Sunday, October 7, 2018

Annie are you OK?

As a parent in 2018, I have to teach my children that the world can be a soulless, spirit-crushing experience, particularly for women, people of color and those in the LGBTQIA community.  But for one afternoon, I chose to avoid all of that by tuning out for a while and watching a movie together, a classic from my childhood. A movie about hope and love and the dawning of a new day because, the sun will come out tomorrow… or so I thought.

This is the story about the afternoon I watched Annie with my daughter and realized that Annie, the original movie of my childhood, did not age well.




Open on Annie singing about parents she doesn’t have: 
“Mom, where are her parents?”
“She doesn’t have any.” 
“Why doesn’t she have parents?” 
“Cause she’s an orphan.” 
“What’s an orphan?”
Any fellow parent will tell you, when we put on the TV or a movie, we do so because we don’t want to “work.” We aren’t looking for teachable moments or engaging in character forming conversations. We want 90 minutes to zone out and possibly doze off. Not even five minutes in and I know I’m in trouble here.

Back to the filthy children living together in an orphanage, being beaten and doing manual labor. Ok, this actually could work in my favor. Maybe the next time I ask her to make her bed, she’ll be more grateful that’s all I’m requesting.

Enter Miss Hannigan and having to explain the antics and behaviors of a functioning alcoholic. This is truly going to be a fun afternoon together.

Miss Hannigan propositioning Mister Bundles wasn’t something I vividly recalled from my childhood viewings, but my daughter doesn’t look like she will forget it as she shrinks a little into the couch next to me.

Enough of the child abuse, for now… how about a little animal abuse for the folks at home. Enter Sandy being abused by some neighborhood scamps. And then a song about Sandy being dumb, cause hey, we called people dumb back then and it was fine. To my daughter, it was the equivalent of Annie calling Sandy a mother f#cker. We don’t throw dumb around in the same way in our house and she seems shook. Note to self: definitely not ready for Old Yeller.

Back to the orphanage. I’m concerned that Miss Grace Farrell doesn’t seem at all concerned by Annie being locked in a closet. A quick tug-of-war with Annie as the rope ends with them headed to the Warbucks mansion, so I guess that bit of physicality is OK?

Enter Punjab and the Asp, the bodyguards of Oliver Warbucks, and two distinct, offensive cultural stereotypes personified. First, Punjab is an offensive name. Second, he’s played by a Trinidadian man. Third, he seems to possess magical powers that I can’t put my finger on, but seem problematic on their own. But he tamed Sandy, so everyone seems cool with it.

Oh, Annie thinks she’s being brought in as free labor (read: a slave) ha ha ha! That’s funny to everyone. Slavery: making people laugh since the Depression. 

Oliver Warbucks returns home with some gems I look forward to explaining later: “everything’s urgent to a Democrat” “orphans are boys” and his rage-throwing of the photographer’s camera. I think my petty slamming of cabinet doors when I’m angry is looking good in comparison. 

Annie manages to charm the old man and gets to stay. I’ve always been impressed by her street smarts and still am. Not every part of this aged poorly. The teachable moment could be: men can usually be manipulated; but really it is: take that rage-throwing of a camera as a red flag and GTFO.

Back to the orphanage where we get a few more talking points for later during the song ‘Little Girls.’ “If I wring little necks, surely I would get an acquittal” is not only an incredible rhyme for the word little, but also a sentence rich with disturbing concepts for a 7-year-old. 

Back to the mansion where a bomb comes crashing through the window. A chance to explain: amateur explosives, the Bolsheviks, and the Asp doing some heavily choreographed, and potentially insensitive faux martial arts. It’s not my culture, I can’t speak to it, but it feels bad.

Ok, here we go. Let’s go to the movies! I loved this part. The singing, the dancing, the part where Annie sits on the top of the convertible on their journey from 987 Fifth Avenue to Radio City… not exactly around the corner. I know they didn’t have booster seats back then, but a seat belt, or even just within the interior of the car? It makes my insistence on her booster seat seem ridiculous and I see her making a mental note. 

Going to the movies back then was quite the night out. Not necessarily a night filled with diversity, as the Rockettes lineup illustrates, but still quite spectacular. 

As if one movie with physical and emotional abuse wasn’t enough, they’ve managed to insert a second movie rife with issues for me to deal with. Bonus! The movie within the movie is too much, but thankfully the black and white format has disengaged her.

Back to the real movie and the mansion and some new topics to explore, like misogyny and power dynamics. Oliver Warbucks to Miss (lest we forget she’s a bachelorette) Grace Farrell: “You’re awfully pretty when you argue with me.” Followed quickly by this gem of an exchange:
OW: “Your teeth are crooked”
Grace Farrell: “I’ll have them fixed.”
OW: “I like them.”
GF: “I’ll leave them.”

But I have no time to explain why our looks should neither define us nor be changed in an attempt to gain the approval of others because we’re on to our next musical number: ‘We Got Annie.’ And we got an awkward musical dance solo for both Punjab and The Asp. Not just an exaggeration of their racial and cultural stereotypes, the music played over each is offensive in its own right.

Annie and Mr. Warbucks have a “man to man talk” where Warbucks shares his life story… spoiler alert: it’s dark AF.

Non sequitor, as this isn’t really problematic in our current landscape, but I can’t help thinking that a ventriloquist on a radio show is a strange talent choice. She doesn’t need to keep her mouth still for radio, does she? Plus, 30 years later and I still don’t know what Annie is doing when she goes for Burt Heeley’s shoes. But I digress.

Ok, back to the oversized themes for us to discuss: Republicans, The New Deal, helping people work for themselves… Actually, the FDR bit is still pretty relevant, just not necessary for a 7-year-old to sink her teeth into.

I had trouble with Tim Curry for a while and I realize this role was why. He messed me up early and it took me until Clue to get over it. By the time I realized he was Dr. Frank N Furter all was forgiven. But Rooster was scarring. 

Lily smoking in the orphanage, stealing from Miss Hannigan and lying to Mr. Warbucks… I remember all these “bad things” from my youthful viewings. Rooster knocking Miss Hannigan out, screaming “come back here you g-ddamn kid,” and then legit throwing Annie off the bridge were “bad things” I remembered, but saw, as if for the first time, through my daughter’s (horrified) eyes.

Punjab popping off his turban seems wrong, but I don’t think I’m qualified to write that think piece. I did chuckle at the irony of him quoting Buddha right before he kicks Rooster in the face, knocking him down the ladder. You’re dark Annie, but I love ya!

So, in summary, Miss Hannigan gets knocked out and gets to ride in on an elephant for the finale, with some visible sexual tension with Punjab I never noticed before. Is it getting hot in here or is it just this newly sympathetic alcoholic on an elephant?

Even the line: “I love you Daddy Warbucks” gave me the creeps this time. But that’s just me applying more modern connotations. This movie cannot handle that on top of everything else and it is the least of my concerns after watching the whole thing through.

My original memories from watching Annie as a child: great songs, fun, kid-friendly, classic all around.
My current thoughts from watching Annie as an adult with my own child: great songs but problematic all around.
I had never understood remaking a great movie, a la Footloose or Overboard, but maybe the occasional re-make is a good thing. I’m obviously not talking about Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka. That will never be OK.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

What in the who now?

I am a creature of habit. Anyone who has read this blog can confirm: I like summer in Maine, autumn eating Halloween candy and winter complaining about the weather. See here; here; and here for proof of that last one.

And just when I think I've bored myself silly of weather chatter, they go and do it again.

It freaked me out four years ago when they introduced the name, if not the outright concept, of the polar vortex. Seemingly out of nowhere everyone started talking about polar vortexes as if they were a common, well-known thing. How do they just invent these new freakily scary names for weather conditions each year? And why do we allow it?
They are Sharknado-ing us, and we are letting it happen.

I thought we had seen the worst of it, but then today my phone screen lit up with the phrase:
"bomb cyclone."



Fuck you.

No thank you. I have no room in my life for bomb cyclones, unless they're some shitty frozen beverage I drink on an all-inclusive holiday somewhere warm.

Keep it (thank you Ira Madison III).  I am not taking this on (thank you June Diane Raphael). Whatever a bomb cyclone is, which, come to think of it, what the fuck is a bomb cyclone? And why are they now a thing? And are they kidding me with that name? What, was atomic death spiral taken? A bomb cyclone is neither a bomb nor a cyclone, discuss (thank you Mike Meyers).

Enough of this weather fuckery. It's cold as hell outside and that's all we should have to worry about. Nuclear annihilation is already on my plate because of the Dotard (thank you KJ-U). Avoiding frostbite is already something I'm focused on, on a daily basis. I do not need to concern myself with whatever the fuck a bomb cyclone is, and neither do you. This is just another way they distract us from important shit.

Do not let the bomb cyclone get to you friends. There's a bad winter storm coming. Keep your eyes open, your hats on, and for the love of love zip your jackets all the way up.

Stay warm.

Happy new year.

Resist.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Old AF

On the eve of my 40th, five years after starting this blog as a creative outlet for my satirical rants, I find myself checking in to see where I'm at.

I'm old. I'm actually old AF. So old that I say AF IRL. And while that is probably embarrassing, I DGAF. Something nice happened after 40 years. The confidence I so desperately lacked in middle school, high school, college, post college, the ghost years and beyond, arrived eventually. I am now blessed with some of that old person confidence, and in addition to saying batty things to school age children, I am also able to write and perform with my sole interest being my own happiness. Old person confidence results in ladies arguing with the deli that the turkey is not sliced thin enough or old men sending their soup back because it was too salty. For some it is an affirmation of their firmly rooted beliefs, for some a general acceptance of who they've slowly become, and for others it is the ability to say and do things they maybe once found terrifying or daunting for fear of offending, disappointing, or merely failing to entertain.
And on the eve of 40 (and here's where the offense comes in) I have managed to create a life that I am genuinely happy with.

In 40 years you learn things.
I have learned that I don't have regrets. I have things that I recognize I could have done different, but firmly accept that everything I have done has led me to today. The good, the bad, the tears, fights, moments of weakness, moments of strength, laughter, joy, difficulty has all made my life what it was, what it is today and that only I get to decide what it will be tomorrow. 
I don't have regrets, but I do have a few tips for myself that might have made some parts a bit easier.

I should have appreciated being pushed around in a stroller more. My kids are unappreciative of the amazing thing that is a free ride while being fed snacks and taken to fun places. My next shot at being pushed around while I talk nonsense and occasionally shit my pants comes way too late in the game. I would like that free ride now, in the middle, when my tired self can really appreciate it.

Now it seems silly, but a quick note to my ten year old self to tell her we all get pubic hair could have stemmed a bit of panic back then. Cause as the first of my friends, I'm not gonna lie, I was pretty freaked out right at the onset. 

I'd go back to my teenage self and tell her that no, the boys you crush on and pine for will never love you. You are a swan who will take another 20 years to peak, and then another five years after that to realize you've peaked. But, not to be sad about those boys because one day you will get to watch them grow bald, fat and old on a yet to be invented social media platform on a yet to be invented internet. And while it seems no one will ever love you now, #itgetsbetter

I'd go back to college and see myself skipping class to hang with my friends, eat bad food and watch cartoons and say: yes! Keep it up. These are wonderful years that you are experiencing in the best way possible. You're not a scholar and when you do want to learn more later in life, you'll just be able to pull your personal phone out of your pocket and ask an electronic woman for more information on it. We're all Jetsons in the future, and tonight is probably ladies night somewhere. 

I'd go back to my drunk self in her early 20s and make her say a little prayer of thanks that easily accessible and portable cameras are still a few years out, and while it's sad to only have 24 or 36 photos from most significant life events, you also don't have 150 photos from very insignificant events to constantly haunt you the rest of your life.

I'd check in with my single self and tell her that 25 is exactly when you should be learning about yourself. You might not ever have it all figured out. But the hyper emotional journals you are currently writing will provide hours of shocked amusement when you reread them 15 years from now. Take it down a notch kid!

And when those cameras do start appearing everywhere, I'd remind my aging young lady self to tell the camera person to shoot from above and to always put your hand on your hip when you're on the end. Fat arms affect all of us.

I would point out to my single self that yes, married life is about getting to be with your best friend all the time, but that sometimes being with your best friend involves both of you sitting on your phones until one of you decides to engage with the other who is still on their phone and then getting annoyed at how rude your best friend can be sometimes.

I'd remind my newly married self that in the talks about where to live and how many kids to have and how to raise them there will be trickier conversations about underwear and when they're ok to be put in the communal laundry and when they must be washed separately.

I'd tell my kidless self that it's not ok to judge the parents you see for giving their kids popsicles at 11am. Because one day you're going to see another parent with kids with lollipops before 9am, and you're going to silently acknowledge the day they've already had with a sympathetic nod and a moment of gratitude that thankfully you haven't had one of "those" mornings in a while.

I'd point out to my new parent exhausted ass that you don't need to pretend like you've got this. You don't have to appear to be doing everything perfectly. In fact, the other parents hate the ones doing it perfectly. We like the ones who are fucking it up like we are. There's something very comforting about knowing the entire next generation is fucked, not just our kids.

I'd tell myself that my kids will remember my emotional outbursts, inappropriate comments and cursing. And hopefully they will learn to control their outbursts, make appropriate comments and curse, in the right context... eventually. We don't need them dropping c-bombs in nursery school.

I'd sit myself down, on the eve of 40 and say you've done ok. 
You've made some friends that are accepting of not being in constant contact because when we are together, it is like no time has passed. 
You've fucked some shit up. 
You've lost touch with people that should be in your life and gave too much time to people that should have been dismissed sooner. 
You've had nights that you can't remember and that's too bad and you've had nights you can't remember and that's for the best. 
You've lost your temper when you should have kept your cool and you've held in your rage when you should have rained hell on people. 
You've set an example for your kids that includes the nuances and complexities of what life is. You express anger, hurt, fear and sadness, but also teach them how to be compassionate, kind, friendly and fun. 
You eat a lot of donuts. You also go for the occasional run and drink a cup of green tea every now and again. 
You eat a few more donuts, but then justify a family dance party in the name of fitness. 
Your varicose veins are bad, but you realize a smile on your face is all you need to look your best. And mascara.
You laugh a lot. 
You make other people laugh. 
You make your kids laugh. 
Some people you will never make laugh.
On the eve of 40 you're doing ok, which is actually pretty good. And pretty good makes you happy.

Oh, and don't worry about all the stuff you haven't done yet. You're not done yet. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Surprise let down

Maybe you've seen the videos: children being told by their tricky, secretive parents that they are about to embark on the trip of a lifetime - Disney! The reactions vary from screaming, jumping and other forms of physically elating to tears of joy sobbing from within their tiny emotional frames. Maybe you haven't seen them. I have. And because I have, I decided that surprising my children would be an amazing way to tell them we are going to Disney. We'd laugh, we'd cry, we'd tape it all for a viral sensation.

Enter reality.

Our surprise was going to be the day before we left as I, like many other parents, have no interest in prolonging the agony of waiting for my kids (read: I didn't want to spend weeks answering the question "are we going yet?").

They didn't know about it, but for weeks I was deep in planning mode. Every free moment typically spent mindlessly browsing my phone or watching TV I spent researching hotels, restaurants and age appropriate attractions; booking fast passes, double strollers and reservations for character experiences; and looking up packing lists and best food lists (obviously), all while sharing none of this excitement with the kids, because, after all, it was a surprise worth waiting for.

I spent weeks, nay, months, talking to other parents and Disney planners and everyone who had ever known someone that went on this trip to get tips, tricks and suggestions, not-to-be-missed meals and timing tips for where we needed to be and when. The list went on, the planning went on, and still I said nothing to the children.

Ah, the children. The sweet, adorable, well behaved children that deserved all of this planning on their behalf, but who would never know the extent to which their occasional whining and spatting was jeopardizing the very trip they knew nothing about.

The more time I spent planning, the more disgruntled I became at their every slight misbehavior. I use candy on a weekly basis to get them to behave. So why now, for some reason, had I knowingly given up on using the greatest bargaining chip that ever existed for my benefit?

To illustrate my point: my daughter once graciously and willingly went to bed a full hour early because she was going to an ice skating birthday party the following day, which she was very excited about. Can you imagine how excited she would be if she knew we were going to Disney? I'll tell you: very, very excited. Can you imagine how well behaved she could be if she knew about it? I'll venture a guess: very, very well behaved. Can you imagine all the sh!t I could get the kids to do if I used Disney, the greatest thing ever, as a goal or reward for them to work towards? Well I can, because I imagined it every day. Every day as I stayed silent while the little one pulled the big one's hair or the big one swiped a leg as the little one walked by, I grumbled under my breath that they needed to behave if they wanted "something great." But you know what kids think of when they hear the phrase "something great"? Not something great. Certainly not the greatest damn thing they could possibly imagine. And most definitely not Disney.

But it will be the greatest surprise ever, I reminded myself. I can't tell them. But you could be bribing them with it every day, I responded to myself. But then we won't get the "surprise" video. It will be worth it. In the words of Lin Manuel's Hamilton: "just you wait, just you wait." (yes, not only do I talk to myself, but I very often do so while quoting popular music)

So wait we did. Through countless dragged feet down the street and uneaten side dishes. Over crying fits about taking baths and screaming matches for the small rubber duck, not the ever so slightly larger one. We waited for the big day, the big reveal, the big surprise. Finally, after packing us all up in secret and with the arrangements all made, it was time to tell them.

The night before we left, I packed up their Disney packets of ear headbands, autograph books, pens and lanyards and handed them the gift bag. Inside was this note:
Ok, so I'm not a graphic designer

I was buzzing with the excitement. I couldn't stand it anymore. I was about to burst. So we whipped out our phones and shot a video while they opened it. It's a minute:19, but I'll save you that time and get the gist in this clip right here...
It's OK. It's nice, sweet even. But I had kind of been hoping for mind-blown screams. I like to think they were in shock. So we doubled back to make sure they got it.

Got it mom. You're just not getting your GIF-worthy video.

Now, in their defense, they are not ungrateful children. They are 5+ and 2+ and lack the basic mental capacity to process information in the immediate, hey-guys-I'm-shooting-the-video-right-this-second rate I was hoping for. In fact, the little guy never truly knows where we're going, so to a certain extent, every day is a surprise to him. Over the course of the evening, my daughter slowly came to grasp both the magnitude and immediacy of the journey that awaited. Weirdly, the piece of the puzzle that made it click for her was that Disneyworld is in Orlando, as they advertise Orlando on TV, not just Disney, so that information brought this thing into a whole new light for her and she went to bed buzzing the same hum of excitement that I had. The trip to the airport and every minute of the trip were equally enthusiastic, happy, grateful and appreciative.

But that video.

In hindsight, I realize that I failed to follow my own advice. When I was pregnant, we found out the gender of our baby as we viewed that as an additional day of a surprise since the actual birth day was exciting for many other reasons. The actual trip to Disney is so exciting, we should have brought the surprise up a few weeks to spread out the joy, but mostly to be able to bribe my children for weeks with the promise of the greatest trip ever. Live and learn. I now know that the true magic of Disney is using it as the best damn bargaining chip there is, threatening to take it away if they call out one more time in the middle of the night or don't take at least two more bites of carrots. I know that now, and can only say to others: do what you feel in your heart is right. Do what you think will be best for your children. But most importantly, do a better job than I did managing your expectations for that damn video.

Monday, February 20, 2017

People, ammiright?

Hi there. Remember me? Haven't heard from me in a while, but it's not because I haven't been writing. In fact, I have been very busy on fun, different stuff which I will share here as soon as I figure out how. But that is for another time.

So what's been going on with you? Oh, right. That sh!t. To be honest, I have woken up every day for the past few months with the same pit in my stomach, the same dulled recognition of the reality that we're living in, the same questioning of what the heck goes on in some people's minds. Because people... I mean, where do I begin?

I am not a people person. I have a few people I adore, some I like and a lot I merely tolerate. I don't understand what's going on in this world, and I don't expect to any time soon. But this has nothing to do with all that. This is about the fact that people are strange on many different levels and I'm not sure I even want to understand them anymore.

Let's take one of my neighbors as an example: Their window faces our window and since the beginning of December (pretty standard timing-wise), they have had a curtain of flashing lights hanging in their window. A quick note: these are not rhythmic, consistent flashing lights a-la your typical Christmas strand. No, these lights vary. With no discernible rhythm or reason, they move from a slow motion flowing on and off to a quicker paced twinkle into a full blown epileptic fit of flashing. It's jarring. I can see them from my couch and it catches me by surprise every time. Every time. It makes me feel uneasy, anxious (or more anxious, as the case may be), and generally unpleasant. So my question is this: what kind of person wants that sh!t on their own window? From what I can tell, it is in their living room space, which for me is a safe haven of calm and relaxation (at least after 8pm when the kids are out of here). So what kind of person likes the inconsistent, abrupt, haphazard flashing of lights in their own living space? A coo-koo pants person, that's who. A person I don't understand and one I don't think I ever want to understand.



But now let's go a bit further. It is now February 20, President's Day weekend. Our holiday lights have come and gone. The tree in the lobby has been packed up for next year. In fact, everywhere I go I have noticed the same thing: most holiday lights have come and gone. And judging by the fact that the same neighbors had these crazy lights up last year, took them down and then brought them back during the "holiday season," they seem to acknowledge the general acceptance of such ridiculousness during a specific period of time during the year. But there is also an off season. That "accepted" time has long since passed. It's time to let the seizure inducing lights go.

My husband thinks we should stick a Happy New Year's card under their door, which is just so perfectly passive aggressive it's a wonder I made it nearly 30 years without this guy. I think we should send the super in as they are obviously dead inside. That is the only acceptable reason I can think of. Oh sure, of course I'll be sad that someone is dead, but I will be so relieved to understand the situation at long last.

Speaking of my weird neighbors, I was walking down the staircase the other day and noticed needles from a Christmas tree on the stairs from the fourth floor all the way down. You should know, we live in a building with an elevator. I know this because I used that elevator to remove our Christmas tree, among other things. I popped my head out on the fourth floor to have a look because something about this unnecessary use of the stairs for Christmas tree disposal didn't sit well with me. Would you believe that this person dragged their tree from the apartment located right next to the elevator, past three other apartment doors and then down four flights of stairs, shedding needles the whole way? And need I remind you of the date again?

I have so many questions: Do they always avoid riding the elevator, or just when they have a tree with them? Were they embarrassed by how late in the year it was for getting rid of the tree? Did they not realize this would inflict way more "damage" from the tree? Did they make any attempt to clean this up themselves (like, maybe I'm seeing it after they tried sweeping?), As I don't see anyone around, did they apologize to the guy that has to clean this up for them? Why? Who? What the f#$%? But then I packed up my curiosity and went home because I am done trying to understand people. It's pointless to try. And it's pointless to try to change them.

Just like I won't try to change my other neighbor. When they're not screaming the door down from inside, they let their kids chase each other up and down the hallway while making trips to the garbage room. Apparently trips to the garbage room are winter day activities for them. On rainy or snowy days they leave their wet stuff outside their door, clogging up the hallway for way too long. And they stink up the hallway with their cooking and sometimes burning of dinner. They are... oh, no wait, that's us. We do that. We are also sh!tty, crazy neighbors.

On second thought, maybe there is hope for us to all peacefully coexist in our mutual craziness. I don't need to understand your crazy, cause I'm too busy unpacking my own stuff. Reason and sanity are out the window. Psychotic lights are in the window.

A purposely ill-timed Happy New Year to you all.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Candy stop won't stop

I am filled with insecurities, self doubt, self loathing, mischief, and hope... but mainly I am filled with candy. Not my candy, mind you. My kid's candy. I did not earn this candy. I mean sure, I walked from door to door just as much as they did. But I didn't have to interact with people asking me about my costume, telling me to pick "just one" or passive aggressively reminding me to say thank you before I even had a chance to inspect the morsel that had just hit my bucket. I hung back with the other parents, keeping a watchful eye on the young ones throughout the night. I let them sample some candy as we walked around. Once we got home, I was even gracious enough to allow them both to partake in their spoils.

But now we enter back in to the real world of Not-October 31 when my kids are only allowed one or two pieces of THEIR OWN Halloween candy each day because: Cavities. Sugar highs. Additives. Greed. Mainly it's my own personal addiction to candy that I cannot will not control, certainly not the week after Halloween.

The most frightening thing happened while we were out trick or treating. No, it wasn't the 7 year old in a bloody scary mask trying to terrorize my 2 year old (who thankfully wasn't moved by his performance). And it wasn't the spooky decor of the neighbors including but not limited to scary clowns, dangling corpses, a skeleton with a rotating head swinging on a swing overhead, blood stained bones. And no it wasn't my realization that despite it being by far the best candy, for some bizarre reason, the Reese's company has not been producing the small Halloween sized packages and that is why I haven't gotten Reese's Pieces in years. The bastards. It wasn't any of that. It was an interaction I had with my daughter while out trick or treating.

She's in kindergarden now. Elementary school has brought with it some real "holy sh!t" moments when I have had to reconcile on the fly how damn grown up she is now. With that maturity comes making decisions for herself, about herself and so on. One such decision was presented in the form of a large silver bowl filled with Halloween candy. I say Halloween candy cause it was the sh!t that they only roll out at Halloween because there really isn't a market for it the rest of the year unless you're in a Walgreens that's going out of business and has only two items left on their candy shelf, or you're at a charming "penny candy" store in some lovely resort town somewhere.

Because I'm a greedy candy loving parent, I glanced down to survey the "choice" she was being given and watched her select a small packet of Necco wafers. My heart sunk. My head screamed: "What is happening??" I began coming up with excuses: maybe she wasn't familiar with them and simply made a bad call. We've all done it. But then my sweet, young, impressionable child inspected the packet closer and said the words I've always feared but never thought I'd ever hear out loud: "hmmm, I love these Necco candys."

Oh the horror! How could this have happened? I mean, you think you're raising your children right. You think you're doing everything to set them up to be successful contributing members of society. And then in comes this powdery chalky packet of what I can only assume was the Vatican's contribution to the candy world to derail all those many years of progress.

But then my new anger management techniques kicked in. I willingly chose to move past the horror. Past the shame. Past the confusion. I decided to see the silver lining. And it is this: If she has terrible taste in candy, then I am possibly the luckiest candy-loving parent in the world. Maybe it doesn't make sense to raise your kids to crave the same Twix and 100 Grands that you want, because: duh, sharing. Yes, perhaps it's all about having a kid who chooses Necco wafers in the trick-filled, hodgepodge bowl of losers: SweeTarts, Smarties, Everlasting Gobstoppers, and Dum Dums.*

*As a sidenote to the people who actively select those candies to give out: listen, I get it. I also have a tough time resisting candy when it's in the house, but just because you can't muster up an ounce of self control doesn't mean you have to give out THE WORST candy out there. Honestly, the house with the root beer barrels and individually wrapped butterscotches looks down on you.

But back to her bad taste in candy, and my love for eating all their candy. Yes, technically I didn't earn it, and yes, technically I feel bad limiting them to two pieces when I take down no fewer than 8 pieces, and that's just when they're off at school during the day. Post bedtime I'm easily in the double digits ... and we will still have enough to donate at the end of the week. The point is, I need to feel less guilty about stealing all of their candy. No. The point is, I need to feel more guilty about stealing all of their candy. No. The point is, I need to keep her walking the line of taking good candy, but actually selecting the shitty ones to eat once we get it all home. No. The point is they don't even miss most of it. No, the point is, Ok, maybe there is no point. The point is beside the point. I am just full of candy I feel guilty about eating and needed to vent. That and I may be one Kit Kat short of a sugar-induced coma. If that happens, please lie to my kids about what brought it on.
This smushed piece of candy was rejected by my daughter. Why do I think so little of myself that I couldn't just accept that maybe she was right? Maybe we are better than this smushed piece of candy. Maybe I shouldn't eat it either. But I did. Oh, of course I did.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Slight chance of rain

I have two separate assignments due this week. Neither calls for my thoughts on the current state of weather forecasting. So naturally I thought now would be a good time to share with you my thoughts on the weather, rather than do my work.

I am a fan of John Oliver. Aside from referencing some of the finer points he makes each week, I have also taken to using one of his segments: 'How is this still a thing?' as a new sick burn. For example:
Nickleback: How is this still a thing?

See what I did there? It's subtle, a little highbrow/a little lowbrow. Something for everyone. I also use it when expressing frustration in something that either should be better, or shouldn't exist at all, as I will today.

The weather industry: How is this still a thing?

The weather is a science, but it's not an exact science. It is not mathematics where a definitive correct answer can be predicted. So why do they try to make it seem like it is? If any other industry had the rate of success that weather forecasts do, they would come under severe regulation by some bigwig, or at the very least, major criticism. Instead they just have pissed off individuals wandering around their respective cities, angrily mumbling about the fact that it is 90 degrees and sunny and they're wearing wellies.

Weather people on the news are right about 50% of the time.* Yes, coin flip territory. But lately I noticed they have taken to predicting a bit of everything, possibly to help fudge those numbers. "Tomorrow will be slightly cloudy, partial sunshine with a chance of rain that could develop into storms with a high UV index, so bring the sunscreen." A whole lot of options, none of which help me decide what is appropriate to wear.

The worst culprits seem to be the weather app people. I have two weather apps on my phone, the iPhone one and the Weather Channel one. They alternate between which will be further from the mark on any given day. I will be standing at the window, looking at the rain pouring down and glance at my phone which will read "cloudy" for my location.

The hourly forecast does, in fact, change hourly. So if I am leaving the house at 8 am and attempting to predict what kind of outerwear/sunscreen I should have that day, I might as well pick from a hat. At 8 am it says 1:00 pm will be 70 and sunny with 0% chance of rain. At 11 am it says that 1:00 pm will be cloudy with a 15% chance of rain... but by then I am out of the house just hoping that this newly discovered chance of rain isn't serious. At 1:00 pm I am getting rained on, wet and pissed off that I trusted this thing again, despite knowing better.

My main point of objection (today, at least) is the new method of temperature reporting I recently noticed. See this:
It's 85... or is it?
And this:
Why even have a temperature?
Can someone please explain to me how it can feel like one temperature while it is a completely different temperature? I'm not even talking wind chills or any of that nonsense. I'm talking about what temperature it is out. If it feels like 92, then isn't it 92?  Isn't that what temperature is? If not, when did this change? Why have we, as a society chosen to overcomplicated things in this way? Is this a millennial thing? Regardless, is it too late to go back?

Call me old fashioned, but when I was a kid, if it felt like 84, it was 84! But, then again, it was a simpler time. My biggest issues with technology at that time were busy signals, un-rewound VHS tapes, and having to blow on a Nintendo cartridge to get it to work. Numbers stood for something I understood. Nowadays there's always the looming possibility of a thunderstorm and I'm not sure what 78 feels like anymore.

I wish we could go back to the carefree days of telling the temperature as the temperature. My only regret is that my children will never know the sheer thrill of it being 75 out and it actually feeling like it's 75. But then they get to grow up in a world where the sushi-burrito is a thing, so I guess they'll be OK in the long run.



*Obviously one of my made up statistics.

My husband chose the moment when he proof read this to take the opportunity to say that he thinks what the weather people do is nothing short of a miracle. While a part of me may agree with him, I am choosing to view this as some sort of micro aggression towards me, which I will go deal with now.