“I don’t want to feel like a fish with no water!”

August 26, 2004, 8:04 AM

At work yesterday, we were actually discussing those public service ads that run on cable TV. Like the one where the fish tank slowly loses water talking about asthma, or the one where the guy walks into the store to buy a wallet and he gets a really tiny wallet for the really tiny money he’ll be making as a high school dropout.

And then there’s one ad that, among the people in our group, that kind of creeped us all out a little bit:

Nobody likes me. Nobody. Maybe it’s because I like to attack people. Men. Women. Kids. I can leave them as stammering, confused, scared imitations of their former selves. If they don’t stop me, I just might leave them that way for life. I am a stroke.

A little creepy, because he looks like a pretty rough character there, with the wrinkled face in the shadow. But still, it’s a very memorable way to get the message across. I think we’ll all understand the seriousness of a stroke now if we didn’t before.

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Categories: Greta, Television, WMATA

One job finishes, another job begins…

August 10, 2004, 7:04 PM

The deck’s finished! I have some hooray-the-deck-is-finished photos that I took with Big Mavica. The construction is totally finished, and now all that’s left to do is for Mom to pick up the new furniture that she’s getting for there.

Phase two also begins, as we replace the remainder of the downstairs flooring. The living room will be getting a new rug, and the family room and dining room are getting new hardwood flooring. In addition, beyond downstairs, we’re replacing the carpeting on the stairs with hardwood, as well as the carpeting in the upstairs hallway. Also hardwood. Currently, the family room and dining room are finished, and we’re putting things back to how they should be in there. The stairs and upstairs hallway are bare. That looks really weird. The living room has not yet been touched. I’ll be glad when it’s all finished, since waking up to the sound of nailing and other handyman-type jobs is not my idea of a good wake-up call. And now the work is right outside my door.

And then Greta’s away at the vet for a few days, getting a nodule of fat removed on her underside. So Greta’s kind of out of it right now. Greta’s operation was successful, and she’s at Cedarcrest right now, where she’s recovering. She’ll be back home on Friday. It’s probably just as well that she’s getting it done now, while work on the stairs is progressing. And Greta will be a better dog for this, too, which will be a good thing.

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Greetings from Asbury Park!

July 20, 2004, 9:11 PM

Mom found the most awesome picture ever today while I was at work. Look:

Riding the carousel at the Casino

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Categories: Asbury Park, Family, Myself

Demolition begins tomorrow…

July 19, 2004, 7:41 PM

As of tomorrow, the somewhat modest open-air deck on the back of the house will be gone, to be replaced by a larger screened-in porch. That ought to be nice when it’s finished. I got a bunch of “before” pictures of the deck, all cleared off and ready to be removed. I also got some photos of all our deck stuff scattered all over the backyard, waiting for the construction to be finished.

Meanwhile, some good news! Greta is not going to have to go to the kennel during the time we’re having all this work done. Turns out that the two projects (the deck and the flooring) will not be done concurrently, which means that while the deck is going on, Greta can stay inside (and go outside with Mom around), and while the flooring is going on, Greta can stay outside.

Plus Greta won’t have to deal with the emotional shock of coming back to a house that doesn’t look quite the same, and doesn’t smell quite the same. Now she can also get used to the new screened-in porch and new flooring right along with the rest of us. Especially since, for a dog, it’s like, “What happened to my house? $#@$ humans.” Of course, Greta’s areas, as in where her bed is, and where her food and water dishes are, will be unchanged. The kitchen’s not getting any remodeling. Thank goodness.

So there you go. I’ll keep you posted on progress as we go.

“Bad fashion makes baby Jesus cry.”

July 17, 2004, 12:51 AM

That’s what my sister told me once. She said that bad fashion makes baby Jesus cry. She doesn’t like the way I dress, it seems. In case you’re wondering, lately, I’ve gravitated to contrasting solids. If I wear dark pants I wear a light shirt. If I wear light pants, I wear a dark shirt. Then of course there’s always all-black, which I also enjoy. And I try to make my colors work, too. I don’t wear something that obviously clashes. I try to look good when I go to work.

Maybe it’s the shoes. I have been known to regularly wear sandals with socks.

But anyway…

I also recently participated in the Wal-Mart cross-town merchandise shuttle. On Thursday, my day off, I went to Staunton Wal-Mart for some odds and ends (did I mention you should never go shopping when you’re really hungry?). Of those odds and ends, I bought two great big throw pillows. They were black with fake fur on one side, and plain on the other. So I got them home. I put them on my couch. One word: YUCK. They were too black for my decor. So back to the store they went. Where did I return them? Not to Staunton. Oh, nay. I had to work the next day. So I returned them to Waynesboro, thus completing the shuttle.

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Categories: Clothing, Family, Shopping

I found out today that the parents are remodeling…

July 9, 2004, 10:16 PM

Yeah, I just today found out that my parents are doing some fairly significant work on the house soon. Before today, all I knew was that we were getting a new back porch at the beginning of August.

The back porch currently is an open wooden deck, original to the house when it was built in 1992. Now, the old deck is being demolished, and being replaced with a full screened-in porch. It will be bigger than the old one, roofed over, and screened in, essentially creating an extra indoor/outdoor room, complete with two ceiling fans. Again, I knew about the deck already, and have seen drawings of the new deck as it will look when it’s finished.

Now I didn’t know that plans were also set to replace most of the flooring downstairs as well as up the stairs and in the upstairs hall. Currently, the living room, family room, dining room, the stairs, and the upstairs hallway have beige-colored carpeting, which is original to the house (almost 12 years old). The living room will be carpeted in some shade of blue (not sure what specific shade yet, but we’re getting there – actually, Mom’s getting there, since she’s making the final decision, but you get the point). The family room, dining room, stairs, and upstairs hallway will all be hardwood. The dining room and family room will get an area rug “later”.

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Two more things…

June 30, 2004, 12:20 AM

First of all, it’s interesting having my sister working in the same place as me (mind you, though, she’s a cashier and I’m at the Service Desk). Usually if we get off near each other, one waits on the other, and in the case of this evening, we both took our vests home (vs. putting them in our respective lockers). Reason? Me: “I’m doing a load of vests tonight.” You see, I got powdered sugar all over mine after a lady brought up a broken bag of it. I got most of the sugar in the bag, but also managed to sugar-coat the counter, as well as me. So there you go. So as a result of washing our vests, there are two distinct piles on the kitchen counter. One is topped by a name badge saying “BEN”, with “CUSTOMER SERVICE” and “RISK CONTROL TEAM MEMBER” on it. The other, smaller pile is topped by a name badge saying “ANN”. Still, both vests are now hanging to dry.

And otherwise, I met Moreko Griggs at Wal-Mart today. For those of you who don’t know, Moreko Griggs is one of three valedictorians for Waynesboro High School’s class of 2004. There was considerable controversy there about there being three valedictorians, which in the final accounting turned out to be the adults making a big stink about something that those actually involved (Griggs and the other two valedictorians) didn’t see as too big of a deal. Either way, though, it was neat to meet him, as he has become a bit of a local celebrity.

That’s one reason I like working at Wal-Mart. You see everyone, from the famous (Jimmy Fortune of the Statler Brothers was known to shop here occasionally), to local heroes (like Moreko Griggs), to local politicians (I met Waynesboro councilman Reo Hatfield at the grocery fastlanes once). You also see friends and family, as well as repeat customers. It’s neat.

Categories: Family, Walmart

Finally, an off-day!

June 29, 2004, 11:42 PM

Yes, after six straight days, where I worked all four different Service Desk shifts at least once, I finally have gotten another off-day. This Wednesday, I will be going nowhere near my own Wal-Mart. Other people’s Wal-Marts, on the other hand, are a completely different story, as most other Wal-Marts don’t look at all like Waynesboro’s. Most Wal-Marts are gray, red, and blue. Our store is beige and forest green. Our store has black signage and faux-wood floors. Most stores have some sort of blue signage and carpeting.

So I have yet to figure out what tomorrow looks like. Probably not going to go out, but rather I will probably take the opportunity to do some serious work on the Web site. I really need to work on it, since right now I’m behind on a few different projects, including spinning College Life off into its own subsidiary site, working on “The Lights of the Night” group of photo sets, and my “Memories” College Life set.

Otherwise, the phrase “Are your gas bills so high they make you want to cry?” is just perfect for me. To fill up the Previa costs almost $30 with these astronomical gas prices. And my car isn’t even one of those gas-guzzling SUVs.

Now sport-utility vehicles aren’t helping the price of gas, either. If people would all get small, fuel-efficient cars, maybe we could all get more for our money as far as gas goes. I know that when I eventually replace the Previa, I will be getting a small car, preferably a station wagon.

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There’s a reason I don’t ever work on my Web site when I’m upset…

May 26, 2004, 9:42 PM

There’s a good reason I don’t work on my Web site when I am upset or angry. Because my Web site is a creative endeavor, and I believe your mood really shows through when you create stuff. And I really hate being upset, and so there you go. That’s why this journal entry is being written at half past two, rather than at a more “reasonable” hour.

This is also reason enough that I am no longer going anywhere by myself with Mom, as well. She invited me to go out to dinner with her, since “we don’t spend any time together anymore”. She tells me where we’re going to go eat in the morning, and then when she gets home from school, we’re off to dinner in Staunton (it’s a bit early for dinner, but we can deal with this).

Of course, it’s not like we actually made it to dinner. On the way, Mom decided to use the trip to push all my buttons, and proceeded to bother me about my job and that she thinks I should be looking for another job NOW (all in due time), and about my weight. Nothing more I’d rather talk about, and especially with her. Realize my mother has brought this crap up so many times over so many years that I really don’t care anymore, don’t appreciate the sentiment, and as such it really goes in one ear and out the other. And I think that my mother is smart enough to KNOW that I don’t appreciate it and that those topics do push my hot buttons.

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Categories: Family

Tomorrow, my own personal hell will be over…

May 17, 2004, 10:44 PM

In case you’re wondering, since Saturday, I have been without my Previa after a brake pad fell off in the driveway. As a result, I have been without wheels, and have had to bum rides from the family to and from work. It SUCKS. See, my parents are using it as an excuse to bring up all the unpleasant topics they would like to bring up all the time, but can’t because I can leave. Now that I’m a captive audience, they used it as an opportunity to bring them up. Makes for a very long drive to Wal-Mart.

It’s best exemplified by this trip home from Wal-Mart, as said by Mom in the car: “So when are you going to lose some weight?”

Realize I’m not a fan of questions about weight in the first place, and I especially don’t give any weight to comments about it from Mom, since she seems to be obsessed with everything that goes into everyone’s bodies, and is obsessed with the appearance of everyone’s bodies.

These rides could be quite painless, and we could talk about fun things like my Web site, or Metro, or about whatever, but instead my parents bring up all the unpleasant topics. Not fun.

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Categories: Family, Toyota Previa, Walmart

Greta seems to like to walk the walk and talk the talk, but a guard dog she is not.

May 7, 2004, 9:10 AM

As I write this, our little dachshund, Greta, is barking her little head off. It started today when we had a repairman by to look at the washing machine (which is currently busted). Of course, Greta barks any time the doorbell rings, any time a doorbell rings on TV, and any time she thinks someone else is in the house. I think she thinks that the repairman is still here. Of course, realize that the whole entire time that the repairman was here, and even after he left, not once did Greta move from her bed upstairs. All she did was bark her little head off. Lazy dog. She likes to think she’s a ferocious watch dog, but I’m afraid she’s not even close. But still, you’ve got to give her credit for trying.

Categories: Family

What a rube…

April 18, 2004, 9:13 AM

I love using words that have generally fallen out of use sometimes, and rube is a favorite of mine.

And I certainly did run into quite a rube today after work. I went up to the Blue Ridge Parkway after work to kind of gather my thoughts and such on one of the overlooks. It’s nice up there. It’s dark, it’s peaceful, and it’s quiet.

Then this fellow showed up at the overlook. God knows how many tattoos this guy had, plus he’s driving an old beat-up Ford Bronco (big thing). And he’s got the radio cranked up loud. He parks his car at my overlook. That radio is still turned up loud.

What a rube. How unsophisticated could he be? We came up to the parkway in part for the quiet! You could just tell by how flamboyant tattoo-man was with his music that he wouldn’t understand the idea of turning it down, so that unfortunately was the end of my night on the parkway, since his music was that much of a disturbance. A shame, indeed.

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April 1!

April 1, 2004, 11:57 PM

Wow… I haven’t written to you all since Tuesday morning.

Anyway, I have to say that I was successful in my eradication of the virus on Sis’s computer, which was W32.Pinfi. With over 3,000 instances of it, someone really did a number on that machine. But we got it all cleaned up, and she’s back online. Thank goodness. As it is, I was working on her computer until 1:00 AM, and didn’t get home until almost 4:00. That was a LONG day.

And I found out that we missed something on Becky’s computer, which I fixed on Monday night in Harrisonburg, as the W32.Welchia.B virus reappeared. Seems we missed something. So we’re going to make another trip up to fix that. And meanwhile, I’m going to do a little research to find out why the blasted thing came back.

Meanwhile, pouring the candy from a broken bag of chocolates into the trash reminded me of an oft-repeated dream I’ve had. From time to time, I have dreams that I’m at work. Now in these dreams, I know I’m clocked out, because I don’t have to go into work for a while. So with that, I then think, “I’m working off the clock, how did I get into this?” and “I’m working off the clock! I’m going to be in so much trouble!” Etc. The dreams tend to revolve around the fact that I’m working at the Service Desk, and doing so off the clock, and how did I get into this.

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“You retard!”

March 12, 2004, 2:14 AM

Yes, when I came back up to the Service Desk after my lunch break, before I could even say hello to anyone, I’m greeted with a familiar voice saying, “You retard!”

It was Sis.

And returning a printer cartridge that I bought two weeks ago. Seems I bought the wrong one. I just followed the list that Dad gave me. So it’s not my fault.

Still, it was amusing to see Sis and her friends (Matt and Ben, both of whom I also like) at the Service Desk as I came back. And amusing is what my coworker asked of Sis: “Is he as hyper at home as he is at work?” She answered, “Worse!” All in all, I was amused. Plus I got to find out about their trip to New York, which I couldn’t partake in due to work.

Plus this was the first time Sis got to see me in my vest, since the last time she was at our store while I was working, I was on lunch and carrying it in my hand as I was ringing up my food on the self-checkout.

Still, amusing.

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Categories: DC trips, Family, Walmart, WMATA

We went to Virginia Tech today, and so that was fun…

February 7, 2004, 12:03 AM

On my day off of work today, Mom and I went to Virginia Tech to visit Sis. Fun time it was. We did the typical visit-me-at-JMU thing from when I lived in Potomac Hall. We drive down. That’s different from the JMU part, because unlike going to JMU, where it’s a 30-40 minute drive, it’s two hours to Tech. This also makes it a much less frequent visit than it is for going to JMU.

But anyway, first we picked up Sis at her dorm. Mind you, her dorm is Lee Hall at Tech. The side of Lee Hall that faces the road is significantly lower than the road. So water pooled (about an inch or so deep, so this was a considerable amount of water) on the sidewalk in front of Lee. Yecch. And we find out how little that my sister has gotten to know the people she lives with. I’m waiting in the lobby for her, and these other girls pass through the lobby who presumably live there. This is also about the time I’m starting to wonder what’s taking her so long. I ask the girls, “Have you seen Ann Schumin anywhere?” Blank stares. Then Sis comes in before they left the room. I tell them, “That’s Ann Schumin!” They tell me they’ve never seen her before, and Sis tells me that they don’t live on her floor. To me, that’s no excuse. When I lived in a dorm, particularly freshman year, I was a little social butterfly. I got to know a lot of people in the dorm.

So anyway, the two of us waded through that puddle in front of her dorm, and then we get to the car, and go to the bookstore. Now the entire valley had a big ice storm with both sleet and freezing rain. So Tech was a bit icy. We go to Tech’s bookstore, which, as you’d expect, was filled with cheesy overpriced Tech merchandise. And Mom couldn’t find a “VT MOM” shirt. Meanwhile, Sis and I explored upstairs, to the “next upstairs”, which is a little convenience store, and then the “next next upstairs” where they sell the textbooks. Also highly overpriced. Sis showed me samples of some of the books she bought for this semester. Heavy. Also, the textbook area is a bit of a hazard, with it being “stepped”, and steps and ramps and dropoffs without railings in places. Can we say “lawsuit” if someone ever got hurt in there?

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Categories: Family