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Still recovering, but…

… it’s a good day, y’know? I like rainbows and they seem to be everywhere.

So just a quickie redirect, today: I thought folks would be tired of hearing about teaching a kid to drive, but I got a question about it at Alpha Mom, so check it out if you’re in that stage of life. (Spoiler: No, holding the dashboard with one hand and your face with the other is not the proper driver training position.)

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This is not the post I meant to write

I’m about 700 words into a different post and I realized that wasn’t really what I wanted to talk about. In fact, I realized I don’t want to talk, because I feel like all I do is talk, and the people I have a habit of talking at/to are tuning me out. IMAGINE.

So: I would like YOU to talk, please. LET’S SAY a certain kid is nearing the end of high school and a frenemy situation has reached Maximum Suckitude, where a former friend has extended the expected nastiness and friend-poaching and whispering to maligning this kid’s genuine achievements in addition to just plain being an asshole. LET’S SAY that all of the usual advice—ignore it, smile and be so sickly sweet that the aggressor wonders what you’re up to, align yourself with those who don’t listen to that nasty crap, know that all of this stems from jealousy and low self-esteem and your best karmic move at this point is genuine pity, etc.—is falling on deaf ears. Let’s say this has been going on for years and the latest straw or three is straining the camel’s back to capacity and promises that “this year will fly by and then you’ll never have to deal with this person again” are being met with skepticism.

What do you say to make it more bearable, other than “Yes, this sucks, and it’s unfair, and it will get better very soon but not soon enough”? My tales of high school suckitude giving way to a much improved life in college are being met with “I KNOW” and eye-rolling.

Hit me with your frenemy stories (preferably ones which end with your happiness and their sad, meaningless existences OR heartfelt apologies once they grew up a little) so that I may demonstrate this is a universal experience and somehow, we survive and thrive anyway. Please and thank you.

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I’m a disgrace

My favorite thing about writing for Alpha Mom is the occasional, drive-by, years-after-the-original-post which is always—and I do mean ALWAYS—someone who wants to tell me that I’m an insult to humanity and irrevocably screwing up my children. You have to have a pretty thick skin if you put yourself out there (which is something I didn’t always have, true) but the random general “U SUCK!” comments don’t even count. I find myself wondering what makes a person think “This is very important that I tell this person how displeasing and wrong I find them. I shall do it right now, for it cannot wait and takes precedence over any other matter in my life. However, I should be very conservative with my use of letters, as they are a precious resource.”

Because my life is lacking in meaning and direction… er, I mean, because I am filled with hubris and also because it’s my job (and also, my poor terrorized children think it’s HILARIOUS that I sometimes give parenting advice on the Internet), our new teenage-problems advice column has a second installment up over at Alpha Mom. This time I’m tackling homework wars, particularly when special needs are part of the mix. Not that I would know anything about that. My perfect children always complete their homework with joy and laser-like focus, largely due to my superior skills as a parent.

Please remit “U SUCK”s at your earliest convenience.

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I’ve been keeping a secret

The nice thing about being friends with people via the shiny box rather than in Real Life™ is that I can address only what I feel like addressing, and also you can’t actually see me. This suits my inner hermit just fine.

Today I’m over at Alpha Mom exposing the thing I’ve been trying to pretend didn’t exist (la la la la! can’t hear you!!), because the truth is that I have gained a lot of weight and I have been trying to ignore it rather than figure out how to get healthy again without potentially tipping my food-sensitive kid into unhealthiness.

I’m not sure I’m getting it right (but no worries, I am CERTAIN someone will come along to tell me how very wrong I am, thank goodness), but I’m trying. I’m looking forward to a day when we’re all healthy at the same time. I mean, assuming that’s a real thing that might happen.

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Life is hard, and then you apologize

If some bizarre set of circumstances arose such that I could only say two phrases for the rest of my life and NO OTHER WORDS (wow, as the person my family regularly refers to as “she who makes with the many words,” what a terrifying prospect THAT is), I don’t even have to take time to mull over my choices. Without a doubt, the two most important utterances in the English language, to me, are:

“I love you”

and

“I’m sorry.”

Most people have no issues with that first one. We could probably all use some work on the second one.

I’m all apologies over at Alpha Mom, because I can’t be mad about other people struggling with it when I am, too, I guess. (Spoiler: Still mad, anyway. Working on it.)

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Ice day!

Sure, you people in the northeast have been trapped under a dozen feet of snow for a whole month, but here in Georgia we had a teeny bit of freezing rain last night and now the world is ending. School is canceled! Trees are falling over! The power flickered on and off all night and we tried to sleep to the dulcet tones of distant transformers exploding! It was super fun.

And did my darling, charming, best-thing-that’s-ever-happened-to-me husband leap out of bed in the middle of the night, insisting that there was someone in the room with us? He sure did. And it had been quite a while since he last had a late-night freakout, plus I like him a lot, so I let him live. (Fascinating observation: Now that we have a house alarm, I was not worried in the slightest, and calmly talked him back into bed, knowing full well there was no one in the house who didn’t belong here. BUT! Once he put his head on the pillow and pulled the blankets back up, I exhaled and my body released a flood of adrenaline so overwhelming that I actually began to shake. Even though I knew everything was fine. BRAINS ARE WEIRD.)

In other, unrelated, news, I’m afraid I suck at raising healthy children. I wrote about our collective exercise and sports failures over at Alpha Mom because I’m pretty sure the Internet exists to solve my problems. (I read that on the Internet once, so it must be true.)

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I’d almost memorized the new number

Hello, I’m irresistible. I’m AWESOME. You want to BE ME. Specifically: You want to be my Discover Card, perhaps the most sought-after avenue of fraud in the world. Because it was just a few short months ago that I lamented once AGAIN having my card compromised and needing a new one, and GUESS WHAT! After dinner yesterday, I learned that I’d been on QUITE the spending spree at Best Buy! Also, I placed rather a large order with a purveyor of e-cigs, because you KNOW how much I love smoking. I also apparently tried to book a stay at a swanky lodge.

I’m glad that Discover catches this stuff and I am never liable for the rogue purchases. On the other hand, this happens ALL THE TIME. When I pointed this out to the Fraud Prevention Specialist on the phone, she offered me the number of their Investigative Division to see if they could maybe explain to me how this keeps happening. Once connected with them, a kind but somewhat flummoxed woman said, “Ma’am, we’re not the police. We do the best we can but it’s not like we’re catching criminals over here.” (I think someone had had a long day.) So. I am without my card for 7-10 business days (again) and I have to switch over all automatic billing (AGAIN) and I am GRUMPY.

So it seemed like a perfectly logical time to head over to Alpha Mom and wonder about my kids’ normalcy (or lack thereof). Maybe I shouldn’t be buying them all those e-cigs….

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Parenting improperly since 1998

Hi! In case you were wondering about my status (I am just that important to you, I know), it is currently: Not Dead. That could change—though I don’t plan for it to—but despite my neglect of Internet word-vomiting of late, I’m still alive.

Let’s see; I’ve been on a streak of truly awesome child-rearing choices for the last month or so. There was the whole “Hello, Mrs. YOURKIDSMOM, but we are legally obligated to notify you when…” phone call from school one day, letting me know that when even a child with a documented lack of brain-to-mouth filter says something that sets off the DANGER WILL ROBINSON, LIABILITY BREWING detector, certain furious declarations must be Reported and Recorded and Handled. It was one of those seemed-like-a-much-bigger-deal-than-it-really-was kinds of things, but my kid was struggling and I felt guilty for not figuring out how bad it was sooner. We have since handled matters, I think, though excuse me while I go knock on everything wood within arm’s reach.

There was the “hey Mom, I have this weird lump here…” incident, complete with me being all, “Uhhuh, I see, that’s fascinating. Do you have a test tomorrow by any chance?” Fast forward: kiddo had to have surgery. Um. Oops? (Totally minor. Everything is fine! I mean, other than me feeling like a jackass, but that’s normal.)

Also no Thanksgiving break week would be complete without me totally neglecting my family in order to work a zillion hours a day on Want Not, so there was that, too. I am now making it up to my husband by spending our evenings binge-watching The Newsroom, which is what passes for romance ’round here. (I did not need to make it up to my children, as they didn’t notice or care that I was busy last week; or if they did, all those pies I made for them was enough of an apology. Hooray!)

That’s pretty much all you missed. Oh, also I never linked up my Alpha Mom post last week and now I’ve written one for this week. So! If you like, you can go back and read about why I hate the “best” gift for teens and then move on to what I’d like to tell new parents if there was any way for it not to sound annoying. Those posts and a buck will get you a crappy cup of coffee, by the way. You’re welcome!

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Toes are delicious

There are a couple of times I’ve written about volunteering at my kids’ school (or schoolS, back when they weren’t at the same one), and it nearly always evokes at least one indignant WELL THAT IS FINE AND WELL FOR YOU, MS. PRIVILEGE PANTS, BUT NOT EVERYONE CAN DO THAT response. Being me, I thought hey, people must be misunderstanding my point, perhaps I will devote an entire post to it to explain why it is important TO ME and is something that I think, actually, most people can do in some capacity if they really want to (maybe not as often as I do, but at least once).

Well. Um. You would think that a decade as someone who makes their living writing would’ve meant I could communicate that clearly, but this is me we’re talking about. I went ahead and wrote that post for Alpha Mom and managed to piss off the first two commenters, right off the bat. Mission not accomplished. Toes, however, very tasty. Which is good, as I apparently spend a lot of time with my foot in my mouth.

Really my POINT is that I, personally, enjoy volunteering and arrange my life in such a way that I can do it. I am lucky to be able to do so, I know. I meant it to be encouraging to those who maybe haven’t quite figured out a way to make it work. I don’t know if this is a hot button issue because I’m really screwing it up badly or because people get very defensive about this topic. Maybe a little of each? Either way, I guess you can come over and yell at me, too, or maybe my point—YAY VOLUNTEERING WITH OLDER KIDS—will actually come across. We’ll see.

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Politics are sexy, yo

What you can read from me this morning over at Alpha Mom: Why and how I talk to my teens about the democratic process.

What you will not find in the Alpha Mom post: The fact that my husband and I set out to our local polling place just as soon as the kids left for school, this morning, made our way through and voted with absolutely no issues, and then as we were exiting the building I walked just a leeetle too close to an open door and—while I was trying to give one of those cursory polite smiles to someone entering as we left—my purse strap snagged on the door handle and I nearly lost a shoulder. I was immediately transformed into one of those cartoon characters being boomeranged; first I continued forward, then my purse yanked me back and I nearly fell, then I disentangled my purse and tried to pretend nothing had happened. Super sexy.

Grace, charm, and smarts. THAT’S ME!

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