April 6, 2014

Divergent...a review

A couple of weeks ago, Man-Child was home for Spring Break we were at the local Barnes & Noble when he pointed out the book Divergent by Veronica Roth to me.  He mentioned that it was coming to theaters soon and looked pretty good.  So I picked it up and read the synopsis and was immediately intrigued.

Of course, after I purchased the book and we were in the car he snatched the book up and started to read it.  As the one whose funds actually purchased the book, I was a little miffed but I let him have it.  At any rate, he kept telling me how good it was and that I would really enjoy it.  Surprisingly enough, he finished the book on our trip back up the mountain to his school and left it for me to read.

And he was right.  I thoroughly enjoyed the book.  So when he came home this weekend, I "called dibs" on some of his time (since his father and his friends seem to hog the majority of his time when he's home) - which he thought was hilarious.  But I was dead serious.  And although his father did hog him on Saturday, he was all mine today; most of which was spent driving but, for once, he actually stayed awake during the whole trip.  And we had lunch together and went to see the movie.

And it was amazing!  The film, for once, actually stayed fairly true to the book.  A rarity.

It all boils down to this:

There was a war of some sort and the people left in what used to be known as Chicago have put up a huge fence.  Then they broke out into five factions.  Abnegation: The Selfless, Erudite: The Intelligent, Amity: The Peaceful, Candor: The Honest, Dauntless: The Brave.

Upon reaching the age of sixteen, you are given an aptitude test to see which faction you would best fit.  You have the right to actually choose your faction but once you choose that's it; there is no going back.  The motto being, "Faction before blood."  And should it turn out that you chose wrong then you could end up being "factionless" - basically homeless.  But whatever happens, you don't want to be labeled as "Divergent;" because that means you don't conform.  And conformity must be stamped out.

The thought behind these factions is that this will create peace.  That there will be no more wars.

As you and I both know, that is a fantasy.  Human nature being what it is means that there is always a few that will make a grab for power at any given opportunity...no matter the cost.

I have yet to read the remaining two books in this series, but I will.  And I have a feeling that I will enjoy them as much as I did the first.

March 31, 2014

Don't let the charming smile and nice haircut fool you...

Oh sure...he looks responsible.  Like he might be the kind of kid who makes sure he eats his vegetables even when his mom isn't there to make him.  Like he might be the kind of kid who goes to class and gets decent enough grades to land him on the dean's list every once in a while.  Like the kind of kid who wears a coat when it's cold out.

Don't be fooled.

When he first went away to college one of the thoughts I had (after I got done weeping, of course) was "There goes a great source of blog-fodder."

And for the most part that thought was spot on.  But occasionally, Man-Child still manages to rise to the occasion.

Apparently, Man-Child has somehow missed the window of opportunity regarding next year's housing and now, all the dorms are full.  So basically, he has no where to live next year.

Cue the panic.

My husband called the housing office and discovered that yes; they are, indeed, full.  And that they had sent Man-Child multiple emails reminding him to sign up.  Emails he failed to read.  He is on the wait list...at the very bottom.  So the odds of him actually getting a dorm is slim to none.

I was online for the majority of the past weekend trying to find a cheap, yet suitable, place for him to live next year.  And I've discovered that the two do not - as you might suspect - go hand in hand.

This from the boy that keeps protesting, "MOM! You do realize I'm an adult now, right?"

After this, I beg to differ.

March 26, 2014

You didn't REALLY think the insanity stopped just because I haven't been here, did you?

Because, no...it hasn't.  But the chaos that has become work lately (which leaves me exhausted) coupled with the lack of a "quiet" space in this house has left me bereft of time, energy and creativity (if you want to call it that) to actually blog all the thoughts I have.

So maybe now...finally, I can find the time to, quickly, catch you up with what has been going on - both in real life and the dilemmas that exist, surely, only in my mind; before I pass out from sheer exhaustion.  And here they are, in no particular order:

*  Man-Child was home for Spring Break last week (or was it the week before? Who knows considering I can't remember!) and it was fabulous to have him home.  He actually came home a day early to surprise me.  But having him home for the week (whenever it was) really highlighted to all of us just how small this place really is...i.e., we all knew what the other was doing at any given time; even if they were in a different room.

* I have lost my very favorite pair of "flip flops" (not that I'm actually able to wear them right now - more on that later - but still...).  I have searched the house high and low and they are nowhere to be found.  I think I might have accidentally given them to charity in one of my epic visits to Goodwill right after we moved.  I know I gave away a bunch of old flip flops that weren't comfortable to me or that I'd never liked and I'm afraid these - that were perfect - may have found their way to the charity box. *sigh*

* Winter.  Oh. Dear. God!  Need I say more? Despite technically living in "the South" we have experienced an uncommon winter, to say the least.  Currently, the local school children are expected to have "make up" days until the end of July.  While resuming the next school year on August 1st (I kid...kinda).  And yes, yesterday - in the middle of March, for God's sake, we had some snow.  Which, if you must know, was kinda pretty while falling over the blooming pear trees and dogwoods - but don't tell that to Mother Nature, because God knows I don't want to have a repeat next winter!

* Oil of Olay.  Right before we decided to put the house on the market for the hell of it, I also decided, for the hell of it, to try a new make up removing product.  And the product was fine.  And then the house sold unexpectedly.  So in the frenzy of ridding myself of whatever I could (so I wouldn't have to pack it) I tossed the nifty, plastic box that used to come with the starter kit of the Olay Daily Facial Cloths...because I wasn't "using" it.  Well...guess what?  I decided that I preferred the Olay Daily Facials Cloths to the other method.  Guess what else?  Yes, that's right.  Now I can't find the nifty, plastic box that comes with the starter kit.  The one that houses the refills - apparently the refills are the only thing that you can find at the store.  Which, according to my Google search (since no one else seems to be complaining about it), seems that I am the only one in the world having this issue.  *hmmph!* (and no; this is NOT a sponsored post...if it were I MIGHT be sporting said nifty, plastic box...!)

* Our "main" computer - you know, the one we use for all of our "important business" (i.e., blogging, Pinterest, Twitter, Houzz, etc. for me and, weirdly enough, Facebook for the Husband) has decided that it is on it's way to dying.  Or so I assume.  For whatever reason (I'm sure the fact that my dear, dear friend accidentally spilled a glass of wine onto the keyboard during a get together a year or so ago - and then went on to slam a window shut on it while her husband was trying to fix the wine incident - has absolutely NOTHING to do with it - not that I hold a grudge.  And before you chime in that she must secretly hate me; no.  If you knew her, you'd know that she's just like that) it has begun to make strange noises and cut itself off from the internet randomly (while leaving every other wireless device connected) thus ensuring that we are constantly, frustratingly, re-setting the internet connection several times a day.  We are currently shopping for a new one; hoping against hope that we find the one we need before this one really dies and we are left fighting over the little notebook that is maddeningly slow.  Luckily, I was able to upload all the photos on the ancient, abused laptop to "the Cloud" before they disappeared forever.  Now, if I can find the time, I plan to do the same for the little notebook and hope that it will be a life saving mission for it *fingers crossed - but honestly? Who has the time?*.

* Tax-time!  Oh. Dear. God. In. Heaven.  It's my most favorite time of the year (yeah, right).  The Husband and I had set a date last Sunday as "TAX" day.  The day that NO MATTER WHAT, the taxes would be done.  And they were - with much angst.  The main problem?  See above.  The computer kept hanging up.  But to top it off?  See below.

* In the midst of doing the taxes on an extra-crazy computer I was multitasking.  While also doing the taxes, I was also doing the laundry.  In machines that are as old as I am, if not older (they came with the place we are renting).  These machines are so old that I am even more terrified than usual about leaving the dryer running when we aren't home.  In fact, I have laid down the law, currently titled as "The Dryer Will NOT Be Left Running If No One Is Home EVER" law.  And, I'm proud to say, we've all been following this law to the letter; even if *I* seem to be the ONLY person that ever puts anything into the dryer.  Whatever. It's working!  But after this weekend it seems we need a new law.  One titled, "Never Leave The House While The Washing Machine Is Running."  Why?  Because while toiling through our taxes, I heard a "strange" sound.  So strange that I sent the Husband to investigate.  What did he find?  Water.  Lots and lots of water POURING out of the drain hose of the washing machine. *sigh*  He was able to "fix" it - if you want to call it that and we stopped, mid-Taxing, to mop up all the water.  And continued on with our taxes and our laundry.

Speaking of the drain hose...did you know that, according to the Husband (who seems to have acquired a new name of late...have you noticed?  It's much more "sophisticated," don't you think?) all washer's (or at least the ones he has encountered) drain hoses are more or less the same;  they are all just shoved into the hole (the one that sends the water wherever it goes) without a lock; which basically means that whenever the washer is jumping around (like mine always is - the Husband claims that's because I overload it - I deny that allegation by the way.  My assertion is that "they" produce WAY to much laundry for one house to handle) the hose can easily become undone.  Is it me, or does that just seem stupid?

And that; my friends, is what's been on my mind - more or less - since we've last connected.

March 9, 2014

What IS it?

No, seriously.  Does anyone know?

I think it might be a Schefflera from some of the research I've done online....but who knows.  After an hour of searching, all the plant pictures began to look the same to me.

The reason I'm asking is because this plant is mocking me.  Seriously.  I have finally found homes for the majority of the plants I had (only one was left to die a slow and painful - for me - death in the garage) and the remaining ones are thriving.  In fact, given that I have more time to spare to give them the attention they deserve they are all looking better than ever.  Except this one.

Oh sure, it looks fine, if a little spindly (if it is Schefflera then, according to my research, I need to prune the hell out of it in order for it to bush out).

But EVERY. SINGLE. TIME I walk by it, sneeze or sigh it drops a leaf.  I kid you not.  I cleaned up all the leaves that had scattered on the floor to take the above picture.  After the camera button went "click"...well, the evidence doesn't lie...

So unless you, the good people of the Internet, can tell me definitively that this is NOT a Schefflera then I'm going to chop this thing, move it somewhere a little brighter (WHERE? I swear this house has the worst natural lighting EVER) and attempt to water it less to see what happens.

I mean honestly?  At this rate, it can't hurt...right?

And then once I get that one sorted out, I suppose I can begin to figure out how to get my ficus to fill out on the right side...

Actually, it's looking spindly too.  Should I give it a good chop too?!

*sigh*...and there went three more leaves falling to the floor.

March 5, 2014

What REALLY happens at the office when ALL the managers are gone.

It's that magical week that only happens once a year.  The week that ALL the managers, from the CEO down, are down in Florida attending the annual management conference for four, glorious days.

They all grumble about having to go and how much work they have but...I've seen the agenda, I know it's not all work and no play.  So I don't feel sorry for them at all.  Nope, not one little bit.

Last week, I was asked many times, by various managers, "What are y'all going to do while we are gone?  Have a party every day?"  I would just smile and respond, "I'll never tell."

Sure, there are a few of those of us left behind who pop in  just to show their face in the morning and then, mysteriously, are never seen again.  But the ones like that are fairly rare and, I'd like to believe, will get caught sooner or later.

But for the majority of us, we are absolutely giddy about the prospect of "being productive."  Without the managers constantly generating phone calls, emails and asking you how come they can't make changes to this Excel spreadsheet and other such nonsense.

With them gone, we are able to actually DO OUR JOBS and, not surprisingly, we are able to complete our tasks quickly.  And then we have time to do the "housekeeping" jobs that we put off all year.  You know the "fun" things like Record Retention. *gag*

Unfortunately this year, these four magical days have been very unproductive due, in part, to the uncanny and, truthfully at this point, despised winter weather that we've been experiencing lately.

Sure, there's the possibility of productivity tomorrow but since it's a "travel" day there is always the micro-manager, managers who will actually come in, if their flight arrives early enough, to make sure we are really working.  I'm hoping that the only ones on the early flights will be managers from a different floor.  What?  A girl can dream.

And since I'm dreaming...maybe we can somehow talk them into the idea that they should have these conferences at least TWICE a year.

Just think how productive we could be if we had EIGHT days a year to do our jobs without interruption?

February 25, 2014

That boy of mine...he's going to be the death of me yet. (AKA - don't allow your child to go to a college more than ten minutes away)

On Sunday, I took that sweet boy of mine back to school.  And, for once, he actually stayed awake and conversed during the trip.  A miracle, I tell ya...a pure miracle.

Upon arriving home, I puttered around for a bit, put on my jammies and settled in to read for a while.  And then I received a text that said....

And thus started a barrage of texts back and forth about his need to see a doctor and how soon.  Being that the child is two hours away, puts me at a distinct disadvantage.  Just so you know.

Finally, I pulled his father into the mix - hoping for better results.  Didn't work.

Man-Child claimed that he didn't NEED to search out an Urgent Care facility.  That he could wait until the next day.  AFTER he attended his classes that he claimed he absolutely, could NOT miss (yeah...like he's been this diligent about all his classes!  Need I remind you that this is the same child who gladly skipped his Monday classes to attend a concert with me?  Now, all of a sudden, he HAS to attend these classes or FAIL?  Give me a break.).

Apparently, not long after I dropped him off, he went to play basketball.  He jumped up to catch the ball, landed, heard a *pop* and dropped to the ground.  He couldn't put any weight on it and, as you saw, it was very swollen.  But no.  He didn't NEED to go to a doctor immediately.  Silly mom...

Finally, finally yesterday I heard from him (WELL after lunch, I might add) after seeing the doctor on campus.  He has badly sprained it (no fractures, as I had feared) and will be wearing a boot and crutches for the next week or so.

This, coupled with a co-worker sharing a picture her son sent her of his sliced up finger that he insisted only needed a band-aid, has us convinced that these boys of ours delight in riling us up by showing how "manly" they are.

It has also convinced me that we need to figure out where to buy these shirts...

..no really.. your girlfriend however..
No really.  I need to know.  We figure this covers their birthday presents this year.

And I wonder why I have to dye my hair so often....

February 22, 2014

"...but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird." - Atticus Finch

Today a friend and I went to the local community theater to see To Kill A Mockingbird.

And, as usual, it was a comedy of errors to get there.

I had read about the play in the paper about a week or so ago and immediately sent her a text to see if she wanted to go.  She immediately responded with, "It's a date."  And then I never heard from her again.  I did know that her husband was going out of town so that last weekend was out of the question.

She finally called me on Friday to see if we could try to catch one of the last shows this weekend.  Unfortunately, Man-Child was coming home and needed a ride to Raleigh.  Or so I thought.  So we decided to hit the Friday or Saturday evening show.  Until I went online to buy tickets and discovered that both shows were sold out.  And I was depressed because I really wanted to see the show.  I loved the book.  I loved the movie.  And I was prepared to love this play.  And now, I wouldn't get to see it.

Until I got up this morning.  Whereupon Hubby informed me that Man-Child (who had come home after I went to bed last night) had come home on the wrong weekend.  It's NEXT weekend when he needs me to drive him all over the damn state.  It's a long story...maybe I'll post about it next weekend; after I drive him all over the damn state.

So I called my friend and we made plans again to hit the matinee today.  Until I got online to buy tickets.  There were very few seats left and I spent a good ten minutes trying to purchase them.  But nowhere on the page could I find the "BUY" button.  Finally, I decided to close the browser and try another one - I was getting desperate - there were only about four or five seats left.  Using a different browser was the key and I was able to snag the last two seats together.  HUGE sigh of relief!
We decided to meet at a local restaurant for lunch prior to the show.  Big mistake.  I should have known better - she is a slow eater, bless her heart.  We rushed out the door and flew to the theater.  She was following me in her car, or so I thought.  When I saw that she got caught at a light a few blocks from the theater, I called her to tell her how to get where we were going - only for her to say to me, "You aren't in front of me?  In the silver Corolla?"  *face palm* I drive a BLUE Corolla.  It was by the grace of God I suppose that the silver car she'd been following had been following ME!

We finally arrived with about three minutes to spare only to discover that parking was scarce and had to park a few blocks away and practically run back to the theater - shouting "WAIT!" as they were beginning to close the doors.

How we made it, I will never know.  But I'm so glad we did.  The play was perfect.

Well....*spoiler alert - if you've never seen it or read it but want to, stop right here and then explain to me just HOW you have been living under a rock to have never seen nor read this classic, iconic story? Go rectify this travesty right now!*

As I was saying, the play was perfect except for the fact that EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I read this book or see the movie/play - I am always, ALWAYS shocked that Tom Robinson was found guilty.  Of course, it is with grim satisfaction to find that karma finds it's way to Bob Ewell eventually.

It was also disturbing - despite the fact that it was true to the story and time - to hear school-age children hurling "the" word around with such casualness.  I'm sure their parents and the director have impressed upon these children what a hateful word it is and that they only had to use it for accuracy.

And speaking of the school-age children who played Scout and Dill (both local 4th graders - which makes them about 9!) were flawless.  These children knew how to play to the audience and had their roles down pat.

The gentleman who played Bob Ewell nailed his part so well that my friend whispered to me at one point, "He's so good, I want to beat him up after the show!"

If the play comes to a community theater in your area I would definitely encourage you to see it.  It's one thing to read it or see it on television but it takes it to another level when you are watching real people right in front of you portray this story.  It will take your breath away.

"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside his skin and walk around in it."  -- Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Truer words have never been spoken.