The Big DumpTruck

Throwing Little Thought Pebbles at Your Windshield Since 1996

Month: August, 2004

Work Hint #33

You work in a secure building. Try to find your badge before you get out of the car, and store it somewhere that you can easily put your hands on it. Don’t give me a big sigh when I question you as you try to get in behind me after *I* open the door; you know we’re not supposed to let in people we don’t know who aren’t displaying a badge. I mean seriously, I need to swipe my badge at least 10 times a day to get into various parts of the building. Why on earth are you keeping yours at the bottom of your messy purse?


Work Hint #32

If you see the paper drawer on the printer is open, and you also see a person walking toward you holding two reams of paper from the direction of the supply closet, don’t close the paper drawer and start looking in the cabinet under the printer for paper. Because chances are, the reason the paper drawer was open is that someone already looked for paper and couldn’t find any, and that the person you stared at, walking toward you with the paper, is carrying it for the empty printer.



End of Summer

I know that technically summer doesn’t end until next week, when when working Americans celebrate having jobs by not going to them. Or something like that. But Junior takes the bus to first grade Wednesday morning, so this weekend is the last one before the REAL marker of time, the first day of school.

We had our last campout at my sister’s house Friday night. It was hot and sticky out, and the mosquitoes had a field day. It was also a very destructive campout, and I wonder if maybe they’ll think better of doing it again next year. Items that were destroyed: a piece of their sprinkler system when the neighbor drove a tent stake through the hose/tubing. We didn’t know until the next morning when he pulled it out and the water started flowing a la Jed Clampett discovering oil. And then part of my air mattress got caught in my truck latch and was destroyed. And someone backed into (slightly, no damage) Mr. Dump’s car. You know, typical Friday night/Saturday morning.

Nature held off on the gross weather until this weekend, so we didn’t go up to Canobe Lake Park, as I was originally thinking. I just hate doing that when there’s really no place to go to get out of the heat the way there is down at Disney. Plus, there’s no way Mr. Dump would have gone with us on a day like this. So it was low key, I did some cleaning, Junior and I took his RC car out for a walk around the neighborhood. It’s ghostly quiet out there. I expected to see more people, or at least hear them. There are three in-ground pools within 6 houses of us, and as far as I could tell, at least two of them weren’t being used (I couldn’t see through the fence of the third, but I wasn’t really hearing normal pool sounds). Where the hell is everyone? Am I missing something? Is there a parade? Free ice cream somewhere? What?!

We picked six strawberries from our five plants today. I’m not very good about taking care of them, or even checking output, so when we do it’s a special treat. I think I’ll plant more next year, just because Junior loves strawberries all of a sudden, so I haven’t gotten to eat many of them.

So anyway, that’s why I have time to write to you, because it’s too hot to do anything outside, and I don’t feel like cleaning the bathroom. Can you blame me?


Olympics Stuff

Listening to the Zito and Jen show on WXLO this morning I learned that Shannon Miller, the gymnast, lives in our humble state, in the even more humble town of Grafton. She’s up here attending school. That’s pretty cool, actually. They got to talk to her about some of the Olympic gymnastics controversy, and hearing it from the point of view of someone who was IN the Olympics as a gymnast, it turned things a bit for me. I guess that’s why people with experience should be the ones out there explaining it, not leaving it up to the Couch Potato fans to complain about. She said that South Korean gymnast Yang Tae-young, the one who people are saying should get the Gold because his starting score was too low, actually made a mistake that should have had points deducted but didn’t. She said it should have been an automatic 2/10s deduction, and that might have dropped him out of the top three altogether.

Gymnastics doesn’t allow for instant replays, there are scoring mistakes made ALL the time, and the gymnasts just have to trust that for every time it works against them, there will be a time it works for them. If they are going to look back at Tae-young’s routine, they have to also take off the deductions, wouldn’t you think? And while they are at it, replay everyone else’s routines so you can score THEM appropriately.

I can’t believe the international gymnastics federation is asking Hamm to give his gold medal to the South Korean. Rubbish. You count on the subjectivity of human judges and hope that they see and note every little thing a gymnast does, and you have to take the scores you get. The judges weren’t coerced into voting one way or the other the way they were in that skating controversy. It’s like umpires in baseball. They make some bad calls, but that’s the way it goes. Period.


Oh, Poop

I forgot to set the TiVo to get the Synchronized swimming on Bravo at 5pm. Poop.

Here’s an Olympic event I could probably compete in, although I’m not sure how they can keep these people from breaking into a jog: Track & Field – Men’s 50k Walk. Do they hold this at a local mall?


A Little of This, A Little of That

It’s just one of those days.

  • Lileks has a great piece today on parenthood. All of it completely true. I laughed out loud when he said he went to the web to find the rules for checkers, because I did the same thing when Junior and I first played. And I’ve since forgotten the king rule, so if we played again today, I’d have to look it up. That and the spidey-sense thing and the having to lie about not being sad? Well, the last one actually brought a lump to my throat because been there done that. And he’s so right…you have to lie because your heart breaks into 20 million pieces but you can’t show it because you want the child to be happy to be broadening his horizons. Okay, enough weepy talk about kids until after the first day of school next week. I promise. Maybe.
  • At work we have a default intranet home page and one of the little bricklets you can add is the weather forecast. Today I looked and the picture for Saturday is the word “HOT” with wavy lines behind it. It’s the last Saturday of the summer, for all intents and purposes, and this is the first time they’ve used that icon since last summer. Unreal.
  • As a follow-up to the Leominster School Department thing, I wrote a note to the superintendent of schools, and got an amazing reply back. Based on this reply and my belief that she will actually do the things she says, I will increase their grade to a B. And maybe my note venting my frustrations will benefit some other 1st grade parent next summer.
  • Why is it that I can drink gallons of the filtered water at work (with ice, natch) and never ever get that “oh my God, I drank too much water” feeling that I get if I drink that much at home? Same with restaurants. Is it the ice?
  • I returned something at Circuit City last night, and ended up spending almost the same amount on new stuff. But this new stuff is worth every penny. I got 5 compilation CDs of 80s music, almost no repeats on any of them, and the average price per CD was about 6 bucks. That’s my new measure. At 99 cents a track, is it cheaper to buy the CD (or songs) on iTunes? In this case, no way. While there are a couple of throw-aways in the bunch that I’d NEVER buy on iTunes (We Built This City? Uh, no thanks), there were enough on each that I got WAY more than the 7 per CD that would have made iTunes a better deal. So next time you’re at that store, try browsing the compilations. There are some VERY good deals out there.


Why Yes, That’s Mine!

I got #4 on yesterday’s Top Five list . I love making the list. Lately, whenever I get off my lazy butt and submit, 90% of the time I actually make it to the big list (i.e. Not the runner’s up or honorable mentions). Do you think that would incent me to contribute more often? No. But I am trying to be better. I’m also trying to be better about contributing to the Probe. What is it about this time of year that gets my ink flowing? Do I miss going back to school? I don’t think so. I do miss sitting in the back of the room and writing poetry instead of taking notes. You just can’t do that in a staff meeting. Not that I’ve tried, but when it’s 6 of you sitting around a little table, someone might notice.

So go sign up for your own subscription. If you get the paid one (c’mon, I know you have the money) you’ll get a new list every weekday, and you’ll get to see when I make the runner up list. If you do subscribe, tell Chris Jody sent you. It’s always good to suck up to the boss.)


Look Out, LPGA

With all the woodpecker excitement on Sunday, I don’t think I appropriated enough coverage to the big news of the day:

I wiped up the minigolf course with my family. I scored 1 over par. I have NEVER scored close to that before, not even back when I’d cheat. There were 5 of us, and Junior came in 3rd! We rock.


Cruising to the End of the Line

One week from tomorrow I get to bundle Junior up on the bus that will take him to first grade. I can’t even believe he’s old enough, until I look at him and realize he’s a big kid, and he’s ready to head out and do big kid things. And so the letting go continues. I have to hope he has good school experiences because unless I want to step in and homeschool him, he’s under someone else’s care for seven hours a day.

And might I just tell the Leominster school department that I think they do a sucky job of preparing parents and students for this big transition from kindergarten (half day and one school with only other kindergarteners) to first grade (elementary school, K-4). I have no idea what he needs to bring with him, if I’m supposed to give him a name tag, nothing. School starts one week from today, and the bus routes have not been posted anywhere. You have to call and ask. Hello, is this effective? What the hell is your web site for?

The aftercare portion of the website is also content-free. No price information. No information about how to sign up for it. Once again, I had to call, and they tell me that registration is tomorrow and Thursday during the day. Let me just point out something really simple to these folks. The people who need aftercare need it because they are working. Working during the day. During the day, which is when you expect us to go to your office and register. The only people this is convenient for are those who don’t need aftercare. At least put the danged form on the website so I can fill it out ahead of time. Sheesh.

It’s like the music classes my sister is trying to sign my nephew up for. They offer three different times for the 5 to 8 year olds. The Saturday morning class is full. The weekday class at 1pm and the one at 3:30 are not. My BIL politely pointed out to them that at 1pm, all 6-8 year olds and many 5 year olds will be in school. So maybe they’ll get the AM kindergarten 5 year olds who have a parent who can take them. Once again, if parents work, they are out of luck. And if school in that town lasts until 3:15, you’ve got to haul butt to get to the 3:30 lesson. How do people like this get to own their own businesses? And who suffers? All the kids who want to take music classes who, unfortunately, didn’t get in to the Saturday class.

I can’t even tell you how many working parents I know. And this stuff happens ALL the time. The Church we belong to has religious ed classes scheduled for Monday afternoons. HELLO? How do you expect these kids to get there? This isn’t the 1950s any more. Of course, if it were, we wouldn’t be able to get him to those classes anyway because the stay-at-home mom didn’t have a car at her disposal.

Okay, I guess that’s enough of a rant for today. And if you are part of the Leominster School Department, consider your grade a C. And that’s being generous.


No, You Can’t Keep Him

I forgot to mention that Junior asked yesterday if he could keep the woodpecker as a pet bird if we couldn’t get it out of the house. Um, no. No wild birds. “He’d peck you on the head looking for bugs.” “Ewwwww!”

Let’s face it, it would just be one more animal he named after himself. Which is really funny, when you think about it. It’s like me calling all my pets (real and stuffed) variations of Jody. Well, there’s Little Jody, Jody-kins and Jody the Fish. We could have Jody The Bird.