Dream Journal 12/5/15

Present day.

Kyle and I took Liam to the zoo, but there weren’t really any cages or exhibits. Most of the animals were roaming free, with only the most dangerous animals residing behind low, wooden fences. Tigers, rhinos, hyenas… sitting behind wooden fences, which could easily be climbed or jumped over. Either no one noticed, or they just didn’t care.

We noticed. We cared.

Instead of leaving the zoo, we walked around trying to convince everyone that we came across that the zoo was extremely dangerous, and that we all needed to leave. No one listened. They all went about their business, with creepy smiles plastered to their ignorant faces.

I put Liam on my shoulders, and we ran around frantically, trying to find help. The more time that passed, the scarier the zoo became. The more docile animals suddenly started becoming aggressive, lunging at unsuspecting zoo visitors, violently attacking them. The more dangerous animals crept closer and closer to their shoddy fencing, growling and being terrifyingly menacing.

The scary animals were moving in slow motion, like an awful horror film. Each time I turned to look, the were closer to their freedom. And they were all eyeing us.

The color slowly started to fade from my surroundings, and I lost Kyle. I was at the far edge of the zoo, with Liam still on my shoulders, and we were walking out into a field. There were cherry blossom trees and a sparkling stream spread out in front of us. It was beautiful. I could hear the screams and the growling coming from behind us, but I felt oddly at ease.

Until I turned around, and walked back into the chaos of the zoo.

There was blood everywhere. Blood and dead bodies (all female, I believe). All the animals were gone, at least from the area that we were in. I found Kyle, who was sitting at a picnic table, eating cotton candy. He handed me my cell phone, which I had apparently dropped, and we started walking, stepping over dozens of dead bodies. Liam was still on my shoulders, pulling my hair, laughing happily.

The buildings and enclosures started to fade away (literally, they just started fading), and there were giraffes roaming around. I didn’t see any other animals.

We were in Africa now, in full color, or some other savanna-esque locale, but there was a large city in the distance, lcoated at the base of a mountain chain. There were prides of lions scattered around, but they left us alone. There was also a huge bird flying over our heads, but I have no idea what kind of bird it was. It cast a huge shadow.

I also vaguely remember something about being in an Asian country, in a marketplace, but nothing else.

And then I woke up.

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My Weight Loss Struggle

Apologies if this gets a bit rambly. It’s been a rough few days.

I’ve struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember. Middle school, high school, college… after college… I never used to consider myself “obese” (though my doctor would disagree), but I’ve always been overweight. I’m short and busty, with wide hips, so I’ve always looked more heavyset than I am. High school was rough. I’ve battled an eating disorder, crash diets, liquid diets, exercising 7 days a week, going vegetarian, going vegan, then back to vegetarian… nothing sticks. I know, I know, I have no one to blame for my weight but myself. I have control issues. And commitment issues.

It is so hard to look at pictures of myself from high school, college, and even from just a few years ago, and think about how hard I used to be on myself. To think about all of the awful things I used to say about my body. Now look at me. I’d like to think that I’m in a better place, mentally, when it comes to how I see myself, compared to how I used to be. I had a baby less than a year ago, and managed to gain NO weight through my pregnancy (I “gained” 18 pounds, but the day I left the hospital, I was back at my pre-pregnancy weight). I tried so hard to stay active, eat well, and work right up to my due date. And I did! But everything changed after my son was born.

I ended up having to leave my job to stay home, and I was confined to the couch for the first month of my son’s life . I had a 4th degree perineal tear (fucking ouch!), and also needed extra time in the hospital because I developed preeclampsia during labor, and was pumped full of drugs, and became very sick. Let’s just say, I had a traumatic birthing experience, and needed lots of healing. I was completely unsuccessful when it came to nursing Liam, but I tried to pump. That didn’t work out either. So I didn’t even have that to help keep the weight off. Kyle had to pick up extra hours at his job, and was never home. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t cook, I couldn’t clean, I couldn’t go for walks. I ate garbage all day, every day. I got no exercise. I gained weight.

In fact, I gained 19 pounds in just a few months.

Once I was healed, it was easier to be more active, but Liam was still so tiny and needy, and it was very difficult to do anything at all. When the weather got warmer, and he was bigger, I tried to take him for walks to the park every other day, but I fell off the wagon pretty quickly, and it ended up only happening once a week. If that.

Things got better though. When Summer came, we made it outside a lot more. I started to clean up my diet a bit, and started teaching myself how to cook things that I used to never eat. This, specifically, has been extremely difficult for me, since my significant other is a carnivorous, dairy lover who refuses to touch vegetables. Luckily, my kid loves vegetables.

In October, I became a vegetarian, and gave up meat entirely. I have also tried to give up dairy, though I do  slip every now and then. I’m not a vegan (nope nope nope), but giving up meat and dairy has done wonders for me. My skin has cleared up slightly, my hair is softer, I have more energy, and I’ve lost weight! Liam and I were taking regular hour-long walks right up until a few weeks ago, when it started getting cold and snowy outside. Since then, my progress has slowed.

Being stuck inside 24/7 is starting to take its toll. I’m getting more and more anxious, and I find myself having more frequent “cheat days”, and am completely unable to control my food urges. You’d think I was pregnant again. This, coupled with my lack of exercise, has started to get me a bit depressed. Guess who eats when she is depressed?

Yup. Me.

As of a few days ago, I finally made it back down to my pre-baby weight (18 pounds down!). I was so happy! My body is still not the same shape that it was, but I feel good. Sticking with my diet, and finding ways to stay active, has been a challenge, and one that I hope to overcome.

Just… not today. Liam has been sick/teething for days, and my nerves are shot. I am exhausted, on edge, and lonely. Kyle was supposed to quit his old job, since his new job pays very well, and was going to be spending a lot more time home… but he decided to stay. So he is gone every day, we never see him, and I have no help with the baby or anything else. At all.

Today has been one of those days, where I just don’t care about my diet. A stress eating kind of day. Liam has been so difficult, and I just found out that Kyle’s coat was stolen while he was at work (it had his freaking car keys in the pocket), and no one is doing anything about it. I am stressing out, and I just devoured a handful of shredded cheese, and ate three baby spoonfuls of peanut butter. See? No control.

Ugh.

But anyway. I dropped a full dress size, so Kyle bought me a dress (clearance!). Let’s hope I don’t screw this up and it still fits me for Christmas… I need to buy some shape wear.

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Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

Dream Journal 12/2/15

Present day.

Kyle, Liam, and I drove up to Kyle’s grandmother’s house for Christmas (she lives over two hours away, on top of a very large hill, in the middle of nowhere, and always insists on having EVERY family get together and holiday up there). The whole family was sitting in the basement, opening presents, when Kyle’s grandmother turned to us, and informed us that she would be having Liam’s first birthday at her house (his birthday is at the end of January), without even asking us.

I was shocked, and Kyle and I just looked at each other. I politely told her that we didn’t want to have the party at her house, and that we were planning on just having a small party back home, or at Kyle’s mother’s house, because she lives just a few minutes from us. The conversation went something like this.

Her: So, we’re going to behaving Liam’s party here on January 20th.
Me: … Um, no, that’s alright, we’re just going to do something back home with him.
Her: No, it’s fine, we already ordered him a cake.
Me: Oh, no, don’t do that, I’m making him a vegan cake.
Her: Vegan cake? No. He should have a real cake. We’ll just do it here.
Me: No, we aren’t doing it here. I’m sorry. I’m not driving 2 hours for his party. You’re welcome to come down though.
Her: Well, we’ll just come get him then.
Me: No. No, I’m sorry. We’re not having it here.
Her: Well, you don’t have to come.
Me: Excuse me? It’s my son’s first birthday.
Kyle’s Sister: Just have it here, your apartment is too small to have a party anyway. We don’t want to go there.
Me: We aren’t HAVING a party. He is having a cake, which I am making, and it is just going to be the three of us, and maybe your mom.
Kyle’s Grandmother: Well, we’re going to have it here, so we’ll just come pick him up. You’re welcome to come if you want.
Me: ……..

I kept looking at Kyle and his mom and waiting for someone to stand up for me, but no one did. I was so angry. Her tone of voice, and how she addressed me, everything about it. I was pissed. Mostly, because it felt so REAL, like it was something that could actually happen. Seriously. All the women in his family can be so controlling, and I felt helpless. I woke up feeling anxious. I picked up Liam and walked outside with him, and just started walking down the road, in the middle of nowhere. In the snow.

That’s all that I can remember, but I think it ended around here anyway.

I was so mad, you guys. Holidays seriously stress me out, clearly.

J

Dream Journal 11/29/15

Near future.

I was at the beach with a large group of people, I’m not sure who they were. I had my son with me, who was around 3 years old, and I was carrying him on my shoulders and wading out into the water. We weren’t even waist deep, and suddenly the water just started quickly receding out toward the horizon. I could hear people screaming, and turned to see what was going on.

There were large rock formations to the far end of the beach to my right, and there were massive waves crashing against the rocks, throwing people around, and trapping them. I put my son down and told him to run to the other end of the beach, where our group was, then I ran over to help.

I dove into the massive waves, despite my fear of deep ocean water, and swam out with a few other people to try and rescue some drowning individuals. There was a man braving the waves with me, who was searching frantically for his son, but we couldn’t find him. He grabbed a teenage girl from the water, I grabbed a middle-aged woman. We were being thrown into the rocks, along with countless other victims of the ocean’s fury, but we managed to make it back to the shore. The teenage girl thanked us both before running to her family. The woman that I had pulled from the water was unconscious, and the man helped me perform CPR on her for a long time. It didn’t help. After what seemed like an hour of performing CPR, I looked down, and her lips had turned blue. She was gone.

I started crying, upset by the fact that I wasn’t able to save her, but the man pulled me away from her lifeless body, saying that we needed to go back into the water. So we dove back in.

We ended up saving three more individuals, despite being thrown into the rocks so many times that you would have thought all the bones in my body would have broken. I even got trapped in a small crevasse in the rocks with a small group of people, and nearly drowned. But we lived. The rest of the people who had been screaming in the water vanished. They were either saved by other people, or they didn’t make it.

Everything was calm again as we went back to the shore. The drowned woman’s body was gone. The man shook my hand, and another young woman, who had been helping with the rescues, hugged me, and we went our separate ways, as if nothing had happened. I don’t know if the man ever found his son.

Everyone at the other end of the beach seemed to have no idea of what had just happened, mere yards from them. Everyone was smiling and playing. I sat down next to my son, who was playing with a large Tonka truck in the sand, and starting sobbing uncontrollably. One of the girls from my group asked me where I had been, with a huge smile plastered on her face. I was incredibly upset me, because so many people had just died, and they were sitting here, blissfully unaware, playing in the sun. I glared at her until she walked away, still smiling.

I watched my son, who was still happily playing with his toy truck. I couldn’t stop crying. No one seemed to notice.

Then, there were more screams. The ocean, which had been receding this entire time, had turned into a massive tidal wave, thousands of feet high. Despite being miles away, it cast a shadow over the beach, and people started running away. I grabbed my son and his toy truck, and ran back to the rundown motel that we had apparently been staying in.

There were people running through the halls, breaking down doors, and stealing large pieces of furniture. I don’t know why. I grabbed a backpack off of the bed from our room, and we ran out of the building.

Everything, everywhere, was deserted.

I had just made it to the road, with my son holding tightly onto my back, when the tidal wave came back into view. It had made it to the beach, and was moving impossibly fast. We ran down the middle of the road, as the shadow cast by the massive wall of water loomed closer and closer…

…And then I was awoken by a crying baby at 5:00 in the morning.

Have I mentioned my fear of deep water? Terrifying.

Take A Walk With Jan #3

I dislike bugs. I really do. Well, some bugs. There are some that I rather enjoy. I’m not afraid of these tiny critters, per se, but I hate when they fly into my face, or get stuck in my hair, or sting me, or fly around my son. They are assholes. I generally don’t bother or kill the bugs, unless they are really bothering me or the baby, or if Kyle demands it because he is terrified of most things with more than two or four legs.

I know it’s not really their fault. They are just flying around their home (which is the whole of the outdoors, by the way), minding their own business, when a giant walks into their living room and starts swatting at them. I’d bust out a baseball bat if someone did that! Hell, I’ve actually gone out of my way to rescue certain critters from imminent death (moths, caterpillars, large spiders, praying mantis mostly).
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This is Jim the Praying Mantis. I saved him from the middle of the street a few weeks ago, and put him on the tree outside of our apartment. Tell your friends, Jim! Tell them to leave me alooone! I leave them alone, and even save them, but do they show me the same kindness and courtesy? No. No, they certainly do not.

This whole week is supposed to be in the 70’s and sunny, so I decided that we would try to get in as many walks as we can before the cold weather comes. Seconds after we left our apartment, as I was strapping Liam into his stroller, a ladybug landed on his cheek. He reached his hand up to touch it, and it crawled onto his hand, then up his arm, before flying away. For a brief moment, I thought, “Aww, that was cute!” But, no, it wasn’t. Because out here in the cornfields, ladybugs are tiny, spotted demons. And I despise them.

The walk to the park wasn’t too bad. It was warm and breezy, and we avoided the sidewalks where the majority of the evil ladybugs seemed to be hovering about. The park, however, was a different story. I had stopped at Subway to grab a veggie sub, and planned to sit under one of the gazebos to eat once we got to the park.

Nope. NOPE.

I forgot that today was Sunday, and there were dozens of teenagers roaming the park, hogging all of the gazebos and picnic tables. I walked all the way to the other end of the park and sat under one of the empty gazebos, but Liam and I were relentlessly attacked by both spiders and ladybugs, and ended up sitting on a bench out in the open to eat. The bench was right next to one of the playgrounds, where there were three teen/pre-teen kids goofing around on the swings, including messing with the baby swing, so we couldn’t use it. Teenagers are such dickbags. Then, I overheard the following conversation:

Girl #1: I hate how young I look, it’s so stupid.
Boy: Why? That doesn’t make sense.
Girl #1: I look really young. I hate it.
Boy: You are young…
Girl #2: Madison, you are, like, 10. Stop.
Girl #1: But I look 10.
Boy: You ARE 10.
Girl #2: But you look, like, at least 15. So it’s okay!
Boy: Why don’t you want to look 10? You are 10.
Girl #1: I don’t expect you to get it. Just shut up.
Boy: Wow. Whatever.

The boy then grabbed his skateboard and went over to the playground, but stopped when he saw us, and walked over.

Boy: Hi. Cute baby, is he yours?
Me: Thanks. Yeah, he is.
Boy: Cool. How old are you?
Me: I’m 25.
Boy: Oh.
Me: …
Boy: …
Boy: Nevermind, I just thought you were young.
Me: … *awkward smile*

Then he waved to Liam and walked back over to the girls.

Wait. Wait a minute. What? Was he saying I looked young? But then called me old? I’m confused. Either way, I now feel old. Thanks, kid.

Then, it happened.

On the walk back, there was a bug hovering around my head. I knew it wasn’t a ladybug, but swatted it anyway. Then it flew out in front of me, and ducked beneath the hood of the stroller. I saw it. Black and yellow. In a moment of panic, I pulled the hood back, and saw a yellow jacket, floating right in front of Liam’s face. He saw it as well, and I was terrified that he would reach for it and get stung. My mama bear instincts set in, and I smacked the yellow jacked out of the air. He flew around me, and I hit him again. He got me back, though, stinging the top of my wrist. No allergies, so I’m fine, but it hurt. Bastard.

We then tried to rush home, but ended up getting stopped a few blocks away by a young couple, who wanted to ask me questions about our stroller, because they really liked it (we have a Graco Aire3 Click Connect Travel System, Gotham by the way, it is amazing). The walk back was much less eventful, thankfully. I had to give myself, Liam, and the stroller a look over once we got inside to make sure we didn’t bring home and stowaways.

I am ready for the cold weather. I thought I wanted it to stay away, but I now realize how foolish and naive I was.

BRING. ON. THE. SNOW.

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

There Is Always Something

The last few days have been rough. I’ve blogged a bit in the past about our horrible experiences with apartments, whether it be a slumlord landlord, drug dealing (but very friendly) neighbors, or tiles falling on our heads as our entire living room ceiling collapses, there is always something. Our luck, with most things in life it seems, is awful. I have no idea why. I try to have a positive outlook on things, I swear I do, but it can be really difficult to see the bright side of things, when there is something new and awful happening every other day. When there is nothing you can do, and everything is always going wrong, and there is no one who can help you. It breaks you down.

Wednesday started off like a pretty good day. Despite Liam going through a bit of sleep regression, we all woke up relatively well-rested, had some play time, got ready for the day, and went out on the town. Liam had a WIC appointment in the afternoon, where the lady complimented his development and how much he has grown, and talked to us about life, and how great it is that I read up so much on milestones. We were all in a great mood. We got home pretty late, just before Liam’s bed time (around 6:30). I made Liam a bottle, put him in his crib, and stayed with him while he drank. Suddenly, I heard a loud pop, followed by the sound of rushing water.

There are four apartments in our building, and our walls are paper thin. I can hear ever conversation, TV program, and footstep happening in the building. Because of this, I assumed the noise I was hearing was the sound of our next door neighbor using their tub, which is right on the other side of the wall. It didn’t take me long to realize that it was a little too loud to be coming from next door, so I peeked my head into the bathroom, and was greeted by a waterfall of steaming hot water pouring out from the cabinet beneath our sink, flooding our bathroom, and creeping into the hallway.

Um?!

I immediately opened the cabinet doors, and saw that one of the mesh tubing pipe things had exploded. It wasn’t rusted. It wasn’t frozen. It just exploded. What the freaking heck? I wrapped my hand around the pipe to see if I could stop the water, as I simultaneously turned the valve to shut off the water. Then, three things happened: 1) I cut my hand on the jagged mesh around the pipe, 2) I burned my hand and arm on the scalding water coming out of the pipe, and 3) the rusty valve to turn off the water SNAPPED OFF and fall into the water. I freaked out and started calling for Kyle, who was in the living room. Between my yelling for him, and then Kyle’s yelling upon reaching the bathroom, Liam started crying.

While I threw every towel that we own on the floor to try and contain the growing flood (after we had just gone to the laundromat and done several loads of laundry, since Kyle doesn’t have a day off for another week and a half), Kyle ran upstairs to get our neighbor, who is a bit of a handyman, and always helps us out with things (remember my hornet incident? That was him who helped). He came in with tools and tried to help Kyle shut off the water while I comforted Liam, who was now wide awake and upset with the noise. They managed to figure out how to turn off the water to the apartment via the creepy, outdoor storm cellar that the whole building shares, and luckily the water never reached far past the threshold of the bathroom door.

But now, we had no water.

We have a landlord, but we have never met or spoken to him. We pay our rent and make repair requests through a realty agency, which closes at 4:00pm, and we had no emergency number or website to help us out. I called and left them a politely bitchy message, spelling out our situation. Did I mention that we had just re-signed our year-long lease THAT SAME DAY? Yeah.

Kyle went to the store to pick up bottled water and paper towels, and I finally managed to get Liam back to sleep. It only took two rolls of paper towels, and every towel that we own, to soak up all the water, and then it was like nothing had happened.

Except, we had no water.

The realty place got back to me first thing in the morning, and within an hour, our maintenance guy was there fixing our pipe. His name is Steve, and he is super nice. He looks like my dad, which is weird, but he is really nice.

Liam was having a hard time falling asleep for his nap with Steve making noise, so we decided to go out for the day again, since Liam had a doctor appointment on that anyway, but that’s a different story.

Our pipe got fixed, we have water again, and not a single towel (other than toddler towels) to use for the next week. Cool!

I should also mention that I am thankful that our apartment didn’t burn down, considering our breaker box is UNDERNEATH THE SINK, inches away from where the burst pipe was spewing water. Code violation? Yes.

Since we are “celebrating” our one-year anniversary in this apartment, let’s look at all the things that have gone wrong in the time we’ve been here!

1) On the VERY FIRST NIGHT that we started moving in, we were sitting in our empty living room with our friends Joe and Mercedes, who had helped us move stuff, and were enjoying pizza, when suddenly, we heard a crash. Just a few feet behind us, in the middle of our dining area, a river of dirty water was pouring from a hole in the ceiling. It poured for just a few seconds, then continued to steadily drip for, well, the rest of the night. We put a tiny garbage can beneath the leak, since it was the middle of the night and we couldn’t call anyone. The maintenance guy came out the next day to “fix” it. This involved sawing out a HUGE section of our ceiling, and fixing the pipe in the ceiling, which was actually connected to our neighbor’s kitchen sink. It was dirty, dish water. Yum! It took several more weeks before it was able to cut a piece of plaster to cover the hole in the ceiling and drill it into place. It has now been a full year, and he still hasn’t sealed it. And, yes, we have reminded him. See the picture below!
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(One year of having to look at this right above the dinner table!)

2) We had been living here for about a month, when we realized that our wiring kind of sucks. You can’t have anything in the bathroom, kitchen, or back half living room plugged in and running when you use the microwave, or you blow the fuse. Microwave + toaster? Blown fuse. Microwave + space heater in the hallway? Blown fuse. We have to flip the breaker at least once a day. Sometimes, it can’t handle just the microwave running. Super frustrating.

3) A month and a half after moving in, our fridge and freezer stopped working overnight, and we lost quite a bit of money in dairy and meat that had to be thrown out. The maintenance guy brought us a “new” fridge from storage, which contained NO shelves. Not even the glass/plastic shelves that go over the drawers at the bottom. This fridge, despite taking up less room in the kitchen, was actually larger on the inside that the previous fridge, and the shelves did not fit in it at all. We had to pile our remaining, unspoiled food at the bottom of the fridge. It took a few days, but we finally got shelves. But it took over 3 months to get rid of the broken fridge. It sat in the middle of our eating area the whole time, so we didn’t even have our table set up. Our guy always had an excuse for why he couldn’t pick it up, and since I was very pregnant, I couldn’t even help Kyle drag it outside. Eventually, he got a friend to help him drag it to the porch. Two days later, some scrappers in a pick-up truck asked if they could have it, I told them they could, and then it was gone.

4) This one is something that we could probably fix ourselves, but I haven’t gotten a chance to after the first time I attempted. We have two doors that lead into the apartment. Our “front” door, is connected to the living room, which goes out into the building’s hallway that the 4 apartments all share. This door is solid as a rock, well insulated, and makes a very loud suction noise when you open and close it. The back door, which leads to the porch, and is in the back hallway where the bedrooms are, is not so sturdy. The outside storm door is completely crooked, leaving a half inch gap along the top of the door. We’ve had spiders, ladybugs, and hornets building nests live between our two doors. There is also a large hole at the bottom of the door, which was covered with duct tape by… someone. The door to the apartment is also crooked, and there is a gap between the door and the door frame. The gap is so bad, that you can see straight outside through it. I’m not joking. Because of this, the back of the apartment is freezing in the winter. We tried to get strip insulation, but it was too thick, and I ended up not being able to close the door at all. I had to pull it all off, ruining the door frame. It is now almost November. Gotta fix it, or we’ll be in for a VERY cold winter this year. Again.

5) When we did the initial tour of the apartment, the woman who works at the realty company told us that his apartment had forced heating, as well as central air. That is the main reason we chose this apartment over our next top choice. But when it started warming out outside, and we tried to turn on the air, nothing happened. The thermostat has settings for the fan and air, but we couldn’t get it to work, so we called the realty people. The man who called me back told me that none of the apartments in this building had air. They never have. Those are just universal thermostats. WHAT? We didn’t have enough money for a window AC unit, and couldn’t even open our windows, because NONE of them have screens. I mentioned this to them, and they promised to come out and measure the windows for screens. That was in… June, I believe. Still no screens! The reason screens are so important? The bugs. Continue reading!

6) The bugs. Oh, the bugs. Every day, since the day we moved in, I’ve had to kill a minimum of 2-3 cellar spiders a day that have crept into the apartment. They don’t bother me too much, but Kyle hates them. So I squish. One day, the corners will be free and clear of webs, but by the next morning, there are webs in every corner of the living room. We get a couple garden spiders, or jumping spiders, that wander in as well. We’ve also had a few silverfish and carpet millipede sightings. And, of course, ladybugs. But the worst? The yellow jackets/wasps/hornets. There is something about the outside of this apartment that attracts all the worst kinds of creepy crawlies. During the day, there are flying, stinging bugs all around the building. They build their stupid nests everywhere, and the exterminators keep having to come out. By night, the outside of the building is covered with big spiders, who magically appear and rappel down the siding on their butt string. They are awful. Yeah, yeah, they’re harmless. But I don’t like them. And since our windows don’t have screens, we can’t open them at all because of this. Have you read my story about the time a fuck ton of angry yellow jackets burrowed into my apartment while Liam and I were home alone? You should read that. Good times. >> CLICK HERE TO READ <<

There are more things I could list. Like the lack of parking for all the people living here, and how our Mustang got stuck EVERY day last winter. And the time a giant tree branch fell on Kyle’s head when we were trying to dig out the car, because no one trims the branches. Or how shitty my neighbors across the hall are, and how her demon children wake Liam up several times EVERY night, despite me asking them to keep it down (now I’ve just started pounding on the wall angrily). Ah, the joys of living in shitty apartments because you’re broke!

Now, does anyone have any towels they can loan me for the week? Haha… no, but seriously. I’ll be air-drying all week.

Happy Halloween, friends! Stay safe, stay spooky.

Jan

EDIT1

Negative Dunkin Donuts Experience

Yesterday, we decided to take a family trip to Walmart, mostly just to get out of the apartment, and to top off my supply of frozen vegetables and bubbly, flavored water. Our local Walmart has a Dunkin Donuts inside, and to be honest, we almost never have positive experiences going there, and this time was no exception. But we love Dunkin Donuts, and it is the only one around (there are 2 or 3 Starbucks, but we were already there), so we keep going to it.

Before I tell you what happened, let me tell you something about Kyle and myself. We are both the type of people who avoid confrontation. We are easy to please, and we’ve worked with the public (we both have worked years of retail, and I have fast food experience as well), so we are pretty understanding when it comes to mishaps, slow service, etc. In fact, unless our order is completely wrong, we almost never correct it. I will eat anything and everything given to me, so if I get something I didn’t ask for by mistake, I will still eat it, no problem. Kyle is a lot pickier, unfortunately. No vegetables of any kind, no mayonaise, blah blah blah. So sometimes we have to go in to correct his order. Or if we are charged for something we didn’t get. Stuff like that.

And we are always sickeningly polite, because we’ve been there.

I am also the type of person who enjoys filling out satisfaction surveys, because I love free food, or a chance to win money! Walmart, Target, Taco Bell, McDonald’s, you name it. However, I very rarely fill them out in a negative way, even if we didn’t have a 100% satisfactory experience. Because no one is perfect. I enjoy praising employees by name, and giving specific, positive feedback (for example, I said nice things about a Walmart employee yesterday who smiled and said hello to us, which has NEVER happened in the 5 years I’ve been coming to this location). If I have something negative to say, I don’t usually call out an employee by name, and like I said previously, I am very polite. It goes a long way!

This was not the case yesterday.

After walking around Walmart for a little while, we decided to stop by Dunkin Donuts after we checked out. Since starting my vegan diet, I’ve been trying to avoid Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts, even though they do offer non-dairy options. Trying to be all around healthier, ya know?

I went to one of the tables to feed Liam, while Kyle went up to order an Oreo Coolatta, which is something he has gotten dozens of times in the past. While he was waiting, I noticed a large group of people sitting at the back of the DD, chatting loudly. Two of them were in DD uniforms, the rest were in street clothes. They were gossiping and talking loudly, though I didn’t really mind, and assumed the girls was on break, or off the clock.

Kyle came back to the table, noticeably upset. The drink he held was black, and you could see tons of chocolate syrup on the inside of the cup. Definitely not an Oreo Coolatta. I took a sip, and it honestly made my teeth hurt, it was so sweet! He refused to go up and have them fix it, because he hates confrontation, despite the fact that he didn’t like the drink, and we paid over $3 for it. So I offered to go up and do it for him.

I walked up to the counter, 3rd in line behind two other customers. The elderly man in front of me turned to me and asked about my drink, making small talk. I noticed that no one was at the counter, and assumed the girl was making the guy’s drink who was at the counter. After a few minutes, the guy at the counter cussed loudly and turned to us, asking if we saw the girl working. I told him that she might be sitting at the table with the others (who were now laughing very loudly), and he said some expletive words, before walking off angrily. I noticed that there was no “Be back soon” type sign on the counter, and poked my head around the corner, asking if anyone was working the counter.

The entire group then stopped talking, turned to look at me, and GLARED, as if I had just called them all something awful. One woman, who I believe was a manager, stood up and asked me what the problem was. Her tone was not pleasant. I told her that there was a line waiting, but I just needed her to fix my drink. Then another girl, the one who had made Kyle’s drink in the first place, said very loudly, “Those AREN’T supposed to have coffee you know!

I told her I was aware of that, but the drink was still not right. The manager realized what I was saying, and got to work on making the correct drink for us, while trying to show the girl how to make it properly. It all would have been fine, but the girl had to say an a snarky tone, “Her boyfriend ordered it for her, that’s probably why it was wrong.

To which I replied, “It was HIS drink, which he has ordered dozens of times before. The drink was made wrong.

She ROLLED HER EYES and mumbled something about, “I ain’t never seen it made that way” to the manager, and proceeded to take the order of the man who had been waiting in line with me, while the manager woman fixed my drink. This is how their conversation went:

Man: Do you have mocha in yet?
Girl: What?
Man: Have your mocha flavors come in yet?
Girl: Huh?
Man: … Mocha. Do you have mocha here?
Girl: Oh, you want a mocha?
Man: Well, I want a mocha coffee-
Girl: Coffee?
Man: Yes, a mocha coffee. With the coconut as well.
Girl: What?
Man: A mocha cappuccino, and can you add the coconut stuff?
Girl: Toasted almond?
Man: … No. The-

At THIS point, a third employee, with at least half a dozen dermal piercings in her face (I didn’t think people working in food could have those, I know I couldn’t have my eyebrow piercing in), came up and started talking to the girl taking his order, who then proceeded to stop taking the man’s order, cutting him off mid-sentence, turn around, and talk to the other girl. And no, they were NOT talking about work. In fact, their conversation was very inappropriate to be having at the counter in front of customers.

The man tried to continue his order, now talking to the girl’s BACK, but she completely ignored him. Right. In. Front. Of. The. Manager. Who did nothing! The man looked at me, flabbergasted, then looked at the manager, who had just put my drink on the counter in front of me. She said, “Maybe now we can finish our meeting.” to the girl at the register, then she walked away without saying a word to me, or the man at the counter.

We never even got a receipt, so there was no way for me to fill out the survey, but I did have my Walmart receipt, and decided to include our DD experience on that survey instead.

They give you 1,000 characters to talk about your experience… I used 933 of them.

I was not happy. And neither were the other two customers who were in there.

This is not the first time we’ve had a bad experience at this location, with both managers and regular crew people. We’ve had employees casually swear while talking to us (literally, there was one guy who dropped the F-bomb 4 or 5 times while taking our order and chatting to us, and even though he was nice, it was super inappropriate). We’ve also had bad experiences in the past with both of the female employees who were there last night (not the manager), where they argued and said rude things, despite being wrong about the situation, and refusing to correct it.

And there is no one you can complain to, because the management is just as bad.

I guess I just wanted to rant about it, haha. I have NEVER been rude like that, to anyone, no matter where I worked. If you are that miserable at your job that you have to treat your customers like shit, who are just trying to get what they paid for, maybe you should quit and let someone else, who won’t be a snarky bitch, have your job.

Thanks for reading, guys!

Jan