Silence is Golden, Duct Tape is Silver

Title stolen shamelessly from a co-worker, who’ll likely never read this anyway. Home sick tonight, trying to rest my voice, it helped a little, home with the kids is not a good way to rest the voice though. There’s just too much yelling around here. What I should have done was gone to my room shut my door & slept or read. What I did was clean house a bit, take everybody for a drive in the country (don’t have to go far around here- we’re surrounded by cow fields on all 4 sides after all) & watch a few tv shows with ms 13 (just getting ahead of the weekend- since we’re going to cook out Saturday night & have company so my tv watching will be somewhat curtailed) I did gargle with salt water right after I called in to work, after we got back from our drive & just now before sitting down here at the computer.

I have a terribly stuffy nose & a sinus headache which is making it hurt to even move my head. I just couldn’t see myself managing another night of croaking away on the phone for folks to press the power button & having them say “what’s that, I can’t hear you, could you speak up sir?” Never mind the embarrassing implications that I sound like a guy when I’m sick. I’m determined not to have my job cost me my voice. My illness (third in 10 weeks, if it weren’t for the sore throat I’d think allergies but everything I’ve read suggests allergies are all sinus related, sore throats are asymptomatic) is going to cost me the option to apply for a job change for at least the next 8 to 12 weeks though, it’s 90 days to get rid of the write up that this is going to put me on, although I have another attendance issue rolling off June 25 so I think I won’t be on a write up after that date.

Ms 20 has work tomorrow so it’s up at 8, back to bed for awhile, have to take the car for yearly inspection & an oil change at 1 & then pick ms 20 back up at 3, then back home to get mr 10 & ms 13 & off we go to Walmart to get groceries for the next 2 weeks. Such fun! Actually it is often pretty fun, mr 10, ms 13 & I have a lot of fun shopping together, now that they’re old enough to not fuss & ask for everything in the store, they get an allowance & it’s amusing to me to listen to the two of them budget their money to get what they want most during our trips.

As for entertaining myself, I’ve been sucked into Facebook recently (yes, that’s a South Park reference, as I keep telling my much younger co-workers, us 41 year olds can enjoy SP too.) I’m also playing a lot of Scrabble Solitaire. Which I have done off & on for a long time, but just lately, my day is not complete until I’ve played 3 or 4 games.  Still annoying the kids (both at home & at work) with references to Mybook & Facespace. Also ruining the younger kids days at least once a week by taking the tv remote controls to work with me so that they have to clean their rooms. Mr 10 has all the makings of one of those people with the stacks of newspaper mazes through their houses & every piece of junk mail they’ve received in the mail for the past 30 years, I’m not kidding, I don’t get how 1 kid can make such huge messes so quickly!

Ms 20 is still working at the nursing home, complaining about minimum wage but not doing a thing about getting her car on the road or even her drivers license which, if she at least had that, she could take my car to work & let me sleep. Ms 13 has disproved her sister’s prediction & has kept her grades up high enough this year that she is not a candidate for summer school this year (first time ever). Mr 10 is not doing as well, he’s smart enough to catch on quick, doesn’t do his homework etc & then aces tests (at least in math) so we’re looking at 1 week of summer school for English, which sucks, but maybe he’ll eventually figure out like his sister did that he’s got to put in the work & that it’s a direct consequence of not studying.  Too bad they don’t test him on lizards, minnows, frogs & crayfish because he’s a definite wealth of knowledge on these thanks to our creek.

It’s pretty much definite that we’re not going to Massachusetts this summer at all. I’m behind on all my bills & have already made a decision about what to pay & what to let go which is not going to make me very popular with credit card companies, nor will it be good for my credit score, but as the credit counselor I talked to before making my decision (a last ditch effort to avoid it) I don’t want to be the person in the homeless shelter with a dozen credit cards after all. So instead of vacation, we may go camping. I’m also hoping someone might deign to come to VA & see us for once (I’m betting it won’t be my mother though.)  Those of you who keep saying someday, this should be the year!


Sound of Madness

‘Scuse the title, I just used the title of the next song which came up when I hit shuffle on my phone’s MP3 player. Not exactly inappropriate to my life these days, not that there’s anything specifically wrong. Just waiting for spring to come & hoping it will help to snap me out of my current funk.

I’ve pulled up a draft screen every night I’ve been at the computer for the past 3 weeks, considered what I might say while checking out fails, lol cats, ok cupid, email, playing 3D mahjong or just generally web surfing & then closed it eventually as I couldn’t think of a thing worth typing out.

I’m still re-reading the Outlander series, I’m back to the most recent book, which I read for the first time back last November, bringing on the need to re-read the whole series. I don’t regret it, I tend to inhale books & often get more out of a re-read than I did on the initial reading.

I’m still working nights. ms 19 20, (It’s been over a month & I still forget she’s had a birthday.)  Is still working at the same job, I’m still driving her back & forth from work to home, which is what requires me to work nights (although I admit I’m better suited to night work, getting up at 6:15 am to make it to work by 8 is not for me)

We’re all pretty sick of snow. There’s still large patches of snow in my yard even though it’s been over 40 for the past 4 or 5 days & even up to 65 today. The parts of the yard which are not snow-covered are very muddy & ms 13 slipped & fell earlier today when she was getting out of the car. A pity too as she had on a cute pink & gray striped dress which looked good on her until the butt became mud covered in the aforementioned incident.

Mr 10 is staying after school Tuesdays & Thursdays these days to help make up for the 3 weeks the kids were out of school due to snow & ice this winter. I forgot he was doing so & embarrassed myself by calling the school this afternoon when he didn’t get off the bus. (I thought it was just for last week, not for multiple weeks).

Work is the same as always, although slower than usual this spring. They’re sending us home almost nightly. For my last paycheck – I was short over 7 hours of time due to being sent home early. I should say accepting the option to leave early, they don’t insist (most of the time) but I’m of weak character & if the option is offered I have trouble saying no. It doesn’t help that if there are 30 people on the phone, waiting 8-10 minutes between calls & they send 10 or 15 of them home, the remaining people start taking calls almost back to back again. That is so not motivation to stay.

After the -7 hours debacle last week, I was determined to stay at work until they made me leave every night that I’m scheduled to be there.
Then yesterday, when I got up in what passes for morning in my life I went to the bathroom & upon coming out stepped on what appears to be a shard of porcelain or ceramic. It was about an inch & a half long & a quarter inch wide, I now have a quarter inch hole in my foot in which this inch & a half shard was buried over half way. I was home alone at the time which is a good thing because if the kids had heard what I was yelling I would be embarrassed. I soaked first the sock I had on the punctured foot & then the one on the other foot, which I took off & used to apply pressure to the gaping wound,  with blood.

I was on my way to give a friend whose truck had broken down a ride & so crammed some clean cloth on the foot, put a clean sock on it, got dressed & went along, with one thing & another I was driving around until 3 when I had to get ms 20 at work & so came home with less than an hour before I had to go to work. Ms 13 cleaned it out for me & bandaged it for the evening’s work. But it throbbed all night (I took Aleve which did not do what it’s name promises) Walking around at work to the break room & the bathroom (not to mention the walk from the car to the building & back again) the cut bled all over yet a third sock & in my sneaker.

To ms 13’s credit though, the band aids she used held on through all the bleeding, the drive home, my nights sleep & into my shower this morning, where I peeled it, cleaned it out (it had healed up enough overnight that it didn’t start bleeding in the shower again- thank goodness) and had ms 13, who was home from school with a ‘stomachache’ today bandage it up again.

The hardest thing about this puncture wound is that it’s in the arch of my foot & so I’m favoring the side of my foot so as  not to put too much pressure on the wound. This is throwing my walk out of balance & making my back ache terribly.

The whole point of this story is that last night & tonight I copped out & took the offer of going home early after sticking it out to 130 A.M. Sunday night only. Verbose & chatty indeed.  Maybe this will be the beginning of more writing here, of course, I’m boring myself with this discourse & I lived it so we’ll see.

It Felt Like Christmas Time…

At least the weather does. I’m really trying not to write a diatribe right now. There are so many things I feel like railing about, from the prices in the stores to my work to the kids not picking up after themselves, everything is pretty frustrating to me right this minute.  I’m at least back to thinking of things to write while I’m driving back & forth to work, not  worrying over the car’s behavior or, in more recent weeks, marveling at the size of the stupid new car & worrying about how I’m going to pay it’s stupid new loan payment. I’ve settled in to thinking about it tomorrow for the most part now.  Scarlett O’Hara’s plan always has worked for me when I find myself obsessing a little too much.  Things aren’t all bad, I won a digital picture frame at work due to a celebration of our reaching the 14 million customers mark. I stayed up way too late last night tweaking the pictures on a micro SD card to use with it (not included, luckily I have a 512mb spare card) what with watching the pictures scroll on the frame, I didn’t actually fall asleep until sometime after 4, then it was up at 7:10 to be sure mr 10 & ms 13 got off to school on time, back to sleep until 8 when ms 19 called to wake me up to take her to work.  Back home by quarter of 9 & back to sleep until it was embarrasingly late, when I did finally drag myself out of bed, I found our outdoor cat had slipped in the house sometime during all the comings & goings this morning & had torn the trash apart, when I tried to use the computer & check a few things I’d left undone last night the mouse wouldn’t work & then when I went to watch the news while I rebooted the computer I found I have no picture on my tv, I think the cable between the satellite box & the tv is the issue because I can see the error message on the tv when I reboot the receiver, it’s just behind a ton of snow.  Rebooting the computer fixed the mouse issue though so here I sit until it’s time to go pick ms 19 up from work (4 minutes more because I have to stop at the dollar store to try to get a cable for the tv set).  If I don’t get back before the holidays. Hope everyone has a cool Yule or however you celebrate.


I’m in a funk. I know the economy is bad, I know I should be grateful that I even have a job. But I’m really hating my life right now. I don’t usually hate it this much, the occasional grumpy, rude customer doesn’t get me down, most are pretty happy with me because although I’m sometimes as much as the third or fourth person they’ve spoken to, I am usually the one who fixes their problem. Or, if I can’t fix it myself, over the phone, I resolve it by setting up for a technician to come out & fix it at their house. When you’re through talking to me 99% of the time, the problem has a resolution, one way or another. Also, since they put me back on the phones in June, I don’t charge people for stuff they’re supposed to be charged for, oh of course I tell them what the charge is, but if they give me any push back at all, like: “I’ve been a customer for 3 (or 2 or 10) years, I don’t think I should have to pay” I say ok & adjust the cost of a technician, or whatever they’re bitching about having to pay. It is a part of my job, to make the customer happy, not just fix the problem but give exceptional customer service & please them at the same time. This week however, thing have been going poorly, I’m fighting a sore throat, which may or may not be part of the H1N1 thing which is going on, I’ve heard that it starts in the ears, goes to the throat & then the nose, but I’ve also heard it’s more stomach flu with diarrhea. So I don’t know exactly & I resent the fact that most news organizations aren’t giving that info out, at my work they want you to describe how you’re feeling & let them determine if it’s H1N1 or not too, which is ridiculously unfair to me. All night tonight, I got yelled at because the customer’s perception was that it was our fault. Them having their tv on the wrong channel, the snow falling outside their windows (in more than a few states!) & their decision to rearrange their rooms & move their satellite receiver away from the connection in the wall which has a connection to the dish outside had no bearing on the situation whatsoever. (in their opinions at least) I was in tears 3 times before ‘lunch’ at 930 (yes, it could be somewhat hormonal, I admit) and spent my lunch enjoying the new book I’m reading & comforting myself with reminders that by 11 it would be quiet & I’d only have to take 3-4 calls an hour by then, that I only had to get through tonight & tomorrow night & I’ll have my 2 nights off for the weekend. I got back on the phone with renewed energy & vigor & at first it was great because we weren’t getting any calls, it had already quieted down & It was barely past 10 pm! Then I got a call, I barely got a chance to tell the guy my name & thank him for calling, he interrupted & ranted, shouted, swore & raged for 13 minutes, I got my mouth open to try to apologize & begin to rebutt his statements & he hung up on me.  Just slammed down the phone & was gone. After making threats about the BBB & that we had better get UPS out to his house to take back the box we had sent him which he didn’t want & had told us not to send.  Of course, since he was not on the phone anymore I couldn’t do much for him, I noted the situation, logged off the computer & told my boss I was sick. I went to the store to get a pumpkin carving set as I’d promised my kids that I’d pick one up tonight since Ms 19 got paid & paid me. Then I came home & read websites & looked at vintage halloween decorations to try to decompress. It’s helped a little but I still have to go back tomorrow & do another 8 & 1/2 hours. Not a good situation at all. After 8 years there, I know how to handle escalated customers, but also after 8 years there, the stupidity, the wilful immaturity, the general rudeness of people really gets to me, it builds up on me more & more & I’m getting less & less able to cope with it. There have been many times when I thought I wouldn’t make it much further with this job. Right now, when I know there is not just no other job which would pay so well, there are no other jobs period. I have to keep this job but I don’t know if I can.

Oct bw36226


Just Stuff

Funny how the idea you have about something before you actually experience the reality is so far from the truth.
I’ve been on nights for nearly 8 months now.
I thought it would be great as it’s closer to my natural preference, to stay up late & sleep in, in the morning.
The whole reason I’m working nights is to free myself up to take ms 19 back & forth to work though, so I’m up at 7:10 to make sure ms 13 & mr 10 get off to school in a timely manner & don’t keep their bus driver waiting, then on ms 19’s work days (just lately 4-5 days per week instead of the 3 a week it was when we started this experiment) I’m up again at 8 to take her to work, back home by 8:45 & asleep again, usually, by 9:30.
Then I get up when I feel like it- this is supposed to be around 10:30 -11 but is often closer to noon & sometimes, 1pm. I schlep around, watch the news & daily show from the day before on DVR & then the noon news on DVR each day & often before I’ve finished that it’s time to go get ms 19 from work.
By the time we’re back home the younger kids have arrived home on the bus & I have under an hour until I have to leave for work- that’s at 4pm.
I work from 5 to 1:30 (except that at least twice a week & sometimes more often, they offer to send people home if they’d like to go & I’m really bad at resisting that offer!)
At home I often get online & read my email, play majongg on Lifetime & do surveys for survey spot. I often pull up the blog & even come all the way to this page, the one where I could write a new post.
This is where I bog down though, I’m tired, no one wants to hear about my day (or night) at work, I’m somewhat prohibited from discussing it anyway, can’t talk about technology (& after 8 hours of talking to people about why theirs is malfunctioning why would I want to?) I’m afraid to comment on the company’s polices both toward customers & towards employees. (99% steady signal indeed)
The kids are all old enough to know exactly what I’m doing when I’m at the computer & I’m routinely told “don’t blog this mom” I have strong opinions on politics & social issues, but I believe opinions are like asses, everyone has them & they all stink so it’s best left unaired.
So after a few paragraphs of what I can’t & won’t write about I’ll go ahead & share some stuff that has been happening.

We’ve been playing games every Sunday night for a couple of months now, it began when Chrissie & her daughter were still living here, she & I would play with my younger kids, then her daughter, ms 19 & ms 19’s BF started coming down & hanging out, we were pretty limited at first because everyone wanted to play rummy or Scrabble & though Chrissie, the kids & I tried, we had a lot of trouble convincing ms 19, the bf & Sami that Apples to Apples was a worthwhile game, we did it though & now ms 19 is the loudest one when we’re discussing what to play each week. I also bowed to pressure from mr 10 & taught everyone who didn’t know how to do so, to play poker, so we often do a little family gambling just for my father’s chips so far, no actual money has changed hands yet, but we’re talking about a nickle, dime & penny night sometime soon. I’m really glad we’re doing this, game nights used to be once every 3-4 months & though everyone always said we should do it more, we never managed, now I’m cooking a big meal to share with whoever is there at the time & we’re all having a lot of fun with it.

If you read this blog often (and there’s seldom much to read lately) you’re aware I purchased a new sink, new flooring & base wood for my bathroom, last weekend was the repair the bathroom weekend. Ms 19’s BF took over the whole project & did an awesome job. It happened to be my grocery shopping weekend so I couldn’t really help much Saturday, ms 19 & the BF pulled up the old floor, took out the old sink & toilet etc & replaced a section about 3×3 of the sub-floor too, then put down the new base floor.Broom floor & Cam's knees This is the floor while in progress, mr 10’s knees are in the picture because he refused to move.

Sunday morning ms 19 woke me up & said “lets paint the bathroom before bf puts down the new linoleum”. So we did. I’ve had maroon paint for a long time, it was originally for the dining room but multiple people convinced me that maroon in a windowless room was a bad idea (I’m quite happy with the yellow the painters painted it during the roof & other repairs after the tree fell on the house) So the maroon paint was just sitting there & my cousin has a maroon bathroom downstairs in her house (of course, lucky her, it’s a lavatory, they have 2 bathrooms at their house! Lucky lucky) so I had been thinking the maroon miBroom Wallght look good- and it will, after I get the trim painted white- it’s currently mauve which is an unusual combination to say the least, I also purchased gloss paint when it was for the dining room, I had read a description in a much-loved book of a room painted that color with gold stencils & I was going to do the stenciling too in the bathroom. (before mr 10 discovered the stencil paints & ruined them all, I’ll have to purchase more gold paint before I can do so now). I don’t have pictures of the finished project because the sink isn’t installed yet, the BF ran out of time & our old sink has leaked for nearly a year so we’re all used to not having a sink in the bathroom (we just use the kitchen sink) & will continue until 19’s BF has time to install the new sink. This picture gives an idea of the color, it is a bit more magenta than maroon I think, but the kids like it & it was fun painting the room with them at least.

My love hate relationship with the Sirius satellite radio continues, they’re doing a week-long Halloween channel, I’m really enjoying it, I got to hear Christopher Walken read Poe’s the Raven on the way to work today & excerpts from Dracula on the way home. They also have scary stories, songs like the obvious “monster mash”, scary music, reminiscences of people who apparently work for Sirius about their favorite Halloween memories etc.   Pretty cool idea, I’m sure if it lasted much more than a week though, I’d tire of it.

Finally Free

I’m really enjoying the whole having a “real” weekend thing. Except for the part where I’m at work Friday night when most people are relaxing on Friday night as part of their weekend. Those months when I was off Friday & Saturday nights were so wasted, I wish I was still on that schedule, although it’s fun to be home on Sunday night with the kids & it’s useful in that it means I’m there to make sure they’re really all ready for school on Monday morning (trusting that to ms 19 has been rather frustrating I have to admit)

That said, it’s been enjoyable at work this week, not too terribly busy, (well,except for last night, but I just don’t want to revisit that horrible evening anytime in the near future so I’ll conveniently forget about it)

It has been a long day as ms 19 had to go to C’burg to a clinic to apply for birth control on a sliding scale, I had to take her as part of my current plan to not be a grandmother before age 50, Chrissie went along for the ride.  We left at 9 this morning, which required my getting out of bed at 8:45, I had not fallen asleep until after 3 last night so it was rough to say the least.

While 19 was at the clinic Chrissie & I walked around Lowes pricing the stuff I need to replace my bathroom floor & numerous other worn out things in the bathroom & around the rest of my house, I was planning to go to Home Depot to price the same items there but ms 19 finished sooner than planned, we ran a few other errands around C’burg & came home in time for me to take a 2 hour nap which helped but I was still falling asleep at my desk at work by 10:30 tonight.

I got a diet coke & drank it during my last break & I did ok all the rest of the evening, including the drive home & now I’m starting to feel sleepy again, but as I almost never seem to just write ‘normal’ blog entrys any longer I wanted to do so- especially since I won’t be home most of tomorrow.

Tomorrow is our general grocery shopping day, the one of two days a month we get to eat dinner out & the kids are especially looking forward to it.  Tomorrow is also the first home game of the Virginia Tech football season so we won’t be going to C’burg for this trip, it is so crowded, chaotic & crazy when there’s a game.

We’re going down to Roanoke, I’ve even bribed ms 19’s BF to take her to work & pick her up so I can sleep in & still go to Roanoke without worrying about getting her at 3 or anything (of course, part of the trade off is that I have to drive her both ways Sunday. It should be worth it though)

I’m especially excited to go to Roanoke because one of my favorite shops is saving me a bumpersticker for my car, I have one which says coexist with the letters shaped like all sorts of religious symbols, they’re saving me one which says tolerance in a similar way. I’ve seen quite a few of these but couldn’t find one to buy any where & this store said they had them on order & then called to let me know they’d hold one for me.

I’m hoping the trip to Roanoke is as much fun as going out with Chrissie & ms 19 was today, since it’s ms 13, mr 10 & I, it could go either way, we often get along very well, just the 3 of us but if ms 13 is in a bad mood or mr 10 is still not feeling well it could be rather unpleasant. Only time will tell.

The Weekend Went Swimmingly.

River8-9 012Saturday we went to a beautiful location to swim, we’ve been before, but not for at least 2 years. It’s a drive from the house (34 miles one way) But still in or nearly in the county. There is a lovely place to ride down a waterfall & a deep pool below the fall. Mr 10 barely remembered being there the one time he’d been before, ms 13 remembered being there a few times before that (we used to live on that side of the county, back before mr 10 was born & right after he was born.

You can see the fall between Ms 13’s & Mr 10’s shoulderRiver8-9 009s & then beside Chrissie, Kevin & the dog in this next picture. Ms 19 came too although Sami was at a friends house & so was Ms 19’s BF.  We went on the cheap with PB&J sandwiches, a bag of chips & some sodas. Everyone got well & truly tired out (including the dog) & came home sunburnt & happy.

River8-9 017Ms 19 was looking lovely in a very green bathing suit which was supposed to be mine but fit her better (I would not be comfortable with that much cleavage showing either- it must be so nice to be young)

River8-9 020

Then today, we went to the valley to a deep swimming hole, I don’t actually go down into this one because it’s too steep, but Ms 19, the BF, Sami, 13 & 10 all enjoyed themselves greatly, until some horesflies bit them, then 19, BF & Sami went home & 13 & 10 came down to the shallower area where Chrissie & I had been sitting in the water & keeping cool (it was nearly 90 here today) chatting & relaxing. No beter way to spend a day in the summer that’s for sure. We’re planning to go back to the place we were Saturday with everyone on next Sunday, trying to cram all the summer we can in before school starts on the twentieth. CamclimbIV