“If you keep telling lies about me…

..I will start telling the truth about you.”  One of my favorite lines from the 2008 Presidential run.  I have been sitting on this post in my draft folder for a little bit.   Today something happened that kind of forced my hand. Like most of this blog, I write to get things out of my head and onto “paper”.  I don’t do it to cause discomfort or to ask people to take sides or even to comment. In fact no one need comment, but I need put this down and then let it go.  Easier said than done.

Remember when you used to pretend that I was your mother?  Remember when your dad died and I was so physically, mentally and emotionally spent that I had no fight in me at all, after losing my husband and sister in the same year while fighting cancer?  Remember how you took all you could carry out of the house though I kept saying I wasn’t ready to do this?  I wanted you to have some of your dad’s things. Of course,  but not yet.  Your greed and entitlement was disgusting.  But… I didn’t want to lose anyone else. I loved you and your little family, so after my protests were ignored I said nothing.   I had nightmares for months, hearing you go through your father’s life and chortling how you “finally” had his albums.  Had we even buried him yet?  I don’t remember.  You took all the albums and the 62 Topps collection along with many other odds and ends.    That set was the only one that meant anything to me.  We used to talk about it, he and I.  Dad said he collected them because it was the year I was born. I know he was bullshitting, but still… I didn’t even know you had taken that until it showed up on FB. You know how you crave constant attention. You had to post everything and carry on about your father’s legacy.  That hurt, but aside from making a small joke about how I might need to sell those to survive, I said nothing.  When your mom called and proposed she ship you Dad’s drums as  her Christmas present to you, I was stunned that she would insert herself into something so personal.  But again, I said nothing.  You and I had talked about setting the drums aside for your son because you don’t play.   I had you break them down and move them against the wall and I covered them to keep them safe until you were ready. That was between us.  But your mother and wife discussed it and decided you should have them now. I wasn’t part of the conversation. I had no good reason to say no so I said yes.   You got a lot of mileage out of those FB posts and your hero mother.    I kept making excuses for you in my mind and decided it was somehow my fault and the only way to reassure you (a 33 year old man child) was to keep you updated on what I found as I worked my way through the many collections. I sent you more boxes than I can count. Remember the quilt I had you made out of your dad’s T-shirts?  The hat collection? Tie collection? Books? Vintage magazines? Boxes of family photos? So much, most of which you never acknowledged.  I sent box after box for your son too.  All in an attempt to keep you close, no matter the cost to myself. That’s on me.

Then you decided to come home for a visit, which turned into a 2 month nightmare. I was surprised but pleased that you wanted to stay with me. After all, you both have your mothers nearby.  I worked my tail off moving mountains of inventory from the spare room so you would be comfortable. I dressed your little boy for cold weather. Twice.  Because when you returned after what? a week home? you didn’t bother to bring the warm clothes he had been given.  I made sure you all had a good Christmas. Remember the “magic” kitchen?   Little secret. Food didn’t just keep appearing. I was at the store every 2-3 days. Huge budget killer.   All of that was okay. My family was with me.  But you.  You had to show your ass again. You bullied your grandmother into giving you an item she clearly stated she didn’t want you to have. You emptied her basement of your father’s belongings, things I never had a chance to go through.  You didn’t seem to understand the concept that he willed his things to me. As I did mine to him.  I wanted to share. You never gave me the chance. You took and took and took.  I thought you couldn’t do that at my house because all of my inventory was in the way of his many “treasures”.  I made the mistake of sharing with you that I wanted to have some of the card collection appraised and was considering selling some things.  You seemed oblivious to the fact that when he died I lost 75% of my household income, though when you go from 2-1 in a household the only bill that really goes down is food.  I lost my health insurance while I was still undergoing treatment.   None of that mattered to you. You decided you deserved the collection and anything else that belonged to your father.  You stayed up all night on your last day in my home to scavenge and take what you wanted. The shit part is I wouldn’t have known. Sure I would have eventually noticed things missing and suspected you, but without proof I never would have said anything.  But you couldn’t resist taunting me.  When you puffed up your chest and said in that somber/fake voice that you couldn’t sleep all night and decided to spend time “with your dad” you probably thought I would never say anything in front of your grandmother. And I didn’t say much did I?  Just “put it back”.  And then all hell broke loose. You came unglued and for the first time in my life I was afraid of you. When you left I breathed a sigh of relief. I prayed it was over, but was it? How many times did you pose your two year old in front of the camera and stage father/son “continuing my dad’s legacy” moments of him ripping open cards.   You literally used your baby and my dead husband to try to manipulate me.  You let people believe that I withheld from you things your dad had wanted you to have.  I lost the friendship and support of many of Dad’s friends and relatives over that.  That still stings, but not allowing me the benefit of the doubt? That’s on them.

Eventually  I pulled the plug on my FB account.  I couldn’t stand it. You tried to buy sets of cards from me that were not even part of Dad’s collection all the while you were begging friends and strangers alike for money.   When I put a stop to it you showed your ass again by trying to come between your sisters and myself and even your grandmother and myself. Didn’t work so well did it?  They had all seen you in action.   I had never lived alone a day in my life before your father died.  It took a long time to feel safe.  In one night you robbed me of that feeling of security. You moved around my home while I slept and stole from me. It took a long time and medication to feel safe again.  Thank you for that. Most recently you are still, more than 10 months later, stalking me on line. Your “friend” bought a vintage wine tray from me. You gleefully shared with the girls that you got one over on me.  When they didn’t bite you brought your grandmother into it. The tray?  The treasure you had to have from your dad?  I found it in a trash heap and rescued it. I thought it was kind of cool.  You paid 30.00 for a piece of trash your dad was going to scrap out for the metal.  That part made me laugh. What’s not funny is you continue to treat me like your arch enemy. For what?  Daring to say no to you? Not buying into your insincere bullshit?

I worked so hard to keep this little family together. You blew it to pieces.  You didn’t lose me. You threw me away with both hands. That’s on you.

 

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These Celebrities Just Made An Anti-Trump Video For The Ages

Here’s your sign.

I decided to take a year off from my annual Pinktober “pink is a color not a cure” rant and talk politics. However, my givashit is broken again.   I was going to complain about the overabundance of political signage marring the beautiful landscape of a New England autumn, but apparently my givashit is not the only one broken.  I have counted three signs on my country road just weeks before a Presidential election. Three.  All for Trump. Not one Clinton sign. Now, before Trump fans start crowing, let me repeat. THREE signs for Trump on miles and miles of country road that is usually loaded with signs.  I started taking note of the lack of commitment in other parts of my community as well and I’m struck by how few people are proclaiming loyalty to either candidate this year.   Now, if you go by Facebook and Twitter, people have very strong opinions. Either that or we’ve all been hacked.  In person, you get a wary shrug and a haunted “we’re all fucked anyway, what does it matter?” look.  On one hand we have a rich, white, misogynistic, anti immigrant pig. On the other hand we have a rich, white, establishment politician married to a misogynistic pig.  Whoever wins is bringing so much baggage I’m not sure there is enough room at the White House for all of it.   I want to be With Her, because I am a life long Democrat.   I will probably vote for her because the alternative scares the bejeesuz out of me but I can’t say I’m ready to post signs and bumper stickers all over my property proclaiming my commitment to a Clinton/Kaine ticket.  Of course, I blame the GOP for this.  Seventeen candidates and this is the choice you give us?  Pull yourselves together. It used to be fun to beat you at the polls. Now it’s just embarrassing.  We are about to make history by electing the first woman for President and it already feels pretty anti-climatic. Disappointing really.  Hardly a fair fight at all. Wait.  You did that on purpose, didn’t you? Well played, GOP, well played…

Oh. I promised you a sign, didn’t I?

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Sorry.. couldn’t resist.  Here’s a mini rant. No cancer is fun, pretty,  whimsical or easy. Simply put, it sucks. It’s hard, painful and scary as hell.  Bedecking yourself in pink ribbons is not going to make a bit of difference in the outcome of your treatment. It will, however, make many corporations very rich.  Ask yourself how much of those dollars are going into cancer research. Think before you pink.  That is all.

Anniversaries, loss and new beginnings…

I am approaching the dreaded block of time in June and July that drives home all I have lost.  June 1st would have been our 31st wedding anniversary, June 6 is the 3rd anniversary of his death and July 10th the 4th anniversary of my sister’s death.  My “cancerversary” is not until November when I will be 5 years cancer free.  My doctors tell me the clock actually started ticking after I finished treatment and I don’t get the official “cured” for some time yet.   I believe that I was cancer free when I left the OR.  All the rest was just insurance. That’s my story, anyway, and I’m sticking to it.

This year has brought more losses, not through death, but in some ways more painful and certainly personal.   It’s also brought some amazing and positive changes.  I have a new career working with the homeless community, helping them to achieve permanent, stable housing. It is the most frustrating and rewarding work I have ever done and I love every minute of it.  I still have my business, volunteer work, family and good friends to keep me busy and grounded, not to mention my animals.  Comet has survived two bouts of cancer and will be 14 soon.  He has a new pep in his step. Clover is nearly 10 and lame with bad hips.  She struggles to walk but is content laying in a sunny spot or just hanging with me. Sage, my stolen rescue kitty is still entertaining and loving.

I am approaching my formerly referred to “helliversary” with a lighter heart than I have the past few years.   I have set those who have passed, and those who have chosen to remove themselves from my life, free with love and gratitude.

I am also grateful for my readership who has seen me through cancer, highs and lows, loss and more loss and appreciated my cynical and often irreverent view on it all.   Seeing the humor in things is much easier and a lot less messy than opening a vein and blogging about it all is certainly a lot cheaper than therapy.   wellallhaveastory

Unfriended, cut loose, removed, blocked and other ridiculous social media crap

Let me just start by saying I am 53 years old. I have had cancer, lost my only sibling, lost my husband, raised a family, started a business (or two) been a daughter, wife, mother, aunt, niece, cousin, friend and sibling.  I have had real life friendships that cooled over time. Friendships that can go months or years with no contact and pick right up where they left off.  Relationships with relatives that I rarely see but think about often.  I even have “cyber” friendships with women that I will probably never meet in person  but who mean the world to me. In other words, I think I have some grip on appropriate societal behavior. Never have I ever experienced anything so stupid as Facebook friendships.  First of all.. who really “knows” 4728 people? Why are you collecting friends? Is it a contest?  Secondly, show of hands.. who pays attention to who “likes” or comments on your posts?   And for the love of God who, other than a 12 year old who shouldn’t be on FB to begin with, would cut a friend loose simply because they didn’t participate enough in the admiration of their dozens of daily posts?  Is this normal? Am I too old to “get it”?

I am not saying the above actually happened to me *cough.. it totally did* because then I’d have to admit that I have been a participant in the whole social media circus and clearly I am above all of that.

Or maybe I’m not.  Since I am only friends with people I actually know, with the exception of 1 or 2 people who probably friended me accidentally, I would hope it would be obvious that my lack of response to things like your political/religious posts would indicate that I probably think you’re insane but I love you too much to say so.    If I don’t “like” the 27th cute kitty picture you’ve posted in the last 2 hours it’s because a) my eyes are bleeding from all the cuteness or b) I’m afraid to encourage you.  If you post pictures of your adorable baby daily, no matter how much I enjoy them, I’m not going to gush over each and every picture.  If it would make you feel better I will try to gush once and maybe post “ditto” once or twice, then my admiration of your progeny should be implied.  Don’t care what you had for dinner and not afraid to admit that.

Please don’t keep announcing that  you’ve found yourself.  How the hell do you keep losing yourself?  Where do you go?   Do you need help with keeping track of your comings and goings? I’m not offering. Just wondering.

In closing, if you are reading this and take offense, please feel free to cut me loose.  Who knows? It might just spawn a blog post in your honor.   1b89f36b80dc76b01707ec06745d1145

 

 

Why Amazon is making me love eBay all over again

I have had a small business on eBay for more than 10 years selling primarily infant goods.. security blankets and the like.  It was a fun little side job. Nothing I could support myself fully with but I did okay. After my husband died I tried going back to work full time, but it didn’t work out. For my part, it was just too soon and I was still running the business and trying to navigate my way through widowhood and reaching the end of cancer treatment.  On the employer’s part they kind of blatantly misrepresented the job.  After spending 3 months  doing nothing but filing and moving large stacks of charts around while mainlining Ativan just to get through the day, I decided to quit and work on building my little business.  I took a leap of faith and the remaining chunk of life insurance to buy inventory and started looking into other venues to sell.  Bonanza and 11 Main synced nicely with eBay and required very little effort on my part. Etsy was great for selling the vintage toys I had on hand and leaving my store for the new gift items.  Then I decided to try Amazon. I am a long time customer, have had great customer service (as a buyer) and it was very easy to set up store.   Most of the items were already in the catalog and it was free to list, unlike eBay, though their final value fees make up for it. I did pretty well for a while. Even sold a few large ticket items and had 100% customer service rating.  Recently I sold a turntable that had never been used. Packaged it up nicely and had UPS pick it up. Apparently it was drop kicked across a few states and arrived broken.  I immediately offered a full refund on return, including return postage. The poor buyer apparently did not understand simple directions and instead of using the prepaid label, he opened an A-Z claim.  aka.. the kiss of death for a small 3rd party seller on Amazon. After reviewing our messages the case was closed in my favor. Should have been the end of story, right? No. Because I am small volume that ONE case knocked me out of play in my main category for the holiday selling season. Understandably, I lost  my shit and began emailing customer service.  I knew it would get me nowhere but if I could be a small thorn in someone’s side for a few weeks it would help fill the time that could have been spent shipping orders that I was no longer receiving.  Every CS I spoke to agreed that my poor customer metrics would “fall off” in time to sell, which I knew was not true.  Then, because the customer ended up sending the package back via USPS instead of UPS, spending twice what it should have been, I did not reimburse his return shipping and he left me a negative review. Coffin. Final nail. And..UPS won’t entertain the thought of an insurance claim because “how do we know the damage didn’t happen on the way back via the post office”?   Don’t worry, UPS.  Your dedicated blog is in the works. Amazon, in the meantime, has been bombarding me with an invitation to use FBA, which would require me packaging up and shipping all my inventory to their warehouse (admittedly tempting) but would be so cost prohibitive that I would make little to nothing.

At least I could still expect good customer service on the buying end.  I was expecting family for a month and had purchased a sofa bed. The day it was delivered it did not fit down the stairs to the room it was intended for.  I sent it back and having only 2-3 days to find something else I turned to Amazon Prime.  I found a decent foam bed that could be delivered in 2 days.  Ordered, bought bedding and waited. It. never. arrived.  No notification it would be late. No apology. By the time it came, a week later, I had borrowed something else and refused delivery.  Strike 2 Amazon.

After my selling fiasco I had already decided that eBay would get more of my business and had ordered a sleeping bag for a visiting toddler. Imagine my surprise when it arrived in an Amazon box.  Amazon’s FBA promises discreet shipping when you sell on other venues as well, which is clearly untrue. Strike 3

Recently I decided to upgrade my Kindle tablet. I sent the old one back as a trade in. Excellent condition.  I noticed that the leather jacket I purchased was not an item that could be traded in and in fact was no longer sold. I tried listing it and saw that the selling fees would be roughly 50%. That is not a typo.  That baby is listed on eBay as we speak.  Strike 4.

They have had my Kindle for nearly 3 weeks and when I questioned when I could expect credit I received an email that it might be lost (it tracks as delivered and processing) and to give them a little more time. Strike 5.

Really Amazon? Did I win some jacked up lottery?

My question to any Amazon employee who happens to stumble across this is why am I being held to a higher customer service standard than Amazon is?  My metrics were 100% across the board until one incident that was 100% out of my control.  Your customer service has been abysmal.   What gives? Anyone?

 

 

Am I supposed to be impressed that you don’t suck at your job?

What is it with all the begging for kudos by companies and individuals alike?    Can’t I reasonably expect to receive an item I purchase on line to arrive intact and in the specified amount of time, as described?   Do I really need to send you a virtual gold star if you  manage to  Forrest Gump your way into a “positive” experience for your customer?    Can’t I expect courteous service (with or without a smile.. I really don’t care about your dental situation) with food prepared as advertised if I am eating at your establishment?  If I’m shopping in your brick and mortar (it’s true! people still do that!) and I don’t trip over a body in the aisle, need a GPS to find the cat food or have to guide the cashier through the transaction I feel like it was a good experience. Mainly because the bar has been so ridiculously lowered.  However, if you insist on handing me a survey on the way out I may feel the need to be honest in my review.   Why do you keep setting yourself up?

My personal favorites are the hospital surveys. If you are going through prolonged treatment such as chemo or radiation, dialysis or any number of things,  you are seen frequently and in multiple departments.   At one point I was at the cancer center weekly and then daily for several weeks. I could paper the Sistine Chapel with the questionnaires I received asking for my opinion of the various departments and I weep at the loss of trees.  I never, ever filled one of them out.  Because, believe me, if I had a problem it wouldn’t have been reported anonymously through a standardized survey.

I have been a seller of on line goods for over ten years and I learned very early on not to ask for feedback after the fact.   Yet the platforms I sell on do this automatically, encouraging your buyers to find fault… “did it arrive on time?”, “don’t forget our awesome buyer protection”.. so yes I include a blurb in my template that I will strive to give you a 5 star experience,  you know to kind of plant the seed because you are going to leave feedback anyway. But I would prefer you skipped the feedback. If you purchase and pay for an item and I ship it as promised and never hear back from you (unless you are back to purchase again) I’m good.  I don’t need a cookie or a pat on the head. Your money satisfaction is praise enough.

This trend of needing constant praise starts in early childhood and there has always been a place for it to a point. Children thrive on positive reinforcement.  But for some reason it started to be watered down a generation or so ago and now continues long into adulthood. I don’t think we should be getting trophies just for showing up in life.  Perfect attendance? Congratulations. You’re healthy.   You didn’t shit your pants in the meeting? Here’s a cookie.

How about we all do our jobs, act like decent human beings and try being nice to one another?  You know. Like we all should have learned in Kindergarten.   And for the love of God stop asking for constant feedback.  Just. Do. Your. Job.

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