Thursday, July 19, 2012

McDonald's Day Spa

I've been suckered.

Suckered into empty calories, weight gain and not even any fun doing it.

Yesterday my children had their regular dental checkup. Since I have to tell them at least six times to brush their teeth before they actually do it every morning and night, I am always dumbfounded elated when they actually slide off the dentist chair with a "no cavities" report.

This appointment was no exception. Only thing is I forgot that in the past when they got a clean bill of health, I rewarded them (truly it is to celebrate my own ability to escape a brush with financial death via outlandish dental rates for fillings).

I was at a loss as to what the reward should be - but my daughter rattled off things I'd done for them in the past and I had little to no recollection of these fine rewards. But they probably happened. There's only so much available space in my brain for memory nowadays, so some information doesn't make the cut.

Since it was Wednesday, the obvious choice was "Waffle Cone Wednesday" at TCBY. Okay, so we waffle cone it.

Then upon returning home I discover there is a YMCA Family Picnic in the evening - complete with hotdogs, drinks, bouncy playsets, games and prizes.

I tell my kids about it and my son says, "Oh! That could have been our reward!"


Really wish I had reviewed my calendar earlier.

Then after seeing the forecast for today, I was trying to rack my brain for activities we could do that would not involve having to be outdoors in 105 degree heat, but also avoid the fighting and screaming that naturally occurs between my children when they must stay home and (heaven-forbid) share space.

When a friend made mention of going to McDonald's playland this afternoon, I thought that was genius. An indoor playground seemed perfect.

Of course you don't get in without buying something first, so I caved to ice cream cones.

Only to open the door of the play area and gasp.

Guess what? McDonald's play area is NOT climate-controlled.

That's right. McDonald's now offers a sauna experience.

Seriously thought I may pass out.

All I could think of was how I'd been SUCKERED again.

There I am: ice cream running down my hands, shoes sticking to the floor, and aghast at the temperature in that room.

So we wolfed down our ice cream milk and the kids started to play.

Within five minutes my oldest son looked like he just came from running 40 minutes on the treadmill. Sweat drenched his shirt and hair.


We didn't stay long for two reasons:

1) I left an air conditioned home for this? Foolishness.
2) My children were more interested in watching the large television screen than playing.

Guess what? We have a TV at home, too. And it's not in a sauna.

We pile back into the van and head home.

So while my kids watch television, I mope at the annoyance of ingesting high-calorie treats TWO DAYS IN A ROW all in the name of summer.

I know, I know - you're thinking, "Geez, Max. No one was holding a gun to your head to order yourself those treats."

I understand that. I take full responsibility - well, almost - for my gluttony.

I really need to work on that.

Meanwhile, I'll go back to my policy of avoiding McDonald's at all costs, and scheduling dentist appointments on days when we're doing something fun anyway.

And maybe my waistline will find its way back to where it belongs.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Job Satisfaction

I just returned from a week-long trip to Orlando, Florida. While the trip was a welcomed retreat from the daily grind, it also made me appreciate the roles I play as mother and writer.

Because there are a lot of rotten jobs out there.

It could be argued that I am simply not wired to be employed by the service industry, but here is a list of a few jobs I witnessed this week that I am incredibly grateful never made it on my resume:

1. The security guard on the airport tram. While the work is probably incredibly easy and was probably even kind of fun the first 30 times the tram scooted along the track, by the end of the day I would be so sick and tired of going back and forth on a little train car that I would very likely come home and burn my copy of "The Little Engine That Could."

2. The golf-cart driver at the hotel. In the same vein as #1, this job would be excruciatingly monotonous. He or she drives a golf car back and forth between the hotel and the parking garage. Tips are probably minimal and the urge to for once take a new route - maybe barreling through the picturesque bushes in front of the hotel - would probably overcome me. I'd be fired so fast.

3. A concierge. I think the boredom alone would kill me. As I walked by and saw the woman behind the counter leaning against the wall, twirling her hair with her head cocked to the side, her nonverbals screamed, "I am so bored I may crawl onto this counter and fall asleep." Any job that leaves me staring at the clock waiting for my shift to end does not appeal to me in the least.

4. Vendor at a major league baseball game. I commend the ones who at least try to make it fun and develop a little whistle or chant to sell their goods, but at the same time they have to haul this heavy tub packed with ice and glass bottles up and down, up and down, up and down, collecting crumpled, dirty bills from a variety of - shall we say 'colorful' - customers while annoying everyone else with their loud shouts of "BEER HERE!" My back ached just watching them traipse all over those stadium stairs. If I had that job, I'd pray for a line drive to strike me in the head and knock me out of my misery.

5. Security guy at a major league baseball game. If that isn't the dopiest-looking job I've ever witnessed. Sure, I suppose it gets interesting if anyone starts a scuffle or attempts to run onto the field. But there was nothing of the sort happening and so the extent of their job was to sit on the edges during game play and at the change of innings, walk out onto the field to stand boldly as if they were just waiting to take someone out. Personally, I thought they looked silly walking out the field. I didn't get the point of that. It almost appeared as if they wanted recognition for being there at all. Just stay by the wall, dudes. We know you're there.

6. The guy who picks up garbage off the beach. To be honest, I am a little envious of his handy-dandy pick-up tool. I wouldn't mind one of those myself. And there's something to be said for having a job on the beach, but since beach go-ers are apparently synonymous with litterbugs, the job is intense. The beach is a mess. That's right, beach bums: you ARE bums for trashing the place. Find a trash can for crying out loud. I felt particularly sorry for the guy since the night before there must have been a fireworks party so he had a considerable amount of additional debris to pick up. That would make for a long, hot day.

7. Virtually any restaurant server in a tourist trap like Orlando, Florida. That's customers from around the world - speaking every language known to man - plopping down in your section and you're hoping against hope that you don't interpret something wrong and mess up the order beyond repair. And contrary to what one would think, vacationers are not always relaxed and easy-going. Nope. Not the job for me.

8. The cabana staff. In theory, this sounds great. Poolside. Probably good tips. Relatively simple - just deliver foods, drinks and towels, right? But when the heat index is 102 and you're wearing a thick polo shirt and khakis, it loses its appeal quickly. How they resist the urge to go dive in the sparkling pool waters is beyond me. I don't know how I would handle that temptation when sweat is dripping steadily off my body. Not well, I suspect.

Now there were a couple jobs I observed that I would deem quite a privilege. For instance, the elevator voice lady. I want that job. I might mix it up a bit, though. Instead of the general, "Going up" -  I might put it in the form of a question: "Going up?" Maybe make them think a little - that maybe, just maybe, they'll feel they need to respond or they may end up going down.

Also, I wish I could say I designed an airport. Not that I want to put in those kinds of endless hours, but to have a brain that could actually make sense of that kind of complex information would be pretty awesome.

But hey. It's good to be home. Because my "work" gave me three huge hugs when I walked through the door.

Now that's job satisfaction.