Tag Archives: humor

Change is good.

The other night Chuck & I took Brooks to his baseball game.  The boys have to be there early for batting practice/warm-up so we dropped him off and stole a few moments to go grab drinks at the nearby Sonic.  I love my husband dearly but one of my biggest pet peeves is going through a drive-thru with him.  Especially a drive-thru like Sonic that he goes to fifty or more times a year.  A drive-thru whose menu, WITH the exception of adding and dropping jalapeno poppers on a regular basis, has not changed since oh, we were in high school.  (OK, they added breakfast but we never go for that meal, so it doesn’t count.)  A visit to Sonic with Chuck goes much like this:

WORKER:  Welcome to Sonic, may I take your order, please?

CHUCK:  Ummmm……….yes……….I need a……ummmm……..

(Stares longingly at menu AS IF #1 He has never seen it before. #2 It’s filled with all manner of European delicacies to tempt one’s palate.)

WORKER (to herself, I’m sure):  Not that hard Bozo.  You got people behind you……….

CHUCK (after literally 50 FULL seconds):  Uhhhh, yeaaaah, I’ll have a Sonic burger with everything on it…….except cheese.  Well, no.  Make that a Sonic Cheeseburger with everything……

WORKER (undoubtedly rolling her eyes):  Would you like to make that a #1 meal?

CHUCK:  Uhhhh…….yes, with fries and a large sweet tea.  NO!  Make that a cherry limeade!  Yeah, a cherry limeade sounds good!

WORKER (tapping her fingers on cash register while looking away & chewing gum, I’d imagine):  That will be $7.85.  Will that be all?

CHUCK:  Yes.

ME (waving hand):  Me? Over here?

CHUCK:  Oh!  And a grilled cheese sandwich with two sides of pickles and a medium Coke.

WORKER (gritting teeth): Ok, your total is now $10.87.  Please pull forward.

CHUCK:  Oh, can I get tater tots instead of fries on that #1?

WORKER (in her mind):  “OH MY GOD, YOU ASSHOLE, PLEASE PULL FORWARD! AND THANK YOU FOR CHOOSING SONIC!  NEXT TIME GO TO THE ONE ON CHENAL!”

(in reality):  YES.  Thank you for choosing Sonic.  WILL THAT BE ALL???

CHUCK:  Yep, that’s it!  (as if it’s been a damn pleasure to serve him all along)

CHUCK (looks at me in horror):  WHAT TIME IS IT?

ME:  4:58.

CHUCK (losing at least 6 months off his life):  If we had been here at 4:00 the drinks would have been HALF OFF!

This is my life every freaking time we go through a drive-thru.  Every time.  Sonic, McDonald’s, KFC, Taco Bell….and God FORBID, he be presented with the choices at a KFC/TACO BELL combo.  Please, no.  YES, you can order from both menus at no extra charge, honey.

So, back to the incident at hand.  Every game night, the drive-thru at this particular Sonic is quite busy so we have some time to kill between the order and the delivery.  He’s mustering around in his wallet for bills and the console for change.  He gets out a brown, wood-tone card.

CHUCK:  Oh, I can really annoy you now with my super-annoying yuppieness.  Look at my Starbucks card.  Real wood! SUSTAINABLE.  From a rainforest somewhere.  (Touching it to my leg…)  Wanna feel it?

ME:  As much as I’d love to feel your wood in the drive-thru, we need to pull forward.  The game’s going to START.

Pulls forward and hands the girl his bills and change.

AND THIS IS WHERE I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN.  I should have seen it coming.  Probably one of my biggest pet peeves in the giant, VAST, far-reaching land that is known as “Things that irritate the living SHIT out of Noelle,” comes this perennial favorite….

HE HANDS THE GIRL ELEVEN DOLLARS AND TWO CENTS.  Not $10.87, which is the total but $11.02, so that in this world where people are blowing up other people and dropping their kids off at school and disappearing for 11 years & surviving day to day on a handful of rice, my husband can get back a dime and a nickel instead of a dime and three pennies!  No pennies!  My GOD, we cannot have such travesty in our lives as PENNIES!

This bothers me for two reasons: #1  It’s an old man thing and he is all of 44.  (“Soon I’ll be 45!  Won’t be long!”  The man embraces aging in a way Estelle Getty couldn’t in her wildest dreams.)  #2  It’s just inconsiderate.

Inconsiderate??  What kind of an uptight bitch ARE YOU??  (I can hear you.)  YES.  Inconsiderate.  Because in this day and age, Cheerful Sonic Worker has a computer in front of her that’s sole purpose is to help move the drive-thru in an efficient and timely manner.  And my husband just totally fucked with that.  Now granted, the average high school/college student worker should be able to do that in their head.  Please keep in mind, however, this is not the Apple store.  These people get in a rhythm.  You catch them off-guard.  All in the name of NOT HAVING PENNIES IN YOUR PANTS!  Sometimes, you guessed it:  He does it JUST to see me get all worked up.  He’s sadistic like that.  Deriving pleasure from cruelty in the Sonic drive-thru.  Needless to say, now the girl is completely confused & somehow gives him back a dollar more than she should.

Then I say, “You didn’t tip her.”  So he gives her back the dollar and she thinks she’s been tipped, but she hasn’t because she gave us an extra dollar to begin with.  I don’t have the heart to tell her.  I’m horrified!  I still feel guilty about it.  At my funeral, I want people to say, “She was nothing if not a damn good tipper!”  Because I am.

And NONE OF THIS would have happened had I been driving.  None of it. :-)

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Grandparenting 101 – Observations From The Other Side

DISCLAIMER:  This is not entirely based on my own experience but on many poolside & patio conversations with friends and fellow parents. Some of it is, however, personal.  

I’ll probably pay for this one.  I’ll be written out of wills.  And I hate that because I was so looking forward to being able to slather on the leftover cold cream that is probably bequeathed to me by my in-laws.  But Grandparent’s Day……can we just cut to the heart of what this is all about, o ye school districts, both public and private?  Grandparent’s Day is a day set aside to honor the grandparents of children in said school districts by sucking up to them with such sweetness and adoration that they will feel the urge to get out their checkbooks and donate thousands of dollars or buy a stack of books at the “not-coincidentally-simultaneously-held” book fair that is so heavy they have to make two trips to their Cadillac sedan just to get them home with the child.  This is just a sneaky way of getting grandparents to spend thousands, with the annoying added benefit of cluttering up the kid’s home & pissing off his parents.

My child?  My sweet little boy who DOES love his grandparents very, very much & even enjoys a good stack of books?  BOYCOTTED GRANDPARENT’S DAY. And I let him.  He’s no dummy.  When teachers tell the children, “After your performance & lunch with Granny, your grandparents have the option of taking you home”, my kid hears, “There is absolutely no point in going to school today.”  He’s probably right & so he is home.  My mom took it quite well, I’ll give her that. I’m sure she was disappointed because she loves my kids and loves being there for them.  Lately though, I’ve been wanting to bitch about grandparenting and the image versus the reality, so today Grandparent’s Day is providing me with that jumping off point.

Sometimes I get frustrated with my kids and I complain to Chuck, “This shit would have never happened on the Brady Bunch.  Those Brady kids would never pull a stunt like this.”  Or, “Carol & Mike would sooo know how to handle this situation.  What are we doing wrong???”  Chuck then pulls out the “You do know the Brady Bunch wasn’t realistic, right?”  I come back with “Of course it was realistic.  The Brady grandparents made ONE appearance on the wedding episode & after that did you EVER see them come get those kids so Mike & Carol could have a weekend of hot, uninterrupted sex?  No. Never. They got dressed up, were there for the big event & then they were gone.  THAT shit is real.”  (It’s also quite possible they knew Mike Brady was gay.)

Perhaps I’m jaded, because as a child I lived in the same house with my grandma and great-grandma.  I lived behind my best friend who had older siblings with children and those kids were over at grandma’s constantly.  The grandparents embraced it and wanted it that way.  I see a HUGE difference in what grandparenting used to be and what it is now.  The problem is that many (& I repeat MANY, not all) of the grandparents still want to do what I call “walk the grandparenting runway” —- grandkids in tow, dressed to the nines, waving the wave to their fellow lunch lady grandmas so they can then gloat that  “these are our grandkids…..aren’t they beautiful…….they make such high grades…….they are so good at sports…….”  YET, when it’s time to do the dirty work and take over for a weekend so the parents can escape, they suddenly have work to do, parties to attend, etc.

My dad gets a pass on this one because he is generously keeping the children Labor Day weekend so we can escape for our 20th anniversary.  He didn’t even have to be coaxed!  BUT, herein lies the difference in my dad keeping the kids and many of today’s grandparents:  While we are gone, unless it’s a serious emergency, we will not hear from him.  He will handle what comes his way and should he have a legitimate question like, “Where in the hell do y’all hide the extra toilet paper?”, he will send us a text.  Unless he’s already sitting on the toilet and then we may get a call.  If the kids fight, he doesn’t call us. He handles it.  Every little thing is not an emergency.  Never during the trip or after we return does he feel the need to tell us every little transgression that transpired in our absence.  He doesn’t greet us with 100 concerns over how the kids dress, talk, text, play video games, treat one another, treat him, treat the dog, bathe improperly, eat too little, eat too much, are rude, are lazy, etc.  We get NONE of that, because he understands his role is to be their grandparent and friend, not their parent and prison warden.  And most importantly, he does NOT shower them with gifts to win their love and approval.  He just treats them like kids he could not be prouder of and they can tell he just loves being part of their lives. He will reprimand them if necessary, like a good grandparent should, but he is not constantly preaching to them & criticizing all that they do.  So…….that said, I feel the urge to come to the aid of other grandparents or grandparents-to-be & list some advice for you.  Trust me when I say this will not only help your relationship with the grandkids, but your kids too!  And trust me when I say that I’m glad I won’t need to depend on an inheritance in my elder years, because I’m screwed.  But seriously, some tips:

1) If you have grandkids, I can logically assume you had children.  You got to choose their names.  Your kids get to choose their kid’s names.  Do not offer suggestions or assistance. Do not take it personally if your kid doesn’t name one of his after you.  It doesn’t mean they hate you.  They just hate your name, Gertrude.  And for God’s sake, do not tell your kids how much you dislike their choice of names.  Even if they picked something like Nakkole, Zephyr, or Stump.  As PAINFUL as it will be to watch them write a ridiculous spelling such as Gynniphyr on that birth certificate, it’s really none of your business.  (I fully realize I will have trouble with this one day should it happen to me. Yes,  I realize that. I’m saving these to refer to in my own grandparenting years.)

2) Do not attempt to influence how your children dress their kids.  I was never a frills and bows sort of girl and I didn’t really want my kids to be that way. Yes, even my daughter. As a child, it was, at times, forced upon me and I hated it with a passion.  I also never wanted a bow on my daughter’s head that would be visible on Google Street View.  Easter bonnets were terribly humiliating to me and I did not want one on my own child unless she wanted one.  Do not try to buy your grandkids clothing that reflects YOUR taste and then get mad when the parent doesn’t make the kid wear it.  As a side note, on one side of our family there seems to be a notion that if your children are given something to wear and you don’t put them in it and line them up for a portrait, you are being disrespectful.  This is not true.  Disrespect is doing something you know your child or “child-in-law” doesn’t like and then pouting because you didn’t get your way.

3) Honor the wishes of your children in how they raise your grandkids unless they go totally freaking bonkers with Scientology or become Wiccan.  What I’m referring to here is simple stuff.  If they don’t want their kids to have sugar, respect that.  If they insist in making their kids sit in car seats and wear seat belts, respect that even if your own children “BY GOD,  SURVIVED STANDING IN THE FRONT SEAT & TAKING NAPS IN THE BACK OF THE STATION WAGON!”  Also, I might point out, it’s the law.

4) This may be the most important one yet.  Respect who your grandchildren are.  Do not try to make them what you want them to be.  My daughter is one of the most independent, spirited kids I know.  She was never a girly-girl, never wanted to learn traditional girl things like sewing and cooking, enjoyed being alone & had her own tastes.  Respect and in fact, EMBRACE THAT, even if it’s not what you envisioned your grandchild being.  Can I shout this one from the rooftops?

5) Do not say things about your grandkids based on speculation, not fact.  This has been a huge issue in our marriage/parenting.  I could write a whole book on how the townspeople where I grew up thought I was spoiled.  As a result, we have relatives who immediately thought that my child would be overly indulged and turn out to be a spoiled brat.  It has been assumed that because my daughter gets to go to Italy on a senior trip that she is spoiled.  No one seems to take into account that she works her little butt off babysitting during the school year, works at the pool in the summer and has earned it by being a wonderful kid who made us proud all 18 years of her life.  We have never once told her she has to work; she just chooses to. It bothers me that she doesn’t get respected for that.  Those same relatives assume that my kids are crazy about my dad because he “buys them stuff”.  This has never been further from the truth.  I can’t remember the last thing my dad bought my kids that wasn’t for a birthday or Christmas. He does slip them a $5 or $10 bill now and then because, “A feller oughta have a little money in his pocket.”  So the gist of this one is really, “Mind your own business, don’t make assumptions and keep your mouth shut.”

6)  Realize that times have changed and circumstances are different than when you raised your kids. ( i.e. This ain’t the 70’s!) We get constantly criticized because we do not force all the kids to attend family gatherings.  Hell, we get criticized if WE don’t attend all the family gatherings.  Things have changed, people.  Schools are not as lax about kids being absent. OR, we may choose to put baseball first that weekend because our child made an obligation to his team and coach when he agreed to be part of that team & it’s not fair for him to not be there for them.  Our kids grew up in the city with friends all around and things to do & they may not want to go spend 4 days in a town of 1,800 that, and I quote, “DOESN’T EVEN HAVE A McDONALD’S!”  There is no need to take it personally, but if you constantly criticize a child, chances of them wanting to spend time with you decrease greatly.

7) Understand that once your children are married that they have AT LEAST two families to consider now & sometimes with re-marriage, 3 or 4.  Sometimes you are the one that there isn’t time for on a holiday and PLEASE consider the stress it puts on your kids when you make them feel guilty about choosing.  This one is basically a “Put your big girl – or boy – panties on & realize you don’t always get your way.”

8) If you take your grandkid to the movie, buy him popcorn.  If you take him to the County Fair, let him play games.  If you take him to the town festival, buy him a snowcone.  It’s the little things.  Chances are, if you could afford admission, you can get him a treat.  This is not spoiling your grandchild.  This is avoiding looking like an asshat in his eyes.  Otherwise, just don’t go.  Would you rather them remember that you bought them a grape snowcone or would you rather them remember that you were to cheap to buy one?

9) Don’t go the guilt trip route, ever.  With kids or grandkids.

10)  FINALLY, just enjoy them.  Stop worrying about perfecting them and just enjoy them.

You’re welcome.  Or not.  Your choice :-)

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Woke Up Sunday Morning……..

My day started perfectly.  Snuggling with the one I love (Chuck, not Tom Brady), with the bathroom window SECURELY locked so that we weren’t invaded by wayward children.  Peace….calm….birds singing….and of course, I had to roll over to check my iPhone. (Don’t effing lie. You do it too.) I scrolled through my newsfeed and saw a post by an artist whose work Chuck and I have admired since we started our married life together in Kansas City in 1993, Mike Savage.  He had a booth at the Plaza Art Fair & I swooned over his work.  He used to display it in Minsky’s Pizza, which we frequented and one of the paintings of a chef at the Minsky’s location in Overland Park, where we lived, looked JUST like Chuck’s uncle, Lowell.  Anyway, we admired his work and I always said one day I would own an original.  (That day is coming, Mike, I promise!)  This morning he posted another of his beautiful works on Facebook and I “liked” it and commented that he was immensely talented.  At some point, I rolled back over to sleep a bit more and when I woke I had a notification that he had posted on my timeline.  I expected a “Thanks for your sweet comment. Does anyone ever tell you that you look like Sofia Vergara?” or something similar.  What I found was this, with the caption, “Morning, mommy!”:

Is this not awesome?

Is this not awesome?

It’s one of the sweetest things that anyone has ever done for me! (And MUCH sweeter than lying and telling me I look like Sofia, though we DO both have dark hair.)  I had posted an Instagram pic of Apollo the night before and with a few strokes of a pen, Mike took that & created a work of art immediately recognizable to me as Apollo, right down to THE LOOK IN HIS EYES.  I’m humbled.

So, after having a delicious breakfast of bacon and eggs and realizing that the temperature was perfect and the sun was out, I deemed my day awesome & did what all asshats do when their life is going nicely.  I posted it on Facebook! “The sun is shining!  Birds are singing! Chuck has his teeth in!  Happy unicorns just flew out of my ass!”  Later today,  I planned to stair climb with my trainer, take Brooks to practice, finish another book, organize my den, go eat fried pickles with my mother…..WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?

Well,  THIS IS WHAT.  My dog could go running into the neighbor’s yard and ROLL AROUND IN FECAL MATTER & come inside to present himself to me while I’m chomping on bacon & loading the dishwasher.  My dog that I paid thirty-six freaking dollars, this past Monday, to have bathed by people trained in that skill,  is now covered in the smelly excrement of one of his canine buddies.  He couldn’t be happier:  “Hey mom!  Wanna scratch my ears?  Where’s my treat?  Am I not adorable?  Odor?  What odor?  That’s just those boys you smell!  Really, can I have some bacon?  No, a whole piece, bitch!  Nice try though!”  I had to drop what I was doing and bathe his stinky ass so he didn’t rub shit anywhere in my house.  Read that as ON MY NEW COUCH, if you will.

So…… I now have a beautiful sketched portrait of my dog, who is once again fragrant and beautiful and sporting his new preppy bowtie that his best dog buddy, Senna Bartlett, picked out for him.  AND I have proof that the internet is a powerful thing & that random acts of kindness are awesome.  If someone will just beat Tiger for the Master’s title, I can move past having to deal with a dog flinging shit everywhere.  (Kidding, I’m over it.)  And if you would like to pass on the love of Mike Savage, go perform a random act of kindness.  You will feel SO good.  I promise.

The "dapper" version of Apollo

The “dapper” version of Apollo

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What price, beauty?

Disclaimer:  This will be a post without a photo.  Why?  Because I’m not a big self-portrait kinda gal.  I never take those dressing room photos or bathroom mirror photos because I WILL forget and be shirtless or pantless OR Chuck will walk by in his skivvies, completely unnoticed until one of my children brings my blog up at the Christian school to show their teacher what kind of camera I recommend or how to make a Valentine wreath.  So there.

ANYWAY.  Since I tore my MCL (medial collateral ligament) in my left knee while snow skiing over Christmas, my days go much like this:

Get up.

Go out for breakfast.

Run a short errand.

Rest & stitch until carpool time.

Pick the boys up.

Rest & stitch until bedtime where I then continue to rest until it’s time for breakfast.

(Coincidentally, this is very, very close to how my days went PRE-injury but as the Bible says,  “judge ye not others, lest ye be judged or called a judgmental asshole by Noelle” — Book of Matthew, verse 7, slightly paraphrased.)

I digress.  Today, after a lovely breakfast with a girlfriend, I decided my short errand would be to get my eyebrows waxed.  Now, my grandma always drilled into me that you get what you pay for.  I knew better…. I have the absolute, most talented eyebrow waxer named Danielle, who is NOT expensive and who hand to GOD & placed on Barack’s grandma’s Bible, I will NEVER stray from again. But one day, when I got a pedicure, I noticed the lovely Asian people at the nail place also wax body parts as well.  I looked like Tom Selleck at the time so I thought, “Why not?”  A young, Asian man did my eyes and upper lip and I left very happy & slightly smug that the sixty-something man getting a pedicure (yes, you read that right) proclaimed “You didn’t even FLINCH!”  I don’t get many opportunities to feel like a badass, so you know, cherish the moments as they come.

Today, I decided, rather than use my BRAIN and call Danielle, to just run in there and get a “quickie” wax job, so to speak.  At first, I thought things were progressing nicely.  Nice Wax Lady did both eyebrows & started on the lip.  She seemed a little sloppy with the wax but hey, as long as my eyes are shut, no biggie, right?  It did cross my mind that perhaps my upper lip covered more acreage in her opinion than it did in mine but it would be over soon.  At one point a drop landed on my earlobe and another on my neck and she just ripped them off with fabric like it was part of the plan.  Someone was repeatedly sending me texts during all of  this and Nice Wax Lady would say, “You get phone?”  And I would say, “No.” And she would say, “Yes.”  This dialogue was repeated every single time the person who sent me 6 photos in a row, sent a text.  I still have no idea what it meant but finally she just sticks my phone in my face and I say, “No answering phone,” because as we all know, when a foreign person begins talking to you, you have to respond to them as if you too suddenly have no grasp of the English language!  C’mon, just ADMIT that you have answered, “Si, large chis dip!” when ordering at Senor Tequila.  Do not lie to me.  The waiter asks, “Rice & beans with that?” And you say, “Jes.”  ADMIT IT.

After finishing my lip, she bends down & I know the inevitable is coming……….  “Chin too?  Hair on you chin?”  I say, “Yes, I have a couple, you can get them too.”  She says, “LOT of hair on chin!”  I mean, for the love of God, perhaps I should just let them grow & guest star on Duck Dynasty! Damn! But of course I say, “Yes. Hair on chin.”  I swear she took that little wax-covered stick and began slathering on the hot wax like Pollock painting a canvas and every time she would put the fabric on and rip it off she put it right up in my eyes and said, “See?  See all that? LOTS of hair!”  When she finishes the chin, I start to sit up & HOLY HELL, if at that moment she doesn’t stroke both sides of my face and say, “I get all this too or you be all uneven, you know!” She gestured to her own cheeks as though I might have two large tufts of hair protruding that would cause small children to run and hide.  At this point, I honestly thought, “My God, what am I, THUMPER?”  But, of course, I said, “Just take it all. Please. Make even.”  I almost cried because I’m sure that my friend who is completely bald, has more hair on his head than I do at this moment and I’m wondering if Al Gore has to endure this torture when the little Asian people “take care of” him. She starts putting the wax on my face and the best way I can describe what she did next is to liken it to taking a piece of packing tape and jabbing it at a skirt to get the lint off.  Only she’s doing it with wax strips on my face.  OVER & OVER.  You liberals bitched about waterboarding?  Have I got some torture for you?!?!  Once my face is as smooth as a baby’s ass, she reaches for a mirror and I seriously feared I would look into it and know how Quasimodo felt when forced to look at his deformed countenance.  It wasn’t bad.  I am hair-free.  If you see me out, feel free to rub my cheeks.  I think it might bring you some sort of good, Asian luck.   Thank GOD, I crossed my legs, had on jeans and put my purse over my bikini area or I might still be there.

Also, Danielle, have no fear!  Next time, I come see YOU!

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Thank God I Had My Pants On…

photoSo…….I love social media.  And now I’m pretty impressed with Hugh McDonald.  I’ll admit I had read a little about him & he didn’t strike me as a guy who wouldn’t care about his customers.  I had a feeling social media was our only hope, because as I have learned from my dad, there is a wall of sorts in most corporations that is comprised of people who are there to insulate the upper management from crazy people like myself.  So I hatched a plan about 2 a.m. this morning & it worked.  HOWEVER, I expected a phone call from Mr. McDonald or more likely, someone who works for him during the upcoming work week.  I can’t really say I expected a personal visit, on the weekend, during an NFL play-off game.   Wow….I am truly impressed.

We had settled in to watch the Patriots play.  Chuck was waiting on me hand and foot & he had just commented that it was because he really needed to up his game the next few hours since he was competing with Tom Brady. (I mean I’m wearing “I love the Patriots” underwear, not “I love Chuck”.)   Apollo started freaking out & Wyatt said, “There’s a strange guy walking up to our house in leather!”  My first thought was “Holy cow, Ryder has finally fulfilled her dream of snagging a country star!”  But, no.  Chuck went to the door & honestly neither of us can remember exactly what happened except that a really tall guy in jeans and a leather jacket & Ray-Bans was standing there & he wasn’t selling the Democrat-Gazette.  He said something like, “Is this the Buttry’s?  I’m Hugh McDonald.  Did you guys write the letter?”  Chuck, jaw still on floor, said something like, “Uh, letter.  SHE  (pointing, of course) wrote the letter.  I, uh, thought it might find it’s way to you…..but not so soon.”  So he came inside, shook our hands and was very good-natured & grinning at me with a sideways glance.  In that moment, I knew he was just fine with a fart joke or two.  That was a big WHEW.  Everyone was afraid he’d be angry but what man doesn’t enjoy some fart humor, really? I wasn’t too concerned.  I mean I was very understanding in my letter and didn’t go off on him but I knew a normal letter just wouldn’t get the job done.  (Plus, I’ve never written a normal letter.) I also confessed to Mr. McDonald  that Chuck only found out about the letter a few hours prior & approved it, with a grin,  but was going to claim he did not know me.

Back to Hugh, ….er Mr. McDonald.  He had actually taken my advice and printed out all of our outages from the past few years and said, “You are right.  This is unacceptable.”  He was genuinely concerned.  My feeling all along has been that the right people just did not know that the good folks of Waverly were suffering so.  I mean with a different crew dispatched each time, some from other states, I felt like we were just lost in the shuffle.  To get something done, you need to go higher than the bottom.  We talked. He asked about my leg.  He asked where we went skiing & I couldn’t remember.  Seriously drew a blank for a few seconds.  He asked if the Patriots were winning. He said had done a quick survey of the area, saw some issues and I’m convinced he’s going to look into our problems. Some have asked if I grilled him. Uh, NO, I did not.  The man went above and beyond and he deserves a chance to make a change.  Besides, I also learned from my dad that you catch more flies with sugar. And humor. I have his card.  I can follow up.  By the way,  I gave him permission to bulldoze every tree within 50 feet of a power line.  I hope my neighbors are ok with that because Hugh….er Mr. McDonald & I are a team now.  Like Starsky & Hutch, Hart to Hart, Cagney & Lacey – WE GOT THIS ;-)  I’ll profess my love for him on here, but I’ll try to keep it off my underwear.

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An Open Letter to Hugh McDonald, CEO of Entergy Arkansas….or, to quote Al Pacino “I’m In The Daaahk Here!”

This is happening WAY too often.

This is happening WAY too often.

UPDATE:  At about 3:30 this afternoon, Hugh McDonald, President and CEO of Entergy Arkansas, knocked on our door.  He was extremely nice, extremely impressive & I am writing an additional blog entry detailing our experience.  My plan went pretty much exactly as I hoped.

Dear Mr. McDonald,

We’ve never met, but I’m willing to bet that we have a lot in common, the least of which is probably that we love for a lightbulb to come on when we get up in the morning and flip the switch.  You like this because it pays your salary & I like it because I don’t like to wipe my ass in the dark.  (You probably do too.)  I, like most empathetic human beings, realize that this world we live in is not perfect.  I realize that occasionally things are going to happen that inconvenience me and I try my best to think of people in worse circumstances.  People whose children don’t have enough food, people who live where there is raw sewage in the street & anyone who is currently involved with one of the Kardashians.  I GET that there are people suffering.  HOWEVER, each month when we pay our electric bill, I expect to have electricity in my home.  I have compassion for those in less fortunate circumstances but since I do pay for this service monthly & on time, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect to be able to make toast on a whim if I want to.  Or watch tv.  Or make snide comments on the internet:)  Or see my hand in front of my face when I walk into my closet to suit up for a belly-dancing gig.

I’m writing this because all but four houses on the north side of Waverly Dr. were without power AGAIN today, January 12, 2013 between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 6:13 p.m.  It was not because an ice storm came though, not because a tornado struck, & not because an idiot drunk driver took out one of your poles.  We were without power because leaning poles that were damaged in the ice storm were never fixed, fell completely over and started a fire.  And quite honestly, they could have caused much more damage than they did.  We, as a community of neighbors, are really at the end of our rope.  We, as a street, feel like the forgotten stepchild of Entergy Arkansas. We are, Mr. McDonald, ready for someone to listen to us and hear our concerns as to why we are ALWAYS last on the list.  We are equally ready to march downtown and knock that little red & white ball off your office roof to get SOMEONE’S attention.  Never underestimate a group of pissed-off mothers.  If it’s within the capabilities of your database at Entergy, I’d love for you to look up our street and see just how many times we’ve been without power in the last oh, ten years.  And of those times, I would like you to see how many times we had our power restored DEAD LAST.  If the resulting answer is NOT  “Uh, oh.  A hell of a lot! You DO have a point!” then I suggest you hire a new IT staff because your data is waaaay off.

We survived the ice storm of 2000.  That was a rough one on Entergy & us both.  I’ll give you that.  It was hell.  We ended up in a hotel with a norovirus outbreak and if, perhaps for writing a letter like this, I DO end up in hell, I guarantee you it will not be worse than that week of my life. (Picture Steve McQueen at the end of  “The Great Escape”, should you need a visual.)  We had intermittent outages before and after that.  We were without power nearly a week when the tornado hit Cammack Village & we were without 6 days just this Christmas season and lived in a hotel.  If a thunderstorm blows through we are almost always without power for at LEAST a few hours.  I live in fear that one of my kids will simply fart & “POOF!” we’ll be at the Motel 6 before nightfall.  I’ve gone to work with wet hair.  I’ve thrown away, if you count all the outages, probably close to $1000 in food and meat, if not more.  I have cleaned up the re-solidified drippings of Klondike bars and popsicles until last time I just gave the kids $5.00 to come lick up the mess, with bonus incentives if they finished before their tongues stuck to the freezer.  I have had to leave my daughter’s birthday cake in a powerless oven and run out to buy one for her party.  I then had to move that party to the park because we could not see each other in our home.   Our power has gone off in the middle of the day, the middle of the night, upon waking, upon retiring and once at noon, as I was leaving for a lunch date.  I really CANNOT COUNT the number of outages we have had but I know I have a street of neighbors willing to back me up on my claims.

The point of my letter is this:  There has GOT to be a reason that we, on Waverly Dr.,  deal with so many outages.  Something with the “Waverly power grid” (I made that up, I’ll admit) is grossly deficient and inefficient.  Perhaps some trees need cut.  Maybe we need to put some sort of access from the adjacent school property that makes getting to our lines easier.  Maybe the linemen look at our property when they arrive and say, “We’re saving that mess for last. It’s Waverly again.”  At any rate, NOTHING pro-active is being done to make these outages fewer & easier to deal with.  Maybe, just maybe, for the length of our little street, the lines need buried.  (And before you cite cost as a reason to avoid that remedy, you have to be paying out-of-state workers and weekend workers a fortune to constantly get us up and running again.)  I will admit we used to have a few tree-huggers on our street that refused to allow trees to be trimmed and removed by the utility company.  I am happy to report that they have moved and not only will we now allow that, we will fire up our Stihl’s &  grab our machetes and pitch in to help make your access easier.  Actually, if it helps my case, I’ll stay away from the chainsaws.

We are done. We are tired. In the summer, we are hot.  In the winter, we are cold.  We like to see things during our waking hours.  I have a torn ligament in my leg & my husband will tell you that I’m just a bit testy when my electric blanket is no longer “electric” & I drop my bottle of hydrocodone in the dark.  It’s not pretty.  I am tired of people telling me I need a generator when I pay for electricity & I expect that it be there when I need to roast a turkey, fire up a hot dog in the microwave or charge my freaking phone.  I run a photography business out of my home and my clients have a reasonable expectation of when their prints will be edited and delivered.  Mr. McDonald, I do not know your family situation, but I can tell you that hell hath no fury like a teenage daughter that cannot dry her hair to go out on a Saturday night or a husband who cannot plug in his nose-hair trimmer.  All of the aforementioned requires power & this is getting to be a real pain.  Over & over.

Your linemen have been great and worked hard.  I’m not complaining about them or the wonderful workers who come in from surrounding states to assist them.  All we are asking is that someone with some power and influence in the vast entity that is Entergy agree to hear our concerns.  We will come to you or you can come to us.  We are a nice group of people but we have had enough.  Won’t you please help us?  Or ask someone to at least try?

Sincerely,

Noelle Buttry

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Cain & Abel – The Sequel

photo-2

Is that not the SWEETEST photo ever?  I thought so at the time.  Protective older brother embracing his little brother.  Perhaps a hint of pride in the eldest’s eye.  Utterly unconditional love emanating from the youngest.

HAHAHAHAHAHA………….I’m glad I have this moment in time captured because it isn’t happening now.

Before I begin this entry, I should probably warn you that I write to get things off my chest.  I write for a release – cheap therapy, or at least cheaper than the therapy I pay for on a regular basis.  I don’t write for solutions and I don’t write to hear wonderful, drippingly sweet stories of how your kids are your best friends & the other day while one of them was kissing you goodbye, a butterfly lit on your shoulder making the moment so perfect you had to go inside and light a woodsy-scented candle to complete the scene.  I don’t want to hear that.  You should also probably know that I carve out and eat the entrails of people who have ONE child & give me unsolicited child-rearing advice.  Take on THREE motherfucker & then go all “Dr. Phil” on me.  That’s why there is one of those tiny, little salt shakers in my handbag.  Entrail seasoning.  Just a fair warning….

My boys now literally FIGHT ALL OF THE TIME.  I fully intended to be one of those nauseating parents who was not going to have kids who played video games.  They were going to build with blocks and Lincoln Logs and swing happily on their tubular, metal swingsets, for Christ’s sake.  Build forts in the woods!  Do puzzles! Draw! READ!  (They do read – I’m not a complete failure.)  However, in this day and age, the problem with that line of thinking is that sadly, those children become the misfits who have no friends.  We eventually joined the masses and let them get a game system.  It hasn’t been too bad.  And we have rules.  One of my biggest is no hand-held games when we’re at dinner.  You must sit & be part of the family.  In all honesty, I struggle with that one myself sometimes.  But a few months ago they found this seemingly innocuous game on the computer called Minecraft.  It seemed cool at first.  It’s almost Lego-like in that you build things – buildings, cities, rooms, etc.  You can talk to other kids who are building stuff too.  And there-in lie the issues…… It fosters meanness.  Knocking down each other’s stuff, destroying each other’s buildings, and the language!  Oh, my, the language!  I’ll be the first to admit that my kids hear bad language from me.  I say shit, damn and hell on a regular basis.  They’ve heard me drop the F-bomb, though I’m really trying on that one, God, really.*  But really children.  Pre-teen unsupervised children.  Cunt???  Pussy???  Whaaaat?  Coming from the mouths of 10 year-olds!?!?  My boys pointed out that THEY weren’t using the language, & that the other kids were just typing it in and it appeared on the screen.  Yeah, also, officer, I wasn’t drinking that liquor, I was just holding it for my friend & it spilled on my shoe.  I’ve watched enough crime tv to know that my boys have big potential as defense attorneys but that crude language was the last straw for me.  Minecraft is gone.  For good.  Not just because of the language but the fact that something about this game got a strong hold on their impressionable little minds and turned them into violent little asshats.  Punching, knocking chairs into tables, name-calling (though not “cunt” or “pussy” that I know of, YET) & wrestling each other over SHIT THAT DOES NOT ACTUALLY EXIST?!?!  I think not.  Things were very improved for a while after we deleted it.  They read soooo much more.  Wyatt watched the History Channel or documentaries for hours on end. They fought much, much less.  I was rather pleased with myself.  But it’s starting again.  And sometimes it is not even provoked by video games.  Just meanness.

Our youngest cannot seem to understand that we do not allow name-calling.  Our oldest two cannot seem to understand that we do not want or need their advice when dealing with them and that we will be happy to sit back and watch them try out their parenting skills in due time.  I intend to have my hand buried in a bowl of buttered popcorn, watching Roseanne re-runs in a muu muu while this is going on, by the way.  Chuck and I may briefly argue some (generally over where we are going to eat or what movie to see or how the dishwasher is supposed to be loaded – nothing serious) but we are not a violent couple.  I yell, oh, yes, I yell.  I’m working on that but damn, it’s HARD.  We will continue to take things away until they get the idea that we mean business.  I have said things to them recently that I am not proud of.  I really would not take them downtown and start the adoption process.  I really would not put them on a plane to Russia to live in an orphanage.  I probably would not send them to Colombia to harvest coffee beans in stifling heat and humidity.  But I will continue to enforce the rules in our house until they decide it will be easier to comply & be fed & live peacefully.  Or until they move out.  Hopefully they will come to their senses sooner rather than later.

* (As for my ‘trying’, please feel free to ask for prayer for me in front of your church congregations. Most parishioners will remember me as the one who lived in sin before marriage. “Oh, HER?  That was ’92 & she’s STILL sinnin’ ?”)

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