Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The New Rules Of Sharing

My 17 year old had a friend come over and I heard loud voices, then the friend left.  Curiosity led me to his room so I asked, "What was that all about?"

"DJ wanted to borrow the pool key."

We live in a neighborhood that has a community pool.  It's not very big, always overcrowded and I think in six years I sat out there once, never putting foot in the water.  It's got a fence with a locked gate and only homeowners have a key.  A key.  One per house and they change the lock annually.

So I pause then say, "If you don't get the key back, there won't be another one."  I could care less, but my son goes down with his friends occasionally...

My son likes to share.  Although I should commend his generosity, it bothers me.  When he was old enough to hold something in his own hands, if another kid wanted it, whatever it may be, he'd give it up.  Happily.  A gentle soul that was often taken advantage of and other parents of bullies knew it, encouraging their kid to go get whatever he had.

Where I've been touted for raising such a gentleman, I cringed inside believing he'd never stand up for himself, but let me go somewhere else first....

What right does any child have to ask for something that belongs to my son?  What right does another mother have to expect my child to hand over something that doesn't belong to her child?  "Oh just let him see it for a minute."  Why, because your kid is throwing a tantrum?

No.  Go buy your kid their own!  So I've lost a few friends over the years because of this, but I don't agree with this new generation of entitlement.

Gimme.  I have never seen such spoiled brats demanding more and more without earning it.  You shouldn't get a pay raise just because you showed up for work.  The squeaky wheel sometimes needs to squeak because it's not working properly and it should stay a reminder of that fact.

My son has a lot.  Every video game system, every game he's ever asked for, a big screen TV, he has the big recreation room over the garage as his bedroom with a leather sofa, papasan chairs, marble topped tables, book shelves and his bedroom set. His own bachelor pad.  BUT, he's never received anything without earning it first.  If he gets straight A's, he's earned that all on his own (no, I don't do his homework) and I reward his hard work with whatever he asks for, within reason.  The honor roll gets him a video game.  One per report card.

This year he's had straight A's the entire year as a Junior in high school, with honors classes, and I told him if he stays on it until summer, I'd buy him the one thing that eludes him:  the WiiU.  One B and he has to wait until Christmas.  I think that's fair.  He works extremely hard and he earns his things.

He has a friend that gets stuff just because my son does, he's a C-D student.  Another friend, is failing school, smokes marijuana and gets everything because his parents are divorced and they feel bad.

I have three rules in my house, I've repeated them like a mantra over the years:

1.  Never lie to me.  Always tell me the truth and you'll never get in trouble.  I may need to take a breath and walk away, but it keeps him honest.
2.  Ask me anything, no matter how awkward and I'll always answer honestly.  If I don't have the answer, I'll find it an get back to you as soon as possible.  And I do.
3.  Your only job is the make good grades and go to college, a real one.  I don't care if you're a hobo after you graduate, you'll have that degree when you're ready.

Rules 1 & 2 have kept an open line of communication and trust.  That I'm proud of every time he uses them.

Rule 3 leads back to my point.  He works hard, he gets rewarded.  I don't just hand him something because he wants it.  That's not how the real world works.

When I was a kid if I messed up, I got spanked.  I also got grounded and told "NO!"  I'm sick and tired of the not-my-kid parents and their weird system of if their kid wants it, then go take it, and it's ok!

Because it's not.

I started with, "You might not want that, my son has some virus they haven't identified yet."  Which worked wonders with the germaphobic era of kids being allergic to everything.

Then I eventually turned into, "Nope. Get your own," after things either came back broken and I had to buy a new one because the other parent claimed it came that way or it never came back at all with parents denying their kids ever had it.

You didn't like discipline so you thought spoiling your child irrevocably then defending their poor decisions and bad behavior would be a better way to go?

I surround myself with like-minded parents and avoid it all together, because sharing is not caring, sharing is a pain in the ass saying that parents of spoiled children created to justify their actions.

In the end, that kid brought the pool key right back.  That was what the arguing was all about.  My Bear cub has turned into a Grizzly and I couldn't be more proud!

Friday, May 23, 2014

A Real-Life School Year Mom

I was reading a viral blog about a failed school year mom.  How she sort of gives up towards the end of the year with her kids.  Judging by the complaints she voiced, her kids are still young.

My son is a Junior in high school and I can tell you that it wears off sooner as the years pass by.

New school clothes and supplies, by January things are covered in duct tape (that stuff comes in colors now) and I'm making false promises to buy new ones just as soon as I go shopping.

This is followed  by daily lists for my husband to "grab" something on his way home and let me tell you....I can drag it out for six weeks without leaving the house!

By February there's a whole lot of whining, "But I don't wanna go!  That's stupid!  Can't you just write me a note?"

To which my son always replies, "No mom, I don't write like you."

March I'm usually facedown in the carpet immobile.

I stopped making dinners a long time ago, "Just crack open a Lunchable."  Lunches consist of a pre-packaged brownie I scrounged from the back of the Lazy Susan, just wipe off the dust.  And breakfast?  What's that?

Last night I offered Pringles for dinner, to which he replied, "Tempting..." until I found some leftover taco neat in the freezer.  2 1/2 minutes later I was back to being a rug.

Posting real pictures of my epic fails?  Won't happen because I can't lift a camera, my phone, or a crayon to draw a pic, that's how truly exhausted I am.

A stain on your jacket?  Turn it inside out for Heaven's sake!  You couldn't tell me before 10:00pm?!?

"What do you mean you lost your toothbrush around Christmas?  I'm pretty sure you didn't tell me that.  No, I'm pretty sure I would have remembered (maybe not).  Well, chew some gum and I'll get you one next time I go shopping."

I stopped checking for homework months ago.  I have no idea what's in the backpack that now looks like it's been recovered by FEMA.  "School's almost out, do you really need a new one?"

When I get the late night visit with a paper in hand, "Mom?" I die a little inside because I know it's going to require more than a passive answer.  I actually have to read something and for the love of God is he holding a pen, too?

Damn, it needs a signature which means I really have to read it, not just pretend, pick out key words to regurgitate and get it over with.  I struggle not to sigh audibly.

School ends mid June here and there's so much time left.  I was notified there will be another play and choir performance.  Both mean practices.  That means I have to find something I own that doeasn't make me look like a homeless person, actually wash my hair that's been dreadlocked into a bun for months, and leave the house!

Damn it all!

Why are they still doing projects?  Things that require me to go buy stuff and help.  Why can't kids just color the last month like they used to?    What happened to fun days outside, ice cream parties, and teachers giving up by May?  Nobody should be that devoted for so little money!

My husband leaves the parenting to me.  Probably because he sees the bags under my eyes and the harried look on my face.  I give periodic reports and he's satisfied.  Maybe it's just the smell of the clothes I've been in for three days straight, too tired to shower.

I love summers.  My kid stays up all night playing video games online, sleeps all day and I have a somewhat normal schedule.  I leave pizzas on the stove, like feeding wildlife.  I get a lot of quiet time to recouperate after a long hard year.

There are parents I know that are still going strong with a house full.  These are the parents doing the Pinterest success pins and making the rest of the world feel inferior when they can't do those projects with the same results.  By the way, I secretly hate you through my fake smile.

Sidenote:  I hate you is what I said through clenched teeth at parent night, to which you replied cheerfully, "Awww, thanks!"

And we're supposed to give a gift to the teacher?  The same one who's homework assignment had me at Walmart buying a new printer cartridge at midnight?  Pffft.

Yeah, I know I gave up months ago, but I still have to pretend to be a part of it all and that's pretty hard work in itself!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

DVT And The Yeti...A Funny Thing Happened To Me

Yeah, sounds like the worst joke ever....

So I had been working out pretty hard and had a pulled muscle in my calf.  Man did it hurt!  Like getting kicked by a horse with spiked shoes.  Day 3: I woke up writhing in pain in the middle of the night.

Day 4: I was telling someone about this ridiculous pain and now awkward limp when the light bulb (more like stadium lights) went off over my head.

I went to the ER and sure enough, my experience with a past blood clot confirmed I had another, twelve years later.  It's three inches long and....well, I sort of blacked out at this point.  Then something about painkillers, self-injections and they started me on some right then and there.

I don't care what the medical journals say, I can tell you that I have taken these painkillers every four hours for the past 29 days and I've had no withdrawal symptoms whatsoever.  Another government cover-up!  The fact that I usually lose my train of thought mid-sentence has more to do with the drones that the medications, I'm sure of it!

But that's a whole other.....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Huh?  Where was I?

Oh!  The nurse then told me no shaving for six months.

That perked me up, "I'm sorry, did you say no shaving?"
"Yes." she said stoically, like I asked her the time.
"For six months?"
"Yes." A little more irritable now.

Then I laughed and laughed and laughed.  Not shaving for me would be like....

Remember Merida?  The Scottish Princess from Disney's "Brave"?  That's what my hair looks like.  Waist length and looks like I stuck my finger in a socket while wet.  Which I may have done, I don't really remember.  Because blood clots hurt and I deserve to feel (nothing) better!

Blood clots form for a few different reasons.  

You sit immobile for extended periods of time.  I recommend if you're on a flight to yell "Hallelujah!" really loud, speak in tongues and dance down the aisle.  The drink cart will move out of your way, but if you get tased, have your limbs zip-tied, then you will get a clot and die anyway, but you might as well go out having fun.

You recently had surgery...this goes back to being immobile, in which case, instruct your relatives to sue on your behalf.

Laziness.  Watch a lot of TV?  Afraid of leaving the house (agoraphobia)?  Then stay active cleaning and re-cleaning or you'll get a clot.

It could be in your genes, or your birth control pill, but either way, you'll get a clot.

The important thing to remember is 30% of people diagnosed with a clot die within the first 30 days.  That's a statistical fact fro  the CDC.  Which means 30% of the people who know they have a have a clot and are being treated will still not make it...

Good thing I feel nothing.  When it comes to narcotics, good advice is medicate freely. After all, pills solve all of life's problems or they would be advertised at every commercial break.

Wait, what was I talking about? (yawn)


I am almost six foot tall.  Not shaped like a telephone pole.  Auurn hair, curly and natural.  I have to shave my legs twice a day or I start collecting dust bunnies, pet hair, or anything else that will stick to the velcro growing on my legs.

Married women and very single women don't shave in winter.  I do.  I shave twice a day every day.  I have to.  If I spent six months without shaving I'd look like a Yeti.  Why a Yeti and not Sasquatch?  Because Yetis are supposed to have reddish hair.

Villagers would chase me with pitchforks.  The National Enquirer would have cover shots of me through my window.  Children would run in fear as rednecks hunted me....  Hey!  You haven't seen my legs so you don't know!  Maybe I'm more like Gossamer, remember the giant red bundle of hair with tennis shoes from Bugs Bunny?

ZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.  Huh?

Then....they sent me home from the ER, but gave me injections (Lovenox) I had to give myself twice a day.  This fourteen inch needle with a jagged edge and filled with acid had to be injected into my stomach twice a day.  By myself as my family cowered in another room.  Wimps.

I have to take Warfarin (Coumadin) daily.  This is an anticoagulation drug, more commonly known as a blood thinner.  It's a medication that was brought onto the market originally as rat poison.  So the conspiracy theories about doctors trying to kill of the population is true. Just saying.

This medication thins the blood to a degree that they say if I knick myself shaving I'll bleed to death.  I have to tell you, I'll risk it (see above photo).  Worth it.  If you have a DVT, the universal balance is not tipped in your favor and you know why.  I suggest you right a few wrongs.  Maybe just get out of bed.  Your call.

I have a DVT, and it's awful. I have pain, bedridden, pain, constantly cranky, and, um, pain. I also have a ham where my ankle used to be.

If my clot breaks off and travels to my lungs (pulmonary embolism), this blog also serves as my living will. I want to be stuffed in the iconic grizzly pose and placed in the corner of the living room where I will scare the crap out of my husband until the end of days.  

Put me on a wheeled base so I can travel from room to room.  And no hats & Hawaiian shirts either!

Now if you excuse me, I think I need another nap!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Ridiculous Kinder Egg Ban

Does anyone remember Kinder Surprise Eggs?  Those chocolate eggs with a creamy lining and a toy inside?

The chocolate wasn't the best I've ever tasted and the concept is not new, but I certainly do miss those little buggers.  Sort of like toys in my cereal.  You didn't know what you'd get, but you knew you'd get an extra something to brighten your day.  

Like a fortune cookie, eating the outer part after you started playing with what came inside.  

"Kinder" is the German word for "children". Kinder is also the old fashioned word for children in Dutch.  Logic tells me that these eggs were made for children, but even as an adult, I liked to get them just to see what was inside.

Kinder eggs are not allowed into the United States because of the 1938 Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act prohibits embedding “non-nutritive items” in confections.

(that part makes me giggle)

Let's take a look at the FDA's standards on what's allowed in our chocolate (this is real):

Insect filth
(AOAC 965.38)   Average is 60 or more insect fragments per 100 grams when 6 100-gram subsamples are examined
Any 1 subsample contains 90 or more insect fragments

Rodent filth
(AOAC 965.38)   Average is 1 or more rodent hairs per 100 grams in 6 100-gram subsamples examined
Any 1 subsample contains 3 or more rodent hairs

DEFECT SOURCE:  Insect fragments - post harvest and/or processing insect infestation, Rodent hair - post harvest and/or processing contamination with animal hair or excreta
Significance: Aesthetic

Aesthetic?  Aesthetic?!?  Because it looks bad if there's more???

US Consumer Product Safety Commission - recall of KinderEggs - 1997.  States (in part), “Some of the toys have small parts that present a serious choking and aspiration hazard to children under three years of age…  Ferrero said that it markets the product in other countries solely for children three and older and designs these toys to be assembled by older children.”  So the toys are specifically for over three, but were being recalled because the toys weren’t for under three.

(Kinder Eggs have the same warning as Legos)

A Florida woman & active duty military spouse started a petition years ago to Free the Egg.  #FREETHEEGG  (I can't believe I just hash-tagged)

She even got her tale mentioned in Food Network Magazine.

So if you miss Kinder Surprise Eggs or are just sick and tired of the government telling you what to do because you're too stupid to not eat and choke on a toy that is clearly labeled to be inside the chocolate egg....go sign the petition, write your Congressmen or Senators, any representative, but do something.  

If you're lazy like me, she has a form letter you can copy and paste to their email as well as links to find those that represent you.

Tell them you're sick and tired of being treated like an idiot and to give you your chocolate back!

Stand up, shout it, tell them we should be allowed to have chocolate from another country that has a cute toy surprise in it rather than bug parts and rat hair!

FYI:  The US Customs penalty for one ounce of marijuana is $500.  One ounce of cocaine or heroin is $1,000.  One Ferrero Kinder Surprise egg is $2,500.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

What Was That Word?

How many of us have sat there and struggled to find that word.  It's on the tip of your tongue.  Starts with a...?  Sounds like...?  It's...  Something about...  Ugh!

Nope.  Nothing.  Drawing a blank.  It's a secret I don't want to keep.

I found myself at that road block this morning.  Struggling for nearly an hour searching the locked files in my brain, trying to open them just a crack for the slightest hint.  Google can't help when you don't know what you're looking for.

I ended up looking at funny Bigfoot memes and still don't know how I got there.

Is it age?  Lack of sleep?  What causes us to lose that one important little tidbit, just as you need it the most?

I could never go on Jeopardy.  I'd lock up like a mute and stand there with a blank stare the whole time.  "I'll take Answers That Elude me for $600, Alex."

This morning I must have had an out-of-body experience where I cleaved my skull open to physically look for the word because the massive pounding I suffered when I finally gave up was excrutiating.  And still I have nothing.

What's really bad is when you forget someone's they are approaching you.  My husband says, "Hey, isn't that your friend?"  To which I reply, "Yeah, that's.......oh shit."

I can remember that Tonto's horse was named Scout, but I can't remember why I just walked into the kitchen.  I have a variety of post-its hung all over the house, stuck to my phone when I leave the house, on my computer monitor, the bathroom mirror, the refrigerator.

What really bothers me is when I go to write it down and forgot what I went to write.  Standing there with a pen in hand, poised over the paper.

I blame information overload.  When I was younger, we had to remember phone numbers of a select few.  Then it was phone numbers and one pin number.  Now?  I have to change my password every other week, and that's always fun.  

"Password must contain one capital letter, six symbols, five song titles, the meaning of life, the plot to The Great Gatsby, and a hug."  

Followed by my computer asking, "Do you want this computer to remember the password?"  Hell yeah.

Then I go to write it on a post-it (just in case) and forget what I created.

What's the bigger insult?  That you forget in the first place or that you remember at three a.m.?  How many nights have I woken up shouting random things?  I'd tell you, but I forgot.


My husband is always confused, slightly afraid, and yet I feel so triumphant when it finally comes to me.  I feel empowered, like I just won a million dollars or.... wrestled a T-rex to the ground.


It's like I've overcome Alzheimer's.  I finally beat it back and can remember things.  Not that I have the energy to write it down in the middle of the night.  Even if I did, I forgot to put a pad and pen by the bedside.


My husband thinks I have Turrets Syndrome, but it only strikes in the middle of the night.  There's no point trying to explain why I shouted a random word since he wasn't in on the original struggle to search for it.  He wouldn't understand and yet I feel trying to enlighten him would only make waking him up worse, so I roll over and go back to sleep.  

Peacefully, of course, now that the war in my brain has been resolved.

He bought me a day planner so I'd remember things I had to do.  I forgot where I put it.  Really.

We all struggle with remembering things at one time or another, the proper spelling of a word, complex math equations, the name of someone you knew twenty years ago...

When I walk in a room and forget why I was there in the first place, then walk out and remember, then walk back in and forget again, it deserves a profane word.  Or two.  

Maybe six or seven while throwing something breakable!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Dieting: Day Three Of Hell

Diet Log, Day Three.  I woke up angry.  Irritable.

I've spent the day equaling cursing my doctor and my love of food.  Oh why can't I learn to not swallow the food after chewing?

There's a faint whispering coming from the pantry.  I think there is a pack of Milanos I missed.  Damn you, Pepperidge Farm!

The Lean Cuisine was all box.  Such a tease.  I think the container is made of lead to falsely lure me down the road of choosing meals by weight.  

I contemplated eating the package again.  Surely there can't be that many calories and it's probably tastier than what was inside.  I ate the faux-Chinese dish with toothpicks because the chopsticks wouldn't fit inside the tiny Barbie-sized compartments.

The cat's had tuna for lunch.  I've never wanted tuna more in my life.  I don't even like tuna, really.  Damn you, cats!

The linoleum in the laundry room reminds me of cheese.   Mmmm, cheese.

Spent an hour searching for the food scale.  Measured the chicken for dinner.  Measured again.  Beat the scale on the counter and measured again.  Damn you, scale!

The dog was licking something off the floor.  I contemplated wrestling him out of the way for whatever it was, but thought better of it.  I've seen him in the litter box a time or two.

My oldest came home from school and baked a frozen pizza.  I stared at the other half on the counter without blinking for an eternity.  I hate frozen pizzas, but it smelled like Heaven on a cardboard crust.  Damn you, Red Baron!

I feel weak, people keep posting photos of delicious dishes on Facebook.  Taunting me from afar.  I licked my monitor, ever so slowly, in an attempt to trick my brain into believing I was having some of that caramel gooey pineapple upside-down cake.  It didn't work and I had to brush my teeth.  Damn you, Facebook!

I must avoid Pinterest for a while.

Day three, only 362 more to reach my goal.  The voices have started needling me.  They told me to give up, but I refuse.  We argued for an hour.  I won.

For now.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Are You Kidding Me?!?

Let me start with this rant will not be G, PG, or PG-13 rated.

What the Holy Fuck is wrong with people?  What has me up in arms this time?  I found this today:

Yep.  That's right.  A window in your lower lip.  A porthole to your teeth.  A skylight to your gingivitis.  A Pyrex plug in your face...

Did your mother not hug you enough?  Were you not given enough attention in this age of bury-your-head-in-your-smart-phone?  Have you simply lost you fucking mind?  What kind of attention whore does something like this?  Let me tell you two things:  First, that is outright disgusting.  Second, do you have any idea how many restaurants will ban you?

Some people are claiming this is photoshopped.  Nope, it's real.  Yes if your lower lip is pushed upward to insert a clear salad plate, your teeth will indeed look distorted and lower.

Was the tattoo parlor closed?  Did you mom refuse to sign the waiver to fork your tongue?  Did green snot through your nose piercing when you had the flu not gross enough people out?

I simply cannot fathom what goes through your head when you decide to do this or what the purpose is.  What the fuck happened to you as a child that makes you say, "Hmmm, I'm tired of opening my lips to see if something's I need to brush.  It's so much work....  I know!  I'll make it easier for myself!!"

I hope I'm not the first to say this:  You're a fucking moron.  Your parents must be so proud.  Or is your mom looking for the lid to her wrinkle cream?

And what the Hell is this guy doing?  Is that an empty toilet paper roll in his nose?  

He's in a bubble bath.  I have to re-process that.          He's.  In.  A.  Bubble.  Bath.

Are you fucking kidding me?  Seriously?  Is this your profile pic on  I just found the definition of "fucktard".  I don't have anything against piercings.  My ears are done twice.  For those that need more, whatever, go for it.  The idea of piercing my tongue makes my fillings spark.  I even thought of doing my belly button once, but then, I never show my waist so what's the point?

I don't have anything against tatoos, I have one.  It's small and it's hidden, but sure, I find them sexy like most people...that is, if they're spelled correctly.

I don't even have a problem with freaks.  I've paid to see them at the fair.

But these fucking idiots need to be rounded up and put inside a very high-walled park where they can be properly gawked at by those who want to look at this sort of shit.  If this is what the world is becoming, someone please shoot me now.

Hey....   You have something in your teeth.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Don't Be A Joghole

I'm just sitting here today, enjoying the delights of Spring.

Tulips are pushing up through the mulch, spring colors are emerging.  A bluebird alights on the feeder.  (Welcome back old friend.)  Buntings are chasing each other in a battle over mailboxes for nests.  The sun is warming my feet in a slash of distorted light through the window.  The sky seems bluer as warmer weather finally approaches.

My coffee is tall and iced, not hot.  My legs are shaved, not covered in sweats.  Then suddenly, my serene moment is ruined as I watch a jogger run by.

Several seconds pass.  There is no pack of wild rabid dogs in pursuit.  There is no trail of blood.  Maury is still on so it's not a zombie apocalypse.  That can only mean one thing...

Jogging for the fun of it.

Look you health nut, buy a treadmill!  You're ruining the comfort of my Snuggie.  Now my chips taste bad and I don't care if it is nine in the morning.  It's people like you that are making my life Hell.

I don't want a bran muffin from Dunkin Donuts and God help the kid behind the counter if my sugary snack touches such an abomination!

I don't want my choice of grains, fruits, and nutty oils at the grocery.  What happened to my Captain Crunch?  It's on a bottom shelf because the eye-level boxes are covered in antioxidants, vitamins, and healthy ingredient claims.  Soy milk and soy ice cream.  WTF?

BAH!  Go away!  

They have specialty stores for peope like you.  They only sell healthy stuff, the patrons mock people not wearing neon skin when they enter, customers ride bikes there, they use recycled paper bags for losers like me that don't bring my own reusable ones.  Stop infiltrating my sanctuaries!

Google jogger images.  They're all smiling.

Don't you believe it!  It's a lie!  It's a conspiracy to get me to put down my spray cheese.

Nobody is smiling as they pass my house.  They are all red-faced and sweating, wheezing like they smoke and we all know they don't smoke or they wouldn't be jogging!  Stop ruining my day with your ridiculous desire to be fit.  Go to the park or the gym, that's why they exist, so people like you won't be mocked by people like me.

You aren't going to influence me.  I'm not going to dust off my hightop Reeboks.  I will not climb in the attic and look for my silver astronaut jumper.  I certainly will not remove my ankle weights from the bottoms of my saplings, protecting them from the weed whacker.  There will be no resurrection of the head band and leg warmers.  Much less a second skin of neon reflective gear!

Leave me to enjoy my chocolate mornings in peace and stop being such a joghole!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Have We Done More Harm Than Good?

I was an only child.  Left to my own devices with both parents working or gone most of the time I was growing up.  I was bored, lonely, and you know what they say about idle hands...

My mother wasn't very affectionate, my Daddy was my step-father (the only dad I ever knew) and he was kind, but we muddled through developing a common ground.  I had a lot of resentment, anger, and teenage angst I struggled through while maintaining a quasi-positive exterior and persona.

When I was 21, I was diagnosed with cancer.  When I told my mother her reply was, "You're too young to have cancer."  What?

After successful treatment, the return of the cancer followed by surgery that seemed to be successful, they told me having kids might be tricky.  So I was anxious to have a child.  At 25, the love of my life was born.

As I brought him home from the hospital, I did what most people of my generation did....I swore I'd break the cycle and be a better parent.  I'd be supportive, loving, and be there for every moment of his life.  I'd quit my job, raise him myself, and never miss a moment.  My husband fully supported this idea.

Thus a generation of Helicopter Parents were born.  I didn't put him on a leash, I didn't baby-proof everything, I didn't hover, a wasn't a true Helicopter Parent, more like a Drone, watching from a distance, ready to drop a bomb on whatever situation he needed to be saved.  Boy did I have a few over the years, all without his knowledge of course.

I took him to all the major theme parks, I took him to the major National Parks, we've travelled through most of the country seeing historical sites, pro ball games, restaurants, and every "big-ball-of-string" the back roads offered.  I tried to show him things most kids didn't get to see.  He hated every moment of it, but I figured when he was an adult, he'd appreciate the exposure...the adventure.

He's 17 now, practically a man, a Senior next year, then college.  I never pushed for a perfect GPA, just A's & B's (even if it was all B's), I never pushed for extra curricular activities, I never made him do chores (school was his job). I do push for him to aspire to go to a real college, not the Community College in the strip mall up the street, I try to encourage, but when he rebels, I back off.

He said he felt too much pressure to not fail which makes him angry and violent. He asked if we meant it when we said we were proud of him, because he feels like everything he does isn't good enough.  I was blown away.  I hug him and tell him I love him.  Every.  Single.  Day.  I brag about him almost daily because I can't believe how lucky I got to have such an extraordinary child.

I realized last night I lost the battle.  I didn't do it right.  He's never had a broken bone, he's never suffered real defeat, and he's never learned how to be self sufficient.  He's sullen and angry.  He hates me.  I realize a lot of that has to do with his hormonal changes, but he told me to treat him like an average teenager.  He "just wants to be average".  Treated like his friends are treated.

What is an average teenager?  I have friends with kids his age and every house is different.  Some smoke in the house, some curse, (I'm speaking of the kids) some clean the garage every weekend, some mow the lawn, some sneak out, some have been arrested, and I can't tell you how many moms call asking if their kid is at my house because they can't find theirs...

Parents leaving behind microwave pizza rolls and ravioli in a can.  Working all day then having drinks with friends after.  Smoking in the house.  Buying whatever the kids ask for whether they've earned it or deserve it.

There's two sides:  the moms going on job interviews with their kids and the moms that became their mom despite their efforts.

I'm stuck in the middle and I feel helpless.  When did we stop being the Dynamic Duo?  We were always close and I have always been understanding of his wants and needs, giving him the freedom to do as he pleased as long as he remained respectful.  So I guess we're going to give him a dose of reality and I'll treat him like his friends get treated and we'll see how he feels about that.  Something tells me, despite all, he'll be begging for homemade brownies and my help before too long.

I hated my mother, but I'm about to become her.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Southerners & Snow, What's The Big Deal?

Snow & South.  Two words that aren't usually used in the same sentence.  But I'm going to explain the recent hullabaloo down here.

If you need more than that:

I was born and raised outside New Orleans.  When I was nineteen, I moved to South Dakota.  I admit it was the first time I'd ever been above the Mason-Dixon, y'all.  What a shock to my Southern sensibilities!!

Driving across the state, I thought my brand spankin' new sports car was out of alignment because I was driving with the wheel cocked fifteen degrees.  I stopped at a rest area and when I opened the door and stood up, the wind took my waist length naturally curly auburn locks like a kite and nearly whipped me back to Nebraska!  A hurricane in the North?  No, just everyday wind in the Plains I was told.

(NOT fancy oil rigs...)

Then Winter hit.  First it came gently and I called everyone I knew back home to describe the baseball sized flakes falling gently to the ground.  I put on a coat and ran outside to make snow angels and play like a child, full of wonder, while the people in my dorm looked on like I was a crazy person.

That was the teaser, a few hours later the snow came in horizontally.  It stung when it hit like tiny shards of glass in a tornado.  Remember that wind?  This was October.

In December the snow was knee deep  Temps were nearing -90 with the wind chill.  I had to go buy clothing I didn't know existed, a parka with a fur-lined hood, fur-lined mittens that came to your elbows, and boots that were lined in what felt like lead when you walked in them, those boots came up to the bottom of this parka (which sort of resembled a sleeping bag folded in half and zipped up).  The hood was not only worn, but apparently you needed to draw the string attached so that only one eye at a time peeked out into a blinding white sheet and you had to wear your keys around your neck because if you did happen to actually find your precious little sports car, forget finding your keys easily in a fashionable clutch.  You couldn't actually grip anything with these mittens that were also like sleeping bags wrapped around your arms.   And it was still cold.  Plus, who doesn't love a rousing game of Where-The-Heck-Is-My-Car?

I had to actually keep a snow shovel in my trunk!!  So I could dig my way out of parking lots!!

Florida was a welcome reprieve after several years of that!  Skip ahead a few more years and I was living in Northern Utah.  My son being raised there.  Snow was different there.  In a "good" winter, it would be thigh deep, we dug tunnels to the neighbor's house in case of emergencies, but it was a dry cold....

Roads were icy, but salted and plowed, sometimes the wind blew, but mostly the snow just fell.  I loved it there and the four seasons were fantastic!  It snowed as early as September and always the first week of June, with warming in between, but it was a wondrous thing to experience.  Not the shoveling.  That part sucked.

School was cancelled only once in the six years I lived there and that was because a water main busted.  It snowed and life moved along, the trucks were out salting before it started and they continued plowing until it stopped.

But it was gorgeous and I could have lived there forever...

Now we're back in (sort of) the South: North Carolina.  The first time school was cancelled because it was too cold, my son pitched an ever-lovin' fit!  Snow days?  What's that?

"Too cold?  They closed the"
"They call this snow?!?"
"Seriously?  They cancelled school because it's icy?!?"
"This isn't snow!"

So once again, like I did for him, I'm explaining to the world what happens here compared to up North. They don't have plows here because they aren't needed.  They don't have a salt reserve because it doesn't get icy enough here to warrant the budget for it.  They don't have contingency plans for snow because they don't ever really have snow, not like what I've seen.  We had a foot of snow here once and the power was out for two days because trucks couldn't get to the lines to repair them.  Granted, that was five years ago and this time we only got two inches.  I also live in a hilly region, like Atlanta and Birmingham.  Icy roads and hills are trouble.

This bus accident (driver and six kids) happened near our home and even though my son goes to West Henderson, not North Henderson, because it was so close to us, people panicked that it was my son and they were calling or texting non-stop.

I was out driving in this, running errands, and even with all of my years of experience, I was fish-tailing all over the road, going 20 mph.  The main roads were slick, but the secondary roads were borderline scary. We're not all idiots that don't know how to drive on ice, we're just drivers on ice because we don't have the necessary tools to treat it.

So go ahead and mock us, because we surely did when y'all were panicking over Hurricane Sandy!

Shoot, hurricane's are just another excuse for us to throw a party down here.  It's BYOB... Batteries, Booze, and Board Games!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Healing A Broken Heart

After losing the love of my life, suddenly, unexpectedly, I went into a deep depression. I was a medicated zombie who slept with a red blanket I refused to give up because it was covered in his hair.

Many months had passed and my husband and I were in Petsmart buying things for our other furbabies. It was a habit to go look at the cats as we used to do even when my heart was still alive. My husband thought it a bad idea, but I went anyway....and there he was. Looking directly in my eyes, I was immediately drawn to him.

It was a battle of wills at home with my family, everyone saying I wasn't ready, but eventually I won and we went back and adopted him.

With the new name of Brady, we learned many things about him very quickly, but mostly he was going to be a lot of work. Afraid of the broom, if I tried to sweep he'd hide for hours. Even if I was cooking with a spatula, a knife, or wearing heavy shoes, he'd disappear. Obviously he'd been hurt by someone, so I didn't sweep or vacuum for six weeks.

Then there was something in his side, a bump he wouldn't let us see, he'd bite us if we tried to look too close.  That warranted a trip to the vet, followed by surgery to remove the buckshot imbedded in his side.

He has a deviated septum from a blow and he sounds like a cartoon bumble bee when he snores.  This breaks our heart and at the same time makes us smile because it's so cute.

He has night terrors.  Sometimes he will be sleeping and takes off so fast he doesn't know where he's going.  He ran into a window and nearly shattered it.  He's run away so fast he's left gouges where he laid, but I say his name and he easily melts into my arms seeking the safety I offer.

The most important thing about this wonderful creature of life is that he could still love unconditionally. He trusted easily, he snuggled with me in bed, he was interested in everything I was doing and without falter he slept with the dog and got along with our other cat like he'd always been here.

He had been shot, beaten, abused, abandoned, and now he had been adopted. Not a replacement for my original love, but a new addition to our family.  A new budding love inside my heart and I'll never let him be hurt by anyone again.  I even washed that blanket.

Together, we have healed each other's broken heart.

Share my story from here and help feed shelter pets:

Monday, January 27, 2014

My Name Is Daisy

I was found in a feral colony as a kitten.  Then I was with a rescue group for a very long time.  They called me Sassy even though I wasn't very.  I was unwanted, unloved, overlooked, and thought to be ugly by everyone.  

I was also in pain, I had a broken tooth with the root exposed that nobody had caught.  My sisters were adopted.  My roommates were adopted.  My neighbors were adopted.  Month after month, everyone had found a home except me.  I had given up hope...

One day, a lady came to take pictures of me for the rescue group's website.  I stole her toy mouse and with it, I stole her heart.

She didn't think she had room for another animal.  She didn't think she had enough time or love for another baby in her house.  She didn't think her house was big enough for just one more, no matter how small I was.  But one day she came back.  She put her hand to the glass, I put my paw to her hand as I looked into her sympathetic eyes...and she took me home.

She called me Daisy because she said I brought sunny joy into her home with my big golden eyes and my heart-shaped nose.  I have my own toys, plenty of sunshine in windows with bird feeders outside to entertain me.  She had my broken tooth removed and I'm no longer in pain.  I have three brothers to play with and three humans who adore me.  

Turns out she did have room.  Room in her house and room in her heart.

I get treats and rubs and she gave me my own bed that I don't have to share.  I was even Miss June in a calendar.

She calls me her Pretty Princess and for once in my life I believe it to be true.  My message to all the kitties out there is this:  Don't ever give up hope.  

One day someone will take a chance and make room for just one more...

Share my story from here and help feed shelter pets:

When I met Sassy, before becoming Daisy, she looked like this:

You can actually see the lack of hope inside of her.  This hidden gem now sparkles from within.

My Zimbio
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