Generation Bad News

love-poster-quote_1800-2What is it about this generation?  When I was a kid, all we worried about was if Maria wanted to fight you because you kissed her boyfriend.  “Meet me behind the school after the last bell.”  So, we might go home with a black eye or get punched in the stomach and forced to vomit the meatball sandwich we ate for lunch, but so what?  We had our life intact.  No one thought to bring a gun or a knife to school.  I’m not saying it didn’t happen, I’m just saying it didn’t happen often.

Last Friday a bright young woman’s life was snuffed out.  For no reason.  She said “no” to a boy who asked her to prom and he didn’t like that answer.  So instead of being a man and walk away with his head held high, he decided to be a coward instead.  He took out a knife.  And without thinking about the repercussions, he took her life.  Just like that.

Last month, a teenage boy choked his girlfriend to death, then threw her in a stream.  All because they got into a fight.  This happened in my parent’s town in North Carolina.  In another part of the state, a teenage girl poisoned her grandmother because this grandmother took her cell phone away from her.

A year and a half ago, a young man went into an elementary school and killed 20 children and 6 others.  Then there’s Columbine.  Virginia Tech.  And this isn’t all.  Google “violent crimes committed by a minor.”  You will be shocked.  Children as young as 12 are on this list.  It’s disgusting.

So, here are my questions:  What are we doing wrong?  Why are our children killing others?  Why is there such total disrespect for human life?  Where is the fear of God?  Or morals?  Are we being too permissive?  Are we not imposing enough boundaries?  Are there too many outside influences beyond our control?  Too many violent video games?  Too much social media? 

I am in an outrage, as I’m sure many of you are.  I’m not happy that I can no longer feel that my child is safe at school.  That every morning there is a police officer standing at the entrance of the school in the event that some kid may lose his crap and start shooting at people.  I’m not saying that I’m not grateful for this police officer.  I am.  I understand that this is the new normal.  It still doesn’t make it right.

How did it get out of control?  I’m not judging.  We allow our teenage daughter to have her head in her phone way too long.  We give her not only what she needs, but what she wants more times than we probably should.  Maybe she doesn’t have enough chores around here.  But she has boundaries.  She knows right from wrong.  We took the time to show her the importance of compassion, how to love others.  We taught her to be strong and confident.  How to handle rejection.  How to be a good sport.  Respect human life.

We, as parents, need to step up and raise our children.  Don’t you have conversations with your friends that sound something like this:  “Geez, when I was a kid if I talked to my mother the way some of these kids speak to their mothers, I’d get an ass-whooping.”?

I don’t condone hitting your child.  I don’t agree with that.  But something is lacking.  Somewhere along the way, we messed up.  I could be wrong, but doesn’t it start in the home?  So, people, let’s fix this thing.  I can’t take another news story of a child taking someone else’s life.  There is something so wrong about that.  We need to stop the violence.  And we need to stop it today.  Who’s with me?

 

Procrastination Is Making Me Late

I was born of a mother who has a Type A personality.  I would even venture to say she is Type A+.  Even though it probably doesn’t exist.  But it has to exist because she is one.  I swear it.  Me on the other hand?  Type B—.  Triple negative.  My Type B is so Type B I’m almost dead.  Well, not really.   Because that’s a little morbid.  But you get my point.

After I quit My Retail Job, I thought it was a great time to catch up on all that I let slide because I just didn’t have the time.  I started by making a list.  These lists have lists.  Then I took a calendar, a beautiful calendar that a good friend made, and wrote what I will do every single day.  Good start, right?

Two words:  Major Fail.  Why is this happening to me?  Then I remembered what my good friend who made the calendar said to me once.  “You are not a list type of person.”  And she’s right.  I hate structure.  I hate organization.  I like to fly by the seat of my pants.  I could have a full day of cleaning and organizing planned out and if a friend calls to meet for lunch?  I’m out the door before she can even finish her sentence.

calendar
This is my list of things-to-do. I got 2 things kinda done.  As you can see.  Oh, wait.  Maybe 3.

Does this just flat out mean I’m a procrastinator?  Because I will put off and put off and put off until the cows come home.  Even longer than that because the cows come home eventually.  I have procrastinated so long that my projects have projects.

Now I am in a place where my brain is so over-whelmed that I think it has shut down to save itself from being fried.  You know, short circuiting.

I don’t know where to start.  I want to start.  I do.  So I can finish.  And so I can turn my brain back on because I kind of need it.  But I’m not a list person and I don’t know how to do it without one.  See my problem?

I seriously feel like a dog chasing its tail.  Call me Spot.  “See Spot Run.  Oh wait, what is Spot doing?  He is chasing his tail.  But, that is not how the story goes.  Spot is ruining this story.  We need a new Spot.”  See?  I told you my brain has shut off.  I don’t make sense.  How did Spot even get in my story?

revelI know.  Like the Nike commercial says:  “Just Do It.”  Okay.  Here I go.  Oh heck.  I’ll start next Monday.  I’m just going to do what the calendar says to do.  “Revel in my messiness.”  I didn’t even notice that until yesterday.  Looks like I wasted my time and ruined a perfectly good February.

All this procrastinating is making me sleepy.  I’m going to take a nap.  If you need me, flip the ON switch.  It’s to the right of my … oh damn, where did I put that thing?  Wait.  This was supposed to be about procrastination.  Not short term memory problems.  I’m going back to bed.  See you Monday.

I Beg Your Postpartum?

“Holy crap.  I just pushed a human being out of my vagina, my nether area, my unmentionables.  A freaking living, breathing human being.”  That was my thought after I gave birth to my 8 pound sweet baby girl.

I ripped stuff that doesn’t seem natural to rip (when I was in my way early twenties, a woman told me about this happening and I walked around with my rectum clenched for a year.  It traumatized me so much that I prayed to the birthing gods for 9 months for this to NOT happen to me, but alas).

What happened next?  Nothing.  As soon as that last bit of after-birth fell onto the hospital floor, my feelings were as cold as one of those sub-zero freezers.  I assume (I never was professionally diagnosed) I had what the experts would call Postpartum Depression.

I pretty much self-diagnosed myself.  But not until months later, after I felt better.  How do I know I was suffering from this condition?  It was really just a guess but here you go:

  1. After they handed her to me, I nearly dropped her on the ground.  As if she were a piece of luggage that I carried across the country and just couldn’t go another step with.  I actually hallucinated “Samsonite” written across her forehead.

    samsonite
    See her forehead? I knew it.
  2. When the nurses wheeled her in my room at 2am, I ripped their heads off.  It’s true because they were nice and round and rolled like a couple of bowling balls.  Strike!
  3. I would cry on my sitz-bath while speaking to my pediatrician every day for 2 weeks.  Yes, my pediatrician.  Hey, it saved me a hell of a lot of money on therapy bills — I highly recommend it.
  4. During middle-of-the-night feedings I feared that her head was going to spin on her shoulders like Regan in The Exorcist.  That’s normal, right?
  5. Besides breastfeeding, I didn’t have a desire to hold her.  I had a full out temper tantrum when DH went back to work.  Seriously.  I behaved more like a baby than my baby did.
  6. I had The Kid in June.  It was a hot summer so I rarely left the house.  For nearly 3 months.  It was hot.  Besides it meant I would have had to have gotten dressed.  And clearly that wasn’t happening.
  7. I wore the same clothes for 6 weeks.  Except my underwear.  I changed them at least weekly.  Well, someone did anyway.

    This is what I wore for weeks.  No lie.  Notice the attractive milk stain?
    This is what I wore for weeks. No lie. And my boobs were always leaking.

No one seemed to notice, especially me.  DH thought I was a little off, but no one told us about this possibility so it didn’t enter our minds.  Maybe we thought it was normal?  Well, I remember thinking it was normal.  I felt sad.  But don’t all new mothers feel sad?  I mean, our bodies were practically ripped in half and we had to take care of these people.

Luckily, after about 3 months, I got the spring back in my step.  They really should tell you about this stuff in Lamaze class.  Or somewhere along the line.  I mean, geez.  I was pregnant for 9 months.  There was plenty of time for a warning.  Although, I do have an extremely short attention span so maybe they did and I missed it?

I doubt it.  Anyway, my sweet baby girl is pushing the ripe old age of 16 and all is well.  I fell head-over-heels in love with her in spite of it all.  But I stopped there, at one child.

Would I have done it again?  Sure.  If you take out the blood, ass ripping, blood curdling pain and Cruella de Vil emotions.  Maybe.  But no one could promise me anything so it didn’t happen.  And I’m a better person because of it.  I’m sure.

Our Family Christmas Letter

holiday letterI do not write Christmas letters.  I do receive a very small handful of them from friends once a year.  I enjoy them.  It’s fun to catch up on their lives.  Even if they do live in the same town.  Why haven’t I written a Christmas letter?  Mainly because I can’t be bothered.  It takes every last bit of energy just to send out the cheesy little cards I do send out.  The funny thing is, Costco does them.  So I’m not really sure what I’m complaining about.  Still.  I’m surprised I get those suckers out the door in a timely manner.

Then, I thought the other day that this year I may actually go for it.  Write a Christmas letter.  That thought lasted precisely 32 seconds.  It involves way too much work and sucks up way too much printer ink.  Yes, people.  I am indeed both lazy AND cheap.  Instead, I will share with you what I would really like to write if I were to send one out.  Enjoy.

Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Season’s Greetings, Happy Hanukkah, Feliz Navidad and Happy Festivus,  

Aaah, another year over.  Where the hell did the time go?  Seriously.  It freaks me out just a little bit that I have been sending out Christmas cards for 15 years now.  15 years!  Why only 15 years?  Surely, all of you would have loved to have received an annual card containing our mugs (minus The Kid) throughout the years.  I’m pretty certain that you had been waiting with bated breath year after year.  I apologize.  Even though I know they end up in the city dump before Little Christmas gets here.

So, let’s see…what did 2013 bring?  Loads of changes.  Loads and loads of them.  I gave birth to a few more wrinkles.  Some more gray hairs sprouted out of both my head and eyebrows.  My ass is a little droopier than last year.  And so are my eyelids.  I discovered that I can no longer walk in heels.  I started working again.  In retail.  At my age.  Because I outdated myself by staying home to raise a person and I can’t find a job in the field I was trained to be in.  I lost some weight.  I started running.  But can no longer do that because I screwed up my knee and had to go in for surgery.  I’m not completely certain, but I think I’m starting to feel a very similar pain in the OTHER knee.  I still hate manual labor and pray every day for a magical elf to appear and do it all.  I’m still waiting.  For that magical elf.  I’m pretty sure one of these Elf’s On the Shelf is mine.  He just hasn’t found his way home.  Because he’s too busy playing with some little brat’s Barbie.  Selfish elf.  Barbie is such a fake bitch.  Why can’t he see that?

DH is doing great.  He has pretty much been with the same company since I met him just over 27 years ago and he just loves it.  He does.  He also loves his motorcycle.  So much so that it has its own room.  It’s okay though.  Because it is red and totally goes with the Christmas theme.  Bless that Ducati’s heart.  He still looks every bit as good as the day I met him (DH, not the bike).  Well, minus the hair.  But his stomach is flat and his bum is still where it started.  When we are out, people are shocked by how old he is.  “You are HOW OLD?  OMG!  You totally look soooo much younger.”  Gag. 

The Kid celebrated her 15th birthday this year.  15!  Holy hell.  15 year olds sure can suck the life out of you.  She’s usually pretty nice.  But sometimes when she shoots me that look when I ask her a “stupid” question, it’s all I can do to not get in there and wipe that smug look right off her face.  She’s really smart and made the High Honor Roll.  Is that how you say it?  Because growing up, that wasn’t a part of my vocabulary.  We are super duper proud of her.  If I didn’t actually see her come out of my very own vagina, I never would believe it.   If anyone out there went to high school with me, I swear I did not switch her with some kid at the hospital.  She received her Confirmation this year.  She got a big party at a restaurant with wait service and a 3 piece band.  When I received my Confirmation, I got, um…surely my mom made me spaghetti and meatballs or something.  Surely.  She still loves to irish dance and suck the ever loving energy and cash out of our accounts.  Can you believe she’s going to college in 2.75 years?  Damn.  There goes more cash out of our accounts.  Then I’m pretty sure she’s going to go get married and have kids.  So, basically our money will never, ever be ours.  I guess we could always move away to Mexico and go into hiding.  Eh.  I guess I would miss her too much.  And whatever rug rats she has that will call me Grandma.  Ugh.  Mexico, here we come!

As a family, we love to do outdoor activities.  Like, um, okay.  Outdoor activities makes me sneeze and forces me to expel too much energy so I just lied.  But just a little.  Because we did go kayaking once over the summer.  We also went on our boat that happens to suck the cash out of our accounts too.  I think our boat and The Kid are up to something.  I haven’t quite figured it out yet, but when I do, I will let you know.  Look for that update in next year’s letter.  Did I tell you about the awesome trip to Tahiti we took?  Always been a dream of mine.  Oh wait.  Sorry.  That was someone else’s vacation I was talking about.  Never mind.  We did make a day trip to the beach though.  Where I haphazardly put on sunscreen and burned the heck out of my cleavage and the upper part of my left arm.  The only good thing about that is I still kinda have a little tan in that area.  Gee, I hope I didn’t permanently damage my skin.  Oh well.  It goes lovely with those new wrinkles I told you about.

So, that was our year in a nutshell.  Please don’t be jealous.  I know you wish your family was hot like ours.  And just so you know, after this year, you will be receiving 2 more cards from us.  Suck it up.  This shit is exhausting.  Besides, we are going to need the stamp money for The Kid’s college text books.  Namaste.  Or whatever.

I’m Sorry

I-Am-SorryWhy do I apologize for everyfreakingthing?  When someone bumps into me, I am the one who says “I’m sorry.”  If someone says to me that they have a headache, I say “I’m sorry.”  If someone gets in my way, it’s always “oh, I’m sorry.”  It’s irritating.  There are other, more important things to say “I’m sorry” for.

I remember being a school age kid and letting other kids cut me in the cafeteria line at lunch.  “Can I get in front of you?”  “Yes, please.  Go ahead.  In fact, why doesn’t the whole school get in front of me because I really don’t need to eat today.”  Even now, if someone is in a rush and wants to get ahead of me in line at the grocery store, I let them.  You know what?  No.  No, you cannot get in front of me.  My time is just as important as yours so the answer is “No.”  Oh, but I can’t do that.  Because that wouldn’t be nice.  Then I would feel like a total and complete bitch for an entire week.  But I can behave in other bitch-like ways and be fine with it?

Back in January, I started turning over a new leaf.  Like major.  I went from a Crab Apple to an Oak.  It is taking months, but I’m getting there.  I am a work in progress.  It started with this blog.  Then I changed my poor eating habits.  I began exercising.  I lost a shitload of weight.  I got a job.  So, in less than a year, I discovered a talent I never knew I had, got healthy and became an active participant in contributing to my family on a monetary level.  You know what else I discovered?  That I am not perfect.  I have been judgmental.  Participated and believed in rumors.  Maybe made fun of someone for a laugh.  Said something that was hurtful to another person or to someone else about that person.  Every one of us has done at least one of the above-mentioned things.  At some point in our lives.  Because it’s human nature.  But it doesn’t make it right.

Too many people don’t take accountability for their actions.  They don’t apologize.  And I’m not talking about bumping into someone at Shop Rite either.  They don’t apologize for doing or saying something hurtful to you or even worse, behind your back.  Spreading rumors, or just being plain mean.  We would have more respect for people who will admit that they are human.  That they made a mistake.  They said or did something that wasn’t so nice.  Said or did something that was hurtful.  And that includes me.

As part of turning into an Oak, I am learning to be a better person.  Be less judgmental.  Not participate in gossip.  Not believing rumors.  It’s a constant battle.  To be aware.  So, for anyone that I was judgmental toward, said something that was inappropriate or was not my business, I apologize.  For allowing myself to believe rumors and perpetuating these rumors by helping to spread them, I apologize.  I am so sorry for anything I did or said to hurt you.  Truly.  I was wrong.  And I am really sorry.

I want to be accountable for my actions. All of the above is mean and ugly behavior.  I do not like it when others act this way.  So why would I?  It would be so nice if everyone followed suit.  It would make such a difference.

Integrity.  That’s what we need to have.  Integrity.  If every human had integrity, the world would be a better place.  I’m working on my integrity.  And as for apologizing when I get bumped into?  I probably will always do that.  No matter how annoying it is.

If That’s What Makes the World Go Round, I Think I Wanna Move to Mars

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The world is filled with thousands of different personalities.  And we all have to coexist.  We have to figure it out.  We have to either decide to get along with people who are completely different from us or not.  We can let these people make us miserable.  Or we can accept them for who they are.  It’s a fine line.  And it isn’t always easy.

In my experience and at my age, I have pretty much dealt with just about all types.  I, myself, like to say I’m more upbeat than not.  I am laid back, loud, definitely obnoxious but yet a tad bit shy.  I have the patience of a 2 year old trying to unwrap a lollipop.  I can also become very angry if I am pushed too far.  But to my credit, I have to be really pushed.  Like off a cliff.

I work with all types of people.  Most of them are young.  2 or 3 are about my age.  A couple are my father’s age.  In all honesty, I like them all.  Even the weird ones.  The cranky ones.  The moody ones.  Because they are human beings.  And under the crank, mood and weird, there is good.

At My Retail Job a couple of days ago, I was pushed off a cliff.  A very high cliff.  It ended with me saying some very unkind things, loudly, in the middle of the store.  With customers around (I think…I had on my rage blinders, so I can’t say for sure).  One of my other coworkers was trying his damndest to get me to settle down, bless his heart.  Needless to say, it didn’t work.  After threatening to quit, I stormed off shaking like an oak tree caught in a hurricane.

Unfortunately for me and for whoever is at the other end, once that switch is flipped it’s very, very difficult for me to use any sense whatsoever.  It all goes out the window.  All of it.  DH and I have had a disagreement or two in public, and I have been very vocal about it.  He has better sense than I do.  He keeps his mouth closed until we get home.  Me?  The entire world pretty much sees what an ass I am.  I do the same thing with The Kid.  Every single time I regret it.  For days.  Every apology in the world just doesn’t make me feel better.

So yesterday when this person — let’s call him/her “Pat” — pushed me over that edge, I lost it.  Without giving too many details, Pat was a bit too derogatory and condescending for my taste.  Maybe it’s my own insecurities that got the best of me.  But I do not like being spoken to like a 5 year old.  It just doesn’t sit with me well.  There is a way to speak to people.  To communicate.  With that being said, I was less than professional in return.  Which also sounds suspiciously like not communicating.  Hmmm.  I do happen to see the error of my ways.  And am accountable for them.

Which made me do this when I got into work this morning:  apologize to the coworker who was trying to calm me down.  Because he did not deserve that.  And apologize to my manager.  I even tried to apologize to Pat.  Not for being angry, but for behaving unprofessionally.  Because I deserved to feel angry.  And no one can take that away from me.  I took the high road.  “Pat” does not see the error of her/his ways.  But that’s okay. Pat has to live in this world with him/herself.  I did, however, make it very, VERY clear that I will not be spoken to in that manner ever again.  Right now, Pat is not speaking to me.  I think it’s for the best.

My Retail Job is not a big deal in the big picture.  It will not be forever.  It gives me something to do while The Kid is off doing things that really does not require my help.  But I feel like I’m contributing.  It may be a little.  And when I say “a little”, I mean a puny little.  This job also gives me confidence.  I can call it mine.  And I happen to like it.  Right now, I have to coexist with this person.  I have to make it work because I spend more than half my week there.  So, I will repeat after me…”I am filled with love, forgiveness and peace.”  This I can do.  Let’s just hope there are no cliffs.

We Will Never Forget

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Our parent’s generation remembers where they were and what they were doing the moment they heard the news of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.  Our generation remembers where we were and what we were doing the day our country was attacked, changing our lives forever.

It was a Tuesday.  It was The Kid’s first day of pre-school.  She was 3.  I remember being in my car, backing out of my garage to drop her off for her big day.  The news was on because, unbeknownst to me, the news was on everywhere.  A plane had hit Tower 1 of the World Trade Center.  At first, the reporter said it was a small plane.  I immediately had visions of a Cessna.  Then I thought it was a joke.  I thought of the “War of the Worlds” radio program of 1938.  I remember just laughing it off.  Think about it.  How could it be possible?  This was stuff that only happens in the movies.

Except this wasn’t a movie.  By the time I pulled into the parking lot of the school, I knew it wasn’t a joke.  At this point, it was confirmed that it was indeed happening and that it wasn’t a Cessna.  Other mothers were standing in small groups throughout the schoolhouse lot.  I remember trying to put on a brave face for our children.  Our sweet, little, innocent children.  This was history in the making.  To be a chapter in their history books just a few short years from that moment.

We all rushed to our homes to call our loved ones and to sit in front of CNN for days.  And days.  Lines were tied up.  Air traffic was stopped.  Everything was quiet.  It was surreal.  We all ran out to buy flags for our car windows.  We all came together in crisis.  We loved one another.  I remember a deep peace among our neighbors.  There were no honking horns because someone sat at a light a nanosecond too long.  There was no anger.  Anywhere.  For a long time.

I also remember the deep sense of loss.  I was fortunate to not have lost anyone I knew personally in the attacks, but the people lost were fellow Americans.  The hurt was deep.  Today marks 12 years since that tragic, absolutely horrific, day.  We will always remember the lives lost.  We will always remember the heroes.  We will never forget the families and friends that suffered and are still suffering.

As I sit here writing this post, I am watching footage of that day.  All those feelings I had 12 years ago come rushing back.  My heart still hurts to remember.  The dread, the tears, the complete sense of loss and helplessness.  It has affected all of us this way.  We will never forget.  We are a changed nation.  Our children live in a different world.

Tonight, I pause to remember that day, to pray, to hope for a better future.  Tonight, I remember how we came together as one.  Tonight, as always, I am proud to be an American.

Maternity Wear Third Floor

Have you seen pregnant women these days?  I see them all the time at My Retail Job.  They are cute as a damn button. Cute.as.a.button.  Why?  Because maternity wear designers stopped making tents.  Either that or tent designers stopped making maternity wear.  I’m glad for the modern pregnant lady.  I’m also a bit jealous.  15 years ago, all that was available was the Coleman Special XXL.

I was so excited to start showing.  I couldn’t wait to wear maternity wear.  Because I was so impatient, I would go into a dressing room and strap on whatever size belly I wanted and had at it.  As I tried on one dress, or shirt or pants after another, I felt more and more horrible.

All DH heard from the other side of the curtain was “Oh God”, “ooohhhhh no”, “Give me a break”, “Dear Lord”, “You’ve got to be kidding”, “What the f***” (before WTF was fashionable) and finally “I give up.”  He would feverishly bring me more and more things to try on.  I remember it just getting worse and worse.  One tent was as awful and ugly as the next.  And lest I remind you, I wasn’t even big yet.  I hadn’t gained much weight.  I was barely showing.  My booty was still a size Small, so were my thighs, arms and boobs.  You can just imagine how these articles of clothing looked on me when I was showing.  Lucky for you, I have attached a pic.  Enjoy:

photo
Maybe a belt would have made things better. But probably not.

photo

So, today’s expectant mom?  I guess I just should have thrown on a t-shirt from my drawer.  Or a wrap-dress from my closet.  Because that is basically what they are wearing.  These new age maternity clothes are fitted and flattering.  Seriously.  Why didn’t I think of that?  Can I rewind time?  Can I ask for my uterus back?  Because I want a do-over.

I swear I had a dress just like this.
I swear I had a dress just like this.and 14 of these

…and 20 of these.