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Archive for June, 2011

Another Pet Peeve

Much has said about helicopter parents and we’ve all seen it often and up close.  When I started teaching in 1981, all parents were quite supportive, knowing their children were kids, and acted well or irresponsibly, knowing they needed to learn to take care of themselves.  Twenty five years later by 2006, that was not the case.

Last week Bruce and I were out running errands and stopped at a local sandwich shop for lunch.  I went to the restroom to wash my hands.  In comes a woman with two boys in tow, one was about 4 or 5, the other 11 or 12, almost as tall as I am.

Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence and I’m tired of sharing the ladies room with big boys.  I nodded at the tall boy and said, “Isn’t he much too old to be in here?”  The simpering mother replied, “I just don’t know what kind of pervert might be in the men’s room!”  What?  Was she kidding?  This big kid didn’t know how to shout or run or kick if such a thing were to happen?  Hadn’t done her job as a mother if she never taught her son how to protect himself.

I rolled my eyes and said, “That’s ridiculous!  Good grief! Is he in school?  He should be able to use a restroom by himself” and left. What I really wanted to tell her was this: Statistics tell us that 98% of the children who are molested are molested by someone that their parents know and trust. The chances of someone actually trying to molest her kid in a restroom are almost nil. However, she apparently wasn’t concerned with real life.  If she keeps her son in fear of the “bogeyman” does she get to be the “super-mom”?

I worry about the long term effects on males who are molly-coddled by their mothers.  I wonder what the social scientists say about that.   What happened to normal life and normal development?  And where the heck are the dads? (I guess they are the same ones I see staying at the restaurant table while mommy takes the boy to the restroom!  And, trust me, it’s not the men’s room.)  Going to the restroom alone is one of the first steps toward self-sufficency.

In our family, if a boy was big enough to go out to a meal with his parents, he was old enough to use the restroom on his own. (Which he did at home from the age of two.) But then, that was back in the good-old-days when we expected our sons to grow up and become young men, and weren’t proud if they were momma’s boys.

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Oh, our aching backs.  We spent the morning cleaning up the yard from Wednesday night’s storm.

About 9 PM the wind started to blow — really blow, and rain –really rain.  The lights flashed and then went out — and stayed out.

I guess we’re fortunate in that this was the first time since January of 2004 that the electricity has been off for any length of time.  Christine, who was on oxygen, was in the hospital with pneumonia — I was thankful for that.  It would have been difficult to keep her in tanks, without her big machine.  I had enough trouble keeping me and the pets warm and fed.  Thank heavens for a fireplace. . . .

We spent Thursday monitoring the AC and the frig.  Our house stayed relatively cool given that it was in the 90s outside.  Georgia Power had their hands full, since almost the entire city had many trees down and our neighborhood had to wait our turn.  At 3 AM on Friday, Bruce sat up in bed and shouted, “Hallelujah!” as the AC came back on.

There’s a huge pile of limbs and branches and debris down at the street, but at least the trees are clean.

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All New Again

We had unexpected visitors over Memorial Day weekend.  Mr Newman, the man who originally built the “old” part of our house, was in the neighborhood and, with his wife, on a whim, stopped by to talk and to see the house.

I’ve lived here for 27 years.  In fact, it was Memorial Day weekend when we came here in 1984.  So it was slightly ironic that after that length of time, I should discover more about the old homestead.  Actually I had met Mr. Newman’s daughter 5 years ago.  She is the surgical coordinator for the doctor who performed my first knee replacement.  When I told her my address, she said, “I lived on that street when I was a child.”  As we talked, we finally realized it was the same place!

Anyway, Mr Newman told us several things that we didn’t know.  He built the “old/little” house in 1955 with a $6,000 construction loan, not a mortgage, and did the finish work himself.  It has solid concrete block walls with brick veneer (which we discovered during the kitchen remodel).  He had originally planned to build another house lower in the yard toward the street.  (Bruce had found the foundation corners while working in the yard.) He reminded us that the old pump down below would provide lots of water if we wanted to refurbish it.  Slowly, but surely, the pump house has proceeded to fall down brick by brick, but it too could be re-built.   Mr. Newman and his brother had put down the rough concrete strips on the steep driveway that were there until I had the drive re-graded and asphalted in 2003.  The wooden framing in the attic is 2 X 6s rather than 2 X 4s — a bit more solid than was needed.

They admired the 1979 remodel that doubled the size of the house, as well as the new kitchen.  As we talked, he would comment on the original design, some things I knew or had guessed, but it was all interesting.

We showed them all through the house and discussed different features between the old and the new.  I believe he left knowing “his” house was well cared for.  Isn’t that what we want for all those things we love?

 

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A Pet Peeve

We all have pet peeves, whether we acknowledge them or not.  Here’s one of mine.

Why do drivers sit in an exit from a business and want to turn left and cross over and between a long line of  cars?  Does that seem reasonable?   Think that through.  Can they not see there are too many vehicles in a row waiting their turns to proceed?  Someone turning left does not have the right of way.  If some “kind” soul wants to let that silly driver in, they are not speaking for the rest of us.  Additionally, it’s dangerous. How are the others in a second lane able to see this act of “kindness”?  They’re not equipped with periscopes  to see around the corner of traffic.  Come on, people!  Turn with the traffic, go to the next corner with a light.  Turn the corner, and find a parking lot to turn around in, and head back the direction you need to go.  It’s NOT rocket science!  It’s simple common sense.

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