Saturday, June 30, 2012

Beyond Thunderdome

The year is half over.  Can Christmas be far behind?

We've been running an interesting sort of social experiment around here - half our immediate area is without power, while the other half (including moi, thank heavens) is still luxuriating in such modern conveniences as electric lights and working air conditioning.  Sort of a First World meets Third World reality show, waiting to happen.  I managed to reach a friend on her cellphone (landline and Internet down in her part of town) earlier, and she admitted to feeling a surprising amount of resentment toward the other people she ran into at the grocery store, the people who weren't scooping up flashlights and who didn't smell as if they had been sitting in a not air-conditioned house on a 95-degree day for hours.

All this man wants is some AC
Hey, we didn't have Internet for almost the entire morning ourselves.  I KNOW what it's like to suffer.  And I was supposed to work this morning, but I need the Internet for that.  So I figured I'd drive over to the nearest Starbucks and use their WiFi, until a neighbor informed me that the entire town center was without electricity.  "Darn!" I said.  "Guess I'll just have to take the girls to a movie instead!"

Because I'm slow to figure things out.  Things like, movies need electricity.  So there went that idea.

The whole day went like that.  By the end, things were getting a tad crazy - roaming sweaty hordes searching desperately for their next hit of AC, flashlight shortages, gas lines (not sure why) - sort of like Mad Max, only more apocalyptic.  If things don't improve soon, Larry will be staying awake all night, defending our dwindling ice cream supplies with a shotgun.  Pray for us.

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Team Roberts

There are so many things I want to blog about, but this is uppermost in my mind today:



Beyond awesome


Thank you, Chief Justice Roberts.  Thank you.  I know so many people who cannot get health insurance right now.  I know others who can't afford it.  I'm glad that my children, when they are adults, will regard that sort of situation as unbelievable.  I'm thrilled that none of my kids will be stuck in the wrong job, simply because a pre-existing condition keeps them from switching to a better one.  I could cry with relief knowing that I won't have to empty my retirement account to help out an adult son or daughter who might become unable to obtain health insurance.

I know some of my readers think that Obamacare is a bad thing.  But please understand that we are one of the only first-world countries where citizens routinely go without medical care, where hardworking people are bankrupted because they drew the short straw in the cancer lottery.  Please realize that, in a country as rich as ours, there are third-world style medical missions taking place ALL THE TIME, because we have not had policies in place that would ensure access to basic healthcare for everyone.  That's just not acceptable for the greatest country in the world.

Government takeover?  Hardly.  Insurance companies are still firmly in place as the gatekeepers to health care.  Obamacare merely sets up exchanges (done individually by states) to facilitate the purchasing of health insurance from these private companies.  Federal workers already purchase their insurance from this type of exchange.  It provides a broader range of choice and fosters greater competition among insurance companies.  Sounds pretty capitalist to me...

There's still work to be done, of course.  Medicare needs to be reformed, with its fee-for-service structure being replaced by salaried doctors with less incentive to perform unneeded tests and procedures.  Mental health needs to be covered more comprehensively, so suicidal patients aren't kicked out of their psychiatric hospital just because their 5 allotted days are up (to name just one problem with the system).  DENTAL should eventually be included in general health insurance.  Our mouths are part of our bodies, people.  Go figure.

But for now, this is enough.  This is more than we dared hope for.  I'm off to order my Team Roberts T-shirt.  Anyone else want one?

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

RIP, Nora Ephron

Oh, man, I'm just broken up about this.  If you haven't read I Feel Bad About My Neck and I Remember Nothing, you might not be able to appreciate how witty and insightful Nora Ephron was.

Gah, I had to use the past tense.  I can't take it.  I just can't.

Go - listen to her interview on Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me last October.  I'm heading out to rent a few movies.  Would you believe I've never even seen Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail?  I think it's time.  And I don't care if Larry likes them or not.  This is for me and Nora.

Who's dead.  How can that be?  Death isn't funny.  And Nora wouldn't do anything that wasn't funny or -- at the very least -- archly witty.  Would she?



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Monday, June 25, 2012

Marriage, Ltd

Oh, blessed cool evening air!  The humidity has dropped and our windows are open - this is heaven.  Doesn't hurt that the kids are all out of the house with Larry at a minor league baseball game.  Dollar night, folks - can't beat it.

Has anyone seen this piece of inanity yet?  No?  Here's the kicker:

...perhaps we should consider marriage as more "till the kids part" than "till death do us part." The partner we need in our 20s and 30s, when many of us are looking to settle down and raise kids, may not be the partner we need in our 50s, 60s and beyond, when we're free to explore new passions or reinvigorate the ones we gave up when the kids came along.

Wow, first we have disposable wipes and disposable diapers; and now?  Disposable spouses!  Use one up and get another!  What's striking about the above (aside from its complete misunderstanding of the marriage concept) is its lack of awareness that the children don't just disappear into their own lives after age 18, never to be seen again.  There's also a refusal to acknowledge that stuff happens in our lives, BAD stuff, even before our lovely offspring have been released into the wild to spawn.  Can you picture saying to your 50-year-old Parkinsons-stricken spouse, "Well, our contract is done, kids are raised, and I'm off to seek my own adventures now!  Have a nice life!"

Essentially, the above concept assumes that the married couple has nothing in common but their kids.  No shared history, no shared responsibility toward each other, nothing that would add depth and meaning to a relationship that has already endured for at least 18 years.  Has this author never known a long-married couple?  It's not necessarily about exploring new passions together as they age; it's about deepening the ties they already have, sharing the memories that only the two of them possess, enjoying their grandchildren together.

Don't get me wrong - I am not in the least Pollyanna-ish about marriage; and I'm not against divorce, per se.  I have friends getting divorced left and right, and for good reasons.  But at least they tried to build something lasting.  At least they regarded their marriages as something more than a limited partnership with a pre-determined expiration date.  Lifelong marriage is a worthwhile, if lofty, goal and shouldn't be abandoned wholesale.

Pretty ambitious talk for a woman who can still become incensed by her spouse's toothpaste tube habits, I'll admit...


[wedding image: posterjack]



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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Little Things Mean A Lot

This is harder to do than it looks. 
I got up at 6 this morning.  I walked 2 miles.  Then I came home and prepared food for a neighborhood going-away party - a couple that has lived here since these townhomes were built (over 40 years ago) is moving closer to their daughters, several states away.  I don't know why it took me several hours to whip up some batches of hummus, lay out cheese and crackers, and cut up fruit; but it did.  Then we had the 2-hour party, which lasted 3-and-a-half hours.  I staggered home around 7 and collapsed on the couch.

Tell me, since when did I become this old person who can't have a busy day without feeling destroyed by it?  Add to that fact that I still have Brian's lovely illness, an illness whose symptoms increase the more tired I am, and I feel as though I have one foot in the grave already.

Have I mentioned how much I am going to miss my departing neighbors?  The woman is my buddy from this humiliating trip to Harris Teeter.  I refer to her as my personal trainer, because she would show up at my front door 2 or 3 times a day to invite me to walk a mile around the neighborhood.   I always accepted, because I can't let an 80-year-old woman best my not-even-50-yet self in the physical fitness department.

Sometimes?  I had trouble keeping up with her.


When Rachel was 6 weeks old (almost 10 years ago), Larry's father lay dying from a stroke.  Larry - naturally - hurried to his father's side, 12 hours away, leaving me with a 5-year-old, a 2 1/2 year-old, and a new baby (not to mention Theo and Anna).  People, this neighbor of mine made a point of stopping by every evening to help me.  She would either hold the baby while I bathed the little boys or else she would read to the little boys while I took care of the baby.  Only another mother can understand what a big difference that small bit of help made in my day.  She earned my undying gratitude from that point on.

Moral of this meandering blog post: It's the little things we do that matter.  Don't pass up a chance to do the little things.  Don't expect that someone else will think to do them.  You know, my neighbors really appreciated the party we gave them.  That mattered, too, much more than I had thought it would.


[Fruit bowl image: Taste of Home]

[Little things image: Sodahead]




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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Birthday Wishes

Today was my birthday (although not officially, since I didn't get my day off yet).  2 friends took me out to lunch while David babysat his siblings; Larry took me out to dinner after I explained to him that the junky pizza I picked up for supper was for the kids, not for me; and then, later, Larry surprised me with some presents.  Honestly, I didn't expect any.  So that was nice.

I bet you all are wondering what you can do for my birthday, right?  No?  Well, humor me.  How's about (if you haven't already) clicking on that Followers thingy to the right there in my sidebar?   I mean, only if you're a regular reader and all.  I wouldn't want anyone living a lie just to make me happy.  The number is at 301 and I'm thinking a nice round number like 310 would be nicer. 

As I've said before, I'm proud to count myself among those people in this world who have life goals which do not make other people feel inadequate.


This is what victory looks like, people.


Really, this has been a lovely birthday.  And it was made even better by the news that many angry knitters with very pointy sticks were able to make the US Olympic Committee back down.  We're still angry, though, because the USOC apology was incredibly condescending.  To paraphrase, the committee said that it was sorry it made all us nice knitters angry, but we had completely misunderstood all the complicated legal reasons behind their having to send that nasty old official letter.  And, please, go ahead and knit them some cute stuff for the Olympics, because they LOVE handcrafted American goods.  Really.

That was a very ungracious way to holler 'nuff, USOC members - but we'll take what we can get.  Let the games begin!


[Birthday cake image: Webweaver]

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Olympic-Level Bullying

This threatens the Olympic brand.  Honest.
Wow, who knew that the United States Olympic Committee was just a bunch of bullies?  Way to exhibit good sportsmanship, fellas, picking on a bunch of knitters having a little fun with the Olympics.  Does our dubbing a little knitting contest the "Ravelympics" really threaten your brand?   To the point that the USOC lawyers have to send a "cease and desist" letter to Ravelry?  Do you actually believe what you wrote in your letter?

We believe using the name "Ravelympics" for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games.  In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country's finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work.

Copyright infringement?  Really?
Methinks someone misplaced his sense of humor.  Afghan marathon, scarf hockey, sweater triathlon - these are all JOKES, you misanthropic knuckleheads.  JOKES about KNITTERS - see, we are pretending to be athletes, mostly to justify the irrational amount of time we spend making knots with pointy sticks.  We aren't denigrating the Olympic sports, you dumpkopfs; we are attempting to venerate our knitting by linking it with your games.  Haven't you ever heard that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?

Sheesh.  I hate to break this to you; but all over the US this summer, children at camp will be participating in "Olympic games."  Shocking, eh?  A threat to your brand, no?  And worse yet, they will be denigrating your athletes by pretending that a 3-legged race is as difficult as, say, one of your track-and-field events.  Also?  They will be awarding fake medals that are disrespectful to the actual gold, silver, and bronze medals awarded during your Games.

I'm telling you, your lawyers are going to have a VERY busy summer.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Birthday Blues

Yes, well, my birthday is in 2 days, and - as some of you might recall - Larry will not be here.  Meaning, I do not get the entire day off to do as I please, which is the ONLY birthday present I ever ask for.  Larry half-heartedly offered me Friday instead (or maybe it wasn't so much half-heartedly as fearfully, considering my aversion to rescheduling my birthday).  He doesn't realize, I'm angling for an entire weekend at this point.  Away.  By myself.  Or, better yet, with Jen on the Edge and Mrs. G at Jen's house...

Anywhoo, I'm still sulking a bit.  So I watched one of my favorite YouTube videos to cheer myself up.  This was making the rounds way back (I think before I even started blogging); so, in case any of you have not seen it, treat yourself to something awesome.




Watch it twice.  You'll be glad you did.



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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Woe Is Me

Seriously tired, people - Larry let the kids stay up and roast marshmallows tonight over the neighbor's fire pit (and no, we could NOT possibly be more suburban, that is correct) and now it is 10 PM and NO ONE IS ASLEEP.  I could weep.

And we have to be at a 9:00 doctor's appointment tomorrow AM for Brian and his TB symptoms, who of course stopped coughing (again) the minute I made the darn appointment; but it's too late to cancel it now (and if I did, he'd start up again, anyway).

And...I was sitting in Starbucks this afternoon, working away, when I got this irritating little tickle in my own throat and almost coughed my intestines out.  I could not stop.  I had to pack up my computer and leave, tears streaming down my face, hacking away, with everyone in the shop eyeing me warily.  By the time I got home, it felt as though I had sprained my throat from the coughing.  Is that possible?  Should I Google "sprained throat"?  Because it STILL hurts like the dickens.  And Larry doesn't seem to believe me.  You'd think he thought I was a hypochondriac or something...

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Saturday, June 16, 2012

All Tied Up For Father's Day

Stop the madness!
To all you people pinning the "recipe" for homemade laundry detergent on Pinterest:

Why?  Do you not have enough to do already?  Are you bored

Or maybe the homemade kind just tastes better...


In other news, our elderly neighbors are moving and getting rid of many years worth of accumulated stuff.  Which means that I have in my possession (JUST IN TIME FOR FATHER"S DAY) a bag of about 40 outdated ties.  Now, if my jetlagged husband would just straighten out his body clock and get himself up to bed, David and I could start festooning the house with them.

We got him a new camera, too.  We're not that cheap, you know.


[Detergent image: Crystal&Co.]

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Photography Has Its Drawbacks

Yet another reason my husband won't allow personal pictures on this blog:


And considering our extensive experience with vomit, aren't you glad?

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Monday, June 11, 2012

The Biggest Loser

Well, I got my 5 dollars back at Bunko tonight.  Those of you who are Bunko aficionados know that that would be because I managed to lose more games than anyone else there.  I'm special that way.

Today was David's birthday.  He is 15, and he had to listen to me say, "Only 15 years ago you were a tiny new baby!" more than once.  Now he fixes my computers and cooks vegetarian meals and aspires to fly airplanes.  That's a lot of progress for only a decade and a half.  The only thing I myself have managed to accomplish over the last 15 years is to gain 20 pounds. Repeatedly.

Doesn't every teenage boy want one?
Larry and I gave David one of those deep fryers for his birthday.  Also?  A cake and some candy.  He spent half the day making french fries and sharing them with his extremely interested younger siblings.  I, on the other hand, spent most of my day julienning potatoes, sampling fries, and cleaning up the kitchen.  That is, when I wasn't baking a cake and slathering it with homemade cream cheese frosting.  Or stuffing my face at Bunko...


The good news is, I don't think I need to ingest any more calories for at least another week. 



[Deep fryer image: Shopping.com]



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Sunday, June 10, 2012

The End of Car Talk and Other Signs of the Apocalypse

Say it ain't so, Tom and Ray!  Don't leave us! And I'm not just saying this because Car Talk featured this post of mine on its website a few years ago...

**********

And could it be that there might actually be an INTERESTING political convention this summer?  Oh, please, please, let it be so!  Imagine the hijinks!

********

I lost a Follower.  I can only assume it is someone dismayed by my defense of unions as the only bulwark against the unfettered power of corporations and other employers.  There were some interesting comments on that post, by the way.  RobinH's comment was notable for its evenhandedness, grounded in experience:

I've worked in manufacturing for 25 years, for both union and non-union companies. As a salaried worker, my compensation has been fair in both kinds of businesses. I've seen one union that did a great job- protecting workers, and negotiating for pay and benefits- and another that did a lousy job--the union reps were more interested in using their 'union duties' to get out of doing work than in representing the interests of workers. I've seen employees treated fairly in both kinds of businesses as well.

At the same time- I know my history. In the pre-union days, corporations did not hesitate to use their power over employees to maximize profits- our health and safety laws, standard 40 hour work week, and overtime pay- just to name a few- we owe to the presence of union organizers. I think Cassi has it exactly right- corporations have money and political clout- to keep them in check we need unions with money and political clout, otherwise individuals are left trying to resist corporate abuse without any backup at all.

********

David managed to break the glass plate that turns round and round in the microwave.  I'll give him kudos, however, for cleaning the entire mess up before I even got downstairs to check out the damage.  "Good job," I told him.  "I guess I won't cancel your birthday tomorrow."

You gotta be tough with kids, or they'll eat you for breakfast.  Or at least kill you with their whining over the type of cold cereal you bought them... 


 *******

My post title doesn't really make sense, but I'm leaving it as is.  After all, we don't really know whether breaking glass is a sign of the apocalypse or not, do we?  Maybe I should Google it.  Just as soon as I am done Googling my microwave model to see if I can buy a replacement plate...


[Microwave image: Wellsphere]




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Friday, June 08, 2012

Tennis, Anyone?

Today, for the first time in 20 years of parenting, I had a sports coach/teacher walk up to me and talk about how athletic my child was and how she really should pursue the sport further.  The first time...and this after I had managed to traumatize any number of her hapless siblings by insisting on their participation in the ritual that is suburban sports.  I have memories of her eldest brother almost crying on his way to swim team, of David standing like a confused wooden soldier during a basketball drill, of numerous children repeatedly tripping themselves on a soccer ball. 

You have to understand, I long ago resigned myself to the fact that my children lacked both the competitive spirit and the hand-eye coordination necessary to succeed at soccer, baseball, basketball, tennis, you name it.  I convinced myself that it was enough if they could participate in one of these activities without doing actual bodily harm to themselves.  And I was comfortable with that.  The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, after all.

So picture my shock to have a tennis instructor approach me to rave about Rachel's backhand and explain at length what type racket I need to procure for her.  I did my best, you know, to act as if I had had many of these sort of conversations in my parenting career -- as if, in fact, I had not for 2 decades played the role of conversational wallflower when the ever-popular subject of offspring's athletic prowess came up.  Oh, I was the picture of nonchalance! 

But I'd be lying if I said I didn't give that kid an extra cookie tonight after supper.  Thank you, sweetie, for making me feel, at long last, like a legitimately suburban parent.


[Tennis image: Fastest Tennis Serve]

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Thursday, June 07, 2012

Auto Travel, Past and Present

Brian hasn't coughed all day.  I feel like smacking him.  And here I even walked to the drugstore and picked up Mucinex and VapoRub, just as you all suggested.  The input was helpful - I don't think he is sick now, but if he doesn't get that stuff up and out of his lungs soon, he could develop a real infection, as one of you pointed out.

I love the blogosphere.  Have I mentioned that?

Elsewhere in the blogosphere, Swistle is asking for help for Heather, who wants to know what sort of things she can use to amuse her 2 little kids on a cross-country car trip.  Really?  In an era of handheld games, DVD players for the car, books on CD, etc., someone has to ask this question?  And, more importantly, do you folks who are just now starting families realize how good you have it?

Please understand - way back in 1993, Larry and I set out from Maryland in a Honda Civic hatchback with a newly minted 2-year-old and a 4-month-old baby.  Our destination?  Our new duty station in Monterey, California -- that's right, the OTHER SIDE of the country.  Folks, this was still the dark ages of auto travel.  NO handheld games, no IPads, no DVD players existed.  There was no Internet  -- at least, not enough of one to allow us to map out a route that would hit as many McDonald Playlands as possible.  We had nothing but our own grit and determination to travel those 2000 miles.  It was like Lewis and Clark, only harder.

Did I mention we traveled in a 1989 Honda Civic hatchback?  We didn't even have a cupholder in that car, for heaven's sake.  And we were such parenting wimps, it took us 10 days to crawl cross-country.  Unlike friends of ours, also military, whom we were lucky enough to meet in Monterey....they managed to drive from Long Island with 4 kids aged 2 - 8 years old, and in far less time.

How did they do it?  They threw all those kids in their station wagon and said, "If you're good and let us drive all day, we can go to Disneyland when we get to California."  And off they went.

Don't worry, my friends buckled their kids in.
4 days, people.  It took them only 4 days, even with all those kids in the car.  I believe that is some sort of a record, even in military circles.  If there were a Purple Heart for military families, they would have earned it on that trip alone.

Oh, and Heather?  The main thing you need on a drive like that, even now, more than anything else?  Earplugs.  Don't leave home without them.


[Edited to add: We are getting some awesome car trip stories in the comments.  Please join in!]


[Station wagon image: DaddyTypes]




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Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Is There A Doctor In The House?

People who know me personally are aware that I only take sick kids to the doctor when I absolutely have to.  I don't take temperatures, I don't worry about strep.  If a kid is sick, he lies around until he gets better, unless he has a high fever/pain that doesn't respond to Motrin.  (Yes, I know, I'm a dead ringer for Florence Nightingale.) 

Usually, this laidback attitude pays off; but there was the time I did finally bestir myself to take a 4-year-old David into the doctor for what seemed to be the absolutely worst case of pinkeye I had ever seen.  I mean, his face was sort of swollen and he was just lying there, not moving, in the easy chair.  Turns out he had pneumonia, poor kid.  Yeah.  Sort of called that one wrong, didn't I?


 All of which leads to today's problem: Brian had a cold 3 weeks ago (see how useful keeping a blog is?), and he is still coughing.  Perfectly fine otherwise, but every morning I hear him hacking away like a 3-pack-a-day smoker.  It comes back in the evening around bedtime.  Oh, and if he tries to run, he coughs then, too.  It's not wheezing or asthmatic sounding; it sounds like there is some gunk sitting down there that he is trying to get up.  And he is still blowing his nose all the time.


So?  What to do?  No fever, no real complaints (he's a naturally cheerful guy), so it can't be walking pneumonia, can it?  I'm not calling the advice nurse, because she would just tell me to bring the kid in, to play it safe.  I hate to bring him to the doctor unnecessarily, because Lord knows what mysterious disease he'll pick up there.  And I'd feel stupid having the doctor tell me that the kid just has a cold.  I'm supposed to know what I am doing by now, for heaven's sake.   Am I wrong in assuming that, if it was bacterial pneumonia, he would have a fever?

[Sigh. I Googled for a nurse hat image and got an absolute eyeful.  "Buxom" doesn't even begin to describe it.]



[Nurse hat image: GraphicsHunt]

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Tuesday, June 05, 2012

United We Stand

My thoughts are with Wisconsin today. 

While I consider myself a moderate who is all for cutting wasteful government spending, I don't understand how doing so entails banning collective bargaining rights for workers, public or private.  Maybe the Wisconsin legislators (and its governor) think that these rights pertain only to what workers are paid and that, by removing these rights, public sector workers will be forced to adhere to a market-determined payscale more in line with fiscal reality.  But then we have to face the fact that the Wisconsin legislators and governor are woefully misinformed about the full consequences of collective bargaining, consequences that extend far beyond the simple issue of pay increases and pensions.

You see, collective bargaining rights are what make sure that, when you are hospitalized, the nurse in charge of your medications and, really, your life, is not assigned so many patients that she can no longer do her job effectively.  Collective bargaining rights are what guarantee that your child will not be in a classroom containing more than, say, 25 students.  Collective bargaining rights ensure that the fireman who is trying to save your home is properly trained and fully rested.

These don't look like lazy public workers to me.
We would all like to believe that these issues would be addressed anyway, in the name of common sense.  But, when unbridled capitalism rules, common sense is not in charge.  Profit is.  Capitalism, while an excellent system for controlling the production and flow of goods and services, does need some boundaries; and mechanisms such as reasonable government regulation and collective bargaining provide those boundaries.

Are there corruption and abuses in unions?  Sure!  Hey, I grew up in NJ, for heaven's sake.  I spent my formative years reading about Jimmy Hoffa.  Go after corruption in unions, by all means.  But collective bargaining is not, de facto, corrupt.

 Are there employers who treat their non-unionized employees well?  Of course.  But one of the reasons they do so is because they have the threat of a union hanging over their heads, as it were.  My local grocery store pays its cashiers 10 dollars an hour, well above minimum wage.  Why?  Because it doesn't want its employees to become so dissatisfied that they band together and collectively bargain for decent wages and benefits.  Remove that possibility, and watch those wages fall.

I do agree with Jenn at Juggling Life that a lot of this enmity towards collective bargaining and other union rights stems from envy and resentment, resentment felt by non-unionized workers who are being shafted left and right by their employers. I heard one Walker supporter interviewed on the radio the other day.  She said, essentially, "These public workers have pensions and I don't.  Why should I have to keep on working hard and they don't?  That's not fair."

The question she should be asking is, "Why, after working all my life, do I have nothing and they have their pensions?"  And the answer would be that she did not have collective bargaining.  She had no rights.  She worked her butt off, with no guarantees ever.  And that is what is not fair.




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Monday, June 04, 2012

Grounds For Desertion

My husband left me again.  This scenario is getting old.  And Theo is in Tunisia, on some ROTC humanitarian cross-cultural learning thing.  I know he is there, because he posted pictures to Facebook that have the Mediterranean Sea in the background.  Tough life.

Dinnertime!
Let's see, Larry's away on business...Theo's gone...

I'm thinking we'll be having pizza for dinner.  Repeatedly.  And Lord help us all if any bats show up in my living room while Larry's away, like last year.  In fact, Theo and Larry chased one out of the basement just a few weeks ago.


I know!  The fun never stops around here.

So, tonight I did something I haven't done in years - I watched a movie all by myself.***  You see, it's hard for me to enjoy watching a movie at home because our TV is downstairs in the family room -- the family room that is always a mess, what with the toys and games and the hulking brown cabinet and the extra filing cabinets jammed with I-don't-know-what that Larry refuses to get rid of.  Oh, and the rarely-used exercise bike that makes me feel guilty...


Tell me, where do these folks stick their extra junk?

You know, I see other people's family rooms that look so fun to sit in, with their big TV's and comfy couches and NO JUNK, and I always wonder how they manage to get them that way.  I guess I should just move the TV up to the living room, which tends to be fairly uncluttered (because I throw everything downstairs); but then we wouldn't be able to watch anything rated higher than "G," lest our young innocents hear the cinematic goings-on up in their bedrooms.

Apparently, watching a movie around here is as complicated as getting some exercise.


***Well, I needed David's help to get the DVD-thingie started; but after that, I was on my own.  He refused to watch anything labeled a "romantic comedy" - even a quirky Woody Allen one.  Midnight in Paris - it was great.  I highly recommend it.  Unless you're David, of course...


[pizza image: Pizza Brothers]

[family room image: Life123]

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Saturday, June 02, 2012

Who Says Money Can't Buy Happiness?

Well, I think I managed to traumatize my youngest last night.  But it's her fault for peeing in my brand-new bed...my second brand-new bed, actually, since I finally got around to exchanging the too-soft mattress for something that, while more expensive, feels like heaven.  It was worth every penny.

This is how happy I am...
I heart my new mattress.  I do.  And I heart Mattress Discounters, who waived the 15% restocking fee when I informed them that this was the ninth mattress I have bought from them.

Nine.  That's a lot.

Anywhoo, Susie was in our bed last night (so what else is new?), and at some point she got up for a drink of water.  When she lay back down, I reached over to snuggle her and realized her pants were wet.

Have I mentioned how much I LOVE my pristine, never-peed-or-barfed-on new mattress?

Naturally, I screamed.  Poor Susie - she jumped out of the bed and stood there, wet and shaking with shock, while I stripped back the (also expensive) mattress cover and felt around anxiously to see if it had leaked.

So now I heart my new mattress cover, also, because it worked.  Worth every penny...


[Stacked mattresses image: Design2Share]

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Friday, June 01, 2012

Why I Am Hoarding Bug Repellent

Oh, awesome.  Just when I was running out of ways to feed my hypochondriacal tendencies, along comes this spiffy news item about a burgeoning epidemic in the Americas caused (wouldn't you know it?) by a lowly insect.

"It likes to bite you on the face," CNN reported. "It's called the kissing bug. When it ingests your blood, it excretes the parasite at the same time. When you wake up and scratch the itch, the parasite moves into the wound and you're infected."

Obligatory magnified bug photo
So, let's see.  This disease (called Chagas - I don't know why) involves a bug that not only bites you, it also poops on you.  Have I mentioned that I already hate bugs?  Oh, yes, I have.   Many times, in fact.  Well, now I hates them even more. 

But wait! There's more!  According to the New York Times, in the end stage of this disease, your heart or your intestines just might explode. 

Like I said, awesome.  Pass the DEET, will ya?


[Bug image: New York Times]

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