Wednesday, February 20, 2013
A whole bunch of really exciting crap has been going on around here. We survived the holidays (all of them), my husband and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary, my little weirdo had another birthday, and we have all been-knock on wood-pretty healthy. But today I feel the need to enjoy a little ranting. So lets go shopping.
I do almost all, who are we kidding, the shopping for our household. I enjoy most of it. For the most part. There are only a few things I don’t enjoy, the top of that list being other people. I like to get in, get what I came for, and get out at the grocery store. Places like Target and (heaven forbid) Wal-Mart I sometimes browse, sometimes need to run in real quick. Then there are my trips to Home Depot or Lowe’s, Home Goods, Jo Ann Fabrics, or Michaels which I like to take my time. So why is it that the only people you see in the grocery store are the people that don’t really work there? Wal-Mart falls prey to this ridiculous phenomenon too. I am running in with my list and I can’t find that one item that would make my life and my list complete. Who do I see? Nabisco reps, the Pepsi Co. guy, the Hallmark lady, but not a single store employee. If I do by chance find an actual employee of the store I am in then he is the newest guy and got sent out to the aisles on a dare. He knows nothing. All I wanted is a freaking can of artichokes that are usually by the olives but that whole section was just recently relocated as per some genius who apparently does zero shopping in the store they make decisions for. My shopping trip has been extended by an unreasonable amount of time, I have walked an unnecessary five miles, and I give the whole experience an annoyance rating of pretty f*cking annoying.
On the flip side… lets start at one of those home improvement places. True story: I went in to Home Depot to look around. Weird, huh? I had a couple little projects in mind (don’t I always) and I had about an hour to blow. Upon entering I am greeted at the door. That was nice. No, I don’t think I will need a cart. No, I have not got a specific item I can have you point me to. Thank you. Then about seven feet from the greeter was another guy in orange. No thanks, I just walked in. No, I do not have a certain project I am working on. Then I successfully make it another eight or nine feet before a third Home Depot guy asks me all the same questions, as if from a script, only this one follows me. Seriously?! I figure with it being the beginning of the year they must have had some staff meeting about sufficiently getting into everyone’s business. This is slightly confusing to me since way back in the day when I did my short stint in retail we were coached that the customer will buy more sh*t on impulse if left to browse. Don’t get me wrong, it is nice to have an employee’s help when locating an item or asking advice. Bottom line: be available but let’s stop just shy of annoying. The barrage of questions turns to a comical level and I cave. I mentioned the one thing I need that I know they don’t have. Dummy spindles. *blink blink* Nuthin’. Ha! Then he wants to know all about why I need them. Sh*t. I explain. Then out of sheer kindness I endure an unnecessary 10 minutes looking at bolts that “might” work. WTF?! Let me assure you I am not lost in a hardware store. I am also not a total dip sh*t about my needs. So what is the dang deal? I was an unshowered, crazy haired, mid thirties mess so they didn’t mistake me for a Hardee’s commercial. I don’t get it. Whatever.
I am completely frazzled so I wander to the paint section to look around. There’s another one! Only this time I am positive it is in the employee handbook to be obnoxious because this one could have been my grandma. She says “Is there any specific project you are working on?”. So I let her have it. Eighty miles an hour. “Well actually… I just bought a brand new house and most of my walls are still white except the living room and the kitchen which my husband painted the most perfect color of tan that I picked out and I was thinking about doing the dining room in orange but not pumpkin more like rust but then I really like blue but do I go robin’s egg or navy-ish because it can’t clash with the light olive that I painted the office which is right across the foyer which is still white because I really want a yellow but not sunshine more like gold but not too gold because it has to go with the tan that we picked with yellow undertones because the tan I had in my old house was sort of peach so more like maize and then my youngest son really wants his room red but I really only want to do one wall in red and the rest in a light brown to stay with the sports theme we kind of have going in that pit of hell and then there’s my oldest who likes blue but I just did the boy’s bathroom in a pale blue to match the Angry Birds shower curtain that I had a great coupon for but isn’t gray the new hot color should I re-do the downstairs in gray even though I had already planned on a airy gray for my bedroom that I carefully picked off the white pallet to match my white and blue bed set which I also got a really great deal on so maybe I’ll just look around for a bit K?”. tee hee.
Crickets. This poor thing is looking at me like I have four heads. She opens her mouth. Then closes it. Then very delicately says “Here is a brochure of the latest interior fashions” and walks away. Thank you Jesus! That was fun. So I take my time looking at paint. Alone. *sigh* Then after a little while, and this always happens, I get confused by seeing a giant wall of paint chips so I take the few that I have in my hand and walk off to think. Walking in the lumber section so there is no color confusion while I think it happens again. This time another woman. I immediately look around for cameras. Is this a joke? Am I on Ellen?! I refuse her help two or three times and walk back to the paint center where the older lady and her younger co-worker have obviously been talking about me because they both have the look on their faces like “oh-sh*t-it’s-her” (hee hee) and I very politely and specifically ask for the color I decided would grace my dining room whether the hubbs likes it or not. Which turned out great, here look:
Just look at the color and stop judging. I don’t have many tablecloths that fit and I sure as hell don’t iron!
“But what about all the other places?” you might ask. Well, let’s see. In Jo Ann’s it is nearly impossible to locate someone who is not cutting fabric but if you do they will follow you around the store until you leave. Home goods? The employees there sneak around corners watching you but when you have a question they haven’t a clue. Sort of like they are fake employees or maybe name tag wearing security which in itself is hilarious because 80% of the stuff in there barely fits in my trunk much less in my pocket. My favorite place to shop? Garden Ridge for home decor, but you will need a shower directly after leaving and Whole Foods, but who can afford it?!
Now that I have said my peace… happy shopping!
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Here it is folks. It’s that time of year. Sheesh. How many of you are you are so sick of the holiday clichés? It comes down to these few last days before the end of the year and I am just ready to have it over with. Sorry Jesus. I feel the same about almost anything I have to plan that includes other people. Sorry people. This may actually turn in to a rant so if you find yourself filled with the Spirit, you may want to just click the little x in the top right corner.
Unfortunately it is right about now I become a bi-polar Chrismafreakakonis. I really love the magic and the wonder and the kindness but hate the rush and the stuff and the other stuff. You follow? Let me ‘splain.
It irritates me to no end that this time of year for so many (you know who you are and you can pretend all you want but we know who you are too!) revolves around buying shit. To remedy this feeling of loathe at a time of year when I should have only joy in my heart I did away with most of the stuff. I refused the mall. I bought only things I thought were from my heart and I made a lot of gifts this year. I have a hard time explaining to my kids why Santa loves (with tons of shit) little Johnny more and why he hates poor kids. We all know none of this is true but in the end think of what it looks like to a five year old. It breaks my heart. I remember the days (thank you Mom, I love you and now I get it) when I would be upset with Santa thinking maybe I wasn’t good enough this year because I had one Cabbage Patch doll under the tree and apples and oranges in my stocking. Looking back, I am forever grateful that he came at all. For goodness sake people, if you are going to spoil the shit out of your brats do it on their birthday, not Jesus’.
So while I assemble 38 candy cane reindeer and bawl my ass off over stupid things like “Oh, Holy Night” (damn it Celine, you are destroying more than the English language when you sing, my dignity goes to hell too) it makes me wonder “when will the wonder die?”. I’m sure in the next year my eight year old will figure out why Carl the Elf didn’t move and my heart will shrivel a little. It saddens me. I want to teach my beasts that kindness is not just a cold weather activity. We volunteer all year long and I can’t help but think we could all be doing a little bit more this time of year.
A dear friend posted not long ago that she didn’t understand why people were boasting about their kindness on Facebook. Shouldn't kindness come free of reward? Yes. But sometimes it feels so good that you want to shout it to the heavens and hopefully inspire someone who wasn’t in the loving and giving mood. That being said some crappy ass soccer mom bought my latte today in the drive-thru. I was pissed. She just drove off before I got a chance to thank her for her unnecessary kindness! I was so surprised, and I had already dug out my five bucks, that I paid for the dude behind me with a “well shit then, I’ll just get his”. Oh, and dipshit at Whole Foods last week… it was me, you’re welcome. Lucky you I wasn’t in a purse stealing mood.
I was raised very well (and Catholic) and I am trying to teach my children with love, forgiveness, and kind hearted behavior instead of straight Dogma but this time of year it is so easy to dismiss the should have for the must have. I want them to know that I love them by the way I act instead of the things I buy. Call me cheap, call me a hippie, but if it really matters follow my lead. I get a lot of questions about Christmas and I answer each one with well thought out and gentle honesty. I am not trying to kill Santa and I surely do not want them to miss the real reason that we all celebrate our winters the way we do whatever your religion, trust me I have had a lot of questions this year! Santa will come to our house, and since my boys have been having a hard time with the ol’ love thy brother thing they have mostly things they have to share coming from the big guy.
Since this will be my last post of the year I implore you to go out in to this great big world and make a difference in someone’s day, no matter how small, they will notice. I promise.
Please know that I appreciate you and I wish you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Blessed Solstice, Cheerful Kwanza… whatever your belief… much love to you.
See ya’ll next year… unless the Mayans were right. Either way I am gonna stay up past midnight… I’ll let ya know how that goes.
Monday, November 19, 2012
The last full day at sea we spent all day at the pool but since we were headed north to the Bahamas the weather was starting to cool and the wind was really picking up. That evening we ate Brazilian and went to see the Legends in Concert. It is a hilarious celebrity impersonators show. The Legends company does shows all over and are very picky about their stars. They have to fit the celebrity to the tee, looks and voice. It was so fun!
We were entertained by Donna Summer, Michael Jackson, and Jimmy Buffet.
Anyone who really knows me also knows I couldn’t resist. Arm length with MJ!!! Try explaining impersonators to an eight and a five year old. “But you told us Michael Jackson was dead!” Joy. I actually think this ringer could have convinced Mrs. Jackson. His stage performance was that good. Upon closer inspection, I think my new pal is Puerto Rican. Hmmm…
Our last day was spent in Nassau, Bahamas. We chose to go to the Atlantis Resort.
The grounds were beautiful. We went to play in the water park but my little dude was too short and my big dude a little weary of the heights. So Dad and I chose the lazy river/rapids to take them on and it was fun but freezing! We should have taken a hint from all the employees who were dressed in jackets and sock hats. Duh!
SO after some splash time for the boys in the kiddy part we dried off and headed for The Dig. Eight million gallons of salt water! Yep. You heard me.
See my buddy? This is Poseidon, and his wingspan is 12 1/2 feet across. His girlfriend, or lady Manta, Athena was a mere 9 feet. They were breathtaking. I could have stood there all day, except we had eels, lion fish, piranhas, sharks, and about a million other things to see.
Lobster anyone? “Just me, you, and a little butter baby”. My husband is such a sweet talker. Yes, I know they are delish but this exhibit was totally creepy. They were everywhere! Look up!
We spent four hours in the resort and it was time to head back to the ship. Bummer.
We had a low key buffet dinner and sent the kids to the kid’s club for the farewell party. They wanted to say goodbye to their new friends and we needed to get some serious packing done. But first we stopped in to see the Second City Players. The theme for their show was “cruise life” and I was in tears laughing at the jokes about the walkers in line for the buffet and the force of a cruise toilet. Then they did this whole song and dance about messed up tan lines. It was a riot. A very much needed laugh at the end of our fantastic vacation.
We picked up the kids and set our bags outside our rooms and headed off to bed knowing that tomorrow we would say goodbye to our home away from home.
The next day was one full of waiting in the Miami airport but we were on our way home so it was very bittersweet.
We headed home the same way we arrived…
So many heartfelt thanks go out to all who made this trip a possibility. Most of all I have our little buddy to thank for this one. He is a survivor and a lover of life. I thank God everyday for letting us keep him and making him so strong. Our lives were forever changed with the births of each of our children and we never lose sight of just how fortunate we are.
Anybody tired of this yet?!
Wednesday we ordered room service for breakfast and headed out to see St. Thomas Island. We started at the Coral World Ocean Park. They do amazing reef rebuilding and well, it is set right in the middle of paradise.
I did not pick a lame tour this time! They have all kinds of wonderful sea life to show as well as a diver feeding fish…
and one mentally challenged stingray. The guide giving us the narrative on the diver informed us that most of the wildlife will be returned to the open ocean, except this guy. He loves captivity so much that he refuses to stay in the safest place for stingray which is near the bottom. He would rather spin pinwheels for squid treats than save his own hide. So he becomes an attraction and one of the only permanent fixtures to this aquarium. “He is just not quite right in the head” the guide tells us.
From there we head to what I can describe only as perfect. Coki Beach. On the Travel Channel’s Top 20 Beaches it is no disappointment. The sand is cool, the water warm and calm, and there were tons of fish even at ankle deep to feed and admire.
The boys had a blast and the whole time my hubby and I were thinking that the only way it cold get better would be to have air on our backs.
When it was time for our shuttle we headed into town to do some shopping then back to the ship. I got a much needed latte and the kids got to play Wii on the giant screen. We will call this “little boy heaven”.
Two stories of pure joy!
That evening we attended this:
I wish I could translate how incredible it was to eat a delicious dinner with a live circus going on within arms reach of the table.
The slides were open late just this one night so we ran and changed and played until very late. My legs were so sore the next morning from climbing the stairs so many times! Unforgettable.
It is Tuesday. We have been at sea for two and a half days and this morning we woke up at port.
I can officially say that I picked the dumbest tour for this island. We were given a tour of both the French and Dutch sides of the island, by giant tour bus, complete with grumbling, traffic, and finally naps. Grrr…
Boring. I get it. I’m sorry.
As soon as this kid stops slapping himself, I’m gonna slap him!
I learned a lot. I enjoyed it. All except my travel buddies were pissed at me. But we did get out and stretch our legs. What a view!
Would it be super dumb if this was my Christmas card this year?
Finally our tour had concluded and we were dropped off at the beautiful Orient Beach! This was the first time my boys had ever been in the ocean. We live in the Midwest. We are busy, work a lot, my dude was sick, the other was a baby, I don’t travel well… make up any excuse you want, I don’t have a good reason. I do believe all things happen in their own time and I think this was the exact right time for my little guys to dip their toes in the ocean for the first time.
The water was perfect temperature, a little rougher waves than my dudes liked, but all in all beautiful.
My lover and I enjoyed a local beer and got our retinas burned out by some topless oldies. The boys? Obliviously played. Got sand everywhere. My tiny dude tells me “the water is so pretty but it tastes terrible” “don’t drink it buddy” “ok mom”. It was an amazing experience.
I only took like 78 pictures on this island. The toe pictures seem really popular right now so I’ll add this one:
I need to point out though that this is not just a “toes on vacation” picture, it is a family photo. See? My big dudes out in the water together and my little man hovers a little closer to Mom. See out on the horizon? Anguilla Island. Stunning. Bet I could swim there.
After some ineffective showering and a stern lecture on the importance of punctuality and togetherness while in a foreign country, we are all on the same bus and headed back to the boat. I’m sorry, babe. Still.
We rearranged our plans with Raewyn this evening because the boys caught wind of a Pirate Party in the kids club. So after dinner we set sail and sent the kids off.
This is going to feel a little off task but follow me. K?
There is a section at the back of the boat, way up on top, that is an adults only “club” complete with pool, bar, and amphitheater style lounge chairs. After 8pm they open it to all ages. The first night while exploring the ship we happened back there to find it full of adults watching a movie on this giant, two story, screen. What were they watching? Disney’s Tangled. The only kids in sight were my two. Odd.
Tonight after dropping the kids at the party we were at a loss for something to do. Afraid if we take a nap we would never get up, and not in any mood to dress up we wander to the back of the boat. Today carried a pirate theme throughout and to my delight what is playing on the jumbo screen? Goonies! I have landed. Beer, popcorn, and my hunny.
We picked up our pirates and headed back to the cabins. The towel elephant was promptly decapitated and we ordered room service around midnight.
What happens in the span of a day feels like several days. Must be some sort of mid-sea time warp. We did experience a time zone and some daylight savings, maybe that’s it.
We got up early and went to the Nickelodeon character breakfast.
We got great seats and got to see all of our favorite cartoon dudes:
After breakfast we did nothing. For like five hours. Well, not nothing. The boys swam and played and the hubbs and I worked on our
tans horrid tan lines. This is the view from where we laid in the sun:
My main squeeze and I took turns playing, napping, and eating with our children. The entire day was effortless and full of free cookies.
We eventually pried our bodies out of their chairs and cleaned up for dinner. After we ate we were able to catch the sunset. Gorgeous.
Then we off to enjoy one hour complimentary arcade time. Party on!
What was that? Yes, of course I was there! I am super good at killing imaginary bad guys and I can drive a pretend car like a bat outta hell, but that all requires me to put down my camera. Sheesh.
Day 2 was a success (no one was hurt) and we were beat and ready for bed early.