This girl…

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First Day of Elementary School

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Elementary School Graduation

We’d been preparing for my daughter’s graduation for months. As I drove her to school, we would discuss the particulars: what she should wear, the fact that she should – for this very special occasion – actually comb her hair, etc. Most importantly, I apologized to her in advance for the fact that there would be ugly crying. I explained to her that it simply couldn’t be helped. She would have to avert her gaze and pretend that her mother was not disgracing herself in the audience with racking sobs and snot streaming out of her bright red nose.

Nothing went as planned. The dress I thought she would wear was too small for her. I pulled a dress out of my own closet and it fit her perfectly. She put on a pair of my ballet flats and they fit perfectly too. When we stood back to back, I realized she had snuck past me. My ten year old daughter is now about an inch taller than me.

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It was only a week before her graduation when I realized I would not be able to be there. I broke the news to her in the car as I drove her to school one morning.

I’m so sorry, I’ve got some really sad news. I just realized that I’m going to have to miss your graduation because of my conference in Denver, and I’m absolutely devastated!

I never realized until that very moment that it’s actually possible to hear and feel someone grinning from the back seat.

My husband texted me photos of the graduation as it was happening. I stood transfixed in the middle of a busy Expo Hall as the photos came through one by one. People rushed around me, politely averting their gaze, as I stood there staring at my phone with big fat tears streaming down my face.

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Married to a Brit

My husband has been trying get his British passport renewed since August. It turns out that it’s a beastly process that can take donkeys’ years. First, he had to obtain an affidavit from a fellow British citizen who had known him for at least two years, and who was “an acceptable..professional person, such as a policeman, religious minister, doctor, teacher or engineer.” Said person would have to attest both to his good character and to his likeness on the back of two photos, which had to be “professionally printed and 45 millimetres high by 35 millimetres wide.” Here’s a chart giving further guidance as to how the photo should look:

Let’s set aside the needlessly snarky reference to the young man’s knit cap as a “fashion hair covering,” the fact that sweet little toddlers are being referred to as “dummies,” and that elderly women are being asked to wipe the grins off their faces. It was the application form’s general tone of condescension that really rankled my husband:

During his long and protracted struggle this photo appeared in his facebook feed with the comment, “A contender for the 2013 Max Weber Award for MOST CONDESCENDING BUREAUCRATIC FORM. Just in case you were tempted to submit a doodle in the entirely BLANK Section 7 of your UK Passport application…”

His uncharacteristic use of CAPS told me that things were quickly going pear-shaped.

He began to question whether or not he was even filling out the correct application form. He rang me up to vent.

Which form do you suppose I should fill out? The one that says: ”Application for a U.K. passport or the one that says ”Application for a U.K. passport for overseas customers?”

Uhhh, the one that says “Application for a U.K. passport for overseas customers? I ventured timidly.

WRONG! he bellowed in my ear. What a total load of bollocks! he muttered angrily before ringing off.

That night he tried to ring up the customer service help line for further clarification. He had to press 1 for domestic customers or 2 for overseas customers. Three times in a row, he was connected to the domestic help desk, even though he pressed 2. They kept suggesting that he was punching the wrong number and declined to help.

What happened next made my blood run cold. I knew his knickers were well and truly in a twist when I heard him end the call by snarling in a cheesed off, het up, stroppy, and downright shirty voice that was absolutely dripping with bile and venom: “Have a splendid day!

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Logorrhea

I am marking the occasion of my 111th post with a list of fabulous words that all have something to do with…words!

The first ones on my list all have to do with being too verbose, something I could easily be accused of after seven months of posting:

logorrhea/logomania – excessive wordiness

graphorrhea/graphomania – excessive writing

prolixity – excessive wordiness

If you were to drop some of these words into a casual conversation, you might be accused of being:

sesquipedalian, or using overly long, highfalutin words

And finally, a word that could be used to describe the act of writing a personal blog:

omphaloskepsis, or navel-gazing