Grifting vs Gifting

Way back in July I wrote a post about someone.  I took it down a few months later because, thankfully, it no longer seemed relevant.

Today, I republished it after it was brought to my attention that this person is back to her old patterns.  Same person, different name.

I kind of dread Christmas, in a way, for this reason.  It’s a holiday filled with generosity and giving.  It also a holiday filled with scammers, grifters, and con artists.

I’m not saying this person is any of those things.

I’m just asking you to do your due diligence before you donate.

If you really want to do good, there are lots of registered charities and organizations that would love your donations (your local food bank would be a huge one, this time of year).

But please be cautious of people who constantly ask for money on the internet.

I understand that desire to help, but it’s easy for people to create false identities and stories online to take advantage of people’s good nature.

The only reason I post this is to save my friends (who I know are all generous beyond belief) from being taken advantage of during the holidays.


So here we go again…

First we have to set the story

nomoney Grifting vs Gifting

settingthestory Grifting vs Gifting

motherdying Grifting vs Gifting

Then comes the ‘ask’…

donate Grifting vs Gifting

And when that doesn’t get anywhere, you simply (and subtly) tweet each child’s wishlist

amazonwishlist Grifting vs Gifting

The request for retweets about her plight

retweet Grifting vs Gifting

Annnnd…the inevitable discrepencies

job2s Grifting vs Gifting


So, the money at her job is pretty good, but she’s so broke she can’t afford gifts for her kids, but can afford a new kindle, buy books for her kindle,  and is saving her gift cards to buy the even newer model (rather then buying gifts for her children)…. To each their own, I guess.

kindlebrandnew Grifting vs Gifting

kindlebooks Grifting vs Gifting

kindlenew Grifting vs Gifting

kindlemoney Grifting vs Gifting

I Need A Holiday From the Holidays

I have a few more posts coming in my relationship series, but I need to put them aside for a bit while I figure out how to proceed.  Like I said earlier, the posts aren’t writing themselves, like I’m used to, and with V being sick I simply can’t focus like I need to on such a touchy topic.  So you guys will just have to suck it up and wait.  Bloggers prerogative and all that.  Sorry.

So, Christmas.

Yeah… that was interesting.

We did end up successfully doing our 12 days of Christmas with Vista.  It worked well and allowed her time to process each toy.

We still had a few presents on Christmas morning and then her stocking.  That took 3 hours to open everything, but we let her go at her own speed.  Even that, though, was too overwhelming and she was pretty much in constant meltdown from noon on Christmas day on.  By the time she went to bed that night Bil and I were completely done in.  In a serious way.  I think next year we might just skip Christmas day, altogether.

The 26th we briefly considered hitting the Boxing Day sales, then came to our senses.

Bil’s assesment of the day ahead:

bilxmas I Need A Holiday From the Holidays

He was kidding…. I think…

After spending the morning dealing with cranky mccranky pants (aka our daughter) we figured the sooner we headed over to my parents the sooner we could make them look after her and we could sit and have a break.  Cause we’re awesome parental units like that.  So, we packed up the big pickup truck *cough* rednecks *cough* and hit the highway.

Vista had a bit of a cold and cough and we had another croup flare up in the days before Christmas.  We decided we would take her into our family doc in the new year as this is her 3rd go round with ‘croup’ in a month in a half.  Vista, however, had a different plan.

As we left our house to make the hour drive to my parents house when Vista started coughing…and coughing… and coughing… and oh fuck… she can’t catch her breath.  Do we pull over and call an ambulance or gun it to the nearest medical facility?  We veered off the highway and took the back roads the Urgent Care facility in the next town.

As we rushed from the truck into the medical center, Vista’s cough had slowed enough that she was at least not blue tinged anymore.  I had flashbacks to my own experiences with croup as a child.  These coughing attacks were eventually diagnosed as my signature asthma attack.  Yay genes.

And we walked into see a huge line of people.  Crap.  The debate.  Head back to the hospital ER in our town, stay here, or take her into the Children’s hospital in the city.  We decided to take our chances and wait it out here. I called my mom and told her we’d probably be a bit late for dinner.

However, when you walk in with a coughing child with dropping pulse-ox stats a funny thing happens.  You get bumped to the front of the line and get to see a doctor right away.  Two inhalers and instructions to follow up with our family doctor later and we were on our way again.  So much for making it through the holidays without a visit to emergency.  Vista is nothing if not consistent.

When we finally got to my parents house, my dad took Vista and my mom went and made me a stiff drink.  Because there are some days when it’s required and my mom, for all her quirks, gets that.

My youngest brother and his wife finally arrived with my nephew (how we can come from an hour away AND stop at emerg and still get to my parents house ahead of them when they live in the same neighborhood as my parents, I’ll never understand).  I had the sad realization that my nephew who’s now a year and half old isn’t a baby anymore.  *sniff*  He’s completely lost that cute, chubby, baby look and marched straight into toddlerhood.  I told my SIL that she needed to get with the program and have another baby for me to cuddle.   Because, really,  we all know it’s always all about me.

After required snuggles, we let the kids open their presents from Grandma and Grandpa (or Manna and Putta as Vista prefers to call them.  We’ve tried to correct that.  And she can say it properly.  But she’s adamant about those names.  *shrug*).  Can we say spoiled?  I think my parents went and won the lottery and forgot to tell us.  They even got Vista a gift certificate to the high end shoe store where we have to get her footwear, so her next pair of shoes are completely paid for.  Yeah, I may have teared up a bit over a gift certificate to a shoe store.  Just proves that I’m sensitive.

Heading back home in a semi-turkey induced-coma, we had to pull off on the highway again after V had another coughing / asthma attack.  Nothing wakes you up and gets your adrenaline pumping like your kid having trouble breathing.  Thank goodness for rescue inhalers.  But since then, she’s been good and we haven’t needed to use it at all. So, yay the inhalers are working.  Boo that they’re probably working because she has asthma.

All in all a good Christmas.  But really?  I am SO ready for a holiday now.

I’ll leave you with this daily dose of cuteness… Vista the ballerina (oh, and yes, she insists on wearing a toque in the house at all times.  And usually mittens too.  We got her to take off the mittens to open presents, but the toque?  Not a chance.  I promise you, we keep the heat on in the house.  Really.)

 I Need A Holiday From the Holidays

Merry Ho Ho

I suck at sending out real cards.  Mainly because it means that I have to get off my ass and go mail them.

So I’m joining The Second Annual Great Bloggy Holiday Card Exchange.   No to be confused with the Second Anal Holiday Card Exchange, which is what I wrote at first, because a) I need sleep and b) I have a dirty mind

I know.  You’re so surprised.


From my little princess to you,
We hope everyone has a…

xmascard Merry Ho Ho

I'm Dreaming of a Normal Christmas

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  Being Vista’s parents is a work in progress and every day is a learning experience.

We’re discovering that Christmas can present a whole new set of challenges, though.

Today was ‘put up the tree and decorate it, but forget the tinsel and garland, because the cats just try to eat it anyway,  and don’t forget to put the breakable ornaments up high’ day.  The day that all kids love.  They can’t wait to help you put the ornaments on the tree and see the pretty lights all lit up.  Unless they’re kids with sensory issues.

It took less than 45 minutes for Vista to go into a complete and utter meltdown. Bright lights, the feel of the tree as she tried to put the ornaments on.  She eventually settled for placing the ornaments on top of the branches in such a way that she didn’t actually have to touch the fake needles.

We got her calmed and let her go to bed to decompress.

Then Bil and I talked while we wrapped her presents.

Giving her a bunch of presents on Christmas morning is not going to work.  The sensory overload that all the new toys and having to touch all the paper to unwrap it, and the sound of the paper ripping would cause would take us days to get her to unwind.

We discovered that last year.

It took at least 30 minutes to open each gift.  And my mid-afternoon she was completely done.

So we’ve decided to do things a bit differently this year.  It’s not the way we want to do things, but at this point we can see no other options.

Each evening in the week leading up to Christmas we’ll let her open one gift and then give her the evening to play with and enjoy it.  One new toy, hours to explore it, no pressure.

We *think* this will be enough to let everyone enjoy Christmas without the stress.

It makes us sad that these measures are even necessary.  We would love to have a normal Christmas.  To have a child who is excited Christmas morning and wakes us up at 4am to see if Santa has left her any gifts under the tree.

And maybe as she gets older and learns to manage these sensory overloads, we might be able to have that.

But until that time, holidays at our house will be the 12 days of Christmas rather than one big day of celebrations.

VistaDay1 I'm Dreaming of a Normal Christmas

 I'm Dreaming of a Normal Christmas

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Just a quick warning…. If you’re easily offended, or at work, you *may* not want to click on any of the links in this post.

325351305 ce3e38b477 m The Gift That Keeps On Giving
Image by Alice Harold via Flickr

It used to be that everyone in our family would buy for everyone else and Christmas morning would be filled with hours of present opening and sipping warm apple cider.

As my brothers and I got older, and we moved out on our own, with our own bills to pay, we switched to drawing names.  Everyone’s name went into a bowl, you bought for that one person, max $100.

Now with spouses, a few kids, and a high cost of living, new rules have come into play this year.  You can buy presents for the two kids.  For the adults we’ll do a gift game.  Buy a gift, no more than $20, gender neutral, everyone ends up with something.

OK fine.  I can go along with most of that.

Except, in this day and age, what do you buy for $20 that’s not absolute crap?  And add to the fact it has to be non-gender specific?


So I’ve been searching and searching for two of these gifts (one for Bil, one for me) to bring to this exchange.

And I’ve come up empty handed.

And also a little irritated.

I’m at the point, where I’m really tempted just to be a bitch and really do something that would just fuck the whole thing up (well, from my mother’s point of view, anyways).

I mean, can you imagine my very straight laced strict Catholic father unwraping a nice big 17 inch surprise for his gift?  In the most technical terms, it is gender neutral.  And OK, so it’s a *bit* over the $20 limit, but not by much.

There’s nothing in the rules that say the gifts had to be appropriate.

But then I think… I don’t want to rock the boat too much.  So perhaps a nice T-Shirt.  You know, something my mom could wear to work on casual days.

Any other suggestions of $20 shit gifts I could bring that aren’t chocolate covered?

 The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Faking It

I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I haven’t had the real thing in a long time.

A very long time.

Years in fact.


I miss being able to touch it and stroke the length of the…

pine needles.

Get your dirty whore minds out of the gutters.

I’m talking about a Christmas tree here people.  Boy, you’re all a bunch of perverts.  Cause I know where you were all going with that.

I’ll have you know this is sort of kind of not really a family site

ANYWAY, as I was saying…

It’s been 15 over 10 many years since I had a real tree in the house.

Part of me really misses it.  I love walking into room and breathing in that fresh pine smell.

300px Balsam Hill artificial Christmas tree Faking It
Image via Wikipedia

And setting up the fake tree, having to fluff each branch, well you just don’t have to do that with a real tree.

I really tossed around the idea of getting a real tree this year.  You know,bundling up against the snow, hiking out into the forest, spending the afternoon finding just the perfect one, the roar of the chainsaw as you chop that sucker down and toss it in the back of the truck… sigh…. those were the good days.

But then I thought about Bil with a chainsaw in his hands and decided we were all safer faking it.

After all… there are no pine needles to clean up, no tree to dispose of at the end of the holidays, no lights to string (ours is pre-lit).  It does save a lot of hassle in the long run.

And our fake tree tends to stand up better against two curious cats, to big dogs who aren’t smart enough to know where their noses start and tails end, and a 2yr old with balance issues.

But I’ll always long for a fresh White Spruce tree in my living room.  Maybe if I’m really good Santa will bring me one.  Or at least a half decent fake.

So what sayeth you?  Do you like it real and hard as wood, or do you fake it til you make it?

 Faking It

I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas

It’s September and I’m already thinking about Christmas.  Yeah, shoot me now.  I used to be the biggest procrastinator (think shopping the day before).  Once you have kids, though, it takes more planning.

Most of the stores are starting to put together their Christmas sections (depressing.  Can we wait for Halloween to be over first?).  At least they’re not playing Christmas carols… yet.

All this got Bil and I talking about presents.  I think it’s going to be a much leaner holiday (for a lot of people including us) then it has been in the past.  Which sucks.  I love watching people open presents.

I’m thinking I may have Vista make something for the grandparents.  What I’m not sure yet.

As for bought presents for her, I’m eying one of those Tag Juniors (she loves to read).  But at $50… well.  Perhaps that’ll be her one big gift and we can get her some coloring books, crayons and stickers.  Those are always a hit.

Am I the only one stressing about Christmas already?

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