Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Heard from the back yard...

Dan: Mary-Beth, you may not throw snow at Jonah's face.

Mary-Beth: Oh.... right...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Jonah's Evil Plan

I was on the phone with Melissa a few days ago when I heard a noise from the boy's room that can only be his dresser hitting the wall. Of course, I go investigate. What I found had nothing to do with the dresser, still not sure what the noise was about.

I did, however, find Jonah standing on his bed's footboard - teetering on one foot, really - with a big long stick in his hand. On the end of the stick was a cup that, when exposed to light, will glow in the dark. The cup on the end of the stick was wavering dangerously close to the lightbulb on the ceiling. The light bulb is exposed because the fixture's shade has given up its ghost to a golf ball. Ahem.

So if you know me at all, you know that my first instinct is to grab the stick ("Gimme that!") and shoo the boy off his bed ("Feet go on the floor!"). For some reason, something in me just had to know what was really going on so instead of my usual growl, because trust me, we've been here before, I simply asked Jonah what was going on.

"Son, what's goin' on?"

"Don't worry, Mom. It's aaaall part of my evil plan."

Cross my heart hope to die, he looked me dead in the eye and, as if he were telling me he'd put his shoes away, he assured me that the scene I'd happened upon was indeed no accident, but it was all part of his evil plan. Relax, Mom. Got it covered. Nothing to see here. Please go back to your dishes or whatever it is you do. Melissa, still on the phone, was shouting, "Oh my heck, did he just say "evil plan?" Find out the plan! What's the evil plan?!"

"Uhhhhmm, er, uhhhh, what's your evil plan, son?" I asked, trying not to laugh.

"OK, sooooooo, I put this cup on the end of this big stick, and I knew if I couldn't reach the light from my bed I could get there from the table or maybe my dresser. Sooooooo I stand here and I reeeeeach and try to put this cup on that light bulb. But there's only one problem." (He's got his little finger-gun pointed at me. That's how he points. Finger gun. Cocked a little to the side.)

"There's only one problem? Hm. What's the problem?"

"Yeah. I don't really know how to get the cup back down."

"Son? Would you like me to charge your cup up for you so it will glow?"

Finger gun. "That'd be great."

I took the cup off the stick, charged it, and handed it to the boy who was already under his bed with his sister, waiting for the charged cup. I left the room - with the stick, which is now in Toy Purgatory with the golf ball - and finally let the laughter out.

So what did I learn from this? Well first, I think I'm a little too quick to jump to the "Gimme that stick!" approach. That over-in-an-instant, no-nonsense, how dare you act like a kid approach. How grinchy am I! If I took the time to ask him what's really going on a little more often, instead of just thwarting his evil plans, I might just be shocked and entertained. I don't think I stopped smiling the rest of the day.

And second? Seriously, what is that kid watching on television? Evil plans? Really? Time to unplug.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Watch out, boys.

Jonah: Mary-Beth! We should go to Cameron and Jesse's house to play today!

Mary-Beth: No, I don't want to go to Cameron and Jesse's house because Jesse is always mean to me because he is mean to me.


Jonah: I can easily handle Jesse.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Right you are, son.

Jonah, tonight at the dinner table, out of the blue:
"Mommy? A five-year-old is not an old man."

Saturday, October 25, 2008

This one's for Jordan

Just so you have an idea of what you're in for in about 3 years.

Mary-Beth, from the bathroom: Mommyyyyyy! I pooooooped!
Me, going in to wipe her: Good job, baby!
Mary-Beth: Yeah! I pooped one BIIIIG one and one yeeeeeeettle one.

Thank you for sharing.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Jonah (from the back seat of the only other woman in Dan's life, his Monte Carlo): Mommy? Do you like to hot rod this car?

Me: No son, I don't.

Jonah: Oh, because Daddy loves to hot rod this car.

Me: Oh, rrrrrrrreally.

Friday, September 19, 2008

If you're into Chicken Pox parties, gimme a call.

We've got 'em, we're happy to share. Bring lollipops. :-)

Mary-Beth was checking out a mole I have on my cheek.
"Mommy? Do you have chickit pops too?"

Fellow knitters!

My friend Betsy turned me on to this opportunity to knit for a good cause. Knit (or crochet) scarves for the participants of the January 2009 Winter Special Olympics! Here's a link to the 4-1-1 on Coats & Clark's web site (they're the sponsors, I believe) where you can find more information and the free pattern.

Thanks Betsy! :-)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Tomato, tomahto

Mary-Beth: Mommy, I don't like lettuce. I only like salad.

Friday, September 05, 2008

"Pete & Repeat were on the fence..."

Jonah: Mommyyyyy! I hurt my penis on my bike!
Mary-Beth: Mommy, me too. I hurt my penis, too.

Is that right? Fascinating.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mary-Beth walked up to me this morning with a very serious look on her face. Usually that means she's about to tattle on her brother (we don't call her The Informer for nothing) but not this time.

Very serious look.


"Yes, baby?"

"I'm wild and cwazy."

Alrighty then.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Can there be any other opinion on the subject?!

One of my favorite lines from Pride & Prejudice, only because my fake British accent sounds really cool when I say it.

I don't know if you've ever heard of The Illuminati. They're the extreme lunatic fringe, in my humble opinion. I don't much like Wikipedia either, since anyone can go in and edit the information you find, but in this instance they're right on the money.

That's why I was so shocked to discover that I actually agree with something The Illuminati has to say. My friend Zanna forwarded this YouTube video to me and I'm so thankful she did. I've never been more sure of what's wrong and what's right than I am right now.

Broad brush I'm painting with, I know. But seriously. Watch the video (preferably with no children in the room) and then let me ask you: Can there be any other opinion on the subject?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Faster than a speeding bullet!

Jonah - Oooh! The moon is roundy tonight! I wish we could go up there in a plane or a rocket ship and see it for real.

Mary-Beth - Or you could wear my super hero cape, Jonah. You could wear it and see the moon if you want!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Everything looks big when you're 3 feet tall!

If you've ever seen me, you'd probably guess that my dainties aren't so very dainty, and indeed are big enough to actually need folding. (If you've actually thought about it, ummmmm... ew. Stop thinking about my underwear. That's icky.) So it should come as no surprise to me that my children notice the amount of fabric it takes to sew together a pair of knickers for their mother.

While folding *ahem* laundry the other day, Mary-Beth stopped by the couch and stood there watching me. After a minute or so:

"Wwwwwooooowwwww. You. have really. big. panties."

"Yep." I mean really, what else is there to say?

Mary-Beth threw her arms open wide and said, "Yeah. I have a yittle bottom and you have a biiiiiiiiiiiig bottom."

Thanks, kid.  Am-scray.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

So THAT'S what's in there. I've often wondered.

"Oooooooh. I don't wanna break my head open. Then all my air will get out! And all my CEREAL!" -- Jonah

Friday, June 27, 2008

I've been thinking about that article

Had a great conversation with Debbie today about the article I posted a few days ago. Her perspective was one I hadn't seen before and it was eye-opening. That article wasn't so much about homeschooling as it was about values, and what we decide is important. About whether we decide to follow the politically correct party line and accept society's standards as our own, or if we choose to make the tough choices and risk offending people because it's what we know is right. Do both parents slave away 12 hours a day in pursuit of the almighty dollar and all it's trappings, at the expense of precious time together as a family? Or do we decide that our tent will suffice as our vacation home, our television is plenty big enough already (and turned on too much as it is) and we don't need a speed boat or more cars than we have drivers.

Sooo, my motivation for posting the article? See, unless you've been confronted by someone who's offended with the philosophy of homeschooling, you wouldn't really understand where I was coming from when I shared the article with you. I guess it's really my curiosity about what fuels such opposition to homeschooling. And the answers are probably as numerous as the people who hold the opinion. Some people out there are really angry, y'all. I mean rabidly, vehemently, fundamentally opposed to homeschooling. Why is that?

I've often wondered if it was because they're feeling like they're not 100% comfortable with their own choices and priorities, and are feeling insecure and defensive when presented with someone who made different choices. Could be.

It could also be that some don't get to make the choice. I know that when I was a single mom, I hated to see moms out and about with their kids during the day. That mom was probably married, she got to stay home with her kids and I hated her for it. I hated her for doing what I couldn't do. I wanted to be home with Ashley so badly but I just couldn't. I had to work! I had made certain choices and as a result was the only one capable of making money (Ashley couldn't reach the sink so I couldn't get her a job at Denny's as a dishwasher). That responsibility fell on me and wiped all other options off the slate.

So what's the source of all the anti-homeschooling animosity? Is it that they want to homeschool but can't for whatever reason? Is it that they don't want to homeschool and feel bad or guilty about that, feel like they have something to prove? Like we love our children more than you love yours because we want to homeschool? (That's not true, by the way.) Do they think we're feeling smart and smug and superior? Hardly. More than half of us would probably say that we know we've made the right decision but at the same time we feel woefully under qualified and humbled by the task. Or maybe it's that almighty left-wing attitude that it takes a village to raise a child and homeschoolers flaunt an independence and self-sufficiency that Society At Large finds distasteful.

I truly don't know where the animosity is coming from and I probably never will. Each person probably has their own set of reasons why what I'm doing is wrong. And when I think they may have a valid point, I really do sit down and think about it.

I'm sure I'd be able to think clearer if I had a big old speed boat to lounge on, though.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Do I make you uncomfortable?

I'm always amazed at how vehemently some folks oppose homeschooling, more now than ever in light of the craziness that's happening in California. I came across this article (link no longer works) at a homeschooling blog I frequent that helps shed some light on what could be the source of the indignation. Read it with an open mind, since there's bound to be something in it that makes the anti- or non-homeschooler feel uncomfortable. Sorry 'bout that, can't be helped. No hard feelings, right? Since I respect you and you respect me? Righto.

Oh, but before I let you read the article I feel I must disclose something for fear that if I don't you might think my own children behave themselves at the grocery store. They so totally don't. They really, really don't.

You'll see what I mean in a minute.


SONNY SCOTT:Home-schoolers threaten our cultural comfort
6/8/2008 9:39:01 AM
Daily Journal

You see them at the grocery, or in a discount store.

It's a big family by today’s standards - "just like stair steps," as the old folks say. Freshly scrubbed boys with neatly trimmed hair and girls with braids, in clean but unfashionable clothes follow mom through the store as she fills her no-frills shopping list.

There's no begging for gimcracks, no fretting, and no threats from mom. The older watch the younger, freeing mom to go peacefully about her task.

You are looking at some of the estimated 2 million children being home schooled in the U.S., and the number is growing. Their reputation for academic achievement has caused colleges to begin aggressively recruiting them. Savings to the taxpayers in instructional costs are conservatively estimated at $4 billion, and some place the figure as high as $9 billion. When you consider that these families pay taxes to support public schools, but demand nothing from them, it seems quite a deal for the public.

Home schooling parents are usually better educated than the norm, and are more likely to attend worship services. Their motives are many and varied. Some fear contagion from the anti-clericalism, coarse speech, suggestive behavior and hedonistic values that characterize secular schools. Others are concerned for their children’s safety. Some want their children to be challenged beyond the minimal competencies of the public schools. Concern for a theistic world view largely permeates the movement.

Indications are that home schooling is working well for the kids, and the parents are pleased with their choice, but the practice is coming under increasing suspicion, and even official attack, as in California.

Why do we hate (or at least distrust) these people so much?

Methinks American middle-class people are uncomfortable around the home schooled for the same reason the alcoholic is uneasy around the teetotaler.

Their very existence represents a rejection of our values, and an indictment of our lifestyles. Those families are willing to render unto Caesar the things that Caesar’s be, but they draw the line at their children. Those of us who have put our trust in the secular state (and effectively surrendered our children to it) recognize this act of defiance as a rejection of our values, and we reject them in return.

Just as the jealous Chaldeans schemed to bring the wrath of the king upon the Hebrew eunuchs, we are happy to sic the state’s bureaucrats on these “trouble makers.” Their implicit rejection of America’s most venerated idol, Materialism, (a.k.a. “Individualism”) spurs us to heat the furnace and feed the lions.

Young families must make the decision: Will junior go to day care and day school, or will mom stay home and raise him? The rationalizations begin. "A family just can't make it on one income." (Our parents did.) "It just costs so much to raise a child nowadays." (Yeah, if you buy brand-name clothing, pre-prepared food, join every club and activity, and spend half the cost of a house on the daughter’s wedding, it does.) And so, the decision is made. We give up the bulk of our waking hours with our children, as well as the formation of their minds, philosophies, and attitudes, to strangers. We compensate by getting a boat to take them to the river, a van to carry them to Little League, a 2,800-square-foot house, an ATV, a zero-turn Cub Cadet, and a fund to finance a brand-name college education. And most significantly, we claim “our right” to pursue a career for our own

Deep down, however, we know that our generation has eaten its seed corn. We lack the discipline and the vision to deny ourselves in the hope of something enduring and worthy for our posterity. We are tired from working extra jobs, and the looming depression threatens our 401k’s. Credit cards are nearly maxed, and it costs a $100 to fuel the Suburban. Now the kid is raising hell again, demanding the latest Play Station as his price for doing his school work … and there goes that modest young woman in the home-made dress with her four bright-eyed, well-behaved home-schooled children in tow. Wouldn’t you just love to wipe that serene look right off her smug face?

Is it any wonder we hate her so?

Sonny Scott a community columnist, lives on Sparta Road in Chickasaw County and his e-mail address is

Appeared originally in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, 6/8/2008, section 0 , page 0

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Wear your dainties, ladies.

Just a heads up. My own little Public Service Announcement. Someday you'll thank me.

If you're ever standing in line at the Barnes & Noble with two toddlers who just can't seem to behave, be sure to wear panties under your skirt.

That's all I have to say about that.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Speaking of domestic bliss...

What could be more the embodiment of domestic bliss than hanging sweet-smelling wash on the line on the perfectly not-too-warm breezy day (with the perfect apron by the way, the pockets of which hold an enormous amount of clothes pins, yo) with music from the front room floating around the yard on the breeze, while watching the children play together as if they didn't have a wicked thought between them. Their laughter, the wash, the weather.

My heart's swelling today, y'all.

Monday, May 05, 2008

The perfect Mother's Day *snort*

The "It's all about me" version:

* Coffee's already done when I wake up. (Usually is, Dan's up with the chickens. Oh, don't worry. I totally know where my bread's buttered.)

* The children would bound out of their beds in the morning and say "Happy Mother's Day! We're so thankful for you and all you do, Mom. The cooking! The cleaning! The precious gift of life! You've let us live this long despite finding our toys in the toilet and our coats on the roof. We just couldn't wait to sing your praises this morning. How can we ever do enough for you today?" Yeah, I know. I was laughing half way through it myself. Usually they just shuffle out and mumble, "Can we have cereal?" so anything besides that would be acceptable.

* Breakfast out! Like, at a restaurant! The kind with napkins and silverware that aren't wrapped together in plastic. Food that comes out on plates instead of in bags. We never do that.

* Mom-only time all. day. long. I'd hit the book stores, the yarn shops, get a pedicure, sit at the coffee shop and knit, sit and read over lunch. Then I'd browse about a dozen different stores - slowly! - without yanking one thing from some child's hands and putting it back on the shelf. Yuh-huh!

* Nap! No, I mean for me. Nap for me!

* Cook dinner for the fam. I love to cook, so it's not work for me. But I'll *ahem* let someone else do the dishes.

* Go straight to bed and read uninterrupted until I fall asleep.

Riiiiiiiiight. Okay. Now that I'm done dreaming, this is what will probably happen on Mother's Day.

* Coffee's done when I wake up. (Thanks, honey!)

* Children shuffle out and say, "Can we have cereal?" while they're still rubbing their eyes. Sigh and be thankful that at least one thing in life is predictable.  Whisper a prayer to God that I have them.

* Go to church and swell with pride as I watch 30 of my favorite children sing and act their little hearts out for their moms. Ignore the fact that one child is picking her nose, since she does it every time, we can't stop her, and we love that girl anyway so what good does it do to embarrass her about it? Just remember not to shake hands with her later.

* Have burgers on the grill at home for lunch.

* DOXA practice at 2pm. We're getting ready for an audition on 5/17 and we're perfecting the 3 songs we've picked. We polled the moms, they were all down with it. We kinda forgot to poll the dad, we're a little bit hoping his wife doesn't slash our tires. If she's mad I'm totally blaming it on Jim. ;-)

* Home by 5 or so for dinner. I'll cook, since I love to, but I'll *ahem* let someone else *coughcoughAshleycoughcough* do the dishes.

* Sit on the back patio with the newspaper and something fun to drink, watching the people I love most in the world play and laugh together. It's not often you see a family that actually enjoys spending time together, so I know how lucky I am.

* Think about my friend Jordan, pregnant with twins, and try not to cry thinking about how long and hard she fought for them, and I'm just so stinkin' happy for her.

* Be thankful we're all together, we're healthy and happy, have very little to complain about.

* Realize how blessed I am, and try not to cry. Why why WHY with the crying! I do have my "mean old biddy" reputation to uphold, after all.

Yeah, you're right. The "me" version of Mother's Day so totally won't happen. Wouldn't change a thing, though. Well, maybe the nap part, but the rest of it? I wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, April 21, 2008

So, like, NO grumbling? Like, none? Really?

I love the laundry. I really really do. I'm not kidding, either. I love the laundry.

Well, wait. Let me clarify that.

I love to sort the laundry. I'm using the word love about sorting laundry, yes. But you know what I mean: sheets go with sheets, towels go with towels, lights, whites and darks, and so on. Sheets and pillow cases meet up and whisper all their bedroom secrets to the blankets. Not many people know that light colors are happiest when allowed to hang together and cheer each other up. They have that rose-colored glasses positivity about them that you just can't help be brightened by yourself. And darks? Dark clothes just want to be left alone to sit and brood in one big lumpy mish-mash, doing their best to look tortured, mysterious and aloof. Oh so very dark smoky French cafe.

I love to do the laundry, too. Mainly because I'm the only one in my house who does it right. Truly though, washing my perfectly sorted loads, hanging what needs to be hung and drying what goes in the dryer? It just speaks to my organization-loving heart. Dude, clothes don't want to be washed with towels. Towels leave all their working class terry-clothy lint all over the privileged fine knits that populate the upper crust of Laundry Room Society. And what fool decided it was okay to just undress into the washer and run it when it's full? Hellooooo?!! There are whites in there with dark jeans, man. Whites with jeans! Sweet fancy Moses, that's just crazy talk!

I also really dig on folding the laundry. Again, I'm the only one who does it right. And yes! There really IS a right way and a wrong way, don't argue with me. Who else knows how every little thing in this house needs to be folded besides the one who knows how it all needs to fit in drawers and cubbies? Moi, that's who. Jonah's shirts hang, Mary-Beth's dresses hang, towels and trousers folded in thirds, shirts folded department store style, knickers lay flat or fold, depending on size. *ahem* So yeah. I love to fold the laundry.

But today I was grumbling about laundry. Not laundry, really, but having to turn yet another of Ashley's flap-jacking shirts right-side-out. Seriously, people. There's no Right-Side-Out Fairy who comes along, waves her magic clothespin over the basket and the clothes just magically turn themselves to rights. No, the momma does that. And do you know why the momma does that? Because you don't!

So anyway, I'm grumbling to myself: "If I have to turn one more of these shirts back to rights I think I might just finally go to the zoo!" when suddenly, God decides I'm in need of a little calibration.

"Do everything without grumbling..." Philippians 2:14

W-what? Pardon? First of all, where did that even come from? I haven't read that verse in ages. On purpose. Grumbling seems to be getting me through my day just fine, thank you very much. Sure, there's plenty of weeping and gnashing of teeth around here when I put my foot down, but the children do it too!

"Do everything without grumbling..."

So, does that mean NO grumbling? Like, none? Really? Even if it's the billionth shirt I've turned right-side-out? Even if it's the 5,143,786th time I've had to ask a certain someone I'm married to where he put my favorite stockpot... AGAIN!? Because it's sure not where it belongs!

Even after the 43rd change of panties in one day? How about after I turn off the 90th light in a room with no! people! in it!? Huh? Huh?! Do You even know how frustrating that is? Certainly cause for grumbling if ever there was one.

No grumbling, huh? WHY???!!! I don't think You know these people I live with, Lord.

Oh. So you say Jesus didn't grumble when He went to the cross for me? Yeah. I remember that now.

(Thinking on it for a while...)

Okay, God. "Do everything without grumbling." I'll do my best. You're right. It probably would help my all-around attitude tremendously. If I'm purposely not grumbling, but deciding to thank You for these people I live with instead of grumbling about them? Yeah. It'd probably make a huge difference. I'll give it a try.

I'll, um, let you guys know how it goes.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


I had to vacuum the kids' heads today.

Please. Don't ask.

Elinor Dashwood? Ummmm....

You are Elinor Dashwood of Sense & Sensibility! You are practical, circumspect, and discreet. Though you are tremendously sensible and allow your head to rule, you have a deep, emotional side that few people often see.

I saw this quiz at my friend Sarah's blog and since I love all things Austen I had to take it. Elinor Dashwood? I'm flattered, I must say. I loved Sense & Sensibility, and Elinor has always been one of my favorite Austen characters. But am I like her? I do have a knack for getting things done without much fuss, I'm practical, and I'm often the voice of reason in my family. But I have to admit it's not often that I allow my head to rule. Usually it's my mouth. Yes, Elinor Dashwood is much better at keeping her opinions to herself than I am.

Anyway, I thought you'd enjoy finding out which Austen character you more closely resemble. Thank you, Sarah!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

In which Jonah learns his Cubbies teacher Mrs. Snyder is pregnant with twins

Jonah: "Whaaa? Misser Nyder has TWO babies in her tummy? How did she get them there? How did her two babies get in there to her tummy?"

Me: "Anyone ready for a snack?"

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Oh. My mistake.

Me: Son, do you have to go potty?
Jonah: No.
Me: Then take your hands off your penis.
Jonah: (pointing low and to the left) But Mom, my penis is over here.

Friday, March 07, 2008


So I needed to do some quick math to figure out how much I had left in my checking account. I happened to be sitting in the Starbucks drive-thru and didn't have pen or paper, didn't have a calculator, and didn't have my husband to do it in his head. (He's wicked smart that way. Me? Not so much.)

No worries! I generally fancy myself to be resourceful so I set about scouring the van for something that would serve useful. AHA! Mary-Beth's Travel Magna-Doodle! Yes. I was scraping out my calculations with a magnet pen on a child's toy. Who's more hip than me? I got a curious look from the cashier (which I returned - psh! Dude, what's wrong with my Magna Doodle? Jealous?) and as I drove away I couldn't help but wonder: Is it possible that I'm not the cool one? Have I lost more than my simple mental math skills since the children came along?

Hmm... Prolly.

I can't use the restroom anymore. I remember when we used to use the restroom. We always used the restroom, or the W.C. or the powder room, depending on the venue. We don't use the restroom anymore. We don't go to the W.C. or the powder room. We go potty. And we can't just go potty. We have to share! our fabulous! plan! to potty! with everyone! "Mommaaaaaay! I have to go peeeeee!"

No more breakfast meetings, lunch meetings, dinner meetings, date nights. Now we have story time, play time, clean-up time, nap time... nap time... nap time... Did I mention nap time?

We don't look for tissues to solve a nose problem. We look for the blue nose sucker thingee. Note to self: blue nose sucker thingee is just like a firearm: never point it at your face and pull the trigger.

Remember when you could walk down the hall at night without stepping on stuff? Long gone. Midnight trips to the potty require night vision goggles now, unless you don't mind extracting Legos from the soles of your feet in your sleep.

I used to be able to leave my latte on the counter. Heck, I was even known to leave it on the end table! Not anymore. If a drink is within reach of Pete & Repeat, it's fair game. Kiss it goodbye, my friend. Just kiss it goodbye.

I wasn't always able to tie The Girls into my bathrobe belt. You know what I'm talking about, ladies. And while we're on the subject, I can't remember the last time I didn't have to adjust The Girls before going through the frozen foods section at the store to make sure everyone's pointing the same direction. Don't laugh! Gravity's a bitch and she's coming for you!

There was a time that I could go out with my friends until the wee hours of the morning, and still manage to make it to work bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 5:30 a.m. Now? I turn into a pumpkin at 9:30. I'm just not built for speed anymore.

I still haven't adjusted to having to share my snacks. Nothing quite as pathetic as a grown woman hiding in the coat closet wolfing down a cookie, no? Yes, I do realize I'm supposed to be trying to teach my children to share. Mind your own, eh.

I've lost the ability to keep a clean car. I used to have a clean car, now I never have a clean car. It does sometimes smell clean, but it rarely looks clean inside or out. Once in a while I'll give it a good going-over: toss the old paper coffee cups in the trash, scoop all the shoes and hats into a basket for going inside, and anything else that doesn't say Baby Ruth on it can go in the jockey box. Just don't let the kids see me tossing the old tater tots. (Have you seen a year-old tater tot? Seriously y'all, those suckers have staying power!)

I used to be able to remember things. Stories I'd told, people I'd talked with, things I'd said, where I parked my car, no sweat. Now? Shah! I can barely remember my own birthday. "Stop me if I've already-" "Yes. You've already told me. Twice, in fact." I've been trying to do a Sudoku every day to keep the old lady brain sharp but it hasn't really kicked in yet.

I've lost the ability to keep a clean car... Oh. I already said that? Mmm-kay.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Anyone mind a re-hash?

I was looking around for the old blog I'd done about Jonah's poop adventures because I have an update to share. During my search I ran across this old entry from December 2005. It's still something that bugs me to no end so I thought I'd bring it up to the front. I've added in a few things here and there, a link, fixed some bad spelling. Hopefully the little chippie working at the local Winco will read it? I'm just sayin.

It's a Lost Art

Alright, I know this has nothing directly to do with being a momma, beyond the fact that, as the momma, I spend lots of time at the grocery. Or the department store. Or the Starbucks drive-thru. But still it's valid and that's why I'm bothering.

Whatever happened to counting back change? It absolutely makes my blood boil when some gum-chewing dull-eyed half-wit just plops a handful of coin and paper into my hand. blam. take it or leave it. thanks for nothin'. are you still here?

It seems as though the digital cash registers of today have removed any and all thinking from the entire process by telling the cashier the right amount to give back. (Check your brain at the door, please.) A great disservice if you ask me. Don't even get me started on today's Reformed Math. Ugh.

Yes, it's wonderful that you can now move 12 customers instead of 7 through your line in 15 minutes. Yes, I'm glad your cashiers are no longer standing there staring blankly at that open money drawer, wondering what to do next. That part of the transaction makes everyone uncomfortable. Still, this inevitable influx of technology doesn't exempt your employees from displaying the most basic of customer service responsibilities... to say nothing of second grade math skills.

Consider a recent experience I had with the jolliest of fellows at a local gas station.

"Three gallons of low-grade unleaded? 'zthat all? Why that'll barely keep your car running, ma'am. Ah. I see your minivan is powered by dual overhead hamsters, so maybe you'll be alright. Just remember to toss a handful of hamster feed down the heater vents once a week. Oh. Y'say you already knew that? Wonderful! Those little fellars'll most likely survive the winter then.

"Well, thank you Mrs. H, that'll be $15.47. Out of $20? Oh my, I'd better get my counterfeit detection marker. Never can be too careful. And I see you've got a van-load of babies --- shall I bring back a few lollipops as well? What's thatchya say? Babies don't eat lollipops? I did not know that. Well, maybe next time then.

"Okay, here ya go. That was fifteen forty-seven. Here's forty-eight, forty-nine, fifty, seventy-five, and another quarter makes sixteen. Seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, aaaaaaaaand twenty. Now you have a nice day, Mrs. H."

See? So simple. That young gas station attendant was so polite and engaging! He was very knowledgeable about the care and feeding of hamsters, although I worry about the health of his future children. But still he was careful to give back the correct amount of change, and he's proven that he's passed the second grade. I was just so distracted by all those numbers flying around that I didn't even feel it when the oil company reached in and extracted my right kidney from behind.

You would think a store owner or manager would quiz his or her employees on the counting back and giving of change. In fact, Ashley's father is a restaurant manager; he told her she can't have a job there unless she can count back change. Yay. Too bad more don't follow his example. It would be in their best interest to do so, in my almost always humble opinion. But alas, many an employee with the Store Manager name tag has thrown change at me with the best of them.

I've recently taken to standing there in line (or sitting there, if it's the drive-thru) and manually but cheerfully counting the change back to myself out loud whenever some clod presents me with a sweaty fistful of mystery change. Hopefully the display isn't lost on the cashiers, although I know it annoys them. Especially at Starbucks! Apparently the super-trendy feel they're above such nonsense.

How rude! I can't believe she's doing that! She doesn't trust me. Hellooooo. Am I not excellently sporting my black "Expert Barista" apron?

Well, no Junior, I don't trust you. But don't be offended. I suspect you didn't complete the second grade as evidenced by your lack of basic counting skills, black apron not withstanding. I'm only looking out for you. If (or rather, when) your register comes up short today, you'll know it wasn't because you accidentally tossed a twenty at Mrs. H.

But if you did, I promise to spend it at Starbucks.
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