Worth more than 1,000 words

I made a great many friends when I was in college the first time. Friends I’ve kept throughout the years – one who I married and unmarried, and many others who I will never ever be without. 
Not many of them live nearby, though. It makes for long gobetweens in visits, calls, talks. I end up keeping tabs on people through Facebook and email.
 
It’s a type of friendship that I don’t really think has been pioneered exactly. It’s a far cry from the world of Beaches, all Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey waiting weeks for responses…I can have indepth conversations, exchange pictures, and gossip just like we were in the dorms again, all with a little bit of wireless internet. 
 
One of those friends is named Addie.
 
You guys, Addie is straight up one of the most wonderful people in the world. From the time I spent with her in 1999, to exchanging emails and watching from afar as each of her children has been born or found, she has always been a constant. Someone who I know won’t judge or sugarcoat. She is a treasure.

 
Addie has a photography business. Like many photographers starting out, she works a full time job and she only really has time for her work on the weekends. We’ve talked for years about getting together and making some pictures, but it’s just never happened. Conflicts and time and whatnot.
 
Until last weekend. We all packed up and squashed into Dan’s truck, drove 45 minutes to an abandoned motel, and prepared to grin and pose.
 
I hate having my picture taken. I hate it because I always feel self-conscious and fat, my chin is too pointy and my teeth are too big.
 
But we did it. Addie was sweet and gracious and put up with our weirdness. She had fantastic ideas and she made us feel so…normal. Which is difficult with a family like ours.
 
When my pictures are tweaked and awesome, I’ll show you. A whole post of pictures.
 
But until then, I just wanted you to know about my friend Addie, because I seriously love her and I don’t feel like I convey it enough. Also, go and like her on Facebook. It’s worth it just to see all the pictures she posts.

Insert Work Wanted ad here

Yesterday I went to the local job fair.

I really don’t know what I was expecting. I’d called for details and the gal I talked to made it sound like an organized, streamlined process. Resume tweaking, printing, and then pick the businesses you’re interested in and visit them.

I didn’t need resume help, I have a resume that I very much like.

It was very lucky for this girl that I didn’t, because I pulled up in the parking lot and….well, there was this huge bus that said it was an “online lab” and it kind of felt like the windowless van that follows the ice cream truck around.

So I bypassed the molester van and went on in.

First of all, I had on heels and I had to walk down this huge ass flight of stairs, the last five of which were on wheels and it kind of felt like I was tightrope walking. On ice. Over fire.

Once I made it down and I was amongst the blue curtains, I was a little confused.

All the publicity had said to dress as though you were going to an interview. I was surrounded by people in John Deere hats and flip flops with camo shirts. Classy.

The booths were varied. Kind of.

Army and factory and Avon and Mary Kay.

And the worst thing I think was that every booth I might have been interested in simply directed you to their website to search for open positions. Like I couldn’t have stayed home and done that from my chair with Netflix.

I don’t know what I was expecting. Applause when I entered. Commentary on my twisty hairstyle. Compliments on my lovely tree picture on my resume. Something.

Instead, I was in and out in about twenty minutes.

To be fair (job fair), there were a few interesting places there. I spoke with one fellow who worked with the state rehab and he was full of possibilities for me…after I finish my Bachelor’s. I talked to one lady who is my friend on LinkedIn, and she was really helpful and optimistic.

So it wasn’t a total bust, but it wasn’t what I expected. Which I guess nothing ever is. Maybe it did some good. We’ll see.

Apropos of nothing, here’s the sweetest picture ever.

This won’t be earning me any friends

Generally I refrain from posting things I know will upset or irk people.

I suppose that’s not really true.

But given the general temperament of my Facebook feed, this may raise hackles.

Meh.

Last week, we were fully immersed in getting ready for the return to school. Backpacks detrashed, lunchboxes found. Ava’s obnoxious feathers placed.

Late one afternoon, I received a call from the number I have saved in my phone as “AUTOMATED SCHOOL DEMON” – the number that calls when roads are flooded, a kid has disappeared, or cattle are loose. I turned on the speaker (but didn’t speak – I’ve caught myself talking to that machine too many times and now I’m wise to the game), expecting a reminder about not bringing guns or knives, or maybe a last minute nevermind-school-is-postponed-forever message.

Instead I got a recorded message inviting me not to forget about the upcoming “prayer walk” for parents of kids in the schools.

Now let me make one thing very, very clear.

If you are a kid in school and you want to say a prayer before you eat your lunch or take a test or walk on linoleum, I support that.

If you are a teacher and you want to send up a silent plea for mercy before you try and explain the branches of government, I support that.

If you want to bring your prayer rug and face Mecca between classes, I say go for it.

If you want to organize an event where people who are so inclined walk the halls and sidewalks of the school and pray for the students who will soon be present, I’m all for it! Bathe the desks and walls in prayer, and maybe that way my kids won’t eat boogers or mouth off (I may find religion if that works).

I will defend your right to do these things until my very last breath.

What I do not support is the use of school equipment, funds, and information to promote a religious function.

I never said, “Hey, sure, keep me posted about your rituals and gatherings.”
I didn’t say that because chances are I’m not coming.

It’s not because I don’t believe in God or I hate all religion or I think everyone should know that they know that they know whether they’re going to The Hell or not.

It’s because school is for LEARNING ABOUT THINGS THAT AREN’T RELIGION.
It’s because my son has already teared up more than once because he’s afraid his parents are going to hell.

Church is for religion.
Church schools are for the people who want everything to line up with what they believe.

School is not church. Amen.

I would rethink my stance if, say, I knew everyone’s beliefs would be equally welcomed. If the Muslims wanted to have a Q&A. If the Jews wanted to explain all the candles. If Pentecostals wanted to demonstrate hairspray usage. If the Mormons wanted to model Jesus underwear.

But that’s not happening. At least not here, because the vast majority of people believe the same way.

And that’s fine. What you believe is your business.

It’s when it starts being shoved at me and make it my business that I start caring.

I realize it’s election time and the superintendent was making sure everyone got catered to so as to put a good face on his campaign.

But just because the majority of people won’t care about the prayer walk phone call, or may even celebrate it, doesn’t make it okay. I’m not even sure it’s legal.

So please, pray. Fast. Sing. Speak in tongues.

Just don’t make me listen. Or watch. Or use the money I pay in taxes to promote it.

And in return, I will refrain from being an ass. Kind of.

Or not.

Turning tables

This is an unfair arrangement we have here.

You know so much about me.
My husband’s name.
My kids’ names.
The damn dog’s name.
My living arrangements.
That I let my children listen to inappropriate music and tv shows.
That I have overshare issues.

But aside from a few of you (hi Mom!), I have no clue about you.

Are you young?
Are you old?
Are you agoraphobic?
Do you like elephants?
Do you have a blog?
Can I read it?
Did you finish college (by the way, did I mention I’m starting school in a few weeks? Exciting.)?
Do you spend lots of time reading blogs written by strange Southern women?
Do you have wall hangings?

Normal bloggers who aren’t me would have some sort of contest. A giveaway to entice comments.
Me? I’d like to do that. However, I have nothing to give. I suppose I could make you something out of yarn. Sound appealing?

Maybe I’ll do that. So leave a comment, tell me about yourself, leave your link…and then if I can think of something to make for you, I’ll draw a name and make it. How about them apples?

It apparently doesn’t take much.

I told you that I was relocating the website. Messing with servers and such.

By the way, if something is screwy, let me know. I’ll do my best to fix it.

What I DIDN’T say (although I may have hinted ever so slightly through gritted teeth), was that there has never before been a time that I SO BADLY wanted to throw things. People. Lucy better be glad she’s cute.

I am just NOT accustomed to being completely clueless. Especially when what I’m so clueless about is touted all over the damned Internet as being “famously” simple. 5 minutes, they promised me.

Bull. Shit.

I decided that since I couldn’t get things the way I wanted them before my featured day on ITPR, I would just leave it be until I had a better handle on just exactly what was going on.

Except yesterday I woke up and there was a placeholder webpage where my blog was supposed to be.

I freaked out. Lucy woke up. Josh woke up. I got the hosting service on the phone and none of my passcode handshake musicfarts would work and prove that I was actually me and not some website thief preying on WordPress placeholder pages.

There were redirects and forwards and eventually things were ok to ride out the day’s traffic.

But this afternoon, I started to fiddle. Just a bit. Until it was a lot and I got real ballsy and went into the controls and removed all the safety nets I had set up in the morning. And then suddenly, the heavens opened. Angels sang, my boobs grew, my waist shrank, and all was right in the world because I for no reason at all suddenly knew exactly what to do.

So I did. And I will be fiddling with tweaks and controls until the end of time, BECAUSE IT’S MY WEBSITE AND I CAN.

Seriously, though. Can you tell I’m excited? I so am. And I have no reason to be.

Vkfyrsjlhcs

So I signed up for some email writing courses. I get the emails in the morning and basically thereafter I exist in a cloud of guilt until I complete the day’s assignment.

It’s good. It’s keeping my mind busy.

Also, I’ve made the decision (well, I decisioned a month or so ago) that I want to migrate this blog to be hosted apart from WordPress, giving me more specific control and a better insight to people who actually do read, where they come from, all that.

So in light of that decision, I’ve been fiddling. Servers, hosts, php, SQL.

I have always kind of thought of myself as a pretty technologically sound gal, but…..guys.

I tried yesterday to set up the hosting? It was like being dumped in the middle of Greece with no clue how to speak Greek, except at least in Greece you can get by with being the foreigner and maybe channeling Nia Vardalos.

Not so with web hosts and blogging outside the WordPress cocoon.

I’ve been so sheltered.

So, be warned that soon some things about the website might be a little glitchy and bugsome. Please do not think it a fault of your web browser or service provider or me. It’s all the evil code.

Apple’s what caused the great fall, you know

I have never been what one would call an “early adopter.” Of anything. Cellphones, trendy clothes, text messaging, hell, even Facebook. I hung onto Myspace until the tumbleweeds started rolling.

Not to say that I don’t welcome new things. I always stay pretty much abreast of new stuff, but….it’s hard to explain.

I still have a 3GS when everyone else is sporting iPhone 4’s, but…I waited in line for an iPad 2 on release day. So maybe I’m a little bit of an early adopter.

I DON’T KNOW, OKAY, THAT’S NOT THE POINT OF MY STORY.

Anyway, about this iPad.

A few weeks ago I noticed that the area around the home button was unstuck. Like the seam thing that goes around the edge was undone.

Well, excuse me, but that shit ain’t flying.

At first I tried to convince myself that it was no big deal. That is, after all, my way – meek and silent.

That was about the time that the white iPhone 4 came out and there was this huge uproar over a 2 mm difference in thickness or something. That got me to thinking.

If all these people with too much time and loads of money to buy brand new gadgets as they roll off the manufacturing line can kick up such a fuss over fiddly little millimeter details and glitches, then why the fuzzy rubber hell should I be okay with a pricey toy that was just a bit flawed?

Nay. It would not be so.

So I called.

Apple flipped me back and fro and over on every phone line imaginable, and finally just told me to go to a brick and mortar store.

Memphis, two hours away.

So I called the store. My iPad is the very base model (no frills here, yo), and the chick said that they couldn’t hold one for me (it was “against policy”) and that they didn’t even really keep that model in stock, anyway.

What, the lower caste of the Apple World doesn’t deserve to have their lowly 16 gig wifi iPads at the ready? The mega memory 3G model buyers are somehow better?

No. I say NO. I was standing up for the little man, the low and forgotten paupers and their basic iPad 2s.

So I decided screw it, I’m selling it.

But no one wanted it. Jury’s out on whether my conscience would have let me get away with selling what I believed to be a flawed product, even to a stranger. Also, craigslist sucks.

So I called Apple again.

That time the young lady I spoke with seemed quite helpful and ready to try and fix my problem.

Until she found out I didn’t have the six million dollar AppleCare plan. Then it was right back to living with the serfs.

So basically, what she was saying was screw the year long warranty, you have to spend more money before we’ll think about repairing a flaw that was OUR BAD.

Uggghhh.

So I vented on Twitter, and my friend Jared did some sleuthing and found a well buried and forgotten section of Apple’s website that offered me mail-in repairs.

They were singing my song. I signed up, and they FedExed me an empty box. I sent off my beloved iPad with every hope that she would come home pristine, whole, and flawless – like people who get plastic surgery.

They sent my iPad back. Unrepaired. The paperwork said that they had been “unable to replicate the issue” and that my device “meets Apple standards.”

Really, Steve Jobs? You let them run your company this way? With unfastened seals like your grandma with no bra and uncertain futures like Ke$ha?

Once more, nay.

So I set up yet ANOTHER REPAIR TICKET and sent it off again.

This time with some visual aids.

Well, they got the message. Before I knew it the status on the ticket read “replacement product shipped” and I once again believed in the goodness of the world.

Then the new device came. Guess what?

It had the same break in the seal, plus it had this weird light bleedy thing going on.

VETO.

I called Apple without much hope, but got someone with a brain. THEN he gave me to a supervisor who had even more of a brain.

As of now, another empty box is on its way to me, and according to Veronica with a Brain, there won’t be any diagnosis. They’re just sending me another iPad.

It remains to be seen.