Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My Trip To Walmart

So I take Daddy to Wallmart to get groceries for the week. This is a ritual not to be taken lightly. Taking an 80 year old anywhere is an experience you should not miss. First we went to the Bank for cash because he hates to write a check at Walmart.

ME: "Why can't you write a check? I ask..

HIM: "Because"

ME: "Because why?"

HIM: "Because they give the check back to you"

ME: "Why's that a bad thing? You get the check back so it doesnt go through as many hands and keeps evil cashier people at walmart from having access to your account number"

HIM: "I just don't like it"

I suspend the conversation at this point because once he says "I just don't like it" there will be no clear winner...ever.

So we pull up close to the bank and he tells me to pull over to the side. This "side" he talks about has a Parking lot.. as we get closer he points to the parking lot with no verbal direction. I pull into the lot and see that there are no spaces available so I say:

ME: "go ahead get out and go in then I'll find a space"

HIM: "Well I told you to pull to the side" (HE meant the curb but didn't say it)

ME: ......................

I wasn't going to push the subject, Obviously he was attempting to project his thoughts into my brain by concentrating hard and pointing with his finger. A talent of a true Jedi master that is only perfected when you reach 80 years of age. (or your a woman)

I drive around the corner of the lot and see a space so I pull in only to look towards the bank building and see two large SUV's blocking my sight of the front door. Simple reasoning tells me HE won't be able to see ME either so I back out and pull under some trees to wait. A few minutes later someone comes out and pulls out of a space located directly across from the front door.

I ready my mind to pounce upon the available oasis of convenience and get ready to engage in battle with anyone who might have the same idea. Nobody is waiting so I craftily dash into the available spot and wait.

Daddy comes out in a few minutes and looks directly at me.. then turns his gaze to the right.. then to the left..and back to the right. "He doesn't see me" I say to myself, so I lightly honk the delicate horn on my little Isuzu to alert him to my whereabouts. He looks right at me.. then to the right.. and again to the left. I decide to honk again but I let the signal blare a bit longer hoping I don't scare the beejesus out of the other 80 year old man standing by the car parked on my right. Hearing the horn, the other 80 year old man looks up...to the right and then to the left....."hmm" I think.. "must be contagious".
Daddy then looks straight at me and after a few seconds you can see the light turn on and he sees me. He gets in the truck and we continue our happy trek towards Walmart.

We go up and down each isle as he tells me what he wants and I go to pick it up and put it in the basket. He peruses over the prices and says..." Got Dang that's high priced!" (Edited for language) I pick it up and put it back on the shelf, saying goodbye to the Red Delicious apples, knowing we will not be enjoying them this week or perhaps ever again.

We finish our shopping and proceed to the checkout counter seeing a choice of a line with a live Walmart cashier and five people with full baskets or an EMPTY line at the Self-checkout. I start walking towards the people-less self checkout when Daddy says

HIM: "Why ain't you going to the line with the cashier"

ME: "Because they all have lots of people in them, this is faster"

HIM: "I don't like these, it ain't right"

ME: (FAMOUS LAST WORDS BEFORE MY IMPENDING DESTRUCTION) "Oh, Its fine, its going to be much faster than waiting in those lines".... sigh......

I drag each item happily across the scanner and was about to congratulate myself on finding an empty line to show my unbelieving Father how fast and convenient these self-checkout lines really are when the trouble started....

The total came to $107.17 and my Father pulls out a huge wad of $20 bills flashing them in his hand to all who were in line around us, people who were surely just out of prison for robbing 80 year old men at gunpoint. I take the greenbacks and start feeding them them one by one into the machine as it flashes the countdown on its shiny, trustworthy screen.
I finish paying the $107 with five 20's, a five dollar bill and two ones. Daddy then digs in his pocket for the 17 cents..(I forgot to tell him it makes change) he gives me the exact change and I triumphantly start to feed it to the electronic marvel only to hear a "Plunk" and seeing the coins come back to me in the return slot. I try again with the dime, nickel and two pennies just to have them vomited back at me whilst a guttural growl comes from the technological wonder in front of me.

I ask my Father for another dollar bill so we can get out of there and I can save face from my decision not to go to a living, breathing Walmart cashier. He tells me he doesn't have one so I ask for a quarter and insert it only to see it take the same route of its ancestors and go into the return coin slot.

I take my trusty checkcard and tell my Father: "I'll take care of this real quick" only to be met with the Darth Vader-esque stare from a man who has already declared victory over his unworthy opponent and is ready to go home and watch Andy Griffith.

I swipe the card and enter my PIN number and a few seconds later the evil screen flashes a message of "incorrect PIN number, please try again". so I swipe the card again, not yet conceding victory to the Jedi master who is getting ready to melt my brain by pointing his finger at my sweat beaded head.

The screen once again tells me that it can't recognize the transaction
so I call over the live Walmart cashier who has cast much favor with 80 year old men everywhere. She cant make the machine work either. She calls a manager who brings out a huge ring full of keys that obviously unlock the mysterys of the Universe. She is also unsuccessful at getting it to co-operate. They call for back-up.

I see people behind me getting impatient and hear their death threats in my mind. They try to push through to get out so I gently push my shopping cart gently to the side.. only to hear a "Bonk" noise.. kinda like the sound a gallon jar of sour dill pickles that has fallen 4 inches from the bottom of the cart to the ground and lost its lid sounds... much like that.. in fact.. EXACTLY like that.

They call a maintence tech to come over and clean up the briny mess while still trying to figure out how we can pay the 17 cents still due. Nobody can figure it out and my Father is looking at me ready to negate my existence with a death ray because he is missing Andy Griffith. The Lady who came over with a mop and bucket looked at the gallon jar and said "maaan.. I never did like pickles that much"

I go to get another jar of sour dill pickles to replace the one that committed suicide from my cart and leaked its pungent ecto-plasma over the floor and under the register guaranteeing that its memory will linger for weeks or months.

They finally get the machine to work where we can go on our happy way. We get home and Daddy says.. "dang.. they charged us for two jars of those pickles.."

I didn't dare tell him I was the one who ran it twice...

I called my bank when I got home to see what was wrong with my card and related my story to the customer service rep who was laughing so hard she couldn't help me. Next time.. we go to a live cashier.....

Lions and Tigers and Pigs.. Oh My!

A couple of weeks ago I heard my neighbors dog making quite a fuss. Normally I ignore this because she barks at falling leaves with the same urgency as murderous villains. Throwing caution to the wind I opened the door to confront the intruder only to see an armadillo looking back at me as if it were waiting for me to politely introduce myself. Nixing the introduction, I ran to get my camera. For in this diverse melting pot that is Riverside, armadillos are not one of the cultures normally represented.

A few nights later, A possum graced me with it’s presence.

Possums, I have encountered before. The first meeting was not pleasant for either of us. I opened the garage door to get my car and I was greeted by a loud hiss and much to my disdain, a foaming mouth. Now if you have ever been witness to the reaction of a 12 year old girl who has just met their favorite music idol.. you can now relate to the scream I let out. Luckily, a “braver than me” animal control officer came and removed the rude possum from my garage and probably stopped it from stealing my car.

Tonight was a bit different. Unable to sleep I looked out the window to watch the approaching storm. Instead, my eyes focused on the four legged object walking on my lawn. At first I thought it was the fattest dog I had ever seen. Looking again, I saw I was quite wrong.

It was a pig.

Yes, a pig. Teats hanging to the ground, a snout instead of a nose, pig. When did my house become “Green Acres?” Was I about to find Eva Gabor making hot cakes in my kitchen?

I’m now waiting on my next visitor to show up. I hope it’s a cow. I like cows.

Pining for the Fjords

On an early Monday morning I suddenly found myself about to die a horrible death and staggering to get to my cell phone. It was quite dramatic and worthy of an Oscar I assure you. The 911 operator was wonderful. She kept calm while having to listen to me retch my internal organs out.

911: This is 911, What’s your emergency?

Me: I’m Dying, Send Ambulance please.

911: How are you dying sir?

Me: Horribly.

911: What is your address sir?


911: I’m sorry can you repeat that?


She was very nice and kept calling me sweetie and honey, telling me I’d be ok. Hearing those words are very comforting when your about to be pining for the fjords.

The paramedics came quickly. The room kept spinning and I assumed I would be entering Munchkinland soon. When they got me into the back of the ambulance, some acid death metal rock was playing on the radio. I was pretty sure I saw Jesus standing in the corner, head banging while singing “Paradise City”
I would have asked them to turn it off but I thought it best not to antagonize people trying to save my life.

They got me to the hospital where they furiously ignored me and went back to doing their paperwork.

I found out I was merely dehydrated. That did not make sense to me since I had just finished a large glass of water but I said “Ok, sure”.

They discharged me and said I had to vacate immediately because they needed the bed. I realized at that moment that I did not have my cell phone. All my numbers are in that phone. I had not memorized a single one of them. I relayed this information to the discharge nurse and she looked at me with all the compassion a lion has for freshly killed prey. I also did not have shoes or socks and was wearing a vomit stained T-Shirt. The nurse offered me a bus pass. I thought that was very nice of her and I would fit in nicely with all the other shoeless passengers that smelled like vomit.

In the end, My sister left work to come get me. She made me ride in the trunk.

Kim Jong-il is trying to kill me

So.. I have cable in my house. I have had it for years. I have had no trouble till now, and it has made up for lost time. I have taken my cable box back to that cable-box-returning-place-that-is-all-the-way-across-town four times in the past two weeks. The first time, it kept shutting off for no reason, well, there WAS a reason, but the box never told me why. Those boxes are fairly tight lipped. The second box did the same thing. I’m guessing the first box was directly related to the second box and shared one set of parents, who were also brother and sister. I took the cousin/sibling box back and got another. This one looked different so I figured they were not from the same family.

I got the box home and lovingly unwrapped the plastic the cable-box-returning-place put them in to make you think they were new. In reality they take your old box in the back where they immediately put it in plastic to be ready for the next customer while they giggle, stick pins in little plush cable boxes and wave dead chickens over it. The new box would not record any programs. I’m pretty sure it was just a slow learner and didn’t have enough one-on-one time while in cable box school.

I was tired of driving to the cable box returning place, so I asked them to send a technician to deliver another box. Two days later he showed up on my front porch. He looked freshly scrubbed and I didn’t see any dead chickens nearby so I let him in. He began to fiercely punch buttons on the front of the box while my TV began showing different screens with all this technical stuff. I tried to see what buttons he was pushing so I could fix the problem myself next time but he cleverly stood in front of me and blocked my view…he was on to me.

The technician made a few phone calls and asked for a signal to go to my house. This “signal” thing concerned me greatly for all I could determine was that Korean missiles were skipping Hawaii and headed straight to my house. I figured it wasn’t all bad because the blast might make the feral cats finally move. The technician started to leave and said the signal would come through in a little while. It didn’t. I was relieved, for while I still could not record my favorite programs, the neighbors that still talk to me would not suffer radiation burns.

Two day later I go back to the “cable box returning place that is all the way across town” to take the comprehensionally challenged door stop. I felt bad for the box but during the drive I tell it that it’s for its own good and it just needs to apply itself and work on its self esteem.

They give me another box but I make them test it before I leave. Everything worked beautifully and I was joyful. My joy was short lived for when I got home and got the box hooked up, I began to see cockroaches crawl out of it. Out they marched, one, two, three.. they apparently had their orders and were staging an attack. If Kim Jong-il couldn’t get me with the missiles, he would just gross me out. I counted five roaches before I ran to get a trash bag to slam dunk the bugbox into. I called the cable company to complain about this little set back. The customer service lady gagged and then told me she was in Wisconsin and that they didn’t have cockroaches there. I reminded her that they had moldy cheese all over the place so we were even.

I am going back to the cable box returning place tomorrow. I will be listening for screaming chickens and I’ll be hanged if I miss Jon and Kate plus 8. I’m pretty sure gunfire is going to erupt soon.


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I'm 50 year old man who prays he won't take anyone out with him when he finally loses it. Copyright 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012