Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Not so Much "Goodwill"

On Saturday, I decided to do a little spring cleaning and donate a bunch of our finest crap to our local Goodwill.  So, while the baby was sleeping off her three day fever, I loaded up the car with clothes, shoes, a duvet cover and a baby swing...and off I went to save the world.  As I pulled up to the Goodwill location, which was just a large trailer from a 18 wheeler truck in the middle of a deserted parking lot, I wondered if this was just some scam to collect crap and then hold a giant yard sale at some other location.  However, on further investigation, I saw a man with a clipboard - and let's be honest, if you have a clipboard you aren't running a scam...holding a pamphlet entitled "Green Peace," then you are running a scam.  (Oh, BURN!)

Anyway, I walked up to the Goodwill employee with a garbage bag filled with clothes and he said, with a disgusted face, "Are those clothes?"  I said yes, and he said, "Um, I guess we can take those."  What?  You guess?  Since when did the Goodwill become a snobby thrift store in L.A.?  Then I came back with the duvet cover and blanket.  (What, I was on my phone the entire time - I had to make a few trips.)  And while he was grabbing them, he said, "What now?  Oh geez, we don't take everything!"  I'm sorry are we not familiar with: "Beggars can't be choosers?"  And, you don't take everything? What, was I trying to donate my baby dressed in a giant hot dog costume?  I was handing over blankets - you know blankets, something people use to warm themselves...outside...when sleeping on the streets...alone...with no homes...because they are poor....too much? 

Anyway, before I left, I brought out my last item: the baby swing.  This is where he lost it.  I wish I could have taken a picture of him while I walked over with it.  First, he looked like I had just pulled out two severed arms from a corpse out of my trunk and was asking, "Do you think anyone could use these?"  And then when I attempted to hand him the swing, you would have thought I was asking him to hold my urine sample.  Immediately, he held his hands up and asked, "Now, what is that?!"  For a second I thought about saying, "It's a dream catcher used by the Aztecs," but decided to go with the, "Mom, hold on, I'm at the Goodwill...it's a baby swing."  (Yes, I was still on the phone!  My mom had been on a trip for 2 1/2 weeks, we were catching up.)  After a few seconds of him stammering and muttering to himself, he took my swing and proceeded to throw it, yes, folks, throw it onto the truck.  If I wasn't in the middle of a phone call I would have...okay, probably nothing, but still.

So, word to the wise, if you are thinking about donating something to the Goodwill, make sure you fully understand their motto of: "Donate to us what you would give to a friend" because apparently their definition of a "friend" is someone who wants only new clothes, is in no need of warmth and hates babies.  Hates, hates babies.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Is It Chicken Or Camel?

Recently I was informed that KFC is building a restaurant in Mongolia.  Why do I care about Mongolia?  Why don't you care about random pieces of news?  Sorry, that was uncalled for.  "June Gloom" in California makes me cranky.  Just be summer already - why does every day have to start with this delay of sunshine?!  We all know it's coming.  You can quit with the unnecessary suspense!

Anyway, the reason I bring up this new piece of information is because while I lived in Mongolia (oh, yeah, if you just tuned in to this blog, I lived in Mongolia for 18 months serving a LDS mission.  And yes, this fact is always a crowd pleaser at parties.)  Again. while I was living in Mongolia the closest thing we had to fast food was this place called MacDonalds.  (Remember "Mac" that's key.)  Anyway, the day this restaurant opened a bunch of missionaries and myself raced over there to sink our teeth into some quarter pounders, fries and chicken McNuggets.  Unfortunately, all we found were cold patties of questionable meat, sweet buns, a lot of mayo...a lot...cold fries, and if my memory serves me correctly, some type of vegetable concoction on the side.  Anyway, it was disgusting and yes, we did eat there about 8-10 times, always hoping that one day it would actually taste right, before McDonald's found out about it and shut it down.  After that it was back to eating loaves of bread and snickers for lunch.

Anyway, I hope that KFC is actually Kentucky Fried Chicken and not Genghis Khan's Famous Camel.  Because if it was...well, I would have only eaten there five times.

What?  Spoiler Alert: Mongolian Barbecue DOES NOT EXIST.  Again, DOES NOT EXIST.  No one is over there with some giant wok asking you if you want to add noodles to your filet and broccoli. Instead, you have the choice of sheep, fat of sheep, or sheep meat on bones that were left under someone's bed.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Close The Freaking Gap

In the land where I grew up traffic did not exist.  Sure, we would hear about it on the news, and sometimes people would come back from big cities with tales of driving below the speed limit on the freeways, but to be honest, it was hard for us to imagine. To us, speed limits were suggestions, lights were far and few between, and there were always six different ways to get somewhere using a old back road.

So, when I moved to L.A., and experienced my first real taste of traffic, you can only imagine what an ordeal it was for me.  First, I went through denial. I went out at three o'clock to run errands, thinking that if I didn't get on the freeway I would have no problem getting across town to Target.  Stupid.  How could I have known that at three o'clock the entire city of L.A. gets out of school, work, wakes up from comas and enters their cars to sit in jammed freeways and side streets?  Answer: I Should Have Known.  Secondly, I entered the stage of rage.  (I've been in this stage since moving from "denial" about two weeks after moving to Santa Monica.)  This stage consists of driving by people at 1:30 in the afternoon asking, "Where are you going? Why are you not working?  Go home!"  It also consists of a lot of slamming the steering wheel, mapping out alternative routes in your mind, and daydreaming of the day when the Apocalypse will destroy half the population and THEN you might be able to actually get somewhere in a timely fashion.

Lastly, it entails hating every idiot in front of me who refuses to close the gap in front of us.  You know what I'm talking about.  You know when you are in massive traffic and the car in front of you insists on driving even slower and allowing a football field to be between them and the car in front of them?  I hate this wasted space.  Freaking close the gap.  Honestly, I don't understand people that allow this to happen?  Are they just enjoying the traffic so much that they dread the time they actually have to reach their exit and get off?  Are they hoping that if they create enough distance they can finally drive the speed limit and not feel like they are in traffic as they move in the dead space they created?  (Can that even happen?)

Please will someone help me understand these people?  I just don't get them. To me, these are the same people, who order an entire meal, and then after taking one bite, announce in a lethargic voice, "I'm finished." Or who go to concerts only to make seven trips to the bathroom and to get beer.  They are wasteful people, and as far as I'm concerned, should not be allowed in traffic.  They call it "bumper to bumper" traffic for a freaking reason.

And now exhaling...

Oh, and while I'm still in the rage stage - come on Spurs...you had last night!  Geez.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Natural Order Of The Bird

Now listen, I'll admit I've dealt out my fair share of "the bird," while riding my bike.  (I mean, do you have any idea how many stupid drivers need to be congratulated for once again winning the ongoing contest of "Could An SUV kill a biker?"  Answer: Hundreds in Orange County and thousands in L.A.)

Yet, as many times as I've given out the bird, I must admit, I'm still completely shocked when I actually receive the gesture.* Take for example the other day:  I was sitting at a light and when it turned green the car in front of me didn't move.  So, I gave two gently taps of the horn to alert them to go.  And what did I receive in return?  Yep, the finger.  And not just a quick finger raised in front of the rearview mirror inside the car.  Nope, I got the entire arm extended out of the window and the finger raised for at least fifty yards.  Again, I got the entire salute OUTSIDE OF THE WINDOW.  Immediately, I felt myself sink inside my car, and then in miserable shame I muttered, "Geez mister, sorrrrryyy...."  As the car sped off, I drove in silence wondering what I had done that warranted such a response?  Had this guy just lost his job, and my horn was just the icing on the cake to a day that was most likely going to end in him driving off a cliff?  Have I encountered this guy before on my bike and he was finally evening the score with his own bird?  Or was I really in the wrong?  Did he see the light and just needed a moment to finish that text to his son that read, "Son, I'm sorry for our disagreement this morning.  I love you."  Why did I ruin that moment?

So, I'm left with a quandary.  Help me cyber world.  Do I continue to give the finger to cars that cut me off and drive too close?  Do I make them wonder why some girl on a little bike is declaring to the world that they are total jerks?  Or do I refrain?  And in the process, do I have to learn to take the bird - in order to not break the natural cycle of "give and receive?"  Because if I stop, will that stop everyone from giving the bird?  Will we then live in a world where no one is politely informed of their stupidity?

Wait, I think I just answered my own question.  I have to go stretch out my arms and fingers.

* Even when it's completely justified.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Most Honest Entry of My Life

Lately the blogging world has been messing with my mind, and if I'm honest, my heart.  So, as you may know, I'm talking to you my two readers, you are only the only ones who read this blog, and therefore, I don't expect you to leave comments.  I mean let's be honest, comments are really only left to tell the writer, "Hey, pathetic person, who feels the need to publicly share your thoughts, I read them, now shut up," or to kiss up to some person they feel they know because they read their public thoughts while waiting at a red light.  I mean, at least that's how I've been categorizing the place for comments on my blog.  Why?  Because folks, I don't receive a lot of comments in these parts, and therefore to make myself feel less pathetic for wasting spending thirty minutes a day writing these entries, I tell myself, "Kate, no comments mean you really stumped your readers into pondering what you said, so buck up, write some more, because there's someone in Norway, who is too afraid to out themselves by leaving a comment.  Write for them."  Anyway, there you go - I have an insecurity about the lack of comments.

So, a few weeks back I wrote some entries about being locked out my house and about babysitting - and BOOM goes the dynamite, I have 65 comments on those two entries.  65 comments?!  As I scrolled down and saw the number, my first thought was, "You've done it.  You've finally found a topic that resonates with people."  And then I opened up the comments to see what all the buzz was about and what did I find?  Oh just a small hacking problem to my blog.  Apparently, a locksmith website was, "...really interested in what I had to say about locks."  And then I was directed to check out their website about locksmiths.  (Cue depressing music after losing at Price is Right.) 

So, listen cyber world - leave me alone.  Hack into my personal bank account, steal my identity, but please, don't leave 65 comments.  It's too heart wrenching.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

It's Not a Leash, It's A Lion!

Yesterday, I was out walking the little one in my new BOB stroller.  (Which I pretty much nailed getting off Craigslist.  How good did I do?  Well, first I sold my crappy "non-running" stroller for $200.00, then I found a BOB, that had been on Craigslist for a few weeks, headed over, gave an offer below asking price and shoved the stroller into the car before the guy could call his recently divorced wife to see if she was okay with the low ball offer.  Again...nailed it.  As I drove off, I'll admit I felt a little bad for swindling this poor divorced dad, but hey, that's the cycle of selling on good ol' Craigslist.)

Anyway, as I was out, sort of looking over my shoulder for the divorced dad, who would most likely be tracking me down for virtually stealing his stroller, I noticed a child, probably three years old, being walked by his father in a monkey harness.  Now, I'm not one to judge...no seriously, can we discuss this?

First of all, to the company that makes these contraptions - disguising these harnesses as lions, monkeys and dogs doesn't negate, or mask the fact, that you have built an apparatus to control your child much like reins on a horse, yokes on cattle and leashes on dogs. Seriously, what was the creative meeting like on these things? Did someone stand up and say, "Honestly, if we make them look like a fun dog with long arms no one will notice a child is being led through the mall like inmate #11432."

Second of all, what did that kid do that warranted this straight jacket in the middle of suburbia?  Did he feed too much to the ducks?  Did he stop and smell too many flowers?  Did he fall behind as the family of four gently walked the circular path around the lake?  Seriously, when I walked past this kid the only thing going on in his head was, "Hey nice looking woman, with that brand new BOB, do you know the number for Children Protective Services?"

And lastly, parents if you are going to use these animal harnesses, please don't make the kid walk with actual leashed dogs.  I mean, come on, what are you teaching this kid?  Before you know it he'll be picking up his own poop in plastic bags and asking for his belly to be scratched just so he can get some attention.

I've only been a parent for nine months, but there's got to be a better way.  Drugs, maybe?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Out of Proportion

My actual hood as seen to your right.

Last Friday I made the fateful decision to head up to Santa Monica for a doctor's appointment and a little lunch with some friends.  As I was headed to my friend's house, the road I was traveling on was immediately barricaded by police.  Now, for most of you this would spark some curiosity as to what was going on.  You might think, "Gee, I think I'm going to get out of my car here and ascertain what is the matter.  I sure hope no one is hurt...and I'm sure glad these police officers are stopping traffic and not allowing any kind of detour."  However, if you have lived in Santa Monica, or any city for that matter, sadly your real first thought is, "Seriously!!!?"  Followed by, "Awesome, what did some idiot do now?"  So, as soon as I saw the brake lights ahead of me and the flashing lights of cops, I did what any street smart driver would do, immediately, hooked a left onto a side street and rode it until I hit another barricade and then...did the same thing.  Finally, after running one red light...that was definitely yellow when my foot accidentally slammed on the accelerator...I reached my friend's house.  And then the other sad thing happened...all through lunch we listened to sirens and helicopters, and again, not once did we feel inclined to find out what was going on.  It wasn't until our friend was an hour late to lunch did we think to maybe turn on the news and found out there had been a shooting a mile away.  A mile away.  Did we panic then?  Nope.  Just kept eating lunch.

I tell this story for two reasons, one, to obviously show how numb cool and urban I had become in Santa Monica, and two, to show how ridiculous the burbs are making me because last night, while we were finishing dinner, I heard a lot of noise coming from outside.  Immediately, I sprung out of my chair to see two boys playing some type of "Throw a ball against the garage and then grunt over and over as you run to get it..." or something like that. For ten minutes I just stood there fighting the urge to not go outside and tell them to shut up.

So again, actual shooting in city, no reaction.  Boys playing loud game outside my quiet condo - about to go postal.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


So, lately I've been doing a lot of ironing, scrapbooking, reading, knitting, putting together first aid kits for kids in Africa...alright, watching TV.  Anyway, last night as I was putting dinner together I happened to have the TV on and started listening to Jeopardy.  After nailing two questions in a row about the Dodgers, and feeling like a complete genius, I might add, Alex Trebeck took a moment in the show to do some interviews of the contestants.  I must admit, these interviews have to be my favorite part of the entire show - mainly because for a few seconds I get to feel semi-superior to these freaks of nature, who somehow know every sonnet Shakespeare wrote and the entire Periodic Table.  (Yes, being an expert on those two things would classify you as a genius in my book.)

Anyway, last night the three contestants, Alex had to interview, were particularly "awesome."  For the first one, Alex read on his card, "So, it says here you like some interesting things about rocks.  What would that be?"  What proceeded could only be described as something less awkward than watching two elderly people french kiss.  Somehow through a lot of deep breaths and stutters, the fun fact genius, but social moron, described how he likes to go to different ponds and find rocks that have been sitting for long periods of time.  And as if that wasn't awkward enough, Alex asked a follow-up question of, "So, what's the longest sitting rock you've ever found?"  To which the pond geologist responded with, "Um, there's really no way to tell."  "Fascinating," responded Alex.  Fascinating?  Which part?  The part that his hobby doesn't actually make sense?  Okay, now that I write it out it does seem interesting.

The next two idiots were equally as strange.  One, is a huge fan of Anderson Cooper because he likes trivia.  (To which, she awkwardly looked into the TV screen and said, "So...I suppose, Anderson if you are ever in New York you have a...uh, standing invitation to our...uh...trivia night.")  What did Alex respond with?  "Fascinating."  Again, Alex which part?  The part where someone named Anderson Cooper is going to be filing a restraining order pretty soon in New York?

And lastly, the two time champion had to tell everyone on live TV that his two day winning total of $19,000 is more than he makes in a year working at a grocery store.  When hearing that, Alex asked the question that all of us were dying to ask, "So, are you going to stop working at the grocery store now that you have all this money?"  After a few moments of awkward silence, the contestant responded, "Um, no, it's really not that much money."

This made me laugh out loud.  Honestly, Alex, you are surrounded by trivia all day long.  You read questions with such confidence, that for a second I forget you have the answers right in front of you.  You rock a man bracelet.  (This has got to take confidence to pull off.)  Doesn't any of this sink in?  Haven't you gotten a little smarter throughout the years?  Or are you so immersed in stupid fun facts that you have forgotten that after taxes his $19,000 might come out to $9,000?  Do you know you can't really live off that for long?  Huh, Alex?  Respond!  And don't you dare respond with...fascinating...