Mamagirl… says it all…

Just a Mama's musings…

My mother is a badass, the Olympics are awesome, and I have purple hair. July 30, 2012

Filed under: Family,Olympics,Summer — mamagirlsaysitall @ 1:54 pm
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MamaGirl says…

Whew! A lot has happened in the past few days! I’ve been super-busy keeping up with the Olympics. I’m taking the morning of from Olympic coverage because I watched something like 15 hours of it yesterday and very little got done around my house. Of course, not much has gotten done around my house today either, but I have gotten somewhat caught up on some blog reading (although not all of it). So, let’s do some quick catching up, shall we?

First things first: My mother is a badass!

Some of you know my mom, and I think you will agree that she is a lot of things. She is creative, she

Not their actual trip, but on the same river.

is a gourmet cook, she is an accomplished web-designer, she is gracious, she is polite, she is considerate, she is the quintessential modern-Southern-lady. However, badass is not a word that I have used to describe my mother, until now. Here’s why: My mom is 57 years old (sorry Mom, it’s important to the story) and over the weekend, she celebrated her 24th wedding anniversary by going white-water rafting. Now, let’s back up a second. While she is certainly all of those things mentioned above, another word that has never been used to describe my mother is adventurous. Her idea of adventure is eating at a new restaurant. That’s not to say that she’s boring or that she’s never had an adventure. Actually, her biggest adventure to date was traveling all over Ireland with my step-dad for their 20th anniversary. So, let’s not get the wrong picture. It’s not that she isn’t adventurous at all, she just has a different idea of adventure. Her idea of camping is a 3-star hotel, instead of a 5-star one, and for the life of her, she can’t figure out why we like to sleep in tents so much. Anyway, back to the story. So, yesterday, she gathered up 57 years of being scared of things that have the potential to hurt you (something that I inherited from her, but luckily mine came with a bit of adventurous spunk that will sometimes outweigh the fear… sometimes) and she strapped herself into a life-jacket and a crash helmet, and took to the river. Now, that’s pretty badass for a sweet-tempered southern-gentle-lady, but here’s where the story takes a turn for the awesome. If you’ve ever been rafting before, you know that you have to tuck your feet in to keep yourself in the boat, after all staying in the boat always beats swimming and/or drowning. So, like she’d been instructed, she tucked her feet. I can only imagine that with the fear of falling out of the boat permeating through her, those feet might as well have been welded into the boat. She’s pretty good at following instructions, and knowing her sense of self-preservation and fear, I know that she had them locked in with the thought that those feet might be only thing keeping her from drowning until she managed to get back off of that boat. And that’s what got her leg broken. Yep. I know her. I know that once they told her to keep those feet tucked in, in order to stay in the boat, she took it very seriously. Maybe they should have told her to relax a bit too, but that’s neither here nor there. So, when they hit a big rapid, and she felt herself being lifted off of the seat, those feet stayed stuck. Unfortunately, her leg didn’t.

This is the phone call that I received yesterday afternoon:

“We just got off the river!”

“Oh yeah? How was it?”

“It was fun! It was a little scary, but we had a really good time!”

“That’s great, Mom! I’m glad you enjoyed it!”

“Yep, me too. Now we’re on our way to urgent care to see if my ankle’s broken.”

“WHAT?!?”

“Yeah, it was so embarrassing. They had to come rescue me. I hope it’s just a bad sprain and not broken, but I’m really glad that I did it!”

Well, I’ll be damned, y’all. Turns out she broke her fibula. Not only did she face her fears and DO it, she broke a bone doing it (her first broken bone in 57 years) and you could still hear the smile on her face over the phone. She was proud of herself! And I was proud of her too. I don’t know that I would have still been happy about the whole thing after breaking a bone. And who knew that Mom was such a badass that she could break a bone, ride a couple of hours back home to see a doctor, and still have a smile big enough that you could hear it over the phone? Go ahead, Mom.  And when the doctor told her that No, she wasn’t too old to be white-water rafting, she replied, “Well good. I’ll come back and see you again after I go snow skiing.” What a badass.

Sidenote: What makes this even more badass is that I will not go rafting. I have had a friend die in the river and I refuse to do things that I have known someone personally who died doing it. I also do not ride motorcycle’s anymore, for the same reason. So, my Mom did something that I am scared to do. Man, she’s a badass! Drop by her blog, Never Enough Thyme, and wish her “get well soon!” (Oh, but don’t cuss, it’s a family friendly blog).  =)

Second: The Olympics!

Wow! What an emotional ride we’ve had already! Currently: I started off hating Ryan Lochte. How DARE he beat Michael Phelps! Not the American Hero! NO! And then, that turned to worry. Has Phelps given up? Does he even want to be there? Then, we got to the relay last night. And Lochte practically threw away the lead that the team had built up for him. I know that isn’t exactly fair, that  Frenchman simply out-swam him, but Lochte was in the villain role for me right then. However, once I saw how it obviously effected him, how devastated he was, that they were in the lead until he got in the water, then there was a little redemption for him. Maybe he needed a little reminder that he wasn’t the best on the team? Maybe I’m still being unfair. I’m a Phelps fan.

World Champion

Devastation brings us the Women’s Gymnastics qualifiers. And Jordyn Weiber. Bless her heart. She worked so hard all night, and she deserved to make it to the all-around finals, but instead she’s being cheated out of it by a stupid rule! And Bela Karolyi is PISSED! Did you see that interview? He was so mad he could barely speak English! Get ’em, Karolyi!  Of course, I’m happy for Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman, but Weiber should be in that competition too! She’s the World Champion for Heaven’s sake! I cried with her last night. I’m not sure that 16 year old’s should be put through that kind of pressure and disappointment.

And last, but not least:

I have purple hair. I’ve wanted it for some time, and played around with a few purple streaks, but

Not me, but the right color.

this time I went all-over purple, and I LOVE it! Hey man, when you’re 35 years old, and trying to blend in on a college campus, purple hair is just the thing! Gotta keep ’em guessing! They don’t know if I’m an old-lady with purple hair, or a college kid who looks really tired all the time! LOL!

And now, I have to get some laundry done before it comes alive and starts looking for dinner! You guys keep up with Olympics, because you know I’ll be talking about it! See you soon!

 

Olympic Fever July 27, 2012

Filed under: Family,Olympics,Summer — mamagirlsaysitall @ 12:17 pm
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MamaGirl says…

Although we are generally not a sports family, we do tend to get rather excited about the Olympics.

University of Georgia football is an institution all it’s own.

Growing up, I lived in Georgia and being a UGA fan or a Braves fan was about the same thing as being American, you couldn’t really do anything about it, it’s what you were born into. I know people who have rooms in their home decorated only in their favorite sports teams merchandise.

BeeBop is a huge UGA fan, if they were playing, the game was on either the television or the radio, or both. His favorite Georgia announcer, Larry Munson, called the game over the radio and if he could get them both, he would often have the game playing on the television, with the sound turned all the way down, and Munson calling it over the radio.

Atlanta Braves baseball is second on to church in deep south Georgia.

Football season and baseball season, University of Georgia and the Atlanta Braves, sometimes it seemed like life revolved around them and for a lot of people, it did. I never got it. I just wasn’t into sports. I tried playing softball when I was about 10, and that went over like a lead balloon. I couldn’t do anything! I couldn’t catch, I couldn’t throw, I couldn’t hit, and I didn’t run particularly fast. The poor, harrowed coach finally just put a catcher’s mask on me and stuck me behind home plate. But even then, I had to roll the ball back to the pitcher, because throwing it took up too much game time, as someone always had to go chase it down. Yes, I was a sorry sight. And that pretty much wrapped me up on playing sports. Besides, I don’t like to sweat. (I am a fairly strong swimmer though, and if my high school had had a swim team, I think that could have changed my outlook – but probably not.)

You’d think that even though I couldn’t play a sport worth a flip, that I’d still be able to enjoy watching them on TV. I mean, everyone else around me certainly seemed to enjoy it. But I never was able to understand all of the rules of football and watching baseball is almost as exciting as watching tennis. They just go around and around. Over and over. Yeah, I never got into it. I was never a cheerleader. I wasn’t even in the band. I was a Drama nerd, thank you very much. But my boyfriend “played” football and I dutifully went to the high school games and watched him sit on the sidelines. (He didn’t miss anything, my high school never – not once – won a football game in the four years that I attended.)

Hubbo doesn’t get into sports either. Growing up, he was into rock ‘n roll and playing guitar, and little else. So, we don’t know the score of the big game, we don’t know who’s best rated (I don’t even know the terms), we don’t even watch the SuperBowl! Seriously, not even for the commercials. Some years we have an anti-SuperBowl party for our non-sports-inclined friends. So, okay, you got it? No sports going on around here.

But all of that changes once every four years. The Olympics are coming! The Olympics are coming!

I’m SO excited! Can you tell?

Hooray! Hooray! For the next two weeks (10 days, something like that, I don’t know) we will be glued to the television. We will pour over schedules and search channels on the guide. We will have one event playing on a laptop while we watch another on the TV. We will cheer and route-on, we will gasp in shock and awe when an athlete does (or doesn’t) land a perfect score. We will fall in love with gymnasts and swimmers. We will talk smack about other country’s (sorry guys, we’ll love you again after it’s over). I am so excited, I can hardly WAIT for the Opening Ceremonies!

Oh yes, Olympic Fever has struck our house. Now, I have to go familiarize myself with who these athlete’s are, so I know who I’m routing for, and figure out what I’m going to watch when. And as my buddy, Summer, has warned me – there is a big time difference and we can’t have any spoilers going on around here! I want my Olympics pure and unadulterated! Gosh… one might think that I actually liked this stuff…

 

Coffee is a Hell of a Drug July 26, 2012

Filed under: Family,Musings,Parenting,Summer — mamagirlsaysitall @ 10:52 pm
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MamaGirl says…

This morning, there are four, count ’em four, children in my house. Those of you who are keeping up

It’s the first thing I think of when I wake up in the morning.

(and have elementary math skills) should quickly be able to deduce that two of said-children do not belong to me. How did I go about collecting these extra children? I’ll tell you….

Due to our camping trip this past weekend, and a severe case of Mom-brain, Mags wasn’t able to attend the sleep-over that a friend was having for her birthday. In order to appease having to miss the highlight of the summer (in first grade terms, a birthday party-sleepover is tantamount to a Hollywood Oscar party), we invited that friend to come spend the night at our house instead. So, one extra kid I expected.

The other, I sort of picked up over the phone. Yesterday afternoon the phone rang:

“Hello?”

“Hi, this is [kid’s name], who is this?”

“This is [MamaGirl], A-Man’s mom.”

“Oh good! Listen, I need somewhere to stay tonight.”

Well now, dear readers, what do you say to that? Exactly what I said…

“What?”

“Well, see, my sister is having a sleepover tonight and we don’t have that much room at our house. So, I was wondering if I could come spend the night with A-Man.”

Now, I don’t about the rest of you, but I have a real hard time saying “No” to other kids. I may say it to my own kids 1000 times a day, but when it comes to other people’s kids, for some reason, I just can’t say no. And besides, what kind of ogre would I be if I condemned this poor boy to an evening of being cooped up in a small space with two middle school girls? Oh, the horrors!

As a side note, when I related this story to my own mother, she said:

“I would have killed you if you had done that!”

“Um, Mom… you do realize that’s how Krissy and I set up every single sleepover that we had for years, right? It was always YOU ask my mom, she won’t say no to YOU.”

I don’t know how anyone ever figured out to roast it, grind it, and brew it – but I am grateful to them everyday.

And she does know that, I think sometimes she feels like she should be indignant on my behalf. She’s pretty awesome that way.

The little ones, I finally managed to get into the bed a little after 10. The big ones, I usually let stay up until they pass out (for sleepovers, not every night). Usually, when we have sleepovers, I make a thick pallet of blankets on the floor in A-Man’s room. When I check on them during the night, there’s usually boy-parts spread all across the room.

When I went to bed, around 1am, I looked in on the boys. Mine was passed out in his bed, the other was wide awake, playing video games.

“You might want to try to get some sleep, bud.”

“I can’t really fall asleep.”

“What’s wrong?”

“I’m not really comfortable on the ground.”

Hmm… not much of a camper is he? Both of my kids will pretty much sleep wherever they finally drop from exhaustion, but hey, that’s cool. No problem. A-Man woke up, groggily slid down to the floor and promptly went right back to sleep. We’re flexible.

So, about 1:30, I finally managed to actually put my butt in the bed. I knew I wouldn’t go to sleep right away, so I read for about 30 minutes and, around 2am, finally turned off the light. I tossed, I turned, I tried in vain to distract myself with thoughts that don’t cause me a panic attack. It didn’t work. Around 2:30 I was wondering how much my books for next semester were going to cost, and by 3am, I was back online, in the dark, logging into the University bookstore website.

The big kids are plenty grown enough to get up in the morning and fix themselves breakfast without any assistance from Mom and I hoped that I had kept the little ones up late enough that they might actually sleep in. Yeah, right. It was not meant to be.

At 8am precisely, I was awoken to a small tap on the arm – which was a lot nicer than the ringing

I might have a little problem. I think they make 12-step programs for this…

phone in my face or the scream drifting up from downstairs of “MOOOOM!” that I usually get – and after what seemed like a whole 3 and a half minutes of sleep, they were all ready to go again… and eat again. Do you know how much two 12-year-old boys and two 6-year-old girls can consume in a 24 hour period? Try it some time, but take my advice and stock up first.

So, a bleary eyed and slightly cranky mom stumbled down the stairs, started a pot of coffee and threw some french-toaster-stick-things into the microwave. I poured myself a steaming hot cup, even though it was already nearing 90 degrees in my kitchen and found myself a tiny, little sliver of salvation in the bottom of that cup. Is there anything that coffee won’t fix? We should try throwing some of that Columbian goodness at cancer and see what happens. Okay, maybe I’m getting a little ambitious, but I’m pretty sure that coffee might be the answer to all of the worlds problems. Or least all of MY problems. Okay, fine. If nothing else, coffee solved my damn problems this morning. Okay? And my gratitude extends far beyond the waking-up abilities that it bestowed on me this morning. Why hell, it worked so well, I might just have to do it again tomorrow morning!

 

Holy Time Warp, Batman! July 23, 2012

Filed under: Family,Musings,Parenting,Summer — mamagirlsaysitall @ 12:18 pm
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MamaGirl says…

Over the weekend, we went camping with another family (post forthcoming) and I had something of a ‘Matrix’ moment when another parent said the words “school starts back in 2 or 3 weeks, right?” You’ll have to imagine the slow-motion cinematography – time slows down, I hear something like “tttwwwooo ooorrr ttthhhrrreeeeeee wwweeeeeekkksss, rrriiiggghhhttt???” ,my head whips to the side, frame-by-frame, “WHAAAAT?”

And it dawns on me, just like it always did when I was a child experiencing my own magical summers, that summer is not eternal. As always, it must eventually come to an end and our lives will once again be filled with structure and rules, schedules and responsibilities.

And as that thought crosses my mind, another follows right behind it – I didn’t realize how close we were to the beginning of school because I too have had a magical summer. I’ve been exceptionally fortunate to be able to stay home with my children this summer. This isn’t because we make enough money for me to not have to work, but because we are willing to make certain sacrifices in order to be able to be together as a family – just to be clear. But that’s not the point, the point is this: Along with my children, I too have had a wonderful, magical summer.

Being on a semester system in a University, my school year ended about 3 weeks before the kids got out of school. I spent 3 glorious weeks alone in the house for most of the day, playing video games and indulging all of my favorite vices that have to be left behind during the school year. When the kids got out of school, they took off for Nana & BeeBop’s house for 2 weeks, and Hubbo and I sat around for the first week enjoying the silence and then went camping together for the second week. We were way overdue for some alone time.

When the kids came back home, I decided that this summer we were going exploring and over the past few weeks, we’ve explored hiking trails and swimming holes all over WNC. We’ve been hiking and swimming  out at Warren Wilson College a couple of times, we’ve been to Skinny Dip Falls, this weekend we went camping at Mt. Pisgah and made another trip to Skinny Dip, when Hubbo & I went on our camping trip we explored the town of Highlands.

We’ve made new friends, we’ve become closer with old acquaintances and we’ve had a blast the entire time! There’s still 2 more camping trips that I’d really like to do this year, but I don’t know if we can possibly squeeze them in… we may have to extend our camping season this year.

Last year was a rough summer. I had a lot of depression, I felt useless quite a bit, I was pretty lost. I don’t really feel like dredging it all up again right now. But this summer, this summer has been amazing. I’ve really, truly enjoyed spending time with my kids. We’ve gotten out of the house, we’ve had adventures, we’ve experienced new things. Those old, horrid ghosts have been kept at bay. I’m healthy and I’m happy and my children are too. Life is good.

I still can’t hardly believe that the summer is almost over and school is right around the corner again! It’s time to start all of those preparations and slowly reintroduce schedules into our lives. Only Hubbo has been on a schedule this summer – I don’t believe in schedules when there isn’t anything scheduled to do, so we’ve pretty much flown by the seat of our pants all summer and it’s worked out better than expected.

So, for the next 3 weeks, I think we’ll take advantage of whatever we can manage to get into. If you want to get out of your house, there’s a good chance that you can find us down by the river. I’m going to enjoy as much as I can over the next 3 weeks, and savor every minute of it. When school starts back, our family will consist of a 7th grader, a 1st grader, and a double-majoring, college junior (that’s me). Who knows what kind of crazy, insane schedules we’ll be running.

There’s not much time left now, but there’s still a little time for swimming, sunning, hiking, family, and friends. Go get you some!

 

My children are war-mongering savages July 18, 2012

Filed under: Parenting — mamagirlsaysitall @ 7:26 pm
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MamaGirl says…

My children are war-mongering savages. They are miniature sadists who will go for the throat with a quickness that would surprise even the most hardened convict. The little one, Little Screams A Lot, will launch into a screech that causes bleeding of the eardrum at the first sign of non-agreement to her bossy-ass plans. Her older brother, Boy With Attitude, gets a kick out of purposefully annoying her. He knows that as soon as she starts screaming, one of us is going to come running into the room to put a stop to the maelstrom that is winding up in her tiny chest.

I swear, this kid has a set of lungs on her that could inflate a hot air balloon. And she doesn’t stand for any bullshit from her brother just

Although they are playing in this picture – this is often what life feels like around here…

because he’s 6 years older and outweighs her by 50 pounds. Oh, hell no. If she knew how to cuss, that’s what she’d say – Oh, hell no. (I think maybe she gets it from her Mama). A-Man is almost 12, and he took Kung Fu for 3 or 4 years, but at the first sign of disagreement, Mags will haul off and wallop him like he’s her step-child (don’t go writing me comments about what important and wonderful parents step-parents are, I have a very good step-father, thank you). She only fights with her brother this way, and I think he probably only fights with her this way too, we’ve never had any kind of report from a teacher that she has ever treated another child the way that she treats A-Man.

We had a problem with pinching for a while. A-Man would disagree with her and she would pinch the living shit out of him, twisting and everything, deep purple bruises would show up in minutes. Luckily, we’ve gotten past that phase. I don’t beat my children, but I threaten to sometimes when they’re in the middle of some their most brutal arguments. In fact, I don’t even spank them, but I have been guilty of a pop on the butt sometimes, and that’s been enough to at least get them to listen occasionally.

Now for his part, A-Man isn’t nearly as brutal or physically assaulting as Mags. He’s older, which means he’s smarter. And smart, he definitely is. He knows exactly how to quietly get her to her boiling point so that all of a sudden she’s screaming bloody murder for seemingly no reason, and he’s sitting there looking innocent as a puppy. He hasn’t yet realized that he’s getting too old to get away with the puppy dog face. Sorry buddy, the mustache is getting in the way. So, while she’s brutal, he’s diabolical.

He can say some of the meanest things in the softest voice (I only know due to overhearing things that obviously weren’t meant for Mom ears). So, he’s a pro at getting under her skin in a quiet, sometimes even conniving way, and causing her to go ballistic. Usually this means that we have to deal with her and her tantrum before we can even think about getting around to trying to find out what caused it – and find him at the root of it.

A lot of days it seems like maybe I live in an insane asylum, where I’m constantly trying to get away from the drooling lunatics who call me Mom. Sometimes I get tired of having to moderate yet another argument, and there’s been times when I’ve shut them up in a room together and told them to “FIGURE OUT HOW TO GET ALONG OR YOU’RE NEVER COMING OUT OF THIS ROOM AGAIN!” 

Don’t get me wrong, occasionally they have their moments of sibling attachment (when A-Man recently went on a 4-day trip with a friend, Mags couldn’t wait for him to get home) and sometimes there’s even a rare kind word. But for the most part it’s like Mixed Martial Arts around here, battle until somebody is screaming in actual pain and a parent must come intervene.

I didn’t really have siblings growing up. I say “really” because in fact, I did have 3 brothers, but they were all my half-brothers, we had different moms (my Dad got around) and we lived in different houses. It was the best of both worlds. During the week, I was a single child and on the weekends, when we would all be together at my Granny’s house, I had siblings. Certainly, they did their fair share of torturous things to me – I vividly remember being locked in a closet on multiple occasions, and because there were large age gaps between all of us, sometimes their hijinks included such things as racing the train to the crossroads and then speeding around the barricades right before the train barreled through, with me in the car – I think I was 6.

So, I know that this sibling… rivalry, shall we say, is supposedly normal. But since I didn’t have to live day in and day out with my brothers, I never had to deal with the constant onslaught of sibling warfare. I don’t know how much longer they can possibly keep going at it. I expect bombs to start dropping from the ceiling any minute…

Somebody should probably set up a refugee camp… I may need rescuing (or at least political asylum) soon.

 

I speak the Southern July 17, 2012

Filed under: Musings — mamagirlsaysitall @ 12:55 pm
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MamaGirl says…

I’m originally from a tiny, little town (we’re talking one stop light, and they only got that since I’ve been an adult) in the southwest

Even the Court House is tiny.

corner of the state of Georgia, named Colquitt. My living grandparents and my biological father still live there, so I’m forced to go back at least once a year. We moved away from there the summer that I turned 12. My mom remarried a man who was in the Navy – the same man that we now refer to as BeeBop – and he moved us up to Dover, New Hampshire. At twelve years old, I had only been above the Mason-Dixon line once, to visit my grandparents when they were living in Omaha, Nebraska.

So, moving as far north as New Hampshire was considered something akin to treason. My paternal grandmother was horrified, but I highly doubt that she had ever been out of the state in her life. I take that back, she may have gone to Alabama or Florida, they were both about an hour away. At the time, Dothan, Alabama was considered the best shopping to be found without going all the way to Atlanta. We’re talking late 1970’s, early 80’s. Anyway, my mother might as well have been taking me to the other side of the world, as far as my Granny was concerned. New Hampshire was a place that good, Southern girls had no business in. Why, who knows what all them Northerners might get up to?!

As it turned out, we only lived in New Hampshire for a  year. I had a thick Southern accent and I often got a lot of “say this,” because the kids thought I talked funny. But I was 12, and stuff like that didn’t really bother me much. It was worse for my mom. She got a job at the University of New Hampshire as a secretary and spent a large part of her day answering the phone. Apparently, Southern people had never before invaded the great state of New Hampshire, because people were absolutely shocked to hear my mother’s fine southern accent on the phone. She answered the phone, professional as always, and often got a response of, “Is that your real voice?” My favorite retort of hers was always, “No. I’m auditioning for a play. Do you think I’m getting it down?” No one can say that I didn’t get a bit of my sarcasm from my mother. Maybe even all of my sarcasm, she’s pretty witty. When the genius on the other end of the line would ask “Are you from the South?!” my mother would dryly respond, “No. I’m from Mars.”

So, at an early age, and whether she meant to or not, my mother taught me to appreciate, embrace, and defend my Southern accent. I know lots of people who, as soon as they move away from home for the first time, completely drop the accent and teach themselves to speak as if they’re from the Midwest (aka, having no accent at all). I understand why they do it. In fact, I once had a boyfriend from California who informed me that he couldn’t take me back there with him because his friends would think that I was uneducated because of the way that I talk. Yes, he was a douchebag, for many more reasons than that, but let’s move on. It was at that moment in my life that I knew that no matter what anyone ever had to say about it, I would not give up my southern accent, ever.

After a year, BeeBop asked for and was granted a transfer back to the south. In fact, he managed to get us almost all the way back to Colquitt. We moved to Leesburg, Georgia which was a suburb of Albany. Compared to Colquitt, Albany was a metropolis. I’m going to guesstimate that Albany probably had a population of about 100,000 people (I don’t really know – that’s what guesstimate means). There was hundreds of stop lights! They even had a mall! And it was only a little more than an hour’s drive to Colquitt, where my father and grandparents still lived.

Growing up Southern, you use words like “y’all” and “yonder” regularly in sentences, apparently everyone else does not. Words roll off the tongue differently. Language moves the same way that time does in the South, slowly. I didn’t know any of this until we moved away. At the age of 12, I made what I still think is a rather astute observation. Northerners talk fast because it’s cold and they’re trying to keep warm. They do everything faster in the North. Talk, drive, live – all faster in the North. At least, that’s the way that it seemed to my 12-year-old mind, and frankly, I still kinda seems that way to me. You see, in the South, it’s hot. I don’t mean like, “Oh, it’s warm today.” I mean, in the South, it is freaking HOT. And we have humidity in the South. See, you Westerners may know something about heat, but you have a dry heat out there. Here in the South, we have a wet, sticky heat. An oppressive heat. A heat that weighs down on you as soon as you step outside. Sometimes, it gets so heavy that you feel like you’re trying to breathe through a wet blanket. Forget about styling your hair (not that I do that anyway, but I hear it’s a problem for others).

Anyway, when you live under an oppressive, wet blanket of heat, things start slowing down. Speed, speech, way of life – they get a bit slower what with having to hold up that damn blanket. So we slow it down. We draw out our words because believe me, when you’re already fighting the heavy humidity, the last thing you want to do is exert much effort. Like we discussed before, Northerners are speaking fast, raising that heart-rate, trying to keep warm. Southerners are doing the opposite. We’re slowing everything down so that we don’t cause anything ELSE to sweat. I’m telling you, you haven’t experienced sweat until you’ve spent the summer in south Georgia. So, in my humble opinion, there is a reason for the drawl. There’s a reason that things, including our tongues, are slower in the South. It’s a necessity. Much like sweet tea and gnats, it’s just something that comes along with the heat. And frankly, I’m damned proud of it.

Sights and smells of the South.

I speak my Southern drawl plainly and without apology. I type it sometimes, too. You don’t have to like it. You don’t even have to read it. That douchebag from California certainly doesn’t have to listen to it anymore. But I’m gonna keep on speaking it. It’s in my blood. It’s who I am. It reminds me of home, no matter where I find myself. It connects me to my family and my roots. It reminds me of where I come from and where I’m trying to get to. I love it. It’s part of my embracing who I am.

Embrace who you are. And talk your talk. Words to live by.

 

You always honor the sign! July 15, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — mamagirlsaysitall @ 10:39 pm

MamaGirl says…

Today, a pimply faced, twenty year old, assistant manager of Toys R Us woke up thinking that he had a cool job for someone who knew that the path to success wasn’t to be found at the local Junior College. He gelled his hair, applied some pimple cream, and put on the bright red shirt that identifies his elevated position at the world’s greatest toy store.

Unfortunately for our young hero, he had no idea that I was headed to his store today.

Mags had some birthday money and I decided that since the sky hadn’t stopped dripping liquid for three days, that an outing to Toys R Us, or We B Toys – as we often call it in our family, would be just the thing we needed to burn some time and energy – you can easily burn a few hours just wandering through the aisles.

So, off we went to the toy store. Unbeknownst to us, there was a heck of a sale going on! We scored almost $100 worth of stuff for about $35! And I immediately thought to myself, “that’s going to make a great blog post!,” and then I promptly forgot to take a picture… so use your imagination and imagine a picture with $100 worth of Littlest Pet Shop and Crayola. Picture or not, the Littlest Pet Shop stuff was buy 1 get 1 free AND if you spent $25, you got a free set of tiny, foot-embedding TRIPLET pets. (Freaking yay! Do any of you know what $100 worth of little pets and their accessories look like? Damn, I really wish I had taken a picture…). Then, the Crayola was buy 1, get TWO free! What a deal, right? I double-check the sign, “Crayola Buy 1 – Get 2 Free/Crayons, Markers, & Paper/Any product of equal or lesser value – it just occurred to me that I should have taken a picture of the sign too. Anyway, so I pick up a pack each of colored pencils, some fancy, color changing crayons, and a regular old box of 24 colors.

I didn’t get a cart when we came in, because we had originally come for one particular babydoll, that the Princess then decided was not what she wanted after all, leading to two hours of aimless wandering through every aisle in the store and eventually my having to carry the 8 different packages that we picked up before I managed to wrangle my six-year old Princess and all of the treasures that she’s acquired to the front of the store to checkout. So, with my arms completely loaded down and balancing stacks of toy boxes, and feeling like I might pass out, because it’s now 2pm and I suddenly realize that I haven’t had lunch, we go up to the customer service station, because on this Friday in the middle of summer, there are no actual register lanes open and this is our only option for checking out. The woman checking out in front of me also has crayola products.

Woman: These Crayola products, do they have to be all the same thing to get the two for free?

Cashier: Uh… I wouldn’t really know about that… we’ll see what it rings up.

Thinking that I am being helpful, I speak up from behind them: The sign said anything of equal or lesser value.

Cashier: Well, it’s not ringing up, so it must have to be the same items.

At this point, the woman who is checking out decides that she will just go back and get two more each of the items that she has so that it will ring up the way the cashier says it should, essentially just giving in and agreeing to spend a LOT more money that she had originally planned all because this cashier just said it wouldn’t ring up that way… I mean, huh?? I do not give in nearly so easy. The woman gets out of line and now it’s my turn to checkout, but like I said, I don’t give in so easy.

Me: I want you to go ahead and ring up this Pet Shop stuff and make sure that it’s going to ring up the way that it should and then we’ll deal with the Crayola.

Cashier: Yes ma’am. The Pet Shop stuff all rang up and you got a really good deal on that. (He is visibly surprised by the discount) But this Crayola stuff isn’t ringing up. But here comes the guy who can help us with it. (Enter our young hero, the assistant manager)

Me: Your sign says ‘anything of equal or lesser value’ which would indicate that you do not have to purchase three of the same item in order to get the discount.

Asst. Manager: (Smiling in a way that, in his twenty whole years of life experience, I am sure he believes is charming, but in reality is a bit creepy, especially considering that I’m technically old enough to be his mother) I think it’s a problem with the wording on the sign that’s causing the confusion.

Me: No, I know what the sign says.

Asst. Manager: Yeah, I think it’s a problem with the wording on the sign. These aren’t going to go through that way. Sorry. (He walks away to other side of the desk to indicate that that’s final.)

Me (to cashier): We will not be purchasing the Crayola then, take them off of the bill. I have worked in Customer Service for over 10 years and one of the very first rules of Customer Service is that you ALWAYS honor the sign.

Cashier: I’m sorry. I wish I had some control over it.

Me: I know that it isn’t your fault. But I’m telling you because I know that you’re going to turn around and tell HIM. (Just then, two older red-shirted management-type men walked by) Maybe someone should go tell THEM too! (I pay for my purchase) Come on, Mags! Mama has a letter to write! (I walk around the other side of the service desk and look our young hero in the eye) You ALWAYS honor the sign! (He gives me the creepy smile again)

I get all the way to the exit door, and I hear “Ma’am! Ma’am! Could you come back here? I think I can work this out!”

And in fact, he DID work it out and I left there with my crayons and my discount. And I was once again a happy customer. And that’s all great. But the thing here is this: Neither the Asst. Manager nor the Cashier were going to give us the discount, even though we told them multiple times what their own sign advertised. Neither one of them made any attempt or even offered to go and look at the sign themselves. If I hadn’t raised hell with them, who knows how many people they would have denied the discount. As it turned out, the problem was being created by one item that was technically considered colored pencils (which weren’t included in the sale) that was causing the discount not to come off in the computer. But these two young tech-savvy geniuses never even thought to try to figure out WHY the discount wasn’t being applied, they just kept looking at the computer and saying “nope, it’s not coming off.”

So, dear readers, I hope you all understand why I had to show out a little bit. Why I had to stand up for myself and the woman in front of me who was also denied the discount. It’s not a matter of money, to tell the truth, I didn’t really need to spend that extra money anyway, and besides most of it was Mags’ money. It was a matter of principle. A business has to stand behind their own advertising.

And in the end, our young hero DID do the right thing. He did make an effort, and because of that Toys R Us did not have to deal with an angry customer and our young hero could go home once again, to apply his pimple cream and launder his red shirt.

And meanwhile, I’m still trying to tear through the packaging on $100 worth of Littlest Pet Shops…

 

 
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