Superlatives

18 05 2011

A sure sign that I am descending (or possibly ascending) into a mood is an increase in the number of superlatives that start floating around in my head.  When my self-talk devolves into always’ and nevers it doesn’t end well.  And if the superlatives start making it out of my mouth – well, woe is my family.  And now that I don’t swear all of the time, when I start releasing a tirade of zingers, well, it is another sign.

Yesterday evening was a superlative-laced curse-fest.  Part of my problem was the fact that I have had a few things on my plate so long that they had started to rot and stink.  One of those things was getting Little Dude his Social Security number.  The nine little digits that stand between us and our much anticipated adoption tax credit.

Yep, we have NEVER filed an extension in our lives.  The year the government is going to pay us the big bucks, we file an extension.  Consider it a loan, fine-white-gentleman of congress… you are doing such a GREAT job I wanted you to have a little of my money for some extra time.   Use it wisely, as you always do.  (Another sign of my mood – the percentage of my communication that is pure sarcasm.)

So, after a rough evening, I decided to start my morning at the Social Security office where I got to enjoy a moment with the fine civil servant at the customer-service window.

I had been warned by many that even when you show up with everything you need to get your foreign-born, adopted child a SSI number, the public servant whose salary you pay is likely to tell you that you have the wrong stuff.  Sure ‘nough, she started asking me for documents from Ethiopia that I did not bring with me because I did NOT NEED THEM.  So I whipped out the paper that I printed from the website and said, “Here is what I need to show you.”

And she said, “I will decide what you need to show me.”

And I said, “…….”

Yup, that is right, I said NOTHING.

Because I could see her ego was good’n’ hungry.   I knew I had walked in the door expecting a fight.  I knew she was happy to give me one.  And, ultimately, I knew in a superlative sort of way that I actually did NOT want one.

So, I, for once in my life, shut-the-hell-up.  And it worked.

She was able to type, type, type then go away and make copies.  Then come back and type, type, type some more.  When she came back and enough time had passed I was able to break the ice with a little, tiny, small talk (aimed at her ego of course.  Dale Carnegie would have been proud.)  Then she wanted to know stuff about Little Dude she didn’t need to (such as birth name, etc…)  I did my best to accommodate her because I am the MOST accommodating girl.

Then when she got to the part where she no longer had to concentrate, she wanted to know other stuff about Little Dude that she REALLY did not need to… such as why we adopted and if our other child was actually ours.  I kept tossing out the correct terminology and she kept coming back with terms like “real.”

And then she did that thing, that thing that I believe only southern women can do, possibly only black, southern women “Mmm..m..m..m..m…M!”

Do you know the thing of which I speak?  The first mmm is the longest, the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th are a little-sing-songie, progressively louder and are accompanied by small shakes of the head.   Once or twice the string of Mmm’s were followed by “tsk”.  Yes, Ma’am, I am in the south now.

Although I have seen this expression before in movies I don’t think I have ever actually been on the receiving end of it.  Honestly, I have no idea what it meant.  I am pretty sure it was a superlative laced statement something like, “What were you thinking, silly-white-girl?  The world is a crazy place and you just got nominated for captain of the crazy team.”

I am pretty sure if it was a positive thing I would have gotten a “god bless you” or whatever the civil-servant-don’t -mention-god version of that currently is.  But I was not on the receiving end of any encouragement or words of wisdom.  Just, “Mmm, m(left), m(right), m(left), m(right), M(single nod)!”

I actually found this encounter interesting, entertaining and ultimately I triumphed without a fight.  After that I got a few errands done and even went for a short run.  All-in-all a very fine morning.

However, nap time was rough and post nap time has been apocalyptic (how is that for a superlative?).   SAG and the kids are outside playing, because they have seen the superlative show before and they want no part of it.

Recounting this morning in this post has  cheered me up.  I am not feeling the need for superlatives at the moment.  In fact, I think I will grab myself a beer, go outside and start practicing, “Mmmm, m, m, m, m, M!”

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20 responses

18 05 2011
rebekah

That sounds remarkably similar to the time I visited social security to get my son’s ss. Remarkably similar. Thanks for pulling it out of the depths of my brain just in time to go back for my daughter’s. Which we need for our income taxes. For which we filed an extension.

18 05 2011
Semi-Feral Mama

You must be super rich like us and feel like good citizens loaning your money to the government. I hope your time at the SSI office goes well, “Mmm, m, m, m, m, M!”

18 05 2011
leigh

So did you get the number or not?

Funny, because here in NY I got my number from the SS office with NO PROBLEMS what so ever. And the lady was nice as can be. I swear. And she asked no inappropriate questions. She was probably relieved that I was a normal looking person. Relatively speaking. Or I should say, comparatively speaking.

18 05 2011
kerry's biggest fan

K, are you serious. No fight. Was she serious? that she would tell you what she needed. Good for you for backing down. I got all worked up just reading that. Of course you know that my SSN story was a bit dramatic and involved a really LONG drive but ended in a stop at $tarbuck$ so I was okay with it.

Glad I stopped by to read. Had a 5 minute long mental breakdown today thinking I’m way to involved and have way too much to do and can’t even keep my dishes clean. And I love, thrive actually, in a clean house.

your biggest fan 🙂

18 05 2011
Jamey

I love this post. It sounds like me a lot…except we’re nowhere near ready for a SSN. And I like you Kerry, but you will totally have to fight me to be Captain of the Crazy Team.

19 05 2011
Tesi

I.love.this.post. Though our SS office is downright cheery and it took me 3 minutes and the african american man who helped me touched and played with my kids and complimented me on hair care, I still love this post. Because you are so right. I have the same symptoms when I start getting a leeeetle bit crazeballs.

19 05 2011
SS

Wow! I would have had a hard time backing down, but it sounds like you did a “Mmm, m, m, m, m, M!” thing by playing her “game.” (I hate people on power trips!)

We had an easy time in NY. Got the number in about a week. Also, got our tax refund with no questions asked in about 1 month from when I mailed in our return forms.

Good luck with the bureaucracy!
SS

19 05 2011
fricknfracks

I can’t believe you shut the hell up. I don’t think I could have done it. But that’s probably why the Mr. doesn’t take me a lot of places.

Hopefully, by the time you get your taxes done, they’ll be done reviewing mine so your can get your refund tout de suite. Bastards. All the money we’ve paid them and they have the nerve to audit us. Yikes, I almost sound Republican.

20 05 2011
Cazadora

We are being “examined” too and my husband is an effing tax attorney. Trust me, we sent in everything – all substantiating evidence and if those effers want to fight with us, they are going to have one hell of a battle on their hands. All I know is our money has better got to forth the hell coming.

19 05 2011
leigh

Oh and btw, I am coming back for a rare second comment to say hey, what the hell? You shut up in the face of someone else? Aren’t you the same person who told me off in two posts how you wouldn’t have shut up if I tried to not tell you something, you wouldn’t take no for an answer, that you would MAKE ME tell you or some other such nonsense I can’t even remember right now, in any case you were all mrs.-I-am-so-pushy-I-don’t-take-no-for-an-answer when you commented on my blog and hey wait, what? Here you are on your blog being all meek and mild.

BUSTED.

19 05 2011
Semi-Feral Mama

There is a difference between being nosy to the point of confrontation (me) and smart enough to shut up so I get what I want and need while letting a front-line, power-hungry (and probably over-worked and under-appreciated) government employee think she is getting her way.
And, you would be happy to know, I almost got in a fight at a children’s event on Saturday. And in trying to achieve justice (by getting between the line-cutting mothers and them taking a photo of their child with a cartoon character), I tripped over a chain, making a huge scene and mortifying my husband. Of course there were a few other mothers who were cheering me on.
What colleges is he visiting anyway?

19 05 2011
leigh

I’ll never tell. 🙂

19 05 2011
claudia

Oh right, well THAT’S okay then. Much better to get into a fight at a children’s party than be a hypocrite. Glad you cleared that up 🙂

19 05 2011
leigh

ps, you know I am kidding, right?

19 05 2011
Shonda

Loved this post, and loving the comment thread. And, really really wishing blogger had comment fields like wordpress. Dang you blogger! I hate your comment fields.

Dang you social security office and your power! But I have nothing to complain about because dear hubby took care of it all for me, not without two useless trips because they said we didn’t have everything we needed when we really did. I’d probably be a lot more passionate if it had been me making the useless trips.

Did you see my OCD offer on my blog? Are you tempted?

20 05 2011
Cazadora

Pretty much at every step of the way, people (govt workers at various levels) have asked us for documents they DID NOT need. The latest? The woman at the passport office asked me for Oa’s original ET passport and blathered something about making sure no fraud was involved. AFTER we produced his natz certificate. I almost had a holy righteous m-fing cow on her Qtip head. I am an immigration attny, woman, and if you think for ONE SECOND they would have given us a NATZ certificate when fraud was involved you are out of your effing marbles. I tried to contain my abject disdain for what she said, but I literally said to her, “If “they” think fraud was involved, they can TALK TO ME about it, and I can CLEAR IT UP for them and then I pulled out my proverbial lawyer card and stuck my chest out (which I NEVER DO unless a situation like this occurs and it really pisses me off)… and then? She shut the eff up.

Again, I don’t usually go around saying things like I’m a lawyer or my husband is a lawyer, but in situations when I feel like someone is trying to screw us over, I am not too dignified to get down and dirty and pull out all my ammo.

20 05 2011
Semi-Feral Mama

I am not sure how she, by examining the passport, could identify if there was fraud in your adoption.
I was told that “they” would have preferred to see my son… I was like, “Our you serious? People bring their kids here? I have two toddlers! I thought I was doing you all a favor.” Her reply was something like, “THEY do. They bring them all in and let them run around.” Not sure what They she was speaking of, but they certainly were deserving of an “Mmmm, m, m, m, m, M!”
More importantly, I googled Qtip head because I have never heard that expression before. And I looked at the Urban dictionary definition – 9 choices most of which were nothing I wanted to research further on the internet. In the end, I do NOT have a picture in my mind of what your SSN office ‘customer-service’ worker looked like, but I am afraid to research the topic further.

22 05 2011
leigh

No, no, no, SF, be careful what you google. remember when I google “stroke order”????? Don’t google “q-tip” ANYTHING!!!!!! OH MY EYES!!!!!! For the love of Pete!

24 05 2011
Cazadora

OMG. Why did I just google “Qtip” head. Awful! I was not making any kind fo sexual reference, I promise you that! So, my understanding of that term is that it refers to someone with white hair, and not necessarily an elderly individual. (like when the only thing you can see in the car is a white poof of hair, I’ve heard this referred to as Qtip head). I apologize if that is some sort of epithet – Geez, I should not have written that. My bad. Seriously. People should not be singled out verbally by any sort of characteristic, esp if immutable. I am an a-hole sometimes, but I usually try to be a good person promise.

Yeah, basically with the passport thing – there is NO way to detect fraud. Unless referring to the visa inside one of the pages of the passport – like looking to see if there is a visa. But, often times an I-94 entry doc is not even in the passport. In any case it was glaringly apparent, this woman had no clue what she was talking about. No clue.

28 05 2011
petalsofzuzu

Oh smile. I hadn’t been able to log onto blogger all week…and this morning, one of the first places I headed to catch up was your blog. Trying NOT to use superlatives makes me want to cuss.

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