Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Poker Chick wishes this new line of "couture canine fragrance products" were a Halloween prank. Sadly, it's real.

Happy Halloween

The first trick-or-treating for the mini reminded Poker Chick of her own first experience. 8 years old, she went with her mother. Remember the mother in this case is a foreigner with no concept of Halloween. It was laughable. She didn't know what houses to go to, didn't know what to say when knocking on the door, and didn't leave the driveway light on and then wondered why no kids came to their house. Poker Chick felt a bit like that trying to get her kid to say "trick or treat". It came out great before the door opened, but the mini went shy once a stranger appeared. So Poker Chick was saying the "trick or treat" and putting the candy in the pumpkin. Two floors later and we get "I want to go home, Mommy." History sure does repeat itself in bizarre ways.*

Still, Halloween does have its strong points. Candy. Mmmm, candy. Cute kids at your door. Entertaining teenagers. And the best part? Getting to add to the pet peeve list.

*A hint to the mini's costume: repeat the second half of "bizarrrrre"

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Poker Chick is thinking of joining Mensa, just for a year. What do y'all think? Waste of $50 tax-deductible bucks? Yes, she knows this is a random question.

Personalities For Sale

OK, Poker Chick reads BusinessWeek. And she's finally come to the conclusion that half the world's gone meshuggah. This article is a perfect example. People pay this woman more than a salary per year to "get" their kid into college. Not appropriately outraged? Perhaps it sounds benign to you that she would "advise" a child to give up track instead of music for the school of their dreams. The dreams they're told to have.

"Year After Year, 95-100% of Dr. Hernandez's Students Receive Acceptance Letters to their Top Choice Colleges!"

Of course they do. It's much easier to have a good rate when you tell kids what their top choice is in advance. These are middle school kids having their future personalities handed to them on silver platters. What happens when they get into the "perfect school", perhaps even graduate and realize they're ill-prepared to handle life without someone telling them what to do and how to feel about it all? What happened to the freedom to explore who you are on your own? Does nobody else have a problem with this?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Power of Facebook

DinDin left an odd message today that he had news and Poker Chick should call him soon, even if it was late. She did but must have messed up the time zone thing and got him too late anyway. Still, she did not have to spend the night in suspense! While DinDin was peacefully sleeping across the pond, yours truly logged on to Facebook and there it was, right on her homepage. "Friend Updates: Linster is proud of her hubby who graduated his masters with honors!"
Guess we know what his news was, huh? Congrats, squirt.

What halitosis man was reading while sitting next to Poker Chick on ze plane. Looks interesting.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Huh? I can't quit if I want to?

After nearly a year of no visits to the gym Poker Chick conceded defeat and admitted that if she hadn't worked out by now it just wasn't going to happen. So she grit her teeth and focused on something positive: getting that $100 a month she was throwing away back. Should be easy, her 1 year contract period was long gone.

She picked up the phone. Called several numbers. Was finally told she had to cancel in person. She went to a club near work. Was told she had to cancel at the club she signed up at. She went on a Saturday, about 5:15. She was told the manager worked 9-5 and she had just missed him; she'd have to come back another time. Poker Chick was starting to get angry, but tried to work the system. OK, when was the manager coming in? Sunday until 3 or next Saturday? Great.
Only she tried next Sunday. Just her luck: the manager had called out sick that day. Yeah, right.

So she came back the following Saturday when she knew someone would be there. Here's how the conversation went: "Hi, I'm looking for someone to help me with membership?" (Poker Chick had learned thus far that the word 'cancellation' caused bizarre explanations to begin right away.) "Sure, miss, the manager's on duty - go in the back and to your left!" "Great, thanks!" Poker Chick walks up to the man behind the counter. "Hi, I'm a member, and I was hoping you could help me resolve an issue?" "Sure, what can I do?" "I'd like to cancel." His expression changed. "Oh, I'm sorry. Only a manager can do that." "But I thought you were the manager?" "No, I don't know who told you that. The manager only works until 3 on Saturdays." It was 3:10. How f*cking convenient. Except Poker Chick had already learned the "manager" works until 5 on Saturdays.

Poker Chick decided enough was enough. They were making it physically impossible to quit, and she wasn't having any of it. She said her piece and said she wasn't leaving until someone either canceled for her or promised it would be done Monday. Finally a "manager" miraculously appeared. And it was canceled. But guess what? There's a 30-day notice cancellation period so Poker Chick would be charged for another month.

Excuse me? We've been trying to cancel this freakin' thing for over a month! I don't think so. The battle's just begun. This bony-ass chick is gonna make some noise.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Money Laundering

67 American 10 Argentinian cents. That's what Poker Chick found while enjoying a rare clean out the purses evening. She also discovered crumbs from a nutty granola bar. Context: the mini has nut allergies. So the choice was toss the money or clean it. Guess what this cheapskate did?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Welcome to Lushville

Saturday brought red wine and burgers. Monday some tequila and late-night work. Tuesday champagne and strawberries. Thursday was free beer and music night. Poker Chick thinks she will declare this week "lush week" and send virtual drinks to all her friends on Facebook. Friday brings a school parent breakfast. Poker Chick feels a sudden obligation to bring mimosas.

Pauly 2.0

Poker Chick arrived home late today. She opened the door to the mini in pajama bottoms and only the head of her top on running..."It's my mommy! My mommy's here!" We love this greeting and it never gets old. But tonight Poker Chick saw a very cute but curious new teddy bear sitting on the mini's chair in the middle of the room.* Before she could blink, the mini ran toward it "Mommy! Come see my new bear! My bear!" She grabbed and hugs the bear. "His name is Pauly!" And so we see history repeating itself in most bizarre ways. A special prize to whoever can guess who Pauly was.

*Special thanks to the Saba for not only purchasing said bear but for making sure he is allergy-friendly

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Hump Day Rant

Poker Chick wishes Emily hadn't executed her archive-mania so quickly because then you'd be able to read how she is feeling right now in words much more eloquent than her own. Still, this post will give readers a taste; it refers to an early post where she decided she's not getting involved anymore. In this case, she was nobly trying to help her sister find her cat a home while the husband endured chemotherapy. She found a home for the cat, drove five hours alone in a car with the vomitous feline, and still somehow managed to piss these ungrateful people off. Here's Poker Chick's version of the same damn story.

We start with concern over Big Boy. He had some unnerving test results, and Poker Chick happened to have a personal friend that specializes in the kind of medical advice he desperately needed. Nothing major, just the usual "do I have cancer?" (probably not) and "do I need surgery?" (probably yes) kind of stuff. The medical establishment in his country did not exactly instill confidence with their wishy-washy recommendations and "inconclusive" results. So what did Poker Chick do? That's right peeps, she tried to help.

She had him send copies of the test results. Showed them to her friend. The friend took them to his office. Reviewed (and interpreted) them with his partner. Discussed options. Discussed costs. Made a recommendation. And offered to see Big Boy. Big Boy agreed to get this second opinion but only had one day free before leaving the country to go back home. Though they were booked for weeks, her friend pulled a hail-mary: An appointment. Hospital rounds were re-arranged, the office was going to open at 7, and Big Boy would be seen by the team that books up for months in advance. All the time he needed. Laying out his options in English. Only one problem.

The appointment was for 8am, and that didn't work for Big Boy. He had a 10am appointment he was worried about missing. Could it be 3? Um, no. This isn't a freakin' McDonalds! When Poker Chick's friend had her c-section, did she say "oh gee, 7am doesn't really work for me. How's 5? Could I get the Operating Room at 5?" No, she di'int. That would be absurd. But that's exactly what was happening here.

Poker Chick persevered, suppressed her immediate urge to scold, wanting to do the right thing. She offered a solution: she would order a car. Order it herself, give them directions. She was willing to pay for it if that was the issue. All Big Boy would have to do is get into the car at 7am and they'd take him there, he'd see the doctor, and they'd take him directly from there to his appointment. Great, right?

Yeah, right. He didn't want to wake up that early. Couldn't wake up that early. See, at his age, he needs his sleep. Too bad her friend couldn't sleep in either now that he had to go into the office at 7am anyway, but it's cool. Poker Chick is sure he doesn't need sleep and his wife and two small kids with ear infections didn't need his help at home anyway. Poker Chick was annoyed but prepared to call her friend with her tail between her legs.

OK, we get it. He's ungrateful. But no, it gets better!

Big Boy yelled at her. No, screamed. Five minutes of justification why he can't do it and she should have known and can't she change it and she doesn't understand blah blah blah. He couldn't believe she did it for 8am, doesn't she know how important his later appointment is? How could she expect him to do that? She sighed and curtly said goodnight which was of course somehow offensive to him as well.

Yes, we know we can't believe it either. Silly Poker Chick. Don't you know better than to get involved?

Friday, October 12, 2007

How to Break Poker Chick's Heart

So while the mini seems to enjoy school (sort of) the separation process is not going as easily as Poker Chick had hoped. Today we finally acknowledged that she was only torturing her child by being there through the day when she is normally at work. So she left in the hopes that the screaming tantrums, leg biting and hair pulling would eventually subside. Cut to the evening. PC tries to ask about school.

"What did you have for snack?" "Nothing". Her eyes are serious and her expression intense.
"Challah?" "No". "Graham crackers?" "No. I didn't eat anything."
"What songs did you sing today?" "No songs."

"Did you read a story?" "No."

"I saw you sitting with your teacher, what did you do?" "I wasn't with my teacher."

Exasperated, PC pulled out the only weapon she had left:
"Did you go to the playground today?" "Yes." Aha! Success! Let's go with it!
"What did you do on the playground?" "Nothing." Uh oh.
"Why not?" "Because...because...I wanted you." And then she stares me down for a full minute to see how I react. I'm speechless. Finally she smiles and screams "But now you're home and I so happy and I'm going to give you a BIG hug!" and throws herself on top of me.

Yikes, and ouch. When did this kid learn to articulate feelings? And is she doomed for a lifetime of therapy before even making it out of toddlerhood? If somebody could help talk Poker Chick off a ledge, that'd be cool.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


One of the joys of growing up with immigrant parents is laughing at words they are often unable to pronounce words correctly in languages that are not their native tongue. Poker Chick never quite considered that this mis-prononciation might also have affected her own. Until now. Thanks to J and Miss Feena, she made a shocking discovery. Here's the story:

Poker Chick's father likes to sing. Not professionally, he's not even that good, but he used to go around the house singing silly old songs during her childhood. Most of these were forgotten, but now he is singing these songs to the mini. During last week's visit, he taught her a favorite. "Tumbelina, Tumbelina, tiny little thing. Tumbelina dance. Tumbelina sing." (yes, Big Boy's a Danny Kaye fan). Poker Chick got nostalgic and smiled; she'd known this song all her life and now the mini was shouting it with gusto and giggles.

Imagine the embarrassment when she shared what was supposed to be a cute story with her friends and discovered it's supposed to be "Thumbelina". Gasp! She'd been living a lie her whole life. (On a side note, she did some digging into the origins of this song and actually found an explanation for her father's lifelong obsession with the name "Cornelius").

Now, here's the best part: when she told this to Big Boy he began to try and sing it correctly: "Sumbelina, Sumbelina, tiny little thing...."

Sigh. Silly foreigners.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

OK, so it's already on the semi-perma-list on the right, but we're creating a unique post for this because anyone with $50 and an iota of a sense of humor has to see this show.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Why Poker Chick Will Never Rule The Universe

This long entry is still a work in progress, so stay tuned for revisions. The important thing to note is that everything written here is true - and (sadly) not even in the least bit exaggerated or embellished.

Poker Chick has booked a train home from a business trip in Boston. She smiles inside at the brilliant decision she has made not to fly. No security. No hideous threats to toss her Chanel eye glosses. No smelly feet to endure. And she can work, rest or eat the whole time. Everyone should train instead of fly! She smiles as her colleagues head off to deal with an airport on a Friday afternoon. They are clearly not as experienced travelers as she.
Shit. Cab driver showed a half hour late and is stuck in traffic. It shouldn't be this close.
Phew. Made it to the train station. Giant train schedule hanging from the ceiling is showing the 6:45 train on time. Poker Chick relaxes and grabs a book and some hot cocoa.
Poker Chick hears "delays" on the loudspeaker and the schedule is still not showing a track for the 6:45. Must be just a little late. She calmly sips her drink and waits.
Poker Chick realizes that the giant "T" on the sign is not the logo for Amtrak. She looks around and sees what must be the Amtrak board covered with a big banner on it that reads "Acela". That is not helpful. She panics when she puts it all together and realizes what must have happened. Still, this is Poker Chick, she tells herself. Superheroine. She must be calm in a crisis. She must think. So think she does. Behind the "Acela" banner is a yellow light flashing for track #7. OK, so we can't see what train it's for, but if it's boarding now, chances are it's her train. She runs. Cocoa spills all over her right arm (and white sleeve) but at this point she doesn't care. She sees people running and then sees the train and giddily tosses her cup in the trash. "Is it the 6:45"? she hears someone ask. "Yes", they reply. Sweet. Poker Chick is still brilliant after all. She makes it to the rear car and sees a big giant "T" on the train. Uh-oh. Well it was a 6:45 train. Just not hers. Still, she had hope. She coolly asked the conductor just to make sure, and surely enough her train was late too and on the next track!
She gets a few yards within her train, close enough to see it pull out. ARGHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Poker Chick continues to try and remain calm. Her cab driver had given her a verbal tour of Boston's trains, so she knew there were two more local stops before the train went south at full speed ahead. She ran to get a cab to try and outrun it.
She's still waiting for a cab and suddenly thinks this is not such a good idea.
Cab shows up. Score! But once inside she learns the driver doesn't know how to get to the other two stops. He's new. She gets out and looks at her watch. This plan has clearly failed.
She turns back to the train station and is finally able to stop running. She walks dejectedly to the Amtrak information booth. They tell her that the board had been out of service for a week!!! Of course. Duh. That's what that "Acela" sign must have meant. So turned out that lots of people missed the train, and that the next one was at 9:30. Nine-fucking-thirty!!!! She won't get home until forever. This sucks. Still, they tell her, she'll get home. All she has to do is wait on this long line right here and switch her ticket.
She gets in line as she's told. Online she hears other tales of woe: there was a fire on one of the subway lines, causing many to miss this particular train (mostly college students on their way home for the holiday). Also, a few were just plain stupid like her. In her defense, it was nearly impossible to decipher what they were saying on the loudspeakers. Really. You had to be there.
She finally gets to the front counter only to learn the 9:30 train is sold out and no one on this line is getting on. She can come back tomorrow morning. Also, since this was a travel agency ticket, they cannot refund her money. Let's scream, all together now: WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
She wipes her tears that came on suddenly, stops yelling and lets the two panic minutes go while she tries to calm down. She's Poker Chick, she tells herself again. She can do this. Don't give up and go to the hotel. She's got to get home to the mini. She rallies a few students and recent grads in line (no "adult" missed that train) and thinks of alternatives. Drive? The others are not yet 25, but Poker Chick is. Still, 5 hours or more in holiday weekend traffic? They decide they're all too tired to take the risk, even if they would take turns.
Epiphany. The bus stop!!! A couple minutes away!!! Poker Chick leads the charge of five, all ignoring the weight of the bags they've been carrying on their shoulders while running over the past hour.
The bus station. A crowded zoo is a wide open space compared to what this looked like. She'd never seen such a line for tickets. Two people give up and head back to their dorm rooms. Poker Chick is committed. She is not a loser. She will get home.
Do they wain in the line for a person or ticket machine? They split up for the best odds.
Three have come out successfully with tickets. They run off together to the line for the 8pm express bus to NY. Peter Pan or Fung Wah bus lines?? Please. Poker Chick hopes she doesn't have to tell you what that decision was.
They stop, out of breath, at the end of the longest bus line any of them had ever seen. Excellent people watching, but all were too upset at the moment to care. Poker Chick leaves the other two gentlemen in charge of "stuff" while she does some line recon up front.
The situation is more dire than she feared. Not only is the line as long as they suspected, it's one of those amusement park-style lines, where it wraps back and forth several time. Oh shit. They're totally fucked.
One guy gives up and goes home. Poker Chick and her new traveling companion, Orlando, decide they will not have gone through all of this for nothing. Dammit!
The line begins to move. The 8pm bus is here. And goes. Sigh.
Another bus! The bus company decided to add another route given the volume. Still, Poker Chick and Orlando are two buses away or more on line when it leaves. And the next bus is not until 10:30. Crap.
A miracle! They added another bus! The duo are overjoyed as they board, realizing the irony of their joy at boarding a rather disgusting bus late at night for a long long ride ahead. They wonder aloud whether it would be worth it to detour to Foxwoods.
Next day: 2:00am
One bad movie, one smoke break, and one fabulous dinner later (McDonald's fries and a snickers bar; hey, when in Rome....) and they finally arrive at Port Authority. Poker Chick is wondering how in the hell she was able to hold her pee for that long and whether she's just tired or is actually hallucinating. She thanks her traveling fellow for the company and somehow makes it home.

Poker Chick is thinking that perhaps she is not that brilliant after all.