Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Where an oft-used expression comes true

In Maine, there's an expression: "You just can't get there from here." Most commonly, this is said to tourists looking for a senic location they just can't seem to find (often because they're idiots and they're in the entirely wrong part of the state!).
I never thought I'd be using that phrase to call out from work.
The road I drive to work each day is flooded. It's flooded not even three hundred yards from my house. I left for work today, glad that the sun was shining after yesterday's heavy rain. My happy mood didn't last long - the road is closed. As in impassible. Holy crap! I wondered if people were just being cautious... until I really looked and saw that there is probably eight feet of water covering the lowest part of the road. Holy. Crap. I turned around and drove to the local gas station to ask if the back raod out of town was passible - if so, it would take me maybe six miles out of my way, but put me back on the road to work on the other side of the flood in front of me.
"I don't know if you're gonna be able to get to Millinocket," the owner said. "I heard last night that the road was washed out in three or four places."
Thinking fast, I ran through other potential routes. The next closest way would take me more than thirty miles out of my way. "Have you heard about Medford Center?"
The owner raised his left eyebrow and squinted in introspection, one hand lifting the brim of his greasy baseball cap to scratch at the hair underneath it. The hat and the eyebrow came down together. "You can try that way, I haven't heard anything. You're best bet is to call the Sherrif's Department and see if they've had any reports."
I thanked him and got back in my tiny red wagon and headed home. If I couldn't get though Medford Center, I'd have to go clear to Old Town and take the Interstate up. That's at least fifty miles out of my way. Once I got home I called the sherrif's department and asked them what they knew. The dispatcher said he hadn't heard any reports, but he hated to send me out there, since many secondary roads were flooded and they hadn't received reports on them yet because no one really drives on them.
I called my husband at work to ask him what I should do. He has, after all, lived here his whole life and knows the entire area better than I could ever hope to. Plus, one of his co-workers lives in Medford and might have the inside scoop on the road conditions.
"Well, hon Boob (that's his friend's name - honest!) says that the Medford road is closed, too, so that means you can't take the Joe Raymond Road. You can try going through LaGrange and taking the Howland road, but you'll have to go through Enfield and one of the guys says that's out, too. You're only other option is to get on the Interstate in Old Town and drive north from there."
"Is there any guarantee that I can get through the Alton Bog before I get to Old Town?" I asked, remembering that the Alton Bog is in rough shape on good days. I shuddered to think what it would look like today.
"Well, hon, you'd think we'd have heard by now if it were closed, but you never can tell. The water may continue to rise for a while before going down. You just never know. I wish I knew what to tell you," he said.
I hug up with him and thought furiously. Was it worth taking a fifty-mile risk without a guarantee of safe passage? My little Mildred is not the kind of car that can plow through giant puddles, and I'm not any kind of daredevil. Crap.
I called the school and told them that I wasn't going to be able to make it in today. "I just can't get there from here!" I said. I still can't believe that the old Maine saying has actually come true.

Monday, April 28, 2008


I'm officially a size 10! I can hardly believe it. I mean, I knew my old pants are too big, but they're old and stretched out - it doesn't automatically mean I've lost a pants size. But I have. I'm a size 10! It has been at least eight years since I've been that small. I can hardly believe it. I had to try on several pairs of pants last week, just to be sure. I bought a pair of gray dress pants at Fashion Bug for work (I will try to take a pic this week and post it), exchanged a pair of size 14 jeans for 12s a American Eagle (too big still, but better than the 14s!), and fit into size 10s there and at Target, too. I have been GIDDY ever since. Woo hoo! I even bought a couple of cute new shirts, too.
I also tried on a bikini. You're not getting a picture of that. Not because I looked fat, because I didn't. I still have muffin top, but honestly, it wasn't that bad. No, you're not seeing a picture because my body looks... well, it looks old. And wrinkly. All the places I've lost a lot of weight (mostly my bum and thighs) have that Eighty-year-old-woman-who's-tanned-too-much-for- several-decades look. It's gross. I don't know what I'm going to do about it, either, because how do you tone the sides of your butt? There's no WAY I can put on enough muscle in those areas to look good and not like some freakish Beyonce knockoff. I'm not sure if it will get better with time, if I'm screwed, if firming creams will help... any ideas?
Yesterday I officially began my running program. Eight days late, but I did at least start it over vacation. I don't even know why I procrastinated, because it wasn't bad at all. I don't know when I'll get another chance to run this week, either. I'm going to try to MAKE time. We'll see how that goes. I joined the website, so if I can figure out how, I will try to post either a map of my run or my training calendar. Sounds official, doesn't it? :)
April Vacation was nice, if busy (I worked 36.5 hours at Rite Aid). Aside from my car breaking down again, nothing terrible happened. My car repair bill ate up my tanning money, Grey's Anatomy shirt money and my electrolysis money. I'm back to square one with all that. It sucks. Maybe next month??

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tuesday is Letter Day...

Except when you'd rather go shopping. And so I am.
None of my pants fit me any more, because of the weight I've lost. I wander around school and Rite Aid, one hand doing actual work while the other one hauls up my pants. I deserve a new pair of pants! And while I'm at it, I need a couple of bras, too. And I might try on swimsuits... just to try on. I have loads of errands to run, and I can't wait to get started. So no letter today. If I find a cute pair of pants, I'll take a pic and post it.

Take Care!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Well, one of these days is letter day, damnit!

Dear Amalia,
You suck. No, really. You do. What other reason could you have for ignoring your blog friends all week? For not giving them the letter they so richly deserve on Tuesday, when it was due?! You're worse than your students! Some example you are. I suppose now you're going to tell me that you want to move Letter Day to a day later in the week so that you have more "time"? Well too bad. Tuesday is letter day. Get with the program!
And speaking of programs, what's with the lack of weight loss lately? Did you just decide to quit, NINE POUNDS from your goal? WTF? Suddenly you're okay with your body? Nah - didn't think so. So put down the candy bar and back slowly away. You've still got a long way to go, and putting it off does NOT make it go away. You're on the Oregon Trail, Honey - get your ass back on that wagon!
I'm sorry to be the one to tell you this, but you could do so much better than you have been. It's time for some tough love, and I am just the one to give it to you! So post this article, apologize to your readers for leaving them hanging for so long, and go eat a salad or something.
What was that? You're having pizza for lunch? You never learn...


Monday, April 14, 2008

Vacation Countdown!

One more week until April vacation. I can't wait! It is going to be tough to get through these next five days. I have always said that the space between February and April vacations is the toughest time in education - there's nothing for the kids to do, the weather sucks, basically it's miserable for everyone. Thank God the warmer weather is here! Hopefully when we come back from break the snow will be gone and the kids can go outside again.
Contrary to what the lack of posting would imply, I am still working hard on losing weight. I want desperately to begin a running program so that I don't have to ride that damn bike anymore (I won't tell you that I haven't ridden it for more than two weeks). To make sure that I start the program out right, I bought "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Running" by Bill Rodgers and Scott Douglas. One of the most important things I've read so far is that before you can run, you have to walk. I'm supposed to be able to walk 30 minutes, four times a week before I even think about running. Sound simple, right? Well, due to my crazy work schedule, that is easier said than done. But I am going to give it a try. Today is day number 1 of walking. I will leave my house at 4pm, and walk until my husband picks me up on his way home. I will have to walk on the treadmill here at school at least one day (probably Wednesday) and both Friday and Saturday, but I think I can do it. If I do it this week, I will start running during vacation. I must save some money to buy some jogging pants/shorts and a runner's belt to hold my cell phone and mp3 player, but other than that I think I'm good. My weight goal is to be under 150 by June 4. I'll keep you updated as I go.

Bear and I are doing well - he's been doing a lot of repairs to the house now that it's warmer out. He put a banister on the staircase (I don't know how I went without it for so long) and fixed a spot on the bathroom floor that has been bugging me. We are still working on the garage, but it's tough to clean when we have so many things that have to be taken to the dump. He re-strung my clothes line and snow blowed the snow out from under it, so I can hang laundry out as soon as it stops going below freezing at night (yes, I leave my laundry out overnight. sue me). We have been trying to figure out a way to take a mini-vacation this summer, maybe to Nantucket. Does anyone have any insider tips on where to stay or what to do?

Not much else is going on, really. I'm getting very excited to be seeing Jeff Dunham at the end of the week. Are you totally jealous?!? Have you YouTubed him yet? You will be once you have!


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tuesday is letter day!*

Dear Rite Aid Customers,
I realize that you and I haven't spoken much since I joined the Rite Aid team last September. In fact, mostly I just smile and thank you while handing you your change. That doesn't mean that I don't have a mind that thinks. I'd like to take this opportunity to say some things that I've been holding back. What follows is a list of important facts for you to internalize for your next trip to your friendly pharmacy:
  1. When you hand me a twenty dollar bill and I mark it with the counterfeit pen, please do not say, "It should be good, I just made it!" and then guffaw. I've heard this one before. Trust me. It's not new or funny - it's annoying.
  2. If I ask you if you'd like to donate a dollar to a particular cause, please don't say, "what do you think?" That's just dumb. If I knew what you thought, would I ask you?
  3. While on the subject of donating to charity, please don't feed me either of the following lines: "I already donated" (possible but improbably, especially when you say it on the FIRST DAY OF THE CAMPAIGN) or "I can't afford it" (as you pay for your Snickers with a fifty dollar bill). I'm not stupid. Just say "no, thank you!"
  4. For those customers with food stamps cards - STOP BUYING JUNK FOOD! The government did not give you that for you to buy cases of Mt. Dew and JuJu Bees. If you need help to buy groceries, then buy groceries - not useless crap with no nutritional value. You may think you're entitled to that money and you can use it how you want, but you're wrong. You're abusing the system put in place to help you. Smarten the fuck up.
  5. Speaking of subsidy-assisting assholes, please know that I do judge you based on what you buy. Two bottles of wine a night? Alcoholic. Jock itch spray and condoms? Man-whore (and nasty). Weight loss pills and a giant bag of Reese's? Hopeless. Cheet-os and a drug test kit? Unemployed pot smoker. Stretch mark lotion (for your pregnant belly), Marlboro Lights and a thirty pack of Bud? Stupid, stupid, stupid.
  6. Yes, I wear a smock and a name tag while working. Do not assume that this is my only job, or the best job I could get, or that I lack intelligence for any other kind of work. I am a college-education career woman who has a bigger vocabulary and SAT score at twenty-six than many of you will accomplish in your lifetime. You have no idea how educated, intelligent, and cultured I am. Don't assume you're smarter than me - you're wrong.
  7. Simple courtesies like please and thank you will get you much further than demanding things or rudeness ever will. Try it.
  8. There are Federal and State laws that regulate how I do my job. Getting pissed at me because I carded you does not help you get your cigarettes. I'm not in charge of the law. I am responsible for keeping my job, and I will continue to uphold all laws to keep it. Quite frankly, I don't care about your problems. I'm not losing my job because you're an idiot.
Thank you for taking the time to listen. I'm sure that now you've read this, you will immediately stop acting like such a bonehead and thank me for all the hard work I do for you. I try hard to make sure you have a pleasant experience so that I can, too.


PS And please remember our company's slogan - "With us, it's personal!"

*I know, I know, later again. I'm sorry! I will try to be better from now on. Swear.

Monday, April 07, 2008

And now for something completely different

Sorry I've been away all week... I kind of wanted that last post to stay on top for a while. I think it deserved it. Now that I again have control over those riotous emotions, I think it's time to lighten the mood. Therefore, I have news: I'm going to some of the most awesome comedy shows in the next two months. First is Jeff Dunham, who is playing in Houlton on April 19th. If you have never seen his stuff, go to YouTube and type "Jeff Dunham Achmed" and watch. Seriously. You're gonna die laughing. Well, that, or because Achmed kills you! "I KILL YOU!!" He he.
On Sunday my awesome brother Mark called and told me that at the end of May he, his fiance, me, my husband and TEN OTHER PEOPLE have FRONT ROW SEATS to Bob Marley! He's a Maine comedian, and he is SOOOOO funny. If you're from Maine, you MUST see his stuff.
They say that laughter truly is the best medicine, and since I found out that I'm going to not one but TWO comedy shows this spring, I've been feelin' fine! I can't stop smiling. WOO HOO!
If I can get any kind of pictures at these shows, I will post them.


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Tuesday is letter day!*

Dear Mike,
I'm sure you're surprised to be getting this letter. It is, after all, the first communication we've had in ten years. But honestly? We need to talk. Or more accurately, I need to talk and it's time for you to listen.
I don't know why you broke off all contact with my parents and me ten years ago. We never got an explanation, and although we wracked our brains for years, we never could figure out what we'd done. I wonder sometimes if we did anything at all, or if you just decided on a whim to cut us out of your life. Whatever the reason, I know that it did not have anything to do with me. How could it? I was sixteen when I last saw you. Your son (my nephew) was still in diapers. what was he, two? one and a half? The last time you visited it was summer. I was sixteen, turning seventeen. I had a great time getting to know my nephew, laying groundwork for what I thought was going to be a long happy relationship. I knew you lived in Missouri, but I also knew that you'd come back to Maine to visit as often as you could, and that once I was old enough, perhaps I'd come visit you. We'd always gone a long time without visits, as you lived with your mom growing up, and could only visit our Dad and us every other month or so. It was our version of normal.
I always loved when you and Mark came to visit. You and Mark may have been 100% brothers (as opposed to our 50% sibling relationship), but you couldn't have been more different. Where Mark liked to pick on me to get a reaction, you were my knight. You always defended me, and of all of my brothers (four in total if you count Steve and John), you were my favorite. You spent time with me, took care of me... you always had my back. I loved being on your team for snowball fights and fort-making. You were strong and took no prisoners, and always managed to make Mark sorry for being mean to me. I may have been small, but I appreciated that. When you were old enough and went into the Army, I was so proud of you! Mark's joining the Navy didn't have the same feeling. You'd done it first - you were the bravest, strongest brother I had. But after that last summer visit, your life began to change. You got divorced, and we didn't know where you'd moved to. Your ex-wife had custody of my nephew, and although she still writes and sends pictures to our dad, it isn't the same. I just wanted to talk to you - to find out what had gone wrong. How could my brother the Hero have failed at anything? But you didn't call. You didn't write. We didn't have any way to get in touch with you. At first we weren't worried. We knew if something bad happened to you we'd hear about it. We just figured you were taking some time for yourself, time to lick your wounds and come out stronger when you were healed. You knew our address and phone number, so we waited.
And waited.
And kept right on waiting.
Ten years. For a decade we heard nothing from you. Mark got stuck in the middle as we began to ask him questions. What was your deal? Were you mad at us? Had we done something wrong? What? He hated that position of middle man, and so told us little to nothing. We knew you were still in Missouri, we knew you were a police officer, but that was it. I had to resort to the internet to get information. There was a write up of you in the Rolla Times Newspaper - you'd apprehended some criminal, even though you had to chase him on foot and lost a shoe in the process. I left a comment on that story, hoping you'd find it. It said "Hey - that's my brother! Love you Mike!" And at the bottom I posted my email address. I hoped you'd see it and respond, re-open the lines of communication. But you didn't. I saw in the Rolla Town Council Meeting Minutes that your K-9 companion was retiring, and you'd asked to adopt him as your pet. Again, I was so proud of you. You did a good thing! You were still my hero, even years after we'd stopped sledding and building forts.
But then last year, I saw something that hurt me. More than the lack of communication, more than having nothing but table scraps of information I got off the internet. These were pictures on Alec's Myspace page. You know Alec, Mark's best friend? The pictures were of you, Mark and Alec in a bar in Maine. You'd been to Maine, and you hadn't called. Mark could have called me too, and I was pretty pissed at him as well. But you - you broke my heart. Regardless of what my parents may or may not have done to cause you to leave them, there was no reason to leave me, too. I'm an adult now - we CAN have a relationship. Seeing those pictures really made it clear to me that it wasn't that you couldn't talk to me, get back in touch with me - it was that you didn't want to. Suddenly the picture I have of you in my head, the image of Mike the Hero, warped. Became something different. And I was so angry, so hurt. I didn't understand what I had done to deserve such shitty treatment. If I had deserved it, I would have understood. I know what it's like to hold a grudge. I do. But I didn't do anything to you! I tried so many times to keep you in my life. I sent you an invitation to my high school graduation, my college graduation, my wedding. At every major event in my life, I tried to include you. I put myself out there, made the first move, extended my hand and my heart to my brother. You.
I got nothing in return.
You didn't even RSVP in the negative for those things. You just didn't respond. It wasn't that you couldn't come to Maine - the pictures had proven that you would, could, and DID come to Maine. Just not to see me.
And now, once again, you're in Maine. You have apparently moved here, although I didn't hear that from you. You haven't talked to me yet. I heard that from Mark, who is again playing the middle man. You have seen and talked to my parents at their home. From what I gather, you haven't offered any explanation for your absence or for your reasons for coming back. After all you've done this last decade, I'm guessing that you only reconciled with my parents because Mark told you to do it before he gets married this fall. A wedding you will be in, I'd like to point out (where were you for mine?). Mark doesn't want family drama on his big day, and I don't blame him. I do, however, doubt your motives.
I don't trust you. Not anymore. When I was small, I would have followed you to the ends of the Earth and beyond, trusting that you knew what you were doing and would never cause me harm. I don't know when that changed, but I'm sorry it has. Because Mike the Hero is gone. And no matter what happens from here, I can never have him back. The Mike who exists now is still my brother. I'm not sure what kind of relationship we can have, but (I hope I don't regret this) I am willing to explore our options.
I'm waiting for your call.

Your Sister

* I realize that today is in fact Wednesday, not Tuesday which is the actual letter day. I apologize for the delay and hope this was a letter worth waiting for.