Monthly Archives: June 2011
13 days left before my tubal ligation!
Apparently, to some people, I can’t be pro-dog without being anti-child. If you take this list seriously enough to be offended, you probably deserve it.
10. Having a dog won’t ruin your career, education, finances, or life. Dogs don’t cost nearly as much money in their lifetime as a kid does in a year, as their requirements are minimal by comparison. Furthermore, dogs will never demand an allowance or a college fund. Dogs don’t demand your every waking moment of your time and attention so it’s still entirely possible to pursue and education and career and a personal life without feeling guilty. If having a dog doesn’t work out, you can give it away to a better home with minimal trouble and no one will think that you’re a bad person for it. Dogs don’t demand their own room. Dogs don’t demand candy and toys at supermarkets and throw tantrums when they don’t get their way. Dogs will never scream “I hate you!” or “I wish I was never born!” as they slam their door repeatedly if I don’t buy them the newest expensive gadget or trendy, barely-there clothing.
9. Dogs will never ask to be dropped off a block away from anywhere you take them because they don’t want to be seen with you, won’t be embarrassed by public affection, nor will they ever call you old or un-cool, or come home past curfew with tattoos, piercings, and a mohawk just to fit in with the cool dogs.
8. You can go out on spontaneous and romantic evenings with your partner without having to bring your dog along or arrange for a sitter. In fact, dogs won’t require a babysitter at all unless they’re very young, very old, sick, or would otherwise be alone for an extended period of time. Dogs don’t throw parties while they’re home alone either.
7. Dogs won’t beat up other dogs for their lunch money, steal from your wallet, develop drug or alcohol problems, get into gangs, vandalize the town with toilet paper or graffiti, and dogs will never need to be bailed out of jail.
6. Dogs won’t get upset when you change the channel on your own TV, won’t download porn or illegal music to your computer and infect it with viruses, and won’t pretend to be scarred for life if they wander into your bedroom at an inopportune time. Your home will remain your own.
5. Dogs will never ask for the keys to your car, wreck your car, steal your car, get tickets in your car, or get DUIs in your car, thus having a dog won’t inflate your car insurance payments.
4. Dogs don’t usually need diapers and are easier to housebreak than kids are to potty train. Their accidents are usually easier to clean up too.
3. Dogs will be perfectly happy on a camping trip without modern conveniences like TV or internet and won’t complain about whatever you serve them for dinner as long as there is dinner.
2. Getting a dog won’t contribute to human over-population, which is already at dangerous levels. Best of all, as long as you pick up after your pooch, dogs are green!
And finally, my favorite reason I’d rather have a dog than a kid…
1. Having a dog won’t ruin a woman’s body. No stretch marks, no ruined privates, no persistent weight gain, and none of the health risks, sickness, pain, or cost that comes with human pregnancy.
One thing that didn’t make my list: Dogs are cuter, just look at little Chewie.
Because of my upcoming tubal, my boyfriend and I decided to celebrate his birthday a bit early. I got him a 400 Watt Power Dome Mini Generator from Think Geek. For the most part, he’s easy to shop for, I just buy him things that I would like. However, as the vehicle I figured would be most likely to carry it is the Pathfinder, which is the both of ours, I didn’t stop there.
I found a deal on Living Social for a 2 night stay for two at Elevation Hotel and Spa in Crested Butte, Colorado. It was a nice place, but not nearly as nice as the advert had described it. The room did come with a complimentary bottle of wine, but neither of us drink; a $30 gift certificate to the spa, which isn’t nearly enough to get anything; the kitchenette was only a mini fridge and a microwave, the “soaking tub” was really just a standard bathtub/shower; the lift tickets the room came with were good for one trip only and I had to pay to upgrade them to use all day; there was a balcony of sorts, being only big enough for one person to stand on; the hotel did serve breakfast, but for charge; and there was a pool, which was only about 15 ft long and had a maximum depth of 3 ft. Oh, well. The room was just for sleeping anyway.
My boyfriend seemed to really enjoy the drive there and back through twisting mountain roads, even if his car did seem to have some slight asthma at the highest altitude we reached. He grinned as his Pontiac GTO zipped along, making driving companions of Corvettes and Porches. We enjoyed the beautiful and changing mountain scenery as we traveled along, noting how much greener the landscape became as we crossed to the other side of the mountain ridges going from high desert to lush valley.
We entertained ourselves by chatting about amusing road signs along the way. There were of course the numerous “Falling Rocks” sings along the way as we drove , to which my BF would always sarcastically ask “What am I supposed to do about that?” a question repeated even more irritably as we passed one sign that read “Fallen Rock.” We laughed as we contemplated posting warning signs reading “Gravity in effect, next 5 miles.” Further along we saw another warning sign that read simply “Church,” which I found to be an appropriate thing to warn people about.
We spend Saturday doing something completely new to me. We were going to use our lift tickets to get up the mountain and hikearound, but decided to rent mountain bikes instead. We weren’t sure how well I’d fare with my injury to my wrist, but by the end of the day it wasn’t nearly the thing on me that hurt the most. Truth be told, I’m still quite sore now. Some of the paths were
closed down because of practices for a race and other reasons. My BF and I stuck mostly to green and blue trails, avoiding the black diamonds. It was a completely new experience for me, and I did end up scratched up, bruised, and sore, but we had a lot of fun biking through dirt, rocks, mud, trees, and fields of wildflowers on our way down the mountain. I’ve only ever used road bikes, and cheap Wal-Mart ones at that along paved bicycle paths back home, sometimes going as far as 60 miles in one day. But that was a long time ago.
I haven’t ridden any bike in years and I’ve never been on a mountain bike, especially not on an actual mountain. It was a whole different animal and the learning curve was tough. The mountain kicked my ass. Even though I ate it pretty hard a few times, and once directly below the lift so I had an audience, I’ve found that I love mountain biking and would very much like to buy my own bike just as soon as I find a decent one that costs less than half what my car did.
It was a great trip.
14 days left before my tubal ligation!
I love dogs. I always have, no matter what breed. I remember my first dog. He was a cocker spaniel named Punky who was a bit older that me. I was too young to walk him, and my only memories of him were in his final years. He died when I was in kindergarten. I’ve had a few rescue dogs since then, all of them rescues. We had a boxer-lab just under a year old shortly after Punky passed. She was young, energetic, untrained, big, and growing. Walking her always resulted in me being dragged across the sidewalk and coming home bloody. This dog, Jazz, had a tendency of running back to the pound. We’d usually get her back eventually, all but the last time. Our next dog was taken from a friend of my mom’s. Her name was Mattie and she was an adult cocker and dachshund mix. We believe that she was abused in her old home (and know she was abused in hers by our monster of a babysitter) as she tended to bite. One day she bit a cop who she thought was a threat to my little sister who was walking her. Mattie got taken away after that and probably put down. After I moved out, mom adopted a chihuahua yorkie mix and named him Chewie (as in Chewbacca) who is just a cute little drama queen.
My boyfriend is a dog-liver too. He talks about the golden retriever he had as a kid the way most people talk about a first love, even though she’s been gone for years. When we visited my family for Christmas, my little brother and his wife brought along their young golden retriever mix, whom my bf quickly befriended, even giving her a bath. (Chewie wasn’t happy about this guest and threw a fit whenever he wasn’t the center of attention.) He’d play with Molly and say “I miss having a dog.” So do I.
I would very much like to have a dog someday, but I have to acknowledge the lessons of my past experiences. I was too young to train the dogs that my family had. My parents were rarely home and didn’t seem to know how to train dogs anyway. It’s a real shame too, because I know we could have avoided a lot of the problems we had with our animals if someone had only been able to train them properly. I love dogs, but what’s the point of rescuing/adopting them if you can’t give them a good home and structured behavior?
I’ve decided that I will only adopt a dog if I would be able to train it properly. Recently, I’ve been looking into clicker training and even considering studying with Animal Behavioral College and getting certified. So far I’ve found the idea so appealing I’m even considering making dog training into a career. I’d never be rich, but I think I’d be happy.
My boyfriend and I sometimes like to scratch the other’s scalp in a show of affection. One day, this was followed by a pause and finally the words “I need a dog,” giving us both a good laugh. Neither of us can walk down the street without smiling at any dogs we see. “Look at that one. Isn’t he cute?” My boyfriend and I talk about dogs all the time. We talk about getting a dog after moving in together and it’s affected the way we search for a place. We will need a yard, after all. We talk about what breeds we’d want. He wants a malamute, but those require a large yard. I would love to have a German shepard or a golden. We talk about dog training. Basic obedience is a must, but there are a few behaviors that need to be strongly reinforced as we intend to spend a lot of time outdoors. We talk about all the fun things we’ll do and places we’ll go with our dog. Hiking, camping, biking, we want to bring our dog with us on our adventures. And most of all, we talk about how much we love dogs. We can’t imagine being without dogs forever.
The other day, it occurred to me that other people, especially couples, may often have similar conversations.The difference is, they’re not talking about dogs, but kids. I brought up this thought to my boyfriend over dinner in a restaurant that felt more crowded than it actually was because of a screaming baby at another table. “I’d rather have a dog,” he said, mirroring my opinion exactly. Amusing ourselves as we waited for food, we listed reasons dogs are better than kids. But that’s a topic for another post.
15 days left before my tubal ligation!
Normally, I find it difficult to make major, long-term decisions. I’m often indecisive by nature, unable to determine which option is best. Sometimes I just don’t know what to do. Other times, I don’t make decisions not because it’s hard but rather because I really just don’t much care and would rather take life as it comes to me.
But that isn’t always the case. There is one (ok, a few) decision that I’ve made that I have always been firm about for as far back into my youth as I can remember. It’s one that I’m absolutely certain about and have never even for a moment doubted. It was an easy decision, a no-brainer, and one I intend to stick to and know that I will never regret.
My decision is to never breed. I don’t want kids, especially not from my own body. I never have had even the slightest desire to carry a pregnancy or to parent, and I never will. Therefore, I’ve sensibly chosen not to breed any kids. Not now. Not ever.
I’ve always found it odd when people ask me why I don’t want kids. That’s like asking my why I’m happy with my life, implying that I shouldn’t be. Sure, I have plenty of reasons I don’t want kids, but I don’t think that any of that should matter. For me to make such a drastic and permanent life change, and one that not only affects my life but also those of the people around me and the person I would hypothetically create, I have to have a very good reason to have kids. Having thought about it at length, I haven’t been able to come up with a single one.
Some might call me childless. While that’s not technically inaccurate, it’s not a label I identify with. The problem is that the word implies that I’m missing something, that I’m some deviation from the default, or that mine is a temporary state and one I should seek to remedy. None of that is true for me.
I’m not missing anything, or not anything that I want, anyway. Furthermore, I contend that not having kids, while less common as a permanent lifestyle, is the default as no one is born with kids and they don’t just appear on their own but through action.
Additionally, people tend to think of sad, infertile people when they see the word childless. They think of pitiable people who want kids but can’t have them, at least not naturally. I don’t want kids and have chosen not to have any and my insurance company will soon be paying good money to make me happily infertile.
With all this considered, I prefer the term “childfree.” I’m not lacking children, I’m free of them. The only thing bugging me now is the idea that such a decision would require a name at all.
To illustrate what I mean, consider horses. I’ve spent a few weeks working with horses this summer, and I’ve found them to be magnificent animals that I quite enjoy spending time with. But I don’t intend to own any. They’re expensive and a lot of work, although still not nearly as much as a human child. Yet no one calls me horseless with pity or disdainfully accuses me of being a horse-hater and I’ve never felt the need to refer to myself as horse-free. Why is that?
Most people never own horses, or even seriously consider doing so. As a result, they don’t assume other people do, pity those who don’t, or insist that people who never do will regret it. If I told someone, even a horse-owner, that I do not want a horse, I’m most likely to be answered with something like, “So? Don’t have one. Why even mention it?”
Having children, on the other hand, is a much more popular thing to do (and at a dangerous level too.) It’s therefore assumed that I want and will have children, especially since I’m female, often without regard to any statement I make to the contrary. When I say that “I don’t want kids,” people often refuse to accept that and simply choose to believe that there must be something wrong with me.
The most common reaction I’m met with is disbelief combined with dismissal. It comes in many forms. I’ll change my mind. I’m too young to know what I want. I’m just saying that for attention. It’s just a phase. It’s just hyper-feminist backlash against a traditional female gender role. I’ll regret it some day.
Then come the accusations. I hate kids. I’m selfish. I had a bad childhood. I’m an angry, mean person. I’m secretly jealous of the childed. I’m bitter. I’m cold-hearted and joyless.
My experience with these sort of encounters is not even unique. Many other CF people report being occasionally faced with the same thing from family, friends, partners, co-workers, and even strangers. There’s been much discussion as to why others feel the need to do this.
Maybe some are honestly concerned. Maybe some have their own motives (desire for grandchildren, as an example.) Maybe some are jealous because they want kids but can’t have them. Maybe some have kids, and are jealous of my freedom from that lifestyle.
I have my own suspicion. I think that some (not all) people who engage in bingo-ing do so because they feel threatened. This too, comes in different forms.
There’s the misogynist that thinks that a woman’s purpose in life is nothing more to be a breeding machine and home-maker. Such a person’s sexist view is threatened by the idea that women can do and want more in life than that. Such women are harder to control, after all. Rather than change their perception when faced with this reality, it’s easier for the prejudiced person to simply vilify all rejection of this gender role. I’m not sure if something similar is often faced by CF men.
Then, there’s the unimaginative person who mindlessly cling to the “life script,” believing that they MUST marry and breed, often without putting much thought into it or realizing they could have chosen to live any other way. A CF person might represent a lifestyle that the bingo-er could have chosen, but didn’t, or didn’t realize that they even could have chosen. This is especially true if the bingo-er is unhappy as a parent. The existence of CF people makes the bingoer examine their own decision. Maybe such people bingo to make themselves feel better, that they’re not really missing anything. They imagine that the CF person secretly wishes they’d chosen to have kids, and/or is miserable without them.
The last group is the people who want/ chose to have kids, and might hold very pro-natalist and conventional family centric views. They may even consider having kids as the greatest thing they ever have or will achieve. Such a person is shocked and outraged that someone doesn’t validate their views by sharing them. To them, having kids (not always parenting) is so important that they can’t imagine a person having different priorities and goals in life. I think bingo-ers from this group are the ones who feel the most threatened by CF people. To them, when I say “I don’t want kids,” I may as well be saying “I eat babies is my stew, then draw dirty pictures on playground equipment, every sabbath.” Being childfree represents a direct opposition to their views. I am someone who rejects their lifestyle, their values. Who am I to live differently?
It’s not all bad news though. Most people, parents or not, have the sense to realize that not everyone is interested in breeding, and we’re not devil-worshippers for it. Most people are supportive, or at least just mind their own reproductive business.
But it’s the bingo-ers that stand out. Being obnoxious does that. Some CF people have complained that CF is the new gay, or even more extreme, the most oppressed minority group. I don’t think that’s the case. Sure, the bingos are irritating, and there’s a disturbing amount of obstruction to reproductive healthcare (which isn’t strictly a CF issue,) but as far as I know, CF people have never been rounded up and forced into slavery, falsely diagnosed with a mental disorder and sent to be “cured,” lynched in large groups just for being CF, or denied marriage rights. Yes, CF people face discrimination (I can’t think of any other decision that I’ve ever made that elicits such outrage,) and no amount is acceptable, but please, we are NOT the new gay or black or anything else. Let’s have some perspective, people.
Getting back to my decision, the choice to be childfree is not one I’ve found any difficulty making. I’ve never wanted kids. The only difference now is that I have a name for it. It follows that I’ve also decided to be sterilized. This too brought about different reactions, as well as a lot more attention that I expected or wanted. Sure, there were a few bingos, which I’m used to. I don’t expect to hear the last of those even after the procedure.
However, I’ve found those easy to simply ignore. I’ve received far more positive reactions, being congratulated and on person on twitter suggested a “virtual anti-baby shower.” For anyone concerned about the label “anti-baby,” don’t be alarmed, I’m not about to gather pitchforks and torches and lead an angry mob to the nearest hospital nursery (but seriously, don’t ask me to babysit.) I’m only against me having a baby. And really, what else do you call a “shower” (really just people saying congratulations,) celebrating the fact that I do not and will never have a baby?
So, very mixed reactions, but mostly positive. It’s all about who you tell I guess.
I don’t see me being sterile as a big deal. Sure, the tubal ligation procedure has me a bit nervous and excited, but not actually being sterile. For me, infertility isn’t a life-changing event. The way that I live and think won’t change one bit apart from me not needing to be paranoid about my contraceptive failing. After recovery, I expect to go on with my life the same as I have been with nary a thought about my voluntary sterility. It will be a non-issue for me. And that’s the point.
See, I like my life more or less how it is. I get to enjoy being active, being lazy, being spontaneous, being alone, and being with my boyfriend. I live by my own terms (mostly) and it’s a life I would simply not be able to maintain if I had kids. I like my life and for me, having kids would just absolutely ruin it. I wouldn’t be happy, and neither would Hypothetica or Imagigary be. So I’m getting my tubal to protect the life that I have. The only difference between my life before and my life after my tubal will be that afterwards I can be secure in my knowledge that I will get to keep my life as I wish to live it unchilded. I will have one less thing to worry about and get on enjoying my life.
That’s what being childfree means to me. My life isn’t worry-free or without responsibilities and sacrifices nor is it free from the judgments of others. But I have one less worry, one less major expense, one less burden. I’m without kids. Not only that, but despite what some bingoers wish to convince themselves, I’m planning to stay that way permanently. And, most damningly, I’m perfectly happy about it.
Earlier this year, I was devastated when I learned that MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann was canceled. I’ve been a big fan of Olbermann’s commentary ever since I first watched his show while deployed in Iraq, and I really missed his show when it was suddenly yanked from the air. However, I was excited when I learned that the show would return on a different network, Current TV. Finally, it’s back on.
I don’t have cable TV. When Countdown was on MSNBC, I downloaded the podcasts, along with Rachel Maddow’s show. Now that the show is on Current TV, I can only download clips and not entire episodes. I have discovered that I can watch the show for free on Ready-Tv.com, without downloading a thing, but I can only do so at times that the show is on the air.
In any case, I’m glad to have Keith back on my screen.
Keith, you can be my new best girlfriend any time.
And now, the top 10 reasons to watch the new Countdown with Keith Olbermann.