Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mexico hates me.

My best just wrote a status about Mexico hating her for changing her flight to one day later than it should of been. This brought back a flood of inappropriate memories from when I went to Mexico in 2006 with Taylor David (www.coherentlychaotic.com)

I am a vacation. drama. queen.

We were in Puerto Vallarta for one reason and that was to make bad decisions and gain some weight. Okay, that's two reasons. But we approached both with confidence.

We were staying in Nuevo Vallarta, which is about 15 minutes from Puerto Vallarta, in an all inclusive 5 star hotel for 5 days. It cost about 450 dollars per person, so that goes to show you how far out of town it was. We were booooooorrrreeeeed. One can only drink so much tequila, play so much marco polo, and talk so much in fake accents. The only attractive men there who were over the age of 9 and maybe willing to pay attention to us were the employees of the hotel. They were known as the "animation staff". They did everything from leading a game of volleyball to disinfecting the giant dolphin pool when an eight year old poo'd in it. They always carried around microphones and spoke everything in Spanish and English. "Esta chica americana poco solo caca en la piscina this American girl she poo in the pool yes". Taylor found a boy who treated her like Paris Hilton and he said he wanted to take us into Puerto Vallarta and show us a good time at the club, "Zoo". I was a little apprehensive. Mostly because I wasn't the one getting doted on and I prefer activities in which I'm the center of attention. I told Taylor we would go with him once he got off work, and we had some bebidas while we waited. When he told us he was ready, he said to meet him in the back of the parking lot because he wasn't allowed to hang out with hotel guests. My response, in Spanish, was. "It is not pleasing to me to be in a car of you. I am needy a taxi to go to the Zoo. You like to Natalee Hollaway me and my friend that is a girl. I have eyes." ("son" and "eye" is the difference between "ijo" and "ojo")

Him and Taylor laughed and giggled at my Americanistic ridiculousness and we walked to the back of the dark parking lot. in Mexico. at midnight. Where a cab driver was waiting with his door open. He was an off-duty cab driver, had two gold earrings, and didn't speak any English. I wasn't feeling exactly warm and safe and Roberto kept assuring me, telling me he was his "amigo" and "stop watching so much dateline". I got into that cab, knowing my mother was somewhere weeping over raising me so poorly.

We got to the club uneventfully. If you consider I was slapping the hands of our best friend the cab driver for 75% of the trip saying "You are not good. No put you hand on my leg. You are not liked by me. I have eye"

Then we got into Zoo and had fun. A lot of fun. A ridiculous amount of fun. Taylor told everyone it was her birthday so she got a free drink with a giant banana sticking out of it and some pretty latina girl kept pouring alcohol into my mouth and shaking my face. I was more than okay with it. I wanted some street tacos. Vamonos mi amiga y nuevo novia de mi amiga y su amigo meido! Vas a las tacos!

Scary yellow cab drivers are opening the door for us and practically cattle-roping us into their cabs. One particular one who, in my haze of drinks, seemed to have scars all over his face, pointy teeth, and dark, painted-on mean eyebrows. Like this.

They don't realize, we have an inside-man. My new best friend, who I ignored the whole time we were in the club, drove his own white cab. It was free, and ya'll betta back off!

We get in the white cab and start driving to get a taco(s). I'm singing and dancing and sweaty and silly when I start noticing there are lights coming on us pretty quick. Flashing red and blue lights. Federali. I immediately start bawling, knowing I am about to be sold into slavery and I don't know where my shoes are. I start SCREAMING uncontrollably at the cab driver. "I DO NOT LIKE YOU I HAVE DRUNKNESS I NICE I DONT LIKE YOU. FEDERALI! FEDERALI! AHHHHHHHHH!"

Roberto screams from the backseat  "Shut up, it's just the local police. They're like security guards. Calm the hell down and take your purse off your head. And give us some money to pay them off. You guys are rich, you're Americans on vacation."

"I HAVE NO MONEY I HAVE NO MONEY I DON'T LIKE THEM TO TAKE ME MY MOTHER AND FATHER AND SON AND NIECES AND COUSINS LIKE ME I AM NICE GOOD WORK I WANT WATER AHHHHHHHH!" (it should be noted I was excellent at the chapter entitled "family members" in freshmen spanish)

The cab driver takes off his earrings and throw them at me. I start heaving uncontrollable sobs because now I realize he's a thieving criminal and he is trying to pin the evidence on me. I throw the earrings back at him with a vengeance, screaming


He tells me some cops will bribe you and take it, but I am just uncontrollable and too horrible at the Spanish language to listen to a word he's saying. The cops come over and politely inform us, in English, that it is illegal to take a white cab to Nuevo Vallarta, it is considered stealing tourism from Puerto Vallarta and he will have to take us back to the Club and we will have to go home in a yellow cab. I gave the police officer a hug and 10 pesos and an apology for calling him crooked and threatening to call Border Patrol. We rode back to the club where pointy-teethed man was waiting with his cab door open.

He had clearly been the one to call the police because he wanted us for himself. I immediately started bawling and screaming about my eyes and my good working but Taylor took over and looked the man straight in the eyes and said "There is no way in HELL I am getting in your cab. You can go drive your cab into the ocean or find some ugly girls. We will stay on the street all night. We are NOT getting into your cab". By this point, if scary man was willing to take me to a taco, I might be okay with it. Taylor took control and got the club owner to call us a yellow taxi he trusted not to to gut us and we rode home, me sobbing quietly in the front seat, both bra straps hanging down to my elbows, both shoes missing. I vowed never to come back to Mexico and never to leave the hotel again.

Yep, Taylor took a picture.

That's the thing about Mexico, you wake up at 1pm the next day, eat some guacamole and you find yourself asking, "Can the thieving criminal in the free white cab pick us up again tonight?"

Monday, April 25, 2011

I'm too smart and too awesome for coupons...

   Husband and I decided we're going to be thrifty so we have lots of extra money to blow on puppies, Ithingies, and vacations that aren't of a medical-necessity nature.

We have little things we are going to cut back on. We're going to eat out less, I'm not allowed to buy any shoes, and he's not allowed to buy anything that has the word "muscle" in it.

But I have an indescribably passionate inappropriate affair with grocery items. I bet we spend $300 dollars a week at the grocery store. I don't like telling good son or mean daughter "No." So when good son wants "Twinkies and also see if they chocolate Twinkies", I just throw everything that seems like it could be construed as Twinkies or disgusting chocolate Twinkies into my cart. ( I do NOT go grocery shopping with children. Therefore I take requests before I leave). Also, because I have to maintain my good mothering, I always buy fresh fruit. Which in turn goes bad in 3 days when offspring want chocolate Twinkies instead of strawberries or pomegranates. I also love having lots of money so I can buy the pre-cut vegetables, the pre-trimmed meats, the 100 calorie packs of snacks, and the cereal that comes with a character with a cute, recognizable face on the front.

New goal: Cut grocery bill from $300 a week to $50 for the week, making husband, daughter, son, and self happy.

Strategy #1: Use coupons. If those crazy hoarding bitches on "Extreme Couponing" can buy 423 bags of croutons for $.72 then I should be able to spend $50 and get all sorts of fun, unhealthy, brand-name stuff.

I sit down to make my plan for the week. I will find manufacturers coupons for stuff we all like for meals, snacks, and drinks...then I will take those coupons to HOMELAND* where they will double them. Plan in detail:

Birds eye steam fresh vegetables. Save $1 on any three bags. I always buy their corn and broccoli, so the kids can eat them while I eat cosmic brownies. They were on sale for $.89 at Homeland. Homeland will double the coupon, making it 3 bags of veggies for $.67!

Delimex Taquitos- $1 off. Knowing of course that Homeland would double it and husband looooooooves taquitos, this was a win-win.

$1 off ballpark hot dogs(just a side note, I tried to also find a coupon for hot dog buns, this was to no avail. Apparently we all are going to pay full-price for hot dog buns for the rest of our existence and if we have some kind of problem with that, we can just move to Russia.)

These are the 3 that I have decided to break down for all you friendly, thrifty folk. If you exist. Actually you all have probably gotten effing bored by my topic and clicked off of this. You can all go to hell. I hate coupons.

Homeland: 12:10 pm.  I have my list, my coupons, and the attitude of a new puppy who just got rescued from the pound. I find the hot dogs first. I notice they are $4.49. I have a coupon for $2 off, making them $2.49 when I notice the Oscar Meyer hot dogs are $2.49. I like their hot dogs better so I just get those. Coupon fail.

I find the Delimex Taquitos. They are $6.99, I have $2 off, making them $4.99. I know damn well the Wal-Mart by my house has them for $4.39 so I don't put those in my basket either. I'm starting to hate everyone in the store. I want to kick the old lady with a leg brace standing in the way of the "Pilgrims" chicken which I also have a stupid coupon for.

I wait for the ugly Grandpa and his unfortunate and should be in school grandkid (boy? girl? who knows/cares?) to get the hell out of my way for the Birds Eye Vegetables. He looks my way and smiles kindly and I punch his grandkid in the kidney. Then I get up to the vegetables, WHICH I was the most excited about, only to see they were 100% completely gone.


I leave my basket in the middle of the grocery store. Wait patiently behind the elderly coupon box toting freakstick of a woman to get out of the single-door exit. I pout in my car for a second, then go to Mcdonalds and get a McDouble.  It was on their dollar menu. I didn't buy a combo meal so I saved the remaining $4 I would have saved by couponing. Which has been taken over by all you devil-women.

*Satan's Playground

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My imagination is a magic chef of disappointment...

I have the amazing ability to listen to something someone says, process it through an unmedicated ADD brain, then allow it to explode into all things non-sensical, dramatic, Full House story-lineish, or in some way incredibly flattering or insulting. Most of the time this makes me feel foolish, but nobody knows about it...untilllllllll NOW. Exclamation point smiley face.

My brother is one of my favorite people.

 I live vicariously through his life choices. When he said he was moving to LA I was like, "yeah. okay." My mom and dad would approach this subject very carefully with me like, "Okay, Marigold pumpkin, you know bubba bear is going to be moving to a pretty farm where he has lots of room to run around with hot blondes who wear tights as pants, right?" I would say "Yep." Because I never believed it. I thought it was one of those annoying things people said they would do so everyone would think they were a non-conformist. Like, people who buy hideous clothes from thrift stores or say they don't like the Beatles.

Then I found out that he had a plane ticket. And he had quit his job. I had to come to realization that he was actually moving out of beautiful Oklahoma City to the unfortunate Los Angeles.

Los Angeles

Oklahoma City

LA wasn't enough for my brother and he informs me he is saving and taking classes so he can move to Ecuador to teach English. I again say "yep" and once again my parents very gently say "Okay, sweet little chicken...you know big brother eagle is going to soar into a country with nothing but goats, cocaine, and murderous hot females, right?" I dismissed it again, thinking it wouldn't happen any more than the time a Barnes and Noble employee told me she was going to live at Arcadia Lake because she was going to stick it to the man and didn't want to pay rent. I am all about sticking it but I  had to inform her AND her thrift store old man pants that you had to pay for a campsite at Lake Arcadia. I also asked where she would keep her clothes and how she would brush her teeth. Her answer was "You gotta respect me for doing something like this though, huh." NO. No I do not. I will respect you more if you brush your teeth, wash your hair, and listen to bands that I've heard of.

Guess what? $14 a day X31 days in a month= $434 (to live with some ducks and i'm sure some dead bodies)


So brother is moving to Ecuador to teach English. We have a date of when we know he'll move. I'm sad. But all I can do is tell everyone I know or come into contact with about the wonderful things my brother is doing in Ecuador. It usually goes something like this.

"My brother lives in Ecuador....so I pretty much know all about Central America.

 What? Ecuador is in South America?  What are you talking about? Don't they speak Spanish there?

 Oh, okay. Well whatever, I know a lot about Ecuador then. Yeah he's there kind of as a missionary.

He teaches little poor Mexicans how to speak English. I'm sure they all just adore him, without him there they would be selling ganja and stabbing goats. He's really giving them a future, you know? A future they wouldn't have if it wasn't for him.

I picture him like the lady in the "King and I", singing "Getting to know you" and making all this sad, foreign children believe in themselves."


"He has a village of children that he has to tend to. They give him a place to live, I think it's on a mountain and it's cold and there's lots of goats. But that doesn't get my brother down, oh no sir. He walks into his village everyday, all the kids just love him I'm sure, he's so wonderful with children. The kids run around him, asking him to sing him their favorite song. He agrees, but only if they sing it in Spanish AND English. Because while he is a humanitarian, a minister of peace, and a guidance counselor, he is also there to teach. And he knows that. He never forgets about those poor, shoeless, Ecuadorian babies yearning for a better life".

My Brother's class in my mind

One day I was talking to my Mom about my brother. Something tells me we weren't gossiping about all the hot Ecuadorian women we see in his pictures. I said something about the children and she said "What? Matthew doesn't teach kids...?"

"Well then what the hell is he doing in Ecuador?"

"He teaches English, but it's a class for adults".

"Poor, underprivileged shoeless adults?"

"No, I mean, they have to pay for the class. That's how Matthew gets paid and paid for his apartment"

"He has an apartment? Like, with floors and stuff?"

"Um yes...?"

Now I picture my brother standing in front of this:

It really loses something.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Who Can? We Can(eelbay)!

I have decided to write a lengthy blog about my vacation with all the pictures, so anyone who actually cares to hear all about it can do so. I’ll try not to talk too much about how romantic it was. But let’s just leave the romance to this: On night number 2, when we were talking down the beach, hand in hand, and I was telling Mat all about my deep feelings of love and respect, he stops for a moment and I think he’s so moved by my beauty and understanding that he can’t even take it. I think he is about to ravish me on the beach, when I realize he’s actually whipped it out and is peeing into the beautiful waves that are lapping onto the shore in front of our room. It was so sweet and heart-felt…that I didn’t even feel the need to express anymore of my devotion…I think he’d fully-grasped it.

The first day we had to get up early. Mat had the minutes timed out to know exactly what second I would need to get up to stay on his schedule. He asked me “How long will it take you to get ready?” I said, “About 25 minutes”. He said “Let’s make it 37 since you’re going to have to pack your stuff. That means you need to get up at 3:23.” I didn’t even bother setting an alarm, since I knew my hot schedule Nazi would make damn sure I was up when I needed to be.

Our flight left OKC at five-something, and we made it through security without any delays. I’m trying to remember if we ate breakfast or not. I had taken an ambien the night before and was still hallucinating well into our 2nd flight. No, now I remember. The breakfast places weren’t open yet, as no one was awake except God himself. (I don’t know what this is supposed to mean, but it sounded really intense). I think we got cookies on the flight… I seriously don’t remember. But clearly it didn’t involve bacon or sausage, because I would sure as hell remember that.

We landed in Atlanta and only had about a 40 minute layover. I decided the number one thing a Caribbean bound medium-sized girl in white pants needed at 9 in the morning was a giant hot dog drenched in nacho cheese. I also decided against napkins, because I was too excited about getting Doritos, too. By the time we rushed onto the plane, I couldn’t wait to sink my fake teeth into a weenie. There was a 15 year old kid sitting next to me on the plane that I really didn’t want to witness my hot dog domination but that was just going to have to be a necessary side-effect. I took one bite of the dog when it squirted cheese all over my hands and pants. I asked Mat to go get me some napkins….he looked at me like he does 87% of the time, like he doesn’t understand my brain but thinks I’m pretty. He left and came back with 2 squares of toilet paper that he had gotten from the bathroom. By this time, I had sneezed and had snot on my face and fingers and the 2 single-ply toilet squares had to go towards that shittastrophe. (Has anyone noticed that I like using that word?) Then I decided I was going to throw away my hot dog because there would be no eating it without ruining my cute new jacket. I asked him to throw it away, cue Mat’s special Mary look, and he disappears again…leaving behind a hungry, snot-infused wife, with a cute jacket

We were so excited there was to be a movie on board, since the flight from Atlanta to St. Thomas was over three and a half hours. The movie ended up being “Chronicles of Narnia”. I hate to be picky on an in-air flight, but I would seriously rather watch a documentary about my Great-Grandfather’s penis than a movie about a lion that lives in a chest of drawers. I ended up reading my kindle and asking Mat for compliments, which got my hungry little self through the flight.

When we landed in St. Thomas, I was overly excited and enthusiastic. I was calling a lot of attention to myself I think, because I was getting a lot of stares. I was walking too far ahead of Mat, and I hear him yell at two 106 year old men with cataracts and canes….”THAT’S MY WIFE”…and not in a proud way. In a “I’m going to rip out your blueish colored eyeball and poo on it” kind of way. This was not the first time something like this would happen. The island was full of old women tourists, and the local women were all strange-bodied and looked like they didn’t think showers were fun. Like, they all had toned legs from running after donkeys, but giant bellies from eating too much…tuna? Yeah, that doesn’t make sense. I don’t actually know what the hell they were eating to make them so disproportionate. But I embrace any ugly woman that makes me look better. Anyways, so we got our luggage and we were met by Mat’s boss and another lady he works with. They took us to a private lounge to drink rum punch and wait for the bus that would take us to the ferry that would take us to St. John. His boss insisted we sit on the top of the boat for the 40 minute ride to the island. (Mat just interrupted me to tell me the ferry was 20 minutes, but I refer you to caneelbay.com where it specifically says 40 minutes. Mat can suck it.)

His boss may as well have stabbed me in the arm with a needle and hooked me up to an IV full of alcohol, because I didn’t plan on drinking, but every time he was around, I found myself drunk and still with all of my money. The top of the ferry was so windy, and without anything to eat since the Bush administration, two rum punches were making Mary a dancing ferry donkey. (I keep using donkey because we saw so many of them, they’re the only animal I have in my head.)

Mat is mad at me for posting this picture, he says he looks like a cancer patient. But I look cute, so I had to find somewhere to post it.

Whenever we get close enough to the island, Mat’s boss points out to me where our room is. It was so unbelievable, that I wasn’t really thinking. So when Tom (Mat’s boss) asked me what the first thing I wanted to do when I got there was, I blurted out, “probably have some sex” without even hesitating. Thankfully Mat didn’t fire me from being his wife, and Tom asked what I wanted to do ten minutes after that (haha).

We arrived to St. John and Cynthia took Mat to find a bathroom and Tom took me to get our snorkeling equipment and take me to the bar to buy me another drink. He has to be the alcohol-generous vacationing man in the history of mankind. After Mat finds a bathroom, he finds me at the bar with Tom and says “Excuse me, I need to borrow her”. You really can’t hear the explicit sexual tones in this statement, but they were there. Poor Tom was probably thoroughly confused by all this inappropriateness, but walked us to our room quickly and promised to only stay for a minute. He did, and this is what we had:

The inside was amazing, of course. But the pictures don’t do it justice, what was the most impressive part was our amazing view. I realize, in all my vacationing, I didn’t actually know the meaning of “ocean-front”. We were literally 6 steps from the water. The most beautiful water you’ve ever seen.

Tom had told us he wanted to take us on a “filthy-expensive” dinner that evening. I’m always up for anything filthy or expensive so I was in. We played in the ocean for about 2 hours then had to get ready for dinner. I was already a snob about our room. When I saw other people playing on my beach, I wanted to ask to see their room passes and 2 forms of ID. Everyone I looked at the resort, I was thinking to myself “I’m sorry you’re 75, your husband is ugly, AND your room isn’t as nice as mine”.

We went out to dinner that evening with Tom, his wife, their 2 kids, whom I always love being around, and Cynthia. Tom went all out, bought 2 bottles of the most expensive champagne, every appetizer on the menu and even splurged on an amazing waffle brownie that made me moan inappropriately. We went home and went to bed at 9:14. It was a great first day.

The next morning Mat woke up at 4:45 to go to the gym. I’m not being funny, he really did. Then he woke me up at 7, which I only allowed him to do without him getting roundhoused in the face because his labor was providing this amazing trip and we only had 2 days. I got up and got dressed and we ate the resort’s breakfast buffet, which we did every day we were there, that was quite a bargain at $31 dollars a head. It was my favorite meal of the day, I think. It had everything you could want for breakfast, and had the best Eggs Benedict I’d ever experienced!

We decided to go on into “town”, which was the main bay called Cruz Bay. They had an adorable shopping area there, and we were possibly wanting to get a massage at a spa in the area. Since we had woken up before Jesus, we got there at 8:20am and the shops didn’t open until 9:30. So we just walked on the road for a while, Mat having to pull me out of the way every 10 minutes or so because I wouldn’t be paying attention and would almost get hit by passing trucks. (They drive on the other side of the road!)

The last picture is a shot of Caneel bay from a taxi on our way to Cruz bay.
We did a little bit of shopping, mostly for the kids, then made our way back to our room so we could have some beach time. On our way there, we saw donkeys. Donkeys were allllllll over the island, they just roamed free. I really wanted to pet one and ride one, but this is as close as Mat would let me get.

We ate lunch that day with one of Mat’s co-workers, Trey, and his girlfriend. They asked us to go snorkeling on their beach, Scott beach, which was named one of the top ten beaches in the world. It was beautiful, but our beach on Caneel was better because there were no rocks, and they were a lot further from the ocean than then we were. We snorkeled until I started thinking about sharks and pirates. I could tell Mat was disappointed I wouldn’t let him swim to Quebec. I put snorkeling on hold until I could get back to my phone and google “shark attacks and pirate happenings in St. john”.

Turns out pirates don’t really exist and the only shark attack in history happened in 1963.

We got back to our beach and I laid in the sun covered in Crisco, while Mat did some more snorkeling. That evening we ate dinner with Trey and his girlfriend, and another coworker of Mat’s and his wife and their eight year old son. (Who was so cute. His mom got mad at him at dinner because when I asked if he spoke Polish like his mom, he said “My ass stinks” in Polish. Hahahahaha). It was my first time to try duck- I’ll stick with steak from here on out. It tasted like it was trying to be chicken but with the texture of poor kids in a third world country. It was also kind of purply blue in color. Oh, and our waitress had a big belly and a sweat stache. Go figure.

The next morning we ate at the delicious buffet again. We put on our swimsuits and Mat got us a kayak, which I was apprehensive about. This is how our conversation went:

Mary: I’m scared. What if we fall out?
Mat: Then we’ll get back in….
Mary: But what if the waves take our kayak and we can’t back to it?
Mat: Then we’ll swim to shore…
Mary: But what if where we fall out doesn’t have a shore, what if it’s a cliff?
Mat: Baby, really? Have you seen any cliffs? Do you even know what you mean by “cliff”?
Mary: What if I get speared on a rock?
Mat: Then you can just stand the hell up if you think that’s going to happen! If we get close enough to shore for you to get your ass speared on a rock, then you’ll be close enough to stand up.
Mary: But what about the cliffs?
Mat: I already overcame that objection. Get in the kayak
It ended up being beautiful and not scary at all. We passed a boat that had “Connecticut” on the side of it, and I called to lady reading on board if she had sailed all the way from Connecticut. She had, and when Mat told her we were jealous, she told us to start saving. She clearly doesn't know us.

I ended up getting a horrible stomach ache and sleeping much of the rest of the day. Mat enjoyed snorkeling without my whining, and went out further than I would’ve been able to see/whine about if I had been awake to watch. He saw a stingray while he was alone, and together we saw a sea-turtle, a bunch of squid, and lots of coral and fish.

That evening we went to dinner at The Equator. This is where I was looking forward to eating the most. The restaurant is in old sugar mill ruins and is so odd-looking and unique and beautiful. I knew the food was supposed to be amazing too.
I had veal for the first time…it was so delicious I didn’t even think about or care that it was a little baby cow. Yum!

We went to bed at 9:30, again. This place is for retired people and people who get up at 4:45 while on vacation to go to the gym. (my husband. ahem)

The way home the next day was uneventful. We each weighed about 20 to 23 pounds more than when we left. We were grumpy, our trip was too short, and the guy in front of us on the plane sounded like he was coughing up a sick baby.

If you ever have the opportunity to go to Caneel Bay on someone else's dollar, knock down your Grandma to take it. It was the most beautiful place I have ever seen/will ever see.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Mountain Dew cans can hurt

During my time as a branch manager of a bank, I decided I wanted to work in a rural area so I would stand out more when I went to the local filling station in my business suit. It only made me feel better about myself to get shouted at by Mexicans in trucks on my way to check the mailbox. There was illegal barbecue being sold nearby and as long as I kept flashing a smile at the giant black man selling it, he would keep my little office stocked with hot links and armadillo eggs. I liked to think of myself as a prodigy in the middle of Podunk, Oklahoma. As though people would drive by the bank,

“Is that where SHE works, honey?”

 “Yeah, I heard she bought some sour patch kids at Casey’s station the other day.”

 “Gosh, she’s so different than us. I only buy cheetos there. she’s so glamorous”.

This was easy for me to think because 10 miles into the town where I grew up, Edmond, Oklahoma,  I could wear a bikini walking down the street licking a popsicle, and Mexicans in trucks would throw empty mountain dew cans at me. I was much more in my element at the top of the charts.

I only had 3 employees and I hired them based on their smiles. I didn’t want to work with anything yellow, cracked, or crooked. So needless to say, 8 dollars an hour to an adorable 19 year old with a beautiful smile didn’t confirm an awesome work ethic. She would have 3 to 4 customers a day and would completely ignore them when they introduced themselves with their town attached,

“Hey there pretty, I’m Bill Shields from out there in Mulhawk, and I need to withdraw 7 dollars from my savings account to buy some deer corn.”

She’d merely sigh, smile, and go back to sending her boyfriend dirty ecards on her computer. Sometimes I would send her instant messages that said “Stand up! Say, ‘No problem let me get that started for you’ then smile and hand him the money. Then say ‘Thanks Bill from Mulhawk, have a great day and come back anytime’, then sit back down and Google ‘work ethic’.” After the customer leaves I say “I told you EXACTLY what to do with that customer. Not only did you not do all of it, you did none of it. I basically sent you a script”. She said “He was cutting into my lunch…just…never mind”, started crying and left the bank. I, of course, would rather lick a gym floor then make someone cry, so I would make it up to her by giving her a chocolate chip cookie when she got back.

As part of my management responsibilities, I had to make sure our ATM was stocked with plenty of cash. About once a month I would have to load a canister of 5’s and a canister of 20’s and take it out to the machine. I was required to legally take one person out there with me, so I would take one my smilers out with me. As though when we got thrown in the back of the van, she would be able to somehow protect me. I took customer service extraordinaire out to the ATM with me one particularly windy March morning. I always made her hold the money canisters, because I didn’t want to get jacked in the face for 40 grand and lose my status in Podunk County because of some unfortunate scars. After 13 combinations and my lip gloss being completely blown off, I got the vault open to remove the existing canisters. At that particular moment, Jesus decided to blow the wind so hard that it blew the canister right out of my hand and it smashed into the ground with a vengeance, opening the canister and exposing three thousand dollars worth of fives to the Oklahoma wind. She immediately jumps on top of the money and I just start crying. There are fives blowing everywhere and I am running around the parking lot throwing them into my shirt. A van full of old men pulls up and they run out to help me, shouting “We’re helping!” the whole time, as though I could jujitsu them if they were trying to snag them for their own fortune. There’s one old man in coveralls chasing a bill down the road and all the way into a field. One of the men goes to help smiley and is helping her stuff the money back into a canister. I realize how many regulations I am breaking and consider just throwing in the towel, getting in my car, and driving home to eat some of my son’s fruit roll ups.

The nice men get back into their van and park right beside us, to protect us from wolves and robbers, who may take advantage of our unfortunate situation. They wave to us as we walk back into the bank, money sticking out of every pocket and tears running down my face. I try really hard not to cuss in front of my employees, but I walked back into that back and saw the other employee’s sympathetic looks and realized they’d been watching from the drive thru window. I sobbed out “It’s….always….so….FUCKING…windy…on the days…sob…sob…..I go out there”. They all patted me and then went home and made fun of me to their husbands.

I called my mom in a very emotional state, explained we had retrieved all the money, and gave a moving soliloquy about the kindness of small town people, and how I wish I could find out who those men were so I can thank them. It made me happy to live in Oklahoma and not Compton or Nigeria.

The next day 2 men stole my Gucci bag out of my car while I was 7 feet away with my 4 year old. It was probably those stupid old losers who helped me save the 5’s.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Guest Post from my favorite Brother...he even used a copyright sign!

This is written by my brother, Matthew. Giggle on.

Recently my sister recounted an event from our childhood (hers really, I just gave up a matchbox car and told a teacher) and I wanted to add another. This happened around the same time as the tire incident and in retrospect my sister had a rough couple of years there. I’m including her getting tripped by a Skip-it® and breaking her arm in this series of unfortunate events (for the record she wasn’t “Skipping-it,” some future delinquent was using it as a weapon). But first, as a qualifier, she has forgiven my mother for the following event even if our mother hasn’t forgiven herself.

Speaking of my mother, even though she worked as a nurse she was an early adopter of the soccer mom mantle and as such my parents purchased a minivan when I was four and my sister three. Being in the early eighties minivans were still in their awkward adolescent phase and the silver Toyota looked as if a van and car had mated to produce a hybrid that inherited all the ugly genes. (As an aside, I would inherit this lovely mode of transportation during my own awkward adolescence twelve years later, awesome.) This moon rover looking vehicle shuffled us to and from school, soccer practice and even took us around the country. But really none of those trips (lie) compared to the fun my sister and I had taking it around “The Circle.”

“The Circle” was the long way home in our neighborhood of Westborough. When Ryan Way and St. Christopher Drive came together in a loop of roads behind our house my young sibling and I were ecstatic. We would occasionally whine and beg our mother to take us around the circle after a trip to the grocery store or on our way home from school. We would sit together in the front seat looking out the window at houses (apparently we were easily impressed) as our poor mother drove slowly around in order to placate her annoying children.

One lovely summer day after thoroughly wearing our mother down in the grocery store (this may have been the day she yelled at us to go to our room, in the grocery store) we continued the attack on her sanity by insisting we “Do the Circle” before going home. This maybe eighth of a mile “round” trip took less than five minutes, but those five minutes were valuable stalling time because once we got home our list of chores needed to be finished before our father got home. By chores I mean we were supposed to fill the ice cube trays; between the two of us we rarely got it accomplished. Back in the van and after the both of us had climbed in the front seat and rolled down the window we were en route! Doing a slow drive in one of the most conspicuous vehicles ever designed would have likely made my mother appear a kidnapper if it weren’t for the two kids laughing, yelling and essentially being little shits in the front seat.

Then my sister (generally smaller and weaker than me) who was fighting for position saw something that really excited her (a house). She elbowed her way in to the dominant viewing position and I retaliated. Our combined weight of eleven and a half pounds was enough to push the partially latched door open and I with my catlike/ninja reflexes was able to cling to the window frame as the door swung open flinging my sister down to the hot asphalt at near five miles an hour. What followed next was screaming and wailing from Mary (now a few yards behind us), a delayed reaction from my mother who thought she had run over her own daughter and silence from me who was looking to avoid any blame. The tears of guilt from my mother and the ones of pain from my sister were enough to keep me quiet and out of sight for a few hours once we made it back home.

A deep scrape on her cheek and some bruises were the worst of it. Dad came home and both nurse parents conferred and concluded that stitches were not needed. The nastiest was yet to come as my mother, fearing some huge scar on my sister’s face, scrubbed the wound for a few days after while my (low pain-threshold) sister cried and tried to escape. If she had realized that a big permanent blemish on her face might have severely reduced future “you’re pretty" compliments she’d have scrubbed her own damn cheek. I, on the other hand, somehow avoided blame, pain or guilt in the whole ordeal (my talent) but it was the last time we ever did “The Circle.”

Monday, April 4, 2011

There's nothing kind about a Kindergarten tire.

I have, and have always had a "What the hell, try it, and if it's bad then we'll fix it later" kind of attitude. This comes to show frequently when I think I can make it into parking spaces but end up hitting curbs or other vehicles. This hasn't ever really mattered much until husband came into play. Before him I drove a 1995 Toyota Camry with 175,000 miles. Hitting curbs and those damn poles that keep you from swiping buildings was just a normal lunchtime funtivity for me. I think I only had one hubcap and my Dad had bought that for me out of pure pity. As though one hubcap might land me a husband more than no hubcap.

I'm getting off track.

Kindergarten. 1988.

Our prestigious Edmond Public school had tires, halfway in the ground, for crawling on. The biggest tire was so big you could get inside of it when the other kids made fun of your bowl cut. However, everyone always wanted to play on/in that one. It was more popular than sticking our fingers through the fences behind the school to see who would get bitten the worst by the sickly dog with one ear infected off. I was so 'tire'd of running to the big tire (I won't make that pun again. I promise), only to be disappointed that it was full of mean kids who lived in Oak Tree.

I thought to myself, "Enough of this. I'm 5. I weigh 12 pounds. I will just play inside the LITTLE tire. None of the cool kids have thought of that because their asses are too big to fit. Well. I'm in Kindergarten and this is the last year I will be cute and tiny."

I went to sit inside the tire, by myself, (if I had friends would I be playing inside a tire?) and I didn't fit. I stared longingly at all the pretty 1st graders with their jeans pegged, smoking cigarettes inside the big tire and knew I would never get there. I had to make this one work. So I started at the top of the inside of the tire, where it was the most flexible. Then I held my breath and thought about happy things like Full House and trashcan candy.  I squished, squeezed, and indian-burned my body down the rest of the length of the tire to where I was sitting on the ground. Then I pretended to be having fun. I took off my shoe and dangled it and then put it back on. It was a lot of fun. A lot of fun I was having and no one else was, because they were busy waiting for the big tire.

Then the bell rang and all the kids that weren't friends with me ran back to their classrooms. I was so happy at my triumph but very unhappy that I could not. get. out. I wiggled and tugged and yanked and prayed. My legs were being cut off of any circulation or self esteem. I decided silence was the best option since this was ultra-embarrassing. I pretended to keep having fun. Took my shoe off again. Flicked a rolly poly. Then I noticed the second group of lunch kids had come out. Some friendly kids came by and talked to me. I feigned happiness and knowledge of first grade activities like kickball and cursive. I was cool until one of them went and told my older brother that his special sister was stuck in a tire. As soon as he came over to see me I burst into tears and panic. I knew if I milked this enough he would help me get out of trouble with my parents for skipping class at age 5. He gave me a sweaty matchbox car out of his pocket, that I traced along my shoe. Which I had given up on as a toy. He tried to rip me out and coax me toward the top, but I was not budging. The 2nd bell rang. My brother's conscience was tested. He did not want to leave his bawling afro sister with a matchbox car and purple legs, but he did not want my father to find out he hadn't gone in when the bell rang. So he went and got the Principal.

The Principal and the 4 burliest teachers my unfortunate Edmond school could muster sauntered out to the playground and all pulled at once to try to get me out. The Principal said "Eff this. Someone call 911"

Two and a half hours after my brilliant idea, a giant truck full of delicious firemen blared into the parking lot. They had to use the jaws of life to open the tire and rescue me. The jaws of life. Really. I had peed my pants, but was too scared to walk. So the Principal (I think his name was Mr. Deering?) put me on his shoulders, urine and all, to walk me back to class. I think this was in the hopes that we wouldn't sue him for his bobcat. (does anyone remember the principal having a bobcat or did I make this up?)

My dad always tells this story with the phone call he got "Mr. Flowers, your daughter is okay"....(which he knew meant I was NOT okay). Followed by a "She did, however, get her tiny five year old ass stuck in a tire".