A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Archive for May, 2019

M for Mess

Posted by Pepper on May 9, 2019

That is the one word that describes my Gmail inbox. It is such a dreadful mess that I find myself clueless – how am I supposed to clean this up, ever?

I got my Gmail ID when Google had just launched their email service. Back then, not everybody was privy to it. The Blogspot users got 3 invites and I bagged an invite from Mint because at that time in 2004, I used to blog on this platform called ‘blogdrive’. Mint was a Blogspot user and I insisted he save a Gmail invite for me. I was ecstatic and I can safely say I was one of the very early users of Gmail. This email Id has stayed with me for the longest time.

I’m not sure what went wrong and at what point, but slowly, I started noticing a ton of spam. Over time, my email has turned into a junk factory. The sheer volume of unsolicited, undesirable and sometimes illegal emails I get is unmanageable. Clicking on ‘unsubscribe’ doesn’t help. Blocking those email IDs also doesn’t help. And I am not going to even get into how I never subscribed to that crap in the first place. Okay fine, I know this happens to most of us.

But here is what doesn’t happen to most, but seems to be happening with me. My email ID has a dot in it. Now I know there is another ID, which is essentially the same ID that doesn’t have the dot. I am actually confused about how this can even happen, because by Google’s own admission, dots don’t matter in Gmail addresses. BUT there are 2 IDs owned by 2 different people, only differentiating factor is the dot. How?

Let’s call this other person Pepper2. I have no clue who she is. But I know Pepper2 has one son, 8 years old. She lives in Delhi. Her son has been getting a mix of A and B grades, but mostly As. She recently took a vacation to Greece. I’m fully aware of her itinerary and flight ticket costs. She is moving to Bangalore and trying to sell most of her furniture in Delhi. I know all this because all of her email comes to me. And all the emails show my email address, without the dot.

This makes me hugely concerned. Is someone else also having access to all of my email? My inbox is a junkyard, but it is also a treasure trove. It contains mails and chat histories that are very dear to me. And it is linked to my bank accounts and a lot of other services I have signed up for.

Sometimes, I entertain the thought of starting over with a new email ID. Just to kind of purge my past and start clean. But the thought is kicked out almost instantly.  I am not the kind to break ties with my past that easily. After all, like I said, the inbox contains some gold. So I go back to where I began. What do I do?

Posted in A-Z Writing Challenge, Uncategorized | 17 Comments »

L for Learn

Posted by Pepper on May 1, 2019

I have fallen off the radar completely when it comes to this A-Z writing. So much so that I am wondering if and how I am going to work my way up. Cotton has been so awfully sick in the last few days and that has really consumed me fully. It has been extremely exhausting around here.

Cotton and Candy had Spring break a while ago and Mint and I found ourselves wondering how on earth we were going to keep them occupied enough. How will we find time for anything else?

On one such clueless day, we took the kids to the beach. The weather in Bay Area has turned around and it is actually fairly hot. Thank God for that. We thought the beach would be a good idea. But I should know that the weather Gods are rarely on my side.

On that particular day, it was cold and windy. We were with a friend and her son. The moment we stepped on the sand, I felt a cold wave hit me and I was instantly unsure of this decision of ours. Maybe the beach is too cold. It certainly is too windy. Will the kids be okay?

When I voiced my concern to the rest of the group, everybody seemed to think otherwise and asked me to shut up. Unfortunately, my reputation precedes me. I am always cold, when nobody else is. So when I say it is too cold for the kids, nobody takes me seriously. They probably think I am imposing my pathetic standards on them.

Mint often says he doesn’t want the kids to turn out like me. I actually start to wonder if letting them move around in a single layer on a relatively cold evening will let them build more resistance to cold? Of course, I don’t want them to develop a low tolerance and threshold to cold too. So I suck up and go against my instincts most of the time. I don’t bundle them up as much as I would like to.

But sometimes, I wish I listened to the voices in my head. Everybody that day decided to take a dip in the cold sea. I was aghast, but since nobody else seemed to think this was a problem, I allowed it to happen. The kids splashed around in the waves. At one point they decided to sit down and allow the waves to wash over. Needless to say, they were drenched.

By this point, this voices in my head were screaming. Hello, this is ridiculously chilly. They are drenched, it is windy. Let’s run out of here NOW! Again, when I voiced myself, I was asked to ‘calm down’. The kids were having fun, why would I want to spoil the party?

I wish, I WISH I had insisted on leaving. Sadly, I was more concerned about repairing my reputation. I wanted to come across as laid back and non obsessive. That is so much cooler than coming across as a paranoid mom who doesn’t have fun. So I let the kids stay wet for another few minutes, while they built sand castles on the windy beach.

That was what it really took. The next day, Cotton fell sick and this is the sickest my baby has been. His lungs have been affected, his fever keeps spiking, he is heavily congested and he has the worst cough ever. It makes him gag and splutter and gasp all day long. It has been a week of pure hell.

I am furious with myself. Why did I allow it to happen when I just knew what it could result in? We have all been suffering along with him. We are sleep deprived, holding on to a crying, clingy kid who is so uncomfortable. A tiny being who doesn’t know simple things like spitting out the phelgm or blowing his nose.

To add to my woes, Candy seems to be on her way to getting it now. Sigh. I have sworn to myself. When it comes to my kids, I have to trust myself and learn to speak up. I don’t care if I come across as a wimp. I need to learn to be firm. I need to learn to say no. This is one thing I have struggled with all my life, but I shouldn’t let my inabilities impact my kids. For them, I will learn.

Posted in A-Z Writing Challenge | 26 Comments »

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