Aug 9, 2010

I'm not like her yet, but maybe someday...

I was raised by a couple of fiercely over-protective parents.  My dad remembered what all he got into as a teen and it scared him for me.  My mom, on the other hand, got into nothing and was going to make damn sure I didn't either.  Quiet honestly, they took it to a ridiculous extremes...their individual worries fed off one another and made them both nervous wrecks.  As a result, even though I graduated high school at 17 and was immediately accepted into FSU, they did not allow me to was too far away.  Instead, they "graciously" allowed me to go to the local community college and even bought me a car, but checked my mileage at the end of each day to make sure that's the only place I went.  I wasn't even allowed to go to Orlando, only 30 miles away, without begging and pleading.  Curfew?  For a college student?  Before dark on weeknights and I could pick one weekend night to be out until 10.  Suffice it to say, that didn't work for me.  I moved out, secretly, 3 days after my 18th birthday.  My 18th birthday was the final straw, in fact...back then, 18 was the legal drinking age in Florida and it was a rite of passage to go to a nightclub on the beach called Brassy's for your 18th birthday.   I was the last in my group of friends to turn 18 and most of them were good kids from good families, yet their folks had okayed the Brassy's adventure with cautions to not let anyone drive who'd been drinking and call if they needed rides home.  Many of the parents actually rented a hotel room within walking distance for the kids that night, just to make sure everyone was safe.  So, the day of my 18th birthday came and my 2 best friends, who(m?) my parents loved like other daughters, came to get me.  I told my folks we were going to Brassy's,  Mary wasn't drinking at all due to medication she was on, so she'd be fine to drive and I promised to have no more than 2 drinks.  I thought I was being all adult and responsible.  Instead, my mom forbade me to go to "a bar like trashy people do" and told me I needed to stay home.  We argued and argued badly.  I caved and agreed to not go, told them I'd be home by 8, that I'd just go to visit friends.  I remember my dad just looking ill, knowing this was bad.  Instead of Brassy's, I went to a couple of friends looking for room mates and signed on.  3 days later, while both my folks were at work, I moved out.

I always swore I'd never, ever repeat their mistakes and I know a lot of people swear that, then when they have kids of their own and they revert right back to how they were raised.  I have not.  I was *that suffocated, that angry, over how they treated me and felt so strongly that they were wrong that I have not parented like them at all.  One example - we've had co-ed sleepovers here since Jake was 11.  I stay awake all night and watch them, but it is nothing for me to have a living room full of teenagers, male and female, in various stages of sleep.  I let couples sleep near one another so they can hold hands but they have to be cocooned in individual sheets or sleeping bags.  And I check.  Often.  All night.  I've always let Jake go to co-ed sleepovers, as well.  I mean, really, it's not like he was going to do anything he couldn't do otherwise.  Miss Arse?  Was and is always disapproving.  She gets this same tight-lipped look on her face that my old Irish Setter would get when she spotted a squirrel in a tree.  That didn't bode well for the squirrel and it hasn't been good for me, either. 

So, this weekend, Jake heads off. with my blessing and my money, to the Anime Festival in Orlando.  He's going with one couple and another girl I think he likes.  Basically, two couples. Hey, he's nearly 19 and he's upfront about them all getting a motel room together for the weekend and actually asks if I mind him going.  My own-mother-self  thumps my brain and I want to scream NO!!! and be a bitch if I have to.  But my rational self  kicks in and says, "Okay...just be super careful, call me if you need anything at all except for bail, which I won't do, and have a great time!"  Off they go and I head to my mom's so we can go grocery shopping.  Not an hour into them leaving, Jake texts me to give me an  Miss Arse and I both laugh since he always texts me within an hour of being apart, regardless of which one of us leaves.  Over the course of the weekend, I've heard from him several times, just checking in or replying to my telling him something, even if I say he doesn't need to reply.  So, she calls me around midnight, just before she goes to bed, to ask if he's home.  I tell her no, he asked if I minded if they stayed one more night since they were all tired and I told him it was fine, especially since our a/c is down.  Miss Arse?  Gets very quiet and I'm braced for the criticism because I'm not doing it as she did and that is generally wrong, not to mention immoral.  Instead she says, "You know, you're a better and smarter mom than I was when you were that age.  I wouldn't let you have that freedom so you fought and took it anyway and kept your distance.  You've let go, you've given him his freedom, and he stays close even if he's not in the house with you.  I wish I'd done that with you."  Yeah, I wish she'd have done that, too, because I'd have totally never left home for years, considering how much I love my parents.  And I'd have known every payphone in this county personally.  But the fact she said this, acknowledged this? Means the world to me.  Lord, I love that old woman fiercely...she's might be nearly 82, but she's still learning and embracing what she learns, accepting that things change.  And she's not too proud to admit when she is wrong.  Finally...after all these years...I can say that I hope I'm like her someday, because she's turned into an amazing mother and grandmother these days.  How lucky am I, having her as a mother and Jake as a son?  Even if he is off in some hotel doing God knows what.

Aug 7, 2010

The new mop.

So, some of you know of my deep and abiding love of my special mop.  I have a mop thing, sort of like my scent thing, and I can't resist a new and better looking one.  Let me add in here, I have three problems to work around - rheumatoid arthritis, hard floors throughout my whole house, and I'm cheap so I don't want to buy expensive canisters of solution since I mop often.  In the end, about six years ago, I found this mop and bucket system and love it.  I mean,  I genuinely love it.  O-Cedar UltraMax  It was perfection in a hands touching, no bending, it goes behind toilets and up under couches, long handle for us tall people, pad cleans the floor very well and I can use my own pretty smelling cleaners...then toss the pad in the washer when it's done, all good again.   What's not to love, right?  Except they discontinued it in the US, the bastards.  I've made that poor pad last over 3 years but it's shot and I was faced with a choice - do I order a new pad for around $30 shipped (yes, just for the pad) from out of the country, or do I suck it up and mop shop?  I've been mop shopping.  Nothing.  Miss Arse has a Libman Wonder Mop and loves it, so I borrowed it.  I wasn't thrilled because it involved a lot of bending over to wring it when you do an entire house.  For her kitchen, dining room and two small baths?  It's a great mop,. no question.  It wasn't for me, though.  So, I'm getting all braced up to lay some money out for a new UltraMax pad when I stumble across something brand new at Publix.  I found this:  O-Cedar ProMist.  Let me just tell you about this mop because it is wonderful!  Maybe even better than my beloved UltraMax.  It is like a Swiffer WetJet in that it needs no bucket but it is oh-so-much better! The head swivels, the container is refillable so you can use your own cleaning solution or just plain water, it takes no batteries and it gives you a  choice of replacement pads...a microfiber one that is washable for months and months of heavy use or semi-disposable ones that I can get 10 for around $8 and they can be washed 3 times each. It also will use Swiffer Wet Jet pads. After looking at it, I think it will take *any pads that attach with velcro, so you know.  My house is small, around 1200 square feet.  I just mopped it all  and had to refill the canister once.  I also removed and thoroughly rinsed out the microfiber pad while I was at the sink doing that.  No big deal at all since I empty the bucket and rinse the pad on the UltraMax once midway, too.  That's it, I've found a mop that beats my perfect mop!  It's not cheap initially, so you know.  It was $22 at Publix but I do get a $5 mail-in rebate on that and since it beats the nearly $30 for the replacement head alone on the UltraMax, I'm thrilled.  So far, I've not found it at Walmart but when it hits there, it should be a bit cheaper.  I swear, I should be a product tester or something, shouldn't I?  ;-)  I'm not, though...I'm just me, always on a the hunt for things to make life easier and cheaper. This mop is amazing and I'd recommend it to anyone, no question.  It's the best mop I've ever had and I can't imagine anyone expecting or wanting more from one.  My once-beloved UltraMax is now the official utility room/emergency second mop.  And that?  Is something I never thought would happen.  For the record, I used Mistolin brand cleaner in Gardenia scent and it smells wonderful in here. Also, for the record, I should be in bed instead of writing this post.

Aug 5, 2010

They all look alike to me.

For a few days now I've been debating about talking about race, especially since it's all over the news right now.  When I read the story of the Greta Van Susteren's show's screw up , I decided it was time.  So, here's the deal...they screwed up and showed a picture of Shirley Sherrod during a segment about Maxine Waters.  It was a stupid as hell mistake but now the show and Fox News is being accused of being racially prejudiced by confusing pictures of the two.  The whole "they all look the same to me" deal that seems to get people all  twisty-butted is being dragged into it. Let's really look at statement and talk about it honestly, shall we?  I mean, completely independent of this particular stupid screw up, since, as a new agency, Fox should have been more careful.   That said, is there not a lot of truth to the whole "they all look alike to me" phenomenon?  I'll own it. When I look to identify people, I start with hair color/texture/style and race.  Show me a picture of  *frantically tries to think of someone recognizable* Madonna and put me in a room full of people to find her and I'm going to search the room for a head of blonde, wavy hair first.  In a room full of middle aged, attractive blonde women, my first instinct is going to be that they all look alike and I'm going to have to work a bit to find Madonna. What about you?  Put me in a room of Asian women and ask me to pick out Margaret Cho and I'm going to flounder for a bit even though I really like Margaret Cho.  I'm of mixed race but if you put me in a room of medium-skinned brunettes and asked me to point out my cousin Susan quickly, I could probably do it *only because I know her so well and having seen her so many times in my life, I'd know to look for her unusual eyebrows and jawline.  Ask me to find Soledad O'Brien and it's going to take me some time. I have a dear online friend who is a pale-skinned, freckled redhead approaching 40.  She's beautiful and I think the world of her but put her in a lineup of other 40-ish redheads with freckles and I can't promise I could pick her out at all.  So, let's go back to Greta's show...both of these women, Shirley Sherrod and Maxine Waters, are middle aged, reasonably attractive black women in the news and with no unusual features such as a huge nose, scars or crossed eyes to set them apart from one another.  Is it possible that they were confused due to physical attributes of their race, but not due to racial *prejudices, as is being implied?  Of course it is and those are two very different things.  Want proof?  Let's say two somewhat well known young actresses, Kristen Bell and Elisha Cuthbert, are in the news this next week.  If, say, Robin Roberts was telling the story about Elisha and flashed the picture of Kristen instead, do you think anyone would screech about it, call it racist?  Or was it just an honest but careless mistake?  Take a look.

Yep, they both look alike to me until I start really analyzing features and then I realize they don't look anything alike but for general hair color and general paleness of skin.   But here's the big question - would Robin have to go on and on and on about how horribly, horribly sorry she was for this mix-up?  You tell me.  I'm betting not.  But Greta did. 

And with this post, I start.  Buckle up.  :-D