Monday, September 22, 2008

Worst. Song. Ever.

I've been a vannie for some time now and during my tenure I have overheard a lot of truly awful music.

Despite my Texas residency, I am not a fan of country music. Twangy nasal crooning is not my idea of music. I prefer my music loud, angry, and unintelligible.

All of the van drivers prefer country music. The single notable exception is Neo Pompadour who listens to sports coverage on the AM dial. Lately, there has been some pressure for me to assume some driving responsibilities and while I shudder at the prospect of holding the lives of fifteen people in my hands, I am intrigued by the possibility of total radio control.

Most country music is easy enough to ignore: tunes about women wronged due to a cheatin', fightin', or boozin' man, ditties about cowpokes in love, and song after song about pick up trucks. But when a song called Watching You by Randy Atkins came on the radio, I considered throwing myself through the van window and into oncoming traffic.

This song is beyond awful, a mash of all the hokey crap that is this genre's stock and trade:


Precocious towhead?

Shout out to McDonalds?

Guitar playing in a field of hay?

Reference to the Almighty?

Four wheelers?
You betcha.

I'll leave it up to you to form your own opinion, just don't say vAnnie didn't warn you. I'll also encourage you to take a bathroom break first, lest you let loose on your favorite desk chair due to an uncontrollable giggle fit caused by the phrase, "orange drank."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Adventures with Ike

I'm a north Texas kind of gal. In the parlance of natural disasters: I speak tornado, not hurricane. Tornadoes come hard, fast, and unannounced.

Hurricanes do not.

Hurricanes come after a week (or more) of conjecture, doom, and foreboding which builds to a crescendo of hysteria.

News of the impending hurricane sent citizens in droves to their local megamarts in search of supplies. My hurricane preparedness list failed to include ice or batteries, but chocolate soymilk made it to the top of the list. It's good to know that in an emergency type situation, I tend toward junk food and perishables.

Ike closed in on Houston and as the wind picked up the power at home flickered before finally shutting off completely.

Power was not restored until 82 sweat-soaked hours later.

It was so hot during the outage that I courted mental collapse.

So hot that I went through the 5 stages of grief:

Denial - "It's not so bad! I'll just step outside or stop moving around so much, maybe splash a little water on my face."
Anger - "I cannot f@#$ing believe how hot it is in here!It's hot. I'm hot. So hot."
Bargaining - "I would give up television for a year if the air conditioner would just come back on.Television and Netflix for one year. And going to the movies. Ooh, it's always so nice and cool at the movie theater..."
Depression - "Whatever. I don't care about the heat anymore, it doesn't matter. Nothing does."
Acceptance - "So that's it then. Electricity is gone forever and we the survivors are left to rebuild humanity lest we slide back into prehistoric darkness."

Once Ike passed, it was time for damage assessment. Apart from the lime tree in the backyard flung on it's side, a few missing shingles, and a fence now resembling a mouthful of crooked teeth, the homestead was unscathed.

Not so for some of our neighbors. A walk around the neighborhood revealed many downed trees, damaged roofs, and missing fences.

The best and most unexpected thing about hurricane aftermath was how my neighborhood came alive. In the absence of the usual creature comforts, my neighbors were walking outside, talking to each other, helping each other.

It gave me some small measure of hope that we aren't on a crash course to hell with every man out for himself. That even without cell phones and satellite television, we can still connect with each other.

And then power was restored and the people went back inside and the windows were closed and the street was quiet again.

The errant shingles and tree branches have finally made it into the trash and the lime tree was replanted. Should the tree make it, we'll call him Ike. Then maybe in the spring we'll buy a lemon tree and name it Dick or Tina.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Dora, Dora, Dora

There's been some van drama recently, and the blame can be placed squarely on Dora's shoulders.

Evidently, Dora was recently promoted and her schedule has changed. Which means that accommodating her new schedule has become the responsibility of every other person on the van. After we made our final pick up last week, she floats the idea of changing the pick up and drop off routes and insists that she be at her desk no later than 7:15 a.m.

Well, gee, princess, I'd like to crowd surf into my office every morning where a feast of calorie-free biscuits with gravy and non-annoying coworkers are waiting for me. But that ain't gonna happen either.

Dora's plan went over (to borrow a phrase from my brother), "like a turd in a punchbowl." And poor Wizened Crone (who has recently taken over the Van Mother role) it was on her to diplomatically explain that not only was Dora's suggestion rubbish, but would be massively inconvenient to, oh, everyone.

So how does Dora retaliate?

She changes the clock on the van.

It has been previously addressed that the van clock runs s-l-o-w. But all the vannies have compensated by showing up a few minutes late. Last week, by pure chance, I found myself arriving to the van a few minutes early, or so I thought. When the clock read 6:30, less than a minute after I got on, our half empty van left. Rather, I should say our half empty van left about 6 people behind.

The next morning, having forgotten about the clock being moved, I drove into the parking lot in time to see my van pulling away. Instead of admitting defeat, I gunned my puny 4 cylinders and caught up to the van. The murderous glint in my eyes as I took my seat prompted Wizened Crone to say, "Everyone adjust your time because someone has changed the clock in the van."

Someone? Someone!?!? Often times in adult life, I find myself hopelessly frustrated by the lack of directness in the world. How's about something along the lines of, "Dora? Yes, you. Your little clock stunt has pissed everyone off. In time we will get over it, but right now everyone thinks your a selfish ass."

Although, Karmic justice reigns supreme: since changing the clock, Dora has missed the van three times. Which reminds us all that no one fiddles with van destiny and gets away with it.