Friday, February 9, 2018

Effortless Sophistication

Fairfax Cabaret was tonight! 

The Cabaret is a talent show and is about as much fun as you can have at a school event that doesn't end until 10 o'clock at night like what are we a bunch of people without elementary-school-aged kids?

I was staffing the ticket table when an older woman walks up and even though she's clearly a grandma I can still tell she's less into baking cookies and more into being a real witch.

"This is a PTA event?" she asks suspiciously.

"Yes!  We have $6 tickets and $10 tickets, which would you like?"

SIGH.  "I've only got $18 so I guess we'll be getting $6 tickets." 

I felt bad for a minute, like I should give her the extra $2, but there were lots of people there who were sitting in the $6 seats and honestly this lady didn't even have a good sob story.  It's not like she was scrabbling for nickles in her threadbare change purse. 

"Really?  This is the Fairfax PTA?"

"Yes, yay for Fairfax!"

"This is the most sophisticated PTA even I've ever been to.  And I don't mean that as a compliment."

Hahaha, yes, we've worked hard and a lot of people have donated time and . . . wait. What?

Oh-kay lady. 

Number 1, you really need to work on your insults because that one is very confusing. I don't even know what you mean by that.  They only reason I know it's not a compliment is that you specifically said it wasn't. 

Number 2, don't be a jerk.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Do you even Math, bro?

Chris and I bought a new car recently.

To be completely honest, we bought a new minivan.

The old one had leprosy, I think, because it was falling apart.

So we went to look at a Toyota Sienna at a nearby Mercedes-Benz dealer, where they had classical music playing, and coffee made from freshly ground beans, and the salespeople were almost too handsome to gaze upon, and one of them was even from Scotland, and his eyes looked into my soul.  They printed out a piece of paper with the price break-down, and, when we said we had to go think about it, they wished us well.

But we didn't want that car.

So we drove up the street to a place that had a Town and Country we wanted to try out.  We walked in the door and there were five skeevy guys, waiting to pounce on customers.  Vlad got to us first, and while waiting for the car to be readied, he showed us pictures of his hairless cat, assault rifle cabinet, and knife collection.  When we were discussing numbers, it was scribbles of unlabeled numbers in green marker on a blank piece of paper.  When we said we had to go think about it, he called the manager over and tried to continue to negotiate.

But we did want that car.

So Chris and I talked and decided on a price we could live with.  We went back in and told them the number, and the number of months we were willing to pay that number for, extrapolating from that the applicable amount that would be paid every month.

They go over to the corner and discuss.  They come back with another green marker sheet.

"It is the number you wanted!" they say.

Oh, good!, I think.  But then I see Chris tapping the sheet - right where the number of payment months is 12 more than we indicated we were willing to pay them.

"Yes, but see, that is for many more months," Chris points out.

"But it is the monthly payment you wanted!" they say.

So, but, here's the thing. We live in a glorious age of humankind.  CALCULATORS.  ON OUR PHONES, even.

"Okay, with those extra months, though, it is like a million more dollars than we told you we were willing to pay for the car."

And then I told them they could take their little green marker and stick it where the sun don't shine

Not really.  Really, it was the end of the day, though, and these people clearly wanted to go home.  They capitulated so quickly, coming back with a typed up sheet that they would have had no time to actually type up, that I realized they were just going through the motions.  I suddenly understood that these people probably literally had a written protocol about how to con people into paying more.  It likely includes focusing on the monthly payment instead of total, and making people believe you really want their trade in.  I think the color of the marker is individual choice. 

So, it felt a little gross, but we are now owners of a new-to-us minivan. 

Fair Warning

Something died in our house. 

And not just our willingness to ever go to school / work.

No, I suspect a small mammal also died.  I don't know for sure, because we can't find it.  But there are certain clues.

One day, I came home from work and there was a fly in the kitchen. 

"That's weird," I said, "I didn't even know flies were alive in January."

Over the course of the next few days, I learned that whatever their usual season may be, flies can live - nay, THRIVE - in January.

There's really nothing like a sudden explosion of flies in your house to make you feel sophisticated and elegant. 

Honestly, I don't care how fancy your living room is - the addition of a single fly and you are instantly, at best, a hardscrabble miner like Katniss Everdeen.  Add two flies?  You are living in an Appalachian outhouse.  Three flies and I don't care how much your new couch cost, this is now the poorest of Indian slums.

So we looked in the basement.  Couldn't smell anything, couldn't find anything.  Without being able to tackle the source (definitely a Chris job) we had to start swatting flies (almost entirely a Beth job). 

A few days later, we were making some decent progress, and the flies were dwindling, and hope was returning to our household.

Lilly invited the neighbor girl over and as she escorted her little friend into the house, I hear her saying, "I just want to warn you that there are a LOT of flies in our house."

Oh, Lilly.  Sweet Lilly. 

Can you please not confess to that?  Can you please just let her figure it out?  You know what this is like?  This is like when you got a little bit of ringworm and I was like, don't show anybody, and you showed somebody, and then you got sent to the nurses office.  This is like when you told everyone you saw a picture of your Dad wearing diaper, but really he was just lounging in some light blue boxers.  And this is like when you tell every person you meet that your Dad was in a car accident. 

Lilly regularly throws Chris right under the bus.

All kids have a problem with over sharing, but Lilly approaches it GLEEFULLY. 

The flies are gone.


Saturday, January 20, 2018

Thank you?

I ordered a Christmas present from Etsy, but that was a mistake because turns out it was in Guatemala or some place, so it wasn't delivered until January 11th.  Or at least the delivery ATTEMPT wasn't made until January 11th.  Because we weren't home, they left me a note that I had to go pick it up at the post office, which I feel is wrong because the whole point of ordering on-line is that they deliver it to your house. 

If I wanted to leave my house I'd take up yoga. 

Still, I'd paid for this thing, and even though it was largely irrelevant at this point, I decided today to actually go get it. 

For some reason, it was at a post office in downtown Cleveland and I have to say this was a gorgeous old building.  I had plenty of time to check it out as I waited for the Angry Human Sloth to finish with the people ahead of me. 

When it was my turn, I approached the window with a winning smile, and showed her my package slip. 

"ID?" she says, which is fair enough, except that she said it in a way that made it clear that she hated me. 

I gave her my ID, and she checked it, then turned and . . . I want to say "ambled?" But that is a lot more cheerful than what she did.  I want to say "slogged" but that is a lot more determined than what she did.  She clearly hated both me and mail, and, wanted me to know that, honestly, she didn't care if she ever found my package, but some part of her knew she was going to find my package and knew she was going to have to give it to me, and that just made her hate me more. 

Me and the four people behind me descend into an awkward dead silence.  For a while, the guy behind me, apparently from some friendly southern place, had been loudly astounded that people live here, in such a cold place with no pens available at the Post Office.  His wife shushed him though, so we all just stood there quietly. 

Eventually, she came back.  She looks me dead in the eye and said, "I should have closed this window a half hour ago." 

I genuinely thought she was referring to her computer, but then it dawned at me that I was standing at her window and she was telling me she wished I wasn't.

"I've got a job to do, you know."

Yes?  Ostensibly the duties include tasks very much like giving me the package you still have clutched in your hands?

"There's mail piling up back here."

So you could let me do my part to clear it up by handing me that package?

"I should have closed this window a half hour ago."

Yes, you said, but also, to clarify, this is the only open window and I don't really see how that would work.

"I was just trying to be nice."

See, but it doesn't really feel like that right now.

She stares at me for a minute, waiting.  This whole time I've been so confused about this conversation that I haven't done anything but nod. 

"I'm sorry?" I say, because she has not yet moved to give me the package and I think I must start carrying my weight in this conversation if this is going to continue.

She nods - my apology apparently sufficient to move this exchange forward - and puts the package in the pass-through.  I reach to take it, but she puts a finger on one corner of the package, holding it down. 

"You're lucky I was feeling nice."

I mean, I guess?  But also, the Post Office is open?  I checked the hours?  And this is the only window?  Is this included in the Government shut-down?  Is she just here volunteering?  Because otherwise, isn't it normal to assume that someone will be available at an open establishment? 

"Thank you?"

She nodded, taking her finger off the envelope. 

I turn to go, looking at the 10-odd people who have amassed behind me, and prayed that God would have mercy on their souls.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

You Know When?

I picked the kids up from school on a day that they had all attended an after school class.  Owen is taking a comic book drawing class, and Lilly and Sam are taking sign language.

Sam said, "Lilly was lying on the ground during class."

"Lilly, why were you lying on the ground?"

"Because, like, my heart hurt, you know?"

"Lilly." Owen says, with scorn and derision.  Everything Owen says to Lilly if full of scorn and derision. "Do you mean your CHEST hurt?"

"Yeah," she replies.  "My chest and lungs."

Sam pipes up, which is, in itself, somewhat unusual, because he is so OVER "kid" conversation.  He told me the other day that he just didn't really find Owen and Lilly very interesting.  That, sure, he was "technically" still a kid, but what did that even mean, really?

It means you are 11, dude.  Chill out.

So it was notable that he was choosing to engage in this conversation.

"Oh, I know exactly what you mean Lilly.  Like when you eat too much protein?"


"Oh, yeah, totally," They all chorus in agreement.

"Or, like, too much applesauce?" Sam continues.

"Exactly," they respond.

Soooooo.  Is this a thing?  A protein and applesauce related heart attack?  That happens to everybody else but me?

Hidden Interests

The kids have been very very very much enjoying the Alexas they got for Christmas.  Mostly, they like Alexa to read them books.  They don't read to themselves as much as they used to, and I am suspicious that this is a sneaky end run around the no-electronics-in-the-house rule, but I can't find any real reason to make a rule outlawing listening to books, so it continues unabated.  After they listened to the same free book about elevendy million times, we bought them a few books on Audible.

Now we don't see them anymore.

So that's great.

But, like crack, you have to keep buying more.  So Lilly and I were on Audible today, and I asked her what kinds of books she might be interested in.  It was a throw-away comment.  One I don't really expect her to even answer.

One time, in grad school, my advisor asked me what kinds of books I like to read and I blurted out, "mysteries!" which is actually the only kind of book that I absolutely DON'T like to read.  And that was when I was a grown adult.

So I wasn't really listening when Lilly said, "Hmmm.  Maybe Native Americans?"

I'm scrolling through the Beverly Cleary books . . .

Wait.  What?

"Or homing pigeons?"

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Drowned toddlers are sooo annoying

We went to an indoor water park this week.  It was equal parts awful and great, so pretty much a typical family vacation.

This is our first significant family experience with a water park, so we learned some new things.

1) Owen seems to be a little allergic to chlorine, based on his coughing fits, rash, and vomiting.  So an indoor water park is great for a family vacation destination.

2) I do not have tough feet.  Next time, I am going dressed in my Slenderizing For Mature Women bathing suit and some water shoes.  I'll definitely have to wear my wedding ring to show that I am already taken, gentlemen.

3) Lilly has a hard head both literally and figuratively.  Don't try to convince her she wants to go on the water slide when she wants to ride in the lazy river.  She knows what she wants.  She wants to ride in the lazy river.  Come, don't come, she doesn't care.  She'll be in the lazy river.  Again.  Also, don't sit next to her in the family tube ride because she'll crack your skull open and days later your brains will still be leaking out.

4) We going to need to adopt another kid or make sure my dad comes along next time because nobody wants to be the single rider.  It is sad and lonely and a tiny bit embarrassing if you are a grown ass adult in a Slenderizing for Mature Women bathing suit headed down the water roller coaster tube ride.

Here's one other story from our trip:

It was the first day, and we were climbing down into the lazy river (see point three above).   I was behind Chris still looking for an available tube.  Chris is in the water and I see him stumble a little bit.  He looks down and shakes his head a little.  Then he hands Lilly her tube and she heads off and then Chris reaches into the water and pulls out the lifeless body of a toddler.

He's standing there, dangling the limp and colorless body in his right hand and gestures to the lifeguard with his left hand, all like, "jeez, here, do you want to do something about this?"  The life guard blows his whistle and jumps in.

At this point my mind is like this:

"AAAAHHHHHHHH DEADBABYDEADBABYTHATBABYISDEAD AAAAAAHHHHHH WHOKNOWSCPR AAAAHHHHH (I'm going to have to talk to Chris about appropriate protocol when he finds a drowned toddler like seriously maybe just hold it instead of dangling it?) AAAHHHHHHH DEADBABY AHHHHH (Also, maybe he could, like, try wading to the side instead of just waiting for the lifeguard to come and get this kid?) AAAAAHHHHHHH (And also, fix your face, Chris.  He looks totally annoyed that he stubbed his toe on a body) AAAAAHHHH (also, that kid has really funny looking joints.  Like his knees are just creases)  Aaaaahhhhh?  (why is the lifeguard smiling?  Sure, he looks chagrined, like he's embarrassed that Chris found the dead baby, but he doesn't look horrified, which I feel like more people should be right now?)

Oh.  It's a training dummy.  Just a little toddler shaped doll designed to test the lifeguards.

Well that's fun.