Kids in Restaurants: A Guide for Naked Emperors

Day 5: of Fall Back Into Blogging with SITS is re-post what you posted on September 28th last year.
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Sometime last week, I heard a news story about a restaurant owner who decided not to welcome children in his restaurant anymore.
We have eaten out a lot with our girls, and we are a disruption, to be sure.  Because we are so afraid of our children being a problem, we are hyper-vigilant to detect any thing that may be slightly less than the insight and conduct of a (whatever age I am) adult.  Stupid?  Yes.  No medication is available.  Whatever, Mine and Mickey’s conduct is certain to have been the disruption.  Not the kids.
With eyebrow provocatively raised, the news guy (Saturday morning I don’t remember what network.) interviewed the restaurant owner, a career waiter, a mom and some people with no children.  They all had opinions. Despite the interviewer’s facial expression, it was all predictable.
Good Looking Well Dressed Mommy: “Why should I be penalized for teaching my child to like steak instead of “processed chicken food”?” (did not address whether her child acted like a chimp in restaurants)
Childless couple: “Why should we be disturbed?” (Choose not to be)
Waiter: “It isn’t my job to act as go-between for Childless Couples and Good Looking Well-Dressed Mommies.” (Unless your boss says it is.)
Owner: “It is my place, I’ll do what I want.” (Whether it is good business or not)
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, I don’t know why it is national news. I sincerely hope the man still has the right to run his restaurant the way he chooses within the law.  The network chose a really good looking mommy and very extremely average looking childless couple and a ‘disheveled,-but-that-is-so-right-now’young waiter.  The network made their position on this inane topic clear: “America ought to be up-in-arms over this infringement on the rights of someone (especially an attractive person) to do something. Anywhere.  Ever.”Of course, you know me.  I am always wandering out in left field, picking up unmade points and mixing unwanted metaphors.  Sorry, I got a little distracted by the obvious point this time.

How come it’s not okay to be a small a-hole, but when you become a big one, you are welcome to come and soak your character deficiencies in alcohol.  Up. In. Here?
Are kids the only ones who disturb other diners in restaurants?I. Think. Not.

What did you think about this story?  What is the juiciest story you have heard wafting over from the next table?

OMG!!! I am Sharing My Awesome with Jennifer @ Momma Made It Look Easy.

 

Momma Made It Look Easy

Community Amenities: Use at Your Own Risk

Then one day(in 1995)…by the pool.

The usual suspects were on hand.  It was warm, but the shadow of the building was moving our way.  About 30 people chattered away.  The gate opened.  A well-chiseled man in rainbow leopard print workout pants came in.  He moved the lounge chair near the pool and dropped the pants.  He wore…

a thong.

Nobody moved.  Nobody breathed.  Nobody looked at anyone else.

30 minutes sunning on one side.

A dip in the pool.

30 minutes on the other side.

He got up and left.

The gate clanged shut;

Thirty people exhaled for the first time in an hour.

The party resumed.

But none of us would ever forget.

Because you can’t wash your brain.

Apartment Living: Remember When

Is it a rite of passage to adulthood, that one must live in an apartment at least once?  I spent the better part of my childhood living in apartments.  It wasn’t until college that I began to notice the difficulties inherent in multi-family dwelling.

For instance, there was the gal who lived next door.  We never knew her name.  The guy she was dating was named…Tim.  But he went by, “Ohmygodtim!”.

Then.  The compulsively clean upstairs neighbor.  Lots of throw rugs.  Which she took to the sliding glass door, shook, and replaced.  One at a time.  Every. Day.

There was the guy who looked like that one guy from REO Speedwagon.  Down to the hair and the zebra pants.  He lived behind us.  He could hold his liquor most of the time.  Or maybe it was stomach flu. A better neighbor would have gone over and held his hair.

The guy who moved in after him, fought with his girlfriend.  I mean. Fought.  The next morning, I went to the apartment office and told them they could tell him that if that happened again, I would be calling the cops.  The girl only came back to the apartment once. Dude glared at me the rest of the time he lived there.

He glared at me.

It made me smile.

Trayvon, Skinny White Women, and Thailand

~I started this post around the time of the switchover to wordpress, and I held onto it to make sure it didn’t get lost in the shuffle.~

ACCIDENTAL GUIDE TO WHAT’S ON MY MIND

1) If you don’t know who Trayvon Martin is, look here.  He is speaking loudly.  He is only saying what was already there.

Just as 9/11 made us feel ‘unsafe’; we didn’t polarize over race the day Trayvon died.  We were as unsafe on 8/30 or even 9/10.  We just weren’t paying attention.  We were as divided on race on February 25, as we are today.  Nobody had called us out.

2) People say, “I am not racist.”  Often followed by, “I don’t think of your girls as black.” My daughters are bi-racial.  Here in the “Lost Cause South” they are “judged by the color of their skin, not the content of their character”*.   Why not think of them in terms of their personality or their individual accomplishments?  For example, “She is a leader,” or “She’s a good actress.”

3) I delayed addressing this issue, then I saw my heart this week and I have been hating myself.  I had to look in the heart of a asshole, bitch, selfish person.  {the whole story is too much of a digression…suffice to say… It wasn’t race,but it was arrogance.}

My attitudes are invisible to me but very visible to others.  How do people tolerate me? I prefer to ignore the issues and give high sounding answers when shit stuff gets ugly.”

4) I don’t get to say anything.  No one cares about a white woman’s opinion on race.  Much as it is irritating for a skinny person to bitch about her weight.  The truth is, all we can do is enter the presence and make the journey. Be willing to be called out.  Be willing to apologize.  Be willing to ask questions that make you look foolish and take the answer even if you get yelled at.

Take the chance of falling in love.

6) Months ago, My girls were sitting on a bench on either side of a friend.  Another child began to laugh and when she could recover, said, “You guys are an Oreo.”

How? Now.

In what way, are they component parts of an Oreo?  Subsequently, this child referred to my child as, “My Oreo.”  I would have talked to parents, but every time I do, “Racism is not tolerated in our home.”

Right.

7) In their secret, non-parentally-sanctioned IM conversations, Type A and JoeFriday talk about  racist treatment by their peers.

8( Mickey attended the mandatory meeting for co-op registration because I was contagious.

Each instructor described their class. Mickey wished he had walked out.  The U.S. History teacher confessed with tears his passion for students to know what America was like before [the standing President of These United States of America] was elected and ruined it.  He visited Korea and Thailand and did not recommend them.

Lord, Have mercy.
Christ, Have mercy.

9) This post was inspired by Dumb Mom who responded with uncommon grace, Jennifer @ Momma Made It Look Easy who responded with a mother’s heart; and by every mother who ever received that call.

10) The only solution I know is to never ever be such a presumptuous imposter as to be satisfied with my work in this area. I know what I saw and heard growing up.  I don’t know why God chose to honor me with these children and my friends.  But I know that I will never be okay.  I will never be finished.  I will never arrive.

*with apologies to Dr. King who actually said:

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation
where they will not be judged by the color of their skin,
but by the content of their character.”
– Martin Luther King, I Have a Dream Quote

 

Normal: An Accidental Guide for Prince Harry

Several weeks ago, I saw this headline.  If you don’t have time to read it all, I’ll synopsize for you.  Prince Harry is not attached because he hasn’t met anyone willing to take on the job of being his woman.  Sometimes he and his brother wish they were normal.

I found this intriguing.  I don’t know what Harry meant by ‘normal’, but it seemed to imply ‘middle class’.  As in: “Normal people, who aren’t famous and don’t have enough money, have no idea how lucky they are not to have to be selective about who they date.”

According to the Free Online Dictionary, Harry may have meant the mathematical, chemical or biological definition or even the town in Illinois, but it sounds like a backhanded insult for which he won’t be held accountable, because he is not normal.

ACCIDENTAL GUIDE TO NORMAL FOR THOSE WHO ARE CONSIDERING TAKING IT ON

1. Normal is a great thing, yet difficult to achieve.  I, for example, am quite normal in height, hair and eye color; but have never been normal in hearing, I.Q., or sense of humor.  All factors over which I have limited or no control.

2. Normal is house, job and family.  Not knowing who to call when the plumbing fails.  Clocking in at a job you hate for several years.  Being distant with your spouse.

3. Normal is going to the movies and having no one care if you get a drink or a good seat.   If you get a ticket at all.

4. Normal is a $40 pair of jeans, a $30  $9 sweater and a $60 $15 handbag.  Not normal?  How much better even Lancome moisturizer feels compared to Oil of Olay.  Come now, is there anything so bourgeois as Lancome in the palace?

5. Normal is grieving alone.  No notes from strangers.  No excuses for bad behavior.

6. Normal is not an antonym for royal, or famous, or rich.

7. Normal is not synonymous with poverty, obscurity, or liberty.  Anymore than nobility is synonymous with celibacy.

8. Normal should not be confused with normative.  A qualified mental health practitioner will be able to assure you, though you live in a fishbowl; you are fine if the voices aren’t telling you to eat the neighbor’s cat.

9. If your standard for normal is you desire to eff up your life, with no one knowing about it, before settling down, then, Buddy, WELCOME TO NORMAL!  Non-royals have to make wise life choices or deal with the consequences, too.

Dear Harry,

I am sorry you are unhappy.  I apologize for speaking to you as I would to one of my own children. You may well and truly have no one to teach you this basic life lesson.  This is what I do.  Let me invite you back soon for, “Fairness: Why we don’t all wear the same size bra.”
Affectionately,
Maggie S.

New Season of Life; Handling Blessing

For the last 33 months, with a break of 5 months in the middle, my husband has been on “reduced salary.”  If you want to discuss hand to mouth living, I can.  Things would have gone substantially better over the long haul if I had been astute enough to not believe reports that it was just for one month, just until November.  Febuary.  April.  When I was believing reports of temporary, I charged some stuff.  I have had a lot of shame over that.  I would have done differently, if I had realized the scope of what was going on.

I have served my family foods from my freezer whose age I knew to be older than 3 years.  I have gone literally months without spending $100 in groceries.  I used what was in the cabinet; prayed over what was left in the freezer and scavenged and scrounged (still using leftover condiments from last years Track Team Picnic).

The kids were scholarshipped for Track.  Our adoption was a freaking miracle.  We paid our last car payment the month before I got home with Small Fry.  I got a little job cleaning.  People created barter situations.  I had to humble myself to apply to the church benevolent fund.

I questioned God a lot.

“What are You doing?” 

“You said…”  to move here

“I know I can’t handle anymore.”  the girls got hurt

“Now, I can’t handle one more thing.”   traveling to get your child is supposed to be fun

“Nothing else.  Please.”    the surgery is long past due

“I have no strength left.  I will not survive.”   where will the next blow come from

“I’m done.” it’s never been just about the money; it was also the discouragement

And then…

Indeed, it was for my own welfare
that I had such great bitterness;
but Your love has delivered me
from the Pit of destruction, 
for You have thrown all my sins behind Your back.  Is. 38:17

Look, I am about to do something new;
even now it is coming. Do you not see it?
Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness,
rivers in the desert. Is. 43:17

And the rivers flow.

When we would talk about just needing to survive, there was always a good Christian brother or sister there to say, “Riches can be just as much of a trial.”  I wasn’t asking for riches.  I wanted to put a ham hock in the beans.

We aren’t about to be rich.  We are about to have enough.  It makes me realize, I have “gotten by” for so long, I have forgotten how to plan ahead.  I need to hone my skills.

 To glorify the One Who Sees.

Bacon and God’s Abundance

…And now, without further ado;

The story of how 2012 sucks less than the last six years combined even if Jesus returns for the Mayans this year.

 I’ve always struggled with really trusting God.  I know He loves me, but felt that I still had to look out for myself. He doesn’t owe me peace and good haircuts.  I always thought it made sense that if I believed Him “all out”, He might test my commitment by destroying my life (because that’s loving?). It’s not right.  I’m just explaining my flawed thinking.

On January third, I sat quietly and watched the sun rise through the sheers.  Coffee and reading material in hand, I just said,…

“I trust You. Take it all; if You want.”

In that moment, I knew He was doing something new; I would know it when I saw it.

At 9:30 that morning I got a text from Mickey.  His firm had merged; he’d call me later.  Third, in years of experience, in a 10 person firm, he’d had no clue.

My birthday, is on the 18th. Mickey threw me a surprise party on Friday. I got several gifts; a notepad and pen, a coffee gift card, a red dress and 28 1/2 pounds of good bacon.

You read that right.

My friend wanted get me a good gift and prayed and thought, “bacon.”  She thought I needed to understand God’s abundance towards me. We had a conversation a couple of weeks before about  bacon, but when she’d explained the bit about God’s abundance, I was at a loss.  Abundant bacon didn’t seem to extend to general abundance. But the bacon was incredible.

Our household finances remained tight, but Mickey was being built up on the inside, where a man’s identity lives. He got a job offer a week for the first six weeks of the year.

I began to have a vision of the children of Israel with their manna in the desert.  And oh, how they bitched.  He still fed them; then they stood at the edge of the promised land and wouldn’t receive God’s blessing.  They were so used to their circumstances they had just come to expect more trial.  It’s in the Bible so we learn from it.  People aren’t supposed to do that.

So I won’t.

Two weeks ago, my husband interviewed with a new firm.  They called him back in under two hours.  He didn’t know what to do.  I mean it. He’s been treated like mushroom for so long (kept in the dark and fed a lot of crap), he didn’t know whether to “commit suicide or go bowling”.  For a minute.

He gave his notice Friday.

Because You Are Worth It

Dear Ladies,

As I write, you lie in bed.  You have 50 fact cards due tomorrow and expect to join me for a tour of a co-op we haven’t considered before.  My house is a freaking mess because of all the laundry.  The laundry is the way it is because of the plumbing.  In reality, you know that is not the reason the house is really embarrassing is that everyone in the house has learned that all you have to do to get out of cleaning is yell at people and in order to avoid the yelling, mom has been willing to continue to lower the standards.

In my opinion, I have failed you in homeschooling.  Your teachers and the headmaster of the independent study program, and the standardized test for profit company all say different.

Here is the deal.

I dreamed about having a norm-rockwell-currier-ives-I-don’t-know-what-all-yes-I-do-but-whatever experience in homeschooling.  All backlit and blowing dandelions and wading in creeks for Science.  Every year has been a fight.  A schedule?  Ladies, Please.  Every year you have dared me to impart so much as one “unit of measure of learning”.

Well, I didn’t get my ideal.  Apparently, neither did you, (with your hundred average in all the classes you are taking at co-op).

 What I didn’t plan for is that as adopted kids, you would begin to work through identity, grief, control (OMG, control), shame, rejection, and loss.  Quite magnificently. While you waited for me to clue in to what is going on.

The last six years have been a hard time for all of us.

Now, I can only pray for God, Himself to light a fire in you, to give you a vision for your future.

We’ll probably end up at the co-op today.  I don’t know what to do, because it is really a magnificent amount of money, just counting your classes and not textbook purchase or anything for your brother.

I love you.  I think you are funny and brave and smart and beautiful.  We are supposed to feel this way.  Like the leaves beginning to turn colors in the fall.  This is the first sign of the ending of this season of our lives.  There was more I wanted to do and I have regrets.  But just like a holiday celebration, I desperately want to send this season out with joy,

because you are mine.

Spring Break ’12

…to observe my lovely daughters, has been going on for sometime while they read the lowest brand of literature I will allow in the house.  Seriously, ick.

The weather is beautiful.

Standardized testing for my homeschoolers is done.

We have received our income tax return.  Thank God.  No really.  I mean.  Thank. God.

I just came back from a retreat in the mountains.  It was my privilege to attend this same retreat for a second time.  It was good great again, but for different reasons.  I met new gals and that is the best thing.

I figured out what to do about the girls and math for the next year.  Ha Ha.  Be glad you are not the one who has stared at me blankly all year when someone said, “Algebra.”

We are visiting a new co-op this week to observe, because we’re only doing one next year.

We went shopping for Summer Toys (chalk, bubbles, wiffle ball, flip flops, etc.). You know what you can’t get anymore?  Jacks.  I can’t even find the stupid plastic ones.

I have checked out the movies at the $2 theater.  There are 6 movies I could take the kids to.  For about the same money as one trip to the regular movies.

Right now, I have no plan but to wait for the plumber who was supposed to come yesterday but didn’t show.  The up side.  I get to re-schedule my annual.  That, my friends, is a break!

It’s Spring.

And we are all about to get a break.

Why I Am Not a Cat Person

This weekend was the second retreat.  Friday night, we were sitting around telling stories.  One lady was a total cat person.  I tried to tell my tale in a way that would convey that while I don’t agree with her lifestyle choice, it is hers to make and I know God doesn’t hold it against her.

I had a cat I liked at one time, but I have come to the place that it is more problematic to me to keep a box of dirt in my house for an animal to poop in, than can be outweighed by the enjoyment of the relationship.  As I would be the one who “cleans the dirt”, we have no indoor cat. Officially, Mickey has been asked if he would take 100% ownership of the dirt box. He looked into my soul and knew that I wouldn’t scoop another turd.  He said, “You heard your mom; no cat.”

The second summer we were married, a family asked us to house sit.  They had a cat.  Mimi. It seems that before we moved in, Mimi had disappeared one night and come back the next morning with a broken leg.  Hmmm?

She cried constantly, ate like a fiend and when the day’s food was gone, she would frequently CLIMB ON THE COUNTERS and eat whatever she could find.  A loaf of whole wheat bread? Raisin bran?  She was not selective about the ways she made me mad enough to black out.

She had a splint on the leg, which made it really difficult for her to navigate the litter box which had a lid with a door.

One day, I was alone in the house; making my bed.  I heard the tinkling sound of someone using the toilet in the master bath. Blogger doesn’t even support a description of the thoughts that went through my head.  I took the, “Hold it right there, Freak!” approach and stomped over to confront the intruder.

The cat was using the toilet.  Fighting the splint had her looking for solutions to her problem.  My near cardiac event was an unexpected downside to that plan.

Another day, Mickey picked her up to gently place her on the ground and drew back in alarm, “SHE’S PREGNANT!!!”

“No, she isn’t.  Mickey, people get their cats fixed.”  A simple call to the veterinarian disabused me of this simple minded error.  A call to the stupid family, who didn’t get their cat fixed, rendered an accusation of our altered male cat(cats can’t perform in vitro on other cats. Science has proved it.).  They apparently didn’t remember the Virgin Mimi’s Wild Night Out.

I wasn’t a doula yet, but Mimi didn’t know that.  When I got up that day, labor had begun.  She followed me everywhere, preferring to be stepped on to being alone.  I figured these things would naturally take their course and went about my day–out of the house from 10 until 4, and dinner with friends.  I knew she was still contracting, but I had no idea that she was waiting.  At ll p.m., I sat down to watch TV.  She laid down in front of me. With the first contraction, I SAW A SPLASH!!!  We moved her to the place we had prepared (in the closet, like the Bible says…).  In moments, there was another cat in the house.

Since she was underway, I thought there would be no stopping her.  Silly me.  When I got up around 2:00, not another cat had been born, so there I sat, doing the doula job.  For a cat.  I didn’t like.

A week or so later, I fell asleep in the afternoon because I was laying on the bed in the dark when I woke up, there was a kitten in the corner of the back of my knees, where my leg turns into my foot, and where my leg bends at the hip.  Mimi was found enjoying a leisurely meal.  I was now doing the post partum doula job.  For a cat.  Who clearly loved me.

Cats never do what’s expected of them.  Dogs, on the other hand…

Are perfect.

Please consider adopting your next pet, already spayed or neutered, from a rescue organization.  In addition, to your local animal control affiliates, there are also breed specific rescue groups.

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