Monday, January 16, 2012

Unabashed plea for sympathy

So if nothing else, you can't claim there is no truth in advertising today.  I had a really crappy day, and I feel like whining for sympathy.  The requirement for reading this is to leave a note telling me how picked on I am and how much you love me ;-)  You are to keep all comments on just how pathetic and ridiculous I am to yourself!   

My twins are teething, and sleep has been a ridiculously precious commodity.  Last night I crashed at 11:30 with the intentions of getting up at 8:30 if it killed me.  I know, you are already thinking, "Waah, waah, waah."  It gets worse.  Instead of getting 8 or 9 hours of interrupted sleep, I got 10 whole hours of straight, unadulterated sleep.  No - this isn't where I want the sympathy.  Stop mocking me and keep reading!   It's 10am and I hear the babies making noise ('cause they aren't sure what to do with all this sleep, either.  I'm hoping it will become addicting and they'll form a habit!).  I have a hang-over like feeling from too much sleep (not that I really know what those are...).  I groggily decide to make a cup of coffee, have breakfast, shower, and get the kids up.  I'm on the way to the kitchen when the doorbell rings.  Really?  I'm in my PJ pants and a ratty shirt with slippers, and my hair is standing up on end (some of you can more fully appreciate that picture than others).  I think, "Please be a package."  There's an arm at the window by the front door. I toss on a sweatshirt and open the door.

It's my down the street neighbor, who is in her 80s.  She gives me that startled, shocked look older people do so well when your generation fails to live up to their standards.  I manage a weak smile and say, "Hi, what's up?"  She starts rambling out a story about how her phone will receive calls but not make them.  I keep inviting her inside, but she just stands on the cold, cold step wandering through this story.  Finally, just as I'm ready to shriek, "WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO?!?" she says, "Can I come in and borrow your phone to call AT&T."  I'm relieved that this is all she wants, because honestly I'm not ready for real life yet.  I invite her in (this time she accepts), and go to grab my phone.  I turn back to see the same look of distaste as she surveys my living room, which looks like nuclear winter after a toy store...

My neighbor, Jane, is a very nice lady.  She's helped us with watching my cat, and I even borrowed a cup of sugar from her once (I felt so domestic - when do you ever hear of people borrowing a cup of sugar anymore?).  I was very glad to be able to lend her a hand.  She tries to dial, but she has a fake lense from where a cataract was removed, and after a moment I realized she couldn't see.  I dialed AT&T, but she kept getting everything in Spanish.  *Sigh*  The coffee will have to wait.  Mournfully I take the phone and call.  Lo and behold, if you DON'T press one it stays in ENGLISH.  Long story short (yeah, I know, I know) I manage to jump through their hoops but she can't get a tech until WEDNESDAY.  This is her only phone - she doesn't have a cell phone.  Not feeling good about this, I call back, and this time manage to wrangle an actual human.  I explain that she is older ("Older - hell, I'm in my 80s" she retorts), this is her only phone, AND the $85 service charge for fixing something that is wrong on THEIR end doesn't seem fair, so could they lower the price some.  Basically I end up in a phone conversation that we'd all agree can only happen to me.  The guy says, "Well, since she came to your house for help, couldn't she just move in with you until her phone is fixed?"  Ummmmm....I'm sorry?  What?!? 

I didn't yell - you'd be proud - but I was distinctly...erm...frustrated.  I replied in the negative, and then he said, "Well, why don't we just sell her a cell phone plan."  OK...fixed her 80s...really, what's not to get here?  More importantly, how does THAT fix the problem of her home phone?  So I demand a manager.  I get this lady who STARTS the conversation with, "Ma'am, I understand you are upset and have an issue you want to resolve, but you cannot abuse my staff like this, so let's watch your tone when talking to us."  !?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?  "Ma'am, I'm not abusing anyone, but when your staff's best suggestion for resolving a problem is having a neighbor move into my house or buy a cell phone despite her very limited monthly budget, I think you can agree that I might have a right to be frustrated."  This said in a firm but not ugly tone.  She says, "I agree that might not be the best of solutions, but it's not appropriate for you to yell at me."  Oh honey...when I start me, you'll know...I demand HER supervisor, she tells me she doesn't have one, I ask if she owns AT&T, she says "no" in a puzzled tone, I demand her supervisor again, she insists she has to resolve this, I ask if this call is being recorded, she says "yes, more than likely," I say, "GOOD!  Use it as a training call on how NOT to attempt to resolve issues!  You've failed!  GIVE ME YOUR SUPERVISOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

She gives me her supervisor.  He listens to my semi-annoyed but polite retelling of the story, agrees to have a tech out tomorrow morning, agrees to give Jane a $20 credit for her troubles, agrees to waive the service fee, and says, "I have no CLUE why my people said those things, but you can guarantee there will be action on this!"  Really?  It took less than 5 minutes for his help.  Jane thinks I'm insane because I finally DID start yelling, the babies are wailing in their bedroom, C is hovering around the doorway looking concerned, and I'm VERY annoyed!!! Caffeine.  Please, oh please, caffeine... But fortunately, I can have a cup of coffee in peace now, right? 


Jane leaves.  I get my coffee and plunk down on the couch to eat my cereal and decide our day.  C creeps into the family room and begins hopping from foot to foot waiting for my attention.  "Yes, honey," I sigh, "What can I do for you?"  "Nothing, I just want to be near you."  She practically wormed into my lap, gave a penetrating look to my cereal bowl, and said, "What's that, mommy?"  For those of you who don't know, this is a prelude to her attempting to eat what's in my bowl, have another bowl of it, and then get me to cook her some more breakfast.  This is my semi-expensive but doctor approved cereal which tastes like freaking cardboard but apparently must be really good because it's MINE.  So I said, "You have already eaten breakfast, go clean your room and change clothes."  Her eye-rolling, harrumphing, foot-stomping response told me I may not survive the teenage years.  She's six.  Don't I have four or five years before this becomes a reality? 

OK...moving on.  I got the babies up, fed them, showered, and decided, "Hey, let's go to North Point Mall to ride the carousel, have some pretzels, and play in the soft play area.  It will be cheap, fun, and let the girls get some energy out."  Yes, I knew it would be crowded and hectic, but I also knew it would be a real treat, and I might get something done when I got home while the girls crashed.  But it was like they were doing their level best to punish me for trying to do something nice!  I get the twins going the right direction, and C disappears.  I find her (it's a three bedroom ranch - to where does she disappear?), and now - what the heck are the twins doing?  B, where ARE your pants?  A - put your shoes back on!  C - OMG, where did that girl go again?!?

Finally I get them out the door, cursing my stupidity, to the mall, pause for a couple of minutes at the pressure-sensitive screen, and DRAG them bodily to the mall office where I find out....they no longer sell the $1 carousel coupons.  It...I...uh...wha????  I'm not happy.  I have $10.  My day is timed out and based on this $10 which is to get us 3 coupons, pretzels, and a bottle of water.  The Mall is denying my children their treat (yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm cheap!  Deal with it).  When I was a DINK, I never gave any thought to the carousel costing 2 bucks a pop.  As a DIOK (I'll pause while you work it out...) it still seemed like a bargain.  As a SITK (makes me sounds like I've changed religions) I am very cheap!  Amazingly enough, I don't coupon very well primarily due to not being able to keep up with them, but if I can find a bargain I will!  Now I have to choose between the carousel and the pretzel nuggets...and realize the pretzel nuggets ultimately have to win here...oh crap, I have to tell my kids.  I filed a complaint in which I pointed out that to avoid the carousel I have to avoid the food court, so the merchants lose, too...feel free to go to the North Point Mall office and file a complaint, too.

I go out the door and look into the horrified eyes of my children.  Horsey?  Elephant?  Mommy wouldn't REALLY deny us our favorite past time, would she?  What will Ostrich do if the twins aren't there to ride her?  My eldest timidly asks, "Are we going to ride the carousel?"  The twins' eyes widen, breath held as they await my answer.  "Well, honey," I reply, "I can't afford the carousel AND pretzels."  "Oh that's OK!" she quickly exclaims, "We don't need to eat."  Ummm, yeah, speak for yourself...and remember that AFTER the ride.  I look at their hopeful faces, reevaluate my initial decision, and realize...yeah, they do need to eat, and ultimately these pretzels will bring a LOT more happiness.  "NOOOOOOO!" twin A wails, falling prostrate as she realizes her beloved frog-with-a-duck-on-his-butt must forgo her visit today.  "AAAAAAAGH!" twin B shouts, plopping to the ground in abject misery as she imagines her beloved horsey perishing from lack of a visit...Sweet C, who has up to this point gone out of her way to drive me completely insane today, looks at me, lower lip trembling, and says, "OK, Mommy, we understand.  It's OK."  Ohhhhh...that was the sound of my heart-strings being plucked...but I can't give in, even if I want to, because I can't let them think begging - oh, not the

Dragging the twins BACK through the mall, we head to the Auntie Anne's pretzel store by the soft play area.  Can I salvage ANY of this day at this point?  I ask the girls to sit on the triangular tile around the three-columned supports.  I turn back to see their heart broken faces - uh...oh, apparently we've forgotten our greek tragedy already.  Pretzels come and are devoured, and we go to play.  Oh joy!  All is right with the world.  I found advil and caffeine to quell the headache rising (you can buy a lot more with $10 than with $7), I found a table to sit at, and the girls are playing.  For 20 blissful minutes I can sit, rest, and enjoy my kids...and then the twins are asking to leave and I'm trying NOT to strangle my 6 year old who is having a meltdown at having to leave the two little girls she's just met for the first time but she's SURE are her life-long BFFs!  I drag them back to the car, lock everyone into place, and spend 25 minutes in one of the most ANNOYING drives home I've had in ages.  Oh please oh please oh please oh please...let me get them home in one piece so I can put the twins down for a nap, install C in her room with the portable DVD player, and FINALLY find some peace in my day!!!!!!

We get home and I tell the girls "GO IN THE HOUSE RIGHT NOW!"  They stand outside the van looking at each other and not moving.  I turn back.  "What exactly does RIGHT NOW mean to you?" I ask C.  Apparently not much...She slowly starts shuffling towards the house, the twins in her wake.  I'm digging around in the back to get cups, coats, etc. out of the car.  I realize the girls are STILL on the driveway by the car, only 3 feet closer to the house.  I pull my head back to chew them out - POW!!!!  Slam the back of my head on the door...handle...thingy...where you hang your dry cleaning - you know - that...thing.  All I want to do is scream every curse word I know and beat up the seat.  How the heck could I do something so STUPID?!?!?  But I can't.  Why?  The girls are STILL STANDING ON THE DRIVEWAY and little pitchers...big ears...ow ow owowowowowowow..."GO IN THE HOUSE!"  I growl.  They are off like shots.   I get in the house, knowing I'm going to have a HUGE bump on the back of my head, and I think, "All I want right now is my MOMMY!"  She's in Vegas, and I'm on my own.

I put the twins in their room and the phone rings.  I am doomed to a life of not being able to have ANYTHING go my way...I go to answer it...It's my mom.  She is calling from Vegas.  She says, "I just had this feeling I really needed to call you right now."  I love my mommy!!  We spent over an hour on the phone.  She assures me I'm a good mommy and a good girl, and that I have, indeed, had quite the rough day.  It was a mental kiss on the forehead and a long-distance hug.  It felt really good.  While she and my dad talk to the girls, I can change clothes, grab a drink, and breath.  I have such awesome parents.  Even long-distance they can babysit my kids for a moment and give me a break. 

*Sniffle, sniffle*  *Whine*  OK, go ahead - tell me how picked on I am!!

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