Friday, September 28, 2012

Requesting a Compliment

It's quiet here. 

I want to tell you about the receptionist at my dentist's office, but would that be mean?  Would it be mean to tell you that she scared my son when he was four and needed to get his teeth cleaned for the very first time?  He clamped his mouth shut and wouldn't let go of my hand.  We quickly got him a new dentist.  He didn't even make it to the dentist that day.  The receptionist did him in.

Then she kept calling me to remind me that he was due for another cleaning.  Shoot, lady, he even didn't get his first cleaning.  I kept trying to tell her nicely that he wasn't going to open his mouth in her presence.  Finally, after four calls, I was forced to tell her bluntly that she needed to take Jack off her list of patients, that I had gotten him another dentist.  He opened his mouth at the new place, no problem.  This dentist got his attention by saying, "May the floss be with you" and asking him to tell silly jokes.  The receptionists didn't scare him or try to separate him from me.

This receptionist is nice enough, really, just on that edge of pushy.  I don't mind talking to her about appointments and insurance and stuff.  I'm glad I don't have to work with her though.  Some people have no idea that they're in your face about your own business.  She had some opinions about how I raised my boy.  I ignored her.  Not her business, is it?  I am not going to be the one to tell her that she's in my face.  I just keep it simple and move onto the next room.

So then two days ago, I got an email from this receptionist.  I'm not sure if she likes me and sent it just to me or sent it to a bunch of people and made it look like an individual mailing.  The email began 'Will you write ...'  That got my attention, buttered up my ego, made me feel like I had a job in my community. 

She wanted me to write a good recommendation for her dentist. 


Well, isn't that one of those things that you just do if you feel the urge to?

I get that at other places too.  Sometimes a cashier will hand me a receipt saying, "Oh!" as if it's a surprise to her.  "You just got a coupon for 3% off your next purchase!"  Yay.  "If you fill out this survey, you'll get a code you can bring in the next time you shop."  Then she'll look at me with a sad look on her face and tell me, "Anything less that a five is a bad review."  Is there still a smile on my face?  "If you give me anything less, it's a bad review."

Oh man.  I hate those things.  I'm telling you that if I want flowers from my husband, asking for them ruins it.  Doesn't it work that way with reviews too?  Apparently not. 

But it ruins my cheerful mood most of the time.  It makes any smile or nice thing they have just said to me almost painful.  It wasn't for me.  It was for them.  Now I have to do something for them, or feel bad because I didn't.

"Your employee was adequate at communicating to me what I ordered and at handing me a bag of fries despite the language barrier."  Is that what you want me to say?  Only a five will be good enough. 

So, back to my receptionist.  The email told me that a 'crazy patient' had written a bad review of her dentist.  She needed me to write a good review so that it would cover up the bad review.  Her email said that they couldn't remove the review so they wanted to try this other method.  Hmmm.

Does she call me crazy too?  Remember, I took my son elsewhere.  I told her bluntly to take him off her list of patients.  I ignored her when she said I needed to separate more from him.  I smile at her and move into the other room to the hygienist with whom I have a rapport. 

So, I tried to read this review to see if I thought the reviewer was crazy.  I got to read the first half of the sentence, which seemed pretty sane to me.  But then I found out that I'd have to pay $17 to read the rest of the review.  Not a chance, Bucko.  So, I still don't have an impression about this 'crazy patient.'  I still have to sit with that debt the receptionist has created, that I'm supposed to write something spontaneous and nice. Will she say something about my tardiness regarding the review the next time I come in?

The problem with writing a review for them is that she would read it.  She might know it was me who wrote it.  There's no way I could be honest and say that despite my son's fears, I do pretty well with this receptionist's dentist without it sounding like a bad review.  I can't say that I didn't like the dentist that they brought in and substituted for my own dentist one time without telling me.  I can't say that I hate the television in the waiting room or that another time, a ham-fisted hygienist made my gums sore for three days with her prodding or that I hate how they took down some scenic photos when they modernized their decor.  In other words, I can't write a glowing review while telling the truth.

He really is a nice guy, I could write, but can you get past the receptionist?

Thank you for listening, jules

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Free Shipping

There are people behind those web pages.  You know it.  Some of them are shitheads.

So I searched the Internet to find the best deal on these pen refills that I like.  Google let me shop and I picked the lowest prices with free shipping.  The only problem was that by the time I got to looking at my cart with a couple of them, the free shipping had shifted to $7.95.  Then, when it came up at the checkout, shipping was $15!  What a ripoff!  The people designing these pages just know that half of us aren't paying attention after we make our decision.  I had to go back a couple of times.  The worst was this $15.

You know, it wouldn't help to tell you who this sneaky seller is.  They'd just find another way to look legitimate and rip us off in the end.

The worst of it is that there's no one to look at face to face.  I can't even call and complain.  At least when Cabela's sent the wrong color I can go to their store and tell them their policy of switching colors on me isn't working to someone's face.  This poor girl behind the counter won't be able to do anything about my complaint but make the return, but at least I have a real person to complain to. 

Companies are people.  Remember that the supreme court ruled about that.  Well, these people have one motivation - to separate me from my money.  That's it.  That's all they want to do. A few want to do that in an honest way, to provide a real product or service, but lots more would like to do away with any and all effort on their part.

So, when the price of shipping starts out at free, moves to $7.95, then turns into $15 before my eyes, it kind of torques me.  You all have to watch out for yourselves and keep an eye on the shipping!

Thank you for listening, jules

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Stinky and Sticky

If this is the job of the Scoutmaster's wife, hauling stuff back to our truck when the rest of the troop left three hours ago, then I don't want to do it.  If my job is cleaning up slimy, smelly, sticky things thrown together into five crate and two coolers, then I'm going to be tempted to quit. 

The lid to the lemonade cooler wasn't screwed on tightly and the gummy crud at the bottom seeped out all over the carpet in the truck, onto the tailgate, onto some cloth grocery bags, and onto the lid of a cooler.  By the time I'd figured out where it went, I'd gummed up a set of clothes and two jackets.  It would have been nice if someone had rinsed out the lemonade cooler at the campsite.  It would be good if they knew to store it upright until that was done.

Stroganoff spilled inside one cooler and I got to clean that out.  It smelled rancid on Sunday when I did it.  I kind of expected that since the pot was pretty full and it had to be bounced on a rough rock trail in a wagon.  Still, the smell reminded me of how much I hate the smell of old food.  Did you ever have to clean out the grease trap at a restaurant job?  The other cooler wasn't as bad since everything had gone into Ziploc bags.  I threw away a lot of Ziploc bags and I still have to wipe down the cooler, but it was much easier to do.

After schlepping crap for three hours on Sunday, then figuring out how to unload stuff at home, I erroneously thought I could bring up the two coolers to unload and leave the other five crates to unload on Monday when I planned to run the pots and serving spoons through the dishwasher.  What I found when I opened the crates was that someone had put yogurt in one crate, it had fallen on its side, and ripe yogurt juice was all over a couple of boxes of Ziploc bags and a stack of plastic cups.  Okay, not only was it gross to clean up, it was wasteful too.

Then, in another crate, I found all the condiments and a package of sweaty flour tortillas.  It all had to be thrown out.  The lid to the pickle relish hadn't been screwed on right and that juice had gummed up some more stuff at the bottom of the bin, mostly pots and pans.  The pots and pans were pretty greasy anyway, so it didn't seem wasteful, but it wasn't fun pulling them out of the crate to put into the dishwasher.

I'm almost done with five loads of dishes.  The pots we used were huge and didn't all fit into a smaller load.  I expected that.  I'm just happy they fit into my dishwasher at all.  I knew I'd be running the dishwasher on Monday.  I just didn't expect to throw out so much stuff.  And I didn't think it would be a stinky, sticky mess. 

And how do I tell the parents?  After all, it is the parents who grabbed their kids and left early, it was mostly parents who were 'putting stuff away,' and no kid in his right mind would bring yogurt to a campout. 

Thank you for listening, jb

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Camping in the War Zone

Some idiot is shooting off his gun. It's almost midnight! Don't you love campers?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


The coyotes are howling.  Boy, that is one crazy sound.  The dog has his ears laid back, but hasn't moved from the bed he chose for himself at Petco today.  I had set it down next to the sliding glass door.  He has a worried look on his face.  I think he'd be more comfortable if I closed the glass. 

I have heard them race across the deck there.  The moon was full one night when I woke to them rumbling across, then, within minutes, they were howling.  At first, I went out on the deck to listen in amazement.  Then, the hairs stood up on my arms and at the back of my neck.  They didn't change their tone, but I couldn't get over how they were so close. I carefully went back inside, though I left the door open just a little so I could still hear.  I felt a need to answer their call.

I am amazed, when I listen to their voices, how one will sing and others, from places near and fall around the house, will reply.  Very literally, they surround the house.  I feel secure inside, but it's a thrill anyway. Their voices are so human.  Sometimes it sounds as though they're laughing.  At others, it's a song. I read that they howl to reassemble their pack after a hunt and to warn other packs away.

I don't know.  I think they howl to claim my yard away from me, to tell me their forest is a wild place.  I can't settle with that sound all around me.  I think they howl to say the night is clear.  It seems that I hear them most often when the moon is full and it's cool and dry out.  I think they howl for the joy of it. 

That's why I'd howl.

Thank you for listening, jb

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Script Writers

Did you ever wake up and realize that if they made a movie of your life, they'd cast Paul Giamatti to play your character?  The movie would be called 'The Insomniac.' If you're female, like me, being portrayed as a man would be horrifying and unfair.

Well, it was funny this morning. Mike thought it was funny, anyway.  I just couldn't get over the fact that the script writers would have changed me into a man.

They would have changed me into a man because no woman, at least the stereotypes offered on screen, would have that many dirty dishes in and around her sink.  No woman would be so apt to splatter mayonaise on her favorite shirt as she was trying to rinse out the very nearly empty jar to recycle it.  No woman, for that matter, would call that faded green Tshirt her favorite shirt.  And no woman, at least an on-screen woman, would put that much garlic in her daughter's lunch. 

Furthermore, Mike decreed that my character, in the movie, would have to be divorced so as to be as miserable as possible.  He would have driven away his wife in his myriad ways of being miserably cranky from all the interruptions to his sleep, and inept in his attempt to finish any project.  Even when he went to bed at 10:53 pm, the lonely cat woke him at 2:17 am meowing at his face.  The dog woke him at 4:57 am needing to go out because he forgot to take the poor guy out before he shuffled off to bed.  Cheerful parents of Giamatti's daughter's friends would text him just as he got back to sleep at 5:54 am asking to know if Sherri was going to ride the bus that day.  The next night, brown-nosing coworkers would email at 11:37 pm and CC him as if he gave a damn crap about whether they shipped 47 free samples of lip balm to the potential client to cover all their staff or 94 to include spouses as well.  He would not have figured out how to turn off the beep or the buzz of his phone every time he got an email, so that it even beeped or buzzed the resonant wood of his desk when junk mail was sent from Clinique at 12:00 am because his daughter signed up for some free stuff and gave out his email to get it.  The worst of it was that when his phone was occasionally silent at night, he often dreamed he heard it beep with some urgent message at 3:14 in the morning.  It just seemed so real.  And then he'd lie there and worry that he hadn't called to schedule a hair cut and his hair was getting long.  He needed to refinance the house to get a 2% rate, but they only offered that rate for a fifteen year loan and he wanted thirty. 

Yes, Giamatti would do a great job playing this role.  He would make it miserably funny.  The worst part of it all is that all would not end well in this movie.  It would not be allowed to end happily ever after.  No, the script writers would change that too.

Thank you for listening, jules

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Shut it!

It sucks that just about the time my husband and my son figure out that I really do feel like crap and start taking care of me, I start to feel better. 

Well, okay, I don't feel totally better yet, but I'm here aren't I?

I wanted to tell you that I really hate the people who posted that viral hate-mongering video.  You know the one I'm talking about, the anti-Muslim one that's causing all the protesting.

Here's what.  I don't know a thing about the Muslim religion or culture except that I read, once, that the Koran held close many of the same principles as Christianity.  I believe in that.  I know that their culture is quite different than what I know and I might have to get used to their food, but that I'd find beauty and truth in it.  I know that the Muslims generally live peaceful lives.  Like in Christianity, they have some fundamentalists who are way out there, but everybody's got them.  Just like I'd hate if people from another religion thought all Christians were willing to murder doctors from a woman's clinic, I hate to connect all Muslims with awful things a very few people have done in their name. 

As if Christians are clean.  Can you say Crusades? 

But what the hell is wrong with people, making a hate video?

Here's the other thing I need to tell you.  I refuse to watch this video.  I will not, not even for the sake of knowing what I'm up against, increase the viewing counter on this video. 

Here's the last thing I need to tell you.  I am happy I live in a relative democracy, with our Constitutional rights spelled out for us on a 200 year old sheet of paper.  But one of the things that really sucks about free speech is how these absolute lunatics in our country get to have such a loud and grating voice. 

I do, however, have the right to say to them - Shut the hell up, you morons!  Did your mothers teach you to behave this way?

Thank you for listening, jules

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Uncontrolled Growths

I'm tired and cold.  That's what I get for staying up to almost midnight when I've been getting up before dawn every day.  The other morning after I woke him up, my son asked why he was eating breakfast in the middle of the night.  It's because his damn bus comes at 6:20 in the morning. It stinks.

Tomorrow, I have to go and get part of my forehead cut of in an attempt to keep skin cancer at bay.  I wonder what I'd end up looking like if I didn't?  Would I have a great red glob of skin hanging from my forehead?  My son had a hamster once who got cancer and died because she couldn't carry it around any more.  It actually grew almost half her size.  That was hard to watch.  Actually, it was hard to know that Jack could see that happening.  It really was like a bad horror movie at the end. 

My family is talking about getting a kitten.  No!  Not a kitten!  Kittens are like babies.  I will lose sleep if we get a kitten!  We'll all lose sleep.  Here's the truth of it besides the fact that Jack's wanted a kitten since our other cat grew up - our other cat needs the company.

Can't we just go out and get a middle aged cat from the shelter that will lie around the house all day?  Wouldn't that be better for the world than bringing home a kitten?  It would be more likely to save a life.  Think about it.  Kittens get adopted.  Middle aged cats that sleep a lot don't. 

I really want another middle aged cat not a bouncy baby cat.  I want to skip getting my skin cut off, though I don't want a great glob of red flesh hanging from my forehead.  I want to sleep in tomorrow morning.  Yup, I really do.

Thank you for listening, jules

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Can't Complain

What can I be pissed off about today?

Not a thing.

So there isn't much to write about, then, is there?  I haven't been harassed today.  I didn't end up going to Costco.  Mike didn't complain that I'd made a hockey puck roast for dinner.  Okay, I could complain about my own crappy memory and how I left the house with the oven still on and when I got back, the roast was still edible, but barely.  I could complain about a woman who made a snide comment about how Mike and I are raising our son.  I could complain that I'm not adjusted to the school schedule yet and I ran out of time this afternoon.  I could, but I don't feel like it.

So there.

Thank you for listening, jules