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.

If you had Travolta money, would you really waste it on ham salad?

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Mornin’ all.

You will not believe who I saw at work yesterday.

John Travolta.

But it wasn’t the current Travolta people hate because of the freaky scientology and probable rapey-ness. It wasn’t really young Travolta folks hated because of his annoying laugh and unjustified swagger, either. It was like mid-career Travolta, the one everyone was starting to forget about right before he thought, “I think I’ll go cash in my thetans and buy myself a new face.”

That’s what scientologists do with thetans, right?

Anyway, he was walking through the store and stopped to look at the muffin table, so I got a good, long look at him. I swear it was pre-Xenufied Travolta.

You know what this means, right? It means those scientology buggers figured out how to build a god damn time machine.

Think about it. They’ve clearly been up to something for a long time. They’re super secretive. They’ve got so much money they blow it on things like completely new faces and the same scientology books over and over and over. They’ve got that Sea Org thing. Actual Org or merely a branch of the Illuminati? Hm??

Yep. Those little bastards got themselves a time machine. It’s the only thing that makes sense when you follow the bread crumbs.

Do you even know how galling it is that they got one before me???

Interesting choice on Travolta’s part to pick a spot in the middle of his fame polynomial. At first I thought it was weird. If you had a time machine, wouldn’t you want to go back to when you were at your peak in terms of looks, popularity, and ability to score mad amounts of ass? He didn’t, though. He chose the slightly plump version of himself, the one that floundered for awhile after “Face Off” failed to match “Pulp Fiction” status.

(Side thought: If John Travolta had passed on the script for “Face Off,” would it have ever occurred to him to get a new face in real life?)

I think he picked a spot in his career where he could go out for a walk without being hounded or heckled. He never really went into obscurity, but for a good chunk of time, people generally stopped caring. Maybe when he cut the million dollar check to Miscavige for the right to hop in the time machine, he thought, “I just want to be able to go to the store without either panties or rotting fruit being thrown at me.”

It was a bold, yet oddly reasonable choice for someone so thoroughly MEST up.

“Bethie, I think you might want to stop with the scientology puns. Those people don’t like jokes at their expense.”

Good point. I wouldn’t want them running a smear campaign on me. Folks might find out that I’m a fat, aging hoarder. I don’t know if I could live through a dox like that.

Pot Belly Travolta didn’t get any muffins, by the way. Looked at them, put them back, then went and bought ham salad. Ham. Salad. What a freak.

If you had a time machine, to when would you go?

Let’s put some restrictions on the question because it’s way too broad as it stands. You can only go to your own personal timeline. No hopping ahead 500 years to see how WWIII impacted the long term survival of humankind. In fact, lets make it a backwards only machine. Backwards in time to any point in your own life. And when you get there, you’re not like Marty McFly who has to duck and hide from himself. You Quantum Leap that shit and completely take over your own body.

When? What point do you want to live over? Redo? Stop and hold and savor?

I can’t answer that, personally. I’m trying, but every time I think of one, I think, “Oh no, wait! It’s…” They’re moments, too, not a general period in life of contentment or easy cruisin’. I would relive particular moments. Fleeting moments. Moments it would be impossible to recreate after the fact, or by going into them with the knowledge that I am going to relive an old favorite. I think if I actually tried, I’d screw it up.

My head is filled with happy vignettes, ones that have already been written. What if by going back and trying to relive them, I ruined the experience forever? What if I got there and was so excited that I turned it awkward and weird? The most happy memories I have are of moments that were natural and organic, not forced or carried out with an omniscience that would doubtlessly negate the exuberance of the very spontaneity that made the moment so special in the first place.

I’d never forgive myself for rewriting and ruining a treasured memory, especially since I most definitely would have the knowledge of both timelines and happenings. It would be a loss I couldn’t live with.

“What about going back and changing something you regret?”

I don’t think I’d do that, either. I don’t want to use my hop in the time machine to change anything. For good or bad, my decisions in life not only taught me valuable lessons, but they got me here, to this moment. And while my feet hurt like a summbitch this morning, I generally like being “here”. Things *could* change for the better. Or, they could change for the worse. That’s a gamble I don’t want to take. I’ve got way too much value right here and now to risk any of it by trying to go back in time to erase the fact that I’m human.

“You’re getting awful deep about a make believe time machine.”

Make believe, huh? So mid-career Travolta wasn’t in my store yesterday? Where’s your proof?

*crickets**crickets*

Pfft. That’s what I thought.

Thus concludes a very brief Musing for Sunday, June 4, 2017. I have a laundry list of things to do today, including laundry. Mowing. Room cleaning. Kicking my kids’ asses at Halo pvp. And now I’ve got to try and cover my tracks with the scientologists so they don’t start showing up at work threatening to expose me. Should be a busy day…

It is never a good sign when your fingers sweat from typing…

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Mornin’ all.

Sorry it’s been awhile. It’s been a whirlwind few weeks here filled with…well, life. Stuff. Cleaning, which I mostly got around to, btw. Visitors. Car repairs. Work. Kitties.

Yes, that’s plural on the cats.

No, we did not get another.

We decided to let a buddy bring a guest kitty with him to stay the week. We’ve been sort of thinking of getting our little fur devil a companion, or, if not a companion, maybe her own minion. The teens are growing and spreading their wings more and more away from the house, and we aren’t the only ones to notice. I don’t want my fluffy little buddy to be lonely.

Before we got another four legged tornado, we thought it would be a good idea to introduce her to a guest and see how things go. She’s been flying solo most of her life. We got her as a stray teenage cat, and she’s been the sole recipient of the pettin’ and snugglin’ and furball lovin’ since. We figured having our pal bring his cat along when he visited was a good way to test the waters.

“*snicker*”

Stop it. You stop laughing at me right now! Okay, in hindsight, that does seem a little naive. But cut me some slack. This is my first cat. Well, almost my first. When we were kids, we had a cat for a hot minute before Tommy decided to pack his shit and live a hobo’s life. I have only two memories of him. That’s it. That’s how little he was actually in my life. For all intents and purposes, Zelda is my first cat.

How was I supposed to know that the internet videos of two kitties peacefully basking in the morning sun in a fluffy heap together are staged lies by the Illuminati designed to con people into getting a second cat, thus ensuring that they never get a full night’s sleep as part of a devious plot to turn the populace into mind-numbed zombies ripe for advantage-taking when they’re too bone-weary to notice the androids taking control of the government and funneling taxes to a secret project that will cripple the global economy and enslave us to the New World Order??

Follow the bread crumbs, sheeple.

ANYWAY, I went into the endeavor with rose colored glasses that quickly cracked. In short, it was not smooth sailing and sunshine cuddling, and now I’m dubious about getting a second kitty.

It wasn’t horrid. No one got hurt. Mine hissed and growled, but never even took a swipe or nip at the other. It seemed to almost be just a show. By the end of the week, they were sitting near each other…unless a human walked into the room. It might have been a game to them at that point. We caught them several times just being chill near each other, until they noticed that they were being watched. My new theory is that watching two cats peacefully co-exist is their “go” button. It’s the Wile E. Coyote syndrome. As soon as a situation is observed, things must go awry.

I dunno. My guy has owned cats all his life, and he thinks things went fairly well. A second fluff might not be totally off the table. Maybe a little kitten? Maybe she’d adopt it. She is very motherly to our youngest pup. And Zelda is a very little cat, while the cat who visited was not. Friendly and playful and cute as hell, but not at all little. Perhaps that was a factor in play?

I think I have to do something. In a month, two more teens will graduate high school. Then we’ve got one more brief summer and they’ll be gone, too.

Sidenote: Have any of you finished that time machine I asked you to make? Anyone?? Because I’m about a month away from REALLY needing it. It doesn’t have to jump me back very far. A year or so should do. Just make sure that I can set it to repeat the jump multiple times so my boyos won’t all leave me. Blip me an email when it’s ready and we’ll work out shipping. K, thnx.

Four days ago, it was 40 degrees here. Wet and drizzly all day, with a heavy snow in the hills and slightly north. I couldn’t believe it when I saw snow on the small hill I pass on the way into The Big City to run errands on Sunday. It was bad enough that we had a seasoned vet of NH roads call out of work at the bakery because she kept going off the road. We were a bit dubious until we saw the pictures. It was a real snowstorm.

Yesterday, it topped out at 89 degrees here. Today is supposed to be well into the 90s and humid as hell.

Mother Nature. Real talk now. Girl, what the fuck?

It’s got that heavy, languid feeling to the air this morning, too, so I know the local weather man wasn’t just blowing smoke up our asses again. It’s odd having this type of weather this early. Usually these morbidly oppressive days hit when the heat of summer has wrought its peril on everything green and vibrant. This year, it’s come when the leaves have freshly burst open, when the blossoms are still fragrantly stretching for the early season skies. Instead of trapping in the smell of hot tar and baked dirt and overheating cars, the blanket of humidity is allowing the scents of lilacs and apple blossoms and wet earth and sweet greens to linger heavily in the morning fog. It’s not at all unpleasant.

…yet.

I mean, come on. Today’s supposed to be in the 90s? Are you kidding me!? I wasn’t planning to sweat my balls off for at least another month. UGH. But, at least it smells nice.

Say, you know what this morning needs?

“More coffee?”

Well, yes. That’s always a given. But aside from copious amounts of caffeine, I think we’re missing something to put a little pep in our sweaty ass step. I think we should cue up the band and call the go go dancers, because we’re going to have ourselves a….

“WAIT!”

…what?

“Don’t make the poor dancers perform in this heat.”

Dude, they’re pros. They can handle it. They’ve been training in Florida in the off season.

“But…”

Trust me. They’ve got this. Ladies, to the stage please? Okay, let’s try this again. And a one, and a two…

It’s time for our…

* * * HEADLINE ROUNDUP ! ! ! * * *

See? They handled it beautifully. Thank you, dancers. Now everyone go sit in the air conditioned green room and drink plenty of water.

It may be hot as hell, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find things to laugh at, right? For any newbs in the audience, we do a Roundup when I see enough headlines that make me chuckle, rage click, or roll my eyes. Sometimes they’re poorly worded, sometimes they’re just plain idiotic. Mostly, though, I choose ones that bring out a gut reaction my narcissism urges me to share. As always, the headlines are 100% real from actual online news sites. I just make up the snide comments after. Everyone on the same page? Then let’s get to it.

– He Said Making A Man Get Maternity Insurance Was Crazy. Her Response Went Viral

No One Needs To Know Names. We’re Just Making Shit Up Anyway

– Cromartie’s Wife Pregnant With His 14th Child

He’s an NFL player, not a religious nutbag with a hit TLC show or anything. He’s not building an army for his god, he’s just horny, so it’s okay to scorn him. Let’s do it together on the count of three. One. Two… Boo. Boo. Hiss. #DoubleStandardsCanBeFun

– Osama bin Laden’s Son Calls For Revenge, Attacks On US

Boy, did NOT see this one coming. The bin Laden’s seem like such a peaceable family.

– School District Pulls Suicide Book ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’

…thus missing the ENTIRE FUCKING POINT of the book. A problem can’t get better unless we address it, folks. Just sayin’.

– Health Insurers Bilked Medicare, A Whistle-Blower Says

Was a whistle-blower really necessary in this scenario?

– Leading Neo-Nazi Website Courts new Readers…In Spanish

Phew, what a relief it must be to…

“BETHIE STOP! I think you need an internet guideline refresher before you say something that’ll haunt you forever.”

But it’s just a joke.

“This is the internet. There is no such thing as a joke anymore.”

No, that doesn’t sound right. I’m sure I’ve read funny…

“Just look in the book.”

*sigh* Fine. Hang on a second, everyone. *scrambles through the public blogging handbook* *nods sagely before slamming book shut* Sorry, folks. We seem to be having some technical difficulties with this punchline. Unfortunately we must cancel this bit. Please move on to the next entry and pretend this never happened.

– ‘Shoot Me,’ Armed Man Told Cop. He Didn’t, And was Fired, Suit Says

Now THAT is how you write clickbait! Take notes, Huff Po.

– Trump’s Travel Bans Spook Some Students, Fan Fears of Broader Chill

…huh? Are you stroking out over there, Reuters? Should we call someone?

– ACLU Calls For End of Neck Holds After Vegas Man’s Death

Neck holds? They’re legal!? *madly googles* OH. It’s just a choke hold with a nicer name. Damn. I was seriously hoping that Vulcan death grips were actually legal somewhere. Just another boring story of police tactics. Bleh. Move on.

– Man Carrying Mother’s Severed Head Stabs Store Worker

I feel like the real story here isn’t so much the stabbing. Perhaps a better way to write the headline would have been, “Store Worker Lucky He was Only Stabbed and Not FUCKING BEHEADED Like Assailant’s Poor Mother”. Gives a bit more punch. You can have that tip for free, USA Today.

– NASA Solves Flash Light Mystery

Turns out they put the batteries in the wrong direction. $4.8 million well spent!

– Doc Suspended For Doing Liposuction In Barn

With a glob glob here and a slurp slurp there…here a nip….there a tuck….everywhere a liposuck…Old McDonald had a farm, eeigh eeigh ohhhh…

– Hackers Linked to Ransomware Threaten ‘Wine of the Month’ Style Attack

We’ll do it. We’ll send you a 2013 Cloudy Bay sauvignon blanc and there’s nothing you can do to stop us. We are united. We are strong. #EndingThisJokeBeforeIPissOffAnnonymous

– ‘White Identity Politics’ is Keeping Trump’s Downfall At Bay, Academic Says

OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE. It’s extraordinarily difficult to impeach a president. We can’t just say “oops, we goofed, our bad” and kick him out. There are certain lines he must cross, and we need rock solid evidence that he has done so. After that, there’s an arduous process of hearings and senatorial votes and recounts and rebuttals… It is totally unreasonable to expect that he would have been impeached already. There are myriad reasons why Trump is still in office, and the very least of them has anything to do with ethnicity, you race baiting ass!

– 7 Creepy McDonald’s Figures You Forgot Existed

I buried those memories for a reason. Leave me in my happy place and stop trying to trigger me.

– ‘People Got To Eat’- Heroic Pizza Guy Delivers to Stalled Train

Heroic. HEROIC. He delivered pizza. That’s literally the very thing he’s paid to do. How in the holy hell is that HEROIC!? GAH

– ‘Cat Man of Aleppo’ Forced To Start Again- From Scratch

This was in the “Good News- News To Brighten Your Day” section. I’m beginning to think the media might be a bit jaded…

– Alex Jones Says He Mischaracterized Chobani Yogurt Factory

In hindsight, he probably shouldn’t have called it “the place where they make that nasty white shit.” His bad.

– Adults Brawl At High School Graduation Ceremony

The ceremony was being held in a church, too. Keepin’ it classy, Tennessee.

– Nearly 400 Birds Fly Into Texas Skyscraper and Die

Boy, the Taliban sure is…

“BETHIE.”

Oh. Right. Handbook. Uh, poor birdies, am I right? Golly gee that’s too bad.

– Emergency Landing for JetBlue Flight That Hit Bird

Way to go JetBlue! That’s one more terrorist out of commission!

…what? Don’t look at me like that. I can take scorn. I can take disgust. But when you turn the disappointed eyes my way, it cuts, man. It cuts deep.

– Any Half-Decent Hacker Could Break Into Mar-a-Lago

OMG. Did…did the press just taunt hackers into trying to break into the stupidly named vacation spot of the pres??

– New Baylor Lawsuit Alleges Rape Video, Dog Fighting

WHAT? Dog fighting?? I mean, yeah, there was the rape, blah blah…but dog fighting!? Now it’s gotten serious. That, sir, is beyond the pale! Someone must stop these universities from abusing dogs!

“Uh…what about the raping?”

Didn’t you get the memo that folks don’t care so much about that part? Let’s fight the battles we can win. #OfCOURSEI’mBeingSarcastic.Shit.

– Dutch King’s Secret Flights As Co-pilot

I think someone has an unhealthy obsession with Disney’s Aladdin…

– Talks On Airplane Laptop Ban End With No Ban, More Talks

Anyone who’s ever sat in on a planning session at work could tell you how this was going to turn out. Bet they were only there for the free bagels anyway.

– Putin Says He Can Prove Trump Did Not Share Secrets

“Look at this email Don gave me. It says nothing about secrets.” “Uh, Vlad? That’s dated this morning.” “Da.” “And it’s from your other email account.” “Da.” “…but…” *Putin slowly lifts syringe into view* “Proof, da?” *special agent gulps* “Oh. Uh, right. Heh. Heh. Boy, look at that. Good enough for me, boys. Rock solid.”

– Report: Trump Aides Had At Least 18 Exchanges With Russians

You’d think that…

*Vlad slowly raises syringe into view*

…Look at this fake news. Isn’t it fake.

*Vlad wiggles syringe*

Fake fake fakeity fake. Sure is fake.

*Vlad nods, starts to walk away*

Just kidding it’s totally real and there’s nothing they can do to shut me up!

*Vlad stops, slowly turns* “Vat?”

Nothing. Oh, hey, look. A headline about Austria!

*Vlad stares for a minute before shrugging and walking away*

Oy vey. That was close.

– Austrian Parliament Passes Burqa Ban

I’m not going to pretend to understand the complexities of the recent influx of refugees to Europe and what it is doing to their society. I will say, though, that the way to incorporate a different people into your society isn’t by banning the things that are important to them which in no way harm other people. If the burqa is banned, the nun’s coif should be as well. Or the mandatory dresses the women of certain Christian sects must wear. Or a priest’s collar. I feel that they’re going down a slippery slope here, I really do. No jokes. Just food for thought.

– Lucky Charms Giving Away Marshmallow-Only Boxes

After years of claiming to be any sort of healthy breakfast, I’m actually okay with them saying “FUCK IT let’s not even pretend anymore.” It’s refreshing.

– Perfect Strangers Swap Kindness…and A Kidney

The DIY channel is really reaching with their new fixer upper line up.

– Youngest-ever Texas Christian Grad Says He Has No Regrets

Well why would you think he did?? “I’m super smart and setting records and got a free ride doing it. Boy, if I could go back in time, I’d fail a few tests here or there, make life more of a struggle for myself.” Is that what you were expecting, Fox News? What a stupid waste of bytes.

– Republicans Worry Trump Scandals May Doom Legislative Agenda

That is some deep poli-sci shit right there.

– Federal Investigators Head to Deadly Jet Crash Site

“Field trip!” “Damnit, Jeffrey! Calm down! You are a federal investigator on a very serious and important case.” “Ooh! Can we stop at McDonald’s?” “No, Geena, we cannot stop at McDonald’s. We will go straight to the crash site and…” “I want a Frosty!” “CARL!” “That’s Wendy’s, you idiot.” “WILL YOU ALL SIT DOWN AND ACT LIKE PROFESSIONALS?” *crickets**crickets* “Um, Mr. Special Agent in charge? I think I’m gonna be car sick…”

I guess a field trip will always be a field trip, no matter how old you are.

Thus concludes a Roundup for Thursday, May 18, 2017. Good luck to everyone battling the early season heat wave. I didn’t dare put away my heater for the summer, but I’ve also installed the a/c. Ah, life in NH…

Any Les Mis fans out there?

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*a light shines on a lone baker, center stage* *soft music begins to play*

One day more.

Another pie, another past-er-y,

On this never ending road to feed my fam-i-ly.

These customers who spend their dimes

Will surely come another time

One day more…

Mornin’ all.

Today is my tenth day straight at work. Tomorrow, I get a day off. I’m feeling a tad bit punchy, if you couldn’t tell.

Though, to be honest, isn’t starting the day off with an epic musical routine always the goal?

A coworker got injured while one of our Janes-of-all-Trades started a two week vacation. We are already short handed as it is, so it’s very hard to absorb the blow of someone missing work from being hurt.

I’ll mix the cream up fresh today

How can I pipe if it has parted?

Tomorrow I’ll be worlds away,

And yet right now my shift’s not started…

You see, we knew someone was about to get hurt. We’ve gone way too long without injury.

There’s a curse on our bakery.

No, don’t laugh. It’s true! How else would you explain the fact that in the not quite year I’ve been there, we’ve had four major injuries I can think of, if you include pregnancy. Which, let’s face it, you should.

If I worked in a large bakery, that would be a pretty fair number. Humans tend to be clumsy and inept. I do not work in a large bakery, though. I work with 7 other people. That’s it. Four major health-related reasons for missing work is a LOT in that short time span.

One more day not at my home,

One more day not in my jammies.

What a nap I might have known,

But they say they need me there…

My working theory is that someone got pissed off about an order they placed. While we do a damn fine job, mistakes happen. Or, more often, people don’t understand what they’re actually asking for when they place the order and are then ultimately disappointed when they pick up donut holes that don’t match their croquembouche dreams.

Anyway, someone was unhappy enough with their order that they hopped on a plane to New Orleans, prowled around the old quarter until they found a tiny shop filled with dried chicken feet and alligator teeth, gave the secret password to get into the hidden back room to see an ancient priestess, and had her construct a voodoo doll for each of our employees.

Only thing that makes sense when you think about it.

One more day of icing cupcakes,

We will top them with rose buds,

We’ll be ready for those orders,

They will stuff themselves with food.

Boy am I looking forward to the day off. It’s not like I’m going to do anything fabulous with it. In fact, I am going to probably catch up on housework. Woot woot. The fun don’t stop on THIS party train.

It’s just having the time to DO the housework, ya know?

I’m not a full time employee. Hell, around here it seems like “full time” is just a bedtime story folks tell their kids to trick them into staying in school. A mythical carrot dangled in front of their naive noses, just to be pulled away by modern corporate America. Some weeks I only get about 25 hours. Not these past couple weeks. Those have been almost full time. Juuuust shy so that I don’t qualify for benefits.

So not quite full time. Doesn’t sound like a lot, does it?

But then there’s the other part of life that comes with having a passel of kids. It just feels like every day I fall further behind on my list.

I’m not complaining. I like the job, I like getting money. That passel sure eats a lot and last time I checked, grocery stores weren’t giving out chickens and spuds for free. I’m just saying that tomorrow will feel damn good.

Watch them oooh and ahhh,

Get them testing treats,

Never get to rest when sales are at their peak,

Here a little taste,

There a little try,

Get ’em with a sample and then watch them buy.

Teen Prime bought me an early birthday present. Mass Effect: Andromeda. I am DYING to play it, but I am a good mummy.

…actually, I’m not. At best, I’m so-so. But, I do have my moments, and one of them is waiting to play the game until Teen Prime can be here for the weekend to watch. He loves watching people play. It didn’t work out this week, so all I can do is cast longing glances at the gleaming new game disc and smell the potential trapped within the pristine plastic.

If he could have made it down, that’s what I’d be doing from punch out time today until clock in time Monday morning. A bit of sleep in between, and I’d come up for air once in awhile to make sure the passel had wrassled up some grub and weren’t bleeding. Instead, we clean. *sigh* Hey, at least we get to clean at home, right?

Gaming. That would have been an awesome way to spend …

Tomorrow I won’t be at the baker-ay. Tomorrow I’ll clean house all day…

Tomorrow we’ll discover

What our laundry piles have in store.

One more tart,

One more caaaaaake,

ONE

DAY

MORE

Thus concludes a…Musing? Is it, though? Is it REALLY? Or is it more like insane rambling?…for Saturday, March 25, 2017. I get it, Weird Al. Props.

Who the hell invited Stella!?

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Mornin’ all.

So here’s the thing. Two weeks ago, it was 65. Sunny. T-shirts were dusted off and donned by the citizens of the area eager to let the door hit Winter in its ass on the way out.

Of course, spaghetti strap tank tops that stop way too short and hot pants that would have been better off left on the store shelf also came into play. Can’t have a warm day without a few folks stuffing themselves into knit wear that’s probably silently weeping the whole time.

“Bethie! Are you fat shaming?”

No. I am refusal-to-wear-the-proper-sized-clothing shaming. They make clothes in different sizes for a reason. If wearing your clothes tests the physical limits of thread, you should wear a bigger size. If your feet turn purple because your hot pants are cutting off your circulation, you should wear a bigger size. If you need “someone to pull it up while I suck it in” to get any part of it zipped, you should probably go ahead and wear a bigger size.

Trust me. You’ll feel better. You’ll look better. Stop obsessing over the number and just wear what actually fits.

Anyway, we were all enjoying the laid back intro to spring, when Mother Nature said, “Psych.”

Winter storm Stella. They have named my enemy. Supposed to be a real nasty piece of work, too. They’re talking potential FEET of snow. In mid March. Not unprecedented by any means, but not a common occurrence. March snow tends to be a few inches of heavy, wet stuff that melts away in a day or two. This one? This one’s gonna take a bit longer.

It has put me in a funk. I am vexed. *slurps coffee* And the coffee’s not doing all that much to help, if I’m going to be honest. I woke up with heart burn and didn’t want to make it worse, so I watered down the usual varnish. Just doesn’t have the normal kick in the ass my body has come to expect.

Maybe I’ll grab a fresh cup, full strength, and just do a Pepto chaser.

“Ew.”

Snowstorm. Heartburn. And my cat shredded a whole roll of tp in the night. I gotta get this shit turned around. I still have to work, and you can’t make a nice cake when you’re pissy. Hm. What can we do to make this day better?

*whisper from off stage*

Hang on a sec. One of my go-go dancers is trying to get my attention.

*whispers**muttering**sound of a guitar tuning echoes through the quiet living room*

I’m back, and I have a plan. *achem* Oh, yeah, sorry. WE have a plan. *waves finger* Cue the go-go dancers and fire up the catchy theme music, because we’re going to have ourselves a….

* * HEADLINE ROUNDUP !!! * * *

Let’s thank the dancers for their most excellent idea! And while we’re at it, give a hand to the band. They totally nailed that intro.

Yes, it’s a Roundup. We haven’t done one in awhile, so for any newbs out there, here’s the deal: News is stupid. Often the headlines reflect the idiocy. I scour the internet news sites looking for tidbits that jump out at me. Sometimes they’re poorly worded, sometimes they’re confusing, and sometimes they just put an image in my head that I must share. The headlines are always 100% real. I just supply the heartburn-fueled snarkiness after.

Up to speed? Good! Then let’s get right to it.

-Conway on Surveillance: We Have ‘Microwaves That Turn Into Cameras’

Oh no. Oh honey, no.

– Is Preet Bharara Trying To Tell Us Something?

I don’t know. Is Preet Bharara talking? Because if he is, then the answer is probably yes. #TheMoreYouKNow

– N. Korea Warns of ‘Merciless’ Strikes As U.S. Carrier Joins S. Korea Drills

Aw, whatsamatta Kim Jong? Did Donald Trump stealing the “Most Insane Ruler” championship belt hurt your feelings?

*sidenote: Can we please, PLEASE actually make that belt happen? I’m thinking huge, like a WWE belt, only not as classy.

“Not as…classy??”

You heard me. Make it happen.

– Florida Agency Puts Out A Want Ad For Python Killers

Is “python killer” slang? Is that…is that the female version of “pussy slayer?”

“BETHIE!”

In my defense, it’s Florida. It’s a fair question.

– Conway Isn’t the Only One Afraid of Microwaves That Spy

Of course not. There is an organized society of people who not only believe the earth is flat, but PUBLICALY believe the earth is flat. They’re so convinced that we live on a dinner plate that they SAY SO OUT LOUD. Of COURSE there are people who think we’re being spied on while we nuke our leftovers. Just make them all some tin foil hats and go about your lives.

– Conway Isn’t the Only One Afraid of Microwaves That Spy

Look, I’m not saying it’s not possible. I’m saying it’s inept. We don’t need to use microwaves to spy. We’ve got far better, more reliable, more controllable ways of spying on every aspect of our citizens lives. If the government wants to spy on you, they can. And they can do so much more efficiently than using microwaves. Someone’s reading old spy novels again. I think we need to enroll the White House in a book of the month club and get some modern day CIA action on their radar. Er, an audio book of the month club. At least then the conspiracy theories would be current.

– Harvey Still Has Bodyguards With Him After Flub

Oh for FUCK’S SAKE Steve Harvey! Get over yourself. No one’s trying to kill you. It just didn’t matter all that much. Shit.

– Rubio Warns Snoop Dogg on Trump Video

…well there’s a headline I don’t think anyone expected.

– Rare Find Revisited: A Barn Full of ‘Birds’ 10 Years Later

I would like to think they are actual birds, because the thought of a documentarian being so desperate for a story that he goes back to a barn to film some damn pigeons 10 years later is dark humor I can get behind. The look on his face when he realizes they all died about 5 years ago would be film legend.

– Celeb Couples Who’ve Split in 2017

Awful early in the year to be pulling this one out. You’re wasting the best click bait. What the hell are you going to write about in November? You might actually have to report…news! *gasp*

– Ramirez’s Contract in Japan Has Some Hilarious Perks

…okay, I’ll bite. *reads* He gets a hotel room. He can opt out of practices in certain circumstances. He gets a car and driver. He has a meal budget. …and that’s it. Honestly, I can barely type through the laughter wracking my body.

– GM Has A Huge Supply of Unsold Cars

That’s called “inventory,” dear.

– Was Jane Austen Poisoned? New Evidence About the Writer’s Weakened Eyes Raises Questions

Holy shit, just the breakthrough Scotland Yard has been waiting for! Maybe they can finally arrest the guy. #JusticeForJane

– Europe Is Facing 4 Existential Tests. Can It Hold Together?

Oh, I know this one! Okay, Europe, when you get to the huge knot, just cut it. Saves so much time. #TopTip

– UK Cruise Ship Damages Pristine Indonesian Coral Reef

But the vacation pics Buffy and Skip got were totes worth it.

– WH Analysis Projects Bigger Health Care Coverage Gap than CBO

So what they’re talking about here is the Republican backed ACA health care replacement proposition. You know, the one that Trump ordered the Republicans to present? Yeah, now Trump is desperately trying to distance himself from the disgraceful piece of potential legislation. Think about that. It’s so bad that DONALD FUCKING TRUMP won’t even put his name on it. No jokes on this one. Please, PLEASE encourage your representatives to shoot this puppy down.

– Florida Girl Writes Letter To Burglar Who Targeted Her House

What a great way to get back at the burglar. I’m sure that she’ll read it and feel just awful about what she’s done. Then she’ll call you and tearfully apologize and you can meet up for coffee to allow her to cleanse herself by confessing and you can go about your life knowing that because of your letter, she will never burgle another house again, you noble crusader, you.

*heavy sigh*

– Facebook Bans Use of Its Data For Surveillance Tools

So, you know, don’t microwave popcorn when you’ve got the FB app open.

– Snaphash Is An Augmented Reality Weed Doctor For Your iPhone

I have absolutely no idea what the hell I just read.

– On Galapagos, Revealing the Blue-Footed Booby’s True Colors

Red. They dip their feet in blue paint just to screw with the scientists. Shh.

– How To Reset Your Body Clock For Daylight Saving Time

Don’t do it! Go rogue. #DamnTheMan

– The Controversial Campaign for Canada’s National Bird

Canada’s got a different set of criteria for what constitutes a controversy, don’t they?

– Boaty McBoatface Embarks on Its Maiden Voyage This Week

Remember the campaign to name the exploration submarine last year? Boaty McBoatface won the internet contest to name the serious, highly tuned scientific sub, but the society decided to choose a different, more respectable name. However, the pressure from the internet got too great and they have officially renamed the technological wonder Boaty McBoatface. Well done, internet. This makes me proud.

– Trump Has a New Rocket and Spaceship. Where Will He Go?

Where? Irrelevant. The only question is “WHEN?” #SendTrumpToMars.Personally.StuffHimIntoASpaceshipAndLaunchThatSucker

– The 50 Hottest Video Games You Shouldn’t Miss in 2017

They lead the article with the remastered Crash Bandicoot. The thumbnail is…Crash Bandicoot. The opening graphic is a still from…CRASH BANDICOOT. Are. You. KIDDING me?! Mass Effect: Andromeda? The Last Of Us 2? Red Dead 2? Breath of the FREAKIN’ WILD??? But no. NO. Crash. Bandicoot. Fistbump to all those who feel my outrage. #CRASH.BANDICOOT.REALLY!???

– John Cena Reveals Surprising Video Game Choice

Spoiler: it’s not Crash Fucking Bandicoot!

– Our Black Hole Has Been “Eating Snacks” For the Last 6 Million Years

Aaaand that’s it. I’m out. When you start talking about what you put in your black hole, it’s time to get off the internet.

Had to ruin it for everyone, didn’t you, IBT?

Thus concludes a quick Roundup for Pi Day, 2017. If there wasn’t a storm, the amount of puns at the bakery would get old. I guess that’s one thing to thank Stella for.

A legitimate argument for bringing back typewriters…

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Episode 8/6/17…in which we check in on our heroine, who was bravely battling electronic gremlins and digital devilkins when last we met…

Mornin’ all.

‘Member that temp fix I did to allow me to babble for a bit? Yeah. Like duct tape on a crack in a dam, it didn’t hold. However, we have a brand new hard drive.

“Oooh, I thought it looked bright and fresh in here.”

Yes, but the newness came with a price. Doesn’t it always? Microsoft removed a very handy tool that used to be built into their software which would allow us to move programs from one hard drive to the other. The forums said to use this outside software. Microsoft’s web page pointed us to the same thing, saying they had “partnered with” this other company. We even called tech support and got a woman who just suggested we copy and paste…

*techie top tip: You cannot do this with a program. Individual files? Sure. But a program? No. Otherwise pirating software would be as simple as a right click. Programs embed parts of their coding tree all through OTHER programs, just to make sure that if you DO try to right click and paste, you won’t get what you need to actually use the program. And a techie at Microsoft’s call center should at least know that.*

…which sent the man of the house into an incredulous fit of scoffing befuddlement. After being briefly educated by said partner, she put him on hold to go ask for another opinion, came back, and said that the company recommends the same software we saw everywhere.

We got the software.

We should not have gotten the software.

It hiccuped in the middle of transferring the data, and almost everything on that hard drive was lost.

Again.

*sigh*

Okay. It’s not as bad as it might sound. Since the build we did after last year’s Electrical Apocalypse, I was never comfortable with the replacement hard drive, or the Windows 10 To Go OS we used. We were broke and had to take the cheapest option. Because of this, I never stored too much on it. I did not trust it, and as a result, I didn’t lose much. A couple of photos, some writing that I do not want to talk about because it was almost finished and it may just send me into a rage because I’m really trying hard to oooohhhhhmmmm the hell out of this situation and you bringing it up and asking for details is making it REALLY FUCKING HARD TO…

“Whoa Bethie! Easy, now. I won’t talk about it anymore! *grabs coffee* Here. Take it.”

*chugs rotgut* *the sizzle of the stomach lining brings the beast back into the present* *deep, albeit slightly inhibited by the burning pain, breath*

Thanks. Sorry.

“Namaste.”

Indeed.

Long and short, we’ve got a spiffy new hard drive full of wonders and possibilities, clearly I was not going down the right path with that book, and Microsoft can suck my dick.

“Why don’t you use a different OS?”

*snort* You know, people always say that. But when you get right down to it, why? They make the easiest to use, plug and play operating system. While not without flaws, it is the industry standard. I almost never have to tweak a program to get it to run without hassle on Windows. I can dig around and shut off annoying features without fear of tanking the whole thing…

It’s like shopping at Wal-mart. Everyone pretends to hate it. And on a visceral level, maybe we all really do. But when you’re on vacation and you realize you forgot to pack socks and underwear and your kid just fell into the Peabody river when you DAMN WELL TOLD THEM NOT TO HOP ON THE ROCKS, and now it’s 5:30 pm, starting to rain, and your hubby is griping about the goddamn traffic while the wet, hungry kid yammers that he’s cold, something inside you warms at the sight of a Wal-mart sign. Don’t even pretend like you don’t understand what I’m saying right now.

When push comes to shove, I’m glad I use Windows.

That said, Microsoft, your software partnership is ass, your tech support is a joke, and your fucking “To Go” build is worse than Windows ME.

*fistbump to anyone who understands just how horrible that is*

Yesterday was a big day. Teen Beta turned 18! I now have two adult children. *sniff* I made it clear to the other two that this trend is really getting old, and I forbade them from growing anymore. Of course, I had to look up at Teen 2.0’s laughing face to tell him this as he’s over 6 feet tall now. And the youngest pup laughed and said, “Can’t stop, won’t stop.”

I get the feeling that they did not take my dire warning as dire.

He’s 18. Man. I don’t talk about it all that much, because it’s not exactly my story to tell, but he’s the one that had cancer when he was 10. In fact, it was on his 10th birthday that I noticed an odd lump on his neck. It was the weekend, and he had just played his saxophone in a concert. The lump was right about where the strap would have rested, and we figured it was swollen because of that. Honestly, it wasn’t much of a lump. Certainly didn’t seem like anything to worry about.

He went to his Mum’s house for his birthday, and she called the next day saying that overnight it seemed that the lump grew. She brought him back, and we got him to his doctor, who sent us up to the hospital immediately. At that point, they thought he had “cat scratch fever”, and we tormented him with the Nugent song. When the antibiotics did nothing, though, and the lump grew instead of shrank, we brought him back a couple days later.

I will never forget that visit.

The man and Teen Beta (then only 10 year old Beta) were in the doctor’s office, and I was in the waiting room with the youngest pup, only a couple years old at the time. The pup was coloring, and I was chatting with the cashier of a local dent ‘n bent I was casually friendly with over the years. She was there because her husband had an ear infection, and we chatted while we waited for our folks to get out of their appointments.

The doctor came out. Not my husband, not the cat scratched kiddo. The doctor. That is NEVER good. He called me over.

“I’ll watch him,” the cashier said, pointing to the little one.

I followed the doctor into the hallway. He had a look on his face that made me want to run away. “I didn’t want to tell your husband in front of *child’s name*, but I’ve seen this a couple times before and in every case, it’s been cancer. I am going to tell them that the appointment I schedule is a routine exam, but it’s actually a biopsy. I’ll have my nurse bring you the information. I don’t want the boy worrying yet.” He put a hand on my shoulder and said, “I’m so sorry.”

I think that every person gets blindsided at least once in their life, truly blindsided with a situation that takes them utterly by surprise slapping down upon their shoulders a heavy burden that they never saw coming. We never saw it coming. It wasn’t on our radar. Cancer is slow. Cancer takes time. It was just an infection…it HAD to be! It popped up so very fast, they MUST be wrong!

I went back to the waiting area shaking. I’m generally a private person.

“*scoff*”

No, not here. Here is my outlet. But in person, I tend to keep everything surface-level with people. It is not a good trait. I’m aware.

That day, I could not keep things to myself. It was too much, and I started to cry on the shoulder of the cashier I barely knew.

There are moments in life you remember for their sheer impact. Getting told the kiddo had cancer was one, and yet, sitting in the waiting room being comforted in such a personal way by someone I barely knew was another…for an entirely different reason. I will never, ever forget that connection I made with her that day.

…in a twist, a few months later one of Teen Beta’s chemos gave him a reaction and he had to be brought to the emergency room. The cashier was there in the waiting room. Her husband had just suffered a heart attack, and it was my turn to comfort her. Anyone who says life is boring is just plain wrong.

Hodgkin’s lymphoma, stage 4C, by the way. That’s what the kiddo had. In his chest, around his lungs, in his leg. In the few days it took for them to do a biopsy and get us into an oncology appointment at the major hospital in the area, the nodes grew from the size of peas to the size of large grapes. It was fast, aggressive, and everywhere. It was so aggressive, in fact, that as soon as he was declared cancer-free, it came right back and he had a stem cell transplant, where the doctors seemed to try their damnedest to do the poor boy in. All of that began right after his 10th birthday.

And yesterday, he turned 18.

You know what? I think I found my calming mantra.

Thus concludes a Musing for Wednesday, March 8, 2017. I have the day off! …but not, because holy shit has the housework piled up. Methinks its a day to put “Hoarders” on in the background. You know, keep me motivated…

*blows the dust off the keyboard*

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Mini mornin’ to you all!

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. Things went awry. The six of us here spent about three weeks swapping back and forth between a stomach bug and the plague. As soon as that started to pass, the computer had a freak out and decided to play “What Program Will We Pretend We Don’t Know How To Run Today?”

It’s a step up from last year’s epic meltdown brought about by the electrical apocalypse, so I suppose I can’t be too upset. We are heading in the right direction. Fingers crossed that the next New Year’s PC woe is just a couple dead batteries in the mouse.

The littlest pup went and broke his thumb, my boss needs me 6 days straight for the next two weeks…

It’s been a month of “wut the hell just happened?”

Things are starting to sort themselves out. Through the power of our Winter Overlords (Vicks, Halls, and the saintly Robitussin), I think the plague has passed. No one’s shit their pants for a couple weeks, so that awful stomach nastiness seems to be done. *knock wood to both* I have tricked my computer into letting me access my writing program…we’ll see how long this lasts. And I don’t have to go into work for a couple hours.

I thought about checking out the news and commenting on things that have happened while I’ve been down for the count, but holy. shit. There isn’t enough time. There wouldn’t be enough time if I had the whole day off. And all of it happened in the circus tent we used to call the White House. Barnum and Bailey didn’t call it quits…they just changed venues.

There’s so much that it’s exhausting to read through it all. It’s become a dreaded chore. “What did our idiot in chief do now?” I don’t want to be exhausted. I’m in the middle of a push at work and I just don’t have it in me right now to slog through the slime trail Trump leaves in his wake.

Instead, let’s meet a new customer I have.

I love customer interactions, even the bad ones. I am a very character-driven person, not just in my writing but in real life. I like to hoard knowledge about all the wonderful, weird, and wacky ways beings who are almost chemically and molecularly identical are in actuality so very different. People are fascinating.

This lady is one of the more interesting ones I’ve got. She’s elderly, my guess would be in the late 70s. She’s short, with short white hair that’s poorly styled. About half of it has been curled, probably with those old pin curlers that were popular in the 50s and 60s, and the other half is clearly too far back on her head for her to reach. Her face is that of an Old World grandmother, with a large, bulbous nose, baggy eyes, and the perpetual frown crease in her forehead earned by years of telling kids to “knock it off or else.”

In some ways, she reminds me of my own Polish grandmother. Perhaps that’s what drew my attention to her in the first place.

When she comes in, she’ll look through the baked goods as if she’s searching for a lost piece of jewelry. Each item will be lifted, flipped, scrutinized. She’ll shake her head, place it back down, and move on to the next. She’s been in many times in the last couple months, and it’s always the same. She’ll spend about half an hour looking over everything, and then come to the counter asking for help.

“I can’t see so good. Bad eyes, you know. Can you tell me what this says?”

Up close under the unkind fluorescent lights, a general lack of care becomes obvious. The coat she wears speaks to another time, another life she led where she was an upper middle class housewife who was able to keep up with Jackie O. At one time, the coat was white, quilted, with a furred collar. Now, it’s stained a cigarette-butt yellow, the collar matted with years of sweat and old make-up. There’s a broach pinned to the corner of the collar, dirt crusted between the shiny rhinestones. It’s a coat that says she was somebody, and it’s clear she still believes herself to be that person.

We have several elderly people who ask for what I would consider to be an extended level of service. They want you to take them product by product, answering the same questions about each they asked the week before. I think they’re overall just lonely and looking for some human interaction. You nod, smile, walk them through until you can find a kind way to get back to your job.

The other week, this particular lady was in. I watched her sift through the tables, and was ready when she called me over. We did our regular routine, then she thanked me and moved on without buying anything.

They never buy anything.

I got back to work, feeling good. Who wouldn’t? You make a lonely person’s day a little better with just a couple minutes invested. It feels good. I finished up my shift about a half hour later, punched out, and headed onto the store floor to pick up a few things. I entered the soda aisle to grab some seltzer and I saw the same woman. I’m not going to lie…I briefly considered turning around before she saw me. Feeling good about helping is one thing, but come on. End of my work day, I just wanted to get my seltzer and go home. I didn’t want to be sucked into doing ALL of her shopping for her.

It was out of my hands, though. She glanced up from the bottle she was squinting at down to the opposite end of the aisle, then quickly placed the soda in her cart and spun around. She saw me, grabbed my arm, and said, “Oh no, dear. You don’t want to go down there,” before quickly scooting out of the aisle. I looked toward the other end to see what had ruffled her feathers.

A black man was shopping for potato chips, shaking his head. He heard her. I knew he heard her. He looked up at me, then he knew I knew he heard her. It was one of those frozen moments I will never forget.

My first thought was, “HOLY SHIT DID THAT REALLY JUST HAPPEN??!!” My second thought right on the heels of that was, “Well you certainly saw THAT you crazy old bat! Blind my ASS!”

I got my seltzer, then asked the man if there was anything he needed help finding. I did not, in any way, want him to think I was on board with the Racist Granny. I know, I know, I know. Trite in the extreme. But what else could I do?? Should I have gone up and said, “Oh my god, I’m so sorry that wrinkled old pit stain was such a cunt?” I don’t know. I don’t feel like I handled it well, but honestly…???

He and I exchanged a few pleasantries. I hope he at least knew that I was trying.

I told him to have a nice day and went to check out. Racist Granny was in the next register, putting her groceries up on the belt faster than I’d ever seen the old bat move.

I feel sad for her on one level. She truly is stuck in another time and place. The world moved on, and she just didn’t. It’s clear why she’s lonely. Her nasty streak is no doubt why there is no one to help her curl the back of her hair, or tell her the stained coat needs a good dry cleaning.

I said customer interactions are fascinating, and that certainly fits that description. But, fascinating isn’t always good.

Thus concludes a quick Musing for PAY DAY WHOOP WHOOP, February 23, 2017. I’m hoping I can get back on track with regular Muses. No promises, though. I’m at the mercy of my technological overlords, who seem to be very impish during winter. Fingers crossed that my curses and tears have appeased them for yet another year…