Saturday, May 30, 2015

A Fairy Tale for You

Did you know that in the original versions of fairy tales some particularly nasty things happened? In Cinderella the wicked step-mother and the evil step-sisters got their eyes pecked out. The Little Mermaid traded her fins for legs...that caused her agonizing pain, and this was after she agreed to have her tongue chopped out. The Prince married someone else anyway and she melted into sea foam. Goldilocks is torn apart and eaten by the 3 Bears.  But Sleeping Beauty is the best of them all...........

Aurora is in the midst of her hundred year nap when the king sees her, gets aroused, and rapes her while she sleeps. Nine months later she gives birth to twins (STILL ASLEEP), and only wakes up when one of the children sucks the flax from her finger.  She is now the mother of two children and a rape victim. It gets even better. The King returns and she falls in love with him....even though he raped her. But... (because a rape isn't all we get folks!) he is actually married to someone else while he is parading around the kingdom raping sleeping women and she doesn't want to let him go!!??!!  She tries to have the twins killed, cooked and fed to the King and tries to burn the Princess at the stake.  

Of course, everyone refers to todays stories as being Disney-ified and that is probably true to a certain extent. But I'm also pretty sure they don't carry all the blame. No one today wants to tell these stories to kids. No one wants to tell these stories to girls and I only say that because it's mostly girls watching/reading these stories. People today like the stories of a damsel in distress, but not too much distress, maybe just some "distress-lite". A Prince to the rescue, happily ever after, true love, blah, blah, blah. Even with Frozen, which was a HUGE leap forward as far as the "You can't marry someone you just met" and the Prince turning out to be a cad and the fact that true loves first kiss was between the sisters, didn't remedy one central problem though. One message that runs through all of todays stories.

Be Nice.  

I know, it doesn't sound like a problem. How about this...."Don't be a Bitch". Sounds worse, but really it's just the opposite of being nice. If you aren't "nice" you are a Bitch, and in todays world that's bad.  

Fairy tales ALWAYS portray the heroine, or damsel, as Nice.The Evil Queen or Wicked Step-Mother is always a Bitch, and she gets hers in the end. Because no one feels sorry for a Bitch. So even when the Prince is a cad, the Princess is still Nice.  

And so the message gets sent. It may, perhaps, be the most damaging and insidious of all the messages. This idea that you must Be Nice. That if you are Not Nice, then that is very, very bad. No one is born to be nice all the time. Just check in with any two year old on the block and you will see just how Not Nice they can be. Responding with automatic niceness is a learned behavior, but it's one we only really teach to girls. Boys are told that Nice Guys Finish Last. An interesting dynamic is then created. You have half the population trained to Be Nice all the time, and the other half being told they should never be nice. So guess who the girls are left feeling like they need to Be Nice to? The boys, of course. I don't think we could have done a better job setting up a society where domestic violence is rampant if we 
were trying.  

I think the original fairy tales were on to something. They were stories of magic and Princes and Princesses, witches, good and evil, to be sure. But in the end, there were consequences, something that seems to be sorely lacking in the updated versions. They were nasty, ugly consequences too. The kind of stuff that would seriously make you think twice about going down that road at all. And that Happily Ever After crap? Who did that ever, ever, ever, ever work for???? Not the dead Little Mermaid, that's for sure. They worked as cautionary tales, not stories where everyone gets everything they ever wanted and wished for by just Being Nice, and that was a good thing.  

So, here is my fairy tale for you, complete with pictures.  Its called

 "This Is The Way Shit Really Happens......"

Once upon a time there was a little girl who wanted to be a princess, mermaid, Zorro. Zorro was a darling little girl who was raised to Be Nice. When all else fails, even if you are mad, you should still Be Nice. As a matter of fact, this is how ALL the girls in the kingdom where Zorro lived were raised, so everywhere she went, the message was reinforced. One day, when Zorro had grown to ripe old age of 19 she meet a loser, asshat, jerk  guy. He was 29.  Zorro thought maybe he was a Prince. She was certain that IF he was a Prince, it was in disguise, as he appeared to be a Hobbit, but still, having heard all the stories she knew that she would have to persevere and someday true love might prevail and reveal his greatness as a person. Her step-mother, Ursula the Sea Hag, and her father, the Carpenter, did not believe there was disguise involved, but Zorro didn't want to know that. As the Hobbit and Zorro continued, it was discovered that he liked to lie  tell fanciful stories. They were always stories about the majestic dragons he had slain and other tales of his all around greatness. Ursula and the Carpenter were very relieved when Zorro decided that the Hobbit was really just a Hobbit and she didn't want to put up with his shit  continue with this particular relationship. So Zorro found a Cowboy to dance with and the Hobbit found someone else too. But...cue the evil music) over the course of 14 months, Zorro and the Hobbit still spoke once in a while. The Hobbit wanted to "be friends". The Hobbit wanted to be "more than friends". Zorro did not. The Hobbit did not take this development well. He invited Zorro over to his home after telling her a gigantic lie  excited story about how he was moving to a new, far away kingdom called ColoRado. Zorro figured that the story was probably a huge fucking lie   untrue, but she went anyway...because according to Zorro "I HAD NO REASON TO NOT BE NICE"  

As we pause for intermission, let me inform the readers that in real life? The real life you are living right now? YOU DON'T NEED A REASON.

Now, back to our story...

When Zorro appeared at the Hobbit's home, she was led in and given a gift by the Hobbit which turned out to be an empty envelope. Then, the Hobbit attacked Zorro. With his weapons. But Zorro was brave and smart and she managed to escape and save herself. The Hobbit had harmed her greatly. He harmed her body, but mostly he harmed her heart.  Zorro is no longer the "Gay Blade" she once was. Now Zorro is sad and scared a lot. Zorro doesn't feel safe in her kingdom anymore. This brings great sorrow to The Carpenter and The Sea Hag.  

Eventually the Palace Guards found and arrested the Hobbit. There was a convening of Wise Ones in the Halls of Justice to decide what should be done with him. They decided that Expediency is easier than Justice, so they offered the Hobbit a Bargain. And what a bargain it was!  If the Hobbit admitted that he did something wrong, not ALL the things, just one, they would let him go. Now, he would have to check in with The Minders every once in a while, but he would be essentially free to live his life.

This upset Zorro even more. This made Zorro even more frightened.

However, since Ursula the Sea Hag is one of the evil villains, she did not feel the need to Be Nice about this.  

With much help from many of her Knowledgeable Friends, she left her secret lair and went to the Halls of Justice herself to tell the Wisest One in charge of all Final Decisions that this was wrong. The Wisest One listened closely to Ursula's stories of how the Hobbit had harmed others in the past and how he was a Danger to the Kingdom. Because she was the wisest of them all, she decided that the Hobbit must be thrown in the dungeon. However, because of the Bargaining of Others, she could only throw him down there for 9 months.

9 Friggin' Months

So when the 9 months are up, Ursula and the Carpenter will once again gather Zorro and Flotsam and Jetsam, their other children, close to them and wait and see what happens. It is a shitty way to live.

The End.

Why is this the end? Because, Boys and Girls, domestic violence isn't taken nearly as seriously in America as it should be. (NFL anyone??) For all our complaining about how other places and cultures demean and degrade women, we are far from perfect. Better?  Yes. But there is no glory in being the best of the worst. We are not what we should be for a place that preaches equality and justice for ALL its people. If he had attacked another man, out on the streets, having a record of prior prison time for Attempted Manslaughter, and was charged with 3 counts of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon and one of Kidnapping, 9 months would never happen  9 years would be more like it. But all they see is a "he said/she said" and no matter how many times women are beaten and hurt in domestic violence situations, they always seem to think that the "she said" is probably just a lie. Even after He admits it's not.

So, here is what I have on my hands now. A 14 year old daughter who prefers Jurassic Park, River Monsters and Planet Earth to princesses and has a mouth on her like nobody's business.  Yet...I am hesitant to overly correct her. I don't want her to think she HAS to be nice. To anyone. Ever. Being nice is a choice, the same as being rude is a choice, but they aren't the ONLY choices. It isn't an either/or situation. There are lots of stopping spots in between. You can always be polite without being nice, just like you can be firm without being rude. You can be calm, quiet, distant, friendly, pleasant, happy, enjoyable...but NICE carries a different meaning to women in this world. NICE tells you to paste a smile on your face, shut up and put up with whatever is coming at you. So I don't want to tell her to Be Nice. Especially to someone who may not deserve it.

Therefore, if I am nice to you, know that it is because I want to be. I have made a conscious decision to be nice to you. If I'm not, don't take it personally because it isn't about you. It isn't something you are OWED and it isn't something I'm required to provide.  

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

No I Won't and You Can't Make Me

Today is May 19th.  In the next 10 days, I have all of the following happening.......

1 hair appointment, 4 Drs appointments ( oh yeah people!  FOUR), Thing 2 is going to a water park and to an end of the year dance, Thing 1 has to play in the band at graduation, a Bette Midler concert with my Mom for her Mother's Day gift, 2 dinners with friends I haven't seen in years, a 3-day holiday weekend, church on Sunday, church for Thing 2 on Saturday, an appearance in court to read a Victim Impact Statement, the last day of school, Thing 1 has finals, Thing 2 is leaving for church camp in California for 5 days and I have make payment and arrangements for that, 2 half days at school, one hiking date, two coffee dates, a husband who wants a date, a photo shoot for friends, a middle school awards program that I can't attend since its the exact same time as the court appearance, Comic Con for Thing 1, and I need to make sure they finish with all their assignments DONE.  Plus all my regular work since the business doesn't slow down for this, they will all want dinner, clean clothes, lunches, etc.

All by the 29th.  10 days.  

And the first person who dares to say to me "You will miss all this when they are gone" will be the first person to get their head knocked off.  No, actually I won't.  The weather is beautiful right now.  I could be walking, gardening, or more likely, sitting on my porch drinking coffee and reading a book.  And that would be preferable in every single way!  There is not one thing about this level of insanity I will miss.

Of course this was written by a man who probably 
never did a load of laundry......

The implication with that statement is that if you are a Good Mom, a Mom Who Loves Her Job, a Mom Who Loves Her Kids, then this is somehow all rainbows and unicorns for you. Or unicorns shitting rainbows.  Whatever.  Well, let me tell you something....I love my kids.  I love being a mom....the proof is that fact that given the attitudes and difficulties right now, I continue to do it!!!  Because believe me when I say that if I didn't love them I would have been OUT OF HERE ages ago!  But I don't have to love all the crap work.  Just like I love my garden, my fresh tomatoes and cilantro, and I continue to garden all the time, but I do not love picking weeds.  I just don't.  Sorry.  Not.  Im really tired of people implying that if you love something, you have to love ALL of it!  

Sure, there are things I will miss.  Mostly, they are the things I already miss, like the snuggles and kisses from when they were little, the Mommy I love you's I used to get, the cute little stories at bed time, being able to carry them.  For some reason, I miss that one a lot!  I'm sure if I wrack my brain I can find things about this stage of life I will miss also.  Sometimes they are quite witty and funny (as opposed to smart-assy, which also happens), I will miss having a large supply of people to attend movies with, I will certainly miss going to bed at night knowing everyone is safe under the same roof with me.  I will miss hearing them laugh as they watch TV or YouTube videos.

But there is absolutely NO CHANCE I will be sitting around in my dotage wishing for 6 loads of laundry, driving 45 miles in a day around in the same 5 mile radius, checking grades online, yelling about missed homework and being answered in some sort of exasperated tone complete with rolled eyes. 

You know how I KNOW this???  

Because it's not what I plan to do with my grandchildren.

Yep.  Think about that one for a minute.  The best part about having grandkids (or so I hear) is that you get to do all the fun stuff and then hand them back to their parents!  So I plan to bake cookies, play in the yard, read books, know, the good bits.  All the laundry, cleaning, cooking dinner every day, running here there and everywhere?  Im out.  I'll attend the school concerts, awards, etc. and the only person I'll be responsible for getting there on time and in the correct clothes will be myself. 

When they are teenagers and want to complain about their parents I will listen sympathetically, agree with whatever they say, and tell them stories about how awful their parent were as teens too.

It's the least I can do for my kids in order to PROVE how much I love them!!!  

Friday, May 8, 2015

What the ???

"MY eyeball!  My one eyeball"
                --Mike, Monsters Inc.

Not the eyeball in question...mine are brown!

So, last night, in the dead of the night (1:12am to be exact.  I know because I looked) I am dead asleep.  I'm having a dream about the Salvation Army (not kidding people) and this new Christmas campaign they are having where people are all singing this really catchy little tune about $5 and then putting 5 dollar bills folded like bows onto Christmas trees.  I can even hear the song in my sleep and just allow me to say that if I could have remembered it when I woke, it would have been the next Ice Bucket Challenge, raking in money for them this holiday season. But alas, as you will see, it was not to be......

Anyway, Im dead asleep, dreaming...............actually, let's go back to that for a minute.  I thought all this dreaming, etc was supposed to be like a "mental file cabinet" sorting away all the stuff from your day and peaking into drawers while it does?  So what the hell is this Christmas, The Salvation Army, $5 bills and jingles about?  I was watching Rambo before bed.  Seriously.  Don't ask.


So, I'm dead asleep, as we have established.  In this sleep, out of no where, I suddenly get a stabbing pain the corner of my eye, you know, where your tear duct is.  It is so harsh it immediately wakes me up (which is why I totally can't remember that jingle!) and it is BAD!  I rub my eye, its watering everywhere and the pain is fading, but not very quickly.  The whole thing is really weird and somewhat ridiculous to be honest.  But the pain doesn't quit.  I have halfway convinced myself that the excessive watering from my eye is probably blood spewing from the tear duct because it hurts so badly.  In my infinite, groggy, still half-asleep wisdom, I decide that I have to get up and look in the mirror and make sure there isn't a T-Rex or something in the corner of my eye.  The problem with that, which I of course didn't realize until it happened, is that in the middle of the night you can certainly go into the bathroom and turn the light on, but when you do, you won't be able to open your eyes in all that brightness!  Ugh.

So, I wait (and pee.  I am 46 you know.  Like you don't.  Whatever.).  Finally, I can open my eye enough to see that there is exactly nothing in there.  So, still in a squinty fog I decide I'll put some of The Hubs eyedrops in it, which can only help.  Except it turns out that they are allergy eyedrops and that is not actually helpful.  In reality, it is a little more like dumping a can of gasoline on a fire.  Coincidentally, it feels exactly like throwing a can of gasoline on a fire also.

So, as I am sitting there, contemplating the error of my ways and wondering what sort of dreaded Eyeball Tear Duct Disease I have that will surely take my life shortly, and toying with the idea of checking this on WebMD, because I must have a tumor at the very least, I realize that the kids toilet is running every 5 minutes, undoubtedly costing me a small fortune in water.

Finally, as I'm lying back down, drifting off to sleep, I suddenly remember that one of the houses we work on has people coming in town tomorrow, which is now today.  And that it's the house where we removed all the toilet seats because they wanted new, different ones, only to discover that they have some weird off brand of toilets that you can only use those seats on and all I can think is Please God, Jesus, Mary and Joseph, tell me someone put those toilet seats back on!  I am so alarmed that I seriously consider waking The Hubs to ask him but decide that since it's now something like 2 a.m., that will probably not go over well.  Even if I could get him to understand what I wanted, after the initial panic of being sure we were under attack and thats why he was being wakened, he would, in all likelihood be so pissed he wouldn't even answer me.  So wisely, I leave it alone until the morning.  Its the best decision I have made since this whole thing started.

So I start to drift off again when The Hubs commences snoring.  It is lightly at first but gets louder in about 48 seconds.  This makes it difficult for a person who is already pretty much wide awake to fall asleep, so I start grabbing his pillow and smothering him  pushing on it to mildly jostle him so he quits.  If you have never tried this, it works well.  It also turns out that if you accidentally "jostle" a little violently, you are in the perfect position to pretend like you are sleeping (after, of course, deciding that this is still not the moment to ask about the toilet seats).  And just in case you hear the complaining later, he was back to snoring in less than 3 minutes!!

All of which made it soooooo easy to get a greats night's sleep {insert sarcasm here}.  I finally managed somewhat, but with great apologies to the Salvation Army.......the jingle never did come back.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Weekend Movie Wrap Up

We went to the movies this weekend.  Twice.  I guess I should say that The Hub's and I went twice.  The Spawn stayed home for the second movie, although Thing 1 gave me the evil eye when I told him what we had seen.  However, before you start to feel sorry for him, know that we were gone from the house for FOUR hours and he never noticed.  Yeah.

So, of course we went to see Marvel Avengers Age of Ultron, because Iron Man.  Because Thor too.  I mean, really?  

We took the Spawn and The Spawn's Friends to this one.  At one of those places that serves you dinner and DRINKS in your seat.  That you can reserve 2 months ahead of time so you have the best ones in the house. 

If you have seen and enjoyed any of the Marvel movies, it does not disappoint.  And on the off chance you live in some sort of weird cave where you have never seen any of the Marvel stuff, GO!  You will enjoy it!  Everything explodes!  And I do mean EVERYTHING!  What more could you ask for?  It looks like some regulars are leaving and there are new characters being added and Im not really sure how I feel about that, but no one asked me.

Then on Saturday The Hub's and I went to see "Ex Machina"  This one you may not have heard of.  Here's the trailer....

I picked this one because I rely heavily on Rotten Tomatoes and it had a 90% from critics and viewers.  Also because I wanted to go to the movies and I have seen everything else, pretty much.  

Let me just say this.......all the "drama" and "thriller" parts in the trailer?  Thats pretty much all of them.  And they last just about that long.  The rest involves the 3 people talking.  Now, thats not a BAD thing, by any means.  There is a lot of tension between Nathan and Caleb and you are never really sure how Ava's going about this whole thing.  Does she realize what's really happening?  I never really got past thinking of her as a machine so I didn't really buy it when Caleb did, but whatever.  Again, no one asked me.  It was definitely the one that will stick with me longer, just because it was so different.  Also, wherever they shot that movie was GORGEOUS!  The scenery, the home, the entire way it was shot was stunning.  Its really almost worth seeing just for that.  Throw in an interesting story and it was totally worth the $15.00 we spent.

That and the 4 hours out of the house sans spawn.

So that was our movie weekend.  2 is good for us.  Not our best though....sometimes we go 3 or 4 times.

I love the movies.