CELL PHONES

True story…

Sitting in the hair salon chair stewing in my hair dye, this is what I observed:

Woman with long blond hair walks into the salon and up to the counter with a cell phone to her ear. A stylist, we’ll call her Sue, greets woman and engages in conversation to confirm appointment. Me thinks it a bit rude that woman does not hang up phone while talking to Sue. Silly me.

Sue guides woman to styling chair to discuss what will be done today; woman explains she just needs a blowout, so Sue leads her to hair washing station. Phone still at woman’s ear. Sue proceeds to wash and condition woman’s hair; phone never gets moved away from ear. Side note: this is a safety hazard; do not try this at home.

At this point I am intrigued, and feeling a bit miffed for the Sue’s sake. But thinking who knows what the hell is appropriate with cell phones these days I ask my stylist, Michelle: Is the woman on her cell phone while she is getting her hair washed? Yes. Is that normal? No, but this woman does it all the time.

Now I’m feeling 1) relieved that the zombie apocalypse isn’t occurring while I’m sitting in a mall with tin foil in my hair, 2) self-righteous that I was correct the phone woman is behaving in a manner unbecoming to the people who takes scissors to her hair, 3) still intrigued that a human can talk on the phone while getting her hairs did, and 4) curious about the conversation itself. I eavesdrop to hear if she is trying to walk someone through brain surgery over the phone or maybe is speaking with a world leader (not to be confused with a world citizen). Then I realize that if the conversation were truly important, she would not be having it in a hair salon.

Suddenly all I am feeling is indignant for the stylist who is forced to deal with this self-consumed cell phone addict. It takes all the power in me not to yell, thinking if I yell in support of someone else (Sue), does it still qualify as trying to teach a pig to sing?   My total bad ass husband (PTST) often reminds me, when I am tempted to scream at someone for their idiocy, if an adult thinks it’s a good idea to let his six-year-old drive a golf cart, then yelling about it will not change his mind. So I am learning to temper my tirades. But on the flip side, as we used to tell Molly, ‘’I know you don’t give a rat’s ass about what I am saying, but it makes me feel better to yell.’’

In the end, I sit in my salon chair shooting invisible poison darts out of my eyeballs at the woman because I am a giant pussy. She gets her blow out completed, pays up, and walks out without ever breaking stride in her cell conversation, never having the slightest inkling that everyone she leaves behind in the salon, not to mention the person on the other end of her conversation, absolutely positively hates her with the fire of a thousand suns.

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EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT

 

WE’RE HAVING A BABY!

Technically, no. There is no bun in my oven. Although you would never know it by looking at me. Legally and physically, we are about to become aunt and uncle, and the new baby boy will live 500 miles away. But we are out of our minds with excitement! And you know why? Because it’s way better to be aunt and uncle than parents.

Because we are not the parents, we can still lay up in the bar all night without the fear of the baby calling me Pam. (Vintage Chris Rock; Google it.) Not that we would because we are old and weak, but it’s good to know you can if you want to. We will never hear a kindergarten teacher explain to us ‘’there are no bad chairs; there are bad decision chairs.’’ We can continue to curse like sailors without worrying baby’s first word will be the f-bomb. No debate over to vaccinate or not, no chicken pox, no colic, no explosive diarrhea or vomit. Nothing but joy.

Aunt Robin and Uncle Mike get to show up and shower the baby with drum sets and squirt guns, get him all hopped up on Nerds, Twinkies and Mountain Dew, and return him to his parents before the puking begins. We do not need to concern ourselves about whether Baby ZTI (pronounced ziti—explanation to come) has eaten a nutritionally sound meal or if his WVU t-shirt is socially acceptable to his peers and/or parents. No worries about getting into the right preschool. No college fund. No breast pump. Again, nothing but joy.

My method of showing an overabundance of joy is buying every single baby boy outfit that I can find in stores and online. I am completely out of control with the onesie purchases. So much so that chances are good his parents will never need to buy Baby ZTI a stitch of clothing. Well except for the part where they probably won’t care to have him draped in WVU gear for the rest of his life, what with his dad being a die-hard SC Gamecocks fan and all. But there will be plenty of dog- and Star Wars-themed clothes to choose from if that is the case.

My husband, who is a total bad ass (paid to say that), is showing his joy by working with the daddy-to-be to come up with the most ridiculous baby name imaginable. The name they have invented—Zoltan Thorgrimm Ironfist–is so long that I use only the initials, hence Baby ZTI. He (my total bad ass husband, not the baby; all the baby doing right now is making his Mama buy bigger pants) is also expressing his excitement by heading to the basement to dig out his 9000 boxes of Legos and Star Wars dolls, I mean action figures, and building a suit of toddler-sized cardboard armor so there can be sword battles waged as soon as Baby ZTI learns to walk, if not sooner. Note to self: add plastic swords and light sabers to the shopping list.

Up next will be the baby shower. I’m hoping men don’t go to those now like they do bridal showers. Let’s face it, men are ruiners at a shower. And they only attend because they are forced to go by the women. No one likes a mopey-faced-because-I’m-missing-the-game man at an event that should be all about estrogen and cake.

Which reminds me… We are not pregnant. We can be expecting; the woman is the only one pregnant. Until men figure out how to squeeze a human out of their pee-hole, the ‘we are pregnant’ phrase needs to be lost. Of course I just saw a quote from Mila Kunis that said the same thing, so now I have to rethink this.

Either way, Baby ZTI is coming soon! Relatively speaking, just like we’re having a baby relatively speaking, and couples are announcing “we are pregnant” relatively speaking. In summation, it’s all relative…

MEET RALPHIE NUGGET

Since this blog is named after the dog, I figured it was time I wrote about him.

Ralphie Nugget came into our family a little over a year ago from a rescue group. Originally named Cass, he threw up on the way to Tractor Supply—our meeting spot for the adoption– in the nice rescue lady’s car, then threw up again in our car on the way home. So Ralphie seemed the logical choice for his name. Nugget was added on because he was a scrawny 6-pound scaly-skinned monster baby when we got him. It was obvious he had a rough start in life, which we have since made up for by loving him so much he is now 60 pounds and on a diet. Food = love in our house and our home is filled with love. Moo…

Despite his small size, he had big shoes to fill as a replacement for our recently deceased Mollybean, who will forever be the favorite. Molly was the happiest dog on earth, as loving as she was lovable, never met a stranger, independent, spirited, imaginative, helpful, I could go on for days. She did have her limitations: feared plastic, turtles, and melons. Refused to not jump on people, and ate anything and everything she found with her half-beagle nose. Apparently the only Labrador parts of her were her love of water and her color.

My total bad ass husband (he is paying me to say that so expect to see it often) and I picked Ralphie because he looked exactly like Molly. Not so much because we missed seeing her, after all the house is filled with her pictures and she currently sits on the mantel where she spends her days haunting the new dog, but because our house is also filled with all sorts of black dog decorative crap. And it just seemed easier to get another black dog than to get new crap. What can I say, we are lazy folks.

Ralphie learned the Sit command immediately. I was convinced he was a genius, and told the vet so on his first puppy exam visit. Oddly, the vet just laughed. It became obvious to me that our vet was an idiot, but he had been such a great vet and unidiot-like during Molly’s demise that we kept him. Then we enrolled Ralphie in puppy school and the instructor said this: all your dog wants to do is please you. We thought she was high, since Molls had spent her entire life showing us she didn’t give a rat’s ass what we thought of her, most obviously displayed by faking illness and a limp when we tried to take her home from Grandma and Grandpa’s house, aka Heaven. Turns out, vet and instructor are correct: Ralphie is not a genius, displayed by pooping in the house—TWICE—the day after graduating from puppy school (see shaming photo on Facebook.com/RalphieNugget). And all he wants to do is make us happy. After a year, we are still adjusting to this foreign dog-pleasing-the-humans behavior.

Unlike his big sister, Ralphie Nugget is a delicate and sensitive soul. He cries easily, and often. He pees on your shoe when you meet him. He loves to snuggle buggle on my lap while we watch Dr Phil in the afternoon. If he is scolded, his feelings are terribly hurt, which has led us to advise him ‘’do what’s in your heart.’’ Usually what is in his heart is running in the yard and barking at the neighbors like a mad man, which no one likes but whatcha gonna do, we have become permissive parents in our old age. He likes to visit Grandma and Grandpa, but believes there is no place like home.

He is also a very, very odd little duck. His favorite toys are not toys. Number one favorite: blue stick, a plastic stick from the Chuck It set, which turned out being way more fun than the Chuck It ball (photo on Facebook). Number two favorite: garden stake, a plastic lawn stake that guides water hose around flower beds (again on Facebook). And our little man loves to dance, usually with a rope toy that he flings about in a rave-like trance until we have to warn him he is about to concuss himself. Apparently the music is inside his head, but we like to encourage him by singing the Safety Dance song. (Google it.) Since our house is a judgment-free zone, no one cares about his quaint (read: weird) behavior. So if Ralphie wants to dance, dance he shall. It’s better than having him claim to be a citizen of the world. (Hmm, maybe not entirely judgment-free house.)

Now that it is spring and the weather is above freezing on most days, Ralphie likes to spend his time outside, where there is more room for dancing. So we are off to explore and search for new and exciting things, mostly in the shape of other animals’ poop. And hopefully some new blog topics…

Next up: Cell phones

WALMART SHOPPERS GUIDE

I spend a lot of time and money at the Walmart. Partly because I am a frugal shopper, but mostly because it is right beside my house. I am a big fan of convenience. But like all good things in life, convenience and value come with a price. This fact appears to be overlooked by many of my fellow Walmart shoppers, along with overlooking the obvious. Hence the following…

The checkout counter(s): There is always a long line. There will always BE a long line. Accept this. You are at the Walmart. Do not piss off the cashiers by asking to have another line opened. This will only result in your bread being bagged underneath your motor oil. If you want a short line, go to a specialty store.

The self-checkout counter(s): The person who invented this is apparently the same person who invented elliptical machines and tamper-proof lids, put on this earth solely to make my life a living hell. If you are one of the ten people on the planet that can actually make these things work, God bless you and have at it.

Selection: Walmart does not carry wheat berries, unless by wheat berries you mean chicken wings. Nor does it carry North Face. Again, it is the Walmart. Again, if you need these items, go to a specialty store. However, if what you need is a coat for $10 that is guaranteed to last until your kid outgrows it in three days (unless you pull the long thread and the entire sleeve falls off prior to that) Walmart is your store.

Visiting: In the smaller town, you will run into someone you know while you are at the Walmart. This is inevitable, especially in the Pharmacy aisle. When this happens, please move your cart to the side while you visit. This keeps the other shoppers from jamming directly into you with their buggy full of motor oil and bread. I am not saying the jamming is intentional, but if you are in the middle of the aisle talking about your Mommy and Me class, chances are good that the jamming is intentional. In both the smaller and larger town, if you would like to visit with someone on your cell phone, please wait until you are no longer in the store. No one wants to hear about Uncle Charlie’s gall bladder removal while buying shampoo. (Note: there will be a separate blog about cell phone usage at a later date.)

Shopping carts: If you are capable of driving to Walmart, filling your cart with crap, and hauling said crap to your car in the cart, then you are capable of returning the cart to the cart bin when you are done. NO EXCUSES. I do not care if it is cold, raining, snowing, balls of fire falling from the sky.   You are not so important that there is any excuse you can create inside your oversized ego head that makes not returning your cart okay. (Please refer to earlier House Hunters International post for reference.)

And now a few words for Walmart:

Since I spend practically the gross national product of Canada at your store each week, could you invest some of that money on new wheels for the buggies? It would be nice to come to the store ONE TIME and get a buggy that doesn’t A) sound like a Wookie giving birth, and B) veer into the shelves and/or shoppers (unintentionally, of course, unless they are talking about Mommy and Me while hogging the aisles).

Also, would it kill ya to put the cart return bins a little closer to the store? Inside my demented mind, there would be a better shot at having the non-cart-returning dbags actually return the carts if they didn’t have to walk 500 miles to do it. Just a thought.

Wait a minute… Dbag will always dbag it. Nevermind…

 

Next week: Meet Ralphie Nugget

Firing: A Tutorial

Disclaimer: This is a complete and total work of fiction. Nothing mentioned in the following ever ever EVER happened to me and/or my coworkers AT ALL. In the spring of 2014.

Today I would like to provide some helpful hints to all the companies out there that are downsizing or outsourcing. Since I am quite confident no one from these corporations will ever read this, I will speak bluntly. Please note the following information is for comedic value only and never really happened. I repeat this because although my previous employer did not have enough money to keep me on the payroll, I am certain it has plenty of money to sue me.

The Announcement:

  1. Do not entitle the meeting invitation “OUR way forward” when you are about to tell a person or group of people that there will no longer be an Us.
  2. While waiting for all participants to join the call, do not whistle.   If on an international call, do not ask someone from America to sing a folk song.
  3. Have an end date. This is important for two reasons: 1) it provides the soon-to-be unemployed with a known availability date for his next job, and 2) it makes it appear as if you gave this downsizing idea more than two seconds thought. As the employees on the call already think you are an idiot, being ill-prepared simply reinforces this belief.
  4. Know the company’s human resources policies. (This one is especially crucial for the HR representative attending the call.) There will be specific questions about payouts and leave. It is frowned upon if you do not know the answers to the questions, particularly the ones that are readily available to the employee online while on the call, enabling the employees to point out your errors in real time. Dealing with employees who know that they are getting fired while you are not, listening to your obvious incompetence on a call, is an ungood situation that is best avoided.

After the Announcement:

  1. Do not immediately go on vacation or to ‘training’ as soon as the announcement is made. It only serves to make you look like more of a douche bag than you already do.
  2. Be aware that as soon as the announcement is made, the employees soon to be out of a job no longer give a rat’s ass about the company and consider you the devil. There is nothing you can do or say to change this.
  3. Sending employees invitations to meetings that occur after the end date is not recommended. Also strongly advised against is sending employee surveys asking about job satisfaction and emails requesting completion of the employee self-review for the next performance evaluation which will occur after the employee is terminated.
  4. If your plan (even though we all know there is no plan) is to incentivize the employees by offering a few remaining positions for which they can apply, have a job description immediately available. Ideally, the new job description will be more than eight lines long and grammatically correct.

Announcement to End Date:

  1. Once the go-forward ‘plan’ has been provided to the employees, a decrease in morale and productivity is to be expected. (Refer to previous statement about rat’s ass.)
  2. It may be unclear how the employees’ workload will be distributed and how the work will actually get done once the end date arrives.   These issues should not be remedied by asking the employees if anyone is willing to continue to work past the end date.
  3. Likewise, offering overtime pay to soon-to-be-ex-employees in order to get work caught up prior to the end date is discouraged.
  4. Know each employee’s correct home address. Sending a severance package with a correct address on the envelope but an incorrect address on the document inside reflects poorly on the company. (Refer to previous statement about HR rep incompetence.)
  5. Once the end date arrives and the employee is now an ex-employee, do not send him a LinkedIn request.

Our Way Forward:

FUIQ…

 

Next week: Walmart