Don’t Mess With Me

I have had more scam calls in the past month than I have over my lifetime. And let me start by saying, I am the worst nightmare for these people. I learned from a man who made a sport out of telemarketing calls. I have been listening to my dad mess with telemarketers since I was a small child. He kept a New York Times salesman on the phone for a good ten minutes telling him how the paper would be useless in our house because the entire family was illiterate. He talked this guy’s ear off about a cousin who went all the way through school to the 10th grade and then argued that the 10th grade was the end of high school, not the 12th grade. So when telemarketers call me, I usually do my best to keep them on the line as long as possible so they can’t annoy someone else.

Last year I had a guy call and tell me they were coming to arrest me. Since at least ten reasons popped into my head for why this could be accurate, I listened. Apparently my tax preparer didn’t file my tax return, which is weird since I’m a CPA and all. He even ended up swearing at me at one point so I grabbed a whistle and blew it in the phone as hard as I could. I then proceeded to call him back repeatedly blowing the whistle until the line was finally taken off the hook. I can be a little mean if they catch me in a mood. I have told several of these idiots that I am sorry they made such bad life choices that scamming people is their only form of income or I wonder if their mothers are proud of their career choices.

A few weeks ago I got a call from my “computer’s support team” telling me there was suspicious activity on my Amazon account. I asked if I had paid extra for the support team or if my computer just came that way. Strangely, the guy did not understand sarcasm, which seems to be common with these calls. He walked me through downloading a file onto my computer to resolve the issue. I tapped on my keys pretending to follow his instructions and then finally said “okay, I’m all done. I can’t wait to see what your virus does to my computer. Oh, and by the way, I don’t have an Amazon account, but my husband does. Do you want his phone number?” All I heard in response was a click. Luckily for him, I did not have my whistle handy.

Yesterday I received another call who sounded almost identical to the amazon guy. He was also from my computer’s support team, and said I definitely had a virus. He must have heard from his buddy that I downloaded the file! He asked if I had noticed anything unusual and I said that my granny porn had been really slow to load. When he asked what my desktop looked like I told him I had no icons and asked if I should. He said everyone had icons so I must have done something to make mine disappear. I think he just wanted to know if I had any of the granny porn loaded on my desktop. Maybe that question is the scam caller’s equivalent of “what are you wearing?” When he asked me what browser I used I said the blue one because it was way faster than the red one. He still didn’t catch on that I was toying with him. We had been on the phone for at least five minutes when he told me to press the function key along with another key. I asked him what a function key was and he tried to explain as I continued to ask questions. He was trying to describe the layout of a keyboard while I was saying things like “space bar, is it a bar in outer space? I don’t understand what you mean.” He was clearly becoming exasperated so when he said “do you see the key with the Fn on it? It’s right next to the key with Ctrl on it” I almost started laughing, feeling his head ready to explode. Instead I said “OH MY GOD, that key is not there. There is a blank spot. Do you think the virus stole it?” And again, all I heard was a click. 

** I knew this album was in my head for a reason. **

Mommy’s Little Monster

My child is spending way too much time with me. And I think it may be turning her into kind of an asshole. I heard her talking to her dad in the kitchen and she said “you’re killing me John!” I could picture her hands on her hips standing the same way I do when I tell him how he is literally causing my slow and painful death by loading the dishwasher wrong. I am kind of an asshole, so I spot one when I see one.

Every day she spends with me makes her a little mouthier and a little more judgmental. She is even starting to point out who doesn’t take care of their landscaping in our neighborhood and who is driving like an old woman on the road. She says things like “Don’t those people have like six kids? Can’t one of them cut the grass?” and “Oh man, that guy must be going to the doctor. He’s too old to be out driving.” I have been remarkably quiet in the car with her voicing my inner dialog. 

Most of the time I find her sass amusing, but when she turns on me, it’s like being in a battle with a clone of myself. She’s  full of sarcasm and she knows all of my buttons. When she wants to get under my skin, she knows the quickest way to burrow right in. When I complain that I should be getting a chore done, she shames me with a “yeah, ya should!” or when I tell her she needs to do something around the house she retorts “maybe YOU should do that!” Watching her little smirk makes it even more like arguing in the mirror with myself. The child is a master at having the last word too, even if it is as her bedroom door is being closed on her or it’s muttered under her breath. I’m beginning to understand why she and I both talk in our sleep. We are both trying to have the last word.

All I know is when they say you will get exactly what you deserve in a child, they’re right. They’re assholes, but they’re right. My only comfort is that girls are afraid of turning into their mothers as they age and my poor little girl is already just like me before she has even reached double digits. She is getting her paybacks as she goes. It’s like instant karma. I, on the other hand, have reached middle age and am still not much like my mom. The similarities between me and the old man are a little frightening, but that’s a conversation for my therapist. My karma has come in an entirely different form, but it’s just as fitting.

**Music for today… Mother’s Milk would have been more appropriate but, but Catholic School Girls Rule was on my mind.


Down in a Hole

My mom fell in a hole last week. To be more specific, she fell in a hole that my dad put in the floor, while she was trying to help him. So, he pretty much pushed her into a hole. Actually, it’s not that surprising. My dad is consistently creating hazardous situations and my mom is pretty consistently falling down. The fact that my mom hasn’t fallen halfway into the basement due to a giant hole in the floor before this time is pretty impressive.

I remember most of my dad’s home improvements based on how someone was injured by them. I have incurred scratches, bruises, burns and punctures to pretty much every extremity. I know now that when I see a piece of loose moulding on the floor that at least a few dozen nails are waiting to bore into the soles of my feet. While fetching my dad a tool one year during the closing of the pool I stepped on the diving board that had been unhinged and was catapulted into the half empty pool. The diving board followed me, whacking me in the head on the way. During my thirteenth birthday party the doorwall in the family room fell on top of a few party guests when a breeze blew it in. My dad was in the middle of a build out and the doorwall was free standing. It had literally been that way for at least a month prior to the party. I remember this because my mom was hoping to have just one home improvement completed within a calendar year. One of the constants in my life has been part of my parents’ house being a construction zone.

They bought a lake house 8 years ago and it took my dad an hour to start renovating. He may have actually brought a hammer to the closing, ready to get started. One part or another of that property has been under construction for the last 8 years. This bathroom renovation began last spring. I spent days swinging a sledge hammer at a shower wall for the better part of April. My mom spent that time following us all around with a broom and putting tools back in the toolbox (sometimes while still in use). I’m sure she tripped and fell at least three times back then too. That is why I was not at all surprised to hear about her tumble last week. She stepped directly into a hole my dad cut in the floor to accommodate the plumbing for the shower. There was a big hole in the floor right in front of her and she stepped directly into it.

My mom is spatially challenged. She falls often and sometimes even takes someone with her. When I was about 7 she was walking on ice and quickly grabbed me to use as a human pillow as she fell. She still somehow ended up more injured than me. I have seen her trip over her own feet and end up sprawled out on the floor on more than one occasion. You would think after living in a construction zone for the last 50 years that she would occasionally look down before taking a step, but no.

The combination of Mr. Fix-it and Mrs. Bumbles living in the same house is akin to a 24 hour version of American Ninja Warrior. He sets up the obstacle course every day and she tries to run it. I think she is just happy that this game has moved from their main home out to the lake where she can escape. When I heard about her fall I decided to do what all good daughters would do, I found a way to tease her about it. Then, feeling guilty about this I ran right out and bought her some flowers. Strangely, there are no greeting cards for such an occasion. Apparently the greeting card companies have never met my parents. I may be their only customer, but I would certainly buy in bulk a card that read “Sorry Dad tried to kill you. Get well soon!” or “Seriously, don’t break a leg. Sorry to hear about your fall.”

**I listened to the Beatles when writing this because they are my Mom’s favorite.

Pretty Woman

There are few things I enjoy more than watching people feel uncomfortable. Strangely, I am often somehow connected to their uneasiness. So imagine my delight when I got to experience an old guy feeling very uncomfortable by my presence walking through a casino at 8 am! I don’t know how anyone can feel completely comfortable in a casino at that hour but when you think you are being propositioned by a woman in pajamas it’s probably super awkward.

I was walking back to our room through the casino after dropping off our towels at the pool this morning when I heard one of the interactive tables talking. “Come hither” it called. I had walked by earlier so I knew this little hussy’s sweet talk. The machine straight up flirts as guests pass by.As I was approaching the machine I heard it start in with its sweet talk. “Wanna play with me?” she called. I kept walking as the old dude in front of me turned around and eyed me suspiciously. Apparently he had not passed this talking electronic pickpocket and thought the voice was coming from an actual human near him. Unfortunately the woman in a skull and crossbones sweatshirt and flip flops was the only human nearby. I kept moving as the machine beckoned again “come sit with me.” Once again, the old guy in front of me turned around looking first at me and then all around him trying to decipher who was propositioning him. This time I kind of smiled and then looked away, increasing his uneasiness. I could have pointed at the machine he was standing in front of but that would have cleared everything up, ruining my amusement.

Finally, as the man passed, the machine whine yelled “SIT DOWN AND PLAY WITH ME!!” He finally realized the voice had been coming from the machine all along. He quickly put his head down and skittered away leaving me wondering who actually responds to being scolded by a talking slot machine. Then I remembered where I was.

I can only imagine the story he told his family when he got back to his room. It probably started “So, this hooker in pajamas propositioned me at the casino…”

Better Read the Fine Print

My Dad presented me with a coupon book I gave him as a gift thirty years ago. I was thinking how cute it was that I made him a handmade gift as a teenager and laughing at all of the items I included when I realized that what I forgot to include was an expiration date. None of the coupons had dates on them which meant that they were still valid. Oh shit.

The coupons include things like “One Free Control of the Clicker Sunday” and “One Free Assist in Car Repair”. All of the coupons are things my Dad often asked me to do or needed help with. The fact that I used the word “free” on the coupons implies that I tried to charge him for my assistance on most occasions. I have to admit, I asked for cash frequently, mostly while he was dozing on the couch.

The funniest part of these coupons is the fine print. Each coupon includes a description or exclusion. Some of the descriptions are apparently meant to entice. The “One Free Fix This Before Mom Sees Cover Up” option says “this will come in handy next time you spill some paint on her new carpet” which he had actually done. And I had actually helped him cover it up before my Mom saw. I am a bleaching genius.

Some of the other fine print includes exclusions like on the “One Free Trip to Home Depot” which states “lunch not included!” I mean seriously, hardware store hot dogs? No thanks. I was also only available or willing to rub his feet on Sunday evenings during our favorite television shows because the fine print on the foot rub coupon lists four television shows it could be redeemed during. Unfortunately for me all of these shows are currently still available on demand. I clearly was not thinking ahead at sixteen. I was, however, smart enough to know that I should probably at least be entertained while I rubbed the Old Man’s feet. Being a masseuse while having to watch something like golf or baseball would have been torture.

I confiscated the coupon book before leaving their house yesterday. In all fairness, my Dad had literally used three of the coupons in the hour I was there. I do feel like it would be a waste for him not to get to use the rest though. I guess I am going to have a busy day this Sunday rubbing feet, fixing cars, shopping for gifts for my Mom and possibly going to jail. I noticed that the “Get Out of Jail Free” coupon says I will take the blame for any screw up with my Mom as long as it isn’t a felony. I didn’t mention anything about misdemeanors. I really was not thinking these things through at sixteen. It’s not like I hadn’t experienced a misdemeanor by then!

It’s also possible that we will all spend the day in the hospital if he cashes in the “Free Breakfast”” coupon. I think there is a reason this particular coupon was never used. I may have included that coupon as a joke considering I didn’t even know how to cook a pork chop. Also, why would anyone want a pork chop for breakfast?

My Dad has been having fun threatening to use coupons all day. I keep coming up with exclusions but I have a feeling I will run out of reasoning at precisely the wrong time. I already told him that the home repair coupon only covers jobs within the four walls of their main home. I could sense him handing it to me and demanding I renovate the bathroom at the lake house. My services are similar to homeowner’s insurance coverage, very limited and mostly useless.

Who would have thought that a homemade gift from the eighties would be the gift that keeps on giving. Somehow I think the Old Man is going to get months, if not years of fun out of these, holding them over my head. Luckily I was not very ambitious at the age of sixteen and there are less than a dozen coupons available. With the way my Dad digs a hole when it comes to angering my Mom, he could be down to only a few coupons by the end of the week!

**I wrote this blog while listening to the Descendents. Something about that band brings out my inner sixteen year old brat!