Sunday, February 22, 2004

This morning, we had an exceptionally fine Sunday brunch.

For one, we had hazelnut coffee, which we both like, adding to it a bit of the intense coffee beans which we bought from Ten Thousand Villages (or as I like to call them, to my daughter's dismay, Ten Thousand Maniacs). Along with that, we had seasoned bacon -- thick cuts of bacon which were seasoned with rosemary, brown sugar, and cayenne pepper. But the piece de resistance was the waffles, and only then when my daughter looked up and slyly asked if she could put a scoop of ice cream on hers. Ice cream? With brunch? Well, what the hell.....

Paper, coffee, good food, family -- excellent. Truly excellent.

Friday, February 20, 2004

This morning, my daughter told me that she had played her mother in Rummy, and 'whupped her butt'. The maternal sense of humor wasn't engaged by this phrase, and her mother was looking for an alternative. I suggested 'made her cry like a girl', which for some reason she didn't like either. At last, she suggested 'cleaned her clock', and the daughter said 'I didn't clean your clock, Mom. I don't like to clean.'

Is she great, or what?

Friday, February 13, 2004

I didn't write this. Wish I had. I found it at

Operator: "Thank you for calling Pizza Hut. May I have your..."

Customer: "Hi, I'd like to order."

Operator: "May I have your NIDN first, sir?"

Customer: "My National ID Number, yeah, hold on, eh, it's

Operator: "Thank you, Mr. Sheehan. I see you live at 1742 Meadowland
Drive, and the phone number's 494-2366. Your office number over at Lincoln
Insurance is 745-2302 and your cell number's 266-2566. Which number are
you calling from, sir?"

Customer: "Huh? I'm at home. Where d'ya get all this information?"

Operator: "We're wired into the system, sir."

Customer: (Sighs) "Oh, well, I'd like to order a couple of your
All-Meat Special pizzas..."

Operator: "I don't think that's a good idea, sir."

Customer: "Whaddya mean?"

Operator: "Sir, your medical records indicate that you've got very
high blood pressure and extremely high cholesterol. Your National
Health Care provider won't allow such an unhealthy choice."

Customer: "Damn. What do you recommend, then?"

Operator: "You might try our low-fat Soybean Yogurt Pizza. I'm
sure you'll like it"

Customer: "What makes you think I'd like something like that?"

Operator: "Well, you checked out 'Gourmet Soybean Recipes' from
your local library last week, sir. That's why I made the suggestion."

Customer: "All right, all right. Give me two family sized ones, then.
What's the damage?"

Operator: "That should be plenty for you, your wife and your four
kids, sir. The 'damage,' as you put it, heh, heh, comes $49.99."

Customer: "Lemme give you my credit card number."

Operator: "I'm sorry sir, but I'm afraid you'll have to pay in cash.
Your credit card balance is over its limit."

Customer: "I'll run over to the ATM and get some cash before your
driver gets here."

Operator: "That won't work either, sir. Your checking account's

Customer: "Never mind. Just send the pizzas. I'll have the cash ready.
How long will it take?"

Operator: "We're running a little behind, sir. It'll be about 45 minutes,
sir. If you're in a hurry you might want to pick 'em up while you're out
getting the cash, but carrying pizzas on a motorcycle can be a little

Customer: "How the hell do you know I'm riding a bike?"

Operator: "It says here you're in arrears on your car payments,
so your car got repo'ed. But your Harley's paid up, so I just assumed
that you'd be using it."

Customer: "@#%/$@&?#!"

Operator: "I'd advise watching your language, sir. You've already got
a July 2006 conviction for cussing out a cop."

Customer: (Speechless)

Operator: "Will there be anything else, sir?"

Customer: "No, nothing. oh, yeah, don't forget the two free liters of
Coke your ad says I get with the pizzas."

Operator: "I'm sorry sir, but our ad's exclusionary clause prevents
us from offering free soda to diabetics."

How silly, huh? I mean, COME ON! The Pizza Dude would have caller ID, so he'd know which number the customer was calling from. Sheesh.
We're going to be selecting wallpaper for one of the rooms, and dreading the thought of going to the store, leafing through tons of samples, dragging some home... why isn't this stuff digitally available? Key in some search criteria (dark, pattern, blue), and let it show you page of possibilities? Much more effective...

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Its just before noon on a chilly Sunday morning. I was up early today, dialing in to monitor a system upgrade. I never sleep well, the night before having to do that, and I almost always wake up before the alarm. Of course, then I turn it off and lie there, and moments pass...or more. The upgrade was without incident, as we expected it would be. While I was waiting for them to announce that it was a success, I took the opportunity to fire up Quicken and create some reports with which to update our retirement spreadsheet. The recent surges in the market have had a startling effect on our net worth, and I have taken to saying well, when the market dropped, we lost this percent of our stock-based net worth, so if that were to happen again, here's what our net worth would be. Which is sobering, but only for a little while. In fact, we had arbitarily picked a total net worth (excluding the house) value out of thin air a few years ago, saying that when we reached it, one of us could retire, and it actually seems like we're going to reach it this year. Then you start thinking well, sure, you're at that number, but retirement means an immediate drop in income, so don't you really mean some higher number, like 1.1 or 1.2 X, so that the drop puts you where you were when you retired? Truth is, no matter how much we have, it never seems like it'll be enough. Then you look at some articles about the number of people living in middle-class poverty, let alone all of those living near the actual poverty line, and you feel positively flush.