A Double Standard At My House!

Any husbands/men here you might want to not continue on”¦there will be some ranting, complaining and speaking about the current loathing I have at the moment for men in general”¦my dear sweet husband of 22 years in particular. Ok”¦any men still reading on you have been warned”¦ladies”¦I know you ALL can relate!

My husband is a hoarder I fully believe he was a squirrel in a prior life”¦he throws nothing away but stashes it away someplace until he deems it useful again (which BTW NEVER happens). He has kept every curling iron, waffle iron, blow dryer, CD player, iron and power tool that has ever broken in our house hoarded away like some pirate treasure in our basement and garage. “Never know when I could use a part.”, he has told me on occasion. Every major appliance or electronic item he has kept the box for”¦in case we move as better to pack it in the original carton (we have lived in the same house for 13 years). Don’t get me wrong”¦I love and adore my hubby”¦he is a good man, great dad, and a super husband. BUT I am up to my wifely behind in his pile of nuts!

And here comes the real rant”¦the final straw or should I say NUT that broke the camel’s back. My husband I do believe is in full swing of his mid-life male “mental”pause crisis”¦which started a few years back and hit the height (so I thought) with his volunteering to go to Afghanistan two years ago. After he came back I thought it was all behind us. Before I get too far ahead of myself let me go back to the beginning and give some details”¦back in the late 80′s we bought a little red sports car”¦a Mazda RX7. Cute, fast and fun”¦we were young and had no kids”¦it suited us at the time. I even think it was my idea. Ok”¦I admit that. We took it with us when we moved to Germany and had a blast hitting 120mph on the autobahn. But like all good things of youth they come to an end,”¦we grew up and came home with a baby and the little red sports car with a burnt out engine. We bought a van and garaged the RX7 (a baby seat wouldn’t fit anyhow). And I thought he’d tinker for a few months and sell it for parts”¦wrong”¦13 years later it is still in my garage. The engine is in the back hatch waiting for my husband to “rebuild” it. I gave him a deadline that he needed to put time into it by his 45 birthday”¦he’s now 50 and it still sits. He refuses to discuss it or listen to my pleading to get rid of it.

Ok, any men still with me”¦poor souls”¦now tell me this”¦me being a woman”¦if I had a project ah”¦say sewing a quilt for example that I started over 13 years ago and it was still laying all over the dining room table”¦making it unusable for holiday meals”¦company dinners”¦keeping YOU DRY WHEN UNLOADING GROCERIES (ok that is a garage issue) would you”¦speaking to any of the brave men”¦.think that a bit inconsiderate of me? Wouldn’t you expect me to finish up and clean it up say before the END OF TIME????

Yes, I “get it” the little red sports car/manhood thing”¦feeling young and all that. But we purchased a house with a garage for a reason and I do not remember it being for his RX7 to decay in (did I neglect to mention that all 4 tires are dry rotted and flat?) I can think of 100 other more important things to spend money on right now or even in the near future other than restoring a car that only two people can ride in. And to be honest it’s so low I’m getting too old to get into it. And before you ask”¦I rarely spend on myself”¦I do NOT buy shoes, get my nails done”¦I am about as low maintenance as they come.

What am I to do? Let him have his little red sports car and his youth? Maybe he’ll tinker after he retires and I can take up a hobby like pottery? Or maybe I’ll have a mid-life moment and hire a young strong man to work on the car”¦shirtless”¦with tools”¦hmmm”¦maybe he can keep the car.

Preventing the burden of back pain in pupils

In the UK, half-term is over and the kids are going back to school – and carting my daughter’s schoolbag and gym bag in for her this morning reminded me of the warnings that growing numbers of children are developing irreversible back deformities because of the weight of the bags they carry to school.

A study by the organization BackCare last year noted that half of all schoolchildren report some kind of back pain by the age of 14, and doctors have pointed to an increase in the case of spinal abnormalities, including scoliosis. And one of the major contributory factors is those increasingly heavy bags – which are apparently up to double the size of those carried just a decade ago.

While children risk long-term, perhaps permanent, damage if they regularly carry more than 15% of their body weight over their shoulders, BackCare reckons many are carrying as much as 20%, with a significant number carrying 25% of their own body weight to and from school.

And that will have long term consequences for a LOT of pupils.

Give a child a large sports bag – and they’ll fill it, not least because, in their eyes, filling a bag with everything they might possibly need that week is a lot easier than thinking each morning about what they’ll need that day. Like a snail, if they carry their entire home on their backs, they’ll forget nothing. And when parents are squeezing in extra sport, extra music, extra drama on top of the curriculum, then that’s more books, more clothes, more equipment on top of an already hefty burden:

  • Textbooks: 8lb
  • Laptop: 8lb
  • Lunchbox and water: 3lb
  • Notebooks: 1lb
  • Pencil case: 1lb
  • PE kit and trainers 3lb
  • Phone, wallet/purse/mobile phone: 1lb

And there’s usually more – the extra book, the musical instrument, and so on. They can easily be carrying 2 stone a day. And often over one shoulder (always carry a backpack over both shoulders!)

The answer is so obvious, it barely needs stating – kids need to carry less. Just to take what they need for that day. The answer to that isn’t to take stuff out, but to help them put it in. A child’s paranoia about forgetting something fuels the ‘take everything’ process. If a parent or teacher can help a pupil self-organize better to take only what is the need, then they will be more mentally self-sufficient – and less prone to long-term damage.

Mushrooms are Taking Over!

I like mushrooms. I like them on a burger, I like them in a salad. I even like them on steak and any number of other ways they can be prepared and consumed. Where I don’t like them is in my yard!

It’s a tough balance between watering enough to keep my yard from dying and watering too much, which creates a heaven for ‘shrooms. What’s worse is no matter how hard I work to pluck those little buggers out if my neighbor isn’t quite as diligent, they are sure to come back again.

Last night we had some (much needed) rain which seemed to be the trigger for some dormant mushrooms to raise their ugly heads. This morning the backyard was speckled with white domes, which caused me a minor bout of anger leading to quick depression. I hate pulling the things, but that is really your only option.

‘Shrooms are feisty, resilient little things for which we have no offense other than to bend over and pull them – hopefully before they have sent out their little spores to create thousands just like them. If you don’t get them early, all you are doing is pulling out the stump for cosmetic purposes. There is no nice little poison you can throw down to kill them and no special treatment to prevent them. Mushrooms rule the yard whenever they darn well feel like it.

I know, I know, mushrooms do not feel and they are not calculating; but it sure feels like it sometimes. I’ll go weeks without one showing itself, and I feel like I have licked the problem; then, bam, just like that they are back with a vengeance. It may be due to that lack of diligence from my neighbor I mentioned; but whatever the reason, I feel like I am losing the battle.

All I know is I can’t give up. If I just let them grow what I see now will only be tenfold in a matter of weeks. So, I plug ahead each morning yanking out each one in hopes of making headway. At least my kids are not tossing them back for a mid-morning snack like one did several years ago. He learned via ipecac that was not something he wanted to repeat. But that’s a story for another day.

The Sanctity of the HOV Double White Line

This post may not make much sense to those that do not have the HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lane in your area, but for those that do, you undoubtedly will have seen what I am going to talk about. For those that don’t know it by HOV, it is the commuter lane or the lane you can only use if you have two or more passengers in the vehicle.

The HOV is relatively new to Utah, and it was long overdue when it finally came in the recent widening of I-15, our major and practically only option running north and south through the major cities of this state. First it was added in Salt Lake City, and eventually, it was extended down through the Utah Valley to the south.

The Sanctity of the HOV Double White Line

A couple of years after it’s an addition, the state decided to implement the limitation of where you can enter or exit the lane. The idea, at least as I understand it, is to limit the merging in and out of the lane for both safety and travel efficiency of the lane. Rather than have people treat it as the ultra-fast lane, the designated entry/exit points are to keep traffic flowing past some of the lesser used exits with the limitations. It has taken a little getting used to remembering where you have to get in and out, but after a while, it works.

After all that build up, this is what cracks me up. People in Utah speed. In fact, if you are not traveling at least 10 miles over the speed limit, you had better be in the right lane because traffic is moving at a fairly decent clip over to the left. So people are not afraid to speed, but when it comes to entering the HOV lane, they will wait patiently, or impatiently as the case may be, for a designated entry point to get into that left-most lane. Why are they ok with breaking one law of traveling 80 mph in a 65 zone, but will wait until that opening to merge their way over into that lane? Are there some unbreakable laws even for the habitual speeders?

The Sanctity of the HOV Double White Line

Even more hilarious to me is the fact that while in the HOV lane moving along at such a breakneck clip will these drivers hug the tailpipe for miles of someone, not as NASCAR inspired as they are. Rather than drift over these ultimate double white line barriers to make the pass and keep moving along, Speedy Gonzales will instead dangerously tailgate for miles waiting for the opening to make the pass and once again gain pole position in their personal race.

Who was able to convince these people that the line is unbreakable when so many other rules go so lightly unobserved? Don’t get me wrong, I make it a point to observe the designated entry/exit points, but I am sufficiently impressed that the state has somehow convinced or scared these people into sticking to the plan. Whatever mojo they are working on that ought to be used on some other laws as well to keep a little more order on the freeways; that’s all I am asking.

So keep at it drivers, obey that law. While you are at it, pick a few others that you may be skipping and try out observing them as well. It can’t hurt, right?

Oh yeah? I have a better one for you…

There have been so many jokes about the “one-upping” habit that I am surprised that it still happens so much these days. There is no doubt it does. I am sure there could be, and perhaps there are, studies on why people feel the need to outdo you even on the smallest of things. Why is this? Why can’t people just enjoy a great story or give a compliment for something and move on? Let’s take a look at this phenomenon.

With boys – at least this the easiest childhood for me to analyze for obvious reasons – it roots back to the who has the better scar. This carries on well into adulthood, but even at early age boys have been loved sharing their big scratches, scrapes, and scars to the amazement of their friends. Getting that big group “Ooooo” or “Ugh, that had hurt” is the reward you seek and generally get. It doesn’t end there though. There is always some kid in the group that has a bigger scar along with the tale of getting it to tell. “That kid” will find some way to one-up you even if it isn’t his own story; he’ll tell of something he saw, heard or more than likely made up just to get the attention of the group to shift to him.

good enough relationship

Yep, you guessed it. This same guy carries on with those tendencies even as an adult. The scar and injury tales do continue on, but they are joined by any number of categories of storytelling for the attention and amazement of friends. The basketball stories – or any sport for that matter – including all sorts of amazing plays, hard fouls, and terrible refs. Dating stories, including the horrors as well as the stunning dates that you know he never really had. Fishing stores – remember the one-armed fisherman, his fish was this big. The list goes on.

The one that I experience most these days though is the “well my kid did [insert amazing feat here].” This one I know from personal experience is definitely a problem shared by both genders. My wife and I were just talking the other day about an acquaintance that has the one up condition in a bad way. We all do it to some degree I am sure because we are proud of our kids – or at least we want to be – and we love to share the fun or amazing little things they do. One-upping is not limited to the good things, of course, it comes out in full force with what the little terrors can do when they are at their worst. No matter how extreme you think your anecdotal may be, Mr (or Ms) one-upper is going to have something more extreme.

I have mentioned Brian Regan here before on this site, one of my favorite comedians because of his real-life, clean and original comedy. In his latest DVD, titled I Walked on the Moon, the headliner story is saved all the way to the end of the routine. Brian’s comedy is a half concept and half presentation, so knowing the punch-line won’t ruin it for you. The short version is wouldn’t it be great if you were one of the astronauts that walked on the moon. Noone could top you in the one-up conversations. You can just sit back with a smug smile on your face and enjoy the conversation until it has hit is the peak. Then pull out your big whammy. “Well, I walked on the moon.” Top that one-upper.

I am never quite sure when I identify what is going on when a one-upper changes the direction of a conversation. Usually, I just choose not to feed the animals. Let them have the attention they so obviously crave and move on. I typically check out the rest of the group – if it happens to be a group conversation – to see if others are aware of what is happening as well. It is gratifying when you get that knowing smirk, a slight nod or wink back; you know you are not alone.good enough relationship
Of course, if you are really brave, and have a good enough relationship with the one-upper (or could care less) you can have fun in these situations. Escalate the one-upping to unreasonable proportions and see how far they will follow. Now to pull this off you can’t do it all at once, or the gig is up. You have to do it gradually, upping the ante just a bit with each story. You also need to be a bit creative to make up good stories on the spot, and a good dose of being able to lie helps too. Eventually even the most hardened of one-uppers will figure out they’ve been had and will either scoff and try to shrug it off, be offended or the good at heart ones will laugh and realize the jokes on them.

So next time you’re in a one-up situation, just think “I walked on the moon.” Big picture, this isn’t competition if you don’t make it one. Unless you really have to have that spotlight shone directly on you, let the one-upper have their space or have a little fun with them. The choice is up to you.

Have Fun With A Portable Hammock

Hammocks look cute no matter where you put them up. If you have enough garden space, having a hammock in your garden is a great idea. You can spend a relaxing afternoon in the hammock just laying down and reading or listening to music. Apart from having a hammock in your garden, you can also travel with them. Portable hammocks are very popular these days and if you’re planning to go camping or trekking, getting the best 2 person hammock is a good idea. IF you plan on traveling with the hammock, always opt in for lightweight portable hammocks which are easy to carry along. These hammocks come with a stand that can be folded. This makes it convenient for you to take along no matter where you go.

With a mattress there is always a chance of some bugs being there that will worry you through the night. With hammocks you need not worry about anything. Since you will be sleeping in the open the cool breeze makes the night pleasant and the unwanted elements stay away from you since the hammock is above the ground.

Another huge advantage of sleeping in a hammock is the way hammocks take away your back and neck pain. When you sleep on a mattress there will always be one area that will annoy your back. However with a hammock the entire back will be stretched making you feel comfortable and there will be no sprains in the neck or the back. With hammocks there is no problem of changing the bed covers as well. You do not even have to worry about flipping your mattress every three to six months that you usually do when you sleep on a mattress. With so many benefits it is wise to switch to a hammock today itself.

Hammocks are a great place to sleep when you’re outdoors. While most people opt in for sleeping bags while camping or trekking, opting in for a hammock is actually a better solution. Hammocks ensure you get better sleep and they are also a lot more comfortable in comparison to a sleeping bag. While there are a number of different kinds of hammocks that you can invest in, always pick one that has portable hammock stands since this makes it easy for you to travel with the hammock no matter where you go. These hammocks are lightweight and very easy to travel with.

Hammocks these days are easy to travel with and although they are light, they are durable and long lasting.  When you pick one that comes with portable hammock stands you do not need to worry about where you are going to put up the hammock. Since most hammocks are foldable, they are easy to carry along even if you need to trek or walk a long distance. Hammocks are very comfortable and apart from sleeping in them, you can also spend time relaxing and reading or listening to music in them.

Hammocks are a great way to get rid of your insomnia problem. There is very little medication or therapy can solve this age old problem. However just by switching over from your mattress to a hammock this problem will be solved forever. With a hammock you will always have nights with deep sleep. There will be absolutely no problems with the duration of the sleep as well. Hammocks also take care of back and neck sprains. This is another chronic problem that involves spending a lot of money on special pillows and mattress.

However a hammock takes care of that problem at no additional investment. It is always advisable to opt in for a hammock due to the health benefits. It is said that a hammock also increases the concentration in people. Many people are of the opinion that when they sleep on a mattress they are stressed about how they will get sleep and other thoughts of work and problems enter their head when they do not get sleep. With the slow swaying motion of a hammock you get sleep almost instantly and this helps improves concentration and increases alertness while sleeping and while staying awake as well.