First there was a Man. Then a Woman. Then in quick succession, two cats, a confused dog beast, and two kids. I stay at home with them. I'm the Man

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I Take On a Retail Giant.

You ever been on the wrong end of retail arrogance?

We're at Target yesterday. We made a return. I know. That's not even the exciting part. We got store credit. Still, not the exciting part.

Kid takes my id, scans it, prints out a receipt, hands me my id, which I carefully replace, hands me a receipt, says it's a gift card return, then wanders away. I ask if I'm done, he says yes.

We make our way through the store, grab the shit we came for-- gardening gloves and a graphic T that reads "No Problemo!"-- plus a couple extra things (potato ricer, chicken scented candle) and go to pay. I hand the cashier the return receipt, and he says I need a gift card. I tell him that this was what I was given. He can't take it.

We pay for our things and go back to the return counter. I give a young woman the receipt. She stops what I assume to be a manager on his way in to the back room. I can only assume he was the manager because he was not wearing any identifiable Target clothing ( with the exception of a t-shirt that read "No Problemo!")

He disappears. Comes back out after about 8 minutes and mumbles, without even really stopping to look at me "I've reviewed the tapes, and you received the gift card." Turns and walks back toward the back room without pausing. I'm standing there with the Pman on my shoulders, we've all waited in line, and this guy--this . . . accusatory guy-- can't even be polite? Never mind the fact that I didn't receive a gift card.  Fuck that.

I step out and project, "What? I did not receive a gift card."

He turns wearily, his whole body a sigh that says "another day, another douche" and repeats the eloquent speech from a minute before.

"That's bullshit." I boom. The other customers are getting a show. Good. I want witnesses.
"I didn't get a gift card. Look at the tapes again."

"Sir," he says sir like it's a synonym for moron, "I reviewed the tapes, I saw you get a card; you can't get another one."

At this point I pull out my wallet and slap it on the counter. "Check my wallet." I snap. " Let me see the tapes!"  I thunder.

He makes no move to pick-up my wallet. I grab it and start for the back room. The P-man still astride my shoulders, which are now straight with righteousness.

"You can't see the tapes sir. Those tapes can be seen by my eyes only. No one else can view them." He says like he's been saving the line for just this kind of moment. Mother Fucker.

"I did not get the gift card." I spit.  My voice going up an octave in to the familiar "I've been wronged" range.

As I say this I lift the wallet up so the crowd can get a good look. I am going to show this asshole and we are going to get our $9.25(It's the principle of the thing, ok?)

Like a magician with a particularly clever card trick, I slide my id from my wallet and the gift card is right fucking behind it.

And the crowd gets a good look.

"Whoops sorry there it is." The words tumble brightly from my mouth like a mentally deficient stream over douche' baggy pebbles. I give the palms up, wide-eyed, my bad shrug that is the international symbol for "let's get the fuck out of here."

He gives me a tight little smile back but I barely see it as we are already making our way toward the exit with the kind of speed only a chagrined dick head can muster.

In my defense, the guy was a bit of an arrogant prick. In his defense, I was a complete asshole. I'd say that makes us even.

Eh, what can I say? I get worked up sometimes.

Lordy.

HM

Friday, April 15, 2011

My Cat Puked My Cable Box to Death and other Letters.

True story. I came home today and the cable box was dead. After wandering around for 15 minutes tearing my hair out and screaming "get me the president!" into the phone, I took a look at it. As far as I can tell, everything is plugged in. As far as I can tell. The back of our tv cabinet looks like the wiring in a meth lab's exhaust system.

I'm pretty sure the cat puked it to death. She's been sleeping on and puking in the thing for two years. How do you clean cat puke out of the tiny vent holes of a cable box? You don't. I'm going to write an angry letter to the company.

Dear Cable people. You send a cable box into an American home and it's not able to with stand two years of cat puke? You should be ashamed, sirs. Ashamed. 'Twas once a time when cat puke was a lubricant for the engine of economic growth in our country and not a hindrance. Cat puke is the very foundation upon which the electronics industry was built, would not a cat puke catchall be a common sense feature to add etc etc.

Speaking of letters written . . .

A couple of days ago, I wrote a letter to a venerable local news television magazine because they hate dads.* That sounds harsh. They hate fathers*. Better.

They ignored fathers anyway. On a half hour show with "parenting" in the title, they spent approx. 5 minutes doing empty dad talk. So I wrote them a testy, snippy letter which absolutely screamed "shred me" to the bored faceless intern who first read it.

However, I received two responses. One was faceless yet gracious. And one was from one of the two broadcasters who appear on the show. Mr. Ted Reinstein. His partner--and lead anchor-- Anthony Everett has yet to reply. I'm guessing because of Anti-Semitism.* Or maybe because who the hell has the time to read some shitty letter that the fucking faceless intern who is now fired should've shredded in the first place. Whatever it was, it definitely wasn't Anti-Semitism (had my fingers crossed!)

Mr. Ted Reinstein was pretty amicable. For the most part. I myself think I detect a note of defensiveness in the letter (not being sarcastic) but I will let you judge. Also, I've yet to write back to Mr. Ted Reinstein, so any suggestions are welcome. If anyone wants to read it,  I'll post the letter I wrote at the end to dispense with the bothersome clicking. Faceless intern letter first:

Good Evening Mr. ________,
We want to thank you for your insightful comments. Chronicle is always interested in the thoughts of its viewers. We are sorry to hear your displeasure with the "What Kind of Parent are you?" program. We fully understand that there are many fathers out there who are just like you, who work just as hard and maybe even harder to create a nurturing home for your family. For this episode we chose perhaps a more traditional path. It was never our intention to cause offense to you as a viewer. Your comments have been forwarded to the producers.

We hope you continue your loyal viewer-ship and thank you for watching,
Chronicle
WCVB-TV
781-433-4422
To receive Chronicle's newsletter, sign up here
http://www.thebostonchannel.com/emailnewsletters/index.html



Now, Mr. Ted Reinstein:





Mr. _______-
Thanks for your thoughts on our "Parenting" show last week.
I can well understand your frustration with the emphasis on "mom
types," but please understand, that premise grew largely out of our
choice to use Amy Chua's book, "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" as
our jumping off point.  I think another show might well add in more of
a dads element; although dads were certainly represented in some of
last week's show as well (boomerang kids, etc.).   But again, the "mom
types" segments were, just that--about moms this time.
For the record, while I may not be a stay-at-home dad, I am integrally
involved and engaged in all aspects of my childrens' lives, and don't relate
at all to some outdated "Father Knows Best"/50's notion of fatherhood. 
Just sayin'.........
Nonetheless, I will personally pitch for doing a follow-up show that focuses
more, or at least equally, on dads.
Again, thanks for taking the time to write.
Best,
Ted
Ted ReinsteinReporter
WCVB-TV
5 TV Place
Needham, Ma 02494
TheBostonChannel.com
781-433-4035 office781-433-4427    faxtreinstein@hearst.com


Is it me, or does it seem like a struck a nerve? In my original letter, I was careful to point out that I was talking about how their opinions came across on the show, and not who they actually are as fathers. I would never assume to know that. 


What can you expect from someone who neglects his kids though,* am I right?


HM


*Not intended to be a factual statement.

*Neither was that

* Or that one, for G_d's sake.

*Duh, obviously.


Letter I originally wrote:



Chronicle:

I am a fan. I have been for some time. I usually find your show well researched and thoughtful.

However . . . the episode on April 6th entitled "What kind of parent are you?" was an abject failure in that the part of parenting known as fatherhood was largely overlooked.

In a half hour show, you spent 20 minutes on mothers. You asked "What kind of parent are you?" and you answered that question by interviewing mothers. There were helicopter moms, best friend moms, and dolphin moms. There was a Tiger Mom. Psychiatrists, sociologists, and writers were interviewed about parenting but the word parenting was placed squarely in the context of motherhood.

The other ten minutes of the show--and I'm not counting commercial breaks--were split between a discussion of the trend of adult children moving back home and fatherhood talk.

The fatherhood talk consisted purely of your two broadcasters, Ted Reinstein and Anthony Everett, spending 3 minutes at the end of the show chatting about what fatherhood means to them. No experts, no filmed segments, no research.  Just two guys tossing around cliches and platitudes like "(paraphrasing) sometimes you've got to be their best friend and other times a disciplinarian. I'd call it a benign dictatorship."

I'm sure the gentlemen in question are nice men and fine fathers, but their opinions as presented on the show were banal echoes of 1950's parenting archetypes. The segment came across as what it was: an empty, half-hearted, pandering attempt at "equal time." I looked at my wife at about the 15 minute mark of your show and I said, "You see this? It's going to be all moms." You did not disappoint me.

I am a stay at home dad. It was a choice my wife and I made while she was pregnant with our first child and it is a choice we're very proud of.  There are millions like me now. If not stay at home dads, then dads that are just as committed to and involved in the parenting of their children as their wives are.  We make decisions about food, education, safety, morals, religion, money and all the other infinite responsibilities that come with the title parent.  

You attempted a discussion about parenting and instead gave us a 30 minute long reinforcement of parenting stereotypes. 

Chronicle, you owe us an apology.

Sincerely,

_________________, Father and Homemaker

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Greatest F*cking Giveaway in the History Of Forever is All Over!

The winner:

Cheryl at Deckside Thoughts.

Thank you to all the other entrants. Rest assured, you were part of something beautiful.

Also, please rejoice for the luck that befell Cheryl today. She is a really nice woman whose house currently smells like the inside of a boot. The inside of a boot that has been worn for 55 days straight. So, you know, she could use the prize.

Thanks again folks.

HM

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Old Peanuts

The Peanut has always been up against it. When My wife was pregnant, a blood test came back that said the Peanut (At that time, the size of an actual peanut) had a 1-in-3 chance of being born with a birth defect so severe it would render her non-viable.

We had to wait a month and a half--until my wife and the Peanut were ready for an amnio--until we found out for sure. That was a wicked fun 45 days.

After she was born, she wouldn't eat. Would not latch. Not good on the bottle. We had a lactation consultant in the hospital who helped to really fuck the situation up good. We fed her with a pump and a tube and a syringe and our fingers for a month before a friend who happened to be an ex-nicu nurse was able to help.

She's got a kidney condition known as urinary reflux. Which for a time meant way too many catheters.

That's probably an understatement as "too many catheters" can be mathematically expressed as 1.

As she's grown, barely, we've had to go to dietitians, keep a wary eye on the scale, and beseech her to "eat Peanut, eat. You gotta eat if you want to be strooong."

Now, she eats ok. Not great, but at least enough to sustain life and growth. She's the smallest girl in her class, but not the weakest.

Despite, or more likely because of ( the Peanut is a contrarian delight. If her classmates are excited by some new Barbies in the play area, the Peanut can probably be found wandering around the pretend kitchen making pretend calls and cooking and eating pretend cookies. She won't eat real food, but she puts away enough pretend food to be pretend morbidly obese. Frustrating.) my efforts at disparaging little girl Princess stereotypes, she is all pinks and ruffles and sparkles and fairy wings. Which suits her. She's so small and fine. So light on her feet. We were so worried about her for the first few years. She seems other-wordly. Like a changeling, my wife says. A changeling who could just slip through our fingers and disappear.

She's also all poop jokes, and fart noises. Puke sound effects and fake burps. A fluttering, sparkling, twisting, spinning, leaping, farting, puking, burping, laughing, pink will-o-the wisp.  If you've never seen an elf-fairy-changeling princess crack itself up by making a fart noise and then retching because it's so "smelly and disgusting," you should.

She's can be bossy as hell with her little brother. Which would really suck if she wasn't the same way at times with her mother and me. Bossy's not great, but it's way better than being a bully.

She's careful and smart. She's monkey -agile. She's sly. She's got bad moods like sudden downpours in the spring.

She is also Four years old. I can't believe it. Happy Birthday, little girl. We love you very, very much.

Mommy
Daddy
Pumpkin Man.





P.S. Meant to get this up on the twelfth because that's her bday, but I didn't quite make it. Just wanted to make sure everyone knew the correct date. So you can back date those gift checks.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Wherein I send testy emails to a bored TV intern

There is this local tv news magazine we watch called Chronicle. It's been on for nearly thirty years which I think qualifies it for venerable status. Th unique thing about the show is that they devote entire shows--it's a half hour long-- to the investigation and discussion of one topic. A pretty rare thing these days. It's a show that becomes really interesting when you hit middle age and find yourself going, "Hey, I suddenly give a shit about what happens on the main streets and back roads of Grundle NH. Where can I get well organized and thoughtful info about it?"

So, we're fans around here. Last week they did a show about parenting. "Hey," I said to myself,  I'm a parent."

I eagerly sat my middle aged ass in my creaky easy chair and prepared myself for a half hour of thoughtful in-depth programming about modern parenting. What I got was pretty much the same old bullshit. So I wrote them an angry email:


Chronicle:

I am a fan. I have been for some time. I usually find your show well researched and thoughtful.

However . . . the episode on April 6th entitled "What kind of parent are you?" was an abject failure  in that the part of parenting known as Fatherhood was largely overlooked.

In a half hour show, you spent 20 minutes on mothers. You asked "What kind of parent are you?" and you answered that question by interviewing mothers. There were helicopter moms, best friend moms, and dolphin moms. There was a Tiger Mom. Psychiatrists, sociologists, and writers were interviewed about parenting but the word parenting was placed squarely in the context of motherhood.

The other ten minutes of the show--and I'm not counting commercial breaks--were split between a discussion of the trend of adult children moving back home and fatherhood talk.

The fatherhood talk consisted purely of your two broadcasters, Ted Reinstein and Anthony Everett, spending 3 minutes at the end of the show chatting about what fatherhood means to them. No experts, no filmed segments, no research.  Just two guys tossing around cliches and platitudes like "(paraphrasing) sometimes you've got to be their best friend and other times a disciplinarian. I'd call it a benign dictatorship."

I'm sure the gentlemen in question are nice men and fine fathers, but their opinions as presented on the show were banal echoes of 1950's parenting archetypes. The segment came across as what it was: an empty, half-hearted, pandering attempt at "equal time." I looked at my wife at about the 15 minute mark of your show and I said, "You see this? It's going to be all moms." You did not disappoint me.

I am a stay at home dad. It was a choice my wife and I made while she was pregnant with our first child and it is a choice we're very proud of.  There are millions like me now. If not stay at home dads, then dads that are just as committed to and involved in the parenting of their children as their wives are.  We make decisions about food, education, safety, morals, religion, money and all the other infinite responsibilities that come with the title parent.

You attempted a discussion about parenting and instead gave us a 30 minute long reinforcement of parenting stereotypes.

Chronicle, you owe us an apology.



Did anyone see this show? Do you think I'm out of line here? Thoughts, questions, comments?  You can watch the show here.

I'll keep folks updated if I hear anything. Also, don't forget about the GREAT AWESOME I CAN"T FUCKING BELIEVE ANYTHING THIS GOOD COULD EVER HAPPEN ANYWHERE SCENTSY GIVEAWAY!!

There is still time to enter!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

That Light Bulb Smells Awesome

Here is the deal: It's giveaway time. My first ever. And likely my last.

One of The Aunties from Maine has made available to the readers of this here online wordification depository (fancy!) one beautiful Scentsy Scents flame free Warmer and one grab bag of delectable wax Scents. I cannot tell you what is in the grab bag of scents. I will tell you that the kibosh was put on my own homemade contributions. The Ki. Bosh. They were gasoline and maple-garlic. Put it in the comments if you're interested.

I can tell you that we here in the Big Pink own the very version that one of you lucky folks is about to receive. I can tell you that yours will not be the one we own, but will actually be new. I can tell you that the warmer works via incandescent light bulb and black magic. I can tell you that the scents are very very pleasant. I can tell you that they last much longer and seem to cover much more ground than other warmers or candles or incense (hippies).  We used ours 2 days ago and the house still smells like a Citgo.

Probably it's good my homemade scents weren't included.

And I can tell you that the warmer looks like this:



The background and scent bar holder are not included but a sense of well being and oneness with Mother Earth definitely is. Or probably. Whatever you freaks are into.

Here's what Scentsy says about the product:

"Awash with pastel tones of pale green, yellow and fawn, handpainted finches poised on budding branches add a cheerful, spring-like feel to any room."


The shit is Awash, people.

Let me say, I would not do this giveaway if not for the fact that a.) The thing works and b.) in the interest of full disclosure, the Auntie in question is a Lead Consultant for Scentsy. Which is a naming trend I like. Gonna open an eyeglass store called Looky.

So anyway, comments please. Tell me why your house smells boring and the Scentsy Warmer is just what you need to inject some spring zing (marketing!) into your otherwise drab olfactory life. Or just tell me you want it. Drawing will be random.  Like my writing.

Good Luck and Godspeed.

HM

P.S.

Tweet the giveaway and link the tweet in your comment and get another entry.

 Also, if any of you already has a warmer and is just in need of more scents, click the one of links and help the poor girl pay off her college loans.

Or get her own apartment. Or have extra money to spend on my kids. Any way you look at it, rest assured you'll be buying from a young woman of integrity and awesomeness. Ok. Post over. Comment to enter.

Ok.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Hi Everyone

Sorry I've been reticent in my posting. It's been busy here and frankly, I haven't had shit to report. Until now.

We had a date night! It's been a very long time since our last one.  We even got dressed up a little. I ironed for Chreezy's sake. My shirt. Not my hair. Ironing is not something I'm into, but I did it for date night. 

My wife was feeling better after surgery (still not at liberty to say what the surgery was, but here's a hint: Snikt Snikt.) and we got a friend to baby sit and out we went. 

Of course, destination for romance was a wake, but still . . . pretty'd up wife, no kids, out with other adults, didn't have to cook dinner;  sounds like date night to me. 

The wake was for the uncle of my wife's oldest friend. It went how those things go. It was sad.  He was a very warm and kind and funny man who cared deeply for my wife and always seemed genuinely interested in and cheered by our kids and our life. 

It was awkward. We knew only the family of the deceased while most of the people who attended seem to know each other on some level. And at one point I found myself thinking about the pizza I had ordered for the kids and the babysitter and if there would be some left when we got home.  There was so, score there.

We got home before the kids got to bed, which was nice for our babysitting friend.  Then we watched the movie Kick-Ass, which was entertaining enough that I'm hoping to find a Hit Girl costume for the Peanut for Halloween. 

Hit Girl, kicking ass and not even bothering with names


As I type this, the date has changed from the 2nd to the 3rd and so:

Happy 4th Anniversary my love. Four years done and all rest of them left to go. Lucky for me. I love you forever and forever and forever. 





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