pet peeve: telemarketers!
Nov 30th, 2010 by wrekehavoc

ah, the last day of  pet peeve postings for NaBloPoMo! and it’s all about… wait a second. the phone is ringing and i have to check caller ID…

OMG! they call. day and night. night and day. those unknown caller folks on my caller ID. those people with 1-800 or 1-866, or somesuch number i don’t recognize. it’s the folks who want to sell me something. or it’s the folks who want me to donate something. or maybe they want to sell me something i can donate — who knows? but it makes me crazy!

ah, the delightful world of telemarketing. generally speaking, these omniscient phoners usually butcher my name. i love when the company’s caller refers to me by my husband’s name. better yet, i love when they call my husband by MY last name. it’s so very, very personal, these telemarketers. they really want to act like they’re my neighbors, my friends, my family. and yet none of these groups ever calls me up and asks for MONEY. i don’t know about anyone else’s family, but this doesn’t really happen a lot around here. mercifully.

and it’s always at the worst possible time. when my kids were small, it always happened just as a cranky baby fell asleep for a fought-off nap. or maybe it happens just as we sit down to dinner. or when i’m in the bathroom and expecting a call from someone important and so i hear the ring and feel like i need to magically get to the phone. and then, so sad, it’s not that person but rather a person i don’t know who doesn’t know me who may be calling me from the other side of the world for all i know. and they want my money.

caller ID has made my life SO MUCH better. i mean, we put our number on the DO NOT CALL list and yet we get calls.  so at least now, i can screen my calls. i giggle when their robocaller starts talking to my answering machine. i wonder if they’ll make a date for lunch. exchange circuitry. who knows!

but that’s in my happier moments. there was a time when my very young kids wanted to talk on the phone. oh, they so wanted phones, especially jools. we even bought him toy phones, he loved them so much.  so when a telemarketer called, i was sorely tempted to put the baby on the phone. go ahead — call me if you dare — but i’ve got a toddler, and i’m not afraid to deploy him!

i feel badly for people who work as telemarketers. they must know what a nuisance they are, and yet that’s the job they must do. you really must have a backbone of iron to take on a job like that.

but i’m tough right back, though i never get nasty. i simply don’t even answer the phone.


thanks for joining me for a month of pet peeves. if you’ve got more peeves you want to share, feel free to let me know your thoughts. and next month, i will try to think happier, peppier thoughts. but here’s hoping you were more amused and less annoyed by my monthly rant. be well, don’t cut me in line, don’t let your dog crap on my lawn, and we’ll get along just fine.

pet peeve: people who don’t clean up after Fido
Nov 29th, 2010 by wrekehavoc

while you’re curbing your enthusiasm, please also curb your dog.

although i am a cat person, i do, in fact, enjoy spending time with dogs as well. unfortunately, due to my allergy status (read: i am allergic to dander, dust, trees, flowers, mold, feta cheese, and, well, i’m lying about the feta cheese. i just think it smells awful, kind of like barf.) i am unable to have a cat or a dog as a pet. this means that i get to enjoy being a pet-parent vicariously, thanks to the many dogs in my neighborhood. (and hey- here’s a shoutout to our faves: Henry, George, Razz, Dexter, Samson, Bailey, and of course, jools’ favorite dog on the planet whom he’d probably marry if it were allowed, Beatrix (AKA Bebe) the pitbull. ) we love our neighborhood dogs, who prowl down our street, leashed and with owners attached, carrying the ubiquitous plastic baggy for the dog doo.

unfortunately, there are clearly others walking other dogs on my street and in my neighborhood who seem to think that the world is their dog’s toilet. there are days when i seriously contemplate putting up a fence in my yard, if only to keep dogs from pooping on my lawn. BC thinks she knows who is responsible for the poop, but if you don’t see it happening live, up close, and (yecch) personal, then you really can’t go pointing fingers at people.

i know some people just let their pup run freely in their own backyard and sometimes just let nature take it’s course. i still remember my friend jen’s beloved cocker spaniel lollipop. lollipop was a very pretty, friendly dog who often left presents around the yard. still, it was in her yard mostly and not mine, so i was always careful not to step in any landmines while playing. i remember one time my mom reading lolli the riot act, as the dog had somehow crossed the street and had decided to relieve herself in our yard, something which didn’t go over well with my mom. of course, my mom talked to dogs like she talked to people: lolli, go HOME! she firmly told the dog. lolli just stood there with her puddle brown eyes, probably wondering whether my mom was going to come over and pet her or feed her or SOMETHING.  but that was one of the few times i ever remembered dear lolli, may she rest in peace, doing something like that in my yard. she mostly kept things local, if you know what i mean.

in short: if you own a dog, you sign up for a lot of things. one very major one is picking up what comes out of Fido’s backside (unless you want his poop to return to the earth in your own yard. that’s clearly your right.)  if you can’t do it, hire someone else — or better yet, get Fido into a home that really is committed to him and his world.

and please: stay the hell out of my yard.

pet peeve: wordless weekend part 8
Nov 28th, 2010 by wrekehavoc

perhaps one of the most famous song sound-alikes (and famous lawsuits) in popular music: he’s so fine (the chiffons) and my sweet lord (george harrison.)

pet peeve: wordless weekend part 7
Nov 27th, 2010 by wrekehavoc

for the last wordless weekend in pet peeve land, i thought i’d feature two beatles moments. the first, from the riff that keeps on giving dept:  how one amazing riff spawns another awesome song.

pet peeve: kids who call adults by their first names
Nov 26th, 2010 by wrekehavoc

you can thank my mom for this one. well, mom and my old friend jen.

awhile back, my beloved pal jen pointed out how bent she gets when she hears kids calling adults by their first name. she will actually correct friends of her children if they call her by her first name. it’s a respect thing, and she feels that it is part of what feeds into the whole entitlement society that we’ve somehow grown.

i couldn’t agree more.

i don’t know whether it’s a southern thing or just something that happens now, but my kids call people they know well, like our neighbors, for example, mr. joe or ms. laurie. adults they don’t know well are mr. smith and ms. jones. authority figures end up here as well — their teachers are obviously known by their last names.  and for my very close friends, like the aforementioned jen — well, she’s aunt jen to my kids. i truly don’t appreciate it when other people’s kids call me by my first name; historically, i have let it slide because my name is complicated to begin with (i kept my name when i married, so kids get confused and call me mrs. mykidslastname, which i also let go. i even prefer that to just my first name.)

when i was growing up, i think my mom would have bodyslammed me if i had had the temerity to call any adult by his or her first name. to this very day i call jen’s mom mrs. lastname for fear that she might wash my mouth out with soap. (you see, jen’s mom and my mom apparently went to the same mom school. this we’ve known for over 40 years now.) another one of my old friends’ moms told me to call her by her first name. i have known this woman now also for about 40 years, and i must say it doesn’t fall trippingly off my tongue. but as she wants me to call her by her first name, i will try my best.

yes, old habits die hard — which is why i hope i’m getting my kids into really good habits now so that they’ll remember them always.

pet peeve: people who aren’t thankful on thanksgiving
Nov 25th, 2010 by wrekehavoc

no, really. thank you.

sure, i picked the leitmotif of pet peeves this month. but that doesn’t conceal the fact that i am very, very grateful for a lot of things. i could list them for days and years. i’ll just list a few off the top of my pointed head.

1) thank you, BC: for being an awesome daughter who somehow gets me in a way that no one else does. you forgive me when i probably deserve a tween shriek thrown at me. you are one of the two greatest gifts i have ever been given, and i never forget that.

2) thank you, jools: for being an incredible son who picks and chooses the strangest moments to change from a delightful little boy into a wizened old man and provide me with a perspective that i sorely need to hear and grasp. you are one of the two greatest gifts i have ever been given, and i don’t ever forget that.

3) thank you, BS: my eternal partner in crime, the statler to my waldorf. you put up with me no matter what. you like me in spite of me being me. you make me laugh. you are always my personal bulldog. and you’ve got the most beautiful eyes i have ever seen. i am so lucky that mark wintle dumped a beer on you and therefore brought you into my life for keeps.

4) thank you mom and dad and aunt barbara: you have always been in my corner, and you have taught me the power of unconditional love. i’ll never be able to tell you fully how much you mean to me, but somehow you always know what i mean when words fail me.

5) thank you to my brothers, who never treated me like a girl but who always treated me as someone who needed to learn to be as tough as nails. i learned so much from both of you; and while i know i continue to get on your nerves in a huge way, i do it because i love you. (you’re welcome.)

6) thanks to my mother-in-law, my dearly-missed father-in-law, and all my husband’s family for treating me like one of your own. i know i’m a little bit odd in comparison to you all, but you’ve always welcomed me with open arms from the word go.

7) thank you to my friends, who seem to like me still. i treasure you.

8 )  thank you to america for taking my great grandparents in. my family has always been fiercely proud of our nation.

9) thank you to the Beatles for making the best music ever.

and last for today, but not least:

10) thank you, gutenberg, for inventing the printing press. for i do so love to read.

happy thanksgiving, everyone!

pet peeve: people with no follow-through
Nov 24th, 2010 by wrekehavoc

why don’t they do what they say? say what they mean?

years and years ago, my sister in law inadvertently came up with a nickname for the kind of people my parents, my brothers, and i are. she called us boomerang people. what she meant: when we say we are going to do something, we come right back at you with whatever we said we were going to get or do.  it’s ingrained into our psyches. and it’s just how i thought all people operated. i’m fortunate i’m married to BS, who also always keeps his promises.

unfortunately, as i got older,  i learned that not everyone in the world was trained by my mom and dad.

i’m sure you have experienced that disappointment at work, at school, or with friends: people who just don’t do what they say they will. you were depending on john or jane to deliver, and he or she doesn’t. and you’re screwed. or disappointed. or both. sure, everyone has an off-day of course– sometimes, competing priorities win out.

but particularly if you are a parent, you simply must follow through. if you promise your child you’re going to the park, you go to the park. if you promise your child you’ll help with homework, you help with homework. and if you know you can’t or don’t want to do those things, very simply put:  don’t make those promises.

otherwise, you end up with one messed-up kid. and the consequences will boomerang back onto you and society, and probably not in a pleasant sort of way.

pet peeve: people who think DC has a low cost of living
Nov 23rd, 2010 by wrekehavoc

well, relative to san francisco it does, i suppose.

i belong to a few email lists where occasionally, you get a post along the lines of this:

hi! i’m moving to DC from (NY/SF/LA/pondunk) and i need to find a place to live. i’m hoping to find an apartment for under $700/month, utilities included, that is on the metro line and is also near a park.  i’d prefer not to share.

yeah, and i’m looking for my fairy godmother.

seriously, people. if you move to a major city, not to mention the CAPITOL OF THE FREE WORLD for christsakes, you can expect that the costs here aren’t exactly cheap. and depending on certain criteria, it is just as expensive as the cities that generally top the lists of most expensive places to live in the US of A.  it has hit the point here in the Commonwealth that you really need to go faaaaaaaaar out to find reasonably inexpensive digs — and we’re talking Front Royal near Skyline Drive. (yes, virginia: people actually commute to DC from there each day. they also commute from West Virginia. as in the state.)

i’m frankly a bit ashamed that developers have essentially priced most non-upper middle class folks out of the people’s republic without a lot of shrieking from the populace. that’s simply not the arlington way.

but arlington isn’t alone here. look around the beltway and you’ll find a lot of pretty damn costly places to live. even the places you really would prefer to avoid aren’t cheap.

so set your expectations appropriately before you start asking me to find you a place for so little money; that is, unless you help me build a time machine which can transport you back in time to, say, 1940 or so.

pet peeve: american actors attempting british accents
Nov 22nd, 2010 by wrekehavoc

yes, virginia. there are american actors who succeed at using the queen’s english. but for every one, there are oodles of others…

UK actors, like EastEnders’ Michelle Ryan, have a tough time getting the american accent to work. apparently, though, plenty of US actors are pretty pathetic at verbally crossing the pond. my beloved dick dan dyke’s accent is so awful in mary poppins that the term van dyke accent has actually emerged as an insult to those attempting an east end accent.  demi moore’s accent in flawless simply isn’t. and i’m not sure what sort of accent misha barton is channelling in st. trinians.

empire magazine did an article on the worst british accents in film. see if you agree.

pet peeve: wordless weekend part 6
Nov 21st, 2010 by wrekehavoc

the flaming lips have never had any problem creating inventive music, so i have always wondered why fight test sounds an awful lot like cat stevens’ father and son. take a listen for yourself and tell me what you think.

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