Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Down with the fathers ...???

After weeks of battling my husband’s ex in court, I’ve come to a conclusion about fathers in our society.

A hundred years ago if there was divorce it was not only scandalous but there was never an issue of custody or support. Most of the time, the father got off easy. The wife left with nothing and there was no such thing as joint custody. The kid either stayed with the mother or the father. Hell, look at the movie the Parent Trap… and it made in the 70’s. There was a messy divorce, one parent took one kid, the other parent took the other kid. There was no squabbling, there was no going back to court each year. Maybe that was a better system, honestly.

Here’s what’s happening today…

I read an article about a father, who had primary parent status, who made $200k a year. His ex (who just saw the kids only in the summer) made $50k. She plead to the judge that she needed money because she can’t afford a good home for her 4 kids … who she only sees in the summer. The father (who was not previously paying child support, as the kids were with him 9 months out of the year) was ordered to pay $75K a year (after tax) in support … TO HER… because she chooses to have the type of job where she makes $50k a year. She has 9 months out of the year to go back to school and further herself so she CAN make more money. And what does she do? Bleeds the father dry financially… why? Because he makes a good living and she NEEDS more money, right?

What the hell is wrong with this picture?

Isn’t this still AMERICA… land of opportunity? If so, then why do so many people have their hand out? Why would they rather swindle people out of money than create wealth for themselves? You want to know why our country isn’t great anymore? THAT’S why!

Hello, people! Why can’t we all just get off our asses and work harder to make life better for ourselves? I know, I know, since the recession hit, some people are doing twice the work for half the pay. I think those people are in the minority. I think that this country turned completely into the land of the lazy.

But, I digress… I was talking about fathers.

Remember those old TV shows like “Father knows Best” where the Dad was head of the family. He took pride in taking care of the his family and his family (in turn) loved him. Less than 100 years later, let’s look at what father figure examples we have here. Let’s first look at the Disney channel. When my step son was first old enough to start watching the Disney channel, I thought it must be wholesome channel… hell, Mickey Mouse is Disney… what could be more wholesome than that!  Well, here’s the reality of the Disney Channel shows. The kids have smart mouths. The girls dress like tramps. The boys are know-it-all’s. AND… the fathers are all portrayed as idiots.

Let’s look at commercials lately. What’s the theme? The men do something stupid or goofy and their wives end up saving the day.

How did society’s perception of men end up so biased in the other direction. My husband’s a smart man that loves his family. Why is that never portrayed in TV shows (hello, Disney channel) and by the media?

I guess that many people… like many 1st wives… think of their husband as a paycheck. They deserve money, right? Well, what does that make their kid? A tool used to get money? What? How have we gone so far away from what’s important… and that’s the kids…

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Yea I drink... I have a 2 year old

My husband and I live in a small AVA. For those of you who aren't wino's that American Viticultural Area - it's a good area to make wine. A few weeks ago we were at a big farmers market with the kids and someone asked me if I drink, wanting to know if I'd like a sample of wine. I've always thought it was odd when people ask you if you dink. You don't ask someone if they floss their teeth or eat mushrooms.

Anyway, what was more funny than the question was my answer. We were there with the kids, right? So I was standing there with Baby C on my hip, literally. I told the guy "of course I drink, I have a 2 year old." He didn't think it was funny.... I did.

Monday, July 9, 2012

I'm A Step Mom

Those words have an interesting connotation. We have memories of stories with the “wicked step mother” from way back in our childhood. For a long time I thought that the step mother was the bad guy or just the one who wasn’t really the Mom… more like a glorified babysitter.

Now that I’m here, in this place, I get it. I’m a parent, not a friggin’ babysitter. I make lunches, go to school functions, do homework. That’s what a parent does, right?

Over the past almost 4 years, I’ve experienced it all and I can truly say that being a step mother is damn hard. Let me elaborate:

Scenario 1) You’re cleaning up puke off the carpet. The puke was put there by a kid that frequently gives you attitude and may or may not say the words “you’re not my Mom” while having a meltdown because you asked them to take out the trash.  With your own kid, at least there’s a bond. They love you unconditionally. You’re the one that comforts them, cleans the cuts, kisses the boo boo’s. You’re Mom and that’s a high ranking title.

Scenario 2) The dreaded Ex has called you for the 12th time today, pissed off that you won’t switch one of your holidays with her. She’s irrational and screaming like a banshee.  Even though you try to remain more neutral than Switzerland, it’s impossible. She ends up hanging up the phone saying that her work schedule (cocktail waitress)  is very important and she just can not switch shifts in order to take her child at the allotted time and says (my favorite) “I’m tired of being inconvenienced by you”.

For those of you who have been there, I'm sorry and I get it. I’m at the point where I’m just sick and tired of bad behavior, bad parenting and no accountability ALL THE TIME. Here’s the thing I don’t really get. Who has the time and energy to continue the drama, and the bad behavior on such a long term basis? I’m not too sure if I should be impressed or pissed.

The hard part is being even the least bit zen about the whole situation and let it roll off you like water off a duck’s back. Maybe I need a new yoga mat… or a vodka martini before the yoga… might not help with the balance but it might help with my patience. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Work Funny

The other day I getting ready to leave work to pick up baby C.  I was walking into the bathroom at 4:45 PM when I saw the funniest thing. There was a small Asian woman (who works down the hall) who walked out of the bathroom with a roll of toilet paper. She walked out of there like it was nothing… just a normal day stealing some company toilet paper. Of course, once she left the room I laughed. Then I thought to myself, if I even thought about stealing company TP would I do it? Would I steal this crap 1 ply toilet paper to save a buck? I happen to like the cushy 3 ply that I use at home. I don’t know if I could ever be THAT cheap. Of course, this woman probably has millions in the bank and can retire any day now (sort of like that book “millionaire next door”). I still think I’ll sick with my soft 3 ply.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Purple Hair Dad

Yesterday I saw a middle aged man walking with a 4 year old girl while he pushed a 2 year old girl in a stroller. He was having a conversation with the kids and made the 4 year old hold his hand across the street, the way good parents do. Then I noticed....the man had shoulder length purple hair. I will repeat that just in case you missed it. The 45 year old man had purple hair… we’re talkin’ Barney purple.
Two things came to mind when I saw Mr Midle-Aged-Punk-Rock:
1)      Really?
2)      Good for you for being a good Dad

I guess you're never too old to rock and roll but at some point in time trying to make yourself look like an 18 year old just isn't flattering. At some point in time it just looks silly. (Sort of like when my husband’s Ex wears pig tails. I just want to scream “you’re over 40… get over it and stop wearing pig tails”… but that’s another Oprah show.) I believe you're only as old as you feel, however, age appropriate attire is still important. 

There’s a woman in my office who’s probably pushin’ 50. She likes to wear her hair in a bob (bangs, et al…) with white fold-down socks and Mary Jane flats. It drives me nuts! She’s almost 50. Can’t she find a nice pair of kitten heels that’ll work for her?

Anyway, I find it just distracting. Take, for example, the guy on the corner pushing the stroller. Why didn’t I see that he’s a good Dad first and then anything else later? Whether or not you want to believe it, perception is important. People notice you based upon your appearance. I notice that since having Baby C I get more comments that include the word “Maam” and, in general, fewer men smile at me when I'm out in public. Could it have something to do with (for example) the cheerio stuck to my pants that I found this morning… after I got to work… and was there for an hour?... Possibly…. 

There are phases to everyone’s life. In this phase most of my clothes are covered in some type of food or dirt while I carry a heavy (almost) 2 year old on my hip. Someday soon I’ll be in a different phase, and won’t have cheerios stuck to my clothes. 

On some level I feel bad for purple hair Dad. People don’t see his personality or his accomplishments, they see that God-awful purple hair and how he looks just a little silly. Even though he may be a good Dad, I still felt like saying “please, please, stop the bad hair”.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

No Good Deed Goes Un-Punished

Just in case you weren't completely sure that no good deed goes un-punished, I have (more) proof. I got a call from a friend today; we’ll call her Sally. Sally's been living in the same apt for something like 15 years, and as you might expect, she's become close with her neighbors. One of her neighbors got a new job and will be moving. My good friend Sally decided to throw Mary a party to perk up her spirits and show her how much everyone will miss her. 

The day of the party, Sally brought Mary a plant, thinking it was a nice gesture. They had a great time at the party; people ate, people drank, you get the idea. Sally got a call later that night from Mary. She was hysterical, asking where my dear friend bought the plant and what kind of plant it was. Sally had no idea. She bought it at the grocery store along with the wine and some other things for the party… easy gift, right?  Turns out Mary’s cat ate the plant and started projectile vomiting. After several frantic calls to the grocery store and poison control, the  Mary found out that her beloved cat, Mr. Snuggles, ate a lily that’s poisonous to cats. What are the odds?

Sally called the next day to find out how Mr. Snuggles was doing. Mary burst into tears and told her that Mr. Snuggles was on life support, IV, et all.

All this because my friend wanted to do something nice for another person.  There's your proof... no good deed goes un-punished.

By the way, Mr. Snuggles did, in fact, recover from the lily ordeal. Sadly, he has only 8 lives left.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Cubicle Etiquette

Like many people, I work in an office. Also, like many people, sometimes I feel like I'm in a Dilbert comic strip, or in the movie "office space". There's always that one employee that is way too enthusiastic in meetings. Or someone who dresses a little strange. I work with a woman who (no kidding) wears Mary Janes and white socks... every day. This might be a cute look, but the woman's old enough to have gray hair.... Mmmmmm not so cute at that age.

Something funny about the new job is that my boss and I are not located at the same site. She’s 30 miles away. And while that may seem like a slacker’s dream, it also makes communication a pain. That being said, the new boss really hasn’t been able to fill me on the work environment of the new gig because she works in a completely different area.

I’ll admit to you that I take personal calls at work. Are they all day every day? No. Maybe 5-10 mins every week or so are spent talking with colleuges. And sometimes I do make personal calls regarding things like Dr’s apts and such.

I hadn’t really thought much about it until I received an email from one of the leads in the area (keep in mind that  I don’t work for this person). I was one of 10 on the distribution list who received an email entitled: Cubicle Etiquette.

Keeping in mind that people in general are weird, I try to take things that happen at work with a grain of salt. I received an email last week that cracked me up and bothered me at the same time.

This email went on to explain that we work in a “close” environment (whatever that means) and that it’s come to his attention that excessive conversations have been occurring. If someone has a lengthy conversation they should schedule a conference room and use it rather than their desk phone.

I read it and immediately took it personally. Call it one of my neuroses, but I’m the new kid on the block, and here I am calling my insurance company in the middle of the day to ask if they’ve paid my son’s ENT because they sent me, yet another, bill. And apparently, I’m bothering people?

Here’s something I’ve never understood about things like this? The doctor’s office (for example) is open only from 9-5, right? And when am I at work? 9-5. So when am I supposed to make these calls? Should I sneak out to my car and use my cell? What about a conversation about my son’s ENT bill is so offensive that someone HAD TO complain that I’m bothering people.

Of course I realize that this email may not be directed specifically towards me, however as the new kid in town, I take offense. 

Just as I was reading that note, I remembered seeing something on someone’s desk the other. It was one of the desk phone blinking things. It lights up if you’re on the phone. I guess people are supposed to look at the status of the light before speaking with you to make sure that you’re not on the phone (really, people? You can’t just say “I’m on the phone”? or come to the conclusion the phone/headset up to their ear means… oh, I don’t know… they’re on the phone?).  Below the light there was a note that went something like this:

“When the light is on that means I’m on the phone. Please take your conversation elsewhere.”

At the time I thought that the office loon just lived there and thought nothing of it. Why am I getting the feeling that they’re ALL the office loons? Could I be living in the land of no personal calls? I’ve been to this place before and I don't like it one bit. 

But... my child is only 21 months and I still have a while to save for his college education… that and I like eating.  So, I guess I’ll be standing outside with the smokers the next time I need to make a personal call. Wouldn’t want to offend anyone!