Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Her Holiness, Helen, Has Spoken . . .

The Vatican, apparently thinking that they have nothing better to do, has issued the “Drivers’ Ten Commandments.”

After reading them, I thought to myself, “Wow, Self, that must have been issued by the Vatican’s Department of Redundancy Department.” Being the self-important American that I am, I decided that I could do better than his Holiness and came up with my very own list:

  1. If someone is nice enough to use a turn signal, be nice enough to let them merge.
  2. If you are driving in the left lane and someone is gaining on you, move over and let them pass.
  3. If you realize that you are in the left turn lane and need to be going straight, don’t hold up a leading-green lane trying to move over. Go down the street and make a U-turn.
  4. If an emergency vehicle is coming up behind you, get the hell out of its way. They are trying to save lives.
  5. If you get pulled over by the cops, it’s probably because you were doing something illegal. Take your lumps like a grown-up and don’t give the cop a bunch of lip.
  6. If you are being tailgated, don’t slam on your brakes to scare the person. Just move over (if you can), because the jerk tailgating you is probably already having a crappy day, and pissing him off further isn’t going to help anything.
  7. If you see a person pulled over with a flat tire and no clue how to change it and no cell phone (don’t worry these people are easy to spot), offer to help. This is especially true if you see a woman with small children or a dog.
  8. If you hit someone’s car, leave a note that 1) apologizes for your carelessness and 2) gives the owner any information he needs to get in touch with you.
  9. If you are in a parking lot or garage, park BETWEEN the lines, not on them.
  10. If you can’t remember the first 9 rules, remember this: “DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU’D HAVE DONE UNTO YOUR MOTHER.” (This of course assumes that you like your mother. If you don’t, then substitute someone else’s name there, even if it’s your own.)

Now, please, if you live in the DC Metro area, please try to remember these simple rules. Learn them. Live them. Love them. Because if we were all just a little nicer in traffic, I'm convinced that the domestic violence, alcoholism, drug abuse, and asshole rates in our area would all drop dramatically.

Drive safely.


Monday, June 18, 2007

Effing Budgets . . .

So, as some of my loyal readers (yes, both of you) have probably noticed, I've been a little absent from the blogging world lately. And I have my job to thank for that.

For the past three weeks, we have been gearing up for the beginning of the 2008 Fiscal Year, which starts on October 1st. Because I work in Finance, I have been working LONG hours trying to get everything done. The first iteration of our budget was due last Thursday, but then they extended that to Friday, which was then extended until today. Oh, and now it's been extended until tomorrow.

I don't mind working hard, and putting in long hours isn't something that normally would get to me, but the last few weeks have required me to do the following:

1. Cancel dinner with my friend Beaver.
2. Cancel dinner with my friend Beaver again.
3. Get in an argument with my new boss because we were both in horrible moods.
4. Cry at work three times in one day.
5. Cancel a trip to visit my dad (who I haven't seen since Christmas) for Father's Day.
6. Cancel dinner with Beaver for a third time.
7. Come into work on scheduled days off for the 6th and 7th times since March.
8. Be late getting home on Ship's birthday.
9. Not spend enough quality time with my dog.

There have been other things too, but they are mostly trivial compared to these things. Not that any of these is a major deal, but I'm starting to see a pattern develop of me effing over my friends and family because of work, and I don't like it.

Is it too early to retire?

Friday, June 01, 2007

Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad!

Today is my parents' anniversary. Ma and Pa Skor have been married for a long, long time. A REALLY long time. I'm not exactly sure, but I think this is their 39th anniversary.

But I wanted to give them a shout out and tell them happy anniversary. I have the greatest parents in the world. Seriously. My mom is a few miracles shy of sainthood, and despite some rocky times in the past, my dad is the one man in this world that I will always trust.

These two managed to survive not only the ups and downs of every marriage, but a slew of other rough times and tragedies. There were the temperamental mood-swings of a teenage girl, the son who blew up the engine in the family van on a spring break road trip, the daughter who dropped out of college (but eventually went back), the break-up of one child's marriage, the death of all 4 parents plus a step-father, various health problems, the passing of two much-loved family dogs (and countless fish and hamsters), vacations with the extended family, and my dad's relentless snoring. They have even survived a 3-legged dog with a propensity for breaking into fits of howling in the middle of the night, and both children moving far away from home.

As I get older, I realize more and more how important it is to find that person who compliments you. (And not in the "your butt looks great in those jeans" kind of way.) I'm talking about the chocolate wafer to your cream filling. The point to your counter-point. The Eddie Haskell to your Wally Cleaver.

I have also realized by watching my parents that marriage isn't easy. It takes compromise, patience, communication, and respect. And it takes forgiveness. There is no such thing as a charmed life. We all have our ups and downs. But if we're lucky, we find someone to enjoy the ups with, and who makes the downs seem not so low.

So, to my parents, congratulations and thank you for never giving up on one another, or your children. I love you.

Why Oh Why Couldn't I Be Obscenely Wealthy . . .

Not rich, but wealthy. Wealth implies a certain level of class that is lacking with the rich. That's what I want. Old money. The kind that requires a certain level of respect and awe, even though it's not always deserved.

This desire has been fueled lately by a growing irritation with my job and the stress that it causes. Yes, everyone has stress, and most of us have a job (sometimes several). And I don't mind working. In fact, I kind of like it. But the last few weeks have been exceptionally bad for me. This is not the result of extended hours or other such annoyances. In fact, I've been working shorter days (less than 9 hours) recently than I have been in quite a while.

It's the frenzied nature of work that is wearing me down. I was knocked flat on my arse a few weeks ago with what I assume was the flu. I started feeling bad late on a Sunday night, and by Monday morning, I was a shivering, stuffy-headed mess. Despite the fact that everyone knew I was sick, my cell phone rang non-stop with work-related questions. I eventually turned it off.

For the next 10 days, I came in to work with a lingering cough and runny nose. And it wasn't until I took an extended, 4-day holiday weekend that I finally started feeling better. That's why I'm counting down the hours until I get to escape from this place, and head out for camping in the George Washington National Forest with some friends.

That's also why I want to be wealthy. I want to be able to take off whenever I want and go to exotic locations around the world (and here in our great country). I want to go to Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, Greece, and Portugal. I want to visit Egypt, Russia, and Australia. I want to take a fly-fishing trip with Ship to Patagonia. I want to take Pita to Morocco. I want to go on a Safari with Jo. And I wish that I was with Yogi in Zambia right now. And I really want to go visit my brother in Aspen whenever I feel like it.

More importantly, I want to feel like my presence here on Earth counts for something. Something significant. I would want to do humanitarian work of some description. I don't know if I have the "intestinal fortitude" to work in Darfur, but there are a lot of needy people out there, even in our own country. I think I would have to work with kids. I would be the chubby Angelina Jolie . . . taking in underprivileged children. But I don't think I would want to adopt them all. That seems kind of selfish. Maybe I could take in foster children to provide them with a stable environment until they could be adopted by a good family. I would make it my personal goal to keep siblings together. That would be my contribution to the world. So thirty years from now, a brother and sister could be having Christmas dinner together with their spouses and children, and they would know that it was all possible because I cared enough to make it my mission.

Sorry. I'm rambling today.

Have a great weekend.