Let's Play - "There's Nothing Sexier Than..."

Quick! Fill in the blank!

There is nothing sexier than waking up to _________

Okay okay, now me!

There is nothing sexier than waking up to the sound of your dog vomiting. If you have a dog you know that sound. It’s similar to the human dry-heave, except it’s a wet heave. You can actually hear the vomit in their stomach, gurgling and bubbling before it comes out. All over your new carpet.

But I’m not bitter.

There’s an upside. By the time I went to find and clean the vomit, one of our very efficient dogs had already taken care of it.

I get extra credit because that, my friends, is sexy.

Welcome to the Jungle

When people say “You should get out more” I’m pretty sure they aren’t talking to me. Because every time I go out, something stupid happens. Both days this weekend I woke up “early” and was surprised to leave behind a house of sleeping kids, dogs and husband, only to learn that the rest of the world was already out and at ‘em.

Sunday I was out early* to take an awesome Pilates class at Fuel Body Lab in Georgetown. I might be in love with that place. Anyway, the class was the only good part of my morning in Georgetown. Then, these things happened:

  1. I walked down M Street to return something and I bumped into Nancy Pelosi. Literally. Like, she was wandering aimlessly down the sidewalk, distracted at something shiny, and I had to dodge out of her way. For the record, her face is every bit as frozen as it appears on TV. For the record, she looked every bit as confused as she does on TV. For the record, I’m scared of her.

  2. I lost complete faith in my favorite rock band ever when I saw this nonsense.

Alice & Olivia.jpg

If you’re buying your Guns N Roses shirt at Alice & Olivia or at H&M, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG. The edgy, “IDGAF” band of the 80’s that got signed for Appetite for Destruction and promptly went on a bender instead of actually recording - is gone. It’s like a sad, pathetic last-chance-money-grab.

I had fun at three of their concerts on this last never-ending tour, once with KFrat, once with the fam and once with my Newly-Minted 87% Ashkenazi Jew BFF.**

And! Unlike in 1988, I wasn’t grounded this time when they came to town!

3. Then, I passed this madness. What the hell is this? This is a thing?

Kittens.jpg

Pretty much no matter where you are, you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a bunch of stray cats, so I really just need to ask: why? You have a room. A bunch of cats. A bunch of crazy cat ladies in training. There’s cats that wander all over Hemingway’s house in Key West but at least you are at HEMINGWAY’S HOUSE! This is just an old space in Georgetown that used to be a secondhand store - you know it, where they sell raspberry beret’s.

I know Georgetown retail is hurting like hell for tenants but who the hell wakes up early on a Sunday (okay okay, 11:00) to go pet a bunch of cats? Dogs? Maybe. Piglets? Yeah! Goats? HELL YES. But cats?

Nope.

*I realize early is 6 a.m. for most of you. Early for me is 9:30. Don’t judge!

**She is really embracing this. Not that she didn’t already know, but she’s diving head first into this “discovery.” She’s picked up several dreidels to hone her craft. Should be interesting to see how this plays out.

DCPS Lottery ~ All Cleared Up For You!

Whenever there’s a question about DC Public Schools and their “clear as mud” lottery system, several people in my brokerage like to point to me. I mean, they point to me for a lot of stuff like “Who stole my space heater?” (sorry Lisa) “Who has the white out?” (I have a paper planner and I like to keep it ACCURATE) and “Who ordered this stinky cabbage from the Chinese Restaurant"?” (It’s me and work-wife. It’s always me and work-wife.)

“So, what is the DCPS lottery and what the hell do you mean my kid can’t go to the school I can see from our front door?”

Buckle up, mofo’s, you are in for a ride.

Here are some hard and fast rules that never change. Keep these in mind as we discuss.

1) Your child is never guaranteed a seat in public school anywhere in the city until Kindergarten.

2) Your child is always guaranteed a seat in public school from grades K - 12, at your in-boundary assigned school.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that Rules 1 and 2 seem perfectly logical and why even mention them. Well, about half of the people get stumped on Rule #1. All they hear is “free Pre-K” and they’ve sold their house in Maryland or Virginia, moved to DC, dropped their kid at the front door of the neighborhood school on day 1 and peeled out of the front circle. If you even bothered to look back, you would have seen this.

IMG_6544.JPG

Except that’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works!

No one is guaranteed shit until the age of 5. If your kid is 5 on or before September 30, they may enroll in Kindergarten at their in-boundary school.

You have a child in K-12 and you are going to send them to your in-bound school? Great. You’re done here. Go tell the Barista you want yours to go and get on out of here. The rest of you, listen up.

Anyone who wants to apply for PK-3, PK-4, a school that is not their assigned in-boundary no matter what grade, or a charter school IS OFFICIALLY PART OF THE LOTTERY.

Here’s what you need to know. This is the priority on which all DCPS lottery decisions are made:

  1. Child lives In Boundary, with a sibling already in the school.

  2. Child lives In Boundary, without a sibling already in the school.

  3. Child lives Out of Boundary, with a sibling already in the school.

  4. Child lives Out of Boundary, without a sibling already in the school.

This means that you could have scored a spot for your Sally, even though you live out of boundary, but Sally’s younger sister may not get a spot when it’s her turn, if a child who lives in boundary without another sibling in the school wants that school.

Here’s something else you need to know. The lottery is unequally equal. What the hell does that mean? It means you’re nothing, even when you sort of should be. A family who has never been on this continent can move here from 10,000 miles away for a one year job. They can fill out the lottery application without even living here, as long as they have their DC address, and can prove it by the start of school. Their child has just as much of a chance as yours does to that coveted Pre-K space. Yes, even if you were born here, even if you have been paying taxes here for your whole life, even if you went to that school as a child. DC does not have any system in place to prioritize the children of families who are domiciled here.

If you think you can dodge this order because you’re charming or you know people, take note. The powers that be at DCPS may be a colossal joke but they take the lottery very seriously. This city may run just as incompetently and corruptly as it always has, but the DCPS lottery is no joke. Case in point: Chancellor Antwan Wilson made it a whole year on the job before his resignation/termination. He had called in a favor to jump the lottery and get his daughter into a different high school. You can just keep clicking links to see the prior Chancellor, Kaya Henderson’s story. She lasted 6 years but she also played the jump the lottery game for various high ranking people in the Mayor’s Cabinet.

The history of the Chancellors before Henderson (pre-2007 they were called “Superintendents”) is spotty and varied. No real surprise that the whole school system is a disaster when you see the constant changes in leadership going back to the 1970’s. Thank your lucky stars for the parents and teachers who came before us to have accomplished what they have. But, that’s a post for another day.

So let’s finish up the lottery. The deadline for high school is February 1 every year, and the deadline for PK through 8th grade is March 1 every year. Results come out May 1.

When you get your results, here’s what you do next:

ENROLL YOUR CHILD; ENROLL YOUR CHILD; ENROLL YOUR CHILD!!!

Why am I yelling? Because you need to enroll your child. There are so many other people whose lives are hanging in the balance so I beg you to have some compassion for your neighbors, fellow parents and the school staff. Everyone is waiting on this information. There will inevitably be people who move to DC from another country the night before school starts, speak little to no English, who plop down in the school office on the first day.

This is where the school’s office staff shines. They scramble to complete paperwork and find the newbie a seat in a class - ever so careful to consider the current students in a class so as not to disrupt balance for the teacher. The arrival of a new student at the classroom door will surprise a teacher who forfeited the last 2 weeks of their summer to prepare a classroom for the children on their list. Now there’s a last minute addition for which they weren’t prepared.

The teacher smiles, and welcomes the child in, quickly making them feel at home as they gracefully glide around the room pulling a desk from here and a chair from there, not showing an ounce of the stress they suddenly feel. The addition of a child who woke up yesterday in their home country and is on the verge of tears is the equivalent of 3 children with the language barrier among other issues to overcome. If you’re watching, your eyes get misty because you realize, this teacher, loves their job so much. A ton more work just arrived in their lap and do they get more money?

Nope. But you will never notice the difference in their attitude because they won’t let you see. Not the good ones, anyway. And we’ve been amazingly lucky to have snagged some amazing teachers for our kids thus far. So when my ire at DCPS surfaces, it’s never about the teachers and staff who are on the ground, doing what they do every day. It’s about the f*ckery that happens “downtown” where the leadership is.

We’ve got a new Chancellor. We should all cross our fingers.

And I Didn't Puke This Time!

Guess who went on another field trip as a chaperone?

Yes, this glutton for punishment. As someone who gets car sick backing out of the driveway, you would think I would stop raising my hand for this stuff.

Here’s the good news: I can finally say I’ve been to and toured Dumbarton House!

Here’s the other good news, according to their website:

This is excellent marketing right here ^^^

This is excellent marketing right here ^^^

Here’s the bad n… What? You didn’t think there would be bad news? I threw you off with two pieces of good news. (Well, three pieces if you count the implication I made above about how I didn’t vomit.) Listen up because you should know by now that bad news is practically the underlying theme of this blog. So here it is:

The condition of the bus that delivered us to and from Dumbarton House should have been junked a decade ago. I’m not even sure my snark can capture the torture that was this bus, and I’m not sure my outrage could properly be contained should I actually choose to, gasp, complain.

Here’s the floor of the aisle, if you can even call it a floor. Parts under the rubber mat and duct tape were rusted through.

Here’s the floor of the aisle, if you can even call it a floor. Parts under the rubber mat and duct tape were rusted through.

Here’s a hole in the 2nd step, which I’m about to fall through as I exit the bus.

Here’s a hole in the 2nd step, which I’m about to fall through as I exit the bus.

Oh this looks safe. This is the emergency exit on the roof of the bus. You want to know how well the duct tape prevents the elements from entering the bus?

Oh this looks safe. This is the emergency exit on the roof of the bus. You want to know how well the duct tape prevents the elements from entering the bus?

Not well at all.

Not well at all.

I wish I wasn’t just screwing around here, there was a ton of water pouring through the emergency exit in the roof and I’m sorry people but this is not acceptable because my hair is keratined within an inch of its life and I can’t afford for it to get a ton of dirty rain-bus water on it and not have a hair dryer and sulfate-free shampoo close by. While my umbrella kept me and the cuties dry, the water was flying off the umbrella toward other people. There was no way to win this one.

In other news, f*ck you DCPS, for not bothering to require a minimum standard of safety. I almost want to be that mom who drives my kid to every off-campus happening.

Then I remembered:

1) They go to Fillmore for their arts education every single week.

2) I don't really like rocking the bus boat bus-boat.

3) I have a job and that job entails selling houses to people. I can't sell houses to people if I have to moonlight daylight as a school uber driver.

Next field trip, barf bag and roll of duct tape go in the bag. Because you just never know.

A Tale of Three Emails

It was the best of days, it was the worst of days, it was the Realtor® of wisdom, it was the Realtor® of foolishness, it was the new mom of belief, it was the new mom of incredulity, It was the Amish in light, it was the Amish in darkness, it was a corgi rescue with hope, it was a corgi rescue with despair…

I started my afternoon of Friday, the 25th of January, at a Committee Meeting at our local Real Estate Board. I’m on a committee responsible for slapping the hands of bad, foolish and incompetent Realturds. I’ve thankfully moved on from my three years of service on the Grievance Committee to the next level. How could anyone forget the Grievance Committee? That’s the one that turned my hair as gray as it is now.

Three of the most brain dead people in the world were on the committee last year. It was truly unbearable to be in the same room with them. They amused and infuriated me the most when they would announce that the entire time we were voting on a specific case - through 17 articles of our Code of Ethics and 100 some odd standards of practice, that they were voting on a different case than the rest of the room was voting on.

Here’s a photo from our last meeting.

130925-dumb-dumber-cheat_bwjdd5.jpg

Back to today’s meeting. Because today’s meeting and this year’s Committee will be nothing like last year.

When I walked into the room I was greeted by a few dozen unfamiliar faces, at least one of whom thought it was a good idea to swim in a pool of cologne this morning. I choked through two hours of legalities. When I got bored, I made the mistake of checking my phone where I quickly learned that all hell was breaking loose in various corners of my world.

In my work email, I found this gem, addressed to me:

We have several questions in regards to the building / condo association and are hoping that you can help. It is our understanding that you are very familiar with the building and unit itself. Any insight will be greatly appreciated. 

1. Is this unit is a condo or coop? What are the %'s for both in the building (can affect financing)?
2. What does the HOA/Condo Association cover?  
3. Any special assessments in the last 5 years?
4. Any information about why some units went condo, while others stayed coop?
5. Can the purchaser install a washer/dryer within the unit?
6. Does this unit come with storage?
7. Is there an underlying mortgage for the Coop portion of the building?
8. What entity covers the cost of new windows?
9. Are there any financing restrictions?
10. Are pets allowed?

We look forward to receiving your response. Thank you!

That email was from another agent. I had a whole lineup of possible replies, to include:

  • Why the f*ck are you asking me? Do your job and find out yourself!;

  • Do you see the guy who works at Burger King being pulled from the line at McDonalds, where he was just trying to get some fries, man, and the McDonald’s guy asking him to jump behind the counter and cook the burgers for them while they sit there and collect their paychecks for his work? No? Good, don’t ask me to do that either.

  • #Loser

I told her I thought she had the wrong person. I gave her a chance to back away slowly. But, nope.

Have you listed and sold units within the building? We were informed by another agent that you had and that you were very familiar with the building... 

Is this bitch serious? Yes, let me go find the answers to these questions about your listing. I can’t wait to do your job so you can collect your commission! This time I was a bit more clear in my response.

You need to get this information from the management company or your client. It is not appropriate to ask another Realtor for this information who has no official role with the condo

She thanked me and told me to make it a great day!

Moving right along. Next up we’ve got my Yahoo email where all my Rue La La and various email subscriptions land. In that inbox is a post to one of the neighborhood mom message boards.

I am a single mother and I just gave birth , before this decision I have taught a lot and the only solution is to get the child a good ,caring and God fearing home. The child deserves nothing but the best and I will do everything in my power to see that the child is adopted . I don't care if you are single or married. I really want to bless a home out there who had not had the cry of a baby. I will really prefer a home where they have not had the cry of a baby or a home with a maximum one child looking forward for a second child. I am really sorry about my preference but I have made a lot of research about this. if you are seriously seeking to adopt, please send me a direct email.

I wrote to her because I couldn’t not write to her. Scam or not, I needed to go to bed tonight with a clear conscience. She hasn’t written back. But I’d totally take the baby. I mean, it’s not every day your neighborhood message board is offering a free baby.

Then I went to the rescue email. And this is where I find an email a woman just sent 20 minutes prior, that there’s a corgi at an Amish Mill Farm in PA that they are giving up. Here’s the thing with the Amish. When they say they are giving up a dog, you have to fire up your buggy right-that-very-second don’t-stop-to-pee because they can change their mind faster than electricity travels.

Ha ha. Oops. Those jokes never get old.

In all these conversations about said corgi, who has been bred over and over for puppies, who has been living outside when it’s below freezing, someone told me to buy one of their pies when I get there. Absolutely not. They may have infected it and I’ll catch their “I don’t give one iota about animals except for the money they can make for me” disease.

So, after spending the rest of my afternoon on the phone trying to figure out how to get this dog off this farm asap, finally I arrived home. Real Estate Dad was outside with the corgis. I bust out of the car with “I’VE GOTTA GET A CORGI TOMORROW IN PENNSYLVANIA AND I’M PICKING UP SOME CORGS IN FREDERICKSBURG IN THE MORNING AND I’M GOING TO BE DRIVING ALL OVER FOR THESE DOGS ARGH.” He’s used to having a manic wife. I chatted with him for a second, then walked up the stairs to our house when someone drives by and screams out the window “NICE ASS!” Real Estate Dad looked at me and I said, “I think they were talking to you.”

Time for this day to be over.

She Was Caught in a Mudslide, Eaten By a Lion, Got Run Over by a Crappy Purple Scion

It’s no secret we’re in love with Summer Nanny. She came back last year to be Spring Nanny, and Summer Nanny again for 2018, and Fall Nanny and now she’s Winter Nanny. It seems though, Winter Nanny was offered a job which will make use of her MBA and her days with us are sadly winding down. She will not be Spring or Summer Nanny any longer. Sniff Sniff.

It’s wrong to have wished she would never get a job so she could always be our nanny. Didn’t stop me though. I suppose she can’t sit on the floor and play LOL Dolls with the girls forever - even though she really really appears to love it. I was lamenting my woes to Real Estate Dad about how I’m going to miss her because she really loves these crazy girls of ours.

But what I’m really going to miss? Her hilarious and extremely unique excuses for why she can’t come to work like 30% of the time. Most of the time it’s on Friday too. The reasons are never the same which is sort of amazing. I wish I kept track of all of them, but since summer, I can recall the following reasons why All-Season Nanny would call in sick.

  • Ex-boyfriend she shares custody of their pit bull with, let the pit bull go on hot pavement and his pads ripped off so she was taking him to the vet.

  • Said pit bull was attacked once by a chihuahua, that was also a vet visit.

  • Had to help her parents pack their house.

  • Texted one Thursday after she left to say she was rear ended on the beltway. The next morning she said she was dealing with insurance all day and couldn’t come in. Real Estate Dad said, “It’s always Friday. Why doesn’t she just ask for Fridays off?”

  • Job Interview

  • Migraine

  • Was walking to her car to drive to our house and vomited before she got into the car.

  • Forgot she was supposed to be the photographer for her cousin’s wedding at the courthouse.

  • Went to Urgent Care and they told her she had a lung infection and if she kept coming to work she could die.

  • Trampled by a giant corgi

Giant Corgi.jpg

Okay. Not that last one. That sounds like it would be my excuse for calling in sick, actually. And she gets extra credit for coming the day she woke up with purple fingers and was diagnosed with Raynauds Syndrome. That text only came to me though, and I ignored it because it wasn’t a good day for her to not come to work.

At first we were all out of sorts trying to adjust our schedules but now we’re just used to it. And the reasons are entertaining and impressive. Whenever we get the text and I’m at work, I hand the phone to my work-wife and we both laugh and then I confirm that Real Estate Dad is home and can get them.

I was telling Real Estate Dad now that she’s going back to a full time job I’ll look for other childcare options for the girls after school. Then I quickly followed up with the fact that I may wait until April or May to firm up the plan. If attendance is a requirement at the new job, Summer Nanny may not survive her probationary period.

You Are Feeling Verrrrry Sleepy

If you know me personally, you know that I’ve been struggling to drop the 25 lbs that magically appeared after Chubs was born. I look in the mirror and don’t recognize myself. I see pictures of myself from when I “thought” I was fat, and I’m like, “Girllll give me that body back any day.”

Last year, after listening to everyone’s advice for years and not losing a pound, I paid a small fortune for a hypnotist. I found a woman with great reviews and I signed myself up after meeting with her. I expected her to be able to shut off my constant craving for devil’s food chocolate cake, but that didn’t happen. What did happen though was I became very aware of what I was eating and when I was full. Without trying really hard, I lost 10 lbs. Omg! Progress!

Unfortunately my sessions ended and I didn’t have time to re-up them because: work. Then, a few weeks and a box of Baklava sent from my parents and the weight was back with a vengeance.

For my New Year’s Resolutions, yes, that’s plural, I decided to implement a Habit Tracker. I’m obsessed with this genius idea. You write your habits on the left and you track them in a simple grid. You can draw it out, a la the current bullet journal craze or you can make it on a spreadsheet program. Or, if you’re like me, a lazy Amazon Whore, a.k.a. Amazhore, you can just spend too much money for one on Amazon.

Here’s a great example of a Habit Tracker in case you have no idea WTF I’m talking about, Willis.

One of my habits is to cook more at home instead of ordering / eating out all the time. So off to the grocery store I went to get this year started right.

Instead of making a list, I have always wheeled the cart down every aisle so I don’t miss anything. So, I’m coming out of cereals and u-turning into cakes and baking items when I saw her. The hypnosis doc. I was like, “Oh shit, she cannot see me because she’ll be like ‘Big fat fattie, you need to get your fat ass back to see me.’” And she wouldn’t be wrong about that. I’d ignore her and she would yell, “NOT THE CAKE AISLE!!!”

I have never seen her in my (MY) (it’s not mine, I know) grocery store before and I’ve been going there for over 4 years. I bolted up the aisle thinking “Please don’t let me run into her, please don’t let me run into her, I’m weak and vulnerable after admitting I need to get serious about this weight loss.” I headed over to produce to camp out in case she saw me. At least if we have to bump into each other I’d rather be found next to the apples than in the farking cake aisle, even if I’m not buying any cake. She was all about removing temptation. “If it isn’t in the house, it won’t beckon you from the cabinet late at night.”

I waited until I thought she was gone and I picked a line to check out.

I loaded all my food on the conveyor belt. It wasn’t a bad haul, but I do have 4 and 6 year old daughters who like things like Cheerios and Chips Ahoy! (I’m not yelling. Chips Ahoy! really has an exclamation point after it.) As I finished, someone came up behind me with their basket and 3 items in it, saw how much stuff I had, passively aggressively eye-rolled and turned to find another register. Shut it Poindexter, we haven’t been food shopping in a month. We’re THAT FAMILY, who just goes to relatives houses for the holidays so we don’t actually have to cook. Same thing happened a few more times with people coming, seeing my haul and leaving for another line.

Then. She gets in line behind me. Noooooo.

For some reason, the gods were nice to me that day, and we didn’t make eye contact. She saw how much stuff I had and backed her cart out and went to another aisle.

Now that I know she goes to MY grocery store, I’ll need to drop at least 10 lbs, pronto because this is embarrassing.

Oh, bonus. All this running around the store and I hit my 10,000 steps! Another one to check off on my habit tracker!

When Santa Squeezes His Fat White Ass Down That Chimney Tonight, He's Gonna Find the Jolliest Bunch of A-Holes This Side of the Nuthouse

Growing up, the holidays truly never disappointed in the Terzis household. Before visions of Norman Rockwell dance in your head, let me clarify: We’re really talking more Griswalds. Someone kept screaming “Save yourself!” It was me, and too bad I never listened.

This year we’re heading to Connecticut the day after Christmas. The trip happens sans Real Estate Dad because he’s got other things to tend to. This is unfortunate because it means I’ll have to be extra vigilant, watching the girls like a hawk. Not because of their behavior, but because of everyone else’s.

I’m still scarred from our visit to the Pez Factory two years ago. My family felt compelled to teach the girls how to “sample” the different pez flavors from the dispensers specifically meant for purchase by the pound. By “sample” I mean “steal” because the pez were above a giant sign that said, “Not for sampling.”

When I vehemently stated, a la a verbal “strongly worded letter” that teaching our 2 and 4 year old how to steal is not right and not something we want them to learn, it was justified:

“Oh don’t be silly. Everyone does it.”

You know how people say, “Oh I grew up like this and I’ll never do it to my kids?” and then most of us turn into our parents? Nope. That right there will not be passed down to this generation.

Future Ex-Convicts, Learning the Family Business

Future Ex-Convicts, Learning the Family Business

Tonight I tried to FaceTime everyone’s ipads to ask a question (unrelated to the Pez debacle) about the impending visit. No response. So I had to, gasp, dial the house phone.

My Dad: Hello?
Me: Wow, it’s so weird to dial the landline since now we only talk on FaceTime.
Dad: Who is this?
Me: Really? You have no idea who this is?
Dad: No. No idea.

Huh. It’s gonna be a good visit. I’m already thinking that 4 days might be too long.

No real surprise though. There was that one year I landed at Westchester County Airport for Christmas. I had been summoned by my mother to come, when in reality we weren’t on the best terms that year. Or the several years before.

This was in the days when you landed on the runway, walked down the stairs, across the tarmac and into a building that looked like a storage shed. You’d say out loud: “THIS is an airport?” Yes. It was.

Okay, it wasn’t this bad in the 90’s but it wasn’t much more than a trailer.

Okay, it wasn’t this bad in the 90’s but it wasn’t much more than a trailer.

Thankfully it’s been expanded and it no longer looks like that. Or so I hear.

My Dad, who was supposed to pick me up? Nowhere to be found. I thought this was where they were just going to stick it to me and probably did this on purpose. But, I finally decided to call. What follows ranks as one of the stupidest conversations I’ve had in my life.

Mom: Hello?
Me: Hi, is someone coming to pick me up?
Mom: No, your flight was canceled.
Me: No it wasn’t because I was on it.
Mom: Melissa, your flight was canceled. The airline confirmed it never took off the ground.
Me: And I’m telling you, I know I moved out of New York 3 years ago, but I still know what it looks like. I guarantee you, I am standing in Westchester County.
Mom: Let me see what they told me. Yes, here it is - they said your flight was canceled and not rescheduled.
Me: We could go around like this all day. If you’re not coming to get me, I’ll call one of my friends and go hang with them for the weekend.
Mom: Okay okay, your father is on his way.

When my dad peeled around the corner and I got in the car, the first thing he said to me was "Who the hell are you?" "Your flight was canceled. Mom called."

I just grunted.

When we walked into my parents house, my mom yelled, "MELISSA!" with an enthusiasm I haven't heard since probably the day I was born. I smirked, turned to my brother and said, "Okay, what did you do now?"

That Beeyotch Manning the Toys for Tots Table

The Glover Park Holiday Party was this past Friday night. The party is just as much a neighborhood event as it is a school event. Because I like to be all helpful and shizz, I checked out the list of volunteer spots available to see what help was needed.

You gotta know your limits when you sign up for these things. It’s all fun and games until you slack off and someone’s kid flies out of the moonbounce and face plants on the gym floor because you are too busy retying your ponytail for the 17th time, hoping this time you didn’t have any hair bumps. That said, I signed up for the toy donation table.

Here’s the deal. You bring a new, unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots, and you get a raffle ticket. The prizes vary from bottles of wine to restaurant gift cards. All good stuff. If you bring multiple toys, you get a raffle ticket for each. The Marines are there, and they haul the toys away and handle the donation portion. Seems simple enough.

Some pretty sweet gifts started arriving and it really warmed my heart to see such nice stuff fill the table so quickly. But then, as it always seems to happen - whether it’s in a real estate transaction, or rescuing a corgi, or volunteering at school - someone pees the bed thereby sucking the wind out of my sails and making me question everything about humanity.

This man and his son handed me three junky plastic mazes with the tiny silver ball that he GOT FROM A FURKING HAPPY MEAL!!! I have to say, I was NOT happy about this. People brought in giant easels, tents, unloaded 15 toys they picked up for kids who won’t have anything else to unwrap this holiday. These people have the nerve, the furking (yes, FURKING, I am trying to make this blog more family friendly) nerve to hand me 3 pieces of plastic crap from last year’s happy meal and expect 3 raffle tickets in return.

Not on my watch.

They got one raffle ticket. They said “Uh, three.” and I said, “Well, these are very tiny toys considering the big items some other people purchased new. You can keep two of them if you want.”

Yes. Of course I said it. It’s absolute bullshit that they had the nerve. God. Just come to the party and bypass the toy desk. And in front of a Marine? These men put their lives on the line for us and you have the nerve to show up with this piece of crap and seriously hand it to them?

Just in case you’re thinking, “Well, this is sad, what if they don’t have the money to buy a new toy?” I get it. That’s fine. But, it wasn’t a requirement to bring a toy. Insulting the process and hurting an innocent child is something else entirely - and then expecting something for it? Whoa.

You want fries with that?

You want fries with that?

I wish I could say that was the extent of it. Nope. It got worse.

A man came in with his two kids and opened up a plastic Safeway bag to show me what was inside. I saw some oranges in there and a toy. He pulled the toy out and handed me a train car. But, it’s one car. The front and back of this thing have the hook and eye that indicate there are OTHER cars that connect with this train car.

So really you just grabbed something from your toybox that your kids no longer play with, and brought it here so we can do what with it - throw it out? Um. Thanks? Then they handed me a tiny little plastic figurine of some sort. Like the size of a hatchimal or something but not a hatchimal. I put it with the train and handed them one raffle ticket as well. Because, come on. I’m all about “it’s the thought that counts” until you’re dealing with some child who has nothing to open on Christmas morning and then all bets are off.

Then there was the group of 5 or 6 kids in the corner whose parents were clearly nowhere to be found. Their children were smashing plastic water bottles on the wall and floor of the gym. Real Estate Dad is more one of those “kids will be kids” type dads where I’m like, “Is this really my life now and get those hellions off my lawn” parent. Even he was like, “This is sort of outrageous, and no one says anything to them. That bottle almost hit you in the head when they threw it off the wall.” Yup.

So that was my Friday evening.

How many raffle tickets does just the middle car get me? What if I throw in an indescribable plastic figure?

How many raffle tickets does just the middle car get me? What if I throw in an indescribable plastic figure?

Bananas Never Survive a Roadtrip

Today is Real Estate Dad’s birthday. I thought about not saying anything until 10 minutes to midnight like he did to me last year, but I decided not to. I mean, I don’t want anyone to think I hold a grudge or anything. Besides, he looked so good when he got ready for a meeting today that I just had to hug him.

This week was the elementary school’s book fair. EEEEEEE I love book fairs! I used to love getting those flimsy little newspaper magazines from the Scholastic Book peoples. Clifford, Miffy, Hello Cat You Need a Hat - all the good classics still exist in our house today came from that book newspaper.

I know. You want to know why I still have books from 40 years ago. Even if you didn’t want to know, I’m telling you anyway. My parents? They don’t throw anything away. Like, at all. To this day, every phone call that comes FROM their house or any visit TO their house inevitably carries with it, some version of “I was cleaning out some closets and I found (insert piece of garbage) do you want me to save it for you?” My answer is always no, but that doesn’t stop them from dumping it on me when I visit. Now when I’m saying goodbye to them at the end of a visit, I keep my hands in my pockets so they can’t hand me anything.

This hoarding thing isn’t new. The aroma of my entire childhood is eau de rotting bananas. Every time we left on a vacation there would be the last-minute-grab of things that wouldn’t keep until we got home. We all know that bananas are really bad travel companions. That didn’t stop my parents from trying. We would leave our house, get on 95 south and in 20 minutes the banana rot could overpower the burning smell of the Bronx, circa 1979.

The gorgeous landscape of the Bronx in the late 1970’s

The gorgeous landscape of the Bronx in the late 1970’s

Now that we got that whole “descended from hoarders” piece out of the way, let’s move on to the book fair. I volunteered for a shift every day because I’m a book nerd. I love reading. I miss reading. I don’t get to do it as much as I would like to because, houses need to get sold, kids need to be raised, corgis have to be walked, other corgis have to be rescued, our house needs to be cleaned, yadda yadda yadda.

I have to say I did pretty well in my customer service role. Good thing the last day was indeed the last day because I started to crash. I didn’t even shower for my last shift and I didn’t bother to change out oOffspring T-Shirt. The one with the smoking skeleton head.

Ugh…..of course some kid said something to me. OF COURSE. In front of his dad too, who didn’t look like he was anyone who would appreciate the Offspring.

“Why is that skeleton smoking? That doesn’t even make sense. Why would he have a cigarette in his mouth?”

I could not ring that book up fast enough to get Chatty Charlie the hell out of there.

Then the security guard, who was milling around with friends, wandered over to the book fair and tapped a parent on the shoulder to say, “You didn’t sign in.” This shit again.

The point of signing in is so that they have your face on camera. I get that. But the school was a complete melee. For anyone to have any sort of false sense of security that the guard is going to be able to stop a real threat is comical. I should be nice because last week she appeared to give one tenth of one shit about my grandmother’s ring that Chubs defiantly brought to school and promptly lost. But she could be playing me.

The piece de la resistance was a Harry Potter Cookbook. This thing sold out like hotcakes and there was one left which a teacher had added to their wishlist pile. Someone wanted to buy it and it was late. Since no one had bought the book for said teacher, the book fair lead was going to let her buy it.

So, picture this. We have a line that’s got about 10 people in it, and a woman flipping through a cookbook trying to decide if she wanted to buy it. I have everything else rung up and ran her card and was waiting to see if she wanted this cookbook. I see the line getting antsy and I asked her to just step over so I could grab the next person. She clearly got mad and said “Never mind, I’ll just buy it on Amazon.” Yowsers. I didn’t think it was wrong to ask her to step aside to look at the book, and if she wanted it we could have rung her up real fast but yeesh. She said something about not having enough time to look through it and yelled the Amazon dig again.

Lady, you don’t have to threaten me with Amazon. I’m a full on Ama-whore. There ain’t nothing Amazon is selling that I ain’t buying. Like where would you ever be able to get something like this? (Don’t forget to read the comments - that’s where the gold is.)


Yes, but does it have a thermometer?

Yes, but does it have a thermometer?