I tell my kids not to hate things. You can dislike Brussels sprouts, but there’s no need to hate them, not really. The word “hate” itself has become a buzzword for political incorrectness. No one wants to be accused of being a hater. As a parent, I should follow my own advice — lead by example and be a good role model. Still, there are things worthy of my strong, strong dislike — and maybe even the “H” word. There, I said it. There are some things I hate.
To Whom it May Concern (you know who you are): I am tired — and quite literally so — of being overlooked and underappreciated. I am not acting catty when I contend that I am maliciously maligned and misunderstood. My patience with this matter is wearing categorically thin and I demand change. The conditions under which I am forced to exist have become unbearable and I am therefore petitioning for living adjustments effective immediately, or yesterday, if possible. Complaint No.
When I was in school — and dinosaurs roamed the earth — everyone took a class called typing 101. We wrote about the quick brown fox and lazy dog using our eight fingers without hardly any effort from our thumbs. My right thumb was responsible for only one button — the space bar. My left thumb had the day off. Today, kids learn keyboarding and have probably never laid eyes on a typewriter, but the bulk of their typing isn’t done on either and typically involves nearly zero finger participation. That’s because the hipsters among us don’t type anymore; we text.
There’s been a renewed media buzz on the age-old topic of women having it all. Career plus family equals success. Cameron Diaz fueled the discussion with an announcement about not wanting kids because, in her words, “It’s so much more work to have children.” In another publicized conversation, Indra Nooyi, the chief executive officer of PepsiCo and mother of two (not necessarily in that order) admitted she doesn’t think women can have it all. “We pretend we can have it all,” she said during an interview for The Atlantic.
At our house, my husband browns the hamburger. I don’t have the patience for it. I go in with the best of intentions. I place the ground beef in the pan, turn on the heat and grab my spatula. Then I get sidetracked — with the potatoes or maybe the corn, sorting through the mail, answering the phone, twiddling my thumbs, Googling the area code for Paris. I like to consider myself the ultimate multi-tasker.
It’s become an integral part of my family’s everyday life: Charging. And I’m not talking about the kind you do at a store with a plastic rectangle — although I am proud to announce we are pre-approved at least once a week. Plugging in has become a part of our daily routine, and at my house, we’re suffering from a new-millennium malady — charger envy. It all stems from cell phones. You’ve got to keep them powered up if you want to stay connected.
I am tired. My back is sore. My arms ache. My husband put me through the ropes this weekend. He had me completely tied up with yard work. Our little project involved considerable moving of earth and sod as well as lifting and placement of 4,524 pounds of patio blocks, but that’s just an estimate. We’ve always been do-it-yourselfers. We enjoy projecting together. Some couples are good at recreating. If they found an extra pile of cash, they’d go out for a night on the town. We’d purchase a bunch of lumber or maybe resurface the driveway.
We’ve all partaken in the occasional survey — whether it be for business (customer feedback), pleasure (what’s your personality type), political purposes (donkey or elephant) or just to get a head count of your household (U.S. Census). Back in the day, I used to peruse my Seventeen Magazine in search of a survey about boyfriend types or what my nail polish color said about me. In college, I took the Myers & Briggs Personality Inventory to find out if I was an INFP, or maybe it was an ESTJ.
He bounded into the yard Saturday morning around 10 — unannounced and uninvited — with an enthusiasm usually reserved for squirrels. He was off-putting at first, in part because of his exuberance and in part because of his mouth. It had teeth and a tongue and when it comes to unknown dogs, you’re never sure which is going to take precedence. Thankfully, this 80-pound transient was all tail wags and slobbery kisses. But I didn’t know that during the first moments of our meeting. He was a strange dog.
Fledgling birds know instinctively when it is time to leave the nest. Thing is, for them there is no going back. Bird nests are high up in trees, making it impossible for baby birds to hop back up. Once they jump out, they are on the ground and must learn to find food, fly, get up early and otherwise survive on their own. Baby birds do not have any time for hokey pokey or fooling around. Move it or lose it never took on such meaning. Empty nester is the term used to describe a parent whose children grew up and flew the coop, leaving the nest empty.