Archive for the ‘In The News’ Category

Sick cats

December 6, 2011 Leave a comment

I’m not going to add much of my own commentary. I haven’t shut down my account completely but I’m going to avoid using it whenever possible and if I’m sending money or having someone buy something from me, I will make sure that the transaction doesn’t earn paypal any fees, if at all possible. They’ve made enough in the fees that they took from poor families and their donors before they allowed the rest of the money to be frozen so the site owner at regretsy couldn’t send it to the needy people she raised money for.

Please pass this info along. Write to paypal, to the news, to celebrities and talk show hosts, and to your own Facebook/Twitter/Google Plus/Wordpress and whatever else you have. Don’t let Paypal get away with this.

Categories: In The News

My own open letter (contains profanity)

October 12, 2011 4 comments

I was just reading someone else’s open letter and it made me want to write my own to the same person holding that sign in that picture and looking intimidating as he tells us all to quit whining.

Here we go with the entitlement crap again. How easy it is to say “Just work harder…”

Let me tell you something about working harder.

My mom was born in 1950. She dropped out of high school at 16, because back then, a diploma was just a nice thing to have. She was married at 18, abandoned by her husband, divorced, and married again at 19. She was expected to stay home and make babies because women’s lib was just getting started. She didn’t grow up at a time where everyone took out a loan and went to college. A lot of women did, sure, but more did not.

She worked a few jobs over the years, until I was born in 1979. Then she stayed home with me while my father worked. She did have a job here and there, but she wasn’t the breadwinner. She was earning money for Christmas gifts, clothes, and so on. On the outside, we were pretty privileged, except that my father was an alcoholic domestic abuser with a wandering eye.

After having enough of his abuse, she left him with me in tow in 1987. She worked at a nursing home for a while, struggling to put food on the table. She often went without eating and there were many nights that we had peanut butter and crackers for dinner. I didn’t know there was anything wrong with this. I didn’t know there was anything missing when I ate plain hamburger with a spoon. I didn’t know there was anything wrong with drinking powdered milk. My mom made a game of it all, because at that time, they wouldn’t approve my mom for food stamps because she was still legally married to my dad and he made too much money. Bootstraps, blah blah. More like trying not to starve to death.

My mom took a job in August of 1988 at a screw manufacturing company. She was a temp for a year, then she got hired on. She had a 401k. She had insurance. She busted her ass. She worked 10 hours a day during the week,  and 6 hours on Saturday, every single week for 18 years. Granted, the overtime did fizzle out toward the end, but it wasn’t because she wasn’t willing. She is diabetic and the job physically took the life out of her legs and the rest of her body. I watched her, in later years, walk out of that factory crying because she hurt so bad from doing her job, but you know what? She got up the next morning and did it all over again.

In 2007, the factory closed and Rockford’s screw products became China’s screw products. Along with that, between the CEO of the company and the bank in charge, the employees’ 401k match from the company disappeared into thin air. So did a large portion of what was paid in. My mother’s retirement went from $23,000 to $5,000. She had no insurance. She had no job. She had nothing. Fortunately, she lives/lived with her boyfriend so she wasn’t homeless, but she lost everything else. After 18 years of dedication and literally giving her health to her employer because she wasn’t afraid of a hard day’s work, she was left with shit. Absolute shit.

Then her health got even worse. She had no way to pay doctor bills, so she just didn’t go. She couldn’t afford all of her medications, so she just didn’t take them. Or if she did, she’d take partial doses. Obviously, her health got even worse from there. She was eventually approved for social security, and eventually she got medicaid, but at 61 years old, she’s inches away from renal failure. Part of that is because of her own stubbornness, but most of it is because of the damage that was done with some asshole in a suit stole everything she worked for her entire life and left her with no way to take care of herself. Remember, part of that was because of the bank itself. It wasn’t that she didn’t have the money there initially. It was taken from her, along with her co-workers.

My mother has 34% of her kidney function left. She can barely walk. I’m scared to death to go around her when I have a cold because if she gets pneumonia again, she could die. There’s not a damn thing I can do about any of it. I don’t know if she’s 1%, 53%, 99%, or any other number, and frankly, I don’t care. I only care that she’s my mother and I can’t help her because the economy hasn’t been kind to me either.

So don’t tell me or my mom to suck it up, because this could be you someday. All it takes is one bad illness or one oops in your endocrine system and you’ll be walking the very path my mom is on. It’s easy for you to say to stop whining now. You have nothing to whine about.

In the meantime, come here and bend over so I can shove 53% of that sign up your ass.

Have you forgotten?

September 11, 2011 1 comment

I remember where I was. I’ll never forget. If you were alive and beyond childhood, I’m sure you do too. Some of you may have been near one of the sites where the tragedy took place. Some of you may have known someone that was injured or killed. Aside from being an American citizen and having the future of my country changed forever, I wasn’t a victim. I won’t pretend to be. Yes, I feel pain for those that were. In the end, you won’t really care where I was because I was in a safe little suburb in northern Illinois and I knew where all of my family members were – they were all safe with me. I’m a lucky one. I won’t capitalize on someone else’s pain.

What I remember most was watching my television with horrible reception. My friend was in the states for a month or so, visiting from Australia. Her plane flew from one spot to another on September 10th, but in the confusion of that day, I couldn’t swear she wasn’t leaving on the 11th, and I couldn’t remember which airport she was flying out of. I scanned those tickers on the bottom of my television for days, until I heard from her and found out she was okay. I was very pregnant (it was 2 months to the day before my Kimberley was born) and ended up in the hospital because I had such a terrible headache. It turned out not to be my blood pressure. It was the television at home. I still went home, continued eating my entire bag of mounds bars, and waited for word. Finally, I did around the 14th. Then I stopped watching the coverage. How many times did I need to see the buildings crumble, anyway?

A lot has changed in that time. Ten years has gone by. Wars have been started. Wars have supposedly ended, except they haven’t. The president is different. The mayor of New York is different. We will never look at an airport the same way. For those that truly were victims, I’m sure in a lot of ways it seems like time has stood still.

For me, things have changed too. I have a different husband. I have two more kids, making three that have known nothing but war and two more that barely remember anything different. They don’t seem to sell mounds bars in bags anymore. I live in a different town. I have no idea where that friend I lost sleep over even is anymore.

I’m still a stranger offering a moment of silence in a living room in Illinois, but I’m just that. A stranger. I refuse to jump on the bandwagon. I wouldn’t wear a flag pin or shirt 10 years ago, and I won’t repost someone else’s tribute with stars and squiggly lines on it today.

I will never forget, but my exact location doesn’t matter. My existence has no influence on the before or after of 9/11, except in my own world. It’s nice to honor people and my fellow citizens that lost their lives or a loved one that day have my respect, but the only time I’ve ever been directly affected by 9/11 was when it was more complicated to get on a plane to go to Vegas. That hardly gives me a right to claim that I’m a victim of 9/11, on Facebook or otherwise.

Lastly, the title of this blog is referencing a popular country song from that time. In that song, he goes on to say that if it were up to him, he’d show the tragedy on the news everyday. It’s obvious to me that he was only capitalizing on a tragedy to make a buck, because if he had truly lost someone he loved, I highly doubt he’d want to watch them jumping to their death on a daily basis.

No, Mr. Worley, I haven’t forgotten. I never will. I’m sure you haven’t either. How much did you make off this song again?

Curb your selfish attitude.

July 29, 2011 2 comments

By now, we’ve all heard of and/or read the blogs going around the internet telling us how rotten children are and that they should be not seen or heard in any number of places, from airplanes to restaurants to grocery stores. One such article speaks of Whole Foods offering specific hours where children are not allowed in the store, and rather are allowed in a play area/daycare type setting at the front of the store.

We’ve all seen that kid. I’m not talking about the child that is autistic, or the child that is just having a bad day. We all know we’ve seen that one kid in a hundred whose mother isn’t paying a bit of attention to him and he’s running around, doing anything he pleases. He may have rammed you with a shopping cart, or banged into your table while you were doing homework at a fast food joint and his mother laughed about it. He may have ran out in front of your car while his mother didn’t notice because she was on her cell phone.

The thing is, that’s one kid. It’s not every kid. It’s not my kid.

I expect my children to behave in public. I pride myself on it. All but one is neurotypical and the one that isn’t is content as long as it isn’t too crowded or loud, and I’m right there. My kids are friendly. They may ask how you are today or tell you a story about their day at the park. They will not ram you, shake you, or run out in front of you. If my youngest has a bad day, he may cry. Please don’t touch him or get in his face, and you probably won’t have to worry about that anyway. My children may have a bad day here and there, but for the most part, they know how to conduct themselves in public.

Obviously there are kids, especially the 1 in 10 that are autistic, that may get loud or take off running. I’m sure that behind them, you’ll see a mother chasing them to try to protect them and you from harm or being disturbed or whatever. I’m not even talking about those kids. Saying those kids need to stay home is equal to saying that the man driving his wheelchair scooter down the sidewalk should stay home because he may cross in front of you in traffic.

I’m talking about the other 9 out of 10 that don’t stim, etc.

I completely understand why a person wouldn’t want to have children disturbing their meal in a five-star restaurant. If a child is going to sit there and cry, they shouldn’t be there. It is up to the parent to either arrange for a babysitter or remove the child until he or she is calm. A good indicator for me of whether it’s okay for us to be somewhere with our kids is whether that place has an easily accessible high chair.

That does not mean, however, that when I take my child to a restaurant with Family in the title, that I am deserving of dirty looks from the man who took his date to said Family restaurant on Valentine’s Day because he was too cheap for more than burritos and lite beer. Yes, this happened. Also, it’s worth noting that at this Family restaurant that I chose because my babysitter/mother-in-law bailed at the last minute on Valentine’s Day, my infant slept through the entire meal, my toddler was content to eat her quesadilla in peace, the owner’s six children ate quietly at a table in the corner with their mother, and the guy that looked at my baby’s bucket carseat and gave us a dirty look (it was cold and he was sleeping – don’t flame me for using it) was the obnoxious one that everyone else hoped would leave.

You know what I hate more than crying children in a diner? Twenty-something boys that come in and pour sugar all over the table, then drink an entire bottle of syrup on a dare. Those are the idiots that should be banned. I’ve seen that too.

I see both sides of the argument with other situations. I have no problem taking my children to an early showing of a movie or not taking them to one that has adult subject matter. My husband works second shift. A 10 AM showing is actually ideal for us. That may not work for everyone, and I don’t see the harm if your child is quiet or removed if not, as long as the material is child-appropriate. I am way too cheap for First class seats on a plane, and I don’t pick my seat ahead of time (kids or not) because it tends to cost more. Whether I have my kids with me or not, I try my hardest not to sit by the guy glaring at any passing child over his laptop. He doesn’t strike me as the guy I want to be stuck next to for hours, kids or not. I really do try to be respectful of others in those situations. I try to gravitate toward families, even when I don’t have kids with me, because they’re more understanding of all situations. Chances are, they don’t want to be stuck on a plane with their kids for 8 hours either.

However, and this is the thing that gets me most, don’t tell me when I can grocery shop.

First of all, I can guarantee that I spend far more money on food each week than someone that has no children. Hello, I have two teenagers! When it comes to food, I am a big spender. When I’m told not to bring my child somewhere, I don’t go there either. Without me, you also don’t have my money. Hey, though… if you can sustain your business with the syrup drinker and the glaring man, go for it.

I wouldn’t leave any of my children with an underpaid grocery worker that I’ve never met, because that just sounds like a really bad idea. Someone in a thread elsewhere said something along the lines of “Hey, that’s not so bad. I get to grocery shop alone and my kid gets to slide on a slide!” No. If I don’t want my kids with me, I will make my own arrangements to leave them somewhere else. I will not be forced to leave them at the front of the store.

Furthermore, I wouldn’t leave my youngest in a typical daycare so I can work. They don’t have the training to take care of a disabled child. Why on earth would I expect it of a grocery store? In my head, I imagine this grocery worker to be a young person that got a job there because he or she could get easy money to sit and text on a cell phone. This is not good enough for any childcare, but especially not when my child is disabled. He can’t even sit straight and has to support himself with one hand. He’s certainly not going to climb a slide. I’m not going to set up an IFSP for him with Whole Foods so that I can buy organic milk.

Therefore, for me, this seems to tread a fine line between being ridiculous and infringing on my son’s rights under the Individuals With Disabilities Act. So I guess that puts us in that category with the kids that stim that I mentioned above, in some sort of way.

No, I don’t think I’m a special snowflake that has a right to force my kids on someone else when they’re out in public, but I don’t think anyone else is so special that I should make my children stay home for them either. I’m not asking someone to listen to a crying baby while they eat their lobster, but don’t tell me that I can’t keep my children with me when I shop for food.

Lucky for me, we don’t have a Whole Foods but if we did, I’d still shop at Kroger.

Categories: In The News