Mean Girls

What is it with girls? I’m talking about teenage girls in particular. What makes some of them so mean? Why are some of them so comfortable putting themselves above others? 

If you’ve ever been a teenage girl, or a teenage boy, or spent any time in middle school or high school, you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch the movie, Mean Girls. It’s a funny movie, but sadly, very true to life.

 As a parent, you never want to see your daughter fall victim to a mean girl. Unfortunately, at some time or another, every girl is going to have to face a mean girl. This weekend, it was my daughter’s turn.

Without going into too much detail, I’ll just say that there are two girls on Kacey’s softball team who have recently begun to put themselves above everyone else, above the rules and above having to show respect to any teammate or the coaches. A few of the girls have had to suffer at the expense of these girls’ attitudes lately. This weekend, it was Kacey’s turn. To her credit, I had no idea any of this had gone on.

The girls played all weekend in the Tri-County tournament. They swept it, winning all of their games and taking the championship. There was much celebration, many big smiles and an abundance of excited chatter as they received their first place medals. It wasn’t until we were in the car on the way home that I realized Kacey had grown very quiet. I glanced at her in the backseat of the car and saw that her smile had melted. When I asked if she was ok, she responded with a half-hearted, “Yeah.”

When I asked if she was sure, she told me that the two girls had made some comments over the course of the weekend that made her feel not wanted. I have seen this behavior before and it always irritates me, but when the behavior was suddenly aimed at MY daughter, I became incensed. How dare they? My claws came out. I wanted to face those two girls and say something, anything to them to let them know they were behaving like spoiled, little brats. I wanted them to feel as hurt as my daughter was feeling. I wished that Kacey or any of the other girls would turn the tables and make these two girls feel unworthy.

Throughout the weekend games, Kacey cheered on her teammates, smiled, and even helped one of the two girls get the catcher’s gear on. Both of the two girls received high-fives from Kacey when they got a good hit or had any kind of success. She had her arm around the shoulder of one of the girls with a huge smile on her face while the celebrating and picture taking went on. It was only in the safety and privacy of our car that she let on how much they had hurt her.

She is obviously a better person than I am. She makes me proud.

Yet another reason I love my job

John.

John makes my job fun. My cube used to sit right in front of John’s and from the day I started working there, we became friends. John and I just click. He makes me laugh. Hysterically. Until I have tears running down my face.

A while ago, we did some relocating within the office and John and I got separated. Now he sits way down on the other end of the floor from me. I miss bantering with him. But some days, we reconnect over email.

Take today, for instance.

A little background first…. Our company is a heavily customer-service oriented business. Part of what we do is stay on top of things that will improve our customers’ experience. Recently, I became frustrated with our on-line security program. It’s kind of archaic. When a customer uses their on-line account, if they input the log-in ID, password or answer to a secret question incorrectly three times, their account is disabled. When this happens, the customer sees a message that says something to the effect of, “To ensure the security of your account, it has been locked. An account is locked due to inactivity or when suspicious behavior is detected. Your information is inaccessible as a precaution. Please contact us to unlock your account. For your protection, we do not unlock accounts via email. Please contact Customer Service.”

When the customer service link is clicked, the first thing the customer sees is our email address and then later, our phone numbers. We get a substantial number of email requests each day asking that we unlock the account and send the log-in information over email. We then respond with an email that basically says, “We don’t do that over email. Please call during business hours.”

Now, I don’t know about you, but I have plenty of accounts that require a log-in ID and password, and I don’t remember ever having to actually call anyone, only during business hours to have the situation rectified. I wanted to see if we could improve this system to make it more user friendly.

Our company uses a system called BugAware to submit problems to the IT department. I sent a BugAware asking if we can’t work to improve our online security system. John had previously tried to request similar improvements and had little success. But because he had been involved in the past, he was copied on my BugAware.

When IT responded to my request today, John emailed me asking if I didn’t agree that other companies are miles ahead of us in this area. I told him I agreed and was going to pursue this further because it seems to be a system that could be pretty annoying for our customers. An email conversation ensued:

John: I don’t think they get how many calls and emails this generates for no good reason. As a customer, I would find it really irritating, especially on the weekends.

Me: I just locked my own account and I can see how you might just skim over the information. When you click on the link, the first thing you see is “Contact Us!” and a link to our email address. And I forgot about weekends. I should mention how frustrating it would be to lock your account on the weekend and not be able to get assistance. I wonder how pushy I dare to get on this…

John: Really, really pushy. Push hard like you stalled your car on the freeway during rush hour. Push! Push!

Me: Is it obvious that I was the kid in grade school that would throw wads of wet toilet paper on the bathroom ceiling because some kid said, “DO IT! DO IT!” ??? And yes. I got in trouble. BIG trouble. Fortunately for you, I learned nothing from that experience.

John: Shut up and push.

Me: Well, as long as you promise I won’t get into trouble….. OK!

John: Promise.

A short time later, the BugAware was submitted with additional ideas for improvement, after which followed more contact from John…..

John: In addition to the other points you made in your BA, you might want to add verbiage to prevent people from making fools of themselves when they create their log-in ID and password. Like this dude. Or dud.

Log-in ID: dothebru

Password: penis1

Me: Hmmmm… speaking of making a fool of oneself, it appears that you are trying to put me in that position. I see that YOU were not motivated to add that particular suggestion to the BA.

John: I’m pushing you to be your best self.

I don’t know if my suggestions will be addressed, but John sure made it fun to work on it.

I love John.

(Oh, don’t worry. I promise my hubby will not be threatened by that statement. Neither will John’s husband.)

Kids can be SO helpful

I discovered the following in my email inbox:

Dear Terri,

Brad thought you would be interested in this tasty vehicle on CarSoup.

Well, it IS only 12 years old and only has 114,000 miles on it. I’m a little concerned by the fact that the 4×4 switch and head gasket were recently repaired. This might indicate bigger problems than the seller is letting on. The $3,000 asking price might be reasonable. I’m really not schooled in such things. But the lift kit is what really sells me on this truck. I think I’ll look REALLY cool zipping into the office parking ramp in this baby. I hope it has running boards so that I don’t have any problems climbing in when I’m wearing a skirt!

Brad isn’t the only helpful child in our family. Last night, Jake handed me a post-it note with a phone number on it.

Jake: “You’re supposed to call this number.”

Me: “Who was it?”

Jake: “Someone calling about your…. your…. ummmm….

Me: “My test results?”

Jake: “Yeah! I… think so….”

At this point I picked up the phone to check the caller ID and could see that it very definitely was not about my test results.

Me: “This doesn’t look like it came from the transplant clinic. Did the caller say this was in regards to my mammogram appointment?”

Jake: “I’m not sure. Maybe.”

Me: “Jake? Just a suggestion… We have an answering machine. If you’re not comfortable asking for details, DON’T ANSWER THE PHONE!”

Jake: “Whatever.”

(I called the number today. It was the mammogram people. It is great fun calling a number and telling them that I am returning a call and I have no idea WHY I’m calling. They were very helpful. Unlike my children.)

Alert the media… I'm getting a mammogram

I did it. I made the call.

I’m getting a mammogram.

I know, I know. There’s no excuse for not having had one yet. I just haven’t. It’s my doctor’s fault. He’s not threatening enough. He merely suggests that I make the appointment and get it done. I don’t do well with suggestions. I’m too much of a procrastinator to do anything that doesn’t carry some kind of repercussion if I fail to do it. My doctor is just too damn nice.

The fact that mammogram results were required for my donor evaluation was just the threat I needed. I called this morning and I’m going on Monday to get the girls squished and photographed. I should probably buy them a pretty new outfit for the special occassion.

So anyway, I had my donor evaluation today to see if my kidneys have been behaving themselves and living a healthy enough lifestyle that one of them might be suitable to move out and take up residence in my dad’s body. Final test results aren’t in yet, but the preliminary findings look good.

Being injected with contrast for the renal CT angiogram was fun! (NOT!) In all honesty, it wasn’t all that bad. The contrast caused a couple of major hot flashes but they passed quickly. Really, the worst part was getting the IV put in. That HURT! (I know. I’m such a wimp.) But I was told I have beautiful veins and I got to keep the t-shirt they made me wear. I didn’t get to keep the scrubs, but that’s ok because I could have fit five of me into them.

Next I got to have about 12 vials of blood drawn. The technician kept asking me if I was ok and I assured her I was but I just couldn’t watch what she was doing.

Then there was the interview with the surgeon. Nice guy. He seems like he knows what he’s doing.

Then I got a chest x-ray. Everything’s in working order there.

Then I got to have a full physical with a doctor who looked at me and asked, “You’re 41?”

“Yes.”

“You don’t look 41.”

I told him I loved him and he could draw more blood if he wanted. (Kidding. Totally kidding.)

If all the test results come back good, it looks like the surgery will take place in a few weeks.

I am an idiot-savant… or maybe just an idiot

Sometimes I am so easily amused I scare myself. I could be one of those idiot-savants… you know; highly capable of being highly capable one minute, and totally, intelligently-challenged the next.

For instance, yesterday, Mark and I were shopping at Target for his two neices whose joint birthday party was being held yesterday afternoon. We were shopping approximately one hour prior to the party. (Because why would we actually purchase gifts any sooner? Now that would be just too easy, wouldn’t it?) So it’s T minus 60 minutes and we’re frantically trying to find appropriate and fun gifts for a 4-year old and an 11-year old. Mark, of course is wandering around by the projectile toys and trying to talk me into a disc-shooter for the 4-year old, which I patiently explained was 1) Too BOYISH for a little girl and 2) something that as a parent, I personally would stash away on a high shelf in the closet the minute my kid’s head was turned. So, No. No projectile toys for the little girls. I sent him off to return it to it’s original place and proceeded to wander the toy aisles trying to figure out what might be something not already in these girls’ possession and not likely to irritate the parents. As I strolled through a girly aisle filled with dolls and doll accessories, I heard the most adorable cooing and baby talking and turned to see where this darling and  vocal baby was when I realized I had just wandered past an array of motion-sensored baby dolls. There were about eight little baby dolls all cooing and giggling and talking in the most adorably realistic baby voices. I was FASCINATED and proceeded to wave my hand in front of the dolls repeatedly, watching their little heads turn and feet kick while they continued babbling. I HAD to share this awesome discovery so I set off to find my husband and when I found him contemplating a set of Incredible Hulk hands that looked like boxing gloves, I simply said, “Don’t even think about it. Come here. I need to show you something.”

Mark followed me back to the baby doll aisle, but I didn’t tell him what we were looking for and as we approached the row of baby dolls, I pretended as if I were looking beyond them while he followed close on my heels. Soon all the babies were cooing and giggling again and I turned with a big smile and laughed, asking, “Aren’t these great? Check it out! They’re motion-sensored!” Luckily, he’s often as juvenile as I am and soon was giving a repeat performance of my antics in front of the row of dolls, only this time, there were a couple of customers in the aisle, glancing at us with amusement. I’m sure they were shaking their heads at us in wonder as we wandered away, having decided that both girls very likely had their fair share of dolls. Moon Sand ended up being the gift of choice for the 4-year old (because toys that get mashed and stuck in your carpeting aren’t annoying…. noooooo…) and cash-in-a-card for the 11-year old because spending money at any age provides great entertainment.

Endless Source of Amusement Version 2 began as the boys were watching NASCAR yesterday. I was alternating between reading and doing laundry and I was aware of the race but not really paying attention, except for occasionally catching some of the dialogue from the announcers. Juan Pablo Montoya’s name was mentioned and that’s all it took. My mind immediately produced some dialogue from the movie “Princess Bride” and before I knew it, Mandy Patinken was sword fighting in my head, constantly announcing, “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” Since then, I have felt the need to stop in the middle of whatever I might be doing to hesitate, staring one of the kids in the eye with a very serious look on my face and warn them, “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” (And if you have not seen this movie, it is a MUST see. Stop what you are doing RIGHT NOW and sit down to watch. You won’t be sorry. It’s one of those kid-friendly movies that is so filled with humor that can be appreciated by adults that you will want to watch it again and again. Or maybe that’s just me. But you’ll like it. Trust me. Also, the character, Westly, aka the Dread Pirate Roberts? Hot. Very Hot.)

I haven’t actually watched “Princess Bride” in years, so the fact that I can remember that particular piece of dialogue started me wondering if I have some kind of wierd defect in my brain that makes it nearly impossible to remember I have a chiropractor appointment, but won’t let me forget random phrases from children’s movies. More likely, it’s the fact that my kids got hooked on certain movies and we watched them over and over again. I remember the day I brought home “The Sandlot” on VHS from Blockbuster, thinking my little boys might enjoy it. OMG did they enjoy it! I ended up buying our own copy, which was eventually worn out and I had to buy a second copy. 

There are so many great quotes from that movie and if you ever have the chance to get Jake and me started, you’ll probably be sorry….

“He’s stealin’ home! He’s stealin’ home! I don’t believe it! He’s stealin’ home! The Jet stole home! The Jet stole home!”

“You’re killin’ me, Smalls!”

“The Sultan of Swat, The King of Crash, The Colossus of Clout, The Great Bam-BEE-no!

“For-EV-ERRR! For-EV-ERRR! For-EV-ERR!”

“Hey, Smalls, you want a s’more? Some more of what? No, do you want a s’more? I haven’t had anything yet, so how can I have some more of nothing? You’re killin’ me Smalls!”

“Watch it, jerk! Shut up, idiot! Moron! Scab eater! Butt sniffer! Puss licker! ….You play ball like a girrrlllll! Tomorrow. Noon. Our field. Be there buffalo butt breath! Count on it, pee-drinking crap face!”

And yes, I always had my children’s intellectual stimulation at heart. Why do you ask?

Now, if this is a movie that’s managed to escape your attention, you absolutely MUST see it if for no other reason than to witness the barf-o-rama that occurs on the amusement park ride after the boys have each had a good pinch of chewing tobacco for the first time in their lives.

Speaking of the barf-o-rama… you really have to see “Stand By Me” to see a true, quality barf-o-rama. (Warning – not suitable for anyone with a weak stomach!)

Ohhhh-kay, then. I think it’s time for me to find something educational and intellectual to get my brain back on track. Or maybe I could just fire up the old VCR….

Stay-cation – no need to get away!

With gas prices being what they are, vacation plans are being altered for many people this year. Instead of vacationing, people are opting for the “stay-cation.” Kiki wanted to know what I would consider the ideal stay-cation.

My family is very familiar with the stay-cation. Family vacations in recent years have consisted of renting a cabin at one of the many beautiful northern Minnesota resorts. We are big fans of the northwoods experience. We often spend a week each summer at a lake that offers a family beach, lots of good fishing and a quaint small town experience.

Living just outside the capital of Minnesota, there are many opportunities to see and do something fun and exciting without even traveling as far as “up north.” For various reasons, even our normal family vacation has gone unplanned this year. It looks like we will in fact, have to have a true stay-cation this year.

My family truly enjoys being on the water. It is not uncommon for us to spend a day with the neighbors on their big boat, cruising up and down the St. Croix River from Stillwater, Minnesota to Prescott, Wisconsin. On a sunny Saturday, the river will be filled with boats of all shapes and sizes. There are beaches and beautiful scenery to be enjoyed. And if the water is warm, we will be in it!

 

Another of our favorite places for fun is Wild Mountain in Taylors Falls, just across the state border in Wisconsin. Wild Mountain offers go-kart racing, an alpine slide, waterslides and a lazy river. There is something fun for everyone! We like to fill a cooler with a picnic lunch and lots of drinks and make a day of it.

Minnesota is known as “The Land of 10,000 Lakes which makes it easy for my family to fuel one of their passions – FISHING! We can travel just a few blocks from home, a few miles, or take a day trip to find the perfect fishing spot. We all love to catch fish!

The Mall of America is just a short car-ride from home and offers one of the most comprehensive shopping experiences to be found. The mall is filled with retail stores, theme-restaurants, specialty shops and the Nickolodean Universe theme park.

In downtown St. Paul, we can take a tour and learn about Minnesota’s political history at the State Capitol. Downtown also offers the Science Museum of Minnesota which offers hours of fascination. St. Paul itself has some beautiful and historic neighborhoods to explore. We can explore the Mississippi River, loads of State Parks and beautiful small towns such as Stillwater, Minnesota. There are restaurants to suit any taste as well.

Even in our own backyard, there is fun to be had. One of our favorite nighttime activities is to build a bonfire, grab some beers for the adults and s’mores fixings for the kids. We invite all the neighbors to come join us for relaxation and good conversation and a fun time is had by all.

What would make a fun stay-cation for you?

Bye! Have fun! Are you still here?

Mark and Brad are off on a salmon fishing trip on Lake Michigan for the weekend! They were invited by the neighbor, Bill and were joined by Justin,  Joe and Joe’s dad, Paul.

Honestly, they couldn’t leave soon enough. Mark woke up tired and crabby tense. Isn’t a fishing trip supposed to be fun? What’s there to be tense about? Maybe the fact that no one packed a bag until this morning? Maybe the fact that I got roped into going to Sam’s Club and Target this morning to buy food and necessities for the “boys’ trip” when there’s absolutely no reason these things couldn’t have been done yesterday?

Now that they are on the road, I hope Mark can relax and enjoy himself. He promised he’d call and check in a few times. I told him not to call too often. I’ll be busy this weekend, hanging around yet another softball tournament. Since Mark won’t be around, I’m going to carpool with my favorite softball mom, Lisa who keeps me laughing at all times.

(You remember Lisa, don’t you? She’s the one who was lamenting the fact that she has no friends that might possibly give her rug burns. At one of last week’s games, we were keeping an eye on a guy who was flying a remote control airplane directly over the field where the girls were playing ball. I told Lisa to check out the “wife beater” he was wearing to accentuate his beer belly. She responded, “Hubba-hubba. Is it any wonder I’m still single? I’m seriously starting to consider dating girls.” Another mom reminded her that if she starts dating girls, there will be one major element missing from the relationship. Without skipping a beat, Lisa replied, “There are toys for that. You don’t have to tell them how great they were and you can just tuck them in the drawer when you’re done. Girls are sensitive, and afterwards, we can go shopping!” *)

Anyway, I hope the “boys” have a great time, catch a load of salmon, and come home completely de-stressed.

* She was totally kidding. And tell me that wouldn’t make you laugh too! And yes, the dads were far enough away that the moms could have this converstation.

So you want to be an organ donor (?)

Yes!

I think so.

Maybe.

I might be getting a little nervous.

Those who are aware of my plans to donate a kidney to my dad keep asking me if I’m nervous. I have consistently and confidently replied that I’m not. I have felt very comfortable with this decision from the beginning.

But now… I’m getting a little nervous. And it’s not even the surgery that scares me. Cut me open. Stick needles in me. I don’t care, as long as I’m out like a light.

What’s making me nervous is that I read through my Donor Handbook this afternoon. I have an appointment next Tuesday to have my donor evaluation done and it’s making me a little uncomfortable.

First, I have to bring in a 24-hour urine collection. It’s a good thing that I’m being allowed to start this on Sunday. I have a hard enough time using the restrooms at work without having to be in there collecting…. things. In a cup. And collecting it in a clean bottle. (Because I’d even consider collecting it in an unwashed milk bottle, or what? Sheesh.)

On the day of the appointment, I’ll get to talk with the surgeon to discuss the details and risks, I suppose. That’s no big deal. I can handle that. Then there will be some lab tests where I’m sure they’ll be drawing blood. I’m sort of ok with that too as long as I don’t look while it’s happening. (Hard to believe I gave birth three times, isn’t it?) Next comes the chest x-ray. Not exactly the thrill of my life, but I can deal with it.

After the chest x-ray comes the physical exam including girly stuff. All I can say is it’s a good thing this evaluation coincides with the timing of my annual physical, because if I had already gone to my own doctor and then had to have a repeat of the dreaded annual event, I’d be pissed.

So what’s so bad about this evaluation? Have I mentioned the Renal CT Angiogram? No? Let me just say this freaks me out just a little bit. Ok… a lot. For Renal CTA, a contrast is given by placing an IV in your arm and injecting the contrast rapidly into the veins. THEY’RE GOING TO INJECT A FOREIGN SUBSTANCE INTO MY VEINS! And then I have to lie back on the comfortable padded table on my back. The comfortable padded table will move in and out of the gantry as necessary and I’ll be asked to hold my breath so that the pictures are motion free.

Ok… I’ll be honest. The thing that worries me most is that I’m supposed to have my most recent mammogram results sent to the transplant clinic. I.. ummmmmm  …. haven’t had a mammogram done yet. Ever. I know that’s really bad since I’m 41 and my mom’s a breast cancer survivor and I have no good excuse except I’m just too lazy to call and get scheduled. They’re going to yell at me about that.

I wonder if they’d schedule an “emergency” mammogram before next week.

Suddenly those blood draws and IVs aren’t sounding so bad.