June 28, 2002

Go see! I’ll apologize in advance for the winners whose shirts arrive in big-ass padded envelopes. I was missing a few brain cells when I went to Staples earlier this week and thought that 8 medium-sized padded envelopes would be enough to mail 12 t-shirts. Duhr. Speaking of Staples, after my visit there yesterday, I know now why I prefer to shop at Wal-Mart or Target. At Wal-Mart, when you’re checking out, they don’t ask if you needed to buy some packing tape while you’re at it, did you need some paper, and oh yeah – would you like to sign up for their Business Rewards program, wouldya, huh? Or would you like to apply for a Staples card, or maybe buy a computer? At Wal-Mart, they’re just as happy to ring up your shit and see your ass headed out the door where they don’t have to deal with you anymore. I think I’d rather pay an extra dollar for a pack of envelopes at Wal-Mart than have to fend off the obnoxious sales attempts from the people at Staples. We bought a couple of cantaloupes yesterday at a farmer’s market in Hartselle, after we went and picked up our chickens, and now the entire house smells like rotting garbage. I like cantaloupe, but I just can’t stand the fucking smell of them. It could be worse, I suppose. I could be driving from Alabama to Maine with several of the stinky things in the back seat, reeking up the car for 1500 miles. Which reminds me – the spud called last night, and it appears that she’s having a really good time. They’ve been keeping her busy, it sounds like, with trips to Disneyland and Ripley’s and other places. They bought her a pair of cowboy boots and some clothes, and are just generally spoiling her rotten, as I’d predicted. So yesterday morning, I was sitting in front of the computer, when someone carrying a clipboard ran through my front yard, coming from the house on the right-hand side of ours. He looked official, with the clipboard and all, not at ALL like someone trying to SELL something, and so I answered the door when he rang the bell. Actually, I thought he might be one of our neighbors – I swear to god, I don’t remember what any of them look like from one minute to the next – and thought it would be rude not to answer. So I did. And instantly regretted it. Because it took him five minutes of nonstop blathering for me to understand that he was trying to sell a study guide for kids, for $100. Now, if I’d been on my toes, when I opened the door and he smiled and said “Are you the mom?”, I would have said “No, I’m the babysitter, and I’m not supposed to open the door to people I don’t know. Bye!” Regrettably, I did not, and I withstood a long speech from him wherein he invoked the name of every parent and kid in my subdivision, as if he was searching for the magic combination that would make me say “Oh, you know Mr. and Mrs. Smith and little Billy Bob?! WELL COME RIGHT IN AND LET ME GIVE YOU SOME MONEY!” But I only have a half-assed awareness of my neighbors and their names – brought about by the FUCKING mailman and his habit of giving me someone else’s mail twice a month or so – and I don’t know ANY of their kids’ names, so I just smiled blankly at him while he went through his three-mile-long list. Finally, to shut him the hell up, I said “We’ve only lived here for a few months, so I don’t really know anyone outside the cul-de-sac.” See, what I should have done was smile and slam the door shut when I realized he wanted to SELL me something, but he was so NICE and chatty, and I’m such a big freaking wimp that I just stood and listened. And listened and listened and listened. When he appeared to think that he had me on his hook, he said “Is there somewhere that we can sit down?” This, I will remind you dear readers, is probably similar to the tactics Ted Bundy (man, I had to rack my brain for his name, because I just watched the Love Boat special a few days ago, and the only name I could come up with was Fred Grandy – also known as Your Yeoman Purser Burl “Gopher” Smith) used to get into the houses of his poor, unsuspecting victims. Okay, I did read The Stranger Beside Me, and I don’t remember reading that Ted Bundy impersonated door-to-door salesmen to gain access to his victims, but I’m sure it’s only because he didn’t think of it. Readers, if you love me, you will never, NEVER allow someone you don’t know who isn’t a cop (ask for identification, and LOOK at it, don’t just glance at it) inside your home when you’re alone. Even if they think you should let them in, even if they seem like perfectly nice people, please please please don’t do it. Be rude and slam the door shut if you have to, because who gives a shit if somone you don’t know thinks you’re a bitch? For me, please? Anyway. So when he asked if there was somewhere we could sit down, I told him I was about to leave for a hair appointment, and I don’t think it was a particularly believable lie since I’d actually already had my hair done, but he pretended to believe me, asked me a few questions about some other neighbors (to which I said, mostly, “I don’t know.”), and asked if he could stop by that afternoon. “Sure,” I said. “I’ll be home after four.” I had forgotten that we were to drive to Hartselle to pick up our chickens, but I knew that Fred would be home by four, and Fred has NO problem being rude to perfectly nice boys, and even slamming the door in their face if need be. But, as I mentioned, we weren’t home after four, and in fact we weren’t home until well after six, and I didn’t know whether the saleskiller had come and gone or hadn’t bothered coming back, but I hoped that that would be the last I’d have to worry about him. Come 10:30 this morning, as I was sitting in front of the computer, about to start getting the free stuff ready for shipping, I glanced up and saw him pulling up in front of the house. I grabbed my Big-Ass cup of Diet Coke and ran into the living room, where I sat and read while he knocked on the door, rang the doorbell, and knocked on the door again. Hopefully THAT will be the last I’ll see of him. Today at the post office? Another good mail day! I won a knitted purse thingy from a certain miz Say (and big thanks to the rockin’ Dante, who chose my number), and can I just say I love it? It’s so SOFT, and I just love the color. I think I shall put it in my purse and keep my treasures in it. Now all I need are some treasures. When was the last time you… 1. …sent a handwritten letter? I probably haven’t sent a handwritten letter since Fred and I were “courting”, and we would send handwritten letters as well as email 45,000 times a day. Before that, it was probably a few years, because I sent letters to my sister, but always typed them up on the word processor. I do always write out my thank-you cards by hand, and I did one of those just yesterday, but that probably doesn’t count, does it? 2. …baked something from scratch or made something by hand? The last time I made something from scratch is when I sent Joanna cookies for the TMS Secret Pal giveaway thingy in March or April. Well, wait. I make dinner from scratch at least 5 nights a week, does that count? I just finished a cross-stitch Christmas ornament last night, too. 3. …camped in a tent? God, I think I was probably 15 the last time I went camping. I was supposed to spend the night in a tent for the 3-Day last October, but I twisted my ankle before that could happen. 4. …volunteered your time to church, school, or community? Uh. I haven’t got a clue. 5. …helped a stranger? Again, I don’t know. If I were to see a stranger who needed help, I’d help out and think nothing of it. We give stuff to the Downtown Rescue Mission regularly, and contribute to various charities, does that count? ]]>