Since today is April Fool’s Day, here’s a little tale from the vault of dad stories. You remember my dad, right? He’s the one who gave me free butt soap as a gift one time!
This is my dad.
Note* He is not a real pirate.
Well, several years ago, NOT on April Fool’s Day, my dad went to the bank and needed a check made for something. I don’t remember the exact details, but the bank was going to charge him money to get this check from his own account. Being the hardworking, farm-raised, former Navy man he was, my dad was not about to pay extra for this check from his bank account.
After going back and forth with the bank teller, my dad grew so angry he decided to CLOSE his account and take his banking business elsewhere.
Dad: “Close my accounts!”
Bank Teller: “All of them?”
Dad: “ALL OF THEM!”
Meanwhile, a week or so later, I went to the same bank at a branch in my town and asked to do a fund transfer from my savings to my checking account.
The bank teller stared at the screen. She tells me she needs a manager to look something over.
You know where this is going, don’t you?
So, the manager comes over and looks at the computer screen.
Manager: “It appears your account has been closed.”
This is the part of the story where the manager escorts me to a tiny desk in a corner, AWAY FROM THE PUBLIC so when they tell me my account has been hacked or something, I DON’T SCARE AWAY ALL THE PEOPLE.
I worked in retail for six years; I know EXACTLY what that tiny desk in the corner is for.
So now, I’ve been passed onto Man With a Mustache to sleuth out what happened to my entire savings account.
Mustache Man: “It appears your account has been closed.”
Me: “CLOSED? Who closed it? I didn’t close it. All my money was in there! Where is MY MONEY?”
Mustache Man: *scrolling through my account information* “Do you know a…Jerry Witkins?”
Me: *speaking between clenched teeth* “I need to call my father.”
I ring up dear old dad who greets me like he’s Mrs. Doubtfire.
Me: “Did you recently come into a large sum of money, Pops?”
Dad, in all sincerity: “Say, now that you mention it, I did actually find some extra cash.”
Me: “BECAUSE YOU STOLE IT FROM MY ACCOUNT!!!”
Dad explains to me about his trip to the same bank in his town and how he demanded to close his accounts. What he didn’t realize, and the bank teller didn’t explain to him, is that as co-signer for my savings account which my parents started for me as a child, he closed out MY account along with his.
And here’s the kicker, while he had no recollection of the sum of money in this “extra mystery account,” he figured it was one he’d started a long time ago and told the teller, “Yep, close it!”
Me: “You put that money back!”
Dad: “I’ll think about it.”
Me: “You march back into that back, tell the teller what you did, and put my money back!”
Dad did return my savings, and we had a good little laugh about it…much later. But because the bank had closed my account, I had to get a new account and new number. I wasn’t too upset though. This time, there would be NO co-signer.
Happy April Fool’s Day, everybody!
Tell me your best prank story, planned or otherwise!
“I’ve been journaling since I was 15. It’s a wonder that I’ve managed to be a successful human being considering how pathetic I appeared in many of my daily musings.” –Oprah, in Oprah Magazine April 2011
I caved. I was standing in line at the grocery store waiting to check out and glancing over the magazines they strategically place right near the counter when I read the cover for Oprah’s newest issue. In the magazine, she shows you pages of her journals from 1970-1985. I had to read it. And wouldn’t you know, most every page had to do with some boy. She’s been keeping a journal since she was 15, and I’ve been journaling since I was 13. I’m sure a fair amount of my “daily musings” were about boys, in fact I’m positive they were. But, I also changed the purpose of my journaling just like Oprah did. At some point in her life, she began to use her journal as a place for gratitude and blessings in her life rather than recounting all the bad stuff. By allowing herself that positive space she allowed good things to enter her life. I’m not going to tell you it’s easy. It isn’t. Despite all the advice I get from Oprah, or from Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, which I read last year and which prompted the beginning of this wayward blog, I by no means have it all figured out. But, I’m getting there.
I’ve also been reading the book Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine. It’s a young adult novel about a 10 year old girl with Asperger’s Syndrome, a disorder that makes it difficult to understand and express emotion. Despite her disorder, I find Caitlin extremely delightful as she practices naming emotions on the playground, making friends, and celebrating the things she’s good at like finesse. Here’s an excerpt that made me laugh, because I know exactly how she feels. The scene is Caitlin is in the school office talking to her counselor on the phone.
She says I have to be patient and keep trying. Sometimes things don’t work the first time but then eventually they do.
And making friends?
Even for me?
Absolutely. I have confidence in you. You just have to keep trying.
Josh is walking into the principal’s office when I get off the phone.
He turns his head to me and whispers, Loser.
I know, I tell him, but I’m going to keep trying.
To put it in Caitlin’s terms. “I Get It.” I know how she feels. Because I feel that way too. What does Oprah and a 10 year old with Asperger’s have to do with your blog, Jess, you ask? I guess they represent where my head is at in this writing journey of mine. I know I’ve come a long way, but I have to keep trying.
Case in point, an excerpt from my April 1, 2000 journal ( I was in 8th grade):
In the future I want…
- to be a famous, or at least published authoress
- to travel all over the world
- to happily marry a wonderful, handsome, God-loving man
- to some distant day have a baby girl and a baby boy
- to maybe direct or write or act in a good movie
- to meet my penpal, Andrea
- to be rid of this dreadful retainer!
Lylas (love you like a sister),
What do you think? What parts of your writing journey do you have to keep working at? What about your happiness journey? Do you have goals from childhood you’re still working on? Ever pull out your old journals and try to name the emotions in them? lol.
If you’re familiar with my blog, you know I am making this year a year of writing. And each week, I take on a new assignment or resolution to see how it will impact my writing. Many posts I’ve recently read have talked about living a healthy lifestyle to be able to have more focus and energy while we writers combat day jobs and novel writing, household upkeep, and family. You can read two very interesting blogs about that process by Kristen Lamb and Joy E. Held.
This week, I accept that challenge. I am boldly going where I’ve not gone before, and leaving the bag of potato chips untouched, for at least one more
hour, meal, day. I vow for one week to make healthy living choices, and substitute chips for fruits and veggies at least once a day. And meals in general. I have been running on “fly by the seat of my pants” meals to be packed for work: String cheese, lean cuisine, a bag of chips, applesauce – I may or may not eat. Time to make time for cooking again. I know I’ll have fun making the grocery list! So many tasty words like garlic, chicken, pesto, and provolone. Mmmmm. Ok, definitely cooking again! Better not get too crazy with the list, add more green things.
But it’s not enough to change my diet and wallow over savory smells in the household again. I must also write. And what better way to keep me on track with my dietary discipline than to blog about my meals. So, sit back and relax,
grab a bag of chips and transition with me for one week while I change the way I eat and see what it does to my writing for the next 3 posts.
*Writer’s Note* If any of you notice me pulling a Jane Eyre and describing something totally delicious on a plate right in front of me, using like 500 words to tell you about that delectable dish, and I don’t eat it, feel free to break said dish over my head. I cannot abide by oppressive dietary rules, nor make my readers deal with it either.
Happy writing! See you in the produce aisle!
Resolution Friday: So another week of changing the ordinary has come and gone. I’ve read for pleasure every day, which was by far the easiest of my resolutions. I also read more Susan Shapiro Only as Good as Your Word and am still laughing out loud. Lastly, I wrote another wacky family memoir. You can read it here.
So, it’s a new week, and I’ve been given much to think about. Thanks to Kristen Lamb’s blog and a few others I’ll be adding as a mash up, I’ve been challenging myself to think about how I blog and how I write. It’s natural to go with what you know, and most of what I’ve known has been write-your-ass-off-and-pray. Ooooooooooooom. But Kristen says I can’t do it that way, and I believe her. So, that means hunker down and get ready for a bumpy (best new year) of your life.
So if you’re like me, beginning to write again after a hiatus in sales, may I recommend Preparation. Preparation is that thing you do before you actually have to do it. It’s meant to help you, seriously. It’s where you can lay all of your pretty little ideas out like paper dolls and mix and match their clothes to see what works and what doesn’t. Hey, lay off my metaphors, I told you I’m in sales, and yah it’s retail! But, Preparation offers you several options, ones you can see in advance, and it gives you time to craft the end result. For example, do I want to wear the sequin top with the plaid wool skirt and capri leggings? Repeat after me, NO! But that sequin top looks great next to those dark wash denim jeans and metallic flats. What’s that? You’re adding hoop earrings in a brushed bronze metal? I LOVE IT!!! Metaphor aside, take time to write down ideas for both blogging and writing. Plan ahead for both when you will write and what you will write. Otherwise, you’ll start blogging some remake version of “The Night Before Christmas,” oh wait, I already did that.
If you’re having trouble figuring out how to start a story, try making a list of things you like, or character traits about a friend or family member. Does anything on that list remind you of a good story you would tell someone in conversation? Now how would you tell it if you were writing it for someone? Take all the ideas that come to you and write them down. What pieces seem to fit together in a fresh and exciting way?
If you’re still struggling with idea starters, here is a list of ideas I came up with for future memoirs, or even an essay collection, if you titled it, Things My Dad Has Done to Freak Me Out.
- Incessantly sneak up on me from behind and scream “What are ya doin’?!”
- Innocently spell my name wrong on my birthday cake, for the last 20 years
- Pushed me into a man dressed like a Troll, and cried “Take her!”
- Left me in a haunted house by myself
- Left me in a corn maze by myself
- Left me buried in the snow by myself
- Forced me to learn to ride a bike without training wheels
- Forced me to learn to swim without swimming lessons
- Hid a creepy plastic nativity scene donkey in my bedroom
- Got me to eat gravy that had giblets in it
What are you waiting for? Get writing!