One thing I’ll say about summer, it’s never boring…

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Mornin’ all.

Summer is in full swing. Teen Beta and Teen 2.0 graduated. It was a nice ceremony, even though it was hot and cramped in the surprisingly small school gym due to rain at the usual outdoor site. They had Senator Jeanne Shaheen speak, a pretty big get for this neck of the woods. The teens crossed the stage, shifted their tassels from right to left, and are now men.

…sort of. I mean, I can’t really call Teen 2.0 a “man” yet. He’s only 16. He is just an academically decorated tall child.

The Youngest Pup argued vehemently on behalf of Teen 2.0’s man status. At one point, I said, “So what’s the angle here? What do you think you’re going to gain by getting me to say that Teen 2.0 is an adult?” He said, “Mother. Don’t change the subject.” Every mum knows that if you’re discussing something with a child and they tell you not to change the subject, you hit some nail on the head. I still haven’t figured out exactly what nail that would be. In his mind, there is a beneficial reason for me to call his older bro an adult.

And now I’ve got to finish college stuff. It’s happening. Even if one of them is not, in fact, and adult, they’re both acting like they are. Life is happening as if they are. Time has marched unfairly faster for one and scooped him up to drag into the next chapter before I wanted him to be done with childhood. My stomach has been a churning vortex for days.

At least I still have the Pup, though he’s going into middle school already. Muh baby, in MIDDLE SCHOOL!!! *sniff* I asked him if he could just go ahead and be a little kid for awhile longer, please, and he said, “Don’t worry, Ma. I might be growing up, but I’ll still live here forever.” He paused, then said, “Well, until I move to Japan and raise Kobe beef.”

…*blink**blink*…

#LifeGoals?

Gah. I can’t talk about them growing up. I thought I could. I thought, “Okay, Bethie, you’ve been avoiding this for a couple weeks now and it’s time for some cathartic writing.” I was wrong. This is just making the vortex in my stomach whirl faster.

“You sure it’s not the coffee doing it?”

Admittedly, the coffee/paint thinner isn’t doing me any favors, either. I made this pot since Teen 2.0 is sick with a summer cold and Teen Beta has no interest in coffee or coffee making. I’m trying to teach the Youngest Pup, but so far, every pot of his has grounds in it. I just didn’t want to be chewing my coffee today.

Let’s talk about Other Things.

I had a most peculiar customer interaction at work yesterday. A man came over to scope out the bread cases at the bakery, and I asked if he needed some help. He said, “Not yet, I’m waiting for the womb.” Thinking I heard him wrong, I just gave a, “Oh, okay, well just let me know if you need something.” He said, “The one that grows the babies picks the bread.”

I did not hear him wrong.

I’m waiting. For the womb.

The Womb.

You gotta wonder if the other half of that relationship tells people, “Not yet, I’m waiting for the dick.” Odds are pretty good she does.

The woman in question never came over. She was shopping for other things so he called her on his cell. He turned and looked across center store while talking. I think he was looking at her. He ended up getting a four cheese loaf (highly recommended for either wombs or dicks). He was pleasant enough in every other respect. Smiled. Thanked me. Joked a bit while I was getting the bread. He just calls his other half “the womb.”

I…just…*???*

There were several odd customers yesterday, actually. Odd customers seem to descend in waves. One lady was dressed in old sweat pants, a mini skirt, and a bra. She had purple lipstick tattooed on her face. I didn’t say “lips,” because the tattoo had clearly gone awry and blown out over the years. It was a good half inch wider than her actual lips. And lumpy.

Yes. Lumpy.

She had frazzled hair and her eye makeup rivaled Cleopatra’s.

OH MY GOD! I just now realized who she reminded me of!

Okay, so did you ever see that 90s Johnny Depp movie, “Crybaby?” It was an odd flick, but enjoyable. Well, in the movie, there was a character named Hatchet Face. Take Hatchet Face, dye her hair that odd reddish color one can only get from too much of the wrong kind of peroxide, and give her a vacant, stoned expression. THAT was this customer.

And yes, she actually wore sweat pants under a mini skirt. Not leggings. Actual sweatpants. I’d say she was modest but for the choice of top. Only a bra. Honestly? I think she was just stoned out of her gourd and looking for snacks.

It’s summer, so we’re seeing a lot of questionable outfit choices, as one will when it’s hot.

Look, I don’t care a bit if people want to wear mini skirts or barely-there shorts. I just don’t personally understand the super tiny super tight clothing trend. How can lycra sausage casing possibly be comfortable? Don’t get me wrong. If I had a decent body, I’d give it a go and find out for myself what the attraction is. But, I do not have a body that should ever wear lycra, so I’m honestly curious about the draw.

I watched a woman walk/wiggle yesterday through the whole bakery. Every woman knows the walk/wiggle. It’s a way you walk when you know two things: You have a wedgie, and you’re not in a position to pick it. It’s a step, shimmy, slide kind of movement. And she did it through the whole bakery and beyond.

I just don’t understand these clothes. They’re clearly not comfortable. Any sex appeal you were going for is lost with your wedgie releasing spasmatic lurching. Why wear clothes that are guaranteed to make you an honorary member of the Ministry of Silly Walks?

*Monty Python fist bump*

Then there are the cutoff shorts that are so short their pockets hang out from the bottom…well, it’s not really a “hem”. The frayed cutoff line. You’ve seen these. They are all the rage at the moment. People want to cut their pants shorter and shorter, so what they end up with is essentially a pair of denim panties with pockets that flap in the breeze over their thighs.

Ladies, real talk. It’s not sexy. No guy has ever said, “Holy shit! She’s got pockets? Well sign ME up!”

It looks dumb. Stop it.

“Bethie. Are you…pocket shaming?”

No, of course not. The pockets did nothing but exist. I’m shaming the idiots who think flapping them in the breeze is somehow attractive.

“You’re being very sexist here. I don’t see you going off about men’s summer fashions.”

What’s there to say? Stop wearing socks with flip flops. If you wear shorts, it’s best not to emulate a 1970s basketball team. Knee high socks are great for winter, not great for summer beach wear. And for the love of anything you deem holy, put a damn shirt on under the overalls. No one wants to see your sweaty pit hair.

All of this has been said. Men have been making the same summer fashion mistakes for generations.

I tell you what, though. I promise that if I see a man actually wearing one of those new male rompers, I’ll go all in on that shit, okay?

Male rompers are not okay and they need to stop. #Stop.It.

Got sidetracked there. I was talking about the batch of odd folks yesterday. Ya know, I said it was an odd customer day, but it extended outside of work. Was there a full moon?

I think the most unusual person I saw yesterday had to be the lady at the town beach. I took the Youngest Pup for a promised dip in the lake after work. He swam, I sat under a tree. It was pleasant and he had fun. As we were leaving, we were climbing up the concrete steps when we noticed a woman juggling.

I’ve described out town beach before, but since I don’t expect you to scrape through the annals of this blog, I’ll recap. The lake sits at the bottom of a hill. The town decided to wall off the hill with concrete. It’s like a prison yard, with tall concrete walls surrounding the small, sandy beach. At the very top next to the parking lot and overlooking the lake is a small playground that’s fenced in with chain link fence to keep eager kiddies from plummeting to the first concrete landing below if they get too feisty on the swingset. I support the chain link fence. It does its job.

The woman in question was standing in the playground area right next to the fence. She was clearly performing, as she had put herself on display where the greatest number of people could see her. She was probably in her late forties, early fifties. She wore a sparkly bathing suit and flip flops.

And she was juggling.

Not balls. She had the juggling pins. Hers were two tone, metallic reddish pink and chrome. They really caught the sunlight and were fairly dazzling. Combine that with the sparkly bathing suit and she made quite a side show number.

She looked at us and smiled as we passed. I didn’t see a collection hat, but the smile was the kind that asked for donations. Perhaps it was just practiced, something she did so often in her juggling career that she couldn’t help but ask for payment with her eyes. Perhaps she really did want to try and make a few extra bucks. Who knows? If she really was busking, I can think of 746 better places to do so right off the top of my head. She was in a playground at a lake in a town with a population of maybe 4,200 people on a Thursday afternoon. Literally anywhere else would have been a more lucrative option.

Maybe she misses the circus lights and cheering crowds.

Or maybe she always wanted to taste the circus life, but never got there.

All I know is that yesterday was filled with wonderful oddballs. Here’s hoping we get more today.

Thus concludes a Musing for Friday, June 23, 2017. I have so much cake to make this weekend. So. Much. It’s not even a holiday, either. People, take a break from weekend bashes, okay? You’re killin’ me, here.

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When a soccer mom meets a soccer mom coming through the rye bread…

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Mornin’ all.

I am being hounded by an elderly Jehovah’s Witness.

She came to the door last week to offer me a magazine. Not “Watchtower.” Apparently folks have wised up to that title. Now the magazines are called “Awake!”. She offered, I said, “I’m sorry, but I’m not interested in any way. Have a nice day.” I closed the door, but I didn’t slam it in her face or anything. I get that in her mind, she’s doing what she feels is required of her. I made it clear to her that I did not want to share that mindset, and I thought that was the end of it.

That was not the end of it.

A few days later, she came back. I said, “I told you I’m not interested, and I meant it. There is no way I’m going to join your religion. Please stop coming.” I shut the door with a little more enthusiasm, just enough for her to get the point.

She did not get the point.

Tuesday, she kicked it up a notch. She knocked again. I opened the door, shook my head, then shut it with gusto. Do you think that stopped her? No! She opened my screen door and stuck a copy of “Awake!” in the door crack!

I think I need a new tactic. The hubby said I should threaten to call the police. That would probably be effective, but in no way enjoyable. I read the magazine. Holy shit. Or, unholy, depending on your personal beliefs.

Fun fact, I love learning about religions. Love it. I am not, however, religious. I just think religions are fascinating.

I read the magazine, a magazine filled with advice on avoiding ebola, tips for a successful marriage, and a detailed explanation of the byssus strands on mussels. On the back page of the magazine, they list their other magazines for the year and what “real life issues” are addressed in each. I got “Awake!” #6. I wish I had gotten “Awake!” #5. The main topic? “How to discuss sex with your children.” Man I bet that one was good. All I got was some hack shit about making sure to appreciate your wife not only for her looks, but her ability to clean your house (like any swell husband would) and how the perfectly perfect byssus is so perfectly perfected it couldn’t possibly be the result of evolution because science is a tool of Satan. Or something. That’s what I got out of the article.

I need to get this old lady to leave me alone, and I’ve got an idea. I think I’m going to make my own magazine.

“Oh, Bethie.”

I could fill it with articles that are almost the same as the articles in “Awake!”, with the key difference of applying logic and morals.

“No.”

I’ll tweak the little things, like saying, “Isn’t the wonder of evolution amazing?” instead of “Isn’t the glory of God’s creation amazing?” and “A husband should respect his wife because she is a human being with same rights and responsibilities as him.”

“Bethie, you can’t do that.”

I’ll have these printed up and leave them in the basket by the door, and when Grandma Pushy Pants comes back, I’ll say, “Oh, you’ve got a magazine for me? Thanks! I have one for you, too.”

“Please, do not do this!”

Why not?

Honestly. WHY NOT?

“She’s just trying to spread her religion!”

TO SOMEONE WHO HAS ALREADY TOLD HER NOT TO.

Look, she has a right to her beliefs. But, so do I. I have made it abundantly clear that I am not interested, that I do not now, nor will I ever subscribe to her religion. I have asked her to leave me alone. She has chosen not to. Why shouldn’t I present a counter argument at this point?

“Because you have to respect her religion.”

NO. That is something people get wrong all the time. Freedom of religion does NOT mean you must respect all religions. Or any, for that matter.

I don’t have to respect her religion. I respect her right to believe in any religion she chooses. That’s a huge and important difference. I don’t have to respect any religious doctrine itself. I think what she believes in is utter bullshit. But, as a human being with a firm stance on personal freedoms, I totally and absolutely respect her right to be part of that religion if she wants.

That’s not really the point here, though. I’d be willing to keep that opinion to myself if she’d let me, a stance I’ve proven through the course of my entire life when I have never once tried to foist my beliefs on anyone else. I am perfectly happy to keep my thoughts and let her have hers. She’s the one that came to preach at me, not the other way around.

SHE is the one that has a problem with MY right to be left alone with MY beliefs.

I don’t know. It’s like the King of Passive Aggressive Plans, isn’t it? A slow play, too, since it relies on her coming back again. And it would be time consuming. Hmm.

“*resigned sigh* You’re going to do it anyway, aren’t you?”

I’ll keep you posted.

It’s been a week of odd interactions, not just at home, but at work, too.

We get a wide variety of customers at the bakery; some good, some bad, some noteworthy and some forgettable…and some noteworthy because they’re SO forgettable that I stop and think, “Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever met a more beige person in my life!”

Usually my interaction determines whether or not I will remember a customer. However, once in awhile I get a scene. I get to watch as customers act out their personal vignettes in front of my counter all on their own without involving me in any way. It’s not really “dinner theater,” because I can’t count a sample of the bread of a the day as “dinner”. It’s more like “snack-time soap opera.”

The other day, one such episode happened. I was icing red velvet cakes (on sale this week for the low, low price of $4.99! Come on down! Hurry while supplies last! Offer void in Guam.), which is a pretty boring task. Ice, crumb the sides, do red criss-crossy lines, shell the border, repeat. It’s mundane, and my mind was wandering.

I think that’s why I noticed the ladies at all. One soccer mom espied another familiar soccer mom, and they met in the empty space between the rye bread and the muffin table. There was a toddler in tow, one of those that an elderly aunt would have called “well turned out.” Perfect little hair cut, crisp, ironed OshKoshes, not a smear of snot anywhere on his face. His shoes were still tied, he had both socks on, and I bet his hands weren’t even sticky. I never had one of those kinds of kids, myself. I’m not really sure where you’d get them. Babies ‘R Us?

The mum of the Perfect Lad was, herself, a vision in carefully groomed perfection. Her hair was in a pin straight pony tail, her ironed Nike sweatshirt matched her ironed Nike t-shirt. Not any t-shirt. Not MY kind of t-shirt. It wasn’t a two dollar has-been pulled off the Walmart clearance rack with glee. I bet that t-shirt was cashmere just pretending to be casual. She was in yoga pants, of course. When I was a kid, capris were the pants of choice for soccer moms. Now, it’s yoga pants. Her socks were folded in half (I didn’t know anyone even did that anymore) and her shoes didn’t have a speck of dirt on them.

The one who approached was almost a carbon copy. Different brands. Soccer Mom #2 was repping Rebok AND Addidas with her sweathshirt and t combo. I think she won. Most name brands worn at one time is the winner, right? Or does she get points off for not matching? She had yoga pants, too, and again with the folded socks. I guess that is a thing. Damned hispsters and their unwanted influences.

“Hi, I haven’t seen you since the kids’ playdate!” said SM#2.Of course the convo would start like that. How could you POSSIBLY expect any different with that stage setting??

Soccer Mom #1, the mum of the Ironed Tot, began talking about how she and her husband spent their holiday season. She started with Thanksgiving, when they went to Mexico. She said, “Fortunately his mother took the kids, because girl.” She dragged out “girl.” “Girrrrrrllllll.” She is not a person who should do that.

Soccer Mom #2 said, “I hear you.” Apparently “girrrrrllllll” is soccer mom short hand. She understood what was meant. Thankfully, she also clarified. “Trust me, I’ve got two myself. It’s too much sometimes.”

SM#1 continued with joy that someone else understood the trials and tribulations of a rich, white, suburban mother of two whole children. “Riiiight?”

Quick aside: I’m thinking that dragging the words out might be like a verbal secret handshake of the Moms of Soccer. It’s my current working theory. I need more data, or some external corroboration. Please feel free to leave your assessment of the evidence, or any anecdotal studies you’ve personally conducted.

Anyway, she riiiiight?s and then talks about her holiday season in detail. After they got back from a week in Mexico, they decided to “low key” Christmas, because “we really needed time to decompress after the trip.” Don’t worry, guys, she was totally able to con her hubby’s mum into taking the kids again for New Year’s, which was good since childless holidays in Mexican resorts are real “stressors on a marriage.”

SM#2 was nodding and riiiiight-ing the whole time until SM#1 took a breath. This was the break SM#2 was eagerly awaiting, because she started talking about her own holidays, and how she and her husband decided to spend all three, T-day, C-day, and NY-eve, with their kids this year. “We were looking to keep it reaaaaallllly low key and reaaaaalllly classic.”

SM#1 took that as the jab it was meant to be. I may not have been sporting name brand apparel, but even I picked up on the subverted snarkiness. SM#1 could not allow such a thing to pass without firing her own salvo. “Did I hear that you are looking at downsizing? Someone said your house might have to go up on the market?”

OH SNAP.

SM#2 pinched. Her face pinched, her muscles pinched. I mean, everything about her pulled in to prepare for warrior mode, and I honestly thought she was building up a “Hadouken” to slam into opponent.

*gamer fistbump* *damnit guys…could you at least wipe the Cheeto dust off before I fistbump you next time?*

SM#2 said that her husband took a new career path.

“I heard there were layoffs. I’m sorry,” meowed SM#1, not at ALL sorry.

“Oh, no,” SM #2 corrected. “He wasn’t laid off. He started in a new division, one that will give him much more time at home with the kids. They won’t be young forever, and if he just works the entire time, he’ll miss it. He doesn’t want to miss it.” The “he” was said with the arch of an eyebrow and the twist of a knife, clearly indicating some not-so-secret rumblings among the soccer mom community about the state of involvement of SM#1’s husband in the lives of his perfectly presented progeny.

Now it was SM#1’s turn to assume the fighting stance. “That sounds…rustic.”

And with that, it was really on. A half hour. They went at it for a solid half hour. Smiles on their faces the whole time as they held their verbal sword fight, the toddler standing there with a level of patient sadness I have never before seen in one so young. He didn’t cry. He didn’t fuss. He was simply resigned. 2 years old, and already resigned to a life of dealing with his mother’s bullshit.

It wasn’t pretty.

I can’t relate to these people in any way. Take away the expensive clothes. I really don’t give a shit what they’re wearing. The snark about that was just for comedy. It was everything else, all the intangible things that made these two women not only unrelatable, but thoroughly unlikable.

I would never, ever see someone I knew in a grocery store and think, “Hey, there’s Sally. She looks like she’s having a nice day, that bitch. Let’s ruin it.”

And it went beyond the vicious verbal volley. It was what they were saying, the lives they described between the hissing and meowing and implied clawing. Just in another realm entirely. Real Housewives of NH.

Oooh. Now there’s an idea. It would be kind of like Duck Dynasty meets Desperate Housewives. Throw in the Jehovah’s grandma to attract a religious crowd and all the bases would be covered. We’ve already cast three members to having a show that would totally own the autumn line up.

I’ll take ten percent for coming up with the idea. The rest is up to you, Bravo.

Thus concludes the first truly long-winded Muse of the year for January 19, 2017. I got a new keyboard. My old one shit the bed with the help of some coffee the hubby spilled and I’ve been using a donor from Teen 2.0 that was tiny and straight and overall unappealing to my hands. But the new ergo. one arrived, so it’s smooth typin’…until the man kills another. I either have to get some kind of keyboard cover, or he needs a sippy cup. Gotta start carving notches in the desk for all he’s killed. I think we’re up to 11 now…