A Day at Central Market

“Ma’am, Ma’am!” she shouted after me. “You didn’t pay!”

I was already out of the store across the street, and well on my merry way, one finger poised on the automatic trunk opener on my key fob.

I had just cleaned off about 1.5 hours worth of time meandering through the high society aisles of organic blueberries, herbs that were still planted, and meat butchered from a cow about 20 miles west of here (probably). My almost-toddler in the cart had enjoyed some good old-fashioned fun himself, tossing nearly every (expensive-a**) thing out of the cart. I had tried to pacify him with water, but when I wasn’t looking, he dumped it into the produce aisle, where I pretended that I was going to clean it up with some baby wipes until the real professional showed up and took charge. I had tried to distract him with the convenient kids play area and slide, but some upstager had peed down it, and now our only toys were $9 heads of endives and 12 perfectly-shaped organic fresh farm eggs.

When we had finally approached the conveyor belt of almost-freedom, Augs pushed his hand as far back in his mouth as he could (new trick), and barfed his gag-reflexed food onto the tile floor and cart. “How silly!” I exclaimed, so that all the other mom’s around would know I was “cool mom.” Inside, I was holding back urching while I wiped up his mess. And there I was, tending to his nastiness while he peers over the cart and watches, when he nonchalantly kicks me in the face…hard. I gently chuckle but don’t look around. If I don’t see anyone watching me, they can’t see me.

We get close enough to the pay pod, and Augs decides he wants to use the fake pen to complete the transaction. Ha ha isn’t this fun until I actually complete the transaction myself, and we are not going to use faux pen anymore. Angered, he pinches me. I grab his little fat hand and say, “we don’t pinch mom.” I dare you to go against a command so authoritative and in charge, America. He looks at me with testing eyes, and leans his little red head towards my hand around his hand, and bares his 8 teeth as he opens wide and debates a miniature bite. He rests his teeth on my arm while I stare at him in disbelief. Meanwhile, impatient lady behind me is unloading groceries at rapid fire speed. I used to be impatient lady, but now I just laugh at her efficiency and assume she has no love in her life.

When I am finally given the receipt, you can imagine my mom joy in exiting the place. I have killed over $200, smell like barf and berries, and have lost my dignity. My mom told me that disciplining rules consist of three things: Control, Consistency, and one other C that she couldn’t remember. I sure hope it wasn’t calm, or courages, or caring, comforting, or classy because so far I’m 0/3.

So as I’m nearly to my car, I hear the sales clerk yell loudly that I have not paid. I have a new audience, an outdoors one, that all peer from behind their carts, car doors, and lunch tables to see what delinquency has taken place.

I yell back, “I did pay!” A notable defense.

I had gone through the whole transaction, and as I tried to explain to her that my son had tried to sign for me with the pen but I took it and did it, and that’s what had upset him so obviously I remember, it didn’t do any good. I approached the store, and she assured me I could leave my cart on the sidewalk and just take care of it “real quick.”

I pull Augie- the rock of 25+ pounds- out of the cart and head indoors, where impatient lady is looking like herself on steroids. I get to the machine, stammer to explain again, and am shown that I still owe money.

But I don’t have my wallet. It’s in the diaper bag, in the cart, which is now rolling backwards to the street. Cue panic! I briskly walk towards the sliding doors, kid on hip, when for the first time in the history of Central Market, the door stops dead at 12 inches open. A malfunction that caused me to cruise my left eyebrow into its metal frame, welt forming immediately. “Ohhhhh,” I can hear from several elderly ladies behind me. Instead of acknowledging the embarrassment, I slide sideways through the vengeful door in time to collect my cart and diaper bag. I pay. I re-leave.

On our second trip back to the car, we run into one of Augie’s friends/mom from music class. She tries to chat, but I let her know we have had a rough patch. She kindly says, “we all have those days!” I smile even though it pains my forehead to do so.

Sal Story: HSN + Silicone

The most infamous of the anti-HR experiences I had while working for Sal is what I like to chronicle as the “HSN Nightmares.” Here is one particular gem.

“They are so Tampa,” he said. It was my first gig at actually profiling and booking models for Sal’s upcoming HSN (Home Shopping Network) debut. I was a little surprised we were going through with the transaction, as he’s always talked about his brand as being so over and above all the other lowlife brands, and HSN didn’t exactly scream haute couture. 


Seeing as I had become the office’s shiny object right about the time the HSN partnership was built, I was handed the reigns on model casting, styling, escorting Sal to St. Petersberg, FL, maintaining the agenda, shoe samples in correct sizes, and basically helping to facilitate any and all needs between Sal and the production teams at HSN.


We had looked at model head shots a week prior, and Sal was ultimately disgusted with most of them, which only made me paranoid that I also could have a “but her face” issue. And when we met the models to pick in person (talk about pressure), he let me take the lead. 


But he couldn’t stop his own commentary later on how trashy and gross they were collectively. He was ranting to me (backseat) and a colleague (passenger seat) about how he hated Florida models, how they weren’t nearly the caliber of NYC models. He spoke of how ugly they were, but that was all we had access to in a place like this. How tragic.


And then he noted how some of them had gone overboard on the silicone implants. {insert awkward moment when two girls in their early twenties are trapped in the car with a male boss discussing female anatomy.}


That moment would have been awkward enough if he let it lie, but he didn’t. He turned to the busty passenger seat employee and stated, “C, you don’t need any of that, but Katelin could use some {silicone}.”


Then he chuckled to himself and we drove silently back to the hotel, where me and my smaller parts washed up and went to bed.

Sal Stories: The Scene at JFK

I was asked to create a timeline, an interactive history landing spot on Sal’s webpage that would chronicle his beginnings through present day. But the problem was, he was the only one with access to all of the information needed for the job given the crazy turnover. Kind of like the company org chart.

Being resourceful, I scoured the drives until I found an antiquated version probably left by some intelligent woman who had quit 10 years before me. I took the contents from this history log and began piecing them like a puzzle into an excel file. One column would hold an image, the next a kitschy title, and the next a short description of Sal or the company at that point in time. I was quite proud of my ability to manifest something with zero bones thrown my way. I shot him an email with the excel so that we could move on to the web design portion. He said he’d review it on our joint flight back from Florida.

But when we found each other at the baggage claim in JFK airport, his face was aflurry with scorn. He took to a swift walk in my direction, and began angrily waving a piece of paper above his head. A few onlookers stopped to see what was about to go down.

“You are so stupid!” he yelled. Silence in the baggage claim.

“You don’t know anything about this company, you don’t know anything!” he continued.  I calmly tried to ask what he was referencing, when he pointed to the paper that was my rough draft excel for the company history.

“You have no f****** clue! I can’t believe you work for me!” he continued. By now, there were about 25 folks who were enjoying the parade.

“You say here that Sal got his footing from Kenneth Cole back in the 80’s…” he was breathless. I was still impressed with my copywriting (got his footing…hah). I had read that Sal worked at Kenneth Cole and that’s what had launched his own career in the footwear industry. Apparently, someone had unsuspectingly remembered the story wrong.

“Oh please!” he threw up his hands and the paper went with it. “IF ANYTHING, KENNY LEARNED EVERYTHING HE KNOWS FROM ME!!!”

Boy was that a twist in the plot. Kenny?

Biting my tongue, I tried to reassure him it was a very, very easy fix as it was a draft, and that I had pulled historical content, but my reasoning was in vain. Because what I really wanted to tell him was his theory was improbable. If Kenny had been your prodige, even though you worked with him, than why does everyone in America know Kenny’s name and not yours? And why is Kenny on 5th Avenue when you don’t have a storefront?

He essentially fled the airport with his baggage (physically and mentally), yelling back at me at how f****** stupid I was.  It was the first time I had ever been cussed out in an airport. And to my amazement, the New Yorkers faded into the background the same way they had congregated just moments before.

And that’s when I learned that Sal was better than any shoe designer in the world, obviously.

What is this “Birth Plan?”

If you are a birth planner, try your hardest not to take offense. There are plenty of planner -mom-bloggers out there to appease you. Trust me.

Sometime between the generation before me and my own, women invented birth plans, to the collective delight of all OB’s. Out of curiosity, I downloaded a template. It was 4 pages long. Some of my elective favorites:

The ability to wear your own contacts.
The ability to request a mirror to see ev.er.y.thing.
The ability to feel torturous pain, or to feel nothing.
The ability to bring your own props, with a suggestion of a beanbag (?)
The ability to request props, with the suggestion of a squatting bar. WHAT IS THIS HORROR?
The ability to be in pain in whatever position you want, no matter how bizarre.
The ability to request songs at intervals (cue: Enya at hour 6 please).
The ability to walk and eat.
The ability to request a cot for your partner and/or kick him out.
The ability to dictate the fate of any little masculine parts, Old Testament style.

And this is only the tip of the iceberg of the crazy. I didn’t even get to the room temperature, light dimness, bedding, and photography. See, yes, I was thankful that the facilities were nice, nice enough to birth a baby. But I didn’t really want to be here. Planning it like a vacation felt like we would be staying a while, and I just wasn’t down with that.

I was, however, down with making my hospital bag a vacation:

Instead of this form, I decided to ask my doctor the questions that really mattered:

Q:Will I die?
A: No (I should note it wasn’t a firm no)

Q: Can you guarantee that this person’s head and body will fit through this opening…can you guarantee it 100%? What measurements do you have to go off of? Can you x-ray the skull and pelvic area so we can be sure? (this was quickly ruled out for baby safety).
A: No

Q: Will you be adding a catheter or enema to the mix?
A: Yes

Then I informed my doctor that I did have a birth plan:

Keep us both alive. And if you have to pick someone to save, pick me.

Thankfully, she had big picture vision.

What is this "Birth Plan?"

If you are a birth planner, try your hardest not to take offense. There are plenty of planner -mom-bloggers out there to appease you. Trust me.

Sometime between the generation before me and my own, women invented birth plans, to the collective delight of all OB’s. Out of curiosity, I downloaded a template. It was 4 pages long. Some of my elective favorites:

The ability to wear your own contacts.
The ability to request a mirror to see ev.er.y.thing.
The ability to feel torturous pain, or to feel nothing.
The ability to bring your own props, with a suggestion of a beanbag (?)
The ability to request props, with the suggestion of a squatting bar. WHAT IS THIS HORROR?
The ability to be in pain in whatever position you want, no matter how bizarre.
The ability to request songs at intervals (cue: Enya at hour 6 please).
The ability to walk and eat.
The ability to request a cot for your partner and/or kick him out.
The ability to dictate the fate of any little masculine parts, Old Testament style.

And this is only the tip of the iceberg of the crazy. I didn’t even get to the room temperature, light dimness, bedding, and photography. See, yes, I was thankful that the facilities were nice, nice enough to birth a baby. But I didn’t really want to be here. Planning it like a vacation felt like we would be staying a while, and I just wasn’t down with that.

I was, however, down with making my hospital bag a vacation:

Instead of this form, I decided to ask my doctor the questions that really mattered:

Q:Will I die?
A: No (I should note it wasn’t a firm no)

Q: Can you guarantee that this person’s head and body will fit through this opening…can you guarantee it 100%? What measurements do you have to go off of? Can you x-ray the skull and pelvic area so we can be sure? (this was quickly ruled out for baby safety).
A: No

Q: Will you be adding a catheter or enema to the mix?
A: Yes

Then I informed my doctor that I did have a birth plan:

Keep us both alive. And if you have to pick someone to save, pick me.

Thankfully, she had big picture vision.

High Risk Diva

By 20 weeks of pregnancy, I was on my fourth doctor. He was dubbed a “maternal fetal medicine high risk perinatologist.” He had the magic sono technology that would hyper evaluate little nugget, running through a checklist of maladies that would make any parent cringe.

His demeanor and harried look reminded me of the sort of character that might play the creator of Frankenstein. Without my wits about me and my nerves on their highest setting, I politely reminded him we didn’t want to know the gender. He brushed it off like I was irrelevant to his work. But I had been promised he was the best, albeit a bit of a loon.

He explained what things he would look for- while looking- to determine the baby’s propensity for spina bifida, down syndrome, etc.

When he panned in on the tiniest hand I’ve ever had a crush on, we could see that that “it” was giving a thumbs up sign. Just as I was about to squeal with delight, the MD butted in.

“Well….this is a sure sign of mental retardation,” he wryly said.

{Insert pause that was probably 5 seconds and felt like 5 minutes}

And much to my surprise, he started laughing.

For the record, no, I’m not familiar with the “Gig ’em Aggies” sign and thus did not get the joke at all. What a terrible human being! It hailed back a series of memories where I categorized people in ill-fitting professions.

Only a few years back, I had been standing with my brand new family who was selecting a plot of land to bury one of our most cherished members. While essentially looking for a double plot with a view, we found the perfect location. The funeral director cheerily chirped, “Well, great! We can just kill two birds with one stone.” The irony was not lost on any of us. That chick needed a new vocation.

And so did this guy. He went on to warn me that my biggest risk was making it to full term, and thus 38 weeks it would be.

When we left, my husband and I studied the sonograms over and over, until we were sure we saw a problem in that thumbs up. There was a sixth finger. Just look at it. We decided to keep quiet, and it wasn’t until he was born that we could actually vouch for 5 fingers.

El Preggo (2)

If this is awkwardly in the middle of a story for you,  read Part One here.

Through what was sincerely dubbed the “miscarriage panel,” I discovered that I had two genetic mutations, and not in the cool way that amounted to four awesome teenage mutant ninja turtles…the way that indicates you are fundamentally defunct. One was called MTHFR, which I so politely referred to as mother-bleeper, as I would have assumed it to read that way on a license plate. It meant I couldn’t metabolize folic acid, a useless building block in bearing children. Bring on the spina bifida.

Then I was given this number: Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome, or the blood’s tendency to clot. The rush of oxygen needed to get to the baby triggered the blood clotting, which cut off air, and amounted to the bad reruns of the previous summer.

And as a cherry on top, B and I have opposite blood types, dubbed the “RH Factor.” Albeit an easy fix with a shot in the butt (how can I count the ways…), my body would undoubtedly attack the fetus at some point for having the opposing blood type.

I was to alert the doctor immediately if I fell pregnant again. This is how they say it in the UK, as I know from all my forum-hunting.  As it turns out, I couldn’t even out-hypochondriac myself on this one.

Regrettably I took the test on a Friday night (day 25 for you other nuts out there), when NO DOCTOR’S OFFICE is open. How very stupid of me.  To kill time, I went to the State Fair, ate corndogs, and was practically running two-a-days to keep my blood moving for sanity’s sake.

Fast forward to 7am on Monday, and there I was at my doctor’s office getting pawned off to the local fertility clinic, where I was pale-faced learning how to inject a cartridge of Lovenox into my stomach. I was to do this every single day of my pregnancy at the same time each day, or else.  I came in 4 times in the next two weeks to measure my hcg levels. Then at six weeks for a sono, then at 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13 weeks. They told me I was probably going to have a baby. They told me not to fall or get in a car wreck as I would probably die of blood loss. I figured nugget and I both had equal odds and went on my merry way.

I had to psych myself up every morning for the shot. Sometimes I would pretend that I was in some sort of mortal combat game and that if I didn’t administer the shot right then and there, we would all die. Sometimes I stood in front of the mirror for five minutes faking it, like a pool player. Sometimes, I would put down the shot, walk away, come back, and pretend I had no idea what was coming. I was so clever. I ordered a heart rate monitor with jelly so I could obsessively listen in on my little person, freaked that I was going to stab it. The first and only time I ever forgot the shot, my husband randomly texted me a question about it that reminded me, letting me know that heavenly homeboy was looking out for nugget.

The bruises started mounting and I would count them as my battle wounds. I learned to avoid veins and arteries at all costs, which if you’ve ever been pregnant before, is like throwing a dart at a road map and trying to hit countryside. Perhaps a little more than you bargained for- but here is a glimpse of a normal day. And yes, thank you for asking, I do regret that eyebrow-ring-in-place-of-a-belly-button-ring I so loved in high school. Every.single.day. RIP fab and white trash stomach.

At least 3x at work someone would usher their hand toward my stomach with a…”ummm, something…ummm” and I would have bled through my shirt from that morning’s shot. As it turned out, blood thinners are incredibly good at what they do. I Amazon-primed my way through bandaids and cotton balls.

I called the doctor one day in tears, sure it was game over. I was bleeding! She told me to calm down and measure quantity over the next two hours. It was an hour before a well-placed mirror proved a shaving nick on my upper thigh was the culprit (thank you, thinners). I gave up shaving; it was too dangerous. I could see the obit now… “she was just trying to groom her fat legs.”

{more to come}