Archive of ‘Pure Randomness’ category

And that’s how a brain explodes.

Internet, it’s been a long week.

In the last four days, I have worked 50 hours.

I have done laundry, washed dishes, even made lunches.

I have quieted the midnight terrors of a toddler. Headed off the 4 a.m. diarrhea explosion of a dog. Cleaned up not one, but three ooey, gooey piles of cat puke – after stepping in them.

I have stood in front of forty people and conducted a focus group of sorts (have I ever mentioned my fear of public speaking?).

I have written till my fingers ached, edited till my eyes crossed, and researched till the words blurred in front of me.

All while never once sleeping the night through.

And you know what? I still managed to keep my cool (mostly).

But then.

After it was all over, when I was supposed to be on my way to a much need rest (and an even more deserved glass of wine), I decided not to blow off the appointment I had made and actually show up to get my oil changed.

Something the universe was quite clearly encouraging me not to do.

First, there were the red lights. Twelve of them, in fact. Every single light on the way to the oil change place encouraged me to stop. But I didn’t.

Then there was the line. The line to simply hand over my keys. The looong line, presided over by an aggravated mechanic/supervisor who had apparently forgotten that a single smile can make up for a multitude of frustrations.

And then? Then there was the “mechanic” who looked at me with out a trace of light in his dull eyes and said, “alright, we can take you, but I don’t know how long you’re going to have to wait. It might take a while.”

“But I had an appointment.”

“I know. I know. Look, I’m not even the one who’s going to do it. It’s just, well, you’re going to have to wait a while.”

Doing my best not to clench my fists, I asked pseudo-sweetly “well, should I call someone to pick me up?”

“Nawwwwh. Just go wait over there. Or, you know, if you want to take a walk, we’ll probably call you or something.”

Probably.

So I sat. And I waited. I waited while a family with six, very antsy children fielded countless questions about “why aren’t they done yet?” and “mooooom, I’m hungry.”

I waited while a well-dressed man with a Lexus swooshed in, then out again, all before his butt managed to heat up the seat.

I waited until the supervisor came over and said, “ma’am? Does your car need synthetic? Or is it just regular oil?”

That’s when the first threads snapped.

“I don’t know. Doesn’t your computer tell you that?”

“Ma’am, I really need you to find out. It makes a big difference,” he responded, rolling his eyes.

“Fine. I’ll call my husband.” And so I did.

And he said, “they don’t know? They should know. You know, you can go ahead and walk out…”

Unfortunately, at that point my car had no oil. So I was stuck.

So I walked back up to the customer service desk. And waited. And waited. And waited some more.

The “supervisor,” he was on the phone with a customer. A customer he apparently couldn’t get rid of. A customer he talked to for the next 15 minutes. Literally. 15 minutes.

Now, I know you have to be polite to all your customers.

But, you know what? Hold buttons are made for a reason.

All he needed to know was what kind of oil I needed (a fact he should have already known), and they could have plugged it in, meaning I could have been on my way.

But no. I had to wait.

The previously mentioned maybe-not-quite-as-stoned-as-he-appeared mechanic tried to make light of the situation.  Tried to entertain me. But I? Just wanted to go home and hug my kid, damn it.

Finally, he got off the phone.

And got someone to put oil in my car (but not before he told me what a hassle it was to have to get it off the shelf).

And then he took an interminably long time to ring me up. Without ever once smiling or acknowledging my wait.

And the bill? Was 90 fucking dollars.

I don’t have 90 dollars to spare right now people. Couldn’t he have told me how much that synthetic oil was? I may have made a different decision.

That’s when my head exploded. Silently, of course.

One of these days, I’m going to learn to yell at the people who deserve it.

Until then? I have a blog.

So, fuck you, Pep Boys. Next time? I’m going to the dealer.

 

 

 

 

A PSA For My Freelance Writing Friends.

Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, I routinely charged upwards of $60 an hour for freelance writing work. Routinely. And my clients? Didn’t blink.

Not anymore. Now every new gig required extensive negotiations – and more often than not, I end up taking less than my gut tells me I should.

In fact, I turn down a lot of jobs simply because they’re not worth my time. I mean, come on. Five dollars for a 500-word blog post? That’s just insulting.

Some of this is no doubt caused by the never-ending economic slump our country finds itself in, and the gamut of well-qualified writers who are relying on freelance work to replace the full time jobs they’ve lost.

But you know what? Not every industry is seeing this precipitous drop in pay scale. In fact, my designer friends still command the rates I used to get.

I have a theory. One that (at least, if you’re a blogger turned freelance writer) you’re probably not going to like.

It’s your fault.

You don’t realize how much you’re worth.

You don’t realize how rare your talent for spinning words actually is.

You undervalue yourselves.

In fact, you’re so grateful that people are willing to pay you for doing what you love that you just accept whatever pennies they decide to throw your way.

And that’s just wrong.

You have real, marketable skills.

You have more talent in your pinkie finger than 99 percent of the people out there.

You deserve to get paid, and paid well.

Those Twitter and Facebook followings you have? They’re worth their weight in gold. So are your subscriber numbers – even if they’re not in the “I am a blogging goddess” range.

People trust you. They’ll follow you (or at least your words) if you ask them to.

Take advantage of everything you’ve worked so hard to build.

You owe it to yourselves. You owe it to each other. And dag nam it, you owe it to me. Mama needs a vacation.

So just stop it.

Stop selling yourselves short.

Stop feeling embarrassed about negotiating pay.

Stand up tall like the talented, professional writers you are and ask for what you deserve.

Those companies, they’re never going to volunteer to pay more. Nope, they’re going to continue to balk, to feel completely justified in offering below-minimum-wage pay, until we make them stop.

Let’s make them stop.

 

Snap Happy.

When I was little, taking pictures was a big deal. You had to have the camera on hand, equipped with batteries and film. Plus, film was expensive. So you didn’t take 500 pics looking for the perfect shot. You took one, maybe two, and hoped you got what you wanted.

And after all that, you still had to remember to get the film developed. Which rarely ever happened.

Now, of course, most of us have pretty sweet cameras right in our pockets. We can pull it out at a moment’s notice, snap a pic (or 50), edit it, and send it out to the world at large. All within minutes.

Take a moment to appreciate how huge that is. Because it is. Huge. Mind boggling, really.

I love having the ability to document my life like that. I love being able to capture my happy moments—big, small or teeny tiny.

 

Little Handprints on our dusty Car

I can snap a pic when the sight of Tori's hand prints makes me smile on an otherwise grey day.

 

The first tree buds

I can celebrate the first tree bud sighting with everyone I know.

 

Tori's prom dress pajamas

I can catch her striking a pose…

 

Tori sleeps in the car

…and catch her at sweetly sleepy moments.

 

My snuggly cats

I can document the feel of my warm fuzzy buddies piled up beside me…

 

Tori feeds Jasmine

…and show the world how gentle a giant a 150-pound newfoundland can be.

 

Some might say I take too many pictures. But I don’t plan to put that magic little phone down any time soon. These are the memories I want to treasure. The itty bitty joys that put a bounce in my step and a smile in my heart—even when The Man’s getting me down.

I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

 

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