a month of mel history lesson

Just a wee reminder on how the Month of Mel came to be! Sparkle on, bitches!

Bitchin' Fiction: Musings by author Melissa McKenzie / Melissa Francis

Gather ’round the blackboard, boys and girls of the internetwebz. Ms. Melf has a history lesson for you…

Once upon a time, there was a feisty-once-blonde-now-red-head named Melf. Oh wait, that’s a fairytale beginning…this isn’t a fairytale!

2009 was a big year for me. My second book was due in February and in early January, it was barely half written. I started working part-time, was still a full-time mother, and had long ago forgotten what sleep was. I was falling into a very deep depression because my 16 year marriage was falling apart and then in March, I was gonna be 40 years old.

I never worried about being 40 before. Age is a number and I certainly don’t feel that 40 is old. (and can I say, after being carded twice last week, I don’t feel 41 is old either) But with so many life changes happening at once…

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Dear Rader #19

Dear Rader,

Today is your 19th birthday. I like to write you and your brother a letter every year, and this one will be no exception.

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I’m incredibly proud of you and your brother. Y’all have weathered some emotional turmoil this year, and even though you both have a little internal bruising, you are stronger for it.

You just finished your first semester in college. Sometimes, it’s hard for me to fathom you’re a grown-ass man. You worked your tail off earning ALL THE SCHOLARSHIPS to pay for college. You worked your tail off earning money to help pay for your trip abroad, your trip to Puerto Rico, and to buy yourself a car. I know adults who don’t have the work ethic you have now. It’s amazing to see you take control of your life, set goals, and work like a junkyard dog to achieve them.

You’ve always been my little individualist and it makes me proud that you’ve had a self-awareness well beyond your age. I’d love to take credit for helping you with that, but I think that you were just born with it. You weren’t a “normal” baby (as if there is such a thing.) You were always so independent, so curious, so willing to ask questions and make jokes and entertain yourself. You hated sleeping in bed with us as a kid, didn’t like cuddling, and spent the ages from 5-10 “hugging” me by poking me with your index fingers and saying “hug, hug.” So now, when you snuggle me on the couch, or hug me with both arms…it is truly special.

I love you, kid. And I’m proud of the man you’re becoming. Carry on.

Love, Momma

LIFE LESSON: How NOT to handle a customer

This is a very long post. It is full of pictures. It is also full of awesome. Thank you for stopping by.

On July 23rd, Robyn and I went to see Star Trek. We chose the Riverdale 10 movie theater because they have the MOST COMFORTABLE recliners around, and because we could have a beer. I mean, hey, who doesn’t love sipping a Guinness at the movie (that you didn’t sneak in yourself…)

We purchased the beverages and popcorn. I was so looking forward to the popcorn because I’d been living la vida low carb for 3 months. That popcorn was going in my mouth and I couldn’t WAIT.

We got settled in, reclined our seats, and started chowing down. The lights had just dimmed as I reached in for my 2nd handful, I popped it into my mouth, and immediately spit out a fresh and minty already chewed piece of gum. That wasn’t mine.

I’ll stop for a moment while you gag. Trust me. It’s 3 weeks later and I’m still gagging. I can still feel someone else’s ALREADY FUCKING CHEWED GUM IN MY MOUTH.

I leaned over and told Robyn. After she stopped herself from throwing up, we decided it was best I go see the manager. When I explained what happened, the manager on duty said “Well that’s weird. We’re not allowed to chew gum behind the counter.”

Me: I get that. But still. There was someone else’s gum in my popcorn. It wasn’t my gum. It was someone else’s. And it came from behind the counter,  so…

MOD: That’s just weird. *turned and yelled* HEY WAS ANYONE CHEWING GUM TONIGHT?

Me: Seriously? Nobody’s going to admit it was theirs. I just want my $4.50 back. That’s it. Thanks.

MOD: Sorry, you’ll have to call Laird. The customer service number is posted on that sign.

Me: Just give me the $4.50 back. That’s all I want. And you’re the manager so you can do that.

MOD: No You have to call Laird.

Me: Fine. May I borrow your phone? 

I dial the number listed and hear an undecipherable message that I’m pretty sure is on an ANSWERING MACHINE from 1987. I leave my name, my telephone number, and a message that says I would like a call back before the movie is over so that I can get my refund.

Of course, no call came. So I call again from my phone, and I said something to the effect of: All I wanted was my $4.50 back for the popcorn. Now I want a full refund of both movie tickets and the popcorn. I’ll happily pay for the 2 beers we drank.

At 8:03 AM Sunday morning, the magical Laird returned my call. He woke me up, but hey, he called me back. He told me multiple times he was on his way to church and stopped by the office and got my message. He listened to what happened, thanked me for calling and not posting a review on social media, he just doesn’t understand why people do that. I laughed.

Me: Oh I posted a review on FB. If your manager had just given my money back, there wouldn’t have been an issue other than just being grossed out for a while. If you would have called me back last night, there wouldn’t have been an issue. But you didn’t. So yes, you got a review.

Laird: I just don’t understand what people want. We post the customer service number.

Me: They want actual customer service.

The conversation goes on and on like that for a while. He never once apologizes for my bad experience. He just says “But they’re not allowed to chew gum.” Over and over. Like that’s the end of it. Then he says he’s going to investigate and get back to me. That was July 24.

Fast forward to yesterday, 08-10-2016–almost 3 full weeks since my incident.

Robyn decided to post a review. We hadn’t heard back. We’d done what they’d ask. So it was time to let the world know that these guys suck. 1

She gave them 2 stars, which I thought was being generous. Then Riverdale 10 decided to respond and things got awesome:

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Someone thought it was a good idea to inform the customer she was wrong in her assessment because they have six employees over the age of 40.And please note the number they asked her to call while trying to slam her from not contacting them privately. That number will be important later on in the show.

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Of course, since I was the one who was the victim of the already chewed gum, I decided to remind them that I did, in fact call…

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Then I thought this person might need a lesson in how to handle customer complaints.

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At this point, I figure it’s over and done with. Surely a manager or the owner has seen they have a troll who is managing their FB page and SURELY they’ve shut it down. Right? LOL Wrong.

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Did you read all of that? No? Me either. I did skim it. Apparently Riverdale 10 loves good feedback, thinks I’m angry and public shaming them (I guess they don’t think having a customer find already chewed gum in their popcorn is HORRIFYING) and that if I had JUST CONTACTED THEM PRIVATELY, this would have all been taken care of. And then they proceeded to attempt to shame me like I was Cersi Lannister. Sorry honey, but Melf don’t play that.

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The Riverdale 10 person proceeded to rant on…

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and that’s when I dropped the hammer:

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Now, Robyn and I couldn’t help but poke a little fun after this, because frankly, it had been the most entertaining day either of us have had in a while. I can’t remember laughing so hard. I mean, I know this guy wasn’t trying to be funny, but he was hysterical. His customer service skills are spot on! Even our friend Marissa got a little hammer drop in there herself!

Not long after the proof was offered and we started openly mocking him, the entire thread disappeared. I guess this poor twerp doesn’t understand the concept of screenshots.

BTW, I’ve been told by a former employee that the only person who handles the FB page is the Owner of the theater. So no, it wasn’t some little college kid twerp who should be fired. It was the owner, who doesn’t give a shit if his customers find already chewed gum in their popcorn.

Because his employees don’t chew gum…

4/21: THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED

I’m not one of those people.

I’m not.

I actually have been known to gently mock and chide those people. You know, the people who seem to overreact when a celebrity dies. Like it was their mother or their best friend.

Then Prince died. And wow, was that a fucking punch straight to my heart.

As my friend Lee said…gutted.

Yes. Completely fucking gutted over the death of a musician I’ve never met. I heard Purple Rain on the way home from work last night and all of a sudden I realized my cheeks were wet.

WTF? I am NOT ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE.

Except that I am.

I didn’t know Prince, but he was such a strong part of my childhood, of my teen years, my young adult years… of my personality.

He made me think about the way we as humans treat each other. He made me step outside of my small mind, my small white-washed, almost puritan upbringing and think. He helped me to understand that sexuality could be fluid, that things weren’t just black and white. He taught me that love is love, he was the first to make me realize that labels and boxes were for other people.

That sounds dramatic, I know. But it’s true. I was a naïve and awkward kid. I was well-liked, but awkward because I knew on the inside I was different. I didn’t act different because you didn’t want to stand out in high school. But I knew my thoughts were not the “norm” in my area. I knew being different would hurt me socially, so I flew under the radar except to a few
very close friends.

Prince’s music brought me out of my shell. It inspired me to write. Poetry, lyrics, fiction. And as I got older, he inspired me to try to understand sexuality. He helped me to realize that sex wasn’t shameful. It was okay to express yourself, your desires. That it was more than okay for consenting adults, no matter their race, religion, gender, or sexual identity to love each other.

prince_purplerain1My words are failing me now. I just know that there were many a lonely night that I sat in my room and listened to my numerous Prince LPs over and over. Prince, Dirty Mind, Controversy, 1999, Purple Rain, Around the World in a Day, Parade, Sign o’ the Times, Lovesexy…

For me, yesterday was the day the music died.

Yep. I AM one of those people.

RIP Prince. Thank you for everything.

MONTH OF MEL DAY 3; Week of Giving Day 3

Day 1

Day 2

Today, I’m going to ask you to please consider donating to Lucie’s Place.

Lucie’s Place provides homeless LGBTQ young adults in Central Arkansas with safe living environments, job training and counseling services in order to ensure lifelong stability and success, and works to promote equality and acceptance for LGBTQ young adults.Did you know:

    Did you know:

  • More than 30% of LGBTQ youth report at least one suicide attempt within the last year.*
  • More than 50% of Transgender youth will have had at least one suicide attempt by their 20th birthday.*
  • Youth suicides outnumber youth homicides.*

*Based on national statistics

Those of us who are parents…do you remember when you just found out you were pregnant? And people would ask “Do you want a boy or a girl?” and your answer was almost always the same “I don’t care, as long as it’s healthy.”

Funny how that changes for some people when their child is born and they discover said child is Trans or gay or queer. How easily parents fail their children by kicking them out of their homes, the one place they should always feel safe and loved.

Lucie’s Place helps fill an unfortunately necessary need. Please find it in in your heart to help these poor kids who in the process of finding themselves, lost the one thing that should never have been taken from them–unconditional love from their families.

MONTH OF MEL DAY 2; Week of Giving Day 2

Yesterday’s post, I highlighted 2 cancer-related causes. One to help a particular family in need, the other, to support some Arkansans raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in order to help many.

Today, I ask for you to help the Arkansas homeless by donating to The Van.

from their website:

The One, Inc. is a very grass roots organization. It was spawned out of several years of hard work and dedication to meeting the needs of our homeless neighbors. That same hard work and dedication continues today in our same community driven methods.

We rely almost completely on in-kind donations to help us meet the many needs that our friends have.

All monetary donations go to keep our vehicles serviced and on the road, as our efforts are all mobile. We don’t have a huge overhead for buildings and administration, but it takes the help of many people to keep us on the road and going.

The Van relies almost solely on the generosity of others.They do amazing work for people who are living on the streets. If you can’t donate money, please peruse their website to see what other items they need at this time. They often put a call out for blankets, clothing, toiletries, and volunteers.

Give a little…and get a lot back in return. Your sparkle karma will double. I promise!

MONTH OF MEL DAY 1; Week of Giving Day 1

I told y’all in yesterday’s post that I wanted to start this year’s MONTH OF MEL off on a different foot. I’d like to do a week of giving….and I’m going to highlight (mostly) local charities that are important to me and that I’d like to introduce y’all to, and maybe, you’ll be inspired to give to one of the causes I highlight this week, or maybe you’ll donate to one of your favorite causes!  Continue reading

ARE YOU READY KIDS?

It’s that time of year, bitches.

We are one day away from the 7th annual MONTH OF MEL. (Technically, it’s the 47th annual, Month of Mel, but…I didn’t start celebrating the entire month until 7 years ago.) For those of you unfamiliar with the origins of the MONTH OF MEL, please click here. We’ll wait for you, don’t worry…

Continue reading