Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Spaz's Day Off

Yesterday was The Man's birthday. We celebrated it on Easter Sunday with my family who sang to him and made him wear a funny hat. Thank goodness we did, too, because yesterday became known to me as

The Day When Nothing Would Stay In My Body For More Than Ten Minutes

It all started at 5:30 am when I was rudely awoken to that lovely hot saliva thing that happens right before I'm about to hurl. I willed it away for about 30 seconds before I realized there was no willing it away. I was about to hurl.

You know what pisses me off about puking at 5:30 in the morning? There's no one to hold my hair back or baby me. The Man slept soundly while I wretched. It didn't even phase him. My groans of discontent as I got back into bed went unheard.  And then when the alarm went off at 7, I was still expected to get up and take Goober to school, wake Munchkin and Bug up, and make sure the day still went as planned. Or at least make sure the children made it to school. That was really the only important thing.

Sure, I could have shaken him awake on his birthday and said "Get up, Mister. I'm sick and you're on duty."

But what kind of martyr would I be if I did that?

At any rate, I did manage to make it through the day, thanking the heavens above that my kids are now old enough to pretty much take care of themselves and even make their own freezer pizza for dinner.

I spent the day wrapped up in a blankie watching Lindsay on OWN and Gossip Girl on Netflix. Don't hate. I did attempt to get a little work done, but the effort needed to get anything done was great. It was mostly about Lindsay Lohan and Blair Waldorf - all day long. And during the day, I asked myself some questions.

1. Why does the cat meow incessantly for me to pet him and then lay just out of my reach?
2. Why don't I remember eating that?
3. If Lindsay has a personal assistant, why doesn't he make sure to get her anywhere on time?
4. Have I lost weight today?
5. What do people from Manhattan really have against Brooklyn?
6. Why has no one invented a closet that washes and dries the clothes while they're on the hanger?

It's a great idea, really. Someone needs to figure that out. I'll be the guinea pig.

At any rate, today I'm feeling.... better.... still a little off but so much better. I'm planning on getting some work done today and doing a few errands so I sincerely hope I don't spread this funk around too much while I'm out.

Monday, April 14, 2014

I'm totally throwing out the Mardi Gras beads.

I just realized today is April 14th... which means that tomorrow is April 15th.... which means that I have to file my taxes.

I do realize I can file them before the 15th. In fact, every year I fully intend to do so. I get all motivated in January, thinking I'll get them done early and get them off of my mind.  And then I don't. I have to wait for stuff, yanno? And then.... math.... ugh.

Doesn't it seem like there are usually a lot more reminders about tax day than there were this year? Maybe I haven't been watching enough television. This year I sort of just pushed taxes to the back of my mind and was all "Yeah... those are due, like, forever from now. It's cool."

At any rate, today I realized I was really pushing it and decided to get started (right after this blog post, that is). But first I would need to locate all of my stuff. Forms with numbers for names. Or number and letter combinations. Forms that look official and that I should have been keeping in a safe place. A file perhaps.

And that's when I took a good, hard look at my desk.

Ah, my beautiful desk. The place where I spend so much of my time, a hub of busy activity, a cornucopia overflowing with everything that passes through my fingertips on a daily basis and then some.  It's a ridiculous mess.

The above picture is just a small selection of disaster. What IS all that stuff? Expired coupons, a patch that needs to be sewn on something for some kid, mail from my alma mater asking for support... my desk would certainly win on Let's Make A Deal.

Somewhere under all that mess are a few important tax documents I'll be needing for the good old IRS this year. So I'm hereby declaring April 14th to be National Clean Up Your Desk In Order To Find Your Crap Day

I think it might catch on. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

In which the Spaz doesn't care if you're a helicopter mom.

I read a blog post today written by another mother exasperated by the helicopter parent trend. To be fair, I sort of started skimming the post toward the end, but I'm pretty sure I got the gist of it.

Parents who coddle their children and make them the center of their universe are not preparing said children for the real world in which they will be required to function.

I agree with this. Wholeheartedly.

However, I really and truly feel like this issue is one that needs to be put to bed. It's none of my business how someone chooses to parent their child and it's none of anyone else's business how I choose to parent my child. Unless I'm opening the door for parenting advice, I think everyone needs to keep their hands in their own affairs and stay out of mine.

If you want to spoil your precious princess and teach her that whenever she has a "boo-boo" the world should stop and address it, then that's your prerogative. It's none of my damn business.

Just like I don't want you judging the fact that I tell my kids to "shake it off", I'm not judging that you whipped a first aid kit complete with happy face stickers out of your Thirty One bag. That's your deal.

I truly don't think this helicopter parent thing is even all that big of a thing. I have lots of friends with kids and we all went through the same phases.  When our kids were infants we kept them close and monitored them constantly. As they became toddlers we followed them around making sure they didn't choke or electrocute themselves. When they went to school we both cried and sighed in relief to drop them off with someone else for a few hours a day. Now that they're older and active, we let them do their thing - giving them independence but always being nearby just in case they need us. In my experience, this is what typical parenting is. Of course there are extremes in both directions - but who am I to say someone else is doing it right or wrong?

I just feel like there's so much judgement among mothers and women and it makes me sad. We're all (okay, well most of us) just trying to do what we think is best and we're all making mistakes along the way. Let's all just jump off the criticism train for a minute and try to support each other.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Things always seem so much better in my head

Sporadic blog post!

Maybe some day I'll be able to manage posts on a regular basis.

So, the other day my dryer took a big crap. It has sort of been slowly dying for a while now... taking longer and longer to dry clothes, making sad groaning noises when it starts up, and just plain looking old and sad and worn out. Tuesday, it finally just threw its hands up and gave up.

Now, the last thing we really needed at this time was to purchase a new appliance. So I decided to go old school. I told The Man I wanted him to string up a clothesline.

Oh Internets, I had visions of grandeur. I pictured myself basking in the sunshine with Sudo trotting around the yard with me. An apron full of clothespins on and a basket of warm, sunny laundry at my hip. I can clearly remember my Grandmommy hanging her clothes out on the line and the sheets drying so beautifully in the sun. Grandmommy hung her clothes on the line forever. I don't ever remember her having a dryer even though she certainly could have afforded one.  No, Grandmommy's sheets and towels were always dried in the sun and softened by the breeze. And this is how I pictured things to be around here.

So on Wednesday, before The Man went to work I demanded he hang me up a clothesline. He grumbled a bit, but went into the yard and found a good spot (where the neighbors wouldn't peep our undies hanging from the line) and hung me a full 100 feet of line in between a fence and two trees. It was beautiful. Since I had the fortune to already have a load of damp laundry sitting in my dead dryer, I got to work right away.

First I put on my apron with the two deep pockets in front and filled it with clothespins. Then I gathered up my damp laundry and lugged it out into the yard.  The first thing I noted is that damp laundry weighs a hell of a lot more than dry laundry. But no worries! I would build muscles, get exercise, this would be GREAT! (No one can tell me that I can't turn a negative into a positive when necessary. Optimism for the win!)

I started out in a joyful mood. I think I may have even hummed. I had to wipe the sweat from my brow a bit as I worked in the hot South Florida sun and I learned. So many things. I learned that you can't accidentally drop a damp towel in the grass because it will pick up every single bit of dirt and nastiness down there. I learned that hanging a man's dress shirt is much like a puzzle with no definite answer. I learned that no matter how taut I thought our clothesline was, it sagged with each addition until I could add no more without our clothes kissing the grass. I learned that hanging clothes is excellent exercise - bend, shake, reach, clip, bend shake, reach, clip. I learned that I am out of shape.  It only took me a half hour to hang a load of clothes - about half the time the clothes dryer does it (when it's working correctly) without me having to do much other than shove stuff in and push a button.

But hey! Don't forget that I'm becoming a domestic goddess, saving the planet, and getting soft, breezy, sunshiney laundry in the process!

Our clothes dried in the breeze all afternoon and at 4 pm Munchkin and Bug came home from school. Munchkin walked in the door, gave me a horrified look, dropped her backpack to the floor and walked right back out.

"Where are you going?" I asked her as she was halfway out the front door.

"To get my UNDERWEAR off the line!!" She yelled back at me as she ran out.

"Get the rest of the stuff, then, too!" I sang out to her.

Ah yes, this was going to be great.

Munchkin came back in a huff, with all the clothes from the line except for a few of The Man's shirts and a couple of towels that hadn't completely dried yet.

It was barn day for Munchkin so we jumped in the van and headed over to the barn for her lesson. While she was having her lesson I ran some errands, feeling very domestic goddesslike and efficient.

And that's when I noticed the sky. A blackness rolling in from the west, flickers of lightning off in the distance, an ominous nastiness approaching. Errands were finished up as quickly as possible and I returned to the barn in time to watch Munchkin untack her mount and muck his stall. I hurried her to our awaiting van and we rushed home.

As we pulled in the driveway, big fat droplets were beginning to hit the windshield.... and the laundry. I left my purse in the van as I rushed over to the line and pulled off the stiffest towels you ever did feel as well as several damp collared polo shirts. I ran in the house with them and threw them on the dining room table to fold.

And it poured. All evening Wednesday and all day yesterday. How does one dry laundry in South Florida when it's pouring? With a dryer, that's how. A bonafide, electricity hog, lint puffing clothes dryer.

So yesterday I posted on one of our local facebook swip-swap groups. "ISO inexpensive clothes dryer" and within minutes I had found my new dryer. The Man and his dad went and picked it up and this morning it is tumbling around the first load of our laundry.

Technology is a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas musings

With a half hour on the oven timer for the spice cake I'll be bringing to mom and dad's house tonight, I've got a little time to blog.

There hasn't been a lot of time for that lately - but here on Christmas Day, I've shockingly found a few moments.

We've only just begun our tribute to American consumerism today - we still have The Man's aunt's house to visit this afternoon and my family's Christmas tonight - and I'm already a little sick about it.  We have lost the meaning of Christmas.

This is not a Christian household, but The Man and I were raised in Christian households and raised with good old fashioned Christian values. We are trying to pass most of those values on to our Bug, Munchkin, and Goober. But I think that so far, we've failed in teaching our children the meaning of Christmas. And though I don't believe that the story of Jesus is a true story, I love the meaning behind it and the beauty of Christmas. 

The story doesn't tell about how Baby Jesus anxiously awaited his presents and tore into brightly colored packages with wild abandon, throwing gifts aside only to gluttonously grab the next lovingly wrapped box and do the same until they are simply left with a pile of Hasbro's latest gimmicky toys, overpriced electronics, and ripped foil paper. 

No, that's not the story. In the story of Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus in the manger - three wise men make a great journey to visit the baby and bring him simple gifts. It's about the giving. We never hear about the receiving - because that's not the point.

In the story of Saint Nicholas, the focus is on the giving - not the receiving. It's the selflessness, the desire to help others, the love and care behind the gifts given to those that needed them.

That's what we need to teach our children.  Earlier this week when I sat wrapping presents for my children, The Man and I got to talking. We made a decision about next Christmas. Next Christmas we won't be giving our children gifts. We will be giving them the money we would have spent on those gifts. But they won't be spending that money on themselves - they'll be choosing a method of giving to some children that are less fortunate than themselves. Our children need to learn the amazing feeling that one gets when they give. 

Last night we discussed this with the kids and they're all on board. Of course, we'll see how they feel once Christmas gets closer. :) But for now, I think they understand. I think this might be the best gift we've ever given them. 

Merry Christmas to anyone reading this - whether you're Christian or not - this day is about giving and family and love. And everyone can appreciate that. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

What's been on my mind....

It was a little over 10 years ago that The Man and I discovered we were going to be parents. Well, not me. I already was a parent to Bug and Munchkin. The Man, however, was just getting his feet wet when it came to dealing with kids.

It was early February 2003 when I took a home pregnancy test that I was positive was going to come up negative. I had an IUD put in shortly after Munchkin was born and had full faith in it's abilities. Maybe that's where my faith went to die?

So after that little pink line showed up bright and clear and I shocked The Man with the news that he was going to be a real, bonafide, biological dad - we set about making a plan.

The first part of that plan was that we needed a house. A big one. So we started looking and found that we could get a lot more house in our price range if we bought in the boonies. So that's what we did.

I remember so clearly when we decided on the house we eventually bought. The Man loved it because you couldn't see it from the road and I loved it because it had a great big back porch (that we never use) and hardwood floors and a fireplace (that we also never use).  The first time we decided to drive out to see it without our realtor, just by ourselves, we drove and drove and drove and looked at each other with one of those looks like "What the hell are we thinking buying a house this far out in the boonies?!"

A lot of people wouldn't have even considered it the boonies, either, but to The Man and I it certainly was. We had a small plaza right up the road complete with a Winn Dixie and a pizza place. Our road was paved, though it was pretty much only one of two around that wasn't dirt. The closest gas station was 10 minutes in either direction and we were about 1/2 hour to our closest relatives, my parents.

From the end of our driveway we could look across the road and see orange groves for what seemed like miles and the smell of their blossoms the winter after Goober was born took my breath away. People on horseback rode in front of our house on a regular basis and my kids loved to walk across our little road and feed the pony and donkey that lived in the little pasture there.  We learned to get what we needed while we were "in town" and how to take care of our well and septic system and how to defend our trash cans against small woodland creatures.

And before we knew it, we were loving our "country lifestyle" and marveling over the stars at night and how people smiled at our little grocery store and waved when passing on our narrow dirt roads. Our kids started school and made friends and just like that we really had built a life out here in the boonies.

It wasn't long after we moved in that another plaza was built not too far away with a Publix and a Burger King and a Dominos Pizza - and then a Walgreens across the street and a public library around the corner.  I can't say I haven't enjoyed these new amenities. I shop at that Publix and have been so thankful for a pizza place that would deliver to us and a 1 hour photo lab just up the street. My kids practically live at that library.  But if those things had never come, I'd have been okay.

Several years ago those beautiful orange groves were damaged by some terrible fruit tree disease and our area was hit with hurricane after hurricane that pretty much put those groves right out of business. A huge developer has bought that land and has proposed a development far beyond the scope of anything our little community could have ever imagined 10 years ago.  Zero lot line homes and retail and apartments and a spring training facility. Within spitting distance from the end of our driveway.

Just a few miles away in either direction, two more huge developments are being proposed on agricultural lands that are no long being used agriculturally. It's all happened so fast I feel like my head is spinning.

But I was never one to go quietly into that good night. So I'll be fighting and gnashing my teeth and attending meetings and doing whatever else needs to be done to keep development at bay. Maybe we can fight them off for just a little while longer. Long enough for me to send Goober off to college while there's still cows in the pastures and horses trotting by our driveway.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Today's blog post was brought to you by the letters P and C

I haven't had coffee yet this morning so forgive me if I'm not as coherent as usual - but when a blog post strikes me I have to drop everything and type.  They hit me so rarely these days.

Today I want to talk about political correctness. I was reading back through one of my favorite blogs when I stumbled upon a post where one of my favorite writers lamented a purchase of pans that she found on the Target clearance rack for a ridiculously low price. The problem was that they were made by Paula Deen.

I completely understand the hesitation, but frankly I would have had maybe a millisecond of pause before I would have been running to the checkout with those pans at that price. I'm fairly sure that Paula doesn't donate any of her money to the KKK and even if she does, Paula had already gotten her money from those pans and my bloggy friend's purchase off the clearance rack wasn't sending any messages to Target to reorder those pans.

So, in that instance, I say throw politically correct caution to the wind and buy the damn pans.

But then I was reading through the comments on that entry and I read a quote that said "Political correctness is not making our world a better place."

And that's where I had to disagree. Perhaps political correctness is not making our world a better place for white men between the ages of 24 and 60 - but it's damn sure making it a better place for everyone else. Have you ever watched an episode of Mad Men and found yourself horrified? Political correctness has gotten us a long way, Baby.

I'm not saying things don't go overboard - because they oh-so-often do - but I'd much rather have people overly concerned about saying the wrong thing than not concerned at all. Remember what Thumper's mom told him? "If you can't say somethin' nice, don't say nothin' at all."

So yes, occasionally this hyper-sensitive politically correct movement kicks us all in the ass and someone gets crucified in the media for an insensitive comment they made years before (sorry Paula) - but for the most part, it keeps us on our best behavior. It keeps us actually thinking about the words coming out of our mouths and off the tips of our fingers.  And that is absolutely making our world a better place.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Evidently I'm THAT mom.

Here's my own take on teenage girls - a little "personal experience" follow up from my post last week responding to Mrs. Hall.

I don't care if you post selfies or if you wear low rise jeans that show your coin slot. I don't mind if you wear a bikini to the beach. These offences, while IMO not the smartest moves you can make, will not keep you from knowing or dating my sons.

However, if you decide to string my sweet and sensitive son along because he's nice to you and pays you attention, while claiming some other boy is your boyfriend - you will most definitely NOT be allowed in my son's life, if I can help it.  That's called cheating, young lady, and I'm not going to stand idly by and let you use my son as your entertainment while you're away from the boy you're calling your boyfriend.

My sons are amazing boys and they are growing up to be amazing young men. They deserve better than that and I won't stop meddling until they know it. I wouldn't let some boy do that to my daughter and I certainly won't let some fast little girl do it to my son.

I hope these girls soon learn that they don't need to keep several boys on the hook to prove that they're worthy of love. Think better of yourself than that, young ladies, you don't need to stoop to that level.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Some day I think the kids are going to kill me for this blog

They'll get over it.

Bug has a girlfriend again. I think this one might be a little more serious than the last ones.

We heard hints of her last weekend when Bug clutched his cell phone happily in his hand the entire weekend and we heard the constant "bling bloop" of his text messaging.  Then on Tuesday it poured rain and he received a text from her that she was walking home from her bus stop. Bug immediately grabbed a poncho to bring to her and rode off on his bike. Chivalry is alive and well in my Bug.  Yesterday Bug was at her house after school, meeting her three little piggies (for real... she has piglets... three of them) and her dogs. Today there is no school and Bug has gone off once again to see her.

He is 13.... but still a baby to me. When he was not quite two I can picture him dancing in the kitchen with his Aunt B2, his head on her shoulder with a sweet smile on his face.  He was so happy to be held and loved and close to other people.

Munchkin and Goober could never wait to be free and running, but Bug wanted to be loved and cuddled. I can still smell his warm baby smells when he would climb into bed with me as I groggily slept off his sister's 4 AM colic session.

He's still sensitive and sweet and wears his heart on his sleeve so I have to stop myself from trying to protect him from heartbreak. He runs off to see his new love interest with such a big smile and I worry... What goes up, must come down.

I can only be here for him when it happens, I guess. Even sweet, sensitive boys like Bug need to learn how to handle a broken heart, I guess.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

FYI (if you're a self-righteous blogger)

There is a blog post going around (you can read it here) in the form of a letter to teenage girls who post sexualized selfies on Instagram and Facebook.

As a mom, I can tell you I am 100% against sexualized selfies of teenage girls. You know the ones, we've all seen them. Wide eyes, pouty face, and a hint of cleavage. They're all over the place and if/when I ever see Munchkin has posted one somewhere you'd better believe a talk will be had (but not before I demand she deletes it and we pray it isn't saved somewhere in someone else's control).

But will I scroll through Bug and Goober's feeds and demand that they unfriend or block any girl they know that has posted one? I think that's a little counterproductive.

And I'll tell you why.

Because this is my blog and that's what I do.

First, it is up to Bug and Goober to view girls and women in a responsible manner. There will always be sexualized images. There will always be women walking around with not enough clothing on. There will be pool parties and girls in bikinis and low rise jeans and bare midriffs. This is the world we live in.

It is not my job to hide their eyes from every scantily clad girl in the world. It is, however, my job to teach them how to view a woman - no matter what she is wearing.  It seems to me that Mrs. Hall from aforementioned blog needs to spend a little less time shaming teenage girls and a little more time teaching her own young sons that all girls and women, regardless of her minimal dress or decision to post a selfie on Instagram, deserve their respect and good manners. Even girls who make bad decisions with boys who don't respect them, even girls with a reputation, even girls who don't seem respectable - they all deserve their respect.

Wasn't it not too long ago that the country was in uproar because of a certain group of abhorrent young men who molested an intoxicated young girl and then decided to brag to all of the Internet about it? It is our responsibility, as parents, to make sure that kind of thing doesn't happen again. On both sides. Our girls need to be taught to respect themselves and our boys need to be taught to respect.

Secondly (that's right, there's a secondly), teenage girls are - oh, how shall I say this - typically lacking in good judgement. That's not to say this is true in all cases, but the vast, vast majority. I know this because I was once a teenage girl and I remember. Caught somewhere between wanting to be loved by everyone and wanting to express themselves, teenage girls need special guidance from their community. They must know that they are liked and accepted by their peers and sadly, they will do just about anything to receive that affirmation. Making sure they know they have it before they do something desperate to get it, is our mission as a community.

Having my boys or anyone's boys block them or unfriend them only fuels this fire. It only makes it worse, it is causing the exact opposite reaction. Self-esteem is such a delicate flower for a young girl and sadly, it seems there are so many people (young boys, young girls, and grown adults) just waiting in the wings to put our young girls down. And then we wonder why they run to the first boy who pays them any sort of attention.

It is a great responsibility to raise children to be kind and respectful and to know right from wrong even when everyone else is doing something different. It is the most difficult job I have ever taken on and also the most rewarding.

In our family, we focus on elevating our own moral compass and we try to bring others around us up with us, rather than stepping on their heads in our own self-righteousness.

Edit: I had to include a link to this post, which said it better than I could and made me laugh at the same time.