Thursday, February 28, 2013

Not Angels

   Invariably, when I am working, there comes The Child, the one who is demon-spawn sent with the sole purpose to cause havoc and mayhem. And The Child inevitably comes with The Mother, you know the one who insists that the havoc causing imp is an angel. You know what I'm talking about. You may be shaking your head at my candid honesty, but deep down, you know.
   But some of these mothers really don't seem to know. I understand that your child is the apple of your eye, and I'm not saying that it should be otherwise, but really, kids do need to behave in public. And I'm not talking about the occasional hissy-fit, crying binge that we all hear from time-to-time. That's normal and a part of parenting and we have all been there (all of us parents at least.) I am talking about true, beyond needing-a-nap badness. Kids who aren't taught to behave in public don't grow up to be adults who behave in public. Also, if you want everybody to dote on your child, they need to not be holy terrors bent on world destruction. People don't like that. But some of you truly do seem to be clueless, so here is a little list of things that I have actually witnessed as a cashier.
  • If your child grabs the order dividers and tries to hit everybody within reach, she is not an angel. 
  • If your child wants a piece of candy, and puts it in his pocket, and then kicks you in your shins when you make him take the candy out, he is not an angel. 
  • If your child turns around and screams to the person next in line "Get away from me! I don't want you here!" she is not an angel. 
  • If your child gets into the Cadbury eggs and bites them through the foil and them puts them back while no one is looking, he is not an angel. 
  • If your child says "I'm going to pee on the floor if you don't buy me that" and then actually pees on the floor, she is not an angel, and I'm bringing you the mop. 
  • If your child tries to bite someone else's kid because their mom bought ice cream and you didn't, he is not an angel. 
  • If your child picks her nose and tries to wipe it on the checkstand, she is not an angel, and again, you get to clean it up. I am not in the daycare profession for many reasons, and that's one of them. I don't like pee and boogers. 
  • If your child is climbing up the magazine racks and bellowing at the top of his lungs, he is not an angel. He's in training to be the next Godzilla. Good luck with that. 
   The thing is, all kids have bad days, so I am not talking about tears and sobs. I am talking true issues here. Your kids can't be hitting and kicking and climbing and peeing and biting. People don't look at them with adoring eyes, they look at them with "This is why I'm never having kids" eyes. No one wants to deal with this, least of all me, your happy little cashier. I'm not so cheerful when some kid has pissed all over my lane, or tore my magazine rack all to hell. Not cool, and not angelic behavior.

Monday, February 25, 2013


   I've worked in a lot of places. This job always encompassed some form of money handling, but not always in a grocery store.  The third job that I ever had, I held when I was 18: pre-baby days. I worked for this man who owned his own business; a small, local businessman who had an unusual business plan. This was  when I still lived in Gulfport, Mississippi, and this businessman owned 3 stores, all of them located along Pass Road. One of his stores was a movie rental store, back before Netflicks, when DVD was the new thing and Blu-ray was as yet, unheard of. The other store was a tanning salon. And the third store, the one I worked at, was a combination of tanning salon and movie rental, with a twist. There was a special 18 and older room that people could go into to select and rent porn. Yup. The man was a genius; women would go in to tan and their boyfriends/husbands would browse the kink in the back. He got business from both sides, and this was probably the only tanning salon where dudes where happy to go wait for their chicks to get their tan on.
   We had to wear many hats at this job. I had to know how to run the beds, and I had to know how to audit the videos, set up accounts, turn people in to soft collections, make bank deposits for the store, and I had to play security guard. There were monitors set up all over this place. Of course, the tanning rooms and bathrooms where not recorded, but the areas that sold the lotion, the videos, and the porn room was recorded and we had little TVs were we could watch for suspicious activities. Guess which room I never, and I mean NEVER checked? If you're thinking this room starts with a 'P' then you would be correct. Go get yourself a cookie, friend.
    Why did I never check that? aren't really thinking that, right? If you are anything like me, then you are thinking that if they want to steal that, there is no way in any kind of hell that you are actually going to be the one to stop them. Uh-uh. No friggen' way, I'd rather eat my eyeballs than sit there and watch what goes on in that room. I would never even go shelve the 'movies' unless that room was empty, and checking to be sure that the room was empty was the only reason I ever looked at that particular monitor.
   But griping about the porn room is actually not the reason for this blog post. I didn't mind renting out porn. I would rather people watch that then go rape/molest someone, and further, I don't actually care. Watching porn is not illegal; I just wasn't willing to make a bust and be all, "Dude, I saw you put the porn in your jacket, hand it over." Nope. Can you say chicken? I can. So I don't know if anyone even attempted to steal that stuff, because I was not attentive. Funnily, audits and inventory for that room did not show missing items, so the porn watchers are a little more honest than others, it seems. Because they totally could have robbed us blind with me manning the cameras.
   The real surprise to me was how many people we caught stealing tanning lotion. What a thing to steal, and there is no excuse. You don't need tanning lotion; lotion isn't essential to survival. I have a sneaking sympathy for people who are starving and stealing food, or women who are stealing things like prenatal vitamins (food stamps do not cover vitamins, before you go shooting off at the mouth, and those things are costly). The world is a hard place, and sometimes people have to do hard things. But tanning lotion? Oh, you thief. And of course, not only did we catch thieves on camera, but usually, they went in to tan. Which means that we had all of their information stored on the computer, via their account. Walk-in tans were not allowed; to tan with us, you had to have an account. We knew their home phone, their address, where they worked, and we also had their thumb-print on file, because this business man didn't want people to share accounts, so he had some thumb scanning thingy-majigger all set up to scan your thumb and connect you to your account (it never worked and we were always having to bypass it. Stupid technology.)
   Not the best place to be stealing from, but people can be crazy stupid. However, with all that info on hand, did I ever make a bust? Nope. I saved the tape, gave it to the boss, and let him call them at their happy little homes. Hey, at least I was attentive.
   But really, I was just barely making over minimum wage, and people, yeah, they can be crazy. And Pass Road? A lot of crackheads in that area, and I was not getting all shot up for $5.45 an hour, over a bottle of tanning lotion. But I never did make good security. Good thing I'm a cashier. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Happy, Happy Birthday!

   My daughter was born at 12:03 p.m.on February 23rd. The first thing that she taught me is that childbirth sucks and only the truly crazy could enjoy pushing out something roughly the size of a watermelon. The second thing that she taught me is that breastfeeding is extremely hard on the mother, and whatever choice a woman makes should be her own, because there are so many hurdles with breastfeeding. I am not talking about vanity; although after you breastfeed your boobs will never be the same. No, there is milk production, nutrition issues, nipple infections, pumping, and all manner of unpleasantness. If a woman decided to skip all that mess, as a mother who had an extremely difficult time breastfeeding, I find I can't blame her. There have been a lot of formula-fed babies out there, and most of us are not living in a plastic bubble because of illness or horribly deformed.
   After that mess was done, my daughter taught me that I could feel exceedingly frustrated and helpless. She took me through a stage where she would start to cry at 3 p.m. and would not stop until around 10 p.m. The doctor said this was something that babies sometimes did and she was developing her lungs. And she was also developing her ability to drive her mother batshit crazy.
   Then her plumbing got in a bind. She couldn't poo and watching her strain and strain and strain resulted in yet another panicked trip to the doctor. My daughter was a very healthy child, but that meant when something did go wrong: full mommy panic mode. My daughter taught me more about unblocking a baby's poo pipes than I ever wanted to know.
   Then we moved, and I decided to be a stay-at-home mom until she started school. Because I was newly single, and had no income, this meant self-employment. I relied on family for a lot of what  I needed, but I did the best I could to support us with babysitting and housekeeping. This taught me that housekeeping sucks and being a stay-at-home mom is hard, and I had to learn how to make a $6,000 (no typo there) yearly income support us. A $6,000 income couldn't; we relied on Grandma during that time.
   Then she started school and I was proud of her for getting so big, but I also hated letting her go, even just this little bit. She had been my buddy for so long. We had hung out all day, every day in those years after leaving her dad. Although I had worked out of the home before, somehow this was different. She started her lessons in how a mom needs to let her kid grow, and how to begin to suppress those helicopter mom tendencies. (NOT easy, let me tell you.)
   I started work and college, and at this time, I went to college on campus. This meant daycare; I had to entrust her care to strangers. With work and college, I also didn't see her much, so I had to learn to put her first, even if finals were stressing me out or if I needed more hours because we were broke. I had to make the time we did get to spend together count. Mornings became our special time, even though I detest mornings. Mornings and weekends were the longest amounts of time that we could spend together though, so I couldn't waste the mornings being the grumpy fire-breathing dragon/banshee/bitch that I am when I first wake up. I had to learn to suppress those early morning demons.
   She did so well in school. She learned to read in a heartbeat, and she taught me that in a lot of ways, she was much smarter and wiser than mommy. Mommy tends to procrastinate; my daughter gets all her homework/chores out of the way first thing. According to her, she does this so she can have more time for fun. Smart girl.
   I earned an AAS degree, but the recession started around the same time, so I stayed on with the stable job that  I already had. Offers where out there, but they offered less pay, fewer hours, and no health benefits. That last one was the kiss of death for the possibility of my acceptance of those positions. I am a single mom,  I need some hope of health insurance. I learned to put my little family's needs over what I merely wanted and didn't need.
   My daughter was doing so well in school that she was recommended to the GATE program, but I was nervous about this because I worried about her being pushed too hard. I had grown up seeing kids snap over too much pressure and while I wanted her to be challenged, I didn't want her to be stressed. I did talk to her though, and I learned that she was very excited about being able to go into this program. I sent her, despite misgivings, and I learned to listen to my daughter about what she wanted, because she knows what she can handle.
   I went back to college to earn a BA, but I went online, because that year off of going to campus had given me more time to spend with my daughter, and I got the chance to volunteer in her classroom and be a more active person in her life. I found that although I wanted to continue my education, I was unwilling to do this at the expense of time with my daughter. So I learned about alternative options for education.
   In that time, daycare got out-of-hand and my trust was broken, forever. I will never trust another stranger with my child again. She was unhurt, physically, but mentally, she was harmed. She learned first hand that some adults are not nice and can't be trusted. Family rallied to support me, and I learned that I had not suppressed that dreaded crying gene that all women in my family are cursed with; I went and bawled all over my boss at work when  I asked to restrict my hours so my daughter could be cared for by family while I worked. I learned that I had a good job that would try to accommodate my new needs. (Or maybe this was self-defense against the crazy crying woman; give her what she wants so she'll get out of the office and go cry somewhere else?)
    And over time, we stabilized and slowly the kinks worked out and the time came when my daughter and I where able to get our own apartment. Now we are celebrating her first birthday in our new apartment. She is excited for this school year to be over because next year she will be in middle school. A little girl no longer, but still my baby. I've watched her go from wanting to be a rockstar to wanting to be a scientist. For the past 4 years, science has fascinated her, and I have learned more about science than  I ever thought I would know.
   To the daughter who continues to teach me something every day, I am so happy that you were born. Happy 11th birthday!!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

6 x 6 = 25???

   As a cashier, I know that counting every single item that you have is frustrating. You told me you have 25 packs of kool-aid, and here I am, still counting. Can't I take you at your word? Let me tell you a story.
   Summer is when this happy little story takes place, high summer, BBQ weather. Corn selling at 25 cents an ear. Great price, and people can by corn in huge quantities. Boxes of corn that I have to get placed upon my overloaded belt so that I can dig around, get those strange little corn-strings scattered all over the place, especially my apron, and spend the rest of the day feeling super-duper grimy and itchy. I hate corn season. Love to eat corn; hate to sell it. I was wondering myself why I was counting all these corns and not just taking a customer at their word. I mean, usually when a person tells you they have 50 of something, that is actually what they do have, and I just look like a jackass when I count it all out.
   Then I had the customer. It's his turn at the belt and he looks at me, and without taking a single thing out of his cart, he tells me, "I have 6 bags with 6 corn in each. I have 25 corn."
    What? Not a math whiz here, but I don't think that's right.
     "I need to count your corn, sir," I tell him, and shit, even I know that my tone is a liiiiiittle bit pissy. But, I mean, come on, if you are going to scam me, at least try to be credible. I'm not dumb, regardless of what you have been trained into thinking about cashiers.
      He hands me one bag. There is nothing else in his cart but corn, the bottom is completely covered with produce bags stuffed with ears of corn meaning there is no way he only has 25, and he doesn't know his multiplication tables, but he expects to get away with just handing me one bag of his corn. Which, by the way, has more than 6 ears in it.
   "I need all the corn on the belt, sir," and now I sound super-pissy, but if the bossman gets called because of my attitude, I'm hoping he understands my situation.
   He doesn't ask for the boss, but doesn't put his corn up either. "I told you how many I have!"
   "Need them all, sir. 6 times 6 doesn't equal 25, and also, there are more than 6 in this bag."
   Oh yeah, I'm not in a good mood anymore. He still won't put the corn up, so I stalk around, slam his corn on the belt, go back behind the checkstand and start counting. Well, he has a lot more than 25. Closer to 100. Not quite, but closer. I don't know how you are going to manage to eat 100 ears of corn before they go bad, but whatever, it's your money. But if your going to lie about quantity, giving me a number so far off that you can tell just by sight that it's wrong is really dumb. Even if, for some reason, I didn't know that 6 x 6 is 36, I would know that something was up just from sight. He paid for them,  because considering that this was obviously not a mistake in counting, I didn't even ask if he wanted me to take some off and put them away. And he has never been back in my line. Scamming some other checker, no doubt. Not me.
   Unfortunately, this tale is the reason why we have to count quantity. Most customers are not lying, and sometimes there are honest mistakes, true. But there is always that jackass: the one who ruins things for everybody else. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Dear Niece: You Are Not Peter Pan

   Today I am babysitting my niece and nephew. I love them dearly, but the things that they get up to can be hair-raising, to say the least. They are very active and curious kids who like to get into everything possible. Adventures in babysitting bring to mind another time with my niece and nephew.
   My sister and I were settled in to watch some adult TV, (not funky p-word stuff, get your minds out of the gutter!! Just, stuff like Walking Dead or Weeds or such) something we can only do at the kiddos bedtimes. She had put her kids to bed upstairs, they didn't have to sleep yet, but they were supposed to be settling down and maybe watch a little TV. My daughter was in her room downstairs; my sister was making brownies, something that she now refuses to do because she is convinced that brownies make bad things happen. (Don't even get her started on the number 13 or 666. And yeah, she now places brownie-making right up there with those.) We weren't expecting a knock on the door because it was late, but we heard this soft little knock. So my sister went to look out the peephole, all ninja-like, just in case the person at the door had x-ray vision and could see her through the wall and happened to be an ax murderer.
  I wasn't expecting her to open the door. I really wasn't expecting her to yell, "Oh my god, how did you get outside!"
  So I got up to look and see, and sure enough, there stood her daughter, a little scratched up, but not looking like you would expect someone to look when they had just fallen out of a second-story window. We demanded to know how she fell and she told us she just fell while my sister frantically pulled off my niece's clothes to see if we could determine more injuries. She had two scratches on her chest, and a few on her back and face, but we couldn't find any bruising or broken bones, or swollen anythings. She couldn't really have fallen out the window. We rushed upstairs to check, because she must have just stealthily popped out the door and knocked to fool us. Except the door was locked, but a person who fell out the window would be smashed. They would not get  up and come knock on the door.
   However, inspection of her bedroom window did provide proof that she had fallen out of it. The window was wide open and the screen was missing. I stuck my head out, and the screen was in a bush. She had fell out of the window with the screen underneath her and landed in a bush.
   We turned to my wide-eyed niece, who watched all of our frantic scurrying about with little reaction. "Why didn't you scream? Did you scream? We didn't hear."
   "I didn't scream, I shutted my eyes so I wouldn't see," she calmly replied. Oh, the reasoning of a five year old. If you can't see it, it can't hurt you.
   "And then what did you do?" we asked.
   "I gotted up and knocked on the door to come in." she replied. But no matter how we asked, she wouldn't tell us how she fell out, and we didn't question long. Our priority was to get her to the ER; just because we couldn't see an injury didn't mean that there wasn't an internal one or something of that sort. So I stayed home with my nephew and my daughter while my sister rushed to the hospital, her daughter in tow.
   I fretted and worried, because that is what I do best, but they were actually home a lot sooner than I expected, and this is the story as my sister tells it.
   Once they arrived at the ER, and the accident was made known to the nurses and doctors, my niece was seen right away. My sister says that all the nurses and doctors crowded into the tiny cubical room that patients are given and that when the primary doctor ordered a chest x-ray, that you could hear the order being echoed all the way down the hall. They examined her, and questioned her, but could find no severe injuries. The x-rays showed no internal injuries, she didn't seem to have hit her head, she was doing okay. When the doctor asked her why she had fallen out of the window, she told him (although she wouldn't tell us a thing) that she had got up on the window sill to open it because she thought that her plant needed fresh air. Then the screen fell out of the window, and she lost her balance and fell with it.
  We had to keep her under watch for a while just in case there was an internal injury, but in the end, she was free and clear of any real injuries, just some scratches and some mild bruising. A nurse told my sister that kids fall out of windows all the time and usually they are not hurt at all, which is amazing to me, because if I fell out of a second story window, I'm sure I would have something broken. But regardless, I am no longer comfortable when I see my niece near a window. Truthfully, I freak. This is yet another reason living on the first floor is better than living on the second: if my niece falls out of the window, I can just be pissed. I don't have to experience terror beyond all belief.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Gamers Are Not Couch-Zombies

   Gamers unite! That's my newest battle cry. Gamers can get a lot of flak because we are often represented as lazy, shiftless couch-zombies that do nothing but eat potato chips (cheddar & sour cream is my fave, by the way) and stare at a screen. If you have actually looked at the price of all that gaming equipment, you would know that there is no way for this to be true; even used, games and hardware are expensive. Gamers have got to get their fundage from somewhere, and sure, kids might get that from parents, but a vast portion of us are adults. Fundage usually means the big J-O-B. You, know, work.  As in, not a couch-zombie and the better the job, the more fundage for gaming stuff. The better job tends to mean a good work ethic, as well, so throw lazy and shiftless out the window.
   I've had my current job for going on six years, and while you may be thinking that cashier does not sound like one of those 'better' jobs, some of you job snobs don't make half of my pay, and most of you would kill for my insurance benefits. I got in with a good company, and that matters. I have a degree; this job is mine by choice. If you are a doctor or a nurse, then sure you make more then me, but look at how less stressful my job is compared to yours. You cure people; I scan shit. I also am pursuing my BA (full-time college, bitches) and am a single mom (and I actually volunteer at my daughter's school. Yikes!!!). I need a low stress job. But this has gone off topic. Back to gaming.
^^My precious (<---best Gollum voice ever---)
   I started gaming later, in my teens. I was not raised a gamer from child birth, but my sister got this Playstation as a teeny bopper, because she was dying to have one. I didn't think I would get into the game craze, but she started bringing home these intense JRPGs (Japanese role-playing games) and the story on these things... I have been an avid reader all of my life, and the story to a good RPG is as intricate as the story in any book that I have read. Final Fantasy VII was not the first role-playing game I played, but that was the one that made me a die-hard fan. The twists in that story, the character development, all that drama and suspense reeled me in like a fish on a hook. I was a goner. No hope of a non-gaming life for me. That type of story-telling is also what pulled my mother in. She became a gamer when her kids were teenagers. And when people ask her why she games, she has responded with, "I spend all day fighting something that I can't touch. Sometimes it's just good to be able to bash someone's head in." My mother is an oncology (cancer) nurse, and has been one for over ten years. Before she started working in oncology, she worked in hospice and with AIDS. Still think all gamers are couch-zombies?
   Being a gamer, I am currently raising a gamer child. She did not start with Playstation, or Gamecube, or X-box (Wii didn't come around until after her birth); she started with Leapfrog. First she had a Leappad, then a Leapster, and her gaming experience graduated from there. My daughter is crazy smart; I wish I had her brains. She is in the GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) program and she wants to be a scientist. We go into a bookstore, and while she likes books with good stories, mostly she wants a big-ass science encyclopedia. Her room tends to look like the reference section in the library. She wanted to be an astronomer, then she wanted to study global warming, and now she is thinking Cytology looks good. No couch-zombie there.
   I know an ass-load of people who game. Every last one of us are productive members of society. We all do our jobs, take care of our families, and live our lives. My life will always include being a gamer. No, I do not put gaming above family, above work and school and friends, but, in the words of my cancer-fighting Momma, when shit gets stressful, it's nice to be able to bash someone's head in. Plus, I would be missing some epic story-telling. But the point is: no couch-zombies here. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Give Me My Spare Key

   The apartment complex that I live in keeps one spare key in the office. This is for practical reasons, like if the renter gets locked out on accident, or if there is repair work that needs to be done or an emergency. Typically, this is a reasonable practice.
   However, when the office gives your spare key out to potential renters so that they can view the apartment, this policy becomes a huge problem. The giving of your particular apartment key was, granted, an accident, but what a mistake to make!
Not cool to be handing this out. 
   This happened to me today. I was coming back from picking my daughter up from school, and as I walked up to my apartment, a rather large Samoan family is coming right out of my apartment. I flip out, and I'm talking spitting fire flip-out, and the poor lady, I assume the mother, is holding up what I recognize as a key that has come from the office. They all have little paper tags on them and this one does have my apartment number on the tag. So I try to calm down, because this lady looks truly horrified.
  "Someone lives here?" she asks, and you can see the confusion on her face, and the older daughter is looking pissed, and to be fair, I did just go off on them for coming out of my apartment, and this mistake is not their mistake. What doesn't help is that the office lady is still in the office, and is not there to mediate at all; she has just set these people loose in the the apartment complex with a random key. Why not; what the hell? Who wants to do their job when they can just sit on their ass behind a computer?
   "I live here! This is my apartment!" I yell, although I am trying to calm down and redirect my rage. My daughter is just sitting back and watching the fireworks. The girl is giggling; my child is weird.
   "Oh my God, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry!" the mother is saying, and I do feel bad, because I would hate to be in her shoes. How uncomfortable, and she has to be wondering if I am a loony-tune and if I'm fixing to accuse her of stealing things that she didn't take. (I mean, I did check because I'm not stupid, but this was an honest family, nothing was missing.)
   Since I have the complex number in my cell, I call up there and give the lady an earful, but she's just stammering "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry, it's been one of those days!" I don't give a shit what kind of day you've had, you just gave my key to a random stranger, and I was only lucky that these people were decent.
   These people were lucky as well, because this could have been so much worse. What if I was a freak? What if they walked into my apartment and I had like, 50 pet snakes. What if I had a bunch of bondage shit hanging from my ceiling??? What if I was a creepy voodoo practitioner and they walked in on one of my evil rituals and I stole there souls forever??? Look at what happened in that Kate Hudson movie, The Skeleton Key. She plan out got her body snatched. They just got yelled at by a pissed-off single mom who tried to calm her ass down when she realized that this was not their fault. This could have been so much worse. No thanks to the apartment office lady, this worked out peaceably, because neither one of us were freaks. 

Strong and Single

   This is a story that I thought I wouldn't tell on this blog. This is very personal, and somewhat unfair, because there are two sides to every story, and even I do not fully know the other side of this story. Yet this is something that still affects my life to this day, something that I carry with me. A hurt that may never heal, so  I feel that I have the right to express my feelings and my views about the events that have shaped my life and will probably continue to shape my future. But please, as you read this, keep in mind that this is only my side of the story; my views and emotions and understanding of events.
   My daughter's birthday is in 10 days. She will be 11 years old. So of course  I spend a lot of time thinking about when she was born and when I found out I was pregnant and all that's in between that time and now. We have come very far from where we started, and this has not been easy.
  I was nineteen when I found out I was pregnant. I cried for two days straight, and they were not tears of joy. I was never going to have kids, you see. I had been careful and used birth control and protection, but the pregnancy happened anyway. I think, looking back, that I can pinpoint a few careless mistakes, but  I am not entirely sure. I may not have made any. Sometimes God intervenes and there is nothing you can do.
   My daughter's dad suggested abortion, but I couldn't do that. The thing was, however, that I had been considering leaving him, something that I have never told anyone but my sister, mom, and bestie. Now you all know, but I stayed because I didn't think I would be a good mother. I didn't think that I would love my child, as painful as that is to admit. Also, as  I said, I was 19, I was a high school drop-out; I did not have a GED. My job was really crappy, and I had no health insurance. Plus, although I had been starting to have strong doubts about my boyfriend, I was sure he would make a better parent than me. He wanted kids, he was older than me, more stable (I thought) and even had taken a semester of college, which  I thought was something, being that I didn't even have a high school education. He was in a better position to be a parent than I was.
   Then the 9/11 attacks came, while I was pregnant, on my 20th birthday (yup, I have a 9/11 birthday) and that was scary and frightening for us all. My bestie's boyfriend (now her husband) was in the Navy and was immediately shipped to Iraq, and all that fear and uncertainty that we all suffered made me even more unwilling to leave what I hoped would be the formation of a secure family for my daughter. And he used those attacks to convince me to move from Mississippi to Florida, stating his huge family wanted to help us out and would provide additional support and stability, and even lied about having a job lined up there that would bring in more money for our child. I have to admit, he didn't have to try hard to convince me, but what I didn't realize was that this move would effectively cut me off from immediate help from my family and friends. I would be all alone, states away from anyone that  I had ties with.
    Once we were there, I discovered that there was no job lined up. We were living off of his family for over 3 months and because  I had sold my car to help fund the move, I had no means of transportation, and I was not the savvy bus rider and walker that  I am now. Nor did the area  that we moved to have a good bus system, because we lived in the country and I was out of walking distance from everything. I was cut off from the world, and my world shrank to a terribly small size and the only contact with people that  I had was my boyfriend, his family, and my growing fetus.
   Signs that had warned me that leaving him would be a good thing continued to emerge. He never wanted to take me to my prenatal checkups, and I would get cussed-out for scheduling a morning appointment, even though often there wasn't much of a option in times and I took what was available, and I would have to beg his grandmother to take me. His grandmother became my sole support and the one I could rely on. She took me to many of my appointments. I loved her, and  I love her still.
    When the baby was born, her father didn't want to buy diapers, so again, I had to beg his grandma. I also had to ask her for things that I needed, because he wouldn't buy my necessities either. He had also started making cracks about me. He would say things like, "God, you're a fucking dumbass." And, "You're so stupid, but that's ok, because I love you." I didn't realize how invasive these words are, and people who say words don't matter are wrong. Because these words mattered. They touched everything that I did and everything that  I was. And I heard these comments and similar comments so often, that  I began to believe them.
   I finally got a job when my daughter was two. I couldn't stand having to beg people for things that I needed; things I had to have. He wouldn't let me use his car, but his grandmother had been buying these things for me, and she must have known some of what he was doing to me, because we were living with her because his job couldn't support us, and she allowed me to use her car. I got a job at a grocery store, and all I heard was put-downs and snide remarks about how  I didn't pull my own weight and my job wasn't good enough. By this point, I was being called dumbass and whore and bitch and all manner of names so often that these comments didn't really phase me. I could finally buy things that my daughter and I needed without having to beg for them; that was all I cared about.
   Then he was fired. The official reason was gross misconduct, but as I listened to one of his calls from the place that fired him, I heard them mention sexual harassment. He had a mean sense of humor, so I don't know exactly what he did, but  I do know that he never understood why he deserved to be fired. He had hurt me so many times with his words and jokes at my expense, that  I did understand. I feel so sorry for the woman he hurt, and still feel ashamed that someone I was with did this to another person.
   Now I was supporting us all, because he wouldn't take another job. Not couldn't find: he wouldn't take. My job was not good enough, he would not work in a grocery store. He would not work at a fast food joint. He wouldn't take any job that he considered 'beneath' him. What was good enough for me was not good enough for him.
   And through this, I was terrified to leave him. You see, at this time I was about 23, and he was about 30, and he had told me that if  I ever left him, he would take my daughter, and  I would never be allowed to see her again. He told me that if he decided to leave me, I could live with him and whoever his new girlfriend was, but if I left I would lose her. You may be wondering why I believed that, but  I did. I was terrified. Though  I had not believed that I would, I loved my daughter with all of my heart. She was, at that point, the only person keeping me alive. If  I  killed myself, like I had considered, she would be left alone with him. No one would protect her. He didn't use his hands much; in the 5 years that  I was with him, he had probably only hit me 3 or so times. But the things he said to me; those words killed my spirit. I couldn't leave her with alone with that.
   All this time, I had a coworker who suspected something was wrong. She loved me and wanted to help me, so she kept giving me information about women's shelters and abuse hotlines. But I threw all that away, and didn't pay attention until my daughter started to become terrified for me to leave her sight.  I know that there is the whole parent-separation anxiety thing, but we had been through that, and she was now 3 and had been staying with his grandmother while I was away at work. But his grandmother got really sick, and she couldn't take care of my daughter like she used too, and my daughter got scared. And then  I got scared, because  I wanted to die. What if he was hurting her too? What if she began to feel about herself the way  I felt about myself?
   So I called my mom and cried and begged, and he took us to the airport. He thought we were just going up there until he found a better job and could move out of his grandmother's, and that is actually what I thought too. Even at this point, I could not imagine being a single parent. But while  I was in Washington, around people who cared about me again, away from someone who was constantly emotionally abusing me, I started to wake up. And  I realized that I couldn't let him back into our lives. So I left him.
    But the thing that some people don't understand is how hard leaving an abusive relationship is. Emotional abuse was something I didn't even really consider as abuse. When  I thought of abuse, I thought of some person beating the shit out of their partner. I did not realize how much words could affect you. Even years later,  I am affected.
    I also live with the shame that  I allowed this to happen to me. People say that they would never tolerate this, and then  I feel weak and small, because I did. Not only did I tolerate this behavior, but  I tried desperately to change the person that  I was, because  I thought this was something that happened because  I was screwed up. I did not place the blame on him; I placed all blame squarely on myself. I feel ashamed because  I am a strong woman, but I wussified myself and made myself weak, made myself less, just to allow someone who was hurting me to have a sense of empowerment over me. And I still struggle with the sense of inferiority that  I helped to instill in myself.
    When  I went to get my GED,  I dragged my heels, because I was certain that I would fail.  I passed on the first try, having taken no GED classes and with high scores. My GED scores reflected that in reading and science, I ranked in the 99th percentile, and that in writing I ranked in the 95th percentile; math and social studies where lower, but still respectable.  But I was convinced that  I was a dumbass. I am in college now, and have been on the Dean's List every semester but one for the last 2 years, and  I still can't think of myself as a smart person. But if I never do anything else with my education, the money I spent paying for all the classes and books and computer equipment was still well spent, because my education has provided me with irrefutable proof that I do have intelligence and has helped with the rebuilding of my self-esteem and self-worth.
   Another thing that was affected was my love of writing. Those who grew up with me know that  I was always writing stories and poems, but he tore my writing down so badly that  I stopped. I have been away from him since 2005, but this blog is the first writing that  I have seriously tried to do except for school work, even with teachers telling me that  I should pursue writing, and I just started this blog not even 3 months ago. I don't consider myself a good writer, when once writing was the one thing  I was firmly confident of.
   I can't take a complement. I tend to think that the person is lying, or wrong, or just trying to be nice.  I struggle with bouts of depression and have to work on building up my esteem and self-value. These are all the after-effects of living with emotional abuse. No one realizes what words can do to you. We say 'sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me.' This is the biggest lie ever told. Words may not break your bones, but they do worse: they break your heart.
   I have been single for almost 8 years now, and  I am really much better, so don't be alarmed for my well-being: I'm good. However, I do not yet trust myself to have another relationship, because I have only had bad ones, and I will not be the only victim. My daughter will be a victim too. Everything  I do affects her, and even at 3, when we moved, she had an idea of what had been going on. I had tried to hide everything from her, but even at that young age she was telling me she was glad we moved because I didn't cry anymore. Children are observant, and they really do learn by example, and  I know how to be strong single.  I would rather have my daughter learn from me the ability to be strong and single than have her learn from me how to be a partner to someone who is abusive and has no regard for the person he is with.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Bad Day

   Ever had one of those pulling-out-your-hair days, where everything that can go wrong, does go wrong? One of those days when shit you never even imagined going down is going down and you are just dumbfounded? The events of the day don't even make sense and you just want to go to bed and forget the stupid day ever happened at all; ever had one of those?
   Being as you are human, and living in the world, I am going to assume that you have. Everybody's had one of those days, right? No one has a perfect life; no matter how good your life is, you are going to have an off day every once in a while.
   Well, a few days ago I had one of those days, at work, so I couldn't even take comfort in curling up in my bed and ignoring the hell out of everything. I had to pay attention. This is one of the many dangers of having a steady job. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and be a big girl.
   Anyway, there were no ominous portents at the beginning of the day, and sometimes, there are. You know there are, so if you are shaking your head at me for being superstitious, just stop now. Sometimes you wake up, and things start going wrong from the moment you pull your feet out from under the covers and put them on the ground, and you just know that the day is gonna be full of suckyness.
   This was not one of those days. I was sucker punched by this day, which actually made the day even worse, because I was not braced for it. I just went to work, and expected I would have the usual time. Except that when I told my first customer his order total, and he handed me a wad of money that was all crumpled and sloppy, he totally bitched me out for being OCD when I straightened the cash. Excuse me??? First of all, smoothing out your money so that I can actually put it in the slot is not a sign of OCD. It's a sign that no cashier can put money that's been wadded into a ball into her drawer; that's what it's a sign of. Second of all, Obsessive Compulsion Disorder is a mental illness, so if I was OCD, I wouldn't be able to help that, and this customer's obnoxious bitching wouldn't make any difference. Obnoxious bitching, however, is completely optional, and you can choose not to engage in this particular activity. Funny how that works.
   After that customer, I got fully chewed out for not taking the wrong items on a WIC check. You see, WIC checks specifically list the items that you can get, and the type and brands. I have mentioned this before, but just to be clear, if your WIC check says that you can get either 2%, 1%, or non-fat milk, then those are the only types of milk that I can give you. I can't give you lactose-free whole milk. WIC will reject the check when they review it, and then I will have a shortage in my drawer, which I can get fired for, FYI.
   As if all of that wasn't enough, I had a woman come through and she was demanding that I call her husband on the phone and tell him to come in and help her with her groceries. After I explained that we could not call out from the checkstands, she wanted me to pull out my cell phone and call him. We are not allowed to have our cell phones on the floor, so I couldn't oblige her. Then she asked for someone to help her with her groceries, so I (at this point) grudgingly called for help, thinking she wanted help out to the car. Nope. She wanted my coworker to pull our her cell phone and call the husband. Are you kidding me, here!!!??? As my coworker looked at me, dumbfounded, I just hoped that she understood that I didn't realize this loony-tune was gonna ask her to make calls for her. Really, this is something else that we can lose our job for, so I felt justified in my feeling that the customers were conspiring to get me fired. And, really, if you needed your husband that much, why did he wait outside in the car and not come in with you? How does that make sense to you?
    The day seemed to go on in a manner similar to these few examples, and I wanted to just start screaming, and keep screaming until I blew my throat out, but you can't engage in that type of activity at work. Acting like you are batshit crazy while on the clock is frowned upon.
   Obviously, as this happened a few days ago, I survived the day without the loss of my job, or criminal convictions, or being institutionalized, but this was a very close call. So if you find yourself going through a day like this, know that you are not alone. I have been there; we have all been there. Try to leave your hair attached to your scalp, take deep breaths, and fantasize about choking fools, by all means, but don't act on that fantasy. Because you will survive, and when you finally get the chance to curl up and go to sleep and forget that the stupid day ever happened, you want to do this in your own bedroom, and not in a jail cell.
Have a good day and be happy!!!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Self-diagnoses Woes

   I never had a problem with my daughter in school. I didn't even really have to work much with her. I have been reading to her since birth. Seriously, the first book I read to her was the first book in the Lord of the Ring; she was one month old, didn't care what I was reading, and was happy just for the sound of my voice and the cuddle time. When she started school, I continued to read to her, but she learned to read on her own because she wanted to read like a big girl. Math was the same. I did the flash cards with her, but she studied on her own as well, because my daughter is the type of person who likes to know shit.
   I don't really say this to brag, although I am super-duper proud, but instead to explain that I have never really had to deal with a child who is not doing well in school. I don't know what to do, or how to make them like school, or how to even figure if liking school is even the issue. But I do know that some kids have problems paying attention, and for the most part, I think this is a somewhat normal thing.
   My niece is currently going through this. Her teacher says she stares off into space, and while she does well in math, she is not where she should be in reading. She stayed back in Kindergarten, and the school may be considering non-promotion at this time, and even though No Child is Left Behind, it sure seems to me like the school is leaving my niece behind, and I don't know how to help my sister to help my niece. And what really boils my blood is the fact that the school says that they might not be able to help her or put her in the special tutoring class for reading, which is basically a tutor class that meets for a half-hour daily to help with problem areas, because they say those classes are really meant for the students who don't speak English as a first language. What? So you aren't going to give one child extra help in reading because we don't speak another language at home? I am not disparaging those who do not speak English as a first language, but this is a tutoring program that is supposed to help with reading. How is it fair that my niece may not get in because her first language is English? I am really glad that they are helping kids who don't speak English as a first language, but this help should not come at the exclusion of all the other, English-speaking kids who need help. My sister was also told that this class was for the kids in real trouble. Real trouble!? My niece may be held back for the second time, so how is she not in real trouble?
   To top off the infamy, my niece's teacher has suggested that my niece's problems may be ADD. Are you kidding me? So stop everything you are doing, and pull out your doctor's degree. Because I want to see how you are qualified to make that observation. Unbeknownst to the teacher, this concern has been addressed by the family doctor, who states that my niece does not have ADD. Why is this diagnoses the first thing that leaps into people's minds when there are attention problems? And why is this based off of one single symptom? And what makes a teacher so bold as to diagnose in the first place?
   I do not doubt that this teacher has some experience teaching kids with ADD, but she is not a doctor. She cannot diagnose. To have the education required to diagnose, you first get a Bachelor's in Biology of some sort, which is four years of higher education. Then that person takes the MCAT. After passing the MCAT with a high enough score to get accepted into a medical school, the person signs up for Medical School, which is another four years of higher education. Then the doctor takes a medical residency, or internship, which can take 3 to 7 years, depending on specialization. All of this training is based on the human body, how the body should function, illnesses, treatments, ect. A teacher's education? The minimum is a BA, which is four years, and is undoubtedly hard work, but does not focus on the well-being of the human body. A doctor has a lot more education, and that education is geared in a completely different direction.
   I am not saying anything against teachers; they are undervalued in my own opinion, but at no point -- NO POINT -- should they attempt to diagnose their students with mental illnesses or learning disabilities. My niece has been cleared for ADD, by her doctor, so who does this woman think she is? And why isn't the school offering the tutoring classes to all kids who are having trouble learning to read and not just those who don't speak English in the home? I never went through this with my daughter, so I have no advice to give my sister. I just keep trying to tempt my niece to read. And my sister is looking into alternatives, such as private schools with smaller class sizes, because she is getting no help from the school that she currently has her daughter in.
   My niece is a bright girl. She is smart, something that we observe daily. She even knows some of the stuff she is failing in testing. She can do some of this stuff at home, but fails on the tests. We don't know why, and we don't know how to make her pass tests that cover information that we know she knows, because she knows the info at home with no prompting. What do you do in this situation? 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Mr. Squirrel's Revenge

    There is a story that I've told about why I don't drive, about the squirrel that was the victim, and now, I have come to the sequel (creepy music ---> dun-dun-duuun). You see, the other day, I was throwing away a bag of trash, and as I went to toss the bag of my household's garbage into that big green bin of stink and decay, out popped Mr. Squirrel. He just about gave me a damn heart attack. He didn't run either, he challenged me with that ultra weird squirrel challenge. Fearful of furry little rodents (and possibly rabies) I fled to the safety of my apartment, leaving Mr. Squirrel to pursue his dumpster diving in peace.
   The next time I went to throw away trash, there was Mr. Squirrel again. What was up with this baseball sized fuzznut? He waited for me to throw that trash away, and I did, because once I take trash out, there is no way it's coming back in. And then he did that weird chittering again, that squirrels do when you invade their territory. Really? Why was this little rodent being so aggressive towards me?
   And that's when the truth dawned on me. Word of my slaying his little relative has reached him. He knows. It doesn't matter that he is only a fraction of my size. He is out for justice, for revenge, reprisal against the untimely death of his little Southern cousin. And his battlefield; the dumpster. That little squirrel is attempting to prevent me from being able to peaceably throw away my garbage. I am not quite sure how that will avenge his furry-little kinsman, but squirrels don't have the largest of brains. I am sure that he is out for vengeance in the only way he knows how; by staking a claim on the dumpster. Justice, in his little brain, is being served. (That, or he just really wants all the apple cores that I have been throwing away lately, but where is the fun in that?) Game on, Mr. Squirrel, game on. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Witch's Knife

   While shopping for my new apartment, and restocking kitchen supplies, I have found one thing to be true. Paring knifes are not created equally. Some of them, in fact, are really crappy and little better than a butter knife. Try peeling cucumbers with those, or slicing up your apples. You end up basically tearing off the peel, and that takes an awful lot of vegetable along with the peel, which is waste; or you rip off pieces of your apple, and can't cut straight, leaving a lot of fruit on the core. I don't know about you, but I pay a lot for fresh produce; I don't want that produce feeding the trashcan, I want the fruits and veggies to feed me and my daughter.
This knife has proven to be very bloodthirsty. 
   So I was very frustrated with the paring knifes that I had picked up from the grocery store. They weren't knives, they were crap pretending to be knives. When I went shopping for my do-it-yourself furniture, I made a point of hunting out a good paring knife. After finding one that suited me, I took the knife home.
   As I was standing at my counter, blissfully slicing up my apple with my new knife, which cut though the apple like there was nothing there but air, I stabbed myself in the finger. Which, for some reason, caused massive bleeding, even though the puncture was just a tiny one.
   I thought nothing more of this beyond the fact that I had just bled all over my apple, which was going to end up feeding the trash anyway, because there was no way  I was eating a bloody apple. I don't care if that could be rinsed off, or that the blood was my own. YUCK. No bloody apples are being consumed in this household. But beyond the waste of the apple, I had no suspicions about that knife, but I did do my usual facebook post, letting everyone know that my finger had been mutilated by my new knife.
   And I had a friend respond that the knife was a witch's knife (wink, wink, you know who you are!!) Naw, I thought. Until, about five minutes after I read that comment, as I was cutting up another apple (I make a really yummy apple dip out of cream cheese, which is why I am eating so many apples,) I sliced open my finger, again. A much bigger cut. That bled a lot more. Yet another bloody apple in the trash.
   Which has led me to believe that there is something up with that knife. I have had the thing for a total of one day and one night. Two cuts: two wasted apples. This trend is very suspicious. Do I believe in the supernatural? Hmmmm. If you have been reading my posts, you know the answer to that. If this is your first time reading about my supernatural fears, let me take a moment to direct your attention to certain tales about children's toysused furniture, and unruly registers. But regardless of all that, supernatural or not,  there is something amiss with this bloodthirsty knife. But I can't get rid of the knife, because then I would be left with nothing but that crap in my drawer that is just pretending to be a paring knife. Yup, if this was a horror movie, I would be that dumbass white girl who dies first. Good thing this isn't a horror movie. Or is it???

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Stanky Money

   We have recently voted to legalize weed, which I voted against, FYI, but I was outvoted. That's okay. This is how democracy works, and just because that stanky shit was legalized, that doesn't mean that I have to start smoking the shit. Huh-uh. Have you smelled that stuff? If you are like me, and think the smell of tobacco is bad, don't get near that grass. Weed smells like skunk on fire. Gross.
   Anyway, the day after that stuff was legalized, my old neighbors from my old place celebrated. I guess they were really happy. So happy that they created cloud cover in the parking lot of our complex. I am not kidding; it looked like the fog had rolled in. How much did they smoke to do that? I can't even figure it out, but it had to be a lot, and there wasn't really any wind that day, which I guess helped. Anyway, my sister and I were instructing the kiddos to hold their breaths because we had to get them from the car to the apartment and didn't want them suffering contact highs, and I just have to say, that was wrong. You can smoke all the skunk grass that you want, but you shouldn't be smoking in such a way that your habits affect other people. There are such things as contact highs, and if you are smoking, then you know this. Thankfully, I moved, but my mom still lives there, and if that shit happens again I am going file whatever reports I need to get that to stop. There are regulations that come with this new legalization.
   But I digress. I ranted about my old neighbor, and what I was really going to talk about was the stanky money that a customer handed me the other day. Now, usually stanky money has come out of the boobs, or the undies or socks, but this came straight from her purse. So I wasn't expecting for this money to smell. But the money did smell. And what did this money smell like? Skunk weed. Oh yeah, apparently she had been hitting that wacky tobacky. And the smell was strong. I kept expecting one of my customers to go to management and complain about the smell because every time I opened my cash door that skunk smell would waft out and overwhelm me. And if I could smell the stink, I know my customers could. What did she do with that money? Rub her stash all over it? I mean, really, what do you have to do to get your money to smell like weed? That is what boggles my mind the most. And so here I was, waiting for a manager to come over and demand a drug test, because I was sure that a customer was going to march right on over to customer service and complain, but none ever did. But really, what do you do to make money smell like that? Because that smell really lingered, and lasted all day, and probably gave our bookkeepers, who are shut up in a tiny, unvented room, a contact high. The smell was that strong, and that lingering. She had to have soaked that money in her wacky tobacky. Geez, people. Keep your bad habits to yourself. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Do-It-Yourself Drama

   Since the new move, because I was moving out of a shared apartment, I don't have much furniture. Due to my refusal to buy used furniture because that unknown furniture might be demonic or possessed, all of that furniture has been new. And because I need to save money, all that furniture has been the kind that comes in a box, and you put it together yourself.
   So I have been building furniture for the last week, and let me tell you, the room clears when I am building something. Nobody wants to be there. This is not a new phenomenon either; I have built a lot of my mother's things. And nobody stays in the same room when I have a do-it-yourself project out.
   Not really a secret, but I have a bit of a potty mouth. I actually try to curb this potty mouth tendency on my blog, and make a point not to drop f-bombs in my writing, but when I am building something, the f-bombs fly. Along with every other expletive that comes to mind. As well as a tendency to snap if you breath too hard. In short, everybody leaves for good reason.
I built the chairs, bookcase, and media stand. 
   But usually I only seldom have a do-it-yourself project. Mostly, my family buys our shit built and ready to go. The need to save money, however, has driven me to do-it-yourself extremes. I have built, in the past couple of weeks a bookshelf, media tower, entertainment stand, shoe rack, and two living room chairs. I have waiting to be built: two rocking chairs and a desk chair. My table has not been purchased yet, but will probably be something that I have to build. And all this do it yourself has caused some amount of injury. I've talked about the nail that made me wish I was a fish, but I've also had the media tower fall and bonk me on the noggin, smashed my finger with a hammer, and of course, dropped power tools and screw drivers on my poor unsuspecting feet. These accidents will happen in the world of building your own shit to save a few bucks.
Did not build the TV, are you kidding me? But I did build the stand that it's on.

   So my ka-ka mouth may be running a little wild these days, but hey, it's all in the privacy of my own home, right? And stuff that I build, it does stay built. I have never had a problem with my projects falling apart. I have had problems with crappy-ass directions that cause me to have to undo half of the damn project and reassemble, because that shit was NOT clearly explained, but once the project is finished, it stays built. Plus, I mean, have you looked at the costs of assembly and delivery? I did pay to have my daughter's huge, elaborate bed built, because having her sleep five feet in the air on something that I put together was too nerve-racking, and that cost me an extra hundred altogether, and then my mom went and gave the dude a tip. You have to tip these people??? I think we can deal with my potty mouth for the rest of the stuff I need. Let the do-it-yourself drama continue. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Allowing Media Influence To Be The Death Of Responsibility: My Take

   Every once in a while I get some backlash from other people --sometimes parents, sometimes not -- about what I allow my daughter to watch, read, and play.
   "That's a bad influence" or "Aren't you worried about how that's going to affect her?" Um.... If I was would I let her be doing it? This really comes up especially about the gaming she does. She is a hardcore gamer. But here's the thing; she is also in advanced classes. She has tested for reading levels in Post-High School levels and she is in the 5th grade. She is above average in math as well. There are no discipline problems in school and she loves school. Absolutely loves it, which to me is mind-boggling, but don't think that I am arguing her out of that inclination. She was speaking in full-out sentences at the age of 2 and has continued to be a bright, eager-to-learn, engaging child. She is very social and has a lot of friends. So why should I start taking away privileges? Because the TV might take over her mind and make her commit random acts of violence? That is not how it works, people.
   Oh, I know, there are some of you shaking your heads and envisioning the horrors that are yet to come, but the thing is, even though blaming the media for undue influence on everything in our lives that is bad has become the thing to do, I never bought into that crap. And that's just what it is: it's crap. I watched plenty of cartoon violence, and let me tell you, I have yet to drop an anvil on somebody's unsuspecting head. I game and own all the gaming systems, and I have never been charged with any type of assault, or any other crime for that matter. I am also a zombie nut, and I read, watch, and play zombie themed media, and I haven't eaten any of you yet, nor do I consider people to be fine dining. You're all gross and I'm not hungry if you are what's on the menu. And you know what  -- every time Marilyn Manson's The Beautiful People song comes on -- I crank that shit up and sing along. Because you do not have to have a good singing voice (and I don't) to sing that shit and I can really rock out to that song.
   I know that this is tricky, because I can't deny that the media does have some influence on society, but people take this too far and start blaming the media for every bad thing they have ever done. Forget responsibility; the TV made me do it. We are allowing for a whole generation of shiftless blame-mongers who don't know how to take responsibility and accept the consequences for their actions.
   For example, I am a fluffy girl. Some people would just come out and say fat, but I like fluffy better. But am I that way because I watched to much Sesame Street and took the Cookie Monster as a role model? No; I'm that way because I decided food is delicious and I would rather eat more than I should than be skinny. That's on me. That's not on the damn TV, or the books I read, or the games I play, or the songs I listen to. (And I am actually happy with the way I look, so no work-out advice or health tips. You love you and I'll love me, and we're all good.)
   So do I worry that my daughter is going to go insane and do something terrible because of media influence? No. My daughter shows no signs of mental illness, and shows no tendency to violent actions, and if she ever does something horrible, I am going to be heartbroken, and sobbing buckets, as I drag her to the police station and turn her ass in. And I'll visit her on every day that I am allowed, but she will pay the consequences. Because people are responsible for their actions, and we have forgotten this. If you mess up, you pay your dues and take your punishment. And the blame is on you. Not someone who sang a song, or wrote a book, or made a game, or played a part on a TV show or movie.
    And you can bet that my daughter knows all this. We have had this talk. Because I am dead-serious, and blaming the media is the norm, and she needed to know that I don't buy that crap. I started teaching my daughter about responsibility at a young age, because although taking the responsibility for some of my own bad choices has included some of the hardest things I have ever faced, I have also become a better, stronger, and wiser person for paying my dues and making things right. By allowing the blame to be placed on everything and everyone but the person who makes the mistake, we are denying them the chance to learn and grow. And isn't learning and growing one of the points of life?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

I Wish I Wish I Were A Fish

   So anybody remember that old movie with Don Knotts, The Incredible Mr. Limpet? And he spent his time wishing he was a fish, and then he was one? Well, today I wished I was a fish, but not for the same reasons he did. My life doesn't suck that bad; I just wish I didn't have any feet at this moment.
   You see, this all started yesterday, when I was putting together my new media stand for all those old movies that I obviously watch. As I was putting together this media stand I would occasionally drop a screw, one of those nasty ones with a pointed end. I thought I had gathered up all the dropped screws, but later that night....
The culprit. 
   Yeah, the rouge screw found it's way into my foot. And as I jerked my foot away from the sharp pain, the screw pulled a big tear in the pad of my foot because it was stuck fast in the carpet. So I'm hobbling around the apartment tracking blood, and my daughter is freaking out because I'm bleeding and she thinks my foot is disgusting. Being the person that I am, I stop my hunt for a band-aid and start chasing her around with my bloody foot, because, ya'know, I'm mature like that. Don't judge, that shit was hilarious and why waste a bloody foot?
   After I am done with my daughter torment, I hunt down the band-aids, and they are all silver and sparkling because my daughter picks out all the band-aids in this house. I'm just thankful they weren't Hello Kitty. My cut foot is all blinged-out, but at least I'm not wearing some pink frou-frou crap. And I was done; I have a history of hurting my feet and a cut on the bottom is not the worst that I have done. I changed out the bloody band-aid for a clean one in the morning and thought nothing more of it.
   Until I had to stand on the biatch for 8 hours. The cut started throbbing like a sore tooth after a mere hour of standing, so I'm trying to elevate it on the cabinet under the checkstand and keep my weight off of it, and I'm limping around looking like a fool and I'm all sour but trying not to be because this mood isn't anybody's fault and no one deserves to suffer for my accident, but by the end of the day, I'm just done with my feet. I'm sure that eventually I would miss being mobile, but right now I just want to disown my foot. It's not mine; take it away. 

My Daughter's Time Twin

Winter sucks. 
   So this is the month of my daughter's birthday, which automatically makes this month the best month ever. My daughter is the greatest part of my life, and even though February comes in the Worst Season Ever-winter sucks-- this is still the best month. A gift given to take some of the sting out of the cold dreary yuckyness that is winter.
   But when I was pregnant with her, the days of this month dragged on in stress and anxiety. I have told you the reasons why I don't want more kids, and the truth is that the last weeks of pregnancy dragged for me. This is where my bestie comes in, again; something she will hopefully never stop doing.  My due date was estimated to be the 13th of February; my best friend was born on 23rd. All throughout my pregnancy, my bestie was demanding that I wait until the 23rd to have my baby.
   "You're gonna have her on my birthday," she would tell me in tones that booked no argument. I would laugh, because she was funny, and a baby comes when a baby comes, right? You can't order the day, unless you are doing induced labor or something of that nature, which I was not. The only thing that really made me bite my nails was the fact that I really didn't want my daughter born on February 14th. No Valentine's baby for me, thank you. I don't really hate Valentine's Day, I guess, but that holiday (can Valentine's Day really be called that?) seems like a total retail holiday. I have never felt there was true meaning to this day, and I didn't want my daughter sharing a day with a retail holiday.
   So on the 14th, when I was waiting anxiously for labor to start, I was really feeling stress and praying that nothing happened. By the 15th, we were good and I was ready to go at any time. Then the 16th came, and the 17th; the 18th and the 19th. On the 20th the midwife group that  I went to ordered a stress test to see if the baby was in any stress, and this included another ultrasound, which was exciting to me, because I thought maybe this was a last chance to finally be able to see what gender she was. My daughter had kept her legs tightly crossed every time we had a look at her, and all my baby stuff was either/or colors, which meant a lot of green and yellow. She did not let us see her gender on this day either, so I continued my fervent prayer for a girl, because I know you are supposed to be happy with whatever flavor you get, but I really wanted a girl.
   The stress test showed that the baby was not in stress, so I was sent home. I was miserable, but the baby seemed to be fine. The 22nd rolled around, and I woke to contractions. I had contractions all that day, but didn't go into the hospital because my midwife believed that I was in false labor. I was, at that time, 9 days late, so why she thought this boggles the mind. At midnight, I had called so many times, because I was doing incredibly gross and disgusting things, like losing my mucus plug (ew, ew, ew!!!) and was in a general state of freak-out, because we were living in the country, which meant that with a good traffic flow, the drive to the hospital took 30 minutes and I did not want to have my baby in a car.
    My daughter was born at noon on the 23rd. So my bestie, she totally has the power to alter your due date. My daughter was a whole 10 days late and she shares a birthday with my best friend, making them 'time twins': the astrological name for two unrelated people born on the same day. This is the ultimate way to make sure that your best friend does not forget your birthday; something that  I excel at because I am really terrible with dates. Not this date though, I worked hard for this date. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Kids; They're Multiplying

   So my daughter's birthday is coming up this month and she is going to be 11. Now, you might think that this means a birthday party, but I do not do birthday parties. Oh, she gets a celebration, but I keep this celebration within the family: my mom, my sister, and her two kids. That is enough bodies in the house, thank you; no need to add more people to breath all of my air. And the kiddo gets to pick a special activity; sometimes going to see a movie and out to dinner, sometimes the zoo, things like that. This is all because I did a party once, and it was horrible.
   For my daughter's 3rd birthday, we did a party and invited a shit load of kids. And all these kids, they had to be entertained. And all these kids' parents: they left. I want to know since when a party equaled free daycare. I call bullshit.
   So there are all these little kids running around, and no other adults. Every time you opened a freaking door: more kids. They were like cockroaches, if you saw one, there where more you didn't see lurking around the corner. There were more of them than I initially invited, and they seemed to be multiplying by the minute.What. The. Hell.
   And so I was trying to wrangle kids and serve cake and keep them from fighting, because little kids: they're  vicious. One kiddo snatches a toy from another and they ALL start biting. How is that even a rational response? But try and explain rational thinking to a bunch of three year old ankle biters.
   I sugar them up with cake and ice cream, and it's time to open presents, and they are all crying because they want presents too, and little kids don't always get the idea that on birthdays, only the birthday kids get presents. But I give them all party favors, which soothes them, because at that age they don't care what they get, so long as they get something. Truth be told, all my daughter's toys have been have been pushed aside and they are all playing with the boxes, my daughter included. I'm freaking exhausted, and I don't care what they are playing with so long as it isn't fire or something that got fished out of the toilet, and I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of parents who should have never left in the first damn place. Of course, they are almost all of them late. And this is when I know that I will never have another birthday party again. Never. I celebrate her birthdays, but in my own way, not in a way that provides free daycare to kids who magically multiply.