Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Forgive me TiVO for I have sinned

I have a confession to make.
I watch bad TV.

Every week, I watch American Idol and seriously discuss the pitch problems, the song choices and the fashions of each contestant.
I screamed "NOooooooooooOOOOooooo!" when Michael Johns was voted off.
I jumped up and down in unbridled glee when Kristy Lee Cook left.
I had the hint of a tear in my eye when David Cook sang Music of the Night because I am just that lame...I LOVE LOVE LOVE Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Yes...I know you thought I was cooler than that, but you couldn't be MORE wrong.
There is absolutely nothing cool about my love for Andrew Lloyd Webber's music.

On Sundays, I watch Brothers and Sisters. I don't even know if this is a good show or not. I'm not sure what good TV is but I feel like I'm obligated to find out what the hell is going to happen to the Walker family and last Sunday I missed a 15 minute chunk of the show so now I don't know what the results of Rebecca's DNA test was. Is she a Walker? Is she going to get it on with her brother?

The worst part of this confession post is the two shows that I am obsessed with; Last of the Summer Wine and Dr. Who.
It's shameful. These aren't even American shows.
Last of the Summer Wine is a show about a bunch of old people and Dr. Who is small-budget sci-fi show with bad aliens, bad acting and bad special effects. But I love both of them.
I actually get annoyed if I have to miss them.

But let's talk about American Idol for a moment and my intense dislike for Neil Diamond. I'm sure he's a nice person but I want to jab my eardrums with rusty nails when I hear one of his tunes.
Last night, those poor bastard contestants had to sing not one but TWO of his songs and after three or four bad critiques from the judges, I said, "Did they stop to consider that they were bad because they were NEIL DIAMOND songs???"

Here is another confession. I am/was a HUGE Monkees fan. I mean...I belonged to the fan club and everything. I actually saw them in concert when I was 13. This was in the 80s during their second resurgence of fame.
Having professed my love for the Monkees, the Neil Diamond-written song, I'm A Believer, is not something someone other than the Monkees should be singing.
Seriously, it's a ridiculous song and no one but a bunch of mop-headed 60's weirdos could ever pull it off.
So, why, I beg of you...WHY is Brooke White singing it in an unbelievably horrid ruffled shirt?
Has she just given up and is begging to go home? I mean it's like career suicide. Was that the musical equivalent of pulling the plug? I think it was.

Also, I think Jason has given up. It's like he's not even trying and is possibly so high that he thinks it's funny. Actually, it IS funny. Oh...maybe I'm high too.

I predict that Jason goes home....or maybe Brooke. The problem is that I LIKE Brooke and want her to do well but for God's sake....I'm A Believer AND a God-awful ruffled shirt???? There is only so much I can do, you know?

It's safer to carry a map

Life is weird.
Life after being robbed or an attempted robbery is strange. I am looking at people differently.
I've never been scared of anyone before. I've never felt like someone was going to hurt me or someone close to me.
Now, I look at certain people and think about the possibilities. I hate this paranoia but I'm pretty sure it will pass and life will go back to normal....I hope!

Don't get me wrong, I'm not frightened all the time. I still take my dogs out at night and I'm still as observant as I have always been, but I notice people more and I am going to feel very sorry for the next person that asks me for directions.
He's going to get a great big "FUCK OFF" and a face full of pepper spray. That poor bastard!

I told most of my friends about what happened. Actually, one friend just happened to call in the middle of all the excitement. I accidentally opened the phone, thinking it was a text message so I had to answer. I breathlessly said, "I can't talk's bad...I just can't talk." and hung up.
Now, what kind of shit is that? You know I just scared the hell out of my friend. I got 3 text messages after that saying "You better call me. I'm scared!"
Don't worry...I did, and I explained everything.
But one friend said, "Your family has more drama than anyone I've ever known."
Now that I think about it, he's right.
We are a large family so I guess the potential for drama goes up when there are more people involved but it's not like we live the kind of lifestyle that invites drama. Things just happen to us.

It may seem that we all love the drama, but we don't. I know people who feed off of it. Drama is their mother's milk and they would shrivel up and die if some crazy shit didn't happen regularly.
I prefer the peaceful life. I love going home after work, walking my dogs, cooking some dinner and watching TV or sitting on my patio reading a book.
Saturday mornings are my favorite when I can wake up, walk the dogs, make coffee in the French press and drink it on the patio, listening to the birds in the courtyard. There is no drama anywhere in those sentences, so I don't know why it keeps happening.

Maybe it's the drama that makes me appreciate the quiet days. If there were no chaos, there would be no peace.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

So, you think YOU'VE had a bad day???

If you're having a bad day...come on over to It's All About De and read this post...bookmark it to read again when you think you're having a tough time.

It started with a hysterical phone call yesterday morning from my mother as I was getting ready for work. "My house is on fire!!!" she screamed.
I was in my bumble bee and ladybug pajama pants and white wife beater t-shirt so I just threw a jacket on, slipped on my dog walking shoes and jumped in the car. I ran every red light between our homes and prayed I wouldn't drive up to find her house engulfed in flames.
There were 2 police cars, an ambulance and one fire truck in front of her house. One fire truck...ok...that's a good sign. No billowing smoke or flames coming from her house....another good sign.
I ran up to my mother to find out that a wood and rattan chair had caught on fire and totally went up in flames. It became out of control so quickly and the house filled up with thick black smoke that she just pulled the chair away from the wall, got the animals out of the house and called 911.
Luckily, a fire truck was just around the corner so fire fighters were there in a minute and they got the chair out of the house and doused the flames quickly. But the was a mess.
Thick black smoke turned into thick black soot and it covered EVERYTHING in every part of the house.
Nothing was spared.

My sisters, some of mom's friends and I thought we'd get to work and clean her house but quickly realized that the job was just too much for us and we'd need professionals so Mom started putting calls into her insurance company.

In the meantime there was nothing much we could do so everyone but me left. Mom couldn't stay in the house but she resembled Al Jolson in black face and needed a shower badly.
She got cleaned up and we decided to go get her something to eat. Earlier, I had gone home to change out of my pajamas into something I didn't mind ruining during the clean up which happened to be a pair of cut-off sweat pants (that I didn't cut evenly) and a t-shirt.
We were planning on going by my house so I could change, then out to pick up insurance forms, get lunch...etc...
Things didn't turn out the way we had planned, though.

We walked out of her front door to her car in the driveway. I came around the driver's side and she the passenger's side.
Before I opened the door, I looked up to see a black truck slowing down in front of the house, then pull across the top of the driveway, perpendicular to the driveway and my mother's car.
I wondered if this person had something to do with the insurance company so I took a few steps to the back of the car and waited as the man got out. He was a short african-american guy wearing blue jeans, a t-shirt and a ball cap.
He said, "Hey, how do I get to the freeway?"
I kind of laughed because he was a LONG way from the freeway. Do you mean Hwy X?"
"Yeah," he said.
So I started to give him directions. I only got as far as the end of the street when I stopped, realizing that he wasn't listening or looking at me. He was looking around very suspiciously.
My mom had come to stand next to me by this point so I put my arm in front of her and pushed her behind me.
"Mom, go inside the house." I said.
The guy says, "Why? What's the problem?"
I said, "No problem. We just need to go."
He then shook his head and said "Y'all aren't going anywhere" as he started to walk around me towards either my mother or to try to get in between us and the house.
My blood instantly went cold. My adrenaline suddenly spiked; I could hear a roaring in my ears and I suddenly had tunnel vision. All I could see was that guy.
He didn't show a weapon but I noticed his pockets were bulging so I didn't know what he had in there and I didn't want to find out.
My mind started racing, thinking, "How are we going to get out of this situation?"
I could have run...hell...I could have taken him. He was at least 6 inches shorter than me but my mother....
She's nearly 70 and she can't run. I needed to keep her safe so I put myself in between the guy and my mother. Every time he moved, I moved, keeping a distance between us and pushing my mother back toward the house. I kept saying "NO! NO!" because I remember thinking there is NO way he's getting to us or getting into the house. I was confident (maybe stupidly so) that he wasn't getting inside that house. I was also fumbling for the keys in my hand to push the panic button on the remote. I wanted to create as much noise as possible.
In the back of my mind I knew that no one was around. My mother lives in a quiet neighborhood and everyone was at work at 1:30 in the afternoon.
So, when I heard my mother screaming "HELP! HELP!" I wondered why, no one would hear her. But I looked to my left and her new next door neighbor was just exiting his car. He just stood and looked at us for a moment so I started yelling, "HELP US! HELP US!" and I set off the panic alarm to the car.
The neighbor started running across the yard toward the bad guy. That gave me an opportunity to create a lot of distance between me and him so I went for my cell phone to call 911.
I heard the neighbor yell "STOP! POLICE!"
I am thinking he's telling ME to call the police and I think, "Dude! That's what I'm doing...duh!"
The bad guy starts backing off saying "I ain't doing nothing!" but suddenly he jumps in the truck and takes off.
The neighbor is screaming the whole time telling him to stop and step away from the vehicle.
I'm yelling for my mother to get inside while I'm trying to remember the number for 911.
As the bad guy drives off, the neighbor asks, "What happened?" I simply said, "He was trying to rob or attack us!" I barely looked at him because I was trying to get the license plate of the fleeing truck.
Neighbor guy jumped in his car and took off after the bad guy.
I actually got through to 911 and gave them my story and was told an officer would be by soon.

When I hung up, my mother had sat down on the porch and said "Did you see that? The neighbor had a gun. He pulled it out of his holster. I think he's a cop!"
I realized then why he said "Police!" He was identifying himself, not giving me orders!

It wasn't long until a police officer showed up and asked for a description of the guy and his truck. When I was finished he said they had apprehended a guy that fits the description and wanted us to come to the scene to identify him.
By this time two of my sisters had driven back to my mother's house so we all jumped into a car and followed the cop to a VERY remote part of town. We drove down a bumpy road, behind a junkyard to find several police cars and that same black truck.
They kept us a good distance from the bad guy and got him out of the police car and we gave a positive identification.

The story is that this pillar of society started in Houston with a car jacking for that truck, then slowly meandered down south where he robbed people along the way. He was just taking a leisurely drive through the neighborhoods looking for easy targets.
He didn't expect to approach two women next door to an off duty police officer. Hell, we didn't know she lived next door to an off duty police officer!
The bad guy was captured after a high speed pursuit through town and since he wasn't from here, he got himself stuck on an unfamiliar street, crashed into a van and tried to take off on foot. He didn't get far.
He was found with over 100 stolen items on his person, mostly jewelry (that's what created the bulges I noticed).
He is being charged with felony evading, multiple moving violations, resisting arrest, drug possession, the multiple thefts and where my mother and I are concerned he's being charged with felony unlawful restraint.

After about 2 hours at the police station giving our statements separately, the detective asked me if there was anything else I wanted them to know about the incident. If I were sitting in front of a jury, what would I want them to know?
I had to think about it for a moment and then I said, "When I set off the panic alarm, he laughed at me as if to indicate that he wasn't intimidated at all. I knew then that we were in big trouble. He was amazingly calm about the whole thing, as if he did this everyday."
The detective typed this up and said "That's good stuff."

Yes, it was a bad day, but it could have been worse. The fire wasn't devastating, the bad guy didn't have a weapon and there was a police officer just a few feet away. We were VERY lucky.
But my sisters lovingly reminded me that I was very lucky that I wasn't arrested myself; apparently my uneven cut off sweats and old t-shirt were definitely a violation and I should be thankful the fashion police were off duty!
Why is it nothing bad ever happens when you're dressed up? I'm always in my pajamas, sweats or just rolling out of bed when an emergency occurs; teeth not brushed, hair askew, face unwashed - devoid of any makeup.
I might start wearing an evening gown 24/7!

Monday, April 21, 2008

It's Business

I was gone for a while on a business trip. I love traveling on the company dime. Nice hotels, a per diem, towncars vs taxis. It's great.
Everything went so smoothly on this trip (the airport, hotel reservations, traffic, etc..) I was beginning to worry. Surely the plane would crash on the way home, right?
But no, I'm alive and everything went swimmingly. I'm not complaining, just surprised.

So, for some reason on my last bookstore trip I purchased Of Human Bondage and The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham.
I read The Painted Veil in one day. I started Of Human Bondage and it took a bit longer to read because of all the descriptive inter-musings of the narrator.
I couldn't wait to get back to the book to see what Philip Carey was up to, though.
After that, I read all the short stories I could get my hands on.

I found that the local library had The Razor's Edge so I checked that out but that very same day, I decided to visit a used bookstore. I went there with the idea that I would have to dig for a battered copy of a W. Somerset Maugham book if I was lucky. I was willing to be happy with that.
As soon as I walked in, I was drawn straight to a matching set of hardbound books. I had to blink a few times because I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was a set of Maugham novels!
I knew they would be more than I could afford but I still asked the shop girl how much the whole set would be. She said she would look it up but it would take a few minutes. I had just walked in so I didn't mind looking around for a while.

She found me a few minutes later with the set of books in her arms and said "Is $17 ok?"
"Each?" I asked, unable to hope.

"No, for the set."

I grabbed them before she could change her mind.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Lost & Found

I thought I lost my iPod.

I was sitting in a church attending a funeral service for a family friend when suddenly I realized that I didn't see my iPod when I changed purses the night before. I fought the urge to hysterically start digging in my handbag right then and there during the eulogy given by the deceased's crying son but I rushed back to work where I proceeded to unload the entire contents of my bag onto my desk. No iPod.
I'm pretty good about keeping up with things like my cell phone, ipod and digital camera so when the iPod wasn't in it's usual pocket, I became a little worried.
But I didn't panic. I made it through the rest of the work day but couldn't wait to get home to start tearing shit apart.
The first place I looked was the purse I was carrying previously which was also the purse I was using the last time I remember seeing the iPod.
Not there.

I started searching through my numerous handbags. I checked every nook and cranny in my house then went outside to start searching through my car. Maybe it fell out of my purse in my car.
Not there.

I knew it was gone forever. I looked in every conceivable spot. I lost it.

What was worse than the pain of losing this tiny piece of technological yumminess was the idea that someone else had found it. I could imagine some greasy, dirty individual finding my iPod and enjoying all the wonderful music I had painstakingly chosen.
The idea of it drove me crazy. If I can't have my iPod, then I'd rather see it destroyed than some random loser putting their sweaty paws all over it.

I whined about it to friends all day Thursday and everyone sympathized with me.

Then Thursday night, I started thinking of a few clutches and wristlets that I couldn't remember searching. I usually keep my small accessories in my larger purses and I typically don't know what is where, so I picked up the first handbag I could find which was the original search location. I opened it to see if my wristlet was inside but instead I found my iPod staring back at me.
All this time and after a million searches, my iPod was where I originally thought it would be.
I stared at it in amazement. I have found you, my beautiful lover!

Apparently the lining of the bag is so loose that it had been folded inside the lining and I just didn't see it or feel it during my frantic search and later must have shifted after I started throwing handbags around.

It's not often we have a happy ending to a tragic story in today's world so I hope my story helps to make your Friday even better and will brighten your weekend.

The Prodigal iPod Returns!
The Prodigal iPod Returns!

PS: That pic makes me look like I have gigantic man hands!