Friday, February 26, 2010

A Cautionary Tale

Many of you are already aware of my consistent failure to pick the best check-out line in any given store. I should actually restate this and say that many of you are aware of my consistent failure to pick any line besides the slowest, longest, and most complicated check-out line in any given store. If you are not in the know please check out this POST before proceeding.

I still have not learned my lesson.

There are new examples for my line-picking saga practically daily. Well, every time I pick a line to be exact. I take it in stride, and don't really think it merits an entire post just to say, "Yep, it happened again." But yesterday was a new one for me.

I ran to the grocery store for a few necessities. I decided to go through the self-check, and just as I began loading my few items onto the black ribbon of death (see the above post for that explanation) a man came up behind me holding a single loaf of bread.

A. Single. Loaf. Of. Bread.

Now, I have been me for my whole life, and I know that my line will be delayed. But I feel badly for those people who are not me, and innocently get in line behind my shopping cart believing they have chosen an efficient line. I tend to apologize in advance to these people, warning them away from the imminent danger that I represent. In fact, during one such conversation in Costco the woman behind me stated, "Oh sweetie, you can't believe that. You have to make your own luck with the stars." Um... yeah. The line still took three times as long as any other with the customer in front of me arguing over which pack of ladies shavers were represented in the latest coupon circular.

So, I took pity on this poor unsuspecting soul, and told him that he could go ahead of me. He was obviously surprised, and graciously accepted my offer with a flourish of thankful tidings. He popped up to the check-out machine, ran his loaf of bread across the scanner and dropped it into a bag.

*Item Not Found*

He ran the loaf of bread again. This time the machine recognized the loaf. I shook off the sense of impending doom. "See," I thought to myself, "it was just a glitch. It really isn't always about me." The gentleman proceeded to the checkout screen, and selected the cash payment option. "Perfect! How much easier can you get than pay by cash?"

*Payment Not Recognized*

He shrugged, sheepishly smiling at me as if to apologize for his transaction not going as smoothly as my invitation to allow him to proceed me should make it. I smiled back. It could still just be an unrelated glitch.

Again, he chose the cash payment. The screen blinked, proceeding momentarily to the *Payment Not Recognized* message before thinking better of it and moving to the directions for inserting your cash into the kiosk. The man began to place his perfectly smooth, freshly minted $5 dollar bill into the slot.

*Invalid Payment. Please Remove.*

He stood, staring at the slot where his perfectly smooth, freshly minted $5 dollar bill had disappeared seconds earlier, waiting for the kiosk to spit it back out.

*Invalid Payment. Please Remove.*

The perfectly smooth, freshly minted $5 dollar bill remained inside the beast.

*Please Remove Your Items.*

He picked up his single loaf of bread.

*Item Removed Unexpectedly. Please Return Item.*

He replaced his single loaf of bread.

*Please Choose A Payment Option.*

By this time I knew this was no random glitch in the system. This poor man had to experience these baffling complications, while purchasing his single loaf of bread with cash, in order for me to rest in the assurance that God has not chosen to move on from his pet game of checkout guerrilla warfare.

We finally got a supervisor to come and clear the machine with a fantastic amount of secret codes and key turning. The gentleman was able to get the machine to return his change for the perfectly smooth, freshly minted $5 dollar bill, and he left with his single loaf of bread.

Let this be a cautionary tale for you:

 Don't ever let me do you any favors if we ever happen to stand next to one another in a line.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Crazy Hair!

Our children are heavily involved in our church's AWANA program. I love it... except for all the additional extra-curricular activities. For instance, each year we have the Mayflower Boat races, AWANA Grand Prix, and Crazy Hair and Feet Night. Mostly these added "fun" nights create more opportunity for me to be the cruel, heartless parent of Cinderella fame. I am the one who reminds them that creating the Millennium Falcon out of a pine wood block in 12 hours is really not possible. Equally impossible is the tall sails ship where the height of the sails is roughly equivalent to the length of the boat, and the depth of the keel is approximately 0. Am I the only one who sees a slight problem with that design? And so, year after year we muddle through the expectations, tears, hopes, and time required by these sadistic events - meant to inspire family unity and childhood memories.

Well, I finally had enough of the Monster Mother profile, and this year's Crazy Hair night was something to behold! I am utterly thankful that I have a full year to recover.


While Letters From Odd may have taken a retreat of silence don't be fooled into thinking nothing was happening. Several lessons made themselves abundantly clear in the time spanning the last blog entry and today. For instance, did you know that it really isn't wise to leave the hot tub cover off for the entire night?

Lesson #673
     Even when you have diaper cream ointment on your fingers, are multitasking to the tune of 7 queued functions, and are trying to cram in more opportunities for your girls to enjoy their out of town friends it is still quite necessary for the cover to be replaced on the hot tub when you are done using it. The poor motor must have run nearly non-stop trying to keep the temp up during the night!

Lesson #674
     Even though it might sound like a cute idea to let a 3 year old, 4 year old and 5 year old sleep in the same bed for a treat the truth is: it isn't. Claire, one of our visiting out of towners, Leah and Mary all huddled into the top bunk of the girls' bed to enjoy some girly time. We presumed they would eventually fall asleep, exhausted from a long day of playing together outside. We were wrong. Exhaustion only took over when threatened discipline overrode their exuberance for more giggling, and at nearly 12:30 in the morning they finally gave up the ghost.

Lesson #675
     While it may seem to be a perfectly sane idea to swing from a long rope by your teeth you must tell yourself (over and over) that it is actually insane until that truth is embedded in your brain. If you are Caleb it will only finally make it to your brain after you have lost a tooth.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Bunk Beds

I don't mean to complain. Okay, maybe I do.

How on earth do you efficiently change the sheets on bunk beds - Specifically the top bunk (I find I am rather proficient with the bottom one)?

We have used bunk beds for seven years. That may not sound like a long time, but in terms of sheet changes it may as well be an eternity. And since my torture wasn't enough I went ahead and added a second set. These are full over full bunks, so managing the top mattress is even more cumbersome and awkward. O Joy!

I often wonder, as I again rationalize why I don't need to change those sheets just yet, if other parents allow their bunk bed using children to wallow in filth the way I do. I can't possibly be alone. Am I the only one missing the brilliant light bulb?

I come to your with my query because the unthinkable happened in my house last night. One of the children got sick in the top bunk. Ugh! I always loved the way my mom would put me in the bath while she changed my sheets. After the scary and uncomfortable ordeal it felt so good to climb into a clean bed. I want that for my own children. In fact, I did that for my own children until they moved into bunk beds. Now I have to opt for the pallet-on-the-floor version of a clean bed until morning when I can wrest the mattress over the guard rail, hoist the comforter back onto the bed, travel up and down a step stool countless times, and finally stretch myself out on the bottom bunk poking and pulling the blankets until they are smooth on top. I have finally learned how to manage the twin bunk by myself, but the double bunk is impossible to do alone. That just affirms the ridiculousness of this situation. How absurd is it that we need two adults to change a set of sheets?

There must be a better way...