When Ignorance Stops Being Forgivable

Blinding ignorance does mislead us. O! Wretched mortals, open your eyes!

~ Leonardo Da Vinci

I believe in education.  I also understand that not everyone has the means and opportunity to go to university.  That said, not everyone receives a decent education at university, or might not remember if they did.  However, everyone does have the ability to educate themselves.  It costs nothing to read a newspaper, magazine, or hell – a BOOK.

I believe that no matter what your moral standing is, or what your religious upbringing was, you have a responsibility to yourself to seek out differing beliefs and views, if nothing more than to try and understand the world around you better.

I believe everyone grew up either poor, middle-class, or well-off.  Your circumstances may have changed or stayed the same as you aged, but your impressionable time as a child has a great impact on how you view the economy and social economics as an adult.

What I do not agree with is framing your life around what you believe to be true in your sheltered existence, and attacking others who experience things differently than you.  

I have a hard time reconciling the ongoing attack against the poverty-stricken in this country by those who align themselves with the 1%, stating things like “Why should those who earned their money be ashamed?”  The fact is, no one is shaming wealthy individuals.  What is being said is why do we as a country have such a high poverty rate, while a good number of those who are abundantly wealthy did not “earn their money,” but inherited it.  The thing is, it is typically those who never wanted for anything growing up (and who – even now – do not work), that have a real issue with the idea of helping the poor.

It isn’t hard to find out information about any subject these days.  A million years ago when I was a student, there was no internet.  I spent a lot of time in the library.  Many in my small town spent their time at the beach, the mall, or slutting it up in some guy’s trailer.  (Don’t get me wrong, I had my moments)  But in this day-and-age, you have the opportunity to Google something, to ask a question, to open a book.  Yet, with all the opportunities to educate ourselves, some still live in that small town and get their information spoon-fed to them from other individuals who report what they believe and believe what they report.

I joined Facebook 2 years ago.  It wasn’t that I wasn’t technically savvy or socially inept, I was prevented from participating in social networking because of my work.  Once I had a child and stopped working, I figured “why not?”  The past 2 years have been so stressful, primarily because of that damn social network.  People are so offensive, mean, cruel…and ignorant.  But like I said…there is no excuse for ignorance anymore.

If you believe all Muslims are terrorists, you are ignorant.  If you believe that all police officers are perfect angels, you are ignorant.  If you believe that Planned Parenthood kidnaps pregnant women to abort their fetus’ and sell them on the black market, you are ignorant.  If you believe that your political party is the only way to Christ, you are ignorant.  If you don’t know the definition of a word, and instead of looking it up, proclaim said word to be akin to Stalin-esque communism, you are ignorant.  Blindly walking through life, believing everything you’re told, not finding out the truth in anything, and not making any decisions for yourself is no way to live.

Today I un-friended one of my cousins on Facebook.  Not for family squabbles, but because of her continued battle-dress-ignorance and belligerent social attacks on anyone who believes differently from her.  Upon doing so, I was subjected to an hour of instant messages and text messages calling me immature.

Potty Pitts


Oh potty training…such a milestone.  Everyone is so stoked to get their kids there, and so stressed when they’re not yet. It seems to be the single most exciting thing for a toddler mommy to talk about. It is awesome – BUT…sometimes it’s more shits than giggles.  Here are some of the drawbacks of having a self-propelled pee machine:

1.  All that potty training “gear” you absolutely had to have.  You were planning this moment for a year.  Every other mommy in the world potty trained their kids at 18 months, so you got nervous when your kid turned 2 and had no interest.  So you started buying everything.  Potty Seats; Potty Training Books; Pull-Ups; Wipes; Reward Charts; Stickers.  If you’re anything like me, you bought lots of it.  I ended up with 3 potty seats and two toilet rings.  Lets not even discuss the boxes of pull-ups.  Now I have more books about poop than I ever imagined I’d need or want.  All of that stuff is now taking up too much space in my laundry room.  Little did I know that once my kid sat on the Thomas the Tank Engine ring on the toilet, the rest would be history.  And now I have boxes of Size 7 diapers, baby wipes, and diaper pails everywhere.  Those diaper pails are huge!  You don’t realize how much space they take up until you’re not using them anymore.

2.  Time constraints.  Need to go to the grocery store?  Well, how long ago did the kid pee?  Can I get there and back in less than an hour?  Will he need to pee in the car potty?  (Yes, I have a potty seat in the car.)  Once you get where you’re going, you’re wondering if you have enough time to get everything done.  Is he going to pee his pants?  Are we ready for a public restroom?  Being home isn’t really that much better.  You’re on a timer there, too.  Asking your kid if they have to pee every 45 minutes isn’t very relaxing.  Oh, you wanted to read that Kindle book you downloaded a month ago?  Nope, you have a butt to wipe.  Oh, the incessant butt wiping!

3.  Laundry.  Thought you were doing a lot of laundry when you had a baby?  Guess what…it get’s worse.  Now you’ve got more underpants than you can even imagine.  You just had to buy all those cute cartoon ones, didn’t you?  Seriously, though…how many pairs of underwear can one little boy wear in a day?

4.  The nagging.  Thought you nagged your husband a lot?  Now you find yourself incessantly nagging your child about whether or not to go to the bathroom.  You also find yourself saying the following about 20 times a day:

     *  “No, don’t turn the bathroom lights on and off.”

     * “You only need to flush once.”

     * “Put your pants back on.”

     * “Yes, you have to wear underwear.”

     * “Please don’t pull down your pants in public.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m over-the-moon that my kid is potty-trained…But man, if I’m not stressed out!

Bad Dates

I read Her et al‘s post about the worst first/last date and I was immediately transported back to some really, really bad dates.

The first bad date that immediately came to mind was with a guy I was set up with by by cousin and her hairdresser friend.  It wasn’t a blind date, we met at the salon and talked a lot before going out.  We went to a local pub, listened to great music, and talked about deep stuff.  I have to be honest, I was not attracted to him and he really didn’t flip my lid with his conversation skills.  Either way, the drinks were free.  So when we left the pub, he started driving the wrong way.  I asked him where he was going, and his response was “you’ll see.”  Obviously I wasn’t all that keen on his surprise, and by the time I wrapped my head around it, he had driven down a dark path (note – path, not road) into the dunes area of the beach and parked.  There were no lights, no buildings, no cars, nothing.  I asked him what he was thinking, and he said he figured it was a good place for us to “chill” and talk, read: make-out.  I bet that if I were interested in him, I might not have flipped the EFF out, but he was given one chance to start the car and take me home before I destroyed him.

I remember another date I went on with a guy who worked the midnight shift at O’Hare Airport.  So I met him at an Applebee’s about 30 minutes from where I lived.  He was late, so I ordered a drink at the bar.  When he arrived and found me having a drink, he was less than pleased and made it clear he did not appreciate me starting without him.  I don’t remember eating there, but I know we then went in his car to a stock car race in the middle of nowhere Indiana.  I guess he thought it was a good idea to cover his blind date in dirt and ladybugs, and not be able to talk over the roar of the cars.  Folks, when I say stock car race, I mean a bunch of rednecks in the woods with homemade cars…not the stuff you see on TV.  After hours of that trash, we drove back to the Applebee’s parking lot where he proceeded to ask me for a BJ before he goes to work.  That’s right, this imbecile asked for a BJ, and when I refused, he proceeded to call me every name in the book.

I have SOOOOOOOOO many more.  I went on a lot of really bad first/last dates in between my two marriages over the last 15 years.  Maybe I’ll remember some of them and tell more.

Walking Wonders

That grass is about 3 feet high.  Our neighbor mows his lawn once a year.  Usually after it is about 3-5 feet high.  And when I say he mows his lawn, what I mean is, well…One year he paid someone to come do it.  Like some random guy, not a lawn company.  The guy came out, mowed the front, then opened the gate to the rear, took one look and left.  The back yard is essentially a tree garden, but the “trees” are actually weeds which he is cultivating by never mowing his back yard in the 5 years he’s lived here.  Last year he went out and started mowing his front yard.  I was shocked when I saw this as I assumed he didn’t have a mower.  Why else would he not be mowing his lawn.  The fun part of this story is that the grass was so high, he took one swipe and the lawn mower puttered out.  So what did he do?  He left that one swipe in the middle of his yard for 3 months until the town came out to mow it for him.  This year I complained to the HOA and the Town.  Apparently the Town will mow it then send him a $450 bill.  They haven’t come round yet, but I’ve seen the Town trucks scoping it out.  Yesterday UPS delivered a brand new lawn mower to his front door.  I told my husband about the new mower, and hubby got a little pissed off saying “all he needed to do was clean the other mower!”  My neighbor is simply an example of what I’ve been noticing about our neighbors.  A trend in carelessness.

My son and I walk the neighborhood every morning.  We take a different path every day, go to some parts one day and other parts the next.  A few things remain constant no matter what street or section of our neighborhood we walk in.  These are my pet peeves:

1.  Numerous little black bags of dog poop gathered around mailboxes or outside garage doors.  Hey, awesome that you’re bagging your dog’s poo!  But can you put it in a trash can?  I can almost understand throwing them just outside your garage door because that shows you might intend to throw them in a can that might be in your garage, but at the mailbox? So when the carrier comes to deliver your mail he has to deal with the smell and sight of a weeks worth of dog poop sweltering in black bags under the mailbox?  Disgusting!

2.  Broken items, items meant for repair, or just junk outside your front door.  I get it…super convenient to put that thing you’re working on at the stoop outside your front door – easy reminder to get to it, right?  But when that item stays there for ages, it’s clearly not a good place for you to be reminded to work on it.  Case in point, one of my neighbors has had a 5 foot shutter leaning against the house by the front door for the entirety of the time I’ve been living here – over 5 years.  The shutter came off one of the windows, so the empty spot is still there near where the shutter sits.  Classy!

3.  Leaving trash cans and recycling bins at the curb long after trash and recycling day have passed.  I understand that sometimes it might not be convenient to pull them into the garage when you get home.  Maybe you have groceries or kids to bring in.  But when trash day is Monday, and your trash bin is still at the curb Thursday, you’re just lazy.  Another issue with this is kids.  Our neighborhood houses one of the elementary schools in town.  That being said, tons of kids walk our sidewalks every morning and afternoon to get to and from school.  These bins are in the sidewalk, blocking the way and forcing the kids into yards and streets.  Slackers!

4.  On that same note, did you know it is a ticket-able offense to park your car over a sidewalk?  If it forces folks to get off the sidewalk and walk into the street to get around your car, you can get a ticket.  Yesterday my son and I had to go into the street (along with all the elementary school students on the way to school) because some punk pulled into a full driveway and blocked the sidewalk.  We don’t live in New York City, there is plenty of street parking.  Super rude and very dangerous!

5.  Homes in complete disrepair.  Now we’ve all seen homes that could use a little fixing up, right?  I’m sure all of our houses could use a fresh coat of paint and a power washing.  But today we saw one house in particular that had a jacked-up window, completely warped fascia board, and paint peeling off the entirety of the exterior of the house.  This house has a relatively young family living in it, lots of coming and going, and fully capable occupants.  And this house is directly next to one of the most beautiful houses in our neighborhood.  Gross!

6.  Animal holes in attic fans/vents.  This might not seem important to some, or even noticeable to others, but I know what causes those huge holes and you should too – Raccoons, Squirrels and Opossums.  All of which harbor diseases and can destroy your home.  What shocks me is that people let them go.  I’ve seen houses that had huge holes in their attic vents last year, and that same hole is still there this year!  You mean you went through winter with a hole in your attic?  Snow?  Now not only do you have animals breeding in your attic, but you have mold.  Last year I noticed the neighbor across the street had one.  I hoped he noticed, and I let it go for about 2 weeks.  Then I sent hubby over to let him know he had a hole.  His response?  “Oh, I know.  I asked the boys if they did it and they said no.”  Well, that’s that, then, right?

7.  This one might piss you off.  But I’m going to write about it anyway.  For Rent signs.  That’s right.  Huge signs in the yard that say “For Rent.”  You might think I’m being a total snot about this, but hear me out.  The house I live in now is owned by me.  I bought this house with my hard earned money.  This is also the first house I’ve EVER lived in that someone in my family owned.  I grew up in rented homes and apartments – lots of them.  I rented until 5 years ago when I bought this one.  That being said, I have NOTHING agains folks who are renting, or homeowners who decide to rent their home.  My issue here is threefold.  One is the big-ass sign.  It is the for sale sign that you see everywhere to let you know a house is for sale.  Except that this sign has “FOR RENT” on it in huge red letters.  It just looks bad to see that all over a single-family-home neighborhood.  You find yourself wondering why all these homes are for rent and not for sale.  The second reason is the property values.  Let’s say you’re out looking for a new home to buy.  You go into this neighborhood and see a bunch of for rent signs.  You immediately start questioning it, and might not buy a house there.  There are also the websites that show you how many houses are for rent vs. for sale, and how many are owner occupied vs. rented.  Then the values of the homes in the neighborhood start to decrease.  The third reason I take issue with this is that SOME renters don’t care for their property like a home owner would.  Case-in-point, my left side neighbors.  The owners moved out one day with no notice and a few guys moved in almost the next day.  They’re loud, stand outside and smoke & drink, and they don’t take care of the house.  They also have weed trees growing in the back yard.

I take great pride in my home.  This is the first home I’ve ever lived in that we owned.  I bought this place!  I pay the mortgage.  I spend lots of time and money on making it look better, and just as much on repairing it when disaster strikes.  I just find it insulting when folks don’t have decency to care for their property, thus making all my efforts on mine for moot.

Oh, and if you thought I was done, here is another…If you want to sell your home and have for sale sign in the yard, you might want to mow your lawn and pick up the trash cans.  No one even wants to see your house if you couldn’t bother.  No wonder you have to keep dropping the price and taking it off the market.

Pizza What?

Last night we decided to order a pizza.  When I placed my order online, I got a message saying it would be delivered in 3 hours.  Well that’s kind of odd…and well…I want my pizza now, not at 9:45PM.  I called the store and was told that the soonest our order could be delivered was over an hour away.  I asked how that could be since I order pretty regularly and get it in about 20 minutes.  She – very rudely – advised me that I wasn’t the only person who ordered pizza tonight, that there were 4 orders ahead of me.  She went on to say that it would take as long as it takes for the driver to come back and forth for the 4 orders in front of me.  I didn’t feel like arguing with her, but thought it strange that she was making it sound as though they only had one driver.

Believe it or not, the driver arrived about 25 minutes after I ordered.  And it was a cat we know pretty well…as much as you can know your local pizza delivery guy.  He’s really neat and super friendly.  He once gave my husband a 2 liter of Diet Coke after realizing my husband was in the ARMY when he arrived home in uniform during a delivery.  He truly is a pleasantry to have standing on your doorstep chatting about life while signing a credit slip.

So when he showed up last night, I asked him what was going on at the restaurant since they seemed to be in a cluster.  He immediately looked exasperated and exhaled loudly as he began to tell his tale.  He said Pizza Hut is a huge corporation that simply doesn’t want to pay it’s employees.  He said that they pay their drivers $5 an hour when most pizza joints pay their drivers $7.25.  He said no matter what, they’ve refused to compete with the other guys by raising their pay rates.  He said because of that, ALL THE OTHER DRIVERS QUIT!  That’s right, all the other delivery drivers quit because they weren’t making enough money to survive.  Not only that, but the restaurant employees quit, as well…leaving the manager to make the food that night.

We asked about credit card tips, and he told us that not only does the restaurant take a cut of the credit card tips, but that he doesn’t see those tips for some time after.  When it comes to it, he makes very little guaranteed money, and the tips he gets from credit cards are reduced and take time to get to him.  He also said that of the $2.75 delivery fee, he only gets $1.  The only way he can really survive is on decent cash tips.  I asked him why he stayed, and he said he had no options.  He has a young family to care for, and he’s going to school.  He can’t run the risk of not getting another job or getting one that he couldn’t work around his schedule.

At this point, I feel like crap because I gave him a $5 credit card tip – before hearing his story.  Off he went and I found myself in a conundrum.  Do I stop patronizing this establishment because of the way they treat their employees?  Or do I continue to order pizza from them and leave huge cash tips for this driver?  It’s a whole day later and I still can’t stop thinking about it.  This guy is first generation in the states, has a family to support, is going to school, and is trying to make a living.  And this is how we treat him.

Many Worlds Theory

No, this isn’t a conspiracy entry.  I don’t believe in Bigfoot.  I didn’t have a bunch of previous lives.  Well, that is unless you count other blogs as other lives.  I recently discovered quite a number of started and stopped blogs that I have written over the last 10 years.  Most of it is rubbish.  Some of it is a bit thought provoking.  I’ve decided to essentially copy & paste some of them here.  So if you see a date in the subject line and a really outdated blog post, don’t be startled…just have a laugh.

Well, Aren’t You Special?

Pot-Stirrers.  Last-Word-Havers.  Drama Queens.  Thread Hijackers.

There are certainly more ways to describe this type of person, but you get the idea.  Doesn’t it seem like no matter where you go or what you’re doing one of them is there?  The scary thing is that they’re typically moms fueling the mommy wars.  Why is it that when you go out and seek guidance, counsel, friendship, or just a community, someone is always there to be contrary?  And boy are they.

Typically, the internet not only fosters these curmudgeons, but motivates an upsurge in their behavior.  There is something about the relative anonymity of the internet that makes mommies feel both invincible and free to say hurtful things that bring others down.  They feel as though no matter what the subject is, they simply must say everything they feel with no filter or thought for who is receiving their message.  They’re right – no matter what.  They know what is best for everyone in the world, to include you and yours – even though you’ve never met.

It’s easy to play into it.  Feelings get hurt.  Toes get stepped on.  You have to respond, right?  And you might.  But then you tire of the back and forth and realize you have to shut it down.  But even when you make numerous concerted and obvious efforts to do so, they still have to have the last word.  “I’ll stop now.”  “But this is what I meant.”  “But…”  You just have to walk away, ignore, stop commenting.

Lets be clear, if you start a statement with “I’m not trying to be rude,” you FULLY INTEND to be rude.  If you feel the need to say “forgive me for saying this,” you DON’T want forgiveness for what you’re going to say.  If you say something as stupid as “I’m not picking on you, but” you most certainly ARE picking on someone.

You need your opinion heard – NO MATTER THE COST.  If that means hijacking a thread with something that has nothing to do with what you’re on about; hurting someone’s feelings; unnecessarily calling someone to the carpet; or just plain being bitchy, that’s simply what you are.

When other people have to apologize for your behavior, you’ve simply gone too far.

Solicit This!

It’s 8:30PM.  The kids are in bed.  You’re watching TV.  The curtains are closed.  It’s dark outside.  And then it happens: that “familiar” knock at the door.  You know the one…only friends and family use it.  You look at your partner in surprise (or if you’re alone, jump out of your skin) because you weren’t expecting anyone.  And who comes over unannounced anymore?  What is this, 1987?  We have iPhones and text messages.

You peek outside, and what do you see?  Two young men in dark clothing standing on your porch.  Would you answer the door?  Not on your life.  So they knock again.  And when you don’t answer this time, they knock harder.  You’re about to call 911 when they walk away and do the same thing at your neighbor’s house.  Ahhhh…Solicitors!

But what happens when you do answer the door?  I’ll tell you.  As soon as you open the door, you are greeted with “I’m not trying to sell you anything.”  Really?  Then why are you here?  They then go into a number of different scenarios.  My personal favorite is the “we’re doing work on your neighbor’s house and wanted to give everyone this limited time opportunity to schedule an estimate while we’re here.”  My neighbor’s house, huh?  Which neighbor?  One of the few neighbors I have, the houses of which I can see from here, none of whom are actually having work done?  I call bullshit on that one.  Or another common intro is: “We were walking by and could see that you had such and such damage to your home, and we’re here to offer you a free estimate.”  Oh, you’re referring to the brand new roof we just put on?  Or the brand new gutters?  And when you tell them that you just had that work done, they proceed to argue with you that you clearly did not, and if you did, you had a bad contractor because they can see from the street how it is in desperate need of repair.

The best part is the insistence that they have NO business cards, NO fliers, and NO phone number for you to take.  No, they are here for a limited-time, special opportunity, and you have to make your appointment right now!  Really?  You’re a reputable company but you don’t have anything to offer me?  And I can’t do business with you unless I make an appointment right now on my front porch?

I used to answer the door.  It got old.  Some days during the late spring and early summer, I’d get 4 different solicitors a day!  By the 3rd or 4th, my fuse was a little short.  I’ve answered the door, and upon hearing the pitch, say “I’m not interested” and close the door.  Only to have the SOB knock again!  That’s right, after hearing me say I wasn’t interested, they immediately knocked on my door again!  I had another bloke scream and yell at me through the door after I shut it in his face!  And heaven freakin’ forbid if I don’t answer the door!  I’ve actually had people stay on my porch and knock for a full 2 minutes.  I had another guy walk around my house and look in the windows.  One guy had the audacity to shout “I know you’re in there!”  Are you kidding me?

How dare I not answer the door!  Is there some rule or law that says I am required to?  And when did this carpet-bagger, traveling salesman thing come back into fashion?  Why are these companies (1) hiring young folks – teenagers sometimes – to walk neighborhoods and knock on random doors; (2) having them do so when it is dark outside; (3) telling them to lie to their potential customers; (4) allowing them to be obnoxious?  Why is this OK?  Am I in the minority here?

While we were sitting on the couch reading to our son this evening, a Capital Meats truck drove into our neighborhood and stopped directly in front of our house.  He got out, walked right up do our door (saw us sitting inside), knocked twice, got back into the truck and drove out of our neighborhood.  What?  We’ve never ordered from them before.  They drove right to our house and then right back out of the neighborhood again.  What the hell kind of targeting is this?  (Capital Meats was recently in the news for targeting and assaulting folks in their homes).

So no…I don’t answer the door anymore.  And I love that I have huge picture windows that they can see me inside not doing so with.

I Must Confess…

~  I have subscriptions to magazines and I never read them.  A lot of magazines.  I get them free with points, and it always seems like a great idea.  Yes, I’ll read Entertainment Weekly…once every 6 months.  Way to stay abreast of what’s cool and hip.

~  I am bitter because my retirement plans were essentially destroyed when I had a kid.  Now, instead of moving to Ireland in 10 years, I’ll be picking my kid up from middle school.

~  I put my kid to bed early when Dad is working so I can have some time to myself.  I feel very guilty doing so because the poor thing isn’t even tired.

~  I just cleaned off my cherry wood dining room table with a grape boogie wipe.