And Then He Said…

“I’ve found that with email it takes people longer to get back to you, or ignore you, than you think it will.”

~ Zen-Den

Well.  Okay.  You’re right.  But I don’t have to like it– now do I?

And how am I supposed to know if they’re just pokey little puppies about returning my emails?  Or if they’re really ignoring me?  Hmmm?  Answer me that one, He-who-talks-in-koans.

<sound of me muttering while stomping out of the room>

*humph*

[The WP spell checker just told me that “humph” isn’t a word, but “Humph” is a word.  And I just reset the spell checker to always accept a lower case “humph” as a word.  Doesn’t WP know that not all situations call for a capital letter “Humph”?  Honestly, who creates these spell check thingies?]

Random Act Of Kindness Or Minor Misdemeanor?

Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.  Psalm 37:8

If a bumper sticker makes fun of, puts down, accuses, antagonizes, rejects, hates, pees upon, or whines about <any topic you can think of>, I’ve seen it on a vehicle in the last few weeks.

To say that I’m tired of these hostile, rude bumper stickers on vehicles would be an understatement.  Really people, get a clue.  Your bumper stickers are not contributing to the national discourse.  They add nothing of value to society.  They are a distraction while driving.  And they’re just plain tacky.

Nope.  I don’t like ’em one bit.  Which got me thinking…

How do I make this situation better?

And here is my solution: a mischievous plan that is delightful in its subtlety and entertaining in its message.  *bwha-ha-ha*   A plan so ingenious that I’m surprised that no one has thought of it before.  A plan so clever that it made the Lawyer Bean laugh and promise to provide legal counsel for me should there be a need.

First, I’d buy a couple dozen of this positive, upbeat bumper sticker and keep them in my car.  Only a cretin could not be charmed by the message: “wag more bark less.”

Then when I see one of these previously mentioned annoying bumper stickers on a vehicle in a parking lot, I’d wander over to the vehicle with one of my more encouraging bumper stickers in hand.  Making certain that I was unnoticed, I’d slap my sweet little oval sticker over the offensive, negative bumper sticker.

And *bam* just like that I’d have quietly neutralized the negativity and made the world a better place– while simultaneously ensuring that I receive one more brownie point in heaven.  Talk about your win-win situation!

So what do you think, gentle readers?  Good idea?  Couldn’t possibly be an act of vandalism with a court date and a fine, could it?  And if so, how much do you suppose I’d have to pay for refusing to let stupid get the last word in– or on, as the case may be?

How To Make Me Snarl

[First, here’s “why” I’m talking about this.]

I introduce this topic today because:

  1. It makes me irritable and therefore is rant-worthy;
  2. No one I know irl can figure out what to do about the sort of rudeness I will describe below;  and
  3. I’m hearing about more and more adults who are changing their first names.  So even if you haven’t experienced firsthand what I’m talking about here, I’m betting that sometime soon you will.

[This is not the snarl part.]

A few of my friends have changed their first names.  Some have adopted a different version of their childhood name e.g. Kathy became Katie.  Others have tweaked their childhood name e.g. Sandy became Sondy.  While others have changed their names completely e.g. Joyce became Suzy.

[Still not the snarl part.]

I’m always happy to use whatever name a friend wants me to use.  I figure that he or she has good reasons for changing his or her name, and I can’t imagine being so rude to someone as to not respect what he or she wants to be called.

[This is the beginning of the snarl part.]

But I’ve noticed that not everyone I know is as gracious about name changes as I am.  In fact, on a few occasions I’ve been shocked when someone I know insists that he or she doesn’t have to adopt a friend’ s new name because he or she knew this person before the name change.  Therefore, he or she is exempt from cooperating.

I’ve come to think of these uncooperative sorts of people as the louts.

[Full snarl here.]

Obviously, this behavior is insulting to the name changer, but it is also awkward for those of us who know both the name changer and the uncooperative lout.  While I understand that there is a power play going on here, I can’t figure out what the end game is.  Is the lout trying to undermine the name changer?  Or is the lout trying to punish those of us who cooperative with the name changer?  Or is the lout so obtuse that he or she really doesn’t understand how irritating his or her behavior truly is?

[And finally, I conclude.]

I realize that lack of courtesy is an epidemic in our world.  And I also realize that I cannot change people (nor do I want to).  But this situation has made me more aware of how fragile personal relationships are.  And how nonchalantly some people I know will throw them away when asked to bend just a little bit.

Can you blame me when I say that I have an overwhelming urge to snarl?

It Is Still Raining Here

“April is the cruelest month.”  ~ T. S. Eliot, “The Wasteland”

I’m sick of the rain.  We’ve had wet weather here almost every day since mid-March.  In fact, in April we had 3x our normal rainfall, making this past April the second wettest on record.

[Oh joy.]

  • At this point, I can’t stand looking at the rain:  boring raindrops descending from gray skies that never go away.
  • I can’t stand hearing the sound of the rain pounding on the roof all night: *plop, plop… plop… splat* over and over again.
  • I can’t stand driving the car in the rain: *swish, swish* {sound of windshield wipers} *splash. splash. splash* {driving through a puddle}
  • I can’t stand walking in the rain: wet feet, muddy shoes/ cold ankles, soggy pants bottoms.

I’ve been a trooper about this lousy weather.  Really, I have.  I’ve looked on the bright side and been understanding about the fickle nature of spring.

[Spring: the passive-aggressive season.]

  • Yes, yes– I know that we had a drought last summer/autumn and that this rainfall is wonderful for the trees and grass.
  • Yes, yes– I get it that the early farm crops are thriving and this pleases some farmers.
  • Yes, yes– I’m delighted that because of the plethora of worms available, the birds are so healthy and happy this spring.  Bully for them.

But the reality is that after a very long winter I’ve endured almost two extra months of cabin fever, unable to go for long walks– or to putter in the garden– or to enjoy cook-outs on the deck.  I’ve been cooperative.  I’ve put up with this weather nonsense without much complaint.

And what have I got for all my goodness?  More fricking rain.  Predicted through the weekend.  Maybe into next week.

[And my life remains on hold.]

In Which The Beans Pay Taxes– Sort Of

[This series of events is weirdly inspirational considering we’re talking about the IRS here.]

2009

The Beans make money.

2010

AprilThe Beans file a tax return with the IRS and pay taxes on the money they made in 2009.

August – The Beans receive a letter from the IRS stating that one small section of The Beans’ 2009 tax return is being audited.

The Beans phone their CPA, Sir Add-alot, who did the tax return in question.  Sir Add-alot and the Lawyer Bean figure out that the IRS is indeed correct and that a mistake has been made on the “tax return in question.”

The Beans pay more taxes.  And a penalty.

The Lawyer Bean, who spends most of his working life figuring out how to solve problems, is pleased that the situation is rectified.   The Blogger Bean shrugs and says, “oh well.”   Sir Add-alot frets.

November – Sir Add-alot continues to fret and tells the Lawyer Bean of such.

2011

FebruaryThe Beans receive a phone call from Sir Add-alot.

While preparing The Beans’ 2010 tax return, Sir Add-alot has a brain storm and double checks something on what is now known within The Bean household as the “tax return formerly in question.”  At which point he realizes that he did not make a mistake on the “tax return formerly in question.”  Nor did the Lawyer Bean make a mistake.

[It’s a given that the Blogger Bean didn’t make a mistake.  She cedes all responsibility for taxes to those who actually enjoy working with numbers.]

The Beans learn from Sir Add-alot that the financial institution where they have some investments– a place of numbers— had made a mistake while adding up a bunch of numbers.

[Uh huh.]

By the time the Blogger Bean hears of this turn of events, Sir Add-alot has already made some calls– filled in some new forms– talked with the right people.  And he has sent the revised “tax return in question/then not in question because we paid more taxes and a penalty/then known as the tax return formerly in question/but now once again referred to as the tax return in question (but in a good way)” to the IRS.

[You with me here?]

AprilThe Beans await the return of their money— that they did not owe to the IRS, but paid while under the impression that they did owe it to the IRS– but now know better– and want their money back from the IRS– who has said that the money will be returned to The Beans once the “tax return in question (but in a good way)” is processed by the IRS.

The End.

[I hope.]

Shopping For Clothes

I don’t like to shop for clothes– at the mall– in the department stores.  However, last week it seemed like a good idea. So…

I went to the mall to look for some spring clothes for me.  I parked in the only place I could find– a parking garage about halfway between two department store anchors on either end of the mall.  Then I walked to the end of the mall to shop in the big bad department.

Once inside I went to the exact spot in the exact department where I had seen, in January, what I wanted to buy.  But my item was not there.  In fact, the whole large area formerly devoted to this particular brand was gone.  So I went in search of a sales associate.  Eventually I found a woman and asked her where the brand I wanted was hiding.  I know department stores.  They hide things.

She told me that they no longer carried that brand.  So I asked: “why?” And this is what she told me.

The brand that I was interested in buying is also sold on a tv shopping network.  Dishonest shoppers, who had purchased discounted  items on the tv shopping network, were returning these discounted items to the big bad department store– where the big bad department store was giving them a full price refund— which was costing the big bad department store money.

[I have no idea why the big bad department store didn’t pull a Nancy Reagan and “Just Say NO” to the scam artists.  That’s what I’d do if I was in charge.  But, of course, I am rational and ethical– which in my experience is the antithesis of how department stores work.]

Instead, the big bad department store did the only thing it could think of to solve this problem;  it stopped carrying the brand altogether.  The brand that I had finally decided to buy.  The brand that this annoying store has promoted ad nauseum for years.  That brand.  *sigh*

So I thanked the sales associate for letting me know what was going on and left the big bad department store empty-handed.  Again.

As I was walking back to my car, I started thinking about what had just happened.  I had made the effort to buy something, but was defeated by the very store that had convinced me that I needed this item.  That was annoying.

I’d  been told a story that made the big bad department store look like a victim– which, I guess, the sales associate thought would make me sympathetic to the plight of the store.  That was weird.

But most importantly, I’d had the belated realization that I should never, ever listen to what the big bad department store says. Everything about the place is  hinky.  And this insight, gentle readers, was worth the trip to the mall.  I have learned.  I am better for it.

And you know what?  I’m not going back there again.

[Hello FTC!  I cannot lie.  I didn’t put this disclaimer on this post when I first published it because I didn’t use any names of the companies that I’m writing about here.  But now I can see that in the comments below I will be revealing the identity of the big bad department store.  So just to be safe, here is what you like to see: I have received no money or other compensation for the opinions stated in this post or in the comments below.]



Our Lawn Has Mange

No act of kindness goes unpunished.  I relearn this lesson all the time.

Last summer when we had the worst drought ever, I decided to save water by not watering our lawn more than once a week.  Unlike most of our neighbors, we don’t have an underground watering system that keeps all the little grass blades bathed in a perfect, almost daily shower of water.

At our house, I’m the watering system [to date still above ground] that drags hoses and water sprinklers around the yard in a somewhat random, well-intentioned manner.  I do my best.  And usually my best is just fine because Mother Nature cooperates with me and provides some addition water to the area.

But not last summer.

Now that spring is almost here and we can see the results of my let’s-be-kind-to-the-planet-by-not-watering-very-much plan, we realize that we are screwed. Unlike most of our neighbors whose lawns look whole and alive, we have a lawn with mange that will cost a bundle– a break the bank sort of bundle— to fix.

Or so says the guy from the landscaper company who came over the other day to talk with me about this situation.  And I believe him because it’s a reputable company.  And I believe him because my online research on the costs of having a professional company reseed a lawn in the spring say the same thing.

Unfortunately I have no pithy conclusion to this story of dead grass woe.   Perhaps something good is yet to come from my save-the-water kindness. I dunno.  Right now all I see is a mess with a big price tag that will keep me snarling for many months to come.

*sigh*