Friday, March 22, 2013

Doing My Part

I am a good person.

A wonderful person.

Know why?

I have a rescue dog!

I deserve an award.

It all started the day I went into Admin for my daily snark-fest with “Abby” (Welcome to the cast!). Abby is like me, but with ten times the knowledge, seniority, and natural people skills.

Posed playfully on the cabinets, there is an array of animals, mostly dogs and cat. They are all stuffed and are evocative of actual breeds, the idea being that if someone emotionally vulnerable loses a furry friend, we, if the moment is right, give them a plush replacement.

My favorite is the horse with the plastic buster collar.

This is not to say I don’t covet the giant stuffed dog over Abby’s desk.

“Abby,” I say, after giving the low-down on “Ignorant Pharmacy Lady” (coming soon), “when are you going to give that one away?”

“Him?” she snorts, “Never. You want ‘em?”

My heart slows, my breathing stills. “Do you mean it?


“No, really.” I feel a little excited. “You mean it?”

“Yup. He’s all yours.”

“Yessss. I wonder what I’ll name him.”

Abby says she’s always referred to him as Ike in her mind.

So, for the next couple of nights, I forget.

Every time I go back to Admin, I see Ike and think a little guiltily of when I’m going to sneak him out of the hospital at night after my late shift. Something about removing a large stuffed animal dog that has been a fixture seems to lend itself to the clandestine.

This is our secret, Abby and I.

And Ike’s, though he doesn’t know it yet.

It is like I am removing him from a neglected existence. No one will ever want him! Ever get him! Ever love him like I will!

Two weeks later, I remember at the critical time, mostly thanks to the large word “Ike” written in “tar-ry stool black” on the underside of my left wrist.

“Zounds, Lola!” I cry on the way out, “I have forgotten something of absolute necessity! I will see you again on the morrow!”

Free of questioning eyes, I steal back to Ike’s cabinet top and swipe him. A cloud of dust falls to seal off any chance of a noiseless escape by evoking cacophonous coughing and wheezing sneezing.

I continue my escape in the midst of these involuntary reactions to the material evidence of Ike’s loneliness and despair, zooming off in my car-of-not-so-much-stealth.

The next day, I have a thought.

What if, when she notices, she forgets? What if she was joking? Ike comes to work with me in the passenger seat of my car (no, I did not take the carpool lane….it’s not called that at 2:00 in the afternoon, right?).

I slide into Admin and casually ask Abby what the dirt is.

“I see you finally took him.” She says, not looking up from the collection of scintillating pictures of his cat’s feces one client feels obligated to report on. He does this like any dedicated reporter, tracking the bowel movements to their lair and snapping pictures of PROOF before Rikki can cover them with the provided eco-friendly litter.

I admit that he is out in the car with a set of shades on so that no one will recognize him in case he was breaking parole.

Abby demonstrates how much she misses him by wiping the dust off from the print where he’s been and putting baskets for medical charts on the cabinet above her desk.

I have done a good work today.

I will soon post a picture of the happy pooch and me :)

Who Took the Toaster?

As you all know, one of my biggest flaws is an active imagination.

I see a dog with three legs, and my first thought is bear!

I see three police cars a block to the right with lights flashing and my first thought, which I quash, is turn right!! But secondly is drug bust! Person now fleeing the scene and then…then they find blood spatters in the trunk! And my little fingers itch for a police scanner to turn on.

This brings me to the headlining story for today’s post.

A childhood friend of my mother’s was visiting with her and me one day, and she presented the following:

On the street where she lived, people would put out things that were being offered “free to a good home,” the progenerater of the free section of Craigslist. It was a poorer area, so there was often a lot of random junk accessible to the street…that no one in their right mind would think of taking.

Cue one special week…in the twilight zone.

“Kelsey” had put out the Christmas tree the day after Christmas. The next day, it was gone.

Other people’s junk had disappeared as well, some working, some not.

Someone’s dilapidated couch that was free to take.

Some lawn chairs that were not free to take.

A toaster that was thrown away because it did not toast.

Someone’s porch rug.

A semi-working refrigerator.

Here’s the fun part.

The next week, the things started appearing where they had been taken from.

Kelsey’s tree reappeared on her lawn, somewhat more crispy than from the time it had left.

The couch. The rug and lawn chairs. The not working and semi-working appliances.

Save me!!!
Wait...waiiit...why are you putting me back?!

Kelsey’s thought was that someone needed their place to look furnished, and then had no further use for them. Who could these people be?, I wondered. Drug dealers that needed a house to look lived in, despite the contrary? Someone who wanted to, after having a toaster, see how many times they actually had the urge to toast something? (I sympathize; I don’t use my bright red toaster nearly as often as my toast-making dreams led me to believe I would)

The broken-down couch to persuade a mother-in-law to stay in a hotel room the next time around?

I suppose it was the returning of the items that really sparked my attention.

Anything like this happen in your area?

Ideas for the disappearing/reappearing tree?

My Name, Your Name...Your Name?

Today’s post is about you.

Yes, YOU.

In work or in school, you work on meeting your peers the first day or two. After that, the urge or the fact that you even care starts to fizzle and you just know the names of the people you interact with regularly and it would be rude to not know.

You’re walking down the hall carrying a very important sheaf of papers, heading somewhere very important (because you’re important, yes you are!), and you see a familiar face. You both smile in acknowledgement. You remember meeting him the first week, but not a name.

Ah well, you think, whatevs.

The next day, you see him again. Again with the smiles of familiarity. This time, you both say hi.

The next day, repeat.

Two weeks later, you’ve seen him enough to know he’s getting shaggy around the ears and needs a haircut and that his favorite tie is blue with little gray fleur de lis all over it.

Then you end up at the same table in the break room. He smiles.

You smile. “Hi.”

“Hi, Redgirl.” He says, “How’s that Widget Project going?”

“Great!” Crap! you think.

Because you don’t know his name, and it’s gone on long enough to be awkward. Worse is the fact that he obviously remembered yours, as well as pertinent details about you.

This happens to me more than it really should. I have examined myself and think that my lack of remembering comes from a lack of caring, like I mentioned earlier.

Now, don’t hate me, but the honest truth is that I meet a lot of people (it seems), and if I don’t think you’re going to be:

a) immediately useful to me

b) someone in power I have to watch out for

or someone that does something different or strange to make me recall who they are, I won’t bother trying to remember who you are.

It’s a sad fact that a client who chews me out over the phone may get more brain cell storage than the lab delivery man I see every night and stays to chat, genuinely seeming to like the lot of us night crew. Crazy dog lady? I’ll memorize your phone number and be a tragic few seconds late picking up the phone…sorry, ladies I work with. Lab samples man? Yes, that’s your name to me right now.

The annoying and awkward part crops up later, when you realize that not everybody goes around wearing nametags like they should.

When working in a new environment, you can’t go around calling everyone “New Girl.”

She’ll get confused when you’re not talking to her, but the other New Girl.

You find out that someone was more useful than you thought they’d be. Damn!, you think, Now it matters because they’ll start noticing if I avoid saying their name all the time. Also, I can’t single them out when I need something.

And one that spurs me in particular, the knowing of things.

More than knowing what goes on (either general knowledge or things of interest that are not general knowledge), I like to KNOW. When you work in a hospital without knowing names, it’s like looking at the Marauders’ Map from Harry Potter, with all the little footsteps going around but no little designations on them.


This may not be a problem for you. You may remember every single name you hear in conjunction to faces and favorite beverages and food order (like the game I play on to increase facial recognition).

That’s nice.

But if you are in a position to need to care or want to know, I have helpful tips for those of you embroiled in this awkwardness.

Tip #1

When staving off awkwardness, be blunt!

Society has not progressed in a way to prepare people for this attack, so success is yours. People have been trained to be polite to a “t”.

Think to when you are standing in line and a grown adult cuts to the front. In a crowd, it’s rare for someone to call them out.

I can think of only a couple reasons why. There is shock that someone would actually do it. There is embarrassment on their behalf. “That poor person is so socially inept that they think doing that is ok…tsk.”

Or…they are a person who is willing to risk the payoff for a couple dirty looks and low chance at confrontation.

When you are blunt with the “name game,” it gets the awkwardness out of the way quickly so you can move on to the subject of intent and distract them.

“Hi! I’m afraid I’ve forgotten your name…?”


“Helen! That’s it! Where did you acquire that spectacular sunburn?”

Tip #2

The friend of a friend is your friend. You’ve already tried being blunt and have forgotten their name again, you scatterbrain you! You know if you try it again, it will make you look like you’re not remembering on purpose.

Enter that new guy you just met by the door whose name your guppy-like brain hasn’t had the five seconds required to forget.

You see the prey. Mr. What’s-his-name-blue-tie. You smile. “Hi!” you shriek in a girlish chortle, “I’d like you to meet John. He just started here!” You step back.

Little suspecting he is being used solely for information he can prize out of the subject, John steps forward, thrusting out his moist hand in anticipation of a networking opportunity. “John,” he says.

Subject steps up and attempts to shake the limp offering. “Jared. Welcome to the team.” He reclaims his dripping hand and wipes in surreptitiously on the thigh of his gray Dockers.

While making a note of Jared’s name and face, you also make a note to never shake hands with … with…what was his name?

Tip #3

The modern age has given us this next tip, though it carries with it the creepy feeling of being a stalker. (In a good way! A good way!) You pull up Facebook and obsessively go through friends of friends and hope that they put up their picture and not a picture of their dog, a flower, or a puddle shaped like their freshman year girlfriend.

Or you can ask me. I know almost everything at this point…

Saturday, March 9, 2013






*briii-- Hi!

Me: Hello! I --

Them: Hello? Hello?? Are you there?

Me: Yes, I'm--

Them: Hahaaha...but we're not!! Leave a message at the beep! BEEEEP

Me: Ggggrrrrrr....

Or how about:






Me: Hi! This is Red--

Them: Hahahahahahahahaha..hah...ahaha...hahaha....ha               ha

Me: O_o

Them: Looks like I found the speaker button! Now....if I can juuust find the message button.....

Me: O_O

Them: Oh well. In case I do, leave a message after the beep!

Attention people. I didn't think we needed to have this conversation, but after the other day doing callbacks, you leave me no choice. The following answering machine/voicemail message is acceptable:

Hi! You've reached Redgirl! Leave your name, number, and a brief message, and I'll return your call as soon as possible!
Notice I did not say, "I'm unable to come to the phone right now." You can include this, but it is redundant. If you aren't answering, then .... you're unable to come to the phone right now. Duh.

I also did not say:

Hi! You've reached Yvonne, Gary, Trevor, Michael, Trudy, Fido, Fluffy, Slithery, Ratty, Froggy, and Bubbles Radcliff! If you want to leave a message, we can't WAIT to hear from you!

Finally, I did not say:

Hewoah. Fank you for calling.....the Shmishs. Mommy and Daddy can't come to the phone ...right now. Pwease leave your name ...........and tewephone..............number. (insert indistinguishable words uttered by a child).

People. Please.

I'm going to clear the air by saying that, as a member of your family or friend circle, there are moments (moments are small, tiny, teensy amounts of time) that I can appreciate an amusing message on your machine.


I have never seen a positive of letting your toddler either answer the phone or leave the message. I can't understand their high-pitched voices, and unless it was necessary, a lack of respect when someone answers the phone that can't even pass on who was calling to the parent. I was never allowed to answer the phone until I could be polite and comprehensible. I don't find it cute; I find it annoying.

I also don't like being tricked. The "Hello! Hello??" game gets old fast. I'm talking the first time it happens. Many times, I'm calling as a favor to the person to let them know info that they want. When *that* happens, I'm not feeling very charitable.

As for naming every living thing in your house down to the fish in the algae-infused aquarium, it wastes my time. Trust me, I'm not leaving a message for Bubbles. Really.

Now take aaalll these annoying messages and the likelihood you'll get one in your regular day-to-day calling. Move yourself to a professional setting where you are making 30 calls in an hour or two.

Suddenly, simply "annoying" gets a lot worse. There you are, trying to get off the phone as quickly as possible, and some amateur novelist is reading their sample chapter on the voicemail to force at lease ONE person to be familiar with his book. When Susie gives the info and instructions, I don't even know if I've reached the right house because I can't understand a word she's saying.

It's like the baby turtle Squirt on Nemo giving instructions to Marlin.

I feel like I have to flag some of our clients' numbers for a do-not-call list.

So tell me.

How does your voicemail rate?



Adventure time for me!

I visited the great land of Bedroom and took a trip on the "Pants" express. On the way down the mountain, the car took a sharp detour and derailed.

Point being, I broke my leg while changing for work. It was like a bad Rice Crispies commercial...

"Aaaaahhh!" *Snap* Crack(le)* Pop*

Glossing over the unfortuate and painful details of dragging myself through a mortifyingly messy apartment with an ankle that flopped back and forth over a lack of stablility in the "hinging" area,

I will tell you that breaking a bone sucks.

I will tell you that I work at an awesome vet hospital. Who did I call as I was sitting on my floor in more pain than I've ever been in my life? (And I have a high pain threshhold...this is how I'm able to gnaw on my fingers like I do in my version of a bad habit) I called my boss, who then called a coworker to take me to the ER. You know who you are!

I will tell you that the firemen that service my area are useful even when they're not looking into my eyes and saying, "All that matters to me is your health," in the pictures that were taken and viewed multiple times since to distract myself from the pain.

I will also tell you that when you are little, crutches look really fun. This is not true. Crutches are annoying. I have named mine "Pain" and "Suffering" and they are by my side at all times. I can not climb stairs with them yet.

I'm going to sum up my ER visit with this:

I wish I could have gone to my work place instead for care. I would have been willing to get down on all fours and bark if I thought it would work. I know the procedures, I know the prices of everything, and I get discounts :D

Ah well.

Took medical leave from school, have to sit while at work (....sadness.... >:), and everything takes three times as long. One coworker, every time I ask her to find a chart or get something, shakes her head and mutters "useless". I can't tell you HOW this is speeding my recovery!

I fear I will have 6 weeks worth of filing to make up for, though.

I got a boot from the orthopedist who, funnily enough, has teh same name as one of the doctors I am rather fond of here. When they said his name in the ER, I got really excited....for about three seconds. Then I remembered he treats animals, and I would be seeing someone completely different.

He seemed to know his business, I guess.

There is a lot that's negative about the whole experience, but as you know, I prefer to dwell on anything but. Silver lining in all this? My little sister came up to visit. She mentioned a conversation in her head that went something like this:

"Oh! Poor Redgirl! I can go up and keep her company, maybe fix her meals while I'm there and situate her stuff. We can chat and watch Criminal Minds or Wire in the Blood together and I can work on my crazy quilt and try to entertain her!"

What she got instead was:

Yup. My sister gave up her three day weekend at the drop of the hat only to clean my apartment when she got here.turn my apartment from mortifying to horrifying, then onto cleeeen. She's pretty awesome.

I'd like to say I've been blogging with all my free time, but when she cleaned, she uncovered lost seasons of NCIS, Castle, and the Mentalist, so I haven't exactly been bored.

But it's back to the grindstone, so onward!