Displaced Stay At Home Californian in rural N. Carolina

The Many Faces of Joy

The Many Faces of Joy

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Slow Down

For many months George Bush referred to our current economic recession as a "slow-down". It wasn't until the Fed, Ben Bernanke, all the European markets, Alan Greenspan, all the Asian markets and Wall Street taking several really steep nose dives before he changed his terminology from "slow-down" to recession.

In the midst of this "slow-down" I have tried to find ways to cut our expenses. One of the ways is shopping at that horrible grocery store where food items are set to expire in 2 days, the cans are all dented and the labels ripped off and the employees are working at gunpoint. Another way is walking instead of driving so I don't have to pay for the high price of gas, which ironically has been coming down daily since the recession hit. We don't eat out at restaurants or fast food, we have lots of picnics and sandwiches in the park. I've even taken to baking our own bread instead of buying sliced bread. And then the best of the best, hanging clothes on a clothesline and not using our dryer.

So this week I took our phone bill in hand and called the number to "make changes to your account". As someone who worked for years in a Call Center environment - I love to see what changes have come to our customer service departments in our large information technology companies. One of the worst decisions ever made is to utilize the voice recognition recordings. They usually have verbiage like this, "please enter or say your phone number starting with area code first". If your kid runs into the room screaming "poopy deeper Mama, poopy deeper" then the voice interrupts you rattling off your phone number and says, "I'm sorry but I didn't quite get that, can you enter or say your phone number again?" This type of customer service is pointless if you have any children living at home which means I won't be able to use this until the kids turn 18 and leave for college or move out at 16 with their high school sweetheart into a place that I'm paying for.

After 26 minutes on the phone with the phone company, I removed the call waiting, caller id, call forwarding, 3 way calling, unpublished number, long distance and seriously considered getting rid of the voice-mail. I triumphantly shaved a whopping $45 dollars off our phone bill and if that doesn't do it, I will be forced to cancel the high speed Internet.

I don't imagine for a second that our current economic situation will affect the White House other than to include some sympathy in the speeches that are being written and delivered. I don't imagine that George Bush will cut the Netflix out of the monthly budget or that he will ask Laura to plant a garden to offset the cost of produce. The only thing I can hope for, is that the American people will "slow-down" their interest and support in the current administration and maybe we'll see the recession's biggest impact on November 4th when we hit the polls.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Today I had to pick up my contacts at the eye doctor. I had to take the girls with me since they are 1) my girls and 2) I don't have any daycare/babysitter/preschool to send them to. I parked right in front of the doctor's office in one of the many parking spots clearly marked "compact". When we came out of the doctor's office, I opened one side of the car for my oldest child to climb into her seat and then carried the smallest one around to the other side to fasten her into her seat. Once I am done with the smallest child, I can then make my way to the other side and fasten the oldest child in and then I can get into my seat and deal with fastening myself in. As luck would have it, when we came out to leave, the side that my smallest child sits on had no one parked next to me, so I opened the door as wide as I wanted to. This doesn't happen often!

As I'm bending down to set my toddler in her seat I see a large, grey "Mini"van pull up and slam on the breaks as they suddenly notice that my door is open. Relieved, I look up at the driver, thankful he/she didn't rip my door off and take me with it. The woman operating the "mini"van is scowling at me and holds both hands up in a gesture that would go well with the words, "What the hell?" (or worse). I take her reaction as a signal to slow down and work as methodically as possible in positioning my toddler in her chair and buckling her in. Of course this is impacted also by the fact that at her age, she works hard at working against me in each step of the seatbelt fastening procedure. I can see Ms. "mini"van getting worked up.

By this time Ms. "mini"van pushes her 12 year old out of the car and sends him running through traffic to the eye-doctor, no doubt to pick up her glasses so she can read the "compact" signs printed on the asphalt.

Here's the thing, everyone in Cupertino has a "mini"van and there is nothing Mini about them. Ok, they might be smaller than those vans that people are forced to buy when they have sextuplets or octuplets and get their own TLC shows but "mini" they are not. These are vehicles designed to carry 6 children that are sold to people with no more than 2. If a parking lot existed for "mini"vans only - you can bet your sweet ass that I'd be parked nowhere near that lot - I'd still be parked in the compact lot complaining about how our car has no storage and the dogs have to lay on top of my husband when we go camping.

I can't wait to see what the "mini"van people have cooked up to follow the "mini"van. Just don't make it the "compact"van because those compact spots are MINE.