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Dear Neighbor

Dear neighbor,

It was brought to my attention that you are a regular visitor to my page, so I figured that warranted your very own post.  I discovered that you enjoy reading my material after my young son notified me.  How did he know?  Well, it turns out you enjoy gossiping with your own young child about people you don’t know and things you don’t understand, telling your child Lord knows what about me.  Very mature of you to teach a child that talking poorly about people so openly, especially people you don’t know, is an acceptable thing to do.  And before you call me a hypocrite, this is my page where I get to say what I want, and the things here aren’t shared with my ten-year-old, because I’m a good parent.

It’s a bit confusing how you can dislike someone you’ve never bothered to speak to and who has never done anything to you.  We gave up waving and saying hello to you a few months after moving in because your phone and/or cigarettes always seemed to hold your attention better than the world around you.  Even though you ignored our attempts to be friendly, we still waved here and there.  I can only assume that the reason you decided to act like a bratty teenager was because of my personal nightmare neighbor who has nothing better to do than call the police on me for parking in my driveway, threaten me with physical violence, and then spread nonsense down the street to make herself look like a wounded princess.  It would make sense that two weak-minded people would band together though, so I can’t say that I’m surprised.

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I have never complained to you or elsewhere when your kids are screaming at each other at all hours, nor have I complained to you or elsewhere when your dog gets loose in surrounding yards.  I don’t “have it out” for people I live near, spending all my free time plotting ways to make their lives miserable.  You want to know why that fragile Princess is complaining about me?  Because she’s wrong, I am right, and she can’t stand it.  She hates being proved wrong.  She hates the fact that I enjoy my privacy and don’t want her kids using my yard and driveway as a playground, or bouncing balls off of my house.  She hates the fact that she failed as a pet owner and we weren’t afraid to call her on it (I mean, who leaves a dog out in the cold, freezing rain with the lights off? That’s just cruel).  She hates that I don’t buy her “charming victim” act like so many other people do.  She hates that her boyfriend’s “we were here first” argument is bullshit that I’m not standing for.  If complaining about me makes her feel better about her miserable existence, I say go for it.  And you too!

Should I feel honored that you come here to read my page day after day?  I’ve personally never been so curious about a stranger, especially one who lives in such close proximity that I could pop my head outside at any moment if I had a question, that I’ve hopped on Google to find them.  I’ve certainly never been so obsessed that I’ve found said stranger’s online information and then proceeded to spend hours upon hours reading through it.  And I’ve definitely been so crazed about that stranger that I’ve discussed them with my young child, teaching that child that being a petty gossiping fool is a good way to live life.  If you haven’t noticed, I enjoy keeping to myself.  It’s only when provoked, I have to come out of my cozy little world and set things straight.

I tried my best with that little Princess who thinks I’m the devil.  I let a lot of things slide, telling myself that it’s not worth bringing up and to let it go.  That was until Princess accused me of yelling at her kid, approaching me by saying “did we do something to offend you?” and refusing to listen to anything I had to say because her precious children would never lie when they are caught doing something wrong.  The other shoe dropped when Princess and her Knight in Shining Hoodie had their drunk party guests on my property, leaving cigarette butts and other trash in my yard.  Quite honestly, I should have called the police, considering how loud they were and how many new colorful words my son could hear through the closed window, but I let it go.  It was a learning experience; I learned that it was in my best interest to stop trying to be nice to someone who has zero respect for other people if they aren’t interested in kissing her entitled prissy ass.

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There are many differences between you and I, but one key difference is that I am minding my own business as best as I can.  I’m not seeking out people to annoy, I’m not teaching my children to be dicks to others, and I’m not posting petty nonsense on a neighborhood website.  I’m not the one allowing her children to bother other neighbors.  I’m not the one having loud parties.  I’m not the one littering my cigarette butts and beer bottles everywhere.  I’m not the one letting her dog bark outside unattended while I update my Facebook.  I’m not the one blocking mailboxes or parking in front of other people’s homes.  I’m not the one acting like a pathetic unpopular high school girl by spreading lies like a disease throughout the neighborhood in a sad attempt to make myself feel better.  I’m not the one obsessing over other people, staring at my phone or laptop for hours as I try to delve into their lives through whatever I can find online.  If you come into my personal space without permission, I take steps to remove you and then I go about my business.  Simple as that.

Thankfully, my child is wise enough to recognize stupidity when he sees it and isn’t about to buy into your crap.  Your decision to involve your child, and in effect involve mine, fortunately managed to slide right off of his back because he is smart enough to see how petty and childish your behavior is.  Getting a preteen to fight an imaginary battle for you?  Come on now.  Taking sides in an imaginary battle for the street?  Ridiculous.  I can only imagine how you must live the rest of your life if this is how you act towards someone you don’t even know.  Looking back, I’m grateful you never waved back to us or engaged us, because I would not be caught dead associating with someone on your level.  I prefer to stay out of the dirt.

I hope you enjoyed reading this, and I hope it encourages you to find a healthier hobby and get the fuck off of my website.  Perhaps you get a library card and find some good books to read?  Maybe take up crocheting?  Go on a nice long walk?  Find something better to do with your time than discuss my family and poison your child’s mind.  Mind your own damn business, because that’s what I’ve been doing and it works wonders.  You are barely a blip on my radar, and once I post this, you will again cease to exist in my world.  You are less than a gnat to me.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.  Neighbors don’t all have to be best friends, we just have to respect the laws and boundaries and personal space of others.  Stay out of my orbit and I stay out of yours.  Simple.  Oh, and next time you see your privileged princess friend, blow her a kiss for me, will you?

 

p.s. if you’re thinking of retaliating on the neighborhood page, think again.  The site is VERY clear on what constitutes harassment and I will not hesitate to report you and contact the proper authorities in order to shut you down. You want to have a say? Say it right here or grow a pair and come say it to my face. 

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Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!  I hope you’re all so busy with friends and family that you’re reading this days after the fact.  My husband is cooking up a delicious dairy-free feast to accommodate my annoying and untimely new food allergy, my mother-in-law will be visiting and bringing goodies of her own, and I get 4 blissful days off of work.  I’m also too broke to even think about shopping on Friday, but even with unlimited funds, I wouldn’t be going anywhere.

The first Black Friday I ever worked was at Shoe Carnival where I worked a 6am to 10pm shift and watched people behave like animals.  I saw two women get into a fist fight over a pair of shoes while their kids watched.  I witnessed the worst of people in a concentrated form, and it was terrifying.  These days, a 6am opening is lame compared to the stores who open as early as 2pm on Thanksgiving Day to give shoppers early access to sales.  It’s a horrible thing.

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Supply and demand keeps stores stretching further and further into Thanksgiving.  Midnight worked for a while, but even that wasn’t enough, so now, retail employees across the country find themselves having an early dinner (or skipping it altogether) so they can go to work and appease the crazies who have nothing better to do than map out a strategy to hit as many stores as possible in 24 hours so they can maybe save a couple hundred dollars.

I do most of my Christmas shopping online at this point because I see no point in going to stand in line at Target at 4am to maybe get a good deal on a flat screen sold to me buy some guy who would rather be at home playing Xbox while slowly slipping into a turkey-induced food coma.  There are places that definitely need to be open on Thanksgiving; you need gas stations, law enforcement, some type of food services (grocery, fast food, or otherwise), health care, and so on.  We do not need to have TJ Maxx, GameStop, Best Buy, Walmart, or other businesses who sell things no one really NEEDS on Thanksgiving.  Let those employees have a day off.  They’re going to suffer enough on Friday, why can’t we let them take Turkey Day off?

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If we stop giving in to the pressure and stay home on Thanksgiving, stores will stop with these insane hours and stupid sales.  Even if you don’t care at all about Thanksgiving, you should care about having a day off from the real world.  A day where everything can go quiet and you can focus on being with loved ones, being with yourself, or just taking some quality time for your favorite activity.  If you honestly can’t control yourself (or can’t stand your family) and HAVE to go shopping before you start convulsing, go online shopping.  Lock yourself in a room and go bid-happy on eBay.  Find something to do that doesn’t involve making retail employees leave their house so you can get $5 off a new jacket.

Today is either a wonderful day to spend with family or the perfect day to sleep until 4pm.  Either way, it’s a day we all deserve to take advantage of and stay away from the harsh neon lights of the Super Stores down the street.  Stop being a mindless retail puppet, lured from your home by the promise of 50% off Playstation games.  The only alarms you set should be food prep related, and the only reason to get out of sweatpants should be to change into a pair of even stretchier sweatpants.  And if you do choose to ignore me because the deals at Sears are just TOO good to pass up, try not to be a cunt to those who are skipping their holiday just so you can buy a weed wacker and electric drill.

I QUIT

I am still recovering from one of the worst weekends I have ever had.  I had to hit Walmart on Friday after work to get drinks, breakfast, dog treats, and a couple of books for my child in order to prepare for 8+ hours in the car on Saturday.  My mother-in-law is moving to Ohio, right down the street from her mom, so she’ll be able to take care of her in her golden years.  When I stopped by my mom-in-law’s house, she was frantic.  There were boxes everywhere, her moving truck was partially loaded with even more boxes, furniture was upended and leaning against walls, and she looked as if she hadn’t slept in days.  She gave me some food to take home, as she unplugged her fridge to take it with her and couldn’t keep the cold items.  I ran home to drop off our groceries and ended up coming right back to help load the truck.  My husband, coming off of a 50 hour work week, came straight from work to help load the truck.  We spent about two hours there until we ran out of room to put things.

My mom-in-law’s friend J came to help, and by help I mean she stood around watching.  At one point J rinsed off a bunch of cups and threw the wet glassware into a large garbage bag.  At another point, she was dragging a wet rag across the counters over and over again.  To call her useless would be a compliment.  Her husband L arrived eventually to help my husband with the fridge and other large items.  My son ate some leftover pizza while we worked, packed, and got rained on.  When we were finally finished, I took off to grab some Chinese food and my husband and boy went home to see to the dog and get into comfortable clothes.  After eating, we went about getting as much ready as possible for the road trip the next day and went to sleep around 10:30pm.

Saturday morning, my alarm sounded at 4:30am.  My husband was already in the shower, so I got up and got our dog’s food ready.  We all had breakfast, picking from the goodies I purchased the day before, in order to cut down on the number of stops we’d have to make between home and mom-in-law’s new house.  I also packed my son’s lunch bag with a ton of goodies and had quite a few drinks and snacks for myself and the husband.  We arrived at mom-in-law’s at 6am, only to see J and L still loading things up.  After some groggy hellos, we hit the road at 6:30am.

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At 8am, after making some great time, my mom-in-law calls my husband to say that they are going to stop at Steak N Shake for a sit-down breakfast.  This is ridiculous.  I’ve been on many trips with my mom-in-law to Ohio and when we stop for food, we do it via drive-thru before leaving our hometown.  No doubt in my mind, J has talked her into halting our entire trip to go eat.  I decided to go in with them because my boy wanted a milkshake, and my husband waited with our dog by the car.  We were there for 30 minutes, 28 of which I spent being horribly embarrassed because the adults I was with decided to treat our poor waitress like complete shit.  “What kind of restaurant doesn’t have biscuits?!?” (the truck was delayed)  “OUR Steak N Shake doesn’t treat their customers like this.”  “Should have expected this kind of bad service in Ohio.”  “Why isn’t there butter on my toast?  Who doesn’t butter their toast??” (there was plenty of butter).  This went on the whole time, and our waitress was not only very pleasant, she was quick and efficient and did a fantastic job.  I left all the $1s I had on the table as a way to make up for everyone acting like an ass.  I wish I could have left more.

After breakfast, we let everyone else go ahead and popped by a gas station for coffee and to cool down.  Since the moving truck can’t go very fast, we were able to catch up to everyone after about 30 minutes.  Finally, after what felt like forever, we were parked and ready to begin unloading.  We were expecting to arrive and find my sister-in-law and her husband, three guys from the local church, and my husband’s cousin and her husband.  We arrived to find my husband’s grandmother and some random old lady whose name was not worth learning.  I’ll call her Waste Of Space.  The moving truck finally gets backed into the driveway and we get to work.

My husband, my mom-in-law, and myself are the only people worth a damn when it comes to unloading this truck.  J is doing a whole lot of standing around, making jokes about how she doesn’t have to move the fridge or any heavy furniture, and making me wonder why the hell she bothered coming in the first place.  Waste Of Space insists on not only standing right at the end of the moving truck ramp in everyone’s way, but reading boxes to me as if I’m an illiterate fool who doesn’t understand how to move a box from point A and place it in spot B.  When she’s not blocking the ramp, she’s busy standing on the basement stairs, holding our her scrawny arms to “help” while people are already navigating down the stairway.  I find myself secretly hoping she has narcolepsy and passes out somewhere.

The stress of the move finally gets to my mom-in-law and she starts getting snippy.  Totally understandable when you’re dealing with people moving your life out of a truck and into your new home, but it rubbed my husband the wrong way and he let her know.  Mom-in-law overreacted about us moving boxes because she failed to communicate that the boxes were now meant to go to a second garage.  He didn’t yell, didn’t scream or cuss, just got snippy right back.  That was it.  Typical mother and adult child interaction, tame by most standards.  J apparently thought it was the worst thing ever, so she texted my sister-in-law “Jamie and your mom are already into it.  Didn’t take long!”  Little did her brilliant mind realize that she replied to a mass text.  I got that text, and so did my husband.

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Once he saw that, he went over to the second garage where boxes were now being unloaded, walked in and said “Who sent this text?”  J, with a smirk on her face, said that it was her.  My husband, acting a lot calmer than I probably would have, was in the process of calling out this woman for her immature behavior when L chimed in from the truck, saying “you don’t talk to my wife like that!  Asshole!”  At that point, my husband laughed and announced that we were leaving.  I followed behind, fighting the urge to get in L’s face as he yelled insults at my husband from the safety of the moving truck.  Idiot.

I don’t know what kind of friend J is meant to be to my mom-in-law, or what kind of friend L is to her either, but no friends of mine are going to talk trash about my kid and remain my friend.  My husband assured his mother that he wasn’t mad at her, but also wasn’t going to hang around and be disrespected by some idiots (my word, not his).  He told her that she needs new friends.  And with that, we began the four-hour drive back home.  We were only there for 90 minutes before people started acting like idiots.  Total waste of a Saturday, but at least we were able to unload the beds and most of the furniture.  The mystery church guys and my sister and brother-in-law could handle the rest, if they ever decided to show up.  We were done.

On Sunday, my husband received a text from his mom saying that J was sorry.  Maybe I’m petty, but I don’t think anyone should have to accept a second-hand apology.  Be an adult.  If you’re sorry, be direct with the person you offended.  Otherwise, don’t say anything at all.  She wasn’t sorry.  L wasn’t sorry.  I should have known what kind of people they were when I saw how they treated that poor waitress.  I’m glad to be rid of them, and I’m making sure that my son is never around my mom-in-law if J or L also plan on being around.

To top off our kick-ass Saturday, our washing machine crapped out on Sunday.  It flooded our kitchen, which was a delight to clean up.  The dryer is also acting up.  And no, we don’t have extra cash lying around to replace it because of so many other things we have going on right now.  We had soaking wet towels everywhere.  The plan to borrow my mom-in-law’s washer and dryer failed because she decided to randomly come home early.  A candle got knocked over, getting wax all over the carpet, bookshelf, collectibles, TV, and my husband’s hair.  I’m amazed that nothing caught fire.  And to top it off, I don’t get Columbus day off like everyone else in my house, so I was up way too damn early again, in the office, dealing with new temp staff that are too stupid to really exist.  Plus I got stuck in the rain during a fire drill at work and was wet all day long.  I’m mentally and physically drained.  I quit.

Farewell

I am absolutely horrible at dealing with death.  Having a person here one day and gone the next is something I’ll never quite get used to.  It doesn’t help that I’m slightly terrified by dead bodies and act like a royal idiot every rare instance I am in a funeral home.  When it comes to properly dealing with death, I am completely clueless.  I cry randomly when it makes no sense, but remain dry-eyed in moments I should be in tears.  I never know what to say or do or how to act.  I almost prefer to be notified via text message so I can deal with things in my own way without embarrassing myself or offending anyone.

Everyone deals with death in a different way, and lately I’ve had front row tickets to all the different ways we try to process the loss of life.  Some people blame themselves, even though in just about every instance, there was nothing they could have done to prevent whatever happened.  Some people blame the deceased, wondering why they couldn’t have done things differently so they could still be here.  Anger is a big one; we get angry at the family, at friends or coworkers, at ourselves, or at anything we perceive as not right or proper.  Others just withdraw into themselves, as if hiding will make the death something that was all a bad dream.

People have a funny way of coming together in times of tragedy.  Estranged family members are suddenly best of friends, hugging and crying and laughing together as they work through each day and try to heal.  Sometimes the change is a long lasting one, but more often than not, everyone goes back to ignoring each other within a month or two.  It’s a shame that the effects never seem to be long lasting ones, but I suppose it’s better than nothing at all.

Right now, I am dealing by avoiding as much as I possibly can.  From the get-go, people have been horrendously ugly with each other, even going as far as saying certain family members did not have the right to attend a viewing.  Some people seem concerned with who gets what, totally driven by money and objects while completely ignoring the fact that someone is gone from this world forever.  There are plots and theories and things being said that are better suited for an episode of CSI.  I simply cannot deal with it anymore.

Call me selfish if you will, but I decided to skip a memorial service earlier today.  I declined to go because I did not want to deal with someone who planned to block the door and not allow certain people inside (even though it’s a public service, so it wouldn’t have worked in the end).  I declined because I can’t listen to one more theory about what REALLY happened and who is REALLY responsible.  I declined because I find it disgusting how certain people are behaving when we should all be honoring someone’s life and remembering them fondly in death.

I am terrible at dealing with death.  But I’ve discovered that there are a lot of people who deal with it a hundred times worse than I ever have.  I’ve learned that in the end, the way you deal is not important.  What is important is that the memory of the one we lost is honored somehow.  Differences are put aside and we all treat each other like human beings for a while.  Death is a reminder of how short and fragile life is.  When someone dies, we shouldn’t waste time hating each other and acting like self-absorbed strangers.  That’s no way to live.  If I’ve learned one thing this past week, it is that I waste too much time on negativity.  I don’t want to do that anymore.  And when I die, I want the people I’ve left behind to get along, not argue over who gets what or blame each other for my passing.  Life is too short to be wasted on bullshit.

Thirty Three

Well, it’s finally happened.  I have reached the point in my life where my birthday is no longer the big deal I once thought it to be.  My birthday is this Friday and I will be spending eight and a half hours of it at my desk at work.  I’ll be attending a promotion ceremony for a coworker, chasing around civilians for their time cards, and fielding calls and emails that are too boring to even mention.  I have zero plans to go out and drink or party or get myself in trouble, although my husband is likely planning to do something amazing for dinner that evening.  All my excitement about the next few days is reserved for the two WWE events in June that my husband and I have tickets for, and the gifts that he’s worked so hard to make perfect.  But as far as my birthday itself?  Who cares?

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Let me assure you, my reluctance to make a big deal of a day that comes around every year has nothing to do with my desire to still be in my 20s, my inability to organize a perfect party, or my friends and family failing to make this into the huge production I secretly desire it to be.  I would much rather celebrate someone else’s big day and allow them to be the center of attention so I can enjoy myself than be the person of the hour and have all eyes on me.  I don’t expect my family to go for broke to make my birthday a huge deal and I’d feel horribly guilty if they ever did so.  I’m perfectly content with my age and the stage I’m currently at in life and sure as hell wouldn’t trade it for my 20s.  Unless we’re talking my metabolism from ten years ago, which I will gladly accept.

I’ve been watching an acquaintance of mine go crazy over her birthday, which is around the same time as mine.  She’s organizing two days of events and trying to get the maximum amount of people involved.  I keep seeing her stress about who is going to what event, who wants to do what, and a whole lot of other things that don’t seem like the kind of things one should worry about on a day they are meant to be having fun.  I won’t be going to her big event, as she scheduled it on my birthday and I feel weird about celebrating someone else’s day on my own with a bunch of her friends that I don’t know.  Unfortunately, my decision seems to have hurt her feelings, but I’d rather just have a quiet evening with my husband followed by some quality time with the child.

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Right now, there are so many amazing things set to happen that my birthday is the least of my worries or concerns.  Not only do we have a WWE Pay Per View to attend and a Raw to get to the following day, but we have some major life changes in our very near future that dwarf any birthday when compared side by side.  (Not a baby.  No one mention a baby.  There is no baby.)  It would be selfish of me to try to make this Friday into a big production when we have so many other things going on.  Not only do I not care about turning 33 all that much, I have no desire to put anything else on the back burner simply so I can feel like a princess for a few hours.  I don’t know what my husband has planned, but I know he’ll make me feel special and spoiled, and that is more than enough.

My birthday should be whatever I want it to be.  If I want it to be just another day, throw me a happy birthday wish and be done with it.  I promise it’s not some weird female trick in order to get presents and surprise parties.  Hell, you can even forget about it entirely and I won’t be put off or offended.  If I snap one day and try to organize the biggest party ever, you should decline to attend guilt-free if you so choose.  I’ve lost count of the birthday celebrations I’ve had to skip due to financial issues, scheduling conflicts, or just because I didn’t feel like going.  And that’s okay.  Birthdays shouldn’t be about how many people can be forced to celebrate your day.  It should be about what you want to do, who you want to do it with, and what kind of happiness you can find with whatever you receive.  The way I see it, as long as I’m smiling, the day went exactly as it should have.

Merry Christmas!!

Right now, I’m powering through some work so I can get out of this office and back to my family.  My husband has some delicious Omaha Steaks on the menu for this evening, our boy is anxious to watch a Christmas movie or two, and I’m ready to settle in for the evening with a glass of wine and a blanket.  I hope everyone has a safe and wonderful Christmas!

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Shrinking Christmas

I’ve been quite absent from the blogging world as of late.  With Christmas just 20 days away, our office Christmas party that I’ve been planning just 24 hours away, and the various stresses of having my pay screwed up, I’ve been purposely avoiding posting anything because it would be nothing but complaints.  Thankfully though, the whiners in my office have mostly quieted down, my husband has done wonders in reducing my silly holiday stress, and our DVR is finally down to a single digit count of recordings.

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Anyone who says the holidays aren’t stressful is either rich and content with being alone, or a dirty liar.  My husband’s extended family in Ohio hosts a Christmas get-together annually, which was one of the things that was getting to me and keeping me from even logging in to this page.  We live furthest away from his grandmother’s house (where it is always held, except for one year when grandma made a reluctant exception to accommodate my sister-in-law and her newborn), so we have to get up incredibly early to make the four hour drive, getting there earlier than anyone else since my mother-in-law has to help cook, and then we have to try to leave at a decent time to drive the four hours back and let our poor dog out so he can get some relief and some food.  Last year, we were sick, which was a blessing in disguise because we didn’t go.  That year, it was decided that rather than just buying gifts like normal, the adults would draw a name and buy up to $50 worth of something for that one person.  As far as the kids, everyone buys for all of them.

I hate this idea.  My husband and I ended up with his uncle (who we see once a year or less) and his sister (which we see much more often, plus we’ll see on Christmas anyway).  My mother-in-law just recently tried to give my husband a stack of gifts for grandma so we could wrap them and pretend they were from us.  Why…. I’m not quite sure, since I got the impression that drawing names was her idea because of her limited income.  Let me be clear; I am an adult and I’m not trying to suck every last dime out of an elderly woman so I have a stack of goodies to unwrap.  I will gladly give up the Yankee candle that she usually gets for me and just be happy with a card and a hug.  I don’t want to be limited to buying gifts just for one person when I’d love to get something for my husband’s younger cousin and when I found something perfect for his aunt.  It’s silly and it’s not what a family Christmas should be like.

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Another reason for the name drawing idea is due to the fact that my husband’s younger cousin (who was just married last year and who isn’t rolling in dough like her sister and my sister-in-law) was unable to afford gifts for anyone but the kids for our 2011 Christmas.  This angered someone who didn’t get a gift, which spawned this awful name drawing idea.  In all honesty, I didn’t even notice that she hadn’t gotten me a gift until it was brought up that someone was cranky.  I saw the gift she got for my son, thought it was adorable, and hoped she liked what I got for her and her husband (then boyfriend).  I was just happy to see her and to see everyone mostly getting along.

Christmas isn’t meant to be about how many gifts you can squeeze out of family members or tallying up how much person X spent on person Y.  The whole point is to spend some quality time together and to have fun.  By putting emphasis on who gets what for who, the fun and the joy is taken out of the day and we’re left with something that isn’t worth an eight hour round trip drive.  My husband has told my mother-in-law that we won’t be going once again this year.  I’ll be sending a bag of gifts for the kids and for my uncle and sister-in-law, but I’m doing it out of obligation and not out of want.  That isn’t what Christmas should be.

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My husband pulled me out of the funk I was in over this Christmas by telling me to quit worrying about people who I see once every 365 days, who I barely know, and who likely won’t care one way or the other if I’m there or not.  He got me focused back on my family HERE and making sure that WE have a fantastic holiday.  Does that sound selfish?  Absolutely, but it’s not meant to.  I’m an atheist, so I’m unmoved by the prayer and bible readings that my aunt has every Ohio Christmas before food and gifts.  I don’t celebrate the day to honor a deity, I celebrate to be with family and to put smiles on the faces of my loved ones.  I don’t celebrate as a way to appease every single person who I associate with, I celebrate to show my love to people who appreciate it fully.  I want my husband and son to have the best Christmas in history and I want to make my mother-in-law smile with some gifts from the heart.

I’m finally not ashamed to say that I am currently guilt free about skipping Christmas in Ohio.  I’m looking forward to spending the day at home with my husband and kid and dog rather than spending 8 hours in the car, all of us complaining on the drive up and complaining even more about everyone’s behavior on the drive back.  I’m glad my poor pup won’t be alone in the house for 12+ hours and that my kid won’t be cranky and miserable, longing for his bed.  I’m happy to be focusing my attention on the people who make me a priority in life and who are a priority in mine.  Mostly, I’m happy to be in a place where I don’t feel as though I have an obligation to please everybody.  I’ll never be able to make everyone happy, so why not spend time on people I KNOW I can make happy rather than people who are barely in my life at all?

Eight Is Great

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My little boy turned eight years old yesterday!!  Like most parents, I am sitting here wondering where the time went.  It seems like only yesterday he was waking me up every two hours needing to be fed and changed.  Taking his first steps, saying his first words, and finding new ways to surprise me each and every day.  Since his birthday was on a Monday this year, we worked to make sure he had a fun weekend beforehand, filled with games and outings and anything else his heart desired.  Monday was all about the presents!

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My boy is a very curious and intelligent kid.  He’s always asking questions and always wanting to take the extra step to figure something out.  He’s very creative and never ceases to amaze me with the things he can come up with.  He’s also shaping up to be a very skilled writer, earning himself the title of Author Of The Month every year of his still short elementary school career.

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Like any kid, he is big into lots of toys and lots of sweets.  I think we definitely delivered on both.  He had a giant pile of presents, a brownie sundae at dinner, and a yummy chocolate cake.  Since he was way too excited for cake yesterday, I put some with his lunch today so he’ll have a nice chocolately surprise with his lunch today at school.  No doubt he’ll also be bragging to his friends about his day yesterday.

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Buying gifts for him now as an eight year old presents a little more of a challenge than it did in the years past.  He is very particular about his likes and dislikes.  He’s also (thankfully) polite enough to hide it when he’s not so impressed with a gift he gets.  No kid gets thrilled about a pack of underwear, but you couldn’t tell by his reaction when he opened that gift from his grandma.  Then again, it’s a bit hard not to get a little happy about superhero boxers.

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He is big into wrestling and constantly tosses around the idea of being a WWE Superstar when he’s older.  There’s no telling whether or not he’ll actually pursue that when he’s older, but I love how into it he is right now.  My hope is that he behaves well enough during the first half of the school year so I can get him into wrestling during the winter in his school.

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He is also a big fan of Legos, but who isn’t?  He’s become very skilled at following the instructions to quickly build various creations, and then taking it all apart to build his own from scratch.  Legos were a huge part of my childhood and it’s fun to see my boy having fun with them as well.  Just as long as he cleans up so they don’t end up lodged in the bottom of my foot late at night.

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He has become picky as well about the clothes he wears, the way his hair is styled, and about his overall appearance.  We try to be very lenient and allow him to pick and choose what he’ll wear and how his hair is cut.  He had a mohawk all summer that he just adored and currently has plans to grow his hair out so he can have “crooked hair” like he saw in a magazine at Sports Clips a month back.  We’ll see how that one goes.

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The gift he was most excited about was a Nintendo DS.  He has been wanting this thing for a couple of years now, but hasn’t managed to act responsible enough to get it until this year.  We were incredibly happy to finally get it for him.  His reaction was priceless!  Very grateful for Gamestop; we were able to get eight games for under $60 to get him started.

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Overall, I think he had a fantastic few days to celebrate his birthday.  He was up before I was this morning playing with the DS, so I think it’s safe to say that he loves the thing.  Our little boy is growing up and I love that kid to pieces.  Here’s hoping year eight is just as great as the previous seven.

Dear “Mom”

To my “mother,”

Since you apparently come here to read my words and frequently visit my Twitter page (in spite of your claim of not caring one way or the other about me), I figured it would be appropriate to write you a letter.  And no, it’s not slander as you say.  I’m not writing for a newspaper or a magazine.  I write for myself and welcome anyone who wants to take time to read it.  This is an editorial, if it is anything at all.  I don’t give out your personal information, I don’t post your email address so that people can harass you, and I don’t harass you myself.  If you choose to be here, it’s not my problem if you don’t like what you see.

It amazes me that someone who doesn’t care, as you say you do, is willing to spend so much time obsessing over me.  Do you know what I say to people I don’t care about and who I don’t want in my life?  Nothing.  Jack shit.  Unlike you, I don’t go out of my way to contact people who mean nothing to me.  Your hateful email was not only filled with poor grammar, but it was filled with emotion.  YOU can’t let ME go, not the other way around.  You hate that I’m doing so well.  You hate that I’m raising an amazing kid without your help.  You hate that I’m flourishing and growing.  You hate that I’m not an overweight slob like you were at 32.  You hate that I’m not 100% dependent on a man for my survival like you are.  You hate that I still matter to you, so you seek to bring me down so I’m just as miserable as you are.

You can consider me your godless whore of a child if you wish.  Funny, because I’m fairly sure that as a Christian, you are meant to have the belief that only God can judge.  You have no business damning me to hell as you do.  How well do you think you’ll be judged at the pearly gates for the way you treat me?  Where in the Bible does it say that it’s acceptable to throw stones at your own child?  Your faith is so twisted and perverted that it can hardly be called faith at all.  Luke 6:37 states “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”  For someone who claims to be so religious, you sure as hell have no clue what you’re talking about.  Maybe you should read the Bible a tad more closely before you think about writing me another letter.

You have treated me like garbage for as long as I can remember.  You love to project this image of being a loving mother and devoted wife, but we both know the truth.  I can remember being three years old and having you yank my hair back and tell me “this is all your fault” after you got into a verbal altercation with my father.  I remember you slamming a door in my face, causing one of my teeth to fall out.  I remember all the things you try to deny and have probably forgotten about.  You never wanted me as your daughter, and that’s fine.  Pushing someone out of your body does not make someone a mother.  You didn’t become a mother until you had your son, your shining star.  You made it obvious that he was the golden child and I was a mistake.  And no, I’m not bitter.  I am lucky enough to have a mother in my life now who loves me to pieces.  My mother-in-law is a saint and I am endlessly thankful to have her.  She has shown me what a mother truly is.

Your threat to me to share all my dirty secrets with the world is such a silly threat.  Feel free to lie away.  Try and convince the world that I am a terrible person.  Open the closet and let all the skeletons out.  I don’t care.  If anyone wants to believe the words from a bitter old woman, let them.  I know the truth and deep down, so do you.  Anyone who chooses to believe your bullshit is clearly as unstable as you are, and therefore their opinion does not and will not matter to me.  If telling people how awful I am cures your loneliness for a moment, have at it.  If sharing stories about what a mess you think I am makes you feel better about yourself, go for it.  The only people who will buy into your crap are people who are just as damaged as you are.

My son is finally old enough to see what lies underneath your mask.  When he returned from his summer visit, one of the first things he said to me was how mean you are.  Without me even bringing you up, he told me how little he enjoys being around you.  He expressed his desire to never see you again and to only see my father.  He doesn’t understand why you speak so cruelly about me.  And no, before you throw another accusation at me, I do not tell him what I really think of you.  I have no desire to put my child in the middle of a petty battle.  YOU have put him there.  You carelessly threw my child in an uncomfortable place and now I have to try to pick up the pieces and make him understand that everything is okay.  Your spiteful attitude is affecting my child, and I’ll be damned if I let that continue.

Corinthians 13:4-7 states “Love is patient; love is kind. Love is not jealous; is not proud; is not conceited; does not act foolishly; is not selfish; is not easily provoked to anger; keeps no record of wrongs; takes no pleasure in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth; love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.”  I’m sure as an avid reader of the Bible and a good Christian, you’re familiar with those verses.  (Yes, that is laced with sarcasm)  You don’t know what love is.  You have perverted and twisted the meaning of love to fit your warped view on the world.  You don’t love my son, you see him as a tool in your arsenal.  You use him to try to hurt me, just as you use everyone else in your life.  On the positive side though, knowing that you don’t have the faintest idea what love is makes me feel a hell of a lot better about the fact that you never loved your own child.  Monsters aren’t capable of such deep emotion.

I don’t hate you.  I nothing you.  The only reason you ever enter my mind is because my son has the unfortunate luck to be stuck with you a few times a year.  If not for that, you would never be so much as a whisper on my lips.  You are damn lucky that you married such a wonderful and understanding man, otherwise you would be doomed to die alone in an empty room with no one around to mourn the loss.  I have tried so many times to repair our relationship until I finally realized that there is no point in reasoning with a soulless person.  I will wake up tomorrow and the next day with a clear conscience.  You are the one who has to wake up and fight against the weight of the terrible things you have said and done.  Good luck with that.

Mother Of The Year

My parents and I don’t exactly see eye to eye on much.  My relationship with my father has improved over the years, but my mother refuses to make any effort to reconcile with me and seems content in acting as if she does not have a daughter.  Unfortunately for me, I don’t have the luxury of severing ties completely, as they have grandparent visitation rights to see my nearly eight year old son.  This is generally not an issue, as most visits are local ones with just my father, but two or three times a year, my son goes down to Georgia to visit with them both for an extended time.  Recently, they had their two week summer visit in Georgia and my son came back with quite a few stories.

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The first story was one I’ve heard before.  My mother has been telling my boy that I am going to hell.  My mother was never big into church until my little brother got very religious and started playing drums in the church band.  Since then, she began reading religious texts and talking about God quite frequently.  A few Christmases ago, she sent me a letter with a bit of scripture and notes describing what a terrible person I am.  It was something she also did before I moved away; highlighted bible verses with notes on why those words meant I was a bad person.  It was something I just had to get used to and learn to ignore.

My son recently let me know about her now telling him that his mother will be going to hell.  In his words, “Grammy said that you’re going to the bad place downstairs because you’re not a nice person.”  I shouldn’t have been shocked, but I was.  For a grown woman to tell this to an impressionable child simply blew my mind.  This is the same woman who gave me all my baby photos and memorabilia about a year ago with a note about how she didn’t “need this stuff” anymore, so I definitely get that she despises me, but I could not believe that she stooped so low as to bring my child into this.  This resulted in a very uncomfortable conversation with my boy.

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Thankfully he understands (I think) that she is talking nonsense.  My mother-in-law is very religious and by comparing her to my mother, my boy was able to see that no one who believes in God should be talking in that way.  He was able to see the difference between a loving person and one who is just confused and bitter.  I hope that he truly does get it and isn’t walking about thinking that his own mother is doomed to burn for all eternity.  At this point, he is old enough to see that she isn’t the nicest person in the world and he has expressed freely that he doesn’t enjoy his time with her; he prefers visits with just my father where he doesn’t have to listen to poisonous words about his parents.

This morning, my boy let me in on a bit more of what my mother says when I’m not around.  According to him, my mother says that I “stole him from her while she was at work” when he was a baby.  It’s pretty damn difficult for me to steal my own child, but I know that she is referring to the time when I decided to leave Georgia in order to begin a life with my husband in Indiana.  We packed up my belongings and hit the road while my mother was at work in order to avoid her interference.  The stealing part is odd, as both my parents knew about my husband and my plans and knew exactly where I was headed.  They simply didn’t like it.

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I didn’t leave them behind due to some selfish reason or out of spite.  I left because my son and I needed to be in a healthy environment so we could flourish.  I needed to get my child away from the woman who tried multiple times to get my son to call HER mother instead of me.  The woman who physically abused me and might do the same to my son.  The woman who fights with poisonous words as she seeks to make others as miserable as she is.  The woman who refuses to take medication to fix whatever is mentally wrong with her as she falsely accuses me of being bipolar.  My life has been fantastic since leaving and she hates that.

I don’t consider myself to be a bad person, especially not in the way my own mother views me.  Yes, I’m an atheist, but I’m not trying to mold my son into a godless person as well.  He believes in God and likes the idea that we go to heaven when we die, and I don’t try to break that belief, I simply tell him about all the various things that people choose to believe in so he can make his own decision.  I’m not on drugs or drinking to excess, wasting my life away on substance abuse.  I sure as hell am not bipolar and “off my medication” as she claims.  I’m not damaging my son, who is at the top of his class, incredibly curious and eager to learn, and one of the sweetest kids you will ever meet.  I’m not the best mom, but I’m a damn good one and my son knows it and loves me for it.

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Every child needs to choose their own path once they reach adulthood, and there is a pretty good chance that the path won’t be one that the parents imagined.  And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  If my mom had her way, I’d be married to this little shrimp of a guy (because his parents are rich as all get out), living in Georgia as a housewife and raising two or three children, going to the salon weekly, and prancing around town like a little princess with my gorgeous children and my wealthy husband.  The fact that I passed up Mr. Money Bags in favor of a man I love who doesn’t make six figures is incredibly confusing to her.  The improvements I’ve made in my life mean nothing to her because I didn’t do things her way.

Right now, I’m not sure what my next course of action is in order to get her to stop trying to confuse my child and make him think his parents are terrible people.  Reasoning with this woman is next to impossible and due to her health issues, my father is reluctant to interfere and stress her out.  Going back to court is definitely an idea in order to get visitation reduced so that he has less time around her, but that is complicated and timely and sure as hell didn’t go my way the first go round.  I just know I’m going to have to do some serious thinking to solve this because I do not want my son caught in the middle and forced to listen to lies out of the mouth of a broken woman.

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