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Willkommen To The Melting Pot

, , , , | Friendly | November 14, 2022

I was at a scenic overlook in Hawaii with my family and noticed a group of foreign tourists attempting to take a selfie, but there were so many of them that they had trouble fitting everyone in the frame. I walked over and mimed taking a picture with a questioning look on my face, indicating that I was willing to take the picture for them. They agreed in a flurry of what I was pretty sure was German. I know a very, very little bit — so tiny it barely counts. I framed the shot and used my incredibly limited German to let them know I was ready to take the picture.

Me: “Eins, zwei, drei!”

(One, two, three!)

I took a few pictures and handed the smartphone back. The group thanked me.

Tourists: “Danke!”

This was followed by lots of rapid German.

Me: “Uh… um, no sprechen.”

They responded in confused German.

I began counting off on my fingers.

Me: “Eins, zwei, drei, vier, funf, danke shoen, bitte, ja, nein… sprechen… kaese spaetzle…”

(One, two, three, four, five, thank you, please, yes, no… speak… a type of German noodle dish.)

They all laughed at my incredibly tenuous grasp of their language. Then, they took pictures of my group in exchange, and we all went our merry ways.

Her Insides Will Be Nicely Moist

, , , , , , | Right | September 23, 2022

I am shopping at a popular members-only warehouse store that is known for giving samples of food items. It’s 2021, so they have recently stopped this service for sanitation reasons.

On this trip, I am very surprised to see a booth up and running. I go over, only to find out that it is for a rejuvenating hand lotion. I decide to try it since the staff member seems happy that someone has walked up, and I am delighted with the fact that the lotion smells like gummy bears, so I decide to listen to the sales pitch.

Partway through, another member comes up and picks up a cup.

Member: “What is this?”

Employee: “It’s hand lotion; it moisturizes your skin. I was just going over it with this young man. The product uses an all-natur—”

The member then licks all of the lotion out of the cup and swallows it!

Me: “Ah!”

Employee: “Weh!”

Member: “Hmmm, yeah, I, uh… I wasn’t supposed to do that, was I?”

Employee: “I’m going to go ahead and call 911.”

Member: “Appreciate it.”

All Baby Birds Deserve Love!

, , , , , , , , | Healthy | March 18, 2022

My daughter’s preschool class was taking a field trip to the Honolulu Zoo, and I went along to help chaperone. It must have been preschool day or something; at least half a dozen other schools were there, too, and preschoolers were everywhere.

As our group was walking toward one of the exhibits, I spotted a baby bird on the pathway, where it was in imminent danger of being trampled by four-year-olds. Having recently learned that birds do not abandon their chicks for “smelling like a human,” and, in fact, few birds even have a good sense of smell, I gently picked it up and moved to it to a grassy patch under a tree on the side of the path. I would have left it alone were it not in immediate danger.

We had only moved to Hawaii a few months prior, and I was curious what sort of exotic-to-me tropical bird it might be, so as I was moving it, I had my daughter’s teacher take a picture. As the bird still only had downy feathers, I couldn’t really tell what it was.

I got home and emailed the picture to the local chapter of the Audubon Society and awaited a reply. In the meantime, I looked through a bird book. Maybe a young cattle egret? A peachick? It wasn’t long before I got a reply.

It was a rock pigeon — not even a tropical pigeon, but the grey pigeon you see in just about every city.

That was nowhere near as exciting as I’d hoped, but at least the bird didn’t get trampled.

Great! Now We’ll Have To Put Up More Signs For Customers To Ignore!

, , , , , | Legal | February 25, 2022

I was asked by my friend and his father to help them move across Waikiki from one apartment to the other. They had reserved a fifteen-foot truck but neither of them could drive — my friend doesn’t have a license and I believe his father was injured — so I was asked to be their driver. I wasn’t looking forward to navigating downtown Waikiki with a fifteen-foot-long rectangle, but I agreed under the promise of dinner.

We arrived at the local truck rental dealer and encountered an employee outside. He gladly showed us the truck we were renting and ushered us into the building to do the paperwork.

Midway through, this happened. 

Agent: “Oh, I don’t have the keys.”

Me: “Oh… maybe it’s in your dropbox?”

Agent: “No, I just got all the after-hours return keys. I bet the woman before you left them in the truck. I’ll be right back.”

The agent left and was gone for all of three minutes before he burst back through the front doors like a tornado, knocking over an innocent hand truck on display. 

Agent: *Grabbing the phone* “THE TRUCK IS GONE!”

All Three Of Us: “What?!”

Agent: “Someone stole the truck! She left the keys in it! Hello, police, please!”

We had to wait until the agent finished reporting the vehicle as stolen. We found out later that the previous renter DID, indeed, leave the keys in the vehicle, and a random passerby jumped into the truck and drove off while we were doing the paperwork. 

We ended up with a nine-foot-long van instead of a fifteen-foot truck because that was all they could offer us now that our intended vehicle was on a joyride across God’s creation. The agency waived a ton of the normal fees, discounted the base rental, and threw in that hand truck I mentioned earlier for free. 

I enjoyed the maneuverability of our cargo van, and navigating Waikiki’s congested and narrow streets was much easier with a “normal” vehicle; however, without the extra space, the move took eight trips back and forth across the city instead of the one we were hoping for.

It Takes A Village… Minus That Nurse

, , , , , , | Healthy | September 21, 2021

My husband and I had been trying for another baby for a few months when I finally got a positive pregnancy test. I called the OBGYN office and booked my first appointment, expecting it to be like the first appointments for my other two children where we previously lived: a physical exam, listening to the heartbeat on an in-office Doppler machine, addressing any concerns that might be revealed in the exam, and some counseling about healthy habits during pregnancy.

However, the appointment turned out to be just confirming the pregnancy, using the exact same sort of urine test you can buy in dollar stores (which I’d done at home). I wasn’t able to get an appointment to be seen for an exam until several weeks later, too late for any early genetic testing; it’s lucky I wasn’t planning to have those, given my family and personal history.

And for extra fun, when I gave the nurse my urine sample (in a paper towel-wrapped cup), she took it, stared at my two- and four-year-old, sighed, and asked with disdain, “If this comes back positive, are you keeping it?”

The office didn’t offer abortion services. Why would I have come if I were seeking that? If they had to ask about my plans for pregnancy, why do it so bluntly, and with the impression that three is too many kids for someone to have? It set the tone for all the rest of the pregnancy visits, wherein I was treated like a nuisance and a hassle. I was very happy to move in the eighth month of pregnancy and have my third child in a more welcoming environment — one which includes a few childfree-by-choice aunts and uncles who said I could have an extra child or two in their place.