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An Open And Somewhat Hostile Letter To My Dipshit Mailman

  • September 24, 2011

Dear dude that delivers my mail,

Are you high?

No, really. Are you? Because I can think of no other reason why you are so completely horrible at your job. I mean, you totally suck at it.

When we built our house six years ago, I was overjoyed to discover that my ‘hood utilized a safe and secure clusterbox system for the receipt of incoming mail. Accessible only by key, I’d never have to worry about valuable mail going missing due to the sticky fingers of a random, passing kleptomaniac or a roving band of marauding thirteen-year-old boys who think it’s hysterical to steal mail.

However, clusterbox notwithstanding, why the hell are you so incompetent Mr. Postman? I understand that you may have a substance abuse problem but there are plenty of 12-step programs to assist you in kicking whatever it is you’re smoking/drinking/huffing while on the job. There are like, sponsors and everything.

And lest you think I’m being a total bitch, let me list the ways in which you suck.

Three years ago you failed to deliver the tax returns that my accountant lovingly prepared. No worries though, you sent them to my neighbor and she was nice enough to walk them across the street to me. Fine. Whatever. At that point I put you on probation, but no real harm done.

However, a few months later a four-figure check destined for me was delivered to yet a different neighbor. I sensed a pattern developing and I WAS NOT A FAN. Luckily, my neighbor is one of my best friends so the check made its way to me safely. I cursed you, but I got over it.

But then, THEN! you misplaced another check a week ago (this one also containing 4 figures) and the only reason I knew about it is because the sender of said check called me up and said, “Yeah, the check I tried to send you just got returned. It says on the front that there’s no such address.” I expect this bullshit from MapQuest but not you, Mr. Postman, considering you drive by my house and cram a bunch of unwanted mail into my clusterhole every damn day. For instance, I don’t seem to miss out on a single issue of the American Girl catalog, therefore Veruca Salt Lauren continues to announce, loudly, upon spotting it: “I want another American Girl doll Mummy and I want it now!” (pretend you read that last line with an English accent. DO IT!). Also, the eleventy-billion requests Discover Card has been sending since 1991 appear on a daily basis as do 47,000 advertisements for car insurance and 97 carpet cleaning coupons. So it’s not like you aren’t capable of putting my mail in slot #3. You totally are.

And you know what else? I’m tired of getting “Gary’s” mail every day. Though “Gary” starts with the same consonant as both of my last names, mixing our mail together all willy-nilly because there are some “G’s” sprinkled on it is a quality control fail of the sloppiest kind. I mean, isn’t sorting the mail according to our names kind of the number one thing in your job description? You have managed to turn my safe and secure clusterbox into something else entirely. I have given it a new name and trust me when I say I am *not* amused.

So consider this your final warning. I’m watching you, and if I see your little Cheech and Chong mail truck making its way down my street belching little puffs of dooby-smoke, the floor littered with Cheetos and Twinkie wrappers, I will chase you down and stab you with my kitchen scissors thus giving new meaning to the phrase “going postal”.

However, if you can straighten up and fly right (and put down the giant bong), I’m willing to let bygones be bygones.

Peace out,


It’s Spring Cleanup Time in the ‘Hood!

  • May 14, 2011

We have something known as spring cleanup day here in the ‘hood. The city lets you dispose of pretty much anything junking up your garage – except maybe anthrax or dead bodies – and everyone drags all their crap out to the curb and the garbage trucks roll up and make it disappear. You can almost hear the collective sigh of relief as all the detritus of the last year gets carted away.

Dave and our eleven-year-old son Matthew are very interested in spring cleanup day for totally different reasons. Dave thinks he’s finally going to emerge the victor in the “battle of the garage” while Matthew has adopted the “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” motto as his personal mission statement; you can almost see the little wheels turning in his head. Free stuff! At the curb! He and his buddies, armed with cell phones and walkie-talkies, like to case the ‘hood on their bicycles looking for the highest quality garbage. The early bird gets the crap so as soon as those piles start showing up you better get a move on. Seriously, our beautiful suburban ‘hood looks like the set of Sanford and Son right now.

The neighborhood to the north of us had their spring cleanup day a few weeks ago. Matthew and his homies were hard at work scooping up the most desirable garbage in the suburban version of dumpster diving. One night while Matthew was out scavenging my cell phone rang. “Hey mom,” Matthew said. “It’s starting to rain so can you come pick me up?”

I asked him for his location and jumped in the car. When I pulled up to the curb a few minutes later, Matthew was standing next to his bicycle and a waist-high pile of crap. All I could think was, Dave is gonna shit kittens when he sees this. Matthew had found two (two!)stereo tuners, circa 1983, and a turntable. I immediately got a Rush “New World Man” earworm and thought fondly of my junior year of high school. Matthew’s expression was one of sheer adoration. He’s built himself quite the young man cave in the garage, and I knew just where those tuners were headed. And since the whole point of spring cleanup day is to rid our garage of unnecessary stuff, I knew Dave was not going to like that one bit.

Being the cool mom that I am, I helped him load his bike and everything else into my Explorer and we took off. Thankfully, Dave wasn’t home so I told Matthew to get it unloaded and hide it behind the snowblower or something.

Surprisingly, Dave didn’t really care but he did give Matthew a deadline: “It needs to be out of the garage by spring cleanup, or I’m taking it to the curb.” Matthew agreed, and now one of those tuners is sitting on his dresser and I am not thrilled about that.

Our next door neighbor had a garage sale the other day. Matthew carted the turntable over and slapped a price sticker on it. Someone snapped it up in record time but not before he and Matthew haggled back and forth for a while. Matthew finally pocketed his money and walked away, triumphant. Well played Matthew. Well played.

Matthew mentioned the turntable this morning at breakfast which reminded me of something I’d been meaning to ask him. “Matthew, what did the guy who bought your turntable look like?”

“I don’t know. He was about 5’7″. Gray hair.”

Bingo. I’d put money on class of ’79. And my guess is that he carried that turntable to his car humming a little tune.

Something by Rush perhaps.

The Post In Which I Get My Poet On

  • July 12, 2010

How we spent the Fourth of July – A poem by Tracey Garvis Graves

*clearing throat*

For the holiday weekend, we got out of town

To Tom and Amy’s lake house, ready to party down

Here’s Amy and me, having a smashing good time

Courtesy of a few beers and maybe some wine

Later on in the evening, with the kids tucked in their beds

I received a text that made me scratch my head

I looked a little closer and what did I see

Something that looked quite familiar to me

Son of a bitch, that’s our bed, mine and Dave’s

And those are my neighbors, giving us a Captain Morgan fueled wave

We gave them our garage code, fools that we are

And now they’re treating our bed like a bar!

But it’s all good, and all in good fun

And Dave and I thought of something when our laughter was done

So here’s a message from us to you

Don’t forget, we’ve got your garage code too

Seriously, how could you not want to live in my ‘hood?

P.S. Poetry blows
P.P.S. I don’t think I puctuate my poetry correctly
P.P.P.S. I don’t really care
P.P.P.S. I used no bad words in my poem
P.P.P.P.S. I can write without using f-bombs
P.P.P.P.P.S. Fuckin’ A!
P.P.P.P.P.P.S. *Sigh*

This is what happens when the Hawkeyes play before noon

  • December 14, 2009

Dave and the offspring and I have been watching a lot of Hawkeye football this season. We especially like when the Hawkeyes are playing at night because we can get together with friends and neighbors and have a few drinks while we enjoy the game.

On Halloween, the Hawkeyes played at 11:05 AM. We invited a few neighbors over to watch with us and thought we’d make a day of it. We had already been trick or treating the night before because, here in Des Moines, we call it Beggar’s night and we go out on the 30th. I have no idea why and I didn’t make up the rule. But I’m glad we had already gone trick or treating because it left us an entire day to watch football and hang out. It was beautiful here on Halloween, sunny and unseasonably warm which meant the offspring and the neighbor kids could play outside while we watched the game. Following is a semi-detailed account of how much fun we had.

8:00 : Offspring wake up and start stuffing their faces with Halloween candy. I take away the candy and serve them an appropriate breakfast because I am a good mother.
10:30: Go to grocery store for last minute items before neighbors arrive. Mention offhand to Dave that I probably wouldn’t drink during the game because it was so early and alcohol didn’t sound appealing. Plus, I really wanted to go to the library after the game and maybe run a few errands. But, when I am in the liquor aisle buying beer for the guys, I am mesmerized by all the champagne with sparkly, pretty labels. Maybe one mimosa would be kind of fun and maybe my neighbors will want one too. Can’t decide which champagne to buy so I purchase three different kinds with the rationale that I can always save them for another time if no one wants a mimosa.
11:05: Neighbors arrive and Iowa game starts.
11:10: Finish setting out hot wings and vegetables. Remind offspring to eat their veggies. Commend them for choosing broccoli. Am totally a good mother. Encourage them to go outside and play because fresh air and sunshine is good for children.
11:15: Ask Brooke if she wants champagne. She definitely does.
11:20: Cannot believe I forgot how much Mimosas kick ass!
12:20: First bottle of champagne gone. How did that happen? Ask Brooke if I should open another bottle. She says yes. Go outside and point exploding cork toward Yeti and Smokey’s house. Laugh maniacally.
1:00: Tipsy.
1:40: Make sandwiches for kids. Use Halloween cookie cutters to make bats and ghosts. Am like perfect Martha Stewart type mother except totally buzzed.
1:45: Dave and the offspring and I morph into completely obnoxious Hawkeye fans. Convinced that our cheering may influence outcome of game. And that players and coaches in Iowa City can hear us.
2:00 Take small break and re-locate to Brooke and Spence’s house next door so they can put their kids down for a nap.
3:00 Cork number three? See ya!
4:00 All football games are over. Brooke breaks out her ipod. Appoint myself DJ and look for songs to play that are not sung by 80’s hair bands or Lady Gaga. Play all three repeatedly and refuse to let anyone else control ipod.
5:00 Serve everyone crescent roll wrapped little smokies. Decide that they are awesome and wonder why I don’t make them all the time.
6:00 Lauren asks if we can make a cake tomorrow. “Of course we can!” I respond.
7:00 Start flirting with Dave. Point to him and mouth the word “You”, point to myself and mouth the word “Me” and then make several additional gestures in case he doesn’t know what I mean. He totally does. And so does everyone else.
7:15 Tell Dave he can stay for a while longer and that I’ll take the offspring home. Read books to Lauren which shouldn’t be as difficult as it is considering they are written for the first grade reading level. She accuses me of skipping pages. Finally get her in bed. Matthew asks if he can eat Halloween candy. I tell him yes but advise him that eating a bunch of candy, drinking a big glass of water, and then puking will not be appreciated at all. Lauren comes back out of her bedroom because if Matthew is still up, she’s not going to bed either. Lauren sees Matthew eating candy, grabs her trick or treat basket and joins him. Finally wrestle candy away from them and tell them to go to bed. They tell me they aren’t tired now. Tell them I will give all their Halloween candy to less fortunate kids if they don’t go to bed immediately. Watch them fly up the stairs and go into their rooms.
9:00 Climb into bed to watch TV.
11:00 Dave crawls into bed and whispers, “Tracey, I’m home.” “Leave me alone,” I mumble (followed, according to Dave, by something that sounds like “don’t touch me!” but probably was just sleepy gibberish).
11:01 Halloween comes to a close in our household.

The next day, while baking a cake with Lauren, I reflected back on the previous day’s activities and thought about what a fun time we had had. I also realized that there are windows of opportunity in our home. Lauren is good at identifying when the windows are open and I’m grateful that she only asked for a cake and not, say, a pony because I do try hard to keep my promises. And even though Matthew ate a ton of Halloween candy, he didn’t throw up so I guess everything worked out okay there. Usually Matthew is pretty good at utilizing windows of opportunity to his advantage.

Despite our 17 years together, Dave is still learning.

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