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Dear Aggressive Fellow in Office Depot:

I’m not sure I adequately displayed my shock at your approach in the printer ink aisle.

I thought maybe you thought I worked there.

But then when you got very close and asked me if I had a husband or boyfriend, I knew I was wrong.

It was flattering, for sure. Especially as I had my hair piled on top of my head, didn’t have makeup on, and was wearing a Fishbone shirt and raggedy shorts.

But when I said, “Yes,” you were skeptical.

“Are you sure?”

I held up my left hand.

“Yes, I’m sure.”

“But I like you. Are you sure you don’t want to come home with me?”

“I’m sure. Thanks anyway.”

Then you dropped this line:

“I’m Guatemalan.”

OH! Well in THAT case!

But seriously, “a new man” was not on my shopping list.

And I don’t think the lady you were with would have appreciated your activity 10 feet away.

But you did give me a great story to tell, so thanks.

And you do have moxie.



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Dear Karma,

Sometimes I don’t think you really are a bitch. But then there will be an experience that renews my faith in you.

I had one of those experiences this week.

Or rather, the troublesome 14 year old in my life did.

We shipped Dominic off to stay with cruise friends Patrick, Petra, Ryder and Mia so that Ryder and Dominic could be counselors at a summer camp together.

I didn’t hear from Dominic all week, so I checked in.

So I asked the head camp lady if he could come back in two weeks. She said she would love to have him, but didn’t have anything for him to do. No room on the schedule for him.

I’ve raised a resilient, motivated, intelligent child, right?

Not so fast.

He still has trouble following directions. When to get off the bus, for example.

Also, look at what he did to himself in a bike accident:

How? He was rooting around in his backpack while driving the bike instead of paying attention. The speed bump won.

Anyway, thank you, Karma, for avenging me. For all those times he drove/drives me crazy, thank you for sending a plague of toddlers.

You’re the best.

Back to believing,

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#TBT to a post I wrote years ago, but holds up well. This is a story all about how … YOU GET A FREAKIN’ JOB!

Observe and report

Captain’s Log: Embarking into hostile environment. Kowalski! We’ll need to win the hearts and the minds of the natives. Rico! We’ll need special tactical equipment. We’re gonna face extreme peril. Private probably won’t survive.

Dear unemployed graduate of the university for which I work:

Congratulations on your achievement one month/one year/three years/10 years (choose one) ago! It is impressive that you were able to get through two years/four years/five years/eight years (choose one) of a degree program designed to help you earn a career, make money, and permanently move out of your old bedroom in your parents’ house.

(If you had a job and were laid off, you can stop reading. This post isn’t for you. It is for the never-employed graduate. Unless, of course, you need a tough-love pep talk. In that case, read on.)

By now, you might be blaming the university for the fact that you don’t…

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This post popped into my mind today because Gideon is a bit like me. So I thought I’d reblog. Don’t worry: I don’t often recycle content. I’m working on a new post about sleep deprivation.


Observe and report


Dear WebMD:

Thank you for making me feel better last night — eventually. First you scared the crap out of me.

Some background: On the plane ride to New York, I had read an article about a woman with ALS who is working through her bucket list as she prepares for the eventuality of the disease. The article described the symptoms, of course.

Fast forward to last night. Suddenly my left arm started to hurt. And then I felt numbness and tingling in my fingers. Thinking about the article, I started to panic.

Note: My husband sometimes paints me as a hypochondriac. I’m not. I don’t always think there is something wrong with me. On the rare occasions when there IS something wrong with me, I just assume the worst (i.e., a headache is an aneurysm). Anything but that is better, right? So I’m always relieved.

You helped me…

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EPISODE 2*: All’s quiet on the aquatic front
Rated G for pooly goodness


For a Sunday afternoon, the pool area is virtually uninhabited. There are about four adults scattered around.

ENTER FATHER and TWO KIDS. MOTHER shows up 10 minutes later after getting yet more school supplies.

Did you put sunscreen on the kids?

Um … Dominic, yes. Gideon just jumped in.

Harumph. No Father-of-the-Year award for you.
(To her wet youngest) Gideon, come here!


Because I said so.
(Note that MOTHER never thought she would ever let that sentence pass her lips. She is smarter now. She knows it can’t be helped.)

After MOTHER lathers GIDEON in 50 SPF (waterproof), MOTHER and FATHER hang out poolside, drink adult beverages, and make sure their kids don’t harass others. THE KIDS simply harass each other.

FATHER and MOTHER discuss last night, which was not so peaceful.


It’s a pool party for Miles. The only people in the pool are the billion 11-13 year olds invited to the party. A handful of parents cluster around a cooler. (Any time there are that many teens and pre-teens, there needs to be a cooler.)

Suddenly, RAMBO appears. (OK, not Rambo for real, but the new complex security guard who clearly takes himself WAY TOO seriously. He was wearing camouflage. And a gear belt with a taser. And those police boots. Oh yes, he was all kitted out.)

MOTHER was smart enough to bring beverages in cans. The others drew RAMBO’s ire:

No glass on the deck.


RAMBO patrols the pool/gym area. ASSEMBLED ADULTS remain quiet, watching him incredulously.

RAMBO exits. ADULTS drag him mercilessly.


I’ve got to go.

You’ve only been here 15 minutes.

Yeah, but I’m burning. Look (points to shoulder).

Of course you are.


*The summer has flown by. I haven’t gone to the pool much. #sad

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Dear Readers,

Many of you have written to me to report confusion at my “Dispatches from the Pool” posts. The common question: “Why are you living in an apartment?”

I’ve been remiss.

To recap the last six months:
• I quit a job at a place where I had worked for 19 years.
• Eddie quit a job at a place where he had worked for 28 years.
• We moved to a big city (Atlanta, pop: 5.7 million) from a smallish city (Savannah, pop: 384,000).
• The kids entered a new middle school together (6th and 7th grades).
• We are waiting for our house to sell and are living in an apartment in the meantime.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the biggest changes:

So I’m happy. I’ll keep you posted!

This is us, minus the dog.

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Dear B. Lev. and M. Lev.,

I’m so sorry that my upgrade meant only one of you could get upgraded. B. Lev., you should have let M. Lev. have the upgrade. It’s not because she is a woman and your wife (I assume); it’s because she became insufferable (and likely will punish you later).

I’m sure you are lovely people under normal circumstances, but I witnessed some problematic behavior on the plane.

M. Lev., it’s ridiculous that you felt it necessary to come up to first class FIVE TIMES before we left the gate. Let’s recap. You:

  1. Asked if he had managed to find a place for his stuff. (As it wasn’t still in the aisle, I think you could have figured that one out for yourself.)
  2. Reminded B. Lev. to call his mother. Then took a swig of his drink.
  3. Stood silently listening to him talk loudly on his phone.
  4. Asked if he had, in fact, called his mother. Took another swig.
  5. Asked for his copy of The New York Times and complained about needing to eat your sandwich before it “deteriorates even further.”

During the flight, you even came up to harangue him outside of the lavatory. Good grief!

B. Lev., maybe I’m bitter because I wanted your window seat, but I really found  the whole scenario completely beyond the pale. 

M. Lev., I’m sorry you appear to have married a selfish old goat but, to quote a popular song, “Let It Go.” Enough with the not-so-subtle reminders that he did the wrong thing by taking the upgrade himself.

If I’ve misinterpreted the situation, I apologize. What do I know? I just observe and report.


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