Category Archives: Bones to Pick

Mind your own business

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I was getting my oil changed at Sears yesterday and a man buying a car battery took interest in the adorable little girl I was holding. There was a bit of a culture and language barrier but he seemed to be genuinely interested in learning how many children I had. It went something like this:

“Just one.”
“How many will you have?”
“Just one. Maybe two.”
“Why don’t you want more children?”
“I like my husband. I like having time to spend with him.”

And then he proceeds to share his infinite wisdom with me, the ignorant and young first time mom. …with statements like…

“You lose some of your love for your husband and give it to your children. That’s just how it is.”

Disagree. The family dynamic changes but I think its even more vital to love your husband and feed your marriage after kids enter the picture. How else can you be a good parent if your marriage suffers?  Its tougher, but its not an even exchange.

“When you’re young and you want to go out and party…”

He thought I was some sort of party animal lamenting the loss of my freedom.
And then the most blatent statement:

“Wanting more time with your husband is a bad reason not to have more kids.”

Thank you complete stranger.  Maybe you could do me a favor and carry around my babies for me while they develop inside your body, then push them out your nethers(slowly and painfully) since you feel its your job to encourage the growth of my family on your terms.  Just sayin’.

Again, I do think he meant well.  I’m irritated because he essentially said, “You’re just selfish” in a nice, fatherly way.  I think certain couples are built to handle several children–they are made for it and it shows. Each family has to make those decisions based on their temperament, needs, finances, whatever.  Each family is different.  And sometimes, we don’t have the control over those “surprise” babies, but we have some.  Planning a family takes some consideration.  I hear things like, “When are you having another baby?” sound as casual as “When are you picking up a gallon of milk from the grocery store?”

Who else has some thoughts or experience on this?

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Lord, Save Me From Your Followers…again.

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I have been sifting through some negative feelings associated with my ex-boss’s responses to my demand letter, and its hard to explain where (or toward whom) to direct my frustration.  Besides the obvious, of course.

After I sent the letter asking that the $450 be paid to me to avoid dealing with small claims court, I got a slew of infuriating responses.  The first simply stated that she does not have the money to pay me…and reminded me that taking her to court is unbiblical.  That I should pray about what I’m doing.  Ok.  Which is worse?  Me wanting to get paid, or her for not paying me?  Hmmm.  Regardless, I wanted to avoid any legal action, and replied with an idea for a payment plan.  Can she work with me on this?  Her response was a long self-righteous rambling, further accusing me of “not acting according to the scriptures”.  She also mentioned (more than once) of a 65k debt she repaid once.  I am acting out of anger and not love, etc etc.  Nowhere in these responses did she agree to a payment plan, or at least tell me she could not afford one.  The more reasonable I became, the more crazed she became until she threatened “minister” intervention for “harrassing” her.  I firmly believe you can’t argue with crazy, so I decided to drop it.  I feel peace about that.  Eric took over the emails and asked her to look at herself and ask herself honestly if she has handled this situation in a loving way towards us.  Asking her to look at herself before passing judgement on us.  Washing our hands of this…etc…etc.  Its better than the initial response of “F&*#% you, crazy b!*#%!”

Done.  Right?  No.

She tried to call me on the phone, and then didn’t leave a message.  When we got home, we found another long tirade email about how we have her all wrong…she was trying to save us from judgement because we’re in the wrong… we’re blatantly sinning, etc, etc.  After reading that email, it was unclear whether we were in the wrong because of court action or because I asked her to pay me? 

I’m at a loss of how to express how I feel about her.  I wasn’t “acting out of anger”, as she said, but by the time this whole thing played out, I WAS!  This builds on my distrust of church/Christians…in a general sense.  A large group of people who share a common belief have the potential to do great things…or great harm.  My husband reminded me that it isn’t healthy to have all of your actions motivated by fear.  I admit my current sentiments about church have kept me stalled–reluctant to open up at a new church, with the fear that we’ll be hurt again.  But it’s awfully lonely on my meager soap box, shouting that we can change the world when I won’t let anyone help.  Despite the recent situation with a not-so-pleasant Christian, I think I’d like to move out of “park”. 

Enough with the car analogies…Happy Lent everyone!!

My beef with Lee Strobel and the Modern Church

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I was just telling Eric the other day how much I dislike visiting churches–the contemporary, come-as-you-are style Christian church.  You end up leaving with an invite to a newcomers barbeque and “free gift” on your way out.  Not the “free gift” of accepting-Jesus-Christ-as-my-personal-savior-gift…an actual gift.  Usually a Lee Strobel book and a worship cd by the praise band.  We actually went to a church in VA last year where we were approached by the greeters who offered us a free gift for visiting.  I didn’t mean to be a smart ass, but I replied, “Is it a Lee Strobel book?”  The woman replied, “Why, yes!  It is!  How did you know?”

I know these things because we used to be on leadership at our church in Ithaca, NY.  We made the coffee and stuffed the newcomers baggies with The Case for Faith.  We ate bagels, picked the carpet color in our new building, and attended meetings to discuss how we could reach out to our community.

It looked a little bit like this video that was just posted on facebook about if Starbucks was run like a church.  If you’re a Christian, please watch it, and laugh at yourself.  If you’re not a Christian, just laugh.

Eric and I have changed our perspective on the concept of church since then and our tastes are radically different…due to some church implosion…its a long story.  Unfortunately for us, moving further south decreased the likelihood of finding a more free-form organic church (dare I say liberal?) group.  Its hard to find a group that’s as rough around the edges as ourselves in the formal church setting.  Notice I used the term “smart ass” in a previous paragraph.  Oh, shit.  I did it again.  And as much as I detest much of Christian culture, I still pine for Ithaca and what we had before everything went bad.

We did find an amazing Christian group in the DC area (you know who you are) made up entirely of church refugees like us.  A unique group of young poets, artists, writers and their familes were exactly what we needed to remember there are people like us nearby.  Even so, it has been a challenge finding more people who live less than 45 minutes away from us (see Still Starting Over).

So here we are…debating on whether to walk into another church.  Still investing in our artsy church group, but needing some additional support closer to home.  Not looking for the place of church, but what church was always meant to be: the people.  Here’s to starting over, and the planting roots.  And to me not being a Smart Ass.  Cheers!

The Library

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I went to the library to re-check-out the two sleep books I found useful in order to tackle daytime naps: Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child & How To Solve Your Child’s Sleep Habits.  By the time we arrived, I knew Vi needed a nap (that was the reason for my excursion!), but it would only take me two minutes to look up the books in the computer catalogue.

As soon as I put the carrier down, she started to fuss.  I tried the little-used pacifier…didn’t work.  But I picked her up and walked to the computer, and the motion calmed her down.  The computer I chose was frozen, and as I tried to make sense of it, Vi started to fuss again.  Tried the pacifier again without luck.  I promptly stuck my finger in her mouth (always works), and she was silent.  Nobody around me was phased since she was quickly quieted, so I didn’t worry too much.  Before I could decide what to do next, a librarian appeared behind me.

“Excuse me, but we have computers in the Children’s Room. I think it would be best if you went there.”

I was appalled that such a request was made of me.  How dare she?  I understand if Vi was continually fussing it might be polite of me to move elsewhere, but I believed this woman was unfairly wielding her limited authority in my direction, and it made me surprisingly defiant.  I didn’t move.  As she retreated to her circulation desk, I looked over to my nearby lab neighbors and gave an appalled look.  They sympathized.  They assured me they weren’t bothered by her.

In the end, I didn’t locate the books I wanted and was forced to vacate before the baby drew any more unwanted librarian attention.

I was surprised at my feelings toward this woman and her attitude toward some noise in the public library.  I’ve been having some new reactions to certain things involving this new baby of ours that I find fascinating.

Any comments on this? Has anyone else reacted strongly to a situation (involving their kids) that wouldn’t have ruffled their feathers in the past?