Sunday, November 23, 2008

For Julie

I’m fully fed up with this lame-O billpay

It’s in serious need of a fixee

But I felt ‘bout as big as a guppie fillet

After yelling at not-her-fault Trixie

The end.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


My wonderful, resourceful, timely, FANTASTIC mother just emailed me Aunt Beaner's garbage letter!

Browning-Ferris Industries
1955 Oakland Road
San Jose CA

Dear Sanitation Engineer,

We never are sure just what time you will come,
So just to make sure, we were up with the sun.
(As a matter of fact, it was sometime before.
We beat the old sun by an hour or more.)

'Twas chilly, of course, for we'd turned down the heat.
But dauntless, we put shoes and socks on our feet.
(Or he did, at least, it was his turn this week,
I pulled up the covers and went back to sleep.)

Or tried to; you see, it was awfully hard
With garbage banging around in the yard.
After he'd set them all out, one by one,
He know that the job, although cold, was well done.

I sent him to work, and the kids off to school.
(We do this on Wednesday, each week, as a rule.)
The cans on the street, we gave nary a thought,
We knew you would take them...Alas! You did not.

The truck came and went, yes, to everyone else's;
The Campbells, the Paces, but not to ourselves's.
Their can were all empty, their refuse was gone.
Our cans were full (and they'd been there since dawn)!

They were not too heavy. I tested them, sure.
I lifted them easy, as light as they were.
With only two houses this side of the street,
Why did you leave out our garbage this week?


(Mrs. B's Aunt Beaner)


Friday, November 14, 2008

Confession Wednesday: Congenial Complaints

This is my dear Aunt Beaner, trying out the "Bumper Car Room"
(a low-ceiling-ed access room that's being outfitted for grandkid adventures).

I was trying to pay a bill a few days ago, and I was having trouble with the website for the company who wanted my money. I called customer service and explained that they shouldn't make it so stinkin' hard for ME to give THEM money. Maybe not in the kindest way possible. I mean, hello, I'm not aggressive enough to be flat out rude, but I spoke irritably enough for my conscience to flare up (because it's not Operator Trixie's fault that the website is stupid), and then I had to apologize so I could think straight again.

Then I thought about my Aunt Beaner (love you Aunt Beaner!). In addition to the fact that she bakes heavenly homemade bread, raised some of my favorite cousins, can sing her parents' high school's song, lets me visit whenever I want (and with as many children as I can bring), loves to tell a funny story, emails me all the time, and shares my nickname (that's one of my favorites, also a shout-out to Kathlene-a-Bean!), she also is a master of words. And a peacemaker. Years ago, she combined the two and penned a witty complaint (in verse) to her city sanitation department, who had forgotten to collect her trash, maybe more than once. If memory serves correctly, she received a sincere apology from management and her own special trash-pickup. It's family legend now.

I was trying to emulate Aunt Bean when I sent the following letter to my then-local Wal-Mart several years ago:

Ode to the Commode

As I was shopping in Wal-Mart today,

Enjoying low prices galore,
My young offspring told me her bladder was full;
I had ten seconds, not one bit more!

I whisked her up quickly and ran at full speed,
Desperately begging her, "Wait!"
I zigged through the sporting goods, zagged through the toys;
Crying, "She must urinate!"

Soon we arrived at the Ladies' Room door
In just slightly less than a wink;
But Oh! Our poor noses! For as we went in,
We smelled the most hideous stink!

Quickly we realized the source of the stench;
For all over counter and floor

Were puddles and garbage and T.P. and mud;

Alas! I had seen it before!

I warily opened the door of the stall

And what awful sight met my eyes?

Smeared on the toilet seat there was what's known

(In my house) as Diaper Surprise.

But what could I do? In my arms was my daughter;

I would not; could not put her there!

Despairing, I held her out over the toilet

As she did her deed in mid-air!

I humbly beseeched of an aproned employee,

"This bathroom's not fit to be used!"

She asked me to tell the cashier at McDonald's

Who stared at me, fully confused.

(Note: There was an in-store McD's by the bathrooms)

Now please understand I've been living for years

And all of that time, had a bladder;

But Wal-Mart's facilities rank 'neath an outhouse

On any John Cleanliness ladder.

You'd do well to try out the restroom at Target;

They clean every spot, vast or tiny!

They've pleasant aromas in spite of their purpose;

And all of the porcelain's shiny!

In closing, I ask you, please keep the john clean;

For next time it's foul, please be sure

My money, my daughter, and her little bladder

Will frequent a tidier store.

For the record, Wal-Mart's reaction was a phone call and advice to use the bathrooms by layaway, since they get less traffic. Bravo, Wal-Mart. (But they did like my poem.)

What you deserve to see, here, though, is the work of the master. I asked Aunt Beaner if she would supply her garbage poem for blogging, and she couldn't locate it (she's building a home, and has a lot of stuff in storage), but she sent me this delightful composition instead.

July 21, 2004

Dear Longs Folks,

Your ad came last week -- it was very inviting,

With Dreyer's ice cream at a price most exciting!

As soon as I saw it, I knew right away

I'd be visiting Longs down on East Mono Way.

I went Tuesday morning... but when I got there

The freezer was out. And the shelves were all bare!

"But don't give up hope," I was told with a smile.

"It soon will be fixed... it's down just a short while.

And ice cream again will be there on display

For all who are willing the dollars to pay."

I visited Longs the next morning, but no...

The shelves labeled 'Dreyer's were empty. And so

I traveled back home without ice cream in hand.

(And we really do think that Dreyer's is grand!)

I tried other days. In fact, four trips I made.

But what I was seeking was never displayed.

The freezer was fixed -- of that I'm aware,

For frozen confections were stacked up in there,

Including some Dreyer's Ice Cream packed in pints.

But never the one and three quarters quart size.

The week is now past and the sale price passe,

But since I was out doing errands that way,

I thought I would check on the freezer once more.

And, WOW!!! It was full from the top to the floor!

Perhaps you can tell me the reasons retail:

Why advertised Dreyer's boycotted that sale?

See what I mean? Aunt Beaner's a genius! She's also proof that you can make your point without making a scene. Let's face it - everyone makes mistakes, and sometimes those need to be pointed out, but nobody wants to be publicly raked over the coals.

What's a creative way you've dealt with an uncomfortable situation?

(Also, what rhymes with "Trixie" and "billpay"?)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Confession Wednesday

My confession: I read a girl's blog that I knew in college. I don't plan on ever letting her know. However tonight it paid off, she had this posted:

"Just saw this on Brandis' blog and HAD to pass it along. Something about something on Oprah, but as a result, snapfish is giving away FREE photobooks ($30 value) if you click here ! You have to do it in the next 48 in, have it finished and ordered, SO HURRY HURRY!"

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Vinyl Admonition

I woke up cranky Friday morning. (Must crack down on the 3yo who tossed and turned in my bed for 3 hours prior to dawn.) When I dragged myself out into the kitchen, my mood did not improve. I had been absent the night before,and would you like to know what to my wondering eyes did appear?
  • A container of blackberry jam covered in . . . well . . . blackberry jam.
  • Cheese, garlic, syrup, and pancake chunks in the tub of butter.
  • 8 dish cloths used to wipe up globs of who-knows-what . . . not a single one rinsed out.
  • Various remnants of all of the above caked onto the counter.
  • Two open bread bags.
  • Pancake confetti on the floor.
  • 17 dirty cups (only 6 people live here)
I'll spare you the details of my cyclically catalyzed mature and rational response. Suffice it to say the demon mother emerged, banned the entire family from the kitchen, created job security for the future therapists of America, and then slunk back to her cave to sulk.

Later in the day, I went to a local Christmas Craft Fair, and spotted this little gem:

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hiding Under the Table Confession Wednesday

One of my favorite shows on TV is “How I Met Your Mother.” The dialogue and storylines are unique and witty. I find myself laughing outloud when watching the show. On Monday’s episode it had the main character and his friends hiding under a table at a restaurant to avoid coming face to face with his former fiancĂ© who dumped him at the alter just weeks prior. Talk about something I would do! The hide under the table part, not dumping someone at the alter! Except I wouldn’t hide under a table at a restaurant because it seems too dirty and germy, but I would hide!

All the characters under the table talk about who they would not want to have walk through the door because of it would awkward and uncomfortable. It was either past girlfriends, someone they had made fun of in high school, or in one characters case it was her father.

I started thinking about who I would “hide under a table” to avoid. Two people came to mind. One is a woman I’ll call Renee. When we moved to Medford from Ashland we had them over a lot. They became pretty good friends. They were really fun to play games with and made us laugh so we hung out a lot. Unfortunelty, things started going south quickly.

To make a long story short the problems started with Renee and her husband making us dinner that I couldn’t eat because of my ulcer and left the kitchen a huge mess, the dinner involved cutting up veggies and they didn’t even throw away the remnants. Now that I write this years later it sounds petty, but seriously this was just the beginning. From there we just stopped clicking as friends and Renee kept coming on strong so we came up with excuses to stop seeing them. They finally got the hint that things weren’t working out. It led to a nasty Christmas Card a year later from Renee, making things even more uncomfortable. If I ran into Renee today I wouldn’t know how to explain how I acted years ago. I’m embarrassed by how the friendship ended but at the same time I had to get out of the friendship. I felt taken advantage of more than once and just didn’t feel like it was a good thing for me to be apart of. I hadn’t had that kind of thing happen before and I haven’t had it happen since, it was just a weird friendship that wasn’t good for me.

The other person I would avoid, and in fact have avoided by turning around and walking the other way is an ex-boyfriend. Mind you we are on speaking terms, well emailing terms. But he was a very serious boyfriend that while the relationship didn’t ended badly it was definitely a very sad, depressing breakup on both ends, we jus didn’t want the same things and both had a hard time admitting and accepting it. When I ended the relationship and told him I was moving back to Oregon, from Utah, his words were, "I'll help you pack and drive you home." Now he has a new girlfriend, somewhat serious, and I think that if I saw them around town I would hide under a table to avoid saying hi. I'm just not there yet.

I’m realizing if I ran into either one of these people I would have to conquer my fear of saying hi and actually confront them. Wish me luck!
Confession time:
Who would you “hide under a table” to avoid?