Tuesday, October 29, 2013

This blog post is from a confused customer service representative

Good news, friends.  I am now the proud owner of tobetomars.com. So long, .blogspot! But don't worry, tobetomars.blogspot.com still works. I just think maybe I can trick people into thinking this is a legitimate operation if I have a bought and paid for World Wide Web address. 


My job. It has three parts. It's one part writing and editing, the skill set I was originally hired for; one part forum moderating, which no one has the proper skill set for; and customer service, which is the furthest thing imaginable from what I'm good at doing. If my skills are the sun, customer service is Pluto in a solar system on the opposite side of the universe. I don't enjoy talking on the phone. I don't enjoy people. I don't enjoy customers or service. I am the anti-Flo.

Though I have been doing this job for a while and I am getting better. I've developed a warm and pleasant talking to strangers on the phone voice. I've learned that it's always better to be apologetic. I've started signingd every email with "Thank You!". But sometimes I mess up. Sometimes I'm in a hurry and I answer emails with one or two sentences and forget to include smiley faces and exclamation points. So sometimes I get replies like this:

Yes I live in Australia Meg sorry for asking a question about the item an shipping if I new you respond angry an pissed off like that I would of not bothered asking or buying the product you really no how to treat a first time customer NOT. Just would liked to have a idea on when or how long take to receive the product but I won't bother asking you again.thanks for the rude reply NOT. This reply is from a unhappy first time customer.

Honestly, I don't remember what I wrote that set the customer off like this. I guess I asked if he lived in  Australia? And boy am I glad I did! Had I not, I probably would have missed out on some of the greatest prose of our time. When's the last time you read or heard such wonderful usage of NOT? Let alone twice in one email! When's the last time you encountered so many misspellings that also serve as double entendres? And when's the last time a final sentence did such a fantastic job summarizing all previous sentences? 

Bravo, unhappy first time customer. I mean, sorry for upsetting you, but mostly, Bra freaking vo. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Dr. Ivy Answers

Margo in Wisconsin asks,

Dr. Ivy, I know you're an inspiration to all you come in contact with, but I was wondering if you have any role models of your own?

Dr. Ivy says,

"What a great question, Margo. As a matter of fact, I have two idols of my own. I call them Nana and Mimi, or to save time, The Grandmas. Shout out to all the G-mas in the house! You ladies are the real heroes.

Do you know what I get when I go shopping with Mom?  Diapers, canned goods and scolding.
Do you know what I get when I go shopping with Mimi? Toys. And more toys.

Do you know who doesn't send me packages because apparently it's "silly" to send a parcel to someone you share a home with? Mom. 
Do you know who sends me brightly wrapped boxes full of candy and Elmo DVDs? Nana.

The Grandmas don't insist on vacuuming once a day even though the vacuum is the most terrifying, baby-eating, life-destroying device in existence. Guess who does: Yeah. You got it. 

The Grandmas don't tell me to "get a grip". Mom does. Often.

Instead of ignoring my every demand because they need to "finish their meal" or "make a phone call", (COUGH mom COUGH) The Grandmas rush to my side at every grunt and whine to read a story seventeen times or tie then untie my shoe for forty minutes. My wish? It's their command.

Mimi doesn't make me take a nap or wash my hair. Mom's so weird about that. Like I need sleep or clean hair. Puh-lease.

Nana doesn't withhold chocolate or crayons. Mom, on the other hand, seems to love her couch and walls more than she loves me. 

In conclusion, I hope to someday be the kind of benevolent, loving woman that both my Nana and Mimi are. I wish my vacuuming,  nap-enforcing, whine-enforcing mother would take a page from their book.

Dr. Ivy"

Dr. Ivy, The World's Greatest Expert

Monday, October 21, 2013

"I left my glasses! Hahahahahaha!"

You'd think that  after that space shuttle malfunction, the plane crash on a deserted island, and being stuck in an airport terminal, that Tom Hanks would be avoiding travel. But no, he went and got himself abducted by cargo ship pirates. I worked on that joke all  weekend. It's a C+ joke at best. There's no hope for me.

Anyway, Stephen and I went out. We got a babysitter, cause we fancy folk, and headed for the picture show. Our dates are always to the movies. Back when we were childless and rolling around in the piles of money we were making from our full time jobs, we went to multiple movies a week. Now that we have offspring and mountains of student loan debt, it's a rare and special occurrence when we make it to our local AMC theater. But when we go, we go big and treat ourselves to the large popcorn and beverage combo. If there's anything I love more than a good movie, it's a good bag of movie popcorn. Quick flashback: In our early days of courtship, when we went to the first of what would be a lifetime of movies together, we stood at the concession counter and Stephen asked, "Do you think a small popcorn will be enough?". I laughed at his face. Then I ordered a large. Then I ate the entire large popcorn by myself.

So there we were, in our  happy place, sharing our extra large Diet Coke and popcorn, ready to view Captain Philips. Then the movie started. And the guy sitting next to me, who had looked  and seemed so very normal, began his personal narration of  the movie. At full volume. This narration included severely idiotic questions, i.e. "Why don't they just take a shot from  the  side of the  boat?", and jokes that were only funny because they were so not funny, one of which was the title of the post. I'm not going to explain it because I respect your intelligence. And to add insult to injury, he apparently ate seven cloves of garlic for dinner and then tried to mask the deathly aroma with a piece of gum. Every time he opened his mouth to make another "zinger", the garlic-mint combo nearly knocked me out. I leaned so far in  the opposite direction to avoid the breath and the voice that I practically sat on Stephen's lap. But the woman on the opposite side of Mr. Loudmouth was totally into it. She laughed at all his "jokes", nodded in agreement with his statements of the obvious, and held his hand through the entire two and half hours. So I guess there really is a lid for every pot. While I prefer the man who understands theater etiquette and lets me eat 5/6 of our shared snacks, Garlic Boy's lady friend prefers a different brand. Love is a beautiful thing. I just hope I don't have to sit next to it again.

Captain Philips was really great, by the way.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tigers on a gold leash

"I decided I don't want to buy these," I said to my favorite Target Cashier, the elderly woman who shares the latest celebrity gossip, as I handed her the $7.99 earrings. "Let's have a look," she replied, and after giving the faux-jade studs a good, long stare, she said, "Yeah. They're ugly. I wouldn't wear them." It should be mentioned that at the time I was sporting camo pants, red patent-leather sneakers and the frumpiest sweater in my extensive frumpy sweater collection. So it's no surprise Dolores (not her actual name) thought my taste questionable and decided a second opinion was necessary.

These are cuter than the ones I didn't buy

"Then again, I'm an old lady," she added. "When I was younger and had to dress up everyday, I wore colorful jewelry all the time." The door to her personal history now cracked just the tiniest bit, I felt like she would have been willing to swing it wide open if only I had asked, "What did you used to do?" or, "What job required you to dress up everyday?". And I wanted to inquire. But once at the airport I asked an older TSA employee how he liked his job, and he lowered his eyes, shook his head and said "Stay in school." Since then I've avoided asking near strangers about their career history/satisfaction. Instead I just make imaginative, idealistic assumptions.

Like, maybe Dolores had a brush with stardom. Perhaps she was a backup singer for a suave, sultry-eyed crooner? Played a minor role in a major box-office hit? Danced at Radio City Music Hall?

Or she could have been a bigwig, of some massive corporation. A well-dressed, colorful jewelry wearing CEO.

Whatever the case, I'm glad Dolores decided to leave her former career and get a job at a small town Target because I'm really terrible at accessorizing and it's nice to know someone is there and willing to help.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Man, Woman and Child's Best Friend/Child/Sibling/Nuisance

Every once in a while someone asks when we'll have a second child. I always think, a) This is a weird conversation to be having, and b) for all intents and purposes, I already have two children. One baby I carried in my womb, birthed, and nursed, the other I got for $500 plus the cost of dog food, because he's a dog. While the arrival of the dog to our family was certainly easier than the delivery of the baby, it's neck and neck when it comes to which of the small creatures is currently more demanding of my time and energy.

Let's  take crying, for instance. One of my children cries way more than the other, and it's not my biological offspring. Ivy only cries when she's exhausted or when she's fallen down. Ollie cries when he wants a treat. Ollie cries when he's bored. Ollie cries when I leave the apartment, even if it's for thirty seconds while I take out the garbage. The crying is so bad and so loud and so annoying to neighbors, that I literally have to take him everywhere with me. And since Target, the one place I go on a regular basis, has a pretty strict no animal policy, and since we're all aware of the dangers of leaving a dog in the car for any extended amount of time, I have started setting land speed errand running records.

Ivy eats a little bit and really doesn't seem to have a need or want for food. Ollie, on the other hand, goes bonkers every time he hears the fridge open or a food package rustle. He once sat and cried for five minutes while I chopped an onion until I finally gave him a piece that he somehow managed to choke down, too prideful to admit it wasn't very tasty.

Ivy is incredibly efficient at waste excretion. Ollie is not. Ollie takes five laps around the courtyard, sniffing every leaf, pebble and sprinkler head before finding a plot of ground worthy of his urine. On average, it's a twenty minute process. There's an additional five minutes if it's a pooping venture.

Ivy plays well with others. Ollie tries to to rupture the ear drums of all house guests. Any time the door bell rings, it's doggy DEFCON 5 -- Ollie loses it. He barks, jumps, growls, and generally freaks out until scolded repeatedly and ultimately distracted with a bribe.

Ivy likes to join me in activities. Like this morning while I was doing Insanity, she jumped and stretched along side. Ollie cried and then sat on my stomach.

But. Ollie lets Ivy pull his ears. He lays outside her bedroom door when she's sleeping. He marches to her crib every morning to greet her. He comes every time she calls, "Ollie!" He kisses her face at every opportunity. They spend every waking moment together.

"I'm glad my kids have siblings so they can play together," is usually what the would-be family planner concludes the conversation with. "I am too," I think.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Found in Translation

This talking business has really started coming together  in the last couple weeks  for Ivy.
The  more she learns to say, the more apparent my parenting flaws become.
For instance, when someone is in Ivy's way and she would like them to move, she says, "Beep beep." She of course learned this from her mother and father who thought they were being cute  every time they said it to their toddler. They were wrong.
Also, she says "Ollie,  no!" a  lot, which might be a random pairing of two words she happens to know if she didn't say it in the exact exasperated tone that I use to scold the dog.
Finally, she calls chicken, as in the dead poultry variety, "chicky", as in the small, fluffy, baby bird variety.  Recognition that she's eating an adorable animal doesn't seem to faze her, which is kind of a relief, but also kind of alarming?

And then there's the stuff she says that's so precious I shed actual tears of joy. Like when she sees a playground and says, "weee!" or walks into my closet and slowly admires every piece of footwear, exclaiming "shoo-shoe!" at each  one, or when she says declares"Beeby!" when  she sees anyone child under the age of four.

There's also hilarity in her confused vocabulary. She calls monkeys "babies" and any spotted animal is called "moo." When you ask her something she doesn't understand she answers with "Um...." and then a long string of gibberish.

Next stop...debate team.