Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Monday, February 09, 2004


Oh yeah, in spades.

I don't know if it's winter or the moon or bad mojo or what, but all of the kids were in an incredibly evil mood this weekend. I am having my own little competition to see whether my hair will turn completely white or my brain explodes from their shenanigans.

Sunday, Oldest was screeching all over the house before church and came downstairs and started yanking at the kitchen chair to pull it out from the table--"Hey, watch your temper, ma'am." "I! DO! NOT! HAVE! A! TEMPER!" Nice--real nice. I just held out my hands while shrugging my shoulders and asked her what she thought trying to kill an innocent chair and screaming at me indicated, if not an ill-temper. Of course, having to deal with logic always makes her even angrier. I keep getting told that this is just a phase, but I see adults acting the same way. If she doesn't grow out of it, please believe me when I say she was taught better.

Saturday was long and frustrating, too. Reba got back early from her jaunt up to the church building with the older two, so I was tasked with going back to Burlington Coat Factory (Not Associated with Burlington Industries) to pick up the chest of drawers we found last week.

Get there and park, walk in and go to the furniture department. Wait. Wait. Look around with a look of a person who is looking around for someone to assist him. Wait. Some woman comes by and knocks a shirt box off of a display onto the floor across the aisle. She looks down and gives a diffident little chuckle and WALKS AWAY. (See what I mean about people?) I step over and get it up out of the floor (and from the looks of the store, I am the only person, either customer or staff, who has EVER picked anything up out of the floor) and put it back on the display.

I wait some more and some guy comes slowly ambling down the aisle with his oversized Adidas windbreaker and gigantic baggy multi-pocketed blue jeans hanging off of him. He paused at the service counter for a moment and picked up a product binder. He put it away with the others. Ah-HA! This must be an employee, which I should have guessed by his disinterest and lack of attention to a potential customer!

"Do you work in this department?"


"I need to get a chest, please."


Wow! Indifferent AND a sparkling conversationalist!

I took him around to where the sample was. He studied it, then got the tag off the top and wordlessly made his slow way back to the computer. He tapped. Click. Tap. Tap. Click. He got up and mumbled that he had to go upstairs.

I gave him a big "Thank you!" He disappeared and I waited some more. Looked at the baby furniture. Watched a couple of folks picking out stuff. "Is there anyone in this department?" "He had to go upstairs for something, but he should be right back." I knew it was a lie. Five minutes, ten. I sat down in the weird cushy chairs that looked like they had been repaired with cast-off spare parts. Finally, I heard the tell-tale squeaking of a pair of hand trucks and he whizzed by without stopping. I jumped up and followed him--gee, for someone who moved so slow before he was rippin' it up now!

I finally caught up with him and he shoved the tag at me and said, "Go get in line and giv'em that." Okeedoke, big boy.

Found a fast moving line and paid and motioned for my attentive assistant to follow me. Then I had to go get him. And wait until he finished talking to the cashier.

Got outside and asked him if he wanted me to pull the van up to the door. "Uh-hm."

Be right back, Sparky. Got the van up to the door and popped the hatch and stepped around to help. Finally got a look at the box and noticed that the top edge appeared to have been run over by a herd of bison. Now, having spent a large amount of my life taking back boxes of assemble-it-yourself case goods which were damaged, due to not carefully noting the condition of the container beforehand, I decided that a box in this condition probably needed some further examination before I shoved it in the van and drove all the way back home.

"Uhh, I don't mean to hold you up, but would you mind if I opened the end of this box and looked inside? The corner of the box is all bent up--see?--and I don't want to get it home and have to bring it back if it's damaged inside."

"Hm. Yeah, whatever."

Guy's a real James Earl Jones, that's for sure. He stood there impassively as I flipped open the end of the box and dug the flap out and took off the piece of styrofoam and--yep, sure enough. One corner of the lovely faux cherry finished medium density particle board had proven itself non-bison proof. "Oh, okay, look here--see?--one of the corners is broken. See?" I leaned it over so he could see. He looked.


"Well, were there anymore upstairs from where you got this one?"


He wheeled around with the box of lumber and rolled back inside, displaying for the first time since we met some emotion other than utter passivity. Unfortunately for the poor fellow, it seemed to be sheer rage.

I stood there waiting at the back of the van, vainly trying to stay warm, wind whipping around me. Wait. Create traffic jam. Keep facing doorway so everyone will know I am waiting for someone who will be right back. Wait. Ten minutes pass--I can still see the box inside where he left it beside the service desk. I wonder if I need to go inside. Wait. Get the keys out of the ignition, just in case. Turn on flashers. Wait. Wait.

He finally comes back out the door, without a box or hand trucks. "You need to come in here."

"Did y'all not have another? Was the other one damaged, too?" I just KNEW I was going to have to either order it or go somewhere else.


No-bleeding-WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!? He brought me to the service desk--as I had seen, there was the original box. We stood there, and he finally got the lady's attention at the register whom I had the pleasure of meeting about twenty minutes earlier. "Hey. He got this thing here and opened it and it's damaged. Do he have to go back through the line, or what?" The woman just looked at him for a second as if she couldn't quite believe what she was hearing, then said, "No, baby, just go get him another one!" "He don't have to go through again?" "No, just go get him another one!" "Leave this one here?" "Yes, leave that one here and go get another one."

He disappeared again. Another five minutes pass and he brings back another one, this time with the BOTTOM end covered in hoof marks and buffalo dung. I told him I was going to open this one, too, but he wasn't listening to me. The top was fine, but I feared what the bottom would look like. THANK HEAVENS, it had a big hunk of foam on the bottom and the glued-together splinters were in fine shape. Come along, my good fellow, and let us haste to the vehicle!

I helped him pick the box up, and I hoisted my side over the sill and placed it down on the floorboard as he ever so gently dropped his end, almost waiting long enough for me to get my fingers out of the way. I thanked him for his kind assistance, but I don't think he heard me because he was already clanging in the door with his hand trucks.

Nothing like prompt and courteous customer service, I always say.

NEXT: Assembly required.

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