Monday, March 31, 2008

PR Idea of the Week

I really have to congratulate the Texas woman who took on the TSA about her nipple piercings.

Obviously, the woman is not too bright; she put holes there. But someone who advises her is a PR genius.

Have you seen the Associated Press photo she got from her press conference? I think most of us get the basic concept of a piercing--no matter where it is. But take a dress form, a tan bra, two pieces of boob jewelry and a pair of rusty pliers--and you've got CNN gold, baby!

I've got to give props to the TSA. They have PR people too, who every day sit in some central office, hoping and praying one of the hourly workers doesn't do something stupid that will ruin their dinner plans. Apparently, while not admitting wrongdoing (those lawyers are the bane of our existence), the TSA is now changing its policy. And they have a very cool blog that anyone who represents an organization that is generally reviled should definitely read.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Happy Poop Day!

Is there anything I can blog here that will be funnier than just pointing out that the sign below is real? And that it reads "POOP DAY! 9-3 PM JUNE 5." Wow, POOP DAY! comes earlier and earlier each year, doesn't it.

Lots of blogs can tell you about corporate life. Lots of blogs can cleverly describe the ins and outs of motherhood, blended families, community involvement... BUT where else can you become informed of rural fecal matter celebrations? Where else?

If you want to just chuckle to yourself the rest of the day about POOP DAY! and then vow never to attend a festival in this town. Stop here.

If you want to know the real agricultural purpose of POOP DAY! and hear how my very own husband gets a personal invitation to participate, then read on.

POOP DAY! is actually a very clever marketing event put on by the makers of Kent Feeds. Local farmers are invited to gather up a sample of, well, poop. NOT FROM THERE,YOU IDIOT! The sample is supposed to come from the animals on the farm. The good people at Kent, then send them off to the lab to be analyzed for worms.

Yes, just when you thought this couldn't get any yuckier than farmers gathering up shit in a jar, driving it to the local feed store, and holding some sort of event. It turns out that the true purpose of POOP DAY! is to determine if your pigs, cows, sheep, or horses are crapping intestinal worms.

And now you will never read this blog on your lunch hour again. Happy POOP DAY! everyone.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia

Very soon I am going to become part of a blended family.

In a few months, my mother and a very nice man she's known for years will pay a short visit to our church, sign some papers and then head back to her house for a catered dinner and entertainment by an Elvis impersonator. And just like that, we'll be a "family."

We're all grown, so the day-to-day development of this new relationship will be theirs alone. He has two sons and she has two daughters. Fortunately, we will not all be sharing a bathroom, nor will we be starting a band. Also, this leaves out my island-dwelling brother--who lives in paradise and doesn't get any breaks from me.

I have a dear friend who assiduously mentions that her daughter's destination wedding took place in a real Catholic church. Similarly, when speaking of my mother, I have to mention that she and her betrothed are both available due to the second reason a marriage ends (divorce being the first).

Occasionally, I let myself wander into self-pity. This isn't the way things were supposed to end up. It never entered the realm of the possible that I'd ever have a step-father, let alone two step-brothers and a step-sister-in-law (?)

But then I think of all the little girls who never knew their father, or who spent their youth learning to live with a strange man during the week and a strange woman on the weekends. And I feel blessed.

This weekend will mark the first official holiday gathering of this pending family. Maybe we'll all become pals, but for now, we'll at least be polite passers of ham, a footnote to one another's family trees.

And, hey, if we all decide to visit Kings Island, at least it will be a short drive.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Go! Section

Our newspaper publishes a special tabloid-style section every Friday called "Go!" It's a great place to find out when a cool local band is playing and what new clubs are opening downtown.

I'm ten years of marriage and three kids waaaaaay past needing that information.

However, I have my own Go! section. It arrives in my son's schoolbag every month on a pastel paper and is a great place to find out when a cool local PTA carnival is happening and what new skating parties are planned.

I guess there's a Go! section for every age. Our parents, for example, years past their clubbing and school skating party days, have found a different section of the local newspaper to serve as their Go! section.

Looking for something to do on a Tuesday night from 4-6? Our parents' Go! section has a recommended gathering--complete with a pretty good list of people who will be there. Need an activity to fill a Sunday afternoon, a place to get reacquainted with long-lost school mates, and possibly their children? Want to get together with all your cousins? Their Go! section has a daily list of great options for socializing and places to "be seen" where people they know and people their age will be sure to be in attendance.

Our parents follow these pages religiously (pun intended), re-arranging schedules to attend select events. They even call to see if we heard the news about how they are holding an event in honor of dear old Dolly, you know she was Grandma's neighbor, Wednesday from 6-8.

And as much as we liked the guy who used to cut Dad's hair, we do not need to attend his event either. We don't care if "senior Go!" says his niece, our favorite preschool teacher, will be there.

I guess every age has its social priorities. You could say that honoring people who have affected your life is more valuable than an evening at the club, more productive than t-ball practice. In fact, one of the most interesting features of our parents' Go! section is that eventually we all get to host a personal event on the pages.


Let's hope it's a long time from now.


Monday, March 17, 2008

FAQ

Now that there are potentially tens of people reading this blog, I thought I would answer some frequently asked questions (FAQ) about how I came to straddle two worlds.

You can be the friendly suburban-dwelling co-worker (FSDC) and I will be, well me.

Farm people never ask me questions. They all assume I'm a teacher, because they know I'm not compassionate enough to be a nurse--and what other job would a woman have?


I have had this EXACT conversation dozens of times:

Me: ...and I won't be able to attend the TPS meeting next week because I'll be on vacation. We're headed to the Indiana State Fair.

Friendly Suburban-Dwelling Co-worker (FSDC): Wow, that's interesting. [huh?]

Me: Didn't I tell you before? We live on a farm.

FSDC: A real farm? What do you farm?

Me: We have pigs and dairy cows and the odd sheep. My husband is a farmer.

FSDC: A real farmer?? [picturing a man in overalls, missing teeth]

Me: Yes, he's a professional farmer. He has a college degree. [I always try to work that in. It never fails that when co-workers meet my husband in person, they say, "he doesn't look like a farmer." As if they expected him to come to the event barefoot and wearing a straw hat.]

FSDC: How did you meet a farmer?

Me: I met him at the county fair, where else?

FSDC: Did you grow up on a farm? [Weren't there fraternities at her college? She had to pick up a guy at the county fair?]

Me: Well, I grew up in the country on more of a "hobby farm." I was in 4-H and had some pigs. We grew up in the same town. [It was well known that I had a crush on my way-in-the future husband from a young age, so every year when we went to buy our pigs from his family, my Dad would yell "put on your prom dress, we're going to the farm."]

FSDC: Where is there a farm around here? How long is your commute?

Me: I live 15 miles from here.

FSDC: Really?? What's the name of the town?

Me: Where else would a farmer live? Farmersville.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

So Much Harder Than Writing a Check

Tomorrow I have to be compassionate.

It sounded like a good idea at the time, using my computer skills to help people in our community apply for government aid programs. There was training at a remarkable facility on the wrong side of town, and it was fun--more computer stuff.

But now I have to be compassionate. In person. I will sit right next to someone who has gotten themselves in such a mess that they are feeding their family from a food pantry and help them untangle the web of their life for government consumption.

I will listen to their tales of woe, interspersed with sorting out child support payments, and the amount they owe on the clunker that brought them to me.

I will struggle not to judge them for reeking of cigarattes and making poor "life decisions." Some will arrive ready to get whatever they are DUE from their benevelont Uncle Sam. Others will be stunned to find that their temporary set-back has made them into one of those people who get government assistance.


Tonight I can come home from my cushy corporate job and rest securely in my warm home with my healthy family. Tomorrow I have to be compassionate.

Monday, March 10, 2008

PR Idea of the Week

Part of the crazy life I am sharing here are my experiences in corporate America as a public relations person (or flack, to be self-deprecating). Because I enjoy having health insurance and feeding my kids, I think it best not to do anything to get myself dooced.

So today I present the first of an ongoing series titled, "PR Idea of the Week." This first distinguished honor goes to the Oregon Urology Institute.

Up until today, being the PR person for the Oregon Urology Institute could not have been a glamorous position, mostly discussions of bladders, urethra's, perhaps. Let's imagine for a moment what must have happened behind the scenes:

Vice President: Let's promote our solutions in the male sterilization vertical
Marketing guy: That booth we had at the gun & knife show didn't work out so well, so we'll need a new idea. Maybe something with less interaction--radio!
Non-glamorous PR person: [speaking under his breath] I really wish I could do PR for something more interesting like the NCAA. I need to get away from this place. What's a medical excuse I can use to stay home for a couple of days?

Whenever I think I have a tough job. I'm going to remember the intrepid people of the Oregon Urology Institute who took a cringe-worthy procedure, tied it to a seasonal event and made big news.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

A Few Moments of Silence for the Frigidaire

My husband thinks that the sole purpose of this blog is to make fun of him. I assured him that I also intend to spend a great deal of time mocking our parents.

Today was supposed to mark the passing of the in-law's 50-year-old Frigidaire. After years of just refusing to die (I helpfully offered to initiate a mercy killing of the Frigidaire while they were out of town), they finally broke down and did the unthinkable--they replaced a "perfectly good" appliance.

They went to see our buddy Jack at Schenck Furniture (Save your jokes. My great-grandmother was a Schenck.) and ordered a beautiful new fridge with the freezer on the bottom and double doors.

But, alas, the blizzard has kept the old Frigidaire in service. And my mother-in-law gets one more week to mourn the passing of an old friend. They have been together a long time. The Frigidaire was a hand-me-down when they were first married 40+ years ago.

The Frigidaire has chilled the fixings for many a Thanksgiving dinner. It has served as the repository for long-forgotten brands of beer. It has absorbed the odors of a plethora of bad leftovers. It's mottled metal surface continues to serve as an ad hoc photo album, children's art gallery, and archive of church softball schedules past.

Frigidaire, I can only hope to have an appliance that serves as faithfully as you did. An appliance so loved that my sons' wives will be bribing the delivery man to ensure I don't stash it in the garage. Thanks for the memories.


Saturday, March 8, 2008

Snowed In

Forget the Blizzard of '78. This is the Blizzard of 2008. I can just see my kids someday talking to their kids...

"Back in oh-eight we had a storm so bad they didn't deliver the newspaper for two days."
"Daddy, what's a newspaper?"

Anyway, they finally got enough cabin fever to venture outside. The tiny little thing on the left is our Morgan.

Don't Read This Blog

Please don't read this blog...

...if you have pulled enough straw from your dryer vent to bed down baby Jesus and the entire nativity

...if you have ever been to a pig auction on a date

...if you have relatives who go to funerals for fun and socializing

...if you ever sat in a corporate conference room and uttered this punchline, "you wouldn't miss your babies either if you had twelve little mouths chomping on your tits."

...if you subscribe to both the Wall Street Journal and Ohio's Country Journal
If none of this sounds familiar, then feel free to read on. I'll be sharing my crazy life as a farm wife, mother, and corporate flack. Enjoy!

7 Things You Can Get Away With if You are an Experienced Writer

Before we get to the marketing stuff, here is your pig farming moment of zen: Their pen may have been escapable, but their cuteness is not. ...