Friday, February 25, 2011

Destroying Stuff!

Okay, enough of the latest chapter on my dysfunctional family!  There will be plenty of time for that later.  It's just about the weekend, so let's have a little fun.  YouTube to the rescue!

When I first saw these videos, I occasionally cringed, but thought they were really funny.  Someone is trying to destroy expensive cameras!  Then I wondered, "Why do I think destroying expensive cameras is funny?"  Well, because I not-so-secretly would love to do something like this.  The guy was creative the way he went about it, and I liked that.  And, because they were not my cameras being destroyed.

The Aftermath

C'mon, admit it:  You want to go destroy or burn something now, don't you?

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Start With a Fresh Bowl

Thank you, everyone, for your comments on my previous post, “Divorcing Your Parents”!  So many good points were made.  After starting my reply, I noticed it would be long and another post in itself.

Chief, you mentioned you were “cordial but certainly not close” with two of your brothers.  That is a good description of the relationship my sibling and I have with our parents.  It is a good thing.  It saves a lot of drama and unpleasantness.  Because of this, our parents have no clue that we don’t tell them anything of importance or share much about our lives.  Give them an inch, and they’ll take miles and miles and miles.  Either that, or we will get stabbed in the back with it later.  We certainly don’t have in-depth conversations with them.  Come holiday time, we will gather around the dinner table and have a nice time.  Still, when we go home, it’s a relief to be done with the charade.

JM, you are so fortunate to have a good relationship with your father!  As for your mother, having distance, be it literal or figurative, is often the best thing for all concerned.

Bruce, you said, “if it is broke, sometimes the best fix is to throw it away.”  Yep, we had to throw away what “was” and start over.  We made something workable while redefining our roles.  We had to get rid of notions of what we were "supposed" to do and find something that worked for us.  The original gist of my post was going to be “When Children Become Parents and Parents Become Children”, but it kind of morphed into something else.  My sibling and I didn’t just go from being children of our parents to being the parents of our parents, we became responsible adults in control of our own lives.  That’s just it:  you have to own your life and be accountable for how you live it.  We’ve done that now, and things are soooo much better.  Unfortunately, our parents have regressed….

IWASNTBLOGGEDYESTERDAY said, “Too many even adult children hang on to guilt feelings for too long in regard to parents.”  Oh boy, is that ever true!  For a long, long time, I wondered why the relationship was so difficult.  Why did everyone else get along with their parents and why was everyone else close to their parents?  I’m supposed to be that way, too, aren’t I?  I had even heard of people going on vacation with their parents!  I felt guilty that I did not have that sort of relationship, and that it simply wasn’t possible no matter what I did.  When I realized it was not possible to have it, I was sad.  Later, I knew that it wasn’t something to be sad about, it’s just the way things worked out through no fault of my own.  There was nothing to feel guilty about.

Mrs. Hyde said, “….eventually I had to realize that holding on to all that hostility was hurting me, not her. So, I forgave her and let her go.”  That was really the key to the whole thing.  I was so frustrated and hurt by it until I figured out that I didn’t have to be.  I wasn’t the one who was negative and nasty, mother was.  Although she still says mean things, I am much better at deflecting them (or ignoring them) than I used to be.  When she says something particularly nasty, I’m not hurt, I’m sad – sad that someone could be that deeply unhappy with themselves.  It’s doubtful she will do anything to help herself (except maybe get another prescription).  She doesn’t see that she has multiple issues and/or likes to wallow in them.  Some people are like that.

Middle child, I always thought “Family is family”, too.  That’s what we’re taught, and that’s what society tells us.  That’s where the guilt comes in.  Until we dictate the terms of our relationships (i.e. set boundaries), the toxicity permeates many facets of our lives.  Negative relationships are poisonous.

Hed, I used to worry about what will happen to my parents as they age, too.  I think that’s natural.  It’s human nature to feel protective of vulnerable individuals, such as children or the elderly.  My sibling and I will assist our parents in non-monetary ways if we can.  However, if they lose their home because of their gambling, we most certainly will not bail them out (and have told them so).  It’s not just that we won’t - we can’t.  We simply don’t have the means to do so.  There’s no shame anymore.  We understand that our parents are adults and are responsible for their own decisions.  If that means they have to file for bankruptcy, then so be it.  It is no reflection on us.  BTW, they sure as hell will not be moving in with us!

Sandra, I don’t know that I’m all that courageous to talk about it, but figure that someone needs to put it out there.  It was just something I needed to get off my chest.  There are a number of subjects that are considered taboo or just aren’t spoken about, particularly in person.  I hope to post about some of them in the future.  Maybe, just maybe, I can plant a seed that can help someone down the line.

Everyone has to deal with crap in their lives.  If you let it sit, then it starts to smell.  When you can smell it, it’s up to you to do something about it.  You can either let it rot, or you can flush it and start over with a fresh bowl.  Oh, and use a scrubber so there’s no residual ring.  There’s no point in allowing old crap to infect a new bowl.

With prose like that, maybe I should apply for a job to write greeting cards….

Again, thank you everyone for your comments!  It’s nice to get feedback.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Divorcing Your Parents

Recently, the Daily Mail published an article entitled, “I’ve Divorced My Parents (and it’s breaking my heart)”.  It was about a 40-year-old woman who was the only child of divorced parents.  The article described many things, including her childhood (happy) and the people her parents had become.  The examples she provided of their behavior were not criminal, but they were sad.  Due to multiple instances of mental cruelty, she “divorced” her parents.  The tone of the article indicated she was still grieving for the parents she never really had.  The most astonishing thing wasn’t the article itself, but the responses:  over 200, last I checked.  It seems that many, many people have done the same thing.

Reading the responses to the article was enlightening.  Now, I no longer think my sibling and I are among the few who have little to do with their parents.

When we’re growing up, we are taught to love, obey and respect our parents.  They raise, nurture, teach, feed, clothe, shelter, guide and protect us.  Many of us are grateful for the sacrifices our parents made for us.  I’m no different.  It’s in large part due to my parents that I have become the strong, independent woman I am today.  I respect them for that.

Some people may wonder why my sibling and I are not close to our parents and have little contact with them.  It is because we do not love or respect the people they have become.  Additionally, their behaviors affect not only their health and safety, but the health and safety of others.  After many years of being repeatedly belittled and manipulated by my mother, I realized that I did not have to listen to the jealous, negative, nasty vitriol she often spewed.  Add to that their gambling and drinking addictions, and I think many people would understand why we do not wish to be a part of their toxic environment.

Deciding to limit contact with our parents was confusing, difficult, and sad.  For a long time, I felt guilty.  We’re supposed to love our parents, right?  After understanding that we were not responsible for their behavior, their problems or their poor choices, I realized it was the best thing to do.  Frankly, it was a relief.  No longer do I feel guilty about it.  Although we email, phone, and play “happy families” occasionally, I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders because I’m not beat down all the time anymore.  It’s not that we aren’t friendly to them.  We are.  In fact, most people would be shocked to know the truth.  It’s just that we don’t confide in them or trust them.  It took many, many times of the trust being broken to learn my lesson.

I don’t expect people with close familial relationships to understand this.  Limiting (or eliminating) time with your parents is a difficult thing to do.  In our case, it was necessary to preserve our sanity and to clear the path for us to go forward instead of constantly being pulled backward.  Ultimately, it is up to every person to decide what works best for them.  If your relationship doesn’t leave you a better person or isn’t mutually beneficial, it is time to reconsider the terms of the relationship.  This goes for all relationships, not just family.  Sometimes, sadly, it becomes about self-preservation.  You are worth it.  Do not allow anyone to treat you poorly or bring you down, even if they’re related.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Spring Has Sprung!

So says the Nishiki Willow!

The weather forecast, however, sees it differently: snow next week. Wheeee!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Two More Dumbass Drivers

While I was out and about today, I realized I was remiss in not mentioning a couple of drivers in my previous post.  Without further ado, they are:

The Idle Idler
The Idle Idler is always in front of you at a stoplight.  When the light turns green, they are startled out of their reverie.  Then, they realize that they need to put in the clutch.  And then put the car in gear.  And then let off the brake.  And then give it some gas.  Why, oh why is the green light a surprise?  Did they think they would never have to put the car in gear ever again?  Why aren’t they prepared for the eventuality of the green light?

The Anxious Asshole
How I could have forgotten this driver, I will never know.  This is a type I see on a consistent basis.  You’ve seen them, too.  They are in a hurry!  They are important!  Their destination is more important than yours!  They will do just about anything to get there:  speeding, weaving in and out of traffic (sometimes two lanes at a time), cutting people off, etc.  In a way, they are entertaining to watch because they are so predictable.  Many other drivers can see the AA coming and toy with them.  This is fun to watch, because you can see the AA about ready to figuratively blow a gasket.  Most entertaining of all is when you get off the freeway and sit at the light on the exit ramp.  Who’s usually just one or two cars in front of you?  Yup, the AA.  All that fancy driving never seems to accomplish anything but feeding the AA’s ego and endangering other drivers.

So there you have it, my friends.  Keep your eye out for a future post about types of car owners.  Bet you can't wait. ;-)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I've Changed

I've changed.

No, I didn't get a haircut or lose any weight (dangit).  I haven't discovered eternal peace, a single cause for global warming, or a plan to end famine.

Nope, none of those.

I changed my avatar.

Although I am a sucker for vintage Cartier, the avatar I found while making my last post just seems more fitting.  I actually do feel this way sometimes, mostly after a phone call from my mother or sitting in traffic.

So, bye-bye Cartier, hello, tearing-my-hair-out goin' caraaaaazy!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Distinguishing Between Dumbass Drivers

There are all sorts of drivers out there. Many of them are unsafe. Although it seems like it, they do not congregate in one geographical area. Let’s review, shall we?

The Nervous Nellie

These are the people who drive at least ten miles an hour below the speed limit, even on a straight stretch of road. If they have to turn a corner, the world needs to stop rotating so they can actually do it. Watching them turn a corner is painful. When you are stuck behind these people, it is tempting to start a Sudoku.

The Moronic Merger

There is a high percentage of these where I live. When merging onto the freeway, they do not look. At all. I can’t count how many times I have seen people almost merge into a semi or a giant SUV. Then there are those who drive 35 mph to the end of the on ramp and get scared because, for some reason, cars are going by really fast. The worst of these people will go to the end of the on ramp, stop, look, and then attempt to merge.

The Distracted Dipshit

This is probably the most common sight of all. Where I live, there is a law that bans the use of handheld devices. Has this stopped anyone from using them? No! I see them every day. They think they are sneaky enough to do this, but the truth is that you can spot these people a mile away. Stay away from them at all costs.

The Tactless Tailgater

These people have no clue why you are not getting out of their way. Could it be the fact that you are doing 5 mph over the speed limit and that you’re in the slow lane? Who cares? You are in their way! Can you not see that? The reality is that these people probably have issues regarding anger management and peripheral vision. Now, what were those other lanes for?

The Compensators

These people are often also Tactless Tailgaters. They put as many bright lights as possible on their vehicles, and jack them up so high that steps are needed to get into the vehicle. They attempt to intimidate you by either blinding you or pushing you off the road. However, it is highly doubtful that these vehicles have ever been offroad themselves as they tend to frequent malls and grocery stores.  They need to be first in line at the anger management clinic, in front of the Tactless Tailgaters. Chances are high that these people are single. Could it have anything to do with the fake testicles on their vehicles? Now THERE’S a panty-dropper!

The Pathetic Parent

These people aren’t really a group of drivers. They are misguided parents and, well, not too smart. Why do some parents think it’s a good idea to give Johnny a powerful new car for his 16th birthday? Did they not wonder why it’s expensive to insure a teen driver? Have they not read the numerous articles about teenage brain development and judgment (i.e. lack thereof)? Often, these parents are trying to give Johnny everything they didn’t have. That is somewhat understandable. What is not understandable is how this is executed. A high school student in a new Mustang? What do you think is going to happen?

The Mad Motorcyclists

These brain donors give good motorcyclists a bad name. They drive a minimum of 80 mph, weaving around everyone. Wheelies are occasionally seen. Apparently, they don’t get enough attention at home. Don’t even get me started on lack of proper riding equipment. Shorts? Really?

The Perturbed Parents

These people often fall under the “Distracted Dipshit” category. Not only are they yelling at Johnny and Jennifer in the back seat, they are picking up things in the passenger footwell and talking on the phone, all while speeding on their way to soccer practice and ballet class. Could someone please explain to me why married folks get lower car insurance rates? Haven’t insurers ever seen them drive?

The Lost Loonies
No, I’m not talking about Canadians. I’m talking about directionally-challenged people who are driving in an unfamiliar area and have no clue how to do much of anything. If your GPS says to turn right, why are you in the left hand lane? It’s not like you didn’t have a previous warning. If you need to go in the opposite direction, why don’t you just turn around? Don’t expect me to let you in because you want to turn right from the left hand lane. Turn around. Why don’t people turn around anymore, anyway?

The Cut-off Creeps

Often associated with Tactless Tailgaters and Moronic Mergers, these people have no idea what those shiny things attached to their car are. There’s usually one attached to the windshield and one on each front door. Anyway, they repeatedly demonstrate their lack of depth perception by cutting in front of you with inches to spare, causing you to slam on your brakes. ADHD anyone? Which leads us to….

The ADHD Lane-Changer
These people are occasionally associated with Cut-Off Creeps. I don’t think I really need to describe this bunch. Their name says it all.

The Lane-Ending Loser
These people are associated with many categories. Their lane ends, but they expect YOU (who is in the lane that is not ending) to move over. Even if you can’t see them. These people just about go insane when they don’t get their way.

The Arsonist
I just had to add this category because of an idiot who was in front of me today. These people smoke in their car with the window barely cracked (mmmmm, yummy!). When they’re through, they toss the cigarette out the window! If it’s okay to put the carcinogens into your body and it’s okay to bathe yourself and your car in smoke, why is it not okay to put the cigarette into the plastic ashtray? They don’t actually think no one will know they smoke because there are no butts in the ashtray, do they? The only butt in this case is the one they see in the mirror. If they want to look extra stupid, they’ll smoke with kids in the car. Want to look like a complete asshat? Throw your cigarette out the window when the fire danger is high. Duh!

On top of all of this, I live in a place where the driver’s license test is given in many foreign languages. Why?? If a person cannot read signs, they’re asking for trouble. Sure, shapes (like stop signs) can be memorized. What about signs with more than one word, like “Accident ahead in right hand lane” or “Lane ends”? Isn’t driving dangerous enough?

Okay, I feel better now.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Being Influenced By Bloggers

This guy has two fingers up.  I only used one finger.

Today I was driving around, running errands.  Most of the day, I was wondering if it was a full moon, because people were doing all sorts of strange things.  Lo and behold, someone pulls in front of me and drives *really* slow.  She cheerfully waved at me.  I cheerfully waved back.  With one finger.  Under my dashboard (you just don’t know who has a gun in their glovebox).  Under my breath, I muttered something about “hooptie” and smiled.  Thank you, Mrs. Hyde, for resurrecting “hooptie” in my vocabulary.  The other drivers were probably wondering why I was smiling while in rush hour traffic.