Thursday, December 17, 2009

ho pans!

My friend Kate and I were just talking about someone, and came up with the following insult. Use widely.

You really put the "ass" in "embarrassing."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

an old phone conversation worth reliving here

In cleaning out my email folders, I found this little (huge) email that I sent to some coworkers about two years ago when this crazy phone call happened. I'm so glad that it's recorded, because it was so

I could not stop myself from spending 30 minutes transcribing the conversation that I just had on the phone. Typically, I would write it as a conversation between this man and myself, but this 30 minute phone call consisted of him talking and me going "Mmm hmm," "ok," and awkwardly laughing, so I'll spare you from most of my comments and just write what Mr. Donald D said to me this morning.

To those of you who believe that the big JC purposefully send these people my way for my own entertainment, I am beginning to agree with you, as this man, who I have never met, who is not from my recruiting territory and who was interested in a program to which I am not connected, specifically asked for me.

Phone call as follows:

"Hello there, this is Mr. Donald D. I'm a veteran of three wars and I live up here in Scripps Ranch. I have a few questions for you...but it's a little bit of a story, so do you have a moment? Ok. I have three children, all in their 50s and 60s now. Well in 1990, I had radical prostate surgery, and they ended up freezing my sperm. My wife was very ill, and the doctor said 'What if you marry a younger woman? 'You never know when you'll want to have more kids!' Before my wife passed, one of my daughters and her husband found out that they couldn't have kids, so they decided they wanted to use some of my sperm."

Pause for a moment for my thought when he said this: "SICK."

"I mean, they already knew what kind of kids they were, so it was a safe bet. Well my son-in-law said he would start saving for the procedure of fertilization, but if you knew him like we did, you would know that he never even saved five cents in his whole life! I mean, he worked with the San Diego Opera and didn't even save the tickets he earned! Anyway, we decided to pay for the procedure, and we worked with an egg donor and after five attempts in '99, we got a little girl! We were excited, but my daughter and son-in-law really wanted a boy, so we used the same donor and surrogate and in 2002, we got twin boys! Around that time, my wife passed away and my son-in-law died unexpectedly, and my daughter couldn't handle it, so she gave up all three kids to me. Now I'm a single parent, and I'm 82 years old! Well when my daughter gave up those kids, I tried to call her--she lives in Kensington--and she never answered and I haven't even heard from her in five years. Anyway, I knew I could use some help, so I found a nanny from Scotland. Rosalyn came over here on a work visa and she was with those kids for almost three years! We knew she was perfect when we went to visit one of the twins in the hospital--he was born without an anus and with a double urethra"

Pause for a moment for my thought when he said this: " spirit at least."

"--and when she saw him in the hospital, he had blood all over him, and she said she would never leave him there again! She stayed by his side every time he went into that horrible place. Anyway, while she was here, she found out that she had family in Vancouver, so I bought her a ticket to visit them, and when she tried to come back, they wouldn't let her back in! Her visa was only for San Diego, they said, and that was a lie, because visas aren't for one city. But they deported her back to Scotland. Well she tried to get a visa and they denied her, but they wrote a letter to MISTER C. Looks like they don't even know the difference between a male and a female over there! So she wrote a letter to the first lady, and it got returned to her too with a no. Well I want her to get back here to help me...I made her the sole executor of my will and my childrens' guardian...and she went to Nursing school in Scotland, and I hadn't considered PLNU because of your high costs, but I just need her back here for those kids!"

Pause for a moment for my thought when he said this: "It took 12 minutes to get to the reason he called."

"Several other schools I've talked to suggested I just marry her to make the process easier,"

Pause for a moment for my thought when he said this: "SICK."

"but I can't do that to her, that wouldn't be right."

At this point, he paused for the first time, so I felt like I had to say something, but all I could come up with was "Yeah, that doesn't seem like it would solve the problem. What a story!"

"Well you wouldn't believe it, it's just like a soap opera! I don't know if you're aware of this, but when you have a surrogacy birth, you all have to go to the judge so the surrogate gives up all legal rights to the kids. Well we did that, but when our surrogate found out how much money I was worth and that I have a six bedroom two bath house up here, after my wife and son-in-law passed, she sued me for custody and said that she was the only mother figure in their lives, which is a lie! My housekeeper will tell you...she only showed up when she was pregnant for more money! Well we had a liberal woman judge who believed her, and the woman got partial custody of those kids, and support from me all because of that woman judge! She's a mess. I hired a private investigator to follow her"

Pause for a moment for my thought when he said this: "We're really about to go into someone else life story...minute 21"

"and I found out that she had been married five times and committed welfare fraud. Apparently one night, she and her second husband were in a hotel with her 10 year old from a first marriage and the police were called and the kid had blood on his head and was taken from her. Well she divorced that second husband and got married again, but she divorced the guy in Guam, and a Guam divorce isn't even recognized here in California, so on top of all this, she's a polygamist! Can you believe it?"

Pause for a moment for my thought when he said this: "Yes."

"Well finally last year, I took her back to court with this new evidence, and we found out that when the kids were there, they slept in a utility closet on a foam mattress. She tried to enroll them in a Lutheran school up there in Escondido just so she would have more kids there and get a break in tuition. Well she sent some woman to pick those kids up for Lutheran school with all sorts of studs all over her face and I told her 'No way are you taking my kids and my vehicle...I don't know you from Adam!' So anyway, when we took her back to court, we had a male judge and he said 'Why are we even here? She has no legal claim to these kids!' So I got my kids back. Oh my god my housekeeper just handed me a check for $4000 dollars."

At this point, I cannot contain my "What the hell?"

"I don't..." "This is from 1970! She just found a check from 1970 under the chest in the boys' room! I'll have to call the IRS on this one! My housekeeper is telling me what to do over here!"

Can't help it: "Maybe that's a sign...first tuition payment!"

"You're right!" "Well anyway you better believe that while the PI followed the surrogate, he found out a lot of things. First, she'd had her eyes operated on so she would look like an innocent little teenager. She was 200 pounds when the twins were born, and she was down to 120 because of an intestines [pronounced "en-TEST-tynes"] staple. And the worst of it is that after she birthed 11 children, her breasts were down to her belly button, so she had those things put back up where they were supposed to be. Can you believe it?"

Pause for a moment for my thought when he said this: "Yes."

It was at this point, 31 minutes in, that I realized that I had to stop this, so I basically interrupted, told him about Nursing and gave him their phone number. He was so great--he had me write down his name and Rosalyn's name, and I ended the conversation with:

"Well you know my name, so you call me back anytime you want to!"

I hope he does.

Two year later update: He never called back, and poor Rosalyn never applied. I hope everything worked out, but really, how can thing work out when you have no anus?

Monday, December 14, 2009

really weird conversations happen here

So corwoker Chad and I were in the mail center on campus, and I was just skimming The Good News (worst “news source” of all time…this week they include an article on why it’s ok for Carrie Prejean to have a sex tape, because it was a youthful indiscretion. Really? I’m pretty sure that they didn’t say that about Paris Hilton’s sex tape. Christian newspapers always let me down. It's not like real news isn't Christian news too, right?), and a faculty member walked in, and the following conversation ensued.

Faculty member: Hey! What are you guys doing?
Me to Chad: Just reading The Good News!
Faculty member: We sure could use some right now!
Me back: Yeah, well I guess this isn’t good news…it’s about abortion…downer! (jokes)
Chad: Downer.
Faculty member: Yeah, real downer, especially for the baby.
Me: …Yeah…
Chad: Haaaaayeah

Sidenote here—that was not meant as an endorsement of abortion, or a stance against it…just a comment that it’s not what one would necessarily think of as “good news.” I'm pretty sure both sides aren't sending congrats greeting cards on anyone's abortion.

So Chad and I jump back into our own conversation about something else entirely, and the faculty member, on the way out the door, says

Faculty member: I know it’s cool to have an open mind…especially about abortion…but I just can’t do it.

Us: Nothing (because what do you say to that?)

Faculty member: I know, it’s not cool.

And that was it.

Ah...the Naz.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

a lesson in professionalism

This morning, I received this email in my inbox (where else would I receive it, really?):

FW: Holiday E-Card - Boomers!

Hi Shannon:

Have a very safe & Happy Holiday Season!!

Best regards,

Bill Bolen

Sales Manager

Boomers ! San Diego

6999 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.

San Diego, CA 92111

858-560-4211 xt 11

Fax: 858-560-5347


That's it, exactly. No pictures, no colors, no cool fonts...nothing.

Let this be a professionalism lesson to us all.

#1--Leaving the FW: in the subject.

It's like he's saying "you're special because you're getting this, but not that special, because other people got it too." I like how it also totally negates my name in the first line.

#2--Inappropriate use of capitalization

There's no reason to capitalize Happy, Holiday or Season in the middle of a sentence. That makes me think you're yelling at me. This guy is a manager, for goodness sake. Grammar it up over there.


Really? Typing out "a-n-d" was too much for you in this one line email forward?

#4--This is a one line email forward.

If you've already resigned yourself to being that guy who just forwards the same message to everyone and changes the name in the first line, couldn't you at least make the holiday wishes SEEM heartfelt by making it more than one sentence? I mean, you only have to type it out once, and then you can just insert the names in email merge.

#5--Oh yeah, learn email merge

The fact that the "FW:" is in the header means that you actually forwarded this out, one by one, to every person who's done business with you in the past year. Come merge does that in one click, and it can even put my very individualized name in each e-card.

#6--We need to talk about what an e-card is.

I'm not sure that just because you are wishing me a Happy Holiday Season, an email turns into an "e-card."

Monday, December 7, 2009

this one time, I almost got arrested

I've always wondered what kind of pull-over I'd be, since I've been fortunate enough to never have a real-cop-pull-over while driving.

I know that all of you who have driven with me are pausing right now and thinking "Hmm...really? Because she is SUCH a bad driver!"

I know! I've been really lucky ("blessed" for those of you holier than I am). But despite my typically poor driving performance, I have yet to be pulled over.

Or HAD yet to be pulled over, before this last Saturday.

Let me start off (do you like how I'm "starting off" on the fifth paragraph?) by saying that I know the craziness of this whole story is negated by the fact that I'm even telling this story right now as opposed to sitting downtown in San Diego lock up, and you all know I would do almost ANYthing to make a good story great...but that was really put to the test this time, because I did sacrifice the better story for my freedom and clean criminal record.

So Saturday, I woke up early to the sounds of my neighbor cleaning house (sorry to all of you who I convinced that she was dead--she's not), and laid in bed, not happy about it (I did just write "pissed" here, but had to erase it in case any of you thought I actually peed the bed...Shy Ronnie), until I got a really happy text from Mary asking if I wanted to join her out shopping.

Yes. Always.

So I got ready really fast (no shower, cleeearly) and drove over to Mission Valley. To make this part of the story short, we also wanted to go to Fashion Valley, and by sheer chance, my car was closer than hers, so we took my car over, shopped there, and headed back to Mission so I could drop Mary at her car.

As we're turning onto that street that runs by the mall (Camino something? I don't even know.), I noticed that there was a police car behind me, but did not think twice about it, because there were SO many people on the roads...there was no way to speed or run a stop sign or anything. But right as I was starting to signal that I was turning into the parking lot outside of the Rack (for those of you who are here...just picture that parking lot and its tiny one-way aisles and overwhelming number of visitors), he turned on his lights and followed me in. I saw him and said to Mary "Am I getting pulled over???", and we tried to figure out what I could have done to warrant a pull over while I tried to figure out where I could pull over in the first place, because the lot was totally packed. There were no open empty spaces to stop's December at the mall. So at the end of the first aisle, Mary just said to stop.

Thanks, by the way, Mary, because I was so nervous about finding a spot that I probably would've just kept going. I just want to do it right!!

So I just stopped, blocking in three cars, and opened my driver door because I'm an idiot and my driver's window has been broken for like three months. What can I keeps me out of the drive thrus, so I haven't gotten it fixed.

The officer came up to me, I explained the window and apologized, he asked for my license and registration, then told me that the reason I was pulled over was because my back tail light was flickering. Keep in mind that since I have never really been pulled over, I'm trying to remember what, exactly, a "registration" looks like, and sifting through Sea World maps, Wells Fargo deposit envelopes and cassette mix tapes, all of which were on top of it in my glove box.

During this, Mary is helping me look, and we find my proof of insurance, which is outdated (not the insurance...just the proof. I have insurance. Promise. I have Geico, almost entirely because of their commercials). For some reason, I say, out loud, to Mary, "Oh, I think this is expired. Yeah, it is." At that point, the officer, who had not, up until that point, asked for insurance, heard me, and asked for insurance. Awesome. I told him (directly this time) "Oh...this is an old one. I didn't print out the new one. (Pause...pause) I can look it up online if you want...?"

He didn't want.

Then he took my license and registration, and asked me to pull up into the red zone. Why didn't I see that before?? So I did.

While sitting in the red zone, I'm just chatting with Mary, waiting, and I told her she could go to her car, which she did not, because she is a good friend, which I ended up really needing because, the officer came back up to me, and at the same time that we see that there was not only just the one officer who pulled me over behind me, but three police cars, all with lights flashing, sitting behind me in the red zone, the following conversation transpired:

Him: Where were you coming from? (serious)
Me: Fashion Valley mall. We were just mall hopping! (happy, like I like to be)
Him: And where do you work?
Me: Point Loma Nazarene (always throw in "Naz" if it's something serious...with a smile)
Him: Oh, I was just over there the other day
Me: No way! Why? Oh, I guess I can't really ask you that. Sorry! (still my good old happy self with the widest, most innocent eyes I can muster)
Him: No--I was taking a statement from Kerry Fulcher--I guess his daughter was threatened by some crazy guy.
Me: Oh yeah, we all got an email about that.
Him: Did the guy ever show up?
Me: No, not that I know of.
Him: Good. So did you know that your license is suspended?
Mary: WHHAATT???? Oh sorry...sorry.
Me: Wait what?? I don't even know what that means!
Him: Yeah, your license has been suspended for four months.
Me: don't know what that means.
Him: Well, it mean that you can't drive your car unless you're going to and from work.
Me: (no WONDER he wanted to know where I was going...I thought that was weird). Uh...I...I don't even know what to say. Why??
Him: We don't have a reason here--just that your license was suspended. The DMV has record that you were served.
Me: I was what?? What does that mean?
Him: That means that a peace officer (really? so they're really sticking with that title?) or a DMV employee presented you with notice that your license was suspended and you signed it.
Me: Wait...I never signed anything...I wasn't even shown anything!

Mind you, Mary and I are still both half shocked, half smiley/laughy at this point, because this is so flipping crazy. I mean, unpaid parking ticket? THAT I can imagine, because I'm totally that person who would forget to pay a parking ticket or something. But driving on a suspended license?? I literally didn't even understand the offense. He may as well have told me that I was driving with a hibbidy gibbidy.

Him: Well sometimes the DMV makes a mistake, but not usually...
Me: Right...right...I mean...I know you can't just take my word on it, but this is the first time I've ever even heard about this!
Him: Well I'll get some more information.

At this point, Mary says "I'm so glad I didn't just go back to my car," I agree, and he steps back to confer with the TWO ADDITIONAL OFFICERS who were called in for back up, talks on the little shoulder radio, and comes back with another officer who's older and looks meaner (I should say just plain old "mean," because the first guy wasn't mean at all).

New guy: When was the last time you were in court?
Me: I was there for jury duty about a year ago...?
Him: No...when did you last have to appear in court?
Me: Appear?? Never??
Him: The system is showing that your license was suspended for failure to appear after you failed to report an accident.
Me: I haven't even been in an accident!
Him: Well the DMV doesn't just make this stuff up.
Me: (again) I know you can't just take my word on this one, but I have no idea what this is about.

Original officer: So...we're going to have to impound your car...
Mary: nervous laugh
Me: What?? Like...right now? You have to take my car??
Him: Yes. Could you turn off the engine and step out of the car?
Me: Right now???
Him: Yes.
Me: Ok...can I get my new boots? (I haven't purchased anything in almost four months...this was the first...more about that later...but I have no idea why I was worried about that at the moment)
Him: In a moment.
Me: you need my keys??
Him: Yes, if you could just leave them in the front seat.
Mary: But take off your house keys first.
Me: Oh yeah (thanks for that, because I'm sure I would not have)...really?? I haven't even ever gotten a speeding ticket! This is my first pull over!
Him: Yes. Please step out of the car.

So Mary and I fully step out of the car and onto the sidewalk, and the first officer opens up my drivers' side backseat door, pops the trunk and starts to fully search my car.

As I'm getting out, I hear the lady in the shoulder radio say my name, and ask if I was out of my car.

So it's really me they're after. Cool.

I am in awe of whatever is going on, and Mary and I are basically laughing, because what else do you do in this situation???? At some point, the first officer must have asked the other two guys to help, because we overheard the meaner one (who really wasn't mean either...the first guy was just so nice) say "No way man, this is your citation." But then they all laughed, and started searching my car together. I mean, we were laughing, so why wouldn't they be laughing?

Pause here for a shout out to Mary, who is SUCH a good friend. She just kept saying "we're going to go to my house, get a bottle of wine and make a plan. We're going to have a plan so on Monday, you can get this all cleared up. This is just a paperwork issue, I'm sure." So happy she was there to experience this with me, and to keep me from...I don't know...crying or something. Whatever I may have done, had I not been able to say "What the heck. What the heck. What the heck." to someone who agreed with me.

And she knows that that's exactly what I needed in that sitch...just a plan.

So anyway, the second officer was looking in the passenger seat and said "Uh oh, whose marijuana is this?," very clearly joking (which, later, I thought about and got real nervous, because that shouldn't be a joke that you make with a police officer searching your car, right??), and Mary said "Oh no, I was the passenger!" also joking, and I said "Come on guys...what would the Naz think about that?" and we all shared in a laugh.


Then the first officer asked Mary if she also worked at Point Loma, to which she could not have more innocently replied "No, I'm a stay at home mommy!"

Looking back, I'm pretty sure that there were several times when they all looked at each other and said "Really? This isn't making any sense at all." This had to be one of those times.

They were looking in my truck about this time, which is, at the moment, full of clothes for Buffalo Exchange and Goodwill, and I felt it necessary to apologize, so I said "Oh sorry about all the clothes...that's embarrassing," and "Well, this is my first pull-over. At least it will be a good story." They liked that. Or hated it. I'm not really sure. That may have been another point that they had second thoughts about all of this.

So one officer was standing, listening to Mary and me talk (maybe to try and figure out what the heck was going on, or maybe waiting for me to admit it all), and I said "I can't believe they're taking my car," to which he replied "You should be glad he's not taking you to jail. This is a misdemeanor offense, and you could be arrested."

I could be ARRESTED??????? I could be arrested. I could be arrested!! That's about all that went through my head. Mary and I laughed more about this, because it was just too much.

I then noticed that there were two mall security "officers" standing about 30 yards away, staring at us, talking conspiratorially to each other, and not coming over. The real police also noticed this, and started making fun of them. One guy literally pretended to talk into his shoulder radio and said "Yeah, can we get mall security over here for back up?" We also all laughed about that. We were really having a great old time together.

So at this point, we're standing on the sidewalk beside my car, and there are three police cars with lights on behind me, so CLEARLY people walking around the mall parking lot were intrigued. I'm sure I would have been. But, in the spirit of the ridiculousness of the whole situation, for some reason, I was moved to wave at the people who had stopped to stare at me until they were embarrassed for being called out and went away. I did this to several people, until the first officer popped up from the car search and said "Do you know those people?" I told him I did not, but wanted to acknowledge them, because they were looking at me. He also thought that was funny, and told the other officers who were


my car

for drugs.

Another group laugh.

I'm also, throughout all of this, working out with Mary what on earth may have happened to get me to this point. We had pretty much decided at this point that it must have been an issue with one of my 20 rental cars this Fall. Maybe someone right after me had crashed and not reported an accident. Maybe I had accidentally backed into someone in a car and didn't realize it. Maybe this was all a huge mistake.

So while we're talking through our "plan," the car search ends, and the three officers go back to the first officer's car, and I overhear--hold on--you know how sometimes you hear something, but it doesn't make sense, so you don't process it right away? Then later, when you get it, you think " THAT'S what they were talking about when they said...."--so I overhear without processing: "What do you mean, you didn't run the number?"

So Mary and I are talking about how I need a ride home, how she and I are going to work this out (oh man, thanks again Mary...I'm not sure I would've handled this well without you there), and how I will have to pay SO MUCH MONEY to get my car out of impound, when officer the first comes back up to us.

Him: Well girls...I'm gonna give you a break.
Me: What?
Him: they gave me the wrong information. Your license is not suspended.
Me: What?
Him: Yeah, you're just fine. There's Ashton've been punked.
Me: (after I actually turned around when he pointed, because I was so confused, and also after I had to actually fight an urge to hug him, which, as you all know, is a HUGE deal for me, and shows how out of it I was, and then had to fight the urge to ASK if I could hug him). Wait, seriously?
Him: Yes. I'm sorry about that...they gave me the wrong information.
Mary: just laughing
Me: So I can take my car?
Him: Yep. You're good to go.
Me: This was my first pull over (why was it necessary to communicate that again??)
Him: Well I'm Officer ____. I'm glad I could be here to walk you through it.
Me and Mary: just laughing. More out of relief, but also because that was funny.
Him: So you girls are free to go.
Me: Thanks for not taking me to jail.
Him: You would never make it in jail.
Me: (I know...that's why I didn't want to go to there) laughing
Mary: Wait...which tail light was flickering?

Thanks again, Mary. Let's bring it back to the actual problem, because all I could think about was "I almost went to jail today."

So I took my keys, and pulled out of the red zone with such extreme caution (because I would be that girl to get out of this situation, then hit a police car), dropped Mary off at her car, laughed and laughed and laughed more our of sheer nervous energy than anything, and went to her house, just to continue to share in a few moments of disbelief.

That just happened, everyone.

I know that, like I said, the story is totally negated because I'm actually writing about it, which I would not be doing if I was in jail...but somehow, I was almost in jail...and I needed to pass that along.