Sunday, May 27, 2018

This Is The Last Blog Column I'm Dedicating Towards Defending What I Publish, Our Stance, And When We Speak Up

Since embarking on Our Big Bodacious Painting Project on May 12th, I've published a few blog columns that have ruffled feathers. Curled some lips. Inspired a few souls to send me colorful messages and emails expressing their opinions on my candid tongue. As a writer and a woman who is brutally honest and doesn't beat around the bush, this came as no surprise.

If you're interested in reading the posts that sprayed gasoline into the fire, you can find 'em here and here.

Before I continue, you should know a few "tips of the iceberg" things about me.

I don't sugarcoat stuff.

I don't beat around the bush.

I'm direct. I'm honest.

I have no issues confronting a situation in real time.

I'm well aware that resolving issues entails presenting your side appropriately.

After working in group homes for teens, being a residential counselor, teaching Independent Living for over a decade on and off, being a mediator for teens and their parents, and tutoring high school and college kids, I recently retired from those services.

But, that door isn't quite closed yet. I'm seriously considering offering military school style Independent Living courses because living in this day and age, most of the teens and young adults could use a strong dose of this approach. 

You should also know a few "tips of the iceberg" things about both Lisa and myself.

Lisa will be 50 in August. I'll be 45 in December.

We were both raised by hardworking parents who instilled hardcore work ethics and morals.

When growing up, we were expected to do our best in school. And to contribute to the household at a young age and beyond by means of chores and other duties as they surfaced.

Our parents didn't have to ask us to do these chores and beyond. We. Just. Did. Them.

That included, but was not limited to, housework, preparing dinner, outside work like mowing the lawn and shoveling the driveway, taking out the trash, and/or tending to things that came up on a whim.

We were not allowed to sit on our asses all day and night playing video games or talking to our friends on the phone.

Those privileges and "the extras" in life had to be earned.

If our parents asked us to do something by a certain time, we did it. Without having to be asked. Without having to be reminded. If we failed to do so, there were consequences. We lost our game consoles, stereo systems, and phone privileges for a few days or even a week.

By the age of 15, we had jobs. We worked part-time on the weekends during the school year and full-time during the Summer season.

On top of that, if friends or family members needed help because of a sudden illness or home renovations, we were expected to assist. Again, we didn't have to be asked.

Helping out ranged anywhere from delivering meals and baked goods to spending an entire weekend helping out with home renovations, yard work, chores, etc.

I remember countless times, as young as 12, baking cookies and pudding pies and lasagna. I also remember spending an entire Saturday or Sunday filling in nail holes with plaster and/or painting, doing yard work, and/or helping out with indoor chores.

Lisa can speak of the same.

With all of that being said, and once again reiterating that's just the tip of the iceberg, this is the last blog column that I will be dedicating towards defending anything I publish. 

I do not personally direct any blog column to a particular person. Instead, I write about things that inspire me within the realm of my Work at Home Dog Mom Life and beyond.

Trust me, after working at home online for over a decade, my world extends far beyond the end of our road.

My motto has always been, and will continue to be, "If the shoe fits, wear it." Instead of having a knee-jerk reaction to something I publish, take a few steps back. Ask yourself why. If it pings a nerve, there is a reason. Figure it out.

Trust me, when you spend an entire week painting trim, and walls, and cabinetry, without having anyone to talk to, you're left alone to do a lot of thinking.

That happened last week when Lisa returned to work and I continued with Our Big Bodacious Painting Project.

I had a lot of time to paint. Think. Reflect. Contemplate. Reevaluate. Put a lot into perspective. Gain a tremendous amount of clarity.

One thing that kept surfacing over and over and over again is this...

If I'm put in the perpetual state of having to explain myself or defend my blog columns, both online or in person, there's a problem...

The operative word is, "problem..."

Is it my problem or yours?

For example, the year after we moved here, we had a friend over for dinner. She brought her 15-year-old son. Our friend, her son, and Lisa sat at the table while I was putting the finishing touches on dinner. I could hear a video game of sorts in the background. About a minute later, Lisa spoke up.

"Hey, kiddo. We don't allow phones at our table."

He ignored Lisa. Our friend kept chatting away about this and that. When she was done talking, Lisa told her that we don't allow phones at our table.

"I allow him to use the phone at our table as long as the volume isn't too loud. Is it too loud?"

"It's not too loud. We just don't allow phones at our table."

There was an awkward silence.

"May I ask why?"

"Because phones and video games and other electronic devices don't belong at the dinner table. When we invite people over for dinner, it's because we want to share a meal and enjoy conversation."

"Oh. I see. Okay. Personally, I don't think it's a big deal, but I'll respect your wishes."

Our friend instructed her son to put his phone away. He was not happy and he wasn't shy about displaying his aversion to our rule.

Not. Shy. At. All.

From that point on, the mood changed. I could tell our friend was irritated. Her son started acting out. Our friend was continuously interrupted by her son's ornery behavior.

"I don't see what the big deal is. It's a stupid rule. I hate it here."

Our friend just shrugged her shoulders.

"Kids these days."

When her son didn't stop, she told him they'd be leaving soon and he could continue his video game in the car on the way home.

Not even 15 minutes after dinner, our friend informed us that she was heading out.

"I'm sorry I can't stay for dessert and chat longer. Maybe next time."

She gathered her things. Before heading out the door, she paused.

"I absolutely adore the both of you. And, Lisa, you're one of the best cooks I know. Please don't take this the wrong way. But. Neither one of you has kids. I respect that people have house rules, but sometimes, you have to give in. Your rule of no phones at the table really upset my son. I don't see what harm it would have done for him to sit there and play his video games while we visited."

That's when I stepped in...

"Please don't blame us for your son's behavior. Our rule had nothing to do with how he acted this evening. The problem is his inability to respect the rules outside of his home. And, that problem stems from how you have chosen to raise him. His behavior this evening should warrant consequences, not the simple solution of leaving early so he can continue his video games."

I walked out of the room. We haven't heard from our friend since.

Back to the here and now...

At this point, I'm throwing up my hands. I am who I am. I am a Work at Home Dog Mom who is a hard worker. Lisa is the hardest worker I know. We take pride in our home, our kids, and everything in between. Over the years, both Lisa and I have done an immeasurable amount of good for others. We will continue to do so. We are so proud of that. We have no regrets.

But, even the kindest of souls have limits. We're both there. 

The past 2 weeks have opened our eyes to a lot of things. Some I've written about. Most I haven't. As the month of May wraps up, we're making some changes effective June 1st. They're not earth-shattering changes. Maybe a few here and there might be apparent.

As mentioned, one of those changes is I will no longer be defending my blog columns both online or in person.


By apologizing, I'm dampening our pride, spirit, and who we are and, in essence, apologizing for our work ethics, morals, and how we were raised.

There is no reason to apologize for that. It's actually quite sad that it's become a dying art and effort. Most of the youth today disgusts me. 

Our pride stems from who we are now. We're hardworking. We work for what we have. We're always extending random acts of kindness. We've given substantial discounts on work we've done, and continue to do, for others. At times, we've worked for nothing.  We have given up what little free time we have to assist others. We have bent over backward.

Over the past couple of weeks, our tribe has grown smaller.

That's fine.

If you continue to demand explanations and apologies for the blog columns I publish, our stance, or the times we speak up, you know where the door is.

On the other hand, for those scattered few, who actually get it, thank you.

It doesn't matter what angle I view the past 2 weeks from. We've lived. We've learned. We've gained insight. Confidence. Empowerment. Strength. Perspective.

And, my book, which I've decided on a title, is taking on an entirely different angle.

I choose to take all experiences and turn them into lessons.

When all is said and done, we're stronger, wiser, and less budgeable.

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