November 30, 2001

The Pooka Life

Well I have arrived safe and sound. Strangely enough, my airport experience was reversed. PDX was a police state. There were troupers watching us and eyeing baggage. People were randomly selected for searches that happened behind secret panels. They selected one lady with a small child, maybe two or so. The security lady had the mom set her son down and preceded to pat search him. He handled that ok but when she pulled out the black wand, he decided he'd had enough and took off running and screaming bloody murder. After a little chase, they rounded him up and the mom held this screaming little boy in place while the security lady scanned him for metal objects. Those PDX security guards are tough.

So it was with a little trepidation that I exited the plan at LAX. I guess after my Portland experience, I expected to be strip searched and x-rayed in LA. But on my arrival, it was, well deserted. My usual Hell-A airport experience runs something along the lines of people everywhere, crowds, loud speakers blaring announcements. This time, however, I was greeted with an eerie silence. No one is allowed to meet you at the gate or wait with you so the hordes of relatives and family that normally gather are suddenly gone. I wandered down to baggage claim with a few other stragglers where Elmo was waiting. Yes, believe it or not, my luggage was unloaded and waiting for me! Even stranger still, the short term parking was E-M-P-T-Y.

So with little ado, I find myself home again. I checked in with Kevin and he had ordered a pizza and was watching movies that I refused to rent. He claims he misses me but I don't believe him. Actually, this will be the first time we've been apart since our marriage. We'll see what sort of mischief he gets himself into.

Posted by CHRISSIE at 10:00 PM | Comments (0)

November 29, 2001

The Pooka Life

And I'm off!

I'm heading home tomorrow to see old highschool friends and my family. I cannot wait to see my little sister. Errr, actually, from what I hear, she is no longer so little but rather very pregnant. Hee hee, for the first time every I will get to poke her fat little tummy. Ah, how I love the circle of life.

I've been a busy little bee trying desperately to finish up all of the Christmas presents to take with me. For whatever reason, this year was a DIY year. Last year we braved the crowds and found all sorts of neat pre-made stuff in stores but this year, for reasons I don't quite understand, I've found myself making things instead. And, have reviewed many of my projects last night, they definitely look home made. No mistaking these items for store bought, no sirree, they are genuine 100% "Made by Chrissie Gifts".

They actually remind me of Suzy ornaments. As we grew up, we were constantly making ornaments at Christmas time. Most of these were done in art class at school and then presented proudly to our parents Christmas morning. I must give my parents credit for two amazing things. First, they managed not to laugh. Second, they saved most of our unique creations.

Back when Suzy and I were still Terry girls, the tradition was to all get together, put on the Muppets Christmas album, and decorate the tree. Dad did the lights, mom unpacked and handed out ornaments and Suzy and I did the placement. Being the annoying sister that I was/am, I made it a point to get all of Suzy's hand made ornaments and laugh, laugh, laugh. She had this one that I swear is a Christmas pig although Suz hotly contends it is a reindeer. Yeah, right, whatever Suz. Now that we are married and decorate our own trees in separate states, I find I miss Suzy's mutated creations. Sure, my Frankenstein creations still grace my tree but there is no pig ornament or gold laminated macaroni thing to make my stuff look good by comparison.

Perhaps that is why, at Christmas time, I'm drawn toward creating craft monstrosities. Of course, somehow it's incredibly cute when a six year old hands you a handcrafted present that looks like it was glued together in the dark. I'm not so sure that logic still holds when the present is lovingly mutilated by someone my age which is way, way past six.

However, I'm not one to care for the opinions of others and so I will wrap my strange creations and proudly spread them amongst my friends. I'm just glad I won't be there to see their faces or hear the cries of "dear god, what is that!" come Christmas morning. But I suppose some things are better left to the imagination!

Posted by CHRISSIE at 10:41 AM | Comments (0)

November 27, 2001

The Pooka Life

This entry will require quite a leap in deductive reasoning but bear with me.

I am a intermittent stamp collector. Actually, my dad used to collect stamps as a kid and started his own collection which I took over in my youth. Then I sort of forgot about it and it lay dormant in my closet along with my old formal dresses and tossed aside stuffed animals. When my parents came to visit, they bundled up everything from the recess of my closet and willingly dumped it all in my basement. Over time, I have been sorting through my knick knacks and stumbled across the old stamp collection.

As I have aged I have gained a bit of wisdom. I am a completely spastic person whose eyes are bigger than her head. I get hooked on stuff, work like crazy until I see something else that catches my fancy. I have learned, over time, that when I am seized by the latest craze, it is best to try and limit its scope since it is highly probably that by next month it will be forgotten. So when I unburied my stamp collection, my first thought was to try and collect everything I had missed between, oh, sixth grade and the present. My rational side kicked in and I decided to limit my collecting desire to a specific specialty of stamp collecting. I decided my focus would be stamps dealing with books and authors. With this narrow scope in mind, I plunged forth.

I found hundreds upon hundreds of web site dedicated to stamp collecting and got sucked into the idea of first covers for a while but never got around to doing them. (Need to put that on my list-o-things-begun-but-never-finished, page 107.) I did, however, purchase a few stamps dealing with authors and books. Now, here's the leap, from stamps to Christmas......

Since turkey day is over and the big X is rapidly approaching, I have two pearls of wisdom for you.

1. Order your stamps online.

Yes, that's right, simply head to USPS online and order all your pretty Christmas stamps. For a measly $1.00 shipping fee, you can avoid circling your local post office parking lot and standing in line behind people mailing 50 packages misaddressed to people in Malaysia. You can get just about any stamp you like from the comfort of your computer. If you don't want the boring stamps you buy in line at the grocery store, this is the only way to go.

2. Try a Game

Ok, this has nothing to do with stamps but I just wanted to pass along this idea. I know, for most people a "game" is something by Milton-Bradley that involves lots of drawing, pantomime, or moving pieces around a board. This is very very sad. There are so many wonderful games out there that are unknown by the masses. Take, for example, the Bean Game. I don't know how to describe it except to say everyone I have shown it to has been hooked. It is simply the best game I have found and I found it at great little website based here in Oregon called FunAgain Games. They specialize in German board games and have wonderful reviews and ideas. The Bean Game (as I call it) is actually titled Bohnanza and is German. This wonderful store will send you the game and an english translation of the rules which is key. You can't go wrong with any of the Games of the Year and almost everything has a picture and/or rating. So if you are desperate for something different, give them a try. The Bean Game works best with 4 people. If you have a larger group, Rage is another addictive card game to try too. Also The Great Dalmuti which I have played under the name Rich Man Poor Man is good fun with large groups.

Alright, that's all of my great ideas for the day. Come back tomorrow, I'm sure by then I'll be fixated on something else. Lucky you!

Posted by CHRISSIE at 01:45 PM | Comments (0)

The Pooka Life

Another Unemployed Theo episode. But could this be the end of our hero???

Posted by CHRISSIE at 11:04 AM | Comments (0)

November 26, 2001

The Pooka Life

I am approaching the Christmas spirit with a bit of hesitation this year. Oddly enough, Kevin has morphed from a complete Scrooge to a total Christmas enthusiast. I think you will understand my fear.

During our first Christmas together in Oregon, I was living alone in my little one bedroom apartment. Kevin was in school down in Corvallis but he would come up to visit me on weekends and holidays. As Christmas approached, I decided I wanted a tree for my little home. Kevinís response was, ďgreat, lets slay a tree for Jesus.Ē Needless to say, this remark considerably dampened my enthusiasm but I managed to shake it off and I headed to the nearest Fred Meyer with Kevin in tow. He grumped through the tree lot, declared every tree too big, and we ended up getting in a spat about how best to lash my douglas fir to the car. By the time we made it home, I was hopping mad. He had totally ruined my holiday spirit with his comments about how stupid it was to get a tree for an apartment.

The next year, Kevin agreed to help pick out the tree and he did cut back on the snide comments. However, there was still a lot of rumbling about why did we need a tree if we were living in an apartment? Last year was our first year in the house and we decided no pre-cuts for us. Instead, we headed into the hills and Kevin turned lumberjack and cut his own. He greatly enjoyed tromping around the hill and was willing to cut down as many trees as I liked. This year, he actually admitted he was looking forward to getting a tree so I think I have managed to convert him.

Now, I hear you asking yourself, ďwhy is Chrissie so paranoid? Everything sounds normal.Ē Ah, but I havenít told you about the Christmas lights.

Over the weekend, Kevin took Artie out on their nightly stroll. On his return, he asked me a rather odd questions - where can you buy moving reindeer made of Christmas lights. I immediately sensed trouble and went to yellow alert. After further questioning, Kevin revealed that on the walk, he saw this cool house with neat Christmas lights. The next day, he took me there. Sure enough, it had multi-colors large and small, icicles, and even Merry Christmas in red and green lights. Be the show stopper were four wire reindeer outlined with white lights. As Artie and I stood there speechless, Kevin pointed our with awe, ďsee how they are moving?Ē Sure enough, the heads slowly swivelled back and forth on the front lawn.

Kevin has decided the gauntlet has been thrown down. We hung our simple strand of lights but I can tell he wants more. Heís trying to find a way onto the roof and is musing about running extension cords so he can light our picket fence. Iím hoping that lighting the tree will curb his mad planning. If anyone knows were you can purchase moving Christmas reindeer, please keep that information to yourself. Thank you.

Posted by CHRISSIE at 02:31 PM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2001

The Pooka Life

I am absolutely useless today. I seem to be suffer from pre-holiday exhaustion. This is a very vicious strain of holiday illness that some surmise is a mutation of post-holiday laziness. As this is a very dangerous affliction, I will detail the symptoms of the disease below...

1. Time stretching - this phenomenon is a common occurrence and involves the drastic slowing of time. A typical example is sitting at your computer for an excruciating period of time, checking the clock and realized a mere 3 minutes have passed. This is one of the more burdensome symptoms of pre-holiday exhaustion. This phenomenon appears to worsen in the late afternoon with the hardest period occurring between the hours of 3-5:30pm on your last full work day.

2. Procrastination - Dwelling over all the last minute details left undone and berating yourself for spending all day channel surfing instead of marking off items on your to-do list. Even though you know you have to go to the store or start cooking, you find yourself unable to rise off of the sofa and turn off the Facts of Life marathon.

3. Lack of Focus - You find yourself daydreaming out your office window or rearranging your post-it notes instead of finishing up your last report/letter. Combined with Symptom #2, a strange limbo is invoked whereby you find yourself able to only complete irrelevant tasks like ironing the napkins and unable to direct your activities to critical areas like cleaning the guest bathroom.

4. Wild Planning - In some severe cases, people infected by pre-holiday exhaustion find themselves caught up in the "perfect" holiday. After copious note taking and consulting every Martha Stewart and entertaining book in your home, you find yourself burnt out having spent two weeks and hundreds of dollars weaving your own tablecloth, dipping handmade candles and arranging hundreds of stunning table bouquets. Unable to maintain this maniacal pace without the help of twelve personal assistants, your immune systems is completely vulnerable and typically the onset of Symptoms #1-3 will occur within hours.

There is no cure for pre-holiday exhaustion that I have managed to discover. In some, shoe shopping has been know to help dull the pain but once out of the store, the symptoms return. In the interest of humanity, I will continue my quest to cure pre-holiday exhaustion. This year, I will test the theory that bubble baths may retard the onset of symptoms.

I will keep you informed of my findings.

Posted by CHRISSIE at 03:32 PM | Comments (0)

November 20, 2001

The Pooka Life

I just discovered DigsMagazine. It describes itself as ďa home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation.Ē I couldnít have described myself better.

After searching through the ďloungeĒ section, I have dug up all sorts of good plans for Thanksgiving weekend. Aside from Christmas shopping, Iím also going to make a new duvet cover and install some corner book shelves. Yessir, no lazing around suffering from the after effects of tryptophane for me. Iím going to be busy.

Thatís assuming, of course, I can pull myself away from the I Love Lucy marathon long enough to focus on something else. Iím so excited!

Posted by CHRISSIE at 03:02 PM | Comments (0)

The Pooka Life

As pointed out by Mikey, the guestbook underwent a bit of unintended surgery. However, the sacrifice was not in vain.

Please put your hands together for......The GuestMap!!!!

Just trying to keep your web-reading experience interactive. All that reading can be boring, I know, you here's your chance to streach your fingers and leave your very own splat on our humble map.

Thank you. You can now go back to work.

Posted by CHRISSIE at 10:01 AM | Comments (0)

November 19, 2001

The Pooka Life

The good news, this weekend nothing broke.

That's right, the car drove, the plumbing ran, and the dryer heated. For the first time in forever, there were no mechanical emergencies for the McLaughlin household. In all honesty, it was rather a let down not to pull out the old tool set and spend all day long yelling at a piece to machinery.

The bad news, this weekend I discovered TV Land.

Now, I don't know if this is just a weekend thing but there is cable station that plays TV show marathons all-weekend-long. Last weekend, they had 48 hours of the Facts of Life. That's right, back to back hilarity with Jo, Tuti, Blaire and Natalie. I couldn't stop myself.

I discovered The Facts of Life at 11am on Saturday morning and it wasn't until 10pm Sunday when Kevin forced me to turn it off. When I left, Jo and Blaire were at Langley while Natalie and Tuti were still finishing up high school at Eastland. I needed help.

But it was so easy. I mean, I could wander in and out of the room without worrying I would lose the plot line since there was none. Didn't have to channel surf at the end of every hour looking for another show to watch Ďcause the next episode came on lickity split. I could tune in and out at will. It was heaven. Of course, I'm still humming that damn theme song. You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have, the facts of life... Did you know that there is a different verse that runs over the ending credits? I know! How exciting is that??? Or how about how the girls ended up living with Mrs. Garrett above the cafeteria? And who among us remembers that Facts of Live was a spin off from Different Strokes? Was this a productive use of a weekend or what!

The good news is, next weekend I think they are doing 48 hours of I Love Lucy. At least that theme show doesn't have any words.

(Somebody, please call AT&T and shut of my cable. I need help.)

Posted by CHRISSIE at 01:47 PM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2001

The Pooka Life

Kevin sucks when it comes to sympathy. He has no idea how to baby someone. Instead of loving kindness, he gets all impatient and exasperated. This is why when I am feeling unwell, I banish him to the depths of the basement rather then listen to his exasperated sighing and grumbling as to why I canít get off my lazy butt and clean the kitchen seeing as how itís just a little temperature.

Thursday morning I didnít feel so hot. I had eaten a very rich lamb dinner that was very very rare and it really didnít sit well with me. It tasted good at the time but my poor stomach had a very hard time processing it. I was up tossing and turning all night and by morning, I was severely ill.

So Kevin comes downstairs to find me getting a lime soda and an apple from the fridge instead of the usual pastry and coffee.

ďWhatís up with the soda?Ē he asks as he rummages for his wallet and keys.

ďMy tummy doesnít feel so good,Ē I reply slowly. I found moving too quickly maked me feel even worse and slowly shuffled out of the kitchen to get my jacket.

ďSuck it up,Ē Kevin replied without even glancing at me ďand take a couple of tums.Ē He then wanders off to find his shoes.

I manage to drag myself to the MAX station and find a seat when I break out in a sweat and feel my stomach begin to heave. I ended up chanting the Skippy Peanut Butter song to myself the whole ride in. For some reason, this songs has always comforted me. You know, ďMomma loves me, loves a bunch, Ďcause she always puts Skippyís..... in my lunch.Ē (The truly strange part is I hate peanut butter and my mom never made me PB&J as a kid so I have no idea why I love that song so much.) However, in time of great physical distress, I use this song as a mantra and it soothes me.

I almost made it to work when the guy sitting next to me begins to caress my leg. My first response is to throw up on him but I decided to take the high road and just got off the MAX early. I ended up sitting on a bench with my head between my legs for 20 minutes before I could get back on and finish the ride to work. By the time I got to the office, I was soaking with sweat and made a bee line for the bathroom.

I managed to turn on my computer and sat huddled over my trash can for a while telling myself to just ďsuck it upĒ. My friend Laura, after seeing my white face and shaky hands, took matters into her own hands. She grabbed the trash can and drove me home where I could be sick in the privacy of my own home.

When Kevin returned from work, he found me passed out on the sofa having gotten over the worst of it. His response? I should have taken the Tums like he said. Donít worry, next time heís sick, I know just how to play it.

Posted by CHRISSIE at 04:16 PM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2001

The Pooka Life

Oh man am I getting old. My 10 year high school reunion is set for the end of this month. Ten years!!! I simply can't believe it. First the grey hairs, now this. It's all moving too quickly for me.

The worst part is that the reunion is going to be held on the beach in winter. That's right, we were advised to wear sweat pants and sweat shirts. Yes, this is how I want to be remembered by the classmates, clad in an old pair of sweats. I was all set to draw on the power of my boots and now I've been denied.

Even worse, it looks like Kevin won't be coming with me so I'll have to brave the event alone. Due to a very hectic work load, my hubby will be MIA. I'm secretly hoping we find some last minute super cheat airfare and he came come too. Of course, I bet he's secretly hoping it doesn't happen. After all, he's looking at a weekend without me to boss him around and make him do chores and other icky stuff. Not a bad deal really. Just Kevin, the poocheese, and the computer.

I am, however, looking forward to going home. It's been forever and I simply can't pass up the chance to see a pregnant Suzy. From the pictures I've seen, she looks ready to pop and she has still go three months to go.

Maybe I can figure out a way to wear my boots with my sweats. Yeah, that's the ticket....

Posted by CHRISSIE at 01:45 PM | Comments (0)

November 13, 2001

The Pooka Life

After talking it over with Elmo, Kevin decided not to try and change the blown belt. As we have no garage, the idea of lying under the car in the pouring rain just didn't quite peak Kevin's interest. Instead, he found a local Volvo shop and took it in. Half and hour and 30 bucks later, the old Volvo was as good as new.

The guys down at the shop, however, were impressed. "We don't see a lot of Ď87 740's here," the repair man said, looking over the old ovlov. "When'd the belt go?" he asked Kevin.

"Yesterday," Kev replied, proud to have brought in such a fine specimen of a 740.

"Well," the guy replied, "you could keep driving it for a while."

Kevin looked aghast. "But that would hurt the car!" he cried in despair.

The mechanic looked at Kev and said, "Man, you sure must love this car."

Damn straight we love the Volvo! Kevin proceeded to the waiting room where he spied the latest IPA catalogue. "Cool!" he exclaimed as he settled in to wait for his baby.

The mechanic looked surprised that Kevin knew about IPA. "You do your own work?" he asked.
"Oh yeah," Kevin fudged a little on this one. "I'd replace the belt myself but I don't have a garage and with the rain and all, I thought I'd bring it in."

The mechanic looked at Kevin with new found respect and managed to squeeze in our Volvo even though they were booked solid and were down on mechanic. So the Volvo is back and kicking!

Posted by CHRISSIE at 03:52 PM | Comments (0)

November 12, 2001

The Pooka Life

Thanks to my friend Heather, I got to see Harry Potter last night.

I suppose it was wasted on me because I haven't read any of the books and have pretty much managed to sidestep the whole hype. Strangely enough, Heather was in a bar on Saturday night where they were handing out free "sneak preview" passes. Now, this is a kids movie, right? So why are the passes being handed out in a bar on Sat night? Heather didn't ask any questions, just grabbed three passes - good girl.

When she called with the good news, I knew we had to invite Kat. If anyone is a HP fan, it's her. Rumor has it she waited in line to buy the latest HP book and loved them all. So the three of us wound up in the theater surround by hordes and hordes and hordes and hordes of kids. I mean, you couldn't spit without hitting someone under 4 ft tall.

Before starting, they announced the movie was 2.5 hours long so if anyone had to pee, now would be the time. 50 nine year olds and myself dutifully tromped into the bathroom and back. (Hey, my mom taught me well, what can I say?)

And then the movie began. It was very good and didn't feel like it was 2.5 hours long. In fact, the small person next to me managed to sit thought the whole thing and only had to cover her eyes once. Now, if you have children or have every babysat, I think you will realize the import of the fact that this movie managed to keep all these little squirmy people seated and quiet for over two hours. Wow. Unlike most Disney flicks, this one didn't have any "adult humor" where the parents chuckle and the kids ask, "what happened?" The only questions that came from the kid by me where - "Mom, what does that say?"

Oddly enough, even though the short folks can't read, they can recognize when there is writing. So every time there was a sign or a book or a letter that the audience had to read, the munchkin next to mean would lean into her mom and ask for a verbal interpretation. Smart kid.

The whole movie gave me a flash back to 7th grade when Becky Marshall and I used to pretend we were witches. We'd go down to the lower field by the fence and make up all sorts of strange stuff that I have managed to block from my memory. I think the biggest pull for me was the ability to fly. I would have signed on for that part alone given the chance.

But the movie was goods and the effects were very well done. Maybe I'll read the book so I can decide if they did it justice but according to Kat and Heather, they were spot on.

Posted by CHRISSIE at 02:58 PM | Comments (0)

The Pooka Life

Kevin just emailed me.

The Volvo blew a fan belt. The gauntlet has been thrown and we refuse to back down. Going to have a strategy session tonight and plan our attacked.

Don't worry, I'll keep you updated....

Posted by CHRISSIE at 11:11 AM | Comments (0)

November 09, 2001

The Pooka Life

Iím a little nervous today for three reasons. Independently, they are cause for only minor alarm but happening together.... Well, lets just say Iím out of un-bitten fingernails.

Factoid #1 - I added Kevin to Schwab.

Now, when you get married, one of the first big hassles is what to do about finances. You each had separate bank accounts, credit cards, and budgeting techniques back when you were a swinging single. After a few rounds of knock-down-drag-out fights about how much to spend where, or who spent more at the craft store vs Home Depot, you eventually settle on some compromise or decide to file for divorce. Our compromise was that I was in charge of all the money. (This makes sense to me as I was always the banker in monopoly and have a recurring dream where Iím rolling around my bed in piles of dollar bills but I digress.) Every week, I give Kevin his $20 fun money and admonish him not to spend it all in one place. Through a complex system of bribes, treats, and punishment, I have managed to wean him off of his credit cards. I had added him to all my accounts and the only account he had not yet gotten his hands on was Schwab.

Now, Schwab is my account. Itís where the big bucks sit and earn interest. You donít touch Schwab unless itís for something important. Up until last week, Kevin wasnít on the account. In fact, Kevin wasnít allowed within spitting distance of Schwab. If he even looked at it funny, I was on him like Artie on Collin*. Thatís right, he couldnít write a check, use the credit card or hit an ATM without me being there. But in a moment of weakness, I agreed to add him and yesterday the new checks arrived in the mail. Kevin tried to hide it but I saw him break into his greedy-smurf hand rub and I could almost see the pictures of Gforce 3 video cards and radial arm saws dancing through his head.

Factoid #2 - Kevin has a week off.
WaferTech is a 24 hour fab. This means that at every moment of every day there is some poor engineer working. In order to remain fair, the engineers rotate through. This is known as ďbeing on shift.Ē You work for 12 hours, get off 12 hours, work for 12 hours, and so on. In order to compensate for this awful work schedule, you get a week off of work. So Kevin just finished up his shift and is currently in his week off mode. This consists of a lot of computer playing, surfing ebay for computer parts, and trying to devise ways to break into the Schwab account.
Factoid #3 - Kevin is going to Costco today.
On his days off, Kevin hits Costco because he can go during the day and avoid the massive crowds and actually park within sight of the building. However, since he is on his own, he has no loving wife to restrain him so he usually ends up standing at the car with a cart full of stuff wondering how heís going to justify spending $300 in an half an hour.

Now, put it all together and you can see why, as I type these words, my hands are shaking with fear. Kevin has been surfing the web, dreaming of all the cool stuff he wants/needs, Kevin has access to Schwab and suddenly has the purchasing power to buy all that cool stuff he wants/need, and Kevin is going to Costco where not only do they sell all the cool stuff but it comes in a 4-pack which, if you break the cost down, means you can get more for less.

Iím debating calling Schwab and reporting my card stolen. I have a feeling, thatís my only hope...

*Collin is a very nice man who came over for dinner last week. Artie, for reasons unknown, decided Collin was a threat to his dominance and spent the whole night humping his leg. We apologized profusely and Collin, gentleman that he is, laughed it off. However, he has kindly refused all other dinner invitations and, well, I donít blame him.

Posted by CHRISSIE at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)

November 08, 2001

The Pooka Life

I am a horribly stubborn person. I'm not sure why this is but there are times when I decide to plant my feet in the ground and nothing can move me. And to the poor fool who tries to shove me against my will, I offer my pity.

I went to get a flu shot the other day. The last time I got one of these, I didn't get sick all winter so I believe it works. Unfortunately, last year there was a major shortage and they were only giving shots to the oldie moldies so I had to suffer through a winter of sniffles. This year, however, I got the notice at work that the flu shot people would be here and the company would pick up the tab. Free flu shot? You don't have to ask me twice!

So I amble on down to the second floor conference room. There's a table full of forms and a lady talking on her cell phone. I decide to be nice and wait for her to get off her call. In the meantime, I pick up a form and head to an open chair.

"Excuse me," she barks, "are you suppose to be here?" She has her hand over her cell phone and is looking at me strangely. Lets see, there's a big sign out front say FLU SHOTS and I'm wearing business attire. Seemed like a no-brainer to me.

"I'm here for the flu shot." I reply.

"Well, who are you with?" She snorts at me.

I give her the name of my firm and she walks away yammering on her phone. It appears I have passed some sort of initial test so I fill out the paperwork. One page is a giant disclaimer saying that I'm not allergic and won't sue them from complications from the flu shot. I sign on the dotted line and move on to the next form. It says....

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO FILL OUT THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION TO RECEIVE THE FLU SHOT. Blah blah blah. (Please note that the above phrase was written in big font and at the top of the page.) The rest of the form is a bunch of medical questions. Now, I'm in a hurry so I decide not to fill out the medical form. Everyone else is busily filling out bubbles while I head back up the cell phone lady who then tries to charge me for the flu shot. We go a few rounds and I finally convince her that my firm is paying for it. She then asks me the name of my firm even though I have already told her. I hate people who do this. You know the type who like to make you jump through hoops just to prove they can. She looks into her little binder and low and behold, there is my name on the employee list. At this point, our relationship as gone from bad to worse. I don't like her and she definitely doesn't like me. For those of you who aren't so good with foreshadowing, this is where the stubborn part comes in.

"Did you give me your medical form," she calls out as I start to leave the room.

"I didn't fill one out." I replied shortly.

"I need to have that form before you can get the shot" was her reply, obviously swelling with the power trip of deciding who could proceed to the shot station.

"I don't give out my medical history except to my doctor," I quip back to her. Ok, that's a lie. A bald face lie but she was making me mad. Besides, I was taking a stand for all those people who really didn't want to divulge their medical past to random strangers for no apparent reason. This was a matter of principal.

"Why don't you want to fill it out. What's wrong with you?" She shot right back.

What's wrong with me? WHAT"S WRONG WITH ME??? By now, all the sounds of bubble scratching has died away and everyone in the room is watching us like we're a 10 car pile up. I dig in my heels and nothing, I mean nothing, is going to convince me to give this woman my medical history.

"There's nothing wrong with me, I just don't give out my medical history" I manage to get out through clenched teeth.

"You have to fill out the form. If you don't fill out the form, you can't get the shot" she chants to me with a sneer.

Excuse me??? I HAVE to??? No one tells me what I HAVE to do except my mom and even then there's at least a 50% chance I'll ignore her as well. I am not stupid. I can read the form which specifically says the information is optional.

A word of caution, don't try to BS an attorney. We do this stuff for a living and unless you are either an 1) attorney, 2) politician, or 3)a younger sibling you are out of your league. Some of my friends like to lay the cards right out on the table and launch right into "Listen, I'm an attorney so I know **fill in made up piece of legislation here**. I prefer the sneak attack. Let them think you're some low level secretary. Sometimes it pays off to be young and female in my profession.

"So I have to fill this out to get a flu shot?" I began to lay the foundation.

"Yes, you do." She replied without batting an eye. Now who's lying?

"It's mandatory?" Always re-ask your question slightly differently. This way, they can't claim they didn't understand you the first time.

"Yes, it's mandatory." She sneered at me. And then I knew I had her so I went for the kill.

"Well," I began with a serene smile firmly in place which, in lawyer land, means you are seriously frelled "it says right here...YOU DO NOT HAVE TO FILL OUT THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION TO RECEIVE THE FLU SHOT. So either you are lying to me or the information on this form is wrong."

I had her and she knew it. I think I heard someone in the back snicker. We stared at each other for a few seconds and then she turned and walked away. I took this to mean I was free to proceed to the flu shot area and did so.

The lady who poked me was very very very nice. I think she was afraid of me.

Posted by CHRISSIE at 12:03 PM | Comments (0)

November 07, 2001

The Pooka Life

Oh my goodness, too funny. You must go here and read this site.

I think Kevin may need to start a list like this. Some of the stuff we argue about is equally ridiculous. Our latest was a rather heated discussion of who walks the dog more. Not sure why it matters but each of us is convinced we take out Artie the most and will good down fighting on this one. Ah, they joy of being in a relationship....

Posted by CHRISSIE at 02:59 PM | Comments (0)

November 06, 2001

The Pooka Life

I'm so excited. I just found out that Ab Fab is coming back to Comedy Central. I loved the old Absolutely Fabulous reruns but never dared to hope there would be more on the way!

I must warn you that Eddie and Patsy are, well, horridly shallow. But there is something about them that just cracks me up. I think I got suckered into an AbFab marathon one weekend and spent all day on the couch laughing my butt off. Simply fabu darling!

So make a mental note that next Monday at 9pm the girls are back. I know I'll be eagerly awaiting their latest adventure. Supposedly, Edina succumbs to the power of Parralox continuing her eternal quest to fight aging. I can't wait!

Posted by CHRISSIE at 05:13 PM | Comments (0)

November 05, 2001

The Pooka Life

We have heat.

I know it seems like this blog has turned into some sort of do-it-yourself home repair journal but lately, all our time seems to be spent pulling things apart and putting them back together.

So our dryer quit heating and according to our do-it-yourself manual, this probably means our heating coil is dead.

The dryer repair, however, proved trickier than we thought. Most models have a back panel that you simply remove to locate the heating coils. Ours, however, is an industrial GE dryer built sometime in the 70's judging from the color. The only removable panel was the front which meant the whole drum had to come out. Oddly enough, it only took us an hour and half to take the thing apart. Sure enough, we had a bad heating coil. Since it was so old, I though we were done for but a re-string kit only set us back $25 bucks and was in stock!! So it's 12:30 and we're thinking no problem, we'll have the puppy up and drying in no time.

It was then we learned a new lesson. Kevin is not allowed to take apart anything without me watching. That's right, while I was on the phone with Elmo, Kevin pulled apart the dryer. I wasn't watching or marking the parts in my anal way that I normally do.

The result? Disaster.

It took us SIX HOURS and a whole lot of swearing to get the dryer back together again. First, we plugged it in and nothing - no power. This meant we had to recheck all the wires to make sure they were connected. Then, we had power and heat but no tumble. Kevin had removed the belt but couldn't figure out how to put it back on. No matter what we tried, we couldn't get the right tension. In his frustration, he yanked off the door and broke the door safety. You know, it's that little button that acts as a cut off switch so if you open the dryer door while it's working it turns off automatically.

I sent Kevin on a walk with the dog and managed to realign the belt but there was no hope for the door sensor. So we did the only thing possible. By-passed the safety and said good enough. Don't worry, we're going to replace it. But the need for clean clothes outweighed our safety concerns. We ended up missing the symphony and spend the rest of the night doing laundry and patting ourselves on the back.

We decided to go a little wild and Kev made some strawberry pina coladas to go with our pizza. You know, you basic, wild Saturday night. I think we passed out around 10pm. Home repair is exhausting!

Posted by CHRISSIE at 12:01 PM | Comments (0)

November 02, 2001

The Pooka Life

Oh boy oh boy oh boy. I have such a story to tell. However, the following blog is a giant I TOLD YOU SO with massive amount of gloating. So you Kevin sympathizers who whine at me that I should stop picking on my poor husband, you may not want to read this.

Where to begin. Iím so excited I can barely think straight.

Kevin and I have been having an ongoing battle over the cars. As it turns out, every few days we switch cars. Since I leave the house first, I have to take whatever car is parked first on the driveway. Some days itís the Civic, others the Volvo. But lately I have been noticing a disturbing trend.

Whenever we switch cars, I always end up with an empty tank.

At first, I thought it was just happenstance. Just some odd twist of fate that every time I used a car after Kevin it needed a refill. After a couple of weeks of this, however, I began to suspect something was afoot and confronted the culprit. After intense questions and the removal of a few toenails, Kevin admitted that he often drove a car to empty and then switched them on me knowing Iíd go to the gas station for him. This made me grumpy and I chastised him.

Now, the other thing you need to know is that the Civic has a low gas light. Kevin will drive it until the light comes on and then switch to the Volvo. But the Volvo, being much older, only has a gas needle. Kevinís technique is to drive the Volvo until the needle hits the red and then leave it for me. He is constantly telling me that the Volvo wonít be out of gas until the needle drops below the red. ďNo,Ē I told him ďyou have to refill the Volvo when it hits the red. Once it goes below the red, itís on empty.Ē Kevinís response to this is to chalk it up to one of my numerous neurotic tendencies and ignore me.

But last night, I went from neurotic to right.

Kevin switched cars on me Tuesday night. On Wednesday morning, I went out to the driveway and saw that the Volvo was first in line. I hoped in, started it up, and saw the needle sitting in the red. This made me very very very very very grumpy. I had just filled up the Civic and now Kevin was leaving me another car to take to the gas station. Since I only drive one mile to the park-n-ride, I decided to skip getting gas. Coming home that night, I debated with myself. Get gas or no? I decided two could play this game and passed the gas station. If Kevin was so sure about this whole below the red theory, he could just keep on driving the Volvo for all I cared.

Thursday morning I made sure I had the Civic. I admit, I felt a little guilty that morning but I soon got over it. That night, Kevin called around 8pm to say he getting off of work and was going to drop off a friend and then head home. I waited and waited and waited. He finally appeared around 10pm soaked and grumpy because, yes, you guessed it, HE RAN OUT OF GAS!!!! He got in the Volvo, saw the needle in the red and decided to drive it 20 miles to Vancouver and back WITHOUT STOPPING FOR GAS!!! Yes, he planned to leave it for me again. Only, his plans fell apart.

Iím afraid I was very undignified as I followed him from room to room chanting, ďwho was right? Huh? Who was right?Ē over and over again. Poor Kevin could only hang his head in shame and mutter ďyou were right, you were right.Ē I think at one point I actually burst into a spontaneous happy dance.

Kevin has promised to fill up whenever a tank is less than half full. He also needs a new pair of shoes from walking in the mud/rain for 10 blocks to the nearest gas station.

Oh happy day, oh happy day, my husband got stranded on the side of the road in the middle of the night in the pouring rain because he didnít do what I said.

Can life get any better than this????

Posted by CHRISSIE at 11:00 AM | Comments (0)

November 01, 2001

The Pooka Life

Iíve been thinking about tatoos. Donít worry mom, Iím not going to get one. Itís more of a philosophical debate along the same lines of ďif the house was on fire and you could either save your dog or your cat, who would you chose.Ē

Sometimes, for no real reason I can put my finger on, I find myself wondering, if I was to get a tatoo, what would it be? I mean, this is something that would be stuck on me forever. What possible symbol or phrase is there that I was sure Iíd like forever. For me, forever is a very scary thought. I mean, itís always, the entire enchilada, for ever and ever. And for the life on me, I couldnít think of anything that I was sure Iíd like for the rest of my life.

Something inconsequential like a flower or a happy face seemed silly. I mean, why tatoo something that means nothing? A name is just asking for trouble unless itís MOM but thatís just too pirate/sailor for my taste. Snakes and skulls just arenít my cup of tea. So Iíve been turning this over in my mind with no success.

Until today.

Yes, in a moment of pure insight, I figured out what I could permanently place on my body without fear of every changing my mind. Iíd go for one of these. (The little green symbol.)

I know, I know, horoscopes are silly and too general to be true but I honestly believe that I was born under the right sign. Iím proud to say I am a stubborn and bull-headed person and I always will be. So for me, Iíd have to say that the Taurus glyph of the circle and horns would be my tatoo of choice.

Of course, this only answers half of my tatoo dilemma. Now I have to decide where I would want to put it. That question I am still debating. Iíll let you know what I decided.

In the meantime, Iíll leave you with this scenario.... I drag you into a tatoo parlor and wonít let you leave until you go under the needle. What would you choose? (Harder than you thought, huh?)

Posted by CHRISSIE at 11:39 AM | Comments (0)