Wednesday, April 29, 2015

First World Problems: No Electricity

With the earthquake in Nepal, marriage equality fight in SCOTUS, and the riots in Baltimore you may have missed the news reports about the storm that came through my neighborhood in South Louisiana. I blame the media for not notifying you of this horrendous event. My problems are more important than anything on the news. Cause srsly as a white upper middle class female I've been without power for three days. Three. Days. People. Where's my interview with Diane Sawyer so this can be corrected? How is this not the most important thing to fix on anyone's agenda! Doesn't the world revolve around me! < / sarcasm >

With over 60 mph gusts and some swirling clouds through the heart of my city, I have to say it was pretty scary. During the storm I was hunkered down int he hallway with my coffee and a flashlight. All that one needs to live.

Here's just a few things that I'd like to mention about the suckage of no electricity.
  • Pooping without the fan on. 
  • Taking a shower in eerie glowy lamp light. This is how horror movies start. 
  • No white noise. And the "it's too quiet feeling."
  • Coffee. No coffee pot. This is everything. Send help. 
  • That muscle memory of flipping on a switch and then remembering that you don't have electricity or as I like to call it "Electricity Alzheimer's." What? come at me bro
  • Feeling like you're grimey all the time cause the windows are open and the AC isn't circulating, so there's just this haze of human ick and it's all over you. 
  • Trying to keep your food in your fridge cold, but knowing that I'm going to have to throw away most of it. 
  • Having to go out to eat all the time cause I can't cook at home. 
  • Can't charge cell phones. 
  • No TV. 
  • No Video Games.
  • No Alexa
  • Seeing people in your neighborhood who either have lights or have generators and hating them. 
  • Stop lights that are out and spending a lifetime going through them because no one understands the idea of a four way stop at these things so it's a constant battle of "Should I go? I think... Is it my turn?... He's going... Okay I'm gonna go..."
  • Traffic cause of aforementioned stop light idiocy. 
  • Those over zealous neighbors who have already cleared away their debris and my house still looks like something out of the Walking Dead. "No, Carol, I will not look at your flowers..."
  • Having someone tell you their power came back on but their cable is still out so they have to watch movies and TV on their laptop instead of their regular TV... -_____-
  • Having to work... Cause a) you don't sleep well, b) there's this annoyance of your personal crap not taken care of and c) everyone else HAS POWER. 
In all seriousness my problems are nothing compared to the issues around the globe right now. But dammit I miss my juice. A few good things have been that the weather has been cool enough to open windows, putting together a puzzle with the DubyaFam, and our general commiserating about the situation. In all, it makes you appreciate the convenience of life all that more.

EDIT: If you post a comment about how you still have power... I'll go Liam Neeson on your ass. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Use White Privilege for Justice

I'm a white mid-30s, heterosexual woman. I have all the advantages of life and rarely am discriminated. Except that I'll always make less money than my male counterparts and get cat-called by men fairly regularly. Favorite example: "Wow, girl, you got dat black ass." My ass is so white that I make a marshmallow look tan.

Discrimination happens every. day. And if you think privilege isn't a thing... take a moment to think about these:

How often do you hear disparaging remarks about skinny women?
How often are you suspicious of a white guy in a hoodie?
Do you get followed around in a retail store?

Privilege is real.

I want to talk about white privilege.
In the world today there's plenty of "stances" people can take. Women's rights. Gay rights. Black lives matter. There's a lot of inequality and there's plenty of people fighting the good fight to make it right. But there's a problem...

When a woman cries feminism she's doing it because she's a woman.
When a gay guy cries for equality, he's doing it because he's gay.
When a black guy cries for justice, he's doing it cause he's black.
These are not the people of privilege.

If you want gay marriage to be legal... If you want black lives to matter... If you want women to be paid as much as men, you have to use your privilege for justice.

When a white privileged male stands up for all those things he does it because it's the right. thing. to do. Let me repeat that, it's the right thing to do. Privileged voices are heard much greater than the underdogs. It's like when your mom tells you you're beautiful and you think "She's my mom she has to say that." And that's true.

But, maybe you're a white male that supports gay marriage and thinking "But they'll think I'm gay."
1) Grow up.
2) The only way that perception can change is if more and more heterosexual males become comfortable enough to not give a fuck about the "gay agenda." More people who don't give a fuck = less fucks will be given. Basic 8th grade algebra.

This is a call to action to everyone with White Male Privilege out there.  Wield your power. Use it for justice. If you're standing idly by and not actively talking about these issues, or showing your support then you are basically taking advantage of it.

And that makes you the problem.

Use your white privilege for justice.

Plus, if you don't use it, it falls off. Or so I've heard. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Pro Tips For Marriage (Guest Post by Dubya)

So you want to get/stay married? Excel at the vocation of spousedom? Master the Art in partnership? Put the Up in nuptials?

Here's some Marriage Pro Tips, coming from the 14-year veteran experience of DubyaWifeHusband.

This article isn't for wives to send to their husbands with subject line "FW: HEY, READ THIS, DICK". So don't do that. This is for all types of love, and for both sides of a spousal partnership to share in.

It is the goal of this article to start a beneficial discussion, so here goes. I'll start strong, with the heaviest-hitting Pro Tip.

  1. Grow Up
    I feel insane every single time
    I'm asked to compromise
    Cause I'm afraid
    and stuck in my ways
    And that's the way it stays
    -Avenged Sevenfold

    If there is one thing to be said about getting married young, it's that you get a chance to grow up together, experience things for the first time together, and work your way through many of life's bumps, career hiccups, little discoveries about how things work, ownership of "things", paying taxes, children, friends.

    Even if you're not getting married at age 19, there's still a lot you can grow up and experience together, not the least of which is life together. You're not ever "done" experiencing new things, sorry, so don't pretend like you've seen/done everything before.

    Yeah, this also means you need to examine verse "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child." But this Pro Tip is about more than being a grown-up.

    Don't expect to forever be the same person he/she married, and don't provide resistance when your new life together changes you in a positive way. If you are happy with the person you're with, find happiness in the positive habits and patterns that come along with him/her.

    You're supposed to look back on your life and note the progress. The goal for anyone is to better yourself, make yourself more versatile, more aware, more capable, more experienced. Challenge yourself to grow not into a different person but into a better person. Inspired by your marriage, not bound by it. You're not stuck or cast in marble.

    Grow up.

  2. Learn to Give a Compliment
    And then she'll ask me,
    "Do I look all right?"
    And I'll say,
    "Yes, you look wonderful tonight."
    -Eric Clapton

    If you regularly pepper your spouse with compliments about their looks, their big sexy brain, or their prowess at Settlers of Catan, you can skip this Pro Tip.

    If you don't, you need to hurry up and find the right voice to give a confident and heartfelt compliment, like "you're beautiful" even in the dark.

    Why can't you say that? Seriously, what is it about a compliment you can't say? Maybe you think you sound silly, or maybe you don't want to embarrass yourself by saying something unexpected, or maybe you don't think it's true. Maybe you can't say it without following it up by some sarcastic jab, or maybe you can't say it without pointing out a flaw to "even it out." Maybe you think he/she will reject you (see Pro Tip #3). If any of those apply to you, you need to work on this and fast.

    Also, "He/she knows I love them, I don't have to tell them," is the same thing as a manager saying "I know my employees are happy, I don't have to appreciate them." It's an idiotic rationale for a spouse or boss to use.

    If there's anyone who needs to tell your spouse how smart they sounded, how clever or funny they are, how well they performed, or how proud you are, it's you.

    If there's anyone from whom your spouse deserves to hear flirty compliments, it's you.

    Can't give that compliment? Get over yourself. Figure it out.

  3. Learn to Take a Compliment
    Every day I work so hard,
    bringin' home my hard earned pay
    Try to love you baby,
    but you push me away.
    -Led Zeppelin

    "No I'm not, I look horrible" you said, unplayfully. It's a bigger rejection than you think. You might need to work on you here, and find a way to accept approval... from the one person you've chosen to have to look at you every day.

    If you can't take a compliment without smiling and thanking, this Pro Tip is for you.

    First off, stop analyzing the compliment for historical and scientific accuracy. This isn't MythBusters. Find some compassion for the complimentee to accept the sentiment, and build some freaking self-confidence by receiving and accepting the kind words.

    You might think this is a strictly feminine thing, but it's not. There's some basic human self-esteem at test here, so practice some self-building when the compliment comes. Nobody is going to think you're stuck up or lying if you say "You think so? Thanks, you look cute too!"

    Find your own voice to accept that compliment free of self-judgement.

  4. Be Good Roommates 
    There’s a gap in between
    There’s a gap where we meet
    Where I end and you begin

    Work out who does the dishes and laundry, mows the lawn, etc. Communicate your calendar. Get your email calendars together, and I'm not talking about that "Hang In There Kitty" wall calendar. Organize your life together.

    It's not an invasion of privacy, it's not a burden. It's common courtesy and common sense.

    The topic of shared calendars is a sore spot especially. Stop wasting time arguing about who told who when. Avoid one person making the other late and vice versa. Clearly and electronically provide an answer to "What time is our naked sushi party again?" (This has not been reviewed by the FDA.)

    DubyaWife and I lead pretty busy lives, and every day of the week could have a different schedule for who's leaving when, who's carting DubyaTeen around town, or what's going on for dinner. So we have to work as a team to make the household function.

    You'd be surprised how many fights/embarrassments/lies/awkward explanations you can avoid with a bit of planning and communication.

  5. Be Strong When Needed
    Work It Harder Make It Better
    Do It Faster Makes Us Stronger
    More Than Ever Hour After
    Our Work Is Never Over
    -Daft Punk

    You're both going to hit hard times, feel depressed, struggle with work, lose a parent, get sick or injured. When this happens, the other needs to rise up, stiffen against the wind, and help the other limp along, physically or emotionally.

    This is like the two sets of footprints on a beach poem, but with real life humans.

    Recognize when it is your time to be the strong one, and start carrying. Pick up the burden without guilt trips, without hesitation, without selfish concern.

    Recognize when it is your time of weakness, accept your spouse's help gratefully and eagerly, and work through it. Soon it will be your time to be strong again. Strong like bull.

  6. Laugh At Your Partner's Jokes
    When we laugh indoors,
    the blissful tones bounce off the walls
    and fall to the ground.
    -Death Cab for Cutie

    Imagine you're at a party and everyone is cracking jokes and telling stories.

    You married them, so now it's your job to laugh at your spouse's jokes, pay attention to their story with eye contact, and answer "Who's there?" to their knock knock joke. Seriously, this is a real thing.

    This comes from a career joke bomber. That DubyaWife quieted the crickets with a gleeful snort to my Hunt for Red October pun is so extremely sexy. Just because she's heard my funny story before, doesn't mean that DubyaWife won't laugh at it each time in new company.

  7. Listen and Validate Without Insta-Fixing
    I know you've got your problems
    Mama, I've got mine too
    If it ain't broke don't fix it
    That's why I'm stickin' with you
    -Squirrel Nut Zippers

    Kinda wish that 21-year old me could have read this one. This is something I had to learn early on and am still working on with both DubyaWife and DubyaTeen. I'm a Mr. Fix-It in most things in life, but when it comes to an employee's irrational comment, a teacher's insane homework assignment, or a frozen smartphone, I need to not immediately engage the fixer-engine.

    My first priority shouldn't be bypassing my wife or daughter's feelings and response to the problem with a quickly-offered pragmatic solution, even if my solution to the problem is well-intentioned and smartly-considered.

    My first priority should be providing witness and agreement to the fact that this problem exists and that man, that sucks.

    My second priority is making sure I've heard their actions in response to the problem, what their plan is, or how they may have already resolved it.

    My third priority? Waiting for some indication in the conversation that advice is being sought.

  8. Don't Tell Your Partner How to Feel
    Point the finger, blame the other,
    watch the temple topple over.
    To bring the pieces back together,
    rediscover communication

    "When was the last time we went on a date?" he/she muses to you.

    Wrong response: "Are you forgetting that just last month we..."

    When your spouse muses, passively-aggressively or otherwise, about the recency of any activity, there's an instinct to defend yourself and provide proof that your spouse is wrong, that you have indeed been on a date. This similarly applies to when your partner implies "You've never..." or "You haven't ... in forever..."

    The correct response is to understand you're being requested - hopefully playfully - to take your spouse on a date, write a poem, deliver flowers, cook dinner, or walk the dog. Perhaps it's a roundabout way of asking, but the worst thing you could do is start disagreeing with your spouse about whether or not you need to go on a date. Of course you do!

  9. Don't Play Accounting Games
    It has to start somewhere
    It has to start sometime
    What better place than here,
    what better time than now?
    -Rage Against the Machine

    If possible, join your checking accounts, pay bills out of the same place, and deposit checks in the same place. There's some serious advantages to this. First of, you avoid the stupid arguments over who pays what, who's income is this, who deserves what. Think bigger picture. Start thinking like a family, paying what needs to be paid, and buying what the family needs to be buy. Saving up and buying necessities is a family responsibility, not an individual's. Holding on to silly "what's mine" stuff is a good way to always keeping fresh in mind the potentiality that you won't be married forever. To be blunt, you should not think like that. Don't be vindictive or uncooperative with your money.

    But regardless of whether you have joint and/or separate accounts/credit cards, here's the key: don't fool yourselves with accounting games. Don't "you bought this so I can buy this," or "I paid for this last time, you should pay for it this time."
    Should you to fix the car, even if it's not "your" car? Yes, and without strings attached.
    Can you still splurge for yourself on a new video game? Of course.
    Will you be able to still shop discretely during the holidays to avoid spoilerizing gifts? Sure, talk about it and figure it out together.

    Either you're married or you're not, don't be "married except for my checkbook."

  10. I know what you're trying to say you're trying
    to say it's time for business it's business time Oooo!
    -Flight of the Conchords
  11. Everyone Gets Cookies in bed. 
    So uh, this isn't the kind of blog where I'll be discussing how to make this work, but uh, make it work. Both of you get your cookies in bed.

    If it ain't happening, start talking and start learning. 'nuff said.

Now, a challenge. You'll notice this post is gender neutral. Make sure you're applying the same standards and lessons to yourself as well as to your spouse, and talk about it. Share this article not passive-aggressively, not with an agenda and not with a grudge to bring up. Share it with your partner openly, kindly and honestly. Talk about what you want to do better yourself, first.