Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Bored and the Clueless

I cannot believe the conversation I just had with my almost 16 year-old. I was folding clothes. She had just gotten back from Fruit Loop and Sugar's house (her bio dad and step-moo). I said "Hold up a minute. Come grab your clothes and take them with you, please." And that's when she responded "Oh yeah, I bought a new shirt and a new pair of pants this weekend. I sooooo needed new clothes." WTF? This is the child who has used her own money to buy a new shirt/pants/skirt/sweater/etc. the last 4-5 weeks in a row. This is the child who--just off the top of my head--has at least 10 pair of pants and over 20 shirts. And this child sooooo needed new clothes? Am I taking crazy pills? Do I live in some weird alternate form of reality? Well, I responded to her with "Uh, no--you did not need new clothes. You've bought lots of clothes lately, but it's your money--so that's fine. But you certainly didn't need them."

It sends me over the really child is one of a subset of the population that EASILY/QUICKLY becomes bored with everything. She is constantly asking me to down new music because she is so bored with what she has. She gets tired of her clothes, shoes, bags and hairstyle. As a matter of fact, she has had 6 different hairstyles in the last 9 months. I don't know if I've had 6 different hairstyles in my whole life... I understand wanting to "spice up" your life. I have no problem with people wanting to add variety to their wardrobe and heaven only knows I have no issues with someone buying a new handbag. But isn't there something to be said about having some tried and true "go to" items? Isn't there something comforting about the old standby stuff or the incredible music you've loved all your life?

Part of what is wrong with our world is our "disposable culture"...I'm tired of my perfectly functional 22 inch TV...I want a 42 inch flat screen...I've had my cell phone for an entire year...I need a new one...I've had my hairstyle for 2 months...It's so old...I need a new one. We have disposable everything. Heck, I've read about lots of rock stars that have riders in their contracts asking for brand new socks at each tour that they don't have to worry about washing their socks. They just throw away what they have on and put the new ones on. And the whole celebrity red carpet thing--you can only wear a dress 1 time and NEVER again. Who in the hell lives like that?

At some point all of the consumer insanity needs to stop. I have no idea what will stop it, but I know exactly what will--and is--happening if it doesn't stop. And's scary.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Keeping my chin up...

Do you ever feel like the Universe is working against you? At times, I do feel that way. This past week was one of those times.

First, my family has purchased some new furniture recently as all the furniture we've ever owned has been hand-me-downs--literally every piece--and much of it has been falling apart for some time. Since I turn 36 in April, I don't feel bad about the purchase. 36 years of no new furniture whatsoever is pretty good. My husband took great pains to save ALL the packaging and haul it 20 minutes away to the recycling center. I give him loads of credit for this. A year or so ago, he most likely wouldn't have done this. As he was separating the cardboard from the plastic and the styrofoam, he noticed that the plastic recycling container was missing. At the same time one of the recycling center workers was driving by in a mini-forklift and yelled "Just throw it all in the same container--we just burn that crap anyways!" This was very disheartening for my husband. He figured "Why waste my time trying to dispose of stuff responsibly if they are just going to lump it together and burn it?" Now, I know that styrofoam can't truly be recycled, but does it need to be burned? It all sounds scary to me...

Second, a few times now, the recycling truck has skipped our house and doesn't pick up our recycling for the week despite the fact that we set it out the night before so that we don't miss them. When my husband called to let the company know this happened, they said they would send someone out to pick it up--and then they CHARGED us $15! Bastards!!! They charged us for not doing their job properly and having to correct their sloppy work. Absolutely brilliant... Well, last week they forgot again, but my husband didn't want to be charged, so instead of calling he tossed everything in the trash can--because they never forget to pick up our stuff. This made me really sad (that the company would put a customer in this type of situation). He has gone out of his way to recycle--which doesn't necessarily come naturally to him--and our recycling bin was full...which leaves a person in a rather precarious situation. I told him he should call the company, let them know the error (again) and insist we NOT be charged for the pick up. He chose to toss it in the trash can--and I understand his frustration...I really do. And you know what? I should have picked it all out of the trash and called the recycling company myself--but I didn't.

I should also note--my husband is an awesome individual. He didn't just think "screw it--I don't care about the environment". He is the one who has planted the garden and composted--without me ever saying a word...completely his ideas. He loves supporting local businesses and has often been the one to haul me out of bed to go to the Farmer's Market with him.

Which leads me to my current musing: All of us have times in our lives where we will fight the good fight. We'll see it all the way through...but what happens when you feel out of your element to begin with? What happens when you're exhausted (mentally or physically) and you run up against a brick wall? We all have times where we should speak up, but we can't..mentally, physically, emotionally...we just can't...we want to, but we don't. Sometimes it's hard to "keep your chin up" when the people who are supposed to care (i.e. the recycling company) don't seem to care.

The best I can muster up right now is to mentally prepare for them to forget my recycleables next week--and to call them on it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Coming Out of Hiding...

She's ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Muaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh!

Where have I been? 2 teenagers with Bipolar Disorder...need I say more?

So what pray tell could bring me out hiding? Well, while our new president has been sworn into office (a history making event indeed), and the economic stimulus package is being hotly debated...Minnesota's senatorial election isn't over yet. Did you know that? While every other states' senators are deciding what to do to help our country Minnesota has no such representation in Washington D.C. yet. This annoys me...

For those who don't know--it is down to the incumbent Norm Coleman (who unmistakably looks like Mr. Ed and has a disturbing Boston accent) and Al you aren't seeing things...I said Al Franken as in Stuart Smalley/Saturday Night Live. Now please don't misunderstand me, I harbor no ill will towards the people of Boston or their accents. I just find it hard to overcome a midwestern state having a senator with a very thick Boston accent. And while numerous crass remarks have been made about having someone from SNL become our state senator--may I remind folks that our state voted Jesse "The Body" Ventura--a professional friggin' wrestler--in as governor a few years back... One could reasonably argue that the cold has frozen our brain cells! :)

Because I don't expect you all to have been following Minnesota politics--allow me to give you a quick run down of this particular senatorial race...On election night after many (not all but many) of the votes were counted, Norm Coleman had the audacity to declare himself the winner. Now mind you--Al Franken had NOT conceded defeat. Norm just decided "What the hell, I won!" The race was so close by the end of the night/next morning (within a few hundred votes) that a mandatory recount took place--by state law. Many thought Coleman was ahead at that time. Franken maintained that he would abide by whatever the recount came up with. Coleman swore he'd fight until the bitter end--going to court if necessary. After the recount was all said and done, it turned out that Al Franken won by 225 votes. Think about that--225 votes.

In other words (and to emphasize the gravity of the situation) all the eligible voters in a 6 block radius around my house (including myself) made the difference between winning and losing a major election...225 votes. We aren't talking about a school board member or a small town mayor (not that those people aren't important, because they are)--we are talking about a state senator--someone with major political force/influence.

So Franken won, right? Well kind of...Coleman's camp filed a lawsuit and now the whole deal is in court (as promised), so Minnesota is ass-out of representation for that Senate seat for the time being. While the economy is crumbling more and more every day...while THOUSANDS of people all over the U.S. are being laid-off...while the housing market is dying and small businesses are dropping like state has an empty Senate seat and the people of Minnesota have no voice.

Well, I said in my last post (before my unexpected hiatus) that I wasn't going to go political...and I tried not too. But enough is enough--this is crazy. In my city alone, IBM just laid off 800 people last week with another 200 expected to be laid off by summertime. The Mayo Clinic made national news by discontinuing their Clinical Trials division--which directly impacted my family. And Minnesota is down a state senator?

Let's stop the madness folks. Someone needs to take this loss on the chin like a man so we can move forward. I vote Coleman off the island because of his arrogance on election night, sore loser lawsuit and striking likeness to Mr. Ed. Let's get Franken suited up and in the game.

The Duck is back--QUACK!