It is 6:46 pm on December 23 and I am still at my office, which is located roughly thirty minutes from my house. I stopped working at five. But I am so far behind in my Christmas shopping this year, that I have to begin most of my shopping tonight. As I look at my children’s Christmas lists and add things to carts online, I am reflecting back on what has to be one of the worst years of my life. However, instead of dwelling on that, I have decided to write about all the blessings I experienced instead.
Primarily, I got married to the most amazing husband who is pictured in the picture above. My kids and I love him more than words could ever articulate. He is the family that I have spent my entire life chasing. I won’t deny that when my wedding venue got cancelled on the eve of my wedding and then my honeymoon got cancelled the day of my wedding, I started to panic a little. That was all Covid’s doing, though. We figured it out and the wedding was even better than anticipated.
We have weathered the many, many trials 2020 has sent us together and the heavy stress has caused us to bend at times. But we didn’t break. And now, we are all stronger as a family. We may be chaotic and filled with one catastrophe after another but, as long as we stick together, we always come out of the other side stronger and more resilient. And, most importantly, grateful for every blessing we get.
Thank you to everyone that has followed my blog, sent me support and guidance, or just read my articles. I write this primarily for my own therapy. This blog has been another blessing that I cannot discount.
Merry Christmas to everyone, or Happy Holidays, or thank you. Every like, read, and comment was more support than I expected and it is very much appreciated. I sincerely hope that 2021 will be a different year for all of us, hopefully better, than 2020. If it is not, I will still find many blessings to count.
I got my love for shocking people from my mother. No filter, no care for political correctness, and no f*&ks given were also handed down to me, via the maternal side. We also have the same straight face that makes messing with others extremely fun as no one can tell if we are kidding or not.
As a child, and now as an adult, she provided me with love, laughter, confusion, and fear. All the things that make up a great parent, in my mind. Over the years, and despite what I told myself growing up, I have adopted some of her ways as my own. Others, I have left for her to keep to herself.
Hoe Up/Hoe Down
This advice is a gem that I have passed down to my own kids. There comes an age, usually in middle school, when the size of a shirt or a pair of shorts suddenly become the size of a peanut. The tiddly bits of young ladies are almost exposed because they are so short! I sound like my own grandmother right now, but it is what it is.
It was during my own dress like a whore phase that my mother sat me down for a chit chat. She told me, “You have to hoe up or hoe down. You can’t do both or you’ll get a reputation.” The reputation threat didn’t really bother me, because I didn’t care what people thought of me. However, I thought that was really good advice because I wanted to show some kind of illusion of being classy while also submitting to the mating dance of the hormonal, like the other teens.
So when I wore a cleavage bearing shirt, I would wear long pants. When I was rocking some booty shorts, I would make sure my cleavage was covered. Even though I am old as dirt now, I still use this advice often with my children, others and even on myself when I’m feeling particularly whore like.
This is She
If you answered the phone at my house and you were heard replying, “This is her” to a person asking to speak with you, you were no better than a convicted felon. My stepfather was the editor of the local paper and my mother may have been the first grammar Nazi. I never understood the big deal of it all until I watched my children trying to date people who couldn’t speak correctly. Then I understood.
Don’t say fart or crap. That shit is fucked up.
My mother had her own version of bad words. The word fart being the dreaded F word in my house. It was hugely offensive. We had to call it a motor boat. Imagine my surprise when I got older and learned the other definitions of motorboat.
We won’t talk about how many odd looks I got for gasping in response to someone saying the word fart.
All births deserve flowers to be sent and all deaths deserve hand delivered casseroles. Nothing cures grief faster than some tater-tot casserole. All wedding showers will get a money envelope. We don’t give a f$&k about your registry. Have fun buying that new toaster with your new husband, because you are getting what we decide you need.
Furthermore, any necessities that you notate on your registry are to be ignored. We will buy what we want. If it is a cute child, or even an ugly one, we are buying for, we will pick out a cute gift. Otherwise, you will get cash. Those are the only options.
It doesn’t matter how old you are or what the other kids are doing. Nothing is open after midnight except legs and Walmart and you don’t need to be in either of them.
Don’t slam the door!
This was a disrespectful action equitable to flipping the bird or worse. I don’t know if the cost of a door used to be ludicrous or what, but door slamming, aka door damaging, was a big deal back in my day.
I guess the price of doors was a lot higher when I was a kid. Because my mom lost her ever loving mind when I slammed one.
I grew up thinking that dogs were boys and girls were cats in the pet world. I’m going to tell you that I was not 17 before I knew this was not the case. Just please politely mind your business. Once again, I would like to thank my mother.
Never leave the house in underwear that is not in mint condition, lest you die suddenly. It is apparently a huge deal for any EMTs or funeral home workers to see underwear that has been tainted.
Of course now that I’m older and I understand the bodily functions better, I realize this is not reasonable in any way.
This article just covers the ludicrous that my mother taught me in my childhood. The good things she instilled in me would take several books to record. Maybe one day.
I am not a good housekeeper. Not according to my mother and her mother’s standards anyway. Compared to most of the rental properties I have to inspect, I am a regular Martha Stewart minus the felonies. Cleaning standards are varied according to whoever is judging whom at that minute. These nagging opinions didn’t really bother me until I got left a bottle of Clorox in my grandma’s will.
I’m not begrudging that Clorox now because we are in a pandemic and it is very hard to find. Who’s laughing now, cousin Bobby?
Over the years I have learned many tips and tricks about cleaning. Tips learned for the soul purpose of making cleaning go easier, faster, and without much effort being involved.
This little ear cleaning device can be used in a thousand different ways. It is the perfect size to get the dust out of crevices and tiny items. I love to use this to clean my air return vents. Most people don’t think about those, but I am not most people.
I don’t know what material this is made out of. If I had to guess, I would say a cloud. Whatever it is, it is an absolute lifesaver. That shit will get the dirt off of anything. You can clean walls with it. You can clean trash cans with it. You can clean the inside of your refrigerator with it. I’ve never tried it, but you could probably clean your kid with it.
Salt can make cleaning cast iron a breeze. Sprinkle dirty pan liberally with salt. Let it sit at least fifteen minutes and then scrub the gunk right off! I could write a book on cast iron. But I won’t today.
You can also sprinkle salt on a rust stain on the carpet. Pour hot water over the salt coated stain. Wait fifteen minutes or more and then the stain will blot right out.
Although this will be obsolete many years from now, I’ll be set because my stepfather was the editor of the paper and has hoarded about 10 years’ worth of papers.
My grandmother always said that they were good for cleaning mirrors, but I could not get them to not cause streaks or prevent the ink from transferring. But I do use it as a cleaning tool for any outside work that I need to do. That includes cleaning my front porch railings, my rocking chairs, my side tables, and my planters. I know you’re thinking I’m a huge old bore right now, but I do know how to good have a good time, I promise.
My grandmother swore by it, but I really can’t say it works. However, Mammaw, I keep baking soda in my fridge to kill odors and I also sprinkle down my drains.
I’m not cleaning my floors with a toothbrush. I just don’t care that much.
I’m not gonna lie. This stuff stinks. End it stinks regardless of apple cider variety or any other kind. You just cannot make a flavor strong enough to get past the stink of vinegar.
However, it cleans amazingly and can be used to clean all kinds of stuff. I’ve heard of people to actually only use vinegar and use it to clean everything. I don’t because I can’t stand the smell. I don’t want my house smelling like a douche.
But if you’re judging something as far as usefulness goes, vinegar can be used for more than cleaning. It can be used for pickling, lice removal, bug spray, etc.
I hope my Mammaw’s cleaning tips will help you. Maybe she will be prouder of you than me.
Curse words spewed out of my mouth and into the tenant’s face. This wasn’t the first time that I had been pushed to my breaking point by being screamed at, cussed out, and sometimes pushed around. As a landlord, aka property manager, I have many houses to manage all over every part of my city. I have learned how to deal specifically with each section of the public.
There are the elitist tenants who call me every second about everything. They, for the most part, cannot do any home repair items themselves. This includes changing air filters, smoke detector batteries, and resetting tripped breakers. They hide their ignorance by flaunting their money. They have been brainwashed into thinking money is the same as intelligence. They hide their loneliness by talking, whining, and complaining to everyone they meet.
There are the poor tenants who struggle to survive who blame me personally when they can’t pay their rent. They will drive to my office and threaten me if eviction is looming. They never call about maintenance issues unless it is dire because they just want to be left alone and don’t want anyone seeing the messy state of their frantic lives.
There are the young tenants who are living alone for the first time and need help with everything from how to pay rent, use of an online app to submitting a maintenance request.
Then there are the old tenants who live alone or with a spouse listening to the echoes of their children in the halls from years past. They look forward to any contact and will happily chit chat with someone who calls, from telemarketer to me or my staff, for hours.
At any given moment, I can go from being physically pushed and verbally abused to spending half an hour talking with the sweetest little old lady I’ve ever met. It took me a good year to learn how to maintain my composure during these swift emotional transitions. I had to create boundaries and try to stick with them, becoming never too mad, too attached, or too invested in any one person’s circumstance.
Of course, this doesn’t always work and sometimes I lose my footing. I have dropped my professionalism down the tubes and hit back, yelled back, babysat, bought food, bought clothes, and loaned rent money. I have regretted doing this most of the time. I usually end up getting taken advantage of once anyone sees that I have heartstrings to pull. I have people that have turned on me as soon as I helped them.
I would like to think I have learned my lesson, but someone will come along and test my boundaries and find them lacking. Setting boundaries is essential in this line of work, as in many others that deal with the public.
You have to work hard not to become jaded because people lie about anything if it benefits them somehow. My sense of humor and not taking things personally have really been the two biggest things to keep me successful in this career and not burned out and jaded.
I continue to always look for the little acts of human kindness that are shown periodically. That brings fresh air to every one of us. Sometimes those little acts are enough to keep going for.
By setting boundaries, keeping my sense of humor, and searching for human acts of kindness every day, I am able to survive this work and hope that I have made a difference to someone, somewhere along the way.
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Literally overnight, I lost my child. Her love and affection seemed suddenly and completely lost to me forever. She went to bed a sweet, loving child of ten and woke up with a period and an attitude problem. I don’t want to trivialize this. It was not just an attitude. It was awful. I was not prepared for this.
My oldest daughter didn’t menstruate until she was thirteen, just like me. I blame my youngest’s excessive diet of chicken nuggets. Silently, nature declared defeat in the battle against my nurturing.
Suddenly, smiling was only for losers. And I was Queen of the loser club, gathering recruits everywhere I went. Everything that anyone in our household did or said quickly annoyed her to no end. I tried to not get offended by her sudden spurning of me, but my heart ached for the child I knew was now gone.
I called my mother one evening and was whining to her like I tend to do on most days. I told her I didn’t remember ever having an attitude like this or having hormonal rages. She scoffed and reminded me of how I treated her real quick. She also reminded me how I cried and literally stomped my feet at fourteen after being told I had eaten enough chocolate for the night. I locked myself in the bathroom for four hours after not getting tickets to the NKOTB concert, clearing delighting my parents with a break from me.
I have come to accept this inevitable change, but every now and then, I get a glimpse of my baby girl. Even so, I know the monster is just sleeping. I also know, as the mother of a grown daughter, that she will come back to me one day.
She will suddenly find herself calling me every day and missing the things she hates about me now. That is what is keeping me from despair.
I also know that by focusing on the growing pains, I am unable to see the masterpiece that is forming right in front of me. Through this suffering, a vibrant and brilliant woman will rise up ready to change the world.
I can’t tell you how to divide fractions, but I can tell you the easiest way to clean an intake vent or how to cure a hangover really quickly.
I have more tips than you could ever imagine written down or stored in my mind, but I’ve only listed ten in this article. Too much information all at once can overwhelm instead of educate. At least that’s what I tell myself.
If you break a dish and are not sure that you got it all swept up, lay a flashlight (turned on, obviously) on the floor and it will cast a shadow on any shards left behind.
Wearing green on camera (both still photos and videos) will make you appear smaller. Your family pictures will thank me.
If you come across a screw or bolt that won’t budge, pour some coke (the drink) over it and watch it loosen on up.
Make rust disappear on hard surfaces by rubbing it with aluminum foil that has been soaked in vinegar.
This is more of a warning than a tip, but at many bars the drink garnishments sit out for days and sometimes more. I would ask for no garnishments if I were you.
Drinking two glasses of Gatorade has the same pain relieving effect as taking over the counter traditional pain relievers.
Pound for pound, the tongue is the strongest muscle in the human body. I told my husband that my tongue game was strong AF!
If you use your phone while it is charging, it will damage your phone battery. Before you know it, you will have to invest in a new battery for your smart phone.
If you are having a coughing fit and can’t stop coughing, raise your arms above your head and it will cease! If you are anything like me, these fits will always happen in a quiet but crowded room.
When making tacos put the cheese on before the meat. The cheese will melt and prevent the shell from breaking apart.But have a soft tortilla laying under it just in case. If anything falls out he will have a soft taco immediately.
I hope some, if not all, of these tips and tricks will be of value to you.
I hope you all read my next article which will cover my job as a rocket scientist. more of how I just pretend to be one actually.