Here and there

We left home for a week to go to a conference. We had three free days, one which we spent in Washington D.C. and the other two in Delaware checking them both off my bucket list.

We left Sunday morning in hopes of making it to our destination in time for the opening ceremony. Everything went smoothly for our first flight, not so much for our second. Paul was the one who alerted me of the first problem. It looked like someone puked right outside of the plane as we were boarding. Everyone else seemed oblivious to it. Most rolled their carry on luggage right through it. I’m hoping maybe someone just spilled food, but that’s not what it looked like.

We got on the plane and sat for the longest time. The latching mechanism for the door was not working so mechanics were called aboard with no success. Eventually we had to deplane and wait for another plane. It took so long I think perhaps they had to build another plane. The second plane didn’t take off right away either. By the time we reached our destination, we were two and a half hours late.

Next we had to wait to take a shuttle bus to the car rental area. The driver was a kind older man. The bus was rather full but he found a spot for my luggage and a seat for me to sit in. I wanted to give the man a tip but I only had larger currency. Once the doors opened, Paul raced to the rental car area. By the time I caught up to him it was too late to give the guy a tip. I was hoping to catch him on the way back.

Once we got the rental car, we still had another 30 minutes to our hotel. It was dark outside by then and we drove quite a ways before we noticed we were driving without our headlights on. We weren’t going to make it to the opening ceremony. We were going to miss the whole thing. When we got to the hotel, there was a skeleton crew of conference goers left at the bar area. A handful were planning on getting drinks and sushi nearby. We decided to go with because we didn’t eat supper yet. We got there right before the kitchen closed.

The bus driver I was hoping to catch on the way back wasn’t there. This time there was a bus driver who stood outside the front door of the bus. The bus was full, filled to overflowing. The driver just stood there. He did not help people put luggage on the racks or even say anything. At this point, we got to the airport really early so we should have just waited for the next bus. The luggage rack was full so I just stood there holding my luggage with one hand and tried to grab onto something with my other hand. Even though there wasn’t any room, people still entered the bus.

I stood next to a seat with two elderly people in it. In the seat behind them there was a family, a man younger than me with a son of about 11. Across from them was the mom who sat on the outside seat and wouldn’t move over to let someone else sit with her. At this time I was getting irritated. Not just because I was carrying a purse, backpack, and suitcase while trying to maintain my balance on a crowded bus. I was irritated the woman did not offer to move over. I was upset that I saw several senior citizens standing while the pre-teen sat without offering a seat to an elder.

Once the bus stopped, the family wanted to get off at the first stop. The woman complained I was in her way. It’s not as if I wanted to stand in the aisle. There was nowhere else for me to go. They were complaining about me out loud to each other. I was starting to get really angry about it. They couldn’t leave fast enough but I was a little shaken by the experience. The elderly lady in the seat in front of them must have noticed because she turned to me and smiled complimenting me on my shirt diffusing some of my irritation.

The family was rude in my book, but I placed a lot of blame on the bus driver. He was not going to be getting a tip from me. He probably didn’t get a lot of tips. The rest of the trip home was relatively uneventful. The first flight we ended up getting seats in the last row and the second flight we sat very close to the front. When we left it was warm. We were coming home to the cold rain. It takes courage sometimes to come home to a place of cold when we know the days ahead will be dark ones. My flipflops no longer keeping my feet warm. Yet it is comforting because it is home to me.

Everyone else’s problems

Okay, so maybe things aren’t going to be all that light and fluffy yet. I feel really irritated today. Maybe it’s just PMS or something.

Some days I can just let it go and other days not so much.

Yesterday my husband and I made plans to take my daughter Angel and her best friend sailing for her birthday. Apparently the weather had other plans. It ended up going alright anyway. But that wasn’t the problem. When we got back around 5 PM, I noticed that Arabella was still home. I thought she was scheduled to work at 4:30 PM. So I went to talk to her and found out she was supposed to work at 10:30 AM. She slept through her whole shift. So she missed a whole day of work and the previous two days before that she was late.

My husband and I were livid. The last thing we want is for her to lose the job that she says she loves. We again told her how important it was to sleep at night and wake up in the morning. After I woke her up she called work. Thankfully she didn’t get fired but I’m not sure how long that will last. They are very nice to her too and said she could wear a short sleeved shirt despite her cutting scars. They told her they don’t discriminate. She was really upset with herself and when I asked her if she wanted to talk about it she told me to leave her alone. Just like old times. She is upset with me but can’t do it by herself.

It really stressed me out.

Also, when we got home yesterday, we had the invisible fence lady at our door. I was on the phone with a client a few days ago when I saw my dog cross the road and almost get hit by a car. Our dog is almost 14 years old and is practically deaf and blind. He has been going right through the fence and onto the road. We had to do something. So they came out and turned the collar all the way up. Thankfully he is responding to it now. But it is hard to see him go downhill so fast. Our cat is 15 and not in much better shape. I don’t think either one will make it through another winter and it is hard to see both our pets decline.

Then if all that wasn’t enough. My mom came back yesterday. She is all stressed out because her tooth cracked and she had to get a crown, my dad now has some sort of heart problem, and my brother Matt had a CT scan because of some benign tumors on several organs. She only slept an hour last night and was a bear to deal with today. She wanted me to drive her to her appointment today which I did. But she was annoyed by my music saying it was too loud (it wasn’t) and clangy and asked me to turn it off.

A huge, huge pet peeve of mine is complaining about my music when I’m driving. It’s not a big deal if someone asks me to turn it down so they can talk to me. That’s no problem. I usually keep the volume down when I have passengers anyway. But saying they don’t like it and asking me to turn it off when I’m doing them a favor is another thing entirely. I just had the radio on quietly. Yes it was rock music. I hate her music too but never ask her to turn it off.

It kind of reminds me when my kids were young after I got past the stage of having to listen to that dribble Barney crap, I would listen to music I liked. When they complained, I told them that when they drove they could listen to whatever they wanted to. That came back to bite me because they can listen to stuff off their phone. In my book, driver picks the music whether I like it or not. Sometimes my husband will be really nice when he drives and tells me to put on anything I want. It’s like heaven to me.

But anyway, here I am back to letting everyone else’s problems bug me. I don’t even want to go up north this weekend to be around family anymore since they all carry so much negative energy. I am looking forward to seeing my brothers Mark and Luke but my dad, Matt, and my mom aren’t very relaxing to be around.

When can I live my own life and let everyone else’s problems go? Seriously!!?!

The laundry fairy

This morning there was a commotion at the palace.

The prince said he did not want to go to school because his royal robes were filthy. Apparently this was the fault of the palace’s royal laundry fairy who didn’t sprinkle the garments with the magic dust that makes them pristine once again.

The royal family was told time and time again that only the soiled garments in the royal hamper will be collected for the sprinkling. The garments will not be collected from the floors of the royal chambers.

Friday night the prince put loads of dirty clothes from the past couple weeks into the hamper with expectations that they would be magically cleaned by the next morning. But Saturday morning, the laundry fairy flew off at the crack of dawn to run a half marathon. Then later that day, the laundry fairy had plans with friends. On Sunday, the laundry fairy only washes towels because that is what the laundry fairy does on that particular day.

Monday morning there weren’t any magically cleaned clothes for the prince and a verbal joust ensued.

The prince can put his filthy garments in the hamper every day or the prince can do his own laundry! What a royal pain!

The prince wore dirty clothes to school today.

 

On casting the first stone

This weekend something happened to me that caused my blood to boil. I felt furious enough to punch someone.

Saturday morning I did a 12 mile run outdoors. It was a lovely fall day that drew many people outside on bike, foot, and car.

As I was running mile 7, I saw a lady about 10 years older than me walking in front of me with her unleashed dog. A car was coming towards us in our lane. There weren’t any cars in the opposite lane. The lady in the car did not move over or slow down for the dog or the walker. After she passed them, she veered in my direction. Then she quickly swerved back into her lane as she sped by.

I was really upset and complained to the walker about crazy psycho drivers. I slowed down to walk next to her. I didn’t think I could run past her without her dog chasing me. After petting her dog a couple of minutes and venting my rage, we introduced ourselves.

The walker told me of a man that ran by her house all of the time. She thought perhaps I would know him. She said that she started seeing him many years ago and that he lost a lot of weight. He always runs with a beagle dog that, although old, never seems tired. And on and on she went about how wonderful the strange man was…

Maybe I know who he is?? Yes, he’s my husband!

When I got back home, I told Paul about his secret admirer. I told him that I had a conversation with her after our run in with a careless driver.

Paul gets very upset when I tell him about my close calls out on the road. I’d like to say that it doesn’t happen very often, but it does. It makes me even more enraged when people do not move over or slow down when there are animals or children on the road.

Paul said that he had the perfect solution. He said that I should carry a rock while running. If they almost hit me, I should take the rock and chuck it at their car. Perfect!

Forget the mace and rape whistle! My biggest threat isn’t from dogs or the creepy guys that cat call as they drive by. My biggest threat is from the psycho drivers that almost run me down as they speed by. I was even wearing my ‘honk if you’re going to hit me’ shirt. But the words are on the back of the shirt, not the front. My bad!

Carrying around a rock was Paul’s best idea ever. It seemed out of character for him to give that kind of advice. He regretted his words immediately after uttering them.

What if your hobby of running gets you in trouble with the law?? What if they get out of their car and beat the crap out of you?

Seriously, who cast the first stone?

**Honey, if you are reading this…Not to worry, I probably won’t start taking your advice anytime soon.**

Locker room talk

I’ve spent a lot of time at the gym the last few months. I have become well acquainted with the locker room.

The locker room that I use at the gym is for adults only. Of course, rules aren’t necessarily always followed. It really drives me nuts when a mom brings in screaming toddler. They have a separate parent child locker room for that. Seriously, I work out to relax!

Or better yet, when a mom brings in a little boy that gawks at the naked ladies. They have a separate locker room for that too, mixed gender parent and child.

Seriously, I get it. I was once the mom that anxiously awaited outside the boys locker room and men’s bathroom for my son to emerge. It was scary the first few times…Is that your little guy in there? I helped him reach the paper towels. Don’t worry, he should be out soon..

It has become a pet peeve of mine when these rules are not followed. Frankly, it doesn’t bother me if teens use the women’s locker room. Of course, it may be scary for them to view a real woman’s body. I have yet to see anyone that looks like a Victoria’s Secret model stumble in. And these are the women that work out at the gym!

Not that I sit around and look or anything…

I’ve always wondered why when the locker room is totally empty except for one person that I end up having the naked lady using the locker next to mine. It happened last night. Uncanny…no, not really..lol.

Of course I always use proper locker room etiquette. I look with my eyes to navigate to my locker. If I happen to see someone naked, I drop my eyes to my feet like I am in an elevator. I may even hum elevator music softly in my head.

Sometimes I even use the locker room when the group of developmentally disabled come in from the group home. It doesn’t really bother me. Although it was a little uncomfortable when the first naked lady came up to me and complimented me on my¬† physical attributes or articles of clothing as I was putting it on. Hello, I don’t have any pants on and you’re naked.

Seeing the very nice group home ladies always reminds me of my brother…This is where the story gets very twisted…I’m in the locker room naked thinking of my brother! It makes me sad to think that my brother could be standing in the men’s locker room doing the same thing. It bothers me that his responses are not socially appropriate…like farting in an elevator. These ladies are probably someone’s sister…They don’t know what they are doing, but we can see..As a special needs sibling, I understand. I feel compassion and respect for them although it hurts me that they act that way. It’s a strange feeling..

It reminds me of other times…my daughter’s high school play…Matt in the bathroom using the urinal…grunting (Tourette’s) doing pelvis thrusts to dry himself (sensory issues)..a classmate freaked out…laughing…a weird man in the bathroom..hitting on me?…odd behavior…should I call the cops?…wouldn’t be the first time…my brother…no dignity…it hurts.

Sometimes the locker room is the hardest part of my work out. It elicits feeling of annoyance or sadness. I never expected that..

Boot thief

I am going to take the kids to see my mother-in-law this weekend.

The last time I visited, she accused me of stealing her boots. She said that someone, possibly my daughters or I, took her boots and left a pair that looked just like hers behind.

I really didn’t know what to say. Why would I steal my dying mother-in-law’s boots?

I admit, my relationship with my mother-in-law Martha has been rocky at times.

I am structured and overly responsible. Martha is spontaneous and irresponsible. She is usually late and she only does what she feels like doing. If she doesn’t feel like doing something, she won’t do it. She might cancel out last minute after she made a commitment. She usually has good intentions.

She once cancelled out of going to her grandchildren’s birthday party because it was going to be too hot outside and we were having the party outdoors. Or it might rain or might snow. Or she spent all her money at the casino and didn’t have enough for gas. Or she had to work. Or she was sick. Or the hot water heater stopped working and she couldn’t shower. Or the car broke down. Or she needed to go shopping instead. All of these excuses have been used.

Some of my biggest pet peeves are when people don’t do what they say they are going to do or when they cancel out last minute without a good reason.

Most of the time, I didn’t argue. The handful of times that I did over the past 20 some years angered Martha enough not to talk to me for years. Martha is always right. It was never her fault. It’s not worth arguing. I just nod my head and smile if I disagree. It is not worth having my children not have their grandma in their lives over.

I am a peaceful person that avoids conflict, but is never at peace. I am the one that is upset. I am the one that is hurt.

I have learned over time to lower my expectations. I am not upset that she accused me of stealing her boots. Martha is a difficult person. Paul and I talk about the things that bother us so it doesn’t fester into something bigger.

Really, what does Martha care if I am upset??

She is the biggest owner of rose colored glasses that I know. She is happy. She talks of all the things she is going to do when she kicks this terminal cancer. She is happy while she is getting chemo. She thinks she is getting better. She has always lived in her dream world of lies. She is happy. She is happy. She is happy..

I am a realist and I am completely miserable.

Some have called me a pessimist and I would argue. But I would admit I am not an optimist. I want to have both feet on the ground. I want to know the facts. I want to know the truth. I see the world as it really is and sometimes that bothers me.

Is such honesty worth it? Try as I might, I can’t seem to change.

 

Proper middle school concert etiquette

This has been my 8th consecutive year of being a parent of at least one middle school child. Over the years I have learned a thing or two. This is my last year and I am ready to graduate!

If you are a new parent of a middle schooler, pity!! These years are the hardest with so many major changes for the first time. Hormones, growth spurts, dating, fitting in…just to name a few.

Hey, it’s a scary time for parents too.

I want to give helpful, yet humorous, advice on proper etiquette for the middle school concert goer.

Let’s face it, middle school concerts suck!

The kids are just not cute anymore like they were in preschool or grade school. Some of the students have been playing their instruments for 2 months before their first winter concert. They don’t come close to high school or college performances.

I have seen an appalling new trend over the past couple of years of parents yelling out their child’s name as they are approaching the stage. Parents, this is trashy and not at all classy. Or even worse, when the students shout back from the stage. This is not melodious at all.

I like to pretend I paid a lot of money to see this performance. If I consider how much I pay in taxes, I did.

I like to wear something nice. No jeans with holes. No work out clothes. No pajamas…I don’t think pajamas are proper attire for concert goers. I just don’t, even though they were seasonal and really cute.

Let’s talk for a moment about proper concert attire…

It would be wise to have your child set aside his or her concert attire a week or two before the show. If at all possible, hide it in a secret corridor that only you have access to. But never more than two weeks before. If you have things ready a month in advance that is admirable, but your child is sure to grow a foot or two. Did you see the boy whose pants were shorts?

Then there was my child. He said he was prepared, but always lost or outgrew his dress shoes the night of the concert and had to borrow his dad’s dress shoes that were ill fitting.

But my personal favorite is when the girls show up to the concert in a dress they wore from grade 2. Please don’t bend over if you drop something. Or better yet, the comments about the scantily clad girls from the teen boys behind you while you are trying to record your child’s performance.

Don’t get me wrong, I love it when the whole family gets into the concert. It is nice to see people tap their toes to the beat. But I don’t enjoy it when they tap their feet into the back of my seat.

It seems like our middle school has a high turnover of choir and band teachers. I love the experienced teachers because they are sure to have a medley at the end of the show where all of the grades perform together. This prevents a stampede to the exit after the concert goer’s child performs. If you are going to leave before the concert ends, at least take a few crying kids with you.

The last show that I went to, there was a man who was in such a hurry to leave after his kid performed that he tripped on an extension cord and almost fell. It was very entertaining. I almost clapped.

If only people had proper middle school concert etiquette like I do. To think, it only took me 8 years to figure it all out.

 

11. Ten pet peeves

Day 11: Describe 10 pet peeves that you have.

1. It drives me crazy when people don’t use their blinkers. 

2. Laziness is a big pet peeve of mine. Especially when people spend a lot of time making up lame excuses for it when it would’ve taken less time to do the work.

3. Being late.

4. Chewing food loudly and not closing their mouth. 

5. Lights left on in an empty room. 

6. People that don’t move over when I am on the road biking or running and almost hit me. 

7. I hate it when someone tries to change the music in my car while I am driving or tries to control MY environment. I don’t care what you do in your house, just don’t tell me what to do in mine.

8. It drives me nuts when people tell me they are going to do something and don’t do it.

9. I hate it when people give me unsolicited advice when they have no idea what they are talking about.  To add to that, I hate it when people tell me what to do in general. What makes you the expert on my life?

10. I hate it when people ask others for help, then complain about what they receive.