Saturday, February 21, 2009

and what will you be doing this weekend?

My work for the weekend. If I think about it, I'll cross them off as I get them done.

1. Record points in gradebook for study guides in policy course. (finished 7:30 pm sat)
2. Read journals in skills course and record grades. (finished 10:00 pm sat)
3. Read take home exams in internship course and record grades. (finished 1:40 am)
4. Read informative papers in intro course and record grades.
5. Write exam 1 for intro course. (finished sunday 5:30 pm)
6. Write exam 1 for policy course. (finished sunday 8:00 pm)
7. Develop an alternate final assignment for internship course for students whose placement doesn't allow for the assignment currently required. (finished 2:35 am)
8. Write letter of reference for student applying to NYU.
9. Create computer in-class research project for intro course.
10. Prep for Monday courses.
11. Clean apartment, do laundry. (so far, I've managed to do the dishes and order pizza for dinner)(sunday: 1st load in washer 1:20 pm, 2nd load in washer 1:45)
12. Work on MFD. (not bloody likely)
13. Touch up grey roots (hey, I have my priorities). (finished sunday, 1 pm)

So...what are YOU doing this weekend?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I'm still standing

They all woke up early yesterday. Even her, considering she wasn't going in to the office. The three of them were up and out the door at 8:45 am, due in Queens at 10 for a funeral. The rugrat's boyfriend had found out the night before that a very good friend of his had died in a head-on collision. A young 22 year old woman, who left two little ones behind. Estranged from most of her family, she'd been fairly alone for the last few years. The bf later said that he could tell they'd used a lot of makeup to make her presentable for open-casket.

The plan was that she would drop them off for the funeral and find a coffee shop to get some paperwork done. What she found was a mcdonald's, but it would do. The music was way too loud, and there was a group of about a dozen 'seniors' who looked to be in their sixties and seventies hanging out talking and laughing at one end of the restaurant. They were relaxed they way people are when they spend a good deal of time somewhere -- like they 'own' it, like it's their place.

She spent almost two hours there, completed reading journals and commenting on them for one of her classes. She had just started reading a chapter in a text book for next week when rugrat called and said the funeral was over. She packed up, hit the restroom, and picked them up. They hadn't eat, so she ran them back to the same mcdonald's -- drive thru this time -- to get them something to eat. Then they headed for the freeway and the drive home, so rugrat could get ready for work and she could get numerous bits of work done around the house.

That was about 12:15. And that's when the car died -- just before the turn to the freeway entrance. It had been cutting out when rugrat would take it to work, for a week or so now. But since it hadn't happened to her, she hadn't been particularly concerned. She'd thought it might be the battery, and that was one of the things she'd planned to do that afternoon -- buy and install a new one. But now there they were, stalled in the turn lane, hazards on, cars rushing around them.

It'll start in about 20 minutes, rugrat said. And the check engine light will go out. And it did start in 20 minutes, so they got themselves onto the freeway to hightail it home. Only the check engine light didn't go off as they drove. And on the van wyck expressway, in between exits to the LIE, they hit bumper-to-bumper traffic. and the car died, in the far right of three lanes of traffic, with a fourth lane on their right merging in. At about 1:00.

They sat there on the VW, cars creeping around them, thankful that at least they were in slow-moving traffic. Although it amazed them, the number of people who would come up behind them, see their hazards blinking, and yet still pull up on their bumper instead of going around.

So, a call to AAA was made, and it went something like this, sans the frustration of the moment:

--We need a tow from Queens to Yonkers. We're on the VW expressway.
--I'm sorry, that's a state road, and AAA isn't allowed to tow cars on state roads. It's a state law. They have franchise tows on state highways.
--I thought AAA covered me anywhere in NY.
--It does, but we can't pick up on state roads. You have to call the state tow number and pay to be towed off the state highway, then we'll reimburse you.
--How do I get a tow truck then?
--If you'll hold, I'll try to find the state highway number for you to call.

The woman does come back with two numbers, one a toll-free line. She calls that one, and finds herself on the state thruway line that provides info on ez passes and roadway conditions. Fat lot of good that did her. The second got her to an actual person:

--AAA gave me this number. I'm stalled on the VW in Queens and they say they can't help me, that I need a local tow. They said you were who I should call to get the local tow.
--We don't do that, but here's a number you can call.

She called the number:

--[insert explanation previously given]
--We don't do that at this number, but maybe they do at the city level. I'll transfer you, hold please.

The person who picked up at the transfer:

--[insert explanation previously given]
--Oh, we don't handle that here. There are tow companies who are franchised for sections of the state highways, and they drive the highways looking for stalled vehicles. You just have to wait for one to come.
--[insert ever increasing fear and frustration, while trying to stay calm and respectful] We've been here for 15 minutes and several tow trucks have driven by, but none has stopped. How do I know which one is the right one? What am I supposed to do? I don't know which tow company to call to get off the freeway.
--I understand. If you'll hold, I'll try to find the local tow company that's franchised where you are.
--Thanks for holding ma'am, I have the name and number of the tow company that has the franchise for that spot on the freeway.

She called the tow company and they said they'd have someone there in 20 minutes. About ten minutes after the call, a police car crept up behind her. See, her car had been blocking traffic throughout the numerous phone calls.

Rather than get out of the car, he used the loudspeaker, telling her to put her car in neutral and steer for the edge of the highway. He used his car to gently push her car to through traffic to the side and up beyond the merging lane to a shoulder, then stopped and told her to hit her brake.

Then he got out of the car with a stack of flares in his hand. He brought a few to her and asked her if she'd ever used them. Of course not. So he showed her how to pull the plastic from around the sides, pull of the striking cap, and light the flare. Then he motioned for her to put hers beside the car toward the front, while he did the back. Just as she got out of the car to place the flares, and as he was asking her if she'd called a tow truck (as if she should have known how to go about that), the truck drove up.

She didn't have to set the flares, and when she motioned to the cop -- who'd gotten back in the car after setting only one flare -- to ask if he wanted them back, he shook his head no. So she now has three flares on the floor in the front passenger seat.

The tow truck told them to stay in the car, and he proceeded to hook up and tow the car off the highway and down to the street below. There's nothing quite like sitting in a car that's being towed off a highway. The rugrat called it a bit like a carnival ride, except that every deep dip in the rough road hurt and they cringed to think of potential damage to the rear of the car.

The charge for the tow: $80.20. They barely covered the cost by pooling all their cash.

Now, they needed to get from the street to home. Which meant another call to AAA, at about 2:00:

--My car has stalled and I need a tow truck to get from Queens to H--.
--OK, we'll set that up. Are there others in the car with you?
--Yes, two others.
--The tow truck can only carry two at the most; you'll need to make other arrangements for at least one of the other passengers.
--How in the heck do we do that? We came here for a funeral, for gosh sakes, how are we supposed to get home?
--I could help you call a taxi.
--You may not be from downstate and don't know the area, but a taxi from Queens to H- would run about $200. Clearly I can't afford that. Never mind, I'll figure something out, just send the tow truck.
--OK, and where exactly is it going to?
--To my home. I can't afford to get it fixed right now.
--Are you sure you don't want to tow it to a mechanic? AAA has a policy that we cannot tow the same vehicle twice for the same problem.
--Are you freakin' kidding me???? My god, this is unbelievable. Never mind, there's a mechanic two blocks away from my home, I'll push the damned thing if I have to. Just send the tow truck.

They desperately needed a bathroom, and asked at the nearest business -- a new car place, ironically -- who were very nice. It was key not just because they all had to pee, but for her, it was aunt flo visiting, which meant near hemmoraghic that required hourly bathroom trips. Yes, TMI, but it will be important later inthe story.

And the rugrat and bf had to call a friend from Yonkers, who'd just arrived home from the funeral, to come all the way back and pick them up. And then ensued a series of texts and phone calls, as rugrat tried to get someone to fill in for her at work until she could get there. The friend finally arrived at about 3 and drove them home.

After a few update calls from the new tow place and AAA letting her know that major traffic was delaying the tow, it finally arrived at about 5 pm. That's three hours without a bathroom, folks. Just so you know. An older man, limping, with an even older -- it seemed -- truck, that actually stalled once when they started the tow. He was a bit condescending -- ok, more than a bit -- asking questions like 'are you sure you know how to get where we're going?' Um, hello...we're going to my home. I've lived there for 11 years. I kinda think I know how to get there.

He pulled up the car onto the flatbed and off they went, stopping for fuel for his truck. Traffic was indeed horrific, on the cross bronx. Once they went north on the major deegan, the road cleared and they made better time. She directed him first to the cash machine in town, since she had to cover the toll over the whitestone both directions -- and it's more for a truck than a car. $23 more, on top of the $80.20.

After an excruciating ride -- the old truck hit every spot in the road, she hadn't had a bathroom break, and his conversation consisted of derogatory remarks about mexicans with liberal use of the word retard to describe his employees and advice for her along the lines of finding a rich old man to take care of her so she wouldn't have to work anymore-- she finally arrived home at 7 pm. Five hours without a bathroom.

He pulled her car off the flatbed and she gave him directions to get back to the major deegan (trucks can't go on the saw mill or the hutch). Since he'd spent some time complaining about some employee who couldn't find his way even with a gps, she figured he could follow her instructions -- right, right, right, then left. But as she walked up to her apartment, she heard the truck going south. He turned left instead of right. Oh well.

She ran up the stairs to the bathroom, only to discover that she needed a shower. Badly. Thanks aunt flo.

Then she ordered pizza. 'Cause she sure as hell wasn't cooking after all that.

elton (check out the guitarist):

Friday, February 06, 2009

same as it ever was

So...I was up early to walk to the auto body shop to pick up the car so that I could drive to quest diagnostics, and after that to the hospital for the ultrasound.

Some of the blood tests ordered were to be done fasting, so I had nothing to eat or drink before starting out at about 8:45 this morning. Two miles of walking, a trip to the gas station, and eight test tubes of blood later (yes, eight: three purple, three white, two blue) I headed to the hospital (conveniently right across the street from both quest and my doc) for the ultrasound on my leg. At least one of the tests my doc requested is intended to rule out arthritis. Which is important since I'm still in a great deal of pain, and there's no blood clot.

Yep, the verdict is no blood clot. Whoo hoo!

And I was so hungry that my first stop after the hospital was KFC.

Rugrat was thrilled to have the car to drive to work today. Then it sputtered on the way home and died. She managed to get it home, but it drove rough the whole way. See, the body shop doesn't really do engine work. Those are two different things.

Sitting for six weeks in this cold without being driven probably didn't help. And we can't get it to the mechanic till Monday, but rugrat needs to get to work the next two days. And we'd really like to stock up on food at costco so that we don't keep grabbing fast food.

I love my car, I love my car. Really, I do.

When I don't hate it.

And grandma. Grandma. I knew it had to happen eventually. And I love rugrat 1, and will love his child of course. But damn. Grandma.

David Byrne

say hello

To grandma spring. Which is what I will officially be in 31 weeks.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

it's all random

When you eat a jello pudding cup, do you use your finger on the insides of the container to get every bit of chocolaty goodness? I just did -- in my office, where anyone could have walked in and seen me.

When you delete an email your yahoo spam box, a warning pop-up box asks you if you're sure you want to delete. Why don't we get the same warning box when we delete an email in our inbox -- the folder with the emails we're most likely to want to keep?

Is anyone else crushing on Barack? Am I nuts to think he's kinda good looking? Even worthy of a fantasy or two?

Did you know that after taking only three Zestrils (over three days, not all at once), your high-blood-pressure-induced headache will be completely gone and you'll be a totally new person in a way you haven't felt for about a year, with a brand new outlook on life? Even your colleagues will notice that you seem peppier.

Dominos has a new specialty pizza called the Cali Chicken Bacon Ranch(TM) that is particularly awesome. I mean it. Try it and see.

I get my car back tomorrow morning. Just in time to stop by the outpatient services at the local hospital for an ultrasound of my leg to rule out another blood clot. Please think happy karma thoughts for me. Another round of anti-coagulants is not on my list of things to look forward to. High blood pressure meds -- in a flash. Anti-coagulant -- not so much.

Can you say cold? I knew you could. It is -1 without the wind chill today. And it's supposed to be 51 on Sunday.

According to UPS tracking, both sets of shoes in the previous post were delivered this morning, after I left for work. Tonight is officially designated as try-on-new-shoes night. Of course, since there is still frozen snow, not to mention slippery ice, all over, I won't actually be able to wear a pair tomorrow. But perhaps on Sunday...although of course, that kind of heat (ha ha -- 51, that kind of heat) will melt everything, making for a mucky mess. I'm not wearing new shoes out in that.

I am officially killing time because I don't want to prep my lecture for class...which now officially begins in 41 minutes.

For some reason, the old monkees theme is running through my head. Don't you hate that? So I went to youtube to find a clip from their show, with them singing the them song. BUT, I can find the music with no video, or video of the show with another group actually singing. But not them singing, with video from the show. Am I asking for a lot? I don't THINK so.

But I did find someone on youtube who put the song to beatles' video. It's kind of funny.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

speaking of shoes

Because when am I not thinking about shoes?

I decided with my federal tax refund (what, you haven't filed yet? Dudes, I not only filed, I got my money on Friday) that I would buy a few decent pairs of shoes. You see, I love shoes, but have a wide foot, and payless -- my shopping choice for shoes -- hasn't had the wide sizes as often as I'd like.

So I went online and found wide sizes at Jessica London and ordered about seven pair. The total was $199, but it seemed to be worth it if they fit well.

But, I was also concerned about customer reviews that the shoes didn't have enough cushion on the bottom. See, I have plantar fasciitis, and I really should be wearing orthotic inserts, but since they don't fit in most shoes, I go without. I sort of knew that I should be wearing good orthopedic shoes, or my feet in ten years won't be able to hold me up. But my vision of orthopedic shoes was that they were butt-ugly.

Anyhoo, I wandered onto a site called Footsmart, and after scrolling through the horrors of the typical orthopedic shoe, I began to find some that weren't so bad. Actually, some of them were quite cute. Really. I mean, look at these:

And these aren't even the really pretty ones, just those more in my price range. I mean, I only got these six, for about $300, in comparison to the 7 for $199. But everything on their site is supposed to all be comfy, wide, and meant for people with foot problems. I won't know till I try them, but I'm hopeful. And if they work, and I can walk without constant foot pain, I'll probably send back the JL shoes and buy a couple more pair from this site.

Yes, I know, they aren't my heels. And I'll keep my heels for dress-up. But still. For everyday wear, these might kinda rock.

Pretty shoes.

That fit.

And feel good.

And look good.

Whoo hoo!!!

I'm still fly

Brought work home with me so that I could avoid the rat race commute on Friday. It's 3:53 on Sunday, and I still haven't touched it.

Still don't have a car. Got the insurance $, towed the car to the body shop, and -- they can't find a used hood. So the car sits at the shop until they find the used part. Because insurance won't pay for a new part on a ten year old car, and I sure as hell can't pay for it.

Finally went to the doc for a couple of serious problems I've had for a good six months. Major (and I do mean major) headaches, which might just be due to a blood pressure of 160/100. So, it's high bp meds for moi. And if it makes that motherfucking headache go away, I'll take it -- really I will. And nearly constant major pain in my right leg from hip to knee, so bad even oxycodone doesn't make a dent in it. A scrip for an ultrasound to see if it's another blood clot; a referral for an orthopedic specialist if it ain't. You all know that it must be excruciating if a masochist says it hurts, right?

I feel another part to the runaway series stirring inside me. Probably next weekend, since it's essentially a five-day weekend for me. I think my anonymous reader gave up on me ever getting the last two parts written, it took so long. I'll keep up with it more now (are you still reading?).

And there's a story somewhere deep in my recent sifting through of the rugrats' baby clothes and giving them to each of them, with stories attached. My mind lately has been full of my younger adult years, especially those with the first rugrat when I didn't have much of a clue. It's bubbling, just beneath the surface, wanting to burst forth in bits and pieces. I guess it's lucky that I tend to write in bits and pieces, isn't it.

My 49th is this Thursday. That happens to be a holiday on my campus (Lincoln' bd). I don't have classes on Friday, and Monday is president's day. We'll see how much I can get done in those five days. Or if I'll lay around like a blob because I'm so physically and mentally exhausted. I'll probably get about half the stuff done that I want to get done. I wonder if it's just because I'm putting too much on my own plate and have unrealistic expectations of myself. Or if I'm just a lazy ass.

big tymers, still fly:

same song by devil wears prada:

I love that the same song can be so different.