The Big DumpTruck

Throwing Little Thought Pebbles at Your Windshield Since 1996

Thanksgiving 2013

I have some things I’m thankful for this year. Some things I’m not, but now is not the time for that. Talk to me next week for complaints.

My son, for finally learning where everything goes when he empties the dishwasher, and for being the one person who consistently makes me belly laugh. That sarcasm 101 class at court jester school really paid off. You are top-shelf, kid, which is, by the way, where the wine glasses go.

My iPhone, which serves as my connection to the universe, my way to shop, my alarm clock, my kitchen timer, my camera, nightlight and radio. I don’t know what I’d do without an automated way to crush candy.
My parents, for everything they do for me, whether I ask them to or not. I know I’m blessed beyond belief to have you both. But I also promised to not get mushy.
My spare kid, and the girls who formed a fan club fighting to replace him, for making me feel loved and appreciated and all-powerful. I do love each of you special snowflakes. If you are reading this, you are my favorite.

Last but not least, I am thankful for second dates, and boys patient enough to wait for you to come out of your silly fog. I am thankful I came to my senses before he gave up on me. And he’s better than a plate full of turkey (but not better than stuffing because let’s not get crazy, okay?)

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Best sentence of 2013

Went out to Rockport yesterday with my boyfriend to do some browsing, and to visit his brother who owns a gorgeous bed-and-breakfast out there. Little did I anticipate hearing the greatest sentence uttered in 2013 to date.

He was telling us a story about working at the Holiday Inn in Syracuse, basically doing anything that needed doing for tips. Apparently in Syracuse in the 70s, the Holiday Inn was THE place to stay, a hotbed of activity for major and minor celebrities. There weren’t really many other places to stay if you were in the area, visiting the university, or performing.

The stories were great (I’m a huge fan of any kind of celebrity story) but this sentence, actually uttered to Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead, is better than anything I could’ve written.

“I know what it’s like to be famous; I’ve been mistaken for Mac Davis.”

You are welcome universe. Sharing this sentence is my Monday gift to you.

The Boy Wonder

My son, the actor. I like the way that sounds. A week or so ago he was nominated for an EMACT (Eastern Massachusetts Association of Community Theaters) DASH award. DASH stands for “Distinguished Achievement and Special Honors”. That sounds impressive, no? It is. I cried like little baby.

These are the Individual Performance categories. Michael, at 15, was nominated in the Best Youth Actor category, against every other under-18 boy in any production under consideration by EMACT.

http://www.emact.org/services/dash.asp

I’ve been in awe of my son’s talent for years now, but you always wonder if you’re just blinded by being his parent. This is independent confirmation that I’m not one of those American Idol moms at auditions telling her tone-deaf child “they don’t know talent when they see it!” When I say he’s really very good, I am not the only one who thinks so.

The Trauma of “New”

I love new gadgets, but I detest change. So the excitement of having something shiny and new is offset by the pain of the unfamiliar, the disappointment that things are different, or worse than the old. Eventually, I will get used to the new and there will be no more trauma, so I have hope.

Given the above information, you can imagine the horror I am enduring right now as I deal with not one, but four new major appliances. For 19 years I’ve had the same stove and fridge, and my washer and dryer were in the 14 year range. Now they are all new. They are all different. I don’t know how to use 3 of them (the fridge is the one joy in all of this, because really, how difficult can it be to “learn” a new fridge.)

The washing machine, while a lovely machine, is very different from my old front-loading Maytag. The cycles take longer, for one thing. And I think it uses more water. (Is this just the difference between a top loader and a front loader? Maybe I bought the wrong style?  Too late now.) I really disliked the “bad” things about the front loader, but I wish the washing was faster. Or maybe it took just as long, but I didn’t have a countdown clock telling me how long it would take to wash a load of towels (over an hour). On the other hand, there’s a lot to love, and some day I’ll finish reading the manual and understand all the settings. Maybe by the end of the summer. The good news? It plays an ice cream man-like song at the end of every cycle. I can barely hear it in the other room, but it’s so happy the load is done it sings!

The stove has a lot of new bells and whistles and I had to finish getting it unwrapped and prepped for use before I could boil water last night. Slight panic over the “new”. I also have to check all my pots and pans to make sure I can use them all (the difference between a piece of crap electric and a nice electric? You have to be careful on the nice one).

All of this bitching is probably making you hate me. I can live with that. I probably won’t even notice you hating on me as I try to memorize all the features and functions of my new toys, just to do a simple load of laundry and cook french fries. Priorities, people.

 

Four went in, four came out. They met in the middle of the street.

Four went in, four came out. They met in the middle of the street.

 

Working From Home

I’m working from home today. Most of the year I work from home on Fridays because my son has an out-of-town rehearsal on Friday nights and it’s the only way to make that work. Now it’s just my normal schedule. I work in the office most other days unless I have an appointment of some kind. I’m hoping to have my floors replaced this summer so that will require me to be here to get estimates.

So instead of driving 45-60 minutes to my regular work location, or 60-70 minutes to the RI office, I had the pleasure of spending that extra hour at my house. During my normal commute time (somewhere around 7:10 to 8:10) I was been able to

  • weed my shoe bin(s) and switch winter for summer
  • send off my Roomba to do my bidding
  • replaced a lightbulb
  • fill the dishwasher, and
  • start a load of towels (I like to do towels when working from home because they are care-free. If I am in a meeting and can’t get them into the drier right away, it’s not a problem. )

 

I can wear less expensive clothes when I work from home, and I’ve used no gas, and caused zero wear and tear on my car. And I still wouldn’t be at work yet but here the laptop is fired up and I’m already reading emails and working on a document due later today.

Telecommuting on Fridays improves my work-life balance cause I can enjoy that much more of my Saturday because I won’t have to do any of the things that I did when I would have been sitting in the car getting annoyed at other people who simply do not know how to drive during standard commuting hours.  Next step: Write a self-help book called “How to Commute Like a Real Human Being So The Person Behind You Doesn’t Want to Run You Off the Road.” It will be huge.

Ten Years Later

June 10th is my 10th anniversary with my employer. Ten years, three different roles in 4 buildings at 3 locations.

I still vividly remember standing in my sister’s from yard and getting the initial contract job offer. I’d been unemployed for 18 months after the tech bubble crash of 2002 killed my job writing hardware documentation for NEC laptops. I’d never not had a job before, from the time I was 16. 18 months is a long time to be unemployed. I was separated (1st time) from my husband and had to file bankruptcy. I remember crying with relief and happiness in her front yard after I got off the phone. I wasn’t useless. Someone wanted me.

I’m not going to get political here, but I will say that hearing politicians blanket all unemployed people as leeches on society is enraging when you’ve lived through it. Walk a mile in my shoes, asshole.

And I know another market crash could put me back out on the streets. I don’t take my emolument for granted.

That being said, I reserve the right to joke about hating my job (I don’t) wishing every day was a holiday (I do). That’s called humor. It’s exaggeration meant to amuse. That’s what writers do, be it about significant others, kids, parents, strangers, etc.

So happy anniversary to me. Let’s try for 10 more!

St. Jody Day 2013

I posted a link to the original St. Jody Day post back in 2009 (the first official St. Jody Day) on Facebook and Twitter. It is here. Go catch up, and then come back.  I think in the 4 years since then, we have learned a few things and we should add more items to the list of ways to celebrate.

Therefore, on what would have been my 20th wedding anniversary if, say, I had remained married the last four years (oops) I declare an update to the St. Jody Day rules!

6. The wearing of the tiara. You don’t have a tiara? Well, there are malls all over the world. Most of them should have a tiara store. Look near the yacht store.
7. The plugging in of twinkle lights. Don’t have twinkle lights? And you call yourself my friend? I HOARD twinkle lights. But I’m not sharing. If you have a fake Christmas tree, put it up and turn it on. There is no excuse.
8. The faving and RTing of my work on Twitter. For goodness’ sake, people, why do I only have 425 followers? And why am I not more popular? On St. Jody Day, you’d better bust out the big guns and make me feel loved!
9. The slurping of mai tais and ice cream. My darling cousin Jacqui and her darling husband Ron helped me celebrate my first St. Jody Day by taking me to a chinese buffet, followed by ice cream at Kimball’s in Westford MA. Two mai tais during dinner guaranteed I would have to be carried to the window to order my ice cream. You may choose to limit yourself to one mai tai, but get an extra scoop on your cone.

Is that enough? Never, but I don’t want to overwhelm the newbies. I think this St. Jody Day will be legendary.

Dick’s Last Resort Hattage

So to honor and respect me, my child and the spare made me go to Dick’s Last Resort at Fanueil Hall in Boston. The waitstaff verbally abuses you so it’s a lot like eating at home.

Here are the official hats they made us wear. A little too close to home, Mickey the Waiter!

20130512-150907.jpg

Restaurant Review

Okay, I’m not a restaurant reviewer , but I had a good experience last night, so I’m giving it a shot.

Last night Tom and I were looking for a restaurant that didn’t have an hour wait. (Good luck, at 6:30 the Saturday night before Mother’s Day.) While turning around in a gas station we spotted a little place called Prelude behind a Dunkin Donuts. “They have a spoon and fork on the sign! Let’s go!” (I am a sucker for giant flatware.)

The lobster fettuccini was the best meal I’ve had in ages. Huge chunks of lobster and fresh fettuccine. the portion looked small but I couldn’t finish all the pasta. We shared a sweet potato bread pudding for dessert. I asked that dessert to marry me, but ate it up before it could give me an answer..

Prelude, in Methuen, is owned by Tommy Grella, a finalist on Food Network’s “Next Food Network Star” (http://m.yelp.com/biz/prelude-methuen/). He’s a charming guy, I can see how he made it to the finals.

When he asked how we’d heard of the place, he was probably expecting me to mention TV or a magazine article, not “we saw your sign from the gas station”. He laughed and complemented my honestly. More people should do that, damn it.

Make reservations if you’re going on a weekend, as the place is tiny. And consider bringing me with you. Please.

Adventures in Near-Prison Photography

White Hat, the Marathon Bomber was moved to a prison hospital two towns (10 minute drive) away from my house.

Devens is a decommissioned Army base that’s being turned (very successfully) into a center of commerce. We’re even getting a movie studio! Parts of it are really gorgeous now, and are no longer gated off. I was on the property taking pictures in an old Army cemetery one time and noticed a group of guys staring at me like they were shocked I was there. I found out later it was related to the prison system. It certainly wasn’t high security. AT ALL. I would never have stopped to take photos if I had known.

Yup. Googled “Federal Medical Center Devens” and went to maps. Zoomed in, and the cemetery is on the left on the map.

So that’s nice.