Boarding School It Is!

, , , , | Related | February 19, 2021

I have two daughters; as such, we do have our share of pink decorations and toys at home. 

As a man, a house full of unicorns, fairies, and glitter wouldn’t be my first choice, but it’s their home, too, and we keep it tidy-ish, so it is perfectly fine.

My brother-in-law doesn’t have kids, and despite all obvious visual, physical, and historic clues, he thinks of himself as some manly bloke’s bloke.

Brother-In-Law: *Smirking* “Nice unicorn. Is this yours?”

Me: “No. No, it’s not.”

Brother-In-Law: “I wouldn’t have all this stuff in my house, you know.”

Me: “You wouldn’t let your kids have toys?”

Brother-In-Law: “Well, I guess they could keep it out of the way, so I didn’t have to see it.”

Me: “We try not to lock the kids away all day when they are playing.”

Brother-In-Law: “I’m not saying that; I’m just saying that I wouldn’t have it in my part of the house.”

Me: “We don’t have parts of the house; we live in one house. I mean, why wouldn’t we want them with us? I just don’t—”

My wife interrupted me as she could see I was getting irritated. He would often give us his opinion or advice about parenting, despite not being asked or having any clue about children.

He eventually had children of his own, and wouldn’t you know it? His house looks like a toy shop.

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A Rollercoaster Of Emotions

, , , , , | Right | February 18, 2021

I’m a ride operator at an amusement park. Most coasters require a height of 4’0”. It assures that the rider will be safely secured through the ride. A little girl comes up with her mom and I notice that she’s extremely small so I kindly ask her to exit the train before take-off and stand against the measurer to make sure she’s riding safely.

Me: “Hey! Could I have you take a quick stand against the post here to check your height?”

Mother: “Don’t do it.”

She looks away from me.

Me: “Hmm, all right, ma’am. I’ll just need to measure her to make sure it’s safe for her to ride. Otherwise, I can’t let the train take off.”

Mother: “I said no! Get out of my face!”

It’s 104°F out, I’m in full “cowgirl” attire, and I’m just trying to get through the day. I’m sweaty, I’m tired, and I’m annoyed. I have my dispatcher release the hand bars and everyone sighs. The woman pulls hers and her daughter’s back down. Again, I have them released.

Me: “Ma’am, we can do one of two things. I can measure your child and we can move on from this, or I can shut down the coaster, call security, and have you escorted from the park.”

Mother: “Get off the d*** train, go stand on your tippy-toes like I told you, and hurry up!”

The child is very visibly about a head too short to ride.

Me: *Talking to them both* “I’m so sorry, but it doesn’t look like you’re quite tall enough! We can have your adults take turns and I can help by getting you in through the exit to a ride of your choice that you can safely ride!”

My life flashed before my eyes and all I saw was the child’s mom jumping out of the train and straight at me. She grabbed my hair, started yanking on my suspenders, and screamed like a wild woman. I had to literally kick her off of me for trying to keep her kid safe!

Eventually, security got there and pulled her away and escorted her out… through the employee back lot. I’d say I was surprised, but it’s even more surprising how many people put their kids at risk for a short ride.

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Because Dad Jokes

, , , , | Related | February 15, 2021

Dad: “Do you like New England clam chowder?”

Me: “No.”

Dad: “It’s good.”

Me: “I don’t like seafood.”

Dad points at the sandwich in my hand.

Me: “This is turkey.”

Dad: “Yeah, but you see it. See-food.”

Me: “…why?

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Of Chemically Unsound Mind, Part 2

, , , , , | Right | February 14, 2021

My bookstore has a waist-high wooden counter to hold the registers up, and in the front of it, little cubby holes for various impulse buys. There are panes of glass over that so, should a customer look straight down, they can see those little $5-or-less baubles and maybe make a last-second addition.

I loathe those panes of glass. They are impossible to keep clean. In an hour, the things will have accrued coffee rings, greasy fingerprints, and various other little germy smudges. We have to put in a lot of effort to keep these clean lest the next customer gets coffee on their nice, clean, brand-new books.

Enter a mom and her kid.

The kid is initially standing patiently and quietly by Mommy’s side. But he is JUST tall enough that his lips can wrap around the beveled edges of the glass and suck on it like a pacifier. Maybe the texture or shape is appealing to his mouth… or maybe Mommy should have weaned him a bit earlier than the tender age of ten.

Me: “Oh, sweetie, please don’t put your mouth on that. We clean it with Windex and Clorox. You don’t want to swallow that stuff. It’ll make you sick to your tummy.”

The child stares me straight in the eyes and continues to suck on that tasty, tasty glass pacifier provided especially for him. Mommy is chattering obliviously on her phone, still trying to pile more books in front of me, but she seems to be unaware that I am not ringing AND that I am talking to her son.

Me: “Kiddo, please don’t suck on that!”

I shoo him backward, but the kid is clearly determined. He backs up two steps, and as soon as I ring the first book, he comes right back and latches onto that thing like a nursing baby. 

I stop the transaction in its tracks, move the books, and wipe off the glass with the dripping Clorox wipe that’s wafting enough chemical fumes to make my eyes burn. The smell makes him beat a hasty three-foot retreat from the counter.

Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but this glass isn’t sanitary. I can’t, in good conscience, let your child put his mouth on this any longer.”

The woman stops her conversation as her eyes start to burn from the cloud of Clorox fumes. 

Mom: “Do you have to do that now?!”

Me: *Bluntly* “Yes. For the third time, this glass is covered in chemicals, and your child was putting his mouth on it. I now have to clean the glass again because he slobbered on it.”

She wags a finger in a limp-handed way.

Mom: “[Child]! Don’t put your mouth on things!”

I made the glass surface gleam wetly with a thick layer of corrosive liquid. Then, I paper toweled it dry, of course; after all, there was a line, and we could not wait for the glass to dry on its own. Now, we had a cloud of Clorox fumes at the registers.

Worth it, in my opinion, as this was finally enough. I wonder if those “no chew” sprays for puppies would work on a kid.

Of Chemically Unsound Mind

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Screw My Kid’s Safety!

, , , , | Right | February 12, 2021

I used to work as an operator in a theme park. Each ride had a “you must be this tall to ride” sign at the start of the queue and every operator had another measure near the entrance. Naturally, people ignored it and tried to get their kids on the rides anyway. I always made sure to check all the kids that were close to the height requirements.

One day, I was working with the chair swing roundabout when I saw a family standing in the line. The mother was carrying her son in her arms. The boy was clearly too small, but I still asked her to let him stand so I could check his height. He was at least ten centimeters (almost four inches) too small. I told the boy and his mother that, sadly, he was too small for the ride. The mother protested a bit, but she left with her son without making too much of a fuss, while the rest of the family boarded the ride.

I made my round to check if everybody was secured — everyone was — and started the ride. 

Once the ride was done, I heard crying and I saw the small boy getting lifted out of the ride by his father! Apparently, the mother had handed the boy to the father while my view was blocked during my round.

I was seething, but because it was busy, I sadly never got the chance to chew them out for disregarding almost all safety protocols just so their little boy could not enjoy himself and cry.

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