. Ed can attest that there have been very few days where I didn't spend some of my time on 'the DIS'.

At some point, I got a link to a site that was dubbed "the UnDIS", a site where you could speak a little more freely. When I first got there, instead of talking about 'pixie dust', it was 'pixie poop' and 'freakin fizzies'. To a NYer like me, it was as real as it could get.

I appreciated the candor and honesty on the UnDIS, but wasn't as big a poster as on the DIS. The DIS would coddle some weird/stupid/crazy people, but the UnDIS would not suffer the fools. It was the place to go to get the poop on what dumb thing was going on at the DIS.

Well, in a stunning display of brilliance a couple of days ago, the powers that be at the DISboards decided that they'd ban hyperlinks that came from Yuku pages (the UnDIS's host). Then, today, someone registered as a new member at the DIS to question WHY they did it. I cut and pasted it at the UnDIS, because one thing was certain-it'd be deleted (or 'poofed') at the DIS. Posts that did not agree with the owner's views tended to disappear, and those who did the posting got banned, too.

I went to work, I came home and went to the UnDIS, as is my habit. There were over 1000 users on there! The normal compliment is about 15-20, with it spiking to 100 whenever something interesting was going on. Apparently, the Webmaster inadvertently goofed and redirected people over to the UnDIS. We found it funny, and the owner of the UnDIS found the membership drive great. She thanked them for it in a sticky post.

Then the word started coming in...people who posted on the UnDIS were getting banned. At first, it looked like it was if they'd gone to the DIS from the UnDIS. Then, those who hadn't were getting banned, too. Next thing I know, I went to the DIS and found that I'd been banned.

I'm a call it as I see it person, but its rare that I'm mean-and honestly, I've never bashed the powers that be at the DIS. I was banned merely because I participate in frank and honest discussion on the UnDIS.

The hard part for me will be that I won't be hanging out with my sisters and 'bothers' anymore. I think that several members of the group are probably banned, too. All because we believe that sometimes, you've got to have a laugh and let off steam.

Guess I've got more time for blogging, since I won't be back at the DISboards. (and I'll be going over to InterCOT, Laughing Place, Mouseplanet, and about a half dozen other sites that provide the same camraderie for Disney fans.)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I'd Like to Thank the Academy...

In the time without a router at home, I was shirking my reading. I had lovely, lovely blogs bookmarked on my laptop, but couldn't access them on Ed's machine. In the past few days, I've been making the rounds and catching up on a month of reading per blog.

Imagine my surprise when I go over to Underpaid Princess's and find this waiting for me:



How cool is that? I enjoy reading her blog, because I understand the venting she does. She's also got a great sense of humor. Heck, I started my blog to vent my frustrations and keep in touch with a handful of you. Who knew that a couple of years later, I'd get a nice award from a bloggy friend and have a lot more of you along for the ride?

Thanks!

Oh, I'm supposed to tag some of you. Trust me, this isn't easy-there's a wealth of distinctive blogs out there, but I'll say:

Wandering Saffa Chick
(who should be home from her honeymoon and telling us about married life by now!)
Functional Schmunctional (Grandy is so good at making me laugh)
Imaginary Binky (Sarah is the sister that Giggles and I should have had, lol. She's so funny and smart and has the world's cutest baby boy)
Mandyland (I go through serious Mandy withdrawal when she travels-I need sarcasm! Oh and her pop culture stuff so I look like I know about the cool shows.)
Daysgoby (Jessica, I love seeing those great pictures!)
The Mommy Project (yet another fantastic photographer! Just look at those happy girls in the masthead!)

Off I go to share the news, then back to Underpaid Princess's blog to catch up some more!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Just As I Predicted

I told of Job A, Job B and Job C. I had interviews yesterday (for ease of those who know the particulars, Job D and Job H, formerly Job A and Job B).

The first interview was really panel interviews with Job D. Technically, I've had one before, but not a true panel. This time, I met with two different panels with three people on each. I felt it went very well. For the first time ever, I got the same reverential tone used for "What was it like working for Disney?", but for "What was it like working for [meal prep place]?" Too funny. I also showed them Clumsy Suzanne by spilling the water they gave me all over my right hand before going into the second panel. I skipped shaking hands and told them why-it was a good icebreaker, but kids, don't try this at home-leave it to the professionals!

After completing the two panels, the facilitator informed me I'd hear back in two weeks to find out if I was a 'bench', which means when we have a position, you'll have the job. It could be two weeks, two months, a year-but when there is one, you get it. Not exactly what I wanted to hear.

There was a gap between the interviews, and I wanted to avoid the rumbly tumbly that appeared just before I arrived to interview, so I went to lunch. I remembered that my boss had given me a Bennigan's $10 gift card. We're not enamored of Bennigan's here (menu is too limited for our liking), but I figured an almost free lunch would be a good thing. I sat and killed time before making a 20 minute drive to Target right by the interview site.

I was given an address for this location, not the name of the building for Job H. I ended up in an industrial park at Job H's distribution warehouse for Florida. Cool, I had no idea that they'd built the warehouse over here with no stores in the immediate vicinity (yet).

The interviewer was very pleasant, explaining that I would have reported to her, but she's been promoted. From the sounds of it, because they are in a growth pattern, there's been quite a few of those lately! We went over the usual interview type stuff. The more I heard, the more it sounded like the job was tailor made for me. Training, new hire orientations, creating product info sheets for staff, etc.

She asked if I had any questions, and I pulled out my list o'questions. (25 of them, to be exact) How is training done? What's a typical week? (days sound very different) What would I do during a store visit? How long am I on location for a new store opening? Once I got through the list and interview, she complimented me on the list, because most people don't even ask questions.

This company hires everyone in as Sales Associates to prove their abilities. I'd go through two weeks of training, like everyone else. My interviewer offered me the job, but asked that I start on the 28th to be in HER training class. She wants everyone in Florida trained the same way. As a result, she wants me to be in her class, not the one run by someone else.

I accepted the position and the 11 day notice thing. I don't want to wait a month for her next class.

I am excited, I am nervous, I'm going to sweat the two weeks that I'm making about 100 bucks less than I've been taking home lately. However, the numbers we talked about the Sales Associate role is much more than what I've been making.

What's cool is that I finally get to wear all those nice (colorful) tailored blouses I bought two years ago in preparation for switching jobs. What's not is that pretty soon, I'll have to go find several nice suits to wear.

What I wore to the interview was perfect, but the department store I got it from was gobbled up by Macy's and this private house label is gone. Any ideas where I can find some Kate Hepburn type crepe pants and jackets? That fit a petite? I'm going to need them!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

April 17, 1996

Last month, Lotus had a Birthing carnival on her blog. On the day in question, I was just not up to writing two birth stories. I decided I'd share them later on. What better day to share a birthing story than on the anniversary of it occuring?

April 17, 1996 dawned a perfect Maryland spring day. We were two weeks from God turning on the heat full blast, as always happened the first week of May. I was on day three of my enforced maternity leave and had an appointment with my midwife at 11am. Based on LMP, I was due April 8th, (but I know the child was conceived on CD4*, so that was WRONG) and by their calculations, I was 9 days over.

At this point, I still was scheduled to have my child at the practice's birthing center, attached to the back of their offices. It was like a luxurious bed and breakfast. You were attended to by the midwife and could labor in whatever manner you were most comfortable.

My visit was more of the usual. My midwife decided I needed to have a meal, come back in three hours and have a non stress test. Problem was, I had a cold and wasn't very hungry. I got a biscuit from Roy Rogers. In retrospect, that probably didn't put enough sugar in my body to jump start my baby. (If I got a do over, I would change that to a strawberry shortcake instead!)

At 2pm, I was strapped into the barcalounger type chair and some monitors were put all over my belly. Forty five minutes later, Marge was back and shanking her head. "Suzanne, you've failed the non stress test and can't deliver at the birthing center. I'm going to strip your membranes and send you over to the hospital." She added, "You're having that baby today."

Ed was carry our friend Aaron's cell phone and was driving into DC on the way to work when I called him from the OB's office. He later said it was the weirdest thing to be driving and the phone rang (remember, 1996, not many people had cell phones). He turned around and drove up to Frederick. (We'd just moved down to Laurel, almost an hour away.)

Membranes stripped, I drove over to the hospital. Meanwhile, I detoured on my way to labor and delivery and placed calls to Mom and Ed's Mom.

Checking in was a breeze, since I'd submitted paperwork to the hospital at 34 weeks that I thought we'd never use (birthing center, remember). I met some nice nurses at L&D and was told that they were setting me up for a Biophysical Profile, since my baby was overdue and failed the non stress test.

Biophysical Profile is a fancy name for a more comprehensive sonogram. I was taken by a gurney downstairs to radiology and waited. And waited some more. Finally, after being bored to tears for almost an hour, the tech came out and wheeled me into the room, apologizing for the delay-she'd been very busy that afternoon.

Meanwhile, Ed had just gotten to Labor and Delivery, where he was met by midwife Terri. He was told that I would probably be having a c section, but I had no clue at this point! I was getting that very detailed sonogram.

The technician was nice, asking me if I knew the gender before she'd even put the goo on me! She was good about turning the screen away so that I'd still be surprised-I'd gotten 41.5 weeks without knowing. She commented that I grew them big-that my little one was nearly 10 pounds. (She pretty much nailed it-he was 9lbs 11oz)

Once my scan was done, back up to L&D I went. I got to see Terri and we talked about the game plan. I would be given pitocin and we'd see what happened. Unfortunately, she wanted to monitor the baby's vitals, so I was stuck in bed. So much for the laboring comfortably part! I endured three hours of back labor, being a whiny pain in the butt to Ed the whole time, especially when I had to pee and they wouldn't let me get out of bed to use the toilet!

At 9pm, after three hours of those contractions, and what I was later told was a HUGE amount of pitocin, I was only 3 centimeters dilated. I only moved up 1 centimeter in three hours of assistance. Terri started talking about having a C section to me. This is what good practitioners do-they give the hubby the scoop, so he's prepared, then wait until the laboring mother sees the writing on the wall by herself!

So, at 9pm, the decision was made that I'd have the C section. I had to endure another hour of the pitocin before the OB and the OR was ready for me. My OB practice had four midwifes and four OBs. I'd met all the midwifes, but none of the OBs-Terri had to call Dr. L in.

At 10pm, the nurses walked me down to L&D. Apparently, I was the first laboring mom who had ever walked into the OR! I sat down on the table and was met by the anesthesiologist. Terri had me put my head on her shoulder while the nice man numbed me up nicely. (I don't really go into it, but my midwives were AWESOME with both pregnancies).

A few moments later, Dr. L walks in and introduces himself. In all the time I'd been going to the practice, I'd never met the doctors, only the midwives. He's quite chipper and excited to get this show on the road. I can understand that!

They set up the blue drapes and stick IVs into me, then once everything is all set up, Ed is ushered in, dressed head to toe in blue surgical wear: scrubs, hat, mask and booties.

After all of that buildup, and the three hours of my back KILLING me, the surgery itself was a breeze. Within 5 minutes of Ed being ushered in, we heard wailing and Dr. L announcing "Suzanne, you have a baby boy." Wow, a boy! He made his entrance at 10:19 pm. Apgars were 9 and 9 and then 9 and 10.

They swaddled my son (known here as Gameboy) and presented him to me and Ed. Ed had tears in his eyes as he told me that Gameboy looked just like his dad. All I know is that I had a BIG baby. He was 9 11, 21 inches long and had a 15 inch head. (There was no way he was coming out the normal way, that's for sure!)

Gameboy was ushered off to the nursery, Ed followed, and they patched up Humpty Dumpty. Word to the wise, though-if you have a late night C section and you are fair skinned, you will be sent to the regular recovery rooms and spend way too much time there.

I got to my room at 12:15am and called my mom to tell her the news-only to find my sister Legacy had already called the hospital and gleaned the information already. Nice one, take the joy of sharing my news away from me!

Our friend Aaron (a coworker) was there waiting for Gameboy's arrival, too. Aaron took great pleasure in asking me how many weeks I was, going back and reading the corresponding week in "Your Pregnancy Week by Week", them coming out and announcing stuff like "Your baby is as big as a grapefruit!". He was rather excited to be there to see Gameboy show up in the nursery.

I finally got to hold Gameboy on the 18th, a little after midnight and investigate those huge cheeks, dimpled arms and monkee toes. Twelve years later, he's got the cheeks, but he's not the bruiser he was when he came into the world.

After five days in the hospital, we went home to enjoy life as a family, our little family of three. Let the crazy sleep patterns begin.

Happy Birthday, Gameboy! Enjoy your last year as a pre teen!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Down Side of Being Up Front

Due to the reason for the job search, I told my boss I was interviewing for jobs. She wasn't happy, but understood that I had to do this.

Last night at work, we had two managers and no other employees. The normal complement would be two or three employees, a stock person and a manager-this is how soft our business has been lately. So, two people-instead of four.

Today, I was put through the third degree why a couple of things weren't done. Things that you could not do AND help the customers (like spend an hour in the stock room putting stuff away). We also provide a wedding gift registry and April is a HUGE month for this segment of our business. We provide complimentary gift wrap for those purchases and guess who had to wrap them all. (Seriously, it feels like Christmas at work with all the gifts I'm wrapping)

Of course, it didn't matter that we still got a lot of things done on the sales floor. the other things weren't. Instead of asking questions, my boss threw out the comment "I'm wondering if you're slacking off because you know you're leaving."

She didn't understand why I was furious and got upset. I was busting my butt last night (and again this morning), but that wasn't recognized (except by a different manager later on in the day).

Ugh. I tried to be nice and give them the heads up, because that's what I'd want if I was the boss. Instead, it's going to be thrown in my face until I do leave.

I'm thankful for those two interviews tomorrow. If I'm lucky, I'll only hear that crap for a couple of weeks. Then, they'll be reminded all too quick what they've forgotten. While I was on disability, they all noticed how much I actually get done because I wasn't there to do it. However, this time, I won't be coming back.

Cross your fingers. Interviews at 11:30 and 3:00. :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Not One, But Two...

interviews on Thursday. The corporate trainer for another area will be interviewing me at 3pm. This was added to the interview already scheduled with Company A on Thursday.

It's all going according to the usual routine...

Blogging from the laptop

Woohoo, the new router is up and running and I am sitting comfortably at the couch. Yay! According to Ed, the replacement router was a breeze to set up.

My Stupid Leg prefers this method of web surfing. Ed prefers this method, too, because it means he has his computer back.

For me, it means I get to chat with my buddies on AOL/Yahoo again. I feel so out of the loop.

Oh, and the new router means we can catch up on all those polls on the Wii...

Me Me Me Meeeeeeee

Thanks to Mandy, I'm borrowing this one today. Thanks!

ONE WORD ANSWERS, ONLY, if you're planning on stealing this one, too:
You're Feeling: peckish
To Your Left: table
On Your Mind: snack
You Sometimes Find it Hard To: rest
The Weather: windy
Something You Have a Collection of: Toppers (Antenna, but that's two words)
A Smell that Cheers You Up: coffee
A Smell that Can Ruin Your Mood: smoke
How Long Since You Last Shaved: hours (but it'll be weeks before I have to again)
The Current State of Your Hair: bushy
The Largest Item On Your Desk/
Workspace Right Now (besides computer): lamp
Your Skill with Chopsticks: clumsy
Which Section You Head to First In the Bookstore: educational
and After That?: romance
Something You're Craving: chocolate
Your General Thoughts On the Presidential Race: bored
How Many Times You've Been Hospitalized this Year: 0
A Favorite Place to Go for Quiet Time: library
You've Always Secretly Thought You'd Be a Good: teacher
Something that Freaks You Out a Little: anaphalaxis
Something You've Eaten Too Much of Lately: fast food
You Have Never: skied
You Never Want To: stagnate

Monday, April 14, 2008

More Pictures From Saturday

While we were waiting to visit Aquatica, we killed some time window shopping at Downtown Disney. I had fun taking pictures at the World of Disney and Lego stores. Heck, I had fun taking pictures before we got there. So, for a Monday giggle, take a look at these:

Goofing off while Ed pumps gas:


Trying on hats. He tried on LOTS of hats:


Wearing his Alter Ego:


Having fun with the close up:


Pretty pink Legos. Guess they wanted to have ALL kids coveting more bricks that hurt parent's feet:


Guess these won't be retreads someday:


Chef would take handfuls of these and say "I'm rich!":


Ooooh, wouldn't these look great on a Toa:


Bright orange, just the thing for Indy to be trying to find:


Hope you enjoyed!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday

I just got an email from Wee World that chose my topic for me. It said that I should come choose my prom wear. Uhh, that ship sailed YEARS ago. So, with that in mind, the topic is PROM SONGS! :)

Mine was "I'll Be There" by the Jackson 5. No, I am not THAT old. The silly cheerleaders who were on the prom committee had a serious thing for Michael Jackson (this was the era of "Thriller" and the early days of MTV), so they went for prepubescent Michael. You know, about the age boy he's attracted to now.

As a prom song, this really bites. It's a lame song. Mariah Carey covered it years later and it was still lame.

The year I graduated, 1984, we had some decent songs to choose from. In fact, 4 years later, Giggle's class chose a song from 1984, Alphaville's "Forever Young". Much more appropriate and catchy.

I think that what makes it worse is that my then boyfriend wouldn't go, and I went with a friend. Yes, I went with a friend. Not even a straight friend-though I didn't know that at the time. I'd probably regret it if I hadn't gone, but geez, it did not live up to the hype. I should have had a clue when they chose a wimpy, LAME song!

What about you? Did you go to your prom? Was your prom song decent? Would you be embarrassed to show your prom picture today? Do you hear your prom song and cringe?

(Hmmm, wonder what kind of hits I'll get from this entry, lol!)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Aquatica

We finally made it over to Aquatica, Sea World's new waterpark.

The day started when my alarm went off at 7am, which I promptly shut off. Then the phone rang at 8am and we slowly got in gear. The park was scheduled to open at 10am, so we figured if we got there by 11am, we'd be fine. WRONG! If you're going, plan on being there at park opening.

We arrived to traffic signs everywhere that said the park is full, visit Sea World next door. They also said the park would reopen at 3pm.

All three of us were disappointed, but we drove over to Downtown Disney and looked around at World of Disney and the Lego store before Chef Jr. complained of hunger. We walked into the Earl of Sandwich and saw a line that was nearly as long as a queue for an e ticket ride. Out to Crossroads and one of the restaurants there. We were seated immediately and had food in less than 10 minutes. (and I think we still would have been waiting to order at Earl's)

At 3pm, we were on International Drive, hoping that we'd make it in and waiting in the right hand turn lane that brings you into the park. It did-but they allowed the other lanes from the opposite side of I Drive and from the cross street in first, since they'd impede more traffic than us. After a few minutes wait, we were turning into the park. Yay.


We were all set to flash our APs (Gold Passports equal free parking), but the booths were empty. There was plenty of parking, so I think I'm pretty safe in saying that if the park reaches capacity, then you should shoot for returning at 3pm, as it appears to be a set time. If you want to maximize your day, you need to be there BEFORE the planned park opening time (either 9am or 10am). Guests who have purchased their tickets online get to enter the park an hour early. Judging by the lines at the self serve kiosks, a lot of people have been doing just that.

We'd upgraded our Gold Passports (for a pittance, you can add it to a Busch Gardens/Sea World passport), and were having trouble with those self serve kiosks, so we went to Guest Relations-and waited in line with many others who seemed to have the same problem (ours would scan, but the passes wouldn't show up!) Before 3:30, we were in the park and ready to go.

There are lockers to rent: 8 bucks a day for a small or 10 bucks a day for large, which is the perfect size to fit an average backpack. You get three dollars back as a gift card when you return the key. We rented, and that was the only money we actually spent in the park!

I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I expected to, because I wanted to enjoy the park. Next time, I think I'll take some more pictures-the ones here (except for a few) are taken after the park closed.

Pretty Macaws, seen outside the changing rooms:


The first ride we got to enjoy was Loggerhead Lane, seen here:

The entry to the Commerson's Dolphin viewing area-you WILL get wet on this attraction! :)

It confused us a bit, because we saw a sign, and then a path to the right of a zero entry pool that appeared to be an exit (and you saw people standing with those rafts to climb Tassie's Twisters in such a way that it appeared they'd entered from the back) It ends up you enter the attraction through the zero entry pool, grab a single or double raft and the current carries you around the loop.

Riders can exit to begin queueing for Tassie's Twisters, which is a giant slide (that looks like a colorful toilet bowl) or continue onward around the circuit. The current is pretty swift and keeps you moving in those rafts. There are two turnoffs, and the first time, we allowed the current to take us to view the Commerson's Dolphin tank-but we didn't see the dolphins.

Soon after we'd passed the Commerson's tank, we noticed another area that had branched off to a tank that had tropical fish. Basically, there's a large outer loop and then an inner loop. The dolphins are on the outer, and the fish on the inner. There are waterfalls at the entrances to the 'grottoes' where you view the animals and jets around the ride, so if you go on this (or any ride) thinking you'll stay in the raft and stay dry, you won't.

After several loops around, we decided to keep walking and find another ride. We saw people on another water ride that looked like they were all being carried by the current-we HAD to try it. Roa's Rapids is a white water river ride. Chef grabbed a life vest, but I think we all should have-they enhance the ride, IMO. This was another zero entry attraction. I think it works better on rides where you're not using a raft, though.

Chef acted as if he was flying as the current carried us around the very large river. Ed decided one circuit was enough, and Chef and I continued on. I noticed that if I was by the walls (attractively themed to look like a rocky waterfront), I could pass the jets that cause the current and be pushed downstream much more rapidly.

This ride has two exits, which we didn't realize at first. We told Ed we'd come back and got off at the first exit we saw-and I realized quickly it wasn't the one we'd use to enter the ride. Five minutes later, we were back at our entrance and Ed grabbed Chef to get him off the river.

Across from us was the sandy beach front and wave pools, with chaise lounges everywhere. Chef had been champing at the bit to do the waves from the moment he laid eyes on them (while we were waiting for Ed to come out of the dressing room when we first arrived). Big Surf Shores has two wave pools and we started out in the right hand one because we saw the countdown clock announcing the start of some waves. Gnarly, dude!

It was pretty cool-the wave action starts much quicker than the wave pools I remember from 20 years ago. However, when the wave session ended, Ed and I both were sure there were bigger waves in the other pool, so we switched. We walked in and found the pool is deeper and had a nice drop off, indicative of good wave creation. So, if you want big wave, go to the left. Wimpy waves to the right.

Ten minutes later, the next wave cycle began and wow, we had some pretty high waves. Chef has really impressed me, he taught himself to swim last summer when he spied this park being built while riding the Sky Tower at Sea World. He was bound and determined that he was going to enjoy this place, and my gosh, the kid has amazing form. Swim team type form, even. He held his own in those monster waves, kept swiming in Roa's Rapids and never tired out.

By the clock when the wave cycle ended (about 4 minutes on, 10 minutes off), we had 15 minutes before the park closed and we had Whanau Way in front of us. It was yet another slide where people went up a tower with double rafts (yellow this time) and chose one of four slides to go down.

Five stories up carrying the raft (oof!), no waiting, and Chef chose the Yellow slide. It was pretty fast and very cool! He was rather impressed, and as we looked up the tower, there still was no line. Again? But of course!

This time, we went down one of the blue tubes. The blue tubes are enclosed nearly the whole way down, except for one hole that has water dripping down. Claustrophobics should go for the yellow or pink. The blue tubes also give you some air time when you get to the bottom.

We did have enough time for a third trip, but I didn't really feel like carrying that raft up those stairs again. We went back to the lockers and got our stuff to get dressed. What's neat is that the park has showers that are stocked with cleaning products, but the line on the ladie's side was easily 20 deep-I just changed. Ed and Chef showered.

One of the rides we didn't get to try was the Dolphin Drop, seen here:


A view of the tower, sans the lines it had all afternoon:


The ride looks pretty neat, you go down the tubes and some of the tubes are clear, which exposes you to the Commerson's dolphins swimming happily. See?



The tube behind the Commerson's dolphin is what riders go through on their way down:


The Commerson's Dolphins are very playful and very cute. At first, we thought we were looking at Orca whales, because of their markings. There were four in the tank, but only one was mugging for the people watching over at the viewing area.


I imagine that if we'd gotten in at 10 or 11am, we would have experienced all the park has to offer. That said, we were quite happy with the time we did have. Somehow, I suspect we'll be playing hooky one weekday to get over here before school lets out. There's enough for a rookie swimmer like Gameboy to enjoy with the rest of the family.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Quick Updates

Interview with company A on Thursday. Gameboy's birthday. I'm hoping that birthday karma will factor in. Company C bowed out, but there are other things to apply for to add to the mix.

We still haven't gotten a phone call to come get our kid, so I'm assuming the camping trip is going well.

Payday. Ugh. 60 hours equals too little money. Even if I didn't spend a dime from this one and the next one (another 60 hours) I don't have enough to pay just the bills. More month than money really sucks. Know anyone who wants to buy a kidney? Mine are in pretty good shape...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Adventures of Job Searching...

Howdy, my job search is doing what it always does. This is what happens:

1. Suzanne decides it's time to find a new job or sees an ad for something she REALLY wants to do.
2. Suzanne applies for the job. (job A)
3. Suzanne doesn't hear back about the job (but in this situation, has a contact at corporate)
4. After a month, Suzanne decides to go troll the waters for other fish.
5. Suzanne starts applying for other jobs (job B); sometimes interviews are conducted.
6. Interviews go well, very well.
7. When Suzanne doesn't want to get her hopes up about the job just interviewed, she hears back from the job she thought wouldn't happen.


This is what will happen next, based on my past:
1. Suzanne has interviewed for job B, sent her resume directly to the person responsible at job A and emailed back the person she contacted on a lark at a third company (where she said she's looking for a corporate trainer position) and the recruiter wants a resume ASAP. (job C)
2. Suzanne will be hurried into interview at job A, get a call for a second interview at job B and get a call to interview at job C.
3. Suzanne will receive two offers and have to decide.

Shall I send out some more inquiries and resumes to make this happen the way I'd like?

This seems to be the case whenever I've set my mind to finding a new job. Always.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Too Funny Not to Share

Sarah over at Imaginary Binky shared this a while back. I was waiting to spread the laughter, and well, this week has been full of heavy stuff. Here's something to lighten the mood.

Now, Poop on them, Oliver!

One Kid Lighter

As of a few hours ago, we are the parents of one child. Until Sunday, that is. :)

Gameboy is off on his first camping trip as a Boy Scout. If all goes well, he will have completed his Tenderfoot and worked on items to achieve his Scout First Class and Scout Second Class.

Over the years, we've heard of respite care. "You should apply for it?" The question is where? I haven't a clue where to begin. The Boy Scouts to the rescue! He'll have tons of fun and get worn out, make some tremendous strides (as he seems to do after camping).

Until Sunday, we won't have battles over bedtime, brushing teeth, taking clothes off, putting clean clothes on, what we're having for dinner, that he hasn't had enough game time, etcetera, etcetera.

I think we all can use the down time every once in a while. He's probably so excited that he won't have Mom or Dad telling him to do all the things he HATES doing, lol!

In two years, we get to send TWO Boy Scouts off on those camping trips. What a concept.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Not Exactly What I Thought Would Happen...

If you asked me what my dream job would be in retail, without question, it would be to become a corporate trainer. I love working in retail, always have. My favorite things are personnel and ops. Selling comes natural to me, but I love sharing my knowledge.

Ed pointed me to a retailer doing interviews locally. I went down to interview and met the management team. I was told that they don't hire people in as managers, that they have to work their way up. Understandable, but not exactly what I wanted to hear. I figured that I'd fill out the online application in house and talk to them. What could it hurt?

While doing that, I got to hear two other women being interviewed. Both were store managers for retailers locally. I heard the old chestnut questions that many companies use: "What is your biggest strength? Greatest weakness? How do you get many things done in a short amount of time?" I was a little surprised, because I find that many companies now use situational interviewing. No biggie, though.

It was my turn. The general manager and I start talking and he asks me where I see myself in five years. I tell him and the next thing I know, I'm not having a very formal interview. We talk casually about a role that is my dream in this business, that of corporate trainer. Seems this retailer needs them for the south and my resume and experience fit in with what they're looking for.

I'm not getting my hopes up, but gosh, if it does pan out, it'd be awesome. The only sucky part is that it will involve considerable travel. What do I do if Ed gets a job that doesn't play nicely with me traveling?

I guess we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. The higher ups that I need to meet with will be in town the end of next week. They require a lot of background checks, so I'm hoping that the recent foreclosure doesn't kill my prospects. If I get the call to meet with these people, I'd say my chances are really good.

Have I paid enough of a karma bill lately to get the interview?

Monday, April 07, 2008

Not looking a gift horse in the mouth

Once again, payroll is being cut at work. This week's schedule had me with 38 hours, but now it's down to 30 and the possibility exists that it will go down more. Ugh.

However, I earned a day off tomorrow in the efforts to trim payroll. Saves me three gallons of gas and it will give me the chance to look for a job over here in Lakeland. I've got to do something, because the possibility exists that those hours are going to be hovering around 30 each week for a while.

Much as the White House likes to pretend, we are in a recession. People are NOT buying. The first places that feel it are the businesses that sell the stuff people want, rather than need. My employer definitely sells the 'want' products.

Cross your fingers for me, and for Ed...

The One-Two Punch

The leg woke me up. Itchy and annoying.

The other problem is what's keeping me from going back to sleep.

Argh.

(And I apologize for totally bailing on Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday. It'll be back next week.)

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Walk a Mile in My Shoes...

I had to say what I did the past couple of days. It needed to be in blue and white, because many of those things had been spoken over and over and weren't sinking in. They are now.

That said, anyone who has a problem with it being in print-put yourself in my shoes. If you were busting your ass while dealing with a health issue and worrying that you don't have rent money, with the situation I've got, would you do what I did?

If you don't like what I have to say, lose the link. I am serious. No one is forcing anyone to read what I'm writing. I have always been an open book, and that's not going to change. Don't read it if you're bothered by what I say.

Yes, I am crabby. I've got a new emerging health issue that probably needs medical intervention. I did some more research beyond the triage that Nurse Giggles provided before. She's going to be a damn fine nurse when she goes into practice, because I think she nailed what's bugging me damn good. Lucky me, in that she's good. Unlucky me because this hurts, even with the vicodin.

On the other front, we've had a serious conversation-one that may not have occurred if I didn't put it in the blue and white. As I said, sometimes, things need to be in print before they sink in.