Sunday, March 28, 2010

Yes, I am angry customer

Dear BYU,
I'm writing in behalf of oppressed former students, current students, and future students everywhere.

BYU has been a school of no small reputation for some obscure number of years.  "The Lord's School," "The Y," and "The school where the smart people go" are among the various names it's been called.  From birth, offspring of Utah valley residents are exposed to the 'boy meets girl' stories and other such propaganda that has originated from the SWKT, the JFSB, the ASB, and a host of other buildings no longer honored for amazing men whose name they once bore, but for the letters and acronyms to which they've been denounced.

Young girls grow up and dream of the day where they graduate with an MRS and the possibility of a little something in the oven.  Young men anticipate the status and prestige of attending a school where admittance is stereotyped for the most intelligent and highest ranked of graduating high schoolers.

BYU was where I, too, dreamed of meeting a handsome returned missionary, graduating with bachelors, and learning the skills required to be a successful human being in the sight of the world.  During high school I enrolled in many advance placement classes, got ridiculously good grades, and spent days writing a half page essay for my application.   My acceptance letter arrived the day after Christmas.  All my dreams were about to come true.  Or so I thought.

The ride to BYU was a roller coaster, full of ups and downs. . . but mostly downs.  From my experiences I feel I've become wiser a little less optimistic about life.

I also am full of suggestions-- suggestions that I think would be valuable to your great institution.

First, when a young hopeful applies to your vast institution allow them to attend the semester they originally applied.  I understand you must receive thousand of applications, but when you make a mistake such as accepting a student for a semester they did not apply for, forcing them to delay their college experience as well as the date they graduate, and then fail to tell them a mistake had been made regarding the year of that semester as well only to write that student off as a no show because they were still in high school naively assuming that all was normal with their BYU status, you should fix the problem straight away instead of telling them to start over and reapply.

Secondly, you should NOT assume that every student enrolled is attending a BYU ward.  Really important policy changes or reminders or announcements should be e-mailed out to all students and not just announced over the pulpits to BYU student congregations.  That way students living at home can still be informed of really important policy changes so they won't be punished when they neglect to fill out a paper they were never told about.  Ever.

Lastly, when a student has to take a year off school because of a difficult financial situation and it trying to reapply, you should not loose their ecclesiastical endorsement three times!  And!  You should also update your website so students are linked to the correct paperwork for the a fore mentioned application so they don't have to repeat that painful process a trillion times.

That's all I really wanted to say. . .

Thanks for your time.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Stripshow on the Prairie

I think it's time I joined "Little House on the Prairie Anonymous".

It's such an old show.  It began airing in 1974 and ended in 1982.  But some television is like cheese.  It gets better with age.  TV was better back then, full of morals, happy endings, God-fearing people, and clean humor.  And what was so wrong with that?  Why did we have to shift everything to vulgar, grotesque, and immoral?

Aside from content, the plot lines are simple and easy to follow.  One episode of Little House in the Prairie is all it takes to hook me.  Even when I have no background knowledge of previous episodes I can jump right in.  Many commercials for modern shows are confusing enough and it only takes five minutes of an episode to send my head spinning with over dramatic scenarios of some doctor trying to save the life a drug addict with pin worms while one of his nurses argues with a surgeon because he's sleeping with the secretary who's already pregnant with the doctors baby.  Oi.

It's too much.

Simplicity should be celebrated.  We need a holiday for it.  There are already a plethora of holidays dedicated to dressing up our homes with tinsel, trees, stockings, painted eggs, carved pumpkins, and lights framing houses.  I need a holiday to celebrate simplicity.  Maybe that's what spring cleaning is.  Once a year as the sun comes out from winter hibernation I can come out too, open all the dusty blinds and welcome back life.  It's time to clean out old closets and cluttered desks and really enhance mine and my husbands lives by simplifying.

Wow, enough about that.  The weirdest thing just happened.  Weird may not be the best word to describe it.  Embarrassing. . . no, awkward. . .  maybe.

The winter is beginning to come to a close and that means one thing for the Rowberries.  It's gonna get HAWT!  I'm not talking about, "Hey, can we turn on a fan, it's getting a little warm in here?"  I'm talking: "Sweetie, The thermostat says it's ninety degrees!  I've already opened all the windows, and I think my shirt is melting.  See, it's dripping on the floor.  Oh, wait.  That's sweat.  Nevermind!"

As much as I've been anticipating the arrival of sunshine and tan(er) skin, the hotness of home is not quite so welcome.  Today was the first day of the season we began to feel it.  But, stupid me, I didn't think to open a window.  So naturally, the Southern sun beamed through our windows and we retained every bit of its warmth.  No, really, every bit.

It's Sunday, a day of rest, a day of relaxation, a day where I can do minimal house work because it's the Sabbath.  Paul and I got home from church at about 2:45.  The house was a bit warm, but not uncomfortable.  I made some turkey pesto grilled cheese sandwiches which turned out quite tasty.  We turned on the TV.  Hey, I have a Little House on the Prairie problem, and I know it.  And as the apartment got hotter we began pulling off our Sunday layers.  Not wanting to miss the action of Miss Laura Ingalls I draped my skirt across a pillow and Paul's tie dropped lazily over the arm of the couch.

Eventually, Paul retreated to the back of the apartment while I opted to stay with Laura in the living room.  My laptop sat on my thighs as I attempted to write on a day where I really just wanted to nap, and as the warmth of it's battery superheated my legs the rest of my layers came off.

Yep, I was sitting in the front room wearing nothing but my undies, modest undies, but undies nonetheless, watching PBS and trying to focus on my blog.  It's not like anyone ever just pops in on us so I had no worries.

Except today was a day where someone decided to pop in on us.  I've decided to rehash the experience in a poem:
I in my undies and Paul in his shorts
Had settled right in and weren't watching sports
When out on the door step there came a "ding dong"
It pulled me from the prairie and that a lovely theme song
I ran to the office and beg Paul to answer
He had on more layers (but I threw on some pants-er. . .)
There were voices from the door and I heard my first name
I was still shirtless, isn't that lame?
My bra had gone missing but I found some pajamas
They were covered in penguins, not monkeys with bananas
I dashed to the front room to greet my sweet neighbor
I was flushed and out of breath from all of that labor
Her husband stood behind her and so did her son
This was so unexpected but I like them a ton
So, I scanned the room to assess the damage
And was mortified at the clothes left unmanaged
I grabbed them real quick and tossed them back with the wash
And apologized profusely for the scene that they caused
The conversation was nice and the company, exquisite
But it was getting late so they ended the visit
I was a little embarrassed at the timing today
But I guess that irony doesn't rest on Sunday

Eventually, I'll post the finished product, but here's a sneak-peak of a top secret project I'm working on:

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hair today, gone tomorrow

On Monday Kayla got a new toy. . .
And she's decided to start up a business. . .

(For whatever reason, this picture won't upload right side up. Forgive me. Tilt your head to read.)

Every customer is treated with care.  Our salon is not just a salon.  Many of our customers say "it feels just like home."  It can also double as a kitchen so you  have the luxury of snacking while your hair is being molded into a custom masterpiece.
Price for snacks vary according to quantity consumed.
(We are not responsible for any hair that you may or may not find in your food.  It's probably your own anyway.)

We offer a great variety of cuts that you can have customized to fit your individual style!  Some of our favorites include:

Ear Round, which we offer Year Round!  How about that?  When you just need a little work done around those awkward ears to keep you looking sharp, this is a perfect cut!
Price: $4.67

Ear Round Extended.  For those with exceptional ears who want to make a statement.
Price: $12.90

Jail Bars.  What better way to have fashion in prison than by sporting these bar-like stripes!
Price: $23.42

The Flat Faux-Hawk.  All the fun of the Hawk with out the chill of baldness on the sides.  And for those with lack of hygiene we leave out any hair product so you can go days without showers and still maintain that 'non-greasy' look. ('Non-greasy' results may vary.)
Price: $51.94

(Side view of the Flat Faux-Hawk)

For those with expensive tastes, try out Spiked Faux-Hawk!  It screams, "Rock on!"  We can load this baby up with as much or as little hair product as you desire because you pay for the product by the ounce!
Price: $51.94 + $6.78 per ounce

(Front view of the Spiked Faux-Hawk)

One of our most popular cuts, the Fonytail.  For men or women who can't get the length for a real pony we offer the opportunity to fake it.  With the Fonytail you'll have coworkers and strangers in the grocery store commenting on the beauty of those luscious locks.  Won't they be shocked to find out it's not real!
Price: $65.23

(Rear view of Fonytail)

Most importantly, we can keep the hair we've cut off and save it in case of future hair loss.  We offer the best quality hair plugs, extensions, and toupees because we actually use your own hair!  Preserved in a freezer that maintains a temperature of 3 degrees below zero, your hair will look just as fresh when restored to your balding scalp as it did before it ever came off.
Price: $102.11 + $32.92 fee for every year stored

Our customers leave happy and satisfied every time!

Come on down and see what we can do for your hair, because we believe on every head there's a masterpiece waiting to happen!
(Prices may vary by location.)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I'm alive!

This was a good week, finally.  I had a couple hard days but, overall, it was very pleasant.  I got to have, not one, but two dates with my boyfriend/husband/love of my life.  What a cutie!  No person knows me so well or can make me so happy.  I've missed him like crazy.  We've both been so busy with work and school that we haven't had a lot of time to actually be together aside from eleven o'clock when our heads hit the pillow.  We're both so exhausted that it doesn't take long for one or both of us to fall asleep.  Tuesday night as I laid in bed beside my sweetie I started to talk to him about my day and my ideas and spiritual thoughts I'd experienced in the past week.  In the middle of one of my ocean-deep pontifications I decided to ask for his opinion.  Silence.  I asked him again.  Silence.  I poked him.  Grunt.  He had fallen asleep.  Poor guy.  He's been working himself to death.

Either that or my thoughts are very boring.  No, he is probably just exhausted.

I found out I'm going to be an aunt in August to a beautiful baby boy.  This is super exciting to me.  When I married Paul I inherited two nieces and two nephews.  About nine years ago, my nephews died shortly after they were born so I never got a chance to meet them.  My nieces I have met.  They live with Paul's parents.  But this new baby is different.

He's the first little person to come into my life from one of my siblings/sibling-in-laws that I got to be a part of from the walk down the aisle to the phone call announcing the pregnancy and now the 3-D pictures of his little face and hands.  Sharing his parents joy has been a wonderful experience.  I can't wait for him to arrive.  I can't wait to hold him and be his aunt.  This is so exciting!

The only thing better than a new little nephew would be a new little son.  Not that I need a baby.  I'm thinking about getting a gold fish to keep me company and to be my baby.  What do you think?  He can live in my bathtub and we can bond over showers.  His name will be Squishy and he shall be mine.  He shall be my. . . Squishy.

Fish are easier than babies.  They can poop anytime they want and I don't have to clean up after them but once a week.  Feeding them is a breeze.  A little pinch of fish flakes and tah dah!  Done.  They don't need played with, and when they die it's a quick trip down the porcelain express and off to the fish store to find a replacement before Paul gets home. I suspect they are cheaper than a baby as well.  Man.  I gotta get me a fish!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Demons in the night

Ahh, customers.  Can't live with them, can't live without them.

This past week I had the "privilege" of working all nights and I noticed something.  The evening customers are CRAZY!  This nightly crankiness probably occurs because each guest that enters the store has gone through much stress in the day (as have we all), and they are in search of an outlet.  There is one lady I'm having a particularly hard time with.

To preface this story I should let you know that I love helping customers.  It's my favorite part of my job.

Two weeks ago on a Monday night, I walked through my dairy filling and facing.  An older lady stood not far off in produce staring at our flats of wheatgrass.  I smiled at her, letting her know I was aware of her and could be approached if she had a question.  She half-smiled, half-grimaced back at me and began to open her mouth.  I got excited because I was about to get helpful.

"Excuse me," She said rather sweetly.  "Could cut this flat in half?"  Ooh.  I thought about the times before when I'd been asked that question and I thought of what the produce manager always said.  I gave her a sympathetic smile and began my rehearsed yet kind apology.

"I'm sorry.  We aren't allowed to do that.  We don't get credit for the second half."

Her pleasant demeanor went instantly dark and a look of evil shock spread across her face.  "What?" she asked indignantly.  "But you always cut them for me?  What do you mean you're not allowed?"

Wanting to calm her I told her I would step into the back and ask the produce guy if there was anything he could do.  As I walked away she shouted after me, "Take the flat with you because I know he'll just cut it in half!"  I turned, already near the door and told her to wait a moment-- I was going to ask.  She humfted and added that if I didn't take it back with me she would take it to my manager.  She was threatening me.  My smile was gone and I took the flat from her without a word.

I explained the situation to the guy in the back.  He said he would cut the flat in half to appease this ruffled lady.  This bothered me.  I hate rewarding people for bad behavior.  It teaches them that in order to get what they want they have to act CRAZY.  On the other hand, just giving her the half-flat would get her out of the store faster, and I was all for that.

This past week that same woman returned.  We were out of half flats again.  Go figure.  She grabbed a whole flat and marched up to Customer Service, bypassing me, for which I was grateful.  But I, too, had business up front so I got to witness what happened.

She approached the booth and sat the flat on the counter.  "I want this cut in half, please."  The store manger was closing that night.  The store manager is the head honcho.  The guy who calls the shots.  Our fearless leader.  He looked at the woman and answered politely, "I'm sorry.  We aren't allowed to do that.  We don't get credit for the second half."  I knew what was coming next.

"What?" she said in her deceptively shocked tone.  "But you always cut them for me!"  So, what does he do?  He has it cut in half, just for her.

I suspect she will continue to treat us like this because she's discovered that if she's angry and upset enough we will do anything.

I miss working mornings.  Morning customers are so much nicer and easier.

Monday, March 1, 2010

My Dearest Reader,

Although I try to post every weekend, you may have noticed that one never surfaced these past couple of days.  I apologize for my negligence.

This blog began as a place to heal my soul. . . my retreat.  But it has evolved into more than that.  Every weekend I write with a goal.  I want my readers to leave feeling something, hopefully something good-- whether it's a smile on your face, an idea for a cake, greater appreciation for simple things, or a deeper love for our Savior.  If I can help that happen then I've accomplished something.

This past week has been filled with trials and heartache, and I'm having little dark, negative thoughts.  I wish I had something beautiful to give right now, but I don't.  Please forgive me.

I'll be okay.  God hasn't abandon me yet and I don't think he'll start.  I have a wonderful family and husband who remind me that this, too, shall pass.

So I'll be back next weekend with something of substance, I promise.  Stay tuned!