15 August 2007

Parent as a verb, not a noun.

Sometimes I have to get very disappointed in what "parenting" has become. Whatever happened to the notion that the birds left the nest the minute they became 18? When did parents start wanting their children to quite literally never leave? Surely this isn't healthy.

The whole reason I started this blog was because no one in my family ever really taught me anything about living on my own. They told me vague blanket ideas like "It's not as fun as you think it is" or "Why don't you just save up some money?" but they never TAUGHT me anything.

For instance, I do not know:
how to change a flat
how to change my oil
where my air filter is in my car
how to ACT OUT the budget
how to start or break a habit
how to find a stud to put a screw or nail into

And that isn't even all of it! Honestly, those are just the things I am cognizant of! Part of my blood-family quit being my family when I was 16. I still had a lot to learn and whatnot, yet the family that took me in did nothing to teach me about anything.

What did I learn?
How to change a diaper,
How to become stoic about my life situations,
How to be sneaky.

And really, those aren't things that will get a person through life. Unless you are a professional Diaper Changer, that's not going to help at all. In regards to being stoic it just freaks people out, honestly. And sneakiness helps spies and thieves, but no one else.

If you're a parent, or if you're still living with your parents, why don't you take this time to teach or learn something. Even if you have to force it out of your parents/guardians, get them out there and show you how to do something you can't yet do. If you are a parent, go out and teach your kid something.
Believe me, whoever is the kid will most definitely appreciate it later when the knowledge is required.

13 August 2007

The Moving Process: An Excerpt

So, I'm moving again. I'm actually moving back to the home I gladly left. Why? Because making it on your own without the correct tools is tough. Also, because it is easy to agree to something when people imply that your desires will be met in a degree-of-lying fashion.

So, instead of going into that I will be telling you about the process of moving. Moving is not fun. I've done it all my life and I thought that when I became an adult I would not do it more than twice. Well, this is twice for me and it will not be the last or next to last.

When it comes to moving everything is a pain. You have to decide what you want to keep (also known as what is worth keeping), you have to decide what you can pack first (also known as what you can live without), and you have to decide how to gauge your food supply until the day of the move. In my case I have a lot of freezer food so I will be purchasing dry ice and taking it with me.

I've begun attempting to get rid of some items that just cannot make the trip. I traded my futon (I miss you, futon!) for a double-high air mattress from Target, I'm trying to sell my bed, and I'm trying to sell my used clothes that I will never wear again. I've tried Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and Uloop. None of these sites have been much of a help as everyone in this area is not only flaky but cheap. So I suggest making a list of what you have and putting up that list in various local coffee shops and other places with bulletin boards.

I've also started packing winter clothes as well as books and DVDs. And of course the moment those things are packed I decide that I need something in one of the boxes (although I'm forcing myself to wait--I can get it out when I unpack the box).

One of my biggest issues with packing is finding boxes. I think of every single box I've thrown away in the past year that I could have used for this situation. Unfortunately the area that I live in does not have many liquor stores or other stores with useful boxes, otherwise I would be asking for free ones. So instead I'm going to have to purchase boxes... which I really feel is just a waste of money. However, this time I will collapse the boxes afterwards and save them in the closet for next time. Hopefully I won't require too many more boxes the next time I move.

05 August 2007

Child Support: Minor Illumination

So, Child Support in any state is a very convoluted backwards kind of thing. The laws may be different from state to state, and state to state it varies as to how child support is calculated. However, here are some basics.

1. The dominant parent does not have to change the child's last name when paternity (if relevant) is established. It is not a HAVE to kind of thing. It is a choice, as in you give me this and I'll give you that.
2. The tweakings and concessions made in regards to child support are NOT done through the child support agency. Instead, they are done through lawyers. So if you're dealing with a jerk of a dead beat mom or dad, you may have to get a lawyer involved.
3. It is not possible to have your cake and eat it too. I've been told in the past by other parents who have dealt with child support that you can get support while also having the other parent terminate his/her rights. This is not true. You can, however, hire a lawyer and set up an agreement saying something to the effect of: I will accept this lesser dollar amount as support over x number of years if you waive parental rights.

No doubt I'll have further illumination as the process continues and I learn more about what's really going on. But I will leave you with this little suggestion...

Should you ever need to open a child support case and you feel that nothing is getting done, do not toy with supervisors and the like at the child support agency. Instead, write a letter to your governor (not your mayor) giving them all of the pertinent information of the case as well as how/why you feel things are not being done. In many cases the governor will get on the case of said agency and force them to do work for their money. Good luck.

04 August 2007


Parents, let's just concede the point that (excluding abuse) there is no necessarily wrong way to parent as there is also no right way. A parent's goal is to basically try to screw up their child as little as humanly possible because we all make mistakes and errors in judgment. We all, as human beings, hurt other people without necessarily setting out to do so.

I was having a conversation with another parent the other day and was admonished for having my 3 year old son sit to go potty on the adult toilet. This other mother told me that it wasn't right and that I should go out and buy a separate, plastic toilet for him to stand over. I explained to her that he wasn't tall enough to use the real toilet standing up yet and that I just think that he shouldn't do so until he can use the real toilet. She stressed the spend-money-on-a-bucket-for-him-to-urinate-in idea.

If I wanted him to pee in a bucket, I'd empty out the ice cream bucket from the freezer and give him that. However, I think that's kind of disgusting (mostly in appearance, but also on the bucket-of-pee front).

Recently, I also had the alternative conversation with another mom who agreed with me. She's also got a 3 year old son and she has him sit to go potty. Her reason is also because he is not yet completely toilet trained and does not know the difference between the feelings of his bodily functions. So, in standing up he has in the past accidentally done both bodily functions instead of what he thought he was trying to do. I mean, it makes sense.

Although it's common sense, no one tells you that one of the biggest secrets of being a parent is to take other people's opinions with a grain of salt. You can't let these things get to you because, regardless of the situation and the circumstance, someone will always disagree with you and think you are wrong in whatever you are doing.

My son has no problem going to the bathroom sitting down. I tell him simply that it's a big boy thing to stand up to potty. I tell him that when he's bigger (taller) that he can do that, but until then he has to sit. It's just the way it is, and he's fine with it. He is too young to have any sort of "masculinity" so sitting down is completely non-threatening, unlike what the first parent insinuated.

I just thought I'd put that out there real quick.

29 July 2007

School or Work: Full Time vs. Part Time

Like a lot of people my age, I chose to continue my education through college. I started out taking general education classes at a community college and eventually moved to Ohio to attend Ohio State. The problem here was, unlike most higher institutions throughout the US, Ohio State is not on the semester system--they are on the quarter. So there went problem number one. If you've been pampered by only being familiar with one of those systems then I suggest you stick with it--it is very difficult to switch.

In transferring from a small and unimportant Community College to a Big Real College, I was slightly prepared for a larger workload, but nothing could have prepared me for the onslaught of outside work I would be doing.

When you're going to a major university such as The Ohio University, you have a choice between attending part time, 3/4 time, or full time. However, the severity of each choice is not fully explained in its two-word description. Part time ends up becoming full time with the outside work involved. 3/4 time ends up being more than that, and full time turns into "all I do is study." I discovered this the hard way: I have failed a total of 3 of my classes at Ohio State since beginning last Autumn. I have barely passed at least 1 of those classes and I have had to petition to withdraw another class. It's hard work.

In this day and age you have parents who are willing to support their children (financially) through their college careers/endeavors, and then there are parents who quite simply can't afford to. It's another case of the have and have-nots. For those students (regardless of age) who must work while attending classes, attending a major university can pose a real problem. With most federal funding you must be attending at least 6 credit hours to be considered part time (which is almost always more than one class). If you have children or other daily responsibilities it becomes even more of a hassle. With going to school, sleeping, taking care of your responsibilities it can become very difficult to calculate in when you would work. (In these instances it is best to not live in a major college town such as Columbus, Ohio--the job market is not very great because it is virtually over-populated by college kids willing to work for minimum wage.) On another note, this would be my reason for moving.

My point, although not very well grasped (I don't think), is that if you are one of those have-nots, going to college becomes really difficult at a major institution. You have to really set aside the time, or be willing to go on virtually no sleep in order to get through it.

28 July 2007

My first realizations

In my first apartment, away from the concept of being taken care of by others, I discovered there were quite a few things that I didn't know. I also discovered there were quite a few subjects I was quite ignorant on. I've lived on my own for about a year now, and there are still weekly phone calls to my grandma beginning with the phrase "I have a question." She says I should record it to save breath.

The first thing I discovered was that I didn't know what a pilot light looked like, so when my water heater's pilot light went out I didn't have a clue as to what I was supposed to do about it. I read the directions on the side of the water heater, but I still couldn't get anything lit. I tried and I tried and ended up going without hot water for an entire weekend until the Emergency Maintenance guy deigned to come over and fix it. I watched him closely and the next time it went out it only took me 2 hours to get it lit. After that I became a little pro.

I also discovered that I had no clue how to trigger a mouse trap. I bought some cheap-o mouse traps from the Family Dollar and discovered that every time I would set it the trigger wouldn't go off, or that when I set it the trigger would automatically go off before being touched. I had to wait until my grandparents came for a visit so they could show me how it was done (it took my grandma at least 5 minutes to figure the cheap ones out). I come from the country where there's just as much garbage outside as inside (so the mice stay in their element instead).

I think it's amusing that I think these are key skills in living on your own, but really I think they're all amusing in some way or another.

I've got a lot more where this came from, but I won't give it all away just yet. Have a good day!