The Battle Unseen

Working in retail it’s very easy to get discouraged with, uh, people. I get very frustrated when customers lack common sense etiquette/basic communication skills. When an employee greets you in a business with a “hello! How may I help you?” an acknowledgement is super appreciated.Β Or when they call in to the store after seeing our number on their caller ID and don’t bother listening to the 4 minute message we left and annoyingly call back right awayΒ “Yeah, you just called me.” Or when they just blatantly have NO clue what they’re doing. “I need vacuum bags. It’s old. That’s all I can tell ya.”


Some days I can handle it and fake my way through. Other days, I’m shocked my employer (who also happens to be my father) doesn’t send me home with a professional reprimand.

This morning, a customer walked through the doors talking about as loud as one possibly can into her cell phone (Biggest Pet Peeve of most retail workers, btw). I could hear her husband yelling in the receiver, “Where the %&$# are you!” She’s speaking in equally offensive four letter words and screaming back at him with disdain worthy of a Jerry Springer episode. And there I am… the employee. At the counter. Watching. Waiting in irksome silence for her to give me 30 seconds of her precious time to explain to me the purpose for the visit. When she finally hangs up she throws her arms in the air, “My husband is driving me NUTS!”


In my head I’m thinking, I so don’t care… I’m in the middle of a divorce and, well, I’m not in a very happy place right now either, kitten. Divorce your screamer and join me in the land of suck it!

I ended up referring her to my brother (It’s a family business in case it wasn’t obvious…) who specializes in what she needed, specifically. I’m in my office overhearing him take care of her and she’s speaking to him in the same residual loud, yelling tone. I’m just about to lose it when she tells Brent exasperatedly, “My husband has dementia. He’s in the middle of one his fits right now… He gets so mean and I just don’t know how to handle it!”

And just like THAT, my defenses dropped.


I saw this awesome painting at my favorite antique mall and I actually purchased it. It’s in the now empty room that used to be our my dining area. I put it there because it fit perfectly in the space and, also, so I would see it in plain sight whenever I needed affirmation for my “situation”… Unless you’ve been through divorce you really can’t empathize with how painful a process it truly is. I’ve been chugging through the 5 stages of grief like a champ (or not) and, honestly, been so one-dimensional/self-absorbed in the process that I failed to see it in her… I failed to see her pain hiding behind swears and social awkwardness.

I looked at this painting today, as I do every morning before I leave for work, reflecting on my own entitlement. The thought never occurred to me that I was the one that needed to be the kindness to someone else.

Tomorrow morning when I look at my painting, I’ll do so with a little more humility and selflessness. And the next time a disgruntled customer (and it’s going to happen!) gets the best of me, I’m going to remember that they’re experiencing a battle I know nothing about.





Identity Crisis

Yesterday, I did something that I had never ever done before in my life: I mowed my yard. After Number 3 provided me with several training sessions on how to properly do this, I felt confident to finally do it all by myself.

I woke up fairly early on my Independence Day off and decided to tackle this chore before it got up to a thousand degrees.

With a sense of accomplishment I methodically filled the gas tank; I primed it; I checked the throttle; I held the handlebar down; and lastly, I pulled the stringy thing with triumphant force.


I pulled again.


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Pink Tribute

I purchased this dress on a whim, I’m not gonna lie.

No rhyme or reason… bought it for $1.00Β 

Even though I work the MOST during the holiday season, I still entertain the delusion that I’ll be able to attend parties. I guess that was my mindset when I purchased this…

It was in pretty good shape… Sans those gross Satin ribbon things.

I didn’t notice these “crusties” when I bought it. God only knows what it is… cat hair, perhaps?

Shortly before Halloween, my dad told me I needed to visit my Grandmother. 100 years of plugging away like the Energizer Bunny had finally caught up with her. She was very near death. It’s one of those visits you want to do, but don’t want to do… I wanted to say goodbye and tell her how much I loved her, but I didn’t want to see her in such a pitiful condition.

Grandma and Dad.

Pink was her favorite color πŸ™‚

Apparently, there was a reason I picked this dress after all.

I cut off the Satin Ribbons and removed the bling-y medallion. I also raised the hem 3 inches and finished it with a rolled hem on a Serger.

I finished it in time for Grandma’s Funeral on November 5.

It was a beautiful, sunny day!

Grandma passed away on November 1; All Saints Day. That’s entirely appropriate considering she was a devout Christian woman. There’s no doubt in my mind at all that she’s in Heaven, reunited with Grandpa. I’m very sad she’s gone, but I’m happy she’s out of pain. She’s in a better place and I’ll see her again πŸ™‚

One of the roses from her casket flowers. Pink, of course πŸ™‚

When we were looking through old family photo albums we found this picture of her and grandpa on their wedding day in 1934.

Grandma's pics-8
How handsome/beautiful are they! They look like Bonnie and Clyde or something πŸ™‚

I love this picture so much! I never knew my grandma like this and I wish I had… I only shared the last 33 years of her life with her.

This is the Grandma I’ll remember:

Grandma's pics-4
“Disapproving” of Grandpa pinching her butt for a picture (but still smiling about it).

Or hanging out with us at all our family gatherings in one of her house dresses (I always loved her house dresses!).

My eighth birthday.
My eighth birthday. 1990.

Or getting excited at the birth of yet another grandchild!

With my (now much older) cousins.
With my (now much older) cousins.

Grandma left quite a legacy: 6 children, 33 grandchildren, 55 great-grandchildren, and 29 great-great-grandchildren.

July 2015

I may or may not get to wear this dress to a Holiday party like I had intended, but honestly, I did kind of wear it to a party: a party celebrating the life of an exceptional woman. There were many tears at this “party,” but they were mostly happy πŸ™‚ Honoring her by wearing pink was the very least I could do.

Ruth Irene Smith February 19, 1915 – November 1, 2015