Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Rally For Sanity

I've gone to more than a dozen or so events in Washington DC that have involved large crowds. We had only been in DC a few weeks in 1989, when I took the kids down to the Smithsonian's annual Folk Arts Festival on the Mall. Stretching a little more than the length of the museums of American and Natural History, the festival drew a healthy crowd that filled this area, but allowed for safe and free flow of traffic, blocked occasionally by a blanket of picnickers. Our next big event was Earth Day 1990, and I realized the first event had been a warmup. The kids and I joined the throngs that lined the streets for the Victory Celebration that Washington threw at the end of Desert Storm in 1991, and the mobs on the Mall for Bill Clinton's American party following his inauguration.  The last crowd I joined in DC was the first anti-Iraq War march in September 2003. Up to this point, I think this was the largest group I had ever seen or been in, but it was a moving crowd (the word march being operative).

I have also been in Dam Square in Amsterdam on New Year's Eve (2005). I say this not to brag, but as a way of indicating that I am not unfamiliar with crowds. All of those crowds pale in comparison to what we were a part of today!

Emily, Sean, and I knew this was different almost from the start. The Red Line Metro train that originates only one stop from the Wheaton stop, where we boarded, was full when it pulled into the station. When I say full, I mean that the seats were nearly all taken and people were standing in the aisles. By the time we got two more stops in toward the city, I was crammed into a corner and could not have fallen down unless everyone else did.

We took the Metro to Metro Center and then walked down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the Mall. The crowd got thicker and thicker the closer we got. By the time we got on Mall side of the Museums, we were carefully working our way into the crowd just north of 7th Street, and just east of the line of Portapotties set up in a line across from the Natural History Museum. We had to inch our way in, and could not get past the tree line (trees line the Mall on either side). From where we were, we could see the Jumbotrons at the front, as well as the bank of speakers. Well, I couldn't actually see the Jumbotrons; I caught an occasional glimpse of one corner of one. I am 5'6", which was considered above average height for women not that long ago and is now evidently only above average height for pygmies. I did see and come in physical contact with lots and lots and lots of people!

As we stood there, the crowd became more and more compacted, until scratching your nose became a necessarily coordinated effort. Some of the younger, hardier souls risked the hefty National Park Service fines and climbed into the trees for a better view (to the cheers and applause of the immediate crowd). It was a very diverse crowd, in all sizes, colors, ages, and abilities; and a pleasant crowd. Tolerance and general good humor were the common traits of this gargantuan group. After a little more than an hour of this imposed close personal contact with humanity, I suggested that we adjourn to a Pub for food and drink.

We once again inched and edged our way through the crowd. After about fifteen minutes, we got back to the street and worked our way back to 7th Street. As far as I could see up 7th, there were people, a good six or seven city blocks! We walked up 7th toward China Town and one of my favorite watering holes in DC: Fados. We had to wait to get in (at 2:00 on a Saturday afternoon) shared a table with a couple of guys who had come to the Rally from Atlanta, Georgia. The place was filled with rally participants (as was every restaurant, cafe, and coffee shop on 7th and all the streets leading to it) eating, drinking, watching the rally on the TV, and continuing their friendly participation through cheers and applause.

The Metro ride back to Wheaton was just as crowded as the ride in, and people were now more than a little tired; but the tolerant mood prevailed and there was no ugliness. Although I was pretty exhausted from the crowd (I crashed on the couch for over an hour after we got back), I am glad I came. I am glad I was part of something big, something that maybe got someone's attention and gave them a different perspective. I am even happier that I was able to do this with my daughter at my side. I am probably the luckiest woman in the world.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Secret Garden

Ingrid and I took advantage of the beautiful fall weather to take a stroll through Brookside Gardens this afternoon. This wonderful treasure is only 1/2 mile as the crow flies from our old house here in Silver Spring.

We were lucky enough to catch one of the final days of the Garden's annual Chrysanthemum Show. Some of these beauties were the size of large salad plates.

And some were not only huge, but looked like they belonged in a baroque painting.

 We even got a couple of nice pictures of each other.

It was a glorious way to spend an afternoon!

Somewhat Daily Dose of Wow! 102810

As I write this morning, I am listening to the "chip, chip, chip" of a cardinal outside the window on one of the loveliest autumn days I can remember. It feels good to be where I am today. I am grateful for this day, for this place, and for the love of my family and friends.

So nice to be back in the old neighborhood at my favorite time of year!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Lunch at Chez Cher

Chez Cher (loosely translated: In or among the precious or the pricey) is what I have decided to call my kitchen, after my wonderful lunch from there today. Y'all know the problems I have been having with my upper digestive tract, because I have no filters and I told you. Because of this, I have decided to keep my meals as simple and tasty as possible, so today I chose from the fruit in the produce bin, a little goat cheese, and some freshly home-done whole wheat sourdough french bread.

Oh yeah, and a little red wine (for the stomach's sake, as St. Paul would say). It all looked so beautiful as I was preparing it that I just felt it deserved a picture or two.

The wine is a California red table wine from Soledad, CA, which apparently has more than a wicked rough state prison to be proud of.

I'm still working on the wine! It feels so good to take care of myself in such a loving way today. I am looking forward later today to a manicure and pedicure with a girlfriend that I don't get to see much of, and have begun mentally packing my suitcase for the trip to DC and Maryland. Writing from the road tomorrow! Peace, out for today!

Somewhat Daily Dose of Wow! 102610

How much easier and lovelier our lives are when we realize that whatever we are willing to accept as reality will be our reality. Accept it or change it.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

What oh what shall I do?

I have a serious conflict, and I need your help in resolving it. I know what kind of conflict it is (Approach-Approach) because I studied that stuff once long ago. What I need help with is what to choose. The choices?

Choice A: The Rally to Restore Sanity

Taking place on the National Mall on 30 October from 12:00-15:00, and organized by some like-minded souls, this event spurred my choice to go out to Maryland a week early. I have been devoting moments to coming up with my own sign (Right now I'm thinking: Tell the folks I'm OK). I had the assurances of one of my dearest friends and my daughter that they would be joining me for what could be a seminal event in this political season and perhaps even a footnote in the national history.

Choice B: University of Maryland Homecoming Football

Looks like my compadres have bailed on me and everyone is going to the game. It is another big crowd situation, though smaller and probably more unruly than the Mall, but less hassle getting to and from. And then there is tailgating with my lovely daughter and old friends...Kick-off is at 3:30 at Byrd Stadium. I love the hell out of Maryland football; my Greek family will attest to that!

So, help me now. What oh what shall I do?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Potage au Potiron (Pumpkin Soup)

With a winter storm warning and a cute little pumpkin in my produce box this week, how could I resist.  The recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, Monastery Soups.


According to the recipe, this is 4-6 servings. I guess maybe if you are a starving monk who worked the whole day digging potatoes and carrots. Otherwise, it's more like 8-10 servings. I kept a quart aside for lunch tomorrow and put another quart or so in the freezer, after we had all we wanted for dinner. We found it a little on the tame side, having had a spicier version in the past. Josh liked it better with a little hot sauce added. It may be a good choice for a family with young kids who aren't as wild about strong flavors.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Is It Me Or Is It Memorex?

It's been a heck of a week, and I guess I better at least let folks know what has been going on. Mainly, I have been feeling pretty puny, and I have been staying close to the house, taking it easy and trying to figure out what approach to take to this health thing. I've told the doctors everything I know, and they've given me the meds they think I need. Except, it ain't working. I throw up the medicine that is supposed to make me stop feeling nauseated. The medicine for the pain in my shoulder makes me such a zombie that I am only taking the Tramadol before I go to bed. Otherwise, I am simply using Tylenol.

I am making other adjustments to accommodate the way I have been feeling. I don't plan on going anywhere before 0900. I am usually through throwing up by then -- although, I have had some surprises in that department recently, so if I have to be somewhere, I try not to eat or drink much. Today, I limited my diet to steamed rice with some raisins, cinnamon, and sugar along with cups of green tea with peppermint. I splurged tonight on soda crackers and milk, but plan on no more food today. Other than the morning nausea, it hasn't been a bad day. We'll see how it treats me in the morning!

The bright spot is that the pain has slowly been getting better on its own, either that or the nerves are shot and I just can't feel so much. Either one works for me at this point! I've changed the way I sleep, so that I am not sleeping on my right side. This has been a difficult adjustment, as it is a lifelong habit. I have to self-correct a couple of times a night, but gives me something to do since my shoulder-pain has awakened me anyway. I've also cut down on my computer time and even texting on my Blackberry, because I could feel the twinges in my shoulder when I would do these things ("Doctor, it hurts when I do this.""Well then...don't do that!").

It has been suggested that some of what I am experiencing may be a result of grief; more specifically, the grief of a long-term caregiver. I'm willing to entertain that line of reasoning. I'm willing to entertain almost any line of reasoning that would lead to leaving these annoying symptoms behind. With that in mind, I have booked an appointment for a Reiki treatment early next week, before I leave for Maryland. It did not escape me that these symptoms became more acute as we were attempting to finalize plans for Bill's service and the family and friend get-together afterward.

A friend of mine used to say, "I'm not going to let my stomach tell ME what to do!"

That friend is now approaching 60 and still takes stomach medicine every day, and still looks like his stomach hurts all the time.

So, maybe my stomach will just tell me what it wants, eh?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Somewhat Daily Dose of Wow! 101710

Today, I used the basic Tassajara bread recipe using molasses for sweetener and 50/50 white/whole wheat flour. It looks, smells, tastes wonderful!

One More Day

Rest and the meds are doing their job, and the pain is more like discomfort most of the time, except for certain activities that seem to fire it up. The nausea has been absent the past few days as well. I am still having some occasional wooziness and weakness with the Tramadol, but I just take that as a cue that it's time to stop whatever I am doing and lie down for a while. I was able to work in the garden and make bread today (bless my KitchenAid), but I have found that resting my wrists on the keyboard is one of the activities that fires up the pain. So, I am taking another day off from writing.

Tomorrow, I go back to see the doctors at the VA Center. Sure hope we are ready to figure this out and fix it. I am ready to be healthy again! I have things to do!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Rest and Recovery

The pain meds are helping, and so is resting the arm. Kept computer time down to under 30 minutes today and will probably rest it again tomorrow. Was very drowsy and woozy today. Hoping that tomorrow is a little clearer!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Sick Day

There aren't many things I despise more than being unwell. I hate hurting and being unable to do things. It makes me very angry. It pisses me the hell off! This thing with the nausea I was willing to put up with as long as it confined itself to the early part of the day and didn't come with vomiting. That changed, so I went to the doctor. We are still working on finding out what that is all about. I had an abdominal ultrasound today, and there are some possibilities in the gall bladder area (hmmm...thought I heard that somewhere else, oh yeah, that's what I thought), described appealingly as sludge and small stones. Follow-up is on Monday.

The right shoulder pain is relentless. This isn't arthritis, or none like I have ever had before. It makes me cry. It kept me off the computer for most of the day yesterday, preventing me from writing. Today, they gave me some Tramadol and extra strength Tylenol to keep me until Monday. Hopefully by then we can tie these two symptoms together (gallbladder anyone?) and fix it! I am done with being and feeling old and sickly and not being able to get things done!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

House Chores on a Rainy Day

A cold, rainy day will keep me out of the camper today. The last place I want to be is trapped in a small place with the hidden bodies of dead rodents on a damp day. Yuck!

The rainy day project will be putting together the shelf unit to keep my plants over the winter. That is if my old arthritic aching shoulder will let me turn a screw or two today. My right shoulder has been aching like an abscessed tooth for the past several weeks, and has been the worst over the past two days. I'm pretty sure that this weather might have something to do with it. 

The shelf project was much easier than I thought it would be. It took longer to clean up the plants and pots as I was bringing them inside than it did to put the shelf together. Once I had them all inside, I made up some insecticidal soap to drive off the little buggies (1 teaspoon Melaleuca Tough and Tender to 24 ounces of water in a spray bottle) and misted them all. I noticed that as long as I was moving and doing things, I didn't notice my shoulder, unless I tried to be Sheera which is stupid for me anytime. It hurts the most when I am mousing around on the computer or trying to relax. The first seems to aggravate it, and the second is what happens when all distractions are removed and the pain gets my attention.


The Bob-in-law began the project of giving us more light on the counters in the kitchen with some wonderful LED bars. I knew after he installed the first set that I wanted to extend the lighting around the counter, both below and above the cabinets. This afternoon, I  installed the rest of the lighting under the kitchen cabinets. It looks fabulous and adds to the appeal of a kitchen that I already love, as well as providing some nice work light on the counter.

I might have to let Josh do the second half of the job (above the cabinets). Ladders are probably not a good idea for me right now. And since tomorrow will be a warmer, sunnier day, it will be back into the camper to continue Search and Recovery ops.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday Again, All Over

The fresh box of D-Con was empty when I opened the camper today. I found one dead mouse, on the easement. I went through the bedding and  mattresses and found only a few signs of mouse waste, nothing major and no holes or nests. No signs of rodents, dead or alive, in the cupboards and storage space opposite the sink or under the bed.

I am not naive enough to think one mouse went through two boxes of D-Con before trying to crawl off into the night. There are more. Common sense and my instincts tell me this. The not-finding is freakier than the finding. There could be dozens of bodies under the floor! Is there any kind of air gap overhead?

And the news keeps getting better. I took our new truck in to Costco get new tires (wearing my hat, of course) and they discovered that I had two missing lug nuts on the left rear wheel and one missing on the left front. The bolts that are supposed to hold the nuts are, of course, stripped. Ach! Sure glad I didn't know that when I drove it home from across town!

Naturally, this became the new priority on the job list and Josh is in the garage with the front end of the truck jacked up and the wheels pulled off. This looks like it will take more than an hour or two. The update from Josh, just now, was that the wheels were about to literally fall off the truck. Sure glad I insisted he pick up four new wheel kits instead of just replacing the stripped bolts. How's that for instinct?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

10:10 on 10/10/10

Happy 10 day everyone! I hope it is the beginning of an auspicious time for you! For me, today felt like the beginning of a new cycle of accomplishment. I haven't check my horoscope, but I'm pretty sure things are turning around and moving in a very positive direction.

Today, I could procrastinate no longer. I finally got into the camper. The bad news is that there was one section of a cabinet shelving under the sink that had to be completely torn out because it was saturated with rodent waste. I also found the packet of D-Con that I had left in the camper on Thursday -- totally empty. So now I assume there are dead rodents in the camper somewhere. I completely vacuumed out the floor and cabinet space and left another packet of D-Con in it just in case Ben and his friends are still looking for food.Tomorrow or the next day, I will empty everything out to go searching for the bodies.

The good news is that none of the wiring appears to have been gnawed on. I plugged in the 30 amp cord and ran lights with no issues.

While I worked on the camper, Josh tinkered on the truck. He got so much accomplished today! He replaced the heater core and turn signal switch, got the radio and rear window working, and fixed the ignition so that the key doesn't stick in it, along with ensuring we can lock the doors until he can replace the actuator switches on the door locks. He's been studying the Hayne's manual most of the evening to figure out the next things he wants to tackle. He reminds me so much of my father sometimes, it's uncanny. Tomorrow I will take the truck in for a brake check, new shoes and temporary registration. You'll know it's me because I'll be wearing my hat!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The New Toy

I got a new toy today, with Josh. We bought an old beat up truck to play with: 1989 5.0L V8 Ford Bronco XLT Eddie Bauer Edition.

He is looking forward to tinkering with it. I am looking forward to hitching it up to my camper and driving up to the Grand Mesa or somewhere else with an incredible view. It's probably going to need some of that tinkering stuff, first. We all want to make sure I don't get stranded somewhere -- although that would be an adventure.

As I have said somewhere else, I look pretty intimidating behind the wheel of this thing. Bad-ass, I believe I said. Or as bad-ass as a 60 year old fat woman with a fake hip can look.Which, depending on the circumstances, can be pretty bad-ass or just pretty pathetic. I'm going with bad-ass because I like that better.

This all coincides with me getting my Stetson out of the closet. It is a beautiful dove gray hat that has spent almost 100% of its life in a box on the closet shelf. It was given to me in 1989 by my friends as I was leaving Goodfellow AFB in lovely San Angelo, Texas. It is, for all practical purposes, brand new. Unworn. I realized that if I didn't start wearing the hat now, I would never wear it. And that would be a crying shame. And now that I have a truck, I have to wear a hat. It's in the rule book somewhere (the same rule book that requires a stop for a Blizzard at the Dairy Queen in Kerrville when driving between San Angelo and San Antonio).

Besides, it embarrasses my grown son. BONUS!

Somewhat Daily Dose of Wow! 100910

Yeah. I know. I really haven't been doing that good of a job with this department. It isn't that I haven't had any moments of Wow! I really do have them daily...

This morning, in the early morning light on the young trees in our neighborhood, I could see the future. The golds, reds, yellows, and oranges that will make up the canopy of maples, locusts, aspens, and assorted fruit trees that are now just beginning to reach towards the eaves of the houses in this relatively new subdivision. In the tomorrow I saw, these trees are grown tall and wide, providing shade and privacy for the humans, and homes for dozens of species of birds that pass through here (and a few squirrels -- preferably in the neighbor's yard). There are swings and tree houses braced by strong limbs in that future, and initials carved in trunks. I don't know if I will get to see it all come to pass, but the little glimpse I got was pretty nice.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Camping in the Closet

I left the camper sit right where it was today. I just couldn't face it; at least not today. I know I am in for a nasty job and today was not the day I wanted to do it.

So, instead, I put my bedroom and closet back in order. I had had a carpet and upholstery cleaner in yesterday, and things were kind of torn up and out of order. For example, my shoe rack was blocking the door of the water closet in the bathroom and I had a huge plastic tub filled with 50-year old photo albums in the middle of my bedroom.

In the process of putting things away, I was able to fill a trash bag with about 40 pounds of stuff that did NOT go back into my closet as well as find new homes for things that really never belonged there to begin with. As with all jobs of this nature, it begets its own list of follow-on tasks: the family movies on VHS that need to be converted to DVD, the love letters between parents and grandparents that need to be scanned and transcribed before the writing fades away and the paper crumbles, the family photos from generations past that hold stories that need telling before they are forever lost, and the little treasures from the past that need to be carefully labeled for their future owners.

Tomorrow, I have to do something about that camper!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Going Camping?

I went to get the camper today! I was so excited! And right up until I got it home I thought I was taking it out this weekend, to the Great Sand Dunes and maybe another stop or two. I had all these warm feelings of anticipation at the thought of reconnecting with nature and living out of "our camper" again. But when I was hitching it up, I noticed mouse droppings inside the doorway; and when I went to raise the stabilizers, I found some wires were unharnessed under the camper and the harness was in pieces around the rear of the camper.

When I got it home and unhitched, I took a closer look inside; and when I looked in the cabinet under the sink -- OM%G!!! There was so much rodent shit and rodent urine under there, I might have to call in an expert to clean it out. God only knows what the wiring looks like! This could also be the source of the mysterious propane alarm that went off inside the camper the week that Bill died. Josh and I had to leave Bill's side and go out to Elizabeth to dismantle the alarm to get it to stop. We thought it was a faulty alarm and ordered a replacement.

So, instead of just sweeping it out and making sure I have food and clothes for a few days, I have to clean and follow wires and repair and ensure I don't have a short and/or a fire the first time I turn on the lights.

Shit! Shit! Dammit! Dammit!

It made me so mad! I put some D-Con in the cupboard, locked the camper up and walked away from it for the evening. I just don't want to deal with it right now. I'll make an apple tart and take a long, hot soak. Calgon, take me away!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Not Into Theater

One of the things I did to get myself out of the house and back into the world was to buy a subscription to the season at the Arvada Center, and tonight was one of my seven theater nights. The featured play was an adaptation of a French boudoir farce, The Ladies Man, performed by the company from the world famous Creede Theater in southern Colorado. The dialogue and the action were quick and sharp, with set and costumes reminiscent of a late 19th century melodrama, really well-done except for some very strange placement of paintings on the wall.

I, unfortunately, fell asleep for about a third of the first act and spent a good part of the second act writhing in my seat, unable to get comfortable enough to sit still. I was grateful that I was sitting in the very back row of the small theater and not too close to anyone, because my behavior was annoying! I guess you could say that I was resisting!

The Creede Theater Company does a wonderful job, and I am putting a trip to Creede to see one of their productions in-house on my To Do list; but neither my head nor my heart was in it tonight. I would rather have been home in bed. Which is where I am going now.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Funeral Planning

Today I made flight and rental car arrangements for the trip for Bill's interment at Arlington on November 8*. It seems a little odd after this time to begin planning for a funeral. Right after Bill died, my son Josh worked with a funeral home here in Parker who coordinated with a funeral home in Virginia to arrange things like transportation and getting a date at Arlington. We knew up front that it would take a while to get a date, and that date would be a few months off. This creates both advantages and disadvantages.

One advantage is that we can take our time and plan a nice service to complement the military honors. With the passage of time, it will be easier for speakers to say words from hearts that have had a chance to do some healing from the loss. The disadvantage is that it stretches out this time of commemoration and memorialization, and consequently prolongs the pain. The funeral takes place more than 90 days after Bill died, as the rawness of it has just begun to heal over, and each of us have begun to find our way in a world that doesn't include him anymore. Perhaps this is what has made the actual planning difficult.

Or maybe funerals are just difficult to plan because they are funerals.

The day before the funeral, the family and friends will be participating in an event to honor Bill and other family members and friends we have lost by raising money at the Free to Breath Yogathon in Baltimore, MD. The Yogathon consists of 108 Sun Salutations [corrected from 365 - an impossible number], which I won't be doing out of respect for my orthopedist's efforts to keep me upright and walking! However, I will be doing my part by cheering on the team and taking pictures.

*Bill's funeral service is at 0800 on 8 November 2010 at the Old Post Chapel at Fort Myers with interment following in Arlington National Cemetery.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The First Monday in October

The house feels so good since Josh got home! There is a new energy in the air and the house is almost humming. Tonight that energy is accompanied by the aroma of  lamb and vegetable curry in the crockpot and sourdough bread cooling on the stove. From the looks of it, this second try at bread-making is showing some promise. No matter what, food always tastes better when there is someone to share it with you!

I'm grateful for these moments of contentment. It isn't something I take for granted anymore.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Lost Days and Rusty Skills

If you have been following this blog regularly, you've noticed that the last couple of days went by without an entry. No excuses -- just busy doing other stuff, and catching up on rest when I wasn't.* On Thursday, sister Barb and the Bob-in-law headed back to the Inland Empire (sounds nicer than "Hell Mouth") and Josh flew in from Korea ("Boy! Are his arms tired!"). This, of course, meant two trips from Parker to the airport and back. I enjoy that drive, especially the view of the mountains from the 470, and I almost always have good company on one leg of the trip or the other; however, it ate about five hours of the day. Combine that with the emotional ups and downs of people coming and going, and I was a pretty tired cowgirl come Thursday night.

Yesterday, besides helping Josh find a car to carry him back and forth to his new job, I did some baking. It has been many years since I attempted real cooking from scratch, and these first attempts weren't anything I would even sneak into a church potluck dinner. Let me qualify everything I am about to say by clarifying: it was all edible and there was no cat food in any of it! The apple pie filling (Granny Smith) was awesome! I have that part mastered, I think. What I haven't mastered are things that involve dough and baking at altitude. My apple pie crust, besides being like a former coworker -- ugly and difficult to work with -- is too thick, too heavy, and too bad.** But I bought a big bag o'flour at Costco the other day and I have more apples, so I can practice until I get it right.

I also did a couple loaves of bread the other day. I used to bake bread all the time for the kids when they were small. I couldn't be the True Earth Mother that my sister was and maintain a security clearance, but I could bake me some damn bread! Hand mixed, hand kneaded and punched, drizzled with melted butter, baked until golden and the whole house oozes the aroma of fresh baked bread...

What a wonderful memory. The reality didn't even come close. I just fed the last of it to the dogs and the birds. As I said from the beginning: edible. Again, I blame the altitude, along with the loss of my Tassajara Bread Book. The latter I can fix with a visit to I'll let you know if I ever master the former. I understand that there are people who never do.


*For about 48 hours, I experienced a near narcolepsy which caused me to be drowsy and sleepy throughout the day. It was very inconvenient!

**Before ANY of my former coworkers start comparing themselves to this description and feeling hurt, let me stop you right there. This was clearly a cheap joke, and I had no particular person in mind at all. AT ALL! Quit it!