Burn It Down

There are a select few things I hate with the fire of a thousand hot suns. Trump being one. And I wasn’t a bandwagon hater. I’ve detested this man since the 80’s…before it was cool. I am the hipster of Trump Haters. But, I am not here to bash on Trump…today. Not really.  Well, maybe just a little.

Another thing that makes my blood boil are antivaxxers. Before I had Tiny Tyrant, my niece’s mother preached to me how vaccinating was evil and how she had a book for me to read to know the perils of vaccines. I declined the book, knowing full well what I would do with it. I remembered all the times my niece was in the hospital as an infant, earning her immune system the old fashioned way. Thank the gods that she never caught anything that would have killed her.

People wonder what makes antivaxxers so dumb. The doctor who started this hot mess was proved a fraud, his “study” proven a sham to make himself rich, his medical license revoked. Every claim they make, has been debunked thoroughly by actual scientists and doctors. What would make seemingly intelligent people fall for something so easily proved false?

Probably one of the most sound reasons is that these people simply do not know what life is like with polio, or measles, or mumps. Those are illnesses of the older generations, eradicated (for a while at least), the younger generations have enjoyed the immunity that vaccinations have given us, but some of us forgot how we got that immunity. Now, they are terrified of autism, which has been turned into some sort of Boogie Man that is apparently worse than dying from polio.

The only thing I can liken this to is a schizophrenic that stops taking their meds because they feel normal, and decide that they don’t need the meds anymore.

Now that certain illnesses are making a comeback in thanks to many parents who need a swift kick in the ass, we get to experience it all over again. Happy days are here again, people. Hope you got your Iron Lung ready.

It got me thinking about this whole mess with the healthcare debate. And that fucking orange Cheeto stinking up the White House, when he isn’t trying to recruit Boy Scouts for his own Hitler Youth. People are allowing this to happen because they simply have no clue what life was like before The New Deal. No social programs. No infrastructure. No government help. You were pretty much on your own. People lived a lot differently before the 1900’s. If you were homeless, no one cared. If you were hungry, you might be able to find a church that had a soup kitchen. If you were old and sick…that’s too bad.

Maybe these people need to experience how shitty life can be before they can truly appreciate what they have available to them. No more Medicare. No more Social Security (which people will defend that as something they paid into, so they should get that back. Poor people largely view Social Security as their retirement plan, which is why they don’t consider it welfare.). No more SNAP cards, subsidized housing, or free school lunch. All of it…gone.

It’s a direction we’re heading. Some will feel the effects before it reaches other people.  A lot of those “uneducated working ‘Mericans” that Trump loves so much will be the first to be hit. Sure, churches and other organizations will help out, but at the end of the day, it’s not going to be enough.

It easy to care about this, but it’s difficult to stay that way. Maybe we should let the chips fall where they may. Maybe people need to be reminded of the way Americans used to live, before World Wars I and II. Maybe it all needs to be burned to the ground. Maybe then, people will understand and give a shit about their fellow man. Only then can something meaningful can emerge from the ashes.

Some people learn from history. They heed the warnings. They can see when patterns repeat themselves. Others, they ignore all of that. Their great teacher is experience. This is something they are very proud of.

Let them learn.

Advertisements

Getting Out: Crabs in a Bucket

When fishermen catch a bunch of crabs, it is not unusual for them to keep the crabs in a bucket and not have a lid on it. Common sense would tell you that this is a dumb idea because the crabs would just climb out of the bucket. However, the fishermen know that this is probably not going to happen because if one crab tries to climb out, the other crabs will grab onto the would-be escapee and pull it down in an effort to pull themselves out. No one escapes, and at the end of the day, they go on to end up on someone’s dinner plate.

blue-crabs-in-a-bucket-300x300

The general idea is that the mob mentality can keep a person from forging ahead and doing better for themselves. “If I can’t do it, neither can you!”

This analogy is a perfect example of trying to get out of the cycle of poverty. Even if you strip away the systems in place that keep people in poverty (welfare, cost of education, etc), it doesn’t consider that one of the biggest hurdles of breaking the cycle are the ones closest to you: friends and family.

You hear about this peppered through the pages of the news: people who win the lottery, professional athletes. I don’t have to look much further than my own personal experiences. I grew up poor, my whole family did. My father’s family is a never-ending cycle of it, and only recently have some of my generation or newer are getting out of the pot. I’ve heard the crab in the pot attitudes echoing throughout my entire life.

  • Cousin marries, they acquire a couple of modest rental properties and during the summers have their own fireworks stand. (She thinks she’s too good to spend time with us since she has money.)
  • Aunt remarries a guy who works hard at a steady job. He’s a hard worker. He eats out whenever he wants, has a hobby of rebuilding classic cars and going to car shows, and drives a newer truck. (She married a high-roller, and now she’s thinks her shit doesn’t stink.)
  • People that live in nice houses and have swimming pools are automatically assholes.

I even experienced this directly. I received a settlement after a bad car accident. A family member assumed I would give him half because he happened to be in the car with me when it happened (he was uninjured). When I told the family member that the settlement was for medical bills and the rest would be applied to nursing school, I was accused of being greedy and putting money over family. That family member was living with me at the time, and decided to stop paying their share of the rent because they felt I didn’t need the money.

Another example being that my chosen career path pays well. While it does not put me into a wealthy category, it certainly offers security, good benefits, and not worrying about things like broken down cars, food in the fridge, and clothes on my back. Instead of being happy, family members have replied bitterly, “Must be nice to not have to worry!”

As far as crabs in a barrel? I’ve experienced that, too. I kept “loaning”money to a family member who was always short on their house payment. “If we miss this payment, we will get foreclosed on, and our kids will be out on the streets.” I found out the hard lesson that loans to family members weren’t really loans at all, but viewed as some sort of  profit-sharing between family members that did well and those who couldn’t manage their money. I almost ended up losing my house because I was funneling so much money to help other family members, that I was neglecting my own needs.

Just like crabs in a barrel.

Why, you  may wonder, would someone almost go into foreclosure to help a family member? Guilt. It is the guilt of getting out, and leaving family members behind. This guilt starts at an early age. When you are poor, you don’t have anything but your family. This idea is drilled into you, that the family is all you have, and you must keep it intact at all costs. This mentality, while seemingly noble, is what not only keeps poor people poor, it also guards secrets that should not be kept in the dark, like molestation. All fueled by the guilt that consumes you and prevents you from fighting to get out of that damn bucket.

Some would argue that there is honor in such blind loyalty to family. Looking at it now, it looks more like insanity.

I have a cousin, who has a niece, and she will be the first in her family to attend university. Not just any university. A big one. She is the oldest of 6 kids, and she has known poverty for her entire life. While her Dad has been encouraging, and an Aunt who has been her biggest cheerleader, her brothers and sisters seem to be disinterested in doing better for themselves, and a mother that thinks panhandling and prostitution is a perfectly acceptable way of making money. I would think about her a lot, knowing just how hard she would have to work, and how difficult it would be to maintain focus.

“At this stage in your life, the decisions you make will affect the rest of your life. Move cautiously, be smart, and never lose focus,” I told her.

As I write this, she is home, pregnant with the father of the baby having seemingly abandoned her, and slim to no chance she will be returning to college. No job skills other than working at a Subway, no solid support system. Another crab, almost out, now pulled back into the bucket. The cycle of poverty ensured for the next generation.

I hate that goddamn bucket.

Beating the Bullet-Riddled Horse

Among my many memories of my Dad, was him and his gun collection (which is ironic considering that’s how he died, but I digress). He had 5-7 of them, and sometimes he would pull them out and clean them. My brothers and I would sit and watch.He would take them apart, put them back together. Sometimes, he would sand down a stock and refinish it. My father’s guns were beautiful. Pristine. He built one shotgun, made from three different guns. It was a showpiece for certain, and he built it for me. Cherry stock, copper in the middle, and a black barrel. The first time I got to use it was for rabbit hunting.

Through life events, my mother ended up with a majority of Dad’s guns, including the one he made for me. My stepfather loaned my gun to his grown son to go hunting. It was never returned. His son would claim that he “lost”it. Later, we would learn that he pawned the gun for money. My gun was lost forever. I own nothing that was once my father’s. And when I think about it, that there is this thing out in the world that my father built just for me, and I don’t have it, my heart aches.

In light of the shooting in Orlando, I don’t want to get on a soapbox and argue the case for gun control. Firstly, the box is already crowded with much louder voices than mine. Secondly, we lost the argument for control long ago when Second Amendment Fanatics decided that dead children were a price they were okay to pay for their right to own assault rifles. (Apparently, AR-15 are not technically “assault rifles” because that label is  meant for military use guns that are automatic or semi-automatic, but for $299, you can easily convert it to one!)hello-kitty-ar-15-rifle1

There’s so much about this country to be proud of, and we celebrate it often. Yet we have so much to be ashamed of and too full of hubris to know we should be. That we live in a society where mass shootings are common, and the best we can do is blame extremist views that are not Christian and hold candlelight vigils. I look at Sandy Hook. I look at Orlando. I hear the rhetoric of the gun nuts whose only defense of resisting common sense gun laws is, “Bad guys are going to get guns no matter what we do, so we just won’t do anything and keep waiting for that good guy with a gun to come and fix everything.”It breaks my heart, and it makes me ashamed to be an American.

I’m a gun owner. I have a beautiful shotgun my husband gave me for Christmas. My little brother refinished it for me, just like Dad would have done. We also own a handgun. I still lament the loss of the gun my father made for me, and I wish I could have it. But you know, I would gladly give it all up if it meant that I could send my daughter to school, or to the movie theater, or anywhere else and never have to worry if she will be gunned down that day.

Hooray for Last Place!

Per Wikipedia, Papua New Guinea is one-half of an island north of Australia. Home to around 7 million people, with 18% of those people living in urban areas. The rest lives in villages, away from other villages, sometimes not being aware of each other. There are literally hundreds of languages spoken in this country, owing to the different villages, each with their own unique traditions and cultures. Less than 4% of the population is over the age of 65, which should tell you something about their healthcare. And speaking of health, malaria is the main cause of illness and death. A large portion of the population is illiterate. Papua New Guinea is not really a tourist destination, so there really isn’t a wealth of information out there about it.

papua-new-guinea-6

Coming of age ceremony for the George Jefferson village?

You might be wondering why the brief history lesson? Well, I will tell you. This small, poor country ties with the richest country in LAST PLACE for maternity benefits. Us. We can put a man on the moon. Send a robot to Mars that continues to send us pictures to this day. We can make people untalented people famous. We can make the racist village idiot a candidate for president. But we cannot, or will not, make an effort to provide any kind of benefit for women who just pushed out a brand new human.

This post isn’t going to be a rant about the shitty lack of mandated maternity leave for new moms. I don’t have anything new to add to the argument that hundreds, if not thousands, of people have said before me. We suck. We know we suck. And unless government decides to give a shit (or people wise up and start electing people do), we will continue to suck. Go last place!!!

Anyway, I guess you could say I was incredibly fortunate. I got 12 whole weeks off. Sure, compared to Denmark (whose moms get 52 weeks off, 100% paid) it’s paltry, but some women had to return to work mere days after delivery. Thanks to FMLA, every woman is guaranteed 12 weeks of time off to do the things that new moms do postpartum. More on that later.

At any rate, of my 12 weeks, I bought short-term disability insurance which said it covers 6 weeks, and only 60% of your salary…but only if I upgraded to the 60% benefit. (Had I not elected to do so, the standard would have been 30%.) Even that is a misnomer, because they only pay you for 5 weeks, citing the 6th week is for paperwork processing and you don’t actually get a paycheck. The remaining weeks you have, you have to burn through whatever PTO you have saved up. Which means that prior to going on leave, you have to save every single minute of PTO and use none of it for doctor visits, sick days, or days you can’t come in because you feel like absolute shit your 9th month of pregnancy. Even then, it’s only applicable if your employer even offers vacation time, because the U.S. is one of the few countries that do not mandate paid vacation time. (I think the last statistic was 1 in 4 workers do not get PTO.) Any bills introduced to guarantee PTO fail. Just when you think we can’t suck any harder…we do.

I had managed to accrue enough PTO to cover all but the last 2 weeks of my maternity leave. But because I have an amazeballs husband (who didn’t get diddly squat for any kind of paternity leave, btw), and the survival of our household did not hinge on my paycheck, I was able to take the entire 12 weeks off, and not get any type of paycheck for those last two weeks. But because of FMLA, my job was secure. However, when I returned to work, I basically worked for free for the first month because short-term disability does not pay for insurance premiums, and all my paychecks had to cover those missed premiums.

But what is maternity leave anyway? I can’t speak for the other moms, but for me, it was about a lot of things. It was getting right with how my body changed. Breastfeeding, pumping, trying to sneeze without peeing myself. Healing from pushing a baby out, who ripped Mommy a new one as a parting gift. It’s about trying to figure out childcare for when you do go back to work. It’s also about getting to know the newcomer. Figuring out how this new mom thing worked, worrying yourself into wrinkles because you’re convinced you’re not doing it correctly because everything on the internet tells you that you are a horrible mother, and how could you possibly even bring a baby into the world when you notorious for letting plants die?? Maternity leave is for falling in love with the newcomer, and flexing those maternal instincts when they decide to appear one night as your husband almost rolls over the baby. It’s for thinking about the kind of parent you want to be. The kind of person you would like to raise your child to become. It’s for sleep, for lack of sleep. For tears and giggles. Snuggles and blow-outs. It’s for Moms and Dads and Babies to start (or build upon) the foundation of their family.

What isn’t Maternity Leave? It’s not for selfish, childless lackwits who think that time off is one great big spa retreat where they can sit and think about a better mission statement for their job. I’m not even going to link her article, or mention her name, because I don’t care to add any more traffic to her asinine quest or possible sales to her shitty book. You know, before I ever had a baby, I never begrudged the women who did. I never envied their maternity leaves, and when they returned, I never saw women who were refreshed with a new outlook on their job. I saw women returning with abject sadness of having to leave their babies too soon, the constant worrying if they were okay, bitterness that we live in a country that is perfectly complacent to tie for DEAD LAST with a country where the typical residential dwelling is a hut, and resentment that their employers refuse to go above and beyond what is legally required of them to do right by their new mothers. The only time I ever saw those new moms happy was when it was time to leave, and only because they were going home to their babies.

You want a Meternity Leave? They already exist. It’s called a Sabbatical.

The Corgi Game

So, it was no big secret that Log disliked the old house. Well, not so much as the house itself, but rather where it was located. We were kinda removed from everyone else we knew, babysitting would have been a huge hassle once Lil G arrived, and the commute to and from work that Log made everyday was slowing sucking out his soul.

And one more thing: rascals. Too many damn rascals roaming about. You know them, those little scooters that old people take to using when their children take away the car keys? But in our neck of the woods, it wasn’t just old, carless people on the scooters. It was everything else that would fit, or just barely fit, on the damn things. Log had it.

“If I see 10 rascals, we’re moving!”

So began the Corgi Game.

rascalblowup

As with any game, ground rules have to be established before you play.

  1. People on rascals could not be counted if you saw them in close proximity to Walmart. The same goes for nursing homes, assisted living places, and retirement communities. Those places are rascal magnets.
  2.  For it to be counted, the rascal driver (theoretically) would have to be able to make it from their sighted location, to our house, on the existing charge of their battery.
  3. American flags mounted on the back of sighted rascal did not add an extra point. (I had to fight hard for this rule.)
  4. Rascals being towed didn’t count (see rule #2)

What does a Corgi have to do with this? Plenty. You see, for every Corgi sighting, you could deduct one point from the tally. A Corgi sighting meant there was a high probability that there was a hipster nearby. A hipster has the ability to cancel out senior citizens and rednecks.

wallyhip

It’s called Gentrification.

We finally got to ten, but by then we were already planning to move anyway. We have since retired the game because there is virtually no chance of any rascal making it out to our house. We haven’t seen many Corgis either. But they are kinda small, and we do have predatory birds in the area, namely one large, very beautiful, bald eagle.

A bald eagle pretty much trumps anything else.

At the Center: Riding the Short Bus

Life working at The Center has been great. Other than a few minor hiccups, I’m really coming to know what it is to actually like being a nurse and enjoy my work. For the first time, my likes far outnumber my dislikes.

One of which, being the bus situation.

At ACME Hospital, I got to enjoy covered parking. Which was great when the weather was horrible, and it probably extended the life of my car. At The Clinic, I have to park in an uncovered community lot, and take a shuttle the rest of the way. During my little bus rides, I’ve observed the subtle nuances of the drivers.

The Panty Melter: His bus smells like the aftershave he puts on every morning. Boarding his bus, you notice the manly smell, then you notice the smooth R&B playing over the speakers. Luther, Barry, Al, Marvin…all crooning their “make sweet, sweet love to you” tunes. The next thing you notice that the estrogen level is higher. The women are shifting in their seats, glassy-eyed, quiet, and breathing heavily, almost panting. By the time the shuttle reaches The Clinic, the temperature on the bus has risen exponentially. The windows might be steamed up. Any man who rides this bus looks bewildered and confused. The Panty Melter smiles knowingly from the driver’s seat. It’s okay. He’ll get you there one way or another.

Excited to Be Here: He LOVES driving the bus. He LOVES driving the bus over curbs, sidewalks, and almost into other cars. Getting you to your destination is the most important thing, everyone else can piss off. Everyone likes Excited, his excitement is contagious. When you get to your final destination, you are excited, too (not Panty Melter excited). Excited loves to talk to his passengers, and his passengers have collectively decided they want to take Excited home to meet their families.

The Bus Nazi: He scowls at you when you get on his bus. How dare you not be at the bus stop when he gets there! Instead, you made him wait. Except for that one time he kept driving even though he saw you walking towards the bus stop. You 15 minutes late for work because you had to wait for the next bus. Hah hah! That was a great morning!! He seldom smiles, even when you wish him good morning, good day, thank you. Passengers goose step on and off the bus, paying homage to Bus Nazi so he doesn’t drive them to the bad part of town and leave them there. I don’t know why Bus Nazi is so mad. Maybe he’s jealous of the Panty Melter.

The Flash: This guy drives so fast that you time travel. Who knew those buses could go that fast! However, you are still 10 minutes late to clock in.

Irie Man: This guy runs on island time. Everything is okay! Everyone is smiling. Happy steel drum music is coming from the speakers. It’s like the drink and drown tour from your vacation, all that is missing is your rum punch! You’ll get to work eventually, but peace be the journey!

 

Current Events and Other Random Blather

  • There is an alarm that sounds like a bicycle bell that is randomly going off in the house. I don’t know where it is coming from, but it is slowly driving me nuts.
  • Donald Trump is a good showman (showboat?) and knows how to grab ratings. I suspect he wakes up in the morning, puts on his orange spray tan, carefully constructs his comb over, all the while wondering what outrageous thing he can do that day, and who else he can piss off. At the end of the day, he sits at home in amazement that people still like him. I don’t think he’s serious about being president. I think he is single-handedly pulling back the curtain on the GOP party and showing the world just how ridiculous they have become. The Democrat side must be giddy.
  • I wonder if the women who interrupted Bernie Sanders’ speech in Seattle were aware he is the candidate who has been the most active in the Civil Rights movement out of all the candidates.
  • I have decided not to call anti-abortion people Pro-Lifers. Instead, they shall be known as Pro-Birthers. Once you are out of the womb, you are a burden on taxpayers, and how dare you suckle off the government teat! I wonder how many of those unwanted babies the Pro-Birthers have adopted?
  • My first day back to work was yesterday. I did well, didn’t cry or anything. I did miss my Lil G, but it was nice talking to grown-ups again. Of course, I did find myself looking at pictures of Lil G when I had downtime.
  • There goes that bell sound again!
  • The house next door continues to be for sale by a realtor that doesn’t give a shit about selling the house. The grass and weeds are overgrown. The house looks sad. I get sad when I see it. It makes me think of Mr. Recommendation. Regardless of how he lived, he deserved better.
  • Log said after all the pets were gone, we were done with pets. Recent events have put dog ownership back on the table. I already have a name picked out for the German Shepherd I am going to get. Log wants an Alaskan Malamute.
  • I feel that the militarization of our police departments is why we are having the problems with the police now.
  • I’m not a sanctimommy. I want to punch these women right in the baby-maker.
  • I’ve decided that traveling with an infant is like traveling with an I.E.D. That sucker could go off at any minute!
  • Where is that bell??