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.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Don't let the turkeys get you down

I haven't posted a good rant in awhile, but in the spirit of the holiday, I'm going to tell you, albeit in the bitchiest way possible, why I am thankful for being an adult, especially around the holidays. (Oh, and for the record, although I am a vegan, there's no fucking Tofurky here. No fucking way.)
I am thankful that I am an adult because:

1. I don't have to spend the holidays with people I don't like. Why the hell should I? I'm a grownup and it's my damn day off. Tomorrow we are seeing the kiddo and one of my friends who has the paradox of having shitty relatives within driving distance, but great relatives out of state.

2. No one can tell me when it's time to eat. Did you remember this shit from when you were a kid? You had to wait FOREVER, until Uncle Joe or Auntie Margaret put the finishing touches on God knows what, or Cousin Phil took forever to show up and we all had to fucking starve because he was always late, but somehow, we still had to be polite. Then, they'd make you wait for dessert until all of the adults wanted it. Fuck that shit.

3. When I cook, I will cook exactly the way I fucking want to. This means mashed potatoes peeled before they are boiled. I can't tell you home many times I heard from people (not my dad, of course, he's awesome and I don't know that he ventured into the potato area), "You have to leave the skins on! That's where the vitamins are!" I don't have to do anything. That's also where the dirt is.

That also means no one can harass me about why I don't eat cooked birds, and I don't have to think the responses I'd like to say out loud. Mind you, I'm not telling anyone else not to. So why harass me?

"Why are you a vegan again?" Because you're not.
"Don't you like the taste of meat?" Yes, I love it, I'm just into self-punishment. I dream about McNuggets.
"How do you get any protein?" I grow soybeans illegally on my front porch.

4. I don't have to go back to school next week, thus, I have no homework. What was up with that? Then you'd go back to school and your teachers would say, "Oh, we are so behind!" We? Who is this "we"? My little brother and sister have three hours of homework each night. I'd rather have three hours of work work each night.

5.  I am now at the age where saying, "Because I said so!" actually works. Really. I got a phone call from the staff on duty at the kiddo's group home tonight because he refused to give up his phone and go to bed. I got on the phone and he started to whinge and give me all kinds of bullshit reasons why they shouldn't take his phone away. I told him, among other things, that I didn't want to hear it and the main reason he had to give up his phone was "Because I said so, that's why!" Jesus. Add a couple of personality disorders and some bleach and I could be turning into my biological mother.

Just kidding. She's totally not that reasonable.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Smart humanity, where art thou?

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The perfect gift(s)

Never underestimate the potential of the perfect gift.

As a preface to this post, one of our friends died unexpectedly last night. I found out via text. What the fuck is up with that? There should be a limit to technology.

This was not a young person, but it was not an old person either - it was and is still a shock.

This followed a  couple of other non-starters from the weekend, including an argument with the kid and a front-page incident involving the police and one of our donors, in which everyone and their grandmother emailed/texted/phoned me and said, "Did you know about this?" To which I wanted to reply, "No, I've been living under a rock."

So how therapeutic was it to arrive home today, and find in the mail a custom office stamp from my friend Granny Annie

And I am now not sure if she was putting me on, but to think that earlier today she wrote,
"It won't really seem like a gift.  It will be more like an office supply and you might not even think it is a gift."

In my daze I was wondering if I was going to receive a package of post-its, but I should have known better.

And it has INK!!! It is going right onto my desk, ASAP, tomorrow morning. 

That is exactly what I needed today.

Never underestimate the power of laughter and thoughtfulness. And for me, that can sometimes be when the word "fuck" is involved.

Tonight, we went to see Nine Inch Nails as an early Christmas present from my dad. Also lots of saying (singing) "fuck!" 

You remember the days where they said no flash cameras (was there any other kind?) allowed, right? Did all of that just go right out the window with smart phones? Well, cheers to that.

So you see? My needs are simple. Give me rubber stamps and Trent Reznor, and everyone is safe.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Oh fudge.

Some random observations from this past week:

1. The farther I get from Portlandia, the more things start to scare me. We held an event for work about 2 1/2 hours away from Portland last weekend, and I saw these signs on the freeway (not making this up):

Sign A (Picture of a guy jumping in the air, fist-pumping, like the old Toyota ads): "Jesus came to free us from slavery! End your porn addiction today!"

Sign B (No picture but it didn't really need one): "Saturday is the TRUE Sabbath. It was hijacked by the AntiChrist!"

Sign C: "If you die tonight...Heaven? (Picture of sun and clouds.) Or Hell? (Picture of flames.)"

Toto...I suddenly found myself in Kansas.

I emailed my dad, who replied, regarding sign C, "You mean we get to choose?" (This is funnier when you consider that he was once a clergyman.)

2. I don't know if I like being old enough to give advice to a teenager. The kiddo had an overnight at our place this week (a sort of impromptu slumber party, really), and he said, "I need to talk to you later. Just us. About SERIOUS TEENAGE STUFF!" (Yes, he really said that.)

And the serious teenage stuff was .... drum roll ... sex! Or the proposition of. The kiddo and his girlfriend have been on one date - her first date ever - and already she wants to jump his bones. He wanted my thoughts on this. I thought to myself, "Well done! You're thinking this through instead of being a purely horny teenage guy." Also thinking, has this girl got issues neither one of us know about?

So I asked him if he was hesitating, and he said kinda, so I said, Always go with your gut. If it's not right it's not right, there's always time. And then, being me, I blurted out, "Where would you go, anyway?"

He interrupted in true millennial fashion, "I have condoms by the way! Don't worry! I will be safe!"

So here I am talking about condoms at work AND at home. Sometimes, I think it's rather silly to be me.

Oh - and speaking of silly, you know the applications we are helping people fill out to sign up for Medicaid and private insurance on our state's health insurance exchange? There is a part where you think it's the end, because you sign, signifying that the application is complete, and then it says, "Congratulations! You're done!" This is the text verbatim.

On the back of that page there are more required questions. Needless to say, a lot of people have missed these and their applications will be deemed "incomplete."

A fucked up website is one thing; complete DIPSHITS writing the applications is another thing altogether.  I suppose I know where to go interview if I decide that I need a job I can sleep through and still be employed.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Would you like your answer loud or soft?

When we were little, and exasperating, my dad, instead of losing his temper or throwing up his hands (or pulling our his hair or our own), would say, "Would you like your answer loud or soft?"

So we'd giggle and choose.

If we said soft, he'd whisper, "No!" and then tiptoe away, all in a hush. More giggling..."LOUD!"

He'd roar in this big, pseudo-monster voice, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

And then we'd collapse with laughter and, I just realized, as I am typing away, that this was a very good way of distracting us with humor. (The apple doesn't fall that far from the tree, does it?) I don't remember ever nagging him for whatever we wanted after that.

I had to work again this weekend, and what sucks is that when I work on a Saturday, we don't take a day off during the previous or following week. Yes, I know, poor me, I'm not out digging ditches, but PEOPLE WEAR ME THE FUCK OUT, and when I have to put on an event on a Saturday, I haven't decompressed by Monday.

Anyhow. I thought I'd surprise the kiddo by calling him up and inviting him to come out to coffee with me. I thought that would be decompressing enough. (I can hear all of you parents of teenagers laughing.)

As soon as I call, he starts ranting and telling me he doesn't want to eat if he can't have exactly what he wants...he had thrown a tantrum with staff again because he couldn't have his way. So with any other kid you'd say, "Fine, don't eat," and then wait for them to cave. But with a teen who has eating disorders, who pulls this stunt often enough that I don't know how I have any hair left, that just won't fly.

I got into it with him on the phone (basically saying, "Go eat RIGHT. FUCKING. NOW! Or I won't take you anywhere!" And he did.) And unfortunately, I realized that I am going to have to be parental in some more ways because the carrot-stick method is the only thing that seems to work. Someone I know through work has a son the same age and she said, "It's not his right to have the phone. It's a privilege. And right now, he's not earning it."

So we had a meeting with his program person and agreed that if he throws tantrums like these, he loses phone privileges for a bit. He agreed to this but I still feel like a jerk. I'm trying to do this as a reward and a motivation, not a punishment, but it's a defacto punishment, isn't it?

Speaking of punishment, he thinks it's totally unfair that his group home supervisor has to meet his girlfriend's parents.

"Why?!" he asked. "That is sooooooo embarrassing!"

I replied, "They have to make sure she doesn't live in a crack house."

And apparently, life imitates sarcasm, because the program guy explained that in a previous home, they didn't have the "meet the parents" requirement. One day he inadvertently gave one of the teens in his charge a ride to a ... wait for it ... crack house!

The kid told him he was going to a friend's house. The supervisor said he'd come in with him and introduce himself. There were people milling around outside who were obviously completely out of their heads on drugs. A guy who was completely high answered the door: "You don't have to knock! Come in!" (They didn't.)

So the moral of the story is...every smart alec comment must have some basis in reality? If that's the case, I'm wiser than I thought.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Soap operas, short vikings, and ordering condoms for work

So as you know, we're helping people sign up for Medicaid and other insurance at work. It has been an exercise in patience, and not just with the paperwork.

My intern, for instance, took this call today:

Caller: "I want to make an appointment. I am open all day tomorrow."
Intern:  "How about 12:30?"
Caller: "No, I'll be watching a soap opera."
Intern: "How many people in your household?"
Caller (in all seriousness): "Just me. I've never been married. I watch soap operas, and I know how that goes!"

Then, there's the condoms I have to order for work. Long story short, every winter, we work with a volunteer's place of business to put together gift bags of toiletries, a warm item of clothing, and a small gift (e.g. a journal or cards) and distribute them to shelters and drop-in centers that serve people who are homeless and have severe mental illness. The health department heard about this and offered to give us about 2,000 condoms, since people living on the streets are much more likely to have Hep C and HIV.

So there is a sequence of emails for work where we are all giggling like eighth grade girls, and then it comes to the condom request form.

Me, in an email to the project coordinator: Please see the attached form and let me know what kind of condoms you want, and how many.
Her reply: Seriously?
Me: Yes. I've been married forever. I have no clue about these things.
Her: OK! 5300.
Me: I think they can only get us 2,000?
Her: That was the item number! O.M.G.

She chose ... drumroll please ... red, yellow and green ones. At first I thought she chose "extra snug fit" (yes, that is on the form) but I was one digit off.

Then, filling out the form (and I kid you not), it asks, "Who will be using the condoms?" and lists different categories of populations.

Um. We don't exactly have a signout sheet, do we?  So I just checked all of the boxes.

Meanwhile, my DNA spit kit arrived but it will take 6-8 weeks to process the spit. In the meantime, I told my dad that the newly discovered Scandinavian on his mom's side means we are clearly descendant from, among other groups, vikings! This makes perfect sense to me.

Him: "You're too short to be a viking."
Me: "There are short vikings!"

I believe this to be true, anyhow. It would explain a lot.

Friday, November 01, 2013

I have no patience with adults

A few days ago, I had a meeting with someone who was talking about patience, and people who tried ours.

"I have all kinds of patience for kids, and for teenagers," she told me, "But I have no patience with adults. They should know better."

THANK YOU! This basically sums up how I feel about life in general. The kiddo tries my patience, but not on purpose. Adults do it deliberately, or so it seems.

Take today, for instance. I worked from home and so I wasn't there to let the door kick this woman in the ass on her way out. One of my volunteers made an appointment for someone to help them sign up for insurance. Like all of our services, we don't charge for this.

First off, she's over an hour late. That alone would make me say, "I'm sorry, but we have other people coming in, and you need to reschedule." This volunteer is super nice and maybe too accommodating. But I am not there, so he keeps the appointment and stays late.

She proceeds takes forever to go through the application, because she didn't bring the information she was asked to bring. Then at the end she changed all of her answers! Um, hello. I am unsure of the details of this - I was at the dentist when it happened - but I wrote the volunteer and told him, "Just because you are a volunteer doesn't mean people have carte blanche to waste your time!"

Another example, also from work. A colleague in another office emailed me and asked a question that I didn't have the answer to, as it had to do with something another agency does. I copied a contact at the other agency and said, "I'm copying so-and-so to find out."

A day goes by. Maybe not even an entire day. Then the colleague emails one of my employees the exact same question. We discuss this, SINCE WE WORK IN THE SAME OFFICE, and it turns out she emailed the contact at the other agency as well. So we both look like idiots.

So without a hint of sarcasm, I email the colleague and copy my employee and say, "If you have a question about Project X, and one of us does not get back to you immediately, it's because we are still waiting for the answer. We both emailed so-and-so because you emailed us both separately. So please just email one of us when you have questions."

And without a hint of irony she wrote back, "Great! Thanks!"

I tell you, velcro was invented for a reason. I do not know how some people get up and tie their shoes in the morning.

I have no patience with adults.

Monday, October 28, 2013

What part of "delete browsing history" don't you understand?

So I'm back from the trip that didn't give me time to go explore the city we were in. Boo.

For those of you who live in or have lived in Chicago: how the fuck do you sleep at night? The wind was so loud that I learned the reason someone coined the expression "howling."

Still wondering how those of you who are parents did it or are doing it without pulling out all of your hairs, or someone else's. Saturday, I find out that the kiddo I am advocating for (henceforth known as "the kiddo") has has his phone taken away because he was looking at porn. Granted, he's 17, and I basically told him, look, as long as it's not anyone hurting anyone else, or anything to do with children or sheep, I really don't care. However, you live in a group home and they have rules, and WHAT PART OF DELETE BROWSING HISTORY DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND? Technology has made things so complicated.

That's the thing - and I wonder if I was like this when I was a teenager and my dad just never said anything? - when he breaks the rules, he doesn't just leave a trail of breadcrumbs, he leaves a trail of bread loaves. (Yes, I told him this.) Was I just sneakier? Savvier? Or did I just think I was?

I also had to lay the smack down, as he wasn't listening to anyone at the home. The program supervisor said, "Can you talk to him about this?"

Here's how the conversation went:

Kiddo: "Um. OK."

And he did.

Anyhow. After less than 48 hours full of people, people, people - I actually skipped out on a couple of the sessions just to get some time to myself - I have to say that I really don't understand extroverts. If you are an extrovert, I admire you, in the most dazzled, baffled way. I came home and felt like the life had been sucked out of me through my ears (or maybe that was the popping left over from the plane.) In fact I took today off and did nothing - literally - until Mr. RK got home and we went out on a date.

I did my spit-in-a-kit thing tonight. Boy is that gross. Not that I've never spit before, but I didn't have it in a tube right in front of me. Yuck.

I'll be sure to let you know all of the results, although at this point I'm wondering 1. How they'll know it's my kit, and what if I get someone else's results? 2. If it gets lost in the mail, what do I do, and 3. If they get it right, just how much will I be able to disturb the less progressive elements of my family?

Either'll hear about it.

Friday, October 25, 2013

I can has business trip

I have to go to Chicago for work, briefly. Not sure why I thought this was a good idea, as 1. I hate flying, 2. I hate big groups of people I don't know, and 3. I hate flying.

Blogs don't load well on my phone so I won't be visiting you until next week.

Meanwhile, dealing with a difficult colleague that everyone has been avoiding since she has been such a bitch...this is how I did it:

Her: Rude email.
Me: "Be nice!"

She said she was being nice...then backed down. So maybe I just need to apply the rules of kindergarten.

Have a good weekend!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Comedy, how to get free valet parking, and why I want to spit in a cup.

Now if that headline doesn't grab you, I don't know what will.

So first off - the hotel where we had our event accidentally didn't comp a couple of people for valet parking. Mr. RK, being mellow, paid and let me bug them later to get the $32 (!!!) charge reversed.

My employee had a better approach, I found out today. She said, "You can comp me, or I can go get RK. And she is already irritated!" Guess what? They comped her.

Today I found out that my family tree is more like a fucking grapevine. You know how I thought we were seven different ethnicities? Well guess what! My great aunt, who was told their family was 100% German, did the spit-in-a-cup DNA test and - voila! - she isn't German at all.

She (we) have roots inScandinavia (Norway, Sweden), Western Europe(Netherlands, France, Bay of Biscay), Eastern Europe  (Romania, Poland ),  the Iberian Peninsula, Great Britain and Ireland.

That blew me away! So I wonder if my grandmother died thinking she was 100% German, or someone, somewhere, just made it up. 

This, in addition to what we know (or don't know??) from my grandfather's side and my mother's family.

So I immediately ordered the DNA kit. I can't wait to find out what's in my spit. I do know this: that instead of coming from seven different places, we come from more than a dozen. Shazam! People hopped the fence everywhere. I'm hoping to find something really unexpected and freak out my biological mother's side of the family, who is also convinced they're 100% European, even though not everyone looks that way.

My dad said, "Won't take much really. Tell them you're having an affair with a Black Muslim who is actually an athiest." (I'm secretly hoping to find this in my spit test. I'll keep you posted!)

Finally, I leave you with this standup comedy video from my brother N. (Warning: NSFW.) But fucking hilarious. Dude, you have balls!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Relationships, as explained by cats

I have often said on this blog (and in life) that I think we would be better off if we approached relationships the same way cats do. Mr. RK has taken a short clip of Vasil (left, all black) and Mandrake (giant Oreo-looking cat on the right), who have kindly lent their skills to demonstrate this.

Once again: size up the situation, wap at your opponent and get it out of your system, then later, perhaps, have a cuddle. (You won't get me interested in ear licking, however.)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Stolen, and stolen!

I stole this gem from Joey's new blog, Stolen. If you haven't checked it out, go do so. It's some hilarious stuff from all over the web.

I won't get into the serious shit about the young man I'm advocating for, but I told him, and now I'm telling you, that the three gray hairs I have (and the million that are all the way) are all from him!

Parents, HOW do you do it? (Note to my dad: if you are reading this, I fully take responsibility for you going gray. Truly, I do.)

I felt a bit old today when I went to go visit and he was arguing with the staff at his group home, and I was able to get him to behave by saying, "You will do X, Y and Z, or I will go back home and not take you anywhere!" Boom! Compliance. It made me feel a bit old, having a modicum of authority.

We did have a good day after that. We got through the serious talk, went to a pumpkin patch, to lunch, and to coffee. Driving back, he said, "You know! When I'm an old man, I'll be a cool old man. I'll be 71 and I'll call you up and be like, 'Hey! What's shaking?'"

Me: "And I'll be 91 and saying, 'Hey, you young whipper snapper!'"

People in my family tend to live forever. Which brings me to another conversation I had today with a friend. His mother and my grandmother both lost their inhibitions after strokes, late in their lives. My grandmother, who was very devout and couldn't say the word "poop" before the strokes, in particular really disturbed my dad one time by saying, "If I had known there wouldn't be any sex around here, I'd have gone out and gotten it somewhere else!"

So my friend said, "Well, if you do have any strokes in old age, my guess is that no one will notice. You don't have inhibitions to begin with."

I'm not sure if that's a compliment or not?

Lastly in this random post, I'm going to include a plug for Mr. RK's photo blog. He finally posted again today and has several pics from his kayaking travels.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

No, you cannot has that. Absolutely not!

It's event week.

On top of it being event week, this year our dinner coincided with the launch of our state's insurance exchange (which still does not work) and a grant through which we are supposed to help sign people up for Medicaid and other insurance. Through an exchange whose online portal doesn't work.

Anyhow. You know how it goes - there's the usual stupid crap, and I am writing about it humorously to 1. let you all know that yes, this is all true, and 2. keep my hopes up that if I vent about it here, I will get it out of my system somewhat and not do anything that will get me arrested (e.g. assault.)

Things it is NOT OK to do to the event planner:

1. Say you might come, never get back to her, then email at 9 pm the night before the event, after the seating is done and the meals are ordered, (yes RIGHT FUCKING NOW!! I just got the email when I was writing this!!) saying you're bringing two guests.

2. Offer to volunteer three months in advance and then flake. Not only flake, but offer your free dinner/volunteer gig to two people who are totally unknown to the event planner and copy them on the email asking if they can take your place.

3. Ask the event planner for a ride to and from the dinner. Because she has nothing else to do that day. No, I am not making this up!! Two people did this. From totally opposite sides of town. Right.

4. Waffle on your entrees after they have already been ordered by catering. Because hell, the meals can come in and cook themselves.

5. Tell the event planner you need to sit with so-and-so, who isn't coming to the event.

More to come tomorrow, I'm sure. Every year, I have people buy tickets the day of the event. Who, may I ask, decides that day that they're going to a $125-a-plate gala dinner? Do they carry cocktail dresses in their cars just in case?

I plan (hope) to be less bitchy tomorrow, provided too many things don't get fucked up. Wish me luck.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Bad dates? I has had them.

So there was some tough stuff this week with the kiddo I am advocating for. Luckily we managed to talk through it and have a good day. Tonight he was having some anxiety, so the plan is that he texts me and I distract him.

So I wrote back, "I just remembered the worst pickup line ever! Will call you in 5."

Which prompted a discussion between him, me, the staff on duty at the home he lives in, and Mr. RK.

This reminded me of why I have told Mr. RK repeatedly that if he decides one day that he no longer prefers women, or God forbid something ever happens to him like a piano falling out of the sky and onto his head, he doesn't have to worry: I would never date again!

So tell me if you have ever had anything happen like...

1. You meet someone online and you suggest a coffee date. They suggest dinner. Then, when the bill arrives, they ask you to split it. (Mind you, I think people should take turns paying, and I erred on the side of paying when I was dating, but if you invite, you should offer to pay, right?) How romantic. Then they suggest a walk in the park and out of the blue they ask you, "So what do you prefer? A guy who has a big dick or a guy who knows how to use it?"

As if these two are mutually exclusive. And that was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay TMI about him. (How did I solve this? I somehow, with a straight face, told him I was into hardcore bondage, ensuring that he would never call me again. It worked.)

2.  Ask someone out and arrange to meet at a nice restaurant, and she shows up WITH A BABY. One you didn't know she had, since she never told you she had a kid. She is super messy and gets food all over the place. Then you drive her home, and there are all these people smoking pot outside the front of her house, because - surprise! - she may be a new mom, but she's also a stoner. (This was from the counselor at the group home. Holy fucking shit. I couldn't one-up him.)

3. Go on a date to a thriller/horror movie. Get the surprise of your life when your date decides to grab your manhood out of nowhere. "YIPE!" Luckily, the timing is such that you jump out of your seat during a scary (for the rest of the audience also) moment.

4. Go on a double date at the beach and watch your date get drunk, throw up, and then ask you to make out on the beach. (Mr. RK, I think, was just relieved when he met me to have someone only mildly crazy, based on the stories I have heard.)

5. Ask this pretty girl on a date. Take her to McDonald's, and then ask her to pay.

Yes, really, but apparently it worked...Mr. RK's best friend from high school has now been married to the pretty girl for more than 20 years! 

So how about you? I know you have some doozies. Let's have 'em.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Uninteresting vegetables and exciting salmon

Overheard at dinner at a Thai restaurant last night:

Customer, upon sending her dish back to the kitchen: "This isn't objectionable, but it's just incredibly uninteresting. Can't you get me some green beans, and some snow peas?"

Mind you, the ingredients in every dish are listed on the menu. Which presumably she read before she ordered.

I couldn't help snickering. Mr. RK said, "I'll bet she's fun in bed."

And speaking of fun, is it me? Or does this sound a bit ridiculous:

My coworker took today off to chaperone his son's school field trip to - get this - watch salmon spawn.

I kid you not.

My boss, who generally only gets enthusiastic about football, was talking about how cool it was.

Seriously. Fish. Fish who reproduce and then, in a cruel joke of the universe, croak off.

Me: "So...they're fish. What happens? What do you do? You just watch them spawn?"

Boss: "If you're from the Northwest, it's a big deal." He said this with a straight face!

Translation: If you're from the Northwest, you are pretty easily fucking impressed?

Me: "So watch them and be happy the same thing doesn't happen to humans afterwards."

But what do I know? As we found out at dinner, interesting is relative.

And the big joke of the day is that our state's insurance exchange, was supposed to open today, isn't opening at all, but instead of admitting this, they're saying (I kid you not) that "the shopping experience is only partially available."

Excuse me, but if I can't "shop" and actually buy anything, I think that pretty much translates to the shop being closed, don't you? I am so sick of marketingspeak. But maybe I'm just not thinking out of the box. Maybe I need to think more strategically and run with it for the maximum optimization.

You never know, the ideation could go viral.

(Now excuse me while I gag.)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Things I have learned this week at work

1. Some people are like dogs. They see everything as competition, are territorial, and piss accordingly. The best thing you can do is try not to get peed on.

2. Some people need to hear the same thing, spelled out, 12 or 14 times. Don't expect they will understand even after that.

3. Some days I feel the need to jump up and down and say, "I AM YOUR BOSS!!!!" But this would accomplish nothing, so instead, I am patient, and I document.

4. The people who work the hardest are the ones who take the least credit, and are thrilled if you get them coffee once in awhile.

5. Peanut butter cookies will bring you friends.

6. There aren't six degrees of separation in my metro area. There are, like, two, and that's stretching it. This is good when you want to get someone's attention, but not so good when you want to gossip.

7. Humor can get you through just about anything.

8. It's nice to have social time with the people you work with outside of the office. The introvert in me fights this, but it turns out well when I go.

9. Reinforcing what I like about working at a nonprofit: when we do well, instead of executives getting more cash, we expand our programs and more people get help. We got a grant recently that created a couple of new positions and a new program.

10. Cats still get it much more than people do.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Icebreakers and talkative introverts

I had an all-day meeting for work Saturday (ouch) and another meeting this morning that involved icebreaker exercises.

The one at my weekend meeting involved pairing off with a person you hadn't met before or didn't know very well, and then introducing them to the group with three things about them that had nothing to do with work.

One of my colleagues was introduced this way: "She doesn't like hugs, and she doesn't like chocolate." There has to be a fucked up Hallmark card in that somewhere.

I found out that someone from our national organization, who I have known for five years, used to play the accordion and write accordion music! Another colleague, who I have known for an equal amount of time, apparently reads tons of books at one time and leaves them strewn all over her house. (I suppose she cleaned up before we visited.) Three things my pair-off chose to introduce me with:

1. When I was a journalist, I interviewed Dan Quayle. He really is dumb as a rock. 2. My great-grandfather was a volunteer deputy sheriff and once helped capture Baby Face Nelson. He was hiding in a barn under a bale of hay. 3. You already know about my e-book for kids, but my coworkers didn't.

And this morning, we were each asked to introduce ourselves and find an adjective to describe ourselves that started with the first letter of our first name. I chose multi-tasking and musical, because I sing loudly when I am in the car by myself.

Someone I work with in a policy capacity said, "I didn't know that!" Of course not, rocket scientist, when have you been the fly on the wall in my car?

After the meeting someone went out of his way to tell me that he was also an introvert (I had mentioned that I am an introvert except in the context of work/a cause) and actually ended up being quite chatty.

This is fun in an eighth grade girl sort of way (read: I love it), so I'm opening it up for sharing. Three things and and adjective. Pretty please?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

This is one way of dealing with things

Mr. RK had a day at work that was full of, as he put it, "clusterfuckery."

Part of the problem was that an overeager engineer tried to "help" Mr. RK's team but kept making the problem worse. He is a French engineer, and didn't seem to understand when Mr. RK and the others told him to stop trying to help.

Finally, they called his boss, who literally grabbed his chair and started rolling him out of there.

"You need to work on ... another tool!" the boss said. "In...another room!"

There are so many moments where I so wish I could do that!

For instance...two new staff people started this month. One of them started this week. And in conversation with a volunteer, she was told, "Oh, and you know what people with mental illness are like!"

Well actually, dipshit, yes she does - because she has bipolar disorder. She just doesn't come with a blinky sign. And apparently, you don't know as much as you think about people like her.

That made me so mad that I wanted to spit (on the volunteer), and the new person is going to let the volunteer know that this is absolutely not OK, that it is the kind of stigma our organization EXISTS TO ERADICATE. Um, HELLO.

But it would be cooler if I could just whisk her off on her chair, wouldn't it?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

If you could fast forward life...and porn vs. cable

I remember once, when my brother N and I were little (I think 8 and 11) and he got in trouble for something, he looked up at our mother and said, "Do you ever have one of those moments where you wish you could fast forward life?" And we all laughed our asses off. I don't remember if she forgot to get him in trouble, although at that age, being in trouble meant not being able to watch Saturday morning cartoons.

Suffice to say we all have our trials, and from time to time (though it may seem like all of the time) we have people we love who are having serious problems. And all we can do is our best, even though we must face the fact that our best can still fail.

If I don't visit blogs or post as often it's just because the current thing going on is sucking up a lot of my time. In short, I have learned: 1. the foster care system doesn't just suck, it can be downright dangerous; 2. even with advanced degrees, some social workers can have shit for brains; 3. I am so fucking lucky that I have one good parent (and now one good step parent also) as many people don't have that; 4. I am capable, when necessary, of having a forceful conversation without swearing. YESSSSSSSS!!!

So in the meantime, in the interest of not making everyone cry, I leave you this little gem.

And the open dialogue of, essentially, WTF! Each of these scenarios in this video is a real scene from an HBO original series. We have seriously blurred the lines, people. Do they come up with a disclaimer? "Warning: the show you are about to see is porn masquerading as drama/comedy/etc. We're just trying to look legit."

Mind you, I have no problem with the concept of (most) porn, as long as it involves consenting adults, and no animals. But call it what it is, hey?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Suck it up, princess

Lately I have been feeling slightly overwhelmed, for both good and bad reasons, all of which are out of my control.

So I saw this on another blog and am repeating it to myself:

And no matter how many strange situations pop up, there are always people who make me laugh.
I had a conversation with a colleague today who was bitching about someone we work with at another organization.

"I have to give him the benefit of the doubt," I told her, "but if you find an email chain" and he's screwing us, "let me know if I need to cut his nuts off."

I have a very laid back volunteer who was across the room and managed to hear me. He has many years of recovery from alcoholism and resulting from that, criminal justice experience. He is very open about it and can even joke about it.

He piped up, "Hey! Tell your friend if she needs someone's nuts cut off, you know someone who's cheap, AND has priors!" (Meaning prior convictions.)

And if that wouldn't make your day, I don't know what would! I'm grateful to have people who know how to make me laugh, and take the time to do it.

A little bit of humor can go a long way.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Is there a proper career path for sexting?

A big dilemma was resolved at work yesterday when a local politician - who had been invited to speak at an event of ours before a big sex/budget/work scandal and a criminal investigation - finally resigned. We would have had to uninvite him for obvious reasons.

Emailing a volunteer, I wrote that it was too bad that he had fucked up like this (no pun intended), because he was really good on our issues. If he would have screwed around with someone outside of his workplace - someone he didn't get into a much higher-paying, cushy job - he probably could have kept his.

And she wrote back: 

"Or he could have just have kept it in his pants altogether.
I do get tired of all the politicians being so superior to everyone to think that they're not going to get caught in these things. They're in the public eye. If you want to cheat on your spouse or sext people, go be a plumber, politics is a bad idea. It shows a tremendous conceit to think that everyone else is too stupid to notice."

Which immediately made me think, sexting plumbers? All of the equipment right near the belt? 

Is there a proper career path for sexting? We could come up with some spiffy taglines.

Firefighters...too hot for your phone to handle!

Electricians...doing it without shorts.

Butchers...the best meat right here on display! 

Engineers...wait, that won't work, there would be too many discussions and meetings to get anything done. (Which is why I never need to worry about Mr. RK doing this. Thanks, honey!)    

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Delayed gratification

I have to go to court tomorrow. I didn't get in trouble - yet - it's regarding a young person I am advocating for. He is (unfairly in my opinion) in the foster care system and I want him to be able to have an adult to connect with outside of the system.

Still, it is awkward (for a number of reasons I'm not going to go into because you don't want to read a War & Peace length story), and I am not looking forward to it. It's not every day that I have a sheriff arrive at my house with a subpoena to appear in court. (Mr. RK, in classic form, answered the door and said, "I think this is for you!") Mind you, all the forewarning included a one-sentence email from the young man's caseworker: "We might have to go to court and may need you to provide insight about (this person.)" Thanks, lady, for preparing me so very thoroughly.

Anyhow, when I have difficult, anxiety-causing stuff - e.g. dental appointments where they scrape under my gums, etc. - I get through by promising myself that AS SOON AS IT IS OVER I am going to go get some kind of treat. Sugar-free something, I don't know.

I imagine it will go something like this:

Wish me luck.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Identity and the postmen

Mr. RK and I had some interesting discussions today about family members and identity. We both have family with whom we are convinced, as my dad says, we cannot possibly share any DNA. There are people who I consider family in name only, as I'm sure I have more in common, genetically and tempermentally, with a banana.

My family comes from six different places. In literally each place we hail from, we've 1) had to flee for our lives (Switzerland, Germany, Poland), 2) we've been kicked out (Ireland, Scotland), or 3) we decided is was a great idea in our homeland here to declare guerilla war on the white man (that would be the Apache line.)

Mr. RK said, "If you lived in the 1800s, I can see you being kicked out of places, absolutely!"

I've often wondered how to define myself, having lived in so many places that I'm not really "from" anywhere, and being of mixed lineage so that I'm not really this or that. Mr. RK has never had that problem; he hasn't bothered to think about it much. But me, I fixate.

My dad pointed out a few years ago that each of his siblings seems to have inherited a different look. My aunt C looks Swiss; my late uncle B looked German; uncle G looks like a leprechaun. 

Again, Mr. RK had a simple solution.

"Or it's possible that it's not what genes they inherited," he suggested today. "It's possible that the postman just changed every couple of years."

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Senior Cat

I just had a birthday that a lot of people forgot, and perhaps that's a good thing. I celebrated in Minnesota with family - oddly enough, I had my first several birthdays there - and the day after, my 17-year-old brother B came out with this line out of nowhere:

"Now you're Senior Cat." Pause. COOKIE MONSTER GIGGLES.

Me: "What?"
B: "You know. You had a birthday...your nickname was Kitty..." More Cookie Monster giggles.
Me: "Senior?! As in old?" Yet more Cookie Monster giggles. 

I repeated this story to my friend's son, who is also 17, and he said, "KITTY?! That's not your nickname now, right?  Just tell're SeƱor Kitay!"

I am so out of touch. But we'll see who gets to ride around (or doesn't) in my red Mustang next time he visits! (Yeah, I know he's reading this.) Seriously, he did give me his room, so I suppose I can forgive him (maybe.)

It was really funny when B was little because I'd take him on outings and guys would look at me, then him, then walk the other way. Seriously, they thought I was a really young mom. For awhile, he also called all men "dada." My stepmom had some fun times with him in the grocery store when that happened.

My siblings all gave me books for my birthday, and we went to an Indian restaurant for lunch. If I lived closer to that place, I wouldn't be able to fit into my pants.

I also got to meet my friend Gigi, who I met from blogging, in person - and we realized we've been corresponding for several years longer than we thought! She is a doll and a hoot at the same time.

Incidentally, today is the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. No matter how much terrible shit is going on in this country, take a moment to look how far the civil rights movement has come. I am grateful for the people who came before us and don't plan to stop agitating anytime soon.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Two hours of my life I will NEVER get back

Thank you, Woody Allen. I usually like your movies and with the past run of good flicks, I thought you'd not stoop lower than Shadows and Fog in terms of terribly depressing dramas. But I was wrong! Blue Jasmine dashed my faith.

Great acting. I was even impressed by Andrew Dice Clay, who was oddly the one reason I had reservations about seeing the movie - he turned out to be one of the best characters. Alec Baldwin's bad hair dye did nothing for him. Cate Blanchette is great but thoroughly depressing.

In short, save yourself $10 unless you want to shell out money to watch someone else's existential crisis on screen.

Anyhow, hello to all of you blog friends and please pardon my absence from blogland for a few days. I'm in Minnesota visiting my family. I have managed to outrun the mosquitoes so far, but not the amazing amount of plaid.

Meanwhile my dad is convinced that paying $6 a month for encryption services will somehow protect his privacy. I in turn wonder how many people from ANONYMOUS and the Black Hat convention the NSA has tried to recruit, and think he's going to be wasting his money.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A smorgasboard of funny

Somehow the subject of internet rules and the lack of them at work came up at work with a couple of volunteers yesterday. Out of the blue, one of my longtime volunteers (who is going to be 70 this winter) - serious, organized, doesn't ever swear - says, "Sometimes I visit light porn sites just to confuse Google. Because I hate it that they track everything I visit! So I like to throw them off a bit."

The volunteer sitting next to her is a guy right out of high school. Both of our jaws drop. Then he says, "Oh, I do that too for the same reason sometimes!"

And I blurt out, "Right! You must hate having to do that."

Then we were talking about how sometimes websites get hijacked and we've been there by mistake. The first volunteer said she went to the Better Homes & Gardens website one day and it had been hacked by some serious porn.

After he left, she came up to me and said, "You know, I'm open with you, and I forget that I don't know if I should be open with him! (The other volunteer.) So I didn't say what the site was. Their site was, and it came up "Big Hung Guys!" So now I type out 'Better Homes and Gardens" just in case!"

Yes, this really happened. The guy volunteer assured me this is like common talk around his family's dinner table. Supposedly his dad is a pathologist, but maybe he's really Ron Jeremy.

Anyhow. I am doing the happy dance (see below) because after 2 1/2 years of wrangling, I finally got the title I was after. It's a small change but it was important to me. My boss slipped it casually into a conversation we were having about a program we're launching that I'm going to be managing, along with two people.

"And your title will change. And so..."

And I said, "I could kiss you! But I won't." He looked vaguely alarmed and kept going.
Still in shock from the casual promotion (no more money, but we're a nonprofit and I am so happy that I don't care) and the casual mention of light porn (what is considered "light," I wonder?) I came home and emailed my family. (After I excitedly called my brother and told him I had good news to tell my dad RIGHT FUCKING NOW, and he said to go out to dinner, his treat. Thanks Dad!)

My dad adds to the end of his email:

PS  I accidentally signed my emails to your brother N Poo instead of Pop so many times it's my new name. Then trying to send Poo I send Pii so I guess I'm now just the Pii and Poo

I have been called worse.