Teaching My Teen to Drive: Not as Much Fun as it Sounds

This is the car I learned to drive: My mother’s 1974 AMC Hornet Sportabout Station Wagon. ‘Cuz what teenager doesn’t want to drive around in this fine lookin’ MomWagon, amIright?

This is the car I learned to drive: My mother’s 1974 AMC Hornet Sportabout Station Wagon. ‘Cuz what teenager doesn’t want to drive around in this fine lookin’ MomWagon, amIright?

Teaching My Teen to Drive:  Not as Much Fun as it Sounds by Cindy Haney

Do you remember the first time you got behind the steering wheel of a car? For some of us, it was the scariest time of our lives, for others the most exciting. Somehow we lived through it all, and now we hardly ever think about those early days of driving.

Well, I’ve been thinking about those days a lot recently.  I’ve also been thinking about life and death, too, and whether or not I’m going to survive the paralyzing fear of handing the keys over to my daughter. Not to mention the paralyzing fear of paralysis if we hit a tree or something. I plan to wear football pads and a helmet and maintain a death grip on the door handle, just in case I need to suddenly jump out and save myself.

Amanda, 17, is learning to drive right now.  It’s one of those necessary life skills, but I can’t help but fear this particular skill. I should have signed her up last year but I kept putting it off (maybe until she’s 30?) and now she’s lagging behind all of her friends in the driving department.  Partly, it’s because of my irrational fears (what if she texts while eating a peanut butter sandwich while painting her toenails while driving?) and partly because she’s pretty apathetic about the whole thing.  If you asked her last year if she wanted to do some driving practice, she’d just shrug her shoulders and say “Meh.”  This really baffles me.  How can you care so little about learning to drive?

When I was sixteen, I couldn’t WAIT to get my license and speed off into Independence-Land.  I wanted to ditch my parents, pile all of the friends I could find into my car and go to all the “cool places” that the “Populars” hung out at, like McDonald’s on the Strip (hey, it was a small town).  My dream car was a navy blue convertible Camaro sports car.  Notice I said “dream”.   In reality, I learned to drive in my mother’s 1974 AMC Hornet Sportabout Station Wagon, which was – and I am NOT making this up  – a lovely shade of puke-colored lime green. (See photo above.)  It looked just like a bug. But not the cool Volkswagen Beetle variety, no, NO!   But more like an oversized squashed grasshopper.

It was so mortifyingly embarrassing to drive that momwagon Hornet that I used to hunker way down in the driver’s seat, you know - Justin Bieber-style, when I pulled into the school parking lot and then I’d pray that no one knew it was me driving that thing.  I’m pretty sure this was the reason I didn’t have any friends.  This was, of course, way before the days of big-ass SUVs, but that thing could still guzzle a small Middle Eastern country’s entire supply of oil just to back out of the driveway.  But no one cared about that crap back then.  Hell, gas was dirt-cheap and plentiful and we had other things to worry about.  Such as, “Does this Michael Jackson military jacket look good with my parachute pants and my spiral perm?”

I guess my Dad must’ve felt sorry for me or maybe my Mom got tired of all my gum wrappers, AquaNet hairspray and Prince cassette tapes littering up her car. So eventually he bought me my first (used) car. And when I say “used” I mean, battered, beat-up and completely worn out  — but only on the inside.  But on the outside, MAN, it was so cool, so who cares if it runs, right?  That 1979 Dodge Omni was sporty-looking (it had LOUVERS on the back window, for God’s sake) and that was all that mattered to a 17-year-old. Oh, and it also mattered that it got me to the mall so I could chase guys.  Here’s exactly what it looked like:

This was my sporty little 1979 Dodge Omni. Check out the Brochure cover with the flying jet in the background.  Hahaha! The engine was opposite of that -- a sputtering, broken-down, snail-paced failure! But, boy, did I look cool!

This was my sporty little 1979 Dodge Omni. Check out the Brochure cover with the flying jet in the background. Hahaha! The engine was the opposite of that — a sputtering, broken-down, snail-paced failure! But, boy, did I look cool!

JEALOUS?  Never mind that on the inside it was a total piece of shit.  I can’t even count the number of times that sporty little junk heap left me stranded on the side of the freeway.  And this was way before the days of cell phones, people.  Back in those days, you just waited for some Good Samaritan to come by and give you a lift to a nearby gas station.  I can’t believe I never got raped or mutilated.  I’m just lucky like that, I guess.  I even found this Auto Legend listed in a web article asking “What was the WORST car you ever had?”   Hahaha!  I told you it was bad.  That old Dodge will live on in infamy as the stuff of family legend.  It became the measuring stick for worst-case scenario cars.  Such as, “Hey, that car doesn’t even have an engine and the brakes are completely rusted out, and oh by the way, there’s a couple of dead bodies in the trunk, but it’s way better than a Dodge Omni!”

So speaking of embarrassing cars, my daughter will soon have all the makings of her own “family legend”.   You know that saying “what goes around comes around”?  Yep, well, it’s a-coming back around. Amanda will soon inherit her grandfather’s 1989 powder blue Toyota Corolla.  Awh yeah, ‘cuz what teenager doesn’t want to drive around in her grandfather’s hand-me-down clunker, AMIRIGHT?  Hey, seriously, it’s a great low-mileage car, believe it or not, and it has had hardly any problems even in it’s old age. And the best part is that it’s “payment-free”.   At least, that’s how I sold the idea to her.  Her only comment was:

“Wow. Imagine my friends’ disappointment as I pull into their driveway to show them my ‘new car’.”

This is her New Old Car:

History really does repeat itself.  Here is Amanda’s less-than-cool Grandpa-Mobile.

History really does repeat itself. Here is Amanda’s less-than-cool Grandpa-Mobile.

My husband and I can’t help but laugh our butts off.  This is very funny.  It should make for some great stories to tell her daughters someday, right?  She may not see the humor right now, but someday she will.  You see, she lives in an affluent neighborhood where most of her friends are driving new, or almost new cars.  Our family is an island of semi-poverty surrounded by an ocean of wealth.  But you know what?  This is a very important life lesson which goes beyond just learning how to drive.  It’s a lesson about learning to appreciate what you have, and working hard to earn what you want.

If she wants a better car then I expect her to work hard to get it.  Shiny new sports cars shouldn’t be handed on a silver platter to young, inexperienced teenagers.  They don’t appreciate it anyway.  It’s just wrong and it doesn’t teach them a thing about working for what you want.  I certainly didn’t get a shiny new car and neither should she.  Especially since dings and fender-benders are most certainly a possibility. But we’ll always be there to help her out and to encourage her to earn and appreciate all the big rewards in life.  I know she’ll be a better person because of it.

Now if I can just survive the required 30 hours of parent-taught driving without losing my mind or my limbs, it will all be worth it in the end.*

*Rebuttal written by Amanda:

First of all, I’ve been busy this last year.  I haven’t had time to do driving lessons since I go to school, have homework, have a part-time job that takes up my entire weekend, take voice lessons, attend choir functions, go on dates and other social outings and spend hours and hours texting and Spotifying.  Second of all, mom, YOU don’t teach me how to drive at all because you are too Chicken.  Dad is doing all the teaching because he doesn’t freak out (okay, he does a little bit).  So there.

Posted in Moms of Teenagers | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Owner’s Manual for Teenaged Daughters

Ok, this isn't really a book, but wouldn't it be SO helpful if it was??

Ok, this isn’t really a book, but wouldn’t it be SO helpful if it was??

The Owner’s Manual for Teenaged Daughters by Cindy Haney

Why hasn’t anyone out there published a guide book for raising teen girls?  You know, like back when we were pregnant, we had the ever popular “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” book series.  How about I write a book called “What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting Snarkiness and Moodiness”?

I am highly qualified to write this book. That’s right, because I am currently down in the dirty trenches of the teenaged years with my two daughters, ages 15 and 17.  Ever since they reached the age of 12, I’ve been asking myself why in the world don’t these things come with an Owner’s Manual?  I could really use one!

I have a manual for my car, a manual for my TV, a manual for my exercise machine that I’ve never actually used, and a manual for my toaster, for God’s sake.  But there’s no guidebook to tell you how to stop a teen from crying over a breakup, or how to get a teen to scrub her disgusting bathtub, or how to get a teen to understand that texting until 3:00am in the morning leads to falling asleep during the World History exam.  So I thought I’d better hurry up and write this manual before it’s too late!!  Here are the first few pages from my Guidebook:

Dear Proud Owner:

Thank you purchasing “The Owner’s Manual for Teenaged Daughters”.  It is our hope that this book will help you realize that you are not alone, and, no, you did not go wrong somewhere.  It’s all perfectly normal. Now unpack your suitcase and cancel your plans to relocate to Aruba. Relax, we have all the answers.

IF YOU FEEL YOU HAVE RECEIVED YOUR TEENAGER IN ERROR:

To determine whether you were supposed to receive a teenaged girl, please examine your teen daughter carefully. Does she:

(a)    Look very similar to your original daughter, only with a cell phone permanently attached to her right hand? Is she wearing way more makeup and way less clothing than the original model?

(b)   Refuse to acknowledge your existence on the planet and totally ignore you, except when requesting shopping money?

(c)    Sleep in a smelly mound of dirty laundry?

INITIAL BREAK-IN PERIOD:

When you first receive your teenaged daughter, you will experience a high level of discomfort, alternating with periodic bouts of insanity.  Gradually, the discomfort will subside, leaving you feeling merely traumatized. Eventually, you will become accustomed to certain teen behaviors that will cause you endless nights of sleeplessness, anxiety, stress and feelings of overwhelming guilt.  If these symptoms are bothersome, talk to your doctor about receiving an enormous amount of drugs.  Once you have adapted to these behaviors, your teenager will shock you by doing something even worse.  Try adding bottles of wine to your daily routine.

ACTIVATION:

To activate your teenaged daughter, simply place her in the middle of her favorite group of friends. Then start showing them cute baby photos and videos of her naked and singing in the bathtub. And if that’s not enough to activate your daughter, then it’s time to break out some Mister Mister, Phil Collins and Duran Duran CD’s from the 80’s and sing as loud as you can.  If this doesn’t activate them, then, I’m sorry, you have received a defective product, otherwise known as a “lemon” that you are now stuck with.

SHUTDOWN:

After several hours of activation, you may wish to shut down your teenaged daughter. There is no way to do this.  Hunker down and load up on defense mechanisms.  This could last as long as ten years.

CLEANING AND MAINTENANCE:

Teenaged daughters are a naturally clean species because they take frequent baths that last more than two hours. They will wash themselves with expensive, fragrant soaps from LUSH that cost more than your car. After they have completely drained the hot water tank, they will wrap themselves in multiple towels which they will then mindlessly strew about the house. If you ask them to pick them up, they will look at you like you’ve just spoken in Martian. Stupid you. But don’t beat yourself up about it, you’ve simply made a rookie mistake. You’ve confused “cleanliness” with “neatness”.  While your daughter will keep herself clean, she will not, and I repeat NOT, bother with neatness. Teenagers are very busy and do not have time to be neat. The will live in a perpetual state of filthiness and never even notice.  That’s what they have you for.

FUELING YOUR TEENAGED DAUGHTER:

You will need a constant fuel supply to keep her going.  This mean regular meals which must be purchased for her at nice restaurants because she detests everything you eat because “it is, like, so disgusting.”  Never mind that you spend hundreds of dollars at the grocery store every week, but she rarely eats at home because her friends and boyfriends are so much cooler to hang out with. Plus, bonus, she doesn’t have to be seen with YOU at a restaurant, because “…like, I’m so sure I want to be seen eating dinner with my parents!”  This requires even more of your money, which you are constantly shelling out, but you have no idea where it goes.  (HINT: Teenagers can survive for days on nothing but Starbucks!)

CLOTHING YOUR TEENAGED DAUGHTER:

As soon as you get your paycheck, take the entire thing and spend it at Forever 21.  Don’t even bother paying any other bills.  Sure, you’ll be homeless soon, but DAMN, that girl is going to look super awesome in that maxi skirt and those flouncy mid-drift shirts. And don’t plan on buying anything for yourself ever again, or at least until she moves out.

WARRANTY:

This product is not without defects and may occasionally break down without warning. Afterall, she inherited your genes, for God’s sake.  Don’t even think about returning her, because you are now the permanent owner. Bawhawhawha.  If you think this is unfair, go talk to your parents, who think this is really hilarious.  Remember when you were 13 and you got caught sneaking out of the house? They wished this on you. Payback is a bitch.  Your teenaged daughter will remain a teenager for as long as it takes for her to become a responsible adult, which in her highly educated opinion, has already happened, but in your parental opinion, never actually will.

If you are dissatisified with your teenaged daughter for any reason, and would like to have your sweet little toddler back, well, too bad. What did you expect?  They can’t stay little forever.  Besides, if you look really close, way deep down, she’s still there.  Which is why I’ve decided to keep her, despite the unavoidable product defects.  And I’m keeping the other one too.  It’s like a two-for-one special.  Only I’m keeping the wine, as well.  Just in case!

Posted in Moms of Teenagers | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Confessions from Prison

Life in the Cube Farm. This is me in my Cubicle Prison.

Life in the Cube Farm. This is me in my Cubicle Prison.

Confessions from Prison by Cindy Haney

I have a confession to make.  I’ve hated almost every job I’ve ever held.

Ok, maybe hate is too strong of a word.  I have felt deep resentment and frustration, and alright HATE, towards every job I’ve ever held.

I haven’t hated the work itself or (most of) the people I’ve worked with.  I’ve had some great times with some really great people and I’ve done some really great, even outstanding work. I’ve even been recognized for it. That, in itself, is rewarding.

But what I despise, what I truly hate, is the confinement, or what I like to call voluntary imprisonment. These prisons usually come complete with heartless wardens that police your every move and issue random pointless restrictions, rules, and regulations designed to kill what’s left of your individuality and your very soul.

But what I hate most is my cubicle.

I wish I could climb into a time machine and go back to visit my college self, back when I was trying to decide what to do with the rest of my life.  The conversation probably would have gone like this:

40-Something Self:  “Hey, college self, let me ask you a question. How would you like me to lock you up behind prison bars in a tiny, grey windowless box for 8 hours every single day, for the rest of your life?”

College Self:  “Um, hell no, not unless you put a gun to my head.”

40-Something Self:  “What if you got paid (very little) to do it, would you still do it?”

College Self:  “Um no, like, are you are crazy?”

But millions of us do this every day, voluntarily!  Like most middle-class Americans, I wake up when it is still dark, even when I don’t feel like it, and commute in god-forsaken traffic to go sit in an ugly grey cubicle all day long. Literally, my entire office is devoid of sunlight or clean air and has grey fabric walls, grey industrial carpet, grey painted walls and grey ceilings.  This is exactly like the inside of a state prison, which is designed to lull you into submission and kill what’s left of your personality. Except prison cells have more space, the inmates get to see more daylight, they have some reading and craft-making time, and office politics is a non-issue.  I get none of these perks.

Why do we line up like Zombies after college and beg to get locked into the corporate office space dungeon? Because that’s what we were taught.  It’s herd mentality.  Everybody’s doing it.  So I and the rest of the brainwashed sheeple follow the leader right over the cliff and into The Matrix in the name of making a living and paying our bills.  What choice do we have, really?  We were told we weren’t smart enough or rich enough to start our own business, so the prison cell is your only choice.

“Don’t take risks.”

“Don’t make waves or buck the system.”

“Be a team player, do what you’re told.  Smile and pretend like you enjoy it.”

Ever since I became a responsible working adult, I’ve always had this nagging feeling that human beings were not created to spend their lives in a sitting position, in a grey box, sucking in nasty chemical air, in total office silence, staring at a blinking screen.  I’m pretty sure this is not at all what God intended when he created the complex, moving parts of the human body.  We were created to bend, move, walk, jump, run and interact personally with other human beings.  Now recent reports in the news confirm this suspicion.  The shocking increase in obesity, heart disease and depression, especially among women, is now positively linked to 40-hr-a-week office workers.   I’ll bet this doesn’t surprise anyone.  Since I started working, I’ve become a depressed, obese office worker with high blood pressure who does what she’s told, squelches any hint of individuality, and keeps her mouth shut (but not in this blog!).

What I’m wondering is, when are companies and corporate managers going to wake up and realize that The Prison Cube Farm concept is outdated, unproductive and inefficient?  In my office, for instance, I am forced to sit here all day, even if it’s a slow day and there’s hardly any work to do.  For a huge chuck of my 8 hours, minus a 30-min lunch break and few potty breaks, I sit and stare mindlessly at the internet pretending to be busy, just to fill in a timesheet.  There’s something really wrong with this picture, people.  Companies are paying untold numbers of workers every day for doing literally nothing for hours and hours.  And what’s crazy is that upper management actually has no idea that this is going on.  I suspect that lower supervisors know this is happening, but they ignore it because they are afraid to lose their gravy train as well.

As American workers, we ought to be fed up with these claustrophobic fabric-padded cubicles and demand change.  We ought to find the courage to ask corporate owners and managers everywhere these questions:

1)      Why do we have to sit here for an arbitrary 8 hours each day?  Why not 7 or 4, who cares, as long as the work gets done?  Why not give the assignments each day, and when they are done, reward the workers who are faster and more efficient and let them leave early, instead of twiddling their thumbs for the rest of the day?  Or better yet…

2)      Why do we have to sit in a cubicle, ten feet away from you, anyway?  Don’t you trust us? Or do you just enjoy cracking the whip and making up arbitrary rules for us to follow?   If you don’t trust us, why did you hire us in the first place?  We live in the 21st century now, everything can be done by computers FROM HOME!  Why not allow employees to tele-commute, saving you millions in unproductive down time, insurance, electricity, heating, etc.  Hire only people that don’t require close supervision, give them their assignments, and let them complete them by deadline.   Who cares if it’s done between 8 and 5?  We have the internet now, so everything is measurable and traceable.  Isn’t this a better idea for productivity?

3)      Do you have any interest at all in having employees who are happy and healthy?  Imagine if you did.  Imagine the difference in productivity and profit if all of your employees were happy and healthy?  If your employees worked from home, they could go to the doctor during actual office hours instead of begging for time off and being silently sneered at for missing work. They could pick up their children after school and play with them or help them with their homework. They could plan, shop for and cook healthy meals for their family. They could exercise regularly at a decent time of day.  They could volunteer at school or help their community.  The possibilities are endless for happier, healthier workers.  And happy workers logically make better workers.

Companies today need to embrace new ideas and new ways of working. Stale grey cubicles rob wonderfully talented people of their energy and creativity. There’s something truly pathetic about the way Americans workers now spend the majority of their waking hours, hunched over, totally isolated, peering at our screens, trying to appear productive.

I know, in fact I predict, that changes are in store for the future.  I believe that the current generation, including my teen daughters, won’t put up with this kind of soul-killing cubicle way of thinking.  They are the internet generation, used to doing everything with their laptops and smart phones.  They will not tolerate sitting in one specific spot and doing everything in one specific place.  Someday, cubicle offices will be a novelty relic of the past, a thing for the history books like 8-track tapes, floppy disks, video cassette players and phone booths.

This generation is going to change things.  And thank God for that. I hope I live long enough to see it happen.

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Signs that I’m Secretly an Old Lady

This is my inner Old Lady.  She's a sassy Old Fart.

This is my inner Old Lady. She’s a sassy Old Fart.

Signs that I’m Secretly an Old Lady by Cindy Haney

I may not be elderly in years yet, but I’m fairly certain there’s a crabby old lady living a not-so-secret life inside of me.  They say age is only a number, so if that’s true than I am 101 years old. Not really. But, man, I sure am tired.  And cranky.

I used to be pretty darn “hip-and-happening” until my girls became teenagers.  Suddenly, everything I thought was cool about myself got flipped upside down.  My 17-year-old says that the mere fact that I even use the words “hip-and-happening” make me hopelessly uncool.   Apparently, everything I say, do or wear is ridiculously old-fashioned and embarrassing.  This is a surprise to me. And to think, I’ve spent the last 40-something years thinking I was on the cutting edge of awesomeness.  Who knew?

So I got to thinking about all of the things that I do that might make me seem like a Cranky Old Fart, especially in the eyes of a teenager who thinks she’s the epitome of coolness and who has a highly oversensitive embarrassment radar. If you are a mom who has unknowingly (and unwillingly) passed her prime, then you might see yourself in this list.

Here are 15 signs that I am secretly an Old Lady:

  1. If I go to a movie where there is a group of teens, like my daughter’s friends, I shush them before the film even starts, just to let them know I won’t be putting up with any shenanigans.
  2. Speaking of movies, I’m terrified of horror movies, and let everyone know it.  During my daughter’s birthday party recently, when they tried to watch a horror movie, I stormed in and gave everyone a speech about how they were NOT going to watch “that devil stuff” in my presence! (Don’t tell my daughter I read “Amityville Horror” when I was 14. In my bed. At Night. ALONE!)
  3. Whenever I get up from the couch, I’ve started making that uuuuhhhhgggrrrghh sound, and letting loose an uncontrolled fart bomb at the same time.
  4. I complain A LOT about technology. Whenever my daughters are required to “go online” to take a test or fill out a form or sign up for something, inevitably it’s “the computer” that immediately goes on strike and starts screwing up.  I says things like, “What the hell? Why doesn’t these passwords ever work?”  “Whatever happened to the good old days when you just wrote on a piece of paper?”  “Damn you, internet!”
  5. Both of my daughters love indie music, which they make me listen to constantly in the car. I find myself rolling my eyes and saying “THIS is music? Let me tell you about good music…” Then I pop in a YAZ CD from the 80’s just to prove I was once edgy and indie-cool, too. Their biggest concern is why in the world I still own CDs.
  6. I’ve started taking unintentional naps, sometimes while I’m at work. Sometimes during conversations.
  7. I’ve gotten genuinely excited over a new flavor of Blue Bell.
  8. My feet hurt so much lately that I actually bought a pair of Dr. Scholl’s inserts at Walgreens the other day.  This one scares me.
  9. Speaking of feet, we went on our first college visit last weekend.  Naturally, we chose the college that both my husband and I graduated from as our first visit. I had forgotten that the campus was so big, so we literally walked the entire day.  Guess what?  I pulled a muscle in my right calf and had to ice it down the next day.  Just from WALKING!  This is so sad. Very. Sad.
  10. The biggest deciding factor in which restaurant I go to is how loud it is there. If it’s too loud, I’m leaving.  Joe’s Crab Shack can go to hell.
  11. When I watch TV I’ve started keeping an electric blanket over my legs like Franklin Roosevelt.  Let’s don’t even talk about the Forever Lazy and the fuzzy socks I’m wearing at the same time.
  12. There’s a good chance I’ll cancel plans if there’s an episode of The Bachelor/Bachelorette on.  I’m emotionally invested and cry like a baby when there’s a big break-up.
  13. I still remember how to write a proper letter without winkie faces, LOLs, misspelled words and landmines full of grammatical errors.  This makes me really old.
  14. My entire weekend revolves around my trip to the grocery store and how many loads of laundry I can accomplish before Monday.  It’s like playing the Game of Life – the Geezer Years.
  15. My repetitive night terrors used to be about finding myself naked in English class or not being able to find my locker.  Now I wake up in a cold sweat when I dream about getting college tuition bills in the mail.  I’ think it’s best if I just avoid all sleep, thus the reason for #6 above.

If you’re a mom, what makes you worry that you might be becoming a Secret Old Lady? I’ll bet you’ve got some good ones, too!  Thanks for reading, you sassy-mouthed nincompoop whippersnappers.

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Welcoming Spring with Some Irrational Fears

Money Pooping Unicorn

Welcoming Spring with Some Irrational Fears by Cindy Haney

I took a small break from blogging because, basically, I’ve been too busy freaking out.  I have A LOT to freak out about, people, so give me a break.  Much has happened since my last blog, and I know you’re just dying for an update, since my life is just so freakin’ interesting.  Let’s talk in terms of Things I’ve Been Freaking Out About:

  1. It’s my daughter’s Junior Year of High School, and I am already TOO LATE!!!  According to every college planning source ever written, if we haven’t started visiting colleges, filling out application forms and forcing my teen to study 24/7 for the SAT exam by NOW, then I AM A THE DEVIL MOM.  Why the hell didn’t I start all of this planning FRESHMAN year?  I will never catch up with all those savvy plan-ahead types who started thinking about this stuff the minute their kids were conceived.
  2. I am, without a doubt, so BROKE, that I am one paycheck away from homelessness. What the hell makes me think college is even possible?  Sure, my daughter deserves the very best education, she’s an A+ honors student, and she’s incredibly talented, but is that enough to overcome her parent’s severe, incurable case of Financial Retardation? Sadly, probably not.
  3. We met with a College Financial Planner last week.  Dumb move.  His slick, well-produced brochures shouted the following shiny, glittery hopeful promises:
  • How to Go to College even if you are Broke
  • How to Secure the Best Scholarships, Grants and Endowments
  • How to Send your Kid to His/Her Dream College
  • How to Get Your Unicorn to Poop Rainbows Full of Free Money in 12 EZ Steps
  • ….and other Empty Promises and Bullshit Lies.

So after an hour of beating around the bush,  Mr. Ivy-League College Educated Financial Planner says he will reveal the answers to all of these promises AND MORE for the low, LOW discounted price of $4,000 bucks.  After a long awkward silence of us trying to stifle nervous laughter, we thanked him for the (wasted) time, mopped up our sweat off the floor, and got the HELL out of there FAST.  I don’t know about you, but if I had $4,000 bucks just layin’ around, I wouldn’t NEED a Financial Planner to begin with!!!  I am now MORE DEPRESSED than ever.

4. Also, I am NOT POPULAR. No one likes my blog. After obsessively stalking the blogs of other humor writers on WordPress, I’ve realized my writing is just stupid and I just can’t compete with these hilarious humorists.  I’ll never reach even 10 Likes on my posts, and I DON’T EVEN CARE.  Whatever.  I can’t do math anyway. That’s why I’m an artist. So shut up. I’m insecure….I NEED MORE ATTENTION!!  Send me a Like or I’ll die.

5. Last month, I became 95% convinced my daughter had suddenly come down with LUPUS!!!  At least that’s what hours of obsessively googling “purple hands” came up with on medical sites like WebMD.com.   It’s been an unusually cold winter here in Texas, and Amanda kept complaining that her hands were turning blue and purple.  She does seem to have weird circulation issues.  One day during an ice storm, she showed me her hands, and not only were they as icy as the sleet on my car, but they were PURPLE!!!  I freaked out and began googling the horrifying symptoms.  This is NEVER a good idea, TRUST ME.   After a day or two of sweating with this new fear, she came home from school and the conversation went like this:

ME: “Have you been putting warm compresses on your hands like I told you?”

HER: “Nah, I don’t have to do that anymore.”

ME:  “What? Yes, you do, you never do anything I tell you to…..”

HER:  “Mom, I was in choir talking about my purple hands, and the girl next to me asked me if I was wearing new blue jeans?  I said yes, they are brand new Guess jeans, but what does that have to do with anything?”

ME:  “How rude…”

HER:  “She then asked if I had washed them yet?  I said no, then she said to rub my hands on my jeans, which I did. And guess what?  Purple hands all over the place!”

I fainted right there on the kitchen floor.  THANK GOD.  Another medical crisis averted.

6. We had our Annual Education Board meeting (ARD) for my other daughter, Emily, last week.  This is the annual meeting that tests all of my strength to sit there and smile and not punch these smug educators right in their brainy heads. You cannot imagine the level of dread I experience each year with this meeting. Emily has some special education accommodations, and we have to re-hash this every year with “her team”.  I realize they are only trying to help her, but I always feel like a failure at this meeting, like I am somehow solely responsible for her inability to make above a “C” in math and science.  Actually, I am pretty sure I AM responsible and they all know it.  I can tell. Anyway, we had to agree to “reduce” her high school graduation plan to a lower level, which basically means she will be taking a less rigorous track.  It also means there is no way now that she can go to a 4-yr college.  I’ve been losing a lot of sleep over this.  Have we just RUINED her future? RUINED her life?  WHAT HAVE WE DONE?  When’s she’s 19, is she going to kill me for this?  I might deserve it.

7. And lastly, I need ALL new shoes.  My feet are getting super fat. I am 99% sure my right foot is way fatter than my left. What is UP with that?  Not to mention, my ass is expanding at an alarming Ripley’s Believe-It-Or-Not rate.  Pretty soon I won’t need a purse anymore, I’ll just my use my Rapid Ass Expansion like a kangaroo pocket for storage.  How efficient. Do I have a BUTT TUMOR?  A right foot TUMOR?  I don’t know.  I should probably start another diet FAST, but I am really busy, people.  I have to research colleges, fill out scholarship applications, grant applications, college applications, financial aid paperwork, and….. whew!

Well, now you’re all caught up with my current batch of irrational fears.  Does anyone want to loan me money for college?  Where’s that damn Money-Pooping Unicorn when I need him?

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Dear January: I Really Hate You

SAD stuck in bed copy

Dear January: I Really Hate You by Cindy Haney

Dear January:

It’s time to set the record straight between you and I.  You should know once and for all that I have never loved you. That’s right, I don’t even like you.  You, with your cruel winds, your calculating darkness, and your cold and icy heart.  I hate the way you sneak in under the cover of night, break in when I’m not looking and steal away all the cheeriness of the holidays.  I hate the way you freeze away the warm coziness of Christmas and replace it with the bleakness and despair of winter.

Sure, it was cold in December, but the Christmas lights, high spirits and family feasts seemed to keep it all at bay. My house seemed warm and toasty.  But then, from the moment I took down the Christmas tree, deflation and depression set it.  You came in like an angry wind and slapped me in the face with a cold fish.

You suck, January.

If I could hide under my bedcovers until February, I would.  I’ve asked you to take your depressive personality and never return, but you just keep coming back with a vengeance, like you have some kind of score to settle, year after freakin’ year.  Why must you come back and torment me with your endless dark days?

Oh sure, some people think you are full of Hope and Promise, bringing in the wonderful possibilities of a brand new year.  You know, new beginnings, blah, blah, blah. I say you’re full of Bullcrap. You’re nothing but a Sad Ending.  An ending to a relaxing holiday vacation, an ending to pleasant fall temperatures, an ending to family time without the interruptions of homework and obligations, an ending to the “All You Can Eat” mentality of holiday food indulgence, and an ending to any kind of time off for eleventy-thousand more days.

There’s just so damn much to hate about you.

And let me set the record straight about something else too. Us Southerners can suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder just as much as you Northerners.   “S.A.D.” is the dirty bastard child of January, and it rears its ugly head even down here in south Texas.  We can get depressed from the lack of light and cold temperatures just like you do.  Ok, stop laughing.  I know it rarely gets below 25 degrees here, it never snows or gets icy, and we even have some warm, spring-like days occasionally.

Oh, shut up. I know I’m whining.  But I still have lots of reasons to hate you, January.

For one thing, you’re a mental case with multiple personalities. One day you drench us with your wrath in the form of pouring rain, howling winds and freezing temperatures.  And the next day, you bathe us with warm sunshine and tease us with thoughts of Spring…still too far away to wish for.  This is winter in Texas.  What kind of cruel taskmaster, are you??

Another reason that are you vile, my dear January, is that you mock me in the mirror every morning  for the gargantuan size of my waistline, thanks in heavy part to the vast quantities of pecan pie and turkey gravy I consumed during the holidays. Yes, I know I’m a pig, that’s why I join the gym every January, with the very best of intentions, of course.  I’m trying in vain to ease my guilty conscience, but it takes a very strong soul to go the gym for a workout before or after work in January.  I am not that soul.  I, like most sane people, just want to hibernate like a bear besides the fire, and hope that your mocking will soon go away.

January, you are the Master of Darkness. No other month compares to the blackness of your heart.  We middle class workers have no other choice but to say goodbye to sleeping in during the glorious lazy days of Christmas break.  It’s up at dawn in the morning, driving to work in the dark, and 8 hours later, driving back home in the dark.  It feels like the middle of the night when the alarm goes off.  I blink in disbelief as my feet touch the floor and, for a second, I wonder if I’m living in an igloo.  I swear I heard you laughing in the wind this morning.

And, finally, January you are nothing but work, work, work, and zero fun.  My teenagers go back to school, and back to the endless hours of useless homework.   By the time the holidays are over, all my vacation days are gone, and there’s nothing, and I mean NOTHING, to look forward to in the foreseeable future.  So I drag myself to work, day after endless day, wondering if I’ll ever have another day off.  And it doesn’t help that, in my business, this is the “slow season” which means hours and hours of surfing the ‘net and trying to “look” busy.  That’s torture in itself.

So is it any wonder, January, that my disdain for you is so complete and all-consuming?  You are 31 days of darkness and despair.  At least I’m halfway through you, and soon it will February.

Hey, there’s chocolate to look forward to on Valentine’s day, right?  Woo-hoo!

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I Refuse to Take Any More of Your Stupid Drugs

RX Drugs are Poision_AddicXium Logo

I Refuse to Take Any More of Your Stupid Drugs by Cindy Haney

Now that it is a brand new year, we should all resolve to take better care of ourselves, which includes going to the doctor.  Especially us harried working moms who never seem to have enough time to enjoy a trip to the hair salon, nail salon, gynecologist, or even a trip to the bathroom, for that matter.  But last week, I had to make time to go to my family doctor.

Actually, my family doctor makes me show up every 3 months whether I want to or not.  (I hate her.) They take a gallon’s worth of blood from me every time I go, in a desperate attempt to discover yet ONE MORE chronic illness that they can treat me for.  It’s called job security, people.  If they can keep me sick, they get to keep their job.  I don’t know if it’s my imagination or not, but those young nurses seemed to be whispering behind my back a little more than usual this week.  I think the advent of Obamacare has the heathcare profession in a frightened tizzy.

I am convinced that the Big Pharmaceutical Companies are what really keep these small town doctors’ offices going.  I think the Marketing Execs have issued monthly quotas to these doctors.  “OK, docs, for 2014, you will be required to find ten new chronic illnesses for every patient that walks in your door. Each new illness will require a minimum of 5 long-term prescription drugs to treat them.”  I swear, this is going on. Someone should call Geraldo or Dianne Sawyer and do an investigation.

Every time I walk into that doctor’s office, she asks me the same barrage of questions, hoping to find some new symptoms to treat. “I feel fine, by the way, yes, I’m great. No, I do not feel sick. No really, I feel great. No, AGAIN, I do not want a new drug, seriously stop asking, but thanks anyway.”

Lately, she’s been trying to push a new cholesterol drug on me.  I remind her that I don’t have the “bad” numbers to warrant needing a cholesterol drug, but she keeps pushing it anyway.  This has been going on for months.  And, every time, I refuse.  Yes, I’m fat, but just because I’m fat doesn’t mean I need a cholesterol drug.   Let’s face it, when fat people walk into their offices, they hear “Cha-CHING!” and start seeing dollar signs.

I refuse to take any more drugs than I ‘m already taking.  I’m still pissed about having to take those, so I’ll be damned if I’m taking any more.  Plus, I’m not stupid, I did my research.  I read the fine print on the internet for this drug that she keeps trying to push.   So here it is below. I want YOU to read it and then tell me if you would take this poision!!!

 

Announcing the New Prescription Drug AddicXium

AddicXium is a prescription medication for the treatment of UAin’tReallySickOChondria.

UAin’tReallySickOChondria is a serious medical condition. Symptoms include the strong insistence from your health care provider that you are, in fact, sick, even if you experience no symptoms whatsoever. This is a grave condition created and propagated by your doctor in effort to further finance his/her medical practice. Your imaginary symptoms are further supported and promoted by the marketing executives of BigPharmaceuticorp and may also include your blind and ill-informed willingness to take absolutely any medication your doctor many randomly prescribe to you.

AddicXium is not for everyone. Patients who are pregnant, nursing, or may become pregnant or who are the result of a pregnancy should not use AddicXium.  This product has not been tested on actual Live Humans, but we did test it on an African Fruit Fly once. Do not take AddicXium if you have experienced an allergic reaction to AddicXium or any other drug that is guaranteed to cause a lifetime of financial problems while trying to afford this drug.  Also, do not take AddicXium if you are averse to addiction, death, or other adverse side effects.  Call your doctor, if she’s ever actually IN the office, to find out if AddicXium is right for you.

AddicXium is probably not safe and effective even when taken as directed. Side effects have been reported and may include upset stomach, perpetually empty wallet, flatulence, drowsiness, drunkenness, depression, uncontrollable screaming, rashes, insomnia, nervous tics, tourette’s outbursts, confusion, numbness of any kind of feelings whatsoever, sensitivity to light and darkness, night terrors, day terrors, feelings of wellness followed by feelings of impending death, paranoia, delusions of grandeur, hallucinations, especially hallucinations involving rainbows and leprechauns, and last but not least, an unusually high probability of death.  These side effects are mild to moderate and may or may not increase over time.  We don’t actually know. If you experience any of these side effects, stop whining and tough it out, you big sissy.  Whatever you do, do not ever stop taking AddicXium, even you are directed to by your doctor to do so, because stopping AddicXium may cause a sudden drop in blood flow to your vital organs, and more importantly, may cause a dangerous and irreversible drop in BigPharmaceuticorp’s profit margins.

Serious side effects associated with AddicXium are rare because when serious side effects are reported to BigPharmaceuticorp, we bury them in a black filing cabinet in the basement and announce that they were caused by something you ate instead.  Rarely, if ever, do we report such side effects to the FDA, which rarely, if ever, give a crap even if we do.  If you develop an addiction to AddicXium, then the marketing executives at BigPharmaceuticorp will throw a large party in your honor, because that is exactly what we hope will happen. Duh. If you experience a sudden loss of consciousness or the cessation of all vital signs, stop taking AddicXium immediately and call your doctor.

See?  I made the right decision, didn’t I?  I think I’ll stay alive a little while longer, thankyouverymuch. You can keep your stupid prescriptions and I’ll keep my slightly elevated cholesterol.  Plus, I’m going to lose a bunch of weight soon, so that ought to really piss my doctor off. HA!

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