Kirk, I thought you might want to use this on the website.
My stepson has a new eating regiment. He must eat vegetables at every meal, and he must eat what we are eating. He’s done well with these new rules. After a month of trying new foods he’s discovered that he likes salmon. The complaining is less intense than it was at the beginning of the month. Now only half of his comments during meals are complaints. Increasing his vegetable intake has done wonders for his complexion. His previous diet of cheese, more cheese, and creamy Caesar dressing was causing pimples to erupt from his twelve-year-old forehead. The pimples are subsiding.
Tonight we had chicken curry for dinner. He had a choice. He could eat with his father or with me. His father had to leave for work about twenty minutes before I got home. He chose to eat later, with me. I was surprised by this decision, but soon discovered the reason. While we ate our salads we talked. He told me about a few stories he saw on the evening news. After the salads he told me about how much he didn’t like curry. Then he asked me if he could have a pita pizza for dinner instead. I told him that there were no pitas, and he pulled a new bag of them from the refrigerator. Of course, I told him no. Curry was what we were eating for dinner. He could eat that or nothing.
He thinks I’m the pushover. I’m the one who will let him have what he wants. I’m about to let you in on a big secret. You are going to be privy to some important information that only a few know. Are you ready? I made the new meal rules. I did it. He doesn’t know. If he reads this, he will know, but he usually doesn’t read my blog. One night when my husband came home from a gig, I had found some articles about dealing with children who are picky eaters online. I asked him to read them. Then I told him my plan. We discussed some ideas and made some new mealtime rules. I let my husband explain and enforce the new rules. I’m the food tyrant and my husband is my henchman. I can try to pacify the subject with the occasional meal of cheese ravioli, but one day he’ll figure it out. If he thinks about it long enough, he’ll figure it out.
Here’s another secret. The new homeschooling schedule was me too. I researched the curriculum. His father enforces that schedule and we both check the work. I love it because it’s like good cop, bad cop.
There’s nothing like quitting a job. The thrill is indescribable. I feel happy and light-hearted. I always feel like it’s okay for me to treat myself when I quit a job. I’ve quit quite a few jobs in my time. So I know what I’m talking about. Telemarketer, front desk clerk, grocery store cashier, inventory clerk, afterschool program counselor, salesperson, preschool teacher’s aide, tutor, adult day care worker, life skills coach, English teacher. I continue to be a massage therapist, but I have left a couple of massage jobs in the dust.
Giving two weeks notice before leaving a job is the good responsible thing to do. Usually I do that. I sit down and write a little letter and give it to my supervisor. That’s good because it gives me something to look forward to, like Christmas. Some supervisors respond by giving me a special treat and calling me the next day to tell me not to bother coming back in. I wonder if that makes them feel good. Maybe it gives them the delusion of having fired me.
There are a couple jobs that I quit over the phone. I called up and said that I wasn’t going to come in that day or ever again. Trolling the halls of Showboat Casino Hotel making sure guests check out in time, indulging the sob stories of people who had just gambled away all of their money and listening to complaining guests was one such job. The morning I called my boss to tell her that I was never coming back in, she seemed genuinely surprised. I guess she didn’t notice my constant eyerolling on the job. She told me the previous day that her favorite singer was Jon Secada. I couldn’t bear taking orders from someone who actually liked Jon Secada. The loss was that I bought a bunch of black pants and brightly colored vests that I would never wear again. Why do some jobs require you to buy ridiculous clothes that you would never wear in real life?
I worked for the Sam Ash catalog for three days. I couldn’t get the phone lines straight. People tended to spell their names too quickly for me to type them into the system. I finally got so tired of saying, “Could you spell that again for me please?” that I started typing any old thing into the computer. They were educated guesses of what someone’s last name or a street name might be spelled like. Granted I’m not the best speller in the world, but close is usually good enough. If you ordered something from Sam Ash in early November of 2001 and didn’t receive it. I’m sorry. I might have misspelled your name or street. My boss there didn’t seem at all shocked when I called in to quit. It just wasn’t my scene. It was one big room with lots of cubicles and no windows. There were too many buttons and flashing lights on the phones.
There is always a reason to quit a job. I’m surprised that people keep jobs as long as they do. I have a friend who has worked at the same telemarketing place since I’ve know him. I interviewed for a job there. After they hired me, I never showed up for training. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I had just left Sam Ash and knew that their phones would have a lot of buttons and red blinking lights too.
We need to work to survive, but I need change to survive too. I also could do without constant complaining, buttons, flashing red lights and having to spell.
I‘m thorough. I always wear a moisturizer with sunscreen. I always put sunscreen on my tattoo. I brush my teeth after every meal. I get my teeth cleaned every six months. I can’t imagine not doing these things. That’s why I was shocked and appalled when my husband told me that the last time he went to the dentist’s office was the same year that Bon Jovi released the Slippery When Wet album.
He went today for the first time in twenty years. I pushed him out of the door with a scared look on his face. He had muttered something about canceling the appointment earlier in the day. As he left he said he’d be back after they pulled out all of his teeth.
We go to the same dentist. Maybe they give nervous patients free hits of laughing gas. They sure didn’t give me any. I don’t know what they did to him, but he came back with all of his teeth and a big smile. He was gleeful. He was delighted to show me a copy of his x-rays and his paperwork stating all of the work he needs done.
Most people don’t want to go to the dentist. Even if you have good teeth, it’s uncomfortable to have someone poking around in your mouth. They say they know what they’re doing with those metal hooks, but what if they slip or sneeze? All of the drilling and scraping is unpleasant. Who knows where that suction tube has been?
My husband can’t wait to go back. His next appointment is on his birthday. He can’t ask for a better birthday present. He can have his teeth cleaned in the morning and we can eat birthday cake in the afternoon.
As she hopped off of the golf cart, Teresa pointed to a slime covered retention pond with a fountain of water bursting from its center and said, “We have six lakes on the property. It’s nice to have a view of them from your apartment, but that’ll cost you extra. My apartment is near one on the other side of the complex and it’s so peaceful. It’s a lot better than an apartment facing the parking lot.” I nodded and said nothing. I was thinking, how dare they put a fountain in the middle of a retention pond and then charge you extra to live near it.
At another apartment complex the representative that showed us around said, “You can fish in our ponds but I wouldn’t recommend eating the fish because of the pesticides.” She waved to a woman and her child fishing in the retention pond near the swimming pool. In the apartment complex I currently live in some of the fish in the ponds swim with their backs partially exposed. I wonder if that’s because of the pesticides. Maybe it’s because the water is so murky, we wouldn’t know there were fish in there otherwise.
The owners of apartment complexes must think that lakes are appealing to people because a lot of the complexes in our area have the word lake in their names. They have names like Camden Lakes and Lynn Lake. I don’t know about the Camden in the U.K., but Camden, NJ doesn’t have a lake. If it did have a lake, it would probably be polluted and smelly and not something you would want to live near. Some apartment complex owners think people like wind. There are apartments named Crosswinds and Windjammer. What is a windjammer?
Some of the shabbiest looking apartment complexes have the best names. Across from the laundromat is an apartment complex called The Chateaux Versailles. Down the street from us is Bel Air Apartments. If the name is fancy enough tenants won’t notice the paint peeling of of the buildings and the potholes in the parking lot. The fancy names will fool tenants into thinking they live in the lap of luxury.
Brandywine Apartments is located down the street from my parents’. That’s an appropriate name for an apartment complex. Brandywine is probably what you’ll be drinking after you’ve lived there for five years and you’ve missed another night’s sleep because you could hear your neighbors loudly having sex and the woman upstairs just bought a new aerobics DVD.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my apartment complex. It’s nice. Other than not having water on Tuesdays, I have no complaints. Sometimes, I like to lounge on the pesticide coated lawn near the retention pond, watch the hump back fish swim in circles and relax. Now this is living.
I’m trying to be healthy. Most of the time, I eat food that is good for me. I’ve always enjoyed fruit and nuts and bark-like healthy things, like Grapenuts.
When I was younger, I wasn’t very excited about sweet food. Recently, I have developed a sweet tooth. I like sweets. I love cake. People must be able to tell that I like cake because I seem to be in situations where people offer me cake often–free cake. How can I turn down free cake?
Not so long ago, my parents stopped by to visit us after eating out. My father had a piece of cake that he got but hadn’t eaten. He left it in our refrigorator. It was a relatively large piece of white cake with a thick layer of icing on it. I can’t eat an entire piece of cake without getting a belly ache so I space it out. I’ll eat a couple of fork fulls after lunch and a couple after dinner. That is how I planned to eat this piece of cake.
About a day later my husband casually mentioned the cake and that he was going to throw it out. When I told him that I was eating it, he was shocked and dismayed.
“I didn’t think you liked cake,” he said.
I was wondering how he could think such a thing about me. Of course, I like cake. I love it. I especially love ice cream cake. If I could live in an ice cream cake house I would. That would probably never happen. An ice cream cake house wouldn’t do well in Flordia.
He thought that because I didn’t eat dessert in restuarants that I didn’t like desserts. I had to explain that ordering a dessert in a resturant is a waste because sweet is sweet. If I can buy something sweet for a third of the price in a grocery store, why would I waste my money buying it in a resturant? Why waste money on it at all? I get offered something sweet almost daily for free.
Anyway, he ended up eating more than half of the piece of cake in front of me. He complained about how sweet it was the whole time. I’m still not sure how or why it happened. It’s all a blur. At first there was enough cake to last me five days. Then there was only enough for one day. What happened? Where did it all go? It went into the belly of a cake-hater. It went into the belly of someone who can’t even begin to appreciate the lovely joy and happiness that is cake. Cake. Cake. Say it out loud with me. Cake. Doesn’t it make you smile.
He says he did it for my own good. High cholesterol runs in my family. I’m always saying I want to eat healthy food. He says he was trying to take away my temptation. He did it because he loves me. I still don’t quite understand the logic, but his intentions were good.
We are opposites, a cake-lover who fell in love with a cake-hater. We can share a home, a bed, our lives, but not our desserts. Cake. One day his eyes will be opened and he’ll understand the beauty of cake. One day he’ll come to my side, and we’ll live happily ever after in an ice cream cake house in the country.