Can I just say?

September 13, 2008 Categories: Rants | 10 Comments  

E-bay sellers have ruined library sales for the true book-lover.

Oh, and one more thing: if you intend to go to a library sale which is held in a small basement room of the local rural library, during which you will be crammed in with about fifty other people reaching over each other to pick books off the shelves, for pity’s sake, take a shower and wear deodorant!

Can I just say?

August 5, 2008 Categories: Politics , Rants | 3 Comments  

There needs to be a ban on the word “card” until this election is over. “Race card,” “Gender card,” “Class card,” “Age card,” “Experience card” – it goes on and on and on… The people reporting politics need to completely erase that word from their vocabulary.

Losing my temper

April 22, 2008 Categories: Rants | 16 Comments  

I completely lost my temper today. Not with my kids, though, amazingly enough. It was with my neighbor.

Anyone who has read Mommy Brain for long knows of our long and tortured history with our neighbors, culminating in this rant last fall. Then, on my New Year’s post, I mentioned I was grateful we had reached some sort of tentative peace with them. Well, the peace is over.

Today, the boys were playing outside after we finished homeschooling for the day. They were playing in our back yard, and they were playing pretty rough, as boys usually do. Not mean, just wrestling around a lot. The neighbor’s four-year-old asked if he could play, to which Noah replied, “No, you can’t, because you have candy in your mouth and if you got pushed down you might choke.”

Now, obviously his mother only heard one phrase of that sentence, because she yelled over the fence into our yard, “You will NOT push him down, or I’ll come over there and push YOU down!” Yes, she’s mature like that.

When Noah tried to explain what he meant, she ignored him and yelled to her son right in front of my kids, “Just come in the house. They’re just mean little kids who don’t have any friends, so you don’t need to play with them anyway.”

Deep breath – I can feel my blood pressure shooting up again just typing those words. I’m sure the “no friends” thing came from the fact that we’re homeschoolers and are completely isolated from society with no social skills, unlike her social skills which seem to include bullying children.

The kids came in, feelings hurt (of course). She had gone into her house, so I called her on the phone. Her 12-year-old daughter (who is a whole other story, let me tell you) answered the phone, and when I asked to speak to her mother, she said, “Umm, she’s in the bathroom.” I asked her to please have her mom call me back. And I waited. And stewed.

About a half hour went by, during which time the mother had gone back out to her front yard. Now, I suppose I could have gone outside to talk to her, but many of the other neighbors were out since it was a fairly nice day, and she’s the type who is perfectly willing to have a screaming match in front of the entire street. (Or to stagger over to our yard, drunk, and yell at my husband for something he didn’t do. But, again, whole other story.) I’m not so thrilled with public (or private, to be honest) confrontation, so I chose to call again.

She would not answer the phone, so I left this message on her machine: “This is Carrie. First of all, I think there was a misunderstanding. No one was pushing Adam down. Noah told him that he couldn’t wrestle around with them because he had candy in his mouth and might choke. Second of all, if you have a problem with my kids, please have the courtesy to come and talk to me about it. Don’t yell in front of them that they are mean kids who don’t have any friends. And if that’s really the way you feel about them, then please stop your son from ringing our doorbell five times every weekday and asking to play when I’m in the middle of teaching my children.” Then I hung up.

I know why southerners call losing your temper “losing your religion.” I’m sure I’ve given her plenty of fodder for one of those, “And she says she’s a Christian…” statements. But, honestly, how do you put up with a person like this – especially when she repeatedly hurts my kids’ feelings?

I cannot wait until we can sell this house and move to another neighborhood. She has made this neighborhood a horrible place to live.

Since when…

March 25, 2008 Categories: Politics , Rants | 4 Comments  

…is telling a flat-out lie considered a “mistake?”

But during a speech last week on Iraq, Clinton stretched the truth to the breaking point. “I certainly do remember that trip to Bosnia and … there was a saying around the White House that if a place was too small, too poor, or too dangerous, the president couldn’t go, so send the first lady. That’s where we went. I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.”

Hogwash. The truth is:

� There was no sniper fire.

� Nobody ducked for cover.

� Bad weather, not security concerns, kept her husband from making the same trip a few months earlier.

Clinton and her aides stood behind the story � which she has told more than once � until video surfaced showing the former first lady, her daughter, Chelsea, and their entourage strolling off the plane and walking calmly across the tarmac.

“I made a mistake,” she said Tuesday. “That happens. It proves I’m human, which you know, for some people, is a revelation.”

Around our house, that’s called telling a lie, not “Oops, I goofed.” Sheesh.

My least favorite part of Christmas

December 9, 2007 Categories: Holidays , Rants | 8 Comments  

(Originally posted December 23, 2005)

Do toy company executives hate parents? Would it really kill them to package their toys in square boxes? These were the thoughts I was mulling as I wrapped gifts for two hours last night. I love buying my kids gifts, and I love watching them open them. Wrapping – not so much.

I detest the boxes that have three square sides, but the fourth is – not. It’s especially frustrating when you know darn well the toy inside isn’t oddly shaped. Maybe the toy companies have a deal with the wrapping paper companies. Kickbacks on all the times you have to re-wrap because your measurements didn’t come out right?

One of the gifts I got Noah is a remote control flying saucer. The box is square on three sides, and slanted on the fourth. I got Josiah the same thing, only a different brand (so they look slightly different and there won’t be any, “No, that one’s mine!” fights). Same toy, same shape, and yet this one was packaged in a beautiful, perfectly square box. My husband walked into the room (He had been downstairs blissfully playing a computer game while I wrestled with scotch tape and ribbon.) and found me clutching this box with tears of joy running down my face. When he asked, “What on earth is wrong?”, I simply sobbed, “It’s square, it’s square!”

Then we have the hunting game for Jonathan that plugs into the VCR. It has three nicely square sides. The fourth is completely open. I suppose this is to give a better view of the toy inside, and therefore my assumption that it’s packaged that way to give moms fits is a little paranoid. I managed to get the thing wrapped, but when I picked it up to move it, I put my finger right through the paper on that fourth side. My Christmas cheer flew out the window as I muttered, “Son of a nutcracker!” a la Buddy in Elf.

I had just finished wrapping the last misshapen hulk of a present and belted out a rousing Hallelujah Chorus, when the phone rang. It was my friend calling to tell me about her day. Seems her car had caught fire on the side of the road and completely melted the engine and dashboard. (She had her three sons with her, but they all made it out safely.) She told me her story of the 911 operator who insisted on an exact street address in order to send the fire department, to which she replied, “I’m on the side of the road, in the middle nowhere, just tell them to drive down Graham Road until they see the flaming Suburban!”; and the oh-so-helpful gentleman who stopped and told her she should really get back in the car and turn the hazards on to prevent an accident (I’m not kidding); and the man driving the medical supply truck full of oxygen who parked right next to her vehicle to see if he could help, to which she said, “Well, you could move that van full of flammable material away from my burning car!” As I laughed with her until my sides hurt, I realized there are (many) worse things than wrapping asymmetrical boxes. We praised God that it had happened a few miles from home, and not the next day when they would have been driving over a mountain pass to Grandma’s house with no cell phone reception and a vehicle full of Christmas gifts. God is good.

Now if only my friend will call and remind me of this next year when I’m tackling the mountain of unwrapped gifts.

The Christmas Story?

November 29, 2007 Categories: Faith , Holidays , Rants , Television | 7 Comments  

Since we got rid of our DirecTV, I asked my mom to record Shrek the Halls on ABC last night. We watched it this evening. In the beginning, Shrek has no interest in Christmas. When he discovers that it is important to Fiona, he storms into town to find out how to give her a Christmas. He’s given a book called “Christmas for the Village Idiot” that explains, step-by-step, how to have Christmas. The last step is “tell the Christmas story.” I thought, Wow! A modern holiday special that actually includes the Christmas story? Cool! I should have known better.

You want to know what the Christmas story was? ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Now, I love the classic Christmas poem as well as the next person, but calling this the Christmas story? Later, when Shrek admits that he has never had a Christmas before and he doesn’t know what it is all about, his friends tell him it’s about celebrating with your family, no matter how chaotic. Celebrating what, for goodness sake? Christmas trees and Santa Claus and marshmallows on sweet potatoes. That’s what.

I suppose I was being naive in today’s politically correct world of “Happy Holidays” and “Winter Holiday Celebrations” to expect anything else.

Practice makes perfect? I don’t think so!

November 15, 2007 Categories: Kid Stuff , Music , Rants | 8 Comments  

I’m supposed to sing tomorrow night at the funeral home. Nobody I know has died recently – thank God. Our local funeral home has a community-wide memorial service every year around Veteran’s Day. It’s not just to remember veterans, though; it’s a time when anyone who has lost someone can come together and remember. For the past five years, the director of the funeral home has asked me to sing. I really enjoy it – though I don’t know how I will do it if I am ever grieving someone close to me. So far, I have been blessed.

Anyway, I have been singing in churches for a long time, so I don’t need a ton of practice time. Mostly, I have to run through the hymns I play during the prelude and postlude time, because it’s been a long time since I regularly played anything besides chords for worship choruses.

So, tonight I was running through the songs. They always ask me to do one contemporary – I chose Homesick by Bart Millard from Mercy Me – and one hymn. I chose Amazing Grace. This is how my practice time went:

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound…”

“MOM! MOM!”

That saved a wretch like me — WHAT?”

“Can I play on the computer?”

“No, you know you’re grounded for the rest of the week! I once was lost, but now I’m found…”

“MOM! Please, please, please?”

Slamming hands down on the keys: “I said NO! Now be quiet and let me practice or you’ll be grounded for two weeks! Was blind but now I see. Twas grace that taught me heart to fear…”

Huge scream from above, followed by thundering footsteps running down the stairs. “MOM! Jonathan’s making that face at me again.”

Etc., etc., etc.

And then Kevin asks why I need to leave 45 minutes early to practice at the funeral home. “Haven’t you been practicing all week?”

To Michael Pearl

September 29, 2007 Categories: Rants | 5 Comments  

I AM NOT A LESBIAN, AND I WILL CONTINUE TO PROTEST AND RESIST THE PEARLS AND THEIR TEACHINGS.

Meg linked to this news article in which Michael Pearl dismissed the opposition to his child-rearing techniques by saying this:

“There is a group of lesbian home-schoolers that always try to protest our seminars,” Pearl said.

Well, like Meg, I wanted to give the people searching on this topic something to talk about.

To my neighbors

September 27, 2007 Categories: Rants | 7 Comments  

I’m tired.

I’m tired of turning the other cheek, knowing that’s what I’m supposed to do.

I’m tired of my face cracking with a plastic smile.

I can’t anymore.

When your mouth smiles, my mind rehearses the barbs that same mouth spilled forth.

Am I supposed to forget?

At what point does kindness become hypocrisy?

When is it acceptable to say “enough?”

You will not hurt my children’s hearts.

Your children can not spread their poison without consequence.

God, I don’t want to forgive.

I don’t even want to want to forgive.

I’m done.

I will pray for the grace to forgive you.

I will not, however, make my family vulnerable to you or your children.

Ever again.

It is enough.

Note to Customer Service Guy

July 19, 2007 Categories: Rants | 13 Comments  

Dear nameless customer service guy:

When I call my credit card company to ask for a different due date for my payment, don’t tell me that it’s not possible to change the date. Especially when the web site says I can change the date by sending a secure message listing the time of month I would like my payment to be due. Don’t act surprised when I use a terse voice to inform you of that fact and then say, “Oh, I guess I can do that for you,” – unless you want to sound like a lazy jerk who just didn’t want to help me.

Another helpful hint. When I inform you that, “No, I don’t have a work number to add to this account,” – don’t say, ‘Why aren’t you working when you sound like such a young woman?” unless you want this 24/7 stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of four to come completely unglued, and inform you that, while this is none of your business, I do work – taking care of my family!

Just thought you might want to remember this for the next customer service call.

Sincerely, blah, blah, blah…

Note to self: don’t call customer service guy when you haven’t eaten in over three hours – and breakfast was only toast – and thought you’d just get this “little thing” taken care of before you eat.