Thursday, October 28, 2010

"Is That New?" Asks My Husband

I was frantically rushing around the kitchen trying to put dinner on the table.

(Yes, it's true, I sometimes do actually cook, not that anyone usually gets that excited about my cooking. My kids prefer frozen pizza and Annie's Pasta to my concoctions.)

I was still in my sweaty work out clothes from this morning. There was no good excuse or reason for this. My hair was in a messy ponytail, food was flying around the kitchen, and... in walked my husband.

"Is that new?" He asked, and I knew exactly what he was referring to: my blue cycling jacket that I got on the clearance rack at REI about a month ago.

I've been asked this question several times, and I never quite know what to say. I never know if it is leading to a tongue lashing about spending or a compliment. Sometimes, it is both in disguise.

On a Monday night at 7:05, potholders on my hands like mittens and my flyaway hairs sticking out of my ponytail like a halo of chaos, I'm pretty sure no compliments were coming my way.

Luckily, we were distracted by something or other--it could be that dinner was burning.

My answer? "Why, this old thing? I've had it for a month..."

My answer felt like an I Love Lucy episode, and I felt a little like Lucy myself and thought about taking her tricks and hiding shopping bags in my closet.

Men can wear the same pair of pants every day for a week, but women have different ideas. Besides, my husband would rather scrub toilets than shop, so I know when he is in fact wearing something new--that's because I bought it.

Why are there age old arguments like mother in laws and shopping that seem to be a gold mine for stand up comedians? I guess because they are classics, and classics never go out of style. "Is that new?" Nope, it's a classic. That is what I'm going to say next time.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Your Mom's On Facebook? Well, That's Nothing, My Entire Family Is On Facebook

A few weeks ago, my son posted on his facebook page the Saturday Night Live Skit, Mom's on Facebook. We watched it together, had a good laugh, reviewed some safe facebooking guidelines, and off we went on with our lives.

As a family, we talk about computer safety often. Facebook and teens is a hot topic. There are privacy issues, which should read, when you are online, there is NO privacy, so what is the issue? As my husband says over and over, "Don't post anything on facebook that you wouldn't want your grandmother to read."

Last week, I started getting some strange phone calls. People that never call me, called me out of the blue. They were weird, awkward conversations, that had a lot of questions around me being "ok." My response? "Me? Oh, yeah, I'm fine, no problem, I'm at a store buying potatoes, what are you up to?"

Then, I got the call from my mom, and then, it all came together like a good, slow motion movie ending. One of my in-law family members posted something on facebook, my husband responded, and she responded to him in a way that had friends and family buzzing around in a flurry.

Yes, the conclusion was that I was having marital problems. Actually, I think the conclusion was that I was heading straight for a divorce! Everyone knew this, except me. Imagine that.

I had read the post. I knew the context. I wasn't worried. Then, with the flurry of phone calls and long, detailed conversations about why I wasn't getting divorced and, in fact, everything was fine, I feel completely exhausted.

It's not just kids that cause problems on facebook. Adults can be cyber-bullied without the "cyber bully" ever even meaning to bully you. It all smacks just the same. It's a wild frontier out there, be mindful of what you disclose. Even if no one is saying anything, EVERYBODY apparently is reading.

This little experience has made me contemplate long and hard about getting out of the facebook ring of fire. Unfortunately, you remain in the ring whether you write something on some one's wall or not. You can be discussed, tagged in photos, and ultimately, hacked.

I just hope this can serve as an adult lesson. Be careful. Make sure that private conversations are actually private. If you leak details without context, it can feel like slander to your friends and family. Unfortunately, I am the poster child for this incident. If so many people called, imagine how many didn't!

Friday, October 22, 2010

10/22/10: Weekly Update, Fridays, Margaritas & Rain

It's been one of those weeks. The biggest problem that I'm having is that every week is turning into one of those weeks. You, know, the kind of week that feels like Tuesday should in fact be Friday. Here is my week in snapshots of conversation...

Me: Birk, what would you like to get your friend for her birthday?
Birk: Something with lions.
Me: Do you mean like a book or a T shirt?
Birk: Mom, when you were little, did you want books or clothing for your birthday???

Me: How do these kids facebook, text, watch hulu, listen to music and do their homework all at the same time? Am I missing a technical gene?
Mom 1: My kid doesn't have facebook.
Mom 2: Mine, either.
Mom 3: My daughter doesn't even have a cell phone.
Mom 4: I make my kids do homework at the kitchen table while I cook. No electronics.
Mom 2: Well, we certainly don't allow the computer in the bedroom!
Mom 3: Of course not, that would be a foolish thing to do.

Ruth: Mom, you are not allowed to take out the head on a platter and the hanging woman's head until 3 days before Halloween, then you must keep them all in the bathroom with the door closed. Once Halloween is over, they must be put back in the box immediately.
Me: Can I bring them out for a grown up party?
Ruth: Only if you keep them in the bathroom...

Me: Look at this fantastic light up skull. It's super creepy.
Friend: If you get that, Ruth will never sleep again.
Me: I'm putting it back, I'm putting it back!

Now, I'm off to mix Raspberry Margaritas for Margarita Friday. It's raining and creepy here, perfect night for a fire, some candlelight and lots of Halloween decorations!

Friday, October 15, 2010

No Place for the Pictures: My Freshman Boy All Grown Up?

Years ago, I bought one of those cute frames from Pottery Barn Kids. I'm sure you've seen them, they are divided into 9 separate squares--one for each year of school, kindergarten through 8th grade.

I'm feeling this sudden sense of sadness. My freshman's class photos arrived today, and I have no more squares left in his frame. His little smiling face changes from toddler, to boy to, gasp, man-like in these little squares. Now I am left holding his little 3x5 photo for the first time with no place for it to go.

For a split second, I think about buying a second frame. Then my thoughts jumped to just where my not so little boy might be 9 years from now. Of course, thinking I will have 3x5s of my child until he is well out of college is a little crazy, but who decides that I only get to capture his school picture until he's an 8th grader?

CLEAN Cleanse: Day One

Today was my first official day. Quickly, this is how the program works: you have a shake and vitamin supplements for breakfast and dinner. For lunch, you can eat a normal meal, following elimination guidelines.

There are certain foods that are on the NO side of the list, and others on the YES side. Of course, the NOs include alcohol, caffeine, dairy, all meat except fish and poultry, sugar and surprisingly enough, strawberries and bananas.

You can snack throughout the day from the YES side of the list.

I haven't felt weak, or anything unusual, other than wishing I could have some of the NO items. The shakes are not tasty. I tried the first one with the recommended mix of water and had to choke that mixture back.

I went to the grocery store and bought myself an arsenal of yummy foods from the YES side of the list. I blended my second shake with coconut milk and blueberries. I was not savoring the flavor, but it was drinkable.

We'll see what happens on the weekend! Lots of temptation ahead...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Committing to a Cleanse--The Allergy Battle

My allergies have been a plague, for oh, the last 20 years. As a kid, no problem! As soon as I turned 21 and started living away from my childhood home, I was hit with a vengeance. Red monster puffy eyes, constant heavy, painful sinuses, sniffles, runny nose--name an allergy symptom, and I'll bet you I have it in one way or another.

Every time a new over the counter drug is put on the shelf, I am first in line. I've tried them all. I've seen the allergist and had numerous tests. My sinuses have been x-rayed and scoped and everyone just wants me to take more drugs and shots.

Last year I tried acupuncture. The needles freaked me out, and I couldn't say if allergy season just finally ended, or the needle poking just finally worked. Either way, I was starting to have anxiety about going to the acupuncturist, and in my own little world, I'll take the allergies.

This allergy season, I was having coffee with a friend. She was telling me that her allergy symptoms had disappeared. She was doing a cleanse, and within two days, she was better than she had been in years. Always willing to try something new, I immediately got the details.

I am on the brink of starting this cleanse program. I am writing it here to shame myself into actually starting and attempting to stick to it. I'm actually telling everyone I know, so that there is no backing out.

My kit arrives tomorrow. I will write the details as they trickle in, wish me luck. I wish you luck, as my next post will be de-caffeinated, de-wined and most probably, full of whining.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

No, You Can't Crash At Our House

I am a "yes" girl. Most of my life, until just recently, I've had a hard time saying no. Need 6 dozen brownies for the Harvest Fair? No problem. Not enough drivers for the field trip, I'll be right there. No one to head up that committee? I'm on it. Want to visit for three weeks this summer? Let me get out that red carpet.

I am getting a little wiser with old age, if you ask a favor and you screw me, I'm done. I won't do it to myself repeatedly like a dime store pony, the next time I will say no. Oh, and you should not look so shocked when I say it.

Over the years, little situations where I've been blatantly taken advantage of have begin to creep into a long list of disturbing occurrences. Frankly, folks, I'm tired. The one thing I did learn from my 6 months of acupuncture was that we all need to find our boundaries and stick to them.

It took a while for me to get my backbone straight, but I really apologize to all of the people who must pay for years of abuse caused by my own ignorance. If you don't ever say no, even if you have the best intentions, you eventually burn out. Big time. So if other people are taking advantage of you and you are taking advantage of you, then you are just doing it to yourself.

Turning over a new leaf slowly, has had its tough realities.

Yesterday, an old work colleague/friend/I'm not really sure what the relationship is/was, texted my husband and asked him to stay at our house. We were not home at the time, we were on a couples getaway. They were set to arrive at the airport at the same time as we landed.

My husband says: Honey, don't you remember so and so.
Me: No, the name sounds familiar, but that was over 12-17 years ago.
Husband: I know you've met.
Me: Did we ever go to their house?
Husband: No.
Me: Did they ever come to our house?
Husband: No.
Me: So, I probably met him at some big party or work function?
Husband: That might be right.
Me: And they are texting today to stay at our house tonight and tomorrow night. We haven't been home all week, I don't think we have any food and you leave tomorrow afternoon to go out of town.
Husband: Uhhhhhhh...
Me: Uhhhhhh, NO!

My house might be a mess, there was no breakfast, it was 10 PM and I could not see how I was going to be a proper hostess.

I said "no."

I apologize to that very nice man and his son. I would have liked to say yes. If my life was just a little bit more normal, I would have said yes. I feel bad about not saying yes.

But, I said "no."

Monday, October 4, 2010

Not the BEST BUY 2

Well, Best Buy has done a number on me. In this world of customer service and internet ease, I ordered a tv online. I researched and reviewed and finally found the perfect television. My biggest requirement, it had to fit into our built-in entertainment unit.

I measured my space to the "T" and cross referenced with the Best Buy online specs. I had one quarter inch to spare on each side of our cabinet. I pushed purchase on the website, and my TV was on it's delivery.

It took a week for my TV to arrive. The gentlemen were nice, arrived early, and took one look at the cabinet and told me there was "No way" that the television was going to fit in "there."

"But, but, but, the specs..."

"Lady, never go by the specs online."

As the delivery men put my tv back onto a white, unmarked truck, I had a sinking feeling. Not only was I bummed that I had no new TV, my TV was disappearing without a trace. Duh, Deb.

The delivery men assured me it would be no problem. I called Elena at the Distribution Center. She assured me it was no problem. I spoke with Shirley at Best Buy Costumer Service. She also cheerfully said "no problem, I would be totally refunded."

Wanting a new TV, I went into our local Best Buy store and met Max. He helped me to pick out a new TV that would actually fit in my space. I told him I had to wait for my refund to purchase the next TV. He said no problem, it was Tuesday and the TV was on sale until Saturday.

Days later, no refund, I spoke with Best Best Costumer Service again. This time Liz seemed surprised that I had heard nothing and she had no record of the TV being returned. She transferred me to Michelle on Friday afternoon.

I called my friend Elena at the Distribution Center again, she didn't remember even talking to me. After jogging her memory, she went into her records and made some notes and assured me that everything was going to be fine.

Then I got an email saying that my return was cancelled. No, EVERYTHING WAS NOT GOING TO BE FINE!!!!! I kept my cool, called the 1-800 number again and was on hold for 15 minutes AGAIN and spoke with Angelica. She got me a reference number and made some notes and told me not to worry.

On Monday, I get a phone call notifying me of the truck arriving between 12 and 2 to pick up the TV. What? What? I called and was introduced to Ashley at Distribution and she said something about an old system and a new system and not to worry.

As I was writing this on Tuesday, a white truck pulled up to my house, "We are here to pick up your TV."

I immediately called Ashley. She gave me a new number to call. It was out of service. I dialed my generic usual number and then spoke with Zack, who listened to my long story with aplumb and couldn't help me either.

Customer appreciation? Customer support? Trying to keep a costumer? Ahhhh, don't worry Big Kahunas at Best Buy. The economy is fabulous and there must be a lot of other people out there to buy your big, expensive TVs. Why would you want to make one little costumer's life a little easier and happy?

Get your act together! That's all I have to say. For all I know those delivery guys took the TV home and are watching it right now.

My next calls to customer service involved being told that my transaction was under investigation. I almost asked the random, faceless, useless customer service rep if they were aware of the Best Buy hate sites on the web. Apparently, I am not the only one that has had their problems with this company.

Just where was this TV? No one seemed to know what was happening or had happened. I kept getting the run around like I was with snakeoil salesmen. Now you see the TV, now you don't. Was it under this box? At the delivery facility? On a truck? At Ron's house so his friends could watch football this weekend?

My business savvy husband said, "They are just holding your money for the legal 30 days, earning interest on it, then they will refund it to you."

Could it be that Best Buy has an elaborate ladder of slight of hand to hold onto my money? By the end of 29 days, I felt like my part time job was calling Best Buy Customer service. My VISA card customer service wouldn't get involved until after 30 days.

All the while, the folks at Best Buy, pretended not to be able to help me? If they don't know where a 4 figure TV is, and they are talking to me for at least 20 hours on the phone, what is going on with their business?

30 days to the posted transaction date on my VISA statement, Best Buy refunded my money. I am glad that they did, but they put me through such a grinder that I feel little joy.

I feel like the little guy. They are the playground bully. They insulted me and lost a customer.

I have to tell you I went to Costco, bought myself a new TV, got the Costco complimentary extended 2 year warranty and am happily watching TV again. The next time I'll be shopping at Best Buy is, uh, like, never.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Doggy Twilight

This is not the kind of twilight that requires vampires, unless you count the medical professionals that we've recently dealt with. Read on...

My family has a dog named Kiki, but her master is really only my husband. She lives waiting for him to come home. She follows him around the house. If he goes out on the lake kayaking without her (normally she is on board), she waits on the end of the dock until his safe return.

The love is wholly mutual.

This spring, my husband took Kiki to the vet for her check up. The vet noted the age on the chart, and sat my husband down for a speech about Kiki's Twilight Years.

It basically began with, "Now that Kiki's life will be ending soon..." It continued along the lines that now that she was officially a senior dog, she needed special care. Special food. Special vitamins. Special tests. Special insurance.

My husband came home sad, depressed and sure that she was going to drop dead at any minute. He was certain that she needed all kinds of things to the tune of $2000.

You may want to stop me now, but, let me say, I grew up on a farm. This dog does not look like she is going to keel over any time soon. I can say this because Kiki still can run for 2 hours with my husband--uphill, with a doggie smile on her face.

I understand the need for special care for elderly animals, but it seemed like the vet was going for shock value, and the dollar sign value.

Pets are members of the family, and I think issues about their health and impeding doom need to be handled carefully. Do not scare me into submission. Work with me like a grown up. Do you really think that if there is something this dog really needs that we will not move Heaven and Earth to give it to her?

Capitalism and pet care, what an ugly mix.