Thursday, May 22, 2008

Oddly Enough

What are the odds that on a day I'm wearing a baseball cap (which is no longer fooling anybody . . . if it ever was . . .), I would walk into a place of business and be offered a sweet new cap sporting the logo of said business? And that I would warn them that I'm not about to remove my current cap, and they pshaw me into doing it? (I'm a pushover - those odds were pretty good.) And that the new cap would be fancy and non-adjustable so I'd have to try on more than one to find the right size?

And as if that weren't enough, what are the odds that I would then have to put said cap on backwards because the bill is in the way of my camera, and then forget about the cap and chat with various people I don't know well (or at all) with my hat all backwards like a skater and three of my children running around my ankles?

And finally, what are the odds that in the last 13 years I've bought 25 phillips screwdrivers and 1 slotted screwdriver, and yet in my tool drawer I have 25 slotted screwdrivers and ZERO phillips screwdrivers?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Open Mouth, Stick In Foot

When I was working in nursery a few years back I said a completely unplanned rude comment to a woman who I always had a hard time with. As her son was walking in to class I felt like I should greet her in someway so the first thing that came to mind was, "Wow, your son is getting tall." She said, "No he's not, he hasn't grown." I said, "Oh, I know, I was just saying that to make you feel better." What?!?! Why did I say that? She responded with, "I don't care if he's little, it doesn't bother me." I felt so foolish. I think I avoided her for months afterwards. Why do we say foolish things? Why couldn't I have greeted this woman with a simply, "Good Morning?" I never apologized, I never brought it up again or made a comment about her son again.

Fast forward a couple years to Saturday Night. I've mentioned before that my fears are unjustified and simple. I have a hard time with women. I try to fit in but it always seems like I say something stupid. So Saturday night I get brave enough to invite some women over to the house. It's been a long weekend and my husband was going to go out with friends so I thought why not invite some ladies in? I said a comment that again was rude to someone, not directly but indirectly I said something that a very dear friend could have taken the wrong way. She left soon after, maybe because I offended her or because it was late. I felt bad all night. Learning from my previous mistake I knew I needed to call her and apologize, not make excuses for my rude comments but apologize for offending her and explain better what I meant. My fears crept in and I was afraid to admit I did something rude and afraid to apologize. Then I knew I had to overcome this fear, a friendship might be out the door if I didn't. I called up my friend and left a message saying I wanted to apologize for the previous evening. She called back laughing hysterically, she said she was completely not offended by what I said and she completely understood what I meant when I said it. She was so kind and sweet I knew I had made the right choice by calling her so I could put my anxiety about the situation aside. I think the difference between the two experiences is I didn't really care what the first woman thought about me, but the second woman was a dear friend and I didn't want to risk the friendship.

For Confession Wednesday share something you once said to someone that was completely rude, off-color, lame, or completely out of no where.

Monday, May 19, 2008

I love to go a-wandering . . .

Once in a while, a slip of paper comes home from school asking for parents to help on a field trip. I'm not going to lie . . . when I volunteer for field trips, you might as well fit my neck for a millstone, because I do it ever so grudgingly. I fully support quality time with my children . . . it's the other people's children I'm trying to avoid. Every group gets one that won't stay with the group, or on the trail, or keep his/her hands off the museum artifacts, and as bossy as I am with my own kids, I'm generally spineless when it comes to keeping other kids in line.

But guilt trumps reluctance, so sometimes I sign up.

Last fall I was in charge of five 6th graders on a two-part field trip. The first part found us running around in cold, pouring rain, trying to diagram tree leaves on wet worksheets. Despite multiple notices home that this was likely to be a cold, wet, even snowy day, several kids came without anything warmer than a long-sleeve shirt or fleece jacket. I gave away my first pair of gloves, and then my backup pair. Did you know 4 adolescents and one adult can fit under one umbrella? (The fifth kid is off the trail, remember?)

When the kids boarded the bus for the second half of the trip (also involving a hike), it began to snow, as we had been warned it might. At this point I was really irritated, because I was NOT looking forward to giving up my nice, toasty winter coat to some poor shivering child who was already drenched from the rain. Lucky for me, the teachers voted to skip the hike, eat lunch on the bus, and go home. Hypothermia-inducing service averted!

A few weeks ago, another slip came home. Another hike. Uphill. And my daughter REALLY wanted me to go. For the record, I am NOT a paragon of fitness, and the last time I went hiking was about 2 babies ago. (Please pretend that was an ANONYMOUS confession.)

"You understand that there's a good chance I'll pass out on the trail from exhaustion?" I warned.

"Um, yeah Mom. Can you go?"

"Aren't you going to be embarrassed when I'm wheezing and crawling up the trail?"

"No, I'm ok with that. Can you go?"

"What if they have to bring in a helicopter to transport me back down?"

(Commence eye-rolling.)

I volunteered, because it's the Year of No Fear. But I was really worried about embarrassing my poor child. Those of you who know the hike I speak of are rolling your eyes as well . . . you all told me it was no big deal. But seriously? A few weeks ago I was horrified to discover I had been winded by a single flight of stairs. (Again . . . ANONYMOUS.)

So I went on the field trip. (Bless the teacher, she didn't assign us kids . . . just asked us to keep an eye on the group in general!) I think my thighs were actually on fire at one point, and I huffed and puffed and panted a little (ok, a lot), but so did the rest of the parents! I've never been so relieved to see someone else suffering.

In the end, it WASN'T a big deal - more like a medium deal. The ranger that guided the hike was a veritable fountain of fascinating ecological information, the view from the top was everything a view from the top should be, and I didn't embarrass my child.

At least not any more than usual.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Anonymous Confession Wednesday

A friend recently wrote on her blog about not judging people and giving them the benefit of the doubt, hopefully she doesn't mind if I use this idea for this weeks Wednesday Confession.

An example of not judging someone is to not judge those that don't realize their pregnant until they are 16 weeks along and their dr. says they should do a pregnancy test before blood work to figure out why she's "irregular." Don't judge the girl that hasn't felt pregnant for four months and then after the confirmation and the ultrasound starts to realize oh, so the lack of crunches isn't the reason for my larger belly, or that's why my back is sore or why I'm so tired in the evening. She might have seriously thought that 4 kids, stress of running a business with her husband, and allergy season hitting were the reasons for all her ailments. Instead do as a few friends have done for this girl and comment on how skinny she looks, 3 friends to be exact and one ultrasound tech that couldn't believe the girl was that far along, because that makes her feel real good, especially after realizing her belly seems to be growing quickly now that she has realized it is a good thing to have a belly so the little guy can move around in there. Also go ahead and laugh because we have been doing a ton of that and counting our blessings.

So ladies (and men?) did you ever judge someone and maybe say something foolish as a result? And were you able to somehow recover?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Anonymous Confession Wednesday

Phone Conversation Number One:

Me: Hey, now that my walls are painted, I'm going to be brave and invite a bunch of people to lunch at my house this week!

(I don't do that much. I get so nervous about whether or not my house is clean enough. Silly, I know. Does anyone else avoid hosting social gatherings?)

Friend: Great!

Me (nervous): Ok, so Thursday?

Friend: Perfect.

Phone Conversation Number Two:

Me: Hey, we're going to have lunch Thursday.

Other Friend (who hosts lots of social gatherings and does so swimmingly): Great. Do you want to do it at my house?

Me: Yes, please.

So, score one for irrational fear.

When's the last time you DIDN'T cave in like a wet cardboard box?

Friday, May 2, 2008

Dairy Commentary

I have a fabulous friend who has an amazing knack (among many) for showing up just when I need some serious bailing out. Like the time she taught 14 preteen girls a Christmas Carol in harmony on two hours' notice because I was sick. Or the time she brought me safety pins so I could cut corners on 12 pathetic bowties that I had left until the very last minute. I could go on. And it turns out that she knows me so well that even though my name has not appeared as yet on this blog, and even though she linked to it from source that left no clues, she knew right away who was posting.

And thank goodness she figured it out so astutely, because on Wednesday she appeared on my doorstep and said, "Hey. Saw your blog."

And handed me a gallon of milk.

Does it get any better than that?

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