Monday, August 20, 2007

So now I'm a danger to my kids?

Are stay-at-home moms dangerous?
Posted: August 2, 2004
1:00 a.m. Eastern

By Joseph Farah
© 2004

I remember when feminists – even the radical ones – at least gave lip service to the idea that their movement was about "choices."

For sure, the Gloria Steinems and Betty Friedans of the world always were rather condescending toward any woman who made different choices than them.

But, only now, with the "women's liberation" movement in its fourth decade, are those other choices – those alternate lifestyles, if you will – being characterized as subversive, dangerous and morally wrong by a new breed of pious, feminist fundamentalists.

Exhibit A is Gretchen Ritter, who apparently makes her living directing the Center for Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Texas and as associate professor of government and women's studies, who maintains stay-at-home moms are dangerous subversives and a plague on society.

"It is time to have an honest conversation about what is lost when women stay home," she wrote in the Austin American-Statesman earlier this month. "In a nation devoted to motherhood and apple pie, what could possibly be wrong with staying home to care for your children?"

Ritter goes on to tell us:

* That choice by women denies fathers the chance to be involved;

* Women lose a chance to contribute as professionals and community activists;

* It teaches children the world is divided by gender;

* It stresses children out;

* It victimizes women who work because employers fear women professionals may opt for the same choice some day and quit their jobs;

* It makes it tougher for families with two working parents because schools and libraries will neglect their needs;

Ritter pulls no punches. She comes close to calling for laws to outlaw full-time motherhood.

"Full-time mothering is ... bad for children," she insists.

"... the stay-at-home mother movement is bad for society," she states.

Of course, there is not the slightest effort to cite empirical evidence. There is not the slightest effort to cite anecdotal evidence. There is not the slightest effort to cite her own personal experience – if she has any.

No, these judgments are handed down from on high as if from the university of Mount Sinai. We're just supposed to believe it – in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Mind you, Ritter is someone who says she supports "alternative lifestyles." But what she means by "alternative lifestyles" is anything but traditional. These feminists don't really support the idea of allowing people to make informed choices about how to live their lives. They want to coerce people and badger people into living the lifestyles they prefer – those they consider sacred, holy and sinless in their new religion of goddess-worshipping feminism.

Should we just disregard nut jobs like Ritter? It is sorely tempting. If only we had the choice to do so.

Here's the problem: What Ritter teaches at the University of Texas is de rigueur of what is taught at colleges and universities across this country – at taxpayer expense.

In other words, this is the official government line. What Ritter teaches about stay-at-home moms being dangerous to society is considered culturally mainstream in academia. Women who choose to raise children are looked at as if they came from another planet.

It's easy to point out this kind of demagoguery as if it is an isolated incident. It's not. It's the norm on campus. Your children – those precious beings you sacrificed to raise, sometimes as stay-at-home moms – are being indoctrinated into these ideas at your expense.

It's not enough to battle the corrupt ideas – that's the easy part. We've got to go further – much further.

It's time to pull the plug on the gravy train that funds them at nearly every public college and university in America today.

I am beyond words.  I find it hard to believe that this crackpot has ever even met a child. I feel compelled to refute this point by point:

* That choice by women denies fathers the chance to be involved
I'm not sure where she came up with the idea that fathers are denied a chance to be involved with their children simply because the mother stays home.  My becoming a SAHM was a mutual decision between my husband and myself, not one I made on my own without his input.  He spends ample time with the children.  He gives them baths, reads them bedtime stories, tucks them into bed, says prayers with them, plays with
them, and loves them deeply, among numerous other things.  He does not feel deprived of anything, and I'm sure he would say that he is glad they are so well taken care of by me.

* Women lose a chance to contribute as professionals and community activists;
So I can no longer contribute to society simply because I don't work outside the home?  I must have missed the memo on that!  What about all the years I worked?  Do they not count for anything?  I didn't realize that being a "community activist" was reserved for women with jobs.  I thought anybody could put their time and energy into creating a better environment for all to share.  As a non-working mother, I actually have more time to devote to community activism.  Go figure!

* It teaches children the world is divided by gender;
I hate to tell Ms. Ritter, but there are inherent differences between a mother and a father, the least of which has to do with "plumbing".  A child who is breastfed cannot suckle from it's father's breast, can it?  Children learn from birth that there are gender lines drawn.  It is not necessarily a bad thing.  If I had a job that paid more than my husband's, then he would be the one to stay home with the kids instead of me.  For us, it was simply a matter of economics and whose job was more lucrative.

* It stresses children out;
In what ways?  I always thought my children were well-adjusted little people.  They spend their days with the person they are most familiar with:  their mother.  They are not beaten or abused in any manner; they are well-fed, nutured, clean, loved and have their mother's undivided attention.  Explain to me again how this is stressful, because I'm just not getting it.  They are not wrenched from their warm beds in the morning to be toted to a day-care center while Mommy goes out and earns a paycheck (only to have the majority of that money go back into day-care costs), they are not constantly sick from being exposed to every single germ, virus and bacteria that comes along, and they are not separated from the person who gave them life for 8-10 hours a day.  Sorry, Ms. Ritter, I don't understand your argument.

* It victimizes women who work because employers fear women professionals may opt for the same choice some day and quit their jobs;
Having been a working mother at one point in my life, I can say that I have never seen this.  Is she saying that simply by being a woman we are all guilty until proven innocent?  That an employer looks at all women and judges them as flighty creatures who will quit their jobs the second they get pregnant?  So what is the choice here?  Let the human race die out so that employers are not inconvenienced by women who decide that they would rather be home with their children while they are small?  I don't see how my choice to quit my part-time job affected all the other people in my office.  When I told them early on in my pregnancy that I would not be back after my son's birth, their reaction was pretty much "Um, whatever.  There are plenty of people out there to take your place."  As much of a blow as it was to my ego, it was the truth.  I seriously doubt that companies are going out of business because a few women choose not to return to work after the birth of their children.  And if there are companies out there that are truly "victimizing" their employees, then I think the problem is much bigger than a few SAHMs.

* It makes it tougher for families with two working parents because schools and libraries will neglect their needs;
This one is my favorite because it makes absolutely no sense at all to me.  How exactly does a library neglect a child's needs because both of their parents work?  I didn't realize there were libraries out there that had two separate sets of rules:  one set for one-income families and one set for two-income families.  When my son filled out an application for a library card several years ago, nobody asked him if his mother worked.  They asked for his name, address, phone number and my signature.  If Ms. Ritter is referring to the fact that most libraries schedule their programs for children in the morning and afternoon, as opposed to the evening, I have a simple explanation:  most children are at the best in the morning and early afternoon.  By the time most parents gets home from work, feed the children, and get to the library, the kids are getting close to bedtime. I can't see any librarian worth his/her salt scheduling programs for children 
in the evenings.  My library has hours until 9:00 pm, regardless of who works in our household.  As far as schools are concerned, more clarification would be nice here.  I don't understand how children of stay-at-home mothers are making life harder
for children of working parents.  In my opinion, the working parents make it harder on the stay-at-home parents because it would seem that more of the responsibility for helping out in class would fall on them because they don't have "real" jobs. (For the record, I homeschool, so none of this pertains to me. I am merely offering an opinion.)

The frightening part to me is that this woman is shaping the minds of young men and women in a large college.  She is a prime example of why the word "feminist" is so terrifying to some people.  By claiming that stay-at-home mothers are "dangerous subversives" and a "danger to society", she will not only earn the wrath of men, but of women as well.  The decision to stay at home with one's children is a personal one, is nobody's business but that of the couple making that decision.  It is an incredibly difficult and personal decision, and who has earned the right to tell me what is right or wrong for my OWN family?  And out of curiosity, what is her opinion on stay-at-home fathers?  Even though they make up a much smaller percentage of the population, they do exist.  Are they going to ruin the world like stay-at-home mothers?  Are they ruining things for working dads?  

What scares me is that she can say whatever she wants, not offer any evidence to back it up, and it will be taken as truth and respected by her students simply because of who she is.  I think the real demon here is a college professor who speaks of things she knows nothing about.  Until she can prove her theory with hard evidence, she is simply an overpaid crackpot with a mouth loud enough to be heard by too many people.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Summer nights

Tonight was one of those nights I wish I could capture in a jar and keep forever. After dinner, we went outside and Sam and Norah played on the swingset while Todd and Jacob tossed a baseball back and forth. It wasn't anything special, just a wonderful hour of family togetherness that I treasure. The sound of Sam and Norah laughing as he pushed her in her swing; the way Todd cheered for Jacob when he caught the baseball in his mitt; I wish there was some way I could bottle these moments and keep them on a shelf. There is nothing like a lazy summer evening spent in the backyard together. Good times...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Y'all gonna make me lose my mind

What is it with kids and repetition? My kids get on these kicks where they find a movie and insist on watching it on a continuous loop all day. Seriously, it's enough to make a grown up lose their sanity.

The movie du jour is The Little Mermaid. My three year old is now obsessed with it. He's watched it approximately 152 times in the past three days. Our DVD player will just play the movie over and over, so he doesn't even need Mom to start it over when it ends. And heaven forbid you should try to watch something else. He goes ballistic and starts screeching "I WANNA WATCH ARIEL!!!!". I went into his room last night and I kid you not, he was singing "Kiss the Girl" in his sleep. It would have been cute if it wasn't so strange to hear him sleep-singing. Oh, did I mention that he was singing in a Jamaican accent? Just like was adorable and disturbing at the same time...

Is it wrong that I'm praying for the DVD player to break? Or for that movie to disappear? Because I fear for my sanity if one of those two things doesn't happen soon...

Anything I can do, he can do better

Have you ever heard of Couvade Syndrome? It's also called sympathetic pregnancy. It's where the man experiences the same symptoms as his pregnant wife. I think my husband has a form of that syndrome. No, I'm not pregnant and even though he did gain more weight than I did in all three of my pregnancies, his need to always one-up me continues.

Whenever I'm feeling sick (it doesn't matter what I've got), my husband always has to have something worse. If I've got a cold, he's got pneumonia. If my throat is sore, he thinks he has strep throat. Bronchitis? He's got the early stages of emphysema. Stomach ache? Oh, well he thinks he was food poisoning. Backache? He thinks he slipped a disk. Sore muscles? He starts asking if right-side abdominal pain is appendicitis. It's really frustrating to never be allowed to just be sick and not have to be outdone by him.

I've been pretty sick for almost a week. Major head cold with ear infections and perforated eardrums. I've felt like crap, and haven't gotten much sympathy from him. I ended up going to the doctor yesterday to find out for sure if I had an ear infection, which I do. We met up at his parents' house yesterday afternoon to pick up the kids. This is the conversation we had:

Me: I've got to run home and take the groceries in the house. I don't want the ice cream to melt. I also need to get some Advil. My ear is throbbing and there are pains shooting through it. I'm in agony.

Hubby: Oh, don't worry, my throat is sore. I think I'm getting sick too.

Me: And your point?

Hubby: Well, I just wanted you to know that I don't feel well either.

Me: Congratulations.

Notice that he never offered any sympathy to me? No murmurs of "Oh, you poor thing. That must be agonizing for you." No offers to come home with me and help me with the groceries. In fact, he ditched me until almost 10:00 last night. He's not my favorite person right now (in case you hadn't already picked up on that.)

If he tries to one-up me when Aunt Flow comes to visit this month, he's in big trouble. I can just hear it now:

Me: Boy, I've got some serious cramps.

Hubby: I think my prostate is enlarged. I should see the doctor.

Would it be wrong to smother him with his pillow while he snores next to me at night? It's really tempting...

What really happened after "happily ever after"

Hi, I'm Ella. I never went by Cinderella. That was one of the many things that those darn Brothers Grimm changed when they stole my story. They better hope they never meet me in a dark alley...because I'm going to kick some butt and take some names if we ever cross paths. Those "authors" really told you all a pack of lies...

You want the true story? The real deal? Well, here it is:

My mother and father raised me in a loving home. My mother didn't die; on the contrary, she is still very much alive. We lived in a nice, middle-class neighborhood and even had a woman come and clean our house three times a week. I was never forced to be a servant. That's just rubbish. When I reached adulthood, my parents encouraged me to to decide what I wanted to do with my life. I dabbled in college, even entertained thoughts of becoming a teacher. But all that changed one night when I met "Prince Charming" at a bar...

Here is another place that those stupid Grimm boys got all fictional on you. It turned out (and I only found this out after I married him) that "Prince" Charming wasn't royalty at all. His first name was know, like the singer from Minneapolis? Likes purple? Changed his name to that weird symbol for a while? TAFKAP? Anyhoo, "Prince" Charming wasn't a member of any royal family. He came from a long line of steelworkers in Pittsburgh. But he never told me that. And let me just say, he played the prince thing for all it was worth. Drove a fancy car, wore designer clothes, never paid for a drink...yeah, he fancied himself royal all right. His family had money at one time, back when the steel business was booming. His grandparents still lived in a pretty snazzy house, and that was the only place that I ever saw his family in. Turns out his parents were really down on their luck and living in a trailer in the Happy Times Trailer Park on the outskirts of town. But they really put on the airs when we met that first time. It was our engagement party and I remember it well...

I should have been suspicious when it was mostly my family at the party. The only ones from his side were his parents and grandparents. His mother's dress looked a bit shabby but I thought they were just eccentric. Had I looked closer, I would have noticed that her tiara was made out of aluminum foil and rhinestones. But I was dazzled at the prospect of being a princess, so I closed my eyes to anything that seemed questionable. It did seem strange that his father insisted on carrying a scepter all night, but again, I chalked it up to the eccentricities of royals. Oh, I was so blind. And before we go any further, I need to clarify a few more things that have been bugging me: there are no such things as fairy godmothers. Believe me, I've tried to conjure one up and it hasn't worked yet. So pumpkins turning into carriages, mice into horses, rags to ballgowns...all lies, made up by those men to sell books. And glass slippers? C'mon, how stupid can you be to believe that? That would have to be some seriously strong glass to support the weight of a person. Glass slippers would shatter, and who in the world wants to walk around with shards of glass in their feet all night? Bloody toes are not sexy or attractive.

But back to the story...

According to tradition, my parents paid for the wedding. It was beautiful. My mom and dad really went all out on the shindig. Flowers, music, decorations, had it all. It did seem odd when Prince's parents showed up in a Gremlin. They told us they were trying to save the environment by driving an old car. Didn't make much sense to us but we just laughed it off. Our wedding gift from them was kind of strange too. Who in the world gives a laundry basket filled with pork rinds and Wal-Mart brand diet soda? If only I'd been doing the math, I would have added two and two together and realized that these people were not who they said they were. But I was in love and love is blind. (And apparently really stupid as well.)

So, here we are, ten years and seven kids later. Remember how I said I was never a servant? Well, that was then and this is now! Prince leaves every morning for his day job at the Kwickie Mart while I get the kids, Duke, Viscount, Marquise, Duchess, Earl, Princess, and Lady ready for school. Yeah, Prince insisted on those names. Needless to say, our kids get beat up a lot. I spend a lot of time at the school picking up the kids from the nurse's office. When I'm not going back and forth to the school, I'm at home cleaning. I'm sure you can imagine how much of a mess one husband and seven kids leave behind when they leave for the day. I do nine loads of laundry a day. I run the dishwasher twice a day as well. Our water bill is outrageous. Between nine showers a day, all the laundry and dishes, we rack up a $400 a month water bill. That's why Prince works two jobs. The day job at the Kwickie Mart and the night job at the landfill. Oh, and I work, too. Three days a week I clean houses for the rich people in the next town over. It's a living, I guess.

So there you have it: the truth behind the fairy tale. I'm sorry if I've disillusioned you. But c'mon, you didn't really believe that story, did you? I hate to cut this short but I have an appointment with my lawyer. I'm suing the Brothers Grimm over their use of my name and likeness. My lawyer says I have a pretty good case, which makes me happy. I'd really like to quit cleaning other people's houses for a while.

Before I go see the lawyer, I need to call Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. Rumor has it they've got an ax to grind with the illustrious Brothers Grimm as well. Sniff, sniff...I smell a class-action lawsuit...

A letter to my mom on Mother's Day

Dear Mom,

I've been wanting to get some things off my chest for quite some time now, and I think Mother's Day is the perfect opportunity to clear the air. I've got a list of things that I want to bring to your attention. Here goes:

You've been lying to me for years. Not with your words, but with your actions. You made it seem like it was easy to be a mother. It always looked so effortless when you did it, but now that I'm a mother I'm finding out that it's not as easy as you made it look. You never lost your cool, even when we would have really deserved it. I never realized when I was growing up just how young you were when you had me. I was six years older than you were when you had me when I had my first and I was SO not ready to be a mom. But lucky for me I had your example to follow. I've screwed up more times than I care to count but if I can be half the mother you are, then I figure I'm doing pretty well.

You were always there, all up in my business. You always knew what was going on in my life. You made it easy for me to trust you and to confide in you. You never let me get away with the whole "teen angst" thing. You showed me how to be mature and to own up to my actions when I did something wrong. Because you were my mother and my friend, I never went through that whole "I hate my mother" phase. You even mothered my friends when they WERE going through that phase. Everybody needs somebody they can confide in and you were that person for so many of my friends. I always considered myself lucky because I had the "cool" mom. You were cool in a way that none of us had ever seen. You weren't cool because you treated us like pseudo-adults by giving us booze or letting us get away with doing bad/stupid things. Instead, you talked to us like we were adults with brains in our heads and helped us grow and mature. How many times did I watch you calmly and gently talk my friends down from whatever "ledge" they were standing upon? Too many to count. I know in my heart you saved the lives of several of my friends just by being there and listening.

You worked too many hours. You busted your butt working for years to make sure we had everything we needed, yet you never took anything for yourself. Even now that we're all grown up and out on our own, you still don't do anything for yourself. You're still sacrificing your own desires to give to others. Your kids, your grandkids, your church, total strangers...anywhere you see a need, you try to fill it. Your constant generosity astounds me.

You made me feel embarrassed. You are the "gold standard" to which I compare myself. You have some big shoes to fill, and I usually fail to do so. Sometimes I don't feel like I'm worthy enough to be your daughter. Your kindness of spirit, faith, generosity and all-around good-heartedness put you in a class by yourself. I usually feel like I'm on the other side of that window looking in. But while I may fail miserably, at least I have a goal. For me, turning into my mother will not be a bad thing! I actually look forward to the day that someone says "You are just like your mother." For me, there will be no higher compliment.

There is a reason so many people love and respect you. You deserve every iota of love and respect you get. I have always said that I won the "Mom Lottery" when God assigned me to be your daughter. I am so glad He deemed me worthy enough to be paired up with you for life! You are an amazing woman, mother and friend and I love you!

Your devoted daughter,


Friday, April 13, 2007

A letter to the poltergeist living in my house

Dear Dark Spirit of the Underworld,

It's time we had a heart-to-heart. While you may have been here first, your presence is no longer welcome in my home. Things have gotten way out of hand lately. It was fine in the beginning when your pranks were small. The husband and I chuckled at your shenanigans at first.

"Oh, look at the mess in the kitchen. Wonder who did that?" (wink, wink)

"Would you check out the mess in the bathroom! Can't imagine who did that!" (nudge, nudge)

"Wow, I can't believe what a disaster the kids' bedroom is. I have no idea how it got so messy." (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)

"Check out the living room. There's half a box of cereal in the couch cushions. I have no idea how that could have gotten there." (chuckle, chuckle)

"Ha ha, does anybody know how a pair of Underoos ended up hanging from the ceiling fan in Mom and Dad's bedroom? We can't figure it out!" (giggle, giggle, SNORT!)

Yes, for a while, it was amusing. We laughed quietly to ourselves as we cleaned up the messes. It was no big deal. You were a novelty and novelties are to be enjoyed.

But no more! I am sorry, O Servant of the Dark Overlord, but you must go now! There is no excuse for what you've done to my house. I am humiliated when people drop by unexpectedly because it is always such a disaster in here. We can no longer live in a home that looks like wild monkeys have taken up residence. I am tired of crunching cereal underfoot as I trudge through the house in the middle of the night heading to the bathroom. I am sick to death of finding things where WE all know they don't belong. I'll give you some examples: dirty clothes everywhere, toys in the dishwasher, food in every crack and crevice of every room. Your little games are no longer funny either. Turning the refrigerator to the highest setting and the freezer turned to the lowest (thus freezing and thawing all the wrong foods) isn't a game. Playing with the buttons on the dishwasher isn't a joke to us. Screwing up the color on the TV gets on our nerves. Flooding the bathroom is not a game. Oh yes, the list is long and we are frustrated. What might be funny to you is not amusing to us. Please stop playing your little games and leave us in peace.

I realize that you may feel you are being unjustly accused, but I don't know where else to place the blame for these things. I asked the kids and they said they don't know how things got so bad here. They proclaimed their innocence of the charges. I know it wasn't Dad or me, so that leaves us no other option for placing blame but at your feet.

I would be more than happy to write you a reference that you can include with your resume when you seek other employment. I just think it's time we parted ways. You've done all you can here. It's time you moved on to another family. I'm sure there is some family out there with small kids who would be perfect for you. We'll get together and discuss your severance package later today. But for now I think it would be best if you left. Please don't make me call security.

I wish I could say it's been a pleasure working with you, but that would be a lie.

Happy to be rid of you,


PS. If you could clean up the mess you made last night before you go, I'd be really grateful. I'm not the maid, you know.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Spring Break

Spring Break takes on a whole new meaning when you're a parent. No trips to Daytona Beach, no flights to Cancun, no breaking out the bikini and going crazy for some MTV reality show. (Not that I ever did ANY of that when I was younger. I was really boring.) We're off school this week and this is what my "Spring Break" will consist of: fighting with the kids, begging them to NOT trash the house, breaking up fistfights between the older two, trying to keep them from running down to the road and playing in traffic and beating my head against the wall out of sheer frustration. Oh yeah, I'm also cleaning and fixing up my laundry room. Whoop-de-friggin'-doo.

The only girl goin' wild around here will be my one year old daughter. She's a real party animal: throwing Cheerios, playing in the TV cabinet, pooping in public, and occasionally taking her top off and flashing the world. I'm pretty sure Joe Francis ain't gonna be knockin' on my door any time soon. Oh dear Lord, I just PRAY she never ends up on a commercial in the middle of the night, flashing her ta-tas and saying "I've never done this before!". I don't think my heart could take it.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Just when you thought I couldn't get any weirder...

...I go and post this little gem:

I wrote an obituary for a coffeemaker today. No, you didn't read wrong. An obituary for a coffeemaker. Just writing those words is strange.

My father called me this morning and told me there'd been a death in the family. I was immediately concerned, until he said that the unfortunately deceased was Mr. Coffee, his beloved coffeemaker. Yeah, I said "beloved coffeemaker". For some bizarre reason, my father was incredibly attached to this stupid coffeemaker that should have been put out to pasture about 10 years ago (at least). He had it for 17 years--a $10 coffeemaker lasted 17 years. It was so bottom-of-the-barrel cheap it didn't even have a clock or an auto-start. My father even went so far as to splice a new plug onto it in a Dr. Frankenstein-esque surgery (okay, surgeries--this thing really wanted to die but he kept it on life-support). He took his "body" parts from a lamp. I have no idea why I'm doing this but here is the obituary I wrote:

Requiem for a Coffeemaker Suddenly, on Saturday, January 20, 2007, Coffeemaker, 17, affectionately known to his friends as “Mr. Coffee” died after 17 years of loyal service to Ron and Mary Smith. It came as a great shock to Mr. and Mrs. Smith as they had done everything in their power to resuscitate him. He struggled to remain in service to his faithful employers, and endured several surgeries, including multiple cord transplants. In his later years, Mr. Coffee began to slow down, even though the demand for his services did not decline. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Smith urged their parents to force Mr. Coffee to retire, but they knew that if they made him retire, he would die for certain. It is estimated that Mr. Coffee provided 17, 500 pots of coffee to the Smiths; he warmed many a cold morning, perked up many a tired eye, and was the centerpiece of many family gatherings. Mr. Smith, who was closest to Mr. Coffee, has said that he doesn’t know how he will go on without his faithful companion. “We’ve been through so much together.” He said. “No one has been there for me like my buddy Mr. Coffee.” Further comments were inaudible due to Mr. Smith’s sobbing. Mrs. Smith added: “We just thought he would live forever. Even when I wasn’t drinking coffee, it was comforting to know he was there.” His replacement, a Gevalia model, said, “I have some big cups to fill and I hope I can be as good a coffeemaker as Old Mr. Coffee was. He was an inspiration to me.” Friends and family were always amazed at Mr. Coffee’s persistence and perseverance, as he lived far beyond his expected life span. At the family’s request, an autopsy was performed. Preliminary reports suggest that Mr. Coffee suffered a fatal myopumpial infarction and he died of pump failure. Funeral arrangements are pending, though Mr. and Mrs. Smith have said that in honor of Mr. Coffee’s passing, they will only be serving tea at the wake. Friends and family are encouraged to send their condolences and to share their memories of Mr. Coffee by calling or emailing the bereaved. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests sending Starbucks gift cards.

Footnote: A rep for the Coffee Growers Association sent the following statement:
“In honor of our dear departed friend, Mr. Coffee, a roast will be held in Colombia. Juan Valdez will be officiating. Tributes by Mssrs. Maxwell House and Folgers are planned. The roast is expected to be Chock Full of Nuts. It is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, January 27, 2007 at 8 O’Clock.”

So if you've ever wondered why I'm so odd, now you know. This is what I grew up with. (Yes, it's okay to laugh at me. I know I have problems. My therapist says another 5 years of therapy and I'll be cured!) At least I was able to convince Dad not to publish the obit in the local paper. I used to dream that I was a princess who had been kidnapped from her real parents, the King and Queen of Someplace Exotic. Now you know why.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Green-eyed monster

I am jealous. Really jealous. Green-eyed monster envious. My parents came out last night to show us their new car. New car! *sigh* I have to own up to my envy here. While I am thrilled for them (their last car was a lemon with a capital L), I looked over at my 1996 Dodge Grand Caravan and felt more than a twinge of jealousy. My van has 136,000 miles on it and has reached the point where we lay hands on it and pray for it's continued health every time we get in it to go somewhere. Seriously, if I get from point A to point B and back again in one piece then it's been a good trip! One thing I don'tenvy them is their monthly car payment. $410 a month! Yikes! One good thing about an eleven year old vehicle is the payments are really low! But still, I've never experienced that new car smell firsthand so I will remain, at least just a little, envious.

Oh, Publisher's Clearinghouse Prize Patrol, why do you not knock on my door? I am waiting for you...

Thursday, March 29, 2007

It's official: I'm old

A bad, bad thing happened to me last night. I bought my first pair of drug-store reading glasses. It's gotten to a point where I have a constant headache from staring at the computer screen all day so I gave up and bought some "cheaters" (as my dad calls them) at Wal-Mart last night. I now look like a crabby librarian with my specs perched on the end of my nose.

All I can hope is that hubby doesn't have a librarian fantasy, because this will be too good for him to pass up!

The worst has finally happened

I knew this day was coming. It was inevitable. I am no magician, no sorceress; I can't stop time from marching onward. But even though I knew it was coming, I still couldn't contain my shock when it finally happened.

My oldest, Jacob, who will be nine in April, has decided that he is no longer calling me "Mommy". He informed me last night (in the car on the way to Wal-Mart) that he is too grown up to call me "Mommy" and will therefore now call me "Mom". The whole time we were shopping he'd start to say "Mommy" but catch himself and edit it down to just plain ol' "Mom". I have to admit, it sounds so weird coming out of his mouth. He has called me 'Mommy" since he learned to talk. He's also christened his father "Dad" instead of "Daddy". Apparently my husband knew of this sudden maturity and failed to tell me. I owe him a whack on the head for that little sin of omission!

What's next? Dating? Wanting to go places without me? Or the most horrible thought of all: Will he finally realize that no, Mom is not the smartest woman alive? I'm quivering in my boots here with worry that my authority and wisdom are going to be in doubt...

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Parental Advisory

I think parental advisory labels are wonderful. I know nothing about music so it's nice that there's a handy-dandy label on any CD that might contain something offensive. I mean, I don't want to be cruising down the road with a minivan full of kids, listening to a CD and have someone drop the F-bomb unexpectedly. And thanks to that friendly little label, I know not to buy my 4-year old an Eminem CD, no matter how much they beg me.

In the spirit of fair warning, I propose that they now include parental advisory warnings on a new genre of offensive material: children's cartoons. Oh, I know that the ones on TV are already rated; I've seen the TV-Y, TV-7, etc., ratings. Sure, they're rated for kids, but what about me? There is no warning whatsoever that will tell me when one of those fantastic little earworms will wiggle it's way into my brain and take up residence. So until they find a way to broadcast these shows in a frequency that only kids can hear (think: dog whistles), parents need a heads-up before they tune the telly to a show that will drvie them to the very brink of madness.

So in the interest of public safety (and to prevent other parents like me from buying a high-powered sniper's rifle and taking up position on the rooftop of the Nickelodeon headquarters building) I've come up with a few labels that I think might work:

TV-C Cute--Will not cause major annoyance to anybody who might watch it. Suitable for all ages.

TV-MA Mildly Annoying--Some songs or phrases might stick in your brain for a while after you are done watching. Annoyance usually passes quickly. Watching more than twice in a row is not recommended.

TV-AAH Annoying As Hell--You will be fine for the first 10 minutes or so, then a headache will develop behind your eyes. Keep the Excedrin handy because you're going to need it.

TV-DWI Don't Watch It--Your kids will want to watch it over and over and by the 3rd time they've watched it ina day, you will want to scour your brain with Comet cleanser to get the music out of your head.

TV-HM Homicidal Maniac--By the time the opening credits have ended, you will want to hunt down and kill the evil, evil demons that wrote this horrendous crap and passed it along to your kids. You will want to start a support group for people who have been traumatized by this auditory abuse. Having a defense lawyer on retainer (and speed-dial) is recommended because you WILL want to hurt somebody.

I urge you to contact your local politician and ask, nay, BEG them to introduce a bill into legislation calling for the immediate use of parental warning labels on any cartoon broadcast on Disney, Nickelodeon, Noggin, PBS, PBS Kids, Cartoon Network and Boomerang.

Now, where did I put Tipper Gore's phone number?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A big bowl of bliss

I have eight words for you: Edy's Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookie Ice Cream. Get some and you'll understand.


I've gotta get out of the house more often

I've gotta get up off my big fat butt and do something. Now that the weather is nice I can't let myself sit here on the computer all day chatting with my friends. It's getting kinda pathetic--I'm ignoring the people right in front of me so I can talk to people I've never met in person. Not good, I tell ya. Not good.

It's no wonder I'm as pasty as a ghost. I can't remember the last time I went out in the sunlight. That's it! I'm signing off and staying off for at least 5 hours, maybe more. See ya later!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Thank God it's....spring

Because I don't think I could have taken much more winter. I looked out the window the other day and noticed that my lilac bush has little green buds all over it. Yesterday, I weeded out my daylily bed and saw the first signs of green pushing through the dirt. Brought a big smile to my face, lemme tell you.

I'm not sure why I live where I do. I hate winter: the snow, the slush, the ice, big, bulky coats, huge heating bills, travel worries...the list goes on and on. White Christmas? Pbbllllttt.....snow doesn't make my Christmas any better; just makes it more bothersome to visit relatives. Give me a spring day any time and I'm a happy girl.

Be sure to check back in August when I'm bitching about how hot it is. Then you can laugh at me and call me fickle!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Dog People

I like dogs. Dogs are wonderful pets. I do not own a dog because they are a LOT of work. I'm more of a cat person. I love how you can basically throw some food and water at a cat, and as long as it's litterbox is scooped daily, a cat can amuse itself. We had a dog once, for about 9 months. We got her as a puppy and she was this really adorable ball of fluff that had that wonderful smell of puppy breath and pee. Unfortunately, within 6 months, that adorable ball of fluff had transformed into a 60-pound monster that had the strength of a titan. I was pregnant at the time, and it got so bad that I couldn't go too close to her because she had knocked my pregnant butt on the ground more than once. My oldest son was terrified of her because she'd knocked him down one day and had him pinned while she jumped on him and tried to lick him to death. He refused to go near her. So unfortunately, sweet doggie had to go buh-bye.

So what is my beef, you ask? ('Cuz if you know me then you know there has to be a beef in here somewhere, and of course, you'd be right.) Dog owners who can't go anywhere without dragging Rover or Spot with them. They are the people who run to the store for a loaf of bread and tow the dog with them. These are the poor beasts who lose their minds when you walk past them, locked in the car with the windows cracked an inch while their owners stroll down the aisles of the store. They are the people who dress their dogs in ridiculous outfits and who probably spend more money on FiFi's fashions than they do on their own. They have dog carriers that look like Louis Vuitton purses (and cost as much as well) so they can tote their pampered pooch in style. I'm not just talking about the Paris Hiltons or Lindsay Lohans of the Hollywood set who drag their pooches around like living, breathing accessories. I'm talking about Herb and Ida who live next door who drag Pickles the Poodle to the Giant Eagle (or Food Lion or Piggly Wiggly or Wal-Mart) every week when they do their shopping.

Today's gripe: We took the kids to a farm today. (Don't laugh at me; I realize the irony of it: we live on a farm and on our "off days" we go to another farm.) It's a county park that has a real, working farm on it. I didn't see any signs prohibiting dogs, but c'mon, why would anybody with a brain drag their dog through a farm where there are lots of animals (and kids) running around? This place was packed--it was the first nice weekend day this spring and EVERYBODY (and their dog) was out enjoying the weather. There must have been 30 dogs being dragged through this farm. All growling at each other, sniffing each others' butts, and generally going bonkers because they wanted to chase the poor, unsuspecting farm animals that were going about their daily business.

I don't get it. When we had our dog we used to leave her at home if we were going somewhere that she wouldn't be welcome. I understand that dogs need exercise and all, but still, I don't think a farm crowded with kids and farm animals is an appropriate place to take your dog. I watched a little boy almost get bitten because he tried to pet somebody's dog and the dog was not having any of it. Luckily for the boy, he got away unscathed.

Maybe I'll put my cat on a leash and see how people like it when I bring him with me. That would be interesting, don't you think?

Friday, January 12, 2007

Welcome to my blog. Before you continue, I must warn you: I am a stay-at-home mother of three and do not get out a lot, so I cannot be responsible for the content of this blog as my sanity is questionable at best. I have opinions on everything that I am usually unable to share...have you ever tried to have a conversation with a three year-old? Unless the topic is Spongebob Squarepants, he's the worst conversationalist I've ever met! There will be days where the blog is silly, other days it might be angry, sometimes it may even be pensive and wistful. Leave a comment if you wish...but only if it's complimentary and nice...just kidding...I enjoy a good verbal sparring now and then! Please visit often as I am full of crap I need to unleash on my poor, unsuspecting audience, so the posts will be plentiful. There: Ye be warned; return if ye dare! (Must squelch urge to add "YARRRRR" at the end of that last sentence.)