Category Archives: I’m a pretend writer

The History of Black Friday…according to me (part three)

(I had no idea this would be three parts when I started.)

So the infamous Black Friday shopping trip was never supposed to be. I think we were both completely certain that there was nothing that any store could offer to make us get up at some crazy dark hour to get.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t have been more wrong. Our second son, S, was sick a lot when he was little. Every six weeks or so he would vomit for about 36-48 hours. We never figured out why, exactly, but he eventually outgrew it. (Although, he still has a weak stomach like his mother.)

Thanksgiving proved to be no exception and the night before, at a restaurant with my parents, he threw up. And then continued through the next day. So, when all was said and done Thursday night and he was still not keeping much down, we started thinking about going to Wal-mart (so close and so convenient!) for Pedialyte. Oh, and we need diapers, too.

Now, by this time we were oh so much more experienced and far wiser than in times past. We knew that you don’t wait until 5am to try to get Pedialyte at Wal-mart on the day after Thanksgiving. No, you go earlier, before all the Black Friday crazy people can go through the registers.

So, Mr. French sets off with list in hand and walks on over. He first picks up the diapers and (mistake # 1) puts it in his cart. Then he looks for the Pedialyte. On his way to the register, he got sidetracked by something shiny (puzzles). (Oh, you don’t think that buying a puzzle for your out-of-town guests who were now stuck in a two bedroom apartment with a vomiting 3 year-old is important enough for Black Friday shopping? Well, that makes two of us.)

So, the puzzles being very shiny, but the people being very crowdy, Mr. French has to leave his cart in the aisle (mistake #2) to get to the shiny puzzles where he has to ponder each and every possibility. You know what happens next. The cart, magically disappears, along with the two things Mr. French really needed and he must then make his way through the throngs of people to the diaper section once more. Once procured for the second time, he then heads for the registers at decidedly the worst possible time. Yes, that would be when everyone in the entire store can now go through the checkout lines.

And now you know why I’ll never get Mr. French to go to the store (any store) on the Friday after Thanksgiving. (And yes, our out-of-town guests did enjoy putting together a shiny new puzzle that day.)

Actually, this year, I checked out the flyers and for a minute there I was tempted by the Target sales…but then…

then I tossed them in the trash.

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Filed under I confess, I'm a pretend writer, Moving is my hobby, Mr. French, That's just gross, This is going to be really funny one day

The History of Black Friday…according to me (part two)

Next time, came two years later.

We were living in Texas and a five-minute walk from a Super-open 24-hours-Wal-mart.

And our computer had just been shot by lightening. And I was home alone all day with three boys, ages 4 and under. In a second floor apartment. And Wal-mart was selling a computer for $400. And we didn’t have a lot of spending money. And I could definitely not go by myself, because I was nursing a 5-month-old baby.

And if you know Mr. French, you will be shocked to find out that he actually went. To Wal-mart. In the middle of the night. To buy a computer.

But he did. And the line was already to the back of the store when he got there. And also sold out of computers.

But, and this is how you will find out that people in Texas are the nicest people in the country because as he was standing in line (to buy something to replace the lack of a computer, I think) way at the back of the store in the milk section, he got to talking with other people in line and after talking for awhile, they decided they actually didn’t need this here computer they had picked up and they were actually a little tired of standing in line, so here, you want it? So Mr. French wheeled home a computer in a shopping cart. (Like literally, and then he wheeled the cart back. I told you we were close.)

We still have that computer. In Ohio. With all our other stuff. But I digress.

But this post would not be complete without the most famous Black Friday shopping story. The story that has probably ended all our Black Friday shopping excursions. (At least until I have a houseful of crazy teenagers.)

(To be continued one more time.)

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Filed under I confess, I'm a pretend writer, Moving is my hobby, Mr. French, This is going to be really funny one day

Wow, who knew sugar was so flammable?

Let’s just say, I’m easily distracted.

I was cleaning up the breakfast dishes around 11 am after being distracted by this fascinating book earlier, when I noticed the syrup was a little low. So I decided to make some more.

As I was measuring the water (after already measuring the sugar), I got distracted and added too much water. So then I added a little more sugar and set the pot on the stove and turned it to high.

Then S asked if he could play the “make the ball catch the star game” on the computer.

“Okay, but only for ten minutes.”

Then, I decided maybe I should help him turn the computer on. When I got to the back room where we keep the computer, I wondered if maybe I should download the newer version that Mr. French had mentioned a few days ago and decided to see if I could get this computer on the internet. I had to search for a cord and after a minute decided it was probably going to be too hard and I would wait until Mr. French got home to do it.

On my way out of the bedroom, I stopped in the bathroom to refresh my chapstick when I noticed that the toilet was kinda dirty looking and then I remembered that I had planned to clean it this morning and decided that now was as good a time as any to go ahead and do that. I stopped at the laundry closet, on the way down the hall, to pick up the toilet cleaner and then realized that I actually didn’t keep cleaner in the laundry closet, although that might be a good idea because it was sitting out on the counter in the kitchen while I wait for maintenance to come see why there’s seems to be a periodic leak under the sink that sprays everything under there indiscriminately with coffee grinds. (Hello, garbage disposal? You don’t look so hot.)

And that’s when I smelled it. A sort of sweet burning smell. Oh, yeah, I’m making syrup.

It looked fine, but it was boiling so I pulled it off and that’s when I saw the flame.

So, I blew on it and it went away for a second.

And then it came back with an s.

And then I said to myself, Rachel, you need something more effective here.

So, I blew on it harder.

And the flames disappeared for two seconds.

And then they came back a little higher than before.

And then my thoughts flinted to water.

NO, said my brain. It’s an electric stove!

Which, by the way, shut it off please.

The flames were increasing, when it hit me.

Baking soda.

Two things I’m thankful for. The knowledge that one should use baking soda in an electrical fire was something I learned a long time ago and had never since had the chance to use. And yet, even after four pregnancies and the subsequent multiple brain cell loss, it was still there waiting to be used.

And second, I found the baking soda in the first cabinet I looked.

I grabbed it and poured and it was out like a light.

Like a light with a switch. Not necessarily like a light with a flame, depending, of course, on what you’re burning and what you decided to use to try to put it out. (See above paragraph on the effectiveness of wind in sugar fires.)

I looked at J’s wide eyes and had that little moment when you nervously laugh because you know you just got away scot-free with something that could have turned really bad, really fast.

Okay, not scot-free. Because then, the fire alarm went off. And I had to go find the stupid fire alarm that decided to go off after the flames were officially out. And while I was looking for it, I noticed all the sprinkler heads sticking out of the walls and started hoping that living in an apartment building didn’t mean that the fire department would show up anyway and also that the sprinklers didn’t automatically turn on when the fire alarm does. Please don’t come on. I finally found the fire alarm down the hall and started waving frantically in it’s direction, while yelling for the kids to open the windows and turn on the fans.

Then, Felicity started crying.

And the fire alarm I was fanning and jumping from a chair to try to hit the buttons, started beeping at the torture. And then it was finally all silent.

Beautiful!

So, now the kitchen smells like burnt sugar (Ooh, crème brûlée!) and the toilets are still dirty but I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we definitely have enough syrup for breakfast tomorrow.

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Filed under I confess, I'm a pretend writer, Oversharing, This is going to be really funny one day

Waste of Creativity

You know what’s a complete waste of my creativity?

I have some really clever, and I mean CLEVER, passwords to some of my accounts. Totally cute, play-on-words with numbers that play on the letters.

They’re ingenious, I tell you.

And I can never prove it.

I can’t even brag about it, although I’m obviously trying.

My husband can’t even remember them, that’s how clever they are.

And, no, I’m sure that is not a reflection on their utter brilliancy. Ahem.

But I’ve been trying to come up with names to suggest for this company.

They basically pay you for your cleverness with words.

And so far, I’ve come up with nothing.

I can’t think of anything that isn’t already taken and still fits the criteria.

A waste of space, I tell ya.

So, does anyone need a really good password? I might be able to help you out…

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I’m a really good spellar too.

There’s a good article over at Amy’s Humble Musings about “How to be humble…like me.”

So, that got me thinking of great spoof blog titles, like:

How to be perfect…just like me.

This is my really funny blog.

I’m a good writer. I have this blog, don’t I? ( or You can read this blog, can’t you?)

The Perfect blog-One woman’s attempt to teach you all that she knows.

(I think I saw a blog like that once. She wasn’t being sarcastic, either.)

President of my 4-H Club and my subsequent rise to fame and fortune.

Then I thought of things you should never, ever write on a blog.

I’m a really, really good writer.

Grammar is what I’m best at.

Spelling is my fortay.

I am seriously the funniest person I know.

I’m an editor, so I’m immune to typpos.

The irony of it all.

If I was a better writer (and also less of a procrastinator) I think it would be fun to write a spoof blog making fun of people taking themselves too seriously. (Though, I could be accused of that at times. But then, I’d have all this great material.) I could pretend I’m a really serious person trying too hard to show off my humility. It would, of course, have to be absurd, otherwise it wouldn’t be funny.

What would you add to the list? Or give me blog titles that you’d like to spoof.

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Filed under I'm a pretend writer, That was fun, Why does no one get my jokes?

Ignorance is Bliss (though mostly just embarrassing)

I was born and raised Reformed Presbyterian.

My grandparents were all Reformed Presbyterian.

My parents are Reformed Presbyterian. As are many of my Aunts, Uncles and cousins.

So, naturally, I wasn’t especially cognizant of the different church practices of other types of Christianity. I knew what made us different from them. I knew the arguments and was aware that other Christians did things differently in their churches, but I wasn’t aware exactly of what those differences always entailed.

So, you can imagine my confusion when, at the age of 18, I was working in a small nursing home in a small, predominantly Catholic town on Ash Wednesday. My coworker showed up for work and had a very obvious black mark on her forehead. I doubted it was some kind of “make-up” accident, but I considered that if I had a huge black mark on my face, I would want someone to point it out to me. When we had a moment alone, I said,

“Did you know you have a…” pointing to my forehead, “a black mark on your forehead?”

“Yeees?” she said, looking a little dumbfounded.

“Well, did you want it to be there?” I continued, confused.

“It’s Ash Wednesday.”

“And that means?”

“You don’t know what Ash Wednesday is?!” she asked, again dumbfounded.

Of course, I’d seen the words Ash Wednesday on the calendar before, but I never paid much attention to what it meant. I thought it was something like Canadian Labor Day or Australian Mother’s Day. Obviously not pertaining to me, so why ask questions.

So, I got my first lesson in Catholic practices that day. And I never made that mistake again, although I’ve done a double take several times since, when, seemingly out of the blue, I’ll see people walking around with big black marks on their foreheads.

It was not to be the last of my “education” though.

A year later, I was attending a Christian College in PA. I got up early on a Saturday (!) to attend a review for my first chemistry test on Monday. When it was over, I walked back to my dorm with another guy who had also attended the review. I’d seen him around and he was a friend of another friend, but I hadn’t really spent much time getting to know him. We chatted as we walked, and when we had almost gotten to my dorm, I casually asked him what kind of church he attended.

He said something to the effect of, “a Charismatic church”.

I stopped mid-stride, dumbfounded.

“You call yourself a Charismatic?!” I exclaimed incredulously.

“Yeah.” he said confused.

“I thought that’s just what we called you. I thought it was a derogatory term.” I said, though I wish I’d realized at that moment I should probably not say everything that I think.

I don’t think he held it against me, thankfully, because he’s a very nice guy and I still consider him a friend.

I’d like to think I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut about things-I-know-nothing-about, but I really can’t be too sure.

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Filed under I confess, I'm a pretend writer

This might be funny, unless you happen to be Mr.F’s first wife

The story of us goes back to 1994.

I can’t tell you the whole story, so I’ll just tell you one story.

Back in 1994, we met and got to know each other at a conference in Ireland and Scotland. I was there with my family and Mr. French came with several male friends from his church in North Carolina.

Years later, when it was all over (the conference and the relationship) several friends of mine from the conference told me (separately) of a rumor going around about one of the guys in Mr. French’s group. The rumor was that one of them had been married previously and that their wife had died. Most people thought it was Mr. French. I thought it must have been one of the other guys because I was sure that Mr. French would have told me. It did make me wonder, but since the relationship was over, I simply filed it away.

Fast forward a few years and we meet again, in Kansas City. After several months of attending the same church we started getting to know each other again and I remembered that “fact” that I had filed away.

Now, I really wanted to know. It seemed like pertinent information, even though we weren’t really dating. But he never mentioned it, nor hinted about it. It was a pretty awkward subject to bring up. If it was true, then I’d be bringing up painful memories that maybe he wasn’t ready to share and if it wasn’t true, then I was just repeating gossip, which was also awkward.

We were coming into Kansas City from Minneola (I had been visiting my family and he had visited some of his old friends, who happened to live there at the time) after a long, but enjoyable car trip, when I decided I needed to know, right now, before this got any further.

“So, remember at the conference when there were all these rumors about you guys?”

“Yeah. People always have to talk.” he said.

Oh. Good. Great time to bring this up. “Yeah, people.” I paused.

“So there was this rumor that you…were…uh…”

“Yeah?”

I took a deep breath and let it all out.

“Thatyouweremarriedbeforeandyourwifedied.” I exhaled.

I watched him closely, hoping the answer would be obvious.

His shoulders slumped. “That was a really hard time.” he said in a quiet voice.

I was horrified. What had I just done! Why couldn’t I have just waited for him to bring it up?

“I’m sorry, I just…”

His mouth turned up ever so slightly.

“Are you…?” Was he pulling my leg?

He started laughing.

“Oh, you! You were never married!”

He didn’t say anything.

“Tell me the truth!” I said, hitting him in the arm. “Were you ever married before?!”

He got serious. Even though he was driving, he looked at me.

“No, I was never married.”

That was almost nine years ago.

I still sometimes bring up his first wife.

It’s not as awkward now.

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Filed under I'm a pretend writer, Mr. French