Thursday, April 23, 2009

Shortly after the girls and I moved in with Big V, the Jellybean experienced an intruder trying to break in to the house. She was home alone while the rest of us drove to the bank on this random, beautiful, sunshiney, couldn't-be-more-perfect afternoon. She's 13 and sulky and wasn't about to go anywhere with her hair looking like THAT! And so she stayed home alone.

Dotter and I were waiting patiently in the parking lot singing along to Hannah Montana for the umpteenth time while the all-important deposit transaction was happening inside. Who knew that in the next second I'd feel extreme helplessness and panic, something I never want to experience again.

On the other end of my cell phone, in a hushed but screaming voice was Bean... "they're trying to get in the house! oh my god! oh my god! MOM! they're opening the window - they're trying to open the WINDOW!"

What the hell was she saying? I couldn't focus. I couldn't hear. I couldn't see. I couldn't comprehend.

In a strong, assured voice I told her to calm down. I asked where she was - in her bedroom. The doorbell had rang. She had peeked out the side window and saw two men she didn't know. She didn't go to the door. She thought they would go away. But they didn't. They went through the garage and tried the door from the garage to the house. They went to the other door and tried that. When that didn't work they went about trying to open a window.

I told her to go down the hall to our bedroom and lock the door. From there she was to crawl under the bed and stay there. And not make a sound. But the whole time she's completely freaked out - "oh my god! HELP ME! HELP ME! i can hear them - THEY'RE AT THE WINDOW - THEY'RE OPENING THE WINDOW! oh my god! oh my GOD!"

and she hangs up.

Big V was walking back to the car at that point and I screamed at him to hurry. I tried calling the Bean back - no answer. And this is where my guilt and regret lie: I never called 911. I never contacted the police. I never told my sweet, precious Jellybean to call 911. I couldn't help her where I was, and I didn't make sure she was safe.

What I didn't know was that the Bean had called Big V's sister, who lives just a few streets away. Within seconds she had thrown three kids and her pregnant body into the car with her husband and was traveling as fast as their car could possibly go, staying on the phone the entire time.

As soon as they pulled into the driveway they new the situation:

Big V's idiot (and more than likely drunken) friends had been out for a motorcycle ride, enjoying the pleasant weather. Deciding to stop by Big V's house they found no response to their incessant bell ringing and door pounding, however, they were quickwitted enough to see Big V's truck sitting in place, so surely he was home. How funny would it be if they could get in and then scare him if he was in the shower or sleeping.

Big V's sister read them the riot act. Mama Bear describes her to a tee and she was not about to let these two losers off the hook until they realized the emotional damage they inflicted on this little girl.

That was a year ago. To date neither one of those two guys has bothered to apologize to me and that makes me angry. Big V has chosen to distance himself from them (this was actually just the tip in the so-called socially inept iceburg they hailed from) and I have never spoken to either of them directly. So imagine my surprise when today I signed onto Facebook and saw a friend request from one of them. Is he truly that stupid?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cletus the Fetus

So, I surprised the hell out of myself (again) by finding out I was pregnant. I say "again" because I have two children already and neither one was exactly planned for. This one wasn't planned for either, thus the surprise.

I found out months ago, so at this point (20 weeks into said unplanned event) I find myself resolved to the fact that I shall hatch a little changeling somewhere around September 20th of this year. (Yes, I am well aware of the fact that I must endure the E-N-T-I-R-E summer. No need to mention that to me every time you see me.)

It seems our little Cletus the Fetus is a genius. Told Big V won't be able to feel the flipping fetus until probably week 25, Cletus the Fetus has set out to proove the good doctor wrong. The past two weeks have been spent hosting Boxing Rounds of the Extreme Embryos and Gymnastic Championships of the Gamete Gurus. (gamete: look it up.) Big V is in awe beyond words, wrapping his calloused hands around my bulging belly any chance he gets, which, although cute in its own rite, is annoying when one is attempting to empty the washing machine.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I'd gladly pay you 20% today for quality service you might not ever provide me...

Last night I posed a simple question on my Facebook: How much do you tip your hairdresser?

I seemed to have unwittingly opened a can of exploding opinions. 36 comments later I learned that the average tip was 20% - a little more if the service was stellar, a little less if it was so deserved.

However, a few comments shocked me - and these tended to be from the hairdressers themselves, like this one:

"As a HAIRDRESSER i feel 20% is norm anything above is awesome. And if you are giving a service, a tip IS expected! It's also called common courtsey."

Really? A tip is EXPECTED by you? How about the customer expecting good service FROM you? The last time I went to get my hair done I was left alone waiting several times. Now, I've been getting my hair cut, colored and styled since I was seventeen. I think I know the drill by now, so trust me when I say I can tell the difference between waiting for my color to set and waiting for you to answer the phone (once it was your mother!), assist walk-ins that wanted to use the tanning beds, and, oh yes, agree to cut the man's hair that will only take ten minutes. I didn't feel like I was getting the best service in the area, I felt like I was in your way and being a complete inconvenience to you. But, wait - didn't I execute common courtesy and call ahead to schedule this appointment so that you could set aside enough time to provide me such excellent service? I felt like I gave you ample time to plan out your stellar customer service plan, yet executed it was not.

What ever happened to "proove your worth?" You know, the idea that you bust your butt prooving you are an awesome employee and then you receieve a pay raise as recognition that you've done a great job and deserve more than what was previously given to you.

My Jellybean is notorious for asking for money BEFORE she does a job. It hasn't gotten her anywhere with me, but Big V fell for it once. The Bean wanted to borrow ten dollars. Of course she agreed to chores to complete in exchange... help give the dog a bath, clean out the car, and help shovel the driveway the next time it snowed. It took weeks to get her to 'pay up' and when she did, it was a most pathetic attempt. Whiney, miserable, "my hands are cold" -- she didn't follow her end of the bargain. This is what she agreed to - do it. She definately didn't do $10 worth of work, yet she expected that ten dollars when she wanted it.

Tell me, oh wise Hairdresser, when did it become a requirement for me to not only pay the cost meant to cover the expense of treatment on my hair, but also to pay you an additional 20% just because you want it? How about we compromise. You calculate a cost you'd like to charge because you expect it. This should cover your hair chemicals, taxes, time, etc. That will be what I pay you.... but if I don't like your service, then I won't go to you anymore.

And If I do like your service, I might pay you extra - a tip, if you will, to show my gratitude, to encourage you to do it again. Though by definition a tip is never legally required, and its amount is at the discretion of the person being served, I'll still throw in some extra if I feel you worked hard to show me that you can provide excellent service; something that shows you are above and beyond the rest.


Friday, April 17, 2009


Before Christmas I was walking around a store, pleasantly paying no particular attention to anything around me while gossiping on my trusted (red) Motorola Razr. Suddenly everything went blue. There it was: the dreaded Bootloader screen. It might as well said, "Your phone has been completely wiped of all software, memory, contacts, and use capabilities. Proceed to your nearest US Cellular where you will quickly become more enraged than you ever thought was possible."

I was told there was nothing they could do. The phone was dead. The only option was a new phone.... B U T - - - my contract wasn't up yet, so a new phone isn't allowed. Huh?! I only had a couple weeks to go, so I decided to forego modern accessibility & convenience and spend the next few weeks roughing it sans cell.

When my self-imposed sentence was up I gleefully skipped all the way to US Cellular: "Howdy-ho, Lovely People of the Cell Gods! I am here to joyfully pick out my new phone!" Forty-five minutes later I was passively acknowledged and, well, I guess they would classify it as "assisted" me in picking out a phone. I chose a new-and-improved RAZR. Oh-boy-oh-boy-oh-boy! I was excited!

That excitment lasted about three days when the piece of crap ticked me off so bad I stomped back into my local US Cellular store quite unhappy. Prepared with my list of complaints - ranging from random psychotic outbursts such as "while sitting on the table it will suddenly flip through volume control settings as if controlled by some other force" and "the phone is completely unable to recognize any button I happen to be pushing. I can't make calls, receive calls, write texts, receive texts, etc." and "it doesn't seem to hold a charge."

Phone Guru #1 nodded her head knowingly, "Ah, yes - there's a software problem with this model." phew. At least they knew about it. I tossed over my ID, filled out forms, waiting while they gathered up a loaner phone, waited some more while it sounded like they were hosting a party in the back and was just about ready to leave when the Guru announced, "oh, yeah - your ID actually expired - so I can't use that. You'll have to show me a valid ID first."

I scrambled through my purse. Went out and scoured through my car. Nothing. Called Big V: "Please see if you can find my ID. I must have given it to you to hold when we were at the bar."

"When were we at the bar?"

"I don't know - a month ago? Six weeks? Just check your pockets..."

Big V could not find the valid ID. Nor could I when I went home... still clutching the crappy phone. There was only one thing to do. Get a new ID, which would take some time (since we all know the Gasping Task Master won't allow me a minute off work). But eventually I became the proud owner of a valid ID. (I won't get into the frustration of having a non-working phone while I waited.)

So the ID was valid. The crappy phone turned over. The loaner phone was MINE! Allowing me a few glorious weeks filled with unlimited text messages & internet wanderings. Life was so good!

And then I got the call: My phone was back from the Repair Gods. Time to turn the loaner in. I was sad to see it go, but like all good things, it must come to an end.

Although it was noted that only "charge was fixed, software reinstalled" I vowed to stay positive. My phone was shiney and sparkly and, well, it looked new... wait. It was new. Anyway, off I went, tra-la-la-ing on my way.

Three hours later I was ready to slam the phone against the nearest brick wall and take the $150 hit to break my relationship with US Cellular.

The crappy phone is still crappy. My weekend shall begin with yet another visit to my local US Cellular store where I will most surely endure the blank stares of the people in charge of my cellular happiness.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hidden Talents

I think everyone has a talent. Yes, everyone. Sometimes they're not as obvious as the ability to belt out the National Anthem without making people cringe, or painting works of art with your toes... sometimes talents lie hidden underneath, ready to be unearthed, discovered, revealed to the world.

I happen to have an insane unconscious skill of matching my underwear to whatever color shirt I'm wearing. Now, you may not consider it a talent - I mean, really, how hard is it to match, you might ask. So let me give you some background.

(1) I rarely, if ever, 'decide' my outfit prior to stepping into it.
(2) I usually get dressed in a darkened room (not because I'm uncomfortable with my body, but because I'm usually sleep-dressing and don't want the light to bother my eyes).
(3) I'm usually running at least 15 minutes behind schedule, so there's no time to dawdle picking out the perfect panties to match the shirt I choose.

And yet...

I rush the kids in the car, speed to drop them off at school, scream into the parking lot to make it look like I've been busy working for the past hour before my boss waltzes in. Somewhere around 10:00 I need a break so to the bathroom I go.

The bathroom in our office is unique in that a large mirror is mounted allowing the, well, "Go-er" a clear view of, well, everything. (I have checked to ensure this is not a one-way mirror. Too much CSI, you might say, but one can never be too careful.)

In the past two weeks I've surprised and amazed myself many times with my coordination skill. Orange shirt - Orange panties with flowers! Spring green sweater - woah! GREEN UNDIES! Pale pink button down - there they are: pink. And pale.

I continue to amaze myself with this wonderful talent I have discovered... (let's face it, there's not much else to look forward to around this office.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

AWARENESS: Living in the moment

How guilty I am of this... I have been taught to believe that strong, independent women can do it all. We multi-task. We get things done!

I check emails while holding a conversation on the phone. Matthew starts talking to me and I walk away to check the mailbox (I can still hear him, I tell myself, but I need to see if there is any mail I need to attend to). I keep calculating checkbook balances while Dotter tells me something - some story, she's cute, happy, with such a sweet smile, and I wonder what her story was about. The Jellybean is telling me about the new girl at school who brags about smoking, I know it's a learning moment, but dinner needs to be made so I interupt and ask her to please take out the large, glass casserole dish on the bottom shelf, "Go on," I say. "I'm listening."

But I know that I'm not. I'm not listening at all. I'm juggling. My mind is whirling a thousand miles an hour with checklists: Dotter needs to take a shower. When was the last time she flossed her teeth. Shoot - I gotta make that eye appointment soon. Did I give her lunch money? The Bean needs to clean her room - the cleaning lady comes tomorrow and she won't be able to vacuum. I saw ants in the sunroom; I've got to pick up some ant poison. Maybe I should try those 'stakes' outside too. Did Matthew pay for those plane tickets? He needs to find someone to watch the dog while we're gone. The Bean will be at my mom's when we're gone so maybe she can feed the dog and take it out. That will work out good....

Meanwhile, during the time I'm locked in this dance with the thoughts in my head planning, preparing, organizing - all my loved ones are trying to share with me. Trying to show me who they are, trying to invite me into their worlds.

So, what happens when tragedy strikes? The last thing Dotter said to me? I don't know... I can picture her face, the way she folded her hands under her chin when she laid her head on the table, smiling up at me with laughing eyes. She was so proud - of something....

The One in which I take my Father for his Covid Vaccine

I got a voicemail the other day from the hospital saying ‘since you’re the contact on record we just want you to know your Dad can get a Cov...