Thursday, July 28, 2011

My pool spots

Let's face it - we're creatures of habit. And we have our favorite spots. Not particular places, but a particular spot there.
One of my favorite places IS at the pool, but I have an actual spot there, too. It isn't a complete pool day unless I'm in my spot. And ever since I went to our pool, I've always sat in the same place. There is much to consider for my spot.

1. It is at the deep end, therefore away from most families & the little kids. The shallow end is the place to be if you can't swim or love Marco Polo... which is why I'm at the other end of the pool.
2. I'm in the corner, facing the pool. This way, I can watch all the action AND move with the sun on the 4 hour stays at the pool.

Everyone who goes to the pool knows we sit there. Once a jerk tried to get under our skin & beat us there early and sat there. So we just moved our lounge chairs right in front of him - and blocked his sun. He never did it again.

And once in a while when I visit the pool later in the day (the night crew/closers are there, then) - and sometimes a couple is in our chairs. The even acknowledged they were in "our" chairs. As if they had been caught or something. (or that the jerk told them we'd sit on top of them & block sun).

Ok - so I like to get to the pool early. To get my spot. Not only do I do this at my pool – I do it at my parents' pool half an hour away, as well as in Florida. My parents also have their spot - and ironically, it is at the deep end, at the corner. hmmmmm. I've been known to stake out my claim very early at resorts and on cruises, too.

When visiting Florida, it is my job to set up our spot at the pool. It opens at 9:00 and you'll know what time it is by seeing me put towels out on our chairs. We even have a name for someone else taking our chairs: being red toweled. Years ago, a couple (with red towels) also proclaimed their spot in OUR spot. So we started going to the pool at 8:53. You get the idea. (By the way, the couple no longer has red towels or takes our spot - they have their OWN - right up against the building).

I'm clearly not the only one with my spot at our pool, though. Neighbors that also practically live at the pool, have their own spot, too. Their 9 year old daughter said she hoped no one took their spot this week – and I promised I'd do my best to keep them safe. I guess I'll have to get some extra red towels.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Purging and the messy closet

I have a habit of letting things in storage go for a while - until they finally bug the living hell out of me. Then all hell breaks loose – and watch out for the hurricane named after me.

As a kid, my Mom let me pick-up my own room at my leisure... which meant that I was eventually yelled at until I picked-up my room. Now, I'm not one of those gross people you see on Hoarders or MTV with crap all over the place – just a person who sometimes lets things go a bit. Again - I'm not one of these people that lets things get gross or dirty – and never something where other people can see. If you watched the show "Friends", then you know what I mean by the Monica Closet. A neat freak with a dirty secret - a messy closet.

My Mom used to give me an ultimatum back then – either I clean up my closet/room or SHE would. That really wasn't the threat - but what you have to know is that my Mom cleans her kid's rooms with BLACK GARBAGE BAGS. Seriously – she'd have no problem tossing your 1982 Tiger Beat away or a ticket stub to the movie Rambo and God forbid, the stuffed animal you bought with your own money at age 12.

I'd get the warning that the garbage bags were on their way, so I'd sit on the floor and open my closet. Hours would pass and I'd have tossed nothing – but only my time going through old Tiger Beats. (Donny Osmond was so dreamy).

Eventually, I grew out saving old magazines and movie stubs (Ok, I'm looking right now at the ticket from my first date with my husband) – but today l go through boxes and enjoy my time purging. And the older I get, the better and worse I get. Allow me to explain.

It finally took me 2-1/2 years to purge my work papers. I saved everything - and it was neatly documented in full color, tabbed and in binders or folders. No one at my old job cares about a job I did in 2000 - so why should I? Just maybe, a potential employee might need to see proof? Nope. I've hung on too long, and finally let it go – right into the garbage bags, where it belonged. It belonged there 2-1/2 years ago, but I needed to be able to do it without an resentment.

While purging, I found an art project from a 3D Design class from 1986. It was a bridge made out of toothpicks. And I won first in aesthetics for the project. (thanks to my engineer brother & Dad and their lesson on trusses). The bridge went right back into the box. And for what? To show to someone I know how to waste time making bridges out of toothpicks? To prove I went to design school? I have no idea why.

During this attempt to make room for more stuff in our office, I found an old filing box full of bank statements, returned checks and pay stubs. You know the saying "save everything for 7 years". Ok, but I found returned checks written to Ameritech and Hills. Sitting on the floor with the closet door open, I found statements from BH (before husband). I have to admit, even this is bad for me. I remember keeping this box when I moved quickly before getting married and building our house. I also remember telling myself "I'll shred these soon".

Move the calendar forward almost 8 years and there they were – all neatly in order, taking up space. The pay stubs and checks were easy to shred by date, I have to say. I filled 2 black garbage bags for recycling and also tossed the old filing box, too.

Our office closet isn't so messy anymore – at least not because of me. I don't want to be like my Mom and her garbage bags, tossing my husband's coveted treasures from 1982.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


I'm tired of them.

I was raised to never pick on any one (except my family - that's different).
Bullying was around when I was a kid - and everyone growing up in the 70's & 80's knew of a bully at school or in the neighborhood.

Push the clock forward, decades forward. The term bullying is now all over the news today. And with technology, I truly believe there are even more ways today to pick on someone. So hard that they make their life a living hell. In some cases, the victims take their own lives due to public embarrassment, harassment and cruelty.

This is what kids have to deal with - and it is another reason why I'm glad I'm not a parent. My mom always said there was nothing worse than her kids hurting... either a black eye, a bad grade, a broken heart or a bully.

I was picked on as a kid - probably my typical share. I was a big kid, so I've heard it all - fatty, tubalard, hippo, blah blah blah. And of course, all of those hurt. I even pounded a kid 3 years older than me after school because I had simply had it with his teasing. Not to me, but to my older brother. Grade school bus trips home are one of the worst things you can put a kid through. Especially with a bigger and older kid constantly picking on you or your brother.

I believe today that I pound the crap out of this kid because he was bully. I had allowed it to happen and wanted it stopped. For good. I'm sure it did after I got off his bus stop that day. I don't remember him bugging my brother or me after I had showed him he needed to stop.

As cute as my story is that I pounded the crap out of a fourth grade kid when I was in first grade - it demonstrates at a young age my need for justice. It seemed that my friends growing up were the tiny kids. Mutt & Jeff, if you will. Maybe I learned I could befriend smaller friends in my grade that needed my "protection"? I just know no one bugged them when I was around. My mere presence was enough, back then. Maybe back then, I knew I could protect my smaller, pipsqueak friends from those that habitually picked on the weak.

As a grown up - it is no different. But as adults bullying, it gets really mean and vicious. I have been dealing with the neighborhood bully for years now. And reality is, I just was to co-exist. Simply, leave me alone - and better yet - leave everyone alone.

It is hard to tolerate a grown man that bullies women with his lies and actions. A ten year old witnessed it with her parents this summer. And she said called him a mean bully. She aid he was being that way to make us feel bad - so he would feel better.

If a ten year old can see this - then you know the intimidation from the bully is obvious.

I'm super great at standing my ground. Speaking up for what is right. Standing up to help someone is pretty easy. But now the bully has targeted his intimidation. He continues to pick and pick and pick. He won't leave things go. Just to prove a point. He runs to anyone with authority to "tell". Stretching the truth so bad it is a huge lie. And in the crossfire are neighbors, employees, men & women - even kids. It doesn't matter to him. He won't stop until he gets his way. When trying to represent his side, he grinds others down to silence. And silence appears to be forfeiting and a surrender.

So me, the one that stands up for what is right. The one that won't let the little guy get picked on. The one that beat up a fourth grader because someone had to do it. Is the same one that is better than this bully in the neighborhood. I will turn the other way and watch it happen from now on - because he's turned his focus on me.

I'm tired of it - and I wish grown ups could settle issues school kids on the bus. If so, he'd have his ass pounded by now.