Sunday, August 9, 2015


I don't know where to start with this post. I'm angry, which usually doesn't bode well for me when it comes to writing something with any hope of it turning out at all coherent. So I guess I'll just dive right in and see what happens.

I saw a post on Facebook (of course) that bothered me so much that I actually woke up in the middle of the night stewing about it. It was a rant about buying school supplies and how in the world one child could possibly need or use as much as was on the list. I get it. School supplies are expensive. I'm shocked every single year when I get through the check out line and watch my total grow and grow...and grow. It's amazing how paper and notebooks and folders and pencils and erasers and scissors and gluesticks add up so quickly. I'd be lying if I said I never perused one of my children's  school supply lists and begrudgingly thought to myself, "Seriously?!?" But here's the thing. I'm pretty damn fortunate - as are my children - that we can walk down the school supply aisle and I am able to tell them to pick out whatever glittery folder and bedazzled pencil case they'd like. That we can go over one aisle and pick out a new backpack that doesn't have stains all over it or rips along the seams, complete with a matching lunchbox if their heart so desires.

Remember that Facebook post I mentioned? Here's the part where I get pissed. It didn't end with a simple complaint about how much money was spent on the supplies. It went on to say that they were going to write their child's name on "every single thing" so that when one of the other kids used it they would "know who to thank". Wait. What??

There are children who arrive to school on the first day empty handed, and WELL aware of it, as they watch their classmates waltz in donning new clothes and shoes, a brand new backpack strapped over their shoulders, carrying grocery bags full of supplies that they proudly hand over to the teacher as they walk in the classroom. I'd be willing to bet serious money that the child who quietly sits at her desk on the first day with not one single gluestick to contribute to the pile didn't make that decision on her own. But yes, let's make sure she's even more aware that she is using something that isn't hers by putting our name on everything that is OURS with the expectation of receiving credit for our "generosity".

What is this "What's mine is mine" mentality teaching our children, anyway? Is this going to be the line of thinking for future generations? I realize that people who aren't willing to do their part are a drain on society. But why is it so hard for some people to see that IT IS NOT THE FAULT OF THE CHILD. The unfortunate truth is that deadbeats exist and sometimes (all too frequently) they procreate and that poor child did not get a choice in the matter when they were brought into this world!

I should have stopped while I was ahead and not read the comments to that Facebook post. But I'm me, so I did read them, and of course came across something else that enraged me. It said something along the lines of, "Not only do we buy the school supplies those kids need but most of their food as well! Even at home! " Are. you. kidding. me?

While he didn't specifically name the program he was speaking of, I have to assume the "even at home" part he was referring to was food stamps. This issue is a major hot button for a lot of people because "I WORK TOO HARD FOR MY TAX DOLLARS TO BE PAYING FOR SOME ASSHOLE WHO IS TOO LAZY TO GET OFF THE COUCH AND GET A JOB!" Right? We've all heard that rant. We've also all been witness to those people in line ahead of us at the grocery store who fit the cliche of "welfare queen" with their perfectly manicured nails and expensive purse and the latest and greatest smart phone, but then proceed to whip out their government issued food card. I won't lie - that business is annoying. But have you ever seen a woman in line with holes in her shoes holding a toddler dressed in pajamas that were too small and loading up the checkout belt with diapers and milk and baby food? I have. I've actually seen that scenario more frequently than the former but no one seems to want to talk about it because it might make these programs seem legitimate and heaven forbid a single cent of our tax dollars go to people who are less fortunate than ourselves. After all, there are people who are abusing the privilege so we should just get rid of it altogether.

I could write this entire post on pure emotion, but facts are far more effective. So I did some research. It was hard to know where to start so I decided to go with averages. I used non-partisan websites and information so as not to run into biases. I found here that the average american worker pays approximately 31% in income and payroll taxes. That means if you make $50,000/year you would pay approximately $15,500 in taxes (keep in mind these are estimates and don't take things like itemized deductions into consideration). That money gets divided up between different areas of government spending, the biggest chunk being the military (approximately 27 cents per tax dollar). The rest is divided (unequally) among things like healthcare, interest on debt, social security, veterans benefits, food and agriculture, education (a depressingly low percentage), and a few other programs that have a percentage so minimal they aren't worth mentioning.

Food stamps are included in the category of "Food and Agriculture", which is estimated to use 4.3 cents of every tax dollar. That particular category also includes Federal Crop Insurance (which I admit to not knowing much about), so only a portion of that 4.3 cents is actually put toward food stamps. At the end of the article where I found the information I just cited, they offered a link to a calculator that breaks down where your tax dollars are most likely spent. An itemized "receipt" of sorts. Pretty cool, eh? So, I clicked on it, entered in the $15,500 that I've used as an example here and found that approximately $463.63 of those annual tax dollars would go towards the food stamp program. That is roughly $1.27 per day. In my opinion, that seems like a very small amount to give in exchange for knowing a child might get a hot meal a few nights a week, but I'm betting there's still a lot of moaning going on right now in regards to that number. So let's take a minute to further examine it.

According to this article, as of September 2014 there were approximately 22.7 million households receiving food stamps. Divide the $463.63 we established earlier by that number of households. That comes out to .00002 cents. So, in paying $15,500 in taxes, you are contributing…well, not even close to one whole cent per household on food stamps. Still pissed?  How many times have you left a penny in the "extra change" bowl at the convenient store? Thrown one in a fountain and made a wish? Or how about dropped one and just left it on the ground?

Still not convinced? Okay. Let's say you go out to dinner at a mid-priced restaurant once a month and spend $8 on your meal. We'll assume you don't lick the plate clean and leave a bite of your burger and some fries - approximately 10% of your meal - on the plate. If you take the 80 cents that you didn't eat and divide it by the 365 days in the year, you've just figured out that you've donated more per day to the dumpster behind your favorite eatery than you contributed per family on food stamps.

I get that people work hard for a living and that there are lazy, no-gooders who do nothing more than sit around and wait for handouts. But as much as we complain about having to pick up the slack for those who give the less fortunate a bad name, there are people - LOTS of people - who are honestly down on their luck and could use a helping hand. So say what you will about welfare and food stamps and the "lazy" people who use them. There are and always will be flaws and loopholes in the system that allow dishonest people to take what they don't deserve. It's just the way of things and, yeah, it sucks. You can be pissed off about the fact that you have to buy more school supplies than you should because some other kid's parents wouldn't (or couldn't), and you can get your panties in a twist because you have to pay the government a couple of dollars a day to feed some other family that isn't your "responsibility". But I'm personally pretty freakin' proud to live in a country who has programs put in place to help people who need it - ESPECIALLY CHILDREN…even if those programs aren't perfect.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Bubble Wrap or Billboard

Changes are on the horizon in our home. My daughter is in her last couple of months of junior high, which means high school is right around the corner. Please pass the wine.

We moved to California a little over 3 years ago. It was the middle of the school year and up to that point, they had attended a public charter school. After visiting several schools in the area, we chose to put our children in a small, private Christian school. There were a variety of factors that came into play when making that decision - the fact that we are Christian being one of them, of course - but if I'm being honest, it was mostly because the overall "feel" of the school felt similar to the one they were leaving, and we felt it would be the easiest transition. 

Now that my daughter is about to enter high school, we have decided that we want to move her to public school. Again, there are a variety of factors coming in to play here, but simply put - we just think it's what's best. Like all decisions we make as parents, we could soon learn that we made the wrong one. I think that may have happened one or eighty-seven other times but who's counting? For now we're listening to our heads and our hearts and trusting that God has a little something to do with how we feel. 

As you can imagine, my daughter is apprehensive. She's got friends - a lot of them, actually - who aren't leaving her current school. The new school is close to 10 times the size of her current one. As far as we know, she'll only know a few people when she first starts out. These are very real, and very legitimate fears. We've told her this and we don't expect her to suppress them. 

But one night recently as we were discussing her anxieties about the move and why she was so skeptical she said something that really broke my heart. She said…deep breath…"But, Mom. There are going to be kids there who aren't…Christian." 

Oh, sweet girl. 

My mouth gaped open for a minute. I shut my eyes and shook my head. She knew immediately that what she said bothered me. 

"I'm sorry! I'm not trying to be mean!" 

I know you're not. But what a disservice I have done for you and I'm disappointed in myself. Somewhere in my attempt to teach you how to be a good Christian, I apparently neglected the most important part! You see, when Jesus gathered his disciples he did NOT say, "Listen up, y'all. We all agree that this Christianity thing is awesome, right? Well, I really think it'd be super cool to keep this club exclusive, so don't go telling anyone else and for sure don't hang out with anyone else. Yuck. Now grab a coffee and talk amongst yourselves."

Nope. Not how things worked AT ALL (I mean, besides the obvious).

I  know lots of people who are Christians, obviously. Most of them walk the walk. They follow God's word and they "do unto others". But some of them…well, let's just say they don't paint us in the best light. They spend a lot of time congratulating themselves on being "Christian" and looking down on everyone who happens to be different. Those people frustrate me a little because that's really not the best recruitment strategy if you think about it. 

I also have friends who aren't Christian. I can think of one specifically, who is a different religion and her set of beliefs is quite different than mine. But let me tell you, she is a wonderful person. She is funny and hard working and talented and brilliant, and she is also one of the most philanthropic people I know. She's just lovely. If I went through life opting to only interact with people who think exactly like I do, I wouldn't know her. And I would really be missing out.

I know you're not perfect, but you've got such a big heart. So big that sometimes I swear I can see it beating. I see it when you're willing to help classmates with their homework even though they haven't been a good friend to you. I see it when you come to me and ask if you can invite a girl over who you don't usually hang out with because you know she's having a hard time and could use a friend. I see it when you see something sad on television and then come wake me up in the middle of the night because you can't stop thinking about it. I see it when you feel sorry for the homeless people you see on the side of the road and when you want to save every stray dog you see - even when we're on vacation and our hotel doesn't allow pets.  

As much as I'd like to (and trust me - I'd really, really like to), it's not fair to keep people with hearts like yours all wrapped up tight in a safe little bubble. Hearts like yours are the biggest, flashiest billboards that Christianity could hope for. Hearts like yours are meant to go out in the world and be seen. Even when it's a little bit scary...for both of us. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Get Out Your Red Pen

In the 39+ years I've spent with me, I've learned by now that making resolutions is a pointless exercise (speaking for myself, of course). Although this year I actually considered some pretty lofty ones there for a minute.

"This year I WILL clean out the kitchen junk drawer(s) and throw away all of the pens that don't work."

Then I couldn't accuse everyone of stealing all my good pens. Also it has the word "clean" in it. Nope.

"This year I WILL go through all of the mail in a timely matter and not let it junk up my kitchen counter/table/every surface in the house."

Well, that's not even a little bit reasonable.

"This year I will NOT drive for miles and miles after my low fuel light comes on every single time and have to hold my breath until I get to a gas station."


"This year I will fold and put away the laundry when it comes out of the dryer instead of letting it accumulate in one million baskets scattered around the house."

Now I've officially gone off the rails. I should stop.

I'm not a huge fan of the whole New Year's mentality anyway. It's too much pressure. Like it's supposed to be some magic reset button on life. And if something goes wrong on day one, the whole rest of the year is screwed. I don't like that - not one bit. Maybe in part because I say I'm going to "eat healthy" and then I go and do things like eat Chick-Fil-A and Taco Bell and frozen pizza and Ghirardelli toffee squares on January 1st right out of the gate.

No, seriously. I actually did that.

Whatever. It was a delicious day.

On New Year's Eve several people in my newsfeed posted a quote that said, "Tomorrow is the first page of a 365 page book. Write a good one." The idea behind that quote is great, and I'm not knocking it or the people who shared it. But there's something about it that just doesn't sit well with me.

When I write a blog post, I spend about an hour editing before publishing it. I know, right? ONLY an hour for edits? These masterpieces should take much longer than that! You're really too kind.

Even after spending all that time going over and over…AND OVER what I've written, I still go back and find spelling mistakes and grammar mistakes and countless ways I should have worded something differently. If the first draft was the final indicator of how good the finished product was going to be, every writer in the history of ever would probably starve to death.

My point is (believe it or not I do have one) - if you screw up on day 1, or day 5, or day 364…there's always room for edits.

So this year, whenever I screw up - AND I WILL - I will resolve to remember that EVERY day is the first page of my new book.

Monday, November 10, 2014

You're Entitled, They're Entitled, EVERYONE'S ENTITLED!

When my daughter was about 3, she had an epic melt down in Wal-Mart. When it happened, I'd estimate we'd been wandering those aisles for approximately 6 weeks. Or maybe it was 30 minutes. I can't really remember, as all time is lost when you walk through those automatic doors into the fluorescent expanse of discount excess with a toddler in tow.

I don't remember exactly what she was losing her mind over, but she decided she wasn't walking one more step and proceeded to throw herself onto the floor screaming. I picked her up and sat her in the big part of the cart, my eyes shooting daggers at her chubby, tear-stained little face. I continued toward the check out line, tossed a few more things in the basket, and eventually made my way out of my own personal hell on earth.

Shit that was embarrassing.

When my son was 3, we were in a restaurant when he decided he'd had about enough of sitting still in his booster chair. Screaming and kicking and all-around unpleasantness ensued. Not uncommon behavior for a 3 year-old because let's be honest...3 year-olds are nightmarish little creatures. After pleading with him for a couple of minutes to kindly get his act together (and him declining by continuing to not cooperate), my husband removed him from the scene. I asked for a couple of to-go boxes, scooped up what was left of our food, paid the bill and left. Sigh. We tried.

I can personally see a glaring difference in these two situations. While my daughter's tantrum was likely annoying to witness and listen to (and probably humorous to the other moms who were smugly shopping without their children), we weren't preventing anyone from getting their shopping done. She wasn't blocking the aisles or throwing things off shelves, or hindering other customers' general reason for being there.

However, when we were in the restaurant, my son's misbehavior was negatively affecting the dining experience of other patrons. While it was seriously…SERIOUSLY…inconvenient that we had to leave before we were finished, it would have been unfair to stay and ruin it for everyone else who was sitting in our area. We knew that taking a toddler into a restaurant (that wasn't equipped with a jungle gym) was a gamble, and the losing end of that bet was to have to bail before we were ready. We played and lost.

This weekend my husband and I decided to take our kids to tour the Winchester Mansion. We'd gone ourselves several years ago and told the kids about it, and they've been asking for us to take them ever since. If you ever find yourself in the California Bay Area, you should make the drive to San Jose and check it out. But it's not cheap. And there are lots of stairs and windows and tight spaces and not much (any) room inside for running around. Which is why my husband and I were surprised to see a family join our tour with a baby that was probably around a year old, a toddler and what I'd estimate to be a 6 year-old. The parents were so attentive that had I not seen them all walk up together, I wouldn't have even known who the kids belonged to for the rest of the tour (there really should be a sarcasm font). The mom did hold the baby for the duration - except for the time that she put her down and allowed her to repeatedly open and close a couple of the 100+ year-old doors in one of the rooms.

The toddler ran (and I mean ran) ahead of the group the majority of the time. The tour guide even asked him to hold her hand a few times so he wouldn't get hurt - you know, since HIS PARENTS couldn't be bothered to do that. Hellooooo they were here to enjoy the tour, you know.

The 6 year-old left handprints on every century old beautiful leaded glass window she could reach. But in her parents' defense, they didn't realize it seeing as she was so far away from them that they couldn't possibly see her doing that. How could they be expected to tell her to stop if they didn't even know it was happening? DUH.

Fortunately, the kids didn't behave in ways that prevented anyone from being able to listen to the guide or enjoy the tour. They were no more than mildly distracting. And I can't say that I am 100% sure that if one of the kids would have started screaming that their parents wouldn't have done anything about it, because that didn't happen. Thank goodness. But given the indifferent attitude I witnessed the rest of the time, I would have been surprised.

I'm not suggesting parents shouldn't take their kids out in public. Of course they should. That's how they learn appropriate public behavior. But not paying a lick of attention to them or neglecting to reprimand bad behavior is teaching them that it's okay to be inconsiderate of others and the property of others.

And there was my A-HA! moment.

It is no revelation that kids today feel entitled. I truly believe it is becoming an epidemic. But why wouldn't they feel that way? Think about it. They see it all the time in their parents. Those parents this weekend felt no obligation to manage their children's behavior. After all, they paid to be there, too. At least that's the message they were sending to the rest of us.

I think most of us would agree that it's considered taboo to say anything negative to a parent about the way their kid is behaving. Remember - I'm a parent, too. My stance on that is almost always mindyourownbusinessthankyouverymuch. The problem we encounter here is that it seems like people these days feel entitled to take their kids wherever they want and allow them to act however they want - without repercussion. An "I paid to be here, so too bad if my kids ruin it for you," mentality so to speak. That's not okay, either.

There ARE places that it really doesn't matter if your kid has a melt down while you're there (i.e. grocery stores, Target, Wal-Mart, the mall, the park, any restaurant that has a slide in it, any restaurant that gives out game tokens, any location that has a ski-ball machine, any location that rents something to wear on your feet (bowling shoes, roller skates, ice skates, etc.)…and Costco). If you don't have children and choose to go to one of these places, know that there will be children there and there is a good chance that one or 12 of them will be screaming because something isn't going their way. That's what kids do and it's really none of your business if it's not hindering your reason for being there. GET OVER IT.

Then there are the places that it DOES matter if your kid has a melt down while you're there and you need to do something about it. That would include any place yourself AND OTHERS are paying** for the privilege to be. And church. Which I know is a touchy subject because Jesus loves the little children all the children of the world. Well, so do I but that doesn't mean I'd prefer to hear them scream over listening to the message. If they're having a full-on episode, be considerate and take them outside.

I get it. I was a parent of toddlers and I was tired. SO TIRED. I was hoping to be able to hear the entire sermon that one Sunday without having to go to the cry room. It made me want to throw my own little tantrum to have to walk out of the movie when it was only half way over. DAMMIT I just wanted to eat a meal in its entirety. DEARLORDJESUS do you even KNOW how badly I needed to get out of the house and what it took to even get me there in the first place?

The thing is - none of those things were any one else's problem. When I signed up to be a parent, I signed up to miss out on a lot of things that I really would have liked to do. Because even though parenthood is awesome (no really), raising kids and doing the right thing is pretty fucking inconvenient almost all of the time. Deal with it.

**Airplanes don't count.  I know it sucks to listen to a screaming kid but what are we supposed to do, throw them out the emergency exit? Get a grip.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dear Mr. Walsh:

I've been sitting on this for a few days, which I realize in "blogger time" is an eternity. Current events today stay current about as long as my morning cup of coffee stays hot. 

But I haven't been able to shake how much I am bothered by the blog post you published last week titled "There is Nothing Brave About Suicide". To be honest, it made me kind of angry. So I decided to write about it, regardless of how stale the subject might now be. 

Before I continue, let's make one thing clear: I don't believe we should glorify suicide. I don't think healthcare professionals should dole out euthanasia medication like candy. I am NOT pro-suicide. Actually, I don't think anyone is. I'm pretty sure that even people who are suicidal don't wish other people would also be suicidal.  

That being said, some of the "points" you made literally made me put my face in my hands and shake my head wondering how you could possibly reach some of your conclusions. I can only hope you  don't truly believe much of what you wrote and did so only to take up internet space and generate page views.

Right out of the gate (in regards to Facebook posts you've seen on the subject) you tell us we should be alarmed because, "Your friends are impressed with a woman's plan to commit suicide."

You say this as if you are comparing people's reactions to how they might react to someone winning an award. Ummm…no. I've seen the words "brave" and "courageous" used quite a few times but I have yet to see anyone comment, "I am so impressed with your plan to commit suicide!" Please. 

You also suggest, "She is a martyr for self-destruction." 

Do you honestly believe that her objective here is for droves of people to line up for a turn to take their own lives? Let's be serious. 

Then there's this one (possibly my favorite line of ridiculousness)…"She is dying with dignity. Which means dying of cancer is not dignified. You are accusing people who die of cancer of having no dignity." 

Wow. I think you should consider developing a new board game called, "Word Twist: A Game that Makes Everything Anyone Ever Says Sound as Horrible as Possible".  I'm pretty sure no one in the history of ever would "accuse" (nice word choice) someone who dies of cancer of being undignified. 

Here's the thing, Matt. Thankfully, I'm not in this woman's shoes. I am not currently facing a road of months of guaranteed pain and suffering. I'm sure she feels sad and terrified and a million other emotions that I can't begin to imagine. I don't want to imagine. No, I don't condone her decision to end her life. It saddens me deeply. But it certainly isn't my place to condemn her for it. 

And neither is it yours.

After reading this particular post, I went back and read some of your others to see if perhaps this one just happened to be unusually harsh. Nope.  

I've got to say, Matt, that I don't understand your brand of Christianity. 

You seem to thrive on telling everyone you don't agree with what they're doing wrong. Oh, how I wish you wouldn't do that. It gives the rest of "us" a bad name.  It is hypocritical, as well as ironic. You frequently reference how people today have tendencies to "play God". But you, in essence, are doing the same thing. Think about it. There are dozens of Bible verses that speak of not judging one another. How it's not our job and we shouldn't do it because there is only ONE supreme Judge. Yet, from what I can tell, you do precisely that in virtually every one of your posts. (P.S. I'm confident the one Judge the Bible speaks of is NOT you.) Just a little something to chew on. 

For the record, I think we should always attempt to change the mind of anyone contemplating suicide. Regardless of their reasons. OF COURSE WE SHOULD. And as Christians, we should share our beliefs. We should encourage others to join us in them. 
We should also be kind. 

Perhaps you could have said…

A poor young woman is suffering terminal cancer and has decided to take her own life. While I have no idea what she is going through, I sincerely wish she would change her mind and choose life. Please join me in praying for her miracle. 

But that probably wouldn't get you as many page clicks as telling a dying woman that her choice isn't brave. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Off to a Bang-Up Start. Literally.

Day 5 of our first week back to school.

I'm not sure what's happening, but my give-a-shit-o-meter is dangerously low for this stage of the game.

I didn't exactly get things off on the right foot, as I had a wreck the day before school started. I was on my way to the grocery store to stock up on all the back-to-school goods...nutritious (ahem) breakfast food, school lunch items, and the kids' favorite afternoon snacks. I was debating with myself on which grocery store to go to and at the last minute decided to pass my usual (because it's the closest and usually less expensive), to go to the one a little further down the road (because it is almost always less crowded and therefore more pleasant). Plus I remembered I had a coupon for that particular store. I love my coupons.

As I made the decision to drive on, I ran a red light that falls right after the entrance to the first grocery store parking lot. I RAN A RED LIGHT. I am that annoying driver who will stop when approaching a light that just turned yellow - with not only enough time for myself, but also the 3 cars behind me, to get through the intersection before it turns red. That's me and I RAN A RED LIGHT. I hit a car. It was terrifying. Had it been ONE SECOND later I would have missed the car completely. Had it been ONE SECOND earlier, that car would have plowed directly into the passenger side of my car - where my 13 year-old daughter was sitting. It's really better that I not play the "what if" game, because the thought of that particular "what if" literally makes me nauseous.

Fortunately, it was not a major accident. In fact, the damage (or more accurately - lack thereof) was remarkable. I barely clipped the car's tail end. And miraculously (thank you, God!) no one was injured.

I wasn't texting or talking on the phone or eating or changing the radio station or yelling at my kids in the backseat. I wasn't fighting off falling asleep and I hadn't just spilled hot coffee in my lap. I hadn't been drinking or doing drugs or any of the things that we associate with "careless" drivers. I was simply thinking through my grocery list, the rest of my day, the upcoming week…and my mind wandered for a split second. And in that split second I managed to become a "careless" driver.

So, unfortunately, the lesson I have to pass along is a virtually impossible one called "Don't ever lose focus not even for two seconds and not even if you have one million things on your mind." Do with that what you will.

*I will say this, though - if you text and drive: STOP. Really. STOP it NOW.*

And now comes the part where I get all cliche…
Remember every day is a gift.
Life can change in an instant.
Even responsible people make mistakes.

Right. This post was not supposed to be about me playing crash-up derby.

Moving on...

Back to school. Most years I reside in the camp of, "I'm soooo sad that summer is over…Oh look! There's the bus I'll see you in seven hours byeeeee."

This year? Notsomuch. Our summer passes with increasing speed each year. I don't know if it's because we are able to have more and more fun the older the children get, or if the earth is actually spinning faster. Either way, on the night before school started we sat in the back yard after dinner, our feet dangling in the pool as we watched the sun set behind the towering redwoods. I thought to myself, "Wow. That was fast. It feels like it was just yesterday I was counting the days until summer vacation would start, and here we go again." I was genuinely sad to see it end.

And then we went upstairs, set our alarms, and went to bed.

Day one: I yelled at my youngest for being overly dramatic about having to get up before 10 a.m.
Day two: I overslept. Dropped daughter off literally one minute before the bell.
Day three: I realized I never posted back-to-school pictures. And I took a whole 4!
Day four: I forgot to send my daughter's volleyball uniform with her for team pictures.
And today - day 5 - my son came downstairs with shorts that were borderline too small, his shirt wrinkled and on backwards, his hair not brushed. I made him turn his (still wrinkled) shirt around, but I used the hand-lick-hair-swipe move to fix the broken parts in lieu of a fight over going back upstairs to use an actual brush. Also he wore the shorts.

I'm sitting here considering opening a bottle of wine at 10 a.m. in celebration that I've actually gotten them to their designated locations - on time (barely) - 5 days in a row. I've even remembered to pick them up. So yay.

I often use holidays as a gauge for how much effort I should be putting forth throughout the school year. For example, I usually wait to start checking out until around President's Day, giving it a good ol' college try at least through Christmas. And in my opinion, assigning major projects after Easter is a real asshole move.

But at the rate I'm currently going, my kids will be lucky to find a handful of crushed goldfish crackers and a slice of processed cheese in their lunches by Columbus Day which, in case you didn't know, is at he beginning of October. Whatever. 

Have your kids started the new school year? How's it going so far? 

Monday, July 28, 2014

What I Was Doing While I Wasn't On Facebook

I'm not saying that I have an addictive personality. I'm just saying I should never try heroin probably. Not that I have been considering it…I'm just saying it's a bad idea for people who have a tendency to get hooked on things. It's actually a really bad idea in general, but especially for those people.

Let's start over.

If you follow followed me on Facebook, you've probably noticed that I've been absent for 2 weeks now. Or maybe I'm giving myself too much credit and you haven't noticed my absence at all. Probably the second one but for my ego's sake we'll go ahead and pretend that the countless hours I spent logged on to faceplace over the years actually meant something and that everyone is missing me terribly.

Okay, then.

I was totally addicted to the thing. What's weird is that I really haven't had much trouble living without it. The ease of it has been kind of shocking, actually.

Here are just a few of the things I've done to fill my time.

I helped my daughter bury my son in sand on the beach. 

I watched my teenager revel in the tranquility of kite-flying.

I hosted a very fancy tea party.

I finished season 2 of 'Orange Is The New Black'. Whoa. Just whoa. Also? Don't judge me. 

My daughter and I had a movie night at home. Those are the best kind, really. 

I started and finished two books. 

I'm  still on the fence about how I feel about The Giver. I had a hard time getting past it's weirdness and I'm lukewarm on the ending. It does make you think, though, and I like books that do that. It's being made into a movie, which should be interesting since the book isn't very long. And also it is weird. Did I already mention that?

There just aren't enough words to sum up Etched in Sand by Regina Calcaterra. It is heartbreaking, it is triumphant, and it is a true story. She gives a new meaning to the word "perseverance". I cringed and I cried and I cheered. And then I did all those things again. This book has the potential to be life-changing once I figure out the best way to turn my feelings into actions. I finished it several days ago and I still think about it all the time.

I gathered a bunch of tools and hung this laundry room shelf ALL BY MYSELF after tiring of asking my husband forty-seven thousand times to do it. Four months (seriously - I bought the thing at the beginning of April) is apparently how long it takes to wait me out by saying "I'll do it before I go to bed on Sunday." Lies! Four months that he's fed me that line on Saturday morning and four months I've gone to bed Sunday night and managed to not smother him with a pillow because I still had a shelf-less laundry room wall. Anyway. I used a drill and a level and wall anchors and everything and, yeah,  I totally feel like hot shit right about now.

This is the text exchange between us when I sent him the picture of my handiwork. My intention was for him to feel very sad that he never got around to hanging his wife's shelf. I think his feelings are better described as victorious. What an ass.

So, do I miss Facebook? Hells yeah. Reality TV is successful for a reason. Other people's lives are interesting, yo. Facebook allowed me to keep up with what everyone was doing, and now I kind of feel like I live in cave. A cave with plumbing and wi-fi, but still. And while I feel a little LOT out of the loop on what's going on in everyone else's lives, I've been 100% focused on what's going on in mine. And I kind of dig it.

P.S. My Facebook hiatus will continue, but you can still find me on Instagram and Pinterest. (I am a miserable failure on Pinterest but you should probably follow me anyway.)

P.P.S. Now that I'm not on Facebook, my reach is really limited for sharing that I've published a new blog post. So, if you like what you read, and you ARE on Facebook it'd be super cool if YOU shared it with your friends.