Category Archives: “Other people”

Wash & Fold

I’ve been threatening to take some laundry to the Wash & Fold down the street for months now.

If you’re unfamiliar, a Wash & Fold is the real meat of a laundromat – you drop off your laundry and then pick it up again several hours later, and it’s all clean and folded and bagged for you. Drew used to do it in New York all the time – I’m talking gigantic bags of laundry. I never did it, but I think I was a little more regular about just using the laundry room in our building.

We don’t have laundry facilities in this building, and we typically take our stuff to Drew’s parents’ house and do a bunch of wash there if we’re hanging out. But these days, with the additional loads of baby clothes/supplies, it just seems to be piling up. I’ve gotten into a habit of skimming off the top layers from my laundry basket, like the stuff I actually wear regularly, and just washing that. Which means that layers of forgotten clothing and towels accumulate on the bottom of the basket.

True-Life Example: Sometime around the end of February, we finally sucked it up and did all our laundry that was sitting around. At that point, I found, at the very bottom of everything, the pajamas I wore for Christmas morning pictures. Yikes.

So. Today I was getting things done and taking names, and one of the things I decided to get done was to take the tier-3 laundry that was still in my closet, and drop it at the Wash & Fold.

The drop-off went okay. She didn’t put my name on it or anything, but I assumed it’d be okay. And she wrote down my name (maybe?) and my phone number. She told me to come back “later this afternoon.” I was pretty jazzed thinking that by the end of the day, all my clothes would be clean and I would have spent my time on work and other chores.

I went back this evening to pick it up, and a different woman told me it was twenty bucks. Cue exclamation points in my head, but then I guess that’s 16 pounds, and I’m not great with guessing weight, so I guess it might weigh 16 pounds. I tried to hand her my card but she just looked at me and said, “It’s cash only. Didn’t she tell you that?” Ugh, no she did not, and now I have to drive all the way to the ATM to get money because I really need these jeans for tomorrow.

When I got back, I was a little grouchy, mostly because I sensed that my side trip to get cash was going to cost me the parking place right in front of our building. I walked inside and attempted to find the same woman. She wandered over to the counter and asked me where I went to get cash. I was like, Seriously? Just give me my clothes. Then she told me I could have just gone to the ATM at Winters, a bar a few blocks away. Now, I have a thing where I really want to use Bank of America ATMs, since that’s my bank and my card, and it’s not like I had to drive 10 miles to find one or anything.

So, I got my stuff and I got home and I had to get another, slightly farther away parking spot, but it’s still all okay.

But driving home it occurred to me: the Wash & Fold is not for me. And I should have known that. For two reasons:

1) I don’t like other people washing my clothes. Like, I generally avoid letting Drew do my laundry. I just don’t really like the idea of someone else touching my dirty clothes. And,
2) I kind of have a method of folding that I prefer. And it’s not like it’s great folding, or anything, but it fits with the way the rest of my stuff is folded, so I like it.

So goodbye, Wash & Fold. We probably won’t do business together anymore.

I was so proud of myself this morning. I guess pride do goeth before a fall.

16.5! I guess they weren't swindling me after all.

16.5! I guess they weren’t swindling me after all.

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Filed under "Other people", Fashion, Humor, Memoir, Not awesome

The Dolor Store

Despite having a bunch of different calendars – wall calendar, planner, work calendar – holidays still seem to sneak up on me. Which is how I end up using a random cow sleeper for a baby Halloween costume, cobbling together a Green Lantern onesie and some striped socks for St. Patrick’s Day, or thinking on the Friday before Easter, Should we be doing an Easter basket for him this year?

We opted out of the Easter basket, figuring it would just be stuffed animals (and I have sworn to myself to not buy any stuffed animals, since he seems to collect them just fine on his own) and candy (which Drew and I would eat ourselves, obviously, and which really isn’t necessary in this house). So, no Easter basket this year. And no “My First Easter” outfit, because I also haven’t gotten into things which are really only applicable one time.

But Easter kept nibbling at the back of my mind, and on Saturday afternoon, I found myself alone in the car, driving a route that would take me past the Dollar Store. And I couldn’t resist turning into the parking lot, searching out a spot, going into the store that I have always just passed on my way to Starbucks.

As it was the day before Easter, I expected them to be pretty cleaned out. But I saw it as soon as I walked through the door: a pair of kid-sized bunny ears, blue and white, on a rack with a giant “$.99” sign.

(Okay, actually there were two sets of bunny ears, but the first one I picked up had a lot of loose threads dangling off, so I was happy there was a second, less-shabby pair.)

I grabbed the ears and got in line, pulling a handful of change from my pocket. Luckily I had found a quarter on the ground when I left home, which meant I could use fewer dimes and nickels. I had just separated out $1.05 worth of coins when a guy behind me said, “Excuse me, can I set this on the belt?” and put down a basket with 8 jars of pickles. I counted them while he walked over to a wall of kitchen implements and selected a pizza cutter, then came back.

The woman in front of me was slowly writing a check for a selection of things that for some reason just made me sad. In fact, being in here was making me sad. The bin of dingy-looking plush animals by the door were looking at me with disconsolate eyes. I looked away from there and noticed a rack of off-brand candy, and just below it a shelf of pastel-colored Tootsie Roll banks. So that’s where all those things went.

The guy behind the guy behind me said, “Are those pickles any good?” and the pickle guy said, “Eh, they’re all right.” Who buys 8 of something that’s “all right”? The woman in front of me was almost done writing her check, and my bunny ears had traveled all the way to the cashier on the conveyor belt. At that point, another cashier opened up a second register, which I figured was just my luck, since it would have been awkward for me to get all the way over there. Three people from the end of my line bailed and went to the new register. The woman in front of me was just putting the finishing touches on her check.

Finally it was my turn and I paid with a handful of change, which at the last minute, I suddenly thought I had counted wrong. It wasn’t wrong, for which I’m grateful. Paying with a bunch of change is okay if I’m in the right frame of mind – but at some point while waiting in line this whole trip had just gotten depressing, and suddenly paying with a handful of the wrong change could have ruined the whole bunny ears experience.

I got my receipt and my $.06, and hurried out of there with no intention to ever come back.

But once Drew and I put the headband on the baby, and he looked all around with these wobbly fuzzy blue ears, my heart melted and the sad Dollar Store trip and the handful of scrounged change was all totally worth it.

ears

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Filed under "Other people", Baby, Drew, Holidays, Memoir, Nonfiction, Writing

Part-time optimist

I’ve been trying really hard to be more optimistic. Not just optimistic in the glass-half-full way, but also in everything-that-comes-out-of-my-mouth kind of way. Like, I’m trying not to complain about every little thing.

Some parts of my job are less fun than others, and if I give voice to the constant commentary going on in my head about these parts, I would probably spend a lot of time bitching to people around me. I try to keep a lid on that. (Drew still gets most of the splatter, though.) I try to be really aware of what I’m about to say, and whether it’s useful information, and whether the person I’m saying it to will have heard it a thousand times already.

A lesser version of this is badmouthing your friends. I’m going to guess that a lot of people do this, based on my experience. But I guess I could be wrong. I admire people who never say a single bad thing about their friends. (Or at least I would, if I’d ever met one.) I can be judgmental, I’ll admit it. But it comes to a point that even I have to say, Enough already.

I just think of the people I really like: optimists and positive thinkers. Versus the people I avoid: pessimists who complain about every single little thing. (We all know these people.) (Some of us are these people.) And since, at the heart of it all, I really want everyone to like me, I’m striving for goodness here.

I have this memory of when Drew and I first got together, of him telling me that a good friend would just do things for another friend, and not expect repayment. You just do things for your friends because they’re your friends. He likened it to Jesus, in fact, which as I recall made me feel really terrible about whatever I’d just been saying. I think he was even doing dishes while he said it. I’ve never forgotten that.

I want Baby B to grow up to be a kind person and a good friend. I want him to be friendly and quicker to smile than to complain. I want him to be happy in general. So I’m hoping that bringing him up in a household of laughter and positivity will help ensure he grows up to be the kind of person that I would want to be friends with. (You know, even if I weren’t already so biased.)

It’s just on my mind tonight.

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Filed under "Other people", Being a girl, Friends, Self improvement, Work

Advice From Old Guys

The other day B and I went for a walk on the levee. Since then the weather has taken a turn for the rainy, so I’m glad we spent the last week getting outside every day.

I’ve been sticking to pretty flat routes for walks – but I decided the other day that we were going to tackle the stairs at the end of the levee that head up the hill. I meant to count the stairs but I forgot, because I was too busy stopping three times to catch my breath. It’s from being out of shape practice…I don’t think I can blame the 10 pound baby strapped to the front of me.

Every time I stopped, I would turn around and look at the view, so just in case anyone was watching (and judging), perhaps they would think I just wanted to admire the ocean and the pier and the beach. On my last pause, I noticed a person starting up the stairs behind me, and I decided I was going to get to the top before them.

I got to the top and paused again (you know, for the view), and eventually the guy caught up to me. He was older and friendly, and asked me about the baby. I showed him off a little bit, and we talked about the guy’s son (who is 21 now) and how when he was a newborn, he would take his son for walks at Pleasanton Ridge all the time, and he thinks it helped turn his son into an athlete. Finally, he told me how cute B is, and good job for taking him out, and have a great day before the rain starts. A very pleasant interaction. I love when people are nice.

Although, I’ve gotten kind of paranoid, so I definitely stayed out in the open, away from the point, and where I could see other people.

levee 2

We made our way back down the hill and were heading back home, when another older guy, walking the opposite direction, said

“You look happy…do you have a baby in there??”

“Yeah,” I said.

“He’s so little!”

“Yeah, he’s still just a little guy.”

Then he came out with, “I hope you’re married.”

Um… “I am.”

“Good…I mean, I hope you’re happy.”

“I am.” Okay, thanks, bye.

I liked the first guy better.

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Filed under "Other people", Baby, Exercise, Nature, Nonfiction

Tips on tips

The other day Drew and I were at Safeway, and the woman ahead of us was taking a long time to get through the line. She was dressed kind of like I always picture Jen Lancaster – black capris, slides with a heel, some kind of top, and then a lime green scarf thrown over one shoulder. (Just over one shoulder, like a purse strap.) When the cashier asked pseudo-Jen if she would like some help out, she said, “Yes, actually,” and then the bagger finished loading her groceries into her cart and they began to leave the store.

After Drew and I had paid for our 2 or 3 items, we started to leave, except we couldn’t because she was kind of blocking the whole aisle while she clasped some other cashier’s hand and told her how she’d been thinking about her. I’m sure this was a lovely gesture to the clasped woman, but I don’t think the customer waiting enjoyed it as much. Pseudo-Jen then proceeded out of the store, followed by the bagger pushing her shopping cart.

They got to pseudo-Jen’s SUV, and she just stood by while the other girl loaded her 4 or 5 bags of groceries into the back of her car. By this time, we were pretty much back in our car and headed out of the parking lot, but I still tried to watch what was going on. I wanted to see pseudo-Jen give the bagger a tip.

I just thought this was weird. I know you never know people’s stories. But it seems like “help out” should be reserved for people who really NEED help out, not just anyone who doesn’t feel like pushing a shopping cart 250 feet to their car. Also, if the store offers help and you accept it, should you tip the person who helps you? It seems like you should. But then what’s an appropriate tip? A couple dollars? That would make sense if the store employee was spending all day helping people out, and they could then collect, like, $15 over the course of a day. But how often does that happen? If it only happens once, then a couple dollars seems cheap. But $5 seems like too much, and patronizing or weird.

This is why I just carry my own stuff to the car. If I can’t get it to the car, I shouldn’t have purchased it in the first place. Also, I can really use the three bucks.

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Filed under "Other people", Being a girl, Dollars, Drew, Nonfiction

Childbirth preparation – ALL DAY

On Saturday, Drew and I got up at 6:30am and headed to Stockton for a childbirth preparation class. Reasons for going all the way to Stockton?
1. We could attend the class with Liz and Bill, which was a kind of fun thing to do for two couples who never do anything together as couples, and
2. This hospital offers all their classes free of charge, whereas it would have been something like $125 to take the class at our hospital.

We found some good seats and went through the massive amount of available paper resources while we waited for the class to start.

The class consisted of a slideshow presentation, interspersed with videos and some real-life practicing. The woman leading the class was amusing but also over the top, and laughed at all of her own jokes, but I liked her. About an hour into the class we had our first break, and afterwards we got to get down on the floor and practice things like relaxing breathing and massage and using a focal point. I liked this because I got to lie in a pile of pillows, pretending to focus on a “lovely sensation” blowing over me, while Drew rubbed my back. Not a bad way to spend a morning.

But a true thing is that two people on the floor in a pile of pillows takes up a lot more space than two people sitting in two chairs, so it got a little crowded. There was a guy sitting directly in front of me, and I became a lot more acquainted with his bare back (his shirt kept riding up, like, majorly) and his extremely dirty socks than I ever wanted to be. Liz said after her relaxing floor massage, she opened her eyes to see that the couple right behind her was kind of looming over her watching them. That’s pretty awful. And not relaxing. And not the delivery experience you want to have.

We did some other exercises, like swaying and vocalizing and stuff, which was all interesting, but also kind of intimate. When we started doing the swaying stuff, Susie (our teacher) put on some music, which happened to be “The Way You Look Tonight,” and one girl who looked like this pregnancy might be sort of accidental (and who was there with her mom) blurted out “This is the song I got pregnant to!” How are you not supposed to laugh at that? (She and her mom were also cracking up.) (After lunch her husband showed up and the four of us were all happy for them.)

But it was kind of strange to sit in a room full of couples, and practice things like massage and speaking quietly and encouragingly to each other. And know that everyone did something intimate to get into that room, and now we’re all practicing doing something else that’s very intimate (in a different way) with our partner, with whom we’re going to go through yet another experience that’s incredibly personal and (to me at least) somewhat private. It’s kind of like, I had to just block out that there were other people there who might be looking at me or listening to me, and focus on what I needed to learn to get through (what I’ve been told can be) a harrowing experience.

After lunch, we talked about epidurals and analgesics, and c-sections and all the fun medical stuff. Sitting on the floor started to get kind of uncomfortable. Then we did some more practice vocalizing to get through the pain, and she told us how to push without holding your breath. (Something I’ve never really thought about before, but it totally makes sense, and I will definitely keep that in mind.) She went over postpartum depression and how it’s really important to watch for it and treat it. We ended up getting out early, which was definitely nice since we had the entire drive back home.

Overall, I liked the class and I’m glad we went. It was definitely nice to get all the info laid out for us, and to see some videos of different people’s birth experiences. Also I do feel like I learned about some techniques of getting through this things sans epidural. There wasn’t any information in the class that was brand new (thanks to the internet and the last 8 months of one-track thinking), but it was still nice to hear it all in order. I am glad we didn’t pay full price for that same class here, though.

Last night I ordered a second car seat base from Target. The weird thing is, that’s kind of the last thing we “need.” Which means that, I guess we’re ready at this point. I mean, “ready.” Whatever that means…

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Filed under "Other people", Drew, Friends, Memoir, Nonfiction, Pregnancy, Travel

You and I

I keep getting all worked up about this, and thinking furiously, I should use my blog to have my say! Then I let some time go by and I calm down and I end up not saying anything.

But this just needs to be said: My biggest grammar pet peeve (and in my top 3 total pet peeves) is when people incorrectly use “and I,” when “and me” is actually correct.

I just feel like I’ve been seeing it EVERYWHERE lately, and I don’t know why that is – but people are constantly doing it on TV and I don’t know how to reach all those people to correct them. Sarah and Vinnie (Alice 97.3’s morning radio show) do it sometimes and I have honestly thought about texting in and telling them they’re wrong. (I have NOT actually done that though.) (Yet.) I see it all over Facebook and oh. em. gee. (Although, I haven’t gone so far as to make my first ever comment to some high school acquaintance, “IT’S MCKAYLA AND ME.”) (Yet.)

I don’t know why, it just grates on my nerves, like no other grammar mistake.

In case you’re not sure what I’m talking about, here’s the breakdown: When you say, “Ramona invited the Countess and I over for brunch,” that’s wrong. You wouldn’t say “Ramona invited I over for brunch.” That’s all there is to it. Take the other person (or people) out of it, and then it’s easy to hear whether “I” or “me” is correct.

Probably you know what I’m talking about and just don’t stress about it. That’s fine. Everyone’s got their thing and this might just be my thing. I’m sure that I respect you as a person, and/or like you as a friend. But this societal increase in things like, “Mom sent a care package to Dan and I” makes me cringe, and maybe want to punch something…it depends on what kind of day I’m having. I’m just saying.

This has been a grammar PSA. Next week: The most irritating spelling error: why are people still doing this?? (Hint: It’s lose/loose.)

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Filed under "Other people", Memoir, Nonfiction, Not awesome, Self improvement