Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Best Weight Loss Challenge EVER!

Go Here:

Read. Be amused. Also, be warned...the word "ass" appears frequently; you'll understand why when you read it. It's amusing. Trust me.

I'm in. Are you?

Friday, December 18, 2009

I Rock!

Christmas Shopping for 23 adults and a variety of children....done in 2 hours!

Go. Me.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Dear Jon Schmidt et al,
The concert last night was fantastic! My husband and I were so impressed. You and those who worked with you are incredibly talented and such fun to watch and listen to. Thanks for a great performance!

Dear Audience at the Jon Schmidt Concert,
You. Suck. Seriously. Were you people raised in a barn? I have been in audiences made up entirely of high school students that were more respectful and well-behaved than you people. Who on earth comes to a concert late and thinks "I know, I will call the people I am meeting in the middle of the performance so they can tell me where to sit?" rather than just waiting till you can see, or taking an available seat until intermission? And who the (*^&% actually answers their phone and starts to talk in the middle of the performance!? Is it so hard to just wait a moment at the back of the auditorium so that you don't interrupt the entire concert?
Additionally, I cannot believe I had to ask a grown man to turn off his phone so it would stop buzzing and blinding me everytime he got a text message. Twice. I had to ask you twice. Unless someone has died, there is no information being texted to you that is that important. And, if there is information you must have that instant, then leave!And to the person sitting next to Isaac who thought "covering" your phone with one hand while texting with the other was acceptable, all you did was create a strobe light effect. Super. Annoying. At least Isaac only had to ask you once to knock it off. And who the (^&% thinks it is acceptable to talk, non-stop throughout an entire concert? You are lucky I only had to bust out my "I will kill you with my eyes" stare once, otherwise, you might be dead.
Finally, I know he/she is cute and cuddly and all that jazz, but please, for the love of everything holy, leave your baby with a sitter. That is what a babysitter is for.

Raised in a barn, I tell you.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

An Ode to the Marshmallow

Erin's Top 5 Reasons to Love the Marshmallow
1. Marshmallows are soft and squishy, without having the disgusting slimy texture that so many other soft and squishy foods have (like cooked carrots: soft, squishy, but also slimy. No. Bueno.). Given the soft and squishy nature of the marshmallow, they are also a silent food. You could be very stealthy eating a marshmallow.
2. Marshmallows are sweet without being overpowering. Pixie Stix=sweet, but too sweet. Marshmallows (unless you ate a whole bag)=perfect level of sweet.
3. Marshmallows are versatile. They can be eaten as is, they can be made into new and delightful candies, they can be baked, roasted, fried (never actually tried that, but I am assuming that if you can fry a jelly bean, you can fry a marshmallow). They can be added to puddings, cakes, ice cream, fruit salads. Without marshmallows there would be no easy to prepare cereal treats. Marshmallows come in a variety of flavors. Marshmallows can be big or small. Marshmallows can be found in a jar or a bag. Marshmallows are versatile.
4. Marshmallows are a science experiment and a food. Have you ever microwaved a marshmallow? Try it sometime and you will learn a great deal about the expansion of hot air (put the marshmallows into a container you are not emotionally attached to because marshmallows are also sticky). Excellent teaching tool.
5. Marshmallows are low in calories. Are you trying to follow a soul crushing, no-fun-allowed diet? Well. A marshmallow has only 25 calories. You could eat four and have yourself a perfectly lovely 100 calorie snack that's almost like eating candy. You could space those 4 out over the whole day and have a little treat whenever you wanted. You're welcome.

Friday, December 4, 2009

I Couldn't Make This Up If I Tried...

Apparently, it might snow here in grand ol' AZ. Trust me, I am not holding my breath. However, the local news thinks this is quite the Event. In an attempt to educate the general public, one local station just offered helpful tips for handling a snow "storm". First on the list?
Come on, guess! Alright, I'll tell you...

Do not stop your car to play in the snow

Wow. Just, wow.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Further Proof That Life is Fundamentally Unfair...

Isaac and I have been "working out" consistently for about 2 weeks now. Weight loss tally:

Isaac: -10 lbs
Erin: +3 lbs

Why do I even bother?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

In Which the Montagues Get in Shape...Sort of.

So. Recently the intrepid Husband and I have decided to return to "working out" (a phrase I don't really understand...but, whatever). You see, we both used to be ridiculously active/athletic/fit and trim. Seriously. STOP LAUGHING! We were. We both used to excerise regularly. At one point in my life, I ran 5-7 miles a day. Everyday. 'Cuz I am awesome like that (okay, I was awesome like that). However, we have now devolved into ridiculously inactive/unathletic/roundish. For Isaac, this change came on over the past year as he confronted 14 hour work/school days and perpetual exhaustion. For me, well, let's say I've been working on my Guinness Record for "The World's Only Perfectly Spherical Human" for quite some time now. I was nearly there's a pity to quit this close to the prize. Nevertheless, we have recently re-located our motivation and have begun to exercise on a regular basis. It's been about a week now and, let me tell you, IT SUCKS.
We went "running" yesterday. And by "we went running" I mean Isaac ran and I plodded along and yelled "How much longer?!" and "That's impossible! Show me the watch! What are you trying to do, kill me?!" at regular intervals. And the longer I ran, the more shrill I became. I am sure I was a delight to be around. A delight. 2 minutes of running, followed by 2 minutes of walking (repeat 7 times) nearly killed me AND I USED TO RUN EVERYDAY. Turns out "getting in shape" is about a MILLION times harder than "staying in shape". But, alas, I am committed. I have a schedule, a chart, a menu; the whole nine yards. All because, although the Guinness Record would be cool and all, I really don't want to resemble a human basketball anymore.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

And Then There Was One...

Remember when I explained that I have an intense dislike/fear of shopping? And that because of said intense dislike/fear of shopping I own only 2 pairs of pants? And remember when I said I wouldn't know what to do if I ever needed to buy more pants?

THAT DAY HAS COME. My tempermental dryer, which has only 2 temperature settings- "nearly hot enough to melt steel" and "just barely warm enough to actually dry the clothes"-has shrunk one of my pairs of jeans and now they look like they belong on a woman 3 inches shorter and about 50lbs lighter. Crap, crap, crap, crap, CRAP.

Does anyone out there want to go shopping for me? Anyone? Anyone? I'll pay you and make you cookies and if you do a really good job, I'll even sew something pretty for you. Please? PLEASE?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dear Manufacturer of the "Permanent" Fabric Dye,

So. Apparently you and I have different definitions of "permanent". You see, for me that means "will not wash off, rub off or otherwise disappear". Except, your "permanent" dye actually did wash out, rub off and disappear. Now, my hands, sink and various kitchen utensils are dyed black-ish blue and I am hoping the non-permanance of your permanent dye extends to materials other than fabric. We'll see.

Also, while we are discussing the new colors of the various objects your dye came in contact with; I was under the impression that there was a rather universal understanding of the color "black". Apparently, I was wrong about that too-since the very thing I tried to dye permanently black today is now actually a lovely shade of violet and consistently bleeding copious amounts of blue-ish black dye which is dying everything it touches-EXCEPT THE FABRIC. Thanks for that. You stink.


Friday, October 16, 2009

An Actual Conversation:

Yesterday, I was working with several students who had failed one of their exams and were preparing for their re-take (at my new job, failure isn't an option-you work until you pass. Whether you want to or not. :-) ).
In the course of this work I had the following conversation:

Me: Hi! I'm glad we are able to touch base before you retake the exam. Do you have any specific areas that you feel you need to focus on?
Student: Well, umm, pretty much all of it. I just didn't remember anything when I took the test.
Me: Okay, well then, let's talk about how you can improve your study habits, so you'll remember more of what you read.
Student: Read?
Me: Yes, so that when you read the textbook you'll be able to remember more of what you learn.
Student: Ummmm....what textbook?

I love being a teacher.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


So. I have a new job. I say that just in case you didn't hear my shout for joy a couple weeks ago when the New Boss called to tell me I had the New Job. I am pretty sure the entire WORLD heard me shouting, but, you know,in case you were in a cave or something I thought I'd make it really clear. I HAVE A NEW JOB and it is the best.job.ever.
In addition to getting to teach again (Yippee!)I work from home (Hurray!) and have pretty fantastic co-workers. I've never actually met either of them (we work from home-home for them is the East Coast)but they seem fantastic over the phone.(Woot!). And, perhaps most significant of all, New Boss, is not, as far as I can tell, crazy (Huzzah!).
All in all it's a pretty freaking awesome job. :-)

You may all be envious now. Or not. Whatever. I have an awesome job. So there.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Clandestine Service is OUT

This week is a co-worker's last week at our esteemed employer. It fell to me, Erin, to plan her goodbye and goodluck shindig for tomorrow. How hard is this? Right? Well. Turns out planning a surprise party is MUCH more difficult than you might imagine.

Flaw #1 in the Grand Surprse Party Plan: Outlook Express Email has a mind of it's own. I sent out a mass email inviting people to the shindig. I CAREFULLY deleted people who did not yet know about my co-worker's departure (figuring she'd want to tell these people herself and then, once she did, I could invite them). Deletion? EPIC FAIL. EVERY SINGLE person I deleted actually GOT the email. So, my poor co-worker had people coming up to her all day-all of them nearly hysterical-asking her WHY she didn't tell them she was leaving. SIGH. When she asked how they knew they ALL said "Erin told me in her email!" Well, you can imagine how the rest of the conversation went from there...

Flaw #2 in the Grand Surprise Party Plan: Cubicle walls are not sound proof. Keeping a surprise in a cube forest is nearly impossible. Even a whisper carries as if you were shouting. Today alone I heard at least 5 conversations that sounded like this "Whisper Whisper Whisper PARTY ON FRIDAY Whisper Whisper Whisper" Sigh. I am sure she heard them.

Flaw #3 in the Grand Surprise Party Plan: Turns out, Erin can't keep a secret. So. In the end, she knows any way. Why? I blame Outlook (see above). Today, I sent a reminder email. I CAREFULLY checked the "to" line to ensure the co-workers email was not there. I had another co-worker check to. In the end? She got it anyway.(A MIND OF ITS OWN, I TELL YOU) Sigh. I suppose this just goes to show I was not intended to be a spy. Nor was I meant to be the planner of any surprise shindig. Let this be a lesson to you.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Epic Fail...

In case you were wondering, Lysol disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer are not an effective "pandemic prevention program". Yes folks, despite Very Thorough HR Lady's best efforts to educate us all about proper cubicle hygiene, Swine Flu has come to the office.

Pandemic Prevention Program? Epic. Fail.

Good thing I have a natural immunity to influenza. And strep throat. The CDC should study me...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Those Poor Balloons...

Today, I had the following conversation over IM with a co-worker:

Erin: Have you ever been to the Balloon Fiesta in New Mexico?
Co-Worker: The what?
Erin: I'll take that as a no. Here's the link
Co-Worker (after looking at the link): WHAT IS THAT!? What do you do with those?! Do you RIDE in those?!
Erin: Ummm...I don't, but some people do. Have you never heard of a hot air balloon?!
Co-Worker: I've heard of them, but I don't think I've ever seen one before!
Erin: Did you grow up under a ROCK?!
Co-Worker: Don't mock me because I am foreign.
Erin: I don't mock you because you are foreign, I mock you because you are odd.
Co-Worker: Whatever; why would anyone go to this anyway?
Erin: This is a big deal! They have pins and everything! Like the Olympics!
Co-Worker: That's just mean! Do they at least wait until the end of the festival?!
Co-Worker: The pins! Why would they pin the balloons?! What if someone is still in it?!
hysterical laughter
Erin: They are pins like you would wear on your shirt? They don't stick them in the balloons!
Co-Worker: Stop laughing at me! I'm foreign! STOP LAUGHING!

I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Dear Visitors From New Zealand,

I am soooo excited that you are here! Why? Because, for years I have been plagued by a question that only a New Zealand-er can answer. It is on my mind all.the.time...Well, okay. Maybe not all of the time, but frequently.

You see, several years ago, I had a discussion with my friend Harmony and she insisted that "real" New Zealand-ers eat a kiwi with the skin on. My response? EWWWWWWWWW. But, she was insistant. So, for years I have wondered, "Could this be true?! Wouldn't that be a little like eating a squishy, furry, scratchy ball of ick?" And, I haven't been able to acertain the validity of her claim because, while I know people who have been to New Zealand, I don't know a single person from New Zealand. Being actually from New Zealand is important because what if this whole "skin on" stuff is just something real New Zealand-er's tell foreigners because it's funny to watch them try to eat the kind of furry, but also scratchy, skin? Like a "Welcome to New Zealand" hazing ritual for newly arrived exchange students?

So, visitors from New Zealand, even though you are really searching for information about the Janome 6600 sewing machine, could you help me out?

The Kiwi. Skin on or skin off?

Your secret's safe with me,

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dear President Obama,

In light of the recent and astronomical predictions for the federal deficit, I have someone I'd like you to meet:

Dave meet Barack.
Barack meet Dave.

I also recently read that you, Mr. President, have a "summer reading list". May I suggest an addition to that list?

Budget crisis? Solved.

Friday, August 14, 2009

We're Molting

Yes, molting. From the tops of our heads down to our shoulders Isaac and I are shedding more skin than snakes. It is, to put it mildly, disgusting.

Obviously, we are suffering the after effects of rather severe and unpleasant sunburns. And, because you, dear reader, are likely gifted with the ability to make logical deductions, you are probably assuming that, once again, Arizona has tried to kill us. In this case, you would be wrong.

Yes, we are suffering the after effects of sunburn, but it is not Arizona that is to blame, it is...California!

Last weekend we snuck out of blazing hot AZ and spent a couple days in San Diego for our anniversary and it was fantastic. Except for the whole sunburn situation.
Now, you (again with those powers of deduction!) might assume that we are sunburned because we neglected to make use of sun-protection technology. Again, you would be wrong. This, friends, is a case of an epic failure of the sunscreen. Turns out, if you are outside in the sun all day,(let's say you decided to go sailing off the coast of San Diego on a replica 19th century schooner. If that sounds delightful, it's because it is!)SPF 70 (yes, SEVENTY) just isn't going to cut it. I suggest SPF 700, a hat, long sleeves and an umbrella. That should just about do the trick. Take my word for it.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go exfoliate. Again.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

4 Years...

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to bring you:

A Love Fest

Why this sudden change in direction? Well. Tomorrow is my 4th wedding anniversary and so I am subjecting you to the obligatory blog-o-sphere schmoopy-ness. In the last month or so, I have read no fewer than 15 "I'm so grateful for my husband/family/marriage" posts. Normally, this sweetness overload would get old, but in this case I am wholeheartedly supportive. Why, you ask? For a lot of reasons, really, but primarily because there is so much nonsense and negativity in this world about marriage and families that I feel like even the smallest efforts to paint marriage, family, monogamy and faith in a positive light are absolutely vital. And so, today, in my tiny corner of the internet and world, I am jumping on the bloggy bandwagon and declaring today officially "Love Fest" day.

Choosing to marry Isaac in the temple was the most important and best decision I have made so far in my life. Making the decision to marry was not easy. Getting married meant giving up some things that I, at the time, desperately wanted. I, being rather independently minded, really struggled with idea of going from "me" to "we". In my moments of extreme doubt, I am grateful for my dear little sister, who must have thought I was nuts for dragging her into my room in the middle of night and for making her listen to me, well, freak out. I am also grateful that she, in no uncertain terms, told me that I was being an idiot. Many people helped me to deal with my moments of uncertaintly and I am blessed to have them in my life. I hope you know who you are and that you know I am eternally grateful. Although actually making the choice and moving forward was difficult and a little scary, it is one of the only decisions I have made knowing 100% that it was the right thing to do. I am grateful everyday for inspiration and revelation that led to my decision.

Imagine putting the two most stubborn people in the universe together and then, ask them to live together, make huge, life altering decisions on a regular basis and, at the end of the day, still like each other and you can imagine how some days are in our marriage. :-)(it's those days that make me remember my wise father's advice, "Do you want to be right, or do you want to be married?") Although things are not perfect,(nor should they be-how else do we learn?)I am still grateful, everyday, to be blessed with my marriage. In one of the many marriage posts I read recently, I came across this statement: "Life is hard, I am so grateful for my marriage" So. True. My marriage is a blessing. Not a burden or a trial. A blessing. And I am grateful for it.

Happy 4th Anniversary to Us! I look forward to many more to come<

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Arizona is Trying To Kill Me: Chapter 2

Yesterday started out as a mostly normal Monday. It was "mostly normal" because a normal-normal Monday would include Isaac, but he's in San Diego for work/lots of fun and therefore this Monday was only a "mostly normal" Monday. Anyway, moving on.
I went to work. I worked. I began the drive home. No more "mostly normal."

Approximately 4 miles from my home, whilst whizzing along down the freeway I heard an ominous "POP". I was fairly certain, based on the fact that my car immediately began to shake, I had run over something unpleasant and that my tire was going flat. Lucky for me, I was a mere 1/2 mile from the Walmart/Discount Tire exit and so planned to (slowly) make my way to Discount Tire, from whence the injured tire came. Alas, this was not to be.

As I changed lanes to exit, I heard a insanely loud grinding noise and smelled horrible burning rubber. Clearly, the tire was not simply flat or flattening as I had previously thought (hoped). Clearly, I had bigger problems. Not wanting to destroy the only car Isaac and I have, I pulled off to the side of the exit ramp, quickly prayed that one of the crazy Arizona drivers barreling down the ramp at 100 mph would not hit me as I exited my car and walked around to inspect the tire. The tire was not flat. Instead, the tire was COMPLETELY shredded, falling off the rim and had OBVIOUSLY EXPLODED. There was a HUGE HOLE where the rubber had BLASTED OUT like it had been shot from the inside. NOT. GOOD. This car was not going to make it the .5 miles to Walmart or Discount Tire. It was not going to make it anywhere without a spare. Have I mentioned yet that it was 115 degrees yesterday? Oh, I haven't? Well. It was 115 degrees yesterday. That is not an exageration. 100+15=115.

So. I reviewed my options. It's 115 degrees. The tire is hopeless. I do not want to change the tire by myself. Husband is in San Diego. I don't know a single person in Arizona I could call to request help with the tire situation. As I dug through my purse, I discovered it wouldn't have mattered if I had 1000 people I could call because, I, like an idiot, had left my phone at home! Great.

So. It's all me. Super. I moved all the crap out of our trunk (Note to Self: remove extraneous crap from the trunk) into the back seat and took out the trunk floor boards, only to discover that the jack was not there. Yes, folks. NO JACK. I had a lug wrench, but no jack. HAPPY MONDAY.

Having previously determined that I had no other options but to fix this mess myself, I decided to walk to Walmart to buy a jack. It didn't seem very far, and, what other option did I have? Whilst walking, I noticed that I could save myself about 5 minutes of walking in the 115 degree heat if I scaled a low-ish brick wall. It was an easy choice: when weighing the indignity of climbing a fence in work clothes against a slow and painful death of heat stroke, I will choose indignity every time. So. I scaled the wall. I bought the jack. I also bought water. The very nice man in the Tire Lube Express provided 'helpful' hints on using the jack. I went back over the wall and walked back to my car. It looked so sad there on the side of the exit ramp, blinking its little hazard lights. Moving on.

As I got everything set up to actually remove the tire, no fewer than 4 women in mini-vans/SUV's rolled down their windows to ask if I needed help. I was sorely tempted to say "Why yes, yes I do", but figured that asking a woman with 4 kids in her car to stop, in 115 degree heat, to help me change a tire was probably not the best plan. So, I politely declined.

This whole "Erin changes her tire herself plan" hit a small snafu when I tried to remove the hubcap so I could unscrew the lug nuts. The exploded tire had twisted wrapped around the front of the hubcap and was, like a rubberband, holding the hubcap in place. Tiny. Problem. Whilst digging in the crap from my trunk, trying to find something that would pry the hubcap off, despite the tire's death grip, a car pulled over in front of my car. A young man in a SUIT and TIE got out of his car and, without asking, came over to help. I told him he was GOING TO RUIN HIS SUIT AND TO GET BACK IN HIS CAR. He ignored me. He also might have laughed at me a little bit. I was beyond laughter at this point and had no inclination to argue. Plus, I really needed another person to hold the tire out of the way so one of us could get the stupid hub cap off. So, I let him stay.

He(Scott)helped pry the hubcap off and also removed the old tire. I put on the spare and put the old tire in the trunk. By the way, I discovered when it's 115 degrees outside, a tire will be about 300 degrees after it has been driving down the freeway for 20 minutes. Moral of the tangent: I should have waited a few minutes to pick up the shredded tire to put in the trunk. I burned my hand. (Cue the violins...). 10 minutes after Suited Scott's arrival the tire was changed. And Suited Scott did not, in fact, ruin his suit. Sidenote: Whilst chatting briefly and cleaning up as best we could with paper towels from my car, we discovered we are in the same stake. Small world.

Anywho: I drove the car to Discount Tire and the little tire man, upon seeing my exploded tire, exclaimed, "That's not supposed to happen!". Ummmmm. Yeah. YOU THINK? OF COURSE TIRES AREN'T SUPPOSED TO EXPLODE!

It only happened because Arizona is trying to kill me.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

In Which Erin Provides Job-Hunting Advice

At my place of employment, we have recently begun a rather extensive hiring push. As part of this new expansion, I have had to review a ba-zillion (and yes, that is a technical term) resumes. In reviewing these resumes I have found that many, no most, people do not have a clue about how to appropriately present themselves to a potential employer. Not. a. clue. Therefore,as a public service, I shall now offer my (unsolicited) advice on job hunting. And, before you question my qualifications, let me tell you: I have applied for bazillion jobs. I have screened a bazillion job applications. Ergo: qualified to offer advice. Moving on.

The Resume:
1. Do not, unless you are applying for a position as a model or actor, put a picture on your resume. If you put a picture on your resume, the hiring authority (me) will laugh at you. Then, when the rest of the people reviewing candidates look at your resume, they will also laugh at you. You probably don't want the people responsible for hiring you to laugh at you. Just a thought.

2. Do not include, as part of your "objective", statements like "Seeking a stress free and fun workplace" or "Looking for a laid back atmosphere without a lot of stress". Once again, everyone will laugh at you. You are not applying for a fraternity. This is a job. And, since the job we are looking to fill will most certainly not fit either of those criteria, we will not invite you for an interview. We wouldn't want to disappoint you and all.

3. Cute fonts belong in greeting cards. I do not care that your work history goes back to 1972; typing your resume in a font that looks like it was printed off a dot-matrix printer 30 years ago is not cute. Any font even remotely resembling handwriting is not cute. It is irritating. Your resume will be laughed at. Are you sensing a trend here?

4. Do not attempt to "fool" the hiring authority. I (and any other thinking person) know that you did not "Teach customers the location of desired products". We are not stupid. Just because you can use the word "teach" does not make you qualified to do so. I do have to acknowledge the effort and creativity. I do not have to interview you.

The Interview

1. When you recieve a phone call from a business to which you have submitted an application, and therefore have at least a marginal interest in working for, do not say, "I am on the other line with a friend. Can you call back in about an hour?" Trust me, no one is going to call you back.

2. When you are applying for a job, do not have songs such as "My Lumps" or anything from High School Musical (all of them) as your ring-back tone. When someone calls to schedule an interview, you will make it impossible for that person to take you seriously. That person will tell everyone in the office about your ringback tone. Then, people will laugh at you. A lot. You are (presumably)not a teenage girl and ought to act like it. Now might be a good time to re-think that whole "ring-back" tone situation altogether.

3. When the company you have applied to calls and says "Hello this is ____________ from __________ calling about your application. Would you have a few moments for a screening interview?" Do not say "Um...which job was this for again and how much does the job pay? I'm not sure I want it yet..." It's entirely possible that you will be hung up on. Just say'n.

4. While participating in an interview do not say things like "Well, I really wanted ___________ job, but that didn't work out so, here I am!" or "Wow. This job sounds really hard! You guys must really hate it!". Enough. Said.

So, there you have it. Job hunting tips from an "expert", gleaned from weeks and weeks of experience. You are welcome.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Dear Boss-like Person,

I am thrilled, really I am, that you value my opinion. I, being rather opinionated, think it's nice to actually be asked what I think, rather than following my usual pattern of offering my opinion whether solicited or not.
However, I do not appreciate being asked my opinion of other workers in the office. I do not like feeling like I am part of your covert plan to dig up dirt on co-workers against whom you have odd vendettas. Gossip under the guise of professional inquiry is still gossip.
So. In the future, please do not invite me into your "office/cube" and ambush me with such questions. Because, as I've said, I am rather opinionated and I might just tell you what I think of you and your not-so-subtle attempts to get me to reveal damning information. I would feel perfectly justified in doing this because you are not my boss. You are simply boss-like.

Thanks so much!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Erin Versus the Chair

One Year Ago

Erin starts a new job. A...stupid job. Erin is given a brief tour of the warehouse, ahem, "office" and is shown to her "desk"-a table that she shares with another person. At this "desk" is an office chair. It looks like your stereotypical office chair; weird waffle-ly fabric over spongy foam, levers sticking out from the side, a little wheel at the end of each leg. Erin sits down and begins to watch the world's most boring training videos. Erin leans back in her chair and realizes something is wrong. Erin gets up and investigates. Turns out the back of the chair has, at some point, become detached from the rest of the chair and has been, it appeared, jammed back into place. This has caused the back of the chair to permanently list to one side and wobble dangerously when leaned against. Erin is not sure what to do; she has been at the new job all of 10 minutes. Surely it would seem presumptuous to request a new chair. Erin sucks it up and tries not to lean back.

Score: Chair-1, Erin-0

Three Months Later

Erin is working and not leaning back in her chair. Erin hates her chair. Erin wonders what in the world she was thinking when she agreed to this torture. However, Erin is feeling a bit more courageous; having worked at this job for several months she has realized that most people are pretty clueless about the daily goings-on in the warehouse "office". She decides to do chair reconnaissance and find a new chair. She searches. It isn't a difficult search; Erin can see every desk if she stands up. She notices and orphan chair a mere 3 or 4 desks away and hatches a plan to steal/borrow the "new" chair. It takes only a minute. Old chair is out, new chair is in. Erin sits down. The back seems steady. SCORE. Erin begins to work...Erin slowly begins to realize something is not quite right...Erin seems to be slowly sinking. Erin wonders if the floor is beginning to sag (not an altogether impossible idea; Erin has put on some weight and this is one old, decrepit building), but NO. Erin's chair is slowly lowering itself. It seems this chair was an orphan for a reason.

Score: Chair-2, Erin-0

3 months After That

Erin, some months ago, had stealthily swapped out sinking chair for wobbly-back chair. She had decided on the lesser of two evils; while it was fun for a short time to have her very own carnival ride, she was getting a little motion sick. So, Erin is back to wobbly-back chair. BUT WAIT! Ridiculously Thorough HR Lady has been tasked with a chair inventory! She wants to know if Erin would like a brand-spanking new chair! This is a miracle! Erin quickly agrees. Erin is giddy. Erin takes what she can get; she's been copying and pasting from one spreadsheet to another for nigh these last 6 months; it doesn't take much to make her happy. A new chair is practically a Christmas bonus (maybe that's why Erin didn't get a Christmas bonus?). Several weeks pass and VOILA, Erin has a new chair. Erin is also moving to an ACTUAL desk. This will be Erin's third move. It seems that the PTB consulted their "Handbook of Professionalism" and realized that the abandoned warehouse look wasn't really the image they were going for; carpet was put down (the fumes are another story altogether)and Erin had to move (twice); cubicles were installed and Erin had to move (twice). But finally, Erin has a new chair AND a file cabinet. Erin is, well, not happy exactly, but less irritated.

The Present

Erin has moved yet again. Erin's employer has gone on a hiring binge. New people need desks; the cubicles were not big enough. New cubicles had to be installed. Erin moves to a new cube. Thrilling, yes? BUT WAIT. The new cubicle's desk is at least 2 inches higher than the old cubicle. Erin does not fret for she has a NEW (well, 6 month old, so new-ish) chair that is ADJUSTABLE. She tries to raise the chair. The chair is up as high as it goes. Erin cannot really reach her keyboard without her hands being at an awkward, near 90 degree angle. This is problematic. Sigh. BUT WAIT. Erin, being practically fearless now, approaches Ridiculously Thorough HR Lady and explains her "chair situation". Erin is told that new chairs are being ordered. It will be about 1 month. Erin resigns herself to carpel tunnel syndrome. All giddy Christmas-y feelings: gone.

Final Score: Chair-3, Erin-0

Monday, June 15, 2009

Job Hunting = Sadness

Isaac and I are looking for jobs. He's finished with his graduate work and we are ready to move on. Problem is, so are about 1.5 million other recent graduates. This makes the job hunt rather discouraging.
I am so tired of spending hours and hours and hours on applications and cover letters and resumes and all manner of self-promotion only to:

1. Be told 'Thanks but no thanks' (Isaac actually got an email with that as the subject line! Who does that?!) or,
2. Hear nothing as if our applications have been sent into a resume black hole

It is monumentally frustrating. And, murder on the self-esteem.
Job Hunting really does equal sadness.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My new title

I will now require everyone to call me professor.  Only some people will understand this.  Those of you who don’t send me some money or a job and I will tell you why.  Also, I am testing out Windows Live Writer with IE8.  Microsoft is clearly learning how to do things from Google.

Map picture

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Arizona is Trying to Kill Me

When I was a kid I had horrible allergies. I was allergic to everything; dust, plants, the little plastic card the Dr. used for the scratch tests, anything with fur, anything with feathers, anything that once thought about maybe coming in contact with probably get the idea. My allergies got so horrible that I slept on plastic, hypoallergenic sheets. My room became a "no-pet" zone. I learned to love HEPA filters and dusting. I got out of having to mow the lawn because, if I did, I couldn't breathe for days. It was miserable. However, my misery was not, I thought, permanent. I was overjoyed when, starting in my early 20's the allergies significantly improved. I didn't have to buy large quantities of anti-histamines, nasal sprays and asthma inhalers. I could breathe, most days, without the help of heavy duty pharmaceuticals. It was lovely.
And. Then.
And then, I moved to ARIZONA. My allergies have returned, and I think they are trying to make up for lost time. There is dust EVERYWHERE around here. There are tiny, dried out leafy things blowing around CONSTANTLY. If it grows in Arizona, I am pretty sure I am allergic to it. Stupid Arizona.
I have not breathed using my nose in nearly a week. I should have bought stock in Kleenex and whatever giant drug company makes Zyrtec weeks ago, because I am sure those companies are now rolling in money. My money. Who needs to buy groceries when you can buy anti-histamines?!
Seriously, between the boiling heat, the creepy birds, the awful drivers and allergies from Hades, I am pretty sure Arizona is trying to kill me.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Janome 6600 Sewing Machine Saga

So, Emily and a couple of other people off-line have asked how I chose the sewing machine I posted about a couple of posts ago. I started this post as a response to Emily's comment, but it was super long, so I decided to make my sewing machine buying saga it's very own post. Feel free to ignore the rest of this if you have no interest in the various intricacies of sewing machines and sewing machine purchases. Without further ado, here's a not-so-quick summary of how I ended up with my Janome 6600.

When I started looking for a new sewing machine, I had no idea what was available. I had used 3 machines in my life: my mother's excellent Kenmore, the Brother machine my mother bought me for Christmas when I was in college and an industrial Singer my mother gave me when I passed the Brother machine onto my little sister (are we sensing a theme here? My mom rocks.). I started looking for a new machine, fully expecting to buy a mechanical Kenmore, Brother or Singer. I had only ever used mechanical machines so I didn't have a clue what computerized machines could do. I tried a computerized machine for the first time at JoAnne's, while looking at the Singer machines and decided I'd buy a computerized machine.

Deciding to buy a computerized machine opened up all sorts of previously unknown features and options, so I started researching every brand of sewing machine I could think of. After looking at and reading about a bunch of machines online and comparing the many features and prices, I decided I wanted to spend enough money to get a machine I would use for many, many years; this meant I bought a machine that has more features than I use right now, but I am hoping to grow into my machine, rather than out of it.

I also set a price limit right away; it quickly became apparent that you could spend thousands of dollars on a computerized sewing machine. I, obviously, do not have thousands of dollars so I set a pretty conservative price limit.

After my initial research, I limited my search to the main quilting brands (because that is what I wanted to do with my machine) so I looked at Pfaff, Bernina, BabyLoc, Viking (Husqvarna), Brother and Elna. I ruled out Singer and a couple of other brands because they were really garment sewing machines that had been "converted" to quilting machines (mostly this meant someone in marketing had added "quilt" to the name of the machine). I also wanted a machine that much more experienced quilters than myself had used for a while and liked. I made a rather extensive list of machines to actually go and try by doing a google search of the brand names and "review"; there are tons of people out there who post really detailed reviews of their machines (I really liked the website for this purpose).

I immediately eliminated Bernina because the cheapest quilting machine was way out of my price range. I didn't like the feel of the BabyLoc, Brother or Elna; they didn't feel very sturdy or well made (hundreds,maybe thousands, of people will be outraged that I say that, but that's what I thought. Feel free to disagree. :-) )Vikings have recently gotten terrible reviews online, so those were also out.

So, that left,basically, the Pfaff and Janome. Quilters rave about both brands and both have long term reputations for excellent quality. Both brands have a line of machines designed specifically for quilters and the machines in these lines have a huge harp (the space between the motor block where the controls usually are and the needle). I like this because it leaves a lot of space to manipulate quilts while piecing and free motion quilting (sewing free form patterns,rather than straight lines). Both also have a feature that will feed the fabric from the top and bottom rather than only from the bottom, which is pretty important when you sew thick fabrics (like terry cloth, denim or flannel) or quilts. I tried the Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0 and thought it was the machine for me.

I bought the Pfaff and IMMEDIATELY hated it (seriously, ask Isaac, I was nearly in tears). The thread mechanism was super fussy and quilting, even with thin batting, created HUGE knots. Also, the control features for choosing the stitch pattern, changing the size etc... were not very intuitive. It was, from the first minute I tried it, an absolute disaster. So, I returned it, did some more research and decided to try the Janome 6600P. I went back to the Janome dealer 3 times (after the Pfaff disaster I wanted to be really, really sure I liked the machine) and finally bought the machine.

It is fantastic. It is the only machine I tried that has an all metal casing (which makes it rather heavy, but also incredibly sturdy). It has nearly 200 stitch patterns and using the different patterns is super easy. The patterns can be adjusted for size and the machine can be programmed to perform various sequences of stitches. It also has a separate bobbin winding motor, which I haven't needed, but is rather handy and incredibly fast. The machine is also built to accept large thread cones, which is nice for quilting since quilting requires a great deal of thread. My most favorite thing is the start/stop button (most computerized machines have one). I don't have to use a foot pedal; I can control the machine with a button and the speed slider on the front of the machine. I can sew super slow for curves and as fast as I want for straight lines; the slider holds a perfectly steady spead. It. Rocks.

As you probably guessed, I love the Janome. I've sewn a bunch of projects and haven't had any trouble at all. It is also significantly less expensive than the Pfaff (but still kind of pricey; especially compared to a machanical machine). The one thing I don't have with the Janome is a free arm, but my Singer machine has one, so I use the Singer for sleeves and hemming and such and use the Janome for everything else.

Also, the most important thing I discovered while shopping for my machine is to go to a sewing machine dealer and actually sew on the machines. Even if you are looking at a lower-end mechanical machine, go to a dealer and try a bunch of different kinds. I was able to rule out many different models just by using them for a couple minutes. Don't just rely on the dealer demo; bring some fabric (anything you would sew often on your new machine) and try it out on the machines. Also, at a good dealer you should get at least one free class on how to use your machine. Most importantly, at a good dealer you should be able to negotiate on the price. Whatever the dealer initially quotes you is usually high (just like buying a car!), so google reviews of the machine you are thinking about and read what others have paid and the accessories they got with the machine. For example; my machine was significantly less than the list price and I got the brand name sewing table that fits my machine and free classes included in the price, along with 20% off all my future purchases in the store for ever and ever. :-) Lots of people also ask for, and get, extra presser feet, extra classes, bobbins etc...

So, for the 3 of you who have asked, that's how I bought my sewing machine. :-) And, for the rest of you; you have now recieved a totally free and unsolicited "How to Buy a Sewing Machine" tutorial. You're welcome.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Further proof that my place of employment is a little insane...

So. At work. There's this guy. We shall call him George. George is rather hilarious. George is always making jokes. Everyone, I mean EVERYONE, at work knows and understands this. Remember this fact. It becomes important a little later.

Also at work, we have a very nice, very thorough HR lady. VERY thorough. Today, she emailed us all a copy of the company's newly minted 'Pandemic Prevention Program'. The entire program consists of...wait for it...providing each cubicle with tissues and hand sanitizer. I am not joking. I wish I was.

Enter George. George who cannot help but make jokes. I think it is a compulsion. George says, 'I've been sneezing all day! I think I may have the swine flu!'. Next thing we know, very thorough HR lady has SENT HIM HOME.

That's right folks. She sent him home. Because he said he sneezed. I'm not even sure he really sneezed. She didn't even give him a chance to use the hand sanitizer OR the tissues. So much for our "Pandemic Prevention Program"

I immediately scrapped all plans to loudly cough and then say "Gee I'm sure glad I used my hand sanitizer today" while walking past her cubical.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

If you ever...

get a lovely Scentsy candle warmer from your Mother-in-Law for Christmas along with cinnamon scented Scentsy wax from your mother and Mother-in-Law and you decide to put the warmer in the wall socket behind your table, because no one ever walks back there, so it won't be bumped and you realize that you need to change the wax in the warmer because it stopped smelling like lovely cinnamon several weeks ago and now simply smells like hot wax and you walk behind your kitchen table to get the warmer and forget that the warmer is on and try to pull the warmer out of the wall socket while it is A) on and B) full of hot wax be prepared bump your elbow on the table and spray hot wax everywhere and then, be sure to plan on spending a great deal of time cleaning red-orange wax off your hands, shoes, jeans and, most importantly, the white carpet in your rented apartment. You'll want to make sure you can spend at least 1 hour brushing the, now dried, wax out of the carpet and then fruitlessly scrubbing the carpet in an (unsuccessfull) attempt to eradicate the orange-red stain. Trust me. I know.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

My New Toy

Remember how, a little while ago I posted about a fabulous quilting/sewing/embroidery machine? And, remember how I said it was super expensive, so it might take me a year to save for it?
WELL. I have a fantastic husband and we talked about it and he convinced me to get it now! We had been saving for a couple other things and we put those off for a little longer and so now I have my new toy!

And, even Isaac has gotten excited about it! He's decided he is going to sew a shirt. He's started:

All he has left to do is sew all the pieces together!

Anyway, as you can probably guess, I've gotten very little done this week, except a whole lot of sewing.

Monday, April 13, 2009

This post is NOT about Easter.

Everyone is posting their Easter pictures and this makes me happy because:
1. I like seeing pictures everyone and their cute kids
2. I didn't do a darn thing for Easter and this way, I can live vicariously through all of you.

I guess this post was about Easter after all. Sort of.

That is all.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


So. Apparently, I am a "bad blogger". In the past few days I have been informed, by friends and family, that I "suck" as a blogger. Many apologies. I fear, though, that I have nothing to say and so, I say nothing. It's not that I don't want to record my every action here on this very public space (actually, it is that I don't want to record my every action here...but only partially), it's that my day to day existence is excruciatingly boring. However, because I like to respond appropriately when I have been reprimanded, I will now treat you to a detailed account of my most recent activities. For the past month. Do please remember that you asked for it.
In the past month:
1. Went to work. A lot.
2. Wished I wasn't at work. A lot.
3. Explained to my boss, for the 1000th time, that, yes, is absolutely necessary that the lectures we produce be historically accurate.
4. Went to New Jersey.
5. Sat in Newark Airport for 4.5 hours.
6. Met a bird that lived in the airport. Met his little friend. Named the bird: Moe. Named the friend: Harriet. I have no idea if the names are gender appropriate. I am adding "Looking up from my book, whilst sitting at gate C-121 in Newark New Jersey, only to see 2 little birds hopping around my feet" to my list of somewhat disturbing bird encounters.
7. Was invited to the AP reading again. WOOHOO.
8. Realized I may not be able to go to the AP Reading. Sad.
9. Began looking for a full time, classroom based teaching job.
10. Heard that 700 or so teachers are going to be laid off after this school year.
11. Suspended the search for a full time teaching job until further notice.
12. Made contact with an old friend (I am still planning to call Emily! I am just slow!)
13. Went to church.
14. Wrestled with Primary children.
15. Wondered what, in the name of all that is holy and good, the Bishop was thinking when he called me to the Primary Presidency.
16. Felt really bad, on multiple occassions, for really, really struggling with being in the Primary Presidency.
17. Read a bunch of books.
18. Did not, despite good intentions, finish the quilt that is sitting in my living room. In the quilt frame. For 4.5 months.
19. Faciliated 3 online courses.
20. Started facilitating 4 more online courses.
21. Joined a gym.
22. Started getting up at 4:30 to attend the aforementioned gym.
23. Isaac bought a roadbike.
24. Went biking.
25. Got really, really sunburned while biking. Stupid Arizona.
25. Completed saving for a new car. (Today!)
26. Watched the news and felt really grateful for the decision to live debt-free.
27. Found an incredible sewing/quilting/embroidery machine and hated the decision to live debt-free.
28. Decided to save for the aforementioned sewing machine. Even if it takes a year.
29. Discovered, painfully, that I am quite allergic to macadamia nuts.
30. Isaac settled on a final project
31. Isaac is working like a crazy person to finish the final project.
32. Isaac pretty much rocks GIS and website design. (this isn't only true of the last month; it's always true. But, it needed to be said. In case anyone forgot, or something)
33. I think this about covers it.
34. But, 32 is an odd number to stop on.
35. So, I added three lines to make it 35.

There. Penance complete. Let this be a lesson to you, should you ever wish I blogged more.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Birds...

So, I think the birds of Arizona are trying to kill me. Or at least give me the heebie-geebies.
Bird Incident #1: As I was driving down the freeway several months ago, a bird literally dropped out of the sky and landed with an audible THUD on the side of the road. CREEPY. In case you ever wondered; yes, birds do die while flying and yes, they will just fall right out of the sky.
Bird Incident #2: Several weeks after the bird dropping out of the sky incident, I opened my front door to find a gaggle of pigeons-they immediately flew up, into my face, and nearly INTO my apartment. I screeched and slammed the door. Isaac thought someone had attacked, the BIRDS attacked me. I still don't know why they chose to spend the night sleeping by my front door. CREEPY. It's like they were staking the place out.
Bird Incident #3: Last night, I opened the door to our patio, because our house was hot and stuffy when I got home from work. With the door open, I made my dinner and sat down on the couch to eat. I hear a noise. I look up. A bird has FLOWN INTO MY HOUSE. CREEPY. Once again, I yelled. Specifically I yelled "There's a bird in the house!", but no one else was home, so no one rescued me. Good thing the bird knew the way out, and flew out again, because I might have passed out. About gave me a heart attack.

See-the birds are out to get me. It's more than a little disturbing.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Did you pay attention in history class?

"In order for Crusoe to obtain eight fish in half the time, he must spend all of his time collecting _______."
c.coconuts alternative product

The answer? Drum Roll Please.......

c. coconuts

That's right. Don't try to understand it, just accept it. At least, that's what I told the teacher whose students were asked this question on one their HISTORY tests. Apparently, the teacher didn't think this question was relevant. She couldn't figure out why it would be on the history test. She wanted me to change it. I couldn't do it. Change a gem like this? I would be doing every history student taking the course a disservice if I changed the question.

It's a darn good thing I was hired to rewrite the history courses 6 months ago and have, instead, spent the last 6 months doing everything under the sun except rewrite the history courses. If I'd actually been able to rewrite the history course, like I was hired to do, I might never have seen this question. And then where would I be? Where would we all be?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

To Blog or Not to Blog...

So, with my attention span equal to (or less than) that of a gnat, I am kind of over the whole blogging thing...we'll see what happens.
In the meantime, feel free to call! :-)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Go. Me.

I, mostly computer illiterate Erin, FIXED the software. Go. Me.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

So sad...

So, there's this quilt design software. It's AWESOME. It's also really, really expensive. Despite it's rather skyhigh price tag, I coveted the software. Last week, I had finally, FINALLY saved enough to buy the software. We ordered the software. It came yesterday. I was so excited. Really. I know it's nerdy and I don't care. I was like a little kid. When it finally came, Isaac installed it on the computer. And...

It didn't work. It installed just fine, but it won't open. Everytime I try, I get the same error message. Apparently, there is some sort of conflict between Windows Vista(I am sending "I hate Microsoft" vibes out into the universe) and the software. It's supposed to work with Vista, but mine doesn't. And, because it's the weekend, the little tech support people aren't there to answer my, somewhat desperate, phone call. I don't know what to do. So. Sad.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Some People's Children...

All this week at work, we have been blessed (cough, cough) with the presence of our major investors. This is a good thing (investors=money for the company, etc...) and a bad thing (everyone is in a craptacular mood from trying so hard to impress them). I have to say, I was not impressed by them. You would think wealthy, successful business people would have some class. You would be wrong. Today, whilst sitting at my desk, minding my own business, I was blessed to overhear a lengthy, loud and rather detailed discussion of favorite STRIP CLUBS in Canada. That's right. A group of men decided that the WORK PLACE was a great place to discuss their strip club prediliction. Sigh.
My cube mate and I were torn. Do we say something ("Ummm, Mr. Investor men, I know that you basically ensure I have a job and all that, but you are so disgusting. Could you move that conversation elsewhere? Like to Siberia?") or not? In the end we opted for passive aggression: I turned up my radio. It was playing piano arrangements of hymns. Take THAT investor men!
Not too much later, they moved on. I like to think my subtle hint did the trick...

Friday, January 9, 2009

Most Embarrassing Moment...

Before I share this story, I must preface it with this fact: I have NEVER been more tired than I have been this week. Today especially. I was literally falling asleep while standing up today. Now that you know kind. Don't judge too harshly! And now...our feature presentation:


Today, when the alarm went off, I thought "Why did Isaac set the alarm for 1 in the morning? Did he think that would be funny?!" Then I looked at the clock. It was not 1 in the morning, it was 6:00. Time to get up. Already? It felt like I had not slept at all. I stumbled towards the closet and rummaged through my clothes. I barely remembered that I was meant to film on the green screen today and so I grabbed my grey sweater. Apparently, floating heads frighten the clients, so I had to wear something that wasn't green. Sigh. Why do things have to be so complicated?!
I put the sweater on, and because I was still cold I covered it with a giant hoodie. Picture Erin looking very much like a refugee, stumbling around her house wearing Isaac's giant hoodie. Now, fast forward to Erin's arrival at work.
Upon arrival, despite still feeling very groggy and cold, I removed the giant hoodie and sat at my desk. For some reason (divine intervention) I looked down at my sweater. My brain, working at about 1/8th of it's usual speed, eventually registered that something was wrong with the sweater. Something is wrong, but what? As my brain struggled to figure out what the problem was I decided to take my lunch to the kitchen to put it in the fridge. As I rose from my desk, it hit me. MY SWEATER WAS INSIDE OUT. That's right. I had arrived at work with my SWEATER INSIDE OUT.Not only that, but it's this argyle sweater/shirt combo; so there are seams everywhere. The backs of buttons and button holes are showing. You can bet your bippy I put that hoodie right back on and hightailed it to bathroom to correct the problem. I have no idea how many people saw me before I trucked it to the bathroom. It was early. No one saw. Right? RIGHT?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Isaac's Christmas Present or...

"I married an overgrown 10 year old". :-)
So, shortly after Christmas, Isaac and I made our way to the local hobby shop and purchased Isaac's Christmas present: A radio controlled helicopter. Yes, you read that correctly. My (mostly adult) husband wanted nothing but this helicopter for Christmas, so that is what he got. :-) He loves it.
And, to show that sometimes you just can't hide your inner 10 year old, here are a few pictures of him learning to fly the helicopter.

So adorable.

I return...Triumphant!

It has been a really busy couple of weeks (thus the lack of posts!), but things are settling down now.
Catch up Summary: Christmas was great. New Year's was great (in bed by 10:00. PERFECT.). Returning to work wasn't so great. Isaac is working lots, but doesn't have to go to school for another couple of weeks. So jealous!
That's it. Nothing exciting. Nothing special. Maybe the return wasn't so triumphant after all...