Jul 28, 2016

Poop. There it is

Dear fellow office workers,

This is serious. Perhaps you are new to an office situation and don’t completely understand the proper work bathroom etiquette. As a clean toilet lover, I feel it is my public service and duty to assist you on how to use a shared bathroom. I have encountered far too many disgusting things in the restrooms while at work over the years. This is completely unnecessary. If everyone is informed of the proper bathroom rules, we can all have a much more pleasant bathroom experience.

Generally speaking, it is encouraged to do your #2 business in the privacy of your own home, if possible. But, sometimes the work poop is inevitable. Here are some helpful tips and guidelines for dumping at work, whether out of choice, or in an emergency situation.

Pooping Shoes.
Many folks feel embarrassed when the need to poop at work arises. But when nature calls….you do what you have to do (or poo where you have to poo). If you are unable to leave and head to the nearest gas station or coffee shop, “Pooping Shoes” are something you may want to consider. Pooping shoes are second pair of special shoes kept under your desk specifically for pooping at work. Change into them seconds before entering the communal bathroom. This will ensure that people won’t be able to identify you by the sight of your shoes under the stall and know it is you taking that massive dump. Do your business (following the etiquette steps below) then return to your desk and quickly change back into your “street” shoes. Presto! Incognito pooping! No one will never know it is you. The key is to not let anyone know about the secret pooping shoes, they need to remain unnoticed. Once people recognize that they are your shoes, the jig is up.

Stall Selection. When you first walk into the bathroom whether you have to do #1, #2, or both, make sure you don’t select a stall right next to another person. Should poop be in your future, no one wants to smell it, nor do you want to smell theirs. Pick a stall with a minimum of one (1) empty stall between you. This will help with any lingering smells. Chances are the person already in the stall may be mid-poop. Privacy is appreciated by all.

Flushing. Flushing the toilet after you are done is essential (either dumping or peeing). I always thought this was common sense, however, based on the things I have come across it is clearly not. I have walked into far too many bathroom stalls and come across a stank, disgusting mess. No one has time for that. No one wants to see that. Just flush. The flusher is the little silver (sometimes white) handle located on the side of the toilet. When you push the lever down, water flows and flushes your poo away. It’s amazing. Occasionally, you may have to flush more than one time to get everything down. Know that this is OK to do. In fact, it is encouraged. Please, flush as many times as it takes to ensure you don’t leave a brown surprise for the next person. Also, it is very important that you check the toilet before you leave the stall. Even if you flush twice, you can’t assume that everything went down. If you see any remnants in the bowl, flush again. It is perfectly acceptable to flush as many times as necessary. I have provided below a sample of a sign that can be hung the problem stalls as a gentle reminder.

Toilet Seats.
Make sure you leave the toilet seat clean and free of pee, hair, poop, blood, or any other bodily fluid. Again, I truly thought it was common courtesy to make sure you don’t leave the seat littered with any debris, but, it seems that not everyone is on the same page. Communication is key, so here you go. A quick and easy way to keep the seat clean is to stand up after you are finished, turn around, and then look down at the seat. If you see anything on the seat (i.e. hair, pee, etc.), use a piece of toilet paper and wipe it off the seat and throw it into the bowl. It is important to remember you should then re-flush the toilet per the first step to ensure you are not leaving anything for the next user. Again, I have included a possible sign you can hang in the stalls to help depict this step.

Handwashing. Now in order to prevent the spread of germs and getting poop on things outside the bathroom, it is essential that you wash your hands after using the toilet. This doesn’t mean just a quick fingertip rise in cold water. Gross. This means use soap AND water. There is nothing worse than seeing the CFO leave the bathroom without washing their hands. I have people do this many times and I end up spending the entire day thinking about their putrid, poop-infested hands touching everything in the office. Don’t let that be you. Washing is simple. Put a squirt of soap in your hands, lather it up, rub your hands together for 30 seconds, and rinse completely. Easy peasy. (please note: Poop particles and germs are everywhere in a bathroom. Don’t be an asshole and think that because you didn’t physically touch your butt that there is no poop there). Ideally, your sink will have an auto start faucet. This is the most sanitary, so you don’t have to touch the poop faucet again after you wash. Should this not be the case, you can also leave the water running, dry your hands, and then use the paper towel to turn off the faucet when finished.

Following these simple steps can make for a much friendlier work bathroom environment. Our butts have all touched the same seats. We are a team. Let’s all work together so that each and every one of us can have a pleasant communal toilet experience.


Clean toilet lover

Jul 26, 2016

Bye, Bye Short Shorts - HELLO Varicose Veins

I’m getting old. No more bullshit. Old age has arrived at my doorstep, and I think she is here to stay. I have just been living my life the way I have always been living it and suddenly…BAM. The horrifying realization that I am no longer the young, sweet thing I once was. I have morphed into an old and weathered mom, wife, and co-worker. Over the last few months, it seems like this aging process went from 0 to 60. Here are the things that have happened to me just in the last two weeks... I broke a tooth and had to get a crown, threw out my back while putting a plate into the dishwasher, I repeatedly told my kids to turn down the music/movie/video game because the volume was literally hurting my ears, had to go to the eye doctor because my up-close vision is not what it once was, and I am quite certain I had a mild concussion from being hit in the head and nose by the back of my toddler’s head…what’s next? A broken hip? A bunion? A walker? Damn. It’s clear I’m past my prime.

The physical ailments are mounting every day. I have acne again, wrinkles, hot flashes, slowing metabolism causing weight gain, grey hair, dry skin, blotchy skin, new chin and lip hair. And can someone please explain to me the new, saggy, excess skin that is now above my knees and under my belly button? Where did that come from? Go away flab, you are not welcome here. It’s a bitch, but I’m still alive. I mean… it is better than the alternative. I remember that my mom once said to me when I was in my 20’s that this is the best that my body is ever going to look. I didn’t believe her at the time. Now I completely understand. The transformation is brutal and I dream of the days I looked like I did the first time I thought I was fat.

Millennials. Those young whippersnappers make me feel old as shit. When I first entered the workforce, I was the new, young, fresh one. Suddenly, I find myself being the old bag of the office. The one with the experience, kid advice, life lessons, and the funny stories from my many years in the workforce. All these young kids are explaining things to me because they just assume I’m too old to grasp them on my own…and some of the time they are right! And the slang. Please stop the nonsense… “Totes Adorbs”. I don’t get it. Why can’t we just say totally adorable? Is it that much easier to say “totes adorbs”? It just sounds stupid. My rapidly aging brain just doesn’t understand this new, crazy talk.

I’m now the one in mom jeans that don’t show my ass crack, shirts that cover the parts they are designed to cover, and shoes with good arch support. I am the one judging these young kids who are wearing inappropriate skirts, shorts, and listening to their inappropriate music too loud. I can no longer get up off the couch or floor without making grunting sounds or other sound effects and I’m lucky if I don’t pull a muscle. And, once I do get up, I can’t remember why because of my forgetful mind. Ma’am…that’s what I get called now. No more miss or young lady. I’m an old bag, Ma’am. When did this happen? Clearly I am way too young to be called Ma’am, right? I am in my mind. People say I’m grouchy in my old age…I’m not (at least not any more than normal). I just dislike traffic, people, waiting, loud sounds, barking dogs, driving too fast, dressing skanky when you are 11, and other things I can’t remember because of my old age.

This getting older thing…physically, it’s not so great. But, it is necessary. Otherwise you’d be dead. Life, it’s one giant parade to death. So, here we come. Jowls, grey hair, crow’s feet, and Depends…welcome.

Today is the oldest you've ever been, and the youngest you'll ever be again

Jul 22, 2016

Two Kids and the Hulk

Three kids, one dog, one cat, one husband, and no quiet.  This is my daily life. Trying to juggle family, work, fun, and a second to myself is not easy. If fact, I’m not convinced it is even possible. Things are hectic and never go according to my plan. I don’t think I even believe in balance at this point in my life.

Children have a way of making us question our own sanity sometimes, and my youngest is quite the test of patience, physical stamina, and a battle of wits. All my kids are challenging in different ways, but my youngest gives us a run for our money we never saw coming. I wouldn’t change a thing if I could, but she is physically and emotionally exhausting. I’m still not sure if it is all her personality, or just simply the fact that she is the third child. All hell broke loose after the third child and we are completely worn out by juggling the ins and outs of daily life with three kids.

Before I had children of my own, I was a big B about other people’s kids. I was Judgey McJudgerson, judging their parenting and judging them for not controlling their kid. A crying child in a restaurant or public place would stress me out to the max and annoy me to no end. I’d think…DO SOMETHING WITH YOUR KID AND MAKE THE SCREAMING STOP! But then…It all changed. Fast forward a few years, and I realized it is just not that easy. I had a kid of my own…then another…and finally, the youngest who has taught me the most.

I am a bit of a control freak, but I have learned a couple of things as I have grown older; you can’t control what happens in life, and you most definitely can’t control a toddler….at least not mine. She is a tiny human being with super-human strength. We refer to her (lovingly of course) as the Hulk. She has been since she was an infant. She can go from precious and sweet to an angry superhuman monster in just seconds. I am no longer strong enough to physically control that beast. She has mastered the genius toddler trick where she either let’s all the tension go out of her body and goes entirely limp, OR she flails about on the ground like a fish out of water. Either way, it is nearly impossible to pick her up. I know this sounds funny, but I have become terrified of her. She physically hurts me time and time again. She bites, scratches, hits, head-butts…in fact, I’m pretty sure she broke my nose with the back of her head. I need full-body protective gear just to be around her…and I am really considering it.

She is the little dictator that controls the Bismark house. You don’t dare mess with that one. She is lucky she is so cute or I would have kicked out a long time ago! Her meltdowns are an awesome thing. By awesome, I mean, you will be in complete awe and possibly very, very afraid…or laughing your ass off. Sometimes the meltdowns are easy to see coming: you’ve said “no” to eating another granola bar, or you’re trying to make her wear pants in the sandbox, or you put her crackers in the wrong color bowl. Other times, the meltdowns arrive without any warning. Super stealthy meltdowns that you won’t coming at all, but leave you chilled to the bone or physically injured when they do. Like the time the time just recently when she was so upset that the paper towel roll was empty. She sobbed uncontrollably because “her napkins” were all gone. Another time she asked me to get her strawberries. So, like an asshole, I did. She looked at me like, “why in the hell did you give me these?” She had an all-out, magnitude 10 fit because she didn’t want the strawberries she just asked for 3 seconds ago. She was flailing about on the floor and kicking her legs as if that would do anything to change the situation. I laughed, of course, because it’s just so absurd, which just made the meltdown even worse. Bad idea… and now her head is spinning around. Then, instead of consoling her, I pull out the video camera…I need to document this crazy! With my first two, I would have been stressed and tried to calm her down and worry she would get a concussion from flopping around on the wood floor. But with her, I just let her go and get it out. There is no stopping the rage of the Hulk.

Don't let this sweet face fool you.
She can turn into the Hulk in no time!
 Toddlers seem to know to know your weaknesses and will exploit them, at any given opportunity. Well, truthfully, all my kids know my weaknesses and will exploit them at any given opportunity. They learn that real quick.  They just give you the big-eyed, sweet face and their cuteness whittles away at you until your every last defense is down. Then, when you least expect it, they pounce. You feel bad when they cry. You believe them when they lie. They are just so precious. Then before you know it, they have manipulated bed-time from 7:30PM to somewhere around 11:00PM. They come down every five minutes asking for another hug, a glass of water, saying their tummy hurts, or in our case – to show you a silly face she can make by pulling her eyes down and sticking out her tongue. Over and over again this happens, every single night. You intend on feeding them a nice healthy dinner at the table with the whole family, but instead somehow they end up in front of the TV eating jelly beans and uncooked spaghetti for dinner. They know how to get what they want. Tiny manipulators.

Since the hulk was born, everything has seemed to become more complicated and chaotic. In addition to being nearly brain dead and exhausted all of the time, there is always someone who needs something. There is never a moment when everyone in the house is content. In the past, I was so organized and had everything under control. Suddenly, I find myself not being able to think clearly, pay my bills on time, keep up on the household chores, or even remember to get the oil changed in my vehicle (last time it was 10,000 miles over…oops!). I see all these moms who are so put together, planning Pinterest worthy birthday parties, going on trips, going to the beach, having scrapbooks of their kid’s entire lives…whatever it may be. A much as I try to remember these chaotic days are only temporary, and someday I’ll miss them, I’m overwhelmed.

I’ll give you an example of exhaustion. Me picking up my three kids after work. This shit show is quite the sight. First, I get the baby. She usually fights me on leaving the center and I have to chase her around and pick her up to even get out the door. I am holding her in addition to carrying her 10,000 pages of art work, dirty clothes because she got poop on her shorts, and whatever else is to go home with her for the day. We make our way to the car, dropping papers along the way. I carefully have to get her into the car without breaking one of her crackers she grabbed from the snack bucket. If that happens, look out. Once we get to the car, she stiffens her body so I am unable to get her into her car seat. After much frustration and practice, I have developed a technique to help. I lift her into the car seat and put my elbow between her legs so that her body has to bend and stays in the sitting position. Then, I forcefully put her arms through the car seat straps as quickly as I can. If I’m lucky, she eventually gives in and I get her buckled. By the time I get in the car, I am sweating profusely from the physical strain. I blast the cold air from the AC and hope to cool off before I get to the next stop of my triathlon. When we arrive at the next location, I have to unload the baby from her car seat and bring her with me because “apparently” it is not acceptable to leave your toddler alone in the car. It’s yet another fight to get her out of the car because she wants to bring her blanket, stuffed animal, snack, and any other magical toy of the day along with her. So before we even get in, I have my hands full. We make the long walk from the parking lot to the door either through the icy snow or sweltering heat or whatever is in-between. All I can do is hope she doesn’t bolt and try to run to the playground (it’s a 50/50 chance). You might say, just hold her and carry her in. Right. You don’t mess with the Hulk. As soon as I get in and check the kids out on the computer, she bolts yet again… In a flash she runs down the halls searching for her brother and sister. I run after her in my work shoes, trying to avoid slipping and falling on my ass (which has happened, by the way). Once I catch up to her and find the other two, we all head to their lockers and get out all of their stuff for the day; backpacks, art projects, shoes, water bottles, boots, coats, etc. So now I find myself carrying those things in addition to the blanket and fidgeting toddler. We have to walk past a damn water fountain on the way out, so of course she is suddenly dehydrated and needs to get a drink. Hulk wants water, Hulk gets water. So I set it all down and help her so that her mouth doesn’t touch it. “Ain’t no one got time for bronchitis.” I pick up all the treasured items, and tuck her under my arms because she doesn’t want to leave. She is screaming, kicking, scratching, and biting whatever part of my body she can as we parade our freak show out of the building. By this point I am totally pitting out and sweating again and nearly in tears. People just stare at me and judge me…some laugh at me. Then off to the car we go and where I have to buckle her into the car seat AGAIN using my technique. This happens every single day. No joke, I have had sore muscles in my arms from trying to control the beast while caring all the stuff from the day. Then it’s home to make dinner, homework, baths, and bed. Then we do it all again the next day. I won’t go into those fascinating details…I’ll save that for another post.

Exhausted as I am and as much as I complain, I think each of my three children is wonderful. They are all unique and a blessing in their own way. I love being their mom, even when they aren’t acting like blessings. I don’t need a gentle reminder of how precious they are because I really do know. I love them all dearly and wouldn’t change a thing. Well…maybe I’d be physically stronger so I don’t get my ass kicked by the Hulk. Then why am I telling you all this? Because it is funny and therapeutic for me to talk about it and I just want people to know that I can’t do it all. I try my best to make it work, I try to choose my battles, I try to love the people in my life as much as I possibly can, and I try to find the magic in the mess - but mostly, I’m tired and I am still just trying to figure it all out.

Jul 20, 2016

Ride On

I recently did something I haven't done in probably 20 years. It’s crazy that 20 years can go by so fast, it seems like just yesterday. I didn’t forget how…it was like riding a bike; because it was riding a bike.  It brought back so many memories from when I was a kid. Riding around the lake by our house over and over again. Dodging the geese that would chase us, hissing. Riding uphill to the Tom Thumb down the street and spending all my money on a “Seventeen” magazine and candy. Those were such simpler times, good times.

Fast forward 20 years. My kids had been asking if my husband and I could get bikes so we could go on bike rides together. I immediately started envisioning us riding around together and all the grand adventures we would have.  Everyone would be all “Oh, look at how much fun they are having, she’s the best mom ever.” OK. So maybe it wouldn’t be quite like that, but I thought it was a good idea. Despite all my dreams of being the best, bike-riding mom ever, I didn’t want to really spend much money on a bike because I wasn’t actually sure how much it would get used. With the realities of life, I didn’t know how many adventures we could truly squeeze in during the few short months of summer, especially with nothing to transport the baby with. A couple months ago, my dad was cleaning out his garage again and trying to get rid of old stuff that was taking up space. He likes his garage spic-an-span, so he was dying to get rid of anything that wasn’t getting used regularly. My mom had an old, teal bike that she probably got 25 years ago. It has the words “Zacko” written down the center bar. I don’t even know what that means…if it is the brand, I’ve never heard of it. But then again, I don't know much about the biking world. It had sat stationary in my parent’s garage for years just collecting dust. My dad asked if I wanted it, and I thought BINGO! Perfect timing. That is a cheap way to see if I like this biking thing. Can’t beat free!

Good Old Zacko is teal blue with yellow letters, slightly rusty, very dusty, and fully equipped with a kickstand and black metal water bottle holder. It even had the extra cushiony seat for my bony butt. Fancy. Aside from the little bit of rust on it, it was overall in pretty good shape. I don’t think my mom had any major bike incidents with it. My dad delivered it to me a couple months ago. There it was in all its 90’s glory sitting in MY garage. Zacko was mine…and there it sat for about two months before I got up the courage to actually ride it. I just wasn’t so sure I could even do it anymore. They say you never forget, but I was skeptical.

Last week, our neighbor was going on a bike ride with her two kids to the park a couple miles away.  My older two relentlessly begged me to go along; they can be very convincing. It was nice Friday night…nothing else really to do. I didn’t have a good reason to say no, so… I not so confidently said yes. I ran upstairs and put on my royal blue, full-body spandex suit and matching fanny pack and I was ready to go. Biking is a fashion show, right? Ha….hell no. There was no spandex. Thank goodness.

Now, it was time. The big moment had arrived…It was time to actually get on the bike and ride. I hopped on that bad boy and down the driveway I went screaming all the way. I wish someone had recorded my face. It was probably sheer terror as I soared down the driveway into the street. I was a little wobbly at first and I kind of forgot how to steer. I nearly ran into a parked car because Zacko turned more than I thought when steering! But I quickly got the hang of it. I guess the saying is right, you never forget how to ride a bike. I may be a little rusty, but I got this.

So, off we went, me, the neighbor pulling her baby trailer, and all three kids under 8. We all rode like the wind down the street swerving and zig-zagging all over. The kids were far ahead of us. I think the neighbor was trying to be nice and go at my “beginner” pace. As we went along, I noticed that old Zacko made a clanking sound when I peddled. Hmmmm…I don’t think it is supposed to do that. Who cares. Nothing has fallen off yet, so I think I’m good. We got to the first stop sign which was just one block away from where we started.  One of the girls needed a break already.  She was too thirsty to continue. Good grief. This is going to be a long ride. We all got re-hydrated after the strenuous one block trek and carried on our way to the park. It’s funny because everyone that walked by on the trails or drove by us on the street was smiling at us...or laughing at our little freak parade darting all over the sidewalk, stopping and going because someone couldn’t get up a hill, yelling at someone else to stop at the corner and watch for cars, and avoiding countless near crashes between all the bikes. Must have been very entertaining for the neighborhood. 

When we finally made it to the park, we wanted to park our bikes in the bike rack which was just around the corner in the back of the bathroom building. I slowly tried to get off the bike and somehow (I still don’t know exactly how this happened) my foot got caught up on the back tire and I lost my balance. There I was…tendering, knowing I was about to fall. There was no stopping it now. So, down I went, flat on my face and my green water bottle flew off into the grass. Leave it to me to fall off my bike when it was at a dead stop. I have a history of falling out of moving things when they are not moving (my good friend will agree with that) There I was laying on the ground, a little embarrassed. The kids were concerned I was hurt. I just laughed, got up, and parked that bad ass  street cruiser in the front of the bike rack like a champ. I felt like I should have had a bike lock, that Zacko is some hot merchandise right there. Off to the park we went, laughing at my fall all the way.

I would have to say that my first bike ride in 20 years was an overall success. Other than the stationary fall and a sore butt next day, it went surprisingly well. It has been way too long since I felt like a kid and just had fun. The wind in my hair as I flew down the road just like when I was young. I truly enjoyed it, and so did the kids. A big thank you to the neighbor for inviting us along! It was a blast. Let’s do it again soon!

Jul 14, 2016

Don't Be a Turd...You're Not That Special!

People can either make your day or make you wish you lived in the middle of nowhere…alone. For me, the worst type of people to be around are turds; entitled, arrogant assholes that think they are special. Entitlement. This just drives me completely insane.
In essence, it is the belief that you are the center of the universe, and if the universe doesn't meet your needs and desires, all hell will break loose or it will simply end. I have encountered so many entitled, arrogant, people over the years. Why are there so many a-holes who feel they are superior to others, especially in upper management positions? Maybe I deal with an abnormal amount of turds because of my chosen profession. I am in an office support role, and the people that need the most handholding and ass wiping are typically the same dill weeds who think that they are smarter and better than you. But yet, they can’t seem do a damn thing without you. I have worked for some real bossholes (boss assholes) over the years and met true narcissists who believe that because they have money or own a company, they are untouchable. These jokers demand respect and demand that everyone to cater to their every whim, no matter how ludicrous the request is (and man, some of the requests I have heard are real doozys). An example that comes to mind was when someone I used to work for came to me and asked me how to spell HIS middle name. Um…. shouldn’t you know that? It’s your name. And what makes you think I know how to spell it? Perhaps your driver’s license would be a great place to look. In case that is confusing to you, it can probably be found in your wallet, which is most likely in your pants pocket. Is this type of behavior just pure stupidity? Is it being a helpless arrogant asshole? Or maybe it is simply feeling special and that your privileged brain can’t be bothered with basic information like your middle name. I don’t even know. But it really has me thinking about “special” people.

Typically, when you think of a narcissist, an obnoxious, offensive, and obdurate person comes to mind. Like a frat boy, or body builder, a typical turd. But that is not always the case. I have met and worked for people that present themselves as attractive, appealing, even amazing folks at times. It’s not until you truly get to know them that you suddenly realize: It’s always about them. They are the center of the universe and so much smarter than the rest of the world. Bossholes, assholes, and turds alike, they all just want to be stroked and told how wonderful they are…and stare at their beautiful faces in the mirror.

I am disgusted by some of the completely unnecessary expensive purchases and expensive vacations some take to make themselves feel like they are VIPs. I know people that donate huge amounts of money to charities, benefits, and political campaigns, not because they truly believe in the cause, but because they receive recognition and status from doing so. It feeds their egos to be invited to political candidate’s fancy parties and spend time schmoozing with the wealthy business leaders, and special high-class community. They have an immense need to be surrounded by people that tell them what they want to hear whether it is accurate or not.  It is an addiction to them, like crack. They are addicted to themselves.

In light of my extensive experience and careful observation of remarkably “special” and important people over the last decade, I have complied a list of things you can do that will make people see you as an entitled, arrogant, A+ certified turd. If any of these describe you, perhaps you may want to think twice about how you are presenting yourself to others. That is…if you even realize that any of these things are describing you!

·         Visit Starbucks no less than three times a day. Melt down if the barista messes up your Venti White Chocolate Mocha with exactly 2.713465 shots of vanilla, organic whipped cream, and organic skim milk. Oh, and be sure to ask it to be heated it to the exact temperature of 198.62 degrees.

·         Become a member of multiple high-society country clubs, golf clubs, food clubs, hunting clubs, and/or fancy secret societies.
·         Attend all presentations, panel discussions, or lectures and ask long-winded “questions” that actually have absolutely nothing to do with what the person was discussing. That will showcase how smart you really are. Then feel proud at the end of your ramble.

·         Sign all your emails with “cheers” or “best”.

·         Park in the handicapped parking space whenever possible because it is actually for handicapped people plus you because your time is so valuable you can’t walk the extra 20 feet to the door. Or even better, park crooked in the handicapped space so that no one can park next to your expensive car.

·         Carry a bag or briefcase from a designer store as your everyday tote. Pull your organic vegan salad and bottled water (from the south of France bottled by chanting monks) up out of that bitch like a boss.

·         Shit on everyone’s parade and suck the joy out of their happiness whenever possible. If you are also a boss hole, make sure to stifle their growth within the company and tell them over and over again that they are replaceable.

·         Get a personal assistant, lover, public relations spokesperson, and chauffeur. I wonder…if a bosshole didn’t have the high power position/money/status, would he even be able to answer the phone, make appointments, know his own middle name, talk to the press, or drive himself anywhere? Nope. I don’t he would.

·         Name drop. Name dropping is so pretentious. It’s like saying, I’m so fabulous! Just look at all the high-class, important people I know.  Example: say you have a friend at the White House, Prince is your dad, you own a Ferrari, have your own diamond mine, or have a beach house in Bora Bora... you get the idea.

·         Hate all popular music. Tell people you only listen to “indie rock” bands that only 73.5 people in the world have ever heard of. Explain that it is so advanced an average person just won’t even be able to understand its depth. If you really want to be a douche, shed a single tear to let them know you “feel” the music.

·         Take selfies in ridiculously stupid poses such as looking far off into the distance, inquisitively stroking your goatee, or sporting an absolutely stunning smile (according to your online followers). Make sure you edit the picture to black-and-white so you seem artsy, then use it as your Facebook profile picture and repeat weekly.

·         Call your company IT staff in the middle of the night if your karaoke machine breaks; especially if it is a holiday. You can’t have your high-class, rich friends not be able to do the YMCA on New Year’s Eve. How embarrassing. Makes more sense to pull the company IT guys away from their family on a holiday so they can come over in the middle of the night to fix it.

·         Be sure to give unsolicited advice to everyone whenever possible. Especially people that are more accomplished or an expert in an area you know nothing about. Oh wait…there is no one more accomplished or no one who knows more than you. My apologies.

·         Go paddle boarding. It’s the new, trendy thing to do. Be sure to take multiple photos of your muscular physique and post them on all social media sites. Also, transport that expensive paddle board on the top of your Range Rover.

·         Wax all the hair from your body, get professional manicures, and have a three-step skin care routine. Tanning until you are orange is acceptable too.

·         Check out your appearance in anything and everything that gives off a reflection of your glorious, tight, chemical peeled face.

·         Throw toddler-like tantrums whenever things at work don’t go your way. Example:  Only an A+ asshole will wig out if the font on their name is smaller and not as “cute” as the font on someone else’s name on the company phone list. If that happens, flip out and cry for sure because it offended your misplaced sense of entitlement.

·         Speak in an accent. Everything just sounds way more important and bad ass in an accent.

·         Never say thank you. Ever. Better yet, don’t say please either.

·         Never apologize when you’re wrong…because you never are. Apologizing is for SISSIES.

 So…, all you TURDS, stop being an asshole. It’s unnecessary.

Jul 8, 2016

A Camping We Will Go...

Vacations with the family are always a mixed bag. Trying to make memories with the kids to last a lifetime definitely has a cost -- most of which involves crying, whining, putting up with family dynamics, and hauling ridiculous amounts of luggage. A small price to pay to create wonderful memories, right?

Recently, I spent four days camping in Wisconsin Dells with my husband, three children, and both of my parents. If you know me at all, camping never has been my thing. I’ve discovered that my feelings towards camping have not changed. I don’t want to be one with nature and sleep in the woods in a tent. I don’t like bugs, dirt, spiders, walking 3 miles uphill to a smelly bathroom, and being hot…or cold. To me, it is a great reminder of how lovely it is not camping. If I had my way, I would camp in a hotel equipped with a pool and a spa. Lots of people say camping is a way to escape the pressures and troubles of everyday life and relax in nature. To me, it causes more stress and anxiety than my everyday life. My theory is that any vacation where you have to work harder than you would at home or at your job is not a vacation at all. Although, any vacation with small children is hard work and not really a vacation. All that said, I still decided to go along with this camping thing for my kids. I want them to have the fun of camping out and spending time with their grandparents. Kids like that stuff, right?

My parents recently purchased a fancy Mercedes motor home and travel around the country camping. Now that is the kind of camping I could handle. This thing has a queen bed, loft, toilet, shower, TV and DVD, and full kitchen! Unfortunately, it is not large enough to sleep my family of five and the two of them. So instead of camping in a tent near their site, I had the genius idea of renting a “cabin” at the same campsite. That way we could still camp, but I would have the essentials like a shower, bed, bathroom, and kitchen. In theory, this was a good idea, a good compromise. My family would be in the cabin and my parents down a couple sites in their motor home. I had it all worked out in my mind. Our cabin would be close enough so the kids could run back and forth between the sites and we could use either place for cooking, fires, games, etc. That was not quite how it turned out. I should have known that nothing ever turns out the same as in my head.

The kids were really excited about the trip and I kind of was too. I hadn’t been to the Dells since I was a kid and I was looking forward to bringing my kids there and doing some of the things I remembered from long, long ago. Now, those of you with children know that packing for a four-day trip for three kids is a lot of work. We had to bring warm clothes, cool clothes, PJs, food, blankets, pillows, toys, books, and anything else we might need on our little adventure. The kids had their own ideas of what was essential to bring along on a four-day vacation. My oldest thought water balloons and Pokémon were a must. There was no way he could go four days without Pokémon and water balloons.  The middle child insisted on bringing half of the books on her book shelf and her American Girl doll. Seriously, she couldn’t lift her back pack. I had to take half of them out while she was sleeping. And the youngest, well, she just wanted to bring lots of shoes.

Good Times Ahead!
We loaded up the car. It was filled to the top, literally. I don't think we could squeeze one more thing in if we tried. We hardly had room for the three kids.  Off we went on our long journey to the water park capital of the world. We weren’t gone for even 10 minutes and Evan was already asking if we were almost there. The kids started fighting almost immediately. Ugh. I had dreams of them just reading books quietly until they fell asleep so we could have a nice quiet four-hour trip. Again, I should never trust the ideas in my head. One is tattling on the other for eating balloons…not sure why someone was eating balloons. One was mad because his sister put a paper towel soaked with olive juice in his backpack. For pay back, he said he was going to purposely pee on the toilet seat so she sat on it. Good grief. The youngest was screaming at the top of her lungs because she wanted to read the books that the other kid had and they wouldn’t let her. Her books were not good enough and she wanted the other ones immediately. And so on and so on. All this within the first 15 minutes. This was going to be a long drive. People say texting and driving is dangerous, it is, but I think it is less dangerous than parenting and driving. It takes serious skill to mediate an argument over who got more crackers in their bag while tossing water bottles into the back seat, grabbing for the binky that fell on the ground to end the blood curdling screaming because one of the crackers was broken, and turning the radio up so one of them could sing along to their favorite song. Yep this is safe as can be. This went on until we got there about 4 hours later.

Halfway through the drive, I remembered that I forgot to grab my swimsuit out of the dryer before we left the house. Who forgets their swimsuit when going to the WATER capital of the world? Me. I was so focused on getting everything for everyone else that I forgot about myself. Grrrrr….I had to have a suit, so we made a stop at the Tomah, Wisconsin Walmart. I am sure I can find something just lovely at Walmart. Visiting Walmart is always a treat. While I ran in to find a fashionable, WT swimsuit, Chris drove the kids to Culvers to get an ice cream treat. That sounded like a good idea; keep them busy so they didn’t cry when I left the car. That’s what they do every time I leave the car, cry until I return. Seriously, I’ll be right back. Walmart was the typical freak show.  I tried on the only two swimsuits they had that weren’t a size 4XL or a size 0…Hideous. Just hideous. No way in hell was I going to wear one of these, even if it was just to a water park in Wisconsin. I left empty handed. I got back to the car to discover the chocolate ice cream he got for the baby was everywhere, her face, clothes, car seat, and even dripped down into the tote bag on the floor under her feet. Excellent. There she was crying again because she spilled and was sticky.

4th Of July Festivities!
FINALLY, we pulled into the campground and I pretty much knew I was going to hate it. Everything was old…and crowded. I know it was 4th of July, but I didn’t think there would be this many people. I tried to keep a positive attitude…I’m so good at that. We got all checked in and headed to over our site. My parents had just gotten there and they had a lovely site with lots of trees for shade and plenty of room for the kids to play. There was no one behind them so it was pretty private. Our cabin on the other hand, that’s a very different story. It was on a corner lot…a few feet away from a major intersection. There was a steady flow of traffic constantly. Mostly by decked out golf carts driven by intoxicated seasonal residents, but it was also on the main street that lead to the rest of the campground.
There was a seasonal camper directly behind us that had old, faded, Winnie the Pooh décor nailed up on the deck and a built in bar on the back. I'm so confused. Why Winnie the Pooh. Creepy. Directly across the street was the lovely view of the overflowing garbage dumpsters, poop dump station for the motor homes, and the campsite workers’ sheds. Truly breathtaking. The smell, well, that took your breath away too...not in a good way.

Kitchen Fly Swatter
Our cabin was a dark brown trailer with a weathered and rickety old deck off the patio door. I feared that it was going to collapse under our weight. We unlocked the door, and there was the beautiful place we paid $165 a night to rent for four days. It smelled, the carpet had stains everywhere, and there was dust and hairballs on the floor. The couch in the 2x3 living room was from 1985 and was so uncomfortable you didn’t even want to sit on it. All I could think about were the stains everywhere. What nasty things had gone on in this tiny, stank space? The kitchen (if you can even call it that) had a refrigerator, mini stove, sink, and a couple of cabinets. It was scummy and dirty just like everything else in that place. There were two glorious bedrooms each complete with a full/twin bunk bed and doctor’s office waiting room chairs…the metal ones with the gray seat cushion. The bathroom….that was just sick. I gag just thinking about it…the dirt, hair, and dim florescent lighting. I honestly can’t believe that I actually set foot and showered in there (with my shoes). The walls were all off white and I saw chunks of nasty and quashed bug stains everywhere. I didn’t even want to think about what it was. There was a green fly swatter hanging on the wall in the kitchen – probably the cause of some of the bloody gut stains on the walls. Fly swatters in the kitchen, that says class.
I saw dirt and spider webs in all the corners in all the rooms. It was definitely not what I thought I was going to get. I knew before I booked it that it wouldn’t be fancy or big, but I at least expected it to be clean. I bet the dog kennel we brought the dog to was cleaner than this!  I sat down at the picnic table overlooking the scenic poop dump site and I immediately began googling a hotel we could stay at instead. There was no way I was going to spend four days in this smelly, dirty, shit hole. I was willing to forfeit the money we already paid to sleep in a clean, un-stained, fragrance-free place. I was freaking out and just wanted out. I would have been better off in a tent.

Grilling with Grandpa
My parents got all set up in their camp area. We just hung out there while we tried to decide what we wanted to do so that the baby didn’t get hit by cars on the busy corner. My vote was still to get the hell out and find a hotel. I lost that fight. It was decided that we would sleep and shower at our crappy cabin and spend the rest of the time at my parent’s site. We’re going to enjoy ourselves, dammit. Even if we have to endure torture to do it.
Mag. 10 Fit
After I accepted that I was going to live and sleep in filth for four days, I calmed down a little. It was better than I thought it would be, overall. We hung out at my parents site for the majority of the time. We made good food, hung out by the fire, and spent quality time together as a family. The youngest, the town crier as we like to call her, was her usual spunky self. Bolting anytime she got the chance, chasing dogs that walked by, and throwing magnitude 10 fits over anything and everything. It was exhausting trying to keep up with her. It was like that every day, but camping, lack of sleep, and too much sugar enhanced her already difficult personality. That child has a mind of her own and there is just no stopping her. The kids were covered in dirt from head to toe. I had to resort to bribery tactics, letting them eat candy far too often, letting them stay up too late each night, and putting aside my OCD and letting them go to bed covered in mud— I did what I had to do to survive.

My favorite thing was simply people watching at the campground. What a freak show. Clearly, Wisconsin Dells was the gathering place for all the freaks of the world. This was way better than the State Fair. I mean, I saw some real class acts. I always knew that camping people were their own breed, but Wisconsin camping people…that was remarkable. I saw a multitude of inappropriate swimwear, people covered in questionable tattoos, long-haired WT folks decked out in denim and American flags, and my favorite sight of the trip, a lady wearing Spanks for shorts. Yep, it looked like she didn’t have pants on from far away, but the closer definitely wearing Spanks….For shorts. Weirdest thing I have ever seen. Everyone I saw had a cigarette and beer in their hands at all times. I lost track of the number of times that the 2-year-old was almost run over by drunken golf cart drivers. I don’t mean to be so judgmental…but these people were so different from me and this lifestyle was not something I was used to. I do live in Hanover, but this was far worse. I’m sure they were all judging me too as I walked around with my bottled water, coach purse, and not-tattooed body and cigarette smelling clothes. But what the heck whatever makes people happy.
During our time there, we visited a water and amusement park, rode the Duck Boats, went to fun restaurants, and went fishing. I got to do my favorite thing, drinking my morning coffee outside with the birds. The weather was perfect. Kids got to swim, play at the park, do campground crafts, and enjoy the outdoors and family.

So, we made it the four days. I sucked it up and slept and showered in the most rancid place I had ever been to, Chris successfully dealt with my bad attitude and frustration, and my parents survived the noise and chaos of the kids. Regardless of the stress of the vacation, it turned out to be a pretty good time for all of us. Definitely not a relaxing vacation because we all worked harder there than at home, but a good trip. The truth is, no vacation with young children will ever be relaxing or go as planned but that’s just the way it is at this stage in our lives. It’s about the kids, and they had fun. So…mom, dad, Chris, let’s raise a glass (or two) to ourselves. We were brave warriors and survived a summer trip with the young kids...and with me.  

We did it!

Jul 1, 2016

Toxic Truths

I have been thinking a lot lately about life, people, loyalty, work ethic, stupidity, and success. In fact, I just can’t seem to get it out of my head. I had the unfortunate experience of working in an extremely toxic environment with an overwhelmingly excessive number of narcissists. It all came to an abrupt end and I am still angry, resentful, and feel betrayed. Dealing with this whole experience has actually been more difficult for me than past relationship breakups. I know that sounds a little strange, but it really affected me in ways I didn’t expect. People are always telling me to let it go, drop it, and move on. But that is easier said than done, especially for an overanalyzing yet sensitive person like myself. I take things very personally, and knowing that someone would treat me so poorly, move on and not even think twice is very disturbing.
The things that I saw, heard, and lived during my time there have taught some valuable lessons. Being away from the dysfunction and toxicity for a while now has given me some clarity on just how messed up it actually was and how far down they brought me. Regardless of the ill-fated ending, my experiences there and personal relationships helped shape me into who I am today. Not sure if that is good or bad, but it’s real.

The management team running the place was a joke. Every last one of them was an, entitled, lying, gossiping, fraud that showed no respect for anyone. Hell, some of them were so wrapped up in their own success and money they didn’t even realize there was anyone else keeping their own company afloat. In all my years in the workforce, I have never seen anything quite like it, and I am disappointed with myself for putting up with it for so long. I was taken advantage of and mistreated over and over again. I was not alone in those feelings. I have never met so many people employed by one organization that feel so undervalued and unappreciated. This company had a way of draining your identity and filling you with so much self-doubt you started to question your own intentions and worth. I saw people promoted and rewarded for being incompetent, fake, and unethical.  Hard work, loyalty, dedication, and skill got you absolutely nothing but disrespect, eye rolls, and back stabbing.

Prior to this, I had never been in this type of environment before. I’m not even sure I realized that I was in a toxic environment until the end. I guess I was pretty naïve about the workplace, success, and ethic of people. I was always under the impression that you had to be educated, hardworking, driven, and professional to get ahead in life and in your career, but I recently learned that I may have been wrong all these years. I wasted a decade of my life trying to use my brain, work hard, and treat people respectfully thinking that would lead to success, advancement, and recognition. It got me nowhere. Well…I guess I shouldn’t say that. It got me out of there!

After my time there ended, I honestly started to question everything I thought I knew about people, loyalty, and success. Why is it that there are so many people who think they are entitled? Why do they think they can treat people however they want? Are all places this toxic? I just don’t understand this way of thinking and I don’t know that I ever will. If this is just how people, companies, and life is, what is the point of making good decisions? What is the point of even trying? Maybe the key to life is to just coast along and use everyone else to float you though. It seems to me that you don’t need to be smart or even committed to get ahead in this world. You just have to know the right entitled and rich people and suck up to them like crazy. I saw it over and over again at work and even in my own personal relationships. I have seen stupid people being paid four times as much as me just living the dream with no concern for others, some not even kind to others. I have witnessed blaming, bullying, disrespect, micro-management, and intimidation used as tactics to control other people. All of this by the people running a company.

I’ve always been a pretty honest and loyal person. I don’t hold much back, and I won’t do something just because someone told me to, especially if I don’t think it is right. I am loyal to my family and friends and I won’t sit back when they are being mistreated. My parent’s raised me to try to be a good person, be kind to others, work hard and do my best, and say please and thank you. I am slowing figuring out that perhaps, I might be one of the only people left that thinks like that anymore. Everywhere I go I see people that are out for themselves only no matter what the cost and definitely don’t give a shit about anyone else; not really anyway. Image is so important to people these days. Everyone wants to appear perfect, caring, nice, and successful. But it is a cover. They may say they are on your side and care about your future and growth, but when it comes down to it, they will throw you under the bus to put themselves ahead.

Because of my experiences, I have become a bit skeptical and untrusting about people’s true intentions. For far too long, I was trapped in a place where they bread morons and then rewarded them for doing nothing, being mean, fake, and unethical. This whole ordeal has been a good lesson for me and taught me things I will carry with me to wherever my next life journey takes me. So here are the top lessons I learned from my experiences over the last decade. There happen to be ten of them…

 10. Everyone loves you until you become their competition or they feel threatened. Be careful who you vent to.

9. Keep your circle small, you never know who you can really trust. Not everyone you think is your friend actually is.

8. Actions speak louder than words. People talk a good game but will turn on you as soon as you no longer benefit them.

7. Just leave people alone and let them do what they need to make themselves happy. Mind your own damn business and stop top getting in the middle of things that don’t concern you.

6. Set boundaries early on in relationships. Whether they are work, friendship, romantic, whatever. Without boundaries, people will walk all over you. Stand up for yourself.

5. Tough times reveal your real friends. They are the ones that see you for who you are no matter what others say and stick by your side. You all know who you are.

4. Go where you are celebrated, not just tolerated. Life is too short to be around people that don’t appreciate you.

3. There is no point in fighting and arguing with people you don’t respect. People only hear what they want to hear and you can’t change them.

2. Sometimes life won’t give you the closure you need. Bad stuff happens and you won’t understand why. You just have to suck it up and move on.

 AND….the #1 lesson I learned…

1. Ultimately, no one gives a shit. When it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter how loyal you are. It doesn’t matter what a good job you have done or how much time and effort you put into something. It doesn’t even matter if people like you. At the end of the day, everyone is out for themselves. No one will protect you and you are on your own.

Now that it is over, I am hopeful that there are people better than that in the world and that there are places far less toxic. I am hopeful that there are good leaders left out there that realize that corporate culture goes from the top-down. If leadership imposes toxic practices, it trickles down to the rest of the organization. I am hopeful that changes will happen for the rest of my friends who are still trapped and feel squashed in their careers. For myself, I’m never going to allow myself to be in a situation where I am not valued like that ever again.

Now, it is time for me to put this all behind me. Time to move on and start over; forgive and forget.

So, with that, here is one last HUGE F YOU!

Cheers to new beginnings!