Friday, January 22, 2010

Crazy for Maisie

Well, we've reserved our new puppy, a 3-day old beagle we've named Maisie. Our breeder is a little over an hour away from us, in central MA, and just a wonderful woman to speak with. We met Maisie this morning and although we couldn't hold her yet, we were able to take a few pictures of her markings. We'll visit again close to Valentine's Day -- at which point we'll be able to hold and play with her for a while. Right now, though, it's more important for her to bond well with her biological mommy.

We did get to spend a few minutes playing with some of the grow-up beagles today -- Sugar, Jessie and Rebel. Jessie is old and mellow, just the way Penny & Emma remember Masha, but Sugar likes to give kisses and was actually a little annoyed when we had to leave! Rebel, the proud papa, traveled back and forth between us and the door to the puppies' den; his face reminds me a bit of Masha's face (one of her more beagle-ish characteristics).

We're looking forward to getting to know Maisie, and will have to start planning our puppy-proofing strategies.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Made with Real Girl Scouts

Penny & Emma are Daisy Scouts. They look so cute in their weird blue aprons, which are sporadically and asymmetrically growing petals as their troop works on various service patches. Yes, aprons. Weird, permeable aprons which have not once kept paint, frosting with sprinkles, or glitter glue off my daughters' clothing.

The un-apron-like aprons are not the issue, though. The issue is that the Girl Scouts of America as an organization doesn't really seem interested in serving its Girl Scouts.

Whenever I contact the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts about pretty much anything, it is a slow torturous process to get a helpful response, or a proper phone extension, or a return call, or any sort of timely action. I had to beg to get Penny & Emma into a troop in Chelmsford (when we lived there). When we relocated, they didn't really feel like reassigning us to a troop in Tyngsboro, even though I called and called and called. Eventually I gave up and kept the girls in their Chelmsford troop. So I'm again begging to get contact information for the neighborhood Tyngsboro troop, the theory being that we can cultivate a relationship and get the girls joined up for next school year. Maybe I'll just have to wander the neighborhood and see if anyone is willing to put me in contact with the troop leader.

Begging sometimes works. When I became Cookie Mom for Penny & Emma's troop, I was told to attend a 90-minute training session . . . scheduled 2 days before Thanksgiving. When I arrived (in spite of all the cooking I had yet to do), I was told that since they didn't know how many girls were in the troop, I could have 9 cookie packets. I begged, and they relinquished 2 more. It turns out there are 12 girls in the troop. My daughters actually had to share a cookie packet.

So here I am, a few days before the cookie orders are due, still waiting for those last straggling orders. I check out the GSEM website to get a preview of the cookie entry process -- maybe I'll go ahead and enter the orders for the girls whose forms I've already received. But, wait . . . what's this? A note stating, "There are features of this system that work only with the Internet Explorer browser. You should not be using Firefox, Safari, Netscape, or any other browser."

That can't be right. It makes no sense! Maybe it works best with Explorer, but *only* with Explorer? Nobody does that anymore!

But wait . . . the Cookie Advisor Book states otherwise. There's a little grey box on page 5 letting me know that unless I use Explorer 6.0, I will be "unable to adjust nor [sic] assign boxes to girls using any other browser." In the brief Introduction to the 2010 . . . Web Cookie System, I learn that the GSA has chosen to use a program which is "designed to work with Windows and Internet Explorer 6.0, SP1 or higher" and that there is no Mac support.

Do you know why there is no Mac support? That would be because there are no versions of Explorer for the Mac after Explorer 5.x -- because Mac users now have Safari. Even before Safari, I never used Explorer because quite frankly, it's so bulky that even I can tell the difference.

So anyway, the Cookie Lords attempt to encourage me by letting me know that I can do the data entry a little at a time over the duration of the cookie sale. (How am I supposed to know how many boxes each girl has sold? I'm still missing 3 girls' orders, and it's 2 days before the deadline. All the other girls' orders came in today, and I consider myself lucky to only be waiting on 3 orders. Clearly the Cookie Lords have never met a procrastinator, or been held hostage by one.) There is a further attempt to mollify me by suggesting that I use "any (non-Mac) computer at home or at work or at the local library." Really!? Any (non-Mac) computer? How about my husband's company-issued computer? It runs OpenSolaris.

I thought not.

We're a happily Windows-free household, and have been since we became a household (that's 11+ years ago, for those who don't know). While some people might say that we get what we deserve, I beg to differ (See? I'm begging again!) and must point out that I've never before encountered a situation that couldn't somehow be resolved without resorting to invading the library and using their Windows machines or downloading VirtualBox and using Dan's work-copy of Windows.

Come on, Girl Scouts of America. Get a clue.