Guest Post: My friend’s Eloquent Facebook Rant

Time for a rant.  It’s been a while.

I am continually amazed and frustrated by our common lack of concern and care for other human beings. Everyone has excuses:  “I’m too busy”; “Too involved”; “I don’t want to get involved for fear of recrimination”; “I’ve become bitter and don’t care anymore”; or my favorite, “I don’t have any money, either.”

My question is, what if were you or yours that needed some sort of of assistance? What would your expectations be and what have you put out there? The tables change drastically then. Then, all we hear about is how no one did a thing, no one was willing to help.

Apathy begets apathy. Karma exists.

I’m not saying there aren’t good people out there that do good in the world every day, there are millions of them. They don’t blow their own horns, they don’t do it for the glory or recognition. They do it for the personal satisfaction they feel when they know that they have helped someone survive this messed up process we call life, if only for one more day.

During my “Boot Camps,” one of my standard goals is to find someone that needs a kindness, and offer it. This isn’t something that I only do once in a while – I strive to do this every single day.  It doesn’t always come back in the way we want or in our time frame, but I promise that it does, if you chose to acknowledge it, respect it for what it is.

Yesterday, I encountered a situation where some people required assistance, and so I offered mine. It wasn’t a conscious decision, it was necessity, because I could not have gotten up this morning and faced my reflection in the mirror had I not done all that I possibly could.  This kindness has already come back to me in spades. Not only do I feel great about my accomplishment, someone else has reached out to me in my time of need and is helping me to improve my life.

Is the return always immediate?  Certainly not.  It may be years before your good deeds come full circle.  But that isn’t the point. The point is to try.  We may fail, but that the failure itself teaches us what to avoid if we are wise enough to learn from our mistakes.

The world doesn’t always need grandiose gestures. Sometimes it’s as simple as saying “Thank you for the job you do”; “I need you”; “I want you”, “You are valuable”; or even “I see your struggle and although I can’t help in the way you need, I’ll stay by your side and hold your hand when it’s really hard.” Sometimes it’s picking up someone’s coffee for them, or just listening when they have hit the ropes and they really need to rant about how unfair it is.

One of my mom’s favorite quotes was, “No man is an island.”  As a child, I never understood what it meant.  But these days, it resonates with me. You can’t do it alone, shouldn’t do it alone.  But yet we expect those we don’t know or don’t particularity care for to do so.

I don’t necessarily have the solution, I just know that I have a compulsion to try. I struggle daily with being in a position where it would be so easy to say, “I’m just too busy.”  I REFUSE to give in to that. I REFUSE to allow Karma to put me and mine on that list of the uninterested!

What will you choose today?  And tomorrow, for that matter?  I’ve already made my choice.

STFD (Shut the Front Door!)

If you’re like me, you’ve probably had to be reminded countless times to shut the door.  The consequences of failing to properly shut the door are serious.  Since the door was invented (by Ugg Cavewoman who needed to be alone and wanted something to slam in order to get that point across) many a foolish human has been utterly devastated by a door left ajar.

See the difference?

You may be letting the heat out or, perhaps, air conditioning the Earth.  You may be letting in mosquitoes which will suck your blood while you sleep and then breed millions of additional microscopic vampires in order to desiccate your comatose body in a single night. Or even more heinous, if you do not heed door-shutting warnings, you just may end up naked at work.  This last example is what ultimately cured me of my lax door closing habits.

The first aircraft I flew as a freight pilot was a Beech Baron.  In order to enter this aircraft, you must climb up on the wing on the right hand side.  Once inside, the door must then be latched from the inside in two places before you scoot over to the left seat to get down to business.  If the top, deceptively unimportant-looking latch is not closed correctly, the door will pop open during a critical phase of flight and not even Hercules will be able to close it again while in the air.

"Come into my parlor," said the spider to the fly...

The first time I discovered this Baron door anomaly, I was departing Midway airport on my way to St. Louis.  It was a beautiful, bright, sunny afternoon and the door became decidedly un-shut immediately after takeoff.  The air pressure was such that my hat, which was innocently perched on the co-pilot’s seat,  instantaneously vacated the aircraft.

Cursing my door closing lapse, I turned on the autopilot only to find that closing this door again while in flight was not going to happen.  Ever.  Not wanting to listen to the wind howl my failure while the cold nibbled my extremities all the way to St. Louis, I requested and received a clearance through a small uncontrolled field, landed, shut the door and took off again to continue my flight.

The next leg of my route from St. Louis to Peoria was uneventful except for the mild sting of the loss of my hat.  But, alas, I did not learn my lesson.   This time when the door popped open on takeoff out of Peoria, my jacket was martyred.  I barely managed to sweep my approach plates, which were all cozy underneath my ill-fated jacket, onto the floor to safety.

After coming back around to land and shut the damn door, I took off again for Milwaukee.  Somehow, the next air traffic controller not only knew of my  clothes-depleting shame, but he was also highly amused by the whole situation.  He wanted to chat about it.  Over the radio.  For the world to hear.  Lucky me.  Now everyone was placing bets on whether I’d have any clothes left at all by the end of my shift.

Yet despite my abject humiliation, these misadventures may have saved my life.

A few months after learning my lesson the hard way, I was flying from Milwaukee to Midway with a co-pilot who was about to have a harsher lesson than my own.  We were in an aircraft that was equipped with a single “throw over” control yoke and he was using it to fly from the right seat.  When the top latch of the door opened while in cruise flight, I knew that as soon as he put the gear down, the rest of the door was going to follow suit.  However, while I was prepared for this outcome, my co-pilot was not.  And when the door opened, the wind dried out his contacts, effectively blinding him.

Panicked, he tried to throw the control yoke back over to my side so that I could take over the flight.  This, we found, is not possible in the air.  In that instant, I decided our only recourse was for us to work together.  I operated the rudder pedals and managed the power while talking him through the control yoke inputs he needed to make in order to get us safely on the ground.  Had I not already had my own humbling shut-the-door lesson seared into my being, this flight may not have had such a happy ending.

In posting this blog, my deepest wish is for you to learn from my mistakes instead of having to experience the folly of improper door closing for yourself.  Doors left ajar can only lead to suffering.  Please, stfd!

WTF TCF?

I am so annoyed with TCF that I’m sorely tempted to withdraw all my money, convert it to gold doubloons, bury it in mason jars in my moonlit backyard while drunkenly belting out beloved sea chanties and herding a pack of rabid, starving wolves with a novelty light saber into said backyard to act as guardians.  It would surely be safer.  FDIC?  Please.  PRSW is the way to go.

PRSW: What are you lookin' at?

This is the email (NOTE: EMAIL!!!) that I received yesterday:

You can no longer use the following account to make online payments because it was deleted:Business CheckingAny automated or scheduled payments associated with this funding account have been canceled.To schedule payments, you must set up a new funding account.To set up a new funding account, simply log in, click the link to add a funding account, and follow the onscreen instructions.
To display your TCF Online Bill Payment information, follow the steps below.

  1. Visit tcfbank.com.
  2. Sign-in to Online Banking.
  3. Select the Bill Payment tab.

If you have any questions, phone us at 1-800-823-2265.

TCF Express Bills

Alert: (234625010)

Thinking it was a scam, I deleted the innocuous little email and went about my day.  As it turns out, this is the only notification I was given that TCF had closed my business checking account.  I only discovered the problem later in the day when I logged on and noticed “closed” listed next to my account number.  Thus began my hopeless, spiraling descent into Financial Institution Hell.

Twenty four hours, five calls to customer service (HUGE oxymoron), two visits to the local branch, one new account opened and then closed, and numberless tears of frustration and probably more than a few grey hairs later, this situation is still not resolved.  It was triggered by an unauthorized signature on a check (we’d never gotten around to putting my husband on the account since we’re hardly ever at the bank at the same time and he had simply forgotten) which TCF has since paid and culminated in a mound of paperwork, hours of phone calls, and an as of yet undetermined amount damage to my business’ reputation for any checks returned during this charade a la Ringling Bros.

All of this pain and consternation could have been avoided with a simple phone call.  What’s wrong, TCF?  Does everyone in your Fraud Prevention department have broken fingers?  Did they forget how to operate a telephone, since they clearly are immune from receiving calls from customers?  Maybe they are all “away from their desks at the moment” shooting paper cones of Hinckley Springs while discussing office politics in between breathless bouts of giggling about the accounts they’ve closed in the last hour just for fun.

Perhaps TCF should provide this free with every account opened.

I decided to do business with TCF for many reasons including their hours of operation, myriad of locations and decent fee structure.  Now, I either have to find a credit union and learn to deal with the shorter hours, no weekends, and only two locations or I have to bend over and invest in some KY and stay with TCF.  Or maybe someone else out there has a suggestion, because I’m fresh out of patience with these banksters.

Either way I’ll be buying mason jars and brushing up on my pirate, matey.  Maybe I’ll make TCF walk the plank after all.  Arrr…

UPDATED:

NEXT DAY…I am currently on the phone with Josh, who was kind enough to let me know that loss prevention would have called me if they had my contact information and is astounded to learn that the branch that I went to twice didn’t simply reopen the account.  It seems the branch manager didn’t know she could do that.  In the meantime, payments to my insurance company and at least one of my utility bills have been returned.  My account is still closed.  But there’s light at the end of the tunnel – Josh is on the job….

The Hurricane

My relationship with my mother-in-law, otherwise known as Hurricane Helen, has been stormy, to say the least.  We have been at odds over everything from whether it’s appropriate for her to replace throw rugs and bed linens in my home as she sees fit (she said they were too dirty to clean) to the proper response to a toddler that bites a playmate (she unabashedly told me that biting him back would teach him a lesson he wouldn’t forget).  It may be that our life experiences have imbued us with radically different philosophical outlooks.  It may be because we are both fiercely independent, stubborn, and used to getting our own way.  Perhaps it’s merely a standard result of Scorpio – Leo interactions.  I don’t know.

She's coming when? And she's staying HOW LONG?

What I do know is that she has, usually with the best of intentions, driven me completely batshit crazy on innumerable occasions beginning with her attempt to hijack my wedding plans and, more recently, with her unshakable belief that she can cram 48 hours worth of “errands” into a 5 hour visit.  This belief does not include a plan.  I imagine that would take all the fun out of it for her.  As a meticulous planner who must have several backup plans in order to function on a daily basis, this Pollyanna attitude deeply disturbs me.

For years, the Hurricane has blown into town and run roughshod over my wishes while staying in my home without even the slightest bit of hesitation or remorse.  With the assistance of the hearing aid that she refuses to wear (her most common excuses: “it’s uncomfortable,” “the batteries are dead,” “it’s been misplaced,”  “it’s too loud’), she simply only hears what she wants to hear and therefore, will not acknowledge any opposition to her actions.  I have been bullied by this woman for so long that I was utterly astonished yesterday to find myself feeling sympathy for her.  It seems that while I wasn’t paying attention, the Hurricane faded into a zephyr.

While talking with her on the phone about her husband, whose health very recently took a turn for the worse, I realized that she is suddenly facing the possibility of her own obsolescence.  Her self worth is helplessly entwined in how much others need her.  That’s why almost every verbal altercation we’ve had stemmed from her usurping my place in my home because she doesn’t know of any other way to be assured that she is needed.  If no one needs her, then how can she exist?

This glimmer of insight into my mother-in-law’s personality allowed me to look back over our relationship in a new light and release a lot of the hurt, resentment and anger I’ve nursed in my heart toward her.  I will probably need a lot more introspection to absolve her for hiring “Those Funny Little People” as a gift for my wedding reception (I had my heart set on a classy and dignified affair), but the seeds of forgiveness have been sowed.  And I have high hopes for the harvest.

Lost in Translation

As the mother of a soon to be 3-year-old daughter, I have a bone to pick with Dora the Explorer.

I let it slide as Dora brainwashed my daughter (a.k.a. “the girl”) into believing that there is nothing wrong with having a boy as a best friend (how does Dora avoid boy cooties?), and said best friend doesn’t even have to be human.  Hence the girl’s best friend, Bob the Bear, is perfectly acceptable.  And just as Dora and Boots the monkey are joined at the hip, the girl is never without Bob.  Fine, I can live with that.

However, Dora has gone too far this time.  I can no longer communicate with my daughter and it’s all because Dora has been teaching her Spanish.

When I wake the girl up in the morning, she says, “Hola, mamá!”  When the girl goes down the stairs, she says, “abajo!” Going up the stairs, she says, “sube!”  When opening the door to her dollhouse, she says, “abre!”  When running around the house like a maniac with her brother, she says, “ayúdeme!”  When it’s time to take her brother to the school bus, she says, “vámonos!”  I’m waiting for the day when she says, “¿Está realmente tan estúpido?” and all I’ll be able to do is just nod my head and pour myself a glass of wine.

What have I ever done to you, Dora?  Am I going to have to shell out the bones to get “Rosetta Stone” just to have a simple conversation with my own daughter?  Is this some kind of evil plan designed to erect a language barrier between English speaking mothers and their children so that Dora can achieve world domination?  Does your cousin, Diego, have a secret room at the Animal Rescue Center from which you and your kin implement your insidious plots?

I’m on to you, Dora.  Don’t think I’m just going to let you get away with this.  Tus días están contados!

And the same goes for your little friend, Kai-lan, too.

 

Is frostbite a fashion statement?

I need some guidance.  I simply cannot understand why there are so many teenagers walking around town wearing jeans, sneakers and a hoodie.  It’s practically the Arctic Circle out there and these idiots are wearing a HOODIE to protect them from hypothermia.  Polar bears would gladly eat these children for their own good if it wasn’t too freaking cold for the bears to venture outside their dens.

Someone please explain this phenomenon to me.  Are Paris fashion models strutting down runways looking fierce without the tips of their nose, ears and fingers?  Did some teenybopper magazine irresponsibly insist that only losers doomed to social purgatory don winter coats when the windchill is above -50°F?  Or maybe images of frostbitten extremities on WebMD or eMedicine are suddenly the latest fad to be peaking their budding sexual proclivities?  “Hey, Baby!  Those black fingertips are so hot, I want to lick them all through homeroom!”

Thanks to eMedicine.com for the image

Yeah, so sexy!

And where are the parents of these teenagers?  Are they working and unaware of the danger or do they just not care?  Perhaps they have given up trying to reason with their offspring and have decided that whatever happens, happens?

I have no answers.  I wish I did.  All I know is that should I ever catch one of my children behaving in the same manner, social purgatory, ravenous Polar bears and possible amputation of gangrenous body parts will be the very least of their problems.  Mama don’t play that.  Not even when ski lifts are installed in Hell.