Monthly Archives: May 2009

My Philosophy On ‘The Cat & The Watermelon’

People say that animals do not have emotions or feelings.  But I am a firm believer that these people are mistaken.

Look at this photo, for example.  I found it on a FB wall posting from my buddy, Jacob (You may click the photo to track back to his contact info).

Here, you can see how this cat is rescuing a large, watermelon from potentially drowning.  He is disregarding his distaste for water and he is bravely entering the lake in order to save the big fruit.  Despite his size, he is determined to deliver the melon from danger.  This, my friends, is a brave cat.

I saw a video once of a dog who rescued another dog from a freeway.  He ran into the road and grabbed the injured dog by the neck.  He then drug the hurt animal to the shoulder, and flagged down some construction workers for further assistance (okay, he didn’t actually flag them down, but the rest was all true).

And I see photos filter through my inbox every week that depict little four-leggeds giving motherly love to little mismatches.  I see dogs adopting deer; monkeys mothering kittens; elephants parenting panda bears…

The animal kingdom is full of emotion and love and bravery.  That’s more than I can say for most human beings.

If this whole marketing thing falls through, I’ll probably look into job opportunities at the zoo.  Oh wait, I already tried that – Didn’t really go as planned.  When interviewing for a PR-based position, I do not recommend suggesting the use of monkey-decoy tactics when dealing with frightened or terrified patrons.  This, evidently, is a very bad idea.

watermelon

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My Little Science Project

Seeing as how my arch nemesis has struck again, and seeing as how I apparently do no know what the heck it looks like int he first place, I thought I might post a few photos that I took while I was at the lake last weekend.

At this point in life, I plan to avoid all plantlife of all kinds at all costs.  But perhaps somebody will be able to take a glance at these photos and tell me for sure which of these (if any) are examples of Poison Ivy, Oak or Sumac.  Then, I will be able to work up the courage to venture outdoors again, someday.  Because I do loves me some outdoors!

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The Dumbest 30 Minutes of My Life

I got pretty spun out at WalMart last night.  Rick had to hang back at the house while I ventured out into the big, bad world of retail all on my own.  It’s not that I’m helpless or something, here.  But signing up to peruse the aisles of WalMart USA, the Thursday night before the Memorial Day Weekend holiday with no backup, is not my idea of a sane time.

As you can imagine, the store was a madhouse.  But I did manage to get in and out in a record-breaking 1 hour and 45 minute spree.  (Freaking ridiculous!)

However, the real stress didn’t rear it’s ugly head until I ventured back into the parking lot.  As I forced my little kart through the cross walk, I said to myself, “Self, which way is your car?”  I’ve started this conversation in my head numerous times but I’ve never had to actually finish it…My car always magically appears right in front of my face.

But last night, for some dumb reason, my car did not magically appear.

I shoved that heavy-ass kart up and down rows of cars, squinting and searching like none other than the great Columbo himself.  The stupid kart got heavier and my patience grew thinner.  After about 15 minutes of no luck whatsoever, I trucked it back to the front of the store and I asked a couple of guys who were loading what appeared to be the entire store’s stock of Coca-Cola into the back of their Blazer, if they would be willing to watch my stupid, heavy kart while I continued forth on my mission.  (They looked at me like I was nuts, by the way).

So I headed back out into that concrete jungle of automobiles and lamp posts (and pleas note, I think that the lamp posts at WalMart are not at all conducive to lost car scenarios–they offer way too much blockage).  But then finally, after another 15 minutes – no joke – I found my car.

When I saw my car, I felt like I had spent the last half an hour calling for my little dog…”Fido, Fido…Come here, boy…Where are you?!?”  Only to find him sitting in the backyard and looking at me like, “What’s wrong you idiot?  I’ve been right here the whole time?”

Good Lord.  I’m 27 years old.  If this is a sign of what is to come, I am in BIG trouble.  Yep.

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It Gets No Better Than This, Folks – Wichita At Its Finest

When I was a little girl, I looked forward to the Wichita Riverfestival every year!  This event–an annual outdoor 2 week party in Wichita, KS–pulls out all the stops with carnivals, street merchants, food vendors,  music, parades…The whole nine!  Out here in ‘the Big City,’ you guys have something very similar–I believe you call it “First Fridays,” but back home in ‘ol Wichita, we get down once a year and we get down for 24 days straight!  (Top that big, Chief fans!)

My mom was so great to me and my sisters when we were little.  She would load us up in our little, red wagon and throw her big, blue canvas bag over her shoulder–loaded with trail mix, goldfish crackers and cheesy poofs.  She would pack a cooler full of drinks and then she’d haul us down to the festivities.

I’ve got a bad-ass mom and a couple of pretty great sisters.  Those factors combined with funnel cakes, cotton candy and sun–It just didn’t get any better…

I have tried to re-attend the festival in recent years past–attempting to chase down those nostalgic feelings of my childhood.

I owe a major shout out to my mother who did all that she did to creatively mask the harsh realities of the true ‘face’ of Wichita and it’s big, bad festival.  It’s not as pretty through my adult eyes…definitely a whole lot weirder.

Cheesy poofs, funnel cakes, concerts and bathtub races are a thing of the past!  Here are my new favorite parts of the annual Wichita Riverfestival:

  • The fella in the dirty clothes that sleeps on the bench in front of the Wichita Public Library and asks for “Aeaa one dollear, ma’ammm?” each time you walk by
  • The woman with the little SmartCar (that she identifies as a baby stroller) which she uses as a plow-tool to mow down the people who do not jump out of her path quickly enough
  • That little, 17 year old girl, who wears the extremely short denim cutoffs and low-cut spaghetti strap tank top–Lots of mascara and the Hannah Montana scrunchy around her wrist (oh wait, she’s only 12…)
  • The young boys who walk in packs, 7 or 8 abroad, who despite their lack of manners (insofar as to actually step aside to allow others to pass the opposite way) must be given props for their coordination efforts.  Many of them are able to balance a baseball cap atop their head, hold a straw to their mouth with their left hand, and maintain just enough pants-coverage over their crotch with their right hand to pass as “legal.”
  • The group of crack fiends who may or may not have just met that day (the longevity of the relationship doesn’t really matter all that much when dope is involved), but appear to be having a blast!  Shampoo, teeth, laundered apparel–all optional.  (These guys aren’t so bad–But I just can’t help but cringe when they rub up against me in the hot, sweaty crowd).
  • This fella:

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Fat Fingered, Funny Monkey

Evidently, I have earned a set of the world’s fattest fingers.

My dear, sweet husband surprised me last night by turning off my existing mobile flip phone, and replacing it with a fancy, new touch phone.  I was so excited and I felt very loved.  But all of the warm fuzzies were immediately followed by feelings of confusion, ignorance and utter bewilderment.

I not only have no freaking clue how to use my little Blackberry Storm, I find that when I attempt to use it, I end up pushing buttons accidentally and deleting email messages without intention.

I even took my little phone back to the Verizon store (twice) to get a little rundown.  Those kids just buzz through the phone and punch the little buttons like it’s their television remote control.  When I leave the store, I feel semi-confident again; but I quickly find myself fumbling around on the high falutin’ touch-screen key pad like a monkey on the self check-in terminal at the airport.

They tell me it will “take some getting use to.”  Gee I sure hope so.  (This could get very embarassing, very quickly).

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Churro Boy Saves the Day

The scrolling marquee said, “Stuffed Churros,” and that was that!  I headed up to that coutner at the Fun Foods in Towne East Mall, Wichita, and ordered me a 2 for 1 pack!  Screw the diet!

“Wait about 3 minutes,” the Churro Boy told me.  I sat down and waited.  Three minutes came around and the boy was taking other orders and filling sodas.  Six minutes rolled around and I thought, “Hmmm…I sure do wish I had a churro right about now.”  After about 10 minutes, the Churro Boy ran (literally) to the back.  I figured that was my que.  He came back with my prize!

Since I was in a hurry, went ahead and rushed outside.  Once I got in the car, I opened the box to the sweet smell of fried, sugary grease.  But to my dismay, Churro Boy severely overcooked my fatty little treats.  Crap!

As you can see, that didn’t stop me from taking more than just one bite, but at least I didn’t eat the whole batch.

Thanks Churro Boy for saving my diet that day.  I owe you one.

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A Whole New Type of Roofing Scam (And the Story of Lacey’s Bad-Assedness)

I received a phone call a few weeks back.  A couple of guys that I formerly worked alongside were working successfully in the Texas area doing insurance roof sales.  They asked me if I would be interested in coming on board with
them.  The opportunity was lucrative (especially in this economy) and the job offer gave way for an exceptional travel opportunity, as well.  They were looking to fill the position immediately, so I was asked to give a response as soon as possible.

I visited with my husband about the details.  But in the end, declined the position for a number of personal reasons.

I made the phone call to the Roofers in Texas and I declined the opportunity for myself, but I recommended somebody equally as qualified with a stronger
administrative background than even I had.  I offered up my sister, Lacey.

The guys asked 20 minutes worth of questions before hanging up with “Thank you, we will keep her in mind,” before calling back to ask a few more questions.  They were clearly interested in bringing Lacey on board, instead.

They called Lacey and spoke with her for an hour or so.  They discussed her
background, her personal life, her abilities, her expectations, her skill set. They offered her the job and they said they needed her to come to TX right away.  She informed them that she had hoped to finish out her school semester first–and that because of school, she would not be available until 3 weeks out.  Lacey told me she could feel the urgency in their voices.  She knew that if they had had it their way, she would have found herself on the very next trip out of town.  Lacey was asked to take a couple of days to make her big decision, and to call back ASAP.

You may or may not know my family very well.  We are Johnson’s.  We really don’t leave the Wichita metro for anything outside of vacation time.  Our furthest living relatives live in Clearwater, KS–and every year, come Thanksgiving, we all reunite for turkey dinner.  Extensive travel is not involved–Everything brought to the potluck table is homemade, hot out of the oven–And very little catching up is necessary because very little changes occur from year to year (with the exception of the occasional addition of a powder-smelling, plump, little baby).

Well, despite this long-standing tradition, Lacey chose to break out of her box.  She called the Roofers up and accepted the out of state job.  She decided to take a risk and stick her neck out there.  We were all so proud of her.  The Roofers were excited, as well.  Her start date was confirmed and they told her that they would go ahead and secure her apartment for her.  Lacey told them that she would go ahead and place her 2 weeks notice with her current employer and that she would talk to them soon.

The pride that Lacey exuded was like none I’ve seen before.  She felt like she had really made a ballsy move.  And we felt the same.  A week went by, and those of us around her began to accept the reality that she would be leaving very soon.  Plans began to form for going-away parties, packing, hauling, etc.  Her excitement built and our bitter-sweet sadness grew.

With 1.5 weeks left to go, Lacey received a phone call from one of the Roofers.  He informed her that he was quite sorry but that ‘things had changed’ and that they ‘no longer needed’ her in Texas.  Lacey, at a loss for words, didn’t say much.  The Roofer said that his associate would call her in a couple of days to discuss the possibility of opening a Kansas City office with her.  So the call ended.

Lacey’s position with her current employer was so valuable that as soon as Lacey placed her two weeks notice, a new girl was brought on board for training purposes.  Lacey’s old job was gone.

Lacey went from feelings of opportunity, open door and new growth to those of regret, embarrassment and “2 steps forward, 3 steps back.”  The family was furious, Lacey was heartbroken and the Roofers were nowhere to be found.

The Roofer’s associate never called Lacey back.

At this point, the men refuse to receive or return any of Lacey’s phone calls.  Perhaps some part of their conscience doesn’t agree with what they’ve done?  Perhaps they really don’t give a damn and they’re really just that rude.

Either way, Lacey’s outlook on this series of events is something I admire and respect.  She spent about 20 minutes crying and feeling sorry for herself.  But from that point forward, she accepted the outlook of “Everything happens for a reason,” and “This is the way it is supposed to be.”

She has not once badmouthed the Roofers.  She has yet to freak out about the idea that she (as of last Friday) has no source of income in an economy that will not be able to offer her any favors whatsovever.  She has remained her typical happy, bubbly, ‘life will go on,’ self.  Lacey’s inner ‘bad-assednes’ has definitely been triggered.  If I am the big sister, why do I feel like I am the one receiving the big lesson, here?

Lacey’s new job will come along when it is time.  I will continue to reflect on her ability to not look back and to live today with no regret.  Life throws us punches and we get right back up.  Yes, it stings.  But it also gives us tougher skin.  (Better stock up on the Lubriderm).

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(By the way, this photo was taken post ‘screw-you’ from the Roofers at Lacey’s birthday celebration.  While she does wear the color pink quite often, she does not typically sport pink, flowery leis).

laceyjohnson2003@yahoo.com

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