Category Archives: Rants

The Good Old Days

“We are facing dangers in America. Enemies are being made now that are dividing this country as it has never been divided in its history. We are facing the greatest dangers we have ever faced, and the religious liberals are riding in now on the crest of a wave of what seems to be popular.”*

Sounds familiar, right? It does to me. From blog posts to Facebook statues to sermons, I feel like I’m being bombarded with this idea that we are leaving “the good old days” and about to enter something far more sinister.

Kids used to pray in public schools! Traditional family values prevailed! Men were men and women were women! Children were respectful and everyone went to church and the world was as it should be!

But then it all changed, right? Somehow we Christians didn’t SPEAK THE TRUTH IN LOVE loudly enough and America went off the rails and this new world, this liberal world has arrived.

A few years ago, my grandmother passionately announced that she wouldn’t want to bring a child into the world the way it was. That statement has stuck with me since then, this idea that our present reality could possibly be so degraded that my generation might as well give up, not bring children into this world, because there is no hope for their future.

But then I also remember her calling my mom shortly before I went to Prom with grave concerns about my attending the event with a boy with the last name of “Dominguez.”

And that’s how I know she was wrong.

That’s how I know anybody who looks back fondly at the “good old days” of the 50s or 60s or 70s or 80s or 90s, the ones who want to “make America great again!” are misguided. Because I grew up with eight grandparents, and I assure you, I heard every one of them say something jarringly racist at one point or another. Hateful, even.

Their attitudes were a byproduct of the world in which they grew up. The “good” version of the world. The “more Christian” version of the world.

That 1950s world where women made sixty-something cents on the dollar to men for the same year-round, full time work and likely never questioned sexual harassment as a workplace norm.

That 1960s and 1970s world where people of color were dragged to their deaths and churches were burned to the ground by the KKK. Where white kids beat the hell out of black kids as school desegregation was taking place.

That 1980s world where in Stockton, California a man walked into an elementary school and murdered or injured 37 children before taking his own life.

That 1990s world where female military cadets at my own alma mater were being beaten, raped, and brutally hazed because many men didn’t want them to be allowed in “their” organization.

These were not good old days. These were more days full of scary things.

This is and always has been a world full of scary things.

And I think we can make it better. I think in many ways we have made it better.

I can’t stop wondering: why are we romanticizing a time full of as much as or more hate, racism, sexism, and depravity as we have today? And are we going and do this whole thing again in another 50 years?

Someday when people look back at 2016, I’m worried they won’t remember that there were white Christians who were refusing to even consider that simply living a life with darker skin might be more scary, more dangerous than the white one we were living. That we would rather refuse to accept that black lives do matter for fear that we risk allowing anything or anyone to matter more than ourselves.

I am worried that they won’t remember that in 2016 we could tell our daughters that they could be anything they wanted when they grew up, unless what they wanted was to be the senior pastor of most any evangelical church.

I am worried that they won’t remember that in 2016 Christians chose to fight for our own perceived “safety” in public restrooms rather than remember that loving people is supposed to be fundamentally unsafe, we are called to give up our lives for Christ, yet can’t hypothetically pee in the stall next to someone who might have views vastly different than our own.

I’m worried they won’t remember that there wasn’t one woman in 2016 who wasn’t on high-alert walking down a dark alley at night because we were victims first, and we were told that it was probably our fault for being there in the first place.

I’m worried that they won’t remember that we claim to follow a Jesus who gave up His life for us, who loved the marginalized, who trained his apostles to allow themselves to be martyred for his cause, yet we can’t even consider giving up a chicken sandwich and an indignant Facebook status in solidarity with people we may not agree with, even though doing so would be an act of love that could show them who Jesus is.

I am worried that perhaps future generations will think of this time as “the good old days.” Days we should get back to. Days when we loved less and oppressed more but dammit, we got our way.

Or maybe, what I’m really worried about is that all of this will still be a reality, and they won’t need to look back at anything to be horrified; that we’ll decide to keep these “good old days” exactly the way they are.

*The opening quote is from a sermon by American broadcast evangelist Bob Jones Sr. on Easter Sunday, 1960. It was an anti-desegregation sermon.

“God never meant for America to be a melting pot or rub out the line between the nations… When someone goes overthrowing His established order and goes around preaching pious sermons…and talk about rubbing out the line between the races – I say it makes me sick.”

A few ranty thoughts

Thanksgiving does not need defending

Neither does Christmas, for that matter

You don’t have to hate one to love the other

Contrary to what you may believe, seeing decor for what you consider to be “the wrong holiday” will not hurt you.

In which I’m all “why can’t we be friends?”

So, I’ve been seeing a lot of talk about politics lately. It’s like there’s been some kind of big event in America or something this week? Like, an election maybe? I don’t know, I’m just a girl.

I’ve been a little fascinated with it, actually. In a “train wreck” fascination way, but fascination, just the same. My Facebook and Twitter feeds have ranged from uninhibited celebration complete with proverbial “in yo face”s, to passive aggressive jabs at the other side, to all-out aggressive rants toward the other side, to overly-dramatic “THE WORLD IS ENDING”s, to nervous, panicky “God is in controls” that convey more worry than actual confidence that He is.

It’s an interesting thing, basically having insight into everyone’s brains. Thanks, social media. But I wasn’t going to blog about it, no sir. I can keep my mouth shut! Have self-control! Am adult!

And then I listened to this episode of This American Life, and it put me over the edge on the “I NEED TO BLOG ABOUT THIS FOR GOODNESS SAKE” scale. Because an entire act of the episode was devoted to the ways politics are interfering with friendships and families. Listen to it, and I hope you come away as horrified as I am.

People choose to end contact with those they love with because they are too petty to find a shred of something they have in common or try to see something from somebody else’s view.

I NEED TO BLOG ABOUT THIS FOR GOODNESS SAKE.

Because no politics – nay, NO ARGUMENTS AT ALL, are worth losing your relationships over. Seriously. They’re just not. If you can’t handle it, don’t bring up politics. That’s how I handle my parents all the time. It works, trust me.

And to be perfectly frank, if you feel strongly enough about something that you think you should trash a relationship over it, then you should really re-evaluate your priorities. We can coexist with very different opinions and beliefs, I promise.

The other day, the reading was in Galatians 5, and this passage stopped me dead in my tracks:

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.

I read it over and over. I highlighted it. I programmed a reminder into my phone to go off once a day.

Use your freedom to serve one another in love.

(That reminder is really irritating when it inevitably beeps in the middle of my being a jerk.)

I’m not really great at using my freedom to serve others. And when I do serve others, it’s not always in love.

With my husband, it can be in “here’s your damn dinner that you wouldn’t get up and get yourself,” or “I guess I’ll do the dishes because YOU’RE NEVER GOING TO DO THEM,” and at work, it can be “if you want to make stupid changes to my clearly awesome creative project then fine, it’s your funeral,” and with strangers it can be “I guess you’re going to cut me off in traffic anyway so please, go ahead, you jerk-hole.”

And that’s not really service at all, is it? That’s not even close to love.

So, I’m learning to use my freedom correctly.

Beware of destroying one another.

I have a feeling that using our freedom to serve one another in love would eliminate whatever problems we have with our loved ones’ politics. I have a feeling we wouldn’t be so quick to throw away relationships if we focused on loving our neighbors as ourselves. If we didn’t use our freedoms to satisfy our sinful natures.

How are you using your freedom?

You can’t Photoshop moments like this

Everyone does it, I think. Especially us women-folk.

The first reaction to a photo that you’re in.

My hair is weird. I look so tired. My butt looks huge. My face is all broken out.


I have been going through Ellyn’s wedding pictures because Amie (who I might link to if she ever bothered blogging) left me copies of them before we parted. (She did a beautiful job, by the way). 

 I asked Amie to send a picture that I knew Ron took of me, CandyEllyn, and Amie (who I might link to if she ever bothered blogging). After Sara died, the four of us and Alece started a GroupMe group so chat so as to stop Twitter-bombing everyone’s feeds. We are basically in constant communication, texting throughout the day and night with probably the most random and ridiculous assortment of conversations you could possibly imagine.


These are some of my very favorite people. And they all live so far away.


So although Alece and Sara couldn’t be there, this is the closest to “the whole group” we had ever had in one place.I don’t remember many other times where I felt as giddy, as happy, as fulfilled, as right, as when all four of us were in the same room together. So when Amie sent the photo this morning, I got all the warm fuzzies I had when it was taken.

Three of my favorite people in the world. And I actually got to be in the same room with them for a little while.



Of course, as soon as Amie posted it, Candy said “Man, I look well traveled.” And then Amie said “I look squished. I should have turned.” I immediately told them to shut up and then posted a passive-aggressive tweet about them, because that’s how I roll.


(Side note: as I was writing this very blog post, Ellyn complained about herself in another photo. I swear, these people.)


But honestly, I get it. The first thing I looked for in the photos of me was the infamous arm/boob fat that comes along with strapless dresses.

I’m not going to lie, I will probably Photoshop my arm a little bit at some point.



(Now that your wedding is over, Ellyn, I can tell you that I hate wearing strapless dresses, which is a testament to how much I love you to have worn that bridesmaid dress.)


I have spent the last 10 months, and will probably spend the rest of my life, kicking myself for not having jumped in the car and driven 12 hours to Iowa, even if I had to do it alone instead of with the two sickies.If I had a picture of myself sitting next to Sara on her bed instead of next to her on a Skype screen? I don’t care how crappy I looked; I would cherish it. 


The fact that I have a photo of three of my favorite people in the same room is important to me. Of COURSE I can find my flaws in every one of these photos, but the moment wins over the flaws.



After all, you can Photoshop your flaws out, but you certainly can’t Photoshop the moments in.

A cheery Independence Day post about sin and homosexuality

I have friends who keep me in line when I’m not doing what I should be. Friends who call me on my crap and don’t allow me to choose sin without speaking up, without being hard on me.

I appreciate friends like that. I’m visiting a friend like that now, actually.

Christians need other Christians to point out sin. No doubt about that.

However, there’s a big difference between calling out sin in someone you have a close relationship with, and calling out sin in a stranger.

Maybe because it’s Independence Day and I’m oh-so-patriotic (see also: my toes are painted red, white and blue), I have been thinking about just how nasty we are to each other here in the good old U.S. of A. I wonder whether, when the founding fathers set up this democratic system of ours, they envisioned just about every single political discussion escalating into vile, hateful “shouting matches” on Facebook or in the comment sections of blogs. I wonder if they envisioned our options coming down to two choices – one extreme or the other, in which discussions and attempts at gaining understanding from one another are utterly futile. I wonder if they envisioned the idea of freedom of religion being ignored when it wasn’t convenient for one group or another.

I wonder if they envisioned people accusing others of sin (religion) as a means to keep them in their place (in government).

(Speck, meet log.)

From a Christian perspective, wait, no, I’m sorry, a Biblical perspective (there seems to be a difference), there is so much wrong with this attitude. And yet “Christians” are the ones charging after groups who behave outside their belief systems in an effort to keep them down.

Does the Bible say that performing homosexual acts is a sin? Absolutely. Then again, so is premarital sex, gluttony, stealing (that includes music, guys), not submitting to your husband, idol worship (iPhone, anyone?), lying, having a tattoo, coveting… Do I need to go on?

What we seem to forget here is that is that it’s not always our place to point out sin. Just because I am that person for somebody does not mean I am that person for everybody. Know what IS always our place? Serving and loving others, regardless of their beliefs, lifestyles, or choices.

That sounds a lot like some guy I know… Oh yeah, Jesus. Didn’t he spend a lot more time with sinners than he did with legalistic Pharisees? And, uh, didn’t he have kind of a big problem with said legalism?

When it comes down to it, I am confident that one sin is not worse than another. We’re all sinners. Fall short of the glory of God. You know the drill.

So the next time we are fighting over our supposed American “rights,” let’s remember that we don’t deserve the right to anything. That is a distinctly American idea and honestly it’s made us entitled, spoiled, dissatisfied, tantrum-throwing children.

What we deserve is death. Separation from our Father because we haven’t earned a thing.

We don’t have a right to anything we’re given.

And that includes the right to judge the things that God is in charge of.

—–

I chose not to discuss my ideal solution to the “gay marriage problem,” because Andrew March explains it perfectly here, if you’re interested.. As you’ve probably gathered, government mixed with religion just doesn’t float my boat.

Techationships

It’s the new year!

Good riddance, 2011.

I’m completely aware that the fact that it is now a new year changes nothing about anything that happened in 2011, but still. Good riddance.

(It wasn’t all bad. In fact, there were pretty great things about it.)

(At some point I’ll write a year in review post. I have to finish journaling Project 365 first.)

(I’m working on July right now.)

(Yikes.)

Anyway, as most new year sermons normally go, this morning our pastor discussed new year’s resolutions and goals.

I don’t generally make new year’s resolutions. I think because it’s popular to do so, and I find any such activity silly.

Fastest thing to make me stop doing something? Make it trendy.

But today the pastor was talking about how we should have a new year’s resolution to maintain better relationships with one another, “instead of just the relationships you keep up on Facebook and Twitter and things like that.” FACE-TO-FACE IS THE ONLY WAY TO BE A FRIEND, YOU SEE.

Sigh.

I hear this so. very. often. Especially from pastors.

At what point will the Church learn that technology is not the enemy, and even if it was, it’s not going away any time soon?

At what point with the Church start preaching that we should use social media for God’s glory instead of fighting against it?

At what point will the Church learn that technology can add value to relationships??

I don’t care how much theological training you have – you will never, ever convince me that technology is the enemy. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that it is. Those who think it is are ignorant, or are using it incorrectly.

My friend Eric told me that on his Friday night date with his lovely wife, Laura, they spent their time drinking wine and “iPadding” together, reading articles and generally relaxing.

I laughed and told him that Jack and I had done pretty much the same – sitting at a restaurant playing Words with Friends back and forth on our iPhones.

Neither couple was using technology to escape one another; we were using it as a tool for interaction.

Technology can add value to relationships.

I would not be nearly as close friends with several people if it weren’t for blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and text messaging. And actually, I wouldn’t be friends with those people at all had it not been for the technology we have been blessed with, considering they’re spread out from Iowa to New York City.

There are people who know all my secrets who I haven’t seen face-to-face in years, or even ever. There are people who pray for me and care for me and love me from thousands of miles away, and vice versa.

These relationships are not superficial, fake, or shallow. In fact, they are some of the most intimate friendships I’ve ever known.

And they are maintained because of technology.

If we don’t use the tools we are given in the time in which we live, we are being poor stewards.

Technology can add value to relationships.

Technology can be used for the glory of God.

I wonder how long it will be until the Church finally learns how to embrace this.

We say “Merry Christmas.”

But also, we say “Happy Holidays.”

And “Happy Hanukkah.”

And if we knew anybody who celebrated Kwanza, we would say happy that too.

My brother and sister-in-law saw a house with lights strung up that said “WE SAY MERRY CHRISTMAS.”

Things like that make me laugh. And also cringe. So passive-aggressively judgmental.

The status updates with “CHRIST” in all caps in the word “Christmas.” The rants about the abbreviation “xmas.” The “JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON!”s.

Um, isn’t He the reason for every season? Happy CHRISTsummer. I’d like to start seeing that around in lights in June.

I know, I know. I’ve written this rant before.

But I started thinking about this a little more after we bought a business; we have many students of different races and religions. Some of the families that attend our school don’t celebrate Christmas, so we make sure to avoid scheduling big events on their special holidays (wouldn’t you be annoyed if somebody scheduled your testing on Christmas day?). Some students are not comfortable entering the church gym we rent, so we offer them a separate belt testing at our school. Some of them aren’t allowed to work on Sundays, so we find a way to modify weekend-long training camps for them.

So I consider that when I update our Facebook page’s status about the school being closed. It’s not that I refuse to say “Christmas” (our calendar actually has the break marked as “Christmas Break.”)

But there’s nothing wrong with saying “holidays,” guys. You can say it in addition to “Christmas,” even. Just keep in mind, ye who type “CHRISTmas” and rhyme about reasons for seasons, that sometimes businesses that also say “Happy Holidays” in their ads and tweets? Aren’t necessarily taking sides on the WAR ON CHRISTMAS!!!!!

(Shouldn’t we be more concerned about different kinds of war?)

(My mom is ripping her hair out right now from ALL THE LIBERAL!)

The business owners that say “Happy Holidays” aren’t participating in a war on anything.

They just respect their clients enough to include all of them.

The day from Hell(-ta)

Oh, world.

Sometimes I wish I didn’t have so darn much blog material.

Scratch that. Sometimes I wish DELTA didn’t give me SO DARN MUCH BLOG MATERIAL.

Because. Oh, so much blog material.

You may already know this story since I basically tweeted the entire saga over the last two days, but today my brother called me and asked if I was making it up.

BECAUSE THE AMOUNT OF RIDICULOUSNESS WAS LITERALLY UNBELIEVABLE.

Jack and I spent Sunday morning and afternoon at Universal Studios Orlando, and our flight was supposed to be at 7:30 p.m. to Atlanta, with a connecting flight at 10:08 p.m. to Dallas. On Delta.

And see, that’s where the story goes wrong. Because HOW DID WE NOT LEARN FROM LAST YEAR THAT DELTA IS EVIL EVIL EVIL AND NO GOOD CAN COME FROM FLYING WITH THEM?

So, non-Delta-related (and this will be the only non-Delta-related part of the story, by the way), we dropped off our car at the rental car line and headed upstairs, waited in a long line to check-in, and right in the middle of the line, Jack asked me where my ID was, to which I replied “OH SOMETHING-OR-OTHER” (I can’t seem to remember the exact word I used; how odd) as I remembered that I left my purse under the seat in the rental car that we had just returned.

Under the seat, see. It’s safer to leave it there because the burglars can’t see it and won’t break in to get it and ALSO YOU WILL FORGET WHEN YOU LEAVE FOR THE AIRPORT THAT WAY.

I literally ran through the airport toward the Enterprise counter.

“DID YOU FIND MY PURSE AND ALSO I LOST MY PURSE DO YOU HAVE MY PURSE IT HAS MY ID AND I NEED MY ID YOU KNOW HOW YOU NEED AN ID TO GET ON AN AIRPLANE ALSO DO YOU HAVE MY PURSE?” is about what I said to the lady at the counter.

No luck. She told me to go back down to the car, because it probably is still in there.

So I ran down into the parking garage to the Enterprise booth where we had picked up the car.

“DID YOU FIND MY PURSE AND ALSO I LOST MY PURSE DO YOU HAVE MY PURSE IT HAS MY ID AND I NEED MY ID YOU KNOW HOW YOU NEED AN ID TO GET ON AN AIRPLANE ALSO DO YOU HAVE MY PURSE?”

Nope. The cars don’t live here, they live three parking garages over. Try there.

Running again. At this point I am so ridiculously pretty you guys, whatwith the shiny face and hair flying every which way and the disheveled clothing and the panting, OH THE PANTING. One of the guys working there already had the doors open and was searching the car since they had radioed ahead about the CRAZY LADY headed their way.

“DID YOU FIND MY PURSE AND ALSO I LOST MY PURSE DO YOU HAVE MY PURSE IT HAS MY ID AND I NEED MY ID YOU KNOW HOW YOU NEED AN ID TO GET ON AN AIRPLANE ALSO DO YOU HAVE MY PURSE?”

Nope. Nothing in the car.

Oh. Something-or-other.

I called Jack immediately and had him rifling through our bags while I checked and re-checked the car for the missing purse (AND ID! BECAUSE YOU KNOW HOW YOU NEED AN ID TO GET ON AN AIRPLANE?) About ten excruciating minutes later, another worker guy emerged from the lost-and-found with my purse and I may or may not have offered to have his baby. (Actually, what I said exactly was “OH MY GOSH THANK YOU SO MUCH I WOULD HUG YOU BUT I’M PRETTY SURE THAT WOULD WEIRD YOU OUT.”)

Weirded out anyway, lady. Weirded out anyway.

So, then I ran back though the terminals and back to Jack, who was still waiting in the line awkwardly and not looking all that happy with me. Can’t imagine why.

But it was okay! Because now I had my purse, and my ID, and nothing else could go wrong, right? RIGHT?

Ha. Ha ha ha ha. Ha. Ha ha. Ha.

Our flight to Atlanta was delayed 40 minutes. Which meant that getting on our flight to Dallas would be pretty much impossible, seeing as how the first landed and the second took off right about the same time.

I’m not the smartest math-doer in the world (as evidenced by the fact that I just made up a verb called “math-doer” because I couldn’t think of the real world… mathematician? Yeah, I think that’s it. Mathematician. OMG this story is going to be long.), but even I knew that that wasn’t going to happen.

No big deal, Delta! We’re Jack and Mandy! Look how calm and cool and collected we are because we are soooooo easy-going! Just put us on the next flight, mmkay?

Except that there were no next flights.

Okay, put us on another airline straight to Dallas tonight.

Except all the other airlines were booked solid for the next two days (or so they said at the Delta counter and HOW CAN I BELIEVE ANYTHING THEY SAY ANYMORE?)

“The best I can do is two confirmed first-class seats on a flight out tomorrow morning at 7:14 a.m., from Atlanta, and we will cover your hotel in Atlanta for the night. I’ll also leave you on the 10:08 p.m. to Dallas just in case you can make it.”

Well, alright. It wasn’t ideal, but at least they upgraded us to first class, right? Compensation for their crappy delays. We could deal with that. And! We might even make the connecting flight, right?

Yeah, it was that kind of false hope that caused us to run, nay, SPRINT, across two terminals when our flight landed at 9:40. We might just make it! My lungs are burning. It’s possible! This bag of shoes is so heavy. I see the gate! I AM GOING TO DIE! We still have 10 minutes until the flight leaves, and we’re here!

ANNNNND the doors were already shut, leaving Jack and me and our new friends with whom we had run, nay, SPRINTED across two terminals gasping for breath and looking SO INCREDIBLY AMAZING.

We limped back to one of the scanny things that Delta has everywhere that says “Missed your flight? Scan your boarding pass so you can get a new one on the next flight!” (there are a million of them in the Atlanta airport and I DO NOT WONDER WHY, DELTA) to get our meal and hotel vouchers for the night.

Hotel: Days Inn.
Meal voucher: $6.

You do it up classy, don’t you Delta?

We headed to the Delta desk to find out how to get a shuttle to the hotel, waited in another 30 minute line, and talked to an agent that I swear was high (but VERY friendly!), who gave us several more $6 meal vouchers (score!), an overnight kit, and directions downstairs to the shuttles.

We stopped by baggage claim first to get our bags, only to discover that, SURPRISE SURPRISE, they were not there. And they would not be able to get them to us tonight. Because BAGS? YOU WANT US TO HANDLE YOUR BAGS TOO? AND, LIKE, DELIVER THEM TO YOU AFTER YOU LAND IN A NEW CITY? MY GOODNESS YOU PEOPLE ARE SO HIGH MAINTENANCE!

Fortunately, I had grabbed our pajamas, a sweater, and my makeup bag and deodorant in Orlando because, call me crazy, but I just didn’t trust that Delta would get us our bags. Can’t imagine why.

We hopped on the shuttle to the Days Inn, and after making a stop at another hotel and then another somewhat questionable stop at a gas station, in which the driver got out, went in, and then came back (?), we arrived at our at-least-it-has-a-bed-but-also-might-have-bedbugs hotel.

That’s when the front desk guy met us as the shuttle pulled up.

“We only have two rooms,” he said. Everyone looked around the shuttle. Three groups. Awesome. “So two groups can come in but one will have to go back to the airport and have Delta issue a new hotel voucher to another location.”

Because, of course.

Fortunately, after Jack and I decided to be the “go back to the airport” group, the Days Inn manager said he would call to another hotel and see if they would take the voucher we already had. A few minutes later, he emerged and said that the Quality Inn across the street would take it. Phew!

When we unloaded our bags off the shuttle and entered the hotel, however, they gave us a blank stare at the front desk when we said “the Days Inn guy said you guys would take a Days Inn Delta voucher?”

“Who did you talk to?” they asked, surprised. “We didn’t say anything like that.”

Jack and I looked at each other. And then back at them.

“I mean, we’ll take it, of course, we just didn’t get any call.”

EXHALE.

Jack seems to think they were joking about that, but I’m still not sure. What I do know is that we ended up in a not-as-questionable-as-we-hoped-but-I-still-checked-the-bed-for-bedbugs-and-roaches room that was thick with smoke smell, and it was the happiest place we could be at that point.

They had given us two menus of pizza places that still delivered at 12:30 a.m., so Jack called one of them up, determined to use ALL of our meal vouchers, partially because he hadn’t eaten since 12 hours before, and partially since he was so set on “sticking it to Delta” that he wanted to be sure they paid for SOMETHING.

So he ordered two pizzas. And a meatball sub. And an order of hotwings. And two Dr. Peppers.

I’m fairly certain the people taking the order probably thought he was high. And probably most people ordering anything from them at all at close to 1 a.m. are.

An hour later, we got our ridiculous dinner. And by “ridiculous,” I mean “ridiculously bad.” It’s the kind of pizza you eat going “oooh, we’re gonna regret this,” but at that point, what’s a little food poisoning anyway? It might actually be nice to hand a Delta flight attendant a barf bag after the day we had with them. (Not really. There is no excuse for vomiting in public. NONE.)

So, we went to sleep at about 2. And got up at about 4:30. And we went up to the counter to get our boarding passes for our CONFIRMED FIRST CLASS SEATS.

And she said, “sorry, this flight is overbooked.”

Sorry. This. Flight. Is. Overbooked.

She couldn’t get us our confirmed tickets in first class. She couldn’t even assign us the tickets in coach. And she really didn’t want to talk about the miles/travel credit that I politely suggested on account of WHATEVER WAS SHOVED UP THE BACK OF HER LITTLE DELTA SKIRT.

“You’ll have to see the gate agent,” she said curtly. “I don’t handle compensation and I can’t assign you a seat either. You’ll have to talk to the gate agent.”

Who, of course, was not there. Because it was 5:30 in the freaking morning.

We sat around for an hour in an angry, sleep-deprived daze, occasionally bursting into fits of maniacal laughter. About an hour later, we finally got seats assigned (not in our supposedly-confirmed-first-class, by the way).

When we got on the plane, all of the overhead bins were full at the front so Jack had to walk our rolling bag to the very last row and put it in that one, so when the plane landed we sat and waited until every person got off before we could retrieve our bag from the back.

Perhaps regulating where people are putting their bags would help, yes? Like, if you’re in the back, you have to put your bag above you in the back? I know, novel concept.

Anyway, it was fine. We were in Dallas. So excited to be almost-home. Yeah, we had to go to work on less than three hours of sleep, but it was over. No more flying. No more airports. No more lines, and never, ever, ever again any more Delta. EVER. MARK MY WORDS, INTERNET.

And then we went to pick up our bags.

And all the bags came out onto the little spinny bag thing.

And everybody on our flight picked theirs up and left.

And then they stopped the spinny thing.

And our bags were nowhere to be found.

Because, of course.

Cue maniacal laughter again.

After another 30-minute wait in line, we were informed by yet another Delta agent that our bags did in fact arrive and we must have just not seen them. We looked out at the empty carousel with the four unclaimed bags in front of it. None of them ours.

Uh, actually, no, they’re not here.

Really? Not here? That’s crazy, the computer says they’re here.

Oooohhh! If the COMPUTER says they’re there! Then it must be true. C’mon, honey, let’s go home. The computer says we’ve already got our bags.

After some more evidence presentation that we did not, in fact have our bags (LOOK! SEE HOW WE DON’T HAVE BAGS WITH US?), she finally found them somewhere else.

18 hours after we started (which, again, is how long it takes to drive from Orlando to Dallas), it finally was over.

OVER. IT WAS OVER. Is this what Amanda Knox felt like when she got to go home? We want to lay down in a green field too!

With that, we shook the dust off our feet, and our twice-lost luggage wheels, forever.

GOOD RIDDANCE, DELTA.

No cheap fare in the world will ever be worth flying with you again.

Sexism, solved.*

Women are just as smart as men.

I know this. And the rest of the world will to.

All we have to do…

…are you ready for this?

Show them.

Be good at our jobs.

Like, really good at them.

Be smart and confident and ready for anything. Work hard. Learn all the time. Don’t create drama. Don’t use your emotions as a weapon.

And also? Teach your daughters the same thing.

Don’t make a big deal out of the fact that you’re a woman, and they probably won’t either.

And if they do, find somewhere else to work.

*Yes, I realize this doesn’t ACTUALLY solve all sexist issues. Yes, I realize some things still need to be fought for when it comes to civil rights of all kinds. But it’s something we can do, as women, to combat it. You don’t have to care that they’re sexist. You just have to prove that you’re just as good, if not better. Your work will speak for itself.

The thing about men and pants

The other day, we were sitting in the conference room eating lunch together, and a guy who works in another department walked in to say something to us. As he chatted for a few minutes, I noticed that he was wearing some nice jeans – the dark wash kind with a light stitching. I liked them. They were good jeans. If he had been a girl, I would have immediately told her I liked her jeans.

After he left, I turned to my co-workers and asked a question that I thought was perfectly normal to ask (read: I AM AWKWARD).

“Is it okay to compliment a man’s pants?”

They stared at me, slightly horrified that it would even occur to me to do such a thing, and responded with a resounding “NO, THAT’S WEIRD.”

This led to a discussion about why it was weird (men will take it wrong if you compliment their pants, apparently) and it made me sad for the world.

I mean, obviously, if I was all “Hey male co-worker, your butt looks great in those jeans,” I realize that would be inappropriate. But why can’t you say “Those are great jeans!” without implying “AND I ALSO WANT TO HAVE YOUR BABY!”?

I don’t like living in a world where you can’t compliment somebody’s pants.

And even more, I don’t like living in a world where men are afraid to compliment women for the same reason. My three male co-workers unanimously agreed that they would feel uncomfortable complimenting a woman on something she was wearing because she would likely think he was creepy or hitting on her.

What?

I have decided that we have two groups of people to blame for this:

1) Creepy guys who only compliment women to get them into bed (Is that all men? Please say no! Please say some men want to talk about your book!)

2) Women who overreact or over-interpret innocent compliments from men.

Women, in general, don’t take compliments very well from anybody. Have you ever had to argue with a woman about a compliment you gave her? It’s infuriating. Say “thank you,” ladies, even if you don’t agree with the complimenter. I know, it goes against a lot of our instincts to just say “thank you” instead of pointing out all the flaws that we see in ourselves. But that’s what we should do. Practice it right now. “Thank you!” See? Was that so hard?

So, yeah, I have to think we’re partially at fault for this lack of compliments. I’ve heard of male friends who held doors for women and been chastised because “I CAN OPEN A DOOR MYSELF.” And yeah, we burned our bras for this whole equality thing, but I’m not going to lie, I like it when my husband stands up on a bus for women or opens doors for me. I can do all of these things myself (I am woman! HEAR ME ROAR!), but you know, chivalry is nice too.

Maybe chivalry didn’t just die; maybe we MASSACRED IT with our insistence on pushing people away at the slightest show of special respect or attention from men.

I don’t know, really.

But what I do know is that Owen said he is afraid to compliment women even though he thinks it would be nice to be able to innocently do so.

And that’s when I quoted Gandhi. In conversation.

“Be the change you want to see in the world!” I urged him. GOLD STAR FOR MANDY.

I think that’s when he shook his head and walked away. I don’t think I quite got through to this particular group of guys.

Oh well. I’ll be that change I want to see in the world. I’ll go ahead compliment your pants, gentlemen.

But just know – it’s not because I want to get in them.