When Even Happy Birthday is Too Much Effort

Years ago I worked for a guy who’s birthday was exactly 1 week before mine. Even a third grader can figure out that 1 week equals 7 days and if your birthday falls on the 4th of the month, then mine falls on the 11th of the month.

The whole 5 years that I worked there we all made a big deal about recognizing my boss on his birthday – we hung streamers and balloons in his office, bought a bakery cake and put the right number of candles on it, and gathered in his office on his birthday to sing happy birthday to him and share the cake.

Then, 1 week later, the same celebration was for me. My employees decorated my office, they each threw in a couple of bucks and bought me a big sheet cake – but they had to guess at the number of candles, because I would not ever reveal my actual age – and we knocked off a half hour early for a little party – to which my boss was invited and attended.

After I left that hell hole for a much better position with a career path and big bump in salary, my old boss copped quite an attitude toward me. He acted like I was a traitor for leaving the company, even though I did everything I could to find a way to stay, I picked my successor and trained him thoroughly, and I made myself available by phone for questions for over a month.

Ever since I left, I have sent a birthday card or Facebook greeting to my old boss, wishing him well. But he has never reciprocated nor even thanked me directly for what I did for him. So, after all these years, I quit. I am not going to continue to try to keep a friendship alive that he cares about so little that he cannot even wish me a happy birthday.

I am sure he thinks in his own mind that he deserves all the attention and hoopla and that his lack of reciprocation is OK because he is an executive at the company. Well, it is not OK.

It only takes 10 seconds to post happy birthday on someone’s Facebook wall and Facebook tells you that it is their birthday and give you a link to their wall. If that is too much effort for him, then it is too much effort for me, as well.

No more Happy Birthdays for you, Michael Peacock. You sucked as a friend all these years and I’m done with being the only one who makes an effort to keep the friendship alive. You don’t deserve me.

Its All Fun and Games Until Somebody Gets Mad

Some of my Facebook friends are people I added specifically because they engage in lively conversation and debates. Most of the time people on their threads make their point with manners and facts – and sometimes humor.

When I have a lively discussion, I enforce a few basic rules. No name calling, no threats, and no vulgar words. That can be hard to do when you are in a heated exchange with someone, and especially hard when you don’t know the other person/people beyond a profile photo or avatar. It is easy to hide behind the anonymity of the internet.

Humor can be tricky, especially when you are typing and not talking. There is no sarcasm font. You can’t tell by someone’s tone of voice or facial expression if they are kidding or seriously, upset or just jerking your chain. I try to be careful in using humor, because it is all fun and games until somebody gets mad. And I don’t really want to have someone mad at me over a Facebook post.

One of my gripes about Facebook is that they insisted that you use your real name when you created a free account. That has it’s upside and it’s downside. It was easy to find people that I really do know and wanted to reconnect with. But there are some people who I don’t really want to associate with anymore – like a couple of former employers and ex-girlfriends. But I see names all day long that I know are fake or adulterated. I don’t understand why they feel they have to alter their names to be on Facebook. If they want to play anonymously, there are plenty of forums and chat rooms where they can go and use a screen name.

Facebook is supposed to be real – why ruin it?

I Hope Santa Was Good to You

Merry Christmas! I hope Santa found your house before he ran out of toys. Did he leave you coal or good toys? There is nothing as much fun as running downstairs on Christmas morning and finding lots of presents under the Christmas tree!

photo of santa napping

Love to Sip on Eggnog

One of my favorite traditions over the holidays is a party that serves eggnog. Usually I can count on my good friend Lindsay to have eggnog at her party, but she has been having medical troubles this year and I’m not sure she is up for hosting her annual holiday party. I hope she feels better and enjoys the holidays, whether she hosts her party or not. She is a dear friend and I don’t like to think of her being ill.

In better times, I love the many parties and events that happen in my family and with my friends between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. And I can count on at least one of those parties having a big punch bowl with home made, fully loaded eggnog. Lindsay uses an old family recipe and even grates the nutmeg herself. I have to admit that I have never had nutmeg and a grater in my hand. I don’t think I even know what raw or whole nutmeg looks like! I just buy ground nutmeg at the grocery store in the spices aisle. But Lindsay knows all about it and she says it makes a huge difference in the intensity of the flavor. I must say that she is right – Lindsay’s eggnog is the best I’ve ever had!


Shopping Day with Lauren

Shopping with my girlfriend, Lauren, is always a lot of fun. We are meeting up after work to get the last of our Christmas shopping done and maybe even grab a nice dinner if the shopping doesn’t take too long.

Lauren and I have the same taste in clothes and shoes, and we love the same stores. I just wish she was my size – but she is shorter and thinner than I am – I’m sure she is at least two or three dress sizes smaller than my size 14. The first time we met and found out that we were so much alike, we started calling Lauren “Mini Me.”

I Will Always Be Fond of Selena

Some names will always bring forth memories of a person, even if the person you are talking to is someone that you’ve just met for the first time. This morning I met a young lady at the dry cleaner’s and her name tag said, Selena. She was young and pretty and very good at fetching my shirts and coat from the racks of cleaned clothes. But her name, Selena, means a lot more to me than that.

Selena is the name of my first good friend in childhood. The first friend who I chose from a class of about 2 dozen other kids in the fourth grade. She was new to the school and so was I, and we lived about 3 blocks away from each other. That was close enough for our parents to let us walk to each other’s house to play after school until dark.

We were besties until the eleventh grade, when her father’s job required the family to move to California. Selena and I were devastated – we had thought we would be friends forever. There was nothing we could do but say good bye with lots of tears and hugs. I never saw here again after they moved. She never came back to my neighborhood and when she graduated from high school in San Francisco, I don’t know if she went to college or got married or what.

I wish we had stayed in touch but kids stay busy with silly things in their own lives and people who are not close by don’t get the attention they need to stay involved. Maybe one day we will have a reunion. I would really like that – to see her again and find out what she has been doing all these years since they moved away. And in the meantime, any time I see someone named Selena, I think of my bestie and all the fun we had growing up together.

At the Turkey Shoot with Julie

The Ruritans Club has luncheons and fund raising events that really bring the community together. I was invited by Julie Callaway to attend a Ruritans turkey shoot and had a lot of fun, competing in the shooting and also just meeting the guys and getting to know her neighbors. Julie has been volunteering at the turkey shoot for a couple of months. She sells the tickets and targets at a folding table, which is a great way to meet everyone and get to know their names.

It must be challenging to move from several states away to a new neighborhood and try to get settled, make new friends, and learn your way around. Julie bought the house and moved in with almost no help, and didn’t know a single person for miles around. She has done a great job creating a new life for herself.

I can’t imagine doing that myself. I have always known the people around me and how to get around town. The farthest I have ever moved was maybe 10 miles from the house where I grew up. The people I grew up with are still in the area or their parents are and they come back often for holidays and vacations. There is a great sense of security being in the same place where you grew up.


Nice Lunch With Alexa

Just got back from Logan’s Steakhouse where I had a nice lunch with Alexa. I haven’t seen Alexa in about six months and was feeling really guilty about so much time has gone by since the last time we met for lunch. We used to go out every week, but since she took her new job she works clear across town and its not as convenient anymore.

Not that convenience is a big factor – its more about logistics. If she is an hour away from our office, and we only have an hour for lunch, how do we work out the drive time and where to meet? If we meet in the middle, that’s 30 minutes to the restaurant and 30 minutes back – that shoots the whole hour without having time to even eat. Add an hour for eating and we each have to take a two hour lunch.

So as an alternate, if one of us drives the whole way, that means one person has to drive an hour each way and then we still need time to eat. That becomes a three hour lunch for one of us. That’s what we’ve done the last two times. I took the 3 hour lunch last time and drove to her side of town. We had a great lunch at Macaroni Grill.

This time she bit the bullet and took the 3 hour lunch. That’s the main reason it has been so long since we met for lunch – she has been so busy that a three hour lunch just wouldn’t fit into her work days. She picked Logan’s Steakhouse and we had a great time. I sure hope it’s not that long again before we meet again. I’ll do the driving this next time.

Tech Support for a Government Contractor

Looks like Walter‘s son, Alex, is going to get a tech support job with a Government contractor down in Huntsville, Alabama right after graduation this coming May. He was going to go back to California for the summer, but since his parents have put their house up for sale, he thought it would be better to just take the job and get started finding a place to live down in Bama.

The job involves being a network administrator and related technical support for the contractor’s computer systems and running a help desk. With Alex’s technical skills, he is a perfect match for the support side of it. But he gets a little impatient with people, so I’m not sure that the help desk part of it is a good idea. Walter mentioned how much they’ve argued over the years, but it is hard to be a dad of a teenager, and arguing seems to come naturally for teens. I venture a guess that Alex will be OK in the job and that working in a small town like Huntsville will be good for him.

Walter was telling me about a computer program that lets the IT guy or help desk guy actually hook up with the other computer that is having the problem. His son showed him how the IT guy can remote control that computer without having to be physically in the same room. This is perfect for large corporate campuses and any big company with a lot of offices spread out geographically.

Hello and Welcome to My Blog

Welcome to Chanticleer Online. I am thrilled to be online and really looking forward to writing random thoughts and observations on this blog. I see a lot of crazy things and have a lot of fun friends, so you never know what I will be writing about or what I might say. So, if you are up for a wild and crazy ride, this is the place!