Sunday, February 28, 2010

I didn't mean it THAT way...!

I walk past Jedi who is naked in my bed. I smile at him. He's so damned good looking.

I say, "Your penis is so cute." I go to give him a hug.

He rolls away from me and says, "You really hurt my feelings!"

I start laughing uncontrollably.

He says, "That's not helping!!!

I'm still laughing.


Edit: For the record, it *IS* cute, and I also am very well satisfied.
{insert salacious, eyebrow-wagging emoticon here}

I didn't start the fire... oh, wait, I kinda did.

Since I'm still on page ONE of my thesis draft (which is due tomorrow... all 120 pages of it. La dee dah...) I really feel like I shouldn't be participating in Perpetua's ControverSundays ... on the other hand, since I DID suggest the topic (yippee! No one ever takes my ideas!) I feel I should participate. (Additionally, we all know I'm not fooling anyone-- it's not as though NOT participating will somehow lead me to write 119 pages of a thesis before tomorrow.)

(Great Oafs from Little Monsters Grow)

**(I suppose I should preface this by saying that no, I do not have children. HOWEVER, I am the oldest of 5 and I am a babysitter/nanny/(former) sunday school teacher/grade school teacher extraordinaire.)**

When I suggested the topic of "Disciplining Other People's Children" in my mind I was thinking of very specific instances. I was really thinking only of either those times when a child has been entrusted into your care and/OR those times when you are the only adult in the vicinity.

Though often, when I'm in public, I will see parents who are disciplining their children in ways I disapprove of (Yelling, getting in the kid's face, yanking their arm, calling the kid names) or parents who refuse to discipline their little hellions as kids run like banshees in store aisles pulling everything off the shelves-- in those cases, I really won't do anything other than give the parent the stink-eye.

Would I step in if someone was beating their child? I'd like to think I would. Spanking? Mmmm Probably not. I know, it's a fine line and some people think it's the same thing... But I think it's one of those things that fall under the category of, "I know it when I see it." When does a spanking become a beating? I know it when I see it.

So, having established what I don't mean... what DO I mean? I'll illustrate with 2 specific points.... (Mostly because I still feel righteously indignant about them and I'm sure y'all on the interwebs will back me up on this!)

In the first instance I was 18 years old. My little brother was 5 and my little sister was 6. I had not "officially" been put in charge of my siblings-- my parents were out running errands-- but I was effectively the only grown up in the house. My sister Em was a little brat (still is. Only now she's a BIG brat.) and she and my brother Jay would fight frequently. In our living room we had an almost- wall-sized flat screen tv which sat on a stand.

Em and Jay started fighting and Em totally instigated it. Jay was standing in from of the tv and Em started throwing things at him. HEAVY things. Books, plastic toys, etc. I had images in my head of the tv shattering and/or falling on my brother. Em refused to listen to me when I told her to stop, she refused to listen when I told her to to go her room. She was throwing a tantrum and just generally having a FIT.

Having no other way to stop her I went behind her, wrapped my arms around her, and held her to prevent her from moving. Note: I didn't hold her wrists, or twist her arms behind her back or restrain her in an otherwise painful manner-- I just basically put her in a bear-hug/lock so that she was unable to move.

Guess who got in trouble for that particular incident? Oh yeah, that would have been ME. My dad was very angry that I had "dared lay a hand" on my sister. (Never mind that my dad is of the "spare the rod, spoil the child" philosophy and he never had any qualms administering spankings.)

I was SO angry after that. I pointed out to him that I most certainly would have been blamed if something dangerous had happened and I hadn't stepped in to solve it. I also told him that, Fine, if he didn't want me disciplining his kids, I wasn't going to allow myself to be put in a situation where I was the only adult with them. They could bring them along when they went on errands, or I would leave the house.

And I stuck to that. No more free babysitter! (Sucks for them!)

But GRRR!~ I am still angry about that 10 years later!

The other incident is one in which I was explicitly put in charge of a child, I tried to impose discipline, and I wasn't backed up.

As I mentioned I babysit/nanny quite a bit in between my job/studies etc to make extra money. One particular family I sit for was nice in many ways and it was a good employment situation except for the fact that their kid was a SPOILED BRAT.

I had never really understood that old saying before (shoot-- I can't think of it!) -- the one about the parents being responsible for ruining a child. Yes, I could understand how it happened, but I had never actually witnessed it before.

Katie is an 11 year old with down syndrome. (OOo0! I know, you're all thinking about what a meanie I am for telling tales about what a brat she is. Just hold on.) The problem is not that she has down syndrome it's the way her parents (particularly her sMother!) react to the fact that she has down syndrome.

I actually really like Katie's mom. She's a sweet, friendly woman... but where her daughter is concerned she is a PUSHOVER! I think Katie's parents feel so guilty about Katie's disability that they've inadvertently made it worse.

Katie is actually a very smart and intuitive girl... and VERY manipulative. She's manipulative because her parents have NEVER said the word "NO" to her. She wants a toy? She gets it. She wants a candy? She gets it. She wants to play video games and not work on her reading? No problem. She wants money for no particular reason? Sure thing.

And so Katie is very sweet and agreeable... as long as you are agreeing with her. The moment anyone says 'NO' to her, or makes her do something unpleasant she has a meltdown. And her coping skills (because no one has ever made her work on them!) are about those that you would expect a 3 year old to have.

Her parents are not "bad" parents... they've just done her a MAJOR disservice. Katie would be perfectly capable of having a 'normal' life and holding down a job. She's very high-functioning. Will she ever do that? NO. Her parents have made sure that she's incapable of doing so... (And she doesn't really have to I guess, since her parents are rich.)

So, anyway, on to my story...

I was staying with Katie for a week while her parents were away on vacation. I was responsible for getting her to school, making sure homework was done, etc. Basically a "normal" week, only I would be the one in charge.

About half way through the week (and of waiting on Katie hand-and-foot, because that's what her parents do), I told Katie that after dinner she would have to help with the dishes. I gave her the option of either unloading the clean dishwasher or loading the dirty dishes. (Not exactly and arduous task.)

She ignored me, and so I unloaded the clean dishes and told her loading the dirty dishes were now her responsibility.

She kept ignoring me and returned to her video games.

I took the video games away and told her that she would get the video games back when she had finished this chore.

She had a MELTDOWN. I stayed calm throughout and kept telling her what her options were. It was getting late, so I added another one, and I told her she could also go straight up to bed.

What did she do? She ended up barricading herself inside the living room (there's a lock there for no particular reason) and calling her parents who were away on vacation to tell them what a horrible person I am and how I was mistreating her.)

If I was her parent, what would I have done? I would have told her to suck it up, listen to her babysitter, do the damn dishes, and go straight to bed.

What DID her parents ACTUALLY do? They called me and said, "You know Hypatia, we don't really ask Katie to do any chores. It only upsets her and causes problems. We don't want to stress her out, so just give her her games back."

Ummm... No. Not ok with that.

That was the last time I babysat for that family.

If I've been put in charge of a kid I need the parents to back me up when I discipline that kid otherwise my authority is totally SHOT. That kid will then know that they never have to listen to me and there's no point in me ever being "in charge" with that kid again.

So, yeah, those two incidents steam mean in particular. Would I have 'disciplined' those kids differently knowing what I know? Absolutely NOT.

I think, in those moments, it's perfectly ok to discipline someone else's kid.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Not the Mommy!

It's kind of boring all the time to read about how well things are going with me and Jedi, isn't it? Well, dear readers, you're in luck! Jedi is seriously pissing me off!

As you may recall, Jedi has considerably less education than I do. He's about a year away from finishing an associate's degree whereas I'm a few months (assuming I get my damned thesis done) away from finishing my second masters. That, in and of itself, wouldn't necessarily be that dramatic, other than the fact that his track record indicates some issues with follow-through and general stick-to-it-ness.

Does it matter to me that he finishes his degree? YES. Is it a deal breaker? Likely. Call me a snob if you must, but there you have it. It's not even for the snobbish aspects of it, but also for what it represents-- Can you take your commitments and responsibilities seriously?

Tragically, right now, it seems like the answer might be "No."

I don't want to be Jedi's mother or his babysitter, it's not my responsibility. I probably shouldn't care if he never does his homework and if he spends his time playing video games instead, right? Um... but I *do* care. Which has led me to nag and be mean. And I'm not even sorry about it, but it pisses me off that I feel like I HAVE to nag or nothing would get done! I didn't sign up to date a high schooler who needs to have his nose put to the grindstone in order to finish his damned assignments!

Jedi is particularly procrastinating in English. Even though he's halfway through the term and he wouldn't get any of his costs back, he decided it would be a great idea to drop the class... because he doesn't have any time to do his work... or so he says. BULLSHIT! If he stopped playing his gameboy 24/7 he'd have enough time to finish a doctoral thesis!

He went to his professor to tell him he decided to drop the class and his professor kindly (but inexplicably) decided to give him a 14 day extension on all of his papers. WHAT A GIFT! Jedi was still considering dropping the class...! (IDIOT!) I, (and his mother, I think) harangued him into NOT dropping it. This, however, has not led to an increase in actually DOING the assignments as far as I can tell.

This weekend as I was doing some work I noticed him playing on his computer. I knew he had assignments due so I asked him, "Did you finish your homework?" (Gawed! Something I never thought I would hear myself say until I had a third grader!) He turned to me and said, "Have you finished your thesis?"

I got totally snarky with him and responded, "Only one of us here has a track record for not finishing stuff."

He got really pissed off about that, but frankly I was pissed off at him.

I told him that I felt he was taking advantage of me. Yes, he contributes $200/month to housing costs... but that's a drop in the bucket. My total housing costs are about $1300/month. I told him, "I am subsidizing your life. I don't mind doing so since you're a student and I want to have a future with you, and you're working towards that future. HOWEVER, when I see you not taking your studies seriously I feel taken advantage of and that you're jeopardizing that future."

He wasn't too happy about that, but said he understood. We'll see if he shapes up.

At the same time, I still feel a little pissy about it. I'm not his mother, for eff's sake!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Why I have no time to post lately...

Yes, I'm just getting better after surgery-- just now starting to feel human again. But that just means I've got 3 weeks of work to catch up on! And 118.5 pages to write on my thesis, which is due March 1!

I'm stressing out, obviously, but the REAL reason I'm in a bit of a snit has more to do with what I'm dealing with which is REMARKABLY similar to this:

(Especially the part about interrupting every 15 minutes for status updates. EGADS! Just let me DO IT already!)

In the meantime, things continue to go well with Jedi, though because of work I've been a bit short tempered and taken it out on him. (Not good, and I've apologized.)

Have I mentioned I'm a real estate junkie? I used to be a realtor and I LOVE LOVE LOVE looking at houses and fantasizing about buying them. Ok, I have NO money, and I already own a (minuscule) condo. Buying a place is the LAST thing I need to be thinking about but Npapaya sent me a listing recently that looks really great.
It's under $130k (Which in our area means it is practically FREE!)

I think Jedi & I are going to go look at it. Don't worry, I'm not getting carried away (yet)... this is all just fantasy so far. It would require a fair bit of financial magic to make anything happen (because he's a student and I'm poor and neither Jedi nor I have any long-lost relatives named Bill Gates. I can't help trying to think of scenarios in which this would somehow work though... (mostly because I have NO ROOM in my place! Argh! Jedi & I are tripping over each other!)

However, if Npapaya decided to bid on it I would totally let her have it, because I'm an awesome friend that way! :-p

(And this has nothing to do with the fact that Jedi & I might BOTH lose our jobs in the next two months. Gah! This economy sucks!)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

In Sickness and in Health

I had surgery two weeks ago, and even though it was billed as an out-patient procedure with an easy recovery it was, hands down, the most painful experience of my life. The worst part was getting my tonsils removed (which, on message boards I've now looked at, is often declared to be worse than childbirth. I'll let you know in 5-10 years if that is in fact the case, but I believe it.) It was an elective procedure, and I now wonder if I was out of my cotton-pickin' mind to do it.

*sigh* oh well. I'm just now starting to feel somewhat human again and as though death WOULDN'T be preferable. This means I've started to read some work emails.... Ugh. Big mistake. I now feel again that death would be preferable... Ha ha... ok, I'm just kidding.

I feel ungrateful complaining about work since about 40 people got laid off yesterday. I could very well have been one of them. (Well, more layoffs coming in a few months too... I could be one of them then...) I had a knot in the pit of my stomach about it. I want to leave my job, but I want to leave on my own terms, yanno?

I don't think my boss(es) are particularly out to get ME or that they're evil, or anything... I just feel like they only see my mistakes and never any of my successes... which makes me nervous, which makes me more prone to making mistakes... rinse and repeat ad nauseum. They're less of the "carrot" variety of management, and more of the "whip" variety of management. That's hard to take after having had some GREAT bosses in the past. I think I'm also resentful of the slings and arrows of fortune that led me to being in this job that I didn't actively seek out. I'm also discouraged because I didn't think I'd be there that long, but although I've been looking elsewhere, nothing is panning out.

*sigh*... I know this isn't forever. I know this too will end... but right now it feels like an ETERNITY in purgatory.

But, I'm digressing from the primary topic of the blog which is dating... and that means talking about Jedi.

Jedi has been FANTASTIC in taking care of me. He's been at my side as much as possible, he's been running errands, he's been cleaning... he's been emptying my puke bucket. Yes, you read that correctly. Is there anything that says LOVE more than that? I don't think so... be still my heart.
Not only that, but he did it without being asked-- which is the same way he does everything. He sees it needs to be done, and he does it.

Even though I hadn't showered in 2 weeks, and I was stinky, and pukey, and disgusting, and crying because everything hurt so much, Jedi never stopped telling me that I'm the most beautiful woman he's ever met, and that he's lucky to be with me. (Fool!)

but... but... but... on the other hand...

Jedi sometimes drives me NUTS. He's a sensitive guy, I get that. I LOVE that about him. But there are times I just want him to be MANLY, yanno, and take-charge in situations. When I'm sick, that would be one of those times.

There was a point when I was in so much pain I was in tears and holding his hand... and he started crying too. I admit, that threw me. I didn't want EMPATHY! I wanted him to say, "You'll get through this, you're strong, you're tough. I'm right here, lean on me..." kind of stuff. Not, "I don't know what to do, I wish I could take the pain from you."

Ok, ok... that's a bit nit-picky and unfair, I recognize that.

In another instance, I was bleeding excessively at 5 am. I was bleeding from my nose and throat and choking on my blood, and really certain I was going to die, there was that much blood. I was screaming at Jedi to find the number to the Doctor's after hour line, or the Hospital number (all of which were on the discharge papers), and he kept bringing me random papers like the Codine prescription instructions... I finally was screaming, "Call 911,"...

The bleeding finally stopped. All's well that ends well... but... it's in instances like that where I'd wish he was more with-it, more "take charge."

However, I also recognize that would mean he's more "take-charge" in non-emergency situations, and that probably wouldn't suit my personality at all. I know I'm taking on the more stereotypically masculine role in this relationship-- being the one who is "in-charge" and emotionally aloof and indecisive, while Jedi is content to follow my lead and is completely open emotionally. It works for us though....

All in all, I know I'm pretty lucky where he's concerned. After these past few weeks, I certainly know he's a keeper. Anyone who can deal with me at my worst, deserves me at my best (to paraphrase Marilyn Monroe.)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sickness and Health

I had surgery last week. I didn't mention it because it was an out patient procedure (Septoplasty and tonsillectomy) and I figured I'd be back up on my feet in a few days.

Whooo hooo was I wrong. I am in AGONY.

Thank GOODNESS Npapaya was able to help me, and of course Jedi has been waiting on me hand and foot, and even Jedi's mother (I guess we'll call her Queen Amidala?) took time off of work to take care of me.

I really underestimated the amount of help I'd need... And my family has all moved far away at this point. Thank goodness I have such great people in my life who are willing to step up.