it happens in 3s

I’ve always heard things happen in 3s.  Unfortunately, those three things couldn’t be winning the lottery, finding oil and/or gold in our backyard or having a soft serve ice cream machine installed in our kitchen.   Nope.  None of those.

This week our AC unit went on the blink and needed a very expensive shot of Freon.  I don’t know what Freon is or does, but so long as it keeps me cool and not in a puddle of sweat, I’ll assume we needed it.

Today, the washer died.   Of course, it chose to do so while in the midst of washing my kid’s clothes. Which were full of sudsy soap.  Do you have any idea how many cups are in a washing machine full of water?  TOO FREAKIN’ MANY.   I ended up having to bail out the washer and the only device that could fit past the agitator was my 2C measuring cup. One trip to Lowes and $746 later, I am the proud owner of a new washer.  To be delivered on Friday. Next Friday.  Meanwhile I have a mountain of dirty laundry.

My dad always said “don’t borrow trouble”.  A wise man was he.

I shudder to think what third ‘thing’ is lurking on the horizon for us.

I’ll keep you posted.

first world problems and my need to break for spring

Lately it seems I’m deluged by everyone’s first world problems.  What is a first world problem you ask?  Good question.  I’m not sure if it’s an actual phrase or if I just made it up.  To me a first world problem is a problem that isn’t really a problem.  For example… my Mercedes doesn’t really get good gas mileage.  (not MY Mercedes… I drive a car from the last century).  Or this one… I couldn’t simply squeeze 9 holes of golf in today because I was too busy drinking champagne on my yacht.  Or my favorite (stolen from Chandler Bing) My wallet is too small for fifties and my diamond shoes are too tight.

You get the drift.

I have been running non stop between work, and having a child (who is now standing in a field with a glove covering his face playing tee ball) trying to please and meet everyone’s needs.  In the process I’ve become tired, run down and sick with allergy crud.  It’s not pretty.  So when someone tells me they simply can’t help me because they have to play racquetball after work,  it doesn’t go over well.

The details aren’t important, I’m just getting sick of first world problems.  I’m guilty of it too.  My “problems” compared to those in the world experiencing true turmoil and pain seem pretty white bread.  Do I buy the Merlot which is on sale or do I splurge on the Sauvignon Blanc? Hmm… what to do?  What do do?   However, I try my best to be appreciative of what I have and at least I REALIZE most of my laments are first world problems.   Those deluging me with theirs do not.   And every once in a while I’d like to scream in their face “There are children in countries wearing plastic pop bottles tied to their feet instead of shoes….. I don’t really care if you are going to miss yoga class!”   But I digress and swallow it for another day.

So why do I need to break for Spring?

Because we’ve gone for 11 straight weeks without so much as an early release day.  We are in the midst of making up 3 “snow” days which means any “break” that was scheduled for us was replaced by a full school day.  The children (and teachers) are hanging on by their toenails until Spring Break (which begins Monday).  Everyone is on edge, is bitchy and is full of first world problems.  For example,  if I have to yell at one more child to get their finger out of their nose, or to get their head off a desk, I will surely lose it.  I’m fried, cooked, done, burnt…. we all are.   It’s time for the darlings to go home to people who love them, or at least feed them.

I’m tired of being everyone’s mama.  I haven’t even had time to get a pedicure.

Such a first world problem, I know.

the times to remember

I love Billy Joel.   One of his lyrics rings perfectly true for me today

This is the time to remember
Cause it will not last forever.
These are the days to hold onto
Cause we won’t although we’ll want to.
This is the time, but time is going to change.

Why so sentimental you ask?  I went to my son’s first tee ball game today.  I felt like a documentarian, recording every move made on and off the field. (but, in 4 year old tee ball there is a lot of sitting, playing in dirt, putting the glove over one’s face and catching butterflies….).

Today I began what I hope is a lot of years of supporting my kid in his extracurricular endeavors, whatever they may be.

I cannot stand to hear parents complain about being a parent.  I simply walk away from people who gripe and complain about all of the ‘things’ they are obligated to do for their child, like sitting on a baseball, soccer or football field for hours on end.

I choose to think of such things as opportunities.  They are chances to savor and breathe in my child; chances to see him grow and thrive.  Chances to capture the very essence of his childhood.  Because one day he will grow up and leave the nest.  Because there are lots of people, like my dad, who will never get the chance to see him play and grow.

I never thought I would love being a parent so much.

My child is my heart.   And today my heart feels like it will burst.

Peace.

 

 

things I learned this week

It’s Saturday.  Thank God.  I learned a lot over the span of this VERY LONG week.  In no particular order, here are things I have added to my file of “good to know”

1.  Lawyers are basically an older, more expensive form of elementary school teachers.  This week I went with my mother to a deposition she was summoned to.  Neither of us had ever been to one.  She was being deposed (is that a word?) because she was the star eye witness in a fatal accident that happened a year and a half ago.  I know.  Like she needed more drama in her life after finding her husband (my father) floating face down after his apparent heart attack and subsequent drowning.  Yep.  We needed this.  However, for some reason, she was put front and center to witness a fatal pedestrian/truck accident.  The family of the deceased is suing the truck company and all involved needed my mother’s account.

So off to the law firm we went, not quite knowing what to expect.  The attorney for the defense was pleasant and kind.  The attorney for the plaintiff, not so much.  He badgered my mother so badly at one point I wanted to leap across the conference table and shake the gold Rolex off him.  But that would be wrong.  Especially in a room full of lawyers.  And a video camera.  So I refrained.

What I did glean from this experience is that lawyers essentially do what I do as a teacher except they use bigger words and get paid more.  As I sat there listening to the legal equivalent of a shark plaintiff’s attorney grill my mother, I realized that he sounded a lot like me when I have to ascertain just WHO exactly left soap on the floor in the boys’ bathroom, or when I’m sorting out who poked who with a pencil, or my favorite, when I have to summon several ‘eye witnesses’ from the playground to piece together a timeline leading to who blocked the slide.   Yep, it’s pretty much the same, except I don’t have any assistants and I get paid a WHOLE lot less.

 

2.  I should not watch Disney movies.   I caved.  I told my kid we’d watch Frozen.  Hell, we’ve been half ass singing the song for weeks now (the few lyrics we actually could remember).  Since he and I were having quality time (read- dad was at a Fantasy Baseball draft) he and I popped popcorn and rented Frozen.  Keep in mind he is three. He did rather well considering he has an attention span of a fruit fly.   I became way too invested in the relationships between Elsa, Anna and Kristoff (which means nothing to you if you haven’t watched it).   By the end I was a wreck, discreetly going to the kitchen to get more tissues.   Don’t even get me started on Toy Story 3 (although that was a Pixar movie, right?)  After watching that emotional roller coaster I was hell bent on keeping my kid home with me for the rest of my life, never letting him go off to college.

3. Medication is not always a bad thing.  As I entered my 40s, I realized that for years I’ve had anxiety.  I never knew quite what to call it or how to put my finger on it.  Now that I’m another decade older (and don’t really give a shit what people think about me) I realized that I need help when it comes to the getting your life in order department.  I am a very orderly, reasonable person6, but my make up is just one that is riddled with anxiety.  All my life I’ve been called a ‘worrier’  or a ‘perfectionist’.  Yes, I might be those things but I’ve come to know that I am essentially a very anxious person.  No, I don’t go around afraid all the time, breathing into paper bags, on the cusp of hyperventilation; but I am just a sensitive, thoughtful person who thinks.  A lot.    This week I tried to kick my meds because I felt they were causing undue weight gain.  Not a great idea.

4.  I love my kid more than anything and I hate being a working mother.  (disclaimer… I don’t think I could be a full time stay at home mom either).  This week when I dropped my kid at daycare he bid me a “good day at work” with the most pitiful face.  Ever.  I managed to get to the car where I proceeded to sob.  Uncontrollably.  I imagined that my son was somehow being emotionally damaged by sitting in a room of his friends doing crafts, listening to stories, dancing, singing songs and learning skills taught by the most invested, caring teacher I’ve ever seen.  Yes, I convinced myself that I had left him in the equivalent of a locked attic where he gets his food delivered to him through a slot in the door.

However, I don’t think I could be a stay at home mom.  I commend those who do it day in and day out.  I don’t think I’m built for that.

5.  I know nothing about Star Wars.  I am possibly the only person on planet Earth who has not seen Star Wars movies.  Strike that.  When I dated my ex boyfriend years ago, he made me sit through the first installment in the “new” Star Wars (whatever that was called) back in 2000.  I fell asleep, but technically I was there.   My husband and my son are Star Wars aficionados.   At the tender age of three, my kid knows almost all the Star Wars characters and owns three light sabers. *sigh*  Clearly I have some homework to do.

6. This week I learned (again) how short life is.  In the span of a week I’ve had 3 friends whose loved ones have died.  Enough said.

7. I learned this week that I am a great fan of status quo and flying under the radar.  I love it when I can just quietly go about my daily business without incident.  Drama is my kryptonite.

8. I learned this week that we are not immune to disaster.  It seems that all we have had for the past two years is a black cloud follow us around.  Between illness, death, ex wife and unruly child issues, it has been a year of learning and acceptance. In many, many ways.  This week, while I thought maybe we were experiencing a short reprieve from worry, my husband had another health scare.   It never ends, does it?

9.  This week I learned that I can’t sleep in anymore.  This morning I woke at 8:30am.  To most, this is not sleeping in.  To me, who wakes each day at 5:36am on the dot, it is sleeping in.   But when I wake at that time, or past that time, I feel out of touch and hung over.  Clearly, my days of laying in bed until I couldn’t stand the sunlight shining in my face anymore (or I had to pee) are over.  Long gone.

10.  I learned this week to once again prioritize.  I put down my computer when my kid asked me to play light sabers.  I took him for a milkshake when I could have been cleaning the house.  My kid is my priority.  He is my life.  And some day, one day, he will shut me out and think I’m an idiot.  This week I remembered to savor him.  I breathed in every drop of his three year old-ness, good and bad.  Time is precious and it’s slippin’ away.

There is lots left to learn, but this is the week as it was.  For me.

we won!

In my household, we don’t win anything.  Really.  We don’t.  In fact, in my whole life I think I’ve won exactly 2 things.  A poster contest when I was in grade 5 and a raffle drawing at a teacher workshop.  I won a child’s chair for a play room (I didn’t have kids at the time) that another teacher, who was a bossy old grandmother, guilted me into giving her.

I simply don’t win stuff.

Until today.

When I got home, the answering machine was beeping.  In my  house this means one of two things.  1. Someone wants money or needs to be bailed out of some mess they’ve gotten themselves in   and 2. Someone died.

With extreme trepidation I pressed play.

It was a lovely lady named Diane telling me to call her back because I’d won a trip.

Ok.

Hmmmm.

What sort of scam is this, I wondered to myself.  I’ve already received emails inviting me to order a mail order bride (no thanks), begging me to help doomed relatives in Nigeria. (um, nope, sorry) and a plethora of alarming notices that bank accounts I don’t even own have been hacked.

So obviously, this Diane person was either crazy, a mail order bride, or Nigerian.  Or perhaps a crazy, Nigerian mail order bride.

I decided to call Diane back.

I got Suzanne.  What, they change their names that quickly?

Suzanne informed me that she was actually looking for my husband (oh God, what did he do  now?) because his name was drawn at the local home and garden show we attended last Sunday.  He won a trip for 2 to a time share in Williamsburg, VA.

Now, as glamorous as Williamsburg may be (NOT) I must say I was impressed that the luck of the Irish was with us, albeit 2 days late.  And a few dollars short.  However, as I stayed on the phone with Suzanne (who, by the way, is a retired grandmother with 5 grandkids in California, one of whom is autistic and afraid of the computer…. I tend to be a sucker for human interest stories with strange telemarketers, when I’m not telling them off that is)  I realized there were a few strings attached to our big win.

First, since it is a time share offer, my husband and I have to endure a 90 minute tour of the ‘resort’.  It’s Williamsburg.  There are no resorts.  It’s a condo complex. (but who am I to judge?)  Seems harmless enough.   I did the same thing once (went on a time share condo tour) on spring break just to score free tickets to Disney World.  It was painfully obvious that my 24 year old self, dressed in a GAP tank top, seated among a bevy of senior citizens in a resort trolley was not going to purchase a half million dollar condo in Florida.  However, I politely listened to the sales pitch and then bolted out to go on Pirates of the Caribbean.

After staying on the line with Suzanne the sales agent, I managed to book our getaway.   Our 4 hour getaway to Williamsburg. Virginia.  With our 3 year old.

Free is free.

*sigh*

karma…a one way street?

It would appear that in my world, karma is a one way street.  It seems it is a street that boomerangs right back to me and no one else.
I’ve always been led to believe that deeds, good and bad, come back to you in one way or another. For the most part, I attempt to do good, but I am human. I slip. I fall. I say things I shouldn’t.  Often, my bark is much worse than my bite.  My temper is often short because my quota for ineptitude is, well, very small.

And, for those times I’ve slipped up, it would seem any negative energy I’ve contributed to the universe has come full tilt back to me, slapping me squarely on the forehead, much like those annoying V-8 commercials.  In other words, bad karma always finds me.  Good karma I’ve yet to see make a full-fledged appearance.

My query is this… why does it seem that I am the only one that karma seems to bite in the ass?  People piss me off all the time.  People are rude to me, discourteous, ungrateful, unhelpful.  But they seem to skippity do-dah their way through life, untouched by any residual boomerang-ing karmetic (is that a word?) energy.   I, on the other hand, seem to get a double dose of whatever I deal out.  Karma doesn’t cut me any breaks.

I marvel at others who seemingly sail through life, golden, untouched by strife, bad luck or hardship. Of course, appearances can be deceiving; but the people I’m talking about appear truly stress free.  They zip through life while I seem to be behind them with a broom and dust pan sweeping up any fairy dust they’ve spilled.    What are they doing right that I am doing wrong?  I’ve thought about perspective.  I thought maybe that I’m imagining all of this, always seeing the glass half empty.  But no, my research would show that  I am indeed a statistic, or a line in an Alanis Morrisette song.  Isn’t it ironic?  Don’t ya think?.  You know, the person who speeds ONE time and gets caught?   The person who always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  A day late and a dollar short.  Forget buying lottery tickets. It’s a joke.

The division of labour in my household is sorely unbalanced.  That’s not new information.  No matter how many “I” statements I use, hinting around or coming right out and requesting help, the bulk of running the ship rests squarely on my shoulders.  It is a sad reality, one that never seems to come back to bite the ungrateful.   To stop “doing” would be detrimental to my mental health.  The mess would pile up and the point would be lost.  Unfortunately I managed to mate with the one person on earth who could out wait and outlast a nuclear winter.   Stubbornness knows no bounds with this one.

Could some heat seeking karma missile ever be launched in the direction of those whose butt cheeks remain firmly planted on the couch?  I wonder.  I truly, truly wonder if one day lack of gratitude and initiative will ever come back to bite that super glued posterior.

Hmmmm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

a danger to myself

Ever had one of those days where everything you touch just doesn’t go your way?

Today is one of those days.

I sit here typing, downing a beer, reflecting on the absurd comedy of errors I’d like to call Saturday.  Thank God it’s almost over.

It started out like most Saturdays do.  Coffee, breakfast, endless cartoons on Nick Jr.  The sun poked out, husband woke up and I was free to go do my errands.
I drove to Wal Mart (where we buy most of our groceries).  I got a rock star parking spot (close to the door).  I got a cart that didn’t wobble or squeak. There were a few early birds, like myself there.   I should have known it was too good to be true.

I effortlessly wheeled around the store, picking up a few items for the week ahead.  Proud of myself that I managed to decline the decorative outdoor throw pillows, I scooted over to produce to pick up ingredients for salad week.  (side note- husband and I are on a weight loss kick.  Of which I am not really kicking at the moment)

I even found a fairly short line at the check out.

And then it happened.

The lovely cashier rang me up, bagged my goods and gave me my total.  I slid my debit card in the machine.

Declined.

WHAT?

Ok, let’s try it a different way.

Declined.

WHAT?

Maybe it’s just the card. Why not try punching it in by hand?

Declined.

WHAT?

By now, the growing line of people behind me began to raise judgmental eyebrows while simultaneously shooting dirty looks in my direction.

We have an ATM over there (cashier motions to the in-store bank). I’ll suspend your order while you go grab the cash.

Perfect!

I reach the ATM.

Card declined.

WHAT???????

I get on the phone.  With the bank (who shall remain nameless… FIRST CITIZENS….. YOU BASTARDS).  After pressing exactly 42 buttons to get a human who speaks English, I was told my wait would be approximately 18 minutes.  But they value my call.

Bastards.

So I call my husband on his cell (he’s home, by the way)

No answer.

I call the land line at the house.  No answer.

At this point I’d settle for my three year old answering the phone.

NO ONE IS BLOODY ANSWERING THE BLOODY BLEEPING PHONE.

I hustle back over to the cashier.

By this point, customers are burning holes in my head, their eyeball lasers branding me a loser who mismanages money.

I made sure (in a rather loud and dramatic voice) I mentioned to the cashier that there IS money in the account (I double checked on my phone and even transferred money over just incase)    It didn’t seem to convince any of the townsfolk and their pitchfork eyes.  All we needed was some lit torches and a post to tie me to and I’m sure a public stoning would have ensued.

After failing to contact anyone I’m related to to come bail me out, failure to speak to a human at the bank customer care line and failure to use my debit card, I left, tail between my legs, frozen foods melting in the cart I was forced to abandon at register #11, with Marge, the somewhat sympathetic cashier lady.

I raced home, all the while on the phone with elevator music, the bank valuing my patience (or lack thereof) waiting for a customer care representative to come to my rescue.

Finally, I got a very nice girl named Megan.

Megan explained to me that my card had been compromised at another large American chain store (MICHAELS …YOU CRAFTING BASTARDS) and any bank card used from my bank during a certain time period was flagged as potentially compromised and subsequently subject to deactivation.

hmmmm.

I should have gotten a letter about this.

hmmmmm.

Well, I did get a letter and a new card about a month ago.  Figuring it was a replacement card because my current card was soon to expire, I tossed it in my bill basket, ready to activate it later.  Sure, there was something in the letter about compromised cards, but it was so vague that I assumed it didn’t apply to me.

That was a MONTH ago.  I just used my current debit card last week without a problem.

How the hell was I supposed to know the bank would choose to deactivate it for security purposes THE FREAKING MORNING I WANT TO GO GROCERY SHOPPING???????

Megan, the lovely customer service rep activated my new card for me and assured me all was right with the world.  My frantic, neurotic story left her howling on the other end of the line, so I guess the problem was fixed.

I returned to the scene of the crime (leaving frozen foods to melt is a crime to me)

Of course, when you’re in a hurry, NO ONE seems to move fast enough and EVERYONE is in your way.  You name it, it was in my way.  Old ladies in wheelchairs. Fat people on scooters.  Screaming children throwing tantrums in the middle of aisles.

I whipped around the store as fast as I could, recreating my first shopping experience.  In record time I managed to pick up all of my items AND I managed not to run into Marge, the friendly yet judgmental cashier working at register #11.

While in line, I noticed something purple dripping on my shoe. WTF?  I didn’t have anything purple and/or frozen in my cart.  And now I have some sort of mysterious purple juice on my shoe.

By this point, I am so desperate to leave the store, I ignored the mystery slime, paid for my purchases (with cash I got from the ATM WITH MY NEW CARD) bid the cashier a good day and bolted for the car.

And then I went to Dunkin Donuts.

After this morning of hell I deserved an Oreo Mint crème donut.   (Which, by the way, is counteracted by the salad I was planning on having for lunch)

The rest of the day muddled on.  I dropped stuff. I broke stuff.  I snapped at my kid and my husband.  The pork chops didn’t thaw in time for supper.

Oh, and I think I butt dialed the mother of a classmate of my son’s while I was ranting and raving about my debit card fiasco.  I’m sure she heard the whole F-bomb laden rant I delivered as I vented about the embarrassment of being mistaken for a delinquent welfare check abuser at Wal Mart.

*sigh*

And here I sit, drinking a beer.

Hoping the day will end soon before I can do any more damage to myself.

breathing room

I did it.
Yep, I did it.
I did something for myself.

You always hear about how mothers need to take time for themselves, to reboot, to breathe.  Well, when you have a demanding full time job, a demanding three year old and a house to keep, it’s not always easy to find time to take care of yourself.  The path to my treadmill is paved with good intentions.

I tried to de-stress by attending a singing bowls presentation at a local yoga studio.  The premise behind the bowls is that vibrations from them (and several gongs) help heal and de-stress you.  I know. I didn’t understand it either. But as a favor to my mother (who attends this studio regularly) I gave it a try.

Now, I’m not a yoga person. No matter how hard I try to believe I am, I am not.  I simply cannot lay on a floor or contort my body while remembering how to breathe.  I can’t do it.  As I lay on the floor I’m thinking about all the valuable time I’m wasting by laying on the floor when I could be grocery shopping, cleaning a house, doing school work etc etc.  Although I’m a teacher, I do not respond well to instruction.  I can’t handle someone telling me to breathe along with left/right directions with my body.  It’s like a Twister game from hell.  So, I don’t do yoga.

But, I thought I’d try the bowl presentation.  Basically, you lay on a floor while listening to a series of metal bowls and gongs being hit.  Throw in a few wind chimes and you’re supposed to be totally relaxed.

Here is how my ‘singing bowl’ experience went…. (this is what was running through my mind as I lay there trying to get the most out of the experience)

“Is that a dead cricket up in that light fixture?”
“who just farted?”
“It would be really funny if the instructor dropped the bowl on someone”
“do you think anyone would notice if I snuck out and got my phone?”
“I think milk is on sale at WalGreens”
“I’d rather be playing Scrabble”
“I paid $15.00 for this???”
“this woman just made $260/hour by banging on a a bunch of bowls and gongs
“where can I get me some bowls to bang on?”

As you can probably guess, I did not receive the healing powers of the bowls. I left more agitated than I had arrived because A) I just wasted an hour of my time listening to a gong show  and B) I paid $15 to listen to said gong show.

Obviously, I needed to try another avenue to reboot myself.

I muddled on through the next two weeks, schlepping to work, doing daycare drop off, making meals, sorting laundry.  Walking by the treadmill. You know, the usual.

Until this past Monday. I made the executive decision to take Friday off.

I decided to give myself the luxury of a three day weekend.  As a teacher this is no easy feat.  You must prepare dummy proof lesson plans. It’s basically like leaving a huge ass note for a baby sitter.  Even though I know that student A will freak out if he doesn’t have his meds at 12:00pm  on the dot, a sub does not know that. You have to leave meticulous notes. If you are worth your salt as a teacher, that is.  If you don’t give a shit, it’s much easier. However, I give a shit.

So, I did it, I prepared, and here I sit, on a Friday, clacking away at a keyboard, pounding out a post, doing something that I want to do today. I know, it’s wrong. It’s selfish.  However, I totally support the idea that saving your mental health is worth a random day off.  (PS- I dragged my sinus infected body into work for 2 weeks this year without so much as being a minute late or calling a sub….)
I for went (is that a word?) cleaning out closets (something I normally do when I take a day off…) in favor of drinking coffee, blogging and watching my guilty pleasure tv shows. I sent my kid to daycare (I know, I am the worst mother ever)  But in my defense, I sent him to school fully equipped for crazy hat and sock day.  I spent half the night sticking googley eyes and pipe cleaners on an old ball cap just so my kid could have a crazy hat to wear for this special hat day his class is having.

I plan to spend the day as selfishly as possible.  I will get an uninterrupted shower that will last more than 5 minutes.  I will clean my kitchen floor without anyone dirtying it 5 minutes later.  I will read a chapter in a book that is not Dr. Seuss.  I will paint my toenails and sip hot coffee, not coffee that is lukewarm because I had to leave it in favor of solving the latest three year old emergency.  I will actually savor and chew my food instead of gulping it down because I have to schlepp kids off to recess or music class. I will pee whenever I want. (If you are a teacher, you understand this).

Today, I will give myself breathing room.

let it go

The next person who tells me to ‘let it go’ is going to get their face punched in.  I can’t even bring myself to listen to that stupid Disney song (of the same name) because it contains the one phrase I despise more than anything else… “let it go”.

I agree that one should not let petty matters eat them up.  If you want to call that ‘letting stuff go’, be my guest.  I do have priorities and common sense, just incase you think I’m a walking time bomb twisted up  by my own displeasure of small annoyances.  I’m not.  I do realize that you have to pick your battles.

But there are some things that I just can’t let go, and being told to do so feels like a slap in the face.  It feels like the person telling me to free myself is diminishing my feelings.

Here are some things I refuse to let go.

1. The laundry that sits unfolded for days on end.  I wash it. I dry it. And if you haven’t noticed, I have a full time job and a three year old.  And apparently I am the only one who possesses the magical power of seeing 2 huge laundry baskets filled with laundry waiting to be folded. The baskets that sit at the door of our bedroom. That you have walked by half a dozen times on your way to take a shower, a shit and a shave.   Pitch in.  For the love of God. Pitch in.

2. Grown adults who use apostrophes to pluralize words.  It’s WRONG. PLAIN WRONG.   I drive by a sign every morning on my way to work that advertises canoe’s for rent.  Really?  What possessions of the canoe are for rent?  There are so many more examples.  Don’t get me started.

3.  Parents who send their children to school and to me (the teacher) filthy, smelling of urine and cigarette smoke without the basic essentials they need, and then want to get all up in my shit over the quality of instruction I provide.  Don’t give me that crap that you’re doing the best you can.  You’re not. If you can afford cigarettes, you can afford soap and water.  Give a shit, show up for a parent conference, feed, clothe and wash your kid.  Oh yeah, and while you’re at it, get off Facebook and read to your kid and maybe check their homework. End of story.

4. People who don’t use signal lights while driving.  It’s illegal. (probably…. well, I’ll assume it is for argument’s sake).  I don’t have a fucking crystal ball.  You’re going to cause an accident.  News flash… it’s not all about you on the road.  Most people really appreciate a little notice before you come to screeching halt to make that 90 degree turn.  Off a major highway.  Learn how to drive.

5.  Walking with your outside shoes on (a big no-no in my house) on the floor I just spent time on my hands and knees cleaning.  Don’t plead ignorance.  Did the fragrance of Mr. Clean evade you?  You’re thoughtless.   Another 15 minutes of my life I can’t get back.  Thanks.

6. People who let their dogs off their leashes on a public beach.  THE SIGNS AND THE LAW CLEARLY STATE KEEP YOUR DOG ON A LEASH.  Don’t give me the crap line of “I’m just letting him run…”.  Let your dog run at a dog park or designated area to do so.  Some people don’t enjoy having strange dogs run up to them and jump on them.  Not everyone is a ‘dog’ person and should not be persecuted for their fear/dislike of canines.   When you tell me “oh, he won’t hurt you”, it makes me want to hurt YOU. So stop it.

These are just a few things off the top of my head.  There are more, but why bother?

No, I do not need an anger management class.  No, I do not have high blood pressure.  Yes, I realize there are people dying, children starving and problems of greater importance in the world.  I get it.  I really do.

My point is by telling me to let go of things like this is to tell me I don’t count, that laws and the onus of common decency apply only to me.
And that, dear reader, is why I will punch the next person who tells me to let it go. (or at least imagine that I’m doing so)

on doing the right thing….

A couple of Christmases ago I flew, rather than suffer a 10+ hour car ride, with my 20 month old to visit my in-laws.  My husband had driven ahead of me, and since my son was still able to ride for free on my lap, we decided flying was our best option for me and the kiddo to get to our destination.

We left a small local airport on an airline that shall remain nameless… (ok, who am I kidding, it was U.S AIRWAYS… THE BASTARDS… U.  S.   FREAKIN  AIRWAYS….pause for effect).  Having flown with my son before without incident, I figured I had this one in the bag.  WRONG.  From the moment we stepped onto the tin can of death with a propeller plane he screamed his head off.  I felt like screaming my head off too, after all I was going to visit my in-laws (but that’s another post for another time) but I somehow managed to wrangle the screaming greased pig that wriggled on my lap until we got to our first airport.  Yes, you read correctly… FIRST airport.  We had to change planes.

By the time we got to our first stop, on the airline that shall remain nameless (U.S FREAKING AIRWAYS YOU BASTARDS), it was pouring rain.  I mean TORRENTIAL pouring rain.  Since we were on a puddle jumper (literally at this point) we deplaned on the tarmac.  Read that sentence again. No, the last part.  ON  THE TARMAC.  It’s pouring rain, I was sweaty and flustered from having to deal with my screaming kid (and the dirty looks from my fellow passengers, who, by the way, did NOTHING to assist me as I tried to soothe my kid and pick his goldfish crackers up off the plane floor).

So it’s raining. I have to get off the plane, outside, I have a 20 month old, and I need to wait for the stroller I carried on.  In the rain.  Did I mention I had a rather head strong 20 month old with me?  Did I mention it was pouring?

I scooped my kid up and ran off the plane as fast as I could (no easy feat considering I had him, a jacket over his head, my head and a diaper bag) toward the covered waiting area (you know, the small space you can wait until the airlines brings you your bag). In the pouring rain.  (did I mention that?)  I stood with my fellow passengers (whom I’m sure were quite happy to see that my kid had shut up) waiting for my carry on stroller. In the pouring rain.

The ground crew collected our stuff from the belly of the plane and tossed it on the tractor/cart combo.  Of course, the tractor/cart combo stopped IN THE RAIN a considerable distance from where we soaked passengers were waiting.  That meant if you wanted your carry on luggage, you had to dart a few feet back out on to the tarmac to retrieve your bags.  In the pouring rain.

I looked at the tractor/cart combo holding my stroller hostage.  I looked at my kid.  I did not want to take him back out in the rain. He was already wet enough.  I looked at the gate agent who stood, looking rather bored and un-amused under our awning supervising the deplaning.  I looked at my stroller.  And then I made the mother of all mistakes.  I asked for help.

I asked the gate agent if she could help me get my stroller.  After all, it was only a few feet away, but it meant schlepping my kid back out into the rain.  She (who, by the way was dressed in company issued foul weather gear) looked at me, with only the smug authority one holding a walkie talkie could, and promptly informed me that no, she could not help me because it was her job to assist passengers deplaning.  But I could leave my child under the awning while I ran to fetch the stroller.

Oh. No. You. Didn’t.

Thinking I didn’t understand, I said “So if I heard you correctly, you cannot help me, but you are willing to have me leave my child here, unattended at an international airport where he could be snatched as I run to retrieve my stroller. In the rain????”

At that point I don’t really remember her response.  I grabbed my kid’s hand and pulled him back out into the rain to fetch our ride.  Which I had trouble opening. In the pouring rain.  While said gate agent looked on, “assisting” people.  I don’t remember exactly what happened next, but I do know it involved a lot of bad words, mostly starting with the letters F and B.  And I did bid her an f’ing super day.  I do know that.

Soaking wet, child and stroller in tow, I booked it for my gate, having less than 20 minutes to make my connection. In a major international airport.  In a gold medal performance, I made it to my gate, soaked and breathless only to find my connecting flight had been delayed by an hour.     I’ll skip the part where I wandered the airport killing time and lost my kid’s first baseball cap that my parents gave him.  That part of the story is too painful to relive.  I lost my kid’s favorite baseball cap, the one I was planning on keeping for him to give his kid someday… but whatever…..

The point of my story is this…. yes, there are rules.  Yes, there are policies.  But yes, there is common sense. COMMON SENSE PEOPLE.  Common sense that tells you (if you have it) to help your fellow person and not turn your back.   COMMON. SENSE.  Funny how random acts of kindness and stories of good Samaritans sparkle like rare gems in the headlines.  Since when is being kind a novel news item?  Sadly, that seems to be the norm.

I’ve always told my husband  “you want me on your side”.  Why?  Because I can either be your best ally or your worst enemy.  With my words.  I can either write you a flowing recommendation letter (which I have done, several times for various employees of random businesses I’ve encountered who have gone above and beyond in delivering customer service) or I can verbally annihilate you.  I’ve written scathing letters to heads of companies when I was dissatisfied.  I go the extra mile to make sure someone who was kind or helpful to me receives a good tip or extra compliment.  But I also call a spade a spade.

Given the restrictions of the complaint space on the customer feedback portion of the U.S Airways website, this is what I came up with:

Upon arrival @ (name of airport) 12/27/11 it was pouring rain.  We had to deplane outside. I was travelling with my 20 month old son. I checked my stroller at the gate. After deplaning I waited for the baggage cart to bring my stroller.  A grounds person “supervising” the deplaning process refused to assist me with my stroller, yet told me I could leave my child standing alone under the canopy we were waiting under while I fetched my stroller. I had asked for assistance because I was soaked and had a screaming child. She rudely told me she was there to assist other passengers.  She was standing idle the entire time.  I am mortified that she suggested that I leave my toddler in the pouring rain unsupervised. I am appalled that she refused to help me since she so clearly told me her job was to “assist” other passengers.  I’m assuming she is an employee of U.S Airways, but I am also sending this email to the (name of) Airport.  I would like to know who was on the shift when I deplaned and I would like a formal letter of complaint put in her file.  Thank you.

That was the nice version.

And may I add, to the nameless dud of a gate agent…karma is a bitch baby, and she’s coming for you.

***epilogue****  I never heard back from anyone.