Rants

No

black and white picture of a crying child

No, it’s such a simple word. It’s often one of the first words a child learns after Mama and Dada. “No” was the second word my daughter ever spoke. Ironically, it’s something I fear more and more children aren’t hearing.  A few years ago I had a family member scold me for telling their child no. I’m paraphrasing here but essentially I was told, “We never tell our children no. We offer suggestions, we redirect, we say things like how about if or wouldn’t you rather but we never directly say the word no.”  I was floored. This family member must have sensed my bewilderment because before I could ask why in the hell don’t you set boundaries I was told that telling children no stifles their creativity, harms their psyche and invalidates their opinions.  It takes away their curiosity and bunch of other bullshit I started tuning out because it was and is bullshit. I chalked this encounter up to this part of the family living in an anything goes hippie centric town and said well rational people surely don’t believe this drivel.

Fast forward to last week when a child at my work was running around acting like a loon and the mother kept screaming making good choices.  Are you freaking kidding me? Make good choices? This kid is two, still shits in his diaper and can’t remember what he ate for breakfast. How the hell do you expect him to put thought and reason into the situation and decide to make a good choice? Yes, I am all for instilling rational thought but children at that age are simply not capable of making good choices. And, what seems like a good choice for them (ice cream, running amock) is typically not what we the adults typically think of as a good choice (veggies, sitting quietly).

Sadly, this isn’t an isolated case. I’ve seen this same scenario play out dozens of times over the last couple of years.  And, I’m not the only person observing this craziness. The same day my incident happened, a cousin, who lives in another state, posted about a similar incident on Facebook. It’s everywhere. It must be some sort of parenting trend. But, honestly, what dumbass thought up this everything but no trick? It was probably some idiot with a string of letters behind their name and no real world experience with children.  And, can someone please tell me how offering all these “well, wouldn’t you rather” is better than saying No and offering a reason why you said no?  Isn’t the “wouldn’t you rather” a bit like gaslighting your child and making the child second guess themselves.  I mean if the whole exercise is built upon instilling the ability to use reasoning skills how the hell are they suppose to reason if you totally invalidate their idea. Give them some damn boundaries. Tell them no. Tell them why you are saying no. No, you can’t run from me in the parking lot some idiot will run you over and kill you.  No, you may not have cake for lunch it’s unhealthy and you’ll be starving five minutes later. And, just because these parents don’t say no doesn’t mean the world won’t. How are these children going to react when the world tells them no.  I can tell you how. The same way the child of a family member reacted. It was like I was speaking a foreign language. They don’t understand and they don’t believe it. They act like you haven’t even spoken.  No?  What is this word you speak? That word doesn’t apply to me. Oh, but it does sunshine.  It totally does.

Photo Credit: Free photo lifted from the internet of a kid “pitching a fit” as we say down here in the South.

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Rants

Born Again Vegan

img_2431Not so long ago I found myself having a conversation with the token vegan at work.  We were having lunch. He had an apple and a popular brand of cookie that boasts being vegan, no dairy, no eggs, no soy, and non-GMO.  I was eating a salad topped with grilled chicken. He proceeded to lecture me about how I really need to go vegan, that it’s not just enough to be vegetarian. My attention span pretty much turned off when he started talking about how one growth cycle and done fruits and veggies are worse than those that have multiple growing cycles.  At that juncture, I decided it was time to fuck with this clown and proceeded to tell him I only ate ugly or stupid animals and that if the zombie apocalypse hit we’d eat him first.  But, as most conversations do, I actually started thinking about the whole organic, vegan, non GMO, no dairy, no gluten, only foods raised by Himalayan nuns movement.  It all boiled down to one answer – first world, usually bougie, white people problems.

Seriously, think about the last time you saw a Latina woman or Asian guy all up in someone’s face about “I can’t eat anything with dairy” or berate someone over a non- organic product. It is without fail almost 99.9% of the time some bougie white person bitching about these things.  The worst offenders are the born again Vegans. They are worse than ex smokers/drinkers. It’s worse than the most evangelical of all religions. They just want to covert you. My absolute favorite of all is the children that tell their parents I’m vegan. I just laugh.  If I had told my parents I was vegan at twelve years old they would have laughed at me and smacked me across the face like Cher did to Nicholas Cage in Moonstruck. Who are these parents feeding into this bullshit? Okay, so you’re vegan?  You better start mowing some grass or babysitting some kids to afford that fancy triple the price food you want. I’m convinced only kids in bougie families pull this shit because kids in non-bougie families know they have two options when it comes to food in the household – take it or leave it.

Of course, marketing people love this preoccupation with ingredients.  The picture attached to this post is of a can of sparkling water and coconut oil I happened to have in my pantry. Notice the labeling. Thank you, Captain Obvious, I’d never know sparkling water was a gluten-free food without your label or that pure coconut oil wasn’t vegan. I mean, it’s not like I didn’t know a fruit wasn’t vegan. Honestly, if your dumb ass really needs that label to determine if something is part of your self imposed dietary restriction maybe you don’t need to eat it.  Speaking of dietary restrictions have you ever noticed most poor people don’t concern themselves with all these fake dietary restrictions. If you go to the food bank and you have a nut allergy you will not get peanut butter.  They will give you something else that is shelf stable and high in protein like canned meat. The same thing goes for gluten free products if you have celiac.  But, truly hungry people eat what they can get. They don’t worry about if the food is organic or vegan. They worry about filling the empty spot in their bellies.  Again, here we go with the bougie, first world people problems.

Don’t even try to tell me these dietary restrictions are anything but a choice. For most people, these choices are a want to do it choice, rather than a have to do it choice. I have a friend who has Lyme disease who’s body literally cannot process meat. She is devastated because she always liked a good steak.  I know people who have found out the hard way they have celiac and now are gluten free. These are real and valid reasons for a dietary change but you never hear those people beating their chest about their dietary choices. But, get a born again vegan in the house and they beat their chest so hard you’d swear you have a drum line hiding somewhere you need to start looking around for a step show.  It’s like they feel like they deserve some participation metal or pat on the back for helping Mother Earth.  Hell, I’m helping the earth by eating meat. I read the other day where cows produce more pollution than cars.  Let me just eat another ribeye and help the planet. I just hope that cow was fed organic, non GMO feed raised by Himalayan nuns.

 

 

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Rants

Safe Space

img_2395Warning – if you are easily offended stop reading now cause I’ve got my soapbox out and we’re fixing to have a rant.  Okay, now that the disclaimer has been posted I’m going to continue. The other night I was at my kids’ school for an open house and noticed the two signs pictured to your left posted outside of a few classrooms.  I’ve heard the phrase “Safe Space” bantered around in conversation and in various forms of media. I sort of thought it was kind of a myth. I mean the whole idea of an actual safe space one can go to – are we talking about a safe room here?  Are we hiding from home invaders?  No, apparently it’s just a generic room. Next, I read the secondary sign. Okay, I think to myself, this classroom is a place where all are welcome.  My first thought was well that’s nice but then my brain kicked in and it pissed me off.

Why the hell are these signs necessary? Let’s address the signs individually. Safe Space?  Are you kidding me? No place is safe – ever. You can trip over your own two feet and bust your lip in said safe space. If no one is in the room to see your trip you’ll still have a physical injury – see not safe.  If there are people in the room does anyone actually think someone is not going to point and laugh? If this happens you’ll have an actual physical injury and a very minor emotional injury but again you are injured just the same, are you not?  Furthermore, what sort of failure are we setting kids up for by offering them this pretend safe space?  The real world does not have safe spaces.  When you can’t pay your rent and someone crashes into your car there is no safe space.  When the boss yells at you and you come home to find the cat puked in the dead center of the living room there is no safe space.  You are supposed to pull your shit together and take care of it. It’s not being mean or unreasonable; it’s called being a grownup human being.  A person can go have a moment alone but it’s not a genuinely safe space.

(Insert eye roll) You’re being obtuse on purpose.  You know that the safe space sign just means what the bottom sign says. It’s a place of no judgment.  No, I’m not being obtuse. and I will again call bullshit. There is absolutely no place under the sun without judgment.  Someone somewhere is always judging you.  Family, friends, peers, complete strangers are judging. It might be silent judging or judging you’ll never know about but it’s judging just the same.  Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the IDEA of a judgment free zone.  I love it actually.  Our world would be a better place if we offered everyone a little bit of grace and forgiveness. But, that is a Utopia for perfect beings and we are SO imperfect. We can try to be inclusive and welcoming.  We can try to have an open mind about things and ways which are different from our own. It’s definitely a behavior to strive for.  I agree with teaching the kids acceptance of others but to post this sign and act like there can actually be a safe, judgement free place in this world.  Why don’t you just pee on their leg and tell them it’s raining?!  Also, just curious, does this judgment free zone extend to the bullies? Are we not supposed to judge the bullies? If so I call bullshit on that too. They need to be called out for being assholes.

Finally, what does this say for the classrooms that don’t have the sign?  Do the kids at this school think those classrooms are a free for all where they will get thrown under the bus at any moment?  I hope the kids don’t think that. I’d like to think no matter if the sign is displayed or not any teacher who catches a kid being judgemental ass will call them on it.  It’s called being a good human being. You can throw little catch phrases around like inclusive and judgment free safe space but at the end of the day it all boils down to this phrase: Don’t be a jerk.  If everyone practiced being good people and mindful others’ feelings our world would be a better place.

 

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Holidays, Musing, Rants

Feel The Love

three red heart balloons

Since it’s almost Valentine’s Day, let’s talk about love. When I was a small child, no older than four or five, I have a clear and vivid memory of standing in line at the pharmacy counter of our local drug store.  I looked to my right expecting to find candy bars and gum but instead, I found small boxes that had silhouetted couples walking hand in hand bearing the slogan “for feeling the love.”  Being the precocious and curious child I was, I asked my mother if we needed those little boxes to feel love. This was one of those rare and wondrous occasions when my smart-mouthed mother had very little response.  As fate would have it, right after I asked my question it was our turn at the cash register.  We moved past the strange love boxes and I was enchanted by other things.  But, I distinctly heard my mother tell the pharmacist, “You really need to put those things behind the counter and away from kids.”

As an adult, the thing that stands out most to me about that memory was not my very valid childlike question or my mother’s dumbfounded response but why we would need anything tangible to feel love.  I think that’s what I was really asking but I had no way to articulate that at the tender age of four or five.  I don’t think I could really wrap my brain around the idea that to feel love I needed to buy something from a store. I mean, didn’t I feel love for my mother and other family members without having to buy anything? Wasn’t it a feeling deep down and not a tangible thing?  As an adult that is easy to answer but as a little kid not so much.

I think that’s one of the reasons why I don’t like or really celebrate Valentine’s Day.  I think it’s silly to say one day out of the year we are going to profess our love.  If you think about it that way it’s a pretty shitty holiday. I mean who only wants to hear I love you or You’re appreciated only once a year?  I sure don’t and a damn $10 box of chocolates once a year is not going to make me like that idea.  A lot of people I know think I’m pretty curmudgeonly for this opinion.  That’s okay.  They are entitled to their opinions.  Personally, I’d much rather have flowers picked from the yard on a random day than a dozen roses delivered to my door on a prescribed day.  I would much rather have a fancy meal or fancy chocolate for no apparent reason than some set aside made-up holiday where everyone is getting something very similar to what I just received.  It doesn’t feel special on Valentines Day. It feels rehearsed and expected. I’d rather have unrehearsed and thoughtful.

This year on Valentines Day I will be carting kids to extracurriculars and eating leftovers. I know I am loved. I don’t need a card or a box with silhouetted couples walking hand and hand to feel that love.

Photo Credit: Free photo lifted off the internet but don’t you like how it’s a picture of balloons and my story was all about condoms?  Sometimes the Universe really smiles on us. 

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Important Stuff, Motherhood/Parenting, Rants

Just

As some of you know I got a part time job a few months ago.  It’s fun, has great hours and has got me back into the workforce. I’m not paying any bills with my paycheck. It’s more like a vacation fund. But, as someone who had their first regular job at 13 until 30, it fills a void. I missed that validation of a paycheck and stating a profession when asked by strangers.  Whether we want to or not, we tie some of our identity to our jobs. And, I will admit, I felt somehow less of a person when I said I was a stay at home mom. Even though I knew it was a very valid job I looked at other women with jobs outside the home and felt less; like I was a sell out because I didn’t bring in a paycheck. That feeling ended today.

A few hours ago, while at my job,  I listened to a client talk about something that happened to her last night.  She was at a parent meeting at a local school.  She and her husband were chatting with an acquaintance. This acquaintance asked my client, “What do you do again?” She replied, “I’m a stay at home mom.”  She said the acquaintance looked confused and asked, “How many kids do you still have at home?”  She said her youngest is now in the 7th grade.  Then, some guy sitting behind them, a complete stranger who wasn’t even involved in the conversation, piped in with, “Then you’re not a stay at home mom. You just stay at home.”  At that point, a bell rang and the parent meeting was called to order so my client couldn’t say anything in response.   My client described the waves of emotions that hit her after this douchey perfect stranger’s response. She said she felt shocked like she’d been slapped and then ashamed because this jerk basically invalidated her existence which she has tied to her job of homemaker.

Just hearing her recount this story, I became enraged on her behalf. How dare he? He had no right. Then, I realized isn’t this what I’ve been mentally doing for years and what many stay at home mom’s do in general. How many times have I been asked, ‘what do you do’ and I respond with ‘I’m just a stay at home mom.” The key word here being ‘just’.  I’m not ‘just’ anything and neither is my client.  Somehow our society has gotten it into their collective heads that stay at home mothers or homemakers sit around on their ass eating bonbons and aren’t productive members of society.  It wasn’t so long ago that most women were homemakers and those that worked outside the home were an oddity.  Homemaker was a valid career.  And, despite not earning a paycheck, these women ran half the world. They kept the house clean, the laundry done, the items bought and the food prepared. They played taxi and tutor and basically took care of all the family’s needs while the men brought home the paycheck and little else.  How did we as a collective get to a place where those jobs are less valid than the majority of the other jobs out there?

I wish my client had known that asshole’s profession.  I wish she could have said a sneer, “Oh you’re just a insert generic job title here.”  I would have loved to have seen his face fall when he realized that his job isn’t that significant in the grand scheme of things. I would be willing to bet my minuscule paycheck that he’s not out there saving lives, securing world peace or even shaping young minds.  I hope to hell he’s not shaping young minds. He’s probably got some whatever job that pays a decent wage and could be done any number of people with a few working brain cells.  Deep down he probably hates his job and has his own issues.  I feel sorry for the people that live with him.  Can you imagine what this guy is like if he’s willing to say such a shitty thing to a perfect stranger? Bottom line is that guy is ‘just’ an asshole and my client is so much more than ‘just’.

 

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Musing, Random, Rants

Up to the Challenge

IMG_2311A few years ago it was the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, then Tide pods and just last week I heard about a Bird Box challenge.  Now we have the 10 year/how bad have I aged challenge. Not to steal Heather Land’s schtick, but I ain’t doing it.  No, I’m not some conspiracy theorist worried about my facial recognition data harvesting. I just don’t have the time and the wear with all to go hunt down the oldest picture I have on Facebook. Hell, I don’t even know how long I’ve been on Facebook.  I know it was around the time my kids were born.  If I’m being honest the only reason I still get on Facebook is that just about everyone I know is on there and it’s one of the best ways to keep in touch with all the friends and family we have in other places across the country.

I mean, does anyone really care how many crows feet and grey hairs we’ve accumulated? I sure as hell don’t. And, let’s face it, every single one of us has that one friend that looks better than they did 10 years ago and it makes even the least vain person jealous as hell. You start questioning everything. Did that person make a deal with the devil or do they just have fabulous genes or maybe they had a little work done by a REALLY good doctor.  Everyone bitches about how Facebook paints an overly competitive picture and pits us against one another in an effort to show our less than authentic social media selves.  Well, this stupid challenge is the height of overly competitive less than authentic selves.

I’ll be honest, I’m not one for any of these challenges.  I’ve never participated in any of them. I’m not really a joiner.  I loathe the bandwagon and I’m a later adopter to pretty much everything. I’m one of these weirdos that finds virtue in doing exactly the opposite to what everyone else is doing. So to that end, I give you the above picture. It’s WAY over 10 years old.  In fact, it’s more like 40 years ago. I’m not really sure how old I am – two, maybe three, but I am large and in charge with my sunglasses. Suck it Edna Mode. I wore it first.

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Rants

Technology, I hate you.

ballpen blur close up computer

I hate technology. No, really I do. It’s not that I don’t see the benefits. I write a blog on the internet for crying out loud – believe me, I see the possibilities and the benefits. The thing I hate most about technology is how it has completely taken over to where we cannot do things any other way.  Allow me to paint a picture.

Before the internet, if you wanted to buy something you went to places and purchased goods or services in person or you made a phone call and purchased something over the phone. You either pick up the actual item or it would be shipped to you. Fast forward to the present day.  I just purchased tickets to an event for my son’s birthday.  Of course, you now purchase event tickets online instead of a box office.  The event place wants you to have your tickets pre-printed.  Halfway through printing off our tickets, my printer decided it was out of ink and to finish the job it needs to have the ink cartridges replaced.  So, I replace them with brand new, factory certified – not the off brand cheap stuff – ink.  Apparently, there is something wrong with the cartridges as what comes out is a weird colored mess.  Now, before you go and blame my printer for being old and janky let me assure you I have a very nice printer. It’s not a cheap piece of crap.  It’s only about a year or so old, a midgrade model from a very good brand. It’s a brand I have trusted since I got my first printer in 1994.  A brand I will not name because I have a very dear friend that works for that company.  She may even read this particular blog post so I’m not going to drag her employer through the mud and I often go to her for advice when I need to buy new hardware.  Now back to the story at hand.

So, the ink is all janky so I do the troubleshooting. I look at the instructions online, which I asked out loud, “Who writes this shit?!”  My husband said, “Some guy in Mumbai.” I thought to myself that’s kinda stereotyping but let’s be real stereotypes are around for a reason.  Nevertheless, I’m picking with this damn printer trying to get it to print correctly. Then my hubs picks at it. We run the diagnostics, the cleaners, the printer adjustment programs, and NOTHING WORKS.  The only solution we can find is to go buy another set of printer cartridges.  Oh, I’ll be damned. These bitches cost $75 for a set of four at Costco. This company owes me $75 or a new set of cartridges. Can we afford the $75? Yes, especially if we float it on a credit card for a couple weeks but damn I should not have to go out and buy another set because these brand new, factory sealed ones are faulty. I paid for something and I ought to get what I paid for, am I right?

Well, here is where it gets infuriating. I try to submit a claim online for a new set of cartridges. Good luck.  There is not a button on the company warranty page for ink even though the ink box package says there is a limited warranty. So, I try to call an 800 number on the ink package. The number won’t give me a person right away but keeps directing to get on a website to file a claim. I finally just keep saying ‘representative’ until it gives me a person. When I finally get a person it is clearly an Indian dude (probably from Mumbai) who has the unmitigated gall to ask me if I am calling from America after I used the word “y’all” in the explanation of my problem.  He seemed completely at a loss and told me he’s going to put me through to another department. The transfer occurs and I hear, “due to larger than average wait times” so I just hung up.  Suffice it to say I was and am livid.  All of this drama could be completely avoided if we did not have to print things out ourselves.

The point of this whole story is technology is supposed to make things so much easier on us. Yet, in reality, when the tech doesn’t work it often creates problems where there is little to no solution or workaround. Whereas, if the old-fashioned, non-tech way was still being used those problems wouldn’t have happened. I know this post makes me sound like an old luddite and frankly, I don’t care. I just want shit that works without a ton of drama.  Is that so bad?

Photo Credit: Free pic by Pixabay on Pexels.com. Damn, do I love free.

 

 

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