It’s Okay to be a Mother Fluffer

Growing up, my mother wasn’t as strong as she should have been, even though she loved her kids. When it came right down to it, she had taken on having five kids starting at age 17 to a man who already had two. Too much too soon will cost you!

I, on the other hand, had my children much later in life; my first at 36 and my second at 40. One might think that with my seniority, my children would fare better at survival. They’d be wrong. Although I’m more mature than a teenager, my predicament is ending up with men who felt they were young enough to go at it but too old to take responsibility for it. That’s right – single mother both times.

A typical person may believe there’s something wrong with a woman to be jilted twice in a row. Others may think there’s something wrong with the mother’s choices in partners. And, hey, I never claimed to be the most grounded person. The first time was a fortunate fluke at 36 when I didn’t think I could become pregnant. But the second time, we had discussed getting married and having a family, as well as the fact my chances were slimming in time. His words were, “If it’s God’s will, it will happen.” Apparently, it was God’s will for him to leave us high and dry because that’s what happened when the baby was not a hockey player. She’s an intelligent girl. And I’m relieved I never married him.

Screen Shot 2018-05-13 at 11.50.58 PMOn the same note, I still ended up with the most wonderful kids any parent could ever hope to raise.

Today, we all worked together and created a wind chime with tiny cork bottles; each held a teeny note created by each of us, surrounding a larger bottle to chime on.

My son made a wonderful pork chop dinner with pasta and then went outside and cleaned the interior of my car. My daughter purchased a 5-pack of Reeses Peanut Butter Cups. I gave her three. She made out the most incredible card, and this is how it read:

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So I suppose out of all my bad choices, at least two of them were right! The one aspect far different from my own parents I participate in is communicating. I speak to my children about anything and everything, although I use appropriate language. If they’re old enough to ask, they’re curious enough to get the answers from somewhere. If it isn’t me, they’ll find them somewhere else. I’d rather do it, no matter how humiliating it is. Some consider me a Mother Fluffer. That’s okay.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the single parents doing it alone. You should know by now that you’re an incredible Mother Fluffer! What do you do to earn your title?

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If Energy Never Dies, Where Does it Go?

If energy never dies, where does evil go? Physicists have spoken for years about energy and how it never grows or dissipates, it changes from one form to another. Sort of the way ice melts, changing into water. While they’ve changed physically, the components of the H2O remain the same. This is the simplified version of what I’m trying to express about energy not disappearing but changing from one place to another. So, if energy never dies, what happens when someone evil dies? Where does the energy go?

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Men of science say energy doesn’t evaporate.

 

When someone has the death penalty or anyone we consider an evil person dies, what happens next? Are there ghosts or haunted houses? The energy remains. I have a little bit of a story about this happening, although I wasn’t decked out in Ghostbuster’s gear. In fact, I was working at Utah State Prison in Draper’s administrative offices. Seeing how the experience was about a decade ago, the government offices are way behind technologically, and Utah is reportedly about an additional ten years behind our sister states, it’s not a surprise to know my job was taking the hardcopy files and typing them into electronic files. And there were rows and rows of files, practically stretching to the ceiling.

One day, shortly before my supervisor left on vacation, I turned up an interesting file which had been misfiled. In fact, it wasn’t actually one file; it was three big fat ones. They were the files of Gary Gilmore. I’m not sure if you even know who he is anymore, but he was a murderer who insisted on being executed. And, he wanted the firing squad. Controversy surrounds Gary’s father of being the illegitimate son of Harry Houdini. But, regardless of whose son he was, his father, Frank, was an irresponsible and reckless individual as was his son, Gary. The apple certainly didn’t fall far from the tree. Gary’s last words were reportedly, “Let’s do this!” With that, Tommy Lee Jones got a role in The Executioner’s Song, about this occurrence. If you get a chance, look up the story online.

 

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The shelves were jammed from ceiling to floor, both sides, and practically endless.

Anyway, as I grabbed the file, unknowing whose it was, it was crammed into the back. I felt determined to get it out, but I did it. Without glancing at the name, I plopped it on my desk and opened to begin the mundane task of typing the contents. I have to admit, many of the folders contained crimes that desensitized me a bit. For this, I’m glad that my supervisor had two men escort me from the office the day before her return from vacation. Mrs. Redding determined to take credit for locating the file herself.  But the electricity that ran through my fingers as I turned the pages, reading this intelligent man’s train of thought during these killings was evil — for sure — but it was unlike any I’d ever felt. My only thoughts are of the two people who received his corneas before his cremation. If I felt the evil run through my body from my fingertips, what of the people’s eyes? And with that energy flowing through them, was their good strong enough to win?

 

Sometimes we wake up in a bad mood and it follows us throughout the day, causing a chain of events. My daughter Nikki was waking up every morning at 4:00 and coming into my bathroom. Being a sleeper so light that an ant farting powers my eyes open, she undoubtedly awakened me by walking and finished it off by flushing. I begged her to empty her bladder before bed thinking this would help. It didn’t. It wasn’t until I took her phone, for her misuse of it, and placed it in my closet did I discover the truth. Her alarm went off at 4:00 a.m. I was angry. I immediately woke her up, describing I had been getting five hours of sleep every night because of her shenanigans. Her reply was that waking up that early allowed her time to prepare for school–except, she would always return to bed! I was the only one who stayed wide awake until taking her to school.

I was so angry, nothing else seemed to go right that morning. It wasn’t until I stopped to take inventory of myself that I made the decision to have a pleasant day, regardless of the events. Turns out, it was one of the best days I’ve had at work. Energy begets energy, whether it’s positive or negative. But, my friend, energy never disappears. So what unfortunate person roped it for his own? Honestly, I wash my hands of it. I got rid of it and so can s/he. The only point I can make for certain is I haven’t killed anyone.

 

Friend or Foe; What Should You Know?

Have you ever wondered, when you see someone in an uncomfortable position, why he or she continues existing in that environment even when it’s obviously a bad situation? Let me share a story that is great information to share with your kids or yourself.

It’s been quite a while now, but I had this mysterious bump appear on my palm between my ring finger and pinky. After I first noticed it, I also noticed the bump was getting bigger every few days. I had no idea what it was, but it felt like a rock. I think it may have been a wart. When I tried using wart solution on it, there was virtually no change over the course of a week. So I grabbed this totally bizarre idea out of the air, as I often do, thinking that nail polish is paint; and paint prevents air transmission. Without air, whatever this is may suffocate. Who knows?

Anyway, after only a few days, the bump began drying up. After a couple of weeks, I noticed a peculiar crack around it. It resembled a stone deeply bedded in the sand. When I moved it, it rocked for a few days until I was able to wiggle it free. It was like a round stone falling out of my palm. Behind, it left a bizarrely smooth crater. Needless to say, I was relatively pleased I was thinking outside the box once again. But as time went on, I wasn’t the same. I noticed when I picked things up or held them in my hand, what I was accustomed to had changed. I found myself continuously rubbing the area of the absent wart with my thumb. Honestly, in a sick way, I missed the ugly, hideous wart simply because I was accustomed to it being there for so long.

Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 10.32.45 AMThere are dysfunctional relationships like that, aren’t there? Just because we’re accustomed to something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good thing. If that were the case, there would be no frog stew. As soon as the water got warm, the frogs would leap from the pot. But they’re used to it, and they stay — forever, or at least until the chef removes them.

 

Signs of Abusive Relationships

  • When they compliment you, you feel as if you’ve been slapped
  • They cut you down and then say, “I was just kidding. Can’t you take a joke?”
  • They’re only happy if they win
  • They’re unhappy if something good happens to someone else
  • They focus on criticism of other’s thoughts and actions, trying to make others feel inadequate
  • They’re coldly calculating, blaming everyone else for their own failed choices
  • They make HUGE deals over insignificant errors, repeating them aloud so everyone knows
  • They actually enjoy seeing others uncomfortable or in pain—it’s powerful to them
  • There’s an undeniable discomfort of what they’ll say anytime they come near
  • They always seem to know what’s best and insist everyone agrees or be ousted

Now, whether it’s the career choice we’re in, with a supervisor who abuses us psychologically by talking down to us or even making fun of us; at first it’s annoying, but then we put it aside because we fear speaking up will cost us our job—and it very may well. We often make excuses for the person. They just moved. Their spouse is dying. They have a heavy workload. Whatever it is, there’s no good reason for them to take it out on the people who are there to assist them.

The same thing goes for making excuses for relationships, whether a “friend” or an abusive spouse. Perhaps they playfully slug you and joke about it, but then it becomes pinching or slapping. Then they confess it’s because of a bad day and having no ability to take their anger out directly on the person at fault, so they take it out on their support system. Afterward, they’re very sorry. They may even make a purchase to make everything all better for a while. But then, it starts again.

As the cycle progresses, the results occur more often and the intensity grows until we’re numb. It’s easier to turn off emotional queues sometimes than face the cause. The same principles apply to a group of people anywhere, whether a roommate situation, a party, the office or anywhere people convene. And there’s always that one “Debbie Downer” in the group that’s unhappy and complains, gossiping about other people in the room or office because her own life is so damned miserable, she wants others to join in on her discomfort so she isn’t so alone. These people tend to exploit the same message, “Hey, I’m important, and I know everything that’s going on, so you should talk to me.” We’ve all heard “misery loves company,” haven’t we? Well, it truly does!

Don’t worry; all is not lost when you’ve been duped.

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Here are some keys for coping:

  • Do not entrust them to do your tasks, even if they offer
  • If they manage to upset you, kill them with kindness, not sarcasm
  • Save any documentation such as text messages, chats, emails, etc.
  • Confront them in a professional and non-emotional manner
  • If speaking to them directly doesn’t work (in the office), involve a supervisor

All you need to do to keep “the warts” at bay, is as soon as you recognize them talking about someone else, whether true or not—that’s your head’s up. Because you know damned well, anything you say can and will be used against you in the next few days. Asphyxiate that wart with nail polish and stay away from negative influences that have nothing positive to add. You deserve better because you are better — you deserve positive influences, not wart-causing gossip. Share that with the people you care about.

 

If I was a goddess, I’d obviously be Durga

As a single parent, like a lot of single parents, what’s on the forefront of my mind 70% of the time is my family. Yeah, there’s a small percentage, according to national polls stating I think about sex 18.6% of the time and men are thinking about it 34.2% of the time. Think of that in a fraction! But the other part is considering supporting the decision of sex. This means the other 11.4% can be spent wondering about traffic and what I’ll do with all that “free” time after cleaning my house, shopping, and paying the bills. The remainder I get to dedicate to myself is about 2% for sleep and showers.

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Who even has time to “make babies,” much less care for them?

Back on the subject of my family, because I had to have my car inspected and registered, the impact of -$250 total added a bit of strain on our month’s finances. I felt voiced to force this concern to my kids when my daughter asked if we could buy her a onesie to sleep in this summer. As it was, we’d be canceling Spotify, the HealthyWage weight loss contest, internet, and scrimping for gasoline so I can get to work. Food will be another animal. Rent must be first, and catching up on my car payment will be second before trying to get a jump on utilities. You can see I’m a few inches short of being the financial wizard I need to be in order to make this situation work. It’s fairly frustrating.

Wednesday afternoon, my cell phone buzzed. I quickly stole a glance at my device on the way to the restroom and saw my daughter had called me in the middle of the day. Odd. I answered it, but there was no voice. I quickly called her back several times and it went to

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Who’s the freak filling her voicemail?

voicemail. I did the level-headed thinking that if “it really is an emergency, she’ll call back or leave a message.” We’ve all been there before, right? Wrong, no message or call. Then again, Nikki’s the typically unpredictable sixth grader. Who knows how she thinks?

 

At 4:00, I tried again. This time, her voicemail was full. (What lunatic’s been leaving so many messages her storage is full?) I figured Cameron would be home and tell me his sister had just arrived. Mysteriously, he didn’t answer or return my call, which is odd.

I left a message on his phone — every half hour. At 5:30, I left a message on his girlfriend’s phone as a last resort, telling her how worried I was about him. I nearly left work to come home. I was shaking, sweating, and had no concentration. My mind was going on about how Nikki didn’t arrive from school. Cameron must have found her body broken and beaten. He found it was her friend who had assaulted her before Cameron loss all sense of reality, beating the kid within an inch of his life. I was in a frenzy.

At 5:45, Cameron texted me to tell me he’d been working on his grandpa’s farm to get money so we could pay rent. I get it, I should be relieved right? I’d been worrying for nearly seven hours — two of them were intense. If I’d have left my job during my training, I would have been fired. But if I’d come home to find my daughter had been dead for seven hours and I never got suspicious, I never could forgive myself. So I was a combination of relieved, thrilled, angry, and proud. The weirdest combo I’ve ever felt at one time in my entire 51-year life. I didn’t know if I should scream with joy or go to my car and take a nap. Unfortunately, it didn’t end there.

Durga
Durga is a protective mother who promises to aid her devotees against all of the troubles in the world if only they have the bravery to stand up and face them.

Cameron said he’d gotten $30 and would donate $20 to rent. Our rent was a total of $1235 and I was short about another $30. I made an appointment to donate plasma on Saturday the fifth. That would barely allow us to pay rent on the deadline before late charges ensure, but worse, credit dings. Not good. I was hoping the Office of Recovery Services (ORS) would grace me with the full amount in time. Cameron could keep his money and we could eat! Yeah! That didn’t happen. The ORS did their typical FAIL!

What did happen was unthinkable!

Thursday, sitting at my desk and hoping some bank truck loaded with cash would crash in the parking lot just before I went home, my phone vibrated. The bank sent a message stating the amount remaining was $2.25. What?!? NO! Who in their right mind took all of the money? And nightmare of all, how in the hell would we pay rent now? Have you ever been so upset you couldn’t cry? That’s where I was.

I was distraught and didn’t talk to anyone the remaining two hours. I dragged my feet out to my car, wondering what I was going to tell the kids. This was disastrous!

Slouched in my seat, I pulled my fortune-telling phone out and peeked at my account. I don’t know why I insisted on seeing that gawdawful number staring me in the face again, but I did. I swear my heart stopped for a second. The notification I received wasn’t mine.

One-third of American's finances are up and down
With America living paycheck to paycheck, the government controlling our finances should ensure better healthcare, higher wages, and funded education.

It was letting me know Cameron had added $2 to his account. We were going to be okay. I thought. Until early this morning, my car insurance of $79 was removed, and my finances took another bite. Back down on life’s rollercoaster again like many families.

I’ll be donating a couple more times to cover the late fee and final amount. Looking at the bright side of my credit taking a hit, we’ll be able to purchase groceries. It’s not all bad. If there’s a lesson to be learned from this, share your experiences!

Mayday, Mayday, I Need Help!

Ever feel like if your phone rings one more time, you’re going to freak out? Okay, my phone seldom rings at all, unless it’s Google’s automated voice dialer trying to get me to buy ad space. But the brink of insanity tends to breathe down all our necks at one time or another. So let me lay it on you. And then, you can share your thoughts!

First, remember I told you about the conflict at work that I had with someone I thought was my friend, it turned out I was wrong? Well, before we stopped being friends, I expressed the reason for taking the position was because one of the interviewers confirmed I could utilize my degree as a scriptwriter. After all, a girl that was there last year worked less than three months before she took a job more in line with my degree. I was sold! But then I discovered that I had to be an employee in the same department for a year! When I told my “friend” this, she was upset. She had come from a collection agency, where she reportedly made fantastic money and thought this job was going to be the same thing. (In all fairness, the term “collection” is in the job title.) When I shared my findings, she said she wasn’t hanging around for a year. But I didn’t blab it around.

Last week, we had our falling out. Supposedly, she’s a psychology student. The breakdown was that she IMed me in a group message stating I should “stop acting like a child” because I chose not to participate in a company game. I quickly texted back telling her that she’s not a psychologist, and I didn’t ask for her opinion. End of story, short and sweet as it is. Well, she quit last night. I’m assuming she found the other job she’d been searching for, and she was certainly in and out of the hall a lot yesterday with her phone. However, when she wasn’t there today, everyone assumed we’d been at it again, I guess. That would be a completely wrong assumption. As I said before, I haven’t given her a second thought. I’m just a bit disappointed work is a lot like a girl’s gym locker room; everybody’s nose is in each other’s business–and it stinks! I’m not a fan of idle gossip.

More importantly is that I thought I was going to move up in three months; my car has 140,000 miles on it, and my employer is 55 miles away. Even as horrible as I am with math, I can tell I don’t have a lot of time to figure something out. I at least need to find an additional position just to make ends meet. But here’s the clincher; they’re discussing having me change my schedule for 5 weeks, working from noon until 9:00 p.m. That means I wouldn’t get home until after 10:00 p.m. through the entire week. No kids.

Mion Mayday

As if to make matters worse, Nikki, my 11-year-old daughter, told me she thinks she may be lesbian. That’s not the bad news. The bad news is she’s decided she’s not, and she can’t wait for five years so she can start dating boys! I told her before, she’s got lots of time to sort things out before dating. Somehow the lesbian idea sounds safer to me right now.

See? I can’t be gone for over a month with this little girl talking about being straight; my sixteen-year-old failing school and insisting on prom; and “Greg” threatening to bail on me. Yeah, Greg is my car. What the hell am I going to do?

My life is unraveling before my eyes! If my phone does ring now, I may scream, “Mayday! Mayday!” into the receiver. It’s ringing now. Is it you?

Education or Connections?

Every parent has high hopes for their children. Mind you, I’m not saying every person who gives the “gift of life,” but the ones who are truly vested as parents. From the time the child is conceived, our heads are reeling with expectations with either how the child may mimic our history or fare far better. As teachers, this is our goal. But how much say do we have after implanting the initials seeds for their futures at a very young age? What counts more toward their future, an education or who they know?

Screen Shot 2018-05-01 at 6.56.10 AMTake my situation for example. My kids both have successful fathers, even though they are distinct opposites. One initially lied about having a degree and used his connections to vouch for him until he had a résumé that proved what he was able to glean by reading books and taking online courses in security. He’s financially inept at planning. But without kids and responsibilities, he’s living the life.

The other works his derriere 70+ hours a week as a construction foreman. The brutal hours and physical labor are taking a toll on his 62-year-old body. By the time Sunday approaches, his fun consists of dragging his clubs onto the course for a round of golf with his sons and wife.

Even though they have past entanglements with authorities. I do not. Neither of them has a degree. I do. I even graduated with a whole bunch of awards to establish how I’m outstanding. But with all that in the past, and nearly $100k in debt, I’m forced to look at the big picture and wonder what message this sends to my kids. How can I express the importance of education when mine hasn’t fulfilled anything but debt?

Screen Shot 2018-05-01 at 6.55.10 AMI know, I know. I sound like a whiner who drew the short end of the stick. Believe me, I understand I made the decisions I’ve made. As a writer, the competition is stiff. Some writers have the ability to connect, such as my classmates from Florida who attended Full Sail University on campus. Connections are made available to them on a regular basis. A lot don’t have kids and can travel. Unfortunately, I haven’t got those connections. And they’ve been fortunate enough to have both the connections and the education.

So, what are your thoughts? Should I teach that education is important so they can have their degrees and awards to poke their chests out? Or is the new way of survival self-education? Perhaps it isn’t what’s crammed into their heads by others, but what they strive to learn for themselves.

Who Says, “Nice Guys Finish Last”?

When you’re searching for a job, you want to present yourself as perfect as possible. You’re always instructed to present the best you — display your best face — put your best foot forward. Everything is your best, your best, your best. But what if they’re wrong?

You’ve done your “sales pitch,” which is what it really is, and you’re told that they think of you as a “good fit” for the company. Then the games begin to see who got the better end of the bargain. Unfortunately, this scenario doesn’t work out well. You see, you’ve settled for a lesser paying position with the promise of more pay after you’ve proven you have what it takes to meld with the company. The last person in your job was only there a few months before her promotion, you’re told with a wink. With your stamina and ability to deliver the “yes man” standards, you’re certain you’ll blow them away. Not so fast there, buckaroo! Because you’d be dead wrong, just like I was when I said “yes.”

Either on time or early every day, even though they told you to be in half an hour earlier than the other new hire. When mentioning the obscure schedules, they “got it approved” for you to have the identical schedule as her. Nice. But now they know where you stand, push-over with a 99% adherence to schedule. And when you bring up moving forward like the other girl mentioned at the interview, another story emerges–the one that says you must work for a low wage for a solid year before you can even apply to move up.

One night, after a meeting of an hour and a half with my two higher-ups, I ran into one of my friends, Iliad. He suggested I come and work with him literally making twice the wage I am making at my current job. He says the only stipulation is that I must change the way I behave. “What do you mean?” I asked, “I give my employers everything they could possibly want.”

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“And that’s exactly what you shouldn’t do,” Iliad told me. Then he continued to express to me what made him successful at his job where the turn-over is excruciating when he’s been there for over five years. I couldn’t wait to hear Iliad’s secrets.

  1. Never be too available — Don’t offer to do anything for the company, especially community work. The company gets all the glory for your freely donated time. You get a free T-shirt so you can be a walking billboard for the company’s charity work.
  2. Don’t offer to work overtime if they ask you — only work it when you need extra money. If you need “extra money” all the time, you’re working for the wrong wage.
  3. Announce the company’s bad treatment to other employees loud enough supervisors can hear you. That way, it’s not like you’re doing it behind their backs, but you’re not complaining to them either.
  4. At any meetings where opinions are valued, never offer opinions. If they focus specifically on him and request input, he gives such an abstract and complicated answer that everyone simply nods and moves on to the next victim.
  5. Comprehend the rule of the game is “unpredictability,” because everyone thrives on the thrill of the chase — not necessarily “the win.” After all, it’s human nature.

Once I gave ample thought to what Iliad told me, I realized he was describing an interesting video I once saw; Watch it!  It’s the gamble that’s addictive. And while I’m certainly not an advocate of abusive relationships, I certainly see his point.

The other girl who was hired the same time as I was, doesn’t have the same adherence to time as I have on my schedule. She leaves very frequently to smoke, makes phone calls in the hallway, and sometimes sneaks to the vending machine if she’s feeling like a treat. She’s outwardly and directly rude to co-workers. When they’re offended, rather than apologize, she makes them feel guilty for taking it personally as if they’re overly sensitive. I’ve seen it time and time again, and they’re willing to take the blame than see the mental games she’s playing with them. They want to please her.

Meanwhile, the woman in charge of training us spends much more time training my counterpart because she feels more appreciated by the time donated to her; rather than me who’s always there and eager like a new puppy, waiting for my next bone. There’s nothing wrong with this, per se, but it’s the natural human behavior when we don’t stop to consider the reasoning — sort of like the bell that goes off when we hear about a sale. We don’t pay too much attention to the prices — it’s a sale at our favorite store!

So in my extensive meeting, names were called in of people whom I’d considered friends. I’d created projects for them, gone out of my way to greet all the people in my department, even say “bless you” anytime someone sneezes. Pathetic because all the names I had thought were my friends had declared me “malicious” in one way or another according to the supervisors. They determined I wasn’t a “good fit” after all. Point blank, either I needed to work harder to fit in or consider searching for another job.

Personally, I’m thinking the saying of, “Nice guys finish last,” is a bit more credible than I originally thought. Give this some thought and share your own insight or suggestions.