Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Welcome to my hometown

I've seen hundreds of dogs in trucks, but this is a new one on me. However, it speaks volumes about the town where I live.

Spotted right around the corner from my office. You gotta love it.

And a closer look:

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

How a day unravels

It felt like a Monday. It should have been a Monday. No major catastophies, but lots of unraveling.

And the major catastrophies thing might be wrong.

First thing in the morning, I was late to work. Dang. For the second day in a row. I just couldn't manage to leave my soft, cool bed to head out into the hot, sticky world. So, I called and left a message for the boss, to let her know I'd be late. I hustle to my office and see...that she's not even there. If I hadn't left the message, she'd never have known I was late. Dang.

I spent last week creating a Web and print version of an instructional manual we need for a new system we're implementing. It made the rounds and got everyone's little nit-picky, just-gotta-have-something-to-say "suggestions." I made many changes (but not all - some were, quite simply, stupid). That was last week.

Yesterday, I get it back from my other boss. He made changes. Little things, he said, just window-dressing. Are you buying it? I didn't either. Yeah, they were little things. In each paragraph. That means I get to painstakingly copy-and-paste his "window-dressing" into each paragraph of the HTML pages online. Dang.

I get a call from the mother of that lovely little piece of work my son is finally rid of. I cannot tell you how great he's been since NOT talking to her. You can almost see him mature, the more time goes by since he's talked to her. The moodiness is almost gone! Like magic!

So, Lil Miss wants to talk to him. She wants apologize to me and to him. Her mother says the girl has to call me first. Oh goody. There's a phone call I'll be pacing the floor to get. Dang.

I ask my son if there's anything he'd like me to communicate to her. "I can tell her or her mother that you don't want to talk," I offered. "No," he said, "I should handle it myself. But I just don't give a crap anymore."

Then the thunderstorm moved in. The clouds of brooding gathered. Flashes of temper and sound and fury. And this is just the thought of talking to her. She called and apologized to me, but I told her to hold off on calling him. This storm was going to take out anything in its path. She might as well take cover. Dang.

Back on the ranch, my colleague and general partner-in-crime (aka co-researcher) comes to my office. She sits in my big comfy chair and says, "Are you ready for this?" Oh no. Lemme say "Dang" before it even gets started.

We are planning a major research project. We've spent months on it. We're presenting the findings this fall. People are waiting. "Are you ready for this," she asks and my heart stops. What happened?

There's a big gaping hole in the middle of our project. What's worse is that it's one that has always been there. We simply didn't notice. With a little less self-control, I'd have been in the fetal position, sucking my thumb the rest of the day.

But I had to make my way home, in the 100+ degree heat. "But it's dry heat," they say. WTF does that mean?!?! It's still hot!

I walk into the air-conditioned house, take a deep breath, and let out the day for a bit. Kisses from my daughter. The storm front seems contained to his room for the time being. I pick up the mail from the front table.


Jury duty.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

But DANG, it's HOT!!! We're wrapping up baseball season here. About another week to go. No break from the 100+ degree weather in sight!

Hot, sweaty, dirty, nasty. And not the good kind. This kind has mosquitoes. So, you douse yourself in OFF and really give the dirt something to stick to!

But it's fun watching my son play. He just has such a great time at it. He's grinning and chatting with the umps. You'd never even guess that his coach is an idiot.

Yeah, I know. Little League (which is odd to say when some of the kids are 6 feet tall or more!) is luck of the draw. All volunteers, so if your umpire was any good, he'd be umping the high school games. And your coach is only as good as the guy who wants his own kid to have first pick of the positions.

My evidence:

As a third base coach, he sends kids to steal home while the catcher has the ball. Invariably, this happens when we most need the runs.

He leaves a pitcher in well past the kid's tolerance for exhaustion, until we're down by 14 runs or more. Hopeless situation, created by our dear coach.

Punishing some kids for missing practice or a game (for a legit reason). Is it coincidence that the only kids punished are the white players? And the only ones who don't play games on Sunday (for religious reasons)? I think not.

My son is an excellent first baseman. That's not just Mommy talk. He really is. At 6'2", he has a monster stretch and the ball rarely gets past him. This coach "punishes" him by either benching him or putting him in left field. For what? Well, here's an example:

Me: "Coach? Why is he on the bench?"
Coach: "He missed practice on Monday."
Me: Puzzled. "Coach? We had a game on Monday. He pitched in it."
Coach: Blank stare.

See, my son is white. This guy and all but two of the other boys aren't white. The three white kids get benched. The others never do, no matter what happens.

He also gets punished because we consider Sunday to be the sabbath and we don't believe in playing ball (or shopping, going out to eat, etc.) on Sundays. We're in the Bible Belt. This isn't an uncommon school of thought here. My son isn't the only kid who doesn't play on Sundays.

Here's what happened with that:
Me: "Coach, I understand there's a game on Sunday, but my son won't make it."
Coach: "Okay, why?"
Me: "We don't play on Saturdays because in our religion, Sunday is the sabbath and we don't do those things on the sabbath."
Coach: "Okay."
Coach walks away, directly to my son. He asks my child why he's not playing on Sunday. My son echoes what I said. This man says to him, "You should remember that we serve a forgiving God."

My son stared down at the little man (my son is a good foot taller than him) and said, "We just don't do that."

Grrrr. What that man did is wrong on so many levels that I don't even know where to start. But I'm proud of my son.

Religion aside, since we all have varying beliefs, that was a direct attempt to undermine me as a parent. I'm not his biggest fan.

We have at least two more games, then we're finished with Little League forever. I can make it. Ballpark nachos with extra jalapenos, and I'll sit down and shut up.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Round 2

I heard from the Suicide Advocate again. I am completely flabberghasted that anyone could be so astonishingly self-absorbed as to try to justify the advocacy of suicide. Again, I am not talking about right-to-die issues for the terminally ill. We're talking about people in emotional distress, which, although intense, is a temporary state. There are other solutions.

This person's message was sent to me from a "no reply-comment" box, so I'll post my response here. (Telling, isn't it, that they don't even stand behind a legitmate email address? Or any name other than "anonymous"?) Again, I refuse to publish their comment because of the link it provides to such an irresponsible and reprehensible site.

Response to the Suicide Advocate:
You said that you chose "the nicest" and "most thought provoking" words to send me. That's demented. There is nothing nice in your words. Furthermore, they are without ANY logical or meaningful support, and are meant to "provoke" the most self-absorbed and damaging thoughts imaginable.

You want to compare telling someone to stay ALIVE to telling them who to date or where to work? You actually think those things are equal? We're talking about LIFE here! This is not a decision that can be changed, like a date or a job, but someone's tragic DEATH! To compare those things is not only delusional, but completely irresponsible.

Furthermore, insisting on destroying the lives of others is beyond selfish. Suicide is NOT the answer to emotional struggles. You destroy not one life, but many lives. And they have to try to live with the irreparable damage you've caused.

Perhaps they should just ALL kill themselves, according to your (derailed) train of thought.

The support you offer for your argument completely defeats itself. You say no one should make you live with pain and it's not even their business -- yet you say you have the right to inflict great pain on those who love you. So, it's okay for YOU to make them live with pain? It's YOUR business to force that damage on someone else? You advocate a double-standard, and thereby defeat yourself. Take your own advice, anonymous, and "think about it."

Only the most selfish person would encourage others to take their own life and say it's all right to force others to live with the consequences. Your entire blog is dripping with selfishness, something I detest with absolute venom because of the lives I've seen it destroy.

Yet, you try to stick that label on me. How dare you. You should be ashamed for the lives you want to waste and the pain you wish others to endure. Your "quick fix" of suicide actually fixes nothing, but creates deeper scars on others. I am disgusted with your advocacy of self-absorption, self-serving wallowing, and astonishing disregard for others. But it goes beyond disregard. You advocate the destruction of others, from the suicide victim to the victims they leave behind. Their blood, their pain is on your hands.

And you have insulted me deeply, and repeatedly. I have no respect for you or your poorly-formed "opinions." DO NOT CONTACT ME AGAIN. As I said before, I have a life to live.

Friday, June 09, 2006

If I was any worse, I'd steal from crippled children (or "WTF?!")

I gave my first rejection to a comment yesterday. It wasn't that it was profane or insulting, but the site to which it linked was.

The person sending the comment was disagreeing with something I said. That's fine. I don't mind that. However, on going to that person's blog, I found something I thought to be harmful to anyone going there. To me, it was profane in its cavalier attitude towards life and the astounding selfishness of the posts. To me, it was dangerous to anyone teetering on the edge of taking their own life. In good conscience, I cannot provide a link to that from my own blog.

The irony was that this person said, in their blog, that *I* was the selfish one. In fact, they said I ranked just above someone who steals from a charity. (how's that for a crapload of judgementality?) And why? Because I think it's wrong to take your own life.

Yeah, it left me scratching my head, too.

Kep in mind that I'm not talking about "Right to Die" issues, with terminal illness and such. I'm talking about people in emotional distress. Still in that context, this person says it's no one else's business if you want to kill yourself. Not even those who love you. And loving someone enough to say you don't want them to take their own life is selfish. Wanting someone to live is selfish.

I keep turning that over in my head and it doesn't make sense, no matter how you look at it. It would make sense if that person was terminally ill, in insurmountable physical pain and dying. That's a different issue. We are talking about someone who sees their troubles to be so huge that they want to die. Yes, they are in pain. But not insurmountable pain. This too shall pass, even if it's hard to see it just then.

I stick by my words: Killing yourself is ultimately selfish. I have to think that a person who does such a thing is not in their right mind. The depths of despair can do that to people. But there's always a solution. It might be hard, but there's a solution.

And, most of all, it isn't right to inflict that kind of hurt on the people who love you. That's the bottom line. You might be hurting emotionally, but there's always another way out. If you give them that kind of wound, by taking your own life, there's no resolution for that. You've given them profound pain that will never heal. And they will ALWAYS be damaged by the knowledge that they weren't worth living for.

It's selfish and unfair to do that to people who love you. That's all they did -- love you. It not fair to give them a hurt that can't heal, that can't be taken back. They didn't ask to be damaged by you. They loved you.

I will not publish a link to anything that tells people in despair that they are doomed and that they are correct to ruin the lives and hearts of others. Again, who is the selfish one?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

He just didn't get it....

So, I'm sitting at my son's ball game last night and...

*****BREAK FOR A MOMMY BRAG MOMENT***** My kid is a GREAT pitcher, first baseman, and hitter. Ha! No runs scored while he pitched. No ball got past first while he played it. And he hit a home run. Woo hoo!! *****MOMMY BRAG MOMENT OVER*****

...the president of the league (who is otherwise a real jerkwad, but that's another story) was also watching the game. He's all wrapped up in this really close battle going on and his cell phone rings. I can't hear what he's saying (and really couldn't care less if I tried), but he gets off the phone and says (loudly) to us, "Can you believe that? She called just to tell me she got a $78 top for $14."

My friend asked him where the sale was and made a grab for her purse. He shrugged and we were oh so disappointed.

He came over to us to elaborate. "Actually, she said, 'I just got the CUTEST top. It's regularly $78, but guess how much I got it for?' I said, '$130 because now we need pants, shoes, and a bag to match.'"

Okay, so maybe he gets it more than I thought....