Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Weekly Whine (With Free Wine Coupon INSIDE!)

It has been a week.


It seems like a year. On Monday, I promised that this week's edition of all my complaints and whines would be really good. I lost steam somewhere between being summoned to truancy court and dealing with accusations that yoga is devil worship.

I am a very busy person, apparently.

I know your curiosity has been piqued. . .I mean who wouldn't be on the edge of their seat when they hear whispers of legal drama and satanic worship!

Without further complaint, here's the weekly whine and the list of things that make me irate:

1. Weekend Mail
On Saturday, the U.S. Postal Service still insists on delivering mail. Maybe you think this is amazing--maybe you get big fat checks in the mail or announcements that some great great great uncle you never knew is dead and left you his fortune or you have a secret admirer who sends you heartfelt greeting cards that are not filled with glitter.

You know what I got: a court summons. For truancy. A nonsense, mixed-up, ludicrous  summons.

You know what else I got: agitated. I remained agitated all weekend long, until Monday, when I could storm into the school and fix the problem.

You know what the officials at the school got: 400 agitated emails with exclamation points and random words capitalized for emphasis.

I will be sending my letter of thanks to U.S. Postal Service--perhaps they will get it on a weekend and get that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you open a card with a cute cat reminding you to "Hang in There."

2. The word: PLEASE
I do recognize that is important to teach our children how to communicate and speak and even use polite words (obviously). BUT, I hate the word "Please." It is not the "Magic Word," unless you consider whining, manipulation, screaming and yelling to be magical.

My 8 year old uses the word "PLEASE," to express her disgust at my intervention into her social life, as in "PUH-LEASE MOTHER."

My 6 year old uses the word "PLEASE," while whining for more glitter hair spray and smacking my leg for attention, while.  .

My 2 year old is screaming "PLEASEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE" while rigid on the floor and squeezing $500 organic yogurt all over his last clean pair of pants.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE come up with a new word. Anything other than PLEASE.

3. Captain Obvious
This week, I've spotted Captain Obvious everywhere I go! Captain Obvious is very busy and very irritating. He is also a she and she is also a he. Captain Obvious knows no bounds--man, woman, child, all nationalities and creeds and races. Captain Obvious is infinity times infinity and he/she/it loves to tell me such INSIGHTFUL gems like:

+Your son does not have shoes on and it is cold.
+Your son does not have pants on and it is 20 degrees.
+Your son has a runny nose and it is February.
+Your son is wearing a bathing suit and it is snowing.

Notice a pattern? Captain OBVIOUS is OBVIOUSLY obsessed with my son and the weather. I want a restraining order!  I also wonder if Captain Obvious has a pal named Admiral Stupid Head or Duke Von Shut Up?

4. Pat Robertson's Yoga Classes
Just watch this and please do not ever go to Pat Robertson's Yoga Classes. I hear there is lots of crazy GIBBERISH in CRAZY LANGUAGES to the DEITY of ignorance and stupidity. Although, you do get to stretch up and stretch down. Is that kewl?

Well, I am off to check the mail, maybe Thursday is the day I get that big fat check from the Hindu deity named Captain Obvious I am always saying PLEASE to in my secret language of gibberish.

P.S. In case you haven't figured it out, there is no free wine coupon. I am just experimenting if negativity combined with free coupon offers drives blog traffic. I know, I know, I am a total tease. I am also probably breaking some law (just send me a summons! I will add to the stack!) I guess if you want a free wine coupon, you can bring me a competitor's coupon and I will match it, like Walmart. Also like Walmart, it will be arduous, hardly worth your effort and you will have to wait in line with people in their pajamas, in public. Totally up to you!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Mothering in Winter: A List of Complaints

Another week is ending and of course, I can't let the weekend slip in without my weekly list of complaints. 

Note: my blog traffic has tripled since I began complaining on Yoke. Thanks for keeping it real (negative) with me! It is affirming to be recognized for my complaining skills.  Now, let's get on with it.

I love being a mother. However, I could never say: "I have no complaints."

Most of my motherhood complaints revolve around the winter. Mothering in the winter months is no joke. No wonder all those settlers died--it seems it was probably easier to just give up, than deal with being a parent in the polar vortex, with snow, germs, homework and well, other people.

Without further complaint, here is my list of why mothering in the winter sucks:

1. Coats and The Car Seat Part 1
Yes, we've all seen the most informative (and by informative, I mean obnoxious) car seat photos that show poor little Timmy shoved in his car seat with his coat on. Poor little Timmy is destined for death.


However,  IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO SHOVE A WRITHING CHILD IN A CAR SEAT WITH A GIANT GAP PUFFY COAT ON. I can barely get the boy into the car seat when he is naked.

(don't ask.)

Clearly, this info graphic is idiotic. Anyone who can shove their coated child into a car seat is MacGyver.

2. Coats and The Car Seat Part 2
Anyway, I hate the car seat and the coat. I carry my un-coated child out to the car. We get out of the car and I take 45 minutes to put the coat on him. Sometimes, if we are running in somewhere super fast, I don't bother with the coat.

When he is coatless,  no less than 45 people remind me that it is cold. By me, I mean they begin speaking directly to my toddler: "It is cold little guy, where is your coat?"

Needless to say, my son, who loves me, just yells "NO!" and on occasion, points an angry finger in their direction. God bless that barnacle boy. 

3.  Gloves
Have you ever tried to put a pair of gloves on a tiger? Maybe you've tried to put clothes on a camel.

Anyway, if you have not tried either of these endeavors, just swing by my house and get gloves on my 8, 6 and 2 year old. They are super cooperative, although one spits and another scratches and another somehow loses the glove while putting it on her hand.

4. Runny Nose Inspectors
Beginning in November and ending in June, each of my children have a snot filled nose. From my casual observation, it seems most of your children are afflicted with the same around the clock snot fest.

No one is sick, everyone is simply filled with snot. We probably all need more fresh air and an allergist appointment.

Anyway, at every event I attend there is one mother who is the Runny Nose Inspector. This is the woman who points out the runny nose, chases her own children (who probably have a stomach bug brewing) around with antibacterial gel and keeps asking if your kid is sick. She is the same woman who addresses the situation by looking right at my toddler and saying: "You need a tissue silly boy!"

Well, you need to stop talking to the kid, SILLY LADY, clearly he cannot answer you because his mother is a total train wreck and brings him out in public when he is clearly battling the plague. In fact, you should probably call those child protection people, because that silly boy, needs a SILLY TISSUE, every five minutes and absolutely screams like a hyena every time his nose is wiped.

Better yet, look and me and say: "You poor mommy. You need a massage! Here is a gift card!"

5. Hot Chocolate
Remember being a kid and racing in from a long day playing in the snow for your cup of hot chocolate and marshmallows? Remember how your mom would make such a big deal out of making it and how it was a special treat. Remember realizing that it is just powdered mix and some hot water.

And thinking, really this is no big deal?

Well, it is a big deal. No one ever actually finished a cup of hot chocolate. Someone always spills it. It is always too hot. Then it is too chocolatey. ( Apparently to my children the name, "Hot Chocolate" provides no clues to what they are drinking.)  Then the marshmallows melt and someone is accused of stealing marshmallows out of someone else's cup. Then I begin yelling and everyone begins crying and I make myself hot chocolate spiked with Bailey's.

There you have it. . .now, since it is Lent, I am off to lock myself in the bathroom with my Bible and pray that I will make it until bedtime. We are out of marshmallows and the children are looking hungry.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Stop Giving Things Up For Lent!

If I close my eyes, I can imagine my Facebook feed filling up with lists of things people are giving up for Lent.

In a week, it will fill up with the complaints:

"Ugh!! I just want coffee."
"No chocolate until Easter! I hope someone buys me a giant bunny. AM DYING for CHOCOLATE"
"I know I gave up complaining for Lent, but, I think today is an exception."
"WAAAAAAA, just one glass of wine."

I've been guilty of this many, many times. Some years, I've attempted to give up all four things simultaneously, causing me to be a horrible, miserable person.  I've cried in my head and to my family and on Facebook about the things I swore I was giving up.

I've made an entire spectacle of my sacrifice, which is the exact opposite of what Christ calls us to do.

Matthew 6:16
And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.

I often look dismal. I often disfigure my face. And my reward is nothing but angst. Of course, that is totally the wrong way to sacrifice.

Matthew 6:17-18
But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 

God wants us to sacrifice--happily. He wants us to show the world that we are God's people and we are happy about it. He wants us to shine His light and His blessing. He is the one who will see our sacrifice and all the pain that goes along with it. Our sacrifice is for Him. He already sacrificed for the world to see-giving His only son for us--we do not need to try to replicate God's work.

Despite the common "Giving something up for Lent" tradition, I am going rogue this Lent.  Instead of giving up something,  I want to do more for God everyday. I want to be with God everyday. I want to hear His voice and fill His wind in my ears and His love in my soul. I want to learn to discern His will from my own.

This Lent, I intend on giving time to read, pray and sit quietly with God everyday. This will certainly lead to sacrifices--whether sleep or TV or time working or time reading something that is not about God.  My new life might still include coffee, chocolate and wine. Maybe it won't. But it will include more of Him and less of me.

And that is what God calls us to do. He calls us to become dead to our old lives, pick up our crosses and become renewed in Him, everyday, without a grimace, without a whine and without hesitation.

To help myself along on this Lenten journey of giving more, instead of giving up, I printed out Romans 6:9-11:

Happy Lent. Maybe this be a season of giving more to God for all of us!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

These People Offended Me (or Off With Their Stupid Heads).

I received so much POSITIVE feedback on last week's "Ten Complainers (That I Love To Complain About) post. That I decided to write a weekly list of those who offend me.

Doesn't that sound uplifting?

Here is the list of the people who have offended me this week. If you need me, I will be wandering around my home muttering, "Off With Their Stupid Heads," while drinking black coffee and eating conversation hearts.

1. People Who Are Unable To Keep Track of Attendance
One of my children was listed as absent approximately 18 times. Note: she was not absent 18 times. No one knows what to do or how to correct the error. I do not have photographic evidence of my child entering the school building. Apparently, I need photographic evidence. I just ordered a Go Pro from Amazon to begin tracking my day. (This is why I should have a reality show!)  I am unsure what will happen.  I am sure whatever happens will be irritating and time consuming.

On a side note, this has caused me to go to the school approximately 400 times this week. 400 times. This is time I could have spent watching Revenge!

2. The Electric Company
Apparently, the electric company billing department is participating in "New Math." This what my bill looks like:
Usage Fee: $157
Taxes: $4.25
Total: $500,000.25

Apparently, the electric company cannot add. OR there are about a half-million bucks in hidden, top secret fees. I will have to get yet ANOTHER job.

3. People Who Question The Greatness of Valentine's Day
I am sorry if you don't have a Valentine. Let me know, I will send you a box of chocolates. I love LOVE, just like my favorite convict, Teresa Guidice. I love the opportunity to love my kids and my husband and my friends and my dog and even the Electric Company.

Unless, someone is about to get hit by another vehicle, do not honk your horn. Do not honk your horn to get me to move more quickly. Do not honk your horn because you are late to work. Do not honk your horn because you are flapping. It makes me want to punch you in the face.

5. The Laundry
While, the laundry is not an actual person, it offends me as much as people do. It just sits there, all lazy and waiting for something. It practically screams: "Wash Me," Dry me," Fold me." Well you know what laundry: BITE ME!

There you have it. Only five people have offended me this week, so really, it is a super good week!

P.S. I am self aware enough to know that I have added five complainers  (who all happen to be me) to my list of complainers: people who complain about the school attendance office, people who complain about public utility bills, people who complain about Hallmark holidays, people who complain about horn honking and people who complain about the laundry. BUT, I own it.

PPS Happy Valentine's Day. Love you all, even when you are complaining about me.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Ten Complainers (That I love to complain about!)

It is now February and I am officially sick of all the complainers in 2015.

I am sick of you and you and you and you and mostly, me.

We are all in this together, right?

You, me and the rest of the world are a bunch of whiners. I can't take it anymore. It is time to bring out the big complaining guns.  I decided to make a list, which will offend and make many cry.

Oh well.  (Please don't cry. It will force me to craft a list: "Ten People Who Cry And Make Me Want To Scream." Please laugh. This is all supposed to be funny. I love you.)

I know some of you will read this list and worry, "Is she talking about me?"

The answer is: "Yes, I am talking about you."

But, I am also talking about your best friend, your mother, your father, your dog and myself, so you are in good company.

I've spent the past two weeks angry at the complainers, which, turned into a strange self-loathing. And I hate hating myself--I am the bomb. Anyway, I've decided to end the hate, bring out the honesty and maybe, just maybe make you and you and you and me laugh.

Without further complaining, here is my list of the Ten Complainers that I love to complain about:

1. People Who Complain About Other People's Parenting Skills
On a random Monday (or Friday or Wednesday or Tuesday) you might see my delightful brood rolling around screaming (in public). One of them might not have a coat on. Another might be wearing my $50 NARS lip gloss. And another may not have brushed their hair in a week.

Just walk away. Please do not post Facebook rants about mothers who allow their children to:

a. go out in the cold without a coat
b. wear makeup when they are in kindergarten
c. dress like homeless people

Because, I did not allow my children to revolt and rebel and roll on the ground. They just did it.  I have very little control over the little heathens, try as I may. I do, however, love their insanity and their independence and their homeless-like tendencies to the moon and back.

Please do not post on Facebook rants about:

a. how the world is going to hell because of bad parenting
b. how you would never allow zyx to happen
c. how you would "whip those children into shape if they ever. . ."

Because none of the above is true.

2. People Who Complain About Rule Breakers
Remember those kids in your 5th grade class who would raise their hand to announce to the teacher that you were passing a note to your best friend? Or the frenemy who would tell your mother that you did your homework on the school bus? Or the teacher who seemingly stalked the halls and did spot "bathroom pass" checks?

None of these people served any good. They just ended up being hated.

Sometimes, I pass notes to friends. Other times, I reply to an email while on a conference call. Other times, I enter unauthorized areas because I have to pee.

It is called survival.

3. People Who Complain About McDonalds
Just don't eat there. And if I eat there, well, I am not giving you a french fry.

4. People Who Complain About God
I love God. I love Jesus. I also love freedom of religion. I am free to bang my bible. And you are free not to. Please don't complain. My American friends, we are free to worship a stuffed cat. We are free. Rejoice that you can pray where ever want. Rejoice that you don't have to pray, ever.

5. People Who Complain About New Jersey
I live in New Jersey. I like it. Shut up.

6. People Who Complain About the Weather
I really don't know what to tell you but it is the Winter. February is always the winter. ALWAYS.

7. People Who Complain About Traffic
We live in New Jersey. There is traffic. There are cars (not a new thing, people!). And there are people. Take a pit stop at McDonalds. Eat a fry. It makes the drive worthwhile.

8. People Who Complain About Vaccines
I can't even. You need to vaccinate your kids, yourself and your dog. Don't be an asshole.

9. People Who Complain About the President
President Barack Obama is President. He is in the White House for a few more years. He's been there for a few years as well. Please, just cope with it. Please, accept it. Please stop saying he is praising Allah. (maybe he is, who cares?). Please stop saying he was born in another country (that argument did not work the first one billion times). Please stop sharing things from websites called: The Blaze, The Ring Wing, The Red Truth. (Really, you should only be sharing things from Yoke, right?)

10. People Who Complain About PARCC Testing
PARCC testing sucks. It is stupid. We all know. I am not suggesting that we just sit down and take it. BUT please do not complain, take action if you like. GO talk to a real person. Call your senator. Rent a billboard. Show up at school unannounced and make someone listen to you. (Note: I do this, every Wednesday. We could meet up!) Just stop complaining. IT IS IRRITATING.

Alright, now I am off to post this post, prepare for my house to be egged and call my best friend to complain about my husband.

Note: not on the list, people who complain about their children--I just find that wildly entertaining. I also enjoy complaining about my own children and I expect you to find it wildly entertaining. Also not on the list, people who complain about complaining. Because that would just confuse things, right? 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

5 p.m. on a Tuesday: A Dinnertime Short Story

In the beginning, there was quiet. And then there was noise.

Out of the blue, the 5 year old remembered the time her baby brother ripped her puppy dog folder (in October 2013).

She promptly complained and sought retaliation by ripping up his Lego Duplo instruction book.

The baby brother helped. (He likes to rip. He also cannot read. And being just 2 years old, is not attached to physical possessions, in the same way the 5 year old was attached to her puppy dog folder.)

There was quiet.

BUT, the 8 year old saw the ripped Lego logo as it fluttered to the floor. The Lego logo looked like it, perhaps, belonged to the instructions for the Lego Friends Cruise ship. which we abandoned building in 2013 (apparently it was a rough year).

Immediately, the 8 year old thought her younger siblings had plotted against her.

Naturally, she bit the 5 year old.

Naturally, the 5 year old was a bit enraged and began screaming.

So the baby brother,  caught up in the moment,  hit both his sisters and threw his pacifier into the toilet (along with a handful of pennies, two gum balls and a juice box).

Before I could even gather my thoughts or utter the words: "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?," there was quiet again.

Then, all three, turned to me and said, "We are starving. Why haven't you made dinner?"

Friday, January 16, 2015

(Un-) Faithful Friday

I think there might be a hashtag called #FaithfulFriday. For approximately 467 days, I've promised myself I would write one faith-filled post every Friday, as a way to be social media savvy, part of the Twitter faith conversation and to end my work week with some faith and perspective.

I have never written a #FaithfulFriday post.

Never, ever, never. Well, once, for a paying client. I am often faithful for cash.

I've written in Yoke before about how I am a bad Christian--and boy, oh, boy, sometimes I can be the worst. I've received some not-so-loving emails and messages about classifying myself as a bad Christian. At first, I was really excited. It was a sign someone in the universe was reading my blog.

But, truly, I was hurt and so hurt that a couple times, I cried in secret. (note: I only cry in secret. Or if others are crying and it seems socially acceptable. I do not cry at funerals. I never cry at weddings. I am an ugly crier and I am vain.)  Disclosing my secret crying is not a request for empathy or sympathy. It just happened.  My faith is critically important to me. When I write about God and Christ and my bad Christian-hood, I do it after I pray for the meditations of my hearts and words that I type with my fingers to be the truth, inspired by God's role in my life.

To tell me that I need to examine my Christianity and my faith because I am a horrible person is to tell me that I am praying and listening to the wrong guy.  Then suddenly, I am questioning my very faith---I worry that I am not actually hearing the word of God, but I am hearing my own sinful voice.

The funny thing with believing in God, is that your faith can be shaken even when you are behaving at your most faithful. I often think there is a very fine, nearly invisible line between the good of God and the evil of the Devil. When you are close to one, you are close to the other. You must proceed with caution and with the faith that God will pull you back on the right side of the line.

I am unfaithful in my faith. I am sinful in my heart. I am sinful with my time and talents and energy. I am a bad Christian. I might be a bad person sometimes too. I am not faithful on Fridays or Tuesdays or Mondays.

But, none of this is God's fault. The God I love, shakes his head at me when I act like a jackass. The God I love, weeps when I really mess up. The God I love, loves me more than I can imagine. There is nothing that can permanently separate us from His love. He is always faithful. Even when I am not.

Author's Note:
When I searched for Bible verse about being unfaithful, everything was about marital infidelity. Who has time for that? I'd like to meet them. They are probably also wearing matching socks and get their hair cut twice a week, at a salon.