Some Jobs Have Perks THEY Don’t Even Know About

In last week’s post, “Stealing… It’s Such a Strong Word”, I talked about my family’s inclination toward petty pilfering: Just your average, run of the mill pocketing-Sweet-‘N’-Lows-at-the-neighborhood-diner type of thing. (I was once in a supermarket with my father when he saw boxes of them on the shelf and said: “People actually buy these?”)

At a job it’s different. I feel no guilt or remorse for anything I’ve done. I have nothing to be ashamed of. Still, I won’t give too many specifics, because, well, you know… statute of limitations and all that.

Naturally, everyone likes a job with good benefits. I mean health and dental coverage are fine. So are 401Ks. But for me, at a job, just like in life: It’s the little things that matter. For me, the best work place perks that a company can provide are the unintentional ones: The benefits they have no idea they’re providing.

All the “up & up” benefits are published. They’re right there for everyone to see. They’re in the employee handbook. They’re in the handouts at the orientation. They’re on your bi-weekly pay stubs. But if you go into the main employee restroom, hold your pay stub up to a mirror, turn it upside down 3 times and take as many steps backwards as you can without falling into an open stall, you’ll clearly see your “other” benefits revealed.

It’s called the law of inverse reciprocity. (Don’t look it up. You’ll be sorely disappointed.)  This means that the stingier the company, the more “other” benefits you’re entitled to.

For instance, if I get a job and I think I should be paid $50,000 a year for doing what they’re asking of me,  and they only offer me $35,000 a year, then it stands to reason, I’m in a $15,000 deficit. So while I appear to be working diligently for them all year, I’m also working for myself figuring out creative ways for them to make up that 15 grand they owe me.

And it doesn’t matter where you work. The law of inverse reciprocity still applies. When I worked in a fast food place, according to them, I received minimum wage. According to me, I also won a raffle for a lifetime supply of plasticware- Not to mention salt, pepper, and ketchup packets. Granted, I never put salt or pepper on anything, and it would take 40 of those ketchup packets to fill a tablespoon… It’s the principle of the thing. And I’m nothing if not principled.

I’ve worked for some pretty generous places that gave holiday bonuses, incentives, Thanksgiving turkeys, umbrellas… something. Coincidentally, they were never missing office supplies. But the only thing worse than a company that offers you nothing is a company that offers you nothing and thinks they’re doing you a favor. If you think you’re going to cater a smorgasbord for a meeting with the big-wig, hoidy-toidy, grand puba, company honchos and then, when they’re done mauling at it, you’ll toss the plate like a Frisbee onto the break-room table for us commoners to fight over… Watch your back… and anything else not nailed down.

Most jobs are the same to me. They’re really just glorified office supply stores. I’m a writer. Writers need lots of paper… and copies. We need to print things: Double-sided things… in color… and collated.  We need those giant staplers, paper cutters, markers, envelopes in all shapes and sizes. (You can keep those ones with the windows. We have no use for those.)

To these companies I ask you: “How else could I possibly afford those things? You know better than anyone how much I earn. You don’t want to stand in the way of my dream. Do you? Don’t look at it like I’m stealing from you. That just spreads negative energy. Instead, consider yourself an investor in the career of a budding “young” author. Doesn’t that feel better?”

Surely you’ve heard of silent investors. Mine are not only silent, they’re totally oblivious.

So if you ever work for a job where they give you a polygraph before you’re even hired, and they have cameras every three feet of the building, keep the copy paper, ink cartridges, and paper clips in a locked cabinet that you need a combination to open, and have all the pens and staplers chained to the desks… I am so sorry… I take full responsibility. I probably used to work there.

Stealing… It’s Such a Strong Word

I’m a petty thief. You can’t get any pettier than the stuff I steal, but I’m a thief nonetheless. I’d rather  refer to myself as a kleptomaniac. I always feel self-important if there’s a medical diagnosis attached to my hobbies. I just doubt that pilfering plasticware and napkins from fast food restaurants is grandiose enough to be classified as kleptomania.

It’s not my fault. I come from a long line of pettiness on my father’s side.

My uncle Sidney was a downright vigilante. Once he walked out of a Wal-Mart looking at his receipt.  He mumbled that they’d overcharged him by 50 cents on an item. I said:

“Well let’s go over to Customer Service.”

He said: “That’s okay. They think they’re going to cheat me? Next time I come, I’ll take a Hershey bar.”

My dad’s no better. He takes his Taco Bell soda to go. After he finishes it, he stops at another Taco Bell on the way home…and maybe again the next day… to refill his cup. I feel certain that he single-handedly inspired the sign you now see over the soda dispensers strongly advising against that. He would probably argue that yes, he’s refilling the soda after he’s left the premises… but not at the same Taco Bell. Technically, the sign discourages round-trip refills not franchise-hopping. (Personally, I’m surprised he’s never had the chutzpah to go to the drive-thru window and ask the kid to fill up his cup for him so he wouldn’t have to get out of his getaway car.)

And, of course, once or twice, he’s probably taken his Taco Bell cup into a McDonald’s to refill it. To which I’m sure his defense would be: “I would’ve taken it to a Taco Bell, but there wasn’t one around when I was thirsty.”

Not to mention the one self-serve place that offers free coffee refills but not free soda refills. But Dad will not be denied. He routinely takes a coffee cup and fills it with soda when nobody’s looking.

It started small. He used to taste test the fruit in the supermarket. Mostly just grapes. He’d nibble one and palm a few more. Then, one day, I accidentally made myself an accessory to a crime after the fact.

It was around the holidays and I mentioned to him that I was short one bulb for my Hanukkah menorah. I couldn’t find any in my neighborhood. So he mailed me one. I asked him where he happened to come up with this singular bulb since they only sell them in packs. He said he went into a store and saw it on display. I said: “You unscrewed a bulb from the menorah on their shelf?” He said: “I would have paid for it, but they weren’t selling it.”

As incensed as I was, I was grateful they had one on the shelf or he would’ve taken a bulb out of their personal menorah in the store window.

You also may have noticed that if you’ve been to an office superstore lately, they likely asked you to pay for your self-service copies at the copy center in the back of the store. My father unknowingly spear-headed that campaign for change too.

For years, you would take your copies and head a mile and a half due-west to the front of the store to the registers. Well, one fateful day, my father got to the front of the store with his 2 copies and his bill for 8 cents and was confronted with a line of people with shopping carts full of computers, printers, etc. at the only open register.

Did dad politely ask if he could jump the line? No. Did he take out a dime and leave it on the register? No. Did he throw out the copies in the waste basket by the cashier? No. He did, however, mutter: “Ah, the hell with it” as he took his two copies with him off the line and out the automatic door.

So if you ever see me on the news face down on the tile floor in a fast-food establishment next to the yellow “piso mojado” sign with a sixteen year old employee on top of me with his knee in my back, while another kneels down next to us and tries to pry copious plastic sporks from my fists, you can be sure my defense will be: “I can’t help it. I have a genetic disorder.”

Everyone Deserves the Right to Marry the Wrong Person

I lived a very sheltered life in the suburbs when I was a kid. We all know that nobody in the suburbs does drugs, drinks or screws around. Right? I remember seeing some girls smoking cigarettes once in eighth grade. I ran home to report the scandal to my mother. I was like the breaking news bulletin that pops up on your screen just in time to interrupt Final Jeopardy!.

I also didn’t get that there were gay kids in my school.  Sure, there was Anthony who in all of elementary school never showed any interest in hanging out with any boys at recess. My friend Sophia came from a strict Greek Orthodox family. They wouldn’t let her invite boys to her parties, but Anthony was always there.

Also, apparently our entire high school girls’ tennis team were lesbians. I was like thirty-two when somebody explained that to me. Sure there were girls who were tomboys in second grade. Most grew out of it around sixth grade. But a few still haven’t. And I’m sure some of the girly girls in school are probably girly girls’ girls now and, as usual, I haven’t a clue.

So me being confused isn’t something new. And now there are these two women who are professional basketball players in the WNBA. It’s your typical “girl meets girl” story.  Woman falls in love with woman. Woman gets engaged to woman. Woman and woman both get arrested for domestic violence against the other and, as a result, both women get suspended from WNBA. Woman then marries same woman a month later. Then, a very short time later, woman files for annulment from woman who announces she won’t be playing basketball next season because she’s pregnant.

(Please do not re-read. I had to re-read it and I already took enough Tylenol for all of us.)

I  may be slow, but I do understand enough to know that this scenario should save a trip to the Maury show for a DNA paternity test. Her wife KNOWS she’s not the father.  Money can also be saved on a lie-detector test. Here’s one woman who can’t claim she wasn’t cheating. It’s like if my husband came home one day and saw all the leaves had been cleared out of the backyard and he grilled me on it.

“Lori, how’d you get all those leaves out of the backyard? You don’t have a rake.”

So ergo, we must assume that while my husband was out, I had found someone who does have a rake to come over and “rake my yard” as it were.

The thought of gay marriage has probably also been around forever, but of course I knew nothing about it until recently.  The moral of the above story is: Everyone deserves the right to marry the wrong person. Everyone deserves the right to fall in love and crash and burn. Why should only straight people take vows that they have no intention of keeping? Why should only straight women feel the joy of having their beloved get drunk at the reception and fondle her bridesmaid during the chicken dance? Why should she be deprived of the joy of having a distant male cousin trying to get closer by getting more pokey than hokey?

Adam was the guy who did my mother’s hair when I was ten or eleven. I distinctly remember having a crush on him and saying to my mother… “Oh if only Adam wasn’t married.”

To which she replied: “Lori, if Adam wasn’t married… He wouldn’t be married.”

But now he can be. For better or worse.

It’s not possible to Keep up with Them…

I have never seen one minute of one episode of the Kardashians. I really would tell you if I had. I have no problem admitting, even bragging about my so-called “guilty pleasures” even when others are less than forthcoming.  (Like supposedly nobody I ever met eats fast food. This means that I alone, when I indulge in the good crap once a week, am somehow the sole supporter of a billion dollar a year industry even though my entire weekly combo meal totals $6.24. Which leads me to conclude that most of my friends are full of burgers, fries, nuggets, and something else.)

It’s not that I think I’m above watching the Kardashians. I’m just more of a Braxtons’ girl. I know very few things about the Kardashians: Only the important stuff: I know Kim is very proud of her ass (as we all should be), she and Kanye are short, and they’re apparently big Hitchcock fans because they named their daughter after one of his movies. And, the latest bit of Kardashian info I’ve gathered: Man, are they competitive.

On the one hand, here was “Bruce” Jenner as we knew “him” until a month ago: Father to several, step-father to several more. He hadn’t been just any athlete. He’d hit the pinnacle of athletes: He was an Olympic gold medalist…in the decathlon no less. So he didn’t just ping-pong or bowl his way to victory. No. He ran, jumped, and threw things long distances to victory.  Pretty impressive stuff.

Then over here we have the Kardashians. They’re famous and great at it. Now back to “Bruce” for a moment.

So now, finally, after decades of struggling with it, for what probably felt like a decathlon that went on for more than 60 years, we are introduced to Caitlyn Jenner. This is a huge deal. She said: “Here I am. You might like me. You might not like me. Whatever.” She took all the high roads: Diane Sawyer not Jerry Springer, Vanity Fair, Annie Leibovitz. No tabloidy crappola with Caitlyn’s face making out with Lady Gaga’s face on the cover. (I’m sure somebody’s in a very dark darkroom putting it together as we speak.)

So this is the biggest Kardashian/Jenner news ever! Top that! Oh, wait. Five minutes after the Vanity Fair cover is revealed- Caitlyn’s humongo news that has been brewing inside her for six decades- Kim’s finally pregnant again. Imagine that. The lights from Caitlyn’s photo shoot hadn’t even cooled off yet. What are the chances? Of all dumb luck. Here Kim’s struggled with infertility for a while and somehow, by some miracle, she turns up pregnant and decides to tell the world NOW. I’ve been through infertility. Many of you are going through infertility. Try timing exactly when you get pregnant. Hmmm. So the spotlight’s on Caitl… & now back to Kim.

It had to happen. The show had to get back on track somehow. I mean, the show has already had all the usual semi-unscripted soap opera requisites:  Marriage/divorce/annulment?, car crash, screwings around, pregnancy, drugs, infertility, take him back/throw him out/take him back… but “step-dad’s transgender”? And likely not just for the ratings… I mean, I think most people would agree that Caitlyn’s probably not turning back to “Bruce” the day after the series ends.

So once you’ve gone down the “step-dad’s transgender road”, where does a poor reality show go from here?  Kim’s surprise pregnancy is definitely a good start. And there are a couple of ol’ soap standbys I don’t think they’ve tried yet: I don’t remember anyone having an evil twin or amnesia. And baby North appears to still be under 2. (On Young & the Restless, she’d be driving by now.) And they all still seem to be playing themselves. I don’t think there have been any voice over announcements: “The part of “Kourtney” will now be played by Stacy Meyers.”

I just don’t know if any of the stock storylines are good enough now. Caitlyn’s announcement has really upped the ante for the whole family. The pressure is really on to be more creative.  Let’s see. What can we come up with? Khloe can be the first reality star in a space mission… oh right. John Glenn was on Dancing with the Stars. I don’t know but it’s going to have to be big. Mom Kris or one of the sistas is going to have to date the President or the First Lady… or both… or be shot out of a cannon atop the Eiffel Tower… something.

How we Lose Our Minds on a 3-Day Weekend

(Memorial Day: We can never be thankful enough to all those who serve and have served.)

Memorial Day… Isn’t it wonderful? Hoards of people fought and died defending this Country and its freedoms all over the globe, just so I could get a bra for half-price. (And… to digress a moment because that’s what I do … I didn’t appreciate that when I had one on backorder, a store sent me a postcard… a postcard of all things, announcing: “Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Your Bally’s 34D extra support black bra is on its way!”  Although, I’ll have to say, that postcard has saved me money. Since that fateful afternoon when I snatched that damn thing out of my mailbox, I’ve never felt the need to give my mailman anything around the December holidays. I figure that postcard should hold him for a lifetime.)

And for most of us here in the U.S., Memorial Day weekend takes on other meanings. It marks the unofficial start of when rational people lose their minds. First there’s the TV news report showing the traffic headed to the beach backed up 2700 miles. Well, who could have predicted that on a Friday night at 6pm at the start of a three day weekend when it was going to be sunny and 83 degrees there’d be a lot of cars facing the beach?

The next shocker for normally rational people is that the gas prices mysteriously jumped in the past few days. Year after year we seem to always forget the strong link between political unrest in the Middle East and a three-day weekend in Myrtle Beach.

Then there are those of us who work hard all year to take good care of ourselves by what we eat and how we exercise who use the long weekend to defy the laws of melanoma. To many, the beach is just one  humongous deep-fryer into which we toss ourselves in hopes of transforming into one giant order of hush puppies and corn fritters.

And then of course, there are about 30% of us women who wear bikinis, although there are probably only 2% of us who should. I, for one, think I look great in my 34D postcard bra and panties, but when I put on any brand bikini, something unkind happens. I go from Demi Moore to SpongeBob’s friend Patrick in a matter of seconds… Then there are a percentage of guys who wear Speedos. In my opinion, there’s no way to win with a Speedo. Either you look terrible in it, or you look narcissistic in it. Either way… if I ever had thoughts of seeing you out of one… I still never want to see you in one.

And then of course, most of us commemorate the holiday weekend by eating ourselves into a stupor. Sure, lots of people drink themselves into a stupor, but I personally don’t drink so I have to make up for it  by eating my weight in whatever anyone chooses to stuff into a bun and smother in ketchup.

Family Comes & Family Goes & That’s When We Rejoice

Does your family ever ask you if it’s okay if they come to visit? Or are they like my sister who just makes an announcement and expects your whole world to come to a standstill?: “I’ll be coming the second week in May.” I can’t tell her “no” either. It’s not because I’m such a good-hearted person or that I feel guilty for turning her away. It’s because, frankly, I’m a sucky liar. I notice that when I lie, I lose all grasp of punctuation. I just ramble on and on with no end in sight. Thank goodness my supervisor’s voicemail at work has a time limit on it: “Hi this is Lori it’s 6:45 Monday morning I couldn’t sleep last night I was up with this stomach headachy rash strep throat allergy thing I’m so tired I think I’m rambling but I’ll be fine tomorrow I’ll come in then the pulled muscle should be better by then but if it’s not…………..Beeeep….. Finally! Thank Gd!”

So I don’t bother trying to tell my sister she can’t come that week because I’m going out of town for vacation or elective surgery or to participate in a mass suicide. She wouldn’t hear a word I said anyway and would show up on my doorstep right on time.

The main issue with my sister’s visits is that she brings stuff… lots and lots of stuff.  George Carlin must have known my sister. People have moved their entire extended families to the Himalayas in winter with less stuff than she brings for a 4 day visit. Every time she makes this expedition, I fully expect her to arrive with a jam-packed U-Haul hitched to the back of her Corolla.  Half of the stuff she totes are gifts for me. I know, you’re right. It’s a nice gesture and I’m a horrible sister. So the next time she shows up and offers me slightly used size 9 flip-flops that she got at a yard sale for a dime, I’ll try to think about that. I’ll try to not even feel sorry for myself for wearing a 6 1/2. Or sometimes she brings me Nancy Drew books someone’s tossed out. When I say: “You brought me Nancy Drew?” She looks confused and responds: “I thought you liked Nancy Drew.” It’s true. I love Nancy Drew. I read all the books…. In 1974. My sister’s only three and a half years older than I am.  I’m pretty sure she’s aware of that. So why doesn’t she grasp that if she’s well over forty, I’m probably not still ten?

So I said that “the stuff” issue is half the issue. Right. The “food stuff” is the other half. When the doorbell rings announcing her arrival and we swing the door open, you’d better get those hugs in quickly before you get run over by the cooler she’s schlepping behind her. Apparently there are no supermarkets in the state in which we live. Truth be told, there are five within a three mile radius, but you can’t be too careful. And yes, my sister is on a special diet. The coyote diet. If they eat it, she eats it. She is so notorious for this fridge-on-wheels that in the background of every phone call leading up to her visiting day, you can hear my husband yelling with desperation in his voice: “No cooler! Don’t bring the cooler! I’m not kidding!” She always proclaims it’s just a few necessities for the drive and things she can’t get here like Friendship brand cottage cheese. Breakstone won’t do. Then, along the trip, she’s accumulated a few other edible items that you can ONLY get here. By the time she’s unpacked everything and loaded it into our refrigerator, our poor food is cowering in one corner of one shelf. At night, if you’re very quiet you can actually hear it tapping on the light bulb and yelling very softly: “Help! Please help!”

Maybe what they say is true: We can’t choose our relatives. But at least once we’re adults, we can choose which ones not to live with.

Running a 5K Marathon

Last weekend my husband and I ran a 5k marathon. Yes, I know that I said that completely wrong and that’s nothing more than a made up oxymoron of sorts but the point is: I ran something that can be called a race so throw me a bone will ya?

Every year I’ve shied away from signing up for this particular 5k marathon. It’s sponsored by my job… and there’s an entry fee. “What charity does the money go to?” You may ask. “My job”. They’re the sponsor and the entry fee recipient.  No breast cancer nothing. No hunger nothing. No environment nothing. Okay, it’s only 8 dollars. But if you participate and you want to track your time, even if you’re 4 years old, it’s 8 dollars. That adds up for a whole family. When I “inquired” (Lori dictionary: “inquired”= “Bitched out”) why if this was specifically an event for employees and their families, employees and their families had to pay. The answer was: “The 8 dollars is for the T-shirts”. I’m not sure how much of my  response the woman read, considering I started it off with: “You Cheap Motherf***ers”. Seriously, I’ve busted my ass there for 7 years for 25 cents a year raise. Buy me an 8 dollar T-shirt!”

So this year, since it was the cheapest 5k around and I had a few friends doing it, I caved. Once in a while, it actually comes in handy to have a hyphenated last name. It’s convenient to use only one half of it or switch it around to create an alias in case you’re, say, running a 5k and you don’t want the people putting it together to make the connection that you’re the one who cursed them out via email for the past three years. Although, I probably would have had a faster race time if I were chased by security throughout the course.

Speaking of my time:

When we perused the printout of results which included all 243 participants: Runners, fast-walkers, schleppers, & people who took a detour thru the drive-thru before finishing , my husband was kind enough to point out that there was someone who had the exact same time as I had. Therefore, while I was pumped that I’d come in 49th place overall, it was sweet of him to, mere seconds later, draw my attention to the fact that I was in 50th place as much as I was in 49th. That’s why we’re married. He keeps me grounded by bursting my bubbles and highlighting my inadequacies. I don’t mind that he killed my 5k marathon afterglow buzz. I don’t even mind that when he posted my accomplishment on Facebook that he put an asterisk after my achievement. “Lori came in 49th* place. Fine. I’m good being the Barry Bonds/Mark McGwire/Andy Pettitte/Ryan Braun/Jason Giambi/Manny Ramirez/Alex Rodriguez/Roger Clemens/Jose Conseco/Miguel Tejada/Sammy Sosa etc of 5K marathon running. Of course, if we were to search deeper into his psyche, maybe it all stems  from his own sense of inadequacy seeing as how he ate my proverbial dust in the race. I may have finished in 49th/50th place, but I went home, took a shower, had lunch, watered the plants, taught myself Hindi and made it back just in time to see him crossing the finish line. (On principle, I didn’t pay the 8 dollars for his time to be official, but trust me, in another ten minutes, they would have sent out a search party with flashlights and dogs.)

And as for my 8 dollar T-shirt: I wore it to work every day last week and plan to do the same next week. It’ll be like I’m in camp. Of course we’re not allowed to wear T-shirts to work. But, they’ve known me a long time.  They know: One way or the other… I must make them pay.

I’m The Real Housewife of Nowhere

I’ve never wanted to be a “Real Housewife” of anywhere.  “Housewife” feels like such a 1950’s term, and not in a good way. Then you’ve got the shows. “The Real Housewives of…wherever.”  None of them  are really real housewives. Nobody would tune in to Bravo to see women who live in a three room house, haven’t had time to take a shower in two days, clipping coupons, wearing their husband’s T-shirt, carpooling, & vacuuming.  (That’s what we have TLC for.) Some of the “Housewives” aren’t even married.

So I never wanted to be a housewife, but I REALLY never wanted to be  a “housewife” (why would anybody want cameras following you everywhere?)… until now. And I want to be one “housewife” in particular: Teresa Giudice from New Jersey. I know that sounds strange as she is one of the few “housewives” in the entire franchise who is currently incarcerated.  I’m not making light of her sentence for fraud or how horrible it is for her to be away from her family and vise versa. I just can’t help comparing her life to mine: Get the tissues ready.

Teresa is woken up every morning at 6 am. Me too. Even on the weekends because my husband doesn’t know how to stop his phone from beeping. He keeps it next to the bed & has finally gotten it under control enough for me not to jump up out of a sound sleep like I was shot out of a cannon at 3am when his dopy friend notifies the world that he’s eating a gyro, but hasn’t figured out how to keep it from going off at six, seven days a week. Could he turn the phone off altogether on the weekends? Gee, what a concept.

During the week, I get up at six, get dressed, eat breakfast and pack up my food for the day. If it’s a Tuesday, I have to pack up several meals because I work from 8am to 9pm. Then I drive to my job. I work in two different offices. If all of the other motorists in front of me will cooperate and do at least the speed limit, one is a fifteen minute drive, twice a week. The other is a thirty-five minute drive, three times a week. I get there early so I can stretch out and go for a run in the dark before I start working at 8am. (I know you’re wondering about the hygiene factor. I spruce up with various sprays, powders and wipes. Luckily I’m not a “sweater”.) Then I work all day, go home, deal with family and household and squeeze in writing in the evenings, early weekend hours, and any other time I’m awake enough to keep my face above the keyboard.

Then we’ve got Teresa’s life. She gets about forty cents an hour to work in the laundry. It sounds terrible but then again: How much do you get for doing laundry? She also is apparently in the best physical shape of her life because she works out after every meal. There are exercise classes and everything. Yeah, I started running because, well, you know… who could afford the gym? And the rest of the time– hours and hours each day– Teresa spends in her cell… writing her book. Okay, now I’m pissed. That’s jail? That’s an artists’ retreat.

I really need to rethink things. Re-prioritize. All of these years, I’ve lived a good, clean, honest life. I’ve never gotten drunk, done drugs, smoked anything, beaten anyone up, stolen anything (since I was four anyway), carried a concealed anything except feminine products… and where has it gotten me?

The Art of the Silent Treatment

I’ll be honest: When I’m mad at my husband, my punishment of choice is the silent treatment.

I’ll be honest: The last time the silent treatment worked on my husband was never.

I’m crazy about my husband. Everybody knows that. We agree on 95%of things and don’t argue much. But watch out for that 5%. I don’t mean dumb things that aren’t so dumb and really steam me like during hockey season when I root for the New York Rangers and the New York Islanders are my second team but he’ll root for the New York Islanders and AGAINST the New York Rangers even when they’re not playing each other. I’m not talking about that. Or that when we play Jeopardy!, he just blurts out answers before Alex Trebek finishes reading the clue, and never puts his response in the form of a question. (Not to mention, he pays no attention to the category so half of the time his answers make no sense whatsoever…Try living with that.)

What I’m really talking about is: Every so often, say every few months or so… he’ll just be exasperated about something and yell at me and make a comment to me that makes me think he thinks I’m a lot younger than I am. I mean if it was a remark that made me feel, say, 28 like: “Wow, look how smooth your skin is”, I’d be fine with it. But no, it’s more like: “Look how you left the sink. How many times do I have to tell you, you have to rinse it out?!” I mean, I’m pretty small… (another couple of years I should fit nicely onto a charm bracelet.) And I like to tell myself that I look younger than I am. And I’ll gladly order off the kids’ menu if you let me… & I have a handful of shows I hate to miss on Nick Jr. & one or two on PBS Kids. But the point is: No person over the age of five likes to be talked to like they’re five. (I need to take a poll of five year olds. They’re probably not that thrilled about it either.)

So usually when my darling hubby addresses me as such, I turn around, and huff away… and stop speaking to him. In return, he goes into the bedroom, gets into bed and turns on one of his shows on TV. Yeah, I’m winning! This punishment is going great!

I could say he doesn’t even notice I’m not talking to him but that’s not the case. He knows I’m mad. But in the past after the “punishment” has been lifted and we’re speaking again, he’s claimed that he never knows what to say. (Somehow: “I’m sorry” never seems to occur to him.) So here’s how this scenario usually plays out:

For two days or for as long as I choose to “torture” him, I silently cook everything, clean everything and wash everything and he withdraws/retreats– never leaves– the bedroom. His busy schedule for the duration alternates between multi-tasking napping and expelling noxious fumes and watching Family Guy and Pawn Stars.

So what’s wrong with me? What will it take for it to truly sink in that my silent treatment isn’t effective and I need to find some other way? I’m thinking maybe one day when I have to get off my knees from scrubbing the toilet to answer the door to escort a pizza delivery guy and a stripper to my bedroom.

I think this is why I always think it’s bullshit when someone gets “house arrest” as their punishment.  No matter what crime the person’s committed, I always take the punishment personally.


Weather: It’s Highly Subjective

I’ve mentioned in previous posts the phenomenon of snow storms since I moved from the Northeast of the U.S. to the Southeast. The whole personalities of New York and North Carolina are very different and never is it more apparent than during inclement weather.

North Carolinians see a storm brewing in Wisconsin on the weather report and say:  “Please please don’t let it come here.” New Yorkers say: “Come to the Big Apple motherfker. Let’s see what ya got.”

Memories are different in the Southeast too. Here they ruminate over the fear they had 6 years ago: “I remember last time  cars were all sliding into each other. My neighbor was stuck on the beltline for 5 hours. It was a nightmare.” New Yorkers brag about it to each other: “Remember last year when we were walking to the Walgreen’s on 34th Street and the snow was up to our necks? That was exercise. I was sweating like crazy. It took me 45 minutes to go 3 blocks”

Snow is a huge deal down here. If there’s even a rumor of snow, not only will they talk about it at the beginning of the local evening news and at the end of the local news, they’ll then interrupt the start of Jeopardy! to give you a special report about it. This report serves the purpose of freaking everyone out with non-information like: “If the cloud formation makes a left turn it could be nothing, but if it makes a right turn it will be “the worst storm in history”. Then they make a feeble attempt to bolster our confidence by showing us how the area is getting prepared. They cut to a shot of the snow emergency fleet:  Six garbage trucks with huge shovels jammed into their fronts and three guys with lawn mowers with smaller shovels jammed into the front.

Things close here due to panic & an extreme version of the “better safe than sorry” rule. I ponder the ramifications of those closings. We stay glued to our TV watching the updates go across our screen. Churches are always the first to bail. It may be Tuesday and the snow, if it ever happens at all, may possibly, perhaps, by chance start falling on Friday. No matter. That’s all the churches have to hear. They start sending out the message two days early: “Gd is everywhere, so stay home and talk to him at your house because ours is closed.” “All roads lead to Gd, so if ours have snow on them, take a detour somewhere else.”

Some of the other announcements that really don’t affect me at all still really make me nervous. “Dialysis Center closed”. Okay, that sounds kind of important.  How about “Meals for the Homebound”? I mean they can’t come out to get food. You know that. It’s in the name of your organization.

North Carolina meteorologists, in my opinion, fuel the frenzy. They throw around the word “treacherous” every five seconds. “The morning commute could be treacherous. The main roads could be treacherous. But the secondary, tertiary, and quaternary streets will definitely be treacherous. And don’t even think about driving on the  quinary, senary or septenary streets.  The only word I can use to describe them would be: ‘Treacherous’.”

Then they cut to a scene on the off-ramp of the interstate where a guy veered off the road into a ditch 3 minutes after the first snowflakes started falling and mention as an aside that, true, his blood alcohol level was 5.

My husband brought to my attention at this last go-round that there’s one reporter who never gets out of her car in bad weather. Don’t reporters usually demonstrate how bad the weather is by standing in the middle of it freezing, blowing all over the highway? You can barely see them because the snow and ice keep smashing against the camera lens.  But not this woman. There she is, doing the story from the comfort of her passenger seat with the window rolled up and her seat belt on. You can practically feel the heat on her legs. I’m thinking here’s one newsperson who probably won’t be signing up to be a foreign correspondent any time soon. I know nothing about news reporters but I imagine those who won’t put on mittens in North Carolina wouldn’t be interested in driving over mines anywhere else.