This is me...

This is me...
I'm having a mom moment....

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Answer is No -- Because I Love You

It has happened.  One of my children has told me that they hate me.  I knew that this would happen.  I also know that it won't be the last time.

The circumstances don't really matter, but I told my children "No."  I tell them no all of the time.  No, you cannot ride your bike to school.  No, you cannot dig a hole in the backyard to trap Mothman.  No, you cannot wear that out of the house.  No you cannot have ice cream for breakfast.


But in this instance, I told my daughter that she could not go somewhere with one of her friends.  One, the destination was questionable.  Two, the kid that asked her to go, I happen to know that the parents are going through an incredibly nasty divorce and there have been "scenes" in the past.  And three, she had not completed her chores. 

So I said no.

There were wailings of "That's not fair!" and lots of pleading and begging.  And then as she turned to go to her room in a huff, there was a sort of primal scream before I heard it.  It was under her breath.  More to herself than to me.  But she said it.

"I HATE you."

I am pretty sure that my heart stopped.  I think that I audibly gasped. 

A million thoughts on what I should say ran through my head in a split second.

My first defense when I feel wounded is a sarcastic response, and I thought "Good, that means I'm doing my job."  But I didn't say that.

Then I thought -- don't respond.  She said it for her own benefit.  She didn't scream it at you.  Just act like you didn't hear it.  I didn't choose this options either.

Then I felt the tears stinging the backs of my eyes and I thought (rather cruelly) -- show her just how much that hurt.  Make her feel guilty.  But I held the tears back.  For now.

When her bedroom door closed with a bang maybe 2 seconds later, I was roused from my racing thoughts.  I got up from the couch, walked slowly to her room, turned the doorknob slowly and looked inside where she had collapsed onto her bed crying at what she perceived as my mistreatment of her.

"I am sorry that you are mad.  You are too young to understand all of the reasons why, but I am not.  That is why God gives children parents.  I understand that you are angry, but I do not appreciate you saying that you hate me.  That was mean and you are not mean.  The answer is no, this time, because I know things and understand things that you, at 8 years old, cannot.  The answer is no because I love you."

And I kissed her cheek and left the room slowly closing the door behind me.  Then I went to my own room, closed the door, turned the lock, and sat on my bed and cried. 

I knew that my children would not always view me as perfect.  I knew that they would one day disagree with something I made them do, or wouldn't let them do.  I knew it was coming.  I did not expect it to come so early.  I did not expect my 8 year old daughter to utter those words. 

I remember saying those things to my parents.  I remember thinking them.  I remember feeling so wronged by their restrictions on my life -- I felt that I knew better.  I was wrong.  I was wrong about what I thought I knew.  I was wrong about their intentions and I was wrong about hating them. 

I was angry about not getting my way -- just like my daughter is now.  I know she doesn't hate me.  She's just mad.

Then there was a knock at my door.  It was my daughter.  She apologized.  I accepted.  And we cried together as I tried to break down into terms she could understand why she could not go. 

I expect power struggles with my kids.  It is part of being a parent.  This was the first of many battles to come.  There will be more "I hate you's" -- they will sometimes just be in their own heads, sometimes uttered under their breath, and they will be shouted from behind slammed doors. 

I made it through the first one, but it will in no way prepare me for the others to come.  I will take it though, because I love them. 

I love them enough to say no.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spring. Blech.

Sorry that I have not been on here in a while.  I am sick.  There is this yellow film over everything outside and it has made its way up my nose making it hard to breathe, hard to function, hard to even get up in the mornings.  Since I was sick, I decided to go ahead and read The Hunger Games trilogy, and if you haven't read them I highly suggest that you do -- I devoured all 3 books in less than 24 hours.  Of course, I haven't felt up to anything else, so lying still and reading was about all I could manage.  But I went to the doctor Tuesday, so I'm feeling....medicated. That's the best I can say, really. I don't really feel better yet.

I know that everyone loves Spring, but as we have established through previous posts, I am not always like everyone else.  I am not a fan of Spring.  The obvious reason is this raging sinus infection brought on by all of the pollen in the air.  Everything gets coated in yellow and I sneeze and I cough and I feel drunk and hungover at the same time.  But that is not the only reason.  I am a "big" girl and I hate to be hot.  Here in Texas, Spring means "Hot" weather (whereas in the Summer, we move into "Hell-like" temperatures).  Hotter weather means clothes that show more skin, fit closer, basically everything my typical wardrobe is not.  I am much more comfortable in clothes that are baggy and stretchy and cover my multitude of flaws.  Spring means showing more of my imperfections, and let's face it, I have enough imperfections without even addressing the ones hiding under my yoga pants and sweatshirts. 

And then there is the worst thing about Spring -- swimsuit shopping.

I have been working on my weight, and things are still progressing well.  I was thinking that in a month or two, I might have my weight down to a point that I could consider starting that horrible process where I shave my legs above the knee and go bravely into a store dressing room with it's harsh florescent lighting and try on a few swimsuits.  I  doubted that I would look good or anything, but I thought maybe I could get an idea of what is out there and what I want for the Summer, and that just maybe I could make it through the process without curling up into a ball on the dressing room floor and sobbing about what the mirror told me. 

But that idea was wrong.  I went to Kohl's last weekend to get somethings for my kids and I decided to take a precursory stroll through the women's swimsuit section as a way to re-motivate myself.  This was a mistake.

What I discovered was that the swimsuits have been out since the beginning of February.  Now there was very little left.  There were some bikinis -- which will NEVER happen since I am not big on wearing something that covers less than my underwear in public -- and some, what can only be described as "Grandma Suits."  Not a suit that I would wear anywhere.  So I asked someone there if they would be getting in more stock and she replied "Swimwear is usually debuted in late January or early February, so smart shoppers have already purchased their Summer looks." I am dumb as well as hefty.  Great self-esteem boost from that little chat, thanks. 

Why do retailers do this?  Why do I need a suit in February??!  Unless I am jetting off to some tropical destination or going on a cruise, I couldn't possibly need a swimsuit before late April -- even here in Texas.  And I doubt that the majority of the US populous is going on all these vacations.  I don't plan my "Summer Look" -- like most everything else in my life, my "Look" (regardless of the season) just sort of happens.  It's not just women's clothes -- All the kid's Summer clothes have been out for months.  My kids could possibly grow another size or 2 by Summer.  Am I all the only one who is annoyed by this?  I tend to come up on an event or even a season with an "Oh crap -- I HAVE to go to the store and find something for THIS weekend." Or tomorrow.  Or later today.  I hate shopping for clothes.  The fashion industry is completely messed up to me -- it's like a completely different language.  Apparently, I will always be behind.

And all this means that in July or August, when I need a "Summery" outfit, they will have wool pants, bulky sweaters and boots in the stores.  Blech.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Contest is OVER (Thank Goodness)

Well, the contest that I have been bugging everyone about for the past few weeks is finally over and I finished at a respectable #16 in the Top 25.  Thank you for voting for me.  Circle of Moms will be featuring my blog in their April "Roundup" -- I am not exactly sure what that means, but it sounds important.

These contests are important to me because my blog, in comparison to many others, is pretty small.  I do not have thousands of followers -- yet.  By competing in these contests and by being listed on sites like Top Mommy Blogs and Picket Fence Blogs, I hope to gain exposure.  I hope that I will get new fans, new friends, and more input.  I accept that I am not every one's cup of tea -- I am okay with that.  But I do want to find more people to connect with and these sites and these contests allow me to do that.  So I appreciate Circle of Moms and other parenting sites for having contests like this.  And I appreciate all of you supporting me by voting.

As with everything involving women and the Internet, there was drama with this contest.  Some bloggers complained that other bloggers shouldn't be included because they didn't blog enough, but had shifted their focus to their Facebook pages.  Some bloggers complained that other bloggers were somehow cheating to get their votes.  I get so tired of catty women that it makes me ill.  This was a decent little contest on a fairly well known mommy website -- there was no need for the drama.  If someone is cheating, sure, put a stop to that, but quit whining about who gets to participate -- leave that up to those running the contest.  Quit getting your panties in a bunch because someone who entered the contest pretty late is passing you up in the rankings.  It took me the full 2 weeks to get my votes.  I know some people entered the contest a few days before it ended and finished in the top 10 -- I don't care.  I didn't start whining to The Circle of Moms about it.  I just kept trying to get my own votes.  I successfully avoided all of the drama.  I didn't even hear about it until after the contest was over.  Yay me! 

What is sad is that all of the drama has, in my opinion, put a bit of a blemish on the results of what should have been a fairly straight forward, friendly competition.  I mean, I don't think that The Circle of Moms purposely invited drama -- but some of the women bloggers who participated had to get all crazy and made it dramatic.  I find it sad that someone in this competition was so hellbent on grabbing her piece of the spotlight, that she couldn't bear to share it with anyone else that might challenge her position.  I do not know if the women who complained were part of the final 25 or not, but it doesn't matter.  If you cannot hold your own with the best, then what is the point of having a "Top" 25?  If you feel the need to eliminate your competition to somehow feel better about yourself, then you shouldn't compete.

I was honored to be included in this list.  There were some truly amazing bloggers that made the list, and while I was way behind the front runners (by literally thousands of votes), I was still included.  Had those who were excluded been allowed to compete, I still would have made the list.  I would have been further down, but I would have still been on it.  The thing is, the actual place on the list doesn't matter.  The point was to be on it.  And I was.

Once again, I was sort of smacked in the face with how incredibly competitive and petty and flat out catty some women can be.  I hope that I don't come across that way.  A few posts ago, I talked about how we, as women and as bloggers, should be lifting each other up.  I plan to continue to do that, and so I invite you to all check out the other blogs on the list -- there are some truly amazing writers on there. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

I Don't Wanna Go To School

I am trying to get up the motivation to go to my kids' open house tonight. 

I really do not like their school.  I am also not too keen on their teachers.  I understand that the teachers are handicapped by a myriad of federal, state, and local rules that prevent them from taking control of their classrooms and utilizing all of the no doubt amazing teaching techniques that some of them learned in their pursuit of their teaching degrees; but when I have to go and listen to how my son got a C on a math test because he did not draw a picture good enough to demonstrate how he got the numbers in the equation that he used to actually solve the problem, or that he didn't properly use 'counters' during his math review, I get all stabby feeling.  When I have to hear how my daughter got a 'level change' for giving a pencil to a classmate who didn't have one, I have to bite my tongue.  And when I think of my 5 year old attending this highly regimented, restricted, and controlled school next year, I get sad.

I remember elementary school as FUN.  We went on lots of field trips, at least once a month some kid had a birthday and their mom brought cookies or cupcakes, and we had at least 7 class parties a year.  We had PE everyday, recess was 45 minutes everyday, art was twice a week and music twice a week, and our teacher read books by authors like Judy Bloom and Ronald Dahl to us for at least 30 minutes after lunch every day.  We had plenty of time at lunch for eating and talking with our friends -- the idea of a 'silent lunchroom' would have never been suggested, let alone tried.

Sure, we had lessons and we learned a lot of stuff, but the only thing I remember truly dreading were the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) reports that we had to do in 5th and 6th grade.  Even those wouldn't be so bad now that there is the Internet.  I had to spend hours with my parents Encyclopedia Britannica and in the public library in the card catalog on my 'working bibliography.'  Then I had to spend even more time making note cards, outlines, composing the report, writing and rewriting (by hand) the report so that the margins were perfect, the citations of sources were accurate, that everything was done to the strictly laid out rules and guidelines so I could turn it in.  I have always been a pretty good writer, but I suck if I don't want to write about something.  I would have enjoyed it better if they had said "Hey, go learn enough about the Revolutionary War to make up a historically accurate story."  But sadly, they wanted facts.  They wanted facts that were backed up by multiple sources.  They wanted properly documented sources and they were not interested in colorful embellishments.  Yep.  DAR reports were the sole blemish on my fun early education, but for the most part elementary school was a blast.

Too bad my kids do not have that same amazing school experience.  Not at all.  They get PE every other day.  They get art once a week (most weeks).  They get music once a week.  Recess is only 15-20 minutes on a good day.  And their classroom time is spent learning new ways to do things that their parents and grand parents learned the right way.  No, it is no wonder that they come home everyday begging me to home school them (which is sooooooo not happening!)

And if I go tonight, I will get to hear all about how my kids would do better if they would just conform and I will have to resist blowing raspberries.  Maybe I should just stay home....

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ellen Degeneres Rocks The Casbah

The Ellen Degeneres Show is giving away a trip to Ireland.  I want to win.  No, scratch that -- I deserve to win. 

So I entered.

The entry process was to give all of your contact information (of course) and then to write a little piece about why you should win.  I was limited to 1,500 characters so i had to abbreviate a lot, but this is the first entry I wrote:
I'm the SAHM of 4 kids, ages 10 and younger. I never get to go anywhere, & I've never won anything. As a single-income, large family, we don't get vacations unless my parents take us. My husband & I did have a 3 day trip to San Antonio once. We stayed in a La Quinta with a continental breakfast, made lunch in our room & ate at the cheapest restaurants we could find. We NEED time away as a couple, & Ireland would be a dream come true.
To be honest, we'd love to take our family of 6 to Disney before we'd ever take the time & money for a couple's vacation, but neither are in the works at this point. We are the typical American family except that we are anti-debt. When you have a large family & operate on a cash only principle, big vacations take decades to save for. We tend to put our kids 1st, so no vacations for us.
I first began planning an Ireland vacation as a kid & became an avid reader of authors like James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, & the poet, Wm. Butler Yeats. I have Irish roots, but I wouldn't know where to begin looking for any family over there since all I know is that the Cline, Boyd & Dawkins families came from Scotland & Ireland a long time ago & settled in the Southern US.
Finally, I should win since I actually enjoyed Brigadoon, I love Lucky Charms, & I look amazing in green. My husband should come with me because he enjoys a good Guinness, & he works like no one I know so that I can stay home with our kids, write, & enter long-shot contests on the internet.
But then I decided that it was too sappy, too self-depreciating, and just not really me.  And every entry that they get will sound almost just like that.  So I deleted it and wrote this instead:
 You will get a lot of entries telling you how they never win anything, they’re broke & never get to go anywhere, how they’d love to trace their roots back to Ireland, & a bunch of other stock reasons why they should win.  While as a SAHM to 4 kids, 10 & younger, all of those things are true, these are the 12 best reasons I can think of that my husband I should win:
1)      We have no criminal record to prevent our leaving the country
2)      We both love potatoes
3)       I look amazing in almost every shade of green
4)       My husband enjoys a good Guinness
5)       I loved the movie Brigadoon
6)       We could both hold our own in a bar fight
7)       I’ve never been to Britain & base all of my opinions of Europeans on a trip to France 25 years ago
8)       I will dye my hair a beautiful auburn shade if I win
9)       I love Lucky Charms
10)     I enjoy listening to Irish music (and not just Flogging Molly)
11)     My Irish accent could benefit from an immersion program
12)     Finally, I would blog about the trip, the show, & I'd add the tag line "Ellen Degeneres rocks the Casbah" to the end of every post for at least a year.
Too bad I actually never win anything because I would love to go to Ireland, be on Ellen's show, and add that tag line to every blog post for the next year.   I'd even change the picture at the top of this blog to a picture of me with Ellen (from when she flies me out to be a guest and tell her all about my trip).
I know that I most likely won't win, but I had fun coming up with a clever way of entering.  And, I know that Ellen will never even see the masterpiece that I wrote because some producer will eliminate me before the finalists get to her.  But on the off chance that she DOES see it, I added the link to the blog at the end of my entry so that perhaps they'll read both entries, snoop around a little and see how awesome I am, and put me in touch with a publisher who will appreciate me.

Fingers crossed, because stranger things have happened.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Operation Find The Floor

Pretty darn close.

I really am frustrated.  Despite my constant purging of clutter, I still cannot seem to ever clean out enough crap in this house to make it clutter free.  We have too much stuff and half of it seems to end up on the floor.  Walking through my house is like navigating an obstacle course most of the time and I am sick of it.  We have 6 people and all of their stuff crammed into this house and we just don't have room for all of it.  I have looked into a bigger house, but we can't afford it, so the only other option is to get rid of stuff.

I totally lost my mind on my 2 oldest this morning. I went upstairs to wake them up, and found the majority of their Christmas haul all over the floor. And this was something THEY had done -- the 2 oldest. They could not blame this on the 2 little ones. They are smart kids, but they are total slobs. They could be on "Hoarders, The Early Years."

Yeah, this is totally something they would say.

The expensive, professional art easel filled with stuff that the girl child got from my mom is the one that REALLY pissed me off. I never would have bought that for her. I know that all together it was more than $200. She was soooooo excited and promised that she would take care of it, so when I saw the drawer yanked out and all those supplies all over the floor just waiting for the 3 year old Picasso to find and create a new mural on one of my walls, I wanted to strangle her.

The oldest boy has an issue with Legos.  He carries handfuls of Legos around with him and lays them down all over the house.  I have found Legos in the bathroom, on the table, on the floor, on MY nightstand, in the kitchen ON the counter and IN the cabinets, and even in the fridge.  I once pulled back the covers to go to bed and found a handful of Legos and a little Lego man in my bed waiting for me.  It is an obsession, or maybe an addiction.  But when I went upstairs to the loft area that they use as a playroom, it was a sea of Legos.  You could not see the floor.  At all.  He got more Legos for Christmas as well as a cool sort and store Lego box.  I am not sure that his Legos have ever all been in that box.  Before today at least.  As of now, all of the discovered handfuls have been put away.

And the stuff that they want to hold onto astounds me.  I told them to find stuff to get rid of -- anything broken or missing pieces was, I thought, a no brainer.  Nope.  They want to keep the chess set that is missing both kings, and 3 pawns.  They said they could still play with it.  And the broken crayons.  I do not understand why, with the multitude of art supplies in this house they want to keep crayons that are snapped into 1/4 inch sections.  And then there are the multitudes of pictures that they have drawn, or cardboard pieces and whole boxes that they have "decorated" but are torn or falling apart.  It makes no sense. 

Today, we went through the clothes.  My daughter, the 8 year old, is going to be a problem after she hit puberty.  She is super tiny.  I made her cry because I took away shorts from her that were a size 3T.  Yes, they still technically fit her, but they were very short.  (Incidentally, her size gives me hope that she might avoid the battle of the bulge that I wage daily.)  She would wear them out in public if I let her (which I wouldn't).  She calls them her "bootie shorts" and every time she says that it makes me cringe.  If she wants to wear short, tight clothes at 8, what will she be like at 16??!  And she's a fashionista.  Unlike her little sister who loves to live in her big brother's hand-me-downs -- sweatshirts that hit her at the knees, baggy boy-shorts that look like she's going out for the WNBA -- she is definitely my kid.  It is hard for her to realize which clothes actually DO fit her because she'd wear the baggy clothes of her older brother. 

The boys clothes are not a problem.  They don't have enough clothes to make a huge mess.  Their clothes do not spill out of the drawers onto the floor and they are content to wear one outfit from shower to shower instead of changing 6 times in 24 hours. 

Then there are the toys. 4 kids with 2 sets of loving grandparents who will buy them almost everything that they ask for means that we cannot move in this house without stepping on or tripping over some blasted toy.
This happens to me all of the time!
And we have so much stuff that I can never find what I am looking for (and that I am pretty sure we already have), so what do I do?  I go get another one of whatever it is that I can't find.  It is a vicious cycle.  My house has too much random stuff, that I cannot find the important stuff, so I go out and buy more stuff, which makes the clutter problem worse.

So we are de-cluttering.  Again.  I'm getting rid of books, clothes that don't fit anyone, toys no one plays with, shoes that no one wears -- all of it.  I am taking pictures of what I am donating to Goodwill so that if the IRS wants another detailed list I can just send them a picture next year.  I am bound and determined to make this house more organized. 
Seriously, none of us have a clue what's in our rooms.  They are too full.

And I WILL find the floor in every room.  Even mine.

Thank you for reading! Do me a favor and go to the right hand side of this page and click that top button to go Circle of Moms and give me a vote in the Top 25 Funny Mom Blogs contest! This contest only lasts until March 21st, you can vote every day, and I just need to stay in the top 25! You can vote on Top Mommy Blogs and Picket Fence Blogs too, but those two are ranking sites and the voting never ends! :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Paying It Forward -- "The Sunshine Award"

Another blogger, The Somewhat Sane Mom, gave me this award!  I think that this is an awesome idea that allows us bloggers to compliment and promote each other -- something that I have pledged to do more of. 

I am pretty stoked about being included.  If you have never checked out her blog you really should!
Here are the rules that I must follow for this award...(hope I get this right!)
1. Include the award's logo in a post or on your blog.
2. Answer 10 questions about yourself.
3. Nominate 10-12 other fabulous bloggers.
4. Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs, letting them know that they have been nominated.
5. Share the Love and link back to the person who nominated you.
Well, I posted the logo at the top of the post, and I've already linked to The Somewhat Sane Mom, (twice, now), so that takes care of rules #1 and #5.  Now, here are my answers to the questions:

What is your favorite color?
     This is a tough one.  My favorite color depends a lot upon my mood.  I am a walking mood ring.
What is your favorite animal? 
     Humans.  But, I doubt that is what they meant. I really love dogs and horses.

Favorite Non-Alcoholic Drink?  
     This one is a no brainer -- COCA-COLA.  Preferably in a Route 44 size from Sonic.

What is your favorite number?
     Three.  I know that it should be 4, since I have 4 kids; or 6, for the number of people in my family, but it's not.  It's 3.  I don't really have a reason either.

Facebook or Twitter?
     Definitely Facebook.  I have a very hard time "Tweeting" because I am limited to 140 characters in what I want to say.  Most of my sentences have more than 140 characters.

What is your passion?
     My kids and my blog.  I don't "work" so I get paid in kisses and recognition  Which is why I push for votes all of the time.  Like for The Circle of Moms Top 25 Contest that ends in 8 days!!  You can vote every day!!

What is your favorite pattern? 
   Solid.  I am not big on patterns.  Probably because I'm a big girl and patterns tend to make me look bigger.

Favorite day of the week?
     Saturdays.  I don't have to get up for anything, and I love to sleep.

Favorite flower?
     I really like daisies.  I think that they are so cheerful.  I also like cala lilies and roses, but they are so formal.  I like daisies because they are friendly and accessible.

Give or Get Presents?
     I love giving presents.  I spend a lot of time picking out gifts for people that I love.  However, that being said, I'd be a big fat liar if I said I didn't also love to get gifts.  Who doesn't love to get gifts??!

Now for my nominations.  This part was a little difficult because I know some have already received the award, and then I had a whole lot of blogs that I love and I had to narrow things down.  I copied the descriptions from each blogger's "About Me" page.  This is my final list:

I’m a born again princess that loves to write, cook (eat), read, play Rock Band, mountain bike, home school my kids, and amuse myself with the stories of everyday living.
I share my fairytale life with my Super Hero husband, Nathan, and our three kids: The Social Guy (my 16 year old son), The Artist (my 15 year old step-daughter), and The Brainiac (our 10 year old son).
Joined by our faithful pet, Bailey the Bendy Dog, we have *way* more fun and adventure then your average Disney® family.
Attack of the Redneck Mommy ™ was created Feb 2006, four months after the sudden death of Tanis Miller’s youngest son, Shale. After googling the words mom and grief, Tanis stumbled onto the online world of blogging and it wasn’t long before she decided to make the big leap from lurker to author.
Her blog is a humorous and insightful look at the joys of parenting, the delights of marriage and the heartbreak of losing a child. Her blog has been featured on CNN, The Globe and Mail and in a variety of Canadian daily newspapers. Attack of the Redneck Mommy™ won the Best Canadian Blog award in the 2010 and 2008 Bloggies.
I love to blog about my family, art, photography, crafts, Las Vegas, giveaways, and all things handmade. When I am not blogging, am often found listening to indie music and taking a million and 1 photos. I also addicted to Pinterest.
Look through the lens with me as this artsy mama shares her journey one snapshot at a time with family in main focus. I am a mom with a camera, and I am not afraid to use it!
4)     Non-stop Mom
I'm just a normal mom. I stay home with my kids and I provide a little bit of daycare for some friends' kids. I have a serious Internet addiction (Shocked? I thought not.) and am a perpetual night owl. I don't like to sleep alone but I've been doing it for over 2 years now and I think I'm finally okgoodie baskets for friends with stuff that I've made. My dream is to someday have my own little shop where I can sell the stuff that I make, but that's more than a few years down the line at this point.

When I started this blog, it was more for fun than for anything else. But as I started to get into it, I realized that it was really helping me to work through a lot of things that have happened in my life. I've received feedback from people indicating that they've been able to relate to it and they've been able to take something from it to help them in their particular situation. I don't think that anything that I do is special or awe-inspiring or anything like that - but if I can help one person who is going through a tough time, then I am happy. So many of my friends helped me through some of the darkest parts of my life and I need to pay that forward.

I try to post a variety of things. I can't be serious all of the time, so while some of my posts will go off the deep end, some of them will literally just be random thoughts. It is truly a glimpse into what little bit of a mind I have left.

So there you have it, in a medium-sized nutshell. Have questions? Just ask. For the most part, I'll tell you. And if it's not something that I want to discuss, I'll tell you that too.
5)     Carpool Goddess
I’m Carpool Goddess: a coffee loving, cupcake eating, struggling to reform helicopter mom of a senior in high school and a junior in college (also known as Mini Me and College Boy). Despite giving me gray hair and making me crazy, my family is the light of my life. I spend way too much time online and should exercise more (you read the part about cupcakes, right?!). I also never leave the house without lipstick. Never.I started my blog Nov. 2010 and I practically fainted when I hit “publish” for the first time. It’s getting easier now, I only break out in a cold sweat. My hubby is super supportive because writing makes me happy. Plus, it keeps me out of stores, which also makes him happy. My blog is about my parenting experiences and whatever else tickles my fancy. I hope it tickles yours too.
Her "About Me" says "Still trying to work up to my potential" and her blog tag line is "The stories that define my complacent stroll through mediocrity."

I'm the adoptive mom of three toddlers just trying to have a documented, complete thought without interruption. I'm not your average, every day mom. I raise my kids like it's the 50's- I'm strict, loving and wholesome, and I do it all with a drink and cigarette nearby. You know what they didn't have in the 50's? Teen pregnancy, school shootings, and rampant drug/alcohol issues. Fact.
8)     Nightowl Mama
I am a stay at home working mom of 3 boys ages 3, 5, 22 and 1 girl age 11. I enjoy blogging and sharing my thoughts and opinions on products we use as a family. I incorporate family photo’s, video’s and our thoughts into my reviews to help consumers make a more informed decision on products before they purchase them. I only accept products that I feel our family would be a good fit for. If by chance we no longer have use for a product we have reviewed we donate them to the charity or local shelters for abused, and battered women and children. I recently started to focus on exercise, getting fit and eating healthier.
If you’d asked the ten-year-old me what she was going to be when she grew up, she’d have answered:
Elizabeth Wakefield. Writer. Rabbi. First female Pope (or co-Pope, to be precise, with my also not-Catholic just-younger sister). President of the United States. Doctor. Lawyer. Super hero. How long do I have to answer this question?
I’m 33 years old now. I’ve done only one of the things I originally set out to do. (You guessed it. I became Elizabeth Wakefield. “Deborah Bryan” is my spy name.) I’ve also researched killer whales in British Columbia, taught English in South Korea and Japan, finished law school, done extra work on some of my favorite shows, run a couple of marathons and written some books. I’ve become a mom–the one thing most decidedly never on any of my to-do lists–and discovered I really enjoy negotiating contracts.
Life moves a little more slowly now than it used to, but it’s infinitely more beautiful and complex than it was before. I’m writing and editing almost every day, even if I giggle when forced to actually label myself a “writer.” I’m finally learning to cook. (Thank you, VegWeb!) Most of all, I’m loving every minute of motherhood, which is so, so very much more than soiled diapers, sleepless nights and endless exhaustion.
So far, my life hasn’t gone at all according to my plans. I hope I’ll be able to say the same at 66!
10)     Mary Tyler Mom
I work. I mother. I'm a working mother. And on my best days, I believe I will make it after all. Just like you. After a four year professional hiatus where I was caring and grieving for my beautiful daughter who died of an aggressive brain tumor, I came back into the professional fold last winter when I resumed part-time employment. I used to be a clinical social worker, counseling others about their lives and problems. Yeah, not so much anymore. The last thing I want to do now is listen to other people talk about their problems. Lordy, I've got too many of those myself, folks. So instead, I use this here Internet thingamabob to connect with other working parents - - it's fun and so much cheaper than therapy.
So talk to Mary Tyler Mom. It's cheaper than therapy for you, too.
I’m the most extroverted introvert I know. I can be brilliant, dark, and every shade in between. I have purple chunk of highlights in my hair – just cuz. Sometimes I feel alone in a crowd and other times I am crowded when I am alone. Writing and clicking pics* help me stay connected, focused, and present.
I have show and tell here….well because I can, and if it brings you a smile, an a-ha, a “thank goodness it’s not just me,” or even a “whew I’m glad I’m not her” then having a mind as busy as Manhattan during rush hour is worth it.
12)     Major Mama
I am just a mom trying to safely navigate my teenager through these treacherous years.
Teenagers are up against a monster…Today’s Society. Specifically I’m talking about drugs, alcohol, the media, peer pressure and decisions made by other parents.
In September, we sent our 16 year old son, kicking and screaming, to a military school. This came as a surprise to him as one day he was sitting in his Catholic high school, and the next day he was meeting his new fellow cadets.
This has not been easy for any of us, but the sleepless nights that followed my long, silent drive back home after leaving him in someone else’s hands, were unbearable. So I started to write.
Initially, my words were meant for my sister and other family members, but luckily others have found it. I’ve been writing about this journey as honestly as I possibly can, and now I think I’m over the “What will people think?” phase.
Prayer, talks with girlfriends, support from his Catholic grade school community, strangers, and strength from my wonderful faith-filled family are all working together to create the best “village” a mom could pray for to help her child grow up to be a good man.
He’s going to make it – I’ll make sure of it.

There were so many others that I wanted to include, but you need to go backwards because so many of them have already been awarded!   If you go to The Somewhat Sane Mom, read all of her nominations, then go back to who nominated her and read all of their nominations, etc. you'll get an idea about how hard it is to narrow it down to 10 or 12!!

I hope that you will check all of these fabulous blogs out -- they inspire me.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Crap. It Works.

Let me start by saying that I am NOT a nutritionist.  I am NOT a personal trainer.  I formulated this plan based on intensive research into existing plans and what I thought I could do.  You should not do this if you have any health problems, if you haven't seen your doctor, or if you are looking at this as a long term solution.  This is the plan that I am following to jump start my weight loss.  Seriously, I'm just telling you what is working for me -- I made up this "diet" to fit my goals.

Over the past 18 months or so, I have resorted to my old slovenly ways of vegging out in front of the TV with my laptop, eating junk food, Facebooking, and just being a general couch potato.  It has been awesome.  At least is was, until I realized that my preferred wardrobe of yoga pants and t-shirts were the only things that still fit me. 

I have turned 'lazy' into an art form.  I only exerted enough energy to do the minimum -- move from the bed to the couch, stand to make dinner, go outside to get the mail or to walk to the car, clean a bathroom or do some laundry.  I was practically immobile. 

A couple of weeks ago, I got on the scale and I was mortified at the number that popped up.  I stood in my bathroom, where one whole wall is a mirror, looked at my naked body and I was disgusted with myself.  My husband felt the same way about his body and the number that the scale told him.  So I began researching.  My husband really wanted to do Nutrisystem.  A guy at his plant lost over 100 pounds on Nutrisystem and kept it off for more than a year.  I was intrigued, so I started researching.

Nutrisystem's plan was fairly simple -- high protein, low carb, low calorie and they sent you all of your meals that you supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables.  It was nutritionally sound.  It sounded super easy to follow.  But it was expensive.  REALLY expensive.  For my husband and I to both do their plan, it would cost over $500 a month -- and that was on "automatic re-order" where they took the money out of our account and sent the food every month.  This was a problem.  I don't know about everyone else, but for us, since we don't do credit cards, this money would come straight out of our checking account.  We NEVER have an extra $500 in our account, and definitely not for them to withdraw at their convenience.  And if we did the same plan, month to month, it was $400 EACH. 

So Nutrisystem was out of the question, regardless of how awesome their plan was.

But, I thought about it, and I KNEW what the Nutrisystem plan basically was.  I did not know the specific nutritional information on their meals, but an exhaustive Google search revealed some guidelines.  I was going to do a "Do-it-Yourself Nutrisystem Type Plan."  This is what it boils down to:

2 Protein shakes (or bars) -- 200 calories or less, 6 grams of fat or less, 10 grams of protein or more
2 Frozen meals -- 300 calories or less, 9 grams of fat or less, 10 grams of protein or more
4-5 servings of fresh or frozen vegetables (in addition to what is in the frozen meals)
1-2 servings of fresh fruits
Minimal, low-fat, condiments
A multi-vitamin
Plenty of water (64-80 ounces a day)

     **I upped the limits on the frozen meal's calories for my husband and gave him an extra protein shake a day -- he's a man, he out-weighs me by at least 50 pounds, and if he got too hungry, he'd quit.

The beauty of this was that I had no "brand" limitations.  I bought what was on sale.  I bought some Special K shakes and bars, some Slim-fast shakes, and some Atkins shakes (different sales at different stores).  I also found some protein powder on sale that I could put with these great Yoplait Smoothies that I already had -- that would raise the protein level without raising the calories above the accepted level and these smoothies count as a shake and a fruit.  I went to the frozen food section and found that these guidelines are super easy to follow.  I also bought what was on sale -- Weight Watcher meals, Healthy Choice meals, and Lean Cuisine meals -- it didn't matter as long as they were things that we would eat and stayed within the guidelines. (I also took note of the sodium content -- salt is necessary for frozen foods, but too much of it can cause you to retain water and derail your weight loss.)  Then I got some fresh spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini, broccoli, apples, oranges, bananas, etc.  I also bought some raw almonds.  Almonds are high in protein and are an awesome way to curb cravings with just a few nuts.

So, if I had done the Nutrisystem plan on the auto order system, it would have come out to roughly $120 a week for my husband and I.  My DIY version was less than $100 per week and I had the freedom to choose what I wanted week to week and did not have to worry about the money all being in the account. 

But I was still skeptical. 

What if my info was off??  Just because I found it on the Internet didn't mean it was true.  A lot of this was in the timing of the meals -- so I started the day by using the pre-made protein shakes as creamer in my coffee -- eliminating the need for additional milk or sweeteners and eating a piece of fruit.  Then, around 11:00 we'd eat a salad (at least 2 cups of lettuce, and we added a boiled egg to it -- not originally on the plan, FYI).  The husband went to bed shortly after (because he works nights) and I would have another shake and a fruit a couple of hours later.  When I went to get the kids from school, I'd have a frozen meal.  When I made the kids dinner, I'd make mine, usually with a salad or some broccoli, or whatever.  It was working.  We were eating when we were hungry and for the first time since either of us could remember, we heard our stomachs growl.

We also needed to up our activity.  We have put a hold on our gym membership because we weren't using it and it was expensive.  We decided to give this new plan a go without the gym.  If we had success without the gym, then when we plateaued, we'd have something new to add to switch things up.  So, I set up an exercise plan that I could do at home.  This is basically it:

Wear ankle weights all day, everyday. This is a little thing, but it will make every step you take help to tone your legs, butt, and core. 

2 Days a Week
-- 20-25 minutes (or more if you have time or have the stamina) of marching in place, stepping up and down off of a step-bench, briskly walking around the block, etc. 
-- Crunches.  I try to do 100, but that's me.
-- Free weights.  I am not trying to bulk up, and I only own 5 pound dumbbells and a 10 pound kettle bell.  I do squats with the kettle bell, lunges with the dumbbells, and I lay on my step bench and do chest presses, bicep curls, etc.  I don't really pay attention to the order or anything, but I do stay consistent in the number of reps and the specific exercises.  The idea is to be moving.
**I can put on a DVRed show and move the entire hour and I'm done.

2 Days a Week:
DOUBLE the above -- once in the morning and once in the evening

2 Days a Week:
--Just stepping (or marching in place, or walking, or whatever)
No weights (other than ankle weights)
Simple calisthenics -- leg lifts, push-ups, crunches, etc.

1 Day a Week:
Just ankle weights

Now, I know that the exercise is a lot.  And the first week that I did this, I did not start exercising until Day 3.  But doing it in my own house in front of my TV really makes it easy to follow.  I base what I do on what I did the day before:  I started with twice a day, then once a day, then no weights, then twice a day, then once a day, then nothing.  This is the pattern that I was going to follow.  A lot of "experts" will tell you that you shouldn't do weights everyday.  Well, when you are doing "weights' in the 5-10 pound range, this is not an issue.  If you were pressing 150 pounds, yeah, you should take a day off in between lifting, but for what I am talking about, it isn't necessary. 

So, I have done this for a week (at least the diet part, the exercise has only been going on for about 4 days).  Here's the thing:  I lost a little more than SEVEN pounds in this first week.  I have never lost 7 pounds in one week.  EVER.  I always thought that The Biggest Loser numbers were doctored.  I didn't think that those kinds of numbers were actually possible.  And I know, that this initial weight loss is due to the total shock to my sloth like system.  I cut out Coke, most sugar, almost all simple carbohydrates, and upped my activity significantly.  I do not expect to maintain a pound a day loss past this week.  I know that as my weight drops, my body will acclimate to the new diet and levels of activity, and the weight loss will come slower and slower.  I will have to continually change things up to keep the momentum.  But this is a start.  It is, for me, a very GOOD start.  And as I get closer to my goal, I will start replacing the frozen meals with foods that I prepare -- we have decided that we are going to try to stay away from simple carbohydrates and highly processed foods. This means that we are being extra careful about the frozen foods that we choose.  Simple sugars are going to become rare treat items.  For us, the weight loss is important, but we want this to be a permanent, sustainable, healthy, life change.

And my husband?  He also lost more than a pound a day this first week (and he hasn't even started his exercise yet!).

All of this means that I will have to stick with it.  As happy as I am with the weight loss, I was secretly hoping that none of this would work.  I wanted to say "Well, I guess I will just have to stay fat and happy.  I tried something radical and it didn't work!"  But it DID.    (Sigh)  No resorting back to the couch with my Doritos and Rolos and Route 44 Coke. 


Thank you for reading! Do me a favor and go to the right hand side of this page and click that top button to go Circle of Moms and give me a vote in the Top 25 Funny Mom Blogs contest! This contest only lasts until March 21st, you can vote every day, and I just need to stay in the top 25!   You can vote on Top Mommy Blogs and Picket Fence Blogs too, but those two are ranking sites and the voting never ends! :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

We Are The 26.675%

Confused by the title?

It is the percentage of people in the United States who are mothers (according to the census last year).

That means that more than one fourth of the country belongs to this elite group.  The percentage of women is even higher -- 55%.  So explain to me why we are so mean to each other? 

A blog that I follow, The Underachiever's Guide to Being a Domestic Goddess, is the most recent victim in an ongoing battle with cyber-bullying between women.  Her blog and Facebook page were the target of a grown-up "Mean Girl" attack from another blog.  It makes me angry.  And it makes me sad.  I have many "friends" that I have never met except through the collection of circuits and wires that I am typing on.  As a stay-at-home mom, most days my only contact with the outside world is through my computer.  I count my circle of fellow mom-blogging friends as real friends.  We comment on each others pages and blogs, we share, we support, and we are all women and mothers.  We draw inspiration from each other and we take personal attacks very seriously. 

My friend was personally attacked.

Another blogger -- someone who should be one of those who supports her fellow blogging women -- dedicated an entire post to tearing The Underachieving Goddess down. 

My first reaction was to retaliate.  I wanted to spread the word about the hate by posting links on my Facebook page and here on my blog to tell my fans to go get her.  But that was, as my first reactions generally are, the WRONG response.  That would be spreading the hate, giving it wings, so to speak, and allowing it to spread.  So instead, I posted links to The Underachieving Goddess -- both to her blog and her page on Facebook and I asked my fans to lift her up. 

As a certified "Snark Queen" I had a lot that I wanted to say to this other blogger, but I refrained.  In holding back, and thinking through all of the things that I wanted to say, I realised how incredibly easy it is to be drawn into BEING a bully.  When you sit behind a keyboard, it is very easy to let the insults fly with little thought to how they make the person on the other side of that screen feel.  I believe that if you follow a simple rule of thumb in all of your posts and comments, you can avoid becoming the bully -- don't type it if you wouldn't say it to someone's face.  Now, for me (and I imagine for some of you) this will curb very little of your on-line activity, but just imagine if we all followed this simple rule.  Imagine the most recent on-line discussion that you participated in as an actual conversation, with real people -- because, newsflash -- that is exactly what it is. 

So what is bullying?  Is voicing an opinion that differs from one posted bullying?  It depends upon how you voice it.  If you can voice a different opinion respectfully, then no.  But if you cannot say what you want to say without insults, cursing, and addressing those who differ in opinion from you without accusatory tones, then keep your mouth shut (or sit on your hands). 

And what should you do if you are bullied?  Scroll on by, unengage from the conversation, "unlike" the page on Facebook, quit reading the blog, or, if you are in charge of the page DELETE, BLOCK, and BAN!!  On Facebook, us page administrators have a name for cyber-bullies -- Trolls.  So whatever you do, DON'T FEED THE TROLLS.  It is what they want -- they came looking for a good, cyber throw down, and if you comment back or do anything to engage them, they feed off of it.  It fuels their fire and causes more bullying. 

I do not know why women are so catty to one another, but we are.  It is not limited to the computer -- we are mean all the time.  Even now, as I think about the weight battle that I am waging, I know that I am not doing it just for my husband.  I am not doing just for myself.  I am not doing it just so I can be healthier, live longer, or just because I want to wear all the clothes in my closet that don't have elastic.  It is for all of those reasons, but it is also for all the women that I encounter both on the computer and in real life -- at the store, at the pre-school, at the pool, EVERYWHERE.  Women who's genes or metabolism have kept them fit and trim even after they had kids, hit 35, and discovered the Internet.  Women who look down their noses at my yoga pants and ponytail and lack of make-up to hit the local Kroger.  I am doing it so that they have less to judge.  In fact, if I took the judgey, catty, women bullies that I know out of consideration, I would probably be content to lose less, lose it slower, and would give little thought to whether I was ever wearing make-up. 

I am taking a pledge and I hope you will join me:
I pledge to lift at least one woman up per day.  I will compliment someone I do not know, even if I get weird looks.  I will offer help to a woman in need whenever given the opportunity.  And I. Will. NOT. Be. A. Bully.  EVER.

UPDATE:  The blogger who attacked my friend has apologized.  She sincerely did not mean to tear anyone down, and has said so publicly on her blog.  I hope that if I am ever forced to take an honest look at something that I have written that has offended someone, that I handle it with the integrity I believe that she has.  As The Underachiever's Guide To Being a Domestic Goddess has posted on her page -- "Peace and love to all."

 Thank you for reading!  Do me a favor and go to the right hand side of this page and click that top button to go Circle of Moms and give me a vote in the Top 25 Funny Mom Blogs contest!  This contest only lasts for 2 more weeks, you can vote every day, and I just need to stay in the top 25!  (Also, my friend, The Underachiever's Guide To Being A Domestic Goddess is there!  You can give her a vote too!)  You can vote on Top Mommy Blogs and Picket Fence Blogs too, but those two are ranking sites and the voting never ends!  :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

So, You Thought Your Family Was Nuts -- The Fallout

Before we get started, I have to beg you for votes – I know, I’m sorry.   I have been nominated on Circle of Moms to be in their Top 25 Funny Mom Blog list.  This contest only runs from now until March 21st, and I am not trying to “win” – just stay in the Top 25.  The pink button/badge thing over there on the right hand side will take you to the site.  Then you just scroll down to my blog (as of this morning, I was #17) and click on “vote.”  You can vote once every 24 hours.  So, please, don’t let me fall out of the Top 25!

This is the final post in the twisted saga of The Smiths, The Dimsdales, and Mrs. Mealy.  Writing this series has been exhausting – reliving the drama of the past 6-8 months in such a short period of time was bad.  And as fun as it is to collaborate with a friend on a post, it is incredibly frustrating to be on different schedules and to have to bow to the pressures of not just my family, but her family as well.

So, if you've been keeping up with these posts, then you know that the Dimsdales are completely nuts, the Smiths are very normal, and Mr. Mealy....well, let's talk about Mrs. Mealy and the fallout my friends have endured.

After the confrontation, the Smiths told Mrs. Mealy everything that had happened and everything that was said.  It turns out that Mrs. Mealy is as irrational as the Dimsdales. She actually had the nerve to blame the Smiths for not bowing down and cow towing to the insanity. She thought the Dimsdales had a point. She said, “Well you guys do yell a lot” as if what goes on in the Smiths marriage is any of her business or the Dimsdales, or if the Dimsdales marriage with all of its phony sunshine was somehow superior to the Smith’s brutal honesty.  She said it was ok that her daughter didn't tell the truth because...... "Well you would have been mad."  She stupidly thought the only reason the Smiths were upset was because the Dimsdales said their kid could not spend the night at their house. Dishonesty, misplacing your aggression onto children and character assassination... “Well you know they didn't mean that...” was her misguided attitude. At every turn, this horrible woman absolved her horrible daughter of any responsibility.

Mr. Smith told his mother in no uncertain terms that he was pretty much done with his sister. He made it clear to her that she had better not ever bring his kids around the Dimsdales again. A no contact policy was initiated that Mrs. Mealy tried to skirt for months.

Mrs. Mealy claimed she was getting "conflicting stories" about what was said at the restaurant sit down, however, she refused to elaborate when seriously questioned about what these conflicting details were. Instead of dealing with the issue she would throw her hands up and exclaim that she “didn't want to get into the middle of it.”  (Well it’s a little late for that!  She had plopped herself right in the middle of this mess when she perpetuated the Dimsdale’s lies for God knows how long.)  No -- she just continued to throw more fuel on the fire and then run away.

The Smith's tried very hard to make her realize that THEY had never lied to her or anyone else. They also tried to point out to her that the same could not be said for the Dimsdales. Mrs. Smith made the glass houses argument and pointed out the ironies of the situation. The Dimsdales didn't have any room to judge other people – especially about how others conduct their relationships when Mr. Dimsdale couldn't even keep his pants on at church. Yet, Mrs. Mealy repeatedly sided with her daughter and would not hear any of it. She dismissed the Dimsdales from any responsibility in the matter again and again saying they didn't have to apologize for the way they wanted to raise their kid.

Too bad she would not afford the same courtesy to the Smiths.

She continued with, "Well, I'm sorry I told you the truth....and you’re just mad you got the truth."

I would like to point out exactly how specious and infuriating these arguments are to my friend (and to ME as her friend!). First of all, no one is ever mad when they get the truth, but people are always mad when they find out they've been lied to. To excuse the Dimsdales from any responsibility in the matter and blame the Smiths for the Dimsdales dishonesty is totally asinine. Anybody with an ounce of common sense or a shred of decency should know that the last thing you say to anyone you have been caught lying to about something for a couple of years is “I’m sorry I told you the truth”—“I’m so sorry” would have been appropriate, but what Mrs. Mealy was saying was equivalent to “I’m sorry that I got caught lying to you.” And then she continually antagonized the situation by pushing and pushing and pushing -- what was this woman thinking manipulating and pissing off the mother of her grandchildren?

As a result of all of this behavior – criticizing the Smiths and holding up the damn Dimsdales like some sort of example of moral fortitude, Mrs. Smith did not want her kids around Mrs. Mealy at all. This grandmother -- who had probably seen her kids at least once a week since they were babies – was kept away from them for a couple of months because of her behavior. Now she gets to see them at most once a month, and rarely unsupervised for fear that she’ll sneak the Dimsdales over as soon as the Smiths drive away.

Here is what Mrs. Mealy could not get through her thick skull -- Mrs. Smith needed time to process. She needed time to be incredibly pissed and to vent about this insanity. Then maybe, possibly, she would calm down and find a way to co-exist with her mother-in-law. Her relationship with the Dimsdales was over. There was no fixing that. But after all was said and done, there was a possibility of a reconciliation with Mrs. Mealy....I say, 'WAS'.  But Mrs. Mealy wouldn't leave it alone.

First, she tried to invite the Smiths over for "a birthday dinner." Mrs. Smith flat out refused when she found out it was for the Dimsdales. Mrs. Mealy actually said “Well I can tell you’re still upset, so can the kids come?”
(Uhhh nooooo!)

Then she called her son up trying to plan a camping trip with the Dimsdales. When Mr. Smith lost his temper over the psychotic BS that he was hearing (and coming from his own mother, no less) she pulled the same stunt and just asked if just the kids could come. (The answer was not just no, but hell no!)

She also tried to invite the Dimsdales to one of the Smith kids' games. Incredible.  Unbelievable. Mr. Smith had to tell his own mom that his sister was not invited to any of his children's events -- EVER.  She actually had the nerve to tell him it was a public place and the Dimsdales could show up if they wanted to. (Seriously?  Was it gonna take a restraining order??  My friend was open to the idea…)

She was told on multiple occasions and in every way possible by her own son and Mrs. Smith that their kids were not to even be in the same room with the psycho Dimsdales. Mrs. Smith in total exasperation said it was like having a retarded dog. You could teach her not to piss on the rug but you couldn't make her understand why.

She either could not stop or would not stop. She just kept poking the bear…

The last straw between Mrs. Mealy and Mrs. Smith came at a final sit down in the kitchen of Mrs. Mealy. Mrs. Mealy wanted to know what she had to do so the kids could spend the night at her house again. The answer was simple and Mr. Smith delivered it, "Don't bring our kids around the Dimsdales not even for pick-ups and drop offs. You have the right to see your grandchildren, but you do not have the right to take them around people of whom we disapprove.  Keep pushing against that and you will find yourself cut off from us and them."

Mrs. Mealy tried everything from lying at the meeting to warning the Smiths that one day they would have to answer to God for all of this. Mrs. Smith shut her down fast and said her conscience was clear before God. She had handled this whole thing like an adult – she had asked her sister in law how she could be accommodated.  She had remained calm in the face of character assai nations from the Dimsdales.  She had not reached across the table at the restaurant and smacked the Dimsdale’s faces, and she wasn’t going to let this woman make her feel guilty about being the only normal one in this situation.  She reminded this delusional woman that she had no one to blame for this but her own delusional daughter. It was the Dimsdales that chose this outcome and were now having a hard time living with the consequences of their heinous actions.

Finally, since nothing else had worked thus far, Mrs. Mealy tried to tell the Smiths that they had misunderstood everything that happened that day months back and that she had already known what the Dimsdales kid had told their kid, so that's why she told them the same thing.

HHHHHmmmmmm… so now we’re re-writing history? Is there a better way to insult someone else's intelligence? My friend was done.  Done watching this woman fall on her own sword to protect a daughter at the expense of a son and a grandson. She was done listening to this loon rewrite history because her narcissistic daughter and son-in-law made themselves look like a couple of assholes.

Mrs., Mealy finally quit speaking to her daughter-in-law -- which was probably the only smart thing she's done in all this.  There were too many conversations between the Smiths and Mrs. Mealy over the last 6 months for me to possibly recount in this post, but Mrs. Mealy's general attitude was "When are you going to get over this so we can all go back to pretending that we are a nice, normal, family?"

Well the answer was NEVER. And seriously who would?  The Dimsdale's are such a couple of self-absorbed head cases who would want to waste Christmas or any other holiday staring at them across a table of tater tot casserole and bullshit. Things were never normal in this family – they had just fooled everyone into believing the semi-normal facade. So, where did Mrs. Mealy get off asking if it was going to get back to normal?  And Mrs. Mealy was perfectly happy to participate in the delusion as long as it meant that they could have family dinners and weekend sleepovers at her house.

I, for one, thought that Mrs. Mealy was out of her mind for wanting to get the Dimsdales and the Smiths together under the same roof. It would be catastrophic to put these people in any situation where they would have to interact. The Smiths had shown great restraint at the restaurant, but no one should expect them to act that way over and over again.

This is my gift to you, dear readers -- cheaper than therapy and waaaay more entertaining. Bookmark these posts for future reference. Every time you think that your families is being ridiculous or unbearable, come back, count your blessings and thank God you are not related to people like the Dimsdales or Mrs. Mealy.

Leave a comment. I want to know what would you do if you found yourself in this situation with your in-laws. Did the Smiths do the right thing? Go too far?  Or not far enough? The Smiths believe they should raise their kids to steer clear of people who pull stunts like this and then have the nerve to deny responsibility by blaming the very people they have wronged in the first place. What do you think?

I heard one last thing about the Dimsdales that made my jaw hit the floor before I burst out laughing: guess who wants to run for public office???  Anyone want to contribute to Mr. Dimsdale’s campaign fund?

I told you I can't make this crap up!!!!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

So, You Thought Your Family Was Nuts -- The Confrontation

If you haven’t read the last 2 posts about The Smiths and The Dimsdales, you need to go back and do that before reading this one. You need to completely understand the crazy quotient before you get to this point in the story.
The Smiths and The Dimsdales agreed to meet at a restaurant so that no one would have the home court advantage. I honestly think that the Dimsdales wanted a public place because they thought it would somehow keep everything nice and quiet and civil – more proof of how little they grasp about The Smith’s.
They get seated at the table, order food, and the situation quickly degenerates. Nobody raised their voices during the whole confrontation which is unbelievable in retrospect. So when you read this, picture somebody like DoloresUmbridge, (the Harry Potter Character from The Minstry Of Magic who sounds sickeningly sweet but is completely vile) as the Dimsdales only better looking. Imagine my friend and her husband as two very stunned individuals who thought they had entered a parallel universe like the twilight zone. My friend says it was terrible experience to see the real face of someone you have known for over 10 years turn out to only be a mask.
My friend is not the kind of person who can engage in small talk after such a discovery. Everyone was seated, lunch was ordered, and then, the Dimsdales proceeded to finish digging their own graves. I say 'finish,' because when the truth came out two weeks prior, they had already gotten off to a pretty good start. It was the only time in years my friend has been unable to eat her lunch, mainly because she probably felt like throwing her plate at the morons who had already been caught lying, and misplacing their aggression onto her kid. The following ‘transcript’ of the conversation is pretty close to verbatim. All of the jaw-dropping moments are permanently branded and seared into the memory of my friend, but a lot of the other disingenuous crap they said just blurs together because Mrs. Dimsdale droned on and on for close to an hour and a half about how much she loved the Smiths and their kids while her actions displayed how insidious, manipulative, and dishonest they actually were the whole time. This may read like a bit from that Mystery Science Theater 3000 show that used to come on so, get ready to appreciate your completely normal family, here we go:

Mrs. Dimsdale: “First of all, we want you to know that we’re really sorry about the way you found out about this, but we didn’t say anything because we knew it would make you really mad.”
When Mrs. Smith relayed this, my first reaction was that this is NOT an apology, this is an excuse. I mean how condescending can you get? My friend says, it is a really nasty way to vilify the victim for what happened. {which by the way is a terrible form of emotional abuse and psychological manipulation.} It could also be classified as projection -- ie a defense mechanism where you blame others for your own BS. "Yeah, you totally deserve to get lied to especially if you are going to make a big deal out of it, so it's ok since we really didn't have any other choice." It really highlights the lack of respect for all involved.
Mr. Smith: “Well, wait a minute --You guys call yourselves Christians, doesn’t the Bible say “Go to your brother with problems before going to everyone else?”
Mr. Dimsdale: “So you wanna go there? How many people have YOU told this to?”
My friend labeled this as a Diversion from the real issue and him trying to turn the tables. Fail.
Mrs. Smith: “I’ve told a lot of people because this is completely outrageous. It's not classified information. – It’s COMPLETELY INSANE."
I'm certain that the Dimsdales wish now it HAD been classified information! 
Mrs. Dimsdale: “Well, look, y’all’s marriage is very different from ours. I’m not saying its “bad” but it’s very different from how we communicate and I can’t handle it – it’s very stressful to be around. There’s too much conflict and 4 letter words. I can't be around that. And we just can’t have our child around that. She can't handle it either. We know that sounds offensive.”
Mrs. Smith: “Well as long as we all agree that you are being offensive.”
Mr. Dimsdale looks like he wants to kill Mrs. Smith and says: “Well look, I can’t even let my kid be alone with my own brother because he’s a pedophile and he might molest her.”
Mr. & Mrs. Smith completely stunned: “Whaaaaaaaaaaaat? WHAT.... are you talking about? Did you..... You’re calling your brother....... a pedophile? Didn’t you borrow his ladder last week? Dude, we're not.... - Really? We're being compared to that??!”
Mr. Dimsdale begins stammering and says: “Well that’s just an extreme example….”
An example of what, I wondered. Unless he meant that this was an example of how absolutely psychotic he is. If you REALLY believed that your brother (who has 2 kids of his own) was a pedophile, you wouldn’t be borrowing tools. And IF you thought that to be true, why wouldn’t you contact social services, or the police, to protect his kids??? No, my guess is that this was just meant to be another example of how the Dimsdales view themselves as far superior to everyone else in their family. And remember, Mr. Dimsdale is the ONLY one in this family known to have been caught with his pants down in his affair with the church lady.  This exchange was so outrageous my friend decided to not even go there.
Mrs. Smith: “Look, I’m really outdone with the two of you for these reasons: 1) I’m pissed for what you did to my kid…”
Mr. Dimsdale interrupts here and deflects blame onto Mrs. Mealy and HIS OWN KID for getting confused.
This is called evading responsibility for your actions. Blaming someone else, your own kid, and your mother in law. Pitiful! If you’ve got the stones to try and push the blame off onto everyone else, then you should have the stones to own it!
Mrs. Smith: “Don’t even go there. Don’t try to blame Mrs. Mealy or your own kid for this mess. Like what you did to my kid was some kind of misunderstanding.”
Mrs. Dimsdale: “Well we’d be happy to talk to him….”
Mrs. Smith: “Do you honestly think I’m gonna let you talk to my son after what you said to your own kid about him??!! How do I know you are not going to try and convince him this is his fault the way you did with your kid and your mom? Do you think I will let my kids be around you after all this??? Do you think I'm going to let them come to your house?”
Mrs. Dimsdale, in a very agreeable tone and in a low sweet whispery voice says: “Well, that’s fine, that’s fine I’m okay with that! It’s okay!”
The Dimsdales continue recounting all of the examples of horrible parenting and bad spousal behavior that they have witnessed from The Smiths. They bring up a time when they heard Mr. Smith used a 4 letter word in a conversation with his daughter, an argument that they witnessed between Mr. & Mrs. Smith – like they couldn’t believe that they didn’t have the decency to have their arguments in private or not at all (or just go have an affair!). All of this was relayed with an attitude of “So of course you can see why we won’t let our kid be around you unsupervised, right?” that I found to be absolutely laughable and infuriating.
Mrs. Smith: “Well, if we’re gonna tell the truth, I think you guys have a real problem with dishonesty. You’re not honest with yourselves. You've shown that you are not honest with each other, and now we see that obviously you can't be honest with us.”
There was no response to that except to vaguely refer to more bad behavior….
Mrs. Smith: “You don’t seriously think I’m gonna sit across the table and glad hand your ass at Christmas and Thanksgiving do you?”
Mrs. Dimsdale: “What do you mean?”
Mrs. Smith: “I mean that I’m not gonna put up with it. I’m not gonna have anything to do with you. My kids aren’t having anything to do with you. Nothing -- I’m not having it.”
Mrs. Dimsdale: “You would do that? And you know how much I love you? How much I love my brother? And how much I love your kids and what they mean to me? blah blah blah, but I'm so sweet and nice. Well, if you would do that, then that’s your choice.”
Mrs. Smith looks at Mr. Smith and says “Well, what do you think of all this?”
Mr. Smith: “Well, before we got here today I really thought it was all a misunderstanding and we would talk & figure out how to work things where the kids could still be together at each other’s houses, but now I must say that I am probably more pissed than my wife.”
Mr. Dimsdale: “Well, you can still be cordial with people.”
Mr. Smith: “I think what you guys are failing to understand is that my wife is not going to waste her time on people that have such a low opinion of her. And neither am I.”
Mrs. Smith: “Look, we knew that we were different from you guys – we’ve always known that… and we thought that you knew we respected that. I was raised a lot like you are trying to raise your kid.”
Mr. Smith: “But this is not a difficult conversation – we do this with other kid’s parents before they sleep over at our house -- ‘Can they watch this or that? Do they have any allergies? What is allowed and what isn’t.’ We make accommodations for kids at our house all the time.”
Mr. Dimsdale: “Well, we don’t think we should ask you to change your values…”
Mrs. Smith: "Well, you know. I don’t think you guys are being righteous, I think you are being SELF righteous and pretty hypocritical without the need to elaborate further.”
Mr. Dimsdale: “Well, EVERYONE’S a hypocrite.”
Mrs. Smith:  "But you LIED to us."
Mr. Dimsdale: "Well, no, not exactly, because a lot of times we actually DID have other plans."
Mrs. Smith: “That’s pretty legalistic.”
Mr. Smith: “Look, everyone has the right to mess up their own kid however they want. But do you really think that your kid is gonna get that messed up in less than 24 hours at our house??”
Mrs. Dimsdale: “Well, you guys can’t control when you’re gonna get into a fight…
Mrs. Smith: “Wait a minute, are you guys still going to the church with the woman you had an affair with?”
Mr. Dimsdale (Indignantly): “Yes! Yes! we are!” (Like he was proud of it…idiot.)
Mrs. Smith: “And you are not worried about how that might get back to and your child?? Somehow, in your mind, what is going on at our house is way worse that all of that?”
Mr. Dimsdale: “No! no I’m not! -because my affair was handled right in the church and someday when she is old enough I will explain it to her.”
Mrs. Smith: “If someone else doesn’t get to her first.
Funny! I thought affairs were handled right by not having them. My friend didn't say this, mainly because she was so absolutely stunned that somebody could sit there and almost brag about how well their affair went down. At this point she was also thinking how do you spell delusional?
Mr. Dimsdale: “Well, Mrs. Smith, we don’t know what you want. We already apologized.”
Mrs. Smith: “Well what I want, and what I thought we both wanted, was for our kids to be able to grow up together. I want to know what do we have to do so that you feel comfortable letting your kid come to our house. And I want to be comfortable letting my kids come to yours."
Mrs. Dimsdale: “But if that doesn’t happen…” Wow! REALLY?!
Mrs. Smith: “Well if that doesn’t happen 'Dimsy,' then we’re done.”
Mrs. Dimsdale, begins to blather again for at least 5 minutes about how much she loves and cares for the Smiths and their kids even though her actions can only be seen now as hollow gestures by all involved and ends the monologue again with: “Well, then that’s your choice.”
At this point, Mr. Dimsdale tries a new tactic: “Well how about this. You wouldn’t let your children spend the night at a MUSLIMS house…”
Mr. Smith: “Well, I don’t know, that would depend on the Muslims.”
Mrs. Dimsdale: “Well what about our dad then? You know how much I loved my dad, but would I have let him keep my kid??! Well hell no!”
Wait a minute did Mrs. Holier-Than-Thou just utter a 4 letter word? The dad referred to here sadly, passed away several years ago & was divorced from Mrs. Mealy for many years before his passing. Mrs. Smith had never been close to her father in law, but the more crazy she sees, the more she sympathizes with him.
Mrs. Smith: “I don’t really appreciate being compared to pedophiles, terrorists or your dad!”
Mr. Smith: “Look, I loved dad too, but this has NOTHING to do with him so why are you bringing him up? It is obvious that this is going nowhere. I think we’re done.”
Then, in the awkwardness of waiting for the checks, the proof that these people are OUT OF THEIR FREAKING MINDS….
Mrs. Dimsdale: “So….are you guys coming to our kids birthday party next weekend?”
Mr. & Mrs. Smith sat staring in disbelief across the table at their delusional and conceited in-laws. My friend wondered if aliens had implanted a chip up their asses that controlled everything that had come out of their mouths for the last hour. And at any minute a little green man was gonna jump out from under the table and yell, "you got punked," Perhaps it was a brain aneurism that had erased the past hour of uncomfortable conversation.
Mrs. Smith simply looks at her with daggers and curtly said: “Um, noooo, sorry. We won’t be there.” SERIOUSLY?????  I can't make this crap up....

-- Oh, the irony. It’s like a twisted Dr. Suess book --
‘The Hideous Insidiousness.’
Just look at the horrible things the Smiths do!
They yell, and they curse, and they’re so honest too!
Why can’t they be better? More like us?
We never have conflict and no reason to cuss
We put our kid first, unless we’re caught in their ire
Then we push her to the front lines to shield us from fire
I had an affair, I admit that I did
But the sexual miscreant here is their kid
He might need a bath or have to go pee
And our child might see something that she shouldn’t see
It’s best if we go back and forget all this rot
To the way that it was before we got caught
But The Smiths won’t let go, they’re like a dog with a bone
As if we are the ones that THEY can’t condone
I guess we are done, there’s nothing left to say
I think I’ll call up my mistress and pray.

The ironies here are many, but the main ones are:

1) The Dimsdales seem to think everyone else they know is a perv, including 8 year olds. However, Mr. Dimsdale is THE ONLY ONE who we know for sure that has actually acted out in a sexually inappropriate way. Looks like he's projecting again. The fact that they would do that to a kid really goes beyond hideous. I'm having trouble exactly describing it.

2) They tried to present themselves as morally superior, as if they are somehow the gold standard of parenting. It was like they thought the Smith's needed a good talking to. Epic Fail. The only thing proven, is how much they are the ones who should not be supervising kids. They are more inept than anyone else involved here. Blaming the Smith’s kid is paramount to child abuse. And don't forget when the jig was up, they had no qualms putting their own kid on the front lines to lie to another adult. Finally, they tried to blame her once they were caught.

3) The Dimsdales want to act like this has never happened and so does the mother in law. They want to go back to holiday dinners and birthday celebrations together like always. They honestly do not see why the Smiths wouldn’t want to spend time with family that obviously loves them.  Yep, The Dimsdales love the Smiths so much that they felt compelled to tell them what horrible people they are after being caught lying to them about what horrible they themselves are for so many years….

~~ The final installment will be “The Fallout” ~~