Friday, February 26, 2010

Big Brothers / Big Sisters Part Deux

After meeting the family I had a few nights of classes to attend. Those of us in these classes were all about to embark on being Big Brothers and Big Sisters. We were told some rules and guidelines that must be followed.

We were never to buy them gifts. Not even for holidays. (I knew I would never be able to keep this promise) We were told to never under any circumstances give them money.
Generally it was the family asking them to ask you for money.
If it was something we couldn’t handle then to call our sponsor.
We had to commit to 1 day a week. The minimum I believe was 4 hours. Honestly I don’t recall now. We must be consistent above anything else. If we couldn’t give of ourselves for these kids 4 hours a week for a year then we were told to leave now.

It was imperative that they have consistency which most didn’t have in any form in their lives. We were also told that just because of your gender did not determine what gender you got. While I already knew about my little sister most here were not given a “sibling” yet. Boys were harder to place. There was a bigger need for Big Brothers. They asked some of the women there if they would be okay with a little brother. All were. Apparently men do not volunteer as often as women. (oh big surprise right?) And most moms are hesitant of letting their young boys go off with an adult male.

The BB/BS organization had a lot of activities that were planned for us as a group.
They also received a lot of donations for things like tickets to the Nutcracker at Christmas or plays or Sesame Street Live – things like that. You could decide if you wanted to go, if it was age appropriate and that sort of thing.

Every week when I picked up Diane she was dirty and dressed in rags basically. It broke my heart. I hated that I couldn’t buy her things. And I am shallow enough to say that it bothered me that she was so filthy and her hair so noticeably dirty that people would think I was this well dressed mom and didn’t care properly for my kid. I told Bob that and he told me it was normal. (There was that word again.) But I wasn’t to buy her things.

Diane didn’t have social skills or manners. She lowered her head when she spoke to you. She could barely read.
To help with her reading I decided that we would make cupcakes from a box and she would read the directions. We would make this reading thing fun….or so I thought. It ended up being an afternoon with tears and stress – for both of us. She loved the idea of making cupcakes. It took us over 45 minutes to read the ingredients I had to put in that damn bowl. I was horrified at her inability to read the word egg. That word was so incredibly difficult for her. I was not prepared or qualified to really help her I realized.

The following Monday I called her school and told them who I was and would like to meet with her teacher. A meeting was planned and I told her teacher that I would like to work with her on her school work and especially reading. Could she recommend or perhaps give me some tools or books or anything to help me help Diane. The teacher laughed and told me that while what I was doing was noble that I shouldn’t expect much from her because look where she comes from.

I normally save my sharp tongue for after I leave, hang up the phone, or in my blog. But this woman really pissed me off. I told her that was the reason Diane had a big sister to help her leave this life she is in and to show her the world that is available to her. I was about to go into the fact that her mother does not have the capabilities to help her with homework and I would like to but I didn’t get the chance. She stood up and told me I was wasting my time and hers. She thanked me for taking an interest but it wasn’t worth it, “trust me” she said.

I left there in shock. I called Bob and he asked me to come in. I got yelled at basically for doing that. He said you can’t fix it, just be a good friend and role model for her and leave it at that. My God I wasn’t cut out for this. This was so much harder than I ever expected. Why am I doing this if not to help this child? But apparently that type of help was out of my responsibilities.

I have a good friend who teaches remedial reading to junior high students. I called her and asked her for some help. She gave me some books and away we went. It helped….ever so slowly. But it did help. I won’t go into all the gory details and minutia but she had dyslexia and she finally got some help from her school once Bob helped her mother go in and make the point. Sheesh talk about frustrating. Bob gave me some grief but he would shake his head and tell me I was too involved. C’mon if you do this how can’t you be involved?

Diane didn’t know to say please, thank you, or excuse me. Little niceties or manners were never taught and she wasn’t really exposed to them either. I was constantly working on this with her. I told Rick that we were always going to make the point of doing the right thing around her so she just saw it all the time. No lectures per se. I didn’t want her time with me to be like torture or school. It was to be fun, educational and a bonding experience.

One Saturday afternoon we were at the fish store to buy some new fish for my aquarium. Rick was in the back of the store and I was further up the aisle picking up some food and I saw Diane walk in front of a couple and say, “Excuse Me”. I looked over her head and saw Rick looking at me and we both were about to cry. After 2 months with this girl she learned to say excuse me and I’m telling you I was about to burst with pride.

One day I picked her up to take her to the movies. Her hair was so dirty and she smelled.
This pretty little thing looked a mess. We went to target bought some shampoo for me and some Barbie shampoo for her. I picked it up and she asked if she could look at it. She wanted to hold it. I told her it was going to be hers and she could have it. I also told her that she would need to have clean hair when I picked her up. She told me that her mother told her that she didn’t need to wash her hair or it would turn green and fall out.
She asked if the Barbie shampoo would let her keep her hair this color and not fall out.
Jeez.
We picked out a Barbie nail set and some other assorted girly goodies. We went back to my house and she took a shower as I sat on the toilet. She loved the pretty smell she told me of her shampoo. Then we did our nails. She did mine and I did hers. Then we went to the movies and out to dinner. At dinner she told me, “This was the best day of my whole life. I think I look pretty and you look pretty too Peggy”

Man you guys this girl got to me. Each time I took her home I cried all the way back to my home. Rick said that if I didn’t get a grip he was going to ask me to leave this program. I couldn’t leave her. But I really hated dropping her off at her home.

Her parents tried to manipulate me. Her parents were dumb but smart enough to know how to work the system. They did everything they could to undermine everything Diane did. It was so damn sad. They had one son taken away from them and Diane’s mom called me at work. She was crying that they took David from her. I was assuming she wanted help in getting him back. I asked if she had spoken to Bob about this. She said, “Bob won’t give me money. Without David we lose money and we’ll have to cancel our cable.”

OMG it hit me. She wasn’t concerned that David was taken from his home for foster care but that without him the state didn’t give her assistance for that kid and she wouldn’t be able to afford her television and cable.
I was thoroughly disgusted and told her I couldn’t help her….and then I called Bob.

There were days that Diane would say the littlest of things to me that would hit me to my core. My parents were raising 2 of their grandchildren from birth. They were a little younger than Diane. I was going up to my parents house one Saturday night that Diane was spending the night and while I was talking to my parents she was playing with my nieces in their playroom.
When we were driving home she said to me, “Those girls are really lucky.”
I responded with, “Yep, they really are. They sure have a lot of toys don’t they?”
“No I mean there’re really lucky because everyone really loves them.”
Okay another day with Diane and I’m the one learning the lessons and crying again.
That killed me. She was 7 yrs old and she could see that these 2 little girls who’s mother was addicted to drugs and they were being raised by grandparents were loved to pieces. And while most people would feel sorry for those girls she only saw the love, not even the toys. Lesson for we grown ups. There were a lot of these lessons and statements from Diane over the years that would hit me like a ton of bricks. Make me see things through her eyes. Sometimes I would then be ashamed of myself. Who was doing the helping here?

My 2nd Christmas into this I decided to hell with the rules. I bought her a beautiful dress for the Christmas Nutcracker performance at the Warner Theatre. She was so excited. She was 8 now and she had never had a pretty dress. She tried on dress after dress and as soon as she came out of the dressing room beaming I knew this was the one. It was red velvet and black /red plaid and it was right out of a story book and she loved this dress. She kept twirling. With her black hair that red just popped. She looked so pretty and so damn happy. Normally if I bought her something it stayed at my house but she begged me to bring it to her house to show her mom. I gave in and said it was okay.

Her mother cut the dress into pieces and laughed. Diane called me crying. I couldn’t call Bob because this is what I wasn’t supposed to do. I was wrong. That made this so much worse – I caused this adorable little girls grief. I told her we would work this out and yes we were still going to the show.

I made arrangements to pick Diane up for the show about 3 hrs before we had to leave for the show.
When I got to her house her mother was so rude to me. She asked why I was picking her up so early. I told her I had some errands to run and that getting her now was easier for me. (Big Lie) Diane came down dressed like a dirty ragamuffin. I noticed she had very dirty hair. She kept her head down and it looked as though she had been crying. When we got in the car she began to apologize about her hair. I told her it was okay. Then she began to cry. Her mother threw away her Barbie nail kit and shampoo.
I apologized to her because I knew this was my fault. She told me she didn’t want to go to the Nutcracker in her holey grey sweatpants.

Here was a little girl that never noticed that she was a dirty little girl in holey clothes and now she was thrust into a world where she noticed. Were we all doing the right thing?

I brought her back to my house and brought her into my room. She asked what I was going to wear and I showed her 2 things and had her pick out what she liked the best. She had me try them on as she judged me and told me to twirl around. We laughed and giggled and I wore what she chose. Now it was my turn to show her something.


I had purchased another Barbie shampoo and nail kit to keep at my house and I showed it to her. She grabbed it and hugged it to her chest. I also bought her another dress identical to the one cut to pieces and it was hanging behind the door. I told her to close the door and she saw it. The look in her eye was worth a million dollars to me. She hugged me. The first time! This was a little girl who when you went in to hug her she would flinch. When you put your arm around her she would flinch. I would hug her but never got one back. This was big time to me. From that day on she hugged back or even hugged first. It was wonderful.

She asked me if she could wash her hair and take a shower before she wore the dress.
I said sure. When she was done she asked me to paint her nails. So we had a bit of a spa day before we went to the theatre. She was so excited. The show as always was beautiful and she loved it. We went back to my house and she changed back into her clothes that she had on when I picked her up. I told her that these would be things we could keep at my house in her room here. So every time she comes or spends the night she will have her own things here. She liked that idea. I never said don’t tell you mom but I knew she wouldn’t. I also knew this wasn’t a good thing to be teaching her but I just didn’t care. Over time I did buy her some clothes to keep at my house. And one day when she was 12 she called them her “appropriate” clothes. I about fell off my chair. Boy how she had grown up.

Diane was in my life from age 6 through 12. At age 12 her family moved and shortly thereafter I did too. My last letter to her came back undeliverable. I have tried to find her but have only hit dead ends. It’s like they dropped off the face of the earth.

I think about her often. I hope she got out. I hope she went on to bigger and better things. I hope she was able to learn that she was worthy of love and that people who love you don’t do mean things to you or are never jealous of you.

This week was her birthday and I wondered how Diane would be doing at age 26. Hopefully she is a thriving, healthy and happy young woman.

Happy Birthday Di.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Big Brothers / Big Sisters.

I joined the Big Brothers / Big Sisters organization in 1990.
I called and asked the appropriate questions and they suggested I come to a meeting they were having to discuss the organization and to talk to some of the other people interested as well as some of the people from the organization.

I did all my due diligience and decided I really wanted to join.
I was assigned this man Bob who walked me through it all.
He would be my go-to man for questions, concerns and issues that may arise.
The first step was him coming to my home to see my living arrangements.
I cleaned like a crazy woman and Rick kept telling me they didn’t care if my underwear drawer was organized. I didn’t care I straightened it anyway.
The visit went well and Bob informed me of step 2.

The next step was that I had to take an exam, have a background check and be fingerprinted.
I understood the background check and the fingerprinting but the exam?
Bob just kept reassuring me that it was just to see if I was normal.
Now Bob was young, good looking and funny so I thought it was a joke…..until I took the exam.

I met Bob on a week day afternoon after work to take this test.
Bob gave me the test which reminded me of SAT’s and walked me to a room where I could take this in private and in solitude. Once I broke the seal and opened the exam I realized this was nothing like taking your SAT’s. The questions struck me as odd but there seemed to be a recurring theme here…..was anyone or any voices in my head telling me to do things and how much control I had over my bowels.

Stop laughing this is no lie.

There were situational questions that asked how I would handle this or that.
There were questions that just seemed to have no relevance at all to anything and I kept shaking my head but coloring in the circle. Then after all these so called normal questions there would be a “Do you have trouble controlling your bowels?” I read it, reread it and laughed. I mean seriously this isn’t what they are asking me, it must be a typo.
I skipped it. I thought I’ll go back to this later this is only the first page.
Now I am on page 3 and it is moving along and then it asks, “Do you hear voices telling you to do bad things? Is it hard to resist these voices?”
The voice in my head right now is telling me this is crazy!

Page 4 asks if I can control my bowels yet again?
What am I doing here?
What if they find out I am nuts because I can control my bowels to the point that I am constipated most of the time? Will they not give me a little sister? What the hell?
Now I have to go to the bathroom. Damn them.

Bob walks by the room and asks how everything is going?
I looked up and ask him if this is Candid Camera? He asks me why do I say that?
Honest to God blogger friends I am thinking maybe I am nuts, What does he mean how can I think that?
So I say, “Bob why does it keep asking me about my bowels.”
He laughs and tells me, “you just have to answer the questions Peggy” and he walked away.

By the end of this I have answered numerous questions peppered in between serious questions about my bowels and hearing voices. All these questions were presented in all different forms of the same question, do I hear voices and can I control my bowels?

Now I am getting paranoid. I have no issues with my bowels and there are no voices telling me to do things. Will that stop me from becoming a Big Sister? I hand in my test and I ask Bob when will I hear back from them. He said to give it a week for the background check, the fingerprint info and the test results. I’ll call you to come in to go over everything. “So you’ll let me know if I’m normal.” Laughing he said, “yes”

A week later Bob tells me that I am normal. Whew. Being constipated is a good thing I guess. There were no surprises in my background check so I was good to go. He told me about a family who he has been working with as their social worker and they have 1 young girl in the family. The family was poor. The family dynamic was a Mother, her boyfriend, 2 boys, 1 little girl. I was to meet the family and Bob would be bringing me there to introduce me.

Bob drove me over to the family home. We pulled up and I was immediately struck at the poverty. We walked into the home and I was introduced. I was appalled at the condition of the house. We sat at the kitchen table and Diane was introduced to me. She was an unbelievably gorgeous little girl. Black hair, ice blue eyes, pale porcelain skin and a little button nose. She didn’t smile or talk much. The boys were running around and being bad and I noticed that the discipline was basically just yelling obscenities at them. I looked over at Bob at one point and he just looked away from me. I thought that was odd.

The mom appeared to be what I would call slow. The boyfriend was obnoxious. He seemed like a bully to me and I did not like him at all. He was apparently the father of the youngest boy. The oldest boy and Diane had a different father. We made small talk. We discussed the arrangements and how the program worked. I didn’t get to spend any time alone with Diane that day.

As we were leaving I noticed their television and stereo system. It was huge and expensive. I wondered how they could afford that when I couldn’t have those things.
It was such an odd experience for me.

On the drive home Bob asked me what I thought. I was honest. He did tell me that the mother only had an 80 IQ. He explained why when he met them he thought Diane would be a good candidate for the Big Sister program. She appeared to be bright and smart and had the potential to break the family cycle. He thought a positive influence/role model would be beneficial in making sure she knew that.

....to be continued.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rosie Radio

When I was in school I wanted to be a disc jockey.
I would play records in my room and use my hairbrush or perfume bottle as my microphone. I would put the record on and be ever so careful to not put the needle down until I told some facts about the band/singer or the song. Yea, I am that old that I had a turntable and I was that weird a child. I would even do commercials can you believe it? I would hold products from the bathroom linen closet like shampoo’s or Noxzema etc. My sisters and I laugh about this because I was a woman possessed. And my poor younger sisters would be the ones who would fetch items for me or be the "spokesmodel" and hold things and I described them. I crack up even admitting this here to you.  I realize what a dork I was.

Oh there were days that I would switch it up to being Johnny Carson (to those of you too young to know it’s the equivalent of Conan or Dave Letterman) Oh yea, I’m that strange.
I would have my friends come into the bathroom (I thought it sounded better in there) and have them sit on the toilet while I interviewed them. Then my younger sister would hand me a product from the linen closet and I would do the commercial….and we’re back!
But I always went back to radio. Unlike me wanting to be Johnny Carson, me wanting to be a disc jokey never ever waned.

In high school I had to write about a career I would enjoy and like to pursue as well as interviewing someone who does that job. I called my favorite radio station and asked if I would be able to interview the “Morning Mayor”. The radio station was great to me and set up a time for me to call The Morning Mayor with all my questions. I vividly remember all of this like it was yesterday. Oh I was so very excited to actually speak to this man whose job I coveted.

I was being allowed to leave the classroom and go to the school office to call the station.
I remember his answers and I remember not being nervous at all because I was thrilled beyond belief. I did my oral report, handed in my interview and both got an A. I was flying high and I was so convinced this was going to be my life.  I was focused...seriously focused.

In the mean time my guidance counselor was working with me about careers and college. I kept telling him I wanted to be a disc jockey and he kept gearing me towards being a nurse or a teacher. (Apparently that is all he thought women could be) I told him I could never be a nurse because I was too empathetic and I would be crying all the time. A sick child would send me over the edge. Anyone truthfully would make me cry and I couldn’t do that job I just know me. Besides my mom was sick for 3 years and while I loved the nurses who came to my home I couldn’t do what they did for her. Teaching did appeal to me but it wasn’t my dream. I wanted to be on the radio.

The day after my report while I was still aglow from my grade and interview my guidance counselor called me to his office.
He told me he heard about my report and interview. He asked me in such a hostile way why I insisted on pursuing this idea of being a disc jockey? I told him that I want to do something I love and I know I would love this. He leaned forward against his desk and scared me a bit as he said, “Do you know why Peggy that you don’t hear too many women on radio? Because they drone and no one wants to listen to them! You have to get this idea out of your head because you are setting yourself up for failure. Do you understand? Besides, you were in speech class for 6 years because you used to stutter and you couldn’t pronounce your R’s so you can never be on the radio!”

At this point I had tears welling up in my eyes. I was only 17 and it was 1973.
I wasn’t strong enough at the time to stand up to him. All I said was, “Yes, but I don’t stutter or have a speech impediment anymore” and I got up, walked out of his office aware of standing tall and before he saw tears running down my face. (besides it never hurt Barbara Walters)

My father was an Italian American man who thought the only reason women go to college is to find a husband so there was no help there. And worse yet when there were parent teacher nights my guidance counselor made it a point to tell my parents that I had to get this out of my head. That only encouraged my father to “knock” some sense into me.

When I told my father this was what I wanted my major to be in college he told me he wasn’t paying for me to go to school for something like this.
Why not be a nurse or a Nun? A nun?  Oh those damn Italian Catholic fathers.
My mom died when I was 13. (breast cancer) She was always my cheerleader. But my new step mom was a lot like my dad. I was now alone in this quest. I was the oldest so even my siblings didn’t get it.

Then in my senior year we were given this test to take. We were informed that this test would show us what we were good at and possibly lead us on a career path if we hadn’t already chosen one. (I’m thinking it was something like Myers Briggs for those of you in the corporate world that have had to take them) We were told that after we took this exam we would go over the results with our guidance counselor. Dates and times were set up for each student. The day I was to meet him I was actually excited to see what this exam told me. If I couldn’t be a disc jockey I honestly wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.

I walked into his office and he was cranky. I thought that was odd because he was young and cute and usually quite charming when he wasn’t telling me to do “girl” things.
He gave me my copy and he kept his copy in front of him. He explained the test and how this all worked. I opened it up and right there were 3 career paths they thought I was best suited for. Number 1 was DISC JOCKEY. He immediately assured me that this test does not know my gender so we are not going to even discuss that one. That explained his mood.
Number 2 was teacher. (sheesh) and I don’t even recall number 3 anymore. I left there feeling drained. I was again pummeled with words and phrases like, you’re a girl (like that was a huge negative) you can’t, you’ll NEVER, nurse, teacher, work with children, office work, you're stubborn, AAAAARRGH!!!!!

By the time I was ready to graduate everyone and I mean everyone in my school life and home life told me I couldn’t continue to think about being a disc jockey. So by the time graduation came around I didn’t know what to do with my life and so I didn’t go to college at all at graduation. (big mistake) I finally went on to college but now I was 27 years old. I loved my new career but I would still day dream about being on the radio.

I spent 20 years in software sales and contract negotiating within the travel industry.
I traveled a lot and I would always get a rental car at an airport in whatever city and I began to listen to local talk or music radio. One day while driving from LaGuardia airport to Long Island to visit a customer I was daydreaming about how my life could have graduated from music radio to talk radio and I could be doing something I love. Had it not been for it being 1973 and very few women on the radio and that dreadful “guidance” counselor whose name I still remember…. Bill Dunbar….a.k.a. The Prick.

I never wanted to be on a political radio show and I could never do a show like Howard Stern and God knows I am no Dr. Laura (or want to be) But I still dream of an opportunity of doing it for at least one day. I think I maybe too old to be on a morning drive time radio show but I think I’d enjoy the hell out of it.

And here is a funny side note.  My husband and I first "met" over the phone. He told me I had a great voice.  I told him I have been told that before and thanked him.  I had another guy friend who said I give good phone.  That cracked me up.  But seriously I have heard that my whole life that I sound so good on the phone.  Wouldn't that be the same on radio Bill Dunbar...a.k.a Mr.Prick? 


I am listening online these days to free Sirius. I have listened to Oprah’s channel but honestly Gayle gets on my last nerve and Dr. Oz show is boring. Right now I am really digging Rosie Radio. It’s just fun, informative and funny. No ugliness, no arguing, just talking like you're sitting with your friends. I think every day while listening, Rosie you have my dream job woman.  Rosie  can you hear me?  If you ever call in sick can I fill in? If Google Pete needs a day off I’m your gal. If you need someone last minute when your guest’s cancel I can be on the train and be in NY in 3 hrs.

I bet her guidance counselor was probably much more supportive than The Prick.
I wonder how ole Bill Dunbar has survived in the world now that women are doctors and not just nurses, radio personalities and even Secretary of State. I hope where ever this man is he is surrounded by great strong smart women.

But here is what is funny. I got an email about someone being on Oprah's show this week. I hit the link and it gives you a test to take to see what career you'd be suited for.  The test told me I was clearly a teacher. Ah crap! is all I could say.

It must have been sent by Bill Dunbar I swear....Rosie come get me and take me away!

While the dog is sleeping.....

I have just a few thoughts going through my head today.
So here I go a ramblin’….

TV – I love TV and people give me a lot of shit about it. And no I don’t just watch PBS.
This year with business being slower than ever before we have had to make our own entertainment and TV has been a big part of that. Last night was the season finale of one of my new favorite shows, Men of a Certain Age. Since I am a Woman of a Certain Age I so understand and feel this show. Everyone is aware, or maybe I should say, I was always aware of the stages or so I thought. But after the mommy stage and or middle of your career stage what are ya’ll expecting? Do you think about it? Because I see my friends in that one and it’s making their heads spin. I didn’t have the mommy stage but it doesn’t mean this phase is any better or my head is spinning any less than theirs.

It’s an odd phase. Not yet an old coot wearing my pants up to my chest or my hair is blue. But at a stage where you are really struggling with where you are, where you thought you’d be& what is next? The most powerful one for me was the realization that there is more life behind me now than in front of me Sigh. Still coming to terms with it all but trying to embrace it and love it. And no one talks about this except in terms of, “Oh his midlife crisis” type of thing. So watching this show really brings it home for me. It just happens to be men and not women. Which of course makes my husband love the show all the more. It’s from his perspective for a change as he likes to say.

I love each character and can relate to them all in some way. If you get a chance to see season one on DVD I highly recommend this. It’s poignant, well acted and sometimes very funny. Not a comedy though. Andre Braugher makes me howl.
I have never seen him in a role like this and it’s refreshing.

NewsThis info was on the 6 o’clock local news. Here is what was reported.
The number of people aged 50 and older reporting marijuana use in the prior year went up from 1.9% to 2.9% from 2002 to 2008 according to surveys from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
The rise was most dramatic among 55- 59 yr olds, whose reported marijuana use more than tripled from 1.6% in 2002 to 5.1% now
Observers expect further increases as 78 million boomers born between 1945 and 1964 age. For many boomers, the drug never held the stigma it did for previous generations, and they tried it decades ago.
Some have used it ever since, while others are revisiting the habit in retirement, either for recreation or as a way to cope with the aches and pains of aging.

I don’t know why but this cracks me up. It would have been a pleasure to visit my grandmother in her retirement home firing up a joint and laughing with her friends. Everyone there seemed to be just sitting and waiting on death to arrive. I think the answer is somewhere in the middle honestly but retirees firing up a pipe does make me laugh. 
How juvenile of me.

Weather -

It finally seems to have stopped snowing here in the mid-atlantic.
It rained yesterday and now we have dirty snow and puddles and mud. I think I am going to get some type of wellies or something similiar to walk the dog in. I am ruining all my shoes in this mud. And my boots never got my feet wet in 3 feet of snow but yet they get completely wet in puddles of water. I am not sure I understand that.

I am thrilled with the rain because it melts the snow and means spring. 
But Izzy is going to miss the snow.  While she’ll be thrilled to find her place to poop again overall she is loving this white stuff.

Underneath this umbrella  sit 2 chaise lounge chairs which she is not allowed to sit or climb on. So she thinks she is pretty cool standing above them here.
And now she's awake and that means another walk.
Thanks for stopping by.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Monday Morning Quarterback…..sort of

While I know everyone is sick of hearing about Tiger Wood’s indiscretions I have a few thoughts I wanted to share. You see last evening the couple next door came over and everyone had an opinion and boy mine was so far off everyone else’s. Now that doesn’t surprise me I always seem to be odd man out. But I would love to hear the female bloggers out there – okay men too but not sure any read me – and what your take was on his so called press conference.

First of all I don’t get why he felt the need to do it. Sure I get the PR machine and some type of acknowledgement makes people happy to a degree. But he had to know that 50% of the people would think he was full of shit and this was written for him and the other 50% would give him the benefit of the doubt and want to believe him.

Last evening one person who shall be named J. for this little story said, “That he didn’t look sorry enough or filled with emotion….just robotic.”
Okay would it have been better if he cried? Then you would have said, “Jeez man get it together or worse, how fake is that?”

I too thought he looked a bit robotic but more like a deer in the headlights. You could tell he didn’t want to be doing this but honestly I don’t have a lot of sympathy for him in that regard. This man has made a living being stoic, calm under pressure, and focused. I felt the way he stood there and held onto the podium that he was attempting the same thing here. He doesn’t cry during the masters tournament so I am not sure why anyone expected that here.

The other gal there last evening with me was oh so not forgiving. It was like he had done this to her. She was worked up. She wanted to hurt him physically, financially, and emotionally. She didn’t believe a word of any of it and she felt he would be cheating again in a heartbeat if his wife takes him back. She a Lorraine Bobbit scenario. Ouch.

I too think he is a scum bucket but I don’t care to hurt him. I felt that when he did speak of his wife and children as well as his family that is when he showed real emotion. Not looking at his notes but speaking from his heart. His voice and body language changed. He moved his hands off the podium. That spoke volumes to me and it made me believe it when he spoke of his family.

Look I don’t think this guy is an actor. I don’t think this guy is a saint. I do think he was a shithead and should never have gotten married in the first place. Period. End of story. And I wouldn’t want to be his wife for anything in the world. The pain he has given her would break my heart. I am thankful I don’t have to deal with such an issue.

The other thing that stood out to me, actually jumped out at me was when he said he was a Buddhist. In this country if you say you are anything other than a Christian the majority of the people go ape shit mad. I would imagine the reason he never mentioned it before was just for that reason. That shocked me, really shocked me. But that also made me proud of him. I believe strongly that you should have the right to believe in anything you want. If you pray to a goat well then good for you and if you get what you need from that goat even better. It’s no ones business what you choose to believe in. I think Americans can be so narrow minded on this topic. We were founded for religious freedom. We should be allowed to practice what we want when we want and not have to be pressured to be like the others or to have to “come over to the other side” Generally if you think a bit differently than the majority you are labeled a bad person.

Tiger stating he was Buddhist was the most open I think he has ever been since he’s been in the public eye. He never shares anything about himself or his life. That to me showed me his words and not his PR firms words…..but no one agreed with me on that either last night. Oh they did on everything but the PR firm part.

I don’t know if he is sorry. I don’t know if he is sorrier he got caught or that he actually hurt so many people or all of the above. But I loved that he said he will not discuss the events involving Elin and himself. I loved that he admitted his affairs but would not discuss them with media or anyone outside of his family and therapy. I loved how he got so emotional when speaking about his wife and kids.

I feel badly for Elin and the kids but mostly Elin. Thankfully the kids are too young to really know what Dad did but they will learn soon enough thanks to other children telling them and the internet. How awful is that? Can you imagine learning about your dad and mom’s personal life when you were 7 or 8? Damn that is tough.

Last night everyone had an opinion about Elin leaving him. I don’t care what she does. It’s not my life. As long as she does what she feels is best for her why the hell do we care? I must admit though, I was thrilled not to see her standing by his side for some strange reason like political wives tend to do. Her not being there doesn’t mean she won’t work it out it just meant to me that she’s private e and this is his issue to speak to his colleagues, friends and business partners not hers. I didn’t just see it as she won’t be taking him back.


I don’t watch golf. I don’t much care about most of this but last night everyone was in a tizzy about his speech. So I wondered what you all thought?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thursday's Tid Bits

First I would like to say......I was not under the desk while my husband was writing that comment! Honestly, that man has never read my blog.  I have read a couple to him over the years to ask if what I was writing would be okay with him if it were about him but he has never just stopped by and browsed or read a lick of these posts.

Last night as I was making dinner he told me he needed this phone number of a customer. 
I told him it was on my desk. Because the office is a loft I could hear that he wasn't on the phone. I yelled upstairs, "Whatchya doing?" 
He told me he was reading my blog - it was up on the computer..
I yelled upstairs to get his own blog and make that call. 
I heard him laughing and mumbling something like, "Oh I forgot that!"

Then I came upstairs to find him typing away and I asked, "Now what are you doing?"
He just kept smirking....the little shit.

I went back downstairs and came up after he left to see what he had done.
But I ended up leaving his comments but I really needed to clarify his smart ass remark. 
He was not writing nice things because I was "under his desk".  After all those nice things I said and he gets on my blog and is a pig.  I aplogize ladies.....so you see he's not perfect. :-) 

Other tid bits....

We did not have mail during those 2 weeks of storms.  We got it sporadically. 
So much for rain, hail, sleet and snow huh? 
I got my People magazine in the mail a bit late and last night I looked at the cover.
There was Celine Dion with the words, MY PRIVATE HEARTBREAK.
Then I saw her on GMA this morning talking about her PRIVATE heartbreak.
Last week she was on Oprah but I had seen a couple of previews and it was about her PRIVATE heartbreak so I didn't tune in.
So tell me, how PRIVATE is this heartbreak?
Maybe she thinks talking about her inability to get pregnant will get her pregnant.

I am attempting to grow out my short and spikey do. 
I will either quit trying to grow it soon or wear a hat for a year. 
This is so difficult.  
I normally get my hair trimmed every 5 weeks. 
It's been 8 weeks and it's beginning to look pathetic.
I am not sure I can do this to be honest.
I remember when Katie Couric went from short to long.
I used to watch her in the morning and think....gee if Katie can do these ugly stages (I'm sorry but there were some that were dreadful) in front of millions I can do it. 
That was the last time I tried. I gave up then too. 
But I do change the style even though it's short to varying degrees of short.
This last one is a longer version of short at least for me.
But now I really want to move past short but I just don't think I have the ability to do so.
My hairdresser suggested extensions but when she told me the price I about fell off my chair. I want long hair but not a 3rd mortgage.
So it's either going to be a hat for a year or I look terrible for a year. 
Nice choices huh?  Honestly I don't ever see extensions that look great except on my black friends. Why is that? I remember when Jennifer Aniston had them and they looked horrible.
The only difference is if you look like Jennifer Aniston even horrible is better looking than most of us on a good day.  I shouldn't be speaking of her.  I keep seeing her with my other boyfriend, Gerard Butler, and I'm mad at her.

I have been throwing so many snowballs because my dog likes to chase them.
She needs more exercise and with this snow it's been dificult. 
But chasing the snow balls makes her run through the snow and it's really difficult to run through and it is great exercise - FOR HER.
Today my shoulder and arm are so very sore. 
I had shoulder surgery 1- 1/2 yrs ago and I still have issues unfortunately. 
I have been up since 2:30a.m. from pain.  (Coffee.Coffee.Coffee.)
I watch the most mindless things on television at that hour. 
Last night I watched Chelsea Lately at 3am.
Odd little show but it was like a car wreck - I felt like I wasn't supposed to look but I couldn't stop myself.

I spoke to a former co-worker who I loved working with. 
He moved to Florida and gave me a call this morning.
It was so damn great to hear from him. He is miserable in what is left of our former company. (we were bought out by Satan)
After talking to him and listening to the horror stories and his misery I think that I am lucky that there was such a huge downsizing.
Like he said he thought he was one of the lucky ones because he got to keep his job but now he thinks all of us are the ones who got lucky to get out.
It breaks my heart because listening to him made all those feeling come back to me like a wave hitting me and it wasn't pleasant. I remember the physical illness that would start on Sunday night knowing I had to go back to work. By the end the stress gave me heart palpatations, stomach pains and my eyelashes began failing out. 
Vain me didn't enjoy that one the most.
Hearing him talk about the same issues made it all come back like traumatic stress disorder.
I miss my old work buddies, I miss the actual job at hand, and God knows I miss the money.
 I am happier now.....poorer, but happier.

And lastly I have read and seen a trailer for this documentary that I can't wait to see.
This woman wrote and made this movie on her parents marriage and life together.
After watching this trailer I really felt for this woman.
Married in a time when the only way you could have sex was to be married, that you were expected to marry young before you really have even lived.  That brings on it's own set of issues.  What was fascinating to me in the trailer was how the woman is so raw and honest and her outlook on their 52 yrs together seems polar opposite of his. I am very much looking forward to this movie.



If you had to do it over again - would you?
Looks simply fascinating doesn't it?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Part II (of Living Happily Ever After)

I wrote on the envelope “too good to be true must be an ax murder”

I put a line under that comment and I planned to write my impression after speaking to him under that line so I could remember him in that pile of envelopes.

I called Rick on a Friday night. I did that on purpose. His made me nervous.
Oh not nervous and creepy like naked man or clothespin man. Nervous because I knew I liked this guy for some reason. I called on a Friday night figuring he would be out and I could leave a message on his machine. (remember it’s the 80’s no voicemail still big ole bulky machines)

I called and he answered immediately. Ah shit.
I nervously introduced myself and off we went.
We talked for hours. I remember saying I didn’t think he’d be home and he responded with- then why did you call me if you didn’t think I’d be home?
Oh shit….busted.
We laughed and he let me off the hook without answering. Whew.

After 3 hours on the phone I thought it might be a good idea to meet.
It was so easy and the time just flew by.
I said what I said to all the guys about one drink and if it isn’t working for either of us we shouldn’t feel badly to say it and we can go our separate ways.
He liked that idea and we made a date.

The day I had to meet him after work I dressed and undressed a zillion times. I had to be in professional clothes for work and would have no time to change. But I still wanted to look nice. So before I left for work my bed had a pile of clothes atop it and shoes were thrown all over my bedroom floor. Of course I thought about my clothing all damn day I drove myself nuts. Too formal for such an evening? Too professional? Girly enough? Trying too hard? Look casual enough? You know the drill girls.

I got to the Brown Derby at exactly the time I told him I would. He was already sitting at the bar when I walked in. He told me what he’d be wearing. (God it’s so easy for men isn’t it…..To know what you are wearing a week in advance?!)
Oh my I thought he was handsome. That made me nervous. I don’t know why but it did.
He had my favorite drink waiting for me. Nice touch.

We were shown a table/booth and the conversation just flowed. A few times I drifted off thinking he was so handsome he’s out of my league man. But we laughed a lot and he was funny and quick and boy I liked that. Great banter. I was having a ball but was he?

The waitress came to our table and asked if we’d like another drink.
Shit. What the hell do I do? I don’t want to say yes and have him say no. All the other times I knew and I spoke up first. This time I was now praying to everything I hold dear to please let him speak first. Oh Please.
We both hemmed and hawed and finally the waitress said, “Wow, I see this is a big decision - I’ll be right back.”


That broke the ice and we both laughed at how weird we must look to her.
Then he did it.
“I’m going out on a limb here and tell you I sure don’t want to leave just yet. I hope you feel the same.”
Acting as cool as a cucumber as I could muster I said, “I would like to stay as well”
Translation: Oh my God I want to have your babies

We closed the place. And so much for my idea of going to this place because it was a mall and I could get lost in stores and he wouldn’t see my car and yada yada yada,
All utter nonsense now as he walked me to my car.
I was hoping for swoop in and a kiss but it didn’t happen. He opened my car door and told me he would love to see me again and he hoped I would call. And off I went.


I got home in the wee hours and called my sister who was married and living in Alabama at the time. “Stephanie, I just met someone and I think I’m in trouble!”

Just under 2 weeks later I moved to Cleveland Ohio for my new job. We had only gotten to go out a couple of times with my interviewing and being out of town etc. So we decided to remain friends and only friends. I was immersed in my new life and it just felt right. I had no qualms about it and looking back that seems weird to me. But it worked.

We spoke on the phone every damn day and sometimes several times a day. We would talk about work, our lives and our dates. I would commiserate about the men etc.
If I needed a date for wedding or whatever he was my guy. If I was getting mixed signals from someone I’d call him and say what is up with this? When I went home to visit we would go have fun together. We just were friends who did all kinds of things together as friends do. Kayaking, camping, parties etc. We were truly the Harry and Sally part now. He was my best friend. I would call on a Saturday morning and ask, “are you alone? Can we talk?” (Meaning did someone spend the night ) If not he’d call me back. He did the same to me. We now find that funny.

The women in his life were all tall, blonde, dumb and gorgeous.
I called them his bimbo de jour’s. He would date such vacuous bimbos and then bitch that they were dumb as a rock. DUH. He used to tell me he hated dumb. I would shake my head and say then why do you sleep with them? Of course that had nothing to do with it as far as he was concerned. (just like the movie) When I was dating someone he didn’t care for boy he’d let me know. There were men in my life that he used to tell me weren’t good enough for me. I should have seen that he felt more but I looked at him like my big brother that I never had. This went on for 3 years. I never ever thought of him as any more than a best friend who I could count on. Others would ask why we didn’t date and we’d laugh and both shake our heads and I would say oh no that wouldn’t work.
When an astrologer told me I would marry my best friend I said, Melanie? Because there is no way I am marrying Rick!

As happened many times when I wasn’t dating anyone seriously he drove to Cleveland for a weekend of fun to go to what was called The Flats along with me and some of my friends. We had a great weekend planned of The Flats and a day spent at an island in the middle of Lake Erie with wineries and fun activities. It was a great, fun weekend with friends and laughter.


As he had done many times before he spent the night only this time in my bed.
That changed everything. I realized that this man was more to me than just a friend and how did I not see this before? It was as though a switch had been hit. But like in the movie Rick wanted to run and he couldn’t do it fast enough.

It was now awkward and uncomfortable and like the movie it didn’t end well. We would cross paths but we were no longer friends. He would call my answering machine every damn day and leave me long messages. The one I remember vividly was him telling me that when he wakes up in the morning he wants to talk to me and at the end of his day he wants to share it to me. And for some sick and twisted reason I kept that message and listened to it a lot. Oh he still called but I would never pick up. I would listen and sometimes give my machine the finger. He kept me updated on his life but I didn’t respond. I couldn’t respond.

I told him I couldn’t be his friend anymore that he had to leave me alone and not call me anymore. Maybe some day but not now and I didn’t know when or if ever. I begged him to leave me alone. But he would continue to leave me messages daily and one day he ended it with, “Margaret I will always be here for you if you need anything – anything at all at any time just call me. I so miss you in my life.”

AARGH!!!!!!!!!!
I felt like he wanted it all and that wasn’t fair. How did he not get that? He sent me cards and I would scream at them , stomp on them and call my girlfriend and say, “I only want a card if it is an outpouring of love and affection not a just a card. I no longer wanted to be his consolation prize. Men!

Then I was in a car accident far from home in a town called Boardman Ohio.
He came to my rescue and got me back home to Cleveland and put me back together.
We have been together ever since as a couple. It was January 1990 and on that day he finally gave me that outpouring of love and affection.

So here we are 23 years later from that blind date and happier than ever.
It’s been a great ride from friends to more than friends to married partners.

Now how did you meet your significant other?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

And they lived happily ever after.....

I was reading Anything Fits a Naked Man over the Valentine Day weekend of how she meet her husband. It got me thinking of telling my story although if you ever saw the movie When Harry Met Sally you pretty much have an idea of my story. But how we met was oooh so different from the movie

I need to start off by telling you something about me here.

Normally I am very good at reading people. And I usually know in the first couple of minutes of meeting someone who they are. I know it sounds bad. I know it sounds like I am being judgmental but that isn’t what I mean. 

You see ever since I was a little girl I would get an impression, a feeling so to speak of people and usually people showed me whether I was right or wrong. I remember telling my Dad after he was talking to someone outside in the parking lot that I didn't like that man's face.  That was my way of saying as an 8 yr old that he was a bad man. But I didn't know how he was bad but it was a "feeling" and well, his face.
My Dad asked me about that in car as we drove away.  I told him he wasn't nice.  I was sort of scared to say that because I knew my father.  You never disrepect your elders and I was worried he would be mad.  But he didn't.  He said that was correct he wasn't a nice man. I asked why he was talking to him then and he told me he had to for work but he was not a friend or someone he would invite to our home. That stayed with me but it didn't make me listen to my inner voice all the time either.  I'm a slow learner you see.

When I doubted myself and I would give everyone the benefit of the doubt because, “gee I don’t know them how come I think this is not a good honest person?” I ended up getting burned.
Usually I was then hurt and surprised until I realized I knew this all from the beginning but never wanted to believe my “gut” because it was right at the beginning and how could I trust that?. So as I have gotten older I am very attuned to this sense of mine and I now go with my gut and don’t fight it. And if I don’t I regret each and every time.

It was back in the day of shoulder pads, big hair, Bon Jovi and other hair bands of the 1980’s.
I had just gotten out of a long distance relationship that by the end was pretty damn ugly.
Ugly and painful. This is the one where I hadn’t gone with my gut and as always if I had this never would have happened. Lesson was not lost on me.  I felt my radar needed some time off and rejuvenated.
I was trying desperately to get this new job in my field and it would be a major move up the ladder as well as out of town. It was just what I needed at that point in my life.
But in the mean time I was just not going to date. I certainly didn’t feel like going out a lot either. I was happy with my life and I was so okay with that. I had  been divorced from my high school sweetheart at 27 and that took me a long time to get over or even begin to date again. So now at age 31 I just felt it was time to take stock, work on me, my career and forget about men for just a little while. My radar also needed some rest. My girlfriends were NOT okay with it for some reason.

One Friday night I decided to paint some wicker furniture that was in my sunroom.
I was going to town on this room. I took everything out and was cleaning and rearranging.

I began to paint with my music blaring and a bottle of wine to accompany me. Then the doorbell rang. I couldn’t figure out who the hell would be here on a Friday night at 8pm.
I get to the door and it is 3 of my closest girlfriends, who aren’t normally people who hang around with one another unless I bring them together. There they stood on my porch with a huge tupperware bowl  TELLING me they were coming in. They blew by me and went inside.

I asked what was in the bowl and Linda said it was her famous Strawberry Slush.
For those of you who don’t know that is a very yummy drink with lots of alcohol.
It’s yummy and like a sno-cone with alcohol.

They asked what I was doing? Me? What the hell are you guys doing here on a Friday night why aren’t you out? They asked me again what I was doing?

There I stand with a paint brush in my hand and a T-shirt with paint all over it. What the hell do you think I’m doing? They looked at each other and without speaking 1 walked into my dining room and 1 put the bowl of Slush on my table while someone got glasses from the kitchen. They also brought snacks, I mean they are MY friends after all.

So they began to do an intervention. Telling me that it has been over 2 months of me holing up in my apartment and it was time I get back out there again.
Back on the horse so to speak. That made me laugh.
I told them I didn’t need to date, I have batteries.

We drank, ate and talked. I tried to convince them that I wasn’t depressed as they thought. But I needed to just be with me. I didn’t feel like going out right now. I surely didn’t want to hang at bars with them right now either. They knew I was in the interviewing stages for this job and I would probably be moving so I was just getting my life in order. It felt right to me to do this.  I wanted them to stop worrying about me.  I was fine!

They were having none of this!
Then 1 of them pulls out the local newspaper (yep only a 1 paper town) Unbeknownst to me the local newspaper had just begun putting in their name for personal ads. But they were still personal ads no matter their fancy name. They began to read some. I was laughing my ass off. Then they got to the point. They wanted me to do this. NO WAY.

“I don’t want to meet anyone. And even if I did what is the point, I am going to be moving. I know I am going to get this job!”

"Just do it for fun. Go out with people, enjoy yourself, have a ball before you leave - leave your home!"

“NO. This is so not for me. The people who do this are lonely. I am not lonely. I like being alone. Besides what kind of man is going to answer this? A loser, a married man, someone in prison. You are not going to get a quality man.”

So & So did it and they’ve been dating for 3 months now.

This went on all night. Finally someone gave me paper, envelope with postage and 4 drunken gals began to write an ad and laughing our asses off. The bowl of Slush was disappearing.  This Slush was enough to have for a party. For 4 girls this was a whole lotta Slush. (btw they spent the night -impromptu slumber party)

Finally I wrote something and I read it to them.
They said. “My God that sounds like you. – you must use that!”

"I will not mail this in because I will only meet creeps. I really don't think people will get the humor"

"But the person who does will be someone you'll have fun with so just do it"


Then 1 of them throws in a $10 bill and says I’ll bet ya.
Then another 1 throws a $10 onto the table.
Then another.
I said I don’t need $30 that badly girls.

Okay I’ll throw in dinner at the House of Hunan.
Laughing I said, “Well then how can I resist?”

I guess it was a tub of Slush that made me do it but I did it.
2 weeks later with a pile of 50+ letters we girls all got together.
We sat around my dining room table again and read all these letters.
Oh my were they funny. I still have them because when we really want to laugh ya gotta bring these out.

Some of my favorites, “Call me. I is a professional too.”
Okay then. This was written on ripped paper and in two different types of writting and colored pens.
Can you say Schizophrenic?

Or the man who sent his photo …..OF HIMSELF NAKED.
Oh yea, I’m gonna call you. Now this is a guy who knows women huh ladies?
Men are driven by the visual more than women aside from the fact that you sent me a NAKED PICTURE OF YOURSELF! oooh ick!!!

The man who told me he didn’t have kids but this was written on red construction paper and there were scribblings done in crayons.
So he thinks I’m stupid and won't notice the crayon drawings and the construction paper?
He just hangs out with little children?
Either way it's creepy mister and you go in the go to jail pile. Do not pass go.

The envelope who has a number in the corner from a correctional facility.
I’m sorry I can’t be part of your rehabilitation.

But my favorite by far was from a man who didn’t want to date me.
Oh no, that would have been too normal for this guy.
He wanted to perform for me and my friends.
He wanted to meet us and to show us how he could get 40 or more clothespins on his genitalia
Yep, that’s right on his penis and balls he was going to attach clothespins.
(you're whincing now aren't you?)
Then he told us he also has a vacu-pump and he wanted to use that on himself as well as for our "entertainment".
He was a traveling salesman so he didn’t want anything more from me but to “entertain” me and my friends when he came through town. (no pun intended by him I imagine)
We laughed so hard. We passed this around the table a few times.
We did not know what a vacu-pump was but we sure had an idea.

So to me I was winning this bet. I was now drooling for my free Chinese dinner.

But I have to admit as we began to weed through these letters there were a few that were appealing. Funny always got me I admit.
So if something interested me it went into a certain pile. I made a comment on the envelope so I could remember them as the process went on.
I had a maybe pile, a no pile and a yes pile.
Finally I had my pile of who I would call.
There were only 4 of them out of over 50.

Now I am in no way shy. But for some reason when it came time to call these guys I was a bit uncomfortable and it surprised me. I have never felt that before.
I had my spiel. I would call and we’d chat. If I wanted to peruse this I would then ask if they would like to meet for a drink. Now remember it was a safer time. 
No internet, cell phones or google.
It could be coffee or cocktails, depending on how this was going and the feel of the conversation.
If they said yes I would next say, “Let’s meet for 1 drink. If either of us feel this isn’t going anywhere or we aren’t interested in going further then let’s agree to be honest and say that after the 1 drink and move on.” All agreed that was a great idea since this was literally a blind date and we were now both off the hook.
I felt better having this control I must admit. 

Then the fun began……
     to be continued

Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday Afternoon Thoughts

It is such a Monday in every way.

I had someone send me an article about my boyfriend, Craig this morning
I love how his mind works and I find him oh so attractive.
That article was the good part of my Monday.

I am loving that everyone was as crazy about your 6 Word Memoir as I was.
I literally keep thinking of my life in 6 word terms driving my husband absolutely crazy when I would just blurt out 6 words while watching a movie or loading the dishwasher.
Last evening as he was watching Amazing Race I was cleaning up Izzy's toys on the floor and I blurted out 6 words.  I honestly did not realize I had done this out loud. 
He laughed and just blurted out some words that made no sense and I knew right then he had no clue what the hell I had just done.  Then he asked, "what the hell was that about?"
I was laughing so hard I could barely get it out to explain.

Speaking of The Amazing Race.....I do love that show.  But my favorite people never win.
I picked the couple that were asked to leave last night as my couple to win.....or I should say the couple I wanted to win.  The blonde twits, Miss South Carolina who doesn't think most people have maps (Remember this air head?) and the crazy bimbo from Big Brother (which I am proud to say I have never seen) who said she didn't know how to tell time. OMG!  They actually showed a clip of her saying that she "didn't understand clocks"
It was so embarressing but apparently only to me she didn't seemed phased by it. 
She thought Chile was China and apparently interchangable countries. 
How do these kids graduate high school for heaven's sake?  Maybe these 2 need to stop the bleaching because I seriously think this is causing brain damage.  What else could explain this phenomenon?

I was listening to the radio today while working.  They went off on this Kevin Smith/fat Southwest thing.  Those that were fat were saying it was a prejudice and those that were not fat were saying it was fine.
I have a position in the middle.  Having worked at an airline many moons ago I come from a different perscpective somewhere in the middle.

And before you tell me I am insensitive to overweight people remember I got much heavier a few years ago when I became ill.  I am treated differently and it is blatantly apparent. 
I can fit into an airline seat and as you've seen photo's I am not anywhere near the size of Kevin Smith. 
But it still happens and I get it.  People also say mean things like even my family and they know why the weight happened. So don't write me all angry letters because I don't understand.  I get it, life is hard.  But this is not the same thing.  They weren't doing this to just be mean spirited.

I also find it interesting that a big time film director is flying Southwest to begin with.  I would walk before flying southwest but that's because I used to be in the industry and it's bigger than cost for me.  I would have assumed he'd be on a carrier with business class and first class wouldn't you?  Once again I digress....

It was reported that he was asked to get off the plane after he was seated and buckled in.
It was also reported that he paid for 2 seats orginally.  Then the first flight was canceled and he was rebooked onto this full flight.  

If that was indeed the case then there would have been record of all of this in his passenger record so that when he approached the gate or had it rebooked the information would be there in big bold letters to alert agent had she/he had done his/her job and read it.  They would have had to make sure he got 2 seats.  So that was the first ball that was dropped.

So there he is boarding the 2nd aircraft and they could clearly see his size and they should have asked him to come back to the gate and they could look through the record and see that he indeed paid for 2 seats and that this flight was full due to the rebooking.  Therefore they should have told him there were no 2 seats together available so we will be unable to have you board.  They should have gotten him on a flight even if another airline to accommadate the payment of 2 seats.  Yes, he would have been angry but not humilitated in front of everyone and asked to get off the plane. If he paid for 2 seats he already knows the policy regarding this flight and his size.  Also if he was willing to pay for 2 seats he could have afforded to fly on a real airline with business class size seats or first class.

Second, if you have to take him off the plane you surely don't tell everyone around him that he is a fatty and must deplane. You ask him to get his things and come with you or just to come with you and another attendant can get his things and bring them out for him after deplaning.  Then you get him on another plane ASAP and sometimes at the airlines expense to accommadate him since he paid for 2 seats and he isn't able to get them.  Not his fault.

I heard this morning how it is the last prejudice against fat people.  I get that now that I am overweight but that really isn't it.  I worked for 2 airlines in my life. Both had the policy and that was back in the very early 80's.  Sometimes the people were so large they needed a seat belt extender.  We were told to go out of our way to notify them that they would need this and sometimes the crew were made aware and gave them one or we would take them aside and give them one.  Telling them that if it were necessary here is an extender and if you won't need it I apologize and please leave it in the seat back compartment in front of you.  Yes, it is very uncomfortable to have to broach this subject but honestly it's worse to have it happen like it did to Kevin Smith.

The 2 airlines I have worked for both had this policy.  If you spilled over into another seat you were asked to buy two seats. If you made the reservation on the phone or with an agent who didn't advise the airline of your size it was done with the utmost respect at the counter.

I also recall that when I worked for a smaller carrier who had regional jets and turbo props that the weight was a big deal.  I would have to tell the pilots about the weight and sometimes they would request they sit in a certain area of the plane for balance.  On a small plane that is always something that is done without anyone knowing it.  In fact it varies from summer to winter weight as it was called and it included passengers as well as baggage.  I was on a flight with only 20 seats.  Due to the weather we all had to move to the middle of the plane.  So whether you were fat or not may not have been mentioned but when the pilot told you to move everyone just did as he pointed who went where and he explained it all.  Today someone would twitter they were harrassed or made to feel badly.

When I was traveling all the time for my job there were many times where I got on a flight and got stuck next to someone who flowed into my seat. This person did have a belt extender and it was handed to them before take off which I felt was wrong and unnecessary to do in front of everyone. 
I was so uncomfortable and I didn't want to put the arm rest down and poke his roll that was now laying on me.
Once we took off I did get up and walk to the back of the plane I asked the flight attendent if I could have another seat that was  already empty.  It was a middle seat but at least I would be more comfortable. They allowed it and nothing was said to the person who was overflowing but I knew that he had to know.  I felt badly but at the same time the 3 hr flight would have been so uncomfortable for me. I couldn't move pressed against the window that way. 

So while I do understand how embarressing it is to have to leave the plane or to be handed an extender in front of everyone. But if the policy for this airline or business is such that you must fit into the seat without going onto someone else what else can be done?   It will always be embarressing no matter what because it is a sensitive topic.

20 plus years ago when I worked at an airline this was policy and we didn't have technology like the internet, twitter or blogs.  So it happened every day and no one was the wiser I guess.  I never ever felt it was done for any reason other than safety and or comfort of everyone.  It also is a safety hazzard if someone doesn't completley fit in the seat and is hanging over the aisle, which I have seen.  That is a law from the FAA for safety not to be mean to overweight people.  
I just sometimes feel that things get overblown now because of all this technology.
Everyone is out raged and has to twitter which gets a shit storm a blowin'.
I get it I get enraged and vent on my blog. 
But someone of this prominance gets coverage on the national news and like the kids game telephone, it gets blown all out of proportion.

The only thing we can hope that comes of this is that the airline will learn to be more discreet and sensitive in the way it handles these types of situations.  And if it is true that  Kevin bought 2 seats then shame on him for going bonkers when he knew the policy to begin with.

But hey what the hell do I know.  Hand me that chocolate I'm not flying anywhere.


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UPDATE.... I just read the following in USA Today.

The airline said it also accommodated Smith on a later flight, gave him a $100 voucher and apologized by phoneBoth Smith and the airline acknowledge that he had bought 2 seats for his original  flight from Oakland, where he had spoken at the macworld Expo Conference.


But he was flying standby in order to catch an earlier flight, and only one was available.

Smith insisted that he was still able to put both armrests down and buckle his seat belt, which is Southwest's standard.

Smith is the director of the new Bruce Willis movie Cop Out, and previously directed the films Clerks and Chasing Amy.
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So in my humble opinion while the airline had the right to do this they executed it poorly at best.  As soon as they saw that there was only one seat he shouldn't have been let on the plane. Would he have thrown a hissy fit then?
  
I would bet my pay check that the agent who Kevin told that he indeed could fit in the seat, the arm rests did come down and he could use the seat belt, was probably too uncomfortable or a rookie and couldn't tell him he couldn't have a seat or to pursue the matter. And then it was dealt with on the plane.  But Smith should have known because if he knew he had to buy 2 seats he was aware of the policy.  If he knew enough to tell the agent he could fit in the seat etc then he knew the policy. To me both are at fault. 

But SW really should have done this differently.  So let's count, they have kicked several people off in a humilitating way because of size, they kicked a young girl off the plane because she was dressed like a bimbo, hmm.....why do people fly SW?  For the love of God I do not understand that. SW isn't really cheaper because all other carriers will match their cost for same routes.  SW's marketing is such a lie. But most don't know that. To me SW is like taking a bus only it flies.   But that is just my H.O.