Rollin’ on the River

August 31, 2008 at 12:50 pm (Crazy Shit, Music, Nate) (, , , )

Its time again for the Sternwheel Regatta. This used to be a two week long regatta with sternwheelers, great musical acts, and just about everything else under the sun. Everyone looked forward to the Regatta. Then, some very stupid people decided it should be a “dry” regatta.

So, if Budweiser was your top sponsor and they take all of their money and toys and go home, that leaves… just about nothing. That leaves zero big musical acts. The wise ones decided, “Well, maybe we should let people drink beer in the streets again, like New Orleans.” Duh.

This year for “rock night” they managed to bring in Rev Theory (formerly known as Revelation Theory) with new guitarist Rikki Lixx, who used to play with Operator, whose other guitarist was Paul Phillips, who used to be with Puddle of Mudd, who was the headlining act. Its a small rock world.

I saw Rev Theory at X-Fest last year, so I knew we were in for a good show. I also saw Rikki when he was with Operator. Their lead singer, Johnny Strong, got them booted off the stage when they opened for Black Stone Cherry in Knoxville. The lead singer of Rev Theory sports a mohawk and rock hard abs. He is so much fun to watch.

Nate had a great time, especially since we were in the VIP section and didn’t have to contend with the immense crowd that had formed on the levee. Wes, the lead singer of POM, said, “This is the biggest crowd we’ve ever played for.” And the crowd loved POM. They did a meet and greet after the show… at least until the police cleared the street at 11:00 p.m., New Orleans Mardi Gras style, minus the horses. This, understandably, pissed the band off. I guess the organizers are determined not to be gracious about allowing bands to do meet & greets and sell merchandise, which is how they make the majority of their money.

I’ve seen this happen to BSC more times than I care to count. The venues do not go out of their way to accomodate meet and greets and the selling of merch after they have made their money from ticket, food, and beverages sales. 

Nate and I ended up VIP because a friend of mine runs the soundboard for Regatta and he got us in on his pass. He’s cool that way. He took Nate and I back to the buses and Nate got to meet Christian from POM, who handed Nate a guitar pick from his pocket, signed his arm, and one of the roadies gave Nate a bunch of other guitar picks, ones that the band actually use, and the ones they throw out into the crowd. I can’t say Christian was overtly friendly, I’m not sure I would be once the cops said, “Autographs are over!” They looked pretty worn out and I’ve seen that look before.

All in all, Nate was freakin’ thrilled and proclaimed, “You’re the coolest mom ever! You know all the people to get us in backstage!” That’s not exactly true, but I let him gush, because the Lady knows… it won’t last. I guess that made up for the fact that I smacked him in the mouth Friday morning on the way to school for sassing me. I also stopped the car, ready to pull him out behind the KMart so he could have an ass-whoopin. He was smart and shut his trap. I laid into him pretty hard and I didn’t feel a bit bad about it. Between the mouth smackin’ and the lecture, I think he got the idea that I won’t tolerate any sass from him.

Nate wasn’t even supposed to be with me. I was supposed to have an adult night out, but Jeff took care of that by getting trashed. See, I talk about how good he’s been and then he does something stupid and asinine. One that will cost him. Getting drunk before picking Nate up from school is not the best way to continue to have privileges of seeing his youngest child. I’ll deal with that in the coming week.

I was totally pissed off, for the obvious reasons, but also pissed off to the point that I was completely calm and quiet. The worst kind of pissed off. I don’t mind taking Nate with me anywhere, so long as I know he’s going to be safe. However, I also like having an opportunity to meet men without my 12 year old in tow. Men in my own town, not hundreds of miles away in Las Vegas or New Orleans or Phoenix. Right here, in grand ole WV. Oh well, we had a great time, the show rocked, and Nate thinks I’m the coolest thing since Guitar Hero and Rock Band. I can’t really ask for much more than that.


My aunt and cousins have already evacuated the New Orleans area and are currently about 15 miles south of Memphis in Mississippi. I have cousins also in Leesburg, FL, about 50 miles inland from Orlando. Not sure what Gustav holds for the Gulf Coast and not sure what Hanna holds for Florida or the Carolina coast.

And we wait with bated breath…

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Shake Me Awake! *Updated*

August 28, 2008 at 11:52 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

I was really tired tonight and went to bed with the wedding of Mikey and Randi on my mind. Right now, their friends and family are gathering to celebrate their marriage and all I wanted was sweet dreams. Sometime within 15-20 minutes after I fell asleep, it sounded and felt as though the Jolly Green Giant fell off of my roof with a half ton of bowling balls strapped to him.

The house shook, the windows rattled, scaring Nate clear out of his little skin. I awoke with a start, bewildered and wondering if someone was messing with my house. Nate and I went from window to window looking for someone and finding no one. I heard my neighbors jabbering outside and went on out. They pointed to a big cloud of smoke in the sky. Nate and I walked up the street but couldn’t see anything. We got in the car and heard on the radio that a transformer blew.

My ass. No transformer could light up the night sky like that. No transformer could send a plume of smoke into the air like that. And no fucking transformer could create a boom equal to that of the sonic magnitude, that we have now found was felt in a neighboring county.

Nope, that could only have been caused by one of the chemical plants blowing. And that’s what happened. Right now, the Bayer CropScience plant across and down the river from me is shooting flames 50 feet in the air. High enough that you can clearly see the plant around it. Its bad. Its real bad. The plant is about a mile and a half down river from me. The four lane that runs in front of my house was clogged with cars, police cars, and fire trucks being called out from all corners of the county.

The nearest bridge across the river is through my town. The next nearest is below the plant in the town where Nate’s dad lives. The Interstate is shut down, as is the two lane that runs in front of the plant. An official shelter-in-place has not been issued for our town yet and the urge to flee is immense. I know some of the chemical plants around here make the same chemical that killed all of those people in Bhopal, India. I have heard that the building the explosion and fire is occuring in makes pesticides.

Memories of Oklahoma City just flitted through my mind. We’ve always known we’re on the Radical Muslim Hit List, but our population is not sufficient enough to make us a major target. But, its a thought.

They keep saying they aren’t sure if there were any workers there at the time. Bullshit. Its a 24 hour plant. All of the plants are 24 hour.

We are under a shelter-in-place now. I have heard conflicting stories about the area that Blonde Goddess lives in. I’ve heard they are sheltering in place and I’ve heard they are being evacuated. The shelter-in-place sirens are going off right now. Its an eerie sound that I’ve only ever heard on the last Wednesday of the month at noon.

I’ll update as soon as I know more.


Just waking up this morning to find the roads open and the shelter-in-place lifted. One worker was killed by the blast and another has been flown to the Burn Center in Pittsburgh. Six other workers in that area were in a “safe area” and were not harmed. They were held in the hand of the Higher Power. No doubt about it. With an explosion that sent a fireball 300 feet in the area and shook homes for miles… its like walking away from Ground Zero.

As you can see, this is how I handle emergencies – the same way I handle thunderstorms – I sleep.

All is well, at least with us.

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Ridin’ the Storm Out

August 26, 2008 at 9:08 pm (Alice in Chains, Black Stone Cherry, Friends, Music, My Travels, Nate, T-Bird, The House)

Low Pressure System Fay is expected any moment and is expected to drop 1-2 quick inches of rain on us. Whoo hoo.

It seems as though my possible trip to Arizona coincides with our bartender’s wedding. Even if I gather the funds for the trip, there’s a chance I may not get the days off to go. I almost cried. Talk about deflating my balloon. I have not been in a very good mood since. However, all hope is not lost. Not yet…

Nate had a great first day in 7th grade. He said something to the effect that he won’t have any homework this year. Then he backed up and said, “SOME teachers won’t be giving homework.” Ahhh, but I bet the rest will!

I was inundated with memories of the fire today. Its the 26th, so… perhaps my cell memory is working overtime while I’m not paying attention. On the 28th it will be one year and seven months and three months since Hermione died. Sometimes, it seems like yesterday. Sometimes, its just another day. Last month I barely recall the 28th of the month. I know I found Leslie, our pine snake, under the planter the day before, so my thoughts were full of snakes and beetles and wolf spiders.

I’ve been listening to the new Black Stone Cherry CD, which has nothing to do with fire. Although I was supposed to see them within days of the fire… but I’ve listened to BSC a shit ton of times since the fire and not had the weepy, flashback effect. I have not heard “Home” by Daughtry, which is guaranteed to bring back bitter memories, since it was so popular during the time Nate and I lived away from home.

Somewhere, deep inside, we boil, and when we boil, things come to the surface to be recycled.

Remember Nette? T-Bird’s friend that I helped rescue from her boyfriend back at the beginning of this month? Well, after her boyfriend’s friends came and picked up her stuff, Nette didn’t have a couch, a chair or anything else to sit on, so I gave her my loveseat. Hell, it only collected crap anyway and I need a place to put my curio cabinet (if I ever find another one that I like). It makes my living room much roomier and, well, fuck, whatever. I knew Nette didn’t have the money to buy something new (or even used), so I just gave it to her. Pay it forward, ya know?

I had mentioned that I had the loveseat while I was up there last weekend waiting on the guys coming to move the stuff (before we realized we had the wrong date). So, Nette and I, while not bosom freunden, have established a friendship. She called me a few minutes ago and asked my advice about getting back some money T-Bird owed her. I told her that T-Bird and I weren’t talking and when she asked why I gave the vaguest answer I could. While I may involve you, bloggers, involving someone much closer to the source is not something I want.  No sense and no use.

I made up my mind a while back about T-Bird that if she asked to borrow money, I had to decide whether I could afford not to have it paid back. I had to ask myself if I could give and give freely, because the chances of reclaiming said money was extremely slim. So, if she asked to borrow money, if I didn’t have it, I didn’t have it, and if I did, I did, and if I needed it back, like $20 or $50, I made it clear that I needed it back.

I couldn’t even begin to tell you the amount of money she’s helped me spend over the years, especially in the past… year and seven months, since her nephews moved in a day or two before my fire. Probably enough to fly to Phoenix First Class and stay at the Hilton for two nights. However, I did it and I did it willingly and without remorse. I can’t take it with me anyway.

And yeah, I think she played me some. Maybe a lot. Maybe a lot more than I’m willing to admit.

I’m also having to see Jeff everyday again. He’s done quite well over the summer. I don’t trust him not to start some bullshit though, but, I let him know very quickly that I have other options for picking Nate up from school. A thinly veiled threat? Why, yes, thank you for noticing. Its like dancing with the devil in the pale moon light.

I think I’ll be in need of some Jerry counseling tonight. Jerry has a song called, “S.O.S.” It stands for “Shit on a shingle.”

Both beard and my face growing longer,

The stench of decay growing stronger,

Reality and dream intermingle,

Contently swallow shit on a shingle.

That was sort of random, but its what I’m listening to right now. Just… ridin’ the storm out.

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August 25, 2008 at 6:28 am (Alice in Chains, Black Stone Cherry)

I just checked Black Stone Cherry’s updated tour schedule. My boys are playing the End of Summer Scorcher with ALICE IN CHAINS in Peoria, AZ. THE SHOW I HAVE A TICKET TO! THE SHOW I CAN’T GET TO (YET).



I know, I know, “Nanner, its a freakin’ concert, not the end of the world.” Yes, I’m aware of that, but both of these bands, one knowing, the other unknowing, drug me through the aftermath of my fire and AZ’s marriage, and all the other shit, kicking, screaming, and sobbing. And they still are.

I’m going. If I have to crawl on my hands and knees to Arizona, I’m going. End of story.

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August 24, 2008 at 7:34 am (Uncategorized)

Sometimes I like to respond to comments in posts.

First, I appreciate your offers of assistance, but I assure you, Nate and I are fine. Tight financially, but, this too shall pass. If I need help with the mortgage, I’ll let you know. It won’t hurt to do without for a bit. I work hard, I put Nate in camp for the summer (and I believe it has made all the difference in him, me, and his father), I play as hard as I work, and its just been very slow at work but these are all temporary and we’ll be back on track before too long.

Vince brought up that interesting question of my single life versus having a man around. After listening to my parents gripe and bitch at each other one day I made the comment, “And you wonder why I don’t have a boyfriend.” My father responded: “Its because you don’t want one.”

My Daddy is a very intuitive man. But he’s only half right. I don’t want just any one. There’s a difference in not wanting a boyfriend and not wanting just any boyfriend, just to say I have a boyfriend. I have this little thing against settling. I’m not even sure I know what I’m looking for, but I’m pretty damn sure I’ll know him when he shows up. Or shows up again. I’m fairly certain he and I have passed like ships in the night before. Not someone I’ve dated before, but someone, like me, who’s been on the fringe or skulks around the fringe or would even like to be on the fringe. And that’s where we’ll meet… on the fringe.

No doubt, there are certain things I’m drawn to… like DJs and musicians and men involved in music in some way. I like a man who works with his hands, whether its woodworking or playing an instrument. I like men who like animals, all animals, not just dogs. I like men who are kind and self-aware.

I know there’s a specific combination and that “click.” Somewhere. Perhaps we’ve not been receptive at the same time, close in proximity at times, but not in the place we need to be, physically and mentally. And when it happens, it will be worth more than any fringe benefit, whether it be sex or Internet service.

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Better Write While I Can

August 22, 2008 at 7:36 pm (Uncategorized)

In the coming month, I will have to use some creative ways to post as I will be losing my Internet service (along with cable TV – OMG!) sometime next week, right about the time the cable company figures out I don’t have that kind of money in the bank. Luckily, I shall still have I-Net at work… finding time to use it is another thing. I may just take my laptop and hook up to the Wi-Fi so I don’t use the company computer for anything.

Nate was very, very concerned that we weren’t going to have cable service. Yeah, well, we just don’t have the money right now. Maybe next month, not right now. We’ve lived without cable before, however, we have not lived without I-Net service in quite some time, like, since I got my computer in 1999.  I may have to sell my body.  This is serious folks.  At least I’ll have more time to make jewelry which just might make me enough money to turn the cable service back on in a short period of time.

I’m looking into selling at some shops local to the restaurant. Earrings are a bitch and I hate to make them but if they get my cable/I-net back on, hell, I suppose I can force myself into it.

I hate to admit it, but its times like these that I really wish I had another paycheck in the house. I know that would mean putting up with a man, but it may also mean that I would get laid a bit more frequently (hopefully), and I could keep my Internet. It would also help if he were a great housekeeper. I don’t have to heap my troubles on him, I have Jerry for that, and Jerry doesn’t talk back or frown when I eat Peanut Buster Parfaits or Hot Fudge Cakes. Don’t have a clue what he’s like in bed and not sure what kind of housekeeper he would be… but he’s a damn good listener.

Oh well, there are people in the world wondering where they’re next meal is coming from so I shan’t gripe too loudly about not having cable and Internet. I am grateful for the roof over my head, the food in my stomach, the electricity in my lines, the water in my pipes, a car that runs, and a job that pays me. I could  be soooo much worse off. Oh, and I’m grateful for you.

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Blind Man

August 21, 2008 at 10:31 pm (Black Stone Cherry, Cats, Music, Uncategorized, Work)

That’s the first single from Black Stone Cherry’s new CD entitled: Folklore and Superstition. There’s a song on there called, “Devil’s Queen.” It freakin’ rocks! But, because I can’t download it yet (poor, people, even that poor), I can post the video for “Blind Man.”

You know I have to give my young men from KY props. I haven’t seen them in a very long time but we keep in touch the best we can.  So, watch the video and have a great time with it.


There was some discussion over on Evil Twin’s Wife’s blog about sad songs and then songs that make you want to get up and dance. I chose “Down in a Hole”  by, duh, Alice in Chains, for the sad song but said Bananarama’s “Cruel Summer” always made me want to get up and dance. That is such a cool song.

For the record:

Kenju, myself, and Blonde Goddess.

And Evil Twin’s Wife, Blonde Goddess, and that chick on the end.  Maybe I couldn’t stop staring at Blonde Goddess because we look so much a like. Maybe its because my blogger name is the name of a goddess and she’s the Blonde Goddess.

Speaking of blonde, If you’ll notice from the pictures, my hair is blonde again. Remember… it wasn’t blonde in March.


So, after a week in the Arizona sun and a few weeks of summer and… it turned blonde again. I’m not sure all of it is natural but I’m closer to my natural shade.

By the way, I stole all of those pictures, except of the one of myself. I’m a thief that way.


My itty-bitty-kitty, Jirachi, is still an itty-bitty-kitty. He’s been on a round of antibiotics and eye drops. He’s still has mucus and wheezes a bit. I need to take him back to the vet for more antibiotics. He’s holding his own but he’s still not even half the size of his sister, Luna Bug, who is as rolly polly as he is thin.


Work has been slow. Today was the busiest day so far this week and I only had six tables. The summer doldrums… not good for my paycheck. Not good at all. After last month’s electric bill, which really, I can’t complain about a $45.00 electric bill in the dead of summer, however, I decided I would turn my thermostat up to 76. My electric bill was a dollar higher and the weather, up until the last couple of days, has been super mild. Maybe my savings will show more the next bill. Its  struggle right now, but we’ve been through hard times before and we’ll make it again.

Maybe I should get off my ass and make/sell some jewelry instead of it just sitting around here… yep. Like Hoss’s necklace. What a great idea.


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What He Did

August 19, 2008 at 10:46 pm (Nate)

Today is not only my 2nd nephew’s birthday, but also Nate’s best friend’s birthday. Formerly known as “The Lonely Child” who used to live next door, but now known as Cam who turns 14 today. I told Nate we should stop by because our bi-weekly dog walking excursion had been postponed until 5:15. Nate said, “I need to get him a present.”

Money wise, things are execeptionally tight right now, tight to the point that a trip to AZ to see Alice is way, way off, and more than likely, not even a possibility. I told Nate that we could always get something and give it to him on Friday, when he normally stays overnight on my weekends with Nate. Nothing doing.

Nate said, “No, I really need to get him something. He’s supposed to be getting a PS2 for his birthday.” I reminded Nate that as broke as we were, Cam’s parents were right there with us, perhaps even worse off.  Nate pops the glove compartment and takes out a brand new, not even out of the cellophane, “Guitar Hero – Aerosmith.”

Nate had bought the game with his own birthday money and then had changed his mind and decided to get the Aerosmith game and guitar, neglecting to take just the game back. He had planned on trading the game, the game and guitar, and old PS2 back to the store for money to either buy new PSP games or putting the money toward a new PS2. I reminded him of this and he said, “No, that’s okay. I have other things I can turn in or trade.”

What could I say? He bought the game with his own money and he could decide what to do with it. So, he gave Cam the game for his birthday. Although Cam doesn’t have a guitar, Nate said he would probably prefer to play it more like a game with the controller, rather than having to learn the fingerings on the guitar.

I was very proud of Nate for putting his friend first, rather than his own desire to have another PS2 or another game himself. However, let us not forget that Nate has a sassy mouth which got him into an incredible amount of hot water today. 

Nate helps me walk the dogs and I split the money with him. I feel as though that if he works for something, then he should be compensated for it. Since he elected to stay with Cam rather than walk the dogs today, he forfeited his five bucks. Not satisfied, he said he still wanted to earn some money today, even though we’ve moved dog walking from Thursday to tomorrow. I told him the grass needed mowed.

My backyard has a lot of crabgrass and can be difficult for me to mow, so I asked Nate to mow the front yard. Actually, I think I told him that I was tired of his sass and he needed to get outside. He decided to mow both yards. At some point I went into the backyard to see why the mower had stopped and his attitude overrode his ass when he said, “Ya know, I’ll be wanting a bit more money for this.”

Ohhhhhh, REALLY NOW! I said, “You know, Nate, being paid for a job is one thing, being paid by your mother for something I could simply order you to do without compensation is another. I would suggest you remember that the next time you open your mouth and let that shit come flying out of it. I WAS going to up your pay but now, I’m not so sure I’m going to pay you at all.”

I turned on my heel and walked away. He hasn’t said a word about it since. Not, “Hey Mom, about my five dollars…” Not a damn thing, which I’m actually very proud of him for. This means, HE LISTENED AND UNDERSTOOD that I pay him because I WANT to, not because I HAVE to.  As the sole provider in this family, this entitles me to slave labor when the mood strikes me.

Nate’s been squirreling away his dog walking money and the money he got from his great-aunt for pulling weeds (he argued that she was paying him TOO MUCH), but he did take the money he got from her to buy his new Star Wars droid thingy… and actually said while looking at the toys, “A lot of these are out of my budget.” My kid has a budget, I’m happy.

Chances are I’ll pay him for the grass mowing and dog walking after we’re finished tomorrow. Making him wait for it won’t hurt him a bit.  Then again, if that mouth flares up, he may just be mopping the kitchen floor – because I said so.

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Mystery Science Theater – Nate Style

August 18, 2008 at 9:07 pm (Uncategorized)

I was puttering around the house, stepping over cats, Legos, Pokemon cards, a few couch cushions, trying to cook dinner, read e-mails, read blogs, and answer e-mails, while Nate worked on his new Lego Star Wars rolly thingy with droids and other Star Wars thingies. At first he was watching Spongebob because it was a particular episode about Sandy’s worm.

I heard that the next show up was Dora the Explorer. While I can certainly understand Nate’s fascination with Spongebob, because who doesn’t love Spongebob, but I figured I would hear him change the channel once Dora came on. Not so. Instead, he listened and commented while Dora’s friend (brother? cousin?) Diego tried to help the sea turtles reach the ocean.

Dora and Diego are interactive and ask kids to “help” them in tasks. At once point, Diego said, “Can you help us find Luna’s pieces?” (Seems the moon got knocked around by a comet and the sea turtles couldn’t make their way without a full moon.)  I hear Nate mutter, “Nah.”

Further along, Diego had to solve a riddle to be admitted to an underwater kingdom and Diego asked, “Will you help me solve the riddle?”  Nate answered, “No.” The riddle was read and Nate said, “Its a freakin’ sea turtle! The whole show is about freakin’ sea turtles!” I laugh silently.

I’ve taken to laughing silently since I caught Nate lip-synching to AC/DC’s “TNT” with a hairbrush… in front of the mirror. Classic. However, Nate was less than appreciative of my belly-laughing, although he ended up with quite a belly laugh himself. Gawd, I love that kid. He’s a good natured fellow and he probably would have laughed had I laughed at him for answering the riddle although he said he wasn’t going to.

He’s singing along with The Eurythmics now… I just wanna hug him. Think I might do that.


In other news, I still haven’t answered T-Bird’s e-mail. I see no reason in answering it because it couldn’t possibly make things any better and is certain to make things much, much worse. I think this is what they call a stalemate.  I know how I am and I know how she is and like with Jeff, I refuse to explain myself and I refuse to defend myself.  This is where I’m more likely to flip the double bird and say, “Fuck you,” than I am to capitulate even a milimeter.

I’m normally not this way. I’m a peacemaker, despite the fact that I’m a Scorpio, its that little bit of Sag in me that doesn’t like conflict and tries to compromise and discuss things like rational, civilized adults should. Perhaps its because I’ve done that a lot, especially in regards to Jeff, and its never really gotten me anywhere. She always wanted me to stand up for myself… well, I am.

If you’re wondering, mine is not the only child she finds fault with. She routinely talks about what assholes two of her other friend’s kids are. I wonder if she sent them an e-mail. It doesn’t appear as though she has any problems with her new BFF’s child, yet. I really don’t think I’ll be around to find out because I’m back to that “numb, don’t give a shit” feeling I’ve had with AZ for so long.

Speaking of AZ and dealing with all that, my silent, and sometimes not so silent conversations with Jerry continue. Sometimes I chat him up quite a bit, sometimes I don’t. Its okay, he doesn’t mind. Never says a word *snort*. 


Better news! I saw Kenju this weekend along with some local bloggers that I didn’t know existed until yesterday. Well, lets say I knew they existed through a couple of other blogs but never had the opportunity to roll over their way.  Have now! Hi Ladies!!! Hope you’re feeling better Buzzardbilly! Kenju, as always, a pleasure to see you and listen to that Southern accent… I just love it!

Now, go lip-synch to your favorite song with a hairbrush in front of the mirror and have a good night.

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August 13, 2008 at 11:12 pm (Attitude in Overdrive, Nate, Relationships, T-Bird)

Things between T-Bird and I are… not so good. I basically refused to respond to her e-mail, especially around the anniversary of the death of her daughter, 11 years ago. I called her yesterday to tell her I’d been thinking of her and Little T.

I guess that might have gone okay had she not taken her digs by saying, “Well, at least when my kids do something wrong, they get in trouble.”  This is her whole problem with me and Nate, that I don’t discipline him the way she wants or when she says so or for her reasons, not mine.

Perhaps I’m wrong, but when children are together and separated from the parents of said children, all children involved will point the finger at the other children when things go wrong.  So, I ask you, other parents, what is your first inclination?  A) Believe the other children B) Believe only yours or C) Try to determine what actually happened?

Also, parents, when involved with children of different age groups it is common sense not to allow older children to pick on or hurt younger children. However, if the younger children, say in the 3-6 age group jump on the older children 9-12 years of age and hurt them, would you expect your child to A) come and tell an adult B) Take it because they’re older or C) Retaliate. Now, lets forget what we would all like to happen and tell me in your experience what actually does happen.

Then, parents, I want you to tell me what its like when other people tell you how to raise your children. I want you to tell me what its like when they make negative comments about your parenting style or your parenting skills. Then I want you to tell me what it feels like when they tell you how horrible your child is and how they would raise him/her differently because they don’t agree with your parenting style and they obviously could do so much better. And, I want this to all happen after they spend a grand total of 3 hours a month with your child, if that.

My son’s triumphs and not so glowing moments have been chronicled here. He’s not an easy child, he’s a very complex child, with multiple facets. How and when I decide to discipline him is my business.  Only in extreme cases does he respond to a good old-fashioned spanking. He’s gotten plenty and I figure he’ll have a few more and I’ve popped him in the mouth a few times for sassin’ me.

However, as he grows older, I find it more important to actually take a moment of my life, restrain the fact that I want to throttle the life out of him, and actually make him think about what he’s done, the consequences, and the feelings of those around him. I don’t even tell him what I expect out of him anymore, I just say, “You know what I expect from you.”  When we went to walk/train my friend’s dogs (a ginormous Newfoundland among them), I told Nate, “I expect you to act like a little gentleman.” He asked for clarification, which I gave. He didn’t disappoint me.

When the moment calls for it, I jerk a knot in his ass. He is left with NO, and I mean NO questions as to what he’s in trouble for and why immediate action was taken.

I assure you also, he will push your buttons. He is the kind of kid that will see just how far he can push you but he also has a great respect for anyone who stands up to him. I know this to be true because he came up against Cybele, and I know Cybele had to let him know who was boss and she wasn’t going to be pushed around. He adores her and he adores her because she put her foot down in a calm, rational manner (although I figure she wanted to kill him in the morning *inside joke, folks, no need to call Social Services*) without yelling at him, shaking her finger in his face, calling him names, or spanking him.

Perhaps you don’t agree with the fact that I give Nate a perameter in which to operate in. Every year that perameter gets a little bigger, not because he gets taller or older, but because he matures. Perhaps you don’t agree that I chose to guide rather than control. I’m sure we would all prefer that our children not make mistakes, but I assure you, without mistakes, and consequences, they won’t learn a damn thing. Perhaps my consequences aren’t the same consequences that you would have. That’s your business.

I like to recognize that children learn by playing with other children. That means the high-five after a great shot or it means they may bicker or get pissed off at each other, but there are important social clues involved in that process. I don’t believe it should progress to physical confrontation, but I’m willing to let things progress so that they learn to work things out without adult intervention. I have bitten my tongue a number of times to keep from refereeing and allowing that social process to work itself out. I think it has done Nate a world of good to learn from those interactions because it came from his peers, not his mother.

Jeff and T-Bird are the exact same kind of parent in that aspect.  Control, control, control.  A child will never learn to think for themselves if you continually think for them.

Let’s get to my last pet peeve… Nate’s hobbies. Nate likes to read Harry Potter and he devoured “Bridge Over Terabithia” while we were in AZ and he likes for me to read to him as well. He likes to paint and draw, he plays the clarinet (and would play a psaltery if I could ever afford one), singing, and playing Rock Band drums. During the summer he’s a total water dog and although he has stage fright, which cut short his modeling career, he has expressed interest in the theater, He likes to fish at my parents farm and go out with my dad on the four-wheeler, hike with Mom in the Grand Canyon, and basically any puzzle intriques him. He loves our cats and plays with them and he likes to watch TV, but that comes and goes. He collects Pokemon cards and Bakugan figures and he and his friend Cameron play games that I don’t understand with them.

But, Nate’s greatest passion is video games. He loves video games, whether its Lego Star Wars, Lego Indiana Jones, Pokemon, Rock Band, or Guitar Hero, NATE LOVES VIDEO GAMES. He got a PSP for his birthday and Lego Indiana Jones to go with it. He was thrilled this evening to reach 4,000,000,000, yes, four billion, in fake money. That’s as high as the game will go and he beat it. He’s rather disappointed that his PS2 has hit the skids because he loves playing the Rock Band drum kit and singing the songs, alone or with a group, he’s all about it.

He goes through cycles. Sometimes he’ll watch TV, like Total Drama Island on Cartoon Network and he’ll go for a week or so and not even play a video game. Then he’s all about it again. Think what you like about video games but for hand-eye coordination (I can’t even begin to play the drums or guitar on Rock Band) and to increase his attention to detail, I couldn’t ask for anything better.

He doesn’t play violent video games. You won’t find Grand Theft Auto in this house although he’s lobbied for it. He’s totally psyched to have used his allowance money to put the upcoming Lego Batman on hold at the mall. He’s learned how to buy-sell-trade old games for new games and as you can tell from his pictures, he’s neither obese nor pasty white.

I hope your children have hobbies that they enjoy as much as Nate does his. I may not agree with your child’s hobbies, but they’re not my kids. I can’t stand wrestling, boxing, or ultimate fighting, have no love for it, no more so than I have for Grand Theft Auto, but if your kids are into it and that’s okay with you, that’s okay with me. I don’t feel as though I have a right to tell you what your kids should like or be involved in. Good for you and for your kids if they play four sports a year, my kids likes swimming, video games, and music.  Maybe you’ve got an Andre the Giant or LeBron James, maybe I’ve got a Michael Phelps or a Bill Gates.

I don’t think that Nate’s interests make him more special or less special than any other child. I don’t think it makes me a bad parent to allow my son to come in, climb up on the side of my chair, and say, “Wow, Momma, check this out, I got FOUR BILLION on my game! FOUR BILLION MOM!”  At least he knows what a BILLION looks like! The Lego games have definitely reinforced his ability to accurately read numbers.

So, all in all, raise your children the way you see fit. After all, you know them best. I’ll do the same with mine.

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