American Priorities

This is one of those posts that is going to piss you off and make you feel bad. It's going to make you feel bad because it is just another reminder that our priorities as American citizens are screwed up.

The Sunday night FIFA World Cup series drew 24.7 million American television sets for the US vs Portugal game. Well I suppose all that butt clenching, edge of your Lazy Boy game viewing makes it seem like Americans care about world events. Hey, at least we know who is on the Iranian team, eh?

In stark contrast only 53.6 of voting age population came out to vote in the 2012 election. That's dismal, and what  does that say about American priorities?

Meanwhile, American citizens are being held by other countries, and your weak as water president Barack Hussein Obama would rather play golf. Yes, you too can watch that POS Obama's Golf count go up as well by clicking the link. We know all too well this president and his administration have lacked luster, to put it mildly.

Do you know who Pastor Saeed Abedini is? He's been locked up, beaten and tortured in an Iranian prison for two years for his Christian faith. Oh sure, Obama has mentioned him a couple times but the US has done nothing to get him back.

Do you know who Meriam Ibrahim is? She is an American woman who was arrested and sentenced to death in Sudan with her 21  month old son. She also gave birth 5 weeks ago while in prison waiting for her ordered public flogging of 100 lashes for being married to a Christian man, as well as her death by hanging in 2 years so she may nurse her baby.  Generous. She was released two days ago but subsequently arrested again. Why our government does relatively nothing is a mystery.

Do you know who Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi is?  He is a US Marine Corps veteran being held in Mexico for mistakenly crossing the border with registered guns. He has been held and beaten for two months now while again, the US does relatively nothing.

By now all of you have heard how the US did not come to the aid of our US Ambassador in Behghazi two years ago. Those nearby who might have saved the 4 men who died in that well planned and orchestrated terrorist attack were told to stand down. There is no excuse great enough but Hillary Clinton said, "What difference does it make?" when queried what set off the events as she touted the atrocity as a response to a video instead of a terrorist attack.  I mean, who could go against Obama while on his campaign trail stating the terrorists were on the run when in  fact they were attacking our US Embassy in Benghazi?

Americans need to know their government will come to their aid, no matter the cause. The repetition of zero action by this administration is astounding.

I read the petitions to help free these individuals floating around. So a million people sign them, what with those 24.7 million who can turn on a TV then? Why haven't they signed the petition?  Are they so interested in their precious sports that they don't give a crap about US interests or citizens? Clearly.

My, we do have our priorities don't we?

Hillary Clinton - Slick Marketing Plan

I find it disingenuous of Hillary Clinton to state she is not one of those types of rich folk. She has been hitting the circuit pushing her book, which in the first week sold tens of thousands less than Sarah Palin's book, and trying to persuade the American public that she is somehow one of us.  Yes, she went there. She stated she had to struggle paying mortgages and putting her daughter through college. Struggle.  Right.

This woman is so out of touch with reality, she arrogantly thinks you and I will believe she is one of us. Was she one of us while she screeched, "What difference does it make?" when queried about the motive behind deaths of 4 Americans in Benghazi? The Democrats have been touting a policy that Americans are safer under them and that they have the terrorists on the loose.  Yet they don't because Benghazi was a terrorist attack, and now we have more activity in Iraq after our allegedly peace loving president pulled out too early.  I know, I know, that's what she said (twss).

The fact is, when Hillary Clinton opens her mouth, everyone needs to question the motive behind it.  There is always a motive or shout out to some particular group or other; Hillary is the consummate marketer.

Hillary has three things going against her bid for the presidency:

She is disingenuous
The pretense she is one of us is a falsehood
She did the bidding for a Benghazi cover up

Oh make that four - she is a liar.

When the eight year stranglehold that Barack Obama has over this country's throat is finally over, do we really want more of the same delusional failing policies? I don't think so.

I hope people wake up and see the real woman that is a Hillary slick marketing plan.

Lady Bits

As I age, I've been blessed with this nifty thing called osteoarthritis.  Having limited mobility in my joints makes tending to girly duties considerably more difficult. As you might imagine, bending, twisting, and contorting my body to reach those nether regions has become more difficult. I've had to become quite inventive with my razoring techniques.

What used to be a 20 minute stint painting my toenails has become an hour-long event that should have been put in the Olympics by now. Not only do I have to turn every light on in the room, but I must wear reading glasses just to see what the hell I'm painting. Last time I did my own pedi without glasses on it looked as if they were painted by a 2 year old.

Feet are not the only thing difficult to reach. And I speak for many women my age when I say this, for the love of God and everything that is good in the world isn't it time for that monthly visitor to finally say a hearty farewell?  I can see why bidets are so popular. Who knew an increase in skin folds coupled with gravity could be so, well, so pesky?  The problems don't stop there, they keep going all the way to the top.

I used to wonder why every so often one might come across a blouse on the rack that had makeup all over it. I used to think women were just plain pigs, but I can see in my mind's eye how it might happen now.  Dressing rooms. Just thinking about them brings on a cold sweat.  I have had to learn how to remain calm as I stand stuck with head and shoulders in blouses or dresses. It takes a few seconds of wiggle time to shimmy things up and over now with the limited mobility in my shoulders.  I still shudder when I recall the first time I got 'stuck'.

Don't even get me started on those damned mirrors.  They stopped putting in 3-way mirrors so trying to see what you look like from behind is a virtual impossibility. I get chills up my spine just conjuring the image. Probably like one of those little old ladies who has what appears to be a serious case of bed head as the spot around the colic is swirled to and fro making her look relatively bald there.

Even clothing must be carefully planned. If I'm too hot I get sweaty and clothes and sticky sweat are a recipe for showing off all the fat rolls you are trying to hide.  If I get too cold, I develop a lovely limp and grunt every time I move.  So feminine.

To sweater or not to sweater, that is the question, but not the only one.  Other clothing choices must be carefully planned. Thankfully I don't wear dresses very often. I was reminded recently why I do not. I watched two women my age get up and, well, how so I say this nicely?  Their dresses were caught up in their cracks. Horrors. It was almost as bad as walking out of the restroom with your dress tucked into your pantyhose back in the day. Nowadays, thongs are like dental floss so one's dress comes back down pretty much with one female fanny swing to the left or to the right.

Winter has become a real challenge. If I get cold while sitting or sleeping, you could mistake me for Charlie Chaplin as I take my first several steps. Some days penguin might be a more apt description. Oh and stooping to pick up all the crap that I drop is thoroughly annoying now that my hands are nice and weak because these meet hooks for hands barely work right anymore. I swear they have a mind of their own.  Thank God for opposable thumbs.

Yes I am painfully aware that I am aging, and I age probably as gracefully as is possible for me. I still twist and contort as I tend to those lady bits.  I still paint my toenails, and wear high heels. I still dress up and love my girly jewelry and accessories. I just make sure that before I hit the door, I take a quick look in the mirrors to fix the bald spot and pull the skirt out of my crack.

Tax Smack

It certainly shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone in Wylie because I've been saying this for years now, but Wylie has the highest tax rate in Collin County.  But did you know that it is also higher than any city in Dallas County as well?

Finally the Wylie News is actually living up to the 'news' portion of its name and reporting news everyone needs to know. In this week's paper, the article It's all in the numbers points out that our city is raping us plain and simple.  OK those are my words, but the fact remains.

The tax rate, after a couple pittance size tax rate decreases the city handed to us the past two years took us from .899 to .88. Gee, how generous.

At .88 the next lowest in Collin and Dallas Counties is .797 and that's the portion of Dallas that is in Collin County. Still, the difference is really staggering when Chad Engbrock tossed in the fact that Plano's 2013 rate was only .4866. Now I get it, we aren't the size of Plano, but at the ridiculous rate of .88 we had better have every freaking amenity Plano has.  But we don't. No Amphitheater. No public pools. No gorgeous hiking and biking trails. Nie.

You must be wondering just how we got here? Through the taxing smack down by our City Councils through the years. We needed infrastructure. We needed fire stations. We needed an upgraded police station. We needed a fancy city hall that nobody can decide is beautiful or downright ocular abuse. We needed parks updated. We needed summer concerts. We needed all manner of things to make us more attractive, and the spending spree went on as our property values began increasing.  Then 2008 sucker punched us right in the gut.

Home values began decreasing and the City scrambled to pay for all these fancy new things they said we needed.  As the decline continued, they said we needed new quints, and police vehicles, and I was left wondering why the hell we did not have the replacement of such depreciable items already in our budget?

The fix consisted of cutting the summer concert series and department budgets by teensy measures compared to the downward spiral the country was in. They put employee pay on hold for 3 years, then as revenue began to ramp up with all the new discount shopping stores, they claimed they wanted to take money from our rainy day fund to give employees raises.

To do so they planned to raid the rainy day fund and that is when I went ballistic. The spending spree during difficult economic times was beyond ridiculous. I understand wanting to give a raise to employees, but they were going to take rainy day funds for this, that is until they found out they should keep a fund of at least 25% of total revenue. So instead they raided the contingency fund for the pay increase, which they desperately tried to call a one time lump sum payment.

Looking back, it wasn't a one time anything because they hit the budget again the following year for even more pay increases and have done so every year since.  It remains to be seen what they plan to do with increases this year as we just  now get into budget season.

We got our new quints and PD vehicles, and the tax revenue has continued to roll in at increasing numbers and the taxpayers footing the bill? We got a lousy 1 and a half cent decrease in our taxe rate over the last two years.  Whoopee.

As the City continues to take in considerably more in tax revenue each year, their budget is woefully slight in their estimations of that revenue, so what are they doing with all that extra dough when it rolls in each year? It gets spent. Meanwhile the taxpayers are the ones getting screwed every year, and it doesn't even remotely feel good.

 It is high time this spending spree stops and the taxpayers are given a decent tax decrease. None of this half cent and 1 cent nonsense. It's highly embarrassing to have friends drive to Wylie from other towns and cities and tell them we are the highest taxed city in Collin and Dallas counties. They laugh.

We don't need that reputation any longer. We cannot look forward to massive growth unless property currently owned starts getting sold to developers, because there isn't much in the way of land left to develop. As I see it, this is it. Our best hope is some more retail and industrial development and continuing increase in home values which will continue to bring in a steady increase in tax revenue. It's time to transfer the tax burden from the homeowners to the businesses. Give us back our money!

I suggest citizens get involved in this year's budget meetings. July 29th is the next work session with public  hearings on August 26th and September 2nd. If your city council does not hear from you, they will assume you are completely content with being the highest taxed homeowner in all of Collin and Dallas counties. Definitely not an honor.

Pounds of Flesh

For those of us following the IRS abuse scandal, we know that the abuse orders came from the highest possible level - Barack Obama's office and was supported by DC Democrats. Savvy investigators have been submitting open records requests and discovered the President's story that these abuses were thunk up by a rogue Cincinnati office is a lie.  Go figure.  They have proof the order of abuse came from the Washington DC office rather than Cincinnati as our president repeatedly regurgitated to the media cameras, all while trying to look awfully purdy at his teleprompter.

As we continue to dig into this controversy, a seemingly baffled White House suddenly announced that two years of Lois Lerner's emails are gone.  Poof! I would venture to guess the missing emails more than likely implicate Obama and his Democrat pals for these abuses. Convenient. 

During the beginning of IRS demoralization of those who dared speak out against him, I can imagine a downright giddy Obama scheming to cause great hardship to the country's conservative groups. What a better way to shut up the growing Tea Party dissatisfaction and dissent, than to get the IRS to begin doing his dirty work right after he took office.  Conservative groups were targeted en masse being in 2009 and continued on until the news broke last year.

Since the Nixon days, it might have been unimaginable that any president would be such a fartwad as to order the brutalization of detractors by siccing the IRS on them. Also unimaginable for him to order the holdup of their nonprofit applications while he entered re-election season so as to force their attention elsewhere. And unimaginable to order spying on all American citizens as well as heads of other countries in every possible invasive and violating way.  But now after all of these controversies, which have clearly been touched by Obama's dirty hand, have been uncovered and brought to light, it is not so unimaginable. I used to think the man was a misguided socialist.  Now I believe he is downright Bellevue Hospital insane and his wife is batshit crazy.

As the story continues to unfold, we find that Ms. Lerner's emails are suddenly and rather conveniently gone. Evidently her email did not seem to be working for a period of oh, say quite some time while she supposedly reported her computer crashed and nothing was done to get the emails from say, backup files. No sense of urgency during this alleged timeframe. Don't you think the head of the IRS is kind of going to need access to her email?  Or while she claims to have no access, did they pound out memos on flint stone and send smoke signals? More than likely, the IRS discovered Ms. Lerner had a problem and they are now capitalizing on it by destroying evidence. And we are expected to believe this maniacal idioticism the Obama administration is attempting to spoon feed us.

Gee, let me guess, the same IT company that designed the Obamacare website also provided IT services from 2009-2011 for the IRS. I mean, they couldn't get their shit together though we paid them a handsome $174 Million for the website

I personally know at least 3 people fully capable of locating those allegedly lost Lois Lerner emails. Sorry folks, but it just isn't that hard. The Obama administration needs to stop behaving like three year olds who think nobody is looking while they swipe that finger of frosting and the people need to wake up and force them to answer our questions. It is time to vote Democrats out of office for supporting this kabuki nonsense. We can do better than this.

 I'm thinking right about now that anyone still supportive of the Obama administration and their unending litany of lies is an all out numbnuts. What imbecile could possibly support such a liar? I have more ethical and sincere skin tags than that useless blob of flesh named Barack Obama.

Happy Father's Day

This photo was taken last weekend at my son's graduation party. It is 3 generations of Engstrom dudes joined together for the happy occasion. 

I am reminded of how they got here, though the road was not always easy.  My father-in-law was not really the best father one might imagine for their sons when they were young. I know that sounds terrible but he would probably agree if you asked him.

When my husband was two, his father hopped on a motorcycle and left his family. After the gasps settle down, just remember there are two sides to every story. His young bride, my mother-in-law could not be placated.  He didn't work hard enough, he didn't make enough money, I'm sure there were a litany of 'not enoughs' and he finally had enough, so he left.

He kept in touch with his children through the years, but he was terribly unreliable. There are stories of that stereotypical son waiting all day with excitement that slowly turned to sadness, all while sitting on the old brownstone front stoop waiting for a father who never showed. Yes, my father-in-law was that stereotypical father.

He held odd jobs, never really being gainfully employed as you and I might expect. He did not contribute much financially to their rearing, rather he has spent his life living off the kindness of friends and family. Even today, we foot the bill to get him and his significant other here to Texas for this visit. But I don't begrudge him that. Never.

Oh there have been good times too, trips they took, things he taught his kids, interesting dining stories of him walking into ethnic restaurant kitchens and asking the cooks to make him what they actually eat, not what they were passing off as ethnic food to Americans.

There was the time when he hooked up with friends who had a band in Upstate New York that used to play the Grassroots Festival every year.  They were booked to play SXSW in Austin and he offered to be their bus driver in order to visit us on the cheap.  He drove a bus full of pot-smoking hippies all the way from Ithaca to Plano in a bus that could only make right turns.  I'm sure they did it with a lot of laughs, especially what with the cloud of Cheech and Chongish smoke that billowed out of the bus when they arrived at our curb and the doors opened to let him out. That was the problem though.  He just like to have a good time and march to the beat of his own drum.

Though I love him dearly, I have lived with the struggles of his son who desperately never wanted to be like his father. My husband is a workaholic. He has a burning drive to succeed no matter what the odds are because he never wanted his sons to be left sitting on the stoop waiting for him while their mother worked two jobs to put very meager food on the table.

The stories are entertaining now with so many years removed, And I see a new and improved father-in-law since those days of him flitting here and there, borrowing his oldest son's car for 6 months without his approval. Oh sure he is still a pistol at age 70 something, but he is learning to be a father now in his old age, that he never was.  For that I am grateful.

On this Father's Day the whole family will gather once again, while he is still here visiting, to celebrate the differences and similarities that tie us together.

TXDOT Strangled Lanes

It's bad enough that TX DOT has been holding lanes of traffic hostage in that moronic plan called HOV or High Occupancy Vehicle lanes but now we go from bad to worse because they are continuing to hold them hostage only now you get to pay to use them.

There is nothing quite like taking once free lanes on the freeways in Dallas and turning them into toll roads while claiming they will help ease burdensome traffic all over DFW.  Oh sure it sounds altruistic enough, "Gee the HOV lanes were totally underutilized", ya think? So they will continue to hold the lanes hostage by making them paid lanes for those who wish to fork out even more money to get to work.

Hows about they just make the lanes free again?  Imagine just how much they would ease the traffic burden.  Rather, they would like to manage that cash right out of your wallet by making a buck or two out of your hard earned paycheck each time you use the lanes.

Why people put up with this abuse is a true curiosity. To be honest, it's a bit segregating, isn't it? Those who can afford to drive in the lanes will and the have-nots will have to sit in traffic. Oh boy. However I suspect that is merely an unintended byproduct of the plan.  These new toll lanes will be found on 635 and 75 on this side of town. Ultimately all of your lanes will continue to join the ranks of the toll and soon, I predict there will be nary a free-way in North Texas.  Wait and see.

You Had One Job

I proudly attended my youngest son's high school graduation ceremony on Saturday evening. Words cannot express just how proud I am of my son and all his achievements.  Words also cannot express how grateful I am to the teachers and administration for helping make my son better than I possibly could have on my own.  In concert, we turned out a pretty awesome kid.

As with every graduation I have ever attended, I arrived with the expectation of reverent and inspirational speeches, and we were granted that from the principal, the president of the student body and some of the others that spoke briefly. Then, well, then, we had the massive disappointment of sitting through the speeches of the salutatorian and the valedictorian.

You know, you had one job.  Your hard work and achievements were rewarded by allowing you to take the stage, and possess the microphone along with the possibility of garnering great respect and admiration of a captive audience.  Rather, you sounded like total dumbasses. Pretty stupid for some really smart young men.

Sadly, in the case of the valedictorian, I felt he dishonored his religion by needless self deprecation. I understand adding some humor and humility to the speech, but this speech was just plain awkward. With the us vs. them comments that reference others assuming they are terrorists just because they are Muslim, I am left scratching my head wondering if this is really how the val feels about non-Muslims? Does he really believe we feel that when he speaks Arabic that we think he's plotting to blow up shit? If this is the case then someone failed him big time.

Sadly, I felt the val accused the population in general of stereotypes while claiming his family has been stereotyped as Mulims. To make jokes referencing suicide bombing was unacceptable for a commencement speech. Who the hell suggested this topic as a good idea?  I am fairly confident that this speech was not the one approved by the administration.

Seriously, scholarships hang in the balance and I wonder what college will reward such racist speech?  Imagine out of town guests and family that filled the hall,  and these speeches represented Wylie how? Are Wylieites a bunch of Islamaphobes? A bunch of ghettoites patting their chests and homeboying their pals?

I do not feel the valedictorian meant any offense. I am certain he was swept up in the moment.  There were parts of his speech that were genuine and touching, but terrorist jokes totally missed the teaching moment for those not familiar with the Muslim faith, rather I felt there was a specific animosity about his family's experiences that radiated throughout the speech.  From the accusatory jokes made, he did not make me want to get to know him, opposite of the intended effect I'm sure.

The salutatorian's speech had some touching moments as well, but the familiarity displayed would have been better served at a banquet rather than a graduation venue. The shout-outs and for realz did not represent him well.  Clearly this speech did not reflect what he learned after the last 4 years of high school.  Did it?

The fact that the sal's speech departed from what was approved, and he stated so as he turned to look at the WISD trustees while doing it anyway, I would think his scholarship could possibly be in jeopardy because of it. He did what he did with eyes wide open and knew the consequences of doing so but it did not stop him from doing it anyway, a clear sign of someone incapable of the great responsibility of giving the salutatorian speech. He may have earned the right to speak at the podium, but he did not represent it well.

So exactly where did these speeches go awry? Neither show any semblance of leadership, neither inspired any of the student body to aspire to be like them. I felt control had been lost as the two young men displayed an amount of immaturity I would not expect out of the val and sal.  This is one time being politically correct is acceptable, and many people I spoke to felt the val-sal speeches made them uncomfortable and were incredibly inappropriate. One senior I spoke with even said these speeches were not the Wylie Way.

Precedence has been set, so how do you regain some sense of decorum in next year's speeches?  Is this what we have to look forward to?  Call outs to friends and homeboys?  Religious jokes? No, for 'realz'.

The great part is that the seniors will not remember these speeches for very long. The awkwardness will be replaced with fond memories of graduation parties and the next exciting phase in life.

The val-sal punishment is that they have to live with their speeches and the failed representation. Very disappointing.

Git 'r Done

When I was working on Katrina Pierson's congressional campaign earlier this year, I was amazed at the outpouring of help. Knowing how unengaged Wylie folk are in politics, I was afraid I would mostly be going this alone, save for the usual half a handful of volunteers. Yet people were so moved by the direction this state and country are headed, that I met some truly wonderful people and made some new friends who volunteered tirelessly with me.

After the last early Saturday morning meeting where we gathered at my dining room table to go over the precinct walk, we were all visibly exhausted from multiple weekends of doing this as well as the emotional rollercoaster of campaigning against a very wealthy establishment congressman. We had this one final push a mere two weeks before the March 4th Primary to touch all the homes in Wylie that  had voted in the previous GOP primary. Our goal was clear: to complete all of Wylie.

I sent each volunteer on their way with stacks of door hangers, precinct maps and Excel spreadsheets that I had worked hours on, organizing and marking out the routes. When my last volunteer opened the door to leave, she turned around, looked at me and said, "Let's git 'r done."

This battle cry of sorts has prodded me on since that day.  I have adopted it for all manner of tasks and activities that need a little extra attention or motivation in order to accomplish them.

So today, on this graduation day of my youngest, my baby boy. I know that I have given him my all in hopes that he will take that and freely expand upon it as he sees fit.  As he completes this final rite of passage into full-on adulthood, it is time for me to hand his life over to him as I have now completed my bit.

Let's git 'r done son, let's git 'r done.

Along for the Ride

Without fail, every time I feel like I'm doing well and things are going my way, something happens to ground me again.

God always lets me know when I'm getting a little too big for my britches. Like the time I went balls to the wall for my 'dream job'. Sure the job sounded fantastic on paper, but in reality my employer was a total rat bastard and his wife was just plain manipulative and hostile.  It wasn't like all the signs weren't there when I interviewed, because they were.  He was the male version of a broom-riding witch and when I was forced to interview with the wife, she spent the whole interview complaining about what were to become my employees, as well as the woman I was replacing and it wasn't just your run of the mill complaints either. She went so far as to state one employee looked like she shopped at K-Mart for her clothes, and that she came into work looking like she just rolled out of bed, and oh that hair!  It was just so stringy and dirty looking.  Sadly I chose to ignore the drama queen signs because, well, because it was just all about me.

Turns out the work environment was so piss poor, and I stayed for so long hoping beyond hope that I could somehow make it all work out, that I honestly couldn't see for looking.

There is nothing like chaining myself to the desk every day, so stressed out I had to eat at my desk just to keep up with their constantly changing demands, trying to do everything possible to make the man and his wife happy. A true and veritable impossibility because they were clearly not happy with anything, ever.  Had my eyes been open at the time, rather than living in what I like to call my Piscean dreamworld that I spend a great deal of time in, I would have never taken that job and saved myself a year of aggravation. So much for heeding my own plan.

Not that this woman's complaints were unfounded.  Even she was unaware of the time this employee she complained about brought in a baby squirrel who had lost its mother.  The employee would use a Q-tip to rub its belly to make it go poop. No lie.

In fact, it was when I discovered that this same employee got the company to pay for a new server, and it wasn't cheap folks, and then just set it on the floor of the IT closet because she didn't know how to hook it up, that the issue really escalated.  I wanted to let her go and my boss, the crotchety hubbers agreed. Evidently the wife did not, and my understanding is that employee is still working there but part time for the wife because she was too incompetent to continue on in the job I said she was too incompetent for.  Go figure.

Eventually the situation deteriorated to the point that in another conflict over that same employee, the wife violently slammed my office door, shaking the whole office building, as she threatened my job. Keep in mind, she was just officing in our offices, she was not my boss but you can imagine how fruitless it would be to complain to my boss about his wife.

Suffice to say, I humbly picked up my coat and purse and walked out wondering what the hell I was doing there in the first place? Why had I allowed these people to treat me with such flagrant hostility?  Money and power, oh yes, that's right. As you can imagine, the financial hardship came dear, but God had a way of taking care of things and putting me back in my place. I am running His show now, not mine.  Or at least I try to remember this, that is until my britches start shrinking again.

Another example happened just today. I've been preparing for my son's graduation party for the past few weeks. The garden is presentable, the house is clean and prettied up, and the menus are planned.  I have all manner of Martha Stewartesque food and drink 'stations' prepared for setup, and I was feeling all sorts of amazing about this.  Then my son came home from school early and told me the interior lights, a/c, and windows suddenly stopped working in his car.  Ya well, I can only imagine just how much that is going to set us back. 

Now it wasn't as if we did not know the vehicle needed some work. Recall here that the hubs puts a ridiculous amount of miles on his vehicle, so when he passed it down to the child unit we had hoped it would last through the summer before we had to commit any real funds to it. But suddenly we are faced with the enormity of it all, now, 3 days before my son's graduation, with family coming into town from NYC and OKC, with my son's need to get back and forth to Garland for rehearsals on their musical.  It is, and frankly I say this as politely as I can, the most inopportune time to be without that extra vehicle.  

As you can imagine, I had been merrily putting my resources into making this party nice, but for who?  In an instant I realized that it is not about me, or the house, or the food. This is about celebrating my son's great achievement. Oh and God let me know that, to be sure. In fact I will probably know that for quite a while as I pay off a hefty repair bill.

Humbly I write this, in awe as usual, and hyper-aware that it is God's plan that I am on, not my own.  This is crystal clear. Oh the vehicle situation will work itself out eventually, but the party?  Not so important anymore.  Celebrating my son's graduation has replace my need to be the ultimate party girl and hostess with the mostest and I am once again just along for the ride.

Lavon City Hall-ucinations

Sadly small town jackassery takes place everywhere and the little town of Lavon is no different. It would appear there are some very mystical and magical things taking place down at Lavon City Hall.

I reported previously that my open records request was answered with an invoice from the City of Lavon to the tune of $1,198.19. According to the cost estimate, it was to cover my request for a copy of the December 4, 2013 council meeting audio recording where a formal complaint of sexual harassment was being heard.

By some great feat of magic, this......


Turned into this.....

Let me explain.

The original charges state they need IT programming to write the program that will perform a key word search.

The attorney general's office replied to Lavon regarding my complaint stating they must forward to me a detailed description of the IT vendor's tasks.

The cost estimate I received today does not list any detailed descriptions from any IT vendor for programming.  It does however list some things in addition to the December 4th audio recording.  It adds copies for meeting minutes and emails I requested regarding the resignation of the Community Center Manager volunteer.

Am I to assume the lawyers left out the other information in their first bill to me? If so, is the City attorney that scatterbrained that they cannot even construct a simple FOIA response to a citizen? What the hell good are they and why are the citizens of Lavon paying all that money for this Tom Foolery?

The letter from the attorney embarrassingly goes on to detail in depth how the City Secretary used a stopwatch to time just how long it takes her to download a recording. So the city has time to waste using stopwatches to record similar recording downloads to use as an example just to tell me how much time it will take to fulfill my request. Ah yes, I see said the blind man.

But more laughable is Lavon's insistence that they need an outside IT vendor to perform a keyword search in their emails for the volunteer's name. Lavon uses Outlook and any idiot knows how to search their email for a keyword.  A reasonable person would expect the City Secretary to know how to use such a basic program as Outlook and a basic task as searching her email for a name as part of her daily job function. Shit it takes me 5 seconds to do that.

The Lavon City Secretary, by way of the City attorney, has just proved she is electronically adept and savvy enough to download mp3 files to her computer and to a disk, yet claims she is not smart enough to perform a keyword search in Outlook? Um, not buying it.

Clearly Lavon is trying to put me off of obtaining the details I sought in a FOIA request in order to hide information. And hide they do since one of the citizens submitted an information request to view employee records on site for the City Secretary yet somehow miraculously the information was not in that employees file.  In fact, no complaints against the City Secretary were in her employee folder, so where were they?  I know this because I sat in as a witness while the citizen viewed what was in the file. Indeed I had the great misfortune of being employed with the City of Lavon for a 4 month period and I got to see firsthand just how things were handled around there.

Oh I can make it easy on them and provide them the day and time the volunteer sent and received emails from the City Secretary, directly from the citizen volunteer who would not be reasonably expected to be technologically savvy enough to search her email box, but she did, and without expert computer programming from an outside IT vendor.  Look ma' no hands!

When I made my first complaint July 16, 2013, a mere two weeks into my employment, about the City Secretary creating a hostile work environment, the Mayor looked into firing me on July 23, 2013 because I write this blog, oh and to the legal tune of $208.00 at 1.30 hours of work performed while the City of Lavon attorney read my blog to see if they could fire me. Seriously? Did they even need to consider what with my 1st Amendment Rights and all.  Dumb, really dumb.

One can imagine just how much money the City Secretary has cost the City of Lavon as the attorney is required to sit through hours and hours as numerous executive sessions were held in response to all of the complaints made against her by several employees, a citizen, and a volunteer.

As a little side note, my first complaint has never been provided to me even though I requested a copy through open records, likely due to the fact it no longer exists, so it is no wonder why records end up missing in open records requests.

Since I left, in one of my open records requests, I received a letter of complaint about the City Secretary from a citizen who works for Grand Heritage. There was an issue regarding employment of the grandson of the City Secretary with Grand Heritage. In fact, I was witness to this little ditty during my horrid term of employment there as well. The City Secretary walked through the office complaining that her grandson was not hired and stated she was going to pay the woman at Grand Heritage a little visit as she said aloud, "Oh she don't know me."

You can see for yourself just what took place at Grand Heritage when the City Secretary took a drive over there to complain:

It should be fairly obvious by now that there are problems at Lavon City Hall. This was the first special session of many special sessions called where the employment of the City Secretary was discussed in executive session.  I suppose you do not have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that the group of council member nincompoops did absolutely nothing in response.

But then again, this was the first complaint so let us give them the benefit of the doubt shall we?  Alas, there were other complaints levied as well, culminating in the final one by a male employee claiming the City Secretary sexually harassed him.  Now I might add here that several of us were witnesses to the statements made by the City Secretary to the complainant but again no action was taken by the council.  Somehow, again miraculously, they found no merit in the complaint. Weird.

Suffice to say, the City Secretary has miraculously been able to keep her $41K a year position with the City of Lavon and the citizens seem to have no idea what is really going on down there, except what the City wants them to know.

Lavon was in the news last week, so last weekend I made remarks on the Lavon Facebook group page suggesting that there appears to be some larger problems down at Lavon City Hall.

Lavon Mayor held an interview with Channel 11 News complaining that Lavon Water put locks on all the fire hydrants.  Lavon Water said it was because someone was stealing water out of the hydrants.  Rather than the City working with Lavon Water, they whined to the news instead.

I recall my last few days with Lavon, the Mayor complaining about a personal issue with Lavon Water.  He told me I should blog about it.  Suffice to say I did not.

I indicated in my post last weekend that based upon the Mayor's complaints about Lavon Water made months ago, and upon the mass exodus that took place at City Hall with 5 employees and all the volunteers having resigned all with complaints against the City Secretary and/or the Mayor, it appeared the Lavon administration do not seem to get along with anyone.  In response, the Mayor's wife was on Facebook writing libelous statements about me:

This illogically written post has since been removed but not before I took a screenshot of it to show the MayorMs. libeling me as she attempts to ruin my reputation claiming I need mental help. Disturbing.

What I find even more disturbing is that she indicates what takes place between two people as a joke does not constitute sexual harassment. Really?  Because the law states that it is when one person is offended enough by it to file a sexual harassment claim against the other person.  So too it is when those who were in attendance witnessed it and found it highly offensive. I was there and I was highly offended enough to put it in my own letter of resignation.  Personally I found that this matter was nothing to laugh about.

The sad part is that down at Lavon, the hallucinations about who is wrong and who is a perfect likeness of God continue, and ultimately the citizens pay the price.