#1: Why I hate Halloween

holiday matrixIt’s not hard to figure out why this particular Sad and Desperate search term hit my site since I wrote a post titled Why I hate Halloween. That post, however, dealt with the specific and heinous practice of employees wearing costumes to work, a “tradition” I abhor. Dear reader, there are plenty of other reasons to dislike Halloween!

It destroys perfectly good linens. I don’t know about you, but I prefer not to lay my head on a pillowcase that has been dragged through every lawn in our neighborhood.

It’s heck on those costly braces. Chewy candy is bad. Bad, bad, bad. But how can one resist a whole pillowcase full of it?

It kicks off the holiday eating season, that depressing time of year when you watch the numbers on the scale go up while your energy and enthusiasm go down. (Although in my family, the holiday eating season kicks off even earlier with the celebration of Canadian Thanksgiving, not because we are Canadian, but to accommodate other family commitments, iffy November weather, and one family’s annual November 1 departure to Florida.)

The acceptable age to “trick-or-treat” seems to be going up, and the older the trick-or-treater, the less effort goes into the costume. I expect any year now to be opening the door to a bunch of college students dressed as, well, college students.

Over the years, I have found only one thing to like about Halloween – the neighbor one block over who hands out beer to the adults in the party. Thank you, dear friend.

 

A disclaimer: While it perhaps shouldn’t need saying, let me remind you that I have no credentials, training or certifications of any kind that would qualify me to mete out advice to anyone. This is a humor blog. If you don’t find it funny, well, that’s another issue.

Search Terms of the Sad and Desperate: Holiday edition

holiday matrixIt’s on its way, that moment you’ve all been waiting for – the continuation of Search Terms of the Sad and Desperate, the series in which I offer advice to the searchers whose terms hit my blog.

The series has been on hiatus since Andre and his friends hijacked my traffic, but since they seem to have moved on to other b-grade content, I’m picking it up again with a holiday series. Sort of like the second half of the final season of Mad Men, and the Downton Abbey holiday episode all rolled into one!

Stay tuned over the next few weeks while I answer questions and respond to musings like:

Why I hate Halloween

Why do some people dislike dressing in costumes

Holiday task planning for kids

Bad gifts

Company Christmas party on Christmas Eve, and a particularly sad entry:

Finally the day is over

Not a holiday post, you say? I beg to differ. Stay tuned…

#8: I wish I’ve never worked too hard

desert

Today’s Search Term of the Sad and Desperate is “I wish I’ve never worked too hard,” and its companion term, “I wish I’ve paid more attention to those grammar lessons on past tense.”

OK, I made up that second one. I crack myself up.

Dear person who has worked too hard,

Buck up! This is America! We are all about working too hard. If you’re not working too hard you are probably dead.

(An aside: I realize this could be someone from a country other than the U.S., but I’ve chosen to believe this is a person who is instead contributing to the gradual erosion of the English language. Besides, most of my international visitors these days are looking for porn videos.)

Where was I? Oh, yes…Dear person, this is the home of the free and the land of the over-scheduled. Maintaining a ridiculous level of activity is how we validate our existence. Haven’t you ever heard of productivity? Let me run it down for you. When you perform work you are an input. What you produce is output. The goal is for output to exceed input at a steadily increasing rate throughout all time. Otherwise, productivity goes down and we all suffer the consequences of a dismal economy.

I am a firm believer in productivity. That is why my to-do list always gets longer, not shorter. Oh, wait a minute…technically it should get shorter as my productivity goes up. Or the list should get longer first and then shorter. Or…

OK, let me try this another way. If you don’t have enough to do, it will eventually impact your self-esteem. You will see others rushing by you, too busy to pause and it will dawn on you that you are unnecessary to…to…

Huh. Thing is, I don’t want to rush around. Maybe ever-increasing productivity is not my goal! I want time to contemplate nature, think great thoughts and take a shower.

I think I’ve talked myself out of this. Go ahead and take the day off.

Read the series:

Anxiety dreams involving my kids 

How do I talk to my surly teen? 

I have only one child but laundry and housework never end

Life is not a competition

How to relax and enjoy your children

Gym class was never like this

Your husband’s fashion sense

 

A disclaimer: While it perhaps shouldn’t need saying, let me remind you that I have no credentials, training or certifications of any kind that would qualify me to mete out advice to anyone. This is a humor blog. If you don’t find it funny, well, that’s another issue.

#7: Your husband’s fashion sense

desert

My husband’s fashion sense? Now, why would the initiator of this sad and desperate search term want to know about that?

If you are one of my readers, you may already be convinced that my husband has no fashion sense based on the clothing he buys me. But he actually dresses himself quite well when the occasion calls for it.

He wears nice suits and shirts. He’s often the only one in a meeting with a tie on. And he has a collection of antique cuff links that’s really quite impressive.

But like many of his species, he’s inconsistent. He went through a short-sleeved Oxford shirt phase that was truly unfortunate (I accidentally donated these shirts at one point.) He often has to consult me to see if something matches (he bats about 500 on this count.)

And, of course, the garb he wears at home is composed primarily of early-90’s novelty t-shirts, rugby logo-wear, and baggy sweatpants. But my yoga pants-wearing self can’t argue much with that.

So while I’ll give him “has a tailor with a good eye” I don’t think I’d credit him with the fashion sense necessary to address this individual’s needs.

Fortunately, he doesn’t read my blog so there’s little chance his feelings will be hurt.

By the way, I conducted minimal (that is to say no) due diligence to make sure the aforementioned search term was not the title of a porn video. But I think I can pretty safely say that no porn videos were harmed in the writing of this post.

Read the series:

Anxiety dreams involving my kids 

How do I talk to my surly teen? 

I have only one child but laundry and housework never end

Life is not a competition

How to relax and enjoy your children

Gym class was never like this

 

A disclaimer: While it perhaps shouldn’t need saying, let me remind you that I have no credentials, training or certifications of any kind that would qualify me to mete out advice to anyone. This is a humor blog. If you don’t find it funny, well, that’s another issue.

#6: Gym class was never like this

desertUsually, in my installments of Search Terms of the Sad and Desperate I offer advice to visitors whose search terms hit my blog. But I’m not sure the originator of today’s topic, “Gym class was never like this” is seeking advice. I think he or she is just making a statement to the world.

But I’m intrigued. Is this someone who loved gym class and wishes that all life was like gym class? Or is this someone who huddled in a corner of the gym hoping no one would notice? In my experience, there is no in-between.

I’m picturing someone in a cube at the office, feeling either hateful or joyful, making a comparison to a past in the gym.

Here’s what I think might have been going through this person’s head if they hated gym class and love their job:

Gym class was never like this because…

  • …we didn’t get to eat during it.
  • …it made us sweat while right now I am basking in a frigid blast from the AC.
  • …I never get picked last here.
  • …at work we don’t have to swim and then go directly to a meeting.
  • …I can sit in the same chair all day if I want to.
  • …my boss is not a sadist.

But if this person loved gym class and hates their job, they might be thinking:

Gym class was never like this because…

  • …we don’t get to “accidentally” hit each other with field hockey sticks here.
  • …humiliation of others was tolerated, and sometimes openly encouraged.
  • …I was always picked first.
  • …those who violated the rules got a foul or better yet, got kicked out of class.
  • …now, I have to sit in the same chair all day.
  • …the gym teacher was not a sadist.

How about you? Did you hate gym class? Love it? How would you finish this sentence? I am dying to know.

Read the series:

Anxiety dreams involving my kids 

How do I talk to my surly teen? 

I have only one child but laundry and housework never end

Life is not a competition

How to relax and enjoy your children

 

A disclaimer: While it perhaps shouldn’t need saying, let me remind you that I have no credentials, training or certifications of any kind that would qualify me to mete out advice to anyone. This is a humor blog. If you don’t find it funny, well, that’s another issue.

#5: How to relax and enjoy your children

desertToday’s installment of Search Terms of the Sad and Desperate, where I offer advice to visitors whose search terms hit my blog, tackles the thorny topic: “How to relax and enjoy your children.

Is this a question or a personal development program? If the latter, I should probably sign up.

Because even I, who am able to dispense completely unqualified advice on many topics, cannot answer this one. I’ve never actually done both things at once. I am able to relax on occasion, even with the children present, but to say that I am enjoying them in those moments might be going a little too far.

Why, you ask? Well, if I could ignore the multitude of dangers that lurk around every corner, pretend I’m not putting off a huge list of inevitable tasks to spend time with them, and navigate their constant squabbles I guess I might be able to relax.

I’ve never professed to be a fun mom. I make no apologies. Fun is not my natural state. For me, life is not a garden of earthly delights. It’s more like an overgrown plot of intriguing weeds. (And for my children I’ll add, “Sorry, grow where you are planted.”)

So I think I’ve met my match here. This question requires a professional relaxation consultant.

Read the series:

Anxiety dreams involving my kids 

How do I talk to my surly teen? 

I have only one child but laundry and housework never end

Life is not a competition

 

A disclaimer: While it perhaps shouldn’t need saying, let me remind you that I have no credentials, training or certifications of any kind that would qualify me to mete out advice to anyone. This is a humor blog. If you don’t find it funny, well, that’s another issue.

#4: Life is not a competition

desertIt’s time for yet another installment of Search Terms of the Sad and Desperate, where I offer advice to visitors whose search terms hit my blog. Today’s topic: “Life is not a competition.

Au contraire. Everything is a competition.

I think most of us accept that humans have always competed at the most basic level for sustaining items like food, shelter, or mates. But when you become a parent, you realize that as a species, we are meant to compete for everything, and that sibling rivalry is a manifestation of survival of the fittest.

My children compete for all-important things like:

  • The chicken breast with the fewest grill marks.
  • The front passenger seat. (I have seen them nearly come to blows over this one.)
  • The best seat for viewing the TV.
  • Junk food, should there be any in the house. (They will even unabashedly steal this from each other and then deny it in the face of overwhelming evidence.)
  • Who had the best grades/at bat/season.
  • Who had the worst day/teacher/bout of strep.

And the list goes on. Feel free to add to it.

As a parent, my role seems to be to vindicate whichever party gets to me first and/or award privileges based on completely arbitrary criteria. The loser just has to take their lumps.

I figure it’s good preparation for their later life in the workplace.

Read the series:

Anxiety dreams involving my kids 

How do I talk to my surly teen? 

I have only one child but laundry and housework never end

 

A disclaimer: While it perhaps shouldn’t need saying, let me remind you that I have no credentials, training or certifications of any kind that would qualify me to mete out advice to anyone. This is a humor blog. If you don’t find it funny, well, that’s another issue.

#3: I have only one child but…

desertToday’s installment of Search Terms of the Sad and Desperate, where I offer advice to visitors whose search terms hit my blog: “I have only one child but laundry and housework never end.

Stop right there, all you parents of multiple children! Do not mock the poor soul who posed this thought! Instead, think back to how overwhelming it was to have that first child, back before you let your standards slide to unthinkably low levels.

Take it from me – I am the Queen of Relaxed Standards, as evidenced by the fact that one of the search terms used to hit my blog is, in fact, “relaxing your standards”. The only way to cope with housework is to accept that it will never be done, you will never like it, and even if you can find someone else to do it for you, they will not do it the way you would do it. Standards are based, at some level, on averages, right? Someone has to be below average.

Still, I wonder about the motivation of this reader. Are they contemplating a second child, but feel as if they are staring into an abyss of laundry and dishes? Are they questioning their ability to cope? Are they measuring themselves against someone else’s nearly impossible example?

Laundry and housework never end. It is one of the immutable laws of nature. There is a poetic beauty to that first shirt deposited into the empty hamper. That lone dish in the sink. The dust motes in your newly-vacuumed living room.

Embrace housework and laundry, oh sad person, they reaffirm our existence. They remind us that we are here to live another day, dirty another pair of socks, track grass clippings into the house, spill a bottle of nail polish on the furniture. These events, these items, are the very stuff of life.

Yeah, right. Even I can’t drop my standards that far. Just get out that dust cloth and get to it.

Read the series:

Anxiety dreams involving my kids 

How do I talk to my surly teen? 

 

A disclaimer: While it perhaps shouldn’t need saying, let me remind you that I have no credentials, training or certifications of any kind that would qualify me to mete out advice to anyone. This is a humor blog. If you don’t find it funny, well, that’s another issue.

#2: How do I talk to my surly teen?

desertToday’s installment of Search Terms of the Sad and Desperate, where I offer advice to visitors whose search terms hit my blog: “How do I talk to my surly teen?” and its variations:

  • How to communicate with a surly teen
  • How to communicate with my surly silent teenager
  • How do I speak to my surly teenager
  • Teenager very surly when ask them to do something

First of all, let me pose a counter-question: Why do you want to talk to your Surly Teen? If you can consider foregoing this, it is relatively easy to do, given that most teens only communicate when they want something. Just follow one of these easy methods:

Method 1: Never initiate communication. 90% of the time, this will avoid the need to engage in conversation. Most teens will not converse with you as a matter of course. That would require them to look up from their phones.

Method 2: Pretend you don’t hear them. The best way to do this is to create noise doing housework the teen doesn’t want to do. The response, “I can’t hear you over the vacuum/garbage disposal/lawnmower” will eliminate all but the most desperate requests.

Method 3: Tell them to ask again when they are able to do so in a civil tone. Since it requires nearly impossible effort for a teen to speak in a civil tone, your problem is solved.

And for the reader who asked, “When does teenage surliness end?” That’s easy. When they reach adulthood which, depending on the child, takes a mere 12-15 years.

Read the series:

Anxiety dreams involving my kids 

 

A disclaimer: While it perhaps shouldn’t need saying, let me remind you that I have no credentials, training or certifications of any kind that would qualify me to mete out advice to anyone. This is a humor blog. If you don’t find it funny, well, that’s another issue.

#1: Anxiety dreams involving my kids

desertIn a recent post, I promised to provide some advice to those whose tortured search terms hit my blog. Today’s installment: Anxiety dreams involving my kids.

My first thought when reading this phrase was, wait – don’t all your anxiety dreams involve your kids? But of course, they don’t. There are plenty of topics to disturb one’s sleep. I have lately had a string of anxiety dreams about my house, but I won’t elaborate because I think I can get another blog post out of it.

But I digress. If you have kids I’d be amazed if you didn’t have anxiety dreams about them, nor do I think it’s hard to figure out the underlying fears that cause them:

  1. You’re afraid they’ll get lost
  2. You’re afraid they’ll get hurt
  3. You’re afraid they’ll hurt others
  4. You’re afraid they’ll drive you to financial ruin
  5. All of the above

This is perfectly normal. When you awake from one of these dreams, just take a few deep breaths and decide what punishment or suspension of privileges you will inflict on your children for whatever it is they did in your dream.

Strangely, some of the most anxious dreams I’ve had about my kids have happy endings. I once dreamed I was heading down a stairwell to a basement-level restaurant with a stroller containing my infant son. At the top of the stairwell, I let go of the carriage á la the pivotal scene from The Untouchables. As it raced toward the bottom, my husband gallantly stepped up to the bottom of the stairs and caught it. Crisis averted.

One of the few dreams I’ve had where my husband was credited with the competence he likely deserves.

 

A disclaimer: While it perhaps shouldn’t need saying, let me remind you that I have no credentials, training or certifications of any kind that would qualify me to mete out advice to anyone. This is a humor blog. If you don’t find it funny, well, that’s another issue.