Showing posts with label parenting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label parenting. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

How to communicate effectively with the deaf and hard of hearing.

Are you talkin' to me??  

Oh, ARE you??  Well, hang on a minute.  There are a few things you should know before you begin.    
I'm deaf.  
No, I mean like, really deaf.
Those who know me well are already aware of the fact that I have a significant hearing loss.  I am what is called a "late deafened adult".  I was diagnosed with a "hereditary hearing loss" when I was 22 years old.  
This very quickly brings me to the second thing you need to know:
Hearing aids don't FIX hearing loss.   
I wear hearing aids in both ears.  And they aid.  That's what they do.  They help. They make it possible for me to hear many sounds that I would otherwise miss. But. 
But they can't work miracles. Many of us (the hard of hearing) struggle with helping others understand this fact. Even those without a diagnosed hearing loss experience moments of confusion when they miss words or sounds. Perception, acoustics, mouth piercings, speech impediments...your uncle's inebriation...all of those things can make the subtle tones of speech sound slurred or mumbled.  Often our hearing impaired brains take their own sweet time assembling the sounds into words (think of Wonkavision).  So I might turn my hearing aids up and still not understand, because all the volume button did was make those confusing noises louder.  They don't untangle the jumbled mess and make them into words. 

You're probably all "Lol, wut?" now, right?  
Listen, I know how frustrating it is to have to repeat yourself.  I am aware of this, and I feel just as bad about it.  Probably worse, actually.  Most people have learned that it's acceptable to give up after repeating the same words twice. Likewise, my fellow hearing impaired comrades and I have learned to nod and smile, and pretend we got it rather than further frustrate each other by asking you to try again.  Neither of these are acceptable.  When we give up on each other we imply that the other person's understanding (or their response) isn't important.  It IS important.  Being heard and validated is part of life and life is not captioned.  We can work around that.
I didn't lose my hearing to inconvenience anyone.  I promise I'll try to have patience with you if you'll try to have patience with me.

Thus we arrive at item number three on my list:  Please do not SHOUT at the hard of hearing.  
Do not get right up in our faces and talk loudly or whisper-yell things into our ears. That could possibly be one of the most insensitive and ignorant things you can do. 
Typically, people with hearing loss rely on their lipreading skills as much as (if not more than) their hearing aids to fill in missing consonants and vowel sounds.  When you yell, your mouth makes exaggerated movements, which distorts the sound and makes us that much more confused, not to mention what it does to our blood pressure.  
If you've ever seen anyone yell at a deaf person, you know how sad it looks, for both parties.  Yelling makes the deaf person feel ridiculous and it makes the speaker appear cruel.  Don't let your friends continue to shout at deaf people.  It simply doesn't work.  It just pisses us off.

Instead, make sure your mouth is visible to us.  This means keeping a respectable distance!  If we can tell your dinner had something with garlic in it, THAT'S TOO CLOSE!   Still, we can't read your lips if you're not looking at us, so at least give us that much.  

I think that by now, you should have a pretty good idea of how to speak to me (and anyone else you encounter with a hearing loss, but I found a list.  And I do so love a list.
Read it.  Print it off and hang it on the fridge or in the break room at your office.  Share this blog post with all of your co-workers, family members, your weirdo friends on Facebook and any other social media outlets you frequent and spread the word.  
The hearing impaired are everywhere.  I'll bet you encounter more of us in one day than you ever realized.  You just don't know it yet.  And until deafness comes with a free t-shirt and a big orange safety flag, it will remain an invisible handicap.
Remember:  Deaf is not stupid.   It's often misconstrued as disinterest or stupidity. It can create an invisible wall around us because although we may know how to ask for what we need, others may not know how to deliver it and we still end up feeling excluded.
But I digress. 

Without further ado, the list.

Communicating with people with hearing loss
Successful communication requires the efforts of all people involved in a conversation. Even when the person with hearing loss utilizes hearing aids and active listening strategies, it is crucial that others involved in the communication process consistently use good communication strategies, including the following:
  • Face the hearing impaired person directly, on the same level and in good light whenever possible. Position yourself so that the light is shining on the speaker's face, not in the eyes of the listener.
  • Do not talk from another room. Not being able to see each other when talking is a common reason people have difficulty understanding what is said.
  • Speak clearly, slowly, distinctly, but naturally, without shouting or exaggerating mouth movements. Shouting distorts the sound of speech and may make speech reading more difficult.
  • Say the person's name before beginning a conversation. This gives the listener a chance to focus attention and reduces the chance of missing words at the beginning of the conversation.
  • Avoid talking too rapidly or using sentences that are too complex. Slow down a little, pause between sentences or phrases, and wait to make sure you have been understood before going on.
  • Keep your hands away from your face while talking. If you are eating, chewing, smoking, etc. while talking, your speech will be more difficult to understand. Beards and moustaches can also interfere with the ability of the hearing impaired to speech read.
  • If the hearing impaired listener hears better in one ear than the other, try to make a point of remembering which ear is better so that you will know where to position yourself.
  • Be aware of possible distortion of sounds for the hearing impaired person.They may hear your voice, but still may have difficulty understanding some words.
  • Most hearing impaired people have greater difficulty understanding speech when there is background noise. Try to minimize extraneous noise when talking.
  • Some people with hearing loss are very sensitive to loud sounds. This reduced tolerance for loud sounds is not uncommon. Avoid situations where there will be loud sounds when possible.
  • If the hearing impaired person has difficulty understanding a particular phrase or word, try to find a different way of saying the same thing, rather than repeating the original words over and over.
  • Acquaint the listener with the general topic of the conversation. Avoid sudden changes of topic. If the subject is changed, tell the hearing impaired person what you are talking about now. In a group setting, repeat questions or key facts before continuing with the discussion.
  • If you are giving specific information -- such as time, place or phone numbers -- to someone who is hearing impaired, have them repeat the specifics back to you. Many numbers and words sound alike.
  • Whenever possible, provide pertinent information in writing, such as directions, schedules, work assignments, etc.
  • Recognize that everyone, especially the hard-of-hearing, has a harder time hearing and understanding when ill or tired.
  • Pay attention to the listener. A puzzled look may indicate misunderstanding. Tactfully ask the hearing impaired person if they understood you, or ask leading questions so you know your message got across.
  • Take turns speaking and avoid interrupting other speakers.
  • Enroll in aural rehabilitation classes with your hearing impaired spouse or friend.

Now you'll note that it says nothing on this list about learning to sign.  I am not Deaf, I'm deaf.  I don't sign.  I took a few classes in it, and might be able to hold my own in a conversation with a member of the Deaf community, but no one I talk to in an average day signs.  The people you meet will need you to pay attention to the way you address them with your mouth and voice, not your hands. Lord knows there is nothing wrong with honing our interpersonal communication skills.
Take the time to learn how to effectively communicate with someone you know has a hearing disability.  You'll be all the better for it. Besides, right now you could be missing out on getting to know someone super-fantastically, terrifically awesome.   
Like me.  :)

Like the page and pass it on.  Pay it forward for me.  What have you got to lose?

Monday, July 2, 2012

My Parenting is so full of WIN.

My children recently had their semi-annual plaque scraping and professional tooth polishing appointment.  Even scheduled early in the day, we spend most of our morning there.  Three kids, three cleanings, one oral hygienist...Yeah.  It takes a long-ass time.  
 We came prepared, having brought a backpack filled with crayons, coloring books and reading materials, but it was the Mancala board that got the most use:
Mancala Tournament: Hour Two
By the time the last child was released with healthy teeth and gums, we were nearly starving.  I promised to feed the heathen spawn, so we headed to McDonald's.  (Where else can I poison my family for under twenty dollars?) On the way there, the girls decided that British accents were just what our boring old car ride needed.  The next twenty minutes on the interstate were very entertaining.  Did you know that anything and everything is not just funny in a horribly exaggerated accent, but freaking hilarious?
The fun didn't stop when we reached the drive-thru at McDonald's.  
While I wasn't savvy enough to order the food in my semi-convincing accent, I did greet the cashier who took my money with an enthusiastic "Ello Guvn'a!" making Madison nearly shoot a snot rocket at the windshield trying to stifle her laughter, while the two in the back brayed like donkeys.
Having still not had enough fun, we kept it up all the way home, the hilarity of the situation causing the two smallest campers to increase their volume with each word they spoke.  Finally, I had to ask them to bring it down a notch, saying, "You know what, guys? I don't think they yell everything in Great Britain. I can't recall the last time I heard someone announce: "IT'S TIME FOR TEA!"
Just then, the high pitched, and overly affected voice of Samantha piped up from the back of the van and yelled, "MERRY CHRISTMAS, BITCHES!!!"

I'm still trying to decide whether that's a parenting fail or a parenting win.
Which do you suppose it is?
(If you are guilty of grinning at this, please share it with your friends.  If you thought it was a ridiculous waste of your time, share it with your enemies.)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Marvelous Thrift Store Finds and Leg Amputation.

On Saturday, I visited Goodwill.  I told myself I was only going in to look.  Just for a second.  (That's all it takes, isn't it?) I don't need a cart.  If I get a cart, that'll make me put stuff in it and then I'll buy that stuff and then we'll have too much stuff again and need to get rid of that stuff.  The circle is vicious.
Nope, I'm just going to look.


Now, I have to tell you that I've planned to buy new stools for my kitchen for a while now and hadn't yet found a set I absolutely had to have...until Saturday.  Because Saturday I found these.

Ignore the peeling vinyl, I'm going to re-cover them.
The best part?
$3.38!  Each!!

At that price, you'd better believe I trotted up to the front of the store, grabbed myself a cart and shoved those suckers in it faster than a ...faster than...faster than something already fast performing a difficult task IMPRESSIVELY fast.
Those stools were MINE.  I staked my claim. After giving me a bit of trouble, I finally convinced the bar stools that they needed to come home with me and they fit into the cart obligingly.   This is important.  If you put something in your cart, that's like writing your name all over your school supplies or licking the last piece of pizza.  It says "Mine".  And no one else will get their grabby Saturday-thrift store mitts on them.  Unless they want to tangle.  *threatening face*

I was pretty stoked about this stool purchase.  Until.  Until I found something even better!  An air hockey table for only forty bucks!  FORTY!  I whipped out my cell phone and sent Sugar Daddy a text telling him of our incredible good fortune.

"Rejoice!  I have found the air hockey table of our dreams!"

I imagined our days filled with the soft hum of the table and the clickiety-clackity-smack of the puck as we battle for a tiny plastic replica of the Stanley Cup.  

"Basement or garage, which do you think it'll fit in?"

He sent back, ""

WHAT?!   Are you kidding me?  This is the end-all-be-all of family entertainment devices!  We NEED THIS.

"Aw, why not?  It's only $40.  C'mon, man.  I WANT IT!"

As Miss Madison will recognize, he sent back the same message we send to our oldest daughter when she tries to push the envelope: "The answer is no.  This will be the last text about this.  Further texts will result in consequences."

Now, it's true that we really don't have much room for an air hockey table anyway, and his idle threat had me giggling in the middle of the store, but I couldn't very well respond to Sugar Daddy with anything supporting his logic, so I instead sent:

"*pfft*  Dude. That's whack."


I got the stools.

And these are GREAT bar stools! 

Sadly, once I got them home I remembered that there is a difference between "bar stool" and "counter stool".  That difference is about 4 inches.  My counter is simply too short for their awesomeness. 

But wait!  I have a dad.  My dad has major power tools.  I'm very hopeful that the combination of my dad and the major power tools will be just the ticket to taking them down a notch...or four. 


Edited to add:  I sent my father a text asking if he'd be willing to cut four inches off 8 legs...belonging to no one he knew, and if so, when would be a good time. 
"Now."  He sent back.

Seriously?  Sweet!

I hurried over to my folks' house where we performed partial amputations on the bar stools with a table saw...and laughed while we did it with sickening glee.   Hobbled, they now look like this:

And they fit perfectly under the counter. 

I took the severed legs home with me.  If the stools give me any more grief I can always flaunt them with a menacing look that says, "There's more where this came from."

Now that I think of it, I might use them in my next giveaway.


If this made you laugh, will you share it with a friend?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Are you SURE that's a vagina?

For those of you who are teaching your kids the generic "girls have a vagina" lesson, you ARE teaching them that the proper term for the entire outer package is vulva and not vagina, right? I mean, you know that the words are not synonymous, don't you?  
Just in case, let me give you a quick anatomy lesson. 

Vagina and vulva are not the same thing.  They are not interchangeable physiological terms.
The vagina is part of the inner workings, not the outer.

I asked this question on a social networking forum and got a variety of responses including this one:
"My child is too young to know the technical terms for her body parts." (Ignore the fact that the pet name we have created for her genitalia is four syllables long and she's already made up a song about it.)

And this one:
"Vulva is just a gross word."   (Vulva is not a gross word.  "MOIST" is a gross word.)  
And also this one: "It all means the same thing."
(To say that it's all the same thing is as inaccurate as saying that your hand is a finger and your finger is a hand and that's just plain silly.)

You know what this post needs?  Venn Diagrams!  (I know they look like crazy cartoon breasts.  Shut up.)
It's true that all rectangles are parallelograms, but not all parallelograms are rectangles.  
Likewise, all vulvae contain vaginas (or rather, the vaginal opening), but all vaginas don't contain the vulvae.

Yes, there is a difference and the difference is huge.  Vulva = clitoris, labia (2 sets) urethra, vaginal opening.  Vagina = the canal that leads from the vaginal opening to the cervix.   

Do you need another diagram?  Okay, here:  

So if you choose to shave your vulva, that's cool.  Get creative. Have fun with it.  However, if you choose to shave your vagina, it's not going to end well.  Don't use the good towels. 

Now, I know there will be someone who will get all worked up about this. Calm down. You can teach your kids whatever you want.  Don't sweat it because some stranger on the internet told you that it's the wrong word.   You're not breaking any law of child rearing.  No member of the Vulva Brigade will show up and ticket you for referring to your lady bits as your bajingo and hand you some reading material about the inaccurately named Vagina Monologues. I'm not going to take away your euphemisms.  Hell, euphemisms are fun!  Tell them it's a Harvey Wallbanger or a FlufferNutter if you like.   

I'm just saying that technically, it's incorrect.  

To recap:

The vulva is the correct term for the outside parts as a collective whole.

The vagina is the correct term for the "collective hole".  

What's your favorite euphemism for the VULVA?

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Is that a penis in your yard?

When did mannequin parts become a popular choice in lawn decor?  
Penis De Milo?

I wanted to ask that very question of the people who own this house, but I was too afraid to knock on the door and ask, for fear of being thrown into a well in the basement and told to put the lotion on my skin.   

Lucky for you, gentle reader, I wasn't too afraid to drive slowly by and have my ten-year-old take a picture, hoping that no one was home to see us gawking at The Three Pelvises stationed in front of their house. If anyone had come out to ask me, I would have told them "It's for my blog!  People need to see this!" I drove away, cackling.

So you see, it was purely for your benefit that I snapped this picture; to expose you all to what I believe may be the new height of modern art.   It's clearly a collection of an abbreviated form of Michelangelo's David.

Don't give me any bull about being able to see this kind of "art" at any clothing store in the mall.   I can't even tell you the last time I saw a naked mannequin at the mall, excepting the time when I walked past a salesclerk wrestling the pants off a member of his display personnel.  I felt like I had just interrupted the filming of a horrifically disturbing rape scene in which the victim had first been dismembered, when he looked guiltily up at me.  One look seemed to say, "What happens at the mall before business hours, stays at the mall"... until it's written on my blog for all of you to read. 

Where was I headed with this?  Oh, yes.

Exposure to the arts.  You needed it, I'm providing it.  

 You're welcome.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bristol Gets Tanked

I had intended to announce that four new fish were added to the ranks yesterday.  The Man brought home two Balloon Mollies, a Mickey Mouse Platy and an Albino Bristle-nose Plecostomus. 

As of ten o'clock last night, three of the newbies were happily sharing the tankspace with the others, but the Pleco was nowhere to be seen.  

This morning, I discovered the albino didn't make it.   The Man doesn't seem to think the casualties should be recorded unless they make it one full day, but I am far too serious about this Death Toll-keeper job to get caught up on technicalities.  

*writes down Albino Bristle-nose Plecostomus - Bristol Palin - /3/14/12 - RIP*

Welcome, surviving newcomers, Ringo, Waldo, and Steamboat Willie.  We hope you enjoy your stay.

Happy trails, Bristol.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Buttcrack Hero - In Stereo

Sometimes my life is steeped in the ridiculous. (What fun would this blog be if it wasn't?)
Last week's blissful existence was derailed by a little slip that prompted this late night mobile status update on Facebook:   "Sonofamotherbutthumper, one of my hearing aids fell down the cold air return vent. And it wasn't even the one that whistles incessantly. Furking FURK!"

Oh, the drama, right?  Well, I knew it was NOT going to be found that night, so I went to bed and tried to dream of happier things...happier things that cost less money to replace than a $2000 hearing aid.  That was difficult. 

The next morning, the search began.  

I tried to look for it myself, in the logical place, which was the cold air return vent directly below my room.  I know that gravity makes stuff basically fall straight down and not up.  I'm a genius like that.  Of course, I had zero luck finding it, so The Man called the furnace maintenance company who sent over a lovely gentleman with ill-fitting pants to rescue my hearing aid from...wherever stuff goes when it falls down that vent. 

I've mentioned before that people don't believe me when I tell them I'm very hard of hearing.  This time proved to be no different as he lay on the floor with his ass-crack in the air and spoke into the vent, looking for my missing hearing aid.  So as not to hover over the man while he worked (I didn't really need to watch his butt get any more air), I excused myself and went back to my business on the computer.  He came in periodically to ask me stuff and managed to startle me every time.  It was as if he forgot that what he was looking for was a hearing aid and that it was MINE. 

Um...that thing you're trying so hard to find?  Yeah, I kind of need it to hear you, dude.  

It took three hours of search and rescue attempts with lots of banging around and cutting holes in things to locate it, but he did eventually find that mysterious place where lost things go in our house and retrieved my precious battery-operated listening device.  It didn't even cost me $400 to get my hearing aid back.  
It cost $381.99.  

But just look at all the other stuff he rescued as well! He found...*takes deep breath*...

 One silver needle, a broken rosary, purple Mardi Gras beads, a plastic princess lipstick, one beaded bracelet, a plastic french fry, six Barbie shoes, one Barbie bathing suit, one Barbie nightshirt, four barrettes, one hair tie, three screws, one nut, three marbles, a Baby Annabel pacifier clip, a purple, plastic boat propeller, a silver pompon, one AA battery, an orange crayon, ten pieces of Barbie dog kibble, four checkers, one yellow Lego (which is actually from the previous owners of the house, meaning that it's been in there for probably twenty years or longer), ten plastic beads, one key-chain, a Mommy's Little Patient "magic" baby spoon, a button, miscellaneous My Little Pony accessories, Green M&M on a skateboard, one Phonak Amio hearing aid and twelve cents.


Sadly, I'm left to wonder what's disappeared down the other vents in our house.  I'm not curious enough to pay the Buttcrack Hero nearly $400 to find out. 

Now that that's over and done with, I'm happy to say I can get back to the things that matter.  
Those pigs don't fling irate fowl at themselves, you know.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Before I became a mom, I never...

...answered the door with one breast in and one out of my bra.

...told a passerby at Target that I was on my way to return my crying child at the service desk.

...reminded a fellow parent just how much the overhead compartment on a plane can store.

...understood what was really meant by "extended breastfeeding"(please see also: Co-sleeping,  feeding around a corner, Longboobs McGee, I am not a taffy pull)

...ate food that had been on and/or in another person's face.

...watched Barney and Friends.

...feared that cartoon violence would be acted out in my living room.

...talked with another person's imaginary friends.
...worried that another person's imaginary friends would be a bad influence on my child. 
...scolded an imaginary friend. mad at my husband for falling asleep before me. mad at my husband for waking up AFTER me. mad at my husband for sleeping more soundly than me.

...sounded SO MUCH like my mother.

...started a conversation about poop.
...joined a conversation about poop. a conversation about poop.

How has parenthood changed you?

Friday, February 10, 2012

We're Getting Fish.

John bought a 29 gallon fish tank and stand during the holidays and chose Superbowl Sunday to set it the office. So instead of having the Exercycle of Doom behind me in webcam pictures, you'll see a tank of iddle fishies...whenever we get them. Right now it's just filled with 29 gallons of tub water.
What he's got so far:  (L to R) Tropical Coral Thing, The Castle at Rohan and the Fires Of Mordor.
John is famous for starting this stuff and then getting frustrated halfway through it and cracking or breaking something. He's also great at using tools that are not meant for the his fists.
Nevertheless, this is gonna be solely his thing (heh, see what I did there?).  I'm only here to figure out the electricity issues: How long an extension cord we'll need and where to plug it in. 
I'll also be in charge of reporting the deaths.  
I may get a clipboard.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Woo-Hoo! Free stuff!!

Yesterday I won the lottery!  Okay, I didn't really, but it sure seemed like it.  I brought in the mail and discovered that my friends at Amsterdam Printing had sent me a new pen. I have a thing for pens anyway, but I have a serious thing for THEIR pens.  (I'd like to think it's become more of a relationship than just a thing now, but until I get that official Facebook notice I'll remain in Crazy Stalker Mode.) 

My pulse quickened when I saw their name on the shrink-wrapped envelope and felt by its weight that there was more inside than just a friendly little hello-please-buy-our-stuff-oh-and-here's-a-catalog thing.  

I opened it like a kid looking for the prize in a box of Cracker Jacks, and I mean the old school Cracker Jacks, not the new ones with a 2"x2" paper booklet that you have to be superbly skilled in the art of Origami to use.

Stupid shrink wrap.  Can't.  Open.  Fast enough!  
"There IS a pen in there!  Ooh, which one is it?!"

Now, the folks at Amsterdam know that I love their Manor Pen.  I got a sample of one once and somehow managed to break the dang-blasted thing in half.  I wrote them about this and, being the awesome people they are, they sent me a few new ones to replace the one I had apparently used so hard and so much in my fevered list-making frenzy that it cracked under the pressure.  

This new pen they sent was called the Entice Pen.  It's even been engraved with my first name (and my zip code for some reason). 
Hm, what?  Why yes, I DO have a picture:
Second from the left in "graphite" - smokin' hawt stylus!

I.  Love.  It.  
I'm totally cheating on my Manor Pen with this one,'s got my NAME on it, you know?  That's got to make it okay.  

I wonder if I could get the peeps at Amsterdam to tattoo Random Ninja on something...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Is Cyber Monday the New Black?

I've heard too many horror stories about the Black Friday sales to feel that diving headfirst into the lion's den to get a deal on the newest craze is something I'd be interested in doing.
No, thank you.

A few Thanksgivings ago, I wrote this poem, poking fun at the insanity that is Black Friday.  That year a New York Wal*Mart employee was trampled to death by the stampede of shoppers.  Sadly, my creative humor was in the right place at the wrong time.  I saved it for another year.

I know some people take their Black Friday shopping very seriously, while others look at it much like Roller Derby, full of hip checking and shoving, but having loads of fun doing it.

I've never seen a scarf or lamp or Wii game that was worth my life.  I'm still gonna have to pass.

Will you be shopping the Black Friday sales or will you wait until Cyber Monday?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Let's talk about grocery store tantrums.

I am a firm believer in teaching children in the moment.  Sometimes, however, said moment arises and finds you completely at a loss as to what to do.  Well, NO MORE!  Random Ninja is here to save you from your totally unprepared self!   You're welcome.

What will you do in the event that this is the happy day your child decides to be all "HULK MAD!  HULK SMASH!" with a bombardment of spaghetti sauces because you refused him a new Matchbox car?

It helps to have a few grocery store rules to begin with.  I have always given the kids a choice to either hold onto the cart with one hand or sit IN the seat of the cart.  If you let go, you get in the cart. 
That's a blog for another day, so we'll get back to the little noisemakers. 

You must first resist the urge to throttle your child.  Please.  If you leave the store, plan to return immediately.  Leaving is how we teach children that if they can't have what they want, they can just get mom to take them home, which is often what they wanted in the first place. This is a great opportunity for your child to learn what's acceptable behavior in a public place.  Seize it!

If the child is already in the cart, GREAT!  Ignore him.  Don't talk to him, don't look at him, don't pacify him with a box of Cheerios or a new toy that you have no intention of buying him.  Keep shopping and avoid the aisles containing pickle jars and tomato sauces.  If it becomes too much for you to handle without losing your marbles and housing the little twerp in the deep freeze, park your cart somewhere in the back of the store, with the tantrum thrower facing a wall.  Tell him you'll continue shopping when he's calmed down.  Walk out of his sight (behind him usually works best, so you can still see him but he has to crane his neck to see you).   Now you wait.  Read a magazine. 

If he's not in the cart, you have three choices:  
1. You can lay down next to him and do what he's doing (which will earn you bonus glares from passersby).  
2. You can pick him up and put him in the cart if he's small enough for you to lift.
Or 3.  You can leave him flailing around on the ground and walk away.

Obviously, you have to know your kid in order to use number 3, as you'll have some children who live fearlessly in our world and will likely run in the opposite direction, getting themselves into more trouble than this method is worth.  Mine always picked themselves up and followed me.  It's possible that they were afraid I'd actually leave them in the store.  (Moi?!  Never!)  Still, it worked extremely well and I'm happy to say that once I chose my tantrum-squelching techniques and used them unfailingly, tantrums no longer plagued our trips to the store.

You are now armed with a plan of attack or at least a few ideas to formulate a plan of your own.  I hope to see fewer faces peering out from behind the frozen veggies.

Go forth and kick some ass.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Candy Begging

YES!  For my city, the kids have from 5 to 7 for Trick or Treat and it's on the 30th not the 31st because there's a parade downtown on the 31st and they want the parade folks to have someone to aim at when they throw their harder than hell Tootsie Roll candies and Butterscotch Kisses.  Ever get beaned with one of those?  They HURT.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

When Random Ninja does stupid shit, the blog benefits.

This morning, in a moment of sheer impulse, I accidentally ordered 2 *SETS* of the Swivel Store spice organizer thingie-ma-doohickey.  That means FOUR of the blasted things will be arriving at my door in two to four weeks.  I didn't want FOUR of them, but the way the site was set up, I thought I had to enter a number denoting how many I wanted, total.  I wanted two...but one comes free* when you order it through their site and I thought...

...well, I guess I wasn't really thinking now, was I?  Can I blame it on lack of caffeine?  Yes, I had a dumb and if I can't get one set taken off our card, John's gonna have a disappointed in my spending habits, but our seasonings will be organized, gods be damned. 

Maybe I'll give one away for Christmas.  Who needs more organization in their spice cupboard?  

Monday, October 3, 2011

How Can You Eat That Garbage?

I live near a neighborhood bar with an adjoining pizza joint.  Ingenious notion, yes, but that's beside the point of my tale.  This past weekend, someone must have gotten the munchies after their evening of drunken tomfoolery and ordered not one, but two pizzas on the way out.   I'm going to assume that it was a case of Beer Goggles Overestimates Beer Gut, because they ate a couple pieces of each pizza...and then left the boxes open on the ground, NEAR, but not IN the neighbor's trash bin.  

Nice. Real nice.   

The neighbor isn't there every day, so she had no idea that there were abandoned pizzas near her city-issued refuse receptacle.  I was going to move it, but being the super-sidetracked airhead that I am, I went inside and did...(probably nothing) really really useful stuff...and completely forgot about the pizza remnants.

This morning, I noticed that the rest of the pizza was gone...all except the crusts.  Obviously, my first thought was that an animal stumbled upon it and had quite a feast, but animals wouldn't leave the crusts, would they?  Who does that?  How drunk do you have to be to eat day old pizza off the ground?  Near a trash can?!  If a human being "recycled" that garbage, I'll bet the stomach cramps they'll have from whatever got into the 'za will have them in the hospital sometime this afternoon.  

(I really hope there's a finicky raccoon sleeping one off somewhere.)

People are nasty. 

Friday, September 30, 2011

My Inner Child Likes Mashed Potatoes

Last week I wrote HELP ME on the inside of a door in the freezer section.  

What?!  Don't look at me like that.  At least my kids were proud of me. 

Life is full of simple pleasures, people.  You have to find happiness wherever you can get it.  I enjoy those little things that make me who I am.  I don't mean my DNA.  Yes, DNA does count as little things and I'll bet if you looked closely at it, you would undoubtedly see that I have some gene in there that makes me weird.  (It's the one that looks like it's giving you the finger.)

I'm talking about your inner child. 

You have to embrace your inner child!  Pay attention to her.  Feed her.  Keep her occupied, lest you find that inner child perched atop a bell tower in your subconscious with a semi-automatic rifle.

I'll be turning 40 this year, and I'm going strive to keep my spirit happy and young; nurturing my soul with things that make me smile...things like writing messages in the windows of the deep freeze and sending my husband random, obscenity-laden text messages.

Today I set all the egg timers at the store to go off after 10 minutes and walked away. 

What did you do today?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bug Killer, Thy Name Is Erika.

I kill bugs.  I do.  I can't help myself.
To say that I'm sorry for killing them would be a lie.  I don't exactly enjoy taking their little buggy lives, but I also don't enjoy sharing my living space with them, or feeling their creepy little legs on my person.

It's fall.  I haven't got any hedge apples to put around the basement, so I guess it's time for me to announce to the arachnids and insects that seek refuge in my abode that they are not welcome here, or rather that they ARE welcome...provided that they remain unseen.  

Dear creepy crawlies, 
I do not like you.  If I see you in my home, you will be killed.  Those of you who choose to dangle above my bed while I sleep, will find that tempting fate does not prove fruitful, as I squash you faster than you can scramble up that little bit of floss from which you rappel.  

I repeat:  I will kill you.  This is not an idle threat.  
Thank you for your cooperation, 
The Management

File This Under "Poor Sales Tactics".

I got this bit of mail the other day from the University of Iowa Hospitals promoting a meet and greet for their plastic surgery unit.  

Of course there's an airbrushed picture of a model on the front and a list of their services, which could provide millions with a better body image (or add to another million's plastic surgery addictions).
What I find interesting is that they enclosed an emery board with their 800 number on it.  What's the message they're trying to convey with this gift?  It's kind of like saying, "Here, troll. We'll get you started on the path to beauty with this sandpaper on a stick.  When you find that your attempts to file your great schnoz down to a respectable length are futile, call the number and let us help.  Please."  

Oh, and they're serving "mocktails" at this get-together.  What are mocktails, you ask?  They're just like cocktails without the cock.  I have no idea how to make a non-alcoholic Slippery Nipple and I'm pretty sure that a Screwdriver and Long Island Iced Tea would just be orange juice and a soda, sans alcohol.  Shirley Temples and Virgin Daiquiris aren't going to cut it for a surgical mixer.   Seems silly to me to not get folks all kinds of liquored up for something like this.  I'd think they'd promote more business if the people were a little bit lit. 
"Boob job?"  *shrugs* *slurs*  "Why the eff not! Let'sh do it!"  *bares chest*

I'd go to that party.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Justified Slobitude

My computer rests on top of miscellaneous garbage and things to be filed.  I don't think there's a desk underneath it all.

I should clean this up.  But what if there really isn't a desk under here?  What if the phone books and empty CD cases and candy wrappers and washcloths and pens and duct tape and an empty shoe box and my bra (wth?) other things I've forgotten (read: been too lazy) to pick up actually do hold my computer off the ground? 

Since I'm fairly certain that it's all the clutter that keeps my computer at eye level, I'd better just leave it alone, right?   I'd hate to clean the mess here and dislodge a keystone piece of this carefully constructed stage from which I perform only to watch the entire thing crash to the floor.   I mean, I need to have my computer.  You need me to have my computer.  You wouldn't want to be held responsible for anything that could happen to me if I was suddenly forced to rack up data charges on my phone.  I couldn't be held responsible for the trauma that my sudden departure from the internet could cause.  Whatever would you do with yourselves?  

Yeah. I'd better not touch it.  

You know, just in case.  

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Masked Intruder Shaken After Encounter With Border Patrol.

Some mornings take you by surprise.  I was interrupted from a game of Words With Friends on Facebook by these words, screamed from the kitchen by my six year old:


Thankfully, today was one of those days when Wonder Dog actually did what I told him to and he dropped the masked intruder after I yelled out "LEAVE IT!" from the back door.
After I called the dog off and got him inside, where he mourned the loss of his VERY lifelike squeaky toy, I watched the raccoon -just a young thing- limp pitifully to the base of the nearest tree and climb to safety. 

That's how my day started.
Could've been worse.  I could've been the raccoon.

I can just imagine how the poor little guy felt, sneaking through the yard in the early morning, tired from a long night of scavenging and being suddenly attacked and violently shaken by a great hulking beast of a dog.

I'm sure Brinkley's thoughts were "Hey, cool toy!  Shaky, shaky.  Ooh, it squeaks!  Shaky, shaky!"

I'm also fairly sure the raccoon's thoughts were "HOLY FUCK, WHAT IS THIS SHIT?!  OW OW OW OW!!  SWEET JESUS, MAKE IT STOP!  OW OW OW OW OW!!"

He's (She's?) still perched up in the tree, sleeping, recovering (hopefully not bleeding internally).

It's a fine line I walk when it comes to wild animals.  I'm not a fan of rabies and I've heard that raccoons are big carriers of it, so I don't really want them in my yard...but I don't want them brutally murdered in front of my children by the family pet either. 

Exciting morning, eh?  I tell you, every day it's something.  Makes you just want to jump up out of bed and say "Okay, world.  Gimme what you've got!"

...unless what the world has for you is a big, dumb 110 pound Bernese Mountain Dog with a mouth the size of the Grand Canyon.  Yeah.

The raccoon made its escape under cover of darkness.  I hope it's learned its lesson.

Some Other Stuff I Wrote