Saturday, April 24, 2010

Shipping News

About a week ago, I made my usual frantic eleventh hour search for a birthday present for my mother. On the very first website, I found just the right thing. It was something she would really love. It was beautiful; it was meaningful; it was spiritual; it was useful. And, best of all, it was on sale!

I should have known it was dipped in fail.

I found it during my lunch hour at work. But since I'm not a real grown up, I didn't have a credit card with me and couldn't place the order. When I got home, I headed straight to the website, credit card at the ready. But my perfect present had vanished. I couldn't find it anywhere. The Internets ate it. I called the 800 number to see if a human being could help me find it, but apparently, I had imagined it. They deny it ever existed.

I should probably stop shooting up at work.

I searched a little more and found a suitable backup present. To assure that this one wouldn't disappear in a puff of cybersmoke, I got on the phone immediately to place my order. I'm naïve enough to believe that interacting with a real live customer service representative will guarantee success. If you need further proof of my shopping naïveté, when the woman asked for the name on the card, I said, "Oh, you can just say Mom."

"No," she explained patiently, as if speaking to a particularly dense mentally challenged child, "the name on the credit card."


But today the good news came that I wasn't the only confused party in that conversation. The present just arrived.

At my house.

1500 miles from my mother's house.

A week after her birthday.

And now, not only did I pay shipping to get it to my house, I get to pay shipping again to get it to hers. There aren't many things I'm careful about, but not wasting money is top of the list.


I was specific to the point of being obnoxious that this was a gift for my mother, who lives in Argyle, New York, not Little Rock, Arkansas. "Now you've got that address right, right?" I said. "It's not coming to Little Rock; it's going to New York. Right?"


Happy Birthday, Mom.

PS, Does anyone else find it ironic that the name of this company is Women of Faith?

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

All I Really Need to Know I Learned from my Kindergartner

Most of my visits to the dentist are blissfully uneventful. In a strange way, I actually even enjoy them. A little. The office is staffed entirely by pleasant, attractive women. They hover around me, tending to my needs, caring for me. I guess I'm revealing a sexist bent, but I'm pretty sure women have an extra gene devoted solely to nurturing. (This, in a nutshell, is why I'm actively pestering my husband to let us get a sister wife.)

Twice a year, Misty cleans my teeth, chatting affably as she goes. I softly grunt my end of the conversation, relying on my eyes to express the appropriate emotion. The doctor makes a cameo appearance, staying just long enough to deliver the good news that diligent brushing and flossing have paid off again.

Except for this time.

This time, she actually had some work to do. One of my old fillings had given up the ghost and needed to be replaced by a crown. I wouldn't say I was scared exactly, but I did have to steel myself a bit as she headed into my mouth with a series of disconcerting objects. As the first needle pierced my gum, delivering its sting of Novocaine, I pictured my six-year-old.

And I thought — Just be as brave as him.

I wonder what he'll teach me next.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Felices Pascuas

We gathered together I don't know how many times, heads bowed, listening to Charlie humbly ask God to bless our meal. When he finished last Easter, we kept our heads down a little longer than usual. We weren't ready for it to be over. We all knew it was the last time.

Cancer. We had just found out.

Forty days later, he was gone.

Lillian, his bride of 60 years, has been amazing. My respect for her continues to grow each time I catch a glimpse of the enormous poise and strength that fills this tiny lady. She's faced their anniversary, his birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas and all the days in between with remarkable grace. But Easter was too much to ask.

So this year, we gathered together in a completely different way. Instead of a blessing, we placed our orders. Instead of a ham, we had enchiladas. Instead of tradition, we had change. But even though we did our best not to mention Charlie, he was still with us.

He always will be.

Happy Easter, wherever you are.

Friday, April 2, 2010


To: All Teachers and Staff
From: The Principal
Date: April 02, 2010
Re: Parent Contact

We know that emergencies sometimes arise which require parent contact throughout the school day. However, if a parent does not answer her phone, please leave a detailed message. Do not hang up, leaving the school's phone number looming ominously.

Should you choose to disregard the above policy, and said parent calls the school to find out which limb her child has broken, please do not leave that parent on hold for 12 minutes and then fucking disconnect her. If you do, she may hurt you, and we will not stop her. Because you really have it coming. Really you do.

Thank you and have a nice day!

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