Monday, July 30, 2007

Bye Bye Black…berry

Last winter I walked out to the car one brisk morning and noticed my razor phone in the snow by my car door. Clearly it must’ve fallen out the day before and spent the night in the sub-freezing temperatures. To my surprise, once the car heated up, it functioned…most of the time. Those of you who regularly speak to me via cell phone have come to realize that the razor suffered some mild brain damage - it completely shuts off for no reason every once in a while. I didn’t bother to do anything about it, it was a minor annoyance.

About a month ago the razor suffered another minor blip in functionality – an error message, “invalid battery”. The invalid battery message could not be explained, but I remedied it by removing the battery and then inserting it again. I was very proud of myself for this technical wizardry. However, last weekend, the razor suffered yet another flaw, one of the screws fell out, leaving the top precariously hanging from the bottom. Then to make matters worse, the "invalid battery" message reappeared, leaving me no choice but to report it to my local IT helpdesk.

I went through the process of explaining the decline in functionality in a lengthy e-mail to our local site IT guys only to receive a message back from them saying, “Is it company-issued?”

Duh. I guess desktop folks must get a lot of weird requests, but I’m not so stupid that I would report problems with personal equipment to my company’s desktop support people. "Yes".

Long story short, they didn’t have a record of me having a phone and they said it would be easier to just issue me a Blackberry. Initially I declined, but the desktop guy told me that it would cost the same and that the new handhelds were quite compact, then he sold me on the benefits of having all of my Outlook contacts at a finger’s touch. I reluctantly agreed to the Blackberry on a trial basis and later on that day I was checking my e-mail from my new phone. Less than 24 hours later I decided to take a dramatic stand against technology by abruptly ending my trial period as I packed away the Blackberry into its original box (the components and manuals had never been unpacked) and set it on my kitchen counter, determined never to use it ever again.

The Blackberry didn’t do anything wrong per say, I just don’t want it. I don’t want to learn how to type on a little bity keypad, I don’t want to have non-stop access to my work e-mail (okay, maybe there is a little part of me that does), I don’t want to converse with a mini-computer up to my ear, but mainly I really don’t want to learn how to use it. I feel like my brain is at capacity. It’s like I might have to unlearn something that I already know in order to squeeze in all the tips & tricks (actual name of one of the manuals that came with it) of using the Blackberry.

So now I feel like I’m an old person. You know, the ones that are “afraid of technology”. For the record though, I’m not afraid of it, I am just uninterested in it. So today I called IT and asked them to fix my Razor.
Bye Bye Blackberry.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Apprentice - Maine

Last summer I purchased a grandfather clock as sort of a memorial for my dad. I had wanted one for a while, but hadn't come across the right one. Then one day I was browsing one of the local stores and there it was, on display - it was perfect. I bought it right away and soon enough it was delivered and set up in our living room.

Over the winter the clock suddenly stopped chiming. We lived with it for a while, then just before the warranty expired, I decided to call for service. The company sent a Howard Miller representative out to assess the situation. He deemed it in need of repair and informed me that a local clock repair rep would contact me shortly.

Today I got a message from "Fred". When I returned Fred's call, he was not home, but I left a message with his wife, who had a thick Maine accent. "Nope, Fred just went up to the nursin' home to visit his mothahhh, he'll be home shortly, Dear, can he call you back?"

When Fred called back, we had an interesting exchange:

Fred: "Mrs. Mooreh, This is Fred, the clock repairman. I just wanted to let you know that I got a message from Howard Miller that your clock needed repair. I don't know when I can be out to fix it, but I just wanted to let you know that I got the message".

me: (slightly confused) "Umm, well do you think you could give me some kind of time frame, like do you think within a month or so?"

Fred: "I don't know Dear, I've got about 40 calls ahead of you and I go on vacation the last two weeks in August, I hope I can get to you before then, but I don't know"

me: (trying to make light of the situation) "Well I guess it's good to be busy"

Fred: "No, it's not. I'm 72 years old and I wouldn't care if I never fixed another clock".

me: (silent, eyebrows raised, mind searching for the proper response)

Fred: "I guess I'm the only one around here that fixes 'em, it'd be good for someone else to get into it - the right person"

me: "yeah, I guess it would". "Okay then, enjoy your evening, and if I don't see you by mid-August, then enjoy your vacation"

Fred: "Have a good night"

Click.


Yes, this is Maine. Apparently Fred is in dire need of an apprentice. If you know of anyone who is handy with tools and is not committed to customer service, please contact "Fred". Listen, the man is 72 years old - he's reached the life expectancy for males in this country, this person should also be a quick learner.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Parenting 101 ....Dirt Style

Dirt took Avery and Amelle fishing early yesterday morning. Later that day he shared with me a clever little parenting technique.

As many of you know, Dirt smokes. However, the children are not privy to this habit. In order for him to engage in his habit, the area has to be free from children. This can get tricky when he takes the kids fishing. However, the old adage applies, "where there's a will, there's a way"...


Dirt cleverly developed a scavenger hunt game for the kids while the rods were plunked in the sand. He would send them into the nearby woods - "Who can bring back a rock as large as their fist?" ...then the kids would run off and Dirt would light up. A few minutes later the kids would gleefully appear with the rock and the cigarette would go down by Dirt's side, out of site. "What next!?", they'd ask. Dirt would quickly think of the next thing, "Who can bring back a stick as long as their arm?", and the kids would run off again. The kids were having a blast and couldn't wait to get the next assignment from Dirt. The game would get progressively more challenging, as Dirt needed to indulge in his habit, "Who can bring back the thighbone of a Tyrannosaurus Rex?"....


Good stuff.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

It was only a matter of time...

Much as I predicted in an earlier post, boat-talk has happened. The boys wasted more time than I care to blog about traipsing around the New England seacoast looking at boats today, thus commencing Phase I of "the obsession". Here are the remaining phases:

Phase II: Impulse-control. This is where the boys frantically try to conduct life, while controlling their impulse to buy the first thing that looks good to them. The trick during this phase is to balance the hours of Internet research while being productive enough in their commission based jobs to earn enough money to justify the expenditure.


Phase III: The Purchase. This occurs when they buy the "thing that they are currently obsessing about". Notice how early Phase III occurs and note that Phase III is not the final phase in the process.


Phase IV: Buyers remorse. This is when they question whether or not they should've spent that much money on a man-toy.


Phase V: Rationalization. At this stage, they feel they must rationalize the purchase by using it as much as possible. The beauty is, that they are awarded bonus rationalization points with the more kids they can involve.


Phase VI: Accessory Obsession. This phase occurs once they have recovered from Phase IV and are ready to further invest in said item. During this phase, they begin to obsess over parts, accessories, and equipment for the item purchased. Note: this phase can only commence once they have successfully completed Phase V.

Phase VII: Next! This phase occurs when they move on to the next thing.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Clearing Dirt

So Dirt got his haircut this weekend. Getting a haircut is a big deal for Dirt because he is very particular about the people who cut his hair. He literally commutes an hour to Massachusetts to get his hair coiffed. ...yes, this is the same man who cares not about appearances. ...and yes, this is the same man, who's hair grows in so fast that even if he were to get a bad haircut from a local barber, it would be grown in by 5pm the following day.

My husband literally loves his barber. He's a Christian, so Dirt feels spiritually uplifted by the whole haircutting experience. The funny thing about Dirt's barber is that he takes some creative liberties when he "shapes up" Dirt's beard. This weekend, Dirt came home with this little (and I do mean little) number:


Dirt: "I let him do what he wants with the beard, I know I'm just going to shave it off when I get home, but he thinks he's hooking me up...[pause]...he obviously doesn't know me very well".



I was laughing so hard, I made him pose for these shots. Within 15 minutes of arriving home, he had shaved this mess off of his face. The true beauty of the whole thing is how Dirt won't let the local barbers even attempt to trim his hair (which consists of running a #2 blade evenly over his entire head), yet he lets his Massachusetts barber get metrosexual with the beard.

My final gripe: My husband pays his barber for this. The haircut is one expense and the beard trim is another. So instead of shaving before he goes to the barbershop so that he can 1) avoid an unsightly beard-do 2) avoid the extra expense of the beard trim, and 3) get out of the shop faster, since there is already a full 2-hours worth of commuting time involved, he just goes and lets his barber have his way with his beard.

This is the man I love.


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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Working From Home

Yesterday I had an atypically long day at work and arrived home after the kids were asleep so today I thought that I'd work from "home". Early in the day it looked like I was going to be on teleconferences for most of the day, and at the last minute I had a couple of calls fall off my calendar which opened up a nice 3 hour window in the middle of the day. It was so beautiful out that I thought I'd take the kids to the beach, where I could use my broadband connection and work from the beach while the kids played.

Our mission was successful, we were only there for an hour, and I didn't miss a beat at work. I think we all returned home a little more refreshed (I'm hoping my pink arms fade by tomorrow!). Here's the view from my "office window" today:



The kids actually played well together, I didn't hear one peep out of them (except for random giggles) the entire time:



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Monday, July 09, 2007

4am

On Sunday, the boys took the kids fishing....at 4AM!




Amelle never ceases to amaze me. She was playing with the bait all morning - the fish parts (yes, you can tell the "Dads" were in charge, evident by the 6 year old being left alone with a knife). At one point Shaun asked her for a piece of fish (bait) and she responded, "Do you want the face or the tail part?"
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Sunday, July 08, 2007

Meet Dirt:

"Dirt" is actually my husband. From now on, you will no longer hear me refer to the man I love by his "birth name", Jermaine, or otherwise affectionately known as "Jerms". I have renamed him, and the name I have selected, is one that embodies his true essence, "Dirt".
Dirt is the perfect name for my significant other for many reasons. First and most obvious is because he makes Pig Pen look like Mr. Clean. My husband was never on the brink of becoming a metro-sexual, I think he's always viewed personal hygiene as sort of a necessary evil. Now that he's working from home, with nearly every reason for bathing and grooming taken away, he struggles with keeping up on his daily grooming activities. Let's just say that some days I see him coming, some days I smell him coming, and on other days, I hear him coming as his overgrown toenails click against the wood floors.
Here is Dirt in his favorite place (the garage of course), messing with his fishing rod.

This is Dirt's look of pure pleasure.

Here's Dirt, again with his fishing rod in the early AM hours. Dirt's idea of getting a haircut is putting a hat on.

Here is Dirt again, notice how his beard has no beginning and no end. If you look closely, it's actually impossible to tell where the line ends between Dirt's chest hair and his eyebrows - it's one continuous growth of hair.
As the bible says, "the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." - Genesis 2:7
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Friday, July 06, 2007

2.5 Inches Off




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I'm Late...Happy 4th of July!

Happy July 4th. Here is the 4-picture photo journal of our Independence Day - 2007:

We celebrated Jack's 6th birthday. Wendy made a special dog-cake for the occasion. Jack got freaked out about being able to sit up at the "people table" and wanted nothing to do with the party, the cake, his special guest Hunter, or his gifts.



The parents devised a plan to ambush the children with water balloons. We had the kids line up to watch a fireworks thing that Shaun was lighting. Meanwhile, Wendy, Jerms, and I loaded up with water balloons and as the fireworks crackled, we began to bomb the kids!! Fair - no. Fun - yes.





Then there was the driveway display of firecrackers. I hate fireworks, so I shall refrain from speaking of them further, as not to drag the post down. Maybe the photo shall speak for me:


Then there were the "Redneck Olympics". You know you've married a redneck when....you find your husband casting fishing rods into a small plastic pool in the yard. They are ridiculous.
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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Observations From The Field

I hate listening to the radio, PARTICUARLY morning shows. Wait, I have to add a qualifier, I love good talk radio – (Micheal Medved – yes, I’m proud to be a “med head” –though living in the sticks has made it impossible to catch him without downloading the shows onto my ipod.)

Anyway, I took the ipod out of the car a few weeks ago in hopes of getting some new stuff uploaded on (burn the new Maroon 5 CD to it, add some new Medved shows, add some Joe Focht), but I never got around to asking Jerms to do it for me, so the ipod sits on his desk (I’m hoping via this blog, that those things will get added to it today, except for the Maroon 5 CD, which is still in the car – wait, is this blog turning into a "honey do e-mail" to Jerms?)

Okay, so where was I – oh yeah, I was rationalizing why I’ve been forced to listen to morning radio and I wanted to share my observations:

1) Top 3 words to describe morning radio DJs: obnoxious, dumb, egotistical.
2) I’d rather listen to commercials than morning DJ banter.
3) The only thing I dislike more than the DJs themselves is people who "follow them" and put them at some sort of celebrity status. Write a book - then we'll talk.
4) I know more about Britney Spears and Paris Hilton than I ever want to know – would you believe that they give a full report on these two women daily? “…she was seen at the beach in Malibu yesterday wearing a white suit – she looked good” (you’ve got to be kidding me?!?! – I turn to commercial here).
5) The seacoast traffic report is the best part of the show, everyday: “…the commute looks good today, 101 westbound clear, 95 northbound clear, 95 southbound clear, traffic moving right along on route 1 North and Southbound”. This cracks me up – the traffic guy talks real slow and relaxed. In Philadelphia – not so much… they talk so fast that I could never even hear them announce my route - even when I really concentrated to try to hear it – and the words “backed up”, “jammed solid” and “plugged up” were often heard to describe the traffic situation. …not to say that the seacoast doesn’t get “jammed up” – it can on Friday and Sunday evenings – but not on my commute.

That's all I have to say about that.

Monday, July 02, 2007

I’m My Own Worst Enemy

Okay, so funny story. You may’ve noticed that I had set up the blog as “invite only” yesterday. Here’s the skinny…

So I check the sitemeter regularly to ensure that I don’t have a blog stalker. It’s a safety precaution; I just want to make sure that everything’s on the up and up. And for the most part, the people who visit make sense. They’re friends, acquaintances, or people that link over from one of my friends blogs. No one spends a crazy amount of time on the blog, people just sort of checking in and stuff – the normal.

So a few weeks ago I started noticing a Los Angeles person checking. It was someone from Loyola Law School. The problem is, I don’t know anyone in CA and they came directly to my blog, they weren’t linking in from a friend, or even googling something weird that I’d blogged about. They were coming right to me and sometimes they’d stay for a while. They were clicking on my pictures and once, they even had the audacity to click on my sitemeter! I started double-checking the locks on the windows at night as I thought of the Loyola Law School Slayer coming to Maine to get me for my conservative views and my outspoken passion for sandcastles, woobies, and Jesus.

I couldn’t talk to Jerms about it as he has no compassion for my blog paranoia. “Send out a newsletter if you don’t want people you don’t know to read it”, he’d quip. “It’s not that”, I’d explain, “Loyola checks too often, and he (I had assigned a gender to it) spends too much time on (some visits were over 25 minutes long!), plus I’m not entertaining enough for people who don’t know me to read”.

Nancy gave me the great idea to set my site up as sign-in only, which I did. So this morning, from work, I checked in to see if I could log in and see the blog. I then curiously clicked on the site meter to see who else had accepted the exclusive invite and logged on. To my surprise, Loyola Law School was on again! To my even bigger surprise, Loyola Law School was me! Don’t ask me how, don’t ask me why. Apparently my network at work somehow links to LA, and the reason why Loyola spends so much time on is because I’d check the blog and then get busy doing something else and then end up closing out of the internet 25 minutes later.

I can only laugh at myself.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

8 People, 4 Hours, 1 Ocean, 0 Fish

The only upside to waking up at 6am:



Mom enjoys being at the sea with Amelle... (where is the life vest?!?!)



My mom describes Amelle as a natural mariner; she cared very little about the fishing aspect, she enjoyed being at the helm of the boat ("I'm the Queen of the world!"):



Ariel perfects the art of sleep fishing:

As the title suggests, there were no fish caught on this deep sea adventure. As a side note, it deserves mention that Jermaine went out solo fishing last night and caught himself a little something (2-foot-ish Striped Bass). I'll post the picture once I get my hands on it. However, this doesn't make up for the fact that when he came home at midnight, he tracked beach sand all over my house. I walked out of my bedroom this morning and thought the stepped onto the beach.
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