Party Peeves

We went to a couple family parties this weekend. One was a Labor Day bar-b-que – which was relatively mild; the other was a family dinner in honor of the seventh birthday of my cousin’s kid. These parties (the latter for the most part) inspired me to compile yet another list of pet peeves. Today while we were eating lunch at Panda Express, I got a little teary over the music they were playing and realized it must be getting close to Rag Time, so excuse me if my reasoning sounds particularly bitchy.

Party Peeve 1:

You Scratch My Back, I’m Not Scratching Yours

How many birthday parties have we gone to where the other person never comes to ours? These people with this seven year old kid (relatives of my Trailer Trash Mom) are the worst offenders. They are the only real family we have in California – which makes it particularly difficult – because every kid party we have they never show up for, making ours sort of un-kid kid parties.

Year after year, though, I send down a gift when it’s time for one of their two kids to celebrate another birthday. When they have a family party for it, we make the two hour drive there and two hour drive back and bring wine and a side dish. We smile. We listen to people talk about their hillbilly family dramas. We show interest when my aunt talks about all the oppressions put upon her working for the Girl Scouts. We laugh when her husband tells jokes about watching pornography on the Internet.

But when it comes time for a kid party here, they can’t make the same trek.

Party Peeve 2:

Cow-Towing To the Old People

I’m sure when I’m elderly, I’ll want everyone to cow-tow to me like they do at my family parties. Kiss my ass and act like everything I say is plated in gold and shit. I’m not being a dick, either, by saying it’s a problem to let the elderly have the comfortable chairs or use the bathrooms first or whatever would make me sound like a real asshole. Because that’s not what I mean.

By cow-towing I mean that everyone in the family acts as they always do – as though what the old people say goes. An example: my grandma and grandpa went to college in Nebraska, so of course are Cornhusker fans. But if you aren’t a Cornhusker fan too, you have to sit there for forty-five minutes while grandpa fucking yells at you for being such a dumb ass. It’s really mean, actually, if you think about it because he will shout at you and tell you to get out of his presence if you support a team other than the Cornhuskers.

Just about everyone in the family swore their allegiance to the Cornhuskers a long time ago just to get grandpa to shut the hell up.

Party Peeve 3:

Feeding Kids Different Food

Oh dear God, this really roasts my ass. If you think it’s totally acceptable to let your kid drag you around by your she-balls, and therefore prepare meal after meal after meal until you settle on Spaghetti-O’s because your precious cargo has been conditioned (by you) to be a terribly picky and unhealthy eater – well then you should stop reading now. Because I don’t tolerate that shit, and so it really pisses me off when other people do it at a kid’s party we attend.

I can see that not all kids at the party are healthy eaters and the host just doesn’t want them to go hungry. I’ll accept that a lot of people were born and raised in a barn and, therefore, don’t care much about instilling basic values in their kids’ upbringing.

At our house, you have to try everything that is put on your plate. If we go out to eat or to someone else’s home for dinner, we all eat what is served. We do not request that people make us something special because we’d rather have neon-orange fat-O’s in a can.

At the family dinner Sunday night, they served BBQ chicken, bread rolls, fresh fruit – all in all, a pretty healthy meal. You can imagine, then, that I was fucking livid when I saw my mom carrying plates of per-request food for all the kids, none of which had BBQ chicken or fruit. All of which were covered in Spaghetti-O and macaroni and cheese slop.

Party Peeve 4:

Inadequate Planning

When I plan a party, I typically plan everything down to the “T.” It isn’t what you faithful blog followers are probably thinking: that I’m terribly anal retentive and OCD. (Well I am, but that isn’t what this is about.) The thing is that when people take the time and effort to come to a party you’ve thrown, the least you can do is have things organized at least enough so that things don’t get out of control and chaotic.

I mean, every party in which kids are involved is going to have a little chaos. But at least have it be organized chaos.

This party on Sunday was so poorly planned (go figure, it was done by my mother and her sister with the porno-watching-husband). It was supposed to be a kid’s party (sort of), but they really didn’t plan anything for the kids to do besides terrorize everyone else with chaos, out of control screaming, and whining that they were bored.

Of course my Trailer Trash Mom was too busy rambling on about her recent Hillbilly Husband sagas to actually entertain the kids. My aunt was busy cooking the food. My grandpa was yelling at me for being a Notre Dame fan, instead of the Cornhuskers. My aunt’s husband was in the other room looking at his Internet porn. Pretty much everyone else was just sitting back, watching carnage unfold until finally, towards the end of the party, Poor Nick and I took charge and played Duck-Duck-Goose with the kids to try and get things under control.

Party Peeve 5:

Dresscode

This is always a sensitive subject for some people. I get it: people didn’t come to the party to see my fancy house or my fancy clothes. So the place isn’t perfectly cleaned, and I’m wearing sweatpants – but we’re family so it should be OK, right? Or as a guest, you should just be grateful that I came and spent the money on a birthday gift and the time preparing these appetizers and the gas driving down and my Sunday that could have been spent doing something else I actually want to do, so I should be cool in these coolots and halter top, no?

Actually, NO. You should not be “cool” or “down” with people dressing down for a party. As is the case with organization, the least people could do is wear regular clothes or even just pants. When I opened the door to my aunt and her husband’s home Sunday, you can all imagine my surprise when I was greeted by her porno-watching husband wearing nothing but a t-shirt and Cornhusker boxer shorts. Maybe he was trying to impress my grandpa. Maybe he needed easy-access for when he’d be spending the duration of the party in the other room, looking at Internet pornography. Maybe he was just really hot. I don’t know, I just thought he could have actually put a pair of pants or at least shorts on. His boxers, in combination with my mother’s pant-wedgie that lasted the duration of the entire party and seemed to cause her nothing but pleasure, made the dresscode at this particular hillbilly brawl just intolerable for me.

After the lack of organization, the food problems, the underpants, the screaming at me for not pledging my loyalty to the Cornhuskers, and my mom rubbing her pant-wedgie further and further up her asscrack during the inevitable family photos that always cap off a family party with these people, I had just about had it.

What are your party pet peeves, faithful blog followers?

5 Reasons Housewives Are Losers

So today I was just sitting here at home, worrying about what kind of cupcakes to bake for my book club Tuesday night, when I logged onto Facebook and saw that one of my friends had attended a Housewife Party last night. Have any of you faithful blog followers heard of these? It’s not like a Tupperware party or playing Bridge with the other gals or whatever. It’s a party where a bunch of arrogant yupsters dress up in the most gaudy housewife garb they can, get drunk, and act like Peg Bundy. Of course none of these people are actually housewives. And these are also the same people that say they couldn’t find any meaning in their lives were they to just be married and have kids.

As I sat here in my leopard printed stretchie pants, looking through these photographs, I have to admit that I was somewhat hurt. This isn’t the first time a friend has attended one of these. And now I’m just wondering if these people can really be called “friends” when they are so arrogant and judgmental.

But the way a housewife dresses isn’t just what makes her a loser; an underbelly of society in these people’s eyes. In my experience there are really five main features of a housewife that make her such a waste of space, a drain on the world’s resources – at least in the minds of the anti-housewives.

Reason #1 Housewives Are Losers: We Dress For Comfort

Yes, the first is about the way we dress. 9 days out of 10, we dress for comfort. So that does mean we often dress ala Peg Bundy. Stretch pants. Comfy tops. Sweaters. Just yesterday I bought myself some leopard printed stretch pants and they are probably the most comfortable pair of pants I own. My favorite outfit is just that – stretchie pants with a dress or tunic and a cardigan sweater. Or we go with yoga pants.

Do you know why we dress for comfort though, rather than cuteness (and, by the way, most of the time we look cute in our comfort)? Because we aren’t sitting at a desk all day. We aren’t processing on a computer or sitting in comfortable meeting room chairs. We aren’t spending our lunch hours in fancy restaurants – we don’t even get lunch hours. Wearing uncomfortable heels for 12 hours of vacuuming, folding laundry, and corralling the children would hurt.

Reason #2 Housewives Are Losers: We Are Immersed in Contemporary Culture

I don’t mean that we’re cool and hip and we dress like yupsters, riding our bikes tandem around Coachella while listening to the musical stylings of Pitchfork on our iPods and shit. I mean that we are more aware of what is going on in contemporary culture on the whole because we’re home for it 24/7.

We listen to AM radio and watch talk shows during the day. We read the news and we read books that are new and popular, because we have the time to. We join book clubs. This morning I realized that my own intellectualism has been debased a little bit because I was reading an article on the Google News Aggregate about Snookie giving birth to her devil spawn early this morning. But then I realized that at least I’m reading, which is more than I can say for a lot of people I know with successful careers. Some of them haven’t cracked a book, magazine, or newspaper since college, and don’t plan on it. It’s a personal choice that everyone has to make for themselves, but I see the added awareness of the world and contemporary culture a plus.

If anything, it gives us more to talk about at a party, other than the most annoying dinner party conversation ever: how our jobs are going.

Reason #3 Housewives Are Losers: We Are Meaningless Realists

Perhaps the most glaring thing about housewives is that we are realists. We are in the real world. We don’t have any pie-in-the-sky dreams of saving the world with our two-bit jobs as a secretaries at the local power plant. We don’t have any idealism that we will cure cancer or stop global warming or end world hunger. It isn’t to say that these notions are bad things to have, in fact the world needs people with these notions to work at least a little bit closer to them; it’s just to say that as housewives we keep our lives and those of us around us in a little bit of perspective.

What this means, though, is that people sometimes call our realism “negativity.” “Oh, you can make a change; you can make a difference!” Sure, I can recycle or raise money for a cause or go out and vote for every election, but realistically speaking there is only so much one person can do. If people want to have an idealism; want to stay away from realistic negativity, that is fine. But just because someone has a job and a vague sense of meaning in their lives does not mean they are the next Steve Jobs or Neil Armstrong; and most importantly it does not mean that our jobs as housewives are unimportant and meaningless either.

Reason #4 Housewives Are Losers: We Worry All the Time

As I mentioned before, I was worrying about baking cupcakes for my book club on Tuesday night. The reason why I was worrying was actually just because it’s been so hot out lately that running the oven is not something I particularly feel like doing. But you see, as housewives we over think and worry about everything.

Sometimes my former self – the young woman in graduate school on her way to a Ph.D. in philosophy and successful teaching career – rears her ugly head and says to me “is this all you have to worry about? Jesus, get a life!” But then I start to think about why I worry about things like cupcakes, vacuuming, cleaning the toilets, what to make for dinner, and so on: because they are a part of my job as wife and mother. Not to sound corny or anything, but I place as much importance and value on my job as any other person in the adult world. Now not all housewives worry about everything that I do, but I can say with certainty that the majority of us do. This makes it even more hurtful for someone to say a housewife doesn’t have a care in the world. Because while your care in the world may be an 8 to 5 kind of care, a housewive’s is 24/7.

Reason #5 Housewives Are Losers: We’re Online A Lot

… but are also clueless technologically.

As a housewife – especially one with kids – life can be a little bit isolating. We don’t get to go to a central location with other human beings every day. Sometimes we have play dates or extra-curriculars, but a lot of the time we have is spent alone. So we go online and interact with blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

On the flip side, we aren’t necessarily equipped with work-sponsored laptops, Blackberries, and other new technologies. While we understand Facebook and how to do our blogs (those of us that have one, that is), we don’t necessarily understand all the other social media and equipment that is out there now. And you won’t often find housewives checking their email while out to lunch with friends, or standing in a group of people completely oblivious to each other because they are too absorbed by their smartphones.

What I always find to be ridiculous, though, is when people judge a housewife because she spends time online every day; simply because those that do that are the same people that can’t go an entire meal without checking their work email. That can’t have a conversation without interrupting it for a phone call or a text message. How are these things any different from each other?

So you can see, I don’t actually believe that housewives are losers. I am one, why would I? Okay, sometimes I believe I am a loser, but that’s more my former self rearing her ugly head again. I guess the real point is that before judging what another person does, we should all consider that there may be meaning and value in it, and that everyone defines that for themselves. And for God’s sakes, if anyone invites you to a Housewife Party – graciously decline. They’re just rude and arrogant.

Reasons I Was Meant to be a Mom

After Mother’s Day – hillbilly brawl and all – I realized that there are some reasons I was meant to be a mom.

Am I saying I am “meant to be a mom” like “oh look at me, I am so great – I shit rainbows when I put on my soccer mom uniform!!”? No. No I am not. Am I implying that I am better than others, or that people should learn from me? Unless you want to take some of my tricks and tweak them to use yourself, I am by no means the standard by which others should judge their behavior. I have more flaws than Carter’s got liver pills. Does this mean that I am on a mission to pop as many little bastards and bastettes out of my hoo-haa as I possibly can before my eggs dry up and/or my uterus falls out? HELL NO.

Do I mean I was put on this Earth for the sole reason of raising children? No, I don’t mean that either, I just mean that some things are now natural to me.

Reason #1: I have no problem getting picky kids to eat

Yesterday at the party my mom threw for my grandma, my cousins came in with their two kids and while all of us ate exactly what was being served, they served their kids a separate meal. I was actually pretty offended (having cooked the entire meal that was being served myself), but was also appalled that they would teach their kids that value. When it came time for dessert, they even went out to their car and brought back a box of donuts – our cake and custard cups were apparently not even good enough for their picky eaters.

Pookie is an incredibly picky eater and even she was shocked by this behavior. But then again, maybe it’s because working with her pickiness to get her to eat healthful meals, and to be polite when at another person’s home, is relatively easy for me. I have learned to hide tofu and asparagus in alfredo sauce and noodles. I cover fruit with strawberry yogurt and three servings gets eaten easily. Even tonight, I baked carrots, peas, and corn, into ground chicken – she gobbled it up. I have no tolerance for “I don’t want that, give me something else.”

Reason #2: I am OK with the fact that I stay at home

It is true that I am constantly struggling with finding some purpose to my life outside of Yo Gaba Gaba and the world of Barbie, and I still lament the days of graduate school and career goals.You could also probably consider me to feel pretty isolated and a little depressed for some of the days because I have so little interaction with the adult world. But I am still OK with the fact that I stay at home.

I like my life. I get plenty of sleep. I homeschool, and that is probably the most rewarding thing that I have ever done. I write when I can, read when I want, and plan stuff for us to do outside of homeschool and the daily grind. We go out to lunch most days of the week to try and deal with the isolation thing, but then I am usually confronted with a terribly narcissistic and judgmental society. Today was another one of those days. Again at Natural Cafe, we were standing in line and someone nearby us decided to loudly describe why her life is much better than mine. It was about 11:30, so she and her friend were quite obviously on an early lunch break, and the rest of us in line clearly have no concept of “lunch break” or “work schedule.” The one who resembled a dwarf said in her pithy and nasal tone: “wow, there’s a lot of kids here today!” And then the other with an ass the size of Texas and something of a partial beard replied “yeah … I could never feel my life was fulfilling at all if all I did was stay at home and pop out little kids like this all day.” Then they both laughed.

Clearly the nasal-toned dwarf and the gargantuan-assed she-man are so miserable in their own daily struggle to make cubicle life fulfilling that they have to pit themselves against the crowd. I could have just as easily stood in line with my own SAH friends and talked about how unfulfilling my life would have been if it was defined by someone else’s schedule, and how being a slave to a corporate world that will eat you up and spit you out quicker than the blink of an eye is the most miserable thing a person could do, but I don’t need to do that because (unlike those women) I am perfectly OK with where I am in life.

Reason #3: I know an unhealthy situation when I see one

Sometimes when it’s just us, we tend to ignore the unhealthy, or tolerate it because we have learned to let it not affect us. But when little children are involved, it really isn’t as easy as “ignore and it’ll go away.”

Through this entire Mother’s Day nonsense with my Trailer Trash Mom, I have realized just how unhealthy this situation is for the under-18 crowd. I knew it was unhealthy before, but for some reason it didn’t really ‘click.’ The Mother’s Day Gala of the Century that my mom had planned turned out to be pretty lame. I was expecting a trailer trash brawl, when really all I got was a lot of people being fake. The most climactic thing that happened during it was that an hour and a half after we were supposed to eat, my Trailer Trash Mom was still dicking around getting place settings set up, so we just said “we are eating now” and she slammed her fists down on the table. This is much like my husband’s family, though – all that drama, shit talking, false promises, gossiping, and hurting people’s feelings beforehand, but when everyone comes together they just pretend as though nothing had happened. My aunt that didn’t invite us to my cousin’s graduation party claimed that our invitation was the one that got jammed in the printer. My Trailer Trash Mom kept saying “I’ve got some more money for you…” only to never actually give it. And the cake incident was carefully swept under the rug as no one was really interested in staying to chat after the meal was over.

I was resolved to walk away and not look back before the actual Mother’s Day Mayhem, now I am firm in knowing this unhealthy situation when I see it. Emotional abuse and dysfunction is so unhealthy for kids to be exposed to, and tolerating it sets just as bad of an example.

Reason #4: I Constantly Fret Over Making Things ‘Special’

Yesterday was Mother’s Day and I should have sat around on my lazy ass all day after paying homage to that ridiculous family hoopla my mother had put together. That isn’t what I did, though.

As I do every morning, I made breakfast. And as I always do when I make pancakes, I made pancake shapes. They usually don’t come out, but I always do anyway because the effort is what seems to get the most appreciation. After my mom’s stupid, anticlimactic party, I agreed to go bowling, despite the fact that it was the last thing on my list of things I was interested in doing. It was a day that my husband was actually home, and spending time with us, so – again – I wanted it to be special and filled with activities everyone would enjoy.

So there they are: the reasons I was meant to be a mom. This wasn’t one of those cute and pithy posts about finding puke and pretzels in your hair, like you’ll find most of the time you search for a blog about being a mom; in fact, I’m sorry if that’s what you were looking for. There are a hell of a lot of reasons why I was not meant to be a mom too. I ‘aint no mom blogger, so the list is all kinds of big, and I’m sure I’ll compile it at some point, although it would look something like: I swear, I drink a lot, I don’t take shit from anyone, and I cannot stand those kid’s shows like Cayou and Good Luck Charlie. But I’m OK with taking a card, a homemade plate, a shopping trip, and a Mother’s Day mimosa for the troubles I have listed here, which is exactly what I got.

Prepartying With My Trailer Trash Mom

I don’t think that “party” is really the most appropriate way to refer to what has gone on the last few days with my Trailer Trash Mom and her Mother’s Day Mayhem. More like psychological and emotional abuse. Drama. And a lot of trailer trash, hillbilly shit.

But since we’ve officially entered the 24 hour countdown to this ridiculous event – this event that my Trailer Trash Mom planned, committed me to do all the cooking for without asking me first, demanded a cake that takes roughly 6 hours to bake, and then intentionally destroyed said cake out of anger; since we are in the countdown phase, it’s time to start the preparty.

Since all of you faithful blog followers can’t drink excessive levels of mimosa with me tomorrow morning before we head over to the assisted living apartment complex my grandparents live in (yes, I will be drinking mimosas until the moment I click my seatbelt), I thought we could do a little preparty of the blog-friendly kind with a little preparty countdown.

Prepartying With My Trailer Trash Mom –

Some Fun TTM Stories

#5 About six years ago my aunt got remarried. They had their ceremony at my grandparent’s old home right outside of Yosemite, sort of in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of desert and brownness everywhere. My aunt decided she wanted to have a “theme,” though, so they decided it would be Hawaiian. It was a Hawaiian-themed, trailer trash wedding, in the middle of the desert, with brown dirt everywhere you looked, in my grandparent’s backyard. Everyone wore a Hawaiian-themed outfit, none of which matched, and they went to Party City to buy a bunch of those hula girl and palm tree cardboard cut out wall hangings. Yes, fucking cardboard hula girls hung all over the goddamned place.

So my mom was the maid of honor and as such decided that she would be taking charge of the all the arrangements. She acted like this pig shit Hawaiian themed, hula girl cardboard cut out wedding was the wedding of the century. Quite frankly, I was embarrassed for her – even my aunt said she was going overboard. Then someone made the mistake of questioning my mother’s judgement on the placement of the tablecloths and she flipped her shit. She threw her trailer trash ass around for about 20 minutes, slammed the door to her bedroom, and cried for about 45 minutes until she walked out of her room as though nothing had happened.

#4 My mother had another meltdown a few years after that pig shit Hawaiian wedding, again in front of her whole family at my grandparent’s home.

She had been dating the guy that was formerly Marvin Gaye’s drummer for some time and that whole Madonna tour thing happened (he told her he was going on tour with Madonna and wanted her to be his groupie, which she believed only to show up at the Fresno International Airport to find out there was no such tour). The truth was that the guy was married, but before my Trailer Trash Mom found that out, she organized a huge family gathering for everyone to meet him over Thanksgiving.

I saw my mother planning that shit for about three months for the blessed day. Then, the guy never showed up. He didn’t just “not show up,” though – he called and said he was almost there and that his cell phone reception was “in and out,” then four hours later he still had not showed up so my mom proceeded to call him every few minutes until his wife picked up and asked her to please stop harassing them.

She stayed in her bedroom for two days that time, and her brothers and sisters all refer to it as “the Thanksgiving we will never forget.” As you see, my Trailer Trash Mom has a lot of issues beyond just being into this hillbilly crap.

#3 After my mom dated the drummer guy, she tried to find any other black man that could fill his shoes. She started spouting off that stupid “once you go black you don’t go back…” stereotype every time someone asked what she was looking for in a man.

She found a guy equally as loserish as her current husband, who happened to be an alcoholic and hillbilly all wrapped into a nice package, which my mom liked to call “the big D.” At the time, my mom was coming over to my dad’s house to hang out with me when I was there using his computer or printer or eating all his food (whatever reason I was there), and every time her boyfriend dropped her off he’d make it a point to tell my dad jokes about dicks and balls.

#2 My Trailer Trash Mom’s family are just as trashy and dysfunctional as she is.

The ultimate decision I made on the whole cake and food thing for this party tomorrow was to just redo the cake, make all the food, show up, hold my head high, and walk away with my dignity intact and a firm resolution not to be treated that way by any of them ever again. My Trailer Trash Mom has told her family a lot of lies about me, and while I don’t really care what they think or say about me, I knew I wanted to be the bigger person in all of this. And I didn’t want to ruin the day for my grandma and grandpa, who have little to do with all this nonsense.

I tried to repair the cake only for it to fall apart today. I put together a new dessert – a simple white cake with mocha cream and some chocolate tulip cups filled with custard. We made chocolate and marshmallow-covered graham crackers and packaged them nicely in to-go containers for all the moms coming as well. I made three appetizers: my famous deviled eggs, my amazingly simple BLT bites, and cubed caprese salads. I even carved an owl into the side of a watermelon to go along with the fruit salad skewers I made. And I should mention that I did all of this not feeling well, having eaten a bad bowl of creamed soup a few days ago, as well as worsening allergies set off by feeling so sick.

I didn’t have the space in my refrigerator to keep all of this food, though, and was going to have more to take over tomorrow anyway. So this evening we piled all of the stuff I had already prepared into my husband’s car to drive the food to my grandparent’s home, where they could store it in their mini-fridge.

While there, I saw two things that again reminded me why after tomorrow it is imperative that I walk away before things get even uglier: an invitation to a cousin’s engagement party, and an invitation to a cousin’s graduation party. We were invited to neither of them.

#1 I fully expect there to be some sort of hillbilly brawl tomorrow. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because up until this point everything has been hillbilly pig shittin’ dramatics. Or maybe it’s because of those invitations I saw. Probably it will involve me – it always seems to, although I prefer to avoid the drama.

But then it’s always the people that avoid the drama that cause the most by being so avoidant. Since I’m going bombed on my Mother’s Day morning mimosas, maybe this time I should just embrace it. When I worked in politics, some campaign workers and I were at a bar one night when a fight broke out. I turned to run only to see all of my campaign friends flailing themselves into the center of it all. I suppose it’s time I embrace the hillbilly brawl and jump in, head first. Since I’m walking away and never looking back, I may as well give them a show right?


The Lady With the Pink Hat

About a week ago some controversy was spurred over a trend that is growing across the country, that trend being the No Children Allowed Restaurant.  More and more, restaurant owners are responding to the complaints of clientele who would prefer to eat their meals in peace, rather than have it ruined by some bratty kid whose parents are entirely hands-off on the discipline.  On the surface, this seems vaguely reminiscent of the old “one bad apple ruins the entire bushel;” although, to be fair, those without children at the dinner table have just as much a right to eat in peace as those with them have to let their kids run the show.

Some varied responses have been made to this.  Some have agreed, even those with kids, because they recognize the fact that parents these days just don’t believe their child should be disciplined (or, possibly that their child can do no wrong).  Some have disagreed on the basis that, while they recognize children can be completely out of control, it seems inherently wrong to refuse service to people just on the basis of the fact that they happen to be in a particular group of people (dare I call them:  the birthers).

We’ve talked about this before, the notion of people acting as though they are the only people on the planet, and so everyone else should cow-tow to their desires.  And, in fact, it seems to be happening more that people in society feel a sense of being entitled to do whatever they want, even if it means that they and their children are infringing upon the rights (and even safety of others).

Today I was at the library with my father, who happens to be a candidate for full hip replacement surgery.  Nearing his seventies, his bones have become so brittle that even the slightest fall could result in a fracture of his hips.  He even has a handicapped placard for his car.  While at the library, a child was running around and screaming while his mother was nowhere to be found.  Inevitably, the child ran into my father, nearly knocking him over.  My father looked down at the little boy and said “watch where your going, where is your mother?” and the kid ran off without another word.  Five minutes later, though, this lady in a pink hat stalked up to us and started yelling at my dad – in the middle of the library – for daring to respond to her son, who can clearly do no wrong.  After calming the situation down (although I did say that she should learn to be a parent as she walked away), she went off with her bratty toddler and we went about our business.

Despite the fact that the situation was calmed down, though, and the kid and his mother eventually got kicked out of the library because the little terrorist was ripping books off the shelf and screaming, this raises again the issue of the No Child Restaurant.  Had my father (or any other older person that spends a fair amount of their time at the library) been knocked over, he very likely would have broken a bone at the hands of a little boy that was allowed to run all over the place.  And had my father broken a bone, the only people that would have been liable for it in the end would have been the library.  Worse than him running all over the place, though, was the lady in the pink hat:  his mother.  Without knowing the situation or the health or the beliefs of other people, that woman has taken the position that so many other parents today take, which is that the safety and happiness of others is of no matter as long as they can do whatever they want.  That poor, little boy is on a surefire course for destruction later on in life and his mother has done nothing but teach him that he can be a monster, and to raise his voice if anyone questions that.  One day, that little monster will hurt someone in a place other than the library, where the only one liable is him; and then they will all have to pay the price of a mother that simply doesn’t want to deal with an unruly child.

When considering how to act in any public place, it seems we need to remind ourselves that public means that other people will be there, with entirely different situations than ours.    Not everyone thinks a screaming and destructive kid is the cutest thing next to teddy bears.  And sometimes, it can even be dangerous.  To those that still don’t understand why some restaurants have chosen to have a policy that no children be allowed, consider the actions of the lady with the pink hat.

Oh Mama

My mother and I pictured right

This will neither be the first, nor the last, time that I blog about my mother.  It’s no secret:  my mother lives an interesting lifestyle (and by interesting I, of course, mean insane).  In twenty-nine years she has given me one bizarre scenario after another:  from crazy boyfriends that claim they’re going on tour with Madonna, to setting me up on a date with a bartender when I was only sixteen.  Today’s phone call did not fail to meet the bar she has set up until this point.

Around 12:30 this afternoon, as I was rushing out the door, I received a phone call from her wherein she announced that this morning her boyfriend and she went down to the courthouse near his trailer in New Mexico and got married.

There are a myriad of reasons why this is a problem.  To start, she’s known the guy for roughly nine months, although every time I have mentioned that to her she reminds me that they both grew up in the same area so “essentially have known each other all along.”  Of that nine months, my mother has spent roughly six actual weeks with him, physically (the remainder of the relationship being over the telephone).  He told me six months ago that he was going to visit his daughter at school in Texas, only for him to reveal to everyone last week that he really had not communicated with any of his four daughters in over twelve years.  But it gets worse.  Since he and my mother met, he has “intended” on selling his home in New Mexico, but one debacle after another comes up, including a scene where the real estate agent reportedly punched out the guy at the bank of a prospective buyer; right now the story is that the real estate agent is in jail for an unrelated offense.  The crowning glory of the lies this guy has told was when he announced to everyone in my mother’s family that he was diagnosed with malignant cancer.  When I questioned a few things he said (mainly that his doctor supposedly said it would be alright to continue smoking two packs of cigarettes a day), three hours later he “miraculously” received a phone call with the news that his biopsy had incorrectly shown a malignant cancer, and it was really just a bacterial infection that a five-day course of Zithromax would clear up.  The line between fact and fiction with this guy is beyond blurry, so quite obviously my response to the whole situation of them getting married earlier today can be summed up in something I said to a friend in response:  I don’t know if I should be sending her a card or staging an intervention.  

So that’s the update on my mother, now to the relevance of it all.  In previous times that I have blogged about my mother, people have given me mixed responses.  Some have said that the candid humility I share my life’s story with is humbling.  This I consider a compliment:  my experiences with my mother and the characters she involves herself with are truly dysfunctional; to hide them would be to do nothing more than contribute to that very dysfunction.  For every time my mother has done something nice for me, she has followed that up with ten steps of hurt.  From abandoning me when I was ten, to exposing me to sex way earlier than any kid should be exposed; from stealing money and things from me, to spreading lies within her family about me and my contribution to her hardships – my mother has run me and my family through the gamut.  Talking about things that have happened is by far the healthiest thing a person can do in a situation like this.  And, anyway, beyond finding solace in honesty, if my mother didn’t want people to be talking about the things she does, well faithful blog followers, then she shouldn’t have done them.

But there has been another type of response to the blogs I have written about my mother, specifically more negative ones.  Some have said that I have gone against the very essence of a family’s value; that in a family these things happen and you just deal because it’s family.  Others have said that I owe my mother life and for that she can lie, cheat, steal, scandalize, abuse, use, and abandon me and my family all she wants.  On the day of my mother’s wedding, when she has ignored the advise of others and yet still expected them to come to her aid, I think now is the time to address these more negative responses.

One person said that I “should be ashamed to spread the business” of my mother around “like she’s anyone other than the person that gave me life.”  In response to that I simply reiterate that I carry myself with the utmost level of honesty that I can, so to lie about it would be against the very fabric of who I am.  To further that, I would have to argue that financially, physically, emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually, I have repaid my mother for the life she gave me about fifty times over.

Another person responded that “one day” I will “regret such hostility towards her,” to which I question exactly where anyone finds hostility in honesty?  Here is where the real lesson comes in:  somewhere, somehow, our society morphed into this family-values-loving culture that defines everything by what is right for the family, rather than what is right for the betterment of our souls.  There are so many dysfunctional situations out there, in so many families, that are simply glossed over or turned a blind eye to merely for the sake of preserving the family.  And while it’s true that the reason why I continue to tolerate my mother’s shenanigans, time and time again, is because she is family, at some point I most certainly will say that enough is enough.  I will not regret it, either; in fact, no one should regret making the decision to be honest and true to themselves and their happiness.  There’s an old saying:  “some of the worst people I know are members of my family.”  I think this applies to a lot of familial situations and to stand by and let it go on is one of the most morally reprehensible things a person can do.

There are a lot of things in this world that are wrong and it is only in our refusal to confront those things head-on that they continue to persevere.  It’s time for everyone to stand up to the bad mothers, the emotionally distant fathers, the dysfunctional cousins, the rumor-mongering siblings, and every other injustice that they see happening on a daily basis in their every-day lives.  Blog about it, write about it, Tweet about it – whatever it is you need to do to prevent yourself from becoming no better than them.  That is the real lesson to be learned here, faithful blog followers:  in truth and what is right, rather than in lies and what is proper, is where we find our salvation.