We scored free rocks

This shit was free, y'all!

I had this conversation with my husband:

Him: Hello?

Me: You called? (after 8 years of marriage, pleasantries no longer exist. Plus, I don’t have time.)

Him: (silence)

Me: Again, you called?

Him: Yes.

Me: What do you want?

Him: I wanted to let you know I scored free rocks.

Me: What the fuck are you talking about?

Him: I scored free rocks.

Me: I understand what you said. I’m just wondering how the conversation transpired that led you to getting us free rocks.

Him: Well, rock house (note: that’s what we call the house that has their front lawn covered entirely in rocks) was getting rid of some. I was walking the dogs by their house and I saw him loading the rocks into the back of his truck. I asked him what he was doing with them and he said taking them to the landfill. I said that I’d take some off of his hands.

Me: Okay…

Him: So he put some in a wheelbarrow and wheeled the rocks to our backyard. Now we have all kinds of rocks.

Me: Okay…

Him: I saved us like $10 or $15!!!

At that point, I didn’t know what else to say. He was so proud of himself for scoring shit we could have found on the ground (also for free) that I didn’t want to burst his bubble. But at the same time, I was astonished that my husband actually convinced someone not only to give us free rocks but to wheel them to our house.

I’m a little jealous of his mad negotiating skillz.

I rant sometimes. This is one of those times.

Sometimes I rant about stuff. It doesn’t happen often but read on to find out what fired me up…

A few weeks ago, I read one of those First Person articles from the Yahoo! Contributor Network. The title “How the Recession Made Me a Better Mom” really grabbed my attention because a) it was another piece of recession porn that I read constantly and b) it’s always interesting to me to hear what another mom has to say.

Boy, am I sorry that I read this piece. And the hundreds of comments that followed.

To begin with, I am sick of the assumption that a child in daycare is raised by someone else. Yes, daycare does provide a safe place for a child to go during the day while her parents work. Yes, daycare does provide educational lessons and reinforces values taught at home like sharing, not to bully, and table manners. Yes, daycare workers do provide love and nuturing to the children entrusted to their care. But let me be clear–even if our kids are in daycare, we are the ones raising them. And it is insulting for anyone to say otherwise.

When my child is running a fever or has a nightmare or falls off her bike, does daycare take care of her? When she has questions about G-d and heaven and death, do the daycare workers answer her? Do they clothe and feed her? Do they read to her at night? Do they teach her the importance of family and what it feels like to be loved unconditionally? Do they teach her the importance of chores and contributing to a family? Are they the ones that have to endure her temper tantrums yet still look at her and say “I love you”? Do they  have fitfull nights of sleep worrying about her future and making sure she’s taken care of? Are they willing to fight to the death to protect her? To all of those, I say no.

So don’t tell me that daycare raises my child.

The other point this woman made that I take issue with is that it took her losing her job in order to teach her kids the value of a dollar. That’s disgusting. Why could she not do this while she was working? I understand that each dollar becomes more precious when there are fewer of them floating around. But to not understand the value of those dollars simply because they are in abundance makes me furious. Kids at every income level need to understand the importance of hard work and making smart financial choices. And if this woman was so wrapped up in her consumerist behaviors that she couldn’t recognize the horrible attitudes and behaviors she was instilling in her children prior to her unemployment, then I’m just sad.

I can’t even address the rest of the points she made without getting myself worked up into a frenzy. Well, I will address one. She mentions that she’s more active with her kids now that the recession has impacted her family. Mainly, now she’s learned to turn the TV off.  She says “Without the distraction of TV, I talk with my kids more. We play outdoors, take walks around the neighborhood, and go to the playground. We wrestle on the floor and set up elaborate wooden train tracks. We dance, read books, and sing songs. We visit family and friends.” REALLY??? It took you not being able to afford your cable bill to do this?

My husband and I have cable. We have internet service. But we–like hundreds of thousands of other parents–know how to turn it off and interact with our daughter.  All of those things she listed? We do those, or our own variation of those. Because we recognize how important it is to give her quality time and attention. Without the television. It’s a damn shame that this woman had to lose her job in order to focus on her kids.

Some of you may disagree with me (and that’s fine) but I can’t tolerate the fact that this woman is using the recession and her unemployment as an excuse to make amends for what she perceives as her past indiscretions as a parent.  None of us are perfect parents (well, maybe some people are. I am not) and those of us that aren’t admit our imperfections. We strive to improve, acknowledging that some days, we fail miserably while other days we emerge as victorious as Katniss. But to blame external factors like television–which come equipped with an on/off button–for those failings is just plain pathetic.

I suppose I can choose to look at it from another point of view. One that says “well, sometimes is takes a dramatic upheaval in order to realize our shortcomings and it takes a strong person to make changes” and “just be glad for her children and their future that she is making those changes”.   Perhaps I should be less judgmental and accept this woman for what she is–a mother just trying to do her best for her kids regardless of the circumstances that brought her there.  She’s just a mother trying to accept her new situation and making the best of it. But I’m struggling with looking at it from that point of view.

I’m jealous of you if you’re not struggling with it. Because that means you’re more accepting and less judgmental than I am. And you possess characteristics that I know I need work on. Except not today.

A rerun of Jerseylicious is on.

Lies I tell my daughter

I lie to my daughter. A lot. And I’m totally fine with that.

I don’t lie to her about anything important. But little things? Are fair game. For instance, I have convinced my daughter that whenever she sees an animal, she must say hello to it by making its animal sound. So each time we pass by a horse farm, she says “Neigh!”. Cows get “moo!” Geese get “honk, honk!” I did it more for my amusement than anything else and it never ceases to be funny. (I fear the day I have to tell her it’s not normal.)

I wish it stopped there. It didn’t. Once you start lying, it’s so hard to stop. Here’s a small sampling of the lies I’m spreading with absolutely no guilt:

  • I have  told her that spinach is pirate food. Given her obsession with Jake and the Neverland Pirates, this has been quite effective in getting her to eat spinach.
  • When I couldn’t listen to the Fresh Beat Band for one more day, I’ve told her that they’re on vacation. I have also told her this with The Wiggles, Dora, and Bubble Guppies.
  • When we had to get rid of our old cars (to which she was oddly attached), I told her that yellow car is living on a car farm with other sick cars and that green car is waiting on a new transmission.
  • When our cat disappears for a day (we have an outdoor, formerly feral cat), I tell her the cat is at cat work.
  • After I washed her favorite stuffed animal and didn’t want to send him to school with her to pick up germs, I told her Miss Kim (the owner) said that toys from home aren’t allowed at school anymore. Also with that toy, when she leaves him in my car during the day while I’m at work and she’s at school, I tell her that I feed him lunch.
  • This past Easter, I told her that my mother-in-law was the Easter bunny’s delivery person because I didn’t have an Easter basket for her (I’m Jewish. My husband is not).

I rationalize my lies by telling myself that they’re harmless and won’t send her into therapy (well, most of them won’t). I love her but sometimes, I need to protect my sanity. And I’m completely fine with telling a few lies (fine. A lot of lies. If I were Pinocchio, my nose would extend to around Wyoming. I’m live Delaware).

Don’t be jealous that I’m such an awesome parent.

 

People who actually do their to-do list

That's about right. I need to make a list to get motivated for my to-do list.

I am a to-do list addict. I have lists for everything: daily chores, blog post topics, bills to pay, groceries, household projects…it goes on ad nauseam. I have paper lists, iPhone app lists, and Google documents to house my lists. At this point, I need a list of lists as well as a directory for where I keep them all.

It’s kind of insane.

What I like about my lists is that they give me the feeling that I’m organized. I’m not a naturally organized person (you should see my desk at home. It’s frightening). It is work for me to be organized. Lists help me tell myself that even if I’m a mess, at least I’m trying to combat the problem (and effort is worth like 85%, right?) Additionally, I suffer from depression and anxiety and get overwhelmed very easily; having the lists on hand helps bring me back to reality and allows me to focus when I’m in the middle of an anxiety attack.

The problem is this, though: I  never actually adhere to my lists (except at the supermarket. Most of the time). Lists have become like the speed limit on most roads. They’re a guideline. I use them as a way of telling myself what I need to do and what I want to write about but usually I kind of toss them aside and do what I want. Lists, for all their good intentions, are really a way of setting myself up to fail. When I look at a to-do list and realize I did nothing on it, I get sad and angry. Mostly due to the fact that I took the time to write it all out and then completely ignored it. But a little bit because I can’t even follow my own directions.

And all of this makes me jealous of people who can adhere to their to-do lists. I don’t know how you do it. How do you make a list and actually stick to it? Don’t you look at some things on there (like laundry) and say “screw it. I’m not going to do that today”? What keeps you motivated to actually accomplish what you intend to accomplish? And what do you use to keep your to-do lists safe and secure so you can actually use them (have I mentioned that I have a problem of writing lists and then losing them and then writing a new one and then finding the old one?)?  I’m serious–I want to know.

Because if not, I think I’m going to put “master my to-do list” on my to-do list. And I have a pretty good idea as to how that’s going to go.

People who didn’t watch LOST

I watch a good amount of television. I’m okay with this fact as I’m usually doing something else productive like blogging or folding laundry or wrestling one of my daughter’s toys out of my dog’s mouth. I find TV to be relaxing and for me, it’s a good way to shut my brain off (which is harder than it sounds. For me, at least).

Usually.

Thanks for ruining TV, JJ Abrams.

You see, I have a tendency to get sucked into shows that require a lot of attention and thought and generate about an hour’s worth of discussion when they’re over. I call this the LOST effect. If you watched LOST, you know what I’m talking about. In fact,  I don’t have PTSD; I have PTLD (post-traumatic LOST disorder).

If you didn’t, I’m jealous of you. Because you have a life. And you are capable of watching something as simple as a TV show without becoming obsessed.

If you did watch LOST and are currently suffering from the LOST effect, stay away from The Killing.

Seriously.

People who aren’t ticklish

This morning, my 5-year-old looks at me and says “Mommy, can I tickle you later?” Being the awesome mom I am I hesitate for only a second and then reply “Of course you can”.

Now, if you’re ticklish, you know this is akin to a cruel and unusual punishment.  Knowing that you’re about to be tickled is knowing that you’re walking into a torture chamber, unable to escape. Tickling is painful and tiresome and horribly awful. It is the worst thing on Earth (well, almost the worst thing on Earth. There are only slightly few things that I can think of that are worse than being tickled). But the worst part is that, although you know it hurts and you want it to stop NOW, you can’t stop laughing. Hence the torture.

It’s one thing when someone accidentally tickles you. When someone you know and love does it, it’s 1000 times worse because they know…your tickle spots. And they target those spots. Repeatedly. Until you can stand it anymore but you’re stuck and paralyzed with laughter and uncomfortableness. Those who are ticklish and in new relationships, heed this warning: Forget never letting them see you sweat. Never, ever let them know you’re tickle spots. Because they will lord it over you and use it to their advantage whenever possible. At the most inappropriate times and sometimes, in the most inappropriate places. And once they know your secret tickle spots, you are powerless.

And to those who aren’t ticklish, please understand this: tickling isn’t funny. It’s excruciating. Just because we laugh doesn’t mean we like it, and it’s certainly not an invitation to keep doing it. Laughing when tickled is like breathing while alive–you can’t help it.

So to that end…

I’m jealous of people who aren’t ticklish. But I wish it upon you. Because you must know what it’s like before you inflict the horror of tickling on someone for your own amusement. In fact, if tickling had been part of The Hunger Games, those kids would have been begging for nightlock.

Yeah, it’s that bad.

People who can cut onions without crying

They look innocent. They are not.

For reasons that are inexplicable to me, about 98.7% of the recipes I cook with involve onions. This is fine because onions are inexpensive and I’ve managed to convince myself that if an onion is in a meal, we are eating a vegetable (please let me have this one). It works out well for everyone.

Except there’s one little problem. Onions make me cry.

I’m not talking a few little tears. I’m talking full on floods coming out of my eyes, the kind akin to hysterical sobs. Sometimes it’s so bad, I can’t even be on the same floor as the kitchen; I need to outside to the deck or upstairs to our bedroom to shield my eyes from the horrible blinding onion fire.  When I do need to leave the kitchen, it’s a kind of obstacle course to get out of there safely thanks to my temporary blindness, small dogs who live at my feet and the knife that I usually forget to put down. It’s a good time, really.

Short of not cooking with onions, there is nothing I can do about the situation. I’ve tried everything short of wearing complete snorkeling regalia. I hate admitting defeat, especially to something so small but usually, I wind up having to ask my husband to chop the onions for me. Which brings me to my point.

I’m jealous of people who can cut onions without crying. Or going temporarily blind. Or both. It must be such a joy to cut open an onion and go to work on it like a cucumber or tomato. It must be nice to not fear for your safety (and the safety of those around you) when you make that first slice. It must be pleasant to look at an onion without wondering what torturous punishment you’re in for. Because I long for the day when I don’t weep at the sight of that tiny little vegetable.

So, if you can cut an onion without crying, will you share your secrets? Please?