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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Training Day at the County Health Department

Health Dept. HR Person (HDHRP): Welcome, new employees of the county health department. You are all here because you are qualified, educated and well, you applied.

Employee #4: Excuse me, sir. I am actually not educated. I didn't graduate from high school.

HDHRP: That's fine. You didn't go get one of those GED things, did you?

Employee #4: No, see I moved in with my boyfriend when I was 15 and I got pregnant by his cousin and then when my boyfriend found out--

HDHRP: Well, that's good to hear.  I was afraid for a minute you were overqualified. We definitely encourage our employees to finish middle school but it's not a requirement. Anything more is just a waste if you ask me.

(All employees collectively sigh in relief.)

Employee #1: So what types of things will people be coming into the health department for?

HDHRP: Well, you've got your sick people, your injured people and then you've got people who need certain documents so that their kids can transfer into a school in our county. The ones who need the documents, those are the people we really like to screw with (begins to laugh maniacally).

Employee #1: Oh, I'm going to be so good at this. I used to work at the DPS--IN TEXAS!

HDHRP: Ma'am, you have upper management written all over you.

Employee #1: Thank you, sir. So I assume we should make up lots of reasons why their paperwork isn't right? Cause I have tons of BS reasons I can throw out there! How about, I can't let your kid go to school because this shot record you brought from another state has the letterhead from the doctor but isn't signed by him? Or this birth certificate is bent on the corner? Or your kid's hearing screening shows that he passed, but not the specific decibels at which he past? Or I need to see your kid in person because I don't believe his BMI could be 16? I could go on and on.

HDHRP: You got it! We actually have a cheat sheet of BS reasons that you can use.

Employee #3: So does the kid have to be there or is it okay if the parent has all the paperwork together and brings it in?

HDHRP: First of all, it is IMPOSSIBLE to have all the paperwork together. It's never happened. And no, the kid doesn't have to be there but we ALWAYS tell them that they do. We tell them a few times because it freaks them out. Some parents push back and if they argue enough, we'll say fine, they don't have to bring the kid. But we'll get 'em on something else. Don't worry, they'll have to make at least two trips to get all their documents they need for school.

Employee #2: In past jobs, when I would work at the front desk, I had trouble being nice. Like I would say stuff like, "Now you listen to me, these are the forms you need and you better not come back until you have them." But then I always got fired. So should I try to be more pleasant?

HDHRP: Absolutely not. Just be yourself. Sounds like you'll do great.

Employee #3: I read in the training manual that you try to be the county with the longest wait times. So how long are we aiming for?

HDHRP: Anything shorter than two hours is unacceptable. Last year, in the national competition of "Longest Wait Times at Government Agencies" we came in second. Damn Texas DPS.

Employee #1: Here's something we actually did at the Texas DPS that would help to lengthen your wait times: We would call someone's number after they had waited a few hours and then when they came up there, we'd be like, "Is your last name Martin?" And when they said it wasn't, we'd accuse them of bringing a number from the day before. And we would make them take another number and start over!

HDHRP: I'm just sorry we didn't think of it first. You are officially promoted to Director of the County Health Department.

(Author's note: About 90% of these situations actually happened during a recent visit to my local health department. Even the one where they told someone he brought a number from the day before and made him get back in line. They are so lucky they did that to that guy and not me. Or we would have all been on the evening news.) 

If you liked this post, don't miss my other posts in the "Training Day" series:
The Post Office
And of course the above mentioned link, Texas DPS. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Texas, Georgia, Texas, Georgia!

Hey, Georgia! We're back! 

While we will always be Texans (at least I will be, since I was the only one born there), we are Georgians…again. 

Here are a few pictures from our first week here. Driving up to our new house was already exciting but it was extra exciting to have a sign made by John Robinson waiting for us! (A total plus to moving somewhere you've already lived--built-in friends and a welcome sign!) 

John and Tyler helped Leo and Gus explore our new backyard.

I got my window over the sink--two of them actually with pretty shades!

We just can't get over how pretty it is here. I guess we had forgotten. This is the view from Leo's room. They have fall, y'all!

The boys' basement playroom.

The living room.


 The creek in our backyard is not normally this high but it was raining that day:

Writinggal headquarters! You know, Writinggal is actually based in Atlanta anyway. That's where my LLC is.

Leo at the bus stop on his first day at his new school: 

More boys breaking in the basement! Leo, Pascal, Tyler, John, Gus and Etienne. It's so fun to see old friends! It's like no time has passed. Well, except this kids are way bigger than they were 2.5 years ago!

I don't have tons of pictures of the house yet but I did do a video basement tour for my dad that you may watch at your leisure. 

We can't believe how "moved in" we already feel! That's all because of Popsy and Granny Jo's Consulting Business. She babysits and unpacks boxes while he paints, hangs, fixes everything, blows leaves, and basically never stops. Granny Jo said their consulting business is for moving and potty training. I gave them a good review on Yelp. 

Sunday, November 02, 2014

This Old House

Today Leo said out of nowhere, "I love this house." 

I said, "Well, I'm glad you love it but we're moving out of it in a few days, you know." 

He said, "But we just moved in!" 

In some ways, it does seem like we just moved in. It's only been 2.5 years. But in other ways, like when I look at this picture, it seems like a long time ago.  

Leo was four. In fact, the day we moved in and took this picture he was still three. He turned four the very next day. Gus was 10 months old; Gus learned to walk here; he learned to talk here. Leo learned to ride his bike here; he started kindergarten here.

We had three Halloweens, three 4th of July's, but only two Christmases. It's a shame about the Christmases because it's really a great Christmas house. There's that "secret room" (as Leo called it) over the door where we would put our fiber-optic Christmas tree. And since the ceilings are high we bought a really tall tree for the "lookout room" (another Leo term).

We actually did things to this house, which we had never done with our other two houses, because we thought we might just stay awhile. We put in a beautiful new fence with a Texas star in the gate.  "They make fences like works of art here in Dallas," Popsy commented. We got a new door to make the house brighter. We had Cul de Sac Carrie help us with Roman shades for the living room. And Popsy painted the kitchen bright yellow.

Leo had his 4th, 5th and 6th birthdays here. Gus had his 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Frank and I had a few birthdays in there too. We celebrated our ten year wedding anniversary (and our eleventh).

We met fun, wonderful neighbors. We spent countless Friday nights with them at the pool with pizza and beer. I group texted with the "Moms in the Hood" about 100 times a day. All I had to text was "going to the park" and friends would meet us there within minutes.

We grilled fajitas on Sunday nights approximately 103 times.

The boys delivered our next door neighbor's newspaper about 506 times, and received the same amount of Goldfish in return.

We loved relaxing in the media room; we didn't sit on the front porch rocking chairs as much as we thought we would. I spent a lot of time in the laundry room but if you ever saw it, you'd know it was not a bad place to spend the majority of a day.

So it may have only been 2.5 years. But when you look at it that way, it seems like a lot longer. I hope we don't forget it. I hope it doesn't just blend into all the other houses.

Because every day, every day as I walked through this house, I thought, "I love this house."