The toddler attacks

A few weeks ago, I told my friend I would watch her toddler while she went to class for the evening. She was so grateful and I was happy to help. The day came and I was ready. I left work early that afternoon (barista hours). I went to the market and bought some snacks, mostly for me. On the way home I bought a bottle of wine. When I got home I had to dig deep, but I found the menu to my favorite local pizza shop. All of these things, these preparations were recommendations from the mom.

I made sure that the PS4 controllers were charged, the dog was fed and had toys to play with upstairs in my room, double checked the snack cupboard, and poured my first glass of wine. I had to check one last thing, Netflix. I was consumed with the amount of children movies and shows. My friend texts me and said she was on her way, which broke my Netflix obsession long enough for me to turn it off. This was the opportunity to acquire a casual buzz that was just on the border of social acceptance. I had finished my first glass and moved on to my second glass.

The toddler has arrived. My friend came in, like a natural disaster level hurricane- swinging bags and pajamas with a small boy just running around her in circles like he was orbiting a planet. I was given the rundown on topics such as like, don’t like, and is probably gonna do. She left as quickly as she had come in and I proceeded to order pizza and fries. This is when it began. At the request of the young child, I searched YouTube for videos with the keyword “mystery egg.” If anyone here does not know what that term is, I’ll help fill you in. Mystery egg videos are one of natures tools involved in brainwashing single moms. After fifteen minutes, my eyes began to bleed and I had to stop watching. I found other things to occupy my time, like reading memes and drinking the rest of the wine while stuffing my face with pizza.

My toddle friend continued to watch YouTube videos about mystery eggs and moved on to superheros riding bikes on obstacle course in the sky with no possible safe way to land on the ground. Imagine being at the top of the Eiffel Tower and someone hands you a bike then says, “Wanna see if they fly?” He was obsessed. He stood there, rocking back and forth. Sometimes he climbed onto the sofa and jumped off as the superheros jumped off the edges of the obstacle course. It was odd to see how fixated he actually was.

I cannot say that I have ever been that interested in something, and if I had been then I probably would be living a successful life with a lavish lifestyle, treating myself to Starbucks daily. Anyway, I thought this would be an easy night. The kid was hooked on YouTube and I was now reading TMZ. Then he came over to me and said he was bored.

I could relate to that. I tried to put on Netflix, figuring the next option was a movie. Nope. No more movies. Okay, well I had PS4. We (me) played Ultimate Alliance for over an hour before realizing that my toddle friends controller was not actually on. I thought that I was the smart one here, but he was so angry. I bribed him with chocolate, which was also a tip from his mother. I had about another hour and a half until the toddler would be packed and going home. He decided that he wanted to was various colored vehicles drive around a racetrack while a song about ABC’s blared loudly. This was my karma. I now coming down from my wine buzz,which is the worse possible way to come off a buzz. My head was throbbing and I was ready to throw myself out of my front window.

Shortly after (fifty minutes), my friend texts me and lets me know that she is on her way over for her precious cargo. I packed his pj’s that he didn’t want to change into, put a few snacks in the bag and told him that mommy was on her way. That was also a mistake. How to get a toddler to ask a hundred and thirty questions a minute is to tell them that you are either almost there or someone is on there way over. 

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No Coffee

I thought that today I’d share my morning experience with you. It started when I woke up way too early for a day of cold and bitter weather. My morning routine is generally the same, even on my days off. I start the day by feeding my dog and taking her outside for a quick walk. After making sure she is all set and settled in, the search begins. What do I want to wear today? Deciding on a sweatshirt and jeans, my favorite outfit of all times, I put everything in a nice folded pile and took them to the bathroom, so I could shower and get dressed. 

By this time, my brain has begun to wake up and starting to cry for coffee. A slight throbbing behind my eyes slowly grows and migrates to the back of my head. I need that caffeine now or someone is going to die today. I used to think it was crazy how my life depended upon the first sip of a freshly brewed cup of bean water until I became a barista. People will threaten your life, your family, your future children or whatever comes to mind if you don’t get that first cup of coffee ready just the way they like.

So, it’s still really early at this point and the only coffee shop around that is opened is a Dunkin. I’m not typically a fan of the coffee they serve, but at 5am, I’d take whatever I can get to help with my tribal drum ritual that is now starting to overtake my humanity. I drive up to the line- yes, there was already a line. I waited my turn patiently while trying to figure out how to translate my order into the simplest of terms as to avoid having to repeat myself at the window. My turn had come to order, so I ordered an iced coffee (even though its twenty degrees outside) with cream and sugar. Very simple.

It took another maybe ten minutes to get to the window because the truckload of minors needed to order one of every bagel to be toasted and cut into fours. I paid, took my credit card and receipt and waited about another minute before the person who I just paid leaned out and said, “Yeah, we ran out of regular coffee just now and we actually won’t be getting more until later this afternoon. We have decaf, would you like that instead?”

Decaf? Did I just hear that right? My brain was thumping so loud at this point, I thought I just hallucinated or fell back into a deep sleep for a moment and dreamed this nightmare. I thought she was kidding. I laughed, but she didn’t laugh. I didn’t know how to comprehend this. It was 5am and you are out of coffee for the whole rest of the day? Isn’t this your one and only job? Serving the coffee.

I allowed her to refund my money and I drove off cursing under my breath like a sixteen-year-old girl PMSing, just mad at the world for existing. There was literally no other place opened at this hour except for a Cumberland Farms a few more minutes up the road. They had coffee, and I loved every minute of that brown mud. So, here I am writing this blog post- among other obviously important things, drinking my cold gas station coffee.

Seemingly lifeless,

Decaf.

Black Friday…

The American holiday among holidays. For 365 days, our culture sits and waits for the one night of the year that the lights come back on at midnight in every single Walmart and Target across America. The pent-up anxiety just fills each house, taking over any enjoyment of the real holiday at hand.

Now, I don’t know about you but getting trampled to death in Walmart is not on my bucket list. For hours on Thanksgiving night, Americans line up outside of big-name department stores with sales flyers in hand, waiting for the lock to click on the other side. Some people take it to the extreme and camp outside the shops for the entire day. It is an unexplainable phenomenon that I have been trying to comprehend for many years.

The first time I ever experienced this horrific yearly ritual I had gone with friends. They promised me that we would have a great time. We were going to have hot chocolates, walk around the outdoor mall and visit a handful of shops. We went to this outdoor outlet factory that was not too far from our hometown. I had no idea what to expect, or what I had signed up for until we got to the exit on the highway that entered into the mall. The traffic was just stopped, and so were we- for forty minutes.

So we carried on, parked and walked to one of the signs with the “YOU ARE HERE” maps. We picked a couple of stores and tried to remember where they were.  Our first store was just ahead of us, but the line was clearly visible and going all the way around the next row of shops. The attendants at the front estimated two hours before we would even get to the front of the line.

I was astounded. I just couldn’t believe people were this into shoes around here. So we decided since we would be here for a while that we would go check out the lines at the other stores first. We went into a clothing store that I wanted to check out. Of course, no line. When we got inside though, the place was trashed. It looked like people just took the nicely folded piled of shirts and pants and just threw them in the air for fun. I walked around, stepping over clothes and hats and shoes and everything you can imagine that one would find in a store for men and women’s apparel and accessories. I was started to get irritated because I couldn’t find anything and left the store shortly after. There were people outside of stores arguing about children’s toys, cops were breaking up a brawl in the courtyard and I had enough of the festivities for this night.

I knew that I was stuck in this mess to the end so I just kept going until I found a coffee shop where I split from the group and nested until they were completed with the live version of “The Purge.” I never again went to any Black Friday events after that. I decided that I valued my sanity, warmth, and comfort so much more than a $25.00 Nautica sweater.

The entire concept is flawed from top to bottom. After waiting a couple years, the internet caught up and now we have Cyber Monday so I’ll meet you for an extra-hot latte and we can go shopping my way.

–  Hazel N.

P.S. I am so excited for Cyber Monday and I can’t afford to be excited.

Millennials were raised that way…

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Every day I come in contact with so many different people. Different races, different genders, and certainly different ages. There are a few terms that my ears catch when bits of conversations enter my thought filled mind and millennial is one. Millennials are a generation group born around the early 80’s to the late 90’s. There are over 80 million millennials living in the United States, far surpassing the previous generations at their peaks.

People who use the term “millennial” often follow it up with a negative stereotype or criticism that is unwarranted. While looking a bit further into this juicy topic, it can be openly stated that there are several things that this generation requires to survive. My favorite three are teamwork, praise and cell phones. I took some time to really think about this topic because it was oddly true, but not in a negative way that it is being perceived. Someone somewhere has lied about something.

Millennials need teamwork, partners and peers to accomplish their daily human activities. Yes, we sure do. You want to know why? Our leaders and adults determined that we should need to participate in all possible activities and team building exercises from the sandbox ages to early adulthood. Even when we pay to go to school and further out educational careers we are STILL required to participate and work as teams. Do you think we like teamwork? It makes me sick but I can’t stop being a team player as much as I don’t want to be. My mind has literally been brought to believe that if I didn’t help Suzie and Jim do their own jobs while doing mine too then I am a terrible person and deserve to be shamed.

Aside from the notion of independence being washed out of existence, we are then ridiculed for being given praise…by the exact people that gave us praise. I mean our grandparents and our aunts and uncles who got stuck watching us every spare moment they had as we were growing up because our parents worked (or parent) 70 hours a week to buy diapers. We were spoiled rotten by our family members and now we are being punished for it. Well, damn grams, if I’d known you were gonna hold it over my head for the rest of my life I most certainly would not have said yes to an afterschool snack every day!

Lastly is our cell phones. They are attached to us more so now than ever with the rise of hands-free technology. Though we may not seem like carrying around a five-inch computer with the capabilities of limitless YouTube and Wikipedia binges is a burden, it goes from hero to zero fast. We don’t carry our phones around so that we can sit and play games mindlessly all day long while passive aggressively ignoring your texts while we make facebook status updates and Instagram posts. No, we carry our phones around, fully charged and functioning in our hands all day staring at the screen in search of one word, “Mom.”

You do not want to be the child that does not respond back or answer a call from your mother within a reasonable two-second span of time. It has been conditioned in our brains from, sometimes as early as eight or nine to carry these devices around with us in anticipation of the randomness and vague text. Do you know how much more productive I would be if I could leave my phone at home every day like my dog? I can’t even go from one side of my bedroom to the other without at least being in my pocket. My anxiety starts with the rush of internal fire the moment I realize it has been on vibrate or silent for more than an hour.

Millennials are a very large group of individuals that are hardly observed for their positive characteristics because most of them are still figuring out how to survive in a world that they were actually taught nothing while about growing up.

-RedEye