December 26 Editorial

This week, I made the horrible decision to venture out into the world of retail as the last minute shoppers hustled and bustled to check off everyone on their list. I personally was not holiday shopping, as we have decided to skip the presents and avoid the headache. Instead, I was out and about in search of the perfect paint color and trim for my newly decorated Master bedroom. Between the impatient drivers, screaming children, and overly aggressive Salvation Army bell ringers, I think it’s safe to say that a fresh coat of paint can wait.
I jumped in my car on a beautiful warm, sunny day with a smile on my face and headed into town. Traffic was heavier than usual, but it wasn’t until I reached Garden Street that I realized that people were short on time and even shorter on patience as I saw more than one car get cut off in a mad dash to beat the light at Palafox.
I kept my cool, while one after another, crazy drivers rode my tail and swerved in and out of traffic like mad men. It wasn’t until I saw a woman with her two young kids in the back seat give the middle finger to an elderly man that I realized…..Christmas makes people crazy!
I arrived at Lowe’s and made my way to the paint department and giggled as I noticed two women desperately scrambling to figure out a) where the reciprocating saws were and b) what a reciprocating saw is. You’ve got to love the differences in men and women. They want specific brands, sizes, and accessories for their gift. We just want something shiny.
Since I was already over that way, I let my insanity and shoe fetish get the best of me when I decided to keep my shop-a-thon going by visiting DSW. When I pulled into the parking lot, I circled for a minute and watched in horror when two grown women argued over a parking spot. Oh the ugly words that can come from such dainty mouths.
I loaded my trunk full of shoes, praying that my husband wouldn’t check the bank account until they were safely hidden away in my closet, when it dawned on me that dinner time was right around the corner and I had nothing to cook. I popped over to The Fresh Market and made a beeline for the meat counter. There, I encountered a line at least ten people deep, and let’s just say that last nerves were hanging by a thread.
After about fifteen minutes of waiting, the pickiest woman in the world was all that stood between me and a pecan crusted pork chop. She had the butcher go through the steaks one by one, none of them up to par for her standards. She finally snapped, “Listen, you’re going to need to go back there and find me something better. I have shopping to do. I don’t have time for this.” I had one of my Ally McBeal fantasies where I slapped her face so hard it left my handprint on her cheek, but awoke from my daydream disappointed because that kind of behavior is frowned upon in the wild.
Once I had scored my delicious “other white meat”, I decided that I had had enough of the madness. On the way home I started thinking, if Christmas is supposed to be the “most wonderful time of the year”, why is everyone always so grouchy? We put so much emphasis on the material things that we forget the most important message of the season; goodwill to men.
I know that our kids demand that Santa bring the perfect toy and our families drive us crazy when they all come to town, but we need to remember to stop for a minute and breathe. Yes, seeing their faces light up on Christmas morning makes it all worth it, but don’t drive yourself nuts over it. If they don’t get that Furby do you really think they’ll love you any less?
And hang in there because eventually the house will once again fall silent when the extended family leaves. Just cherish the moments you have with them because life is unpredictable and you never know who might not be picking their teeth at the table next year.
As for your fellow man that you have treated like garbage because your life is stressful? Remember that they have things going on in their lives too. Be nice. It takes just one second to make someone’s day by holding a door for them, complimenting their shoes, or just flashing them a friendly smile. After all, it’s Christmas, and you don’t want to end up on the naughty list!

December 19 Editorial

This year, with the spirit of Christmas in mind, our family has decided not to exchange gifts. Instead we are spending the holidays together without the stress of scraping and saving up money for materialistic items that none of us truly need. I can honestly say that for the first time during the holidays, my skin is clear, my wallet is fat, and most importantly, the whiskey bottle isn’t empty. For now…..With that being said, here are some tips to help you survive the holidays with your family.
Learn to say no: With so many holiday parties, events, and obligations, it can be enough to drive you crazy just to look at your calendar. Realize that you are one person and can only commit to so much in one month. Pick the events that mean the most to you and forget the rest. Respectfully decline the invite and the host is sure to forgive you. If not, think of it as one less gift to buy.
Share the responsibilities in the kitchen: This is a big one for me because I absolutely hate to cook and always feel like I’ve missed out on the entire day because I’ve been slaving away in the kitchen. Instead, try getting other members of your family to pitch in by asking them to make your “favorite” dish that only they can make so perfectly. You’ll be stroking their inner “Julia Child” ego while taking some of the pressure off of you for the big meal.
Remember that no one is perfect: You’ve been putting in the effort decorating the tree, the mantle, and the centerpiece. Not to mention you nearly killed yourself while hanging lights from the rooftop. Relax. The house looks great. No one expects your home to look like Martha Stewart just moved in. Keep in mind that the fabulous décor you see on TV and in magazines was either done by hired professionals or someone who doesn’t have a day job.
Get plenty of sleep: With all the stress that comes along with the holidays, if you don’t get enough shut eye you may tend to be a little grouchy. No one likes a grouchy host, and trust me when I say that NO ONE likes a grouchy guest. Do yourself a favor and get your 8 hours. If that’s not enough, channel your inner kindergartener and take a nap.
Eat with caution: Sure it’s the holidays and all of your favorite treats are pretty much on display everywhere. Feel free to indulge in whatever you like, whenever you like. Just remember that what you eat now will end up on your thighs later, and bikini season will be here before you know it. The last thing you want to do is eat like a ravenous Rosie O’Donnell now and feel like the Michelin Man without Prozac later.
When family pressure starts to build, think like a duck: Sure we love our families, but sometimes the holiday stress can bring out the worst in them. When Uncle Morty gets a little cranky or Cousin Ethel says you look fat, just remember to let it roll off of your back like water to a duck.
Always have a plan: No one ever goes into battle without a strategy. Your brother hates your new boyfriend? Send one of them on a beer run. Far, far away. Can’t stand your in-laws? Find an activity that they enjoy and keep them busy while you savor a moment alone. Whatever your problem, search for an answer before you get ambushed on the big day.
The most important thing to remember is to cherish the moments we have together. Yes, we may drive each other crazy and forget the real reason of the season with our commercialized greed, but in the end our family is worth the hassle. But if they do drive you a little over the edge, just remember that as quickly as the holidays come, the pass. And a little wine never hurts. Merry Christmas from all of us here at the Escambia Sun Press.

December 12 Editorial

This week we, along with a few of our friends, decided to hit the town for a fun night out. This rarely happens with these particular friends due to the fact that they turned 30, grew up, and started families, something my husband and I will only do if held at gunpoint. Having not been out in a while, my friends wanted to head downtown to check out the newest hot spots on Palafox. We started at Old Hickory Whiskey Bar, where the whiskey is always smooth and one employee is always psycho.
It was fairly early when we arrived at Old Hickory, but the people watching was already top notch. I looked at my watch thinking it had to be later than 8:30 pm as I watched The Real Housewives of Pensacola in their “mom jeans” yelling loudly at one another due to the fact that one shot of whisky had clearly destroyed their volume buttons. They swayed back and forth like tall Georgia pines in hurricane force winds. I could tell one of them was going to go down.
Not more than five minutes later, the loudest of the 40 something’s pointed her finger at the bartender in anger, I’m guessing because he refused to over serve her, and took a step back only to find that her balance wasn’t ready for the big move. She went down like a ton of bricks and popped back up with rage as she looked around for someone else to blame.
Her friend suggested to the woman’s husband, who looked like he was on another planet completely, that maybe it was time for them all to go. Without saying a word, the man stumbled his was to the waitress station to pay his tab, but was baffled when his lack of words and open mouth stare didn’t get his point across.
He wobbled like a Weeble for a few minutes while she printed his check and cashed him out. Then, like a Kennedy after a St. Patrick’s Day party, he headed for the door, bouncing off of every chair in his path….his loudmouth lady in tow. I hoped they weren’t driving, but I lost sight of them after they rounded the corner for what I can only assume was a bathroom break.
The night wore on, and we were having a great time. The atmosphere was laid back, the whiskey and bourbon selection was amazing, and I couldn’t stop laughing as I watched every ugly Christmas sweater clad frat boy make a sour face after every sip of neat whiskey. This place was awesome.
Then it happened.
I headed towards the bathroom and encountered a line, as usual, for the ladies room. One of the waitresses came around the corner and asked if anyone wanted to use the men’s room, and would we mind if she did so that she could get back to work. We all agreed that it was fine for her to use the men’s room seeing as how it was vacant. She went in and as four women came and went in the women’s room, she was still in there as the men’s line began to grow.
One of my friends was the first guy in line and looked over to us girls in line and asked, “Is someone in there?” The girl behind me said, “Yeah, the waitress said she had to go, but she’s been in there a while.” With a joking tone and a smile, he replied, “Is she pooping?” Gross, I know, but funny.
We laughed, but the mood quickly changed as this 5 foot, rabid Asian Chihuahua flung the men’s room door open and said, “No I wasn’t, but I did wet the seat down for you….douchebag.” There were a lot of four letter words in between and she topped it all off with a salute with her middle finger to my friend.
Now, I have been in the service industry. I have dealt with drunk people, stupid people, cheap people, mean people, etc., and I’ll admit that at times things get stressful. I’ll admit that there have been times where I have had to go out back and scream or hit something. I’ve even gathered my co-workers to vent relentlessly on a customer after a shift. But I have NEVER been rude or cursed at a customer, period.
I hardly think that his comment was so offensive that she had any right to take the situation to that level, nor do I feel that he was in any way trying to offend her personally. The worst part is that she not only made my friend who was the target of her attack uncomfortable, she made the rest of those who witnessed it uncomfortable as well.
We all stood in silence, wondering what had just caused her to flip out like Tom Cruise in Jerry McGuire, when my friend finally snapped back to reality and said, “Did she really just say that to me? And she works here?” In my head I thought, “Not for long with that kind of attitude.”
He left the line in search of the manager and was told that the manager wasn’t on duty. So he asked for the person in charge, to which the reply was, “There’s really no one in charge here right now, but if you have a complaint you can visit our website.” I highly doubt that no one was in charge on a Friday night, but I guess that’s how they roll. Our waitress, who apologized profusely and had been amazing all night, even admitted, “Yeah, we’ve had problems with her before.”
In the end, the angry waitress’s behavior ruined our night at Old Hickory. Sure we left and moved on to another bar and had a great night, but the words of that girl haunted me.
I may not be a business owner, but I do know the service industry and that regardless of how you may really feel, the customer is always right. Grin and bear it, and if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all. Businesses succeed by building return customers, not by luring patrons in with a fancy bar and gimmicky theme only to turn them off with bad, offensive service.
I hope that perhaps behind closed doors management will handle this situation so that it never happens again. As for me, I’ll give Old Hickory another chance, but only because I love a good bourbon. I only hope the rest of the town is as forgiving, or it’s RIP for yet another ill managed downtown bar.

December 5 Editorial

Anyone who lives below the Mason Dixon line knows that this past weekend was the football upset heard ‘round the world. Being that it was Thanksgiving weekend, I had the pleasure of enduring a Florida State triumph while comforting my “Roll Tide” crazy husband with a house full of family. I barely escaped with my sanity.
I awoke to a beautiful Saturday morning and a fresh cup of Hazelnut coffee courtesy of my Black Friday Doorbuster Keurig coffee maker. Like any southern girl would do, I primped and painted myself, then threw on my best garnet and gold game day attire, as if someone might see me not looking cute while screaming at the TV in my living room.
I sat down and turned on the TV just in time to see the Noles kick off when the front door swung open to the sound of mindless chatter about every subject except for the game that I was trying to focus on. One of my husband’s family members sat down beside me, seeing that I was dressed head to toe in garnet and gold, and actually asked while staring at the orange and blue uniforms on the field, “Is that the Seminoles?” I looked at her like “this has to be a joke”, but quickly realized she was serious. I replied, “No. It says Gators on their helmets.”
This was going to be a long day.
I tried my hardest for the next three hours to tune out the dumb and tune into the game. Each time I yelled during a play, the so-called Auburn fan in the group (I say so-called because I feel you have to a) watch the games on Saturday and b) know SOMETHING about the rules of football to be able to call yourself a fan….liking their colors does not count) would say, “Did Auburn score?” Are you kidding me?
When the Seminoles had finished putting the spear in the Gators season, it was on to the Iron Bowl. I cringed as I heard the screeches once again of, “Did Auburn score” every time we made a peep. I mean, did these people not have eyes? Clearly Auburn didn’t even have the ball! I did giggle when my father in law scolded, “Geez, get in the game!”
As the game and my nerves wore on, I watched in horror mixed with utter delight as I saw my husband curled into an anxious ball on the couch as the clock ran down in a tie game. As Nick Saban argued for one second to be put back on the clock so that Alabama would have one final attempt before overtime, two thoughts ran through my head; 1) If Alabama loses, my husband will be devastated and we won’t get to have the rivalry championship game we wanted 2) If Alabama loses, FSU is basically guaranteed a spot in the national championship. Yay for me!
We all watched in full on shock as Auburn ran the ball down the field to score and win the game. My husband sat in silence with his mouth hung open while his “Auburn Fan” family member yelled in excitement as if she had a clue what had just happened.
Later that night as the reality of a loss set in, my husband sank into a depression that seemed to have glued his mouth shut. I tried my best to cheer him up by making conversation about other things with no luck.
As we sat in the car on the way home from dinner, I decided I was going to have to break out the big guns. “Well, at least now you don’t have to get that tattoo of my face on your rear end.” He replied in a less that amused tone, “Do you think that’s funny?” To which I replied, “Not at all. I was looking forward to it actually. You can’t win them all.”
With a dirty look he went back to ignoring me in silence. A few minutes later, I said, “At least I’m not related to an Auburn fan.” I felt his eyes burning a hole through my soul, and when I looked up, I finished the FSU fight song, “Florida State, Florida State, Florida State….WHOOO!” Let’s just say, it was a little frosty in our house that night.
In all actuality, I am a little disappointed that Bama lost because I wanted my team to be the ones who knocked them off of their high horse. It was bound to happen. It does to every team. Even the ones considered a dynasty.
In the words of some guy who wrote a poem on Facebook, “For the night after Auburn, the Tide does not roll. The new boss in town wears garnet and gold.”