Posts Tagged ‘complaints’

Complaints That Need Diagrams Do Not Make Good Posts

Thursday, February 13th, 2014


Complaint #1: Caroline’s ballet class meets in what used to be an elementary school but is now a sort of run-down building they use for a zillion different things. Two classrooms down from ballet is a perpetual tag sale and on Saturdays they fill the hall with furniture and bikes and other junk. It’s not a very big hallway, so during class it’s pretty crowded with parents waiting for their tiny ballerinas. This weekend one of the classrooms farther down was being used for baseball sign-ups so there was a constant stream of traffic and people almost tripping over my feet.


HALLWAY 1 The X’s are people sitting in chairs, Dance Mom is someone whose daughter is in Caroline’s class, and Friend is not MY friend, but the friend of someone joining our story in a minute. I had to bring Evan with me since E was working, but he had the iPad so 45 minutes in a hallway meant nothing to him.

Near the end of class time, the parents for the NEXT class start to show up. That class is full of tiny, adorable children in tap shoes. Most kids change shoes when they get there so everyone is sort of stumbling around trying to juggle shoes and coats and multiple children in a small hallway. On a normal day it’s kind of a mess, on a day when there’s extra traffic for Little League sign ups it’s a cluster.

5 minutes before the end of ballet, a woman with a giant sit-n-stand stroller makes her way down the hallway. There are two small children in the stroller and the tap class participant child following behind. The whole parade stops DIRECTLY in front of me and just…stays there. In the middle of the hallway.


The red is the family blocking the hallway and the blue X’s are ALL the people trying to get past. The poor blue X’s kept saying “Excuse me, excuse me” and trying to squeeze around the stroller, which the clueless woman didn’t even TRY to move to one side or the other (not that there was enough room to unblock the hallways by doing that, but she could have tried). She just STOOD THERE saying “Where do they want me to go? There’s no room?” and her friend (“Friend” on the diagram) encouraged her by saying “I don’t know, this hallway is so crowded” and “As if saying ‘excuse me’ is going to make it wider??”

Just beyond the chairs in my diagram, I have added a red arrow. That arrow is pointing at the GIANT EMPTY SPACE where there is plenty of room for a stroller. Literally less than 10 feet down the hallway.

Let me make it more clear:

HALLWAY 3 After the longest 5 minutes ever of just staring in awe at this whole disaster, I decided it wasn’t going to resolve itself so I very, very politely said “Perhaps you could try moving the stroller over there along the wall? Our kids *gestures to chairs full of parents* are about to come out of class and it’s only going to get more crowded.” She and her friend looked at me like I had two heads, but she FINALLY moved down the hallway just in time for the door to open and everyone’s preschoolers to come streaming out in a giant mass.

I made eye-rolly eye contact with a few of the other parents who seemed as totally puzzled as I was with the whole thing. I mean, I sort of get it. There have been plenty of times when I was facing a problem with 2 small children in tow and I’ve been TOTALLY OVERWHELMED by things like “walking” and “polite behavior” and “awareness” all colliding at once. Maybe her awkwardness meter runs on coffee and she hadn’t had any yet that morning. But I can safely say that after the second “excuse me” I would have walked to the opposite side of the building if it meant not being in the way.

I realize writing a complaint about someone in my real life is risky, but I feel SO JUSTIFIED in my UNDENIABLE RIGHTNESS that I don’t even care. It is not often I am SO RIGHT, which brings me to complain #2

Complaint #2: Caroline’s school sent home a little note that said there had been some “close calls” in the parking lot and we (the school parents) needed to be more careful because other people (church attendees) use the building during the day.

I KNOW the note was about me. Me personally. ME AND MY MINIVAN AND A SPECIFIC INSTANCE. Which is embarrassing, you know? Everyone who got that note is now thinking “Ugh, what kind of jerk parent doesn’t obey the stop sign in the parking lot?” I have gotten ragey plenty of times about the stupid parental behavior in the pick-up/drop-off line but in this case, since it was about me, I would like to CLEAR THINGS UP.

Here is the driveway situation:



Both preschool drives are one way, so ALL the parents coming to pick up their kids turn before they get to the exit driveway and during the 30 minute pick-up/drop-off window 99.999% of cars will turn there.

Last week after I picked up Caroline I was STOPPED at the stop sign – completely stopped – when a car turned into the church drive. It had JUST turned and so I pulled out, assuming it would pull into the pick-up line. Unfortunately, they were headed up to the church so technically I had turned “in front of them”. That was literally the first time I have ever seen anyone go straight there, so it was an honest mistake.



(You didn’t really need a diagram for that, but I MADE ONE, so look at it. LOOK.)

It still would NOT HAVE BEEN A PROBLEM if they had been driving at an appropriate preschool-driveway speed. I had PLENTY of time to be out of their way before they got anywhere near me, except they were going at least 40 mph. I STILL made it out of the way before they were in any danger of hitting me  so all that happened was the guy gave me an angry look and a rude gesture (NICE JOB, CHURCH GOER. Just what Jesus would have done). Until I got the note in Caroline’s backpack.

This is one of those cases where I WASN’T entirely right. If we had been in a crash it would have been my fault, unless someone wanted to cite him for speeding on a road that is private property so it doesn’t actually have a speed limit. I learned my lesson and will be sure to wait until there are no cars on the driveway at all before turning, just in case one other person in the next two years decides to go straight. (Honestly, as much as I love the actual school, I will NOT be sad to be done with the pick-up/drop-off line forever when Caroline goes to real school next year.) This is a case where I can’t flaunt my RIGHTNESS at all, but I can flaunt my indignation that not only did that guy have the nerve to flip me off in a church parking lot, he was SO OFFENDED he had to slow down a little bit that he reported my terrible driving to the headmistress.

I think the fact that I took the time to document both incidents with diagrams instead of just letting it go like a normal, functional human being has something to do with my heightening pregnancy rage, in which case I apologize in advance to everyone I have to interact with for the next 21 weeks.


Martha Stewart only has ONE kid

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

I’m currently deep in the throes of Trying To Do It All with a side of Why Yes, I Am Suzy Homemaker and a dash of Impossibly High Standards on top. I get like this every time I face a new year/life change/burst of energy and end up driving myself crazy in the process. But that doesn’t stop me from trying. It’s especially bad right now because I’ve combined the pressure of Starting Over In The New Year with the pressure to act like I have my act together as Mother of Two. And don’t get me started on how insane the constant barrage of DIET DIET DIET LOSE WEIGHT YOU’RE SO FAT JOIN A GYM DIET DIET EAT MORE FIBER EAT LESS FOOD GET YOUR BODY BACK from the television makes me. Someday maybe I’ll write a whole post on why exactly that kind of talk is so dangerous (not just in general but for me personally), but for now lets just say I’m enjoying my final 3 weeks of birth/labor recovery before I’m even ALLOWED to work out and not worrying about getting anything “back”. Besides my clean floors, clean bathrooms, clean fridge, clean pantry, organized closets, organized shelves, mopped kitchen, vacuumed floors, etc etc etcetcetcetc. ETC. I would like those back. Because despite the fact that what I really want to be doing is napping, I am instead framing artwork for a new grouping in our formal living room and making menu plans for hypothetical play dates. (NO REALLY, I WAS DOING THAT TODAY.)

Of course, as I write this my toddler is stomping on his lunch (and by lunch I mean pizza flavored Goldfish I threw in his general direction around 2 pm), I’m wearing yoga pants, dinner isn’t started and I’m on my fourth caffeinated beverage of the day.

So clearly, I’m not setting the bar TOO high.

What I mean is I’ve decided to become the kind of person who never lets laundry pile up, whose bathrooms are always clean, who makes dinner from scratch (or at least doesn’t order pizza) every night, who never raises her voice or gets frustrated with her children, who wears clothes that fit and loses all the baby weight within two months, thanks to 4 times a week workouts to which I am never late. I will change the very essence of my being and 28 years of habits and nevermind the fact that I have never not even once made this kind of commitment stick for more than just a few days. THIS TIME will be different.

Basically, really, I’ve decided to FAIL. I’m going to stay on top of things for exactly two days and then spend the next two months beating myself up about it. I am going to have exactly one person over for one play date where I provide healthy snacks and a clean carpet and charming conversation and wear real pants. But as soon as they go home I will collapse on the couch and change into pajamas and stuff my face with brownies and yell at my toddler and order pizza for dinner and leave the box on the floor.

Because honestly, that’s the kind of mother I am. Laid-back. Which is a nice way of saying lazy. Or maybe I’m just a little overwhelmed right now.

It would be so much better for everyone if I just tried to do SOME stuff instead of EVERYTHING. Set reasonable goals, like one load of laundry a day or loading the dishwasher every night or cooking 4 nights a week. Gee, that sounds so reasonable and do-able and normal. Clearly not something I am at ALL interested in being. Why would I possible want to avoid an opportunity to beat myself up about how I suck at motherhood?


p.s. My attempts at perfect have been thwarted EVEN SOONER than I could have predicted, thanks to what seems to be yet another kidney infection. Instead of making the dinners I planned and shopped for I’m forcing my family to forage for microwave popcorn and apples while I lie on the couch moaning through chills and a 102 fever. Which is why this post is super whiny – it’s hard to be funny when it feels like someone kicked you repeatedly in the back with steel toed boots.

p.p.s. I’m calling the doctor today. They were closed yesterday due to the snow and unless I am in so much pain I can’t function I’m trying to avoid the emergency room. Not super fun with a 3 week old.

Standing in line is hazardous to my mental health

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

While we were in Boston on Sunday I had a stupid encounter with a stupid guy waiting in line for a stupid bathroom at Starbucks that’s been bothering me ever since.

As a pregnant woman, nothing sucks more than needing to pee only to discover a super-long line, except for needing to pee only to discover a super-long line that rude people keep trying to cut into. But as a clearly pregnant woman I don’t think I need to feel guilty about telling a guy to wait his turn when he saunters up to the front of the line and tries the door handle on the bathroom.

Me: Excuse me, there’s a line.
Mr. No-social-skills: I’m looking for the restroom.
Me: This is the line for the restroom. We’re all waiting.
Rest of people in line: THIS IS THE LINE. THE END IS OVER THERE.
Mr. No-social-skills: This is ridiculous. Mutter mutter mutter.

He then became the self-appointed bathroom police and took great joy in announcing THIS IS THE LINE to everyone who walked within 20 feet of the door, including the lady wrangling four kids who looked like she might cry. He also kept staring at me and then rolling his eyes if I looked in his direction, which was getting on my last nerve even before this exchange:

Lady with four kids: Wow, this line is really slow.
Mr. No-social-skills (catching my eye): It is! It’s slow! So slow! I think this is all YOUR fault!
Me: *silence*
Mr. No-social-skills: I said it’s your fault! The line is long because you’re pregnant!
Me: …I don’t see how.
Mr. No-social-skills: Ha ha! But it is! I’m making a joke!
Me: I don’t think it’s funny.
Mr. No-social-skills: Jeez, some people have no sense of humor. Why don’t you smile?

Dude, I get it. You’re at the kindly old man stage of your life, where you think being jovial and friendly means you can get away with anything you want in public. And I’m youngish and blond and alone, not to mention I have the audacity to be FEMALE which automatically means I have to be sweet to you in exchange for your witty banter. THOSE ARE THE RULES FOR THE WOMENZ.

Unfortunately, I don’t feel like being polite. I have to PEE. My toddler is over there crying because he can see me but isn’t allowed out of his stroller. I have five people waiting for me, not to mention a coffee that is getting colder by the minute. There’s also a rumor that the toilet in this bathroom is broken (it was) so depending on what the slightly creepy guy in front of me does in there I may not be able to use it at all (It ended up just being the flush handle that was broken, so I pulled the lid off the back and pushed the lever manually – unlike the DOZEN people before me who couldn’t figure that out).

It was just so awkward and uncomfortable and miserable to be trapped there, already physically uncomfortable, only to be dealing with a guy who was trying to make me participate in some sort of social interaction he thought he was entitled to. To be honest, I would rather have a dozen women try to feel my belly than deal with one dude like that. It makes me want to go back to hiding in my living room like a hermit, avoiding social interaction in general just so I don’t have to deal with…PEOPLE. At least for the next 11 weeks.

(Disclaimer: being told to SMILE in public is just about my biggest pet peeve ever, so if your reaction to MY reaction is “Jeeze, take a chill pill hormonal pregnant lady” I’ll understand.)

Hit by the pregnancy symptom truck

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Remember how a couple weeks ago I was all “This pregnancy is so easy! Most days I barely remember I’m even pregnant! I can’t wait to me MORE pregnant!”

Yeah, that was stupid. I am DEFINITELY pregnant. I could star in my own made for TV movie called Mega-Pregnant Woman Versus Giant Bottle of Tums and I wouldn’t even need a stunt double.

My feet hurt. I’m exhausted, even with a daily nap. I am irritated by totally irrational things and want to scream at random strangers. My clothes don’t fit. I can’t bend over in the middle. Everything from crackers to fruit to water gives me heartburn. I’m being regularly kicked in the bladder and I pee a little every time I laugh, jump or sneeze. I never sleep through the night. I’m always hot. My boobs are huge and sore (and here’s a new one: I have breast tissue that extends back into my armpit so even my underarms are painful). I keep getting giant crater sized pimples I’m afraid Baby Evan might get sucked into and disappear forever. And to top it all off, I STILL have morning sickness in the mornings – I get out of bed, I throw up for about 10 minutes, then I start my day. Every. Day.

As of my appointment this morning I am up 19 pounds and got a Talking To about adding more exercise to my routine, which is ridiculous because a) I chase a toddler all day b) I’m still going to Stroller Strides at least 3 times a week and c) I CHASE A TODDLER ALL DAY. Yes I know I’ll have to lose all this weight again, thanks for the breaking news. I know I’ve had this discussion on the internet before but I wish there was a way to just not even mention weight or weight gain in pregnancy at all until it became an actual health issue. My blood pressure is good, the baby is good, shut the eff up. I have the sudden urge to yell “LEAVE THE PREGNANT WOMEN ALOOOOOOOONE!!!!111!!!!!11!” but I’m too tired to actually yell at anything.

I think the only thing more exhausting than thinking about 19 more weeks of this is imagining life with a toddler AND a newborn.

I’m gonna go lie down.

I hate you Al Roker

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Or maybe this weather Al Gore’s fault. I think just to be safe we should go ahead blame all dudes named Al and force them to fan us with giant palm leaves and spritz us with Evian. That’s getting off pretty easy if you ask me. What I COULD do is trap them in an unairconditioned house with a grumpy, rashy, non-napping baby who screams unless he is ON YOU at all times. Of course, to make them TRULY appreciate my pain they would need to be pregnant too. And now I have an image of an Al Roker-Al Gore love child suck in my head. Even air conditioning can’t help me now.

We’re currently headed into week three of what the weathermen like to call “unseasonable warmth” which is a bit of a misnomer as the only place you could call 95 degrees “seasonable” is the surface of the sun or the fourth circle of Hell.

(I’m watching the Today Show as I write this and they’re doing a story about Yellowstone, where it is cool and shady and pleasant. Jenna Bush is on my TV wearing a FLEECE JACKET. I don’t think I’ve ever hated a member of the Bush family more than I do right now.)

The real problem with this weather isn’t the actual temperature, it’s the duration. There are generally a few days every summer in late July or August where the humidity is out of control and the heat is unbearable and half the population runs off to Walmart to fist-fight for the last of the AC window units while the other half stands naked in front of box fans reminding themselves over and over that this too shall pass. When you know you’ve only got a couple weeks to go before Labor Day you can sweat through this kind of misery.

But it is JUNE, barely the start of summer in Connecticut, and I am one of the many many residents of the North East who have no air conditioning (or any hope of getting some – our windows are the wrong size, the house is too big and leaky to do much good, we can’t afford the unit OR the electricity). This is also barely the start of my second trimester, which seems to have gotten confused with my first trimester, since it’s given me all day nausea and zapped my energy and ripped away every ounce of patience I was clinging to when it comes to handling a toddler. The best I can do right now is pray for some relief from the afternoon thunderstorms the weatherman keeps promising but never seem to appear, drink iced tea by the gallon and refuse to move any more than absolutely necessary.

Or maybe move to Seattle. I hear they don’t have this problem.