Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Who Moved My Velveeta?

As of late I do not go into a grocery store very often. Since finding ALDI, I run in and grab a gallon of milk and a bag of chicken and that's it. I wanted to join one of those farm community things earlier this spring, but the cost was prohibitive considering it was only me (with the Memphis situation looming large). So I realized that I could shun the Walmart and Kroger produce aisle and with a conscience free of guilt shop with abandon at the Farmers market and Paul's Fruit Market.

Yet, I still must go to Walmart and grab the essentials. Usually I'll keep a running list of things I need and I always fail to grab it on the way out the door. What that means is as I run through the store I am trying to recreate that absent list! Bottled water, laundry detergent, Crystal light etc. etc. etc.

Heading towards the check out counter, after three (three!!!) return trips down the aisles I realized I had forgotten cheese! Damn!! I must have cheese.

And there it was in the, piled high in "action alley" calling to my inner child with a yellow comforting beacon.


I tossed the two pound brick into the jumble of items in my basket and felt a surge of pleasure at the sheer recklessness of my decision! I remembered those oozing cheesy margarine soaked artery clogging grilled sandwiches my Mom use to make for us kids on those days when school was called off due to snow. I love my Mother dearly, but that woman can not cook! And her grill cheese sandwiches, usually burnt on one side and undercooked on the flip were delicious.

Ah, Velveeta! How I've missed you.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen

Well, I did take a new job and it is scaring me. Mainly because it is a commission only position. I am still searching for something else, something more dependable, but you never ever know, do you?

I am really and truly a marketer. I see this as a huge opportunity to make a lot of money and I see a ton of avenues to do it! I just wish I had been hired in that capacity...you know telling every body else what to do.

Instead of walking up and down the streets cold calling and what I consider panning for gold in the ocean, I am going to put together a presentation and book myself at local "chapter" meetings.

When I worked for the Beverage Monster people were always asking me if I could give a talk to their clubs or bring along a big truck, stuff like that. People love to hear about subjects that are not the usual run of the mill rubber chicken lunch fodder.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

No Crying in Baseball

Around these parts you would have to be living in a cave (as some of us just may be due to the wind storm event Mother Nature and Hurricane Ike presented to us) to not know that the Ryder Cup was held in Louisville this past weekend.

300,000 homes may have been knocked out of electricity when the remnants of Hurricane Ike blew through here but the Valhalla Golf Course was put back on line within moments. The Show must go on.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against golf. I just had to be educated that the Ryder Cup is Super Bowl to their fans. I know lots of people who worship at the alter of the Golf Links. I even tried it once, was horrible at it and quite frankly, did not like it much.

I have endured the golf metaphor for years. My boss once developed a "score card" complete with a boogie and a birdie and all that jazz that had to be explained to me. "Now a boogie means its good?"

It has even spread to the sermon I sat through at church this week end. First a video was show of the pastor participating in the Ryder Cup (this church has remarkable editing staff!) that was hokey and too long....but I got it, I am in the minority when it comes to my boredom with golf. Then we were delivered the sermon which was good, but still the golf metaphor began to get on my nerves.

I did like the part about a Mulligan. I did not know those existed in golf! Every body deserves a Mulligan now and then (which is a do-over) and I certainly agree with that.

Yesterday I was in conversation with two guys. Two golfers, don't you know.

"Golf is like life, a metaphor for life." one said the the other.

I interjected, "I though Baseball was a metaphor for life."

They turned to me and shook their heads, "No, it's golf." Like I was really asking a question!! I was making a statement.

I prefer baseball. You keep swinging until you get it right. If it's a foul you keep swinging until you get it in the ball park. Sometimes you strike out, sometimes you hit a home run. You work as a team and everyone plays their part. You run really really fast to be safe! You get your manager to go nose to nose with the authority if they think you have been done wrong. Then at the seventh inning everyone gets to stand up and stretch and sing! You get to eat hot dogs and throw back beer!

Yup, baseball sure seems more like real life than that golf game.

Monday, September 15, 2008

What's a Little Wind?

I was listening to the weather report yesterday morning before making a drive to Cincinnati. Or maybe I just overheard the report. But I did hear that we were going to have some high winds from around 10am until 8pm that night. Courtesy of Hurricane Ike.

I was on the way back from the trip and about 20 miles into I-71 I realized the wind was blowing kind of hard. The gusts were pretty strong. Another few miles and the leaves and debris began swirling all about and the gusts were becoming stronger.

About 10 miles outside of Louisville I was very concerned and driving as fast as I could to beat it home. I didn't know what I was beating, or if I just wanted to get home.

But first, I had to go to a birthday party. In the Highlands, which is a very mature neighborhood in the Loo. Beautiful trees line the roads, beautiful big old trees. And as I exited off the interstate and headed into the city I realized it was very bad.

Was this a hurricane or what? Wait, I have lived through a category 4 hurricane...this is just some high wind, I reassured myself, keeping a sharp eye for flying foreign objects.

It was slow going and it required many detours to arrive at my destination because of this...

....and this

.........And oh yea, this!

Taking care, I pulled my car in a parking lot without a lot of trees about. It was very windy!

Very windy. I flew into my brothers house. Literally!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Crunch Time and Movie Reviews

Oh yes, its time. Time to go out and find a job. Almost down to the wire in terms of the well has run dry. So much for "retirement". It was fun taking a year off, (actually a lot more than a year)and I must admit, I liked it. But, something inside of me has shifted. Maybe its a loneliness, or boredom, or just that life has become a little empty.

That signals that it is time.

And just like when it was time to settle down and do my homework (while attending college at night school) I would begin to find every little thing outstanding that needed to be finished and put to bed before I would finally begin studying!

So, I find I am blogging a lot and spending inordinate amounts of time picking fallen leaves and rose petals from the mulch under the rose bushes.

Being home alone all summer has entitled me to watch a lot of Netflix movies. Unlike the years before, I am in charge of the queue and it has been less men style movies and has emerged as kinder and softer.

Take the movie "we" watched this week-end. SON OF RAMBOW. Now at first you may think, man movie. But wait, Rambo is spelled incorrectly! I have waited several months for this foreign film and put into the queue the moment I became aware of its existence and impatiently awaited its availability and immediately moved it to the number one spot the week it was released.

And I was not disappointed. It was sweet and a slight tear jerker. Very entertaining and you never lost interest in the characters. Which, mainly, were all children.

As my buddy in grammar school would conclude his book reports, "Read (rent) the book (movie) and find out what happens!"

A very welcome surprise because it is not uncommon for me to rip open a movie sleeve and think "WTH?", is a movie called "Under the Same Moon". Foreign (there is a pattern here) and in sub-titles I loved this movie. It was full of sentimental b.s. and as the film progressed you could feel the conclusion building, but I just loved it.

Rent the movie and find out what I'm talking about.

Oh crap, guess it's time to go to Walmart and buy some hair dye.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Once Upon A Time

I worked for the J. Peterman Company.

Actually it was part time, on week ends and some evenings during the week around Christmas. It was short lived and in the height of the J. Peterman popularity. Before Seinfield, yes, there really was a J. Peterman. It is not that guy that pranced around on Dancing With the Stars. But, we all know that, don't we?

J. Peterman somehow ended up in Lexington, Ky. Not sure why or how, but he did. His empire blossomed on the North side of town, pre-Internet. It's funny to think that anything was before the Internet! It has become so much a part of our lives and infiltrated every aspect of it! I know that I have altered how I spend my hard earned bucks.

Back in the day, there was a large building that housed the J Peterman warehouse. UPS loved the J.P. company. The US Post Office loved J.P. No telling how many catalogues he mailed out all over the world. For years. All over the world!

Before having a part time job for J.P. (call me Elaine Jr.) I ran across him in the back pages of a magazine I was reading in the mid to late 80's. It was an advertisement for the Duster. It was how he got started, selling the Duster because whereever and when ever he wore it he was stopped and questioned. The question always was the same.... "Where can I get one?".

And the J. Peterman Company was born.

I rummaged around in my closet for a hat to shield my head from the death inducing rays thrown down from the relentless heavens that was frying my brain. I found this...

My Panama hat, or as I like to think of it, my Miss Blue Hat. (it was called several names depending). And when I placed it on my head and was into the mind numbing process of picking out yellow black spot leaves I remembered the Peterman Empire and my little part in it.

First of all, I was young! And everyone working there was young. We were all so young I guess that would answer the question of why we would work for such low wages and have such high standards demanded of us! The J. Peterman company was noted and praised for being the BEST in the business, which was mail order. Any given night, 100 customer service reps manned the telephones and were placed in the cue. There was no telling who might call on any given evening/night as the phones remained open till 1am. Celebrities called all the time. I never caught a celebrity call, but when it happened THAT person always stood up attracting the attention of everyone in the room and would gesture wildly towards the phone and mouth the name of the caller.

Standing up was common, as it hurt the ass to sit all the time through out an eight hour shift. I would love to ask the customer on the line, "Would you like me to get the garment so I can describe it better for you?" and with that, would un-plug and trudge around the "show room" and pick out the item. J.P. was great about having all the merchandise available for the CSR's to have at their disposal. And it was quite an affair, for he had thousands of items. I would gather the garment and go sit in my chair and begin to describe it to the person on the other end of the phone. Description was essential and we were coached and thoroughly refreshed through out our tenure with the company. He was not the BEST for nothing.

It was fun. But it did not last for long, just that one Christmas season and into the spring of the next year. I remember this vividly because it was 1996 and UK won the NCAA Title that year. We listened to the games much to the despair of the customers calling in! The final four...that Saturday night I'm certain J.P. got more complaints than ever before. I remember it as if it were yesterday (doesn't every Cat fan?)

"Okay, do you have a tape measure, now bend over to the right .... that's your waist, measure it. (a pause) Okay, what does it say?" The customer replies with his/her waist measurement and UK hits a 3 pointer against U-Mass in the final four game and you forget you have not muted the mouth piece and you yell out loud, "THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!!!"

Truly, it was fun and I was shocked when he went bankrupt and exhilarated when he got his company back!!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Bus Stops Here

The school bus for this side of the neighborhood stops right across the street from our house, at the stop sign. Around 730am the High School kids are picked up and then about a half hour later the younger kids. There is screaming from the younger kids and much running around and playing while waiting for the bus to arrive. The High School crowd is silent and sullen.

Which reminds me of my school bus days. We had to walk to the end of the street, also by the stop sign, to catch the big yellow machine driven by Shorty.

Did I say walk? Oh no, I do not remember too many walks towards the stop. It usually was making a mad dash across five yards to hop on the crowed sweaty screaming mass of Baby Boomers.

The bus had a route that entered our subdivision on the street that ran behind our house. One of us kids would be stationed at the end of the kitchen table as the look out. When he (as it was always one of my brothers, never me) spotted it making its first stop he would stand, grab his book bag, his lunch and yell out to the rest of us.......


And then the mad dash would begin.

If you missed the bus? If you were dragging your heels and could not participate in the running of the procrastinators, well you just had to walk to school! (No worries, it only took 10 minutes if you went as slow as possible).

Which reminds me of another story.

My Brother-in-Law's family owns a piece of property on a TVA lake. In February about 10 to 15 men (no women) make the pilgrimage to participate in their version of an Iron Man competition. It is a long week-end of drinking beer and a horse shoe competition where only the winners do not have to jump into the frigid gray water of a late winter lake.

It is about a three hour drive to reach the Lake House. As they approached their destination this past winter, they saw a bar open along the way. It was around 3pm and the place was packed!

"Wow", they thought as they ordered their beers, "this place is really hopping for so early in the afternoon". Just about this time someone jumped up yelled.........


And the entire place cleared out as the bus unloaded its cargo and they clamored into the waiting pick-ups for the ride home.

Somethings never change.