$%&# I heard the first week of middle school

I’m standing in the hallway after the 6th grade mixer trying to not look like an uncool mom when Rosie blows by me with one of her Besties. I give them a few minutes of quality alone time at the lockers before I come to the realization that they are not coming back. I take a deep breath and enter the 6th grade hall  knowing that I have a 99.99% chance of embarrassing my child. It’s a risk I have to take if we’re ever going to get out of here.

“Hey Rosie, let’s go,” I say as I approach her and a group of blondes that all look the same especially since they’re all talking at the same time, their animated arms flailing wildly.

They are conveying a story to a mom who seems to be more perfect than I due to her level of patience. Rosie looks up and sees me. And, for once she doesn’t roll her eyes.

“Mama,” she says. “You won’t  believe this. I was just called a b-i-t-c-h.”

While I applaud my child’s decorum (we are about to make it to age 12 without her saying a single bad word in my earshot and no, I am not making that up), I am stunned. It’s less than one week into middle school and the girl’s are already nasty. They couldn’t at least wait Christmas break and give us one good semester?

The answer of course is no. And, that was just a small taste of our first couple of weeks and how different life is now as opposed to grade school. As promised, here are other gems that I heard in no particular order (all names have been changed to protect the innocent).

  • “The teachers say we need to carry a purse. It has to be Vera Bradley.” (I think there may have been some veracity to this. I did notice at least 100 Vera bags of some sort while waiting for pick up).
  • “See that girl? That’s Jay’s girlfriend. Well at least she says she is. I think he got notes from five girls yesterday.”
  • “They had to have a conversation with a couple of girls about their clothes. You know the kind of girls that wear the too short shorts?”
  • “The curtains aren’t there (on the gym showers) so you are more self-confident.” (This came from a gym teacher. She bought it, but as my hubby the K-man profoundly said, “Yea, just tell that to the kid with the small junk.”)
  • “If Mason sticks one more love note in my locker I’m going to scream. Right. in. his. FACE. “
  • “Hey, Mama, I’m going out to pick up the paper.” (As all the boys were walking to the bus stop. Sure she was.)
  • “See that girl. She is the 8th grade ho.” (Where she picked that up and whether or not she understood the gravity of the comment, I do not know. I became mute at that moment.)
  • And my all time favorite comment of the week: “Some of those 8th graders really need to bathe. When you are under their armpits it is not a pleasant experience.”

Why I’m not smart enough to get unemployment

I’ve never had to file for unemployment, but I figure I’ve paid into the system for 25 years (yes, I am getting old) and I’m entitled to the benefits like everyone else while I search for a job. I figured it would be a lot of paperwork because I’d be dealing with bureaucratic bullshit, but I’m a two-time college grad that has run a business before so I knew I could handle it. Unfortunately, I’ve discovered that I’m probably not intelligent enough to qualify because I seem to be making dumb mistakes that are impeding my chances of ever getting a check.

Mistake #1: When asked the reason for my separation, I checked the box marked “discharged.” Since I was fired the week before, I thought that was the right choice. It’s not. The correct answer was “laid off.”  I now have a slew of paperwork to fill out due to this fatal error.

Mistake #2: I followed the detailed instructions in the manual I was sent to file online. So I did. Apparently, I can’t read. I checked a “no” box when the answer should have been “yes.” Guess what? More paperwork.

Apparently, it helps to read the questions thoroughly and if confused guess the answer that won’t trigger a letter.

Mistake #3: At the same time as the boo-boo above, I answered another question wrong. It asked me if I had worked in the week claimed. I answered “no” because I didn’t. When I was terminated, I was told THAT was my last day however my former employer had to legally pay me through the 15th. Stupid me to listen to a written statement over the phone instead of reading a separation agreement that I sent directly to my attorney to review. So, I got a letter in the mail telling me to call a number immediately to resolve the discrepancy.

Following directions, I called the number. Went through all the system prompts and it hung up on my twice. The third time the automated system was kind enough to tell me that it “had too many calls and would hang up on me” (at least it gave me fair warning. Then it told me to call back Wednesday-Friday when there’s less traffic. Okay, will do.

Finally, I got a form letter on Friday giving me a four-hour window that I have to be available for an interview. Since I can’t seem to read and check boxes like a crazy person, I’m more than happy to block off the time to speak to a live person and explain that I”m an idiot (I am slightly confused as well since I’m supposed to be spending all my time finding a job to qualify for unemployment in the first place).  But first, I must fill out the pile of paperwork sitting here on the desk, attempt to file correctly for the past week and pray that I’m smart enough to at least do that right.

Time it’s on my side, yes it is…

It’s been ten days since I was canned. Fired. Told to take a hike. And, it’s been a big adjustment.

Used to working 12 hours a day, I’ve had more than a little free time lately. There’s been an upside to all this idleness- my closets are cleaner, there are fewer tchotchkes around and I’m getting ready to sell three years of Rosie’s clothes at a consignment sale when I may have just tossed them into a bag to donate before when I had no time. But there’s also been a downside.

Nothing to do has left me with more than a little time to challenge my abilities and once again question who I am. And, as I walk through the  process with my middle-school daughter and see how painful it is to try and figure it out the first time (yes, I do know we have over a decade of this), I am shocked that in my mid-40’s I still have to continually go through this process. Does there ever come a time when we just figure it all out?

Happily (yes, there is irony there), the answer for me is probably not. I seem to be the kind of person that will never totally figure it all out as I constantly change and evolve. And, since I throw my heart and efforts into everything 110%, I may consistently have to meet challenges head on, face some disappointments and move on.  So, I will never have all the answers. However, here is some of what I’ve learned the past year.

  • There is incredible power in being a mom. Anyone can give birth, but it takes a lot of consistent effort and patience to be a great mother. I’ve said before that motherhood has defined who I am. I stand by that even more.
  • There are two kinds of people in this world. Those who talk “at” you and those who speak “with” you. You should always surround yourself with the latter. They are much more interesting.
  • The spirit of amazing women is untouchable. Strong, talented women are predicted to control the majority of the world’s wealth soon. I think I’ve just been privileged to work with some.
  • Never doubt your abilities or talents. Especially in your backyard.  No one can ever know your market or world better than you.
  • You can’t hide behind a hoodie. Just saying.
  • Behold the blogger. Master of the universe. If you doubt, you better learn to bow down. The world it is a changing.
  • Karma, she’s a bitch.

Well, there you have it. I’m sure the next week will bring more revelations. Stay tuned.

Hello unemployment!

It’s been nine months since I won my dream job and in the blink of an eye, it was lost. And, interestingly enough I am fine with the turn-out. In the time that I could’ve had a live child, I gave birth to a brand new market for a company. I hired some incredible women and made lifelong friends. Not too shabby.

I’ve lost jobs before, but I was always a 1099’er and couldn’t file for unemployment. This time, it was different. And, while I don’t plan to stay unemployed long, I do plan to take advantage of a system that I’ve paid into for compensation that I deserve. So today I took on the daunting task of filing.

It used to be that you had to stand in line at an office to file. Now you can do so in the privacy of your own home. Making that an easy option for people like me who really don’t want to admit that they’ve lost a job (even though  it wasn’t my fault and I had lots of good company in the same plight as me.)I  hate the word “fired.” It sucks.

So, thank you to the state of Kansas for making it so easy. Ten minutes at a computer and I’m finished. Now all I have to do is look for a job and file weekly. Maybe not…



Where’s the Beef?

Chick-fil-A. There I said it. And, either you cringed with disgust when I uttered the name or you cheered in triumph. Doesn’t matter which side you’re on, there are definite opinions about this company that makes a mean little chicken sandwich with one little pickle on a big bun. Until recently, it was one of my favorite guilty pleasures. But for now, I will have to pass on the crispy waffle fries and Oreo shakes too. What a shame.

Yes, I plan to boycott Chick-fil-A (there I said it. Go ahead and let the sparks fly. I’m cool with that).

I wish I could separate the company’s politics (and some would say morals) from the fact that they make some tasty food, but right now, I just can’t. And, the reason why is probably not shocking to those of you who know me well- I can no longer eat Chick-Fil-A because as a mother, I have to be a role model for my child and teach her to be a loving, accepting, giving member of society (which is sometimes not easy living in the middle of the Bible belt where intolerance is often accepted).

I’ve taught Rosie that it’s good practice to play with all the kids on the playground. That skin color doesn’t matter and that there is a place for all the religions in the world. And, that not everyone has a mommy or daddy. Some, like the little boy down the street, have two moms and others have two dads. I’ve taught her that diversity makes the world a better place and she believes.

She’s old enough now at almost twelve, to observe and question everything around her. So demonstrations at the joint on the corner (whether in support or opposition to the Cathy family stance), haven’t gone unnoticed. And,   I’ve had to explain that this all started over gay marriage and my little tolerant Ginger didn’t get it. Because she accepts everyone. So, sadly, we won’t be eating at Chick-Fil-A for a while.

I jokingly asked on Facebook the other night if anyone had a problem with Wendy’s. I wanted to know “where’s the beef?” (and yes, the pun was intended) Outside of spotty service at times, none of my friends could come up with a thing. We’ll be trying their chicken sandwiches soon.




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