Friday, May 30, 2008

What's Wrong with This Picture?

I know I don't talk about work a whole lot on here, because I don't want to get dooced.

But this was too good not to share. And I am providing no identifying characteristics of the library where I work.

I would like to preface this post with the following: I like my coworkers. The vast majority of them are very pleasant and nice people. The lady I mention in this post is one of the pleasant and nice ones. So I'm going to try and not make fun of her on here today, because she's always been nice to me. But we have been laughing about the following all afternoon, because she really had a "D'oh!" moment. Here goes.

Ok, when you go to any library, sometimes things are on hold at the desk. These are called "reserves". Reserve items cannot leave the library, but they can be checked out for in-library use. A couple days ago, we had a teacher come in and ask us to place a book on reserve here at our library. She had just bought it, it was very expensive and she didn't want the students to take it home -- that way, all her students could use it. So categorizing this book as a reserve book made sense. The book was brand-new and came with little supplement booklets, and they are all shrink-wrapped together.

Now, in order to check anything out to students, books and other things need to be entered into our computer system so that we can keep track of them. Even reserve items need to be entered into the computer system. During this process, each item receives its own unique barcode, which is scanned any time someone uses it. That way, when someone checks it out, we scan the little barcode, and the computer knows who has it, when it's due, etc.

Well, this coworker of mine ended up putting this new book on reserve. These photos show what it looked like when she was done. Anyone see anything wrong with this picture????

The little red sticker says "Library Use Only". Can you see what's wrong yet?
Ok, this picture really shows you where she stuck the label for the class, so we will know which book the students need. (Oh! I just realized that is my arm in the photo!) See any problems now?
Finally, here is the barcode that needs to be scanned any time someone checks it out.....are you seeing why we are giggling about this? Yeah. We're hoping that maybe she was just distracted when she was labeling the book.......tee hee.
Maybe the students can use osmosis to learn what's in the book? Or perhaps only psychic students can use it? Or Superman? I guess they could always just use it as a paperweight.

Anyway, I want to see what happens when she goes to check it out to someone. I want to see what the student says. And I really want to see what she says when they bring it back to her!

Have a good weekend everyone.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Uh Oh! Hot Dog Monkey on My Back!

Well, between working two jobs, dog sitting and living my life, my blog has been sorely neglected, and I apologize. And if I am not posting to my blog, that also means I am not reading your blog. So I apologize for that, too. When I get a minute, I will try to catch up with everyone.

Things have happened, but nothing really adds up to a full post. So I am here to give you the highlights:

1. My new part time job at Dildo's dept store is fine. I guess. I mean, it's retail. So you're pretty bored most of the time. But it's easy money. I have stuff to share (Ok, more like bitching to do), but I will get into that later.

2. Biggie, the dog I kept over the Memorial Day Week (yeah, it was almost a week, so that's what I'm calling it -- the dog was at my house for 5 days!), turned out to be.....a total asshole. He would start whining at FOUR in the morning and would not stop. My house is so small that moving his crate into the spare bedroom didn't work -- I could still hear him. So after the first sleepless night, I stayed at CN's house for the rest of the week.

Then, CN went to walk him and Sammy one night while I was at work. He called me:

CN: Hey babe. Just checking on the dogs for you. Um, where do you keep your band-aids?
VB: Why do you need band-aids?
CN: Well, cause I was throwing the ball with the dogs, and they sort into a fight.
VB: What?! Are they ok?
CN: Yeah, I think. Biggie bit Sammy's ear. I think. One of them is bleeding. I'm pretty sure it's Sammy. Should I put a band-aid on it?

*exasperated sigh on my part*

VB: No, dogs don't wear band-aids, honey. Is Sammy ok?
CN: Yeah, he seems to be acting normal. Hey, babe, where do you keep your uh, carpet cleaner?
VB: *slightly panicky* Did they get blood on the carpet? Or on the rug my mom got me???!!

*CN tries to describe where the blood is, but I have no idea what he's talking about, because he's a boy and doesn't know the difference between the terms "rug" and "carpet" and "slipcovered sofa", and I didn't feel like teaching a home decorating vocabulary lesson, so I just told him to squirt some of the carpet cleaner on it*
*CN does as instructed.*

CN: Ok, um, what do I clean it up with?
*I tell him where the rags are and tell him where to put the dirty rag when he's done.*

CN: Ok, I did that.
*A commotion erupts in the background*

CN: Ok, um, Biggie just barfed.
VB: Oh God. Where?
CN: Right next to me. Oh Jeez, it's everywhere.
VB: *panicking again* Is it on the rug or the carpet? Or on the couch? Wait, forget I asked. Just clean it up.
CN: Oh! Wait! No big deal. He's licking it back up! Yeah! Good boy, Biggie!
*another exasperated sigh on my part*

Sammy's ear is fine, and there were no more Biggie problems (well, except the poop he left for me in the living room...but that was my own fault...) for the rest of the week. But I'm never sitting Biggie again. Ever. He is like having 5 dogs, all wrapped up in one tiny Jack Russell body. And my poor little head cannot handle his incessant barking. And my sleeping schedule cannot handle his whining. So my house is officially a No Biggie Zone. Please don't tell my friend Super. I sort of down-played all of his bad behavior.

3. I had a dream the other night that CN and I were down visiting his parents. He had mentioned that he wanted to meet up with someone named Heather, but I forgot about it when I was helping his parents prepare for the huge storm heading straight for their house. After the storm was over, CN was nowhere to be found, so I texted him to see where he was. "I'm playing poker with Heather at McAir's." -- McAir's was a bar. I can't remember what he said after that, but what it boiled down to was that he was hanging out with some girl named Heather and he wanted me to leave him alone. He blew me off! So I spent the rest of the dream crying and feeling hurt. When I woke up, it was difficult not to be angry at him, actually!

And no, there is no Heather in real life, unless you count my friend Mr. Bill's wife.

4. Speaking of CN's parents, they were in a pretty bad storm about 2 weeks ago. Their house was near a tornado that went through the area -- this is probably why I had that dream. Anyway, they don't know if they were hit by an actual tornado, but 4 windows in their house were blown out, as well as all the windows in their truck. The hail was so big, it left big divots in their yard and dents all over their truck! I think it messed up their roof, too. They are fine, but had to file some insurance claims.

5. I was in the dog house with CN last weekend. We wanted to grill out, but I had to go to work that night, so we planned on eating an early dinner at 3pm. Three came and went. I waited and waited and waited....and finally gave up and ate by myself. Little did I know, he was over at his house, grilling up a massive feast of food: chicken, tilapia, burgers, corn and hot dogs. He came over at about 5 to tell me the food was ready, and like a dumbass, I blurted out that I already ate and was running late for work, so I didn't have time to eat anything he had made. He was pissed. Oops. I apologized and explained that I wanted to eat at 3, not 5. He pointed out that I should have called to see what was going on. He was right. But then I pointed out that he was crazy for making all this food for just the two of us. He was upset but said he'd get over it. I went to work. By the time I got home later on, I was STARVED, so I came over and ate a bunch of it. That seemed to soothe his hurt feelings. I still feel terrible about it. He had been cooking all afternoon for me. Good thing I made him some cookies. I think that helped, too.

6. You all know how much of a total sugar addict I am. I mean, at this point, I think an intervention is in order. It is that bad. If you don't believe me, consider today's realization:

MJ is stuck at work, craving chocolate desperately. Unfortunately, she has no money for the vending machine. (Why none of her coworkers can bum her 50 cents is another issue, but whatever...) I told her that if she wants, she can come over to my house after work to have some of my chocolate. That's when I realized I have all of the following at my house right now:

chocolate ice cream (fat free)
chocolate pudding (sugar free and fat free)
Jell-O pudding pops (some are chocolate)
chocolate covered pretzels
chocolate Twizzlers (ok, actually, I polished those off last night...)
Nestle Qwik drink mix (sugar free)
Hershey's chocolate syrup
hot chocolate (diet)
chocolate chex mix
brownie mix
chocolate cake mix
chocolate frosting


Jeez, I could open up a Chocolate Store with all that!!! And this isn't even including the non-chocolate sweets at my house. I have Jolly Ranchers, whip cream.....and maybe some animal crackers.

I think it's pretty safe to say that I have an addiction to the little white crystals, and I don't mean crack. I want to get off the white stuff, I swear! But I just can't do it! I know I would lose so much weight if I could just STOP the sweet tooth. Because I don't eat all that badly, outside of the sweets. But I just LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE sweets. *sigh*

So yeah, the monkey on my back? It's still there. Although I can now run 3 miles and knock out all kinds of weight lifting, my muscular under-bod is still encased in a squishy layer of blubberized sugar. And thanks to MJ, now I am specifically craving chocolate. *sigh*

6. And thanks to CN, who started joking with me today about the following video, I am now craving hot dogs, too.
Will Ferrell As Harry Carey

7. If the rain holds out, hopefully I will be able to get one at the baseball game tonight. A big group of us is planning on going. Since it's the season opener, the tix are half price, the beer is a buck and there are fireworks afterwards! YAY!!!

8. Speaking of funny hot dog videos, I can't forget to share this one. I love MadTV, and especially Bobby Lee. He cracks me up!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Well, so far, adding the part time job to my schedule hasn't been TOO much of an adjustment. The main thing I have noticed is that I haven't really been watching a lot of tv or reading. Which is fine. Cooking and cleaning have also taken a back seat. I haven't been able to keep the sink free of dirty dishes or fix anything more complicated than a sandwich. Which isn't great, but it's not the end of the world (I'm kind of anal-retentive about the cleanliness of my kitchen).

And I have found that knowing I won't be able to go to the gym every day has made me REALLY motivated to exercise whenever I can. I was so excited to go for a run on Sunday that I almost didn't want to go home! CN, Sammy and I were at the park for almost 2 hours!

Thanks to my lighter-than-usual schedule at Dildo's this week, I won't have to work until Friday this week, so I can hit the gym today, tomorrow and Thursday morning! WOOT!

I am a little worried about how my new schedule will impact my social life. I did manage to meet up with MJ last Saturday for dinner. (If you are a former reader of her blog, you may be interested to know that MJ is now a redhead, and it looks fantastic!) MJ was seriously stressed. I think that having 5-6 dogs at her house at any given time for the last year has started to take its toll. Between the potty training accidents, the dog barf, the vet appointments and the stray dog who is now in heat, it has been a zoo at "Casa de MJ". And I thought I was feeling frazzled, with my messy house, aching feet and lack of sleep.

Then MJ mentioned that she had told our friend Super that she would dog sit for her over Memorial Day weekend. This would mean 7 dogs at MJ's house. Eek. Seeing how stressed MJ was, I decided to volunteer my services as dog sitter for Super.

So I will have Super's dog for the weekend. Actually, make that an almost-week, since Super will be gone from tomorrow to Monday night. But it's all ok. I will be working a lot, but I am totally free on Sunday and most of Monday, so I can hang out with the dogs then. Sammy and Super's dog, Biggie, are both well-socialized, high energy dogs, so they will definitely entertain themselves.

CN and I were going to take a day trip on Sunday or Monday, but I can't bear the thought of MJ stuck with SEVEN dogs and being all stressed out while I am frolicking in Charleston or Asheville with my boyfriend. So CN and I are going to take Sammy and Biggie to a local state park or something, where we can hike, take a walk, go for a run (or whatever) and have a picnic with the dogs. It should be pretty fun. The weather is supposed to be perfect -- sunny, low 80s. Ahhhhh.......this time of year is so great in SC.

Now as long as I can remember to pay my bills, fold my laundry, take my trash out on Friday morning and pick up a few things I forgot at the grocery store......I should be good. I think.

*Prays to God to thank Him for her excellent memory and natural organization abilities.*

And it's only a matter of time until I start up with Big Brothers Big Sisters -- they have called all my references, so they are just waiting on my background check to come through. Soon, I will have to squeeze in some time for a little sis, but I'm so excited about it, I will find room in my schedule without a care.

I was hoping that doing all this extra work would keep me away from food, and I could possibly lose some weight from the stress/exhaustion/simple lack of time to eat......but so far, this has yet to happen. Hmm...maybe in a couple of weeks, when all of this starts to catch up to me. For the first month at Dildo's, you don't work Sundays, so right now, that is my only day off from working. Soon, I will be working 2 Sundays per month, which means I will have NO days off on those weeks. Ugh. Oh well. I need to just do it and make the best out of it. It will all pay off in the long run.

So far, I am juggling all these balls pretty well. I am getting a decent amount of sleep and even managed to do some laundry. I have a new appreciation for working mothers, single mothers, people who work 3 jobs and people who work and go to school at the same time. I honestly have no idea how they do it! Major props to them!

Friday, May 16, 2008


Last night, I had what was one of the worst dreams of my life. I've had dreams where my parents die or where my dad was cheating on my mom. I've had dreams where my friends and family are upset, or that someone is harassing me. But last night, my dream played out more like a horror movie than a personal drama. It really freaked me out!!

MJ and I were trying to get to Philly to meet up with The Rat Pack. (This is the same group of 4 guys we hung out with on last year's NYC/Vermont trip. And we are trying to plan a trip to Philly next month, since two of The Rat Pack members live in Philly. So I'm assuming this is what my subconscious was thinking about when I had this dream.)

In the dream, for some reason, MJ and I didn't have access to our credit cards. We were stuck with just whatever cash we had on us. And it made more financial sense for us to take a Greyhound bus to Philly, rather than drive in MJ's car. So we got on the bus, where we were joined by KT and a couple members of The Rat Pack. (This makes no sense, because MJ and I are the only ones who do not live in New England, but what do you expect? This is a dream, after all.)

By the time the bus stops, we are exhausted. I don't know where we are, but it is a city of some kind. We don't go to a hotel. Instead, we go to a boarding house because it was cheaper. (Do boarding houses even exist anymore??) It may have been a hostel....I can't remember. We are still limited to whatever cash we have, at this point, so I think we were looking for somewhere to crash so we could figure out how to get to Philly the next day.

This hostel/boarding house was an old, early 20th century home. It was a late Victorian style, so it had a big front porch, huge front staircase, wide hallways, tall ceilings, big windows and large rooms. The boarding house was owned and operated by an elderly couple who creeped me out. Of course, even more disturbing, no one else thought they were creepy.

So we are all so broke that we can only afford to rent one very large bedroom upstairs. There are at least 5 of us. We take our suitcases up the big, main staircase to go find our room. I notice that the wallpaper in the house looks to be original, because it is water-damaged, faded and peeling. In fact, everything in the house looked original, from the carpet to the furniture to the doorknobs. Everything was a sort of beige or rose color. With dark wood paneling. It was kind of creepy. And quiet. Very, very quiet.

At the top of the staircase, there is a big hallway. Our room is at the end of the hall. Here's the really creepy part: on the floor of the hallway, in front of each closed bedroom door, there was a baby doll head. Each one had a different facial expression, and they all faced the door nearest to them. Some dolls were smiling, others were angry or terrified. They were all creepy. I mean, someone had obviously ripped the heads off of baby dolls and set them down like this in the hallway! And who's ever heard of a baby doll with angry or scared facial expressions???! I told my friends this place was creepy and I didn't want to stay. They thought I was nuts.

Again, I am the only person who seemed to have a problem with the creepiness. Great.

Our room had several beds, and everyone was so tired that they went to bed immediately. They didn't brush their teeth or even get into pajamas. They just crashed. Meanwhile, I cannot sleep for shit because I'm still thinking about the creepy baby heads in the hallway.

To make it even spookier, we are the only tenants in the place. It's eerily quiet and empty. Just us and the baby doll heads.

When we paid for our room, I had noticed there was a sign by the desk saying that meals were served at certain times. So I decided that I would go back down to the desk to see if it was time to eat yet. I couldn't bear to be near those baby heads anymore. I woke up my friend to tell him where I was going, tip-toed down the hallway, trying not to touch the baby doll heads (which moved on their own to turn and look at me with their varying facial expressions as I passed by!!!).

I made my way to the front desk downstairs, and asked if dinner was served yet. The wife told me that there was still an hour before it would be served. So I decided to make my way back upstairs to try and get my friends to leave this creepy place.

Then, something-- I can't remember what, maybe it was a little voice in my head-- tells me what is going on: the husband and wife who run the place are actually serial killers who are trying to make us their next victims!!!! I am totally freaked out by this realization, obviously. Then the little voice in my head tells me that depending on the expression of your room's baby doll head, you will know if the elderly couple likes you enough to let you live.

Yeah. At this point, even my dream self is like, "Dude, this is f**ked up. Get the hell outta here!!"

So now I need to know which expression our room's baby doll head has. I am back upstairs, walking slowly down the hallway. I know which rooms have dead bodies in them, because the baby doll heads have angry or scared looks on their faces. And of course, the baby doll heads are watching me again. Which is just freaking fantastic.

Sure enough, our room now has its own baby doll head. It had appeared while I had been downstairs!!! I didn't look at its expression -- at this point, I didn't care. We were all checking out right now, no questions asked. I wake everyone up and freak them out enough (I believe I was crying and screaming) to convince them that we need to leave -- NOW. I think they only agreed so that I would shut up and they could finally get some sleep!

We pack up all our stuff and head back down the main staircase. As we are waiting at the bottom of the stairs to check out (why we are taking the time to do this, I don't know), the old man flies down the stairs, holding a knife (or maybe it was a gun?) , trying to stop us from leaving, even if it means he has to kill us!!! We all scream and try to escape. The next thing I know, a large piece of wood falls off of the upstairs banister and impales the old man before he can hurt us! WHAM! It goes right through his torso, killing him instantly.

We must have either ignored or fought off the old lady, because I remember she was protesting our escape, too. We ran out of the house and down the street. That's when I realized we had been in Philly the whole time.

Ugh. No more Jersey Mike's before bedtime.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ouch, My Brain Hurts

1. I have had to stop and think about which day of the week it is about 5 times today. Wednesday? Friday? Who knows? I think this is because I have done a bunch of random, non-routine things this week. It's throwing me off.

2. One of those things is that I started my new part-time job at a department store I will refer to as Dildo's. I spent 2 hours folding clothes last night. It was like cleaning my room. Only more anal-retentive. I spent the other 2 hours bored out of my gourd. Ugh. I forgot how much retail sucks. It's all coming back to me now.

3. ...and now I have that stupid Meatloaf song in my head. "There were nights when the wind was so cold...." Dammit. Oh well. Hey, I'm $40 richer today than yesterday. That will buy one tank of gas. Approximately.

4. Boston cream pie yogurt sounds theory.

5. So does trying to work out with my trainer on an empty stomach.

6. So do shrimp enchiladas.

7. I am a little concerned about the fact that I am having MAJOR CN withdrawls, when it's only been 48 hours since I saw him last. Like, I am almost in tears. WTF?? That is just not normal. I'm not even hormonal or anything. I'm just like, "I want my boyfriend!!!" (Don't tell him I said that if you know him IRL. Or I will kill you.)

8. I have probably gained 5 pounds this week. I have eaten: 4 pieces of pizza, 2 pieces of cheesecake, ice cream and 3 pieces of chocolate cake. FUCK. Why can't I say no to work parties??

9. Oh yeah. Because I don't want to be that girl. The girl in the office who is too health conscious not to join in on the work party. I hate that girl. She eats a salad and drinks water and watches everyone else laugh and eat cake. She is not fun. No one likes her.

10. Work is stressing me the fuck out this week. Between the Big Pain in My Ass Project, end-of-the-fiscal year crap and a serious lack of training, I am annoyed and overwhelmed. Argh.

11. I really need to go for a run at the gym tonight. A nice, long run. (See #8 and #10) Running makes everything better. It is the best solution to feeling overwhelmed.

12. Now that I have a part time job, I am feeling like maybe I have bitten off more than I can chew in the scheduling department. CN is making jokes about how we will never see each other again. But I'm looking at my calendar, and between my real job, my part time job, the gym, my friends, sleeping, and just regular errand-running and living.......crap. When are we going to hang out?? I am starting to get the feeling that soon I will feel I'm stretched too thin. Ugh. Why do I do this to myself?? In 2 months, I will have a sobbing breakdown. Either that, or no clean underwear.

13. Wal-Mart was out of my usual deodorant last week. So today, I am wearing a new one. Isn't it funny how you get used to your deodorant smell, and you don't even smell it anymore? Because all I can smell now is the new one. And I'm all, "What's that smell? Oh yeah." -- I have done it about 20 times today. It smells good, but it's throwing me off.

14. You know you're tired when Tetris seems like astro-physics. I think my top score today was like 3000. It's normally about 17,000. I think a post-work nap is in order.

15. MJ wants to go to Philly in June to see KT and The Rat Pack. This involves a 10 hour road trip. I am not a big fan of any road trip over 7 hours. I only have one vacation day left, and the trip is a 4 day weekend. My part time job is probably not going to let me have that weekend AND the next weekend off. (Going home to see The Czarina the weekend after.) Luckily, I do have the money go to to Philly. Otherwise, getting it all squared away is adding to my Life Stress. And CN is having a hard time understanding why I want to drive 10 hours to go hang out with 4 guys I barely know. "Because they are fun and we do this every year" doesn't cut it as an answer, apparently. Neither does "Do you want to go with us?". He's fine with me going, I just think he's a little confused. He's been making jokes about going to Vegas to hang out with chicks he barely knows. Har har.

Ok, time to go home. Hopefully, when I run tonight, I will get that song out of my head. I friggin hate Meatloaf.

Sorry for the random post today, guys. My brain is kind of disorganized right now. This means soon, I will forget something really important. Great.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Smurf Goes to Prom

In case you are wondering where I've been lately, I can give you a quick explanation:

I have had a terrible cold, which is still lingering. *cough* *sniff*
I have been in interviews for the PT Clinique job (I start tomorrow).
We had inventory at work. Thousands of books needed to be scanned. :\
I have been doing a bunch of regular, un-blog-worthy things (Sadly, my life is not always as titillating as I wish!).

So in short, you haven't been missing anything.

However, my little sister, Smurf, is having a very eventful spring! Not only did she get her driver's license (if you live in Virginia, watch out, because the girl cannot drive AT ALL!!!) but she went to prom with a senior -- which really impressed me, since I was so socially awkward in high school, I was grateful to be invited at all, by anyone. She is only a sophomore, which proves that my little sister is WAY cooler than I ever was at her age. Apparently, the senior has a crush on her, but she only likes him "as a friend". Which is probably a good thing, because the last time she filled me in on her love life, she had 3 guys (!!!) calling her.

I don't think I've ever had three guys calling me in my LIFE.

So I am relieved that high school isn't nearly as painful for her as it was for me. And I'm pretty proud, not only of her social abilities, but also her excellent grades (AP classes!) and her athletic talents (she currently plays softball, basketball AND volleyball -- WOW). She even plays the flute in her school's marching band. I don't know when she sleeps!

Thanks for letting me brag. Now, here's some prom pics of my little sister Smurf.

The obligatory hair-do, complete with 18 gallons of hairspray, I'm sure. And I would like to add that she was lucky enough to inherit The Czarina's extremely thick and shiny hair, whereas I got WLF's thin and fine hair. And did I mention that this girl NEVER gets zits?? Yeah. And can you tell how long her legs are? She is 5' 9". I am 5' 5". She's got legs for days. It's just not fair!!!

Is it just me, or is that corsage gigantic?? And I think her prom date is the same height she is!

I love her dress. And check out her adorable dimples!!

Ok, maybe she should pull her dress up a little bit....(oops, that's the overprotective Big Sis coming out!)

Having fun at prom with her date!

She said the after-prom stuff was held in the gym at her school, which is where this pic was taken. Apparently, it was super fun, because she didn't come home until 4am!!! The girl on the right is her best friend. I don't know who the girl on the left is. With a social butterfly for a little sis, sometimes it's hard to keep up!

Just to illustrate how vastly different my prom experiences were, let's do a quick reflection of VB's proms:

Junior year (1996): Considering my senior boyfriend dumped me right before everyone started finding dates (Gee, thanks, Scott. Great timing.), I was kind of S.O. L. and so had to pray to the prom gods to be asked at all. I ended up being asked by some guy in my math class. Until he asked me, I literally did not know he existed. (Isn't that terrible?? I don't even remember his name. Chris, maybe?? In my defense, my high school was HUGE and I was extremely shy. So it's not like I was too cool to know who anyone was. I was just clueless.) We went with his friends to dinner. I didn't know them, either. I don't remember having too good of a time, although I was glad he didn't try to kiss me, because that would have been awkward at best. I do remember liking my dress (it was short and bubblegum pink) and my hair -- The Czarina was a hairdresser in a past life, I swear. The woman has got some wicked hot roller skillz. Anyway, I had this whole 1960s girl group vibe going on. Very Dreamgirl-ish.

Senior year (1997): Again, there was no convenient boyfriend to be my automatic prom date (see a pattern??). So I was stuck crossing my fingers and again praying to the prom gods again. My best friend was in the same boat I was in. So was our guy pal, Josh. So the three of us went together! We ended up having a blast. My girlfriend wore a champagne satin dress; I wore a long, fitted, black dress trimmed with rhinestones. He got us matching red rose corsages. We got him two boutonnieres -- one for each lapel. And arm-in-arm-in-arm, we went to prom! Josh took turns dancing with us, and we ended up having so much fun. Josh told me later that he felt like a pimp all night, walking around with TWO prom dates. I can't remember where we ate or what we did that was so fun, but I do remember having a really good time and laughing a lot.

Now, Josh is engaged. And my girlfriend just got married last fall. I am now praying to the marriage gods. LOL some things never change....

Anyway, what was your prom like? Did you have fun? What do you remember? If you are a female reader, I want you to describe your dress to me!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Tales from the Clinique Counter

To pay off my gi-normous credit card debt, I am going to get a part time job.

Yesterday, as CN and I were running some errands, I decided to stop by the department store at the mall to see if there were any openings at the Clinique counter. When I was in grad school, I used to be a Clinique girl, and it wasn't too bad, as far as part time jobs are concerned.

*tons of free makeup and perfume -- TONS
*you don't come home smelling like food
*if you are going out afterwards, it's easy to touch up your makeup before you go
*since the mall closes at 9, it's still early enough to meet up with friends afterwards
*you won't get blisters on your feet, cuts on your fingers, or mysterious goo on your body (can you tell I waited tables for a looooonnng time??)
* if you are on the clock, you are getting paid

*you work 3 weekends a month
*you have to deal with the public
*you are not paid in cash
*department store managers tend to be...not the best bosses I've had in my life (more on this later)
*you will never make more than your base pay while you are on the clock (I am expecting to make $10/hour)

So I walked up to the lady at the Clinique counter (who may or may not technically be a midget, btw, as unusual as that sounds) and asked her about it. She seemed really excited about my inquiry and called over the head Clinique girl. She was even MORE excited than the almost-midget lady.

It turns out that they needed a PT person. And since I am already experienced in Clinique AND a former employee of the same chain of department stores, they all but guaranteed me the spot. I'm probably still in their system, actually, which will cut down on all that new employee paperwork! WOOT!

If I work 15 hours per week, I should make $600/month (before taxes). This will help out SO MUCH, considering I'm already putting about $300/month towards my credit card debt already. Yay!

And although I'm excited about the free makeup, I am dreading the downside: working with the public. Don't get me wrong -- the vast majority of people who come in are great. They are nice, easy to deal with and well-groomed. (See where I am going with this?)

But some of the people....well, I think some Tales from the Clinique Counter can explain this well:

1. One day, a totally drunk lady was roaming around the makeup area. On a Sunday. At noon. She was so plastered, I think the store called the police to have her escorted out. But that was after she verbally harassed half the cosmetics staff. And knocked over a bunch of stuff.

2. Some people who want makeovers surprise me, because they are kind of putting the carriage before the horse. Let's see. How do I put this? Um, if your unibrow weighs 4 pounds, or if you have acne that makes a pizza look like a clear complexion, or if you have a hairy chest*, you should deal with those issues before getting a makeover. Same can be said for body odor, chin hair and missing teeth (hey, I live in SC, remember). I know I sound snooty right now, but seriously, would YOU want to put makeup on a woman's hairy chest?? (Yeah, she wanted to see if we could "cover it up". It's like, "No, lady! We can't!") It's so crazy to me that these women will look in the mirror and think, "Yes, that's what I need. A new lipstick." WTF?!

3. Then there are the people who try to take advantage of the generous return policy. One girl came in 10 minutes before closing (WHY do these people always come in right before closing??) with a huge bag of stuff. I think it was over $200 worth of Clinique stuff. She wanted to return everything. Normally, this is no problem at all. But this girl was returning EMPTY containers she had originally bought a YEAR previously. (Even more incredulous was that she actually still had the receipt!) Because of the extreme absurdity of her return request (I believe I said, "Um, are you kidding me?"), I decided to consult a manager before approving it. But it turned out that we couldn't really say no to her -- she was technically within the limits of the return policy. She got all her money returned onto her credit card. Then, she stormed off in a huff because we couldn't return the money to her in cash!

4. Another lady used to take advantage of the neighboring Lancome counter. She would buy expensive perfumes and body lotions, only to take them home, use about half of the product, fill the bottle back up with water or cheap lotion, and exchange the items for brand new ones. Since they were "like new" to all outward appearances, no one caught on. They thought she just wanted to try a different perfume or lotion, or that she had purchased the wrong one by accident. She did this about 3 times before anyone caught on. After that, she wasn't allowed to make returns anymore!

5. Then, there were The Minivers. I can't remember what their last name was, but it sounds like Miniver. This was an elderly couple, who on first inspection, seem like your regular, cute grandparent-like couple. But don't let them fool you -- they will CAMP OUT at your makeup counter, making you demonstrate every single freaking product you sell. These are the same products you demonstrated to them the last time they came in, by the way. After each application on Mrs. Miniver, she and Mr. Miniver would discuss how it looked on her. This would take about 15 minutes per discussion. You will sit there and wonder why in the hell an 80 year old man gives a rat's ass which shade of eyeshadow looks better on his wife of 56 years. After they decide which products they will buy, they will end up spending about $300. But wait! Don't get too excited about that big sale, even if your manager does pat you on the back! Mrs. Miniver will arrive bright and early tomorrow morning to return everything she bought the day before. And then someone else will have to go through the whole thing again with her.

Imagine my excitement when I quit the Clinique job to take on a full time position at the public library.........only to discover that Mr. and Mrs. Miniver used that library. And drove everyone nuts there, too. There was about a 3 year period where I couldn't escape the Minivers!

Those are the main crazy makeup counter stories. If I think of more, I will share. And all apologies to any female readers with hairy chests. :)

*I wish I was making this up, but I'm not. Yes, the woman had a hairy chest. Like a man. And she decided to wear a low-cut top. It was a scary moment. One of the few times in my life I've literally been speechless. "Distracting" doesn't even begin to cover it.

Friday, May 02, 2008

The Big Little Interview

Thanks to a scheduling change, I went to my interview for Big Brothers Big Sisters yesterday, instead of at the end of the month. This was really great, because now I can get matched up with a "Little" a lot faster.

I really like the girl who is in charge of interviewing new "Bigs". She's about my age and seems really cool. I would like to go grab coffee with her, actually. I am wondering if she can hang out with Bigs outside of the program or's hard to find new girlfriends, you know? Now I'm getting off-track. Shocker, I know. Anyway.

So the interview takes about 2 hours, because they have to ask you all sorts of questions about your family, your past, your use of drugs/alcohol, whether or not you own guns, your pets, your living situation, your sexuality, what you hope to get out of volunteering for them, what kind of a "Little" you want, etc.

It was all going well, until I embarrassed the crap out of myself.

Interviewer: So, tell me what kinds of activities you'd do at your house when your Little comes over.

VB: Ooh! I made a list, but I left it on my desk at work. Let's, baking, reading -- I like to read books to kids -- coloring, playing with my dog, I could help them with their homework, board games, we could play cards, arts and crafts...we could watch movies together. *I paused, thinking for a second* Actually, now that I think about it, all my DVDs are mostly adult movies, so that might not be a good idea....I MEAN!!! OMG!! No, not that kind of adult movie! I meant like, you know, PG-13 or R rated movies!! OMG!! *I turn beet red and look at my lap*

Interviewer: *laughing at me* No, it's ok. I know what you mean.

VB: Because just for the record, I don't have ANY movies like that at my house! None! Zero! And even if I did, they are NOT appropriate for children!

Anyway, I was so mortified that I said that, I was fidgety and nervous for the rest of the interview! Ugh. *rolls eyes*

I think I made up for it later on in the interview, though:

Interviewer: If you were to look back on your experience volunteering for us, years from now, what would you hope you had accomplished in the life of your Little?

VB: I would hope that I showed her how to be more confident, to believe in herself, to reach for her goals......and to think for herself. To be an independent and confident girl. That's what I would hope to do.

Interviewer: Wow! I don't think anyone has ever said that to me! Usually people just say that they hope their Little had fun. And that's about it. I am so glad you feel like that!

(YESSS! Go me!)

It's pretty hard to answer all of these questions without emptying your closet of some skeletons. They ask you about drug use, sex, family issues, any abuse you've had, how you deal with personal problems, etc. I confessed to smoking pot a few times in college. I told her about the deaths in my family (I tried hard not to cry, but I needed a kleenex!) and all the alcoholism in my family. All the stuff like that. Luckily, I don't have any major skeletons, so it wasn't too bad-- I'm a pretty open person, as I'm sure you all know. Just kind of strange to sit down and tell a total stranger everything that's personal about you, from childhood up to today. All in one go. Face to face.

At the time, it didn't feel weird, but when I left and got back in my car, I thought, "OMG! I just told that girl EVERYTHING AT ONCE." And I felt kind of vulnerable. And freakish.

For about 10 minutes. Then, I got over it. (This is so typically me! I don't think I have ever truly regretted being an open book!)

The whole interview went really well, and she told me that she really liked my attitude and thought I had very realistic expectations for the relationship I would build with my "Little". She also liked all the experience I've had hanging out with kids of various ages. Between being a former middle/high school teacher and reading stories to kids as young as 2 at the library, I have experience hanging out with kids of all ages, and I don't really have a preference for any particular age group. She said I'd be easy to match up with a Little. YESSSS!!!!

She told me what her "typical" Littles were like. A lot of them are from single-mother homes, in kind of bad neighborhoods. The mothers don't let their kids outside the house, because there's so much crime and gang activity. So these poor kids are cooped up inside all the time, watching tv. They just need an outlet. A way to escape that. She said a lot of kids have been in homes where there was domestic violence in the past, or even drug use. But the families are not allowed to enter the program if there is currently any evidence of violence, crime, drug abuse or abuse going on in the home. (So I don't have to worry about my safety, which is good.)

She told me some REALLY sad stories about some of her tough cases. I think she was trying to gauge how well I could handle kids like that. One girl has dealt with every single kind of abuse under the sun, courtesy of her own father, and she's doing drugs and alcohol, and her mother is enabling her and she is cutting herself. WOW. Another family is dealing with the fact that the father is on death row. Another girl has been dealing with sexual identity issues, and she just found out she's pregnant. WOW.

But these are extreme and rare cases. Most of the kids are in a situation where the parents want their kids to have an outlet that is safe and fun, so that they don't get into trouble. Most of the kids come from happy, single-parent homes, where the mother works a LOT.

I told the interviewer that I didn't know if I could handle the extreme stuff or not. Maybe I can, maybe I can't, I honestly don't know, because I have no experience with that type of stuff. This isn't the answer she wanted to hear, I'm sure, but I honestly don't know if I would know what to do in those situations. I told her I'd want to have some kind of training/debriefing for that. And that I'd probably just start crying and tell the kid they can come live at my house! LOL

I told her that I have been casually encouraging CN to volunteer for them, too. Most of the kids who come to BBBS are boys, because their single mothers want them to have a good male role model in their lives. She seemed to appreciate that I've been trying to recruit Big Brothers! And if any of my male readers are interested in volunteering for their local BBBS, I'm sure it would be appreciated!!! Hint hint!!

So that's it for now. It will take at least a month until she can begin matching me up with anyone. They do two background checks on me, so it takes a while. But I am so excited!!! I can't wait!!!