2012: The Year of the Piercing

January 1, 2013 at 2:06 PM | Posted in I'm related to these people. | Leave a comment

According to Chinese astrology, 2012 was the Year of the Dragon.  Not in this family.  For us, 2012 was the Year of the Piercing; a twelvemonth containing a seriously historical event.  My mom got her ears pierced.

Okay, I realize that ear piercing has become pretty much as common as hair growing; so let me explain the true weight of this event.  It let me take my mother to a body piercing/tattoo shop.  Who, outside the realms of perhaps Harley-Davidson fans and residents of Las Vegas, get to take MOM to the body piercing/tattoo shop?!?  Especially when my mom beautifully manifests all the qualities of the long-time Sunday School teaching, turtleneck-wearing (though only the chic scrunchy-necked kind), scented candle-appreciating, decorative gourd fan that she is.

This may have all started in the back room of N&N Market, Dillingham’s premier grocery and sundry shopping location:

N&N Market

Two-toned vehicle in right of photo not purchased at N&N. That’s a strictly custom Dillingham special.

My sister and I got our ears pierced there.  The back room was located behind the meat counter.  Amy and I were too little to understand that the back room behind the meat counter was an unusual place to have a sterile procedure completed.  Once I got older, I figured out things like the fact that hepatitis is bad (I learned this from anecdotes as my mom made sure I was immunized for hepatitis and every other thing a nurse can poke needles in you immunize for) and that you only need to be able to, like, totally sign your name in order to operate the piercing gun at the mall jewelry shop with the other, like, 12-year-old employees.  These revelations led me to seek reputable, auto-claving body piercing shops resulting in the myriad lovely and disease-free piercings sparkling up my ears all the way to the tips.  Mom and I differ somewhat on our philosophy of just how blank a canvas the human body should be.

With the benefit of the nice and clean auto-claving environment, one also gets the color and flavor of creative body modification enthusiasts in a piercing shop.  Walking ads for piercing and tattoo options, if you will.  So, when my mom decided at an age that most people do not seek out piercings and asked me to go with her to get her ears pierced, she was a bit amazed at the styling variety of the humans in Body Piercing Unlimited.  Despite her determination to join the ear-piercing revolution, the sight of pierced noses, eyebrows, lips, and huge jangling gauges in the ears of the Body Piercing Unlimited staff and clients sent her into a bit of a dignified panic, causing a slight twitch and repeated plaint, “I just want regular earrings.  I just want regular earrings.  I just want regular earrings…”

A nurse, such as my mom, faced with a nervous, slightly twitching, and single-phrase repeating client might try to reassure the poor person.  Body modification artists don’t have bedside manner.  They all cracked up, saying things like, “No piercings yet?  Anywhere???” and “Don’t worry, we’ll just do small gauges like these!” while inserting pens and pencils through the holes in their ears.  Poor Mom.  She’s never going to let me take her for that tattoo now.

Anyway, after the good-natured banter, my mom allowed herself to be led into the piercing room by Kevin, her chosen piercer.  Kevin was the very picture of the reputable body piercer with lots of piercing examples, but he was also as professional as a reputable body piercer should be.  So, he began to responsibly tell my mom about the piercing process, including some comments on the needle being used which perked her up right away.  She announced her status as a nurse and her love of sticking needles into her children and every other resident of Bristol Bay who will let her, and she and Kevin settled into a right cozy little chat about needle makes, models, and methods.  Needle shop talk.  Who knew?

Mom walked out of Body Piercing Unlimited with the “regular earrings” that she asked for.  The guy who can fix everything walked out fighting the temptation to announce on Facebook, “Hanging out with my mother-in-law at the body piercing shop.”  The guy who can fix everything has greater self-control than I do:

Piercing Chat Cropped

I walked out with no qualms at all about telling EVERYBODY.  And now I have.  That’s one New Year’s Resolution down, so 2013 is off to a roaring start despite the fact that my mother says that there will be no more trips to the body piercing shop.

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On Gift Giving

December 26, 2012 at 12:58 PM | Posted in I'm related to these people., Salt of the Earth | Leave a comment

Christmas meant a couple of trips to the dump for my dad.  No, not after the holiday to haul away all the mauled gift wrappings (we were good little re-users and saved paper and ribbons).   Dad went on his voyages of dump discovery long before the holiday season.  See, the dump was a good place to find presents!  Now, this is not “Oliver Twist in Dillingham.”  This is yet another story of how cool my parents were and are.  Dump presents were awesome.  Note: I grew up and went to college.  I’ve been employed for my entire adult life.  No extra organs or appendages have sprouted from my person.  I refuse to buy cheap cheese and I use organic produce.  I have a full set of teeth and health insurance.  Dump presents did not harm me nor turn me into one of the Clampetts.

First, let me explain the dump.  This was in rural Alaska, circa 1980s.  A small community without anything like a rendering plant or nuclear facility.  People mostly threw away cans, rain gear from the summer seasonal workers at the cannery, and things that they couldn’t fix.  This was a gold mine to my dad who, like that guy I married, can fix anything.  And everything.  Doll carriage with a teeny broken axle?  Miniature kitchen dishes with missing wire handles?  All it took was wire, glue, and maybe some hardware and the toys were back in the game.  Of course, they also got a bit of scrubbing from my mother.  She’s a nurse, you know.  Nurses know how to clean stuff.   If my mom were ever going to get a tattoo to go with her recent piercing, it would probably be of the Lysol logo or perhaps a heart encircling “C.B.” for Clorox Bleach.

I remember knowing that the gifts came from the dump.  I thought it was so cool.  No one had the stuff I did (although I suppose they had previously).  And even as a kid, I realized that putting work into a gift added to its value.  Note: I was not a saintly Polyanna-type child exempt from all materialism.  I was quite gleeful the years I received a My Friend Becky doll and a Cabbage Patch Kid (both new in their boxes).  And there was that time I buttered the wheels of my brother’s toy three-wheeler so that it left tracks in the carpet.  That was not saintly.  But it wasn’t like I expected everything to be new all the time.  In fact, I liked the retro and custom nature of my parent’s salvaged gifts.  By the way, they always made sure we had a few new things since coloring books, for example, would be a pretty lame used gift.  Like I said, this isn’t a Dicken’s tale of woe and walking to school barefoot in the snow with wolves and lions and rabid things chasing me.

My appreciation of dump alternative gift-giving is why I was a little horrified when my husband mentioned that his family asks in a slightly worried tone what to BUY for me.  You know, at the STORE.  His family are some of the warmest people you’ll ever meet, so while I’m honored by their wish to buy me something I’ll like, I want them to know that I consider the Salvation Army a terrific place to find gifts for me.  I want them to spend as little money as possible.  Bonus if the thing is avocado green.  After all, the landfills here have giant, crushing bulldozers running all the time.  And I wouldn’t ask people in general to make dump discovery a part of a gift to me.  But I’m glad my parents did it.

We do things a little differently now.  My parents continue finding gifts in places that are not stores, but, much to my dad’s heartbreak, the City of Dillingham updated the dump.  “Ruined it,” according to him.  So, now they find stuff at garage sales, the end-of-summer cannery sales where surplus supplies for fishing industry support can be had for a whistle, and at homes of people who are getting rid of stuff.  And my mom has become a talented navigator of the outlet section of coldwatercreek.com.  I got three new scarves and two new brooches this year, courtesy of the Internet.  But I also got a rack made partially of salvaged wood from Dillingham’s old water tower and vintage wooden candle rings from the recent de-cluttering of Mom’s best friend’s house.

This Christmas, the Guy Who Can Fix Everything gave me a wooden bird that his grandfather carved before passing away.  Just one more way I know that I married the right guy.  He totally understands what I consider a really valuable gift.  And he included a bar of really nice hazelnut-gooshy chocolate (brand-new, of course).  I married the right guy.

Christmas Bird 2012

I hope all of you received gifts that you can treasure this year.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Once upon a time.

June 2, 2012 at 10:48 AM | Posted in I'm related to these people., We Have a Bear on our State Quarter | 1 Comment

Here’s some olde Alaska!  Check out this photo of two couples, one complete with their catch of the day.  Fish that touch the ground taste like the ground and lose their eyes and unmarked sides to ravenous seagulls.  We’re all about seafood quality in Bristol Bay.  Hence, Mrs. Carlson’s refusal to put down her fish and expose it to less than awesome conditions.  I can so relate!  I wouldn’t put it down either.  As Gollum sang, “Our only wish, to catch a fish, so juicy sweet!”  Besides, a beautiful fish is an excellent addition to any photo, yes?

Grandpa James and Grandma Olga

As funny as the fish part is, the portion of this photo that matters to me is on the right, where my paternal great-grandparents and their daughter, Mary, stand together in the sun.  This photo is the first image I’ve ever seen of this generation of my dad’s family, so it’s of great worth.  Old photos are rare enough, but documentation of my great-grandfather is practically non-existent.  See, my great-grandfather was as slippery as Mrs. Carlson’s fish.  There is one scrap of evidence in an Army log book that states, “James F. Timmerman; drunk and disorderly downtown…again,” but after that, nothing until 1918 when he showed up in Nome, Alaska with the listed occupation, “Gold Prospector.”  Then, he somehow made his way to Dillingham.  Throughout his life there, he didn’t write any letters and didn’t receive any either.  He never left Dillingham, and no one came to visit him.   He met and married my great-grandmother but managed to remain secretive even in that as she spoke no English and, according to my dad, he “spoke no Native.”  And he didn’t reveal much about himself to anyone else either.

There are two census records that show his existence in Alaska and one reference to a brother named Charles in Ferndale, Washington, but beyond that, Jim Timmerman is an unknown.  I suppose that meager collage is a lot for this era in rural Alaska, but I want to know more.  And it’s kind of driving me crazy.

I want to know who this guy was and why he chose to disappear into the place and culture of southwestern Alaska.  I want to know how many brothers and sisters he had and where his parents came from.  I want to if he liked Alaska or if he just didn’t have anywhere else to go.  I want to know how tall he was and what he admired.  I want to know if he could read and write.  I want to know what his talents were.  I want to know what he believed.

Despite all the mystery, one thing is sure: I love that he is holding his little girl’s hand.

Poor, sad iPod.

March 14, 2012 at 8:48 AM | Posted in Adventures in S-Land, And then I thought..., I'm related to these people. | Leave a comment

I’m clumsy.  I’ll be the first to admit it.  On a recent patient information form, it asked if I bruise easily.  Hmm.  Not sure.  Hard to tell since I spend an inordinate amount of time clunking myself into things.  If I got into a normal number of furniture altercations, would I have normal bruisability?  And how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?

The upside of being clumsy is that the human body is a magical thing that heals itself with cheesecake and Band-Aids.  Actually, you don’t even NEED the Band-Aids!  The downside of being clumsy is that things that are not the human body (or other living creatures) do not heal themselves even in the presence of Band-Aids or cheesecake.  Exhibit A:

Image

What do you mean, my pictures are fuzzy? That is a special photographic technique. It's tough to get that look. I try not to brag about it though.

This is not awesome.  Not awesome at all.  It’s sad really; see how the crack looks like a little frown crossing the corner?

Now, my father is Mr. Fix-it.  So is my husband.  They use words like, “Spanish windlass,” “awl,” and “Now, what did you do?” They make water come out of wells and stop it from Old-Faithfulling out of the washing machine and toilet. They bring life to dead cars, many of which were “a good deal.”  They pull the yarn and cat hair out of the vacuum cleaner and can even do amazing things with mysterious entities called “fuses” which makes electric things work again.  And they make it look easy.  And I get tempted to try to fix things according to their examples.  And that doesn’t usually end well.

But, I am not a quitter!  I keep trying despite my very, very, very limited record of things that I have actually fixed and the fact that I usually drop heavy, sharp, pointy tools that make gouges in the floor.  So, since my iPod Touch still worked, indicating that the touchscreen is okay and that only the cover glass is cracked, I figured I could totally fix that.  So, hop-dee-do, I surfed around on the Internet and found lots and lots of articles and videos about how to replace the glass.  I found sources for parts.  And I realized that trying to replace the screen myself is about as good of an idea as diving into a tub of rusty scissors since there are A LOT of little, teeny, expensive and complicated-looking parts in an iPod Touch.  And you can’t lose even ONE PART during the repair process or bats will eat the sun and all kittens will go bald.

I can’t have either of the Mr. Fix-its in my life do the repair either.  My father is not a fan of iPod technology.  I only know this because of our deep, nearly ESP-level connection and by the way he says, “I’ll step on that thing” when he sees it.  He thinks iPods are communist and in league with the microwave.  My husband refuses to pay a lot for parts that cost nearly as much as a new version of the broken thing.  He believes it takes his spirit away.

So, since the iPod still works and all, I guess I’ll live with the cracked screen.  But I’m going to be very annoyed about it.  It will be character-building.

On Apples, on Oranges, on Raisins and Dates!

December 21, 2011 at 9:32 AM | Posted in Adventures in S-Land, Eat this., I made this., I'm related to these people. | 2 Comments
Image

There's a whole orchard in here.

First, an apology to Dan.  Mincemeat inventory status was not reported here to Mincemeat Central.  That is why there was no mincemeat pie at Thanksgiving.  I apologize for the shortage and have informed the DLG Turkey Team that status reports are to be more accurate and timely.  She will be creating an action plan to prevent mincemeat shortages in the future.  Feel free to check her progress on this, but also be prepared to dodge because she likes whacking people.  And hi Marjorie!

For the rest of you, above is a jar of mincemeat.  As a kid, I loathed this stuff.  Of course, I hadn’t actually tried it because I was sure it would be too disgusting for my delicate and advanced palate (the one that also ate Cheetos and and longed for a mother who would buy Kraft macaroni and cheese instead of making the homemade stuff).  However, I should have known that something was up when my dad never expected me to eat mincemeat pie.

See, my dad is the founding member of the Clean Plate Club.  This fine and hallowed organization celebrates the eating of EVERYTHING on one’s plate in the spirit of the founder’s ancient and revered motto, “Because I said so.”  But mincemeat pie was never a club eatable despite it similarity in grossness to other club eatables like steamed rice and waffles (which, for some other delicate and advanced palate reason, I also found revolting).  Mincemeat pie was a food club eaters could choose not to eat.

I have solved the mincemeat mystery (which would also be a very good name for the Ford Bronco that The Guy Who Can Fix Anything And To Whom I am Now Married acquired as a “good deal”)!  Mincemeat pie is dee-licious and completely worthy of hoarding.  Unfortunately for the founding member of the Clean Plate Club, he now has to share his pie.  Fortunately for him, I like making mincemeat almost as much as I like eating it.  Okay, that’s a lie.  Eating it is WAY better.  But, making it is still pretty fun.

Now, turn those noses back down, mincemeat-haters, I know your world.  I used to be one of you.  But, I have repented of my past and now spend a large part of a day here and there chopping approximately 1.3 billion apples, forty-seven oranges, twenty-three lemons, a bathtub-full of cranberries, a whole bunch of figs, dates, raisins, golden raisins, and a paaartridge in a pear treeeeee! Just kidding about the tree part.  And also the partridge.  My mincemeat is certified partridge-safe.  After the chopping-pa-looza, I shovel the whole fruity mountain into a huge stock pot and begin stirring, stirring, and stirring.  And then, I start inhaling the evaporating brandy and sherry that splashes merrily into the mix.  That’s when I get all crazy on up in here!   Fa la la la la, la la la laaaaaaaaaaa!  And then some other stuff happens in the brandy-sherry fog involving some spices like cinnamon, maybe, and somehow, at the end of the day, the house has not burnt to a crisp. no one’s face has been scalded off, and all the little jar seals have done their sealing thing.

And mincemeat pie is in the future which makes everything merry and bright!

And then I wash a million dishes.

Note: numbers may be slightly exaggerated in this post due to brandy-sherry fume inhalation.

Also, I am not good at math.

Forty-five Dollars.

May 5, 2011 at 8:32 PM | Posted in Adventures in S-Land, I'm related to these people., We Have a Bear on our State Quarter | Leave a comment

This is Peninsula Airways, affectionately commonly known as PenAir in rural Alaska.   Due to Alaska’s charming lack of connecting roads, this is the only way in or out for many communities, including Dillingham.  Thus, it was the only way to send birthday raspberries to my dad for his birthday on Sunday.  The only FORTY-FIVE DOLLARS way.

Extravagant?  Well, yes.  Absolutely.  Great Jehosophat.  In fact, I can’t quite believe I did it.  But my dad is cool.  So, I shelled out the cash and sent the little, perishable, non-mailable raspberry guys on their big adventure.  I’m trying to think of it this way: Dillingham is 350 miles southwest of Anchorage.  If there were a road between the two communities, it would cost me a tank of gas for The Black Thing each way as The Black Thing is not a dainty consumer.  We’d be talking over a hundred dollars for me to deliver the raspberries.  So, I’m actually saving money!  Hooray for thriftiness!  I am a financial whiz-kid!

And my dad isn’t really the gift card type.  This is the guy who advises me to grab my students by their ears if they are not behaving and who thinks that you turn off a computer by unplugging it.  He thinks the microwave is communist.  He’s sort of from a different age.  Raspberries, however, are always current.  Haha–I was sooo tempted to write “currant” since raspberries are a berry and currants are ALSO a…sorry.

Raspberries are always appreciated, especially in rural Alaska places like Dillingham where produce prices rival that of fine jewelry.    The birthday raspberries will be a nice treat, especially since most fruits and veggies arrive at my mom’s grocery store looking like they traveled with a screwdriver in some hefty guy’s back pocket.

Besides, I think I still owe Dad for the time that I high centered the truck on a log and maybe also for the time that I melted an entire box of crayons down the side of the wood stove.  Forty-five dollars in raspberry plane fare seems like a good start.

You can take the kids out of rural Alaska…

April 29, 2011 at 8:47 PM | Posted in I'm related to these people. | Leave a comment

You know the rest.  Here is a transcript of texting between my brother and myself regarding our mother’s flight to Anchorage:

Thug: Khkhk…Mother Eagle is flying…okay? Khkhkhk…

Me: Khkhk…copy that.  Standing by.  Alerting Wal-mart.  Khkhkh…

Thug: Khkhkhk…heard that Costco was hiring temp workers; true? Khkhkhk…

Me: Khkhkhk…not sure.  Fred Meyer had a pep rally though…okay?  Khkhkhk…

Thug: Khkhkhk…copy that.  I’m out.  Khkhkhk…

Yes, we talk in VHF even when we text.  Complete with the mic click.  And thank you, Mom, for always stimulating the Anchorage economy and for not smacking us for our obnoxiousness.  This will come back to you on Mother’s Day.  I promise.

Clear.  Khkhkhk…

Berry Picking

October 12, 2010 at 9:51 PM | Posted in Adventures in S-Land, I'm related to these people., Salt of the Earth, We Have a Bear on our State Quarter | Leave a comment


All the slapping in the world didn’t keep the mosquitoes away, and dampness seeped through my jeans, making my knees itch.  I knew that my nails would be stained and ragged, and that I’d feel imaginary spiders crawling on me long after we’d cleaned up for the day.  And the bucket rim seemed to stretch up and up.

I never thought I’d like berry picking.  Ever.

Berry picking was a fact of life in rural Alaska where I grew up.  In a place with no roads connecting it to anywhere else and where every orange, apple, carrot, grape, and gallon of milk had to be flown or barged in, food prices were always up.  In our family of six ravenous stomachs and the slim earnings of one traditional fisherman, that meant that we had to gather all the free food we could get.  We weren’t picking berries to have some sort of quaint pancake breakfast.  We were picking for a winter’s worth of vitamins. I remember reading a book about a family going berry-picking and looking forward to lazing through a warm afternoon and picnicking on the fruit they found along with cheese slices and individually-wrapped crackers.  I figured they had to be very rich people to be able to take berry-picking so lightly and to spend only one day doing it.  We picked on weekends and after school, and no one was allowed to stop until the bucket was full.

Subsistence living is very much a way of life for Alaska’s rural residents.  Subsistence tradition ran so deeply in my father that he coped with the day of his mother’s funeral by going berry picking.  He found solace in green moss on trees, the turnipy smells of wild celery and rotting leaves, and the knowledge that he was doing what his family had done for generations.

I didn’t get quite get that.  I found nothing soul-filling nor comforting in getting bitten by bugs and dismayed by the lack of progress towards the bucket’s rim.  I saw berry-picking as one of those things I planned to go to college to avoid.  I figured that I’d move to a shiny city where berries came already cleaned and frozen in neat little plastic packages and where I’d never again wonder if the purple stains were making my backside look bigger.

Like most growth, I can’t pinpoint a moment when things changed.

I know that moving to the shiny city taught me that quiet, even when punctuated by the occasional drone of a mosquito, is a limited commodity.  Berry picking is a place where no energy need go toward tuning anything out and where every sound escapes being noise.

Entering a career in public education meant that my rewards wouldn’t be financial which was rich for me as a person but not accepted as legal tender for any debts, public or private.  The plastic-package berries are more expensive than practicality allows, and I’d rather pay with time in the sun and a good walk where I don’t have to dodge masses of people.

Participating in an activity that has remained unchanged, save for the plastic bucket and advent of denim, for thousands of years can’t help but make me feel connected to something larger and more solid than my current spin-around world of adolescents, deadlines, meetings, phone calls, websites, paperwork, and streaming videos.  I’m reminded that my life isn’t an email and that I come from a past of tradition and stability where gratitude lent grace to every chore.  And none of it was ever measured in backside size, purple or not.

Most dear to me is that choosing to go berry picking honors my father in ways that Father’s Day cards and phone calls can’t.  By doing what he taught me to do, I demonstrate that his life is valuable enough to become a permanent part of mine and that I accept his offer of an inheritance that grows back every year.  When I pour my berries from the bucket onto the cookie sheet, carefully pick out the leaves, bugs, stems, and anything else that isn’t a muffin or smoothie ingredient, and pack the berries into the freezer, I show that he has taught me what wealth is.  He will never need to worry about me being poor.

I suppose that I appreciate berry picking now because it isn’t just about berries filling the bucket anymore.

The mosquitoes aren’t as bad as they used to be either.

Cough, sneeze, whine.

August 31, 2010 at 10:42 PM | Posted in Adventures in S-Land, I'm related to these people. | Leave a comment

I feel terrible.  It’s as if someone has shoved my head full of cotton and then poured vegetable oil inside.  And then this sadistic meanie found an elephant to dance a jig on my lungs.

And the local store doesn’t have the kind of cough drops I like. And I want them right now, not in the week it will take them to trek up here to VirusLand.

And my cat won’t fetch a new box of tissues for me EVEN THOUGH I ASKED HER TO.

And there’s absolutely no chance that we’ll have school canceled on account of snow.

This is just dumb.

Here, look at my nieces:

They’re in a better mood than I am.

Why I have Earned a Nobel Peace Prize

August 3, 2010 at 9:25 AM | Posted in Adventures in S-Land, I'm related to these people. | Leave a comment

Once upon a time, I agreed to pick up a phone from GCI to send to my brother, Michael, in Dillingham since GCI had told him they wouldn’t mail a phone.

I should have known this wouldn’t be a simple errand.  Michael has Murphy’s Law Touch.  Anything that boy is involved with becomes weirdly complicated; luggage disappears on airlines, simple parking tickets become court cases, etc.  So, how stupid can a simple picking up a phone errand get?  Oh, just read on.

Michael called me on a Sunday and asked me to pick up the phone.  He told me it would be so easy, no sweat, everything paid for, I’m set up as the official phone-picker-upper in GCI’s system, blah, blah, blah.  He told me to go to a specific GCI store location which I did and which was, of course, closed even though Michael said it would be open.  Complication #1.

So, I returned to the specified GCI store later that week and waited in line for half an hour only to be told by the ten-year-old who was working customer service that Michael’s model phone wasn’t available in that store.  In fact, it wasn’t available in any other GCI store in Anchorage save one single phone at the east location which is, by the way, about as far away as one can drive from my house and still be in Anchorage.  Complication #2.  In an attempt to make this more of a workable Stephanie situation as opposed to a Murphy’s Law Michael situation, I asked the pipsqueak to reserve the one single phone in all of Anchorage that Michael needed.

Then, being the excruciatingly responsible person that I am, I dutifully drove far, far, far away to the east GCI store to wait in line FOR AN HOUR.  I wish I were exaggerating.  Do the Post Office, DMV, and GCI all have an evil mother ship where they learn tactics for keeping lines as long as possible?  When I finally got to talk to another adolescent GCI rep, it took her about half an hour of computer typing to locate the phone in question.  I had a tough time understanding this wait since, allegedly, the phone was reserved for me.  However, I acted like an adult and did not bite or slap anyone in the GCI store.  Please send me the Nobel Peace Prize that I have earned for my show of self control.  Which complication am I on now?  Oh yeah, #3.

Finally, the GCI rugrat informs me that she can release the phone, but just has to do the Sim card thing or whatever, so I CONTINUED WAITING.  The child plays with the phone and little bitsy plastic things for a while, then types on her computer, plays with the phone some more, types more, plays more, types more, plays more, typety-types more and, finally, informs me with an angelic smile that she can’t actually give the phone to me because IT WAS MAILED OUT YESTERDAY.  Because I am an adult, I did not rain destruction on the GCI preteen employee.  In fact, I didn’t even give her a lecture against popping her gum in the workplace.

WHY ISN’T MY NOBEL PEACE PRIZE HERE ALREADY?!?

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