Monday, September 26, 2011


WE BOUGHT A HOUSE!!!  I didn't wanna say anything until it was official because I didn't want to jinx it like I did last time.  But, IT'S OFFICIAL!  We move in the weekend before Thanksgiving and close on November 2.  WOO HOO!!!  It is the most beautiful house I have ever seen ever.  I was getting so frustrated.  I felt like I was doing just so much work to find us the perfect place to live.  We had to have driven over 1000 miles to go view all of them, and we probably walked through a good 25 different homes that didn't "feel" right.  Then, we put an offer in on one, but it already had a contingency offer on it, and their house sold, so they bought it.  Then, we put an offer in on a second one, and someone else's offer was accepted on that one, too.  It was SO discouraging!  In the end, I'm glad all of that happened, because THIS house is so much better than those!

Oh, pictures!

This is the front of the house.  The landscaping is really gorgeous.

This is the living room.  This is the only room in the house that I feel like it doesn't have much personality.  It needs a pretty wall color.  We do love how big the windows are and that they go almost to the floor.
THIS IS THE MOST WONDERFUL KITCHEN EVAAAAR!!  The counters are gorgeous, and the appliances stay, and I LOVE that built-in desk for the kids to do homework, and the VIEW out that sink window is

The dining room goes onto the back deck, also with a gorgeous view.  That wall back there is a textured wallpaper that has been painted red.  I stood there for a while just feeling up the wall.  Like Get Him To The Greek.

This is where the magic happens!  It is also red.  And big.  The closet in here is as big as a room!

MY VERY OWN SPACE!!!  This is the loft upstairs.  My books and my reading couch and my pretty cedar chest go here, and also my sewing stuff!  I can get back to sewing pretty things, and it will be fabulous!

I love this enormous window.  Two-story entry way.

The deck off the dining room.  THIS IS WHERE I WILL HAVE MY COFFEE!  Looking at this amazing view and listening to the birds.

Front porch!  Quick, get thee to Cracker Barrel and purchase some rocking chairs!  Sometimes, I will have my coffee here instead, to break up the monotony.

This little barn is where we would like to put chickens.  Szechuan Farms, we will call it.  I will make a tiny sign to go above the tiny door.  Technically, it's against covenants, but we're gonna try to work around it.  We want eggs.

GIANT GARAGE OF DOOM!!  Has a big upstairs loft thingie, too, for things like storage or an apartment.

We're on the lake!!!  This is my coffee-drinking view every morning.

It's awesome, amiright?  The day we bought it, we were too excited to sleep, so we decided to name it.  At 5:30 a.m.  It had to be something badass and actiony, since that's what we are.  Ninja House eventually turned into Jackie Chan Estates and Szechuan Chicken Farms.  You can't go wrong, really.  I mean, the place has to be awesome with a name like that.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Into the Land of Controversy

I've been having a lot of controversial thoughts in my head lately, and I've been spitting them out.  This is likely going to be more of the same.  I think I'm just going to make a series of statements.  With numbers, so that it is orderly.  I like orderly.

1.  I'm sitting at Panera right now, and for serious, the ladies at the next table are having a "my medical problem is worse than your medical problem" contest.  Dudes, WTF is up with one-upmanship?  How is there some sort of pride in how many bladder infections you can rack up in a year?  It's never anything positive, either.  I guess then it isn't called one-upping.  It's called bragging.  Whatever.  I'm trying to have my lunch, you namby-pamby ladies, and I don't need to hear all about your bacteria.

2.  Along the same lines, people have a right to complain and whine every now and again.  Sometimes, you are sick.  Sometimes, you hurt.  Sometimes, you've had a quite crap day, and you wanna whine about it.  Sometimes you're negative for a couple of days straight because the junk keeps pilin' on, ya know?  I think if someone is having a bad day and is whining and complaining, maybe listening is in order, instead of this attitude of, "Pffff, your life is easy.  Check out how awful MY life is."  (I swear, I just put "you're" instead of "your" in that sentence.  That is how seriously I take this.  I make grammar mistakes.)  Also a pet peeve of mine, "That's okay, because..."  Here's an example:

Gertrude:  "Man, my husband has been really inattentive lately.  He's been super stressed at work.  He's usually so appreciative of me.  It is hurting my self-esteem a little bit."
Hattie:  "That's okay.  My husband is inattentive all the time.  I've just gotten used to it.  He never remembers my birthday or to kiss me goodbye in the morning, and he never says thank you when I do his laundry and perfectly fold his socks."

See that?  Gertrude now feels like a horrible person because she had a small complaint about her husband, which she's allowed to have, ya know?  Gertrude is having a little bit of pain because of her husband's actions, and Hattie completely minimized those feelings because Gertrude's life can't POSSIBLY be as bad as hers.  Worse, the "it's ok".  The Hell?  No, it's not.  It's not okay that your homie is hurting, Hattie!  Even something silly like "My kid pooped on the floor."  "It's ok, MY kid poops on the carpet all of the time."  WHAT?  Why does your kid's behavior make someone else's kid's behavior okay?  I will tell to you right now, IT DOESN'T! 

3.  I like how I went back and forth between "ok" and "okay" in this story.  Screw consistency.

4.  I'm totally no nonsense.  In all aspects of my life.  Except when I am being nonsensical.  So I guess you could say I'm a "some nonsense" kinda person.  However, my no nonsense parts are super no nonsense.  There are things I will not tolerate, such as being disrespected, by anyone.  No one has the right to attempt to disrespect me and my choices so that they can try to dictate my behavior.  It will not happen.  Period.

Lots of folks are no nonsense in this way, but I think the way they act on it is different.  The "I will not tolerate this" attitude lends itself to violence, I think.  Or ghetto fabulousness.  Or argumentative back and forth.  Know what I mean?  Defending yourself when someone disrespects you is a natural reaction to being disrespected, I think, and in defending yourself, you often disrespect the other party, who in turn needs to defend himself/herself/itself/catself/ratself/shelfself/where was I?

Anyway, I don't react this way to the disrespect.  I'm just not all that argumentative.  That's not to say that I'm not confrontational.  I am.  But, I don't go into confrontation when angry, in general.  I like to think out my argument first.  Things usually go this way with me, someone disrespects me, on FB or through e-mail or even in person, and I walk away with no reply.  I delete them as a friend, I ignore their messages, I don't return their calls, or, in extreme cases of a disrepectful relationship, I moved out.  He just came home one day, and I was gone.  I just, never speak to these people again.  No explanations, no attempts at reconciliation.  Nothing.  I think this way of not tolerating disrespect has something to do with my Asperger's.  In my head, a pissing contest just ain't logical, and I can't justify any behavior that isn't illogical.  That's what makes parenting so difficult for me.  Children, they are not logical, so I don't understand them.

The kids are what started me on this topic.  I have a zero tolerance policy for disrespect in my home.  I, of course, am not going to just walk away and never speak to them again.  Some folks are more important than that.  This isn't some silly boyfriend or some idiot I went to high school with.  This is my family.  Concessions in my behavior must be made as far as my dealing with the inevitable disrespect that happens when you have children.

As such, zero tolerance and all, discipline for this is swift and ninja like.  There are no warnings.  For the most part, kids are kids, and they act up and whatever, and they'll get a "Hey, stop annoying your brother, or you'll get a time out" or "Dudes, for serious, stop shrieking, or you'll get a time out."  We will be warny mcwarnersons all day.  But, for disrespectful speech, no warnings.  Put your nose in the corner.  I am an adult in this house, and I won't be spoken to in that way, and that's that.

Here's where the controversial part starts in this.  I won't take a "kids are kids" stance on this.  The sweeping generalizations of "teenagers have a bad attitude" won't fly with me.  I've seen several IndyMoms threads over the years about the preteen roll your eyes and sigh crap, and I am telling you, no.effin.way.  I know most of the parents just laugh it off as that's how preteens are and what not and "as long as Mabel does what I tell her to do, I don't care if she rolls her eyes while doing it."  I just can't get behind it.

The thread that inspired this was entitled "How do you get your kids to help around the house?"  It was a thread about making housework fun and tricking your kids into doing their chores.  Not babies and toddlers, either, big kids.  I was staring at this thing in absolute awe.  Uh, in my house, you do what your parents ask you to do, and that's it.  No tricks.  No bribery.  You do what needs done.  You pick up after yourself, and you keep your space clean because that's what you do when you respect your family and their space.  I'm sure when they are older, if they go above and beyond, they'll get some allowance, like they would at a job.  I'm also sure that when they're older, if you don't do what I tell you to do when I tell you to do it, out of respect for your parents and your house, they'll have the same consequences they do now, toys will be taken.  Right now, I'll take your Lego.  When you're 17, I'll take your car keys.  Same thing as always.

Wow, this is long.  Aren't they always?  There's lots more I want to say, but I think I'm out of time.  I gotta get another cup of coffee and work on this paper on Iraq.

My next blog post will be about houses and babies and other happy things!!!  Life is really, REALLY going great right now.  The dudes are doing really well in school.  The behavior problems from Little Man at school have really leveled off as he's adjusted, and the ball is rolling to get him talking to the school counselor, which I'm sure will seal the deal on his awesomeness.  He mostly just acts like a normal 5-year-old boy now.  No more violent outbursts and whatnot, just a bit of testing limits on when he has to sit down and stop playing, etc.  Also, Big Man got Prospector of the Week last week, which means he is extra special helpful at school and got to have a trophy on his desk for everyone to see all week.  He acted like it was no big deal, but I could tell he was proud.  Also, I'm pretty sure he's doing some sort of insanely complicated math in his head all day every day.  Too, because I'm sick of writing also, he started reading a chapter book!  Captain Unnapants!  I hope he enjoys it.

Ok, seriously, I have to figure out how to fix United States' foreign policy in the Middle East.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Choices and the Blame Game

I woke up about 2 hours ago (3:30 a.m.! Why is there even such a time?!) in a deep depression.  I sit here full of woe and pensiveness.  And also water, apparently, because my stomach hurts.  It's also larger than usual, which kicked off the slight depression a few days ago.  I got sick a couple of weeks ago.  A sore throat and a severe cough.  I let it go for a week.  The kids had it for a few days, and it went away, so I assumed the same would be for me.  Not true, Sirs!  Turns out I let bronchitis go for too long, and had an acute asthma episode.  I didn't even know I had asthma.  It hurts, though.  Waking up several times a night, unable to breathe and unable to do a breathing treatment because the machine is loud enough to wake up the house.  Plus weeks of waking up at least once an hour to have a coughing fit.  Consequently, that also wakes up the house.

HOLY CRAP!  The cat just scared the living daylights out of me.  I'm sitting in the bathroom, because it is 5:30 in the morning, and I do not wish to wake up the house (again with this), and he just attacked the bathroom door, ninja style. 

Anyway, long story short, I've been sick; therefore, I've been inactive; therefore, I am gaining weight.  I have tried some movement and ended up with chest and breathing issues.

This damn cat is now meowing at the door!  HE IS GOING TO WAKE UP THE HOUSE!!!  AAAAAAAARG!!

Seriously, though, I'd let him if Eric wasn't included.  He didn't do anything to me.  My depression was small because of my weight gain.  It ballooned because of the way I'm being treated in my home lately.  That includes being woken up by screaming and fighting in the mornings, complements of two growing boys.  I've half a mind to lock the cat in their rooms and let him wake them up with loud noise at 4 a.m.  Get offa my lawn! *shakes fist*

I won't do that, of course.  It'd be a bad choice.  Oh, look!  The meat and taters of the post!

Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head's teenaged daughter came home with a new boyfriend.
"Mom, Dad, meet my new boyfriend, Dan Rather."
"You can't date Dan Rather!  He's just a common tater!"

Ok, ok, in all seriousness.  We've had a rough couple of days here.  I'm feeling supremely unappreciated.  After vacuuming, cleaning up after the dudes, cooking their meals, getting them ready for school, packing delicious lunches, helping with homework, reading stories, hauling one to swim practice, etc., the parents of this house have been repaid by being punched, kicked, screamed at and lied to.  Requests for things such as, "Get your pants on." have led to 90 minutes of screaming (naked.  I nearly took a video, it was so ridiculous.)

Us:  Little Man, get out of the shower and put your swim trunks on.  We have to leave for swim practice in 10 minutes.
Little Man:  *sits in his room naked for 8 minutes*
Us:   We are leaving in 2 minutes.
Little Man: (after a couple of hours of being excited to go swimming) I DON'T WANT TO GO!
Us:  Ok.

It's at this point that the LM wants to assure us that he is the boss of the house.  He will get dressed and go swimming on his own time, not ours.  One, this makes us upset, which is fun for him.  Two, this makes Big Man upset, because Big Man will be late, and he likes to be organized and on time.  Little Man's favorite pasttime is upsetting Big Man.

That didn't happen today.  Truthfully, in this little display, it never happens.  Just like always, Little Man's fit got him nothing he wanted and only a time out.  I packed Big Man up in the car and got him to swim practice on time.  Eric, however, endured 90 minutes of nude screaming, flailing, punching and kicking walls and whining because Little Man did not get to go swimming.  He got zero attention for this behavior.  He threw his fit, and, just like always, when he was quiet and calmed down for 5 minutes, he was allowed out of time out. 

There was a similar exchange yesterday morning when I asked him to get dressed for school.  Here is the procedure.  If you miss the bus, I take you to school.  If you are late for school, school rules dictate that you miss recess.  Period.  Discipline does not stop in the mornings because you will be late for the bus.  If you choose to earn a time out in the morning and miss the bus, you choose to be late for school and miss recess.

In the last couple of days, Little Man has gotten it into his head that it is okay to have a snotty attitude with me.  I will ask him to do something, and he will ignore me.  I will ask him to do it again.  He will give me a snotty, "All RIIIIIGHT!" or "I WILL!" or "I SAID, OKAY!"  This, I will not tolerate.  He was given one warning.  "If you speak to me like that again, you will earn a time out."  I told him to get dressed.  I came back 10 minutes later.  Still naked.  Bus time approaching.  I told him the bus was coming in 8 minutes.  Get dressed.  "ALL RIGHT! I AAAAAM!"  That, sir, is a 5-minute time out.

He refused.  I Supernanny'd his butt right in there.  Picked him up, zero eye contact, placed him in the corner.  He kicked me.  He got no response.  He hit me.  He got no response.  He screamed, "I'll walk myself!"  He got no response.  He threw himself on the floor.  I picked him back up and placed him in the corner.  No eye contact.  No talking to him.  He got out to the bus with one minute to spare.

Big Man does the snotty attitude, as well, just not at home.  His Mimi and his Mommy get the brunt of his bad attitude.  He, however, looked in my face and lied to me last night.  About something stupid.  "Yes, I cleaned my room like you asked me to."  I didn't check.  He's 7.  I shouldn't have to.  Two hours later I walked into the disaster area that was his bedroom to put him to bed, only to find out he'd lied to get out of doing it until tomorrow.  He hadn't cleaned a single thing.  This was the straw that broke the camel's back.  The thing that's keeping me up at night, thinking and wondering and pondering and pensivenessing.

Of course, the inevitable question is, why?  Why do they act this way?  Especially Little Man, which I hate to say.  Big Man is really easy.  He's a people pleaser, mostly.  He has his moments, and he's a super duper control freak, but he's generally respectful.  So, why, Little Man?  Why the 2-hour fits every.single.time?  Why, in the years you have been doing this, do you not understand that you never get what you want?

Here's where the blame game starts.  I blame myself most.  I quit my job to stay home and fix this behavior, mono y mono.  It isn't fixed.  It's better, but he still melts down like he's a toddler at times.  He's not.  He's 5.  I'm consistent with discipline.  It isn't working.  I'm doing something wrong.  I blame Eric.  He's consistent with discipline.  Whatever he's doing isn't working, either.  He's doing something wrong.  I blame their mother, grandmother, and great aunt.  They're consistent with discipline.  Not working.  They must be doing something wrong.  The blame game goes on, on all sides of the fence.  In private, the two households sling mud at one another from behind closed doors. (Of course, we never communicate this into the open) One's too strict, the other's too lenient.  THIS!  This is what we are doing wrong!

The bottom line is this.  These two dudes are 5 and 7 years old.  They are not babies.  They know the rules.  More importantly, THEY KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RIGHT AND WRONG.  They can see that we blame everyone else for THEIR actions.  Little Man did not kick me because I am a poor disciplinarian, though if you ask him why, he will tell you it is MY fault that he kicked me.  Both dudes were in the bath the other day.  They splashed water all over the floor, a violation of a rule that has been in place for years, a rule they haven't broken in years.  If you ask them why, they will tell you it is their MOTHER'S fault for leaving them alone in the bath.   Big Man threw a fit because he forgot his crayons in the church library the other day.  When asked why he was screaming and crying and acting ridiculous, he said it was ERIC'S fault for not reminding him of the crayons.  Little Man was asked to put away his laundry.  When he didn't do it, he blamed ME for not giving him hangers (he uses a stool to get them himself).

They've picked up on the blame game.  In their heads, it's everyone's fault but theirs.  Personal responsibility is a complete enigma.  They've not been held to it.  Instead, we wonder what WE, as parents, are doing to CAUSE this behavior.  We aren't causing it.  They are choosing it.  Little Man CHOSE to kick me.  He KNEW it was wrong.  They CHOSE to splash all of the water out of the bath.  They KNOW it was wrong.  We are long past the stage of, "They don't know any better."  Yes, they do, and it's damn time they act like it.  No more blame game.  They receive discipline, and it is consistent.  It is not my fault.  It is not Eric's fault.  It is not Mimi, Mommy or Unny's fault.

From now on, Dudes, it's on you.   I love you.  I do everything I can for you. I won't tolerate this hating myself because I think I've failed you.  I haven't.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

An Unpopular Opinion

I have something to say. It may be unpopular, but it isn't poorly thought out. I've read several arguments on all sides, and these are the conclusions that I came up with. I tried not to be dogmatic. I tried to erase everything I thought I knew. I came out with a new perspective.

Parents: Do you let your teenagers rule the roost? Do they make the rules? Do they handle the finances? Do you discipline them at all, or do they walk all over you? Have your teenagers ever made a mistake? Have they ever lied to you? Did you ever make a mistake as a teenager? A big one? How long did it take for you to really realize the impact of that mistake? More than, "I got a punishment because I...insert whatever rule you broke here." I mean REAL impact, not remorse at getting caught. Impacts such as hurt caused to others, lasting life changes in the lives of others. When does a teenager grow up and realize that every choice they make affects the family? I'd wager to say, most of us don't "get it" until give or take our 30s, and some folks never grow up.

In the game of global politics, of world statehood, the United States of America is a teenager. We're a young country, and I'll be damned if we don't rule the roost! WE make the rules. WE control the finances. We go undisciplined. We make mistakes. We lie about them. We ignore the impacts on others and think only of the impacts to our domestic national security. Let me make clear, however, the "we" I'm speaking about. I'm speaking about the United States of America as a government, NOT about the United States of America as a people.

The United States is an empire. Our leaders won't admit it, and we, as a people, don't want to hear it, and we don't want to believe it. I think these reasons are twofold. One, "empire" is historically a dirty word. It calls to mind selfish brutes who destroy entire peoples for territory. Two, EMPIRES ALWAYS FALL! They get too big. There has never been an empire that can sustain large territorial acquisitions from a centralized location.

It's time to change the tides! Learn from our mistakes! One man in Tunisia began the Arab Spring! We, as Americans, can stand up to our government and say, "WE DON'T WANT TO BE ANOTHER FAILED EMPIRE!!"

We have pride here. Accepting defeat hurts our egos, much like in any teenager. Admitting mistakes is hard. Making up for them is harder. No empire in history has stood the test of time without being toppled by an enemy. To that end, no empire in history has ever willingly handed their power back, as a concession, to say, "This was a mistake."

Was our country not founded on the principles of sovereignty? How, then, do we take sovereignty from others, as though it is our right, because we have the money to develop technology that allows us to do so?

This is not to say that all of our empirical aims are done with selfish intentions. As the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. The United States is a nurturing country, as well. We fund humanitarian missions and help prop up poor economies. To go back to my parenting metaphor, we're much like mothers. Except, we're teenagers. Do we, as Americans, really want to be the teen mom of the world?

Our leaders fear for our national security. To these means, staying the global hegemon is in the best interest of the state. Perhaps it's time to rethink the theory. IS being the hegemon in the best interest for US, the people of the state? Why shouldn't we concede some of our power to states who have been there before, grown, and LEARNED from their mistakes? Let them take some of the power, and for God's sake, let them take some of the responsibility! We are one, very, very young country. Our empire WILL fall. They always do. We've done it one way for long enough. It's time to try something different.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


I think my first order of business after I graduate (in 8 months!) is going to be to write a book.  Not an uber-serious political manifesto about US foreign policy in the Middle East, Oh, No!  That would be too much of a perfectly good use of my degree.  The book I want to write is fiction, sort of.  Fiction of the sort that makes pre-teen series books, a la Junie B. Jones, which, incidentally, I have never read.

It would be in the same voice as my blog, which means my heroine, LuLu Walsh, would say things like bliggity blog and Jerky McJerkJerk.  Perhaps I should...crap.  The bottom of my pants is all wet from walking in the rain.  I just tried to climb into bed and got my feet all wet.  AAARG!  I must to be changing my pants.

LuLu will say things like, "I must to be" and "I am telling to you."  She will be 13 or 14-ish, I think, and slightly odd (herein is where the "sort of" fiction lies, as I can use instances from my own teenaged years).  Some time later in the series, she will be diagnosed with Asperger's, which she will consistently call by the wrong name in an effort to deny that she has Asperhoitytoity's or Aspergersherger's.  Perhaps the book should BE LuLu's blog.  Then I can make a REAL blog here on Blogger in LuLu's name and write it as her.  That sounds fun.

I am asking to you, my 30 readers, do you like this idea?  Would your daughters like to read it?

Edited to Add:  LuLunacy!  Figured I better snag it up now :)