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!”

Har.

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.

Sarcasm.

*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?
PAY HERE
Push credit or debit.
CREDIT
Enter your zip code.
55317
Do you want to use your rewards card at the pump?
NO
Do you want a car wash today?
NO
Authorizing…..
Approved.
Would you like a receipt?
NO
Select grade.
87
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

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

So, How’s Your Summer?

So you know how when it’s hot and humid all week, but you’re busy with work and baseball and everything else, and you promise your kids that you’ll take them to the beach on Friday IF they behave, and then Friday finally gets here and you get to the beach and it’s windy and cool and cloudy and you’re thinking how much Minnesota weather BITES, but everyone is swimming and having fun until after you buy them each a bag of chips and Justin decides he wants Fritos now after he’s already eaten Cheetos and he gets pissed and throws sand in your face? And so you pack up and leave, because it’s cold and sucky anyway, even though you’ve only been there an hour, and you get home and all you want to do is get in the shower and maybe work some more on a big project you launched this week, only to have Cameron crowd Alex out of the bathroom, resulting in a fight over who gets to pee first, and then Justin accuses Alex of peeing on the floor, and Alex gets mad at the accusation when I tell him to clean it up, and dumps a basketful of stuff from the linen closet onto the floor, then gets all apologetic and helps clean it up, only to blow a gasket again when you go into the bathroom and realize that he actually DID pee on the floor, purely out of spite, and you yell at him for it while you’re mopping up the floor with Lysol, and he’s still denying doing it, and gets mad and dumps the stuff out of the linen closet again, and you yank him out of it, and he accuses you of pinching his neck, and you’re thinking, you’re lucky that’s ALL I did, you little monster. Then Cameron, acting all high and mighty, tattles on him for squirting sunscreen on the floor, and you tell Cameron that if he hadn’t butted in line ahead of Alex in the bathroom, none of this would have started to begin with. And then Alex calls you an “asshole fucker” and dumps a basket of laundry out in your room, and you then completely zone out and the tears start rolling and you tell them all that you’re not speaking to them the rest of the day and that you will never, ever, in the history of time, ever do ANYTHING nice for them ever again because of their ungrateful and horrific behavior, then decide to screw it, and get in the shower anyway, even if you risk emerging into total destruction when you’re done, and while you’re in the shower, you think back to the other night when your husband came home and was annoyed because you didn’t load the dishwasher up to his rigorous standards, and had the audacity to insinuate that you didn’t DO anything to keep the place in order during the day, even though if it weren’t for you incrementally picking up and forcing them to clean up all day long, and for a twice daily sweep of the house to at least make sure the worst of the worst is put away, that if you didn’t do that, he would come home to nothing but a smoldering pile of ruins, and you get mad at him and decide that you are going to go drink tonight, and don’t care where or with whom. And then you get out of the shower and find that your devil spawn at least felt guilty enough to put the laundry back in the basket and are outside playing like nothing ever happened. And David is either sleeping or in his room through it all. And then you sit down to write and almost finish, and Alex comes in and puts his head on your arm and says he’s sorry, and kisses your arm, and you don’t talk to him, and he says sweetly, “Mommy, I love you,” and you can’t decide if you should continue not talking to him or acknowledge him, as he keeps kissing you while you type the last sentence of your rant.

Yeah, that.

© 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

 

What I Think

We want to know what you think,

Thank you for shopping with (Major Chain Drugstore) Photo! You have been selected to take part in a customer satisfaction survey. Please take a few minutes to share your opinions about your recent photo order experience with us.

Sure, ok. I sent five photos to you on-line to be printed. The prints were not the quality of my professional lab, but they were decent, not to mention considerably cheaper, and I was able to pick them up in an hour. You delivered as advertised, no more, no less, and I walked away a satisfied customer.

You were actually my second choice. I needed photos printed to be used for a school project on Sunday night. When I sent the same order to (Major Discount Department Store), and went to pick them up, they weren’t ready because of some software problem that frankly, I didn’t give two cents about, I just cared that it wouldn’t be resolved until Monday, and cancelled the order. I haven’t received their consumer satisfaction survey yet.

Yeah, I’m not really taking five minutes out of my day to fill out a customer satisfaction survey about five stupid photos. Is it just me or is everyone just a little too desperate for validation? Go on-line and complete our survey to be eligible for a $5,000 gift card! Go on-line and complete our survey for six complimentary wings! Go on-line and complete our survey for 10% off your next purchase! Go on-line and complete our survey and be entered to win a grand-prize drawing of $10,000! Go on-line and complete our survey for ten free prints! Go on-line and complete our survey and you could win free web-hosting for a year! Tell us how we did! How was my service today? Were you completely satisfied? How was your recruiting experience? What could we do better? Give us your opinion.

Here’s my feedback. Leave me the hell alone.

Trust me, if I’m dissatisfied, you’ll be the first to know. And if you fucked up to the point where I go all passive-aggressive and just never patronize your business again, I guess you’ll never know, but that’s your problem. (I’m talking to you, Eden Prairie Texaco station with the psycho cashier who literally threw a pen at me one morning like 15 years ago. I’ve never set foot in your place since.) Just do your damn job. You’d have a hell of a lot more time to DO your job as a business if you’d quit forcing your employees to force these stupid surveys, credit card applications and other bullshit on your customers.

I highly doubt the results you get from these surveys are statistically worth a damn anyway. Who takes them? Broke students who will do anything for a free meal? Housewives who have way too much time on their hands? People who are bored at work and need to kill time before 5:00? If the demographic you’re going for is people who have time to sit down and put serious thought into a survey, you’re not properly capturing your customer base. In fact, I know of someone who works for an upscale department store who gives the survey codes that customers don’t use so friends and family can go on-line and complete the survey so she can attain her quota every month.

Technology has caused corporations to focus less and less on what is important, and more and more on what is measurable, regardless of whether or not the number generated has any real meaning or not. It’s the reason that by the time I left my last “real” job as a corporate manager, I loathed surveys, statistics, metrics and spreadsheets with every fiber of my being. Employees are not machines. Neither are customers. Everything they do cannot be condensed into a number. You can’t quantify quality. You can’t quantify service. You can’t quantify creativity.

© 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

What’s Bugging Me

Shit that is annoying the hell out of me at this moment.

  • My husband, when he loads the dishwasher, and it’s completely full, and he knows we’re out of clean bowls because he just used a mixing bowl for his cereal, but then doesn’t bother to run it.
  • David calling everything he doesn’t like “gay.”
  • Controlling Little League coaches who hassle 14-year-old umpires.
  • The woman who posts random used household items and clothes to a local neighborhood on-line garage sale Facebook page, trying to sell them for more than they would retail on sale. And she doesn’t even live here. Sorry, I’m not driving two hours to buy your previously owned men’s sandals for $15.
  • The reconfigured layout of Kauffman Stadium for the All-Star Game. You can’t even see the outfield grassy hills. They’ve already taken out so much of what was wonderful about that park to devote to advertising space, including tearing out an entire row of fountains a few years ago. Now this. Boo.
  • DirecTV and Viacom and their dueling propaganda messages about negotiations to keep Nickelodeon and other channels from going off the air at midnight tonight. I especially love the edited reactions from Spongebob, Dora, Victoria Justice, and iCarly, freaking out and imploring viewers to call and stop the madness. All I’ve heard today from my kids is how they won’t get to see their shows. Take it off-line, you losers.
  • This article, Michael Phelps’ work ethic challenged by teammate Tyler Clary, which I hope was taken out of context, because if not…nice Olympic team spirit. So basically what Clary is saying then, is that if Phelps had worked as hard as he did, he would have beat Clary’s ass in the 200m fly not by 1.5 seconds, but by 15 seconds. Wait until the Olympics, I’m guessing you’ll have some crow to eat along with your sour grapes.

That is all.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2012

Nattering Nabobs Of Negativism

I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I have a very low tolerance for yammering idiots. Unfortunately sometimes you’re in a confined space (airplanes, grocery store lines, theater, sporting event) where you have no viable means of escape. Tonight at Cameron’s baseball game I had the distinct pleasure of being subjected to the inane gabfest of a couple of rocket scientists sitting behind me. A regular Algonquin Round Table.

Gratuitous shot of my son hitting the ball.

I was treated to gems like this.

“Why didn’t he call the infield fly rule?” (Well, for one thing, the ball was hit into the outfield.)

“The colors of the Rangers uniforms make sense because I think those are the Texas Rangers colors.”

“Put it where you live!” (This was some kind of shout of encouragement to a hitter. I’ve been watching baseball for over 30 years and have no clue what that could possibly mean.)

“Do you know what a ‘quorum’ is?” (He was talking to a kid, presumably to educate him. *Facepalm*) “It’s something used in the Senate. Like a majority.” (A quorum is decidedly not a majority, it’s the minimum number of a group that needs to be present to pass a law.)

Then there was a lengthy, graphic, and frankly, nauseating, discussion about eyebrow trimming. (These were two rather out of shape and inching toward middle age men.) Then something about NBC’s Andrea Mitchell editing comments from a press conference, and a reference to Grey’s Anatomy where the name “Dr. McDreamy” was uttered.

And along the way they were being assholes about our team when we’d make mistakes. Like when a ball was hit back to the pitcher and he started to throw to third before realizing it wasn’t a force play and the kid didn’t have to run, but by then it was too late to throw to first for the out. Their reaction? “HA! HA!”

These are nine-year-olds, not Major Leaguers.

On another play our shortstop didn’t charge a ball that was softly hit, resulting in a late throw to first base. The runner was safe. And loud enough for parents and kids alike to hear, they were saying things like, “JEEZ! HOW STUPID. LOOK AT THAT KID JUST SIT THERE AND WAIT FOR THE BALL!” Charming. This was the one time their wives intervened. “Shhhh! There are parents sitting around here.”

I just wish stupid people couldn’t talk. That would make it so much easier for the rest of us.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2012

 

I Didn’t Ask For A Shot Of Attitude

Today is the first day of summer vacation. Before 9:00 in the morning I had already responded to several DEFCON 3 level emergencies such as Justin’s ChapStick stuck behind the microwave, Alex nearly STARVING to death, Penny absconding with everyone’s stuff, and trying to rig the zip pull on a stupid toy called a Beyblade. By the time David socked Cameron in the gut with a coffee cup I was planning happy hour.

My friends and I had a margarita at a local Mexican place, and decided to head elsewhere once they started to get busy for dinner. So we went to Houlihan’s. Three of us ordered a vanilla rum and diet Coke off the drink menu (yes, we were too mentally exhausted to think for ourselves), our driver ordered a plain diet Coke. The server brought our drinks and took off. As soon as I took a gulp of mine I think I made a horrible face because it tasted like pure licorice and just disgusting. Everyone else kind of reacted the same way, and it didn’t take all four of us long to figure out we’d gotten diet Coke that was all syrup and no carbonation.

It took us a few minutes to flag down our waiter. When he did come over, the conversation went like this.

Kristi: “We need some CO2.”
Server: “What do you mean?”
Terri: “The diet Coke is all syrup, no fizz.”
Server: “So do you want me to bring you different drinks? Because they’ll taste the same. That’s what the vanilla tastes like.”
Me: “No, it’s not the rum, it’s the carbonation in the diet Coke.”
Server: “What’s wrong with it?”
Renee: “There isn’t any.”
Server: “So you want me to bring you new drinks?”
All: “Yes.”
Server: “So do you want to order something different?”
Kristi: “No, we just want diet Coke that isn’t just sweet.”
Server: “Oh. Well this happened a few days ago, and we checked everything, and it was all okay.”
All (Thinking.): “What the hell is your point?”
Server: “I guess I can go back and check the hoses.”

So he left, and we talked about what a douchebag he was being. Kristi has had him before, and said he’s always an ass, and is either slow or in the wrong profession. We waited a long time, and finally he came back, with no replacement drinks. We were four moms who had dealt with children all day, the last thing we needed was to have the same type of incredulous conversation with our WAITER.

Server: “I checked all three of the tanks, and tasted it, and everything seems to be fine.”
Kristi: “Well, this isn’t fine. It tastes awful.”
Server: “So do you want me to bring you something else? Because if I replace these they’ll be just the same.”
Terri: “I think maybe we’ll just go somewhere else then.”
Server: “Are you sure? I can bring something else.”
Kristi: “No, we don’t want anything else, just something that’s not flat.”
Server: “Oh, it’s flat? I thought you said it was too sweet. I think there was a misunderstanding. I can go back and check that.”
Me: “No, I think we’re leaving.”
Server: “Sorry, I guess if you want to leave…”

So we walked out. Hopefully the tab will come out of his ass. The booze we bought at the liquor store and drank out on the deck tasted better anyway. Seriously, after dealing with kids all day who act all “Take out the trash? What does that mean? How would I possibly go about doing that?” the last thing I needed was a fucking waiter arguing with me about whether or not my soda was flat. Bring me another damn drink and shut the hell up. This is why people shoot whiskey.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2012