Oh, White Dog, you scamp…

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So! Today:
Breakfast at Bob Evans. Yum.

Grocery store (had 10 things on the list, still managed to buy a lot of stuff – how does this always happen?)

Sat at home, thought about White Dog’s power problem, saw that the Genius Bar had available appointments at 12 noon (which was about 75 minutes from when I discovered same). Ascertained that we had no other plans for the day (losers!), so then I claimed the 12 noon appointment and got White Dog packed up and ready to go. Gene came along, possibly to ensure I didn’t accidentally just buy a new MacBook. (tempting! but not really!)

We made it to Apple and I checked in at 11:50…actually, let’s sidebar for a moment. Apple calling their tech support the “Genius Bar” makes me cringe. Having to check in for my tech support appointment with a random Apple Droid makes me crazy. Checking in 10 minutes early only to hear “Yeahhh, we’re running about 10 minutes late, why don’t you go stand next to the Apple TV display and I’ll come get you” really makes me batshit crazy.

Not getting any help at all until nearly 12:30 nearly sent me over the frakking moon.

But, to pass the time, I had Gene’s help. We played a game called “Top 10 Funniest Ways to Clear Out an Apple Store on a Saturday Afternoon in Summer”.

Gene: “Bring Booper” (who, yes, is gassy)

Elaine: “Start a rumor that IKEA’s giving away flat pack furniture!”

Elaine: “Start a rumor that the Volkswagen dealership is having half price oil changes on Jettas”

Gene: “Maybe some kind of protest?”

Elaine: “Yes! Protesting Newt Gingrich at the Tiffany store” (I’ve heard something about Newt Gingrich and Tiffany but I’m not sure what it was about – surely it’s not Tiffany the 1980s pop star, right?)

Elaine: “Beck’s giving a free concert at the food court!”

Gene: “Free hackysacks for the first 50 in the door!”

Seriously, I love Apple (even though my next cell phone will almost certainly NOT be an iPhone). I love White Dog, I love the iPods (when did those get so crazy expensive?). We looked at the current model of MacBook (Un White Dog Nouveau) and it’s the same damn computer I bought 3 years ago. Why hasn’t the price gone down?

And I am just as uncomfortable at the Apple store on a Saturday (eeeek, hippies) as I am at Walmart on a Saturday (eeeeek, rednecks). I’m getting better though – the first time I stepped foot in the Apple store, I had to immediately leave. It felt like the entire store was humming (like when you’re in a casino and it’s all just dingdingdingdingdingding).

Endgame: White Dog’s fine. Improbably (or maybe not improbably), the issue was just the power cable I bought at Best Buy in January. Willie, my own personal Genius, replaced the cord for me gratis. And that’s a good thing; I am nowhere near ready (financially, etc) to replace White Dog. First, I have to convince Gene that once you go Mac you don’t go back.

white dog wahhhh

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White Dog’s going for another visit to the Genius Bar on Monday morning. (Genius Bar = Apple Store tech support). It’s not holding a charge, even though the power supply I bought a few months ago is attached. The reason for this is (hopefully!) simple: the plastic on the outside of the laptop around where the power cord connects is practically entirely gone. I think another chunk of said plastic has gone MIA recently.

Oh, I hope that’s the problem anyway! I’m not entirely sure what would happen if White Dog were to need to be replaced (other than that I’d have to eat crow because I told Gene recently that I would do anything necessary to keep White Dog running for as long as possible!). Ideally I’d replace White Dog with Un White Dog Nouveau but…well, Gene works for Schmulet Shmackard so I think that I’d probably have to cross back over the divide into PC Land.

(Also, did I mention that my Genius Bar date is on Monday @ 10 AM? About 30 minutes away via highway? When there’s a big race in Cheesecake City all this weekend? Arrrrrrrgh).

(I wonder if Gene would be cool w/ me changing the appointment to Saturday AM instead? I’m down to 63% power).

Edit #1: As soon as I put White Dog down in the cubby next to my La-z-Boy it started to hold a charge. Are all of my dogs (Betty, Scooby, Sadie and White) just unbearably recalcitrant?

Edit #2: Nonetheless, I changed my Genius Bar appointment to be today, in about an hour. I found an Apple approved repair person on the internet who would swap out the case for about $230. I hope the Genius Bar is cheaper, but I doubt it. I may end up with a Schmulett Schmackard before this is over!

Frankly, I blame Eric Clapton for this…

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(watch out, this may be the blog post to get me kicked out of my family…)

So, the other day I was driving around and one of Gene’s Richard Cheese songs came on the iPod. Let’s agree that it was his lounge lizard version of Baby Got Back (which is a pretty good version, until you get it in your head and your’e at work and instead of payroll, all you can think about is “Skinny in the middle but got much baaack!”).

Anyway, so the song is playing and I am thinking, “Who the hell got the idea to totally change up a song when they cover it?” I have actually suggested to Gene that we put together a playlist on the iPod called “Horrifying Covers” that includes all of the Richard Cheese oeuvre as well as the blueglass covers of Gin and Juice and Centerfold (bahh, banjos…).

Eventually I get bored and turn off the iPod and turn on the radio. And the next song on the station is Eric Clapton’s MTV Unplugged acoustic version of “Layla” (you know, the version that, instead of going “LAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYLLLAAAAAA! You got me on my knees!”, goes “Laaaaaayyyyla, you got me on my zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz :: snort :: whaaa? Where am I?”). I listen to it for a little while (it’s kind of in my DNA) and realize, Oh. Eric Clapton, you have a lot to answer for!

(I mean, c’mon…if he’d recorded that version first, Pattie Boyd wouldn’t have been convinced to change her socks let alone husbands…)!


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So, here’s what I have learned in the last 10 months (since leaving the old job):

* Work sucks. Too many hours, annoying coworkers, annoying clients

* Employers suck. They don’t let you work overtime (see above), they don’t hire enough people to do the job, blah blah.

* Yeah.

So anyway! In Big Payroll, sometimes you get to deal with Particularly Crabby Clients. Today, I had a super po’d client on the phone who was pissed because we didn’t psychically know that their unemployment tax rate changed. (Psst…we’re not psychic. Sorry about that). When they don’t tell us this, we don’t debit them enough for their unemployment contribution and then the client gets a letter from the state about how much they owe, plus interest and penalties.

If there’s something clients love, it’s a letter from their state that talks about penalties and interest. Oh yeahhh! So, the client gets this letter and then they fax it to us and the usual answer is “Umm, did you tell us your rate changed?”

“But if you do payroll for Any State, you should know that the rate for employers in Any State tripled!”

(Umm, NO. Because it doesn’t triple for EVERYONE, just crap employers like you with a preference towards hiring degenerates*).

So apparently we have all of these notices and it’s overwhelming to our department who works in that area so now they want Pattie and I to work on them too. I really, really hate this. I don’t want to work on tax stuff, I want to key payrolls and take phone calls (when I absolutely have to…). I don’t want to send out emails saying “Yeahhh, you should pay this money directly to the state. Have a nice day! Please don’t fire us!”

I hate – HATE – giving out bad news. To me, the cool thing when clients send tax notices is, is that I can forward it to the right people and tell the client that I have forwarded it to the right people and they will be in touch. I don’t want to be the person to get in touch with them, too. Ppphhhhhfffft.

* The angry client is in an industry that I have some familiarity with, so I am sure I am OK to make this judgement about her employees.

And a week later,

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let’s talk about seeing Former Boss Gwen at the bookstore. It’s a funny story. Please don’t recommend that I should be institutionalized, OK?

So, I was sitting in a fast food drive through one Sunday afternoon. I’d gone…somewhere (library? mall?)…and promised Gene I’d bring him home a drink. I’m staring off in the distance while waiting in line (seriously, the Arby’s near my house is crazy slow) when I see what looks like Former Boss Gwen’s fairly distinctive car drive past, en route to the Open Aire Shopping Center near my house.

::lightbulb:: I think, I wonder if that’s Gwen and if so, I bet I know where she is going.

Now, a not batshit crazy person would collect their beverages from Arby’s and then go home to do…something (laundry?).

Thankfully, my friends, I was (am) wholly unmedicated and bored. I did wait for the drinks, though. I hit the parking lot at the Open Aire Shopping Center, ascertained that ::ding!:: it was in fact Gwen’s car (I recognized her bumper sticker).

Now, a non batshit crazy person would think, “Small world! I should go bring Gene his iced tea or perhaps Pepsi!”

Thankfully, my friends…unmedicated and still bored. And, ooh look, a nice empty parking space, right in front of the bookstore. I sat in the car for a moment and practiced my “Ohh, Hiiii! Fancy bumping into you here!” face then hopped out of the car to meet my doom fate former boss, Gwen.

I found her and did the whole bump into her thing (while looking at the bargain books section) and we chatted for a few minutes. She is still completely un-genuine and about as deep as a (shot) glass of water.

And then the minute I got home I called Denise to tell her the story. She laughed.

Other stuff, not maudlin or crazy…

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1) Shopping for a new phone. May actually join the 21st century and get a smart phone. I have my eye on the HTC (?) Inspire. If you’re thinking, “Hey, Elaine, aren’t you typing this crap on a MacBook? Don’t *they* have a cell phone?”, my answer is, “Yeahhh. No.” Too expensive (even w/ Gene’s rockin’ discount from AT&T). The debate at Casa LaineyD is currently:

Gene:”If you buy a smart phone, will you use it?”

Elaine: “YES, I’ll use it to check my email at work!”

G: “Because THAT’s never gotten you into trouble before!”

E: ::rolls eyes:: “At lunch! I would check my email at work at LUNCH”

G: “Well, will you at least consider buying a phone that uses the operating system my employer devised?”

E: “No, I want this one instead!”

G: “Well, I think you should go with Verizon”

E: “AT&T it is!”

My poor, poor husband.

2) Did I tell you that Vegas in November may be off? No? Did I tell you I’m daydreaming about quitting my job in early November so I can go anyway? (Then again, sometimes I daydream about quitting my job when Qdoba emails me a ‘Rainy Day BOGO’ coupon. I love my job, it’s the doing my job part that sometimes sucks a lot).

3) I just checked and actually, I did tell you that Vegas in November may be off.

4) Did I tell you about running into my former boss Gwen at the bookstore? I’d tell you but I just realized that I promised this post would not veer off into Crazytown.

once in awhile…

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A few times a year I get an email from the photography company who takes the pictures of theme park guests, advertising some great new special. It includes a picture of the Boy and I, taken on a theme park day in (I think) 2007. I usually don’t even open the emails but today I decided to look.

In the picture, we’re both smiling but he’s leaning a good 45 degrees away from me. I think there’s some foreshadowing in that picture. Could I have ever kept him from no longer wanting to be in our lives? Probably not; no one is blameless for it but it was never about me anyway. Wondering about it is a waste of time.

Monday grumble…

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1) My archrival at work Broomhilda has already asked off the week of Nerd World 2011. So pissed off about this, can barely form words. Broom’s not even going to Nerd World, why does she need that specific week off?? Auuuugh!

2) No really. AUUUUGH.

3) Sometime before Easter I ordered a cute laptop case from one of those stupid catalogs that women pass around at work to support their sister/friend/neighbor who’s selling whatever (Pampered Chef, Avon, whatever). A week or so later I got a call from the sister/friend/neighbor (I have no idea of the relationship between my coworker and this woman, except that I just realized that one of them has my credit card number…) that my laptop case was out of stock and that I wouldn’t have it before Easter. Now it’s nearly Memorial Day so I am now ready for my laptop case.

4) As I just mentioned, it’s nearly Memorial Day. I’m going to wake up tomorrow and it’ll be July 4. And next week will be Labor Day. We spend all this time waiting patiently for summer and then it arrives and it’s about 15 minutes long and then life is fall and boring again. Not fair!

5) I really, really really reaaaaaaaaaalllllly want a vacation. I get 2 weeks a year, there’s nearly 1/3 of the year that time off is not possible… is it wrong that I’m looking forward to part of a day off next Thursday? I’ll tell you what IS wrong: if I do go under the knife I’m going to spend all of my vacation recuperating. Geez, what a pisser.

(Well, hopefully not).

(Did you see what I did there? Awesome, right?)

(Gross, Elaine. Just gross).

So where the hell have *I* been?

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1) The hosting for Laineyd.com comes due on 4/30/11 and this year I procrastinated paying it until May 9th. Until I finally got around to paying for hosting, I didn’t want to post here because it felt a little like stealing.

2) Debating the Purchase of a New Dishwasher (eventually deciding against it for now, although I hope that Lowes has it on a lovely little sale sometime around Labor Day)

3) Making friends wherever I go at work. I actually had a client tell my supervisor Belinda that they’re afraid of me (or possibly my semi supervisor Patty* and I). And today I had a client who emailed me a page of her company’s bank statement and asked me to reconcile each line that represented a debit or credit from my employer. I did that, going line by line, and also provided reports from our software that literally said things like “Federal income tax, $50, billing $35, etc” and she had the nerve (!) to say that she didn’t understand it, that nothing I sent her helped and that she wanted her $ back.

(Granted: her payroll was a mess, but it’s been baby-ass smooth ever since. I went ahead and credited it to the client and then got it on the chin from Belinda for that. Pfffht).

(And you know what’s really aggravating? The client CC’d someone who works for the client’s prior processor who then emailed ME to say that I’d better credit the client. Dude. Not your client anymore. MY client).

4) Obsessively checking Expedia.com for fares to Las Vegas for November. Nerd World 2011 is being held there again, and I want to go so badly. Then again, the conference could be held at the fanciest steakhouse in Little Rock, AR and I’d be pretty excited. I am so ready for a vacation!

5) And then there was the day that I could have written in the blog but instead decided to read the archives of my Facebook statuses all the way back to November 2008 because I wanted to see what I’d written while we were in Malaysia. It was interesting in a very navel-gazing-y way.

And of course, there’s lots of stuff that I wrote that’s growing moss in the “drafts” section, mostly “blah blah baby?” “blah blah WHY WHY WHY?” and really, who wants to read that? That’s it. I have written LOTS here, it’s just all invisible!