Time to wrangle the world for a bit


Mornin’ all.

Has coffee ever just stopped working for you?

It seems like the past couple weeks, my morning Joe does nothing for my pep and vigor. I tried making it even stronger to no avail. I mean, I still had the shakes and twitches, and the alarming sizzle coming from my belly made me tone it back down. But, it didn’t wake me up. No zip. No pop. My nap in a cup seems to be malfunctioning.

What if this is permanent? What if I can’t ever get a buzz from coffee again?!


I KNOW RIGHT!? It’s a terrifying prospect. I’m hoping it’s just a temporary hiccup. I would hate to have to try…tea. *shudder*

Let’s talk about something else. I can’t take the thought of “pinkies up” being my only wake-up option!

I know it’s only technically been a few days, but how’s your summer so far?

Ours has started off with bizarre weather. There’s an old saying about New England: If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes. This year, that saying rings particularly true. We went from 92 degrees to 60 and windy as hell, to 70 with a low of 42, then up to 85 again…all in the span of a couple days. I don’t know if the meteorological roller coaster is supposed to continue through the entire summer, but it’s making planning outdoorsy type stuff difficult.

We had a hot day this week where the wind calmed to a dull gale, so I took my kiddies to the town beach.

I don’t know how things operate in other parts of the country, but here, if a town has a lake within their borders, and they see fit to clear enough trees to make a parking area, then they’ve got themselves a town beach. Residents of the town can use the beach for a fee, and the fee varies. Some places make you buy a town beach sticker. Some just ask you to show your car registration upon entry.

Here, a dump sticker is the golden ticket to get to swim in the lake. If you’ve paid your yearly dues for the privilege of handing your refuse over to the underpaid staff of the uppity dump, then step right up and have unfettered access to a natural wonder!

…wellll…not exactly unfettered. To get to our beach, you have to walk down two flights of concrete stairs. To keep erosion at bay, the town also installed concrete walls. Huge, gray, concrete walls. The entire beach is surrounded by concrete. It’s like Nature’s prison cell. With umbrellas.

Once you get down to the sand, you’ll discover that the beach is only about a hundred feet long or so. And the “swim area” goes out maybe thirty feet into the lake.

Now, I’m assuming that you’re picking up my tone with this and get the fact that I think putting such restrictions on nature is utterly absurd. I think there should be open points of access to the lake for all people to enjoy, free from looming concrete walls and a thirty-foot-from-the-shore swim limit. But, at the end of the day, that’s how the town plays it, and my kids wanted to swim. And hey…it’s still better than a pool.

So I took them to swim and frolic in an eerily confined manner.

Because the beach is surrounded by gigantic concrete walls, it’s an echo chamber. I don’t think the mom club that was there that day realized that every little whisper can be heard anywhere within the Bellyflop Dome.

This is a small town. While it’s true that means I know far more about my neighbors on average than I probably should, I really, REALLY didn’t need to hear about the bikini-Mom’s episiotomy stitch failure because of an over-anxious husband after she had her last baby. Coulda done without that knowledge.

Ah well. The kids had some fun. I got some sun. And bikini-Mom got to soothe her aching bits in the water. Wins all around.

Talking to you is helping to wake me up far better than Traitor Joe’s been doing these days. Let’s keep it up. In fact, let’s KICK it up. You know what I’m talking about. I think we all could use a little…

*catchy theme music* *go go dancers can-can on stage*

* * * HEADLINE ROUNDUP !!! * * *

Wowie! What a routine! Brava, ladies! I feel more invigorated already.

Yep, another Roundup. I know I’ve been doing them with more regularity these days. Of course I am. The world has gone completely bonkers, and it’s either poke fun or cry. I choose option A.

For any newbs here, we have ourselves a Roundup when we read news headlines we simply cannot ignore. I scour the sticky fibers of internet news sites and bring you the headlines that pop out at me. Sometimes they’re poorly worded, sometimes they’re confusing. But mostly, they just put an image in my head I can’t resist sharing. As always, these headlines are 100% real. I just supply a side of snark.

– Brexit Vote Shocks World Leaders

I had to. It’s THE news story of the week. Somehow the UK voted to leave the EU, in spite of the fact that no intelligent person supported the exit.

– Trump Touts ‘Brexit’ as Triumph

See? SEE?! If Donald Trump likes your idea, IT’S A BAD IDEA.

– Economy Takes Major Hit With Brexit News

Of course it did. This is exactly what they knew would happen. They were warned by every expert that this would happen and would continue to snowball. Only an idiot can take the warnings of the experts and completely ignore them.

– Fueled By ‘Brexit’, Texans Lobby for ‘Texit’

Y’all, naw. Didn’t you JUST hear what happened with the UK? And their economy? And the upheaval it’s causing?

– Fueled By ‘Brexit’, Texans Lobby for ‘Texit’

But if you do this, life will not suddenly be rainbows and unicorns. It will be the exact opposite. You’ll…

– Fueled By ‘Brexit’, Texans Lobby for ‘Texit’

*sigh* Fine, then. Bye Felicia.

– Marijuana Use Rises in Iran, With Little Interference

Is pot smoking really Iran’s biggest problem? Really?

– Styled for Survival: This Company Makes Bulletproof Fashionable

I can’t. I just can’t even with this shit today.

– Jack Daniel’s Embraces a Hidden Ingredient: Help From A Slave

And judging by the comments after the article, it’s certainly going to be tough to swallow for many in Jack Daniel’s demographic.

…and yes, pun ALWAYS intended.

– Inside US Scientists’ Test to Grow Potatoes on Mars

Matt Damon already proved you can do that. Pfft. Have a little originality, NASA.

– Who Would Fake a Tragedy on Facebook Just to Get Sympathy and Attention?

The same people who make shit up in real life. Are we surprised that people who are asswads in real life don’t hesitate to take their asswaddery to social media??

– Mother Pens Open Letter When Her Son With Down’s Syndrome Didn’t Get Invited to Birthday Party

…I’m not sayin’ this necessarily goes with the previous article, but…

– Browser the Cat Loses Texas Library Mascot Gig Over Puppy Spat With City Council

Okay, I’m totally turned around on the Texit. Let me help you pack your bags, Texas.

– Gun Advocate Shoots and Kills 2 Daughters Before Being Killed by Police Herself

The cops actually shot a white suburban female criminal. #truefeminism #equality

– Dalai Lama, Lady Gaga Urge Kindness in Indy

Can’t read my, can’t read my citta-matraaaa….

– Survey: Older Drivers Want Car Tech to Stay Behind the Wheel

You’re trying to tell me older folks are resistant to newfangled gizmos? Hogwash and balderdash!

– Kentucky’s Ark Defies Science but Evokes a Version of Christianity

Top headline in the No Shit Gazette today.

– Tenn. Couple in Same-Sex Ruling Quietly Celebrates

…with full press coverage. Just a small affair with millions of their closest friends.

– In Maine, Sustainability Showdown Scraps Seaweed Shindig

As a non-Maine New Englander, it’s kind of my obligation to skewer them. But you know what? They’re still reeling from the loss of their seaweed hootenanny. They have so little up there as it is, and the disappointment must be intense. Let’s not kick them when they’re down.

– Boston Bombing Survivors Visit Pulse Shooting Victims

Most awkward one-upmanship contest ever.

– Most Iconic Restaurants in All 50 States

They claim it’s the Portsmouth Brewery for NH. Bitch please. Everyone knows it’s Newick’s. *603 fistbump*

– Drones Take a Big Step Toward the Mainstream

NO. #fighttherobotuprising #no-verlord.com

– Pastor Battles Colorado City Over Jesus-related Ads on Bus Benches

…da faq is a Jesus-related ad? “WWJD? Jesus would pick up the phone right now and take advantage of this offer for insane savings…”

*author’s note: For the record, I could have made that so, SO much worse. If that made you mad, just know that if I had gone with my initial quip, you’d be punching your computer screen in rage. I saved your electronics. I’ve got your back.*

– The Dirty Secret of Airbnb is That It’s Really, Really White

Look. Lay out the basic idea for Airbnb in straight facts: It’s a business that allows people to go on vacations they can’t really afford (because Betty’s family took one and goddamn if they’ll let that strumpet show them up) by offering them the ability to stay at a complete stranger’s house (because for some unfathomable reason there’s an innate trust in those who ALSO want to take vacations THEY can’t afford)… I don’t know if there has ever been a more white business plan in the last decade. Is it right? No. But is this a secret to anyone? It really, really shouldn’t be.

– Clinton: Cities Are Where Things Are ‘Getting Done’

Wow. Glad she’s got a deep, meaningful insight to our nation’s economy.

*oops, got a little too much sarcasm on your screen. Lemme just squeegee that off for ya…*

– Mobster ‘Whitey Bulger’ Auction Raises Over $100,000

$100,000!? Who ARE these people that buy this shit!? Who says, “Holy cow, Eunice! Whitey Bulger’s humidor is up for sale! Think of how many blood splatters it’s got! I MUST OWN THIS.” ??!?! Sick fucks, that’s who. #pleaseletthemallmovetoTexasbeforeTexit

– How to in 60 Seconds Make-up

…huh? Like, after a fight? Cosmetic make-up? Imagination churning? Any clue at all would be helpful.

– ‘Regretting Motherhood’ Debate Rages in Germany

I don’t understand the debate here. “I regret becoming eine mutter.” “NEIN.” “But…” “I SAID NEIN.”

– An Animated Video Shows Why China is Right- And the US Is Wrong- In the South China Sea

*gasp* Animated!? Well then it MUST be true.

– Partying in Lebanon Means Shooting Guns in the Air- Even Though it Kills People

Ain’t no party like a Lebanese party cuz a Lebanese party only stops for the people who get killed. Woot woot.

– White Nationalists, Protesters Clash in California; 10 Hurt

I don’t even feel bad for hoping that the injured were all on the Klan side.

– David Bowie’s Hair Might Fetch More Than $4,000

Oooh, we have ourselves a philosophical conundrum this morning. What’s creepier: buying Whitey Bulger merch, or getting giddy over the prospect of holding a dead dude’s hair? *strokes beard in contemplation*

– The New World’s Fastest Supercomputer is All Chinese

Duh. MY computer is all Chinese. So is my phone, my tv, my tablet… The only thing NOT Chinese about any of this shit is the company name stamped on the outside. We cannot have the Chinese make our shit for 30 years and then be surprised that they picked up some tips along the way. #fact.

– Before the Robots Rise Up, They’ll Be Making Your Next Pizza

Aw shit. I always thought the chef at the pizza place down the way seemed a little distant and not quite right. The question is, is he an android himself, or just an unwitting tool of the impending digital apocalypse? #poorPaco

– New Device Could Help Bike Riders Catch Cars That Drive Too Close

“Okay, I got it. What we do is get a big net…you with me so far?”

– Apple Files Patent to Make it Easier to Use iPhone One-handed

Say it with me: NOBODY CARES.

– Isn’t She Lovely? Meet SweePee Rambo, This Year’s ‘World’s Ugliest Dog’

Um, I think you just answered your own question there.

– Couple Call Police And Report Their Pet Cat is ‘Holding Them Hostage’

Don’t laugh. The struggle is real. #catsaredicks #fluffywuffydicks

– Orthodox Chiefs Warn Over Middle East, Science Dangers

Wow. It’s CUH-RAZY that in this day and age, the Middle Eastern nations are still having conflicts between religion and science. If everyone shunned science, we’d still think the earth was flat! What a backwards, barbaric society.

Kentucky’s Ark Defies Science but Evokes a Version of Christianity

… … … …

…yeah. Seems like a good place to leave it for the day…


Thus concludes a Roundup for Monday, June 27, 2016. I’ve got to crack into another set of window motors in the man’s car today. I don’t know how many it’ll take before I’m an expert in these old w123 windows, but I gotta be getting close at this point. Which is cool. I’ve always wanted to be an expert in something. It would be more useful to be an expert in almost anything else. But, if it has to be 32 year old MB diesel window motors, I guess I’ll take it.

I hope I have enough tissues today…


Mornin’ all.

I shouldn’t be doing this.

I just wanted to make it clear that I am completely and totally procrastinating. I have a list a mile long of tasks that must be finished, and, even in the best of scenarios, won’t. Me chatting it up on the internet is not helping anything whatsoever.

There. I think that’s what they mean when they say “own it.” I’m fucking up, I KNOW I’m fucking up, I plan to continue to fuck up…but I’m “owning it.” What’s the penance for this situation? Like three limericks, one hippocratic oath, and the last stanza from Stairway to Heaven? Will that be enough to guarantee my absolution?

See, this is going to be one busy ass weekend for us here at the house of insanity. Today, Teen Prime graduates high school *sniff*. Concurrently, my mother in law’s train arrives at a station about an hour and a half away. I work today, work extra early tomorrow. My dining room/workshop is one hot mess because of the transmission job, and the mutha effin’ dryer broke. AGAIN. Sunday we’re throwing a graduation cookout. I still haven’t bought his gift. At some point I need to make it to a store about half an hour away to get bulk bug spray because my youngest is a tick magnet and that shit’s expensive if you just buy the little cans, and I need to figure out when I’m going to make “a graduation cake, but instead of cake, make it peanut butter cookies stacked to LOOK like a cake.” Because that would be “sick.”

“Oh, Bethie. You should probably go.”

I know, right? And yet here I am.

I’ve just got too much energy at the moment to focus. I’m looking at a huge list of things that must be done, and yet my mind is all spinny. I figured I’d pop on here and collect my thoughts.

Have some coffee. Since the MIL is on her way, we sprung for the stuff that doesn’t come with a hazmat warning label. *sip* Come on. Don’t be shy. *slurp*

…*sigh* I didn’t make it.

“In that case…” *pours coffee*

I can’t believe my baby is graduating. I can’t believe I’m old enough to have a baby that’s graduating.

When he was little, he was very little. He was way shorter than the average kid, and didn’t start catching up in height until 8th grade. He started kindergarten about the height of a 3 year old. The first week of kindergarten, I walked him into his school playground every morning. On the second or third day, he gave me a kiss on the cheek. An older and much bigger boy started laughing at him.

“Did you just kiss your mommy?” the boy sneered. He was one of those picture book nasties. Blond, expensive clothes, horde of cohorts at his elbows hoping some of the “cool” would trickle off him. I was about to tell Kindergartener Prime not to listen, or spout some other useless parenting advice, when he handled it way better than I ever could have.

My tiny little peanut put his fists on his hips, squared his shoulders and said, “Of course I kissed my mom! What’s the matter with you? Don’t you kiss YOUR mother?”

You know what? He has come a long way since that day on the playground. And in some ways, he’s still that same guy.

Gah. *waves hands in front of eyes* Now I’m misty. Why’d you get me talking about this? *sniff*

Enough with emotions. I’mma have a lot of those later, and I still have to work. I am an ugly crier, one of those horror shows who looks like she’s just eaten shellfish when she knows damn well she’s not supposed to touch it but just can’t help it when Lobsterfest comes around. My eyes puff. My face in general puffs. My nose does a spot-on Rudolph impression and then I get so stuffy that everything comes out sounding like I’m under water. And I hiccup. And my breath hitches…for HOURS.

It ain’t pretty.

Let’s get our heads in a different space. Namaste and all that shit. I think for today’s palate cleanser, we should fall back on Old Reliable. Hey, band? Take a break from practicing Pomp and Circumstance, call the go-go dancers to the stage, because it’s time for a…

* * * HEADLINE ROUNDUP ! ! ! * * *

Yep! An old fashioned roundup! What better way to reset the mood and get us jazzed for a difficult day? For any new folks dropping by, a Roundup happens when I’m looking through the old internets and I see headlines that are poorly worded, badly phrased, intriguing, or just plain stupid. Basically, if I have a reaction to them, I share. I do it all for you. As always, the headlines are bona fide. I just add some smartassery.

Shall we begin?

– How Robots Will Soon Take Teens’ Virginity

I suppose that’s the natural evolution of the robot uprising we all knew was coming.

– ‘The Situation is Serious’: Justin Bieber’s Team Fears He May Be Heading for a ‘Breakdown’


– Owl Hugs Man Who Saved Her

They’re now besties on FB, too.

*author’s note: I had seven puns I could have put here. I took the high road seven times for you. I just felt you should know that.*

– Mom Writes Letter to Doctor

False. The mom wrote an open letter to social media because she was starved for attention. If she had written a letter to her doctor, we never would have known about it. Can we start bitch-slapping these people yet? Isn’t there a bill before Congress to make that legal? Isn’t that why I pay taxes??

– Links are Seen Between Brain Damage and PTSD

*record screech* WUT. I’m so floored by this I can barely pull myself together to type.

– How Robots Will Soon Take Teens’ Virginity

Sorry, but I can’t shake this one. While I am staunchly opposed to the robot uprising, I must say it might not be a terrible idea for teens to lose their virginity to a completely safe, clean, non judgmental robot. Think about your first. Wouldn’t it have gone a lot smoother without the awkwardness and crying? Just sayin’.

– Curry’s New Shoes Get Heavily Mocked

NBA dude released a new sneaker that looks like it’s made for an 80 year old with plantar fasciitis. What did he really expect?

– Movie Review: Warcraft

Don’t. Just…don’t. And I’m saying that as a gamer who would LOVE it if Hollywood could somehow actually gather the magic of a video game and translate it to a movie. Warcraft is too personal, too expansive, too everything to make into one little movie. If you love Warcraft, you WILL hate this film because it cannot possibly be an accurate representation of your personal Warcraft experience. #justsayno

– ‘We’re Horrified’: Stanford Shaken By Sexual Assault

THE HELL YOU ARE. Oh. OH this makes me SO mad!!! A sexual assault is reported at Stanford an average of once every two weeks. For YEARS. And it’s been largely ignored, once every two weeks, for YEARS. But NOW? Now, after how many students have been victims, NOW you care? Let’s keep it real, Stanford. You don’t care about the impact your collegiate rape culture has on victims. You care about the impact this negative press is having on your wallet. FUCK. STANFORD.

*deep breath*

– Retirement Planning Mistakes You’re Making

Silly article acting like my Powerball plan might not be the best idea. Quit playin’. You know that shit’s solid.

– Manziel Served Lawsuit Papers While Partying

Talk about a buzzkill!

– Calif. Gun Owners Vow to Fight Concealed Weapons Ruling

Of course they do.

– House Passes Puerto Rico Relief Bill As Debt Payment Looms

Okay, fair enough. My tax dollars are probably better spent on things like this. I guess I’ll lobby for the right to bitch-slap attention whores on a local level.

– Death in Boiling Hot Spring Shows Challenges Rangers Face

Uh…I’m not trying to be insensitive or anything, but is it really a “challenge” to not go swimming in the boiling hot spring?

– Times Square Performers to be Limited to Painted Areas

It’s not going to be that hard for the performers to know the limits. Just look for the mimes pressing their faces against the invisible wall.

– How Robots Will Soon Take Teens’ Virginity

Zero chance of pregnancy. No pacing the living room at 12:14 wondering if you should start calling the ERs and jails…

– 500 Year Old Shipwreck Filled With Gold Coins Found in Namibian Desert

It’s always difficult to pinpoint what went wrong in these old wrecks, but I’m thinking the fact that they navigated into a desert might have a little something to do with it.

“Uh, Bethie?”


– Anupama Shenoy Says She Does Not Have a Facebook Account

Good to know. Glad MSN was on top of this one.

– China’s Communist Party Wants to Turn Up the Propaganda

Aw yeah, boi! Crank that shit up! Most honorable leader ’bout to raise the roof with his sick lyrics!! WUT WUT!

– Tel Aviv Suspect Discovered Hiding in Home of Off-duty Cop

See? SEE, world!? Stupid criminals aren’t just a ‘Merican thing! #idiocyhasnoborders

– Trump Would be ‘Coward’ to Snub Scotland Mosques

Is the rest of the world JUST cluing into the fact that Trump is a coward? Seriously?

– China Leads Move to Nix India’s Entry into NSG

Those bitches aren’t cool enough for this Communist Party! WUT WUT!

– Israeli Survey Finds Little Support For Trump in Arab World

Mirroring our own survey results over here. We’re not that much different, folks. #sanityhasnoborders

– Pakistan Turns Up Efforts to Enter NSG

The old slip the bouncer an oil field trick. Classic. WUT WUT!

– Family Accused of Running Drug Lab in Sprawling Home

They cooked their meth in the spacious, modern kitchen which overlooked the weigh station based in the contemporarily furnished open-floor designed dining room/den.

– Feds: Man Posing as Football Player Sought Nude Selfies

Why are they surprised? It’s the internet. OMG…do the feds NOT know how the internet works?

– How to Protect Your Twitter and Facebook Accounts from Hackers

You hackers look the other way for a minute while we read this. After all, we wouldn’t want you to know how we’re avoiding your attacks. Now I’mma go ahead and open this article, but I’m trusting that you’ll follow the honor system.

– How Robots Will Soon Take Teens’ Virginity

…of course, maybe all the positives are what the robots WANT me to focus on. Holy shit. Do you think I’m playing right into their plan? Am…am I being an unintentional harbinger!??

– Human-carrying Taxi Drone to be Tested in Nevada

Sooooo…a plane?

– 38 Tips and Tricks to Master Periscope

38 seems like a lot of new things to have to master to use an app. My limit is, like, 2.

– Tinder Will Ban Under-18s From Using Their App

First: Oh, banning from an app? There’s NO possible way around THAT. Second: THIS WASN’T ALREADY THE POLICY!!??

– Domino’s to Track Australian Customers on Way to Store

Domino’s, why so creepy?

– Family Enlists Help of German Shepard to Pull Out Girl’s Tooth

In all fairness, he was the only one in the home with any dental training.

– Man Tries to Sneak Out Steak In His Pants

“Steak.” Yeah. Sure. We’ll go with that.

– How Robots Will Soon Take Teens’ Virginity

I’m turned around on this, folks. While on the surface there seem to be many benefits to robot/virgin relationships, I don’t know that we can overlook the dangers. I think we need to unite as creatures of biology and stop these robots from sexing up our virgins. I’m not ready to bow down to the robot uprising yet. #NOT.ON.MY.WATCH

Thus concludes a Roundup for Graduation Day, 2016. I’m a mess today. What’s it going to be like when I have TWO leaving me next year?! Gah. Time to go bury my feelings through a burst of housework…

Well look who the cat dragged in…


Mornin’ all.

I feel like every time I get a chance to sit down for a chit chat with you these days, I have to open with an apology. Just when you start to build up an immunity to my coffee, I let the crickets chirp for a couple weeks.

It’s not you. You smell just fine, and even though your laugh does tend to edge towards shrill, I find it a fun quirk instead of an annoyance. Trust me. I haven’t been avoiding you and I wish I had more time for our chats. I have just been adjusting to working at the bakery, and I happened to choose a time to begin my employment when the bakery is grossly short-staffed.

Mama’s been a busy baker.

Or, I should say, decorator. I’m a decorator at the bakery of a grocery chain. I’m not going to share details on this public forum. I’ve read enough news stories to know that the most innocuously intended comments made on the internet can come back to bite one in the ass. This one does not want her ass bitten by social media warriors. I’m going to keep details vague.

So, what does a decorator do?

“Uh, decorate.”

*sigh* Yes, smart ass. I decorate cakes. But, I also do things like cream pies, fancy cookies, uppity fruit tarts… There’s a lot more to it than just slapping on some froo froo borders and roses.

I make these things called “walking cakes”. They’re actually containers of deconstructed cakes in parfait form. Our most popular is a brownie cup. Freshly baked cubed brownies are placed in the bottom of the cup, followed by a layer of whipped cream, then chocolate pudding, then more whipped cream, and a crisscross of dark chocolate ganache with a sprinkling of walnuts on top. Mmmm.

While this isn’t the first job I’ve had where I deal with customers, it has been a lot of years since I last dealt with the public at large. And I mean, a LOT of years. Like the memories of childbirth, time and distance made me forget just how awful it can be. Some customers are nothing but pain.

This one lady ordered a cake with “flowers in shades of purple and shades of pink.” I made a cake. I made roses, in shades of purple and shades of pink. When she picked it up, she hated it. I mean, HATED it. She was older than me, but not Grandma-aged. She was not a baby, nor had she reached cantankerous old lady status, so her temper tantrum threw me off guard.

And yes, I mean, foot-stomping, cart-kicking, full on temper tantrum.

Apparently, she wanted one particular shade of purple, not multiples and how DARE I put PINK on the cake, too!? Gawd, I’m such a dumb twat.

I showed her the order she placed. I asked if she left a color swatch for us to match. She pointed to a pre-made cake we had just gotten in and said, “I told you to make it that color.” Never happened because we just got that new style of cake in that very morning, and the order was placed weeks ago. After the sitcom-style temper tantrum, I went to talk to my boss and tell her we may have a customer complaint come down the line. My boss said, “Screw her. You get people like that and you can only smile and nod and keep your cool until they walk away.” I’ll keep that in mind. Smile. Nod. Silently hope they see a squirrel and run after it…

Some of the cakes I make are signature cakes of my chain. They tend to be pretty fancy, and real eye-catchers for the fresh case. Yesterday, I did a neopolitan cake. The cake is four layers of both yellow and chocolate, with whipped icing, chocolate and vanilla pudding, and strawberry whipped icing in alternating configurations between the layers. Something for everyone in this cake! And at the low, low price of $19.99, it’s a steal. Come on down!

People argue over their baked good choices. Most of the single people that come through the bakery are pretty good. But I’ve started to develop a Pavlovian cringe when I see a couple, especially an older couple, wheel their squealing cart into my department. It is amazing how cutthroat these people will become when there is a choice between apple and cherry danish. The meekest looking woman will draw a dagger, brace her hand on her hip, and stand proud as Sif, ready to defend the honor of apple. The most whipped looking, downtrodden husband will sprout the backbone of Odin to fight for his right to have cherry grace his breakfast table.

We stay out of those fights. No good, and I mean NONE AT ALL, can possibly come from voicing an opinion. We whistle a little tune and concentrate very hard on our shell borders until the battlefield calms and the victor triumphantly places the hard-won golden pastry in their cart. It’s okay to make eye contact with the winner, but never, ever look at the loser. A person can’t handle that heart-wrenching pain and despair. It’ll suck you in. Sometimes, you have to let Artax go.

We do cannolis. Fresh, crunchy, cannolis. Because they are popular, we also do a cannoli cake. Chocolate layers, with ganache and cannoli filling in between. It’s iced in real whipped cream, with cannoli shells on the top that we fill when someone buys it. They don’t tend to stay in the case very long. Hey, could YOU resist a delicious cannoli?

We’re a 24 hour store. While we don’t get a lot of traffic in the night, it’s steady enough for us to remain a 24 hour store.

The other morning, way early in the morning, when the go-getters of the bird world are on the prowl for the worms that stayed up too late partying, a couple came through the department. Once again, they were arguing, but it wasn’t about something as mundane as danish flavors. The woman wanted some of our fancy buttercream iced cupcakes. Really, who could blame her? They are amazing. And I’m not just saying that because I make them. These puppies would tempt a supermodel.

The woman was no supermodel. I’m not picking on her, because I myself am a woman of girth. Her husband was significantly larger than her. And yet, when they came up to the case, he actually said, “Your ass doesn’t need anymore fucking buttercream.”

Have you ever watched someone get humiliated by a spouse in public? It’s like a black hole opens inside the person and you can see them shrinking in on themselves to hide. It is crushing, and I just wanted to boof him upside the head with one of our hand-made baguettes (fresh and hot from our brick ovens twice every day! Come by on Tuesdays and take advantage of our Bread of the Day special!) He scoffed and rolled his cart away, his belly literally supported by the push handle.

What a fucking pig waste of a human.

I sold her two cupcakes. I’m seriously hoping she smooshed one of them in his fat, drooling, warthog face.

Some of the best things we make in my neck of the department are the fruit tarts. Most people hate making the fruit tarts, but I don’t mind. They are butter tart shells filled with a cream cheese type tart filling. A bit of chocolate is brushed over the top, then various fresh fruits are sliced and placed in bursts or swirls or patterned layers over that. After they’re assembled, all of the fruit is brushed with a glaze to make the tarts glisten like jewels under the case lights.
They must be very tasty, too, because we often get special orders for them. Or maybe people like them because the fruit allows them to pretend it’s health food. All I know is that I make a lot of fruit tarts. Twinkly, shining little works of edible art.

I know I’m bitching about them, but the majority of customers aren’t raving maniacs.

…er, maniacs raving at ME, I should say. Some of the customers we get are legitimately off. This one guy shuffled up to the counter and asked me, very politely, if I, by any chance, had found his pajama bottoms.

I work behind a counter that’s fairly tall. I could not see any nethers, but I did notice he was, indeed, wearing a pajama TOP. I said, “I’m sorry, sir, but no, we haven’t seen your pajama bottoms. Have you checked the food court?” He shuffled off in that direction, which is good. My view is obstructed that way by a bank of cake freezers. Had he wandered off toward deli, I would have gotten an eyeful.

Now, I’m not sayin’ I wouldn’t have sent him deli-ways if he’d been of a certain physique. But he wasn’t, and I didn’t have any eye bleach available. Best to let the food court jesters deal with his floppy old ass.

I like making the special order cakes. Right now, it’s graduation season. Last weekend, I had 13 cakes to do in one 4 1/2 hour shift. I laughed and punched out after 7 1/2 hours. It just takes some time to make a cake. I’m getting faster, but three of those were full sheet cakes. That’s a LOT of real estate to cover in icing, even if you use a speed icer (which isn’t really as cool as it sound, and the teeth will cut you every time you have to pry that thing out of the piping bag to wash it). The next day, I only had four cakes to do. However, I wasn’t even supposed to work that next day. I went in because there was no one else to make these peoples’ special days a bit better with a pretty cake.

By the end of the weekend, I had gone through almost two entire 35 lb. tubs of buttercream. Nearly 70 pounds of buttercream!!

We get odd requests for the cakes sometimes. I made a joke cake. A woman was pranking her best friend with a Justin Bieber cake. That was fun to do! Her instructions were “make it as pink as you can and go way over the top.” Airbrushed neon pink hearts? Check! Photo of Bieber we had kicking around from an old deco kit? Absolutely! Heart shell border? You know it! She. LOVED. It. I hope I get more joke cakes.

I feel like I’m giving you a bad impression of our customers. The vast majority of the customers we get are actually quite nice. I genuinely like chatting it up with the bulk of our clientele. One older lady with huge, wonderfully gaudy jewelry and rhinestone crusted glasses wanted to know if I had a fresher lemon pie. She came up to me and whispered as if we were partners in a conspiracy. Of course I got her one from the cooler that had just been made. How could I not? RHINESTONE GLASSES. The tag printed with the regular price, not the sale price. The sale price is applied at the register. She seemed a little leery, but I said, “If they give you any lip about it, send them to me.” She pumped her fist in the air, yelled “We’ll get ’em!”, hooted, then wheeled off with a salute.

I love that woman. I don’t even know her name, and yet, she has taken a part my heart.

A man asked me to ice “Happy Birthday” on one of the pre-made frozen cakes we get. Those are ridiculously popular. They come frozen, already decorated at some nebulous cake factory somewhere. They are very quick and easy, with no special orders needed. People roll their carts up, grab a b-day cake, and move on with their lives.

We ice personal messages on them if people want. It takes only a second, but it can make a customer for life. Many local grocery stores don’t do this anymore, and I’ve heard from several customers how much it means to them that we’ll do that for no extra charge. Whatever corporate specialist came up with that one gets a tip of my bakery hat. Well done, sir. Well done.

Anyway, this man came up with one of these pre-fabs and asked me to customize it. I did, and the man was in awe.

Now, keep in mind, this is something I do every day. It’s not hard or impressive. Happy Birthday. Happy Birthday Mom. Happy 7th Andy. I did one that was Happy 39 1/2th, and no, that’s not a typo. I write a lot of Happy Birthdays. It’s the most basic skill a cake decorator has.

So, the man going on and on about how amazing it was could have been annoying if he wasn’t so damn sincere. He was honestly just giddy that I could and would ice a message on the cake for him right there and then, and he was blown away by the result. Again, nothing special. Not tooting my horn here AT ALL. This is a story of him, not me. It was simply Happy Birthday. And yet, his thrill was infectious. As silly and over the top as it was, it DID put a boost in my day and a pep in my step.

I guess that’s the thing. I like my job, stress of a short-handed department and all. I like being in a bakery again. I missed it. I like my coworkers, even though I’m fairly certain one of the older ladies is in a biker gang. I get on with her just fine, and plan to avoid pissing her off at all costs. I like making cakes…I’ve always liked that. The happiness hasn’t dulled with the years between school and now. I like the look on the face of someone who knows their party will at least have an awesome cake. And I don’t even mind the difficult customers so much, because at the end of the day, I got a story out of it. I like gathering stories. I like being part of and witness to all kinds of happenings, good and bad. I like my job.

But, I’m damn glad I’ve got today off!

Thus concludes a Musing for Tuesday, June 7, 2016. I’ve got to spend the day fighting with the dryer again. A very astute niece of mine said I keep having problems because I replaced Washy and left Dry-y all by his lonesome. If that’s what Dry-y wants, he can sit on the back deck rusting alongside his other half…and that’s exactly what I’m going to say while shaking a wrench at him and kicking his case for good measure. Sometimes you have to threaten appliances to get them to behave.