I got asked by another mom today how my time management was so good and I was like “hubby-wha? I am always 5 minutes late and run in like a hot mess!” She explained that she had read my recent Dallas Mom’s Blog post and didn’t know how I found time to write in the middle of mostly stay-at-home parenting of twin 4-year-olds and running Mommies In Need. And the truth is that generally I don’t find time to write- every once in a while I just binge a little. At the end of most days I am so exhausted that I grab a giant glass of Pinot Noir and head to the couch to watch a marathon of “Kimmy Schmidt” episodes. But tonight I am writing, because as I started to watch I realized that I needed to share why I love this show so much-Kimmy Schmidt is my spirit animal!
For those of you who don’t know the plot, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” follows the title character as she navigates through New York after having been kidnapped and locked in a bunker as part of a religious cult for 15 years. I know, sounds hilarious right?!
But it is, because in her over-the-top, 30 Rock-esque ridiculous way, Tina Fey lets us find laughter in the undefeated optimism of someone who has been through hell and back and decided that she’s unbreakable. I love Kimmy for many reasons- like her awesome use of 90s references; “I haven’t had a clock since my Tamagotchi died.”
At one point Kimmy monologues “I still believe that the world is good, that bunnies are nice, and snakes are mean, and that one day Sandra Bullock will find someone who deserves her!” Despite everything she has been through, which when you step back from the technicolor world of the show is extremely dark, she has decided to keep on going. If you have ever read this blog before you know that I have kind of been through the ringer myself. But I pride myself most of all on the fact that despite my circumstances I am cheerful and hopeful and in constant awe of the amazing kindness and joy there is in this world. It may sound cliche but I can now see the gift that my suffering has been to me in that I know who I am and what I am capable of. And that’s pretty cool.
As Kimmy says,” Life beats you up. You either curl up in a ball and die or you can stand up and say we’re different. We’re the strong ones and you cannot break us.” A pretty powerful message from a 28 year old woman wearing a JanSport backpack.
And now that I have squeezed in my writing for the week…I will get back to my regularly scheduled programing!
I am continuing my campaign for people to participate in Brave October and as part of that I am trying to push myself to be courageous. I am really skinny right now (seriously, I’m like all elbows and knees) but I am by no means in good shape. It has been probably two years since I exercised and more like 3 and 1/2 since I did so regularly. I have gotten cleared by my doctors to start working out again as I feel up to it (see A Brief Timeline of Crazy if you need to catch up on my many health issues) but with my severe anemia and exhaustion I have not felt like starting. Also I don’t wanna. I have never been one of those people who enjoys exercise- I strongly believe that running is only for when something big and snarling is chasing you.
And the truth is I have been frightened to start. I know I am not very strong right now and actually going to the gym seems completely daunting, and an exercise class is so intimidating- I feel like everyone will stare at me and think I am a huge wuss when I am gasping for breath every 5 minutes. Now, most people probably don’t really care what the person next to them in class is doing, but the reality doesn’t really matter-I have built this up in my head to a point where I am really anxious about it.
Full disclosure here so that no one thinks I am being sneaky and doing a puff piece review- about half my family is somehow involved in SpeedFlex, a workout facility that opened recently in Dallas. SpeedFlex is supposed to be “revolutionary” because it is a high intensity workout (you only do each exercise for 20 seconds) and there are no weights, just these cool machines that go off your own resistance. As my father has pointed out to me every time I said I was too weak or tired to go try it, the machines are even being used in clinical trials for chemo patients and in rehab facilities as well as with training for elite athletes. I still resisted because a) I’m really tired, b) I’m scared that I won’t be able to do it, and c) I don’t wanna.
Then came the Best Buddies SpeedFlex-a-thon this past Saturday. They did an all day workout event and for every calorie burned got sponsors to donate money to Best Buddies- they raised over $80,000 which is pretty incredible! I love this organization (more on that later) and I figured I can’t be all #BraveOctober and then not do it myself. So I put on my big girl yoga pants and started going in a few weeks ago to build up my strength to participate on my family’s team. The first time I went, I had to bail after 7 minutes, but I actually felt pretty good about myself afterward. And then I found that each time I could do more and more, and on Saturday, I did a whole 30 minute workout session and burned 347 calories! I felt great that I helped raise money for Best Buddies, excited that I was actually strong enough to get through it, and really proud of myself that I was brave enough to workout in front of so many people (the place was packed for the event.) I also felt a little annoyed because now my whole family gets to say “I told you so,” but that’s a separate issue.
The event was also eye opening for me in another way. If you are unfamiliar with Best Buddies, please click on that link and learn about them, it is an awesome organization. They pair people up (like a Big Brothers/Big Sisters thing) to help foster one-to-one friendships for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They start pairing buddies in middle school and continue through high school, college, and with adults. Having met and talked with a few of the Buddies on Saturday, I can absolutely see how much this program could enrich the lives of both the volunteers and the Buddies. I spent a lot of time talking to Jeremy, who is a Best Buddies ambassador, and has been with the program for about 12 years. He is interesting, articulate, and one of the most enthusiastic people I have ever met- seriously his smile is the epitome of contagious!
Tyler was another Buddy who had worked out in an earlier session that day but stood to the side in the room when I was exercising. Every time I was feeling exhausted or like I wanted to quit, I would look over at him and he would wave and clap and cheer me on, which was almost as good as another B12 shot! I spoke to his mother and she told me how wonderful this program has been for him in the past few years. When he came over I bragged to his mom about how helpful his cheering was and his response was, “Yeah, I’m the man!” Yes, Tyler, yes you are!
The Best Buddies program to me is an embodiment of my idea of #BraveOctober. Sometimes just being yourself in a world where you are different is an incredibly courageous move. I hope my girls get involved with the program when they are old enough, because, as I have mentioned before, I believe that the best way to raise children who are open-minded is to introduce them at a young age to the fact that people have differences and those are not frightening, they’re beautiful. I want my kids to be brave enough to loudly stand up for someone with an intellectual or developmental disability because they know first hand what a great buddy that someone can be.
I have been wanting to start this blog for a long time, but with how incredibly crazy life has been, I have been delaying it over and over again for one reason/surgery/medical crisis/poopy diaper or another. But then something happened that made me so angry that my chronic fatigue has been momentarily lifted by an epi-pen of righteous fury! (BTW every time you see the phrase “righteous fury” imagine me shaking my fist in indignation!)
Apparently we live in a world where it is now acceptable for an employee working at a supposedly child friendly establishment to scream obscenities at toddlers!
If you want to know the full gory details about exactly what happened, take a look at my post called “Cussing Out Toddlers- Not a Good Business Plan,” but if you haven’t read that, the basics you need to know are that my children went to a small local café, The Corner Market on Greenville in Dallas, were singing a song, probably being a little loud and were told to “Shut the F Up” by an employee, who continued to curse and frighten them. The owner was made aware of the situation and only suspended the employee for ONE DAY.
I am not normally an angry person, in fact I can probably count on one hand the amount of times that I have been truly steaming mad. But right now there are flames on the side of my face, breathing, heaving breaths…
So when Sebastian (the hubs) met with the owner, he told him that we felt that his response was unacceptable and that we would be taking to social media so that others would know that this- in my opinion- potentially dangerous man was still working there. S gave Owner his phone number and said if you would like to resolve this differently please let me know. In the past few days we have not heard from him.
But he has responded… in the crappiest way possible. As we spread the word, especially to my mom friends, a lot of people started inundating the CM’s facebook page with negative comments and bad reviews. In one day their facebook rating went down 1 and 1/2 stars because so many people were upset by finding this out. So rather than telling his side of the story or offering an apology, Owner deleted all of the comments and disabled the reviews feature on FB. Seriously go look up The Corner Market on FB- you can’t leave any sort of review.
So we took to Yelp. I posted a detailed review about what happened, and many of our friends, family, and even a few people we don’t know wrote and gave the Corner Market 1 star. Almost all of these got taken down (something about the yelp algorithm and too many one star posts in a day being considered spam) But, despite the fact that I am sure he saw them since they were up for several days, still no appropriate response from Owner. The more Owner ignores our attempts to get him to at least acknowledge that cursing at toddlers is generally not a good business practice, the more it fans the flames of my righteous fury (insert fist shake.) I would have to say that at this point my level of anger and indignation has reached Spinal Tap’s proverbial “11.”
I wanted my first blog post to be about something a little lighter, but sometimes you just have to go with the craziness that life throws at you. And although I swear I am not trying to bring drama into my life, it somehow finds me! So here is the latest SuperCrazy situation:
Last Friday my nanny, Wonder J, took Flopsy and Curly (my 2 and 1/2 year old twin girls) to a small neighborhood café for dinner- The Corner Market in Lower Greenville for those of you in Dallas. The girls were singing “London Bridge is Falling Down” and were probably not using their best indoor voices but certainly not in the middle of a stage 3 toddler meltdown. A male employee from behind the deli counter about 30 feet away yelled directly at them “Yo, Shut the F&&K Up!”
Right now you are probably saying to yourself, “Aw Hell No,” but it gets much worse. He proceeded to come out from behind the counter, go over to their table, grab all the food that they had already paid for and were still eating and literally say to my toddlers “Get the F&&K out.” At that point Wonder J told him to back off and stop using that language. He left the room, and my super-nanny got the kids stuff together, the owner’s phone number from another employee who kept repeating, “I’m so sorry,” and started the very long process of herding upset toddlers out of the store. The Grinch then came back out on a cell phone loudly talking to someone and complaining about Wonder J(using names that I will not repeat here) and was standing next to the door so they had to walk by him to leave. J managed to get the kids past him and into the car safely and while they were scared and very upset, she was able to keep them from totally freaking- all while managing not to haul off and punch the guy in the junk- I swear she really does have super powers!
Now here is were I will admit that we all made a mistake, when she got home visibly shaking and told us the story we should have immediately called the police, but I think my husband, Sebastian, and I were so relieved that everyone was ok that we wanted to just get them safely tucked into bed. Wonder J spoke to the owner on the phone and told him the story while she was leaving the store and he said that he was with his sick mother and could not do anything to handle it right at that moment. They agreed to meet up to discuss the issue in person. Due to scheduling conflicts J and S did not meet with him until Tuesday morning and although we were all very upset for a few days we wanted to give this small business owner the chance to make things right before we made a big stink out of it potentially hurting his business. We gave him the benefit of the doubt, thinking that he would apologize profusely and tell us the Grinch had been let go and at least offer to refund us the money from the dinner that got taken from them. That would be the smart and moral thing to do if you are the owner of a small community business- right?
Apparently not! At that meeting he told S and J that he had interviewed the witnesses (the other employees) and they all had different accounts of what happened. He said that the Grinch did in fact say the F word to my kids, AND ADMITTED IT, but the “witnesses” only heard him say it once. So he punished him accordingly- with a ONE DAY SUSPENSION. A grown man working in a restaurant that, oh by the way, has a kids menu and toddler sized table (which they were sitting at) should under no circumstances be allowed to terrify small children by yelling obscenities at them!
The owner- who is clearly not a member of the BBB- then told us that everyone says that Wonder J is a bad nanny, was on her phone the whole time and completely letting Curly and Flopsy run wild. Wait, wait, wait… so if toddlers are acting like, well- toddlers in a restaurant that has a toddler table- then your staff is allowed to berate them using curse words?!!
And his first instinct was to blame my family rather than taking responsibility. I have absolutely no doubt that J’s version of events is the correct one (in later posts I will talk about how she is my own personal superhero.) And I know my girls, they love restaurants and very rarely meltdown in them. But even if they were running up and down the restaurant, drawing in crayon on the walls, and throwing Kix at the Grinch’s face- he still does not have the right to tell 2-year olds to Shut the F Up! You can absolutely ask a customer to keep their kids quiet or even request that they leave if you feel that the behavior is inappropriate. But under no circumstances is it acceptable to yell, curse, rip food from the hands of and frighten a patron of the restaurant you work in. It’s not ok to do to an adult and to do so to a child is in the immortal words of Vizzini , “Inconceivable!”