Friday, September 27, 2013

It's Eventually Going to be OUR Fault.

When I was in second grade, you could get out of recess if you brought a note from a parent saying you were sick. I don't remember why I hated recess, but I did. I wanted to stay inside and color. One day I figured out that I could kinda-sorta forge my mom's signature. So,  I decided I'd try my luck and attempt to get myself out of the horror that was getting some midday fresh air.

It worked.

So, of course, because it worked once, I tried it again. And again. And again. Finally my teacher caught on to my "That note is just messy because my mom was in a hurry" story, and she gave my parents a call.

Busted.

They made me apologize to my teacher. As in stand in front of her face-to-face and say, "I'm sorry for lying." And then, because we were Catholic at the time, they made me go to confession. (Hell, they were so mad that they probably would have made me go to confession even if we wouldn't have been Catholic.) I had to sit across from a priest and tell him that I had lied to my teacher AND my parents. And THEN, to really drive it home, I was made to actually follow through with my penance. I walked to the front of the mostly empty sanctuary, kneeled in a pew, and recited a million Hail Mary's. (That number is approximate). 

What did I learn from that experience?

Fuck-Ups = Consequences.

Also, I did not forge any more signatures.

A friend posted a news story yesterday about some teenagers breaking into the former NFL player, Brian Holloway's, vacation home to have a party. By "some" I mean approximately 300, and by "party" I mean break windows, spray paint walls, and urinate on the floors. The teens, being the brilliant creatures they are, documented all of this on Twitter and Instagram.

Mr. Holloway, in turn, posted those pictures on his website.

Then, all the parents and kids involved in the incident wrote letters of apology along with money to help cover the $20,000+ in damages, and everyone lived happily ever after. The end. 

Oh, wait. 

I got that mixed up with what SHOULD have happened.

What actually happened is that he has now been threatened to be sued by some of the parents. Sued for putting pictures (that had already been posted for all of the internets to see) on his website, and thereby defaming their children.

He even invited the teens and parents to return to the property to help repair the damage. One showed up. ONE. I guess the other 299 had something more important going on that day.

I have no words.

On second thought, maybe I have a few words.

This generation is going to be in charge of shit one day in the not-so-distant future, you guys. Quite frankly, I'm terrified.

My teacher friends, my coach friends, and virtually everyone else I know that works with young people in some capacity have each at some point told me how, with increasing frequency, parents are refusing to make their child be held accountable for anything. Whether it be grades or behavior, the parents are first in line to protest that "It's not his fault!"

Really?

Not turning in assignments because they spent all night playing video games...that's their fault. Sitting the bench because they didn't show up or screwed around in practice...that's their fault.

And guess what. Vandalizing someone else's property because all their friends were doing it...that's their fucking fault.

My youngest is extremely strong-willed, and not always the most compliant. We had a family discussion a few nights ago regarding responsibility and expectations. He did not like what we had to say, and took exception to the consequences we laid out should they choose not to follow the rules. He voiced his disgruntled opinion. Our response was rated PG (of course) and lengthy, but in summation it went something like this..."Too fuckin' bad." And then he was sent to his room for being disrespectful.

No one gets this parenting gig 100% right. I screw things up on the regular. My kids, just like everyone else's, are going to make some monumentally stupid decisions along the way. Which is precisely why I don't think it's out of the realm of reasonable expectations that ALL kids learn this lesson: 

Fuck-Ups = Consequences.

If we don't teach our kids to hold themselves accountable because we are always on the front lines saying, "It's not his fault!", they'll come to expect that defense no matter the situation.

Flunk out of college? Mom and Dad will get me back in.

Lose my job? Mom and Dad will find me another one.

Don't want to take care of my kids? Mom and Dad will take over. 

And who's fault is that kind of mentality?

You guessed it. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

I'm a Morning Person, Dammit.

We've been married for 16 years. 

You would think in that amount of time one would figure out whether or not their spouse was a morning person. 

You would think. 

Yet, this still happens. 

6:37 - My alarm goes off. I hit snooze. 

Approximately 27 seconds later my husband is standing next to me and says, "Don't you think you better get up?" 

"I do not get up the first time my alarm goes off. I build in time for that when I set it. We've been over this."

"Why don't you just set it for the actual time you need to get up?"

"Because I need to hit snooze. It helps me transition. Why are you making me talk right now? You're eating up my snooze time."

"It's only 9 minutes. You should just get up."

"I feel like you hate me."

"Being a morning person is an attitude, you know. You don't have some sort of affliction that prevents it."

"It's Friday. I don't understand why you've chosen to start the weekend off making me feel murdery."

And then he walked away. 

And then my snooze time was up and my alarm went off again. 

And then he asked me to iron his pants. 

And I did not kill him.

Which once and for all proves I'm a morning person. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

My Smart Phone is STILL Making Me Stupid

When I was in college, I would leave my parents' house and drive 3 1/2 hours back to school with no communication. I would call from a LAND LINE when I arrived at my destination. My mobile phone was the size of a carry-on suitcase and was to be used for "emergencies only", as the going rate per-minute was somewhere between arm, leg and your first-born.
 
Technology improved.

Five or so years ago I had a silver Nokia flip phone. With it, I had the ability to make or receive calls, text (if I need the letter 's' I only had to push the '7' key four times), and take pictures. They were slightly higher quality than an Atari video game screen, but they were pictures nonetheless. I still have it sitting in a drawer around here somewhere. I'm sure if I powered it up, it would be fully charged even though it hasn't seen an electrical outlet in half a decade. It never dropped calls. When it closed, the keypad was covered, so I never butt-dialed anyone. I'm convinced I could have dropped that sucker from the observation deck of the Empire State Building and it would have remained in one piece. Oh, Nokia. You kicked cell phone ass. 

Technology improved some more.

I didn't WANT a phone that had more features, but the snickering and whispers I would hear (from my husband) about my beloved flip phone finally got to me. So I caved. My first step up was a Blackberry. I lovingly held on to that and it's clickety little keyboard for about 2 years. Or however long it took for me to be eligible for an upgrade - because cell service providers are criminals.

One day I went to Best Buy to see if they could fix a small problem I was having with it.

"You know you're eligible for an upgrade, right?"

Cue the Heavenly choir. I was eligible for the iPhone. Even though I SWORE I would not succumb to its evils, the iPhone and its magical powers got the best of me. I couldn't resist the lure of having all of those apps and the internet and a touch screen right at my fingertips. I was intoxicated by technology and I bought it on the spot.

I spent the next 6 hours with my face buried in it. Texting, Facebook, email, all of the internets, Words with Friends, Pinterest, iTunes, calendars, alarm clocks, reminders, Netflix, GPS, up-to-date weather, Pandora, etc., etc., etc. They were all available to me with the simple swipe of a finger.

And now - 3 years later - this phone is ruining my life. I'm sure of it.

The act of mindlessly looking at it has evolved into a nervous tick. That is the only explanation for why it happens at such a high frequency. I catch myself doing it...like when you look at your watch 5 times in a row and still don't know what time it is. I don't even know what it is I'm looking at. Nothing interesting is happening on Facebook. I should know - I've looked at it 30 times in the last 10 minutes. Pinterest just pisses me off. And I've been waiting 7 whole minutes for Smartypants123 to play me back in Words With Friends. Lord have mercy on my soul if I ever start playing Candy Crush. Because my mind is turning to mush and I'm willingly letting it happen.

I won't deny that smartphones are an amazing technology. AH-MAY-ZING. Real life sci-fi kind of shit. It blows my mind that I can summon information FROM SPACE to a box of metal and plastic hold in my hand. But I hate that if I leave my house without this man-made miracle, I'm as good as headless. I should probably seek out some sort of support group. I'm sure they exist.

I'm anxious (and honestly terrified) of what technological advancements the next 10 years will bring. So I think maybe I'll stay right where I'm at with cell phone technology. It can't get better than what we already have.

Can it?