Banished

Let me tell you a story…

Once upon a time there was a very nice, law abiding, outdoorsy man who wanted a new pair of binoculars for his 40th birthday trip to Colorado. So naturally, he made his way to the Bass Pro Shops website. He thoroughly researched a gazillion binoculars and cranked opened his wallet (which can be difficult for this nice fellow as he is also quite frugal) and chose a fancy-pants pair of Vortex binoculars. Lordy, Lordy look who’s 40…right through some brand new, crystal clear binoculars.

The binoculars, however, were on backorder. But “have no fear!” the Bass Pro Shops customer service agent said. “We will send them from a third party!” she said. The man was happy.

When the binoculars arrived, they did not appear new. There was tape on the box as though they had been previously gift wrapped. The packaging just didn’t look right. The disappointed man hardly even looked at the actual binoculars because he was too suspicious of the used appearance of the box. He paid for new binoculars, and dang it, he wanted new binoculars.

So he decided to return the binoculars to Bass Pro Shops and that’s exactly what he did.

He explained precisely why he was returning them. He didn’t have anything to hide. He had them in his possession for less than a day.

First, he asked to exchange them for another pair of the same binoculars. But they didn’t have another pair.

Then, he asked if they could ship him a pair that would arrive before his trip. They said no.

So he left the store with no binoculars, and his money refunded to his credit card.

Now apparently, after this nice man went home and reordered the exact same pair of binoculars from another store, someone in the Bass Pro Shops binoculars department decided to do a binoculars check.

Guess what. The binoculars the man returned were not the right binoculars. In fact, the binoculars he returned were only worth about 20% of the price of the ones he actually bought. There was a reason the packaging was suspect. The expensive binoculars he thought he was buying were switched for a low end pair of the same brand. But he was most definitely not the switcher.

So you know what Bass Pro did? Well, they called the law.

And about two weeks later, the law called the nice man on his way to pick up his daughter from gymnastics.

The fuzz told the man he was being investigated for felony grand theft. They thought HE was the binoculars swapper. The case was being referred to the state’s attorneys office. They would decide whether they would put out a warrant for his arrest.

The man was incredulous. He explained the story to the police investigator. He offered to show receipts and vehemently denied switching the binoculars. BECAUSE HE DID NOT.

**This is the part of the story where the narrator breaks in to give a little perspective a la the Burl Ives snowman in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer…

This man is not a scam artist or a criminal of any kind. Pretty much his only brush with the law involved a rolling stop off of I-680 in San Ramon, California circa 2009. He is a straight-laced, regular guy who, if we’re being frank here, can afford to buy his own binoculars without trying to scam Bass Pro Shops. He doesn’t have a dishonest bone in his giant body.

This man also has a serious love of the outdoors and some relatively expensive hobbies. The amount of money he has spent at @bassproshop in his adult life isn’t exactly chump change. He’s been a devoted customer for over 20 years. When they opened a store in his town, he was thrilled. He made almost weekly trips to the store during hunting season. He had a customer loyalty card for crying out loud. He had racked up beaucoup rewards dollars. Bottom line: he was an EXCELLENT, LOYAL customer for two decades. Now back to the story…**

After the worried man sought the advice of legal counsel, and a rather short investigation was carried out, police cleared him of any wrongdoing. There were no charges filed. No duh.

But Bass Pro Shops didn’t care that the police said there was no case. They did not care that there was ZERO evidence to show he was trying to pull off a binoculars scam. They would not let a suspected binoculars caper get off easy. Not even one who was a loyal, long time customer. No way, Jose.

So you know what they did?

THEY BANNED HIM FROM BASS PRO SHOPS FOR LIFE.

They told him that if he stepped foot into a Bass Pro Shops store, he would be trespassed and could be arrested. He would no longer be allowed to buy merchandise from Bass Pro Shops. NOT EVER.

They didn’t even have the decency to tell him he was banned until a gift card he purchased online didn’t show up for his dad’s birthday. When he called to investigate, they informed him of his lifetime banishment from Outdoor World.

So, this man, being the law abiding citizen he is, has not since shopped at Bass Pro Shops. Ain’t nobody got time to be thrown in the clink for buying deer corn.

His wife, however, was never accused of being a thief. She, too, has relatively expensive outdoor hobbies. So she sometimes placed orders in her name. A few times it worked.

Until it didn’t.

She ordered some hunting clothes and boots for her child who ASKED SANTA FOR THEM.

Why do they still patronize that store, you ask? Well, the nice man doesn’t because he’s not allowed. But the wife does because finding hunting clothes for girls isn’t all that easy, and when Santa is asked, Santa delivers.

Until he doesn’t.

The order never showed up. The man’s panicking wife called Bass Pro Shops to ask where her kid’s clothes went.

Wait for it…

She is banned too.

FOREVER.

They connected Bonnie to Clyde. The jig is up.

Their money is no good in Sportsman’s Paradise.

So RIP Bass Pro Shops. You are dead to them. Hope it was worth it.

**And to the a-hole who actually DID swap those binoculars, I hope 100 mangy cats die under your house after they have soaked every surface of it with pungent kitty piss. Oh, and also I hope you miss every shot you take at an animal you look at through those fancy-pants binoculars you stole.**

The End.

Leggings

Since we all know by now that I don’t mind stirring up a little controversy like elections and flags and whatnot, I have something I need to discuss:

Leggings.

First of all, I will always remain staunchly in the L.A.N.P. camp.

Leggings are not pants. I mean, I guess if you’re 20ish with a super cute patoot, leggings can be accepted as pants. But if you’re 40ish and pushed a couple kids out and you don’t have a top covering at least 40% of your boo-tocks then leggings are not pants. You will never change my mind. Sorry. We can still be friends though.

But, you guys. I do not GET leggings. I’m quite sure I must be missing something. Because I freaking hate them.

Do they smooth out the squishy donut I permanently wear around my waist after giving birth to two children? Why, yes they do.

Do they make me feel like a boa constrictor is trying to squeeze the jelly out of that squishy donut? Also, yes.

I don’t understand the cult following of leggings. I find them about as comfortable as pantyhose or a pair of Spanx (which is to say NOT AT ALL COMFORTABLE). No one likes pantyhose in 2018. And as much as we love them for their miracle shaping, ain’t nobody gonna tell you they feel cozy in a pair of air-depriving Spanx. How, pray tell, are leggings any different?

Can you imagine an 80’s lady coming home from a long day workin’ 9 to 5 (what a way to make a livin’) and saying, “man, I can’t wait to take off these pleated pants, throw on my favorite L’Eggs pantyhose and enjoy a Virginia Slim while I watch Dallas”?

Didn’t think so.

So why are 10’s ladies, being like, “geez what a day! I can’t wait to get home and put on my favorite Lulu leggings and enjoy a glass of Pinot Grigio while I watch Fixer Upper”?

Like I said…I don’t get it.

I don’t even wear leggings to the gym. Ever. I routinely wear shorts when it’s 30 degrees and give no figs at all. I can’t bear hot, sweaty Lycra sticking to me and clawing at my waist like demons trying to escape hell while ALSO enduring the torture of something like 10 one minute all outs on the treadmill. And that’s to say nothing of the complicated underwear situation, but I won’t go there.

But today, I ran outside and it was a tad chilly so I squeezed my biscuits into a pair of leggings.

It does feel nice to be all sucked in while jogging along the trail, I’ll give you that. The jiggle reduction gives a sister a little confidence boost for sure. I can see the allure of not having thighs rubbing together while you run.

But dude. When I got home I couldn’t peel those chokers off fast enough. The sweaty stickiness and tight constriction makes me feel kinda panicky. Like I’m David Blaine trying to get out of a locked box under water before I run out of air. I actually sighed with relief when I got them off my body.

So this begs the question…WHY ARE LEGGINGS CONSIDERED LOUNGEWEAR???

When I’m lounging, I require loose, breathable fabric. Keyword here being LOOSE. I need for my bottom wear to barely be able to remain on my hips. My belly needs to be unencumbered by elastic, buttons and any other type of securing device.

In case you aren’t picking up what I’m putting down, I really just can’t with tight waisted clothing of any kind (add this to the long list of things I just can’t with like man buns, chewing sounds and kid slime).

Am I wearing the wrong KIND of leggings? I know I’m wearing the right size. Trust me. But are there magic leggings that don’t squeeze? Because pantyhose and Spanx make me cranky and give me gas and the same can safely be said for any leggings I have ever owned. I can’t be the only one who feels this way about this current wardrobe phenomenon.

So what am I missing?

Inquiring minds want to know.

I Say I Want a Revolution…

This family has a mantra that’s been repeated at least a thousand and forty-seven times since 2006-ish:

Different mom, different rules.

That’s the only reason I give when asked “why does so-and-so get to do that and I don’t?” or “why is so-and-so not allowed to do that and I am?” Different mom, different rules. End of story.

So before you read any further, please know I do not judge your parenting choices. Please do not take offense to what I’m about to say. You do you, Boos. I am no sanctimommy. You may totally disagree with me and think I’m bat shit crazy. I’m okay with that. It’s kind of a little bit true anyway.

That being said, I wish to start a revolution of sorts.

I want to bring back flip phones.

Dumb phones.

Whatever you call them.

I’m talking tiny telephones, not palm sized computers. Bring those babies back.

Full disclaimer here: my almost 13 year old seventh grader has an old “phone” with no service that basically works as an iPod on WiFi only. She is not allowed to take it out of the house. I have strict parental controls on it with a home device that controls it from my phone. She has no access to Safari. She has no access to YouTube. Just in the last couple months we have begun to allow her to text a select few friends with rules for that too. And I read every single one. As much as I sometimes want to relocate to a remote Amish community, I’m not totally against all technology.

However, I am nowhere near ready to give this precious CHILD a hand held portal to hell. AKA: a smart phone.

There are myriad reasons I could provide for why I don’t believe my child is ready for a smart phone. Here are a few:

  • Internet. Because…internet. You can’t unsee it and you can’t undo it. Period.
  • I don’t want her main form of communication with her peers to be by text. I want her to develop appropriate interpersonal skills, nurture her friendships and learn to resolve conflict in real life, face to face, not on a screen.
  • I don’t want her to become a self-obsessed selfie taker altering and manipulating images of herself trying to look “perfect” and become consumed with her appearance.
  • I want her to live in the moment and enjoy her life experiences for what they are and not for the purpose of what other people will think of them. I don’t want her to do things just for the “share value”.
  • While she is navigating her social-emotional awkwardness, I want to spare her the embarrassment, heartache and permanence that comes from poor choices displayed for an audience before she is too young to use proper judgement. And also to spare her the hurt of being the victim of someone else’s poor choice.
  • I want her to learn how to make meaningful, real life conversation rather than shooting off texts that can be easily misinterpreted by others. Young kids don’t fully grasp the nuances of virtual communication and so much can be lost in translation.
  • I want her to learn to love herself before she enters a world where kids (particularly girls) get confused and start seeing themselves through the eyes of their peers through a screen.

I could go on and on. But I won’t. (By the way…social media is a whole different animal and not today Satan).

Look, guys. I get it. I totally get that whether it be for reasons like a two household family, sports practices, after school transportation, maintaining friendships in previous hometowns—whatever it is—there is a desire to be in touch with our kids and our kids to be in touch with others. This is especially important in middle school when they are gaining a little more independence from us but we secretly still want to hold their hands in parking lots. I UNDERSTAND. I’m with you on this completely.

But hear ye, hear ye:

That. 👏🏻Does. 👏🏻Not. 👏🏻Require. 👏🏻A. 👏🏻Smart. 👏🏻Phone.

And here, my friends, is the revolutionary solution:

Dumb phones.

We can do it, y’all. It’s not too late. And here’s why:

WE ARE THE BOSSES OF THEM.

We are grown-up adults with fully developed and functioning frontal lobes who make financial and other decisions for our children. There is power in that. And there is power in numbers.

We are a village. And when we stand together in solidarity WE CAN MAKE A CHANGE. We can choose not to give in to our kids’ desires when something is not in their best interest…even when it disappoints them. We are entitled to that by the power vested in us by GROWING THEM IN OUR BODIES.

I am not in the business of parenting to make my kids happy all the time. If you don’t believe me, ask them. I’m sure they would love to tell you. It’s hard to be the mean mom. But you’re damn skippy I will be wearing the Meanie Beanie for the long game.

This is a hard parenting stage—so much harder than I thought it would be, frankly. I’m trying to navigate this and who the hell knows if I’m doing it right? I can’t ask my mom for advice on how to parent this phase. This is a generational hurdle she didn’t have to clear. I feel like I need a parenting coach. Is that a thing?

I am lost because much of the time, I feel alone. I feel like I’m the only one who wants to turn this bus around. I can’t do it by myself though. I damn sure think it would be easier if I had a posse of moms who, like me, want to normalize the absence of a smart phone in a middle schooler’s hand.

In essence, my goal is to somehow bust the smart phone bubble. I know this is all a little pie in the sky. I have no idea how to do this or whether it is possible. But if enough of us say we’ve had enough, maybe we could take it back to the 00’s when we called people to actually talk, took a couple grainy pictures of our pets, and sent a few quick messages in T-9 word here and there. It’s worth a shot.

Let’s make flip phones great again. I’ll go first. Who’s with me?