Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Schedules, String Cheese, and EmmA's Homework


I keep a calendar. It's where all the upcoming important things and events and places I need to be and also the people I am responsible for need to be when they need to be there live. Usually on Sunday afternoons I sit at the dining table and fill in and review what's coming up for the week.

I don't do this because I am an organized person. I do this because the inside of my brain looks like a "worst of" episode of Hoarders they haven't even dreamed of yet. Also see previous post re: how my brains are LITERALLY spilling out of my skull so there is that.



I also don't do this to establish an alibi, unless my dental appointment will clear me of suspicion of murder, in which case go ahead and ask me.

If you have ever tried to make social plans with me, I have likely told you to check with The Hubs because he's in charge of our social calendar. That is true. He inherited the gene from his mother wherein he can tell you where we are going for 4th of July for the next five years straight.

My brain is filled to capacity with other things, and thanks to scoring a 14/14 on this Greenwich University test I know it's also filled with the faces of everyone I've ever looked at, which explains why I randomly point out people in grocery stores and bore my spouse to literal death with stories like hey there's the guy that did such and such ten years ago and in exchange he looks at me like he is calculating the amount of insurance money he could get if he killed me in my sleep so he never has to hear another story like this and he can't decide if it's worth it. (Also spoiler: NOT MUCH!!)

In the end he decides not to because he needs me to use my skills to tell him who an actor is or what other movie we saw him in because we can't enjoy entertaining things until I tell him and I couldn't very well tell him if I was dead.

I keep a calendar to remind myself of the what-and-who-goes-where because with all the faces in my head and also all the other useless trivia IN THE WORLD lodged there ( hey Mandy, you wanna know why that horse has ribbons braided into its tail?) and also the knowledge required to do my actual day job that they pay me money to do, this being able to remember normal things business is my shortcoming. Like on Friday, TB stayed home with Dad-Dad with a fever and I was at work at 9:30 midway through a meeting before it occurred to me I'd forgotten to call the school and tell them.

What's that you ask? Why did not Dad-Dad whom he was staying home with call the school? Unsure. Dad-Dad would probably say he does not know the school's telephone number. I do not know of all the things that occupy Dad-Dad's brain hoard, but I think the corner where there could be room to store the telephone number for the school is occupied by the fine print of the Dairy Queen buy-one-get-one-free coupons, which up until he had to go and ruin it for everyone, there didn't USED TO HAVE TO BE an exclusion for ice cream cakes on.

Who knows whether this will ever improve? In all this, I'm arming my kids to be more self sufficient.

I sent TB to school on Monday with a Costco-sized package of string cheese in an insulated bag in his backpack. I heard him tell EVERY SINGLE kid at the bus stop, "Guess what I have in my backpack! STRING CHEESE!". I made a mental note to email his teacher about it.

And then I forgot.

Later in the day, I emailed her:

"I *hope hope hope* he told you he has string cheese in his backpack before it got warm."

She answered back:

"He was responsible. He told me as soon as he got to the classroom."

Today, I asked him to please give Ella back her free-draw picture that had accidentally come home in his folder. He asked how I knew it was hers. I knew because Ella's mom had given me back one of TB's papers that had gone home with her by mistake. I also knew it was THIS Ella and not a different Ella because we'd chuckled over both our kids stubbornly making capital As not in the beginning of their names.

I knew when I saw -EllA- across the top it was hers.

Could I have given it to Ella's mom myself? Yeah. We both go to the bus stop in the mornings. But this was a chance for him to see that someone made a mistake (their mailboxes are next to each other), fix that mistake even though it was not HIS mistake, and to give back a thing that didn't belong to him. Things like that take practice when it's a little insignificant thing like a free-draw so that when it's a big thing like someone's valued personal property, the decision comes like muscle memory to do what's right.

It's one thing to preach theory to someone and hope they do it when the time comes, but it's a gift when you have a chance to practice.

Because when my boys grow up, I want them to know how to do the right thing, especially when it affects other people. As they're getting older, I'm realizing that as much as things like grades are important to me, how they treat others is importanter. So far, I think they're doing okay, but we've had A LOT of chitty-chats along the way, especially lately.

Yes, about Kavanaugh, too. Especially about that.

When TB got off the bus today, I asked him whether he had a fun day, and whether he gave Ella back her paper. He said yes and yes, but that he waited until they got all the way to school to give it to her. I was irritated.

"Why didn't you give it to her on the bus?"

"Because it was raining, mom. I didn't want her to have a tricky zipper on her backpack on the bus and not be able to zip it up and it would get all wet and rainy. I waited until we were inside at school in case she needed a grown up to help with her zipper after she put it away."

I'm going to forget things again. A lot of things. I will forget and get lost in the minutiae of times and dates and appointments and the things I need to write down because I cannot seem to make them stick like post-its on my brain.

I will remember that today, TB was my favorite.


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Key Are What?



Hey hi.

I've been absent a while.

The words aren't coming very easily these days. If I'm honest, they haven't for a while. I'd gotten used to the idea that they had to sit and steep for a long time. Edits were part of the deal.

I'm going to try to make this short, you can go down the Google rabbit hole for the rest.

In preparation for a referral to a migraine specialist, my primary ordered an MRI.

It showed a Type 1 Arnold Chiari Malformation.

Long story short, part of my brain is squishing through the hole that my spinal cord is supposed to enjoy unfettered exclusive real estate on and it restricts the flow of spinal fluid in and out of the brain.

Gross.

Even grosser? The fix for it. Which is why I baby-step tippy toed around telling Hubs about it because I didn't want him to freak out. But then he Google machined it and now the cat's out of the bag and I'm probably going to end up with a super sexxxy haircut one day. Maybe.

And as soon as I realized what it was and the havoc it wreaks on your body, the last oh...I don't know...all of my entire life came suddenly into sharp focus. All of the things and the instances where I knew something was wrong but I didn't stand up for myself. I'm kicking myself for letting this go for so long that now my question is: can they do something about it now, and will I know whatever it is to feel normal?

For as long as I can remember these are the things that I've thought were "normal" or were explained away:

The baseline constant feeling of having just stepped off a tilt-a-whirl.

The always dilated pupils which were especially fun all the times I was accused of being on drugs which was especially fun because I have literally never done drugs ever.

My childhood dentist who said "her mouth is too small for her teeth, so I'm going to just start pulling a bunch of them out until they fit." [THIS MAYBE SHOULD HAVE BEEN A CLUE THAT MY SKULL WAS ALSO TOO SMALL FOR MY BRAIN HELLO]

Thinking I keep pulling my neck muscles every morning like I am trapped inside the body of an 80 year old. Then blaming myself for not eating enough vitamins or doing enough yoga.

That time in 5th grade that I blacked out for no reason in the gym and Sarah Cameron caught me and kept me from busting my teeth out and Mr. Bruce walked me home and my mom said I was probably just sad because my grandpa died.

Other girls: "look at my cute headband." Me: "get it off me before I vomit".

Crying for no reason. Or because I yawned wrong.

So sleepy.

That lump in my throat I blamed on things like my feelings.

All the activity-a-thons for various entities I was involved with, including an overly ambitious youth group bike ride some combination of from and/or to Hells Gate and the church, where one and/or both of The Studer Boys graciously stayed back and pedaled circles around me with their 9 foot long legs while I likely begged them to go on ahead and leave me there to die.

That time I blacked out for no reason when I worked at JC Penney (because I had my head tilted way back getting something off a high rack with a pole/hook) and the customer thought I was dead and I went to the doctor because you better not be pregnant and no I wasn't but my blood pressure was wow super low so my doctor said hey you're young just eat more salt and you'll be fine so I got to do fun things like eat pickles and peanuts at every special occasion where someone thought I might be getting nervous and clammy.

That time I blacked out for no reason during a preop Q/A session before a laparoscopic cleanout of the endometriosis crime scene in my abdomen when I couldn't hear the nurse's question over the ringing in my ears so I turned my head wrong, and they did an EEG but that was normal and my mom said oh this has happened before she's probably just nervous!

That time pre-labor that my blood pressure crashed after the epidural when I laid flat on my back.

Every time I lay flat and I start to see stars. Or when Jason throws his leg over mine and presses down on my legs and I freak out because I can't breathe.

Every time one block feels like five miles. If it's hot? I get stupid. Quickly.

I've always had the upper body strength of a wet noodle.

My hands and feet go numb but hey I'm probably just not active enough for good circulation!

Falling down! Tripping over nothing. Misjudging distances. Stairssssss. Oh God. The stairs.

So now I wait. I'm waiting because that's what we do when you're in line to see a specialist who specializes in special problems. But it's not an emergency, and I know now I've had this forever. And honestly, who here is surprised that my brains are literally too big to fit inside my skull?

I'd like to get some answers soon, though. It's been a month now and that feels like a long, long time to wait to make a plan. Although I guess now I know why none of the migraine meds that I've tried over the past 20 years have worked. Shout out to those who've been patient with me in the past when I know this has shown its face, when it's robbed me of my energy or my words or seemingly my personality. And to those who've known about this and who've said they'd do whatever, whenever. You guys are the best. Who knew such an invisible thing could be so clear if someone just knew where to look?

Humans are so weird.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Tattle Tits


You can call me Tattle Tits.

Last year I witnessed an incident at a retailer that ended in an ambulance call and left me with a gut feeling that someone might lie about it.

I don't even know why I felt like that. Something was just off. The reaction wasn't what I expected.

Other people saw it, someone else called for the ambulance, there were surveillance cameras.

Still, I stopped by later that day when the hubbub died down and asked to talk to the on-site contact for loss prevention. I could tell he wasn't quite sure what he was doing, so I jotted down a quick statement with elements I knew were important. I wrote down my name and telephone number.

Today, I got a call from their corporate loss prevention division. The claim is something wildly different than the facts. They found my name and knew from the first written narrative scribbled sideways on a scrap that the statement on the claim wasn't adding up.

Here's the kicker. Those cameras? They only SOMETIMES work. They didn't that day.

Why?

Why had I even been paying that much attention?

Am I a five-alarm stalker?

Only kind of.

It was July. Go ahead and look up what the weather was like or I'll save you the trip to the Googlemachine because it was HOT AS BALLS.

This lady had on layers and by layers I mean like A COAT and gloves and I noticed this because she had those gloves up on the handle of an empty cart she was pushing into the store from the parking lot and I was like, "how unfortunate, maybe she has eczema or something but Jesus that sucks because it's so freaking HOT she is going to have a heat strooooooOMG what is happening????"

Because I watched as her feet STOPPED MOVING like, you know how when you're walking but you have to sneeze but you don't want to pee your pants? No? Just me? Anyway. Like that. Just stopped. But the top part of her body KEPT ROLLING with the cart.

She twisted around, never letting go of the cart until she was on the ground and the cart was partially on top of her. I thought this lady just dropped dead in front of me but honestly I wasn't that surprised because I was JUST thinking she was going to roast to death.

I can see this happening even now in my head because I was walking behind her in that way that one does where you kind of give a person room so they don't think you're being a crowdy asshole, but when I saw her start to twist and fall, I threw my purse to try to catch her which of course didn't work because I'm too slow but fortunately since my purse wasn't zipped I did manage to dump the contents all over the front entryway.

Her husband hadn't noticed.

"Um, hello? HELLOOOOOO!!! Um, your, uh...wife? She fell."

"Oh yeah. She does that."

He stood there with his hands in his pockets while I held her head off the concrete while she wailed because it was her bad leg that apparently already had a hip replacement. Two other women who'd been behind me called for the ambulance. They stayed and conveyed the information to the ambulance crew and I left to finish my errands.

Later I'd just gotten a bad feeling about it. I mean, I felt for the woman. I still do. I believe she was legitimately injured. I have no idea how it ended up for her. But I also got such a weird snarky vibe from the husband, or whoever was with her, that I felt like someone probably needed to say something, in case the camera hadn't picked up the right angle. Or something was blocked.

And today, I got that call. They're being sued. The claim is that she tripped over an object due to the store's negligence. They said my statement was key in this. That they'd gotten him to admit that he didn't see it because I specifically said he did not see it happen.

I got an education I didn't want in logging objective observations as a victim. I felt awful for those witnesses who got dragged in to speak to the things they'd seen and heard. It opened my eyes to just how beneficial it is as an outsider with no connection to a case to be willing to speak up and attest to what you've seen, sometimes boring details you encounter in your everyday life can make or break a criminal or civil case.

Fixers, speak up. Don't ever assume that there are cameras rolling everywhere. Don't duck out and say you don't want to be involved. Sometimes it's hard to find someone to report things to when something is chaotic. Wait until it dies down, then go back and leave your name and number and a short statement.

Be a tattle tit.


Monday, January 1, 2018

Don't Look Back - (But Totally Look Back)

Not my office. Mine is in a dungeon. With much more clutter.


As I turned the lights off in my office for the last time in 2017 on Friday, after everyone else was already gone and an eerie hush crept through the building, I felt great. Not because I sifted through and tossed most of the multiple piles of post-it notes and outdated materials while I'd been waiting on a report with more data than my computer was prepared to handle on the last working day of the year.

Not because my desk was a fresh blank slate (minus all the coffee rings I'd collected since the last scrub down).

Not because I'd made the deadline on things like expense reports and time cards.

This year I spent my December 29th compiling some unsolicited summary documents, outlining major accomplishments that accumulated during the year, projects that were borne out of weekly meetings and eating the elephant one bite at a time. I'd pushed a lot of stuff forward at what felt like a snail's pace, and the groups I belong to had done a lot too, but asking what exactly those things were required a 12 month archaeological dig to articulate.

There's still SO MUCH WORK that I'm stressed out about having left unresolved for the year. So why do this? Why not just keep pressing forward, leaving yesterday in the dust?

Value.

By sitting down and pulling together a highlight reel for the smaller team, for our peers, and for our leaders, we can see the tangible results and the larger effects on quality, efficiency, and growth as a group.

It was no different than sitting down to write the letter that accompanied my family Christmas card, really. The audience and contents were different, but both exercises gave me a chance to reflect on the year behind so that the year ahead had perspective and purpose.

But why me? Why not someone else? If this wasn't a mandatory assigned task, why put myself through that?

To remember why I started.

There's no better time than a fresh year to ask yourself why you got into this business in the first place, what brought you here, and what drives you to return every day. If you find yourself out of love with what you're doing, it might drive you to set your sights in a new direction. If you find yourself compelled to continue, it's a chance to recommit to your cause and look for new ways to do it even better.

I like what I do. I'm good at it. I get paid authentic paper money to do it (j/k I have direct deposit). It affords me a chance to make other people's lives better.

That's what it's all about, right?

So as you sit today with your fresh new planners, preparing your next week's worth of clean food bento boxes and filling gallon jugs with all the hydration you can handle and dusting off your jazzercise wardrobe, remember to take time to recognize what you did last year. Even if it feels like it was just a dumpster fire.

Write down what you did, but more importantly, what impact it had. Did you improve a process? Did your team reach a noteworthy goal? Demonstrate that. Doing so will have a ripple effect - you'll be prepared for performance evaluations to talk about how you didn't just show up on time every day, but that you also positively contributed to the bottom line. By reminding yourself of these important metrics, you may find it less daunting to put pants on tomorrow as we all head back to the grind.

Can't get started? Ask for help. Find someone you trust, your people who you'd go to for an assist if you were refreshing your resume. Some people find it hard to toot their own horn, so practicing this on a committee or team effort is sometimes much easier.

That was the case for me, anyway.

May 2018 bring satisfaction in your professional life, and may you find balance and perspective between it and your home life.


Friday, August 18, 2017

I Won SNL Tickets!

You Guys. I won SNL tickets. I'm not even shitting you. For real.

Every August, Saturday Night Live opens up its lottery for tickets. You email them and they tell you if you win and what show you're scheduled to see. You don't get to request any date. That's how it works.

Hubs told me he put in for them. I didn't tell him I'd done it a few days before that. This is what real love is, people. It didn't matter, neither of us was going to win.

I'd gotten an auto-reply which I initially regarded as spam, but it went over some additional requirements such as that you had to have your full name and email address in the body of your email, so realizing that I had not done that in mine, I sent another. Mine read as follows:


Hubs and I are DYING this summer without our weekly dose of SNL (so we are looking forward to the upcoming Thursday weekend updates!). So is the rest of America. So to say that we are more deserving of tickets than everyone else makes us selfish assholes. But we really need to get away from our three children who like to sneak around the living room corner late at night on Saturday to see what the hell is sooo funny that's making us laugh so hard when we are generally scowling at them when they're trying to be funny by jumping on the nice furniture and farting on one another.

We promise to laugh harder and clap louder than anyone else. We are from Idaho, which everyone thinks is Iowa, but it's not. My husband in particular would love any musical guest because his iPod on shuffle plays Metallica, Christmas music, Hanson, Olivia Newton John, Adele, Lady Gaga, The Wiggles, Willie Nelson, Justin Bieber, Volbeat, Sia, and Carlos Santana.

I promise to write all about our experience on my blog, which has a far-reaching exposure of 3.6 human readers known to me personally and 47 Russian spy bots at http://www.dayleefix.blogspot.com

Thank you!



On Tuesday (8/15), I received the following email from NBC Universal:

CONGRATULATIONS! We are thrilled you are one of Saturday Night Lives’ biggest fans and would like to invite you and a guest to be a part of our “Weekend Update Summer Edition” audience on August 17! We are holding two (2) tickets under your name! To confirm your tickets please reply to this email within 24 hours of receiving it or the tickets will be forfeited. 

I checked my day planner.



And then I immediately cried more tears than I did at the births of all three of my children combined. How could I be such a winner and such a loser all at the same time? I texted my boss:

"Hey. I won tickets to SNL, but it's for this week's Weekend Update. So I'm gonna need three days off and like $50,000 for last minute plane tickets and the fee to kennel my children. K thanks."

Luckily, he's pretty nice so he said yes, but also he has like zero authority so it didn't mean shit.

Anyway, a promise is a promise so I'm gonna write about my experience here.



The seats were amazing. Front row. Super comfy. Normally there would have only been tickets for two, but this time the entire family was there. I finally broke the news to my kids as they looked at me, wide-eyed.

"Guys, I have news. I won tickets to this show. Like THIS ONE that we are watching right now. But it didn't work out and dad and I couldn't go, because I didn't realize when I entered the drawing that they were also giving away tickets for these 30 minute Thursday shows. Now...you know that I love you very much, and even though Grandma is out of town and couldn't watch you, had this been a Saturday Night show, I would have left you with a dirty hobo in North Lewiston and high-tailed it to New York City."

And Clayton was like, "Yeah, duh."

And then the show started. And for thirty minutes including commercial breaks I died inside.

Jimmy.

Seth.

TINA.MTHRFKNG.FEY.



My feelings right now. Accurate.



It was a great show. Nobody better than Tina Fey could have appeared the one time I won the (ticket) lottery and couldn't go. You know why?

Here's a rundown of my week, the things that kept me from saying, "screw it, let's hop a flight":

  • A group of current members of a professional association I belong to asked to meet to discuss forming a new local chapter. This foundation-level participation may not have moved forward if I'd missed it. I'm the Vice President now, and I'm not sure how that happened.
  • Stuffed 800 million pieces of paper with things like school district calendars and instructions to apply for free or reduced lunches or milk and permission slips for field trips and vision testing and the "hey, so you got boobs-n-pubes now no big deal, or also hey, so you don't have boobs-n-pubes yet no big deal" talk into manila envelopes for 400 children to crumple into the abyss that is their backpacks in a week.
  • Provided insight into the job that I do for actual paper money to other people so that maybe the world is a better place tomorrow (but probably not).
  • Hockey meeting because even when it's 105 degrees outside, we still have to talk about the hockey.
  • Gathered materials for another entity who sought out my expertise on one particular topic in preparation for a week-long faculty opportunity in the town I went to once and luckily didn't get stabbed and I really feel like I'm getting sassy with the universe by going back there, TBH.
  • Ordered one mascot costume for 2ndKid as a gift from our family to the school for the purposes of smearing school spirit allllll up in there.
  • Also like, my normal job and also like Hubs' normal job that we do for money.


All this shit. This stuff that could have waited. This stuff that takes precedent and we fall back on when something fun or amazing or once-in-a-lifetime comes up. All of it is the reason I woke up today okay with having watched it from the living room with the fam. Because if I've ever learned anything from Tina Fey, it's that bitches get stuff done.



Saturday, June 17, 2017

Father's Day, Here in the Upside Down

It's Father's Day here in the Upside Down. Or rather the Right-Side-Up. Depending on who you ask, I guess, because it is pretty nuts here.

If you don't know what the Upside Down is, stop reading immediately. Go take your pants off and bingewatch Stranger Things over on the Netflix machine and I'll talk to you in three days.





If you're still with me now, you might regret it.

Whenever I have tried to explain my family tree to other people and how I got from point A to point B and enjoyed a fist full of name changes by the time I entered Kindergarten, and how some people are one human but two different kinds of relatives to me, their brains short circuit.


Wait...say that again? Slower this time.

Over the past year or two I realized that my three boys are spaced out the same in age that I was with my older sisters. It's like they're the not-upside-down version of my past life. That is my B.A. life (Before Adoption). They're like the normal version of the dark, cloudy, sticky version of me and my sisters. And if anyone is keeping track, I'd be the ToddlerBandit one, which is creepy because he is the only one who was as obsessed with his belly button as me (#nozippyjammies) and also he was an accident.

Very long story short, there were three of us, and our parents couldn't keep their collective shit together, and yada yada yada, father with a pregnant girlfriend in another state, blah blah blah, "my new wife doesn't like you so go find a place to live", etc., etc., then I got adopted and my sisters did not. If you would like the detailed version, just let me know, but you should probably have a couple drinks first.

Having a father choose a woman over his children was something my Mr. understood, so I've never had to try to explain what a hole that leaves in a kid. Even an adult kid. His situation was a little different, and he grew up with all his sisters. We both enjoyed replacement dads for most of our lives that were just right for us.

Mine died when I was pregnant with ToddlerBandit. I hate that they never got to meet.

This whole couple years I held my breath, waiting. Waiting for a phone call or a knock on the door or a letter. I waited for someone to yank the rug out from under me, to find out about Mr. Fix having a pregnant girlfriend in another state.

For the record, my scheduling him for a vasectomy against his will had nothing to do with this.

And ToddlerBandit turned three and then he turned four and then...nothing. No other woman, no sudden departure, no abandoning his children.

And then just before this weekend, Mr. Fix drove off. Alone. East. One quick goodbye in the hall and he was out the door. And I didn't care.

I didn't care because he is headed to New Jersey to pick up a boat. A replacement for the SS Lee, Mr. Fix found a good deal on the Internets. And he left.

Father's Day weekend.

The reason I don't care is because we don't get hung up on Hallmark holidays. And because I know when he gets there he's turning around and coming home. He's doing it because he values family time, and some of our best family times are on the water.



And our kids are unfazed by it. I've told them a dozen times where he is, and two dozen times they've asked, "Where's dad? Did he go for a run? Is he asleep? Is he working today?"

And all the while I'm up his ass to check in every day. But it's not because I'm paranoid he's left us and that my kids will have to grow up without their dad (or, unthinkably, each other). It's for the normal reasons like that he might be dead in a ditch somewhere and I'd like to know which cops to call to report him missing. As of yesterday, I believe that was Illinois.

You know, normal worry-wart type things. Normal is nice.

Friday, June 9, 2017

That's Just My Face




At least 40 million times twice a day Hubs asks me if I'm mad, and I have to remind him that no, and that's just my face. My Resting Bitch Face. I'm happy. Ecstatic, even. No, really.

So I'm always surprised, if I journey this Earth looking stuck up and unapproachable, why the Hell do so many people in stores approach me and ask,

"Do you work here?"


I am careful not to wear my name/photo badge when I shop. So I can only guess my being mistaken for store employees is from the way I float around the store. I worked retail about four lifetimes ago, and you get an eye for certain things. I tend to swoop around, hitting all the clearance racks, and while I'm sorting through for sizes, I will refold scattered stacks of jeans, regroup the shirts on the rack by color, and will hand a cashier random things I find on the floor, like popped-off security tags sticking up like a tack waiting to go through the bottom of someone's foot.

I will always leave your store in nicer shape than I found it.

I often don't have anything in my hands because shopping is OFTEN not fruitful for me. Or I might be wandering back from the dressing room to put the clothes away that I just tried on, annoyed and depressed. But I never leave things in the dressing room and really don't like leaving them on a generic rack outside the dressing room. If I got it out, I'll put it away. Which, I suppose normal people don't do. So I am mistaken for an employee any time I'm out and about without ToddlerBandit right at my side, up my butt and demanding payment in chicken nuggets and french fries for his time.

Today, twice in one store.

Two women were hovering around a rack of clearance dresses that I was rehanging my failed sizing attempts at.

"Do you work here?"


"Um, no...I mean, I did...like 25 years ago. But not now, why?"

"We need dresses for a wedding and they have to be silver and we're having a hard time. Where do they keep their fancy dresses?"


"OOooohhhh, Yeah. So their formal stuff is generally on these two racks but there might be a few on the clearance rack here. And Macy's has some but they're kind of just prom dresses but they do have ONE rack where they keep things that are returns from other stores, it's in the clearance area too."

"I like this one but they don't have my size and also it needs to be silver."


"You should look online to see if they have that style in another size or color."

"I don't have internet."

[*Gets phone out. Scrolls. Finds a dress.]



"You can have them order it in the back, but this way you'll know what to ask for. And since you don't live in town, just have them ship it to your house."

"Oh sweetie, thank you so much!"

So I left them to make one swath through the men's department to see whether they had any clearance fancy suit britches or shirts that I can spend my Sunday night ironing for Mr. Fix (they didn't) and got stopped by an older gentleman.

"Do you work here?"


I had noticed him just standing between two shelves of jeans. I thought he was waiting on someone else.

"Well, no. Not now anyway. I probably still know enough to help you though."

He was heading out of town on a work job and was utterly perplexed by the pre-shrunk or shrink-to fit sizing conversion and durability differences of Levi's 501s and needed help. This was something I could do in my sleep. I helped him get what he needed, let him know about Levi's quality guarantee and reminded him to keep his receipt and that he could probably take them back to the same store wherever he was heading if there was a problem.

"Gosh, thank you so much. I just so appreciate that. You've been such a big help. You say you used to work here?"


"Yeah, well it was a long time ago, but Levi's haven't changed."

"Well, you're sure nice to help me out. You have such a nice smile. I won't take up any more of your time, honey."

And then he gave me a card in case I need any construction or remodeling work done (when he gets back from his big out-of-town job, I guess).

And I left, empty handed (except for the business card). And when I get home the conversations will go more like this:

"Mom, do you know where my [fill in the blank here with anything from toothbrush to hockey stick to underwear to shoes] is? I can't find it."

~or~

"Mom? Are we out of [grocery item that is literally staring them in the face]?


"Oh.My.Gaaaaaaaaaaaah you guys. Seriously. Open your eyeballs. Jeebus H. Crisco. Are you going to do this all summer? Because if you're going to do this all summer I'm going across the street and telling the Superintendent that you would LOVE to come over and cut his lawn by hand with a pair of scissors all summer for free and pick up dog poop in Mrs. Byrer's yard."

And Mr. Fix will say, "What's wrong? You look mad."

And I'll say, "I'm not mad. That's just my face."