Monthly Archives: June 2009

>Death took a vacation and followed a star map.

>My brother called last night. This is the message he left:

Now, as sad as everyone is for Michael, Farrah, and Ed, I feel bad. I don’t feel sad for them.

I’ll start with Ed. Ed was an older man who had lived quite a massive life. I’m not going to expand on everyone’s accomplishments because everyone else is so I’m sure you have read it elsewhere. He was respected widely and people liked him. Later in life, especially in the past few years he began to have financial and legal troubles. I think he was ready to go. My grandmother says that once you get to her and Ed’s age, that you are kind of ready to go. Most of your friends are dead. Your parents are dead. Sometimes, your children die before you. It’s tiresome. I think he was ready and relieved.

Farrah Fawcett was an actress and a very passionate woman. The past few years for her were a struggle. In addition to battling Anal Cancer, she also watched the love of her live and her son battle drug addiction and each other. She tried desperately to find a way to a cure. She traveled to different countries and looked for alternative treatments.

She made a documentary on her struggles through Cancer. She shaved her head reather then let the chemotherapy take it from her. She fought hard and I respect that. I hope that her death was like falling asleep after a hard day.

Finally, we come to Michael Jackson. I feel sad about his death because he is just little younger than my parents and a tiny bit older than my boyfriend. I worry about my mother even though she’s healthy as a horse and pretty much seems invincible. I worry about my Dad becuase he has had a liver transplant and that’s not really ever a sure thing. I worry about my grandparents, mostly because my grandmother’s are determined to tell me that “you never know” and that they could be dead and any moment. I’m literally convinced that that will never happen. It’s childish to believe that all of my family will live forever, but that’s where I’m at.

Michael had a crazy life. He had a sucessful career with his brothers and then on his own. He was married though it seemes everyone thought that was strange. He was accused of skin bleaching, but claimed he had Vitiligo. He had a series of plastic surgery mishaps. He had children and named them all ofter himself. He was accused of child molestation. He had everything he had ever wanted in a physical capacity, but I don’t think there is a doubt in anyone’s mind that he was still desperately searching for something.I hope that Ed, Michael, and Farrah all are resting in peace, or traveling to the next place, or starting their new lives.

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>How to leave a voice mail message.

>This blog post is obviously about phone messages. As the person who gets here first every morning, it is my job to check the messages. This morning I had 18 messages. Here’s a breakdown:

  • 11 were people hanging up after the tone.
  • 3 were messages that I was able to understand.
  • 1 was so rapid fire and mumbled that I listened to it three times and hoped for the best.
  • 2 were only phone numbers shouted into the phone.
  • 1 was a person yelling “ARE YOU KIDDING? I THOUGHT THIS WAS A BUSINESS!” into the phone.

It has become blatantly obvious that the majority of people on the planet are not clear on what makes for a successful voicemail message, so I am here to tell you. You could think of me as the voicemail messiah, but I think that might be a little blasphemous, even for me.

Step one: If you are calling you should leave a message.

If you are calling with a question or concern, I WANT to help you. Your question might seem silly to you, but if you need an answer it’s not silly. I want every customer to feel confident and comfortable.

Step Two: It’s all in the details.

When I call you back, I want to make sure I have your account pulled up and some basic history. It saves everyone time in the long run. At the absolute least, you should leave your name, your phone number, the reason you are calling. This is the best way to make sure I can call you back quickly and get the right person.

Step Three: Keep anonymous comments to yourself.

The voice mail inbox is not the place to anonymously air your grievances. I can’t help you because you haven’t given me the tools to solve the problem. I can speculate that you are one of the other callers, but I can’t make that assumption and address the issue. If you have a problem you want solved, you have to assume that I WANT to solve it and give me the opportunity to do so.

The Rise of Reason:

You might be saying that this is all common sense. I would have to say that I agree with you. I can tell you from experience that most people just don’t think these things through. I have people who wait ten seconds and then leave a message. If you know why you are calling you have all the tools you need to make a good message. Here’s a good message example:

“Hello. My name is Courtney Schoenfeld. My number is 727-555-1234 and I am calling to ____.”

In the blank you should state your purpose.

I am calling to:

  • Check on the status of my order.
  • Discuss my account with you.
  • Ask a question about [a product or service offered by the business you are calling.]
  • Clarify something I read on your website.

If you follow these steps to voice mail success I think you will have a lot more of your calls returned and many more of your issues resolved.

>Why I am not a mommy blogger and other things of little use.

>I have seen a huge influx of Mommy bloggers lately and I am not one of them. I like some of them, like @redneckmommy whose blog nearly kills me with laughter. Others, who shall remain nameless, are complete idiots who make me feel like slapping them.

Aside from the fact that I have never felt compelled to limit myself to mommy or woman blogging, I just don’t fit the mold for either of those things. I don’t hang out with other mom’s and very often I find myself being shunned by the parents at my son’s school. It doesn’t help that my ex-husband is on the board and his new wife (who I love and am very grateful for) volunteers at the school all the time, while I work 12 hours a day and am not very social at the best of times.

My son’s birthday party was last week. It was at a bowling alley because both of my children have developed a bizarre need to bowl and have their birthday parties at bowling alleys this year. The party was good and the kids had a great time, but the mommy’s and my son’s teacher converged to one table and drank beer while the kids bowled. I hung back with my ex mother in law, a really cool couple and their toddler daughter, and my ex-husband’s wife’s parents.

These “mommy’s” are just bitches. Even his teacher, who was nice to me throughout the year, wouldn’t talk to me. I said “Hello” and she said “Hi” and immediately walked away. I’d like to say I don’t mind, but I do. I don’t mind for my own sake, because I’m used to it at this point, but while my kids don’t notice now, I bet they will later. Half of the women have terribly obnoxious children who I want to smack whenever they speak disrespectfully to me. I don’t understand this attitude that they have. I know that my kids don’t live with me full time or even half time. I’m divorced, that happens. It doesn’t make me any less of a caring parent. I don’t say all the nice things that these ladies like to hear. I have a brain and nothing in common with them aside from the fact that I have had children. Once we get past the birthing experience, I got nothin’.

I sat there and felt frustrated and out of uniform. The ladies, every one of them, wore capri pants and pastel tank tops with little shoes and wedding rings. I wore my standard jeans and fitted T-shirt and sneakers. I’m perpetually single. I date, of course, but marriage is not happening any time soon and even if it did, I wouldn’t be one of these ladies. They are these bizarre kind of Stepford wife clones.

My mother often says, “Why can’t you be like other girls?”

Short answer, Because I am not other girls.

I have this crazy thought that my life and the lives of the people who are taking care of them when I’m not will create a balance in the lives of my children. I hope that they see that people are all different and that it’s not a totally bad thing.

I hope that the differences in our political and religious beliefs create a balance too. They are what I would consider incredibly right wing conservative. I am not. They consider my WAY liberal. I consider myself a fan of the law and a thoughtful person. I hope that our children are exposed to all of our schools of thought and are able to make an informed and intelligent decision when it comes time to do so.

As far as the other mom’s go, I guess I can be happy that I have my youth. I also don’t drink or smoke for the most part. I don’t have food guilt at all. I don’t worry about my weight. I don’t cry myself to sleep most nights. I don’t have to be anything. The best part about being me is that no matter what I do, no one is going to look any further down on me.

>Courtney Visits IKEA or "Oh! I LOVE THAT!"

>Last Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny and with a glimmer of glee. It would be my first trip to IKEA. I don’t really know if it should be typed Ikea or IKEA, but after my visit IKEA seems to be correct.

We started out with a visit to Starbucks on Gulf to Bay, in Clearwater. My friend was trying to decide if he should join Sam’s Club or Costco, so we sat having Mocha Frappythings and trying to determine which club carried the Holy Grail. Uh, Pardon me. I meant we had to figure out which store carried Nestle Quick since that’s all he cared about. Costco won the war. We were there. He joined and got his Nestle Quick. We then went on the Costco sample tour which included two B-12 Supplements (1 sublingual tablet and one liquid fizzy drink,) three Acai drinks, several food items, and the worst thing I have EVER tasted, Salad in a cup. (Salad in a cup is actually juiced lettuce.) I was pretty hyped at this point, thanks to over indulging in B-12 and Acai, and suddenly I was in love with EVERYTHING. My poor friend was laughing himself silly. He couldn’t take it anymore when I fell for the backyard bridge and was envisioning myself in a backyard production of Romeo and Juliet, so we ventured on.

IKEA is located in Tampa. On the drive over I pondered what it would be like. The general response from people “IKEA… SQUEEEE! YOU WILL LOVE IT!” My friend and I discussed it before we arrived, but he basically said that it was big and that I’d see it when we got there. We pulled into the parking lot. It is so huge that they have parking people to direct you to emptpy spots. We parked near the back, but that’s the best place to get the full view. Holy SNAP! This place is BIG.

We walked in. You are asked to not take a cart because you will wander through the showroom first. ALWAYS, follow the arrows. This keeps you safe and not lost. We headed up the escalator and it began. “OH! I LOVE IT!” I said it so much that by the time we left my throat was raw. They have furniture, utensils, storage solutions, dishes, plants, pots, and pretty much every other thing that your little heart could want for your home.

They have bookshelves filled with books. The books are all in a language that I am going to assume is Swedish. I thought they would be fake books, but upon picking one up, I found them to be real (and very funny.)

All of the items have funny names that often have to do with their function or the room they are meant to be in. This one was for a light that went in the bathroom. Way to keep it classy, IKEA. (My kids are gonna love this.)

After you think you just might die from looking at more home items than you ever wanted to look at in your natural life, you stumble into my favorite section of the store. The cafeteria. Yum! I ordered the Swedish Meatballs with mashed potatos and Lingonberries. I drank Lingonberry juice. It was so good. The Lingonberry is everything the cranberry wishes it was. Also, I call it the Klingonberry, because it makes me laugh. The food tasted good, but it was not hot enough. It was barely lukewarm.

Bob had the Lox plate. It looked and tasted wonderful. He’s a good guy, he let me taste his food. I would have gotten the lox, but I was starved and it didn’t look filling. Paired with the soup and Garlic bread they offer, I bet it would have been just right.

To end our meal we had their chocolate cake. It was highly reccommended by another shopper. We liked it. It was more mocha than sweet chocolate, but it was a good end to a meal. I would have taken a photo of it, but we kind of scarfed it before I had a chance.

After our lunch we went back down the escalator to the self serve portion of the store. At this point it is acceptable to grab a cart and fill it up. I ended up buying a set of little cups, a doormat, a pot for my fully recovered mother’s day plant, and an ice cube tray for heart shaped ice (for the kids, I swear!)

I did love it, but IKEA is not a place where you can pop in and out. IKEA is an adventure. You really need to devote several hours to pawing around and figuring out what you want and how things work.

>What the effing crap? That angel guy just felt me up.

>This made me laugh.