TMI. Literally.

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It’s a wonderful privilege to live in America and be able to shop freely for products that we want or need. It’s also a privilege to be able to afford these items. That being said, there are often just too many choices. And, on top of the plethora of choices, there are online reviews of almost every product; sometimes these reviews are helpful, and sometimes they are daunting.

This morning, I was shopping online for a children’s gummy multivitamin that includes enough Iron, Calcium and Vitamin D to make it worth the battle with my kids that invariably comes when it’s time for vitamins. Spoiler alert: said vitamin doesn’t exist. As I was searching, I clicked on one of the customer’s reviews of a vitamin that looked like a good possibility. Here is what he or she wrote:

“My kids like the taste of these but after I found out I have the MTHFR & MTRR mutation and became educated on the different forms of folate and B12, I will never feed these to my kids again. They contain folic acid, you want folate. Folate is easier for the body to absorb since the body doesn’t have to convert it from folic acid to folate. They also contain cyanocobalamin, you want methylcobalamin. Again, this is the usable form and the body doesn’t have to convert it to use. For someone with genetic mutations, it is very important to bypass the conversion that is not working properly.”

Insert crumply face with tears. Now, in addition to trying to find a vitamin, I also have to figure out what the fuck the MTHFR and MTRR mutations are and then decide if we all have to be tested. That’s item 86 on my “to do” list, by the way. And what are cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin? Do I need to speak to the pediatrician about this? I don’t want to do any more research! I just want a damn multivitamin. Why does everything have to be so complicated?

But it gets worse. I decide to go down the rabbit hole and read the responses to this person’s review. Because I’m a glutton for punishment. Here is the original reviewer’s second comment, in response to another person asking which vitamins he or she would recommend:

“I like [    ] and [    ]. Both contain methylated forms of the B vitamins. They are capsules, so you open them up and sprinkle the powder into food if your child can’t swallow them [My comment: if you visualize this, it’s creepy…picture an after school special about kidnapping]. We don’t do the full dose of 6 capsules either. [    ] gummies contain the methylated forms if you prefer a gummy.  If your child has never taken methylated forms, I would start with only a partial dose and slowly work up. The B vitamins, especially the readily absorbable methylated forms, can be stimulating.”

Ok. First of all, how does she know that “B vitamins, especially the readily absorbable methylated forms” can be stimulating? And why don’t I know that? I’m educated. I interact with adults offline. I take my kids to the pediatrician. Am I supposed to know all of this? It’s just too much. Second of all, I feel like I’m 50 steps behind [Note: might be a funny mom parody of 50 Shades of Grey]. I’m still trying to figure out if folic acid is the same as iron, and why exactly it’s different from folate, and whether it really matters. I might need to go to medical school just so that I can buy a vitamin for my kids. This seems wrong. But don’t I have an obligation to my kids to look into all of this? Please say no.

Now, of course, I had to keep reading the reviews because they sucked me in like a bad network drama. By far, here is my favorite review from this batch. It’s entitled “The Best (after a lot of Research)”:

 “I have spent much time researching vitamins for my kids (ages 7 and 8). [Note: I have spent one hour and I want to cry.]

First, they must be organic. Nothing added that isn’t necessary or doesn’t add value (so NO magnesium stearate, which is banned in the UK because of its toxicity–why do they use it as a filler for so many vitamins in the United Sates?). Nothing artificial.

This product contains no yeast, wheat, milk, eggs, soy, salt, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, allergens, gluten, casein, gelatin, artificial flavors, artificial colors, salicylates, or preservatives.

And it does not contain GMOs (as are readily found in corn products [and soy and papaya and many other foods now]). We need to be very concerned with GMOs (genetically modified organisms that insidiously find their way into everyday foods that we feed our family–and there is no way to know if they are in there unless the product is organic–and they ARE in about 80% of our [nonorganic] food–scary). One last thing about GMOs–they cause sterility in 4th generation rats. GMOs haven’t been around for long enough for studies to show their ill effects on us but by the time they do, it’ll be too late. Off the soapbox I go. Sorry.

In any case, no GMOs in this product 🙂

My kids really like the flavor of these. They are coated in sugar. I initially had a problem with that but I got over it because they’re not white with sugar. Plus, I roll the around in my hand before I give them to my kids. this gets rid of some of the sugar. And of course, the sugar adds to their palatability.”

Now full panic has set in. There are too many things to worry about, from this one review alone! Dear God, please send me a multivitamin that does not cause sterility in 4th generation rats. Although, God, between you and me, Earth might not be around in another 4 generations, am I right?

But back to the second review…I just find it hilarious that the same person who seems to be an expert on GMOs, allergies, and preservatives thinks it’s ok that the vitamins are coated in sugar. Because sugar makes things taste good. Obviously. But it’s also the devil. According to my doctor, studies show that sugar is more physiologically addictive than heroin. I don’t know…that sounds worse than being nonorganic. But what do I know?

After an hour of my life lost on this project, my final question for Google is “I have lost my mind–do you know where I can find it?” I bet if I asked Siri, she would have some interesting answers.

P.S. I still haven’t ordered vitamins, and I’m about to curl up in fetal position in the corner and suck my thumb. Come find me when you have a suggestion about which vitamins I should buy, preferably with a link to Amazon. Must be ✔️Prime.

A Politically Correct Love Letter

red love heart

A love letter in a time when you can’t tell girls they’re pretty, you can’t praise anyone for results or achievements, and everyone is encouraged to fail.

Dear Quinoa,

Your eyes sparkle with effort and determination. I remember the first time I glimpsed your work ethic. I felt my heart expand and my soul smile. (Side note: turned out it was gas.). I saw your mother at the food co-op last weekend and she said, “Guess what Quinoa made at school yesterday? An effort!” I was so proud. I have never known anyone who tries as hard as you, or who is more focused on the #process than the result. It doesn’t matter that you studied for 15 hours for our Chemistry test and still failed. The important thing is that you enjoyed the process of preparing for the test. When you apply to college, just let the various admissions offices know how hard you tried. They will surely appreciate your effort. Remind them that it’s about the #journey, not the destination.

Speaking of failure, I admire how often you fail. You fail, and you fail, and you fail. I will always remember opening night of the school play last year when you forgot all your lines and everyone laughed. EVERYONE. Well, you got up on that stage the next night and…forgot all your lines again! In my book, that’s a staggering success, because #failure.

Along the same lines, I love your pluck and your grit. You embody the idiom “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” At my birthday dinner a few months ago, the restaurant only had regular lasagna, not vegan lasagna. You explained to the waiter that they could make you a vegan version by using tofu instead of cheese, and ground squash instead of meat. The waiter seemed confused but promised the chef could do it. When the lasagna came out, it smelled too good to be vegan. We all knew it. But you didn’t want to ruin my dinner so you lifted a forkful of the delicious, oozy, cheesy stuff to your lips and tried to force yourself to eat it. You couldn’t do it. So you tried again. Still couldn’t do it. Even on the third try, usually a charm, you couldn’t do it. 27 tries later, that lasagna was in your mouth. I was so impressed. At the end of dinner, you gave me a ceramic heart that you had made in art class. Even though I thought it was a whale giving birth, I could tell you had a good time making it.

I respect how you’re not afraid to put people in their place. I nearly burst with pride when you stomped on Jason’s foot after he said you were beautiful. The nerve of him! You’re not beautiful. You’re a strong, capable, independent woman. Don’t let anyone call you beautiful, ever. Bastards!

I admire your dedication to the debate team. From our last few dates alone, I can tell that you’ve really enjoyed learning how to argue successfully. I look forward to our next date when you can try to argue me out of my position that kale is evil.

You are so patient and you’re a great listener. I thought for sure you were getting tired of hearing my grandmother talk about her bursitis, but you seem so interested every time she brings it up. Most people would literally die listening to her talk about it. #Literally. In fact, I maintain that if a person ever needs to get another person to divulge sensitive information, I can bring my grandmother over to talk about her bursitis. Or about how prunes soften her stool. Done and done.

In summary, you are kind, full of #gratitude, hard working and #blessed. Our bond make us more than #friendswhoarefamily, if that’s even possible. Keep trying, keep failing and keep your eyes off the prize.

In harmony,

Millet

A Little Political Satire

Inspired by and based on “What Comes Next” from Hamilton:

 

They say

It’s warm in December ‘cause G-O-D wants it that way

 

Insane

They think we should all carry guns, even inside Pre-K

 

They’re so mad

When someone has facts to support the ideas that they have

 

Now we all want to move

Winnipeg in winter is better

This is not just bigly it’s uuuuuuge

 

What comes next?

Should we leave?

Do they know what it entails to lead?

 

They won the race

Awesome. Wow.

Do they have a clue what happens now?

 

Oceans rise

Fascists fall

We must remember not to drop the ball

 

We’ll be back – 2020

When the repubs say “You’re fired!”

Don’t come crying to the Ds

 

Da da da dat da

Dat da da da

Da ya da

Da da dat da

Da ya da…

 
I’m not with Him…

 

 

 

 

 

If Thank You Notes Told the Truth

Thank You

 

Dear Betty,

I really didn’t want to write you this note, but my mother-in-law said that since you two co-chair the Spring Gala Committee at Mercy Hospital, I had to.

Generally speaking, I believe that thank you notes, with respect to gift-giving, have no place in modern society. If you hand me a gift in person and I say thank you, you have all the information you need: I’ve received the gift and I’ve thanked you for it. The end. If you send me a gift that you purchased online, you will receive an email confirmation from the company saying that the gift has been shipped. You might even receive an email saying that the gift has been delivered. I might send you a quick email saying “Gift received–thank you!” or I might not. If I like the gift, great. If not, I’ll return it.  For me, the ideal gift comes with a note saying “No thank you note necessary!” When I buy a gift for someone, I don’t need to be praised in a thank you note for my gift-giving abilities. Why do you? You should think about that. Did you not get enough praise from your parents as a child? Perhaps you got too much, and now you can’t function without it? If you’d like, I can recommend some cognitive behavioral therapists who can help you.

They say that, when it comes to giving gifts, it’s the thought that counts.  But, really, if you had been thinking about it, you wouldn’t have chosen this particular gift for Balthazar. I mean, what is he going to do with a 5-foot tall, stuffed duck?  He’s four days old. He can’t play with the duck. I don’t even think he can see the duck. And, once he’s old enough to see it, then what? What is one supposed to do with a big, stuffed duck? Moreover, the duck is kind of creepy just sitting there, tilting to one side like it’s at a perpetual Passover Seder. I think there’s a good chance that it’s going to kill all of us in our sleep. Was that your goal, Betty? Was it?

Further, to use the word “big” to describe the duck would be a gross understatement. It’s the size of a baby elephant with a severe case of gigantism.  I feel like maybe my mother-in-law asked all of her friends to buy us gifts that were way too large for our city apartment, in the hopes that we would finally give up and move to the suburbs. If that’s correct, “friend me” on Facebook and send me a winking face, ok? It can be our little secret.

I could add a phrase to this thank you note along the lines of “I’m looking forward to celebrating more happy occasions with you in the future,” but all that really means is “Please send more gifts.” After all, I don’t ever see you on any of these happy occasions. And, truthfully, I don’t want any more gifts from you; you’re a bad gift giver. I guess I could say “Thank you for thinking of Zar at this exciting time in his life.” But I don’t really mean that either because, while it was thoughtful of you to get him a gift, the gift that you selected is so ridiculous that I’m now angry that I need to figure out a way to dispose of it and also take the time to write you this note.

To conclude, what I’m trying to say is “Thank you?” Let’s agree that, going forward, we can save each other money and time by your not buying me any more gifts and my not writing you any more extraneous notes.

See ya (never),

Anna

 

 

Caught in Customer Service Hell

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If I were able to re-write this saying, it would read “One who gives charity in secret is greater than Moses.  But still can’t get Hamilton tickets.”  Read on to see why.

————————————————————————–

On Tuesday night, my husband and I were supposed to see Hamilton (you’ve heard of it, right? It’s a cute little Off-Broadway production about some senator from a long time ago or something).  I had really been looking forward to seeing the show, mostly because I had heard so many wonderful things about it but partially because I wanted to finally stop debating endlessly about whether or not I could actually allow myself to spend an obscene amount of money on two hours of entertainment.

The show was at 7:00 and I got there at 6:40.  I left a ticket for my husband at “will call” because he wasn’t there yet and I had to pee.  Couldn’t wait one more second.  I handed my printed ticket to the ticket collection man (he probably has an official title but I would just be speculating), he scanned the barcode and said “Hmmm.”  FYI, this is not the reaction you want when you’ve practically had to take out a second mortgage on your home to buy the tickets.  “It’s saying that you already used this ticket to enter tonight.”

Clearly, I haven’t, since I’m standing here handing you the ticket.

“Go to the ticket window and speak to someone there.”

I walked a few steps over to the ticket window, slipped my paper ticket through the slot and explained to the man inside what had happened.  He typed away on his computer for a few seconds and then asked “Did you print two copies of these tickets?” I had not (although I didn’t know that you weren’t allowed to do that).  He continued typing.  He then called over two more people who gazed at the computer screen, looked down at my ticket, gazed at the computer screen and generally looked very confused.

“You bought these tickets through Ticketmaster, correct?”

“Yes.”

“And you bought them on resale from someone who had already bought them from Ticketmaster?”

“Yes.”

“It looks like Ticketmaster neglected to cancel the original owners’ tickets when you purchased them, so both the original owners and you have legitimate tickets.  But they already used their tickets tonight to get into the show.”

Now, the lobby of this theater was tiny and loud, so I could barely gather my own thoughts, let alone convey a coherent argument through a thick plate of glass to the men on the other side.  Plus, Colin Quinn was standing at the booth next to me picking up his tickets, and when I pictured myself having a fit, screaming and yelling and crying and being overly dramatic, I also pictured Colin Quinn writing a skit about me and taking it on the road.  So I hesitated.  Moreover, throwing a fit (out loud) is not really my personality.  Fits are thrown in my head all day, and heads roll, but almost never out loud.  I wish I could say I was the type of person who could have said “Ok, here’s what’s going to happen.  You’re going to go into the theater, pluck the original ticket owners out of MY seats, show them to the door and gently kick them in the ass as they are ushered into an alley by your security team, because I’m not leaving here tonight without seeing this show, either from the seats I purchased or better ones.  You choose.”  But I just don’t operate that way.  I would love to, really, I would.  But I don’t have it in me.

Instead, I held back the tears, I didn’t scream and yell, I accepted the manager’s card so that I could call him if Ticketmaster gave me a hard time about getting a refund (which is not what I wanted…I wanted to see the show), and I left the theater feeling very taken advantage of and very angry (at Ticketmaster, at myself and at the bozos sitting in my seats) and I went home.  I honestly couldn’t believe what had just happened.

I called Ticketmaster from the cab and it rang busy about five times (side note: is Ticketmaster just some guy named Jeff who works out of his studio apartment on 48th and 9th? Or is it a real company? I just feel like real companies don’t have phones that ring busy.  And they also don’t issue two sets of tickets for the same seats). I finally got through to “Jeff” who had clearly been trained to handle people such as myself.  He was so calm that it made me feel worse.  How could he be calm at a time like this?  Where was the outrage?  The horror? “Jeff” said he was sorry for what had happened and that he would put me on hold for “a few minutes” so that he could “prepare” my complaint.  Why the quotation marks? Because it wasn’t a few minutes, it was a total of 45 minutes, and I don’t think he really prepared anything because when I asked him to send me a copy of the complaint or at least proof that they were doing “everything they could” to process my complaint, he told me that Ticketmaster doesn’t put anything in writing. Let me tell you what I would like to see happen: (1) I would like Ticketmaster to send me tickets to Hamilton for a show this month, the same seats or better, and (2) I would like Ticketmaster to trip and fall in the street and get run over by a mack truck.  Doesn’t matter which one happens first, although I would like to be issued the tickets first in case Ticketmaster dies from massive injuries resulting from getting run over by the truck.

On a positive note, our credit card company already refunded us and I was told that they had never heard of this happening before.  So it probably won’t happen to you.  I still hate Ticketmaster.  And I’m also thinking of finally suing someone (Ticketmaster) for my favorite tort from law school, negligent infliction of emotional distress.  Let me know if you want to join and we can make it a class action.

So that was Tuesday.

Thursday I get a charge on my credit card from Nordstrom for a pair of Heely’s that I had ordered for my daughter’s birthday.  That sounds innocuous enough.  Well here’s why it wasn’t.  I ordered the shoes a few weeks ago.  About a week later I received an email from Nordstrom saying that the shoes were on backorder.  I thought it was very responsible of them to keep me in the loop.  A week later I received another email saying that the shoes were going to be backordered for longer than expected and that they assumed that I would like to cancel my order and that, if that were the case (which it was) I didn’t need to do anything and my credit card would not be charged.  If, however, I would like to wait for the shoes, I should email or call customer service to let them know.  Responsible! In the meantime, I purchased the Heely’s from Amazon (aka my one true love, soul mate and best friend). They arrived 17 minutes later by drone, and the drone even put them on my daughter’s feet and showed her how to use them.

Thursday I got a charge on my credit card from Nordstrom for the shoes.  Irresponsible! I was really baffled.  I looked back at the email to see if I had misread it but I hadn’t. They were supposed to cancel the order if they didn’t hear from me.  I called Nordstrom today and the customer service representative said “How strange. I’ve never heard of this happening before” (Sound familiar? I’m starting to think it’s BS).

So that was today.

And finally, the ongoing Stadium Tennis saga.

I signed my daughter up for tennis lessons at Stadium Tennis in the fall.  In October she fractured her arm at gymnastics, causing her to miss five tennis lessons.  I called and spoke to Stadium about it and they told me to send a doctor’s note and that they would refund the money from those fives lessons.  That was October.  It’s April.  Ask me if I’ve seen any money from them.

I can’t even begin to detail the number of times I’ve called and emailed about this issue. They ignore all of my correspondence for weeks at a time, and then they send me a long apology email about how negligent they’ve been yada yada yada and I’m convinced that the refund will be forthcoming.  At the end of the fall session, I was told that if we signed up for the spring session (which we planned to do because we’re idiots), they would just deduct the amount of money from the spring session that they owed us from the fall session.  They did not.  And you know what they had the nerve to say when I called for the 57th time to complain? “If you sign up for fall of 2016, we’ll deduct the money from that session.” Fool me once, Stadium Tennis.

I hate you, Stadium Tennis.  I hope you and Ticketmaster go on a date and trip and fall in the middle of street and get run over by a mack truck.  But not before you issue my refund.

Now, there may be some of you out there who are thinking, “Oh poor baby…Hamilton tickets, Nordstrom shoes, tennis lessons.” Stick it.  I bet you’ve spent money on something before that didn’t pan out either.  Don’t be the pot.

And on that note, I wish you all a lovely weekend, free of phone calls to customer service representatives of every kind.

 

 

Bedtime Routines

two colorful toothbrushes

 

Not to grossly generalize (which is exactly what I’m doing), but I’ve noticed, through my own experiences and from talking with friends, that the bedtime routines of men and women vary greatly:

Women:

  1. Floss and brush teeth
  2. Remove makeup
  3. Wash face
  4. Exfoliate
  5. Apply face cream, eye cream and neck cream
  6. Moisturize
  7. Take various pills
  8. Clean mouth guard (which is needed in order to prevent teeth grinding which is caused by, among other things, the anxiety of having a lengthy bedtime routine)
  9. Think. Can you go to Hell for grossly generalizing? Is there a Hell? What happens when we die? Am I dying? Why am I thinking about dying?…Why did Victoria say that to me today? Was she trying to be mean? Or is she just insensitive? Or stupid? Maybe she was just hungry. She’s getting really fat, actually. Stop it, that’s mean! You’re totally going to Hell…Do I really have to get up at 5:30 for spin class? If I don’t go I’ll have to pay for the class anyway and I will have wasted a bike that someone else could have used. Oh but there’s a wait list! Someone will be thrilled to get off the wait list, more thrilled to have the spot than I am.  It’s settled, I’m not going.  It’s the unselfish thing to do. Or should I just go?…..Why wasn’t I invited to that dinner? Why do I care? I don’t even want to go to that dinner.  But if they ask me now I’ll still go.  Or maybe I shouldn’t.  It’s rude to extend the invitation so late!…What should I wear to my meeting tomorrow? Thank God I still work. But maybe I should quit so I can spend more time with my kids. They say kids need their parents more as they get older. Are my kids “older”?… Should we go skiing in March? There won’t be mosquitoes in Utah, right? Although there was one in our apartment last week. Maybe we should just stay home. But Winter Break was sooooo tedious. Not that I don’t love spending time with my kids.  I really do. Especially when there’s no schedule. But they really do better with a schedule. Maybe we’ll stay home and I’ll sign them up for some activities. But they’ll complain if I make them do activities. Maybe we should go away after all…

Men:

  1. Brush teeth