No, really. I may have made it up just now (what, I’m not allowed to do that?), but EMBRACE IT. Today’s the day to bitch and moan about things irritating you, and you get to feel just a little more superior about it because saying that something is STUCK IN YOUR CRAW is very satisfying, and somehow more justified-sounding than THESE PEOPLE ARE PISSING ME OFF.
It’s good for the soul. I swear.
Also, studies show it’s good to shrug off petty annoyances and even major worries, because you’ll stay healthier when you’re not aggravated. But other studies (mine; very scientific they are, too, with data collected over wine and chocolate while not-knitting) show that if you cannot shake these things off, it’s highly therapeutic to VENT LOUDLY.
Without further ado, let us review the items currently stuck in my craw:
The “Perfect Attendance” Award. When Chickadee was sick for the first time this year, last month, even as she tossed her cookies into the bucket I’d thoughtfully provided, she WEPT over ruining her perfect attendance. I’ve brought this up before—the kids get pizza certificates each quarter they have perfect attendance, and those who maintain it for the entire year are entered into a drawing for a free bicycle. Such a great idea, right? WRONG. All it does is make sick kids feel guilty for being sick, or—worse!—go to school ill because they cannot bear the thought of not having their shot at winning.
Why do I bring this up now, you ask? It may have a little something to do with having woken up my son this morning and watching him bolt for the bathroom. “Are you okay?” I called out.
“I’m… my stomach hurts… I’m okay!” a pitiful little voice called back.
Twice more I called up the stairs to him while he was getting ready to ask him if he was okay, and twice more he assured me he was fine. When my daughter and my husband were assembled at the table eating breakfast and Monkey still had not appeared, I went back upstairs. Behold, there was my son—my darling, never-complaining son—dressed, but curled up in a little ball on his bed.
“Honey, I think maybe you’d better stay home today.”
“NOOOOOOOOOO!” he wailed, “I’LL RUIN MY PERFECT ATTENDANCE! I’m okay! I’m coming!”
You know what? That’s completely messed up. The child is sick, he needs to stay home. THANK YOU, SCHOOL, FOR CONVINCING HIM THAT BEING SICK IS A SHORTCOMING. Hmph.
Leather: That which is overpriced, and that which looks like PVC. The last purse I bought was purchased about four years ago, and I got it on clearance (of course) for about $30. I have carried it ever since and it’s finally starting to fall apart. Fine. Time to buy a new purse.
Mind you, I’m not really a Purse Person. I don’t buy a new purse every year; I don’t change purses to match outfits; I don’t believe in purses that cost as much as used cars. I don’t know how I stumbled across it, but here’s the purse I fell in love with while I was scouting around. Please note the $325 price tag. Which: NO. I did briefly consider splurging and going for a less expensive model (“only” $175!), but then remembered that THAT’S INSANE, to spend that much on a bag.
So I hunted around some more, for a suitable purse, for months. My loving husband, during this time, was known to gaze deeply into my eyes and say “JUST BUY THE DAMN BAG” because he was tired of listening to me obsess over it.
Finally I found something that I felt would fit the bill nicely. It was still a splurge, for me—about $50 on clearance—but given how long I typically carry a purse and how little I normally spend, I felt this was a good compromise. I placed my order and waited.
It arrived yesterday. The size and pockets and such are perfect. The leather is… just a little shinier than I would like. Sort of plastic-y-looking. And so this is how I came to spend the most money I’ve EVER spent on a purse before, and it sort of looks like I bought it Target. (According to Macy’s, this is “glazed leather with a beautiful sheen.” Not “cheap leather that looks like plastic.”)
Whatever, dude. I’m carrying the damn purse. But I reserve the right to complain about it.
Rich politics. I have mentioned before that this is a very poor county we’re living in, and that of course the schools are impacted in various ways because of it. Typically when I go to a PTA meeting, we’re lucky to have 20 people there. Our most recent one had even less than that, possibly because it was raining really hard and OMG! RAIN! (Yeah, Georgia still confuses me a little….)
Anyway, none of my cronies were there (you know who you are! your penance for abandoning me shall be… chocolate!) and I was sitting alone because apparently I am that awkward girl in the junior high school cafeteria. One of the items on our agenda was a vote on buying some cameras for the teachers, and because Otto is a photographer and has A GUY who deals in equipment, I had offered to do the legwork in determining our options. So I gave a quick rundown of our choices and the associated prices, and then we took a vote. It was nearly unanimous in favor of buying the (cheaper) refurbished cameras, which was fine with me.
After that, the school guidance counselor stood up and explained that she was asking the PTA for some money because she has a group of at-risk girls who are going on a field trip into the city to see a touring Broadway show. Apparently the trip is in a couple of weeks, and all but four of the girls have come up with their $50 to go, and those girls probably genuinely cannot afford it. Would the PTA be willing to offer $200?
My thought process at this point goes like this: Hey, we just saved more than that opting for refurb cameras over new ones, so why not?
A vote was taken and the majority was in favor of granting the funds. BUT, then a couple of people got into it with the guidance counselor—how was this group chosen, why do THEY get to go and not other kids, WHY such an expensive outing, what’s the message we’re sending with a “handout” rather than making them work for it, etc. You know, these are valid points, I suppose. My initial inclination to just give them the money was perhaps short-sighted, I’ll admit. One of these two people brought up coming up with a school-wide policy for matters like this, addressing what the school will and will not fund. In the course of this discussion, someone offered to independently donate $100, so we were left arguing about a measly $100 for this group.
But here’s the thing: The dissenting voices were two women whom I know and like. After the meeting we talked about it some more, and I admitted that perhaps I hadn’t thought it through and they had some valid points. Not only did I get a distinct “you cannot be in our club” vibe off of them (which I fully admit may be my neuroses rather than truth), but they went ON AND ON about how it’s not fair to the other kids, and why do the PROBLEM children get REWARDED and how AWFUL it is that the guidance counselor has picked something SO EXPENSIVE. At least one of these women is wealthy (I’m not sure about the other one). “My kids don’t get to see $50 a ticket shows!” she said. And that may be true, but her kids live in a fucking mansion and are going to the Caribbean for Spring Break, so really, SERIOUSLY, she is going to begrudge some underprivileged kids getting to see The Lion King with a bit of fundage from our last chili supper? I… just don’t get it.
I left there with a really bad taste in my mouth, and I’m still bothered. Either I’m missing something, here, or I’m just now CATCHING something, here, that I wish I hadn’t. Neither option is particularly appealing.
If there’s something stuck in YOUR craw today, feel free to vent. Let’s get it all out so that we can return to our regularly schedule mush for Love Thursday. Heh.