Thursday, January 29, 2009

My Hero

I watched this video on a friend of mine's Facebook. It is so touching I had to post it here on my blog. 

Watch the video, then read on:

Not only is this kid my hero, but also his coach who could've easily let him sit idly on the sidelines doing what he seemed to do best- handing out water and toweling players off. 

And the other players on the team for loving him enough to encourage him to play, even with a chance they might lose the game. Not only that, but because in order for him to have succeeded like he did, they had to relinquish the ball to him. Even after his first shot being a complete miss. They let him try again and again. 

And the crowd...when they saw the coach point at number 52, they could've groaned and whined and wondered aloud what the coach could be thinking putting the autistic kid in to play the last quarter. Instead, nearly in unison, they cheered for number 52 and couldn't wait to see him in action. 
Who knows if they won that game or what the score was? 
Who cares?
Everyone in attendance at that basketball game that day walked away on stilts of self-worth and pride a mile high with a golden trophy of honor in one hand and the sting of a big high five from the team's MVP in the other. 

Friday, January 23, 2009

Tardy Tooth Fairy

I don't know what it is, but every time one of our children loses a tooth, the Tooth Fairy seems to be so bogged down with molars and incisors that she has to stop at our house last.

My youngest daughter, Julia, has been desperately trying to pull her other front tooth out. It's been loose for about 2 weeks and she was determined it was coming out. Well, as luck would have it it did come out at school on Thursday. She was so excited! She came home, found the little jar we use for the tooth/money exchange process and put it by her bed.

No one thought of it again.

When morning arrives, little Julia comes to me and says, "The Tooth Fairy must have been very busy last night because she hasn't come and got my tooth yet."
I cringe and pat her head and assure her that she'll probably come while she's at school. She nods and smiles gapingly and skips off to go brush the few teeth she has left. She seems fine over the whole ordeal. I mean, this is what normally happens with the Tooth Fairy at our house. She is obviously a very busy person. In fact, maybe she needs a personal assistant? Say, a tall lanky red-haired man in a pink tu-tu? Oh! Or there's this guy who I think may very well have been auditioning for the part of Tooth Fairy PA:
(And Matt Baker in Utah, if you would like for me to delete this photo of you in your natural state, I will understand. However, I could so see you in a glittery pair of wings. Those other contestants ain't got nothin' on you!)

Anyhow, that's beside the point. Much to little miss Julia's delight the Tooth Fairy did come while she was at school! She left her some quarters and this little note:

It says in swirly Fairy letters, "Sorry this is late".
And she was. Terribly sorry. But I'm sure she's relieved to have rid herself of the burden of carrying those heavy quarters around!
All I have to say is it's a good thing Santa is a punctual individual.

Robot Girl and the Wal-Mart Gift Card

Ever seen the commercial of the mom who gave her son a Wal-Mart gift card for Christmas? As she's speaking about how wonderful it is to receive one of these plastic rectangles, all her son can do is look at the card. It shows them going in to the electronics department and then, him coming home with a great newfangled toy. They made it look so easy!

For Christmas my daughter received a Wal-Mart gift card with $25 on it.

Keeping in mind the commercial, I set out with my daughter to go happily spend her money and watch her face light up as she picks out exactly what she wanted. So far, so good. In the checkout lane the cashier takes the magical little gift card and swipes it.
It doesn't take.
She swipes it again.
It still doesn't take.
The cashier makes a face at the machine and then smiles at me.
I'm smiling like an idiot still thinking of the commercial.
My daughter is still smiling.
The cashier takes a plastic bag and puts it around the gift card and swipes it.
(Let's see if you can guess what happened next).
Right, it still doesn't take.
She turns the card over, scratches off the silver stuff revealing a 16 digit code and types in the numbers on the computer. The machine makes a beeping sound and spits out a piece of paper that tells her to get a CSM. The cashier tries to type in some code on the keyboard but the machine crosses its arms, scowls at the cashier and refuses to let her do anything else until a CSM arrives with the proper authority.
After about 5 minutes of waiting for the CSM, who doesn't look to be much older than 20, and listening to the mumbling of impatient customers ready to take their frozen goods home already, the CSM finally comes around.
He tries the same tricks the cashier did. Plastic bag and everything.
My smile is fading. My daughter is looking rather worried and is now white-knuckling her toy to her chest.
The CSM tries the same tricks again, each time getting beeped at and having the machine stick its tongue out at us all.
Finally, he asks me if I have the receipt for the gift card.
I want to stop here for a moment and ask a general question to all those reading...
Through clenched teeth, a forced smile and steaming nostrils I state that I do not have the receipt.
He cringes and tells me there is nothing he could do but that I should call the number on the back of the card when I get home.
I oblige, much to the relieved annoyance of the ever-so charming people behind me, and just pay for the toy with cash. My daughter's death grip on her toy has loosened and she is smiling again.

As soon as I arrive home I call the Customer Service Hotline on the back of the card. After a series of inane options like "para conocer de estas instrucciones en espanol, pulse dos", I finally feel like I'm getting somewhere.
"If you are calling about damaged merchandise, please press 7"
"If you are calling about our Wal-Mart gas cards, press 8."
"If you are calling about...blah, blah, blah."

3. hours. later.

"If you are calling concerning problems with a Wal-Mart gift card, please press 176."
Finally! Now I can talk to a live being.
"Please type in or say the 16 digit number on the back of your card."
So, much for the human I was hoping for.
I have been punching my way through the maze of options for so long that I have misplaced the card. It takes me a good minute to find it again.
"I'm sorry, I didn't get that", says Robot Girl.
"That's because I haven't typed anything in yet", I say out loud.
"I'm sorry, I didn't get that", she repeats at the sound of my voice.
I roll my eyes. Found the card, type in the number.
"One moment, please. (millisecond pause) I'm sorry, the number you have entered is invalid. Please try again."
I type it in one more time.
"One moment, please. (millisecond pause) I'm sorry, the number you have entered is invalid. Please try again."
"Well, maybe if you'd wait for more than a millisecond to let it work its way through your pea brain computer system it would be valid!" I say to Robot Girl.
"I'm sorry, I didn't get that." Did she just snicker under her breath?
At this point, I have no where else to go. And I'm not about to hang up! I remember from previous experiences of dealing with automated phone services that if you screw up enough they will eventually send you to a customer service rep.
So, I begin talking to Robot Girl.
After about 13 minutes of listening to her say, "I'm sorry I didn't get that" to every blasted thing I said to her I reluctantly hung up on Robot Girl.
But I was determined. I went to the computer and got on I searched for a way to contact them via email.
I wrote them a short and civil letter briefly explaining what had happened with my gift card. This is the email I sent:

I bought a gift card from our Durant store and put $25
on it for my daughter. When we went to use the card, the associate couldn't ring it. When she called a CSM to check on it, it wouldn't work for him either. I have been trying to contact a live person all day but have failed. I just need to know what to do to be able to use this card.
Thanks so much!
Carissa Mason"

About 4 days later this is the email I get back:

"Dear Carissa,
My name is Camille. I am with the Customer Service team. Thank you for allowing me to assist you today. I am writing in response to your email. I am sorry the your recent order from the local Walmart store did not meet your expectations. Due to the nature of your concern, your information has been forwarded to the Wal-Mart Stores Customer Service Team. They will forward all concerns to the appropriate department. If you would like you can call the Customer Service Hotline for faster more efficient service."

I write back to Camille and have determined that she must be Robot Girl:

"Dear Camille,
I have called that hotline. I have punched in my 16 digit code on the back of the card and the 4 digit pin 5 times. All the automated response woman says is "The card number you have entered is invalid."
I wrote to this email hoping to get a DIFFERENT form of action. If I could have found a phone number that would have connected me directly to a human I would done that. But I settled for an email hoping to at least still be connected with someone who could help me. I don't feel like this is a very difficult situation. I have $25 on this card that I would like to be able to use. I just want someone to tell me what to do to make that happen other than call that useless hotline. There has got to be a more functional, more personal way of handling this.
Carissa Mason"

About 4 days later this is what I get in my inbox:

"Dear Carissa
Thank you for your message. If you require information regarding Wal-Mart Gift Cards please call the Gift Card Customer Service Hotline at 1-888-537-5503
Thank you,
Customer Relations"

I have a feeling my 2nd letter could have been cussing them out with words no sailor would dream of using and I would've receive this very same message. They've probably hired some smelly, greasy-haired, pimply-faced guy to sit at a desk in a small closed-off cubicle away from society and just hit send each time a new message pops into the Wal-Mart gift card inquiry box.
I still have not gotten another response from them despite me writing sickly sweet, even nun-ish like emails pleading for another way to resolve this conflict. Their options have not changed on their hotline. Robot Girl still taunts me with "I'm sorry I didn't get that."

I have decided that on the commercial, while the little boy is looking at his gift card, he's actually praying that the 16 digits on the back of that card make up whatever sum they have to to make the card valid!

Of course

Have you ever gotten out of bed and not even made it to the bathroom yet and you can just feel that your day is off? That obviously during the middle of the night while you were peacefully dreaming crazy little imps messed with your periphery sensors and knocked your whole inner atmosphere off kilter? It's when you've jammed the same finger 2 times on the same drawer or when you go to sit down in the chair and it wasn't as close as you thought that you realize just exactly what kind of day it's going to be. AND, it doesn't matter what kind of happy face you put on or how you try to change your attitude, you're still gonna have a crappy day and you're probably still gonna say a dirty word. 

Well, this is how you know you're having one of THOSE days, (please apply all aforementioned misadventures to the following case in point, of course)...

 Yesterday, I picked up my son from school. Sounds normal, right? Of course it does. 

As I walk in I see Garrett's best bud, Eli sitting on the ground. He's desperately trying to cram papers into his backpack that just aren't cooperating. I smile at him and he complains about his papers just as they decide to slide in the pack. He sighs and rolls his eyes at the whole situation. I giggle to myself and think 'looks like I'm not the only one having one of those days'. 

Garrett comes stumbling around the corner and gives me his usual sleepy-head hug with his arms tucked in his shirt sleeves. We gather up his things and I notice leftover cupcakes sitting on the counter. These aren't just any cupcakes. Of course, they're not. Couldn't be, considering I have been SO GOOD for the last week concerning all things sugary. No, they're my favorite cupcakes. They're the cupcakes from the Wal-Mart bakery. 

I must admit, I have an addiction. I don't ever buy those evil things because I could eat them all...all by myself...within a matter of about 5 minutes...and I wouldn't think of sharing. But I only like the vanilla ones. And only 1/2 the icing...on a good diet day. And of course, vanilla ones are all that's left in this classroom full of pint-sized choco-holics! 

Anyhow, I grab one of the extra cupcakes and begin the devouring process. As we turn to leave Eli says something to Garrett about being cold. I looked in Eli's cubby and his sweater is inside. He only has his little white undershirt on. I bend down to grab the sweater and feel that it's wet. I figure his juice spilled during snack time. Of course. What day doesn't go by that a child in a pre-K class doesn't spill something, right? At the same time I notice some icing on my fingers. I check the sweater to make sure I didn't deposit any sweet gooey goodness on little man's nice sweater and ask him why it's wet. He proceeds to tell me just what happened as I listen intently, still carnivorously attacking the cupcake.
"Well, I was hot when I went to the bathroom so I took my sweater off and it fell in the toilet", 
says he as I finish licking my fingers.

Of course, it fell in the toilet. On a day like today, why else would it be wet?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Unabashed creativity or pure laziness? You decide.

I love the holidays! All of them! In fact, I love them so much I keep my Christmas tree up year round and decorate it accordingly. (Sshhh...this really started because about 3 years ago, it was March before I took my Christmas decor down. When I finally did, I was too tired to drag the tree to the garage. That's when my brilliant plan was formulated!)

With that said, I have decorated my tree for Valentine's Day!! It has lights and pearl strands, pink and white ornaments, vintage Valentine's Day postcards and pictures of Jonathan and I all over it! I love it! Tell me what you think!
(P.S. You should see it decorated for Mother's Day! *snickering*)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Smooth Criminal

So, in sticking to my New Year's Resolutions from my Jan. 2nd post, where I resolved to not make fun of Michael Jackson anymore, (now revised to "as much"), I do have to give him credit for being so freaking talented! 

You have to admit that the man can sing.
And he can cut a rug on a dance floor unlike no other. His moves are still popular. Come to think of it, they were always timeless. You can watch his videos from the 80s and see dance moves that were way before their time. In the music industry, he's got it going on!

What intrigues me is how he made such a name for himself wearing pants that obviously had a seamstress nazi hem them, white band-aids on his fingertips, ONE white sparkly glove, white socks with black shoes (I don't care what era it is, that is and always will be a fashion faux pa), grabbing his crotch and hiccuping during his songs. Sure, his dance moves are clean, cool and catchy...but did that seriously make up ALL the difference in his choice of closet and dresser drawer stock?

I guess so. I mean, even I wanted to marry him as a little girl. (Him and all of the New Kids On The Block.) 
And girls fainted at his feet (or hundreds of feet away in sold out concerts) just seeing him and had to be carried out over the heads of the millions of other spectators who didn't faint looking at him in his high-waters. 
The guy made finger snapping and heel clicking sexy, for heaven's sake!  

I was searching the internet the other day (as I am most of the time) and ran across a live video of him performing "Dangerous". It spawned into me sitting for 2 hours searching for more Michael Jackson videos. I have decided that these are his 5 best songs and videos:

1. Thriller (strictly for the awesome dances that have spawned from this song that I have participated in!)

And you gotta see this video.

Timeless. Seamless. Effortless. His feet, hands and voice are liquid matter pouring out onto the stage. I LOVE to watch him. And if given the opportunity, I would see him in concert. 
Do I think he's weird? Yes.
Do I think he's had waaay too much plastic surgery? Absolutely. 
Am I glad I grew out of my "When I grow up I wanna marry MJ!" phase? ...
Well, had he stopped with the plastic surgery around 1980 after his first nose job....
...and not been apt to have sleepovers with little boys....

Monday, January 5, 2009


I hate dentists. 

Hate them.
Not them personally, just everything they do; 
Their office and the overwhelming smell of all things dental;
The fluoride they make me swish;
The high pitched scream of the drills taunting me while I wait in the waiting room:
"Cariiiiiiiisssssaaaaa!! Yooouuu'rrrrreee neeeeeext!"
I look up and make panicked eye contact with the lady on the other side of the room who is trying in vain to read a magazine and ignore me. 
"Did you hear that?" I ask clasping my neck and spinning around towards the sound of the drill. "It's calling my name. It's calling for my blood!"
The woman narrows her eyebrows and turns her body slightly away from me while I curl up in the fetal position and rock back and forth in my chair. I have to fight off sucking my thumb and looking completely absurd.

I don't know why but I have had a lifelong phobia of dentists. Maybe it's because no matter how hard I tried every time I went into the dentist office I always walked out with another appointment for another procedure. As a child I had 8 cavities. I can't count the hours I spent in that dentist chair cringing and white-knuckling the arms when I should have been out riding a bike or scraping my knee or something truly conducive to a kids' life. While in high school I got braces and dealt with the pain of monthly rubber band changes, not to mention the pain of knowing that I was awkward enough during the first 2 years of high school without the braces helping me out in that department. 

But now, NOW, as a 29 year old adult woman I am facing the worst thing imaginable. It's worse than giving natural childbirth. It's worse than when I had to have a cyst removed from my tailbone and the anesthetics didn't take so I felt the lancing, the suctioning, the packing, everything. It's that bad...
I have to have a....*gulp*
Root canal!! (spoken by a deep echoing man's voice which sounds much like Don LaFontaine).
Dun, dun, dun!

I broke a tooth in the back of my mouth about 6 months ago and it wasn't giving me any trouble until yesterday. Now, every time I eat, drink, or swallow my mouth lights up like an electric fence. It's like eating a lemon that's been hard-wired for someone on death row. My mouth screws up into one big twisted pucker, my eyes twitch and shift on my face trying to slide off passed my ears, one eyebrow is narrowed and the other has receded into my hairline. 

I have NEVER had to have a root canal! I have no idea what to expect. People have told me that it's not so bad. "Not so bad"...why does that still not comfort me?
I'll just opt for the conscious sedation. I don't care what it costs. As long as I can walk in there and walk out and not have any memory of it, I. don't. care. 

You know, they really need that conscious sedation for things like middle school and certain dreaded social events.   

Sunday, January 4, 2009

I Had No Idea...

Did you know there was actual blogging etiquette? Like wedding etiquette and gift-giving etiquette. I found it in a magazine called "Artful Blogging". I'll share it because I had no idea it existed and maybe you didn't either...

"Whether you have a blog yourself, or just enjoy reading them, there are a few rules - a code of conduct if you will - that can help make the experience more pleasant for everyone. You'll probably discover that every blog has its own set of expectations about proper behavior, but here are some basic Dos and Don'ts that will ensure you're welcome everywhere you visit.

Do: Comment on a post if you found it enjoyable or moving. Bloggers love to hear when their efforts are appreciated.

Don't: Make comments that are irrelevant to the post or the site in general. A lot of readers find comments that have nothing to do with the topic disruptive to the conversation in process. Most especially, don't comment just to link to your own blog - that borders spam!

Do: Respond to people who leave comments on your blog, either in e-mail or by visiting their blog if they've left a link. Visiting and commenting is essential to building that valued sense of community.

Don't: Comment anonymously. This is considered the height of bad manners in the blog world: if you can't own up to your words, maybe you should keep them to yourself. If you want to keep your comments private, consider sending an email instead. 

Do: Link to another blog when you mention it, especially if you are reposting any comment. It's only fair to give credit where it's due.

Don't: Link to someone else's images. If you must show something in your own blog, upload the picture to your own server before displaying it on your Web - and make sure you give proper attribution in the post! For extra points, check with the original poster to make sure its OK if you use it.

Do: Let your readers know if you're to be away from your blog for a while, and then tell them when you'll be back. That way, they won't have to keep checking back to look for a post that doesn't appear.

Don't: Ask someone to link to your Web site or blog. Instead, invite them to visit and comment on something you've posted. If they like what they see, they'll probably link it without being asked.

Remember, blogging is a social activity, so the same basic principals that govern any social interaction should apply. Be thoughtful. Be courteous. Be kind."

Saturday, January 3, 2009

What the...?!

Ok, so my son has been gone for the last 3 days spending some much desired "guy time" with his favorite-ist cousin Liam. Liam's b-day was the 31st and Garrett got to go celebrate his b-day and New Year's at his house. 

Well, I have felt his absence the last 3 days, as I do when any of my children are gone for even a night. But last night I had this dream...
I know, I know. I can hear what you're thinking already. "My goodness, what is up with this chick and her dreams!?" 
I can't help it people. I have an active imagination. (Maybe that comes from sharing a bed with my husband who, we have discovered after watching "Bedtime Stories", may very well have Sleep Panic Disorder. It's true. He must have it. I mean, anyone who wakes up in the middle of the night screaming "Did you hear that!?", and "Don't go out there!" all the while making me nearly pee the bed must have SPD, right? Don't worry, I'll blog about this fantastic condition later. You'll love it!)
Anyhow, my son arrives home from Liam's house. He apparently walked home; the whole 1 hour journey from Ardmore straight to our front door, like a dog you dumped off hoping he wouldn't find its way back only to see him laying on the front porch the next morning. But it was like no big deal to me. I was just happy to have him home. He came in, I made him dinner, he told me what all he and Liam did...and then I noticed it. His hair. 
His hair had grown out passed his shoulders and was in a side ponytail! I asked him how that happened and he said he didn't know but that Liam did it for him this morning before he walked home so the wind wouldn't blow it in his eyes and he could see where he was going. 
I immediately took his hair down and cut it. 
I know.
No comments from the pea gallery, please.

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year's Resolutions: Revised Edition

So, today I made my list of New Year's Resolutions for 2009.

However, I decided I didn't want to do the same old cliche-ic ones I've made in the past. "Get into the best shape of my life", "Volunteer more", "Organize my pantry/closets for the last time - again", yada-yada-yada. Albeit, good resolutions, they have no backbone. They yield themselves to no real resolving since I'm always trying to do these things anyway.

I want to be able to actually succeed at at least one of my 2009 goals, to be able to feel accomplished come Dec. '09. So, I revised my original list to what you see below. Be forewarned, these goals are a bit lofty and should not be attempted by everyone. In fact, only I should do these.

1. I will admit, I have a bit of a lead foot. In 2008, I was pulled over a handful of times. And that was 2 handfuls less than 2007. But this year, I'm changing that. No more Officer Bob flashing his lights at me. From now on, I will only get pulled over by this guy:

2. Along those lines, I resolve to drive more defensively and steer clear (pun intended) of my past fender-bender-like mishaps.

3. I've heard that the number one reason for marital problems is financial woes. I have a personal/business credit card that has been used more for personal business than Mr. Simpleton is comfortable with. He likes to use good old hard cash...
I'm sure there's something I could learn from that?

4. Speaking of my husband, he is a busy man. I resolve to be a good wife and make sure his stress level decreases in 2009. I will make sandwiches for him whenever he asks and joyfully use the new dish scrubber he got me for Christmas. I will throw tupperware parties, fold perfect hospital corners, iron socks all while making a 6 course dinner which will be ready by the time he walks in the door.

5. On that same general subject, I will improve my disciplinary skills with my children. 2009 will prove to be a much more promising year.

6. I will be more discreet about my bodily functions.

7. I will learn a new talent. Like this one:
Or maybe this Odd Talent?

8. Ok, ok. I will stop making fun of Michael Jackson.

9. I will try to overcome my fear or phobia of clowns...

...and dentists.
10. And last but not least, my family says I need to not be so serious. That I need to let loose and have a little fun. You know, joke more often.

Happy New Year to you all!
Disclaimer: These resolutions not intended for real resolving. No clowns or dentists were harmed during the typing of this post. However, the author wishes to convey her deepest condolences to Senator Clinton for having included the above photo in her "fear of clowns" resolution; it was the best photo she could find.
And despite the wisecracks made at Mr. Simpleton's expense she knows that he knows that she loves him dearly....and when he's done with her pants (of the family kind) he needs to hang them back up neatly in her closet.

Slip Slidin' Away!

PJs: $15
Sleeping bag: $20
Bi-annual dentist check ups: $85
Inventing the game "Midnight Staircase Surfing" which requires you to slide down the stairs banging your face or bottom rapidly on the 18 steps, laughing all the way down and begging to do it just one more time: Priceless

For some, there's spending the night.
For the rest, there's spending the night at the Mason's house.

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