Monthly Archives: April 2006

Local Politics

I’ve been trying to get this blog written since Friday.  The subject matter has me so mad that I can’t even get a coherent blog out about it.  Hopefully I’ve calmed down enough that I can get it posted this time. 
 
I live in a small county in south central Ohio.  Population 145,000.  In local politics around here, the incumbent pretty much has a job for life.  Unless you decide to retire or do something really bad to screw up, you have a job for as long as you want it.  Most of the time, the incumbent is unopposed in the primary election . . . and sometimes unopposed in the general election as well.  This year, the county auditor is running for re-election.  He’s had the job for a few years and he’s been re-elected at least once.  The guy running against the auditor can’t really complain about the job that he’s doing, so he’s taking cheap shots about a DUI (drunk driving charge) that the auditor got picked up for last fall.  The auditor was driving a county vehicle on a weekend and got stopped for DUI, failure to stop for a police officer, and not wearing a seat belt.  
 
Now I understand that negative ads are part of politics, but they’ve just never been a big part of local politics here in my county.  I think it’s sad that this guy can’t/won’t tell the voters why he should be the auditor, but would rather dig up dirt on the current auditor. 
 
 
But that’s not what’s got me all upset.  On Thursday, I got an post card in the mail that was a negative ad about the current auditor.  I can’t prove that it’s not from his opponent, but who else would send out such a thing?  Each ad has to have a line explaining who financed the ad – and this ad’s line was "Paid for by Elect Me! Me! Me!  U Gottabe Nutz, Treasurer".  The ad contained lines from the State Trooper’s report when the auditor was stopped for the DUI.  It was the most mean-spirited and cowardly ad that I’ve ever seen.  I’ve never seen anything this mean even in a national or state-wide election.  I was so offended and upset about this ad that I called the local Board of Elections to see what I could do to file a complaint about this ad.  Because the tag line of the ad didn’t list a real person or a real organization, there really isn’t anything that I can do to complain about this ad.  The local Board of Elections official told me that the county auditor race had gotten very ugly and that she wasn’t surprised to hear about the post card that I had gotten. 
 
I did call the current auditor and told him about the ad that I had received.  He hadn’t heard about that particular ad, but he knew that there were some other pretty mean things being sent out to local voters.  He asked me to fax him a copy of the ad that I had, and I did.  
 
When the DUI charge happened last fall, I knew that this was going to be used against the auditor when/if he decided to run for re-election.  So I’m not surprised about the post card that I received.  I am upset that the person that sent out the post card didn’t have the integrity or the character to claim responsibility for it.  If you’re going to bash a man’s character and dish out all the gory details of a police report, shouldn’t you be man/woman enough to take responsibility for it?!  It’s not like we’re talking major politics here, people, it’s a county auditor’s race! Is this necessary? 
 
Since I don’t know for sure that the opponent isn’t behind this ad, and since I had already decided not to vote for the current auditor (for reasons other than the DUI), I may choose to not vote for either candidate in this particular race.  I guess I’ll have to face the fact that I don’t live in a sleepy little town and that local politics here are just as cut-throat as that on the state or national level.  I think maybe that’s why I’m so upset.  They took away part of the charm of living in this small community.   
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Home Alone

It’s Saturday morning and I have the whole house all to myself for the entire weekend.  Hubby is on his way to a bowling tournament and will be gone until sometime tomorrow evening.  Normally, I go with Hubby to these things, but this was a last minute kind of a thing and I thought it would be nice for Hubby to have a "guy’s weekend".  Which means I would get to have a "girl’s weekend" here at home.  Bowling tournaments aren’t really much fun for me.  I go to be supportive of Hubby, and I get to socialize with the other wives and check out the local shopping centers, but it’s really just spending a weekend sitting in a bowling alley being bored silly.  
 
I have all kinds of cool plans for the weekend.  I’ve already taken Luci to get her nails done.  Nothing too foo-foo – just got them clipped.  There’s no way that I’m going to try and clip them myself.  It’s worth the $6 to take her to the groomer and let them do it.  Interesting side note – Luci now weighs 70.5 lbs.  I weighed her at the groomers.  Yikes!!  My baby is growing before my very eyes. 
 
 
I’m going to fix spaghetti for supper tonight.  Hubby has acid reflux and isn’t able to tolerate spaghetti sauce anymore. 
 
I have to clean out the weeds in the flower bed in front of the house.  It’s still too early to plant things here – I usually plant stuff closer to Mother’s Day weekend. 
 
Housework – yea, I’m going to do housework.  This is cool because Hubby isn’t under my feet and I can work at my own pace.
 
Going to the movies tomorrow afternoon.  I’m planning to see United 93 – the movie about the plane that crashed in the field in Pennsylvania on September 11.  Hubby didn’t want to see it, so I’m taking advantage of my "girl’s weekend" to see it all by myself.  
 
Trip to Wal-Mart and the Mall.  Weekly trip.  Getting the usual stuff.  Oh, and I have to pick up a new nose trimmer thing for Hubby.  We can’t find one part of the one he has and I have a horrible feeling that Luci has eaten it. 
 
Work on my cross stitch.  May sound boring to you, but it’s something that I enjoy but don’t always find the time to do. 
 
Spend time with the puppies.  They’re part of the reason I didn’t go to the bowling tournament.  We’re going away for a few days in June and they’ll be in the kennel when we’re gone.  Blacky barks the entire time he’s at the kennel and he sometimes ends up with kennel cough – even though he has the kennel cough shots.  I knew that he’d end up with it for sure if we had him in the kennel twice in two months.  I could have had somebody housesit for me, but then Luci would spend a lot of time in her crate, and I didn’t want that.  So, I’m going to stay home and spend a lot of time with them. 
 
I guess I better get moving on my chores if I want to get to the "girl’s weekend" part . . .

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Happy Secretary’s Day!

I am a Secretary.  I took secretarial classes in high school.  I went to college and got an Associate’s Degree in Executive Secretarial Technologies.  If someone asks me what I do, I reply with a great amount of pride that I’m a secretary.  I’m not an Administrative Professional – although I do administrative work and with over 20 years of experience, I would consider myself a professional.  The boss calls me the Office Manager because it’s a more accurate description of what I do.  I do everything – I type letters, I do internet research, I answer the phone, I open the mail, I do accounts payable and accounts receivable, I handle payroll, I’m the in-house IT geek.  You name it, I do it.  I took the secretarial classes in high school because I didn’t really know what I wanted to be when I grew up and I knew that I could always count on the secretarial skills to help me find a job that paid more than minimum wage.  

 

I don’t like the term Administrative Professional and threw a major hissy fit when I discovered that the name Secretary’s Day had been changed.  And I really threw a hissy fit when I discovered that Administrative Profession applied to anybody that worked in an office.  I worked for a company once that mandated (yes MANDATED) that each office worker would get flowers from the department manager and even mandated what kind of flowers that manager could buy (three roses in a bud vase).  Okay, I understand that everyone that works in an office has a rough job and deserves some recognition, but to lump anybody that does any kind of office work into the same group as a secretary is just plain degrading to secretaries.   

 

Now before everyone starts ranting and raving at me, let me explain that secretaries (especially secretaries that work for the company president or a high level VP) have to deal with some strange things.  Here are some things that I’ve actually had to do as part of my job.  Remember what kind of sandwich the boss likes from the deli.  Picking up laundry.  Waiting for a furniture delivery.  Getting a cell phone installed in a car.  Scheduling guitar lessons.  Scheduling squash games.  Booking vacation flights to Italy.  Track down lost luggage from the vacation in Italy.  Send luggage and other packages ahead and arrange for delivery to the vacation location so that the boss didn’t have to deal with it.  Managing the bank account for the boss’ social group (collect fees, make deposits, prepare reports).  I’ve often said that they should have included Early Childhood Development as part of the curriculum because there are times when I would describe the job I had to do as "holding hands and wiping noses" and the group dynamics of some of the companies I’ve worked for would rival a kindergarten class.  

 

Yea, there are some secretaries that probably don’t deserve the special recognition that they will get today.  But there are those of us that do.  We are good at what we do.  We work hard and put up with a lot of crap.  Is it too much to ask for one special day?   

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What To Do?

About a year ago, I switched vets.  I had been going to the same vet office for over 20 years, so the decision to switch vets was a very hard one for me to make.  I loved the vet and the staff that had been treating the animals, but for a year or so before I switched, the quality of the care had declined.  Now I’m not one of those "once a year to get shots" kind of vet client.  Goldie and Blacky were in there twice a year for blood work to make sure the arthritis meds they were on weren’t doing any damage to their livers or kidneys.  I was in there every month or so buying arthritis meds, heartworm treatment, flea stuff, ear mite stuff whatever for the animals.  It seemed like there were always new faces behind the desk or on the phone when I called.  It took two weeks to get reports on the results of blood work.  Even with a scheduled appointment, it wasn’t unusual to wait over an hour to see the doc. 

 

The final straw was when I took Blacky in last spring for a "behavioral assessment" to determine if there was a medical reason behind Blacky’s anxiety about new things/people in his environment. It took him 30 days to get back to me.  Now, don’t think I sat patiently by waiting for a call.  I bugged the heck out of that vet’s office about the report to no avail.  When I finally heard from the doc, he had a very condescending attitude about the diagnosis and what needed to be done for Blacky.  He said that Blacky had a mild form of Doggie Alzheimer’s and wanted to put him on a very expensive medicine that had side effects way worse than the problem that we were trying to fix.  I told Dr. C my concerns about the diagnosis (I didn’t think it was Doggie Alzheimer’s) and I was concerned about the side effects of the meds (I didn’t like the fact that it would dope Blacky up until he became a lump of fur).  Dr. C said that if I wasn’t prepared to go through with the treatment plan he recommended then he couldn’t help me.  After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I told Dr. C that I would discuss it with Hubby and we’d get back to him. 

 

I told Hubby that I wanted a second opinion and I found a vet that’s 20 minutes away from where we live that specialized in geriatric dogs and took Blacky for a second opinion.  Dr. G looked at the blood work that Dr. C had done, listened to me explain Blacky’s behavior, and did a medical exam on Blacky.  Dr. G told me that she thought the problem might just be part of Blacky’s genes.  He’s part Irish Setter and they sometimes act before they think.  She recommended that we keep an eye on the situation, continue with the behavior modifications (give him an escape route and make a special effort to introduce new things to him), and see how he does.  She didn’t see anything wrong with him medically and didn’t see the need to dope him up.  If the problem continued or got worse, then we’d look at it again.   

 

Wow, I really liked her and her way of treating me and Blacky.  So I called the old vet’s office and told them to transfer the records to the new vet.  And I told them why I was leaving. . . in great detail.   

 

I really like the new vet office.  There are several docs there so you don’t have to wait long if you have a walk-in appointment.  If I have an appointment, I’m in and out without much of a delay.  Blacky loves the vet techs and all the vets that he’s met while he’s there.  Luci went there for all her puppy shots and that’s who did her spay surgery in March.  Dr. G is the vet that helped me through Goldie’s last illness and her death.  I’m comfortable letting these people take care of my babies. 

 

Fast forward to last week.  I got a handwritten note from the old vet saying that he had heard that we had left and asked me to come back.  (I left about 10 months ago.)  Dr. C said they had made some changes and he wanted me to see that things were better.  Okay, I’m thinking that he didn’t get the message from whoever I talked to 10 months ago.  I’m tempted to call Dr. C and tell him exactly why I left and why I’m not coming back. 

 

Or should I just let him wonder what happened?  

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By George, I Think I’ve Got It!!

I think I (FINALLY) found something that will make/keep Luci from chewing through anymore of the lattice on the deck.  It’s a mixture of lime juice and vinegar.  I tried the Tabasco and vinegar mix and that didn’t work.  She actually liked that combination and I think it encouraged her to lick on the lattice and tear it off the deck.  Saturday afternoon I was desperate to try something that would make her stop and keep Hubby from killing the poor little dog.  I dug out an old bottle of Bitter Lime that I bought years ago to keep Goldie (my previous lab) from digging at a hot spot on her front leg.  To test my theory, I got a stick that Luci had chewing on and sprayed with the Bitter Lime and gave it back to Luci.  She took the stick in her mouth and then dropped it when she realized that it tasted "yucky".  I sprayed a paper towel that I had with the Bitter Lime and gave it to her.  Again, she dropped it and gave me that "That’s yucky" look.  So I sprayed all the places that she had been chewing.  When the bitter lime ran out, I went to the grocery and bought some vinegar and some lime juice.  Did the same tests and she still gave me the "That’s yucky" look.  I think I might have a solution.  Of course, I realize that I may have won just a small battle and the war won’t be over until she’s about 2 years old, but at least I’ve got a weapon that works!!

 

I also started "refresher" training of some of the stuff that she learned in puppy obedience class.  Mainly the "Come" command.  If I have to accept the fact that she’s going to get up in the middle of the night to go potty, then she’s going to come to me when she’s done so that I’m not out in the yard chasing her around to get her to come back inside.  I’m also tired of playing mind games with a dog to get her to drop something that she knows she’s not supposed to have.  Like rocks, sticks, unknown metal objects she finds in the yard – stuff like that.  So we’re working on "Come," and "Drop It" for an our every night.  The funny thing is that she’s does all the commands flawlessly when she’s got on the training collar and I have the training leash on her.  The minute I drop the training leash or I take off the training collar, she’s forgets everything we’ve worked on.  Aaaarrgghhh!!! 

 

Hubby keeps telling me that it shouldn’t be this hard to train her.  It wasn’t this hard to train Blacky.  I’m sure that we will finally get Luci trained, but it’s going to take a lot longer and be a lot harder than it was with Blacky.  Luci and Blacky have totally different personalities.  Blacky is a very eager-to-please, obedient, sensitive dog.  He rarely, if ever, misbehaves.  If you raise your voice at him, he looks like you’ve broken his heart.  If we raise our voice at Luci, he slinks away like he’s the one in trouble.  Luci is a stubborn and independent thinking lab.  The good part, though, is that she loves doing the training.  I just need to find a way to make her behave once the collar is off.  

 

Before I go, I have to share my latest Luci story . . . We were getting ready for bed last night.  Blacky and Luci had just come inside after their bedtime potty trip.  I told the dogs that we were going to bed and to go upstairs.  They left the kitchen and I followed behind them shutting off lights as I went.  I walked into the living room and reached to turn off the light when I noticed that Luci was sitting on the couch.  Big as life just like she belonged there.  I don’t let the dogs on the couch at all ever and I told her "Get Off, Now!" in my firmest mommy voice.  Okay, it was the firmest mommy voice that I could muster without busting out laughing.  Only Luci would think that she should sleep on the couch. 

 

I have my hands full with this one.   

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Orange Barrels

You can always tell it’s spring in Ohio when the state flowers start to bloom.  I’m talking about the glorious Orange Barrels.  (Okay, maybe they aren’t the state flower, but they should be.  The stupid things are everywhere.)  I started to get a little concerned when I saw them on my way into work on Monday morning.  Hmm, this can’t be good.  I have a 30 minute drive from home to work each morning and seeing the Orange Barrels only means that my drive is going to get longer.  I noticed that the Orange Barrels were on both sides of the highway – which meant that I would have delays both going to work and coming back home.  Yuck, yuck, yuck.  Alternate routes?  Not a good option because those highways are ALSO plagued with Orange Barrels.  You see, the State of Ohio loves to work on all roads in a particular area at the same time and the area I live in is in the middle of a major highway renovation that’s going to last at least 5 years.  Sucks to be me. 

 

I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’m going to have to deal with construction.  I know that when I get in the car and I’ve prepared myself mentally for that. I make sure that I go to the little girls room before I leave for work and before I leave work to come home.  I make sure that I have plenty of gas in the car in case I get stuck in a really long line.  I’ve seen the signs about which lane is going to be closed and I know where the construction zone starts and approximately how far I have to go before I’m out of it.  You can’t miss the big orange signs along the side of the road.  

 

But I’m getting really ticked off at the people who either aren’t paying attention or don’t have a clue as to what proper construction zone etiquette is.  Let’s review:

 

When you see a sign that says a lane is going to be closed – merge into the lane that is going to be open as quickly as possible.  Don’t zip down the empty lane and expect to cut in front of me because you’re too impatient/important to merge like the rest of the us poor suckers who have been stuck in line for the last 10 minutes.  I’m not intimidated by you just because you’re a great big bus or a big SUV.  I’ve got full coverage on this car and I’m not afraid to use it. 

 

Don’t stop and gawk at the construction workers.  Honestly, people.  What are you expecting to see?  Are the ladies expecting to find a cute hunk just waiting by the side of the road?  Are you trying to get some tips on your next home improvement project.  Just keep driving through the construction zone so that we can all get home before we turn into old people.  

 

Stop tailgating me!  Don’t you see the long line of traffic ahead of me?  Do you really think that I’m going to be able to go faster just because you’ve attached yourself to my back bumper? 

 

Get off the cell phone.  Once the traffic starts to move at a decent pace, I’d like to get back to my normal cruising speed but I can’t do that if you’ve got your cell phone attached to your ear and driving 5 mph with nobody ahead of you and no way for me to pass you. 

 

Can anybody explain to me why these problems exist?  It’s bad enough that we have to deal with the construction without adding stupidity to the mix. 

 

I feel better now . . . . but don’t be surprised if I don’t drag this rant out again at least once before the end of construction season. 

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Becoming My Mother

There have been many times I’ve compared raising dogs to raising kids.  There are times when I think that dealing with the dogs is much easier than dealing with the step-kids years ago.  Even though it’s easier to deal with the dogs, it’s still takes quite a bit of time and energy.  So there is one thing that amazes me.  I have trouble trying to manage a household and deal with two dogs yet my mom managed 4 kids at home at the same time, run a household, and not lose her mind. 

 

My mom was a stay-at-home mom all during my growing-up years.  After she married my dad, she worked until she got pregnant with my oldest sister, stayed home to raise all of us, and didn’t get a job outside of the house until after my little brother graduated from high school.  The house was always spotless and supper was always on the table when Dad got home by 5:30 every night.  She did this every day for over 34 years.  To this day, she still operates by the same schedule that she used when we were little kids.  I don’t know how she did it, but she did.  Add to that equation 4 kids of varying ages that were underfoot all the time and you’ll understand how amazing that feat was. 

 

I, however, can’t manage to deal with one 7 month old dog and get the floor mopped in less than three hours.  Monday nights, I’m home alone with the dogs after work.  Hubby bowls on Monday nights.  He leaves the house before I get home from work and is gone until about 9 p.m.  I have the whole house to myself from 6 p.m. (when I get home from work) until about 9 p.m.  My usual schedule for Monday nights is to mop the kitchen floor, mop the mud room floor, maybe do a load of laundry, fix myself some supper.  I get home from work, let the dogs out to go potty, read the mail, change my clothes and am usually I’m ready to work on the floor mopping by 6:30.  Since the weather is nice, Luci and Blacky like to stay outside as much as possible.  Blacky only comes in to make sure I’m still around and to get a drink of water.  If he’s done being out in the yard, he’ll come in and lay down in the living room or go upstairs to his doggie bed.  Never presents a problem.  Luci is a different story.  If she’s outside, I have to make sure she isn’t eating the lattice off the deck or digging big holes in the back yard – that requires me to stop what I’m doing about every 15 minutes to go outside and check on her.  If she thinks that I’m doing something more fun that what she’s doing, she has to come in and see what I’m doing.  Then she has to go find Blacky and see what he’s doing.  Next is a drink of water – which usually leaves either a small puddle or a small stream of water on the floor.  (Depends on how thirsty she is and how fast she moves to her next target.)  This goes on all night long.  Now I could probably put her in her cage while I’m working on the floor, but I feel guilty if I do that since she’s already spent a good part of her day in her cage while I’m at work.  So a job that used to take me about an hour – moping the kitchen and the mud room – now takes most of my evening.  But Luci is growing fast and I’m sure the hyper puppy stage isn’t going to last forever.  But I really don’t want her personality to change.  I enjoy watching her hyper little puppy antics.  I just wish I had inherited my Mom’s fantastic organizational genes so that I could the housework done and still have time to enjoy Luci while she’s still a puppy.

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