Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Damn laughing baby!

According to The Australian, a woman and her 13 month-old daughter were kicked off a public bus because the baby was laughing too loud. Toni Hay and her child were riding a Darwin Bus Service vehicle and the bus driver (clearly a peach) warned Toni that her giggling daughter would need to quiet down. She tried to distract Little Miss Laughing Diapers but to no avail and the female bus driver pulled over and gave them the boot.

WOW. This story initiates so many questions. Like:

1.  How much of a &$(@&^@ grump are you that you hate LAUGHING babies?
2.  How much of a &$%@*@( grump are you that you would kick a woman and a BABY off a bus? I don’t care if that baby is Rosemary’s, its head would need to be spinning before you kick a BABY off a bus.
3.  Toni Hay, we need to send you to either Jersey Shore or Real Housewives of Australia and toughen you up, doll. You do not get off the bus and walk home with your baby!
4.   How quickly can we hire the Darwin Bus Service to come and clean up some of the monstrosities of bullsh*t we have in the US? Because if no tolerance for laughing wee ones AND you have the balls to kick a baby off a bus, you can certainly do a little something about some common social ailments we have over here in which a small sampling would include:
·         Before mentioned Jersey Shore. All of them. They suck.
·         Real Housewives of, well, pick a city.
·         D-bags who talk loudly on their cell phones in confined spaces like elevators, trains, restaurant bathrooms, movie theaters.
·         Grown men who wear their jeans down below their arses.
·         Idiots who talk on their cell phones when driving and can’t drive well to begin with. And can’t spell ‘cell phone’ so how did they find their way to the cell phone store in the first place?
·         People who make sex tapes of themselves and pretend they have NO idea how the “secret tapes” got out (left out on counter with large sign pointing to “secret sex tape” or dropped in Blockbuster video drop “by accident”) but are certainly happy to ride their 15 minutes of horribly-induced fame.
·         The one person behind you in line at the airport loudly complaining about the line taking tooooo long, and why does he have to take his shoes off, and why does he have to get cavity searched? Listen, no one loves the new rules but guess what, if you want to fly, shut your trap. And stop being so loud because we don’t want the friendly people from TSA to think we are with you and get cuffed.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Boo Boo Kitty

Sitting in a meeting, we had a discussion with a client. Client wanted us to share information with a third party which we can not do. Client complained. Client said in his previous line of work, he decided who had information or not. Client complained some more.

Years ago, and long before our current state of economic crisis for many people, I worked for a Fortune 15 Company. F15Co bought other companies like my Mom used to buy doughnuts for us at the bakery: O' Plenty.

These companies and employees would be absorbed, sometimes quickly, into our labyrinth. This absorption can be challenging, understood. Most people, happy to still be employed, make the transition smoothly. Some do not.

What I grew very quickly to enjoy very little is this:

Why do we have to do that? To which an explanation was given. And then, sometimes much too often, I would get this: When we worked at Company X (the purchased company) we didn't have to do that.

Listen, I get it. I really do. I think the F15Co I worked at tried very hard to make the transition easy for people. And I came to F15Co from a previous corporation bought in a hostile takeover the ugliness of which was covered in every major news and business chronicle. Because of this I personally attest to how difficult it is to work at a company and be bought and absorbed into another company where corporate missions, cultures, and protocols do not necessarily (or easily) mesh. And I get that sometimes the transition is rough. I worked at F15Co and moved offices three times in one year. Put up a fight about it? NO. It's an office. That I don't own. In a building. I don't own. In a corporation. I also don't own. Its not my living room. I don't care if I move offices ten times.

But, there is a small group of people convinced that "because I didn't have to before" is simple and feasible reply . Guess what? Is is not.  

And this is for whom I coined the phrase Boo Boo Kitty. And it is said sometimes while I pretend to whisk tears off my cheeks.

This is what I dealt with in the legal department:

Angry employee: Is that what we have to do now? At our "new company?" Well, I am NOT going to do that and "new company" can kiss my arse.

The first several times, I was empathetic. Again, many people do not like change or handle it well. But at what point do you simply need to adapt? Can you run around asking "who moved my cheese?" for the next 12 months? NO.

So after dozens of conversations like this I once provided a different response.

Me: Let me explain something about commerce to you. An analogy if you will. "Your company" is like the girl standing on the corner of 14th and Crescent at 2:30 am. "New company" is the man in the long black sedan who pulls up with a curious and healthy interest in your services. Guess who decides what is going to happen? The man with the cash.

Bottom line: the person who signs the check is the one who decides how things will be done. If you don't like it, and new company isn't for you, move along.

And after about the 100th time I heard We did not have to do this before I decided I no longer liked that response. So to the 101st person who said it to me, she got this response:

Listen, I get it. I know you didn't have to do this before (maybe Company X SHOULD HAVE done this and you would still have a Company X to drive to everyday). However, I did not have to pay my own bills or cook my own meals at one point in my life either. When I lived at my parents house. But that is not the day I am living in any more. So I need you to get on board.

I know you hate all the new policies. Do you like having a job though?
Awwwwwwwwww, Boo Boo Kitty.

So, sometimes Boo Boo Kitty is a handy expression. And I will admit, I have used it multiple times since there in a variety of ways, for a variety of people. Admittedly, I have even used it in self-reference when I might have allegedly been salty about something, with my lip out like a 2 year old, acting like, well, a perfect Boo Boo Kitty.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Why are you thinking about my sexual activity...

Out to lunch recently with a pregnant friend, a man leaving the table next to ours  smiled directly at her. And then said, "You're getting so big. You look like you swallowed a beach ball!" She pauses, smiles at him, and says in reply "So do you!" I LOVED it because it is totally out of character for her. And he had it coming.

She is currently a bit sensitive about weight. And experiencing a great emotional whirl pool. What many a mom has experienced when your life is weeks away from being permanently altered.  Long before I was pregnant, I heard a tale or two regarding the obsession some strangers have with pregnant tummies. I disregarded these tales at the time since 1: I was not remotely interested in pregnancy or things relative and 2: It would not sooner occur to me to rub a woman's stomach than it would be to make a bet against Donald Trump I could do a better comb-over.

However, as many of you know, these tales bear validity. And those tales along with a few other oddities are cogs in this wheel of something I like to call: 

Observing Pregnancy: Things Inappropriate (usually involving strangers.)

Let me explain. I loved being pregnant. I was very fortunate to have a easy pregnancy and believe me, I was wearing high heels until the day that baby came. I had no cravings, imbalanced hormones, stretch marks, nothing. I was not sleepy and I never took a nap. I felt like it was a great experience for me. Our active delivery was 45 minutes so I know I won the lottery. And listen, I know the universe is fair which is all the more incentive to delay Baby #2. Baby #2 will be a smart ass version of me (wait, is that an oxymoron?) who will toss her hair, dance on tables and sass me before I change the first diaper.

All this aside, I was under-prepared for several external aspects of pregnancy. Let me share.

Tummy Touching: Early on, I asked a girlfriend if she had the stranger touch when she was pregnant. She said absolutely not and in fact stated " I do not give off that kind of vibe." I considered this more deeply as I was getting the two-hand abdominal touchfest by this woman as I stood outside a restaurant in Seattle one day.

What kind of vibe is it exactly? I wanted to know so I could turn it off immediately. I got this stranger touch multiple times. Me, never short of a retort, literally could NOT lob a verbal comeback as I was being physically accosted. And you know why it qualifies as accosted? Because it is a STRANGER. Which means I am just a tiny touch uncomfortable as you grope my ever-growing abdomen. Its not a magic lamp granting wishes. I asked my mom once why people do that. "They are just excited," she replied. Mmm hmmm. I get excited about things as well but I do not automatically go for the rub a dub dub.

LESSON: If you did not put that baby in that uterus, you better ask somebody. OR what my friend MC Hammer said, "U Can't Touch This!" 

Aesthetics: Simply put, there are scads of gorgeous pregnant women. Some people get sick, some don't but most pregnant women reach a stage where its all about the glow. Dining out years ago, I saw this beautiful pregnant woman wearing a fitted leopard print dress and some fabulous heels. She looked smashing. This was before celebrities went out in tiny shirts with tummies out every day. I never wore maternity clothes because I never saw any I liked. I wore dresses everyday and heels. Every time I see a pregnant woman that looks great, I tell her, whether we are in the grocery store or Saks.

What is unnecessary during the pregnancy is to have unsolicited input from others. Example: I worked at a huge corporation during my pregnancy and one day, this woman I did not know, scolded me for wearing heels and being pregnant. It would not have irritated me quite so much had her soliloquy ended in a minute. Oh, no. It went on. And ON. I thought  Oh, Miss BusyBody, thanks for weighing in. Would you like to check my dilation soon? She followed me down the stairs and then lamented on how she could not believe I was wearing HEELS and going down STAIRS. How dangerous! How risky! I thought, hmmm, I am not carrying a wild turkey or pulling a cargo train filled with cattle. I was walking carefully, not doing pirouettes. And what did she think the hand rail was for? It is not for sliding down. It is for using extra caution.

And at a holiday party at about 8 months pregnant, all dolled up in Chanel, this woman looked at me with a pinched up face and said, "You look really tired." At 8 months, I had become wiser and knew better than to respond. Did I silence myself? Of course no.  I simply turned to her and said, "Awww, honey, no I don't."

If a pregnant person looks tired, guess what, she might be. But you know who will let her know? Her own eyes, when she looked at herself in the mirror that day.

LESSON: Do not tell pregnant women all your big thoughts and big pieces of advice on their attire, shoes, stair climbing, tiredness, growth. Include in this: NEVER ask a woman when she is due unless you know without fail that she is pregnant. Seriously. Unless you see a baby crowning, keep your questions to yourself.

This primarily applies to people you do not know. Your close friends will read you like a book. At 24 weeks, we spent the weekend with good friends. We were excited to tell them our news. Getting out of the car in their driveway, Wen asked me, "Are you F__ING PREGNANT?!?!" Read you like a book, I tell you. 

Oversharing: Oh, this one is my favorite. While pregnant, I went out with several girlfriends to lunch and one of them was also pregnant. One of the guests, a bit of a wild card, started by saying she hates kids. (Oversharing) She followed with several stories of her sister's horrible pregnancy. (Oversharing) She then said her friend was four months pregnant and drank wine, and sometimes Tequila! (Oversharing). She then said her sisters baby went on a plane, and got irreversible brain damage. (Oversharing.)

Listen, if you knew someone who had the horrible fate of taking an infant on a plane and having a medical emergency, my heart goes out to you. However, an infant does not get brain damage from simply being taken into an aircraft (which was the assertion.)

Lady Manhandler in Seattle also shared endless, unsolicited pieces of advice. I was not to give my child sugar, nonorganic milk, or let it grow up an only child. OH, and that I had to breastfeed or our baby would be constantly sick, intellectually deficient, and have no hope of social skills. Finally, I asked her how old her kids were. She told me she had none but she did have a five year old niece! Here is a recommendation: You can not pontificate on pregnancy advice if you have never been pregnant. Also known as: Shut Your Yap.

And from others I heard about cords around the necks, gestational diabetes, and my personal favorite: collapsed uterus. I feel for anyone who had a difficult time. Listen, I did not enjoy developing heartburn equivalent to that of a 75 year old man nor did I get a giggle out of going pee pee 100 times a day but you wont hear me talk about it. Not everyone is interested. My overall experience was great and I can't be the only woman on Earth who can make that statement.  

LESSON: If you have a story that involves details of unpleasantness around pregnancy, save them for your lineup of people asking you. I am sure that line is short. 

Duplicates: As I lay in the hospital bed, a day after delivering out little man into the world, I heard something I would have not anticipated. "When you are back next year with your second baby, all of this will be old hat to you." This was stated by Nurse Crazy as she checked my "stats" for the tenth time that hour. I thought I had misheard her. I said, "No, this is our first," thinking she was confused. "Oh I know," she said, "but it won't be long until your back." Hmmm.

My uterus can hear you, and to be honest, it wants you to dial down the volume. Little did I know that this was the beginning of what still goes occurs on a weekly basis. Our son is FOUR.  The frequency we are asked when we are adding to our brood can no longer be counted. Oh, and Lady at Starbucks, we are not best friends. I appreciate your earnest interest in my life because my son smiled at you while he sipped his Odwalla, but that ten minute debriefing you gave me on the drawbacks of growing up an only child, well, I just came in for a soymilk hot chocolate. I once decided the next time I was asked when I am having another baby, to respond, "We do not know, but we sure practiced this morning." I tucked that smart reply deep in my Jimmy Choo and yet have only had the moxie to use it, just once. But my uterus is not the Four Seasons. It doesn't need full occupancy at all times.

LESSON: Are other peoples birth plans that interesting? Why are you thinking about my sexual activity. And procreation. Stop it. 

Pregnancy impacts all women differently and while a pregnant person is busy building a human, inside her BODY, she might have other things on her mind than stories that only aid and abet angst. She has a trusted resource and that person's first name is "DOCTOR". There are so many great mothers we know and once asked, they were thrilled to share information. 

For the guy at the restaurant, try a simple smile next time and leave it at that.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I thought you said just a splash….

Several months ago I got a flat tire during the busiest time of day, at the busiest intersection in Atlanta. I needed tire TLC so I made an appointment to take the car to the dealership. The last time I was at the dealership, it was to drop off the loaner car which had been semi-coated in Monster.

Upon arriving at the dealership, a comedy of errors ensued. The dealership indicates it will take 90 minutes to fix so the car service took me home. Forgot my house key at the dealership? No problem. Keypad entry to the house always works. My service tech indicated I would be phoned around 11 to be picked up and returned to the dealership. Perfect. 

Hours pass and no call. As I am home with NO vehicle which thwarts my many plans, I call at 3 pm. They are almost finished but they have no drivers to pick me up. Hmmm. They put me on hold.  Back on the line, they tell me a service tech will come and get me but he is new and young so I should be prepared.

Me: Young like he is spunky with a vigor for life or young like he has just gotten his driver’s license?
Him: Hahahahahaha. Young just out of college but he has never driven in Atlanta.
Me: Hmmmmm. Ok. (Not remotely confident in his ability to transport me safely.)
The young man calls me to get directions. He could not be more nervous. He arrives and I enter the car.  He is still so nervous, he is literally driving about 20 mph below the speed limit.
We take 30 minutes to do a 10 minute drive. All fine. Despite the horn honks and a few New York City style finger waves, he could not be any nicer. Valet leaves to pull my car around so I wait outside. It is 22 degrees which makes 5 minutes feel like 50. I finally go inside because I am turning blue. Then I am told they can not find the car.


I see a car that looks like ours and say “Is that it?” To which the young man who looks JUST like McLovin says, “No, your car is white.”
Me: Mmmm. My car is silver. Just like that car.
Him: Oh!
He goes outside again. No luck.
Upon his return, McLovin says he can’t find it. This has never happened I assure you. I tell him to hit the key fob because the car will beep. The admin says that only works within a certain distance. How about 15 feet since I am pretty sure that is my car visible from the front waiting area. 20 more minutes pass and finally my Service Manager comes and asks me WTF I am still doing there. I tell him. He calls McLovin, gets my key fob, walks right outside to the car I already think is mine, hits the sound and sure enough. BEEP BEEP and he hands me my keys. Thanks Jim Rockford.

I go on my way after a completely hijacked day, and a VERY long period of time waiting at the dealership during which I had to reroute my Hub to fetch our child. 

As I drive away, I swear I hear a karmic whisper from the underbelly of the dealership: Ahhh...we remember you...we thought you said it was just a "splash"