Halfway to 50!

Twenty somethings unite!

How to Get a Terrible Picture Taken for Free August 17, 2012


Church pictures.  Something I thought I’d never be a part of at 27 years old.  I vaguely remember being a part of them as a child.  I know I’ve seen pictures of myself at 5 years of age, permed bangs hair sprayed up 4 inches, and my parents in matching white shirts in front of a gray backdrop.

Yet, as a member of a great church today, I found myself in the same mortifying moment 22 years later.  They advertised “100% participation” in the bulletin for our church photos week after week.  So I signed the hubbie and I up for our photo shoot and what we got was an awkward moment (and photo) to remember…

We walked in at our scheduled time wearing shirts in semi-matching hues (hey, I checked pinterest for tips on how to dress for photos!)  As we waited for our turn, I noticed the hubs had on a pair of blue plaid shorts that completely clashed with my navy striped shirt.  We were off to a wonderful start.  A nice older lady walked up and told us she was ready.  The gray background made me cringe, but I rolled with it.  She directed me to sit on one of two stools.  She stood back, assessed the situation, and said to the hubs, “I’m going to have you sit on the other stool behind her.  Straddle her.”  I fought back a laugh.

My husband did as he was told, we looked at the camera and waited for the click.  I begged the lady to crop out the plaid shorts and smiled.  We smiled for what seemed like 5 minutes… you know when you smile for so long that it begins to look like your third grade school picture?  I knew it wouldn’t be pretty when the shutter finally clicked, but at least it was over.  I stood up and turned to leave.

“So, we’re done?”

“Um, no.  Unless you really want to be.”

How could I walk away from this nice old lady?  She was just doing her job.  OK fine.  She had us stand and face each other.  “Let’s show off this pretty ring!” she said and propped by left hand up on my husband’s chest.  Can you see this in your mind?  It was one of those cheesy engagement picture shots that just make my roll my eyes in the back of my head.  I mean seriously.  Who does that?

I blurted out, “I can’t do this one!!”

Startled, she said, “Why not?”

“It’s too cheesy.  Sorry, I just can’t.”

Instead she had me wrap my arm around his waist so we were now just in a standing hug position.  Not much better than the cheesy engagement photo pose.  This was God’s punishment for being difficult.

Pose number three had my husband sitting on a stool with me behind him.  I was told to wrap my arms around his neck and lean forward.  Really?  Now I was just going to roll with it and get the pictures done.  Finally, the photo shoot was over and we sat at a desk with our photographer.  She brought up all of our pictures on a computer screen and I screwed my face into a horrified expression.  Ew.  The florescent lighting, navy blue shirt, and gray background did nothing for me.  I looked like a meth addict who had been locked in a closet for 3 years.  Not exactly the church photo I had in mind.  I looked about the hubs who could care less what he looks like and even he was cringing.  She clicked through all of our pictures and we decided on one.

She assured us our free 8×10 would be arriving in the mail within a few weeks.  Oh yes.  That is for sure going on the mantle.  When we thought the awkward church photo experience was over, the photographer offered to… um… spruce up our photo.

“Would you like me to add some words to your 8×10?”

???

“For example, I could add something like, ‘Love’ or ‘Together Forever’ on the bottom of your photo.”

“Uh, no thanks.  I think we’re OK…. yep… plain is fine.”

We slinked out of church that night with 2 shreds of dignity left.  We got in the car in silence.  I was clutching a piece of paper containing our black and white photos in thumbnail size.  We looked at each other and burst out laughing.  The whole things was just weird.  These photos would haunt us for years to come – and lucky us!  They’ll be published in our church directory for thousands to see.

I texted a photo of our pics to my mom.  Her response?

“LOL those look like the photos you see on the news when the wife disappears.”

Thanks mom.

The point?  If you can’t laugh at an experience like this, you’re taking life too seriously.  Chill out, laugh at odd situations, and get your church pictures taken.

 

The Staple of Summer: The Public Pool June 4, 2012


Do you remember your favorite summer activity as a kid?  It had to be going to the public swimming pool.  If not, you were deprived and missed out on the best life had to offer.  Anyway, I remember waiting for my mom to get off work, in my swimsuit, towel in hand, ready to enjoy summer in the chlorine-filled abyss that is the public pool.

 

Flash forward to now.  I’m 27 and had the opportunity to relive that awesomeness today with a friend,  except… things were a little different from I remember.

 

First, we arrived at the pool and approached the entrance.  I studied the Justin Bieber wanna-be boys with florescent colored sunglasses and daringly low-cut trunks.  I had never been to this particular pool before.  Because we are teachers in the area, we go to great lengths to avoid parents and students.  We like them, however it is quite awkward to catch up with a former parent as you’re rocking a tiny triangle top bikini… So there we were, sitting on our towels and liberally applying sunscreen.  The younger crowd of kids were throwing their towels down, ripping off their cover ups, and dashing into the pool with a carefree attitude.  Damn.  “Don’t these girls know the importance of protecting their skin? Psssh!”  (While secretly wishing I could do that.)

 

Later we decided to try out the lazy river… key word here being lazy.  I grabbed a two person raft and moved toward the water.  My friend says, “Um, don’t you think we should get our own rafts?  People might think we’re together.”  Ha!  If we were in a relationship, she had already taken the role as the butch.  We looked all around for single rafts with no luck.  We agree on the double raft and push it in the water.  A Zach Efron look-alike stopped the raft with his hand and stared at us through his aviators.

 

Zach Efron look-alike: “Uh, you can’t both use this.”

Me: “Why not?

Zach: “Because it’s not meant for two people.”

My friend: “Then why are there two spots to sit?”

Zach: “That side is for babies.”

Me: “That’s dumb.  What mother would lay their baby here and cruise down the lazy river?”

We pulled the raft out past a group of pre-teens laughing nervously.  Yeah, like they knew that’s what it was for (unless one of their friends was a teen mom, then yes, they may have legitimately knew what it was for.)  Moments later another young lifeguard handed us a raft that WAS for two adults and we began our float.  (By the way, what is up with these über young lifeguards?  I don’t seriously think one of these 16-year-old girls could pull my drowning ass from the water.)  In the lazy river, it only took seconds before a group of crazed ADD children began playing bumper boats.  They were ramming and pushing their way through, causing us to hit the wall several times, block up traffic, and end my tranquil summer moment.  Without thinking I snapped… “Chill out guys!”  They all stared in fear and disbelief.  Hey, what can I say?  I can’t turn the teacher in me off.  We continued our gossip-filled float and manged to avoid most of the waterfalls along the way.  Seriously.  Who decided to have waterfalls all over lazy rivers?  Most people are here to float, relax, and keep their hair dry.  If we wanted to get soaked, we’d be in the damn pool!  Once my friend leaned back to avoid a waterfall on her hair and instead it poured onto her chest and stomach.  It looked like something out of a raunchy summer teen movie that would’ve been in slow motion.  Lots of the preteens stopped their banter to watch and I quickly stole the hypothetical butch role back.

 

Later that afternoon we considered trying one of the water slides.  It was a tube slide that literally stops halfway and catapults you 10 feet out into the water.  We looked down at our swimsuits and quickly decided that we’d probably end up all sorts of undressed once we hit the water.  None of these children needed to be a witness to it.  Plus, the kids were coming out of the slide so nice and calm when they splashed into the water.  Pretty sure I’d pull some sort of spastic flailing motion in the air that would cause a viral video.  It would end wonderfully with me exiting the water without my bottoms.  Perfect.  I will not be partaking anytime soon.  Oh to be young again!

 

Finally, we ended the day laying on our towels, talking about work, vacations, and boys.  Next to us a group of teens were actively trying to get thier first romantic relationships started.  They were screaming, giggling, smacking (yes, that’s still how the young ‘ens show affection; however with adult relationships it’s called domestic assault) and draping their arms around each other nervously.  Was I ever like that?  Um yes, probably times ten.  When does one go from slapping cute boys to reapplying sunscreen for fear of early wrinkles?

 

Going to the public pool is always fun, but the experience changes with time.  As a little girl, I was swinging my legs, eating an ice cream cone on a bench.  Then I was chasing boys around and showing off with my sweet cannonball form.  Today, I was slathering sunscreen, avoiding getting my hair wet, and watching the time to be sure I left in time to still get groceries for the week.

 

Have you been to the pool lately?  How was your experience?  Should we embrace our inner child and go for the water slide or sit back and take a spin on the lazy river while monitoring other people’s children?

 

45 Minutes for a Table? Hell no! April 28, 2012


I’m about to admit my only character flaw to you all…  I’m impatient.  (Pause for gasps.)  Yes, me, the teacher, is impatient.  I’m very patient with my students, patient with my slow computer, and patient waiting for my nails to dry.  But when it comes to food, bitch don’t make me wait 45 minutes.

 

I don’t cook because…. well because… um… I just don’t want to.  You have to like think about what you’re making, check to be sure you have all the ingredients, put them together, heat them up or something, and then comes the worst part- you have to clean it all up.  Ugh.  By then it’s 7 or 7:30 and all the good shows are on (you know, Modern Family, Real Housewives of well, anywhere etc.) and there I am with my hubbie groaning about loading the dishwasher and putting food down the disposal.  Because of this extremely taxing experience, I prefer to eat at restaurants when I get the chance.

 

So then comes Saturday night.  We leave church and get in the car.

“Where should we eat?”  The hubbie asks.

“Oh I don’t care…” I say casually, secretly hoping for my favorite place.

We head to restaurant #1.  We park the car about 3 miles from the entrance and hope it’s not busy.  Um, duh, red flags were waving at us in the face and we ignored them.

“Hi, ” I say to the hostess, “2 people please!”  I always think that a big smile and overly sweet greetings will get us in faster.

“45 minutes!” she says just as sweetly, handing me the buzzer.

I turned my head in such a panic I almost bitch slapped that poor hostess in the face with my hair.  The hubs and I agreed we wouldn’t wait that long, handed the buzzer back, and bolted in search of food from somewhere else.  But not before I slipped out a nasty, “That’s why we don’t come here,” just loud enough for the hostess holding the door open to hear.  I’m not proud of that one, but when I get hungry I turn into a completely different person.

 

Off we went to restaurant #2 (my pick!).  We never have to wait there, this was a sure thing!  We walked in and I did the chipper and overly sweet, “Two people please!”

“45 minutes!” she said through a smile and handed me the buzzer.  This time I did not even confer with the hubs.  I pushed that buzzer right back and we headed out the door.

“Now what?!” I said, as if there were about to be a nuclear attack and we had 5 minutes to find food or we’d starve.

We decided fast food was the way to go and happily walked right up to the register, ordered, and ate our food within 20 minutes (What can I say? We were hungry.)  We hopped in the car and headed home, 3 restaurants later, satisfied.

 

So here’s my question to you: How long is appropriate to wait for a table at a restaurant?  How long are you willing to wait?  Am I the only one who is too impatient to wait more than a half hour for a table?  If I’m psycho please feel free to let me know that as well, everyone needs a reality check once in a while.  But be brief, I don’t have the patience to read through long comments.

 

Spring Break… You Dirty B*&%@# March 23, 2012


What the hell is everyone doing?  No, I’m serious, what is everyone actually doing?  I’ve been on spring break for 8 days now.  8 days.  As a teacher, it is one benefit we reap every year in March.  10 days with no students, no assessments, no crazy parent emails (well, actually those keep coming, I just choose to ignore them during my hiatus), and no stress.  With 8 days down and 2 to go, I’m feeling stir crazy and just want to know what everyone else is doing to occupy their time.  Until I can figure that out, let me tell you about the wild shenanigans I’ve been up to.  Brace yourself…

Days 1-3 my parents visited.  I moved approximately 3.5 hours from home (yes hours, not miles, I cannot read a map to save my life and would easily die on Survivor before being voted off first by my tribe) so when they come to visit it is always a fun time.  We went downtown to see the big St. Patrick’s Day parade.  My dad grabbed for my mom’s hand upon seeing multiple “weirdos” as he called them.  “Where the hell are you taking us?” he asked.  After convincing them that this parade is supposed to be really cool and worth our time, we stayed and sat on a curb for an hour.  I tried to keep conversation rolling to pass the time, but it was clear they weren’t exactly impressed with my itinerary thus far.  Finally, the first few floats (well more like large party buses) drove by and were filled with screaming, and I’m assuming drunk, people.  Mom began to enjoy herself as she screamed for beads as each float, er, bus passed by.  She had several within a few minutes and was smitten.  An hour or so passed and my parents rolled up our blanket we were sitting on and promptly announced they’d had enough of the drunken people screaming and were ready to go.  We left.

Day 4 began with my friend calling me around 10:00 screaming, “SPRING BREAK 2012 BITCHES!!!”  A little groggy having just woken up only minutes ago, I managed a small, “Woooo.”  I looked down at my baggy pajamas and tried to run my fingers through my bed head hair.  Spring break wasn’t off to a great start this week.  If only I was hanging out at a swim up bar with my girlfriends in a cheetah print bikini taking body shots off some guy named, Brad, whom we had just met and claimed to be producer for MTV.  Now that would be a real spring break!  “Hello?”  I shook my head as my friend brought me back to reality.  “Oh sorry, I was just trying to figure out what to do today,” I said.

Days 4-6 were filled with my attempt to be a 1950’s housewife.  I am a pretty big feminist so this was big for me, and very exciting for my husband!  I’m sure you heard of Pinterest by now.  If not, get out from under your rock and Google that shit.  I hunted furiously for great recipes I could actually make (the options were limited due to my crap cooking skills and flat-out laziness) and got busy cooking!  Creamy Crock-Pot Spaghetti was up first.  Overall, it went pretty well.  But four hours later when it was time to open the pot and stir, all of my noodles were stuck together.  It tasted alright, but watching my husband eat a wad of 10 spaghetti noodles stuck together and kindly say, “Mmmm, good!” with each bite was just sad.  Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Chip Cookies turned out great!  I put way more care into making these high calorie, carb-filled, bites of pure deliciousness than I had selecting our first house.  Finally, I made Lasagna Spinach Roll Ups.  Although they were more time-consuming than the lovely blog they came from explained, I was proud of their outcome.  We didn’t eat until after 8:00 PM, but hey, Jersey Shore wasn’t an overnight sensation either.

Finally, FINALLY, on Day 7 I found a poor soul to have lunch with.  Seriously, I had been calling other teacher friends all week for some human interaction (apparently my mind craves it after only a few hours alone) and everyone was busy.  What the HELL were they doing all week?  Someone please tell me!  I walked into the restaurant and my friend says, “Wow, did you get your hair done?  It looks cute!  I like your clothes, very fun!”  Nope, no hair appointment.  No new outfit.  The thought of interacting with another person excited me so much that I kind of dolled myself up and went a little crazy.  “Well, you know….” I said and shrugged as if I hadn’t been lounging in baggy sweatpants and old college t-shirts for 6 days in a row.  Lunch was nice and we ended up having a 2 hour convo about moving, school, relationships, and buying furniture from nut jobs who “only accept cash.”  Yikes.

Which brings me to today.  Day 8.  It is Friday and the only part left of my spring break is the weekend with my hubbie as usual.  My “vacation” is over and back to reality I go.  I managed to rearrange some bookshelves after knocking over a lamp and cussing like crazy to nobody in particular.  I also caught up on the latest celebrity scandals and gossip by repeatedly checking my Twitter account and People.com.  (Did you know Tori Spelling is pregnant AGAIN??)

In conclusion, I just have to tell spring break what a dirty b*&%@# she is.  Yes, I got to relax.  Yes, I slept in like a college student with 1:00 class.  Yes, my photos are now perfectly arranged by date and in albums.  But I’m ready to get back to contributing to society.  Back to getting dressed like an adult every day.  Back to having a reason to put on hair spray and mascera.  Spring break, you’ve been relaxing, but you’re also a dirty  b*&%@#.

 

Love Me Some 1995! January 19, 2012


istockphoto.com

I have been home sick for the past 2 days.  I have only taken 1 sick day prior to this in 4 years.  That just goes to show you how crummy I feel.  After 24 hours in the house, sitting on the couch, drinking water like it’s going out of style… I found the DVD’s my family gave me for Christmas this year.  They surprised me by putting all of our home movies onto DVD’s so my brother and I could watch them any time we want to.  Not wanting to put my husband through the torture of my awkward years (ages 10-14) I put them in a cabinet under the TV and didn’t think of them for a few weeks… until now!

In hopes of curbing my boredom, I popped disc one into my computer and snuggled in for a trip down memory lane.  Starting in 1995, I watched Christmas’, Easter’s, backyard birthday parties, summer morning T-Ball, soccer games, and lazy days around the house.  I heard my mom cheering me on as I scored a goal at 10 years old, watched my dad wave a flag when the ball went out of bounds, laughed along with my 5th grade friends as we danced around at my birthday party, and saw how truly joyful every moment of my life that was caught on camera truly was.  It was captivating.  I couldn’t stop watching my little brother play in the dirt during his T-ball game at 5 years old.  Man, the 90’s rocked. 

Despite everything, do you know what really caught my attention?  How present and engaged everyone was at each event.  In the 90’s, nobody talked on a cell phone during a choir concert at school, nobody sat in the corner and texted as their child opened birthday gifts, nobody texted during a friend’s party, and nobody missed their child scoring a goal because they were checking Facebook on their phone.  Everyone was present.  Involved.  Together.

I almost long for those years again.  The simplicity of it all.  My parents threw a Halloween party for my friends and I in 5th grade.  Do you know where it was held?  No, not at the Hilton.  I had no celebrity performer and no trapeze performance.  It was in our garage!  Black and orange streamers covered the ceiling, plastic tablecloths with witches covered borrowed picnic tables.  My mom had several party games planned involving toothpicks, lifesavers, toilet paper rolls, and plastic spoons.  My little brother roamed around with us wanting to be a part of the fun and you know what?  We let him!  He danced to the sweet sounds of “The Macerena” with us and even got wrapped up by my friend for the mummy contest!  There was no rivalry, harsh language, slutty costumes, or fighting.  It was just pure joy.

When mom brought my brother and I to the first day of school (he was in 1st grade and I was in 6th) she caught the 90’s in their full glory.  Girls ran around in long jean shorts (OK, maybe a little too long for my taste, but no buttcheeks were hanging out at our elementary school!)  Our hair was done in a simple pony tail with a scrunchy.  We were kids.  Just kids.  Making faces at the camera, smiling from ear to ear, putting our arms around each other with excitement over being the oldest at school this year!  Our only complaint caught on camera? “One recess this year mom, just ONE!”  Nobody complained about a dead cell phone battery, nobody bragged that their cell phone was faster or better than yours, and the girls weren’t concerned about their weight.  We just wanted to have fun!

The 90’s were awesome, I just didn’t realize it until today.  Following hours, literally hours of home video footage from 1995 on (thanks mom and dad!) I can finally see just how good we had it.  I was blissfully unaware of everything around me that made the 90’s so nifty.  My family, my friends, The Macerena, TGIF, and simplicity.  Now, I can only hope to give my own children half of the childhood that my parents gave me in the 90’s.  Hopefully my future children will look back someday and say, “Wow, the 2020’s were the best!”

What year would you like to go back to?  Why do you want to go back?

 

What Does Your Magazine Say About You? January 10, 2012


A great visual for our personalities as a couple!

Once a month my husband comes in beaming from his trip to the mailbox.  He strolls towards me holding a thin package in clear plastic wrap.  He shakes it in front of me and says, “It came!”  MY GLAMOUR MAGAZINE!

I’ve been subscribing to Glamour Magazine since high school.  Finding out the trends for next month, how-to hairstyle guides, and photos of celebrities spotted canoodling in Hollywood coffee shops gets me all hot and bothered!  Within an hour I usually have the issue devoured cover to cover.  (In case anyone is wondering, I love the “Hey It’s OK” section!  My fav!)  I set it aside and anxiously await next month’s issue. 

Typically, my hubbie gets his monthly magazine on the same day.  After he drops my Glamour in my lap, he turns his attention to his… brace yourself… Kiplinger’s.  Nope, not speaking another language, it is indeed called, Kiplinger’s.  I’m not exactly sure but I believe it’s some sort of money management, 401K, investment banking… blah, blah, blah.  What on earth is exciting about that?  I get the articles about upcoming spring fashion trends.  I pour over recipes that “make your man melt.”  I take the quizzes to find out what kind of sex life I’ll have in 2012 based on my sign, height, and shoe preference.  But what I don’t get is how reviewing the criteria for deducting a home office on your taxes IS ENTERTAINMENT?!?

Just yesterday I had a dentist appointment.  After I placed my purse and coat on a chair in the waiting room I eyed the magazine rack.  Yessss!  Fresh magazines of all shapes and sizes!  (The only reason I go with my hubbie when he gets his haircut is to paroose the newest magazines.)  As I stood in front of the magazine rack I could see a dad and his son watching me make my selection.  Damn. 

The following interpretations of each magazine flashed through my head in a matter of 25 seconds:

Seventeen Magazine:  I’m 26 reading a magazine targeted to a teenage girl.  Prom dresses, curfews, and ACT prep are no longer issues in my life.  Boo.

Newsweek:  Makes me look smart… like I know about the world.  Except, I don’t care. 

Redbook: I must be a mom who needs 10 easy crock pot recipes so when I’m between dropping my kids off at soccer and book club, I can feed them healthy meals.  Nope.

Sports Illustrated: I’m a butch with a hot chick waiting for me at home.  I probably want to stay current on the latest college softball scores.

So, what did I go with?  Travel and Leisure Magazine:  I’m well-rounded, cultured, and enjoy a good time!  I grabbed it, sat down, and then got called in for my teeth cleaning. 

It’s amazing what magazines say about a person.  For my husband and I, they illustrate who we are.  At the dentist office they give a glimpse of the many different  people who go in and out of the office every day.  Magazines are a great source of entertainment and information.  They may change with us as we get older, but sometimes, they also help us hang on to who we will always be.

 

Resolutions from a Twenty Something January 1, 2012


Well, I did it.  I came full circle.  Last New Year’s Eve I told some friends at a party that my resolution was to start blogging.  What was I going to blog about they asked.  I didn’t know… I just wanted to take my love for writing and making people laugh and then merge them into a hobby for myself.  This year when people asked what I did for fun I actually had an answer: I blog. 

Normally I come up with resolutions that last oh… a week or so and then go back to my old ways.  (By the way, what’s so wrong with the old way of doing things?)  But not this year.  This year, I wrote my very first blog on January 1st and went on to write 22 more blog over the next 365  days.  I surprised myself with my continued attention to this blog and the enjoyment I got from each writing session.  It is incredibly liberating to just share stories from my life with whoever wants to listen.  It’s been surprising to watch how many people view my stories, comment on them, and then… then… find out that people actually subscribed to my blog!  (OK, so it’s like 6, but that’s REALLY exciting to me!)

So…. what do I do this year?  What resolutions do I make as a twenty-something moving forward into my… (gasp) late twenties in 2012?  Read on!

Resolution #1: I will be nicer. 

OK, so I am a nice girl.  But I can get a little catty.  I call those my “Reality TV moments.”  I attribute my occasional z-snap to the sassy Real Housewives, my icy stare downs to the Kardashians, and my excessive cussing to the Jersey Shore.  The moment I feel the need to share a saucy thought with a friend about someone else, I will stop myself and say, “This is real life.  Your actions and words have actual consequences and will not results in higher ratings.”  Done.

Resolution #2: I will not look like a lost puppy when shopping for baby gifts at Target.

Last year, I experienced several trips to Target in search of the perfect gift for my friends’ new babies.  I would walk in, print out their registry, and then stagger around looking for aisle E7.  E7?  Who thought of this system?  After a kind employee pointed me in the right direction my jaw dropped upon reading that my friend wanted some “nipple pads” and “butt paste.”  What the hell?  Are you trying to kill me with embarrassment?  You’re going to get an outfit of my choosing and you’re going to like it!  Done.

Resolution #3: I will find my best angle and pose when getting my picture taken.

Go ahead, call me self-centered, but this is something I think every girl needs to figure out.  In a typical year, I have one maybe two photos, of the hundreds that were taken where I actually like the way I look.  You know what I’m talking about.  You load the pictures from a vacation onto your computer and find The One.  Your hair is almost glistening, your skin is just the right tone, your look happy but not cheesy, fake, happy, and your body looks relaxed as if your hand just happened to be on your hip when the picture was taken.  Perfection, or at least as close as you can get.  It quickly becomes my Facebook profile picture, computer wallpaper, framed an end table, and slapped onto our Christmas card.  This shouldn’t happen once a year.  It should just happen always.  Maybe I can talk my hubbie into acting like paparazzi this year for practice?  Done.

Happy 2012 my fellow bloggers!  May your resolutions be lighthearted and your days filled with laughter!

 

Never Buy X-Mas Cards that Require Extra Postage December 21, 2011


So the lady at the post office through my credit card at me with the most pissed off look I have ever seen.  I looked from my credit card back to her in disbelief.  “Oh, so we’re doing this?”  I was ready to fly over the counter and show her the true meaning of Christmas.

OK let me back up a bit here.  You see, last Saturday I made a quick trip to the post office.  We live in a small town and I thought I’d just run in real quick and get some stamps.  Shutterfly gave me 10 free Christmas cards in October, so I picked out the most extravagant (and pricey) cards they had.  Hey, they were free!  The catch was that they were those perfectly squared cards that for some reason require extra postage.   Hence my visit to the post office last Saturday.  Ten 64 cent stamps.  That was my mission.

I walked in, bedhead and all.  There were at least 25 people who turned to look at me who were also making a quick trip to the post office the Saturday before Christmas.  I found my spot in line and listened to two older women in front me talk about what was in their packages.  Gifts for their grandkids… “Teenage boys are so hard to buy for!”  I patiently waited 35 minutes for my turn in line.  The lady in front of me paid just under $22 to ship her gift (Are you kidding me??)  and then I approached the counter.

“Hello!  I’m going to be an easy customer today.  I just need ten stamps for these square cards and I’ll be on my way!”  I was so cheerful and pleasant it was almost sickening.  I figured this poor woman could use a break from crankiness.

“Oh,” she said, “We’re out.”  Scowling.

“Really?  Out?  I know it’s not your fault or anything but… I’ve been here for 35 minutes waiting for these stamps.  Maybe you should put a sign up or something.  Then people will see it and leave if that’s what they came for.”

“Do you want me to make an announcement or something,” she groaned.

“No, just thought a sign might prevent someone from waiting like I did.”

“I can sell you a book of stamps and you can just put 2 on every card,” she suggested.

SIIIIGH “Fine.  I’ve waited this long, might as well get them mailed off.”  I ran my credit card through and she asked to see it.  She tossed it back at me and it landed on the counter.  Wow.  Really?  We’re doing this?  This is happening?  I’m so going to fly over this counter at you cranky post office lady.  I looked up and saw a surveillance camera.  This changed my mind. 

“Sorry,” she said with the same scowl.  I took my stamps, walked over to a different counter and began sticking them on my envelopes.  Suddenly the bright red marker I used to address all of them didn’t seem so cheerful anymore.  As I worked on my cards, the post office lady said in a loud voice to the entire post office….

“IS ANYONE HERE WAITING FOR 64 CENT STAMPS?”  (Crickets…. total silence.)  I glanced around mortified and my face flushed.

“WELL, THIS GAL OVER HERE (points at me) SAYS I SHOULD MAKE AN ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT THEM!”

I died a slow death as this woman embarrassed the supreme crap out of me.  Enraged, I turned around.  I waved my arms around and wiggled my hips, “YAH!  BECAUSE THEY’RE OUT!”

I shoved my envelopes into the mailbox, avoided any and all eye contact with the long line of customers and left the post office.  Merry Christmas to you too lady.  Merry Christmas indeed…

I swore that while traipsing across the parking lot I would be ambushed by cameras and people screaming, “You got punked!”  My eyes darted around the lot and saw no cameras.  I got in my car and just started laughing.  The past 40 minutes were something from an SNL skit that could appear on their Christmas special.  I called my mom and together we laughed so hard that I literally cried while describing what had just happened.  It’s times like these, where if you don’t laugh you’ll cry.  And if the story is really good, you’ll do both!

 

I’m Failing at Fall! September 25, 2011


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A midwest summer is something to experience.  It’s hot, humid, and even opressing at times.  The pools are packed, buttcheeks fall out of girls’ shorts, and foreheads are usually dripping with sweat.  Ok, so clearly I’m not a summer girl.  People shouted it throughout all of spring as the students at our school became restless.  “I am so ready for summer!” They’d yell in passing through the hallway.  “Don’t you just love summer?” my friends would ask as we baked on their decks drinking margaritas.  Of course I enjoy a warm summer night, but no.  I don’t LOVE summer.  My response to all of their “I love summer” chatter was often, “Yes, but I’m so ready for fall!” 

Leading up to fall I couldn’t wait to have the windows open to enjoy a cool breeze through the house.  I anxiously awaited the change in weather to bust out my leggings, tall boots, and comfy sweaters.  I wanted to meet my new students and teach them how to read and write for the very first time.  Finally, I wanted to fill our home with the warm smells of pumpkin bread and chocolate chip cookies baked from scratch to impress my hubbie.  “See?” I would say, “Fall even makes me a better wife!” 

Well, here we are.  Exactly 3 days into fabulous fall and 5 weeks away from Halloween.  I’m living it up right?  Not exactly…

The first day our temperatures dipped below 70 degrees I ran (literally sprinted) into our house after work and through open every damn window in the house.  Yes!  The crisp air whipped through every nook and cranny of our house and I was happy… up until the next morning.  I tightened up the blankets around my shoulders, shivering in the dark at 6:00 AM.  I stared at the 29 used tissues I had used and thrown next to the bed throughout the night.  I rubbed my itchy eyes and attempted to itch the back of my throat with my tongue (not easy.)  I made my way to our bathroom and flipped on the light.  Bloodshot eyes, raw nose, and purple bags above my cheeks only meant one thing: my fall allergies had arrived.  After frantically searching for a leftover allergy pill from last year’s stash, I slammed the windows shut and yelled, “Who’s God damned idea was it to open all of these windows anyway?!”  We’ve had them shut ever since.

My fall wardrobe has been in full force.  It has to be since it’s a balmy 42 degrees in the morning.  Last night I attended Octoberfest with some friends outside and froze my ass off.  It was a lot of fun, but my hands were jammed under my armpits for most of the night in attempt to stay warm.  “You should have worn a hooded sweatshirt,” my husband mused.  Ha!  And deprive myself of these wonderful leggings, tall boots, and beautiful brown and black scarf?  Yeah.  Right.  I froze while drinking my plastic mug full of beer and cringed at the people passing in laderhosen.  So much for the fall wardrobe excitement!

As for the kids who walked through my classroom door in August, they’re wonderful!  However my life is again consumed with tying shoelaces, endless nights creating lesson plans, early morning meetings, and cranky parent emails asking that I prepare materials for their child’s 5 day vacation in which he will be missing school.  Seriously?  I don’t recall going on a tropical vacation at 5!  I’m the one who needs a vacation here!  Me!!  What is happening here?

The yummy chocolate chip cookies did happen though!  Ok, so they were the kind that are already formed into squares.  But I had to put them on a real baking tray and preheat the oven.  Then… then, I had to set the timer and be sure they didn’t burn.  My husband smiled as he bit into the first cookie, so I’d say they were a success!  Today is when I was supposed to create a beautiful aroma of pumpkin bread spilling throughout the house.  I bought the bread pans at the store, checked off my ingredient list… and took a nap.  Damn.  It’s 6:00 and there’s no pumpkin bread.  The pans and recipe are lying on the countertop as if it were a graveyard for unfinished fall fun.  Oh well, there’s always next weekend.

I do LOVE fall!  I’ll just have to enjoy it from inside my sealed up house, while sitting in sweatpants on the couch writing lesson plans.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go throw another blanket on my lap, take my allergy medicine and write some fantastic lesson plans for the week.  Is it summer yet?

 

When did I become that mean neighbor lady? June 29, 2011


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Every neighborhood has one.  That grouchy lady who keeps to herself and scares the children on the block.  Nobody trick or treats at her house because she doesn’t leave her porch light on.  Groups of kids just walk on by her house on Halloween and swap stories about the awful things they’ve seen her do.  At Christmas time her house is the only one that’s not lit up with beautiful twinkling lights.  It looks as cold as the snow covering her yard.  Come summertime, she had better not catch you shooting off any fireworks or she’ll be calling the cops to end your fun.  Every block in America has one of these old bags…. who would have ever thought that at 26, it’d be me?

Ok, Ok, so kids do trick or treat at my house (mostly because I’m a teacher at the school they all attend) and we do put up Christmas lights.  I would never call the cops on kids shooting off fireworks.  But, I did become that bitchy old lady last week when a group of teenagers irritated the crap out of me… and someone had to put an end to it.

My hubbie and I had been eating dinner.  We heard kids yelling and being obnoxious out front but didn’t pay much attention to it.  We noticed out our window that about 5 kids were riding in a convertible down the street while standing up.  The driver would start and stop quickly hoping to make the passengers fall over (I’m sure the teens’ parents would have loved to see their children in what could have been a scene from a public service announcement about new drivers).  An hour later the crowd of about 12 continued to yell and be obnoxious out in the street in front of my house.  You have to understand where the frustration came from.  I was working on a paper that was due that week to complete my graduate program.  40 pages on “Motivation,” ironically enough, and I couldn’t seem to ever find the motivation to do it.  I had finally sat down (away from the TV, because apparently, I don’t do well with that) and those damn kids were distracting me. 

I watched them like a creepy old lady for about 15 minutes from my bedroom window.  2 boys were running around the group with their cell phones held up, trying to take pictures of the one female with them (obviously the object of their affection).  She had her forearms crossed over her chest, gripping her shoulders.  “We got a picture of you!” one boy yelled.  I had had enough.  Hours of this crap happening in my quiet, suburban neighborhood as I desperately tried to finish off my bitch of a paper.

I walked outside and fluffed the rug on the porch, pretending to have a purpose for being out front.  The kids, unphased, continued to fight to photograph the girl, while she chased them and kicked them.  A few got back into what I later found out was the girl’s car and would drive at the group until they all jumped out of the way or they jumped on top of the car (again, their parents would be happy to know that the money they spend on her cute blue convertible was so well appreciated).  I walked over to the driveway, planted my feet, crossed my arms, and gave the almighty teacher death stare that I have perfected over the past 3 years.  I frantically searched my brain for something to yell that would get them away from my house, but wouldn’t sound bitchy.  After all, I am half way to 50, not 50.  Nothing came to mind.  I just stared and seethed while I watched their shenanigans go on. 

Then, about 30 seconds into the stare, it happened.  One by one, the boys noticed me watching.  Could it have been my heavy breathing?  No, it was probably my red face.  Then again, it could have been the smoke coming out of my ears…. Whatever it was, it worked.  The first boy jabbed the boy to his right.  That boy poked the kid in front of him.  And suddenly.  Like magic.  They all stared right back at me.  It was a showdown.  One boy said, “Hey guys, let’s go inside or something.”  Yah, they all agreed, let’s go inside.  They scattered like a police bust at a college party.  I just stood there and watched them run into the house in fear.  No movement.  Just stood there.  Once every one of those little buggers had gone inside, I ran to the backyard to celebrate my victory with hubbie who was mowing the lawn.  I walked – no skipped, to him and couldn’t stop giggling.  “Oh my gosh!  You’ll never guess what just happened!  I just scared about a dozen teenagers away from our house without saying a word!”  Not as pleased with my victory, he continued mowing.  I ran into the house to call friends and share my story of becoming the neighborhood hag.  At least they shared my feelings of triumph! 

It was during one of those phone calls when my friend said it best, “You’re like Mabel!  I’m going to call you Mabel!”  So Mabel it is.  I’m that person on the street who’s not to be messed with.   Yes, I lost a little sleep that night, worried we’d be egged or TP’d.  But damn, it feels good to be a gangster.