11.14.2014

A Public Service Message from the Handbasket...



You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming, provided that it doesn't involve a Kardashian.

11.02.2014

In Defense of the Turkey

Alright.  This is going to get me a lot of nay-saying.  I'm prepared to be called a Grinch, no fun, non-holiday loving individual.   I understand that I may be in the minority, but when has that ever bothered me?

Oh, wait, that's right...

NEVER!

We all know that last Friday was Halloween.  Even though it was snowing in parts, kiddies bundled up and parents bundled up and followed behind so the little ghosts and ghouls could stock up on enough sugar to last until next Halloween.

Oh, and super cool aunts went out too, even if it was only for a block.  Yes, that's a raincoat over a puffy coat over a sweater and the super cool headband and matching gloves only added to the ensemble.   Don't judge unless you're judging my beauty and awesome skill at dressing myself.
Too sexy for your candy.
If you're wondering why Adam let me go into public looking like Rainbow Brite's less stylish sister, he wasn't present.  He was sitting in 32 degrees of wind and sleet and a few snowflakes to watch the Chiefs win their playoff game.  He wouldn't have been able to judge though, because he came home looking like a camouflaged teddy bear.  I wish I would have snapped a picture. 

In any event, it was freezing, but we soldiered on.  As nasty as it was, I was hoping that the night wouldn't end, if only for 1 reason: the next day was November 1.  

I can remember a time growing up when we actually had holidays.  One at a time, I mean.  When stores didn't have Halloween items out for sale in July and the Easter Bunny didn't arrive on Valentine's day and we actually had Thanksgiving.  

That's right, people used to have this magical holiday in between Halloween and Christmas. It was called  Thanksgiving, and it was magical.  Magical for the sole fact that the entire day is set aside for food.  That's right.  You got up and ate breakfast while you watched Captain Underpants glide up Woodward Avenue (or Kermit tower over the streets of New York if you weren't cool enough to grow up in Michigan).  It didn't stop there, though.  After breakfast, you'd get together with friends and family and eat dinner at noon.  Then you'd have pie.  Then when you were hungry at 4, you ate again.  Then maybe another piece of pie at 9  It was amazing.  You watched football, played cards, gossiped with your cousin, whatever. That was the whole point of the day.  

Oh, and there was a star of the day, the center of attention and of the table:  the turkey.  He was usually the best dressed but he was always full before dinner could even begin.  

This guy:  
I'm too sexy for your table...

Or, wait, you may better recognize him here:

...but apparently not smart enough to not be in this situation

Anyway, during this magical, bygone holiday, you spent time with Mr. Turkey.  You spent time with your crazy Aunt Esmeralda and Uncle Frank.  You watched football (whether you enjoyed it or Grandpa got to the remote control first, it was ALWAYS on.)  

But the best part?  Most everybody got the day off.  Except for a few essential services like hospitals, fire departments and police departments,mostly everything else was closed.  Everyone would take a break before you were up 3 hours before dawn, ready to jump headfirst into the pool of cheerful mayhem that surrounds Christmas.   Sales!  Carols!!  Cookie baking!!!  Aaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!!   

I'm not going to even discuss the absurdity that is the retail store who absolutely can't go one day without the almighty dollar, thus affecting 100 people who have to be at the store to make that money while you holiday in Aspen or whatever people who own multi-million dollar corporations do on a holiday.  When people aren't supposed to be working.  

That's a whole other post for a whole other day.  

My point is, once fall hit, life could pretty much be broken down by events for 4 months:

September - school
October - Halloween
November - Thanksgiving
December - Hanukkah and Christmas

Now?  It's back to school and then into HallowChristmas.  What's missing?  Oh, I don't know, maybe the turkey?  The pumpkin pie?  The FOOTBALL???

I get it. Once Halloween and the vampires and the ghouls and the goblins have all retreated, no one wants to hang around with a turkey.  They're not the brightest.  They get pissy when you try to get near them. Or, if you're Lindsay or Dawn, you just don't like them because they're birds.  (Which, way to be fair and unjudgy, you two.)   I mean, why would you want to hang out with a turkey when the promise of this guy was in your near future, provided you did not pout, cry or act badly at any point the previous 364 days before he came to town?

  Turkey ain't got what I got, baby...

Yep.  It's Santa.  The man with the bag.  That jolly old dude in red who sneaks into your house after dark but don't worry, it's not creepy because he's just swinging by to drop off presents.  The guy who buys your love and you're ok with it because, dude, someone is giving you presents, of course you're ok with it.  Oh, and this guy is good.  I mean, he advertises too.  I mean, right after October 31st, he's slipping into commercials on TV.  They're talking about him on the radio.  Parents are pulling out the "Santa's watching" card and kids are behaving and terrified because there's an old guy who will know if they were mean to their sister or didn't turn in their homework.  This is all fine and good.  I love Christmas more than any other holiday, and it has nothing to do with the commercial side.  I'm guaranteed family time.  I'm guaranteed  to catch up with a friend or two I haven't seen since last Christmas break.  I'm guaranteed at least a bit of a reprieve from work.  I'm guaranteed holiday wishes and raindeer kisses (not really, because: gross) and hearing Bing Crosby and David Bowie sing my favorite song.

I love all of these things, but I love them all starting whatever date that Friday after Thanksgiving is each year.  I know I'm not in the minority here.  If I were, why would there be an online petition to close stores on Thanksgiving.  Why is this even a thing?  Because people stopped wanting to hang out with the yummy turkey and actually celebrate Thanksgiving.  Maybe watch football or gossip with a cousin regarding Aunt Ezzie and Uncle Frank.  Have that second piece of pie and then drift happily off into a tryptophan-induced haze until it's time to eat again.

Why can't we just have one holiday at a time?  When did it become acceptable to have HallowChristmas outside of The Nightmare Before Christmas?  Most importantly, though, when did we stop loving the Turkey?

So, I ask that you take a moment this November after you've given your undying gratitude to a Veteran but before you've trampled someone over an Elsa doll the last Friday in November.  Take a trip to the market or the farm and set a date to hang out with a turkey.  Invite your friends and family and be thankful and kind and eat until you can't eat anymore.

I promise, you won't regret it.  Hey, if it all goes well, maybe we put up a poll to get rid of HalloChristmas and take back the day for our ol' pal the turkey?   Yeah.  I think we may have to do just that.






10.16.2014

Random Ramblings on a Thursday Afternoon...

I can't even begin to pretend that I have been doing a ton of wildly interesting things while avoiding this little piece of internet.  I can't tell you that I've been traveling the globe and meeting new people and finding a cure for cancer and making dreams come true across the country.   In reality, I've been doing what other normal, everyday people do:  work, complain about work, sleep, repeat.

Sure, there have been some fun things in there.   My husband was promoted at work, and is now a Captain.  At work. His rank at home hasn't changed, nor will I salute or call him "Captain" within these walls.  Said promotion has also meant a schedule adjustment for the both of us, as we have never both been a 40 hours schedule since we've been married.  So far, it's going alright?  I guess?.   At least I think it is.  I'm slowly getting used to him hogging the remote sharing the television and he's getting used to me hogging the blankets when we go to bed.  We haven't filed for divorce yet, so I think it's going fairly well.

A few weeks ago, Adam and I escaped to my happy place up north for 4 days of sanity.  The place isn't the same without Grams and Gramps there, but it will always be the place my heart finds peace and my mind settles.  If we could own property up there tomorrow, I wouldn't think twice.  As it's not in the cards right now, we just go when we can, which isn't a lot.  That just makes me appreciate it more when we do get there.

The past 2 weeks have been a bit tougher.  On the 29th of last month, we lost my Uncle Len after an 18 month battle with cancer.  I took the news with mixed feelings.  Sad, of course that he was gone but happy that he wasn't suffering, especially since the past 4 months have been extremely hard on him and my aunt.

Funeral home visits are never easy. Period.  This one was a bit harder given the fact that my entire family was affected as Uncle Len was both on my dad's side of the family and my mom's side.

Go ahead.  Read it again.  I'll wait.

Ok.  I know that many of you are wondering if my family tree branches. I assure you that it does.  This couple in particular, my dearest Aunt Eve and Uncle Len, just happen to have woven the 2 families together before my parents did.  Rather than have you try and figure it out, I'll explain:

First, you have my dad.  His mom, my beloved Grams was one of several children, and Uncle Len was her youngest brother.

Then, there's my mom, and Aunt Evie is her oldest sister.

Youngest brother + Oldest sister = Aunt Eve and Uncle Len.

So, my uncle Len is at the same time a brother-in-law and an uncle to my parents, and an uncle and great uncle to me.  I know. It's confusing, but trust me that there is nothing devious about it.  If you don't get it, it's fine. I was well into high school before I figured out how that particular union worked.  I just spent most of my life thinking that we loved them more than my other aunts and uncles because they were at EVERY family celebration and holiday.

While sitting at the funeral home, I started thinking about how someone's passing really affects a family. I mean, aside from the obvious and that person not being physically present any longer.  (I'm not even going to dip a toe into the metaphysical and spiritual happenings that I believe linger after a physical form is gone.  Suffice it to say that I'm fully on board with the whole "just because you can't see them doesn't mean they're not here" realm of thinking.)

I've talked about traditions before, and I will admit that I'm not one to take change easily.  With each passing family member, things have changed in regards to the way holidays are celebrated.  How conversations will inevitably go. Things that you recall from your childhood will not be repeated and your heart has to come to terms with what your brain already knows.  Uncle Len's sister, my great Aunt Lil has been gone for close to 10 years now, and I still miss stopping by her house on Christmas Eve before heading to my Grandma B's.  Of course, both Grandma and Grandpa B are gone as well, so there's no going to their house either.  I'm not sure either of the residents of either house would be happy if we barged in on Christmas Eve (even if it was to just tell the inhabitants of the Inkster road house that the damn Christmas tree does NOT belong in the window!!).  But, I digress.

While I'm feeling the hit, I know my brother, husband, cousins, uncles and dad are having a hard time adjusting to Uncle Len not being here.  He was a general contractor and taught my brother and my husband pretty much everything they know.   Unc was the foreman on most jobs, the biggest being my brother's complete demolition and rebuild of his home a decade ago.  In fact, the guys had to do their first job with out Unc this weekend when they put a new roof on Aunt La's house.  I'm willing to bet that stepping on that roof without hearing "well, are you ladies going to work today or just stand around?" was a bit harder than normal.

I know I'm rambling.  I just needed to write.  I promise to be back and be more entertaining in the future.  (tomorrow's Friday.  I was recently called out for my lack of Friday posts, and was even guilted into the fact that "it's only once a week, can you at least give us that??" )

Until then,  blogstalkers (if there are any of you left, I can't see past the cobwebs on this site...)

5.06.2014

Ground control to...the next aisle over?

Back when AJ and I started dating, we both had mall jobs.  Funny enough, both stores are now defunct. I was at the shoulder pad and pleather heaven, Winkelnan's. He worked down the corridor at the home of Z-Cavaricci and plaid flannel shirts:  County Seat.

If you're too young to remember either of those stores, or have never owned a pair of Z-Cav's, then you need to get out. Go. Just get out because you don't even KNOW, man.  I can't begin to explain it either, because it will make your head explode from all of the awesome.

I'd like to say that these were the women's version...but I'm not even sure there was a difference...

Anyway, the point of that is not only so you can laugh at the past fashion of your elders like my generation has (we're looking at you, 70s polyester).  Not at all. Rather, I just want to know when retail became so...so...so...ridiculous.

Case in point: the headset.

We've all seen them.  You walk into a store and the person greeting is wearing something like this:

(just as an aside....Emily?? Is that you??)


While I understand that technology is everywhere, I don't get headsets.  Alright, I will admit that I'm sure they can come in handy when you're at a larger store. A Meijer's. Home Depot.  Anyplace larger than a standard strip mall space of an outlet.  However, these places aren't where I see this technology deployed.  Rather, it's used in a roughly 2500 sq. foot space. Ok, fine. There may be a vast underground storage unit where there are a hundred people and they can only access them by either traveling down a chute located behind the mirror in dressing room C, or they can use the headset and save the trip.

In most situations, that's not the case.  No  no.  The last dozen or so times I've encountered the headset wearing "retail associate" is in one section of the store, or in stores smaller than my house.

I will admit that I do about half of my shopping online.  Mainly because I know what I want, and it just saves time from driving back and forth. I also rarely need something last minute. If there's an occasion or if I know I'm out of socks/underwear/tees or whatever, I will usually give myself enough time to shop either online or stop by a store on my way home from work.  I can also get better deals online for the most part, and combined with free shipping just makes it less expensive.

When I do venture to the store though, I am always reminded why I like to shop online:  the sales people.  Now, when I worked retail back in the stone age, we weren't paid on commission.  I'm not sure if they even do that in retail any more, outside of big ticket items, do they?   Regardless, I like to do my own thing.  It's nice when a salesperson acknowledges me when I enter and asks if they can help me find anything and gives me the rundown on any deals they may have going.  Nice people are always awesome, and there are times I do need the help.  However, if I say I'm just looking, thanks, then that's your cue to back off.  Take your headset and go bring in a rocket or whatever you're doing on that thing and I'll see you at the register in a bit. Call me a bitch, but I've left stores where I've been asked every 2 minutes if I need any help.  You can help me by not hovering.  I'm pretty sure I can read the chart on the back of the Spanx package and find what I need, thanksabunch.

A few weeks back, I was in Kohl's. I have a perfume that I love, and I happened to have a coupon as well as hit a sale at Kohl's, so I was getting my scent at a hell of a deal.  If you haven't been into a Kohl's in a while, it looks like they're ramping up their personal care space. Kind of like Sephora but with the B-team brands of makeup: no Bare Minerals or Smashbox or Urban Decay. They have names like "Blossoming Minerals" or "City Ruins" or something like that. It's a nice atmosphere, but it's also the size of my living room.  Perfumes are in a closet sized space right next to the makeup.  Having not been in a brick and mortar Kohl's in a while, I was perusing the selection when I was approached by a sweet 20 something whom we will henceforth refer to as "SG1".  She was polite and asked the standard questions. I told her I knew what I was looking for, thanks, and I was just browsing around since I hadn't been in the store in a while.  She smiled, said let her know if I needed anything and walked to the other side of the display. I could see her.  Her twin coworker, SG2 was at the end of this aisle, approximately 5 feet from us, straightening out the blush. As I approached, she went through the schpeel again and I said thanks, I'm just looking.  SG 1 is now in the other side of the display, but the racks are short enough that I can see her.  Not even 2 minutes goes by and she asks again:  "Finding everything ok?" I assure her I am.

SG2 is now focused on a rack behind me, still in the same aisle.  SG 1 is on the opposite side of the rack of nail polish I'm viewing when she lifts up the microphone and says - in a normal tone -  "Gina, when you're done, can you please come fix this row of eyeshadow?"  I'm thinking that she's talking to someone on break or maybe in the underground storage unit only accessed through the mirror in dressing room C.  She wasn't.  She was talking to SG2.  The one right behind me who was in plain sight and close enough that she didn't have to use a headset.  Gina answered into the headset - in a normal voice - "Absolutely" and walked around the display.

The what?  At that point, I couldn't not ask.  I was kind of laughing when I said to SG1: "do you guys use those to communicate with other departments?"

You guys, I had broken the rule. I had questioned the headset.  The look on her face was sheer confusion. It kind of reminded me of the look the Dobe gets when we're talking to him.  Like, he gets that we're trying to communicate, but we've used words other than food or outside or ride and he has to tilt his head at a 45 degree angle in order to comprehend.   Blank stare, then she responds: "What do you mean? Like talk to someone I'm not working with right here? Like in housewares or something like that? Oh no.  Other departments don't have these."

I couldn't help it.  I was snickering - a bit more obviously - and I said "so you and Gina are the only 2 people here and you have to wear a headset to communciate? Do you guys leave the floor at all?"  Thinking are you ever outside of 25 feet of each other during your shift?  She smiled and said "Oh!  No.  If we go on break, we have to leave them at the counter. (apparently there's a high black market for cheap headsets?).  No, we wear them because we look more professional.  It saves us from yelling to each other."

I was about to point out that their total area didn't take up more than a 12x15 space, but I figured I'd save the breath.  Apparently, "Professional looking sales associates" means "looks like they're working the drive through".

I went to check out, and Gina was ringing up the perfume when she had a question. I had to bite my lip and not giggle when she radioed to SG1 that she needed her to bring another package of said perfume up because that one wouldn't scan.  SG1 was literally working on a shelf to my left. If I would have turned and taken a step in that direction, I would have run her over.

I get that technology is useful. I love my Kindle, my iPhone, my laptop, my DVR and all of that jazz that makes life easier.  I just don't get the use of those headset thingies to communicate with someone who is within a certain radius of you.  Personal communication, people. Put down the headset and go look someone in the eye for a change.  You'll be laughed at by the consumer a whole lot less, I guarantee it.




4.23.2014

I don't think this is a real post, but it's something? Yes?

I know I've not been here lately, so thanks for refreshing and upping my view count. It makes me feel loved.  Hey, at least I left a good looking dude on the front page so you had something nice to look at.

See? You're welcome.

There have been a million things and nothing going on, all at the same time. I didn't think you wanted to sit here and listen to me bitch (read my writing?) about how I hate winter and how it's snowed for the past 900 days in Michigan and how summer is never going to get here.  Everyone else was doing that, and I was raising my fist in quiet solidarity.

Now, it seems that the winter has finally gone, and I say that quietly because we got 3" of snow not just 10 days ago.  After I spent the day prior in a tank top and flip flops with all of the windows in the house open.

I don't want to tempt fate, but I think it's safe now.

Anyway, there really isn't a point to all of this except that I didn't have anything really to say and didn't want to bitch about the weather but I think I ended up doing that anyway.

Huh.

I promise to be back within a few days to give you something better than this.  I'm still here, even though the post count has declined steadily since January.

I know you're all waiting on the edge of your seats.  For that, I thank you.

3.14.2014

Friday Five: Him


It's this guy's birthday today. 

For those of you who may happen upon this blog randomly, the handsome dude above is Adam. AJ.  My love of 19 years, my husband of 11.  This is the dude who has to deal with me on a daily basis.  (You can leave your sympathies below, I'll pass them along.)

Today is his 37th birthday.  So, in honor of that, he's the topic du jour.  Without further hesitation, I give you today's Friday Five:  Adam

1.  This guy. This guy is pretty much the epitome of "you can do anything you set your mind to."  Over the past 19 years, I've watched him give up smoking - cold turkey.  Give up chewing tobbacco - cold turkey.  Drop 40 lbs over the course of a summer and begin running when he'd never taken a step toward a finish line in his life.

2.  He's run 2 full marathons and about 18 half marathons, not to mention crazy runs like Warrior Dashes and Foam Fests, as well as a million 5ks.   I like to call him Forrest Gump some days because he'll tell you "I just started running".  Well, alrighty then!

3.  He's a talented woodcrafter.  A few years back, he made cutting boards for all of the women in the family, and he handcrafted the desk at which I'm currently sitting.  He's also pretty skilled at construction and just basic handyman stuff.  I always giggle a bit when people at work talk about hiring people to do their remodels or plumbing or things like that.  I mean, I have a husband (not to mention a whole family and slew of friends) who can do this stuff, doesn't everyone??  The one thing he will stay away from is electrical.  I'm glad he knows his boundaries, because, well, I like my house.

4.  He's a baseball nut, and ranks up there as one of the Detroit Tigers #1 fans.  When he was in high school, he was a catcher, and ranked in the top 10 his senior year out of all the HS catchers in the state.

5.  He's just awesome.  There's a million other things I could go on about, but seriously, the list is only 5 things long.   I know others could add as well, but we'd be here all day.

So, happy birthday baby!!  You're proof that it only gets better with age.  I love you...here's to many more birthdays together.