Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Homey Don't Play Dat

When you pay someone to do a job or service for you, don't ya think they should appreciate the hard-earned money you are giving them? My Southern upbringing influenced the notion that if money is exchanged, kindness and a thank you are in order. But there are times when that doesn't happen...

Moving to a new city requires one to re-establish the support system of doctors, dentists, babysitters, "go-to" stores, and beautification experts. One of the luckiest connections was with my hairdresser of three years, but because of a recent incident, I broke up with him. The conflict started last year - after growing my hair for months, I went in for an easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy trim. A few weeks after that appointment, I pulled a 360 and went in again with a picture of a shoulder-length January Jones style. My stylist became a scene-king and chopped my hair several inches shorter than the picture! Why couldn't he just re-cut my hair, take my money and send me on my crazy way? As I left the salon feeling ugly, a line from the past popped into my head - "I don't think so! Homey don't play dat!" Bye bye.

With this new found courage, I took a hard look at other providers in our life. We haven't been thrilled with our pediatric office for a while. The doctors are amazing but the front desk rudeness is unnecessary and the gestapo nurses require a bleeding, wheezing child to get in the door. Forget that Gigi had a fever for 3 days of 104! Forget that David Dean had strep 4 times in 3 months and we want another strep culture. Forget about calling after hours if a certain doctor is on call - she'll hang up on you if it is not an emergency. (It happened!) Finally, I said, "I don't think so! Homey don't play dat!"

Our children have never seen "In Living Color" and they don't know Homey D. Clown but they have heard the line over the years. It is especially useful when the kids are fighting. Just last night Gigi recited it but she thinks the phrase is "mommy don't play that," which works just fine for me.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Worst Rule Ever!

by Brooks Kenny, a guest blogger who is workin' that skirt -- Brooks sizzles up a room with her laughter, she encourages anything that is fun, has been known to juggle three nannies in one month, and is one of the most generous people I know. Here's her story of a tea party for Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday --a day the kids are off from school, parents work here and there, and we all sleep in a few extra minutes. It is a day filled with opportunities. Ours started with my Sean (3) drooling on me in my bed. About 5 minutes later, I feel a tap on my shoulder. It is my beautiful 5 year old, Paige. Her first words, "Mom, can you get the tea ready for our breakfast party? It is Martin Luther King's Birthday...and, it is my Lamby's birthday too." (Can't forget her first lovey, Lamby!) "In 5 minutes," I say with a yawn. "Pleeeseee...Moooom!" When I arrive in the kitchen, I search for drinkable tea for my young kids (red raspberry, best choice, add lots of sugar). I take out our tea cups (yes, Grandma, the breakable ones). When I approach the family table, I couldn't help but smile.

Paige and Sean had stacked books on each of the 6 chairs around the table. On each stack of balancing books was one of their guests - another lamb, a doll, teddy bear. I poured the tea. Pete made the eggs and toast. As we ate, I asked Sean and Paige what they knew about the day we were celebrating. Sean said "Martin Luther King JUNIOR never gave up. He tried and tried."

Paige said, "Mom, do you know about the rules they had when he was alive, before he went to heaven?" "Yes," I replied. "But, tell me what you mean." "Well," my determined daughter said, "people with brown skin were not allowed to play with people with white skin. And, people with brown skin could not go to good schools, eat at restaurants, or play in the same pools as people with white skin." I asked her what she thought about that rule. She said, without hesitation, "Mom, that is the worst rule I have ever heard of. Does that mean that if I lived back then, I would not be able to be friends with Diana?" Diana is Paige's closest friend at school. Diana is more than friend to Paige. She takes care of her. She walks with her hand in hand to P.E. (Paige is scared of dodgeball - who can blame her?). I put my arms around her and said, “We have a lot to be thankful for. We can thank Martin Luther King, Jr. that Diana is your friend, and that you get to play with her every day at school. And that we can treat everyone we know with kindness.”

So, tonight, I thank Martin Luther King Jr, for having a dream and for giving our children a world where treating people who are different from us is "the worst rule ever!"

Brooks is a mom, wife, and the Chief Marketing Officer of Lotsa Helping Hands, a business that helps organize community support to families who have experienced an illness or death, care giving for an aging parent, and assistance to military families who feel alone when a spouse is deployed.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pants on the Ground

The new year brings about pressure to make resolutions and somehow in all the commotion of the holidays I forgot to think about changes for 2010. How pressure to lose weight or save money. The only thing I want to do this year is keep my pants OFF the ground.

The blizzard-like conditions in December made lots of people disheveled for a while. Just before Christmas, it was a close call when an SUV practically mowed me over at the grocery store parking lot. The driver probably wanted my cart because there were not ANY to be found. The only way to get a buggie was to emulate Reed Timmer from Storm Chasers and track someone as they exited the store, follow them to their car like a tornadomonger, and wait while that person finished unloading. Inside the store was complete mayhem also. A guy in the isle beside me warned not to leave my buggie because someone stole his with all of his food items when he walked away. Maybe the perp had "poor visibility" but I'm thinking, "It's DC - no cart left behind." And don't forget the biggest snowball fight in DC's history. Hundreds of people had fun and games until a bystander took a hit in the shoulder and pulled out his revolver. Turns out he is actually a lawman and the whole city had their panties in a wad.

While these cold winter months encourage me to do everything counter to the typical resolutions, I somehow feel inspired by Larry Platt who performed last night on Atlanta's American Idol. He has what the Italians call Fuoco nelle vene - fire in the veins. The man is 60-something years old and sang his original song "Pants on the Ground." He's got it right - be proud of who you are. POTG!