Out Of The Office

Not Your Bitch

I’m my parent’s computer guru.

Let that sink in, y’all.

Me.  I can’t even turn on my TV to watch football without help from Landon.  In my defense, we have way too many damned remotes and I don’t watch TV but still.

Every summer when the kids and I go to Texas to see family, I install new virus software on both of my parent’s computers, run that shit because they won’t do it again until I’m home for Christmas, and clean up everything for them.

I’m also their personal 24/7 computer diagnostician.  They call me whenever they’re having problems with anything online, which includes Ebay and PayPal accounts and all online order making.  Yep.  They CALL me so I can get on my computer and order something online for them.

I know a lot of you can relate to this.  Technology and parents and all that stuff they seem to be so helpless about.  Here’s a great Amy Schumer sketch about that very thing.

I wish I had taped the last phone conversation my Dad and I had, trying to figure out via YouTube how to fix an issue with Mom’s computer.  It went something like this:

Me:  Okay, Dad.  Click on this video link to watch this tutorial showing you how to fix this.

One minute later.

Dad:  Click on that www thing?

Me:  Yes.  Click on that and it will take you right to the video.  The video shows your computer screen and takes you step by step through what you need to do to remove that from Mom’s computer.

One minute later.

Dad:  It opened another screen.

Me:  Yeah, that’s what it’s supposed to do.  Take you to YouTube.

Dad:  Okay.  All I see are two broads yapping their gums at each other.

Me:  Dad, that’s a commercial.  Hold tight and it’ll get to the tutorial, showing you what to do.

Dad:  Why are they making me watch two broads when I didn’t click on that?

Me:  It’s advertising, Dad.  It’s how they make money.  

Dad:  I clicked on it again to get the broads to shut up.

Me:  Dad, it’ll just start all over again.  They’re going to get their ad time.  

Dad:  I have to watch it to get to the video?

Me:  Yes, Dad.

Dad (mumbling very unhappily to himself while watching it):  Two old broads flapping their gums.  Drink your coffee and get on with it.

Now y’all know what’s wrong  awesome about me and where I get it from.

I went along with this line of thinking, that my parents would be lost without my assistance with all things technological until sometime last week.

For the last several years, right after Thanksgiving, my Mom puts money into a PayPal account.  She came up with the idea to do this.  I use that money to buy presents for my kids that are from her and my Dad.  The gifts get shipped straight to my parent’s house, Mom wraps them up in really beautiful paper with handmade bows and puts them around her tree.  She doesn’t have to leave her house, except to pick up the packages off the porch.

It is always a sight to see when we go home for Christmas to see all the presents around her gorgeously decorated tree.  It looks like she has been shopping with tender loving care and a whole shit load of time all year round.  My kids love her and my Dad to death and are always absolutely floored and thankful for all the gifts, having no clue (nor should they) that I did all the legwork.  Okay, finger work because it was online.  Whatever.

I was getting ready for Gracie’s Birthday party at our house last week so I did not have time to online shop.  Mom messaged me a couple more times, gently reminding me the money is in the account and ready to go.

I’ve also settled a recent Ebay dispute Mom had with a return.  It was ugly and the seller was a real douche bag even though the screw up was their fault.  It took several times of going back and forth between Ebay and PayPal, disputing and responding to the seller for a refund.  I did it because she asked me to and, you know, poor helpless Mom and that big, bad, confusing computer thingamajig and mega companies.

And in between the gentle reminders from Mom about the money and the dispute rebuttals, it hit me.

I’m my Mom’s bitch.

Computer illiterate?  Maybe.  Fucking brilliant?  YES!  This is the smartest woman I know.  I’m jealous.  She’s been playing me like Blue Oyster Cult plays the cowbell.

She transfers money to an account, I go online and buy shit with that money, send it straight to their door in Texas, she wraps it all up, and gets all the credit.   Every single damned bit.

You ever had to settle a dispute with an Ebay seller?  It’s a pain in the ass, especially when the seller is a lying sack of shit who sent you the wrong item and then lied about you returning it, even with proof of return from the Post Office.

After the initial realization that my Mom is actually the smartest woman alive and the awe wore off a bit, the feisty side of me fought back.  I think Mary Tyler Moore said it best:

mary

I’d like to continue this newly found streak of parental defiance but I’d better go.  My Mom’s calling and I have to give her UPS tracking numbers and a detailed spreadsheet of how I’ve spent her money.  She’ll also probably need a refill on that coffee, dry cleaning pickup, and I need to get those packages off her porch.

Have a good week, y’all.

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Halloween 2015: Living Dead Girl

Halloween is 11 days away!  What the hell happened to September and October?  Ready or not, we leave for our annual Halloween trip to Orlando in 3 days, maybe 4 if we decide to put together some extra costume props.  Between costume anxiety, travel prep, a flu shot today, and a busy local Homecoming week for Landon, I feel like Rob Zombie’s “Living Dead Girl”.  So this will kind of be a Halloween free for all.  My brain is like a bag of crazy cats right now.  Or bag of crazy dicks.  Or whatever that saying is.  One of my three regular readers can let me know.

The kids and E revolted on me this year and said no makeup, they wanted “easy” costumes to wear to Disney World’s Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, which we’ll attend the night of October 29th.  I don’t know what they all were bitching about because last year’s costumes were about as no fuss as you can get.

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Okay, 4 hours total of makeup and 7 inch monster boots might have been a bit much.  It still made the most epic Christmas card photo ever.

A few people know what we are dressing up as this year, most people don’t.  I’ll post a picture on Facebook and Twitter (again on October 29th), so be on the lookout for it.

I have extreme anxiety about this year’s costumes because I have gained some weight in the past year but it is what it is.  If you’re watching CNN late next week and hear about an arrest made at Walt Disney World, though, that will be me because if one little snot nosed Cheerio muncher asks “Mommy, why is (insert character name here) fat?”, I’m going to lose my shit.

I had to take my very form fitting costume into the Vietnamese tailors for a little fix last week.  You may recall how that went last year.  It went really well this year, meaning I didn’t get laughed at in a different language.  I guess “normal” costumes give you a lot more leeway with Vietnamese tailors than star spangled rock leotards do.

I’m trying to look past all the costume anxiety, frantic packing, and lack of sleep to just look forward to the events we’ll be attending.  This will be our 6th year attending both Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights (and it’s the 25th Anniversary, which will make it even more epic) and Disney World’s Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.

Halloween in Orlando is like nothing else and I’m not the only one who thinks so.  Horror Nights Orlando has been named the best Halloween event in the world the past 7 years by the people over at The Golden Ticket Awards.  Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is the perfect place to go if you have younger children.  It is also the only amusement park which allows costumes and that’s one of the reasons this party has become a tradition for us.  Here’s a little inside look at both of this year’s events.

I was telling E and Gracie that in the second room in the HHN 25 Years Of Mayhem And Monsters House, if you enter chanting “Bear! Bear! Bear!”, the infamous HHN bear would make an appearance.  Gracie thought for a moment and then said, “Like… a real bear?”  This is my National Honor Society student, y’all.  I told her, “Yeah, Universal got sick of crap being said about the house not being scary enough so they said ‘Oh, it isn’t scary enough?  Screw you, we’ll put a live bear in there.  See how you like that, suckers!’  Yes, I really said it like that because Gracie was in the room but y’all know what I really said in my head.

I hope your week is going well!  I’ll leave you with “Living Dead Girl”, which also happens to be one of my most favorite Halloween songs.

Amusement Park Rides: You’re Doing It Right!

My family goes to Universal Orlando twice a year.  We sweat our asses off Memorial Day week and then go back for the much more pleasant October weather and all the Halloween madness.  We have become Universal Orlando aficionados.  But it still took six years to get this right.

Some of you may think I’m drunk again.  I am not.  Go read this blog post I did last year about our sucky amusement park ride photo game.  I’ll wait.

Is everyone on the same theme park ride now?  Good.

This past Memorial Day vacation, we went to the park armed.  Specifically, Universal Studios Florida.  More specifically, armed with props.  Even more specifically, props to use on our favorite ride in that park, The Mummy.  We love The Mummy so damned much, we need help.  It’s just a super fun indoor roller coaster.

E kept telling me I needed to come up with ride photo props long before we LEFT for Orlando.  He kept telling me I needed to come up with props the entire week we were IN Orlando.  E is an engineer with a Master’s degree but he leaves the really important, life changing events like photo props to a college dropout (that would be me).  This is pivotal shit, people, but I think I did okay.

Our first attempt had E and the kids waving American flag glow sticks because why the hell not be patriotic and clever all at the same time for your amusement park ride photo?  Are you a commie or something?  An unfunny commie?  Anyway, my one job was to simply take a bite of some fruit while the fam was being all anti-commie.  If you’re friends with me on Facebook, you already know what I was eating, don’t you?

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The banana joke started on Facebook a few years ago when I was waiting in the parent car line to pick up Landon at the high school.  I was on a strict diet, at my lowest weight in 25 years (in a good way) and I was starving, damn it!  I’m not saying I’m hot or anything but you just don’t see a chick with magenta hair in the high school car line enthusiastically eating a banana very often.  Some Dads may have noticed.  A few Moms may have noticed.  That’s all I’m saying.  It was completely innocent but then I had to be a smart ass and post about it on Facebook.  I have never lived it down.  The banana and I are in this for life now.  I may as well change my Facebook relationship status to “In Relationship With Banana”.

I’m not really a rule breaker.  I know, that’s shocking to most of you.  I was terrified I was going to get kicked out of the park for breaking some unspoken No Fruit On Rides rule even though I had thoroughly read the posted rules numerous times beforehand and saw absolutely no mention of a fruit ban during the ride.  Still, I could actually see in my head, in super slow mo, the banana peel flying out of my hand and onto the track behind us.  You know how that story ends.  I didn’t want that body count on my ledger.  So, I took a really big bite of the banana as the photo flash went off and figured I could put the rest of the banana in my lap so the peel wouldn’t fly onto the tracks, causing the car passengers behind us certain comic yet tragic death.

This might be a good time to mention that I have a really good imagination and probably have seen too many Final Destination movies.  That movie franchise should totally check out the death by banana peel on a roller coaster scenario, though.  That would make a terrifyingly hilarious kick ass scene.

But I digress.  I tried to put the remaining banana in my lap but it hit the safety bar and landed in the seat.  We were pulling into the station where you exit the ride right then, where a park attendant cheers and applauds like you just single-handedly destroyed the damned Death Star.  I was so terrified of being caught with my fruity and phallic shaped contraband, I told my completely disease free body to go fuck itself, picked up the banana lounging casually where potentially thousands of people’s asses had been seated that day and ate that bastard as fast as I could.

I just threw up in my mouth a little.  I still can’t believe I did that.  I can’t believe I just revealed to y’all that I did that.

As we were exiting the ride, I shoved the banana peel into E’s hand like the traitorous little bitch I am and then walked ahead of him like I didn’t know him.  Do not count on me at a crime scene.  I will go full stool pigeon on your ass.  I had smashed banana all over my hand and smelled like a minion but they weren’t pinning that shit on me.  In the words of the great Johnny Cochran “If the banana doesn’t fit, you must acquit!”  Or something like that.

The American flags didn’t turn out so well because the flash washed out the glow but you can still see them.  As you can see, the banana and I were having a good time.  You can also see that E had his flag turned backwards.  Guess they didn’t teach that skill in engineering school, hmmm?  Or he’s a commie.

The minute we walked up to the photo booth to take a look at our picture, the employee called her manager over.  They both looked at their computer screen for a few moments.  I tried to inconspicuously lick the rest of the banana off my hand.  The manager started laughing and said “Y’all brought props!”  He was very cool.  We bought the banana/flag picture then went back out to the ride lockers to retrieve our next props.

The morning before we went to the park, I assigned Gracie and E the task of super gluing Uno cards together to make managing them on the ride easier.  I was scared shitless deeply moved seeing them perform this task together for damned well near a full hour.  The engineer and the National Honor Society student were not having some random, willy nilly card prop shit in their picture.  Oh, hell no.  I’m not sure what was involved in deciding which cards were glued to which other cards because I’m not smart enough to comprehend that fuckery but I know for a fact there was calculus involved and possibly some voodoo.

We retrieved our meticulously super glued Uno cards from the backpack and that’s when E decided he wanted to be the hottie with the banana in our next picture.  Yes, I had a backup banana ready to go if the first one failed.  I explained to him that the banana was my little inside joke.  I tried to discourage him from pulling a Single White Female on me but he was adamant and excited to use not only my backup banana for himself but also the Uno cards as his second picture prop.  Together.  At the same time.  Foreshadowing:  Karma is a bitch.

We headed back to the ride line.  I thoroughly read the ride rules once again just to make sure nothing had been changed from 15 minutes before.  I saw no signs of an Uno card with a big X drawn over it so I felt confident I’d be okay.  Single White Female and his banana were on their own.  Screw them.

The ride went perfectly and I felt really good about it.  E was just a little smoother with his banana disposal as we exited the ride but to be fair, he’d already learned from my mistakes.  Just saying.

Victorious, we marched down the exit ramp to take a look at our second picture.  The photo manager was already staring at the screen, laughing.  We assured him that was our last picture for the night.  As we gazed at our second picture, E held back sobs and I triumphantly shouted “Karma, baby!”  Karma truly is the biggest bitch of all because the Uno cards completely hid the backup banana in E’s mouth from view.

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I’m not sure if E is shitting himself, really enjoying that banana, pissed off at his Uno cards, or all of those at once in the above picture.  I respected his privacy and didn’t ask.

Seriously, this was a blast to do.  E was a good sport about the banana thing although he was disappointed that the Uno cards foiled his plans.  I hope our kids will look at these someday and remember how goofy and dorky their parents were and how much fun we had together.

Stay tuned as we hopefully top these during our Halloween trip in just a couple months!  If you have any props you’d like us to use, let me know in the comments or private message me if you don’t want it on record.  We are currently in the throes of ordering Halloween costumes for Mickey’s Not So Haunted Halloween party, which we will attend on October 29th this year.  If you want to see what we went as last year, click here.

Happy Weekend, y’all.

You Hit Like A Bitch

I make the drive back to Texas every summer to see my family.  It’s just me and the kids on this trip so I break the 12 hour drive into two parts and stay overnight in a hotel along the way.  E travels a lot so we’ve accumulated lots of hotel points for free stays.  I stayed at a hotel in a very small Louisiana town which I’m probably now banned from.  I was driving through East Texas when I received this email from E:

I love you and your pink hair. I responded and let them know there was not an issue with the charges.

I was initially confused but decided to investigate further (and more safely) at our next pit stop.  We rolled into a brand new Buc-ee’s in Terrell, Texas where I finally got the full picture.  There was an attached email from the general manager of the hotel I had just checked out of earlier in the day.  The manager had contacted E via email because it’s his account and information on file, not mine.  This is the email which I have edited for privacy reasons.  I will indicate edited parts of the email with little stars.  Like this:  *

Good afternoon,

I am the General Manager of the *Shit Hole Hotel* in *Bumfuck*, Louisiana. I wanted to write to you in regards to a miscellaneous charge you will find associated with the room that was rented last night under your Platinum Elite rewards account.

Upon entering the room to clean, one of my housekeepers notified me of a tub, shower surround and full set of towels that were all dyed pink. It was evident that someone had used pink hair dye while in the shower. I have processed a charge of $38.33 to the Visa card on file for the towels which had to be discarded and the additional labor and supplies consumed in cleaning the mess left behind.

I hope you will understand my position in this matter. As the GM of this property, I work very hard to ensure our product is up to the standards our Platinum Elite members, as well as other guests, have come to expect from our brand. This is an increasingly difficult task with ruined linen and stained amenities.

Thank you and I wish you a great rest of the week.

*General Manager and Professional Douche Bag*

I had a few more hours of drive time to stew over this whole fiasco and my indignation only increased by the minute.  I felt I needed to defend myself and my pink hair for the verbal attack on our character.  As I was logging onto my laptop late that night (actually, the wee hours of the next morning), I became even more enraged when I saw that the General Manager and Professional Douche Bag (known from the remainder of this blog as GMPDB) had included these two damning pieces of evidence with his email.

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I responded with an email of my own although I didn’t have pictures to back my side up.  I don’t think it mattered.

Mr. GMPDB,

Seeing as it was I, and not my husband, who stayed at your fine 2 star hotel last night, and your stated desire to make sure standards are up to par for not just Platinum Elite members but for everyone, I thought I would personally contact you about this matter.

“It was EVIDENT that someone had used pink hair dye in the shower”.  To quote one of my favorite movies (Princess Bride) “I do not think that word means what you think it means.”  But let me address my reasons for writing to you tonight. 

My children and I arrived around 11 p.m. last night, very exhausted by a long trip, and were greeted – well, not really greeted, that’s not the right word – by a young man who didn’t even acknowledge our presence, even though there was absolutely no one else around, until I cleared my throat.  Again, I had two children with me.  He couldn’t have missed us.  I have bright pink hair as you EVIDENTLY know and have documented with your attachments.  Granted, EVIDENTLY the AC was out so he might have been distracted by the heat.  I learned this fact quickly from the stifling heat everywhere besides the rooms and because the young man had a soaking wet towel around his neck.  It’s for this reason I will refer to him here on out as “Towel Boy” because I didn’t catch his name.  My apologies.  

Finally greeting us, and I use that term loosely, Towel Boy pulled our reservation up on the computer.  In the meantime, I sent my son over to the grocery section to purchase 3 bottles of water.  I made this request of my son kind of loudly because I thought as a Platinum Elite member, I got at least a bottle of water and/or a cookie or something at check-in.  Maybe that’s only at the 3 star hotels and above.  My mistake.  I was actually strongly hinting to Towel Boy to give me my darned bottle of free water.  Towel Boy didn’t catch on.  I’ll blame it on the heat. 

My son hollered (yes, I know this must absolutely horrify you but he is autistic and gets a little louder than he intends sometimes but at least I know for sure that Towel Boy heard him) that there were no bottles of water in the cooler.  Towel Boy ignored us and EVIDENTLY refused to assist us with our drought situation.  I was not able to withstand this test of wills and I broke first, finally asking Towel Boy if there was any water available for purchase, as my son would need to take his seizure medication as soon as we were in the room.

EVIDENTLY, the mention of seizure medication filled Towel Boy with a wealth of compassion.  He heaved a great sigh, I’m assuming to hold back the emotions he was feeling for our situation, and said he could “possibly” find us some bottled water but it would be at room temperature.  Room temperature in the public places of the hotel last night was at least 90 degrees but I took Towel Boy up on his offer.  I sincerely hope Towel Boy remembered to bill my account for the 3 bottles of 90 degree water.  Please double check my bill and add the water charges if Towel Boy forgot to add them.

The kids and I got settled into the room and the kids wanted to get their showers out of the way before bed.  As I was helping my son get everything situated and ready in the bathroom, I noticed there were only 3 full size towels.  If you’ll look at my husband’s Platinum Elite preferences, you’ll see it is EVIDENT I checked “extra towels” in the special requests that your hotel offers.  Extra towels.  That usually means more than what is normally provided.  EVIDENTLY you usually only provide 1 towel for 3 people.  The only other possibility is that my written request was EVIDENTLY ignored by your stellar staff.  Please excuse my ignorance on the towel ration at 2 star hotels.

Anyway, as I had went back through the lobby about 15 minutes before to move our vehicle to a parking spot, I noticed Towel Boy sitting in the lobby, mopping his face with his towel, so I certainly didn’t want to get dressed again, leave my autistic and epileptic son in the shower without an adult in the room, and ask Towel Boy to get off his tush to fulfill a request that was made 24 hours in advance of our stay.  In writing.  On your web site.  I suppose I could have called the front desk and requested that Towel Boy bring me extra towels but honestly, that didn’t even cross my mind and even if it had, I really wouldn’t have wanted to put Towel Boy through that ordeal.  

As for the pink hair, yes, I have pink hair.  You seem awful certain that I dyed my hair in your fine room last night as you used the word “evident”.  Your head of security must have EVIDENTLY attended one of those online college courses because there was no hair dye paraphernalia to be found in the trash cans in our room because I did not dye my hair there.  And believe me, there’s a lot of paraphernalia involved in dying one’s hair pink so there would have been tons of EVIDENCE in the trash can.  Sherlock Holmes would have figured this out.

See, the curse of pink hair is that it continually washes out, no matter what.  I have been dying my hair pink for almost 4 years now.  I carry an extra towel with me when I travel because I normally don’t like being a jack wagon and messing up perfectly good hotel towels.  My son used the hair towel I brought from home, unbeknownst to me until after the fact because there weren’t enough towels in the room.  And remember why there weren’t enough towels in the room?  Please have your head of security see the above paragraph.  

Now, I don’t know if you have kids or not.  It doesn’t really matter.  Imagine a teenage autistic boy dries off with the towel you brought to the hotel to specifically use on your pink hair.  He dries his nether regions with it which may or may not be totally clean, even after a shower.  You get it, right?  Would you use that towel to wrap your hair in the next day?  If so, sir, you need to reevaluate your standards.

When I took a shower the morning of our checkout, the tub would not drain at all.  I took a shower as quickly as I could but the water was still over ankle deep when I got out.  I asked my kids if the tub had done that the previous night and they replied that it had drained slowly but did drain.  It was EVIDENT this was the truth, as there was no water in the tub when I used it that morning.  I messed with the drain, attempting to get the water to go down but it refused.  It was EVIDENT that water was not going down.  Not that day.

When I checked out at promptly noon, I told the female front desk clerk that the tub was completely stopped up and to please warn housekeeping that there was pink water stuck in the tub.  I told her a little funny that my daughter had made, that it looked like I had killed a fairy in the tub and the desk clerk and I had a great little giggle over it.  I made clear again that I wanted her to inform housekeeping of the matter.  She cheerfully gave me a card with information to leave a Trip Adviser review.  It’s not EVIDENT that I will publish a review there yet.  I haven’t decided although judging by some of your Trip Adviser reviews, you are way behind on the high standard goal, at least consistently.

Lastly, “a full set of towels.”  A full set?  I used a small hand towel and a bath towel that my daughter had already used to dry my hair because you did not honor my written request that your hotel offers on the website for extra towels.  That is the EVIDENCE you see on the TWO towels, which is actually only 1.25 towels seeing as a hand towel is 1/4 the size of a bath towel but let’s not get picky here.  Now I know your definition of “extra” towels if a “full set” is a hand towel and a full size towel.  There was no pink on any other towels because my children used all 2 of the other bath sized ones and they have normal colored hair.

We vacation a lot and I have never had one of your hotels bill me for charges due to towels or otherwise.  It is EVIDENT to me that you must not use bleach on your white linens because that usually removes it.  If you do not use bleach, that leads me to really question the cleanliness of your linens.  Out of all the substances found on your hotel towels, you didn’t even wash them to see if it would come out?  Really?  Out of every disgusting thing you find on linens, me and my pink hair is where you draw the line in the 2 star hotel sand?  No, you didn’t attempt to wash the “full set” of 1.25 towels.  It is EVIDENT in your pictorial proof of the 1.25 towels that they were thrown in the trash. 

I am not asking for a reversal of the charges.  I simply want to help you, in your own words, ensure your “product is up to the standards our Platinum Elite members, as well as other guests, have come to expect from our brand.”

I would assume that your brand would want guests to be greeted properly, even in the midst of broken air conditioning.  I assume your brand would want bottled water to be stocked in the grocery section, cold and waiting for customers, priced at way more than a bottle of water should be for the sake of convenience, and not sitting in a random stock room at 90 degrees.  I assume that your brand would also include proper maintenance of your tubs in their standards.  I’m sure it was EVIDENT to housekeeping sometime in the recent past that this tub drained slowly, if at all.  Don’t they rigorously clean the tubs after every stay?  Wouldn’t they have ran water in the tub to clean it?  Either way you answer, you’ll be in the wrong on that one and you know it.  I would assume your brand would want its standards to include honoring requests your own company offers when redeeming points on the website, like extra towels.  I would assume your brand would not prefer the public spaces in one of its hotels to be 90 degrees or more.  Thankfully, although the AC was noisy and woke me from a sound sleep multiple times, it was at least working in the room.  I would assume your brand would want its standards to include a desk clerk who made sure maintenance cleared a non-draining tub when a customer with the best of intentions informed them about it and was up front about the pink water.  I would assume your brand wouldn’t want one of its managers to immediately blame a Platinum Elite member for a tub which was EVIDENTLY completely plugged and would not have been pink had it drained properly in the first place. 

Thank you for your time.

I awoke to find this email in my inbox.

Mrs. Steph,

I agree that you make several valid points in your email. Please give me a call directly at 1-800-IMANASS to further discuss some of the topics. I would really like to speak with you regarding your response. I understand your position and want to thank you for the email; I fully intend to use it to correct some behaviors that I have not previously been able to prove through a guest’s perspective. 

I sincerely look forward to speaking with you at your earliest convinience. 

Thank you,

Mr. GMPDB

I did not call GMPDB because when I pressed “send” after I finished my email, I dropped the mic on the stage and walked away like the fucking pink haired badass I am.  GMPDB, go fuck yourself.  Also, is that all you got?  Because you hit like a little bitch.

Father’s Day

I hope all of you had a wonderful Father’s Day, either celebrating your Dads, as being the Dad celebrated, or both.  Because I’d hate to speak for E (my sarcasm button doesn’t deactivate just because it’s Father’s Day, y’all), I just asked him if he had a good Father’s Day and he said yes.  Success!

I talked with my Dad on the phone earlier today.  I look forward to seeing him next month when the kids and I go to Texas for our annual summer visit.  In the meantime, he has a gift card to buy several new movies and I’ll take him to dinner when I’m there, hopefully.  He will undergo a test tomorrow to determine if his feeding tube can be removed.  The last several months have been really hard on him and my Mom also.  Please keep them in your prayers.

It seems that every year when I scroll through my Facebook feed on Father’s Day, I see more and more posts from friends who have lost their Dads and so wish he was still here to hug, talk to, and celebrate.  It’s heartbreaking and especially hits close to home this year as E lost his Dad this past December.

I was looking up a YouTube video for my weekly addition to the music blog I write for and a Butch Walker video showed up in my feed.  Butch is one of my favorite singers and songwriters.  He lost his Dad not quite two years ago and has been struggling with it since and it comes through in his songwriting.  The songs about his Dad are very good but I can’t listen to them more than once.  Maybe because it’s hard subject material and I can’t understand it.  I don’t want to face that hard subject material yet.  But some of you have been forced to face that very thing in the last few years.

Butch asked his fans to send him pictures of their precious Dads who have passed.  He put together this video set to his song “Father’s Day”.  I hope those of you who have lost your Dads get some comfort from it.  You’re not alone.  I hope those of us who still have our Dads with us are reminded that this time is precious and cannot be regained.

If you’d like to read my blog from last Father’s Day, you can find it here.  Here are a few pictures of my Dad and also E’s Dad.  Love to all of you today.

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Happy Mother’s Day!

If you missed my post from last week, go read it here.  I’ll wait.

Needless to say, I did not get Wolverine or any of my alternates as a Mother’s Day gift.  If I made good on my threats kept my promises, I’d currently have a potted plant, two handmade Mother’s Day cards, a box of Gigi’s cupcakes, a Sephora gift card and a pair of Anastasia tweezers up my twat.  To be fair to myself, I was considering shoving all that up my twat but the tweezers called my bluff.  I’m pretty sure E marched into Sephora and said “My wife has threatened to shove any Mother’s Day gifts that aren’t Hugh Jackman up her twat.  What item in the store would inflict the most pain being shoved up a twat?”.  Well played, E.  Well played.

It’s a good thing Wolverine or Star-Lord didn’t show up, anyway.  A migraine knocked me out of commission all afternoon and our dinner plans were derailed.  We’ll make them up next weekend.  What does matter is that I have two kids I have helped raise to the ages of 17 and 13 who love me, faults and all.

A long time ago, I told E not to buy me any more store bought cards.  They’re a waste of money for me.  You pay around $5 for a cheesy card with someone else’s words and feelings on it.  I told him I’d prefer a handwritten note instead.  It could be as short or as long as he wanted to make it.  I didn’t care, as long as it came from him.  He’s done that ever since and I’ve somehow managed to get the kids to do it also.  Landon made his at school and Gracie worked like the little Martha Stewart she is on hers last week here at home.  As usual, it’s the words, beautiful words, that touch me the most.  Not the gift card or the ridiculously expensive tweezers (which I really did need and has a story which I will post next week) but words.

Here’s what Landon had to say about me:

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I give him crap every time he asks me how old I am.  I’ll usually give him various answers but never my true age.  So, he said he wrote that I was 100 years old because he didn’t know.  I told him my true age so now he knows I’m 32.

Fine, I told him I’m 45.  Y’all are breaking my heart here.

Landon was correct that I love Harry Potter and eating Mexican food.  If you know me well, you got a laugh out of cooking being my super power.  I do cook.  I don’t enjoy cooking.  I do it to survive and to nourish my family but it’s not my “thing”.  But there are a few dishes that I make that Landon is just crazy about.  He loves my chicken and dumplings, crock pot chicken enchiladas, combo burritos, and homemade dressing.  If that counts as a super power, I’ll take it.  I noticed he wrote “pretty” twice.  I also really liked “brave, smart, silly, and sweet”.  I try to be those things and I’m glad he can see them in me.

I have a feeling that Gracie has my gift for words because inside her card were the most beautiful words a Mom could ever want to read on Mother’s Day.

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“To the best Mom,

Every day, there’s always a problem in our lives and you take care of those problems.  We always come to you for your help and advice.  You make us feel at home even when we are not.  You make rough times the best and the worst days some of the best days.  Your love and words will always be the best medicine for a heartache.  Thanks Mom!

Love, Gracie Girl.”

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If you’d like to read my blog post from last Mother’s Day you can find it here.  I hope all you Moms out there had a beautiful day.  Happy Mother’s Day, my friend!

Mother’s Day Gifts: You’re Doing It Wrong!

Well, I feel pretty stupid.  While I was in Texas last week for my Dad’s surgery, I took my Mom to lunch for an early Mother’s Day present.  She chose to eat lunch at Olive Garden.  Although the meal was delicious and our waiter was an absolute doll, I really fucked this one up.

Although it’s too late for a happy ending this Mother’s Day for my Mom, it is most certainly not too late for me.  E, you’ve been given notice.  Get on this shit STAT.  If I get a gold locket, I’ll put it up my twăt (sounded out with ă instead of ä, who fucking knew?).  Hell, if I get anything other than Wolverine, I’ll put all of it up my twăt in protest.

I know this may seem an unreasonable demand since we’re only four short days away from Mother’s Day.  I am nothing if not reasonable.  Should Wolverine be fully booked, these replacements will suffice (in this strict order):

  1. Star-Lord.  Tell him to bring the long red leather coat and the mask.  Don’t forget his Awesome Mix, Volume 1 & 2.    
  2. Thor.  WITH his hammer.  No, his other hammer.  Just tell him to bring all his damned hammers.  
  3. Bruce Banner.  Not Hulk because I actually like my twăt intact.  And not the Edward Norton bitch.  I want Mark Ruffalo.
  4. Tony Stark, not Iron Man because that’s just weird.  Fine, he can bring the mask just in case things get crazy.
  5. Bad Bucky from Captain America.  Tell him not to show up without that metal arm and the black mask.

Who said I was high maintenance?  See, I just gave you an easy to follow Mother’s Day buying guide.  You’re welcome.

Paying It Forward

I’m in Texas, sitting in a hospital room with my Dad.  I told my Mom to get the hell out of Dodge for a while and I’d look after him this afternoon.  He had major surgery yesterday which lasted 8 hours, total.  It was successful but there’s a lot of rehab in his future, discomfort, and another surgery eventually but we hope to get Dad to a much better quality of life.

I fed him his dinner just a bit ago.  Cream of Wheat and applesauce, with a spoon.  I had to force myself not to make airplane noises as I was inching the spoon toward his mouth.

It’s a very new feeling to me, the tables being turned, when even just for a few hours, I am taking care of my Dad’s most basic needs.  Sure, the nurses help with the bathroom stuff.  I fed him dinner and feed him ice chips whenever he needs them.  I prop pillows where they will make him feel more comfortable.  It’s a classic case of role reversal.

I’m the strong one.  I do for him now what he did for me during so many childhood illnesses.  I was never hospitalized until I had children but I suffered with horrible ear infections when I was a kid.  I remember Dad dabbing “monkey blood” on my tonsils when I had a sore throat.  God, I hated that shit.  He pulled my loose teeth with, yes, rusty pliers that he cleaned up.  He put warm drops in my ears when I had ear infections.

The best memory I have of my Dad taking care of me was when I was in labor with Landon.  I’d been in induced labor since early morning and it was well after midnight the next day.  I was exhausted, in pain, and just so over the whole baby thing.  A thunderstorm moved in and the lightning was incredible.  During one of my bouts of whimpering, Dad asked if he could rub my back.  It was wise that he asked first because earlier, I’d told E that if he touched me one more time, I’d perform an impromptu vasectomy on him with my own bare hands.  I was willing to give anything a try, so I said yes and he rubbed my back for the longest time while the storm roared on outside the hospital room window.

My parents have helped take care of both of my children in NICU, ICU, post-op, regular hospital rooms.  They’ve changed diapers, emptied colostomy bags, been peed on, pooped on, puked on, fed and burped my babies, sang them lullabies when they were so very sick.  They’ve encouraged E and I when we were so down after yet another hospital stay that yielded no solutions.  They’ve cheered us with hot meals and prayers when all we wanted to do is curl into a fetal position and hide inside a tiny closet and pretend the medical horror with our children wasn’t happening.  Parents continue to take care of you far longer than the required 18 years.

I know a lot of you have done things for your parents that you never thought you’d have to do.  Some of you have went much further than feeding your parent to take care of them.  Some of you are going through it now.  Some have already been through all that and had to bury their parent much too early.  I hate that some of us are getting old enough that we have to face these things.

But at the same time, it’s comforting.  It comforts me to know that this is truly the circle of things, the way it’s intended.  Our parents cared for us when we were young, they raised us up to be caring, loving, responsible adults so that we can be the kind of helper we need to be for our aging parents.  There’s nowhere, other than with E and my kids, that I’d rather be right now than with my Dad, who has given me so much.

It’s time to pay it forward.

I hope y’all are doing well.  I hope to catch up and start reliably posting new blogs at least once a week.  I haven’t felt very funny lately so I don’t want to write but I just figured out that I don’t have to be funny.  Just write.

I love you all!  Thanks so much for all the messages, thoughts, and prayers.  I have amazing friends and family.

Thank God And Learn To Keep Your Shirt On

I just ordered E not to make eye contact with me and to not speak to me unless spoken to.  Luckily, he laughed.

I sat down to start this blog about an hour ago and have had to get up multiple times to make another cup of coffee, find Landon an Alabama shirt to wear, get my headphones out of my computer bag, and make fun of Bo Wallace (known as Bro Ballace in my house) in the Ole Miss/TCU game on the TV right now.  Ignoring the TV is much harder than it used to be because I bought E surround sound for Christmas and it’s, well, distracting, especially when wonderful football sounds are emanating from it.

I always write when the kids are at school and E is at work or after everyone’s in bed for the night so this has been very difficult but here we go.  Martial law has been enforced in my house.  God be with them as I write this.

I haven’t written in a while because E’s Dad, Bob, died on December 12th.  Bob fell in October and broke his hip, leading to the discovery of advanced lung cancer.  E spent some quality time with his Dad during those last days, including watching Alabama win their 24th SEC Championship with him.  All of Bob’s family is from Alabama and one of his brothers was buried in his beloved Alabama Crocs.  We were at that funeral and I can vouch for that fact.

There are many great memories of Bob but these are mine.  He was a quiet man so when he talked, I knew to listen because what came out was usually pretty insightful.  He worked hard for his family, always.  He loved to garden and always had fresh produce either ready to be picked or growing when I first met E.  He loved to travel with his camper and he loved his demon cat McKenzie, who is immortalized in a huge picture in E’s parent’s bedroom to this day.  He loved his beer.  When we arrived in Arizona, we drove straight to my in-law’s house.  My nephew was watching Monday night football and drinking a Miller High Life, which was Bob’s beer of choice.  There was a new 30 pack in the kitchen.  I watched football and drank a Miller High Life in honor of Bob.   R.I.P., Bob.  Thank you for your hand in raising the man I have called my husband for the last 23 years.

Everything holiday related was accelerated, gift deliveries were missed because we were supposed to be here in Bama a week longer.  I was just outside on a Monday, putting up 1200 more Christmas lights to piss my neighbor off and by Friday, I was frantically packing for a funeral in Arizona and then immediate cold Texas Christmas.  I had sweet friends who stopped by to get very valuable presents off my front porch in Bama, stored the gifts I had with me in Dallas so they wouldn’t be stolen out of the truck at DFW airport, took concert tickets for me so they wouldn’t go to waste, and played the best ever last minute Santa on the phone to my kids.

As I look back on 2014, the overwhelming theme for me seems to be friends.  The good ones, the bad ones, the downright toxic ones, and how I should handle each of those categories.

I seem to have finally attained the ability this past year to simply walk away and that’s a good thing.  My zodiac sign, Capricorn, is wrong about my actual traits on so many levels that sometimes I’d swear I wasn’t born in January.  One of those Capricorn traits is the ability to walk away from a “bad” friend, emotionally and literally, without a thought or a backward glance.  I didn’t seem to acquire that ability until just this year and it’s actually quite freeing.

I can’t control other people’s behavior, as much as I have tried, but I can control mine.  I control my reactions, my decisions, who I keep in my life, who I need to lower expectations of in order to keep in my life, whose shitty behavior is worth putting up with, who contributes absolutely nothing to my life and is just an onlooker or judge, who influences me and makes me either feel fucking awesome about myself and everything in life, or who makes me feel worthless and full of doubts.

On the other side of the coin, I want my friends to hold me accountable.  Call me on my own bullshit.  Do it with love and call me a taint stain, but hold me accountable.  I don’t want “yes” friends because those aren’t true friends.  You can tell me anything with true affection and love and I can take it.  It will be hard and I’ll probably kick you in the crotch repeatedly and possibly shank you, but if it’s said with love, it will get through to my dense brain eventually.

I have no New Year’s resolutions.  I should have some, trust me.  I’m eating everything in sight like an alcoholic drinks the entire liquor cabinet after being mistakenly included in the text about their own intervention scheduled for the following night.  If you don’t hear from me for a few days, it’s because I am in a sugar coma somewhere in Birmingham.

Resolutions are pretty much bullshit anyway.  This year, I just vow to do better, on every level.  That’s all anyone can do.  Be a better significant other, mother, daughter, sister, friend, person.  I just want to be a better chick.  Period.

Happy New Year!  Thank you so much for reading my blog this year.  It still amazes me that anyone reads my shit.  I got my end of year stat report yesterday and it blew me away.  My counter at the bottom of each blog has been way off these past couple months and it bothered me, even though I knew it was wrong.  The end of year report confirmed that I’m not alone and that there are more than 7 people who read this shit.  I love you all and I wish you the very best in 2015.  Now, go do better.

You May Call Me Overlord

2015 update:  I bought just about every string of Christmas lights I could find on clearance last year to add to our outdoor display.  Shit just got real for this year, y’all.  

We live in a quiet neighborhood of mostly elderly people.  The only two houses within eyesight on our block with outdoor Christmas lights are ours and our next door neighbors, who I’ll refer to as “Bad Neighbors” in this post.  Bad Neighbors like to decorate with tacky dollar store shit, which is fine if you mix it in with actual real decorations that cost more than a buck, but that’s just about all they use.  I should add that those neighbors are in their 60s, which doesn’t imply tackiness necessarily, but the Granny Christmas Decoration slice is pretty much all they have on the Semi-Tasteful Christmas Decoration pie chart now.

Relations were okay between us and Bad Neighbors until about 18 months ago.  At least, as okay as they can be when we call Bad Neighbor Man “Creeper” because he would feel the sudden urge to exit their house to smoke in their driveway, which is about 5 feet from ours, at exactly the same time I drove into our driveway.  Every single time.  Things were as fine as they could be when Creeper made me feel weird with a couple of really off putting comments.  We got by and spoke when necessary.  That changed when a pine tree sliced off about 1/4 of our house 18 months ago.

We were away on a cruise for Spring Break when straight line winds made a huge pine tree part of our interior decor.  When we returned and it became clear to the Bad Neighbors that we were pretty much going to get half a brand new house out of the deal, things went bad.

The very first thing we had to do, before we had even hired a contractor, was to replace our mailbox.  It was blown away.  And by that, I mean it was nowhere to be found.  Bad Neighbors installed a brand new mailbox the very next day even though theirs was fine.  E asked them if we could run an extension cord to their house to run our alarm system until our electricity was cleared to be turned on again and Bad Neighbor Woman refused.  We were staying in a hotel, all our worldly possessions were in the house, there was still a huge slice in our roof and an outer wall was partially missing and she denied us a plug in.

That’s when I stopped speaking to Bad Neighbors.

Bad Neighbors bitched at the contractor and made nuisances of themselves on several occasions.  Insurance moved us into a rental house after a few weeks, conveniently right across the street from our damaged house.  That was awesome because we could keep close watch on the repairs and Bad Neighbors, who seemed to grow increasingly irritated with our renovations each day.

Bad Neighbors bitched about debris that wasn’t even on their property, they bitched about the yard, they bitched about the lawn guy accidentally running over a newspaper that didn’t even get into their yard and which he mostly picked up.  I took to leaving our doors open during the renovations as much as possible so they could see all the new, shiny, pretty things going in and blasted my stereo system while I was doing work on the house myself at every opportunity.  It’s safe to assume I didn’t play the Smooth Jazz shit we still hear from their house every Saturday night.  Slayer, Korn, Rage Against The Machine, and Marilyn Manson were played often that summer.  I think I even hate played some Limp Bizkit out of spite.

Bad Neighbors installed a privacy fence shortly before we moved back into our mostly new home complete with a much larger and nicer deck.  I took to sitting on the deck and talking badly about them very loudly every chance I got.  I still do.  They do not speak to me but have spoken to E a couple times over mail, etc.  I have a speech stored in my head and plan on delivering it if they ever do speak to me again.  I know this will shock you but the speech isn’t very Christian.

Now to the part where you may call me Overlord.  We have several huge pine trees in the front yard and we added lights to them this year, which we’ve never done before.  Bad Neighbors had already decorated their yard when we decorated ours.  Bad Neighbor Woman noticed our added decorations and was back in her yard at 10:00 on Saturday night, adding lights to their already tacky display.

Oh, it is fucking ON.

The kids are even in on this now.  We were finally finishing our Christmas tree last night (I’ve been sick, E has been out of town) and Landon said “Mom, close the blinds so she can’t copy our tree!”  I have taught them well.  So damned proud. Tearing up.

What is any rational woman left to do in this situation?  I’m not sure because I’ve never been called rational but I used every damned extension cord in the house, bought another one, and put up 1200 more lights in our yard this morning so Bad Neighbor Woman will be surprised when she returns home from work after dark tonight.  Is it safe?  Probably not.  Will it blow a circuit?  I’ll be disappointed if it doesn’t.

Bad Neighbor Woman:  I have nothing but time on my hands.  I can do this shit all day long for the next three weeks.  Bring it.

And the rest of you may call me Overlord.