Please, don't leave me unattended.
Hey guys! I have been on the fence as to which post would be my next. I'm sure you all are wanting to hear about how the dreaded Picture Day 2019 went. I just can't bring myself to share Christmas pictures the week before Thanksgiving though so you'll have to wait just a little while longer for that one.
Turns out, making the tough decision of what to post next coupled with being sick causes some serious writer's block. Who knew? I'm actually still recovering from bronchitis. I haven't felt too bad though. My biggest problem was for the first time in my life I had lost my voice! At one point I had nothing left but the softest whisper. Imagine dealing with Vivian, my dramatic three year old daughter, only being able to whisper. Don't worry though, not only did I survive that experience but I thrived in it! I should have lost my voice forever ago because for whatever reason Vivian felt it necessary to whisper back to me the whole time. Talk about heaven on earth!! A whispering Vivian for a few days was just what the doctor ordered. I should just keep whispering from now on. It has an amazing affect on her. At one point, even Matt and Benjamin were inadvertently whispering back. It was amazing and highly recommended. Give it a try at home and let me know how it turns out. So after some thought, I figured now was the time to share with the world the story that is probably the most notorious from Wain Manor. If you are friends with me on social media you might just remember this one. Who am I kidding? How could you forget this one? Frankly, I wish you'd ALL forget this one but Matt gets enough mockery on this blog, so I guess it's about time that I had my fair share. That's right guys. There will be zero Matt mockery on this post. Heartbreaking I know, but the man is spending his weekend precisely hanging Christmas lights, one-by-one, on the house for his O.C.D. Christmas freak wife. He deserves a break from mockery... only for this post though! For this post we are going to go back a bit to August 2018. My second cousin was getting married down in Maryland and my son Benjamin was to be the ring bearer.
If you follow our lives much at all you'll know that Matt and I use up every single vacation day that Matt gets. Thankfully, he has a great job that gives the option of, in total, up to 20 vacation days each year. We happily use every single one. 2018 was no exception and being the planner that I am I had our vacations booked well before 2018 had even arrived so when news of my second cousin's wedding came, vacation days were all accounted for already. No worries though, Matt and I know how to take advantage of every moment and we're really not "too good" for any type of chaotic travel. Seriously. One year we flew to Missouri late on a Thursday night, landed at 1am, got a rental car and drove three hours to our hotel, arriving at 4am, with our then 8 month old and 2 year old in tow, to spend three days with some of my closest friends before driving the three hours back to the airport and flying home. We're crazy, I know, but Matt and I love traveling and taking adventures and we're not about to let these little tax deductions stop us. We're making family memories whether it kills us or not! The wedding was on a Saturday night but the rehearsal was on Friday afternoon followed by the rehearsal dinner that evening. I was a nervous wreck worried that Benjamin, who was three at the time, would not be the cooperative little ring bearer I hoped he would be. You see, Benjamin is a lot like me. He's very timid and shy until he's comfortable and then he can be a real big goof ball. So I knew I had to have Benjamin at the rehearsal. So we planned that I would drive down the five hour or so drive with my parents and the kids on Thursday morning and and Matt would drive down late Friday night after work.
I found an awesome hotel with a pool that was in the parking lot of a large mall so I had plenty of options of things to entertain the kids with on Thursday and Friday, all within walking distance so my parents could come and go freely with their van without worrying about us needing a ride. It was a perfect plan.
We arrived as planned on Thursday around lunchtime so once I got us checked in I walked the kids next door to the mall to get some lunch and let them run off some energy at the mall's playground since they had been in the car all morning. My parents stayed back at their hotel for some rest. The walk to the mall was a bit strenuous since there were a surprising amount of hills for a giant parking lot but I was excited to see my activity circles complete on my fancy new (to me) Apple Watch as I worked up a bit of a sweat pushing that double stroller. In the days before leaving I had put out on my social media a "help me I'm old and technology challenged" post asking what the point of an Apple Watch was to figure out if that was something that could be a positive addition to my life. I had a lot of friends respond but I still found myself asking google, "What does an Apple Watch Do?". Then my awesome sister-in-law shows up at my door with her Apple Watch that she never really used for me to have. How awesome is that? I mean, has your sister-in-law ever given you an Apple Watch on a random Tuesday??? So I was excited to put it to use this trip. Once we arrived to the air conditioned haven that is the Arundel Mills Mall we headed straight for the food court for some lunch and then to the playground. As a mom, is there really anything worse than sitting at the playground surrounded by other kids and their parents? It just feels so judgy and unnatural. I sit there the whole time trying to look as busy as I can 'cause there is nothing in this world worse than small talk. I take that back. Picture Day is worse than small talk but small talk comes in at a very close second. I really hate small talk though...especially with other moms. Look, I'm not mean, I just have all I can take of dealing with mom stuff on the day-to-day in my own home. I don't want to compare labor stories or recommend Pediatricians or hear about the latest and greatest food allergy plaguing this generation. I just want to sit and stare in peace letting my mind wander to such a dull space that I find myself contemplating when at the movie theater which armrest is technically yours. So unless you're bringing to the table top foodie restaurant recommendations or any type of travel talk, please just smile and move on to the mom next to me 'cause I can nearly guarantee she's salivating for fresh new mom dialogue.
So once I had my fill of policing my kids at the playground and dodging other well-meaning moms starved for conversation, it was my turn for some fun. I strapped those kids in that double stroller, plopped in their laps soft pretzels the size of their heads and began to just stroll the mall window shopping while still contemplating movie theater armrest etiquette. Hindsight, I should have just stayed in purgatory chatting it up with all the moms, 'cause that would have had a much better result than what happened next for me. Brace yourselves.
At the mall was a Bass Pro Shop... yup, some of you guys know exactly where I'm going now...stop laughing! My kids know that Bass Pro has a giant fish tank so they requested to go see the fish. Seemed like a simple enough request to me so in we went.
After losing 30 minutes of my life looking at catfish we start to head back into the mall, first stopping in the center of Bass Pro where they have all the candy, snacks, & really cool hot sauces. On Christmas Eve, my family does a White Elephant exchange for funny yet practical gifts. A really funny hot sauce involving an outhouse designed package caught my eye so I stopped to consider if that was worthy enough of the White Elephant gift. I was standing there looking at this hot sauce that I was contemplating buying for far too long. I mean I was ridiculously deep in thought considering I was only deciding on buying a bottle of hot sauce not a house, when all of the sudden this man comes walking pretty fast paced directly towards me & the kids. I saw him out of the corner of my eye and with the urgency he was showing I immediately thought that this must be an employee and my kids must be about to break something that was within their reach from the stroller. As he came closer I finally looked up at him and could now see that he was saying something but I couldn’t hear him. I was really thrown off and it happened so quick. Before I knew it this man had bum rushed me and the kids. I was standing behind the stroller so I was a little nervous that he was coming up on my kids first with the stroller between us.
As I took a closer look, mind you this is all in the matter of seconds, I noticed in each hand was a package of snacks and he was holding them out towards me & the kids. Upon first seeing the whole picture I was quite confused and thought maybe he was giving them to us. I thought maybe he was an employee or something but he seemed far too aggressive and abrasive to be an employee. I mean he kind of seemed angry. So he’s rushing faster towards me getting closer and closer but I still can’t make out what he’s saying and I’m getting really uncomfortable. He’s now right up on me, bypassing the stroller which I was happy about, but he's standing much closer to me than I cared for while holding these snacks out. I’m like what is going on?? Then I finally could hear him. Hear, not understand. So he’s now right up on me holding out these packages of snacks muttering something I just couldn’t understand. As he spoke more I picked up that he seemed rushed more than anything else, not angry like I first perceived him to be, when he was literally bum rushing me speaking very intensely, so my defenses came down a bit. Very quickly after really taking him in, I realized he was speaking some sort of Arabic and he appeared to be a practicing Muslim. He was frustrated as he was trying to find the English words to speak to me. He keeps trying to speak to me but I was getting nothing-I’ve never been good at charades. Finally, I’m not even sure what he actually said or did for me to understand, but I picked up he was trying to ask me what the snacks were he was holding. So I grab the package in his one hand & flip it over to see the front. I was horrified. I kid you not, it was pork rinds! I’m sure I looked like I had just seen a ghost so I say, “pork”. I really thought he’d understand. Nope. So I keep saying “pork” over and over like he’s suddenly going to learn English in the seconds that have passed. Not the case. So then I change to “pig”. Still nothing. So I just start saying, “No, no, no” over and over.
I'm not getting anywhere. So I say, “No! Pork!”, he repeats back “pork?” questioning it. Ugh! So then he points to the fish in the Bass Pro logo that’s on the package, as if he’s asking if it were fish since there’s a fish on the package. So I say, “No!!”. I realize there’s only one thing left to do.
Please sir, don’t make me do this...but he did. There was no other option. So there I am, a white woman, standing in the middle of Bass Pro of all places, the quintessential stereotypical redneck's super store surrounded by tons of people.... wait for it..... oinking at a Muslim man. Yup! Not just just oinking, no that’d be too easy, but also sternly saying “no” between the oinks.
After what feels like a century he gets it, throws the package on the hot sauce table, and then he holds out the package in his other hand. *why do you hate me, God?* It’s a different brand of pork rinds! So there I am again “oinking” at this poor Muslim man. So he throws that bag down as well and just rushed out of the store all together. So to all the employees & customers of Bass Pro Shop in Arundel Mills, I’m not islamophobic, I’m not a racist, I’m not a bully, I’m just a nice person trying to stop a man from going against his religion and eating pork.
So to summarize this day’s edition of “Things Don’t Always Seem As They Appear” I prove a white woman oinking at a Muslim man is not always cruel, but sometimes justified and appreciated. Now, I got killed on social media when I originally shared this with everyone questioning me on why I didn't just open my phone and show him a picture of a pig, or better yet open a translator app. 1. This whole thing happened in probably no more than a minute or two. You guys have all the time in the world sitting here reading this to come up with a better plan. I had literally seconds to understand that we weren't being threatened, before I was trying to help him, before he was gone again.
2. Thanks to my new, fancy Apple Watch my phone was in an unknown location buried deep in my diaper bag. Trying to find my phone in that moment would have been a disaster.
3. In the days prior I had googled "what does an Apple Watch do" and followed it up by "phoning a friend" asking my entire social media community what a smart watch does. I have the mentality of an eighty year old. Do you really think I'd even know where to begin with a translation app? So I oinked...out of love. I'll have you know, Benjamin ended up doing amazing as ring bearer and my wonderful family all spent the rest of the wedding weekend oinking at me.