Thursday, October 26, 2006
  This Post is Brought to ou by the Letter "B"

"B" is for baseball. As you may already know, sports are not my field of expertise. I will root, root, root for the home team, especially if they are in a playoff series.(that's pretty infrequent in these parts). Just to give you a benchmark for my knowledge of baseball, last night Sarcasdad mentioned that the National News Evening broadcast was being done from Boston, and I asked if it was because of the World Series. Apparently, two other teams not at all related to Boston are battling for baseball supremacy this year. But I forget who they are.

My ignorance did not keep me from having a great time when Sarcasdad, Sarcasmo Jr. & I toured the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown New York. The exhibits celebrate all aspects of the sport, including the fans, the stadiums, the concessions and the seventh inning stretch, so even I found something I could relate to. Babe Ruth gets his own special display, as do African American players who challenged the color barrier, and the Womens League made famous in the movie "A League of Their Own".

"B" is for John Bartram, and his homestead, Bartram's Gardens. John Bartram was an American botanist who lived in the 1700's and planted the first botanical garden in the United States. The garden and the house Bartram built and lived in are preserved as part of the Fairmmount Park System in Philadelphia, and open to the public. Sarcasmo & I took a tour in our ongoing quest to visit the local places we have heard about but never been to. We are both botanically challenged. We know terms like "tree", "bush" & "flower" but Franklinia alatamaha is a little beyond us. What struck us both was that just yards from a bus stop and a gas station, in an area of the city that is predominantly asphalt and concrete is the entrance to an oasis of nature. We were given a tour of the house by what may have been the most unenthusiastic tour guide ever. She spoke in a monotone run-on sentence, and in the course of her speil managed to disassemble a wooden model of the home, and to knock the lid off an 18th century salt box with a errant wave of her hand. Left to wander the grounds on our own we made our way down to a wooden walkway that follows the Schuykill River bank. This part of the river is deep and fast moving. Again we were struck by the fact that just beyond the trees the river has a backdrop of waste management plants and oil refineries. And we both came independently to the same conclusion. If either of us were going to dump a body, this would be the place. I told you. Botany is just not our thing.

"B" is for Broadway. Yesterday Sarcasdad & I took advantage of being a quick train ride from the Big Apple, as well as the half price ticket booth near TImes Square and took in a show. You have to pick from what's available that day, and you are encouraged to do so quickly when it is your turn. So I chose "Tarzan" , even though I hadn't heard much about it. About 2 hours later a we were strolling around the town, Sarcasdad said he knew why I picked it. There was bound to be a half naked man swinging from a rope. See how well he knows me. There was indeed such a man, as well as other actors/dancers /singers who swung from ropes and pulleys above the stage and sometimes above the audience while simultaneously dancing and singing. It was very entertaining. The audience had quite a lot of children in it and you didn't hear a peep from any of them while the show was in progress.

"B" is for ballroom dancing. I am doing that tonight. Perhaps in costume!

  How to Get What You Want

The Cutie Patootie was at my house and decided to play with a toy that had been gathering dust in the corner. He pushed at the buttons but no familiar sounds were forthcoming. Being the toddler of the aughts that he is, he flipped it over and changed the position of the on/off switch. I was going to do that, but he beat me to it. Still no musical sounds.

Me: Sorry. CP. think it needs new batteries.
CP: (nodding his head in agreement.) Batteries. Get batteries?
Me: Mommy and Daddy are on their way to pick you up. I'll have them next time you come over. I promise.
CP: Gimme a kiss.(He puckered up and I did)
CP:And a hug. (I did)
CP: And batteries.

You know I changed those batteries.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006
  Thank You Fairy Godmother

We took a road trip this weekend, that I haven't had the chance to blog about yet. Because we did, I am playing catch up on my Sunday chores. One of which is paying bills and balancing the checkbook. Since I do 99.9 percent of this business online, it takes very little time. So this morning I took a few minutes before I had to keep an appointment , to get things up to date. Looking at recent activity on our checking account, I noticed that only one car payment,and not the usual .two had been debited. I scrolled down to September and saw 2 payments. Back up to October where there was still only one.

Now as coincidences go, on that very road trip I mentioned, Sarcasdad and I spoke about how one car was going to be paid off in about a year. Had we misjudged the time frame by that much? Was the car paid off? Nope. No such luck as it was the payment for the older car that had posted, not the one more recently purchased.

Whenever possible I will avoid calling a 1-800 customer service number. I went to the web site of the company that services my loan and discovered that while I had set up automated bank payments I had never registered online. So I did that. You know the drill, name; email address,;verify email address; password; verify password and then hit submit. Only to discover that in my haste I had not checked the ever present box indicating that I did indeed accept the terms and agreement. Check the box and hit submit. Only to discover that in my haste I had not read the rules governing the selection of the password. As mine was not at least eight characters long, of which 6 minimum must be alphabetical and at least two must be numerical, I had to pick a new one that I have no chance of ever remembering( I wrote it down!) And it's case sensitive to boot. So re-enter a password, re-verify and hit the submit button. Success at last. Now I was prompted to enter the numbers of the accounts I wished to view.. Account numbers? I am set up for automatic payments. No payment book, no check stubs. Where was I going to get the account number? Believe it or not, I had written them down as well. Same place I keep the passwords.

I enter the account number for the older car. A-okay. I enter the account number for the newer car. I get a message saying this car is no longer eligible for online viewing, and,for assistance please call their 1-800 customer service line. I tried to enter that number three more times before admitting defeat and punching the numbers into the phone.

To the credit of the loan company I did not have to press 1 for English. I merely put in my account number. An automated voice told me I had been identified as a preferred account holder and would be rerouted for priority service, and before I could think "yeah, right" a human voice came on the line. I explained the situation .

Customer Service Girl: We received a check for $7,236.43 on that account, so no payments are currently due.

Me: Really? [ Bonus ! it's our lucky day? Diid I win the lottery ? A contest ? Somebody up there really likes us. Woo Hoo! Do we have a fairy godmother? a mysterious benefactor?)] I didn't send you that check. It must have been credited to our account in error.

CSG: Is your husband there?

I didn't take offense by that question as the account is in his name. I handed the phone to Sarcasdad nad hard him say "really? That must have been credited to our account in error." With that CSG decided that the check must have been credited to our account in error, and promised to get it corrected and call us back.

Did I mention that on all the correspondence from the loan company, Scardasdad's name is misspelled ? There are only 5 letters and 2 of them are wrong.

Obviously this was an error, but just on the off chance that it wasn't- Thank you Fairy Godmother.

Sunday, October 15, 2006
  Take 2 Asprins and Text Me in the Morning

The other morning,while she was getting dressed for work Sally, the Seafood Department Manager heard her cell phone chirping the "you've got a message" tune. This was unusual as messages on her phone are usually from her son who was up and getting ready for school. Turns out the message was from a clerk in her department. He left it at 10 pm the previous night. Basically it said he was sick and would not be at work the next day.

When Sally got to work she called the young clerk, who really was at home and sick, and told him this behavior was unacceptable . Calling out sick is covered in the orientation session given very new employee. You call the store, and speak to your department manager, or in their absence, the store manager giving at least 4 hours notice. That gives the store time to adjust for your absence. Sally's point of view was that she shouldn't have been contacted on her personal phone. (we are not permitted to use our cell phones, while we are on the clock). And , had she not checked her messages she would have been caught by surprise when the clerk didn't; show up.

The young clerk contends that he gave well more than 4 hours notice, that this is the way things are done now, and hinted that Sally (in her 30's) is an old fuddy-duuddy who needs to get with the times.

I agree with Sally. What do you think? Are we a couple of old (?) fuddy duddies? In this age of employees getting fired by email, is it permissible to text out from work?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006
  How I Spent My Wednesday

Please note the date at the top of the post. Today is Wednesday and as I have Wednesdays Off I was running errands . I stopped at Sears. Right next to the gas grills was a display of artificial Christmas trees. It's barely October!! Some of them were already decorated although rather haphazardly. Kind of like they took them out of the box and they were still bedecked and beribboned from last year. Did I I mention it is 84 degrees here today?

I have my car radio tuned to the local .ABC tv station . Rachel Ray's new daytime show came on. She was very excited that three of her meals were chosen by NASA to go into space. That is quite an accomplishment. She kept pronouncing it NA-SAW. Which would be another thing altogether unless of course we are sending the space shuttle to the Bahamas! She did admit to not being a rocket scientist which she proved when she also admitted she didn't know what the letters of NASA stood for. and asked the audience if anyone there did. I can only presume that someone had the answer as that was when I turned off the car to go into the State Store *. When I returned I noticed that she was pronouncing NASA correctly so possibly the audience helped her out there as well. Good thing she can cook.

Just one more thing about my day. I am not a stroller. I doubt I will ever be. For me it is all about the destination, not the journey. If you are one to amble merrily along, I think that's great. More power to you. But could you do so without taking up the entire aisle so those of us with a mission can get past you?

In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania you can buy a gun at Walmart, but we closely monitor the sale of alcoholic beverages. except beer. You can buy that at a deli.

Sunday, October 01, 2006
  Applicant Must Be Flexible

Thank goodness, once again, for friends with interesting lives.

Minerva works for the same company that I do, and is really more an aquaintance than a friend. I do know her to be intelligent, responsible and hard working. She is more than qualified for the position of cash room manager at one of the first Pennsylvania slot casinos slated to open at what used to be a race track near Philadelphia. Minerva applied for that job, and was given an interview at 2pm one September afternoon.

When Minerva arrived at the interview she thought it was a little odd that so many people had 2 pm appointments, but she thought maybe there was more than one interviewer.She was also curious as to why when she checked in she was given a blank piece of paper and a safety pin.

Minerva was waiting in the reception area, along with the other 2pm people. The door to the interview area opens and a similar group of women with paper and pins come streaming through it. "Well, "says one woman to another"I never had to do that in a job interview before".

Of course Minerva had to ask.

It seems that the interview consisted of dancing to YMCA. Remember, the job is manager of the cash room. If you weren't comfortable with YMCA you could pick a Bon Jovi song to shake it to. The point was to make sure that those hired were the right kind of people.

Minerva returned her paper and safety pin and left the building.

In case you think Minerva was making this up, the mother of a co-worker also had an interview. She couldn't do the YMCA dance either, but she did shimmy, complete with an inflatable air guitar to Bon Jovi. Sadly, she didn't get the job, although some of the younger women in her group were asked to leave their phone numbers.

That cash room must be rockin' !

Just so you don't think this as in anyway sexist, a customer told me he went to apply for a part time job at the new casino. The only position left was short order cook, and you had to be able to do aerobics to pass that interview.

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