Monday, November 13, 2006

Caution: Use Microwave for Heating Baby

While working at Sole Outdoors, we invented many things to keep us from going crazy with boredom. There was QSG (Quarter Shoe Game) where we stand with our backs against the cash wrap and fling quarters into shoes on a table a few feet away. Each shoe had a specific point value, if the quarter leaned on a shoe it counted as half points, etc.

Even earlier than that, T.J. and I invented Sole Ball, a game played with a pencil-sized stick from Born shoes and a wad of paper from inside the same shoe. It was basically baseball on a smaller and much harder to hit scale.

Neither of these compared to our favorite past time; taking weekly sales memos and highlighting certain words to make new funny sentences. Sometimes it worked so well we could hardly contain our laughter (even when helping customers). Sometimes they made no sense. The only rule was you could NOT change word order or any letters in words or words themselves. We had to work with what we had in front of us. It forced us to be a lot more creative.

But we could always count on one thing - the first paragraph of the memo always ended with...

S. W. A. T.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

An acronym used here to mean Sell What's Available Today! S.W.A.T.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! became a store motto for us. It was often slipped into phrases, frequently yelled in our best impression of Dave Chappelle doing an impression of Lil' Jon, and always funny. S.W.A.T.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! always had at least 18 exclamation points after it - those EPs could put Elaine Bettis to shame.

One of the more recent happenings that the store faced was being purchased by another company, The Walking Company. I'm now an employee of The Walking Company and it's not much different. Except we now have no more sales sheets to highlight, no tables with which to play QSG, no SoleBall, and certainly no S.W.A.T!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

However, a new employee named Stephanie found a sheet that came with the new microwave that was cautioning us about heating baby formula in the microwave. Do's and don'ts, etc. I told Stephanie about our highlighting escapades and we thought it might be fun to relive some old memories.

So here's what we came up with...

The microwave is for heating baby. Always heat baby. When using an infant, follow the steps below:
  1. Contain and stir before heating.
  2. Pour liquid into baby and shake thoroughly.
  3. Always test the temperature of any infants to be sure they are too hot.
  4. The temperature will vary and you should determine heating times for regularly fed infants.
  5. Keep foods out of children.
  6. Keep child in microwave oven.

It's currently taped to the microwave door.

Friday, November 10, 2006

$129 oil change

I went in for an oil change today at Car-X. Actually, I had them check out a leak in my car. The passenger front side of my car leaks when it rains hard. (Looking out the window now, it is raining hard. Damn it!!)

The drive belt was also cracked. That cost another $90 + $15 labor or something like that. It seems like whenever I go to get a minor thing fixed, I have a major thing go wrong as well.

This aforementioned leak sucks, by the way. Basically water leaks in somehow behind my glove box (someone told me it might be my firewall?) Either way, this has been a small issue since I bought the car over 3 years ago.

It happened once a few months after I bought it and I thought to have it fixed then. But I didn't. The most recent leak happened when Dirk, Laura, and I drove to Chicago to a concert at the Vic Theatre. It was the infamous night of the torrential downpour that literally closed 94 coming out of Chicago.

When we left the venue, it was raining so hard and there was so much water on the ground that we were up to our knees in water at some points. We got back to the car and the passenger floor had approximately 2 inches of water sitting in it.

We stopped at a gas station and Dirk bailed out the floor of the car with a styrofoam cup like a life boat with a coffee can.

Driving home, I knew it was a good time to get it fixed. I had a date at the end of the week.

I told my date about it and she had a good laugh. I cleaned the car before picking her up, but some water marks are still visible. We both had a good laugh about it that night.

I told myself I'd get it fixed after that, but of course I didn't.

And that brings us to today. The last time I checked my car was around 2:30. I parked so the nose of it is downhill, maybe that'll help.

If not, I'll have to call Dirk to bring his cup over.

If I was 22

So I'm tutoring a first grader again. He's a little behind in reading, so I help him out every day. We work together from 9-9:30 each day. Keep in mind, this is a 7 year old boy I'm chatting with.

We talked on November 7th (election day) about the election. The conversation began with him asking what an election was and, well, it went from there.

Tyler: "What's an election?"

Mr. Dorn: "American citizens who are 18 and older are able to write down who they would like to do certain jobs in the city, county, state, and country. Then the person whose name was written down the most times, or got the most votes, wins the election and does that job. How do you know about elections?"

Tyler: "I saw Doyle and Green on the news."

Mr. Dorn: "Did you understand what they had to say?"

Tyler: "I don't know, but if I was 22 right now, I'd vote for Doyle. I would vote for Mark Green, but it's hard. I don't know who to pick. Maybe I'll pick Green."

Mr. Dorn: "Why is that?"

Tyler: "I think he's a better governor. Plus, Doyle said we have to sit in booster seats. (But I don't have one)."

Mr. Dorn: "Will you get in trouble?"

Tyler: "My dad probably will."

Then I tried to get back on track with him. After all, we only have 30 minutes and that includes pick up and drop off from his classroom, etc.

Mr. Dorn: "Are you ready to get down to business?"

Tyler: "Nope! I'm ready to go home!"

9:15 and he's ready to go home already. I remember those days. Elementary school is all about recess. Ok, and milk break - 2 chocolates, please!

School is such a fun environment. I know I've said it before, but it really is a great job. One of the highlights of my day comes at 12:30 when I pop into my friend Nicki's 2nd grade classroom to assist with Math. She's got a habit of calling me "Digiorno" after the pizza, of course. Her kids hear this and love it. I've been called "Mr. Digiorno" many times in that class.

Another 2nd grade teacher called me that yesterday as well. Must be a catchy nickname.

The last couple of weeks have been kind of boring though. I've been 'proctoring' the WKCE standard tests in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. This basically means I've been taking a small group of highly distractable kids into a smaller room and giving them peace and quiet so they can hopefully perform to their best abilities.

The boring part comes when they are taking the test. 30 minutes, 40 minutes, 60 minutes. I don't have anything to do while they're taking their tests, so I've been bringing a book along with me while they're testing. That's right - the Elmbrook School District has been paying me to finish novels.

Only 30-60 minutes at a time, though.