Saturday, December 17, 2011

We Apologize for the Convenience

- A Comprehensive Guide to Shopping, for the Woman at the Center of the Universe: Holiday Edition.
     Hello there! remember this post a while back where I told you about all the sordid secrets of customer service people and how they are selfish and want to keep you from getting the things you deserve? I walked you through shopping for towels and how to get the best ones at the best prices. After all, you deserve them because of your rich Husband and tiny dog!
     Well in case you didn't know, the Holidays are here and you know what that means: Shopping! Mostly for yourself but you are also required to buy a few trinkets here and there for other people. I know, it's a huge inconvenience. I mean really, who wants to spend their own money on other people? It's just not right.
    Thankfully, I am here to help you through this experience. I'll show you all the loopholes in that horrid system designed to keep you from getting everything you want. Ready? Great! Shove your swollen feet into some pumps, grab whichever one of your several Coach purses match them best, and let's get started!

    Step 1: Appropriate use of the Internet.
           - You and I both know the internet is a scam. It's made to appear like the more convenient option- who wouldn't want to lounge about all day in their designer velour sweatsuit drinking exotic lattes, all the while  avoiding crowds by picking out all the best gifts from their iPad screen? But you know what they say: "anything that sounds to good to be true probably is".
    Here's the catch- Shipping & Handling fees. So stupid right? Charging six dollars just to ensure that your item is packaged correctly and then shipped,  flown, trucked, and hand delivered from China to your front step, and it's going to take 5-7 days? Ridiculous.
    Here's what customer service minions don't want you to know: You can beat this system, avoid shipping fees and have your item exactly when You want it.

    The trick is to use the internet for browsing. Shop around and find an item you would like. Then, instead of ordering it on for a reasonable price, proceed to step two.

   Step 2: Calling the Store.
     - Don't worry about which store, just pick the one closest to your house that you like the best and give them a ring.
   When they answer they are going to say a whole scripted message involving something like "Merry Christmas and thank you for calling! This is (insert name you will never remember).... "
    Just go ahead and interrupt them. This throws them off just enough that they will pay more attention to you. Don't bother being polite either, just tell them what you want and why.
    Hint: If you already sound slightly annoyed they will try even harder to help you because they want to make you happy. It's their job.
    After you tell them what you are looking for they will try to transfer you to another department. They will make something up like-
    "Let me get someone in the correct department who can help you find what you need."
  This is just an excuse to put you on hold. They just don't want to help you because they can tell how special you are and they are jealous.

  Step 3: Greatly Exaggerate the Amount of Time Spent on Hold.
    Hang up, call them back and complain that you literally just spent twenty minutes on hold. It doesn't matter that you are talking to the same person who put you on hold less than 30 seconds ago. These people are not very smart. They will probably believe you.
   This time, tell them that if they put you on hold you will file a complaint. That is the magic phrase that let's them know that you know all their tricks and secrets. They will then look up the item for you, regardless of whether or not they were already in the middle of helping a customer who is actually standing at their counter. Don't worry, that customer is less important than you and can wait.
    The employee will then ask you a few questions such as
    "Did you see the item on our website?"

    Step 4:  Lie. 
   Telling them you found it on a completely different site just gives them an excuse to say they don't have it. Tell them you are looking at it on their website as you speak.
   When they admit to not being able to find the item, accuse them of lying. This always gives them the right incentive to take that extra step to help you.
    Unfortunately, sometime you are going to get an employee that is just too stupid to get you what you want. They will say things like "I am unable to locate that item on our website" or "I have never even heard of that device and neither has my manager, are you sure you are looking at our website?" or "I know for a fact that we don't carry that but Target does".
  Step 5: Be Very Loud and Very Angry.
     No one ever get's what they want by being nice. Nice people get taken advantage of. If you act like you are better than everyone and and DESERVE to have everything you want, people will respect you and do everything they can to make you happy.
    The employee is going to tell you that they simply do not carry that item. At all. Not a single store or warehouse in the entire world that is at all connected to that company has a single one of them.
    This is an obvious lie.

    They have one, you know they do. They are just trying to keep you from getting what you want because they are so jealous of you.

    Hang up and go to the store. Walk in and demand the item. The employee will then have no choice but to go find the item you are looking for, and just like that they will bring it to the counter.
    It might not look just like the one you saw online. It will be a different brand and probably a different color, and instead of being a blender it will be a microwave, and at first you will be a little confused. But the employee will assure you that this is in fact the item you wanted for your sister-in-law's Christmas present and wouldn't you know, this one comes with a complimentary 10% off coupon!

    And just like that, you've outsmarted those sneaky Customer Service Associates. In the span of only a few hours you tricked them into giving you the item that you're pretty sure you secretly wanted all along, and that they had been trying to keep you from getting. And you got a coupon on it that almost paid for the tax! You truly are a special and intelligent woman who deserves to have everything she wants.
   And just between you and me, that employee probably doesn't even realize she got tricked. She probably thinks she got the best of you and is just happy you're gone. But you and I know the truth.

   It will be our little secret.




Friday, December 9, 2011

The Dangerous Combination of a Final Exam and Over-the-Counter Medication...

Today I managed to make it to class wearing that oh so stylish combination of sweatpants, snow boots, and several layers of t-shirts and hoodies (having misplaced my coat, an appropriate thing to do in the middle of a Colorado winter).
Somehow my brain thought that the only necessary make-up for my sick-white-person-in-the-dead-of-winter complexion was mascara, and a shower would have required getting out of bed 10 min earlier, which wasn’t worth it either.
Since I had only managed to bring a pen and my water bottle(which contains an in-genius mixture of Cough syrup and Emergen-C probably not technically legal on campus) I had to borrow paper from the cute guy sitting next to me, who looked me right in the eye and asked ever so innocently,
 “How’s your day going?”
I can think of a dozen semi-normal responses. But the one that my brain decided most appropriate at that moment was “I’m not wearing any deodorant.”

Monday, December 5, 2011

How I became a Scrooge and Cindy Lou-Who became an Alcoholic.

    Let's not kid ourselves. Last month was not about Thanksgiving. Right after Halloween we begin to tout an ideology of thanks and giving lots of it and whatnot, but we Americans know which day is really the most important come November: Black Friday.
     I used to think it was inappropriately named, since it sounds so dark and sinister. Black Friday. Surely something horrible must have happened on this day in history right? Similar to Bloody Sunday only having to do with Native Americans.
    Well, I totally Googled that shit and it turns out Black Friday got it's name because of the horrors of pedestrian traffic in Philadelphia due to all the crazy sales and people trying to get to the airport.

    I'm going to pause and let that sink in for a minute....


    So Black Friday got it's name long, long ago, when a bunch of crazy people flooded the streets in search of the perfect transistor radio for their boyfriend's Christmas gift. That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. 

Obviously Scrooge worked in retail.

      Speaking of dumb things, customers ( I know, nice segue).  Most people don't seem to realize this, but the crazies don't disappear after Black Friday. Nobody gets all their shopping done on Friday and because of that they are angrier than ever by mid December. 
     Retail workers have always known that people get crazier around the Holidays. They also get meaner, sneakier, dumber and more violent, which makes for an all around interesting workplace. People who are perfectly sane eleven months out of the year are suddenly willing to bash a stranger's head in for a marshmallow gun or an electric razor come December. Sales Associates spend the entire month of December just hoping the next person in line isn't the one willing to curb-stomp them over a Special Edition Wii.  

    Folks, I love Christmas. Like, REALLY love it. I'm a regular Cindy freakin' Lou-Who. I started listening to Christmas music back in October, I force people to go caroling and as I'm writing this I'm also drinking hot coco, listening to Carol of the Bells and gluing glittery pine-cones to the tops of Christmas presents. This season is like crack to me. All the giving, and caring and love and whatnot. 
     But retail can ruin all that for just about anyone. Yesterday I spent twenty minutes on the phone being berated and verbally abused by a customer until I finally put them on hold and yelled "You're ruining the magic of Christmas!" into the receiver before transferring them to my least favorite manager.
   You know what would have been an even better Dr. Seuss story? One where Cindy Lou-Who worked at a customer service counter and the Grinch just kept coming in and trying to return all the Christmas decorations he'd stolen from her the day before.
    That story wouldn't have ended with a hand-holding sing-a-long. It would have ended with Cindy going all Psycho on a blow-up Santa lawn ornament and drinking an entire bottle of Peppermint Schnapps in a tragic attempt to get Mariah Carey's version of "O' Holy Night" out of her head. 
   I'm just saying, it's a lot harder to get into the true spirit of the Holidays when every Who down in Who-ville is rushing the mall with a can of pepper spray just to get their hands on an Xbox.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Why I'm considering a coffee-can under the mattress type of savings account..

     I had my Debit card information stolen this week.
     Rather, it was stolen about a year ago along with half of the population of Loveland, Colorado and I just found out about it this week. Apparently anyone who used a card at the movie theater in town in the last few years got their information stolen whether they know about it yet or not. So if you live in Northern Colorado and happened to go see Harry Potter or something last year.. I don't mean to freak you out or anything but yeah, you're pretty much screwed.
    Anyway, what happened was I was using my money to do super responsible things like get the oil changed in my car and buy a totally cute hoodie, which was on sale for crazy cheap and how could I not take advantage of what was obviously a huge mistake on the retailer's part, when my debit card got declined.*

      * Nobody panic I still got my hands on the hoodie. Even I will humble myself enough to use a checkbook out of materialistic desperation.

   However, the consumption of some Birthday-Kahlua and a severe cold combined with my already non-existent attention span meant that I didn't remember this issue until around 11 pm that night.
   The following is pretty much an exact transcript of my multiple conversations with bank employees, illustrating why having your account compromised ends up making you angrier at your own bank than the thieves themselves.
    Also please note that this conversation starts after several minutes of trying to get an automated system to understand my wheezy flu-voice.

    Automated telephone system (I named her Phyllis after the first few minutes): Thank you for calling Merp-a-derp Bank-that-shall-not-be-named customer service line. What are you calling about today?
    Me: Uh.. *cough cough* account fraud?

   Phyllis: I'm sorry, that is not one of our options. Please state why you are calling. Your answer could include things like; "What is my account balance?" "I would like to transfer funds" or "How can I"-

   Me: My account has been compromised

    Phyllis: I'm sorry, please say again.

    Me: My account *cough hack* has been compromised.

   *This continues for several minutes. I hope they don't record that portion of the call because Phyllis got a piece of my mind*

   Phyllis: Please hold.....

   Michael: Thank you for calling Merp-a-derp Bank my name is Michael how may I assist you today?

   Me: Yeah, I think my account has been compromised.

   Michael: My goodness I am so very sorry about that Mam! Let me pull up your account and take a look.

   *At this point I realize that because of my gravely flu-voice Michael thinks I'm a 65 year old smoker. Now he's pulling up my account and seeing that I have the financial history of a 21 year old coffee addict. While this is awkward, I'm far to tired and lazy to explain.*

  Michael: Ok I'm looking at your account right now, which transactions are you looking at?

   Me: Uh.. all the ones in Nebraska.

    Michael: I see, any reason these raise red flags for you?

   Me: Well Michael, for starters I don't live in Nebraska. Also it would be really hard to buy gas in Colorado and Nebraska in the same 20 minutes....
     *I wanted to add: "Unless I've got a time machine, but those are pretty hard to come by, and from what I can see they only really give those out to British people." but I didn't... *

    Michael: Oh I see well that is a very good point Mam. I'm going to give you peace of mind today! What I am going to do is file a report concerning these transactions.....wait...... ok well our system is down so I can't actually file your claim right now.

   Me: Ok.... so now what?

    Michael: Well, if I were you, I would call back in a few minutes..... or a couple hours...

   Me: Really? That's your "Peace of Mind"? Can't you at least, I dunno, write someone a note?

 Michael: What I can do is transfer you to someone at Mer-hurrrpaderr Financial who will help you make sure this never happens again..

   Me: Well no actu-

   Megan: Hello, this is Megan at Mer-hurrrpaderr Financial! I understand you are interested in signing up for identity theft protection! Let me get your information and we will start your no risk trial for only a dollar!

    Me: Megan, it's midnight here. I'm just trying to get my debit card frozen so no one can buy any more candy-bars in Grand Island. So if you could transfer me back...

   Megan: I am sorry for the inconvenience and I do hope you reconsider my offer!

   Me: if you could just-


   *This results in yet another painfully long conversation with Phyllis, after which I am finally transferred to a different employee...*

    Anthony: HellothisisAnthonyhowmayIassistyoutoday?
  *At this point I should point out that I can barely hear poor Anthony. This is not because of his accent, which I am very good at understanding, but because he talks so fast it makes you think his calls are being timed. I'm sure my slow, Nyquil affected speech was not helping him meet his productivity quota.* 

   Me: Um... my account has been compromised.

    Anthony: IseeIamsosorrywhydoyouthinkthishashappened?

   Me: *sigh, cough* Someone is using it in Nebraska...

   Anthony: Okletmepullupyouraccountinfo..ok... yesIcanclearlyseetheproblemletmefileaclaimforyou?

   Me: Um, I'm sorry?

   Anthony: OhIwasjustsayingIamgoingtofileaclaim?

   Me: Could... could you repeat that?

   Anthony *sigh* I...amgoingto...file..a...claim.

   Me: Oh Ok cool.

   Anthony: It looks like our systemsaredown so I wouldhavetofile an actualpaperformso.. thatwouldtakemequiteawhile...

   Me: Anthony?

   Anthony: Yes Mam, howcanIhelpyou?

   Me: Do you have a pen?

   Anthony: Um... yes?

   Me: Cool. I'll hold.

    I am absolutely positive Anthony hates me a little bit, but there is just a certain time of night, after a few doses of cold medicine and one too many arguments with Phyllis when I just don't give a rat's ass.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Baylee's Totally Deep Movie Review Time

     *Disclaimer: I know I'm making a fool of myself even writing about this, but I think a lot of you, deep down inside, also have a mild, sick fascination with these films. I'm here to save you the cash that you were about to spend out of curiosity*

      Due to circumstances quite out of my control (A birthday wish from someone who shall remain nameless for their own well-being), I was coerced into watching the latest installment of the Twilight series. In the Theater. The Saturday directly following it's release. Watching a Honeymoon scene with a room full of tweens is officially my 3rd circle of Hell.
      I know movie reviews aren't really my thing but there are just some things I really need to get off my chest here folks, so hang in there.
"All of these people are about to have
some serious feelings"
    This is going to be the shortest movie review ever I promise.

    In fact, I'm not even going to review it, I'll just summarize it and let you decide if it was worth the $6.50 Matinee price I paid for it.

    First of all, we are all too familiar with the 80's training montages set to ACDC songs or the like. I have nothing against these, in fact I'm rather fond of them. Pretty much every ACDC song I own conjures up some sort of training montage in my highly impressionable mind. So imagine my distress when I was forced to sit through the fantasy-romance version of this scene: The Emotion Montage.
     Rather than a bunch of weight-lifting and cool martial arts moves set to a sweet rock anthem, the Emotion Montage features a bunch of slow motion flashbacks and close-ups of faces sporting that "slightly tormented" downward gaze, set to a bunch of Iron and Wine songs. Oh and there wasn't just one. There were about twelve.

          So here is a scene-by-scene breakdown of Breaking Dawn Part I:

    Monotone voice-over that begins every film......Wedding.............. Emotion Montage........................Honeymoon-very awkward not-so-sexy-time- Happiness Emotion Montage* .... ............................ Pregnant!...... Emotion Montage..........................................Jacob is here!....... ................................ Emotion Montage..........................Disney-esque wolf argument............... Emotion Montage .............................Bella is sick! Worry! ..................................... Emotion Montage.... .........................Acceptably gory C-section...................................Bella is dead! Emotion Montage!. ...........................Slow close up of dead-Bella's face.......... ... Eyes open! 

     *This differs from other Emotion Montages by replacing "slightly   tormented" downward gaze with "bashfully twitterpated" downward gaze

     Basically what I'm saying here is, nothing happens in this movie..... except lots and lots of feelings. Oh and one weird scene with some poorly animated wolves and dramatic voice-overs.

"We're having emotions."
     I hope you enjoyed the movie review. It was about as deep and well thought-out as the movie itself.

       P.S. I'm way too lazy to do any sort of research on this but if I had to guess I'd say this film was directed by a girl. If I'm wrong, then he's gay. Even if he says he's not, he is. Just wait and see.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Why I could totally be the next Crocodile Hunter- Rescuing small, fluffy, sharp-toothed animals like a total bad-ass.

      *This actually happened awhile ago, but I'm just getting around to posting it because of that whole month of being really busy and stressed and also a wee-bit depressed. 

    I live in a neighborhood with a higher population of rabbits than actual people. Seriously it's like Watership Down around here. Driving down the street after dark is akin to a very stressful game of wack-a-mole only you're trying not to hit the tiny fluffy creatures jumping out in front of you.
   The rabbits, though not tame by any means, are surprisingly nonchalant. One day this summer I narrowly avoided flattening a large rabbit that was lying on it's back in the middle of my driveway.
      Because of it's position and complete lack of awareness I at first assumed it was dead. I got out of my car with the intention of finding a shovel and discreetly depositing it's sad little body in my neighbors yard (because I don't have the heart to throw it in the trash but am also far too lazy to bury it, and also my neighbor is INSANE and it would have been funny). As I got closer the rabbit lifted it's head and stared at me as if to say "What? see something you like here? *wink*".
       It wasn't until I got about four feet from it's upturned belly that it finally rolled over and hopped into the yard. I finished pulling my car into the garage and then watched from my window as it hopped back onto the pavement and flopped over to continue his sunbathing.

    My point is, there are a lot of rabbits and they do not fear death despite one of their brethren occasionally ending up flattened on the road or eaten by a dog. So it came as a rather large surprise when I found out that my house possesses a death trap that they have not figured out how to avoid or escape from.

    When we first moved in I vaguely remember having a conversation with our landlord about the window-well that went something like this:
      Landlord: "So there's just the one window-well and it doesn't have a cover, is that a problem?"
      Me: "Yes it is, someone could fall in!"

     Landlord: " Oh you mean like a small child? Ok I can put a cover on it."

     Me: "Err.. yes.. a child! Totally. A kid would fall in there. Not grown-ups though because they are more graceful. Yes, cover it... for the children."

    Roommate: "Uh, we don't have any children. It's fine, the dog is smart enough not to fall in."

    Me: "Yes.. right, the dog. That's what I was worried about. Not me or anything haha."
     Then one day I was down in the basement doing laundry when I heard thumping and scratching noises coming from the window. I pulled back the curtain to find this little dude attempting to claw his way up the metal wall.
I shall give him carrots and call him Fortinbras.      
     I guess I'm less compassionate than I thought because my first reaction was to mock him for being dumb enough to get stuck in this giant hole. It was funny until I noticed something that I'm sure was far more upsetting for the bunny than me- a tiny bunny skeleton half buried in leaves a few feet away.
     I realized this rabbit, however dumb he may be, did not deserve to die a slow lonely death like that and also I named him Fortinbras, so I couldn't just leave him there.
    First order of business in any rescue mission is to gather intel. For this I went upstairs, where I discovered two bunny cohorts observing the whole situation from the backyard. They were both munching on grass and occasionally peeking over the side of the window-well as if to say:
      "Sucks Bro. keep jumping.. you'll totally get out."
     Then they turn to each other and whisper things like:
       "It's never gonna happen." 

          "He's a gonner for sure."

    Poor little Fortinbras had no hope of being rescued from the outside. Not only is the hole incredibly deep, it was also basically impossible to see him. Camo-fur was not paying off in this particular situation-

     I decided to attempt my rescue from the basement where Fortinbras is within arms reach, and somehow transport him upstairs into the yard.
     While I have rescued plenty of small rodents and birds in my lifetime, I decided to consult an expert on this one. Fortinbras was happily munching on carrots at the moment, but I knew the second I opened the window the odds of him voluntarily hopping into my arms were probably pretty slim.
    I texted my cousin Erin who works at a Wildlife Rescue, thinking she would have some good advice.
      Me: "About to rescue a bunny from my window-well. Any advice?"
    The problem with people who spend their days putting splints on bear cubs and repairing golden eagle wings is that to them, rabbits are the things they feed to the baby mountain lions to make sure they can hunt before releasing them.
    I'm not saying small animals don't matter, nor that they don't also rescue squirrels and whatnot on a regular basis, only that real Wildlife experts have an annoying habit of seeing the big picture, food-chain-wise.
    Also they are a little spoiled with their rescue gear.
   Erin: "Use some thick gloves rabbits bite and scratch. Also a pole and net. Also rabbits tend to panic and flail and break their own backs. so just be aware of that."

    Very helpful dear. A list of things I do not have and a piece of information for which there is no solution. I immediately began to panic over the thought of poor little Fortinbras breaking his back. Not so much his death, Lord knows I have witnessed enough fluffy tragedies to deal with that. No, I was panicking over the thought of him breaking his own back and staying alive. What would I do then? My cousin, with her fancy gear and veterinary-type skills would probably have a syringe and just let him slip away quietly, mercifully ending his self-induced pain.
   But what am I supposed to do? Take him out back and hit him with a shovel?

    But I also couldn't leave him to die so I mustered up all my courage and headed to the garage to search for supplies.
    In lea of gloves and net I went with: Long sleeved shirt, old blanket, and a cardboard box.

    I had the forethought to lock my roommate's dog in a bedroom before I potentially released a wild rabbit into our basement, but I forgot about my cat, who took up watch from the Futon a few feet away with a look on his face that can only be interpreted as:
         "Oh this is going to be such a good show..."
     From my position in the basement I could also see two bunny noses peeking curiously over the edge of the wall above.
    Despite the stares of my skeptical audience I managed get the box over the top of the rabbit fairly easily and felt a wave of relief when he decided to deal with his panic by freezing up completely instead of the wild flailing Erin warned me about.
   However, anytime I attempted to slide the box towards me, the flailing would start, along with some sad squeaks I was previously unaware rabbits could produce. So we sat there for a few moments in Limbo. Me unable to move the box but unwilling to set him free, his bunny friends watching unsupportively from the yard, and my cat smugly grooming himself on the futon.
    Finally I decided to do it in one quick move hoping to get him up the stairs and outside before he had time to snap his fragile little spine. I slid the box inside, flipped it over and closed the flaps in a much-less-than-fluid movement, sustaining several scratches on my arms and somehow succeeding in hitting myself in the face (something that happens a little to often considering I am an adult with relatively good hand-eye coordination).
    Anyway I totally got Fortinbras upstairs and outside all on my own, proving that you don't need fancy equipment to rescue rabbits LIKE A BOSS.
   The scratches I sustained were deemed minor and undeserving of a rabies shot (I came to this diagnosis on my own by factoring in my fear of needles with the fact that Fortinbras did not appear rabid), and we got a cover for the window well to prevent future tragedies.
    And now here is a completely unrelated picture of a bunny to distract you from the fact that this very long blog post has no climax, pay-off, or conclusion of any kind.



Friday, November 4, 2011

We Apologize for the Convenience: The Check Writers- an observational essay on why it's not 1994.

   Handwritten checks.
    I know right? The very fact that they still exist is laughable, but the sheer amount of people that still use them to pay for anything is downright astonishing. Yet on an average day I process around twelve of these things.
   Everything will be going smoothly in Toaster-land until that checkbook pops out.
   The second a customer opens up a checkbook, times comes to a halt and customers and employees alike have to hold back the simultaneous groan that involuntarily bubbles up inside their throats.
     By the time the offender has finished the process of opening said checkbook, finding a new check, folding down the crease and putting on their glasses, I'm already waiting with an amazingly patient and understanding smile plastered on my face and a pen at the ready.
     That pen never works though, or it's the wrong color, or it has germs, and the entire store has to continue their excruciating flashback to 1994 until a better pen has been located.
    The check is then filled out and after gathering every single bit of information from current address and phone number to blood-type, I begin to process the check.
     Provided everything goes smoothly this process can take upwards of six or seven minutes, which in retail time is around forty years (give or take part of a lunch break and factoring in the tax-rate). However, everything rarely goes smoothly because even our check processing machine is upset that it's being used. Every time a check is inserted it makes a grinding noise as if to say:
        "What the hell people? I should be in retirement! Somebody call President Reagan and tell him the labor laws need changed, this is outrageous!"
       And then it just spits it back and beeps out an "Eff that."
   Perhaps the most amazing thing is that usually only around 75% of the offenders are over the age of sixty-five. The others are upsettingly young. Young enough that I am beginning to worry the Hipsters are going to embrace them, and if that happens the efficiency of the check-out process is completely doomed.
    I understand that most Senior Citizens can't be expected to learn how to use the debit card machine. I still weep with joy every time I see one of my Grandparents successfully operating a cell-phone. Seniors get a pass on this subject for the very same reason that I will expect a pass fifty years from now when I'm still rocking an iPod and haven't gotten around to micro-chipping my iTunes library into my brain-stem. (Plus, in those cases, the check writing isn't the only thing that slows down the process. Payment is constantly interrupted anyway when I have to keep reminding them where they are and why they are buying a cheese-grater.)
   But I'd like to give a shout-out to the thirty-something business woman with her iPhone and practical heels:
      You Mam, should be ashamed of yourself. You are obviously very businessy since you are wearing dress-pants and can work Excel on your smart-phone just fine. I get that these items, which include a space heater and Genie-Bra, are going on the "Business Account" but for the love of VISA: God of Materialism, get yourself a damn credit card.
      Did you time-travel all the way from the 1900's just to mildly inconvenience everyone around you? Do you actually prefer handing over what is essentially an IOU and spending the next several weeks wondering if it's been cashed? Are you aware that there are faster, more convenient ways to handle money, or did you miss the transitional decades in between 1985 and the Present?

  I use checks for two things only:
                  1. To pay rent - and this is only because my landlord won't get with the times and acquire his own personal  debit card machine. Completely out of my control.

                  2. To reimburse my parents for things - this is my own personal IOU system. I write them a check for the amount I owe, and mail it  (I know right? Like, in an envelope.. with a stamp. It's adorable) to them with a sweet little note that says something like :  

             "Hey Mom, 
                    Here is the money I owe you, thanks again for paying that hospital bill and all.
             Only, could you do me one favor and just not deposit this until I tell you? I totally have the money and everything it's just I would hate to have to dip into my saving account right now, I'm trying to keep that money safe for my mission trip next year. For the children. 
             Anyway, I love you so much and I will so totally text you when you can deposit this, and it's going to be totally soon!
                                                                                                Baylee "  

       Other than those two very logical examples, I can see no good reason to write a check in this day and age. I'm confused about why the Banks still print them.
       This problem directly ties in to another serious issue everyone seems to have: The inability to work a debit card machine even though they all follow basic protocol and have been around for well over ten years. I assure you there will be a post dedicated to this subject very soon. Until then, I ask only one thing of anyone still rocking the checkbook.
    The next time you pull that thing out in line at Target, hear the groan from the person behind you, and notice that ever-so-slight deadening of your cashier's eyes, ask yourself this:
     How would you feel if you were a cashier and when you asked for a check, someone handed you a bag of gold doubloons?

     *This post is dedicated to my Mother, who is under the age of fifty but still uses checks to buy groceries. 
      P.S. There's a prize for anyone who can guess who's check that is a picture of.

            P.P.S. There isn't really a prize, I just want to prove my point about checks being obsolete.


Monday, October 24, 2011

So Here's What Happened...

 Remember this post from the beginning of the semester about classes starting and how you should all expect a stress meltdown around late October?

  Well anyhoo, I'm totally back now and the only casualties were a jar of peanut butter and my blissful ignorance regarding whether or not I could in fact fit an entire bottle of wine in my purse.

  I've decided to begin referring to these meltdowns as "Baylee's Bi-Annual Breakdowns" because it happens right on schedule right around midterms every semester and also because, you know, alliteration.
     I'm going to have to do some fact checking with my parents, but as far as I can tell this has been happening on a regular basis since kindergarten.
    Many kids are born with disadvantages of one kind or another. I was born shouldering a figurative satchel of stress* disproportionate to my level of awareness. I may have mentioned this before, but I popped out with dark circles under my eyes, biting my lower lip as if to say "Was that ok? Did I do it right? I'm sorry I'm early I was just so concerned about being late you know..."

    *Look at me with the alliteration. If I add more spaces I could pass this off as post-modern poetry.
  Stressed-and-Anxious was kind of my default mode as a small child. Take that and throw in the need for perfection and it wasn't long before the professionals thought it was best to medicate me in what I think was a preemptive attempt to prevent me from going all Carrie on my third-grade class.

   Over the years I have learned to deal with these tendencies and as a result I have become an expert in all things relaxation. Seriously, if you could get a degree in "Stress Relief" I'd be all over it. I should be the most relaxed a person could be without the addition of narcotics. I'm thinking of opening a Relaxation Clinic (it's like a spa but everyone wears sweatpants and carries around a fluffy pet and we serve pumpkin spice lattes and watch HGTV all day).
   So perhaps the most annoying thing is that even though I know what's happening and have every trick in the proverbial "meltdown prevention book" at my disposal, I can't seem to avoid them. I have tried to pinpoint certain triggers but had to give up because either I have none at all or too many to bother counting. Here are triggers I identified before I realized identifying them was itself a trigger:

    - Not going outside enough

    - Going outside too much

     - Not enough socializing

     - Too much socializing

     - Not enough exercise

     - Setting high goals

     - Too much exercise

     - Having only trivial goals

     - Too much coffee

     - Swimsuit shopping

     - Not enough coffee

     - Too many classes

     - When the special strawberry you've been saving for last is actually rotten

      - No classes at all

      - Losing a game of Peggle

     - Too much Law and Order: SVU

   Before anyone becomes overly concerned about my mental health I feel I should argue that these are all valid points and really the disturbing/admirable thing here is my ability to micro-analyze my issues with such attention to detail.
   So because I have so many/zero identifiable triggers it's hard to tell exactly when these meltdowns will occur, how long they will last, or what form they will take.
   Sometimes I can feel them coming several days in advance. Last semester's meltdown began slowly, but it's severity increased exponentially over the course of a week eventually culminating in a nervous breakdown in the doctor's office when a lab tech tried to draw blood to test for the thyroid problems everyone was positive I had. Turns out, it was just the Bi-Annual Breakdown manifesting as serious illness, inability to concentrate, insomnia and lack of energy.
    This semester's meltdown took me completely by surprise. It appeared out of nowhere a few weeks ago, smacked me in the face and then skipped away having left me with a lingering feeling that it wasn't quite finished with me yet. That's when the jar of peanut butter was consumed, as per usual, and the stress of waiting for a relapse is what facilitated the wine bottle-purse discovery.
    Then I was driving home after an average day at work (meaning mostly terrible but not quite horrifying) listening to some new music and generally just enjoying the fact that all I had to do that evening was eat dinner and trim the cat's claws (not that that's a fun activity, but I do sort-of enjoy the challenge).
      As I came over a hill I passed a a truck driving the opposite way. Just a regular truck, driving in his lane doing everything perfectly safely and following all traffic laws. That is exactly the moment when stress-induced full on crazy-town moment went down in my brain completely unprovoked. This is a play-by-play:

     Did that guy swerve a little?

Was he drunk? He could have hit me!

Crap I'm out of milk.

What if he had hit me?
What if I had died?


I'm going to die someday. 
Maybe not soon, but eventually.
 Death is inevitable for everyone.


What if there is no Heaven and we all just cease to be?
There is no consciousness before life, why should there be any after life?

Steve Jobs died. That was sad.

I hear soymilk is better for you, maybe I should switch to soymilk... or almond milk....

Seriously though, we all just die.... so what's the point achieving anything?

What's the point in even trying to be happy if you aren't going to be able to remember that happiness after death? Everyone works so hard to be successful but what is the point of it all?

I'm going to die someday



............................................What if there's no God?

   This last thought was immediately followed by a panic attack that included an overwhelming feeling of despair and terror so great it physically hurt me and I stopped breathing for a good thirty seconds. Then right as I was about to pull over and find a paper bag, the moment passed, a new song came on the radio, and I spent the rest of my drive filled with an odd kind of serenity that I can only imagine was a subconscious defense mechanism that people have to stop their brains from exploding while over-philosophying.
   I'm not exaggerating about the panic attack either. I Googled the symptoms and I assure you it's as horrible as it sounds on Wikipedia.
    At any rate I think it's over now, until spring semester anyway. 

   Oh plus I found this really helpful diagram in case it ever happens again and one of you is near me:
Thanks Wikipedia,
I never would have thought of that.

   Also, I'm kind of glad I was right about the relapse or there would be no way to justify the wine bottle thing.



Friday, October 7, 2011

"Die, Childlike Sense of Wonder, Die!" - The dark side of the Holidays

   Every year, retail tries it's hardest to kill my childlike love of Christmas. I love the Holiday season, probably more than is healthy for someone my age. I can't help it, I love the music, the smells, the food, the emotions... (not the real ones like Resentment and Jealousy, but the ones in the movies, like Love and Selfless Joy). I spend October through December obsessively collecting harvest scented candles and pumpkin-pie recipes. I pretend to be annoyed by the carols blasting over the loud speaker all day and then hop in my car and sing a-long to them all the way home.
   But this week blatant and unrepentant materialism tried it's darnedest to kill the child in my soul.

    It started early in the morning with a migraine and the horrifying discovery of an empty shelf where the espresso should be. On a regular day I can handle these things with some semblance of decorum but today also happened to be Christmas Freight day.
   You see, the retail world runs on a different schedule than the rest of us and not even baby Jesus himself can seem to keep up. This means that for us the Christmas season pushes it's way into our lives on October 1st and makes our stockroom resemble Santa's post-earthquake workshop before regular people have even had a chance to pick out a Halloween costume.
    So I faced a day of unloading boxes of items like this:
That's right, it's a toilet seat cover. Because everyone want's to tinkle on Santa.

             .........with no coffee and a throbbing head-ache. These items don't trickle in over the course of several months either. Instead they all arrive on one day and you suddenly find yourself faced with a stockroom that looks like a reindeer ate some elves and then crapped glitter all over the place. Even for someone who loves the Holidays, it's a hard thing to take.
     Even Hanukkah tries it's darnedest to get in on the misery. I'm not very familiar with all of the history involved with this Holiday, but if I had to piece it together based solely on the items we sell in our store, I'd say it has something to do with tacky LED candles and the worshiping of Dreidels. 
    It doesn't help that roughly 98% of my co-workers are already shamelessly bitter about the Holiday season. I can hardly blame them for this. Even thinking about the abuse that I have taken on past Christmas Eve's from the woman who holds me personally responsible for running out of mini cupcake makers, or the gentleman who thinks I should already know the perfect gift for his estranged son, makes me want to hide out and not show myself till February.

     This week almost broke me. After nothing but negative rants about the Holidays from every person you talk to, and being faced with the undeniably tacky decorations that we manage to convince the public they simply must have, it's hard to keep that childlike sense of wonder.
       It was in the middle of listening to my boss rant about how stupid and pointless Christmas is and wading through our stockroom trying not to trip over items like this:
"Hey kids, if you love Santa so much, why don't you eat him?"

Or, if you're Jewish:
The blessed dreidel.
   ... that I finally had to agree that as far as retail is concerned, the Holidays just aren't that great. Capitalism and consumerism have almost ruined the whole thing for me, and I suddenly understand why other people hate it so much. Starting in October, retailers start pushing you to buy tons of crap in the name of Santa and/or The Almighty Dreidel. It's hard to find the joy in that.
   So I settled on the age-old sentiment popularized by losers and turncoats: "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em".
   I still love the Holidays and, outside of work, will continue to revel in the season. I will continue to watch movies like Prancer and bawl my eyes out, and will unabashedly indulge in binge-caroling while peer pressuring friends to join in.
  But at work I'm just going to go ahead and Grinch it up. I can't take the pressure of assuming the role of Cindy-Lou Who. I'm just not that strong, and besides, who can truly love the holidays every minute while simultaneously listening to this:

......over and over....and over...and over again, all day long. About twelve of them. All singing at once. 
With Back-up singing by this guy:

From now until January.

                    *For the full effect, play both videos at the same time. Then open this page in 12 new windows and press play on all the videos. It's like singing in a round on cocaine!


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Discoveries made during a lengthy stretch of self-pity.

 This commercial makes a good point...

But I can fit an entire bottle of wine in my purse. I'd like to see a kindle do that.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Scenes from Retail.

Me: Ok and the coupon saves you four dollars so your total comes to $37.95

Customer: Wait, the coupon is only for one item?

Me: Well, yes, but it automatically comes off your most expensive item to save you the most money! *Giant smile and fake enthusiasm in an effort to ward off the inevitable...*

Customer: Oh. Well, I thought it was off my entire purchase...

Me: Oh, I'm terribly sorry about that, how about if you come across anymore you just bring them back in and I'll apply them towards today's purchase?

Customer: But I thought it was off the entire thing. It was a little unclear.

Me: Well as you can see on the coupon itself right here it says "Off one single item".

Customer: Well how was I supposed to see that?

Me: It's the biggest thing on the coupon.

Customer: Well, I was confused by it.

Me: *twitch*

Customer: I found it confusing.

Me: I am very sorry about that. Did you still want to purchase these items?

Customer: The coupon. It was confusing.

My Brain: GGGHAAAAAAAAHHHHH %*&$#@!!!!!

Me: I am so sorry about that, let me see what I can do to accommodate you today....

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

We Apologize for the Convenience: Why Hoarders is no joke.

   A few weeks ago I started watching Hoarders for the first time ever. I was unaware when I started how quickly that show can suck you in. You sit down to watch one episode and before you know it you're halfway through a season and your own junk drawer is spread out on your living room floor as you desperately try to purge your life of anything resembling clutter. 
    It got so bad for me that I got a message from my cousin who shares my Netflix account which read:
                "I've been noticing how much Hoarders you have been watching lately and it's beginning to concern me. Is everything okay over there?"

   I replied with a few jokes and assurances that I am capable of handling such things like a mature adult, but she was right to be concerned. You can only watch so many kitty corpses be unearthed in someone's guest bedroom before the general horror of this affliction turns into full-on depression. Two episodes will make you feel great about your own house. Five episodes will change how you feel about that empty cereal bowl that's been sitting on your desk for three days from slight embarrassment to full blown terror.  
    Unlike my sister, who has to fight the urge to keep everything from empty lotion bottles to her baby teeth, I am almost the opposite of sentimental. I rarely have a problem tossing anything that I am not currently using and I only kept my childhood toys out of respect for my Mother. They have since been lost in the chaos of moving several times last year, and if I really think about it really hard, I get a little sad. 
   (I took a psychological profiling survey once that classified this behavior as psychopathic. I'll take psychopathic over pathological hoarder any day.)
    The nice thing about Hoarders is if you stop watching it (if you can stop watching) you can forget about it and remove yourself emotionally from the horror of it. 
    Except that I totally know a hoarder. I'm not even kidding, I wish I was. For the purposes of anonymity in the event that she finds and somehow learns to use a computer, and happens upon this post, we shall refer to her as Bilbo, for reasons that will soon become clear. (Also she kind of resembles him only bigger. Much bigger.)
    I know that Hoarding is a serious mental disorder and that we should be sensitive and understanding of those afflicted by it... but this woman drives me crazy. I know she only comes in to the store because she is sad and alone and a compulsive hoarder, but holy crap lady how many dented broilers do you need?
   When I spot Bilbo ambling across the parking lot I find every excuse to hide. These excuses have become so desperate they now include the following:
        - I think I saw someone puke in housewares, I'll go clean it up.

         - I'm really upset about my hamster dying

        - I have really bad cramps.

        - I'm just really emotional right now because I saw this Youtube video of a Lion hugging a human and I can't stop crying about it.

    I'm really good at handling crazy people. I used to work in the Aspen Valley for crying out loud and those women are bat-shit. It's just that Bilbo's personality can literally change in a split-second. She'll start out by calling you "Sweetheart" and "Honey" and then the very instant you even think about saying no to giving her an additional discount on the half-off used Bra-Baby in her hands she morphs into a crazy-ass gremlin and starts shouting expletives and accusing you of (I'm not even kidding right now) trying to get her to hyperventilate and die.
    Seriously every time she doesn't get what she wants it's like this:

  "You're exaggerating" you say. "She's just a lonely old lady who want's someone to talk to." you say. I'll prove it. Here is a play-by-play of her last transaction at our establishment.
   Me: Hello, did you find everything okay?"

  Bilbo: (Hands me a display model of a crock-pot already marked 75% off) I want you to mark that down for me.

Me: It looks like it was marked down to this price just this morning.. (looks up and sees the familiar glare beginning to form) but let me call a manager and see what I can do!

Bilbo: Oh thanks so much Sweetie that's very nice of you!
(Non-confrontational manager marks down crock-pot without saying a word in an effort to get her out of the store as quickly as possible. Bilbo then pulls a total of six Jupiter Jacks out of her cart.)
 Bilbo: I want to know why these are marked down to $2.50 a piece. How do I know they are going to work if they are so cheap?
"cheeaaper pleeaassssse"

Me: Well I haven't heard too much about them I just know they haven't sold terribly well, probably because they plug into the cigarette lighter in your car.

Bilbo: I don't have a cigarette lighter.... oh well they will make great Christmas presents. I don't suppose I could get them any cheaper?

Me: Unfortunately these items can't be discounted because they are not damaged.

Bilbo: I can't believe this! Why the hell would I spend that much money on things I can't even use! If you don't mark them down I swear to GOD I WILL MAKE A FORMAL COMPLAINT! (Full on scary Bilbo face) I WILL HAVE YOUR JOB! I'M HAVING HEART PALPITATIONS AND I'M LATE FOR A DOCTOR'S APPOINTMENT! WHERE IS THAT MANAGER WHO MARKED DOWN THE CROCK-POT??!!

Me: (Desperately)Why don't I just use this coupon you have on those and save you an additional 20%?

Bilbo: Oh...... well alright Honey if that's really the best you can do.....
  (I have seen enough Hoarders now to know that all of those Jupiter Jacks are now buried in the piles of other useless crap she has bought in the past, and will never become gifts. Plus, if we're her only friends, who's she going to give them too?)

   She proceeded to purchase:
         - Two double Boilers marked 75% off because of dents

         - A child's play tent (You know, for the neighborhood kids)

         - Three 50% off tank-tops, size S (This woman is at least a 2XL)

         - Four egg slicers

         - A used Genie Bra, size M.

         - A Frog key-chain that lights up and "ribbits" when you push a button, clearanced out for 39 cents because it doesn't actually make any sound. 
                         - She pondered this particular purchase for a good ten minutes, asking me if I thought the batteries just needed changed. You cannot change the batteries on two dollar key-chains. She eventually made the purchase after telling me her ex-brother-in-law is good with things like that and she's pretty sure he could repair it. Who want's to bet this froggy key-chain will never be seen again unless someone nominates Bilbo for the show?

    This post has no resolution because there is no resolution for Bilbo. It's like one of those really depressing episodes of Hoarders where the person cracks under the pressure and kicks the cleaning crew out of their house. The screen fades to solemn camera panning of the house and  then some close-ups of the person peering out through their window at the dump trucks pulling out. The script reads:

(fade in)
           " The clean-up is considered a failure and the crew pulls out after only three hours." 
(fade out)
(fade in):
        " Bilbo has refused aftercare and will not see a therapist."
(fade out)
(fade in):
"Her Hoarding shows no signs of stopping."
(fade in underneath):
"Neither does her verbal abuse of retail employees"


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Scenes from Retail.

 Me: (in reference to Madonna's song "4 Minutes" playing over the speaker system) I just don't get this song.. it really reminds me of Larryboy.

Male Coworker: Larryboy?

Me: Ya you know, the superhero version of Larry the Cucumber...

Male Coworker: .....Cucumber.....?

Me: Ya, you know... he sings the Water Buffalo Song!

Male Coworker: The.....Water Buffalo....Song....

Me: Yes! (Proceeds to sing Water Buffalo Song in it's entirety)

Male Coworker:.............It truly is a wonder that you're still single......

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Confessions of a self proclaimed baby-phobe (the medically correct term is pedophobe but that just sounds wrong).

   This summer I went on a journey of self discovery. Not a real journey, those take a lot of planning and apparently money, so the physical journey of self discovery will be taking place in the future (more on that that later... maybe.. but probably not).
     No folks, this summer I had an emotional journey of self discovery, set in motion and made possible by several individuals and many technological communication devices.

   Okay so if we want to get technical here, it was really someone else's emotional journey. They put in all the hard work, heartbreak, struggle and joy and what I did was watch from afar and feed off the emotion emanating from various Facebook posts and/or texts. At any rate, while someone else was going through what was perhaps simultaneously the most difficult and joyous time of their life, I was cyber stalking them and learning some things about myself. So here's the thing....

I actually really like a baby.

    I know right? I don't like babies. I'm a self diagnosed baby-phobe. I don't understand them, I can't stop them from crying, and I'm always sure their parent's are judging me for not holding them right. But there is something about this baby... I'm not even related to her and yet every time I see a picture of her I make that obnoxious sound that dumb girls make every time they see a picture of a cat wearing clothes.
     Watch this: I give you, Baby Piper.........

"With the pearls! And the Bow! Eeek and her TINY FINGERS!"

      I know you guys, I'm broken. What is wrong with me?! I hate myself for loving this baby. What is it about her that gives me that weird excitement gurgle in the pit of my stomach? 
    I have always been able to judge babies completely objectively. (Not all babies are cute, and if you don't want to know the truth don't show me your baby because it's hard for me to lie convincingly.) So I guess it's possible that this is in fact the cutest baby in the world right? Because that's what my formerly objective brain is telling me.
      (Maybe it's because I have never met her- it's a lot easier to like something when you've never smelled it's poop.)

     This baby has me doubting myself in ways I never thought possible. A large portion of my personality is dependent on my apathy towards babies. If I admit to liking this baby, what comes next? I start liking pink toss pillows and Precious Moments figurines and start wearing bows in my hair and volunteering to teach Sunday School? If this is where it starts, where does it end?
    I noticed a wavering in my stance on babies a few months ago when I met my friend's daughter Maggie, of "token baby" fame.  I enjoyed that baby's company to the point where I almost volunteered to babysit. Almost.

    But there is something about this baby. Her story, or rather her parent's story, and her tiny LITTLE CHUBBY CHEEKS, and how she somehow accidentally became a part of my life. 
     So anyway, at the risk of bringing this whole Blog crashing down around itself due to it's flaky comedic foundation not being able to support the weight of this post, here is my confession: 

The Truthful Tale of How I Became Uncharacteristically Emotionally Attached to a Baby I Have Never Even Met.

   My sister's friend Kari got pregnant.* Obviously that's the beginning of the story, since the story ends with a baby. I didn't really care at that point though. No offense to anyone but people get pregnant all the time. I have documented proof (Sixteen and Pregnant) that it doesn't take a scholar to form an embryo. 
      *Why does that sound dirty? Anybody else notice that? It just always sounds like an accident when you put it that way... like, "I got Mono". I tried to class it up  but "with child" makes it sound like Jesus is about to pop out.

    So my sister was all,
  "Hey my friend is pregnant isn't that great?" and I said:
    "Ya cool!" and thought "Great, another freakin baby I'm gonna have to pretend is cute"

   But over the course of the next few months as I learned more about Kari, her husband, and the tiny person that one day would be Piper I found myself in an awkward place- emotionally invested in the lives of a family I do not know. 
   Kari's husband is a Marine and is currently deployed overseas. When they found out he would not be there for Piper's birth they began making plans to document everything as best they could. My sister is addicted to event planning and I can only imagine she jumped in and was halfway through the baby shower decoration designs with a junkie's glimmer in her eye before Kari even had a chance to ask her. She connected Kari with my roommate Rhema to take some maternity photos.
   It wasn't long before I was hearing about Kari from not only my sister but my roommate, my mother, and a friend of the family. Given my penchant for not giving a crap, I got nervous when I found myself caring.
   I actually wanted to know how things were going... I would text my sister just to check up on the tiny bun in a stranger's oven, and I found myself doing something I still have a hard time admitting- I Facebook stalked.*

      *It turned out to be less awkward when I found out Kari is a fan of this blog and had stalked me on more than one occasion. Still, it's just more creepy to sift through maternity pictures of a couple you don't even know...

   When I was told it was a girl I actually squeaked a little. It was so out of character that a coworker who was sitting near me when it happened actually offered me a painkiller. I found myself thinking about tiny little dresses and dolls. Seriously what is WITH that? I have seen a ton of baby girls before and my foremost thought is usually "we get it, she's a princess, can we tone down the pastels please?". And yet....

Gah!!! with the BOWS.... and the FEATHERS!

    Because Kari's husband couldn't be there for the birth my sister was offered the job. Don't even ask me how that happened, I'm still mystified. I love my sister but I can only imagine it going down like this:
      "OMG it's like, so gross down there. Oh Gosh what is HAPPENING?! Look I know you're the one in labor but I just really need to tweet about this.. it's like, soooo exciting! OMG are you ok? Push.... now smile for the camera!"*
     *I'm told it was nothing like this and she is a responsible adult.. but I can't get the 16 year old version out of my head.

   At any rate my sister was in the delivery room holding an iPhone with Kari's husband watching via Skype. Doesn't that just give you the tingles? It makes you want to smile all big and cry a little at the sweetness and emotion of it all right?* 
           *What has become of me? Maybe I should start collecting Beanie Babies.

    Because of my sister's very serious addiction to cell phones I was informed almost immediately when little Piper was on her way. I spent the next several hours locked in an emotional struggle with myself that went something like this:

Me: Oh my gosh Piper is on her way! I hope it's going alright! I hope Kari is okay!
Me: What do you care? it's so late go to bed already.
Me: But the baby is coming! I haven't gotten an update in awhile.. I hope everything is okay...
Me: You don't even know these people. If they let Leslie into the delivery room how smart can they be?
Me: is going to be gooey and smooshed and not cute at all... go to bed..
Me: Baby's coming...
Me: Who gives a crap?
Me: Baby....

    It's important to point out here that of course my emotional struggle is minuscule compared to the person actually giving birth without her husband there to hold her hand. Even thinking about the emotion-casserole involved in the whole situation makes me tear up a little. I can't stop admiring their strength.
     That said when I finally got an update saying an emergency C-section was scheduled I actually got worry-pangs in my stomach. Worry about two things:
    1. I hope and pray that Kari and Piper are both okay.
    2. I hope this baby is cute so I don't have to lie about it.

   I have been shown literally dozens of grainy cell phone pics of newborns and I think we can all agree that 90% of them are disgusting. For pete's sake can we just clean the white goo off it's face before snapping a photo? No one needs to remember the goo twenty years from now. I've seen pictures of me fresh out of the uterus and they are not attractive. I was born with the under-eye bags of a sixty-year old insomniac with a drinking problem.
   So I was at first surprised, then relieved, and finally horrified when I received my first picture of Piper and immediately thought she was beautiful...

With the tiny fingers holding the big finger!!! and her tiny little nose!!!

    Seriously I can't figure it out. Have I lost all objectivity, or is this honestly one of the cutest newborns in the world?  Suddenly I became that person running around the workplace forcing coworkers who couldn't give a crap to look at grainy cell phone pictures of my sister's friend's new baby. I abhorred myself at the time, and everyone else just thought maybe I was on drugs because why else would I be this emotional.  

    At any rate, it all went well and I received dozens of other pictures in the following weeks. My mother is now providing daycare for Piper and from what I can tell my whole family is just as obsessed with her. I can't decide if this is normal or not but there you have it. 
    I skyped them last week but it turns out babies aren't very good at video chat. They can't hold their heads up so they just stare at the ceiling and get increasingly frustrated by the disembodied voices. Nothing you say can really help them understand either.. comments like 
   "Hey baby, over here!" are met with startled gurgling and you can't help but follow it up with 
   "Hey baby, this is Jesus speaking... I'm watching you.... mwahahahaha.... oh don't cry baby I love you! I was just being funny..."

   I can't wait to meet this baby. Of course it's possible that this entire thing is only happening in my imagination and I'm really just like that crazy lady who stalked Paula Abdul for like four years or whatever, and the only result of this post will be a restraining order. I don't even care because this baby is way cuter than Paula Abdul and I don't want to kidnap her I just want to be her friend.

Look! with the teddy bear! And she is sucking her TINY thumb!!!

WHO AM I???!!!!!

   ***All of Piper's baby pictures were taken by Rhema Sturgeon of Rhema Faith Photography. I'm not just saying this to be nice, you all know I would never do that, but she is extremely talented and artistic. Check out her website here or follow the link on the side of my blog to visit her blog!***