Sunday, June 28, 2009
  Give My Regards to Target

When I visit the local Target I like to browse the dollar bins right inside the entrance. I have found many a treasure there. A $1 package of water balloons gave us an afternoon of fun the other day. There's $1 Spiderman place mat marking the CP's spot at our table. The bins are a reliable source of stickers, workbooks, and rubber bugs. The CP accompanied us on a Target run on Wednesday. I steered him to the dollar bins while Scarcadad checked out some electronics. He zeroed in on one item and made a beeline for it. A hat. A plastic top hat, covered all over in silvery glitter, with red and blue stripes. A Fourth of July party hat. It was in the highest row of bins but he stretched for all he was worth to reach one.

Well, there must have been some magic in that plastic hat he found. Cause when he placed it on his head he began to dance around. Like he was in the cast of "A Chorus Line". He did a very impressive side step-cross step routine down in the aisle in front of customer service, ending with a big hat-in-hand flourish. I clapped and told him he was a wonderful dancer, and it might have ended there. Except for the lady at customer service. She smiled and laughed. More than enough encouragement for an encore.

The child who would not that long go hide behind me rather than say hello to someone, took his show down the main front aisle in front of the cash registers. We steered him through checkout, where he doffed the hat and held it upside down in his outstretched hand. I think he was hoping people would throw money.

They didn't . But the whole show only cost us $1.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009
  To (F)B, Or Not To (F)B

Well, that' is the question, isn't it. I have steadfastly resisted the call to join Facebook. Well, not totally resisted. When invited by Practigal to join up, I decided to forgo my reservation. To overlook my foreboding of either spending more time at the keyboard than I already do, or, feeling guilty that I am neglecting yet another online outlet. I tried to join, and it turned me down. Flat. There was a problem with my name. It was unacceptable. Really? I took it as a sign that I was not intended to have a wall.
It is getting tougher to ignore. Everyday I get another email from someone I haven't heard from in years. "The girl who snubbed you in High School invites you to join Facebook and view her photos." Who can resist that invitation. Everyone at work has friended everyone else, which seems a bit unnecessary since we see each other everyday. And they keep in touch with people who have transferred to other locations. Almost dailyI get messages from so&so that a co-worker found on Facebook. Invariably they say we should get together. Have a reunion. All this time I have only been a phone call or an email away. Not marooned on a desert island.
So I have stood firm in my refusal to join. But the other day I heard that a friend posted the 3D ultrasound of her soon to be born twins, and how neat it is. And when I asked Sarcasis if she had told her sister that her ultrasound shows the CP has a little sister, she replied that she had, and Sarcasmo Jr. posted a reply on her Facebook page. She told me I should join so I could see it. Yeah maybe.
I was actually afraid it would be awkward if I had a Facebook Page. Should you friend your kids? Is that invading their privacy? What if they don't friend you back? What does that mean? My girls have assured me there is nothing on their pages I cant see. So that excuse is gone.
I'm wavering.
If anyone knows a reason why Facebook and I should not be joined together in a state of social networking, speak now. Or forever hold you peace.
But I'm not changing my name!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009
  Rebel Rebel

Yesterday was Star's birthday. She would have been 36. We went to Rittenhouse Square to kiss the frog. We also went in search of the brick. The one which you may remember, that her co-workers dedicated to her. As we understood it, the brick was to be on a walkway, outside of the Ruth & Raymond Perelman Center of Advanced Medicine across from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. I first mentioned the brick back in November, when her co-workers also generously remembered her by dedicating skylight, and commissioning a painting in her memory for a new hospice center. We visited the hospice, but due to winter weather , crazy work schedules and early sunsets had yet to locate the brick. This day, her birthday. seemed like the day to do it.
I was unable to locate the walkway online, but easily located the Perelman Center at 34th street and Civic Center Blvd. Also the location of the aforementioned U.of P. Hospital ,a sprawling major medical campus,and Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia. All of it a stone's throw from the Pa. Veteran's Hospital and University City. In other words, a traffic nightmare, and parking hell. We made more trips around the circle, looking for spot, than the Griswalds made around Piccadilly Circus. We were waved off from one garage by a city employee diverting cars from a construction site, and denied access to the Children's Hospital lot because we were honest about our destination. We finally located the Perelman Center parking garage entrance, cleverly hidden down a side street and camouflaged by scaffolding.
The car secured we took the elevator into the Perelman Center, and exited onto the street looking for the walkway.We looked at bricks up one street and down another, sidestepping a roped off area on the Convention street side of the building. None of them had Star's name, or anyone's name for that matter, on them. We asked a valet parking attendant, and he had no clue. We tried the information desk inside.
"We don't have that information" we were told. Apparently we were not the first people to come asking. Not that they had bothered to find out anything. The information desk seemed willing to remain uninformed. Sarcasdad and I had invested too much in the day to accept that. I showed them the email I had gotten from Star's supervisor, and I think the fact that she was affiliated with U. of P. convinced one of the attendants to make a call. She came up with a phone number, and she was done. Sarcasdad took it from there. That number led to another number, and then finally the answer. The walkway was, if you hadn't already guessed on Convention street, right where the roped off area was. We so informed the information desk.
Back outside we tried, we really did, to locate the brick without breaching the orange barrels, traffic cones and barrier tape. But the "walkway" was actually an area under an overhang and right next to the building. We were denied access past the curb. I looked up at the men working from cherry pickers over our heads. They looked to be doing windows. I figured at worst they could drop sponge on my head so I said to Sarcasdad, "Cover me, I'm going in". "Wait " he said, and pointed up the street. "If you're going to do it, go in up there". He was right. I had less of a chance of being seen from there. A man in hard walked by and we waited him out. As I was searching for the best entry point I heard the widow guy whistling at some one. I turned to see Sarcasdad , on the sidewalk, past the tape, searching the bricks for Star's.
No way was he getting arrested without me. That has to be on one of those memes floating around the internet , right? You know. Repost and highlight the ones you have done. One more in my have done column. It took us a couple of passes but we found it. The whole time I was waiting for a security guard to approach and demand we leave. Of course, I planned to throw myself at him pleading and sobbing until Sarcasdad found what we were looking for. I never got the chance, as the worst we encountered was the whistling window washer. But I like to think I could have carried it off. Unless the him was a her in which case Sarcasdad might have had to throw himself.
Anyway, it was quite the adventure. One Star would have gotten a kick out of.
Here's the brick.
I rotated it on Flickr, but for some reason it won't upload that way.

It was well worth all the effort I would say.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009
  Its Enough to Make You Drink

Today I discovered that Twitter is a good tool for stress relief.
The day started out with a not all together unexpected disappointment. The installation of a new bow window, which we contracted for a month ago, was once again postponed. So I was already annoyed when I made my phone call to the Pa. Liquor Control Board to inquire of the whereabouts of our bi-monthly wine selection. The ill-advisability of the timing seems obvious now.
I'll give you the basic facts of the situation and then tell you about the phone conversation.
Our kids gave us a very much appreciated anniversary gift in December. They enrolled us in the PLCB Wine Connection, which entitles us to 2 bottles of wine, selected for us by someone who has more knowledge of wine than we do. It is illegal to ship wine to a private home in Pa., due to the antiquated laws, closely monitored and lobbied for by the patronage laden aforementioned PLCB. And, also by the AFL-CIO, which I am by accident of employment, a dues paying member. Therefore the selection is shipped to a local state store for us to pick up. The PLCB has been trying to appear more customer friendly to try and stem the tide of busy Keystone Staters trying to abolish the "state store" system " so they could buy wine at the grocery store like the rest of the free world. Instead of "state store" they would like their retail outlets to be called Wine and Spirit shops. Our usual W&S shop wasn't on the list so the kids picked the nearest one. It's minutes away.
January was coming to a close when I remembered we had not received the promised phone call announcing that our first shipment was ready for pick-up. So I called them. And they had no idea what I was talking about. It took a week for them to figure it out, we got the wine,and it was good.
End of March, no phone call. Call the W&S store. They have no idea what I am talking about. Deja veaux all over again. We went to the W&S store where we make most of our wine purchases. The staff there has always been friendly and helpful. They tried to have the shipments redirected to them but were not successful. The manager promised to find out what she could, and , amazingly enough that very afternoon the store that gets the delivery called and said they had our wine. Co-incidence ? I think not.
Here we are, past the end of May. No call. I call. I swear to you that they said they didn't know what I was talking about. I wouldn't make that up because I wouldn't expect you to believe it. Yet, it is true. The store manager said she would call me back. She didn't. I called her. She said she had been really busy and she hadn't had time to call anyone but she sort of thought there was an email about the wine connection but she couldn't remember what it said. She would find it and call me back. For the record that was 23 hours ago. Still waiting.
So, this morning I went online and found a notice that the Wine Connection has been "temporarily suspended". I called customer service. I recounted all of the details.
The customer service representative acknowledged that the club had indeed been suspended, but she really did not know why as she is new to the position. It will start up again in the fall. She assured me that no one is billed until the wine is shipped so the kids aren't paying for nothing. (I'll be checking on that). I questioned why we weren't notified. Oh, but we were, I was told, it was in the newsletter. Each shipment comes with information about the wine, country of origin, recipes and PCLB news. Or did until it was temporarily suspended. "Didn't I read it?" she asked. "It was right on the front page of the April edition". It took several attempts but I finally got through to her that my club was for Jan.,Mar.,May, July, Sept., &Nov.. No April. "Well", she said, "there's a problem we hadn't considered". She also said that the poor customer service I had encountered, in her words, "makes my blood boil". that diatribe was delivered with the same amount of emotion one reserves for reading a grocery list aloud. And when I asked how I would know when the club started up again, she said,
"The W&S store will call you".

And thats when I tweeted. I let it all out in 140 characters or less. And it felt good.

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