Wednesday, September 22, 2010

a whole new world

A couple of weeks before we moved we made the 8 hour drive to the new area to find a house to rent and get W into kindergarten. I wanted to be able to move directly into a house instead of having to stay in a hotel for awhile as living the hotel life with 4 young kids seriously blows. On our way up I fell asleep and when I woke up, we were pretty close to the new town.

Everyone had always told me how awesome the area was and how much I was going to love it there because they had loved it so when I woke up and saw the surroundings, I asked Mark why we were lost and where he had taken a wrong turn. And then he gave me the devastating news that we were not in fact lost, but we were right where we were supposed to be. WHAT?! No, seriously. WHAT?! This was not at all what I was expecting.

For real, it was like the city planner had no idea what to do with the area so he was like, "I have a GREAT idea!! Lets give my 18 month old a box of crayons and a piece of paper and we will turn whatever he scribbles down into the road map for the city. Then I'll have my 3 year old play Monopoly and we will use her gameboard as the plan for where we will put our buildings." Because really, only here could it take you 25 minutes and 15 left turns onto side streets to get to a bigger street which will change names 6 times and then turn into a 1 lane gravel road that you have to take to get to the next bigger street. And only here can you find a Holiday Inn Express next to a Korean church that is between a Wendy's and a tobacco shop, which are located in the same strip mall as a day care and a health food store which are a less than a block away from a trailer park straight out of 1973 and brand new apartment complex.

And let us not forget the Super Walmart, which can be found approximately every 2.3 miles. Super Walmart, I'm coming to find, is this area's version of Starbucks. There is one on every corner and it is where everyone congregates. I should have known this was not the place for me when I realized that Super Walmart was the nicest grocery store in the area. Yes, I am a snob. I'll admit it, I'll own it, I'll wear a t-shirt that says it. I hate Walmart. HATE IT. I don't DO Walmart.

We've all seen that website Hours of fun. But I was always like, whatever, that is staged, these people don't exist. Oh no. No, no no. They do exist and they ALL live in my town and go to the Walmarts I have to go to. Whenever I go I have to spend the day working up to it. By the time I have the courage to go, it is late and potentially dangerous because here, all of the weirdos come out at 8pm.

When we moved here M made a rule that no one goes out past 8-- he didn't feel it was safe and I was like, Ok, whatever. Holy overreact much. But this time, he was right. One night I had to go to Walmart and it was 8:13. And he told me not to go, just wait, go in the morning, but me being the stubborn freak that I am was like, no, I'll be fine. Seriously, what is the worst that could happen? HA!

Yo. When I got there there was a drunk guy too drunk to open the refrigerated beer case and spent a good 3 minutes cussing the fridge out and banging on the doors before he realized he had to PULL them open, instead of slide them open. That in addition to the load of screaming kids who were pulling juice bottles off the shelves and running around while their parents screamed at them to stop doing that and come back, but who didn't bother to actually GO GET THEM. And everyone was just mean, in bad moods and seriously rude.

It took me nearly 2 hours to navigate through the madness while I tried to decipher if what I was seeing was actually real or not. It was like entering an entirely different world and all the while I contemplated if I should get a permit to carry a concealed weapon. These people were crazy, and not crazy in a legitimate way where you know they need help and feel bad for them, but crazy in a way where you are like, "Hey, didn't I see you on COPS last week? We're you the one beating the crap out of your ex-husband's car with a crowbar? Or were you the one who was calling the cops because you hit on your neighbor's boyfriend and she proceeded to beat the crap out of you? Or were you the one who called the cops because your dealer "stole" 20 bucks from you after your "transaction" and it made you mad and you wanted him arrested, while forgetting you still had drugs on you and got arrested yourself"?

When I finally got to the checkout after waiting the requisite 35 minutes in line, I made small talk with the checker and found she wasn't from "around here" either and thought as highly of the place as I did. And then directly in front of us, in the Customer Service area, we heard a commotion brewing. There was a woman there demanding to see the manager. She was clearly unhappy, evidenced by the fact that every other word she said was a swear word. The manager came up and she proceeded to lay into him with her complaints. He was trying to calm her down but she just kept on, and on, and on, and on, and on... Her chief complaint? "I COME HERE EVERY TUESDAY NIGHT AND WHEN I GET HERE THERE IS NOTHING ON THE SHELVES AND THE AISLES ARE FILLED WITH PALLETS AND BOXES". Um, ok. Well, common sense would tell you that if there was nothing on the shelves and there were boxes and pallets filling the aisles, maybe you should come the next day, after they have restocked the shelves with the contents of the pallets and boxes??? Maybe?? Yeah...

He tried explaining that to her, which made her more mad, then she started laying into him about how they never have what she wants and they used to have what she wants but they don't now and they should know what she wants... and the manager tried telling her that it wasn't that simple and that things weren't how they used to be and things had changed, to which she responded, "YEAH?! WELL MY MONEY HASN'T CHANGED YOU DUMB@$$." Yeah...

So she started moving closer to me, and I'm thinking, no, you don't need to be closer to me, and oh dang, how am I going to get out of here? This situation is escalating and she's getting more mad. Meanwhile my checker is looking on the belt for anything sharp I may have bought so she can use it in her defense. It was time for me to leave and she was showing no signs of letting up and moving closer to me, so I calmly put my hands up and said, "Ma'am, go home. Just, go home. We've all heard your complaints, we understand them, just, go home before you get into trouble. It isn't worth it, just go home." And OH MY GOODNESS did all hell break loose. She came at me and put her fingers in my face and screamed at me like I have never been screamed at before. "YOU GO HOME YOU DUMB B!TC4!! YOU GO HOME! THIS IS A FREE COUNTRY AND I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT!! YOU GO HOME!!!." Yeah...

Well, 1) I'm trying to go home, but you are in my way 2) Did you really just pull the "free country" card with me? I mean really, by doing so you've just given me a full deck to play from, including the "what have you done for our country lately to ensure your freedoms and blah blah blah" card and 3) Are you really saying "free country" in Walmart? The symbol of oppression and everything that ISN'T "free" in America? Yeah, ok. Whatever lady, move along.

But she was relentless and would not stop. Calling me names over and over, following me, screaming at me to go home. I kept calm, told her I was trying to go home and that maybe she should walk out with me and go to her car so she could go home too... it was ridiculous. The entire time the manager had this look in his eyes like "Oh no. We didn't go over this in my training, what do I do??" He ended up having someone stay with the out of control lady while he ushered me out of the store. He was legitimately scared. He asked me where my car was, told me he wasn't going to leave until I had left and I kept assuring him I was fine, that I could take her if she came at me and that he should probably call the cops because the only way she was going to be leaving that night was in handcuffs, or on a gurney after someone tazed her or knocked her out.

Should I have gotten involved? Probably not. But I had to leave, she was right in my way. There was no way I was going to get out of there because she wasn't going anywhere and there was no way I was going to be sticking around to wait for her to be done. And Mr. Manager really had no idea what he was doing so the situation wasn't showing any signs of diffusing. I've worked with plenty of "questionable" people before... but dang. This was an entirely new experience.

So while I didn't get into trouble or really do anything malicious, I can officially say I have been escorted out of Walmart by the manager after getting into an altercation with another customer. I believe I am now a stereotype.

Friday, September 17, 2010

the whirlwind that was this summer

Oy. Just, Oy. What a summer this has been. I'm pretty sure the kids spent more time sleeping in their carseats and hotel rooms than they did in their own beds. We drove well over 9000 miles this summer, traveled through 15 different states, most of them twice, packed up a house, unpacked another, completed my 11th move in 6 years, W's 9th before he turned 5 (all cross country or across state lines or across the world), I gained 10 pounds, A started walking, MJ figured out how to unscrew bottle caps (not beer caps, I promise), W started kindergarten and CB, well, let's just say she's come a LONG way this summer. And to top it all off, I got escorted out of Walmart by the manager after getting into an altercation with another customer. Yes, yes I did. I can die happy now. I think my life is complete.

This is the first time I've had a chance to sit down at the computer in over 2 weeks. Actually, I don't think I've really sat down at all in the past 3 weeks, except maybe to sleep and I'm not sure that even counts given the number of nights we were sleeping on an air mattress. Thankfully, the house is unpacked and relatively organized, just please, whatever you do, DO NOT open any of the closets. I can't be held liable for anything that may fall on your head. The closets will have to come later, I need a break.

The freezer is full again after a marathon 3 day cooking stint-- 12 dozen turkey and quinoa meatballs (egg, wheat and dairy free), 64 cups of chicken broth, 6 batches of chicken and rice soup, 6 batches of my really awesome chili, 4 whole chickens worth of shredded chicken and a serious amount of homemade spaghetti sauce. That all should last us like, a week. Ok, maybe 5. Dang, this family can eat. And after cooking through 6 pounds of onions and 12 heads of garlic in less than 3 days I can officially say that my house, and my hair, reek.

Now I'm on to making and freezing a bunch of muffins, waffles and pie crust and pureeing and freezing my own pumpkin because we all know how much I love the pumpkin... I plan on going through at LEAST a pound a week of that stuff this fall. Speaking of which, I actually got to taste my first Pumpkin Spice Latte last week. I know, right?? My first?! Yes, my first. I can't believe it has taken me this long. But in my defense, the first year they had them I was on the elimination diet for CB, the second year they had them I was in Germany and last year I was on the elimination diet for the twins so I've never had the chance to try it. But oh my, was that thing delicious. If I wasn't on a mission to not eat out AT ALL for at least a month, I'd probably be partaking of one right now.

Even though we are (mostly) settled, there still isn't much time for rest. I have 9 voice mails to listen to, over 1300 messages in my inbox to go through, a billion facebook messages to respond to and a ton of phone calls to make, and no, I am not exaggerating, at all. Plus, I need to get my butt to the gym to work off my 10 pound love handles so I can fit into my winter clothes once it finally cools down-- I am WAY too cheap to buy new clothes this year. But first I am going to finish my coffee and sit here and savor the silence in the house as W is at school and M has taken all of the girls for a run. This is the first time I have been completely alone in like a decade and I'm going to try to savor it because Lord only knows when that will happen again...