Grammar, Manners, and Other Behavior

There Are So Many Things Wrong With This I Don’t Know Where to Begin | Also International Women’s Day

Dear Kid,

In case you haven’t been paying attention (for your entire life), I feel I should mention that women have not always been treated fairly.

"Sure he was great, but don't forget that Ginger Rogers did everything he did, ...backwards and in high heels." DearKidLoveMom.comIt wasn’t too long ago that women in these here United States were considered property under the law. And women still don’t earn as much as men—even when they’re doing the Exact Same Job (only backwards and in high heels).

NOTE: You’re heard of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers? They were very famous (seriously famous) movie stars Back In The Day. They sang and danced (think long gowns, top hats, ballroom, tap, and gorgeous). There is a famous quote: “Sure he was great, but don’t forget that Ginger Rogers did everything he did, …backwards and in high heels.”

You may be aware that I believe women should be paid as much as men. Or more. You may be aware that I believe fabulous shoes are one of the little luxuries of life. You may even be aware that I color my hair and wear makeup. But you must know that while I think equal pay is mandatory, I do not think shoes or hair dye or mascara are requisite nor that they have any bearing on how a person does his or her job.

Not everyone agrees with me.

That in and of itself should be a clue.

As reported in USA Today (so it must be true), British receptionist Nicola Thorp was sent home from work in December 2015 because her shoes were unacceptable—because they weren’t high heels. Excuse me, what?

She worked for an employment agency which had a dress code specifying that female workers “must wear non-opaque tights, have hair with no visible roots, and wear regularly reapplied makeup.”

Excuse me again, WHAT??!

No visible roots and regularly reapplied makeup? I wouldn’t last a week.

Non-opaque tights? Have you looked in a fashion magazine lately? Most people in the workforce aren’t even old enough to remember “Our L’eggs fit your legs”.

Sent home for wearing flats? She was a receptionist! Who was going to comment on her shoes?

The client she was sent home from? PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the giants in the world of accounting and auditing. PwC—a company that absolutely Should Know Better.

I can’t even cope with how wrong this is.

I get that dress codes can be appropriate (no one needs to wear short-shorts to a professional workplace). I get that super strict dress codes are appropriate in some places (like operating rooms). And I’ve heard of some dumb dress codes (really, really dumb). But never (repeat, NEVER) have I heard anything this ridiculously stupid.

So now (again, according to USA Today), Members of the British Parliament are debating a ban on mandatory workplace high heels.

There is so much wrong with that sentence I don’t even know where to start.

There has to be a debate? What’s to discuss? And in today’s world, doesn’t Parliament have better things to talk about?

Yesterday was International Women’s Day. It won’t be soon, but someday I hope we’ll celebrate International Women’s Day as a tribute to the past rather than a statement of the present.

Love, Mom

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I Had A Lovely Weekend. I Think. (and verb problems)

Dear Kid,

I have been kidnapped. I will be kidnapped. I was kidnapped.

“If time travel is possible, where are the tourists from the future?” ― Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time, DearKidLoveMom.comAll of the above are equally true and equally false.

Let’s start with the timeline. I’m writing this last week (It is last week as I’m writing. Except it isn’t. It’s now. But by the time you read this, it will have been last week). Explaining the timeline is not as easy as I’d hoped.

Timeline Take 2. I’m writing this letter on Friday because I am going to be deprived of my computer for the weekend. Later today (or last Friday, as it were), Dad is kidnapping me.

Perhaps kidnapping is too strong a word. Since I am going willingly. Happily. And I expect to be returned, no worse for wear, in a few days (by today, in fact).

We’re celebrating our anniversary and Daddy is surprising me with a trip. Here’s what I know so far: We’re leaving Friday evening (Pi is coming home to Puppy sit and study). Saturday evening is dressy. The rest of the time I need to look casual but nice. There will be coffee. I’m not allowed to bring a computer.

Which means the trip is not a surprise but the destination is. Except that by the time you read this the destination won’t be a surprise—at least not to me because the weekend will be over.

I’m sure I had a lovely weekend. Will have had.

My verb tense usage and I need a nap.

Love, Mom

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Great Customer Service | It’s Rare, But It Exists

Dear Kid,

Unfortunately, stories about rotten customer service abound. “I can’t believe I had to stand in line for half an hour and then they got my order wrong.” “You would not believe how rude that salesperson was!” “If I’d wanted bruised tomatoes, I’d have picked out bruised tomatoes! There was no reason for the clerk to throw my produce down the belt like that!”

Veterans and More | Thank You to All Who Keep Us Safe DearKidLoveMom.comWhat’s even more unfortunate is that we’ve come to expect terrible service. “Allow an extra half hour.” “Oh, look. They only messed up half my order—things are improving.”

Every now and then, we find great customer service. Not just good (which is surprising in and of itself) but great.

Such is the case with the support team at SKT Themes.

SKT Themes creates designs (themes) for WordPress websites, and I recently had the opportunity to contact their support team because I sort of, um, messed up the code (not on—on another site).

Not only did Shri respond promptly (I know, crazy, right?), he was helpful. When I still couldn’t fix the problem, he had one of the programmers sign into the site and – shazam! problem solved. Pretty wonderful.

Then when I had another question, he sent me a video explaining the solution. He didn’t say “go find a video” he kindly sent me the link. Happy me.

I’m hoping not to break the website again, but if I do help is only an email away.

Here’s hoping you have a wonderful experience today.

Love, Mom

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How Many Texts Is Too Many?

Dear Kid,

I woke up to 60 text messages this morning.

You know you haven’t had enough coffee when numbers look like little people dancing. DearKidLoveMom.comYep. 6-0. As in one more than 59. (See how I do that math thing even this early in the morning?)

My first thought was (predictably) “You have GOT to be kidding me.”

My second thought was (even more predictably) “Coffee.”

Since that seemed to use up my ability to think for a while, I didn’t bother with a third thought.

Turned out (quite happily) that the 60 messages were a running dialog you, Pi, and Dad had last night about the various football games in progress, the ability to sum up most football games with the single word “kickers” (with or without exclamation points), and nailbiter emojis. It made me smile before the coffee kicked in (not an easy trick).

I was thinking about those texts when Grandma showed me an article about the importance of grammar. It will not be news to you to know that I think grammar is important. (Pi—if you’re reading this, the correct usage is “Sophia and I are dying” not “Me and Sophia are dying.”)

It will also not surprise you to know that I am perfectly comfortable with different “proper” usage for different types of communication.

For example, “’Kickers!’ nailbiter emojis” is perfectly fine text communication. Especially when the conversation preceding it has been about a football field goal attempt. It is lousy writing for a news column.

“See ya’” is a perfectly fine communication between friends agreeing to meet for pizza. It is anything except acceptable for closing a business communication.

As the article pointed out, one of the benefits of grammar (besides not worrying about your mother correcting you) is that when you use correct grammar you increase the odds that the person you’re communicating with will understand you. Using poor grammar often leads to “Huh? Explain.”

And while “Me and Sophia are dying” may completely and clearly convey the stress of not knowing the all-important outcome of the football game, I sincerely hope my voice is in her head saying “Sophia and I”.

Love, Mom

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Do You Know This About Fact Checkers?

Dear Kid,

Once upon a time there were no fact checkers in the world.

Then people were invented and – PRESTO! – fact checking leapt into existence.

Joe Neanderthal: There is good hunting over the ridge
Friend of JN: Nuh-uh
JN: Yes there is!
F of JN: Prove it
Mrs. Joe Neanderthal: Somebody better go find something for dinner

Fact checking really took off once teenagers were invented.

General Example:
Parent: No, you cannot go to the saber tooth tiger hunt
Teenager: No fair! That’s not what you said last night!

Specifically Detailed Example:
Parent: No, you cannot go to the saber tooth tiger hunt
Teenager: No fair! That’s not what you said 4 days, 3 hours, and 26 minutes ago!

Parent: No, you cannot go to the saber tooth tiger hunt Teenager: Everyone is going. It’s perfectly safe. Even Gina’s Mom said so. Before she was eaten. DearKidLoveMom.comSometimes fact checkers use actual facts as part of the checking process. Sometimes (especially if they are teenagers) they completely bypass the need for accuracy and rely purely on rumor and innuendo. Or Google.

Parent: No, you cannot go to the saber tooth tiger hunt
Teenager: Everyone is going. It’s perfectly safe. Even Gina’s Mom said so. Before she was eaten.

Now that we’re ankle-deep in the political season, there are going to be a lot more people checking facts. A lot more facts.

Sometimes the fact checkers will agree. Often they will not. This is what gives sports commentators, political commentators, and weather forecasters job security.

It’s also what makes me skip directly to NCIS reruns and bypass most news shows.

Love, Mom

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Mom Versus the Sports Bra

Dear Kid,

Anyone who says that men and women are identical in all things has never experienced the joy of a sports bra.

A well-crafted sports bra is all about, um, restraint, and is built with more attention to engineering than the space station.

Wriggling in and out of a good sports bra involves the grace of a drunk water buffalo and the agility of a contortionist. DearKidLoveMom.comA sports bra “fits” if it is 4 sizes smaller than that which it is trying to contain. Wriggling in and out of a good sports bra involves the grace of a drunk water buffalo and the agility of a contortionist. Scientists have determined that more calories are burned dressing and undressing than during most workouts.

You think Game of Thrones contains battles? Ha! That’s nothing compared to the Battle of the Sports Bra.

Yesterday I almost lost the battle. The particular garment in question has a clip thing (no problem) AND a zipper (big problem). To correctly fasten the zipper you have to exert 2 billion pounds of force to bring the two sides together and then zip the zipper. While you hold the edges still. This works better if you’re an octopus. Having only standard issue limbs, I struggled.

Somehow, the zipper misaligned and I found myself in the grip of industrial strength elastic. The zipper would neither zip nor move down. The elastic tried to simultaneously strangle me and pull apart the entire contraption.

I tugged, I tweaked, I coaxed, I cajoled, I pulled, I lost. I tried holding part of the zipper in my teeth. (Yes, mom, even after all that orthodonture.) I was mere moments away from calling the rescue team to bring a pair of scissors to cut me free when I finally (finally!) muttered the proper curse and got unzipped.

After I got the whole thing refastened, I hit the gym floor. It seemed like a lot of effort to stroll once around the track. (I’m kidding. I strolled several times around.)

Equality, my Aunt Fanny.

Love, Mom


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