Today, I couldn't seem to get anything right. (long)

I’m sure everyone has days like this, days where almost everything we do turns to shit. Today was my day.

It started out on a frustrating note; I woke up feeling ready for a bit of lovin’ with my wife. On a normal Saturday morning, waking like this, I might try some creative way of waking my wife as well. Today, however, we had guests… specifically, two of our daughters’ friends had stayed the night and everyone was awake, watching Saturday morning cartoons. I sighed and decided to forgo the call of early-morning pleasure, and got up and made breakfast for all.

I tried to make what everyone wanted. Unfortunately, many wanted different things. Crepes, no crepes, eggs over-medium, sunny-side, scrambled. I overcooked the eggs and the crepes were too thick. Also, my wife (awake by the time breakfast was ready) wound up with an upset tummy… though I suspect that had more to do with the morning Frappucino than anything I made.

Since I knew my wife had to work on report cards on Sunday (she had lamented the fact laboriously on Friday evening), I had hoped that we would at least spend Saturday together. Instead, my wife started to research materials for a grant online, and would up spending much of the day writing said grant. So much for that.

I went to the library to pick up a book they had reserved for me (The Eyre Affair), and pick up a package for my youngest daughter’s birthday at the Post Office. These things, at least, went smoothly. One would hope that not too much could go wrong with such simple things.

I came home and my wife was still working… fine. I did the morning breakfast dishes, tidied up the living room a bit, and checked on the kids. All present and accounted for, playing a borrowed Gamecube in their room. I watched for a while, then came out and got online, long enough to get on Fandango and purchase some tickets for Secondhand Lions later that day. I wanted to see the film, and I knew that a trailer for Return of the King would now also be attached to it. Double-plus-good. Or so I thought.

Important to note, here, that I recently received $100 worth of Fandango Bucks as a bonus from work, for a good month. I hadn’t yet used any of them yet, so today was the first time for using them. I’ve used Fandango before, without a problem, so I didn’t expect any trouble with the Fandango Bucks, which are basically gift certificates. That’s what I thought.

Anyway… over the next couple hours I helped our guests get ready to go back home to their family, and tried to get my own family ready to go to the movies. My wife was still working on her grant, so I was flying solo. All told, I didn’t do too badly.

However, I did receive a rather nasty shock. My daughter came to me asking that I not yell so much. I didn’t recall yelling at all in the last day or so, at anyone. In fact, I had been feeling rather good about things. I asked my daughter when I had yelled, and she agreed that I hadn’t yelled about anything recently. So why was she asking me? Apparently, her friend thinks I’m some sort of ogre, and would yell at her for no good reason, for example, I would yell at her if she asked me for something to drink.

sigh That’s so nice. I love knowing I have a unearned reputation as an ogre among my daughter’s friends. I didn’t have time to address it as I would have liked at the time, so I stuffed it down (not my usual method) and moved on.

Our guests were supposed to be picked up at 3:30. I had bought the tickets for a 4:30 show of Secondhand Lions, plenty of time. Of course, mom didn’t show until almost 4 to get the other kids, so by that time we were rushed to get out the door. To make matters worse, though the tickets were paid for, I didn’t have money for snacks. We also didn’t have any money in the bank, but I had fortunately received a $100 check for some freelance work in the mail that very day. We had little time to spare, but enough to stop by the bank and cash the check.

Of course, I fucked that up too… on the invoice I wrote for my client (more for his records than for mine), I put “Glass Island Studios,” a name I had been playing with for my freelance web design work. The check had been written to that name, rather than my name. It took three times longer than it should have to cash the check, and I was lucky to get it cashed at all.

So we rush to the theatre, still on time but with no breathing room anymore. We get there, and my wife has a good plan; she’ll pick up the tickets while I hop in line for the snacks. I like this plan.

Just after telling the snack guy what we want, my wife comes in to ask for my credit card, which is being asked for at the ticket window. They shouldn’t need my credit card, says I, since I used Fandango Bucks. I start to sense Bad Mojo ™ on the wind. My wife and I swtich places… she’ll pay for the snacks I just ordered, and I go to the ticket window.

Once there, I talk to three different people. They keep asking for my credit card, because (as everyone knows) any online transaction must be made with a credit card. Indeed, I agree with that much but I try to explain that it was my boss’ company Amex that purchased these tickets, via the Fandango Bucks system, so I don’t have the credit card. Pretty simple, and makes sense… except I soon learn that, of the three people in the ticket booth (none of whom are helping other customers), none of them knows how to deal with tickets purchased with Fandango Bucks. Moreover, it soon becomes clear that none of them, including a manager, has even heard of Fandango Bucks. I shit you not. The implication seems to be that I invented them, because obviously they would know, in their infinite wisdom, if such a thing existed… right?

Right. Well, they didn’t agree on the alleged reality of Fandango Bucks, and I was turned away. The money we paid for concessions was, at least, refunded, but apparently they were also under the mistaken impression that Fandango would refund the credit for the tickets, so I walked away pretty much empty-handed.

Meanwhile, a line had been forming behind me, because the ticket sellers had not opened a second till. Who looks like the asshole, holding up the line for everyone else? Yup… that would be me. And here I am, having spent a great deal of effort and time trying to get my family to this theatre on time, only to be turned away… it was the breaking point for me. Turning away from the theatre with a terse “Thank you very much,” I started to walk away. I couldn’t hold it in anymore, and I pretty much confirmed the opinion of those who were in line behind me by screaming “IDIOTS!!” at the top of my lungs as I stormed away. Not my usual behavior at all, but I was livid.

I got back in the car fuming. My first words, as the family got in behind me, “This whole day fucking sucks!!” I decided I needed to buy something, since I suddenly had a small reserve of unspent cash. I took my wife to Toys R Us to buy something for her classroom, then went to Wherehouse and found a CD I’d been looking for (the Run Lola Run soundtrack), then took my daughter to the music store and got some cleanng supplies for her clarinet. Good, good… by the time we returned home, I was feeling a little better.

My wife went right back to work on her grant application. sigh

Ignoring the better part of valor, I decided to take another shot at the movie thing. It must just be that theatre, right? I got online again and found another theatre, a little farther away but not a big deal. This time, I called them and verified that they knew what the Hell Fandango Bucks were, and how to use them. They did. Good, good. I set up the tickets for a little later that evening, and set about making an early dinner for everyone.

I also called the other theatre, where we had so recently been rebuffed, and asked to talk to a manager. Turns out that Fandango doesn’t do refunds, and any recompense must be made through the theatre. There’s a phone call I’m looking forward to. I asked to speak to the manager, and a girl comes on. Her voice sounds familiar. I explained who I was, briefly, and what had happened. She said she remebered me.


She was, however, anxious to help (fearing my wrath I suppose) and in the end offered ticket replacements, good at any Regal Cinema location. I accepted, and made arrangements to pick them up Sunday, from her. I made sure to thank her (sincerely, this time) before I hung up.

Dinner done, we packed up and headed out again, early this time. Good thing, too. We got to the theatre, showed the claim code and the printed page from the site, which also explained (handily enough) how the theatre employees should handle the transaction. It was the same girl I talked to on the phone, and to her credit, she followed the instructions on the sheet exactly. They still didn’t work. Again, a manager was summoned, saw what was happening, and tried to help. No-go. Luckily, there was another line where people were buying tickets, so at least I wasn’t holding others up much. Finally, the manager (who at least knew that Fandango Bucks were, indeed, real) gave me tickets from his account. My Fandango Bucks never did work, but he helped.

We got in and got snacks (I picked the slowest line, of course), and made it into the theatre just as previews were starting. Good deal… we were settled in time for the ROTK trailer. Very cool.

We started watching the movie… and our three-year-old daughter gets restless in short order. Very restless. My wife goes out with her for a few minutes, then comes back. I go out with her for a few minutes and let her run around and giggle in the hallway for a few minutes, then we go back in, after setting the appropriate speaking tone as a whisper. She goes in and begins to yell. My wife goes out with her again, then comes in a few minutes later. All sems to be well for a little while, and she almost goes to sleep… then wakes up again and starts to make noise again. In the naive hope that she’ll settle down again, I hang onto her, which only makes things worse. The audience members around us are obviously getting frustrated, and my wife goes out again with out daughter… just before an usher was going to escort her out, apparently. I briefly considered going out with her, but didn’t want to leave the older two girls alone in the theatre. I looked over and saw that they seemed rapt with the film. By my count, there was only 20 minutes or so left, so I decided to stay through the end with my other two girls.

Mistake of the day #42.

When we got out, my wife was obviously mad. I tried to apologize for what had happened, which only made her more angry. She had said that the whole night had been a waste of her time, and that I didn’t give a shit, all I wanted was to see the movie. I apologized for the fact that what I tried to do to improve the situation in the theatre was ineffective and probably stupid, and I said that all I really wanted was for my family to be able to do something together. Which is true. I also apologized, as sincerely as possible, for wasting her time. Not that it helped. When we got home, she went straight to bed.

I put our youngest daughter (now asleep, of course!) to bed, and asked the other two if they wanted to go out again, hoping to salvage something positive from the day. They replied that they did, and so we went shopping for some necessities.

Of course, I fucked this up too… I had intended to get some flowers for my wife, but with all the other stuff I got at the store, I completely forgot the flowers.

However, I did do one thing right… I think. After the store, I took my girls out for some impromptu late-night ice cream and talk. That, at least, went well… actually, it was the best part of the day. I left the waitress a big tip for a small order.

I think I’m sleeping on the couch tonight, but before I do, I think I’m going to see if I can’t find a place to buy a flower. I’ll put it on the pillow, hope she won’t roll over onto it.

Tomorrow, I’ll go back to the first movie theatre and pick up the replacement tickets, and also take the opportunity to apologize there, as well, for acting like a jerk. Then I’ll do my best to start over somehow.

I’m glad it’s over. I rarely say this sort of thing, but I wish I could live it over again. I’d just quit with getting my book from the library, and I’d stay home to read it all day.

What a fucking day.

Wow, what a bummer of a day…but on the bright side, today is a new one. :slight_smile: