A Moment of Silence: D*S Travesty

This! This is exactly what I was talking about. Go and behold.  And it’s even got the requisite nod to Anthropologie! Ha! I’m a genius. I’m also going to wear black today in mourning for the 110 year-old quarter-sawn old-growth oak.

My favorite line? “… applied a coat of yellow paint and distressed the finish to give it a more aged feel.” Because 110 year-old wood looks “more aged” enrobed in yellow latex that’s been sanded and then covered with contact paper? Holy hell. Norm Abrams is weeping somewhere.

One of These Things is Not Like the Other


Or: Sizing Problems in Children’s Clothing at TARGET

This picture has not been altered. Both items of clothing were smooth and spread out, and nothing is folded or tucked in any way. The waistbands are even at the top left edge.

Yesterday, on a quick run to Target to pick up more Children’s Tylenol (because Jeff has the bug now) I walked through the kids department. They had shorts for $4 each- so I stopped to look at them. Do you see what I see?

I snapped the pic with my cell, so sorry it sucks, but I think you can still see what I’m talking about. Those shorts were both in the little kids department, on adjacent racks. Both are Circo brand, by Target, both cost $4 each, and both are children’s size 5T.


Let’s see. One pair is a decent pair of shorts for a reasonable price. One pair is designed to make my daughter’s toddler butt hang out. One pair is roomy and great for playing. One pair is great for toddler pole dancing class. One pair is sturdy cotton, able to hold up to dirt and well, play. One pair is flimsy thin knit, perhaps because they are meant to be worn with fishnet stockings. One pair is cut loose and comfortable, one pair is cut skin tight and might actually show girly bits.

Target? Circo designers? Get with the freaking program! What the crap is this garbage? What’s the take-home lesson for my kids? Boys get to play, girls are objects from the get-go? Boys get to be comfy and girls get to be skintight?

The more I think about this, the more I get pissed off.

My daughter is a little girl. She will be three next month. I could not squeeze her diaper-clad butt into those size 5 shorts. She is a girl who wants to play in the mud and run around the backyard with her brothers- and she really ought to be able to do those things without her behind showing- or worse.

Does this seem unreasonable? Does this bother you, too? If it does, let Target know. While Target is notoriously bad with with customer service, and they do not allow feedback on their website, you can contact them at the Target Store Merchandise link.

Dodge and Duck

I know why the American auto companies are failing. I found out yesterday, when I finally got my rental car with three rows of seats. The car Randy delivered to me, after my incomparably disastrous morning, was none other than the Dodge Journey:


It’s a disaster on wheels. It’s ugly. It’s boxy. It’s small. It has absolutely NO visibility when looking over your right shoulder to make a lane change or turn. The interior is cramped- so much so, that even reaching for your cup in the cup holder requires contortion skills. The seats are uncomfortable. It’s hard to flip them open and back to access the rear seats, even my 7 year-old hits his head on the ceiling in the third row. If the boys are sitting in the third row, there is no room for legs in the second row. It’s dangerous to Abby’s legs, the space is so small. Forget an adult’s knee needs.

And, I’m not the only one who thinks so… a quick Google search turned up a scathing review by The Truth About Cars, and he says: 

“…the instrument panel upper is finger sink soft. But all the bits attached to it, including the protruding center stack, are straight from the bargain basement. It looks, feels and smells cheap.”

“…the driving position is an ergonomic abomination. The steering wheel rim obstructs the temperature gauge and the right half of the tach, and the optional rearview monitor is positioned at knee level.”

As if that’s not damning enough, he adds 

“And speaking of Novocain, the Journey’s driving experience is the only aspect of the vehicle that’s more forgettable than the exterior styling.”

My question is this: Why is this happening? With all the excellent automobiles out there, with all the fantastic designs, ergonomic beauties, why are American car designs so freaking butt-ugly? And not only are they ugly to look at, they are uncomfortable, and in the case of visibility, unsafe. I just don’t get it. There are car companies doing it well, making a quality product with good retention of value. There are companies making nice cars that fit your body comfortably, and get good gas mileage. So why are the Americans trying to reinvent the wheel? Why not look at what is doing well, and DO IT TOO?

Driving this disaster makes me all that much for frightened at the idea of bailing out the American Auto industry. It seems like a bottomless pit. If a company is making a sucky product, shouldn’t it fail? Nature abhors a vacuum, so another will rise and take their place, right? Maybe the next car company will be competitive with our Asian and German neighbors, and we won’t have to subsidize the American version of the Yugo.

End rant.

The Human Napkin

Unfulfilled? Frustrated with cleaning up the same mess 22 times in one hour? Sick and tired of cleaning up broken Christmas balls? Done with nagging to get homework done, flush the potty or to finish eating dinner? Had it up to here with kids begging for more toys, candy, presents, computer time, movies, video games or other outrageously expensive landfill toys.

Me too.

It must be in the air; Fed-Up-Ness seems to be a recurring theme on a whole lot of blogs right now. Count me among the masses. If I have to tell Bean to leave the presents alone one more time, I’m taking them all back. If Abby yanks another ornament off the tree, I might duct tape her little chubby hands to the floor. If Jeffrey calls grandma one more time to beg for more toys, I might roll up the catalogs he circles everything in and whomp him over the head.

I know my kids need me at home. I know no one can replace a parent in the home, and that being at the crossroads is muy importanto. So I’m here. But man, sometimes I have to agree, a trained monkey could do most of what being a SAHM entails. Seriously. OK, the monkey wouldn’t love my kids the way I do, and he might bite an owie rather than kiss it, but he seriously could do all the other mundane, repetitive, thankless tasks that take up most of my day, leaving me with little brainpower or energy to be an interesting, thoughtful, engaging woman.

I don’t have any idea how to balance this. If anyone knows, let me in on it, OK? For now, I will continue to be the trained monkey in my house, and will try really hard not to bite my kids when they knock over and break yet another widget.

Sometimes, I just want to scream: “I am more than a human NAPKIN!”

Sign of the Times

My husband just called me from the airport. He’s on his way home from a business trip, and stopped in the airport gift shop and picked up a snowglobe from that city for each of the boys, then headed to his gate.

Going through the security checkpoint, they confiscated both snowglobes. They have liquid, don’t you know, sir?

He bought them IN THE TERMINAL at the AIRPORT.  I am so stinkin’ mad, I’ve got steam blowing out my ears. What a circus. What a scam.

The kids are each getting a nice, glossy postcard.

Mailman Primadonnas

(First, my apologies to anyone who is or whose spouse is a mail carrier and does not fit this rant. But these are my observations, as of late. And I use “Mailman” in the general, so as to not neuter my subject for the entire post. I am well aware there are plenty of valiant Mail Ladies.)

When did mailmen become such flippin primadonnas? When did delivering my mail become such a terrible chore? When did “Neither rain, nor sleet, nor dark of night” get replaced by “not if you’re parked within 30 feet of the mailbox or if I have to step foot out of my mail wagon”?

Twice within the last week I have had disturbing encounters with mailmen.

While stopping to visit my husbands Aunt, I had parked about 15′ from her curbside mailbox. Getting ready to leave, I noticed the big, square mail wagon just sitting, about six feet from the curb, glaring at me. Auntie got very flustered and asked me to quickly move my car- that if I was within 30 feet of the box, the mailman would deny her dilivery and move on to the next house. That explained his angry glare and the obstinate, childish way he was just sitting. There was plenty of room for him to pull in and deliver the mail- but Auntie said he had CLEARLY told her 30 feet on either side  was what he, personally, required. To honor Auntie, I moved my car and Pissy Mailman went ahead and delivered his letters.

When I got home, I went online and checked out the USPS postal code for mail delivery standard. Check it out for yourself. Nowhere does it state a required clearance. What is stated is simply “adequate clearance for the mail carrier to deliver mail without leaving his vehicle”. Fabulous. Um, 30 feet?? On BOTH sides of the box? Can you drive at all? Can you manage your box-like wagon any better than a child? Holy crap, this is Mail Man dictatorship and mannipulation- a Napoleon complex of the finest order. A playground bully- “I’ll just take my ball and go home”. Nevermind that taking mail is a Federal offense. If I never got my mail in the first place, Mr. Mail Jerk isn’t stealing. 

Exhaling now.

Then, when out garage sale-ing last Friday, the exact same thing happened again! I was parked near a lady’s front drive, and while I admit I was far closer to the box than I had been at Aunties house, there was still clearance. Busy looking for treasure, I didn’t notice the ominous humm of the Mail Wagon approaching. An older woman tapped me on the arm, with a look of panic in her eyes, breathlessly and frantically told me I needed to move my car NOW or the Mailman would not give her her mail.  What?

This old lady was near panic. Obviously she had been tortured by her Mail Jerk recently, and was fearful of her life- or at least not getting her Social Security check. Shaking my head, and shooting the Mail Gestapo a dirty look,  I promply left.

What the holy heck is going on? Did I miss something somewhere? Is this just another bead on the long string of the Curture of Entitlement in which we live? Do the words Public Servant have no meaning anymore?

Now, I know not all mail people are like this- and I know they certainly should not have to climb over uncle Cooter’s dilapidated cars and brave junk yard dogs to deliver the J. Crew catalog. But seriously- Can we find some middle ground here? I also know there are good, kind, hardworking people who are Mailmen. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing a few by name. Mac, Norm (really) and currently, Janet, my own gem of a mail-lady.

Rant over.

Where to Put that Smiley Face…

Dear Voldemart,

It’s been nice while it lasted, but we are so through. I never want to see you again. No, I don’t even want to be friends. You suck.

You suck us in with your promises of price-matching and cheap diapers. You suck us in with the convenience of food, medicine, clothes, diapers, toys and house paint all in one fell swoop. You suck us in; us harried and stressed and time-crunched mama’s who hate dragging three kids under five anywhere, let alone three different stores.

It’s not for the politically correct reasons. It’s not because you drive out the mom & pop shops, or that you pay your employees pittance and have that dumb happy face all over. It’s not for the fact that you censure your books and music, or that you’re stingy with the benefits, or even that you don’t care when my kid gets his fingers squished in one of your broken, dirty, nasty carts…

It’s because the stuff you sell is total and utter crap. Low prices, my butt. Buying things that break, are made of substandard materials, or third-tier ingredients is not saving me any time or money, and I guess that’s a fact it took me a while to really see.

Sure, I can buy new bath towels for $4 a piece, but as soon as I wash them, they fall apart, and they don’t absorb water anyway- did you not understand that was the primary function of “towel”? Sure, I can get your store-brand of diapers, but the stuff inside gobs up and explodes on my baby’s bum- that is, if I can even get the dang thing on her without the tab tearing off in my hand. It’s the same with all of your products- wrapping paper like tissue, scissors that won’t cut anything, markers that are dry after two uses, Christmas lights that break after two days on the tree, clothes that fall apart in the wash, socks that break through at the toe after one wearing, and on and on.

And don’t even get me started on your brand of what you call “food”. You want to talk about sub-standard quality? Look no further than your canned-goods, fruit juices, dairy products and baked goods. And I use “goods” with the utmost reservations.

So, given all this, how much money are you really saving people? Oh, I know, you aren’t really in the business of really saving people money- that’s just a gimmick to get poor people in to spend what little they have on your crap. Yes, you can get a LOT of crap at Voldemart- but crap is exactly what you have when you got home, and within a short time, you will need to re-purchase all the things you thought were a good buy.

So the cheap diapers? Not worth it anymore. I would rather pay a buck or two more, and feel good about myself. Like I said, we’re done. And I’m not sorry. You suck.

Happy Holidays,

Tracy M

(Double posted at MMW today)

Mean Grannies

Do Mean Girls grown old and turn into Mean Grannies? If they do, I met up with one of them yesterday. This shouldn’t still be bothering me, but it’s stuck in my craw. (Do I have a craw? What’s a craw?)

Jeffrey is growing like a weed, and starting Kindergarten in a few weeks, so he desperately needs new clothes, particularly pants. I refuse to pay full-price for any kids clothes (or mine either, most of the time) so off we went to Ross.

Let’s just skip the joys of making a boy try on clothes; turns out my 4-almost-5 year old is wearing a size 8 jeans (egad!), that will also require cutting and hemmage. He’s always been a big kid. So I have a disgruntled boy, and I stop to look at tops. He is playing in the racks, like any boy in Ross, and I nudge our cart along the clothes-crowded aisle, flipping through the shirts. La la la….

An older lady, soon to be Mean Granny, turns onto my aisle, facing me with her cart. No biggie, polite convention would usually allow us to scootch by each other with a few pleasantries. But not Mean Granny. She is giving Jeffrey dirty looks, which I am not imagining, and not making any effort to move her cart to one side or the other. I cannot budge, and she is, litterally, at the end of the aisle. If she scooted back a foot, I could get by. But no, she’s Mean Granny.

I said “Excuse me, please” and got a sideways looks, but no other response. I stood there, uncomfotable, and wanting to ram her cart with mine, but ramming cotton-headed old ladies is not something I often do. (And she could hear me, so don’t be feelin’ sorry for her) So, louder, I say “Ma’am, could you please move your cart so I can squeeze by?”

She rolls her eyes at me and scootches her cart over just enough that I can get by if I lean over and walk partly in the racks of clothes. Incredulously, I move forward with my cart, and just as I am even with her, my foot catches on a piece of clothing under the rack (because that’s where I’m walking) and I trip. Trip like a big way, where you can’t play it of and blame the floor or something. My cart jacks up, and my foot catches Jeff in the noggin, making him burst into tears, and making me feel like a buffoon. My cart is jacked, my kid is crying, I am literally under the rack of clothes, and Mean Granny continues to just stand there, staring straight ahead with a disgusted scowl on her face. She never moved her cart!

Gathering the shreds of my pride and my poor kicked child, I kiss him, rub his noodle, and leave the store. She never moved.

In polite society, people function under certain social niceties- we smile at each other when we pass, we nod or give a small greeting- we somehow acknowledge the humanity of the stranger with whom we are sharing time and/or space. This Mean Old Lady did none of these things, and I think that is why it’s still bugging me. My basic humanity, and that of my son, was ignored.

So that’s my bugged rant for the day. Maybe now I can forget about her. I did always wonder what happened to the Mean Girls from school Guess I know now.

Rant: Boob-Nazis

Ok, I know equating breastfeeding lunatics with a political group who terrorized and practiced genocide on a mass scale is hardly fair, but it gives you a fair idea of how strongly I feel about the groups of mothers who advocate only one way of parenting, birthing or feeding your children as correct. Grrrr….

I'm talking about the women and select medical or lay childbirth and breastfeeding support that try and espouse that their way is superior to any other. Who tout (loudly) that unmedicated childbirth is better in every way, and every case than any other method, that breastfeeding exclusively until your child is eating corn-on-the-cob and can tie his own shoes (alright I'm exaggerating, but I'm hot) is the only responsible means of feeding your child. Grrrr…..

This is an ongoing problem among mothers- and I hate it. Absolutely despise it. The thing is, I have the perspective of seeing the issues of childbirth and breastfeeding from both sides. I've had my babies both medicated with wonderful epidurals, and natural, feeling all the glorious burn. I have had terrible struggles with breastfeeding, I have pumped more than a 1000 hours in my childbearing years so far, had infants who cannot nurse, sick infants who require special supplementation, breast surgery, and finally an infant who nurses beautifully. Other than a nursing baby being much more convenient than pumping, none of these things is better than another. None of them are badges of motherhood or of my feminity or my womanhood.

I don't need or want someone with an agenda, political or social, trying to tell me what is best for my particular family, or why what I am doing is wrong. The presumption of many of these groups is that "If we educate you, you will understand and agree we are right"- To me this kind of arrogance is astounding. It is also unbelievingly presumptuous- to believe there is one way of doing something (giving birth or feeding your baby) insults my intelligence. It questions my stewardship over my children, and assumes I am ignorant and uninformed. That is a mighty big assumption, ladies and gentlemen, to make about any mother who doesn't make the same choices as another. I resent it.

There is a thread in the comments on MMW right now that got me all fired up about his. I tried to stay out of it for a while, and I tried to be civil. But now I'm steamed. Folks, there are as many "right" ways of loving and caring for you children as there are mothers. Unmedicated birth with a midwife is in NO WAY superior to a hospital birth with an epidural. (And don't start throwing links and statistics at me- I'm aware of them and have read a great deal-it doesn't change how I feel at all about allowing others their freedom to choose for themselves.) Breastfeeding until your child is two may help your child's health, but there are a thousand other factors that build a child as well. And frankly, I'm ready to kick over that Column of Superiority with women waiting to "educate" me.

Just say something to me when I pull out a bottle for Abby- it might be breastmilk, it might be formula. Say something.
I dare you.