Friday, August 21, 2009

Picture this

In the news: A couple of people are walking near the Chicago River when they see an alligator sunning itself on a rock. Yep, that's right. An alligator. Initial estimates had it at anywhere from 2-4 feet, but once caught, it looked more like 12".

My favorite explanation?

It was one of those mythical sewer 'gators that escaped.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wow, good customer service for a change

So, I had some phone trouble a few weeks ago. The lines were so static filled I couldn’t hear anything. My internet kept going in and out. I called the phone company, they came out and of course, it turns out to be an interior problem so I will have to pay for the repair. As I am signing yet more of my life away, the repair guy tells me to call after I receive my bill and they will spread the payments out over three months. I get my bill and call them fully expecting a hassle. I explain to the person on the other end of the line, he looks at my account, not only spreads out the payments, but knocks off 2 weeks of internet charges for my inconvenience. Without me even asking.

Seriously, how cool is that?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Gotta love your neighbors

My house overlooks a playround/park area. 99% of the time I love it. The other 1% usually involves swearing teenagers after curfew on the basketball court. But I like being able to keep an eye on my kids when they’re outside without really having to work at it.

There is this girl that I have been watching for awhile now – we’ll call her Ellen. Ellen is a bully, plain and simple. I see her picking on the other kids, pushing them, screaming at them, calling them names, etc. For some reason she targeted Shannon one day, calling her names and teasing her. Shannon came in very hurt, but didn’t want me to handle it. The kicker is, Shannon doesn’t even know her. They don’t even go to the same school. But Ellen lives next to one of Shannon’s friends.

Anyway, from that point on, I noticed Shannon steering clear of her at all costs, even going around the block to avoid her. So I sat her down and had a little talk about how she’s giving Ellen all this power, blah blah blah and wouldn’t she just let me talk to her mom. And Shannon said no, it would just make it worse, she could deal with it on her own. Ok, fine.

The other day Shannon came in and said that Ellen just threw a rock at Emma’s head. And not a small one. Fortunately, she missed. I threw down the dishtowel and headed for the door telling her I had had enough.

Shannon stopped me, saying she wanted to go talk to Ellen’s mom. I agreed and said I would come with her. And again, she said no. She wanted to handle it. I told her I thought it was a bad idea, but she could try. And off they went.

After a few minutes, I decided I couldn’t not go. So I started over there. A woman comes storming past me, screaming at the top of her lungs, “You f*ing threw a rock at a little girl?!?” And I just closed my eyes and thought “crap”. I saw Shannon walking towards me with Emma, her friend and her friend’s mom Daisy. Then I see the parent of another girl, “Lizzy” walking over. Lizzy is also at the park playing with Ellen. I see her face go from happy to confused to angry in about a millisecond. Double crap.

I turn around and walk over to the playground, listening to this lunatic scream at Ellen. “I am getting so sick and tired of being called over to the playground all the time!” “I find it hard to believe that it is always Ellen’s fault!” (Mind you, I have never had a parent come and complain about my kids). She then starts to yell at Lizzy, who starts crying and I say, “Wait. Shannon did Lizzy throw rocks at you?” Shannon, now crying, shook her head no. And this crazy woman starts screaming about how now the story has changed and my daughter’s a liar and her daughter never does anything. And I lost it. Taking a deep breath, I calmly (on the outside anyway) said that I had observed her teasing and picking on numerous children, my own included, and she starts yelling at me for confronting her at the playground instead of coming to her door. By this time Lizzy was sobbing and her mom had taken her home. I tried to explain that I actually was on the way to her house when I saw her on the playground, but she had already turned her anger back on her daughter, telling her that if she didn’t go straight home and stay there she would spank her right there in the playground in front of everyone. Then she stormed off.

I stood there kind of dazed, trying to figure out exactly what had just happened. And why Lizzy got sucked into the middle of it. Turns out my child didn’t go to Ellen’s mom. She went to Daisy, told her what happened and had her go talk with Ellen’s mom. And When Daisy asked her who Ellen was with, she said “Lizzy” and she assumed Lizzy had been throwing rocks as well. So, Shannon and I had a little conversation about how it would have perhaps been wiser to not involve Daisy, just to have let me handle it. And Shannon is crying hysterically because now she thinks Lizzy will hate her. I thought it best to just let everything cool down, and the next evening I went over and talked with Lizzy’s mom. She said Lizzy had been crying all evening because she was afraid Shannon thought she was throwing rocks at her. So that all was smoothed over. And the girls are at their Dad’s for a few days now, so hopefully everything will have blown over by the time they get back.

But wouldn’t you know? I looked outside last night and saw Ellen and Lizzy throwing apples at one of the neighbor’s pools.