Mar 23, 2016

Whining about March Madness

March madness. To me, the madness is that they preempt my TV shows with some dumb basketball game. This is America -- don't we have a right to count on our regular programming not being interrupted? I plan to pen a strongly worded letter to the networks to complain, and we'll see how the fans like it when their sports shows are canceled.

But even putting sports on regular TV channels can't get me down tonight. I went to the store after work for groceries like a normal person, and that's when I happened upon something peculiar. There was a large crowd surrounding the liquor section. I figured it was just a regular, pre-Easter family liquor run (there were many toddlers there), but it wasn't. People were actually holding wine glasses and drinking out in the open, rather than from concealed flasks like the rest of us.

Turns out the store sells wine samples weekly right there in aisle 4. You pay only $1 to sample four generous half glasses of wine, plus free cheese and crackers. What a marketing strategy. I'm going to be all over that, and not because I'm cheap or weird.

It was actually very entertaining. I saw buzzed shoppers happily stumbling all around the grocery store, without a care in the world, pushing carts into other people and little children and not even noticing. And the drinkers were stocking up on items that don't even make sense. Like kale. Who buys kale unless they are intoxicated? It was like Disneyland for alcoholics.

The crowd just got bigger and bigger, and people were standing outside, waiting to get in (see photo). Everyone was relaxed, in a good mood, laughing and talking to perfect strangers. I imagine this is what Martin Luther King, Jr. meant when he said he had a dream. People of all races and ages come together to hang out in a grocery store where booze is really cheap. This is why America is the greatest country in the world.

The other great part about this discovery is that I now have a venue for my son's celebration when he turns 22 this weekend. It'll surely top his 21st birthday party, where Ronald McDonald paid a visit to his celebration at at a local, unnamed fast food place. All two of his friends had a great time and ordered off the dollar menu. I thought I'd never find another caterer that was so inexpensive, but now I have.

Anyway, I hope that wherever you live, you will get to experience something as wonderful as this. You can keep your fancy cars, your fancy lawn ornaments . . . heck, you can even keep my kids. None of that matters to me anymore now that I have discovered Kroger wine tasting nights. And I don't even like wine. And a special shoutout to our beloved son, Raphael, whose birthday it is on March 26. We love you more than anyone in the world, Raphael, including your brothers. (Shhh! Keep that on the down low.)

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!