Monthly Archives: August 2014

Back to School Rant

This post is all about common courtesy and the people who need to learn some.

It’s back to school in my neighborhood. That means there is a lot of extra traffic six times per school day. Pedestrians, cyclists, personal vehicles and buses all heading to a single destination with most dispersing in all directions after reaching it. There are rules and guidance from the schools to make things orderly, but you need more than 15% of the population following it. So, here’s a bitchy list of reminders for parents, caregivers, people who live in the community, etc. You’ll know which ones apply to you by how pissed off you get reading them. 😛

1. You are not special! Neither is your kid. Be grateful, not an asshole.
I’m sorry, you and your kid are normal. Your brains and limbs work properly, your child does not need an IEP or 504, you have access to a vehicle that you can use to drive your child to school. That’s pretty fucking normal. So follow the rules, be courteous, and wait your turn just like all the other normies. You probably wouldn’t last a day in the life of one of those parents who gets “special treatment” just because her/his child has a condition that necessitates it.

2. Follow the Routes. Treat Pick-Up and Drop-Off like a Drive-Thru, not a Drive-By.
Do you know why the schools bother mapping out those drop-off and pick-up routes? It’s because of people like you who go all Mad Max, stopping traffic, double parking, dropping their kids off wherever the fuck they feel like it. You don’t want to wait in line for 2 minutes? Really? Is that a pathological condition? Is there a pill for it? You have job to get to? Well, jobs may be scarce in this economy, but I’m pretty sure you’re not the only working parent in the world. Follow the route, get in line, wait your turn, and teach your child how grown-ups are supposed to behave. You wouldn’t be making illegal U-turns and nearly running kids down grabbing your morning coffee from McDonald’s or Starbucks, would you? If you would, stop driving right this moment. You are a menace.

3. Yield to Buses
They’re huge, they’re unwieldy, and they are filled with dozens of future yous. Cut the driver some slack and let the bus through. The three seconds of courtesy won’t cause you any harm and might even earn you some much needed karma points. Especially if you are a shining example of points 1 and/or 2.

4. Watch out for Kids
This should be a no-brainer, but there are kids on foot, bicycles, skateboards, etc and some of them are not paying as much attention as they should be. They’re kids; they do that. Be mindful, be alert and be aware. Since everyone is now being courteous, yielding to buses, and following the lines, the kids will be easier to see.

5. Use your Parking Areas
If you choose to live near a school, choose to park like a decent person. Street parking during high-traffic times when you have parking on your property is just rude. Put your car in the driveway or lot so the buses and, now well-behaved, parents can get through. Just because it’s unlikely to be your car that gets hit when the bus swerves to avoid it, doesn’t mean that nobody gets hurt. Just put your car where it belongs for twenty minutes. Help keep the street clear.

6. Keep your Sidewalks Clear!
There is nothing more gut-wrenching than watching kids walk through slippery streets in the winter because homeowners and renters cannot be bothered to shovel and salt their sidewalks. Get it done, people! After you’ve done yours, do your lazy neighbor’s, too. Burn the extra 40 calories, earn some karma points, and keep those kids safe.

Be kind, be courteous, be thoughtful, be responsible. Be an example of how people should conduct themselves. It’s honestly not that hard.

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6 Things I Wish I Had Done Before Leaving My Abuser

Abuser. It’s still so weird to type that word out. It took me years to come to terms with what really happened. I wouldn’t say it. I struggled with thinking it. I defended him.

Abuser is the right word. It’s his identity. I never wanted the victim identity though. I wanted so badly to not be a victim that I whitewashed who he was.

Years wasted on semantics and denial. Years I could have spent saving my family. There are some things I really wish I had spent those years doing instead of trying to please someone who refused to be pleased. In no particular order, six of them are:

Kept Working

Giving up my career had a devastating effect on me. I lost my financial independence and my earning power. Becoming dependent upon him helped me become voiceless. It was a specter over me every time I kept my silence. How could I speak up if he could just send us to the streets in a snit?

Maintained Independent Relationships

When I left work, I lost contact with my peers and friends. Slowly, I found myself restricted to spending time with the friends he chose for me and select members of his family. When I attempted to nurture new friendships, he always found a way to discourage or sabotage them.

Rented a Storage Locker

THIS would have been amazing! If I had thought to acquire a safe place to stockpile essentials and protect our valuables, you can be damned sure I would have. Toilet tissue, laundry detergent, non-perishables, clothing, cash, etc. If I had a place he didn’t know about, I would have been able to protect some of what he destroyed and keep some of what he took.

Stowed Cash

This isn’t about legal advice; it’s about what I wish I would have done. Any sane lawyer will tell you not to do this. Even so, I wish I would have had access to enough money to pay a retainer or make regular payments. Or to buy groceries. Or fix the car. Or see the doctor.

Started Standing up for Myself

This is so much harder to learn when you’re leaving. Seriously. You’ve just pissed off someone who hurts you when he loves you and NOW you’re going to try to stand up for yourself? Oh yeah, he’s gonna get right on respecting you and your boundaries. Also, water is dry and unicorns are real.

Felt What Was Going On

Becoming emotionally numb is a remarkable coping mechanism. It helps you to navigate trauma and manage your survival without getting knocked off balance by pain or anger. When you spend enough time numbing yourself, you can agree with your abuser that it really wasn’t that bad. Honestly, if (s)he was that awful, you probably would have felt something. But you didn’t because you learned long ago that your feelings were wrong and had no place in your relationship.

I didn’t do any of those things. As a result, I slid deeper and deeper into his web. Like a twisted spider, he fed off of me for years. It wasn’t until I was a drained, weakened shell that I tried to escape. The fat, cruel spider fought aggressively. Even today, my very survival is an affront to his existence.

Had I managed to hold onto something – my career, my friendships, my self-worth, my feelings – things would not have gone as far as they did. And I wouldn’t still consider myself in recovery. And my children would not continue to suffer.

 

August Grocery Check-In

July sucked financially. The car repair, the medical expenses, the other stuff. It was too much. I had to borrow to cover most of those “extras” and now I have to pay that back, which isn’t making this month any easier. And car insurance is due.

With all that happy news in mind, why not look at the month?

  1. Maintain the grocery costs at the July goal level.
  2. Continue making bread once per week plus more as needed.
  3. Add small smoothies to meals at least once per week. They’ll basically be treated as drinkable sides that make use of produce sales.
  4. Get the fall garden planned and planted before it’s too late.
  5. Rough out an early spring garden bed so I can be ready to go with those first, early veggie plants.

Where I stand:

  1. Not sure. I’m hungry enough to feel like I’m on par or below. Should probably check it out.
  2. Right on target with this one.
  3. Yep, yep, yep. At least every couple of days. I’ve been focusing on fruit smoothies, but am hoping to incorporate some veggies without too much trauma.
  4. I roughed out a 2’X2′ patch that is pretty much ready for seeding. I’m hoping to get that done this week. I’d like to get another patch or two going if possible.
  5. Not yet. Focusing on getting set to grow now before getting set to grow later.

Well, that’s it for now. I’m babysitting for a friend tomorrow which means getting up before dawn. Gonna try to sleep.

August Grocery Goals

During July, I managed to trim 16% off of my food bill. Obviously, it is not enough. I still have to get down to a maximum of 50% of what I have been spending. Or find another job, but my employment search has had such pathetic returns that I’m focusing on the thing I can change.

Regular bread baking has been a great benefit. Sandwiches are economical and, frankly, nice to have during the summer. Toast with honey and peanut butter is a delightfully easy breakfast.

I was able to pull potatoes yesterday. That was awesome. They’ll be scrubbed, chopped and roasted with dinner tomorrow. I was such a complete failure at gardening this year that I barely got anything planted and most of what was planted died. I did manage to get some strong looking potato plants for which I am grateful. Poking around yesterday generated enough decent sized tubers for tomorrow’s dinner. With luck, I’ll be able to dig enough to help with grocery costs this month.

For August, I’m not going to try to make a cut. 16% was significant and tight. My goal right now is to maintain that. Figure out what I did right in July and try to recreate that for this month. In September, I’ll shoot for a lower number.

So, for August, the goals are:

  1. Maintain the grocery costs at the July goal level.
  2. Continue making bread once per week plus more as needed.
  3. Add small smoothies to meals at least once per week. They’ll basically be treated as drinkable sides that make use of produce sales.
  4. Get the fall garden planned and planted before it’s too late.
  5. Rough out an early spring garden bed so I can be ready to go with those first, early veggie plants.

Wish me luck.

 

 

 

 

July Grocery Update

Goals are just wishes if you’re not working toward them and measuring your progress. Eh, forget the inspirational crap, I promised to hold myself accountable here, so here goes. Goals:

  1. Cut 16% from what we’ve been spending on groceries.
  2. Make the breakfast muffin recipe twice each week, once as muffins and once as coffee cakes.
  3. Make bread twice each week.
  4. Add more soups to meals.
  5. Get a fall garden planned and planted.
  6. Take two recreation days.

Accountability;

  1. Success! I came in about $40 under my goal. I don’t know if I would have succeeded had there not been the whole car repair/medical bill situation to suck every penny dry and make me borrow money, but it happened so there.
  2. Gave up. It didn’t take long for the kids to get sick of me doing this so I’m cutting back on it.
  3. Success but not. I don’t necessarily make bread twice each week. Some weeks, it’s only once. Others, it’s twice. But I’m doing a good job of determining when I need to make it and working with my schedule. I’ve also started doing a cinnamon bread (loaf or bubble loaf) at the same time which is getting gobbled up.
  4. Tried. Kids got bored quickly. Gonna aim for 1-2 times per week, but not stress if it doesn’t happen.
  5. Nope and nope. Fuck.
  6. Nope.

So, I made it money-wise, but didn’t get the whole plan down. I did evaluate my goals to see what works, what doesn’t, etc. It’ll be a boon for the August goals.