Where in the hell have I been for the last year?

June 7, 2012

Wow. So it’s been over a hear since I posted. Well, I suck.

It’s been quite a year. Last April (the 22nd to be exact) Jay came to Texas for a visit and proposed. It was very sweet and I nearly ruined it. Typical. Of course I said yes, We cried, we drank, we told our family the next day. It’s pretty clear how much I love that man. Then we started to plan. Jay’s project in Maryland was scheduled to be finished in June and they told him that they probably wouldn’t need him after June 28. Okay, so we decided that he would move to Texas and find work in July. (Two problems: Texas and July.) We started sending out resumes but no luck. I somehow convinced him to move anyway. Apparently I am a much better “convincer” than I give myself credit for.

Fast Forward to July 2011: Jay moved back to Texas. I’ll have to blog another time about the 29 1/2 hour road trip on which drove all of his crap from Maryland to Texas, but I’ll probably need some alcohol and possibly even some CPR to get through that story. Shocker shocker, he moved into my place under the guise of living with my brother. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not how it began. (The road to hell is paved with good intentions.) My brother, Joe, and his wife, Stacie, invited Jay to stay with them when I had Harwood. They cleaned out one of the rooms in their house and Jay moved all his stuff in. Bed, TV, table, etc. Then he proceeded to never stay a single night at their house. The first night Harwood was with me and Jay lived in Texas, Harwood got very upset that Jay was leaving and said he just needed to have a sleepover. It was late, we were tired. We didn’t argue.

What I want to know is how come the 7-year-old doesn’t get all excited and doesn’t blink about Jay moving in but we were both so freaked out about what our families would think that we pretty much tried (poorly) to hide it. Sometimes grown-ups can be dumb. This was one of those times.

Jay looked and looked and looked for work and finally went to an open-house employment gig at Holt Cat (Where – six months earlier – I had secured for him an interview but at the time it “wasn’t really what he was looking for”. Heh. Please note this for the record.) After his first experience with “Four Loco” – which, also for the record, will NEVER be repeated – he went in to test and interview and scored at the top of the group. He was offered the job and took it. He started on August 28 and I’ve never seen him this happy with work before. A man who is happy with his work makes for a happy home. Truth.

We scheduled the wedding a few times but ended up scheduling for February. In November our lease was up so we rented a sweet little house in Lewisville. The drive was hell but totally worth it because it was so much better for Harwood. I miss the lake but I love our shady backyard and patio with trees and a breeze. We moved a week before Thanksgiving and then had Jay’s family come stay with us for 5 days. Now we come to my favorite part of the story. I’m an idiot. Why I would invite my future in-laws to stay with us one week after we moved is beyond me. I am sure they had a terrible time and I know I did. I drank a lot more than usual that week. In fact, I’m pretty sure we all did.

Stress stirs up emotions and we were stressed and work was really hard so what did we do? We fought. This was not like us, but hey. We’re human. We postponed the wedding. We almost broke up. Then we came to our senses. Who am I kidding? I love this man. I couldn’t live without him. So we rescheduled the wedding to July. THEN we found out that our church was doing renovations and we didn’t want to get married in the cafeteria so we I moved the wedding date to May and finally told Jay. He was a little freaked but understood the importance of getting married in the Church, not in the cafeteria. We made wedding plans. We bought Jay’s ring. My ring is a whole ‘nother blog, but I’ll probably have to get Jay drunk to write that one.

We had a pretty dark January and February, partially because of what we were working through and partially because Jack the Cat became quite sick with feline diabetes. We gave him shots of insulin twice a day for weeks but after several trips to the vet and much gut-wrenching, one night he went into DKA and we took him to the clinic. There was nothing we could do and he was suffering terribly. They said he would pass away in a couple of hours but we decided to spare him his pain and let him go to the Rainbow Bridge but it was gut wrenching. This sweet, wonderful animal who came into my life to such disdain from me had entrenched himselves in our hearts so deeply. He took better care of us than we ever had to take of him. Jack Selassie went over the bridge quietly and was free of pain but I still have trouble talking about it. The next day we invited Missy and Paige over for a small ceremony and we buried Jack and told wonderful Jack stories. I miss that old cat and I don’t know that I will ever get over how great he was. I can only imagine Missy feels the same.

During the fall and spring, work was going terribly. I had a new boss who couldn’t have had a different value system than I did. He and I did NOT get along and it was making both of us miserable, mostly because I’m delightful to work with when I don’t get my way – and I’m convinced that I am right. I was determined not to give up but I knew I was miserable and I knew it was taking a toll on my family. So I looked around for another job and voila – found it. I applied and interviewed and got the job within a month. In March I said goodbye to my beloved co-workers in construction and went back to engineering. It was a blow to my pride to say the least. I just wasn’t strong enough to make it in construction. I’m not done for good, though. I learned a LOT working for a contractor and one of these days I want back in. Just not right now.

So in the span of six months, Jay and I moved, I changed jobs, said goodbye to our sweet Jack, and we got married. It was a tiny, beautiful wedding with a grand total of 13 attendees (including Jay and I). I couldn’t have been more pleased.

And now…we’re expecting. We found out about the time we got married but didn’t want to say anything lest anyone hear the sounds of a shotgun in the distance. If you know anything about the Catholic Church, you must know that a shotgun wedding by a priest is nearly impossible. It had been in the works for 13 months but that’s not how people’s minds work. I just wasn’t up for dealing with other people’s snotty opinions.

So I’m back. I’m hormonal. I’m not able to drink. I’m trying to balance a new job and new family. So this should make for a great comeback. Of course today I realize the irony of my blog’s naming conventions. I can’t enjoy wine while making a baby. And of all the times you need a drink…

More to come soon. So very much more.

Alien Abduction (a.k.a. I’m really a Hobbit)

March 21, 2011

It seems that I punctuate a disproportionate number of my blogs with, “I’m an idiot”. In keeping with tradition, let me assure you that this particular entry is no different.

I started the process of getting laser hair removal on my underarms. I could spend a whole entire blog on “why” but hopefully none of you care. In a nutshell it’s because underarm waxing is a winter sport. (The hair must be at least 1/4″ long to wax and I have no desire to pull a Julia Roberts.  Not that I’m in danger of attending a red carpet event anytime soon, but still.) So I finally decided to splurge. I did research. I talked to several different service providers. I finally chose one and met with my consultant and paid for two sessions up front – it takes several sessions for the hair to stop growing altogether.

My first three appointments were cancelled by the Service Provider due to inclement weather. The first one (or even two appointments) I understood, but by the third cancellation I started to lose patience. At the end of February I was finally rescheduled but the earliest appointment I could get was March 15, nearly 3 months after I originally bought my sessions. (Armchair Quarterbacking: this was Warning #1.)

On the day of my appointment I showed up for my session on-time (five minutes early, but nobody who actually knows me will believe that). They led me to a bright room and told me to “do the usual”. I must have looked puzzled because the lady who escorted me to the room indicated that I needed to disrobe. When I told her that this was my first appointment she seemed surprised but disinterested and instructed me to take off everything above the waist except a tank top. I was a bit perturbed because I was wearing a dress and didn’t really want to hop around the office in my Spanx but she didn’t offer any options except for a hanky-sized napkin which couldn’t cover my face (much less my ass). She said she would be back in two minutes. When she returned she drew all over my underarms with red marker and asked what I assume are standard obligatory questions (do you tan? when did you last shave? etc.) and then told me that someone would be in to get me for the procedure in five minutes. She actually said that twice so I interpreted that to mean that I shouldn’t get comfortable.  Meanwhile, I could hear what sounded like the actual laser process in an adjacent room. Two chatty women, lots of loud puffing noises (think hydraulics) and lots of ‘women talk’. This might have been interesting if I hadn’t been left to my own devices for over 40 minutes. (Armchair Quarterbacking: this was Warning #2.) By this time I was irritated, COLD (it was like Antarctica in my private waiting room) and I was REALLY beginning to wonder if they were going to insist that I prance through their facility in my body shaper to get to the room where the laser was kept.

FINALLY (just as I was about to ask if they remembered that I was there) a tech came in to get me. She led me straight into the laser room (no flashing necessary) and instructed me to lay down on the Frankenstein-esque table in the middle of the room. The first thing I noticed was the temperature of the room. It could not possibly have been over 58 degrees in that room. I immediately began to shiver and my nose started to run. I debated using the napkin that I had been given to cover myself as a kleenex or to keep it on my lap and pretend that it’s purpose was to keep me warm. I inquired about the temperature of the room and the tech cheerfully chirped that the laser gets really hot so the room must be cold. In addition to the temperature, the room was barren. The overhead light emitted an eerie fluorescence on the off-white blank walls had clearly not seen paint in a couple of years. (Armchair Quarterbacking: Warning #3.)

The Tech told me to raise my arms and asked me if I wanted a squishy-ball. 

“Squishy ball?” I asked.

“Yes, to help with the pain” she answered. (Are you keeping track? Armchair Quarterbacking: Warming #4.)

Ironically, this was the first time anyone had mentioned the word pain to me with regard to this procedure. No advertisements or blogs I read had mentioned pain, the person I consulted with never mentioned pain, and at no point was I concerned that this would be a painful procedure. The strongest wording I heard up until now was “uncomfortable, like being snapped with a small rubber band”. Most people might begin to ask questions but not me. I was nervous and everything was moving so fast that I just laughed and told the tech that I didn’t think the squishy-ball would be necessary.  She asked how I had reacted in my previous treatments and I let her know that this was my first laser session. She also appeared surprised and then giggled and said, “Maybe I should read your chart, hee hee”. (Armchair Quarterbacking: Warning #5. HOW MANY FREAKING WARNINGS DO I NEED? WHAT IS MY PROBLEM??) Most normal people would become concerned at this point, but no, faithfully playing my role as tough girl, I simply pretended not to notice her ignorance. When the hell will I learn that WWLCD (What Would Lara Croft Do?) is not effective for good-decision making? Shit.

She applied a clear gel to my underarms with the trite warning, “This might be a little chilly!”  I casually mentioned that the gel felt like it was burning my underarms but her reply was that while it might feel like it was burning, it wasn’t actually burning so not to worry. I might have actually said, “Oh good, such a relief to know that it only FEELS my skin is being burned off and it’s not ACTUALLY being burned off – that makes all the difference!”  Then she handed me a pair of goggles and picked up the laser and my trip through he sixth level of Hell truly began.

Let me just say that I have experienced pain – childbirth, brain surgery, tattoos, piercings, broken bones, sprains, stitches, burns, tooth extractions, electrolysis, waxing, facial peels, etc.  Hell, once I even shot a shrimp out of my nose. At no point in time did I ever think I was actually going to expire from any one of these procedures but that all changed with underarm laser hair removal. It felt like she was poking each follicle with an 14 gauge needle that shot electric shocks into my lymph nodes. (As for the little reference about being snapped by a rubber band? Sure – snapped in the EYEBALL.) Forget the sniffling, I openly sobbed and repeatedly took the Lord’s name in vain. I nearly climbed off the table but she wouldn’t stop. I think I might have peed a little. The laser was snapping loudly and burning the side of my face. She asked again if I wanted a squishy ball for pain and I think my response was something akin to, “Fuck the squishy ball woman – give me a stick to bite down on!”

This went on for six of the most horrible minutes of my life. The room smelled like burning dog hair, I had to keep taking off the goggles because they were full of tears and it felt like I was drowning while being repeatedly stabbed in the armpit. The lap napkin was nowhere to be found.  The tech was ambivalent. When she finished she chirped in that same sing-songy voice, “One side down, one more to go!” Oh holy Mother of all that is hairless, make it stop!!

I don’t know why I sat through the whole thing. After the torture was over she said that I would only need five or six more treatments. I asked her if she was used to her clients being in that kind of pain and she said that she threw up repeatedly when she had laser done. I was incredulous! I was also seriously considering requesting a return on my investment – I felt fairly sure that there was no amount of self-flogging would ever be necessary for me to repeat this adventure. For some odd reason, I also felt the need to repeatedly assure this woman that I am not a baby. I don’t know why I cared – or why I cried so hard. Afterward my underarms hurt like hell for three days after and are still sore a week later. I hope is the results are worth it. After all, beauty knows no pain but suffice it so say, I will NOT be getting the bikini area lasered. In fact, I am in more danger of getting tasered than lasered again. I can’t imagine that there is much difference between the two.

Bring back cotillion.

March 7, 2011

Last Friday morning, I experienced something rather traumatic. I was rear ended on the freeway – 635 for those of you familiar with Dallas. The traumatic part was not actually being rear ended, but the reaction of the person who hit me was rather shocking.

Missy and I had taken the day off to go to the spa before her wedding day and were in the right lane of 635 eastbound just before the Coit exit en route to the salon. The vehicles in front of me slowed and I was rolling slowly with my foot on the brake. Suddenly, my head bounced off the driver’s seat headrest a couple of times and I heard a loud bang. I was pretty dizzy but I knew I wasn’t hurt, and Missy asked me, “Sweetie, are you okay?” (She’s quicker on the draw than I am.) We had been rear-ended by a 1990’s white Jeep Cherokee, the boxy kind. I pull into the scary side lanes of the freeway and walk back to the female in the car behind me. She starts mouthing something from behind the driver’s window, and when I tell her that we should pull off the freeway because this is unsafe, she repeats herself to me in a nasal, irritated, dismissive voice:

“I don’t have time for this.”

Excuse me? I’m sure I looked just a little more than shocked in addition to being speechless, but she went on. “Look, I don’t have insurance so let me give you my phone number and you can call me with an estimate and I will write you a check.”   This coming from a woman who looks like a combination Jersey Shore cast member/”Amy Winehouse post rehab” look-alike.

Do I really look that stupid?

I begin with, “Yes, I’m okay, thanks for asking. Are you okay?” She (we’ll call her Amy for short)  just gives me a nasty look so I tell her that might be a problem considering the traffic cop tagging speeders on the service road who saw the whole thing. (Missy pointed him out to me from the car.) Amy responded with a bunch of expletives and I went back to my car for my license and registration. When I got back to the car I told Missy that the girl said she didn’t have time for this. Missy’s response was to turn around (in her seat, thank God) and yell, “Well then you shouldn’t have hit us, bitch!” (Like I said, she’s quick on the draw.) I went back to Amy with my DL and insurance card and tried to exchange information. She gave me an ID card (NOT a DL) and a card that said, ‘For an Allstate Instant Access Quote, call 1-866-235-xxxx”. Yes, she tried to convince me that this was her insurance card. When I took her ID card, I noticed that she was my age. 15 days younger to be exact. Her Jeep had dealer paper tags and she started whining to me that this just wasn’t fair, she was trying to take care of some things and just didn’t have the time to get insurance right now. Missy (who was out of the car by now) proudly told me later that my response to her was, “That’s not really my problem”. I was so shocked that I don’t remember saying that. Amy shoved my ID and insurance card back at me without writing anything down and spat, “I’m not going to be RUDE like that, I’m going to just trust you.” (Idiot.)

The whole time I’m jotting down Amy’s information, I can hear Missy behind me giggling. I had no idea what she found so funny but I know that she likes to laugh in inappropriate situations. When I looked up, Missy had one hand over her mouth to hide her laugh and quietly pointed out that the officer had tried to ride his motorcycle up the embankment between the service road (where he was) and the freeway (where we were) but apparently the cycle just didn’t have the horsepower/traction to get up the hill and apparently he repeatedly slid backwards down the hill on his bike. Missy found this incredibly silly and just as I started to giggle she reminded me that finding amusement in the actions of a police officer who might be able to help us was not a bright idea. (She started it.)

The officer finally arrived and took our information (or lack thereof) and then asked me for my current insurance card. I looked at the card I had handed him and it expired last year. Not to worry, I must have grabbed the wrong one. I went back to my car for the current one (that I used two months ago for my inspection) and couldn’t find it anywhere. I was in my car for a bit (hyperventilating) and Missy came and told me that they could look it up on their computer and confirm my insurance. When I get back to our sad little “group” it was clear that Missy had befriended the police officer and even told him that the girl from the other car told us that she didn’t have insurance, which is funny because Amy was also spending time in her car “looking” for her proof of insurance. I can’t really cast stones here, except that I AM insured and the police confirmed my coverage. (Needless to say, I’ve already put a current card back in my car.) As the police officer (who has grown quite chummy with Missy) is showing me his drawing of the accident and what he is going to put in the police report, the girl waltzes up to us and interrupts the officer to announce that she doesn’t need a tow truck, her car is fine. The officer stops his stream of conversation with us briefly and says to her, “Yes, you do” and without pausing, he continues our conversation.

Amy wasn’t done yet. “No I don’t, I’m fine. I’m not even hurt. I don’t need a wrecker.” The officer wasn’t to be distracted. He shot her another quiet “Yes, you do” but she mouthed off again. “I don’t understand, I’m fine, the car is fine, I don’t need a wrecker!”. The cop lost his cool at this point. He tuned to her and said (loudly enough to scare the shit out of me, “You are getting towed. You don’t have a license, you don’t have insurance, and you DON’T have any business on the road. End of discussion.”

He wasn’t even yelling at me but I was petrified. Amy wasn’t. She threw her hands up in the air and in an admirable neck movement considering the recent collision she snottily replied, “Whatever” and sauntered off the other direction (but unfortunately not into oncoming traffic).

The police officer joked with Missy about why she was getting married, told us how to handle things with my insurance company and wished Missy luck on her marriage. He even told us a little story about paying off his car just in time to have it totaled. I was very glad at this point that he liked Missy. Very, very glad. He told us we were free to go and to have a good day. I have finally stopped shaking and we were able to get our pedicures for the wedding after all, which was probably the best thing to do after a wreck.

The thing I just don’t understand was the bitch’s reaction. Who does that? YOU hit ME and you think you have the right to be outlandishly rude? I just assume every time that I leave the house (whether it be plane, train, or automobile) that a situation could occur that slows down my plans. Accidents happen, things go wrong. How would this woman have handled a flat tire? As it is, she probably went to jail. I know for a fact her car was towed. Maybe cooperating with the officer would be a better idea than being a bitch? I would have been quite a bit nicer to her if she hadn’t been so awful. Her behavior didn’t make me want to help her out. I just can’t imagine treating anyone like that, especially if something was my fault, so I am still a little flabbergasted that she was such a massive ass. I guess I just want to think that people in the world a lot nicer than they actually are. What ever happened to people teaching their kids manners? Please, thank youexcuse me, and I’m sorry shouldn’t be so rare anymore, especially to strangers. Being nice is free, you know. Jeez.

Oh. That’s why.

January 20, 2011

So I did go out on Saturday, and I remembered why I am so anxious about it.

I truly am an ass.

There is no way around it. I’m pretty sure I had a good time, but it has been four days and I still can’t bend my legs (shorty can no longer get low) and I still can’t find my black leather jacket, but I don’t really have the balls to ask where it might have gone. Oh yeah, and I have no business doing shots. EVER. But other than that, nobody went to jail or died. That’s the sign of a good night out, no?

The GOOD news is that I got my “first night out” out of the way, so this Saturday, when we go out for my friend Kandice’s birthday, I can use some of the “lessons learned” from last week to make the situation slightly more tolerable for those who might potentially be subjected to my alcohol-laced decisions.

I am SO glad I’m a way better Mom than party girl. I’m pretty sure Harwood will be grateful someday, too.

Why ain’t I social? Or is it just antisocial?

January 16, 2011

Revelations about yourself are both good and bad. Sometimes you know something subconsciously for a while before you are willing to admit it to yourself, especially if it is a shortcoming and if you are using excuses to mask it. I finally realized that I am completely, totally unable to deal with social gatherings that aren’t directly related to family or work. Just “going out” with friends totally freaks me out. I haven’t figured out why yet, but the first step is admitting I have a problem. I have lots of great friends who have asked me to hang out in social settings and I keep turning them down. The few times I have gone out, my nerves get the best of me and I have a few too many cocktails – which, no matter how awesome you are, makes you a jerk.

I have not gone out for awhile in order to figure out the “why” for the anxiety. Maybe it’s because I’m not looking for a date and when I go out,but  I am frequently hit on. Maybe it’s because the men who hit on me are total losers. What signals am I giving off that say “hit on me if you’re a 56-year-old unemployed loser”? Maybe it’s because (for the first time) I’m at the higher end of the age scale. I’ve always had a group of friends who are older than I am so it was easy to be comfortable as “the young one”.  I will admit, though, that when on a date with my ex-husband to meet his best friend,  I should have come up with a better response than, “Oh, you’re Mr. Green!” upon realizing that he had ben a German teacher at my high school. I don’t want to be hit on and I don’t want people in their mid-twenties to judge me because I’m in my mid-thirties. I hate being called a puma or a cougar just because I’m interested in leaving the house for a social activity that isn’t connected to an event for my kid. Sometimes I just want to go out and have a couple of drinks and dance with friends but inevitably, I get completely self-conscious and don’t enjoy the experience at all.

This is a phenomena that I cannot begin to understand, mostly because I’m not shy. I can handle a meeting of two dozen experienced construction managers, I can take presenting to a client for a $280 Million project. I was a performer for years, as well as a debater. There is no logical reason that I should feel so damn anxious about attempting to make myself presentable and going out for a social gathering with other adults. It’s absurd.

Since I can’t figure out an exact “why”, my instincts tell me that if I make the attempt to go out a little more, maybe I will begin to get over it. Maybe I will start to figure out comebacks to the jerks who won’t leave me alone, but mostly I really need to make the effort to just go out more and stop trying to psycho-analyze everything.

So, as does everything in my life, this story has an interesting twist. As I’m sitting in my living room typing out all of my angst for this blog, my best friend Missy comes by to discuss her wedding plans. I didn’t expect her to come by until tomorrow, but that’s what God does. He puts the people in my path that I need to listen to.

As soon as she walked in, I poured out all of my complaints to her, mostly because I’ve agreed to go out tonight with some friends. I’m so freaked out I can hardly explain myself and I’m desperately trying to figure out a way to get out of going. I’m rambling incoherently about how easy it was for me to go out when I was 19 or 20, but it’s so difficult now and Missy says, “Well, you were a girl then and you’re a lady now, so yes, it’s bound to be different.” Oh. My. God. Such a simple sentence, but such a great piece of logic. It is okay to act different now, and I should embrace it, not be afraid of it. She also told me that if I felt that anybody or group was judging me, I should just say “fuck ’em”, ’cause they aren’t worth my time anyway. Have I mentioned I love Missy? Oh, and it’s really handy when your best friend is a therapist who makes house calls when you didn’t even know you needed it. So, I’m about to put down my computer, go make myself look decent, and go have a good time with other adults. I’ll let you know how it goes.

And Missy…thanks. Again. As always.

Careless.

December 16, 2010

Most of you know that I share custody of my son with my ex-h. When my sweet child is away, I have a really, really, really, really bad habit of not taking care of myself, or anything else, at home.

I don’t cook, clean, do laundry, take out the trash, or pick up after myself. If I eat, it’s usually while standing over the sink and eating a few spoonfuls of ranch style beans, or if I’m really feeling energetic, a bowl of cereal.

When I get home from work (usually late), I watch crap TV or play video games. I eat from cans. I belch loudly. I don’t close the bathroom door. I don’t always wear pants. I leave awful little nests as evidence of where I vegged out. I am generally a gross human being.

When my son is home, you’d think I was June Cleaver. I cook, we do homework, we take walks, we don’t watch much TV, and I enforce manners. I make beds, do laundry, make cookies, and put seasonal decor around the house.

I’m trying to take better care of myself. I really am. I’ve made dramatic improvements from the first few times my son was away from me. Back then, I’d spend all my time in the bottle. It’s hard, though. It feels like having multiple personalities. I’ve tried to take better care of myself, but the problem is that when my kiddo is away, I just don’t care about much of anything, least of all myself. It’s almost like I don’t deserve to live nicely.

Lately the extremes have been bugging me and I’ve started doing things like going for walks (and wearing pants, thank God) but I need to work harder on taking better care of myself.

Thanks for your patience with my lack of posts, my head hasn’t been quite right lately. It’s starting to get better though, a little bit at a time.

Booty full.

September 2, 2010

Subjective, subjective, subjective. Appearances (and how we are perceived by others) are completely and totally subjective. There is no magic formula to achieve beauty because there is no singular definition for it. I have known people in my life who were thought of as quite beautiful by others around us, but to me, because of other not-so-flattering qualities, I found them unattractive. There are others who are not widely perceived as being ‘good looking’, but I find they absolutely glow because of more admirable traits than whether or not they are thin or have great boobs. So I’ve wondered, what makes someone beautiful to me?

The first characteristic is kindness. I admire those who are kind to everyone they meet. Early on in my career, I was fortunate enough to have a boss who treated the janitor the same way he treated his senior vice president, and he was respectful to everyone he met. He inspired loyalty and duty by setting a great example. There have been many times in my life where I have been stuck in a situation where the kindness of strangers has truly restored my faith in people. It’s amazing how far a little kindness will go.

Second is humor. For some reason, I fall in love with certain people’s sense of humor. I have discovered, though, that there are several kinds of humor. If I had to classify, I would say that absurd humor is my greatest weakness. By absurd, I mean completely inappropriate, badly timed, slightly off-key, a little dry, and off-the-cuff. I have absolutely no appreciation for mean humor on a regular basis, unless of course that person deserves it. In that instance it’s not mean humor, it’s Karma. 😛

Third, I look at the teeth. Yes, teeth. You can tell a lot about a person by how they take care of their teeth. You can tell whether or not they have good hygiene habits, which is incredibly important to me. You can tell if someone is self-aware, if they make an effort. I don’t mean that only perfectly straight, snow-white teeth are okay, but you can do a lot for yourself with regular use of a toothbrush and a little toothpaste. I find that people who take good care of their teeth also take good care of other things in their life that they find important.

Fourth is acceptance. I don’t understand people who can only support those people who are like themselves. I don’t understand judging someone because they are a different sex, race, religion, have different goals in life, or who they love. I don’t think it’s fair to judge someone by what they drive or what they do for a living. My personal example would be the kind of comments I get from others since I am a single, full-time working mom. I have had acquaintances who are stay-at-home-Moms make snide remarks about how I put my standard of living above my child and how I should have worked harder on my marriage so that I wasn’t in the position I’m in now. I’ve had co-workers say to me that since I made the choice to have children and get divorced that I shouldn’t get any special treatment. How is it okay for any one of those people to judge me? None of them were privy to my marriage and what I went through. None of them have to wake up in the morning and be me. None of them have to face my challenges. They have their own. It’s always easy to solve other people’s problems, but our own seem so much more complicated. If you are going to dislike someone, dislike that person because they are a jerk. Don’t hate them because they go to a different church than you do.

These aren’t the only characteristics I find attractive, but they are the ones that stand out. I didn’t come to these conclusions overnight, they have changed and developed as I have gone through life.  The thing I like best about being in my thirties is learning to accept myself for who I am. I’m a klutzy, excitable, outspoken, day-late-and-a-dollar-short lover of life. I’m short and I have a round booty and I love being a Mom. I’m a mess but I enjoy every day that I’m on this planet. One of the things I feel guilty about is liking my body. I like my curves, I like how I’m shaped. I love having boobs and being a GIRL. From what I read, I’m not supposed to like my body because I’m not thin, but really, I do. I like who I am, inside and out. I sometimes feel guilty for liking my body the way it is and not wanting to be on a perpetual diet. I do want to always grow and change and learn and become a better person every day, but that focus is spiritually and emotionally, not physically. I like the direction I’m going. I’ve done some crappy things in life but I’ve learned from them. I don’t think I would change my life’s experiences because they have shaped me and made me who I am. I don’t ever want to be so satisfied with myself that I resist growth. I want to get better with time.

…and then the fishmonger was rude…

August 17, 2010

Okay, this is going to be a vent blog. I really try not to complain too much, but really, sometimes I just reach the point where I gotta let some stuff out or I’m gonna blow in a really inappropriate moment. Like I did the other day.

I take shit, all day, from pretty much everybody. I take it from my boss, his boss, and his bosses. I take it from IT, from marketing, and from co-workers. I take it at work, I take it from my ex-husband, I take it from my parents, I take it from my kid’s school director. Lately, it seems like I’ve been getting plenty of attitude from anyone who is supposedly employed in a customer service position. I am at the bottom of the totem pole in life and believe me, it gets old. A couple Fridays ago I was tired and ready for the weekend. I picked up my kid after work and went to the supermarket. I tried to get some shrimp from the fishmonger and he wouldn’t give it to me. This has been going on for a few weeks, he always tells me that I need to get shrimp in a frozen package from the freezer section. I tried to explain that the shrimp I wanted was already peeled and de-veined, and the shrimp in the freezer wasn’t. He still wouldn’t give me the damn shrimp – and he was rude about it. The lady next to me in line looked at him incredulously and finally intervened with, “Just give her the fish!”, but no. He had no interest in selling his wares.

That was it. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I completely lost my cool and (to my son’s complete embarassment) began shouting at him and pointing violently. On the plus side, I didn’t curse. On the minus side, I caused quite a commotion, with people coming out of the aisles to see what was going on. I finally shouted loud enough so he reluctantly began tossing shrimp onto the scale, the whole time giving me violent looks. I had asked for two pounds and he gave me 1.67 pounds. I tried to point out that I wanted more but he wasn’t having it. He wrapped my shrimp and practically threw it over the glass at me. Ass.

Then I found the manager. And I complained. Loudly. While pointing. And then I did the thing that completely takes any and all credibility and throws it out the window.

I burst into tears.

There I am, sobbing, upsetting my kid, upsetting the manager, freaking out the other patrons, and desperately needing a kleenex, and all I can do is to tell the poor kid (apparently you can be a grocery manager at 16 these days) that I take grief from everybody else all day and when I come to the store I expect to get what I asked for, not a bunch of lip.

I was assured repeatedly that someone would speak to him about his attitude and the manager apologized profusely. Later, Harwood begged me never to get that upset in public again. “It’s embarassing, Mom, ” he said, “and everybody kept looking at us.”

So I guess the moral of the story is if you’re a fishmonger and you make me mad, you better lookout.

The “Bitch” Factor

May 5, 2010

I can be a really sarcastic bitch in my own head. The things I think to myself (my inner dialogue) would probably astound most people at how harsh I can be. I work hard to portray a different side, a more decorous side if you will, to the general public.

For example, recently my cell phone quit working. The caller on the other end could hear me, but I couldn’t hear them. I have cell phone insurance for just such an occasion so I took my phone to the nearest (ha) service center. The customer service rep took my phone and said to come back in an hour. Okay… so I ran another errand and came back to the shop. Upon presenting my ticket, the *different* customer service rep says, “Yeah, your phone is broken.” and stares at me for a good ten seconds. 

“What now?” I ask.

CS rep: “Do you want us to fix it?”

“Yes, that is why I brought it in here in the first place.”

“Okay, we can replace your phone with a refurbished phone.”

“Great.”

“Can you come back in a couple of hours?”

Me in irritated, tired-of-crappy-customer-service voice: “No, not really. I have my five-year-old with me and it’s dinner time and we really need to get home. Besides, according to your sign on the door, you will be closed in less than two hours.”

CS rep, looking at sign, “Ha ha. Oh yeah. Okay then, can you wait a few minutes?”

Thirty minutes later I’m out the door with a refurbished phone. What I don’t understand is why the CS rep couldn’t have just fixed my phone right away. I think to myself that I must not understand their process or something. Maybe it was just a bad day at the shop. Or so I thought.

Later that night, my phone rings and as I flip it open to see who is calling, the screen goes crazy with what looks like “TV fuzz.” No matter how many times I flip it open, I can’t see anything on the screen. Great. I shut it down and restart it. No improvement. The next day after work, I go back to the CS department at the shop. An entirely new CS rep opens my phone and voila, the screen is perfect. They couldn’t get it to replicate the problem at all. Then they insinuated that I was just out to get a new phone instead of a refurbished phone. Then they pressured me to purchase a new model entirely. I’ve only had my original phone for about 15 months, so no, I’m not going to blow $300+ on an unnecessary phone. However, since they can’t replicate the problem, they give me back the phone and tell me to bring it back when it’s really broken. No sooner do I get down the road and I try to make a phone call than the problem happens again. I make an immediate u-turn and head back to the store. I give them the phone , they open it, there is nothing but static. And the CS rep asks me, “Does this happen every time, or does it work most of the time?” I could feel the ire mounting within me, and I tried to reason with them. Long story short, they basically didn’t want to fix it. This is when I finally stopped being nice and lost my temper. Here is what ensures.

Me: “Look, you might mistake my polite demeanor with stupidity, but mostly it’s me trying not to make your day suck worse than it already does. Customer service is not an easy job so I thought if I was a polite customer, you would actually help me. Obviously that is not the case. So here is the deal: I’m a good customer. I don’t want to spend $300 on a new phone. I pay $7.95 a month to your employer so that if my phone doesn’t work properly, you will fix it. So I expect you to do whatever you need to do to FIX. IT. NOW.”

CS rep: “Well I’m sorry ma’am, but we don’t have this model of phone in stock.”

Me: *sigh* “Okay, what is our next option?”

CS rep: “I mean, we could order one, but that is going to take at least a couple of days. I mean, you could buy a new one and get it a lot faster and easier.”

Me: “Faster and easier for whom? You? Please do your job and ORDER. THE. PHONE.”

CS rep: (in a skeptical voice) “Okay, ma’am, but it is going to take a couple of days, and there is a lot of paperwork, and you said you wanted it fixed now.”

Me: “Just order the phone.”

CS rep: “Oh-kay” (in a really obnoxious, sing-songy voice.)

They advise me to come back on Thursday to pick up my new phone. Well, I wasn’t able to make it back into the shop until Friday at lunch. So I show up and wait in line and ask for my new phone from, again, an entirely NEW CS rep – how many of them are there? They are like freaking ants!! The CS rep informs me that they just got the shipment of phones in and it’s going to take a few hours to sort through the boxes and find my phone, then complete the paperwork, then another half hour to transfer all my contacts to my new phone. He asks me to come back in a couple of hours.

So now I am forced to my last resort, The “Bitch” Factor. I was trying to be nice, trying to be patient, trying to follow protocol. Now I realize that by being nice, I’m just asking to be SCREWED. Nothing makes me madder than someone using my politeness to screw me. I totally lost my cool. This is what I said in a really loud, want-to-call-attention-to this-idiot-and-his-inept-ability-to-do-his-job type of voice:

“Look. I’ve been here FOUR TIMES in the past WEEK. Your department has INSULTED ME, STALLED on fixing my BROKEN phone that is INSURED, and generally provided SHODDY customer service. I have tried to be NICE and PATIENT, but CLEARLY that is getting me NOWHERE. Your rep told me that my phone would be ready YESTERDAY. I AM GETTING ON A PLANE IN TWO HOURS AND I EXPECT TO HAVE A WORKING PHONE IN MY HAND IN TEN MINUTES OR TODAY IS GOING TO BE VERY UNPLEASANT FOR EVERYONE IN THIS SHOP. PLEASE unpack my phone and prepare it LIKE YOU SAID YOU WOULD.”

The dude behind the counter looks completely taken back and says shakily that he will see what he can do. I walked out of the shop less than 15 minutes later with a working cell phone and all of my contacts programmed just like I had them originally. Now I ask you, how hard was that? Why did I have to pull the “Bitch” card to get what I wanted? I don’t like being mean and rude to people like that, so when someone pushes me to that point, I get really upset. I don’t understand it. I just don’t understand.

Mud Run

April 14, 2010
Site note: Okay, no more "F" words in this one. 
I got them all out in the last entry.Sorry about that.

Let’s just say that to call it a mud “run” is speaking loosely because I only ran about half of it. It’s kind of hard to run when you have several extra pounds of water and mud in each COMBAT BOOT.

Let’s begin again. I’m an idiot. I don’t know what part of “course FOR Marines designed BY Marines” I didn’t understand, but suffice it to say I got a little bit too excited about the mud part. Jeez.

If you have read my entry “Cammo Toe”, you know how traumatic things started out. Little did I know that finding pants was going to be the fun part. Running in combat boots sucks. Running in combat boots that you haven’t broken in sucks worse. I started off the day with nail polish nicely covering all ten toes. By the end of the day, I had polish left on about two and a half of them. I started the day with two socks under the boots and a neoprene knee brace. I ended the race with a wadded up sock in the toe of each boot and neoprene halfway wrapped around my right foot. I have the worst blisters I ever had, the bruises are disgusting and it looks like I caught a bowling ball between my knees. To top it all off, somehow I am the only person at the race who managed to get a sunburn on a cloudy day.

Of course, this is the bad stuff. I’m comparing it to the half marathon I just ran. The Half was a spiritual experience, I really came away from it feeling like a better person. I came away from the mud run making up words that shouldn’t be spoken around anyone who fears God. The first freaking obstacle was such a shock to my senses that I didn’t recover. I just went numb. The rancid smell, grass, rocks, silt, and who knows what else rubbing against my skin inside my pants was worse than getting an exfoliation treatment at a walk-in nail spa. I got silty water in my contacts, I got even worse stuff in my mouth but I’m not willing to mentally consider what it was. I’m not a spitter but I spat more during those 6+ miles than I have in my entire life. I got dehydrated, my vertigo took over, and I nearly had a panic attack. Those are the good things.

Actually, my team was fantastic. The team captain is a really good natured guy and his whole family was at the event supporting us. One of the team members is a triathlete and she is already planning her next Mud Run. My buddy from an old job (who is also in fantastic shape) had a great time, too. I was definitely the weak link. They all finished long before I did and they were kind enough to wait for me at the end of the course so we could all cross the finish line together. Nobody said anything mean, they were patient and supportive and showed me what being a good teammate is all about. It was exceedingly sportsmanlike of them. So while it was a hard day, it was not a wasted day.

I learned a LOT about my limits on Sunday. I am looking forward to training for another half marathon. I love to run when I can wear running shoes and listen to music. I love being active and being a part of a team. I learned to appreciate and respect those in the military more than I already do, the physical limits that they master are amazing. I admire that people challenge themselves like that. I AM actually glad I did it. But the next time I want to go play in the mud, I’ll get a hose and go play in the yard.