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Dear Pat,

As much as I admire your gumption to keep working long past retirement age, I think it’s time for you to consider calling it quits.

Monday was rough, but I thought our tax-prep nightmare was over.

I was wrong.

Yesterday, you sent this:

Eddie drew the short straw and went to get the new forms to mail.

As it turns out, your words were misleading: We still owe lots, but we now owe less thanks to your fix. Great! Thanks!

But why would you tell him that we should now call the IRS to find out exactly how much we owe? Come on, Pat. Isn’t that your job?

So I’m going to subtract the “refund” from the old amount and send a check for the result.

Pat, this experience has, quite frankly, sucked.

And we had to pay for the sucktitude. At least it wasn’t more:

No charge for your mistake? How generous.

You could have at least tried to make it up to us with another free pen.

Pat, I’m afraid it’s time for you to hang up your spurs. Go enjoy fruity drinks by a pool somewhere. Aren’t there great grandkids somewhere who need you?

Please, think of the children. And my sanity.

All my best,
Beth

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Dear IRS/U.S. Government:

We truly are long overdue for tax reform — if for no other reason than the fact that I wouldn’t even wish my H&R Block experience on my worst enemy. Not even on Mitch McConnell, and you know how I feel about him.

Usually, TurboTax and I hang out together for a few hours. I emerge grumpy but satisfied. And I always complete the process weeks in advance of the April 15 deadline.

This year I felt there were too many variables — selling a house, moving retirement funds, freelance work — for me to feel comfortable on my own.

Friends have used H&R Block, so I decided to take a chance. Let me just say this: With friends like that, who needs enemies?

This experience was beyond awful.

I’ve mentioned before that I am Tracy Flick. I had all my receipts categorized and added up. All my documents orderly. Everything laid out in sections in a folder.

I made an appointment two weeks ago to drop off my stuff.

I was assigned to Pat, someone’s great grandmother. She went through each piece of paper with me at 1/4 the speed of a regular person.

Then she told me she’d call me if she needed more information. Over the next week, she called and sent cryptic emails every day.

Today — FILING DAY — she told Eddie and me to come in at 7 to sign. That’s right in the middle of Gideon’s baseball game. But we went.

We sat in her cubicle and watched her work for TWO HOURS.

We watched her call in backup. Repeatedly.

Eddie was dismayed.

I was dismayed.

And then I took a catnap.

We asked her if we could leave to get Gideon at his game.

She dismissed us with a wave of her grizzled claw.

We returned at 10. On a school night. Y’all, I go to sleep at 10.

The door was locked. No one appeared to be inside.

But then from the back, a person emerged and let us in.

I regret to report that Pat still wasn’t done. She had to call in managerial backup. Again.

It’s now 10:40. We just left. We were the last people there. We are much poorer and completely exhausted, but compliant with your rules.

And Pat gave us a pen as a parting gift. For real.

Please, for the love of all that is holy, fix the system so it is easier for everyone.

I never want to go to here again.

Kthxbye,
Beth

Dear Hinge, Tinder, Grindr, Bumble, etc.

I know you have substantial market share in the dating app world. But y’all don’t have anything on Words With Friends. Apparently.

There’s plenty of middle-aged white dudes trolling WWF for ladies.

It’s a new frontier.

What is up with that?

It’s only been in the past few months that I have noticed this situation. (See here and here for recaps.)

But in the past week or so, it has gotten out of control. Here’s slideshow of my personal rogues gallery. (Names/faces hidden JUST IN CASE they are real people, which I doubt.)

 

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WHAT THE HECK?!

In my last post on the topic, I mentioned my plan to mess with these fellas. Like this:

But to be honest, there are so many of them, and it takes too much time/energy.

It would make sense to decline games from people I don’t know.

But then I wouldn’t have material for my blog, right?

Harris gets it.

I also wouldn’t be able to suggest to you that you get into the gaming scene to build market share.

Clearly there is interest from at least one subset of the population.

Just here for the points,
Beth

Dear Readers:

Occasionally, I am fortunate enough to have a post from a guest blogger. Today is my lucky day (and yours too)!

I present to you the story of goat yoga, a strange phenomenon sweeping the nation. Sounds like something I would try. Alas, Bingo Lisa tried it first. Here is her account (edited slightly for blog voice and flow).

I’ll be back with a Words With Friends dating update later this week.

Love,
Beth

 

This kind of yoga really got my goat*
Guest post by Lisa Wigger

I’ll admit I was a bit excited about being invited to a baby shower where there would be goat yoga. I’m not a big fan of women-only baby showers. Unless I’m sure there will be alcohol, I usually avoid them.

My friend Trina, my 6-year-old daughter Cali and I drove out to the sticks in Ridgeland, South Carolina, to celebrate our friend Jessie and her baby boy’s approaching arrival.

I’d seen pictures of goat yoga online and all of it looked happy. People holding poses and nuzzling baby goats or having them on their backs.

Preggo Jessie (left) and a family member pose with four-legged friends.

Dorothy planned this event. She could not be more thrilled.

The yoga was supposed to be outside, which I now know is ideal. However, the weather was misty so the yoga class was moved inside into our host’s sunroom. We unrolled our mats with anticipation for the nearly ceremonial releasing of the goats. Oh, rabbits too. And chickens.
However. These animals are not potty trained. My expected serene yoga event turned into a literal shitshow.

The releasing of the goats quickly led to the goats releasing their bowels.

So much poop.

I attempted child’s pose and lowered my head per the teacher’s instructions. A baby goat then ran full speed at me and tried to head butt me. I realized I couldn’t let my guard down for a second.

Here’s Lisa on high alert.

The actual yoga lasted maybe five minutes because everyone spent the time either holding the goats, picking up their lovely presents, or trying to keep them from eating our mats.
We passed around tiny shower cocktail napkins to pick up nuggets and sop up pee. I joked that this was great training for the mom to be. If only those goats had worn diapers.

The goats show Jessie how she got pregnant, in case she didn’t know.

It seemed like most attendees had a great time.

Sara (left) and Trina appear to be having a blast.

Cali loved it too. Me, not so much.

Cali pats the bunny. Meanwhile, Lisa reports that her face looked like this the whole time.

I just couldn’t. I was counting the seconds till the end of goat yoga.
Bye Felicia.
When I got home, my husband Rob and I had this convo:
Rob: How was goat yoga?
Me: There are three yoga mats in the bed of your truck that belong in your work dumpster.
Rob: That fun, huh?
Never again. Thankfully, I needed a new yoga mat anyway.
Lisa

*Don’t blame Lisa for that headline. It’s all Beth.

Dear Bingo People:

I’m going to have to ask you to dial it back from 11. It’s bingo. It’s not “Trauma: Life in the ER.”

At least I did not think it akin to life or death when my friend Lisa noticed the ad for the event.

I’m at the point in my life where my motto is “absof—inlutely.” I say yes to many adventures.

Lisa says yes too. So that’s how we found ourselves at the American Legion on Tybee Island for Bingo Night. My other friend Amy and her husband Brian said yes too.

From left: Lisa, Amy and Brian prepare for the rollercoaster ride that is Bingo Night at the American Legion.

We allowed ourselves to be upsold to the party pack (whatever that was). A “dabber” of one’s own sold separately.

Meet my very own dabber. I chose red to represent the blood I planned to spill on the gaming floor. (Just kidding. They didn’t have blue, my favorite color.)

When the event began, all thought of a fun night went out the window. Bingo Lady was very clear that there would be NO TALKING. AT ALL.

Bingo Lady does not suffer fools.

Lisa knew that this would be problematic for the two of us. All we do is talk. Especially when the Legion sells plastic cups of Merlot for $4.

Lisa realizes we may be in trouble.

Besides the fact that we were not allowed to speak, the game itself was very stressful. The numbers came fast and furious. Luckily, the woman on my right liked to repeat every combination twice.

 

Notice the intensity Amy and Brian exhibit. Shhh … they are concentrating.

It almost paid off for both Amy and Lisa: They each were one or two squares away from the loud groans and golf claps that accompanied each shout of “Bingo!”

I was surprised at the amount of people who turned out for the event.

How did I fare? Let’s just say I got more satisfaction from the cheap Merlot.

Not even close to winning a cover-all.

So thanks for an interesting night. I’m glad I went, but I’m not sure I’ll be back. Y’all are too much for me.

Love anyway,
Beth

Dear Parents of Teenage Boys:

I’ve been on the struggle bus with Dominic, who is 14 and all eat up with hormones. You know this from posts like these.

We usually cannot speak without a fight.

But this week things have been different.

We are at the beach for spring break — just the boys and me because Eddie had to work.

He has been helpful when he does emerge from the cocoon of his room. But he has barely left that room.

On Monday, my phone rings. I see it was him. CALLING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE. I do not answer it. Because:

  1. I hate talking on the phone.
  2. He was 10 feet away.

I go to the room. I hear him yelling, “Pick up the phone!” I open the door.

Me: What do you want?
Him: Why didn’t you answer?
Me: Because you are 10 feet away, and it is insane for you to call me. What do you want?
Him: I think my molar is loose.
Me: (Rolls eyes. Walks out of the room.)

Then he sends me this text:

The next day, I go in the room to make sure he is alive. I open the door, see that he is and leave. Then I get this text:

(Note: If you don’t recognize the Matt Foley reference, I’m afraid we cannot continue to be friends.)

Then he starts communicating in memes, to which I finally respond with my own.


 

So I guess what I’m asking is, is this normal? Is this what puberty looks like among Gen Z? Do I need to seek help for him? For myself?

Please advise,
Beth

Are you there, Readers? It’s me, Beth.*

It’s been more than two weeks since my last post. I’m sorry! To make up for it, I have a really long post today.

Yesterday, the family and I went to the Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festival. Blackburn Park is about a mile from our place so we walked.

The draw (besides the fact that I had to work a booth for my job for a bit)?

Live music: The Romantics, Spin Doctors and Smash Mouth.

For free!

Side benefit?

People watching. There were plenty of people.

So let’s get this party started.

Festival rules said no chairs (or coolers, which was a literal and figurative buzz kill). So we spread out blankets. As you do. But here’s the thing: The rules of personal space still apply.

Not for some people, apparently. Like this guy who parked himself practically on my lap.

There’s plenty of room. It’s a huge park. So why is he four inches away from me?

And here’s his friend:

My leg. His feet. He actually put his feet under my leg at one point. NO!

The ladies with them were no better. No awareness.

Same group of people, now all up on Eddie.

And then there was this odd girl with those shorts I hate.

There she is with her boyfriend, Hodor (as Eddie called him).

Doesn’t look like a problem here BUT she kept bending over. Constantly. And when I’m sitting on the ground two feet away, well …

Girl, please.

So while she and her ass were harassing us, I was harassing the kids. Gideon liked the music. Dominic likes that thug crap, so he was not interested.

And he certainly didn’t like me trying to kiss him in public.

Look at his face!

Now for the music …

I’ve seen The Romantics in concert three times. I had the hots for the drummer, Jimmy Marinos, but he is no longer with the group apparently.

See? Totally my type.

The rest? Well. The years have not been kind.

I’m not sharing video because they really didn’t sound so great. (It pains me to say that.)

The Spin Doctors made up for it.

Smash Mouth also put on a great show.

Here’s something you’ll know for sure. Sing along if you are inclined.

It was during the Smash Mouth set that my two loves of live music and people watching came together. Check out this girl. I LOVE her!

It’s weekends like these that make me happy we moved back to my hometown.

Anyway, dear readers, I promise to get my act together and publish more.

Love and kisses,
Beth

 

*Apologies to Judy Blume.