Monday, December 1, 2014

Threat-level? Possibly Orange. I'm not really sure what that stands for, but it sounds bad


Uh, hey guys. What's up?

Me? Oh, you know.... yeah, so I could totally see how you may have thought I abandoned Eloquence or died or maybe just, you know, created a super-fantastic new thing-a-majig that just occupied all my time or something but...

I started a new job. It was more of a lateral move. Like, you know how I used to manage a fast food restaurant, which is kind of like the Dollar Store of restaurants? So I kind of took a retail job that isn't exactly a job AT Dollar Tree, but something like it. Not that there is anything wrong with where I work now or where I did before. I'm still going to school full-time, almost done with my AA and then I'll move on the my Bachelor's so at least I'm still moving forward.

It just wasn't a dream of mine to work with the public. Like, ever. But here I am again, facing them every damn day. I've gotta say though, you would be REALLY surprised how friendly my customer's are when compared to those I dealt with in fast food.

Anyway, so I've got to tell you this.

On my first day, they were giving a group of us a tour around the facility. We were going through all the safety regulations, blah blah blah, nothing new, until we reached the back where the cardboard crusher was. It's this giant machine that eats cardboard and flattens it out. After stressing the point that we don't belong IN the machine, I looked around to see if any of my new co-workers looked like the type who were so severely dumb that they thought playing in a giant pancake maker would be a grand idea. They were all nodding along, so I shook my head for a sec and refocused. We moved on to the tools available for cutting down the cardboard and a few cautionary statements from the supervisor:

1. Always cut away from yourself, never toward (makes sense. I enjoy all 10 digits on my hands).
2. Never throw a box knife, especially with the blade extended. Box knives are not to be used in a threatening manner. Ever.

Wait, WHAT?

Who the fuck am I working with, Charles Manson? Ninjas? I shot a glance around to see if anyone else was alarmed at the news that we would be armed with shivs.

I mean, I can shank someone with the best of them (I guess, I mean I've never actually HAD to, but I think I would do fairly well in battle as I am built quite sturdy).

Plus, you KNOW they had to use that warning because it had already happened and they were trying to avoid another incident.

I caught the eye of a girl who was standing a few feet away and watched a slow smile spread across her face. I raised an eyebrow at her, she did the same.

As we left the cardboard area she sidled up next to me.

"Is it me, or did they just arm us with weapons?" she whispered. "This is about to get So. Awesome."

I smiled.

I'd just found my work-bestie.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Who taught this kid how to talk?

The other day, my 7 year old and I were standing in the kitchen. She was wearing her Parrot costume while slathering peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat. As I took out pots and pans for dinner, I eyed the PB&J for a moment, wondering if that was acceptable dinner fare. Deciding against it, I took out the next best thing: spaghetti noodles.

7: Mom, you know WHUT. Even in study hall, some kids be mean.

Me: [while pondering my child's inability to properly speak her native language] Is that so. Where's the big pot?

7: [shrugs] Yeah. And even when they hit on ACCIDENT MOM, Mrs. Teacher makes the kids do Planning Time.

She pauses for effect, waiting for my reaction to this ghastly news.

Me: Is that a bad thing? [muttering] Why isn't anything where it belongs?

7: It's the worst thing ever, Momma. NOBODY likes planning time.

Me: Why? I thought planning helped you... you know. Plan. [holding up plastic fish] Why is this in the cabinet?

7: [takes fish. Looks at it. Tosses it back into the cabinet] Mrs. teacher is mean.

Me: What do you think I would do if you were hitting someone?

7: [widens eyes] You can't do THAT stuff at school, Mom. For Real.

Me: What, time outs? What's wrong with a time out? You can't do that?

7: No. The consequences are SO way worser.

Me: Kinda like your English, kid.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Progressive Mental Disorders and the LDS Church

The other day I was reminded of a slightly evil stunt I pulled a few years back.

The good thing about my poor memory is that I tend to block out those moments where I've committed an act that I most likely knew better than to do, but did it anyway because of two reasons: the defiant ginger attitude from my teen years is still alive and lurking within, or I felt like screwing with something or someone who once pissed me off and the opportunity for my Empire Striking Back just presented itself in a pretty little package complete with a bow.

I was raised in the Mormon "religion." For those of you unfamiliar with that group, you can find a brief rundown HERE.

Update: I forgot I could embed the video. Yay for 2am clarity!

We aren't going to get into a God discussion here. I left that church when I was 16 and realized I had my own brain and decided to exercise my right to use it (something that was frowned upon by the elders of the Mormon church. They do NOT like it when you ask questions).

I have some unresolved issues with my experiences there, but I don't dwell on them.

I do, however, recognize the ring tone of opportunity and you bet your ass I'm going to answer it in some pretty passive-aggressive ways.

About 12 years ago, when my oldest child was just an infant, we lived in a one bedroom apartment about an hour from my hometown. 

For those of you ladies with children, I don't need to explain to you what it's like to have a new baby. You are never, ever fully prepared. Even if your spouse is super helpful during those nighttime feedings, it's still your breast the kid wants which means you are up for a half an hour every few hours and if you were anything like me, you were retarded and didn't sleep when baby slept. 

You stood there hovering over the crib to make sure baby was breathing, and then you stared in awe at this beautiful little creature that you made from scratch with your own organic ingredients and you wondered about this baby's future and then before you know it you haven't sleep longer than an hour at a time for the last 3 months and you can't remember your name and you might even walk into the wrong apartment one day and scare the crap out of Mrs. Choa and now you hide every time you see her in the laundry room. 

So it was during this time of parental bliss that the phone rang one sunny fall day.

Me: Hell- [drops baby laundry all over the place] Hi? Hello?

Caller: [with familiarity akin to, well, next of kin] Hi. Emily? How are you!

Me: [pulling the phone away from my ear as though I could look through the phone] Uh... who is calling?

Mind you, this was 2001. We barely had cell phones back then and none of them had caller ID.

Caller: It's me, Sister Bliss calling


If you watched the video, you'd know that it was a Mormon on the phone. They call each other Sister and Brother in place of Missus and Mister. It all sounds very incestuous, which freaks me the hell out.

Me: Uh. What do you want?

What. I was polite. You have to be very direct with these people or they'll send their young adventurous missionaries after you.

Ding Dong! We've got something for you!

You can't lead them on, or else they'll show up, only with reinforcements. Biker Gang Style.

You didn't answer your door the past 17 times we came by. 
We got worried and brought our friends. Hey, is that dinner?
Back to the call.

Sister Caller: I'm just calling to update our records. Do you have a minute?

Me:[ding dong! Opportunity was knocking] Suuuuure.

Sister Caller: Are you married?

Me: Sure. Why not. Kids? Yes. I have five.

And then I just let my mouth take over.

I told the story of my fake wedding in the state of Florida and how Uncle Bobby's dog ate the cake and peed on the priest. Then I told her my husband wasn't really around because I had a bit of a drinking problem, but if he hadn't gone to jail in the first place I probably wouldn't have had to turn to the bottle for comfort.

 I think at this point I was standing outside of my body, watching this train wreck approach the bridge and not even wanting to pull the warning whistle. I just let it go. She didn't even say anything, which was nice because I hate to be interrupted.

Eventually I grew bored and just hung up on the woman, going back to sorting laundry and changing diapers and the like.

A few days later, we received an invitation to attend a progressive dinner with some friends we were just getting to know.

I remember wrinkling my nose at the mention of "Progressive Dinner" because when I was a kid, the youth group from our church forced us to participate in one of those dinners. For those of you who do not know what a Progressive Dinner is, each course of a meal is held at a different house. You waste time and gas driving around getting lost and missing dinner. I hadn't wanted to attend the dinner as a kid, but was told by my parents that I didn't have a choice. So, I volunteered to host the salad portion at my house and then purposefully did nothing to prepare. When everyone showed up I just stood there and told them I'd forgotten. My parents grounded me, just like I knew they would, and I got out of the rest of the dinner.


I begrudgingly accepted the current offer, telling my then-spouse, This better not turn out to be some kind of Mormon trap. 

You know where this is going, don't you.

Normal people don't name dinners. They just invite you over, open some wine, feed you and offer fun conversation.

We arrived at the first home with our new friends. We were welcomed into the entry by a friendly grandfather-type and pleasantries were exchanged.

I should have known what was in store for us when I spotted this hanging in the foyer:

It's the token Jesus photo. Every Mormon has one.

I didn't dwell on the photo because we were being introduced to the hostess. I usually develop Introductory Amnesia during these exchanges. I hear your name, I just don't retain it. You could say, "I'm Jane. Tell me what I just said," and I would blink and wonder why you stood there refusing to introduce yourself.

We chatted a bit about kids and niceties and the like. I told her about our new baby and she showed me some photos of her children and grand children. She asked if we planned to have more and I remember laughing and telling her that we were still getting used to the first one. 

I think it was after I'd given the lady my life history that she turned to me and admitted she hadn't caught my name. I apologized and told her I hadn't remembered hers either. Then I introduced my spouse and myself. 

Now, I'm not famous. My name is actually THE most common female name is all of the world, so the reaction of this woman upon hearing my name struck me as a bit odd.

Her eyes about blew up out of her head and she took a step back, knocking over a lamp and excusing herself rather quickly.

Our friends looked at me, then at the door our hostess had retreated through.

"Is she okay?" I asked. "I didn't even get her name."

"That was Evelyn Bliss," the wife said. "That was also weird."

Bliss? Where did I know that name...


Flashbacks of the phone call flooded my brain.

"Sister Bliss calling." "...drinking problem, but.... in jail." 

OH MY GOD. The woman I had just spilled all the details of my life to was the Mormon I had just lied to and hung up on so rudely a few days before.

You'd think that we would have hightailed it out of there, but instead I acted like a little bitch and stayed for the next hour engaging in conversation with the other Mormons and lying to each and every one of them. I told a different story to each group of people we spoke with.

An eye for an eye. If you've ever been Mormon, you know what that means.

So yeah. We never saw that couple again after that disastrous night. Which was good because I clearly needed Jesus and you have to go to a real church for that.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Too much time on my hands. Who knew?

My kids have one more week of school. They're super excited because they get to spend several weeks two states away with their dad.

I'm super excited because they get to spend several weeks driving someone else nuts.

I figure my excitement will last about 48 hours and then I'll probably spiral into a weird vortex of "this is summer, where are my kids, what do I do with all this time, HEY LET'S PAINT EVERY ROOM IN THE HOUSE!"

I get a little anxious when I'm feeling unsettled.

Exhibit A:
Jay is out of town this week on business. Coincidentally, I'm off work this week. Why didn't I tag along? Because my kids are free range and can't be trusted. Also, it's not that kind of job where you tag along. Intrigued? Good. We're moving on.

On Monday I got this huge burst of energy. I ran about a bazillion errands, cleaned the entire house, raked the backyard, did 87 loads of laundry and then finished Season 8 of Weeds. Got take-out for dinner (a treat we rarely indulge upon). Smiled to self. Success.

Aaaaaaaaaand then Tuesday rolled around.

Bored. Kids went to school. Walked the dog. Wandered around the house looking at the walls. Bored. Missed Jay. Missed the kids. Missed noise. Missed work. Contemplated whining to Jay while we spoke on the phone that I was lonely. Stopped just in time and instead slapped my own face while silently demanding that I man the eff up and be a woman about things. Realized how retarded that was, started new series on Netflix. Made 7 stop dressing up in the 10 cent wig from last summer's yard sale next door.
That's her Old Lady Who Smells Bad Things look.

Wednesday: repeat. Only this time it was the 11 in the wig.

Mother. Look at me. Am I gorgeous? 
No. Take that off. 
Make me.

Thursday: realize I should have spaced out responsibilities so that I had something to do rather than walk the dog and window shop for 5 days. Talked to my Bestie from another Testie for like, 6 hours, until I got a call from the 7's school. She ripped open her elbow and needed medical care. Sweet! I mean. Oh. Something to do!

Life will return to normal tomorrow. In the mean time, I'll be in the crawl space with the vacuum. After I blast for spiders.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Perpetuating Gender Stereotypes

So I'm a girl, right? Some people have the mentality that girls are supposed to be cute and girlie and get their nails did and fuss about their hair and spend all their money on shoes and handbags and talk about childbirth and stretch marks and so on.

And while I've actually done most of all of those things at one point or another, I'm not really like that. I'm not manly, per se, just regular.

Back when we were all turning 16 and getting our driver's licenses, my dad made sure us kids knew how to change our own oil and fix a spare before he would let us drive. Although I know how to do it, I prefer to keep the nice folks down at Jiffy Lube employed while I sit in their office, drink gas station coffee and watch Cops.
It kind of takes a while

My sister, Elle, likes to assert her independence and spew her I don't need no man persona all over the place and change her own oil and pump up her arms like Rosie the Riveter in order to prove her independence.

 This isn't actually Elle, but maybe 
they could get together and work for a 
woman's right to change their own oil

So technically, while some might find that can-do attitude admirable, I prefer to call my dad when I break something mechanical. Because last time I tried to take my lawn mower in for repair, I forgot to wipe the sucker tattoo off my face and almost got incredibly ripped off.

Still dealing with the same lawnmower problem a year later (because that's how I roll), I called my dad again.

The grass in our front yard was beginning to be mistaken for a free-range pasture and I decided something needed to be done about it when I found a dead horse yesterday morning.

I never said it was an actual horse.

I'd been borrowing my neighbor's mower but her son-in-law blew it up last week and now none of us can mow our grass.

After getting the rundown on what I needed from dear-old-dad, I ran to the parts store for a can of starter fluid.

Now, if you're female, you know that usually women know about as much about a parts store as a guy does about grabbing a box of tampons.


So many choices. Most of them should work, but you don't know exactly what you're looking for.

I hate walking into auto stores.

The guys look up, fix their eyes on you and have that slow smile spread across their face that says, You have no business in here. I pity you, and I shall save you.

To which I defensively pull back my shoulders, tip my chin up, nod, and walk with a purpose to the nearest aisle while furiously stealing glances left and right, trying to get my bearings before someone catches on that I have no idea what I'm doing.

While I don't want to change my own oil, I do want to select my own parts. By myself. I hate sales people. I avoid them like the plague. I don't care that they were hired to help people. I'm a ginger. We're stubborn and we like doing things the hard way.

Especially when I'm feeling all insecure about my gender and taking that once-a-year stance that women don't need to be told what to do by a man.

I realized I was being tailed by some 18 year old kid with a smile that said, I'm on to you, chick. You couldn't look more out of place if you were wearing a Lion Suit.

And I've worn a lion suit before, so I know what feels like.

I turned to the left and grabbed the nearest thing. He passed by, but not without giving me that look of Right. Because you totally need a lawnmower tune-up kit.

Wait, what? I totally DO need that. But I wouldn't know what to do with it even if that kid came over to my house and installed it himself.

I put it back.

A man covered in grease can down the aisle. I moved aside to let him pass. He stopped and stared at the shelves.

I stared at the shelves.

He looked at me.

I looked at him, wondering if I should ask him if he knew where the starter fluid was.

"I don't suppose you know where the brake cleaner is," the man said to me, obviously joking.

I pointed behind him at the rows of cleaner.

He laughed.

"Thank ya, ma'am. I didn't think I'd have to ask a woman for help. Sometimes you can't do everything yourself, I guess!"

He turned and left, his brake cleaner in hand, a smile on his face.

I wrinkled my brow, unsure whether or not I should be offended, when my eyes landed on a single bottle of starting fluid.

Sometimes you CAN, bitch, I thought to myself, and plucked it off the shelf.

Note: Damned lawnmower still doesn't work. I retract my bitch comment. Sorta.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Members Only

I live in a small town.

Small towns have limited resources, like banks and grocery stores (there is only one grocery store).

When I moved here over the summer, I had to switch banks because apparently here in the PNW, bank chains are sort of one-town-only. Which is understandable since I hate huge bank chains and tend to stick with the smaller, more customer-friendly branches.

So began my quest for the right bank. 

I looked a few up on the internet, drove past a few more and judged them by the look of their landscaping (who really wants to bank at a location that looks like downtown Crapville? Graffiti is sort of a no-brainer. And what're they doing with the interest from those loans if they can't even weed-eat the property?).

Since I take FOREVER to make a decision (because I like to examine all the angles), I still hadn't selected a bank by the time I had a need for rolled coin one summer day.

I don't remember WHY exactly I needed the rolled coin, only that I did, so I stopped by the local credit union to conduct my business. I was in a bit of a hurry, I remember, so I wasn't going to have time to open an account but I would have the chance to experience their customer service.

I think I needed to withdraw twenty bucks from the outside ATM, too, which is the only reason I could think of why I didn't just go to the gas station across the street.

I should have gone to the gas station.

I waited twenty minutes standing in line behind one other guy while the three tellers helped one person with some kind of extensive withdraw. Two were just chatting their bleach-blonde little heads off and the one was standing there with this look on her face like, I have no idea what I'm doing but they won't shut up long enough for me to ask a question so I'll just wrinkle my brow while I stare at my computer screen in hopes that the building will catch fire and burn to the ground.

Why did I stand there for twenty minutes and watch this ridiculous display of stupidity? I'm not really sure. Maybe I was as stupid as they were.

Finally, finally, one of them reluctantly eventually noticed me and the other guy standing there. 

She frowned and asked him to come over. 

He stomped up to the counter, did his business and within three minutes he was out the door.

The gal then directed her stare at me, which I took to mean Hello! How are you today? Come on over and let's take care of you.

I suppressed the automatic urge to smile (because that's what friendly people do. They SMILE, and this whore didn't deserve my ray of sunshine) as I approached the counter, expressing  my desire to exchange my legal tender for a few rolls of dimes.

Shitty Bank Lady: And what is your member ID?

Me: I'm not a member. I just need some coin.

Shitty Bank Lady: [raises one eyebrow, pushes my twenty back across the counter and turns up her nose] I'm afraid our services are for members only.

Me: [briefly considering slapping her face and smashing the lobby to flinders*] 

*Flinders: [flin-ders] 
1. Impressive crushing or splintering of object(s)
2. The act of decimating an area (usually involving alcohol and my brother)

Me: Um. What?

Shitty Bank Lady: [a slow smile spreading across her stupid face] Yes. Members. ONLY.

I just KNEW she was enjoying every second of this. I narrowed my eyes and mulled over this bit of information for a moment. Deciding that she'd already wasted my time, I figured it wouldn't hurt to waste hers. Plus, there was no one in line behind me, so I felt free to be a jerk without witness (aside from the security cameras).

Me: You can't exchange this twenty dollar bill for rolled coin? 

Shitty Bank Lady: That's right.

Me: That's stupid. 

Shitty Bank Lady: [staring at me with a satisfied smile]

(OH! I KNOW WHAT IT WAS I WAS DOING! HAH! Jay and I were taking our combined brrod of children to a nickel arcade museum thing on the coast that has really cool antique machines, like the one in the movie Big. THAT is why it was so important for me to have a ton of useless coin. Because WHERE in a tourist town are you going to find a load of nickels and dimes? A bank? Yeah, but it was Saturday and what if that tiny town didn't have any open banks? Better to be prepared.)

I digress.

I asked to speak with her supervisor, my gaze landing on her name-tag the moment the request left my mouth.

Holy crap. She was the branch manager.

(An after-thought. Why was the MANAGER working a teller position? Because they all suck there. That's why.)

The encounter ended some minutes later with me stomping out of the bank in a huff, sans coin, and the manager watching me go, her hands placed neatly in the counter, her mouth twisted up in a smug smile.

Perhaps you sense my bitter tone at this recollection.

Good job.

She really pissed me off with her explanation that they had to track where their rolled coin went, like she ran the Federal Reserve and everything was super top-secret.

Okay, swell. Write down in your notes that Emily came in and requested four rolls of dimes. She was wearing capris and a yellow tank top. Her hair was a bit wind-blown and ginger-colored, but otherwise did not seem to be a threat. She paid with a twenty and left. Security of remaining rolled coin: secure.

Luckily, Jay had a ton of change at home, so we were all okay once we got to our destination.

What set me off on this rant, you might wonder.

Today I received a flyer, inviting me to check out my town's voted-most-friendly bank.

They very same bank where I was prohibited from buying coin.

The smiling lady on the front? That jackass branch manager.

I have a mind to set that flyer a-flame and toss it through their drive-up window.

**I'm not really going to do that. Relax, Obama Drones. Go waste your time monitoring everyone's cell phone calls.