Friday, December 28, 2007

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

A few years ago when I attended a high school reunion, many of my former classmates inquired about what I did for a living. My job isn't the easiest to explain to the non-techs of the world, so I try to keep it to "I do marketing in the technology industry." If I say much more, their eyes glaze over and then they go into a geek-infused trance. I've had maybe two people in my life that actually wanted me to explain in detail what I do. Most of the time, I throw in, "I work for the CIA, so if I told you, I'd have to kill you." Not too far-fetched of an idea as many technology companies serve as fronts for CIA agents...or at least they do in Hollywood.

When I answered my high school classmates' questions, one of them said, "Oh, I barely know how to open e-mail...and attach a file? I'm clueless." Sigh. Poor girl. It still amazes me that even in the age that we live in, so few people understand basic technology. My boss has coined it well by saying, "Stand on the roof of any building. Look in every direction. Almost everything you see is touched by technology." Pretty amazing.

I do enjoy, however, laughing at the expense of those less educated in the 21st century way of life. Last week, I was forwarded an e-mail from a friend who works at a local technology company that handles wireless management for corporations. Before you drop into a tech coma, let's just say they deal with cell phone management for large organizations. That's really all you need to know. The person who received this e-mail at their company handles customer service for various accounts. The customer communication I received was from an employee of a pretty well-known athletic shoe company. If you think about it, you can figure it out...just do it. Here is her opening paragraph for your enjoyment...

"I spoke to you back in September to order a Blackberry. I have had some major issues with my blackberry the last couple of months. The first blackberry that I received got stolen and I had to reorder another one. The second one I received and have had for a couple of months and I accidentally spilt coffee and it went into my phone. A friend told me to put it in the oven to dry it out. Well, let’s just say that did not work it actually ended up melting it. So, now I am back to square one."**

Yep. An actual e-mail. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Place Blackberry on wire rack. Cook until either the phones dries out or melts. Contact your provider.

You can't make this stuff up.

**All names have been removed or not mentioned to protect the privacy and reputation of those involved.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Lamentations and Realizations

There are days when being single doesn't bother me a bit. Then there are days when being single is the pits. These days vary in their cause, but periodically they do rear their ugly head. Last night was one of those times.

One of the sweet families at my church had invited me over for dinner after work and I had a lovely time. I am so blessed to have a church family that truly is a family that watches out for each other - especially those of us flying solo. When I headed home around 10:30 or so, I was in the happiest of moods. Life is good, God is great, all is right with the world. Then I stepped into my house.

As I walked into my laundry room from the garage, it looked like someone had set off a dirt bomb laced with a water balloon in there. I immediately looked to see if any pipes had burst or if my water heater wasn't functional, but all was well in those areas. It appeared from first look that the sewer had backed up in the drain in my laundry room. Yuck. My first instinct was to cry. I hadn't been home all day and was ready to come home and go to bed. Before I got too far into diagnosing the problem, I decided to call my Dad. I'm so thankful for my Dad when these boy jobs pop up. Unfortunately he was asleep so my Stepmom walked me through the drill of things to check. We both decided I was safe from "Sewer Backup: The Sequel" during the night, so I told her I'd clean up the mess and she said Dad would check it out in the morning.

Three hours later I finally finished. House cleaning isn't on the top of my "fun things to do at midnight" list and cleaning up sewer muck tops the "things I abhor" list. As I plopped into bed at 3am, knowing I had to get up in about 3.5 hours or so, I wanted to just lament over my poor state. If I had a husband, he could have helped me clean up the mess that made my stomach turn. When it comes to house repair and maintenance, I stink at that, (pun intended) so maybe if I had a husband, even if he couldn't do the fixin', he could at least handle it....or be able to move the washer and dryer around easier so I could clean under them

Then, before I fell too far into the pity party, I was reminded (most likely by the Holy Spirit) of what I should be grateful for. If this had happened last week in the midst of company meetings, this situation would have added stress to an already busy week. Nothing was damaged (at least that I can tell) and the water and mucky yuck never made it passed the middle of the laundry room. And, my Dad is my hero and came down to my house this morning to check things out. After some investigation, he found out that my neighbor had a plugged up sewer yesterday but, in the words of the neighbor, "It finally broke loose" - yep...right into my laundry room. Nonetheless my Dad determined the problem to alleviate my worry and was able to move the washer and dryer completely to clean where I couldn't.

So many times we say "How good and faithful is our God" when things are going great. I sure did. But I was reminded after that episode to be quick to praise Him for His goodness and faithfulness in the midst of the muck of life.

Friday, December 14, 2007

All Aboard

Last weekend I watched The Polar Express for the first time. A few years ago when it came out, it didn't wow me, and I wasn't drawn in by all the hype. I will admit that I wanted to see it in 3D, but sadly, finding a non-sold out showing was nearly impossible. During the Family Channel's 25 Days of Christmas, they are showing multiple viewings of this holiday film and last Friday night whilst doing laundry and paying bills I thought I'd tune in and see what all the hoop-la (or ho-ho-ho-la) was about.

At first, it appeared a bit scary. A little non-believing boy gets snagged onto a train to the North Pole on Christmas Eve and witnesses children being drug to the roof to be pitched off the top. Yikes. Along with a train full of other annoying kids who can't wait to get to see Santa. I will admit the animation was exquisite and I was even more saddened that I didn't get to see this in 3D. Watching it was kind of like watching OJ Simpson driving his Bronco down the highway to get away from the police. I was compelled to watch the movie for no other apparent reason than to see what happens at the end. And, boy, am I glad I did.

I've discussed the Santa debate - do you believe or not believe - and one of my fellow bloggers, Katrina, addressed it beautifully in her blog post. Whether you embrace Santa Claus or not, this blog post won't engage in the discussion. What I did glean from this Santa-focused movie was some basic principles of belief. And, the real Reason for the Season is quite the defining moment to understand what it means to believe. There are spoilers ahead, so be warned...

A little boy is skeptical to believe there is a Santa and at the end of the Polar Express ride to the North Pole, Santa is revealed. He gives the boy a small bell, which at first he can't hear, yet once he truly believes, he can hear the jingle of the bell. On his way back home, the boy sadly loses his bell, but just like the magic that occurs in movies, it finds its way wrapped under his tree Christmas morning. As he picks it up and listens, he and his little sister can hear the jingle, yet their parents say, "What's wrong with that bell? It doesn't ring." The sound is only heard by those who truly believe.

I immediately was taken to a verse of Scripture in John...

"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." - John 10:27

Knowing Jesus as your Savior and Shepherd allows us sheep to know His voice. Those that believe hear Him, know Him, and follow Him. When that spiritual bell is rung in my ear, I hear it...and I believe. But those that don't believe are deaf to the sweet sounds of His Voice. Their spiritual bells are silent and they don't believe. Oh how this analogy made me think of that great Christmas Hymn, "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day"...especially these verses...

And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

I pray this Christmas that you believe. Not just in a white-bearded man in a red suit, but in a Shepherd who says..."I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand." - John 10:28 the Conductor on the Polar Express said..."Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can't see." May Jesus be the most real to you this Christmas season.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Keychain Malfunction

I seem to always lose my keys in the bottom of my purse. Or they crawl into one of my multiple inner pockets to hide away from me. Because of this problem, I prefer to have a fairly large keychain that makes locating them easier. Much to the dismay of my Dad who reminds me that "all that weight on your keys plays havoc with your ignition and starter." Nonetheless, I march on with my large and in charge keychains.

About 3 years ago, one of the vendors where I worked learned of my love of Winnie the Pooh. On his next trip to the happiest place on earth, he brought me back a large rubber Winnie keychain. It was great! Soft, yet large and visible in the dark domain of my purse. Winnie hung strong for almost 4 years until one day, his little loopy thing split in two and he was no more. For some odd sentimental reason, I still carry that scuffed up Pooh in my purse. I'm such a pack rat.

I needed a replacement. Now, although I like large keychains, I'm not a fan of obnoxious ones. You all know the type - the macrame projects from art class that hang almost to the ground. Or the never-ending string of multi-colored beads. Um, no. I want large, but charming. I headed to the local Walgreen's where everyone knows your name and you can find anything you need there. Whoever invented Walgreen's was a genious. Much to my delight I found a lovely Cinderella keychain that just fit the bill. Donned in her blue ball gown, she had sparklies on her dress that added to the largeness. If the size didn't get me, the glimmer would. A buck fifty later and I was back in keychain heaven.

In the past few weeks, though, I'd noticed something odd about Cinderella. She was having a wardrobe malfunction the likes of Janet (Miss Jackson that is) during a past Super Bowl half time show. I was embarrassed. Everytime I looked at my keys, I thought...geez, cover that mess up! Her blue ball gown paint had worn off in a very peculiar way displaying just half of her womanly glory. I tried to ignore it, but I knew I had to do something. Before a week passed, she broke. Yep, the hook in her back that connected her to the keychain fell off, ending her reign as my keychain. I've concluded the wardrobe malfunction is really what did her in, she just committed chain-a-cide to end her public life. She currently hides quietly in the bottom of my purse. Back to square one.

I thought about posting a picture, but it's just too scandalous. So, now I'm on a pursuit for a new keychain. Disney seems to be failing me....but, hmm, one of those nice Travelocity gnomes might do the trick....