We’re Rolling Back Prices on Shin Splints!

cart.jpg When you’re young–and I’m talking a teenager here–you don’t always think about what you’re doing in terms of how it reflects on you personally. No teen ever asked him or herself whether flipping burgers was a noble endeavor, or whether or not when, years from now and they’re running for office, if anyone will look back and go, “Him? Seriously? Man, that dude was THE WORST fry cook we ever had. I wouldn’t vote for him.”

No, most teenagers are just working to put gas in their car and date money in their pocket. Well, boys are anyway. I have no idea what teenage girls do with their money other than buy more makeup and too-tight jeans. But anyway…

When I was a teen, I held a number of jobs. At 15, I worked in a plant nursery. We did everything from putting the tiny little plants in pots, to rolling out football-field lengths of black plastic in the Alabama summer, and then later moving the plants in various stages of growth from one end of the field to another; an effort I never quite fathomed the reason for. It was tolerable if only because of the Black-Widow spider killing contests we had amongst ourselves (they LOVE tropical humidity in greenhouses!) and the hour-long lunch break we all took lying under the shade trees eating our crappy lunch while listening to Aerosmith on the little transistor radio.

That job, while probably the most honorable one I had as a teen, was thankfully only a summer job. I got a great tan from working shirtless, but it was backbreaking work. From there I moved on to a Catfish restaurant, where I started out as–what else–a dishwasher, and eventually informally ran the kitchen on the weekends. Finally tiring of smelling like fried seafood all the time, I got a job with the local Wal-Mart.

Now, let me explain that a job a Wal-Mart then, at least for a teen-age boy, was like manna from heaven. The hours were decent; you didn’t have to do any really dirty work, and you got to watch hot schoolgirls (then, MILFs weren’t on my radar) come shopping with mom on the weekends. Hoping to score a job working inside the store as an “Associate” (that’s what Wal-Mart called ALL employees then), I instead got probably the lowliest job in the whole place next to the guy who has to clean out the toilets. I became a “stockman.”

A sexist name to be sure, but there weren’t too many girls who could do that job. We did everything from keeping the floors clean using brooms and vacuums, to taking out the garbage, to running the layaway items up and down two flights of stairs to and from storage (this was a killer leading up to Christmas). Oh, and did I mention we also had to corral the buggies?

Buggy patrol was a blessing and a curse. The blessing part was that you were able to get out of the store—out from under the thumb of the bossman—and get some fresh air out in the parking lot. And if you saw a few good looking ladies driving around the parking lot with their skirts hiked up in the car where they thought nobody could see them, well, that was just extra. The bad side was, those daggum buggies are heavy. And if it’s cold outside, those buggies got cold. If it was raining, they were wet. It was also mind-numbingly boring and sometimes I’d see how many buggies I could safely push in an effort at getting at least some exercise out of the whole thing. For this, I developed shin splints which made my next job–boot camp–horribly painful. All that to say, that there was really nothing inherently good about buggies per-se, but the duty was something I viewed with mixed emotions.

But back to my original idea about doing things as a teen that you might later look back on with regret…

One of my local supermarkets here, employs “mentally challenged” individuals—whether out of some real desire to help them out, or because they think it will score points with the shoppers, I don’t know. I do know that they sometimes creep me out though and the whole time I’m sitting there waiting to pay for my groceries, I’m emotionally at war over whether or not to look at them and perhaps say something (the urge to give them a Jim Carrey-like thumbs up comes over me most times) or whether to just ignore them completely. Usually I take the easy way out and just pretend as if they aren’t there.

But what is perhaps the biggest slap in the face, is that one of their primary jobs is–Yep, you guessed it: Buggy Patrol!

Looking back, I’ll admit that I’m more than only mildly insulted that adults deemed me worthy of pretty much the same job that they now give to the mentally handicapped. I mean, what does that say about my interviewing skills as a teen? Did I even form a coherent sentence when I talked to the manager about the job? Was I so slovenly that they took one look at me and knew that there was no way I could possibly straighten an endcap?

I don’t know. But it does make me wonder what it’ll be like in another 20 years. Will some mental midget be sitting here at a computer banging out marketing concepts just as I’m doing now? Maybe computers will be so smart by then that they can subsidize any missing brain capacity of the user and corporations will employ that sector of our society, rather than us college folk, and pay them a pittance in return for catchy phrases like, “Where’s the Beef?”

May-be, but until then, I own this job, and right now, there’s a pot of coffee that isn’t gonna make itself. Take THAT Sam Walton!

Ixnay on the iseaseday!

They (being the medical community) really shouldn’t give two very different diseases/conditions similar names. Really, it just causes panic and confusion.

MLE (My Little Extrovert = my youngest son) was all smiles and grinning last night as I lay in bed half-dead to the world from some temporary illness that rendered me incapable of doing anything but playing Unreal Tournament 2004 Online and reading my spy novels (it was a very odd and selective illness that I had). But, the minute we put him to bed, he started crying and such. This went on until about 11:45, after which he quieted down and slept the rest of the night.

This morning, he wasn’t his usual happy self upon waking and when CareerMom tried to leave him at daycare, he just fell apart. Knowing this wasn’t normal and suspecting he had a bit of a fever, she took him to the doctor where they proceeded to diagnose a fever, a bad ear infection and an ulcer that, “…you should keep an eye on in case he is g

I’m pretty ignorant regarding most of these conditions, so parlay that into a Google search term for the chronically lazy typer, and here’s what you get: “foot mouth disease”


Holy Crap! My kid’s gonna die!

But wait…it says, “not to be confused with hand, foot and mouth disease…”

A huge effin difference people of the medical community who name diseases! Gimme a friggin heart attack why dontcha?

So, worst-case scenario, he gets a bunch of little bumps on his hands, mouth and feet and we have to keep him home from daycare for a while. I mean, not the best scenario I could imagine, but certainly better than the alternative. I’m just sayin’, couldn’t they just call the bad one “livestock disease #453”?  Then, there would no confusing it with a common infant malady at all.

My boys are growing up!


The 19th was my youngest son’s first birthday, but we did a little celebration on Sunday eve instead. Being his first, we didn’t make a big deal of it. I’m sure he won’t remember it anyway, so why go through the expense. CareerMom ordered from Olive Garden and despite their deplorably hokey commercials (“Just because it’s Monday!”), the food was actually very good and everyone had a great time.

If you have Publix grocery stores around you, you know that if you buy a birthday cake, they give you a smaller smashable one for the child to destroy. I don’t know what size kid they feel the need to make this big ol’ smashable cake for, but hey, it’s their flour (and my money I guess).


Like my oldest son’s first birthday, my youngest didn’t really smash the cake; only mushed it up with his fingers a bit before attempting to get it in his mouth and mostly getting it ON his face.  But he’s a year old now. He’s walking; he’s doing some limited sign language to tell us what he wants, and before long he’ll be talking and dating and having “the sex!”  Oh Lord, make it stop!

Sometimes I want them to hurry up and get out of this “hold me” all the time phase, but then when I think of the alternative, I want to freeze this moment in time. Boy do I love these little guys!

What’s NOT in my wallet

credit-cards.jpgFor years, my bank of choice was Bank of America (BOA). I had my checking and savings account with them for nigh on eight years. Due to selling a house, and a couple of rather nice tax refunds, a few times I had enough money in my checking account (albeit temporarily) to qualify for a “Gold” account. Rather than asking me if I’d like to upgrade, they just did it. Subsequently, after I moved the money, usually within a matter of days, they turned around and fined me for not meeting the “Gold” account’s minimum. After the third time they did this, I got fed up and canceled everything I had with them.

If you track financial dealings at all, you’ll know that BOA is now one of the largest players in the banking industry. My last credit card (a Platinum rewards card) issuer was bought out by BOA last year and because I liked the card, I stuck it out with BOA. Until recently.

I made a payment on the 8th of last month, then I made another payment on the second of this month. Unfortunately, my billing cycle apparently runs wonky and rather than having made two payments in two months, I made two payments in one month. To make a long story short, BOA ticked me off with a late fee that they refused to remove, so I quit them…again.

I need a credit card for sundry monthly expenses and just because these days you need a credit card. So, I went online to a couple of these Credit Card compare Web sites and eventually settled on a “Diamond” rewards card from Capital One with a fairly low rate. I applied, and thanks to my 784 credit score, was approved immediately.

When I got the card in the mail, I reviewed the details. Everything looked hunky-dory until I got to the “Credit Limit” field and it said, “$1,000.00.”

A thousand dollars? I couldn’t even buy a refrigerator with that, much less book a vacation or finance my takeover of a third-world country. Thinking that maybe this was some kind of introductory, “Call us and let us try to upsell you a toaster, and while you’re on the phone we’ll up your limit” kind of thing, I called their no-customer service line only to be told that nope, $1,000 is my limit. When I asked what they based it on, they said my credit score and my credit history with Capital One.

Well, I DON’T HAVE a credit history with Capitol One, so I guess that outweighed my perfect credit. So, I told the fellow on the phone to cancel this card too. He was staggeringly unconcerned, “Thank you sir for calling Capital One, is there anything else I can do for you?”

I hung up.

Without going through the litany of debt I have held and/or paid off over the last 15 years, and my current situation, $1,000 is an insult. Though I’ll admit, I never thought I’d get upset over not being offered enough credit. I often scoff at the commercials that use the buzz phrase, “Get the credit you deserve” thinking it stuffy and pretentious, but I’m coming to realize that I fit that demographic. At this point in my life, there are a few things I think I deserve:

  • 15 minutes of quiet bathroom time each day (What? I read…)
  • A guilt-free day of golf once every month and a half
  • A fine cigar if I’m out with the guys
  •  Good running shoes

AND some friggin CREDIT!

Otherwise, what the heck am I working so hard for?