“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
--- Douglas Adams

Thursday, November 29, 2018

The Chaos Watcher

Image result for parallel parking

How well can you parallel park?

I would say that I've got some pretty mad parallel parking skills; it doesn't hurt that I have a small-ish car and am able to get in and out of spaces easily. I mean, I don't drive a Smart car or another sort of those 2-seater type cars, I drive a 4-door car, but it really isn't that big and not hard to park. I don't like parking on hills, and will avoid it when I can, but I can do it if I'm left with no other option.

Anyhow, I started a new job recently. One of the things I have to deal with in this job is street parking. I look for parking every morning. Sometimes I find it right away, sometimes I follow the street sweeper and park in its wake, sometimes I drive around for 20 minutes before I find parking. At my last job I parked in a garage in the same building as my office. The parking lot was usually pretty empty and I got to park in the same spot just about every day. I didn't have to walk outside to get from car to office; I could just take the elevator or walk up 2 flights of stairs. It was a nice luxury and just about the only thing I miss about my last company.

This morning I found parking about a block away from the office; not too shabby. I had to parallel park to get into the spot. There was a contractor's truck double parked about 1/2 a car length into the spot I would normally occupy as my starting position to back into the parking spot. I had to do some free-form fandango fancy moves to get into the spot, but I did it successfully and efficiently.

The man in the truck approached me and told me that he had been double parked for a while and was enjoying watching people try to park in my space, but then giving up because they couldn't negotiate the man's truck. He was highly amused at watching people's failed attempt at parallel parking in a tight spot.

After he gleefully told me about the person in the pick up truck who swore and shook his fist, or the person in the minivan who just couldn't get her turns right and was on the verge of tears before she tore away, he told me that he had been working in this neighborhood for the last 40 years, even with the gentrification of the neighborhood, new buildings, new businesses, new apartments, he didn't see much difference in the level of crime.  He then lifted up his sleeve and attached to his wrist was a pepper spray canister, locked and loaded and ready to be deployed "Spiderman style" should anyone get in his way. I took that as my cue to get out of his way, wished him a good day and walked the block to my office.

I mentioned my strange encounter to a coworker. Her first response was thinking the man probably wasn't very happy and needed to watch someone else in despair to make himself feel better. I mentioned it to Captain Awesome. He likened this man's behavior to someone who would see a baby bird fall from a tree and enjoy watching the little fellow try to navigate its way to safety whilst predators encircled. Both observations seem like the same side of the coin for me, one being an explanation, another being an example. Both I thought were accurate.

I've been around those types before; someone who needs to break others down in order to feel better about himself. Those who can't find value in themselves so they look to devalue others. Those who always find fault first, and always at a constant threat of never finding fortune. Those who enjoy creating discord because they are too afraid of risking creating good. I've worked with those types before. I've been married to those types before. I have been friends with those types before. They have an undercurrent of unhappiness running through them, yet always looking for ways to be the hero of every story, building themselves up at the expense of others, never being happy when other people shine.

Or maybe he was just a grumpy old man. Either way, that's no way to be.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Sock Matching

I’ve don’t have a washer and dryer at home. I mean, I do, but the washer is old and icky and the dryer is broken. I don't use them. I go to the laundromat.

In times of both plenty or panic, but not with reliable frequency, I have been known to send the laundry out. It’s so nice. The clothes come back folded and sorted by size. All the underwear is packaged together, and all the socks, (ohmagosh, the best part), all the socks come. back. matched. Do you know how many socks three kids have collectively? Sending out my laundry is a luxury. If I could do it every week, I would. For the sock-matching service alone, I would send out my laundry if I had the means.
These days my pennies are pinched a little tighter and I can no longer pay someone to do my laundry for me. I must go to the laundromat. It’s not so bad. All within about a block of the laundromat there’s a bakery, a taqueria, a burger joint, a sandwich shop, a market, two liquor stores and a bar. (There is also a pizza place, but the last time I was there, someone changed the total on my receipt, turning a 55 into a 65, thus turning a 20% tip into a, into a … I don’t want to do the math. Whoever changed it, upped my tip by $10. I was super pissed about it. The tip was on a take-out order, not table service. I ordered a pizza and salad to go and sat at the bar and drank a beer while I waited for my food to be ready.  A 20% tip on a beer and a take-out order is a good tip. I noticed the modification, changed it back and took a picture of it. In the end, I was only charged my original tip amount. I don’t know if the offender was the guy sitting next to me or the counter person, but I haven’t been back since.)
Image result for ross and rachel laundryWhen I do my laundry in the daytime, during the wash cycle, I usually have myself a cuppa joe and some kind of sweet treat at the bakery, then during the dry cycle, I go to the bar. When I do my laundry at night, I am usually with my partner, Captain Awesome; we usually just hit the bar for both the wash and dry cycles – sort of Ross and Rachel-ish but way more fun, instead of being pushed around in a laundry cart and kiss, we drink whiskey and kiss.

At first I hated the idea of going to the laundromat. But after a few months I started almost enjoying the time; not the actual doing of the laundry, but the time it affords me to have a moment to myself, accomplishing a chore, yes, but also having a few hours of (almost) free time. While I would rather pay someone to pick up my clothes from my house, wash my clothes, fold my clothes, match my socks and then bring it all back to me at the end of the day, I'm not complaining.

Trickle Down Economics - A Pointless Rant about Water Walter

I have never been the kind of mom who enjoys going to playgrounds. I don't really like going to the playground. Now that my kids are older and I don't need to be with them the whole time, and I can sit on a bench and read, the playground is OK, but for the most part, the playground has never been my jam. One of the things that bother me at playgrounds is the other adults; not all of them, just some of them. Like the ones who think it's OK to sit on the play structures and play on their phones, blocking the kids' path and thwarting every single game of "the sand is lava."

One thing I do like about the playgrounds in my neighborhood is the unspoken rule of sand-toy sharing. If a kid leaves their toys in the sand and then say, goes to play on the swings, their toys are fair game for other kids to play with so long as they don't take the toys out of the sandbox and they stop playing with the toys when it's time to pack them up and go home. I don't know if this is common in other neighborhoods, but it is in mine. It is a good practice.

Anywhoozle, I had me an incident a few weeks ago.

Pua and I were at the playground. There were a lot of kids there that day and a good number of them were playing in the sand, making trips to and from the water fountain filling their buckets and cups in the dispenser for water bottles.

Pua started playing with some boys, 2nd or 3rd grade looking. She going back and forth to the fountain and sandbox filling their bucket. Pua was happy to stand in line with all the other kids at the fountain waiting to fill her bucket. On one particular trip to the fountain, she and a grown-up, a grown ass man, were walking to the fountain. He beat her to the fountain with his gallon sized bucket and started filling his, before letting her fill her pint sized bucket. I walked over to them. I asked him why he didn't let her go first. Her pint sized bucket would take only 30 seconds to fill, his gallon sized bucket was going to take a 4 minutes (I know, I did the math). He said "we're working together." I looked at what he thought "working together" was. Her bucket was at the bottom of the fountain picking up all of the water that came out of the leaky pipes. I looked at the man and said "Ah, Trickle Down Economics, nice." The man got a weird look on his face, then gave me a really dirty look; (Ok so to him 10 out of 10 getting the reference, but negative several million points for actually thinking that method is fair.)

With her trickles from the leaky water dispenser, Pua and I then walked back to the sandbox. He followed me and asked me if I was upset with him. I told him that he should have let her go first since her bucket was so tiny and he was a grown-ass man with a gallon-sized bucket, 8 times bigger than her little bucket. He said he was filling water for his daughters sandbox. I told him that's all well and good, but they were the only two at the fountain at the time, and the decent and grown up thing to do would have been to let the little girl take 30 seconds to fill her bucket and not make her wait 4 minutes for him to fill his.

He got in my face and with weird bits of spit in the corners of his mouth, asked me loudly if I was accusing him of depriving my daughter of water. I told him I wasn't accusing him of depriving her of water, I was accusing him of establishing dominance over her and making her pick up his scraps by telling her to collect the water from the leaky pipes. He stared at me in disbelief. I stared at him until he broke the gaze, then I got up and walked over to another seat at the other side of the sandbox.

Turns out the boys Pua was playing with were his sons. They scolded him for not letting her go first and then followed it up with "Dad, just let it go. We're playing nicely," they said.
For the rest of our time at the playground we sat at opposite ends of the sandbox, glaring at each other and watching our respective kids play together nicely.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

On Voting and Taking Cuts in the 9444 Precinct

I hate people taking cuts almost as much as I hate being late. Cutters suck. They share one thing in common with those who are late; lack of respect for their fellow humans. With their desire to be next in line, and ahead of you, they are telling you that they are better. They deserve to be next, not you. Cutters piss me off. I've posted about it before here and here.

All that being said, I cut in front of someone today. At the polls. I might suck.

The polls opened at 7am, but when I got to my polling place, the good folks at 9444 were having trouble setting up their counting machine. There was one person standing and waiting. She was standing about 5 feet away from the table where you check in and get your ballot. I asked her if she was in line. She said she was all checked in and she was done.  I didn't quite know what that meant so I asked her again, are you in line. She said no, she was done. I proceeded to walk over to the table to check in. The guy running check-in was having trouble setting up the counter box so I had to wait a bit to get my ballot. Finally, about 15 minutes after the polls officially opened, the man came over and started looking for my name in his book. The woman who was standing 5 feet away from the table; the woman who told me she was done told me that she was waiting in line and I had taken cuts, but whatever, it was fine with her. I told her that I had asked her if she was in line and she said she was done. She said "well, if I was done, why would I still be here." I offered to let her go ahead of me. She declined, then told me again how she was first. I told her again about what she said, and then told her it wasn't my fault she didn't know how to answer a question properly, as I asked her point blank "are you in line?" and she said "no, I'm done."

So to the lady who told me she was done, and not in line and standing 5 feet away from where any reasonable person would think a line should start, I'm sorry I took cuts. If you had told me you were in line, and if you had actually been standing in line, I wouldn't have taken cuts in front of you. I admit I was a bit of a dick to you and I'm sorry for that part. Nobody should have anyone be a dick to them, especially at 7:15am.

The upside is that she and I both voted.

Welcome now my friends to the show that never ends

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Nice Pictures - Where'd you steal them from?

Some of the pictures in my blog were taken by a photographer called Julie Michele. Some of the pictures were either taken by me or someone I know. Some of the pictures were ripped right from the internet, mostly from google image searches from photographers to whom I may or may not give credit.

Rest assured I make no money from any of it.