Sunday, July 31, 2005

Foraging for Food

I realize that trying to find a place to eat dinner on a Friday night that does not involve a period of waiting is next to impossible. What I wasn’t prepared for was the way in which the hostess announced the wait time. She told us that currently the average wait for a seat would be between 110 and 145 minutes. Um, excuse me?

I’d like to know who came up with this tactic. Some frustrated marketing major is my guess. I don’t know about any of you but I would have preferred to hear the next table will be available in an hour and a half to two hours. Calculating the precise number of minutes was not only mind boggling but it seemed like a much longer time frame. Bad call.

Luckily my friend and I sauntered over to the next eatery which was able to seat us in less than five minutes. In that case, the use of minutes was entirely acceptable. The food was great and the company even better. I have always been more interested in the company I keep versus the type of restaurant I dine in. Seriously, who waits two hours for a table when there is a plethora of restaurants in the vicinity.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Oh Happy Day!!!

I cannot believe my luck. As usual, I put off getting my emissions test performed on my vehicle which keeps me from being able to re-register my car online. Here we are at the end of the month and I am faced with the emissions test station and then a trip to the DMV.

Friends, I am here to tell you that not only was I able to get both tasks accomplished in less than 2 hours but I was also greeted by friendly, smiling DMV employees. Can you believe it? I am in awe, truly.

I am off to buy a lottery ticket because this kind of luck doesn’t come around often.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

In Pursuit of Less Hirsute

I walked into the waiting room of my laser hair removal appointment and to my surprise, what did I find? Three men. I am not sure why it threw me off kilter but it did. Shame on me for thinking that only women seek a state of glabrousness. After I cleared that up in my head, I grabbed a magazine and took a seat.

All three of them were impeccably dressed. I am always dressed casually for work, the patients we see really could care less what we are wearing. I take full advantage of that perk. The room was silent, I was trying to enjoy my gossip magazine and my roommates were busy. One was reading the Post, one was furiously tapping away on his laptop and the other was anxiously waiting for eye contact from me.

Once I met his gaze, he initiated conversation. I now know that he is receiving treatment to the back of his neck/hairline, his back and an unmentionable area.( Thanks fella, I really could have gone through my whole day without that knowledge)When he was done he turned to me and asked why I was there? Of course the other 2 temporarily stopped what they were doing to also hear what part of my body was to be treated. There are some things total strangers really don’t need to know. However, since I realized that there was no escaping his question I decided to have fun while waiting my turn:

Wicked H: I am here to remove all hair except what is on my scalp.
Conversation Initiator: Really? What about your eyebrows?
Post Reader: (Intently waiting for my answer)
Wicked H: Well, it all depends on budget. If I run out of funds, the eyebrows can be sacrificed.
Post Reader: ( Now has brought out his cell phone and is using the calculator function to foretell my expenses) Good call. I’d keep the eyebrows. They are attractive.
Wicked H: Why thank you, I believe I will heed your advice. ( wishing the floor would open up and swallow me now or that all 3 would be called back for their appointment already!!!)

I should have wished for a million dollars. For at that exact moment, all three did get called back for their treatments. So there you go Internets, this was not something I was going to Blog about. You have the three of them to thank.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Creatures of Habit

This week at work, we had to change the combination of the 2 doors that require a keypad combination to enter. My office is in the hallway where the doors are located. I cannot tell you the number of times I have snickered, sometimes silently, sometimes outright guffawed this week.

We have had the same combination for about a year and each of us has a different method of remembering the combination. Since I play with numbers all day long, my method is to remember the pattern the combination makes on the keypad. In fact, that is my method for remembering phone numbers as well. If you were to ask me for a phone number I would have to imagine myself dialing the number before I could recite it.

The first day after the change, I just left my office door open so that I could give anyone who either did not know or couldn’t remember the code. The rest of the week, I have been collecting quarters for each time I had to assist anyone with the code. I now have enough money to buy myself a Latte 3 days next week. Who knew work could be this much fun?

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

And They All Fall Down…

I take pride in being a self sufficient woman. Meaning I am not afraid of tackling certain home improvement projects. I mean I watch TLC avidly, it looks so easy. I do know my limits, I generally stay away from complicated plumbing issues and anything electrical. Beyond that, I am pretty capable.

Some of the vertical tiles in my master bath tub were getting loose. The tub has a small shelf area for shampoo bottles it runs the length of the tub. I figured I would remove all of the vertical tiles of just the shelf and replace them; with mortar, new tiles then grout. It seemed like a great plan. I removed the 2 loose tiles, no problem. There were 14 tiles that needed to come down. At tile #3, the entire shelf came crashing down into the bath tub rotted drywall and all. Thankfully I was not standing in the tub at the time.

What I am left with are the studs and the insulation behind them. I am pretty sure that wasn’t supposed to happen. I know I’ve never seen it on Trading Spaces. Perhaps that is what gets edited out of the show. Luckily I have another full bath to use in the meantime. What a hassle!

Once I buy the supplies I need, I will call in the professionals. Like I said, I know my limits.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Dear Self-Absorbed Diva With a Tude:

Really, it is way past getting old. We all have issues with life. Not just you. Amazing, I know. Most of us have good friends to lean on. Some seek out professional help, absolutely nothing wrong with that. I hear Tom Cruise has some magic vitamins, worth a try maybe.

This incessant whining really has to stop. Shit or get off the pot. It is in your control, you choose not to accept it. Also okay.

It is my choice not to take the brunt of your tude. I am tapped out. My suggestions and support are obviously not helping you at this point. I can only hope you seek out whatever it is that can console you.

Good luck!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Something’s Amiss

Back in high school I sported the very unattractive uni-brow. Why I listened to my Mother and did not try to put some shape into my brow, I still don’t know? She told me the longer I waited to pluck, the less headache I would have down the road. Well maybe Mom, but you weren’t the one getting-made fun of each day in school.

Luckily for me, my elder sister had already broken the no pluck rule and was ready to assist me in my misfortune. While on Christmas break, my sister told me to bring her a pair of tweezers, sit down in front of her and lay my head in her lap. One hour later, she handed me a mirror. I went from uni-brow to a pair of pencil thin perfectly arched eyebrows. An exact duplicate of her look. Don’t get me wrong. Her plucking abilities were gorgeous but I looked like a different person with red and swollen eyebrows. No wonder my eyes were tearing nonstop the entire time. It was a drastic change. It took almost the entire week for the redness and swelling to dissipate.

When I returned to school, of course I drew a lot of attention. Something I have never enjoyed, even now. I’d rather blend into the crowd than make an entrance. Sadly, this was not the case. Almost everyone who encountered me that day asked me the same questions:

1) Did you get contacts over break? ( I do not wear glasses)
2) New hair style? ( In high school I had long straight hair)
3) Something is different, what is it?

I cannot tell you how quickly all the attention wore me down. I would politely say no; hair style is the same and I don’t even wear glasses. I did not want to announce that the change involved my eyebrows. Too embarrassing I guess. Not the new brows, the attention they garnered.

I almost made it through the day without having to divulge my change in appearance. Then it happened, in History class. My new look completely baffled my teacher, Mr. Stewart. He would keep interrupting his lecture with the standard questions and I would tell him no, all is the same. He tried to continue with class but it was bugging him to no end. He asked me one last time. "Wicked, you look very different. What is the change?" I summoned up all my courage, stood up next to my desk and announced, "I plucked my eyebrows. Do you mind?!?!?!"

Well he finally understood that I did not want the attention. Good ole Mr. Stewart, he was dense that way. With that came a barrage of complements and one very backhanded one. Phillip whom I secretly had a crush on for most of my time in school told the class "oh yea, she doesn’t look Russian any more!" ( Gee, thanks Phillip - end of crush)

Mamas, don’t let your daughters grow up with bushy eyebrows. Trust me. You’ll thank me one day.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Reflections of What My Blog Means to Me

Has it been a year? Already? Time flies when you’re having fun blogging.

I am honored to be among the countless talented writers out there in the blogging community. I am highly amused at the hits received by this site. It is passe to list the way in which some of you have found this blog, I won’t itemize the searches. It is for my own amusement after all and for the individuals who search. I am surprised by the number of visitors, over 10 thousand. Amazing. If you have the time to let me know how you found me, leave a comment or e-mail.

Many new friendships have been forged in this past year, I cherish them all.

Some of you can’t seem to start your work day without visiting. Who knew I was so inspirational? I might have to market my power of inspiration to certain HR departments. Maybe I can motivate a whole company instead of a loan employee. Something to think about.

Happy Blogiversary to me and to those of you who continue to visit. I promise to keep having fun if you promise to keep reading. Deal?

Monday, July 11, 2005

Hey Diddle Diddle

If I am having good rapport with my restaurant server, I enjoy measuring his/her level of humor.

Last night, HFS, HFS Jr. and I ate out after a very intellectually stimulating experience at the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History. We ended up at one of my favorite places and had a very fun server, TJ. ( Hi TJ!!) When our meal was done, TJ asked us if everything was ok. There was barely a morsel left on anyone’s plate.

Wicked H: It was TERRIBLE, we are never coming back here again.

TJ: I can see that. The salmon must have swum right off your plate.

: The chicken was horrendous.

TJ: So, the salmon and the chicken ran away.

Wicked H & HFS: ( in unison) Yes, and the cow jumped over the moon.

TJ left us visibly giggling while retrieving our bill. HFS Jr. on the other hand was trying to become invisible. We make every effort to embarrass her while out in public.

Mission accomplished.

Friday, July 08, 2005

10 Years Ago Today.....

I was racing to get to Maryland from NC in a monsoon. The stereo in my car was struck by lightening during the drive and I made the trip in silence. This allowed me much time, 6 plus hours, to worry and pray that all was ok with my elder sister who after countless hours of labor was rushed into a C-section because both her life and the baby's life were in danger.

We can't do anything simple and with ease in my family. Thankfully it all turned out well. I know I am biased, but I have been told by many of my friends who have met Little Mermaid that for being an only child and the sole grandchild on my side of the family; she is very grounded and not spoiled. I am very proud of that and thousands of other characteristics she possesses.

Happy 10th Birthday Little Mermaid!!! Hurry back so we can have a big party here too.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Drug Dealers

My endearing term for the pharmaceutical reps who visit our practice. It’s not original but it makes some members of the staff and very few reps chuckle. On the average we receive at least a couple of lunches a week courtesy of the Drug Dealers.

You’d think it was the only meal our staff consumes each week. They are like vultures over prey. The caterer can’t set the food up quick enough from all the swarming. It’s kind of embarrassing. What is amusing is the covert ways in which some of the staff squirrels away the stash. My office is right next to the break/conference room so I am keenly aware of the activities surrounding the luncheons. We have one staff member who volunteers to clean up after the luncheons. At first I thought she was very generous or a clean freak. Turns out she is guaranteeing her evening meal. She does do a great job cleaning up. I figure it’s a just reward.

Drug reps generally don’t like talking to me. I do thank them for the meal they have supplied and for the record I don’t partake of each meal. A girl has to watch her figure and the lunches can be quite rich. Should a Drug Dealer engage me in conversation, I always ask if the consumer would benefit from lower medication costs if we could eliminate the luncheons. I mean I am the first to give up the lunches and the coveted chachkas but I also am the one signing for the caterer’s bill. Feeding 50 plus staff is not cheap.

I would gladly give up the lunches for more reasonable medication costs. I understand that the pharmaceutical reps need this avenue to market the new products, but still. There has to be a better way.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Paging Dr. Aggressive, Dr. Passive Aggressive

Back in rural NC when I was running five medical facilities, I had a nemesis. A locum tenens physician who was from the old school and had zero tolerance for policies and procedures. Unfortunately, until we were able to recruit new physicians for all the clinics, Dr. Aggressive was the temporary medical director. I can honestly say that I have not put all my management skills to such good use since his tenure.

In order to store controlled substances in a clinic you have to follow stringent rules. When Dr. Aggressive was going through medical training back in the day, the rules were not very strict. He told me time and time again that medicine was much simpler before the emergence of Managed Care. I never disagreed with him but it really had nothing to do with current day medical practice management.

Controlled substances must be stored in a locked container with the keys being available to the medical director and his/her designate. Dr. Aggressive and I had the keys for our lock box containing injectable Valium for seizure control and cough syrups containing codeine. Anytime these drugs were ordered, dispensed or destroyed, they had to be clearly documented. Every ounce had to be accounted for, no exceptions. These policies and procedure are governed by none other than the DEA. The DEA can drop into any facility at any time and go through the controlled substance log. The are penalties are steep, physician licenses can be suspended or revoked, clinics can be shut down. In principle, you really don’t want to piss off the DEA.

Because we were in such a small town, Dr. Passive Aggressive did not feel the need to follow any of these rules. He would pick up a couple of vials of Valium from the hospital’s pharmacy and tell the pharmacist to get the paperwork from me later. The pharmacist was not too pleased with this method but would generally go along with the city-slicker attitude of this visiting medical director. During Dr. Aggressive’s tenure the hospital pharmacist and I became close acquaintances. Dr. Aggressive continued taking many liberties with the controlled substance rules to the point where the pharmacist called the DEA for intervention. The pharmacist’s license and reputation were on the line as well. Luckily I was made aware of the covert operation and had my end of the paperwork in order.

The DEA agent showed up in the middle of a very busy day. She asked to speak with the medical director and the administrator. Before I went into Dr. Aggressive’s office, I brought the controlled substance log with me along with my copies of the signed order forms. The order forms are numbered and need to be used in numerical sequence; if not, it is considered a red flag. Dr. Aggressive handled the meeting in his typical aloof manner.

Here is the exchange between the DEA agent and Dr. Aggressive:
DEA: Why are the prescriptions being used out of order?
Dr. PA: I grab whichever one is handy at the moment, I don’t pay attention to it. My administrator must be responsible.
DEA: Really? Does she write the prescriptions?
Dr. PA: Of course not, I do.
DEA: Who keeps the prescription pad?
Dr. PA: I do.
DEA: Why are they being used out of order? Where is prescription form 1123? I won’t leave here until you produce the missing form.
Dr. PA: Well in that case, let me arrange for you to get a hotel room in town as I have no idea where that form is.
DEA: I have a better idea. I’ll just take you to our Charlotte headquarters where we may be able to jog your memory. (Charlotte is a good 2-hour drive from our location)

At that point I was dismissed from the room. An hour later, Dr. PA and the DEA agent left to go to Charlotte. One week later, we replaced Dr. Passive Aggressive with another locum tenens physician. Luckily for me, one who enjoyed following all policies and procedures.