Archive | February, 2013
25 Feb

Its with a heavy heart that I share this fellow FA bloggers story in hopes that it may save even one life

First, Do No Harm

Mod note: It is with great sadness that I’m posting the following story. For those of us who know richie79 from Big Fat Blog, this will be devastating news. I’m so sorry for your loss, Richie.

My name is Rich; I may be better known to some of you as richie79 of the UK who used to post prolifically on Big Fat Blog and elsewhere in the Fatosphere for many years. I wanted to share my dear wife Heather’s story and felt this was maybe the best place to do it.

I met ‘sweetheather86’ online in 2005 through a plus-size dating website. I’ve always had a preference for bigger women and at the time was in a bad place following the failure of a previous long-term relationship. Heather and I hit it off almost immediately despite her being in the US and almost 7 years younger than I. Looking forward…

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Whatever became of the Goose and the Gander?

23 Feb

Yesterday, while at work, I got into a conversation with my co-worker (a debate was more like it).

As usual my first task when I came in that morning was to check the news feed on yahoo and see what was going on in the world and I spotted a story about how the number 1 deadbeat dad had been caught and was being brought to justice.  Just like with any story it was the reader comments that frustrated me more than the story and this one was no exception.  It seems that this dad had racked up 1.2 million dollars in back child support and penalties and interest…..all in only 11 years time.  The comments this time seemed almost to err on the side of some common sense; most seemed to be from fathers who had been on the short end of the stick when it comes to child support and custody but there was one that caught my attention, a father who had been paying $700/wk until he was able to petition the courts for custody due to the mothers drug habit and then the courts ordered the mom to pay $41/mo which she did exactly twice.  Several readers made the connection that he was paying $2800/mo in support and, rightly so, that it doesn’t cost $2800/mo to raise a child.  But one woman took it upon herself to show her ass,

“I’m sorry have you tried raising a kid these days. I have two kids from my ex husband and i can guarantee you that after all the cost are added up by the time they turn 18 it will well exceed 1.2 million. you have to factor in clothing, cost of living in an apt or house, food, school activities, after school activities, not to mention college costs….”

This was when all hell broke loose in the office because my co-worker (who is a “single” mother of 2 – she has been living with her long-term boyfriend for the last 4 years, one of which doesn’t pay his support order and the other has recently petitioned the courts for custody) agreed with this woman.  Now, my future hubby is the father of 2 kids from previous relationships; his current order of support for both kids, when paid in full from each weeks payroll, leaves him exactly $125/wk.  Now, in all fairness, he does have back support that he owes and is trying to pay this amount off and there is an arrears amount factored into this weekly payment, but be that as it may, nobody can support himself on $125/wk and the courts will not revisit the matter, they will only tell him that he needs to find a better job or find a part-time job to work (which is hard to do with the job he currently works) but he is making the attempt which, granted, is more than some do.  I won’t go into how the child support/family courts system is so totally backwards, behind the times, screwed up in this blog, this is not the time or the place; I will save these for a future blog.  What I will go into is the sense of entitlement that we as a society feel we are due. entitlementprograms

My coworker explained to me that she doesn’t feel comfortable letting her children just play in the neighborhood, riding their bikes to friends homes or up to the rec center (from the looks of a lot of neighborhoods she must be the only person who is uncomfortable with this notion since the streets are littered with children who are just running a muck doing as they wish and in a lot of cases breaking the law, but again, this is a topic for another time).  So, she places her children in dance and karate and soccer to give them something to do after school.  Now, I have no problem with these kinds of activities and while I grew up my entire life and was never once a member of a scout troop or a team or class and I was just fine, but I know I would have liked to have been in a dance class or soccer but at the end of the day, these are not a necessity, they are a want and as long as the child’s needs are being met, that is ultimately what is important.   School activities, after school activities, college cost, none of these things are even promised to a child who has two parents who stay married their entire life so why are they suddenly, not only promised, but guaranteed to a child whose parents divorce along the way?

Another story on yahoo spoke of how the DMV in North Carolina plans on marking future drivers license with a pink bar and the phrase “NO LAWFUL STATUS”  and distributing these to illegal immigrants who are here under Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.  Lots of people are up in arms that this will be akin to the big scarlet A on their records.  The glorious ACLU has taken issue with the program saying,

“North Carolina should not be making it harder for aspiring citizens to integrate and contribute to our communities by branding them with a second-class driver’s license.”

My coworker took issue with this story since she is an immigrant (although she is here legally).  She agreed with one of people interviewed in the article that said, “”We just want to be able to get a job and drive to work…”  My coworker proceeded to tell me how she was working here when she was 14, using her mothers name and papers to get a job since she was not legally old enough to work, so that she could help her father and older sister and brother support their family of 10.  She told me that her mother would take her paycheck each week and she would only get $50 most weeks with the rest going to help pay bills.  I wanted to tell her that if her parents hadn’t had more children than they could afford to care for she wouldn’t have had to do that and while I applaud her parents for not taking government aid like most would have, I still have to revisit the having more children than you can afford issue.    But, at the end of the day if they are here illegally and they didn’t come through the proper channels, then they are not due any special privileges, especially when they are more of a drain on the system then they ever contribute towards it.

Even in my own personal life I am subjected to people who feel that sense of entitlement.  Last night my honey and I went to the local VFW post to have a few drinks and sing some karaoke with some friends.  Now, if you have not been to a VFW recently, it is an organization that is welcome to anybody and during the daytime hours most of them have a section that is open to family events or post events that members might be inclined to bring their children to but, in the end, most are set up and function as a bar serving alcohol with pool tables and slot machines.  The people there after a certain hour are typically going to largely be drinking and trying to have a good time.  But this Friday night, just minutes before 10pm, there entered a group of adults, maybe 5 or 6, along with 6 young boys ranging in age from maybe 6 to 11.  They sauntered in and found a table where the boys noisily cut up with each other while the “parents” found their way to the bar and got their beers.  This group, boys included, signed up to sing and as the parents made their way back to the table, these boys bombarded the KJ (think a DJ only he does karaoke)  with song requests and questions which at times was so much that the show paused so he could handle the inundation of these children who should, at that hour, have been in bed.  Then the parents allowed the boys to run around the dance floor or sit on the stage in groups waiting for their turn while other singers were trying to enjoy their time.  Only once did I witness one of the adults attempt to corral their kids, making them leave the stage till it was their turn.  I’m not sure who missed the memo that a bar is not an appropriate place for a child, especially after a certain time of night, but why should my good time be restricted because you want to come out but couldn’t find a babysitter?

Entitlement!

Why does everyone think that the world should bend to their whims or wants?  You are not guaranteed everything your heart desires in this world and it is absurd for you to think that you should.  From welfare moms to soccer moms there is not one person who at some point or another has not thought that someone owed them something but the difference is that most level-headed people seem to understand that you have to work hard to get what you need in this life and that you have to work even harder to get what you want.  Yet somewhere along the way society got that backwards and now most people think you have to work hard for the things you want and that it is someone else responsibility to provide them with the things they need.  It doesn’t work that way folks and it shouldn’t.

I don’t know, perhaps I was born about 60 years to late.  Perhaps the sexual revolution of the 60’s and the mass drug usage ruined what few brain cells people had left.  I’m not sure the reason why people have forgotten the common sense teachings of their forefathers but, I do think, perhaps, a return to the pre-woodstock line of thought might do this great land of ours a tremendous favor.

You Can’t Be Your Kids Friend! Stop Trying!

12 Feb

tp-houseLast week a Tarrant County Texas court decided to indict Colleyville mother Tara Mauney on a criminal mischief charge.  Last summer Mauney was accused of leading a group of teenagers in a “prank” gone bad on a neighboring house.  What should have been a harmless episode of toilet papering a neighborhood house went awry when profanity was laced across the facade of the house in permanent marker and raw chicken parts were left in the mailbox.  $6000 worth of damage later, Mauney claims she was at home asleep when her daughter and some of her friends snuck out of the house and pulled the prank; however the courts see otherwise.  Chief in the prosecution’s evidence was store surveillance of Ms. Mauney purchasing a large amount of toilet paper at a local store earlier in the evening of the attack.  I’m not sure when buying toilet paper in bulk became a crime and even if she knew that the girls intended on TP ing the house did she know about any of the other vandalism?

But at the heart of this issue is the reader comments from the story.  There seem to be a pretty even mix of people who feel that the mom is being wrongly convicted and people who feel that the mom is guilty (even if for no other reason than the fact that she buys her TP in bulk).  I don’t really know if she was there or encouraged it or was really at home in bed asleep, nor do I really care.  But this makes me think of all the people who have kids who are trying so hard to be their friend instead of their parent.

I tried to comment on the story but for some reason I couldn’t get my comment to post.  But, if  I could have, my reply would have gone something like this;

I once had a neighbor who had that “But they are just kids” mentality all the while allowing her kids to play soccer in the front yard (even though they had a large, empty back yard). This meant that when the kids would kick the ball it would hit our cars and leave dents all over them.  My mom was notorious for telling her, “they are only kids until you teach them better!”  Its true though, you can’t blame a kid who thinks its ok to throw a fit in the middle of a store or fast food joint because they don’t know any better, they think this is ok behaviour since no one has bothered to teach them differently.  I used to get so irritated at kids who would run around and act a fool or throw fits or just in general be a brat but then I realized, they don’t know any better and I really should be upset with mom and dad for not taking the time to teach them better.

Too many times parents are concerned with their kids liking them or wanting their kids to be their friend thinking that if they are friends that their kid will tell them secrets and things that are going on in their life.  News flash people, you were not put on this earth to be your kids friend and by being the “cool” mom you are not guaranteeing that your kid is going to tell  you a damn thing about their life.  Teenagers are secretive, moody little beings whose prime goal is to irritate you.

Now, growing up, my parents gave me a healthy dose of scare and it ensured that I kept my butt out of trouble.  Sure, I lied to my mom about the theater that me and my date were going to or which of my friends would be at the mall with me but I was taught (and had the fear of God instilled in me) to know better than to allow myself to be in a position that was going to get me into real trouble.  If my date got a little too fresh or my friends decided to do something stupid that I knew better than to be a part of I would find the closest pay phone and call my mom.  The lecture that I would get for lying was much better than the one I would have gotten from my dad on the way home from the police station.  My parents were not concerned with being my friend, in fact they couldn’t have cared less if I even liked them because they knew that their job as a parent was to raise me to become a productive member of society with some common sense.  As a result of which (even though I wouldn’t have admitted it to them at the time) I respected them that much more and now that I am an adult my mom and I are pretty good friends and I feel like I can talk to her about anything and usually do.  Don’t get me wrong, I am still her child and she does annoy me sometimes but I still know that it is coming from a place of love and concern.

This isn’t just about teenagers either, you have got to start this stuff early, raise your child up with a healthy fear and respect and they will continue on this path.  Look, you can’t be a parent and a friend at the same time, it’s a conflict of interest and will result in you being walked all over and your kid getting away with murder which eventually they won’t get away with it and then you really will be wishing that you had been their parent and not their friend.  Do yourself a favor and take the higher road and be a parent, you kid will (eventually) thank you for it!