I fired WalMart today

The mission was a simple one: flash drive & daughter’s prescription. The store has recently been remodeled, so I expected to have to search.

While I was there, the daughter texted & asked me to get her a flash drive as well. No problem, right?

I wandered the aisles, up and down. Looking at the new items, and wondering where the computer accessories are. (Answer: strewn everywhere thanks to retail psychology – the more stuff you look at the more you’ll buy). Finally I walked up to the counter and said “Excuse me.”

She continued working.

“Hi?”

“OH! I’m so sorry! How can I help you?”

“Where are the flash drives?”

“They’re over by the printer ink.”

“Okay, thank you.”

So I walked over to the area where the printer ink was and walked up and down. You would THINK that an employee of a secure department would follow behind with the key, wouldn’t you?

You would be wrong.

Instead, I stood there, leaning against a display….waiting. Watching. I’m not sure how long I stood there…five minutes maybe? when another associate walked by and asked if I needed help.

Angels descended from above

I told him what I needed, and he went RIGHT to the employee that had been ignoring me and asked for the key. I thanked him for his help and made my way to the pharmacy to pick up the prescription and pay for my drives.

The pharmacy employee cheerfully rang up the prescription, handed it to me, and told me to have a nice day.

WHILE I was trying to hand her the flash drives to ring up.

I bit my lip, nodded my head, and made my way to the cash registers out front.

The speedy checkout line had no customers, but it *did* have two associates talking to a customer. I slid the drives to the cashier and waited while the chatterbox made her way AWAY from the card slider. The cashier asked me how I was doing (Don’t ask. Thank you for asking, though.) and completed the transaction. I made my way to the doorway

walked through

and set off the alarm.

Then I went home and fired off an email to their customer service department where I closed the letter with:

You’re fired. Seriously. I can get everything that’s available in your store from other retail outlets.

And now I’m telling y’all!

The Editor

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Write of Passage

My client sits in front of the computer, tap tap tapping away hoping this time a different turn of the phrase will bring someone, ANYone into his life. He has no friends close enough to take a picture for him, yet realizes that professional photos will be overkill. The blue glare of the screen makes him look like something out of an alien movie in the webcam photo. He takes his phone into the bathroom and removes his shirt. He does not think to clean the spit-flecked mirror, nor to close the shower curtain (which reveals a bathtub DESPERATELY in need of a good scrubbing). The air is pungent with hope and lonliness…

He is well educated, highly paid, dresses impeccably (despite the profile pictures) and can afford a lifestyle several steps above the life he leads.

We meet because a mutual friend wants me to help him “fix” his profile so women will want to go out with him. Because I have absolutely no problem wielding a cluestick, I agree. I also point out to my friend the obvious: I can recommend changes that will make this man look better than George Clooney (on paper) but unless he does what I tell him to do our meeting is pointless.

Within five minutes, I can pinpoint problem number one: the man is ANGRY. He speaks of nothing but what a bitch his ex is and how she shafted him. “The only reason I don’t have to pay alimony is because I had pictures AND VIDEO of her cheating” he vehemently declares.

My inner pervert wonders if the judge at their divorce hearing watched the footage.

We get past his divorce and I bring the copy of his profile I’ve printed with the changes I recommend he makes. One by one he shoots down the suggestions. This makes him sound like a candyass, he doesn’t want to post this/that/the other, his profile is FINE isn’t it?

My inner bitch rolls her eyes and speaks. “Just exactly how many dates have you been on that are directly related to this ad you’ve written?”

He tells me how These Girls don’t know what a catch he is, how good he is in bed and how well he will spoil his woman. And he’s NOT creating another profile.

I point out that “spoil” means “ruined”. Again, The Bitch speaks. “They are not going to find out because they will not look past that profile.”

I tell him that perhaps he should get some divorce counseling, something to help with his anger. He tells me he’s not interested in laying “on some shrinkydink’s leather sofa”.

I’m done. There is nothing I CAN do. My papers go back in their folder, luck is wished (heaven knows he’s going to need it) and I see myself to the door. He sits back down in front of the computer and resumes the tap tap tapping away.

This work of fiction is my laaaate contribution to Write-of-Passage’s first Challenge. You can read the other participants :

Interlude: Humiliations Galore

This entry is part 4 of 10 in the series atypicalrelationship

His parents went to Greensboro for dinner and a hotel room to celebrate a special family occasion.

Which means that we had one of the very few chances for us to have some quiet alone time.

After a full day that involved trying to pull the toilet in my bathroom to unclog it (can’t do it – one of the bolts is rusted on) (calling him to find out if he can help me but he didn’t answer the call til 3 hours later), cleaning, shopping for / trying to find pants for work and then going to work (at a grocery store. during thanksgiving shopping week. you do the math), flipping out on Miss “I’m not STUPID I made sure all the leaves were way way far away before I set the stuff on fire in the driveway” (but without making sure that the waterhose actually FUNCTIONS) during my dinner break I was exhausted.

I dropped the go-kart off at the house (after work. At 1130pm) and rode with him back to his house, where I learned the HARD way that hot water lasts about five minutes. So much for that hawt shower scene he had planned….

So I dried my shudderingly shivering body off and listened to him talk about how the heating element needs to be fixed (dude? I have a 50 gallon hot water heater set to 120 degrees – I can shower while the dishwasher runs and STILL finish my shower pink and pleasantly toasty). Then we made our way to the bedroom where his plan included shaving. With a set of loud 20 yr old clippers. I lost count of how many times he nicked me with that thing. The vibration was somewhat pleasant though.

Did I mention his bedroom used to be the side porch? It was just a smidge freezing in there. And there’s just enough room for a twin bed, a computer desk, and a small dresser. Claustrophobia anyone?

THEN he realized that I would need another shower since hair was everywhere. The good news? The hot water heater had regenned. The bad news? again – not nearly long enough. Cold. Coldcoldcoldcoldcold.

Y’all? it’s 1am by now and I’m fried. And rocking in his bed trying to get warm and calm the exhaustion-related panic attack that’s right around the corner. And all I could think of was my lovely bottle of meds tucked away into my medicine cabinet. At my house.

Unfortunately, I failed miserably. I spent the next 45 minutes in his mama’s bathroom sick as a dog – complete with vomiting.

He did reasonably well by me, but couldn’t quite grasp the WHY involved in my sickness.

My own First Day of School

This happened Thursday – I was too cussed tired last night and hit “save” instead of “publish”

The day dawned gray and dreary. For some psychotic reason, I decided that TODAY would be the day that I pull through the loop and boot the boys out of the van – dropping them off at the front door of the school.

Joseph (bless his little heart) went through the front door, then came back out to find Daniel. Dan was standing in front of the school, reading the signs and looking a little lost. I heaved a little sigh, pulled the van up and parked illegally, then ran my fatass down the sidewalk to take him by the hand and lead him to class.

Then I hopped on the interstate to my own school, knowing there’s a cuppa coffee and at least an hour between now and my first class. I parked in the back 40 deliberately, knowing it would make me walk and I could use the exercise. Loaded down with 25 lbs of books and another 5-10 of laptop/case and a 1.5L bottle of green tea, I confidently marched myself from one end of campus to the other.

I arrived at the library’s coffee machine just in time to help My New Friend that I’d met yesterday make a cup of coffee. The machine is one of those with individual packets – you have to push the button, insert the cartridge, push the button again, and make sure your cup is *just so* in the machine. We spent the next hour chitchatting. I looked at the clock, realized I have less than five minutes to pack up the laptop, haul myself up the hill and up three flights of stairs.

Obviously, I was late. The class is cram/slam/jam full because it’s an intro course, and there are no chairs available. I dragged one in from the hall and sat down to hear the prof read the syllabus to us.
Class was dismissed after 30 minutes – which left me an hour til my next class. So like the good little socializer y’all know I am, I immediately dashed for my favorite hole in the wall. (Three floors down.) The good news is that ANOTHER friend was already in the room, and we spent the next hour chitchatting. The bad news? I was late for my next class (three floors up. again.) cuz I was runnin’ my bigassed mouf. The worse news? It’s the same frackin’ prof. And her syllabus is almost EXACTLY the same – so I get to spend the next 30 minutes of my life listening. Again.

Released from class early, I went back down to my study room, but my friend was already gone. I plopped on the sofa and snacked while reading.

Exactly one and a half hours later you could find me making my not-so-chipper way back up the same three flights of stairs.The next class was exactly what I expected it to be – I’ve had the prof a few times before so it was awesome to see her again. Again, she dismissed class after going over the syllabus and introducing herself a bit. I not only went back down all three flights of stairs, but I walked down the hill (wheeze!) to The Grille only to find that it hasn’t opened for the semester yet.

A part of me died a little bit as I made my hungry way back up the hill and decided to make a run for a burger. The good news is that BK is riiiight around the corner so I grabbed my usual combo and sucked it down.

I decided that I’d Walked Quite Enough at that point, so I dumped all but my last book in the back of the van and tucked the laptop case under the seat. Verified that my purse was in the backpack, cranked the engine so I could crack the windows a bit, and thunked the robo-locks down. Hauled myself to the building, thinking while I was walking that something just….doesn’t feel “right”. I went into the study room and doublechecked the backpack. Yup, purse is right there. Reach into the pockets – yup, lighter, burt’s bees lipstuff, phone……where are my keys?

Of COURSE. They’re in the ignition. So I go to the public safety office and ask if they have a slimjim, only to be told “We can tell you who the cheapest person who CAN open your car is!” I looked at the guy and said “I’ll just call Dad and get him to bring me the spare key.”

And then I hauled my barking dawgs back down the hill to my van to not only verify that the keys were indeed in the ignition, but to potentially wait for Dad to bring me the spare key if I needed him to.

The good news is – I did manage to get my keys out of the van. The bad news is that in order to actually get my keys out of the van, I tested to see if one of the power windows would slide down any further with no power – and it did. It didn’t go down far, but it’s enough for me to slide my arm into the crack and unlock the entire van.

Which, of course, freaked me out because OHMYGAWD someone is going to BREAK INTO MY VAN.

And then I hauled my ass back up to the third floor AGAIN for my last class of the day- which was a bit of a homecoming. The majority of that class has been together for the last two semesters of spanish – we’re all friends/family. And we got cranky on the people who “broke up” our family by taking it in summerschool and therefore missing us.

Of course the last class ended early, so I boogied on home. I pulled into the driveway to see Joe outside playing with sticks and mud, and every one else in the house watching TV and generally being obnoxious.

The minute I walked in the door, everyone but Alannah looked at me and said “WE’RE HUNGRY!!!!!”

It was almost 7pm, and the only person who had eaten was Alannah. So? I hauled myself into the kitchen to toss nuggets on plates and lost two layers of skin on the stickyassed kitchen floor. Got out the broom and mop and Dr. Bronners Peppermint and gave the kitchen a quickmop while the nuggets cooked and tossed my own chicken into the frying pan.

And then proceeded to load yesterday’s dishes into the dishwasher.

And then remembered that Joe pissed the bed last night and his bed needs changed. I washed his comforter (I really need to get him another one) and stuck it in the dryer – the sheets can wait til tomorrow.

And then tossed the boys into the shower.

And this is where I’m going to stop. But holy SHIT what a day.

Just the Kick in the Pants I needed

Monday night, I took advantage of my small-town library. (I’m all about the free events, y’all.) After my mile-long walk of shame at lunchtime, there was no way I was going to jack this up. I checked the library’s webpage, went back and pulled the newspaper article, confirmed that I’d written the correct information in my planner, and arrived five minutes early (and also? Making me the first to arrive).

Jackie Stanley, the CEO (Chief Encouragement Officer) was at the Kernersville Library with her new book, Jackie Stanley’s Dictionary of Encouragement. She was engaging, articulate, and my favorite kind of motivational: blunt, intense, and to the point.

She spoke a bit about how she went from Family Law to CEO, and then began her main message: You are so much more than what happens to you. You’re not the breakup – the breakup is happening to you. It sucks, it’s difficult, but it is NOT YOU.

It’s becoming easier for me to take “global” messages like her presentation and wrap them around my situation – specifically to take more of an outside view of My Sainted Mama’s moments. They’re painful, but they’re honestly and sincerely not about me. I just happen to be her designated target.

Being a mom helps me be a better student

Picture, if you will, a child standing in front of a candy shop window, trying to make a choice.

Keep that picture in your mind as you watch an adult – the person in charge of whether or not you pass the class, as a matter of fact…

keep that picture in your mind as you listen to this person say “I want this paper to be 3-5 pages in length” and again as this person (no less than five minutes later, mind you) says “This paper should be ‘as long as it needs to be'”.

Yes, it’s incredibly frustrating. But do you stand up and scream “WILL YOU MAKE UP YOUR EFFING MIND ALREADY??!!??” at the kid in the shop window?

No. And neither should you scream it at the grown person standing before you. No matter how tempting it is.

Also? It’s better to drop the class and try again with a different professor than it is to “embrace the F” as I have in this one.

Do as I say, not as I do.