The Pregnancy Inquisition, Part Deux

March 29, 2012 at 9:28 am | Posted in Married Life, Pregnancy Fun Time | 2 Comments
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In my last post regarding procreation pressure (like that alliteration?), I lamented the awkwardness of having my friends, colleagues and loved ones harass me about my reproductive status, and received some great tips and feedback from you, dear reader(s).  Well, today I’d like to expand upon this topic and bring every retail establishment that sells anything related to children into the mix.

Mind Your Own Bees wax

Mind your own... (Photo from Beyond The Hive)

Have you seen the story in the New York Times by Charles Duhigg about how Target knew a teenager was pregnant before her own father did?  It’s both fascinating and creepy, and, apparently, happening every day, much to my annoyance.  The gist of the article is that, based on just a smidge of demographic information and the things you buy, even things that don’t seem like obvious signs at first glance (fragrance-free lotion, cotton balls and hand sanitizer, for example, indicate you’re about to pop out a tiny human), retailers can virtually predict major life events like pregnancy.

Lucky for me (ha!), it seems I’ve found myself on the list of “probably preggers, so shamelessly market baby-related products to her” distribution list.  From emails (cough cough Target cough cough) to catalogs (Pottery Barn Kids, I’m talking to you!), coupons (Babies “R” Us, back off!) to advice (no, I don’t need to purchase X, Y or Z to prepare for my inevitable parental cluelessness), I’m being bombarded on a daily basis with baby-related information and savings (but at least it’s helping the post office stay afloat).

I’ll say it again: I’m NOT pregnant.  Yes, I’ve been happily married for over a year, am in my thirties and recently bought a home, but I am not “with child.”

I am, however, thinking about how this must feel to women experiencing fertility struggles.  These retailers don’t know what our reproductive status is – they don’t have a clue about whether we find these communications exciting or a difficult reminder of a very sensitive, very personal issue.  I understand the need to make money, to attract customers at this time in their lives; I even respect the power of the statistics nerd!  (Seriously, all hail the nerds of the world!)  But for goodness sake, please back off.  Or at least hide your intentions a little better so we can assume it’s just a coincidence that diapers are on sale… again…

I’ll procreate when I’m good and ready,

Suspicious Packages – Don’t Trust Anyone!

December 8, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Posted in Around Boston, Office Humor | 2 Comments
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I’m sure you’re familiar with this experience: you head to your nearest post office or shipping facility to mail something, and they ask you if there’s anything liquid, perishable, hazardous, etc. in the box.  You, of course, answer no, and life proceeds as planned while your package of cookies/wine/explosive devices reaches its destination unmolested.  Or at least that’s how it’s supposed to happen!

Suspicious Mail

What's in YOUR package?

A few weeks ago my colleagues at Dark Water Fowl and I received a notification that a package we shipped across the pond (that’s England, y’all) had been held by the Fish and Wildlife Agency for further investigation.

As employees of a wicked nerdy software company, it took us a moment to figure out why the Fish and Wildlife Agency would have anything to do with our package.  We hadn’t sent anything inappropriate, illegal, or otherwise suspicious.  We deal in the world of software, not creatures! What was the hold up?

Glad you asked.  The box we sent to jolly old England contained a few hundred of Dark Water Fowl’s mascots: adorable little rubber duckies.  The packing slip said “rubber ducks” – hence the government intervention.  Those fellas are on their game!  (And maybe a little bored…)

Hide your children – plastic toys are migrating!

Another Odd Pregnancy Symptom

August 3, 2010 at 6:53 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments
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I must apologize for our lack of a fresh post yesterday. Sarah was laid up with food poisoning and I had a terrible migraine that kept me in bed most of the day.

No, that’s not true. Not all of it, anyway. Sarah really did have food poisoning. I was fine. I even took a three-mile walk along the canal with Max. I don’t know why I lied to you, dear reader(s). It seems I just can’t be trusted these days. Don’t worry, I have no problem telling the truth regarding important issues. But if you ask me an inconsequential question, you just might get a fib.

We recently had a bit of an ant problem in our apartment. So I called our apartment manager to request that maintenance come and spray outside or do whatever it is they do when ants decide to colonize your dishwasher. Our lovely manager asked if I had sprayed anything already to take care of the ant. I said yes. And not just, “Oh, yeah, sure I sprayed,” but an emphatic affirmative answer as if only an idiot would ask maintenance to come over without first trying to solve the problem herself. However. I’m pregnant. I have a curious toddler who thinks the world is his chew toy. I’m not spraying anything in my house, and neither is anyone else. As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I wanted to slap myself. Why would I say yes when the answer was clearly no? And to make matters worse, the manager’s next question was what, exactly, I had sprayed. And before I could even confess that I actually hadn’t sprayed anything, my mouth, completely of its own accord, informed her that I’d been attacking the ants with bleach. We don’t even own any bleach. And once that was out, what could I do? Take it back? People think I’m crazy enough without me saying one thing and then immediately saying, “Oh, wait, I’m sorry. You know what I said? The opposite is true.”

And then I was talking to my former insurance agent on the phone about our old car insurance policy. She asked if I still had my Mass. license plates. I told her I already sent them. When she asked when I had done that, I told her that morning. They were still in the backseat of my car. In fact, I didn’t even go to the post office for another week! But again, once the first little fib popped out, what could I do?

Where are the lies coming from? I’m usually painfully truthful. But not lately. I blame this new baby. Because I can. And because pregnancy makes women do crazy things. And because if you ask me, I’ll probably just lie anyway.


The Bad Bride Strikes Again

July 27, 2010 at 9:35 am | Posted in Around Boston, Married Life | 10 Comments
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Well, dear reader(s), I’ve done it again: I’ve demonstrated my bridal ineptitude to my hubs-to-be, and, to make it worse, a member of the USPS, too…

Our wedding invitations recently arrived and I was so excited (shockingly excited – I had no idea a piece of paper could have that effect on me!), I commandeered Saturday morning so Andrew and I could stuff them and send them out. As you can imagine, he didn’t share my unbridled enthusiasm, but we put on some tunes and found our wedding-invitation-stuffing-rhythm.     

The USPS’ most delicious stamp

It took a couple of hours, but we forced every last one of those invites into their inner envelopes along with the RSVP card and RSVP SASE, and then forced the inner envelopes into the outer envelopes, while doing our best to avoid the inevitable paper cuts. We sealed a big ol’ stack of ’em and took them to the post office where the USPS employee weighed them and informed us that we would need 61 cent stamps for each invitation. No problem! Andrew dutifully bought enough wedding cake stamps to mail himself to Malaysia.
The delightful postal employee then offered to mail the sealed stack we brought with us – huzzah! She asked us if we were ready to mail them, if we were sure we had everything we needed in them. Invitation? Check! Response card? You betcha! Self-addressed, stamped envelope for the response cards? Yup! Map/directions to our venue? Yea–wait, what?!?
Well, dear reader(s), I didn’t have the map/direction cards to our venue. So clearly I didn’t put them in the envelopes. Which meant that, not only were we unable to send the stack of sealed invitations that day, but that we would have to…  

  • Unseal the sealed invitations and reprint the envelopes.
  • Unstuff every single invitation!!
  • Call the venue and request that they send the map/direction cards.
  • Re-stuff all the invitations.
  • Bring the invitations back to the post office to weigh them again and pray the added paper doesn’t put us in a new stamp price category.

Granted, this could have been much worse. We could have sealed all the envelopes, not just a stack, and had to reorder and reprint them all. But the question remains: is there any hope for me?
~Sarah (the Bad Bride)      

The lights may be on, but no one is home!

January 26, 2010 at 10:51 am | Posted in Around Boston | 8 Comments
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Last week April, RWC and I decided to brave the post office again, risking life and limb– or at least really bloody tape-cutter-induced injuries– to mail some bills, wedding To-Dos and gift exchanges, when we happened upon this notice on their window:

That’s right, the cameras might be working, but no one cares. And no one checks them. So go ahead and do whatever you want. Sounds like a great deterrent, folks!



Fighting The Man

September 21, 2009 at 3:47 pm | Posted in Around Boston | Leave a comment

Ever have one of those days where it seems like The Man is trying to get you at every turn, like in Don’t be a Menace when that dweeby white guy is behind everything that goes wrong and the characters are exclaim, “The Man!”? That’s me today.

Let’s backtrack for a minute. Last week I ordered some books from Amazon. They were estimated to arrive tomorrow. This morning, I tracked my shipment and discovered that my package, according to the U.S. Postal Service, was “undeliverable as addressed” on Saturday and being returned. What??? The books were being shipped to my office, and rest assured, the place exists. We get mail and packages there all the time. Amazon cancels the order and forces you to re-order when a package gets returned. That means I’d have to wait another week for my stuff (because you know I only use free super-saver shipping). Not okay.

So I followed Sarah’s advice and called the post office.

Call #1: 800-number listed on the USPS web site. Confirmation that the package was indeed undeliverable. No reason why, as the customer service representative could not see the address, only city and state. She told me to call my local post office, which she offered to find for me. Except she couldn’t find my office’s address in the system, so she gave me the number to the first post office she could find in Boston (there are probably only a couple post offices in Boston, right?).

Call #2: Back Bay Post Office (or “Black Bay,” as the woman from call #1 called it). Placed on hold for at least 10 minutes followed by confirmation that my package was not delivered. Really? Determined that my books were most likely with the delivery unit. Said I might be able to convince someone to bring them to me, but since they were undeliverable on Saturday, they were probably already on their way back to Amazon, wherever that is.

Call #3: The mysterious-sounding Delivery Unit. When I told the man who answered that I was trying to find a package that had been marked “undeliverable,” he asked me why it was marked that way. If I knew, I wouldn’t be in this mess. More holding. He asked if my packaged was supposed to be delivered to a business. Was the business open on Saturday? No. Finally he figured out that the delivery guy hit the button for undeliverable by accident – it is right above the “delivery attempted” button.

So I finally got my books this afternoon. However, someone opened the package before it got to me. Awesome. Everything was still inside, but if your name isn’t on the front of the box, don’t open it, ‘k?

And this would be one minor irritation that eventually turned out okay, were it not for other recent dealings with The Man. For example, my co-blogger received a parking ticket in a locality we shall refer to as “The ‘Ville.” Her ticket was for a resident using a visitor’s pass, which doesn’t make a whole heckuva lot of sense, because if you are a resident, you can get a parking sticker for about $10, so why would you use a visitor pass? And who cares if you’re using a visitor pass anyway? So she appealed the ticket. But The ‘Ville claimed she was a resident. Which she was. Two years ago. She argued that she lives and garages her car in another town, where she also votes and pays utilities and has a valid lease, but The ‘Ville held strong. It was a validly issued ticket, and she was going to pay. Our dear friend was relentless and made multiple calls to the mayor’s office, parking department, her own state rep, quite possibly even her US Congressman. And then, on the last day to pay her ticket before it doubled, the ticket was repealed.

So perhaps The Man is merely messing with us, but either way, I’m not a fan. And I shake my fist at you, The Man!


Boston Commuting Games

September 9, 2009 at 2:15 pm | Posted in Around Boston, Office Humor | 1 Comment

Sarah and I walk around Boston a lot. And I mean capital-A lot. The trip between train station and office is about two miles each way. And then there are those jaunts to the bank, post office, tailor, CVS, take-out joints, etc. Plus, we love to take a quick lap or two around the Public Gardens on exceptionally sunny afternoons.

Because we have to cover two miles in less than a half hour to make our evening trains, we haul some serious rhymes-with-sass. However, Beacon Hill, the Public Garden, Boston Common and the famed Charles Street lay between work and train. And here’s a fun fact for those of you unfamiliar with this landscape: those are all prime camera-toting tourist hot-spots. Imagine us two hoofing it past Duck Boats and Old Town Trolley Tours.

And then, of course, there is the issue of the train station being inside Banknorth Arena. That is not a typo. The train station is INSIDE a major sport and concert venue. Just try to imagine the joy of trying to get to your train as hordes of shrieking tweens clog up the already commuter-filled location before a Jonas Brothers concert. That really happened. And elbows may or may not have been thrown in the mayhem that is the combination of rush hour and pre-Bruins game hooting and hollering.

We are constantly following the five D’s of dodge ball on our way home. Which made me think, “What if commuting was a competitive sport?” We’d kick some rhymes-with-mass, for sure.

Event #1. Sidewalk Racing
It’s like competitive speed-walking, except with obstacles. And not those namby-pamby gates in hurdling. I’m talking real, live people — lost tourists, love-struck couples, groups of college sophomore coeds, nannies with wild children, people juggling dog leash (no poop bag, but that’s a story for another day), cell phone and Starbucks latte — and also mounds of garbage, cyclists, dog poop and cars. Not only do you have to be a fast walker, but also quick to avoid the many obstacles thrown in your path. It isn’t easy, and only the tough survive.

Stay tuned for other events…


I Hit My Mother-in-Law’s Car!

September 19, 2013 at 8:00 pm | Posted in Family, Married Life | Leave a comment
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Alternate title: Please tell me spiders (and frogs) are good luck!

A few weeks ago I ran into my mother-in-law’s car.  Yup, she was here selflessly taking care of my little one so I could save money on daycare this summer, and I backed right into her car.  And even though I continue to be mortified to this day, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be teased about it for the rest of my marriage, I hold firmly to the fact that it wasn’t my fault!

You see, I’d had a very weird week.  On Sunday there was a spider literally THE SIZE OF MY PALM on my car door.  It was horrible.  Ho. Rih. Bull.  In fact, it was so big and scary that we for reals had to shoo it into an empty spaghetti sauce jar, then dump it on the ground and hit it with a BRICK to kill it.  True story!  A BRICK!

Well, it seems that really angered Her Royal Arachnid, because for the rest of that week I was plagued (that’s not an exaggeration – it was totally biblical, people!) by eight-legged jerks out for blood.  On Tuesday I awoke with a “mysterious” bug bite on my arm and saw a creepy crawler meandering up my bedpost.  “How do you like me now, you with your cement bricks?  WE KNOW WHERE YOU SLEEP!”  I swear it was saying that as it slowly, menacingly crept on (until I made Andrew murder it, too).

On Wednesday we had a consultant come in to the office for a meeting.  As he placed his briefcase on the table, I noticed a spider clinging to it.  He noticed it, too, as did my boss, but instead of just squashing it like a NORMAL PERSON, he gingerly picked the little psychopath up and gently placed it on the floor.  Well, wouldn’t you know it: not ten minutes later, that little rhymes-with-mass-toll was crawling up my leg.  TRUE STORY.  I somehow stifled my scream until I could flick it off my pants (thank heavens I wasn’t wearing a skirt!), but needless to say I spent the rest of the meeting on high alert for a revenge-fueled interloper.  This consultant was clearly in cahoots with the arachnids.  Is that a valid enough reason not to want to work with someone?

And now we come to the day of the accident (which I still contend wasn’t my fault).  On Thursday, as I was backing out of the garage, a spider literally sprang down from the ceiling of my car and practically landed ON MY NOSE, which, as you can imagine, is why I backed into my MIL’s car (hangs head in shame).  I was under attack!  War had been declared!  The spiders were using guerrilla warfare tactics!  I had no refuge!  Not my house, not my office, definitely not my car… I was doomed!  And also late for work.

The only upside to the incident was that I thought the Great Arachnid War of 2013 was finally over.  The pests got their revenge (because really, is there ANYTHING more awkward than hitting your MIL’s car and blaming it on a spider?).  I waved the white flag.  I gave up.  And Friday passed without incident.  I regained my confidence, stopped looking over my shoulder, and tried to scrub all this from my mind to prevent future creepy-crawly nightmares.

That night before bed, I opened the front door to take the dog out, and realized the conflict wasn’t over… it was escalating.  Hanging onto my screen door, Mission Impossible-style, was a FROG.  Seriously!  A frog!

So I did what any gal would do – screeched (without waking the baby), pulled the dog back inside and begged my husband to walk her.  And he’s been walking the dog at night ever since.  Because once multiple species get involved, you KNOW you’re in trouble…

And yeah, I called Terminix for an extra visit the next day.

love mother in law

Pregnancy, Part One

September 24, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Posted in Around Boston, Office Humor, Pregnancy Fun Time | 8 Comments
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As you know, I’m fairly open about sharing news and life milestones, but for some reason, I felt REALLY awkward telling people about my pregnancy when it was time to share it.  Has any other mom-to-be felt this way?  Am I the only who couldn’t quite figure out a way to let people know?  Or who was content with people eventually figuring out that my belly was more baby than brownies (for a change) without my having to say it out loud?

Let’s just say I wasn’t quick to post ultrasound photos to Facebook… (“Not that there’s anything wrong with that!”)

But now that my pregnancy is “Facebook official” (thanks, mom!), I can blog about it freely and share my experiences thus far with a bun in my oven (icky expression).  Andrew and I are SO excited to be parents (g-d willing), but as you can imagine, there’s been a fair amount of awkwardness over these past 16 weeks, too.  Here’s a slice of the silly aspects of pregnancy thus far…

In the Dark with Morning Sickness

Because I work at a software company, the ratio of men to women is pretty skewed, so, despite the four stalls, the ladies room often feels like a private potty.  The plus side of that is, mid-first trimester when I spent a fair amount of time hovering over the porcelain throne, I could bank on being alone in there and easily hiding whenever I had to toss my cookies in the office bathroom.

However, this privacy also had a downside.  In an effort to save energy, the bathroom lights are on sensors, and after a few minutes without detecting movement, the lights shut off.  No windows, no night lights – it is pitch black in there when the overheads are off.  I can’t even begin to tell you how awkward it is to be locked in a bathroom stall in absolute darkness, on the verge of ralphing, praying you don’t miss the toilet while trying not to touch anything!

It should have been an event in London – I’d have won Olympic gold!

The Three Little Bricks and The Big Bad Microburst

July 25, 2012 at 8:24 am | Posted in Around Boston, Office Humor | Leave a comment
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My dear Factinis readers:

Today’s post is a special treat for me because my friend (and reliable Factinis commenter) Erika will be occupying my usual soap box!  So, in addition to helping with content (of which I’ve been embarrassingly negligent of late), she’s also making me feel better about my own life!  Let’s face it: a lot of crazy stuff happens to me, and knowing that it happens to other people, too, makes me feel a little more normal.  Or at least like there’s a community of abnormality out there that I’m a part of…  So without further ado, I give you Erika’s true tale of commuting madness!

I should start this guest post as my hostess so often does, with a snapshot into my life at work. I have on my desk, along with a pink feather boa, a plastic dinosaur and a veritable rainbow of fuzzy craft bears, a plastic model of the Weinermobile. While all these objects have stories behind them, I blame office gossip for the Weinermobile. You know how these things happen, right? A perfectly innocent event gets warped by the rumor mill and suddenly everyone at work wants to know how you got into a car accident with the Weinermobile.

oscar mayer weinermobile

The perfect desk accessory?

I didn’t. Yes, it was a car accident, and yes, it did involve processed meat, but it wasn’t nearly so dramatic as it sounds. A simple rear-ending by a sausage truck is all. I tell you this for two reasons. One, because I know you’re all mature enough not to snicker by the imagery of sausages and rear ends, and two, because it sets a nice context for what happened eight years later. A.k.a. last week.

Picture if you will a lovely summer evening in a town just north of Boston. And then, just as you’re settling in to enjoy the story, strolling down the country lane (okay, it was a major commuting route) on your way to meet your wife for dinner at your favorite Indian restaurant, imagine yourself up to your knees in water, suddenly caught in a dramatic torrent of wind and rain complete with downed trees and sizzling power lines. Do you panic? Of course not! This is all well and good because your clothes probably needed a wash anyway and hopping fallen branches while trying to dodge the falling sparks from the urban jungle above is kind of like a video game. And who doesn’t love a good video game at the end of a long hard day at work?

I hope you didn’t think that was a rhetorical question. The answer, as it turns out, is “my trusty steed.” Apparently my being drenched, nearly swept away by wind and rain and narrowly avoiding electrocution wasn’t enough for Mother Nature. No, she looked down on me, released a cackle of thunder, and said to herself, “I’d better get her car involved too.” So, when my wife and I went to the nearby parking lot to retrieve a bag from the vehicle, we discovered a pile of bricks surrounding it. Unlike similar scenes in Super Mario World, however, there were no gold coins or feathers of invisibility or extra lives awaiting us. Just a crowd of people staring up amazedly at a hole on the roof of the jewelry shop. Yes indeed, microbursts are all fun and games until someone loses a windshield from a falling chimney.

To be honest, I’m not sure if the odds are better for falling chimneys than for rogue sausage trucks, but either way, I’m concerned about what’s going to show up on my desk once my co-workers get wind of this. So to speak.

So what say you, dear reader(s), what WILL show up on our guest blogger Erika’s desk in the weeks to come? A big bad wolf, huffing and puffing? A wind-up Dick Van Dyke doll that sings a certain tune from Mary Poppins? Santa Claus with a little gray rain cloud over his head? We can only guess… but I’m sure she’ll report back with the answer!

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