The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

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Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Say It Like You Mean It

Last week, I had a pretty crappy day. (A few actually, but let's not dwell on that.) It's taken me nearly a week to get to the point where I want to talk about it here.

And, well, venting will ensue. It is the way of things. Last chance to bail.

Let me just start by saying that I'm tired of worrying about who may, or may not be, reading this public journal. I've taken steps to provide for anonymity, but dammit, this is my life and this is my place to talk about it. Good or bad. I am not, as a very wise man told me, going to begin redacting whole sections of my life, marking through them in black ink, as if they were a matter of national security. They simply are not.

If someone doesn't like me, and no longer has even the most specious of reasons to follow my life, and they still feel obligated to check my site two or three times a day...every see what I'm up to...well, they should be the ones to examine the motivation to do so. Or, perhaps, get the assistance of a professional therapist. The sooner the better, actually.

In the meantime, my ex appears to be dating again (I'm crossing my fingers) and I'll just have to hope that he's gained enough wisdom (since the last time) to avoid pointing new paramours to this site, jumping up and down, and excitedly announcing, "That's ME! That's ME! That's ME she's talking about!!". I suppose we'll just have to see. Until then, I'm shaking it off and moving on. Thanks to all of my friends out there who have urged me thusly. I deeply appreciate the support. Always.

That said, Buckle Up, Boys and Girls! (Shoulda bailed while you had the chance.)

Most of my regular readers know that money’s been kinda tight around Castle Anthrax lately. The kids need things that I simply can’t afford to give them. And it’s frustrating. Many of you are in similar circumstances, I know.

Carrying a balance of nearly $2000 on an interest-free “loan” for my ex is made that much harder when I have to tell my kids that I can’t afford to get them things they need. It’s easier when it’s just clothing, but last week I had a hard one. To be honest, I'm still dealing with it.

[Kid 2] and [Kid 3] both need some orthodontal work. [Kid 3] is just getting to the age to be able to benefit from it, and [Kid 2]’s work was postponed for some personal reasons (to her) that I won’t go into here. During her last dental visit, however, our dentist recommended that we shouldn’t wait any longer. Her jaw is becoming misaligned to the point where she’s grinding her teeth down and becoming a key candidate for some TMJ.

So, I took a long lunch, last week, and routed both girls to an orthodontist (to whom we were referred by our dentist) for an evaluation. I went with the knowledge that this would be a very expensive venture, and that there was likely no way that I could afford to have both children treated simultaneously. Consequently, [Kid 2]’s teeth would take priority. I’m also aware, having known folks dealing with ortho costs, that, in most cases, payment plans are available.

I was told, that [Kid 2]’s mouth was in the “moderate” range, for the amount of work she needed. And just so you can put a dollar amount with “moderate”, that’s about $5,695.00. Okay, it’s exactly $5,695.00. And, no, I don’t have it.

The payment plan would be $171.00 a month over 24 months, with a $1200 downpayment. I’m not sure how I could swing the $171, but that’s irrelevant until I can figure out how to come up with the $1200. (I'm not even going to mention [Kid 3]'s prognosis, which will involve oral surgery and a gum graft, BEFORE we start ortho.)

Having recently met with my ex about modifications to the child support (as [Kid 1] turned 18 the end of last month), I knew he’d be of limited financial help, but I had to at least try. I mean, if I had the money he owed for the kids, it wouldn’t be an issue at all. I could make the downpayment for [Kid 2]'s work and either increase it to minimize the monthly payments, or apply the balance towards the work that [Kid 3] needs to have in the next six months prior to ortho. But that's simply not the case.

This is all made worse by the fact that he was recently featured in a newspaper article here in River City. He helped co-found a toy collector’s club here in River City and the article featured the club. He, himself, started collecting these particular toys in about 1991, I think. I remember that it was after [Kid 2] was born, anyway. (Though, that’s not really pertinent to the discussion at hand.) In nearly 17 years, he's amassed a pretty impressive collection.

He was quoted in the article as saying that his collection was worth $12,000 (which comes as no surprise to me), and then goes on to state that he “has no plans to part with his collection…but if it turns out my daughters need money…I’d cash them in.” (I won’t link to the article as there is personally identifiable information in it, and to do so would be terribly unwise and vindictive…and that’s not me.)

Aggravating as it was to read all about how if his kids’ needed money, he’d make it available…despite the fact that he’s done no such thing for the past many months that he’s owed the arrearages…I thought I’d call him and explain the situation and give it another shot. When your kid needs medical help, you have to explore every option.

Once he was on the phone, I went through a detailed explanation of what the orthodontist found and the total cost and the terms of the payment plan, etc. He seemed genuinely concerned, but then asked what he could do about it. I explained to him that his daughter needed the work, urgently, and that I simply didn’t have the money for the downpayment, and I asked if there was anything he could do.

“No.” He didn’t have it either. So I took a deep breath and said, “Look, I can’t borrow it. I don’t have a home I can mortgage. I don’t have an asset I can sell, or I would. You indicated, in print recently, that if your children were in need, you had $12,000 at your disposal.”

There was no shrieking. I’ll give him that much. But he said, “You expect me to sell my [toys]?” I told him I planned to check with some other orthodontists in town and check into anything I could to provide some cost savings, but that I didn’t have many other options at my disposal and I thought, since he seemed to indicate that his childrens’ need was of import to him, that he may have financial options that I did not.

His reply? “Well I didn’t expect that article to be used as collateral. And I didn’t say I definitely would do it. I was simply musing.”

What a shocker. I'm quite sure the statement in the article was meant to make it look like he's got loads of expendable income and is a caring dad. (Pay attention all you single babes!) I suppose the reality that his children or I (or anyone else for that matter) might expect him to be a man of his word wasn't really a big concern.

When we bought the house that he now lives in, I cashed out my retirement account to come up with the lion’s share of the downpayment and closing costs (the balance was obtained through short-term loans from my parents and his). I’d asked him (as had his mother), to sell his collection to come up with this money, but he refused. There was no mention, at that time, of the children (three by then) being a factor in his decision. He simply didn’t want to sell them. End of discussion. The kids have become a convenient excuse subsequently.

It's aggravating. Especially when I see Highlander pulling pieces of his own prized collections to sell in effort to help these children that he loves so dearly. Of course, that doesn't make him a good parent or anything. I mean, after all, he still doesn't drive (see below for clarification).

Please be advised that the management does not, for an instant, feel that good parenting is, in any way, tied to an ability (or inability) to drive, dance, twirl plates, catch lightning bugs, or shovel snow.

In fact, the management feels that parents who do not drive (dance, twirl plates, catch lightning bugs or shovel snow), but who are emotionally and financially supportive to their children, are far more effective than those who do drive (dance, twirl plates, catch lightning bugs, or shovel snow) who are not emotionally and financially supportive to their children.

The crux of good parenting, in the humble opinion of the management, being more related to the "support" qualifications, and less to the "driving (et al) skills" qualifications.

Attempting to follow logic that Better Drivers = Better Parents will, and I mean WILL, make you weep for humanity. (I mean, really, how many moms in the fifties didn't drive? Bad parents, all? Please.)

Consequently, the above statement was included for ironic emphasis and should not be taken as a factual interpretation of the information.

The Management

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Wonder No More!

Don't wanna vote democrat (because they wussed out)? Can't make yourself vote republican (because you'll burst into flames)?

Now you have an alternative. A "third lever" so to speak.

Vote General Zod in 2008! Er...Or Else!

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Monday, June 18, 2007

C'mon Deliver the Letter, the Sooner the Better

I received a few emails, this morning, that (because they were new to me) I wanted to share...hoping to entertain and enlighten, while doing so.

In my usual unabashedly skeptical way, I harumphed when I received an email forward this morning, advising...

Hi, all you animal lovers. This is pretty simple.. Please tell ten
friends to tell ten today! The Animal Rescue Site is having trouble
getting enough people to click on it daily to meet their quota of
getting free food donated every day to abused and neglected animals.

It takes less than a minute to go to their site and click on "fund
food for animals" for free. This doesn't cost you a thing. Their
corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate
food to abandoned/neglected animals in exchange for advertising.

Look for the PURPLE BAR/BUTTON to click on.

Here's the web site! Pass it along to people you know.

After reading it, I immediately went to my favorite tool in such cases I love these people. They do all my work for me. And in this particular case, I was very pleased to find that this email forward is legit. Such a rare occurrence on email forwards, you know?

Sooooo, I decided to post it here. In the hopes that the few of you out there, most all of whom are animal lovers, will help our four-legged friends in need. It really is as simple as clicking on a bar. It's a very easy way to feel good about helping out. We can all use a little of that, huh?

As it turns out, I'd already been to the Snopes site earlier, as I'd received this email:

Dear SuperWife,

Your resume was recently viewed online and I feel that you are qualified for a Site Moderator opening we have within the company. We are one of the most exciting website launches in the last few years, Too Spoiled.

Unlike other entertainment industry sites, Too Spoiled is completely free for Models and Actors to join. We are seeking a Site Moderator to monitor the content of the site and flag and/or remove any inappropriate postings. As a Site Moderator, you would also look to stop any members targeting minors on the site. The position is one that can be done from your home if you have a computer and an online connection.

The compensation package we offer is very competitive, with Site Moderators earning between $42,500 and $52,000 annually. Performance bonuses, medical and dental plans, a 401(k) plan and tuition reimbursement are also offered.

If you are interested in joining Too Spoiled as a Site Moderator, please click on the link below and fill out the online application. If the link doesn’t work, copy and paste the address into your browser to go to the webpage.

After you submit your online application, you can expect me to contact you within one or two business days. I look forward to hearing from you.


Scamela McScamerson
Too Spoiled

Wow! Work at home?! Making good money with good benefits?! Hmmm, I gotta know MORE!! So, I surfed to their site. And it was kinda sad (LOTS of people wanting to become models and actors), and seemed to have a dating sideline going there, too. But, hey, according to their site (and those things never lie, right?), they have quite a few members. So, clearly they could use a little moderatin'. And, I'm TOTALLY the man for that job.


(Isn't there always one of those?) When I did a little more digging, I discovered that quite a few folks were getting these emails. And those unwise enough to sign up and give Too Spoiled a great deal of their time, were getting shorted in their pay envelope. Well, that's not fair. The reality is that they weren't getting a pay envelope at all.

Without much effort, I found Better Business Bureau complaints and a pretty substantial number of personal (and some bitter) complaints littered about the internet.

I suppose I'll have to keep slogging along doing my thang in the real world for a while longer, anyway.

But wait!

Yet another opportunity presented itself to me this very morning. Oh, lucky me!!

Hello !

How are you ?

I have an offer to you which you won't be able to refuse. Let's try to work together with eBay. Taking the opportunity I can deliver you goods at the manufacturer's price, and this price is twice less than the price most stores offer. You will sell the goods at eBay, carry on the correspondence with buyers and so on. When there is a client you will inform me his address and I'll send him the goods.
After the payment you take your per cent .I cannot work at the auction 'cause I have lots of work, and I'm short of time to do the correspondence and all that stuff. But you can get extra earnings. The number of goods is not limited. You can sell one item per week or twenty, it's up to you. You should remember that you can get both extra earnings and plenty of positive feedbacks at eBay as the goods will be delivered quickly, and the client will be satisfied. Since you have feedbacks at eBay why can't you put up for sale an ipod or camera, etc. every day?
The duration of the action will be three days and at the end you will send me the address of the buyer (delivery time is 5-7 days). I'll ship item and will give you tracking number.
You give me my share (after delivering) and the rest you can have for yourself ( for example 250 for Garmin Street Pilot c340 GPS Receiver:

It's easier and more
beneficial. Why not try it? And if you like the idea we can put up for sale several products a day. We can do test for 3 Garmins.

The scheme I'm offering has more advantages than the one we've been using:

- No matter how many goods we put up for sale
They'll be sold, and you'll get your share.

- The delivery will be fast as every
address is be new. It's much better as there is a limit of goods for every address. So it's easier to work with new addresses.

- You'll get lots of feedbacks since your
buyers will be satisfied.

- It's more convenient for both of us. I know
the goods which will be sold in three days and don't have to look for them everywhere. It's more difficult with some rare product when you present me with a fait accompli.

Don't be hasty rejecting my offer. Everyone needs extra money. We can do good deal! You'll be satisfy!
We'll be happy!

Thank you and looking forward to hearing from you!

Lotta Schitt

Pls Just Send Me Your Reply at ---

Lemme see if I understand this right. I'm putting my ebay reputation on the line for a total stranger, in a "scheme" (her word, not mine) whereby I have no control of the product condition or veracity, nor of the shipping/delivery of the goods. Yeah, THAT sounds like it'll work.


And, is it me, or does it come across pretty hinky that Lotta uses terms like "fait accompli", and then, in the next paragraph, says "We can do good deal!"

"Rife with Peril" seems to be underscored here. So much so, in fact, that a trip to Snopes wasn't even necessary.

Ah, well, back to deleting the unknowns, I guess...

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Another Gem Courtesy of You Tube

Highlander and I were pointed to this one by the ever-weird [Kid 1]...

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Either That...or Hormones...

Fuck it.

Sometimes, all you need is a mirror to let you know you're blood pressure is up. You know what I mean?

Who needs a sphygmomanometer, anyway?

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Best of the Worst

Ran across a few links that may be of interest to you few readers, so I thought I'd share.

First up is the 25 Best Movies You've Never Seen. Except, I know this crowd well enough to know that you've all seen at least one on the list. Me, I've seen a whopping two.

I gotta let you know that I checked and none of you are on this list of the 100 unsexiest men of 2007. However, there are quite a few unsexy men on there. While the list clearly takes physical attractiveness into account, in many cases, it's the freaky quotient, too.

While I'm not a fan of country music, like cheesy pick-up lines, some country music song titles are priceless. Here's a list of the all-time best of the worst of country music song titles. Hard to choose a favorite, but here's one that always makes me smile, "My Wife Ran Off With My Best Friend, And I Sure Do Miss Him".

Dig on mocking the politicians? How about this list of the worst political websites? The internet is the new way to "remove all doubt". And it does it in half the time.

Actions speak louder than words...I just don't have the time to get around to any. Why bother setting up the page at all?

Here's the best of the worst in comicbook advertising. I'm not sure about the rest of the competition in this area, but this one is pretty good. I found myself not so much motivated to buy the product, but wondering about the overall effectiveness of law enforcement in the area.

As this list of Stupidest Republican Quotes was compiled last Christmas, it's likely it should be updated. But it had quite a few classics on it.

Lastly, one for Tony Collett. A "Where are they now" that may be of interest. Okay, it's not technically a best of the worst, though many of them may have been at their best "then".

Okay, that's all for now. Go out and play or somethin', will ya?

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

What's Your Sign?

What is it about pick up lines? Have they ever worked anywhere? Bunnyman has a theory that they work just fine on a person who wants to have sex with you, but not so well on one that doesn't. Yet, there seems to be an inexhaustible supply of them. And, Boy, have they come a long way since I was barhopping.

Generally speaking, they make me laugh in a "Who the hell would EVER fall for that crap" kinda way. Anywho, thought I'd share this collection of outrageous pick-up lines with you.

Some of the ones that made me laugh, wince or groan (I refuse to elaborate on which are in which category) are:

"Hey baby, wanna go halfsies on a bastard child?"

"I may not have gotten your virginity, but can I at least have the box it came in?"

"awh man, I just pooped my pants a little... you're not into that? are you?"

"What does this choloroform smell like to you?"

"You must be a parking ticket... Cuz, you have FINE written all over you"

"Hey, looks like you're drunk. Do you want to have sexual intercourse with me?"

"What has 138 teeth and holds back the Incredible Hulk? My zipper."

"Fuck me if I'm wrong, but is your name Yolanda?"

Hope I'm not the only one smirking.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

From the Not As Bad As Some People Got It file

I'm currently breaking in a new bookkeeper at my office. The last one was here just over a year. Her last day was May 22nd. While she and I had our different approaches to things, we got along well and I was truly happy for her when she got an opportunity move into a better position.

Penny had moved to River City from New Orleans after having weathered Hurricane Katrina (and the unspeakable condition of that city in the months following that disaster). To what she thought would be a much better life, I suppose. She is 60 years old, but very much has a joie de vive and a (seemingly) inexhaustible supply of energy. Her husband, of 18 years, is a self-employed handyman and, according to Penny, a work-a-holic. I don't know him well, only having met him on a couple of occasions.

One month ago, as I was battling bronchitis myself, Penny's husband was doing the same. He's a lifetime smoker, so he was having a more difficult time bouncing back from it. So, neither of them was particularly surprised it was so slow going for him.

About a week before she left the company, Penny came in and reported that she'd taken her husband to the doctor (he'd finally given in to her near-constant nagging, I suppose) and they had discovered he had one collapsed lung and fluid filling the other one. While attempting to do whatever they do to drain fluid from a lung, they discovered a mass. Funny to think that "mass" has become such a scary word, huh?

They scheduled an MRI, which he had the next day, and discovered (13) tumors throughout his bronchial tubes, his esophagus and in both lungs. And he was pretty terrified. So was Penny. A biopsy was done, but the doctor advised them that it looked pretty much like cancer. Nearly a week later, that was confirmed. And then updated to "fast growing cancer".

Still battling pneumonia, and now being told that the tumors are also on his lymph nodes, the doctors were rather intimidated on coming up with a treatment plan. Difficult to treat the cancer when he was in such a weakened state from the pneumonia. Impossible to treat the pneumonia as the tumors were directly blocking the entrance to each lung.

While trying to come up with a plan, Penny's husband suffered a major setback and was admitted to the Critical Care Unit at one of our local hospitals. That's been about two and a half weeks ago. He was, at that time, put into a comatose state and hooked up to ventilators and various other equipment. He's been taking iv antibiotics and has had a radiation treatment and several chemo treatments since that time.

The prognosis does not seem too good, though. Moving him from a hospital bed to the area where the radiation is done nearly killed him. So he won't be getting anymore of those treatments until and if he can. In the meantime, the family has been called in and the doctors have begun talking about disconnecting life support on Friday if he shows no improvement by that time.

Best case scenario is that he recovers from the pneumonia and can begin treatment for the terminal cancer that he isn't expected to last more than 18 months from. As if that isn't heartbreaking enough, as a self-employed handyman, Penny's husband only carries major medical insurance. I cannot imagine what the impact is going to be to her financially. With him not working for the last month, and bringing in no income, the funds are stretched pretty thin already.

But, wait, that's not even all of it. One of her husband's brothers came down today from Michigan to see his brother and to help Penny. He and his wife rode their motorcycle directly to the hospital and made it there sometime mid-morning today. After visiting a bit, they headed out to Penny's house to unload their travelling gear and grab a shower and a bite to eat. Unfortunately, it was pouring down rain when they left.

As avid bikers, they dressed in their rain gear and headed out of the parking lot. One block from the hospital, they were t-boned by a car that did not see them. The brother suffered a broken leg, the wife suffered a broken leg, ankle and a crushed foot. They are both currently in the emergency room at the same hospital.

So, the help that Penny had been so grateful to get, to help her through this difficult ordeal, has become one more burden on her already overburdened list.

And did I mention that she started a new job two weeks ago? Her new employers seem to be genuinely trying to work with her through this. I'm glad. Certainly makes you rethink some things in your own life, huh?

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Be Afraid

Be VERY afraid.

You have been warned.

This is the part where I say "I told you so."

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Things That Make You Go "Hmmmmm"...

Bunnyman and I did a little grocery shopping this morning. On our way out, we noticed water dripping from above (and to the right of our back porch), I'd assumed, given the location, that it was our neighbor watering plants. However, given a recent HVAC problem in that same apartment and a plumbing issue we had in the last several days, Bunnyman wanted to further investigate.

Luckily, as we were stepping off the porch, our neighbor came walking back out onto her porch with a water pitcher in hand.

Mystery solved.

So, we finished up a brief shopping trip and, upon our arrival, ran into this same neighbor again. This time, she was on her way to do some laundry.

We exchanged hello's, and then she said, "So when's your friend Nate coming back?" Which, I gotta tell you, made me raise my eyebrows. This neighbor is the one we like. But, in addition to that, she's very sweet and kinda cute.

So, Bunnyman informs her that we've been trying to get him to move down here, but to no success. And she says, "That's a shame. I like him. He really makes me laugh."

I told her I'd let him know that she'd asked after him. And, the next time he swings by here, I'm sure he will. It just seemed significant to me that she not only asked about him, but remembered him by name (given a very brief interaction). So, I just gave Bunnyman a look and we proceeded to unload the car.

I'm just saying...

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No, I'm not hissing at you. Well, not at most of you. I have been tagged by fellow blogger and friend, Your Girl Friday, for a little meme action. Check her blog for the set up.

For the purposes of this exercise, I've been entrusted with the letter "S". Let's see how much damage I can do to the alphabet. Shall we?

In no particular order, here are (10) "S" things:

Steel Magnolias - My alltime favorite movie quote came from this movie. Shirley Maclaine was talking to Sally Fields about her husband and said, "I'll bet he's a real gentleman. He probably takes the dishes out of the sink before he pees in it."

Silk and Satin - I'm counting these two as one, because they are here for the same reason. Tactile sensation. And that's all I'm saying about that.

Sign Language - In addition to the "French I took", I used to take Sign Language classes. Once upon a time, when I was in college on a teaching scholarship, I had planned to teach deaf children. That's before this next "S" turned my head.

Sociology - My major for most of my "college career". Other than Art History, it's likely the least employable major you can take. However, studying people has always been a passion of mine, and the thought of getting a research job in that field (and getting paid for it) appealed to me greatly. Construction certainly has it's crossover.

Supergirlfriend/Superfiancee/Superwife - What can I say? I'm married to the sweetest man in the world!

Sword of Shannara - Bunnyman will be looking for the divorce lawyer now. When I was young and impressionable, my (then) boyfriend introduced me to this Terry Brooks series. I've since read much better prose, but I cut my teeth on this stuff and there's a little sentimental tug when I think about it.

Saturday - Unlike YGF, this is MY favorite day of the week. I still have what feels like a WHOLE weekend ahead, and the stench that is work behind. While Saturday morning cartoons have kinda been screwed, Saturday night's all right for fighting, and there's Saturdays in the Park.

Sex - You knew it had to show up on this list. My grandmother used to say "Superwife {she didn't actually call me that, but it was close}, do you know why I have six kids?" And when I indicated that I did not, she replied, without nary a hesitation, "because I really like sex." Me and grandma, we have a few things in common.

Scylla and Charybdis - My previous address...though I do still drop in for a visit from time to time.

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious - As a child, I always aspired to be able to spell this non-word. After seeing CINDERELLA at the theatre when I was 7, this word always presented a challenge to me. I'd like to say I didn't look up the spelling when I was working on this post, but I did. I was only off one letter though. Fricken Fracken Rashen Frashen word!!

Oh, and while they aren't there, Snakes on a Plane (or pretty much anywhere else) freak me right out!! ::shiver::

A couple other fellow bloggers have been tagged with the letters "P" and "R", but if you wanna play along and haven't been tagged, let me know and I guess can put on a ranger hat and tag you my own damn self.

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