a successful weekend.

Do you see that? Do you see what I am holding? That, my friends, is a Dyson DC07, which, brand new, costs $399.  But to a bargain-shopper/risk-taker/impulse-buyer like myself, it’s only $30 at my local, obviously clueless, Goodwill. That thing was priced the same as a beat-up Bissell.

I spied it across the store and thought to myself, “Self,” I said, “Why on earth would a Dyson be at a Goodwill? It must be broken.” I plugged it into an outlet on the wall and it came to life. I swept up some of the mysterious refuse on the Goodwill floor, turned it on its back to check the suction, looked for missing limbs… lo and behold, it worked beautifully. It was missing an attachment hose, but I’m a half-assed clean freak, so I don’t care much about that (by the way, that’s only about $30 to replace). I bought that little lady, took her home for a good cleaning, and realized the gravity of the situation… I had just obtained a $400 vacuum for less than a tenth of its original cost.

Scott and I spent the rest of the weekend on a serious My So-Called Life binge (thank you, Sary B.). I forgot how much I loved that show and how much it shaped and affected my adolescence. Though our marathon isn’t over yet – four more episodes to go – minute 2:58 of this clip is the absolute best moment of the series, hands down.

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parenting for dummies.

The fact that there is actually a book with this title says it all. How did raising a kid stop being something that came naturally to a person and turn into something that needs guidance and molding and rules and feedback from others in an online forum?

Nothing’s been getting under my skin like two phrases I’ve seen lately bandied about the Internet: “helicopter parenting” and “free range kids.” Diametrical opposites, these two labels are to what modern parents have been reduced. I’m not sure if they annoy me more than the parade of banal acronyms like SAHM, SAHD, DD, etc., but they’re getting pretty goddamned close.

First, let me address those “helicopter parents.” Those who practice this, either knowingly or not, are crazy and horribly sad. Get off the poor kids’ backs! Don’t neglect them, don’t forego safety, but give them some breathing room. Don’t live vicariously through your kid because your childhood was lame. Get over it. You’re going to wind up with a child who will either suffocate under the pressure of your presence or be completely incapable of doing anything without you. You can’t, and shouldn’t, micromanage a childhood. George Carlin has a good tirade on this in his most recent HBO standup, and I highly recommend it.

“Next up, grade school! Where he won’t be able to play tag because it ‘encourages victimization’ and he won’t be allowed to play dodgeball because it’s ‘exclusionary’ and it ‘promotes aggression.’ Standing around is still okay, standing around is still permitted. But it won’t be for long, because sooner or later, some kid is gonna be standing around and his foot will fall asleep and his parents will sue the school and it’ll be good-bye, fuckin’ standing around.”

The antithesis of helicopter parenting is a relatively new term, “free range kids.” Please! Stop! Is this a joke? Okay, okay, so you don’t like helicopter parents, I don’t, either. But is it really necessary to start a movement to promote leaving your kids the fuck alone? Have we sunk this low?

Take a step back: they’re children. They want nothing more than to have fun, play outside, make noise, talk about poop, watch some TV, and eat candy. That’s what we did when we were kids, right? Some of my best childhood memories involve playing blocks away from my house in a cemetery and drinking gallons of kool-aid. And I didn’t end up retarded, morbidly obese, or a criminal.

Let the kid get out of the house and play. But don’t start a blog devoted to the cutesy nickname you gave the action of doing so.

on $4 gas, the economy, and “being green.”

Lately, you can’t pick up a magazine or newspaper that doesn’t have an article reading “10 Easy Ways Go Green With Your Family and Save Money and Have Fun and Bake a Cake and Save Puppies!!!” And let me just tell you how much that fucking irks me.

With tips like buying generic groceries, growing your own vegetables, and “ditch your gas-guzzling SUV and take the bus!” these articles aren’t just annoying, they’re old, they’re tired, and they need a healthy dose of realism. You are not going to beat the economy and find magical savings by propagating your own radishes. You’re just going to have a lot of radishes to eat.

I live in a town that is very big on being eco-friendly. We have good co-op groceries, we have a wonderful farmer’s market, we have curbside recycling, we have a shit ton of bicyclists (who, by the way,  have an amazingly obnoxious sense of road entitlement), and I could get advice on how to start a compost pile  or knit a blanket out of old newspapers from probably 6 out of 10 people I’d stop on the street.

But thanks to an old concern from a few years back, urban sprawl, if I wanted to ride the bus to work, I would have to leave my house at 6:30 in the morning, catch the bus, switch buses at the main station, switch buses again, and I’d get to work around 8:45. Or, I could just drive my non-gas-guzzling Ford Focus and get to work in ten minutes. But I still have to pay upwards to $4 a gallon for my gas.

Remember all those grocery stores I mentioned? They’re the place to get your bulghur wheat in bulk, your vegan cheese alternatives, your organic chapstick. If you’re into eating organically and into being eco-trendy, that is where you shop. But those stores are not only the most expensive places in town to get your goods, they’re in such unfortunate locations that unless you live downtown, you have to drive to get there. You could always turn to the “organic” options at Kroger, but you still end up spending more, so there goes all the money you saved riding your goddamned bicycle everywhere.

So what’s the fix? If you want to be close to your green and friendly groceries, if you want to walk everywhere, if you want to be close to the essentials – the library, the post office, the farmer’s market, the bars, the stores – you move downtown. But then what about a job? A great deal of the jobs are outside the center of town. How to you get to work? See above for details about the shitty bus system.

I’m not saying it can’t be done. I know lots of people who do it. But these people are fortunate enough to have a job downtown (or, hell, a job at all) and/or they don’t have kids. The people who are hit hardest by the recession we’re not in, by the high gas prices, by the decrease in job growth and the grinding halt of wage increases are your average, lower- to upper-middle-class families. These people make the cuts they can – in my town, most of them are driving their kids around in beat-up Volvo station wagons or Honda Odysseys. You think about growing your own produce, you buy what you can and what’s useful from the farmer’s market (notice I haven’t complained about that, mostly because I love it so much). You combine your trips around town. You walk when you can, you clip coupons and discount shop. But you hold your breath and hope that you aren’t one of the hundreds laid off the next time. You cringe when gas rockets up another 15 cents. You get pissed off at the bicyclist in the middle of the road, clogging traffic when there’s a perfectly good sidewalk three feet away.

There’s no solution. There’s just coping and bitching, because it isn’t something the people can control. We’re in a recession and we’re going to be for a very long time. So stop with the fucking articles already. In fact, if “going green” is really such a big deal, stop printing the magazines in the first place.

 

pulverized by this latest thing.

Oh god, how absolutely unnecessary is it to make Grey Gardens into a feature-length film? Starring Drew Barrymore? The reason the movie is so enjoyable in the first place is because it’s a documentary – it’s real people, it’s the real way they live, it’s their real story. Throw in Drew Barrymore and it’s just Home Fries with scarves and lots of stray cats.

but i really like dessert.

See that delicious cheesecake? It’s contributing to the newest phenomenon to enter my pregnancy, the fat face. So far, no one seems to have noticed, and if they have, no one’s saying anything. But I see it. Yes, I do. In photos. My nose looks weird and there is another chin slowly blooming. I’m trying to be cool about this. I gained 70 pounds when I was pregnant with Kya, and there are very few pictures from those days. Mostly because I didn’t have a digital camera then, but also because I was an awkward 19-year-old with some bad hair and clothes, so the pregnancy was pretty ugly. But I’m making a conscious effort to not allow that to happen again. I think having other kids to run around after is helping. Damn, that cheesecake was good, though.

I’m reaching the not-so-lazy point of pregnancy. I actually started cleaning out a closet yesterday. I made granola. I’m finally returning books to the library and a movie I’ve had for over a month back to Netflix. I should enjoy this while it lasts, because in a couple months, I won’t even want to leave the house.

Oh, and Baby Mama opens this weekend. I am so going to see it.

 

 

and then i got real boring.

  • I don’t feel like blogging much these days.
  • Because I’m busy at work and our hard drive crashed and I’m pregnant.
  • There have been two earthquakes in my neck of the woods today. I felt one. It was fucking weird.
  • Scott and I have been developing some baby names lately. I won’t share, but some of the funnier ones tossed around: Worf, Lee Harvey, and Taco.
  • E’s birthday was Tuesday and we’re going to a jazz club tomorrow to celebrate. Jazz club!
  • The baby is really low and likes to dance on my bladder.
  • Kya and I went to Chicago last weekend to meet Aughra, Poo, and kids. It was a totally awesome time. You can see Aughra’s pictures here.
  • I had to explain the presidential race to a four-year-old last night. That was funny.