when the neighbors don’t even stop for a gushing head wound

Let’s just say finding out I’m the neighborhood freak around here wouldn’t exactly be the shock of the decade.

“Once in a while, a thought occurs to me.  It’s not always a good one, but at least it is a thought.

I once saw an episode of ‘The King of Queens’ where Carrie turns to Doug with the revelation, ‘WE’RE he neighborhood freaks!!’  Of course, they were outside their house, having a shouting match regarding some outlandish predicament while the neighbors were hiding behind their curtains.

It hasn’t quite come to that, but I fear it’s only a matter of time.”

We’re The Neighborhood Freaks! | The Snark And I

One-and-Done: the inflatables edition

I’ve written about a number of experiences that sit firmly on my One-and-Done list…things I was adventurous enough to try but am not stupid enough to repeat.  You can check out my run-ins with scuba diving, deep sea fishing, parasailing, and helicopters if you feel like trolling through the archives.

But today?  Today we’re gonna talk about speedboats and inflatables.

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twice is crazy town

I’ve been pouring my heart and soul onto this blog for a while…ups and downs, highs and lows, everything from shining moments to face first in the dirt fiascos.  I’m sure it must be glaringly apparent by now that life has brought a healthy mix of miracle and madness my way.

So I doubt any of you will be surprised by my crazy cluster %#@! of a story today.

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maybe we’re not as busy as we think

“If only there were more hours in the day.”

“I have no idea how you do it – I can’t even get dinner on the table.”

“I’d love to but my calendar is just too full.”

I’ve talked about how so many of us feel like we’re burning the candle at both ends, and the power of learning to say no so you can focus on your true passions.

Laura Vanderkam at The New York Times took another look, though.  It was a very thorough one, too, analyzing her own time over a twelve month period.  The results were somewhat startling.

“By getting some perspective on my life, I hoped I could figure out ways to make it better.

So I logged on a spreadsheet in half-hour blocks every one of the 8,784 hours that make up a leap year.  I didn’t discover a way to add an extra hour to every day, but I did learn that the stories I told myself about where my time went weren’t always true.  The hour-by-hour rhythm of my life was not quite as hectic as I’d thought.”

The Busy Person’s Lies – The New York Times

let’s get down to the nitty gritty

There are times when you can hide the crazy from the neighbors.  Long, hot days with the windows open is not one of them.

“Dear Neighbors,

Welcome back!  Once again, it’s summertime here in Michigan, and the temperatures will soon begin to climb.  You might remember that we, your favorite neighbors (HAHAHAHAHAHA) do not have air conditioning and will have every window open in our house 24/7  from now until mid-September.  This means that you’ll once again be treated to VIP access to the shit show that is our regular family life, as we are a family of loud talkers.  I’d like to take this opportunity to remind you of a few things about our family that will, if not explain what you’ll hear coming from within our house, at least give you a little background info to help you paint a more accurate picture when you’re retelling the story to the people who live further down the street.”

A Letter to My Neighbors, Now That My Windows Are Open – 649.133: Girls, the Care and Maintenance Of

the promise, the Moment, and mom’s intervention

I didn’t think it was possible for our girl Gracie to actually stop my heart anymore.  After all, I’ve lived with her antics for almost five years now.

I’ve seen her through food thievery, ingesting inedible objects, battles over socks, and even the mother of all Oh $#@! moments when I seriously wondered if my dad would strangle her.  What else could she possibly throw at me?

What else indeed.

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May versus December: and the winner is…

December catches a lot of flack.

Oh, woe is me…November birthdays roll us right into the holiday season.  At least three family Christmas celebrations in 25 days.  Neighborhood and company and classroom parties, teacher gifts, plus (last but not least) pulling off the whole Christmas gift thing with the kids.

So December seems like a natural choice for the month most likely to kick my ass.  This is probably why May takes me by surprise.  Every. Single. Year.

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familiarity breeds understanding

North Carolina’s House Bill 2 has become an enormous train wreck.  (You can read my previous posts about HB2 here, here, and here.)  Since my last blog post outlining the economic fallout from passing HB2 we’ve managed to move from corporate and artistic protests into the court of law.

The U.S. Justice Department filed a civil rights lawsuit against North Carolina, stating that HB2’s denial of access to sex-segregated restrooms consistent with gender identity for transgender individuals while providing it for non-transgender employees violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.  (That would be the Act passed in 1964 making it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, or religion.)

Instead of meeting the federal government’s demands to remedy matters, North Carolina officials filed their own lawsuit against the Justice Department, asserting that its position is a “radical interpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.”  Radical.  Apparently expecting equal provisions for all employees is considered extremist in NC.

Holy Mary mother of God, is this our story now?  The federal government is suing our state in an attempt to get it through NC’s head that equal rights for all Americans means equal rights for all Americans, not just the ones you’re comfortable sitting with in church.  And like petulant children who’ve been taken to task for misbehaving, our state officials did what most children do – they shot back.

What Part 1 of HB2 (the only part of the bill addressing restrooms) really says is that some Americans are less than.  That certain people are less deserving of dignity and security, less worthy of protections we considered so vital to our country’s value system that we wrote them into law in 1964.  That an American’s significance depends on whether they act in accordance with the sex listed on their birth certificate.

Now, lest it gets lost (once again) in the weeds, the problem with HB2 does not lie in the bathroom issue.  That’s getting the most press, seeing as not many people are drawn to constitutional debates about basic human rights in America.  It’s a lot more compelling to write about the boogeyman pretending to be transgender in order to raid the girls’ bathroom, so that’s what the media and politicians are hitting hardest.

But transgender access to bathrooms is far from the only thing HB2 affects.  This House Bill also restricts minimum wage increases and child labor protections.  It alters language so that the law protects against discrimination based specifically on biological sex, then it guts the protection altogether by denying the ability to file claims at the state level.

I’m pretty much at a loss.

What I do know is this: people are more likely to fear the unknown.  The stranger, the guy in the elevator wearing makeup, the boy in class who says he’s a girl…I won’t deny these are difficult concepts to wrap your head around, but if it were your family…if it was your son or brother forced to live his life in a body that feels foreign and uncomfortable…well, I suspect your perspective might shift just a little.

So what we all need is exposure.  A chance to get to know people who are living through the confusion and turmoil of being transgender in America.  People like “T.”

“As a toddler shopping for costumes, T wanted to be a fairy or cheerleader or witch.  On play dates, she hung out with girls in play kitchens.  T’s mom remembers when she realized it wasn’t just a phase.

T was four years old, cradled in her lap.  The mother had always enjoyed having her nephews around.  She explained to T how excited she had been to learn she was pregnant with a boy baby.

‘I wanted to be a girl one, Mama,’ T said through quivering lips.”

Read a little about what it’s like to be a transgender child in America.

A transgender 9-year-old tells her story – LA Times