Monthly Archives: October 2011

My Dog Is Crazy #1: Sacrifices To The God Of Linoleum

In anticipation for Molly’s arrival into her home, I found myself wandering the isles of the local petstore, giddy to be expecting a dog. Expecting, I thought, was an apt term, as my behavior could be described as being very similar to a pregnant woman happily awaiting her due date, minus the discomfort (pain) and bladder issues. I wanted to make sure that I had everything read for her. Leash, waste bags, clicker, treats, food, first aid kid, toiletries, bed, toys, car harness, etc. I found this darling feeding station and, as it was on sale, of course I had to have it.

I had to move our garbage can and recycling bin as they occupied the only place I could have really had for the the feeding station, as all of our home but the kitchen (and the bathrooms, but who puts a feeding dish there?) was carpeted. I wasn’t sure if Molly would be a messy eater or not, but I figured it was easier to clean up stray kibble with a broom than with a vacuum.

As it turns out, Molly is a somewhat dainty eater, only picking up a few pieces of kibble at a time. However, I’ve noticed that she has a strange ritual. I’ve watched her (I have to watch her eat, she won’t eat unless there’s a human standing right over her) pick up a few pieces of kibble, gently set them on the floor. This already defeats the purpose of me getting her an elevated feeding station, but it gets weirder. Unbelievably, instead of eating the kibble she laid on the kitchen floor, she reaches into her bowl and does it again. She’ll repeat this process multiple times before she’ll actually start eating anything.

Maybe she’s offering a sacrifice to the linoleum god, hoping to appease it so she won’t be as prone to slip when tries to run through. As with any request for intercession from a god, her prayer has gone unanswered.

Childproofing For The Childless

Ok, I wasn’t going to write about this. I was going to be done with the CF stuff for a minute and work on the other articles that I’ve been neglecting. But god damn it, is this overly kid-obsessed society annoying! I saw an article on Jezebel some time back, called Childproofing For The Childless, and boy, was it filled with parental entitlement and condescension for childfree people. Whatever, I let it go. Then I read another article recently on Retail Me Not Insider that was at least it’s bad and went by the title of Childproofing Tips for the Childless. The message of which was, to me, ‘not only are guests with kids entitled to how you arrange your home, but also to how you spend your money.’

The first article is completely ridiculous. Apparently, non-parents have very messy homes in which we habitually leave poisons and drugs out in the open. Oh, and we like to decorate with porn (seriously, wtf?). Holy shit, does this author have any childless/free friends? If she does, I doubt that their homes are anything like what she describes or else she sorely needs to reexamine who she chooses to hang out with. I don’t even have kids and I certainly wouldn’t visit some who seriously lives in a dump carpeted with broken glass, dirty needles, and dildos. Yeah, I actually found Jezebel’s article about childproofing insulting to childfree people for the advice the author finds necessary to give. We’re all a bunch of drug-addled, sex-addicted, slobs, apparently.

All I know is that my home hasn’t tried to kill me yet. Nobody in their right mind just leaves the floor littered with sharp objects and poisons. There’s no gaping hole in my floor over a tiger pit. My home is not dangerous. If things like the contents of my cupboards, the things on my shelves, or my electrical outlets are any threat at all to a child (or vice versa) that means that the parent has failed, not me.

Oh, and as for the advice about locking my animal in another room, FUCK OFF! My dog lives here. This is her home. The kid’s the guest. If anything, I’d be more inclined to shut the kid down in a separated room. That would save me the hassle of having to childproof the rest of the house, anyway. But as long as the kid in question is raised at least as well as my dog, that won’t be necessary.

While the first article was all about childproofing on short notice, the second one is about childproofing way in advance, just in case. And by “childproofing,” it means buying tons of expensive kindercrap, despite the fact that I have no kids, only some of which actually has anything to do with childproofing at all. The following is the list of demands:

  • The North State Superyard XT Portable Playard – $49.50, or Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard -$91.54
  • Chicco Caddy’s Hook On High Chair – $37.99, or Fisher-Price Space Saver High Chair- $59.99
  • Safety First Infant-to-Toddler Tub – $11.99
  • Just Kidz Yellow Duckie -$6.40 (a child-proofing must? Really?)
  • ProGrade Dual Action Outlet Protector – $3.99
  • KidCo Auto Close Center Gateway – $84.95
  • Corner cushions – $10.49

If one follows the shopping list, they can expect to pay between $205.31 and $269.35. Um, that’s a lot for someone who actually has kids to spend on these things. I’m guessing most parents except for the very wasteful went for more economical alternatives on a number of these things, if they felt any were necessary to buy at all.. But to expect someone who doesn’t even have kids to shell out this much just in case a parent decides to grace them with their kids’ presence? Fuck. That.

I’m noticing that most of these items are easily portable. If any parent really felt they absolutely needed to have these things for their visit, they could easily purchase the items themselves and bring them with when they visit. Expecting a host to spend this much money on junk for a guest is just insane and goes far beyond reasonable expectations of hospitality. Hell, part of the reason a lot of us don’t have kids is because we don’t want to deal with kid-related expenses such as these, and certainly don’t want this crap in our homes.

The article, when making these demands, explains that most women don’t have the luxury of a nanny and lacking these things at your home, these poor mothers would have to scurry back to their own homes to tend to the baby. Um, I’m pretty sure a babysitter would cost a lot less than $200!

Both of these articles assume that the child will be allowed to explore the host’s home, and do so without the attention of the parent. Um, fuck no. If the kid is young enough that that it’s a real danger to my home or vice versa, it’s staying in it’s carrier or the parent’s lap for the visit, or will be otherwise secured. It will not be granted free access to roam my house, and certainly won’t be left unattended by the parent for a minute. Older children, ones who aren’t likely to break anything or find some way to harm themselves will be told which portions of the house are acceptable to visit (my bedroom, for instance, is ALWAYS off-limits. Even my boyfriend can’t come in without permission, and he lives here!) For such children, only the occasional check-in would likely be necessary.

But the fail goes on. I’ll ignore that they assume that children are even welcome in the home at all (some people don’t allow kids in general, kids under a certain age, or specific kids for various reasons,) as that’s the scenario being addressed. I’ll even ignore that it expects the host to care about childproofing at all. What these articles fail to do is address the responsibilities of the parents. All of this childproofing is completely unnecessary if the parent guest just acts like a responsible parent. If I went to the home of a non-dog-owner, I wouldn’t expect the place to be dog-proofed, stock dogfood and dishes, and I sure as hell wouldn’t expect the host to allow me to just let my dog wander free in their house without me still taking responsibility for watching it. No. Fucking. Way.

I have yet to see an article that addresses the issue of a parent with a small kid visiting a childfree person’s house that went like this:

Don’t bring your kid unless you know that they’re welcome. If you have to, arrange for a sitter. If you’re not willing to cut the umbilical chord for a few hours, politely decline the invitation. Consider having the meeting at your own home.

If the child is welcome, be aware that you, not your host, are the one who is responsible for it. It is your responsibility to bring all items that you believe the child will need during the visit, it is your responsibility to watch the child and keep it under control and out of trouble, and it is your responsibility to protect your host’s home from your child..

If you expect a long visit and will be needing supplies, bring them. There is no reason to expect someone without kids to keep a high-chair or a crib around. Be sure to bring adequate food, toys, and diapers, as well as anything else you might need. Be sure to take all of these things with you when you leave. As for dirty diapers, dispose of them in an outside bin or dumpster, not inside the house.

Manners will be expected. Do try to keep your child under control and quiet, or, if you can’t, consider taking them home. Closely watch any interactions between your kid and your host’s pet to ensure that the the kid handles them properly. Be sure to clean up any messes your child might make. Be courteous.

Remember that your going into someone else’s home, do not expect it to be completely baby-proof beyond being clean. If you don’t like minding your own child, don’t like the layout of your host’s home, or don’t like your host’s display items – simply leave. Don’t expect the home to be rearranged for the arrival of yourself and your kid for short visits.

Nor have I ever seen a babyproofing article that went like this:

1. Lock your doors.

2. Use birth control.

DONE!

Edit: As for childproofing, I only take care of basic safety concerns. Right now, I’m working on getting a cover for my basement’s fire escape as, outside, it’s a hole in the ground. It’s not a pressing concern as most people are intelligent enough to avoid falling in, but I do still see accidents as a possibility. What I’m not going to do though is pad every corner, cover every electrical outlet, or install cumbersome baby-gates when no children live here. As for buying things, I might choose to buy a few toys, just to be nice, but I don’t feel that I should be required or expected to. Nor am I buying any of that expensive baby stuff recommended in the second article. I might purchase a few snacks and juices for a kid prior to an expected visit, just as I would make an effort to have refreshments prepared for any other guest. That’s it. I’m inviting guests over, not starting a nursery.

Atheism Means…

Atheism means never having to say that you’re sorry just for being human.

What A Beautiful Day!

“I know it’s absolutely true, because the Bible is always absolutely true.”
-Harold Camping

Happy October 22, 2011 everybody! 

It’s just past midnight where I live, meaning that it’s officially October 22nd. I don’t know about the weather where you live, but the forecast where I live predicts that the weather today will be just dandy! I’m expecting it to be warm and sunny. It would be a great day for a cook-out if I hadn’t already had one three days in a row now and run myself out of steaks and hamburgers. I wasn’t supposed to need them today, you see. Oh well, my dog will enjoy a few games of fetch in nice grass. Sadly, apart from throwing around a drool-soaked tennis ball, I have no plans for this beautiful day.

You see, the world was supposed to end yesterday, according to Harold Camping. Has no one told you? Evidently, no one told the world as it’s still a spinnin, with all her people still on it and none of them seeming to be raptured. I made a note of of my non-destruction to my Christian boyfriend as we enjoyed our charcoal-grilled steak on our patio. I was reminded of the time that he, despite being a Christian, didn’t fly off into the sky one particular spring afternoon as we were hiking in Colorado’s beautiful mountains.

Harold Camping couldn’t have been wrong, could he? I mean, never-mind that he was wrong when he predicted the end of the world in 1994. And he was wrong again when he predicted the rapture back in May. After saying how “flabbergasted” he was, he excused the non-event by saying it was a spiritual judgement day, or whatever. There still weren’t the massive earthquakes he predicted, or were they supposed to be spiritual earthquakes?

But he was so sure that this was it! The bible told him so! Harold, as were what remained of his congregation, all 25 of them, was certain that the rapture and the end of the world would occur on October 21, 2011. Well, not too certain. Camping still wasn’t about to sell/give away his stuff, you know, like Jesus might have. And as the date loomed, Camping backed away from the strong words he’d used previously. Gone were words like “absolutely” and “without any question,” replaced by “probably” and “maybe.”

Look out your window. Does the world look like it’s ended to you? No? I didn’t think so. What did we tell you, Camping?

Camping can’t use the cop-out of saying it was only a spiritual even this time. Not after saying this to the press.

“We are not changing the dates at all. We are just looking at it a little more spiritually but it won’t be spiritual on Oct. 21 because the Bible teaches the world will be destroyed altogether. But it will be very quick,”

Kind of painted yourself into a corner there, didn’t you?

Now consider something, Family Radio spent an estimated $100 million in ad money promoting this prediction. Imagine if, instead of trying to “save” people, they actually tried to save people – like, oh, I don’t know, feeding the starving people all over the world? With that kind of cash, maybe they could have helped fund research into curing disease? Maybe they could have helped people in remote locations access clean water? Maybe they could have started a homeless shelter? They could have done a lot of actual good with that kind of money. But they didn’t. Christ, were he real, would be ashamed.

You KNOW he’s not going to refund his sheep the donations that they faithfully sent him. That’s OK. Camping is 90 now. He’s not likely to need his retirement fund restocked a third time. Truthfully, anyone dumb enough to fall for this crap deserves to be removed from their money anyway so I don’t even pity them. Clever scam you pulled there, crazy old man.

For your dose of WTF, enjoy this:

April Peveteaux Needs To Mind Her Own Uterus

Generation X Ladies Need to Have Some Babies

Nobody needs babies. This is especially true when we consider how dangerously overpopulated the planet already is. You know what really strikes me throughout April Peveteaux’s misguided article? Not once does she even give a single reason to explain why anyone should have babies. She just says to do it. The only reason I could think of, from her writing, was that other women having babies would make her more comfortable about her own decisions. That’s kind of sad, isn’t it?

An interesting statistic about the women and men of Generation X – babies born between 1965 and 1978 — shows that a huge chunk of these 33- to 46-year-olds are not having babies of their own. A startling 43 percent of Gen X ladies are not having children, and 32 percent of Gen X men. Granted, we’re not the Baby Boomers, but that’s still a lot of adults deciding to forgo parenthood.

Good! I wish the statistic was greater! Has anyone else noticed that the world population is not only currently unsustainable, but still climbing? Just reached 7 billion this month. Just how many college students are we going to cram into this phone booth before someone finally realizes that enough is enough?

As a card-carrying member of Generation X, it has not escaped my notice that many, many of my friends remain child-free. When I try to think back to my own mother’s friends, I can’t recall any of them not having their ownchildren. Yet I would say probably 43 percent of my female friends don’t have kids.

Yes, think back to your mother’s friends. 1. What was the place of women at the time? (Or the place we were stuck with, anyway.) 2. What was the availability of various birth control methods as well as proper abortion care? 3. What kind of people is your mom likely to be friends with anyway?

What the heck is going on?

People making independent decisions for themselves, not all of which follow the life-script. Do you know what happened since your mother’s time? Women’s liberation. Slowly, women have begun to realize that we have value as people, rather than merely as people factories, whether we have kids or not. It’s gotten to the point where people are able to escape the social expectations to breed and are able to choose to delay or even forgo motherhood entirely. Gradually, childfreedom has become more accepted, a trend not helped by this bossy, condescending article.

One article expressed the opinion that Gen Xers are overworked, underpaid, and just don’t have the expendable income that is required to raise children. As an overworked, underpaid mom myself, I kind of call b.s. on that idea.

You’re “overworked, underpaid” as a mom. These people are already overworked and underpaid without kids. Having kids will only make that worse. Not that these are the only reasons people are freely choosing not to have kids. Some people just don’t want that mommy/daddy life, a point you never see fit to address.

By the way, you think you’re overworked and underpaid? You write articles about people that you apparently don’t even have to do real research for. If that’s your only job, I call bullshit.

Not that we shouldn’t have support in place in our stressed economy to help people when they want to become mothers — we should. But I don’t think paid maternity and paternity leave, subsidized day care, and universal health care are the deciding factors when people make a baby.

The support people should have before they have a baby is a savings of their own and a job to continue the income. I don’t agree that someone else’s desires should be a burden for everyone else to help with whether they like it or not considering that we don’t get a say in whether or not someone else has a kid. Paid maternity/paternity leave are benefits from the workplace, and ones the rest of us non-childed people don’t get. Subsidized (if you mean by taxes) daycare is great for people who have unexpectedly fallen on hard times and only use temporarily while they get themselves back on their feet, not something for people to just expect that they’re entitled to before they even have a baby. A baby is the responsibility of the parent, not the rest of the world.

All of the above would have made my life dramatically better in the early days of having my own babies, yet I still had them. Sure, I complained about it, my marriage was stressful as a result of having zero support in these arenas, and my health suffered. But again, I had a second child knowing all of these things.

So you’re a poor decision maker. I’m sorry, but you’re really not making this “leap of faith” advice (we’ll get to that later,) very appealing to anyone who thinks about it in a rational way. Other people don’t want to intentionally sabotage their own lives by either having kids before they can adequately care for them while sustaining a decent living, or by having kids at all.

Edited to add: Relevant, She had a fucking nanny!

But you know when I didn’t have a baby? During my first, incredibly short “starter marriage,” my self-preservation instincts kicked in and kept me on a very strict birth control regimen. And the Gen X women I know who don’t have children are mostly the ones who have struggled to find a partner that they trust enough to go with on this journey of parenthood.

A “starter marriage.” Not to be down on people who divorce and re-marry (as is the case with many people who I respect very much,) but clearly “leap of faith,” has not had a great track record of success in your life.

So are you saying that you should have had kids with this guy?

Our generation is notorious for being “latch-key” kids and having divorced parents. Most of us are gun-shy when it comes to trusting other people and we damn sure don’t want to repeat the mistakes of our own parents. Hence, the lack of marriages, and lack of children as a result of those unions.

Oh, now there’s an interesting correlation between divorce and children who grow up to not have kids! Or, it would be, had any factual data been provided to support it. Sometimes I think bloggers are just people who couldn’t hack it as journalists. Yes, I know this applies to me, but at least I back up what I say, cite my sources.

As a person whose parents never divorced, who has a loving, male partner who I trust, and as a person who has had a fairly good life all things considered, I don’t want kids. I don’t see any reason why I should. That might punch a bit of a hole in your divorce-blaming idea.

As a child of divorce and other lifestyle choices I would have preferred not to have been brought up around, I get this instinct. And I realize that I was incredibly lucky to meet and fall in love with a man who I knew would be an amazing husband and father, and that our marriage would be nothing like those 1960s and ’70s disasters. I wouldn’t have had children either, if I hadn’t met him.

I swear, I’m not the one putting this shit in bold. It was like that when I found it. Ok, look, she didn’t have kids with the first guy, and wouldn’t have had she not met this one guy, but, well, read on…

However, this is where I tell all of you Gen X ladies and dudes to take a leap of faith.

WTF?! How does someone even write this shit without their head exploding from the cognitive dissonance. This logic…

Ok, clearly the “take a leap of faith/ just do it” attitude wasn’t right for her at different parts of her life, but she’s sure it’s right for you right now in your life. Because who knows you better than April? You didn’t think it was yourself, did you? Oh, silly childfree person.

Hey lady, you might be so caught up in playing mommy that you haven’t noticed, but it’s not your place to tell anyone else to do anything. We’re not your kids, we’re adults who make our own informed decisions.

Having children made me a better person.

Evidently not.

Experiencing the struggles and joys of bringing up small people that are related to me has enriched my life beyond what I could have imagined. And as a cynical, smartass Gen Xer who was never going to have children, I’m shocked.

Oh, she was just like me, so she knows better, right? Yeah, you know who else is shocked? All the mommies who “just do it,” “take a leap of faith,” and mindlessly follow the life-script only to discover that parenthood is not, in fact, all sunshine and roses. 

Single parenting is difficult, and I’m not advocating it if you’re not ready for it, but being a parent is an experience that I would wish on all of my Gen X brothers and sisters. Okay, not all. You know who you are. But most of you who may just be thinking it’s not worth the hassle. It is. Jump in, the water is cool.

Single parenting? Wow, she really is set on that whole “just do it” attitude, huh? Single-parenthood is fine for the rich and successful, or something people resort to when the alternative becomes untenable or even dangerous, but it’s not usually anyone’s goal to be a single caretaker, struggling just to pay their bills. This has to be the worst advice I’ve ever seen anyone give in my entire life.

Whether or not having kids is worth the “hassle” (that’s a kind way to put it) is entirely subjective. If it was worth it for you, great! It’s not worth it to me and evidently isn’t worth it for a lot of people. Some of us have better (to us) things to do with our lives.

Are you a Gen Xer without kids?

Technically, I’m just a tad too young to be Gen X, having been born in 1988. What does that make me, generation Y? Well, when I get to be 33- to 46- years old, I’ll still be my happily childfree self. I even had a surgery to ensure that. And maybe when I’m that age, people will have grown to realize that motherhood is a choice, not a mandate, and I won’t have to deal with sexist crap like this article.

How would you like it if I told you that you really shouldn’t have kids? I’d have a decent argument, what with overpopulation being a real and looming threat which affects everyone. Yet somehow I don’t think it would be much appreciated. Well, neither will this.

This is really neither here nor there, and I considered not even posting this. However, it’s relevant and it’s information that the author herself makes public, so it’s fair game as far as I’m concerned. She has celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine in response to gluten. It has no cure, but is managed by careful diet. I almost, almost felt sorry for her when I read this, that is, until I saw that it was inherited and something passed on in families. She’s a mom. She probably passed the predisposition for this shit on to her kids. Um, passing diseases makes you a better person? Oh, well, maybe she had a mild case and didn’t know until after, but still.

Oh, do you not like that I’m now judging your reproductive decision? Well, I don’t like it either. You might want to get off your high horse and stop telling other people how to live, and what to do with our lives as far as reproduction goes. Especially since you live in a glass house. At least by not having kids, we’re not hurting anybody.

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