6/23/2018

The Incredibles 2

This afternoon we trekked off with friends to the theater to see The Incredibles 2. I'll admit that I had a bit of trepidation based on, one, the fact that it'd been SO long since the last one, and a few articles I'd read here and there about it.

It. Was. Delightful.

It picks up right where Incredibles 1 ends. You see the Underminer appear, the Incredibles throw on their suits in the parking lot, and the chase ensues. Of course, there is madness, and mayhem, and a lot of collateral damage which, supers being illegal, lands the Parr family in quite a bit of hot water. And they didn't even catch the guy.

This, of course, is a particularly good setup for the rest of the movie.

I loved seeing Edna again. I loved Jack Jack. And I even loved Mr. Incredible as Mr. Mom (one part I was absolutely dreading, because I was worried it was going to turn into a rah rah feminist screed - it didn't.)

My single quibble is that, if I recall correctly (and it hasn't been years and years since I've seen the first, but rather months as it's a family favorite), they knew Jack Jack had powers at the end of the first movie. But there's a whole running bit about the baby coming into his powers, and "What? Jack Jack has powers?" and so forth and so on. While not a huge distraction, it did make me grumble a bit each time it came up.

All in all, it's an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours and I'm awfully glad we decided to go see it. It gets a hearty two thumbs up from every member of the Sleepy family.

Pondering the Years

Seeing Robbo mention their recent trip to Bermuda to celebrate their 25th anniversary got me thinking.

(One of the things that I thought was that every time I see the word "Bermuda" I think of this:
)

But that's really neither here nor there.

What I was pondering was the vagaries of life and plans, etc.

See, hubs and I will hit 23 this year. So we're not so far off from celebrating our own 25th. And, had I had my druthers, we would be in much the same life-stage as Mr. & Mrs. Robbo with kids off to college, or possibly out already. Instead, we're mulling taking the family to Europe for our 25th and every time we start to think and plan, I cringe a little to consider taking a 12 and 8 year old over seas.

12 and 8 are not unreasonable ages to travel abroad. I like the fact that, barring head trauma, they'll both be old enough to remember said trip and even get something out of it. But it also smacks a little National Lampoons in the age ranges, and, well, we struggle not to live in a comedy of errors in daily life. I'm not positive hauling that across the Atlantic is a particularly wise idea.

And yet, the plans remain, somewhat, in force (along with associated savings buckets etc. that go with wanting to take 4 people on an airplane anywhere.)

In addition to the trip, which barring major catastrophe is going to happen, I have these vague notions that I'd like to fit back into my wedding dress for said anniversary. (It's absolutely okay if you burst into hysterical laughter at this point. I mean, it's doable, theoretically, but my body and theory never seem to walk in concert.) Even knowing how hilariously unlikely that is, it's the last wedding-dress related goal I have (seeing as how I'd hoped to fit back in the thing at the 10th and the 20th and those were both massive failures. Of course, I've made some inroads medically speaking that make it less of a ridiculous thought for 25, but still I don't recommend anyone holding their breath.) After that? I suspect I'll go ahead and give it to my sister to make into burial gowns for infants (a project she's involved with). Someone ought to get a benefit from the miles of satin in the thing, though I might saw off a piece of the train and make a throw pillow for old time's sake. It's not as if the boys are going to want the thing and as much a vintage is all the rage, I don't foresee a time when 1990 wedding dresses come back in vogue.

6/19/2018

Keeping it Clean

Three(ish) months ago, hubby and I decided that life was too short to clean the house. I mean, we pick up, the kids have chores, but there comes a point when things just aren't getting done as often or as well as they really ought. And so the search for a cleaning service began.

I got some estimates (and holy cow, I knew getting a cleaning service was a luxury, but I didn't realize it was THAT much of one) and finally decided on a company. I liked the fact that they're licensed, bonded and insured and that they make a point of saying all their cleaners are full-time employees with payroll taxes and benefits.

So they got us on the schedule. The first two cleans were going to be a little more expensive (and a more thorough clean). No worries, I get the idea of needing to get everything clean before being able to do the more routine work. So fine. We had our first cleaning and it was lovely.

Well, sort of lovely. They forgot the basement bathroom. And I'm just particular enough that having someone else clean means I need a few deep breaths when I get home and then about thirty minutes of putting everything back the way it's meant to be. (Honestly, I don't understand why it's such a challenge to dust one item at a time. Pick it up, clean it and under it, put it back. Why do cleaners feel they need to move everything and then try to get it back the way it was? Cause that never happens.)

So when cleaning #2 came along, I made sure to point out that hey, you need to do the basement bath, too.

All was well. Until a week later when I got a bill for $8. I gave them a call and asked exactly what that was about. They said the basement bathroom. I'm like, "Um, it's on the estimate sheet as something that's to be done every week." We went back and forth, she finally got the original estimate sheet and, lo and behold, the basement bath was supposed to be done every time. So sorry, we'll fix that right up.

A week and a half later, I get another bill, this one saying it's past due. Sigh. So I call them up and we go through the whole rigmarole again and am assured that no, no, they'll get it squared away and I don't owe them anything.

They were supposed to come for the third cleaning yesterday. We waited around at home as their arrival time came and went. After an hour, I called to see what was going on. The lady said she'd check into it and call me right back. Another hour later, I called them back. No one has any idea.

At this point, I'm kind of done. Because it shouldn't be quite this hard. Not with the kind of money that's going out the door. So I cancelled the whole shooting match and the kids are going to have a lot of chances to earn some extra cash with additional chores. Because really, there are four of us. It's not unreasonable that we can clean our own house.

6/11/2018

Thoughts on Depression and Reaching Out

With the two recent celebrity suicides, the world seems to be awash with commentary telling people to reach out to friends or suicide helplines etc when they start to feel as if life is no longer worth living. These folks are then being shouted down by others who, rightly, explain that depression makes it hard (if not impossible) for the depressed person to reach out, so you should, in turn, reach out to them.

Which is all well and good.

But here's the thing: You can reach out and it's very likely going to go something like this.

You: Hey, you doing okay? Haven't seen you around.

Depressed Person: Oh, yeah, I'm fine.

You: You sure?

DP: Yeah, totally. All good. Thanks.

You: Promise? You seem a little off.

DP: Oh, yeah. I'm just tired, I guess. You know how it is.

You: Sure, I get it. You let me know if you need something though, okay?

DP (with no intention of doing so): Absolutely.

And then you, not wanting to be that person who pushes and pushes and pushes will, likely, let it be.

If you want to make a difference to someone who's struggling? You need to have been a safe space for the depressed a long, long, long, long time before they've gotten to that point. A safe space where that person has said, "You know what? Life is hard." And you've gone over and crawled into their hole with them and said, "It sure can be, but I love you and will sit here with you with no expectations of anything other than being someone else down here in the hole with you. I won't try to cheer you up. I won't offer unsolicited advice. I won't explain why you shouldn't feel the way you feel or try to get you to look on the bright side, I will just sit here and hold your hand."

And if you've done that when things are hard but maybe not so hard ending it all seems like a reasonable course of action, then maybe -- just maybe -- when you reach out when things are terrible, that person will say to you, after several rounds of deflecting, "You know what? Life sucks and I don't see the point."

But if you haven't been that safe space, reaching out verbally isn't going to make any headway. You're going to have to push yourself on that person beyond what is comfortable. Beyond what seems normal and reasonable. Beyond what you would ever consider something that you should have to do. And even then, it may not matter.

I'm not saying don't reach out. I'm saying reach out sooner. Reach out today, before the hole gets so deep and so dark that it's easier for the struggling to keep digging into the muck than strain their eyes to try and see the tiny patch of sunlight at the top. And then keep reaching out. Again and again, whether the person seems fine or not. Become a safe place for that person today if you want a hope of helping them tomorrow.

But only do it if you mean it. Because depression is always going to suggest that the person offering help doesn't mean it and doesn't really like you. Being friends, being a safe space, can be hard and it can be draining. But if you mean it, it can be so worthwhile.

6/05/2018

Truth in Advertising

This morning, I called my insurance company.

I had questions about why our copay had, effectively, quadrupled from last year when we didn't change plans or service providers. (Yes, yes, I realize it's June. I'm half-way through the year and I knew the copay had gone up six months ago when I was first hit with it, but with one thing and then another, I didn't really care enough to deal with the insane bureaucracy and automated phone system that's determined to keep you from finding a live person to ask your question. But now that our entire FSA has been demolished by said copay, it got pushed to the top of the queue pretty fast.)

Once I finally got a person on the phone (to be fair, this wasn't quite a horrible as it has been in the past), I explained my question. She hemmed. She hawed. She put me on hold so she could do some research. When she came back maybe ten minutes later, she explained that last year we'd been on a PPO plan, and that wasn't one that was offered anymore, so the closest approximation of the plan was the one we're currently on. After hearing that, I did briefly recall discussing something along those lines with hubs in October.

So okay, fine. Just for clarification, I asked, if it's not a PPO, what is this plan called?

A POS.

Yes. Yes it is.

6/03/2018

Playing Well With Others

When I got out of the software world, I thought my days of dealing with misogynists were, by and large, over. Apparently no, that is not the case.

I run Awana at our church. It's a Bible memory/discipleship program from ages 2 through high school. So we have a lot of leaders (45 this year, I believe) to handle the ~200 kids who attend. I have no problems with any of my leaders. Except one.

This guy simply refuses to accept that I'm in charge. Now honestly, I try to leave him alone. He knows what he's doing, and he does it well. I try to make sure he knows I'm available if he needs anything but otherwise, I stay out of his hair. I tried, two-ish years ago, to sit down with him and see if we could integrate the high schoolers into the general flow of the club a bit more and that was a disaster. He basically said that I have nothing to offer any aspect of what he does. So fine. Whatever.

The one thing that does have to be integrated is the end of the year awards. Which were tonight. I spend a lot of hours for 2 weeks leading up to the awards getting everything organized and ready in hopes of having the ceremony move quickly and steadily through. So I send out a list of the kids who've completed books and what award they're getting and the order that we'll go through everything in the ceremony. I ask for feedback. I get radio silence.

So okay, great. I get there today three hours ahead of the program to set up. It takes basically all three of those hours. I set the awards out in order so that it's a simple matter of read the name grab the next award.

We go through everything, it's running smoothly, and we get to this guy. This guy who has put his own script together with everyone in a different order, and he's all mad that the awards aren't where they're supposed to be. Except they ARE where they're supposed to be according to what I came up with after no input from him.

So I whisper that hey, you missed some. And he's all "I'm doing this my way."

And it's all I can do not to stand there on the platform at the front of the church and say, "Asshole."

6/01/2018

On Transforming Attitudes

Eldest (now 10) is entering into that oh-so-delightful stage of beginning to think he might know more than old mom and dad. As such, some of his responses and attitudes have teetered on the edge of disrespectful and are threatening to fall off. Hubby, having absolutely zero patience for same, has decided that henceforth, the only two words out of son's mouth after having been told to do something shall be either "Yes, Sir" (or Yes, Ma'am).

I'm guessing you can imagine just about how well that's going over.

Conversations are beginning to run something along the lines of:

T: Go clean your room, please.
Boy: Okay, but...
T: <glaring> What was that?
Boy: <utterly confused> Can I just...
T: CHILD! Yes, Sir?
Boy: Oh. Right.
T: Still not there.
Boy: Yes sir?
T: Good. Now go.
Boy: Okay, but...

Le sigh.

I'm not a huge fan of the yes sir/ma'am thing. I mean, I'm all for respect, but I'm also all for kids being allowed to ask questions and get explanations. Hubs' theory is that this can take place AFTER having responded respectfully. And sure, yes. On the flip side, he and I are sarcastic sorts who are not shy about expressing our opinions. It's not completely unreasonable to realize that the boy is simply behaving as he sees mom and dad do.

Yes, yes. Do as I say, not as I do. Except of course that I've never particularly liked THAT either.

As it falls to me, most of the time, to enforce said responses (seeing as how I'm around them most), let's just say that enforcement has been somewhat lacking. This may well come back to bite me in the rear down the road. But, well. I'd rather focus on teaching him to watch his tone and facial expressions than get him to parrot yes sir/ma'am without his heart being in it.

5/25/2018

A Memorial Day Rant of Sorts

So, this weekend is Memorial Day weekend. I know for a lot of folks, this brings pool openings and barbecues immediately to mind. Maybe a good sale. This is because for years, that is what we've been indoctrinated to think. Memorial Day = the start of summer

Of course, that's not what Memorial Day is meant to be. I think, at some level, everyone understands that Memorial Day is the day to remember those who gave their lives defending our freedom. (Unlike Labor Day that I think most people generally have no clue what it's for. I, myself, mostly just think of a quote from Real Genius on Labor Day.) Would it be nice if everyone took a moment to be grateful? Yes. Is it likely? Probably not.

Here begins the rant:

Just because you know what Memorial Day IS and what it ISN'T, doesn't mean that you should take it upon yourself to condescendingly school people on your social media platform of choice. There really is nothing wrong with having a barbecue on a three day weekend. Honestly. I promise.

And yet, the fake book is FULL of posts about with these two helpful Memorial Day tips:


  • Don't say thank you to veterans on Memorial Day! (Really? There is now, officially, one day when it's NOT okay to thank a veteran. Got it. Good to know.) After all, Veterans get their day in November. Only one day, you thanking loser.
  • Don't say happy Memorial Day because it's not happy. Okay, sure, I get that. You don't say "Have a nice day" at a funeral, either. And yet...can we not see behind the somewhat inept words to the heart of someone wishing you well on a holiday? Because like it or not, Memorial Day is still a three-day weekend.

Frankly, every time I see someone posting these handy rules I want to kick them. Do what you want for Memorial Day. If you have loved ones you've lost, go visit the cemetery and honor their memories. But you know what? If all you want to do is grill some burgers and open up the pool? Do that. I'll be over here mentally thanking all the veterans and being grateful that they're not one of those who should be officially honored this weekend.