Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Get Off My Lawn!

The other day I read an article from Money Diaries on Refinery29 that:

a) made my blood boil
b) made me feel old because I literally did a whole "entitled asshole, get off my lawn!" snarl while reading it.

The gist of it is that this chick is a student in NYC, living in the city and working an internship.  Her parents pay her rent ($2,100 monthly) AND send her $1k a month as an "allowance" and her grandfather also sends her $300/ month.  She calls herself #blessed but I'm thinking more like #howtheFWORDareyougoingtoliveintherealworld.

I can't wrap my head around this.  I just can't.

My parents didn't want me to work a traditional job when I was in high school (I still babysat and did other odd jobs here and there) but they was because I was expected to make straight A's and also do all the extra activities.  In my case, this was things like Drama Club, yearbook and paper staff, FBLA, Quiz Bowl, etc.  When I was college aged, though, I was expected to get a job.  And I did.  And I still remember an argument I had with my dad over wanting to quit my job as a credit union teller.  My parents helped me out as a young adult but you know what?  It was FAR, FAR, FAR from $3,000+ a month.  Not only did they not have that to help me, but they wouldn't have even if they had it.

Because they wanted me to be self-sufficient.
Because they wanted me to be able to adult.
Because they didn't want me to be entitled.

I am so thankful for them now.  I'm thankful for the things they gave me but I'm even more thankful for the things they made me work for! 

These days, it feels like I'm fighting a losing battle against entitlement.  Sometimes it seems as though my kids really, truly believe they should get the newest iPhone or pair of shoes or even GUCCI BRAND STUFF (seriously!) just because they exist.  I want them to have things they are proud of.  I don't what them to be embarrassed because they're going to school in a classmate's second hand shoes.  But, damn, I also want them to realize that we work hard for what they have!  I want them to appreciate what they're given and never take anything for granted.  It seems like it gets harder and harder for kids to do that.

I'm never going to be one of those "ugh, Milennials!" people because, hello, I was born at the tail-end of Gen X and I HATED how my generation was lumped together as unproductive losers.  But, I mean, COME ON, parents!  We have to do better, right?!?  Both for the Milennials now and my kids' generation on their heels.  I really cringe to think about the entitlement we have headed for us over the next few decades . . . and I'm really thankful to my parents for making me work for everything!

Monday, July 16, 2018

The Best Week

Mark and I were given the absolute best gift last week . . . alone time.  We love our kids and we love them fiercely.  But the challenges of a blended family combined with the ever increasing angst and attitudes of teens and pre-teens means that we occasionally just need a breather.  All of us - including the kids - it's just good for us to have time apart.  And it's amazing for our relationship to be able to focus on just each other.  To be able to momentarily step aside from the Mom and Dad roles (though, to be the honest, I still found myself as social secretary for the children!)  One of these days when I have grandchildren I hope I can give their parents the gift of alone time.

Monday evening, we both looked at each other and were kinda like "what the heck do we do?!?"  We ended up making chicken nachos together then going to Hooters for a couple beers.  Funny thing about this is that it's something we could've done even if they kids were home!  They're the ages where we're comfortable leaving them alone for a couple hours.  It was still fun, though, to leave the house for a bit and just unwind after a weekend spent with family.

Tuesday evening we headed to Los Cabos for Mexican, margaritas, and live music.  The food at this restaurant is super good but the best thing about it is they have an awesome band - The Soul 7 Band - that plays every Tuesday night.  They are SO GOOD and play all the best soulful hits.  We love them.

Also.  Margaritas.  Look at this beast!

SUCH a fun night.  We invited friends to come along with but it was all just got home from vacation, tired, pregnant, have to work tomorrow.  It was okay, though, cause we ended up having a great time just the two of us.

Wednesday night we decided to Bite Squad in some Chili's (yes, we ate restaurant food nearly every single night but, in our [weak] defense, we also only ate like one meal a day.  So that makes it sorta okay?  Maybe?) and ended up eating at the coffee table while watching . . . Beauty and the Beast.  Yes, the cartoon version.  It's in the top five favorite Disney movies for both of us, we had it recorded, and . . . I can't explain it y'all.  We just watched it.

Thursday night we decided to hit up a local restaurant, Stony River, with Russell and Kathy.  I'll write up a review on the restaurant (spoiler: it was to die for!)  Kathy just came home Monday from three weeks in Europe with her daughter and she was full of stories.  We had such a good time.  Even though Russell tried to convince us to go skinnydipping in their pool and, when I got up to leave, I realized K1's third grade teacher was sitting right behind us and likely heard the entire conversation.  Only slightly mortifying . . .

Friday we had the most fun I've had in a long, long time.  Boy George was playing in Memphis along with the B52's.  The concert was at the Botanical Garden and long since sold out.  There is a public park right next to the Garden, though, and the two of us along with Russell and Kathy and Dennis brought along a cooler of beer and Jimmy John's sandwiches and set up camp right there.  We were far from the only ones doing this.

We could kinda sorta see the big screens and we could hear everything perfectly!  The B52's were amazing, such high energy.  Roam if you want to . . . roam around the world . . .

Of course, the real show was put on by Mark and Russell with their dad dancing and T-Rex arms!

When we left, it was nearly 11:00 and Boy George had JUST started.  We got to hear about half of David Bowie's Let's Dance on the way back to the car.  We're just old and, come on Boy George, know your audience!  They're all approaching 40 or over it.  WE CAN'T STAY UP THAT LATE!

I swear we spent half of Saturday talking about how much fun we had Friday night!  We did manage to also make it to the Harley Davidson in Southaven, Miss.  Anthony was doing a charity bike ride that ended there -- they had a silent auction, live music, all that good stuff and it all benefited the Special Olympics.  We bought a t-shirt and ten raffle tickets and left with . . . a t-shirt.  All for a good cause.  Afterwards, we headed to Hooter's with Anthony and Neil and a new friend of theirs they only introduced as "GT" so I'm sure he actually has a name that's something like Clyde or Rufus.  Saturday evening was spent floating around Russell and Kathy's pool, drinking way too much spiked LaCroix coconut, and laughing way too hard.

One major difference in Mark and I is that he's a straight up extrovert while I'm an outgoing introvert.  I can go and hang out and have a great time but I also need and crave my alone time.  It's why I generally stay up after everyone else has gone to bed during the school year.  I need time to just breathe, be still, and be alone.  Mark knows this -- and he knew Sunday evening my trio was coming home and our normal chaos would ensue.  So he gave me a couple of blissful hours all to myself.  It sounds weird, I know, my boyfriend loves me so he left me alone for a couple hours!  But, damn, it was needed and necessary to get my head on straight and get ready to be Mom again.

My kids got home yesterday evening and we have a lot of fun planned for this coming week.  The boys are set to have their annual "epic" sleepover, football tackle clinics start, my mom is coming to town, and on Thursday we have this little date with a certain Mr. Kenny Chesney.  It's going to be so fun.  And I'm so glad I had last week to recharge and get ready for it all!

Friday, July 13, 2018

When Family Comes to Town

Last Thursday we were . . . invaded!  All Mark's family, save for a couple of nephews, came to town.  And they all stayed at our house.  They're crazy and they're fun and we love 'em but, whew boy, it does make for a houseful!  We had 14 (at one point 17!) peeps in our house over the weekend.  And it was loud.  It was crazy.  And it was a lot of damn fun.

((I didn't take a lot of pics because one of the sisters-in-law is the queen of pics/ videos when we all get together.  And, unfortunately, she hasn't posted the pics she took yet . . . therefore I haven't been able to steal 'em!))

Everyone rolled into town Thursday evening and we spent much of the night hanging out in the pool and just catching up.  Went to bed way too late.  Friday was more of the same -- pool, eat, repeat. 

Saturday, we did something a little different and headed downtown to the Pyramid.  Mark's oldest brother is huge into all things guns and knives and no one in his family had been in the Pyramid since Bass Pro opened there.

We ate at Uncle Buck's - the restaurant there (that actually has a bowling alley inside of it!) - and found it decent yet a little disappointing.  Maybe I'll write a review of it soon but, for now, all I'm going to say is skip it and go eat somewhere more "Memphis" if you happen to be downtown.

M kept calling Uncle Mark "Uncle Sassy Pants" then later switched gears and called him her "Prince Charming."  So sweet . . . and also kind of funny.  Mark tends to be what I call the "grumpy grandpa" and the rest of his family calls the "Uncle Lester" because he's always the one yelling at a kid to SHUT THE DOOR or TURN OUT THE LIGHT.  M doesn't care, though, she loves her Prince Charming Uncle (even when he is yelling at her to shut the door!)

J and the K's were with their dad but he let me pick them up on Sunday to hang out with everybody for a while.  Mark's family is honestly perfect about loving my kids as though they had been born into the family.  They seriously just love them and want to see them and spend time with them.  The kids know that, they feel that, and they were super excited to see everybody.

Uncle Dave got the party started by jumping in the pool . . .

with J on his shoulder!

(Side note: the Ollie Dog FREAKED OUT about the guys jumping in the pool with the kids on their backs/ shoulders.  Like . . . at one point he literally bit Dave's shorts and pulled them down a bit!  It made him so anxious to see the kids get thrown in the pool!)

We spent a majority of the day outside . . . cannonball contests, "volleyball" in the pool, just hanging out and having fun.

Everyone loves this girl!  She is a TREASURE!  I told her I want her to go to the University of Memphis and live with us.  She's just the best.  When I took my kids home later in the day, they only talked about Ju and how awesome she was.  I agree!

We ended Sunday night - and basically their visit - with Aunt Jess and I singing Salt 'n Peppa songs in the kitchen much to the amusement of our men (and chagrin of the children.)

It's always a little nuts when they visit.  There are so many people.  We make so much food.  We go through so much toilet paper, water, ice, you get the picture.  But we really do have so much fun and just enjoy their visit so, so much.  It was a great weekend and we can't wait for the next one!