Monday, 3 December 2012

First World Problems

Living in a first world country has made life easy for the most of us. Clean water, education, a relatively easy job market, and the ability to travel are just some of the things that most of us can enjoy. I'm not saying that everyone has easy access to these things but in general they are at our fingertips.

It's very easy to take these things for granted, but every now and then it hits me -- hard -- in the face -- that our problems are downright ridiculous.

I received a call today from my friend. Her little girl, CT, is going to be celebrating her sixth birthday this weekend. Like any little girl celebrating her birthday she's excited. I'm going to be 32 on my next birthday and I'm excited. I didn't really get to celebrate my last one because of being all pregnant and stuff, so I'm hoping that the next one will make up for it. 

My point is, she's six, and she's excited.

Naturally she is excited around her peer group. A whole group of bouncy six year olds.  However, not everyone can be invited. Sometimes there just isn't the space for a big group of kids, sometimes another kid is an annoying little ***** so they don't get invited because all they have done is make her life miserable for the last year and a half. Either way, thems the breaks, we all move on.

Right? RIGHT????

Apparently, not so. This particular child's mother called the school -- that's right, THE SCHOOL -- to complain that her daughter wasn't invited to CT's party on the weekend.

Yep, you read that right. CALLED THE SCHOOL.

As though the school would do something about it. There are a number of things shocking about this entire situation. Here they are in order of how they come out of my head. You can be the judge of just how down right laughable they are.
  • A mother called the school to complain that her daughter wasn't invited to a birthday party.
  • The school didn't laugh in that mother's face. (I would have; in fact, I'm STILL giggling.)
  • The school took CT aside to "have a talk with her."
  • When my friend called the school, they told her that CT should be more aware of how she may be hurting other kids' feelings.
  • My friend didn't laugh in the school's face.
  • When my friend asked what she was supposed to do about it, she was told "maybe you should do what I do, and just not have birthday parties." (She should have laughed again. Right here.)
Are you KIDDING me?

First off, as a mother, if you have a problem with my child, you come to me.

Second, what exactly do you think the school is going to do about it? Tell me that my child has to invite everyone or she can't have a birthday party?

Third, the school should have informed this woman that this has nothing to do with school and they were not getting involved. (Or told this woman that her daughter is a stuck up little diva and being left out is pretty much going to be the norm for the rest of her adolescent life. Too far? Nah, she's the one that called the school.)

End. Of. Story.

But no, not so....

The school decided to have a side conversation with CT about this, then speak to all the classrooms to explain that not everyone can be invited to everyone's birthday party outside of school, then sent a letter home with all the kids requesting that for all future birthday parties the invitations be given to the teacher who can then hand them out discreetly to the students invited. (Which would be acceptable, except that it wasn't invitations that upset this little princess, it was other girls talking about how excited they were to be attending.)

I have discussed this matter with The Man and we have decided that in no way has CT done anything wrong. She's turning six and is excited about her birthday party. The school should mind their own damn business and should have told the woman that this was a personal matter and to attempt to approach CT's mother, my friend.

These, my friends, are FIRST WORLD problems. I can guarantee you, in no third world country are there children that have their mommies call the school because the kid in the next hut didn't invite them to their party. Why? Because they are too busy working in the fields helping their families survive. Also, a lot of them probably don't have a phone. Or the ability to send their daughters to school.

But seriously, where does it end? In 10 years is this same mother going to be calling the school to complain that the boy her daughter likes doesn't want to date her? Or maybe she'll call the Dean of the University because the young woman two rows over has a newer laptop and that makes her daughter feel bad.

At some point this little girl is going to turn to her mom and (not so) politely tell her to mind her own business and get the hell out of her life. At some point she is going to realize that her mother is an embarrassment to her, and likely the reason she hasn't been invited to any birthday parties since she was six.

Of course, this is the same mom who will probably tell her kids that putting out will get you love.

First world problems, my friends, first world problems.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Signalling; Not Only is it Nice, it's the Law

So I've noticed recently that fewer and fewer people are using their signal light. Like a dramatic decrease in appropriate signal usage. Once I noticed this I began to see it more and more.

Not only is it stereotypical bad drivers, it's also regular people, bus drivers, taxi cab drivers, and the police.

Now if you live in the country and you never encounter another driver, then frankly I couldn't care less if you signal or not. But when I am trying to exit a parking lot, and the five vehicles that are in my lane choose not to signal and turn into the parking lot, I lose my temper. A little.

So for those of you out there that don't signal, one day someone is going to lose their shit on you. And it will likely be one of my kids that does it. Not only will I have to shell out money for drivers education (where I'm told you will fail if you don't use your signal light) I'll also have to pay for anger management for my kids. Our plan is to enroll them in both programs at the same time.

So here's examples of when no one cares if you signal:

  • If you are a pedestrian. 
  • If you are flying a plane.
Chances are, if you are behind the wheel, you are none of those people. It is more likely that you will fall into one of the following categories, where it is very much appreciated if you signal, because everyone thinks you're a douche bag if you don't:
  • If you are driving a car.
  • If you are driving an SUV.
  • If you are driving a truck.
  • If you are driving a van.
  • If you are driving a rental vehicle.
  • If you are test driving a vehicle.
  • If you have passed your driver's test.
And most importantly, if you are driving and you are going to turn and someone else is waiting to exit that same entrance. Signalling lets them know your intention in this case your intent to turn, thus allowing the person waiting to exit an opportunity to actually exit. It also lets the people behind you--who are likely travelling at maximum allowable speed--to prepare for your inevitable slowdown to accommodate your turn.

Here's a fun little fact to go along with it, if someone hits you because you failed to signal the accident becomes your fault. That's right, your insurance will go up, you could go to court and have to pay for things like "damages", "loss of wages", "pain and suffering". You'll also get demerits on your license. Enough of those and you'll be taking the bus, because driving is a privilege and if you can't handle it, the city offers public transportation. If you feel you are too good to take the bus or the train, you can always call a cab. But when you are sitting in the back of the cab, I bet you'll be hoping you have a driver that knows how to use his signal light.

To make you non-signalers look even dumber, vehicle companies were nice enough to put the signaler within pinkie reach of your left hand. You don't even have to move your hands from the recommended 2 and 10 position to reach it. Even if you signal at the LAST possible second, you can just drag your fingers along with turning the wheel and the signal light will go off! THEN just to make it EVEN easier, the signalling stops all by itself when the turn has been completed and the wheel has returned to it's resting position.

For those of you who do use your signal I thank you, the universe thanks you, and all of the law-abiding citizens thank you. 

For those of you who don't signal, and will not signal even after you read this, we don't thank you at all. Not even a little bit.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Dear Fetus

Dear Fetus;

How's it going? Good? Yeah? I'm happy for you.

I have decided after several verbal conversations, to put this in writing and so have it on record that your current actions are not acceptable.

Your lease isn't up for another 12 weeks, and while I'm all for early moving, it is too soon. Your new home is not yet ready for you. I'll need at least 8-10 more weeks to prepare. I know, that seems like a long time, especially considering that is just over a third of your entire existence at this point. It also seems like a long time to me, and I don't think either of us will be happy if you continue to chip away at the walls of your current home in an attempt to break into freedom.

You may not be aware of this, but practising knife fighting at this point is not something that I find acceptable. It is also unacceptable to be using what I can only assume is a jackhammer in an effort to remove walls or add windows to your current living area. There is a very strict building code, and unfortunately tenant renovations are not on the approved list. Consider this your cease and desist order. 

There is only one exit and for safety reasons this has been blocked off.  I understand that you are very quickly out growing your living space ... believe me I know.  I am also aware that while the living space you have provides you with all the things you need, you are probably starting to look for additional stimulation. This is a fair and very reasonable request. I will forward it on, and have the man with the very deep voice talk to you more often.

To make the next 8-12 weeks more pleasant for the both of us, I have comprised a list of things that I think will be mutually beneficial:
  • There will be no more tap dancing, parties, knife fighting, or kick boxing. The neighbours have been complaining, they have been around a whole lot longer than you and frankly we both need them right now. It is in your best interest to keep them happy.
  • My kidneys, liver, bladder, spleen, lungs and ribs are not there for your personal amusement. Surprised? One day when you are all grown up and have a fetus of your own, you'll understand and I'll be there to say "told you so".
  • I will continue to provide you with regular intervals of sustenance, however if I happen to be running a minute or two behind schedule, you have to stop making me sick. When I'm sick I don't really feel like eating, and if I don't eat; neither do you.
  • Water is important. While I know that you are literally swimming in it 24/7, I happen to need additional amounts to live. Getting angry and throwing tantrums are not something that will change the fact that this is a requirement.
  • During the next 10-12 weeks I would appreciate it if you were able to fall into the same sleep schedule as everyone around you. I understand that it is very dark in your home and that day light and night time don't mean anything to you but they mean something to me. We would get along a whole lot better if you slept when I did, that way we both can get the rest we need and I can stop crying from exhaustion.
Now that you have my list, I await your rebuttal. Considering you are not currently being charged anything for your room and board, I would be surprised indeed if you have any qualms of your own. I will assume that any lack of communication (verbal or written) is agreement on your part. However, if you object to any of these terms, please submit your reasons in writing no later than the end of the week.


Saturday, 17 March 2012

6 + 6 = ???

Every now and then I get a hankering for chicken nuggets. I can't think of anything else. I close my eyes and I can see them, smell them, taste them.... I want them and I want them now.

So this one day the nugget-need hit me, so I got in my truck and drove to the nearest fast food nugget producer.

Clerk: "Hi, what can I get you?"
Me: "Can I get 12 nuggets, regular fries and orange juice, please?"
Clerk: "Our nuggets don't come in 12's."
Me: "Ummm, pardon?"
Clerk: "Our nuggets don't come in packs of 12. They come in 6, 10 and 20."
Me: "No problem, but I still want 12."
Clerk: "They don't come in 12's. I can't give you 12 nuggets."
Me: "I'd like 12 nuggets."

At this point, not only am I seriously confused, I'm also getting more than a little bit frustrated.

Clerk: "I just told you, they don't come in 12 packs."
Me: "Yes, but you said they come in 6 packs."
Clerk: "That's right."
Me: "So I'd like 12 nuggets."

Anger rising.

Clerk: "They. Don't. Come. In. 12. Packs."
Me: "6 + 6 is how many?"
Clerk: "12."

More silence.
Even more silence.

Me: "Yeah, I'd like 12 nuggets."
Clerk: "The only way I can do that is to give you two packs of six."
Me: "REALLY?!"
Clerk: "Yes."
Me: "Well, I guess that will have to do."

This, right here, people, is just one more reason why education is important.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Mom's Girls

I remember hearing mom always say she only wanted girls. She was "blessed to have gotten two girls." I don't think I ever learned why she didn't want sons and it probably doesn't matter. She got me, and she got my sister. So she got her girls.

My sister is younger. Two years and eight months younger, to be exact. Two girls. Just like she wanted. I don't think she always wanted to live out on a farm, but that's where we were. In a house, in a field.

I remember one summer when I was seven or eight, so my sister would have been five or six, we kept a garden out back of the house. It wasn't much, but it gave us all something to do. We'd weed the garden, and harvest the garden. A lot of the time, we'd just eat the vegetables from the garden. Just mom and her girls.

It was late summer, and my mom, my sister and I were out working in the garden. Mom had this habit of eating peas (pod and all) right off the vine while we were working.

One day, my sister and I got it in our heads to "help" mom get the best pea pods. We'd pick out what we thought would be the largest and juiciest pods and bring them to her. She'd thank us both, probably just thankful that we weren't arguing. No, we weren't fighting. Not that day. That should have been warning sign number one: her girls were getting along.

We were too busy to fight. We were giving mom the "best" peas. We were helping, we were behaving. We were inspired. We were working together. We were headed down a dark road, and she didn't even see it coming.

We took a large pea pod, opened it and removed all the peas.

Then we got a worm.

I don't remember if it was my idea or her idea, but I do know it was my idea to wash the worm off in a puddle. Who wants to eat a dirty worm?

By this time, we had already set a precedent of bringing pods to mom, who would thank us and then eat them. Probably so happy that her girls were getting along, and working together. So like we had been doing all afternoon, we brought her the pod.

We watched in anticipation as she raised the pod to her lips. Our eyes grew wide. She grew suspicious, as her two girls watched her so intently with huge unblinking eyes. Then she stopped.

She opened the pod to find a live worm (clean-ish) where the peas should be. I don't remember her reaction, but I remember that we ran for it, giggling. A lot.

When dad came home that evening, she told him the story. The whole story. How we were working in the garden. How her girls were so helpful. How we brought her the best peas to eat. How one pod had a wriggling worm. How we had been good enough to wash it off in a puddle.... How she would have fallen for it, if her girls hadn't stood there and stared at here so intently ... as if waiting for something.

He laughed, and laughed, and laughed. Which meant we could laugh and laugh. We were totally off the hook. When dad laughed, we weren't going to get in trouble. So we all laughed. All except mom, who didn't think the situation was really all that funny.

I bet if she had thought of it first, she would have laughed. She would have laughed until tears rolled down her cheeks. But she didn't think of it first. Her girls did.

Yeah, mom wanted girls. But my dad got two tomboys.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Chain Letter, Chain Posts, Repost This

As an avid user of various social media pages, I am finding a disturbing increase in people posting crap to my wall. 

It used to be mostly religious stuff:
  • "repost if you believe in God"
  • "repost if you need a prayer"
  • "repost if you have the courage"
  • "repost, because if you don't God won't know you love Him"
First off, my religious beliefs are none of anyone else's business. Like most people, there are many people I only vaguely know, or have met through a friend of a friend of a friend of that guy who used to walk his dog on Tuesdays. While I'm sure all these people are lovely people, my private life is just that -- private. I don't need the potential axe murderer knowing what church I take my kids to, or when I might be home alone, because I have to post it to appease the masses.

However, it has become far more than just religious. Now they have reposts for everything:
  • "repost if you are going to vote for so-and-so." Guess what, I'm Canadian I can't vote in the American Presidential Election, and who I vote for is no one's business.
  • "repost if you support <fill in the blank>" Who and what I support are who and what I support. I don't care what you support.
  • "repost if you don't support <fill in the blank>" How do you know that I don't support that? Maybe I DO support some cause that you are dead set against, how do you know that you haven't completely offended me by telling me not to support something I fully believe in? Like gun registration, or criminal background checks for the ice cream truck driver.
  • "repost for Google/Microsoft/Facebook to send you one million dollars" Do you even realize how ridiculous this makes you look? Honestly?
  • "repost to keep the powers that be from shutting down your computer remotely from their super secret lab where they have nothing better to do."
  • "resend this IM to keep blackberry from deleting your contact list"
  • "If you don't forward this within 5 minutes of opening you will be cursed with 200 years of really bad luck" so if I mark that message as 'unopened' does my timer restart?
The worst one I have seen lately, was an incredibly graphic picture of a very clearly abused animal. Not to get into too many details, but not only was this animal previously abused, I'm sure the abuser took the picture immediately after said abuse to post on his or her wall. 

Don't get me wrong, my heart went out for this animal immediately. I don't understand how anyone can be so cruel. But I don't need you posting it on my wall.

As many of you know, I have a small child who is very much interested in technology, and it was only by the slimest chance of luck (probably because I reposted about needing some guardian angel to watch over my technological journeys) that she didn't see it.

I am glad that you don't support animal abuse. No one should, but you know what? 

I don't support people eating burgers made out of live otters, but do I put pictures of baby otters struggling in vain to escape a bun up on your wall? Nope.

I also don't support child pornography. Do I post terribly explicit pictures on your wall, and ask you to repost them if you also don't support it?

No. No, I don't.

And why? Why wouldn't I do this?

Because some things are not appropriate. And putting a graphic depiction of you "not supporting animal abuse" on MY wall, where MY child could very easily see it and more than likely want to know exactly why that puppy is lying in puddles of ketchup is not appropriate. 

I noticed that when you posted this disgusting picture on my wall, you did not include a contact number where my children can call you for an explanation. I can see how in your righteous passion for getting the word out on what you do and do not support you may have over-looked this. But to refuse to provide me with this when I ask for contact information, screams of band-wagon jumping at its finest.

If you want to support (or not support) something, and you want other people to follow along behind you after visually bombarding us with your support-this or anti-that propaganda, you better have the chops to actually put your name on it. That means that you will put actual references to places that we can volunteer/donate to/call for more information. That means I can call you or email you or IM you for more information, and you will be more than happy to answer my questions and those of my children.

If you aren't prepared to do this, then perhaps you should stick to posting stuff on your own wall.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Gender Neutral; Google it.

When I found out I was pregnant I did what any normal woman does.

I went shopping.  I mean, I had to find some way to tell my hubby that he was going to be a Daddy. 

Evidently, there are very few department stores (in my town at least) that will carry gender neutral baby clothes.  I was perplexed.  How EXACTLY am I supposed to surprise the love of my life with a baby outfit, if I can't find something that is not pink with ponies, or blue with Monster trucks?
Even if I am having a boy, maybe he won't like monster trucks, maybe he will be more concerned about the effect these monster trucks are having on the environment.  Or maybe it’s a girl, and she would like to see monster trucks on her little pink t-shirt.

I was immediately distraught over the rampant sexism in newborn fashion, and deeply distressed over the lack of yellow and green outfits.  I asked, what I thought to be, a nice looking attendant with a super chipper smile, and an “I CAN HELP" button on her vest where to find gender neutral baby clothes. 

Her super chipper smile, faded slowly from sincere to frozen, she stood there looking at me, with her head cocked slightly to the side, as though deciding if she was imagining me.

After a really long, intense silence, I said, “Do you work in this department?"


"Okay, great! Where can I find gender neutral baby clothes?"

More silence.

"You know, for people who don't know if they are having a boy, or a girl, and want to buy something. Gender neutral.... Like yellow or green...?"

At this point she slowly turned her head to the rack that was right beside us.  A rack jam packed with bright pink outfits, all covered with ponies.

Then she turned her head to the other rack, where the clothes were blue and monster-truckish.

Then she looked back at me.  Still nothing.

"Do you understand me?"  Just in case I had slipped into Klingon because apparently that happens to me every now and then.

She assured me in her most-not-so-customer-friendly voice that she most certainly did. Then she continued to stare at me.

So I asked her for the THIRD time, "Where are the gender neutral baby clothes?"

Again she looked at me as though my hair had turned to snakes and I was silently willing her to become stone.  Finally she opened her mouth and said "We are in the baby clothes section."

It was right here, some tiny little thing in my head popped.  She no longer had her super chipper smile, and she was certainly not using her most helpful voice. 

“I am aware that we are in the baby clothes section.  In fact, both these racks have a sign that says "Girls" or "Boys". What I am looking for are clothes that are yellow, green, maybe even white because, believe it or not, at 5 weeks I have no idea if I'm carrying a boy or a girl, and I want to surprise my man by buying a super cute little outfit for our currently GENDER NEUTRAL child.  Do you think you can direct me to where I might find something like that?"

After another few moments of intense stare-down time, I determined that this was certainly not going to work.  Either this girl did not understand the words that were coming out of my mouth, or she simply wanted to see how far she could push me before I bludgeoned her to death with a teething ring.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Work Article--Without Telling You Anything About Work

It's Wednesday. That means I'm at work. That also means that there is a good chance there will be a new blog. Guess what! you win. There's a new blog. And since I've had this planned out in my head for the last couple hours, this should make up for that whole last post.

We'll start with a touch of back story. This is a re-cap of the interaction between myself and a Team Lead at work. Team Leads are a lot like supervisors, but instead of supervising, they literally lead a team, which I think is super awesome. Also, I'm more likely to capitalize Team Lead. So I will refer to him as TL.

(Just a note, this is not a change to Tinkerbell's name; he is and forever will be called Tinkerbell, he had his chance he doesn't get to change it now.)

TL: "Hey can you work on something for me? Y'know, instead of texting."

Me: "What do you need?"

TL: "Can you write an article for the newsletter about our internal online information site?"

Me: "Ummmm... creative writing isn't really my thing."

TL: "Says the Blogger." (Touche)

Me: "Have you read my blog? It's stuff that I see and then I make people laugh about it." (Satire! not stuff for the company newsletter!)

TL: "It doesn't have to be long."

Me: "Can we use my blog about Two Digit Entry? That's work related."

TL: "No."

(This is where I made a little bit of a sad face. I liked that entry.)

Me: "How long are we looking at here?"

TL: "Half a page, single spaced in size 9 font."

Me: "Size 9!! Are you kidding me??"

TL: "No."

Me: "Oh. How do I get to said internal online information site?"

TL: "Are you kidding me?"

Me: "No." (I sort of was, because I had received an email telling me to go to the site, and I did go, but haven't really had to use the site since then ... but it was worth the look on his face....)

I was kinda worried about this, I mean don't get me wrong I enjoy doing little projects on the side at work, it makes me feel special (Juvenile? Maybe, nah-nah-nah). It wasn't even the fact that dozens of my co-workers would be reading my writing, I like getting attention, which I suppose is abnormal for a introvert, but true for me nonetheless. The thing that worried me was I would have to use a different style of writing.

As you can probably tell, I'm a little sarcastic. I like to make people laugh at the stupidity of the world around them, usually MY OWN!! How was I supposed to write an article that people with important titles would likely read. People like "Director" and "Senior Vice President of Security" and "Guy that Signs Your Cheques". (Internally I was totally hyperventilating). 

Luckily I was able to find a balance between informative and funny. That, and the site wasn't nearly as scary as I had thought it would be. In the end I really enjoyed writing the article. I hope that people will enjoy reading it at work. I also hope that whoever edits it, won't make too many changes. After all, I just discovered I can be funny AND informative.


Monday, 16 January 2012

My Apologies

So it's been a while since I posted. I have to apologize. Apparently nothing interesting has happened around me lately, and I certainly did not want to just post crap.

I want to post stuff that will actually make you laugh or cry or think. But alas! life doesn't always give us what we want. If it did, I would be posting all day every day with all the funny stuff that has happened to me.

We have finally hit winter here in Alberta. Or rather; winter has finally hit us. Hard.

When I came to work, I was immediately asked why there is nothing new on the blog. Again, I'm very sorry.

My friend, Proti, told me that I should blog about the winter. I did that already in the post entitled Dear Winter.

I have to say that since that posting, winter has been very cooperative. There have been some very windy days, but overall we have been very lucky this year. And as I look back on winters gone by, I realize that they are no where near as bad as they used to be.  Maybe they just seemed so much worse because I was younger and lived in the country. Everything seems worse when you are young, have no transportation, and live in the country.

This week we are hit with incredibly cold temperatures. A base temperature of -27 degrees. I don't even know what that is for you Americans, but it's cold.

Very. Very. Cold.

Proti wanted me to talk about how her delicate brown skin is not equipped to handle this cold. I assured her that my Canadian white skin was no better equipped than hers. Which now that I read it, was way funnier when it happened due to our utmost mutual sincerity.

At least it hasn't been windy, and there isn't four feet of snow. Much to the dismay of my children who wish to go sledding. They'll appreciate this when they are older, I'm sure.

Surprisingly, the buses, both school and public transit, are running on time. So far. Evidently there are some people that have had their furnaces break. Coldest day of the year, and the one item that is supposed to keep you warm decides it needs a day off.

So while this post hasn't been the funniest, or the saddest, or the most thought provoking, the over-whelming number of people wondering if I have died will be appeased. 

Maybe something funny will happen to me on the bus, or later on today. Or maybe tomorrow.  I promise I haven't gone away, and I certainly don't intend to. I just don't want to be posting stuff that won't make you sit back and go: "I WISH I had thought of that first."

Thank you to everyone who is out there reading this, and waiting so patiently for the next post. Your support means a lot to me.