Partied out

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It was a long weekend that started on Thursday night.

It was a weekend filled with food, celebration, and family.

Too much family.

Too much planning.

Too much to do to actually enjoy it.

Anyway, three birthday parties in two days…one on Saturday and two on Sunday.

All at my house.

It was a good time, but it was exhausting.

What’s worse is that there is always some family members that are there that you just rather wouldn’t be there. That’s harsh to say, I know, and I love them and all but they just make anything and everything more work.

Everyone had a good time. At least I think so.

I did and I didn’t.

At least it is over. I am partied out. I could care less if there are any more this year.

Asking, for a friend…

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Asking for a friend. It’s a rhetorical question, really, but I still need to ask just to get it off my chest. You can provide your answers to the question in the comments, if you are so led. What would you do?

Scenario:

If you knew someone (let’s say a really good friend or even a family member) was struggling financially and you know that they had a history of making really poor decisions, what would you do when you learned they made yet another one?

Said someones are on state and federal assistance, have four kids, can’t keep up with rent or other bills, has debt collectors “knocking on the door,” and is basically using every sort of charity they can qualify for to meet needs the other sources can’t or won’t meet.

It’s tax return season and they likely will be getting a pretty substantial return based on the low income from the previous year and the number of children. There is also a pending 3rd stimulus payment coming up, so there is money coming in that could be used to do what needs to be done to get caught back up.

But, instead of using the money to do the right thing, some of the money is being used to ponder a move to another state, has been used to purchase flights to the possible state, and of course the spending for the trip will go up from there. The trip is being seen as a “vacation,” almost a scouting trip for their plans.

Advice?

They have been advised that moving is expensive (especially to a new state). They don’t have any prospects of a job at the place they would move. They have no real clue what the living expenses are like there.

They won’t listen to good counsel. Others have told them this is a terrible idea. Yet they charge forward.

So, I am asking for a friend…

What would you do? How would you address this? How would you go forward in this situation?

Resigned truth

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Two stories in the media over the last week deal with the truth and ultimately what may lead to a resignation in both cases. In one instance, the resignations came swiftly. In the other, it remains to be seen on what will happen but I am fairly sure it will also result in a resignation.

Truth hurts.

Plain and simple.

Of course, we live in a world that now speaks of “your truth” or “my truth.” There is no such thing. There is only one truth. You can’t create a truth for yourself because it makes you feel better. Truth doesn’t care about your feelings. Truth is truth. You can’t invent truth by telling a lie over and over again to make it true (though there are lots of people who do this). Truth is unchanging, even when we don’t like it.

School Board

Was the school board that far off on what they said in a “hot mic” moment for a meeting? They all have since resigned, but what exactly are they resigning for? The truth? Sure, they were speaking in generalities and doesn’t apply to all parents, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

If you have been in education at all (and I was for 15 years), the feelings of frustration expressed at the meeting are feelings that all people in education, at one time or another, have felt and thought. Teachers know full well that parents are the WORST part of the job. Not the students. Not the admin. Not the co-workers. Not the long hours or the endless paperwork. It’s the parents. Always the parents.

So, their criticism of the parents was not off base at all. Yes, they want their babysitters back so they can go to work. Yes, they want their kids gone so they can smoke pot (side note: the kids I was teaching as high school students are the late 20s, early 30s adults that led the push to legalize pot and are now smoking openly in their homes, around their children). Yes, parents don’t care what it takes each day to teacher their children. No, they don’t understand that their child acts differently at school than they do at home. Yes, not all kids are angels and they DO act like that at home and at school.

Professional Baseball

Kevin Mather of the Seattle Mariners head office (President and minority owner) stepped into last week with a video that basically offended everyone in baseball or that enjoys baseball. BUT, did he say anything that wasn’t true or hasn’t been thought and felt over the decades of baseball? No, I don’t think so.

The problem is that he talked of some things that are “taboo” I guess. Openly admitting that you are playing with people’s careers in order to keep them under contract longer or that hiring additional support staff to aid baseball personalities is a drain on revenue isn’t something we haven’t all thought or assumed. But the fact that he had the audacity to say the truth, in essence exposing a dirty little secret that every team in the league has dealt with, has turned the baseball world upside down.

Will he ultimately end up sacrificing his position? Yeah, I think he will. He is going to have to play to the PR nightmare game that is created by candor and truth, because people don’t like it.

To make amends, people will demand his resignation just like they did with the school board mentioned earlier. It won’t make the issues go away. The truth won’t make the issues go away. The issues will just be swept under the rug again and it will be business as usual. There won’t be a reckoning with the truth and people won’t change their ways.

They’ll (those being spoken about) just create their own truth to justify their behavior and keep on, keeping on.

They really know

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Some people just really know how to push your buttons. Some people just really know how to make you feel lower than low. Some people just don’t show you any appreciation or love. Some of those people are people you just know, maybe they’re coworkers or acquaintances. But sometimes they are people that are supposedly close to you.

Step-kids.

Yesterday was the beginning of my 49th trip around the sun. It was a quiet day since the day before we were blanketed with about 9″ of snow (and the ensuing compact snow and ice on the roads). So, much of the day was spent watching tv, taking a nap, playing video games, and eating food.

Lots of people on social media, family and friends alike, issued wishes of cheer and congratulations on the day. That felt good.

Only two of the nine children (our six kids and three spouses/significant others) managed to communicate with me. MY daughter and the second oldest of the step-kids. That doesn’t feel nice.

They sure know how make me feel like crap…

Smoke alarm

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First night home from vacation and a loud noise interrupts the peace. A loud, piercing, and from a dead sleep, shrieking noise. Dazed and confused but somewhat aware of what all the racket was about, I hoped outta bed and threw on some clothes.

On the way out the bedroom door, the youngest man-child in the family was apologizing for having set off the fire alarms (the whole house is wired so when one goes off, they all go off). He was making corn dogs in the middle of the night, to be precise that would be of the 12:30ish AM variety of the middle of the night.

So, after waving a pillow profusely over my head at the fire alarm so that air would move and it would no longer detect smoke, I tossed the pillow on the couch and gave him a rather irritated look.

So, what they hell?

What is with teens and late teens staying up all hours of the night and causing the old people in the house to lose sleep because they make so much racket? Talking to friends, playing video games, making food, dropping things, knocking stuff over, and everything else that you can think of that makes noise…all to our dissatisfaction and loss of sleep. Can’t you just be like “normal” people and go to bed at a civilized hour?

Yeah, yeah, it’s probably our fault some how.

I’ll tell you what though, nothing is more frustrating that waking up to the fire alarm because the non-adults can’t monitor their food while everyone else is sleeping.

Good night.

What now?

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So, over the last couple of days I have gotten some rather distressing news regarding my daughter and her high school graduation. Suddenly, graduating on time is in question, which up to this point it was not.

She is, for the most part, on track to graduate on time. She is heading into the second semester of her senior year and she is in progress of completing her final credits. She has been doing Running Start at the local community college and enjoying those classes too. Her grades aren’t going to light the world on fire, but she is very successful in the areas of interest and moderately successful in areas that aren’t so much.

Well, two days ago it was brought to our attention that she still needed to fulfill an additional requirement to meet the state standard in math. She didn’t meet the state standard her sophomore year and because of the pandemic they did not administer the test last year and it looks like they won’t again this year. So, she took a third year of math thinking that would satisfy the requirement since she didn’t pass the test in her sophomore year.

Now we find out that wasn’t enough.

According to her counselor, she needs to take the ACT and pass that with a certain score or she needs to take the college math placement test and then take and pass a college level math course.

SAY WHAT?

My daughter has struggled with math for three years. She has managed to get over the bar each time, but there were times that bar was wobbling, so to speak, and passing the class wasn’t totally a certainty. So, to see that she has more math to do isn’t a pleasant surprise.

Being realistic, she likely wouldn’t score high enough on the ACT to get credit that way and taking the college placement test will likely qualify her for a remedial level course, not a college level course, so she won’t be able to complete the requirement going that route in the last quarter of her final high school semester.

NOW WHAT?

Here’s the problem: We are just finding this out now. NOW!?!?

I called the high school counselor to ask why we were just finding this out now. He seemed a bit perplexed as to why I was asking. REALLY? Your job as the counselor is to make sure your students know what is needed to make it graduation. As it turns out, he never met with each senior before their senior year to outline the steps they needed to take care of to meet their graduation requirements. So his seniors didn’t get an individualized consultation looking at their progress and future path forward, that would have had an individualized plan laid out for each one of them.

WTF?

I taught high school history for 15 years and most of those years were to juniors and seniors. I can’t think of a time when the seniors hadn’t met with the counselor before their senior year so they knew exactly what needed to be done going into their senior year. My students always had that meeting. It was standard procedure at the school.

To my surprise, this doesn’t happen at my daughter’s school. In fact, it sounds like they have never even considered it as part of their aid to helping students graduate. REALLY? So how many other seniors are in the position of not graduating because of this? Granted it may not be a large number, but is should be a number that equals zero. Is this guy incompetent? Is he stupid? Does he really even know what his job is? Honestly, that pretty much his whole job – meet with students and help them plan their path to graduation. How does this not happen?

If we had known at the beginning of the year, going into her senior year, we could have made sure she took the high school level course that was offered at the school. Or, we could have made sure she took the college placement test, taken a lower level math course, and then progressed into a college level course naturally. Instead, we didn’t know this and we are left scrambling to figure out a way to make it happen. (Or, we cross our fingers and hope the state waives the requirement for this year like they did for last year – right now it looks like the Class of 2021 will have done a full year and a half of online learning.)

Needless to say, my frustration level is quite high. Not just for my own daughter, but for others who are in the same boat.

Waiting till the last minute to lay out this news is piss poor work. You had one job and you sucked at it. Get your crap together for next year. It may be too late for my daughter and others, but at least you could fix your crap for those who come after.

“Up to here”

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I am sure you probably heard it growing up. I know I did more than a few times.

Well, I can’t tell you how many times I have uttered those words directly at my children, but I do know that I have said it mentally or muttered it under my breath thousands of times. Maybe tens of thousands..

I have had it up to here… *motions with hand at a level*

– said by every parent in the world at one time or another

Up to my armpits. Up to my neck. Up to my chin. Up to my nose. Up to my eyeballs. Up to my ears. Up to the top of as high as my arm will reach…up to here!

Again, there is a certain child and his family that I have had it up to here with…the never ending, always needs help, continuously makes bad choices, can’t catch a break, needy child. Up to HERE!

Actually, when I think about it, there are a lot of things I have had it UP TO HERE with:

Politics.

Liberals.

Lockdowns.

Family.

Covid-19.

Media.

Social Media.

Can you feel me? There are a lot of things to have had it up to here with…

I am just gonna sit here, in the dark, and ignore everyone and everything for 15 minutes. Maybe more. Until my “up to here” level has gone down.

What’s got you having it “up to here” these days? Hit the Comment button and dish!

IBAF

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I am creating a new acronym. IBAF. There you go.

Actually, it isn’t new because apparently there are others out there that use it for inane purposes like the name of organizations or something like that. For me, think if it as a new text acronym.

I am sure you are familiar with “WTF,” right?

Think of this one along the same lines.

IBAF = Irritated Beyond All F*cks.

How is that defined? When someone does something that is so beyond comprehension AND irritates you to a level you haven’t known before, you just stop caring but can’t at the same time.

Yes, I know that makes no logical sense. But, if illogical can explain the illogical, then it is logical. Make sense?

Ah, never mind. I don’t expect that you can understand.

Just know that I am irritated enough that I am making things up just to deal with it.

Bailing, again

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Why do I feel like we are constantly responsible for bailing out the adult children? Good grief, it is never ending.

“Can we borrow the car?”

“Can we live with you?”

“Can you watch the kids?”

“Can we use the house?”

“We need help…”

“The kids need…”

“Can you help us find…”

“Can we do laundry at your house?”

“Can you keep this in your big freezer?”

“The car broke down again…”

“Will you co-sign with us?”

Choices. It all has to do with choices and theirs are continually poor. Much of it stemming from the fact that they rarely think about the future. Vision for the future and putting in a little thought about consequences and what might happen if…thus, the lack of forethought constantly has them stamping out fires of their own creation and never allowing them to head in the right direction.

Once again, we are being asked about borrowing a vehicle and providing a place for them to hang out while they have appointments in town. They are the ones that chose to move over an hour out of town (“We like living in the country”). They are the ones that made poor financial choices and only have one running vehicle, which also happens to be providing the only manner of income at the moment. They are the ones that have chosen to have four children on little to no income (supposedly the last two were unplanned, but we know better…).

These adult step-children are killing me. They know they are the source of friction in my home and yet they do nothing to help. It is a constant stream of needs, wants, and demands (or at least putting us in a position where it feels like a demand, leaving us with little choice).

The problem is, when I try to mitigate the help and limit the aid, it comes back to bite me in the ass. The wrath and second guessing in the household becomes palpable. Winter inside, and outside the house.

Yeah, good times…

Here we go again…

Wrenches

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Day started well, even though I knew there would be one interruption that I didn’t like but was at least aware of. Well, what was supposed to be a brief interruption has turned into a prolonged one and that totally throws a wrench into my day. I had plans. Those plans, out the door.

I hate it when this happens. I wasn’t real fond of the idea of the interruption to begin with, but I can’t keep the other person in the house from just doing stuff so I relented and had just made plans to cope. Unbeknownst to me, there were still other plans in the works that I didn’t know of and now the house has been totally taken over by people much longer than I had planned for. (Remember, my work from home office is in the garage, but I still need in and out of the house.)

So, looks like I will literally spend all day in the garage in order to avoid the people in the house. Totally throws a wrench into my lunch plans for today…and basically into most of my evening and weekend now.

Ugh.

Big ass monkey throwing wrenches into the gears all day, every day.