Archive | March, 2009

Of Microchips and Mayhem

30 Mar
Dear Pet Microchip Company,
 
Thank you for the invaluable service you provide in locating lost pets with their owners. I’m sure it’s been a cash cow really rewarding venture for you.
 
I do want to suggest that some additional front-end customer service training in how to use your products effectively may be in order, based on a recent experience at a local vet’s office using your products.
 
We are blessed to share our lives with the following three animals.

 

Very nice dogs.  Also, the small one? She is a hunting breed. This becomes important.
 
One recent morning, I was interrupted from the peaceful morning routine by something sounding like this:
 
“BAD DOGS! *thwack* BAD DOGS! *thwack* NO! *thwack* BAD DOGS! *thwack* *thwack* *thwack*”
 
I ran out to the porch to see a regrettable episode of “When Animals Attack: Suburban Edition” unfolding in the backyard. A small grey cat had unfortunately wandered under the fence at the same moment the dogs had been released outside.
 
Bailey, who would be a seeker if dogs played Quidditch, had caught the cat. The corgis were moving in as bruisers. The cat was valiantly trying to scale a tree and escape. My husband, the source of the thwacking, was frantically, if ineffectively, trying to interrupt the carnage by hitting the attacking pack with a cushion from the patio chairs.
 
I moved in, grabbing one assailing dog at a time by the hindquarters and tossing them in the house while my husband continued his chair-cushion diversion attempts. Which, although not successful, did add to the bizarre nature of the scene.
 
Once they were inside, the cat ran down from the tree and behind a board. It was not bleeding, but mewing its great displeasure. I was not encouraged.
 
The children, now ready for school, became very curious. However, they were whisked away from the attack scene with with “oh no, the cat is fine.” Which is a euphemism for “is probably headed home to meet Jesus, but  I am sure He likes cats.”
 
I returned from dropping off the children. The cushion-thwacker headed to work, leaving me alone with the issue of the cat.
 
I donned gloves and a heavy jacket, and went to see if I could get it to the vet without getting hurt. 
 
Alas, the vet’s services were no longer needed. The cat had crossed the rainbow bridge.
 
So of course, there was the unfortunate issue of what to do with the deceased feline, who was wearing  no tags, but did have a collar and clearly belonged to someone. Of course. Never mind that our neighborhood has a feral cat issue. Our dogs caught the one with a collar. SIGH.
 
Trying to be responsible, I wrapped the poor thing in a towel and brought it to the vet,  hoping perhaps the cat had a microchip so its owners could be notified.
 
Here’s how *that* adventure unfolded. The way-too-perky vet tech scanned the cat.
 
“Oh good, we have a chip! The cat’s name is Ike. Here are the owner’s name and numbers so you can call.”
 
First of all, Microchip ID people, I was kind of hoping *you* had people to make that call. Specially-trained pet grief counselors, maybe? Alas, no such luck.
 
So I dialed. Praying for an answering machine. Really hard.  No deal. Ike’s owner was home.  Crapcrapcrapdamnitcrapcrapcrapcrap. Deep breath.
“Ummm, I am sorry to have to make this call, but I got your number from the microchip service, and I have some sad news about your cat, Ike.”

pause

“My cat Ike?”

“yes.”

“You’re sure it’s a cat?”

“Yes, very sure. Grey and white? Green collar?”

“Um, Ike is a giant schnauzer. We don’t have a cat.”

“Uh…..”

“And he’s in the backyard as far as I know.”
—-
“Uh…. ”

“But you’re sure it was a cat? Ike is grey and white. Should I check the backyard?”
—-
“No, definitely a cat.”

“Well, you’re really nice to call anyway.”

“Uh…. well, sorry again. I’m glad your Ike is fine. Sorry to worry you.”

“Have a good day.”

“Yeah, you too.”

click.

click.
 
I returned to the vet’s office. Told the perky vet tech that “Ike” was a giant schnauzer. So I had, in fact, made the most awkward call of my life TO THE WRONG PERSON.
 
“Oh, THAT Ike! Hahahahaha! That’s hilarious! He goes here! I know Ike. He was just in for shots and they must have scanned him to make sure his chip was working. Hahahahahaha.”
 
This was the point when I began wondering if the vet tech had a Microchip ID. Because I was contemplating murder and wondered how easy she would be to identify. Maybe that’s a good secondary market for you.
 
She scanned the cat again.
 
“Nope, no chip in this cat. I guess it was just showing the last reading from when Ike was in here. Do you want the cat back?
 
I assured her that in fact, I did *not* want the cat carcass. Would the vet dispose of it please?
 
“Yes, do you want the private cremation and we send the ashes back to you? That runs about $175. I can weigh the cat to give you an exact price.”
 
This was when my head exploded, so I’ll stop the story here.
 
However, here are my customer service recommendations: 1) Your database should differentiate between giant schnauzers and kittens. 2) You should call your own clients with the bad news. 3) Anyone who says “that is hilarious!” about an error causing the wrong pet owner to be notified should be microchipped under each fingernail. Sans anesthesia.
 
Love,
Caring Pet Owner
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The One I Didn’t See Coming

26 Mar

She likes me. Right now, she likes me.

The very beautiful and talented Ingrid at Baseball, Baking and Books has given me my first-ever little blogging award. Isn’t it pretty?

She was just sharing the love all around, and in this post she also names some other lovely bloggers that you should check out.

kreativ_blogger_award_thumb1

If I was not a total dork (look, I learned from President Obama, I did not say “in the blog Special Olympics!”), I would put the pretty graphic in my sidebar. But I don’t actually know how to make that happen. I just joined Twitter a week ago, people. And I told my mom and dad all about my blog. I am an AMATEUR.

(Aside on the mom thing, I love her so much and she and my dad are the awesomest. But I may have actually *died* when she called this week after reading a post and asked why my dogs would call each other douche. Lesson learned there. Also, I may have suggested urbandictionary.com for her BEFORE reading the douche entry. And now I may be disowned. Another lesson learned there.)

Anyway.

Ingrid is so sweet, and she along with a number of other food bloggers have really welcomed me to this whole blogosphere thing.

Starting, of course, with my long-time friends Elle from Elle’s New England Kitchen and Nikki from CanaryGirl, who linked to my blog and tweeted and everything when I only had like 3 posts up.

These women are the sisters I would have chosen if God had asked my opinion. I like to think He purposely didn’t give me any sisters so I would find the women I needed in my life to make me a better friend, mother, wife, daughter and yes, help me better understand the gift of His Grace.

Have you ever seen those amazing mosaic pictures made from a thousand other pictures? When I take a magnifying glass to my picture of who God is, I can see Nikki and Elle. They, along with some other amazing  women, came into my life at a time I was deeply struggling with my sense of my value and worth.

I know the verse that we are all God’s treasure in jars of clay. But I met these women at a time that jar was shattered, and I didn’t really believe there was much treasure left. And they, even when they knew about all the cracks and the sharp edges and everything else, found treasure.

Showed me. Reminded me. Saved me.

And even though they don’t all blog, Jane and Bethany and Claire and Molli and Juanita and Deb and Denise and Shaye and Jen and Ginny and Shannon and Kerrie and Lizzie and Amanda and Sherri and Hae and Vicki are in that picture. All women I met on this crazy thing called the Internet.

And she doesn’t know me aside from a few comments and tweets, but I want Yvonne from Joy Unexpected to know I find her in that picture of God, too. I came to a post about the queen of aerobic dancing, and stayed because of her willingness to flay her own soul open and show the struggles inside.

I see this laughing, beautiful, insightful woman, and when she is heartbroken, I pray that she would see herself as precious as God sees her. And sometimes, Yvonne, in those prayers, I realize He wants that for me, too. So I thank you for that.

I feel the same about Jennifer Mattern at Breed ‘Em and Weep. She has the kind of insight that is only gained through excruciating heartache. I wish her warring heart peace, but I am grateful that in the midst of its battles, she opens it up and creates such achingly beautiful words.

The whole idea of these blog awards is to pass them on, so I offer this list, not exhaustive, of some women and one cool guy I have “met” since I started writing a couple months ago. Already, in some way, they are in my mosaic.

Neil Kramer at Citizen of the Month

Kelly Pea at Sass and Veracity

Jenn C. at Unmarried Wife 

Dawn at Vanilla Sugar

Cathy at Where’s My Damn Answer

Mrs.Messiness at This Blessed Mess but WordPress is giving her site fits today so be patient.

RJ Flamingo at Flamingo Musings

and Casey at Butter My Kitchen

Note: I know there are people I should have put in here and I’m just an airhead who’s running out of room.  And also, I went on a big sentimental grateful crying jag while writing this and my eyes are too puffy now to see your link. So I’m sorry and I’ll write another post about you and what a doofus I am.

Love,

lettergirl

If The Dogs Had Twitter

24 Mar

bailey Just pooped in the hall. On the swirly-patterned rug so it’s indiscernible. Hilarity will ensue.

tutter  @bailey BOL! Get it? Bark out Loud.

Quince @tutter @bailey U R such a tool.

bailey Just heard the humans scream. Guess they discovered it!  #baddog

tutter @bailey UR such a bitch ROFBOL

Quince @tutter @bailey She’s done worse. I have proof.  http://twitpic.com/2epil

tutter RT @Quince http://twitpic.com/2epil hahaha! #baddog

bailey @Quince UR so retarded! I can’t believe you posted that!!

tutter Heard the fridge open. Running to the kitchen at full speed. #corgisrule

Quince @tutter Full speed is pretty slow when you’re shaped like a football with feet.

tutter @Quince Bite me. At least I don’t run around barking like an idiot when the humans say “Is Timmy in the well?” #douche

bailey why is everyone who follows me a neo-con or a porn spammer? or a cat.

bigcat @bailey fine, I’m blocking you. You weren’t reciprocating anyway.

quince Totally humping @tutter right now! I rule.

Tutter @quince @bailey Hahaha! Just noticed mom is following you both. You are so busted.

twitter fail whale

lettergirl Just deactivated the dogs’ twitter accounts. Bet the site is running faster soon!

A Very Special Leno

20 Mar
President Barack Obama, Jay Leno

President Barack Obama, Jay Leno

Mr. President, I totally feel your pain. Trying to give yourself a little self-deprecating kick and instead shove your foot right in your mouth.

I have to admit, when you described your bowling skills as “Special Olympics,” I laughed. Then I cringed for you. Because dude, you can NOT say that on television.

However, I understand about the bowling. I dropped a bowling class in college. On the line marked “reason for dropping,” I wrote “my coordination levels do not match up favorably with the skill set required for this class.”

I also understand because I have applied the same “special” description to my pictures from the finish line of the Rock-n-Roll half-marathon last fall. My gorgeous friend Julie enthusiastically grabbed my hand as we crossed together, and suddenly thrust our arms skyward in an joyful gesture.

I, caught off guard by the move, was captured by the race camera in a  flailing pose that can only be called awkward if you’re generous about it. 

Or, as I have described it, “she looks like my Special Olympics minder helping me understand me the race is over.”

I’ll guess that some of you are laughing at the description. Some of you are deciding I am awful and insensitive.

Some of you are thinking “I really want to see that picture.” 

… Uh, no.

I will say, though, that I was making fun of no one but myself when I said it, and I know the President wasn’t either. But sometimes, our mouths have to catch up with our hearts.

The President has been quick to apologize, and in the conversation that has ensued, I’ve found myself re-thinking some of my  quips, pledging to work a little harder on erasing hurtful language from my vocabulary.

I hope those political opponents gleeful at his misstep will eventually do the same. Get off your high horse and check the mirror.  It makes a great national teaching moment.

Dear Kenley Collins

19 Mar

Oh, honey. Really?

From the NY Post:

“According to law enforcement sources, an enraged Collins woke Penley up just after 7 a.m. by hurling their cat in his face. Then she threw her laptop, and as he fell crawled on the floor, slammed a door on his head.”

kenley1

See, on the show, you were the pretty one. Then you trashed Tim Gunn and became the stupid one. Then you lost, and became the whiny one.

Now, you’re just cat-snit crazy.

Kenley Collins

Curbing My Enthusiasm

19 Mar
Twice a year  in our fair city, a magical sign appears on the front door knob.

es su turno!

Si, es su turno! And because we’ve lived in San Antonio for a decade, I do not have to turn it over to read the English side. We just start the fiesta.

But for those not similarly blessed:

it's your turn!

 It’s our turn! It’s our turn!

For what? That depends on who you ask.

For me, it’s our turn to get the broken stuff out of the garage, trim the trees, and set everything out on the curb, then wait for the magical truck to come by, scoop it all up, and head to the dump. My heart sings to see the little yellow door sign. It’s like a colonic for the house. Adios, mierda. Es mi turno.

My children, however, see it differently.

For them, the yellow sign might as well be a pirate’s map marked with a giant “X.” As soon as the piles of trash start appearing on the curb, my children get a wild look in their eyes. Suddenly, they are VERY interested in walking the dogs. The way a vulture is  suddenly VERY interested in going for a flight after a deer is run over.

They meet up with the other vulture children and start their surveillance. The house on the corner has a nice cache of 5-gallon buckets. The teenager six houses down has outgrown her bike and it is only missing a wheel and kickstand. The people across the street have remodeled and have a stack of shutters four feet high.

And glory of glories, one street over, someone has remodeled the bathroom and there is an honest-to-God entire toilet on the curb.

Surveillance done, the dogs are returned.

I hear clanking and see them exiting the garage with a wheelbarrow.

“OH NO YOU DON”T! We are not bringing home anyone. else’s. trash. PERIOD. No es su turno!”

Their plan thwarted, they skulk off to do homework.

Day 1 victory is mine.

But even though the piles of trash must be out on the curb by Monday, the magic truck doesn’t come right away. Tuesday, the trash is still there, and I leave for an evening class. My husband is not as diligent with the vulture watch.

When I return home, there is a disabled purple bike leaning against the house, and three buckets around in the backyard.

Day 2 victory to the children.

Wednesday, I put the buckets back on the curb. But as I am screwing around on the internet doing my homework,  I hear sounds of trash being loaded up. Joyously, I open the blinds to wave goodbye.

Alas, it is not the magic truck. Instead, it is a smaller pickup filled with enterprising junkers, scanning the piles for their own treasures.

They have loaded up the particleboard dresser missing a drawer and the leftover scrap pieces of MDF from a shelving project, and are surveying the chair with torn upholstery. The woman sits down in it, bounces up and down a few times, testing it out. Then, she gets back in the truck with a shake of her head.

Off they go. The chair remains, rejected.

Sad Chair

I have to resist the urge to chase after them yelling “I have a nice red and white slipcover! It did not look like this in our house! A very bad cat ripped the arms. Please! Don’t dis my junk.”

But they have moved on the the neighbor’s headboard.

I tell this story to the children, complete with a demonstration of the curbside chair testing. They are amused, then my son grows thoughtful.

“It’s too bad I can’t drive a truck. I could totally have gotten that toilet.”

Dear Cool Kids

18 Mar

I hear you’re all using this thing called “Twitter” or something like that. Want to help me out? Right now I have exactly one follower.

http://twitter.com/lettergirl

As a bonus, click now and see the total internet cliche icon picture of just my eyes and bangs.  Shut up about it. I have insecurities about my fat neck. I got voted “prettiest eyes” in the yearbook my senior year in high school, and ever since, I hate every other feature. Those voters warped me, man.

No, I’m not kidding. There really was a “prettiest eyes” category. It was the 80s. Don’t judge. Yes, LGV. I *know* you were most likely to succeed or something relevant like that. You’re still playing Mafia Wars on Facebook just like the rest of us.

Now, you all have to go to the twitter link and then you can come back and post “your eyes aren’t that great, either.” Then I will have nothing.

Oh yes,  “Hello 4,000 new visitors who wanted to see Dora’s makeover!”

Wait, where are you going?

Love,

lettergirl

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