Love Actually

%22and-remember-as-it-was-written-to-love-another-person-is-to-see-the-face-of-god-%22les-miserables

All during the month of February, I’ve focused on the word “love.”  It is the month of Valentine’s Day after all.  I’ve posted quotes on Facebook and Instagram all about showing the love.  I’ve focused my efforts on giving love, whether in service to others or learning to love myself a little better.  I’ve really tried to see the face of God in every person I’ve met or crossed paths with in one way or another.  I’ve even tried to love Donald Trump.  Ok…  So, I’m totally lying about that one.  Sorry.  I’m only human.  I’ve tried to smile more, engage strangers, look for ways to offer kindness and service, live out my faith in my day to day life.

fullsizeoutput_a1d

Well…I was doing really good till the last two days of February.  On February 27th, it all went to hell.  Where you will probably find me…  with my grocery cart of anger and bitterness.  There are two places where I’ve found myself to be at my most vulnerable to react negatively – the grocery store and behind the wheel of my car.  If I’m going to present the worst version of myself, it usually happens in one of those scenarios.  Patience, love, kindness and sanity – all completely thrown out the window when I either enter the swish swish doors of my local grocer or when I slip behind the wheel of my car. I don’t know what happens to me.  It’s almost an out of body experience, I see myself behaving badly but appear powerless to stop it.

fullsizeoutput_97d

It was a Monday, which should have been my first clue not to leave the house, but did I listen? Nope.  I dropped my husband off at the train station, and decided to stop by the store on the way home to just grab a few things, less than 5, it would take no time at all.  I’d zip in, then zip out.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy.  Right?  Wrong.  First, I talked myself into popping into the easiest grocery store from a navigation/proximity perspective.  After all, I only needed like maybe 5 things, 6 tops.  This is my least favorite location of this particular chain.  It smells funny.  I dislike the layout and parking is always bad.  I knew better than to stop here.  I should have gone just a teensy bit out of my way and perhaps none of this would have happened and I could have closed the month of February feeling as if I’d at least adequately mimicked a good person, full of love, generosity of spirit and a heart bursting with kindness and compassion.

1488378819214

Might seem a tad dramatic, but you understand my point.  So, I grab my few items and walk immediately to the “speedy checkout” line.  There are two people ahead of me.  The lady checking out is an employee buying some gummy bears and the girl in front of me, has maybe 22 items (even though the sign says 20 or less…but that’s okay, I’m choosing to let it go, if only I’d kept up that mantra).  As it turns out, the employee is buying 2 things of candy, apparently paying for them separately.  She is talking animatedly with the cashier, like they have all the time in the world.  I can feel the tiny pinpricks of annoyance.  I force myself to smile (which was probably more of a grimace really).  Her second transaction gets messed up.  Sigh.  More laughing and talking.  I’m thinking she eats that package of gummy bears faster than she paid for them.  My mood is deteriorating at lightning speed.  I can feel myself deconstructing, my good intentions paving that road to hell.  A road that will be paved before she finishes paying for these damn gummy bears.  At this point, my mask of tolerance has slipped and probably something like this has been left in its place…

joker-1928739__480

Naturally, she chooses this moment to turn around and look behind her (yeah color me speechless, you aren’t the only one in this line!)  She grabs another candy bar (which I ungraciously think she doesn’t really need…) and includes it with the gummy purchase.  Finally!  She is done.  She turns around and hands the candy bar to the girl in front of me (who has been on her cell phone the whole time probably tweeting complaints about the amount of time this lady is taking btw) and thanks her for being patient, then shoots me a dirty look.  I feel a tiny bit of remorse for my impatience.  Ok, not really.  The slight just makes me more agitated and annoyed.

The girl ahead of me is super speedy (God bless her).  Then it’s finally my turn.  Hours later.  I unload all my items, grab my purse and step toward the cashier when he does the thing that completely sends me over the edge.  He actually beckons to the guy behind me and says, “hey since you only have one thing, I’ll check you out real quick.”

OH NO HE DIDN’T.

THIS IS SO NOT HAPPENING.

I mean, yes, he only had one thing but I was next in line and I had been waiting longer.  He just got there!  Sure, there have been times, when I’m not in a hurry, that I’ve let people with fewer items step ahead of me, but that’s been MY choice.  I can’t even find words.  I’m just standing there with my mouth hanging open.  Incredulous.  When my brain catches up to the scene playing out in front of me, my face turns from shocked bewilderment to something that I’m pretty sure looks like this –

angry-1429013__480

He ignores my death stare and sharp breaths that would rival Darth Vader’s.  I know my face is bright red, I can actually feel the rage.  I’m so pissed off.  The only thing that saved him and me was the fact I was too angry to even speak.  I just stared him down.  I didn’t even acknowledge the guy buying his yellow stupid ball; although, in hindsight, why would he accept!  I would have at least made sure it was okay with the person waiting in front of me that I was cutting off!  I can feel myself getting mad all over again, just reliving it here. This is why I would never carry a gun.  I know my limitations.  Yes, I was that angry.  I was in a hurry to get home.  It had been a long day, and I only needed 6 THINGS!  SIX!  I jerked my items off the turnstile and threw them in my cart, finding every possible passive aggressive form of anger I could use against this seemingly unaffected cashier.  To his credit, my anger and eye shooting daggers didn’t seem to phase him in the least.  When nonverbal communication doesn’t work to affectively notify the object of my ire that I’m angry, I result to muttering under my breath.  Which I began to do now.  I think he just thought I was crazy.  Yeah yeah…don’t say it.  I know.

fullsizeoutput_9fe

The next morning, against my better judgment, I go to the same store, different location.  I needed binders and school supplies and it was too early for Staples and Target was too far.  There were no checkout lines open, so I had to use the self-checkout option.  Not a big deal.  I’m pro.  As I scan each item and drop into a bag, I get an error message.

“Unexpected item in the bagging area.”

This happened after each item.

EACH.

ITEM.

I had 6 binders, tab dividers, coffee, orange juice and apple juice, a journal and a spiral.

By the 3rd item, I could feel it happening again.  I get to the 4th binder and it won’t ring up.  It says the barcode is invalid.  At this point, the cashier is practically standing on top of me because she keeps having to enter her code after I scan each item.  She attempts to scan it, even though she just watched me do it, and same error message.  She attempts to manually type in the code.  THREE TIMES.  Same error message.

Then.

She walks away.  WITH MY BINDER.  Saying nothing.

I’m all like…um excuse me?  I need that?

She responds, “the code is wrong.”

Ummm.  Yeah.  I got that part.  But I say, “well, I have another one, the same size…?”

She responds, “different brand.”

Are you freaking kidding me?  They are like 50 cents.  Ok so there are literally 5 employees just standing around talking, maybe she was going to ask one of them to go pick up another binder for me?

Nope.

She walked over (with my binder under her arm) and helped another customer.  Shaking my head, I rang up the rest of my purchases.  Getting an error message each time about the unexpected bagging.  At this point, my jaw is clenched, my hands fisted.  It’s taking everything I have not to erupt.  She clears my errors from her main terminal, not walking back towards me.  So she’s not completely clueless.  After I ring everything up, but the binder in question, I look over at her again.

She’s still holding my binder.

I say, “Umm… I didn’t put that into my cart for looks, I kinda need it?  Can you send someone to get another one, or can I leave my stuff here?”

Her response.

“It won’t scan.”

OMG

I’m done.  I’m need to get out of here. Screw the binder.  I will make one out of lasagna noodles and string!

fullsizeoutput_96f

The month wasn’t a complete bust.  As a family, we spent one early Sunday morning in service to the homeless population in our downtown area with an organization that faithfully serves this marginalized portion of our society, feeding them physically, spiritually and emotionally.  It’s one of our favorite missions, and a time to truly live outside yourself and your own unique set of circumstances and learn the value of loving and helping others and the true definition of grace.  It’s a reminder to those who serve how much you have to be thankful for in your life.  A humbling experience that reminds each of us how precarious life can be and by the grace of God how much we are loved.

fullsizeoutput_a78

In reflecting on my behavior in those two incidents, I am reminded of the hours spent in service to others that cold Sunday morning.  I’m brought low by my negativity, my poor behavior, my impatience with others, my anger and my selfishness.  I spent that last day of February in quiet reflection and prayer.  Thankful, that God’s grace has been bestowed upon me.  Reminded that although I will always be perfectly imperfect, made in His image, I’ve been afforded His grace, love and forgiveness, unconditionally and forever and that it is always within my power to extend that same love, forgiveness and grace to others, even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard.  It’s probably a lesson I will have to learn anew each day as I live out my faith as a flawed and fragile human being.

1488128726869

I woke up on this new day, March 1st, with the promise of spring in the air, feeling renewed and refreshed.  During this season of Lent, I wanted to give up something meaningful, something possibly life-changing.  Not chocolate or social media or carbs.  I wanted to do something really hard, something that would require daily (heck even hourly) purposeful intention.

fullsizeoutput_9cd

I’m giving up…

IMPATIENCE

True story.  I might have to take up drinking.

fullsizeoutput_9ba

If it wasn’t hard, it wouldn’t be a sacrifice and I really need to work on this. It’s probably my worst vice and leads to many others.  Wish me luck.  I’m going to need it.

fullsizeoutput_a36

I’ll leave you with this Irish Blessing ❤

fullsizeoutput_a83

“Whole Kennels of Irritation”

“I don’t have pet peeves like some people.  I have whole kennels of irritation.” Whoopi Goldberg

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 13 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is: 

What are some of your pet peeves that you have addressed when other people do them?

It was submitted by: http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

Oh boy… So many pet peeves, so little time.  When I started thinking about this topic, I realized how many things annoy me.  I could devote an entire blog post to just the things my husband does to irritate me on a daily basis, but I’m not going to pick on him today.  It’s no wonder my resting face screams bitchy though, I spend an inordinate amount of time letting other people tick me off.  This secret subject was made for me!  I’ve narrowed the list down to five in the interest of time and the consideration of my 5 readers.  You’re welcome!

ONE:  THE AISLE HOGGER

Oh, please park your grocery cart in the middle of the aisle while you peruse at your leisure.  It’s not like anyone else matters, please by all means continue acting like you have the entire store to yourself.  Don’t worry about me at all.  Oh, yeah sorry I’m making such a ruckus knocking everything off the shelves while trying to squeeze my cart in the narrow space you have so graciously left open to me.  Now I could probably say excuse me, could you please move your cart, but let us not interject reason and sensibility here.  The hogger sees me coming.  They know I’m there.  They see me struggling.  Besides, I much prefer the passive aggressive route of loud sighing, banging my cart against the shelves and mumbling under my breath, all of which continue to go ignored by the aisle hogger.  Passive aggression works both ways.

TWO: THE PERSONAL SPACE INVADER

The only thing that might peeve me more than the aisle hogger when I’m at the grocery store is the personal space invader.  Why are you practically standing on top of me while I check out?  Are you trying to read my PIN number? You won’t get far with the funds in my depleted checking account, I promise you.  And could you not let your kid pick his nose and then fondle my bananas please.  I don’t allow my husband to stand this close to me, why would you think it’s ok to take such liberties.  You’ve taken quite the interest in the items I’ve placed on the belt today.  Do you see the chocolate and tampons?  Yeah, that should tell you something.  STEP OFF!  Again, I prefer the indirect approach when dealing with these types.  More loud sighing and muttering under my breath.  If I’m feeling particularly peeved, I might even shoot a dirty look or two.  Not that this person would notice, as far up my jock as they are at the moment.

THREE: THE SPATIALLY UNAWARE

Very similar to the space invader, these offenders will sit next to you in a movie theater or on public transportation even though there are literally hundreds of options.  We have the whole rail station to ourselves, but please by all means take the seat right next to me cause that’s not creepy at all.  I especially love the men that do it and then proceed to sit with their legs splayed out blocking all entrances and exits and leaving you feeling caged and trapped.  Seriously though what is up with guys who sit with their legs all spread out?  Are we supposed to be impressed?  I’m supposed to think “WOW, he must be packing some serious heat if he has to sit like that! I wonder if he’s single!!” Don’t sit next to me in an empty movie theater either!  I never know which cup holder is mine and I don’t want to listen to you munch down on your popcorn and greasy nachos.  Not to mention, I’ll be paranoid the whole movie about why you chose that seat above all others and I won’t be able to enjoy myself because I’ll be too busy giving you the side eye waiting for something bad to happen.  Of course I would never say anything, because that would be rude obviously.  Besides, my body language really speaks for me, so shame on you for not being observant enough to notice!

FOUR:  THE ONE UPPERS

My husband can be particularly bad at this one.  I know I said I wouldn’t pick on him, but I lied.  I’ll mention something like “Gosh, I didn’t sleep at all last night.” To which he will reply, “Yeah, I haven’t slept in days.”  Really?  Cause when I was staring at the ceiling last night, I was counting your snores instead of sheep.  A couple of weeks ago, I was having a particularly rough menstrual cycle.  I mention to my husband how much I’m cramping and how yucky I feel to which he replies, “Yeah, my stomach hasn’t felt so good today either. I don’t think I can eat tacos anymore.”  Really?  I literally want to dig my uterus out with a spoon at this point the pain is so intense, not to mention I’m pretty sure I’m bleeding out, and you’re going to talk about your poop problems?  SERIOUSLY?  I am bordering homicidal at this point, watch yourself buddy!  I manage to somehow control my rage and only give him the stink-eye to which he replies, “What?  What did I do?”  And he’ll say it while doing his Bill Clinton impersonation. So. Freaking. Peeved.

My other favorite is when we are in the midst of a pretty intense argument of some kind, and I’m making some really valid points but I can tell he’s not listening at all, instead he’s busy planning his rebuttal.  How can you plan a rebuttal when you don’t even understand all the nuances to why you’ve screwed up in the first place! Is it any wonder, I’m contemplating filing my tampon to a fine point and using it as a weapon!  No jury would convict me.  At least I’d finally get a captive audience.

FIVE:  NICE TO MEET YOU…AGAIN

I’m terrible with names and faces.  I’m the first to admit this and I recognize it as one of my many shortcomings.  Which is why, when I’m not sure if we’ve met before, I’ll just say something like “nice to see you.”  Nothing irritates me more than meeting someone for the first time for the fifth time.  My husband has a job where he has to interface with many people and I understand that I’m just “the wife” but honestly is it really that hard to remember if you’ve met me previously?  Am I that forgettable?  I’m often tempted to call them out on it, but I know it’s not done purposefully to hurt my feelings.  I can’t take it personally, except I do.  No one wants to feel invisible.  It doesn’t feel good.

What I’ve discovered over the last week while sorting through my list of pet peeves is that most of them just involve a little self-awareness.  We are probably all guilty of all of these and many more at one time or another.  It’s easy to get caught up in our busy lives, our own problems and issues and fail to notice how our actions and behaviors affect those around us, both those people we know and those we don’t know.  I passed a woman in the parking lot the other day and she said “I love your workout pants, so cute!”  She made my whole day.  It was such a stupid little thing, but the 2 seconds she spared to throw a tiny compliment to a stranger, changed the course of my entire day.  I had an extra spring in my step.  I felt pretty adorable in my cute workout pants and in turn I was a kinder, gentler and perhaps nicer version of my usual self.  Kindness is catching, so are smiles.  Spread them around today ❤

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” Mark Twain

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

http://www.BakingInATornado.com

http://www.southernbellecharm.com

http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com

http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com/

http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/

http://dinoheromommy.com/

http://thelieberfamily.com

http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch

http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com/

Oh Pet, Thy Name Is Peeve

Guess what time it is?!?!  It’s time for the Secret Subject Swap: 2nd Edition and it’s bigger than ever!  This time twenty brave bloggers participated and today is our big reveal!

This fun post idea comes from my friend Baking in a Tornado.  We both do our best to survive Kids: The Teenage Years.  The only difference is that she bakes to cope and I eat to cope…sounds like a friendship made in heaven!

I waited in breathless anticipation for the subject of my swap to arrive in my inbox.  I was nervous and excited about this challenge.  Nervous that it might take me out of my comfort zone or I would draw a complete blank and post a hot mess of awkwardness.  Excited because I love a challenge, and as a self-proclaimed writer, I never want to stop stretching my creative muscle.

Imagine my excitement when I opened by e-mail to find the topic of my angst sitting in the top spot complete with flashing strobe lights and confetti!

***DRUMROLL PLEASE***

My topic:  “My Biggest Pet Peeve”

This. Is. Awesome.  I am peeved by so many things!  Peeving is like my hobby!  I started making a list right away, and it went on and on.  And on. And on.  I get annoyed so easily, this is the perfect topic for me!  I was born to write it!  And do you know what’s even better?  The topic came from the awesome Sorry Kid, Your Mom Doesn’t Play Well With Others.  The title of her blog suggests all the reasons I love her!  She has the best sense of humor and the funniest family I’ve ever read about.  She makes me wish she was a reality TV show or my next-door neighbor.  Seriously, read her blog.  You will laugh until you cry.  I totally imagined discussing our pet peeves over a few beers and laughing until we pee ourselves.

The only difficulty I faced was deciding what qualified as my BIGGEST pet peeve.  An intense battle was waged inside my mind as the peeves faced off against each other fighting for dominance and control.  In other news, my “Adam Levine Diet Cleanse” (the diet I began on November 1st which will turn me into a stunning super model before I attend the Maroon 5 concert next March where Adam Levine will find himself mesmerized by my captivating smile, flawless beauty and stunning figure only to be devastated when he finds out I’m happily married with 4 kids, yet still he will pursue me until the end of time, never marrying another, pining for me until his last breath) started creating an epic bodily drought which forced my peeves to stage their very own “Hunger Games.”  The Crimson Goddess reared her ugly head and threw mayhem and murderous rage into the mix.  Shit got real.  However, one peeve emerged as champion…

MY BIGGEST PET PEEVE WINNER:

FACEBOOK/TWITTER POLITICAL POSTS/RANTS

  • Nothing brings out the stupid like political campaigns.  If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say they were moving to Canada if so and so wins the election, I could buy Canada.  Trust me people, right now Canada is tightening their borders and trying to figure out effective measures to combat an infestation of stupid.  Just in case these are more than idle threats.  Mark Twain said, “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt.”  People on Facebook and Twitter would do well to remember this and act accordingly.  If you want to discuss my political views, invite me to dinner, serve a nice Chianti and let’s discourse and debate.  Intelligently.  With actual facts.  Listen up people, here is your public service announcement for the day, just because it’s written on an e-card or a meme doesn’t make it true.  Posting it on Facebook or Twitter just allows you to fist pump and chest bump people who already agree with you and makes everyone else mute you.  The only thing worse than stupid is ignorance, and there’s plenty of that to go around!  I fail to understand these personal nuclear attacks that are being launched on both sides.  Whichever candidate has the cleanest dirt wins?  Is that the message?  Be smart people!  Just because you read it on the internet doesn’t make it true!  Just because it fits your personal narrative doesn’t make it factual.  As Gandhi said, “Be the change in the world you want to see.”  Based on some of the comments/posts/commentary I’ve seen, I’m pretty certain the zombie apocalypse is already here.  November 7th can’t get here soon enough, then I guess we will see if riots break out or half the population tries to migrate to Canada.  It’s enough to drive you crazy, and I was already half-way there.

Man-child and I discuss politics:

Man-child:  “Mommy did you hear the news?”

Me:  “What news?”

Man-child:  “Obama won the president.”

Me:  “You mean he won the election to be President?”

Man-child:  “yeah, that.”

Me:  “Well, no actually the election isn’t over yet.  Unfortunately we still have a few weeks before voting closes.”

Man-child:  “nuh-uh.  He won.”

Me:  “Where did you hear this?”

Man-child:  “Nickelodeon.”

True story.  Nickelodeon let the kids vote online for President.  Sadly this is probably the most intelligent conversation about the election that’s been posted on the internet lately. 

I’ll leave you with this thought: 

and another personal favorite:

 Now, who wants to go out with me on November 7th and drink to celebrate the end of this election!  Drinks on me, and I don’t care which candidate you picked!

Check out the other awesome bloggers that participated in this challenge! 

Baking In A Tornado: Second Secret Subject Swap

Helicopter Parenting and the One-Upper Syndrome

It’s been a long week, and the week started the night of this game when our band bus broke down on a major highway at midnight.  Let me backtrack just a bit first.  I’ve had two traumatic experiences this week, the first with a toilet plunger and the second with a motorized scooter, and both of these experiences followed the volunteer night from hell.  Coincidence?  Well….probably, but it feels like a conspiracy!  Although, I’ve read that a coincidence is nothing more than God remaining anonymous.  Furthermore, I think before you can sell a 90-year-old woman a scooter, there should be driving classes and some kind of license earned!  After I throw myself against a wall to keep from getting plowed over, I hear the word

*SHIT*

My first horrifying thought is that I am the one who inadvertently screamed it out, but then I quickly realize, it was her!  She doesn’t even apologize, but turns around and starts screaming down the hall at her husband.  Apparently, because he couldn’t keep up with her, she lost focus and almost killed me. 

SHE is in a scooter.

HE is rockin’ the walker.

Think about it.  How in the hell is this poor guy supposed to keep up?  As I tread carefully back to the safety of my office, I pass this poor man and I’m pretty sure I heard him mutter something about pushing her scooter into oncoming traffic.  Ah, wedded bliss.  Anyway, I digress…as usual.

I stopped volunteering for a few years for several reasons:

  1. As a general rule, I dislike most other parents.  There are exceptions to this rule, but mostly I just think everyone’s an idiot.
  2. When my youngest daughter was 8 and my oldest daughter was 12, with another daughter in the middle, my husband knocked me up with our blessed man-child, so between bringing our 4th child into the world, and reading the handbook entitled “Puberty and Infancy:  Three Pre-Teen Girls and a Baby – The Survivor’s Guide”, there was no way I could deal with either #1 or volunteering without ending up on the news in a bad way.  A very very bad way.
  3. Helicopter parenting
  4. My last volunteer job was coordinating the 5th grade graduation for my oldest daughter.  Yes, you read that right.  A 5th grade graduation.  Does everyone have these or is it just a Texas thing?  I tried to make the theme “Celebrating Mediocrity” but it wasn’t well received.  The complete and utter bullshit I encountered throwing this shindig together was unbelievable.  If I was blogging back then, it would have been the mother of all blogs.  Because of the PTSD, I don’t remember most of it now, just that I couldn’t bring myself to leave the house for years.

So, I very gingerly entered the realm of volunteering again last year by signing up to chaperone my son’s field trips and the band trips for my 2 band daughters.

***READER BEWARE***

This next part is a rant about other people who also happen to be parents.  By ranting about these parents, I am in no way claiming to be perfect, parentally or otherwise.  I wouldn’t like these people if they didn’t have kids, it just so happens that they do, and therefore (in my opinion) are more insufferable because of it.  These are my personal pet peeves, you might meet these parents and think they are lovely.  I admit that I am socially awkward, I ramble and talk about inappropriate things when I am nervous, and I take a rather “I’m exhausted don’t bother me” approach to parenting.  I find it difficult to embrace “helicopter” parenting and the parents who abuse it.

The definition of a helicopter parent according to Wikipedia:

“Helicopter parent is a colloquial term for a parent who pays extremely close attention to their child’s or children’s experiences and problems, particularly at educational institutions.

The term was originally coined by Foster Cline and Jim Fay. Helicopter parents are so named because, like helicopters, they hover overhead. It is also called “overparenting”. It has also been reported that some such parents get involved with their children’s salary negotiations.”

Keep in mind that even as I write this my 6-year-old son is behind me using a kitchen knife to open his Halo Action Figure packaging.  I guess I should intervene.  <sigh>  Hold please.

Okay, I’m back.  I 100% believe that we are the best advocates for our children, and we should be involved in their lives.  I just don’t understand why some people throw common sense out of the window, and hold the expectation that everything should be handed to their child on a silver platter and served with a smile.  My son has spent his fair share of time in the “thinking corner” and has brought home on more than one occasion the “I made a bad choice” note.  For example, one time he brought home the “I made a bad choice” note for showing his underwear in school.  He was talking to a group of kids, and it came up how much they all loved Iron Man and my son claimed himself the BIGGEST fan because Iron Man was on his butt, which he then proceeded to display.  He’s not a pervert.  He did a perfectly innocent thing, in a perfectly innocent way, but some volunteering “helicopter” mom and another teacher threw a fit, and I got a half-page letter on the inappropriateness of my son’s behavior.  My son’s response when asked:  “Mom, I’m so misunderstood”.  Poor baby.  I am fine with the bad choice letter, and we did discuss it with him.  I objected to the note from the teacher, which I felt blew the situation out of proportion, and I blame the helicopter mom.  The teacher was probably so concerned about managing helicopter mom that reason and common sense flew out the window.  This same mother had visited with the principal on numerous occasions to discuss how the other boys in the class play rough, and use foul language like “butt” or “shut up”, or how her son fell off the monkey bars during recess and blah, blah, blah.   I could literally discuss this topic for another 1,000 words.  Ugh.  Okay….rant over and back to my wonderful volunteer excursion.

Unfortunately, I had the wonderful experience of sharing a bus with a dad who suffers from “One-Upper Syndrome”.  You know this guy, or you know the girl.  No matter what you say on whatever topic, this person has not only experienced the exact same thing, but their situation was worse!  I call this the “poker conversation”.

“I’ll see your bladder infection and raise with a kidney stone”   

Not only is this particular dad a one-upper, but he’s also a loud-talker.  Everything that comes out of his mouth is set to a head-splitting decibel.  And he spits.  Thanks for the weather report, when I just wanted the news buddy.  He knows everything, he’s seen it all.  I could tell the man I have a yeast infection and either he’s the only man in the world to experience a yeast infection (can men get yeast infections?  let me google) or his wife’s brother’s cousin’s girlfriend died from one. 

***Apparently men can get yeast infections, but it’s not common***          

Anyway, you get my point.  So, I’m stuck on the bus with this guy for an away game (40 minute bus ride).  Then the check engine light goes off in the bus and it starts making this shrill beeping sound…THE ENTIRE WAY TO THE GAME. 

We arrive at the game, and one of our first duties is to pass out water to the students.  Even this simple task has me wanting to run for the hills.  These women actually treat this volunteer activity like a freaking contest.  I was getting hit in the face with water bottles.  I had one dropped on my foot, as this mom attempts to juggle like 15 of them, while she maneuvers to the head of the line, because God forbid someone pass out more water bottles than her!  She really should replace her bedazzled sparkle “I’m a band mom” shirt with a bedazzled sparkle “I’m the #1 water-bottle champion mom” shirt.  After getting smacked in the face by people thrusting their arms in front of me so their water bottle would be nabbed before mine, I walked over to the bleachers and sat down.  These moms could knock themselves out (literally) for the title and trophy of “water-mom extraordinaire”, I was done. 

The other thing about these events that makes me laugh are the “spirit” buttons.  These are ginormous buttons with your kids face plastered on them.  Maybe some kids like this level of spirit and dedication from their parents, my kids would kill me if I wore a picture button of them on my boob.  I refuse to even buy the bedazzled t-shirts.  Putting glitter over my muffin-top will not make me a cupcake.

Then I am assigned the unpleasant task of redirecting parents trying to sit in the band section to the spectator portion of the stands.  My conversation with one mom:

Me:  I’m sorry, but this section is for the band.  The parent section is that way (and I point).

Mom:  Yes, I’m a band mom.

Me:  Yes, I understand that but unless you are volunteering or you are an actual member of the band, you need to sit in the parent section. 

Mom:  I’ll just sit there on the end.  It’s my son’s first away game.

Me:  (staring at her incredulously) Umm he’s in good hands, and you’ll be able to see him from the parent section.

Mom:  Fine.  (stomps off)

Her son is 16.  SIXTEEN.  I feel sorry for his future wife.

The rest of the game passes by with only minor irritation.  Then we head home.  The backseat driving from my bus-mate wouldn’t have been AS bad if it had actually been conducted from the backseat, but NOOOOOOOOOOOO, he was standing all up in the bus drivers personal space barking orders about how to maneuver out of the parking lot.  How she kept it together, I don’t know.  I would have lost my shit.  I was losing my shit just watching this behavior.  She politely asked him to sit down for his safety, and after directing her a bit more, he finally did.

It’s late.  I’m tired.  It’s been a long day.  HE. WILL. NOT. SHUT. UP.  Then the bus behind us breaks down.  We are the last two buses in the caravan, so we pull over to assist the problem bus in whatever way we can.  We can’t get all the kids from that bus onto our bus because there are not enough empty seats, so we have to call back the other buses.  They ask for our location.

Now, Mr. Annoying, is FREAKING out. 

“I CAN’T SEE THE STREET SIGNS, WE NEED TO PULL UP, I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE WE ARE!  YOU WILL HAVE TO MOVE, THEY WON’T KNOW HOW TO FIND US!!!!”

As he is screaming this, he is waving his iPhone around.  Do you see where this is heading?  I attempt to interrupt his rant several times, before I finally start yelling myself!

“THE GPS ON MY iPHONE GIVES OUR LOCATION.  WE ARE AT……”.  I know I am red-faced and frustrated.  I am about to chuck him out of the bus.  I promise you that I cannot possible recreate the hellish nightmare that was that bus ride because of him.  I wish I had recorded him.  Then he starts hollering at the kids.

“EVERYONE STAY CALM.” 

kids:  staring at him with a mixture of boredom and sleepiness.

“YOU NEED TO NOTIFY YOUR PARENTS THAT EVERYTHING IS FINE AND UNDER CONTROL.  WE MIGHT BE HERE AWHILE BUT EVERYTHING IS FINE.”

omg just stfu.  I can’t take it anymore.

We finally make it home.  I didn’t kill anyone.

Here is a pic of my daughter playing her flute.  I’m going to have it made into t-shirt and wear it to every game!