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Naked Ramblin’ Man in My Mind

22 Apr

ramblin_raft_race_down_the_chattahoochee_river_atlanta_georgia_may_21_1977_raft_made_of_various_sized_tire_innertubes_tied_together_in_the_riverThere are two things that I remember vividly about Memorial Day weekend 1979.  One is that I had been bitten by either a black widow or a brown recluse spider earlier that week and my left elbow had swollen to double its normal size and turned a shiny bright pink color.  Our family pediatrician, Dr. Sandberg, had to meet us at his office on a holiday weekend, which seemed like a big deal.  Within a couple of days all of the epidermal tissue on my forearm had gone necrotic, turning jet black before withering then falling off in huge sections. The other thing that happened that weekend is that I saw my first naked man.  Guess which one has had the most lasting impact.  

Just imagine what's out of frame.

Just imagine whats out of frame.

He was white, sunburned, kinda tubby and was making “it” dance as he stood arms akimbo, legs askance whilst straddling a makeshift raft floating down the Chattahoochee River past where I stood on the banks of Powers Ferry Landing.  My Mom, because she was gawking and squealing, didn’t cup her hands over my eyes fast enough for me to miss out on that first floppy wiener sighting.*  Memorial Day weekend 1979 is forever etched into my visual recall.  The good news is that moving forward, pretty much any future naked man that I would ever see was certain to be a stone cold fox on my mental comparison chart.  The sad news is that I now traverse that very spot on the river several times a week and so Mr. Red Flabby Naked Man flashes across my mind’s eye every damn time I cross the “3rd bridge” that connects Rays on the River and the infamous Riverbend Apartments over Powers Ferry Landing.

Sponsored by Bud

Sponsored by Bud

See, back in the day there was a little thing in Atlanta called the Ramblin’ Raft Race.  It was kind of a big deal that started out in either 1968 or 1969 as an end of the year social for Delta Sigma Phi fraternity at Georgia Tech.  After a few years, word spread and pretty much the entire city turned out for it, either as a spectator, organizer or a participant.  At it’s peak, about 300,000 people were actually in the river during the race; it was even covered by Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News.  Hell yeah, that’s how we used to do here.

I actually remember seeing this raft from this spot.  Weird.

I actually remember seeing this raft

The quality of rafts ran the gamut from basic inner tubes strung together like a Cuban refugee train, Huck Finn tribute floats, hollowed out VW Bugs and sunken rooflines to feats of naval engineering that were multi-level, carrying pianos, gazebos and giant sneakers.  They may have mimicked Eastern Airlines planes, tiki huts or paid homage to grand paddle wheel or civil war boats.  However, all rafts were equipped with a shit ton of weed and lots of ‘hooch. I seem to recall there also being a handful of hot air balloons in the air, the smell of bbq mingling with the other assumed smells and  hearing a lot of Allman Brothers, Skynard, .38 Special and music that would later make up half of a Yacht Rock set list.  

slideshow_648174_river.0728b

So, in doing the math…

hot sun + river water + crowd + the good shit + bad decisions = NAKED PEOPLE

Of course when all of those things come together, hilarity soon follows.  Like the naked people who shouldn’t be and who didn’t use sunblock, because it may not have been invented yet.  Because it was 1979.  Or the countless drunks falling off of their rafts.  Luckily, the Chattahoochee is fairly shallow and full of rocks for a body to wash up on.  There was only actually 1 drowning ever associated with the race…and it happened the day before in 1980.  However, those river bed conditions also lead to a lot of stuck floats, falling apart and overturned floats, and even the occasionally abandoned float, like the aforementioned piano.

imgres

Sadly, like all the coolest stuff from the 1970s, the Ramblin’ Raft Race had an end date of 1980.  We can thank the square Carter brother, Jimmy, for that.  In 1978 Jimmy signed a bill creating the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area which was the death knell for what could later be called the White Wet Freaknik.  A lot of people falsely believe that the environmental impact the race had on the river played a part in its demise.  Not true.  Actually, the river was just fine, it was all of the spectators trampling the banks that posed the most damage.  The AJC reported in 1980 that, “new management took over, and before long the feds were openly fretting about controlling the ‘thousands of beer-swilling, dope-smoking rafters’.” If Jimmy wasn’t amused by the

ways of his far cooler little brother Billy, he certainly wasn’t charmed by the patrons of the Ramblin’ Raft Race. I still think that just like Jimmy couldn’t be happy for and endorse the greatness that was his brother’s Billy Beer, he couldn’t allow his home state’s Ramblin’ Raft Race’s greatness to continue either.  

 *I have another floppy wiener on the river story from 1988 that involves ditching school and a Laura Ashley petticoat .  It can be better told my my friend, Kiersten.  She has sound effects.  How many floppy wiener river stories do you have?

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University drops smoking

7 Jan

Atlanta’s own Emory University had an announcement to make this week:  No Smoking Allowed.  Anywhere.  Not in campus buildings, dorms, outside of the library, not in a box next to a fox, or even in your own car with all of the windows rolled up.  Huh.  All tobacco products are banned from any place on campus.  This means cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, pipes, hookahs and bongs.  What is college without bongs???  I don’t know this world anymore.  Maybe this is why so many “online universities” are popping up.

I am presently not a smoker, but I used to be pretty hardcore.  I am seventeen years “clean”.  And that is a good thing now, but at the time I thought quitting was a power play and a hassle.  It’s like this: when Big Daddy and I started dating he would light my ciggies for me and was all gentlemanly about carrying a lighter in his pocket for my igniting needs.  Then things started getting serious and the hammer dropped: “I can’t marry a smoker.  You have to quit.”  Like a real woman, I recognized that if it’s a contest between always having a date who wants to give me jewelry and tagging a butt outside of a bar with a bunch of weirdoes, then I’ll take the former.  Done.

The saying isn't "Cigarettes are a girl's best friend" now, is it?

It was in the early 1990s that the tobacco Gestapo rose through the ranks and started messing with me.  It started with no longer allowing smoking on airplanes.  Before a 27-hour flight to Korea, I found my self in the glass enclosed smoke pit it the airport power smoking with the best of them.  Next came to eliminating a restaurant hostess’ most important question: “Smoking or non-smoking section?”, to no smoking in restaurants period.  And that extended to mall food courts, too.  Never again would I smell a group of pale, Goth teens sucking on clove cigarettes while enjoying an Orange Julius.  The lovably cool Joe Camel was crucified and Marlboro points were moot.  Really, Big Daddy’s decree was rather timely, because the other Man was taking away all the freedom of smoking anyway.  I imagine this is how motorcycle enthusiasts felt when states began enforcing helmet laws.  Sure, the Man was looking out for the people’s “health”, but it was also draping a wet wool blanket on the joy.

So hard?

“They” say the quitting smoking is harder than weaning off of heroine.  Having never snorted, shot, smoked or anything else one can do with that stuff, I couldn’t say if this is true or not.  But it was my fear.  Thus, I had never before tried to quit, never wanted to and frankly didn’t see a reason.  My only experience with someone quitting smoking was with my step-dad, Tom.  And that was a doozy.

Let’s back up a bit.  I come from a long and rich line of smokers.  My parents smoked.  Their friends all smoked.  My aunts, uncles and cousins smoked.  In every public room of my house, there was a silver box or beautiful little julep cup full of Vantage 100s waiting to be smoked.  Every room had at least two fancy Waterford ashtrays.  This, by the way, isn’t a sign of growing up in a trailer park…this was classy, abundant and gracious living.  At the grocery store, buggies had clip-on aluminum ashtrays for housewives that liked to puff a cigarillo as they trolled the cereal aisle and thumped the produce.  Large canister ashtrays were in every department store.  And the “better” stores, like Neiman Marcus, would bring you a glass of wine and a beanbag ashtray for your Mom to the dressing room.  We had a huge basket at home of all of the different embellished matchbooks that we would collect from restaurants, banks, hotels…anywhere.  And lots of places also had their own logoed ashtrays.  We took a lot of those too.  It was a golden era.

See that ciggie wand. It's high-style!

Now, back to Tom.  At some point, maybe around 1986, Tom had a sketchy lung x-ray that turned out to be fine, but he was all shook up and he cold turkey quit smoking.  Never in the history of ex-smokers has there been a more smug and self-congratulatory ex-smoker.  Tom took every opportunity to wax on and on about his will power and discipline.  We just all rolled our eyes and closed our ears.  Fast-forward to the spring of 1989ish, when he travelled to Texas to see his middle son graduate from college.  Upon his return home, Tom was fidgety, restless and seemed to have developed a case of adult onset ADD.  The man had chronic ants in his pants and was using a stream of flimsy excuses to get the hell out of the house all of the time.  He kept every car’s gas tank topped off, bought every single size drill bit, one at a time, from Home Depot.  He picked up dry cleaning, ran nonsensical errands and was continually shaking the change in his pockets.  There was no doubt in my mother’s suspicious mind that Tom had rekindled love with his ex-wife while at their son’s graduation.  We assumed that he was really going out to call his former wife and whisper sweet nothings from the Gulf station’s pay phone…hence all the coin jiggling.  Mom hired a P.I. to tail him.  Tom wasn’t romancing his former yellow rose of Texas.  He was smooching on the filter of a cigarette.

Pretty little cancer sticks

 Because Tom had been such a pain in the ass and gloated so much about his dynamic power to just quit, he was unable to admit that he had begun not just smoking again, but making up for lost time.  When confronted, he denied, denied, denied.  “Catch Tom In The Act” became a fun family game.  When I uncovered two cartons of Vantages in the pool pump house, he blamed it on the next-door neighbor’s 12 year-old son.  If I was at the house and he would declare he was going to buy some wood screws, I would insist on going to Home Depot for some mythical need too, just for fun and to watch his squirm.  Because we worked together at a chemical plant, I would run up to the warehouse overlook window to spy him huddled behind a 20 ft. tall pallet tower of bleach boxes…smoking.  One time, unbeknownst to Tom, I was behind him on Powers Ferry Rd.  when he tossed a spent butt out of his car window and it landed on the hood of my car.  Swear.  In Hawaii, my oldest stepbrother, also named Tom, busted him smoking an Eve 120, snaked from Mother’s pack.  It was a new low.  Eve 120 cigarettes are super long, ultra-thin cigarettes decorated with flowers along the filter.  My macho, manly, retired Air Force fighter pilot Dad was hiding out with pretty, pretty lady cigarettes.  It turns out that the graduating stepbrother…hadn’t.  He hadn’t even gone to most of college.  Poor, disappointed Tom was too embarrassed to tell my Mom, who most certainly would have had lots to say about it.  Instead, he turned to his old pal, tobacco.  We were just relieved he wasn’t having an affair with the ex.  We thought it was kind of a hoot, but he remained ashamed of his smoking habit until he died years later.  While it was openly known he was smoking, he never did smoke again in public.  His pride just couldn’t have handled it.

My own bout with smoking cessation?  Well, my motivation was…motivating.  It took me about three days. As this post has already grown into a novella, I’ll save that funny story for another time.  However, I will say that if stopping is harder than kicking heroine, then I think all of those scabby, shaky, puking black-tar junkies are a bunch of lightweights.  I have no respect for them.  Losers.

I’ll wrap it up with this little thought nugget.  I have one friend who still smokes, but she’s cut waaay back.  I have one aunt and two cousins who are still smokers.  You can no longer smoke at work, at the grocery store, while pumping gas, at your favorite restaurant, anywhere in the airport and now, with Emory’s decree, there is a precedent to prevent smoking while enclosed in your own private property.  And the cost of a pack of cigarettes is out of hand.  Do I think it’s “good” that people aren’t smoking anymore?  Yep.  I feel much better, though I didn’t realize I even felt bad.  My kids are totally freaked and obnoxious when they see or smell someone smoking.  But, I have to wonder if some of our country’s employment shift and woes can’t be tied to the vigilante lynching of our tobacco industry.  What are all of those former tobacco farmers growing now?  Corn for corn syrup?  All of the matchbook factories, ashtray fabricators and rolling plants…what has become of them and their employees?  How about the person whose job it was to remove dead smokes from the big, commercial ashtray canisters and then refills them with fresh sand to imprint the hotel’s logo into it?  I just have to wonder if while the end of smoking is good for us, has it been bad for our economic health.  Someone get me an impact study, stat!

Maybe they can get jobs at the smokeless cigarette kiosk at the mall?

Moving into presidential elections

1 Aug

Oh, Gawd. And so it begins again…George Lopez has thrown in the first “if Sarah Palin becomes the president then I am moving to Canada” yawn. Every election, all manner of actors, musicians and “in the papers” types try to excite prospective voters with their fussy threats to vacate the premises if their favorite candidate doesn’t win. Remember when Alec Baldwin famously announced that he’d be singing “O Canada” if Al Gore wasn’t elected. Then he backpedaled, saying that he didn’t use words like “definately” or “unequivocal”. What evs. He’s still here and it hasn’t changed my life a bit.

But it brings into to focus that there is a presidential election brewing in our country. I don’t ever really get too stirred up until much later in the game and even then, I kinda take a “God’s will” attitude. The presidency just doesn’t seem to be as badass as it was for, say, George Washington or Teddy Roosevelt. Ronald Regan was pretty rock n’ roll. He left office last century in 1989. Since then, things have gotten a little, well, tacky and informal. I don’t want to see my leader having beer summits, talking about boxers v. briefs, chatting on daytime talk shows or jamming with a band. I want him, or her, to be stern and unyielding, not warm and fuzzy. I want intimidating, but not nuts. Bold, not loud. Sensible, not safe. Basically, if a person could embody a Diane VonFurstenberg wrap dress, he or she would get my vote.

We’re more than 17 months out from this next election…a lot can happen. No one needs to get all bunched up just yet. And really, will things change? What will be different? Barack Obama took the last election with a platform that promised hope and change. I realize that it’s only been a few years, but I don’t really see it. I think a lot of his supporters hoped that Obama would ride in on his majestic unicorn and wave his magical wand over late mortgages, disconnected utilities, sick children, terrorists and all would be well. It would be better than a campfire kumbaya. It would be the final full orchestra scene of a big stage produced musical, where everyone stands swaying with clasped hands while singing, “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (in Perfect Harmony)”. Confetti and balloons would drop, glistening tears of happy would be shed, children would smile in wonder, the infirm would drop their crutches and everyone would glow.

This time around looks like it may be more like a three-ring circus. Donald Trump’s hairpiece rumbled about running and tabloid goldmine Sara Palin remains viable. What if this next election takes the shape of the 2003 California recall race for governor? Among those 135 candidates were bitter child actor Gary Coleman, mogul author Arianna Huffington, porn star and Celebrity Rehab flunkie Mary Carey, purveyor of smut Larry Flint, and even Atlanta’s own incarcerated Scott Davis. Of course an Austrian bodybuilder turned Mr. Universe turned seven time Mr. Olympia turned box-office darling turned prolific breeder, Arnold Schwarzenegger, won.

According to our U.S. Constitution, to be eligible for candidacy in our country’s top election you need only be a natural born citizen, at least 35 years of age and have been a resident for 14 years. I’m out, because I adhere to being perpetually 29. But the door is wide open for a President Ron Jeremy, President J.R. Ewing or even a President Baldwin.

Baby can’t work. Baby needs him check.

19 May

In the mid to late 90s, girlfriend Laurel’s husband, Mark, had the best job ever.  While taking a year to study for the MCAT and apply to schools, he had a part time gig working for an insurance company.  Not as a paper pusher.  Nor was he adjusting, estimating or cold calling for sales.  Mark had a “rape van”, a notebook and a camera with a telephoto lens.  He would stake out people who were making fraudulent disability claims and snap pictures of them mowing the lawn, lifting 55 gallon drums and working at roadside veggie stands.  He was a detective.  I love that shit!

Now a days, with the internets and all, being a disability detective isn’t quite as sneaky or invasive as it once was.  Dishonest, lazy people are usually not so smart, and a lot of them are creepy.  And are proud of it.  They will pretty much just hand you any damning evidence of what losers they are on a silver platter.  Or a TV show.

Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn saw an unusual video clip from the National Geographic show, Taboo, that made the viral rounds recently.

It chronicles Stanley Thornton’s home life, where he lives with his caretaker/roommate Sandra Dias.  Stanley spends half of his day wearing a footed fleece onesie, drinking apple juice from a bottle, playing with Legos and listening to nursery rhymes.  Miss Sandra soothes him when he is cranky and makes sure that his diaper is always dry and that he gets plenty to eat.  Stanley is in the hundredth percentile on his growth chart.  At over three hundred and fifty pounds, him is such a big boy!  Stanley is an adult baby.  No.  I did not say that he is an adult, baby.  An adult baby.  Huh?

In the video you can catch a glimpse of how Stanley lives as an adult baby.  He sleeps in a scale size custom crib that he built himself.  Stanley spends play-time in a special converted play pen that can support his chubby, wittle thighs.  He carried out the modifications on his own.  Currently, Stanley is putting together a scale size high-chair where Miss Sandra can feed him mashed bananas and rice cereal.  Thank God the film crew skipped changing time.

Here comes the choo-choo train. Where's the tunnel? And OMG...are those Miss Sandra's breasts?

But wait, babies can’t build furniture, can they?  I mean you have to go to the Home Depot to pick out and buy the materials.  There’s measuring, sawing, drilling and screwing involved.  How can Baby Stanley do this?   Well, Stanley can put on his big boy pants and do all sorts of big-kid stuff too.  He can drive, design and build furniture and he even runs his own website, www.bedwettingabdl.com  The only thing he can’t seem to do is work at a j-o-b.  Baby Stanley and his caretaker, Miss Sandra, a former nurse, both receive Supplemental Security Income benefits in addition to support from the great state of California.  Both claim to be disabled and unable to work.  Whaaa!

Sen. Coburn has questioned why benefits are being paid to these two.  In a letter to Inspector General Patrick P. O’Carroll, Jr., he asserted that Stanley and Miss Sandra’s benefit collection just might be improper.  In response via email to The Washington Times, Stanley threw a little temper tantrum…clearly he is in his “terrible twos” phase.  Stanley did the written equivalent of holding his breath until his face turns blue:

“You wanna test how damn serious I am about leaving this world, screw with my check that pays for this apartment and food. Try it. See how serious I am. I don’t care…I have no problem killing myself. Take away the last thing keeping me here, and see what happens. Next time you see me on the news, it will be me in a body bag.”

Oh, Stanley.  It sounds like someone needs a nappy-wappy.

"Hush little baby, don't say a word..."

Free to callers

17 May

Government cheese is, like, so 1982.  Which means that it’s so last century.  But it kinda made sense in a screwed up government kind of way.  There was all of this excess dairy product because of subsidies associated with the Commodity Credit Corporation, so what to do?  Well, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, right?  When you pay farmers to not sell their milk, you get cheese.  Well, actually, YOU don’t get cheese, unless you are an unwed, out of work mother with children under the age of sixteen.  But I digress.

Roll into modern times.  People now know that a diet rich in cheese, while delicious, can pose problems ranging from uncomfortable constipation to coronary disease.  (Who wants to take bets that somewhere there is a conspiracy theorist speculating there’s a right wing government plot to kill poor people?)  But people still crave free stuff.  What can we give the people that they really, really need?  Something that is essential?  What one thing can’t anyone live with out?

Meet Safelink.  What is Safelink?  Check out the commercial here:

Oh, don’t speak Spanish?  No problemo, there’s an English version too that you can watch on youtube.com.  Safelink is a “government supported” free cell phone for people who are already snacking on the gubment cheese in the comfort of their subsidized house.  It comes with 250 free monthly minutes, free voice mail and free texting; it’s free of contracts and it’s free of any monthly charges.  Free!  Free!  Free!

It’s only a matter of time before there will be “government supported” flat-screens and tattoo vouchers.

Sentimental Car Snob

2 Mar

If I hooked up a Pay-Pal account to this blog, would y’all donate to the cause of paying for the car that I want the most???  The need for a third row is absolutely killing my mojo!  And do you know who’s to blame?  The U.S. Government with their whole “everybody in a seat belt or you go to jail” vibe.  That’s who.  That extra row seats is going to cost me big.  If I could get a 5-seater that I could every so often squeeze some extra kids into, I would have so many more options.  Like in the good ol’ days, when the mellow strands of Chicago ruled the airwaves.

The Suburban of its time, and classy to boot

When I was a kid my Mom had a station wagon with a bench seat in the front and then a 2nd row bench seat in the back.  I think there were a couple of lap belts too, but they were always squished down in the crevice between the seat and the backrest.  There was no 3rd row.  There were no “captains’ chairs”.  No DVD player, dual rear climate control, arm rests, adjustable lumbar support and power windows.  Cup holders?  Yeah, they were that hard plastic cylinder that you clipped on the edge of your rolled down window that doubled as the rear air conditioner.  You bought them at Eckerd’s, on the same aisle where the Ronco records were sold.  I think they would have been considered “optional”.  I test drove a car today that boasted twelve, as in 10+2, cup holders and two bottle wells.  Can you imagine what a cocktail party on wheels that would be?

One size fits all...fancy

By today’s regulations, my Mom’s sweet ride would hold 5 bodies.  In 1978, it regularly toted 8-10 bodies.  Coming back from the beach, I usually got wedged in the front and would lie down across both passenger and driver.  Maybe three boys might be on row 2, one could be on a pallet on the floorboards and the luckiest kid in the car would get to wallow in the very back of the flat cargo area inside of a suitcase fort.  No one thought this was dangerous.  Damnit, it was fun.  It was always a bonding moment when the brakes got slammed and you fell off your seat.  Or, I remember a high-school boyfriend called any curve in the road a C.O.D. …for “Come Over Darlin’”.  ‘Cause if you had vinyl seats you’d end up sliding over to the other person in the car.  And if your belt snagged the seat, you could just pick up some Vinyl Repair at the Richway, mix a color to blend and patch it up good as new.

Look at how many kids

Check out this family of eight.  Eight!  They look like they are about to leave Cousin Eddie’s house on their way to Wally World.  Hey, those kids are kinda small.  Do you think that station wagon is stuffed to the gills with tether-strapped booster seats?  A-hem, no. I have exactly two children and I am just shy of justifying a passenger van.

What about a Frybrid car?

And these big SUVs with their optional seating for seven or eight are not fuel efficient.  But what can I do?  Only four manufacturers have a diesel option for me right now, and the mileage on those babies is only a couple more than good ol’ regular unleaded.  What about one of those Ed Beagley Jr. type converted Mercedes jalopies that runs on old fry grease from fast food joints?  You know, a frybrid.  Do I really need a new excuse to swing through a McDonald’s?  The corn syrup car isn’t ready, and if you believe conspiracy theorists, and I kinda do, the government actually has the technology to make cars that run on water, using electrolysis, but they are keeping it from us.  (Forget that the thermodynamics don’t really jive, I’d buy a car that runs on water.)

Aqua avec gas, s'il vous plait

Going Postal

3 Jan

Dead on accuracy

Shhh.  Listen carefully.  Can you hear that?  It’s the slow sucking sound of the U.S. Postal Service removing itself from the national vernacular.   There is a reason why the U.S. Postal Service is in a heap of trouble.  Allow me to go all drinking gin out of a jelly-jar reminiscent here.  When I was a wee one, I remember my mom whistling through her teeth that stamp prices were getting raised to a dime.  A dime is that small, thin silver-colored coin.  Postage now?  Add a quarter, a dime, a nickel and four pennies together…for now.  That there was the era of when you knew your Postman; when you paid your bills, they went into your very own mailbox where you raised the little red metal announcement flag on the side.  “Hey look at me!  I correspond with people, I pay bills.  I rule!”

Postal alert flags are, like, so last century

We built a new mailbox several years ago.  There is no flag on the side since the need for alert has been removed.  In olden days a visit from the postal delivery truck didn’t happen every day.  You needed to be expecting a real letter or sending one out…hence the red flag.  In our present time, at some irregular point everyday, a random, chain-smoking postman is going to slow down to shove 3 pounds of crappy circulars and solicitations in our box without fail.  A stop is guaranteed.  But forget that.  I would never just leave a check in the mailbox for some hood to lift anyway.  Our mailbox may as well have that green arrow circle on it, ’cause it’s really just middle management for the recycling bin.

Newman would be a sight for sore eyes

But what happens at our mail box is nothing compared to the assault that greets you when you actually go to visit a post-office.  Cue up the gin jelly-jar sloshing again, ‘cause mama’s got another brain picture.  When I was a girl, going to the post-office was an event.  While you were waiting you could look at the posters of the most wanted and dangerous criminals in the land, then usually someone (not a molester) would give you stickers, a coloring book and a pat on the head.  It was, dare I say, something to look forward to on Mom’s errand list.  Nowadays, my kids piss and moan if they have to go inside that place.  It beyond sucks.  For them and for me.  Nobody wins at the post-office anymore.  If it weren’t for Christmas cards, sending taxes certified and passports, the post office would have been dead to me long ago.  But as it is…

This will cost you days of your life

Hot Damn has been both blessed and cursed with a wanderlust that gets fed with some regularity.  We like to get our international travel on and that usually means taking the kids with us.  Children’s passports have to be completely re-applied for every 5 years. They can not be renewed.  Why?  Because of all the divorced jack-wagons that like to steal their kids and take them “home” to places like Iran.  Now both parents and their little darlings must be present at the post-office to process this application.  Thanks, assholes, for ruining it for the rest of us.  So, getting closer to the point…with a fabulous trip looming, the tots out of school and Greg home from the office during the holidays we seized the perfect opportunity to knock this chore out last week.

The first post-office we unloaded at had a sign that the passport office would be closed due to the holidays.  The next one had a little glass enclosed office with lettering on the door that said the passport office hours were Mon.-Fri. 10-  .  Ten until when, exactly?  The Wookiee working at the regular desk was noticeably peeved by my sheer audacity at ask about the hours.  “’Til 1pm”.  It was 2:15, so we were s.o.l.  Okay.  No biggie.  There’s always tomorrow, right?  Except that when we went back, the same post-woman, still irritated that I was at her job asking questions about her job, let me know with an exaggerated eye-roll that I was out of my mind for even thinking that the passport office would be open today…and “ ‘sides, you need an appointment fo’ THAT”.  Same woman, same post office, same question, just a different weekday.  Couldn’t we have covered this at yesterday’s previous visit?

We'll be flying those friendly skies again soon

Don’t cry for me yet, Argentina.  My brain recovered from the bureaucracy beat-down and I remembered that the Buckhead Post-office is a happy postal land if you can find a place to park.   Long story short is that the clouds parted, birds sang and glitter spewed forth.  After handing over what amounted to a month’s rent on my college apartment, the new passports should be here in the next 6 weeks or so.  But I’ll be kvetching about this again in another 4 ½ years for certain.  However, by then I fully expect that all of the post office buildings will have have been converted into loft apartments and organic grocery co-ops.  Maybe I’ll be able to reapply through Facebook.  So long, post-office.