Saturday, November 9th, 2013
I hope my level of bad judgment has hit rock bottom. If it has, then if can only get better from here. It doesn’t get much worse. Unless you’re an elderly lady who buys into scams. If you are, you at least have an excuse: you’re old. Your brain isn’t working the way it is supposed to. The AARP has warnings for you. For me, I wonder if someone gave me a lobotomy in the night. Or fed me a 24-hour mentally incapacitated pill. Here goes:
I bought 33 pounds of meat. From a door-to-door meat salesman. He drove what looked like a 1980 beat-up Datsun pick-up. I wrote him a check for $400.00.
I’ll start the sentence with my main problem: “I was in a hurry.”
It seems I’m always in a hurry. This is where bad decisions happen.
So…I was in a hurry to pick up Fia from school. I was putting Emmett’s shoes on when the doorbell rang. A young kid, probably 25 with baggy jeans and a t-shirt was at my door smiling. He told me he had just delivered meat to my neighbor “Nancy” and he had some left over. He could sell it to me at a really great price.
“You know, like Omaha Steaks, except it’s better.”
(Side note: door-to-door scammers often reference a neighbor named Nancy, Susan or Mark, because there is usually one on every street).
Totally frazzled and frantically looking for my keys, I said, “I don’t have time. I have to go pick up my daughter from school.”
“It will only take a second,” he said and disappeared to his truck (which I hadn’t yet seen or I think–and dear god, I hope–I would have reacted differently).
Next thing I know he is in my living room pulling out cases of burgers, filet mignons, T-bones, 4 types of marinated chicken (8 breasts each, so 32 total), etc. Everything is wrapped tight and stamped. With what, I’m not sure. Just some numbers to probably make it look “official.” The boxes say “VIP Steaks” or something like that. It seemed legit. If you’re a moron.
“We’re moving in a few weeks,” I said. “It doesn’t make sense to buy all this.” Then I added (stupidly), “Though I do have a lot of family coming in for Thanksgiving to feed.” Boom, he had me. He even offered to find room in my freezer. He said he could stock it in 30 seconds.
How can I be a strong-willed, semi-paranoid, decisive, generally smart (I think) woman and mother and wife and do such an idiotic thing? My only excuse is months of broken sleep (Em is still a wildcard in the night) and a huge house renovation that I’m in charge of. Not to mention the schlepping of Fia five days a week (though Phil takes her to school in the morning), along with the timing of Emmett’s naps which have to be over before I get Fia, blah blah blah. It’s a daily puzzle and a constant race against the nap clock, the school clock, the packing-up-the-rental-house clock, the we-are-soon-moving-and-our-new-house-is-still-a-construction-zone clock. That’s why I haven’t been posting as much lately.
I regularly have 17 things swirling in my brain. I’ll be driving and suddenly words like “POLISHED CHROME FIXTURES!” will come into my head. I have always prided myself on multi-tasking but the daily decisions are killing that talent. I’m not dealing with life or death things either. My kids, thank god, are healthy. We are happy and comfortable. But my brain is clogged. I need a plunger.
Back to me and Meat-Man: I realize there are so many wrongs in this story. I let a complete stranger into my house and my freezer. Phil was working from home in his study above the detached garage. I like to think that I would not have let someone in if I had been home alone with Emmett. But it’s not like Phil would have necessarily heard me if I screamed.
I am paranoid already of the food chain. For god’s sakes, I wrote a blog about how upset I was when I found out I bought tainted berries. I buy organic. My relatives are ranchers in the cattle industry and I have long debated buying directly from them so I know exactly where my meat comes from. And yet, yet…I let this total stranger/potential axe-murderer in my house????
Me and Meat-Man finished up our money transaction in which he gave me a business card that proclaims him owner of his company. Then he asked me for a tip.
“You’re the owner of the company and you want a tip?” I said.
“I do a lot of driving and I have an almost 2-year old daughter. I’m just trying to make it, ya know.”
He reminded me of a far less polished version of Jesse on Breaking Bad. (Yo.)
Guess what? I gave him $60. Cash. He left; I grabbed Emmett and went to put him in my car. It was then I saw his truck. There was cooler in the back that had S-T-E-A-K stenciled on in red.
As I drove to get Fia I began to curse myself. I picked her up, high-tailed it back home and started to search the Internet. His website was a shell of a site. I could have designed it and I barely know how to turn on a computer. But more worrisome were the many news reports across the country of people getting scammed into buying meat. Bad meat. Unrefrigerated and unregulated meat. The reports went on to say that if you do buy it, make sure you buy from a licensed dealer who drives a refrigerated, well marked truck. I failed on every count.
I think that white Datsun will forever haunt me.
Now his meat may have been perfectly fine. I am pre-judging. But the bottom line is I had a major lapse in judgment.
I frantically called the bank while throwing Panda Puffs to Emmett to keep him occupied. I had already plopped Fia in front of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.
I managed to stop payment on the check–a $30 fee. I could live with the tip money plus this, so $90 lost for a lesson learned. But then realized, I still have all the meat. F–k. Which meant…. breathe, breathe, mantra, mantra…. I had to go tell Phil. It was better to involve him than find myself turned into cube steak.
I took Fia and Emmett to his office. He was in a meeting with a director. I had to confess to two very smart men how dumb I was. I profusely apologized for bringing Meat-Man into our lives.
He told me to go call the guy, tell him my husband doesn’t want it, pack it up and leave it on the doorstep. I did as I was told. Mid-way packing, the doorbell rang. Luckily at this point Phil had walked in. I looked at him pleadingly.
He carried the boxes to the door. He was very polite but firm. Meat-Man was frustrated and getting defensive. Then he asked if he could come in and cook us some steaks to prove how good they were. If I could have I would have signaled the slit across the throat gesture to Meat-Man because that, well, um, was never going to happen.
Shamed and embarrassed, I told him this was my entire fault, I was sorry, and that I had also stopped payment on the check.
“I’m going to incur a fee for that, ya know,” he said. (No “Yo”… for anyone who watched Breaking Bad).
Phil didn’t–and still doesn’t–know I tipped him (hopefully he won’t read this).
“Do you want $30?” I asked. I just wanted this over with.
“No,” said Meat-Man. “I want your business.”
Phil stood firm and Meat-Man left.
Phil went back to work with the director.
I went inside and watched Daniel Tiger.
The doorbell rang again.
Through the window I saw Meat-Man.
“Yes?” I said, while opening the top of the door (it’s a Dutch door).
“I just called my bank. It’s $35 for the bounced check. I want it.”
Phil was suddenly behind me. I went and got $35. Phil shut the door and walked away, not saying a word to me.
In total, I lost $125.00 and my dignity. I have a husband who doubts my sanity. I have no food to feed the flock that is coming for Thanksgiving. And I feel like an imbecile. This is not my finest hour.
I hung this sign on my door. I downloaded a meditation app. I hugged my kids.
I think I might become a vegetarian.
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Meat pic via Shutterstock
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AARP, bad judgment, BBB, Better Business Bureau, butcher, consumer protection, door-to-door meat salesman, door-to-door scams, elderly, meat, meat salesman, preying, raw beef, raw meat, scams | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips, Moving to Los Angeles
Monday, November 4th, 2013
When it comes to toys, I think the gender-neutral argument is tricky. I learned in my Women’s Studies classes in college how the marketing of products towards women often reinforced negative stereotypes. Part of that I agree with. But part of that class I kind of want to call bullshit on, now that I have a boy and a girl and see what they naturally gravitate towards.
I’m not saying just because my boy likes trucks and my daughter likes to bake is proof that gender neutrality doesn’t exist. I’m just saying I think it’s hard to take a rigid stance, because kids are ultimately human beings and each of us comes into the world with natural, inherent differences. I think kids show what they are interested in from an early age, regardless of how much you try to keep their toys, surroundings, etc. “neutral.”
Having said that, I think as parents we have a lot of control on how to guide those interests. Companies market the princess crap and kitchen stuff to a heinous level for girls, and trucks and building sets to an unapologetic level for boys. It’s exciting to see Easy Bake Ovens coming out for boys and a Barbie Construction Set for girls. As many articles point out, it’s not a black and white issue. My guest blogger, Joe Depropero, wants his sons to play with dolls.
For me, I’ve noticed core differences in having a boy versus a girl. Emmett has always gravitated towards cars, trucks and more masculine things, like fire hydrants (his current obsession). Of course now Fia loves hydrants too because she likes anything he likes and vice versa–at least for the split second before they start fighting over it. When Fia was carrying around her baby doll, I got him one too because he kept taking hers. Now, at nearly 22 months, I don’t even know where his doll is.
On garbage mornings, we run out when we hear the truck. He screams in delight. If we are driving and he sees a cement mixer, he freaks out like I would if I saw Madonna. He also loves to sit quietly (up to 30 minutes) and page through his books, looking closely at each picture or trying to figure out how a toy works.
Fia was–and is– different. She honestly never cared about trucks, construction sites or hydrants. It’s not for lack of exposure. Her best friend from birth is a boy. She was exposed just as many cars and trucks. She will play with them for awhile, but she just isn’t interested in the same way. However, because she wasn’t around girls who were obsessed with princesses (thank god), so far, she hasn’t shown much interest (at least I think that’s why). Generally speaking, she’s not a girly-girl and she’s pretty content to play with whatever is in front of her.
I have a mom friend who said her 4-year old boy loves pink and purple. He also loves construction and trucks. She said most of his friends were girls. So again, I think inherent nature along with who they hang out with and what they are exposed to, is what makes the most difference.
Where parenting comes in: I wouldn’t push the princess thing on your girl or make your boy car-crazy. I think there’s a lot of danger when you push hard one way or another and I’m very wary of the marketing. Especially towards girls. I proudly posted last week how relieved I was that Fia wanted to be a pig– not a princess–for Halloween. I hope she never gets into that stuff. She is though, a born nurturer. Whether it’s with the cat or her stuffed animals, she has this maternal way about her. So why not nurture what she likes in moderation?
I guess that’s the key. Moderation and choice. What do you all think? Is there such a thing as really and truly raising gender-neutral kids? And if so, is that even right? I feel like this is sounding like a term paper so I’m signing off. Will look forward to your thoughts!
Is your little one destined to be an artist or an architect? Take our quiz and find out! Plus, find the perfect flick for your next family movie night, we’ve got 50!
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Barbie, boys, dolls, Easy Bake Oven, fairytales, gender neutral toys, girls, girly-girl, Princess, sexist stereotypes, sterotypes, trucks, Women's Studies | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips
Monday, October 28th, 2013
I was never into the “princess thing” growing up. That’s not to say I was a total tomboy. Just partially. I loved running free outside. My mom owned a plant store and we’d get these giant shipments of plants in huge boxes. My siblings and I would use them to make forts in the yard, begging our parents to let us sleep in them. Back then, we lived in the country on an acre of land. Now that old house is surrounded by a subdivision. Whenever I’m in State College I avoid going to it. It’s too depressing.
But back to the doll thing: Fia prefers pets to princesses, bugs over Barbies. So far, I’m breathing a big sigh of relief. I hope it stays that way. Regardless, if she goes the princess route, it won’t be because I pushed it on her. But I’m kind of hoping she doesn’t get into it. I don’t really want all that crap, err, clothes and wands all over the place. Plus the whole connotation of a princess is a damsel in distress; a girl who needs rescuing. Granted there are more modern–and positive–takes on princesses now than when I grew up (thank god) but it’s just not something I want to embrace head-on.
When it came time for Halloween, thankfully “princess” was never mentioned. Instead, she wanted to be a pig. Specifically Olivia, who does have some princess outfits. But generally speaking, Olivia is a minimalist so even her princess get-up would be cool. Fia wanted to look just like the stuffed animal version we have.
Now, I’m not saying anything is wrong with being a princess. She’s been Abby (from Sesame) and a butterfly in years past, both of which have princess elements. But what if when she gets older, I present her with an even better idea of what a girl could be? I wish I could pull these pictures and post them, but they are embedded in the link below.
Here’s the gist:
Photographer and mother Jaime Moore wanted something to find something creative and inspiring when taking pictures of her 5-year-old daughter. She searched around but only came up with things like how to be a Disney Princess. So she started thinking about what she could do on her own. Here is what she came up with.
Wait at the end to see the 6th picture…
Helen Keller and Laura Ingalls were my childhood heroes. Who were yours? Do you like the ideas from Jaime for costumes? I think when Fia is a little older and could understand what it meant, it could be really amazing to dress like women who changed the world. Who knows, maybe all our girls will change the world. Mine is a Sagittarius so she’s off to a good start.
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costumes, damsel in distress, Disney Princess, dressing up, Halloween Olivia, Helen Keller, Olivia, pig, Princess, princess connotation, Susan B Anthony | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Milestone Monday, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips, Moving to Los Angeles, Must Read
Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013
Here’s a good question: when do you stop getting in the bathtub or shower with your kids? Fia will be 4 in a couple months. Em will be 2. I find it fun to jump in with them if I need a quick wash or if they’re begging me to get in. They love it when I do because then they try and torture me like they perceive I do with them, ie: pouring water on my hair that gets into my eyes. Except I don’t cry.
We play with bubbles, they pour nice warm water down my back, and then I wash their hair at an angle that causes less agony than when I do it tub side. (Fia hates water on her face so if I can lean her up against me and tilt her head, we have less chance of getting water in her eyes than if I’m outside the tub with a cup.)
So when is the statute of limitations for this sort of thing? Granted I know some moms breastfeed their babies until they’re 6, so I’m sure the range of response to this question will be vast. For me, I’d want to err on the conservative side of this question. I wouldn’t want to traumatize my kids with the memory of, “My mom took a shower with us when we were 12.”
So generally speaking, do you stop before the age of 6? 8? Earlier? Is it different for a mom-daughter equation and a dad-boy equation than it is for mom-son and dad-daughter scenario?
Why do I feel creepy writing this? Why do I feel like I need to shower right now…by myself? Perhaps it’s because I simply can’t imagine them growing up past this perfect and innocent stage and going through puberty. Or wanting privacy. It all seems so foreign. Right now they are my babies and none of this “age-appropriate” stuff comes into play. But it will. So I’m asking….
Plus: Are you an attachment parent or positive parent? Then, check out our free growth charts to see if your toddler or preschooler is on the right track.
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Friday, October 18th, 2013
I don’t want to wish away the time with my kids. I know it goes fast. But there is one thing I am seriously excited about when they turn 6: the ability to give them cough medicine.
Don’t get me wrong: I don’t like to medicate if I don’t have to. Or, if alternative therapies worked, I’d be all game. But at times, there is absolutely nothing that helps Fia’s chronic cough. Last week her cough turned into walking pneumonia. I’m convinced it’s because of her coughing that hard for that long, night after night, not sleeping, that wears the whole body down. So what is worse? Giving them a small dose of cough medicine or letting it turn into this? Now she’s been on hard-core antibiotics for five days. Yes, the cough is gone, but did it have to get that far in the first place?
I get the body is supposed to learn to fight on its own and during the day it can. But at night when a kid is puking because he or she is coughing so hard? It’s just wrong. I mean, we’ve managed to build the Hadron Collider, figuring out the physics of the universe and yet I can’t give my kid relief in the night?
I got so fed up with her cough last week. This, after she was gurgling in her throat from all the mucus. I did the nebulizer twice, both inhalers, and had the humidifier turned up so high the moisture made it feel like the Amazon Jungle. Emmett then started to cough so hard he started throwing up. So while Phil slept with her propped up on pillows, I slept holding Emmett upright in the rocking chair.
The next night, as it all started again, I gave Fia Benadryl. She slept like a baby. Em and I had to just plow through because being under 2, I get that he’s too little to do much.
But generally speaking, it’s so f–king frustrating I want to scream.
Months back when her cough was bad, the Vicks Vapor Rub on her feet was an absolute miracle. I still use it on both kids, but the results aren’t as impressive.
Fia has asthma fits that become exacerbated when she gets a cold. I’ve been to a pulmonologist and the pediatrician countless times. Everyone just kind of shrugs, since there is nothing they can do.
So why can’t we give our kids cough medicine? Because in 2007 the FDA looked at the limited studies and said that the amount required to help a cough is too strong to give kids under 6, Many of the pharmaceutical companies voluntarily recalled it for infants (which, frankly, is impressive for an industry that is all about money). The kids cough medicine you see on the shelves today won’t give any dosing for kids under 5 or 6. Now part of this decision is due in part to people not following directions properly and overdosing kids to a fatal level.
The thing is, it is hard to distinguish between all the medicines. I have to read the dosing sheet from my pediatrician’s office at least 3 times to make sure I’m doing it right. There is a huge, potentially life-threatening issue if you don’t distinguish between a regular formula of Motrin or acetaminophen and the concentrated drops. This American Life had a heart-wrenching report on babies dying from mistakes in acetaminophen dosing.
Back when they took the medicine from the shelves, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association said the products were being pulled “out of an abundance of caution.”
It went on to say that…potential misuse of the medications, not product safety, is driving the voluntary withdrawal.
I asked my pediatrician about it and she said that all cough medicine has really been proven to do in young children is put them to sleep. Ack. Argh. That’s all I’m asking for: something where she can sleep and not be exhausted night after night from coughing. But she said if there is a cough that needs to work itself out and you are basically drugged asleep, it can be incredibly dangerous. So I’m not faulting all this, I’m just saying that for all of you who had kids before the rules changed, count yourselves lucky that you missed sleepless nights of aggravating coughs.
I’ve tried the homeopathic remedies and the humidifier. If’ it’s a minor cold they might work. But a major cough? She’s screwed.
So unless I decide to “go rogue” and just do it myself (which plenty of my friends have done, as did parents whose kids were born before 2007) I just have to wait 2 1/2 more years. Maybe on her 6th birthday I’ll do a goodbye cough-themed party.
Is anyone else frustrated about this? Or does anyone have any suggestions?
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acetaminophen, asthma, benadryl, cough medicine, FDA, humidifier, inhaler, motrin, nebulizer, Pediatrician, pharmaceuticals, pulmonologist, Vicks vapor rub | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations