Obnoxious Opinions

Consequences

There are times when other peoples parenting styles make me want to slam my head repeatedly against a wall.  I have to forcibly bite my tongue to keep from saying something.

Yesterday was one of those days.

As a special treat my friend M and I took our girls to McDonald’s for lunch and let them play in the playcenter.  This was V’s first time playing in those climbing structures that McDonald’s has for kids.  And it reminded me why I’ve never been overly eager to let her go play in one.

As soon as we walked in, we pegged her.  You know the type.  The bratty little kid who figures she owns the place and who’s mom is too busy being oblivious to notice.

We let the girls run off into the playcentre, as we sat muttering about how there’s always some little shit you have to keep your eye on at these places.

Sure enough.

Within a few minutes I hear V start crying hysterically up in the structure.

I coaxed her down and tried to get out of her what happened.

Now, V is prone to dramatics, so I tend to take it with a grain of salt.  But she was really upset.  She finally managed to get out that someone had pinched her.  I looked and there were two red angry welts on her chest where someone had pinched her HARD several times.

GRRRRRRRRRRRRR….

But before I could do anything, M’s daughter started screaming and crying in the structure too.  This is a kid that’s tough as nails and not the crying type so we knew something was really wrong.

Moments later she emerged out of the playcenter with two bloody scratches down the entire length of her cheekbone.

W. T. F?!?!

Now?  We were really pissed.

Three guesses on who was the culprit in both these attacks (and the first two don’t count).

Yup.  Brat extraordinaire that we marked as soon as we walked in.

Brat’s mom finally took notice as the girls pointed out who had attacked them and, too her credit, made her child come apologize to our girls.

Now… If that was my kid?  I would have be horrified.  Absolutely horrified.  I would have been falling over myself to apologize to the kids and their parents.  And that would have been the end of play time.  I would have hauled her out of there and back home so fast it would have made her head spin.

This mom?  Made the kid sit out for a few minutes, then she was back playing.

There were no real consequences for this kid acting like a brat.  Is it any wonder she’s like that?  She’s allowed to be!

Children need definite, unquestionable, consequences when they’re acting like monsters.  Not a gentle reprimand.  The only thing that teaches them is that they can be a monster because nothing’s really going to happen.

Quite franky, I feel sorry for that mother.  Her kid is going to grow up to be an out-of-control teenager because no boundaries have been set now.

I may come off as a strict mom, but at least my daughter has manners and is very clear that if she wants to act like a brat, she’s going to have to accept the consequences.

 

 

I’m Getting Old

(**This is a long post.  More a novel.  It’s definitely a rant.  And is being written in full ‘Jenn is a bitch’ mode.  In fact let me preface this whole post with the comment that, yes, I am an unapologetic raving bitch.  It’s who I am.  I call them like I see them.  I completely lack any sense of tact and my filter is broken.  So if you leave a comment saying anything to the effect of “You’re a bitch”, my response is going to be “yeah…and????”  Consider yourself warned .  **)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I’ll let you in on a well known secret.  I’m a GenX’er.  Yeah, that generation that are turning into your parents? That’s me.

And I’m at that age now where young people irritate me.

I’m not talking little kids (well, some of them irritate me too, but that has more to do with the way their parents are raising them than the actual kids).

I’m talking that select group of GenY’ers who are over-entitled brats.

You know… the ones who give all people in their 20’s a bad name.  The ones who expect everything to be handed to them on a silver platter.  They want everything in life and they want it now and they want YOU to give it to them.

People like that make me want to reach out and hug someone…so tight their head pops off.

I was having this conversation with a friend, yesterday.  We both have younger brothers who are the worst of the worst GenY’ers.  So maybe that’s why we tend to be more sensitive to this.  We’ve been living it for years.  Watching our siblings with their hand out, expecting other people to take care of them, while we did it the hard way – on our own, like adults.

And what really baffles me about these people is they don’t even understand why they shouldn’t expect everything to be given to them.  You can try to explain to them for hours, but they will never get it.

If you follow me on Twitter, then you know where I’m going with this.

Yesterday I called someone out very publicly on this very thing.

I was told I was a heartless bitch for doing it. Because someone is in NEEEEEEEED and how can we not give and support that poooooor pooooor poooooooooooor girl.

While I can’t disagree with the heartless bitch part, it has nothing to do with why I said what I said to this person.

This is not the first or second or even third time this person has asked for money.  By my count (and these are only the instances I know about) it’s the fourth.

She always has some good reason why she’s in crisis and needs money now.

But the fact is, this happens every couple of months.

And each time, heart strings are pulled and people send her money wanting to help.

Because rather than doing something about her situation, she would rather stick out her hand and ask other people to give her their hard earned money.

And when I pointed this out to her, last night, her response was:  ” But it’s always when I really need it. …because I’m poor. I just feel that there may be some good hearted people out there. ”

So… here we are.  The “I need it, you should give it to me” mentality.

And when I asked why her situation was always everyone else’s problem I got the response “That’s just what websites like wuah* are for”  (*wuah is the Wish Upon a Hero site).

*head explodes*

So you take all this, add the numerous discrepancies** (see below) in her stories, and the fact that she has publicly admitted that she was a drug addict… and I’m heartless for not sending her money?  No.  No I’m not.

I would much rather give my money to to people and organizations who are going to use the money to change lives (theirs or others).

I would much rather give people a hand up, instead of repeatedly pandering to people who want a handout.

I really feel it’s situations like this that jade people and make it difficult for legitimate organizations, who could do such good work, to fundraise anymore.

And that?  Breaks my cold unfeeling heart.

——————————————

**Some of the discrepancies I’m referencing:

  1. When she requested money in early May, she was questioned about a previous WUAH request for money that was on the site and said her son was going to have open heart surgery.  Her response *she is mama2boys2011* (all comments on this WUAH page have since been deleted, but a cached version can be found here):
    am7 Im Getting OldWhen asked about this on Twitter though, this was the response:
    am5 Im Getting Old
  2.  She says in the WUAH video in the latest request that they gave their 30 day notice on their apartment after putting a deposit on a house.  But on twitter she says this:
    am8 Im Getting Old
  3. Single mom?
    am11 Im Getting Oldor

    am12 Im Getting Old

    ** Travis is her fiance or boyfriend
  4. Drugs?
    am13 Im Getting Oldoram14 Im Getting Old
    am15 Im Getting Old
  5. And then there’s this.
    am16 Im Getting Old
I’m not say she’s a bad person.  I’m just saying do your due diligence and make educated decisions before handing over your hard earned money to anyone.

**UPDATED:  AtomicMommy is now theboysmama on twitter.  So if you see her asking for money / donations / gifts (as she does on a regular basis) please do your research and consider carefully **

 

Oh. My. God.

Every Sunday as a kid my parents would drag my brothers and I kicking and screaming to church.  We would try all sorts of things to get out of it.  Faking sick.  Making Mom literally pull us out of our beds.  Dragging our feet getting dressed, hoping if we were slow enough that we would be too late to go.  Anything to avoid an hour of so called godliness.

It wasn’t that I found church boring.  I actually quite enjoyed the singing and stories.  Where I ran into issues was the fact I was a child who had too many questions, and couldn’t accept “because God says so” as an answer.  I quickly discovered that people didn’t like when I pointed out contradictions in the bible.  Adults don’t want their beliefs questioned by a little girl in a Sunday School dress.

The truth is, I still have no use for organized religion.  I think it works for some people… I’m just not one of them.

I’ll wait while half of you unfollow my sinning ass, now.

*********************

These days I have no problem listening to people talk about their religious convictions.  I find it often tells me a lot about the way they view the world.

I welcome respectful theological discussions.  I enjoy hearing about the latest going ons with my friends who are converting to Catholicism.

I don’t have to believe what you believe to respect that you have those beliefs.

What does make me cringe, though, are the ‘Praise the Lord!!’ type kids shows.  I’m talking squirming in my seat uncomfortable.  Like I have to leave the room uncomfortable.

I was in that position today when Vista insisted on watching “From Aardvark to Zucchini: Alphabet of Prayers” on Netflix.

She’s been on a Veggie Tale kick lately.  And those I can handle.  They’re a little more subtle in their teachings.

This show, though is a shove-it-down-your-throat-praise-Jesus-and-God-created-the-world-and-you-better-be-thankful-for-it type show.

*groan*

I tried to gently suggest other shows for her.  I offered to put on a movie.  But nope, she wanted the aardvark show.

I debated refusing to put it on, but then realized if I did that I would be doing to her what my parents did to me.

By refusing to allow her to watch this, I would be forcing my own beliefs on her.

I want her to grow up learning to question rather than just accept anything she’s handed as fact.

And that means allowing her to question our beliefs and choose her own, whatever they may be.

That doesn’t mean I can’t temper what she’s learning with alternative views, though.

Now who knows if they make a kids show that teache Buddhism?

 

Burning Ignorance

A few days ago, you might have seen me tweeting about the Slave Lake fire. I watched in horror as fire consumed a town, about the same size as the one I live in, in my province. And it all played out on Twitter.

I watched the scrolling updates from media and emergency services in the town, silently hoping that somehow they’d be able to contain this massive fire burning out of control.

And then I started seeing a different sort of tweet…

Continue reading

Please Pass The Porn and Xanax

This is the time of the year when you start reading all these posts where people look towards 2011 and go on and on about how they’re going to make it their bitch.

Me?

Not so much.

For 2011 I just want to watch more porn and convince my doctor to give me a prescription for Xanax. (I know, you’re shocked I don’t already have one).

The reason for the Xanax (other than to deal with the demon spawn also know as my daughter) is because nothing stresses me out more than the thought of having to set goals for myself. We’re talking full blown hyperventilation.

When I used to be a corporate schmuck, I worked for a company that was all about goal setting. Every year you’d have to lay out, in glorious gory details, all the things you were going to achieve that year. And once your name was signed to it, your whole bonus depended on some bullshit you dreamed up 11 months ago, before the intervening 10 months bitch slapped you into the ground.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I never missed out on a bonus. No. I was a good enough spin doctor that I could make the numbers say whatever I needed them to (which is probably why, these days, I regard 98% of statistics with a healthy dose of skepticism).

So, even though I walked away with my nice little ‘thanks for actually doing your job’ cheque, those goals were the bane of my existence.

I don’t like the idea of living a whole year to one arbitrarily set standard.

Our lives are dynamic, so I’ve never understood the need to hold ourselves to something so static.

And when the end of the year comes, I watch people sit there and beat themselves up over not meeting these random (and in the grand scheme of things, semi-meaningless) goals.

“Oh Em Gee.  I wanted to loose 19.3 lbs and I only lost 18.7 lbs.  I am such a gigantic failure at life”.

Really?  You’re going to base the success of a whole year on what a scale says? *cringe*

Why not look at all the things you accomplished this year?  Did you finally get around to reading that book?  Did you take that course you’ve been promising yourself for 3 years you were going to get around to taking?  Did you simply take the time to sit and play with your kids?  All those are accomplishments worthy of recognition.

So tell me…

What amazing things did YOU accomplish this year?

Happy Holidays With (Sensory) Kids

I originally started writing this as a post for how to deal with kids with sensory issues during the holiday season.

But then I realized, a lot of these could apply to all children.

I think kids have more pressure to perform during the month of December, than they do all year.

And by perform, I mean, play the perfect, well behaved, child.  Which we all know, for the other 11 months of the year, is the furthest thing from the truth.

So take a moment to realize that the planet is not going to self destruct if…

  1. Kids leave the table before the meal is finished.
    Who made up the rule that kid have to sit for the whole holiday meal?  Seriously?  Who?  Your great-great-grandmother’s third-cousin-twice-removed?  What is going to happen if the kids leave the table before the meal is done? Relax. It really isn’t the end of the world if kids don’t eat every last morsel on their plate.  And if your house is anything like ours, they’ve probably been snacking on goodies and treats all day and really aren’t that hungry anyways.  So, let them go.  Let them get up from the table once they’re bored and send them off to play. You know what will happen?  You’ll have a nice, quiet dinner with adult conversation, and without wanting to pull your hair out while they fidget and whine.

  2. Your kid doesn’t want to eat holiday dinner at all.
    It’s new food.  Different from what they’re used to.  That can be a huge deal for some kids. Do yourself a favor and bring along some of their favorite foods and snacks, so if they don’t want to eat the fancy turkey with stuffing and cranberry sauce, then can at least have something.

  3. They open one (or two…or three…) presents before Christmas Day.
    This is another of those ‘who made that rule’ questions I have.  I wrote about this last year, and we’ve implemented the same thing this year.  Christmas Day is out, the 12 Days of Christmas is in. Throwing a ton of presents and wrapping paper and lights and noise and family and the list goes on at a kid and expecting it not to be overwhelming?  Is simply not realistic. So instead, Vista opens her presents from friends when they are received, and her presents from us in the days leading up to Christmas.  Christmas day is reserved for stocking and Santa presents.  That is plenty.  The bonus of doing it this way, is it also gives her time to open and enjoy each present.

  4. There is no Santa picture.
    Malls are noisy, loud places during the holidays.  The lights, the music, the people. Do you leave the mall after a Christmas shopping trip feeling relaxed and renewed? No, of course not.  It’s hella stressful for adults.  So for kids?  Is it any wonder that they’re a complete mess by the time it’s their turn to see Santa?  And THEN we expect them to smile and hug a complete stranger in a red velvet suit.   Uhhh…yeaahhh… about that.

    If a Santa picture is really that important, take the money you’d normally spend on a Santa pic, pool it with some friends and rent a Santa suit for someone to dress up in.  Then take the pictures at home.  Sure you won’t have the sleigh backdrop, but you might actually have a smiling kid in the picture instead.

  5. They don’t wear that fancy $200 Christmas outfit you bought them.  And the same goes for the reindeer sweater.
    Lets face it.  Fancy dress up clothes are not conducive to being comfortable.  And they’re really not meant for playing in, either.  If it’s really that important that everyone see them in that ‘ZOMG! It’ll look SO CUTE on her’ outfit, then have them wear it to the party, but bring some comfortable clothes they can change into.  The other option is to find a happy medium.  V’s wearing velour pants (http://bit.ly/velourpants <-not any sort of affiliate link, just sharing a pair of comfy pants) with a sparkly top.  Cute, no?  Both are comfortable, but still dressy.

    VistaXmas2010 Happy Holidays With (Sensory) Kids

  6. Your kid doesn’t want to hug your aunt’s brother’s cousin’s daughter.
    Touching can be a big thing for sensory kids. And a lot of people (never mind just kids) don’t like strange people in their personal space.  Instead of hugs, try a handshake or the knuckle bump (or as V likes to call it ‘punch it out’).  Just be ready to throw yourself in front of Aunt Erma before she gets her sticky paws around your kid.

    I know for V, the other part of being around people, is that smell is a HUGE thing.  So someone wearing strong perfume? Forget it.  She won’t go near them.  The same goes for someone she knows changing their smell.  My BFF came over for coffee once and wore a different perfume than normal.  V wouldn’t go near her because she didn’t smell ‘right’.

    Another thing you can do is show kids pictures of the people they will be meeting, ahead of time.  This lets them prepare, and makes that uncle he sees once a year a little less of a stranger.

  7. They just want to play by themselves.
    New people, lots of noise, people wanting to pat them… Nightmare waiting to happen for a sensory kid.  We’ve learned to bring an iPad, or DVD player, and a set of headphones with us when we go places.  If it’s still to much for V, we designate a ‘quiet room’.  Somewhere she can go and sit by herself, away from the hustle and bustle, until she’s feeling ready to rejoin us.  When she disappears, we just politely explain that it’s a bit much for her, and she needs to wind down a bit.

The biggest thing is to follow their lead and pick your battles.  Nothing’s worse than spending your holiday arguing with your kid.  And if it means deviating from the norm so everyone ends up enjoying themselves a lot more?  Then do it.

Your sanity will thank you.

Prized Possessions

I only own a few things I would consider my prized possessions.

The ring my mom gave me when I turned sweet sixteen.

My cameo pin left to me by my grandmother.

The grandfather clock my grandad built himself.

My Dyson vacuum.

What?

Your vacuum isn’t one of your prized possessions?

Well then you probably don’t own beige carpets.

And four animals.

Three of which are long-haired.

And three of which are various shades of black.

So, my vacuum and I?  We have a close and intimate relationship.

Not that intimate.

Pervs.

Anyway…

Imagine my joy upon returning home Wednesday night to find out that Bil, trying to help out by vacuuming while I was in the city with Vista, had wrecked my Dyson.

Understand that I love my Dyson almost as much as my husband.  And the fact he wrecked it, right before Christmas? Well it means I might love my Dyson more than my husband, now.

I had learned once before, when my Dyson started making an awful grinding sound, that they have awesome support people that you can call that will walk you through fixing your vacuum.  So, this afternoon I called again.  After 45minutes on the phone with support, though, it was decided I couldn’t fix my Dyson.  *sob*

The nice lady I was talking to on the phone told me that I could send it in for repair.

I did a mental calculation in my head.

Number of days left til Christmas / Number of paycheques in December – Number of Christmas presents left to buy… carry the one… and that equals…

Me: “*big sigh* Any idea on how much is it going to cost to fix?”

Nice Dyson Lady: “Oh, your Dyson is still under warranty, so it won’t cost you anything.”

Me: “HOLY FUCK!  I’ve owned this thing for over two years.  You mean vacuums have warranties?!?  And it’s still good?  Like you’re really going to fix it for free?”

Nice Dyson Lady: “…ummm…yes?  We’ll send you a box so you can ship it back to us and we’ll fix it.  You’ll have it back within 7 – 10 days”

If I could have reached through the phone and kissed her, I would have.  Like seriously full on mouth slip her some tongue kissed her.  I really thought I was looking at a huge purchase of a new Dyson (which really would have been OK, considering it’s already lasted 5 times longer than any other vacuum we’ve ever owned).  But nope.  They’re going to fix it for me.  *cue choirs of angels singing*

So prized possession?  Yeah, my Dyson definitely ranks right up there.


Disclaimer:  This post isn’t sponsored or paid for.  It’s just me giving credit for good customer service.  And perhaps wondering why more companies aren’t like this.

Stop Trying To Sell Me Your Crap When I’m On Hold, Dammit

Last night after dinner we were hanging out having some lazy family time when crisis hit.

Our internet and cable went out.

I know, right!  I mean, I can live without the TV.  But internet?  Gah!

It was like being plunged into intense detox with no warning.  The situation was dire.

(I know…total first world problem, but it’s my blog and I’ll whine if I want to).

So I made the terrible mistake of calling the cable company.

As I sat on hold and waited, and waited, and waited some more, I noticed a pattern to the on-hold messages (because I’m a total loser and live for finding a pattern to life).

So, like any good geek, I pulled up Excel and started charting the messages and how often I was hearing them.

5:30:
“Thank you for continuing to hold.  We think you’re super duper awesome (or just really stupid) for sitting on hold forever while we’re all gossiping around the water cooler.  We’ll be back soon.  Mmmmkai?  Bai!”

5:30:
“Did you know our uber amazing company is doing a food bank drive, to, like, try and pretend we actually care about the community instead of just money?  You should use your money to buy food, donate it to the food bank, and then we’ll take credit for it.  Mmmmkai?  Bai!”

5:31:
“Thank you for continuing to hold.  We still think you’re super duper awesome and eventually we’ll decide to actually answer the phone.  Mmmmkai?  Bai!”

5:32:
“Did you know we have this OMGBBQ website!!  AND?  You can look at your bill online. I know!  Like no other company in the world lets you give us your money right through our website, except us.  You should totally go do that right now and stop calling us.  Mmmmmkai?  Bai!”

5:33:
“Oh, you’re still holding? Yeah…well… uh… so are lots of other people, so just keep waiting until the one person we have answering phones for an area of 3million people decides to get to you.  Mmmmkai?  Bai!”

5:34:
“Do you want to save money?  Well just buy MORE of our products, that cost about $40, and we’ll give you  like a whole $2 a month in savings.  And if you save that $2, in a couple of months you’ll have enough for a whole Starbuck’s latte!  Mmmmkai?  Bai!”

5:34:
“Just checking to make sure you’re still silly enough to be listening to these messages.  Please continue holding for the next available….bwahahahaha… yeah, right.  Like anyone’s actually going to answer your call.  Mmmmkai?  Bai!”

5:35:
“OMG!  You should totally get internet from our company.  We totally have stuff that no other internet providers have.  Like internet support.  I know!  OMGBBQ!  So like, use the internet you don’t have to go to our website and sign up.  Mmmmkai?  Bai!”

5:36:
“Thanks for still holding you silly git.  Let me give it to you straight.  Dude… you should really just hang up.  Cause we’re like busy with important stuff.  Like picking our toes.  Mmmmmkai?  Bai!”

And the messages repeated in this order for the hour I was on hold.

OK, so I *might* have paraphrased the messages a tiny bit, but the gist was the same, and those are the actual timing of the messages.

So, lets break that down.

  • That was a message every minute or less.
  • One message was about donating to the food bank.
  • Half were ‘gee thanks for sticking around on hold forever and ever amen’.
  • The rest?  Were trying to sell me shit and telling me to visit their website.  Which? I could get to because I was calling because MY FUCKING INTERNET WAS DOWN.

UGH.

Not once, in any of the messages, was a “Oh hey… service is out in the following areas, so if that’s where you’re calling from, yeah we know.”

And that?  Is stupid.  I don’t want to sit on hold so you can try and sell me more of your product that isn’t working for me in the first place.

Turns out internet and cable was out for my entire town.  And?  It took them 14 hours to fix it.  Yeah, I got up this morning and it was still down.  SUPER!

So, to sumarize, Shaw Communications sucks big hairy donkey balls.

Suggestions for satellite TV?  Is it worth it to switch?

Telemarketers of Twitter

I love being on Twitter.  It’s a huge community of friends who I can rely on to alternately pick me up or kick me in the ass, when ever I need it.

But even the best things have their downside.

With Twitter it’s the auto-DM’s and spam.  And to be clear, I consider auto-DM’s to be spam.

Sending someone you’ve just started following an auto-DM is like walking up to a complete stranger in the mall, handing them your business card without saying a word, and walking away.

Do you really think that person is going to even look at that business card?

Or would it go straight into the trash, along with their opinion of you?

If you want to sell to me, interact with me.  Make me care about what you have to offer.

Because, lets face it.  Any auto-DM, no matter how innocuous it may be, is trying to promote your product, store, blog, or person, to someone you have no prior relationship with.

People who auto-DM are the telemarketers of the Twitter world.

And I’m definitely not buying whatever it is you’re selling.

A Rose By Any Other Name

My brain wanders to weird places when I’m awake at 3am.  (Why, hello, insomnia).

It’s when I do some of my best thinking and come up with cool ideas, though.  That time when you’re half awake, half asleep, and you’re not worrying or focused on anything in particular.  All sorts of strange stuff pops into my head.  Like…

Have you ever wondered what you would have named your kid if you didn’t give them the name you did?

Vista was always Vista for us.  There never was another name.

But sometimes I wonder what she would have been if we hadn’t come up with that name.

Vienna?

Virgina?

(yes, I seem to have a small obsession with V names.  Don’t judge).

Or what about people you meet who don’t seem to fit their names?  Who do you think they should be?

My nephew, Sheldon, is like that, for me.  The name just seems to big for him.  And yet I can’t find a way to shorten it.  Shel?  Nah.  Don?  Definitely not.

Maybe I’ll just start calling him Bob…

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