Don’t parent

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There is SO MUCH that could be unloaded here as background. If you have been following this blog for a while (or have gone back and read the archive) then you know there is a family member and his children living here at the house now. Tragedy (he is a single dad now), poor choices, crappy circumstances…yeah, the situation for this person and the family is not ideal, to say the least.

However, they are here in the my home (not living in a trailer in the yard like last time). MY home. While this place may have been his home at one time, it isn’t his and it certainly hasn’t been his kids’. For all intents and purposes, they are guests here while he/they (hopefully sooner than later) get back on their feet.

But, there is constantly tension. Aside from some state food assistance, the adult staying here temporarily provides no sort of help. I am supporting eight people. My spouse is ill and physically incapable of doing much of the daily chores inside the home. She is definitely incapable of providing childcare beyond anything longer than about an hour. She wants to be helpful but frankly just isn’t able to the level she would like. So, much over EVERYTHING is left to me.

They (my spouse and her son) were having a discussion yesterday because she noticed he was frustrated (seemingly all the time). He doesn’t want to be here and feels stuck. (Frankly, we don’t really want him to be here but also feel stuck because of the situation.) He has been here for over a month now and we, obviously, have observed and heard a lot.

He doesn’t appear to want to get a full time job because he wants to get is handyman business off the ground (not a great time to get that started!). He doesn’t have a discipline strategy (constant yelling/screaming at them and repeating himself umpteen times) that works for his kids. He doesn’t have any place for the kids to go to daycare so he can work or at least work on finding work. Honestly, his life is the definition of insanity because he is repeating the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

In the discussion with my spouse yesterday he said part of the tension in the house is because he doesn’t want us parenting his children (our grandchildren). She tried to get clarification about what that meant to him but he couldn’t really explain what that meant. We are pretty sure he is talking about discipline but he wouldn’t actually say that. We have a different philosophy than he has. But honestly, his philosophy doesn’t work and it plays out every day in our home. We are trying to respect his wishes but he got mad at his mom the other day for suggesting that maybe it was time to spank one of the children. Mind you, this was AFTER he had screamed at the child all morning for blantant disobedience, attitude, disrespect, etc. The yelling is of no consequence to these children because they have heard it all the time and still hear it all the time.

“Don’t parent my children.”

So, what are we to do? They don’t obey, respect, listen, follow directions, behave, etc., when we talke to them.

But, he accepts the parenting of his children when we provide daycare, prepare and feed them meals, bathe them, helpe them with their homework, get dressed in the morning or for bed, get up with them in the middle of the night, change diapers, make bottles, help get their teeth brushed, do all their laudry, make their beds,…you can see how this is going, right?

Where exactly would you like us to “stop parenting”?

Sorry, if you are going to live under our roof for free and use all our stuff, there is gonna be some damn discipline. You don’t get to have exceptions. I don’t care if you’re the adult parent of the kids.

There has to be a better way.

The chaos is terrible. It’s like constantly living in a tornado. The “eye of the storm”? That currently doesn’t exist in this universe.

I actually don’t even look forward to returning home after leaving. I don’t want to be in my own home. The only reason I do is for fear that my spouse is the one having to do everything. I am afraid it might actually be making her worse.

Don’t parent.

We are having to parent our adult child while parenting our grandkids at the same time. It friggin’ sucks…and there is honestly no end in sight…

Don’t parent.

Like hell, I ain’t stopping. There will be peace in my home again. If it causes him and the family to move out, so be it. That’s his choice. There will be peace, one way or another.

Office lunch

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Here’s a question for you. I probably should preface the question first with some background but I’ll just blurt it out first and then do a little backfilling.

Should the office holiday lunch be catered or “potluck-ish”?

OK, the backfill…so, the office has a holiday party (think office Christmas party, but you know, politics….) where we have a white elephant gift exchange and the managers provide (as in pay for) the lunch of pizza, garlic bread, salad, soda, etc. In the past, the activity took place at a pizza place and everyone travelled there to partake during the work day as it was only about 15 minutes from work. Then the world-wide panic happened and this practice was postponed for a couple years.

Keep in mind this shindig (at least the lunch part) is coming out of the managers’ pockets (there are three of them) because office funds can’t be used. We get paid for the time. They have always framed this as a “Thank you, for doing a great job all year” kind of deal.

So, this year they decided it would be held at the office in the conferences rooms (they can be combined into one large room) and they would provide the food. Like, literally, they would provide the food. They each brought part of the makings for a taco bar. So, in essence, the three managers provide all the potluck items. All of us then proceeded to go past the tables, buffet style, and put together out own plates. They also provided several different desserts. Most everything was from Costco and was either pre-made or prepped at their home prior to the gathering.

So, how should we feel?

Should we feel appreciated or should we feel like the managers “cheaped out”?

I understand it took effort and some expense on their part. I do feel appreciated to a degree, and yet I can’t help but feel the gesture was out of obligation rather than true appreciation. Does it have to be catered or lavish to get a true feeling of appreciation? I didn’t think so when it was at the pizza place. I don’t know. I just feel a little put out this year for some reason.

How would you feel?

Wasted food

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When you were growing up what were the rules at the table for eating your food? Were you required to eat everything given to you (assuming someone else prepped your plate)? Were you required to eat everything you took (you prepped your own plate) or told the adult helping you that you would eat it all? Were you allowed to throw food away because you refused to eat it or because you had too much on your plate?

How would you handle these situations now, if you have children now or if you have grandkids?

It has been a battle over the last month because the parent of our grandchildren has never really had to live on a food budget because they have pretty much gotten assistance since having the first child. Thus, when it comes to meal times there is often wasted food, for a variety of reasons (named above).

They now all live at our house and the parent has one philosophy in how mealtimes should happen and we, of course, have a different philosphy. Their philosophy: wasted food is fine; not going to force them to eat; we can buy more or different food. My/our philosophy: eat what you are given (provided it was an appropriate serving size for age); save uneaten food for another time; rarely, if ever, waste food.

The other night said parent made spaghetti for the kids. In doing so, most of the ingredients for the meal were purchased before making the meal, except for the two pounds of ground beef. That came out of the freezer. (**short backstory on the beef…it is purchased once a year via a quarter of a cow and stored in the freezer – and it has lasted nearly all year, every year for 20+ years**) So, meal is served and the kids eat pretty well since they like this meal. The remainder of the sause is put in the fridge for leftoevers as expected. The next day the sauce is served as leftovers but WAY more than was apporpriate for the age of a couple children was given to them. Thus, there was lots of sauce not eaten. The parent was just going to throw away the remainder of the sause on the plates because they didn’t eat it.

He was stopped before doing so because the amount of waste wasn’t a spoonful or two, it was roughly the equivalent of between 1/2 and 3/4 of a pound of ground beef. He didn’t understand why he should be saving it. He thought because it has been on their plate that it should be tossed. It was explained to him that in most cases if it was a small amount that might be appropriate but because it was so much that it could be saved and fed to them again as leftovers another day.

He didn’t get it.

He was totally fine with wasting roughly $5 worth of beef plus whatever the cost of the other ingredients. He shrugged his shoulders and said, “Whatever,” and stored it away for another day.

Am I an asshole for trying to stay on a budget? I am I an asshole for saying he can’t use the beef we are about to purchase for the next year?

Am I making a bigger deal about this than necessary?

What are your thoughts?

Prisoner swap

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The “big news” over the last couple days has been that some basketball “star” being held in Russia on drug charges was released in a prisoner swap for a convicted Russian arms dealer. I don’t believe she should have been released and she should have served the time. I REALLY don’t believe there should have been a prisoner swap, at least not her.

Quite frankly, I have heard that in the past she hasn’t really appreciated all the blessings she has as an American and was maybe taking that for granted. I don’t know, really, if that is true. But if it is true….well, let’s hope she has a hell of a lot more appreciation for her country now.

As Americans, I don’t think we undeerstand how great we have it till it’s gone. Unfortunately, we have quite a few people within our own country trying to take away our (and their own) freedoms.

Makes zero sense.

Meeting fatigue

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This week isn’t all that different from any other week, as far as work goes. I realize meetings are part of my job, but I didn’t realize that going to meetings IS my job. At least it feels that way many days.

I was looking back at my work calendar for this week and I added up the time scheduled for me to attend one sort of meeting or another. Altogether, I will have spent 8.5 hours of my 40 hour work week in a meeting. Granted, the week isn’t over so more could be added (or some, please please please, removed).

Do my supervisors understand that attending meetings keep from doing my ACTUAL job? You know, the areas and tasks and functions where I have expertise? That for every hour of time scheduled for attending a meeting that it probably (I’m estimating here) sets me back about two hours of productive time (provided I actually feel like being productive…see recent posts…I am doing effort less…)?

Do other jobs require this much time in meetings? I mean, jobs that aren’t a supervisory type job. We all know supervisors spend lots of time in meetings because they don’t actually have a job or job functions. But that is neither here nor there.

My point is, how much time do you spend in meetings each week? Is this normal, to spend the equivalent of an entire work day in meetings each week?

Effort less

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I’ll preface the entire post with what I don’t want you to think. No, I haven’t misspelled the title. No, I don’t mean “effortless.” That meaning basically means that while doing something it takes little to no effort to complete said something. That’s not what I am referring to.

I am simply stating that I am going to give less effort.

I am going to effort less.

Think of it as not trying hard or giving fewer f*cks.

Think of it as minimal exertion.

I will do everything effort less from here on out.

At least for the foreseeable future, anyway.

Help those

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Is the old saying, “Help those who can’t help themselves.” I have Googled it and several different versions or iterations come up for it.

I am tired.

Tired of helping those who nearly refuse to listen to reason and help themselves.

Once again, helping someone who has struggled all of their adult life, has a family, and continues to dream “pie in the sky” dreams even though the family would be homeless if not for the help of others.

“Get a full time job.” Good advice. Doesn’t matter what at this point and it really doesn’t matter how much it pays as long as it is brining in money that can be saved for the future and put to good use when the time comes. Instead, it is ignored for the idea that “starting my own business” is the better way to go – regardless of the fact that it has been pointed out time and time again that this goal should be a side gig until it can provide for the family on a full time basis. It has no benefits to start with. It has no healthcare. It is piecemeal at best for an income.

“Go visit Community Action to get some local ai started.” There is time in the day. Sure, the three youngest kids will have to be in tow to do it but it’s getting something started.

“Go visit DSHS. Get that process started.” Excuses about why it’s not possible at the moment.

This family has been living on state aid for years. This family has basically survived the last 7 months on pure charity from others, something to the tune (if roughly added together) would amount to probably about $40,000.

I am tired.

I am tired of helping someone that can’t or won’t help themselves.

Stocking stuffers

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Honestly, if you do stockings for Christmas, either for a spouse or children/grandchildren, how much do you spend? Do you have a budget for your stocking stuffing?

The things I am seeing advertised as “stocking stuffers” is kind of ridiculous, if you ask me.

Who buys a car for someone and drops the keys in a stocking?

Who buys a refrigerator at a stocking stuffer? (never mind the other implications of buying an appliance as a gift…)

Who spends hundreds of dollars to fill a stocking?

I know companies gotta sell their wares, but seriously do the people that write these commercials or the marketing department even consider that most people are working on a budget and can’t afford the lavish gifts they are pushing as stocking stuffers, let alone as a gift during the holidays.

People in the real world gotta work within a budget and I don’t think my budget has ever been above $50 per person ($60-70 if you include all the stocking stuff). That happened to be a pretty generous year as I ain’t made of money and isn’t typical at all.

Besides, Christmas isn’t about gifts anyway…well, at least it shouldn’t be ya dang heathens…

Least productive

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What day of the week do you find you are the least productive at work?

I am finding that my least productive day is not one that I would expect. After a crazy busy week (most weeks) and I finally get a day to be productive that happens to fall on a Friday…yeah, that’s my least productive day.

Not because I am thinking of the weekend plans or trying to give myself that stupid buzz-word, “self-care.” I am just out of motivation.

By the end of the week, I could care less if I get anything done.

I am sure my employer would hate to hear that. I actually don’t like to hear it because I really have a ton to do (catch up on email, start projects, complete unfinished projects, etc). But, I just can’t get myself to do any of it. I look at what I have to do, my list of things to do, and all the other stuff sitting on my desk and I just can’t.

Is this normal? To just run out of productive steam at the end of the week?

Time of year

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It’s that time of year folks! No, not Christmas. No not holiday gatherings or shopping. No not the time with family or snow. No not the scrappy drivers or grumpy shoppers.

It’s that time of year where all your friends, family, and acquaintances share their Spotify listening habits with everyone on their social media accounts like any of us would possibly care how much time they spent listening to the app and what they were listening to.

So freaking annoying.

Post more pictures of the food you are eating.

Post more pictures of your animals.

Post more pictures of the landscapes you are seeing.

Post more political stuff.

Post more pictures of your cute outfits.

Post more pictures of duck lips and stupid faces.

Post more pictures of the beer you’re drinking.

Post more controversy.

I really don’t care about your musical habits. You’re just wasting my time with this stuff since I am not going to listen to what you listen to. You can’t change my habits or my preferences by showing me what garbage you listen to.

Look, I don’t share mine (never mind that I don’t use Spotify) so stop sharing yours.

Seriously.