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Saturday
Sep082007

Please Don't Talk to Me

I get paid to train people how to use really expensive software. Right now I work for a really big healthcare system (if you live in PA you can probably figure out who real quick). While I try hard to use web-based training (mostly because there are thousands of them and only one of me), there comes a time when I have no choice but to stand in front of a group of people and tell them how it is for a few hours. For the past few weeks, I have had to do the rounds and visit 14 different hospitals.

I hate hospitals. I hate the smell. I hate how they're all a maze. I hate the things that happen in them. I just plain hate everything about hospitals. When I started having to go out to the hospitals, I learned to hate a whole new thing. Apparently, I look like I have a clue. I don't know why, because I don't, but people must look at me and think to themselves, "I'll ask her! She looks like she would know!" Every time I'm out and about, I am bombarded by random people asking me random questions. Where is the Dr. So-and-So's office? Which way to the cafeteria? Do you know how much parking is? What floor is the GI lab on? How do we get to the Erie mall? (Long story, that one, but I really did get asked that one time--while standing in Oakland, PA, approximately 120 miles from Erie.)

To combat this issue--an issue because the answer is nearly always "I dunno"--I have stopped wearing my name badge, started walking really fast, and I make sure that I keep my head down at all times. For the most part, it has worked. I actually made it through about 20 hospital trips without being stopped. It was a beautiful thing.

My streak of not being bothered came to an end the other day. To make matters worse, the whole thing went down less than ten feet from an Information booth. I know it was an Information booth because there was a HUGE sign over top of it saying so. You can imagine that I was a bit annoyed when someone tapped me on the should and said, "Can I ask you a question?" OK, I was a lot bit annoyed. After all, THE LADY TOUCHED ME. Dude, I hate when strangers touch me. Blech. Anyway, the lady started talking while I was busy staring at the Information booth trying to figure out how the heck I was going to be polite when I said, "Hey look, moron! An Information booth! I bet THEY answer questions! Buh-Bye."

But then I realized that the lady was asking me a whole set of questions that the Information booth can't handle. Like, "How have you been doing?" Hold. the. show. Apparently, I was supposed to know this person. I spent a solid five minutes doing my best to fake like I had the slightest clue who the person speaking to me was before she gave me a hint I could use. She asked if I was still working for a certain bank. Then the light bulb came on. The woman was a bank teller at that bank when I did their systems conversion training. FIVE YEARS AGO. I couldn't tell you any more than that about her, because HELLO I don't remember anybody that was in one of my classes for three hours FIVE YEARS AGO.

I'm buying this t-shirt in every color. It'll look great under suits, I'm sure.

And now for your picture of the day. For the record, this is not a permissible activity. I just can't seem to make it stop.

Friday
Sep072007

Pictures, Please

It's no secret that there are a lot of pictures of the toddler that runs our house. A LOT of pictures. What you might not know is that it's not an accident or overzealous parenting at work. It is a carefully plotted scheme developed for one reason: I have no photos of me as a child. Seriously, not a single one. I know of a portrait of me when I was about a month old and another of me with my brother when he was about the same age (I was 3), but I don't have a copy of either one. I also don't have a single one of my school portraits. And snapshots? I know there are about five or six in existence, but I don't have them. I have asked for copies, but no one seems to be able to provide them. (Ahem. I said, AHEM, You who could fix that. Yeah, you. AHEM.) So, few photos were taken and absolutely none were handed over to me. Alexis will not be having that problem.

While that's the main reason, there are some others:
1. The Grandparents that live really far away tend to like to see their Granddaughter on occasion, even if it has to be by way of photos. In person is always better, but just not all that doable sometimes.
2. Dude, have you seen Alexis? She's freakin' cute! And photogenic! How could I not take pictures of her?

Anyway, with the advent of digital cameras, it's a piece of cake to get snapshots of her at least once a week. And for a very long time, it was nothing to take her for portraits somewhere. I actually took her every single month for the first year of her life. Sometimes we went to Picture People and spent a fortune, sometimes to Target and spent a little, and once we even went to Wal-Mart and spent next to nothing (and the practically free pictures sucked, I should add). It would take about five minutes and we would have these really great photos--most of which are framed and hanging in our hallway. Sort of a shrine to all things Alexis.

But then she learned to walk. And suddenly getting her portrait taking became something like trying to wrestle a cheetah to the ground with two hands tied behind your back and 400-pound shoes on your feet. We somehow managed to get some 15-month portraits and then didn't even try again. Until 18-months. For whatever reason, 18-months seemed like a required portrait time in my head. Like it was some sort of monumental milestone or something.

The first time we tried (oh, yes, it took multiple attempts), Daddy went with me and we visited The Picture People at Robinson Mall. This was a carefully selected destination based on prior experiences. I loved the photographer we last had there and the pictures were phenomenal. In fact, one of those pictures was hanging in their studio up until a few months ago. It turned into a lesson on all that can go wrong at a portrait sitting. The first problem was that Alexis was sick. I don't know what got into me, but I figured it would be a good idea to keep the appointment even after she had spent the prior day throwing up all over me. Brilliant, I know. When she's sick, she's clingy. As in her feet will catch fire if they touch the ground and oh! how she will scream. Add to that the fact that the photographer had the personality of -oh, I don't know- a COUCH, and we had a problem on our hands. Alexis wasn't sitting or standing anywhere that didn't involve a parent and the Couch was just standing there staring at us. Um, hello, could she have tried to make friends with the toddler? Apparently, no. Instead, she showed Daddy how to push the button on the camera and instructed us to go ahead and take a picture if Alexis decided to stand where she needed to be. And left to make like a couch somewhere else. We ended up walking out without a single camera click.

I wasn't willing to be defeated with just one attempt, so I made another appointment at a different Picture People (South Hills Village to be exact--I was hoping they didn't employ couches). When I made the appointment, I made it a point to say we needed at least two sessions because this was not going to be a five-minute operation. I was right. When Alexis and I showed up, she instantly turned into Miss Shy Thang. BUT! Oh, yes, BUT! it was not an issue. For the photographer assigned to the challenging task of corralling Burgh Baby was new. And undaunted. He called in a reinforcement and the two of them promptly turned themselves into silly idiots. There was noise-making, goofy faces, and all sorts of craziness. And Alexis LIKED it. She was giggling and carrying on and even, eventually, crawled out of my lap and started to play in the general vicinity of where she needed to be to have her picture taken. And then was the really fabulous part--that particular Picture People has gone digital. As in no tripod necessary, just point and click. So the flight risk we call Alexis could run and run and run, just so long as she occasionally passed over the background and looked the photographers way. So she played hide-n-seek with the reinforcement and the photographer clicked away. A few of the pictures even turned out pretty good. Go take a gander, if you please.

And now, the guilty part. I had coupons. Lots of coupons. And we're trying to maneuver our way towards a new house. So I spent $14. The disappointment on the face of the photographer was palatable. It's been over a week since this all went down and I still feel bad. Sort of.

Thursday
Sep062007

She Doesn't Need Us :-(

Lately I've been running into more and more reminders that Alexis has a life away from us. Obviously, I understand that while she's at daycare she's going to be exposed to things and people that we don't know about. But it's still throws me for a loop when I hear her say someones name that I don't know. For example, she introduced me to Tyler at daycare today. This weekend, I was downright shocked when I started to sing "If you're happy and you know it" to her only to learn she already knows it. She's got all kinds of little hand motions that go with the tune. I had no idea. And then there's the fact that she has started to say parts of the alphabet. I was just starting to think about trying to teach it to her. Apparently daycare has been doing it for a while.

Probably the most blatant example of her learning things from someone other than me and Daddy is her mad phone skills. It's no secret that no adults in this house are known for their telephone using abilities. I'm thinking that the fact that Alexis is real good at carrying on a phone conversation is evidence that somebody in her world is a pro. I'm guessing that someone has red hair and adores Alexis, but that's just my guess. (BTW, the quality of this video is horrendous. I apologize for that, but it didn't occur to me to turn on more lights when Miss Chats-a-Lot decided to sit still and carry on with her invisible phone partner.)

And now, it's time for y'all to try to guess what that sound is in the background. You're only hint is that it pretty much never stops at our house.