Parenting Rules #11 and #12*

Al already posted about #11. "If you are too sick to go to school, you are too sick to go out to play." He did a good job of it, so we'll let that one go.

Rule #12 kind of goes along with it. "If school gets called off for bad weather, then you are not going out in the bad weather either." This includes trips to the mall, a friends' or anywhere else that involves a vehicle. I don't care how bored you are.

Why parents make these rules (that kids think are soooo silly at the time, and parents are being sooooo unfair…geez…you'd think we'd never been kids ourselves...) School gets called off. I am at work when I get a phone call from Hubs to tell me some nice people have picked up my eldest son walking along the side of the country road in a blizzard. Huh? Seems that sometime during the day son decided he absolutely must go to "pick up schoolwork" at a friends (yeah, I know, *cough-BULLSHIT-cough*.). He explains that he was going very slowly when he hit some ice and went in the ditch (about a mile from home). A very deep ditch. With a very small car. A small Honda hatchback. The conversation between them went something like:

Hubs: Did you flip the car?

Son: I don't think so… but the top is crunched, the windows are all gone and my stuff is all over the ditch. One minute I was driving with the music going and the next it was very, very quiet with snow blowing in the window.

Hubs: Then you flipped the car.

He was shook up, but okay. The car was totalled.**

*Remember, as any parent will tell you kids don't come with a manual or a book of rules. You have to make them up as you go along. Also, every kid is different, so what applied to one kid may not always apply to another. 

**Ironically, the motor was fine and Hubs pulled it out and put it in another Honda hatchback that our OTHER son wrecked a couple years later. We reluctantly agreed the motor was haunted and let it be trashed.

F&%$@ng Friday **Updated**

  • I was tired and wanted a day off
  • I have been throwing up since 11 o'clock last night
  • This was not the way I wanted to have a day off
  • We've had shitloads of rain, but once again were lucky to have 3" not 8"
  • Just caught the news from overnight
  • What the hell happened around the country? The weather went crazy!
  • How are you all? (I'm too sick and lazy to email everyone I know. Just update me here, please.)
  • To clarify – on the last post? That was a co-worker, not my husband.
  • It is Friday, but under the circumstances I don't think I'm going to count it.

Hope things are going better for you~~

**Update** All better now. Thanks everybody!

Dear Co-worker

Just because you are a man does not mean you are incapable of picking up a dust rag and cleaning our work space. I realize I usually do the dusting and I apologize for being incredibly busy lately and therefor have not gotten the dusting done. However, this does not mean when you get to the point where you throw the rag around your desk a bit, spritzing more dusting spray on the surfaces than the rooftops of the desert need, you ignore my side of the room.

Oh, and the bathroom? It could use a good scouring.

P.S. You missed a spot…. or three.

Note to Readers: Hey, you knew the happy thoughts couldn't last forever!

Parenting Rule #75

A few days ago Wayne had a post and a parenting question It trigger the memory of an incident in our family that I will probably go to hell for. Again.

When my youngest daughter turned thirteen she wanted a little dog that could be hers. We already had a family German shepherd and a shih tzu that was pretty much mine, but she decided she wanted one of her own. So, seeing as we believe in pound puppies, off we went to see what we could find. What we found was a schnoodle – cross between a schnauzer and a poodle. He was about three years old and was a nice dog, but the previous owners couldn't keep him because he kept digging out of their fenced-in back yard.

We had a large acreage and farm so figured he'd have lots of room to run. Unfortunately, when you let him off his leash he wanted to run right toward town – down the busy road. This is not a good thing. We decided he'd have to be kept tied up when he was outside so as not to become road kill. He was a hyper little thing… a little too hyper for my daughter. He wasn't the cuddly-wuddly she thought he would be. We considered taking him back to the pound, but by then everyone had pretty much bonded with him… and my youngest son volunteered to take over the care of the dog.

Now, anyone who has ever had a child with a pet knows the routine. The begging, pleading, promising that they will be responsible and yes they will do everything the animal ever needs to have done until the end of time… or, at least until they decide there is something more fun to do. It is an uphill battle to teach your child about  responsibility to a living creature. Our son did fine for awhile, then began to slack off. Forgetting to feed and water the dog when he was tied out and even with much yelling on my behalf… laying on guilt trips in large doses, threatening to take the dog back to the pound, everything I could think of, it still kept happening. (Before you all get excited, I did feed and water the dog when my son wasn't around. The dog didn't suffer, but son didn't know that.)

Finally, the day of the last straw came. I'd had enough with the threats and him ignoring me. While he was at school, I packed up the dog and took him back to the pound.

…or DID I? *insert evil laugh*

Well, that was what I told my son. He was crushed. He cried and begged and pleaded for us to go get the dog back. I told him I didn't know if they'd let us have him back because they normally wouldn't do that. Plus, who knew? Someone might adopt him again before we'd get there. I let my son stew, and yes, if truth be known, suffer… all night long. I told him when he went to school the next day that I would try and get the dog back but no guarentees. I told him if I did it would be his last chance to make right and take care of this animal, to give him a better life.

In reality, I'd made an arrangement with my vet to board the dog for a day or two until I felt my son had gotten the message.

I 'rescued' the dog the next day and brought him home and my son had a totally new outlook on taking care of that dog. In fact, he still has the dog and although this dog had some 'bad habits' we were never quite able to break, he's got a huge heart and is just a sweetie and I think the dog loves my son as much as my son loves him. They have been together for many years.

Also? All of my kids are animal "nuts"… but this son? I do believe he's the biggest softie of the bunch. He's rescued several kitties, a Husky dog, and spared numerous wild animals from being run over by the farm equipment.

The truth? Yeah, I did tell him… but not until he was 'grown up'.

Is That a Frog in Your Pocket…

…or are you just happy to see me? Well, that's the way the joke goes.

I've been thinking. (Shaddup.) I realize I do a lot of complaining, ranting and raving around here. I probably come across as rather grumpy and disgruntled. Some days I am, but for the most part I'm a pretty happy person. Like most of you, there are days when I don't feel the need to strangle my husband / critters / kids / co-workers – not necessarily in that order. Days I'm excited to find an unexpected dollar bill in the dryer or realize I mis-calculated and the bank account isn't actually overdrawn,  or have enough extra to slip one of my kids a little something.

Days when my shoulders don't ache or my back isn't locked up and my hands do what I tell them to do. Days when the blood sugar stays where it belongs and I don't crave the brownies. (Who am I kidding? I'll always crave brownies!) Days of PMS are long gone (for which my husband humbly gives thanks and no longer fears the knives). Days when hot flashes stay cool and tempers stay likewise. Days when my eyes don't give out while I'm stitching or reading or driving. Days when the migraines stay away and the jaw doesn't clench. Days when I have days like that and my husband rubs my back, neck and shoulders without even being asked.

Days when I get to talk to my kids and there is no crisis, just lots of laughing or sharing of thought or experiences. When I learn from them – new music, new television, what not to wear (kidding). When they call up to talk to me to get my opinion or advice. When they are having a bad day and I can make it better. Days I pick up my grandson from school and he sees me from across a large classroom and he gets a big smile on his face and yells "Grandma!" and runs to give me a hug.

Days I drive to work and home without a too-close encounter with nature. When the wild life allows me to admire them from afar instead of as a hood ornament. When I can look out my window and see the woodland creatures tripping through the yard and they are not eating my tomatoes, peppers or fifth-time planted impatients.

Days when it is a 102 degree heat index and I am blessed to have air conditioning or when it is twenty below wind chill and I have a furnace, fireplace, electric blanket, 25 lb cat, and a husband to keep me warm… oh, and the heated seats in my car. I want to give an award to the person who invented the heated seat. Mmm mmm good.

Days when the crops are good and the equipment doesn't break and the land rent doesn't increase and the fuel prices are reasonable and the grain prices don't decrease – well, not so much anyway. When the sun comes and the wind stays away and the rain comes when needed then lets up long enough to get the crops planted, later harvested. (You listening, God? Hint hint)

Days when I get kicked out of someone's blog universe only to be embraced by thirty other people who make me laugh and cheer and snicker and ever-so grateful to have found them… or that they found me.

Yeah, I may rant and rave and bitch and moan but when it comes right down to it? I've got the proverbial frog in my pocket. *

So, what about you? Are you a happy person?

* Yes, I know this means I should be male, but obviously I'm not. It is called creative license, people. Use your imaginations.

I Want to be Ageless

I could say something nasty here about how the events of the past few days has got me contemplating age, alzheimers and dementia – but in actuality Jan and Michael both had beautiful and thoughtful posts recently about these subjects so I decided to throw my two-cents-worth into the fray.

My mother died when I was little and her father passed away a few short months later. My grandmother, her mother, had lived right next door to us at the time. I was very close to my grandmother and when she decided to leave Iowa and move to California to be closer to her other daughter and family when I was in my teens, I was crushed. I missed my grandmother greatly.

When I was in high school I found out my grandmothers' sister still lived in the same town I did. I hadn't seen my great-aunt for many years, since I was small, but I remembered visiting with my grandmother. I found out through my grandmother that my great aunt, Ruby, had been suffering from dementia and although she was living in her own home with a caretaker, she was deteriorating. My heart went out to her.

I was supposed to be attending a youth church group every Wednesday night. Realizing the group was located three blocks from my great-aunt's house, well, you can imagine the rest. I would be dropped off at the church, then quickly hightail it over to Ruby's. (God and I had an understanding.) It became a ritual that the three hours I spent with her the caretaker would go run her errands, grocery shop, whatever, and I would fix supper for Ruby and keep her company. It opened my eyes.

My aunt lived in Des Moines, one of the biggest cities in the state. She didn't live in the center of town, but in an older neighborhood that was part of the main town, not one of the suburbs. She'd lived there all her life in the house her father had built when she was a little girl. This was an old, two-story house with big old trees and an actual boulavard. Not many of those around anymore.

My aunt would have good days and bad. On the bad days, which were more often than not, she would claim the caretaker abused her. (No signs were ever found.) She would look around her home at her grand piano she could no longer play… I was told she could play beautifully and had given lessons to many people… she would just glance over it and not even acknowledge it being there. She would look at the red velvet sofa she had picked out herself and loved dearly and claim it was the ugliest thing she'd ever seen and who had put it there? She would watch the evening news, but swore the newscasters were sitting in her livingroom talking only to her.

One of the freakiest things for me was as she would look out the big picture window in the livingroom, she would talk about the cows in the fields… the ones she could see right there out the window. I'm sure when her father built the house, that was the view from the livingroom window, but now? Houses, cars, the boulevard, the heart of a city neighborhood.

Then there was the night she was convinced "they" had moved her into a "home". Not just any "home" (yes, a nursing home) but she was sure it was a duplex. Where she got this idea, I have no clue. As far as I know she'd not ever lived in a duplex, always in this large two-story house! As a teen I was perplexed with how to handle this one. She was a bit beligerant about it all and was not wanting to accept a simple "no they didn't, you are in your own house". So, with her on my arm and logic in my teenaged pocket, we walked from room to room and looked out all the windows to see that yes, it really was a house because if it were a duplex there would be one wall with no windows! (Mr. Spock and logic have nothin' on me!)  It took a few times, but she finally got it! I was so excited!

Unfortunately, it gave me hope. Hope that maybe she wasn't as bad as we all thought. Hope that maybe all she needed was more attention. More time, More love.

A month later she passed away.

I don't know if there was anything more I could have done. I like to think that just my going to see her brightened her lonely days a bit and gave her a change of scenery… if only to cows in a field or a walk around her house. I do know that I pray I never put my children or grandchildren through that. It is such a deeply saddening way to go. (Note to my children: I realize there are days you think I have already gotten to this stage. It is a false alarm.)

Because I’m Funny That Way* **Updated**

The blogsphere is a wild and wonderful thing. I've found it to be mostly positive and have found some terrific friends on this journey. I don't try to irritate people or anger them and if I have something to rant about I generally do it here, in my own space.  I don't tell people what to write, or how to write, and if I see someone that I decide isn't like-minded or that I don't care for their point of view I will simply stop going to their site. There are certainly enough other places to go to.

I am always thrilled to find a new friend and to have someone find me. I enjoy the prospect of getting to know them through their blog and through other forms of communication. I try to have fun, but also be respectful of a persons' beliefs, if they are different from my own.

It doesn't hurt my feelings to be taken off someone's blogroll if they decide I am not their cup of tea… as I would expect others not to be hurt if I took them off. I may not visit them any longer, or they have gone into a realm that I feel uncomfortable with. Or perhaps we just are not compatible. We all like to be acknowledged and have the validation that comments and links can have, but sometimes it just doesn't work out.

It does get me a little bit bothered when I find out that I not only have been removed from someone's blogroll, but I have been basically erased from their universe. Without provocation – that I'm aware of. Every comment I ever left for this person has been removed! An award that was given to me, although I had not had the time to post it yet, has been recended. The very fact I ever visited this person's site is gone!

With one glaring exception.

I interviewed this person for a meme. I asked them questions that I made up. They were my questions, not a general form that was pulled off of another site. The fact that the interview has been left up on their blog bothers me.  They left up the line that "Sue asked me" but all links back to me have been removed.  The very comment I left in response to this interview post has been removed!

Every part of me is gone except what this person wanted to use to make themselves look good. I guess they liked their responses – and the comments from others. Still, if they are going to erase the rest of me from their site, I really wish they'd  take out the interview, too, because … well, I'm just funny that way. I think if they want to use a piece of me they could at least link to the interview so people who went there would know where it really came from. Maybe I'm being too thin-skinned about this, but considering the circumstances it makes me wonder about my open door policy around here.

*I was told by some well meaning people who I love that I should just "let it go". I tried. Honest. I'm just not made that way. Oh, and no, I'm not linking to that persons' site because I really don't want to start a war I just wanted to get out my frustration and maybe get some feedback from you folks. Have you ever had something like this happen? 

**Update** I sent an email to this person and although I received no email response, the interview has been removed from their blog. I have now officially been erased. I can let it go. Thank you to everyone who offered support. You're all terrific.

Can I Be Any MORE Surprised?


I'm dumbstruck. Truly. I've been a bad blog buddie and have been delayed in making my appointed blog-reading rounds when what should I spy but this being passed to me by cmk! I mean, first the nice one, now the fabulous one… my gosh! I think I need to hurry up and get caught up! Who knows what else is lurking out there in blogland to surprise me.

Suffice it to say, this is too much. Thank you, cmk!