Growing up is hard to do.
My baby brother is all grown up. Married this past summer to a wonderful woman who is truly *good* for him.
He's my best friend (next to Mr Epi of course). And I realize how selfish this sounds, but I never thought I'd be replaced as his best friend (I KNOW how horrible and selfish that sounds, I swear I do)... But I have... And I believe I'm okay with it.
Tomorrow is his 27th birthday. We celebrated it today. Happy Birthday, Baby Brother. I love you more than life itself.
Growing up is hard to do.
These are a few of my favorite gifts this Christmas:
It's GORGEOUS... In that geeky wanna be photographer kind of way. It's a smallish camera bag, but big enough to hold my camera body, a few lenses, a flash and my SD cards, and extra batteries. It's larger than it looks. (Oddly enough "That's what HE said" just popped into my head... Don't mind me...) Either way, it works for when I don't want to lug the "suitcase" around with me.
Thank You to my absolutely FANTASTIC Father-In-Law and his wife!!!
This frame is a work of art in itself.
You might have noticed that my brother decided to "add" something to this frame in the form of words written on the inserts. His reasoning "I was bored, and she (motioning to his new wife) left me alone on a Friday night."
(Transcribed for your enjoyment...)
"I haven't laughed in a long time... but ever since I joined (EpiJunky) I have new hope. We all have a reason to laugh and smile again."
What the HELL? *tilts head sideways*
"(Epijunky) saved my life once. She is the greatest warrior I have ever seen!"
Hehehe Check me out. I'm a flippin' WARRIOR! Not just any warrior, but the GREATEST warrior he's ever seen! Oh yeah, and my brother is obviously smoking crack.
"I heard (Epijunky) is recruiting people to join her army in efforts to take over the world... Should I join?"
Okay, darling baby brother, you've officially lost your mind. But I like you. You may be the only insane person I've met who knows what they're talking about.
"I'm joining! I'd follow her into the gates of hell! Woo HA!"
Over hill over dale as we hit the dusty trail, and the caisson's go rolling along! Folks I have an ARMY of picture frame models willing to join my cause. (What's my cause again?)
Post Script--I should probably mention that my brother is a very level headed 27 year old insurance claim adjuster who has never been on any illegal drugs that I'm aware of.
Posted by Epijunky at 12/28/2007 11:19:00 PM
With Christmas just now behind us and New Years just around the corner, I find myself absolutely EXHAUSTED.
I've been working retail for the first time in ten years, and I find that it's hard on me physically. My knees hurt, my back hurts, my feet hurt. Basically, I just hurt.
I hurt, and I'm tired.
Working at a store where you make your living mostly on commissions equates to EXCELLENT holiday paychecks. Unfortunately, it also brings out the lunatics.
Case in point... I'm ringing up a customer whose total purchase is just under $20.00. She was trying to come up with 55 cents. It's the holiday season, if I have the change in my pocket, I'll tell them don't worry about it and put the change in myself. (ONLY if it's under 50 cents and I happen to have that change... hey, like I said, it's the holiday season!) I was about to contribute to her purchase when I take notice of her Coach purse. Then I see her dig through her wallet which has at least $200.00 in it. I decide to save my change for someone who actually needs it and wait patiently for her to dig up the change. She says, "I just don't want to break a twenty for 50 cents".
I wait... and wait... and wait some more. I'm watching folks line up behind her. I mentally shred her to bits while I remind myself that I need this job. She is also cursing under her breath. I inhale and exhale...I apologize to the folks lining up behind her and assure them I'll be with them in "just a second".
At one point she actually closed up her purse and sighed loudly. Like she EXPECTED me to tell her to just forget the change she was short.
Sorry. Not happening. You want the pictures of you and your gold toothed boyfriend posing in front of that Escalade, you're going to have to either COME UP WITH THE FUCKING CHANGE ALREADY, or pull out one of the SEVERAL 20's you have nestled in that 400 dollar purse.
She let out a couple choice words and ended up breaking a twenty.
She actually said (and I'm quoting here) "I can't believe I have to use a twenty to come up with 55 cents"
I practically yanked the bill out of her hand and completed my transaction, I quickly moved on to the next customer and apologized again for the wait. If I said she held up my line for five minutes, I wouldn't be exaggerating.
Sometimes... I hate people.
That happened two days ago, today she came back in and dared to bitch about what we charge for a fax. (I'm assuming she's another mall employee... Mall employees are the only ones who come to us for faxes) After the fax went through she decided to question my pricing even though I told her what the charges were before she handed me her precious work schedule.
I guess if that's the worst I have to deal with I'm doing better than Ribeye.
Posted by Epijunky at 12/27/2007 11:11:00 PM
I *heart* reading WhiteCoat's post at WhiteCoat Rants.
Like him, I wont tag anyone, but if you want to particpate, let me know you did in comments so i can see what your thoughts are.
1. Wrapping or gift bags?
Wrapping paper, ABSOLUTELY. Unless it's alcohol, in which case it's put in a nice gift bag. There's something about watching my kids tear through some Dora the Explorer or Spongebob wrapping paper. One of my favorite memories from childhood was how awestruck I was when I'd realize my gifts "From Santa" were wrapped in totally different paper than my gifts from my parents.
2. Real or artificial tree?
Unfortunately...Artificial. Had a real tree for years when I was younger. Once I married Mr Epi we did the real tree for two or three years. The last year 95% of the needles fell off in the first three days. I bagged those suckers up and dragged the remainder of the tree back to the nursery where I bought it and threatened to dump it in front of the store if they didn't give me my money back. (They did) I miss the smell of a real tree. Thank goodness Yankee makes a candle that smells just like a real tree.
3. When do you put up the tree?
First weekend in December. When we had a live tree we typically did it the second weekend in December.
4. When do you take the tree down?
Just before New Years
5. Do you like eggnog?
Ewww... I just threw up in my mouth a little.
6. Favorite gift received as a child?
Hard to pick.. I'd have to say that my absolute favorite gift was the Canon EOS 630 my father gave me. Even had a telephoto lens with it. I know he dropped more money on that than he had planned on. It catapulted my absolute OBSESSION with photography.
7. Do you have a nativity scene?
I don't. I wish I did.
8. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
(Okay, at the time I believed it was a "less than desirable gift", but that changed.)
Here's a story for you. My late Grandmother gave me a set of Christmas ornaments one year. I was taught to always be grateful for anything you receive (we had some financially *tight* Christmases when I was younger). Being a 15 year old girl interested in just about anything BUT Ornaments, I mentally rolled my eyes, but thanked my Grandma. She passed away a few years later. Since then, they've become one of my most treasured items.
9. Mail or email Christmas cards?
10. Favorite Christmas movie?
A Christmas Story.
11. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
Pretty much two weeks before Christmas. We've not been financially able to start much sooner than that. We're constantly wondering why we didn't set aside money during the year so we wouldn't be scrambling at the last minute to come up with Christmas money.
12. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Mmmm... My mom makes a great cheeseball. And don't forget the Buckeyes. (If you don't know what a buckeye is, feel free to ask. I'm not referring to the actual nut off the tree.)
13. Clear lights or colored?
Colored. But NOT blinking. I can't STAND blinking lights.
14. Favorite Christmas song?
O Holy Night... Particularly the version done by Martina McBride
15. Travel at Christmas or stay at home?
We would rather stay at home, but we travel. To multiple stops. My parents are divorced and remarried and so are Mr Epi's. (Bonus: his Dad lives three hours away and his mom lives in Florida). Most years we do a few days at his Dad's before Christmas than drive back home Christmas Eve to my Mom's. Mom's again Christmas morning, followed by a trip to my Dad's. Makes for two exhausted parents.
16. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?
Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph.
17. Angel or star on the top of your tree?
My tree has an angel on top which leans to one side or the other without fail. My mother's tree has an angel that my brother made in kindergarten. 25 years ago :)
18. Open your presents Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
The kids open one gift Christmas Eve and the rest Christmas morning. My family spoils them a little... It's usually a SEA of wrapping paper.
19. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
RUDE people out shopping. I cannot STAND watching people on TV fight over whatever the "must have toy of the year" or the 300.00 laptop at Walmart.
20. What do you leave for Santa?
Carrots for the reindeer, and milk and cookies (with a bite removed from all, of course) for Santa.
21. Least favorite holiday song?
Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree. Only because it's in the rotation at the Mall and I hear it five times a shift.
22. Do you decorate your tree with any specific theme or color?
No theme... Lots of Future Cardiologist's handmade ornaments, and a yearly ornament I purchase for each.
23. Favorite ornament?
The set my Grandma gave me so many years ago... Also the "New Home" ornament we bought the year we bought our first home. There's also a felt heart with a picture of my son when he was six months old. My Aunt gave me that during his first Christmas. I bawled like a baby.
24. Family tradition?
Christmas Eve party at my Mom's house. Alcohol and snacks consumed. Cursing while putting together some toy for one of the kids.
25. Ever been to Midnight Mass or late-night Christmas Eve services?
If I can't make the 4 o'clock mass on Christmas Eve, I usually go to the midnight mass.
Yes, we got it.
And after some drama on Ebay, I got it for what it goes for off the shelf.
Not 500 bucks, but half that.
And I picked up Carnival Games as well.
Anyone else out there have it? If you do can you recommend a good game for a seven year old?
Posted by Epijunky at 12/22/2007 10:54:00 PM
Okay, I feel a little bit better.
Today has been the day from hell. Honestly it has.
Mr Epi and the kiddies have gone out of town to stay with his Mom and Grandmother.
I'm here in the armpit of Ohio because as we all know, when one works in retail one does not get to take days off during the Christmas season. I'm pretty okay with this as I kind of clash with my MIL and her Mother (it's the typical "No-one-is-good-enough-for-my-son/grandson" syndrome... It doesn't matter that we've been married for nine years).
Moving on. They've been gone since Wednesday afternoon. When they left, everyone was healthy and happy. Wednesday night my son comes down with some nasty bug. He vomits the entire night. I chalk it up to a stomach bug.
Day two. no one is sick. All is right in the world.
Day three. Shortly after lunch, Mr Epi starts vomiting. Half an hour later, the two year old starts throwing up. FOUR MINUTES LATER Grandma is throwing up.
When I finally was able to call Mr Epi he was so sick he couldn't put a coherent sentence together. No one had taken his temperature, or She Who Rules...
And I'm stuck here. My babies are all sick and I'm stuck here. And apparently no one is taking care of them. Three plus hours away.
I'm sick just thinking about it. I made him promise to find a thermometer and take his temp and the little ones. I made him yell for his mom to find the thermometer while I was still on the phone.
I need a margarita.
EDITED TO ADD: as of 10:49pm Mr Epijunky's Mom is now vomiting as well. The adults in the family still swear it's the stomach flu and are all but pointing the finger at my seven year old who was originally ill.
I still haven't had a margarita, but I'm settling for a Bud Light.
I've recently purchased Adobe Photoshop CS3... I'm in love.
Another trip to Cabelas today presented me with an opportunity to try a panoramic shot... Not bad, although I wish I had paid closer attention to the top of the "mountain". I shrunk it down by quite a bit, but if you click on the image you should get a better idea.
NW Ohio/SE Michigan got nailed with the first major snow of the season.
What it means to the family:
EpiJunky: $^&* #Q*&!!!! (Stomping feet for emphasis) Today would have been a HUGE commission day at work! (They actually called me and told me not to come in. Comission and hourly rate.... DENIED)
Future Cardiologist: WOOHOOO!!!! I bet we don't have school tomorrow!!!!
She Who Rules: Yeah, whatever. Can I have juice and a cookie? (Well she didn't say that in so many words, but you get the idea)
It's insanity, it's gaudy as hell, and it HAS to piss off the neighbors.
And I love it.
It's been a Christmas tradition of mine for the couple of years, a trip across town, to see "The House on Holly Street".
I guess their theory is, if you're going to do Christmas lights, do it right.
I should add that I had to line up behind five other cars to take my turn in front of the house. On a weeknight yet. Apparently it's not just my annual tradition.
Thanks Sam... I'm having some inspirations issues today as well :)
10 RANDOM FACTS
1. I have a green frog from Build A Bear Workshop. My son named him... "Green Frog"
2. My daughter's eyes are the exact same shade of brown as mine.
3. I'm addicted to Grey's Anatomy.
4. My favorite song to sing at karaoke is "You're So Vain" by Carly Simon
5. I can't stand blinking Christmas lights. I don't know why.
6. I love chai tea from Starbucks.
7. I still bite my nails when I'm nervous
8. My car has a name :)
9. I hate brussel sprouts (Thanks Sam :))
10. I still have my first baby doll, and my daughter currently sleeps with her.
9 WAYS TO WIN MY HEART
1. Let me know you're thinking of me
2. Thank me for doing the dishes/laundry/changing a diaper, etc.
3. Speaking of changing diapers, offer to do that on occasion.
4. Make me laugh.
5. When I'm tired, let me take that nap on occasion
6. Be honest
7. Do what you say you're going to do
8. Be the best father you can to our children
9. Be happy... If you aren't happy, talk to me about it.
8 THINGS I CARRY EVERYDAY
1. Rubberband/hair clip
2. Change purse
5. Pictures of Mr Epi and kids
6. Drivers License
7. Drug Pens
8. Debit card
7 THINGS THAT ANNOY ME
1. People who lie just to make themselves appear "better"
2. Entitlement Junkies
5. Two-faced people
7. General Meanness
6 STATES I'VE VISITED
4. South Carolina
5 THINGS I WANT TO DO BEFORE I DIE
1. Visit Ireland/Paris/Rome/Poland
2. Finish my damn Medic Class
3. Become a published photographer (I have a lot of work to do in this area)
4. See my children grow into responsible happy adults
5. Move into a much bigger home.
4 THINGS I'M AFRAID OF
3. My children or husband becoming seriously ill.
4. Letting my husband down
3 THINGS I DO EVERYDAY
1. Check my email.
2. Change diapers
2 THINGS I'M TRYING NOT TO DO NOW
1. Worry about Christmas shopping
2. Bite my nails
1 PERSON I WANT TO SEE NOW
1. My husband, the road conditions are horrible and he's out working.
Thanks to a really nice ice storm last night, Future Cardiologist's school decided it was too dangerous for the kids to travel to school today.
Now that I have a few minutes to sit down and enjoy the quiet, I present you with a haiku. (h/t to EMS Haiku for the inspiration)
Two children, both bored
One draws on the wall mom scrubbed
The other just complains
Former Partner/Partner In Crime: Epi... Hey! I was wondering... Would you like to shoot my kids and nephew? I need some pictures for my Mom for Christmas, it's been years since we've had pictures of them taken together, and I know you could probably use the pics for your portfolio...
Me: Yeah, sure, where do you want to do this?
Former Partner/Partner In Crime: I was thinking outside by the lighthouse...
Me: You realize it's Winter, right?
Me: And there's snow on the ground...
Me: *Exhales* Okay.
So we were off. And it was cold. And there was snow on the ground. And I'm an idiot and wore my crocs. Well they're comfy. Epi never claimed to be a smart girl.
They were very photogenic and very easy to work with. Here are some of my favorite shots.
This last one is my favorite... mostly because of what's going on in the bottom of the pic :)
Grab your tissues, folks.
A brave boy joins his heroes
Colonie firefighters welcome 7-year-old with cancer into their ranks
By David Filkins, Staff writer
Click byline for more stories by writer.
Two things can bring brawny, hardened firefighters to tears: Tragedy, and making the final wish of a terminally ill child come true. It explains why a dozen members of the Colonie Fire Department cried Saturday.
That's when they met William McKay, a 7-year-old boy from
First, the tragedy. In April 2006, William was diagnosed with glaucoma. But inside his eye, retinoblastoma, a form of cancer, was growing and spreading. It would take over his body in the months that followed, and earlier this week he was moved to the hospice ward at St. Peter's Hospital.
Next, the wish. William was a toddler on
At , William's father, also William, lifted his son from his bed on the fourth floor of the hospital and held him up to the window facing
William waved back, surprised.
The event was put together at the last minute by Make-A-Wish Foundation. The organization was to give him a trip to Disney World, but when William's condition worsened, alternate plans were made. Make-A-Wish volunteer Linda Prinzo knew of William's dream, so she called the Colonie Fire Department Friday night and arranged for him to become the town's youngest firefighter.
Led by Chief Mike Powers, the firefighters went to the fourth floor, where William, dressed in a gown, tubes and wires running from his body, waited with his parents and other family members.
Capt. Mike Sipperly was one of the first ones out of the elevator. "How are you doing?" he asked.
"Good," William whispered, waving as the firefighters surrounded him.
A hospital employee suggested they move to a larger room down the hall. As William was wheeled away, his dream coming true, his father put his forehead on the wall and nearly crumbled, family members holding him up as tears streamed down his face.
There he stood, a father watching his son's fantasy come to life. Sometimes, the deepest pain brings the greatest happiness.
William is usually outgoing and exuberant. Not Saturday. Saturday, he was awestruck.
Powers gave William a badge and the firefighters lined up to shake his hand. As they finished introducing themselves, William lifted the badge a few inches off his lap.
"He's showing you to let y'all know he's a fireman now," said his mother, Marion Bussey.
Powers reached into a bag, pulled out a hat, and gave it to William. Then he gave the boy a shirt and yellow helmet as the rest of the firefighters looked on.
William leaned toward his mother and smiled. "Mom, I like this," he whispered.
Tears formed in Bussey's eyes and rolled down her cheeks.
"William is our hero and you guys are his hero," she said to the firefighters. "He doesn't have to say he wants to be a fireman anymore."
What happened next wasn't scripted. Maybe it was coincidence. Maybe no explanation exists.
William's parents and the dozen firefighters looked at William and said the same words at the same time: "You are a fireman."
"I am William McKay," he said, "and I'm an official fireman. Thank you."
Then he saluted.
The firefighters looked at each other, tears welling in their eyes. They began crying. Some left the room. Others dabbed their eyes with tissues. William's family began crying. Hospital staff began crying. Almost everyone began crying.
But not William. He had no reason to cry. He was the happiest boy in the world.Filkins can be reached at 454-5456 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Epijunky at 12/07/2007 03:02:00 PM
There's actually a few of my favorite ornaments in this shot... the main one, the one with the doorway has our last name and address on it with the words "New Home" at the top. We were so proud to finally have a house to live in that we couldn't pass up this one. The one directly below it was made by my Great Aunt who is a Franciscan Nun, it was given to me when I was a child, along with two dollar bills. The ornament to the right of the doorway is a Millennium Ornament that I bought in December of 2000 to commemorate the birth of our first son, Future Cardiologist.
While I'm waiting to hear about these EMS jobs, I figured it was probably time to take the annual Christmas Picture for our cards. I want to try a few different things, here is today's nominee.
It's not my best photoshop job, I want to try something simliar tomorrow, but with a few more smiling faces.
Three of the worst weeks of my life, and what I had to do to turn things around....
Okay... so the dispatch job. UGH, where to start. That place was a living hell. Let me start by saying that I've worked some truly horrible jobs. I've worked for a truly MEAN 86-year-old attorney who didn't believe in computers or modern technology. I worked 70 hour weeks for Glamour Shots. I've worked 100+ hour weeks for Cedar Point (America's Roller Coast!). There was little that was "fun" about any of these jobs, but I did them and I did them well.
This dispatch job, however... Absolutely intolerable. Had I taken a tape recorder to work every day I'd own that company.
They started me out in call taking. I actually liked it in call taking, even with the insane atmosphere. We figured out one day that in one hour I answered 86 phone calls. We worked ten hour days, most of the time answering the phone to hear a voice yelling "Where the FUCK my ride at???" (A little backstory: This company at the time I was working there primarily took folks on public assistance to their medical appointments. They averaged 1600 rides a day. They probably shouldn't have contracted to do more than a thousand. Too few cars, too many riders. They hired me to dispatch the new EMS service they were preparing to roll out.)
I realize I made it pretty clear here that I'd rather be on the road working EMS than dispatching. But more important to me than being on the road was bringing home a steady paycheck. After a nice heart to heart talk with my mom I went into work the day I was to start learning dispatch with a good attitude. I'm an easy going person, I make friends easily, and I catch on to things quickly. I didn't doubt for a second that I'd be able to learn dispatch.
From the second I walked into that room I was met with hostility. There were three female dispatchers who through working at this company had become very close friends. Given the chaotic environment, I can see how that wouldn't be difficult. I can even see why they would feel a little over-protective of their boards. I wasn't a threat to them, I wasn't going to be a dispatcher for the cars, I was going to be on the EMS side... I wasn't a threat to them.
I was initially met with a flat out refusal to answer my questions. (If you've been doing this job for five years with the same dispatch software, there shouldn't be many questions that you can't answer) As the days went on refusal to answer questions turned into just ignoring me completely. When I approached the supervisor with the problems I was having she reassured me that "This is just how they work... They're busy, I'm SURE they're not ignoring you on purpose." She then told me she'd have a talk with them. That's when things went from bad to worse.
The next day went I went in I was greeted with complete silence. To say they were glaring at me would have been the understatement of the frickin' century. Hey, I can deal with dirty looks. I just want to learn this job. When I was attempting to dispatch (yes, they threw me right into the fire) I messed up. I was getting farther and farther behind while the dispatcher I was working with was watching and giggling over my shoulder. Finally the supervisor for the drivers came in and asked "What the HELL is going on in here?"... Apparently the drivers were calling in and complaining over my complete lack of dispatching ability. Well SHIT people, you've not answered ONE of my fucking questions, I've been observing for only four days, you throw me onto the board and expect me to be able to handle 45 cars in CLEVELAND? I've never lived in Cleveland, I've only been there a few times, I certainly don't know the roads and you're using dispatch software that's antiquated at best. DO YOU THINK I'M BEING SET UP TO FAIL? Gee, I don't know.
When I stood up to move to another seat the dispatcher who had been training me sat down and said, "Stupid white bitch can't do anything right." Hand to God. I was shocked. I couldn't even respond. I stood up, picked up my bag and walked out of the room. I went to talk to my supervisor who was pretty pissed about the whole thing. She had me fill out an incident report. It was what she said next that basically sealed my fate at this particular company. She told me that she would make sure that this incident report would be "slipped into a file" and she'd talk to the employee who said it. She wouldn't tell her who make the complain, and she'd give her a verbal warning to "knock it off". She then told me that I could come in on Saturday and try to sit in the dispatch room again. (this was on a Thursday.) Until then I could just work the phones as a call taker. I should probably add that Saturdays are dead days... Perfect time to learn dispatching, the only problem is that it would literally be myself and the three dispatchers. No call takers or supervisors in the building.
OH HELL NO. This could end in a very ugly way.
I went to an inner city public high school. I grew up in a very diverse neighborhood. I can say that I'm not racist and mean it. I truly believe stupid ignorant people come in every color, shape, and age. I will treat you with all the respect in the world until you give me a reason not to.
These ladies gave me several reasons.
I went home that night and had a long talk with my husband. He surprised me.... He was okay with me quitting. He also wanted me to "sue their asses" but that's another post entirely. We decided that I'd go in the next day and ask if I could stay on as a call taker, after all, they were still hiring call takers and I was trained as one.
The next day I went in and talked to my supervisor about that same possibility. She said she'd have to talk to her supervisor and she'd get back with me on Monday. When I brought up not working on Saturday (given the hostility), she agreed. I left knowing that I'd probably be without a job on Monday. Even knowing that I was ecstatic. I could breathe again. I felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders. I immediately went out and filled out applications.
My first stop was The Camera Store. I had worked there in the past, and prior to EMS it was my absolute favorite job. The next day I was called for an interview and three days later I was hired.
So I'm working retail again. 31-years-old and I'm working in the mall. At least it's a job where I wake up in the morning and look forward to going to work. I've had interviews at two other EMS companies, and haven't heard back. I was told by both I would hear from them regardless of the outcome, and that I could expect a call this coming week, so I'm hopeful. The Camera Store is willing to work around my schedule should I land one of these two jobs, so that would help considerably where finances are considered.
So that's the story of the dispatch job and the three of the worst weeks of my life in a nutshell. I'm glad it's over, and I'm grateful for what I've learned. True, I'm working in retail again, but at least it's commission... and in the past I've pulled in very nice paychecks from this company. I have a good feeling about the EMS jobs I've interviewed for... I'm hoping I'm going to hear positive things this week. I'd LOVE to have more EMS stories to post... In the meantime, maybe I can humor you with some fun retail stories. Who knows :)