Re-launched, but still slightly under construction. :-)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Yeah, Why is That, Daddy?

AUGUSTA, GA. - After a morning working with the First Saturday Crew and a quick bath, Scott walked into the living room wearing the outfit that makes me want to sue the Dickies company for alienation of affection: a khaki one-suit that is at least a size - if not two - too big for him.

"Really?" I ask, looking pointedly at the jumpsuit.

"Honey, that's appropriate for working at the canal. Not for shopping downtown," I say, trying to inject humor into a situation that makes me - shallowly - want to scream.
"But it's comfortable," he replies.

I sigh. There's no point in talking to him about it. He adores the thing.

"DADDYDADDYDADDYDADDY!" Emmie shrieks repeatedly, her new (and very effective) method for getting our attention.
"What, honey?"
"Why doze pants and shirt all togedder?" she asks, head cocked to the side.
I can't help but laugh - hard!

If looks could kill... but at least I'd die RIGHT.

Optometrists of the World, Take Note!

AUGUSTA, GA. - My eyeglass prescription is not some secret code to which I should not be privy, and I am not required to order my glasses from the store attached to your office. I understand that it's part of your bottom line, but if there is a $300 difference between ordering from you and ordering online, you can bet your sweet eye chart that I'm going somewhere else. Welcome to the free market economy. If you don't like it, find a way to end diplomatic relations with China.

Oh, and your support staff is AWFUL!

See you next year.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New Economy of Valentine's Day

AUGUSTA, GA. - My husband and I enjoyed free tickets to the Augusta Symphony on Friday night, and then spent actual Valentine's Day cleaning out our many closets and boxes and random pieces of furniture in our apartment. Later that afternoon, I passed our piano beside where my husband was cleaning out this piece of crap particle board armoire that held way too many freakin' books. A fluffy, flowery Valentine's Day card perched atop the keyboard.

"Oh, thanks, sweetie!" The card was very sweet, very poignant. "But I didn't get you anything!"
"That's okay," he grinned. "That's the same card I gave you last year."

Obama Stimulates Health Care Industry

AUGUSTA, GA. - Thanks to President Obama, my husband and I are now closer to paying off his staggering medical bills. With the $13 a week increase, we will have them paid off in 5,769 weeks! Thanks, Mr. Agent of Change! This is way better than the 5,870 weeks that we previously anticipated!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Mother Changes Name to Avoid Children

"Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama!" Emmie is chanting my name, trying to get my attention. Every time I turn my eyes to something besides her, she starts up again. It is Attention Deficit Day at the Hudson household, and my job is to make sure she has an Attention Surplus before she goes to bed. But I'm checking my e-mail for client responses, because they often work odd hours and its my job to help them.

"Mama! Mama!" she continues.
"Yes, darling?" I ask, gritting my teeth a little. I managed to open one e-mail and read the subject line. My mother used to joke that she had changed her name, but that would just intrigue us into guessing her new name for hours. "Rumpelstiltskin" was a favorite, but I always guessed "Chewbacca." One day, I reasoned, it would be the right one. But it never was.

"Mama, can I play peeyooter when you done?" Emmie asks, pointing at the screen with a spoon dripping frozen peach puree on the floor. Nice.

"We'll see," I say, because saying "no" to her garners the same reaction as setting one of her dolls on fire.

"Mama! Mama! Mama!" she continues.
"Yes, sweetie?" I ask, a little exasperated. Got through the first paragraph.

"Can I play peeyooter when you done?" she asks again, ending the request with a charming - and deliberate - little grin. I chuckle. She flashes the grin again: "Can I play peeyooter?"

"Maybe, sweetie-pie. But it's getting late," I answer, and turn back to my e-mail screen.

"Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama!" she calls, loudly, from two feet behind me.
"YES, darling, what IS it?" I whip my head around to look at her again. I haven't even through one e-mail in ten minutes.

"I wanna play peeyooter!" she says, with a little whine tinging the request.
"Doodle, please don't whine. And if Mommy can't get through her e-mails, you'll never get to use the peeyooter," I reason. "So you have to be patient."

"oooOOOHHHooo, I know what's the problem is," she says.

"Really? Is it you?" I ask, giggling to myself.
"No! No, is I gotta finish my peaches, and DEN I can play peeyooter," she says, smiling brightly, palms up, as if to say, "You see? I figured it out on my own."

I guffaw into the keyboard.

"Honey, just let mommy finish her e-mail and then it's all yours," I concede, and turn back to the screen.

"Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama!" she calls, waving her hand in the air like an over-eager classroom achiever.
"Yes. What. Is. It. Now?" I grit.
"I gotta check MY e-mail TOO!" she grins.

I give up.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

More on the Morris Mess

Media Watchdog Alan D. Mutter's analysis of the daily newspaper industry:

Six of the 11 publishers covered in today’s edition of the Default-O-Matic either are at the brink of default or already have gone over it.

The publishers most likely to be unable to satisfy the terms of their debt are MediaNews Group and Morris Publishing, according to the latest ratings from Moody’s Investors Services, a company hired by borrowers to gauge their likely ability to repay their debt. Click here for more...

Thursday, February 05, 2009

What's Next for The Augusta Chronicle?

AUGUSTA, GA. - By Mark Fitzgerald for Editor & Publisher, Published: Feb. 3

Morris Publishing Group, already looking at a bankruptcy option, said its lenders are giving it more time to avoid defaulting on its loan agreement after it missed a $9.7 million interest payment that was due last Sunday.

Under the agreement, Morris, publisher of The Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville and The Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle, has until March 3 to avoid defaulting on the $278 million of senior subordinated notes due 2013.

However, the group of lenders, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., reduced the amount of money Morris can tap from its revolving credit facility to $70 million from $100 million. In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Morris said accessing any amount above $60 million requires the consent of a majority of lenders.

The new agreement also increases the interest rate on borrowing by a half a percentage point.

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services reacted to the filing by downgrading Morris' credit rating on Morris to D, its lowest rating and one indicating default, from CCC. S&P said skipping the interest payment puts it in default.

Morris has said it hired Lazard Freres & Co. as financial advisors to "restructure" the company. Lazard is advisor to Tribune Co., which last month filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Morris also announced the hiring of a law firm with a strong bankruptcy practice.

More details of the amended credit agreement are at E&P's business-oriented blog Fitz & Jen blog.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

And You Thought There Was Nothing Fun About Dentistry!

Brainstorming a Little Geniusness

AUGUSTA, GA. - A.C. called me today and told me how she is livid because she's 73 months pregnant and can't hardly get anywhere without a winch and a Sherpa. But worst of all? People keep touching her belly! Strangers! Complete strangers stop her in the store and feel her up! Can you believe it?!

That outrage was sarcasm. EVERY pregnant woman is accosted in public places by complete strangers. Only very few of them are complete pervs. The rest are crazy ladies with baby envy. Sometimes it feels like they're asking you questions that seem innocuous so that they can profile you, stalk you, and follow you home to cut the baby out of your still-living body, then eat your liver right in front of you. But that so rarely happens. Don't worry.

Anyhoodle, I told A.C. that we should just make her a t-shirt that says:
But then I had a brilliant idea: "Why don't you just hire M.C. Hammer? I hear he's looking for work."

Seriously, think about what an awesome publicity stunt this would be for someone who could afford it: M.C. Hammer acts as assistant/bodyguard, and whenever anyone approaches a waddling babymaker, he throws himself in front of the pregnant lady: "Can't touch this..." dum, dada, dum, dadum, dadum! And then he can Hammer-Dance little circles around her, like a force field.

When M.C. Hammer was but a wee blog newbie, I stumbled across his blogspot site while covering the funeral of James Brown. Hammer was in town to pay his respects. He actually e-mailed me back when I contacted him through his site. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy.

Hammer, if you're out there, protecting the pregnant, please.... don't hurt 'em.

Hammer on the Arsenio Hall Show. Don't care what you say about him, he reminds me of James Brown, the way he works a performance.

His inspiration reaches far and white:

Way to Start the Work Day

At a client's office, a woman walks by and slaps me on the ass.
Unfazed, I give her a bemused grin.
She pales.

"Ohmygod, I thought you were someone else!" she gasps. I laugh out loud.
"That's okay. You can call me later, if you want."

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Magnestized Virus May Cause Spontaneous Combustion

AUGUSTA, GA - I've spent the last two weeks fighting a virus that won't go away. It sits in my chest and makes me wheeze. It seems to be letting up a little today, but the experience reminds me of the first time I was sick after I had Emerson.

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I woke up this morning with a familiar tickle in the back of my throat. I’m prone to strep throat, and it always starts the same way.

“Uh-oh,” I turn to my husband. “I thing I’b gettig sig.”

Scott chuckles at my congestion. “You think?”

I am miserable at work. Typing hurts my fingers. Breathing hurts my head. I feel my temperature start to rise. When I get home for lunch, I take my temperature with an ear thermometer: 102˚.

I am bored lying on the couch. I use the ear thermometer to check my belly button. Scott pokes his head in.

“What does it say?”

“If you believe my ear, it’s 102. If you believe my belly button, it’s a cool 98.6.”

“Go with the ear.”

I lie on the couch for a while, watching my 10-month-old, listening to my body, then call: “Honey, I have a question.”

He peers in. I tell him I’m roasting with fever, but my feet and hands are cold.

“So my question is: what if the virus is magnetized?”


“I mean, what if it’s drawing the iron-rich blood from my extremities to my head?”

“Wait – aren’t you anemic?”

“Look, if I spontaneously combust, will you be able to get the baby away in time?”

He stomps out of the room. “You’re not going to combust.”

“It’s been known to happen!”

My daughter crawls up to the couch and pulls herself up to stand. She pokes me in the nose with her finger.

“Boop!” I say, and she laughs. It’s her new game. She pokes me again. “Boop!”

Scott comes in again, this time with a sandwich for me.

“How do you feel?”

“Oh, great.”

“No, come on.”

“Okay. You know how sometimes the dog will poop in the backyard in a spot where no one ever notices it, and it lays in the sun and dries out and turns white?”

Scott is turning green. I feed the baby some of my sandwich crust and she bounces with excitement.

“Well, you know how the lawn guy will ride over it as he cuts the grass and it gets chopped up by the lawnmower? Well, I feel like the chopped-up poop.”

He leaves the room again. I’m not sure he’s coming back.