Raging Dull

By all reasonable accounts I should be on Cloud Nine* today. The Kansas City Royals, my lifelong team, bereft of a championship for 30 years, won the World Series on Sunday. All I have to do is think of Eric Hosmer’s mad dash home to tie Game 5 in the ninth inning, and I get a huge smile on my face or start to tear up. Instant happiness. Last night I went to see Jim Gaffigan in concert with my husband, oldest son, and BFF. We had a great time. He was fantastic. Quote from one of our favorite bits, “Is this worth it?”

But someone today served me up a full-on slice of rage with a side of loathing and an indignation chaser. Literally everything is pissing me off. Granted, even when I’m even-keeled I don’t easily suffer fools, but that’s not usually something that turns my day upside down.

Alex had some questions about the show this morning. “What did he talk about?”

Me: “Hot Pockets.”

Alex (eyeroll): “Did he talk about airline food?”

Me: “No.”

Alex: “Good. Because that is getting REALLY old.”

Eight years old, going on…me. I think that sort of sums up what’s wrong with me today. I don’t have any patience for anyone who is rehashing the same old shit. What set me off started before I’d even left my house this morning – a fairly innocuous comment on a post about the Gaffigan show my friend tagged us in on Facebook.

“…looks like youre hanging out with a bunch of Weiners!”


For the record, my name is Jennifer Weiner. Pronounced “WINE-er.” When I write I use my maiden name for my byline so I’m not confused with the relatively prolific author of the same name. Jennifer Weiner has done rather well for herself, so it wouldn’t be terrible, but no need to create undue confusion. Receptionists at medical offices often ask me if I’m her. Note to Jennifer’s publisher – receptionists at medical offices must be very into “chick lit.” I sense a marketing opportunity. You’re welcome for that free bit of insight about a key demographic. I read Jennifer Weiner’s first book, Good in Bed, a title for which I suffered a fair amount of grief. It was okay, and that’s not a knock against her, but it’s a genre that’s just not really my thing.

I digress. The “weener/weiner” comment is just so ridiculously unfunny. I mean, could you pick any lower hanging fruit than making an obvious joke out of someone’s name? It’s not my name. I wasn’t born with it. My kids get mocked for it constantly. My oldest son, now a sophomore in high school, used to be terribly bothered by it. A baseball pitcher, he intentionally hit a kid once as a 12-year-old when he heard the kid call him “weener” before a game. When I found out why he hit the kid I wasn’t even mad. I was impressed with his control and situational awareness. He’d cleanly retired the first two batters, then plunked the kid with precision on the first pitch with two outs. Now he embraces the taunts, lets his friends call him “penis,” which has taken away all the power of the chirp. You can do that as a 15-year-old who lifts weights and is unafraid of anyone. It’s a little different for younger kids who haven’t developed any coping mechanisms.

I don’t know this person. She’s probably perfectly nice, but her comment annoyed the hell out of me. Not because I was offended, but because of how fucking immature and stupid and preposterously unclever it was. If it were a good joke, I probably wouldn’t have cared. I respect a well-timed and funny insult at my expense. But I have no tolerance for the trite and cliché. I later replied to her comment with a single word. “Hilarious.” She “liked” it. That angered me even more. Because that remark was dripping with sarcasm. And it went completely unrecognized.

The check-out lines at Target over my lunch hour were long. And things went from bad to worse because when it was my turn, the slow cashier handling my lane was replaced by the chatty cashier. I always purposely avoid this woman’s lane. She’s worked there for eons, and she insists on commenting on every item you purchase. I plastered a smile on my face, and prepared for her shtick. As she slid the pizza crusts, pizza sauce, and mozzarella cheese across the scanner, I assumed the crash position, bracing for impact.

“Makin’ some pizzas?”

Oh. My. God. Are you some kind of fucking psychic? How the amazing Kreskin did you know that? No. Way. That was. FAN-Tastic. Seriously, chills.

“You know, there’s a recipe for a cauliflower pizza crust. I haven’t tried it, but I need to. I need to stay away from the carbs. The cauliflower is low-carb. I’m supposed to be on a low-carb diet, but everything is made outta carbs! I’m a diabetic. My sugars are just way out of control. Crazy high. I see you got that 25% off apparel coupon on Cartwheel. Lady in line earlier didn’t know about it and I told her all about it. She didn’t have the app and went over to customer service and set it up. I used mine the other day.”

This is a test, God. Right?

Mercifully that exchange ended. In the parking lot a cute two-year-old boy was not being controlled by his mother, and slowly walked right in front of my car as I was trying to leave. Move out of my goddamn motherfuckin way, you little bastard. (My God I’m watching too much Veep. I have Selina Meyer mouth.) Before going back to the office, I decided I needed a little pick-me-up, so I stopped at Starbucks for some iced tea. Ran straight into a brick wall of upselling purgatory. 

Barista: “So are you having anything for lunch? A hot sandwich? Fruit parfait?”

Me: “No, just tea.”

Barista: “That comes sweetened, but we can make it unsweetened by special request.” 

Me: (Special request? That sounds overly complicated. Do I have to fill out a goddamn form or something? We’ll leave the sugar out of your tea, but only after you complete Schedule 2530-IT in triplicate.) “Unsweetened, please.”

Barista: “For only 50 cents more you can upgrade your Grande to a Venti.” At this point she’s waving cups at me.

Me: “Fine.” (If that will end this transaction. Please.)

Barista: “Anything else for you? We have fresh gingerbread cookies out of the oven!”

Me: “No thanks, I’m good.”

Barista: “Do you like music? We have the new Andrea Bocelli CD.”

Me: “That’s ok.” (I haven’t listened to a CD since 2006. Do they still make CD players? You don’t grind the coffee with a mortar and pestle, why are you selling CDs?)

Probably I should not be allowed around anyone for the rest of the day, for the safety and well-being of everyone involved. Unfortunately I have a meeting tonight, and I have to deal with my own children, which is always interesting. Thank goodness it was dark when I drove home at 5:00 in traffic. That’s always a mood booster.


*What is Cloud Nine anyway? What right does Cloud Nine have to be so damned haughty? I bet it just kissed ass all the time, and probably backstabbed the hell out of Clouds Five and Seven to attain its exalted position. Cloud Six is all, “That was my idea, bitch. Thanks for sharing the credit.”

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2015


Gas Pains

Know what I hate? Pumping gas. Know why? This.

Pay here or pay inside?
Push credit or debit.
Enter your zip code.
Do you want to use your rewards card at the pump?
Do you want a car wash today?
Would you like a receipt?
Select grade.
Lift handle and begin fueling.

You know what I would like to do? I would like to pump my gas. It’s 11 goddamn degrees out and I would like to get out of the wind and get back into my car. That’s it. That’s what I want to do.

A Cold War spy going through code phrases to gain entry to a safe house in Prague had fewer hoops to jump though.

“Have you seen the symphony?”
“The cat rides at midnight.”
Access granted.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2014

Is My Name Google?

People. They’re the worst. Especially helpless people. Especially helpless people who are also bossy. Especially helpless and bossy people who are demanding and ungrateful. Especially helpless, bossy, demanding, and ungrateful people who interrupt me.

I’m hanging out in the coffee shop this afternoon. I’m antsy, and just needed to chill out and not be driven insane by my children. David is probably not particularly thrilled with being home with them, but when you’re 14, you don’t always have a lot of choices. So I’m listening to my earphones and editing some photos, applying for some jobs. Just doing some stuff that is easier to do when you don’t have a kid declaring his hunger or telling on his brother every five minutes.

So I’m plugging merrily along, and a late middle-agish woman comes up to my table. I thought she was just waiting for her coffee, until she tapped on my table and waved at me. I took out my earphones, even though Jim Rome was in the middle of a pretty funny rant about some new thing called “spray cake,” you know, in case going to the trouble of baking a cake, and eating it with a fork and plate is too daunting of a task for you.

Her: “Excuse me. I don’t know anything about computers, even at the library, and I’m wondering if you could help me with something.”
Me: “Sure.” I got up, thinking she had something wrong with her computer she wanted me to troubleshoot.
Her: “Oh no, can you check something on your computer?”
Me: “Oh, ok. Yeah.”
Her: “I’m not interrupting what you’re doing, am I?”
Me: “No. It’s fine.”
Her: “Can you look up and see if the county fair is going on right now?”
Me: “Oh, the Carver County Fair is actually in August.”
Her: “But can you see if there are any other county fairs going on today?”
Me: “Oh. Yeah, I guess.” I searched “Minnesota County Fairs” and found a link for Fairs & Festivals on the Explore Minnesota website. I scrolled through, but didn’t see any fairs this weekend, but read off some festivals going on in Hastings and Fargo.
Her: “No, I mean just the metro area. Are you looking at the metro area?”
Me: “Well, yeah, this has metro area information.”
Her: “But I don’t want anything from outstate, just Dakota County, Hennepin, Scott County. The metro area.”
Me: “Right, but I don’t think there are any county fairs going on right now.”
Her: “Maybe you should let me see.”
Me: “Ok.” I turned the screen toward her and scrolled through.
Her: “But this says fairs and festivals. Isn’t there something that just has county fairs?”
Me: “Well, I think they’d be included in this.”
Her: “Can’t you type in just Minnesota county fairs?”
Me: “Sure.” I went back to my search results and found a link for “MN 2014 County and State Fair, Events and Festivals” as she now moved behind me to look directly over my shoulder.
Her: “Is this just county fairs now?”
Me: “I think so. It really looks like most of them don’t begin until the end of July. The Otter Tail County one is this weekend.”
Her: “That’s Fergus Falls.”
Me: “Yeah, I know, but it looks like that and Wabasha are the only ones really happening right now.”
Her: “There’s Kittson County. Where’s that?”
Me: “Um, I really don’t know, it says Hallock.”
Her: “I just want the METRO area.”
Me: “I know, it looks like Scott County is the closest, and it starts next week.”
Her: “Oh, there’s Jordan. Is that Scott County?”
Me: “Yes, that’s the one that starts the 23rd.”
Her: “I can’t really see the dates, where are the dates? What is today?”
Me: “The 18th.”
Her: “Are these all in date order?”
Me: “It appears so.”
Her: “There’s Washington County, but I just want the metro area.”
Me: “I know. It just doesn’t look like there is anything this weekend.”
Her: “What’s that one in Hastings? Oh, an antique show. I thought these were just county fairs?”
Me: “Um, I guess there are some other things on this list too.” I scrolled up and realized I was on a County Fairgrounds USA site.
Her: “Oh so this is fairgrounds. This must also list things that are going on at the fairgrounds. Can you type in something that JUST has COUNTY fairs?”
Me: “Well, I think they’d be included on this.” GEORGE IS GETTIN’ UPSET!
Her: “Oh. So I guess they maybe don’t have something with just county fairs.” (I feel like she really meant, “Oh, you’re just too lazy or stupid to find the correct website.”)
Me: “I think pretty much everything is right here.”
Her: *SIGH* “Well, I guess now I know that Jordan is next week.”
Me: “Yeah.”
Her: “Well, thanks.”
Me: “Sure.”

I hope she steps in manure while she’s there. Metro area manure.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2014

We’re Living In A SOCIETY!

I don’t like to generalize, but people have been unusually bitchy this week. And by “bitchy” I mean they’ve been assholes. The weather in the Twin Cities has been oppressive. And by “oppressive” I mean that it would have to warm up 20 degrees for it to be habitable for the penguins of the Antarctic. But that’s no excuse to act like an entitled jerk. We’re all in this together. So I don’t know what everyone’s deal is, but I’m getting sick of it. As caustic and sarcastic a writer I am, it may come as a surprise that I’m almost militantly polite. I’m shy and not chatty, but never unpleasant without reason, even on days when my kids have again laid waste to my house or are battering each other to a pulp.

So apropos of nothing, here is my list of rules that I think we, as a society, should be required to abide by, or face the wrath of everyone around you. And by “wrath” I mean passive-aggressive stares, eye rolling, and audible sighs, for Minnesotans anyway.

  • If you want to watch or listen to something on your laptop or mobile device around others, use earphones. If you don’t have earphones with you, don’t listen to it. Ten years ago you wouldn’t have brought a portable television into a coffee shop and watched it at full volume, why is it any different if it’s on your computer?
  • Don’t clip your nails in public. And by “public” I mean the workplace. I can’t believe I even have to say this.
  • A busy drive-through ATM is not the place to do full-on banking. Go inside to cash your third-party check from the Bank of Cairo.
  • Don’t park like an asshat.
  • Hold the door for people. Doesn’t matter if you’re male, female, child, oldster, or extra-terrestrial, letting a door shut in someone’s face is selfish, lazy, and a sign that you are not fit to live with the other humans.
  • Don’t slow down, or worse, STOP, at a green light. If you need a refresher on the whole “red means stop, green means go” concept, I can hook you up with a Montessori pre-K program in my area and you can relearn it with all the other three-year-olds.
  • When you’re in the airport, grocery store, at a sporting event, or anywhere within earshot of someone else, put the Bluetooth away. You don’t need to be having a conversation that lasts long enough to be hands-free. No one wants to hear you making dinner plans or having an argument with your wife. You look like you’re a mental patient talking to the voices in your head. And frankly I’d rather encounter that person than you, you inconsiderate bastard.
  • The world is not your ashtray. Anyone who tosses out their cigarette butts at a stoplight should be force-fed a soup made from the cigarette litter on the side of the road.
  • If someone inadvertently blocks part of your narrow street, and inconveniences you for a minute, instead of opening the car door without knocking, and yelling hysterically at the group of startled 14-year-olds inside who have no control over the situation, maybe consider speaking to the owner of the car first, and give her a chance to apologize for what was clearly her mistake.
  • Don’t pay for scumbag crapfest stunts like the proposed DMX vs. George Zimmerman fight. If you do, you’re part of the problem.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2014

Fun For The Whole Family

The PTO at my kids’ school is ruining my life. I have three kids in elementary school, 5th, 2nd, and 1st grades. Just filling out registration paperwork in triplicate took nearly an entire afternoon. Top that off with rooting through backpacks, making lunches, volunteering, doing nightly reading, spelling, and math homework, and I’m almost happy I’m not employed full-time, because dealing with it all would be next to impossible. The school isn’t making my job any easier. Here are a few of my grievances.

  • Annual fall fund-raiser. Every September I look forward to my children being pimped out to sell gift wrap, trinkets, magazines, chocolates, and frozen food. They come home with glossy sheets covered with potential prizes they can win. Karaoke machines, tablet computers, iPods, 3D glasses! Sell only 1,500 items and they can be yours! Just tell your parents to send blast messages to their Facebook friends, relatives, co-workers, neighbors! Go door to door (but be safe), even though every kid in your neighborhood is selling the same bullshit. I ordered one thing from each kid, resulting in thorough disappointment yesterday when we picked up orders, and Justin and Alex found out that the only prize they qualified for was a bottle of “disappearing” ink. And they forgot to include one prize, meaning one kid had to go without. You know how well that went over.
  • Family Fun Night – More begging for money. Their indoctrination of kids to push their parents into participating is one part Stepford Wives and one part Joseph Goebbels. Food! Music! Games! Prizes! Dancing! FUN! This never fails to remind me of one of Jerry Seinfeld’s best lines: “There is no such thing as fun for the whole family.” So with three kids, $10 a wristband, $5 for food, and I’m soaked for $45 before even walking in the door. And then the fun really begins, walking through the school like a zombie with 300 screaming kids. Tonight is the night the kids have been talking about for weeks. My husband and I are literally arguing over who “has” to go to Family Fun Night and who “gets” to go to the wake of a friend’s mother.
  • Themes – As I write this I realize what a hater I’ve become, but when kids are promised a prize for dressing up in whatever theme one of these fund-raisers has, it puts that much more pressure on me. I’m all for a good party, but not when I’m digging through boxes of hand-me-downs at 7:00 in the morning to find three tie-dyed shirts so everyone is sufficiently outfitted for the Groovy Get-together.
  • Raffle Tickets – In conjunction with Family Fun Night, donors provide items for a raffle drawing. And the school sends home 20 tickets for each kid to sell. And of course the kids are the ones who want to buy them because they’ve been staring at that brand new iPod Touch or signed Adrian Peterson poster that has been on display at school all month. 20 tickets x 3 kids = $60. No fucking way. And as I mentioned before, there’s no pool to sell to because every family in the ‘hood has a kid going to that school, and no one else gives a shit about a raffle for random prizes they can’t even see. But the tickets come home anyway, and my kids go to town filling them out, and pretty soon there are tickets all over the kitchen table, mixed up, torn apart, and I have to explain that I don’t want to spend $60 on raffle tickets, and they get all sad and disappointed, and then notes come home from school because they need the unsold raffle tickets back per Minnesota state law, and write a check for the ones that are still intact, and I gather the rest of them all up into one Ziploc bag, give them to my oldest to deal with, and send a bitchy email to their teachers saying that I really don’t have time to tally up and account for five dozen tickets, and that they may or may not all be there.
  • Healthy Snacks – Last time I checked my children were pretty well fed, if not overfed. When I was young, I don’t recall bringing snacks to get me through the day at school. Even infants can go three hours without being fed, yet we’re encouraged to send along a healthy snack because they get soooooooo hungry. Of course maybe they are hungry since Michelle Obama got hold of the school lunch program, and now the kids are given two mini-corn dogs, some applesauce, and a carrot to subsist on for lunch. But inevitably it results in wars at home over what snack to bring because “Johnny brings candy and chips,” so why can’t they? And if I keep tons of snacks around, my four boys and their friends devour it all up after school so there isn’t anything left to bring, resulting in me keeping the local grocery stores profit line healthy.

Ok. Rant over. I’m going to do some Family Fun Night prepping by making myself a Cape Codder. Or two.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2013

When No Means No

Back in my corporate days I did a lot of work with sales. As in the sales people were usually calling me about ten times a day begging me for something that they had already promised to a broker before clearing it with the underwriter. And since I was the boss of underwriting, they’d come to me when they were told no. And I’d tell them no again. Or depending on the situation, would begin a delicate negotiation dance. What always amazed me were the reps who would ask for the same thing a million times. And even when I said no, they’d keep asking. And asking. Sometimes demanding. Sometimes pleading. Maybe one out of ten times I’d cave in and throw them a little piece of something to make them stop. And that was enough to keep them coming back. All. The. Time.

Anyway, I was always amazed by the audacity it took to do that. I’m not naturally a people person. And I have a really hard time asking for anything. And if I do ask for something, and am rejected or told no, there’s zero chance that I’m going back in there to ask for it again. But some people apparently stopped developing around age 10 where it’s socially acceptable (though exasperating) to ask for something you want upwards of 500 times without caring about how pathetic or annoying you are.

My point in all of this is, I can take no for an answer, and it pisses me off when others can’t. And I bring it up because David and I went shopping this weekend. Yes, I know that sounds like an unlikely scenario, but he wanted to look for a new baseball bat, because the one he has is perfectly legal for his league in terms of specs, but because it was made before a pesky USSSA label was affixed to it, which is ridiculous, but don’t even get me started on that. Anyway, I made him run a couple of other errands with me at the mall.

Our next stop after we found a bat was Sears. I never go to Sears, but I happened to be in there the day before with Justin and Alex because we were walking past and some dishes caught my eye. I’d bought a set of cheap plastic plates, cups, and bowls for the kids to use, hoping to cut down on the epidemic of broken glass and ceramic when they make their own lunches. When I bought them I didn’t realize they were on sale, and I decided to pick up a few more.

All I wanted to do was pay for the stupid things and be on my way. Instead the transaction went a little something like this.

Cashier: “Our votive candles are half price, would you like to pick up a few today?”
Me: “No thanks.”
Cashier: “Will this be on your Sears card?”
Me: “No.”
Cashier: “Are you interested in applying? You could get your whole purchase for free!” (My purchase totaled less than $8.00.)
Me: “No, that’s okay.”
Cashier: “It’s really easy, and only takes a few minutes.”
Me: “No. I’m not interested.”
Cashier: “But you can save 15% on all of your purchases for 60 days.”
Me: “Yeah, that’s great, but no, still not interested.”
Cashier: “Are you sure?”
Me: “Uh, yeah.”
Cashier: “Okaaay. Can I have your phone number?”
Me: “No, that’s okay.”
Cashier: “It’s for our rewards program. Are you signed up for our rewards program?”
Me: “No.”
Cashier: “Do you want to sign up? You’ll get special offers and discounts.”
Me: “No.”
Cashier: “It’s completely free and I only need your phone number to get started.”
Me: “No, that’s really ok. No.”
Cashier: “Are you sure? You get coupons and points for every purchase.”
Me: “No. I really don’t want it.”
Cashier: “But it’s a really great deal, you could save a lot.”
Me: “NO.”
Cashier: “All right. Sign here. Would you like your receipt with you or in the bag.”
Me: “In the bag is fine.”
Cashier: “You saved $6.60 with us today!”
Me: “Great.”
Cashier: “Be sure and fill out our survey for a chance to win a $100 gift card.”
Me: “Yeah, sure.”

Just kill me now. It’s like I was being held hostage. She pretty much sealed the deal for me not to step into Sears again for the next two years. It’s not worth it. You get the feeling that these poor sales clerks are going to be put into a medieval torture device if they don’t get x number of customers to sign up for their stupid programs.

I find that it’s the business who are under the most economic pressure that pull this kind of stuff. Just today at the post office I experienced the same thing to a lesser degree. I just needed to mail one little package. “Would you like to get that there tomorrow with overnight delivery for $19.95?” Um, no. Even he laughed at that. But it didn’t stop there. “Do you need insurance or a signature?” No. “Would you like to stock up on stamps today?” No.

This is why brick and mortar stores can’t compete with the likes of Amazon. You enter your payment information, click a button, and you’re done, without the relentless sales pitches, chitchat, and bullshit that introverts like me absolutely loathe.

Rant over.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2013


This Old House

I know I’m not alone. I know this because I’ve heard other people’s stories, some of which are far worse than anything I’ve documented in my little blog entries. But for the past few weeks (really since summer ended), I can’t help but wonder if my children want me to despise them, or if they do what they do for their own pure, misguided idea of enjoyment.

Can similar families actually sit down and watch a TV show together without it turning into a contact sport? Can they eat dinner without being interrupted by bodily noises? Can they go a week without their children breaking things out of anger, stupidity, or to get attention? If the answer is yes, then I guess I’m doing something wrong.

Tonight as we were cleaning up after dinner, Justin and Alex thought it would be funny to put a piece of an uneaten dinner roll into a plastic grocery bag and squish it all up. I didn’t even know what was in there, as they were just running around and being weird. When I realized what they were doing, I took it from them, and threw it into the garbage. They quickly retrieved it, and then disappeared to their room. A few minutes later (that’s all it takes), I went to investigate, and discovered they had replaced the bread with strawberry Jell-O. Red strawberry Jell-O loose inside of a plastic bag, whose structural integrity had been compromised because of all the squeezing they had done while exploring the texture of both the bread and the Jell-O. And they had run around all over the house with it, resulting in splatters of bright red strawberry Jell-O throughout my living room, kitchen, and their bedroom.

There is rage pent up so deep within my body that one day, without warning, I will snap, and tear my house apart room by room because I’m so angered by what devastation my four children have left in their wake. One day I will start ripping up soiled carpet, tear down broken doors, rip out fixtures, pull down blinds, bust out drywall, and gut everything else that they have ruined. It will be me, a utility knife, and a sledge-hammer. So when you see shit starting to pile up out on the lawn, probably best not to come near, because there’s no telling what I’ll do when I’m done.

So that’s something to look forward to.

Also Cameron and I got into a debate in the car later on about which is better, the original Simple Minds version of Don’t You Forget About Me, or the cover by the cast of Victorious. You can probably figure out who took which side. What is wrong with these kids?

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2012

Four Quick Points

Some observations.

Number one. When your transaction at the check-out line is finished, that is your cue to MOVE. ON. It’s not time for you to balance your checkbook, or dig in your purse for your keys, or swap out your bifocals for your sunglasses. No. What you need to be doing is getting the fuck out of the next customer’s way. That little 5″ x 12″ counter is not your office space.

Number two. Double-wide strollers do not belong in the swimming pool locker room, clogging up the entrance like a piece of arterial plaque. If your spoiled little three-year-old can’t walk from the parking lot to the pool, she’s probably too delicate for the water. And at museums, fairs, and amusement parks, you need to park the big-ass bastard OUTSIDE of closed-in spaces, especially if your damn kid isn’t even sitting in the stupid thing.

Number three. If you’re attempting to cash a third-party check from the Bank of Moldova, maybe the drive-through lane at the bank isn’t the best option for you.

Number four. Since it takes longer to back your vehicle into a space than backing out of a space (this especially goes for trophy wives driving oversized Hummers or Navigators), you are not actually saving any time in the grand scheme of things. The only people who should be backing into spaces are drivers of emergency vehicles, and Batman.

Rant over.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2012

Fiddlesticks Just Doesn’t Cut It

My regular readers and my family are aware that I don’t shy away from using swear words. I don’t (usually) do it around children, and it’s not like I encourage it in others, but I’m not afraid to drop a few choice phrases when the situation dictates. Studies have actually shown that uttering swear words eases pain. The reality is that in certain instances, other words just won’t do. And my grandma can cuss with the best of them. And my dad. Hopefully it will skip a generation.

Case in point. Tonight Cameron had football practice. I edited some photography at a coffee shop while he practiced. In that time my husband called me to “tattle” on our children, then called me because he wanted me to pick up ice cream sandwiches for the same children. So after practice Cameron and I went to Super Target, and he proceeded to whine at me as we walked in the door because I wouldn’t buy him baseball cards or some other thing he wanted. Then, against my strict orders, because I planned this to be a quick in-and-out trip, and didn’t want to spend 15 minutes looking for him when I was ready to leave, he disappeared, presumably to go off looking at video games or movies.

So when it’s 8:30, and I’m annoyed with a kid, and haven’t eaten dinner, and just want to go home, and the cheap paper grocery bag rips as I’m putting it into the back of the van, foul language is definitely on the table. And here’s why.

I grab the handles of the bag, and it suddenly tears as I’m lifting it out of the cart. I could say exactly what I’m thinking, which is, “Wow! That really surprised me, and not in a good way!”

But, really, it’s more of a feeling, and what most properly articulates both the intellectual and emotional, is:


And when I assess the situation, and realize that the bag has ripped more than halfway down, and is completely unsalvageable, I could say that, but what more effectively expresses my abject frustration is:


Then, when I am forced to jam items into other bags that are already full, and find a way to safely transfer the damaged bag and its contents to the van, pure anger takes over, and there is no better way to get it all out than by saying:


As I’m implementing this plan I’m now irritated that the stupid cashier put all the moist frozen foods in one bag, precipitating the breakage. And also annoyed at the shoddiness of these bags in general. And my utter disdain can be summed up in one word, muttered under my breath:


And that, my friends, is why I swear. Also going through my mind during all of this was The Big Bang Theory’s Dr. Sheldon Cooper’s analysis of his neighbor, Penny’s situation, strikingly similar to mine. “I believe the condensation on your frozen foods weakened the structural integrity of the bag.”

And her response. “Oh sonofabitch!”

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2012

Why Am I Tired?

Everyone is finally asleep tonight and my house is peaceful. I’m thankful for these moments because they have a way of erasing away some of the ugliness of the day. For a minute I wondered why I feel like a truck ran over me. Then it kind of all came back to me.

Today while I was trying to get some photo editing done for a paid client, as well as get a new website up and functioning where I want it to be, Alex put turquoise eyeshadow all over his face. Justin wanted leftover Chinese food for breakfast. Cameron tried to break Justin and Alex’s bedroom door down because they wouldn’t let him in. Alex cried because he couldn’t find his Disney sing-along game for the Wii. Justin and Alex got into a spitting fight right next to me. Justin peeled an entire banana, then deemed it to be inedible and left it on the kitchen counter after wiping it on Alex’s shirt and hair. They all threatened to kill each other about five times apiece. David got up at 11:30 and made unfounded accusations about people taking his chicken strips. Cameron left a sandwich unattended that Penny snarfed up. Justin whined for 20 minutes about wanting to go to the pool. Justin and Alex took out every toy in the living room toy basket. Cameron chased after Alex for calling him stupid, which made Alex call him stupid even more, which escalated Cameron’s violent overtures (that happened at least ten times). David texted me every half hour asking if football teams had been announced yet. Justin sneezed a massive amount of snot out of his nose and instead of getting a tissue, chased Alex around threatening him with it. Cameron tried the hands-free approach when using the toilet. Twice David called our home phone four times in a row because Cameron wouldn’t pick up or come outside. I had to tell Cameron a very minimum of ten times to close the bread with a twist tie and put it away. Cameron used the hand-vac to vacuum up pickles. Cameron left his baseball cards lying on the floor after being cautioned a zillion times and then got mad at Justin for tearing one. Justin and Alex got into a kicking match over who got to snuggle Penny’s head. Alex melted down because Justin wouldn’t play “Tornadoes to Oz” with him. David snapped his phone in half and came in raging at his dad about it after first calling me. I had to tell Cameron five times to empty the dishwasher. Barry had the nerve to ask me why I was so “grouchy.”

So yeah, I’m kind of worn out. But I can’t remember why.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2012