Since I left my nine to five job in January I have become pretty carefree. So much in fact that my husband has been calling me “The Dude“. I can’t really blame him. I have taken up wearing a uniform of sorts which consists of pajama pants and a CBGB tank top with a sweater that looks like a homeless man was wearing for years before handing it over to me. When I leave the house I throw on a pair of workout pants to “dress it up a little”. It usually stops people from trying to hand me dollar bills at the grocery store. I’m not going to lie though, on occasion I just throw on yesterday’s pajama pants. Don’t judge me! (more…)
Theme parks really bring out the worst in people. Half the people are wandering around clueless and lost and the other half are running you over to get to the front of the line. For those of us in the middle of these two groups, it’s a bit of a war zone. We spent Easter week at Disney and most of that week we spent either dodging people staring at their phones while running through the park, or tripping over people as they stopped to figure out where they were. I was almost flattened by multiple scooters as Grandma let little Bobby try to steer his way through a crowd at 12 miles per hour while eating an ice cream cone. I love Disney, but that week was a little traumatizing.
One of the enduring themes throughout our stay was watching people attempt to get on rides that were full. We watched a group of teenage boys climb on to an overly full safari jeep and literally sit on each others laps while forcing small children over the rails on the other side. One older couple ended up completely surrounded by sweaty teen boys yelling at each other to scoot over and make room. If they had waited their turn, they would have ended up occupying the two rows ahead of us, so I was happy to see them go, but I wouldn’t be surprised if grandma never made it past the giraffe crossing. Another woman tried to climb onto a two seat roller coaster behind me and drag her daughter along. She just looked at me for a minute before realizing that she had to wait for the next train to arrive. I’m not sure how this happens since they have numbers in each ride queue and they always stack people two loads deep. My rule of thumb is if you don’t know the person in front of you, don’t follow them on a ride and try to sit on their lap. It leads to discomfort for all parties involved.
The rides with younger kids were the most problematic. We watched a little girl dressed as a princess with a birthday sash force her family to change seats on three separate rides. She was climbing over seats and attempting to get her 300 pound grandfather to do the same. One of the cast members finally told her to pick a seat and stay in it after she had a tantrum about not being close enough to the front. I had to laugh a few minutes later when she got soaked, unaware that the front of that ride was probably not the best seat in the house. Two little boys followed my daughter and me on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and tried to get on the ride with us in a two seat car. When they realized they didn’t fit, they tried to turn around and one got squished in the door. I watched as their parents stood on the other side completely oblivious that one of their kids almost just lost an arm. That was probably my favorite episode of Kids Gone Wild at Disney.
I think what prompts people to behave this way is they want to have the best experience they can and are impatient to have their experience. They don’t stop to think that cramming themselves into an overly full truck or climbing over other people to get to the best seat is not going to do it. I watched the birthday girl spend her time looking at all of the other kids to see if they were looking at her rather than enjoying the ride. They weren’t looking at her, and the ones who were (like my kid) were mostly commenting on what a brat she was. I heard three different dads get reprimanded by cast members for putting their kids in danger. While on the safari a man had to be told that the animals around us were real and dangerous as he held his baby in the air near the alligator pit. I’m sure he was making sure she had the best possible view since babies are really into alligators and all. Another man had to be told that his child needed to sit multiple times on the Jungle Cruise. It took an entire boat of people staring at him for him to finally comply.
We are fortunate that our kid is past the age of caring about the characters so we didn’t have to stop for any photo ops. I saw some of them, and it was similar to the fourth circle of hell. It doesn’t help that only about half of the characters are making appearances. We spent enough time waiting in line for our little foodie to taste frushi, seared scallops and avocado toast. Although we didn’t encounter many hangry little monsters in these lines, there were a couple bitchy bros with man buns. Disney really does provide entertainment for everyone, even if that entertainment is being a judgmental asshole. By the end of the vacation, my kid was already talking about visiting Universal instead next time. I see many more trips to theme parks in the future, with rides for bigger kids and trading in pushy princesses for sweaty teenagers. Somehow I know this is going to be a grass is greener situation the first time a stoned 15 year old barfs near my shoes.
**Since theme parks are a bit like a pit, I had to listen to some good old fashioned hardcore while writing this piece.
My child has taken up roller skating. This is an unexpected turn of events since she went to a roller skating party once in the second grade and hated every second of it. She had not tried it again until a few weeks ago when a friend asked her to go skating. Apparently she loved it because since then that’s all she has wanted to do. So much that we had to run all over town finding her a pair of skates so she would be ready next time.
Next time ended up being yesterday and it was with Mom and Dad. I hadn’t skated in at least 20 years, probably even longer, but I agreed to lace up and skate with her. After about three minutes I felt horrible about having sent her skating with her friend who had to endure hours of holding my kid’s hand while she tried to simultaneously hold the railing and make her way around the rink twice while barely moving her feet. This child was so afraid of falling that she barely let go of the hand rail. When we skated up behind someone standing at the rail or moving even slower than us (hard to imagine), she stopped behind them and waited. I finally started grabbing her hand and pulling her along with me. I tried a few times to pull her away from the rail and you would have thought I was trying to drown her watching her arms flail.
I have to say that walking into that place brought me right back to being a teenage girl. I’m not sure how they manage to stop time but there are a lot of 60 year old women looking for whatever magic lives between those four walls. Time has actually not progressed in almost 40 years at this rink. Even the carpet is exactly how I remembered it. All of a sudden I had the urge to smoke a cigarette and rat my hair. Walking past the bathroom on the way in brought me right back to the time a girl threw a slushie at me because her boyfriend asked me to couples skate on a Friday night. And lacing up the rental skates brought me right back to lacing up my speed skates, getting ready to win whatever crappy ribbon and free snack bar treat was waiting at the finish line.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous to be on wheels again. It had been a long time and lets be honest, breaking a hip after a fall would not be all that unlikely for me. I have made it through 5 years without a stupidity-inflicted injury, but it’s only a matter of time before I trip, slip or fall. But apparently skating is a lot like riding a bike because once I was on the rink, it was like I had never taken off skates. Within a few minutes I was skating backwards and spinning in circles. I even got a little gutsy and sped around the rink a few times only wobbling a bit while trying to do a crossover on a turn.
I refrained from getting back on the rink when they called an adults only skate and opted to watch the crazy old black guy who kept waving and fist bumping people as he made his rounds. I am always up for embarrassing my kid, but not to the extent that she’ll never leave the house again. A bunch of boys from our neighborhood were there who would have tortured her relentlessly if I made an ass out of myself. Plus, if there was a time for me to fall and break a hip, it would have been in that moment. I try not to temp fate, especially with the kind of karma I have earned. I saw that old black guy’s wife as well, and she looked like she had thrown a slushie or two in her lifetime.
I have to say, I never thought I would be hanging out with my kid at the same place I used to flirt with boys and smoke cigarettes. But here we are, and I honestly couldn’t ask for much more. Well, maybe that my legs didn’t feel like I ran six marathons the next day.
*Spending the day in a time warp had me listening to some music from my youth – Violent Femmes.
I get some weird junk mail and spam mail. A few years ago I received a handwritten letter by someone I had no recollection of that claimed to have been a classmate in high school. Since I also have a limited recollection of my high school days, I took her word for it and looked her up in the yearbook. That is when I discovered she was a no good filthy liar. She had picked the last name of a classmate of mine, but had a different first name. She also claimed to have attended grade school with me at a school I never stepped foot in. The best part about this letter is that she was writing to me about the Jehovah’s Witnesses. She was lying about who she was to recruit me into a cult. Clearly she did not know me at all or she would have known that not even a cult would take me in and put up with my nonsense. A few months later I received another handwritten letter from someone claiming to be a 12 year old boy telling me how he wanted to share his love of Jesus with me. I kind of miss the days when they would just knock on your door. At least that way I could have warned him that his cult would never allow him to see an action movie or listen to music and that he had a lifetime of missionary sex and doors being slammed in his face to look forward to. Maybe I could have recruited him out of Kingdom Hall if he had knocked on my door instead of trying to lure me in with his pathetic letter. Then again, the 12 year old boy was most likely a 70 year old granny, the same one who wrote me the first letter. Catfishing must be exhausting.
I have also received quite a few postcards for some far right republican politicians which I always find interesting. I am not opposed to receiving propaganda from either side of the aisle, I just wonder how I got on some of these lists. Political “information” is always pretty comical to me, but absolutely nothing has topped the latest letter I received from Ted Cruz asking me to donate money to his ridiculous foundation. Every other line of the letter reads like a billboard claiming our vice-president is pickpocketing me to pay people to murder babies. His letter was in fact begging me for money to support the defunding of Planned Parenthood. I could make a lot of statements here about how Ted Cruz probably never had to worry about something like an unwanted pregnancy since no woman in her right mind would let that little slime crawl on top of her, but I won’t. Instead, I am writing Mr. Cruz a thank you note which reads:
Dear Mr. Cruz,
Thank you for informing me about the goal of your organization to defund Planned Parenthood. This is something that I was unaware of and most definitely plan to do something about. I know that you were hoping to receive a check from me, but all I can offer to you is a photocopy of a check. Please find enclosed a photocopy of a check remitted to Planned Parenthood. I had an abundance of money at the close of the year and had been considering several worthy charities when I received your letter. I had completely forgotten about all the good work Planned Parenthood does until you so generously reminded me. Thank you. Merry Christmas and God Bless.
Now onto my letters to the Jehovah’s… I’m thinking as a gift a subscription to Hustler may be in order. I also just realized that these kind of shenanigans are exactly how I get on all of these lists.
**Something the Jehovah’s would never allow… a little Slayer!
I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but my family does everything a little over the top. We are an all or nothing kind of family which means I don’t sleep from Halloween until about January 3. My husband literally packs up the hand painted trunk or treat decorations and starts planning the theme for our annual Christmas card while I walk around the house with a glitter filled fire hose decorating and baking enough cookies to feed half of South America. Some years the theme for our card comes quickly, some years we have to brainstorm for a month, but we always have at least one theme that would offend half of our friends and family and my husband tells me no repeatedly while I beg him to hide a little easter egg of something offensive in the background. He and I have a different idea of “holiday cheer” sometimes.
Some past themes have included snowball fights, plans to kidnap Santa and baby Riley dismantling a tree. I think my daughter’s favorite was the year we strung her life sized bear up in the woods so she could have a winter wonderland themed party in the snow wearing a ball gown. She especially liked that I had to carry her into the woods to save her shoes and keep her bundled in a fur blanket until our perfectionist photographer was ready. I literally fell in the snow and used my body as a mattress to save her highness from wrinkling her dress. She really became the part that year, making demands like a seasoned super model. I was lucky to have walked away without having a cell phone thrown at my head.
My favorite card to date has been the Elf on a Shelf takeover, mostly because it took a full day to shoot all of the photos used, and I got to play little elf to the photographer. We used 2 toy elves to create 100 of the little monsters destroying our family room, climbing shelves and ziplining from the fireplace mantle. There was even an elf wielding a cocktail sword holding the child hostage. Plus, she had to stay still tied up in lights for a large part of the shoot. I spent the day climbing ladders, hanging elves from fishing line and keeping out of the shot. The best part about this card is that we don’t even have an elf in our house. We don’t do that cliché bullshit (although I may get myself a Snoop on a Stoop next year).
Based on the feedback we have received so far, our card this year has topped all others. Maybe it’s the magic of it, or the fact that we actually have the whole family in the photo for the first time ever, but the consensus has been that this is the fan favorite. I am the first to admit that I participated in approximately 3 minutes of the making of this card when I sat in front of the green screen that resided in our living room for a month. I didn’t even lend a hand when my husband was photographing himself flying through the air. Believe it or not, he took that photo entirely on his own. I was probably in the kitchen elbow deep in powdered sugar at the time. But sometimes that is how it works, and the final product is even better than expected. I wish I could say the same about my cookies this year. They are still a work in progress…
The other day we were talking about teaching my 10 year old to drive the wave runner by herself. She is tall and she always wants to drive, but having her sit in front of someone is difficult since you can’t see around her Amazonian body and Mowgli hair. In the middle of this conversation between me and my dad, my mom stopped us and said “you know it’s illegal for her to drive those alone right?” to which we both stared at her like she was speaking Greek. I quickly said “Only if she gets caught!” And this is where it is clear I am my father’s daughter, and my child is following right down those rebellious misguided footsteps. We all looked at my mom like she was crazy to say out loud that breaking the law was probably not a good idea.
My Dad gave me my first motorcycle ride before I was a year old. Apparently I caught a cold shortly thereafter and my grandma quickly put the blame on the bike so I wasn’t allowed back on until I was 3. I also got my first helmet that year. It was orange and loud and too big. I loved it, and I loved the motorcycle. So much in fact, that by the time I was seven I was demanding to ride alone. My dad made me show him that I could hold it upright unassisted and operate it alone before I was able to take my virgin solo ride. By the time I was ten I was a little terror in the trails down the street and ripping up the baseball field at the elementary school. I was also very clear on the rules which were “if you see a cop, turn off the bike and say you are out of gas and waiting for your dad to come back.” I was then to walk it home with the cops following me. I partook in this parade quite a few times before the police finally told my mom if it happened again they would see that I did not receive a license to drive at 16. I guess I shouldn’t have been all that concerned since I actually drove myself to driver’s education classes in my own car at the age of fifteen, but at the time it scared my mom enough to make my dad sell the bike. Although that was just the beginning of my tendency to push the limits, the lesson I learned was you don’t get in trouble unless you get caught.
This lesson has trickled down to my daughter. Fortunately, she isn’t doing anything she feels the need to hide from me yet, and with my experience in jackassery, she will probably have a hard time doing so. Right now she is still wondering if she is allowed to do things on her own and when she is given a yes by mom or grandpa she follows up with dad or grandma to get the real story. I just keep telling her not to worry. She won’t get caught and if she does, mom will be in trouble which is a pretty familiar place for mom to be. Apparently my kid is totally okay with me paying the price for her misdeeds as well since as soon as I explained I would be in trouble for making her drive, she grabbed the keys and tried to take off on me. Luckily, the wave runner takes a few seconds to start or we may not have seen her again until she ran out of gas. Although, she drives like a grandma, so I probably could have caught up to her with a quick doggy paddle.
I have had a lot of great experiences in my life, party because I was not afraid of much. I have had some bad experiences for the same reason, but that is a whole different story. Little things like laws and rules have rarely deterred me from trying something new and have often times made me learn a new skill, like jumping off a roof with a skateboard or moving through spaces that are too narrow for a cop car to follow. I am hoping that my kid can learn some of these life lessons from my stories rather than having to touch the ot burner herself, but only time will tell. For now, I am grateful that she will take a chance now and then but drive slow enough for her mom to still catch her.
I’m beginning to think my phone number has made the rounds at an online pirating convention because I have been getting scam calls up the yin yang. I get a call a day from Amazon making sure I meant to make a purchase on my account (which I do not have). I do have to say, when having a stressful day, messing with some asshole trying to steal people’s credit card information is a perfect remedy. My conversation today went a little like this:
“This is Amazon verifying your purchase of $399.89. If you did not make this purchase, you can speak to an Amazon customer service manager by pressing 1.” And you better believe I pressed 1. So forcefully, in fact that I almost threw my phone across the room in the process.
Asshole: Thank you for choosing to speak to customer service today. This is Jerry. How may I help you?
Me: I’m not sure. You called me about a purchase.
Asshole: Yes ma’am. A purchase was made today using your Amazon account. Did you purchase an iPhone 11 for $399.89?
Me: Oh no. I didn’t. What do I do?
Asshole: Well ma’am, unfortunately the parcel has already been sent out so you will need to fill out a form to cancel the charge on your account. You can fill out the form online. Are you near a computer?
Asshole: Okay, now you are on Google Chrome correct?
Me: How did you know that? Are you in my computer?
Asshole: No ma’am. No. Most computers have Google Chrome. So you can go to the search bar at the top, the white bar and type in U as in unicorn, L as in lima….. (and several more letters that I didn’t listen to, but I did hear ice cream at one point). Now, can you repeat what you typed in?
Me: Oh, I wasn’t typing. I thought you wanted me to write it down. Can you repeat that?
Asshole: Yes ma’am. U as in unicorn, L as in lima…
Me: Wait, did you say lima? Do you mean lemur? You didn’t send me lemurs instead of puppies did you? I ordered a box of puppies. That’s what I ordered from Amazon, not an iPhone.
Asshole: What are you talking about puppies? No ma’am. There are no puppies. Can you tell me the address you typed?
Me: I didn’t type anything. I was writing. Where am I supposed to be typing?
Asshole: On your keyboard ma’am.
Me: Oh, my keyboard… you want to hear me play on the keyboard. Hold on.
I then proceeded to bash on the piano for a full minute at which point my daughter started yelling from the other room wondering what the noise was.
Me: What do you think?
Asshole: Ma’am, what are you doing? Are you at your keyboard. I need you to type the address.
Me: I was at my keyboard. Did you like my playing? So, you said the parcel went out. Where are my puppies? Do you have my puppies? You better not have my puppies.
Asshole: Ma’am (now with a raised voice), I don’t know anything about any puppies. But I am going to need you to type the address on your computer to fill out the form. Are you at your computer?
I was not at my computer. I was actually trying to free my leg from my cat’s jaw as he chomped on my achilles tendon. I think he heard me talking about receiving a box of puppies and was feeling insecure and angry. Or my piano playing really set him off. It’s hard to tell.
Me: No. I’m at my keyboard. But I’m going to need that address again. I couldn’t understand you.
Asshole: Ma’am, you need to be at your computer. Do you have a keyboard?
Me: Do they send you to special scammer training to learn how to deal with difficult calls? I mean in Bangladesh or wherever you are, do they teach you special skills to rip off little old ladies and get them to give you their credit card information?
Asshole: (finally catching on that I was being a dick) No, in Pakistan. We go to the Technological Institute.
Me: You must be really pathetic to do this for money. I bet your mom is super proud of you.
Apparently I hit a nerve because he got agitated at this point. He said something about hiding it from his mom and hung up on me shortly thereafter.
So, you’re welcome to whoever was next on the call list. I spent 15 minutes of this scumbag’s time and reduced my stress by at least 50%.
I should have just played this over the phone…