Monday, August 27, 2007

Back to the Salt Mines and Other Stuff

I've been quiet lately because I've been getting ready to go back to work, which started back up today. I won't meet classes until this afternoon, so the day has been pretty good so far. We'll see what types of first-day of the semester emergencies this semester brings.

Nothing noteworthy has been happening to me as usual, which I guess is good. Husband and I went to the fair last week. We decided this year we'd pay the dollar to see the "World's Smallest Woman" assuming it would be some kind of trick with mirrors and stuff. But to our surprise, when we went up the steps and looked over the wall, there sat a real live, very tiny woman. We said hi and then hurried back down the steps, amazed that she was for real. The next day when we were talking about it, we realized that we both had the same weird, uneasy feeling when we saw the real live woman. It wasn't that we were weired out by her size, but that we felt strange about paying a dollar to look at an unusual person. We wondered whether she's happy being a side show, if she's placing herself on display by her own free will. We both agreed that we'd have felt much better if the whole thing had been a mirror trick instead of a real person.

We also avoided the horse-made ice cream this year. If you have never seen that, don't bother. They put a horse on an inclined treadmill that is hooked up to turn a manual ice cream freezer. The horse must walk or risk slipping off the treadmill. It seems really uncomfortable for the horse.

This was our first visit to the fair in several years, and I think we got enough this time that we won't need to go back for several more.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Convenience is not all it's cracked up to be.

Yesterday I stopped at the Kroger to pick up a couple of items, and when I went up front to pay, there was only one register open. Because a lady with a full cart was already in line, I decided to go against my principles and use the self check out. I do not like checking out my own groceries because first of all, it takes me twice as long as it would take an employee, especially when I’m buying a head of lettuce and the barcode is crumpled up and I have to straighten it so that the scanner will read it. Then I have to feed my money into the machine, and if a dollar bill has a crease on the edge, I have to take the time to straighten that out as well. But the main reason that I am against checking my own groceries is that I don’t get a discount for doing so. Part of the price that I pay for groceries goes toward the store’s overhead, which includes paying someone to work at a cash register, take my money, and bag my groceries. When I have to perform these tasks myself at a store, the store is receiving that much more pure profit while providing less customer service. Also, the extra labor involved in my checking my own groceries means that I am in effect paying more for my groceries than when I let the cashier check them.

Every now and then, when I am in the store and see a long line of people waiting to check out, I forget these things and go through the self check out because I perceive it to be more convenient. Yesterday, however, as I struggled to get the lettuce to ring up, I remembered why I hate the self check out, and I resolved to from now on be content to wait in the line and get my money’s worth in customer service.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Summer's Almost Over

Yesterday I signed a contract making it official that I am employed by the university for at least one more, and up to three, academic years. School starts up again on Monday, August 27. That gives me a little more than three weeks left to finish getting ready. Where did the summer go?


Husband and I have begun a new project. We are now a part of the community of antique car owners. For a long time I have thought it would be neat to have a car to fix up and drive around to the various cruise-ins, and husband has thought so as well, but we've just now gotten around to doing something about it. We recently acquired a 1949 Ford sedan and a 1949 Ford pickup truck. Alas, we won't be driving our antique automobiles to the cruise-ins for a while, as they require massive work to get them road-ready. My past few weeks have been spent perusing hot rod magazines, websites, and parts catalogs. Yesterday, we took a trip to the paint store and a couple of body shops. We have a vision for what our autos will look like, but it will take some time to get there. My future contains lots of sandpaper.