I Don’t Know What I’m Doing and Other Stuff I Admit to The Dog

The poor dog. She hears stuff that normally, no one would ever say. Like bad jokes. Or random rants. Or cooking tips, because my children who are no longer children refuse to participate in anything that takes place in the kitchen besides eating or drinking so the dog hears all the valuable potentially life-saving tips the wise woman wielding the spatula has learned over the past 50+ years. Sigh. And that. She hears stuff like that. Those random mini-rants that makes one look visibly shaken or in need of heavy doses of medication. Anyone who needs a sounding board should seriously consider getting a dog. Or a cat…no really, a dog.  

Cats are temperamental and have superiority complexes that make them leave the room when they sense things are getting a little boring or heavy hearted. They can’t stand needy people, so they turn and walk away. Unless you are holding a can of tuna, then they MAY stick around long enough for you to say a couple of words. Then they will interrupt with one of their self-involved mews or leg scratching and demand you lay that can down so they can eat while you drone on endlessly about your human needs and emotionally challenged offspring. Ugh.  

Dogs will at least stand there and look at you. Stare at you until you cave and give them a treat for being so kind-hearted and loyal. They’ll sit for an hour and listen endlessly hoping you will at least drop a piece of chicken their way or a bread crumb. And then wag their tails in endless joy that you even had the time to say ‘hey’ at them. Dogs. So sweet. So loyal. So not cats.

Not that I hate cats. I do like them. I had one of my own. They just are a lot of emotional work. They like you only when it suits them and even then, it’s tenuous at best. Fickle animals. They’ll lay on your head and wait for you to pet them one minute and the next, if they sense you need a cuddle, they suddenly have a million things to do like wash their paws, or watch the birds outside or chase that string on the pillow. They are busy!  

Dogs are listeners. Perfect for crazy evening drunken tirades or silly arguments about politics. They don’t talk back or disagree. They don’t even have an opinion, unless you ask them to lay down or roll over. Apparently, tricks are tricky and can only be completed followed by a treat. No treat and no trick. Hmmm….I know people like that, too.

Mags has heard it all. Parenting woes, swear-filled outbursts, overjoyed proclamations and teary worries. She still just stares up at you and lets you get it all out…then fetches a toy so you can play, because everybody likes a good toy to throw.   


Admitting to the dog that life is a roller coaster and sucks sometimes, is different than having to admit that to a real living person. People seriously have the gall to disagree or say you’re being dramatic or have an actual opinion and then give advice and expect you to follow through! What the hell?!  

I don’t want that! Just sit there like the dog and listen to what I have to yell at you. WHY CAN’T PEOPLE DO THAT?!  

Because people are not dogs.

Too bad. There would have been a treat in there somewhere…AND I WILL ALWAYS THROW A TOY TO CHASE.  
 

 

 

Positive Parenting

With all the bad news in the world, I thought it would be a perfect time to engage everyone into tips on parenting young people.  You know.  So, we can move forward into the great unknown with a renewed sense of purpose through empowering our young people to be more positive and productive.  And because we need people to lead our universe without using the idiom of building walls or threatening minorities.  Less assholes, more leaders.  Yes, we have that power.

  1. Watch your words. They can hurt easily.  They can also provide an ongoing narrative of encouragement and support.  Your choice.   Hearing “I Love you” every day is much better than nothing.  Silence is heartbreaking.  Unless you are alone and the kiddies are safely tucked away, then it’s wine.
  1. Speak the truth. Trying to lie your way out of a question can be damning.  There’s Google and damned Wikipedia so the youngin’s think they have you covered on the information gathering.  Also, a little life truth never hurt anybody.  My quote this week of “Get used to it kid.  It’s not all lollipops and unicorns” sent D2 into a wow moment. Truth.

 

  1. A little struggle never hurt anybody. Learning anything new is hard.  Growing up is hard.  Going to school is hard.  Getting your first job is hard.  Getting out of bed is hard.  LIFE IS HARD.   We have all struggled with something.  It’s getting past that struggle and moving on that builds character.  Instead of trying to save the child, stand beside the child while he saves himself.  You will do him a grander favor by supporting, not carrying.

 

 

  1. Get a sense of humour, will ‘ya? Teaching the child that laughing at a situation instead of worrying or crying over it is a much better option.  Nothing is ever that bad, that pointing out the absence of obvious logic isn’t funny.

 

  1. Teaching compassion. We need to do this more often.  Sensitivity and learning how to be decent to other human beings is glaringly absent from social media these days.  Teach kindness.  Nice words.  Kind gestures.  Open a door for somebody.  Say something nice to your child about somebody else.  Point out something they did nice for someone.  They may have thought you didn’t notice their good deed or didn’t realize what they did, made an impact on that person.  Every action has a reaction.  Every word and deed has an impact on every other person.  It’s how the world works.

 

  1. Relationships are the crux of our universe. People need to learn how to relate to other people in order to survive.  Even something as simple as ordering from a menu, speaking on the telephone, asking directions, making appointments, etc.   If communication is challenging, then accepting that challenge and finding ways to deal with it is a big deal.  Accepting of others challenges can make and break a person’s ability to relate.  How you speak to someone stays with him for a long time.  Take your time.  Choose your words.   Young teens venture into the foray of relationships with wobbly legs and fearful eyes.  Rightly so.  It’s a jungle out there.  We can support their journey with big ears and some pointedly accurate words.  “Yes.  He sounds like he has an issue with you being funny.  Tell him to sog off.”   “Yes.  She sounds like she has an issue with you being friends with Jenny and Janet and Quinn.  Tell her to sog off.”  I joke, but not really.   Allowing the young person to tell someone when something is wrong or doesn’t feel right, is a great way to empower her.  We tell our kids to be nice and listen.  We also need to give them the right to say ‘back off’ when they need to.  It’s a balance thing.

 

  1. Bad things happen to good people. Tragedy is as much a part of life as breathing.  Unfortunately, it will touch everybody at some point.  Grief is a part of letting go.  Allowing them to grieve and feel sad and cry is allowing them to be human.  Emotions should not be put down as a sign of weakness or strength, but as a part of being a human being.

 

  1. Rise above.  By this I mean to remember to be better than the small person talking smack about somebody else.   Rise above that shit.  Be better than that.  Remember that if someone is saying something negative, return with a positive.  Like a tennis match.  She lobs a negative remark, you return with a positive.  She strikes back with a ‘but she’s a bitch’ and you hit the ace with ‘she’s had a rough week with her ex and needs our support, not our shit.’  YOU WIN.  Too often we are quick to judge or quick to put down without knowing the full story.  Get the story or say something supportive. Kids learn by example.  If you try to remember to remain positive and it becomes your reflex, your kids will follow suit.   It really is that simple.

I know I’ve spouted a lot of stuff here, but the basic message is to remain positive.  Even if the arse end has fallen out of ‘er, try to rise above.  Be better.  Be respectful.  Remember kindness.  Human dignity.  Compassion.  It can still exist.  We are all capable of rising above the small shit.  

 

Need Glue? Or An Eyeball? Ask a Mom

I wrote this on a plane whilst travelling the past two weeks.  I spied a young mother, expertly organized, travelling alone with her infant daughter.  She had a contraption that could strap the child in to her body if so desired for feeding or for sleeping, but could also release her.  She had food at the ready, toys, blanket, diapers, wipes and seemed to pull any and all of these necessities from out of the air.  I remembered the days of babies and not being so expertly organized.  I was impressed and in awe with that young mom.  The little baby had everything she needed and was content and occupied the entire 5 hour flight.  That’s why moms are awesome.  This observation is what inspired this post.  Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms who would claw out their eyeballs for their kids without blinking an eye.  Well, the other eye…

Mothers are the glue that hold the world together.  If a child needed an eye, the mom would claw it out with her bare hands and hand it to the kid.  “Here.  Take it and go.”  No questions.  No fuss.  She would just pry it out and give it up.  “Here.  I still have the other one.  No, really.  I’m fine.”

Now, a Dad may take another direction.  He would first consider the request and then start reviewing his options.  He would have to ascertain the most obviously painless way possible to remove his eye.  Surgery?  Laser?  Can it be done?  How much time would it take? I NEED PAINKILLERS.  Does the kid REALLY need my eye?!  Then, he would likely move on to solve the whole ‘aesthetically pleasing’ thing.   What would I look like without my eye?  Can I still maintain my masculine mystique with one eyeball?!  Sunglasses work for some guys, is that a permanent possibility?  Ray Bans are cool….I wonder if I get a different hairstyle, if that would cover the gaping whole in my face?  Hmmm…. Lastly, he would have to consider vision.  How can a guy see with one eye?  Would I need a cane to get around?  So much to consider.  A team would be called in.  Consultations would have to be made.  There would be meetings.  LOTS of meetings.  Reports.  Graphs.  PIE CHARTS.

For a mom, there’s just a kid needing her eye. She finds the quickest way possible to allow him to function, so why not just give him hers.  That’s it.  Simple, really.  No discussion, no fuss, a little mess but hey it’s worth it.  The kid has an eye.  Oh, the stuff he can do now that mom has given him her eye.

Sacrifice.  Dedication.  Love.

All without Pie Charts.

Glue.  Mommies are glue.

nose picker

 

 

 

A Few Words to Newfoundland and Labrador

2000px-Newfoundland_Tricolour.svg

 

I wrote this piece a few years ago when the Powers That Be were deciding whether to relocate us (mainly Hubby, we could join him if we wanted to) to another province.  I wrote it because even though Newfoundland and Labrador isn’t my first home, the one I was born and raised into, the province where I spent my childhood or even my teenage or young adult years, I have grown to be a member of its community.  To be rooted in its existence; to be placed within its confines and be a responsible member of its society.  We are raising children into young contributing adults, who are attaining education and part-time jobs, building relationships and creating independent flourishing lives.  This latest budget is like a kick in the guts for all of the work we’ve put into creating a family rooted in a flailing province.  We feel like fools for putting our lives in the hands of politicians we trusted into moving the province forward, so our children could make lives for themselves here, and maybe not be forced out of its doors with their degrees in hand and goals thrown over Signal Hill.  We were wrong.  Now, with the encroaching end of University life for two of our ‘children’, we are egging them to move onwards and upwards, out of the province into which they have grown, out of the province they have called home for all of their lives.  Out to get better jobs, better lives and a chance at moving forward.  We may be going with them.  It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve contemplated jumping ship…or were asked politely to heave-ho.  This budget may be the kick in the arse we need to get there.

 We still love it here.  We still think Newfoundland and Labrador has a lot to offer, however, we are dismayed and broken- hearted over the debacle they call fiscal responsibility.  It’s not all of ‘them’.  We did this too.  Ugh.  So, do we jump into a plane and head Westward young man with our young adults to start anew, or do we stay and weather the storm that is this brutal budget?  Tough times, ahead my friends and the decision to stay or go will be made more visible as the cuts keep coming.  I can’t sit and pretend my head is not on the chopping block.  The cuts to services like mine are always the first to get the axe.  Vulnerable populations are swatted aside in the name of ‘fiscal restraint’ and are forced to deal with already difficult challenges made even more arduous due to our inability to put humanity first.  Compassion and human dignity are too expensive to support.  And so it goes.  I sit and wait to see where my fate will fall in the grand scheme of the government’s budget. 

Thank you, Newfoundland and Labrador for the past 22 years…    

From An Open Letter to Newfoundland and Labrador

“…I’ve had the privilege of living in a world where crime was on a much smaller scale, the children that my kids went to school with have become life-long friends no matter where on the island they live, and we have had family close by and far away, but never completely gone.  From Danny Williams’, our former Premier’s mouth, came the phrase “Newfoundlanders have an innate sense of responsibility for their communities” and I have witnessed this several times over.

  There seems to be a sort of communal outpouring of care for each other that is lacking in other provinces or even towns west of our shores.  Here in St. John’s, we live in a neighbourhood that embodies that spirit.  No child can walk down our street without the mother or father being friends with other mothers and fathers.  We make sure someone is home; we make sure there is an adult present and if there isn’t by some happenstance, we step in.  That’s called community, people.  Fundraising for playgrounds, for sports teams, for Girl Guides it’s all in a child’s life and my kids have done their share.  The understanding that family is the main portion of a child’s sense of self and giving that family the support it needs to sustain a life is an inherent part of being and living in Newfoundland.  The past year we have seen many challenges to that family life, with the provincial cuts and layoffs, however, I have also seen a spirit here that will surpass these pitfalls with the never-ending belief that their home is not away, it’s here.  Even if the jobs are scarce and the times are difficult, the young people forced out to look for work in other provinces, come back with a fervor that this is always ‘home’.  We have made friends here that have become part of our family.  We vacation together, live on the same streets, share the same worries and celebrate each other every chance we get.  There’s a foreboding that this could all somehow end.  That we could lose something or someone to change.  No matter where we end up, I will have my SLS family, my family in Central, my family now on the west coast and my mainland family.    

These provincial cuts have had a hand in our impending future.  Hubby’s job is tenuous at best and with the thought of another move forging its way onto our doorstep, I can’t help but be grateful for the past eighteen years here.  We have been able to raise our children in an environment free from abhorrent abuses of power, bullying, crime and rampant drug use.  Oh sure, all those issues are here, but we seemed to have escaped their reach.  The recent drive-by shooting has all residents appalled and angry that such violence has reached our rocky shores and so we should be appalled.  So we should be angry.  This isn’t indicative of the province I have come to know and admire.  This is what happens on the mainland, not here.  A mainlander I am and a mainlander I shall always be, but crime to this speaks of higher issues and greater responsibility.   Get ye home, b’y we don’t want this shit here.  We don’t want to be like everybody else.  We are unique. We are the home of quiet acceptance and hospitality.  Warm hugs and raucous kitchen parties. Tea and biscuits kind of people.  We are Newfoundland.  The only city I know of that when a TV show is shooting in any area of town, they broadcast the street closures on the radio and then the star of the show tweets his apologies for the inconvenience.  He’s sorry that you had to detour making you five minutes late for work.  He’s from the Goulds, Newfoundland.  “Innate sense of responsibility for his community”.  Yeah. 

That’s Newfoundland.

Thanks for the eighteen beautiful years.  I’m just looking for eighteen more….

God love ‘ya.”

 

Since Summer Has Evaded Us, The Least We Could Do is Drink…Or Something Like That

Epilogue to this post

I live in Newfoundland and Labrador.  We are now experiencing a summer to go down in the history books…THE COLDEST SUMMER IN THE HISTORY OF EVER!!  Apparently, NL doesn’t give a shit about El Ninio or Global Warming. While the rest of North America is wallowing in ‘heat waves’, we sit with our woolies on contemplating using the kids bunk beds for firewood.   Apparently,  NL only cares for pissing off peeps desperate for some sun and temps warm enough that the furnace doesn’t click on and hope we have enough propane to last until fall arrives…next week.   Ugh. We have had only one day above 20C so far….

I have a lovely group of friends who tolerate my inane sense of humour and my ever-incessant need to email them on a nearly weekly basis about the happenings of the ‘hood or mainly, my life.  They seem to wander on over to my blog every now and then, but I email them out of a sense of desperate attention seeking behaviour and all the applause I routinely receive following an epic monolgue about kids and house paint.  Here is an email I wrote yesterday that they actually read.  I know because they told me.  Now I’m letting you in on the email.   Enjoy….

What up Ma Homies? (Yes, I often address them as ‘Ma Homies’.  They like tolerate it. See?  THEY ARE WONDERFUL)

I hope this fall- like weather has you in the mood to spend some quality time in front of a roaring fire and burn down the nearest weather station.  Or, like me at 6am this morning, ready to throw a brick through the television set as the anchor woman declared “it’s so hot in the Boston area right now, it’s going to get to mid to high 90’s, you should all head to the beach to cool down….” I think I heard the words ‘fuck off’ in there somewhere, and I then went a bit delirious and started talking in tongues.  I was looking for sharp objects when I thought I should get ready for work….

Right up there with the crappy weather is the onslaught of home redecorating that’s going on at our house.  Or, as I call it “The Great Paint Off”.  I’m realizing that as I paint one room, the room next to it looks awful, so I have to paint that one and so on.  There was a debate going on about colours ( I wasn’t sure about the Nimbus Gray which is actually blue, but is called grey to piss everybody off,  and question their Kindergarten education) On advice from the “paint experts” who claimed the paint darkens as it dries, I literally sat down and watched paint dry for almost an hour to see if I could notice the colour change.  Sad but true.  And it did change a little bit, but to actually admit I sat and watched paint dry, is tragic in and of itself.  AND, just to prove that I am a glutton for all out punishment, I decided to paint my backsplash in my kitchen.  OH MY GOD WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK WAS I THINKING??!!  This is where I should have a logical angel sitting on my shoulder whispering to me “ Now, Kayjai you know that’s going to be a lot of work and you will be painting and stenciling until wee hours or until you at least you go crosseyed because you know how anal you get about paint lines and colour coordination…” but no. Instead, I listened to all of the paint peeps on the internet and the glossy home reno mags that stated “Stenciling is fun, easy and inexpensive.  Can be done in an afternoon”  I GOT ONE SQUARE DONE IN AN AFTERNOON!  And, ‘fun’?  That seriously depends on your definition of ‘fun’.    Mine involves beach, sun and alcohol.  Obviously, you are limited in your fun adventures, internet-painting-peeps and glossy-magazine-editors.  Get a life.

 So, in the absence of intelligence I started…and now I can’t stop.  Two  Three days and massive hours later I have all of ONE wall done.  ONE.  That’s it. The only reason I had to shut it down temporarily is that I have a job where I have to leave the house and be available…but I really want to go home and finish the damned stenciling to then see if I like it, wherein, if I don’t, I HAVE THE OPTION TO PAINT OVER IT.  I think I’ll get a bit cranky and stabby if I decide to paint over three plus days’ worth of back breaking stenciling and listening to the remarks of “Ugh, aren’t you done that yet? Mom, I think that square is crooked”  OR, my favourite yet, “Mom, not to be critical or anything, but how are you going to finish the bottom half?  You know that that part there is kinda off from the rest right?”  STABBY.

Oh, and just to top it all off, my training for the Tely sucks, by the way.  Yeah.  I ran almost 14k yesterday and I got a sore foot and more freckles…from the clouds.  Apparently clouds gives me more freckles.  Yay me.  I’m too old for this shit.

So, hope you are all having a stenciling-free week where you can sit back, crank up the heat and drink yourselves into oblivion…Since summer has evaded us, the least we could do is get drunk enough to appreciate bad weather and poor judgement.

My love to all and if you see stencils blowing around outside, just ignore that…I plan on stenciling the sidewalk with this phrase “Fuck summer.  I choose wine.”

Kxo

The stenciling project from hell...

The stenciling project from hell…

Drive-Thru Etiquette You Didn’t Know Existed

My daughter tells me very matter-of-factly one day, that I am rude in the drive-thru. Seriously, do you even know me?

Me?! Rude to the drive-thru attendant? How is this even possible?
We are Tim’s obsessed, probably due to my overzealous need for caffeine and Hubby’s need for tea that’s made by somebody other than me. Whatever the reason, we can’t help ourselves. Whilst attending the drive-thru on the way home from work one day, the attendant person pleasantly asks for my order and, in my sincerest nicest voice ( I swear, I was nice) I give my order…or so I thought.

MOM! Why are you so rude?!” I hear from the passenger seat. D2 was appalled and looking at me like I had just turned into a Zombie and was about to snack down on a stranger’s arm. Geez, it’s not like I tried to tell her a joke, or made a Dr. Seuss rhyme out of my order like I so wanted to. “Can I have timbits in box with a fox in his sox? I do not like tea on a train or in the rain or by the plains. I do not like green tea and jam, I do not like that Swiss cheese and ham.”
I was shocked.

ME?! RUDE?! WHAT?!

Everybody thinks I’m nice…well, everybody who I declare my niceness to on a daily basis and have no evidence of the contrary, unless you count that time I called somebody a jackass for putting out notes all over the place regarding my apparent total disregard for putting my trash away when really, in my defense, it wasn’t technically ‘trash’ so much as compost and I had left it in the wrong place. Then maybe….
What was not nice about that?” I ask.
You just said ‘Yeah, give me blah, blah, blah’ DON’T SAY ‘YEAH’ SAY ‘HELLO’ OR ‘HI’”
Obviously, I missed the drive-thru tutorial on niceties and politeness while giving a Tim’s order.
Okay, former McDonald’s drive-thru chick, I’ll say ‘hi’ instead of ‘yeah’. Anything else?” I hadn’t even realized I had said the totally offensive ‘yeah’.
No, just try to be nice. They WORK IN A DRIVE-THRU FOR GOD’S SAKE”
Okay, okay….but I did say ‘thank you’!”
Yes. That’s good, but drop the ‘yeah’. It’s rude”
Can I rhyme? I want my coffee in a box with a fox….”
NO! NO NO NO A THOUSAND TIMES NO!”
So…no? Hmm…then saying ‘ yeah’ is rude?”
Yeah…I mean ‘yes’”
Hmmm….”

Ugh…”

Yummm...

Yummm…

Talking to Teenagers Mother’s Day Edition

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NOT a teen prom pic. although, it would make those grad pics a little more interesting…

Since Mother’s Day is drawing near and there are some mothers out there who need your love, I have compiled a list of tips for dealing with the strangest and complex of animals, the Teens.  Read it.  Frame it.  Present it to her on a silver tray with her FULLY PREPARED BREAKFAST, FLOWERS AND CHOCOLATE and you will be her favourite person EVER.

You. Are. Welcome.

Teens don’t want to talk to you and often appear dazed and confused at the best of times, so having any kind of logical coherent conversation is a minefield of babbling randomness or total silence.  It’s a crapshoot, really.  AND, they would rather be connected to their phones than anywhere in your vicinity.  They don’t even want to acknowledge your existence in the universe let alone in their sphere of the world, so having any kind of repartee demands skill on your part…and actually paying attention, which let’s face it, to some of us is quite difficult.

Here are some tips when talking to teens to keep in mind:

  1. They think you are lame and so far from knowing any of the real shit that goes down that it amazes them that you are able to operate a motor vehicle or any other major household appliance, so keep whatever you want to say short and to the point.  They already think you’re dumb…don’t make it worse by trying to expand your street cred with them by going on long explanations of the mechanics of making paper airplanes.  I’m begging you.
  2. Feed them first. They respond well to food of any kind and are more likely to talk to you whilst downing their fourth hot dog, than after said meal and The Walking Dead comes on.
  3. Trap them in the backseat of a motor vehicle with their friends by offering to drive them wherever they want to go. They often forget you’re there and will start spilling stuff with their bestie, unknowingly giving you fodder and further gossip for later wine dates with the other moms…not that I’ve done that of course.
  4. Don’t try to be their friends. Seriously, they have those already.  They need parents.  Do that.
  5. Try not to trivialize the drama that they have going on. My eldest is a total drama queen, while my middle child is more level headed and logical.  We see the drama emanating from D1, but instead of making fun of her, we try to be listeners and silent supporters.  She just needs to vent most times.  She vents and moves on.  AND THEN we roll our eyes and mock her endlessly…we’re allowed.  We voted on it.
  6. Humour is awesome. I think we’ve been through this before.  There’s ALWAYS a good time to use sarcasm and puns to prove a point.  They realize they’re being silly…and maybe a bit DRAMATIC.  AND then they’ll stop it to save the onslaught of mockery and endless teasing they’ll have to endure later.  Because that will happen…oh, yes it will.
  7. Using the dog as an excuse for your overprotectiveness is quite okay. For example “I only texted you a million times last night because the dog was obviously worried you would forget to feed her the next morning and was up all night pacing and panting.  So, really.  YOU NEED TO BE HOME TO TAKE CARE OF THIS DAMNED DOG.”  See?  Like that.
  8. Guilt is in your repertoire for a reason. So use it.  “You’ll be sorry for that when I’m not here to take care of you anymore because I’m locked up in some home for the insane due to the torment you and your brother and sister did to me for all of my adult life.  And THAT is why I need wine.”
  9. Hone your poetry skills for those late night texts that go unnoticed by your little darling and are spread around the bar at 2:00am to her friends who now think you are either A) a poetry genius or B) as drunk as they are. Either way, you win.  AND, don’t worry about coming up with something original.  Using Dr. Seuss rhymes and other children’s authors is highly recommended.  It makes them remember their long forgotten childhoods of you reading Hop on Pop for the millionth time when they were four. They get all sentimental and want to go home…or will text you begging for you to stop.  Yay you!  Epic win…
  10. Distraction is your friend.  Learning the art of distraction is so much a skill I highly recommend.  You can use it during an argument with Hubby: “I know, the Visa bill is high this month and Oh MY GOD ISN’T IT YOUR MOTHER’S BIRTHDAY NEXT WEEK?!  We so have to get something for her.  GET ON THE PHONE AND CALL HER RIGHT NOW! When was the last time you called her?!  WE NEED TO KNOW IF THERE’S ANYTHING SHE NEEDS. YOU MIGHT HAVE TO DRIVE OUT THERE!”   The visa bill is forgotten and it’s his fault his mother’s birthday is next week and he callously forgot…bastard.  Anyways, you can use this ‘technique’ on the kids too: “You are so right.  I had no idea that it was so difficult being you.  By the way, did you know that Sephora is going in the mall?  Have you SEEN their new website?  Maybe you should apply for a job there!  Let’s see if you can apply online…”       So, so easy….