Bits and pieces from the astoundingly normal life of Paul Carlisle Kletchka

Here’s a gem from dinner the other night.  And yes, we had guests over…

@PinkPeonies:  Do you need to go to the bathroom?

The Monkey:  No.

@PinkPeonies:  Then why are you grabbing your crotch?

The Monkey:  Because my vulva is CONCENTRATING.

I just saw this status update from one of my friends:

“Soon it will be illegal for insurance companies to discriminate against me due to my Crohn’s disease. I won’t have to live in fear of having any gap in health coverage, lest pre-existing conditions waivers apply to me. Dozens of life path and employment options I never considered are now, for the first time, open for me to explore. Today is a pretty good Monday.”

And so, to echo President Obama and Democratic members of the House from last night, I say, “YES WE CAN.”

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I just sat and listened as my wonderful wife — the incredible mother of our child, my partner in all things, the love of my life — tried to walk her grandmother through getting to the Facebook page and logging on, all via a phone call.  In that one conversation, I heard so many elements of all the frustrating helpdesk phone calls I ever took.  And all I could do was sit there and laugh quietly to myself.  Some highlights…

“No, Grandma.  You’re looking at your e-mail.  You want to be in a WEB BROWSER.”

“That’s a CAPTCHA…  No, it shouldn’t be easy to read.”

“No-no-no-no-no-no.  NOT YAHOO.”

“That’s your password.  You shouldn’t share that with anyone.  Not (family member), (family member), or even (family member).”

I am a terrible, horrible person — I know…

Monkey:  Daddy!  Look at my finger!  (holds out her index finger, which has something on the end of it that looks like a horrible blood blister)

Me:  (with a look of horror on my face)  What is that?!?!

Monkey:  (scraping the horror from her finger into my hand)  It came out of my nose.

She happily skipped away, singing a sweet little song…

The Monkey was being particularly lovey with her mama – lots of hugs and snuggling.  She let out a little sigh, placed her head on Mama’s shoulder, and said, “You’re so complicated…”

I had to turn away and hide my face.  She was so sincere, and I think she meant it as a compliment, but my eyes nearly popped out of my head as hard as I had to work to stifle my laughter…

If you are too inconsiderate to notice that I was already waiting for a parking space to open up when you pulled into the lot, don’t be surprised when I give you the stinkeye and make wild hand gestures when you cut me off and take the next available spot.  The only reason I didn’t hurl many, many filthy insults your way and flip you off with both hands was because we were in the parking lot of my darling daughter’s daycare and she was in the back seat of my car, waiting to be dropped off, you dipshit.

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Tonight, on a whim, we headed out to our favorite Indian restaurant, India Pavilion, with our friends the Howells.  We eat at IP on a fairly regular basis, mainly taking advantage of their lunch buffet (soooo nummy).  But when we go for dinner, we go knowing that the food will be tasty and the service will be top-notch.

So, it was a total surprise to walk in and find that I didn’t recognize any of the staff working this evening.  It was an even bigger surprise when, after waiting for almost 45 minutes, we had to flag down a server to place our order.  And we were totally floored when it took another 45 minutes for the main course to arrive at our table.  45 minutes after that, we had to request our desserts be served in take-out containers so we could get our respective dead-tired children home and put them to bed.
I’m still dumbfounded by just how awful the experience was.  The food was indeed tasty, but I think we all put up with the horrible service only because it was so out-of-the-ordinary for IP.  Had that been our first time there, we would certainly never go back.  As it was, I was sorely tempted to do something I have only done once before in my life:  Write “don’t play in traffic” on the tip line of the receipt.

Sorry.  I just had to get that off my chest…

I’ve worked at Security Operations and Services (SOS) for almost three months, now. I’m still “the new guy,” but I do feel very much at home, here. And although I do miss so many of the folks at MRI, I have to admit that my stress level has dropped considerably since changing jobs. I would have to attribute that to the fact that I’m no longer at the mercy of random system failures 24 hours a day. In fact, there are times when I even turn my mobile phone OFF. And since I’m the father of a small child, that’s a very good thing. And it reinforces for me that I made the right choice for myself and my family in making the switch.

I knew that leaving MRI would be difficult. And for anyone who attended my farewell party, I think it was pretty apparent that was true. Looking so many friends in the eye and saying good-bye was heart-wrenching, even though I was only moving to a different unit within the university. I’ve had occasion to visit my old stomping grounds a few times since the move, and I’m still in pretty regular contact with the IT team (for better or for worse!). And I still catch myself finding excuses to drive by the MSC construction site to check on the progress being made there.

I want to thank all of you at MRI for the lovely send-off you gave me. I certainly didn’t expect presents, but as usual, you showed the generosity of the MRI family with your gifts, and I don’t think I could express just how much that means to me. My best wishes go out to all of you for the happiest of holiday seasons and a fantastic New Year! And while I hope you don’t find yourselves in a position where you urgently need the services of SOS, should that happen, rest assured you have a friend here.

(Me in the new office. Believe it or not, it isn’t filled with computer parts.)