Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Maybe I AM an Electronic Device!

The characters you entered didn't match the word verification. Please try again.

Do these words look familiar to you? I see them every single day. I am apparently a computer.

resoft   
oveyb
surmmrl
fuergt

These are a few of the words that I didn't enter correctly today.
I want to do it right. I put my glasses on. I squint. But I can't tell the difference sometimes in an 'm' or 'n' or a 'er' and 'w'.  

And I'm tested in this more and more often. And failing more and more often. (heavy sigh)

I find its especially difficult as I try to post a link on Facebook and I get jumbled letters, all crowded together with black ink smeared across them. I find myself often yelling out loud at the computer.

"WHO CAN READ THIS!"

Apparently a computer can't. And me. "Oh, I'm sorry", I think to myself, "I wasn't familiar with groikle. I would never have mistaken it with pueglty if I had looked closer!! What the heck is going on here??"

And then I get disctracted wondering what these words mean, if anything. I know they're supposedly fictious but I can't help it. I start making up definitions. Here's a few I've come up with recently.

resoft- obviously to make something soft again. Honey, my underwear are getting all scratchy. Could you resoft them for me?

oveyb- The tiny crumbs left in the very bottom of the bread bag.  Do not throw the oveyb out. I'm saving it to bread the chicken next week.

surmmrl- September 22. The last day of summer. I thought surmmrl would never get here but it won't feel like it til December!

fuergt- to forget something you know you know. I know you're my firstborn and I fuergt your name, just give me a hint!

What chofkeplles (the nonsense words that prove you're not an electronic device)  have you typed lately?

Monday, June 28, 2010

It Doesn't Burn!

I don't know how y'all do things at your church, masque, synagogue, lake, whatever. Doesn't matter right now. But in our church we have a few folks that like to lift their hands when the "Spirit moves them" (or when they need an excuse to stretch.)

But now if there's a particularly good song being sung, or if its slow, with more meaning you'll see even more hands being raised. The point I'm trying to make is that its not something everyone does (we would probably lose our Baptist status) but its something that as the older folks might say "I don't care if that's what they want to do, but I just don't feel comfortable doing it myself." Okay. Point noted.

Yesterday we had a young lady sing "How Great Thou Art" as a solo. First of all, whenever a hymn is sung in our more "contemporary" place of worship, you're going to make some folks happy. Secondly, she did an awesome job singing Carrie Underwood's arrangement but adding even more country flair. Thirdly, she's pretty. I wish it weren't so. I mean, I don't wish she wasn't pretty, but like it or not, we judge folks by their appearance. People are more receptive to folks who are attractive. If you don't believe me turn on the stinking TV or go to the movies. I know there are exceptions but I'm getting way off track here. Finally, it was her first time singing in our church.

Because of the above reasons and the "moving of the Spirit", there were LOTS of hands raised. My good friend told me her 4-yr. old daughter looked around the room, saw all the hands up and slowly raised one of hers. Then, even slower, she raised the other one.

Then she whispered, "Do it Mommy!"

"No, honey. I don't want to. I'm fine."

"Go on Mommy! Do it! It doesn't burn!"

I'm going to let you draw your own conclusions, be they spritiual, emotional, or whatever you need today.

For me, I had to laugh out LOUD cause that's just how we roll!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

What's In a Name

 Kenny got a kitten for his birthday and named him Jeffrey.


I asked him if it was spelled Geoffrey.


He said "no G."


He then asked if it could have an 'e' in it, as in Jefferey.
(A game of cat and mouse!)


I told him he could spell it anyway he wanted.


He was thrilled.

Friday, June 25, 2010

This Could Be The Beginning of My Novel. Its Mostly Accurate.

Disappearing houses are no surprise to the U.S. Census Bureau. About 15% of housing units have disappeared from the time they were mapped, until the time someone goes out to find it. They get demolished, moved or yep, just disappear. It was my "job" to either locate these houses that have disappeared or find someone who could concur that there was no house.

Here's an example:  I have an address listing I am supposed to locate, but the street numbers don't go as high as the one listed on my form. So I do some investigating (I like this part!) I determine its not a misprint. I knock on a neighbor's door. ( I look for one that has a big, friendly dog. Owners of big, friendly dogs, contrary to popular belief ,are generally friendly...though not necessarily big.)

I ask the neighbor if they see a house across the street. They say "no".  I ask if they remember a house ever being across the street. They say, "I just moved..." I interrupt, very attorney-like.

"Just answer the question please. Do you ever remember a house being across the street?"

"No."

"Thank you. May I have your name please to confirm there is no housing unit on that property?"

I thank them again, pet the dog, engage in small talk, and I'm on my way. Or something like that...

Sometimes (as in this case) I would get a form with no address, just a description of the house. Those were really tricky!  This one in particular was fun: "Yellow house, green shutters, near 130."  That of course is not the actual street number, that would be some sort of breach of confidentiality and I can't blog from jail ( I think...).

I went to 130. No yellow house anywhere. There was however a beekeeper's house. I got out and quickly got back in my car.  I drove up and down those five blocks, hunting for anything that could have been mistaken for yellow or green.

I drove further down the street at a snail's pace. The cars behind me began honking and I forgot to put my sign in the window that reads "Get Over Yourself Or Go Around! I'm Doing Government Work Here!" or something like that....

I happen to live on this road but about seven miles down, so for several days I drove up and down this highway looking for ANYTHING that might be mistaken for a yellow house with green shutters. I finally stopped at a dirty white house (Could possibly be mistaken for pollen-yellow) with dark blue-green shutters. Nobody answered so I left my handy-dandy notice. But I was doubtful. It just didn't feel right.

I talked to my supervisor about it. We looked it up on the map. (Oh yeah, I forgot about the map.)
It was "spotted" (Census jargon) between two roads that were outside town. I had been looking near 130 on the INSIDE of town (did I mention it wasn't really near 130? Just checking.)

Great. That's on my way home. I'll check again. I drove slowly, I mean I was almost going backwards! I looked on both sides of the road. NOTHING. No yellow house with green shutters. I turned around and retraced the path. Still nothing.  I went back to the supervisor. We had a great laugh over these ridiculous instructions. She said find a neighbor to confirm it. I did. I turned it in and headed home, hot and sweaty from a very long afternoon (this was one of many houses I had visited that day.)

I was determined not to even look side to side as I drove past this block. I was done. Finished. Heading home for a cool bath.

I SLAMMED on the brakes! I threw my car in reverse and backed up ON the HIGHWAY!
I heard music playing from a dramatic movie scene. The trees parted and I think an eerie glow was surrounding the most darling, most quaint cottage-like home I had ever seen. It was a lemony yellow with evergreen shutters and seemed to say, "Welcome home. Come stay awhile."

I turned up the diminuitive drive, that I couldn't have missed earlier. There were no cars present but there were cats. Lots of cats.Other than that there was no sign of life. I peered into the sky to see if the mother-ship was still hovering. This house was NOT here a moment ago ( I shook my head to clear it). I looked up slowly and it was still there (the house, not the mother-ship)

I got back in my car and pulled back into the street. I drove several blocks away and pulled through at a normal speed thinking, surely it was hidden by foliage. But it wasn't. It was off the road a little further than the neighboring houses but it was definitely visible from the road. It was tucked into the trees like it was being comforted between warm blankets, but the trees seemed to be parted so that passerbys could admire the misplaced cottage.

I was freaking. I called my supervisor. "You're not going to believe this. The house just appeared. I mean it wasn't there and now it is."

"What about the neighbor who confirmed it?"

"He's gone. Poof! Can't find him."

"Any signs of life there?"

"Just cats. But otherwise it appears vacant."

"Shhh. Don't say a word to anyone. This will be our secret."

"Okay" I whispered, not knowing who was listening.

So don't tell, okay?
This is NOT a picture of the yellow house cause they may put me in jail, but here's A yellow house that looks very similar to the one I told you about.

I drive past that area every day. The mother-ship has indeed returned and taken the house home.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Some Random Thoughts

Random Thought #1.    We have a new kitten named Jeffrey. My 17 year old wanted to get my ten year old a puppy for his birthday. The pound had one for "FREE" if you paid $50 for neutering.  Not FREE. So he got him a kitten.


We have an old cat, named Spot. Jeffrey tried to introduce himself.

Spot was not impressed at all.

Random Thought #2.  We took Kenny (who turned ten on Wednesday; the one who likes the library) to the Arts and Science Museum in Macon, GA. He said he was tired of the skating rink. Fair enough.  They had a Giant Bug exhibit. 

 


Kenny was not impressed. He was, in fact, horribly scared.

RT #3.  I'm directing the community theatre's summer musical. Again. I initially didn't want to, because I like being ON stage, but there was some talk of not doing the show we (the "BOARD") decided on. So I'm surrounding myself with medeival stuff as we prepare for

Auditions are Monday.  Somebody sent me a resume' and a headshot. That's really not necessary for community theatre. Nice gesture but I wasn't overly impressed. We'll see.

RT #4. I'm done with Censusing for now. At least for that part. Knocking on doors during naps and TV shows, etc. I may be moving on to the next phase: " I ONLY SEE THREE PEOPLE HERE! WHERE"S THE GRANDMA YOU"VE GOT LISTED? WHERE IS SHE HIDING?" Just kidding.

RT #5. My eldest son came home from college for Father's Day. He said he was coming Friday. He didn't make it until Saturday and stayed his usual 24 hours. He goes to school two hours away and never stays more than 24 hours. He brought his girlfriend and another friend. I love having him home...24 hours is enough for everybody. They bring their video games (he's studying to be a game designer and he will be VERY good!) and they end up covering one end of the living room to the other. Yep. 24 hours is long enough.
I love that young man.

RT #6. I've applied for three jobs at the local college. I haven't really worked in twenty years except for the Census thing and a couple of temp jobs here and there so my work history is pathetic on paper. I want to go in and say, "Trust me! Hire me! You will LOVE me! I promise!" But I doubt that would impress anyone.

RT #7.  I got a book at the library that had a funny, Southern-sounding title. It wasn't funny at all. It was un-funny. You know, when something has the potential to be funny but then the way its presented takes away every little bit of humorous pretense (I'm not sure if that's the right word but I like the way it sounds so I'm gonna use it there.) To say the least I was un-impressed.

RT #8. I've heard of overwhelmed and underwhelmed. Can a person be just "whelmed"? (That was from the movie 10 Things I Hate About you)

RT#9 I heard a great quote this week. "Even Cinderella knew that a single shoe can change the world."

RT #10. My choreographer quit. Just yesterday. I'm thinking of doing it myself. I've been saying I want to choregraph a show. This might be my chance. How hard can it be?
Shuffle, ball, change, step, again.


RT #12 I have a niece named after me. I don't know why I'm trying to eat her.
They call us the Dixie Chicks.


Yep. We're both named Dixie and we live up to the name. Check it out if you haven't already.
Prepare to be impressed.

RT #13. I'm not sure why I'm using the word "impressed" or variations thereof today. Or why I haven't posted much recently. But thank you THANK YOU! to my regular followers who faithfully check back and to those new guys who are wondering "What's up with the doublewide chick?" I feel like family is checking on me to see how I'm doing, and I'll be checking on y'all very soon.

RT #14. Tomorrow I will tell you about the disappearing house (crazy!) and hopefully figure out how to show you the giant bug stuck in my phone!

What's your very random thought today?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I Didn't Know I Liked People So Much

It was absolutely one of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences of my life. I don't know if I would go so far as to say I would pay them, but its something I wish I could do every day.

Taking census.

During training I got the usual jitters about knocking on a stranger's door, unannounced. You've heard the horror stories about the Girl Scouts that were abducted, Jehovah's Witnesses who were never seen again, Amway salesmen who were forced to convert to selling Avon against their wills. Then here am I. A Census taker for the U.S. Government, interrupting their "stories" (soap operas), their lunch, their naps, and yet I couldn't wait to get out there!

Finding some of these places was like going on a grown-up scavenger hunt. I found roads and neighborhoods in my town that I didn't know existed. Some were beautiful, some were a little 'sketch' but all were special.

Meeting the people...not just asking trivial questions, but becoming a part of their lives, their stories, if only for a moment, was what motivated me to get up and get moving. I found out I can walk several blocks in 103 degree temperature without passing out, my van can maneuver dirt and gravel roads, and I can change a tire (maybe) but why, when there are helpful men around to do it for me (thank you, God!). 

My first flat occured a mile from my house. I had forgotten something and was headed back to get it when a loud noise and bumpy feeling interrupted my thoughts (husband changed that one). The next one happened two weeks later way out in the edge of the county. I was very near a gentleman's house whom I had just spoken with and he graciously helped me out. The very next day my son and I were driving my daughter's car home from Atlanta when it started shaking really bad. I was just about to get car sick when my son pulled over and discovered a large bubble or some sort of growth on the tire. My redneck son got that tire changed in no time....after we searched for a Walmart to buy tools.(Why would my daughter need tools in her car? sheesh!)

I learned some interesting things during this venture:
--Big dogs don't bother me a lot. Its the small to medium sized ones that I don't like. They're unpredictable and loud. Never got bit cause I wasn't going to get close enough to find out if they were "friendly".

--I like folks...a lot. Even those that aren't necessarily friendly at first. Just give them a chance.

--Loneliness is an epidemic.

--There are places I wouldn't want to live, but they are the very ones I want to go back and visit.

I could tell you about the gentleman that had scared the census trainees to death, so they sent me out to get the story. I saw an elderly man sitting on his side stoop. There were six older mobile homes behind him. He came to my car wearing a scowl and asked what I wanted, in an unfriendly tone. After a couple of minutes explaining who I was, listening to his rantings about the government wasting his money, he told me about his ailing wife, his kids who were grown and didn't want anything to do with him, the tenants that he obviously treated better than he had his children, particularly after stressing that he didn't "spend enough time with them."  I went back and reported a tired old man was trying to make up for his mistakes. I told him I would come back, not representing the Bureau. And I will.

I could tell you about more than one young woman, each with more than five children, that were obviously exhausted and "didn't have time to answer questions" until I told them I understood. I had four children and I've been exhausted. They each invited me in, seemed thrilled to have someone sympathize with them and were even thankful for the break in the routine to take time to answer a few questions.

Then there was the gentleman that just laughed at me. "What's so funny?"
"Cause you're here. I just saw you on TV."
"No sir. I wasn't on TV."
He laughed again.  "I keep seeing you census people on the commercials every few minutes, and here you are in person! What do you want to know?"  (wow. that was easy....)

I loved the ones that just hollered through the locked door, "WHO IS IT?"
"U.S Census Bureau. It'll just take a minute."
"WHO???"
"I'm with the Census Bureau. I have a couple of questions. It won't take long."
"OH!! HOLD UP! I'll be right there! Go get me a shirt" (Not directed at me but to the kid inside).
A large woman opens the door, buttoning up a shirt. I proceed with my questions as if this is happens all the time (it did happen more than once).

Please come back later this week. I want to tell you about the disappearing, reappearing house; my experience in the housing projects and about a man named Floyd.