Mr. McSporty

April 30, 2010

Guess which one one is mine...

(the conclusion of the WalMart story is down below...)

I Still Hate WalMart

April 30, 2010

Everyone knows that unless you're in the market for a .22 long rifle in the $74-$79 price range, or a children's life jacket, one should never purchase sporting goods from WalMart. I mean really, have you seen those elliptical trainers? They should come with a life insurance policy. Honestly, I think I'd rather ride a rickshaw through the streets of HoChiMin City than spend 30 seconds on one of those machines. Seriously, stick me on a rusted out 1970's carnival ride any day of the week. WalMart exercise equipment? I don't think so.

And that's precisely where Jared and I went astray.

We were strolling through the sporting goods section of WalMart, enjoying the views of NASCAR paraphernalia and novelties designed for ultimate fans of Ultimate Fighting, when we happened across a handheld GPS that was marked 40% off. It was name brand, it took AA batteries (just like we'd been looking for), and the weekend before, we had seen the exact same model at LL Bean in Freeport.

There was one GPS left, so it's needless to say that we went for it.

Now if you're not exactly sure what a handheld GPS is, don't sweat it--the Sporting Goods Manager had no idea either.

JARED: Is this thing all set to go?

SPORTING GOODS MANAGER: Uhhhhhh...(looks at the back of the box).....uhhhhh.....yup.

JARED: So all we have to do is pop in the batteries and we're ready to start using it?

SPORTING GOODS MANAGER: Ummmm....(looks at the back of the box again)....that's right.

And we bought it.

As soon as we got into the parking lot, we knew we were in trouble. According the the GPS, we were standing in the middle of a field in Los Angeles. Since we were clearly standing in the middle of the WalMart parking lot, and as far as I know there aren't any fields in LA, we decided to take the GPS home and read the instruction manual.

And that's when we found out that you need to buy a $200 software upgrade before you can even use the damn thing to find your mailbox.

Man, I love it when managers know their products so well!

So, the receipt was tucked back into the box, and the GPS proceeded to sit on the desk in our den for the next 21 days--until Jared's next trip to WalMart.

Jared went to WalMart three weeks later in search of a bike for James's fifth birthday. He planned to return the GPS and use the cash to buy the bike. You know--the Spiderman bike, that had no price tag, and no one to tell him the price, and no one to get it from the back, so now James has an orange bike from Target.

Anyhoo...Jared went to the service desk with the GPS and his receipt in hand.

JARED: Hi, I'd like to return this handheld GPS.

CUSTOMER SERVICE: [looks at receipt, point over her shoulder to a sign] Can't. There's a 15 day return policy on GPS units.

JARED: Really? My receipt says 90 days. I thought WalMart has a 90 day return policy. Isn't that what your commercials say?

CUSTOMER SERVICE: [points to sign again] 15 days for a GPS.

JARED: How was I supposed to know that?

CUSTOMER SERVICE: [points to sign again] Next!

JARED: Can I speak with the manager?

...15 minutes later the Assistant Manager comes out.


JARED: How was I supposed to know there was a 15 day return policy on this GPS?

ASSISTANT MANAGER: [points to sign]

JARED: But no one told me when I checked out, or at the sporting goods counter.

ASSISTANT MANAGER: You need to walk by the service desk on your way out and make sure there aren't any signs pertaining to the items you just bought.

JARED: Seriously?


So Jared called me from WalMart and relayed the whole story--and to use WalMart speak, I was some angry. I said, "Jared, wait right there. I'm gonna call. We'll get 'em from both ends."


ME: I'd like to speak with the store manager, please.

...15 minutes later the Assistant Manager picks up.

ME: Hi, my husband's standing at the service desk right now, and he's having trouble returning a GPS unit.

ASSISTANT MANAGER: [audible sigh mixed with an unbelievably beastly tone] He can't, it's been longer than 15 days. And he told me that he bought it so he could use it and return it.

ME: That's what he said?


ME: Well that's not true, but anyway, how were we supposed to know that the GPS had a 15 day return policy?


ME: Kathy? Are you pointing to the sign right now?


ME: How else?

Okay, I won't torture you with the drawn out back and forth dialogue. According to Kathy, there was a sticker on the box (nope), it should have said it on the receipt (nope again), and there was a sign indicating the return policy in the electronics sections (well sorry Kath, that's another nope, we bought it in the sporting goods section not electronics).

So, after the third nope, it went like this...

ME: So will you let him return it?


And this is where it really heats up.

ME: Kathy, can I get the name and number of your boss?

ASSISTANT MANAGER: I don't have a boss.

ME: You're in charge of the whole store?


ME: Do yo have a regional boss?


ME: So you're in charge of all WalMarts everywhere in the world?


ME: Well then, we're gonna be on the phone with each other for a while.

And that's when Kathy hung up on me, scoffed the GPS out of Jared's hands, inspected every square inch of it (including each page of the instruction manual, one by one by one) for signs of foul play, and begrudgingly gave Jared his cash.

As for me? I will never step foot into my local WalMart for as long as I shall live.

As for you? Next time you shop at WalMart, please be sure to swing by the customer service desk on your way out of the store and ask about the return policy on every single item you purchased. And for my sake, do it on a day when you buy 30 bags of groceries.

They say: Satisfaction Guaranteed.

I say: I'm having a super hot, secret affair with Curtis Stone, the Take Home Chef.

Well look at that! We're both liars!

The End.

P.S. I still hate WalMart.

I Hate WalMart

April 28, 2010

Generally speaking, I try oh-so-hard to be ultra-diplomatic on this blog. In an effort to avoid ruffling any feathers, I like to keep my opinions tucked tightly under the rug. But today? Today my friends, I plan to tell it like it is. Specifically:


From the filthy children, to the produce that smells like the foyer of the SPCA, to the middle-aged people carting oxygen tanks around in the basket of the complimentary JazzyXL scooters, I HATE WALMART.

(aaaaaaand, cue the guilt)

I've got to say, the WalMart in my neck of the woods, is far and away the nastiest one I've ever had the displeasure of patronizing. I've been in urban WalMarts, country WalMarts, and everything in between--but this place? This place is just plain over the top.

For example:

1. I've seen not one, not two, but three fights break out at the $5 movie bin in the last two years. The most recent fight, I kid you not, was waged over a discount copy of Nacho Libre. It was between a dirty looking Grandma and another dirty looking Grandma, and my goodness there was flab undulating all over the place with the peeved-off back and forth grabbing.

2. It's 100% impossible to find baby pajamas between the sizes of 6 months and 18 months. In other words, they don't stock sleepers in 9 or 12 months. Probably because it's cheaper to wrap a baby up in some paper towels and call it a day. They're all, "PIjamas! That baby don't need no PIjamas! Just dun wrap 'em up in this har paper-towlin' and you got yerself sumfin' better 'n PIjamas!"

3. Using the bathroom is like scoring a free ticket to Diarrhea Fest 2010. Apparently, every single patron of my neighborhood WalMart (except for my family) has a raging case of the runs, uses an entire roll of toilet paper to handle the mess, clogs the toilet, and then repeats the process in every stall in the joint. Seriously, I don't think I've ever been in that bathroom and not had the displeasure of witnessing the smells and sounds of a redneck losing their bowels out their anus.

4. My friend had her eyebrows waxed at the local WalMart salon (hello, horrible choice!) while she was waiting to have some pictures printed, and with the exception of five hairs, the beautician accidentally WAXED OFF HER ENTIRE LEFT EYEBROW.

5. Our trips to WalMart prompt James to ask all kinds of questions that I don't want to answer...."Mom, why can't Maggie have blue juice in her bottle?"...."Mom, why isn't that man wearing any underpants?"...."Mom, I wish my shirt had light-up iPod speakers sewn onto it."

6. Somehow, the same creepy greeter seems to work both entrances of the store 24/7. You walk in, he slowly eyes you up and down and he says something very long and drawn out like, "Hello, welcome to your always friendly, very happy, oh so helpful, really nice, very friendly...wait, did I already say friendly?...neighborhood WalMart."

And then when you walk out he's all, "I'll need to check your receipt."

And I'm like, "Really? I thought they only do that at Sam's Club. You really need to check my receipt?"

He'll read through it, find the most personal item purchased and be like, "Did you find your [tampons, condoms, Vagasil, KY, herpes get the idea] without any trouble today?"

Believe you me, I hate WalMart for each of the reasons listed above, but somehow, even when you add them all together, it was never enough to keep me away from that perverted little happy face and his messed-up deals.

It was the experience we had two weeks ago that finally made me say, "For as long as I shall live, I will never step foot into my local WalMart ever, ever again."

...but I'll have to write about that later. Right now, Maggie's waking up.


April 28, 2010

Guess what I'm doing right this very moment?

Writing the WalMart post.

Stay tuned...

Fresh Out

April 27, 2010


My mojo is gone.

Any questions? Topics you'd like to see tackled?

The emotions are still too raw for the WalMart post, so that'll have to wait.

The well is running dry.

This is what happens when I feel satisfied with my life. I need to move back to Dallas...

Soul Sisters

April 22, 2010

It's vacation week in the great North East, and in this family, when school break rolls around, James is shipped off to Grandma's house post haste.

This time I was so motivated to get him across state lines that I forgot to pack his sunglasses. And let me tell you, this boy feels naked without his accessories.

Always the day-saver, Grandma swooped in and bought James a pair of these beauties:

Check it out:

They're soul sisters!

Hello I.R.S.

April 20, 2010

I haven't written since tax day, and to be quite honest, I think I have a touch of PTSD from the whole experience. This was our first year as a profitable business, and let me tell you, it really brings things to the next level of complication.

Q. Do you know what else tends to up the complication factor?

A. When last year's accountant was an absolute moron who had very little respect for the rules of Uncle Sam.

As much as I salivate at the thought of free health care, jail simply isn't the place for me. I suck at weight lifting--I'm a total T-Rex. You know, explosive strength in the legs, but not so much in the upper quadrants.

Does anyone play Scrabble in prison? I suppose that could work.

Anyhoo, last year's accountant--whose last name was remarkably close to the technical word meaning butt hole--made approximately fourteen-thousand mistakes on our 2008 return, which means this year's return required somewhere in the ballpark of one-million corrections.

It never failed, my accountant would catch me on my cell phone while I was sweating bullets in the bathing suit section at TJ Maxx, He'd be like, "Amy. Did you take a five or a seven year depreciation on Jared's tables last year?"

And I was all, "Uhhhhhhhh??????? Sevvvvvvvven?"

"Seven? Why'd you opt for seven?"

And I'd throw a one-piece on the floor and be like, "I don't know! I'm lying! I'm LYING CHRIS! What the hell is depreciation?"

Then he'd launch into a twenty-minute snore fest about tax law. Finally I'd cut him off by saying something intelligent like, "Do I have enough money to buy this bathing suit or not, Chris? It's fifteen dollars and the tag says it'll hide my trouble spots."

To which he'd say something along the lines of, "I don't understand the question."

Well I didn't understand his question in the first place. Couldn't he have asked something more reasonable, like "Hi Amy. Have you ever thought about reducing your charitable contributions so you can buy your son new pants? He looks ridiculous."

I can work with a question like that, I really can.

And so it went.

My In-Laws were Deported, Mon!

April 15, 2010

I absolutely hate to have to write this, but lately, James has been having trouble in school. It's not a behavioral thing, and it's not a social thing either. Academically he's right on track, and manners? Apparently they're okay, too.

According the Miss Karen, James takes longer than average to process information. In addition to that, he has a hard time with transitions.

Now you know teachers as well as I do, if your kid smells like an open sewer on a hot day, they'll tell you that "he's uniquely fragrent, and a super good kid." If she's loud, they tell you that "she's very social and enthusiastic."

So when James's teacher used words like "longer than average" and "difficulty with transitions" I was like, "Lay it on me Karen. Is my kid a ridiculous pain in the ass?"

She replied with a very firm no, and thankfully, we sealed it with a pinky swear. Karen let me know, that to fully understand the issue, I should probably come to the classroom and watch James go about his day.

So I did. And now I get it.

Let's pretend that the class has three activities on the agenda, like 1) Wear this pineapple shaped hat on your head, 2) Walk to the sink to brush your teeth, and 3) Do the goodbye dance.

James will get so caught up in task number one (Which direction should the pineapple face? What if the pineapple hat flattens my hair? Can I opt for a banana hat instead? Is this paper recycled?), that he'll miss all of activity number two and make it to activity three with just enough time to take the final bow.

And when he's rushed from one activity to the next, he loses the total and complete grasp of where he his. That, my friends, is preceisly the reason why James has gotten five huge goose eggs from bumping into the same book display five times on his way to gym class. His little head is so busy pondering the merits of tape versus glue, that SMACK, Nurse Debbie's calling me at work. Again.

The morning after I observed James, Miss Karen came over to talk about what I'd seen the day before. She said, "Amy, this is just engrained in James. It's the way his brain works. Can you think of any family members who have similar experiences?"

And without hesitation I said, "Miss Karen, get a load of this..."

Sometime back in January, my in-laws took the plunge, and finally booked a vacation to Jamaica for the end of March. They were seriously overdue for some time away, so for the next two months, the greater part of their existance was focused on prepping for Jamaica. My mother-in-law shopped, my father-in-law daydreamed, and they both did their fair share of tanning at the local laundrymat. (Oh snap! I promised my father-in-law that I'd never tell his secret. Sucks to have me in the family, doesn't it?)

Well, the day finally rolled around, and my in-laws headed to the Portland International Jetport in a state of pure, unadulterated giddiness. There was giggling, there was flirting, and oh my word, I think I'll stop right there.

Now before I go any further, you've got to understand that when you fly out of Portland Maine, there's really no such thing as a direct flight. Unless you're headed to JFK or Atlanta, you'll most certainly have a stop or three along the way. My in-laws' flight inteneraty looked like this:

Portland, Maine ---> JFK, New York
JFK, New York ---> Jamaica

Well okay then.

They arrived at their gate, and as is customary, there was a door to the left of the check-in desk, and a door to the right--one flight to Atlanta, the other to JFK. My in-laws waited at the gate for a few minutes until a voice came over the intercom:

Flight 103 to Atlanta is now boarding all passengers. Flight 103 to Atlanta is now boarding.

So my father-in-law turned to my mother-in-law and said, "Well, I guess we have a layover in Atlanta before we get to JFK. Let's get on the plane, Meredith." So they did. They got on the wrong plane, headed to the wrong city.

As they boarded the plane, the flight attendant noticed the size of my mother-in-law's carry-on (too big for the overhead compartment), and let her know that it had to be checked at the gate and stowed under the plane. They checked the bag, walked onto the plane, and found that a very nice couple was sitting in their seats. "Huh, that's funny," my mother-in-law said, "we're both in 12C and 12D. I better get the flight attendant."

The flight attendant checked the tickets against one another and politely informed my in-laws that they should be on the plane to New York, not the plane to Atlanta. Well whoopsie-woo! Is that embarrassing, or what?!

They quickly deplaned and were met with the very disconcerting news that "No, we can not retrieve your carry-on bag, it's already secured in the belly of the plane....Well ma'am, I'm sorry that it has all of your phone chargers and essential medications inside of it, I simply cannot bend the rules...No ma'am, these are FAA regulations."

Oh freaking fart.

Luckily, my in-laws refound their happy place when they were upgraded to first-class on the flight to New York. I mean seriously, who doesn't love a bag of free nuts these days?

They made it to New York without a problem, and continued on to Jamaica without a care in the world. As the plane touched down on the tropical soil they made starry eyes at each other, and oh my word, gross, that's more than enough of that.

They walked off the plane, and made their way to customs hand in hand. When they got to the counter, the customs agent was all, "I need to see your passports, lady and mon." So my father-in-law placed his passport book on the counter, and my mother-in-law put her passport card right next to it.

Now if you're not from a border state, you might not know what a passport card is. It's the size of a credit card, and it's good for crossing into Canada or Mexico by car, or Bermuda on a cruise. That pretty much sums in up.

Earlier in the morning, when my in-laws left their house, Meredith said to herself, "A passport book? That big ol' thing? I don't want to carry that! It doesn't fit in my wallet and I could lose it. I'll just bring this cute, little card. It's so stinkin' convenient." And off she went.

Let me just stop right here and do a little public service announcement: IF YOU'RE GOING TO A FOREIGN COUNTRY, ALWAYS BRING YOUR PASSPORT. EVEN IF IT'S THE SIZE OF A PHONE BOOK.

The customs agent didn't appreciate my mother-in-law's love of convenience or her lack of documentation, so without a second of hesitation she pointed to my father-in-law and said, "You can stay. She must go."

Within five minutes they were both on a plane headed back to New York.


Fun Fact: There's not charge for deportation. Yay!

The next twenty-four hours were filled with all kinds of drama. Jared and I were charged with the task of getting a passport from middle-of-nowhere Maine to--wait for it--Jamaica, New York by the time their flight was scheduled to leave the following morning.

Fifteen phone calls and $400 later the passport was on a flight of its own, and Thanks Be to FedEx, it made to the hotel with plenty of time to spare.

Well phew. I sure was glad that was over.

And then, a few days later, I got a Facebook message. It was from Meredith and the subject line read SOS. Here's an excerpt from the message:

Another SOS. Dad hasn't slept in two nights, literally. He needs his leg medication that's in the lost carry-on bag. If any of you can help it would be greatly appreciated...[blah, blah, blah]...Anyone who finds the bag gets a large cash reward. We'll make it worth your time!

You know what that message really means, don't you? My father-in-law's restless leg syndrome was flaring up to the point that he was jerkily (and involuntarily) kicking his wife all night long.

I still snort every time I think about it.

Never being one to ignore the offer of a large cash reward, I called Delta and had their bags pinned down within thirty minutes--one bag was in San Antonio, and the other two were in Portland. All three would be on the next flight to Jamaica. Mission accomplished.

I'm happy to say that my in-laws had the time of their lives in Jamaica and made it back to Maine without any major mix-ups. See?

Two days after they arrived back home, my in-laws decided to take a short Sunday stroll on the very well marked trail behind their house. They got lost in the woods for more than two hours.

When I finished relaying the story of James's teacher, she sat silently, starting at me for a good second or two. "Well, I guess this is just a part of who James is," she said. "It sounds like he gets it from his father's side of the family."

Miss Karen, I couldn't agree more. Do they have special schools for this kind of thing?

He's Right

April 13, 2010

Jared says I need to blog.

I say that Jared needs to fold my laundry, rub my feet, and run around the block three times naked. I'm not sure why, but running in the nude has always been a dream of mine--and I want to share those precious longings with my husband.

Any time I ask him to do it, he's all, "No. Why don't YOU run around the block naked?!" And then he has to catch me by my wrist while I slip out the back door.

The bottom line is this: Jared's right, I need to blog.

Lucky for you, I have two posts coming down the pipe. The first post will be titled My In-Laws Got Deported, Mon! (because they did), and the second will be called something along the lines of WalMart is a Giant Box of Poop.

Stay tuned, but don't hold your breath...this is me we're dealing with.

In the mean time, I'm curious--If you could run around the block naked and it was guaranteed that you wouldn't get caught, would you go for it?

Unexcused Abscence

April 12, 2010

Seriously? Nine days without a post? I have no doubt that this is a new personal record for me--and I don't like it one bit.

I guess I just had a lot going on last week--a crap load of work meetings, a nasty cold that hit us all, and James turned five.

Now that last one? It seems simple enough, doesn't it? Well it's not.

James turning five meant a birthday party with idon'tevenknowhowmany children, the world's worst trip to WalMart (which deserves its very own post since it caused me to swear off that ginormous box of crap for the rest of my life), and an impromptu trip to a body shop for some custom training wheel modifications.

But the good news? James was thrilled. Off his rocker at church yesterday, but 100% thrilled.

So here I am. Sorry for the neglect, but now you know how my children feel.

Celebrate Easter with a Poops...I mean Peeps...Cake!

April 3, 2010

Every year, the same thing happens...

Easter rolls around, my mother finds a nice picture of a nice cake in Better Homes n' Gardens magazine, and she decides that we absolutely must have our own version of the photo-worthy treat at our holiday celebration.

This year, the Easter dessert that will grace our table is the Peeps Sunflower cake.


It's cute, it's clever, and my goodness it sure looks easy enough! All you have to do is take one package of cake mix, some store-bought frosting, a handful of chocolate chips, a package of Peeps, you throw it all together, and you get this:

Ten ducks taking a dump in a giant, communal toilet.

I mean really, Mom? Really? Did you really have to put the ducks ass end in? Kind of makes me feel like I'm at the Bronx Zoo. There's nothing flowery about it.

When my mother serves it tomorrow afternoon, she should be like, "Christ the Lord has risen today! Hallelujah! And please, let this cake be a reminder to get your DPT booster shot...and always use plenty of hand sanitizer...and don't feed the ducks."

Any way you slice it, my mom is very proud of her creation:

Those little poops are just so springy!