Thursday, December 29, 2011

Unite Against MRB! (Male Refrigerator Blindness)

I really don't understand why this disease hasn't had its place in the spotlight, its own colored ribbon plastering the backs of cars everywhere, or even its own telethon! I'm considering having T-shirts mass produced at an out-of-pocket cost, just to raise awareness and hopefully find a cure.

MRB (Male Refrigerator Blindness) does not discriminate between race or age. In fact, its symptoms start to manifest themselves in ages as early as 4 or 5, seemingly about the same time a young boy is able to open the refrigerator door in search of something to eat. The research has not been entirely completed as of yet, but these first signs seem to correlate with a trigger of mom having JUST sat down in a comfy position for the first time during a 12 hour period.

The disease may be defined as the inability to see anything that is not eye-level in a clear container that resides within the cool temperature controlled appliance, such as a refrigerator. Anything that is covered with aluminum foil seems to block the optical nerve from processing the contents of said aluminum foil and as such, it is not even perceived existing.

It also seems to be the case for all foods that are:
  • in the door of the refrigerator
  • hidden cleverly behind a gallon of milk
  • residing within its own compartment - such as the veggie drawer
  • not stored in its original container (i.e. the two left-over pieces of pizza wrapped in foil, rather than the 16 - 18" cardboard box it came in, and needs an entire shelf to itself)
  • on a different shelf than the middle one (it doesn't seem to improve symptoms if the levels are made of glass)
  • not marked in large bold letters with a black Sharpie and neon blinking arrows pointing to it
 Unfortunately, there is no cure in sight, and the disease seems to progressively get worse as the male ages. It also has been dubbed as the "doorway" illness that leads to other such afflictions such as:  
  • FLS - (Folded Laundry Syndrome) where the victim is unable to process the fact that the folded clothes that have been sitting there for 5 days are his, and actually need to be put away.
  • RCM - (Remote Control Migration), if the remote control is not sitting on the arm of the lazy boy it is "lost" and never to be found again

It may even cause so much damage a person my suffer from FTN - (Failure To Nod). An extreme disorder which results in momentary paralysis of the head and failure to acknowledge that someone has spoken to them even though they may have heard every word. This particular ailment also freezes the ocular nerves and the larynx so the person may appear to be completely blind, deaf and mute, offering no response in any form.

Ladies, we must unite! We must find a cure to save not only those afflicted by this ever growing epidemic that may, at last count, have claimed the lives of 90+% of the male population, but their loved ones who must suffer along side of them every. single. day...leaving their comfortable positions on the couch to move that milk jug a fraction on inch and point out the food they were looking for! We must bring light and relief to all of those involved! Right hon? Hon? HON! Geez, can't you give me some sort of sign you heard me? I'm not yelling...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Facebook Rant

Facebook has become a regular part of my day, as much as I hate to admit it. And, as we all have, I've noticed certain personalities that have emerged because of our online social activities. Some have managed to annoy the crap out of me. Here they are:

1) Those who have to tell you where they are and who they're with...every single second. I think they invented something called Four Square or something like that, which tracks your every move. This is a very handy option for anyone who would love to document your habits, stalk you, and then abduct you in a large shopping parking lot. Just saying, there are a lot of people out there who shouldn't be trusted with that kind of information.

2) Okay, I know the "proper English language" has been flushed down the toilet. But all of the saddens me that people don't know the difference between "there" and "their" or "here" and "hear" or even "too" and either "two or too". Call me old school.

3) Every one has a bad day. I understand complaining about your boss, your boyfriend, the bad service you had at your favorite restaurant. But really? You can't find one thing to be happy about? You're bringing me down man, every day you complain about something. It must really suck to be you. Or at least that's the image you want to portray.

4) How about the people who need feedback to survive? I really think that you're striving for a world record of some sort to see how many comments you can get when your status reads, "OMG, I can't believe I survived!" Tell us already! I'm not going to go back and check every 10 minutes so I can have closure on whether you were hit by a car, or whether you sneaked by having 11 items in the Wal-Mart express line instead of 10. It's not that important to me (unless you WERE hit by a car, at which point I'm guessing you're not updating your Facebook status.)

5) How about the person who "Likes" everything? I think maybe you're just short on time, and you're trying to let me know that you checked out my latest photo or status, because you don't have time to comment, but you like what I have. It's kind of the cyber graffiti saying "I was here." Thank you.

6) In the same sense, I have people who will NEVER comment or like anything I have posted, but when I see you face-to-face you will stop me mid-story to let me know, that yes, you already read that on Facebook. Fine. Well now I feel stupid.

7) The abbreviator: kind of like the person who hits the "like" button all the time, only in acronym. You will LOL or LMAO at everything! I don't even know what some of those abbreviations mean! You may be sending a completely misinterpreted message. No kidding, I'm old. I have to Google abbreviations. My kid thinks LOL means "Lots of Love." Just saying.

8) I'm not sure how I feel about status shuffle. I think a lot of what they say is great, but does that mean you're just too lazy too think of your own status? And if you rely on a second source to come up with a status, maybe you shouldn't say anything at all. It's the Hallmark card of status posts.

9) I'll admit, the first thing I do when someone requests to be my friend, I check out their page before I accept. If you have like 4,358 friends...I don't need to be another notch in your belt. Pretty sure you can't keep up. Who are you friending? Do you really care? Good Lord. It's not homecoming queen all over again, trust me.

10) The people who tell me every. song. they. listened. to. in the last half hour. Stop it. I don't care. When I want to see what my friends are up to, I don't need to feel like I'm sharing an ear bud with you. Your tastes in music are completely different than mine, I'm NOT going to click on the video, stop hogging my update page room. If I want to know what you're listening to, I'll go to the bar with you.

11) Stop posting "duck face (pursing your lips into a kissy face)" pictures every time you go out to the bar with your friends. As much as you think you're being sexy, you're not. And really, I just think you're a drunk, because I know you have 2+ kids, yet you're at the bar every least according to your Facebook pictures.

12) I really don't need to have you tell me goodnight or good morning every day. I'm not living with you.

13) I admire faith or lack thereof in our political system or your religious views, but please don't shove them down my throat.

14) The whole kid/puppy/kitten pictures with some sort of quip? Funny the first time, but not 30 links later. I'm happy that you have time to read every one of someone's posted pictures, but I don't need to be in on it.

15) Arguing with your ex/sibling/parent/boyfriend/spouse...whatever. This is NOT something to take public. Are you just looking for people to take sides?! This is a PERSONAL problem, keep it personal. Be a grown up here. This is like having a fight right in the middle of the most crowded restaurant with everyone listening to you. People will judge, and not for the better.  Take it outside.

I love Facebook. It has allowed me to stay connected with people that I would never have been able to before. But I think some things have gotten out of hand. And I admit, I'm guilty of more that one of these things myself. If their was a category called, "People who always post things about what their kids say," I'm totally guilty.

But I needed to get that off of my chest. And it's the end of finals week, maybe I just need to let off some steam.  Let me know what YOU hate about Facebook.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Parent Teacher Conferences Translated

My Kamrin is something else. He really doesn't fit into your "normal" barely 5-year-old category. And I kinda like it that way. He's outside the box, and frankly, hard to understand if you're not with him ALL the time, which I am. Or his mother, which I also am (even though I've been tempted to deny it). He's the boy whose food preferences are more adult than his peers, he picks the pepperoni off his pizza, but will fight his dad for the banana peppers. He asks for salads and steamed broccoli. During conversations with him, I feel like he is constantly processing everything around him and even the things that aren't, easily bouncing from one subject to another.

Anyway, a lot of his "quirks" can be interpreted has being a hard to handle boy, and I was slightly nervous when parent/teacher conferences rolled around in November. Did I mention that he attends Pre-K at a Christian school? It was one of the only full-time Pre-K classes available in town, and I was positive that the teachers there would be more patient with him as I am sure they feel they are held accountable by a higher power than just the principal.

I arrived at the school about 10 minutes early. I was the last parent slotted for the day, and I knew, that like a doctor's office, everything by the end of the day would probably be running late. So I settled in the dollhouse-sized furniture situated outside the classroom. On the table were several handmade books of the children's drawings. I flipped through each, each containing its own theme and was relieved to see that most of Kamrin's drawings related to the subjects at hand, even if there was the occasional bomb-throwing or gun toting stick figure in there. Hey, at least he was giving it a shot, you can't put limits on creative genius.

Across from me, on another miniature table, sat a laptop playing a slide show of candid photos that had been taken during the year thus far. In pretty much every single picture that Kam was in, he was making a goofy face. Yep. Have the same problem with my photos of him.

At that moment, his teacher stepped out to greet me. We exchanged pleasantries. "So," she began as she escorted me through the door, "let's talk about our special Kamrin." The defense walls shot up. What was that supposed to mean? I looked for any indication of malice or frustration in her face and saw none. She motioned me to sit in yet another teeny chair at another tiny table. She looked for his "file." She brought out his folder, and handed me his report card.

We started in. She lead with the good stuff;
She said: he was able to count to nearly 20, even though they had only covered 1-7.
I heard: Possible mathematical genius.

She said: He was able to identify over 90% of his capital letters, yet only 5-6 of the lower case ones.
I heard: Capital letters look much different from each other than lower case letters. All the lower case ones were basically loop and line variations, right?

We moved on to the areas that could use improvement.
She said: He had a hard time moving from one task to another.
I heard: He wanted to finished what he started. He was focused.

She said: He sometimes had a hard time paying attention to the task at hand, that you could see the wheels turning in his head.
I heard: He's a thinker. Constantly trying to solve the world's problems in his head, who has time to worry about drawing a line to match the mouse with the "M"?

She said: He can at times be overly concerned about how well others are doing...
I heard: Born leader...
She said: ...and it has caused some disputes, particularly with one other student.
I heard: He's not afraid to stand up for himself.

She said: He holds his pencil correctly and cuts very well for his age, although he tends to rush through his projects, only to flip them over to draw on the backside.
I heard: Picasso

She said: He is very helpful and has a special friend named Paige and that get along marvelously.
I heard: Ladies man.

She said: She put an "X" by 'writes own name' on nearly everyone's card because the first letter needs to be all the way to the top line, while lower case need to be under dotted line.
I heard: Stupid rule, blah, blah, blah.
He writes his own name. He just thinks outside the box (or lines).

She said: His biggest obstacle to overcome was going to be the fact that when he is scolded, or corrected, his first response is tears.
I heard: He's a guy in touch with sensitive side.

She said: He has a wonderful sense of humor, is curious about everything, and once he matures a bit (refer to previous statement), he could do anything he sets his mind to.
I heard: He has a wonderful sense of humor and can do anything he sets his mind to.

Overall, not a bad conference. Not bad at all.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I'm not a scrooge, but Christmas makes me stabby.

Never mind the fact that Wal-mart already had their Christmas display up when I went to look for the kids' Halloween costumes. Or that I had to shop for my Thanksgiving groceries with Bruce Springsteen singing, "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" blaring from the grocery store speakers, I'm just not a fan of Christmas. I've said more than once, "I hate Christmas." Which is not entirely true, if I could just fast forward to Christmas Eve and not deal with all the B.S. in between.

I would love to be able to decorate for Christmas, I just don't know how. We drag our tree from the basement, all tightly packed in it's little box, and we put the bottom, middle and top together. We try our best to bend every branch so it "fills out" and covers the five outlets we must intricately string together in order to light it up. It ruins the whole effect of the brilliant lighting of the tree when I have to tell everyone to close their eyes while I plug it in just to make sure all the connections are working. I hate our pre-lighted tree. Rainbow colors seemed the way to go at the time, but really have no congruity in theme. My tree is showing its nearly 8 years of age. It is not elegant, nothing matches, and honestly, I don't know how to decorate it.

One year, I bought tinsel and just threw it at the tree hoping it would stick and create a random effect. Not only did it end up in here and there clumps, but my dogs had some very sparkly poop. My mother cross-stitched some wonderful ornaments to represent significant times in my life. But now, some have to do with my previous marriage and find themselves on the back of the tree, hidden, but on the tree just because my mother made them.

Decorating the tree was always a special night when I was growing up, but not so much with my kids. During the time it takes me to unravel the ball of paperclips used to hang the ornaments, my kids have become bored, and now are engrossed in some re-run of "Johnny Test." My cheap felt tree skirt, is already pulling apart from itself and ends up in a crumpled ball within 3 hours of being perfectly positioned. Lights? Would love to make my living room a winter wonderland, but the duct tape just really doesn't do much for the ambiance.

I tried to be creative one year and spell out "NOEL" in lights in our window. Due to a technical malfunction, our window blinked, "NO...NO...NO..." the entire season.

How do your compete with this?!

I get depressed because, even though I can't force myself to actually buy foundation that matches my "winter skin," or despite the fact I have been piecing and smoothing my last bit of deodorant together for lack of money, I feel like I have to "spoil" the kids at Christmas. When I told them that we couldn't afford a new X-box 360, they told me not to worry, because "Santa would bring it." How do you tell a 5 and 7 year old that Santa's profit margin wasn't what he expected, he had to lay off a lot of elves this season, and really just can't afford to bring that this year?

It's not just about not being able to get my kids what they want either. I would LOVE to get everyone who is near and dear to me....something. My neighbors bring us food and treats during the holiday season, for which I am eternally grateful, because, with my baking skills, there would be nothing. But how fun would it be to decorate sugar cookies with the boys without having to scrape off the burnt parts? I have no idea what a dutch oven is, or a double boiler, or even how to use a candy thermometer. I do, however, know how to make microwave peanut brittle.

I would LOVE to be able to pay my daycare provider an extra week of pay, knowing that after only 2 days on the weekend, I'm ready to give them back to her. And just like the commercials suggest, I would give anything to hand out McDonald's certificates to my sons' teachers, bus drivers and mailman. Not going to happen. Those Christmas cards with a family in front of their tree dressed in identical atrocious Christmas sweaters? Yeah right. Mine would show the boys hitting each other, Kam making some sort of face, and the vein in my forehead being a pulsating prominent feature.

One year, I totally ruined Christmas for everyone. Our family tradition was to open gifts one at a time, enjoying the reaction as each present was opened and taking the time to thank the person who gave it to you. Apparently, this is NOT the tradition in my husband's family and he was totally okay with an opening frenzy, wrapping paper flying everywhere with a nano-second of a pause before moving on to the next. Well, I blew up, and pretty soon no one was talking to anybody and my parents considered going home early. Yea me.

Wrapping sucks. That's it. I just can't master that. No matter how hard I try, the gifts end up wrapped with a 1" strip of radically different paper, because I measured short and had to substitute. Not to mention I had to seal everything with packing tape, because that was all I had.

My oldest has come of age where he wonders if Santa Claus is real. He asked my husband point blank, and despite my violent shaking of head and hand across the throat motion behind my son's back, he told him the truth. I've been fighting that one ever since. DON'T DO IT! ALLOW THEM TO BELIEVE FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE!

I don't have to travel this year, but, if I did, add that to my list of stressors. North Dakota weather can change in a heartbeat.

I love seeing the kids' faces Christmas morning, but I just don't do "surprised" at 4 am until at least 3 cups of coffee has been consumed.

My favorite Christmas TV show is "Rudolf the Rednosed Reindeer," which I'm sure my sons will dub as lame the minute it doesn't live up to the animated graphics of "Up."

Remember this?

You know what I DO enjoy about Christmas? Tom and Jerry's. The end.

I know, I know, Christmas is not about gifts, or Santa, or what you can give or receive, but about Jesus' birth. And when we go to church, I always cry. I'm pretty sure it's the guilt I feel for missing the true meaning of Christmas, not being able to sing Christmas hymns like I used to, or just realizing we survived another year and have so many gifts that aren't the kind that are wrapped and sitting under the tree.