Monday, May 25, 2009

Comedic Timing

So the other day, N and I were sitting around contemplating the cuteness of our children. This wasn't so much a narcissistic thing as it was an amazement and wonder thing, since we have yet to figure out how the two of us produced the two of them, gorgeous as they are.

I'm sure all parents feel their children are beautiful, but trust me when I say mine really, really are.

{pause for your moment of eye-rolling}

{I know you're eye-rolling, don't deny it}

ANYway, we weren't discussing their looks on this particular afternoon, since for the most part we have become immune to the big blue eyes and sweet little smiles and perfectly puppy-dog-cute looks they use to try to play us. Mainly, we were talking about how we love the personalities and behaviors they've been showing lately. We were sitting around watching them play a computer game, and our conversation went kind of like this:

N: I love how JT has such enthusiasm for *everything*. It doesn't matter if we are playing a game or going to the park or just getting a snack, he loves it all. He's such a happy kid.

Me: Yeah, it's kind of contagious, you know? It spreads to everything, like, "Woohoo, let's take the garbage out!"

N: That's what I mean. It's like his goal in life is to get you to see the most mundane events as a great time. I love it.

Me: And Kays has gotten so freaking smart lately. The most unexpected things randomly pop out of her mouth, leaving you stunned that a 5 year old would know that.

N: Yeah, like yesterday when she named all the planets like it was nothing. I had no idea she could do that.

Me: I know! Dude, *I* couldn't even name all 9 planets.


Me: I probably shouldn't have admitted that.

N: {looks at me askance} Seriously?

Me: Whatever. Move along, there's no more ignorance to see here.

N: Ohhhh-kay. Well, I'm just saying I wouldn't be surprised if tomorrow she piped up with, "Hi! I'm 5. And Pythagorean's theorem is A-squared plus B-squared equals C-squared."

Me: {snort}

N: Hey, Kays! Can you say, "Pih-thag-uh-ree-uhn?"

And Kays turns around, waits a beat, then replies in perfect deadpan, "Hi! I'm 5."

Then she turns right back around to her game, 100% satisfied with her smartassedness.

She's already keeping us on our toes. And here I thought we'd have at least a few more years of parental laziness. Dammit.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Power to the People, Part II

Remeber this post? Well, here's the conclusion. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's been 9 months, blah blah whatever. Do you want to know what happened or what?

Well then, stop with the bitching and read, dammit.


N, having previously worked for a bank, knew that calling on a Sunday afternoon would get us nowhere. Instead, he planted his tired ass in the parking lot on Monday morning, after a full night's work, to wait for the bank to open so he could talk to someone in person. Why he thought he needed to talk to them in person was beyond me. I got the waiting-for-a-business-day thing, but in my (correct) opinion, a phone call on said business day would have sufficed. Ring ring, chat chat, kiss kiss, have a nice day, thankyouverymuch! Yes no?

But I digress.

N was told by a minion of Satan cashier that the fees wouldn't post until midnight so there was nothing that could be done until Tuesday morning. Technically, the fees were still pending. So even though our balance had a huge red negative, technically we weren't overdrawn.

Yeah, right.

So N, not having learned his lesson the first time determined to get this taken care of, was once again in the parking lot on Tuesday morning (N's new hours* are 7pm to 7am, which means he normally goes straight to bed upon arriving home). On Tuesday morning, N was directed by a minion of Satan cashier to Satan himself the bank manager. Satan The bank manager appeared to be listening politely while N explained that while we would be happy to pay the $10 transfer fee, we were requesting that the o/d fees to be reversed because it was only by bank error that they were there in the first place. Pull the money from our card, charge us the ten bucks and reverse the ridiculous o/d fees sitting there in gloating triumph on our account. To our credit, N had deposited his paycheck over the weekend so we did at least have a positive balance at the time of this little meeting, even after the staggering o/d fees were assessed. Also to our credit, we were not repeat offenders - this was only the second time in over two years of being with BofA that we had overdrawn.

The one snag was that I had requested the o/d protection to be moved to my credit card so long ago that Satan the bank manager was unable to access any record showing that I did so. He had to take N's word that I had indeed called and asked for this change.

Does this sound unreasonable to you? Of course not. It wouldn't sound unreasonable to any normal human being with half a brain and a modicum of customer service savvy.

Apparently, though, "normal", "brain", and "customer service" were not the words of the day. Satan The bank manager told N that really, there just wasn't anything poor little ol' him could do about it. He didn't have any proof that such a change had been requested and he just couldn't make $175 in fees disappear. Out of the goodness of his heart, however, he magnanimously reversed $43 of the charges.

Forty. Three. Dollars.

Out of one hundred seventy five.

Forty three dollars!!

N was totally exhausted at this point (working all night and then losing sleep two days in a row to deal with Satan and his minions will do that to a person), so he just accepted the verdict and left the bank. He called me on his way home, too tired to realize that was probably not the best course of action ... I have been known to kill maim the messenger in times past (my bad).

Let me tell you, I was LIVID. INCENSED. PISSED-OFF beyond all description. Smoke was pouring out of my ears and my eyes glowed demon-red. My hands turned into claws and my mouth grew fangs. I was growling and cursing in languages that no longer exist. If thoughts could kill, Satan the bank manager would have been all the way past dead and into decomposing, right there at his desk.

My co-workers were startled, to say the least.

Recalling that I look horrible in orange and that jumpsuits really aren't in style this season, I managed to pull myself together. I called (remember, ring ring, chat chat, and all that?) and without getting into the back-story of Nathan's conversation with Satan the bank manager -- no need to clutter up conversation with details -- I calmly and professionally explained the problem to the cheerful representative who had the shitty luck privilege of answering my call.

Said representative was very sympathetic (possibly picking up on the fact that I was almost beyond reason at this point) but told me I would have to speak with the manager, who - surprise, surprise - was not available at this particular moment, and could she take a message? I wanted to tell her to shove her message-taking into a place normally reserved for toilet paper, but I restrained myself. I politely said I'd be happy to leave my name and number so that Satan he could call me at his earliest convenience.

Not *my* earliest convenience, mind you. His. His freaking convenience, which, by the way, I had the sneaking suspicion would be NEVER. But alas, one who intends to win the game must first play the game, so I gave my contact information and sweetly thanked the message-taker.

And then I sat at my desk and waited for the phone to ring.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And at 5:00 pm, when I shut down my computer and left the office for the day, I was still waiting, unsurprised and unamused.

In the car on the way to pick up the kidlings, I called the BofA Big Brother customer service number. I tried to avoid the pointless exercise of explaining the issue by just asking flat-out to be transferred to a specialist, since I knew a peon phone answerer first-line customer service rep wouldn't be able to help me. However, the man who likes to waste everyone's time gentleman insisted on hearing my story, on the off chance that I was wrong about his lack of assisting ability. I rapidly spit the whole thing out in about 12.42 seconds and amazingly enough, was told that he just didn't have the power to reverse these fees. (Obviously, Satan hordes every last drop of power at BofA until there's just nothing left to go around.) The time-wasting gentleman transferred me to a higher power demon account specialist.

The higher power demon account specialist got an earful, and although it was a polite and professional earful, it was an earful nonetheless. By the time I finished talking, it was Rocky-Mountains-sparkling-crystal-clear how aggravated I was. I explained exactly what I thought of bank managers who blow off the concerns of customers in good standing and then try to pacify said customers with a random refund that has no correlation whatsoever to the fees in question. I explained that I did not appreciate being ignored for an entire business day by said manager, who was apparently too incompetent to actually pick up the phone and address the issue at hand. I explained, as I had to every single person who had previously heard this story, that I would be more than happy to pay the transfer fee. I explained that if this was not taken care of, RIGHT. NOW., I would feel the immediate and unavoidable need to close my accounts. All of them. Done. So long, goodbye and thanks for all the fish.

The only person worth a crap at BofA account specialist, being on the receiving end of this deluge, waited patiently for my ranting to finish. She responded with exactly the right note of empathy and apology (hey, I know when I'm being played). Then, within about 3.68 seconds of hearing me out, she hit a few teeny tiny little buttons on her keyboard and POOF! All account fees reversed.



Vanished like cocaine up Kate Moss's nose.

No $10 transfer fee, no nothing.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank the only person worth a crap at BofA God Almighty, I'm free at last!

And that, my friends, is how you stick it to The Man.

*These were new hours when I started this post 9 months ago. Yeah yeah, blah blah.

Friday, May 15, 2009

How The Mighty Have Fallen

It's already apparent, at the tender age of 5, that my daughter has inherited her mother's grace.

Which is to say, she has none. Sorry baby girl.

My poor Kays is a bastion of bumps and bruises, scrapes and scabs. It doesn't help that she plays as hard as she can, full-out balls-to-the-wall every time she goes outside. It really doesn't help that she prefers to wear dresses, so her long legs and arms have absolutely no protection between them and the hard, hard ground.

If CPS ever gets a look at her, I'm gonna be in trouble.

JT, on the other hand, has an innate sense of balance and poise that showed up early on. He learned to walk at 9 months, with a lot less of the bumbling and stumbling than one comes to expect from a child at that stage. In 3 1/2 years, he's only had one goose-egg that I can think of. He puts his whole heart into attempting to do everything his adored big sister does, but somehow manages to come out of it with none of the damage that she inevitably accrues. And even on the rare occasions when he does happen to faceplant, he usually bounces right back up, relatively unscathed. It's almost eerie, really.

She's gonna hate him when she realizes this.

It's safe to say that I have, for the most part, stopped worrying about JT hurting himself while he's running pell-mell down the driveway or climbing onto random pieces of furniture toys that are made for climbing. Not that I don't worry a little bit - hey, come on now, I'm a mom not a heartless bitch ... okay, well, that aside, I'm still a mom - but point being, he just doesn't make friends with the asphalt (or dirt or carpet or etc. etc.) nearly as often as his sister.

So earlier today, I felt as much shock as I did horror as I watched my baby boy stumble and fall ... right down the stairs.


Down the stairs.


Our dog, who outweighs JT by a good 15 pounds, pushed past him in a rush, and JT - who was decidedly *not* holding the rail like he's been taught to do - couldn't keep his balance. He wobbled, wavered, tripped and went down. I was standing at the top of the landing, just a few feet away, and it was like I was watching in slow motion. I saw every little misstep, but I couldn't do a damn thing about it.

I watched my child pitch head-first down the staircase.

Instinctively, I knew I couldn't just reach forward and grab him, as I would very likely overbalance myself and take us both down. Visions of broken arms, legs, necks, were all running through my head even as my body's auto-pilot kicked in. I dropped my butt straight down on the stairs, reached one arm out for the rail and the other for my son.

Four steps into his downward flight, I grabbed him.

My hand came clamping down on his ankle like a boa constrictor around a particularly feisty rat. I actually knocked his shoe off in the process. I pulled him up and into my lap, and clasped my arms tight around his little body. JT went from screaming incoherently to wailing at the top of his lungs, clinging to me with all his strength while tears dripped off his face. I held him.

I held him.

With the amazing resilience that kids are born with, JT was dry-eyed and happily walking down the rest of the stairs less than 5 minutes later. I watched him, his chubby little fingers grasping the rail and his sturdy little feet placing themselves carefully upon each step. He didn't hesitate, had no fear of what could have been. That was left up to me; that burden of sitting there, feeling sick to my stomach and shaky in my limbs, was all mine.

I know that there will be many times in my boy's life that he will again feel the terror of that long, scary fall. Sometimes it will be because of an unexpected shove, a hit from behind ... sometimes he will miscalculate the distance from one step to another ... sometimes it will simply be because he's too damn busy to watch where he's going. My job as a mother is to stand there behind him as often as possible, ready to be his lifeline and pull him to safety.

And for those times that I just can't reach him, those spectacularly bad times in which a hard landing just can not be avoided, I hope and pray I will have taught him how to get back up, grab the rails, and get on with life, as quickly and confidently as he did today.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Irony at it's Finest

Two days ago,
my shoelace came
while I was in my last
running cycle
on the treadmill.
I ignored it and
kept running.
nothing untoward

I took the precaution of
my laces.
And then,
during my last
running cycle,
I tripped
over nothing.
nothing untoward

I am
today off.

Friday, May 1, 2009

They Say Exercise Is Good For You

I am not a visual person. No, really - I cannot picture a scene inside my head to save my life. When I read, I don't imagine the look of the characters in the book. I had a hard time in my Bradley birthing class because I couldn't see "my happy place" during labor practice. When I was active in sports, I could never visualize myself executing the necessary moves correctly.

Oddly enough, I could *always* picture myself falling off the balance beam, scratching a serve, hitting the high jump bar, and other spectacular failures.

It seems this predilection has carried over to my current workout of choice, the treadmill. Without fail, every time I get on the treadmill I start having these visions in my head. Visions of me tripping (not a huge stretch, as I do this often), falling off, hitting my head on the metal shelving behind me and bleeding all over the gym floor, giving myself both a concussion and the need for a blood transfusion. Or my shoe comes untied and I step on the laces, causing me to fall forward, go under the front bar, hit my head on the rowing machine in front of me, break my neck and instantly die.

I see these scenarios and various others of the same ilk, always centered around my sheer klutziness and always resulting in extreme embarrassment, injury, and/or fatality. I see them in great detail, going so far as to observe the stunned reactions of my fellow gym goers and the staff members. I see them in color - high def even. I can hear the shocked gasps followed by the murmured conversations about my lack of grace (the women) and how I might have had better luck on a stationary bike (the men).

Am I alone in my calamitous visions of self destruction?

I feel like I may be all by myself on this one. It would seem to me that it takes a particular dose of crazy to have a front row seat at the Theatre O' Death & Dismemberment not once, not occasionally, but every. single. freaking. time! one gets upon one's treadmill and begins one's workout.

Sometimes I think this may be God's way of telling me to get off the treadmill. You know, like that joke about the guy who was caught in a flood and refused to get on the rescue bus, boat, and helicopter because "Jesus will save me!" And then he drowns and when he asks Jesus why, he gets told, "I sent you a bus, a boat, and a helicopter - what more did you want?!"

I wonder if I'll recognize that helicopter when it comes for me. I can see it now ... crash-landing right on top of me.