Monthly Archives: October 2011

Just shoot me II

Remember the brouhaha with my mortgage company being slimy thieves? Well get a load of this little gem.

We’ve been working with quite possibly the only sane person at CitiGroup: Ellen. She has been our port in the storm; our life preserver in an ocean of The Right Hand Hasn’t a Clue What the Left Hand is Doing. One enormous corporate monster with one employee capable of cogent thought. PTL. She put everything in motion to solve the idiotic mess her company created for us. She told me (after talking me down from the ledge last week) to call yesterday and make sure everything was put in place, and that she was so sorry that we’d been dragged through the mud like this. I texted the Thriller and said, “I think we’re finally out of the woods.”

After my last class left yesterday (and after a pretty good day of rehearsals), I called her. The customer service robot answered and I said, “Hello, may I speak with Ellen in the escrow office please?” Her response:

“Oh, yes. Well, Ellen took a position with another company.”

[This space intentionally left blank.]

Back to the drawing board — or to the Funny Farm, where life is beautiful all the time.

Camera and cake

The Thriller bought a new camera the other day (Nikon D5100). It’s a thing of beauty. I needed to get more comfortable using it, so I did a little pictorial of my carrot cake extravaganza. (Judging from the small pieces I tasted from the baking pans, this recipe’s a keeper).


So what do you think of that camera? It’s a dandy, I say. And I think this carrot cake will knock you clean out.

You know you’re getting old…

…when only two of seventy students know who Bing Crosby was.

My 7th and 8th grade choir is singing “Perfect Christmas Night” from How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Jim Carrey version). Awesome tune; really swings. The second verse contains the phrase, I got Bing Crosby on, have all my troubles gone

Minutes after the girls sang through that verse, a hand went up. “What’s Bing Crosby?” Oi. I didn’t even think of talking about him beforehand, and I am usually quite meticulous regarding my singers actually knowing what they’re singing about. So, today, I’m taking the White Christmas DVD to school (I have it on VHS only; thanks for letting me borrow yours, Mavis!), and we’re going to watch the part where Crosby is bunkered in with his platoon on Christmas Eve during WWII, and he sings “White Christmas” to his fellow soldiers, all of whom are silent and preoccupied with thoughts of home, as the bombs go off in the distance. I always bawl during that scene.

I’ll never forget sitting in my dorm room watching TV at Bowling Green State University, 34 years ago this month, and seeing a news bulletin interrupt programming to tell us that Crosby passed away. I was so sad. Of course, I didn’t know then what a dark side he had….but that’s a post for another day. He was still a positively iconic part of my growing-up years. Mother listened to him all the time.

Anyhow, this will give me a good “in” to discuss Irving Berlin with the kids as well. Love that man’s genius. He died too young at 101.

Did you know it’s Finkday? Saints be praised. Big weekend planned — birthday feast and a night out with son Seamus as he celebrates his 31st. Where have the years gone…

Remember this?

I was looking through some history for October this morning, and one event brought back a huge memory from my long-ago childhood.

Anyone remember singing this song in elementary school?

One dark night, while we were all in bed
Old Miz O’Leary left a lantern in the shed
And when the cow kicked it over, she winked her eye and said,
“There’ll be a hot time in the old town tonight.” [Fire! Fire! Fire!]

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Of course, it got me to thinking: why would we sing a hand-clappin’, knee-slappin’, happy song about something that killed between 100 and 300 people, destroyed dozens of city blocks, and left countless children orphans? I guess it’s our way of glossing over the pain. The above song about the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 wouldn’t have a place in any school music curriculum today, I’ll wager. Although … songs about Christopher Columbus sailing the ocean blue in fourteen hundred ninety-two are still all over the place — go figure. I digress.

What do you do when everything is on fire? You run. You leave everything and run. Then, as we saw so often during the coverage of 9/11, you choke. You can’t get away from the smoke; it gets harder to breathe with every gasp.

There were also tramplings, especially with so many folks trying to get out of town in horse-drawn wagons. I can’t imagine the pandemonium. All this while everything you own burns.

According to the readings, Chicago was supposed to have been a fire-conscious city in an age when fire was at the top of everyone’s fear list. I guess nobody told that to the all the wooden structures that served as fantastic kindling in an area ravaged by drought. The whole “Mrs. O’Leary’s cow” story never really stood up, either; rather, officials speculated that it was careless smoking that did the deed.

Growing up in Wisconsin, there was a general feeling that the Chicago fire overshadowed another tragic conflagration that occurred on the very same day: the Peshtigo Fire. which swallowed up 12 million acres of pristine forest, and killed 1200 people up near Green Bay. Why did the Chicago fire get all the glory? Obvious reasons: big famous city, cool cow story. Made no sense to me.

I do love reading about history, though. Don’t you wish everybody did? By the way. Big ol’ Hershey bar goes to the person who sees the product ad in this paragraph. Name the product and the slogan. First one to post it in a comment here is the big winna. :-)

All right, I’m late. Speaking of late…the Finkmobile goes in for repair on the 28th. Of November.


Ya know…

The Finkmobile. She is cursed.

Bambi’s mom. She is dead.

After all that hassle with the body shop on the last go-around…now this. Same side of the car, same sort of damage. What can you do but laugh? (And pay the deductible?)

It was dark yesterday morning, and — irony of ironies — I decided to take a main state route to school instead of the rural one, in order to avoid the deer. Eeeeyep. The gigantic doe appeared out of nowhere, about five minutes outside the city limits. I didn’t even apply my brakes until after the collision. My priority at the time was not locating the deer, but avoiding the oncoming school bus, which I did. Fortunately, I was near the Bailey Lakes General Store, so I hobbled into their parking lot, got out, and eyeballed the damage.

After getting under the front end and dislodging a piece of bumper that was stuck between the fender assembly and the brand new tires we’d had mounted just last week, I got back on the road to school, as the car was basically driveable. I must admit though, to quote Lynyrd Skynyrd: I was shakin’ like a leaf on a tree.

Of course, the first question my middle school (and some high school) students asked was, “Did you go back and get the doe so you could take it home and eat it?” *massaging massive headache* Yeah, sure thing, kids. That’s what I did, yep.


At least she was gone by the time I drove home from rehearsal last night. I dreaded finding her there. Actually, a colleague called me on his way home from school and told me he couldn’t find it on the side of the road, so that was a good thing. An avid deer hunter himself, he added, “Some hillbilly probably picked it up and cooked it for dinner.” Ha. Anyway, nothing like returning to scene of the crime and discovering the corpse still there, indicting you with its dead eyes. Glad I avoided that.

So, once again, we start the process of estimates, paperwork, phone calls, appointments and repairs. One thing’s for sure: we won’t be going back to the World’s Worst Body Shop Ever. I’m no good to anyone if I’m sitting in jail.


Fink out (of the deer huntin’ bizniss)