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Buster and Tom

Much Ado About Nothing April 20, 2017

Buster Ciampi - Jean's Ultra Sweet DogMuch Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

Jean Ciampi is on vacation. This week’s guest columnist is her dog, Buster. As a proud alumni of the Brazoria County SPCA, Buster is currently an advocate for animal rights (with the exclusion of squirrels which he believes get what they deserve).

Yes, she’s on vacation in France, probably eating French fries and French toast. Not that I give one wag. Because, after nearly 14 years, I thought I could be confident that my people would have my best interest at heart. Looking back, I don’t know where that misplaced trust comes from as these are the same people that shipped me off to live in Saudi Arabia for three years, a place known for their disdain of dogs and a sick fondness for cats. But here they are proving again what a disappointment they are.

Although I’m not sure how, as I find no spot where they could have dug under the fence, my people have slipped their leashes and run off, leaving me at home — with the teenage boy. Don’t they realize that SPCA and CPS have a lot of the same letters for a reason?! Who thought this was a good idea? Not me!

The one who is now responsible for feeding me is the one who would probably eat out of a trash can. Seriously, some of the garbage I’ve seen that kid eat! Makes a dog pray that there are no table scraps. And that’s who they left as the keeper of the kibble? I’m going to starve!

I guess I can forget my walks for a while, too, unless there’s a video game for dog walking. Maybe if we get the Wi-Fi password for every house in the neighborhood, he could bring his computer with us and still stay connected. He acts like he’s the only one with business to take care of! Hasn’t he thought that maybe I need to go check my pee-mail, send and receive a few messages from my dog friends?

I suppose it could be worse: I could be at the kennel, that horrible place where I’d get brushed and bathed, three squares, regular romp time, doggy social hour, and my ears scratched. Yeah, good thing they didn’t send me there. So have fun in France, people. The kid and I will be here throwing wild house parties.

Cell Hell

Much Ado About Nothing April 13, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About NothingMuch Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

Dear Cell Service Provider Which Will Not Be Named Because I Don’t Want To Be Sued: thank you for teaching me some important things about myself that I didn’t know before I spent nearly two hours in your store. Not since I tried to get worked in for an appointment at the doctor’s office during the height of cold/flu/plague/Ebola season have I had so much fun wasting what’s left of my life. I admit that I have been remiss in upgrading my phone, but, you understand, I would rather continue to shovel coal into the back of mine to keep it going than have to face your store. Only the unfortunate though not unexpected demise of my phone forced me darken your doorstep.

The experience, however, taught me that I have the uncanny ability to suppress my dignity and nap on your floor by the front door. Shamelessly.  I’m needing that nap because I have worn myself out glaring at salespeople who aren’t helping me. Pulling together a really effective evil eye requires a lot of energy. Otherwise you end up with a not nice eye which just does not have the same impact. Real evil requires real effort. But why am I telling you that, dear cell service provider, as I believe you may be the actual creator of evil. (And if it’s not you, I’m thinking it might be my health insurance company. You’re probably working together, right?)

During my time in your store, I’d like to say what a joy it was to interact with your employees, except that would be a lie. While I accept that I’m on the express bus to Hell for a lot of reasons, lying isn’t one of them. Okay, maybe not the main one. Regardless, I do have to applaud your ability to find, recruit, hire and train people who can function without conscious thought, logic, or basic positive personality traits. Of course, Texas is a Right to Work state, so, yes, even zombies need jobs. Good on you for hiring all of them. I’m interested to know what the company picnic looks like, but, no, I don’t really. Forget I said that part.

What I do want to say is: “Thanks!” and I’m loving my new phone that cost me more than my son’s first year at a major university. Oh, and I hate you.

Baby Doc

Much Ado About Nothing February 2, 2017

Jean Ciampi

Jean Ciampi

Much Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

My youngest son turned 18 recently which means I’m off the hook for a lot of big things. If his debilitating case of senioritis keeps him from making it to his first period class enough times, the truancy officer doesn’t haul me into court now. He goes. I’m not responsible for his debts, like what he owes to Firestone for that front end alignment. (I told him if he banged that curb coming into the neighborhood enough times…). And I don’t make his doctor’s appointments anymore. However, he was still a minor when I made the appointment for his annual checkup with his favorite doctor: his pediatrician.

Because no good deed goes unpunished, he made me go to the appointment with him. There we sat in the waiting room with the fishes and dolphins painted on the walls, PBS on the television, and countless coughing, drooling, snotty, germ-infested babies and toddlers. Just me and my kid who is a full foot taller and 100 pounds heavier than me. But, I can brag in front of the other moms that my baby was the only one there with full facial hair, a driver’s license, and a constitutional right to cast a ballot. Let’s see their elementary school honor roll top that!

I realized, though, that some things will just never change. For example, while we were sitting there waiting, we suddenly hear the ear-piercing, blood-curdling screams of some poor child who had obviously just come due for some kind of booster shot. Either that he was having his fingernails ripped off with pliers. Those screams are so similar, it’s hard to distinguish which is which. Every kid in that waiting room froze, including mine. He turned his bearded man-face to me and said with an unmasked level of panic in his voice, “I don’t need shots for college, do I?!” Just when you think your baby is all grown up and gone, you realize that little boy will always be there.

We’ve always loved our pediatrician. He’s one of the Top 5 Greatest Guys Ever. So I understand not wanting to give him up. If his office accepted Medicare, my kids would probably plan to be patients there for life. Besides, you’re just never too old for a SpongeBob sticker and a Donald Duck Band-Aid.

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