Friday, May 3, 2013

Blessings, expenses, losses and mourning inanimate objects...

Let me take a moment to pour out my woes. I know they are trivial and really not a big deal in the big scheme of things. I am happy to be where I am today after all you are about to read. I just wish it had been a little easier on us to get there. AND it puts me in a pickle as a photographer.

It's coming up on the one year mark of when Theodore came to live with us. How he ended up being a permanent resident is a whole different story and not now that I am at liberty to put out there. We'll just say it was an adventure in all of the things I lack-like sympathy for stupidity, patience, a filter for my mouth... You get the idea.
When Theodore came to spend a few weeks with us in the end of June we had no idea he'd become such a HUGE part of our family-permanently. He came just to visit while his sister, brother-in-law, older brother and niece and nephew were home for vacation.
What he came with was nearly nothing in the form of clothing or necessities. Not much of a big deal. We knew that the family was surviving on an income that made us look like we made millions. He was roughly of a size that he could wear Leonardo's clothes and shoes so, not really a big deal. Well, when we found out he would be staying with us for school we also found out that what he came with? Was pretty much all he had. That was an expense, to put it mildly. He needed EVERYTHING from underwear to a toothbrush to clothes and shoes.
School was another situation. Theodore's mom lives in the next town on down the road. Theodore goes to school in the next town on down the road. There's no getting on the bus to go to the school over yonder. So, we decided we had no choice but to suck it up seeing how we couldn't move him-we didn't have guardianship or anything of him yet. That meant driving Big Betty the gas guzzling Ford Expedition to and from the next town over there every day-twice. Thankfully Theodore had been receiving services through the McKinney Vento act prior to this and the school stepped in to help us some. I still have to pick him up a couple of days a week or for sports but, the bus picks him up in the morning and returns him on the other days of the week.
I mentioned sports there. He wanted to play football and we firmly believe in extra curricular activities. So, we made sure he could play football. Talk about expenses there. Thankfully the team had already planned on his situation for the sign up fee and that was covered but, there are a lot more expenses than that. There is the cold weather gear for under his pads and uniform, cup and jock strap, cleats etc... OH! And actually getting to and from practice. OF COURSE, football practice wasn't right after school so he could just stay there. Nope. That meant we had to take him down and either wait for him or go back and get him. We'd have waited, except Leonardo also plays football for our home school. They're smart enough to have practice after school. It ended however, about 1/2 hour after Theodore's started. Naturally we don't live close to the school where he could walk or jog or skateboard home. Nope. We had to go BACK to our home school, pick up Leonardo, drop him off at home and go back to pick up Theodore.
THEN his mother got visitation-much needed-and WE had to take him to and from the city about 15 miles away to visit her for 2 hours every Sunday in a restaurant. His mother has no income so, we made sure Theo had at least money for dessert.
OH... and his mother demanded that we take him to scouts in the town (she no longer lived in) where he goes to school one evening a week. That can't be done smelling like a football locker room and for midget football there is no shower/locker facility for him to get ready in. He had to come home, shower and go BACK to Next Town-where we had to either wait for him or do the round trip again. We waited.
Not sure where we were supposed to actually EAT in there or do homework or... well anything but, somehow we did it.
Which leads me to what I was getting at: It got MIGHTY expensive. All total we were putting about $150 or more a week in gas in Big Betty plus we had to meet what his mother demanded, provide for him what he needed and what the court ordered for him. BUT, we weren't receiving his survivor's benefits-his mother was. And she wasn't giving him a dime of it for his needs.

Saying it was financially hard is putting it mild. We used our liquid savings between what he needed and court costs. Then my car blew up and we were down to only Betty and the costs got higher. I dipped into my camera fund from business to make ends meet until we could get his survivors benefits for him.
And then my beloved Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens passed away. It was going and I knew I had to replace it soon... I just prayed I could nurse it through until I did a session and it worked like a Tilt-Shift Lens and everything was jacked blurry in odd parts of the image. It now sits in a place of honor where I can gaze lovingly at it and mourn it's loss. My problem is this: I've done that thing I say to other photographers NEVER do. I used the $ for gear upgrades for family expenses thinking that the poor 17-50 would be able to limp through one more year. Murphy's law. That leaves me without a wide zoom. I rely on my Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 for most everything and I am OK with that. I LOVE the 70-200 range for EVERYTHING. However, family portraits? It doesn't work so well. Wedding groups? Well I am out of the wedding season. I need a wide to normal zoom. THAT, my friends... brings me to the reason for this post. I've entered to win the Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 Di VC USD lens I have been drooling over in THIS CONTEST.  I've entered a LOT of contests over the years and never really much won anything. Let me tell you... I am praying-hardcore. Otherwise? I'm kind of down for the summer-senior portrait season and for all those Christmas portraits.
Help a girl out and say a prayer for me????

Monday, April 29, 2013

Somebody stop me... hold me back...

I am not sure if you should stop me from exploding or from feeling guilty or from giving in. 
Last week Friday Gulliver and I had it out-for the second time in 2 days. I told him I was flat out done. That's another story entirely. I even told him I wasn't helping him get to and from work to get on his feet-something I had promised to do and feel bad about but, I'll get over it. He had borrowed my SUV to go get his paycheck and run some errands at 11:30 in the morning. At 2:00 I missed an appointment for the foster becuse he wasn't back yet. He works 11 miles from my house. I have no idea how that took 2 1/2 hours. I WAS TICKED. I'd told him that I had to have the truck back by 1:15 to pick Foster up from school for appt. OR he could pick him up and be here by about 1:40 for me to make the appt. Yeah. Didn't happen.
SO... Today:
Wait... not today... some MORE back story: Gulliver moved out of the trailer with the other trolls he was living with a few weeks ago. We let him use our SUV to get his shit out one day a week or so ago. I know he had made another trip before and my daughter made a couple of trips with him. When I got the SUV back it stunk so bad like cat pee that I literally had to ride with the windows open to the store to get some fabreeze. It was the worst smell and all of his crap was GONE. Not a thing left. Just from being in there my truck stunk like the crazy cat lady's house. Whatever... I sprayed. It's all better.
NOW on to today:
About 15 minutes ago Gulliver calls and tells me that the troll trailer dwellers have called him to tell him that if he didn't get the rest of the shit out of the trailer today they were disposing of it.
Thought process in my head: Um... you moved out weeks ago and you don't own shit so...? WHY didn't you get this stuff (supposedly belonging to her kids) in one of the several trips you made to get the rest of the crap? They don't own enough to fill my SUV up one time anymore from doing this same thing before. AND... how nice of you to play the kid card.
What I actually said: Sorry, I missed appointments on Friday because of you and I have to take care of that stuff today. I have no idea what to tell you. His reply was "i knew you wouldn't help but, I had to try. It's the kids stuff."
So, here I sit feeling crappy about it and arguing with myself. I know mySELF is right and I can't give in and SELF gets mad at my mom side that says I have to go get the kids stuff. Those poor kids have nothing left at their mom's house because of those two idiots. Where SELF then get's ticked at MOM.
MOM is now under restraints and has had her phone taken away. Sometimes I really need to have an exorcist come in and get rid of her. She really makes tough love harder than hell.
Maybe I'll just go shopping. Spending some $ I really shouldn't spend will fix everything, right? I mean then the truck won't be just doing nothing and I'll get a little retail therapy out of it. Hell, even if I BUY nothing it has to be better than this crap! 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

REALLY? I am not sure who to shoot first here!

I am not even sure that I can spin some humor into this one. It's actually been about 3 weeks since this happened and I am STILL fuming mad. 
I am may really smack my very best friend in her stupid blonde head. I am so angry with her at this point that I could spit nails. Thankfully, I have not allowed myself to call and tell her this because I can't get past the incredibly angry part to rational. I am still at stark raving lunatic mad. Hair sticking out in clumps and smoke rolling out of my ears. 
Let me tell you about my BFF first. She's lived a fun life... big smile miniI love her but, she's been there done that when she was younger. A lot of it. She's paying the price now. She's a wonderful person and mom and all those years of doing all that has taught her some incredibly hard lessons. She has rhumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia and at 41 it's done some real damage to her-not to mention the other ravages hard living can have on a body.
She works about 30 hours a week and has 2 daughters. The oldest is 16 and a handful. The youngest is 6. They have a LARGE home that she has semi-inherited from her mother to care for. Her s/o is a road construction worker so he is gone much of the time working. Depending where he works he could be in a hotel all week and only home on the weekends. He was also raised in a household where the women are helpless and that whole barefoot and pregnant thing is the norm so, he'd prefer that she be a stay at home mom. She was not raised helpless-very opposite however, with her disabilities she's had to slow down a bit and has become more at home than ever in life in the past 5 to 7 years. 
For years he's mentioned getting a dog and she's been set against it because of the amount of time, care and work that goes into a pet. She's no fool!  SO, back in December he goes and gets a dog for their 6 year old. Not just a DOG but a PUPPY with all of the training needs a puppy has. Then he sets it loose in this 6 bedroom, bohemoth of a house and expects her to care for it. Then takes off for work. BFF has told him this is too much for her to handle with her work and the kids and the house alone. She doesn't have the energy or the patience to care for a dog. She's made that clear for YEARS now.
He did it anyway. 
Fast forward to April and guess what? She can't manage to care for a puppy and he FINALLY gets it! 
This is where the mad enough to spit nails part comes in...
Guess what she does???
SHE GAVE THE F'ING DOG TO GULLIVER. The child that she KNOWS can't afford to wipe his own butt. She gives him a puppy in need of all it's shots and training. Knowing full well that he is essentially HOMELESS and already has one dog that he can't feed. It's a Jack for God's sake! Put the damn thing on craigslist for $100 and it'd be gone to a good home in about 15 minutes flat. NO! Instead of insuring that the dog has a good home she gives it to the homeless kid who she full well knows can't afford to feed it.
He's living off the 'kindness' of friends right now but, he has to find a place to rent of his own. HOW THE HELL IS HE GOING TO FIND A PLACE TO RENT WITH 2 DOGS? And not adult dogs who have been trained for years. No. A puppy who still pees, poops and chews. I didn't even mention anything about the friends having to now deal with this puppy in THEIR home.
Now if we were just casual friends and she didn't know the whole Gulliver story? I'd be less mad. No, wait... I'm not mad. I am downright P'd off. I did mention stark raving lunatic mad. ANYWAY... it's not like she can even say she THOUGHT something else-she can't. There are so many issues at play here if I had to try to SPEAK them to you I'd be stuttering and you'd be worried about my head exploding from the astronomical blood pressure that is quite obviously showing through the veins popping out in the side of my head. I would consider this so irresponsible on  her part as to call it abuse of that poor dog.
I can't even take the dog in because it's an un-clipped male. My male wouldn't stand it.  Not to mention that mine is nearly deaf and mostly blind. A puppy would put him over the top. Otherwise I'd have taken the dog to begin with. BUT! I am feeding it-and the other dog of Gulliver and Bertha's because they can't afford dog food this week.
Let's not put all the blame on BFF either. Gulliver and Bertha are most definitely not at fault here. WHY would you take in another dog when you don't know where YOU are going to live? OR HOW you are going to live??? Gulliver claims to be ticked that Bertha did this. Do I look like I fell off the turnip truck yesterday? Because I know full well that Gulliver had a hand in taking that dog in. He LOVES animals-probably more than Bertha does.
Dear Gulliver,
I've been your  mom for 21+ years. I'm on to you after that much time.  For the love of Pete give up the line of BS you are feeding me.
I also know how Gulliver was raised. I've done a few stupid human tricks in my life in which my husband said "ABSOLUTELY NOT. UN DO IT." Gulliver knows how to say NO to her. And he does once in a great while. Usually over getting any ambition to be or do something. 
The Gulliver and Bertha part of this is a whole 'nother story for another post-I just don't want you to think that I find them free of blame in this. I do however, hold my BFF more to blame than those two young and dumb kids. She knows that Gulliver is irresponsible and a whole lot more than everyone here knows about his irrisponsibility as well as what he is and isn't capable of. SHE KNEW and she gave him the dog anyway.
I have got to get to at least rational. I've been able to avoid coffee and seeing much of her for a couple of weeks because of the pick up of wrestling tournaments again but, that only goes so far.
I am seriously considering anti-depressnats. Not because I am depressed but, to keep me from throttling Gulliver or my BFF. 
Advice? Well, I don't think there is any help for me here. Maybe having a few glasses of wine before I go for morning coffee with her? EVERYTHING is good after a bottle of wine. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The theory of Relativity for teenagers.

Since adding Theodore to our family I have had to look twice at our parenting practices. Not because of Theo-boy but, because of Leopold's typically teen attitude problems some days. I know full well he is a product of his parents and their parenting-and it ain't pretty.

Now, let me first say that I do know a thing or two about the psychology of this and I'm actually a bit educated and well read on some of these things. Having an ADhD child I started getting this education when he was about 3 and I was ready to pull my hair out and I've continued since then. It's evolving to this day.
In that education there are 5 very profound things that stand out to me-yet I seem to forget them on a daily basis. Those 5 things combine to make up the Theory Of Relativity for Teenagers.

Thing #1. Parenting Is Easy. I met a woman many, many moons ago who told me that parenting was easy. Kids have two options: right or left. If they go right everything is grand and they get the good things they want. If they go left there is a consequence for that. The end.
My first thought was "lady, you are about as bright as a burnt out light bulb because I have 4 children and let me tell you IT IS NOT EASY." THEN I thought that she was parenting in the "My Way Or The Highway" style and we all know that doesn't work well. And a few years went by... Parenting didn't get any easier but, her advice was rattling around in my head somewhere because I remembered it! I started to REALLY consider it. SHE WAS RIGHT! If I give the kids the foundation and the knowledge to make the proper choices and then allow them to make the choices they too will figure this out. If you choose to be in by curfew you will be allowed to go out again tomorrow night. If you choose not to be in by curfew you don't get to go out again. The end. No further discussion.

Thing #1. Choose your battles. Back when that ADhD child was about 4 or 5 and I was tearing my hair out with him I talked to his doctor who gave me some very sage advice: Pick your battles carefully. For many things that we battle with our children over there are natural consequences that happen and we don't even have to look like the bad guy!!! If it's 12 degrees outside and he doesn't want to wear a coat? Guess what? He's going to be cold. And you don't get sick from cold air or not wearing a coat-he'll be just fine suffering through 10 minutes of freezing his butt off. He'll get the picture.
Teenagers make life interesting and you REALLY have to pick those battles carefully. You also have to make the battles you do choose to enter count-big time. You only get about 5 minutes per day of a teens life to make a difference-make it count. Is the color of their clothing REALLY worth battling over? LaVerne's clothes NEVER match. She just doesn't care. She's clean and she is confident enough in herself that she doesn't have to be a fashionista or impress anyone. If she wants to wear sweats and a hoodie looking like a slouch? I am ok with that. It DRIVES. ME. INSANE. But, it's not a battle worth picking. Is it REALLY going to count later in life? She knows how to dress properly when she needs to and does. Choose your battles very, very carefully.

Thing #3 Consistency is the key. You must do this consistently. If there are consequences for their actions there must always be consequences-not just on Tuesdays that have even dates or when you feel like it or when you remember. In life the consequences of your actions happen every time you do (or don't do) something. If you fail to wash your clothes-you either go naked or wear dirty clothes. The cleaning fairy isn't gonna come do them because you didn't bother. Your clothes are going to be dirty unless you wash them. As parents we tend to rescue our children from their actions. After all, they are only kids and that's why they have parents-to guide them through and make sure that things are done properly. Well, yes, that's true however, if we keep rescuing them how are they ever going to learn to be responsible? STOP DOING IT! EVERY action must have it's reactions-good or bad. If you do your laundry a couple of days ahead of when you need your warm ups? You don't have to worry the night before the game if they're washed or going to be dried in time! AND you don't have to wear smelly warm ups to the game resulting in that bath of Axe Body Spray that will choke the rest of the team right out of the locker room.

Thing #4 Unpredictability is the lock that the key of consistency fits into. WHAT? First you want me to be consistent and now you are telling me to be unpredictable. Yep. I really am. Keep them off balance. If they can't predict they will get a certain reaction by doing something like having a fit why would they do it?  Kids argue and fight and do what ever it is that your child does to get his own way because you will predictably react the same way. Stop. Don't react the way they expect you to react. In his book Have A New Teenager by Friday Dr. Kevin Leman tells this story very close to the beginning:
[his daughter, Lauren, walks into his office where he's working] Lauren eyed me and said calmly, "Hey, I want to get a piercing in my nose and have it connect to my mouth"
"Oh, good, honey," I said. "we're having spaghetti tonight."
auren turned to me with a twinkle in her eye. "Oh, Dad, that is good."
The point is, parent, you don't have to react to everything. 
I am pretty sure his purpose in sharing that story at the beginning of the book is to get you to thinking about how his unpredictable reaction threw his daughter off guard and she didn't know how to react. Therefore there was no tantrum, argument or battle of wills. The point is to keep them off guard. They know there will be consequences because you will be consistent. BUT they don't know when that consequence or life lesson will be coming. They have to be on THEIR guard instead of you being on guard. I HIGHLY recommend Dr. Leman's books Have A New Kid By Friday and Have A New Teenager By Friday. EPIPHANY? OH YES!

Last but, not least Thing #5. Because they can. When you wonder WHY on Earth your child just threw a temper tantrum of epic proportions it's because they can. They get SOMETHING out of it even if it's just to drive you out of your mind. They know it's open for debate if they throw a tantrum or make you feel guilty or... They know there is a chance they may be able to win. And, hopefully, we've taught our kids to reach for success. They're only doing what they're taught to do! So, go back to being unpredictable and change your reaction. Instead of arguing back and getting into a heated debate in which your blood pressure skyrockets and everyone within a country mile if the two of you is miserable-change your reaction. When they start to rant and rave and act a lunatic? Calmly and quietly walk away. Ignore the ugly behavior. DO NOT react in the heat of the moment. Think it through and remember to be unpredictable. First, when you walk away they won't know what to do when you don't play this scenario out like you're supposed to. Second there is a consequence for that temper tantrum... and it will come. Later. When someone has calmed down and is done acting like a stark raving lunatic and says "mom, can I go out long-boarding?" Where you reply with "nope. You acted like a lunatic earlier and it was rude and disrespectful." WHich will probably result in another lunatic fit where you walk away all over again. After repeating this a few times you'll discover that those teenagers are smart little suckers and they figure out that it's not working anymore. They have to change their tactics.

The 5 profound rules of parenting all combine into the theory of relativity for teenagers. For each action there is an equal and opposite reaction. You can't control their behavior, you can only control your own behavior. By changing the action YOU make you will thereby change the reaction that they have. If you begin throwing the ball to bounce back to the right it's not going to come to your left. The short end of this: Change your action up until it produces the reaction you are seeking. If you want the ball to go to the right figure out what angle to bounce it at in order to get it to go right.

Now let's see if I can put this flash of brilliance to good use...

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Cell phone etiquette

My mom taught me telephone etiquette back in the day on that old relic of a mustard yellow phone we had. Just some basic rules. Evidently she's the only mother that ever taught these things. OR maybe it's because the phone has morphed from that mustard yellow dinosaur because kids and ADULTS have no courtesy with those damn phones.
So here are the 10 basic rules of cell phones according to Mom. Everyone should live by them!!!

1. NUMERO UNO. THE RULE. THE ONE... My phone is NOT a convenience for YOU. It's a convenience for ME. If you are inconvenienced by how I do or do not answer my phone it's NOT my problem, it's YOURS. 

2.  If I don't answer on the first text that does not mean send 32 more. Either I am 1. ignoring you or 2. unable to answer. I have a life and it's NOT on my cell phone. The text you sent didn't disappear into cyber space. It's not like wayyyyyy back in the stone age when we didn't even have answering machines or anything. It's there. On my phone AND if I don't read it? My phone continues to remind me that I didn't read it until I do. I will get to it. When I have time. Which brings me to number 3.

3. If it's an emergency don't text me! Pick up the phone and dial. If you have time to TEXT it's not an emergency. A ringing phone will get my attention NOW. I have to answer it. Of course, number 3 leads us on to number 4.

4. An emergency is not the log in information to our on-line account. If you texted 32 times and then called me because you have to log into our Netflix account you might be really glad you are on the other end of the phone because I just might shoot you.

5. Do not even bring it to a meal. If you pick it up be prepared for it to take flight because I will be happy to insure that it never functions again.

6. Do not call or text after 9pm or before 9am. "Well, you'll get it in the morning..." NO. RUDE. Back in the day would you have called at 3am and left a message on the answering machine? NO! Don't' do it now. Have a little courtesy and call in the morning.

7. Don't tell me to just shut my ringer off at night if I don't want to be bothered with a call or text. I have children and I have to answer the phone at 3am if it rings. AND... my phone is not a convenience for YOU. It's for ME. Don't call me in the middle of the night.

8. If my phone is shut off there is no need to leave 8 voice messages telling me to turn my pone back on. If it sent you straight to voice mail I have turned the damn thing off for a reason. Maybe I had an emergency and I can't talk right now! Maybe I got the log in to the Netflix account and I am watching porn. Maybe I am EATING. Maybe I am at the doctor's office or in court...

9. I do not want to have a conversation that is 25 text messages long. Call me. I know I can type fast, but that 25 message text that goes back and forth could be over with in less than 2 minutes if you just call. Texting is NOT convenient for a conversation.

10. Do not call me when you are talking to 7 other people, running errands and talking to the bank teller. Unless you are Regina. It's the only time she has to talk and I know it. Otherwise? It's rude, don't call me.

Friday, April 5, 2013

No wonder everyone says women drivers are dangerous

This was a post on a mom forum I am in last night. I am sputtering because I STILL can't comprehend what special kind of stupid this is.

So on wednesday morning i took my 5 year old son to school and was fine.
Picking him up at 11am( thats when his pre k gets done) is a whole story. I got him belted, and backed up ( going 5 or 10miles an hr) when i didnt realize a suv( a mother of my sons friends car) was exactly where i was backing up and this car was not there as i walked in.(his school has some construction so u have to back straight out if in front of the parking lot, which is where i parked) so i back up figuring no car behind my huge van when all of a sudden i heard bang and looked in my rear view mirror and saw her suv wiggle and thats when i realized i backed into her suv. I looked and no damage to her car, and a witness saw me back into it and asked if i damaged her car. I said no as i didn't see anything with the sun shining on it so i left the parking home and looked at the ass end of my van and there was no scratch or any dents on mine so i know i didn't damage her car. And if i did damage it but didn't see anything i would think she would of called me or followed me( but she didn't see me back into it but others did and they could of told her and she could of called if i did damage.
And if i did damage wouldn't my van have any damage from backing into hers, not just hers.
So now i am terrified to take my son to and from school thinking she would yell at me for backing into her car.
I have backed into other peoples cars going the same speed in smaller parking lots and never did damage to mine or theres. And hers didn't look at all damaged.

Do you see the problems I see there? Now, we all know I can't keep my mouth shut, so I say something to the effect of
There are some serious issues there! "this car was not there as I walked in... so I back up figuring no car  behind my huge van..." 
"I have backed into other peoples cars going the same in smaller parking lots and never did damage to mine or theres."You are dangerous. You need to not be driving. Especially with a child in the car. 

At which point she proceeded to argue with the entire forum about how she wasn't dangerous and it really wasn't a big deal that she left the scene of an accident or that she didn't bother to look when she backed up! SHE ADMITTED SHE NEVER BOTHERED TO LOOK BEHIND HER!

I was dumbfounded. Round eyed SHOCK. This is an elementary school at dismissal time for pre-k when kids are coming out. PRE-K KIDS! Of course, I ask her
"You were at a SCHOOL at dismissal time. Do you realize how fast a kid can dart away from mom???"
Obviously at this point I am thinking she's stupid too because she HAS a pre-k kid. I'd think she knows that. This is where she says she knows that, but really it wasn't a big deal because she is usually the first one there and the first one out the door, so there wouldn't be a child behind her.

You would THINK that in a school zone people would be doubly cautious. That's the reason for the uber slow speed zone and crossing guards and... She thinks it's fine because USUALLY she's the first one out. Well, what if you weren't the first one out the door????
This post went on an on with this ditz arguing about how she was just fine a driver and she only hit ONE other car and a post when she was learning to drive. Someone pointed out to her that she had said multiple cars in multiple parking lots, but she never did bother to refute that.
DitzMom also didn't take lightly to it when mentioned that at "5 or 10 miles per hour" that would crush a child and I can't imagine how she would feel if she'd actually pinned a kid between the cars.
To which she proceeds to tell me she knows just how dangerous this is because (get this!!!) she's had to literally throw her child out of the way of a lady backing up who almost hit him! And it wasn't even in a school zone, it was in a store so... I just said "you need to just quit typing. You are NOT making yourself look any better here." Another mom kindly said she needed to quit typing AND driving.

I am dumbfounded. Totally stupefied. THIS is why women drives get a bad rep. Honestly? If I knew where she was from I'd have made sure that the school AND the other mom knew what this ding-bat had done.  I might even consider flattening all 4 of her tires just to keep her off the road. I really believe this is as bad as driving drunk. Totally irresponsible, dangerous and stupid. Hell, at least drunks TRY to pretend they know how to drive. DitzMom didn't even bother with that much!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The ability to think for yourself...

The ability to THINK for yourself is becoming so very rare. I am a member of several forums for mom's and professional forums for photography. I have the luxury with my "jobs" to be able to spend time in those forums and I am pretty active in most of them.
I really do love helping, sharing and teaching and in turn learning new things about new people. I've made friends all over the world by being a part of those forums. Bonus I get to talk with adults who do not live in my house or invade my life on a regular basis.
The thing that boggles my mind in every forum I've ever been in-regardless of what it's for-is the inability to THINK and figure anything out for oneself. I really want to say something like "google is your friend."

If you have the ability to use the internet to find this forum, make a profile and be active in it I'd venture to guess you have some rudimentary internet skills. Pretty sure you're using a browser and no matter which one I use there is a search bar up there on the right hand corner. You can type anything in that little search bar and VIOLA! Instant results. AND! WOW! You can find things right next door! Hey! If you've forgotten your address? That little search bar will help you!

I ran across a question in a mom forum today from a young mother had gotten into super couponing Because of it they had stockpiled supplies. She wanted to find a way to use her super coupon abilities to help a charity. Her question was how to do that. Really. Let me break that down into elementary terms: she asked "how do I donate new supplies to charities?"


This seems pretty straight forward to me. I just don't get it. You give the stuff to the charity.  Why do you need to ask how to donate stuff to a charity? You drive over there with your car loaded up with supplies and donate it. Easy peasy. Pretty common sense to me? Right?

Or am I really that cynical that I missed the point here? OK...

Maybe she didn't know what charities to donate to or how to find them. Do you really think that a forum of mom's world wide is going to know what is right around the corner from you for you to donate to? The odds of any of the mom's being in that forum living anywhere near you? Probably slim. So, my common sense kicks in... GOOGLE IT! I literally told her to tell her to type her town or the nearest city/town into the search bar with food bank, charity, food pantry and see what it turns up. OR contact a church and see what they have.

I would think that if the other mom THOUGHT about what she wanted to do she could figure out a way to find a charity to give things to.  But, evidently that's a luxury that people just can't do for themselves anymore. If I had asked my mother a question like that she'd look at me like did you REALLY just catch stupid?

Our schools are shoving so much information into our kids today, but evidently the ability to THINK is not a requirement. Don't get me wrong. I don't expect any extreme amount of intelligence here. I just expect people to have some basic reasoning and processing skills. How do these people survive in the world? No wonder our world is going to hell in a hand basket! No one has to use the brain God gave them.

AND!!! You know what? I answered that question for her. Yep. She didn't have to tax her brain one iota because there were people there who answered the question. Better yet were the SEVERAL or so answers that said "I don't know, here's a bump for you!" and "I'm not sure."

My prayer for the day: Please, Lord allow me to give my children the ability to think for themselves. Thank you for making me feel as if I have some intelligence left in me after all. Please continue to grant me the basic wisdom to navigate the world today. Amen.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Behavior modification in Husbands.

My husband (Raknar the caveman) and I have been together for nearly 21 years now. We are opposites in many many ways. That's usually what makes a relationship work. He makes up where I am short and vice-a-versa.

When it comes to parenting Raknar and I are pretty much on the same page. We have rules, but we aren't strict. You must have respect for other people, behave in a civilized manner, eat with utensils instead of your fingers... you know the basic rules of society.

For the longest time I wondered why it was that I was always the bitch and he was the cool parent if we really do see things the same. We don't argue about this and if something comes up we both usually automatically react with the same response. So, why is it that I am the bitch parent and he's cool? It's gotten so bad that the 15 year old and I do NOT see eye to eye. To him? I am not just the bitch but Bitch with a capital B and the word SUPER before it. We'll name that 15 year old Leopold. It sounds good. And the 13 year old spare? Let's call him Theodore after the chipmunk of the same name. Because he reminds me of Theodore.

Today I finally figured it out. Not bad after 2 1/2 of our own and one spare are all grown. It's only taken me almost 21 years! Speeding right along there! What is it, you ask? He doesn't even hear it! I never realized how much he blocks everything out except for what he is concentrating on until today.

Spring break has begun and it launched with a snow storm. Which means the teenagers are stuck inside. I used to go tanning for spring break. What's up with this??? ANYWAY. Teens are inside. So they have been playing video games on and off between helping dad with the current construction project.

Raknar, Leopold and Theodore all come down from the attic after a couple of hours of work to take a much deserved break. Raknar sits down in his recliner and pulls out his iPad. The boys hop on the PS3 for a game. I was in the other room doing some laundry. Out of sight out of mind. The boys get to playing and laughing and generally having a good ol' time. As they get more excited they get louder and louder. That's when I can hear this those words come out of Leopold's mouth. I march my not so insignificant and rather indignant girth out there to give the boys hell and guess what? Raknar is still sitting in the recliner. With the two boys sitting LITERALLY at his feet. HE DIDN'T EVEN HEAR IT! He thought I was full of imagination. I was in the laundry room so he thought I must have mis-heard what the boy had said. After all,  there is a wall there to interfere in the syllables as they come to my aging ears.

Sitting on the floor playing PS3 acting all innocent with a smirk on his face is Leopold who knows that I did't mis-hear anything. I can see the child silently chuckling to himself. Do you think Raknar can see that? NOPE! He can only see me standing next to said child giving Raknar hell for not taking the child to task for his vastly inappropriate mouth.

Not that I can't block them out when I choose to. The noise level in this house is off the charts on days when everyone is home. Squawking birds, children with no volume control, Raknar talking over the noise, music, TV, pellet stove, phones, drama queen daughter... EVERYTHING here makes noise. I tune it out. Unfortunately for me, even when I tune it all out my Mom Sense automatically picks up on bad behavior-and they know it. If they know I am within hearing distance? They're model children. If they think it's only Raknar? They know they don't have to bother. They can scream the F word at full volume if they want to because he wouldn't hear it anyway. Not that they do, they really are genuinely pretty good kids.

If you are going to light into the lecture that they shouldn't even know those words-don't even go there. 1. We do not shelter them. They hear it ALL. Difference is we take the time to explain to them how it's bad, wrong or disrespectful and why it's unacceptable. 2. They aren't filthy mouthed little heathens. 3. Do not think that when your teen children are with their own kind they don't swear. They do. Every one of them. When they are all together with their friends do you know who is the worst offender? The preacher's kid. The one who doesn't hear it at home and doesn't get taught about those bad things. How do I know? I am a nosy mom. I EAVESDROP! Shame on me, I know! But I also know what my kids are doing because I am such an evil parent. So, let's not have that lecture. You raise your children your way, I'll raise mine. As long as I get compliments on their well mannered respect I'll go with what I am doing. If they start being nasty little curs? Then I'll ask for some advice on that.

Back to my solution for Raknar (the DEAF caveman.) I keep spray bottles in the living room to mist down the birds when they are stressed; to curb bad behavior in the animals. Raknar qualifies as an animal. The Human Animal. Right? You know what's coming don't you? I'm going to use that squirt bottle on Raknar. When Leopold mouths back to Raknar it's not Leo-boy who is in trouble. It's Raknar who will get soaked. I am no longer stepping in to end the mouthing back immediately. I am just squirting Raknar.

Anyone want to take bets on how long before he figures it out?

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Why must we make this an epic conversation???

Our 17 year old daughter is a junior in high school. Let's name her LaVern because she really is pretty dingy some days.

Every day LaVern calls me from school for something. Usually it's to come home for the afternoon seeing how all of her classes end at 12:50. From 12:50 until 3pm she sits in study halls. Sounds mighty boring even to me. Personally, I'd just go to sleep. LaVern is kind of on that same page, so she calls me.

Every time I answer the phone she says the typical "hi, mom." To which I would reply something like "hey, what's up?" Not that I don't already know-we repeat this every. single. day. This is where I expect to hear "will you call and let me come home?" But why would one of MY children make life simple and do the logical?

I think they know they have to give me fodder for my ramblings.

Instead of stating what she wants (while she is in the office on the office phone) she thinks she needs to have this casual conversation with me. "What ya' doin?" Do you REALLY want to know what I am doing? Because if I tell you we'll be here for hours and I am pretty sure Phyllis (the secretary) would like her phone back. She has a JOB to do AND she has to answer all of the phone calls coming in to the school. On the phone you have in your hand. If you've read to this point in this blog we all know that I don't actually SAY this, it's just what is running through my head.

I've gotten tired of this routine. But it wasn't always so. Once upon a time I'd have said "Working on yesterday's work for CA(my business), payroll for RGF(Ragnar's business), several sales for CC(dad's business) and then I am going to tackle the mess you left in the bathroom this morning. What you doin'?" To which LaVern would have answered "OH."


"Can I help you?"
Which is where LaVern would remember that she really did call me because she wanted something and reply "yeah. Well, can you call Phyllis (who is sitting there listening to the whole conversation. WHY she can't just hand the phone to Phyllis is beyond my comprehension) and let me come home instead of sitting in study hall?"

Here is where you get to see how the kids all got this stupid gene...
I'd ask her "WHY?" I REALLY did that-many times.
Well, DUH! Because she has 2 hours of study hall and nothing to do. Would you want to sit in study hall for 2 hours when you could come home and do your homework in your own room with all of your favorite creature comforts and great junk food to snack on? NO. I didn't think so. But me? NO!! I have to ask her" WHY." I'll bet I did that 50 times before I quit. And it's not that I didn't know why. I did. From day 1 I knew WHY and totally understood it. I guess I just felt I had to answer a question with a question.

WAIT... let's take this backward one more step beyond my own Stupid Gene.
Miss LaVern is one of THOSE students. The one all of the teachers just love-and not because she's the straight A, goody-two-shoes type either. She's full of common sense and pith. God only knows where she got that from. She says things how they are and the teachers find her charming, hilarious and absolutely a joy to be around. Glad I did something right!
However, seeing how the teachers love Miss LaVern so much they let her get away with MURDER. If she wants to go wander about and visit her favorite teachers? OK, go right ahead! When the hall monitors find her without a pass? She simply tells them she's in So-and-So's class and So-and-So said she could go see Whose-it's-bod down the hall. AND THEY LET HER GO!

She's also 'special.' Seeing how she has 2 hours of study hall and they know she doesn't have anything to do SHE'S ALLOWED TO HAVE HER PHONE! In our school they are SUPPOSED to keep their phones in the lockers. Not my kid. Noooooo, she'd be bored so she can have her phone. Of course, all of her friends don't have this luxury privilege so they are in classes without their phones. LaVern has no one to text. Except me! Because we all know I am at home eating bon bon's and just pining away for someone to text me.

Did you ever notice that it takes a half hour to have a text conversation that would take 2 minutes if they'd just call? And NOTHING else gets done in that 30 minutes. Ooops! I forgot. I don't have anything else to do besides wait on her texts.

Twelve text messages later (when I finally figure out that she's not going to quit bugging and I have gotten NOTHING done) I FINALLY tell her that I've really got to go get something accomplished. This is when she goes to Phyllis' office to call me.

Which leads us back to the actual topic of this post: The Phone Conversation. See paragraphs # 1-4 if you have lost track of what I am rambling about today.
She calls and we go through the hello routine and she asks "what ya doin?" I've quit answering that. C'mon. You want something, get to the point here. Instead of the expected "nothing" or actually telling her what I am doing I now answer with "what do you want?"

I know this sounds rude, but really. I know if she is calling from Phyllis' office she wants something and USUALLY I know exactly what it is. There have been times when she's called for something else. It's rare, but it does happen. So, c'mon now, you're tying up Phyllis' phone and we're not here to chat and catch up on my day. Spit it out and tell me what you NEEEEEED me to do now.

LaVern's answer to that? "Well, if you are in a bad mood then I guess nothing." Then silence. Not "goodbye" or even getting huffy and hanging up. She waits. What the heck is she waiting for? Me to tell her what I am doing? Because frankly, she doesn't give a damn what I am doing, she just wants to come home. So, SPIT IT OUT for God's sake! Noooo, she waits until I respond with my very soft, quiet sing-song voice of "La-veeerneeee, what do you need?"

Usually when that voice comes out they KNOW. If I am yelling I am harmless, but when I am dead quiet, calm? RUN LIKE HELL. Not LaVern. In her 17 year old wisdom she knows she's out of reach of the hairy eyeball and my talons. In her happy voice she finally spits it out. We can just cut and paste most of paragraph 8 right here: "Well, can you call Phyllis (who is sitting there listening to the whole conversation. WHY she can't just hand the phone to Phyllis is beyond my comprehension) and let me come home instead of sitting in study hall?"
To which I reply "OK." She says "goodbye." And I have to call Phyllis back-with LaVern standing right there. Could she hand the phone to Phyllis? NOPE. Gotta hang up and have me call. I have Phyllis on speed dial.

So, what I want to know today is this: WHY can't we have a simple conversation that goes something like this:
L: "hey, Mom"
M: "Hey, LaVern, what's up?"
L: "I'm in Phyllis' office, can you tell her to let me sign out so I can come home?"
M: "Sure, hand the phone to Phyllis..."  <insert conversation with Phyllis>
LaVern gets in her little red hoopty car and comes home. The end. Less than 5 minutes.

Why must this be so complicated? I know I work in a LOT of spare time in my days, but it's MY time. If no one is home? It's more precious than gold and diamonds!! Don't you DARE try to take it!!! This is my mini vacation that gets me through the rest of the day! Say what you have to say and get it over with!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

On-line Safety and Bubbles.

I've just realized I live in a bubble. Well, maybe not JUST realized, but... I am realizing that it really does show how much I live in this little 2000 square foot bubble.

I am a member of several forums from photography to mom's to DIY and construction and a few odd bits in between for excitement. I do know that this is the INTERNET. People can be as stupid as they please here and no one will ever know.
In the immortal words of Brad Paisley: "I'm so much cooler on-line."

I really do love Brad Paisley. He's got a great sense of irony and sarcasm! We're kindred spirits.

Back to my bubble.

As I was perusing the forums this morning I ran across some posts that really got me to thinking that "people really should get out more."
Then I looked at where I was sitting. AND what I was wearing.
Which prompted me to thinking: if I am thinking that these people on-line really should get out more-as I sit here in my pajamas, looking like day old sushi with NO plans to get dressed (if I don't get dressed I don't have to go outside my house)-there might just be a problem. "Those People" must NEVER leave their homes! That got me to worrying about Those People.

A lot.

They must not ever be allowed to leave their homes to get out into the real world!


Which is totally not the topic of this post. Of course, if you have read any of my other posts before this one you already know that I must be an attention deficit child because I tend to go off on a LOT of tangents. But, in each one of my posts I really do (eventually) get back to the topic at hand: The posts that got me to thinking to begin with and the bubble.

Today's post was in a mom forum and it was one of those ones that could, plausibly, be a real person. So off I go to help said person who is just distraught and needs help, guidance and support from all of us worldly wise mom's who actually get out of our houses once in a while. Do you see the irony there? If you are posting in an on-line forum of mom's who are answering you on a daily basis the chances that they are OUTSIDE their bubble? Slim. Just look at where I am. And what I am wearing AND why I am wearing what I am wearing-I don't WANT to leave my bubble to see the real world. It's scary out there!

Did I ever mention that I have a problem with run on sentences? If you could hear me TALK those run on sentences are great. Maybe a bit funny even. In writing? Not so much.
I have REALLY got to see the doctor about that ADD thing.

Back to helping this poor, distraught mom who has been wronged by the world. Did I stop to think that Poor Mom's story was a little "itchy?" Nope. Not at all-because I live in a bubble. From my bubble I am saving MomKind everywhere with my wisdom, compassion, caring and guidance.

What is  an "itchy" story, you might ask. Well, it's the story that is just enough of plausible that you can believe it, but then again it's just enough of outside the norm that it makes you say "hmmmm"

But, you give the original poster the benefit of the doubt. After all, MOST people on the internet are real, honest people. You only run into those few once or twice in a lifetime, right? 

I also ran across a troll yesterday, so this one can't possibly be one of THEM. I've met my quota.

So, I answer her back with compassion, empathy, firm advice, a dose of common sense with a personal life lesson to let her know that she's not the only one who has been wronged by the world. In my defense I do have to mention that I am not the only one who answered as if it were a real live person on the other end of the computer. Some of us even answered her a couple of times

OK... it is live person behind that computer; just not one that needed the advice she was asking for.
Not that I've figured that out at this point. NOOOOOO! I am still concerned about her and ready to help her slay dragons!

Then she comes back with some more suspicious, but plausible claims. Hmmmmmm... itchy.  As she answers those of us who are ALL real, worldly people, those claims get even more bizarre. And grotesque. And really really really outlandish. Even predators, abused women and children and those living in that kind of environment know not to say that shit. Ever. Anywhere. Not even online. Anonymously. This is where it finally dawns on me: she is a TROLL!

Here is where we actually get to the "got me to thinking" part of this...

WHY do people troll? WHY? What the heck can you get out of that? AND!!! Don't you have anything better to do? What is the point?

I am an idiot. Slow witted and all. It hasn't even dawned on me yet that this isn't a mom at all. My sheltered little brain is STILL thinking LOGICALLY. We are in a forum that you have to be a MOM to be a member of. She MUST be a mom, right? She MUST have children and she must be female. Or at least he feminine part of a gay couple. Though I am not so sure a feminine gay guy would join a mom's forum, but I'd still be OK with that.

Do you know that it took me until someone else said "... there do seem to be a shit ton of trolls this week. Lots of kids on spring break."
DUH??? She doesn't have to be a mom or an adult or have children or even a woman! "She" is probably some pimply and plump 13 year old boy who had sex ed last semester and is on spring break.

The point or the why of trolling would be to get idiots like me to answer. Then to laugh at how stupid I am. I bit and swallowed that one hook, line, sinker, pole, reel and right up that little troll's short, fat, little, pimply arm. {insert huge face palm}

Now that I have rambled on through this story, as I always do, you might be wondering what the moral of the story is. I am not sure there is a MORAL to be had here, but I do need to wrap all of this up in my closing paragraph. Somehow... Without leaving you hanging for the end and scratching your head saying "hmmmmmm, that 'lady' is a nut job." I've never claimed total sanity so, that may well be true. BUT...

Closing this story: I live in a bubble. I really do. I am sheltered and I really kind of like it that way. No one needs to come rescue me. Besides, if you did come rescue me you'd probably be scared shitless when I answer the door in my Scottie dog PJ's that say Jingle All The Way looking like yesterday's sushi. Hopefully I don't smell like yesterday's sushi, but it's not a pretty sight. Not sure why my husband even comes home if he has to see THAT every day. I am not always this slovenly and lazy. Spring supposedly started 8 days ago and this is the view out of my living room today.

Back to the moral of the story and all that: Being the "oh-so-worldly and wise" mom that I am I harp on my children about those troll people constantly. They've been educated 7 ways to Sunday about how people aren't who they say they are on the internet; the dangers of internet friendships and all of that. I am the one who has educated them in this!!! Yet I can't even manage to figure it out for myself!
I have GOT to get out of my bubble more often and see REAL people-not those cool on-line people. I've also put a nice little sticker on my monitor to remind me that people are "so much cooler online."

You can't fix stupid. I've tried.