A very special award for Arizona.

IMG_1625

The Arizona legislature this week sent an abortion bill to their governor this week that makes me throw up in my mouth. Not a little – a lot. Any group of ignorant lawmakers who can do that are well-deserving of the “State of Ignorance” Award. Details:

  • The bill prevents women from buying insurance that includes abortion coverage through the federal health exchange. Let me repeat that: This bill keeps women from receiving a LEGAL procedure. Let’s see…how about we also block patients from having cancer treatment? Cuz that’s legal, too. Slippery slope, people.
  • Just as sick-making: Their bill would require doctors to tell women that medical abortion is reversible, and that they can change their minds and retain their pregnancies. First: completely unproven. Second, probably untrue. Third: Don’t tell my doctor what she is required to say to me. I trust her judgment…oh, say…INFINITELY more than I trust a crew of right-wing science-hating dolts. A little back story on this one:
    • This portion of the bill is aimed at the procedure called medical abortion, or the “morning after” pill. The word “pill’ is a misnomer. The procedure actually requires a series of two pills. And this procedure does NOT cause abortion. It can only be used before an egg has implanted. No pregnancy involved. Supporters of the bill claim that doctors have proven that a pregnancy can be maintained if only the first dose of medication in the procedure has been administered.
    • According to Dr. Cheryl Chastine, a Kansas doctor (holy cow, someone reasonable has been located in my state!) “The medical literature is quite clear that mifepristone (the first of the two pills in the procedure) on its own is only about 50% effective at ending a pregnancy. That means that even if these doctors were to offer a large dose of purple Skittles, they’d appear to have “worked” to save a pregnancy about half the time.” In other words, doctors claiming the procedure is reversible are ignoring fact. Might they have a little hidden agenda going on?

I would like to administer a little dose of reality for the many, many politicians out there who embarrass all thinking people on a regular basis: Science is a thing, folks. The scientific method can be trusted. Choosing to ignore or deny the legitimate work of intelligent, hard-working scientists not only underscores your ignorance, it puts our population at risk for serious problems that actually can or do have solutions.

So, Arizona…you’ve done yourself proud! You totally deserve today’s “State of Ignorance” award. Congratulations!

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Time for another Mom Hack

coollogo_com-15144514I’ve read a couple of posts recently in which a mom of more than one child lamented spending too little time with each child individually.

I remember that feeling so well. We borrowed an idea from friends of ours who also had three little ones, which helped us solve this problem:

Date Night

The Husband and I discovered, purely by accident, that any time one of us was alone with one of our three, the child we were hanging with became a different person. More interesting, more talkative. MUCH better behaved. Away from the competition of siblings, each child was even more of a delight.

We set aside Wednesday evenings as “date nights” on our calendar. One week it would be Mama and Oldest. The next week Papa and Middle. The third week Mama and Youngest. Within any six-week period, each child got one special time alone together with each parent. The kids monitored the calendar carefully, looking forward to the next time their name appeared and planning ahead what they wanted to do.

Usually, the child chose what the activity would be for the evening. Parents had veto power and were allowed to offer suggestions. We tried to avoid boring, everyday things like errands on date nights, though occasionally we had to add an errand in to avoid household catastrophe.

Wednesday evenings worked for us, but any time would do – even early mornings or mid-day. I think the success of the plan lay in making sure we found a time we could consistently set aside.

We all have very special memories of our quiet times “alone” together. In fact, I dearly wish we could still have our weekly date nights even now.

Do you have a “hack” that’s made your parenting life easier? Share!

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So I did a thing.

Yesterday I ran across a FB post in a group I’m a member of that really caught my eye: A small publishing house looking for a contracted editor to edit and critique lesson plans and family resources for the next few months. With the possibility of more work in the future. It’s an area in which I have tons of experience, and it’s something I love to do.

So I spent every moment of my evening pulling together a resume and cover letter (holy cow, it’s been a long time). Thankfully, I had two writers in residence last night – my daughter and her boyfriend, who are both English majors and excellent writers/editors. They proofed everything I wrote, had extremely helpful suggestions, and by 10:00 I’d hit “send” and my application was making its way through the ether.

If I were to get the job, it would be just in my spare time – shouldn’t affect my day job at all. With my plans to remodel the basement bathroom over the summer, the extra $$$ would certainly come in handy.

Fingers crossed!

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Afternoon updates

1. Not only did I get a tetanus shot for my sliced thumb this afternoon, my doc sent me home with oral and topical antibiotics. Nice to have the office visit justified. And yet another good thing about having a husband; it hadn’t even occurred to me that I should have a tetanus shot after my little incident yesterday until he mentioned it over the phone last night as we were having our evening chat. Oh, and I got a little side of whooping cough vaccine with my tetanus shot. Bonus!

2. Yesterday, Wichita State University (our son’s college) beat the big-name and big-headed University of Kansas in the national basketball tournament. Face! But the final score wasn’t the best part of the game. The highlight came when our governor (who is doing his damnedest to run our schools into the ground, line his big-money buddies’ pockets, and generally send our state to hell in a handbasket) was BOOED by the crowd while his face was shown on the big screen in the field house. Apparently there are a few people left in Kansas who recognize what a travesty this guy’s administration has been.

And that’s my afternoon in a nutshell.

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Limitation lamentation

Things you can’t do when you’ve accidentally removed the top of your thumb:

  • Text.
  • Chop vegetables (actually, anything involving the word “chop” is not only impossible today, but it also makes me feel nauseous).
  • Use the thumbprint scanner to unlock your phone.
  • Avoid getting a tetanus shot.
  • Sleep comfortably.
  • Button, zip or otherwise fasten any article of clothing.

imageToday’s question: When sporting a BandAid on the thumb, is it better to leave the cute new thumb ring off to avoid drawing attention to the injury? I’m going with on, as a sort of reward for having survived the thumb-chopping incident mostly intact.

Oh, and just as an aside, the “New and improved” post writing thingy (you know, “Beep Beep Boop.”) is a pain in the ass. Things you can’t do on it:

  • See the tags you’re trying to type in the “add tags” box.
  • Type a post without hurling four-letter-words.
  • Figure out how to schedule a post.

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Don’t try this at home, folks

Middle Sister and I were quite pleased with ourselves this afternoon, after clearing 9 bags of dead leaves out of the flower beds around the house. And then I went to put the rakes away. Jammed my thumb against some other implement, and managed to rip most of the top of the pad of my thumb nearly off.

IMG_1654We managed this gorgeous temporary bandage. And then I made the stupid mistake while taking a shower (necessary really, after working so hard on a warm, sunny afternoon) of attempting the first shave of the season while wearing this enormous piece of gauze on my thumb.

It was immediately sodden, of course. It will come as no surprise to you, dear reader, that shaving an inch-long winter growth off one’s calves (didn’t have the guts to attempt the thighs today) while clinging to a soggy hunk of bandage is a task best not attempted.

Side note: I’ve switched to a regular Band-Aid, and my space bar is now smeared with blood. Nice.

My rule is that as long as you don’t look at a disgusting injury, it doesn’t quite exist. So I managed to change bandages without even looking at my thumb at all. Quite a feat, really. Though not as amazing as the time after I’d had brain surgery, when my face was all puffed up and streaked with fascinating tints of purple and blue, and I managed to NOT look in a mirror for three full weeks. How did I know I was bruised and swollen, you might ask, if I didn’t look in the mirror? Because every dear person who came by to visit during my recovery kindly said, “Good God, what’s happened to you?” By the time I allowed myself to look, the 6″ splints were out of my nose (that is not an exaggeration) and the swelling and bruising were gone. In my mind, they’d never happened. Yeah, I’m pretty good at denial.

So, ignoring the gore on my right hand, we’re now off to do a little shopping. Will attempt to avoid leaving a trail of biohazards in the shops.

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Another goodbye.

It’s not even 9:00 am and our boy is already on the road, back to his college town. I’ve already dusted and tidied up his bedroom, turning it back into a sitting room/study for the next couple of months, until he comes home for the summer. Nice to have that extra space, but I’d much rather have my boy and his constant singing, talking, and  observations on life. Sigh.

This goodbye wasn’t too awful, though. Because now we’re in the home stretch. We go to see him in the spring opera in a couple of weeks, and then before we know it I’ll be making the three-hour trip to help him move his stuff home for the summer. I can live with that.

And I have plenty to remember him by, after such a busy week of repairs and projects.

Yesterday afternoon it was just warm enough to wash his 22-year-old Jeep and my new-ish Saturn without freezing our fingers off. We were working together happily when the two adorable sisters from next door came over to ask if they could help. I loved having them work alongside us (though The Boy took me aside and asked me to double-check their work thoroughly to make sure his Jeep was really clean so he wouldn’t have one of his OCD-tendancy freakouts).

I'm hoping our neighborhood kids don't get into the kind of trouble this gang routinely found.

I’m hoping our neighborhood kids don’t get into the kind of trouble this gang routinely found.

The two girls, 8 and 5, were a delight. Bright, hard workers with a good sense of humor. As we worked together, the three young ones who live on our other side rode their bikes and trikes past repeatedly. Once we’d finished the car washing and put away the supplies, I brought out brownies for our two little helpers to take home and went inside to warm up.

Afterwards, the scene that played out as I looked thorugh our front picture windows was great fun to watch. All five children (the two sisters from the house to our west and the three siblings from the house to our east) initiated a “neighbor friendship” for the first time. All of them are old enough now to be allowed to run around in their front yards slightly unsupervised, and I watched the progress with interest.

They spent some time perusing books from our LIttle Free Library. They rode their bikes, trikes, and scooters up and down the sidewalk together, pulling into our driveway frequently. A special friendship formed between the kindergarten girl from the west side and the kindergarten boy from the east side. Tiny heads bobbed up and and down through our yard and occasionally onto our porch for an hour, until I heard one of the sisters from the house to the east call, “Mom says it’s time to go inside!”

When our babies were the same age (we’ve been in the same house all their lives), we were the only family with young children for blocks around. Any play dates had to be carefully scheduled and involved parents driving – no spontaneous games between front and back yards.  Such fun to see our neighbors enjoying a different experience, one that I grew up with myself.

Somehow it’s comforting to know that though two of my babies have flown so far, I’ll now have the joy of watching our neighbors’ fledglings play together.

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Repairs

“Repair” has been the theme around here this week. I’ve been taking advantage of our boy’s love for fixing and installing things while he’s home. Things that have been repaired and the success or otherwise of each:

  • My “new” SUV: Electric locks freaking out, and no display on radio. The Boy and The Husband checked the fuses and relays – nothing wrong there. So we dropped it off at the garage that contracts
    Upside-down seems to work well for this kid.

    Upside-down seems to work well for this kid.

    with the car dealer. I do not have high hopes of resolution until we go through a long and unpleasant dance. After demonstrating the problems to the garage owner, he looked at me and asked “So what do you want me to do?” Isn’t it bleedin’ obvious that I want my locks to function correctly?

  • Bathroom and porch lights replaced. Success in bathroom, although I have to do touch-up painting tomorrow. Ugh. Porch light working, but needs work on the mounting.
  • Washing machine. A little accident occured following another of the “new” vehicle repairs. A windshield gasket had been installed
    Oooh - bright and shiny instead of rusty and corroded!

    Oooh – bright and shiny instead of rusty and corroded!

    incorrectly. Boy removed it, scraped away ineffective Gorilla Glue, and ended up with several black, goopy rags that accidentally got into the washer instead of the trash can. Imagine my surprise when I went to do a load of laundry and found a washer tub covered with black goop. The Boy had to scrape and scrub the agitator for an hour.

  • My phone. It had been showing an incorrect storage count for a month; though I had only
    That's more like it.

    That’s more like it.

    20 photos stored, they were supposedly taking up 5 GB of storage. Not likely. After two different 45-minute chats with Apple folks, I ended up having to completely wipe the phone with a factory reset. Storage issue resolved, but lost all contacts, music, settings, and apps.

  • Ceiling fan remote. In a spell of warm weather a few weeks ago, Middle Sister used it turn on the living room ceiling fan. Fine until we went to turn it off. Took us an hour of fiddling to get the blades to stop turning. The Boy took the remote apart this week and cleaned the contacts, and we can now use the ceiling fan again on warm days.

On the whole it’s been a very productive week. But I’m biting my nails on the SUV issues. I’m certain I’ll need to call on all my powers of middle-age pissed off hormones and jerk a new tail in the dealer before I get satisfaction on this one. Fingers crossed.

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Family history

Not long ago a friend and I were discussing parenting stuff, and she asked me if there’s anything I deliberately decided to do differently from the way I was raised.

Where do I start?

Seriously, my childhood wasn’t traumatic. But it wasn’t that great, either.

I remember having a huge “aha” moment when our oldest was only about three. I had just had a long phone conversation with my mom, during which she unloaded stuff on me that a daughter shouldn’t have to deal with. It wasn’t cruel, just a desperate emotional dump. That was a lifelong pattern. She had a lot of crap going on in her life, and I became the one she leaned on. TMI, all the time. Boundaries crossed. Not in a child abuse sort of way, but definitely in an unhealthy way. And to give my mom credit, she did eventually figure out that she should never have done this; she apologized and changed her ways – years late, but appreciated nonetheless.

The moment I set the phone down that day, I made a major decision. I would never burden my own kids in that way. There would be very clear lines about who was the adult. Sharing my problems would be for other adults only, never my children. I would protect their childhoods at all costs.

For the most part, I never had cause to regret that decision. It did, though, lead me to protect them just a bit too much sometimes from certain realities. Not that they couldn’t see those realities for themselves. But I think I could have done a better job informing them of the basics. Hindsight.

In the last year or so, it’s finally hit me that our kids are old enough to hear some of the stuff that is part of their family history. Not everything. There are plenty of memories that are too painful, too raw even after years have passed. But there have been a few times when I’ve shared “memory artifacts” with them, in a measured way. And each time I’ve seem some lightbulbs come on. Middle daughter even said, in  so many words, “I’m glad you didn’t tell me that when it was happening. But I’m glad to know it now.”

So, in spite of what has to have been a lifetime of parenting mistakes, I do seem to have gotten this one right.

My question for you: Is there anything your parents did (or didn’t do) that you made a conscious decision NOT to repeat with your own children?

 

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Recurring boy problems.

Well, The Boy had a friend spend the night last night so they could be up and off to be shot at by the police by 7:30 this morning. They’re still assisting with shooter scenarios for our local law enforcement, and thankfully the shooting is done with paintballs. I am in no way missing the tragic imageand outrageous fact that way too many moms in this country seriously do have to worry about their boys being shot at by police every single day. Nor am I missing the fact that because my boy is white and in the “right” socioeconomic class, attracting the notice of the police is not a factor in his day-to-day life.

But back to the point of today’s post: Because we’ve had a friend spend the night, we are now the proud owners of some new artifacts. I’ve noticed for years that the deal is: One male friend sleeping over = at least one new item added to our household inventory. Socks are a given. Every time we’ve had a friend here overnight I discover an alien pair of socks in the laundry a few days later.

Today’s haul: One green t-shirt, one bracelet-y thing, one coaster from a bar. Looks like our young friend needs to be reminded that he is TWENTY, not twenty-one.

Oh, and collateral damage greeted me when I went downstairs to the basement family room this morning: Blankets and pillows tossed willy-nilly (Ha! Great word, which I’ve never typed before!), dregs of chocolate milk in two glasses, computer and other electronic bits strewn about, TV cabinet hanging open with DVD still in drive. Utter chaos, from a mom perspective.

So The Boy is home and life has returned to the “normal” that I love so much. Bring on the chaos.

 

 

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