One of the Cool Kids

I’m becoming quite popular.

Well, actually, I basically begged to be a guest poster.  Dave Barry says that writers trying to promote their work are “like hookers, only with less dignity.”  This time, though, I was already Aiming Low.

So I invite you, my devoted readers, to head on over to one of the most fun sites I’ve found in a long time.  Over there, being mediocre isn’t just tolerated–it’s celebrated.  So go.  Now.

Why are you still reading this?  Go!

Hometown Security

Sorry for the hiatus.  I took another vacation to the big city, and I’m just now getting back into the rut…..I mean routine…..of my life.

One of the biggest topics on the news in the past few days is the story about the unarmed teenager who was shot in Florida by a neighborhood watch captain.  Trayvon Martin was walking home from getting candy–yes, really, candy–and apparently wandered into the local neighborhood DMZ.

The neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman, thought the boy had drugs.  He called emergency services, then followed the teenager.  No one knows exactly what happened, but the presumption is there was some sort of confrontation.  One thing that everyone does know is how the story ended: Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin and killed him.

To say the shit is hitting the fan would be one of the most fantastic understatements in the history of the universe.  For starters, the local police in that neighborhood didn’t exactly handle the situation the way everyone thinks they should have.  They sent a narcotics detective instead of a homicide detective, for example.  I won’t go into everything else.  All of this is just filler.  What this post is really about is my opinion of this situation (as if you didn’t know that already.)

My opinion is that the whole thing stinks.  Big time.

I have never, ever, ever had much appreciation for the whole neighborhood watch concept.  The basic purpose of it is that if you see something suspicious, you call emergency services to notify the police and then they come and handle it. Cause that’s, you know, their job.  Instead, what happens is that you get some puffed up power-tripping law enforcement wanna-be with a gun trotting around your neighborhood.  I don’t know about you, but that personally doesn’t make me feel any safer.  In fact, it makes me feel afraid to even take out my dog for a pee in the evening.

Zimmerman said when he called 911 that he thought the teen had drugs.  (As an aside, the 911 dispatcher told Zimmerman NOT to follow the teenager.)  He was carrying a bag of some sort.  Well, I guess that’s the standard drug carrying satchel–a 7-11 bag.  It’s the go-to accessory for the modern heroine addict.

Also, the teen was wearing a hoodie.

Oh, did I mention Trayvon was black?

I guess Mr. Zimmerman had little choice, right?  I mean, a black teenager wearing a hoodie and carrying a convenience store bag through a neighborhood he didn’t live in?

On the other hand, it was raining, so I guess Trayvon wanted to keep his head dry.  Also, he didn’t have drugs in his bag.  He had candy, and he was carrying a bottle of tea.  He was alone and walking through that neighborhood because that was the way for him to get back home.  He wasn’t even loitering.  He was walking and talking on his cell phone.  Zimmerman, who has probably had a hard-on to bust someone since he started his “job,” saw a perfect opportunity.  I have no doubt that Trayvon may have even mouthed off to Zimmerman when he confronted him, as would many teenagers, I’m sure.  Is running your mouth grounds for shooting?  If so, you’d better enjoy this post, because I doubt I’ll last the week.

By far the most disturbing fact is that George Zimmerman is still a free man.  I’m sorry–I don’t care how decorated a neighborhood watchman he is, George Zimmerman needs to be held accountable for this crime.

Around here, we don’t have neighborhood watch, because, well, we don’t have neighborhoods.  And yes, we all have guns.  I’ve written about it before.  I’ve even hinted as to what would happen if someone broke into my home.  However, I don’t feel compelled to arm myself and patrol the neighborhood.  I have been around people like Zimmerman, though.  We have them here, too.  Oh yes.  It’s almost always a guy, and usually the one who was picked on in school for being a “wimp.”  They actually wear a pistol on their hip everywhere they go.  Really.

What is that point of that?  To prove what a big, macho man you are, I guess.  Look at me–I’m not a wimp, I’m a badass!  And if you walk through my neighborhood with candy and tea, I’m going to shoot you! Especially if you’re black!

So I, along with the rest of the country, await the next phase of this story.  I hope our justice system has the courage to do the right thing.  In all seriousness, there is a family who had to bury their son, not because he did something wrong, but because he wanted some candy and some tea, and because he wanted to keep his head dry.  Somebody has to answer for it.

Period.


 


 

Not So Qualified

*In honor of my one year blog-a-versary, I decided to share some vintage (not so) Special material.  This was my first official post of the blog.  Maybe my new readers will enjoy it, as they surely haven’t gone back this far into the archives.  And if you’ve already read it, maybe it can make you smile again!  Thanks to all my faithful readers!

 

The Grandmother occasionally reads little tidbits out of the newspaper to me.  The other day is was a piece about some woman who had been arrested for doing some ghastly thing to her own child. The Grandmother made the comment, “People should have to take a test to make sure they’re qualified to be a parent!”

A few days after that, upon hearing that I was homeschooling, the comment was made to me, “Oh, I don’t know if I’m qualified to teach my own child.”

That got me thinking…….

Qualified. Webster defines this as “fit; competent.” That got me thinking even more–am I qualified to be a parent? Consider these following points about yours truly.

  • I once searched for almost forty minutes for my cell phone. My son, upon realizing what I was looking for, told me to call it and listen for the ring. I did, and I heard it ringing……..from inside my pocket.
  • I have served, as the main course of a meal other than breakfast, Lucky Charms.
  • I have told my children to shut up.
  • I have lied to my children because a) I wanted them to do something they didn’t want to do, b) I didn’t want them to do something they wanted to do, or c) simply to get them to be quiet and leave me alone for a few minutes.
  • I have let the television babysit my children.
  • I have a drill sergeant’s philosophy about shouting–I never shout, I just speak in a voice loud enough for everyone to hear.

I will not even get into the background stuff before my children were born. This is a blog after all, not a confessional.

Anyway, would I qualify? Let’s just say it’s a good thing there isn’t a test. The stuff back there is just the tip of the iceberg. I have a list of faults a mile long. Yet, somehow, I have been entrusted with not one, but two little people to raise into functioning adults. Better still–one of them is a special needs child who is dependent on me for everything.  Needless to say, it makes me nervous.

It doesn’t help when I am confronted with the uber-mommy. You know the ones I’m talking about. Where do these women come from? They always have their hair fixed and their make-up on, and they are always dressed in cute little outfits that have those sweaters with no sleeves or whatever.  They craft and scrapbook and they fix three nutritious meals for their families every day. I expect they churn their own butter.

Meanwhile, I’m home pouring Lucky Charms into a bowl and yelling at my kids. It doesn’t seem fair, does it? And yet…..my kids seem pretty happy and well-adjusted.  We’re a pretty close family, and there really isn’t a whole lot of drama here.  I don’t seem to embarrass them too much yet.  I think the key might be love. More than that, I think the key might be loving your children more than you love yourself.  That is where a lot of people fall short.

I’m almost absolutely certain that I wouldn’t officially be called fit or competent to raise another human from birth into adulthood, but I’m struggling along every day and doing the best I can. It’s worked out okay for me so far.  I’d love to share with you some of my success stories, but right now I can’t. I’ve got to go look for my cell phone.


 

Nervous Nelly

I am the victim of an over-active imagination.

I’ve touched on this topic before when I talked about how I worry about things that might happen.  But it goes a little deeper than that…..

I really believe in the boogy man.

I am convinced that, every night, when I walk past the top of the stairs in the dark on my way back from the bathroom, something is going to grab my ankle.

When I watched “The Sixth Sense,” I wouldn’t even go to the bathroom in the middle of the night unless I woke Matt up and made him go with me.  Really.

I am a very light sleeper, and I think it’s all for self-preservation.  If one of my children gets out of bed, I hear them.  Now, I could lie and say this is because of my deep-rooted concern for their well-being, but the truth is, is scares the living, mortal crap out of me to wake up in the middle of the night with a kid standing there beside the bed.  I’m sorry, but kids, in the right (or wrong) context, are very creepy.

I am afraid of the dark, the woods, and especially the woods in the dark.  Allow me to expand on this one:

I love to hike.  There is a state park five miles from my home with some absolutely beautiful hiking trails.  There is a dirt road right across from my house that is a lovely little walk.  However, I hardly ever walk any of them because I’m too afraid.  I will walk with someone, but no one can ever go.  I don’t know what I think will happen, and, furthermore, I don’t know what real protection another person offers me, but if just one person will go with me I am fine.  (I’m just telling you how it is–I can’t explain it.)  And in the dark? Forget it.  I can freak myself out just imagining walking alone through the dark woods.    (My husband and I had this conversation once, and he asked me that if there was a bag with a million dollars in it at the bottom of the hill (in the woods) behind our house, would I go get it in the middle of the night.  He still doesn’t believe me when I tell him the answer is absolutely no.)  My son will go with me for walks in the woods sometimes, but my mind still considers him a child, even though he is almost as big as me, and from my point of view he is not protection so much as bait.

I also don’t trust people.

I’m sure this one stems from the fact that I watch too much television (although from what I see lately, the only person I should be afraid of is my husband.)  But I’ve always felt this way.  I hate those box vans that were big in the seventies and eighties–you know, the ones guys used to pimp out with beds and velvet curtains and paint bright blue or red or something?  I call them rape vans.  I wouldn’t park beside one of those vans even if the alternative was parking in the next state.

Here’s an amusing story: When I was in college, we used to have to take tests for some subjects late in the evening.  I had a chemistry test one night, and I was staying outside of town, which meant I had to drive in and find a place to park.  I always parked in a parking building at the bottom of the hill and then walked up to the campus.  Night fell while I was taking the test, and I had to walk back to my car in total darkness.  Is there anything any creepier than a parking garage after dark?  Anyway, I was walking as fast as I could.  To say I was nervous is an understatement.  I was as wound up as a law student at a frat party without any condoms.  Then I noticed the unthinkable.

I was being followed.

It was subtle at first–something maybe you thought was only your over-active imagination.  Then after pausing and surreptitiously glancing around, you realize your worst fears are confirmed.

I hurried my step and went towards my car.  I could see it just ahead.  This was the point in the movies when my pursuer would strike.  I made it to my driver’s side door.  Instead of reaching for the door handle, I put my hand in my bag and grabbed my mace.  After I doused the creep, I had a small baseball bat under my front seat that I could find a good use for.  I took a deep breath, turned….

…..and watched as the guy got into the car beside me and pulled out.

Yeah.

I wonder if that guy knows how close he came to an ass-whoopin’ that night?  All because he parked his car next to a neurotic.  And here I thought rape vans were dangerous.

So anyway, there you go.  I just thought I’d share a little craziness on this beautiful, snowy day.  Take care of yourself, thanks for reading…

….and make sure to leave your nightlight on.


 

 

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss

As an avid reader, I can truly appreciate what Dr. Seuss brought, and still brings, to children of all ages.  Here’s my tribute, albeit inadequate, to the fellow who gave me hours of joy with my own children.

 

Through your words you turned all of our Christmases green,

And demolished our home with two Things,

You built magical worlds that lived in our dreams,

And taught us that poetry sings.

We squinted our eyes to read with them shut,

And had to try green eggs and ham,

We learned valuable lessons about growing up,

And loved them as much as dear Sam.

Horton, the Lorax, the Grinch and the Cat,

In our hearts they are dearest and true,

Of course don’t forget the fish that is red,

And also the one that is blue.

So with all of our hearts we say to you now,

Thanks for your words and your love,

You taught children to read, to laugh and to dream,

And we know you watch down from above.

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

(Note to readers: I will, from this point forward, stick to my usual mediums of sarcasm and smart-assery.  Sorry.)


 

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