Friday, November 7, 2014

Why Customers Cannot Always Be Right

   What happened to 'The customer is always right?' I had a customer ask me this recently after I was unable to comply with his request. The problem was, however, that he wanted an item that had gone up in price to be charged at the price is was last week, when it was on sale. I had to respectfully decline doing that, then I had to call a supervisor on his insistence, and then after the supervisor had left - after again declining his request - I was treated to a lecture about how I should be able to change the price on a product without needing supervisor permission, which slowly downgraded to just plain out-and-out insults.
   Personally, I can see the reason why cashiers cannot just change prices on merchandise. The store - any store - has to make a profit. They have to make enough money to buy more merchandise, pay employees, pay for things like building rent (or purchase) electricity, advertising, and a whole slew of other things, which include covering the cost of the item being purchased itself. And if cashiers could just change the prices of things of their own free will, well, I'm sorry, but I've worked with the public enough to know that there would be plenty of people abusing that - cashiers and customers alike. Cashiers would be making things as cheap as possible for friends and family, and customers would be demanding 2 cent products, or even free. I'm sorry, but if you don't think that is true, then you have NOT worked in retail. And as much as you may hate the fact, the company you are buying from does need to make a profit to keep on running a business. They can't if all their employees and customers and running amok with the prices - rules are often made for a reason.
   Then there can be the heaps of abuse that can be smothered on the people who work in places such as mine. I've had a woman tell me, "Shouldn't you let a teenager do this job?" Seriously? My company has a policy that cashiers need to be eighteen or older to run the register. Or they used to; it's been seven years since I started working there, and I don't tend to run around asking people their ages. When I was hired on at my company, however, they required cashiers to be eighteen or older and to have a high school diploma or a GED.
   But even if that were not the case, if you are going up to someone - anyone - and saying garbage like this, then you are wrong; customer or not. It is never okay to be an asshole and this type of comment is assholery at it's finest. Not that anyone needs to know my business, but this job is how I support myself and my daughter, and no, I am not ashamed of this. I refuse to be ashamed. But whether you think I should be or not, you still have no right to come up to a stranger and start trying to force your life views on said person. No one likes that, not even the people who do it.
    Common decency and commonsense need to be the keys to dealing with everything, and this does not change when you go into your local grocery store. Just because you are the customer, that does not give you the inherent right to become a giant ass-hat. Asking us to do things that are against company policy can get us fired, and that makes you wrong. No cliche saying changes this. You are wrong. Also, being a jerk is not a right either. Everyone deserves common courtesy. And saying that 'I chose to become a cashier' also does not justify being an asshole to me while I am working. It's not okay.
   The point of the matter is just this: no matter what we do, we are all people, and we deserve respect. Everything would go a lot more smoothly if all of us remember this fact. And you can't be right when you are doing things that will get other people into trouble (like getting them fired) or being rude, at least, you can't when you're coming through my line. Which may be one of the reasons that my store doesn't hire teenagers to run the registers; an adult with life and work experience can be much harder to push around then a kid who's working their first job and has only high school experience.  

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

You Don't Stop Being You After Becoming A Parent

   I've heard a lot of people say that they've changed a lot after becoming parents, and that's a great thing. You should constantly be changing because you are growing as an individual, so I'm not saying that parenthood doesn't change you, because parenthood should change you. But that being said, parents still need to have some of their old interests; parents still need to have interests outside of the home.
   I had someone tell me once that when they became a parent, the things that mattered to them didn't matter anymore; they weren't worried about old friends or old interests, and just focused on the hubby and the baby. To me, that is a recipe for disaster. I know that I am not a professional psychiatrist here, but as a professional parent, parenting can drive you bat-shit crazy, and you are going to need a break from your inner parenting world. Also, this seems kind of sad to me. Sometimes friends to drop out of your life; you outgrow them, or move, or whatever, but to purposely decide that because you have a kid, you have no room for friends - that seems a bit crazy to me.
   You are going to need someone to talk to one day. Someone adult. One day you are going to need to talk to someone about something other than what page they want to color next or what sound does a dog make, and you are going to get to the point where if you hear the hot potato song or the fruit salad song just one more time, you are going to rip your ears off and flush them down the toilet. In other words, you are going to need an adult, and to further clarify, you may not want that adult to be the old hubby, you make want to hear some good old fashioned girl talk (or guy talk); who's getting married from the old group, who's having a baby, who was arrested, who's dating: just good old fashioned girl talk (aka gossip).
   As for interests, well, mine have expanded. I'm interested in more things than I was before the birth of my lonely only, but I still have old interests as well. I didn't stop gaming because 'I'm too old for it.' I don't go as hardcore as I used to, and sit down and play for ten hours straight, but I still game. Why shouldn't I? My interests, your interests - they don't make you less of a person. I still travel; I still want to travel. I have to save up forever before I can afford to, and yes, once I had a kid, Disneyland made an appearance on my travel list, but I still went to Yellowstone. I think being able to share that trip with my daughter enhanced the experience, something I bring up because we've all heard the joke about "If you want to travel, don't have kids unless your idea of traveling is Disney." Not true. People travel with kids all the time, and watching my daughter's face fill with excitement when she saw Old Faithful erupt for the first time enhanced my own excitement. When she was around two, we went to Victoria, Canada, and having her with me did not detract from wandering around that pretty little town and seeing the shops and sights; I still had enormous fun and so did she, and I love, love, LOVE taking a Ferry, which was something that we did to get to Victoria. Turns out my daughter loves ferries too.
  The truth is, having a parent who is interested in other things besides parenting, and having that parent be willing to share those interests, only enhances that child's life. It doesn't have to be travel, or gaming. Sports, computers, fishing, church activities, travel, reading, socializing with friends, whatever they may be, those interests could become fun family outings. And even if they end up being interests that none of your family shares, well, you are still a complex person with multiple needs, and that's not a selfish thing to set aside some time just for you. I'm not saying ignore your family forever, but your family can give you an hour or two here and there. It's not wrong unless you decide you are going to take that hour right when little Suzy falls off her bike and breaks her face and needs medical attention immediately. Discounting disaster though, little Suzy can go enjoy some of her personal interests while you partake in yours. It won't kill her and it's not neglect.
   So I guess what I am saying is that while you should always grow and change as a person; don't let parenting be the excuse to kill off the person you are now. Of course you could work on bad habits, but just because you give up Bender Friday, that doesn't mean that you have to give up Football Sunday. Your kid won't thank you for it in the long run, and also, you need to be a fully functioning person for the day that your kiddo is ready to venture into the great big world on her/his own. You don't want to be the psycho mom who follows your kid to college or tries to become the third person in their marriage. Not good. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Rant? About Technology

   I'm not a technologically gifted person; if you've been reading along, that much should be clear. That being said, for someone who is so challenged when it comes to all things computer, I sure get in a rage when things don't work right. Just now, I tried to log into one of my accounts online so that I could pay the bill. But for some reason, I'm getting a message saying that my account is unavailable, along with a 1-800 number. Instead of calling the 1-800 number, like a rational person, I try to log in three more times. When I am still unable to log into my account, I scream at the computer, "Fine! I didn't want to pay that damned bill anyway!" Because that's the rational, adult thing to do in this scenario. Call the 1-800 number? I don't want to talk to some dumb-ass service rep who doesn't speak my language and knows about as much regarding this issue as I do. I want my effing account to pull up so I can pay the bill, by myself, in the dark, like the antisocial little troll that I am.
    And that's the thing about technology, about computers and the internet: everybody has to utilize it. One reason I don't want to call that 1-800 number is that they charge a fee to pay by phone, whereas you can pay online for free. I don't even know how to mail in a payment; everything is 'paperless', so that's out too. No snail mail for me. Things ain't what they used to be. My daughter came home from school the other day complaining that they were supposed to be using their smartphones in class to get online and do research. My daughter, folks, is probably one of the few twelve years old girls to NOT have a cell phone of any kind, much less a smart one. What are all these kids doing running around with shitting-ass Iphones anyway? (And yes, I am aware of how much I just aged myself.) But the thing is, we don't have the money for that shit. I mean, you are likely aware of what the monthly bill is on a smartphone. I don't even have one; so far as I am concerned, my daughter's school is going to get a boot up the ass if having a smartphone is now required just to do classwork. That's too far, and this is a public school and I work in a grocery store, for crying out loud. This isn't rich-people school, this is poor-folk school.
   I'm not anti-technology. I suppose I can come across that way, but I'm really not. I think it's a great thing that the school teaches kids to do things like make Powerpoints and use Microsoft Office, and all those things that will help them in college, but they also need to keep in mind that not all these kids have access to some of these resources. I sent my daughter to school the other day with a good, old-fashioned research tool the other day - a book. This way, if the class does smart-phone research yet again, she can participate in some manner at least. Because frankly, even if money were not an issue, I'm not sure that I'm sold on a twelve year old's need to have the latest Iphone.
   And as for the bill collectors - well, they can just kiss my ass. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

How To Get A Kid To Read

   I'm an avid reader; I know that is kinda like saying the sky is blue, but I have a point with making that my leading sentence. Also, I raised a daughter that is an avid reader. But I don't really think I can take a ton of credit for that, you see, my mother is also an avid reader: I think it's genetic. Regardless, I have been asked for tips from several people about getting kids to read, so I thought I'd say what I think. In saying what I think, however, I need to also explain that what I think did NOT work whatsoever on my niece. She doesn't like to read and none of my tips worked. So take this with a grain of salt. That being said, here is my opinion on the best way to get kids to read.
   1. Read out loud to your kid, and start as soon as possible. I started reading to mine at birth. She didn't get to choose the books at first, because she didn't care and couldn't talk to tell me what she wanted, so her first books consisted of The Lord of The Rings trilogy, but even that got her into  the ritual of reading, and that is so important.
   2. Poems; specifically silly poems like those written by Shel Silverstein. For a kid with a short attention span, poems are shorter than stories and the silly ones about being eating by boa constrictors, picking your nose, and being buried by garbage can catch a young reader's fancy.
   3. Dr. Seuss is your friend. Actually, any books that rhyme and can be read in a rhythm are good. My daughter loved those best when she was still reading books for young children. She wanted them to be read as often as possible, and if you didn't read them in rhythm, she would make you start over and "read the book right".
   4. As your kid gets older, let them choose the books that they read. Don't outlaw things like comic books and manga. They may seem frivolous, but any book reading is building skills such as vocabulary, imagination, critical thinking, comprehension, and so-on. Over time, those skills will translate to other things, such as that science article their teacher wants them to read or that chapter in the history book. The important thing is for them to enjoy reading, so that they will build these skills. So if what they want to read is the newest Spiderman comic, then go for it. If all they want to do is sing a song, find song lyrics online, and print them out so that they can read the lyrics and sing along to their favorite songs. Get creative.
   5. When your child starts reading to you, don't get impatient when they are sounding out words. Let them do that themselves. My daughter got really angry when I would give a word away. I suggest only helping them when they ask for the help. For me, this is good training for school, because whoever their teachers are, they are not going to know if your kid needs help unless they speak up. Patience is really key, not matter how much the kiddos are stumbling with the words, and really, they get so happy when they read you a book all on their own.
   6. Continue reading out loud even when your child is proficient in reading. Reading is good quality time regardless. Also, talk to your kid about books they have read. Read what they read so that you can talk about story plots and discuss characters. These kids are going to have to show that they can analyse text; this is great practice.
   7. Don't use reading as a punishment. They have to read in school; they are required all through elementary to take AR tests on reading. You want to have reading a book to have as many positive connotations as possible. So don't say in frustration, "You're never playing a video game again! All you are going to do is sit in your room and read a book for the next week!" (I say this because I've actually made the mistake of saying this myself.) You don't want reading to feel like a punishment.
   I don't know if this will actually help anyone. Every kid is different and they all learn in different ways. This is what I did though, and maybe one or two of the things I've written will give you ideas or help you out if you are struggling to get a child to read. I hope so, at any rate. And if you are reading this, and you have tips to add, please do so in the comment section! I know a few families who struggle with this, and I'm sure they would love the tips!

Monday, September 29, 2014

My Experience With Co-Sleeping

   Recently, I had a friend who was asking about co-sleeping with her soon-to-be-born child, and if this was a good option or not. Immediately, she was bombarded by opinion after opinion, and many of those opinions where very forcefully expressed. Co-sleeping is, apparently, a hot topic for some mommies, and I remember the most rabid of those opinion-givers kept repeating that 1) the mother would crush or smother her baby in her sleep, and that 2) if the baby survived, she would continue sleeping with her mommy for the rest of her life, because why would she sleep alone if she was not forced to it?
  I was a co-sleeping mommy, so I want to share my experience with this, but before I do that I would like to state that I am not saying that every parent should co-sleep. Like many other things in life, there is no one way to parent; there are so many options and choices out there, and our jobs as parents are to find the best way of parenting for us as unique individuals, and one mother's way of being a mother to her child may be entirely unsuitable for another. In short, just because I successfully co-slept, that does not mean that I am rabidly announcing to the world that all mothers must co-sleep. Co-sleeping will just not be an option for some, and that is fine. 
   That being said, co-sleeping is neither a death sentence nor the death of all the child's independence. I started co-sleeping almost right away; I hadn't planned on co-sleeping but due to circumstance, it happened. And it worked. My daughter slept better, and while I didn't really sleep that well because my daughter often used me as a foot prop or a head rest, I was more at ease having her right there where I could quickly check on her. There are also things that you can buy now that help keep pillows and blankets off of your baby such as attachable bassinets and such, but I have to say, while I often woke with my daughter on top of me, I never woke on top of my daughter. If you sleep heavily, maybe you should factor that into your decision to co-sleep, but I never had an issue with crushing my infant. Never happened; I was always aware of her position.
   The other issue; getting your child to leave the bed, well, that should also be handled parent-by-parent. As a single mom, I let my daughter sleep in the bed with me until she didn't want to anymore. She stopped sleeping with me about the time she started kindergarten. At that time, she started sleeping in her own bed, but still shared a room with me due to the fact that we were living in an extended family home. Now in middle school, she has her own room and sleeps in her own room in her own bed. Obviously, I did not have any problem with her wanting to sleep with me while she was still in high school. I never had to use any force; she decided when she was ready, so the claim that a child will not leave your bed unless you force them I have found to be false. Also, she is not a dependent child; she very strongly asserts her independence, which sometimes does get her into trouble, being as she is a twelve year old girl and I am mom, therefor, I am boss. So the argument that your child will not learn to be independent is also something I have found to be false.
   To add to this, co-sleeping was the reason that one night, I was right there when she started choking, and I feel that my response was much quicker and maybe even saved her life, because if she had been in a different room, I do not know that I would have heard her distress. My daughter has never been a sickly child. She's, to this day, never suffered from an ear infection, and all of her illnesses have been mild, except for two instances. The first one was a bowel issue that took several years to clear up and required constant attention to her diet. The second though, was a really bad respiratory virus that I at first thought was a case of the common cold. But one night I woke up because I heard a strange noise next to my ear; my daughter. It was the smallest of sounds caused by her struggle to get breath. My daughter was choking. I flipped her over and patted her back, trying to dislodge whatever was in her throat, but nothing appeared to be in there. There had been no blanket in her face, but I could see that she was gagging and struggling with something; she was starting to turn purple. Out of shear desperation, I stuck my hand into her mouth, hoping that I could find whatever was in there an pull it out. I pulled out a mucus plug, that once out of her throat, expanded so that it looked to be the same size as her head. I was horrified, and she was truly choking, so she was not coughing or making a sound, because no air was coming in at all. What I had heard was the rustle of the blanket, and I am not sure that a baby monitor would have picked up that sound. I heard it, and I also felt it, and that is why I woke.
   So in conclusion, I think that you need to do whatever is best for you, but if you want to co-sleep, I have found that the arguments against co-sleeping have not had a true foundation. All of the main arguments against co-sleeping that I have heard; the crushing or suffocation of the baby, the lack of independence, and the child never wanting to leave the parent's bed, have not been issues I have dealt with. In fact, this image that I pulled off of the internet actually details what I found to be the true issue:
  This, at least, has been my experience with the issue. I am not a professional, but I do have a happy, healthy, independent twelve year old who has no issues sleeping in her own room in her own bed. There you have it; my side of the story. If you are considering co-sleeping, then I hope this helps. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Things I'm Afraid Of: Freaking Annabelle Is At The Top Of That List

   A while back, I watched The Conjuring, a movie that's trailers had terrified me for months with that 'clap hands' game. Watching the movie had some things that were pretty scary to me, but nothing scared me more than the doll Annabelle. I mean, holy-f***ing-shit, was that doll creepy.
   Now to step back from that a minute, I have to say that I am afraid of quite a lot of things. The list is extensive: the dark, rats, my old Speech 101 class, demons, register 6 at work, crows, dolls, anything that might be haunted, lice, driving, heights, and really, a whole slew of things. When I was a kid, I was convinced that all the posters on my sister's walls were watching me, and I had a recurring nightmare about a green man that lived under my bed, so you can add the underneath of beds to that long, long list.
   So why watch all of the horror, and do silly things like reading Stephen King and other scary shit? Well, I don't know. Maybe I'm just a dumbass. All I can say is that I've had these problems long before I remember watching or reading anything scary. Trust me, with my fear of the dark and refusal to sleep alone, my parents were pretty strict about me not  watching anything remotely scary for a long time. I was a teenager before my dad really started watching horror with me (and here you have the beginning of mine and my sister's scary movie nights) and by my teenage years, I had learned to deal with my fears. I'm still afraid of things, but usually I just shrug it off. Dark? Oh well, I'll handle it. I still prefer not to be in the dark, but if I need to walk down a long, dark hallway, I'll do so. And then I'll bitch about having had to do so for the next few days, but the point is, I don't let my fear stop me. And I guess scary movies and books and games are just a fun way for my to poke at that fear. Or I'm insane. Or something; I don't know. The point is, that usually I have my fear locked down. When we are watching horror movies, my sister is the one who won't look at the screen during the scary parts, but instead, watches me watching the scary part so that she can gauge my reaction and know when it's safe to look again. But I can promise you that I have more fear in me than she has in her, so it baffles me that she does that. Whatever.
   So now back to that doll in The Conjuring. You see, that doll really scared me. And in one of the magazines that I subscribe to, there was a movie preview for the spin-off movie that they are making of The Conjuring. Also, I would like to point out that I was reading this review around 2 a.m. in the morning because I couldn't sleep. Which I knew was a mistake immediately, so I put the magazine down and did my best not to think about Annabelle. Of course, if you have ever sit there and tried desperately not to think about something... Well, you know about how well that works. So  I started pacing a little, because when I'm stressed, I pace. I'm sitting here pacing, trying not to think about this stupid effing doll, and of course, that's making my imagination run absolutely wild. And there are dolls in my house, in my daughter's room. So I'm trying NOT to think about them either. And I'm pacing. And trying not to think about dolls that I can't stop thinking about. And the damned lights go out. No warning; just darkness. And I fall down, and I scream. I mean, a blood curdling, there's-an-axe-murderer-in-my-apartment scream.
    And my daughter is just saying, calm as can be, "Just get a flashlight, Mom." And trust me, that's embarrassing, to have your daughter say something like that to you in a voice that clearly indicates that she is rolling her eyes for all she is worth. Even more embarrassing? Knowing full well that ALL of the neighbors heard you shriek like that. It's like a bad horror movie; the power goes out and some dumbass chick starts screaming. Oh, holy crap.
   The lights didn't come back on that night. They didn't come back on until around 10 a.m. the next morning. The word around the street was that a transformer blew. But to me, this was a SIGN. In capital letters: MARIE CANNOT WATCH ANNABELLE. Bad things will happen.
Just say no, Marie.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Favorite Sub-Genres And The Shelving Of Books

   I was looking for my copy of my movie version of The Hunger Games and for a while, I was getting pretty pissed because I just couldn't find the movie, and I needed to find the movie because, for the millionth time, I was rereading the trilogy, and I just wanted to watch the movies. Of course, I found the movie; like all things lost, there it was, sitting in front of my face. As my Nanny used to say, "If it had been a snake, it'd'of bit me."
   As many times as I've read the book, you would think that I would be tired of The Hunger Games by now. But I'm not. I don't really get tired of books. I can get tired of movies in a heartbeat, but to me, it just seems like there is always something to consider, something that you missed or didn't understand or think about before in a book. There's also the fact that I love to read. I love to read so much that reading is not a past time or a hobby or an activity. Reading is something that I must do; I'd go crazy in a world with no books; I'd have to be institutionalized. I have friends and family who don't read, and to me that like saying, "I don't like to eat. I don't like to drink. You know what, forget breathing, because I don't like to do that either." I have this urge - that I don't act on because it would be crazy rude - to sit there and question them and study them and find out what they do, if they don't read. Because I guess if I had to choose between something like reading or eating, my survival instincts would kick in, and I would choose to eat, but something would be missing from me; I would feel the loss and would feel lost. Reading has always been something I turned to, whatever the reason, sad, happy, mad, whatever, I need a book to read in those quiet minutes of not-doing-anything. If I had to choose between something non-essential, say between reading and writing, I would never write another word.
    But I digress -  I was looking for The Hunger Games movie, because I was rereading the trilogy on my Kindle. I don't know why I love this book so much; I just do. And I'm not alone, because thousands love this book. But I do know that this book fits into a genre (or is a sub-genre or something? I don't know) of apocalypse and dystopian societies, usually caused by a previous apocalyptic event. Pure awesomeness. I've been reading them since I was a teenager, and my dad put The Stand, by Stephen King, into my hands, which was weird, because my dad is not a big reader and did a lot to discourage the practice. I get my love of reading from my mom, but when my dad gave me that book, it was like he just shot his cause in the back. I've read Stephen King ever since, and I love a good Holy-crap-the-world-is-ending story, and the offshoot, the dystopian society - like The Hunger Games. 
   If I ran a bookstore, which is something I would love to do, bus alas, am sadly lacking business skills or a partner with said skills, this would be it's own section. You walk into Barnes and Nobles, and you have fantasy/science fiction (lumped together, bah!) and you have the Young Adult section (or Juniors, or whatever they are calling it) that you have to search through for books like these, but I would have just a section for these books, so you could walk in, see what's new, and get what you wanted without having to wade through all that stuff that you don't want to read.
   I'd also have a section for urban fantasy. Say what you want about Stephanie Meyers (and I've taken cracks at her vampires myself, even though I own the books and love them), you can't deny that she got thousands of people to read and love her story. I have a lot of respect for people like that, because she got a lot of non-readers to read, and I'm just like, "Welcome to my world. Do you see why I read now?" But I loved the urban fantasy stories long before Twilight appeared in a dream to Stephanie Meyers. I was reading L.J. Smith's Nightworld series when I was like, thirteen, fourteen, maybe. Christopher Pike had a series called The Last Vampire that I really loved as well, and more recently, I was reading Patricia Brigg's Mercy Thompson and her Alpha and Omega, and Carrie Vaughn's Kitty Norville series long before I picked up Stephanie Meyers, so that's an old, old love of mine. People where all the sudden talking about werewolves and vampires, and I was sitting here like, "Well, duh."
    And urban fantasy is yet another section that I would have in my never-to-be bookstore. Why are all these good genres lumped into fantasy/scifi. And why is fantasy/scifi always lumped together? Questions I'll never understand the answer to. Reading Juliet Marieller and I love Ann Aguire, but as authors, they have little in common, and their stories have little in common. Juliet Marieller's Sevenwaters Trilogy contains the fey, and starts off with a retelling of an old fairytale, with seven brothers who are turned to swans and a sister who must save them all. It has an evil sorceress stepmother and great journeys, chalk full of druids and old religions. Ann Aguirre's Sirantha Jax series is about faster-that-light speed traveling, the downfall of corrupted governments, genetically altered humans, aliens even, but they are both stored in the same shelves under the same lumped together section! How does that make sense?
   Well, in the scheme of things, these shelving issues are not even real problems. The shelving of books doesn't even register on the 'real problem' scale - nor should it - but this is all stuff that came to my mind while I was looking for my missing Hunger Games movie, and this is why I never sleep. My brain won't shut-the-hell-up.

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Thing I Want My Daughter Most To Learn

   There are a lot of things in my life that I want to do. I want to travel; I want to see the world. I want to read every book that I can get my grubby, book-greedy hands on. I want to beat this damn Final Fantasy game that I've been playing. I want to be published; I want to make a living off of writing. I want to always be able to pay my bills on time and support my family.
   All of these things are good goals as far as I am concerned. Some aren't as important as others; beating Final Fantasy is not going to make as much as an impact on my life as managing to make my living by writing, but every goal does not have to have a profound impact on the way that you live. We are allowed a few frivolous, in-the-moment achievements that mean nothing, yet make us momentarily happy and hurt no one. So long as those frivolous goals are not the only goals that we have, we are doing good. 
   And that leads me to the goal that I most want to instill on my daughter: being a good person. Being a good person can mean a lot of things, but I mean this in a way that is entirely doable. What I want for her (and myself) is to be a person that friends and family can trust. Be someone that the people that you care about can depend on. I don't mean be a saint; I know that is one label that surely I will never deserve. I have a temper, I cuss like a sailor, I'll hold a grudge until the world ends,  and I can be pushy and selfish. So certainly, I have no right to expect sainthood from anybody. But I do my best to help people, I do my best to listen, I do my best to not disrespect people just because they are different, I try to see that there is value in every person: we all have worth. I do my best to uphold the values that I think are most important in life, and I do my best to live by those values. That is what I most want my daughter to learn. 
   Because she can be the smartest scientist in the world, but if she has built her life at the expense of others, if she has built her career by stepping on the backs of others, then eventually, one day, everything she has worked for will fall to pieces and lie at her feet, a pile of rubble that means nothing. If I were the most well-read, famous, wealthiest author in the world, but along the way, had lost the trust and respect of every person who cared for me, what would I really have? Not a damn thing that matters, that's for sure.
   At the end of my life, if I'm looking back at a life that never sees a book published and contains only a blog written that no one reads, if I have been a person that people respect, someone my daughter can look up to and depend on, someone that a troubled friend can talk to about problems, if I still have the esteem and love of friends and family, then I haven't had a wasted life. The ultimate goal in life, in my opinion, is to do your best to make the world just a little bit better, even if just for the people who surround you. That's what I want my daughter to learn; that's the goal that I want most for my daughter to achieve in her lifetime, and to do that, we have to pay attention, not only to the goals that we set, but also to the way we go about achieving them - the journey, so to speak, not just the destination - and that's what I want my daughter to know, so that at the end of her life, she might leave behind a legacy not only of deeds, but of people whose lives she has made a positive impact in. That is a life well lived, and anyone can strive for that goal, from the richest of us to the poorest of us. All the goal takes is a little bit of heart: compassion and understanding. That's what I want my daughter most to learn. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Trials Of A Self Check Attendant

7 a.m. Two out of six machines are down. CRAP. Two out of six machines, and it's Sunday. Shoot me now.  Take the few moments of boredom and no lines to clean the 4 working self check stations. No sir, that one's down, there an out-of-order sign right on it. Use this one.
7:30 a.m.: Dry ice. Dry ice. It's okay, it's not busy yet. I can handle the combination locked - don't touch it with your bare hands or you'll burn yourself, I'm wearing gloves for a reason here, please, hands out- dry ice. Yes, I know you need help too, person on the other machine. As soon as I'm done with this dry ice, I'll be there.
8:30 a.m. One of the machines is out of every type of coin we have. Fill it before lines get crazy. Unlock three people's machines while filling out the coin order slip. No - self check does not do money orders. No, I can't ring up your order for you; we have regular checkstands for that. No, you can't buy that seedless whole watermelon for the price of a personal watermelon. No. No. No. No. Coin order slip filled. Dry ice. No, I can't ring up your order for you. Customer service is open now, you can get a money order there. Coin order delivered to self check, start filling machine. Instant line. These people can smell when I'm filling money, I swear, and of course, now there is only 3 working self check stations while I am working on the one. Yes, I can approve your beer. Yes, I can unlock your station. Yes, I can tell you how to do that. (Shit, I have to fill this money so I can get this back open.) SHIT! Gotta fill this money. DRY ICE!!!! Please, God, no. I mean, sure, I can get that for you. (Why is the self check in charge of the damned dry ice?!?!)
Thumped on the shoulder while getting dry ice. WHY are you touching me? I will be there as soon as I'm done with this customer. Why is your station not letting you scan? Have you bagged the last item you scanned? No, you took all the bags off the bagging station? Well, that'll do it. 
9:00 a.m. Thank God for my break. 
9:15 a.m. Back to work. No I can't ring your order for you. No, you have to go to customer service to get a refund. No, it's around 15 items allowed. You have a full cart. You can't scan? Took all the bags off the bagging station? That'll do it. No, those aren't onions. Those are peaches. They cost more. 
9:30 a.m. What's with the dry ice? 4 bags? No, it's .98 a pound, not .98 each. No, it comes in about a 10 lb bag, give or take. No, I can't cut exactly a pound. Yes, I can break off a piece, no I can't make it exactly a 1 pound piece. Why? They didn't give me any way to do that. I throw it on the floor to break it, open it up, and give you a piece. No, don't stick your hands in. Dry ice will burn you; I'm wearing gloves.  No, I can't ring your order up. Why in God's name are people writing checks here? Do that with a regular cashier. No, the machine can't take your check. I'll have to suspend your order, take you to my podium, and pull your order back up so I can take your check. Yes, if you have debit, please use it. No, I can't access your pin. No, I can't see what you type. I'm not looking. Yes, I can get you dry ice. (Damn shitting-ass dry ice. Why can't they at least give us a key lock? Stupid combination's a pain in the ass.)
10 a.m. Lines. Shit. Lines. Only 4 machines. God, everyone needs to be unlocked. STOP TAKING YOUR GROCERIES OFF OF THE BAGGING STATION. If they don't fit, you have too many. The sign right-freaking-there clearing says: About 15 items. 50 is too many. No, I can't refund that. Customer service is right that way, they can fix that for you. No, I don't know what's wrong with the coffee machine. Or the coke machine. The Redbox is outside. No, that's not peanuts sir, those are cashews. What's the difference, you ask? Cashews cost more. When you ring one item up on a station, and you move to another station, sir, I have to close down the first station until I can get a supervisor over here to approve the voided order. Oh, it wouldn't scan anymore? Did you bag the first item you scanned? No? That'll do it. 
10:30 a.m. Effing dry ice. What do you mean, you just wanted to look at it? It's dry ice, not the Sistine Chapel. No, I can't do a money order. No, you can't take your bags off of the bagging station; it locks the station up. Yes, you still have to give your ID for alcohol. Doesn't matter if it's self check, you still get carded. Yes, I really need your ID. NICE TRY 20 YEAR OLD ASSHOLE. No beer for you. DRY ICE?!?! Are you gonna buy some, or are you just taking a tour?
11 a.m. Thank you, LORD! It's lunch time. I'm leaving. I'm leaving. I wanna see my daughter. Why? She won't ask me for dry ice, that's why. 
11:30 a.m. *whimpering* I'm back. It's okay. It's okay. No, I can't refund that, customer service is right down there, they can take care of that for you. No, I don't know what's wrong with the coffee machine. No, you can't take your bags off of the bagging station until you've paid. I just told you not to do that. Yeah, it's locked. Holy crap, stop touching me, people. I can see you, but there's only one of me. I'll be there as soon as I finish with the current customer. No, that's Dasani water. Store brand is cheaper. It has to be redone. No, you put two items in that bag and only scanned one. Yes, that does lock the system. The bagging station is a scale; it knows when you put too much weight on there. The Redbox is outside. Your kid can't sit on the bagging station, sir. Yeah, it's locking up because your kid is on the bagging station. Holy crap, dry ice? WHY?
12 p.m. Please, please leave all your bags on the bagging station until you are done. No, I can't ring up that order for you, we have several checkers, however, that will be happy to do that for you. What do you mean, I'M NOT DOING ANYTHING. You can't ring up those bulk Jelly Bellies as assorted wrapped candies, sir. No, they aren't the same price. Highest priced candy rung as lowest price candy does not make my boss happy. Fine, if you don't want it anymore, I'll take it. No, please don't touch me. I'm see you, don't touch me. I was voiding items off of an order, as soon as I finished I was coming. I did say, "I'll be there in a minute." No, I can't ring your order for you. Yes, I can tell you how to ring your produce on your own. No, those aren't regular bananas, those are plantains. They cost more, yes, but they are still plantains. Ma'am, your kid can't sit on the bagging station. She's not hurting anything? Is your machine locked? Yes? That's because your kid is sitting on the bagging station, which is a scale. 
12:30 p.m. Return of the dry ice. Oh, you were just looking? When I have a line wrapped around the front of the store and only 4 working self check stations? Sure, why not. No, I can't do refunds. Redbox is outside. Yay! The coffee guy is here to fix the coffee machine! No, I can't ring your order. No, that's way too many items. Oh, your gonna ring them all up anyway. Yes, I enjoyed unlocking your machine over and over and over again because you had too many items. It was awesome. Seriously? You're coming to self check with a coinstar slip? OH HOLY SHIT! I have to chase the lady with the unpaid $57 order into the parking lot, because she DIDN'T PAY. Bring her back in to pay, then deal with two customers who accuse me of running out of the store because ' I didn't want to do my job', get price check on 24 piece deli chicken. No, you can't take the bags off of the bagging station until you are done. Customer service is that way. Yes, I can approve your alcohol; yes, I need to see your ID first. 
1p.m. Get price check on coffee creamer. Price is wrong; fix price for customer. Customer demands to know what will be done to punish the person who put in the price wrong. Demands name. Gets mad when I won't give a name (honestly, I don't know how pricing works, so I don't know what to tell him anyway). Looks pointedly at my name badge. "I'll see you, Marie." Ummm, okay. I'll be here. Dry ice, of course. Please, ma'am, don't get my attention by grabbing my shoulder. No touch-y no feel-y, please. Lines. Chaos. Locked self check stations as far as the eye can see. No, I can't ring your order at my podium. I know all the self check stations are full, but I still can't ring your order here. Tell a woman I can't process a return at self check, and point customer service out to her only to have her scream, "But that's what I'm asking you to do!" and storm off in a fit of rage. No time to process that, I have machines to unlock. Please, leave your bags on the bagging stations. Please, ring up your items before you put them IN the bagging station. Please, that's a cabbage, not a lettuce. No, that cabbage didn't weight .2 lbs. I have to redo it. 
1:30 p.m. Last break. Almost there. Almost there. 
1:45 p.m. Coin accepter is jammed. It'll be just one minute ma'am. It's gotta work the stuck coins out. Unlock two machines, check on jammed machine. Oh look, it's still jammed. Yay. Unlock another machine. Coin accepter is no longer jammed. Yay, now you can stop glaring at me and pay. I wanna go home. Yes, I can give you change. No, I can't ring your order up for you. No, you can't put the bags into your cart until you are done. 
2:00 p.m. Why is everything flashing at me? Leg cramp! Leg cramp! Yes, I can limp over there and unlock your machine. Yes, I can approve your beer. Sorry, your card declined, and I have to get a supervisor to put in a code. Oh, you don't want it anymore? I'm sorry. No, I'm sorry, I have to get a supervisor to cancel this order, it's still unavailable. That one is out-of-order, sorry, you can't use it. No, you can't use it. No, it's not working. Yes, I know there is a line. It's still broken though. Dry ice? Sure, why not? Yeah, I would love to not have a combination lock on this cooler. NO, don't stick your hand in there, it'll burn you. Yes, I can unlock your machine. 
2:30 p.m. Unlock. Unlock. Unlock. Unlock. Approve beer. Approve beer. Approve beer. It's all a blur. Customer service; down there. Redbox: outside. Leg cramp!!! Leg cramp!!!! Unlock. Unlock. Unlock. Yes, the coffee machine has been fixed now. That self check machine is out of order. It's out of order. No, it's broke. Yes, I know there is a line. I don't know how to fix it. No, I don't know how to fix it. 
3 p.m. Almost there. Almost there. Stupid damn leg. What the hell? Unlocking everything. Please, don't move your bags until you are done. Don't touch me. Blur, blur, it's all a blur.
3:30 p.m. Off the clock! Off the clock!! Dry ice! NO! I'm off the clock. Sorry. She'll help you! FREE, AT LAST!!!!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Something To Think About

   On my Facebook news feed, I've seen a certain type of post lately, posted by multiple people, and these posts disturb me greatly because what they tend to be are links to uploaded YouTube videos of animals or defenseless people (kids, disabled, ect.) being cruelly beaten, tortured even, by someone who has power over them. To me, there is not very many evils that are greater than hurting something that does not have the power to fight back; hurting something weaker with less defenses that should be under that person's protection. I don't know, maybe that's just me, but that is my feeling, and that is why these videos disturb me so much.
   These videos are usually passed with a message to share the link with people so that the story will spread and that we, as a society, will help to catch these people. But the funny thing is, I've yet to hear a story about these people getting caught. What I hear and see, is even more videos showcasing abuse; humanity at it's worst rather than it's best. So I've started hiding all the videos that show up on my news feed. I won't look at them.
   Am I turning a blind eye to evil? No, I don't think so. Because when you upload a video to a social media site, such as YouTube, what you want is for people to watch it. You want people to pass it around, you want people to see what you filmed. And to me, it seems that all of the videos have been filmed by a participating abuser, someone with permission by the abusers. I assume that they also have the permission to post the video. Which means that the person hurting his/her victim wants his/her atrocities to be watched. He/she wants them recognized, shares, passed, possibly made viral. And I am not in the habit of giving evil men and women what they want. I believe that these people want their slice of internet fame, and I am not going to participate in giving that to them. 
   I don't say this to shame people who've shared the links. If you honestly think that these people can be caught by your actions, then I guess you have to do what you think is right. But, personally, I don't think we have much hope of catching these people. In a media that spans almost worldwide, are you even certain that these videos are even in the country that you are currently in? That's a lot of people for a lot of different authorities to sort through, and if these people are ever caught, I have the feeling that their capture will be due to a concerned neighbor or a conscientious family member, not a YouTube video. That's not to say that the video can't be the evidence that nails the lid on the coffin, but the video, I feel, won't be what gets them caught. So why watch? Why give the person the pleasure of knowing that worldwide, people are watching the video? 
   I don't like to be preachy, or to tell people what to do, but maybe this is something that we all should think about, when we log into whatever form of social media that we use. I'm not suggesting turning a blind eye to evil, if we ever have the chance to actually help someone, then we should jump in and do so, but what I am suggesting is giving these victims that we can't help, a small amount of compassion by not empowering their abuser; by NOT giving the abuser what he or she so obviously wanted when they shared their homemade video on a social media site. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


   Yet again, I've been having problems with electrical devices. My computer has been giving me the most grief; it's decided that it's going to overheat and turn off every five minutes, making any type of computer based work hard. Good thing I'm not still doing online classes.
   It's gonna have to wait, like every other expense that's not rent, food, or utilities. But another piece of 'time-saving' equipment has also been giving me a lot of grief: my vacuum cleaner. I mean, c'mon, how much trouble can a vacuum cleaner be? Well, if your name is Marie, than the vacuum cleaner might just be your arch-nemesis. A few months ago, before summer even started, I wrote about how my vacuum cleaner had stopped working correctly, and that my sister had told me that the problem was the belt. At first, the problem did seem to be the belt. After replacing the belt, my vacuum did work again; running the blasted thing caused my apartment to smell like fire, but it did work, for a time. However, three new belts later, for some reason, I am spending more time trying to get the vacuum to work than I am actually spending vacuuming. This, my friends, is a problem.
    I don't like living in a dirty house, but I equally don't like cleaning. If I have to spend 30 minutes just getting the tool I need to use to clean to work in the first place, then that chore: not getting done. Not happening. But you can't just stop vacuuming when you have a carpeted floor. So I downgraded. I'm done with vacuum cleaners. Instead, I've switched to a vacuum sweeper - no electricity needed, no motors, no belts, no wires, nothing.  And while my family is busy laughing at me, I just can't help being happy.
   And that just kinda reinforced something that I've known for a long time. Something that just doesn't make sense with a woman who writes a blog, is a gamer, and grew up in the age of the internet; I just don't do well with technology. Something in me causes shit to break, and that's not so great for my blog, because it's hard to write a post when your computer will only stay on for five minutes at a time. I need a new one, but I'm waiting because I already got a new one once, and managed to destroy it so completely it won't turn on. I need something with less wires and circuits. But unlike the vacuum cleaner, there really isn't a compatible downgrade for computers. If only my computer problem could be solved so easily. I need a vacuum sweeper version of a computer...

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Back-To-School Shopping Ramble

   It's that time again; time to start getting the kiddo ready for her next school year. Another round of shopping and mayhem. I haven't done the big school clothes shop yet; this year won't be as bad as last year though. She's grown, but we bought a lot of her pants larger than needed, and they fit her now. Undoubtedly, she will need those pants replaced as the year goes by, but I have a little time, thank goodness. I don't have to buy a whole, entirely new wardrobe before school this year. Last year I did, and I was fearing the same for this year.The child that once didn't even reach the tops of my knees is now merely a few meager inches shorter than me. We did do the whole shoe shopping bit, and to my shock, my daughter is now, at age 12, wearing the same size shoes that I am. How big is this child going to get? That's what I wanna know.
  This year will mark the first year that my daughter does not want Tinkerbell plastered on her backpack. For the longest time, my daughter was obsessed with Tinkerbell. She had Tinkerbell toys and Tinkerbell games, Tinkerbell shirts and Tinkerbell movies, Tinkerbell blankets, Tinkerbell posters, Tinkerbell books... I'm sure you get the picture - even when I shut my eyes, I was seeing Tinkerbell plastered on the back of my eyelids.
   These days, my daughter is more into Fairytale and Sword Art Online. That is good by me - I can get into some anime. Of course, that means that she wants anime plastered all over the stuff that she gets for school. Grandma bought the lucky dog a Sword Art Online backpack, and thanks some help from the anime store at the mall and Amazon, she was able to score a few anime T-shirts for back-to-school. But anime themed stuff - that, my friends, is expensive.
   Just in case you are wondering, those of you with small kids or even thinking of having kids, they don't get cheaper as they get older. Sure, you don't pay for diapers, and eventually, daycare, but little girls - not as expensive as big girls, in my own personal opinion. Okay, I could save money by going thrift-store shopping. I do by her new stuff, and I know that this is the pricey way to go, but all her clothes gets handed down to my little niece, so I feel like I am getting good value for what I buy. But you have to look at all the other things that a growing girl needs. They don't get less expensive when you are looking at bras and shoes and school fees (even for public schools, good grief), and a long list of things that no one really wants to read about. I'm not really looking forward to my daughter dragging me around the mall, going from one brightly colored, designed-to-make-your-eyes-bleed garment to the next, all the while complaining about how she's not goth like me (I'm not goth at all, by the way, I just prefer to wear the color black) while she searches for the perfect neon yellow shirt and fire engine red pants. Who taught this child how to dress??? Kids rebel in the strangest ways... Well, school clothes shopping is a few weeks away, so I have a little time to mentally prepare myself for the chore. I like to wait as long as possible, because I'm sure that this kid is drinking Miracle Grow on the sly, and I'm worried about growth spurts. Also, I'm dragging my mom along because misery loves company, so I have to wait for a good day for her as well. After raising two girls of her own, I'm sure she's used to head-scratching, you-want-to-actually-wear-that??? moments herself, so she's good to have along, although, sometimes, she does tend to enjoy feeding my daughter's bizarre fashion choices... Yeah, I see what you are doing there mother, but you're still drafted, regardless. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Shitting-Ass Woods Were On Fire

   It's been a while since I've posted. I can't help it, you've all become victims (or benefactors depending on how you view my ramblings) of my Dragon Age obsession. The new one is coming out in October, so of course, I've got to replay the old games and make sure that I'm happy with the paths my characters have taken. Well, that and the fact that I work and have all of my usual parenting duties. And my vacuum broke again and my computer is still being a fussy biatch, but I digress.
   A couple days ago, I was frying squash; a good old-fashioned Southern fry-up, and I was also baking cookies at the same time, because I wanted my daughter to have a treat, since I was having mine via the fry-up, which my daughter hates. And the apartment started filling with smoke, and my daughter is sitting there asking, "Mom, what are you burning?" Which is a fair question, especially when I am cooking multiple things. I am not the most skilled cook, and I get the best results when I do one thing at a time. But, since I was also frying, the oven was not unattended; I was getting grease burns like a pro, standing over my fry pan. But, even though I couldn't see fire, I could smell it, so I shut everything down. Nobody wants to deal with a grease fire.
   The smoke did not diminish, however, so I was looking around for a source of smoke, and I realized that the smoke was coming in through our open windows. Washington, my friends, has been getting 90 degree weather. And we've been dry. Washington does not like to be dry; we need some rain. In protest of the dry weather, the damn woods outside of my apartment had decided to start burning. Straight-up fire, and sitting in my apartment parking lot was a shit load of fire trucks and firefighters. I'd thought those sirens had sounded kinda close. Guess kinda close this time meant right outside my freakin' door.
   It was my day off; I had no plans to leave the apartment, no plans to even open the door, so here I am, in my ratty shirt that's super comfy, in my ratty sleep pants, my hair pulled back in a messy knot, and I'm looking at a drive way full of buff-ass firefighters..... and they are looking at me. SHIT!!! Are you kidding me? But that's not even the worst of it.
   The fire had started on the other side of the woods that are next to my apartment, so they hadn't reached my apartment, but the firefighters had hooked up all their hoses, ready for if the fire did reach this side of the woods. I look back in my house, at my daughter who is also in her slumming-round-the-apartment clothes, and I hiss, "Get dressed in case we need to leave!" Then I look back at my neighbor, who is also out gawking at the smoke-filled lot, and she's going, "That's an awful lot of smoke, my God." And we look at each other and shrug, and then I look at the firefighters, and I decide on of them needs to tell me if we need to get up out of this place. As much as I love my stuff - I don't want my daughter and I to die with it. We wanna live, dammit. So I ask one of the guys if we need to leave or something, and he says, "No, they about got it out." I guess that accounted for all the damn smoke.
    They all left after a few, which I wasn't thrilled about, because, what if that shit starts burning again? But I guess from the sounds of it, a heck of a lot of Washington is burning right now. They have things to do. I know one thing though, I'm not going to be happy until we get a real good Washington downpour. I want shit soaked. All this grass and underbrush is brown and crispy - perfect for burning. I want things to go back to being green and soggy, thank you very much. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Bless Your Heart And Sweet Tea

   I recently took one of those facebook quizzes, something that I am constantly doing, that asked a series of questions and was supposed to measure how southern you were. My father's side of the family is southern, deep south, good old Mississippi folk, so I thought it would be fun. And I'm not really saying that the quiz wasn't fun - but a lot of the questions didn't match what I experienced living in the south. I don't know how anyone else feels about the quiz, but I'm pretty sure that the thing was written by a Northern person who was only familiar with Southern stereotypes. And there seems to be a lot of that up here, so I thought I'd set some things straight, but with the understanding that my viewpoint is just that - my viewpoint. When you talk Southern, what you need to realize is that you are talking about a whole section of a country, and southern Mississippi can be a lot different that southern Georgia and southern Texas and Florida (many of whom refuse to be classified as Southern at all. They are Floridians, dammit). They aren't all the same, no more than Washington is the same as Maine or California.
   But at any rate, we are going to start with Bless Your Heart. The quiz that I did take defined the saying 'Bless your heart' as something Southern people said to someone when they thought they were doing or saying something incredibly stupid. This may be true for some people, but personally, when I thought someone was being a moron, I always just told them to piss off. I've never blessed a person's heart in my life, and a lot of us don't use that phrase. But for those people that I've known to use that phrase, they've always used it in a more friendly manner. "Did you hear about so-and-so? Her mother was diagnosed with cancer. Bless her heart." "So-and-so's husband was laid off after working for that company for twelve years. Bless his heart." I can't say that I've ever heard this phrase used in the manner of an insult. Not to say that it doesn't happen, but that is not the main use of that phrase, so don't automatically think that this phrase is an insult.
   Now we are going to move on to the usage of ma'am. I use this one a lot, and it's not well received at times. Since when was ma'am an insult? Let me set this record straight - ma'am is not commonly used to mean elderly. When I call you ma'am, I am not saying "Hey, old lady." Ma'am IS a term for a grown woman. I was once told by someone to use Miss instead. Miss, folks, is a girl. Someone who is not yet old enough to be married, to be an adult. Calling a grown woman miss is an insult. Want me to treat you like a child? Fine. You are grounded. Go to your room and stay there until you've grown a brain. Maybe that's disrespectful, but frankly, you just asked for it. Literally. Calling a woman ma'am is no different that calling a man sir, and as a kid, in the south, we were punished for being disrespectful. Being respectful is not an easy habit for me to break, and honestly, I have both an attitude and a temper.  Sometimes I really need to be able to cling to that habit of being respectful in order to keep from going off on people when they aggravate me.
    We're also going to talk sweet tea here. We don't all like sweet tea. There are plenty of people who would rather have a glass of coke or coffee or water or whatever. But, personally, I love sweet tea. I make my tea by the half-gallon and I use plenty of sugar. However, I never drank sweet tea in the south, because they drink black tea, for the most part. Black tea is gross. My sweet tea tends to be green tea, or white tea, or rooibos tea, and they tend to be flavored specialty teas at that. The south may be known for sweet tea, but I think the north has the south beat when it comes to tea. That's a personal opinion there, but all I can say is Washington has Tea Madame Tea shop, and the south doesn't. That speaks volumes to me.
    All I'm saying, I guess, is that a stereotype is a stereotype, and perhaps when someone is telling you that every person in the south acts and talks the same way, maybe you should think about how likely that really is. I mean, how big is the south? How many states? Is that reasonable that every person in the south is a carbon copy? That all of those states have the same mannerisms and traditions? Not realistic, people. We aren't all the same, and when you make assumptions, you may tend to get angry or get your feelings hurt because you are placing what we said or did in a context that doesn't apply. And also - I know a few southern women who have virulent feelings towards tea, sweet or not.

   P.S. I have never sucked on a crawfish head. Mudbugs are gross. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Don't Trust The Crows

   This morning, as I was leaving my apartment for work, I heard a strange thud over to my left as I stepped out from under my building's entryway. Looking over at the object that had thudded, seemingly from the sky, I noticed something rather alarming. The object was a bone. A largish bone, nasty, which some fragments of meat still attached.
    Then I heard the cawing. Already knowing what I would see, I still looked up, at my roof, at the two crows peering down at me - and the breakfast that had escaped them. I stared, they stared, and then they started flapping and cawing some more, and not needing any further signaling, I stepped away from the bone.
    I stepped away from the bone and I wondered; what the hell where those birds pulling up onto my building's roof and eating? That bone sure didn't look like any kind of a chicken bone. The crows have pulled chicken onto the roof of my various apartment buildings many times. Back when I was still living with my mom and my sister, our townhouse apartment that we shared had a skylight (a misguided attempt at being 'upscale') and one time a crow even had a chicken breast piece up on that roof, and he ate it over the skylight, so that we could all get a good view of him eating his fried chicken carrion.
    This bone didn't look like those bones, nor did all the other bones littering the ground around our building. I mean, sheesh. People were going to come by after the crows had left and they were going to think some messed up voodoo doctor/witch/blood mage was living up in that building. And what the hell kind of animal were the crows eating on up there??!! That's not chicken bones! Whatever animal that was - I somehow doubt that the crows scavenged it from the eyesore dumpsters. I think they went hunting.
    I looked at the crows again, still looking at me from their higher ground, and I realized that they had the perfect ambush spot for passersby, and I wondered if those were the bones of Fluffy the dog or Spooky the cat. Except they seemed a little big for a cat, so maybe Bruiser the dog was up there instead. And I wanna know - who's next? Are those crows going to be up on that roof one day munching on people? The way they were looking at me, I believe that they were at least considering the idea.
   So I did what any sane, rational person would do. I left. If those crows were fixing to decide to try a people hunt, I had no intention of being next. And now I know; and now you know. Don't trust the crows. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Maybe Marie's Not In A Good Mood (The Maybe Post)

   I dislike corn season. I mean, I like fresh corn as much as anyone, but I dislike being a checker during corn season. People don't like you to count corn. They have a cart full of the shit (and sometimes, this is literal) and they want to tell you something like, "I have one hundred", and they don't want you to count it. They get PISSED. Don't even think about the fact that counting out what you're buying is part of a cashier's job - just automatically jump to the conclusion that the cashier is accusing you of being dishonest. If I ran a business that sold items in quantity, I would want my employees to verify the quantity the customer had. But maybe that's just me; maybe the rest of the world wouldn't care if their employees were not doing their job to the fullest of their capabilities and the entire extent of their job description. Maybe a half-assed work ethic has become the new hot commodity in retail. 
   I also dislike customers who are douche bags. Full on, rude, I-have-no-respect-for-anyone-but-myself douchery. Fantastic. There is nothing like telling a customer that you're sorry, but you don't have any tape at your checkstand, and having that customer respond, "Do you even know what tape is?" Hmmmmmm. Maybe I don't know what tape is. Maybe, somehow, in my thirty-two years of life, I have managed to completely avoid all contact with tape. Or maybe you need to realize that this is a checkstand, and not the package counter at the post office, and that even if we did have tape, it would probably just be plain old scotch tape and not the packaging tape required to hold your freaking big-ass box shut. That's not exactly a donut box, dude. Or maybe I just don't know what tape is, and really, I have a full drawer full of packing tape.
  Banana peels; you do realize that when you hand me a banana peel at the point of checkout, you are now digesting the heaviest part of that fruit, and I can't correctly charge you. Same with apple cores, peach pits, and so-on and so-forth. I really dislike this. What am I supposed to do? Heimlich the rest of the fruit out of you and try to get the weight? Really, what am I supposed to do here? Just be like, oh well, you just stole from my company, and let it go? No big deal. It's just fruit. Maybe, if you were the only person doing that garbage. Do you really think you are the only person? Why is it, that when people want a snack, and they just can't wait until the shopping is done, why do they tend to choose the items that are sold by weight?
    To add to this list of things that I dislike; let's go with not being able to breath. Men! You don't need the whole bottle of Axe poured over your body. That's not sexy. Women are not passing out because of your inconceivable hotness; they are passing out because your cologne has defeated all the area's oxygen. And your poor, poor checker; that person can't even run away. That person has to try and hold their breath until you've moved on. Seriously, can't breath here. Maybe you don't need so much. Maybe, if you are buying cologne in bulk, that's a sign. Maybe, if you come through my line with five bottles of the shit, I'm going to grace you with Marie's-Ultra-Special-Glare-Of-Death - you know, on behalf of all of the people who have suffered. Maybe too much cologne should be considered chemical warfare.
   Maybe I'm kinda grumpy today. I dislike being grumpy, but hey, I'm human. Grumpiness comes to all of us. Probably, I shouldn't have gotten out of bed this morning, but I have responsibilities. I have things that need to get done. But maybe, after I'm done baking this box of Betty Crocker's cookie brownie that I just happened to find in the cabinet (how did that get there, I wonder?), maybe I should manage to refrain from eating the whole damn thing, because even though I like to eat my feelings, I know it isn't healthy. Or maybe I should eat the whole thing. We only live once, and maybe this brownie is the only thing standing between me and happiness. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

College - Worth The Cost Or Not?

   I've been seeing a lot about college lately; more specifically, the cost of college and student loan debt. There's a lot of heated opinion about college and about paying back student loans and the cost, and is college worth the cost of being in debt for the next ten years (or more).
  I can't say that I have an answer to that, for the population in general. For me, the holder of a BA in one field, an AA in another, and still working outside both fields, in retail, I say yes. Maybe I've bought into the hype; I don't know. Maybe ten years from now, I'll be pissed that I spent ALL that money on an education.
  But, my life has improved. From someone who started her higher education by getting a GED (meaning that I didn't even have a high school education, of course), I can say that I live better than I did before, even with the debt, which I do have. I am student-loaned out like a motherfucker, 40k biatch, and my student loan payments do constitute as my second largest bill (rent being first, food being third). I went to a community college for my AA, but remember, not only do I work as many hours as my job will give me, I've also got the single mom thing going for me, so I was getting a maximum of four hours of sleep. When I decided to continue on with my education, I looked for online programs, which tend to be more costly than regular old, run-of-the-mill college campuses. And I chose a different degree, which does account for some of the cost - this is for two separate degrees, even if I did transfer some of my AA's credits, there were still a lot that were just not relevant to my new field of study.
   My daughter's dreams improved as my education did. She went from wanting to be a cashier like mommy to wanting to go to college like mommy. Mommy is still a cashier, but damn it, she's a finely, over-educated one, and my daughter still wants to go to college, and mommy still wants her to go, even with her second largest bill being student loans. I've lived with no education, and that sucks big time; I do not want that for my daughter.
   But, in my value of my (costly) education, you need to understand, I lived a large part of my life with someone doing their best to convince me that I was stupid. Going to college, that was my way of dispelling that belief - one that I had bought into. So that is one reason that I still value my seemingly worthless education. Another - well, this blog isn't perfect. I try to edit out grammar and spelling mistakes, but I tend to only spend about thirty minutes on a post. They're fast things for me that I can pound out after work but before making my daughter dinner. If you are reading this, you may find a mistake or two, but in the large part, you are also benefiting from my higher education. Imagine the mistakes that would have been up in this post before Writing 101 and Writing 235 got their happy hands on me.
   I guess what I am trying to say is this: like everything in this world, education's value is relative. How much does having an education mean to you? How much will your life improve? You will probably go into debt, almost undoubtedly - unless you manage to pimp out your education with grants and scholarships (good for you if you can!!!), but people are perfectly willing to go into debt for things like cars - something that will probably not even last them ten damn years, and they do so because they think having a car will either bring value into their lives or ease hardship, or whatever. For me, education has brought value into my life, so while my debt can be a struggle, I manage. Because this was something that I wanted. Ten years from now, maybe I'll be pissed that I was so naive, so financially clueless, but right now, I don't think so. My self esteem has benefited, my daughter's goals have improved, and my writing has benefited. Who knows, down the road, what other aspects of my life will benefit, if any, but regardless, I think that higher education is still worth something, even beyond a salary. But that is something that everyone will have to decide for themselves, just like any other major life decision. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Abuse Post; A Personal Story And Honest Advice

   The relationship that I had with my daughter's father was abusive. That's a hard thing to admit, because I had always said that I wouldn't put up with abuse ever again. If someone hit me, I would damn well hit back, and then I'd call the cops. That's how I was gonna be; I was never going to be hit again.
    The problem was, I had already been abused and in bad relationships, and once you've been in that type of relationship, my personal opinion is that falling into another abusive, bad relationship, is that much easier: the ground work has already been laid.  The other problem was, I was used to thinking of abuse as something physical. I was used to abuse being someone knocking your ass through a TV and then following up by bashing you in the head. Someone putting hands around your throat. Someone trying to run you down with their car. These things had been done to me, and that is what I considered abuse.
   The thing is, there are all kinds of abuse. I am not downplaying physical abuse at all, but that is the type of abuse, to me, that is easiest to recognize and easiest to prove. So what do you do when you say something to the person you've chosen to be with, and they respond to you by saying, "You're a dumbass. And you're accent makes you sound like a hick." And another day, you say something, and they say, "God, you're so stupid. Stop talking." And another day, you say something, and they say, "You don't do a damn thing to help, ever. You're useless."
   Well, the first time, you get mad. If you are smart, you leave. But people make mistakes; they put their trust and faith in the wrong people. And if they have, already, as I did, a foundation of abuse, maybe they already believe these things about themselves, and then that makes leaving a harder conclusion to end up at. And after a while, you stop arguing with the person saying these things to you, because you love that person and you've made commitments to them, and you have a family together. So instead, what you do is you stop talking so much. You don't bother anyone with what you are thinking or how you feel, because you think it doesn't matter. You keep yourself small and you keep yourself private. That was one type of abuse that I suffered with my daughter's father.
    Another type of abuse is economic abuse and isolation. These are linked with me. When I first started seeing my daughter's father, I was eighteen. I lived on my own in Mississippi, and my mother had already relocated to Washington, so she never even met him until after my daughter was born. I worked, and I rented a house that I shared with roommates. I was independent. I met him at work, and one thing led to another, but I never felt abused by him, and eventually, I was pregnant. I was panicked, because I had no medical, and my job didn't really have any policy regarding maternity leave, and then the 9/11 attacks came (also my birthday, 9/11) and I was sitting there, preggers, scared, and unsure about the future, and he said, "We need to move to Florida, and I have a job waiting, and my family will be there to help."
   Florida was a mistake. In Florida, I had no job of my own, I had no family, no friends, nothing. I had to rely completely, on my now ex, and that is when the emotional abuse really started, and that is also when we decided that I would stay home now, and take care of the baby, and he would provide. This was a joint decision, one that he pushed for, which is something that I feel I need to point out, because when the time came for that support, he raged against providing it. There were many things that I had to beg his grandmother to provide, such as diapers, sanitary items that I needed as a female, formula (I tried breastfeeding but there were complications and health issues, so my daughter was only breast fed for about three months), and so-on/so-forth. I couldn't get things that I needed from him at all, and always had to ask for outside help, and I could only get him to provide things my daughter needed about half the time. Anytime I would bring up something that we needed, the response would go something like this, "You don't do a damn thing to help in this house. Maybe you should do something to fucking help provide." But I need to add to this the fact that he really pushed me to give up working and stay home, and with this in mind, we had sold my car to help fund the move. Even then, I did bring up trying to find work, and this was always blocked, by him. However, he only blocked my not working in private, in public, to his parents and friends, he would say that I refused to work, or didn't want to work, but at home, he would tell me that I wasn't taking his car, that he didn't want to work and then spend all his home time taking care of the baby because I wasn't there, he wouldn't get enough rest, and a ton of other reasons. I always backed down. I felt, what else could I do? We lived in a country-ghetto trailer park, a thirty minute drive away from the nearest store, and I felt stuck. There was no one for me to talk to who wasn't related to him. I had no friends, no nearby family, and he didn't even seem to like me spending a lot of time with his family. He wanted me to be home.
   We fought. Whenever we fought, he would do his best to make me feel that I was crazy. He wouldn't let me hold the baby. He'd take her out of the house, drive away, and stay gone for the day, without telling me where she was or where he was or if he was coming back. This was punishment; punishment for talking back, for arguing. He did, during those fights, become physical twice. Once he grabbed me (while I was holding her, no less) and shook me like a dog would shake a chew toy. This was no mild shake, but a violent, forceful shake that had my head snapping back and forth, and terrified me because I was holding an infant. The second time, he hit me upside the back of my head. This was the time when I told him that if he ever hit me again, I would call the cops. His reply was, "If you ever call the cops on me, I'll beat the living fuck out of you before they have time to get here." We lived thirty minutes away from everything; he was right, he would have had time to beat the living fuck out of me before help ever arrived, but he didn't hit me again after that. He did something worse. Every time we fought, "If you leave this house, I will take our daughter away, and you will never see her again." "If we don't stay together, you aren't taking her. You will never see her again." I was young, and I was terrified, and I didn't know any better. I believed him; I was afraid to leave. I believe that I would have left if he had hit me again, but he never did. Instead, he threatened me, belittled me, and acted like a decent guy in public so that no one ever knew, and it worked for a long time. After a while, I even stopped fighting, unless I fighting over something to do with my daughter being taken care of. I just despaired.
   Eventually, I did go to work, after my daughter was about three. His grandmother had stopped working, due to health issues, and when she realized that I was willing to work, she offered to watch the baby and she let me use her car as transportation. He was pissed, but his grandmother was not someone that he could cross, she provided him with a lot of money. My job was belittled by him at every turn. "The little cashier job that didn't provide enough money to pay bills." That little cashier job was the beginning of the end for our relationship; in retrospect, he was right to fear me working. I had completely supported myself when we were dating. Sure, I was poor, but I was able to pay my rent and buy the basics. Once I started working again, I didn't have to ask him for things the baby needed, I didn't have to ask him for things I needed, and I was able to escape that oppressive one room shack that originally was a chick coop, with a tin roof, walls that didn't meet the floor, and a floor that was rotting out. I began to wake up. I began to talk. Once I started talking, I started having coworkers shoving fliers for women's shelters into my hands. I realized I had options, and my independent nature started to fight it's way back to the surface.
    I've been free from that mess for almost nine years now. I don't date because my trust isn't what it should be. I'm strong, but I was broken, once, and recovering from that is an uphill battle. Most of the time, I am very happy, but sometimes, I still get depressed. After being in an emotionally abusive relationship, one that had me getting belittled and devalued on an almost hourly basis,  teaching myself that I did have value, was a hard, hard thing. Sometimes, I still have to remind myself. Emotional abuse sticks with you, long after the abuser is gone. We have a kid together, and none of my personal abuse has ever been reported, which was a dumb move on my part, but then, how do you report something like emotional abuse or economic abuse? How does a court judge that? Still, I have my daughter; he's never even filed for visitation, and I keep contact as minimal as possible. I get judged for that, but I try not to care. In this matter, I do believe that I know best; certainly, I know better than anyone who wasn't with me for those years, in that house.
    And I've moved on. I have plans. Where once I didn't see a future, where once, I didn't even want to live anymore, I now have rekindled myself and taken out goals that I had locked away. I'm working towards things and making my life better. Life is good. So why talk about this at all?
   Because maybe, just maybe, someone is reading this, and they are going through something similar. Maybe, just maybe, this might help them realize that they can break free; they need to break free. I recently read, online, a piece of advice from an asshole, telling someone who had been in an abusive marriage that they had no reason to get a divorce; that this person's abuser was the one who really needed help, and that this person, as the spouse, was the best person to help the abuser find help, and that leaving would be selfish. I was aghast. But the fact remains that there is a lot of crappy advice out there, especially pertaining to abuse. Despite things like 'climbing divorce rates' and 'hook-up culture', leaving a relationship can still bring a lot of harsh judgment, a lot of stigma, especially if there is a marriage and/or children involved.
   At the risk of adding more crappy advice to a sea of crappy advice, I have to urge anyone being abused: leave. GET SAFE. It's gonna be hard. Nine years later, you are still going to be dealing with the emotional scars, you are still going to wake up sad on some mornings, but you will be alive to do so. Leave. Maybe your abuser can be fixed, but that isn't your job, it's theirs. Your job is fixing you, is fixing your kids (if kids are involved) and you need to get that done. And if you think that the abuse isn't affecting your child, guess again. I thought I was protecting my daughter. I thought that I was hiding the trauma, the sadness. We came here, to Washington, when she was three, almost four. She told me that she missed people in Florida, but that she was happy we moved because I didn't cry anymore. She noticed, and my sadness affected her. Children are so observant. Even if they are not being abused, you don't want them to see you being abused. You don't want them to grow up thinking that this type of behavior is okay.
   I don't know if my advice is any better than someone who says to stay. But as someone who has been there, I think so. I've seen women die. Not just heard about it, not just seen a statistic, I've seen women die; I've known them personally. I've seen a woman so driven to the brink, that she put a gun in her mouth and pulled the trigger. I've seen a woman overdose, just to stop the pain. I never, NEVER want to see these things again. So I think my advice is better, because I don't want to belittle anyone, or judge anyone - I just want people to be safe, and if you are in an abusive relationship, that means leaving.  

Friday, June 13, 2014

Zombie Crow Wannabe

   Okay, I don't usually write posts right on top of the other, but this is a story that has to be told. I just wrote and published the payday post, and I was recovered enough (and hungry enough) to gather my shit and go get some groceries because my fridge was on empty. I had my list, my bag with wheels (I have no car - remember), I had my hooded jacket because the weather had that kinda wetish look, the look where it's not raining yet, but it might at any minute, and I was out the door.
   I shop where I work, and I work about a five minute's walk from my apartment. Not a horrible ordeal to walk, and with my little wheeled bag, I can actually do a pretty big shop. So I was wheeling my bag along, and I've long past stopped caring about whether I look like a dork with that bag or not, thinking about what I needed to get, when I heard this really loud cawing.
   We have an ass-ton of crows in Washington, and if you've never been around crows, I can tell you they are really smart birds. Freakishly smart. One of the areas that they like to hang out at is the apartment trash bins - you know, those big green industrial sized eyesores. I was out there one day, taking out trash, and these birds were trying to get into this trash bag that was tied shut. It was a reused grocery store bag, so it wasn't big, but the birds couldn't get to whatever it was that they wanted in that bag, so I watch as one of the birds grabbed it with a leg or talon or whatever you call it, flew up into the air with the bag, and let the bag go. The bag fell to the ground and literally exploded - giving the bird access to whatever the thing was that the bird had wanted. Then they all started doing that shit. After those birds were done with that trash bin, the bin looked like a pack of savage dogs had managed to get into the trash. It was like, "Holy shit."
   So I haven't researched these birds, but I do know that they have some kind of problem solving skill, and I know that they learn from each other. One of them learns a cool trick, in a few seconds, all the nearby birds know it as well. And while I have not researched these birds, my sister tells me that they can recognize a face and that they hold  a grudge. I don't know what studies you would do on a bird to see whether or not they hold a grudge, but my sister has a book about them, because they fascinate her. Personally, I think it's because they are evil, and I think my sister leans a little towards the chaotic evil alignment, but that's just me. I'm sure I'm biased or something.
   So to get back to the story, I am walking along, thinking about food, and I hear this cawing. But this cawing is alarming because it's really close to my head, and I feel air movement from above me, and I realize that the crow is swooping above my head so I kinda flinch and duck and the bird lands in a tree. I figure - accident. But this crow - it's still cawing up a storm. Really loudly, like it's cussing me out or something, and then the damn thing swoops down at me again. The only reason the damn thing doesn't hit me right in the face is because I'm ducking for all I'm worth. I get down so damn low to the ground that I'm practically crawling, and I'm thinking, "HOLY FUCKING SHIT!"
   At this point, I abandon all dignity and run to the crosswalk, and the crow lands in a tree and it is cawing after me like the arrogant-son-of-a-biatch that it is. But it doesn't follow past the crosswalk, so I just shake it off and do my shopping. I'm in the store for about an hour, and I figure, the thing is gone. Whatever game that bird was playing is over now, and I'm safe to walk home.
   The crow is not gone. The damn thing is sitting there, in the tree, waiting for me. It sees me, and starts swooping at my damn head again. I'm ducking and swinging my grocery bag at the thing, looking for all the world like a lunatic. I'm wondering why the hell this dumb shit always happens to me and I'm hoping that crow doesn't actually land a blow, because how in the hell do you tell people that you are all beat up because a bird attacked you?
   This crow has marked out some territory or something, because the whole time, I've walked forward as fast as I can, and after I reached a certain point, the crow gave up and left me alone. I think the damn bird was attacking people to see if they would drop something good, though. I noticed, in all my unusual proximity to the ground, a lot of excess litter. I think the damn bird is doing a trashcan bag trick, but on people.
   That, or that bird was peeking in someone's window while they played some classic Resident Evil. You know, the first ones, where you are attacked by flocks of infected crows. Maybe that crow is a zombie wannabe. Maybe it wishes that it had the T-virus. Apparently, I managed to stumble across the crow that aspires to be a T-virus mutant. Great, just freaking great. Where's Jill Valentine when you need her? 

My Finances Give Me Anxiety Attacks

   Payday: a day that everyone should look forward to. Money in the bank and all that jazz. But here I am, looking at payment schedules for my student loans, looking at the cable bill, electric, and rent, looking at credit card payments (yeah, yeah, I know), looking at the grocery bill; basically, I am looking at all the money that I do not have anymore. Oh, money, you slip through my fingers so damn fast. I hate you money, but at the same time, I have to have you: I need you. I feel like I'm talking to my drugs or something, but it is what it is. If I were richer, perhaps I wouldn't have this love/hate relationship with money, or perhaps I would just have more bills.
   Every payday I go through that wonderful anxiety attack induced by paying my bills. I'm not entirely sure why I have these anxiety attacks; I always manage to pay all the bills. I've never been short. Sometimes we have to get a little skimpy on the grocery bill and have some mac n cheese nights, but really, who doesn't ever have to do that? Most people have experienced the wonder of a mac n cheese payday. So I'm not really sure why I feel the anxiety that I feel. Maybe because all of my adult life, I've been poor. I'm doing a lot better now. I guess I still fall even with that good-old poverty line, but for all of the years but the last one, I was under that line, so breaking even with that line is a step up.
   But the point is this: I've always paid my bills and I don't pay them late. I don't get cable termination warnings. I don't get the power company stalking me and threatening to turn my power off. No nasty notes from the landlords on my front door when I get home from work; even my credit card company never has to call me all like, "Marie, pay your bills, please." The only calls that I used to get were from those people who stole my information and then would attempt to try to get me to pay for fake loans that I never took out, and since I changed my number, the only time the bastards can call me now is at work. Which is annoying, to be sure, but most of the times, I don't even get those calls because as a lowly cashier (joking here, folks) personal calls are not allowed, thank God. They do attempt to e-mail me, but e-mail has that lovely little spam button... it's awesome. I wish we could spam phone calls.
   Back to the anxiety though, I really am not sure what causes this feeling. Maybe it's because I'm still getting phone calls for Tara, even though I've had this number for a year and a half now, and Tara's bill collectors have all been notified that this is Marie's number now, but they don't believe me. Bill collectors are like blood hounds when it comes to money, so around every payday, I start getting calls about Tara. Her rent check didn't clear. She owes someone money in Las Vegas. She's being taken to court by so-and-so. Tara, my friends, is in big financial trouble, and because her effing bill collectors won't stop leaving messages on my machine, I am privy to all of Tara's financial woes. Because bill collectors are stupid assholes, I also know Tara's address, the last four digits of her social, and her last name, but I won't put that here. In fact, if you know a Tara, and if you are thinking, "Shit, is she talking about Tara, so-and-so!" then the answer is no, because I changed Tara's first name. Tara is not actually her name, but I believe in protecting my fellow debtor's information. But that's off track, and to get back on that track, maybe what I am feeling is sympathy anxiety??? Maybe I am worried about Tara??? I don't know.
   I really don't know. Maybe my anxiety is leftover stress from my days of extreme poverty, maybe I am feeling this anxiety because I'm worried about Tara, or maybe I just don't like giving other people the effing money that I worked my ass off for, even if I do legitimately owe those people that money. Or maybe it's just the fact that the kiddo is growing like a weed, she's fixing to be out of school for the summer, which means no more school meals, and my grocery bill is gonna triple. Who knows? Not me. All I know is that payday is the day where I add up all the money that I no longer have and consequently have anxiety attacks. A lot of you, I believe, are probably familiar with this feeling, so let us ban together now and have moment of silence for money that is forever gone from our lives. Solidarity and all that good crap. Or misery loves company. Something.

Goodbye, sweet money. I'll miss you.