Father’s Day Gifts

Last month, as Mother’s Day approached, TV was saturated with pink-hued commercials about how mothers are angelic, other-worldly beings, how they selflessly take care of everyone, how indescribably wonderful they are, how they give and give until there’s nothing left, how we owe them everything (or at least whatever the company is selling on their commercial).  Department stores featured t-shirts with “Super Mom” and jewelry with children’s birthstones, and florists stood at the ready, hands out for the fists full of cash for overpriced roses and flowers, because how can you possibly think about the price tag when it comes to your mother, for pete’s sake?

Now, as Father’s Day is coming up, I can’t help but notice the drastic difference in advertising, presentation, and gift ideas for fathers.  I was flipping through t-shirts, looking for a gift for Gary, and all I could find were jokes about beer drinking, hoarding the remote control, and “go ask your mother”.  Needless to say, I didn’t waste my money on this crap.

Gary is not a beer-guzzling, TV-bingeing caveman with no clue what goes on in our household.  I find it hard to believe he’s a rare exception to this stereotype.  Gary cooks, reads to the kids, plays Barbies, plays hide-and-seek and Nerf guns, works hard, gets up in the middle of the night when one of the kids is sick, doctors scrapes and cuts and bruises, and ignores his own exhaustion if one of the kids wants to sit on his lap, play, tickle, or tell him an endless story with no plot.

And we’re supposed to honor him with a t-shirt bragging about his beer-chugging skills? Seriously, how far behind the times are these idiots crafting these lame gift ideas?  Many Father’s Day gifts, cards, and commercials are either thinly-veiled insults, or straight-up, blatant slaps to dads’ faces.  We’re supposed to laugh whimsically at commercials about dear old Dad’s incompetence, stumbling foolishness, gas issues, and cluelessness about taking care of children, a home, or anything, really, besides a cold six-pack.

I can’t understand why more men aren’t angry about this.  I can’t understand why more women aren’t angry, either.  Mom-as-martyr and Dad-as-jackass stereotypes don’t help anyone.  How about parents acting as partners?  How about respecting both roles and not placing one on a pedestal and one in the toilet for giggles and kicks?

I think Gary is going to really like his Father’s Day gift this year.  He told us not to get him a gift, like he does every year, but Sunflower came to me with an idea, all her own, and I know she’s excited to give this present to him.  Rest assured, it’s most definitely not a shirt about his alcohol consumption, and it does not use the ridiculous phrase “man cave”. Believe it or not, gifts without that garbage do exist, if you look hard enough.  I just think it’s sad we have to look so hard.

Posted in Father's Day, fathers, get real, insulting, sexist | 1 Comment

Squirrel Trauma

green-anole-lizard-fbThe other day, I was leisurely leaning against our sliding glass door, blissfully doing a whole lot of nothing, watching hyperactive squirrels run around our backyard like they were jacked up on crack.  Suddenly, a small green lizard fell seemingly from the sky and landed on the deck right outside the door, puffing up his red chest, mouth hanging open like he was hissing…at what?   I looked up dumbly, wondering where it came from, and swooping down came a bright red bird with a stocky little beak, attacking the lizard with a vengeance.

It took me a second to react.  I mean, did you know that birds eat lizards?  I sure didn’t.  I was still marveling about lizards raining from the bright, blue sky.  Then I shook my head and made myself focus.

I feed birds.  There is no shortage of food in our yard, from sunflower seeds to suet, so there was no excuse for this greedy bird to be harassing the lizard.  I tapped the glass to scare the bird, and it danced away from the lizard but came charging right back.  I tapped again.  Again with the electric slide move, only to come immediately back to the scared lizard.

Okay, this stubborn bird wasn’t getting the message.  I frowned and reached out to unlock the door, ready to burst from the house in full, blazing lizard protection mode…

…when a squirrel bounded up the steps to the deck, brushed right past the bully bird, grabbed the unsuspecting green lizard, and promptly bit its head right off.

I was stunned.  I froze.  Wait…not only do birds eat lizards, but squirrels do too?  Uh…head first?

My image of squirrels as annoying, pesky, bratty, but mostly cute and harmless animals was instantly demolished.  I watched this squirrel casually prop up on its fuzzy hind legs, holding the now headless lizard like a delicious ice cream cone, innocently looking around like a head-eating squirrel clutching its decapitated victim was the most normal sight in the world.

I am still a bit shell-shocked.  Maybe therapy will help.  Years and years of therapy.  All I know for sure, I will definitely be far more careful in our backyard from now on.  Now that the squirrels have tasted blood, they might be eager to move on to larger prey.

Posted in funny, sort of, shocked, squirrels | Leave a comment

Hockey-Less

2053fe8ffb16061d955ecee8333e6734Are you wondering why I haven’t written a hockey post in a while, or were you just enjoying the blissful silence and the hockey-free conversation?  It’s quite simple: I knew a long time ago my Lightning were not going to set foot in the play-offs this season.  They are notoriously inconsistent, but this season was even more whiplash-inducing up and down, back and forth action than usual.  One game they were on fire, the next half dozen or so, it was like their first time on skates.

Almost six months until the 2017-18 hockey season starts!  Enjoy the hockey-less posts until then.  But be forewarned…the first Pittsburgh Steelers pre-season game is in August.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Over-Parenting

Some things never change.  Last weekend, Bear showed up with broken glasses for the second time in less than a year.  Last time, Gary and I graciously pointed out that the eye doctor we take him to has a branch in Hickville, walking distance to their school.  I even copied all the paperwork Crow would need, including the receipt that proved Gary paid for the protection plan, since Lord knows Crow would let the boy go blind before she dropped a penny on his health care.  I looked up the branch near their house, wrote down the address and phone number, and called them so I could also write down their hours.

Idiot-proof, right?  Maybe, but certainly not worthless-egg-donor-proof.  When Bear showed up with broken glasses again, we naturally wondered why Crow hadn’t already taken a few moments to use the protection plan and get the glasses fixed.  Her excuse?

“Mama said she doesn’t have the paperwork,” Bear meekly explained.

Do you know how much restraint it took not to roll my eyes until they spun right out of my head?  If Crow would at least be honest and say she can’t be bothered to help Bear take care of his glasses,  I could at least accept that.  Lying about it, lying to the kids, on top of being worthless, is a bit too much for me to swallow.

Not long after the kids were dropped off, we noticed that Dove and Sunflower’s fingernails were broken, jagged, and uneven.  I asked why they didn’t file their nails in Hickville, and I got the deer-in-the-headlights, frozen stare from both of them, as if that had never occurred to them.  When I went grocery shopping, I picked up a handful of nail files, enough for them to keep some here and take some back to Hickville, where apparently nail files are in short supply.

To top it off, when we asked Bear why he got a few zeros in school for work not turned in, he told us the binder he keeps his school papers in broke, and he lost some of the assignments that were in it.  Crow responded to the need for a new binder just like she did the glasses and fingernails: she did absolutely nothing.  She claimed she couldn’t find a binder at Walmart.  I’m guessing that is because she never looked, since it wasn’t for herself.

I picked up the needed binder at Walmart (so they DO carry them!), and the kids went back to Hickville loaded up with emery boards, a binder, and new glasses.  Just another weekend of over-parenting to make up for Crow’s complete and utter lack of it.

Posted in bad mother, better than her, can't make the bitch be a good parent, neglect, weekend | 2 Comments

Basket Case

092612-sunshinebasket1Gary accuses me of having a raging basket fetish.  I can’t stand clutter, so everything is corralled tidily into a basket: under the sinks, on storage shelves, even our washcloths are folded neatly inside a basket in the linen closet.  When he started the annoying, I mean endearing, habit of scattering change across his dresser like sloppy confetti, I promptly added a small basket to his dresser specifically for change.

As Gary likes to say, I have baskets for my baskets.

When he developed a grating, I mean endearing, habit of leaving his shoes beside the bed (merely a foot or two from the closet, mind you), I decided another basket was obviously in order.  I proudly came home with a fabric basket complete with handles and placed it where Gary liked to leave his shoes, since just opening the closet door and putting them in there would apparently be far too fatiguing.

Gary, being well over 6’6″, has big shoes, and he pointed out that his shoes would not fit into the basket.  I bet I could make them fit, but while we debated, Gary placed the basket on the bed, illustrating his outright rejection of the graciously profferred basket.

Rosie wandered into the room, paid no mind to us, hopped onto the bed, and immediately climbed into the basket, curled up, and nodded his approval to his lowly humans for finally presenting to him a basket-on-the-bed for his napping pleasure.

I laughed and told Rosie not to get too comfy, since I was returning the basket to the store. Gary poked the fabric sides of the basket, and Rosie swung into action, chasing Gary’s fingers all around the sides, his claws poking through here and there, until I reminded Gary that I had to return the basket in one piece, preferably minus cat fur and claw holes.

Problem was, Rosie became permanently attached to the bottom of that basket like he was glued there. I set the basket aside until I could return it to the store, and no matter where I put it, Rosie climbed back in.  I ended up putting it in the living room, figuring he could entertain himself with it until it went back to the store that weekend.

That weekend,  I didn’t have the heart to take the basket back to the store, since Rosie was curled up inside, practically turned upside down, tucked into his favorite sleep position.  Fine.  I’ll return it next weekend.

Except, in the meantime, we put a blanket into the basket so Rosie would be more comfortable.  The tag was still on the handle of the basket, reminding me to return it to the store, but it kept getting put off, because only a cold-hearted, barbarous bastard could oust a sleeping, snoring cat from a basket!

I think you already know that basket never went back to the store.  When we moved into our house last year, the basket came with us, and I finally snipped off the tag and admitted that it was officially Rosie’s basket, no matter what its original intention was.  It is tucked into a cozy corner of the living room, lined now with two blankets (one leopard print, of course), positioned where Rosie can nap peacefully but can nosily keep an eye on us as he dozes off.

Sometimes Sylvester hops curiously into the basket, filling its entirety to bursting with his voluminous fur and enormous tail, but he doesn’t stay long.  It’s like an alarm goes off, and no matter where Rosie is, no matter how deep into sleep he is, he approaches the basket with grave concern, peering over the edge like a nosy neighbor over the fence, staring at Sylvester until he gets weirded out and leaves the basket.  Most of the time, Rosie doesn’t even get in.  He just wanted Sylvester out.

Now that I think of it…we never did check if Gary’s shoes would, in fact, fit into that basket!  I guess it doesn’t matter now.  It’s Rosie’s.

Image credit: That’s not our Rosie in the basket, but it looks a lot like him: image from The Creative Cat.

Posted in cats, funny, spoiled cats | 1 Comment

Bye, Marty!

martyIn case you haven’t noticed, I am rather fond of writing about things well after they have happened and have started collecting dust.  This post is no different, since Marty St. Louis’ jersey number was retired at least two weeks ago. (Are you blankly staring at your screen, wondering who the heck Marty St. Louis is?  If so, I can’t believe we’re friends, but all the same, I will fill you in: he was a Tampa Bay Lightning hockey player for years and years, and one of my favorite players.)

I must admit, I knew his number was being retired that night, but I forgot to turn the TV on.  What can I say?  The kids were there, we were getting dinner ready, and someone turned a movie on, so I forgot all about it.  Luckily I found the entire ceremony on YouTube later.

As a fellow short person, I liked Marty because he is small by hockey standards (5’8″, when a lot of players are well over 6 feet tall).  By comparison, the Lightning goalie, Ben Bishop, is 6’7″.  It took a lot of guts to step onto the ice with players that much bigger than him, but he did far more than just get by out there.  Marty won numerous awards, from the Art Ross trophy (twice), to the Hart Memorial Trophy, to the Lester B. Pearson Award.  He played on All-Star teams and was part of the Stanley Cup winning team in 2004 (ahhh, memories!)

I didn’t like the way St. Louis left the team, requesting a transfer after he was left off the Olympic team in 2014.  Obviously I wasn’t there and wasn’t part of those discussions, but it seemed to me like Marty pitched a jealous fit when Steven Stamkos was placed on the Olympic team and he wasn’t.  As much as I like Marty, my attitude about it was, if you don’t like it, then play better than Stamkos.

Marty left the Lightning for the New York Rangers, but I can’t help but still think of him as a Lightning player.  The entire jersey number retirement ceremony was well-orchestrated and thoughtful, and I admit my eyes weren’t exactly bone dry when Marty talked about his late mother (especially when the camera flashed over to his father, who had to take his glasses off to dab at his eyes).  I laughed when Marty said his mother only knew he had scored because they would play the song “Louie, Louie”.

I didn’t care for the people who booed when the NHL commissioner, Gary Bettman, came to the podium to speak.  How classless can those people be? The night wasn’t about their personal opinions of the NHL commissioner.  It was about Marty.  It was shameful that anyone booed.  Write a letter after the ceremony if you don’t like the guy, but shut the hell up until then.

Marty’s jersey number was the first one ever retired from the Tampa Bay Lightning, and it seems fitting.  He was on the team a long time, from the years the team was considered a bit of a joke (okay, a lot of a joke), all the way to the Stanley Cup champions and beyond.

My office boasts a framed picture of Marty St. Louis in his Tampa Bay Lightning uniform, and I didn’t take it down even when he transferred to the Rangers.  I don’t suppose I will take it now, either, retired or not, because to me, he will always be a Lightning guy.

For the record, though, and just some trivia to impress your easily-amused friends: Marty St. Louis is not the shortest NHL player who has ever played.  That honor goes to a goaltender named Roy Woters, who stood at a massive 5’3″ and played 12 seasons in the NHL, from 1925 to 1937.

So there’s hope for me yet to be a hockey player, eh?

Posted in hockey, Marty St. Louis, NHL, Tampa Bay Lightning | Leave a comment

Thief

stealingHave you ever stolen from your kids?  Ever gleefully robbed the little munchkins blind?  Hey, hear me out!  Obviously there must be some wild thrill to it, because Crow does it like it’s going out of style.

As long as I can remember, Crow has stolen things from the kids.  Gary remembers her robbing their piggy banks when the kids were very tiny, so it’s not just a post-divorce hobby of hers.  And given that Little Miss Felony’s multiple arrests involved stealing in some fashion, it’s clearly a favored pastime of hers.

Stealing things that Gary bought is apparently a thrill, and — clutch your heart –stealing things that I bought is damn near orgasmic.  From sneakers deliberately ruined, to cherished stuffed animals dragged off to Goodwill, to jewelry and even lipgloss that mysteriously go missing seconds after passing Crow’s front door, Crow has stolen from the kids over and over.

For Christmas, I got Dove a cute silver ring with cat ears on the band, since we both love cats.  I have one, and she told me more than once that she likes it, so I got her one just like it for Christmas.  When she opened it, she excitedly asked me, “Is it like yours?” and smiled when I said it was.

She got to wear it maybe one day at our house, then she decided to take it back to Hickville with her after their Christmas break with us was over.  When she went outside, Crow said she would take the ring and put it in her jewelry box so it didn’t get messed up.  Sweet gesture, right?  Nah, not when Dove later asked for the ring back, and Crow angrily told her she didn’t even know where it was.

I can’t imagine stealing from the kids.  I can’t imagine it even entering my mind as a viable option, and then actually acting on it like I had any right.  But it fits Crow perfectly.  In order to feel upset about stealing from them, she would have to view them as people, and she does not.  Why get all worked up about stealing from things, pawns, tools?  The kids only exist for her to push around, manipulate, use, and brainwash.

I’m pretty sure, in the three-times-a-week trips to church to keep up appearances, Crow has heard that stealing is wrong.  I suspect there’s something about lying tossed about there, too.  Apparently none of that applies to Crow, though, as long as she feels like she won something or scored a point against us.  All it proves to me is that she still hasn’t the foggiest notion what being a good parent or a decent person means, and that once again, the kids pay the price for it.

Posted in bad mother, better than her, kids, stealing, Uncategorized | 3 Comments