Monday, January 25, 2010

Making reparations: An update

So I was a total chicken shit and couldn't bring myself to apologize to the Dunkin' Donuts crew at first, but because I said publicly that I would apologize, before I left for the radio station on Saturday morning, I penned an apology note in a blank-inside card. When I got to the drive-through window, I gave it to the lady and asked her to pass it to the manager who I could see clearly behind her. She looked at me like I was a madman. I said to her, "I was in here a couple weeks ago and I acted like an asshole and I'm sorry. This is an apology note." And then she looked at me like I was crazier, and I drove away.

As I drove away, I cried a little bit, but then pulled myself together just fine.

I had a lot of mixed emotions about the whole thing. I was worried about embarrassing myself further by making a too-showy apology or accidentally crying in front of the crew. Passing a hand-written note with my name attached I think made a statement. I'm not quite sure how it went over, of course, because I didn't stick around to find out. But I feel better about the whole thing knowing I made it right.

The end.

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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Public apology

This morning, I went through the Dunkin' Donuts drive thru right down the street from our house. On Saturday mornings, I have to leave the house at the latest by 7:20 to make it to the station by 7:50-ish to be on the air by 8 a.m. It's a hard life being a popular radio personality. I cannot get it together to eat breakfast at that hour, so on Saturday mornings I choose to have my breakfast passed to me through a window. Don't judge me for this.

Here's where you can judge me:

This morning I acted like a total fucking asshole to the Dunkin' Donuts crew. I was running late (my own fault) and I ordered my bagel sandwich and decaffeinated coffee. When the lady asked for the money, it was 44 cents more than usual. "Did the prices go up?" I asked. She replied, "You ordered a large combo." Like I didn't know what I ordered. "Whatever," I said and handed her a a five-dollar bill. "It just seems like a lot to go up in one week." In my vast Dunkin' Donuts experience, they usually raise the price by like 15 cents at a time. It just seemed like a lot. She handed me back my change, my foodstuffs and I was on my way.

I was at the light at Dwight and Northampton and opened my sandwich to discover that it was a ham, egg and cheese. I ordered an egg and cheese. No wonder!

Even though it was 7:33 (I monitor the time closely on Saturday mornings), I U-turned in the middle of the road, parked my car and went in to resolve this sandwich debacle. I tried to tell the man at the counter that I didn't order ham, egg and cheese - I wouldn't even order that on account of being a vegetarian - and that I wanted a new sandwich. He left me and came back with the manager. "What's the problem?" she asked. It seemed ridiculous that I would have to explain it all over again, but I did and I added (and this is the part that I sore ashamed about), "I really don't have time to fuck around here. I'm going to be late for work!"

It was at that point that the people started to look a little frightened of me. Certainly, except for my sailor mouth, I am gentle like a lamb, but they didn't know it. They handed me a bag with a new sandwich and the manager handed me a dollar. I said, "I don't want a dollar." She said, "It's the difference in price." I said, "The difference in price is less than 50 cents." She said, "Just take it." And I couldn't, so I just left it there.

And then I left. And all I could think about is the olden days when I worked in the bakery and how bad it would feel when someone was completely unreasonable - and I realized that I was that unreasonable this morning.

Quite a few years ago now, I was in a comedy show with some people I didn't know very well. I ended up going out with them and this one guy's family. They were from the south. The mom was telling a funny story about the brother-in-law's bad behavior in traffic. She said, "Man, he was really showing his ass." I didn't get it. I made her repeat it. I still didn't get it. I said, "How could he drive and moon at the same time?" Turned out it was an expression I wasn't familiar with. Showing your ass means showing your worst side.

Scott has a friend who would say, "He wasn't representing himself very well."

This morning, I did not represent myself well. I showed my ass in a big way at Dunkin' Donuts.

I'd almost rather have shown them my actual ass than my behavior this morning. I'm writing the Dunkin' Donuts morning crew an apology note and hand delivering it tonight so they'll see it first thing in the morning.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Jennifer "Jennifer Myszkowski" Myszkowski

Damien brought this story to my attention, which I'm sure will entertain you.

As a person with a name that has many popular nicknames, I can relate to this lady's frustration. While she takes it a bit too far, I understand her pain.

I have given up trying to insist that people call me Jennifer. What I started doing is referring to myself only as Jennifer Myszkowski. If people try to shorten Jennifer Myszkowski, they will end up with Jennifer. Or JMysz. Both of these are fine things to call me. I have many colleagues who call me JM as well. I like all of these. I just hate Jen - and especially Jenn - as Damien was so kind to point out.

Damien and I met at work a long time ago. I can't remember if the fellow this coming story is about was there when Damien was there, but perhaps our other colleagues may recognize this story (if, indeed, they read this blog).

There was a fellow whose name was Michael. Naturally, people called him Mike. He would reply, "ULL!" Then he'd look up all casual-like, "What?"

It was so annoying that I vowed I'd never, ever reply to Jen with, "IFFER!" I didn't want to be that guy. I just make it my business to make sure everyone around me knows what I prefer to be called. Some even take it upon themselves to politely tell people, "Jennifer prefers to be called Jennifer."

Now if anyone has any ideas about how I can get a lady at work to stop calling me Julie, I'm all ears. One day she came up to me and started telling me how great I looked, what amazing weight loss, etc. I assured her I was not thinner - in fact I was fatter - but thanked her just the same. She said, "But Julie, you look great!"

How do you tell a lady who is layering on the flattery that she just called you the wrong name? I didn't know how. I went directly to my team and told them what happened and asked them what I should have done and they all told me I did the right thing and it would resolve over time. Now we're about six months into the Julie-athon. I thought that after I won the award in my department and cried in front of everyone that it would be done - I mean, my bosslady gave a speech about how great I am and kept calling me Jennifer right in front of her! No dice.

On the bright side, at least she's not calling me Jenn.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

For real? Plus an explanation

The person I claim to have overheard on the way out to the car last month allegedly read my post and left a comment. Read the post and the comment, if you want.


I've gotta call bullshit on it though. I do not believe the actual person I overheard's girlfriend was all, "Hey, this lady on the Internet overheard a generic 30-something fellow in the parking lot at work disparaging his old lady and I think it might have been you! Come read this; it's hilarious!"

And I am briefly filled with the fury and the sadness once again.

Also, I guess those guys, with their swirling vortexes of commitment-phobia, rather deserve a bit of my thanks. I was so angry and sad about the whole scene I observed. I was set afoul by it and had to cry and beg Scott never to talk about me in such a disrespectful way (I'm a catch!). As a result, we had Important Conversations That We Probably Should Have Already Had and Didn't, which means now we're both on the same page about many things. This is good.

I suppose I should mention that my fury is not new, is born of fear, and that I spent quite a bit of time on those fears in therapy some years ago, which is how I can have a proper adult relationship now. It really is a miracle. My therapist is quite good.

I don't think it's fair to place blame anywhere, but I can say that a trusted adult spent a good deal of time warning me about the way "men are" when I was too young of a child for such talk. It left a nearly indelible mark upon me. To say I've had issues is to put it lightly.

It was mostly of a men-think-with-their-dicks, why-buy-the-cow order, which I think is pretty regular stuff adults may say to teenagers to scare them away from having sex. My trusted adult took it quite a bit farther and started on me quite a bit younger and basically gave me a gift that kept on giving: an irrational fear of men and, in particular, of how men treat women once they've had sex with them and no longer need them.

When I was working on it all in therapy, my therapist had me think about good men I knew and use them (in my head, not in real life) to try to break the beliefs I'd accidentally formed. There were mixed results, of course, because the fellows I chose still were piggy humans, said totally inappropriate things with regularity and seemed sometimes to prove that what my trusted adult said was true.


Even so, over time and with much work I have been able to turn in to a mostly normal adult human, which is lucky and not by accident.

Sometimes though, my historic fears rear their heads, sometimes even in workplace parking lots. Given my history, my crying and furious reaction to that conversation may seem a little more reasonable, even if it wasn't reasonable at all.

I'm really lucky to have Scott, who seems to get me and - this is a bonus - is not at all freaked out by me (even though he'd be well within his rights to be completely and totally freaked out with some regularity).

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Saturday, July 26, 2008


I enjoy a small amount of local fame. It's very small, but it's just enough. Enough not to be allowed to act like an asshole in public.

I was at Wilson's Department Store in Greenfield today. It's the annual tent sale. I picked out a pretty rag rug for the kitchen that was half price - $19.99, regularly $40. The line in the tent was really long though, and totally not moving, so I decided to go into the store to make my purchase there (and - let's not lie - to check out what's going on in the kitchen shop).

(Aside: If you want to shop locally for your kitchen stuff, Wilson's is the place to do it. Tons of free parking and everything you want. Most prices are the same or cheaper than everywhere else. It's a fine option. And it's like stepping back in time to an old-school department store! Bonus: While you're in Greenfield, you can have delicious Korean food at Manna House [better than Korean Resaurant in Hadley and WAY better than Soo Ra in Northampton]. Take a trip!)

While in the kitchen shop, I picked out a few other items to buy, among them a porceline ginger grater, which I'm excited to try out.

After chatting with the fine sales lady about the new Hearthstone Stoneware from Corelle (looks like stoneware, but doesn't chip like stoneware). I plunked my purchases down on the counter to pay. Turns out my rug didn't have a sticker. Big crap. I told them where it was, what it was, how much the sign said it was, etc.

They needed the PLU. Which is fine. It's fine! I asked if they could call someone. They called an unhelpful soul in the tent who was too swamped to help.

The lady said, "Do you want to buy your kitchen items here and then go back out to the tent to purchase the rug out there?"

I replied, "Hell, no, I don't want to do that." I didn't shout or anything. I just said it. I explained that I came in on purpose to avoid the mayhem out there and that because of my avoidance, I was purchasing two additional items. I wasn't going back out there.

Just then, a lady said, "This sounds like Jennifer!"

Aww, fuck.


And maybe I wasn't being an asshole exactly, but I certainly wasn't being as mannerly as I could have been.

She listens to my radio show, loves it, thinks I'm hilarious - all the things that I generally eat like candy. But instead, I was eating it like a heaping helping of humble pie. I tried to smooth things over and all, but I think I might have just looked stupid.

Oh, humanity!

Speaking of fame, did you see me in Thursday's Gazette? It was an action shot of me shouting on the stage. I was disappointed to notice that I look like I have fat lady boobs in the photo, but have come to accept that I am a fat lady with fat lady boobs. I'm sure I could remedy the situation by putting the shoulder straps back on all my brassieres, but facts are facts: I hate shoulder staps on brassieres. They give me a neck/shoulder ache.

Fat lady boobs it is.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

The latest

Well, we had our house inspection on Friday, and it all went off without a hitch. There are a few plugs with reverse polarity and a couple other small issues that we'll deal with after we close. It's happening in earnest.

I had a total meltdown - like total - on Wednesday night. Instead of celebrating our love, I spent the night crying out loud. The stress of the house buying just blew up over a very stupid request from the bank granting our mortgage. I got a raise on April 1 and they wanted me to submit a written statement explaining why it happened gradually over two paychecks. It happened gradually because it was effective on April 1, but April 1 was in the middle of a pay period, so one paycheck was partially my old rate and partially my new rate. My telling them this was not enough. I had to write a statement about it.

I don't know why this made me insane, but it totally did. I was actually howling from it.

It was, I guess, the last straw. I have given those people just about everything they could possibly want from me short of a blood sample. They took copies of my tax returns, pay stubs, then even more pay stubs. I signed forms, then more forms, then even more forms. I wanted to shout at them, "This raise means I will have more money to pay you back. What's wrong with you people?" Instead, I shouted and cried out loud. Scott lost patience with me for a little while, which scared me because he generally has an unending well of patience, but in retrospect, I can see why. I was completely out of my goddamned mind.

The good news is that I'm back in my mind. The other good news is that I ran into an acquaintance who recently went through a very similar situation and told me that she lost her mind for a while too. This gave me great comfort.

Scott and I both took the whole day off on Friday for the inspection and I'm glad we did. We were both so exhausted from all the recent madness that we came home after the inspection and slept all afternoon.

I've also gotten a lot of bad news lately. It seems like people are dropping like flies. Generally speaking, I'm not surrounded by death or disease, but lately people are falling ill or dropping dead. It's been taking a toll on my outlook.

I don't know if I mentioned that the bastard plantar fasciitis is back, but it is. I stopped having pain of any kind, became too excited about it, went for a regular walk and was fine, and then went for a too-vigorous walk and was decidedly not fine. I saw the podiatrist and I'm sort of starting over, which is disheartening, but okay, I guess. This time I at least know what works and what doesn't. I should get over it much more quickly - and when I do, I'll be sure not to go for any vigorous walks and will opt instead for bike rides.

My massage therapist who I see for painful massages about the feet suggested that I consider having a regular full-body massage to help me cope with all the stress I'm under. At first I was kind of thinking that she was too smooth an operator and she was trying to capitalize on my stress (she is an extremely smooth operator), but then I realized it was a good idea. I called her today and she had an opening and now I'm a little bit slimy, but I feel much better.

I'm off to pick up a Mother's Day present for a lady who deserves more presents than I can give her. My mother has been dealing with about a thousand more stressful things that I have PLUS she's been hauling around No-legs, who, incidentally, is a bigger asshole than he's ever been. I wish there was some kind of putting-up-with-more-bullshit-than-anyone-else award because that lady would win it in spades. That he's still alive defies modern science; that my mother puts up with his bullshit proves she's got more compassion than just about anyone alive. She'd give the Dalai Llama a run for his money.

Anyway, that's about as meandering as an update could be. We've covered a number of topics and I think we're done.

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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Welcome, other Jennifer Myszkowskis!

Today, for the first time ever, one of the other Jennifer Myszkowskis contacted me. She used my lousy myspace page to do it. I don't care how she found me, I'm just glad she did. She's from Pennsylvania. I'm not sure that she's on my list of Jennifer Myszkowskis I found on the Internet by way of Google, but she's on my list now!

Soon, my not-so-secret Jennifer Myszkowski Reunion* fantasy will come to pass. Soon, a room full of ladies named Jennifer Myszkowski will mix and mingle in a casual and friendly way. Each will wear a nametag that says, "Jennifer Myszkowski", just so that the rest of us will know who she is.

Who's next? I've really got my eye on Dr. Jenny the pediatrician from Michigan.

If your name is Jennifer Myszkowski, consider e-mailing me: jennifer at jennifer myszkowski dot com. Let's make the Jennifer Myszkowski Reunion* a reality!

*Yes, I know it's not a reunion since none of us have met yet. Who cares! It's a funny name for a party.

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Thar she blows!

I had a situation last weekend that was pretty terrible.

We went to see Juno at Pleasant Street. If you haven't seen it, I recommend it. It's a fine piece of cinema. Anyway, we were in the little theater. There were these college students in front of us who seemed nice enough, I suppose. They were acting a little like college students, but seemed mostly benign.

After the show was over, we were getting up to leave. We were looking around to be sure we got all our crap. We noticed that the college students left a mess of candy wrappers and a half-full bag of popcorn all over the ledge. I cleaned it up.

I expect this kind of behavior at Showcase (which doesn't make it right), but I don't expect it at Pleasant Street, which is a small non-profit movie house. The little theater probably fits 30 people in it, at most. If you mess the place up, the person who is going to clean up after your lousy ass is also the person who's taking your ticket at the counter, and perhaps even running the projector. It's not okay to leave your trash around. It's just not.

Had the young people been there, I would have told them that very thing. Alas, they were gone.

I hadn't eaten a proper meal just yet. We were planning to eat after the movie. And maybe not eating played a role in what happened. I don't know. All I know is that we were outside trying to figure out where we were going to eat, when Germy said, "Hey, there are the litter bugs now."

I turned around and it was them. And that's when I shouted, "Oh, it's you!"

And they were looking at me with eyebrows that said, "It's us, what?"

"You left your trash in the theater. That's just not acceptable behavior. This is not what we do when we go to the theater."

First they denied it. Then when I gave specifics, they said it was an accident. I said, "Right. An accident."

Then they said something about wondering how acceptable it is to speak to strangers the way I was speaking to them. Then there was shouting coming out of other people's mouths (Scott vs. college students) and I started to realize what I had done. So I turned around and walked away.

When we got to Siam Square, I was weeping out loud. Marge had to escort me to the lavatory because I was coming undone. Thankfully, they serve food at Siam Square, and soon I turned back into a normal person.

The thing that's weird about this is that I was disgusted by they're behavior when I was cleaning up after them, but if you had asked me if I thought I would blow up at them if I saw them, I would definitely have said, "No way." But then, moments later, I was so filled with righteous indignation that I was not able to stop myself from letting them know how we behave in a society, while not behaving in a fashion fit for society.

I'm an animal. And a human. I'm a Huminal.

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

New neighbor update

I think maybe things are okay and my new neighbor doesn't think I'm a total psycho. I'm sure you remember how I rolled out the red carpet for my new neighbor. Good god. Even now just thinking of it, I'm red with shame.

Remember how Margaret suggested I wait several days and then casually present a welcome-to-the-neighborhood baked treat and then back away? Well, I tried to do that. I went so far as to leave a banana bread at her door, but she never picked it up. I finally took it in when I became concerned that I was now presenting a stale banana bread to a new neighbor.

Nothing says lovin' like something rock-hard from being several days out of the oven.

I ended up waiting and just giving her a box of baked goods when I gave all the neighbors a box of baked goods. And get this! She replied with a tin of baked goods immediately. How about that!

So then I replied with a thank you note and invited her to Open Pancake Hours, our new New Year's Day pancake open house. We'll see if she attends.

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Saturday, December 1, 2007

Advice sought, taken

I talked to Margaret, my friend who I consult on such things as, "What do I do? My new neighbor may be under the impression that I am a stalker."

Oh my God. I can't even begin to explain my horror and embarrassment. God. Sweet God. Margaret and I couldn't stop laughing. That's the good thing about a quality friend: good-natured mockery, laughter, and then a solution.

She said: lay low for a few days. Maybe on Tuesday or Wednesday I should whip up a friendly banana bread or a batch of cookies or something. I should knock on the door and act as if dead and unable to move, making motions only with my mouth, and only loud enough so she and she alone can hear, smoothly offering the baked good and expressing muted gladness for the arrival of a young person in the building with whom friendliness may occur. Then I should back away and, you know, wait for the new neighbor lady to make a friendly overature on a later date.

Perhaps later - much later - I can extend an invitation to The Wrapping Partytm or maybe snacks and a movie.

Must not seem insane. Must appear totally normal. Must stop scaring neighbor.


Scaring new neighbors since 2007

I've thought of a few taglines for myself.

Jennifer Myszkowski: the official unwelcome wagon of Suffolk Street

Jennifer Myszkowski: she doesn't just roll out the red carpet. No, indeed. She also rolls you up in it and suffocates you

When Jennifer Myszkowski alone isn't enough, there's shouting Jennifer Myszkowski to kick it up a few notches

"Need a cup of sugar? How about an egg? Come over for coffee!" It's the Jennifer Myszkowski good-neighbor megaphone


Margaret helped me refine the megaphone:

"Need a cup of sugar? Want to borrow an egg? Come over for coffee!" The Jennifer Myszkowski good-neighbor megaphone comes complete with these and 20 other pre-recorded messages. Car top attachment package optional.

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New neighbor alert!

We share the top floor of an awesome building in Holyoke with one other apartment. It's been vacant for about six months because the previous tenant, well, there's no nice way to say this: she turned yellow and died.

It wasn't all that surprising because in my four years here before she died, I never once saw her sober and she didn't usually remember my name. I heard her regularly, because although our giant old building here is pretty soundproof, the one place it isn't is in the bathroom, which contains the only wall we share.

It's weird when you only hear what happens in another person's bathroom. Also, when you remember (while you're tearing things up) that someone else can hear you.

Anyway, I saw her in the springtime, and at first I thought she had a tan. Then I realized she wasn't tan, but yellow. I was concerned about it, but I didn't know how to say anything. I didn't know her sons and I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do. I remember saying to Scott, "Man, she looks yellow; should I call somebody?"

A couple weeks later, I bumped into my downstairs neighbor in the hall and she said, "Did you hear about your neighbor?" She didn't even say her name. I thought it was weird.

"Which neighbor?" I asked.

"She died!"

"Who died?"

"Your neighbor."

It was a weird Who's on First situation, because she wouldn't say the deceased's name. Proof of effective communication skills aren't part of the lease application, it turns out.

My late neighbor had lived in the apartment since 1977. Thirty years in one apartment - you can imagine what would come of a place after 30 years. It took my landlord a long time to get it back into ready-to-rent condition.

(Aside: I'd like to just say that I have the best landlord ever. He really is great. He's a completely reasonable human and an attentive landlord - a great combination. The building is in beautiful condition. Also, he's not interested in anybody's business, which I found refreshing upon my arrival after the debacle that was my last apartment. Remember when I moved out of there? Gosh, I've been blogging a really long time. I would link to the whole story, but I took the old blog down. Maybe I'll find it in my personal archives and repost it. That would be a fun walk down memory lane.)

Scott and I have been really excited about new neighbors. Just now I was in the kitchen and I noticed out the back windows a van parked behind the building. Then I saw people coming up the stairs carrying household items. Then, before I could stop myself, I was running down the stairs to greet them. I even offered my services to help them unload the van.

I don't even unload the car. This is how excited I am about new neighbors.

I met the actual person who will be living in the apartment. She seems nice, but so does everyone when you meet them on the stairs, so time will tell.

But they refused my help. I started shouting and shouting about how excited I am to have new neighbors. "We've been waiting and waiting for new neighbors!" I shouted. I think I brought a little too much Jennifer Myszkowski-ness to the stairway meeting. I think I might have frightened them.

Oh, and it gets better:

After they rejected my over-zealous advances, I told her something about hoping to get to know her later and good luck and all that crap. Then I came into my house. Then I made myself some hot chocolate and put it in the microwave. While it was heating up, I started watching them out the window because I'm so excited and curious - and also because I was there. Great.

But then her friend looked up and saw me watching them like a stalker.

I was thinking of making her a welcome-to-the-neighborhood banana bread because I've got a bunch of bananas on their way out, but now I think I have to wait a few days and be a normal person so as not to cause the nice new lady any more alarm.


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