It’s all about perspective, people.

Automatic thought:

That last session sucked, and I sucked royally as a therapist during that session.

Perspective:

I’m pretty glad I’ve got a regular full-time job to completely suck at. Which I like pretty well. With hilarious, supportive coworkers. One of which does a dead-on Hank Hill impression that’s so funny I almost pee in my office chair every time he does it. I’m also glad I haven’t actually peed in my office chair. I’m getting older- it’s kind of touch-and-go on that kind of thing these days.

Automatic thought: My van died and I don’t WANT to buy a stupid new car because I’m a frigging cheapskate and WHY DOES THE UNIVERSE PUNISH ME.

Perspective: My beloved, darling Soccer Mom Minivan made it 246,542 miles before she committed suicide. She’s taken good care of me, despite the fact that I’ve farted in her regularly and my kids have puked in her (thankfully not so regularly). She managed to hold on in order to coast me in to a nice, safe, well-lit gas station before her last gasp. The tow truck guy came right away, and he was cute. And he didn’t treat me like an Auto Airhead.

Automatic thought: SCREW that sinkful of dishes tonight. I don’t deserve such torture.

Perspective: The hubs finally put in the new dishwasher, after months and months of me begging while handwashing every-damn-thing after the old dinosaur dishwasher kicked it. I shall gleefully load this silvery shining STUNNING and WORKING contraption, and I’ll fucking dance and sing showtunes while I load it. And I’m also glad the husband made me some dirty dishes because that means he made dinner tonight and I didn’t wanna.

Automatic thought: SERIOUSLY? A paper cut on top of all the rest of the crap this week?

Perspective: Boy, I really like the fact that I’ve got two opposable thumbs to maim. And I can afford antibiotic ointment and Band-Aids so the wounded thumb won’t rot off.

Yessiree, people. It’s all about perspective. And when I’m done whining and get off my pity pot to change mine, I’m happy to say I’ve got some high-quality, first-world problems.

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It really is all about the man tights.

Tonight’s spontaneous family activity involved holding a home version of Mystery Science Theater 3000, featuring yours truly, my husband, and the boychild. We decided to review Batman vs. Superman, complete with running commentary  and a cumulative point scale. (Thank goodness the boychild is better at math than I am.) Beware of the spoilers ahead, people!

These are only the highlights, because if I included all of our commentary you’d still be reading this a day later, and nobody needs that much of anyone’s opinion.

-5 for that ridiculous BatNado with Little Bruce. 

-5 points when Batman uses guns. Because he doesn’t do that.

-10 when Batman tries to kill somebody (because he DOESN’T DO THAT, DAMMIT.)

+3 points for Wonder Woman being pretty (the boychild is hitting puberty!)

+5 for all gratuitous scenes involving long shots of man tights.

-5 for irritating cinematography.

+5 because Ben Affleck wasn’t as bad of a Bruce Wayne as I feared he would be. -5 right after that because he was still a bad Batman.

+5 for the Batmobile’s cool new water entry into the Batcave.

-10 for a nonsequential plot line. Because some people have attention issues and this confuses us.

-5 for Wonder Woman having brown eyes. WONDER WOMAN HAS BLUE EYES. 

Another -5 points because I didn’t get to see her spin into her hero outfit. 

+10 for all shirtless scenes with manly chests and good abs. (My priorities are obvious.)

-10 for this portrayal of Lex Luthor on general principle. Since when is he psychotic? It’s like they tried to make him into the Joker.

-10 for Wonder Woman wearing a one-piece in today’s two-piece world (this from my husband.)

+5 for Holly Hunter’s jar of PeePee Peach Tea.

+10 for Amy Adams being a waaaaaay better Lois than Margot Kidder ever dreamed of being.

-2 because Batman doesn’t have a utility belt (I have a real problem with this.)

+5 for Jason Momoa, just because (Me again).

-5 because they chose some random guy to play Flash instead of Grant Gustin.

-10 because Doomsday is SO NOT the love child of Lex & Zod. That is so LAME.

-10 for no end-of-credits teaser. Superman is so not allowed to be dead. I need the promise of more ab shots and man tights! WHO APPROVED THIS SCREENPLAY?!?

Our official total at the end was -103. And it was still better than the Man of Steel movie. Not much better, but better. Not counting the hot guys in tights. That’s always good.

Little weenies

I was puttering home in the Soccer Mom Minivan today in the pouring rain, when a slick little green convertible Porsche caught up to me at a green light. As soon as he was even with my stylish silver Honda hippopotamous, this freak hit his gas pedal like he was Danny Zuko in Grease, racing for pink slips. This guy made it last a full 3 seconds and 500 feet before braking again in order to turn right into a trailer park.

I’m in a MINIVAN, in a semi-rural area, in a 45 mile-per-hour zone, at 7pm at night. There are maybe 3 people around, and CLEARLY this yahoo was so threatened by my fortysomething womanliness that he felt an urgent need to  risk stripping his expensive foreign transmission in order to reassert his dominance. For a full 500 feet of distance.

I remember slamming down the accelerator at stoplights just for the thrill of it- in high school. (At that point driving fast, heavy petting, and piercing my own ear against my father’s wishes were the only thrills I managed to indulge in.) Had this guy been a high schooler out for a spin in his daddy’s car, I might have rolled my eyes, but it would have made sense to me. But an adult? I would have loved for Mr. Super Sporty to have been privy to the thoughts that flashed through my mind at that moment:

  • Clearly, this guy has a very small weenie.
  •  He’s been watching too many episodes of Street Outlaws.
  • Why is he in such a hurry to get to the trailer park?
  • Maybe he has explosive diarrhea.
  • I have more cargo space than you do, buddy.
  • Is he smoking something illegal? Oh god I hope not. If he’s on meth he’ll be all psychotic and paranoid and follow me home.
  • I’m glad my husband likes guns.
  • Bow down! It’s the Drag Racing King of LaVergne, TN!
  • I’m glad I outgrew this behavior.
  • Midlife crises are EXTREMELY unattractive.

I’m thankful on behalf of Mr. Sporty’s wife that he chose to get a slick car instead of a girlfriend when his midlife crisis hit him. As a news flash to all of you other potential dragsters, young or old, who are trying to imitate The Bandit in your home towns:  You are not impressive. You seem pathetic. And the rest of us are rolling our eyes at you, and are pretty sure you have a little weenie.

IMG_6813

Dude. It’s this big. If you’re lucky.

 

 

I should have taken more videos.

Early childhood is my specialty in my chosen profession- and with what seems like zero warning, I find myself in uncharted territory. I’m now trapped on Gilligan’s Island in the Sea of Parenting.

I am the parent of an adolescent.

Even though this is my first teenage rodeo, I have NO idea why I find myself at a complete loss here. I work with adolescents. I WAS an adolescent, for Christ’s sake. I have a half-decent memory of that time. I thought I was adequately prepared for this experience.

Wasn’t I just wrong as hell about that?!? And I SO don’t fucking appreciate the reality check I’ve been served. (On a side note: FUCK YOU, iPhone. I have never intentionally typed the word ‘ducking’ on you, and you know it. We have spent years in a relatively intimate relationship, and your internal vocabulary chip should fucking know me well enough by now. Stop trying to make me more socially appropriate. If it hasn’t worked for my mother, it damn well won’t work for you. Let it go.)

I was prepared for my girlchild to do things like rolling her eyes, sprouting boobs, and screaming “OH MY GAWD, STOP IT, MOM!” I expected the sarcasm- after all, it was factory-installed on both strands of her DNA. I’ve been eagerly anticipating some of these stages for years, like the preoccupation with music and becoming a complete embarrassment to her. After all, this is a parenting rite of passage. I remember demanding that my mom drop me off 200 yards from the front of school, because I was clearly the only middle schooler who had a mother. When my girlchild’s humiliation stage finally started, I felt like I Had Arrived as a parent. Time for some real entertainment! I remembered how, when I was 12, my darling father decided I needed exposure therapy to combat the effects of my pituitary gland…he chose to ‘help’ me with my raging family embarrassment disorder in the very public parking lot of our neighborhood Vons grocery store, dragging one leg and pretending palsy in his arms while he hollered “I’M AMY’S FATHER!!!” at the top of his lungs. The rest of my family almost had seizures, they were laughing so hard. I, of course. wanted to crawl under a rock and die there. 

What I haven’t been prepared for, was for my girl to stop speaking entirely. To disappear into her room for an entire day and only emerge to pee when I’m not looking. To give me unexpected Looks of Death. To go all introverted and tell me ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about EVERYTHING. WTF?!? I’m fun. She used to like me a lot. She used to say, “I love you, too, Mommy!” when I told her I loved her. Now she just stares at me when I say it, like she doesn’t speak English. She used to be snuggly. Openly creative. It’s clear that my darling girl has been abducted by an alien pod person, because I did NOT give birth to the black-clad emo kid that currently inhabits her room. That creature only shrugs in response to questions or stares wordlessly at me.  Can you make a career out of watching animé videos on YouTube? I sure fucking hope so, because if not, she’s going to be living in my garage when she’s 30. 

Keep the positive thoughts going for me, people. I have a feeling I’m in for a bumpy ride. 

Imperfection

I got another Ridiculous Reality check recently.

A friend of mine lost her beloved dog after a sudden illness (R.I.P. EllieBelle, you wonderful ween), and had been devastated and grieving for a long time. I was thrilled to find out that she was finally feeling ready to let a new furry love into her life, as she is an incredibly loving, nurturing lady, and she seemed more than a little lost without her four-footed child.   Ellie, the beloved Wonderful Ween.

My friend told me that she was trying to adopt not one, but two dogs. They were older, had been surrendered by their human, and needed to be rehomed. They had been together for a long time, and the shelter wanted to find a way to keep these pack mates together. My friend was totally up for it, and I was so excited for her. In my opinion, these dogs would never be able to find a human more loving and nurturing than my friend, and she would NEVER give them up like their former human did. 

When I texted her to find out how it was going, she told me she had been rejected by the shelter. I was floored.  In my opinion, there was no more perfect dog mom than she. I asked why they turned her down, and she said, “They said no because we don’t have a fenced-in yard.”

Whoa. Wait. Back the fuck up. WHAT?!?

These dogs were older. They had been given up by a human who clearly did not consider them important enough to him/her to think ahead and choose a living situation where they would be able to come along. (I consider that kind of callous disregard for a living being that loves you unconditionally and depends upon you quite fucked up enough by itself. In my world, you don’t do that kind of thing for your own convenience. Go ahead and call me Judgy McJudgerson. I’m owning it.) She was willing to adopt and love both of these dogs, keeping their pack together. She kept her dog photos all over her work desk, and shared them with any and everyone who cared to look. She would have made these dogs a PRIORITY in her life, which was more than I could say for their previous owner. 

And the single, solitary thing that kept her from being everything these two dogs needed in a loving human was that she happened to live in an apartment, and the yard had no fence. 

Perhaps this rejection wouldn’t have shocked you the way it did me, but I was truly, utterly flabbergasted. Is perfection now required in order to provide animals with a loving, caring home? Do you have to have all the ‘right’ credentials and affluent resources? When did the ownership of a FENCE become the standard for being considered good enough? Last time I looked, there were thousands of animals in need of families who would be willing to love and care for them. I can’t count the number of rescue sites I see trying desperately to match animals with people before they are put down. Too many animals, not enough shelter or resources.  So many people willing to say no, so few people willing to say yes. Clearly I missed the memo stating that having a fence is now considered more important than love and commitment to an animal for the extent of its life. 

Maybe there are some people out there who are able to give an animal the perfect home…people who are never late on the yearly shots, who provide the perfect amount of exercise daily, who never have to make a choice between buying dog food and buying flea control. I wish I could say I was one of those perfect people, but I’m SO not. I’m not a perfect mom to my two-leggers OR to my four-leggers, no matter how much I wish I could be. I beat myself up for it often. The yearly immunizations run late at times. My furry babies never go without food, but sometimes we have to buy the cheap food instead of the good stuff they deserve to eat. Some mornings I have such a hard time getting out of bed that I skip the morning walk. 

It’s been fifteen years, and I have yet to be able to afford to build a fence.

Maybe, to some, the kinds of unfortunate choices I sometimes have to make are reason to judge me, to tell me I should give up my animals who love and trust me to someone who could do better by them…but I will never, ever give them up. When I adopted them, I committed myself in the same kind of way that I committed myself to my human babies. I would NEVER have managed to pass the kind of rigorous home study and interview my friend’s chosen shelter put her through. However imperfect a dog mom I am, I try to remember that when I found Chester 15 years ago, he was a tiny puppy someone had abandoned in my apartment complex parking lot, treated no better than trash. Somebody had hurt him, and the first thing he did after I found him was curl up by my leg and fall into the most exhausted puppy sleep I had ever seen. It was clearly the first time he had felt safe in a while. My friend Emily, who fosters animals for the Stokes County Humane Society in North Carolina, saw my sweet Ursa and her littermate in a box on the side of the road under a sign that said “Free Puppies”. (As legend has it, Em saw that sign while driving, slammed on her brakes, and screeched, “PUPPIES ARE NOT AN IMPULSE ITEM!”) She grabbed them and took them home with her.  She spent weeks working with them daily, because they had been neglected and never socialized- they were completely terrified of people. Their mother was a full blooded fancy Cocker spaniel who got out one day, and had a romantic rendezvous with a handsome lab-looking fella who never took her out on a second date. Mama’s owner was so mad she didn’t have purebred puppies that were sellable, that she chose to just leave them out in her shed and ignore them, until she put them out by the road in that box.

   Photos of the kids- Meet Chester.

  And here’s Ursa.

My dogs are loved beyond measure. They sleep in my bed with me. Animals annoy my husband, but he knows that you can’t have me if you don’t take my furballs along with me. Maybe I can’t afford doggy daycare, but I take a little extra time to say hello to them when I get home every day, because I know they’ve been lonely and missed me. I get up earlier than I’d like each morning because they love going walkies. They are usually happier to see me than any of my human family are. They don’t ask me to be perfect- they don’t care. They know that I love them, and that’s good enough. That’s all they want. 

I often think about those two dogs that my friend hoped for. I hope the shelter managed to find that perfect fenced-in yard for them. After the loss they suffered in being given up like that, they deserved ACRES of fenced-in yard to run in. I also know that my friend’s apartment with its non-fenced yard would have been just as perfect for them, due to the love that was ready and waiting. If I were somehow forced to surrender my dogs, I know it would be a miracle to find someone who would be able and willing to take both of them so they could stay together. Ursa might be adoptable due to her sweet nature, but she also has a skin condition that makes her itch all the time, and she scratches and sheds like it’s going out of style.  My sweet Chester would likely be euthanized because of his age, the fact that he has epilepsy and has to take maintenance meds daily, is deaf, and often gets confused. They’re imperfect, just as I am. I love them just the way they are, just like they love me. 

They couldn’t care less about having a damn fence. 

WHERE THE FUCK ARE THEY COMING FROM?!?

Fruit flies.

Not just fruit flies- 

MOTHERFUCKING FRUIT FLIES.

I pride myself on (generally) being a friend of the natural world, which includes creatures of the six and eight legged varieties. I may choose to poison my brain by covering myself head to toe in 40% DEET during the green months, but the only insects that don’t enjoy an ongoing peace treaty inside my home are mosquitoes, houseflies, ants (only because once they get in and establish a trail you’re sunk forever), and POISONOUS spiders. I feel so strongly about this that I overcame my arachnophobia in order to be able to handle grabbing the big hairy wolf spiders, which are native to my current locale, with my bare hands. I don’t even do the girlie shrieking or run full tilt for the door when I’ve got one. 

(Can you tell I’m pretty proud of that? Throughout childhood, I had constant night terrors of spiders. I will not be a slave to fear. BOO YAH.)

I’m now rethinking that insect peace treaty to exclude these motherfucking fruit flies. 

First let me assure you- there is no goddamn available fruitlike substance to attract these fuckers.  The trash has been taken out. The rot-pot has been rinsed thoroughly. There hasn’t been wine in this house for two weeks. There is no fruit in my boychild’s room (I checked to make sure). There is no fruit in my garage. There is no fruit in my goddamn bathroom. THERE IS NO FRUIT IN MY FUCKING BEDROOM. 

NO. FUCKING. FRUIT. Anywhere.

Yet these little fuckers continue to come out of nowhere. We’ve bleached the disposal and the trash cans. I’ve created fruit fly traps. Still they’re buzzing around my face. WTF?!?

I’m starting to hate them more than I hate mosquitoes, and that’s saying something. I’m now a fruit fly serial killer. Is this some kind of genetic fruit fly mutation that’s happening here? These fruit flies don’t follow fruit fly rules. They’re rebels. They could be staging a coup in my home, trying to overwhelm me and take over. They’re buzzing around my computer monitor. STOP THE MADNESS.

I’m trying to train my dogs to eat them. While my 2 year old dog seems to be all in all about it, I’m pretty sure my 15 year old dog thinks I’ve started smoking crack. Anything that continually disrupts me while I play my hidden object games has to die. (Children and cute fuzzy furbabies excluded, of course.)

Somebody who can help my gnat-ridden butt please yodel. I’m sitting here swatting and waiting for deliverance. 

Eat the elephant, if you can. If you can’t, shoot it and bury the body.

Ever wonder how you eat an elephant? The traditional answer is a bite at a time. It’s a cute little saying that we use a lot in my workaday world, where it’s a common everyday occurrence to get overwhelmed with all the needs you’re asked to fill. The nonprofit world is a beast- you’re always asked to do more, with less, and you’d better not accrue overtime in order to get it done.

One of my friends recently told me, “I feel like I have FIVE elephants to eat. Where the heck do you take the first bite?”

I had to think about this for a second. My first instinct was the tail, since that’s the smallest and least overwhelming part of the pachyderm. Then I reconsidered, because a myriad of REALLY BAD THINGS can happen to you near the tail. So my response to her was this:



If only we good, hardworking, caring people never got shit on or kicked. Right. What a lovely, lovely dream.

My friend knows, too well, the reality of what she’s going to be stuck with. Good thing she doesn’t have to like it.



I support this plan of action wholeheartedly.



Because that’s what real friends do.