Christmas Package

When you have a family member in the Navy and want them to know how much you care:

Ryan Pkg

Our Thanksgiving Dinner

For the record, I did tell everyone:  I am not a good cook during the year so you should not expect anything different on Thanksgiving Day.  My husband was in charge of smoking the ham.  And I was in charge of everything else.

We have the exact same holiday dinner menu for both Thanksgiving and Christmas:

Ham, Mashed Potatoes and gravy, dressing, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, homemade mac and cheese, dinner rolls and apple pie.  The same. Every year.

Except this year, my husband INSISTED on using fresh green beans for the green bean casserole. I told him no, my kids told him no – but we didn’t win.  So we had fresh green beans. I got to hear Christina complain for the entire 30 minutes it took her to cut them up.  And yes, I totally agreed with her that opening up two cans of Del Monte Green Beans would have been so much easier. The problem is that my husband assumed way too much.  So we just took the freshly cut green beans and mixed them with the rest of the stuff and stuck it in the oven for 30 minutes.  Which resulted in a green bean casserole with hard, uncooked beans.  I will reiterate that I said it was a bad idea.  (and my son insisted on a do over the next day).  Even though I now know we are supposed to COOK the green beans first I am not doing that again.

The mashed potatoes were gummy.  My son didn’t know what gummy really meant until he put the spoon in the potatoes and the whole thing literally came out of the bowl. Now he has a real life experience of what gummy potatoes are. (For the record, this is one of two times per year that I actually peel real potatoes).

I usually use Stove Top Stuffing.  This year someone at work raved about how good Kroger brand dressing was.  So I made my poor husband scout the store for 3 hours until he found some frozen cornbread stuffing. I should have read the instructions in advance. I know Stove Top is done in 5 minutes; had no idea the frozen kind took over an hour.  Which meant it was ready to eat 45 minutes after we finished eating our meal.

Have to remember that when you put the marshmallows on top of the sweet potatoes and put the oven on Broil – you need to keep an eye on it the whole time.  Not a good idea to do that and then walk away.  I knew this – I was just so upset that my damn green beans were raw that I was distracted.

The gravy from a jar and dinner rolls from Sara Lee were perfect.  And Marie Callender made a great apple pie, as usual.

The ham was great and even the pets had some for their dinner.  It did make everyone pretty thirsty.  Abbey had to wait for Boca to finish drinking.  I did tell Boca to hurry but he just looked at me and still took his sweet time. Abbey just patiently waited and waited and kept looking at me to do something. She should know by now that even I am scared of the cat.

Abbey water

5 Short Stories

My daughter moved out again.  I am excited for her.  I went to clean her bathroom after she left and when I turned on the shower to rinse it, all the water came crashing down on my head.  Yep, she took her shower head with her.  First of all, I have to ask if that is included in the “I’m taking all my stuff with me” and second of all, I am damn impressed that she took it off and put it in her apartment bathroom all by herself.  Now I know why she asked to borrow a wrench.

And then there is “the mop issue.”  Seems there is an argument over who has to purchase a mop for the apartment.  My daughter feels like her roommate should buy it since she has supplied the vacuum.  (And of course, the vacuum came from our house since we had an extra one).  A few issues here:

  • The area in their apartment is so tiny it would literally take her less than five minutes to hand mop it using a wet towel.
  • We have a mop and I graciously offered to let her have it.  Except it wasn’t THE MOP that was needed.  Evidently a self wringing mop isn’t going to work.  They want the auto squirt and disposable pad type mop.  Yeah, they can work this one out on their own.
  • My husband is going to get so tired of hearing about this mop issue that if she waits him out, he is going to go out and buy her one.  Unfortunately this is something my daughter knows as well.

You know, I didn’t think I would miss buying her stuff so much.

 

I literally had a Fried Green Tomatoes moment the other day. I was waiting and waiting for a parking spot with my blinker on and then this stupid car cut me off and turned right in front of me and stole my VFR (family abbreviation for Very Front Row). I was so pissed. Luckily I had a package of marshmallows with me so I opened them and threw them all over her car.  Yeah, I’m not proud but dammit I know I have better insurance.FGT Car

We have now reached a point where we have to purchase special hot dogs for Casey in order to get him to take his seizure medicine twice per day.  And we had to get a pill splitter to make them REALLY TINY so he doesn’t taste them.  If he can tell there is a pill in his food, he spits it out on the floor.  I know he is 16 years old and blind and deaf but damn is this getting to be high maintenance!  Not to mention that my husband and I argue about how long to heat the hot dog up in the microwave.

Stuck in an Elevator

My husband got stuck in an elevator this weekend.  And boy was he pissed.  It all started around 3:30 am when he was done playing black jack and coming up to our room in the casino.  As usual, I had quit hours earlier after losing my $40 in the penny slot machines (that now require a minimum .30 cents bet.  I would argue that it isn’t officially a “penny slot machine” because I would damn sure bet a lot less than that if I had the option but that is just me bitching).

All was well as he got into the elevator and pushed our floor.  When he reached it, the elevator stopped.  But the door would not open. At all.  After waiting a reasonable amount of time, my husband said he tried pushing all the buttons, he even pushed the emergency call button.  Which resulted in a very loud blast of ringing noises that could only be heard inside the elevator.  He then tried to McGyver his way out using a plastic wet floor sign, hotel door key and a credit card.  To no avail.

At this point he was getting pretty pissed.  Being the considerate husband that he is, he used his cell phone to try and call the front desk instead of me.  At first he did not get any service and then when he did no one answered. So then he did finally call me and yelled that he was “stuck in the fucking elevator for 30 minutes and I needed to call someone.”

I was sound asleep when he called (I feel like I should get kudos for answering, right?) but I did immediately call the front desk and informed them that my husband was stuck in the elevator.  And I got the response of: “Oh my goodness!  We’ll send someone right up!” I tried to call my husband back but it went to voicemail so I just texted him “they are sending someone.”  Pretty obvious this wasn’t the first time this had happened.

Then I hear pounding from the hall. Now, our room was about 10-12 rooms down the hall from the elevator so I am thinking if I can hear that, surely someone closer to the elevator would have heard as well and investigated, right?  I guess not.

So now here is my dilemma, should I get up and go down to the elevator?  This is a legit question but the barrier was that I was in my pajamas.  The bigger question was: Did I want to put on a bra?  Because there simply isn’t an option of not wearing one. While contemplating that, I heard a walkie talkie conversation in the hall and sighed in relief that I could climb back into bed.

Then I thought that was rather mean, since my husband had just experienced a rather traumatic event so I should at least stay up and pretend to be supportive and I promised myself I would not say “Well, that’s what you get for staying out until 4 am.”

I heard noise down the hall which consisted mostly of my husband saying the fuck word over and over again.  As the fucks became louder and closer to the hotel room, I went over and opened the door.

Yeah, pissed was a major understatement.  I swear I wanted to laugh because come on, getting stuck in an elevator in a rinky dink casino at 4 am would be a humor bloggers dream.  If it were me, I probably would have just curled up and gone to sleep. Except what would I do if I had to pee? And this would be the perfect test to see how much your spouse really cares.  I mean, you would definitely know based on how long it would take before they started looking for you, right?  Except it would suck for me because I don’t usually get up on weekends before 10 am.

At any rate, I provided the normal supportive consolidation and totally agreed with him that if we had heard the elevator bell going off and kicking noises, we definitely would have left the room to investigate.  Well, he would have; I would still have the whole bra issue to deal with.

 

The Joys of Supervision

I have been supervising staff for a number of years.  Call me weird, but I enjoy it. Usually after a few years, I can look back and see that it is all good and we are better.   If not, I would feel like a failure.  And this is especially hard when you work for the state.  Any state. Because they all make supervising very difficult. Not impossible. But very difficult.

I loved the time that I had an employee tell me that I was “out to get her.”  First of all, I was flattered, but if I was out to get anyone, it would take a boat load of work and unless I have gobs of time on my hands (which a supervisor/manager usually does not) and a really, really bad employee, well, I am just not going to go there.  Because it takes soooooo much time. And Effort.  And documentation.  Besides, I believe I have perfected the “Expectation Theory” where I make the expectations quite high and (gasp) actually expect the employee to meet them.  For some reason, they usually quit after a period of time.

My favorite story is about one state employee that really had me challenged.  After three years I still could not make any progress on discipline.  As soon as I gave them a bad review, I was called on an EEOC complaint.  When I questioned FMLA, HR told me to back off.  A counseling session ended with a grievance filed against me. But I didn’t give up.  I mean, I have been a supervisor for a long time.  I knew the game. So the next fiscal year I just wrote their position out of the budget.

Another time I had an employee who had some real issues and behavior unbecoming of any employee.  I called them into my office, told them very clearly with concise and stern language that their behavior would no longer continue under any circumstances.  And then I went home and told my husband to sue the state if the employee came back the next day with a gun and killed me.  (Yes, that scary).

Then there was the counseling session where the employee said, “Usually I get upset when you talk to me, but I just came from my doctor and he gave me some new pills so I am feeling really good and you aren’t bothering me today.”

And you know you have a good employee when they willingly (and with just a little teasing) drove to the office at 10:00 pm because their boss (me) inadvertently locked myself into a hallway.  I am sure I looked so sad waiting through the glass door.  Trapped. That never happened again.

Once I was the building manager for a state building.  One of my many jobs was to “go find the fire.”  So when the fire alarm went off, everyone had to evacuate the building but I had to go to the fire alarm panel, locate where the alarm was going off and investigate.  If it was a false alarm I called the fire dept and cancelled the call, shut off the alarm and went outside to tell everyone “All Clear” so they could return.  I do have to admit that the power of making an entire building of people wait outside for me was rather nice. Even my boss couldn’t come inside until I said so.  I always thought this was a good comparison to “time to make the donuts.” But instead it was “time to go find the fire.”

I had to threaten to fire my facilities manager one time for continuing to wear beer t-shirts to work. How many times should a supervisor tell him a Heineken shirt is inappropriate. Evidently three times.  Because it took that many.

True Story:  I once tried to poach a floor polisher from Publix.  It is really hard to hire a good floor person.  Keeping floors clean and shiny is an art and should not be taken lightly.  I tried to talk him into working for me but it didn’t work.  Can’t say I didn’t try.

LWL Musings #91

Why is there a bicycle lane on the road leading to the airport?  I mean, where would one realistically put their luggage?  And is there a bicycle parking lot? Do you have to pay?  How would you pick someone up?

I have a friend who needs constant encouragement:

Friend: “Are you SURE this is a good decision for me?
Me: Yes.
Me: Yeppers
Me: Absolutely, mon.
Me: That’s a hard yes on my end.
Me: (That’s what she said)
Me: Of course you silly rabbit
Me: Sending positive thoughts your way!
Me: OMG this is so exhausting!
Friend: lol…I just peed myself laughing at your text.
Me: Then my job is done, thank you.

I was putting gas in my car and spilled some on my hand.  There wasn’t any way to wash it off so I took my berry scented sanitizing gel from my purse and used it. So then my hand smelled like gas berry juice.

I want my life to be as simple as Oreos and Sprite (from the Walmart check out lane).

Seriously - How can you drive with this distraction?

Seriously, how can you drive with this distraction?

Boca and his Rat Toys

Everyone knows that Boca is a fierce hunter.  At his age, I would hope he would start slowing down with all the hunting, but unfortunately that is not happening.

We just experienced Rat #3 incidence.  This is the third time in as many months that he has brought a rat into the house for his amusement.  If they are not already dead by the time we find them, they will be eventually.  And everyone knows his “I have a live critter somewhere in the house- shall we play?” behavior.

This time he brought the rat into the hall. We honestly thought it was dead. I mean I even had the thought that at least this was good timing because the trash would go out tomorrow.  I can pick up a dead vermin.  I only need a half roll of Bounty and three Wal-Mart bags.

Christina found Boca and the rat first and yelled for me. When I came out and saw it, I yelled for my husband. Who was watching a ball game on TV and wasn’t really interested and/or maybe thought by now we could manage these sorts of episodes on our own.  (And if that is the case, then what the hell is he thinking?)

So Christina and I are contemplating this new development while simultaneously saying “Bad Boca” and taking video for Christina’s snapchat.  Then Boca touched the rat with this paw.

And. It. Moved.

Boca and his rat toy

That was it for me and Christina. We screamed and proceeded to run into her bedroom stuffing a towel under the door to make sure the rat would not get in.

Shortly thereafter, we hear my husband cursing and yelling at me to “come here.”  My daughter pushed me toward the door stating “Your husband is calling you.” Totally not fair that I got the short end of the stick on this one, I s-l-o-w-l-y opened the door and checked for a rogue rat.

Hearing commotion in the dining room, my husband handed me a broom and told me to stop the rat from going into the living room and he would herd it out the front door.  I immediately knew where the rat was from Boca’s twitching tail/silent hunter stance next to the chair.

Except when that 12 pound, gross, creepy gray thing came at me, all I did was scream and throw the broom.  Which meant Mr. Rat was now in the living room. Somewhere.

At this point, my husband was pretty pissed off and I guess the curiosity got the better of Christina who came out of her room (not to help, of course but to send a follow up snapchat of the original video; the one where we originally thought the rat was dead).

Upturned furniture in the living room and then into the Florida Room.  Shoved furniture in the Florida Room and my husband was finally able to whack the rat out the back door onto the deck.  (I would guess his golfing skills came in handy for that part).

When it was all said and done, it looked like our house has been burglarized and ransacked. The lounge chair was upside down, as was the ottoman. All three couches were displaced and throw pillows randomly tossed all over on the floor.  Without saying a word, Christina and I started righting both rooms to normalcy.

But that wasn’t the end, of course.  We got the heated lecture (with profanity) of why the hell did we stand there and just look at it.  Because, according to my husband, how easy this would have been if we had just put a box over the rat as soon as we saw it?

“What? And not get video?” Christina whispered to me.  (I told her to stop before we got into more trouble).

So we failed yet again on being good rat hunters.  Boca, on the other hand, is doing real good.

Now all I have to do is get the rat blood out of the carpet before Michael’s sister comes to visit us next week.Boca3