Wednesday, August 24, 2005

We have since returned from Maine.

Ah, Maine. Land of micro-brews, seafood, blown tires and comedians named "Yo, Adrian". But that's for another time and place.

On this, my 4th pilgrimage in 3 years, we brought my honey's best friend from high school. WC is a sweet guy. Big heart. Warm personality. Screwed up internal clock.

WC gets in the car last Thursday evening and is all energy. That evening, when we make our first stop of the trip in Connecticut, he says he can't sleep and wants to stay up a bit. The next morning, there is a strange beverage on the nightstand (remnants of orange, cranberry and tonic), and WC in bed, still half-dressed from the night before. Seems he had been in the hotel bar, which lead to another bar, then back to the hotel. He slept through the majority of driving the next day.

That evening, we stayed in a hotel next to the Portland International Jetport. Knowing that there were no local bars, we spent the majority of the night in Portland, drinking at pubs and watching WC pick up girls.

This is where we witnessed "Dance Fight"

A lanky, sweaty guy in a white tank top, black biker shorts and yellow construction hat challenged onlookers to "Dance Fight". He moved like that awkward white guy you can see at weddings. You know the one. He's quite at the beginning of the night, but about 4 hours into the party he's on the floor doing the snake. The difference between sloppy white guy at the wedding and "Dance Fight" guy is that DF is clearly sober and is being followed by videotaping friends. As he flailed about on the cobble stone streets, the posse cheered the train wreck on. It was a sight to behold. But I didn't want to behold it for too long - for fear of getting a rash.

We return to the hotel at 2:00, and WC is back on the prowl - this time getting friendly with the folks at the hotel front desk. At 9:00 am we awaken to another strange left over beverage (half consumed Orangina), and a passed-put WC. For the rest of the day he took frequent catnaps.

Next night, same of the second. This time WC was in the hotel lobby until 4:00 am. Seems he fell asleep watching wrestling, and the guy at the desk had to wake him up. Orangina again was the mystery beverage of choice.

Outside of a potential date with a front-desk clerk (he wrote her a customer review card that could have been easily mistaken for a letter of intent), WC was unsuccessful in finding a mate this weekend. What he was successful in was:

1) Providing beverage intrigue with each new day.
2) Providing an excuse for me and my honey to stay out after our usual 10:00 pm bedtime.
3) Providing many an instance to take pictures of his sleepy ass all over the back seat of the car.

FYI - establishments of note:
Bull Fenney's for Irish food, fresh pots of loose-leaf tea and wide beer selection. Delish.

Gritty McDuff's for a great fresh beer and fantastic people watching.

The Oasis on Wharf Street is ok, I suppose, if you're into meat markets. When I'm doing test-tube shots, it tells you that this married girl was really bored. There is a dance floor inside and up the stairs, which felt like it was going to cave in. It's a wonder we made it out alive.

Gilbert's Chowder House is Mecca for those looking for chowder. Enough said.

Check out the pier at Old Orchard Beach in Saco, and the shopping in Freeport if you want to venture further...worth the effort.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Hey folks - me and the Mister are in Maine!

We stayed in Conn. on Thursday night, leaving only about 3 hours of driving yesterday. Portland is fantastic. Shepard's Pie at Bull Fineys' is the best in the business. Drinking at Gritty's is great ("Vacationland" is a micro-brew on tap that starts smooth and finishes "hoppy" - refreshing for the summer). We'll be starting out today in Freeport, and returning to Portland for Gilbert's super seafood chowder for lunch (the food of the gods).

Will write more later - Aj

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Yesterday I had to fire a temp for not being able to answer a phone.

Temp #1 shook my hand with well-manicured, clammy fingertips. Blinked with eyes outlined in about a quarter inch of black liquid liner. Walked in little white flip-flops that smacked her heals with each step.

Have I ever worn flip-flops to the office? Yes, BUT I WORK THERE! I WAS NOT A TEMP ON HER FIRST DAY!!!

It's all right, I think. I'm a nice person. She's young. She looks 12-ish. Kinda cute in a prosta-tot way. Besides, I just need her to answer the phones.

In a matter of 1 1/2 hours, she managed to drop every call received. She could not pick up a ringing phone and say hello.

I began picking up the lines, hearing from those calling that they had tried earlier, but they just couldn't get through that morning. I blamed it on the last night's storm.

After several attempts, the temp agency finally got a call through to me. They had even figured out that this was entirely no good. I sent her home at 12:00, saying that the day was really slow and that I had misjudged our need.

I'm a nice person. I lied.

Not her fault. She was not phone competent. I had requested phone competence. The temp agency set her up to fail.
I'd try another agency tomorrow.

Today, Temp #2 comes in. She had a much better handshake. That's about it.

Temp #2 spent her first hour answering the phone with the wrong company name.
Temp #2 passed a call to my boss, saying "Joe is on line 1, he is from, uh, a company with a lot of names".
Temp #2 asked a caller twice what her name was, and repeatedly called her Julie after she had responded "Alice"
Temp #2 lost calls, screwed up extensions, but got quite a lot of work done on an outside project that she brought.

When I called the temp agency and told them about the first hour's disaster, they asked if anyone had told her the name of the company. I thought, "Gee, that's your job”, but said, "well, it's on the door, and she had to have come in somehow". They asked if I wanted her day to end early, and I told them I was hard pressed for help. I had a meeting, and although the calls may get fucked up, at least they were picked up.

I sent Temp #2 home with a smile and a mention of seeing her tomorrow.

I'm a nice person. I lied.

Not her fault. She was not phone competent. I had requested phone competence. The temp agency set her up to fail.

I followed up with the agency to make sure they would let her know not to come back. They said of course they would. I'm not too sure. Every time I had contacted the agency they screwed up my name (where do you get Lisa from Aj?) and often answered the phones saying, "Good Morning, uh, I mean Good Afternoon. This is, uh...hello?” Really should have known. But I was polite. Not about to berate anyone for being a complete idiot.

I'm a nice person.

Temp #3 comes tomorrow.
Two nights ago, I was lying on the couch watching television. I hear a series of taps on the window-mounted air conditioner. Peaking out the window, I see that the sound was caused by the downpour of a passing storm. The sky is lit with bold shocks of lightning, which are shortly followed with the tear and boom of thunder. The temperatures had dropped due to the storm, so I turn off the AC, turn off the television, open the front door and sit in the doorway.

The drone of the air conditioner and television gone, I breathe in the acidic moisture from the street. The rain is falling in waves against the pavement. The tapping on the air conditioner and the ceiling is louder, and calming. My childhood bedroom was a concert hall during rainstorms, and often the sound of drops against the house would lull me to sleep. There comes a point when the sound no longer seems like it is coming from outside, but more like it had permeated inside. I look around franticly wondering why the drops sound like they are falling in the kitchen, but find nothing. The rain has thrown its voice.

The sounds of our environment are often agumented by humanity. The birds in this area mock the sound of car alarms. Save for the wind and the rain, how many sounds really connect us with those who have gone before? I have to assume that a rainstorm probably sounds generally softer when there is less pavement. But a storm's force on a house in the past as well as now must sound similar. It does if you decides to leave the comfort of white noise and forced air.

I opened up the windows, and let the outside energy push out the days-old processed air inside. The storm lets up. I feel strangely renewed.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

My Mother in Law can kick your Mother in Law's ass.

I kid you not. Do not mess with my Mother in Law.

Whenever I wince in pain as she complains about restaurant service, co-workers or family members, I now channel my anxiety into a game. I imagine a "Mother in Law Death Match" of sorts. Maybe a bit more like BattleBots.

Lights come onto the platform and I sit ringside, behind a steel cage, dressed in a theme-park poncho. In the far corner, your Mother in Law. Yeah, she looks tough. When she visits your home she runs her finger along your shelves and says, "Honey, if you really need the help, you should hire someone. Really". When the topic of children comes up (and you never mentioned it), she weeps until you bring your 2 year "wait period" down to 6 months. And she never has anything nice to say about you to anyone. Ever.

Enter my Mother in Law.

The crowd erupts as she lights a cigarette and gazes, completely unaffected, through your Mother in Law. She takes a few steps closer, sniffs a bit, sucks down a drag and stares down her bent nose at your Mother in Law's left hand.

"Nice ring. The stone would look a lot bigger if you cleaned it".

Your Mother in Law coughs from the smoke blown in her face.

"You have a problem with the smoke? Well, I've got a problem with you. Who the hell do you think you are to tell me how to live my life?"

See that? She's already all over your Mother in Law! All your Mother in Law did was cough! Bring the Pain!!!

She'll spend the next half hour chewing your Mother in Law out, leveraging superhuman mind-fucks. A brass-knuckled, backhanded complement. Poisoned-dagger glances. And guilt. She'll mystically make you feel guilt for being beaten by her. And make no mistake; my Mother in Law has beaten you.

I sit in the cage, covered in salty tears, cigarette ash and reeking of Chanel no. 5.
Damn, she's good.

Monday, August 08, 2005

TMI alert - Toilet story

The other day I was attacked by a turd.
Yes. A turd.

All I wanted to do was clean the toilet. Simple. A little cleaning solution, a toilet brush. A quick flush, swish, brush and flush. Done.

As I swirl the water around the bowl with the brush, this lingering turd leapt up from the bowels of the bowl and smudged up onto my toilet brush. I had run the brush around the bowl at least twice before realizing what had happened.

What does one do with the brush at this time? Rinse it in the toilet? Too late for that. In the tub? Ahhhh, no. The sink?

So I had a small funeral for the brush and the adorable rubber-ducky holder that was it's home. Peace out nasty. We now have a new brush in new Hello Kitty toilet brush holder (my husband believes that Kitty's true place is next to the toilet - easier for him to piss on her).

Until now, I had never been attacked by a rogue turd. May this never happen to you or your children. Nasty.