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Category Archives: confusion

The new kid in town

Moving to a new area (especially after spending over a decade in the last area) there’s a bit of a transitional period. I mean, more than you have to unpack everything and put everything away and figure out where the closest grocery store is. Of course I’ve done that. If I hadn’t, I’d probably have starved to death by now (or tripped over a box in my living room and broken my neck and Dumbcat would have eaten my face.)

I WILL EAT YOUR FAYCE, MOMME.

I WILL EAT YOUR FAYCE, MOMME.

No, it’s more the little things you have to get used to and relearn about your new place before you can feel truly at home there. Those are the things that keep popping up and tripping you up and reminding you that you’re a newbie.

THINGS THAT KEEP CONFUSING AND UPSETTING (AND SOMETIMES DELIGHTING) ME IN MY NEW HOME!

  • Where all the local towns are. I have to ask people at work this ALL! THE! TIME! A lot of my job is sorting towns on this one website by county (we serve a tri-county area, with a few forays into the other surrounding counties) and I have to look up all these towns online to find out where they are, and I’m forever asking my coworkers “OMG WHERE IS COPENHAGEN!” (Side note: Copenhagen is actually a town here, not just a town in Denmark. TRUE FACTS!) And then they explain to be “that’s south of us” or whatever and I have no sense of direction and they have to show it to me on a map and I’m still all “where is north” and then they all laugh at me because I am a freak of nature but also lovable like a stuffed animal made of hugs.

    Also, see Theresa? You pronounce the "h." THE-resa. I have a LOT to learn.

    Also, see Theresa? You pronounce the “h.” THE-resa. I have a LOT to learn.

  • The local news. We have one local news channel (THIS IS OUR COMPETITION! We watch this broadcast in the newsroom at night to make sure we have all of the big stories. And if we had them first, we like to say “WE SCOOPED YOU!” OK, fine, I’m the only one who says that. But I say it with a LOT of enthusiasm.) The local news is fine (they make a lot of typos on their website, which I like to point out and laugh at) except they have this local sports guy who makes me want to light both my eyeballs and eardrums on fire. His name is Busler. I don’t know what his first name is. (The website says it’s Mel.) He looks and talks like Champ from Anchorman. And he does this thing called “Busler’s Beauties” where he narrates sports plays with things like “Uh-oh! Spaghettios!” when someone falls down in a really obnoxious voice. According to my coworkers, who also think he’s got the most annoying voice ever, he’s a very generous guy who raises a lot of money locally for charities, so I suppose I shouldn’t pick on him. But when his segment of the news comes on, I always say “CAN WE TURN OFF THE NEWS NOW?” and coworker R. always says “Oh, yes, SORRY AMY!” because he knows Busler’s Beauties makes me want to stab kittens.
    Doesn't goold old Mel Busler...

    Doesn’t goold old Mel Busler…

    ...look like Champ from "Anchorman?" I totally want the WWNY team to get in a rumble with PBS. I would watch that.

    …look like Champ from “Anchorman?” I totally want the WWNY team to get in a rumble with PBS. I would watch that.

  • The local commercials. This should be a side-note to the last one, because good old Mel Busler does about 3/4 of the local commercials. He’s selling cars and vacations and who even knows what else. Also, there’s this one local commercial where a car company has their kids (grandkids? I don’t even know) do the commercial, and the little girl says “IT’S CRAAAAAZY!” with this weird look to and then away from the camera and the finger-around-her-ear gesture that signifies crazy and it makes me insane so I guess the fact that it MAKES me crazy means it’s working. I’m used to local commercials starring my friends (one of the best parts of being friends with the actors in the area!) so seeing these is jarring and weirdo-times.

    (This one actually isn’t THAT cheesy, but it provides you some local flavor. And now you totally all want frozen yogurt, don’t you? I’ve been to this place. It was a weird time of the day and most of the good flavors were gone but if I go back on another day I’m sure I’ll have better luck with it. There really are a billion toppings.)
  • Local stores and restaurants. FIRST you have to deal with the fact that you miss all of your favorite restaurants (Ala Shanghai – *sniff*) and find NEW favorite restaurants (I’ve found some that will do, but none that I’m crazy about yet. However, I’ve only been here 5 months.) Then you have to find your way amongst new and perplexing stores. There’s a store here called Herb Philipson’s (which seems like kind of a outdoorsy Big Lots? Like, it sells a lot of camo gear, but also random bins of sunscreen? I don’t even know.) I cannot remember the name of Herb Philipson’s to save my life. So whenever I talk about it I call it Harvey Fierstein’s. Dad always says, “IT IS NOT HARVEY FIERSTEIN’S!” So now of COURSE I call it that ALL! THE! TIME! (In this town’s defense, I have to applaud it for its shopping and restaurant choices. We have more shopping and eating venues here than you’d imagine. It’s kind of impressive.)
    It's Herb Philipson's!

    It’s Herb Philipson’s!

    Not Harvey Fierstein's! I AM SHOCKED WITH YOU, AMY!

    Not Harvey Fierstein’s! I AM SHOCKED WITH YOU, AMY!

  • Finding a new local radio station. I had FINALLY found a station I loved in Albany, with a nice mix of alt-folksy-rock and sometimes they’d play Pink, and now I have to start all over again. I’ve found one that randomly plays “Oops I Did It Again” and then five seconds later plays “Pour Some Sugar on Me” so I like that it’s unpredictable, but I need an alternative channel for my Brandi Carlile days. I don’t think we have that here. SIGH SIGH. Yeah, I know, that’s what the music on your phone is for, but I really like not knowing what’s coming up on the radio. It’s like a Magic 8-Ball of music for me. I’m easily amused.
  • Learning all the local lore. In Albany, you had Mayor McCheese, with the most prodigious orange tan (who left office right before I moved away.) Now I have to get used to our NEW mayor, who has a blog and owns a bar and is said to have an eye for the lay-deez. I have to re-learn things like “don’t eat there, because food poisoning” and “this is where the best coffee is” and “don’t trust that, because LIES” and “OMG, that’s the part of town where you’re going to get hooked on heroin, don’t drive there” and “that’s a stabmurderer, don’t slow down, JUST KEEP DRIVING.”
    This is my current mayor. He's nowhere near orange enough to be a mayor.

    This is my current mayor. He’s nowhere near orange enough to be a mayor.

    Right, Former Mayor McCheese?

    Right, Former Mayor McCheese?

I’m sure there are many more, but these are the ones that keep standing out. I say “HELP ME I AM NEW!” over and over at work, and my coworkers, who are sparkly-shiny-wonderful, always help, which is reason number 47 billion and 4 that I love them more than anything. They want me to fit in. I love that about them. (And in return, I tell them stories about my hometown, which is one of the counties we cover now and then, and sometimes I know people we write about because they’re someone I remember from my childhood so I give them the inside scoop and it makes them laugh.)

Until next time, my little chickadees. May you find a radio station that’s always playing your favorite songs and may you visit Harvey Fierstein’s, where I assume they would sell feather boas and FABULOUS false eyelash kits at an amazing discount!

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Help solve a very important mystery! Win valuable prizes! (There are no prizes.)

We all like mysteries, right? Sure we do. They’re like the best.

Want to help solve a mystery that happened at work today? I’d tell you there was a prize involved, but there’s no prize. Other than you can feel really proud of yourself that you solved a mystery, I suppose. Like, I’m sure Scooby-Doo and Shaggy feel pretty good about themselves when they unmask Old Man McGillicutty as the Coalpit Ghost or whatever. You, too, could feel proud of yourself like a stoner and his strangely oversized speaking dog!

Doesn't he look so self-congratulatory? Sure he does.

Doesn’t he look so self-congratulatory? Sure he does.

First, let me set the scene.

Oh, disclaimer: this story’s kind of gross. Just a warning.

So at work today, I had to use the facilities. In our office, we have the following for ladies’ bathrooms on my floor: a large bathroom in the lobby, with four stalls; a smaller bathroom in our actual office, with two stalls; and a unisex bathroom that’s really for the men, but we can use it too, right next to the smaller bathroom. There are also bathrooms on the second floor and the first floor, but we don’t use those much. Why would we? If you need to use the elevator to get to the bathroom, that’s too far.

I was in the lobby area anyway, getting water (hence the needing to pee – I drink a LOT of water at work) and went into the big bathroom. I went into a stall that a woman had just come out of.

“Hmm,” thought I. “This stall sure smells like poo.”

So I turned around and there, on the toilet, ALL OVER THE TOILET, was all the poo.

But it was in the WEIRDEST PLACE EVER. Like, it was in a place poo had no reason to be.

Don't piss off the toilet. No pun intended.

Don’t piss off the toilet. No pun intended.

I tried to draw you a photo of where the poo was, but my computer is NOT playing nice tonight. Probably too upset I’m writing a post about bathrooms. Anyway. Pretend you’re sitting on a toilet and you put your legs together and then put your calves back against the bowl. It’d be the front part of the bowl, facing you as you enter the stall. The outside part. NOWHERE NEAR WHERE A BUM GOES.

That’s where the poo was. All over there. SO MUCH POO.

So I was like, oh. Oh, WTF is this poo. But a woman had just come out of that stall. What if she was the pooper? And she was still in there washing her hands. So I stood in there as far from the poo bowl as I could and when she left I ran out and into the furthest stall from that stall as I could get only GUESS WHAT.

Totally poo, totally in the same place, TOTALLY ALL OVER THAT BOWL TOO.

OMG YOU GUYS WHAT THE HELL.

We needed caution tape in that bathroom. Like bigtime.

We needed caution tape in that bathroom. Like bigtime.

The middle two stalls were poo-free so I peed super-fast and got out (OMG YES I TOTALLY WASHED MY HANDS THAT PLACE WAS GERM CENTRAL) even though those two middle stalls have wonky doorlocks and you’ll be peeing and all of a sudden the door opens and you’re like oh no now you can see my hoo-hoo so no one ever uses those two.

Later in the day I had to pee again (I seriously drink a lot of water) and went into the small bathroom closer to my desk because, well, I wasn’t in the mood for all that poo. So I went into the stall and was all, aaahh, no poo, until I looked down and ZOMG YOU GUYS.

There was totally poo on the floor between the two stalls. Like, someone squatted and took a poo on the floor of the bathroom.

I was seriously flabbergasted at this development in the poo situation.

So I then washed up AGAIN super-fast and got out of there and looked for my boss because I was all, “Amy, you’ve got to report this poo thing” and she was at lunch so I told my coworker and she was like, “SERIOUSLY? I do not know what to say at this particular point in time” and I had to agree because listen, we work at a REALLY NICE PLACE! and we decided that emailing the facilities guy was probably the best move so I did and he emailed back “Thanks ~” and I don’t know what the tilde was for. Flair, maybe. Possibly because this was the actual email I sent him: “Hi: There is fecal matter all over two of the four toilet bowls in the women’s bathroom in the third floor lobby and someone defecated on the floor of the women’s bathroom near the copy room. I know. I am so sorry. We’re all sitting up here wondering what is wrong with the world. Thank you!”

But he never showed up and the poo abided. All day, actually.

And because we are children, we made poo jokes and giggled about the poo ALL AFTERNOON LONG. We made jokes about “doing our duty” and giving Depends out as Secret Santa gifts and all of the men in the office (there aren’t many of them) went in the women’s bathroom all giggly because they were expecting to see, I don’t know, pillowfights and tampons in there, or something, and one of them took a cell phone photo of the poo and they were all “WE CAN SOLVE THIS MYSTERY!”

They decided the toilet overflowed and deposited the poo there, but there was no water on the floor. We shot down that theory quickly.

I told my parents about this, and Dad got VERY SHOUTY. “That is the FIRST SIGN OF A DISGRUNTLED EMPLOYEE!” he shouted. “You stay vigiliant. STAY VIGILANT! There’s some sort of name for people who save their poo in plastic bags and put it places at work and also smear it all over. I don’t know what that name is, but the next step is bringing in an Uzi and killing all their coworkers. You should get pepper spray and scope out your exits.”

STAY VIGILANT, YO!

STAY VIGILANT, YO!

“That seems like a bit of an overreaction to the poo situation, Dad,” I replied.

Mom’s answer was just, “That is gross. Why would you tell me such a gross thing? One time I saw toilet paper on the floor of our bathroom. I couldn’t go in there ALL DAY.”

“That seems a bit of an overreaction to the toilet paper situation, Mom,” I replied.

So! Now it’s your turn, intrepid blog readers. What are your thoughts on the Office Pooper? Are the two poo-areas connected, or just separate things altogether? Is there any way poo could have gotten on the front of the toilet like that, or was someone purposely being smeary? How, exactly, did someone get poo on the floor of the toilet nowhere near the bowl? AND WHY?

There are no prizes for this mystery-solving, but you could add it to a resumé, if you wanted. SKILLS: Totally Badass Mystery Solving (Poo-Related)

I know. You had no idea when you clicked on today’s post you’d be a gumshoe. Or that there’d be so much poop involved.

Get to solvin’, little bloggonians. This mystery’s not going to solve itself. (Or clean itself. I’m so hoping the janitors come in tonight. Good gracious. I’m so disgusted with my office right now.)


I’m quite sure I would rule hammer-throwing. Who wants to be the target?

The Summer Olympics are coming up. I had no idea they were so soon. This probably means I’m broken, right? People get VERY EXCITED about the Olympics. Like, VERY excited. People plan their days around the viewing of the Olympics. 

This is a messy logo. I don’t care for it at all. I feel someone wasn’t trying hard enough.

I’m going to tell you something very, very shocking. Ready? Ready for the shocking? I don’t care even one teeny tiny little bit about the Olympics.

BUT AMY! GO MERKA! 

I mean, come on. These are the mascots. They are named Wenlock and Mandeville. I don’t – what are these even supposed to BE? Oh, “two drops of steel from the steelworks in Bolton?” Huh. That’s…hard to cuddle.

Yes. Yes, I know. I am not a complete jerk; I know that these athletes train their whole lives for this, and that they perform some pretty stunning feats of stamina and endurance and whatnot. Of course I appreciate that. I’m not denigrating the athletes. Go, athletes! You are very impressive. 

I just do not care. Because the Olympics is sports. Are sports? I can make a valid case for either tense of that verb, I really can. 

I don’t watch regular sports on television, and I really don’t care about these sports, either. I kind of was all “go Michael Phelps” when he was winning last time around, because he was a little adorable and you wanted him to win, you know? But I didn’t WATCH him swim. Because I didn’t CARE to watch it. Don’t care about it. Because it is SPORTS.

It didn’t hurt that he was kind of pretty in a goofy way, and WHOO those abs.

 I know, you all think I’m a hooligan or something and I’m broken, but whatever, I just don’t care. Listen, we even had the Olympics a little over an hour from my home when I was a wee Amy – in Lake Placid, does anyone remember that? – and I was a little KID and didn’t care about those Olympics. I think the only thing I cared about during those Olympics was that you could collect stickers on bananas of the different events, and then stick the stickers on this plastic vest on this collectible Olympic raccoon doll, so I was all into collecting my raccoon banana stickers. As for the events themselves – well, I was too little to know what malaise was, but I was certainly good at experiencing it. DID NOT CARE. 

It was totally this very raccoon! Only it came with a plastic vest you could stick banana-stickers on. We were easily amused in the 80s.

(Side note: I do like Olympics in films, like The Cutting Edge. SHUT UP THAT IS A GOOD MOVIE. TOE PICK!) 

*sigh*

In order to find out when the Olympics were this time around (in all seriousness, I didn’t even know if they were winter or summer Olympics, that’s how out of the Olympic loop I am) I went to my old friend Google, who was very helpful in informing me that they were summer Olympics and would be starting in a couple of weeks. Huh. I had no idea. I knew they were in London, though. That’s impressive, right? Go, me, with my knowledge of foreign affairs! 

Then on the same site that was all “YOU DUMMY THEY’RE IN TWO WEEKS,” it had a schedule of when the different events would appear, and when the medals would be awarded, and it was in pretty colors and such. Very helpful, website! So, so helpful. 

But also confusing, because some of these things I had NO IDEA were actually events. It’s like when you’re reading the Guinness Book of World Records and you’re all, “What? There’s a record for widest tie? Who thought THAT was a good idea?” (I made that up. That’s totally not a record. OR IS IT, I don’t know, I don’t read that book.) 

Like, sure, I knew a lot of there were events. Things like archery and swimming and tennis. Fine. Acceptable. People get medals in such things. Even synchronized swimming, even though it makes me laugh until I snort because I always think of that Saturday Night Live skit with Martin Short and his floaties. “I’m not that strong a swimmer.” Right? You think of that when you think of synchronized swimming, too, right? If you don’t, you might be broken, because it is kick-ass hilarious. But I’m not putting down the synchronized swimmers. If that’s their thing, good for them. I can’t even swim, what do I care? I’d drown just getting in the pool, let alone trying to do the same things someone else is doing, good grief. Unless what that other person is doing is drowning. Then I’d be VERY good at that. Very very good. 

Also, they always have to make exaggerated faces. Which…oh, shit, let’s face it, I’m VERY good at those. Just not while attempting not to drown.

Let’s look at some of the weird things. Also, I ran this post by my dad, so you get to see what he thinks about what I think is weird.

One: “Athletics.” That’s actually on this schedule. I was all, “What the hell kind of competition is athletics? That’s a total catch-all title. Could you just show up and do anything athletic you wanted to? Like, flex? Or throw paper airplanes really really well? Or jog in place?” Then I had the giggles for about twenty minutes. But I realized if you hovered over the timeline of “athletics” you’d see that there was actually a schedule for them and mostly it was stuff we’d have called “track and field” when I was in high school, like shot-put and javelin-throwing and such. Why the hell don’t you just call it track and field, then? Weird. 

(SIDE NOTE: one of the “athletic” events? Is “hammer throwing.” Hee! I want to throw hammers. I’d feel like one of the Mario Brothers. Also, can I pick who’s standing in the way when it lands? I feel like, as a champion hammer-thrower, I should get to choose who I’m throwing the hammer AT. Another event? “Race Walking.” Isn’t that what old people do at the mall? That’s an event? Well, sign up the old people at the mall, then, they could totally win this!) 

It isn’t even a HAMMER. This is totally misleading, yo.

Amy’s Dad’s take on this: “Amy, it’s not even a hammer. You take things way too seriously. Also, they don’t get to throw them AT anyone.”

Two: “Badminton.” This is an Olympic event? I’ve totally missed my calling. I used to be VERY good at badminton when we played it at my camp when I was a kid. Except our rackets were really jacked-up and the birdie would often get stuck in the racket. When that happened, we would laugh and laugh and sometimes throw the racket at the other player. It was kind of badminton to the death at my camp. So I think I’ve had my badminton trial-by-fire, and so therefore would be very qualified to win the badminton Olympic gold. Also, I totally took a joint badminton/archery gym class in college. Shut up, it totally counted for my gym class requirement. My other gym class (we had to take two) was YOGA. I know! I might have taken the two classes that made me exert the least energy ever. Gym class got its revenge on me, however, because in my yoga class was my ex, and therefore I had to see him being all bendy twice a week and flirting with someone else, and that was awkward because the breaking off of the whole thing had been full of hatred and glaring. Wait, I don’t know if you can call someone your ex if they were never officially your boyfriend and they were just the guy you were hooking  up with in the hope they would become your boyfriend until the day you walked in on them getting gay with a guy and you thought to yourself, “MAN I wish I’d knocked.” I mean. Hypothetically. Heh. Heh heh. Oh. We were talking about badminton, weren’t we? I wasn’t very good at it in college. It was a lot harder, because in college there were these things called “rules” and also certain places you had to stand on the floor and such and the birdie NEVER got stuck in the racket, not ever, so you never got to throw your racket. Also, probably if you did, you’d have failed gym. 

Um. Look how seriously these people are taking badminton. This would make me laugh and laugh if I saw this in real life, I’m not even kidding. IT IS BADMINTON.

Amy’s Dad’s take on this: “I knew someone at work who used to play badminton competitively. We used to ask him if he had a purse. You know. Like he was a LADY. I think this is a lady-sport.” My response: “That’s kind of sexist, Dad.” Dad’s response: “Yes.”

Three: two, count ‘em, TWO, canoe events! “Canoe slalom” and “Canoe sprint.” Isn’t slalom when you go back and forth? In a CANOE? That’d be all sloshy and there’d be a lot of potential to crash into things, I don’t know about that. Also, “sprint?” I don’t know that you sprint in a canoe. Canoe RACING, I can see, but “sprint” seems an odd way to phrase something, right? Hmm. 

This looks like the Raging River ride we used to go on at the amusement park when I was a kiddo. Whee!

Amy’s Dad’s take on this: “They’re not really canoes. They’re kayaks. This is named confusingly.”

Four: “BMX Cycling.” Listen, my brother used to BMX cycle, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t an Olympic sport. Mostly he just rode up to the neighbors’ house and they played kickball and then he came home. What’s involved in this? Like, is it off-roading? Are there ramps? Younger Brother used to set up ramps made out of chipboard and those things you use in a garage to drive a car up on to check the underparts of the car and then he’d ride over them and my mom would be all “YOU’RE GOING TO BREAK YOUR BONES.” Is that what “BMX Cycling” is? I think it’d be awesome if they had to build their own ramps out of things they found lying around the area, like trash and tourists. 

Heh! You go, future Olympian. YOU GO.

Amy’s Dad’s take on this: “They’re always adding crap to the Olympics so kids will watch it instead of putting graffiti on office buildings. Like this event, and also snowboarding.”

Five: “Table Tennis.” Really? That’s what Forrest Gump did, isn’t it? Isn’t this just a fancy way of saying ping pong? I didn’t know you could get a gold in something that people do in their basements when they’re stoned and drinking PBR and listening to old-school Pink Floyd. What’s next, gold medals in air hockey? ZOMG HOW MUCH DO I WANT A GOLD MEDAL IN AIR HOCKEY. Or Skee-Ball! YES YES YES. When’s the next Olympics? At the next Olympics, I will be winning the gold medal for SKEE-BALL. Think of all the tickets I could get THEN that I could trade in for valuable prizes like large stuffed animals or velvet Elvises! 

I WILL RULE YOU, SKEE-BALL.

Amy’s Dad’s take on this: “Amy, you KNOW that table tennis is an Olympic Sport. Don’t you remember the whole uproar about the Chinese that time? I think it was in the 50s?” Me: “Dad, how old do you think I AM?” Dad: “Oh. Heh. Yeah. Good point. ANYWAY, moving ON, if they could get someone to sponsor Skee-Ball, it would totally be a sport in the Olympics. You wouldn’t win it, though. You don’t have very good hand-eye coordination, and you’d probably hit a judge in the neck with the ball.”

Six: “Trampoline.” I have a STORY! About a TRAMPOLINE! Not that long ago, like a little over ten years or so, back when I wasn’t so socially awkward, I went to a theater party. And people got drunk drunk DRUNK. It was at a house – if I’m remembering correctly? – that one of the cast members was housesitting for? Something along those lines. Either way, it wasn’t any of our homes. It was FANCY. Anyway, I didn’t get drunk, because I was driving home. But there were some younger cast members there, and they got WASTED. And there was a trampoline in the backyard. And it (for some reason) had like a shower curtain around it. (It wasn’t a shower curtain. I have no idea how to describe it. It was like it was a contained unit of trampoline. So no one could see you jumping? I don’t know.)

Like this! What’s the net for? Is it a safety thing? So you don’t go flinging all off across the lawn and whatnot?

So a few of the younger cast members decided to go in there and smoke. I’m pretty sure it was just cigarettes but I’m not ruling out other substances. It was a crazy night. And – AND – they were SO DRUNK that they butted their cigarettes (or whatever they were smoking) out ON THE TRAMPOLINE. Which burned a HOLE in the trampoline. MULTIPLE HOLES. So the following week when we got back to the theater we were ALL informed we owed like $100 each for trampoline repair. I was all, “SO SORRY CHARLIE, I’m not paying for drunken stupidity, no no not me.” (Also, I didn’t have $100 to spend on trampoline repair. I couldn’t even buy food. I’m not even kidding. I was surviving on whatever people didn’t finish and said I could have at rehearsals, and 99 cent bean burritos at Taco Bell. Oh, and water. It was a dark time in Amy-land. $100 might as well have been a MILLION dollars to me at that time. Still kind of is now, to be honest.) Anyway, I have no idea what happened there. But, let this serve as a cautionary tale, on a lot of levels. A., don’t let theater people get drunk at the house you’re housesitting at; B., don’t butt burning things out on trampolines, C., don’t ask me for $100 for repair of something I didn’t ruin, because DAMN, son, the only thing I did at that party was pine over the southern redhead I was in love with at the time but if I remember correctly he was pissed at me for something that night even though I looked AMAZING and was so, so dressed up and wore heels that gave me blisters for like a MONTH. 

Oh, that really wasn’t at all on-topic. What would trampolining have to do with the Olympics? Would you…bounce and then flip? Put cigarettes out on the trampoline and then catch them in your mouth on the way down? It’s all very confusing. Also, trampolines are dangerous and you could break your neck on there. 

Amy’s Dad’s take on this: “I think this is just gymnastics on a trampoline for people that don’t like to do gymnastics on the ground like normal people.”

The rest of the things are things I’ve heard of so I guess I’m down with them. I mean, “handball” and “artistic gymnastics” are a little suspect, but mostly because handball seems like a made-up thing for people who can’t afford rackets (am I spelling rackets wrong? Should that be racquets? That looks fancy, so I’m going to guess “rackets” is how we spell it here in MERKA and “racquets” is how they spell it in EUROPE. Oh, wait, one time Ken called Europe something funny like MERKA and now I have forgotten it. Um. Um. Um. I REMEMBER! It was YERP and I LOVE that. So in YERP they are racquets and in MERKA they are rackets. Or if they’re not, that’s what I’ve decided, anyway, so that’s the NEW rule.) Oh, and “artistic gymnastics” reminds me of the time in Old School that Will Ferrell was doing that floor routine with that ribbon in honor of his dead friend Blue and that made me laugh until I almost peed. 

 

Yes, yes. I have the sense of humor of either a five-year-old or a frat boy. I know. I KNOW. It’s a thing. I deal with it. Moving on. 

Anyway, I hope you all have fun watching the Olympics, and best of luck to all of the competitors, and I hope you don’t fall off the trampolines or get a ping-pong ball to the eyehole. I will be watching programs from almost a year ago, because I am THAT FAR BEHIND on my television viewing. Soon I hope to be caught up enough that I know what you’re all talking about when you make pop-culture references, won’t that be the best? Yes! YES IT WILL!


A few of my not-so-favorite things (with plenty of shoutery.)

There are certain things in the world I know very little about. 

I am a very intelligent person. (OWN HORN TOOT TOOT.) I’m sure, if I sat down and studied and read and forced myself to read up on these things, I would be better informed, but I’m – ok, I’m going to admit this, ready? – extremely lazy. 

There are things that interest me, so I am more apt to read up on those frequently. Science stuff. Some pop culture stuff (not so much “ZOMG JESSICA SIMPSON LOOKS AM-AYYY-ZING!” but more books, television, culture-related things.) Social issues. Geeky technical stuff. The arts. Weird news, like aliens and UFOs and Loch Ness monster sightings. Serial killer stuff (I know, I KNOW, I’m a huge weirdo.) Animal-related adorableness. Things like that. I’m very interested in them, so it’s easier for me to stay informed about them. They pop up in my news feed, I’m more apt to click on them. 

For example, King has not one, but TWO new books coming out. One’s about serial killers in an amusement park, and one’s a sequel to “The Shining.” See what exciting things I know?

However, there are certain things that, no matter what I read about them, I remain SO CONFUSED that I kind of just give up. 

The two main things lately, to boil them down to their essence, are health care and money. (Oh, well, and sports, but I’m hardly alone in not caring about sports. There are a lot of people who don’t care about sports, and it’s not like being ill-informed about what’s going on in the world of sports is going to negatively affect you as you go about your daily business.) 

First, we have the Affordable Care Act that just happened here. I guess you either are SUPER EXCITED ZOMG that the vote passed, or you are SO SO EFFING PISSED the vote passed. I think I’m probably happy? I feel like I should be. Overall, it’s providing health care to people who couldn’t afford it otherwise, right? And we have a lot of underinsured (or non-insured) people here in the States. Listen, when I lived elsewhere than where I do now and was very, very, VERY poor (unlike just the TWO “verys” of poor I am now) and the employer I worked for didn’t offer health care, I had to go to the free clinic for health care. Well, I don’t know if it was so much the “free” clinic. I think to see a doctor it was like $5, and medication was pretty cheap, like maybe also $5, or something. All I knew was, thank goodness for the free clinic, because otherwise, I would have had NO health care at ALL. I was making minimum wage. How the hell could you pay a typical doctor co-pay without health care coverage with minimum wage? You couldn’t, is how. Well, maybe you could, if you chose not to eat that month, or maybe not to pay your power bill. (Don’t ask. There were months I couldn’t pay my power bill.)

So if I was still in that situation, I think probably this would be good, right? According to this article I found today, it says that my healthcare under this plan (were I uninsured) would be 1% of my income (which goes up to 2.5% of my income by 2016) to have access to normal-human healthcare. I used to make approximately $360 a week before taxes took a bite out of it, back in minimum-wage days. I don’t know if that’s pre-tax or after-tax, but let’s assume it’s pre-tax. That would mean, for $14.40 a month (going up to $36 a month in 2016), I could have health care coverage. I pay more than that NOW for health care coverage, plus I have to pay co-pays. I would have paid that, back then. Totally would have. (Well, wouldn’t have had a choice – it’s mandatory – but still, the sentiment is there.) 

The only thing I don’t think is all that great is that it’s mandatory – I don’t know, doesn’t it seem like, as adults, we should be able to make the decision for ourselves if we want it or not? There’s probably some reasoning behind this I’m not privy to as to why it’s mandatory, I don’t know. It just seems wrong to force people to do something. Am I off-base on that?

Now, people like my dad are FURIOUS about “Obamacare.” FUUUUUURIOUS. I have to listen to a rant about this probably on a weekly basis. 

Things that make my dad furious and shouty: 

Every small business is going to have to close because they can’t afford to insure their employees. EVERY SINGLE ONE! There won’t be any small businesses left, Amy! Not a one! Walmarts as far as the eye can see! THE COMMUNIST PRESIDENT HATES SMALL BUSINESS! (Just a side note, the last time my dad shopped somewhere that wasn’t a chain store was…oh…I can’t even remember, but I’m thinking never. Maybe when he was 5 and all they HAD was Mom & Pop places.) 

No one should be FORCED to have anything! Including health care! Poor people don’t WANT health care, and this COMMUNIST PRESIDENT is FORCING them to have it ZOMG!!!!!1!!!! It is a PLOT! 

This is all a scam the COMMUNIST PRESIDENT (who, by the way, isn’t even MERKAN! Because TRUMP said it! On the NEWS!) is perpetrating, because he is in CAHOOTS! With the HEALTH CARE COMPANIES! So they can all make ALL THE MONEY! On the blood, sweat and tears of SMALL BUSINESSMEN and POOR PEOPLE WHO DON’T EVEN WANT HEALTH CARE! Shout, shout, SHOUT!!!! 

…um…this is a thing? Not just a thing my dad says, but a thing PEOPLE are saying? Oh, good grief, there were a lot of these images online. What is wrong with people.

Um…I think they might actually want health care. Don’t you think they might want health care? I did, when I was poor x 3 as opposed to my current poor x 2. I was glad the free clinic was there, but I was sadface I had to use it, because I worked really hard, and I wished I worked somewhere that offered me health care. The doctors were really nice, but always gave you the pity-face, and the place was kind of run-down and filthy and I always left feeling like maybe I had contracted lice from the waiting room couch because it smelled weird and was itchy. I don’t know. I would have been pretty happy to pay my $14.40 a month and feel like I mattered and had real coverage. 

But maybe I’m completely off-base. See, I might be completely wrong about all of this. I’m kind of not the most well-informed. Because I HAVE insurance. I’m one of the lucky ones. It’s expensive, and it’s not very good, but my office offers health care (for a premium every month, and a high doctor’s visit co-pay, and a co-pay when you get your prescriptions, but it’s better than some of the health care plans my friends have – or the fact that some of them don’t have any coverage at all, you know?) 

So, yeah, I guess I’m pro the Affordable Care Act. Does this make me a dirty hippie? I don’t dare tell Dad, there will be SO MUCH SHOUTING and “how could someone SO SMART be SO STUPID” and “I DIDN’T RAISE YOU TO BE COMMUNIST” and I try to avoid things like this because they make me need a drink at 5:30pm on a Wednesday, you know? 

I’m pretty sure Dad thinks this is me. Except with more looking for free government handouts. And loafing. And communism.

And, now, money. No, not MY money. I know just fine about my money. I get paid, I pay my bills that are due in the next two weeks with it and some groceries and some gas, and I have about $14 dollars left over and that is my MAD MONEY and MAN do I live it up with that mad money! I go CRAZY with my $14. (I might be exaggerating a little. Sometimes I have as much as $20 left over, and on those days, I buy myself a pony.) 

I’ve got my eye on this one. Spotty!

Dad’s latest thing to be shouty about is the state of Europe. Specifically, the state of the European Union, which apparently is having money issues and all the members are going bankrupt except for Germany, and Germany won’t bail out all the other members, so everyone’s all pissy with Germany about that, I guess. Re-read the sentence above, and you have the entire of what I understand about what’s going on with the state of the European Union’s money issues. I’m most completely serious. I don’t even understand what’s going on HERE with OUR money issues, how the hell can I be expected to understand what’s happening in EUROPE?  

Pretty, right? There’s my serious monetary analysis. PRETTY and SHINY.

Because I have no money, and never have (the only reason I have any money saved for retirement is because of our office 401(k) plan, otherwise, I’d be Walmart greeting and living under a bridge abutment when I retire, and I can’t guarantee that I won’t be doing that anyway, because I think there’s like $132 in my 401(k) account right now or something, I don’t know, I don’t check that shit, I’m totally the grasshopper and not the ant, I don’t make enough money to be the ant) money remains this weird, incomprehensible thing to me. I think I need to take a 5th grade comprehension level economics class. I don’t know how exchange rates work. I don’t know how banks work. I don’t know how stocks and bonds work. I really, really don’t. YES, I’m well-aware if I got a book out of the library or read up online or SOMETHING I could EDUCATE myself on this, and it’s something I SHOULD understand, but you know how some people are dyslexic? I think I’m money-dyslexic. Is that a thing? I feel like if it isn’t, it might be a one-person thing, and that person is me. I’m like Patient Zero of Money Dyslexia. I look at something that’s trying to explain a money issue to me and all the words go wonky, I’m most completely serious right now. NO, I’m not asking you to explain it to me in the comments. Not at all. I’m just SAYING, I don’t understand what’s going on in the world with money, other than I think the whole world, except maybe China and Germany,  is going broke. I blame borrowing. Credit card debt can be a bitch, I totally had to deal with that shit right after college and it was bad. I don’t even HAVE a credit card now. I don’t think they’ll give me one. My credit score is 4. What’s that? The lowest credit score you can have is 200? Like I said, I’m quite sure mine is 4. 

Mine is PAVED WITH GOOD INTENTIONS. And has a lot of potholes.

I’ve read like seventy-six articles because this seems like a huge deal and I kind of like to be a citizen of the world, you know? And this is a thing that is happening and I know people that live in Europe and I worry about them. But the minute I start reading: MONEY DYSLEXIA. It’s like the whole article is written in Mandarin. Pretty much the only part I understand is that Germany’s doing ok (I’m glad, that’s where Ken is) and other countries aren’t (that makes me less glad, I want everyone to be doing ok. Because I AM A DIRTY HIPPIE.) I read a very interesting Wikipedia about the EU today that taught me smart things that I didn’t know. Wikipedia kind of fills in the gaps in my sad upstate-New-York education. Shh, don’t tell my teachers, they did the best they could with what they had to offer.

Anyway, so the other night on the phone, this conversation happened: 

Dad: Where does the assassin live?
Me: Germany. You know that.
Dad: I want to talk to him.
Me: What? No.
Dad: He and I need to have a chat.
Me: This sounds ominous. Did one of your friends turn up dead or something?
Dad: No. I want to talk to him about the EU.
Me: Um. I don’t think…no. I don’t think that would be a good idea.
Dad: No, I think he and I should talk about what’s going on over there.
Me: That’s a terrible idea. Why would you want to do that?
Dad: I’ve been watching it on the news. I love Germany.
Me: Oh. Ok. You never liked Germany, even when you lived there, except you loved the beer. Why do you love Germany now?
Dad: Because they won’t help those other dirty hippie members of the EU.
Me: I don’t know anything about this. I worry about the people in those other bankrupt places. If their country goes bankrupt, will they go hungry?
Dad: I think that’s unlikely. They’re all communists, they’ll share their potatoes or something.
Me: I don’t know if that’s how that works.
Dad: It is, I saw it on the news.
Me: Oh. The news. Yeah.
Dad: Also, I want to warn the assassin that Merkel’s going to be assassinated. Probably he should warn her.

In honor of Dad, I tried to find a photo of her looking the most awesome. Here she is cheering for soccer. So Ken will like it, too!

Me: There were way too many “assassins” and variants thereof in that sentence. Why is she going to be assassinated? Also, if Ken were to try to warn his Chancellor she was about to be assassinated, I think he’d be put in some sort of governmental looney lockdown. I wouldn’t like that at all. He’d never get to tweet from prison.
Dad: Well, they’d be sorry they didn’t listen to him, because she’s AWESOME and she won’t back down on this money thing. So they’ll send someone to kill her. That’s what they do.
Me: Who’s they?
Dad: You know. They.
Me: The communists? Or someone else? I’m confused about this nefarious plot.
Dad: All of them. She needs to be careful. I really need to talk to him about this. What do you think he thinks about this?
Me: Um. I don’t…we haven’t talked about it? I don’t know. He loves his country. Your politics and his couldn’t be more different, though. I feel like if you ever talked to him, you’d end up shouting at him, plus it would cost you a lot of money to do so because international calls are pricey.

Not Dad. Similar, though. Similar.

Dad: I wouldn’t like him yelling at me. What kind of person yells at his friend’s father?
Me: I didn’t SAY he’d yell at YOU. He probably WOULDN’T yell at you. He’s very calm. I’m saying YOU would yell at HIM, and that would be distressing. I don’t want you yelling at my friends. Remember the time I invited someone over and we all played Monopoly and you started calling her a dirty cheater and threw houses at her and things got all awkward and heated?
Dad: I’m pretty sure you just made that up right now.
Me: Pretty sure not. Remember, I said I would never play Monopoly with you again, and I haven’t, ever since, because it makes you crazy and you start calling everyone communists and slumlords and capitalist pigs and then you roll the dice so hard they bounce off the board and bruise whoever’s in the way of them and when they complain you tell them to stop being a baby, that’s how the Game of Life is played, and when we tell you this isn’t the Game of Life, you say “that’s what you think?”

That’s what YOU think. BAM.

Dad: That assassin wouldn’t even be close enough for me to throw a Monopoly house at him. He lives in GERMANY, duh. I can’t throw a Monopoly house that far. Tell him I want to talk to him about the EU. I think he wants to talk to me about it.
Me: Yeah. No. No, that’s not going to happen. I’ll ask him what he THINKS about what’s going on over there, and I will tell you what he SAYS, but you’re not talking to him. No more shouting at my friends.
Dad: I WOULD NOT SHOUT AT HIM I LIKE THE ASSASSIN HE LIVES IN GERMANY IT’S THE ONLY COUNTRY THAT IS NOT FILLED WITH DIRTY HIPPIES OVER THERE.
Me: What are you doing right now?
Dad: Talking in a heightened and exaggerated fashion.
Me: I’m hanging up now.
Dad: Go Tweeter that assassin and set up a time for us to talk. Or is this the time he’s usually assassinating someone? You don’t want to interrupt him at work, that’d be rude.
Me: GOODBYE DAD. 

So apparently, Dad’s version of what’s happening is that the other members of the EU are all communists, which led to them being lazy slacker dirty hippies, so they lost all their money (I like to imagine that Dad thinks they’re all sitting around playing dice on streetcorners in every European country except Germany, and losing, terribly) and now they want a handout from Germany, but the Chancellor of Germany, who seems to be Dad’s hero and also imaginary girlfriend, will NOT give them a handout, no no no AND nein. 

Ha! Apparently, this is called “street craps.” Street craps! That MUST be a euphemism.

I have the feeling that there are some facts missing from his facts. Ken, because he is BRAVE LIKE A HERO IN A MEDIEVAL TALE, totally said, “I’ll talk to him” but I put the kibosh on that but quick. THERE WOULD BE SO MUCH SHOUTING. I can’t even. I would die of embarrassment. Ken would never speak to me again ever. (Bee tee dubs, when I ran this scenario by Mom, who was not there for this conversation, she said, and I quote, “what the hell was wrong with your father. Was he drunk? Your poor friend would never talk to you again once your father was done with him.”)

So, now you know. I have MAJOR FAILINGS in IMPORTANT WORLD EVENTS. However, if you want to discuss story arcs of the characters on Buffy the Vampire Slayer or to compare and contrast Anne Sexton’s earlier poetry with her later work, I’m your woman. I AM NOT A COMPLETE VOID. We all have our places in this world. Mine’s just…um…more artsy and less useful overall, is all.


I may well have sent a package to Narnia today? It’s debatable where it will end up.

Day two of my eight days of hell: complete. I CAN DO THIS. I totally did NOT punch a certain person I will not go into detail about because I would be fired RIGHT IN HIS PIEHOLE like I wanted to. This took a major amount of restraint; I am expecting my award to be mailed to me any day now. One of my favorite coworkers did say he would bring in pistols, and when I asked him if we were going to have a duel at dawn with them, he said that was up to me. That I could CHOOSE what I wanted to do with those pistols. Well. I like that. I like that VERY MUCH.

They'll look like this, right? I don't want them unless they do.

Also, some of my people sent me encouraging emails. To those of you who sent me encouraging emails: I love your faces, and if you ever have a really hellish week, I promise I will return the favor. And I will not shoot you ever with my fancy new dueling pistols that I have been promised. You win IMMUNITY from the dueling pistols! Isn’t that so nice?

I have very little time tonight to write this and catch up on all the blogging goodness all my people did today and comment and such and retweet the hell out things and respond to all of your lovely comments from today and then watch Justified because I think it’s the season finale and I suppose that means lots of shooting and excitement and maybe Raylan will take his shirt off at some point. I always like those episodes. They’re just so aesthetically pleasing.

This is what I want. ALL OF THIS. I've had a long week already; I don't think this is too much to ask.

So listen, today I caused SUCH A FUROR at my post office.

I made up a package for Andreas. Because I adore him and he is moving. Shut up, sometimes I can be very nice. I CAN. Whatever, I’ll smack your face area if you keep up with the insults. Now, do you all remember where Andreas lives? The ISLE OF MAN.

So Andreas sent me his address, which I wrote on the package, and I ran away from work and off to the post office on my lunch break.

My first indication there might be an issue was that the line was so long it went to the doors. This was not encouraging. I only have an hour for lunch, and I also had to go to the library and drop off some books that were minutes from being overdue and pick up a hold that was about to expire. Then I had to get back to work before someone noticed their indentured servant had taken French leave. Is that a thing, French leave? I feel like I used that incorrectly. I don’t really have time to go back and fix it. If it’s not a thing, pretend I just made it be a thing.

So I filled out the little customs form (and LISTEN, I don’t like that customs form. Because what if you have a surprise in there? Then you write it on the form, and the person who gets the package knows what it is before he opens it? I totally didn’t tell the truth on that customs form. Am I arrested right now? And also, there were two customs forms, a short one and a long one, and no indication which I should fill out, so I chose the short one because the long one looked like maybe also I was signing up for the draft in Micronesia and it worried me) and waited in line, sandwiched between a woman with a palsy who I was quite worried was going to drop her package on the floor and a woman who kept coughing a phlegmy cough into my hair. COVER YOUR MOUTH WENCH.

I realized the problem was that the post office was understaffed. Two people were working; one was efficient, and one was a young guy being trained by a DRAGON HARPY. DRAGON HARPY was very snarly at the trainee, the people in line, and pretty much everyone around her.

I started sending good vibes out that I would get the efficient lady and not the trainee kid. He seemed nice, but he was slooooowwwww. And I wasn’t sure I filled out the right form, and from past experience, sending overseas packages is like telling people, “I might be a terrorist!” so you have to be careful.

Of course, I got the trainee kid.

“Hi, how can I help you?” he said, very nervous. Aw, kiddo. Look at your valiant attempt to grow a manly chinbeard! I just want to buy you a Lunchable and send you out to play kickball at recess.

“I have this package. It’s going to the Isle of Man. I’m not sure if I filled out the correct customs form,” I said.

“WE’LL BE ABLE TO TELL YOU THAT IN A MINUTE,” Dragon Harpy hissed.

The next ten minutes were extremely painful, and I wanted to beat my head against the desk.

The problem was, neither Trainee Kiddo or Dragon Harpy thought the Isle of Man was a real place. They thought maybe I was sending the package to a made-up place. Like Narnia. Or Atlantis.

It is RIGHT THERE IN THE MIDDLE. I ASSURE you it is a thing. It is NOT LIKE CANDYLAND or NARNIA.

“Where is this?” Dragon Harpy said, scrutinizing the package like it was highly suspect.

“The British Isles? That’s what the address says,” I said.

“We need to be able to FIND it, in the COMPUTER,” she said. “Is this ENGLAND?”

Wondering why she couldn’t just have Trainee Kiddo look it up under “Isle of Man” in the computer, I replied, “Well, I did ask him, and he said it’s not considered England. So I’m not sure. Can you look it up under British Isles?”

Here are the things Dragon Harpy had Trainee Kiddo look poor Andreas’s address up under:

England
British Isles
THE British Isles
Island of Man (when I told her that’s not the name of it, she SHUSHED me)
“Man Island” (I tried so hard not to laugh…and was not successful)
“Island Man” (seriously, it was like they were DARING me not to laugh)
“just type in ISLAND, this is TAKING too long!” “there are a LOT of islands in the world, should I just choose any of them?” –actual conversation held by post office workers today
Ireland (because “try that, it SOUNDS like island, maybe this is addressed wrong”)

Finally, Trainee Kiddo said, “what about Great Britain?” and I said, “YES. That is an EXCELLENT idea. Try Great Britain,” and Dragon Harpy was all “huff huff” but he was SO CUTELY EXCITED. “Hey! Look! There it is! It’s a thing! Isle of Man! Right here! Under Great Britain!”

Yes. Yes, Trainee Kiddo. The Isle of Man IS a thing. I promise. Even though every time I mention it, my dad says, “That’s where that spy SAYS he lives. It’s a likely story.”

“FOR FUTURE REFERENCE,” Dragon Harpy spit at me, “this is in GREAT BRITAIN.”

“Thank you,” I said. “But I will not need that for future reference, because he is moving to FIN-LAYND.” Then I nodded, like Ken did at the end of his very impressive YouTube fast food video. You know, for emphasis. So she knew what I was talking about. I think it really sealed the deal.

I’m pretty sure if I ever send Andreas a present in Finland it will be easier for them to look it up in their computer. I think they could probably find it under Iceland. Or maybe Land Fin.

Then she got all suspicious-face about the package.

“What’s in here?” she said.

“I wrote it on the customs form,” I said. “CDs?”

She then SHOOK THE PACKAGE VERY VIOLENTLY. I have never wished I placed a bomb in a package to the Isle of Man that was set off by jostling so much in my life.

“Um…there’s nothing liquid in there,” I said.

“What about FLAMMABLE. Is there anything FLAMMABLE?”

At this point, Trainee Kiddo was giving me apologetic eyes. Poor Trainee Kiddo. If he was old enough to drink, he totally would have deserved a beer.

“I don’t know,” I said. “Do you consider CDs to be flammable?”

This was not amusing to her, but apparently was enough to let the package pass.

Then Trainee Kiddo  told me the prices, and some of them were ridiculous. Like, the most expensive option could have paid my monthly gas bill.

“If I pay for that option, does someone let me come along for the ride so I can hand-deliver the package?” I asked. Trainee Kiddo looked confused; Dragon Harpy frowned frownily.

FINALLY we found an option that assured I could put gas in my car today AND get the package to Andreas before he leaves for Finland, and after the package was stamped VERY officially MANY times (STAMP STAMP STAMP!) it is NOW ON THE WAY TO THE POTENTIALLY IMAGINARY ISLE OF MAN.

YAY FOR MAILING A PACKAGE!

Whoo, it’s exciting when you have an adventure when you weren’t even planning on it.

OK, I’m off to do a million things before Justified. Send good thoughts for shirtless Raylan. I need some happy tonight.


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