Exercise and Education In One Fell Swoop

I’ve been working from home this week. I did something to my shoulder while on vacation last week. According to the chiropractors and physical therapists on YouTube it is probably a pinched nerve. However, this post is not about my ailments. It’s about my cute mom.

As I said, I’ve been working from home this week since Monday afternoon. Each day my mom announces to me, “I’m going to the library.”

We live outside the city limits so I’m not completely sure how far away the library is. I’m not dealing with city blocks. I’d say maybe a quarter of a mile away. Or somewhere between a quarter and a half mile. She walks there. She likes walking.

Today when she comes into the room I’ve set up as my office to let me know she’s walking to the library I finally ask her, “Do you go to the library every day?”

“Every day Monday through Friday,” she tells me. Yep, my mom, the person who always has stamps, gets the package in the mail right away, irons clothes, and is a big fan of three square meals a day, is also a daily visitor to our local library.

I’ve lived with the woman for 6 years now and I’m just now discovering this.

I look at her, curiosity getting the better of me. “What on earth do you do at the library every day?”

Serious as a heart attack the woman begins to list the many things she does at the library. Her routine, if you will.

“I read the paper and then I make a copy of the crossword puzzle and then, if there’s a new People magazine I read that.”

By the time she gets to “copying the crossword puzzle” the corners of my mouth have curved upwards into a bemused smile. My mom loves her crossword puzzle.

“And don’t you dare put that in your fucking blog!” she tells me.

Oh no! This is too good not to share.

“What’s wrong with going to the library every day? I’m getting my steps in and I’m reading. I’m getting my exercise and education in one fell swoop!”

“I’m sorry. Can you repeat that? That’s going to be the title.”

My mom is so cute. I told her that, too. She’s trotting off to the library every day, getting her steps in and reading her newspaper she refuses to pay for anymore because they’ve pissed her off one too many times.

Saturday Inspiration

I thought we should go inspirational today. I believe each and every one of us should fully embrace this.

Life doesn’t stop until you’re dead. Keep going. Keep dreaming. Keep achieving. There is no law that says you can’t go to college to take classes after age 25. Stop listening to that voice that tells you you’re too old to “do that,” whatever that may be.

I think about how much time I wasted telling myself no one would ever hire me. I would never get a good paying job because I had spent my life being a stay at home mom. And now I’m making almost as much money as Harley the Hillbilly Whore and I don’t even have a Masters like she does. How much further would I have been if I had not let fear stand in my way?

I saw a couple of people paddle boarding the other day. My first thought was, “Wow- that looks like fun.” I’ve actually done paddle boarding before- about 2 years ago. I did great, too, until a speed boat came along.

And then I told the mobster a story about a woman who had just gotten certified as a paddle board yoga instructor, which I don’t think I’d be good at. I’m not sure I would be very good at regular yoga and I’m almost certain I would be falling off the paddle board during paddle board yoga.

My second thought was, “Maybe I could try paddle board yoga. It does sound like a fun challenge.”

My third thought was, “Don’t be ridiculous! You’re too old for that!”

Too old? I’m only 53. I am definitely not too old for fucking paddle board yoga.

I see my mother, older than me, getting in her car and driving to visit various relatives. She goes to Florida every winter. She keeps busy with friends and activities. She walks down to the library almost every day.

I have a dear, dear longtime friend who reads this blog so maybe she’ll see this. She recently went back to school after winning a grant and got her Masters degree. She graduated at 53.

At 25 I had no idea who I was. I had graduated from college only 3 years prior and had worked a series of low paying, crappy jobs even with a college education. I think my biggest aspiration in life at that time was to get married. I’m pretty sure my biggest aspiration after getting married was to have a baby.

How could life end at 25 when I had no idea who I was or what I wanted?

You are allowed to start over at any age. You can find new purpose. You can chase new dreams. You can make new discoveries. At 30. At 40. At 50. Even at 60 and beyond.

Chump Lady runs a post every Labor Day about Mother Jones. If you are not familiar with Mother Jones, born Mary Harris in 1837, she became a schoolteacher and married George Jones with whom she had four children. She lost her entire family in a yellow fever epidemic in Memphis in 1867. Then she moved to Chicago where she built a successful dress making business. She lost everything once again- her home, shop, and possessions, in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. While helping to rebuild the city of Chicago she jointed the Knights of Labor. She organized strikes and while the first of the strikes and protests failed, the organization eventually became the largest labor organization in the country. When the Knights of Labor ceased to exist Mary became involved with the United Mine Workers, leading the strikers in picketing and encouraging striking workers to stay on strike when management brought in strike-breakers and militias. In 1902 she was termed “the most dangerous woman in America” by a West Virginia district attorney due to her ability to organize strikes. In 1903 she organized the children who were working in mills and mines and led them on what is known as her famous, “March of the Mill Children.”

Can you imagine? This woman lost everything- twice- and yet continued to reinvent herself. She continued to find a purpose. Her life didn’t end

Chillicothe, Part 2

One other fun story about Chillicothe and it’s seedy underbelly. Seriously the downtown in divine and the park is a little slice of heaven on earth. Other parts? Not so great.

We went to dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant. After we finish the mobster wants ice cream. But most everything downtown is closed at this point. He says he’ll just pop into a gas station and grab an ice cream there.

Let me tell you a little something about Ohio. They have bars in their gas stations. I swear to God I am not making this up. Full service bars. With seats and a bar and everything. And they have drive-thru liquor stores, which I thought was unique to Kentucky but apparently it is not.

I pull into the first gas station. It is packed. I can’t find a parking space and there are people congregating outside. I turn to him and say, “Isn’t this the gas station with the bar in it?” He agrees that it is. At this point I just say, “No.” No, I was not going to do that. I wasn’t going to try to navigate a parking lot filled with cars and people and no parking spots. I wasn’t attempting to find a parking spot. I wasn’t parking while he went inside. I was not risking my life or his. I’m not saying people who drink and hang out at gas stations are bad people. It’s simply not an environment in which I’m comfortable. We move on.

Next gas station is also packed. I make my way around the cars at the pumps and realize I am stuck until someone moves. The mobster jumps out to go buy some ice cream. Comes back a minute later, telling me they had absolutely no frozen items. And still we sit, waiting for someone to leave at this busier than fuck gas station. At this point I’m thinking they’ve got a gas station up the street with a full freaking bar in it and they also have a drive thru liquor store not far from here. Why is this place hopping? Seriously. There were people and cars all over.

I have to tell you before i go on why this was so triggering for me. When I was 17 or 18 years old 3 of my friends and I were out one summer night (at least I think it was summer- it was over 40 years ago!). Our friend Cynde had this little yellow Datsun, stick shift. She flooded the engine. We had no idea at the time that that is what happened. We just knew the damn car wouldn’t start. And we were not in a great section of town. Why on earth we were over there I don’t know. But we spotted a cop over at the Bullseye Liquor store and we made a beeline to him. The cop, by the way, was not buying alcohol or simply hanging out at the liquor store. He was actually on duty, directing the traffic and making sure all behavior was above board. Because this place was *that* busy. He very kindly called my mother who came and picked the four of us up. Meanwhile, while we wait we’ve got cars pulling in and pulling out at an invigorating pace. We have older men hitting on us. I remember one guy asking, “Ladies, can I ask you something? How does it feel going through life so beautiful?” Or some such bullshit.I saucily replied that it felt pretty great. Chillicothe gas stations on a Saturday night brought the whole Bullseye Liquor store thing right up to the forefront. The words I spoke to Cynde, who was somehow delightfully ignorant of the danger we could be in despite her father being a cop, ran through my head as I navigated these inordinately busy gas stations, “It is not fine! They are going to rape us, kill us, and chop our bodies into tiny little pieces!”

Finally we were able to leave. The mobster says to just go on home. He can live without the ice cream. We pass one more gas station which is closer to the park. I offer to pull in. He says, I swear, “That’s ok,” so I pass it by. Then he says, “I said ok. I would like the ice cream.” Thankfully I could turn at the light and go in the second entrance. This particular gas station operated more as an actual gas station and not a bar. He got his ice cream. I escaped death. We drove back to the house and I drank a bottle of wine. I shared a little with him. He had ice cream. Wow- that whole gas station and Bullseye Liquor thing really did come full circle what with me drinking almost an entire bottle of wine after my ordeal at the gas station.

That Weekend I Thought My Car Got Stolen

Good Monday, everyone! How are you? I’m hoping I still have readers. I think there might be 10 of you left. I have no one to blame except myself and my horrible posting habits. I digress…

I just got back from a weekend in Chillicothe. It’s actually the first weekend spent with the mobster since he went back to Virginia at the beginning of June. It was great. Except for those few minutes that felt like hours when we thought my car was either stolen or towed. Let me explain.

Saturday was a big Pokemon Go event. It was the finale to Go Fest which took place the last time we were together in Chillicothe. My original thinking was we would get up, drive to New Systems Bakery to enjoy their delicious bismarks and hopefully some chicken tortilla soup (hooray for me! They did have it!), and then bring the car back to the house, walk down to two shops we wanted to go into, and then walk down to the park. Very healthy of us. Or at least we would hopefully walk off the bismarks.

I will go back yet another step further. Friday we both got there around 6:00 pm. We wandered around the downtown for a little bit. We walked by this store we had wanted to go into last time we were there. Unfortunately, it was closed last time so we wanted to check the hours and make sure we could get int this time around.

Then we walked by this lovely stained glass shop we’ve frequented in the past. One time I bought this pretty coaster and I think a butterfly for my mom. The store owner mentioned that his mother had made those so I say to him, “Wow- sounds like your mom is having a really good day!” Lots of sales, you know? And he says to me, “My mom died a year ago.” So, not having a great day.

Who knows? Maybe she was having a great time in Heaven, looking down and seeing her mortal goods finally being purchased. I feel like I bought more than just a coaster and a butterfly but it’s been years so I don’t remember and it’s not important. What’s important is we have history with this shop.

It was closed at this point in the evening but we walked by and looked at the various items in the huge window display. They had this amazing succulent made from stained glass. It was beautiful and I wanted that sucker! It will be the one plant I cannot kill! The mobster saw some melted bottles that he wanted as well so we decided we would visit The Totem and this stained glass shop in the morning before the big Pokemon event started at 10. Except The Totem didn’t open until 10 but I told him I was fine with that.

Back to Saturday morning. Drive to New Systems. Park the car. Walk to the two shops and then go to the park. Then we realize if we buy anything, which we planned to do, we needed to walk back to the house. So, instead we drove to New Systems. Ate. Drove back to the downtown. Because of the sand volleyball tournament they were having in the street parking was difficult to find. We parked about 2 blocks from where we wanted to be, which was fine, and is germane to the story.

Not really germane to the story? Chillicothe has got a lot of very interesting things going on in their small town. It’s a population of just over 22,000 but it seems like they always have the best events going on. 50 West just put on a race earlier this year. They have this amazing park. The decorations are awesome at Christmas. I love their Santa. They’ve had an iceskating rink set up, both in a parking lot just off the street and in the park. They have great restaurants. And now they rope off a city block, dump mounds of sand on the street, and host a volleyball tournament. How incredible is that? All my city has is a stupid wine walk and the tickets are usually sold out before I even realize there is a wine walk! You know what Chillicothe is like? It’s like one of those towns in a Hallmark movie. Except I’m pretty sure they’ve got a pretty serious heroine problem and at least one serial killer on the loose. Aside from that it’s exactly like the Hallmark movie towns. And I don’t care about the drugs and the serial killer because I love this little smelly town!

Where were we? New Systems. Ate. Parked 2 blocks away. We parked over by Carl’s Townhouse, which is not a townhouse at all. It’s a little diner that serves breakfast and lunch. We’ve been there a few times. Unfortunately, the last time we went they took forever and they served me bad tomato juice. Like, there were chunks in the tomato juice and they were not tomato chunks. It was disgusting.

Once parked we went to The Totem first. Shopped. I came out with a rather large bag. Bought a t-shirt, a magnolia scented candle, and a coffee mug. Then we walked to the stained glass shop. I got my stained glass succulent, bought a smaller one for my daughter, and then while he was wrapping everything up for me, decided to purchase a set of gorgeous wind chimes. The mobster made his own purchases. We walk this all back to the car, carefully place it in the trunk so it doesn’t get stolen, and because it’s so late we decide to drive over to the park instead of driving back to the house and walking.

We go into the park, park by the bathrooms because we had to go and why park and walk when you can simply park, and then we play Pokemon Go All. Day. We didn’t start exactly at 10. At least not balls to the wall starting. But once we got to the park, we played until after 6.

One other creepy detail after I’ve just described this town as a Hallmark town. Before I went to the bathroom I was sucking down the last of my iced Milky Way coffee. Delicious. I’m standing there by the trashcan finishing this beverage off and as I’m turning to go into the bathroom this guy is walking towards me and I realize he’s speaking to me. He’s asking for money. He’s homeless. Yada, yada, yada. Do I have any cash on me? I did but I wasn’t going to tell him that!

When I got back in the car the mobster asked me if I had seen the look on the guy’s face when he realized that there was a man sitting in the car and that I wasn’t alone. I had not. I just figured when I said I didn’t carry cash on me he turned around and went back to where he had been sitting. The mobster was insistent that he thought this guy was a predator and might have actually tried to attack me if he hadn’t been there.

I’m not going to let a little thing like a potential homicide or mugging stop me from a great day of Pokemon Go. I had ultra beasts to catch! One day only!

We walk around this huge park for over 6 hours. We catch. We spin stops. We raid. It was a full day. It started off beautifully with sunny skies and a nice breeze. Great temperature. But by later in the afternoon the humidity was starting to take hold. The remaining few hours of the day were humid. And we’re walking through this. After 6 the mobster is getting hungry and he’s encouraging me to shut it down for the day and grab some dinner.

We head out of the park and over to our parking spot in front of Carl’s Townhouse. Only… there’s no car there. We’re both looking around. I’m checking the signs to make sure I didn’t park in a tow-away zone. No. The sign just says 2 hour parking Monday-Friday and by parking there you agree to their terms. I know I parked behind the sign. We’re both freaking out because we’re not sure if my car got stolen or if I got towed. It’s Saturday evening. If I was towed how soon could I even bail out my car? And if it was stolen those motherfuckers stole my new t-shirt, my new candle, my beautiful stained glass succulent and wind chimes, and my damn coffee mug! Not to mention the mobster’s purchases. He’s high tailing back to the house (which was only about another 2 blocks from Carl’s) although I can no longer remember what the purpose of that was. Oh yes! The thought was maybe we did take the car back to the house and walk over to the park from there. Then I get this horrible thought. What if the guy from the park who was trying to extort money out of me was pissed because I didn’t give him any money so he stole my car instead!

That’s when it clicked. We had parked the damn car over in the park by the bathrooms. Whew! We had a rather long walk back to that spot but it was much better than filing a police report or bailing my car out. And that was the weekend that I thought my car was stolen.

My stained glass succulent

Monday

I was feeling a little better when I went into work on Monday because I had worked about five hours on Saturday and another 2 or 3 on Sunday, catching up and trying to get ahead.

My grand plan to get ahead hit a bit of a snag on Friday when my boss me and two of my co-workers to let us know we were getting a part time admin person. This person was going to be taking over a report that I switch off on doing with one of my co-workers. This is a great thing actually because it frees up my time and I don’t have to stop what I’m doing to upload this report, go back to doing what I’m doing for an hour, and then stop and download the report when the hour or so is up. My plan hit a snag because my boss decided I would be the person who trained this new person. Which means my mornings are pretty much tied up. Today I did do some other things while we waited on the report but the first two days it was a beast. Mainly because we had so many people we had to pair up due to not having a Social Security number.

Anyway, I’m getting off track here. I’m in charge of training her. I’m coming into the office every day because of this. I did not know about this training when I made my dog’s grooming appointment the week prior. My plan at that time was I would work from home on Monday so that I could leave on my lunch hour and take Mr. Milo in. Instead, I’m going to stay at the office until around 12:45, pick up Milo, take him to the groomer’s, and then work from home the rest of the day.

I don’t know if I’ve shared this before or not but Milo has seizures. They last maybe 1-3 minutes. He stiffens up and drools a little bit. I’m used to them by now. I’ve talked to his vet, at least 2 different ones, and both said as long as they weren’t happening every day then he didn’t need to be medicated. His vary. He might have 2 in a week and then go 6 weeks before he has another one.

The reason I share this information is because due to these seizures Milo has to do the speed service when he gets groomed. Basically I drop him off, they immediately bath him and start grooming him, and about 15 minutes before they finish they call me so I can be there pretty much when he’s done.

Monday I drop him off. I decide that I will stop at Target and order my contacts because I got a $150 coupon in the mail. It says take an additional $150 off of your contacts. So I’m planning on doing so. I’ve had this for about 2 or 3 weeks and I need to get my butt in there because I’m down to about the last 2 weeks of last year’s supply. I also plan to buy a hot oil treatment because my stylist was not lying about me needing to condition the heck out of my hair!

I stop in. Order the contacts. Show them my coupon. That’s when I find out the coupon is the exact same in store offer they have already made. No additional $150 off. I did not need to stop in. I could have called.

I take one look at the horde of people standing in line with all of their dorm supplies and say to myself, “I do not need anything that badly,” and I walk out the door.

Now I had not had lunch at this point and I hadn’t eaten breakfast either. I was getting very hungry before I even left work. In fact, I was thinking I was going to grab some lunch after we sent off the email with the report when I realized I had to go home and take my dog to the groomer’s. So my next stop is to get something to eat.

Chick-Fil-A was my first choice but it was further away from my house and it’s always a zoo there. So I went with Arby’s. As I’m driving home my phone rings. I ignore it, thinking it’s a branch calling me and I’m on lunch so I wouldn’t be any help anyway.

I get home, take out my food and the phone rings again. It turns out it was PetSmart. Milo had a seizure while she was grooming him. As per company policy she rushed him over to the vet’s. They’re over at the vet’s waiting for me. It is now 2:00. My lunch hour has lasted an hour and 15 minutes. I still have not eaten. I am still hungry.

I head over to the vet’s office and I am there for over an hour. For a 30 second seizure.

The good news is this vet said he does need to be medicated. She asked how many seizures he has in a year and I replied, “35? Maybe?” And she said, “Oh my! Yes, he definitely needs to be on medication.”

I calculated that 35 seizures a year is almost 3 a month which isn’t even 1 a week. She said 35 in a year was too many. I said maybe it was only 24. She said, “Still too many. Anything over 10 in a year should be treated.”

I’m glad the other two vets didn’t take it seriously for years. Holding my poor puppy while his body is completely stiff and he’s trying to gain his footing and he’s drooling all over has been such a wonderful experience these last few years.

By the time we get home it is after 3:30. I’ve taken a 3 hour lunch and I have not eaten yet. My Arby’s bag has sat there for close to 2 hours. I eat it anyway.

I finally logged back on to the computer around 4, and while I stopped for dinner (my mom cooked and I ate even though I was no longer hungry) I worked until around 8:30.

Oh, in case anyone was wondering I didn’t get charged for the grooming. The vet visit, on the other hand, cost me over $400. Between blood work and the emergency visit it was quite the pricey adventure. Plus, I still have to take him back to the groomer’s (have to wait 7 days though) because she was only able to clean around his eyes and do his nails before the seizure.

We’ll end this on a good note though. When my trainee came over to the office in the morning I was joking with her, telling her that I wasn’t sure why they were having me train her because I was the newest person in the department. She already knew I was the newest person in the department. She told me that my boss’s boss had told her that I was new but not to worry because I was also really good.

Ha! My boss’s boss thinks I’m really good at what I do.

Thursday

I’ve had a rough couple of days and I’m going to tell you all about them.

First, I need to say the fact that I was behind at work was completely my own fault. After constantly feeling like I was behind and working weekends and long hours I was on schedule the first week in August. I create a calendar each month and I have my alerts spaced out and the dates I want to queue up and file SARs. I list the weeks I have daily reports. It’s like a to-do list but more like a schedule of when those things need to get done.

My first week in August I’m leaving the office on Friday and I’m like, “I can’t believe it! I’m not only on schedule I actually did a few other things! I knocked out a couple of CDD alerts (I know this means nothing to any of you; it’s not integral to the story). Whew! No more late hours or weekends working for me.”

Next week comes along. I’m on schedule Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday comes along and I have no ambition. I did the things I needed to get done each day and that was about it. No SARs. No alerts. I’m thinking to myself, “Well, I can catch up. It’s no big deal.”

Thursday and Friday were pretty much the same. I had no motivation. Did not do much at all. So, end of Week 2 and I’m now officially behind.

I go into Monday telling myself I can still save this. This is the week I have nothing else on my plate aside from writing up SARs, doing alerts, and doing my daily watch list and CTRs. I am confident I can get a lot done.

I worked about 11 hours on Monday, I believe, because I decided a few hours into the day that I was going to get all of the remaining SARs except one finished. Tuesday I turned in my last one that was due for about a week. I felt incredible! Better still was the fact that I could spend the next 2 or 3 days working on alerts and really get those knocked out.

It did not go as well as I thought it would and then came Thursday. I decided to work from home because I had a hair appointment at 4:30. The hair salon in about 15 minutes north of me. My office is usually 10-15 minutes south of me but now that they’ve blocked off the intersection on our road, leaving us no good way to travel it takes more like 15-20 minutes. This is important information, unlike knowing what a CDD alert is.

Here’s another little tidbit of information that is going to be important. I park in a parking garage downtown. It’s about a 5 minute walk to the office, which is no big deal. I have a little blue fob like thing that I use to gain access to the garage. That fob had not been working so one morning I stopped in the lobby on my way to the office and asked if I could have it re-keyed. The person who normally does this wasn’t in that day but they said they would take it and call me when it was ready. In the meantime I could just push the button and they would buzz me through. Simple enough, and honestly, it’s what I had been doing the last few times I parked in the garage because my fob wouldn’t work.

Once again- it’s Thursday. I decide to work from home because of my hair appointment. I took a shower that morning. Let me hair air dry. Threw on a maxi dress. No bra. No undies. I’ll get ready when it’s time to go get my hair done.

Around 11:30 my internet is not working. Now, mind you we had just switched internet providers. We now have the fiber optic internet which is supposed to be the very best. I call the Help Desk, thinking there’s a problem with my VPN. I’m on the phone with him for about 20 minutes before we finally figure out that it’s not the bank that is the problem. My internet is completely out.

I am furious. I’m supposed to be working on alerts and getting my list whittled down. I’m not supposed to be spending 30 minutes on the phone with IT only to find out my stupid internet that we just got is not working. AND, because I’m going to be leaving from my office downtown instead of my house I now need to leave work around 3:45 to allow for time to walk to the garage and the extra time needed to make my way from downtown into Michigan. So I have even less time to work on these alerts.

I now have to get dressed, look somewhat presentable because I’m going into the office, and throw my hair up in a ponytail.

I’m also hungry at this point because it’s somewhere between 11:30 and 12:00. But now I have to run downtown. And remember, my direct route is disrupted because of this stupid intersection they’re widening. So I take the longer route, the one which will ultimately pass by a Burger King. I’m boycotting McDonald’s. I’ll write about that later. Chick-Fil-A takes way too long in this circumstance. I’ve already written about that.

I go with the mix and match option which is two sandwiches, no fries. She asks which two sandwiches I would like. I ask for the original chicken sandwich and a double cheeseburger. She says, “The BK King?” or something similar to that. I have no idea what it is but it looks like a double cheeseburger. I say, “Sure.”

Let me tell you. It was not a double cheeseburger. Double cheeseburger has ketchup, mustard, pickle. This thing had lettuce, onions (I hate onions for the most part) and this disgusting sauce that I think was supposed to mimic Big Mac sauce. I was not a fan.I was already pissed because I had no internet, I had to go into the office, and my direct route was fucked up. Now I’m eating something I don’t like when I’m hungry.

I get downtown. Turn into my garage. Push the silver button so the people at the hotel can lift the gate for me. Nothing happens. I push the button again. Again nothing happens. At one point I thought, “Fuck it! I’ll take a ticket instead!” That didn’t work either. No tickets and the blue button which dispenses the tickets did nothing. I ended up pushing the damn button five or six times. I was waiting in that damn garage for a good five minutes to be let in! The weird part was when I would buzz in it would call and then it would sound like they had “picked up” or whatever it is they do, and that’s normally when the gate lifts. But this time around it would sound like they were getting ready to lift the gate and then there was just nothing.

I worked for all of probably 2 hours and 45 minutes before heading off to my appointment and of course the traffic was horrible the entire way there.

My appointment was at 4:30. I got there about 4:35 and she did not finish with me until almost 8. She is very good at what she does but she is not fast. And she took me very blonde so there was a lot of work involved.

To top off my evening I called home as I was driving back to see if there was still food left. My son had eaten most of it. That was fine. I told my mom I would just stop and get a Subway sandwich.

I pull into the drive-thru. The guy tells me he’s working on some online orders but he’ll get to me as soon as he’s done. Apparently restaurants are doing a new thing now where the customers who actually the make the effort to come to the restaurant take a backseat to the customers who sit on their ass at home and place an online order. I was plenty patient, too, but after ten minutes had gone by I gave up. I find it ridiculous that the customer who is there in person is expected to stand by and wait while you take care of the customer that is at his house, waiting for someone to bring him a sandwich.

That was my Thursday. No internet. Looking like shit going in. Gross sandwich. Couldn’t get into the garage. Missing an hour or two of work when I really needed every minute I could get. Heavy traffic. Detours. 3 1/2 hours in a stylist’s chair. Stupid Subway.Thankfully the internet was up and running by the time I finally got home around 9. I have very blonde hair once again (she took me much darker last time). I was still behind, though, and ended up working about 10 hours over the weekend.

I’ll share Monday’s catastrophe in a separate post. It’s another doozy.

P.S. I have definitely learned my lesson. I will never let myself get unmotivated again.

Hallmark in August

We’re switching over to Direct TV streaming which means I need to watch a whole lotta Hallmark Christmas movies!

Honestly, they’re not all going to get watched. There’s just too many. Thankfully the streaming service includes both the Hallmark channel and Hallmark Mysteries & Movies. Or maybe it’s Movies & Mysteries. I’m not sure.

Anyway, I watched a few and here are my thoughts.

The first one I watched was Just In Time For Christmas. I liked it.

Small town girl living in Washington gets the job offer of a lifetime- tenure track at Yale along with publishing her thesis and turning it into a #1 best-selling book. The offer, of course, comes in as she’s driving to meet her boyfriend who is planning on proposing to her. He proposes, she can’t say yes, and she ends up taking a carriage ride with William Shatner. At the end of the ride she sees the Northern Lights and is propelled three years into the future.

It seems she took the offer at Yale. Her thesis was indeed turned into a best-selling novel. She had an amazing house, amazing wardrobe, and plenty of money. And she did also get offered tenure at Yale. But alas, her boyfriend had moved on after she left him to live her life in New Haven.

Her boyfriend was a coffee shop owner. In present day he had only the one shop but in the future he had a second shop and was opening a third. He was also now engaged to the woman who had worked for him at the shop.

She realizes that everything she has in life means nothing without love.

Now, let me tell you why I liked this one. I felt myself getting sucked into it. I’m thinking, “Yeah, you don’t really have anything if you’re all alone.” And then I reined myself in. Obviously, to Lindsey (that was the character’s name) she and Jason had never broken up. He had had three years to adjust to this new life without her but she was just now discovering all the changes. But I’m thinking to myself, “In three years she didn’t meet anyone else? It’s Jason or no one?”

Believe me, Jason was a lovely fellow. He was very easy on the eyes, sweet, supportive, and he owned a coffee shop! I have nothing against Jason. I’m just saying, in three years she never met a single soul? She is transported into the future, discovers she has millions in her bank account, has an amazing home, a best-selling book, and a job at Yale, but there was no new man in this new future? Not that she needs one, of course, but you watch enough of these movies where people wake up in a different time period and they almost always have a spouse or significant other they know nothing about.

As I was saying, I reined myself in. Why should Lindsey give up her dreams and her success for Jason’s? Maybe they were two great people who simply had separate paths to take? Or, maybe Jason could have followed Lindsey while she followed her dreams? Hmmm….

And that is the part I liked about it. Hallmark is always getting a bad rap about the high powered business woman leaving the big city for love and small town living. In this one she flat out tells him (thanks to her three year time leap) that she knows she’s going to be successful but being successful won’t mean nearly as much without having someone with whom she can share her success. She asks him to come with her to New Haven. Funny story. She’s going to a college town. He runs a coffee shop. He gets the brilliant idea that maybe a coffee shop in that area might be a big hit. Ya think?

I’ll give it a 10. I liked both of the leads. I liked the message and the fact that Lindsey didn’t sacrifice everything for Jason. I liked the fact that Jason actually left his life behind for Lindsey. Christopher Lloyd played her grandfather and it was nice seeing him again. Plus William Shatner as the Christmas elf or fairy godfather, whatever magical being he was supposed to be, is always fun.

Another one I watched was A Bride For Christmas. This is one of those movies that makes me shake my head and ask, “Hallmark, WTF are you doing?”

Jessie has bailed on two previous grooms when we meet her at her engagement party. She makes it down the aisle at her third wedding but keeps on going right out the back door. Why on earth you would keep throwing engagement parties and big ass weddings for a woman who has already bolted on two previous weddings is my first question.

Then we meet Aiden playing poker with three of his work colleagues. He wins. There’s snarky conversation. It’s apparent that Aiden thinks marriage is a trap and the end of the line for a man. A bet is soon made regarding him getting a woman to agree to get engaged before Christmas. The spoils of this bet? A freaking office! If he wins he gets the corner office and if he loses he gives up his office with no windows and has to take a cubicle. What. The. Ever. Living. Hell? You’re going to get engaged in about three weeks time so that you can get a better office? Have you ever heard of getting promoted? Just tossing that out there as an idea.

Anyway, they meet at an art show. He hits on her. She says no. Her sister says yes on her behalf. She and her sister are interior designers so her sister pushes her onto him for some unknown reason that is supposedly for business opportunities. She decorates his apartment amazingly well. They share stories about their lives. There’s volunteering at a dog shelter. A dog is adopted and then returned. Aiden sticks up for the dog which causes Jessie to kiss him and realize “he’s the one”. They’re planning the wedding- mere weeks after meeting and, oh yeah, only weeks after walking out of her third wedding. She finds out about the bet from her ex-fiance and breaks up with Aiden. Sadly, she finds out this information after he’s already called off the bet and taken his place in the cubicle. She will not even entertain his explanation. Wow- he’s in a cubicle for nothing now. Her MOM shows up at Aiden’s place of work, asks him if he loves Jessie, and when he assures her that he does, announces, “Then let’s get busy planning a wedding.” Again, I ask, What. The. Ever. Living. Hell?

Jessie goes to the shelter on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day (I don’t really know which) to tend to the dogs and give them their treats. Goes to give Jake, the returned dog, a treat and finds out he’s been adopted. Again. Jessie is sad but she fights through it, happy for Jake that he found a family. It’s Christmas, after all.

Jessie and her sister show up at their parents’ house for Christmas. Jessie is conveniently wearing white. Her sister will make an equally lovely bridesmaid in Christmas red. The pastor who has attempted to perform her prior weddings is there.

“What are you doing here, Father/Pastor So and So?”

Her dad is in a tux.

“Dad, why are you in a tux?”

“Because we’re in a Hallmark Christmas movie, Jessie. Shit’s about to get real.”

Well, look-y here! Who do we have? It’s Aiden. He’s in a tuxedo, too! What is going on? And why do you have Jake the dog jumping up and down all over you in your spiffy dress up clothes, Aiden? You probably guessed it by now- Aiden has adopted the dog that was returned, the one he valiantly defended causing Jessie to realize how much she loved him. He tells Jessie he loves her and wants to marry her, and by golly this dog has a real family now because it’s not just Aiden’s dog, it’s Jessie’s too (yeah, I think I forgot to mention the part about Jessie always wanting a dog but someone in the family was allergic)! This particular wedding (her fourth, if you’re keeping score) goes off without a hitch.

I don’t know where they got the little veil. Maybe her mom purchased it when she was busy planning Jessie’s wedding behind her back.

I know it’s a movie and it’s not supposed to make sense, or rather, dwell in reality, but come on! Why is Hallmark so intent on marrying off people? These people had known each other for weeks! He asked her out in order to win a bet. She broke off three prior engagements (to be fair I believe that possibly with the other weddings she never made it to with the other weddings she never made it to the actual wedding day; I think they were canceled before then.) and she’s just walking down the aisle on Christmas Eve, marrying a guy she said she never wanted to see again a week earlier? It wasn’t even a spur of the moment, “Let’s get married! We’ll run down to the courthouse or fly to Vegas!” This was an ambush wedding! It would be like someone inviting you over for Thanksgiving dinner and when you show up your wedding is set up for you and the host announces, “Meet your groom! Let’s do this!” And you do.

I do have to admit I’m a sucker for a dog. It is possible that I would marry a guy if he showed up and offered me a dog. With the caveat that I had to marry him in order to get the dog, of course. Possible. Not 100%. Honestly, come to think of it, I think the only part of that wedding that made sense was the dog.

So that was it for me. I did watch three others but I’m not going to write about them. Nothing outrageous happened. Now that we’ve got Direct Stream I’m pretty sure I get the Hallmark channel so I can watch these movies whenever I want. I plan to immerse myself in them this Christmas, even if they are ridiculous at times. 127 days until Christmas!

The Name Game

As y’all may remember I changed my name back to my maiden name when I divorced Jerry Lee. I didn’t want his name anymore. Or rather, I no longer wished to be associated with him anymore because let’s face it, once we got married and I changed my last name to match his it became my goddamn name.

There always seems to be discussion on changing your name back on the various boards I read. My stance is pretty simple. The last name is yours. Do with it what you wish. You want to get rid of it and go back to your maiden name? Get rid of it and go back to your maiden name; I did. You want to keep it? Then keep it. No one else gets to have an opinion. That includes the replacement, the cheating STBX, or even, sadly, the betrayed male spouse. Yes, my stance remains the same even then.

You think your new boyfriend’s/husband’s ex should change her last name back to her maiden name? You don’t like that she still has “his” name? It’s not your decision to make. It’s her last name now, not solely his.

You want your ex-wife to go back to her maiden name because you want to “bestow” that name upon a new woman? No one’s stopping you, Romeo. But you don’t get a say in whether or not your ex changes her name. Your choice was to be faithful or cheat. Now she gets to make choices.

Your ex-wife cheated on you and you think she should stop using your name? Again, I’m sorry. I really am. I know it must suck to have someone you despise share a name with you, but when you married her you gave her that name. It’s now hers. It was never a loaner.

Someone asked, “Why would she want to keep it when she cheated on me?” I can think of several reasons.

Practically speaking it can be a pain in the ass to change your name, especially now in the time of Covid-19. I just went through helping my son change his last name a year ago and let me tell you it was quite the process, and this was without having to change diplomas, credit cards, etc. I realize we probably had to take a few extra steps, like advertising in the paper, but it was still a lengthy, time-consuming process. Just getting the change at the Social Security office was a nightmare. Their offices are still closed so everything had to be sent in the mail- birth certificates, social security cards, high school transcripts, IDs. No one was answering phones so you had no idea if what you were sending in was correct (and in our case it wasn’t so we had to send in all new things). You needed to get everything changed at the Social Security office before you could do anything else- like getting a new State ID or driver’s license, or changing your medical records or updating your information at your bank. Hell, I still have credit cards in my old last name. My email address still has my old last name as well.

Many women also want to share a last name with their children. Most children are given the last name of their father. They frequently point out how travel and other issues can be more difficult when you don’t have the same last name as your child. It’s yet another slap in the face to think that your child’s stepmom can get information about your child or travel with your child with no one questioning them because they share a last name, while you, the legal parent, has to jump through hoops and prove your relationship to them if your name is different.

Also, as some people point out, they’ve had their married name longer than they had their maiden name. That wasn’t my situation but I’d still been Sam Jackass for 20+ years. Most of my adult friends knew me by that name instead of Sam Awesome.

Even with those three reasons listed above it still comes down to this: When you get married and legally take someone else’s name that name becomes your name. No one else gets to tell you to get rid of it. It’s yours to change if you choose. This isn’t semantics. It is your legal name.

In my situation I asked Jerry Lee how he would feel if I hyphenated my name when we got married. I know you will all be shocked to find out he was not happy with that idea at all. Oh no! I was to take his last name when we married.

Little Miss Harley hyphenated her name when she was married to The Saint. Now, I don’t know if she chose not to hyphenate it this time around because she just loved Jerry Lee so much she wanted to be all Jackass instead of Skank-Jackass, or if he pouted again and asked, “How could you not want to be all Jackass?”

So here’s my solution, fellas. Stop giving your name away! Seriously. When you’re getting engaged let it be known that you realize she’s her own person and you don’t expect her to take on a different name. She’s been Jane Smith for 20+ years and just because she’s marrying you doesn’t mean she has to suddenly become Jane Jones. If you’re insisting that she take your name then realize it’s now her legal name. She’s free to do with it what she wishes. She doesn’t have to give it back if things go south.

Personally, I think we should stop taking the man’s last name and we should start giving our children our last name instead of the man’s. As one person pointed out, “You have to do a DNA test to prove the children belong to the father. Not so with the mother.” And as another made note, ”So many times these men abandon their children and the woman is left either keeping a last name she no longer wants, or her name is different from that of her children, even though she’s the one raising them and he’s off doing God only knows what.”

Tag!

Did you know they have professional tag now? Professional tag! I swear, they will make anything a competitive sport.

My mom, Sweet J, and I were out to eat and ESPN was on. TVs all around us. We couldn’t get away from it. I’m watching these men run around and it really looked like one was trying to catch the other. I said to my dining companions, “It looks like they’re playing tag.”

Well, wouldn’t you know it, ESPN had the tag at the bottom of the screen and it said something about the WCT Championships. I was curious so I googled it.

World Chase Tag. I’ll be damned. To be fair it is an international championship for competitive parkour involving the game of tag. So, they’re not simply running around trying to catch one another. Sometimes they do stunts, too.

This has been going on for 11 years. Who knew?

If you go to their webpage (yes, they have a webpage) you will see that they bill themselves as the “world’ first and only global competitive Tag organization.”

You know why it’s the only global competitive Tag organization? Because most people beyond the age of 10 don’t play tag anymore! Hell, do kids even know how to play it anymore?

I thought it was crazy when I found out they have professional corn hole tournaments. This beats that.

Two For Two

Jerry Lee is on a roll! Picasso recently had a birthday. Little munchkin turned 20! 20. Can you believe it?

Daddy Dearest texted him (yeah, we’ll get to that in a minute) a birthday message. This is not verbatim but pretty damn close: Happy Birthday, son. I miss you tons. Have a great day. I’m so proud of you. I love you. Hope the day isn’t too hot for you (yeah, we’ll get to that, too).

As Picasso succinctly said, “He apparently realized he couldn’t send his birthday message through Venmo because he wasn’t planning on sending me anything for my birthday.”

Yes, that is correct. Jerry Lee flaked out on giving either one of his kids a birthday gift this year. The man and his cousin bring home over 12k a month but apparently he is too broke to send his kids fifty bucks.

Or perhaps he has simply given up. He realizes his kids aren’t willing to give him the time of day because of his own actions, and instead of owning up to that he has decided he will stop sending them money because, in his eyes, they don’t appreciate it and are only using him as a wallet. Poor sad sausage. His kids don’t appreciate him. Because of me, of course. I brainwashed them.

I was the one that convinced them that him moving out of the house and out of the state to go be with his mistress was a dick move. Naturally they were fine with it until I pointed out, falsely of course, that he had abandoned them!

I was the one that convinced them that him spending hundreds, of not thousands, of dollars on the whore’s kids while letting his own go without was a bad thing. They didn’t have a problem with that until I pointed it out.

I was the one that told them they should be hurt that their dad could show up for cheerleading competitions and show and tell for the mulligans while he ditched his own kids. They were good with it until then.

In fact, every bad experience they’ve had since the separation and divorce can be boiled down to me not putting the correct positive spin on it and falling on my sword for him and all his glory.

Whatevs!

Anyway, back to that whole texting thing…. Did everybody catch that? Mr. Genius, Mr. Mensa Member Material, has been claiming for years now that he did not have Picasso’s phone number. The story he told was his phone got wet or something and he lost most of his contacts. While he did have Rock Star’s number, Picasso’s was lost and he had no way of getting it. Interesting. You’d think a genius might be able to formulate a plan. Hell, I’m not a genius and yet I clearly remember tracking down a cute guy I met at a frat party using nothing except my memory, a student directory of the dorms, and some simple fucking deductions! I didn’t even have a last name for him at the time.

Now the question is: Was he lying this whole time, or did he somehow figure out how to get Picasso’s phone number? My son is wondering the same thing. “How did Jerry Lee get my phone number?”

I did check with Rock Star and she said she did not give it to him. Of course, he’s never asked either.

So that’s a little mystery that will never get solved. But hey- Jerry Lee has his son’s number now so no reason he can’t text him every day and say hi, tell him he loves him and misses him. Am I right?

Picasso and I were also both a bit weirded out about the whole, “Hope the day isn’t too hot for you.” The kid was born in July. It’s typically a hot month in the Midwest. I’m not sure Jerry Lee knows how heat adverse Picasso is; however, I recently posted about how proud I was of Picasso. I talked about how he had graduated with no fanfare last June and that as of January he had no job and no driver’s license. And then, just like that, he decided he was going to get his license and he was going to sign up with the carpenter’s union. I went on to say he did both of those things and that he was now driving and he had been working full time since April. In this specific post though I mentioned that the heat index was supposed to be around 110 degrees and to keep him in their thoughts and prayers as I was worried about the heat.

That seems to be a very specific “hope” for Picasso. Coincidence? Or do I have a spy? And is the spy malignant or misguided and benign?

Anyway, Picasso had a great day. His actual birthday was pretty low key but the following day his sister came up and we had a family dinner at a Japanese steakhouse and then everyone came back to the house for ice cream cake. His main gift from me had been tickets to the Fully Loaded Comedy Festival, headlined by Bert Kreischer, last month. Rock Star got the same gift. But seeing as I brought wine to her on her birthday I opted to give Picasso a gift card to a local home improvement store so he could buy some tools or whatever else he might be needing for work. It was a fun time, and while the mystery of Jerry Lee suddenly having Picasso’s number and potentially knowing something about his life was interesting to speculate about, it was but a tiny sidebar and soon forgotten. Quite like Jerry Lee.