Posted by Julia Bendis
I got a letter from my car’s manufacturer, saying that my car is part of a Recall due to a faulty brake part. I was told to call the nearest dealership immediately, and bring the car in to get the part replaced.
They listed all possible malfunctions that could result from Not getting the new part:
-At first, the brakes would start making noise.
-Then the noise will get worse, and worse over time.
-Brake fluid will start leaking out, making the brakes weaker and weaker.
-And finally, the brakes will completely fail when you try to stop the car.
Sounds like a dream, right?
So, as any sane person would, I got on the phone and started calling dealerships. Their service departments informed me that they haven’t received the needed parts yet, and don’t know when they will. Apparently, they made only a small amount of needed parts, and they haven’t been distributed yet…
Now, I am no genius but before starting a countrywide panic attack wouldn’t you, first want to make sure you have the necessary part? What the hell is the point of sending out letters to thousands of affected car owners, telling them that they might possibly get into accidents, get hurt or even die because their brakes won’t work, and at the same time NOT have any way of preventing all of this from happening???
In the meantime, we will all just drive very, very carefully or walk everywhere…
4.8.13 at 10:49 am | Julia Bendis gets interviewed by the Orange. . .
11.8.12 at 11:25 am | Match by Julia matchmaking website
7.31.12 at 8:03 pm | Matchmaking done right! Individual, personal,. . .
7.19.12 at 3:08 pm | Boy Scouts reject homosexuals. Someone needs to. . .
3.29.12 at 10:39 am | Does G-d belong in children's activities?. . .
2.29.12 at 11:11 pm | Rules for proper manners and etiquette for. . .
5.15.11 at 6:07 pm | Adopting babies in foreign lands equals cool. . . (22)
4.11.11 at 2:07 pm | What a concert! Porn, sex, S & M, rock and all. . . (10)
3.28.11 at 10:13 am | My family and quitting. We quit everything. We. . . (6)
December 27, 2010 | 1:09 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
Being a wife, a mother and a woman in general, you find yourself at a grocery store quite a bit. I also find myself quite a bit pissed off when I am there. I really thought that America was all about business, and customer service, and giving really good customer service. I guess I just assumed that coming to this country from Russia, where back in the day most people didn’t know what “customer service” even meant, I would only find happy, go-lucky people everywhere I went.
Apparently, I was wrong. I keep hearing the phrase “good customer service is hard to find”, from everyone these days. I never really thought about it, until I started paying attention. Take my neighborhood Ralphs grocery store for example. I was in there the other day, and was hoping to find those small, Persian-type cucumbers. I remember that they used to carry them there. One of the produce guys was working close by, I went up to him and asked if they ever get those cucumbers in. Without even looking at me, he blurts out: “No!” And keeps working. No explanation, no offering to see if they could order some, NOTHING. Me being a big mouth, and wanting my damn Persian cucumbers, I ask him if they ever order those anymore? “No”, he says. Well, at that point I couldn’t back down, even if I wanted to. “Do you think you COULD order some, and I will come and buy them all?” This time he actually turned to look at who in their right mind would actually have the balls to keep bugging him! What a miracle, I thought!
He says: “Fine, I will see if we can order them!” I am sure what he meant to say was: “I will order them, if you take your annoying ass out of here.”
Did I mention how much I dread going to my neighborhood Ralphs, or shopping for groceries altogether? The problem is that the closest store besides Ralphs is miles away, and when you only need a couple things, the last thing you want to do is drive 20 minutes each way to get it.
And I’m not saying that other stores are any better. I tried going to the Persian store, further away but was told they have the best produce, and carry a lot of Russian and Israeli foods, which I was very happy about. I learned fast that if you don’t speak Farsi, they just ignore you! They are very nice when you first walk in, and assuming that you are Persian (having dark hair, and dark features, I’ve been taken for Persian, Italian, Mexican, Armenian, everything BUT Russian), they say: “Salom”, which I have no problem with, but that’s as far as my Farsi language goes. Once they realize you have absolutely no clue what they are saying, they turn around and leave. I’ve tried asking for something a couple times, only to get the same response as the moron from Ralphs, “No”. Once you finally get to the checkout stand, the checkers don’t even look at you to say a “hello”. They just keep scanning and bagging your groceries until you are done.
One of the last times I went there, during the checkout process, I asked the clerk: “Why are you so mad?” He looked up at me, and I swear I wasn’t sure if he was going to ask me to get the hell out of the store, or throw groceries at me. Without answering, he proceeded to bag my groceries. The people in line behind me didn’t seem to find it funny or amusing either… Let’s just say that was the last time I went to that store.
You know, you almost expect it from the Russian stores, I don’t get mad at them. I know they can’t help it. That’s just how they behaved themselves back in the old country. During Communism, life was crappy, not enough food, sometimes no food and they were the bearers of bad news. When you’ve been waiting in line for 3 hours for a skinny, un-plucked dead chicken with its hair, his head and neck still on, the last thing you want to hear is that they ran out!!! The fat, ugly He-woman standing behind the counter is the one to deliver the bad news to you. You know she hates her job, but its a job and someone has to do it. I can only imagine how my Mother felt after a long day at work, having to stand in line for a promised chicken only to find out the guy in front of you took the last one… I know I wouldn’t have taken the news well, and probably would have reached over the counter and tried to strangle her.
When that same woman behind the counter immigrated to the U.S., the only job she could get was being a store clerk, and with no English, she had to do it at a Russian store. Unless you are Russian, and used to that sort of thing I don’t suggest going into one. Its almost as if they forget they are in America, and once enter the store start reminiscing about the bad-old days. They forget that its not the “first-come, first-get-it” mentality. There is no need for shoving and pushing, and on top of that yelling, very loud yelling over everyone’s heads!
I remember the first time I took my husband to a Russian store in LA, back when we were still dating. Boy, was he scared. Even though he is a 3rd and 4th generation Russian, his grandparents never talked about their days there. He is still learning about the culture, and the way life was there. He was definitely Not prepared, and I almost felt bad for him. Some 80-year-old woman shoved him in to a corner, while trying to grab bread behind him. I must have been busy yelling at the clerk because I didn’t even notice him standing quietly in a corner, with his eyes about to pop out of his head. Its a pretty scary sight for a newbie to be thrown into that chaos.
I am pretty sure that I am on some kind of a “list” in every grocery store in Orange County, they all have had enough of me and my efforts to “change” things… Oh and you know how much we, Jews LOVE being on lists! I try to avoid being placed on any kind of lists, even the good ones. Going to a bar or club, I’d rather wait in line in the freezing cold than have my name be put on a list. I don’t care that its a VIP list, its still a list.
December 26, 2010 | 10:26 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
Maybe its just me, but what’s wrong with this picture? There is a Medical company in Connecticut that started selling stuffed plush microbes, bacteria and viruses. Yes, I said bacteria and viruses. The plush toys are exact replicas of what a real microbe looks like. There is a pretty yellow star that is supposed to be Herpes, and a feminine looking Mononucleosis virus, also known as the kissing disease, with some beautiful long eyelashes!
They also sell the same cuddly organisms as Christmas tree ornaments, can you imagine that?
I can completely understand how medical students may have good use for these, but the general public? What the hell do we gain from buying these microbes? I can even understand using them to educate children about the effects of proper hand-washing, and safe sex, but other than that… what are we supposed to do with them? The way I see it, the only thing it would do is the complete opposite of what this company wants! Looking at these pretty, cuddly and fluffy toys will glorify these diseases, OK so maybe not glorify but make them seem less harmful than they really are! Am I wrong?
Who in their right mind decided to sell these “Toys” to the public? Who came up with the genius idea of making replicas of deadly diseases and viruses??? What else is even more interesting to me, is who are the regular people that are buying them? I mean, besides the health educators, medical personnel, etc…
December 22, 2010 | 12:14 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
What’s a mother of boys to do during the 2-week Winter break? After days of wrestling, fighting, video game playing, and countless hours of television, I decided to take my boys to “Color Me Mine” for some ceramic painting. I’ve done it before myself, but my boys never showed interest in either coloring or ceramic making. They are more of a physical activity type kids. The more running and screaming, the better! I had always pictured mothers with their perfect little girls, dressed in pink and red dresses, with their beautiful long tresses in bows, sitting quietly and painting flowers. So when I mentioned Color Me Mine to my boys, I was surprised they wanted to go…
As I went to get ready, my oldest gave me yet another lecture about how I take forever getting ready, and that we are not going to a fancy party, hence no need for mascara!
By the way, this is a daily occurrence in my household:
1. Me trying to get ready to go out.
2. All three of my boys complaining about how they always have to wait an hour for me to be done.
3. Them starting the car because in their little minds they think it will make me go faster, in which case it just makes me mad.
4. And in turn, I start yelling.
But, back to ceramic painting… I had this vision of the three of us painting beautiful mugs for my husband, or plates and bowls with flowers and hearts on them! My vision was wrong. My 5-year-old picked out the biggest ceramic dog he could find, while my 11-year-old picked out the scariest item they had: a skull with a crow on it! Reminded me of Edgar A. Poe… Not exactly the vision I had, but I was going with it.
Nik ended up painting his dog with a variation of green, orange and brown. It took all my strength not to correct his brushing technique, and his choice of colors for a DOG, but I controlled my impulses. I absolutely love having boys, they are a lot of fun, they love their Mother, and most importantly don’t give a damn what they are wearing each day! However, I do wish painting and coloring was at least one of the things they liked to do.
Tyler’s skull and crow turned out black and red, of course, but I was happy they were at least painting with me and having a good time. I was pleasantly surprised that my oldest was taking his sweet time going over every little crevice and detail, making sure it was just right! They even talked me into painting my husband’s mug “the perfect boy” colors, as they put it, instead of what I pictured: pink roses, red tulips and of course hearts, hearts and more hearts!
The high school girls working there took turns complementing my boys on their choice of colors, which immediately made Tyler blush. But obviously did nothing for the 5-year-old since he kept repeating how he wanted to get out of there, so he can go back to playing with his soldiers…
Two great hours spent in quality, peace and quiet! Only 300 more hours to go before school starts…
December 20, 2010 | 3:26 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
The other day, I started to wonder if anyone else has the same obsessive compulsive behavior when it comes to Facebook, cell phones, Blackberry’s, Blueberry’s, ipods, iphones, ipads and God-knows what else…
For a long time, I resisted getting a more ‘appropriate’ cell phone, or as my kids would say, an adult phone. So now that I finally broke down and purchased a Blackberry, I get pinged and ponged, and ‘notified’ of every move of every person in my contact list! To a “Normal” person, this wouldn’t be an issue, but to me its overwhelming, mainly when I am driving. Not wanting to grab my phone every time I get an email, a text, a Facebook message or something else, I am forced to pull over and check it out.
Yes, for a “Normal” person this wouldn’t be a big deal. They would just wait til they got to their destination or whenever they had time, and check it out. But seeing that this is Me we are talking about, its a problem. I absolutely can not let a message sit in my Inbox without having to see it right away!
I can’t let emails pile up, I have to check them one at a time as they come in. Seriously, I don’t know how people have unread messages just sitting there, it would be like money sitting in my hand, and not being able to spend it. What drives me even more crazy is not being able to reply right away. And when I say: right away, I mean: right away! The thought of someone sending me an email or text, and then just sitting there waiting, and waiting for my reply makes me anxious. By the way, that’s actually the picture I have in my head: the person sending me an email or text, and then sitting back and just starring at the screen, waiting for a reply…
I do expect people to reply back to me right away as well. I just don’t get what is so hard about hitting the “Reply” button and sending a quick text. So rude! However, most people in this world are also not as anal as I am about those things.
This issue wouldn’t even be so bad if it didn’t make my driving commute such a pain in the ass, and a long one at that.
-I leave the house, my cellphone on the passenger seat.
-Ten minutes into driving, Ping, someone sent me a text.
-Me pulling over to read the text. Why? Because someone may be in trouble. How often in the last 5 years has someone been in trouble, you ask? Never.
-Text, my husband asking how my day is going.
-Me typing a 5 minute text about my day. Send.
-On the road again.
-Ten minutes into the drive, on the freeway now, I get a Pong from Facebook.
-Jewish Federation inviting me to a “Rock the Dreidel” event on December 4th. Am I coming?
-Have to reply. Click “Maybe”.
-Back on the road.
-Now I am ten minutes late for my appointment, but at least I feel good that I didn’t miss anything.
-Just as I’m about to pull into a parking lot, my phone makes some other noise, Email.
-Screech into a parking spot, without turning the car off I grab the phone. A friend asking about a guy I was setting her up with.
-Gotta reply. Yes, great, where, when and what. Whew.
-Run into my appointment.
This goes on all day!
I am in a serious technology overload. Thinking how good it used to be before cellphones, before tracking devices, and check-ins on Facebook (more on that idiotic invention later). I could go anywhere, anytime and no one would ever bug me.
But then again, I jumped out of my car every 10 minutes when my pager would go off, so I could call the person that paged me! No wonder i never made it anywhere… I guess I’ll take the Blackberry over a dirty payphone.
December 17, 2010 | 2:47 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
Wouldn’t you agree that there is nothing like watching your child singing Christmas Carols in a school performance? I am sorry, let me re-phrase that. There is nothing like watching your Jewish kid singing Christmas Carols, in a school performance! Am I right?
All the schools this time of year are putting on presentations, and plays about Christmas and the Holidays, but do the teachers take into consideration what that does to the Jewish kids in that school? Or in my son’s case, the whole FIVE Jewish kids that are in the entire school?
As much as we teach our kids about who we are, and where we come from, and what we believe, we also want them to fit in and not be outsiders. Even if the teachers gave us the heads-up about songs that they will be performing, and give us the option to pull them out of it, would we? Would I? I am not so sure. All we want as parents, is for our kids to feel like they belong, to fit in with the rest of the kids, and have good friends that accept them for who they are. But, when you start pulling them out of performances as many parents do, what does THAT do to the child? I truly believe that it only upsets the child, makes them feel alone and unaccepted. I put myself in their shoes, and can’t imagine having to sit out while all the other kids are up there singing their hearts out about a Merry little Christmas!
Having said that, if I don’t pull them out of a Christmas performance, I feel awful. As my husband and I sat there listening and taking pictures, I couldn’t stop thinking about what my Rabbi would say seeing my son up there singing: “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas!” Oye Vay, what am I doing to him?
Just as I sat there pondering the meaning of being Jewish, the teacher announced that next they will be singing a “cute, and cheery song about a Dreidel”. I looked at my husband and we both smiled, thinking oh good, finally!
It went something like this, and I am paraphrasing: “Oh, how I love to spin my Dreidel. You can land on any letter, but please don’t land on Shin, because I will have to pay, be out of money and have to declare Bankruptcy!” That’s when all the kids made the money signal with their hands.
Its not enough that we get stereo-typed as only caring about money, but they have to make the kids sing about it at a class performance! I looked over at my husband and seriously thought he was about to pass out. I’ve never seen him more pale or dumbfound… When all the parents were clapping and smiling, all I could think was, I’d really love to have a chat with the person that wrote this wonderful song!
What more can I say…
December 15, 2010 | 4:22 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
Many people ask me what we brought with us to America, when we immigrated here in 1989.
Well… Most Russians brought over money and diamonds. Since we were neither smart or rich, this is literally what we had in our suitcases:
Someone had told my parents that in order NOT to spend money once we got to the U.S., we should absolutely pack the necessities.
As we got to the airport in Moscow, we had to go through Russian security and customs. Imagine big, hairy Russian Army soldiers with AK-47 Kalashnikov’s opening our luggage as rolls and rolls, and rolls of Soviet issued toilet paper come flying out…
That wasn’t all. My parents had a whole separate luggage that when opened by one of the guards, had Soviet issued CONDOMS falling out of it. Let me re-phrase this, it had NOTHING but condoms in the luggage!
The guard looked at my parents, as if to say, what the hell is wrong with you people? Back then, most Jews left Russia loaded with money and diamonds. But not us, we went with far more important things, like rock hard sand paper for the bathroom, and condoms. Because that is what’s important in life!
I can only imagine what those soldiers were thinking… What kind of Jews leave Mother Russia with nothing but condoms? What are you planning on doing there? Having sex for money?
We also had a whole luggage devoted to pillows, yes pillows, the kind you sleep on. And of course, home-made women’s monthly menstruation supplies. I think that was the best one of all. Picture bags of cotton, not cotton balls, just cotton wrapped in medical gauze! When most people were bribing dock workers, and paying money to get their jewels shipped overseas, my Mother was bribing hospital employees to get her much needed gauze and cotton…
Can you tell yet where my parents’ priorities were? It does explain a bit about how my brother and I turned out, doesn’t it?
December 14, 2010 | 3:11 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
Everywhere you go during this time of year, you are bound to get a “Merry Christmas!”, and that’s perfectly fine with me. If its a stranger, in return I just do my usual: “Yea, Yea Happy Hanukkah to you too!” After which, they give me that sad face, as if to say: “Oh, I’m sorry!” And then they go on to console me: “But at least you are done with all the shopping, right?” What the hell does that mean? Its almost like some consolation prize. Oh, you are Jewish, so sorry to hear that you don’t celebrate the Greatest Holiday ever! Well, Happy Hanukkah anyway!
They act like I’m missing out big time, or worse like I am dying.
I understand it if you don’t know me, and don’t know that I am a Big Jew. But if you know me… why do you still insist on wishing me a Merry Christmas? It’s as though they think that all year long we are Jewish, then all of a sudden Christmas rolls around, and by some miracle we (the Jews) drop our Jewishness, and become Christians for that one special day called Christmas!?!? I don’t get it, is that the thinking behind it? Please, do enlighten me…