Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What Being A Mom Has Taught Me.... So Far

   Being a mom is a job, being a mom is a choice, and being a mom is something that you work at every single day. Like any important role in life, being a mom is something you learn from, something that changes you, hopefully for the better. Being a mom is a work in progress; you don't have to be perfect, but you do have to be willing to learn and willing to put in the time, tears, joy, and effort.
   My child is not grown, and even when she is grown, I suspect I will always be learning from her and helping her to grow. All I need to do is look at my own mom, who took me back in when I had nowhere else to go and was at one of the darkest points in my life. So I imagine, no - I know- that this list is not complete. There will be things that are missing, because my daughter is only 10 going on 11. I am far from done. But I do feel that I can put out this list, because being a mom has taught me some of the most important lessons of life that I have learned thus far. So here is the list of things that being a mom has taught me, and remember, I don't put things in order, ever:
  1. Nothing is better than spending a Saturday with your child doing things that people say will rot your brain (i.e. watching too much TV and gamer marathons) 
  2. There is never going to be enough money so learn to make things last, make things stretch, and get creative. 
  3. If you don't put your child first, they are not going to put you first either. This includes putting your child over jobs, school, and other people.
  4. Read a lot, and make books available to your child, because reading is really important, especially once they start school.
  5. Find the people who will be there for you through thick and thin, because you are going to need them. 
  6. Don't forget to be the person who is there for someone else through thick and thin. Make sure your child is one of those people you will always be there for.
  7. Kids' cartoons today suck so make sure you buy them some Looney Tunes and Animaniacs on DVD (or Blu-ray). 
  8. A happy home trumps a clean house -- don't stress over the toys on the floor, the dishes in the sink,  that pile of dirty clothes, and that layer of dust. Just don't let things get moldy.
  9. Teach your kids manners and how to behave because no one is going to like your kid if they are rude-ass little shits who are climbing up the walls and beating up all the other kids. 
  10. Let your child be different than you - they are not carbon copies. 
  11. Keep an open mind and an open heart. 
  12. You aren't going to like all of their friends. If the friends aren't taking your kids down the path of drug abuse and other bad stuff, just keep your mouth shut. Do you really think it's likely that your kid likes all of your friends?
  13. Listen to the things you kids have to say. 
  14. Work hard, but play often.
  15. Pay attention.
  16. There is not enough sleep in the world and coffee is a necessity. 
  17. Make sure your child always knows that they can come talk to you about anything, and that you will believe them and be on their side if someone is being mean to them and/or hurting them. 
  18. Be a tiger when it comes to protecting your child.
  19. People are going to judge. Learn not to care. 
  20. Try to be the best person you can. Yes, you will mess up, but deal with your messes and be someone that you want your child to be, because they are always watching their Momma.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Watering The Plastic Plants

   In Florida, while I doing the working mom thing there, I had the chance to work in the floral department. The flower lady's previous assistant had moved on, Valentine's Day was coming, and she needed some extra help. I jumped on the chance, anything to get out from behind the checkstand, and working floral sounded neat, a chance to be creative or something along those lines.
   She really liked me during Valentine's, and so I became a permanent assistant. Well, after all the Valentin'es rush is over, floral became more of 'let's water the live plants.' I never realized how much I sucked at watering plants before this time. The lady  I worked for had a knack; she could tell if a plant was watered enough by how heavy it was. She never messed up, but she was never able to pass this talent off to me. I tried this, and somehow I always ended up with huge puddles underneath the pots. I don't know why, but whenever I watered, there never failed to be puddles. It was a mystery. 
   Still, I kept being her assistant, and I covered for her when she went on vacation or had a day off. They just started keeping a towel at the floral counter for me so I could clean up my mess. And during one of these vacation periods, I was happily over-watering all the plants that we had out. There were about six plants that  I had never seen before, little tree-type plants, but we were always getting new stuff in and I figured they had just come in and the produce manager had put them out for me. He was often doing things like that for us; he was a pretty great guy. 
   So I was happily drowning this plant when along comes the variety manager and he just has this dumb-founded look on his face, and he demanded to know why I am watering the plants. 
  "Ummm, because I'm supposed too?"
   "You didn't notice the staples?"
    Staples?! Closer inspection of the plant did reveal that there are actually staples in the thing. Okay, that was new, and why would anybody put staples in a plant? So I sitting there scratching my head, trying to figure what is up with this stupid plant, and the variety manager is dragging all the little tree plants away.
   "I'm moving my plants before you ruin them all," he tells me. Yeah, because generally, you don't water fake plants. We all have our 'not the sharpest tool in the shed' moments, and so here's on of mine. To the end of my days at that store, I was known as the girl who watered the fake plants, and considered a menace with the watering can. 
   My floral manager, however, was actually pretty happy about the whole thing. Turns out she hadn't wanted the fake plants there, stealing sales from her real, live product, but was outvoted; she laughed so hard she turned purple. In my defense, I can say I wasn't expecting a bunch of fake plants to be mixed in with the live ones. I was supposed to water all of our product that day.
 Lesson learned; keep your eyes out for staples. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

So Much Anger Is Bad For The Soul

   Yesterday was stressful, and I hate the feeling of stress. Stress rides in my stomach like a stone: heavy and painful. A low burn that feeds into anger, and I don't like feeling so much anger. Anger and myself are a bad mix, and I do and say things that I am not proud of, as witnessed in the previous blog post, were I was calling people worthless. Even though I did and still do have the right to be angry, and even though I will be taking steps to see that these people are punished and pay for the hurt and harm that they have done to me (even though they will likely never be caught, I will still try my best,) I feel that to call someone worthless and useless is to go against my beliefs; every person in this world has value, has potential, and is very much of worth. I gave these people the power to make me say something that I am not proud of and do not believe, and why am I letting someone have that type of power over me?
   The thing that bothers me the most is how badly I felt and how I gave them the power to upset me so much, how angry I got. I spent much of my teenage years in an angry red haze, slipping from anger to depression, then back to anger again. I am not going back to that, ever.
No sun setting on this anger. 
    Not that anger is always a bad thing. Being angry at injustice can incite change, being angry at abuse can cause someone to walk away and find a better life, so anger can be good. And I am certainly far from the touchy-feely, let's hold hands and dance in the moonlight type of person. Really, don't do that with me. But I don't like feeling the way the way that I felt yesterday: like a pot fixing to boil over or a fire cracker fixing to explode. And I'm done with it. Enough of that. Really, why was I letting these people and situations bother me so much?
   Today was a good day. I left all that anger and frustration behind, and spent the day with my sister, helping her to move, and spent time with my niece, nephew, and daughter. I did silly things liked rejoiced over my new coffee pot and watched some anime with my sis, ate pot roast and worked on getting my own new apartment organized: little things that make life a wonderful thing. I'm sure that identity thieves and intolerant, rude people and all the things that I don't like will bother me again, but I will try to deal with each new situation as they arise and not carry the stress over to each new thing, letting it build to epic proportions. Bad situations and wrong-minded people only have as much power over my  emotional well-being as I give to them. And I choose to give them none. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Scum From The Bottom Of The Pond

   And here's my rant about identity theft, and the scum who practice this particular brand of theft. About 2 years ago, my information was stolen, off of the computer, I think, but I have never been able to exactly pinpoint how, who, when, where, or why. I never worried too much about identity theft, because what do I have to steal? Nothing. I manage to pay my daughter's and my bills, and keep a roof over our heads, food in our bellies and clothes on our back, but we don't have a whole lot extra. So while I wasn't overly careless, I wasn't overly cautious either.
   Much to my dismay, I found out what one person does to someone who has nothing. These insidious thieves get the info they need and take out online payday loans and try to trick you into making payments on loans that don't really exist. They called me and used heavy scare tactics, like I was going to end up in jail, or that if I didn't pay right now then court costs would cause my debt to soar to ten times the amount. I never took the bait, but they sure kept trying, and the scare tactic that actually caused me some real amusement was when they told me if I didn't pay I would be deported. See, I was born in Japan, but what they didn't know was that I was born in Japan because my dad was in the Air Force. I was born on a military base, no Japanese blood at all, with two American parents, so of course, I am fully an American citizen. So where exactly were they going to deport me to??? I don't really think Japan wants me.
   Anyway, while all this was going on, I reported to the FTC, the Attorney General, did my research, got some information from a super nice lawyer, and did not pay the identity thieves. And eventually, I got things straightened out, and I thought the nightmare was over. Until today, when I got a phone call at work. From a completely different person, who claims to be representing a payday loan company that I owed money too. So not the truth, and when I tried to explain that to her, she jumped my shit, which makes me think that she was not legit either.
   I know this sounds bad, but I have been sued twice, over unpaid hospital bills. I was served and they did not give a courtesy call first, they just showed up. When I asked them what the papers they were handing me were about all they said was that they didn't know and would I please sign for them. This woman argued with me. When I told her that I had never taken out a payday loan with her client, she started screaming at me, "Do you think someone just deposited money into your bank account for free?" Um, no, I am telling you that no one deposited money into my account. She demanded things like the last four digits of my social (which she didn't get) and when I asked for papers to be sent to me, she told me that they had sent papers. But I never got any papers, and yes, I have moved, but only last week, and my mom still lives at my old address, so I get every piece of mail that goes there. In short, that address is still a valid mailing address. I hung up on her, but I have to admit, I was pretty shook up, and had to go upstairs to the offices and break rooms to calm down. I also told her not to call me at work anymore, so of course, she called right back and talked to someone else, because I was upstairs trying to calm down.
   If you are going through something like this, the best advice that I can give is pay absolutely nothing, especially not based on a few phone calls. Demand paperwork, because by law, they have to send you information about the debt that they are claiming that you owe. Do not give them anymore information about yourself. Get as much as their info a possible (something I failed to do today because I was so upset I was not thinking) because you are going to need that info to make reports to the FTC and the Attorney General.
   I thought this shit was over. It looks like I only got a break. Because either this woman is lying to get money out of me, or she is really representing a company that had a payday loan taken out in my name, although I am going to repeat again that I have no payday loans out and this is not me. Either way, I am going to have to go through all this BS again, and they are likely never to catch who is doing this, which really sucks. I am a single mom doing my best to raise my child while working full time and going to college full time, albeit online. I have enough effing stress; I didn't need more. People who do this are scum, a drain upon society, worthless, useless, and I hope they all choke on the guilt that they don't feel. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Judgmental Intolerance Is Bullsh*t

   If you put together a list of all the things that I hate the most, intolerance would be pretty close to the top. Child abuse and rape vie for the top spot, and frankly that should tip you off to how badly I hate intolerance. I don't care who you think you are, what religion you follow, and what excuses you can make, intolerance is a poison and letting something that is a poison have sway in your life, your viewpoints, your morals, is sheer dumbassery of the highest order. 
   I can talk about all types of intolerance, and sooner or later, I probably will, but today I want to talk about the intolerance to the disabled community, because that is what I dealt with earlier today. In the job of cashier/checker/sales person, whatever you decide to call the job that I do (think lots and lots of groceries) you run into every type of person, from every walk of life. And the store I work in gets high traffic from the disabled community. We get the blind, the deaf, the wheelchair bound, the mentally disabled, and often their caretakers, be they family or professional. 
   And today a regular and his caretaker came through my line. I know them, not very well, because I don't know intimate details from their lives, but I know his name and I talk to him every time and sometimes he likes to give me high-fives after I hand him his receipt, which happened today. 
They don't all work the same.
   I would have liked to give the moron in the back of my line who was mocking him a high-five to the face. With my divider stick. The thing about my customer is that he has some type of mental disability. I don't know what, I don't think that it's autism, because I have some limited experience with that, and I don't think it's down syndrome, but his mind hasn't developed. He is an elderly man, but he's like a child. He's gone through several professional caretakers, because I see him with one person for a few months, and then someone new. I don't know why; these are things that I don't ask customers. But regardless, whenever he is in my line, he acts like a happy, energetic child. And here is this complete asshole being completely intolerant, completely judgmental, and that just pissed me off. Made me see red; made my anger want to come out and play. 
   So here I am counting, taking deep breaths, going through the anger management motions, because no matter the provocation, if I beat a customer down with one of my divider sticks, I am gonna get fired. That's the kiss of death in single mother-land, and I can just kiss my new apartment goodbye. No job = no apartment. 
   But I need to make my frustrations known, and so I am going to post them here. This blog is open to the public, anybody can read it, so maybe, just maybe, someone will read this and think twice about being an asshat. So to the guy who was mocking my customer:
   I don't know why people get a kick about picking on people who are different than them, but even if, for some unknown, unfathomable reason you think that you are better than someone; why would you waste your time on something so asinine as making them feel bad? What is the purpose? Personally, I think you do this to cover up your fear and insecurity. Mental health is a blessing, and one day you might suffer a head injury, or dementia, or Alzheimer's, or any number of things, and then you will be on the other side. Is this how you hope that people will treat you? And disability? This is something that is going to come to most of us as we age. People lose their hearing, their vision, their function of limbs all the time. Not being impaired is a passing phase: a blessing that most people take for granted. When the time comes and you are impaired, or someone you love is impaired, is this how you want society to treat you/them? Treating people like this does not make you funny, make you strong, make you better. Treating people like this makes you weak. You. Are. Weak. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mom Versus Mom: Just Plain Wrong

   There are a lot of opinions out there about what style of mommyhood is the best. We all have opinions about what is better for the kiddos, what is harder on the mom, what is better for society, and so-on and so-forth. And having your own opinion is good, because you need that to decide what is best for your child, yourself, and your family. But society doesn't just stop at having an opinion. They have to hold a competition; a competition so fierce that we find ourselves jumping down each other's throats to decide which moms have the harder job, and the even more disturbing conclusion that some people are not taking the proper care of their children because of the lifestyle they had. I know that I have had people get in my face about both being a single mom and about working, saying that my choices have hurt my daughter.
   Here's the parenting issue the way I see it, because I have played mom in every style; I was a stay-at-home mom once, I'm now a working mom, I had a parenting partner with my daughter's father until that went south, and I'm now a single parent. There are variations to each of these styles, but I have at least some form of experience in all the basic styles that I have listed, and from what I can tell, being a mom is a hard job no matter what style of parenting you choose. And unless you are doing something like beating your child with a brick and/or telling them things like they are worthless, then there is no wrong way to parent. (If you are abusing your child, then I hope karma tears your throat out.) Let me explain this, from my own experiences.
Stay-at-home mom: You never get a break, or a vacation, or a lunch - shit- you can't even take a shit by yourself. Your adult interactions become very limited, you may have a good partner and loyal friends and family, but a lot of your day is spent talking to kids. You don't earn a salary and thus have to depend on someone else to earn it. You have to listen to bullshit cracks about eating bon-bons and watching daytime TV. You are often taken for granted and never get a raise or promotion. No sleep ever.
Working Mom: You have to leave your kids with someone else. You may get away for a while, but all the chores are waiting for you when you get home. You are going to miss important stuff while you are at work. You are losing your hair from worrying about your kid while you are at work. You get in trouble for calling out when your kid is sick, which happens all the time because daycare/school incubates germs. People try to shame you for not staying home with the kids and putting them in daycare. No sleep ever.
Single Mom: All the bills are on you. You either have to leave your kid and get a job, and be judged for that, or get on assistance programs and stay home with your kid, and be judged for that. You have to take care of every little problem that arises, from sick kids, to trouble at school/daycare. You are both mom and dad. People like to judge you- a lot, and a lot of people out there equate single mothers as women with loose morals, which is neither fair nor true. No sleep ever.
Duel Parents: You have to compromise about how to raise your kid. Just because you have help doesn't mean you aren't going to get overwhelmed with parenting stuff. You are going to be judged and held accountable for every little disagreement that you have in front of the kids. The lack of sleep, stress of raising a kid, and disagreements about how to raise your kid can cause tension in your relationship - and people are going to judge you for that too. No sleep ever.
   Of course, these cover the effects on the mom and not the child, some would say. However, a happy home strongly influences the children in question. Shortly after I became a single parent, my daughter made the statement that even though there were some people she missed, she was happy we moved (from Florida to Washington) because I didn't cry anymore. In our old home, she had gotten to the point where she panicked whenever I was out of her sight. In my single parent home, she became more independent, more outgoing. After seven years of being a single parent, my daughter is in the GATE (gifted and talented education) program, and has been these last three years. She is a green belt (with a black stripe) in karate. She is popular in school and though a little shy in new situations, becomes engaged and shows her zany, friendly, sunny side to people quickly once she is used to them. I make sure that we get our quality time together, and all signs indicate that I have made the right choice for her. Does this mean that every mom should make my choice? No; I am in no way saying that my choice is the only choice for everybody. My choice wouldn't be right for many of you, but based on the circumstances of my life, my choice was the best for us, so who has a right to judge me for those choices? The way  I see things, nobody has that right.
  There are going to be cons in every style of raising a child -- but this does not mean that one is better than the other. They all have their pros too, and being a mom is rewarding no matter how you are pulling your mommyhood off. Every mother makes the decision on what she needs to do -- stay at home, work, be single, be with a partner -- based on the circumstances and variables of her life. The decision that one woman makes would not be right for another woman, because her life is different. But the things that are the same is that we are all moms trying to do what is best for our kids and make better lives for them. So why are we being so judgmental, so competitive about  who is better? Why aren't we banding together and telling the rest of the not-moms who are judging us to piss off? If we could get along, and help each other out, those judgey-judgersons out there would have a hell of a time pulling us down, but we are doing their work for them, by being at each other's throats and trying to put one choice above the other. It's wrong. We are a sisterhood of mothers, and we should have each other's backs. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Gremlins in Register 6

   I thought that today would be an average day at work. Go in, talk to some customers, get annoyed at others, yak at my coworkers, and then go home to my daughter. I was not counting on the stress and aggravation that the check reader in register 6 would cause me. But when I went to take my first check of the day....
   We have old stuff. I know that some of you are used to the machines that read your check and then your checker hands the check back to you and the amount comes out of your bank account as fast as a debit charge. Ours are not those. Ours has to read the check info (routing number, account number, and check number) and then the reader checks this information against the bad checks in our system, and then if there are no matches to bad checks, the reader prints our deposit info on the back of the check. (At least, that is my assumption of how the reader works, but no one has really explained it, so I could be off). Well, the first check I tried to put through jammed, so I had to enter all the information manually. Then the reader printed the deposit info correctly, but took about two minutes to process that it had printed and to let my cash drawer open.
   So in the meantime, the customer was looking at me, and I was looking at the customer, and we were looking at each other, and since this was not a romantic interlude, all this looking at each other was really awkward. Then the check reader messed up on the second and the third, and all this looking at people, waiting so I can give them their receipt and send them on their way is really bugging me. Looking at all these people for these lengthy periods of time is making my skin itch, and I'm jamming on buttons and opening shit and repressing the urge to bang on the thing, but I'm losing my cool. So I call my manager, and he comes over and wiggles some wires and tells me I need to be patient. Patient!!! An indication of how little he really knows me; or else a nod to my acting skills.
   And so the next check comes along, and his tinkering with the wires has done nothing, so my customer is looking  at me, and I'm looking at her, and we are looking at each other, and I'm wishing that I had a sledge hammer, and see if I wouldn't show that printer at thing or two.
   And then I realize, I really do need a hammer, because the only explanation is that my register is infested with gremlins. Not those weird ones from the movies, but the ones that were rumored to mess with the engines in the airplanes during one of the World Wars (I am not good with all that history). They have left the planes and infested my freakin' register.  I know that this seems far-fetched, but that makes even more sense. No one expects them to be in the grocery stores infesting the old equipment. Fey little bastards.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Things You Shouldn't Do To Your Cashier Part 3

   I was going to stop. I made the first list, and then I made the second list, and that was going to be all, because I don't like sounding like a customer hating biatch. But then I went to work, and my coworkers were all, "I didn't see this on the list, and this needs to be on the list." And they were right. (Thanks for the input! And thanks for reading!) The things they mentioned are completely worthy of the list. So I promised a part three; you see, this third list is really for my coworkers..... It's not just that I like to flap my fingers on the keyboard and make my opinions known to the world. And so, in collaboration with my coworkers, part three of the list:
  • We Are Not A Daycare: Forget something? Need to go back and get it? Well, take the kiddos with you. Don't leave them in the care of the cashier checking your order. (Oh, yeah, happens aaaaall the time.) Do you know daycare workers are supposed to be certified? Well, I don't know about the rest of my coworkers, but I haven't taken any STARS classes (certification classes in WA, if you are not in WA, insert correct certifications here). I don't know CPR either. You kiddo chokes, about all I can do is thump him/her on the back, but even if I did know it, we are not a daycare. Watching your kid is not a part of the job we are paid to do. And really, you are awfully trusting for this day and age. As a cashier, I do not have to pass the type of background check that a daycare worker does; I could be any kind of freak. (I mean, I'm not, but how do you know that if you don't know me?) As a parent: I don't think much of your parenting skills.
  • Munchies: Hungry? Have to eat your food before you get to the checkstand? Okay, I get it, food is delicious, but could you stick to eating something that does not have to be weighed? How am I gonna charge you for that product if you're busy digesting it?
  • Read The Signs: This is a bad one, and unless you are illiterate, there is no excuse. My work has a no cart zone, because all of the expensive alcohol is in this teeny-tiny area; there is a place to park your carts and signs EVERYWHERE. And still, people bring in carts. If you take out one of those shelves though, you are liable to end up purchasing thousands of dollars worth of spilled liquor. No good to you on the floor, and if I buy liquor I expect to be able to actually drink it (or cook with it, as the case may be) but -- you didn't read the signs, so your liquor is getting sucked up by the mop. The mop is thirsty; the mop thanks you.
  • If Your Kid Opens It, Don't Stick It Back On The Shelf: I see this all the time: usually with candy. I get that kids are fast, and the really young ones don't quite understand what they are doing (although some of the older ones do this too, and you aren't going to convince me that they don't know they are doing something wrong). But when your kid opens up a package, I'm sorry, but you need to buy it. We can't sell it now, and it's not like this was an accident. I get that sometimes they are fast and you can't stop them in time; I'm a parent too - I've been there - but you're still gonna have to suck it up and plunk down the cash. 
  • But Not On A Moving Conveyor Belt!!!: Please, why on earth would you put your money, check, whatever, on a moving conveyor belt. It's gonna get sucked into the crack! Which happens to be a black hole. I had this happen with a WIC check once, and I had my manager, my supervisor, and myself totally taking my whole checkstand apart, and we still couldn't find the dumb thing, and we can't replace that. It's gone. I have never understood why people think placing money on a conveyor belt is a good idea. (Bad!!! Bad!!!!)
  • No Fighting In The Store: This is not the local bar, or the set of Jerry Springer. What kind of fool gets in a fight in a grocery store? Stop sniffing the cilantro; it's messing with your head. Or else let me film it and post it on YouTube. 
  • Don't Put 300 Dollars Worth Of Groceries In Your Cart When You Only Have 50: Yeah, you're optimistic. You're not gonna be able to get all that though, so why waste your time putting it in your cart, and waste mine when I have to put it back? I understand that sometimes people misjudge, and have to take a few things off -- I'm not talking about this. Nor am I talking about the unfortunates who leave their money at home on accident. I'm talking about the people who come to the line with 3 loaded down carts, and then say that they only have a tiny amount of money. You're kidding, right?
   So thus ends Part 3 of the list. This might really be the end, but it might not. I'm not gonna tie myself down one way or the other; I've learned better now. If I get a lot of good suggestions, there may just be a part 4. Why? Because these lists make me laugh, and as I said, this one wasn't even entirely from my own head. My coworkers gave me plenty of suggestions. Meaning they are reading my stuff, so why wouldn't I write about what they want to read about? 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Have Another Kid? Are You Kidding Me????

   This is often what I hear when I say that my daughter is an only child, "But doesn't she need a sibling? She needs someone to play with." My response, "Hell no." Are you crazy? Lost your ever-loving mind? Maybe you can handle multiples, and more power to you, I am not putting you down at all, but I am not child-friendly. All my friends would coo and goo over those screaming blobs of poopy diapers while I looked on in absolute horror and swore never to have one. God has a twisted sense of humor. And then there is also that little factiod -- your kids will be twice as bad as you were. Oh. My. God. I was a bad effing kid, but for some reason, I was blessed with an angel of a child. Zany, weird, and completely different from me. If I have a second child, it's probably gonna get my badness x7, plus all of the badness it's sister didn't get. That kid is gonna be demon spawn -- yeah, I'll pass.
 But that isn't the only reason; I have multiple reasons for not wanting another child. One of them is pregnancy. Being pregnant sucks. I know people who love it, and they are nuts! What's to love? Heart burn, high blood pressure, peeing in a cup every week, diabetes tests, blood work, morning sickness, stress tests, swollen hands and feet, back aches, your unborn child kicking you in the ribs and bouncing on your bladder, peeing yourself, being fat, leaky boobs, doctors shoving their hands up your hoohah, stretch marks, and don't think I'm done, but I figure you get the picture now.
   The next reason is the actual birth. I was 10 days late, and I went in labor on the 22nd, at 8 am. I remember, because I was having contractions, but because I had never had braxton hicks, my midwife (yes, I was on state-provided insurance, and in Florida, at the time and in my location, you did not get to choose your provider; if you were low-risk you went to a group of midwives, if you were high-risk, you went to the doctors in Gainsville,) my midwife insisted that I was finally having them, even though I was 10 days late. After having them at steady intervals all day, and doing gnarly things like loosing my mucus plug -- so gross -- she finally told me to come on in at midnight. Surprise, I was in labor!! (Duh.) The birthing room: like the set of Jerry Springer. Everybody was yelling and cussing at everybody. If, for some horrible reason, I ever do get pregnant again, NOBODY, and I do mean NOBODY except for the doctor will be allowed in the delivery room, period.
   Then, my precious baby girl: she had a big ass head. The midwife gave me a partial episiotomy, but I tore the rest of the way. Yup, from hole to hole. I had to have 99 stitches, in my hoohah, no less. TMI, I know, but a fact, and a strong reason not to have more kids.
   After the horror of waiting for two hours for stitches, because midwives can't give stitches, and having the midwife holding the tear closed the entire freaking time, and having a doctor finally sew up your junk: fever from blood loss. And apparently I refused a blood transfusion, something I don't remember but was told that I did. Who knew? Not me, that's for sure; I can't remember jack about blood transfusions, but I can believe that in my sleepless, post labor funk I freaked out and refused, which is what they said I did. I can see me doing it, even if I can't remember.
    Because of my fever, they didn't want me to hold or take care of the baby right away, so  I barely got to see her in the first 24 hours of her life, and meanwhile I was hooked up to all kinds of shit that beeped and had all manner of needles stuck in my hands, because I have tiny veins that move, and my hands are the easiest place to stick me. Oh and by the way, she wasn't delivered until noon on the 23rd. Giving birth sucks, and you want me to do it again? And then after that, stitch care, sitting on a donut, and a crapload of pills that I had to take. Fun times. Also, me signing paperwork stating that I was leaving against the doctor's advice. Whatever, I couldn't stand that place anymore, and 10 years later (almost 11) I'm still here, so obviously, I didn't die.
   Okay, after you have the kid, it isn't so bad. No sleep sucks too, but it's better than being pregnant. Plus, now you can actually see and play with baby, a huge plus, in my book. It's the pregnancy, I tell you, the pregnancy and the giving birth. Miracle of life? I can't handle that shit. My daughter needs playmates -- what the heck are her cousins for? My sister has two playmates, all premade and ready to go. Growing babies in your uterus is no joke, and not for me. I just can't do it!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Things You Shouldn't Do To Your Cashier Part 2

   So I've made this list before, but as I said, I left some things out in the first list (<--- link to first list.) This was because I didn't want to come off as hating all customers, because I don't. Mainly, however, the blog was getting really long and no one wants to read a 10 page article on things that get on cashiers' nerves. Yet, in retrospect, I think that I have left some things off that I feel are major pet peeves, so here is part 2. Without further ado, enjoy the list:
  • No Underwear Money: So gross. I've been handed money from bras and I can tell you this: no matter how hot you think you are, boob sweat is gnarly. Dudes are actually the ones who usually hand money straight from the underwear; they don't have bras to stash their cash, and all I can say is: guys, would you want to handle money that's been possibly rubbing up against some strange ball sacks? No? Neither does your cashier: get a wallet. Last, I am going to include socks. Not really underwear, but money that smells like funky foot reeks a cash drawer out. Keep your toe jam, boob sweat and ball sack cooties to yourself!!!
  • No Flirting: I know this seems harmless, but I don't appreciate being hit on while I am trying to be professional. Professionalism doesn't come naturally to me, but if you are the type who can gracefully accept a no or evasion, then this really doesn't apply to you. I had a coworker who was hit on by a customer, and he wouldn't leave her alone, and when she finally told him to back off, he went and complained to management about how unfriendly she was. Not cool!!! Shame, shame, knows your name (did anyone else grow up with that chant?)
  • WIC Checks!!!!: For those of you that do not get WIC, this program is for pregnant and nursing women, infants, and children up to 5 years of age. The checks have a specific list of items and amounts that the person can get. These checks are time consuming, even when the owner of the check gets the items right. But many people try to replace items, in order to get things that they like better. WIC does not allow this, so please! Don't do it. And if another store lets you get Fruitloops (so not allowed), don't expect me to do it; I don't work there and I wanna keep my job. Go to that other store, fruitloop, and stop slowing me down. 
  • WIC Checks Again!!!!: These suckers can be a real problem. And this is an ID issue, we saw several of these issues in the first list. WIC requires picture ID or a signed WIC folder. Notice the stress that I have put on signed. The folder is not valid ID if it is not signed before you come into the store.
  • Don't Tell Me An Item Is Free: An item doesn't scan the first time, the customer invariably exclaims "Must be free!" No, and I know that (most of) you are joking, but I hear this so many times a day. The joke is tired. 
  • We Get Breaks And We Get To Go Home: It's always ugly when a lane closes. I understand that you don't want to wait in line, but you need to understand that by law, I get breaks. I don't come to your place of work and razz on you when you get to take your break. And I don't live at work; when the time has come for me to go, I get to leave. I have a little girl waiting at home, a sitter waiting to be relieved, and a million household cares to take (ha! -->) care of. 
   So here are the additions to things that you should not do to your checker, and a lot of you are great and wouldn't do these things. I appreciate the fact that you wouldn't! If everybody had that attitude, then I wouldn't need to make these lists! Of course, then I wouldn't be able to write up these long lists, but I can find other things to write about. So lets not do these things and I'll spend my time writing about demonic, possessed furniture and evil furbies. Shiny! (Yup, I am watching Firefly as I write this.)

The Truth About Foodstamps

   I once had a customer come through my line, and she bought a massive amount of food, almost $1,000 dollars worth of every food you could think of. The man behind her was just joking around, he had a big grin and meant no harm (which is not always the case, people can be crazy nasty), "You must be shopping for an army for a month."
   "Oh no!" she says, "This isn't even half of it either. I have 9 kids. I never knew that the state would pay me so good to have all these kids. I don't have to work; I wouldn't work in a place like this for nothing." (And thanks for shitting on my job as you feed the foodstamp stereotype.)She swiped a food card and he had a look of disgust on his face. And I really just want to thank that woman for giving all people who use this program a bad image. Foodstamps is not payment for having more kids than you can afford, and yes this really happened: no joke, no exaggeration. Foodstamps is a program for the disabled, those who are in hard times and those in crisis. They are for people who need help, not people who won't lift a finger to help themselves. And there is a stigma attached to those who need government programs; so when you treat these programs like career options, and view your children as potential raises, you feed the stereotype that contributes to the stigma that we all face when asking for help. We all get judged by the way we look and not by the reality of our situation, something that this woman had fed by her callous referral to the programs that supported her as her 'job'.
   I've been on foodstamps. For one year, and I was actually raised against them, so it was very hard for me to swallow my pride and ask for help. I cried, seriously cried, heartbroken, when I left the DSHS office. I was glad for the help, but mortified that I was in a position where I needed the help. And I am not the only one.
   One story involves another customer, a woman in a business suit, who came in with foodstamps. She had no clue how to run her card. The card works just like a debit, but she wasn't aware of that; she had never been on the program before. Her 21 year old son had suffered a brain aneurysm that left him unable to do anything for himself, permanently crippled. She was now his caretaker. She told all this to me with tears in her eyes because she had just left DSHS, and had been treated badly by the DSHS office, people who should know better. She didn't understand why. Don't judge her for spilling her guts to me, because I was, and still am, sympathetic with her plight. She had been through something hard and needed to vent. I just think that the fact that she got some empathy from her cashier instead of her caseworker is a travesty and a perfect example of the flaws with the system.
   Things can go wrong in an instant, and you can lose everything. She had nice business clothes, but this is because she had worked in a nice office. She lost that job because of the amount of time that she had to take off to care for her son, who had and then was in recovery for a brain aneurysm. She was suing for her job back, but these things take time, and in the meantime, bills were going unpaid, she lost her house, and needed to eat. Because of the income trouble, she was also having a hard time paying the lawyer, so who knows if she managed to get her job back.
   One problem that she faced was that she was being judged by how she looked. People treated her like she shouldn't need help and was taking advantage of resources that they didn't think she deserved. Sure, she had nice clothes. So what? Used clothing only sells for a bare fraction of what they cost, and if she had sold all of the clothing to fit the 'image' of poor, she probably would have had to spend the amount she had made selling her old clothing just buying new clothes, which is not cheap, even from places like the Good Will, and makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Why buy what you already have just so you can fit a preconceived image? People were judging her only because of how she looked, and not her actions or her circumstances. Could she have been feeding me a load of baloney when she told me about her son? Sure. Do I believe her? Yes, because I have seen this in action. She was judged solely based on the way she looked, and she looked more prosperous because she used to be more prosperous. Her family, however, was in a terrible crisis, something that you couldn't see just by looking at what she wore.
   I am in the process of earning a BA for Human Services, and I can tell you that I have seen cases, true case studies for us to examine and dissect for our studies, where wrong assumptions were made based on appearance. And it's not like there aren't people out there who fully abuse and take advantage of the system, and they give everybody a bad image of what people who receive government services are like. Many of us want to be off of those services as soon as possible. And case workers: they can treat you badly. I know that my case worker made a lot of jokes at my expense, and made me feel like I was the shit that he scraped off of his shoe. I have been off of those programs for several years now, and I am heart-glad. I feel for those who are on those programs, and are not abusing them, because they have to deal with the stigma that comes along with the help, and often are judged only on how things look, like my second example, and not on how things are. My first example was an abuser, but my second, well-dressed lady, she was suffering, and my heart bled for her. I have never seen her since that one time, but I hope that she is doing as well as her circumstances allow. Seeing your grown child permanently impaired because of a brain aneurysm cannot be easy.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Living On The Bottom

   Moving sucks, but this period of suckyness is a prelude to something better (hopefully): a new place. A new place to set up your crazy little family; hopefully, a new place better suited to whatever your needs are. And I am thrilled with my new place; a place for just me and my daughter, something I haven't had since I split with her dad. All my friends and coworkers and family can tell too; I have been blowing facebook up with random pictures of things in my apartment. They have gotten pictures of my linen closet, my bedroom closet, my fireplace, and a bunch of other mundane things that don't matter in everyday life and rate a 0 on the thrill factor. Oh, I know, but I'm going to keep posting pics, because right now these things rate a 10 to me.
   One of the things I am most thrilled about is the fact that my new apartment is on the first floor. The first thought that may come to mind is 'No Stairs' but this is not the real reason. Stretching back and looking into my past, those crappy teenage years that I tend to try to forget, shoving them into little box in my mind and nailing the lid down, there was an apartment on the second story. This was the apartment that my mom, my sister, and I lived in after my parent's divorce. And I'm going to talk to you today about the people underneath us. 
Example of a 20 floor (or more) apt
   We all hear those jokes about the people living above you having pogo sticks but the truth is that walls (and floors) of apartments are never going to keep every sound out. If you can't stand the sound of someone walking across the floor then you need to at least have an apartment on the top, because trust me, you are going to hear that noise in most apartments. I don't know about the actual buildings where there are 20 floors, but in most complexes, where housing is based on a fourplex design or something similar, you are going to hear noise. And seriously, do you really think the people around you are going to live like they are in the library? In their own homes? You need to buy a house if you expect that.
   The people bellow us, in those black teenage years of mine, are the type that needed a house, not an apartment. At the very least, they needed a top apartment, an offer they refused even when the apartment manager offered to let them switch free of fees. They hated us, the family that lived above them. Why? Because we breathed. Because we walked across our floors (heaven forbid.) We walked too loudly -- according to them. Where we supposed to tiptoe? Am I exaggerating? Sadly, no. They called management and complained every single time we vacuumed our floors. Mind you, in broad daylight in the afternoon, so no breaking of those silent 'curfew' hours that apartments have, when you really are not supposed to vacuum your floors.
Bang bang bang!
   And what did they resort to doing when their frantic calls to the office yielded no results? They would thump their ceiling (our floor) with their broom whenever they thought we were being too loud. Walk across the floor (bang bang bang), vacuum (bang bang bang), get in a fight with your sister (bang bang bang), wash dishes and do laundry (bang bang bang), and the list of what that woman would bang on her ceiling for went on and on and on. She was banging on the damn ceiling (our floor) every five minutes it seemed. Did she have any kind of a life? I don't think so. I think that banging on that ceiling was her greatest joy, truthfully. Added some zest and drama to her life. Unfortunately, that zest, that drama, was at my family's expense.
   I think that at first, the apartment managers thought we were the problem; we must have been neighbors from hell. That family underneath us must have been in that office twice a day at least, complaining about us. But the tables turned and the apartment saw the true colors of these people, these Noise Nazis. One day, we needed some serious repairs done. Our air conditioner was broke, and this was high summer in Mississippi, where the heat could (and did) reach the 100s. The apartment's repair men were in our apartment fixing our problem and (bang bang bang! bang bang bang!) breaks out underneath their very feet. They look at us, dumbfounded, and we can only shrug, because we've been living with this for the past year. Then there is a knock at the door. And guess who it is? The police. These jackasses had called the police and filed a noise complaint on us because of the repair men. And these men can testify to their bosses (the apartment managers) that we were not doing a thing: that all the noise was caused by themselves as they walked across the floor to look at the air conditioning unit. Oh, the stink that made. And those people-- they were gone not too long after, and we never heard the bang bang bang again.
   Yet this has made me leery of living in a top floor apartment. I don't mind noise above me, but I am not tiptoeing across my living room floor for anybody. And if I am excited and jumping up and down, I don't want to get slapped with a noise complaint; nor am I going to be the one to slap someone else with a noise compliant. (People above me: you are safe!) Yay, for a first floor apartment!!!

Monday, January 14, 2013

No Normal People Here

   You never think that your kid is really listening to a word that you say. At least, I don't. Asking a kid to pick up can sometimes take five requests before they stomp off in anger exclaiming, "You make me do everything!" Yeah right. Get a job, pay the bills, and then come talk to me about who does everything. But I digress. Those moments with my daughter don't happen often, because she's a good kid, and also, she knows better. But still, you wonder how much they actually listen.
   Well, I found out, they listen, but what they listen to is the weirdest, most random shit that comes out of your mouth when you think nobody is listening, and they take that randomness, and they turn it into their motto, their goal, the ultimate truth.
   I discovered this one day in what I thought was going to be a normal (haha, normal) conversation with my daughter. "Momma, am I weird?" she asks.
   And my momma radar starts flashing and here I am wondering if she's getting picked on at school or something, so I reply, "No. You're not weird; you're normal."
   And you would have thought that I said she was ugly, smelled funny, and had a pizza face and crappy hair. I halfway expected her to breath fire at me, that's how mad she was.
   Stomping her feet at me, "I AM NOT NORMAL!! HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT! I'M WEIRD; I AM NOT NORMAL!"
   Calming her down took me forever, because while at one time she wasn't very good at throwing fits, a certain person (Grandma!!! Traitor!) took one look at her attempted fit and told her she needed to practice. So my daughter did, because she is a perfectionist (she didn't get that from me) and she wanted to throw excellent fits, so now she does. And while I was trying to calm the raging beast that was my daughter, I flashed back to certain conversations, ones where people were telling me that I needed to do this, or I needed to that, or that my way wasn't normal. And what was my response? "Normal people suck." And who is always right there with me, because I have helicopter mom tendencies? Yup, the munchkin; and she took the fact that her momma said that normal people suck as gospel. Normal? Don't you dare call her that.
   Don't worry, daughter. No one who puts their earphones up their nose, plugs their ears up and then opens up their mouth to see if the music will come out of their mouth is normal.
   Normal people? Not in this apartment. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Where Is All This Stuff Coming From?

   So I've been packing, and packing, and packing some more. My daughter has also been packing, and is actually managing to be a great help. When she first asked, I let her but envisioned my needing to secretly repack every box because I didn't want a bunch of haphazardly thrown together boxes. She's really much more organized than myself, something that I should have remembered.
We've been busy girls, and we're running out of boxes!!!
   Yet in spite of all of this packing, we still have not managed to get all this junk in boxes. And I keep getting surprised by the things that I am finding. I have stuff stashed in the dark recesses of my closet that I don't remember ever seeing, much less buying. Where is all this crap coming from? And books. I know that I love books (BOOKS!!!) I am a book freak, and bookwyrm, and book stalker, certifiably obsessed with them. I have a Kindle, a Nook, and then there are the books that I just have to own, in hardcover, please. I need to see them on shelves, or I feel like something is missing in my little bookwrym of a soul. (Can you say biggest NERD ever?) And my daughter is the same way. So I expected a lot of boxes filled with books, but the problem is that I am packing and packing and packing them, and I still haven't found the end of them. I am finding them in closets, in dresser drawers, in the bathroom,  and under the bed; you name it, and I have books in it. It's that bad. And I swear, I think that they are breeding. That is the only explanation that makes sense, because why am I not able to find an end to them? They are never-ending!!! All I can say is they need to stop, books aren't supposed to breed.
   Another item that breeds? Chargers. I have charges that I don't even know what goes with them. And I'm terrified to get rid of them, because what if I need them? What if I find what the mystery charger belongs to? But where are they all coming from? And why, when you put one charger in a drawer, shut that drawer and walk away for a while, and then come back later -- why are they five more chargers in the drawer?! Someone explain this mystery to me? How can a charger breed when it is alone? I don't understand.
   But moving day is tomorrow, so I have to find an end to all these books and chargers tonight. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Possessed, Demonic Furniture = Not In My House

   Talking with my bestie, she had mentioned that for my new apartment that I might want to look at some used furniture. This would save me some money, and I like to save money. The problem is, I just don't trust used stuff. I know, you're thinking things like lice and bed bug infestations, and that is a legitimate concern. We all know how I feel about those immortal bugs, but I have other concerns. Bugs are not my only worry here.
What if someone died on it???
   Do you ever wonder what has happened on that furniture that you find on Craig's List, and in garage sells, and other various places, where you may not know the former owner and don't know the furniture's history? I know that may not seem valid, but let me explain myself. Say you are looking at a used couch on Craig's List, and you go buy it, but what you don't know is that someone's Great-Aunt Mabel died on that very couch. Oh yeah, death cooties. And what if good old Aunt Mabel is lingering, tied to the mortal realm -- meaning the couch that you just bought. Well, that's just fabulous. Now you have someone's Great Aunt Mabel harping in your ear about the fact that the house is dirty, you need to walk the dog, your kids aren't well behaved, you can't cook, you need a man, what's wrong with you? And good luck evicting a spirit. I've watched enough horror movies to know that this never ends well. Try and evict her and you may very well end up haunting the couch with her.
   And say it gets worse. Say the reason Aunt Mabel died is because her rabid, feral cat chewed on her face. Then say Uncle Johnny came in, took care of that cat, and now the cat is haunting the damn couch as well. Now you have somebody's bitchy-ass Aunt complaining about everything you do, and you have a ghost cat pissing all over the carpet because you don't have a litter box. Great. Bet you're wishing you just bought a new couch, and skipped all this drama.
   It could be even worse. So far we have only touched ghostly Auntie Mabels and spirit cats that need a litter box. What if someone has been messing with Ouija boards on that couch and now that couch has become possessed by a Paranormal Activity-type demon. I don't know about you, but the last thing that I need is some invisible creature dragging me down the hall by my foot. And if you saw the most recent one, with the yard cram-packed full of possessed house wives, then you know that it's just a little hard to believe that they are all descendants from some little freaky coven. I bet some of them bought some used furniture that had demons in it. Bet you wish you had bought that new couch when the demon is chomping on your leg.
   So all-in-all, I think I am going to go with new, spiritually blank furniture. Clean slate and all that. This way, all those people on Craig's List can keep their dead Aunt Mabels and their Paranormal Activity demons. Plus-- I get to pick out new furniture. Win/win. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

My Bestie Takes On The Snake Pit

   Not many people are as lucky as I am when it comes to besties. I have known my best friend since I was 9 years old. We weren't best friends at first, just kinda knew each other and were neighbors, and then she moved to Florida for a while. When she came back, we really started to click. We started going every where together, doing everything together, living in each other's back pockets. She's three years younger than me, so we didn't hang out at school, but after school we were glued at the hip.
   And we are still close. Many people grow distant from the friends that they grew up with, they move, grow apart, fight over stupid things. Well, we did fight over stupid things, and usually those stupid things were my fault, but we never grew apart. We moved, and now I'm a single mom of one who holds a job and goes to college in Washington, and she's a married, stay-at-home mom of two in Mississippi, who also goes to college. And anyone who is a stay-at-home mom knows that only a complete and total bad ass can fill this role. Stay-at-home moms have thankless, payless jobs and often have to listen to way to many bon-bon cracks. No vacation, sick time, promotions, but they do it anyway. (Not knocking us working moms, our jobs aren't easy either.) God bless stay-at-home moms, and you are all in my ultimate bad ass book, but I digress.
   One of the best kept secrets about my bestie --she's a total bad ass. Not many people get to see this side of her, but I have many times. I can tell you: you've gotta watch those quiet ones. I wouldn't mess with her; she is fierce. She is, as she reads this, probably thinking that I am full of shit right about now. But I'm going to prove you wrong. I'm going to tell you the story of the snake-pit. Oh yeah. I have a snake-pit story.
   We grew up in the country. My Dad owns five acres of land, and from age 9 to age 15, this is where I lived. Though the surrounding land has now been flattened and made into cow pastures, the land was once lush, Southern wetlands. And my bestie's, my sister's, and my favorite past times: exploring. We were always in the woods. We made our parents crazy. They could never find us and we always came how soaked (we had a habit of jumping into every creek we could find) and mud stained (you have to DIG for the crawdads, now. How else were we supposed to catch them?)
   The story takes place while we were deep in the wetland/woods, with myself leading the way. I always lead the way, but my bestie always got us home. That girl has a compass in her head or something; she was never lost and could always get us home, no matter how deep into the woods we went. Well, I was leaping over this funky pit in the ground because I didn't want to step in it. Holes in the grounds in the woods are not always what they seem, especially when the floor of the woods is actually kinda swampy. And it's a GOOD THING that I did not step in that hole because I would probably not be here today. My sister jumped over the hole, and my bestie was about to, when it raised up it copper-colored head. A copperhead. And closer inspection revealed more than one.
Freaky, huh? Imagine finding a pit of these.
   I know you are thinking, well go around the hole, but this wasn't as easy as sounds. Wetlands, remember, we were on the only dry strip of land. Around us, untested waters. We didn't know how deep that water was, or what was in it. Mississippi has water moccasins, alligators, and snapping turtles (doesn't sound as bad? They'll take your toes clean off, my bestie still has scars from one that took the top of her toe off when we were jumping in a creek.) We did jump into creeks, but this was a bigger body of water than that and the water was murky as hell. We couldn't see a thing. So we were kinda at a loss, my sister and I, because we were way to scared to jump back over the freaking snake pit. Our parents had firmly ground into our heads: copperhead = death. Without a word my bestie takes off, and we thought we were abandoned. Well, we did get around the snake pit, we took the plunge and got in the water, getting back on land as soon as we were past the snakes. But we were lost without our compass, until we found her (or she found us, uncanny, that one), running back. She had dashed back to my house, quick as a flash, gotten the BB guns that my dad had gotten us for Christmas, and was on her way back: fully loaded and ready to take on some snakes and rescue us. Although as an adult, the thought of a 12 year old girl opening fire on a snake-pit  with a BB gun makes me cringe, at the time she was taking on a pit of death for us. Can't get more bad ass than that.
   Not all people see this side, but this is just one time out of many, that I have seen her bad ass show. She's all grown up now, but this just means that she is even more of a bad ass. Sometimes people don't realize this, but believe me, after 20 years of friendship, I know. I wouldn't mess with her, but on the other hand, she is the best friend you could ever have.
   (By the way, neither of our sets of parents ever heard this story, so I'm now a tattletale.)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Things You Shouldn't Do To Your Cashier

   Everybody likes lists. I'm the most unorganized person ever, and I still love lists. I don't know why; I rarely ever follow lists -- unless it's a To Read list. (Books!!!!) And if it's a banned book list, even better - I will read every single book on the list. But this is not that type of a list. This is a list of things that you should not do to your cashier. We're people too, and we don't like being treated badly anymore than the next person. And a mean, rude customer just makes being nice to the next customer that much harder. So here's my list. Mostly the majority of you are going to read this and just think "Who would do that anyway?" But unfortunately, all these things are on this list because I have experienced them. (They are not in any real order.)
  • No TMI (too much information): Yes, we ask how you are doing or how was your day, and I'm not saying don't answer. I'm not even saying don't tell me something about your life. What I am saying is don't tell me that it's been 6 months since the last time you got laid, or that your hemorrhiods are itching so badly that you want to scrape your ass across the floor like a dog. Ew. Why do I want to know this? Nobody wants to know this.
  • Complain About Checking Speed: We go as fast as we can. Sometimes we are  not as fast as Cheetara (Thundercats, hoooooooo!!!!) but our efficiency is measured. They have programs that measure all that, and though I do not work at Thundercat speeds, I am always above what I need to be, yet I still get that customer that complains that I am slow. And don't complain that I am going to fast. We are required to go at at least the minimum speed and there is a minimum sales that we are required to at least hit, if not do better than. They really do have programming that measures all that. And I've had complaints both ways. What's a checker to do? What makes the bossman happy, that's what.
  • Wait For the Person In Front of You Before You Start Loading!!: I absolutely hate when people start slamming their groceries down on the belt before the people in front of them are done unloading their cart. It is rude. Where are they supposed to put their groceries if you take all the room? And if the person in front of you has a short temper? Well, don't look at me, line-cutter. I'm just here to check. Mediation is not in my job description, plus, I'm not on your side on this one.
  • Check Writing, Don't Get Mad: We are required to check your ID. Each and every time. Some stores have a system or something that keeps regular customer's info on file. Ours doesn't, and the only people who are kept on a file in the system are the ones who have written bad checks. Now, do you really want to convince me that you are in our system? Each store has it's own set of policies, so don't assume that because one store does things one way, that a different store will be the same. If you really don't want to whip out that ID, use your debit card or pay with cash. There are options. 
  • IDs Again. What Is It About IDs That Rile People So Much? We need to card you if you are buying alcohol. Do you know the consequences of selling to a minor? Or not carding a person conducting a sting? Harsh. I need my job, and I can't afford to pay 2,000 dollar fines -- Washington's consequences When I worked in Florida, you got an automatic night in jail -- no bail. YIKES!!! (Plus, I don't want to sell to minors!) And if I don't card you? You obviously aren't under 21. There are very attractive people over the ages of 50, so it isn't a snub to your looks. But when you waste time griping me out for not carding you? The only thing I am thinking is "Really, Methuselah!?" Rude, I know, but in my defense, I was pushed to it, and I don't actually say it.
  • Don't Tell Me I Don't Have A Real Job: This happens, and it's crazy rude. I say, "How are you?" Customer says, "Tired, but I have a real job." Or some variation thereof. This has happened to both myself and many of my coworkers. What exactly is wrong with my job? Checking is honest work. Not rocket science, but how many of you are actually rocket scientists? Don't judge me. I do what it takes to support my family, and being a cashier is not disgraceful. At any rate, I have never been so insecure about my work that I had to go try and make other people feel like shit about their jobs. 
Oh, I could go on, and on, and on, but I won't. I don't want to sound like all customers are bad. Most customers aren't, and there are certainly the great ones, that I love to see: my cherished regulars. But those few bad ones can ruin a whole day. I don't want to be the pissy cashier that is rude to her customers. In fact, I try really hard not to be that cashier, but we are only human folks -- we have bad days. Sometimes these bad days can be avoided. This avoidance is the purpose of this blog. I'd much rather laugh and have a good time with you than be giving you the stink eye and plotting to squish your bread and break your eggs. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Apartment Hunting (Yay, I'm Moving!!)

   Oh my lord. A nightmare. A veritable slew of worries, stress, and apartment manager ladies who give you the stink-eye when they discover the amount that you earn. (And you think you can afford to live here?!) Okay, I'm not that friggen poor, and I resent those looks. Don't even get me started on credit checks. A nightmare. My credit, as I have said before, is bad, but the only items in collection are unpaid ER bills from that time when I had no insurance. My student loans are in good standing, but they are high, which lowers my score, some kind of debt-to-credit ratio thing that I don't really get.
   I started looking a while back, but for the longest time, the apartment size that I wanted wasn't available. I remember one conversation with an office lady, which she attempted to have at the top of her lungs.
   Me: "I'm looking for an apartment. I would like to look at one of your one bedrooms or your small two bedroom floor plans."
   Me: "No, I would like to look at one of the smaller floor plans."
   Me: "I really am only interested in a smaller floor plan. Do you have a smaller apartment available?"
   Guess what she had available to show us when we got there? If you guessed townhouses, then you guessed right, Plus -- she had three other appointments scheduled at the same time. Really?! I think I deserve my own appointment slot. And what part of smaller apartment was hard to understand? My daughter and I don't need much space; also, I want a rent that I can easily afford. I don't want to be eating peanut butter constantly because that's the only food I can afford. If I have extra money because I have a lower rent, all the better. I have some expensive hobbies. I like to game, I like to go to the ballet, I like to travel, and don't get me started on the amount I spend on books. (BOOKS!!!) Plus, I like to eat. Good food, not peanut butter on crappy, cheap-ass bread.
   Well, after many attempts to view an apartment of the size and price that I wanted, I found one. I was ready too. That lady was probably wondering what the hell she got herself into. $150 holding fee? I'll be back in two minutes. Hell yes I'm putting that apartment on hold. I'd been looking for a month; I wasn't losing that place because someone came in and swooped it up from under me -- exactly what my sister did to someone else, by the way. Someone wanted the apartment she got, but they didn't put a hold on the place, so she gleefully swooped it up.
   But now was the nerve-wracking part. Getting approved. Gotta make 3 times the rent, they want good credit, good leasing record, and the list goes on. Well, I didn't have good credit, but I was willing to pay a bigger deposit, which is usually what they want. So I wasn't expecting to get a call from them saying I was not approved because I was breaking my lease. Also, they told the that this was somehow put onto my credit already. What?! No I wasn't, and why was something like that on my credit? (It wasn't. I don't know where they got that.)
   So off to my current home's office to get the paperwork saying that I'm not breaking the lease, which takes about 5 minutes because I wasn't breaking the lease,  and I bum a ride from my mom to the new place, all-in-all taking probably about 15 minutes. Imagine those people's surprise when I bust up in that office, paperwork in tow. Deny me? I don't think so.
   So the official move out date is the 11th, and I'm a ball of nerves because I won't feel that the apartment is really mine until the key is in my hand, the lease is signed, and my stuff is inside. Because anything that can go wrong, will go wrong :p
    Please, just let it go wrong with someone else.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Awesome Box

   I've been packing in hopes that my application to move into an apartment will be approved. Packing for me is a way of positive thinking. And really, the only reason they could disapprove my application is credit. Mine is bad, but that is a song that probably every single parent could sing. It's hard when you only have one income; this is a two income world. And my credit isn't too bad; it's all hospital bills and student loans. The student loans are even all in good standing, but they make my debt-to-credit ratio high. I am a worry-wart, so as a way of keeping positive, I am packing. And I am packing things that I use practically every day -- the power of positive action.
   One of the things that  I am packing is my gaming equipment. I am a gamer; I don't know if you would call me hard core -- I take bathroom breaks and eat and sleep and go to work. I don't ignore my family over a game either. I'll never understand why some people do that. Games do not trump human contact. And I am never going to be the smuck who died because they gamed for 72 hours straight with no breaks. I mean, since giving birth I need to pee every two hours, and I need to eat. I am NOT going without food. But I do usually game daily, even if only for 30 minutes. And I've packed all of my gaming stuff. What am I going to do with myself until I move??!!
   As we have been packing, my daughter and I have been painstakingly labeling each and every box. We don't want to get into our new apartment and not know what is packed in each box. There are things that we are going to need right away, and there are things that can wait a little. Gaming stuff cannot wait. In reference to this, and in acknowledgement of the value of the items in the box, I have labeled my gaming boxes Awesome Boxes. Well, my daughter thought they needed to be labeled better than that. I don't see why, I think Awesome Box explains it all. If you have a box labeled kitchen supplies, and a box labeled awesome box, which one are you going to open first? If you answer kitchen supplies, my next question is-- How often do you lie and has this been a problem for very long? Of course you are going to open the awesome box, and what could be in an awesome box that was better than games, consoles, and equipment?
One of our labeled Awesome Boxes. 
   But my daughter took my sharpie from me and painstakingly made a list of what was in each awesome box. I have talked about our differences before, and this is one of them; my daughter is a little more orderly than I am; I tend to be chaotic. I suppose that this labeling is better, in the long run. Now I know what box has my PSP, and what box has the Wii. But they were all going to be opened on the first night of our arrival, regardless. The awesome boxes rule!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Mass Transit Troubles

   Back when I went to school on campus, something that took hours of my days and reduced the hours available for sleeping an average of four, I spent a lot of times on the buses. One bus in particular, the 174. This was before they changed all the routes and made the bus system a total mess, especially if you need to get into Seattle. Back in those days (not that long ago, really) the 174 still went into Seattle and still worked in the 'free ride' zones, which tended to mean that you would get some pretty crazy people riding.
   One day I was riding home from college (in the days before I owned my eardrum killing Ipod) and I was sitting on the seats that faced sideways instead of towards the front. (I hate these seats because I always feel like I'm fixing to fall, but this bus gets crowded. Not always a choice.) Across from me was a fairly muscular, tall, tattooed guy and an older woman. The woman was obviously not all there, and she was talking to herself pretty loudly, but I didn't catch watch she was saying at first. My policy is to not make eye contact when riding the bus. I've never been directly threatened, but if you meet people's eyes, some of them will talk to you, and I don't want to talk to anybody. Plus, the ones that tend to talk to you often aren't playing with a full deck. I know that this sounds bad, but you'll see my meaning in a few minutes.
   While I try to not make eye contact, I do try to stay alert. Zoning out in a public place with a bunch of crazies is like walking into a zombie infested pit with no weapons. You might make it out alive, but the odds are against you. So I noticed when the big tattooed man started scooting away from the woman, making himself as small as possible. Really, tattooed guy? That little, homeless woman was scaring you that badly? Then I started listening to what she was saying.
   First she attacked the Buddhists, because the bus passed some little place that had the word Buddhist on the sign. I can't really remember what she said, except that it was batshit crazy. Then we passed a cell phone store, and shit!!! I caught her eye. Now instead of talking to herself, she was talking to me.
   "Cell phones were brought here by the aliens! They steal your skin, they steal your skin. They're in your skin with the signal." I glanced at the tattooed man, but he was no help. This was obviously deeply traumatizing to him, and he was scrunched into the bus seat as far as he could go. I giggled. I couldn't help it. I know that laughing at that poor man was mean--I was completely judging him by his looks alone. Tall, muscular, tattooed guys are badass, right? Nope. Not this dude: total pussycat. But the woman, she freaked out because I laughed.
   "Laugh!" she exclaimed in disgust," Sure it's funny. Laugh! It's funny if you're the devil's daughter! It's funny if you're the devil's daughter!"
   And she isn't talking now, oh hell no. She's screaming and the whole bus is looking at us and I'm pretty sure that she is calling me the devil's daughter. Oh lordy, I do the only thing that I can do. I join the tattooed guy in his attempt to meld into the seat and become invisible. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

To My Daughter: Words for the New Year

I believe that if you're old enough to ask;
Then you are old enough for an answer.
So I promise always to answer your questions;
Even if the answers scare me. 
I believe in the power of critical thinking,
And the power of knowledge;
So I promise to arm you with information.
I also believe that some things are beyond science,
So I promise to teach you about the need to have an open-mind,
So that you can understand some things are real even if your senses can't prove their existence;
And that you believe in them because you have faith.
I promise to accept that you are different then myself;
And so I will never stand in your way or hold you back;
But I will help you to build your life's foundation,
So that you can weather every storm that touches your life and still stand strong. 
I believe in discipline,
So I will punish you when necessary in order to teach you right from wrong;
So that you can develop morals,
And learn that there are consequences for every action. 
I also believe in praise, 
So I promise to let you know when I am proud of you,
When you have done something smart or kind or good,
So that you know that good behavior has rewards.
I believe in respecting others and their beliefs,
So I promise to teach you the value of respecting others,
And to instill in you the belief that every person matters,
Even if they are different from you.
I promise that we will both make mistakes, 
And when you make a mistake I will stand beside you,
And help you make it right again;
And when I make a mistake I promise that I will admit to them;
Apologize and make them right,
So that you can learn that nobody is perfect,
But that this is okay so long as you keep learning and growing as a person.
I promise that there will be times when I am unbelievably mad at you;
But I also promise that I will never love you less, no matter what. 
I promise that there are times that I will be incredibly proud of you,
And when the time comes that you need to take your own path,
I will let you go.
But I also promise that my path will always run alongside yours,
And that they will intersect again and again;
And that I will always be there when you need me.  
I believe that because my actions gave you your life,
That my responsibility is to love, guide, and teach you;
So that one day you will be a better person than myself,
And I believe that my job doesn't stop just because you've reached a certain age;
You will always be my daughter at every age, even when you are old and grey. 
And I accept that responsibility and promise that every action that I take
Is with this responsibility in my mind and love in my heart.