Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

2009 was mighty fine.

It had some mountains, some mole hills, and everything else in between.

It was the year that I became a mother, a feat that still astounds me every single day.

It was the year that I lost my job. And, yes, I still miss seeing the naked couples in the hotel window across from my old office, in case you were wondering.

2009 was the year that I gave birth to this blog as well. Thank you for visiting me here and commenting on some of my most inane ideas and escapades. It has been a fantastic launching pad for me into the world of writing and, more importantly, it has helped me connect or reconnect with many of you, not to mention myself.

Wishing you all the best life has to offer in 2010 and beyond!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Christmas Miracle

Here is an update on my previous post, My Solution To World Hunger.

Apparently, the alpaca was enough to motivate my husband to study with fervor and now I am beyond ecstatic to report that he has passed the CPA!

It is a Christmas miracle.

Now, of course, the downside of this miracle is that our good fortune means that a third world family will not receive an alpaca, named after my husband, which could possibly have changed the course of their lives.

But here's the thing: we are so thrilled that Mr. B. is finally a Certified Public Accountant that we have decided to purchase the alpaca anyway, no longer to mock his procrastination, but now to honor his accomplishment.

When we better our own lives, shouldn't we do the same for someone else?

Whether you've recently passed the Bar Exam, potty-trained your toddler, or tied the knot with your significant other, there is always an occasion worthy of an alpaca purchase.

Go ahead, soak in the holiday spirit, buy a beast, and then we can all brag that we are CPAs....Clobbering Poverty's Ass, one alpaca at a time.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Mind Your Manners

"This is just my second day, ma'am," the young Hispanic woman told the frizzy haired frazzled shopper at the counter.

"Well, call a manager!" the shopper barked back. I rolled my eyes. She looked like she had stuck all of her extremities in electrical sockets and then decided to terrorize the King of Prussia Mall. She had steam coming out of her ears.

"Gloria, can you help me over here for a moment?" the young clerk called to her co-worker, who was straightening racks of children's clothing twenty feet away.

Gloria, a stylish petite woman in her mid-50s walked slowly over to the young clerk who was scanning a two foot long receipt that the shopper thrust in her face.

"It's not 10% off! It should be 20!" the shopper spat.

I looked at her face as it grew scarlet, her hair looked like it was going to jolt out of her head in a fit of rage. I was hoping she might catch a glimpse of me, watching her, and turn around, embarrassed by her poor behavior, or perhaps take a peek at my baby, chewing on a teething toy shaped like a foot. Surely that might make her smile.

She didn't turn around. She glared at the two clerks and continued on her rant.

"I don't have time for this!"

"Ma'am, give me a minute," the older clerk interjected, raising her index finger.

"Don't you dare point at me!" the shopper hollered, pointing an irate finger over the counter in the clerk's face. "I spent $1000 here, I shop here all the time! Do you want to see my receipts?!"

"No, I'd rather not," I whispered to the African-American woman standing quietly behind me, smiling at my boy in his stroller.

The shopper began rifling through her oversized purse, pulling out receipts, tissues, possibly some unfilled prescriptions for anti-psychotics and other things.

I looked at my little angel in his stroller, sucking on the plastic foot. His eyes were wide, his eyebrows raised, as if to say, "Ah, excuse me, Mommy, what is this lunatic yelling about?" I leaned down face to face with him, in his stroller, "Sweetie boy, you're only 8 months old and you have better manners than some adults," I told him, just loud enough for the woman to hear, if she lowered her volume one decibel.

Now, maybe you're thinking this poor woman was just having a bad day. She caught her husband cheating with her best friend, her beloved golden retriever of 15 years just died, or maybe she slaved over a simple meatball recipe and she wound up churning out something that tasted like bison balls.....I hear what you're saying!

We all have bad days, yes. But there is a simple solution for shopping when you're absolutely miserable: stay the hell home and shop ONLINE! Okay? It's quite easy and you don't need to drag the rest of us down into your funk.

The #1 reason to mind your manners, as the "militant shopper" story illustrates, is that when your manners go down the drain, you look like a huge a-hole and you set a poor example for children.

The #2 reason to mind your manners is that you never know with whom you might be messing.

This time last year, I drove to work one morning and merged successfully onto Broad Street and then merged again into my usual parking garage. Now, I could tell that one driver in the line of cars behind me was angry given his incessant honking and hand gestures. But, I am telling you, I made this move every morning and most drivers were happy to let me in. I certainly have cut other drivers off in my day, but this was not one of those my opinion.

When my friend and I exited my car and saw an imposing middle-aged man waiting for us at the front of the garage, hands on his oversized hips, I got a little nervous. He started yelling, "Maybe you didn't know, but you cut off a whole line of cars out there!"

"You've got to be kidding me," I laughed out loud. 'You're hunting me down in the garage to yell at me? I didn't cut anyone off, the cars let me get in. How else could I merge to make it into the parking lot?"

"Next time, you need to go around the block, like everyone else!" he shouted.

"Are you KIDDING me?" I yelled back. (Maybe I dropped a choice word or two in there). "You're accosting a pregnant woman in a parking garage to scream at her at 8 in the morning? What kind of pathetic man does that?!"

I saw his eyes quickly look down. With my puffy black parka all zipped up, I'm sure he had no idea I was seven months pregnant. He started to retreat cowardly, but under his breath, I heard him say, "Next time, you'll go around the block."

Mama grizzly bear came out with her claws. "Next time, I'll do exactly what I just did, which was merge! Next time, you'll check yourself before you go berating a pregnant woman in public!"

He walked away, his head hanging low. "That's right, you keep walking! You gotta be KIDDING ME, like I need this stress first thing in the morning?!" My friend just looked at me with shock and awe in her face. Nobody was going to mess with me or my unborn cub, okay?

In case you need one more good reason, the #3 reason to mind your manners is that people never forget a person with bad manners, or good manners, for that matter.

At least three times a year, my dad, also known as "Mr. Manners," will say, "Remember that time when we took your friend, ______, to see the high school play, Oliver, and she got out of the car and didn't even thank us? "Dad, it was 1983 and she was 8 years old!" I sigh, forgivingly. "Doesn't matter, she had bad manners!"

Of course, this is the same man who would ticket litter bugs $10,000 for each offense and who believes the expression "shut up" should be added to the canon of expletives and is, in fact, much ruder, than a simple F - U.

The greatest compliment my dad ever received as a father was when he was visiting me at college and a long-haired hippie barista told him, "Your daughter has impeccable manners." That was far better than any honor roll certificate or report card that I ever brought home. Even more impressive than passing the Bar Exam. My dad will never forget that.

Okay, so a pothead working at the Ann Arbor coffee joint where I used to study thought I had good manners? So what?

I have come to learn that the little interactions we all share each day, good or bad, really do make a difference.

So, go ahead, smile at a stranger today because you might be the only person who smiles at that person all day or even all week long. Let a pregnant driver cut in front of you. She very likely has a full bladder and is ravenously hungry and needs to get wherever she is going. And, last but not least, say thank you when someone treats you to a third rate high school musical. 26 years from now, someone somewhere will remember if you don't!