Avoid Ghostly Surprises By Calling Ahead

Invaded by ghost ants AGAIN, the exterminator had to return to my house last week. I dreaded the possible awkwardness this would cause due to “the incident” last time.

Two weeks earlier…

desk windowInnocently hanging out at my computer working, I was unaware that the bug man had arrived and was working his way around to the back of the house.

Next to me is a sliding glass door that leads to the porch. Despite the lack of view, I opened the shades to enjoy the beautiful day.

Suddenly he appeared at the door. We both jumped and I ran out of the room mortified. Much to my relief, he didn’t knock on the door once he was done and instead left the bill on my door.

Important lessons were learned that day:

  1. Call before you spray a person’s house
  2. Don’t sit by the window wearing this…(see below)
face mask surprise

This must have been how I looked. Surprised.

How to Fall Out of a Car Gracefully

A Guide on Playing Off Embarrassing Moments in Life

Soooooo…a few weeks back I got the call that my car was ready at the shop. Excitedly I zipped over to my favorite gas station, the one with the fast pumps, to put gas back in the rental car.

Used to stepping DOWN from my SUV, I believe it was the awkwardness of the lower vehicle combined with my dangerous flip flops that caused the following scenario to occur.

Getting out to pump gas

arrive at gas station

My flip-flop gets caught and I tumble out of the car

It was in slow motion to make sure all saw...

Laying flat on the ground between the pump and my car.

laying by the gas pump

If you ever find yourself in this predicament, this is the point where you attempt to look like you were checking a leak under your car and are lying on the ground completely on purpose.

Then stand up, check for bloody knees, and proceed to pump gas as if that did not just happen. It’s all in the execution of looking purposeful.

A quick glance around made me think I had actually gotten away with it. I was on the end pump, and no one seemed to be paying attention. I began pumping gas and lowered my sunglasses onto my face like no one would recognize me. My knees were burning as they were scraped and a giant bruise was already blackening on my palm where I caught myself.

Then I heard it…

“Are you OK?”

Turning to look behind me, I see a pleasant looking gentleman sitting in his car where he had been putting air in his tires.

I turned and did a wave while saying, “I’m fine thanks!”

SHOOT! Well I was until I realized someone had seen it.

CREDIT FOR MY STICK FIGURENESS: I snagged one of my 6 year old’s drawings of me after giving up on her ever drawing the figure I requested for this article. My artist on staff is unreliable, especially when sitting next to a pumpkin full of candy.

Ever fallen out of your car?

Driver Error or Plain Bad Luck?

car towIs there anything more frustrating than car troubles?

This morning I bid my car farewell as it began its short journey to the dealership for repair. It was my first experience having a car towed. Other than the good-looking tow truck driver, it wasn’t as exciting as I imagined.

Last night the girls and I piled in the car to attend my son’s orchestra concert, and when I turned the key I got a frying electronic sound, a spark, and no engine coming on. Two more attempts produced the same results.

These things only happen:

  1. After car places are closed for the night.
  2. When I have a packed schedule of places to be.

I Need A Rental Car

Patiently waiting in line, turns out I was behind the area manager for Starbucks. After mentioning my addiction to that place, I informed him that I own at least 2 chairs at my local shop.

Taking pity on me (I guess because of my addiction issue), the Enterprise rental manager gave me a free upgrade to an SUV. Sweet! Happy to have access to a car again, I headed off to run a few errands.

Noob Driver Alert

Immediately I noticed the engine was revving up to 6 RPM before struggling to shift to the next gear. Since I wasn’t driving a race car, I thought that was kind of odd and considered turning around. Instead I went to the grocery store and took the dog to the groomers.

An hour later I was convinced there was something seriously wrong with the transmission, so I returned to the rental office.

“I think something is wrong with the car,” I stated while handing back the keys.

With all the gentleness of a Kindergarten teacher, he replied “You might be driving it wrong.”

“Really?” How could I be driving it wrong? I have over 25 years of driving experience under my belt.

At his request, I got in the car and put it in drive.

“You are in manual mode.”

“What? Manual?”

I learned to drive using a stick shift and drove one for about 10 years. Arriving at the DMV as a teen, I found the instructor bewildered because no one ever shows up in a manual for their license test. Needless to say I only had to drive half the course before he stamped “PASS” on my file.

manual automatic driveTurns out some new cars have a manual mode. I was in first gear…all morning long…about 25 miles worth of errands. Nicccceeeee. I felt sooooo stupid.

See the +/- on the left. That’s the manual section.

This is a public service announcement. If this saves one experienced driver from feeling like they are 16 again, my job is done.

I’m trying to understand when you would want to be in manual mode unless you live in the Rocky Mountain area.

Grabbing my shades, I’m off to test out manual mode and rev up the engine in my cool sports car. Can’t you just see this soccer mom car peeling away at a light?
kia suv

P.S. I’m taking applications for a best friend who is also a mechanic. This is due to the fact that dealership called to tell me my car arrived safely…and started right up.

Am I the only one that didn’t know about this?

My Bucket List and Life With Rosie

Rodie and me

Rosie and I relaxing since the floor is clean.
Good times.

A month ago I watched the movie The Bucket List. Not having a clue as to what I want to accomplish in life, I still felt a burning urge to create one.

Jumping right on that task four weeks later, I present:

My Bucket List:

  1. Own the Jetson’s Rosie the Robot.
  2. Go to Paris again – my favorite city.
  3. See my kids graduate from college.
  4. See my kids happily married with kids.
  5. Put the sheet on the bed the correct direction the first time.
  6. Visit the pyramids.
  7. Get fired by Trump in the board room.
  8. See my bathroom counter toothpaste-goo-free for more than 1 hour.
  9. Have a good hair day.
  10. Find the scissors in the drawer where they belong.
  11. Win something. Anything! I’m not picky. The free toothbrush in the dentist goodie bag doesn’t count.
  12. Getting the prime parking space at the mall in front of Barnes & Noble.
  13. Have lunch with Larry David, Wanda Sykes, Will Ferrell and Jerry Seinfeld.
  14. Becoming Mayor of Walmart.
  15. See the night sky with all the stars like I remember seeing as a kid before giant city lights.
  16. And last but not least…

  17. Know someone with a fire truck.

OH YEAH! I get to cross off the last goal with minimal effort thanks to Telling Dad and his purchase of a fire truck! Thanks Greg!

Waiting for Rosie

For 30+ years I’ve been impatiently awaiting the Jetson-like future where kids fly to school in a personal saucer and dinner magically appears from a hole in the wall. The drive-thru window is as close as it gets.

No Rosie? Well the next best thing is iRobot.

Vacuum cleaners have a life expectancy of six months in my house due to:

The shedding dog that is living forever just to spite me.

dog

Don't be fooled. This IS his idea of being active - sitting upright. Don't strain yourself.



Constant small child disasters
messy room

Toddler Richter scale: 10 Catastrophic.
Little one (then 2) dumped the entire contents of her room onto the floor in fifteen minutes while I clueslessly cooked dinner just 10 feet away.

I’m certain that investing in a vacuum worth more than $50 is the answer.

My only concern is Rosie’s being able to move around the stuff on the floor.

roomba obstacles

Navigating the Sea of Crap, Rosie’s durability and maneuverability will be tested at Olympian levels.

Warned to allow three hours for sitting and watching it in amazement, I look forward to Rosie joining our family. By the looks of her face, I’m guessing she feels the same.

Happy Rosie

Happy Rosie...I think.

What Am I Missing on the List?

This Isn’t What I Expected | My Worst Job Ever

During my freshman year of college, I worked at Miller & Rhodes, a department store that shortly after went out of business, but that’s not my fault…I swear! The best thing about working in a department store is you get an employee discount on clothes! The worst thing is that you have to use the department store credit card to get it.

Working over the Christmas season, I netted around negative two hundred dollars.

This, however, was not the worst job I ever had. It just caused it.

Working off debt

Summer vacation arrived, and a credit card debt needed to be paid off. Talking with the local temporary staffing company, I begged for anything they had. Desperate to regain debt-free status, I enthusiastically screamed “I’ll take it!” without asking what “it” was. She tried to explain why I probably didn’t want it, but I wasn’t listening. Just give me the job! I can do anything! Ahh…the naive rantings of the young.

worst job outfit

The actual sweater was even brighter!

Figuring I would be filing papers or answering phones as usual, I borrowed my sister’s EXTREMELY bright, turquoise sweater. (See the outfit in the picture).

Fashionista Reporting For Work

Pulling up to the building, I noticed it was a very plain, brick building with a tiny sign that I almost missed. Grabbing my purse stocked with hairspray, lipstick, and gum, I took a deep breath and ventured in.

“Good Morning!” I peppily announced with a friendly grin.

My chipper voice seemed to startle the girl behind the counter, and she darted into the back.

The small lobby was disturbingly drab without as much as a picture or plaque of any kind on the wall. Strangely there was no furniture to sit on, so I had to guess they don’t get visitors.

Suddenly a stoic-looking, middle-aged lady dressed in jeans and flannel shirt appeared. I identified myself as I curiously glanced around to discover where the filing cabinet or phone system was hidden.

The Adventure Begins

Following her through a system of long hallways lined with safety posters, I suddenly felt like Dorothy in Oz. I wasn’t in Miller & Rhodes anymore.

We stepped through double doors into a cavernous warehouse which was a bustling hive of activity. The sounds of machinery and heavy smell of burning plastic overwhelmed me.

Hmmm…I don’t think there are phones back here.

You know that moment that Dorothy steps out of the house into Oz and the picture turns from black and white into color? That wondrous moment of awe!?! This was the complete opposite.

Leaving the world of color behind in the parking lot, I had entered the grey, dreary heart of a plastic bottle manufacturing plant. Still trailing my guide, I took in the sights while trying to figure out what I was doing here. Dressed in drab clothes with handkerchiefs tied around their heads, busy workers tended to the huge machines that ran the length of the building. It was the Willy Wonka of plastic bottles.

When I saw the workers’ dirty hands, I second guessed my choice of white pants, and my curled, hair spray-set hair swept back into a colorful headband seemed silly. My heels echoed throughout the endless room, and they seemed to say “Look at this girl!! HA! She wore heels!”

I was a foreigner in a distant land, and by the looks of the stares…an unwelcome brightly-colored, misplaced one.

My job

We came to a stop at the end of the metal, steaming creature, and my guide pressed a button.

Warm, empty, plastic shampoo bottles exited out of the molder and filled the assembly line. My job was to grab them off the belt and pack them 100 to a box. It seemed simple enough until I was also instructed to inspect them for defects. Any bottles that didn’t meet standards were to be thrown back into the melter. I would have practiced some basketball shooting if I’d had known because the shoot was a few feet over my head.

My gold bangles were confiscated for safety reasons, and I got right to work.

In the beginning things were fine, and I quickly packed away my first box with only a few defects returned to the melter’s shoot. Shortly after my feet began to ache from the heels I wasn’t used to wearing, and I enviously eyed the tennis shoes of the other workers and caught their snickers when they looked my way.

By box two I realized that the machine gets faster after it is fully warmed up and the bottles came pouring out. I kept losing count, and the bottles were backing up. My solution was to dispose of five bottles, so I tossed them into the melter to catch up.

With each passing minute, I got further and further behind as the machine seemed to spit them out at an ever-increasing rate. After quickly glancing to see if anyone was looking, I tossed 10 bottles for every 10 I packed. I wasn’t doing well at all. Bottles began spilling onto the floor.

Just like this…only with bottles



A whistle signaled the 10:30am break, and I welcomed the chance to catch my breath. The line was shut down, and I followed everyone to the break room. Happy to be off my feet, I sat all by myself at a table drinking a Dr. Pepper while wishing I was anywhere else. No one spoke to me, and my feet throbbed in pain. Happy to end the awkwardness, I returned to my station and looked forward to lunch.

The backup of bottles continued to get worse and worse until I was doing nothing but throwing them into the melter. I don’t remember that I even cared if anyone saw by that point.

bottle packing nightmare

During my lunch hour, I quickly escaped and drove the ten minutes home to change clothes and grab a bite to eat. My tennis shoes and jeans were a welcome comfort. I frantically scribbled a note on several scraps of paper for my mom. Something about this being a nightmare, and if I don’t return then assume I jumped into the melter.

I didn’t want to go back. Even if I didn’t get paid! However, I’m not a quitter; so my conscious drove me back even though my feet and body attempted to resist.

The rest of the day is foggy in my memory, but I do remember being surprised that they asked if I wanted to come back. Come back?!? Do this again?! Mentioning that this probably wasn’t my talent, I politely declined.

Memories best forgotten

If I had a picture from that day, it would have looked something like this:

factory workers and me

What’s the worst job you ever had?

Tell me about it in the comments. If you decide to write about it on your blog, let me know and I’ll add a link here.

If you haven’t seen the Women of Industry series from Kelley’s Break Room check them out.

UPDATE (6-29-11): I’m included in Kelley’s recent Name That Job #5 so see if you can guess the right answer about my past jobs. You already have a hint here…so it is like I gave you a cheat sheet!

Followed By Paparazzi For A Laugh

paparazzi

Ever wondered what it would be like to be stalked by an ever present camera?

Like a celebrity avoiding her latest outing appearing on the front page of The Enquirer, I’m dodging my daughter’s camera left and right these days.

Occasionally, I react by striking a pose just like the picture only it doesn’t look that glamourous. I’m missing the dress, oh and the hairdo, and fan, and something cool to lean on. The effect isn’t the same using the kitchen counter.

She’s managed to accumulate a vault of videos of me:

  • Dancing to the Kinect
  • Dancing in my seat while driving
  • Talking on the phone
  • Demonstrating stupid things – total set ups

The motive

A six figure offering is not the motivation behind this constant filming. The perfect recording of my laugh is.

The sneaky photographer walks into the kitchen where I’m cooking and tells me something funny. Not realizing she’s on the phone, I’m laughing my normal laugh. While walking away, she places the phone back to her ear and excited says, “Did you hear it?!?!”

Huh?

Apparently my laugh has become famous, and I’m left perplexed at why.

Trying to recreate a laugh doesn’t work when you are consciously trying.

I’m Now A Ringtone

Her newest creation is a ringtone consisting of my laugh. This was accomplished with her iTouch’s voice recorder while I was talking on the phone. Lovely. When I call her phone, it plays my laugh. Now I’m limited to texting for obvious reasons.

I have to guess she was using a dork filter because I’m certain it sounds MUCH cooler than…this….

(Warning turn down your speaker…all the way down is recommended.)


* Audio is Copyright 2011 and not available for replay without permission of my wonderful daughter who I’m sure would sell me off for $1 based on her recent attempt to trade moms with a friend like I’m a baseball card.

That was the edited short version. Eeeeee gads I must make people deaf on the phone.

Now that I’m a ringtone, should I be offended or take this as a compliment?

Virtual Earplugs Have Their Downsides

Living in a house with three loud children who don’t understand the concept of an “inside voice” or volume buttons on electronics, I have managed to perfect my noise cancellation skills with virtual earplugs. This enables me to concentrate on reading a book while Lady Gaga blasts from one door, game sounds burst from another, and little one sings to Dora at the top of her lungs.

Tuning out the world has become my specialty.

If only I could sell this invisible technology!

Today I realized that can actually be a bad thing when I had a mishap in the grocery store parking lot.

Loading groceries into the car, I was daydreaming about cooking a real meal tonight.

People keep finding my blog by searching "dangers of ketchup" so I made sure I included a bottle just for them. Welcome! This probably isn't what you were looking for. I am, however, curious why it is dangerous other than dropping a bottle on your toe. I have no idea why I'm buying a letter t.


All of the sudden I heard a car alarm

Complicated gadget.

I hit the lock and then the unlock button on my keys thinking it was me. The alarm continued. Complicated coding and computer work doesn’t phase me, but hand me a simple device like a car remote, and I’m all flustered.

I looked over and saw another car flashing and beeping. Phew! It’s not me.

It was really, really, really loud! O.K. Now where is that Mounds bar I got...

An elderly woman was in the car next to mine waiting for someone. Upset at all the noise, she gave me a hateful look, so I returned it with a “it’s not me” and continued loading the car.

La dee da da....taking my sweet time returning the cart.

Turning to walk back to my car, I suddenly realized the alarm was still blaring. See virtual earplugs totally ROCK!

The owner of the other car was standing there staring at me with the internationally recognizable facial expression “Don’t you know it is YOU?!!??”

Oh!

How do I turn this thing off??!! *fumbles with keys*

Oopsy!

When I unknowingly hit the alarm button on my car, a chain reaction was set off that could have possibly altered the future of mankind…or it just caused the other lady to think it was her, causing her to set her alarm off, making it a deafening two car alarm blast, and annoying the elderly lady next to me.

Total time to figure out it WAS me? At least four minutes.

*Shrugs* Virtual earplugs don’t come with volume controls.

Haute Couture by Mom

Looking deceivingly innocent.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful Moms that do special things for their kids even if they don’t appreciate them at the time.

Putting up with my antics for so many years, my mother has the patience of a saint. This is a special post just for her.

My mother has many amazing qualities and skills. She’s the real life Super Woman! Talented seamstress is just one of them, and I’m going to call her a couturier because she doesn’t just go by a pattern…she’s creative. Not inheriting that skill, I can barely sew a semi-straight line much less thread the sewing machine.

When I was little she was always sewing new outfits for me, and I was always destroying them.

Why I’m afraid to paint…

I look like trouble. 'I'm ready to mess up some more clothes!'

Living in upstate New York, I was around 2 years old and full of curiosity. Having just put the final touches on my newest outfit, my mother dressed me in it, and I was off to explore.

I’m unclear as to whether I actually remember this day or the story has been told so many times I vividly see it in my mind like a movie.

My father was painting the basement floor mint green and was hesitant to let me stay to watch. I insisted and received a stern warning that I “sit on the stairs and DO NOT move“.

Of course the second he turned his head to continue painting, I darted across the wet floor and slipped. Covered from head to toe in green oil-based paint, I was carted off to the bathtub. The strong smell of turpentine permeated the room as they desperately scrubbed to get the paint out of my long blonde hair. This might explain why green isn’t my favorite color.

Total time to destroy the outfit: maybe half an hour

Anticipating the payback that surely awaits me, I find myself a bit paranoid while painting.

Reputation for Disasters

A reputation for ruining clothes quickly developed. Flash forward to Kindergarten. Things just sort of always happened to me. Innocently sitting on a log waiting in the pick up line, I was sporting another new outfit she made. Picture 1970s long flaired red pants in a groovy paint splattered polyester material, matching vest, and white turtleneck. Total Partridge Family look going on.

Sort of like this one...only a white interior.

My mother drove up in the Chrysler 300, which I’m told was quite the stylish car at the time. My sister and I were NEVER allowed to eat or drink anything in it, and I imagine crayons were banned. The interior was kept in immaculate condition.

I jumped up…or tried to, but my pants were stuck to the log. Some effort was required to release the grip. I had been sitting in tar, and now it was all over my backside. Once she realized my predicament, I imagine there was a horrified look on her face. I didn’t notice because I was too busy staring at that white interior and wondering how I was going to get home.

Seat belts were rare to find in cars in those days, so I stood (hugging the passenger seat from behind with a grip of steel) the whole way home. Every bump left me terrified of losing my balance and falling onto the seat. The car survived the tar incident. The outfit…not so much.

Total time to destroy the outfit: one or two wearings. Oh…I did improve there.

Patches

Then from Elementary through Middle School I went through the “please don’t make me anything” phase where I trying to ruin them on purpose, but that backfired. Stacks of iron-on patches were there to save every worn knee or hole. Vividly I remember the plaid pants days of the 1970s which I never felt comfortable in. Only a 50% patch coverage would qualify for the “ruined” designation. Did you grow up with iron-on patches?

Remember the baseball shirt fad? Middle schoolers thought wearing a baseball shirt was cool! I found one at TJMaxx and was thrilled! $5!

Me: “Mom, can I have it?” I was already picturing wearing it to school the next day.

Mom: “Hmmm…the material is so thin you can see right through it. I’ll make you one.”

Me (in my head): “AAAAAAAAAAAAA!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Me out loud: “Nevermind”

She surprised me three days later with a homemade baseball shirt. The white material was so thick it was stiff and just not the same. *sigh* I wore it anyway to make her happy.

Similar scenarios played out as I settled for the homemade version of fads and just didn’t appreciate the money saving savvyness of my mother.

Prom

I felt like Cinderella.

Then came my senior prom dress and my attitude changed. I loved it.

By then I had realized that having custom made clothes should be looked upon as Haute Couture because how many people have custom dresses made? I sure didn’t have to worry about anyone showing up with my dress. Famous for last minute hemming, Mom was working on the dress as I paced the floor 5 minutes before time to leave.

Luckily there was no tar around.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!
Thanks for all the special things you did…and still do for me.
I love you!

UPDATE

Just had to share what my very excited 5 year old gave me for Mother’s Day. She individually wrapped a bunch of stuff and could hardly contain her excitement. Guess where she went shopping…

Seven more are waiting for me to open them. I feel the love – measured by the bareness of the pantry shelf she can reach.

Foods From Around the Fridge | An Epicurean Tale


Is epicurean an adjective? If not I’m using poetic license to declare it one because I just like saying it and it sounds fancy.

When avoiding the grocery store for too long has caused a state of emergency in the kitchen, I turn to the obvious solution: breakfast for dinner. This allows me to put off the trip for…one…more…day.

Living life on the wild side like this on a daily basis, I’m practically uninsurable.

Last night as I intended to whip up some eggs, pancakes, sausage and toast, I realized we were out of sugar, flour, and even bread. With very little to work with, I was up to the challenge.

Desperate times call for culinary spin doctors, and the breakfast buffet was quickly renamed and recreated.

The “Foods From Around The Frig” Buffet was born.

***dramatic pause for applause***
I’d like to embellish the experience and describe it as the equivalent of traveling the world tasting different cultural delights without the hassle of leaving your home, only it’s more of an epicurean nightmare.

The initial buffet offers were the result of the failed breakfast attempt:

  • 4 scrambled eggs – not enough to feed everyone but enough to start a war
  • 8 links of sausage – of course plenty of what no one wants
  • no bread – FAIL
  • 1 bagel
  • orange slices – bonus points for healthy fruit!

Desperate to fill in the holes, I scoured for ANYTHING to add to the feast and disguise my lack of preparedness. Digging through the pantry and the back of the refrigerator, I found these:

  • 1 cup of wilted lettuce
  • 1/16 bottle of ketchup – I don’t know what that’s for but it was a space filler and made the buffet look fancier
  • 2 Jello cups
  • 3 cheese sticks
  • 1 sleeve of Ritz crackers – slightly crushed
  • 2 slices of cheese – in their last moments of survival due to the fact that someone didn’t seal the package
  • A jar of sliced black olives
  • 1 can of chili

Bracing for the comments I was sure to receive and the 100th recommendation by my son to please go to the store before he suffers further chip withdraw, the kids appeared. I proudly motioned toward the result of my tireless efforts.

Welcome to “Foods From Around The Frig” brought to you by Tired Mom Creations

They took one look, announced “Ummm…I’m not hungry”, and left. Can you blame them?

I think I’m allergic to the grocery store.

Feel free to contact my assistant for advanced dinner reservations for Friday night. They’re going to go fast!

UPDATE 5-5-2011: Thanks to Alexandra from Good Day, Regular People for featuring me on her blog today. If I knew I was going to have visitors I would have cleaned the house and put on some make up. It’s like TV cameras showing up at your house, and you are in PJs and sporting a bed head hairdo. She is a hoot! Check out her post Never Act Irresponsibly In Front of Family Members.

Hidden Lessons in Differential Equations

differential equationsUnless you love math you probably went “Huh?” Not to worry. There won’t be a test.

This is like an Aesop’s Fable without the cute animals but including a balding professor and a lesson to be learned at the end.

I started out my freshman year of college as an Electrical Engineering student at NCSU.

Whoa! You probably thought you were at Mitch Allen’s Morpho Designs and had to take a second look because this is way more up his alley. I’ll wait while the shock wears off……….ready?…ok

It took me about 3 months to learn:

  1. I hated electrical circuits and would rather eat nails than do this the rest of my life.
  2. Drafting was fun only because of the cool tools, and I felt like Mr. Brady looking over architecture plans on the drafting table. (Explains the stick figures?…maybe)
  3. It’s possible to have a 7 average in a class and not be a star athlete (It was the notorious Chris Washburn years).
  4. Blowing up resistors and capacitors at amazing speed and quantity in lab is frowned upon.
  5. When it comes to picking lab partners, skill outweighs the novelty of being the only female in a room of geeks, so no one wanted to be my lab partner. (Due to #4)
  6. I needed to switch majors…ASAP.

Economics/Business Management with emphasis in Computer Science and Marketing here I come! Phew!

However I loved math! Despite the fact that I could have easily finished my math credits in business math, I chose to stick it out and finish the Engineering math route instead – which brings me to my final math class and the hardest class I ever took…Differential Equations.

The population of female engineering students from my perspective was…one. Me. I never had another girl in any core classes. So it was no surprise to walk into the tiny 20 desk room for Differential Equations class and discover I was the only one…again.

My teacher was a stereotypical math teacher that resembled an even geekier version of Dwight from the office but with no hair.

Dwight Schrute who I adore! Mr. D. E. Professor who I did not adore.
Dwight Schrute who I adore meet Mr. D. E. Professor who I do not.

After three weeks I was so lost and confused in the class that I resorted to a road trip across town for some tutoring from Dad, the genius that doesn’t forget a thing. He taught me a different method, and we discussed how horrible the book was.

Long story short, I went to my professor’s office to have a chat. This was the first and last time I ever met with a professor in my college career. For fifteen minutes I went on and on and on about the trouble I was having, how I learned a better method, and how useless the book was.

The rest of the semester I was a target in his class. Three times a week at 7:20am, I would sleepily plop into my seat in the front row and receive the usual sarcastic “Welcome, Melinda. So glad you could join us today,” from the professor. Constantly picked to solve equations on the board and always singled out as being the only “business major” with a “what are you doing here?” attitude, I put up with being the class outcast.

Remember the feeling when a semester is over and you can’t wait to run to the used book store and sell back the $150 textbook for $50? Money! A rare college treat!

The Revelation

Standing in line dreaming about spending the money on a delicious pizza, I all of the sudden looked at my textbook as if seeing it for the very first time. All those nights pouring over the inside chapters of maddening math problems, and I never once read the cover which said:

Differential Equations by D.E. Professor.

Moral: BEFORE ranting about how horrible and useless a book is for fifteen minutes, check the author. Especially if your grade depends on it.

OK there is a test…or more of a joke

What did the mathematician say after Thanksgiving dinner?

Hint: sqrt(-1/64)

Courtesy of my genius son who found this hysterical at 12:30am while my brain was spinning. This one is for you Mitch!