We Need To Discuss Your Summer Plans

“Summer plans,” or – as I like to call them – “just another group of months with the same old shit only hotter” are steadfastly approaching, and I feel like we need to discuss them.

We were at the doctor the other day, my 15 year old was having her yearly physical. The doctor asked what our summer plans are and the crickets chirped. Summer plans? The concept is lost on me.

It’s been in conversation for about two months now.

It’s a woefully tiresome topic, because – inevitably – it becomes one of those instances in which I feel like I have to explain myself to people. Twenty minutes into it, I’ve gotten nowhere. Usually this is evidenced by whomever I am talking with clearly not understanding what I’m saying, and changing the subject with something like “well there’s always room for spontaneous summer plans!”

And herein lies the first problem I have any time people ask me questions: I can never just give simple answers. Somewhere along the line, I conditioned myself to always justify what I am saying. In reality, I don’t have to explain my or my family’s reasons behind what we do, or in this case don’t do, to anyone.

We don’t have summer plans. Why not? Because we don’t want to.

Because we homeschool, we might be a little unique. My kids are around all the time during the school year, so I can’t exactly identify with the whole you-people-are-driving-Mom-crazy-for-these-two-months-every-year thing.

My kids drive me crazy all year long.

So in terms of camps or classes, or special outings: there’s really no need for it. Why would I put my children in a day camp that is the older-kid-equivalent to daycare when there is literally no need for me to do so whatsoever? It isn’t like they’re getting bored and need to be kept entertained. Or they are driving me batty and I need them out of the house. Summer for other people is our lives, every day of the year (except there’s schoolwork in there).

This is the second problem, although I wouldn’t call it a “problem,” so much as a circumstance. Our circumstance, because we homeschool, is that my kids are around all the time. I don’t need to keep them entertained, or do all kinds of extra activities because they are driving me crazy in the house. These things (the stuff we do, including the fun stuff) is peppered here and there through the entire year, because we aren’t beholden to a school district calendar.

That’s just the way it is, and yet no one (and I mean no one) can seem to grasp that concept.

The third thing worth mentioning is my husband’s work schedule. One of the reasons we homeschool is to accommodate his career in film. It’s hectic, it’s unpredictable, and it’s overnight. Anyone that’s ever worked in the film industry knows that summer and holidays are the busiest times for them, so vacations around then are not always in the cards.

If I’m being entirely honest, vacation isn’t really something we normally do at any time of the year, either. He’s just usually too busy, and when he’s not busy he’s catching up on sleep. What kind of a vacation involves Dad sleeping half the day, and keeping everyone up all night because he can’t (and shouldn’t) change his sleep schedule for the couple of days?

(And also, if we’re being REALLY HONEST… film work doesn’t exactly cover the cost of exotic cruises and trips to Hawaii for 5 + my dad.)

At a tennis match the other day, the mother of a couple kids my kids play with told me that she’s decided since her husband is working a lot this summer, she’s going to maybe just do the craziest thing ever and take the kids somewhere on her own! Can you imagine?

I take my kids places on our own all the time. If we waited for my husband to be available, we would be waiting years behind our graves.

This, I think, is a suburban thing: that families should do it all together, and if they don’t there’s something crazy or exotic or weird about it. The reality of it is that there is absolutely nothing unique about our situation at all. So many people have so many different circumstances to their jobs/homes/lives, it just is what it is.

And yet… this is the fourth thing. I waffle back and forth between wanting to live my life and let my kids live theirs; and feeling the guilting and the pressures that our culture has me conditioned to believe, which is that we should all be patiently waiting to live our own lives with our hands folded neatly in our laps for my husband to be available.

Except that he’s living his life by working in his dream career. This is literally what he dreamed about in childhood, went to college for, and has worked all these years to achieve. So we should not live while he… lives?

Why do we worry so much about summer plans anyway? Maybe this is just some weird stage of life I am in, where your plans end up largely dictated by your children’s plans, forcing everyone into these specific time frames to create family memories and – oh I don’t know – live life.

Or maybe it’s something bigger. Like a status thing. I remember a movie once where the guy says in a snooty voice: “where do you summer… I SAID WHERE do you summer?” The concept is lost on me.

My summer plans are the same as my every day plans. My kids do schoolwork. They do chores. They play tennis. The baby and I watch Story Bots and play with blocks. I cook. I clean. Sometimes we go to museums and libraries, some days we binge watch Supernatural.

And I think I’m much happier and more content than a lot of people. We don’t save life’s moments for special occasions or the summer months, when conditions are perfect. We live them every day.

Losing Touch With the World

Today was Day 1 of Week 2 in “My Kid Is Better Than Yours Hell.” For those of you that don’t know what I am talking about because you haven’t been keeping up on my blog lately, every summer there is this crunch time in which all of the extra-curricular and other community activities we want to do fall at the same, damn time. Every day is a long and arduous march of activities – shuttling from one thing to the next until the end of the day where I collapse in utter exhaustion.

Today, though, I took it a little more easy through the death march and took a look around, as well as at myself. In doing so, I realized that we all seem to be losing touch with the world.

#1 Facebook Bullying

I’ve said it once before and I’m going to say it again: I am so sick and goddamned tired of people that are Facebook bullying it makes me, well … sick. You know what I’m talking about: that person that posts a status update or an eCard they thought they were so clever to make:  it’s Facebook, not your diary. People that make fun of or put down other people are bullying. They’re judging. And they’re saying “I am the standard by which other people should judge their actions.” All of this is just a little out of touch with the way the world really is.

Yesterday I saw a friend had taken it even further when she posted a picture of two people she saw on the beach – a man and a woman, both of which were a little frumpy. She included a pithy comment “nothing but eye candy here today…” and I immediately lost every ounce of respect I had for this woman. She is so out of touch with the world it is astounding. To think a woman in her 30s is still sitting around judging the way people look – and then talking about it – is a little sickening.

#2 Motherfucking Octomom

I saw some people talking on Twitter last week, and then again on Facebook, about how Octomom is now turning to stripping to make some money. Or was it porn? Who cares what it was, what is out of touch with the world were people’s responses. People are saying she is a bad mother because she is stripping. People are saying that child services needs to get involved.

To begin, Octomom stripping to pay the bills is a good thing. The very people that are criticizing her for using the system to pay for her many children are also the ones complaining now that she is trying to support them. Even if she uses some of that money for herself – whatever the case may be, if she is working, she is working.

To continue, Octomom has been center stage for some time now. Every time I hear or read someone say “can we please have a child services intervention?” I think this person must be a complete moron; because only someone terribly moronic would not realize that child services has known about Octomom for some time now and has no problem with her.

Do you know why child services has no problem with her? Because there are a lot of mothers in this world with that many children. Single mothers, no less! Single mothers that strip to pay the bills!! Gasp!! Because she is not actually harming the children – she doesn’t do drugs, she isn’t abusing them. She’s stripping – something probably millions of mothers before her have done. This has been going on for decades in this country, alone. Why everyone acts as though Octomom is any different than your average, uneducated, middle-aged woman in an unfortunate position is beyond me.

#3 Breastfeeding in a swimming pool

And then today I saw that one of my friends had commented on some article about some lady that got kicked out of a public wading pool for whopping out her tit and squirting her boob juice at her 10 month old kid.

The article begins “It’s never a good sign for society when a breastfeeding mom is told she has to stop nursing in public because some prude has their panties in a twist.” The writer of this article, the publisher of this website, and every idiot that agrees with this sentiment and the plight of the woman who breastfed in a public swimming pool have clearly lost touch with the world.

That’s right, I did say “every idiot.”

I am all for breastfeeding if a woman decides this is the best course for her and her baby. I’m all for public breastfeeding, as long as it doesn’t get on me. I do not believe that a woman should be forced to go in a bathroom, or in the car.

But I also know that it’s never a good sign for society when we have forgotten the very real dangers of disease. HIV and AIDS are transmitted through breast milk, as well as a number of other bacterial, viral, and fungal agents. If that mother had spilled some of her milk into that pool, while the chlorine may have killed it, it also may have not. The people that asked her to get out of the pool to do the feeding were doing nothing other than exerting their right to protect themselves from someone else’s bodily fluid. This is a matter of basic hygiene, and I’d have to argue that it’s never a good sign for society when such things are being overlooked for the sake of proving a point.

 #4 “My Kid Is Better Than Yours Hell” Tennis Dads

Remember last week when the tennis dads (I called them SOAPS – Summertime OverAchieving Parents) almost got into a fight over whose daughter was more into watching Wimbledon? Well, this week one of the dads did not return; the other brought his daughter 15 minutes late. When they walked up he said “sorry we’re late, but I think we all know Katelyn doesn’t need lessons.”

Are you kidding me? This guy’s arrogance is off the fucking charts.

A little later it was revealed that he had spent an assload of money on a new, adult-sized tennis racket for his six year old daughter. The coach gave her a kid’s-sized one to borrow since the big one kept falling out of her hands and the dad started screaming about it.

I realized at this moment that the only one in touch with the world at these tennis courts was Coach Harvey, because he said something so wonderful and amazing I am still grinning from ear-to-ear: “perhaps if you worried less about your daughter becoming a pro and more about helping her learn to actually hit the ball things would go a little smoother here.”

Fuck yes.

#5 The B(itch) is losing touch with the world

And last, but certainly not least, it appears that I am even losing touch with the world. No, I am not posting as a bully on Facebook, and I’m certainly not breastfeeding in a swimming pool.

But I am losing touch with everything I love. Since I got home from vacation in April, life has been something of a downward swing. I’m homesick. I miss my family. And a lot of my hobbies and interests seem to be dwindling.

Even my blog is losing its fanfare. Last week I posted about an upcoming video blog series I want to do, and an unprecedented number of people – people I called friends – said they were not interested. Really? REALLY? That’s the last fucking time I ‘like’ their pages, or share or support their causes. A lot of people said they were interested too, and I plan on doing it in the future … but not until I figure out just how and why I have lost touch with the world a little myself.

My general readership is dwindling too, which seems odd since nothing in my blog has changed, save for a little design changing here and there. The most popular thing people seem to come to my site for now is donkey pornography. I haven’t ever been able to get more than a small amount of Facebook fans.  Contrary to popular belief, I’ve done everything the so-called experts say you should do: I published an eBook for my blog, utilized my personal network, I hosted a giveaway. And yet, the more I try the more I seem to lose touch with the world (the blog world, that is). I Googled it. I asked around a little. So far, I can’t seem to get a straight answer.

Although while I have retreated into my shell just a little bit more than I was before – both in my online life, as well as my in-person life – I at least have comfort in knowing I haven’t lost touch with the world like tennis dad or the people that rail on about Octomom. I’m not popping out my boob in a swimming pool to leak my bodily fluid everywhere. At least I haven’t lost it as much as them. I don’t think I ever could.

Another Pet Peeve: “MKIBTY Hell” Edition

I have a lot of pet peeves. People that place a space between their exclamatory sentence and its exclamation point is a big one (OMG ! ! !). Leaving little hairs in the bathroom sink is another. There are quite a few; so many, in fact, that I seem to have lost count.

On today, Day 2 of “My Kid Is Better Than Yours Hell,” I was confronted with another big one: people that believe the world exists solely for them.

This comes out in so so so many ways. Today it was gargantuan – in almost every, single thing I had to run to and get done, when it involved interacting with the humanity of my two-bit, Smalltown, CA town, I encountered it. But there were two, glaring incidences that screamed this pet peeve in my face and sent me home wishing I could hide under the covers until this two weeks of hell is over.

#1 The day started at swimming, and this stupid grandmother was pushing her kid’s stroller into the indoor swimming pool area – which was crowded with (literally) over a hundred people. There are seven or eight classes going on at all times during the summer, and there is a clear walkway between the seated area (which was packed) and the pool. So this bitch – of course under the impression that the world and this pool exist solely for her and her bastard grandchildren – stopped in the middle of the walkway, parked the stroller with the younger bastard, and had the older bastard in the swimming class plop down on the floor and spread eagle to have grandma help take off his boots.

This would not have been such a major deal, but rather a petty annoyance, if only it weren’t time for seven classes to end and exit, and eight classes to enter and begin. All of a sudden there was a bottleneck at the entrance because of this dumb fucking old lady and – in the culminating moment of it all – one of the parents in the back started pushing and the father right behind us (waiting to pass the lady and her stupid ass stroller) fell into the pool.

#2 Then this evening, at t-ball, we were confronted with our resident bully. Since we homeschool, we don’t have too much exposure to how bad bullies have become. Nonetheless, I am always completely shocked to see some of the ways that kids act now.

But what can you expect from a little girl wearing a t-shirt that says “My Mom is More Awesome Than Your Mom.” Seriously? Where can you even get such a thing? It all seemed to be going well until they were learning about the bases and my kid was pushed off the base by this little bitch of a bully wearing her XXXL “My Mom is More Awesome Than Your Mom” t-shirt.

Apparently she pushed because she wanted to be on the base and didn’t want to wait her turn, which all the kids were getting an opportunity to take. Later she kept cutting in batting line as well, until finally the teachers had to talk to the More-Awesome-Than-the-Rest-Of-Us Mom about her kid’s behavior. What did this terribly ghetto and uncouth woman say, you ask?

“Maybe if the rest of these little kids would stop being such pussies.”

Are you fucking kidding me? I swear like a sailor, but never like that and never in front of kids and other parents. I also like to let the professionals handle the situation, but at this point if her little, obese rat of a daughter touches my kid one more time; or she talks like that in front of these kids again – well, my fist will have to be removed from her throat, because no logic or semblance of class and decorum will stop me from putting it there.

The teachers (younger than me and clearly afraid that this ghetto ass trick was going to break out a gun) simply backed down and called all of the parents after the fact to notify them that the park district had warned the mother that her daughter would be removed from the class if there was one more incident like that.

We’ll see what happens next week.

Who knows what is in store for us tomorrow? Yesterday was the near-fight between the two SOAP fathers whose daughters could give two shits about tennis; today was one person after another with a clear unawareness that the world exists for people other than them. In the morning we’re going to swimming yet again and – against my better judgement – in the afternoon we are heading to a free balloon show at our local library. These free kid shows at the library are worse than Disneyland – the most ugly side of all humanity comes out for these things. But the balloon show is really cool, so we’re going to give it a shot. What else will I have to write about then anyway if we don’t?

To the lady at the swimming pool and the ghetto lady at t-ball, this world does not exist for you. Neither does swimming, nor t-ball. Get to the back of the fucking line like the rest of us. Oh, and by the way … I suppose it’s time I should join the ranks and let you both know that: my kid is way better than yours.

My Kid Is Better Than Yours Hell – Day One

Today began another two weeks in hell. I know what you faithful blog followers are all thinking: don’t you think every week is a week in hell, B(itch)? Well, yes; but this is two weeks in an especially hellish hell. This is two weeks in “My Kid Is Better Than Yours Hell.”

It just so happens that all of the extra, summer activities I wanted to piggyback our homeschooling on this year landed during this week and next. So whereas during the regular school year activities are spread out; this two weeks every day is like a long, death march of kid-related sports and recreational activities stacked one on top of another. What does that mean? More activities and being out of my apartment cave means more exposure to assholes. And it seems like everyone is out to prove that their kid is better than everyone else’s.

Being summer, the coups de grâce of the assholes in my community are out in full force: the Summertime Over-Achieving Parents (hereafter referred to as SOAPs). After ten months of ditching parent-teacher conferences, shirking out on volunteer requirements, and generally ignoring their children’s’ school and otherwise needs, SOAPs now have exactly two months of summer vacation to prove to themselves that they are the best parents on the planet.

(No, this is not one of the SOAPs’ kids hitting the ball … it’s a miniature me in the making.)

So on this, the first day of “My Kid Is Better Than Yours Hell,” two SOAPs at this evening’s group tennis lesson pitted themselves against each other to such a degree that a fight almost broke out. There were a number of reasons this was a recipe for disaster from the get-go.

Recipe for disaster, reason #1: Both SOAPs were clearly yuppies. They both drove these terribly pretentious-looking SUVs with movies constantly playing in the backseat so the kids will stay shut the fuck up. One talked on the phone for the first 20 minutes of class, only on his blue tooth – blowing niceties and canned, corporate euphemisms up the ass of whomever was on the other end of the line the entire time.

The point is that yuppies always have something to prove; their status as yuppies depends on it.

Recipe for disaster, reason #2: Both SOAPs were men.

Need I say anymore really? This little “my kid is better than yours” argument between the two guys was not really about their kids. No, no, faithful blog followers – it was totally about the size of their dicks. Had I a ruler in the backseat of my car, I would have been the hero of the day by just getting it out and settling the whole thing without the need for 40 minutes of arguing that came to near-blows (over who’s little bastard enjoyed Wimbledon more).

Recipe for disaster, reason #3: Both SOAPs’ daughters sucked terribly at tennis. Yes, I did say they sucked at tennis, which could ironically point the “my kid is better than yours” finger at me. But seriously, as a tennis player myself and someone that can simply observe what is going on, I can say with absolute certainty that those two little girls are just not into it. Neither one gives a fuck about tennis one iota. One kept letting the ball whiz past her head without even caring whether she swung or stood there. The other kept trying to just launch the ball over the fence, rather than actually learn the fundamentals.

This is two-fold. First, because their daughters suck, the SOAPs had to argue more to cover up that fact. Second, because their daughters don’t give a shit, it’s obvious the SOAPs put them in tennis just to prove something. What? Who knows; or cares for that matter?

Recipe for disaster, reason #4: The tennis pro utilizes parent pressure. I already knew this because it is our second group session with him. He’s actually pretty awesome. He always seems to roll out of bed about 15 minutes before the evening class; sometimes smelling like whiskey. He drives this crazy, old van that I imagine him saying “if this van’s a rockin’ don’t come a knockin'” about twenty or so years ago. The first time we met him, he opened the door of his van and a ton of tennis balls and cans came tumbling out – perhaps the most hilarious thing I have seen in a while. He’s very serious about the sport, though, and is an amazing player through all this nonsense, so we have decided to stick with him for the long term.

One of his teaching paradigms is parent pressure. He reminds the parents each week that if the kids are serious they should be practicing daily. It seems only right, actually – I mean, unless you live next to those very tennis courts, chances are your kid needs a ride to practice every day, making it the SOAPs’ responsibility. And today he inquired on who had their kids watch some of Wimbeldon. One of the SOAP daughters raised her hand, prompting the other SOAP to yell “why aren’t you raising your hand honey?” And here is where the fight ensued. These two doucheblazoons proceeded then to argue about who’s kid was more interested in watching Wimbeldon. “Well Katelynn was glued to the TV the entire time.” “Oh yeah, well we nicknamed Amanda ‘AK’ after Kerber.” It got worse and worse until finally the two SOAPs stood up with that yuppy, machismo, puffed chest “you want to go” look and – fortunately – class adjourned just at that very moment.

So today was “My Kid Is Better Than Yours Hell” because these two pompous, yuppy assholes subjected us all to their verbal pissing contest. Tomorrow is day 2 and I can see that we are off to a roaring start. On the docket is: swimming class, zoo animal science camp, homeschooling, and t-ball. I wonder what hellish things are in store for us through all of that?