Saturday, July 01, 2006

Why are you talking about how much money you make?

Sitting on the computer, listening to Shanshu and Ebeth talk about their upcoming high school reunion, I decided to google mine and find out if plans have been made yet. I googled my class and school, and found an alumni site. Under my class year, there was only one person listed. I remembered him, so I followed his Myspace link and read his profile. Marital status, where he lives, what schools he went to, where he works, how much money he makes…how much money he makes? Why is talking about this on his Myspace page? Is he trying to impress people? The funny thing is, you could tell he was totally lying. I mean, last time I checked an associate’s degree does not garner you $100,000 a year; especially not as a Toyota salesman.

Okay, I admit I’ve talked about how much money I make. The thing is, I don’t do it the socially-retarded way, which is to brag about and exaggerate how much you make in order to make others think you’re better than them. I talk about it because everyone knows I’m poor. I’m a social worker, for heaven’s sake! It’s no stretch for someone to realize that I make about $4.25 an hour.

Then I started thinking about how many people I know who have ever said how much they make. I realized that not a single one of my financially successful friends has ever talked about it. I mean, one figures it out when they buy a nice house and a new car every couple of years. They never actually say it, though. The only people who have every mentioned their salaries are people who have claimed to make tons of money but logically you know it’s not true.

So what motivates these people to lie? Is it keeping up with the Joneses? Is it embarrassment? Those seem valid, but why the poor backstory? Why admit you’re a car salesman, and then triple your salary in your lie? If you want people to believe that you make $100,000 a year, then enhance the lie by saying you’re managing a dealership, at least. If they even make that much…I don’t know.

Now that I’ve figured out the way to tell if someone’s lying about their financial success, I will no longer feel badly about the ditzy moron who never went to college who tells me that they make $60,000 working as a manager at The Gap. I will never again look at my student loan balance and think, why didn’t I just go work at The Gap?

Monday, June 26, 2006

So Does This Make Me A Righteous Person or a Bad Person?

A few weeks ago I was in rush hour traffic, coming across an overpass. I was in the left lane of the two-lane road. My lane was slowing to a stop because the left-turn-lane ahead was full, and cars were stopping in the traffic lane to turn left. This is not an unusual occurrence during heavy traffic, of course.

In front of me was an old beater car. As I signaled and merged into the right lane of traffic (to avoid having to stop and wait for the cars turning left to get out of my way), the beater cut me off and forced me to slam on my brakes. The driver just decided that she was going to merge into the right lane, even though I was there, because she knew that I’d slam on my brakes to avoid an accident.

I think most people have this common experience daily. Some other driver decides that their life and task is more important than the rest of the world. They decide to force you to slam on your brakes so they can force their car into your lane. They decide that the smooth flow of traffic should be disrupted by their own selfishness. I also think most law-abiding people like me say in their heads, “One of these days, I’m just going to let some idiot hit me and pay the consequences.” Well, this was my day.

As we neared the next intersection, the traffic fell into the same pattern: the left traffic lane was stopping to accommodate turning cars. I merged into the right traffic lane and watched with fury as the same beater car forced her way into my lane. This time, however, something inside of me snapped. I didn’t brake, I didn’t move out of the way, and I didn’t honk. I just let her think I’d slammed on my brakes and watched as she hit me.

There were stopped cars in the left traffic lane, and our two cars fighting for the same right traffic lane. I allowed her car to hit mine. I then followed her out of the way of the heavy traffic into a parking lot and called the police despite her protests. I didn’t mention the fact that she had cut me off on purpose, or yell at her, or blame her. I simply took out my phone and called the police.

The officer arrived and gave her a ticket. Her insurance company paid to have my car fixed. Her insurance rates will go up. She missed her appointment. I am glad.

I feel vengeance now against all those people out there who know they can break the law because people like me will bend over and take it. I stuck it to one of them. I bet she was SO shocked that someone actually allowed her to hit them.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


I just watched my last episode of "Lost" ever.

Last night was the season finale. All season long, as they added more and more questions and ignored more and more of Season 1's unanswered mysteries, I thought to myself, "Well, they're not stupid. They will tie up the loose ends at the season finale, because they know if they don't it'll anger viewers." Boy, was I wrong.

Not only did they refuse to address A SINGLE unanswered question, they added more mystery. As I watched the episode, which was mainly about a new character rather than about the characters we've known for two seasons, I found myself growing more and more frustrated. I cared less and less what happened to the characters as I realized that the jerk writers/producers/whoever of this show were going to leave everything messy. In the last scene, when what's-his-name-bunker-guy's ex-girlfriend answered the phone and we learned something-I-didn't-care-enough-to-figure-out, my patience for this crappy series disappeared.

It's really too bad. This show was GREAT first season. It had all these unique and interesting facets that set it aside from the cookie-cutter dramas and sitcoms so often found on TV. They began to blow it at the first season finale. Yes, they had the great cliffhanger that makes season finales so fun and sets up the anticipation of the next season. The problem was, they answered NO QUESTIONS. I therefore watched the second season expecting to have the first season's questions answered and new plot introduced. Instead, I found that the first season was ignored and SO MUCH new plot was introduced that by the end of the season the show was just a shadow of it's original, creative self. Then, they had this B.S. season finale that addressed ONLY this new character I don't care about. How can I care about him? There are too many other characters' untended mysteries filling my head.

So, I am finished with this show. I might, MIGHT read a recap of the third season next May. That would only be to see if they had continued this idiocy or if they decided to make the show good again. I doubt they'll do it, though, and I'm afraid they've blown what should have been fantastic TV.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Can't Suppress It

Don’t forget to read the post below this, which is new, too.

I just have to rant on this. I can’t stand it. I try not to rant too much on my blog any more, because I became aware at some point that that was mainly what I was using my blog for. This, however…this I cannot stay shut up about.

Illegal immigrants.

Oh my God.

Are they serious?

One time at a local amusement park, as a pre-teen, I shoplifted a key chain. The undercover security guard caught me and hauled my bottom to the security trailer. They called my parents and kicked me out of the park. My parents were very angry. They yelled at me and they grounded me. If my parents were illegal Mexican immigrants, however, I’m sure this scenario would have been very different. They probably would have yelled at the security guards for making me accountable for my illegal actions. They probably would have argued that breaking the law is no reason to get someone in trouble.

That’s all I’m going to say. I could really go on, it’s so annoying. I could rant about the “Day Without Mexicans” protest that caused me to not be able to go to my favorite Mexican restaurant for lunch, and how I have a hard time patronizing that restaurant now because they didn’t fire the workers who refused to come in. I could go on about the fact that my mother is an immigrant who did things the right way, even though it was an expensive pain in the bum for her. I could go on about how I think that illegal immigrants no matter what nationality (even my mother’s acquaintances who just never got back on the plane to Ireland) should have no rights in this country. I could go on about how these people should be taking a good look at their own culture, and figure out why they have the guts to protest the American government but don’t have the guts to change the Mexican government in order to make it a place that they would be able to live with basic needs. I could go on about how our government is bending over to a third world nation. I could go on about how the erosion of the middle class and the widening gap between the rich and the poor can be related to illegal immigrants taking jobs at much less pay than Americans would demand. I could go on about how much social services money is paid toward people who make no tax contribution. I could go on about how many children are being supported by the foster care system but are not legal citizens. I could go on about how mad it makes me that our government is even considering amnesty for such criminals when I still have to pay that $30 parking ticket because I didn’t feed the meter downtown until five minutes after it expired, and how I could actually get arrested for that.

Fortunately for everyone, I won’t go on.

Long Time Coming

Okay, so it’s been a long time since I blogged. Not that it matters, since I think only Shan and Pizzle read my blog. I thought I should update anyway, so I don’t end up in Shan’s graveyard. See, with my new job, I share a computer, so it’s a lot more difficult to while away time making a blog post. Since I don’t get home until 7 or 8 every night, I rarely have the desire to waste precious me-time on blogging.

New things…well, I began my new job, of course. It’s cool working for the government, although it most certainly makes me part of “the man.” I just started working my own cases this week, and now have a comfortable case load of 10. I should get a few more kids and then I’ll have a full caseload. It’s definitely an interesting change. My client base in foster care was kids who have already been pulled out of their homes, and my job duties were to help their families get them home. Now, I work with kids who are at risk for getting pulled out of the home, and my job duties are to work with the kids to manage the behaviors that may cause them to get pulled out. The families I used to work with were abusive or neglectful, but the families I work with now just don’t have the skills to deal with their childrens’ mental disorders. The families I used to work with had their children taken away against their wishes, but the families I work with now are at their wits ends and almost want the kids out of their homes. It’s definitely new. It’s also new that I am in charge of teaching these kids how to manage their behaviors. In my old job, I gave them consequences for their behaviors, but past that I would call in their worker from the mental health center. Now I am that worker, and when a child is having a psychological episode, I’m the one people call to help. I do think I’m going to like it just as much once I get into the swing of things. Oh, and I work a 4-day week now, so every Friday I get off. That is AWESOME.

More new things… I became an ordained minister. This may seem odd for a Catholic girl, but I assure you God takes no offense. I became ordained through Universal Life Ministries (after my little brother did it and I became jealous of his power). God doesn’t care because it’s not a real church, and I didn’t have to make a statement of belief or renunciation of my old church. Now I can seriously marry people. That’s creepy. Anyone need a minister? I’m cheap, I swear.

Further new things…Shan and I have decided not to move to the apartments in my previous post. They were a lot more demanding than any other apartment we’ve ever lived in, and that caused us to second-guess spending the money. After a couple of weeks of jumping through their hoops, we decided to just stay put. In one way, it’s disappointing because it would have been a beautiful place to live. In another way, it’s a very sound decision as the new place was very expensive and a lot smaller. At least now we’ll have tons of free money to through around that we’re not paying toward more rent.

Well, it’s becoming late in the morning and I must get moving for my lunch date. Let’s see…10am on a Friday…I got up at a nice leisurely 9am, had a cup of coffee, read the news, updated my blog, did my nails…yup, three day weekends rock. I wish I could have them every weekend. OH WAIT, I CAN.

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Woes of Apartment Hunting

I had originally included this in my “Goings On” post, but decided that it warranted it’s own post. Hence, two posts in one day.

When Shan and I moved into our current apartment, we had hoped that we would not move again until we were ready to buy. Moving is not fun, and moving yearly is especially annoying. There are just so many things to do: forward the mail, change your address, tell your friends & family that once again you live somewhere new! Unfortunately, we have been faced with this necessity.

There are a couple of reasons that we’d LIKE to move, and one reason that we HAVE to move. We’d like to move because of our location. When we were hunting for an apartment last time around, we had certain limiting factors that narrowed our options. We ended up living a few miles outside of our ideal neighborhood. Now, where we live now is by no means a bad neighborhood by any stretch of the imagination. It is just not our ideal neighborhood. Another reason we’d like to move is that our apartment is situated in a poor location in the complex. We are on the first floor, and apparently a moose or two lives above us. Our windows face a fairly busy parking lot, which necessitates that they be constantly closed with blinds drawn. Anyone parking their car would see right into our private world with the most casual sideways glance, and this is a fact I simply cannot get over. A third reason is that since we have been here, upkeep has markedly decreased. The formerly attractive little ponds are now consistently half-full and unattended-looking. The bushes are overgrown for months at a time. The grass is uncut until it is noticeably shaggy.

We do recognize that want and need are two different things, and most likely would not be moving if it wasn’t for the final factor. The rent has dropped dramatically in the past year, and the resulting natural changes have occurred in the complex. For this reason above all others, we have come to the conclusion that we simply cannot stay.

A month or so ago, I began to look at the different complexes in our ideal neighborhood. Shan and I had this fairly large area of town in mind as being the only place we would move to if we were in the position to move again. Kind of the idea that if you can’t have what you want, why make a change? Looking at complexes in this area, however, was no small task. I would guess that there were roughly 20 complexes to choose from. I carefully researched each complex online, and then made a decision about which ones I’d visit. I visited about 10, and then decided to visit them all. It’s best to be informed, right? I looked at a couple a day during lunch or if I had a meeting in the area, and made a mental note of the ones that I liked.

My conditions were fairly simple. I wanted someplace fairly expensive, to ensure the quality would not degrade like our current apartment. I also wanted to get my money’s worth, either in the apartment itself or in the community and neighborhood. I’m fairly confident that we ended up getting both in the end.

After my little Tour de Overland Park, I narrowed it down to two complexes. Well, that is to say, I only felt that two complexes were worth dragging Shan to. In fact, they were the only two that even made the list…I’m telling you, I was being Picky with a capital P. Shan looked at them both, as I did for the second time. After a second look, it was an easy decision to make.

The place we chose has everything we want. The interior is well done. The complex is beautiful. The amenities are top-notch. The neighborhood is perfect. Our patio has a gate that leads to a 25-mile walking trail, which winds around the neighboring golf course. Our windows face the trail, a creek and trees.

We also have to wait an additional two months to get in. I'm taking this as a good sign, though. After all, it can easily be assumed that a long wait to get an apartment means this is a nice place at which people enjoy to live. So, we have concluded that we shall just live in our current place two months longer than expected and wanted. It might be nice to have all that time to prepare, anyway.

Hopefully, we’ve learnt our lesson. As Shan’s friend Lindsay put it over drinks last time she was in town, there comes a time when you realize that you just have to pay more to get what you want. We’re definitely paying for the neighborhood, but I firmly believe that it is a very, very sound decision. I think we’ve learnt that in order to get a place that’ll make you happy for more than a year, you have to weigh all the factors. You can’t just rent a place in an OK neighborhood because you like how much square footage you get for your money. If you do, you’ll end up being like us, disappointed to see the place going sharply downhill and being nothing like what you hoped. And, although it's draining to think of moving again, we are glad to do it. This time we're hiring movers, though!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Goings On

I don't really have the will to post much anymore, and it may be because life hasn't been all that terribly interesting lately. Every day seems to merge into the previous and next...It might be the time of year, being as it's in between holidays and interesting things to do, or because it's not quite winter and not quite spring. It might be a general lack of desire to go do anything lately, or it may plain be that blogging has bored me as of late. Whatever the reason, I haven't felt the need. Anyway, it's not as though I have a massive readership.

However, since it's 1am and I can't sleep, I think I shall just post regardless of how interesting it is.

First subject: St. Paddy's. Good day.
It began the night before St. Paddy's, when I went with my mother to attend a trad session and dinner at the Marriott downtown. The music was great. The singer was Eddie Delahunt, a friend of Mom's, a local favorite and someone I've heard often. Mom made him two huge loaves of soda bread, which went over quite well. Dinner fare was, of course, corned beef and cabbage. This was somehow the very first time I'd had corned beef. I have to say, I'm not really a fan. It was kind of chewy and tasted like bologna.
The next day, I worked the morning, having tried unsuccessfully all week to get someone to cover me. See, I originally intended not to take off at all seeing as St. Paddy's is on a Friday this year. However, since I'm only working there for another week and have a lot of sick time built up, I figured I'd call in sick. Unfortunately, in my line of work, you can't just call in sick. You have to get your obligations taken care of by others, or else some child or parent is left very, very disappointed. I was unable to find coverage, so I had to work until 1pm.
I then went to what used to be an authentic Irish pub, McBride's, with Shan's mom. Back in the day, the pub was run by an Irish immigrant. Mom and all her immigrant friends would often meet up there to celebrate various things. About a year ago, they built a second location in another part of the city, and all the real Irish moved up there to hang out. Now, the place has turned pretty silly. Example one was my lunch. On the menu was a sandwich that they claimed was a real, Irish banger sandwich. I ordered this, having been granted a dispensation by my Archbishop. It wasn't a banger, and when the waiter asked how it was, I told him, "Well, it's not an Irish banger but whatever it is, it's good." He informed me that it was a Johnsonville. I then saw someone nearby be presented with what had been purported to be a scone. It looked more like a dinner roll. Example two, it was St. Paddy's, and it was an Irish pub, but neither of the live musicians played Irish music. They sang Jewel and The Beatles and American Pie. Example three, I saw not one but two Guinesses come to the table unfinished. Apparently the bartender had just poured the thing once and had not even bothered to let it settle before sending it to the table.
By the time Shan and his friends got around to coming, it was one-in-one-out. They didn't feel like standing in line, so we left and joined them up the street at another bar. After a couple of hours, we proceeded back to a friend's house to grill out and watch the basketball game. Once I remind you that I'm a Jayhawk fan, you'll know what that didn't turn out to be a good time. The night in general was very fun though, mainly because of the steady flow of alcohol and good company. I even managed to stop drinking early enough to get Shan and I home, and avoid the "passing out on the floor of a friend's house" scenario!

Second subject: My car.
My lovely little putter arounder is going to be paid off very soon, and I'm feeling the pride of ownership. After all, I bought the car practically new (it was three months old) all by myself when I was 22. As a result of my newfound interest in my car, I've had a couple of things fixed that needed to be for a while. First was my previously mentioned wheel bearings. Second was the sole cosmetic default: a nasty little crack that split the grill of my front bumper right in half. When I was in Europe, my car lived at my mom's. I left with the express instruction that my vehicularly irresponsible youngest brother, who is car-obsessed and lives with Mom, not be allowed anywhere near the driver's seat. I came home to find that my precious little brother had driven the car, slid in the rain, and cracked the front end against a gutter. I, of course, told him that he was going to be held responsible for fixing the bumper. Since he was in school at the time, I decided to let it go for a while. When he dropped out of school, began working full time, and continued to live rent-free at home, I decided not to let it go anymore. After about a year of occasionally nagging him about it, he finally replaced my front bumper. It's really soothing to have a whole car again!

Third subject: People from high school who made it.
I know of just one. I found out recently that a guy I "dated" in high school wrote and directed Saw 2. I put quotes around the "dated" because we didn't really date. We went on one date, to the mall, and his mom drove because we were both 14. We also hung out a school a lot and talked on the phone. I think after that we may have been friends for a while, but I can't really remember. That's not an insult to him; it's just a testament to how awful my memory is. Anyway, he's the only person from school that I've heard of having done anything even kind-of famous. Well, except the girl who had a scene with Doogie Howser (AKA NPH) in the movie My Antonia back in middle school. So, congratulations Darren Bousman and I hope you go far!

Anywho, it's now 1:55am and I stink at conclusions, so I'm just going to publish this now.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Our First Tornado

We had our first tornadoes of the year in KC today. I love severe weather.

It came earlier than normal it seems, although I have to say I don't exactly keep track. Could be that we get tornadoes this early every year and I just don't pay attention.

There was nothing too near my home, although when the tornadoes hit nearby the sirens went off. I knew there was a storm and that it was bad, because the sky was yellow and green as usually accompanies bad spring storms. I didn't pay attention to the sirens much, though, because tornadoes never hit too close to the city.

This time, they hit right smack in the middle of Lawrence (thankfully not damaging Badtouch's home too much) and took the roof off of a hotel a bit west and north of us. I did, unfortunately, sustain some hail damage to my car. Crapola.

I love severe weather, though. I love when the streetlights come on at 2pm, and the sky gets all green and starts rotating around. I remember one time there was a crazy rotation on top of my and Shan's apartment building and we were sure a funnel was about to drop right on top of us. One time I sat on my friend's roof and watched a tornado drop right onto Clinton Lake, which was about 5 miles from us. I love when the thunder shakes the walls and the winds start blowing like nuts. It freaks a lot of people out, but it's like crack for me. Did I spell crack right?