Friday, August 5, 2011

A childhood rite of passage.

When I arrived home last night, I saw K-'s neighbor friend, E-, riding her bike.  She was riding it at dusk, which only told me one thing-- no training wheels. 

Now, this has been a dream of both girls all summer long.  They've been scadoodling on their scooters, but we hadn't gotten to tackling the big one yet.  With E- having mastered it so easily, K- decided that it would be her goal today.

She got on.

She peddled down the backyard.

She didn't fall once.

She decided after two trips down the backyard, she would attempt the sidewalk.  She did very well.  At first, she was just a little wobbly, but not flailingly so like last year.  Clearly, she wasn't ready right then.  This time, she went down and stopped at the lift in the sidewalk.  She pushed her bike back up.  Rinse and repeat.  Finally, she got up enough nerve to go over the lift.  Then, she got up enough gumption in her 7 year old legs to make it back up the hill. 

It's not perfection, but she's doing a fantastic job.  So proud of her!

Smiles in my day:
-  K- being able to tackle that summertime goal.  E- being right there with her, literally cheering her on all the way.  What great friends those two are.
-  A weird smile, but considering that we had three packages of the recalled ground turkey in our freezer (Honeysuckle 93/7 plant P963) in our freezer, I took it back to our local grocer a few blocks up and they gave me my money back, but not before apologizing profusely first.  I told them that it wasn't their fault, I know that we ate some of the recalled turkey and lived to tell the tale, but was thrilled that they took it back even though their local chain wasn't mentioned as one of the recipients of the recalled turkey on the news.  I've very, very finicky when I cook poultry, changing the utensils upwards to three times by the time the meat is done.  In this case, my weird habit proved to be a good one.
-  K- excited for the arts camp production tomorrow.  She's excited because there is a Mary Poppins number involved and both of us have a dear love for Mary Poppins.  (And we got to see it at the New Amsterdam Theatre in NYC this past fall!) 

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Woman obligation parties.



Stella and Dot.


Pampered Chef.

And the list goes on and on. 

I have now had to decline a second party in two weeks.  The first was for jewelry.  The second party is for handbags and such.  These are two themes that I've had to decline before. 

1.  I work at an art gallery, am surrounded by beautiful jewelry comprised of real stones and whatnot.  I don't mean to be a snob, but when I do buy myself the rare piece (with birthday money), I want it to be the real goods.

2.  I am horrible at the womanly obligation to have 10 million bags that I change 14 hundred times.  I carry what could be termed as a wallet on a string.  I only change it for a similar, but beady, wallet on a string for weddings and special occasions that require me to wear heels.  I do not like purses.  I only carry one because I have to and I only carry one that fits the essentials.  I do not carry make-up, books or have a need to tote a sippy cup any longer.  I'm good with my $1.50 leather purse that came from the thrift many years ago.  I don't want to sit and watch convertible purses and magnetic, changeable fronts.  I don't mean to be mean, but I just don't care.

I've been invited to stamping parties and Creative Memories parties.  My good friend Rachael is a stamp girl.  She is fantastic at what she does.  If I need to acquire anything stampy, I could just pay her for her excellent services.  Creative Memories?  I know people love it, but I'd rather stab my eyes out with pencils.  I went to one of those 4 mini-course things for a friend of mine.  She was going to be a CM consultant, ended up only having 1 of the mini-courses and so I paid money for essentially nothing.  At least it wasn't a lot.  I learned to use the tools, which was helpful later.  Still, I was bored to death.  I know I do the art gig, but this just didn't work for me.

Tupperware and Pampered Chef, I find, pretty much sell themselves.  Those two involve a cultish following of woman, sitting amongst ladies generally of a similar age, that talk, compare and are able to state at the drop of a hat exactly how many pieces of each they own.  I find that Tupperware's need in my life is pretty much replaced by the much cheaper disposable containers from the mass marketers.  Pampered Chef is one that I do claim cannot be beat, I have a few items that I love, but I only have a 1008 sq ft ranch, one that could not possibly contain all of the Pampered Chef items that the consultants are hawking anyhow.

Ladies at church that hardly know me have invited me to handbag sales, jewelry sales, lotions and potions of the like and children's toy parties.  If you don't know me well enough to call me up on the phone and talk about this, that and the other, please don't include me on your list.  I don't mean to be rude, but I admit-- I have a hatred for these parties.

I've been invited to adult themed parties and if that is something up your alley, good for you.  If that is something that I did want to purchase, I certainly wouldn't do that in the company of a bunch of woman that I don't know, while getting schnockered on wine and other alcohol to encourage more sales.  I don't care if they take you to a little room and send you out with a little plain brown package.  Nothankyou.

In an economy that is up and down, essentials of life going up substantially in price, why do people keep having these parties?  Perhaps I'm one of the few that just don't get it.  I know that part of my issue is that I work retail and would love to leave everything retail at the work doorstep until I'm due in on my next day.

All right.  Have at it.  Give me your thoughts. 

Smiles in my day:
-  I made a three-fruit cobbler for dessert tonight.  We're celebrating my in-law's 45th anniversary and I needed a dessert.  We were supposed to celebrate it on July 23, their actual anniversary, but K- was busy fevering and whatnot.  She is well, so the party moves on.  I hope that the cobbler is good.  I'll have to let you know.
-  Rain has fallen then last two days, which has freed me from my evening watering duties.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tales from the Trenches: Honey, Sweetie, Dear.

We had a rather affluent customer come into the store yesterday.  He had been on multiple trips throughout the past week, but I hadn't been in and didn't know his story.  He started at the store that I was at, plunking things down on the counter and moving on as if it were a timed shopping spree.

That is very good for us.

I found the price he needed to know, tracked him down, let him know and was involved  in helping him with more items.  We were outside, I was answering questions about prices, then he and his wife haul in with more items. 

That is very good for us.

"Dear, could you bring over the items that I placed on the other counter?"  He turns to his wife, "They wrap here, but they can't wrap over there."  Wanting to correct, but resisting the urge, I went and did as asked.

There were 4 items, two were rather large and required me to make separate trips.  It's all good.  I had no problem.  The one was feet in diameter and an item in weight that one of the guys should have hauled.  The gentleman and his wife had 6 coworkers involved in their transaction, so I had to lump it and haul it the best I could.  I propped the doors, regardless to the air being on, so that the kind customers that had been opening the doors for me before could continue shopping without being my assistants.  They didn't mind, but I hated to bother.

I finally got all of the items over and since all but one coworker was sucked into the spinning vortex of outgoing art, I started helping a customer that had been waiting.  Her item didn't need wrapped and frankly, her head was spinning from being witness to the flurry that was going on. 

Then he did it.  I was working with a customer and with complete disregard to the customer or me, he places a large piece on the counter next to my customer, then starts speaking over her.  He was literally standing behind her, disregarding the conversation that we were having, and speaking instructions over her as if she didn't exist.  She was an older woman who stood there and as I juggled her transaction and his instructions, was very patient.  I got her transaction handled, I assured him that the floor manager was in charge of his sale and I went back over to where I normally work.

Some time later, the woman that I had been helping was toodling on through my part of the store.  "See!  I told you that I didn't work over there.  I can help you over here, too!" 

"I promise not to call you Honey, Sweetie or Dear." 

"You know, it's all good.  I've certainly been called worse.  I was just speaking to my coworker, though.  I was telling her how badly I felt that you were being talked over."

"It wasn't your fault.  I just couldn't believe how he kept calling you and the rest of the people Honey, Sweetie or Dear.  I thought it was rude."

I left it as it was and fluffed on by.  We had talked about the big item that needed to be gift wrapped and I explained to her that it was just a part of our job.  I gave an example of something that was a bit more challenging to wrap and told her, "At least wrapping difficult things keeps us out of trouble."  All she could do was laugh.

She was right, though.  The Honey, Sweetie and Dear wasn't terms of endearment.  They were in use as a Master/Slave situation.  I know it.  Believe me, I didn't care for it.  Sometimes it happens, though. I was so surprised that an older woman was so incredibly bothered by it.  Usually, the kindly older ladies have the equally kindly older husbands who do the Honey, Sweetie and Dear, but in a very grandfatherly kind of way. 

We got on to talking about it with the gallery owner later that evening and all he could do was chuckle.  "Well, when he's laying out money like he was," said Mr. Man Owner, I followed up with, "You just lump it and go with it."  He nodded his head and laughed some more.  We all know that the Honey, Sweetie, Dear gentleman was rather a blessing in an economic time where people hem-haw over $6.00 candles and $3.00 do-dads. 

What are your thoughts? 

Smiles in my day:
-  Hubs, K- and I were able to walk for the first evening in a while.  The humidity and temperature were of a human level.  It was grand!
-  It rained buckets yesterday.  It is wonderful, as my rain barrel was beginning to get to the low of lows, the perennials got a good, healthy drink and I think it was enough to knock the dust off the outside of my car.  On the other hand, the floor manager and I had to go out in the torrential rain to deliver the very large piece of wrapped art to Honey, Sweetie, Dear.  Thank goodness, a coworker knew of a garbage bag size that fit the piece perfectly.  It was only about a minute and a half, but L- and I were soaked when we got back in.  I looked like a drowned rat, but it was warm rain and it felt good to help finish out the transaction and move on to other things.

Have a great day!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Back to the craziness.

K- went to camp on Friday, had a grand time and took a nap when she arrived home.  She played with E-, her friend next door, and I swore to her parentals that K- was well past her point of spreading funk and disease. 

On Saturday, Hubs had to work late, which means that he went in late.  We took a family trip to the thrift store and I found lots of lovelies that I needed.  We came home, I detagged everything in the driveway, threw a load of thrift duds directly into the wash and off we went to handle some back to school shopping.  Old Navy was on my list, as I had done a bit of online ordering when K- was down and a few things I ordered just didn't fit.  I wanted an orange polo for her, but they only had them for boys.  I decided, "How different can the sizes actually be?"  When I pulled the polo out of the package, Hubs asked, "Is that for you?"  Yikes.  They are inches different.  Mentally noted.  I ordered K- a pair of yoga pants in a 10/12.  When I held them up, the waistline at mine, the hemline fell exactly at mine.  Now, I'm not tall by any stretch (5' and slightly below 1") but still.  Hubs asked, "Who the heck do they make these pants for?"  We were able to take them back to the store and I opted to go to the store that was in a plaza as opposed to the mall.  It was a hassle free return, I was able to get a pair of yoga pants that fit this time (size 8 was a better choice) and a striped tank for next year.  In the end, I spent 5.00 less than I had online.  That's good!

I stopped by the craft store and bought nothing.

I stopped by a new health food grocer and bought nothing.  (I was hungry and slightly overwhelmed.) 

I returned some ill fitting shorts to Walmart and bought nothing. 

We stopped by Target, where I didn't buy nothing, but did find some grand deals on the clearance rack.  They have t-shirts marked down to 1.48 each and tanks marked down to 1.98 each.  I also found a Hello Kitty MP3 player for K-'s birthday (yes, it is in December) marked down from 30.00 to 7.48.  We'd like to give a trial run at this iPodish thing to see if she likes it and if she takes care of it.  If she does, when she is older, she'll get the Apple version. 

K- fell asleep on the way home, only to find that my surprise for her was a 50 cent cone from McD's.  Hey, we're both a cheap date.

We came home, I did some tidying and whatnot while K- played with her doll house, then we went to McD's again for K- to get her free Happy Meal for dinner.  She had earned a free Happy Meal at the library for attending 4 of the summer reading program events and since Hubs wasn't home, we were on our own for dinner.  I got myself a grilled wrap and a side salad, K- ate her Smurfalicious meal (well, a few bites) and off she went to play. 

McD's Play Place is the land of many parents/guardians who just don't care.  When we came in, there was a child screaming at the top of her lungs.  She was screaming because she is a girlie screamer-- not that there was anything wrong.  My child has been many things at many times, but I thank God each time I encounter the girlie screamer that of all things K- is/has been, she has never been that.  The child went on and on screaming to the point that children were coming out of the Play Place with their fingers in their ears.  K- and I were still eating and I looked at K- and said, "It seems like someone needs to get their child to stop screaming."  The guy in the next booth over just looked at me.  He didn't give me a dirty look or anything.  I thought he was commiserating.  Um, no.  He was the father of the screamer.  Doh.  Finally, he did get her to stop and each time she came down, he gently reminded her that screaming wasn't a good thing.  I don't think he was offended.  I didn't say it nasty.  When kids have their fingers in their ears, you know it isn't just the adults affected.  There was also an unattended 18 month old that was licking and chewing all over the safety padding, in and out of the Play Place, while dragging the Wet Floor sign with her, going to all the tables of all of the people and she wasn't claimed until about 45 minutes after we arrived.  Geeze.  There were lots of kids without socks, which by sign are mandatory.  There were also people freely going in and out of the emergency only exit.  K- had fun, all was well with her and off we went to home where she continued to play with E- until bedtime.

Sunday came with church attendance, off to the grocery after, home to put groceries away/clean produce and have K- make a birthday card, then off to the party.  Bless K-'s heart, when she was at the party my friend called and nearly panicked me when I saw her name come up on my phone.  It seems as though K- got clonked in the face with a light saber.  They had an ice pack on it and she was left with a funky mark below her eye.  Then, some kid spun around, nailed her with something and caused her to bleed.  Their yard has to be some bizarre mosquito breeding ground because while the kids were there, they were eaten alive and I patted K- down with the clear version of Calamine lotion before bed.  K- and E- made plans at the party to come back home and continue their playing here and that they did.  The girls played chalk in the front, caught butterflies in the back and climbed the tree next door.  E- asked if I had cherries and as luck would have it, I had cherries and strawberries that needed consumed today.  The girls each had a good sized bowl of fruit and they were happy as clams, while they sat on the front step, talking all about life, things and bowls of fruit. 

They took a break for dinner, at which case K- decided that she wasn't all that hungry, but she sat with us and "observed" her butterflies, drawing all their appropriate parts, labeling her paper and telling us her tales of catching them.  She is really quite good at catching butterflies.  She is gentle in swoop and delicately puts them in her pop-up container for observation purposes.  I was amazed at the detail that she went into with the butterflies this evening. 

The girls reconvened after dinner for a bit more time to play, K- teaching E- how to spin a hula hoop on its side in such a way to get it to return to her.  They caught and released more butterflies, then it was off to the bath.  K- is busy playing catch-up with her summer reading, as the month of July wasn't kind to us.  I was sick or she was sick and while reading didn't completely fall by the wayside, she didn't read quite as much as we normally do.  It's funny to hear her read.  She is beginning to really get into reading with emotion in her voice.  She pauses, she yells, she giggles and appropriately reads punctuation.  The pause in summer reading wasn't a delay as I worried it would be for her, but still, we're back at it.  We're busy reviewing math skills, too.  We talked about it being important not to fall behind during the summer, because that just starts the year out bad.  She agreed.  Of course, the prize incentives when you go back to school with your summer homework complete doesn't hurt either. 

That takes me to this evening.  K- was snuggled in bed by 9:05 PM and is now fast asleep.  She is feeling more and more like herself every day.  Her cough was non-existent over night last night, and I can only hope for the same this evening.  Last night, she slept in a tent that she made herself from blankets that she had pinned in drawers and weighed down with books.  Perhaps it was a magical healing tent? 

While watering this evening, I noticed that the girls had snatched all of the ripened tomatoes from the vine.  The parsley in the back was defoliated.  To me, that means only one thing.  I looked in closer and I was pleased to see two black swallowtail caterpillars munching away.  The one got knocked off by the water pouring from the watering can, but I got him back up and onto another bit of the parsley. 

It made me smile.  That and lots of other weekend stuff. 

Have a great day!