Category Archives: Notes About Life Lessons

Life Lesson #7384: Sometimes it’s Just Good to Smile and Nod

Ever had something happen to you that was rather inconsequential yet just odd enough that you felt the need to vent about it somewhere, and the internet seemed like the best place?

Wait, I guess that’s what Twitter and Facebook are for. Hmmm.

But this little story will take more than 140 characters, so I’ll just share it here.

So, anyway, earlier today I was walking through the parking lot into Target, when a 30-something year old man, pushing a cart past me stopped and spoke to me in a friendly tone. Here is how the interaction went:

Man: Have you seen where I parked my car?

Me: Excuse me?

Man: Have you seen where I parked my car?

Me: [unsure if I heard him properly] Um…where I parked my car?

Man: No, where I parked my car?

Me: [creeped out blank stare]

Man: [breaks into hearty laughter, as though he’d just told a really good joke] How are you doing today? [Said as he started to continue on his way]

Me: Fine. [quickly moving along]

I was rather disturbed for about 3 seconds, wondering if he’d noticed my wedding ring or pregnant belly — but then, as the automatic entry doors closed behind me, I heard him beginning the same interaction with an older couple that was walking a few hundred feet behind me:

“Excuse me, have you seen where I parked my car?”

“Huh?….”

Bottom line is, I am pretty sure he was from another country, maybe new in town, and this was simply his attempt to be friendly with his fellow shoppers. Unfortunately, he apparently hasn’t yet found the fine line in American culture between being friendly and just sounding like a creeper.

Kind of sad that it’s so hard to tell sometimes. Maybe if I had to do it over again, I would have been a bit more friendly…

…no, if it happened again, I think I would still move along quickly!

Life Lesson #2409: Bringing a Newborn to a Downhere Concert Does NOT Work

So…that lesson pretty much speaks for itself.

Last week we found out – via e-mail – that our church small group scored free tickets to a concert by the band Downhere. I was so excited at the prospect of going to a concert that I immediately responded with an enthuastic “count us in!”. Our small group leader procured the tickets, and all was set in stone.

A day or two later I remembered that I am the mother of a nursing newborn who has not yet taken a bottle and eats no less than every 2 hours.

[Translation: getting a sitter for her was out of the question!]

We weighed our options and decided to get a sitter for W and attempt to bring sweet baby S to the concert.

I won’t even attempt to explain our line of reasoning, as it was clearly clouded by the lack of sleep that has sweetly plagued our home over the last 3 weeks or so. I’ll just say that we went to the concert, and by the middle of the opening act’s first song, daddy and S left for the lobby.

It was just a little loud.

Daddy was kind, and encouraged mommy to stay for the opening act, as well as the first song by Downhere, before turning back for home.

HOWEVER…in spite of missing most of Downhere’s set, I happened to fall in love with their first song (have I mentioned I didn’t know any of their music prior to the concert?), and was excited that, upon arriving home and rummaging through my “CDs to Give Away” bin, that I own 2 of their albums! SCORE! So all was not lost. I got to hear some good, live music, and discover a potentially favorite new band.

Anyway, the song I fell in love with was called “Cathedral Made of People”. I found this YouTube video of them performing the song…the lyrics are a bit muffled, so I’ll post the lyrics too. Enjoy!

“Cathedral Made Of People” Lyrics [edit]
by Downhere | from the album Ending Is Beginning

If they shut down the churches,
Where would you go?
If they melted all the stained-glass windows
Replaced every sanctuary with a condo
Where would you go?
Where would you go?

We are a cathedral made of people
In a kingdom that the eye can’t see
We’re a house, we are the bride
Where God’s Spirit lives inside
And nothing ever could stand against her

If they burned every Bible
What would you know?
If they tore your marked-up pages
How would you grow?
And declared your devotion to be criminal
What would you know?
What would you know?

When they throw you in prison
What will you do?
When they hate you for the things that you know are true
They can tear down this temple,
But they can’t touch you.

Life Lesson 2635: “On Gift Baskets & Leotards” -or- “Retail Employees are Not All-Knowing!”

This morning I went into the UPS store to send out a package. As I was standing at the counter filling out the form, a woman walked in and asked the clerk if they carried the plastic/cellophane bags that you would put a gift basket in. 

When the clerk told her that they didn’t carry such bags, the woman became visibly frustrated and asked the clerk where she would be able to find such a thing. 

(Reminder: this was at the UPS store — a tiny little place where you can send packages, make copies and maybe have a small spiral bound book prepared. No gift wrap or gift basket accessories in sight.)

The poor clerk fumbled and mumbled around a bit, trying to figure out an answer to give the antsy woman until I stepped in and suggested she try a party store (to which she seemed surprised to hear, which was rather surprising in itself!).

As a former retail employee, it’s always funny to me when people seem to assume (and sometimes demand) that you’re in on where anything and everything is sold, no matter how different it is from the types of products your store carries. It’s like they expect you to be a bottomless wellspring of information  or something. 

It reminded me of the time when I worked at a local Christian bookstore and a woman walked in, directly to my counter, and asked me if we carried leotards.

LEOTARDS.

(“Yes ma’am, you’ll find those right between the Veggietale DVDs and the John Macarthur commentaries.”)

Actually, I told her we didn’t carry them. She then asked if I knew where she could find one.

I seem to remember cracking out the Yellow pages for her.

Anyone else have some funny retail stories?

Life Lesson 294738: A Look Back At 1986

Here are some things that happened in 1986:

  • Ronald Reagan was president
  • The space shuttle “Challenger” exploded moments after take-off
  • The Chicago Bears won SuperBowl XX
  • A major nuclear disaster occured at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Soviet Union
  • “Top Gun” was the top-grossing film
  • ALF premiered
  • Our dishwasher was manufactured

Some Things I Learned In 2008:

  • Our dishwasher was manufactured in 1986

That’s right, when our lovely black dishwasher was made I was 7 years old and just entering 2nd grade. Our dishwasher is older than my college-aged sister and was created a year before the Twins won the world series for the first time.

And the LIFE LESSON is:

Never assume that just because your kitchen was remodeled 5-6 years earlier by the previous owners that all the appliances were replaced at that time, no matter how “new” they look. Otherwise, one day you may notice that your dishwasher is no longer washing dishes, so you crack out the owners manual to try to troubleshoot (thanking your lucky stars that they saved it for you) only to discover the copyright date on the manual is 1986. And thus…time for a new dishwasher.

Oh, and it just happens to be while you are in the midst of a major remodel in your basement.

Not that that happened today or anything. It’s just a lesson to keep in mind. I’m just sayin’. 🙂

Ever Had a “What Did I Just Say?” Moment?

The following is a transcript of the conversation between myself and the teenage grocery-bagger at Lund’s as he was wheeling my groceries out to my car this evening:

Lund’s Kid: How are you tonight?

Me: Fine, thanks. It’s cold!

Lund’s Kid: Yeah. I see it’s starting to snow.

Me (suddenly absentminded): Yeah, finally!

Lund’s Kid (sounding confused): Er, um, I was thinking it’s actually a bit early for snow for my taste…

Me (thinking): Did I just say “finally?!” Where did THAT come from?!

I don’t remember how the conversation ended. I do know I tried to salvage my comment, saying something like “Well, um, after all the ice today it’s nice to finally see some snow…”, which only made matters worse.I think I made a couple of different attempts like that, which really dug the hole deeper.  

The kid never said another word. He quickly loaded the groceries in my trunk and then wheeled his cart away, with nary a “have a good night”. It was as if he knew I wasn’t quite right in the head and wanted to get away as quickly as possible.

I can’t really blame him. I think pregnancy brain is setting in.

Anyway, surely I can’t be the only one to have had a “What Did I Just Say?” moment. What’s yours?

Life Lesson 308: Always Check to See if There is A Line First

Yesterday we attended a “couples shower” for some dear friends of ours who are getting married next month. We brought little W along with us, but as the shower got underway and the guests were being introduced, he got a bit antsy, so I brought him downstairs to play. A few minutes later, the food was served, so M came downstairs to relieve me of my childcare duties so I could go up and get something to eat. I was so excited — I was STARVING. I couldn’t wait to eat. I thanked the husband, went up stairs, and headed straight for the buffet table. Oh, was there a smorgasboard there. I giddily grabbed a plate and began piling it high. Surely this would hit the spot. It looked SO good, I wondered why no one else was eating yet, other than the happy couple.

Then I realized the only people at the buffet table were the happy couple and I.

I turned around and realized (much to my horror) that, stringing the through the living room was a curved “line” of people. This series of thoughts quickly hit me:

1. There is a LINE in the living room.

2. Obviously, the happy couple were asked to be first in that line.

3. I just walked upstairs, walked directly past the line of people, straight to the table and piled my plate high.

By the time this realization hit, it was too late. I hadn’t just STARTED getting my food; my plate was completely full. There was no turning back now. And the worst part was that nobody SAID anything! Too embarrassed to inquire as to whether or not I had committed such a faux pas, I sheepishly took my plate, stepped away from the table, and ran into a hole back downstairs to my loving husband.

“I think I just butted in line!” I said, explaining the whole situation.

“No, I’m sure you didn’t,” he reassured me.

At that very moment another guest came downstairs and we overheard him talking to a friend:

“I was gonna eat now, but I think I’ll wait til the line dies down.”

My husband looked at me and snickered. 

I wanted to crawl in a hole and hide for the rest of the day.

But I didn’t. I stayed and had fun anyway, and not another word was said about me butting in line.

Hopefully all have forgotten.

Life Lesson #801: Think Twice Before Assuming You Know an Infant’s Gender

The other day as little W and I were walking into our local grocery store, we were stopped by an elderly gentleman who reached out to my son with a very warm greeting of “Hey, pretty girl!”

There was a brief, but awkward silence.

“Boy”, the man’s wife scolded, “It’s a boy.”

The man shook his head, looked at me, and with a knowing nod said “Girl, right?”. 

“Um, he’s a boy.”

More awkwardness.

“Well, God bless you!”, said the man.

“Thank you!”, and we moved along…shaken, but not altogether dismayed.

All was forgotten until we got to the check-out line. Little W was flashing his sweet little smile at the woman in line in front of us, who laughingly asked me “How old is she?”

“Um, he’s a boy, and he’s 11 months old” was my immediate reply.

For some reason I felt a strong need to clarify his gender before answering her question…as though it was my role to defend his manliness, even at this young age.

Of course, being asked twice in a matter of 40 minutes if your boy is a girl is enough to ruffle a mother’s feathers and cause her to wonder what she’d done wrong with his attire or grooming to cause such confusion. I immediately came home and asked my husband if I was dressing our son like a girl, and he calmly reassured me that I had done nothing of the sort.

Now it’s your turn: reassure me. 

Here is what Little W was wearing at said outing. Tell me, tell me true (or not, if it would make me feel better…you know what answer I want to hear): does he look like a girl to you?! 

DIDN’T THINK SO!