Monday, December 30, 2013

Whose DNA is this?

Clearing away holiday cards last night, I saw this on the back of the one from my grandparents:
WTF! The front was a regular holiday card.

Since when is the NRA involved in the holiday business? The funniest thing grandparents aren't gun enthusiasts. I've never even heard them talk about guns, other than the fact that when they lived out on several acres when we were little, they had a gun they used to kill snakes. We were educated about where it was, not to go anywhere fucking near it, etc.

So I'm thinking if the NRA did this properly, they'd come up with something more branded. Hey, I have a marketing background.

How about:

"You can have a Merry Christmas...when you pry it out of my cold, dead hands!"

"Support the NRA this Christmas. Because even Santa could be packing heat."
I'm guessing they were probably a freebie that my grandparents got in the mail. My grandfather is one of the cheapest men alive. He buys his jeans at Wal-Mart and complains about how expensive they are. He also rants about how China is taking jobs away from the U.S. ... despite his favorite store being one of the top importers of Chinese-made goods... he doesn't connect dots really well.

It just goes to support my dad's theory that I have no DNA in common with that side of the family. We could invent our own game show! It could be called, "Whose DNA is this?"

How about you? Does the apple fall that far from the tree?

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

For once

I'll be serious.

All kinds of crazy shit happened last week - the kiddo ran away (don't ask me why no one figured out where he was for two days, when I finally jumped in it took me all of five minutes.) That was after two ER visits in a week because he got drunk and super sick, and I had a come-to-Jesus thought process with myself.

I was so angry that I wanted to take back all of his presents and never talk to him again, period, end of story. And maybe that would have been justifiable given all of the crap he has put so many people through.

I decided not to. I'm not going to be the one person who gives up on him, although I am going to stop this, as Mr. RK says, from "eating my life" like it has been lately. We made a deal: he sinks or he swims. I'll still love him, but I'm not going to be the one they call when he presents problems, to try to convince him to be good. He's got to do it on his own.

And tonight I realized that I made the right decision not giving up on him, for an entirely different reason.

He lives with several kids in a group home that probably have relatives who at one point considered the same thing, and made a different choice. My family and I adopted each of them for the holidays.

Tonight when I went to pick him up, I saw one of them who has been particularly troubled and has been in a home since he was an adolescent. He hardly ever sees his family, even though they are within driving distance.

He popped out and gave me a big smile and said, "RK! We went shopping for Christmas! Thank you so much!" And gave me a big hug.

To be so thankful to a relative stranger, I think, came less from the fact that he was getting presents than from the fact that someone cared. I had no idea something so small could mean so much.

I don't want the kiddo to become the person who has nobody.

It reinforced what I knew deep down: that no matter how badly we screw up,  we all need someone to love us, someone who doesn't give up. I am thankful for the people who didn't give up on me, and for the people I love who continue to love me when I struggle.

We should all be so lucky.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

If it's the thought that counts, stop thinking!

Strange stuff happens this time of year. Or is it just me?

It has been a trying couple of weeks for many in my circle, myself included. Some of you may remember the awesome gift that Grannie Annie sent me recently.

Now, because I need some laughs and perhaps so do you, I want to write about some not-so-awesome gifts I have received in my lifetime. Things that demonstrate, if it truly is the thought that counts, that some people (at least those related to me) just shouldn't think.
Once again, I'm not making this up.

Let's start with my grandparents. My late grandmother, God bless her, insisted on getting everyone multiple presents each year from the Avon catalog.  Mind you, if this meant makeup, it wouldn't be so bad. You can give makeup away, because someone will want it. And likely it doesn't cost as much as the crap in the Avon catalog that your relative who lives on a fixed income is buying for you, thus adding new guilt to existing guilt. (My family is a combination of Lutheran and Jewish. My ex-boss, a Catholic, said, "Then you're a Catholic in denial.")

Avon's catalog brought my family things such as:

1. The terrorist-chic combination scarf/hat/earmuffs. It looked a bit like this, but when wrapped appropriately, you could only see eyeballs. And it was in cheetah print.

2. The bright pink suede slippers that were two sizes too big. I gave them to my at-the-time boyfriend's 8-year-old daughter, who really enjoyed them. This came with some books on the crucifixion. Oh, how I wish I could use MS Paint right about now.

3. The beer stein with a dog on the moon (my dad was the lucky winner.) Joining my aunt and uncle for Christmas one year, my dad saw that my uncle had received the same one, which made me wonder: did my grandmother buy us all the same stuff, one tacky gift per gender? They joked about exchanging them back and forth each year, but they were so hideous that they decided they didn't even want to look at them once every 365 days.

4. Gifts from my other grandmother, who I think goes shopping in fits of mania. (No, I am not kidding.) One year, I got a gold nugget to wear on a chain (I didn't), socks that came up past my knees (think Mr. Rogers' closet, rather than Avril Lavigne), and a 3X shirt that would have fit this guy.

I'm 5'3" and petite. I drowned. Goodwill did well again that year.

5. Gifts ALL YEAR ROUND from relatives who think I am still 10 years old. When I was 10, I made the mistake of telling everyone how much I liked cats. I still like cats, but once I hit 12 or so, I stopped appreciating pastel cat pillows, dishes with cartoon cats on them, and the like.

I could go on, but there's not enough space. I actually wrote a feature column about bad gifts one year, and described how my dad and I had actually talked about the dilemma of having our relatives spend money on such absolute crap that we all hated, but couldn't tell them.

Promptly, I got hate mail from people accusing me of being ungrateful, offering to adopt my grandparents, and saying it was "clear that the author and dad were related."

That, in fact, made us both laugh so much that it was worth the crucifixion books and dogs on the moon. And who knows? Over the years, we may have been helping people at Goodwill and The Salvation Army thrift store find the perfect gifts! Somewhere out there is a dog on the moon beer stein that is well-loved. I'd like to think so, anyway.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

It's all (still) true!

More from work...

One of my volunteers came in special today and ended up taking an appointment that one of my coworkers would have done.

This coworker is, shall we say, reserved. I mean, he doesn't mind if we swear, but you could have Weird Al come make a personal performance and he might crack half a grin.

The appointment to sign someone up for insurance asks, duh, about income. According to my volunteer, the conversation between them went something like this:

Volunteer: "And are you currently employed?"
Appointment girl: "No." Pause. "But I'm a web cam stripper." Pause. "Do I count that as income?"
I laughed so hard I forgot to ask what he ended up putting on the application. Not merely because a web cam stripper approached us to sign up for insurance, but clearly she wanted my volunteer to know what she did in her spare time. I mean, you're employed or you're not. It's not rocket science. But it would have been fucking hilarious if my coworker would have had that one.

And from home, I am still cursing the day I let my dad talk me out of taking an auto shop class in high school, because I am a complete idiot when it comes to cars, and I'm always worried that I'm going to get fucked with my pants on when I take the car in for anything more than an oil change. (He denies this, but it's true! I was all ready to sign up and he said, "Why would you want to be in that class with a bunch of boys?" Come to think of it, that was probably his worry.) Anyhow, I was thoroughly annoyed yesterday because despite leaving my car at the shop for two hours Saturday, and Mr. RK arranging his fucked up work schedule to accommodate me so I wouldn't have to sit in the customer "lounge" for two hours, the problem is, if anything, worse.
The conversation yesterday with the service guy involved a lot of "well maybe" and "I'm totally booked"  on his end, and then I politely lost patience. On my end, I may have said, "Fuck!", although it wasn't aimed at anyone. I must have said something right because last we left it, I told him I'd look at my calendar to make an appointment and call today.

Me: "I have the Mustang that has the windshield wiper fluid problem. I have a few days off next week. Can I make an appointment?"
Service guy: "Yes. When would you like to come in?"
Me: "What times do you have available Wednesday?"
Service guy: "Anytime. I'm at your mercy."

Much different than being fully booked, no?

Those words can't possibly have been uttered before, nor will they be uttered since, from a car service guy to a customer, can they?

Who knows. They might blow up my car next week, but that might give me more material.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Just call me Scrooge

A rant in pictures...

You know how I feel about the more commercial aspects of this season. The creater of this wrapping paper and I must have been separated at birth.
Who the hell came up with the idea of wrapping presents, anyhow? Isn't enough to say, "Hey! This is a gift for you?" Mr. RK and I donate instead of buying gifts for adults in our lives and ask them to do the same. I did get some things for the kiddo. Anyhow - in my house, guess who does the wrapping?

At least I did get some help this morning.

"What's this? Clearly, this is a new cat cave."
"All things considered, a job well done."
There are teethmarks in the wrapping paper now. Apparently it's yummy.

Back to my rant: And then there is the weather. It's supposed to be 9 degrees tonight. That's fucking balmy compared to the -25 my family has seen in Minnesota, but you know what? I live on the West Coast for several reasons, and not having it be 9 is one of them. At work we actually turned off the vents and plugged in space heaters, because the vents were blowing cold air.

Not to mention the fact that Friday, I had to spend the morning working from home because multiple accidents resulted from this much snow:
Yes, all of you in the Midwest, East, Canada, Europe and other parts North are laughing at us, and rightfully so.

Granted, at least it has been somewhat sunny. Next week it gets a lot warmer (highs in the 30s and 40s) and it rains, which also sucks.

Winter, this is what Vasil thinks of you, and so do I:

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

This and that (and how to use condoms)

A few funny things -

Mr. RK had a meeting with a bunch of people today, and two of them were arguing about who would get an answer to his question first. This, even though they both asked the question at the same time, and asked the same question.

Mr. RK told me this story, and I asked, "Who stopped the arguing?" That would be Mr. RK's boss, who said,  "Shut up, both of you! This isn't your meeting." And up they shut.

In the category of "I couldn't make this up" - I got an email at work from someone asking if she should donate to our organization, or would it be better to donate to research? Part of my job is fundraising. I wonder how much of my job it would remain if I had written her back and said, "Research, definitely. Take your money elsewhere, lady." I mean, I have to wonder: was that one of the possible answers she was expecting?
Not funny in itself, but one of the kiddo's latest antics was to climb up on the roof of his group home, smoke cigarettes, and refuse to come down. The funny part was what he said after I found out.

Him: "I didn't know people knew I went up on the roof! That's embarrassing!"
Me: "You should have thought of that beforehand, obviously."
Him: "Well, you'll be proud of me though - I wore the hat and gloves you bought me, so I stayed very warm!"
Right! I'm to be proud because prior to becoming smoking Spiderman, he thought to wear warm clothing. I didn't think to ask how he got down, come to think of it.

Lastly, we received "tuxedos" and "extra strength" condoms for our holiday bag project. (If you haven't read about that yet, here you go.)

Everyone in the office asked, "What are tuxedos?" I had no idea so I opened the box. (Answer: black latex condoms. Which makes me wonder about where the white? - never mind, let's not go there.)

Guess what I found inside the box?

The volunteer who started this project, God love her, said, "That's no fun! What if I want multicolored ones and instructions in Ukranian?" Yes, that is why she will be my friend until one of us leaves this planet.