I can’t decide if I’ve become outdated or if I’m just maturing (getting old). It’s a tough call because while I’ve got the signs of parental disease (re: having kids) I still feel like all my mental faculties are there. I haven’t changed my way of thinking; I’m just more resolute in those thoughts.
Last week, when Anakin got to go in four hours late to school due to parent/teacher conferences (insert sarcasm here) so the littlest minions and I turned on our new favorite show, Top Gear. I love everything about this show and based on its popularity, I’m not alone in that thinking. Watching them race an Aston Martin DBS Volante, a Ferrari Calfornia and a Lamborghini LP560-4 Spyder in the underground tunnels and garages of the Palace of Parliament in Romania is just good fun. My minions wanted to see American Muscle Cars – namely the Dodge Challenger - so I found Series 12 Episode 2 on Netflix and we were set. The episode was great – it was full of everything I wanted it to be: fun, loud, fast and full of wit. It was absolutely tongue in cheek, which I love, but this time it was at the expense of our U.S. Government. The hosts were given limited visas. Basically, no entertainment – facts only, please. And then Chrysler won’t loan them a Challenger – so they had to go out and buy one. This isn’t the first time they’ve teased Americans about their stingy ways – they’ve laughed about the safety and security warning labels on the car doors. It hurt my heart – not that they were making fun of the government but that it was all true. It’s all in the eyes of the beholder; how you’re perceived. Public perception is a wondrous thing.
It’s not a secret that I’m a patriotic to my country – not to mention my town, county and state. Almost nothing wells the tears up faster than hearing the Star Spangled Banner and the surge of pride I feel during parades and when I see the stars and stripes displayed loud and proud. While I tend to lean to the right side of the world, that doesn’t mean I don’t get along with those that don’t. One of the best things to me, because of how I was raised in this country, is that you are free to think what you want and to pursue it and discuss it. And while I may not agree with you, that doesn’t mean either of us is right or wrong – but that we’re free to do it. I learned that freedom of speech first-hand while walking home from dinner while visiting Edinburgh, Scotland. The mailboxes were all boarded over – even the flower pots that lined the streets. I asked our cousins about the boarding of everything and they said that the Queen of England was going to be visiting. I said, “What, is someone planning to bomb her?” and they were on top of me like ants to a piece of candy shushing me and looking to the tops of the buildings in a panic. They said, “You can’t just go around saying things like that.” That little lesson is nothing like those learning the hard way (re: in another country) about their inalienable rights – or lack thereof. That is one of the direct reasons why I absolutely support our men and women in uniform; they literally and voluntarily put their lives on the line to uphold these rights not only for themselves but for others as well. I’m a balanced person. I can say with all honesty and with no agenda that if we were to work as a team on bettering something or to find a resolution to something, I would listen and work on a compromise together – give a little, take a little. So when I see news channels reporting extremely different views on the exact same thing – basically opinion rather than facts – I am upset at the general, public perception, not only from inside our borders but outside. What ever happened to holding yourself accountable? I’m trying to raise three boys and teach them responsibility, accountability and I’ve now added perception to my parental curriculum. If your house is utterly dysfunctional on the inside, rather than keep your opponent (and enemies – hello 9/11) guessing, the whole world knows. It’s not just friends and family anymore. It needs to be reined in.
Perception training (perception sensitivity?)l starts at home. In today’s social media frenzied world, physical interactions should be framed and hung in an art gallery. I’ve learned to navigate those waters – years of being in customer service makes it second nature. I try and watch what I put out there but some days you’re just tired. Or you’re having a bad day. Am I not allowed to have those? Sure- but not in the world of social media. I get that, not publicly posting things. But sometimes you just need support. Or love. Or validation. Unfortunately there is always someone out there that will find it, take it, twist it and turn it into something that it isn’t. Maybe it’s a simple misunderstanding. Maybe it’s a diabolical trait.
I’m stuck on wondering how to teach your kids perception. I was trying to extol the virtues of not wearing sweat pants to a public event to a child of mine, an event that did not necessitate them. How do I say anything without sounding like a parent from last century? “What will the neighbors think?!” I don’t really care how I was perceived in this Sweatsgate Scandal. He should be able to wear them. He should be able to wear them and no one care that he’s wearing them. But I know how people operate. It’s not that I want them to operate in that way, it’s just that they will. Just like my friendly way of interacting with you is my second nature, its other people’s second nature to assassinate a person’s character without truly knowing them. I decided to let him make the choice. I didn’t agree with it and I told him so (my inalienable right as a parent) but if that’s what he wanted, he was going to have to defend his position. So my happy (well, he wasn’t really happy at the time, it was early) child wore sweat pants to the occasion (his inalienable right as a teenager). In my mind, I replayed our conversation and my issues with the situation over and over. As a parent I was concerned not for me (because I don’t care and I’m happy with how I roll) but for my child being on the receiving end of the eye of public scrutiny. It’s not acceptable behavior to make anyone feel uncomfortable – those looks or, heaven forbid, spoken words that put you both in awkward positions is just tacky - but it happens. It can be written off as “that’s just life.” But really, it’s not OK. Not in any situation on any level.
That high road you always want to take is long. It’s a fast decline if you slip and an even tougher climb back to the top. These situations, they remind me of Mr. Frost. I can only speak to my actions, though I wish others would listen, being the sage that I am.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.
It was at 4:30 this morning, as I was awakened from a sound sleep by Potus’ coughing, that I had my moment. It’s not necessarily a moment I wanted to have, especially at the expense of my youngest, but my point was made. It was during my trip to the bathroom to wash the Vick’s vap rub off of my hands that I said to Techie, whom I know was awake, “This is why I said to cover your mouth when coughing.”
You see folks, I have some experience regarding illness. I don’t have as much as some but I have more than others and when I speak on the subject, I really do know what I’m talking about. Currently I’m working on almost 14 years of direct parental experience but if you want, I can take it back to personal experience. I had mono. Enough said.
I don’t really get in full conversations with anyone because I’m constantly interrupted – either by the dog or one of three kids (or more, pending upon the weather). So when I speak, it’s not just to hear myself talk. That’s what girl’s night out is for. Unless we’re kicking back some adult beverages, our conversation is going to have a point. I’ve learned to be succinct so I get my point across. I don’t mince words and unless you’re not listening (which would be the case of my entire household), you’re going to understand. Unfortunately, because my household doesn’t listen, I’ve also mastered the way to say the same thing several ways so as to appeal to my audience. So when I say something, it’s not for slaps and tickles.
It started back in December and presented in Anakin. He brought home some seriously gross germs. It made its way to Potus since they share a room together. Eventually The Teen got it. Techie and I survived the holidays without it. We had a week or so of quiet until Potus came home from school with something. It didn’t really make its round to anyone but laid in waiting. Techie came home on Friday, not feeling so hot. I directed him to take medicine and to stay away from everyone, especially me. He tried several times to be a hero and NOT take medicine, all the while still coughing and not covering his cough. It was like I could see the germs and microscopic spittle in the air racing towards something – someone – anyone, just so it could glob on and infect. I’ll admit that Techie and I are two very different people when we’re sick. I also don’t take well to sick people. You’re either sick and need medicine so you’ll go to sleep and not bother me or you’re sick but can take medicine to function and go somewhere away from me. There is no in between. Techie was in the latter category, though he wouldn’t go away. He is a little Energizer Bunny and while in general it’s a good quality to have, sometimes the battery needs to be recharged. In bed. Far away from me and my now healthy kids.
He didn’t do as I said. HAD he done so, we wouldn’t have been listening to Potus cough last night while trying to sleep and I wouldn’t have been up at 4:30a giving the coughing child medicine. Said sick child then needed comfort and came into our bed. Coughing. On my pillows. Germs…that’s all I could see. It was like night vision, how I saw them splayed across my linens. I even could hear them exit through a cough and land on a pillow, the sheets, though comforter. Techie tried to soothe him but the damage was done. I was wide awake, seething, knowing that I was right, that I told him this would happen. The cough fest didn’t last long; he picked up Potus and they went downstairs to infect the couch. He knows not to mess with my sleep. It’s not going to work out well for society.
I’ve dealt with missed work because I was sick, I’ve dealt with missed work because I had to stay home and take care of a sick kid. I’ve dealt with sickness travelling through a house. I know how it happens and I don’t like it to happen. I understand it’s going to happen so I want to minimize its visit. I know how to do this. I know how to treat it and have it roll out and not return. So when I speak on the subject, when I say it, it is so.
Back to cleaning I go.
So you know what happens to a woman who had a fitful night's sleep, hadn't showered that morning nor managed to laundry for two weeks straight so she was wearing her husband's shirt over yoga pants & had on the ponytail of shame? She gets interviews on camera about turkey prices, that's what.
I can't manage to download the video BUT you can see it in all it's glory here.
If that's not awesome enough for you, you can read my full review of E.U.'s Da Butt here but what's really important is this:
I absolutely went to Westview last night with a group of friends to watch the final installment of The Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn - Part 2 last night. I unlocked me a sticker on GetGlue
I completely enjoyed it and absolutely wrote a review about it here, if you're interested.
Thanks to the family that listens 100% of the time, I've been rocking strained vocal chords for just over a week and I've got Thanksgiving next week.
Don't you wish your life was awesome like mine? Only a select few can handle the awesomeness.
So I got an email asking me if I was still interested in writing a blog for The Frederick News Post. “Well duh,” was what I said to myself. It’s always on my to-do list, post a blog, and I even send emails and messages to myself on topics. But when the email said, “I see you haven’t written anything since August,” I was like shut the front door. I knew I was busy but was like “really?” and as I looked at the calendar in the kitchen, the calendar on my phone, the calendar in Outlook I realized that maybe I’ve been a bit busy.
I worked it all out, I put it in the kitchen, I had gotten myself on a schedule, them on a schedule…I was going to have 2 hours to myself on Mondays and Fridays. That? That is awesomeness.
In a quick, unexpected decision we decided to bring Grammy up here to recover after her full knee replacement surgery. She went in on a Tuesday, I visited her on Wednesday and decided on Thursday that I would bring her home on Friday. In the hopes of keeping world peace, I shall not post pictures from the hospital visit.
It took a few days to get acquainted and figure out the flow of things. It was a great few days. Then all my roles in this world collided. At once.
A week after Gram came home was Potus’ third birthday! Dinner, immediate family party and presents.
We were half the family up the next day for a party. Gram & I decided grinding our own beef for hamburgers would be awesome.
It was a lesson learned but once we fix that lesson, it’ll be awesome. But we also needed a cake, right? I wasn’t that ambitious to the grocery store helped us out. We decorated the house & the cake and partied.
Since he’s now in school we needed to celebrate his birthday with his friends. No, I wasn’t going to have a bunch of three-year olds running around the house. Potus is one of the older ones – he turned three, rather than two - so I just bought some cookies for the class. I was kinda starting to stress out and birthday alley in our family was just beginning. So I bought them – nothing but the best, I say.
Since Gram couldn’t drive I’d chauffer her around to her appointments in the party van. The van earned her mileage and I got my Starbucks.
The following weekend was our first ever Fall Fest with the other half of the family. We combined a hella ton of birthdays (someone laid claim to a birthday every day in the first week of October). Since my front closet renovation project I started in August (to help keep the kids (and me) organized) wasn’t complete and making a mess, we finished that up. Like that morning.
A few days later we were all kinds of excited for the premiere of Castle. Gram found her way downstairs so we could all watch together. This is when I realized she was trying to win over The Beagle’s affections.
The next day I get a call. The Tween was injured while playing football in gym. Yes, we should go to Urgent Care for X-rays.
Then it was presidential debate time! We all differ politically so we stayed on our separate sides of the house. But Techie and I did tweet the whole time. The best tweet that still leaves me giggling:
Time for my birthday weekend celebration! To kick it up Gram treated me to a fall fest decoration party at my house!
And then Techie surprised me with my favorites –
And yes, it involved Old Bay.
Then Gram and I went up to the Gettysburg Outlets for a little shopping. Her first real outing since her surgery!
The next day, on my official birthday, I was showered with goodies!
We then went out to PF Changs for dinner.
The next day was The Beagle’s birthday. She didn’t do much.
A couple of us wanted to be adventurous Haus Fraus and tried Bingo for the first time in a public arena other than a county fair. Yeah…I think we’re banned from the event. People get so angry over a few premature shouts of “Bingo!”
Then it was time to say goodbye to Gram & we dropped her off at home to find her way.
Techie decided he wanted to take advantage of Colorfest weekend so we had a one-day yard sale. That required pulling everything down, washing it, labeling it and setting it outside. Oh yeah – and shopping to prep for it.
The Tween went down to OC with friends for the weekend and I got to get my craft festival game on. My sleepy little town welcomed waaaaaay too many people.
The end of September and early October kicked my anxiety into high gear. I mean REALLY high gear. We had applied for a passport for The Tween back in August. His uncle’s wedding was in Jamaica in October. Too much red tape, too much failed communication and I was about to open a can of whoop it on a Federal Bureau. Daily calls, poorly set-up web searches – I still don’t comprehend why it was so insanely difficult to get a passport for an American-born citizen. The hotel and plane ticket was bought and paid for – just needed the legal allowance for him to travel overseas. It almost didn’t happen. But when I called for the 1,001th time and was able to log-on (they spelled him name wrong), I received this:
While he is away in the tropics, we had our annual corn maze and pumpkin patch even with my brother and sister-in-law, Skippy. Sadly, because of my passport panic, I moved our original corn maze date from the 13th (beautiful and sunny) to the 20th, which was days after horrible rainfall. So yeah, it was muddy. FML.
So the roles seem to have reversed. Instead of my spa time it turns out I use that time to schedule everything that is easier to do without kids. So while The Teen was off eating and drinking his keep at the all-inclusive resort…
It was then I started to see and hear huffs about a hurricane. I had to go grocery shopping on Friday anyway. Just to plan, I picked up extra food and chatted with all my farmers. While at Sam’s Club to pick up some donation stuff for Anakin’s movie night, I figured I’d pick up some other stuff for us – just in case. Yeah, I wasn’t the only one.
But at least we were prepared!
My panic of this being a really horrific event amped up and decided that Sunday I just needed a few more things…good thing neither of them were bottled water and break.
Then we were on lockdown.
Watching Twitter and Facebook, hearing and seeing about the devastation…yeah. My heart just couldn’t handle it. It was then that I started to see posts that Halloween was on like Donkey Kong.
I took Potus out for some quick Halloween candy recon and last minute costume outfitting.
It all worked out!
Don’t leave me out!
And then it was over. It’s November! Whew! Except that some friends started a new gaming website – one for the all-around gamer – which includes gaming parents, comic book fans, movies, novels, etc.
So I needed to sweat a bit and do Da Butt.
I had one day – one day all to myself. So I took a load off and indulged in Twilight. Yeah, I got the OFFS all over Twitter.
While all this goes on, I still have to contend with homework for TWO kids, pictures, back to school night, volunteering, keeping this house from being condemned by the state and the fact that NONE of the kids has actually been in school a full 30 days and that I will never, ever have a regulated schedule for anyone that last longer than 2 weeks in a row and the fact that Techie installed Windows 8. Umm…
And then we have the election coverage, which I’m watching like a hawk. Go on and git - go exercise your right to vote.
Wikipedia says that this holiday weekend, Labor Day, is to celebrate, "the economic and social contributions of workers."
I'm laboring away at the dishes and laundry to get this family ready for the end of summer weekend. Between the first week of school and the rush to finish everything in...*glances at clock on computer*...14 minutes before I have to leave to start the round of school pick-ups I leave you with our contributions to society.
And to all those that give all, including the ultimate sacrifice, thank you.
In my current lifestyle I don’t have much room to think. It’s all automated responses or quick action. In my few and far between moments where I’m not straining the vocal chords and/or asserting my parental authority, I find my mind is able to wander and I daydream – if it’s ever allowed to go that far.
While working on my goal of “clean as you go” in the kitchen I had the radio on for some background noise, something to drown out the daily thumps and bumps of life with boys. It was noon and, as I’ve found on every country radio station, they play the Star Spangled Banner. My initial instinct is to pause & place my hand over my heart, something that was instilled in me and that I instill in my boys. I didn’t, though, and felt horribly guilty as I always do when the song comes on the radio while I’m doing the dishes. But I did stop and really listen to the song.
I listened to the words.
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
And as I stood there listening, thinking about that song, what it’s saying and why I’m so affected by it, it led me to think about my life, my liberty and yes, my pursuit of happiness. It also caused me pause to think about our current situation in society. Not my personal situation, per se, but the actual state of affairs in America.
I’m not a political activist. I won’t engage in political conversation and I rarely share my thoughts or insight on anything political because no matter what, without fail, I am proven wrong. It never gets to the level of a healthy debate, especially since when one side (mine) says “but this is how I feel.”
And how do I feel? I feel so many things. And how do you write about them in one post? You can’t.
At one point in time, especially during the time the National Anthem was written, we were one sound, one mind, one voice. It wasn’t perfect then – poverty, disease, money issues, lack of job security...But when it came down to it, it was us versus them. People left something they knew, something that they hated, and went to an absolute unknown to take a chance. If they survived the journey, they were willing to live in squalor because it simply was better than where there were. They had a thought, a dream, a chance. To have what you hated come in and try to take that away from you? NO! You fought back. I remember learning that 40 soldiers defending their families and homes were worth more than 100 soldiers. I still believe that to be true.
We were the true meaning of an underdog. We had everything to lose but you can be sure no one wanted to lose it. If you gathered followers, your followers were people who would literally and actually stand next to you and fought with you, uniting you further. Talk about some phenomenal drinking stories – but that’s only if you both survived. We were the red-headed step-children that decided we were better off on our own – and proved we could do it. We fought, we won and proved that we were right. We made a global change; a nation was founded, an entirely new concept that was physically in use. Not only did we want to win, we wanted to be the best. Prove that what we knew what we were doing and that it’s a really good idea.
I use the term “we” because I believe, with every ounce in my being, that I am an American. I believe in the constitution, I believe that what our forefathers fought for was for truth, justice and the American way. I believe that you have the right to think and believe in anything that you want to, so long as it doesn’t fall under an act of terrorism. I may not agree with something but that doesn’t mean you can’t think it, believe it or practice it. I use “we” because we’re all part of ONE nation.
So here WE are and we’re anything but united – about ANYTHING. NOTHING is good enough. NOTHING is done right. I’m a middle of the road, fair and balanced person. It literally causes me to cringe and disturbs me to no end if I think something is unfair or unbalanced.
Stop and take an objective point of view. Can you do it? An objective point of view is becoming extinct. I can’t even find a newspaper, a news channel, a talk show – a website, for goodness sakes – that isn’t biased. I’m all for a healthy debate (one I’ll listen to, not engage in, thankyouverymuch) but even THAT won’t happen. On anything. Everything is scripted. Knowing questions in advance. Yes you can ask this, no you can’t ask that. I find that I have to choose sides, almost, because the two extremes are shouting so loud that the middle child can’t even be heard. Nothing is right anymore, no one can agree and if you don’t like something heaven forbid you say that you don’t like that – you’ll be torn apart and fed to the wolves. You have to plan ahead, think about all possible repercussions, write it out, edit it, run a poll on it and THEN you’re allowed to have an opinion.
Something happens in the world & everyone goes to their various social media sites (re: Facebook) to post about it. I loves me the infohnets because I think there are a great bunch of hilariously sarcastic and creative people out there and they make the best pictures that are worth sharing. On the flip side, I absolutely abhor the internet because it’s open to anyone and everyone and for every funny picture there is a bunch of not so funny, completely biased and weird as frak pictures (never, ever Google furries). And because of my vast array of friends, I get to see them all. And I get to see the best and worst of everything.
All that from a song. A song who’s relevancy is debated, I’m sure. All that during a pause in chores. We were once a formidable nation, grown from a group of believers. What do we have to believe in now? Everyone fights internally, with words, all the time. We’re no longer the formidable red-headed step-children that divorced their parents; we’re petulant. spoiled children that need parents to come in and sort things out because we don’t know how good we’ve got it. Want to see a nation of people that have everything and value nothing? Look no further. I wonder how many of the loudest people have Star Spangled Banners waving in their homes.
SnOMGeddon in the Summer
It’s like snOMGeddon all over. Only it’s summer. And I’m totally OK with that.
The kids are out of school for the weekend, I’ve got enough food to last a month (though since the kids are out it’ll maybe get us through the weekend) and my town is going ape nuts over the arrival of the world leaders (sans Putin, apparently) for the G8 Summit in Camp David . What countries and cities usually have years to prepare for was pulled together in two short months and is happening in my backyard.
Honestly, I don’t care what they are meeting for and talking about or care to discuss why they moved the talks to Camp David. Yes, that’s totally the American mentality speaking. My direct responsibility is to my family and my town. So on top of my daily responsibilities I have to add in and work around the fact that the global eye, via the media & protesters, will be in my sleepy little town. Thurmont, the Gateway to the Mountains , has welcomed Presidents on their retreats for years. Usually it’s a quiet affair ; you’ll just see an increase in military vehicles and I’ve seen the jets circling for security purposes. But that’s a come in, stay and roll out type of event. A quick Google search shows that protestors always follow these events and that’s what gets my feathers a little ruffled.
I’m of the philosophy of I’ll do my thing, you do yours. I don’t get involved unless it’s causing issues with someone or something directly. No one knows what this event will bring to the city of Frederick or the town of Thurmont; we can only speculate, like the snowmageddon of 2009/2010. Do we prepare for the worst and hope for the best? You bet. I don’t know if there are going to be riots in town, if the streets are going to be blocked, the highway is going to be on lockdown – I don’t really care, I just need to make it as easy for myself and family as possible so I don’t have to find out first hand. So I had to plan it out like I was going to be snowed in with the entire family.
That meant food.
I rolled out to Hillside Turkey Farm for my chicken special. I met a life-long resident of Thurmont who said, “In my 70 years I’ve never seen so much crazy,” and just so we’re clear, I think he was referring to hype. He was less than pleased that something of this magnitude was brought to the town, causing undue stress on the citizens (namely the police). I then drove down to Shuff’s Meat Market and just before my arrival I saw a police officer pulling away from just closing off the park entrance.
I went in for my bacon, eggs, beef & pork and we chatted about the lone protestor, the Tibetan monk, who was walking about town the night before. I had the kiddos and I then went up to Scenic View Orchards for their delectable strawberries; I had some last week when I picked them up at the West Frederick Farmer’s Market. The orchard seemed untouched, being more in the valley, and we talked more about my purchases than anything. We then popped over to Catoctin Mountain Orchard so Anakin and Potus (yes, I see the irony) could go play for a bit. I picked up local honey, some Pennsylvania Dutch hard pretzels and cider for the weekend.
The cashier was telling me her parents, who are in their 80s and live in Frederick, are terrified the protestors are going to take over the town but moreso worried for their daughter working so close to Thurmont. A lawyer friend of hers was suggesting that people downtown purchase plywood to put over their windows in town. She thought he was a bit of a fearmonger, as she (like me) figures we’re going to be the safest around.
This week we’ve been a bit of a hen yard at drop off and pick up as there noticeable changes in town once the rain stopped. The international flags were hung.
The town office got a new sign while others posted their usual Colorfest “no parking” signs.
It goes up into the mountains & dude was putting it all down by hand, God bless him.
We had a little bit of police activity in the town square yesterday, too.
Yesterday we were early for Anakin’s school, which is just next to the town Square. In my 20 minutes of waiting, I counted no less than 10 law enforcement vehicles of various jurisdictions pass by. I did miss the cavalcade of their arrival - apparently it involved buses, too.
I’m totally OK with that. There has been a lot of local hype because really, not that much happens – which is why most of us choose to live here.
Maybe most of the hysteria surrounding the event will be just like typical snow storms in the area – total propaganda. I’m ok with that. I don’t think we’ve seen the worst of it yet, as I checked the itinerary and I’m following the twitter feeds and Facebook posts. So far it’s mostly the locals causing any big fluff; the backup to get Anakin from school was the longest I’ve seen it & that was just for one protestor – the Tibetan Monk.
While most of the world is wondering what’s going to happen as a result of this weekend’s meeting, most of us are hoping that our towns aren’t trashed and disrespected; we were here before they came and we’ll have to live here after they leave. Come on down and while you’re here, enjoy! We have an abundance of awesomeness around! Go play, enjoy local restaurants that celebrate staying local and staying fresh. Take a drive - it's scenic.
Just don't frak anything up!
Don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone.
I love my technology. Love, love, LOVE it. I wouldn’t consider myself a technology whore but looking around at the waste land of neglected iPods and cell phones, I am starting to reconsider. Growing up we’d usually be one of the “it” families that had the game system or the computer or whatever new electronic gadget was in place. I married a man who also likes the “it” factor. So I’ve grown up and learned to live and breathe with ease, using my electronic gadgets to guide my way.
While I love my technology, I also carry the philosophy of “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” I held on to my iPod shuffle because hey, nothing was wrong with it. But when my husband gave me an iPod Nano with our wedding song engraved on the back, my Shuffle was tossed aside (and subsequently mangled by a then 1-year old Beagle who is now 6). I mean, he ordered the thing before it was available here in America. COME ON. The same philosophy holds true in regards to my cell phone. While I don’t hate change, the thing I hate the most is learning some new gadget. I had a good groove with the old one and the learning curve slows me down. To get back up to speed, in this world of instant gratification, took forever.
As a young, newly wedded couple with many financial woes, we held on to our cell phones like the life lines that they were. Our work and commutes alone kept us out of the house for 12 hours a day. We slept for 8 of the remaining hours. On the weekends were never home anyway so when working on the budget, a landline in the house just didn’t seem to make sense. So we never got one, just used our cells. We moved frequently enough and took our numbers with us that it really didn’t seem to make sense to get a house line; just call the cell and you’ll always get me. It wasn’t until a law was passed that said our cell phones could be used as our primary numbers that I realized we weren’t supposed to do that. It was a stupid law and hey, I was ahead of the curve already.
7 years later, multiple games systems, computers, cell phones, HD TVs, iPods, DS’s, 2 additional kids, a house and the same dog we still don’t have a land line. We just continually increased the minutes on our cells. My current profession is CEO of Domestic Operations of our house. As a parent volunteer I do the same things as I did in my previous life of professional (re: paid) life. I’m just keeping my skills fresh and alive…but for free. With many rods in the pond, I have to multitask and organize my time. I have time to talk & organize the classroom party while I’m driving to pick up The Teen after picking up Anakin. So a cell phone fits within my lifestyle. It was a natural gavitation.
I still rebelled a bit against smart phones because I really couldn’t justify the cost. A phone call was simple enough (along with texting) and I could plead ignorance in the car line at school if an email went out because I don’t get it on my phone. What I don’t like is forced upgrades, though, so when my simple flip phone was literally hanging on by the wires because the hinges broke off, I knew it was time. My carrier pretty much only offered a crappy crap phone that my kid used or one of the bazillion smart phones with required data plan. I suddenly found justification for the financial charge. I chose the PalmPre Plus because of its multitasking capability, something the iPhone couldn’t do at the time, and it’s mobile hot spot included in the data plan. It has a slide keyboard, which quelled my fears about touch screens and we were set. That learning curve nearly killed me but after a while I had my mobile office.
Two years later I’m still on the same phone and my volunteer responsibilities have increased. While upstairs hobbling about on a broken foot, trying to bring peace to this chaotic realm of a house during spring break, my smart phone slipped out of my hand and into a full glass of milk that was placed exactly where it wasn’t supposed to be. Needless to say, it wasn’t so smart after that, despite sitting in rice, being vacuumed, taken apart to air it out and everything.
I was left with a smart phone that still gave me my emails, still texted, still did everything but make a phone call. I was already bed ridden, had told everyone that, so I was in contact with them via IM, email, Facebook, Twitter and texting. It wasn’t until Monday morning, when the older ones with working phones left my side, when I realized I can’t do something so simple as make a phone call.
I hate dependency; it goes against who I am.
I found I wasn’t dependent on my email, texting, Twitter, Facebook or IM; I had those. I wasn’t craving for attention and I certainly wasn’t lonely. But it happened during the worst possible moment, my phone into the milk. During the 2 weeks before the actual event I am on the phone easily 8 hours a day, possibly more.
On the Monday, when I was left without a working phone for a simple phone call (tried Google Talk. No go), I ended up using FaceTime just after 8a (*insert record scratch sound*) and then Skype later on. I pulled the Mom card the next day and held on to the teenager’s phone so I could use it (if looks could kill…) and even his phone was crappy crap because I couldn’t dial out. His phone visited with the washing machine once and I saved it, but not without some damage. So I had to text on one phone the number of the phone that I could be called on. We found a temporary replacement phone and while I was waiting for my number to be switched I got a simple email from my husband:
“You’re getting a new iPhone. If it cuts off while in use it’s because they just switched it.”
I didn’t want to spend the money on it, I didn’t want a new phone but it was that forced upgrade because of a crappily placed glass of milk. I didn’t get to research it, I didn’t get to pick out the accessories for it (yet, at any rate) and my learning curve is back to negative a billion during my busiest time of year.
When my husband came home, he handed me the bag with the phone in it. I hesitated, not wanting to touch it because I might break it. He took the phone out of the box, handed it to me and said, “I got the warranty.”
The first thing I did? Made a phone call.
We did poke fun on Monday at my plight, though, and made several memes for the occasion.
It's been a year so far.
The Tween is now The Teen. He's living up to every stereotype. Enough said.
The pre-schooler is still a pre-schooler but now I'm planning his 5th birthday party and looking at planning his graduation to Kindergarten party. And I've signed him up for Kindergarten.
The baby is two and a full on toddler. I've signed him up for school a couple of hours a week.
It's auction time. It's homeroom mom planning time. We opened up our house for a St. Patrick's Day Party and single-handily decreased the deficit on that one. On top of that is laundry that never gets folded, floors that never get swept, dishes that never get done, brakes that are new but continue to squeak...
Yeah, it's that time of year.
I’m a girl.
But according to a quick Google Search, a video that was tweeted to me, or any stereotype, I’m not a gamer grrl. Is that how it’s even spelled? What is that, anyway?
I believe stereotypes exist for a reason but sometimes they jump the shark and then it’s all downhill from there. Maybe we’re in an age where sexism in gaming doesn’t exist anymore…
…and I’m quickly reminded that’s not the case.
But that really doesn’t help “put” me anywhere, though I don’t have a desire or want to be compartmentalized. I am starting to wonder if I’m part of a new movement in the world of gaming. We’re the ladies of gaming but we have so much on our plates (work, family, chores, dishes, car pools, volunteering, meals, grocery shopping…) that we really don’t have time to address that we actually exist.
I’m the youngest of 4 and the only girl. I grew up in a house full of cutting edge technology & geekdom; my grandfather worked for IBM and I remember the first computer he ever brought home. I remember my mother’s first PC and having to type “system” to log on and start it up. I played text-based games because that’s all we had. I remember feeling like a loser because I needed a notepad for notes while my oldest brother (by 10 years) was able to play the game from memory. The Atari 2600 we owned united our family and neighborhood. Pac-Man, Galaga , Pong, Pole Position, Centepede, Combat…they were all a part of many nights & summer days. I lost HOURS at my cousin’s house playing Q*bert.
We had an arcade connected to an ice cream parlor (small town FTW!) and to take our gaming skills to the arcade was to beat the band. When Chuck E. Cheese premiered they had a smoker’s room for the parents & an arcade that we owned. Christmas was phenomenal because we begged and pleaded for every popular, must have game system out there, convincing our sucker-for-electronics Grandpaw that it was a must-have.
We had every Nintendo console. We’ve known Mario from his inception through when he could fly. Marble Madness was my game to conquer, in between watching Beverly Hills 90210 and Headbanger’s Ball. When my brother brought Street Fighter and then Mortal Kombat we were done. A Thanksgiving tradition of us BEGGING my middle brother to “finish us” by pulling out our spines was born.
Flash forward a few *ahem* years. I work & go to school full time, give birth to a boy minion and meet, date & fall in love with a guy. This guy thought we needed something that we could ALL play together as a bonding experience. So we bought a used Game Cube & games. We met up with my cousin who had the first Nintendo DS. I ignored everyone for hours to play it. Within a week my now fiancé had purchased me my own DS. When they went pink, I batted my doe eyes at him and I am now the proud owner of a pink DS.
We haven’t stopped purchasing systems & games. I remember IMing, texting and emailing with my new husband when he took an extended lunch break to pick up the 360 when it hit the shelves. When I was 7 months pregnant with our first child (boy minion number 2, aka Anakin), we were out on a date and ended up standing in line at Toy’s R Us for the midnight release of the Nintendo Wii. I acquiesced to the PS3 because of it’s BluRay capabilities – though that didn’t stop us from buying the HD DVD for the 360. A few years and another boy minion later (Potus), we thought the Kinect would be an awesome Christmas gift to the family. And it was.
When I had time to apply makeup daily, do my hair and had the stamina to stay up late and get up early, I was the best gamer in the house. Because of my internal wiring for the need to make everything a competition, win and perfectionism, I tore up people on the fighting games. When we were at Dave & Buster’s one night I got a hold of Tekken 4 and never let go & took no prisoners.
Now? Now I barely have time for personal hygiene much less gaming. My skills are lost while the games have improved and continued based on the newer generation of gamers. The era of the iTouch & the apps that exist were meant for people like me, though I rarely see my iPod because Anakin or Potus are fighting over it to play some age-appropriate app. I, along with my other half, LOVE sharing gaming moments with our minions. We picked up Happy Action Theater and it doesn’t get any better than that. It’s so obvious developers are at the same spot we are: family people who want to share their love of gaming with the younger generation.
I don’t have to prove or disprove my physical appearance to anyone to gain gaming cred. I don’t need to blog, vlog or repeatedly tweet my website out about me being a gamer of the female persuasion, nor do I find it necessary to feel like I need to embarrass and tell people they’ve been pwned by a girl. I saw a link to video montage of geeky girls’ guilty pleasures. Outside of the initial Zac Efron mention, I was out. Their guilty pleasures of dirty fan fiction (though I have a large selection of period piece bodice rippers), and shopping for underwear weren’t what I’d call a fair sampling of the demographic. But maybe now I’m confusing geeky girls vs. gamer girls.
My days are full of breaking every routine I set. I heart my DVR, my streaming Netflix and all things vampire (glittery ones included). My guilty pleasures include Young & The Restless, fried foods, gossip website and High School Musical. I am a stay at home Mom with two little ones at home, I volunteer and raise tens of thousands of dollars for #1 minion’s school, I blog, I try my social media skillz when I can and I play games in between. All while wearing yoga pants. And sometimes I wear Crocs. I don’t fit into a mold and if I did I’d do my best to find a way out of it.
I am one of the many unsung ladies of gaming. And I’ve ignored my kids, the dishes, the laundry and my house just so I could tell you.
**To be nosy & see more pics of my house & me (not to mention the original post) visit > Brutal Gamer here