Jan 31, 2016

2016: Off to an Interesting Start

2016 has been a crazy year for me. Lots of things going on. First, I’ve got great news. I bought a bunch of lottery tickets a few weeks ago when the Power Ball was approaching $1 billion and, guess what . . . I won the Power Ball! I was so excited when the clerk handed me my $7. I haven’t decided what to do with all my winnings yet.

Between our new-found wealth, my new job, and my youngest son moving out, “It’s been a $h--storm of changes!” as Gandhi said. Oh, to fill you in, I got a new job. But my littlest one moving out was like a knife in the spleen, which means it was kind-of bad, but not lethal bad. Then, a couple days later, my middle son returned to college, which deepened the cut. Then I cried even more when I realized Hans still lives with us. That latter part made Joe cry too, and he’s a grown man. We’re trying to repress our sadness by taking on new hobbies, like binge eating and collecting valuables from friends’ homes.

While these activities take a lot of time and effort, we still made time yesterday to celebrate our wedding anniversary at the local Hilton. Joe said he would spare no expense in taking me to a fancy dinner, but what he meant is that he would spare all expense. Our special dinner was actually a work party thrown by my employer. Joe said he has a strict rule that you must celebrate on the day of the event, so we really had no options. I guess he’s right. As Gandhi also said, “Without rules, there’s nothing to separate us from savages,” and I certainly don’t want to be perceived as a savage.

Anyhoo, that’s what’s going on in my neck of the woods. We’ve got our health, our anniversary, and that binge hobby we’re exploring. Life is good. Hope you are enjoying the new year too. Have a great February.

P.S. Happy anniversary, Joe! You're the best!

Jan 30, 2015

True Love

Happy anniversary to Joe, the best husband ever! It feels like just yesterday that we were in our twenties and had to get married after the births of some of our children.

Regardless, I feel so blessed to say that being married to Joe has been so much fun and more wonderful than I ever expected. Yes, it's true that I had extremely low expectations, but whatever.

Thanks for being my soul mate, dear. I hope you got me a very special present to celebrate.


Jan 18, 2015

A Look in the Mirror

Every January, I take a mental journey to take stock of my life. A lot of people do this on New Year’s Eve, before they make resolutions, but I’m ahead of the times, so I do it later. The process involves honest reflection, lots of crying and several glasses of wine. Sometimes I don’t like what I see, but that was just once.

A lot of people can’t handle this kind of introspection because they’re stupid, but I can because I bought extra wine this year. I knew I was in for what could be a very difficult 10 minutes of thought.

In the mom department, I asked myself, “Am I the kind of mom my sons would like to have?” I texted my sons for input. The answer was no. They brought up times I didn’t pick them up from college, forgot their birthdays and other stuff that was equally trivial. Those boys just don’t let things go. Why was I even asking them? Of course I’m a good mom. My son gave me a "World's Best Mom" mug on my first Mother's Day 22 years ago, and that's proof enough. Infants don’t lie.

Next factor. What kind of a wife am I? Hmm, Joe hasn’t asked for a divorce, so one can only conclude that I must be a spectacular wife. Next?

How is my career? Well, there’s a story behind that. Last month Mr. Patel announced he wanted to hire an assistant manager. I called dibs on the job immediately, but my co-workers Dodie and Kibbie said they wanted to apply too. What kind of friends won’t honor calling dibs? I was furious – and worried. I knew these women had a better chance of getting the job because they are well-liked.

Kibbie is in her 20s, good looking and flirty. All she has to do is smile, and Mr. Patel is putty in her hands. As expected, Mr. Patel offered her the job just minutes after he announced the position. However, in a twist of good luck, she failed a simple literacy test (which was actually just an eye chart), and POW, she was knocked out of the competition. Ha!

It was down to Dodie and me, which made me sweat. Dodie is popular because she’s friendly, dependable and looks like a grandma. That’s tough competition! Who doesn’t like a grandma? I’m only a year younger than Dodie, but I was cursed with youthful good looks, so how could I possibly compete against that? By exposing any skeletons in her closet! Dodie had to have some horrible secret she was hiding. Nobody gives out banana bread at Christmas unless they’re hiding something dark.

I went to Bob, the lanky night clerk with the foreign accent, to see if he knew about Dodie's evil side. As I neared the door to the stock room, I could hear him talking to the creepy cashier with the greasy hair. “If Jackie gets that job, I’m going to quit. She’s always mean.” I wondered if he was joking. It’s hard to tell when someone who speaks broken English is trying to be serious. I wanted to yell, “Speak American!” but Bob didn’t know I was listening.

After that, I knew my only shot was to speak directly to Mr. Patel. The next morning, I barged into his office before my shift started and began reading nervously from my prepared note cards. “Do not hire Dodie. She is so old that someone mistook her for a mummy when she was touring the museum,” I said. Then I looked up to find Mr. Patel was not alone. He was in a passionate embrace with his wife’s hairstylist. My mouth dropped. Their mouths dropped too, and we all froze for a moment. Clearly my speech was doing the trick. Seconds later, Mr. Patel gathered the employees on the Quickie Mart floor and announced that I got the job.

“Look at me. Look at me!” I said to lanky Bob. “I'm the captain now!” Thank goodness I saw that Captain Phillips commercial or I wouldn’t have known what to say.

So, yes, I’ve been at the Quickie Mart for almost 20 years and this is the first promotion I’ve ever gotten. How’s my career going? Awesome!

To sum up, I passed my introspection this year with flying colors, and feel like a winner once again! Happy New Year, and I hope you are all winners too!

Sep 15, 2014

No, I Don't Work Here

In addition to being mistaken for a male occasionally throughout my life, I’m sometimes mistaken for a store employee when I’m out shopping. Mind you, it’s not like I wear my Quickie-Mart uniform or name tag when I'm at another store. I always have my coat on and am toting a handbag. Those are dead giveaways that I'm just another shopper, yet people get confused. And this has happened to me since I was a teen. I have no idea why.

I’m tired of this. Maybe I have a face that says, “Can I help you?” but anyone who knows me knows that I don’t want to help anyone. I don’t even help our customers at work, where it’s my job to help people. That comes up a lot at my performance appraisals.

Anyway, being mistaken for a store employee has happened so much that I finally stopped explaining that I don’t work at the store. Instead, I just answer people’s questions. It's easier that way.

Sometimes I answer politely.
Q: “What aisle are the soccer balls in?”
A: “There's a whole section of soccer balls for you and your little buddy in aisle 12. Run along now, sport.”

Sometimes I answer tersely.
Q: “Can you tell me how long the sale on canned goods lasts?”
A: “No.”

And sometimes I answer snidely:
Q: “Why are YOUR restrooms so filthy?”
A: “Why is your mom so filthy?”

Today the trend continued. I was about to exit Target when the security alarm went off. A woman in her 30s with a kid in the cart stopped in front of me. When she saw me, she asked if I wanted to look at her receipt and bags or if she could just go. “I just paid at that register right there,” she explained. What a dummy.

“No, you’re good,” I said, and she smiled and thanked me. I'm actually helpful sometimes.

As we exited the store, a vigilant policeman tackled the woman onto the sidewalk. “Stay down, dirtbag!” he yelled, and he pulled a gun on her.

Another cop tackled her toddler. “Never steal from Target!” shouted the policeman. The feisty toddler squirmed and got loose. That took me by surprise. He was quite a slippery little squirt. Finally, the kid settled down and agreed to stand against the wall to be frisked.

As I drove away, I saw the cop handcuff the child in my rear-view mirror. So young to have a record! Tsk tsk.

I considered turning around to help corroborate the woman's story, but I could see that the line at the nearby Starbucks drive-thru was unusually short, so I had to let it go. You just can't help everyone.

Anyway, it turns out it was another good day. Despite the unexpected curfuffle, I was able to get my coffee in a hurry and make it home in time for my date with the TV set. I guess life is good as long as you see the glass half full. Have a good day.

~ Jackie

P.S. Also, hi to Carol and Judy, who are both recuperating from surgery. Feel better soon!