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Location: Upstate, South Carolina, United States

I think that the Meredith Brooks' song, "Bitch," summarizes me rather nicely. Or, if you prefer, X. dell says I'm a life-smart literary scholar with a low BS tolerance...that also works!

Monday, May 12, 2008

...and a month later...

Well, here's the update. Good news: Alex has a job! Bad news: it's two hours away from the house! Sigh. We just really don't have a choice at this point. We'll have to be Alex-less Monday through Friday, save for holidays and some of the summer when we can drive up and spend time with him when he gets home from school. This will last for a minimum of a year, likely two years. His salary is good, but it'll be eaten up largely by the fact that we have two households to support. However, as long as I work too, we'll be able to save money. Seriously--SAVE money. Isn't that the most amazing thing you've ever heard??? First of all, we'll save money for a new car for Alex since his wants to die. Then we'll save for a baby and a house. The baby may or may not happen because the factory closes at 40. That leaves a year and a half to get pregnant, and I'm not even going to try until next year. We'll see if that works.

The first few months will be a little tight. First of all, Alex still has to get a crown (expensive!). Then he has to buy some furniture for his new place (expensive!). And then we have to pay for the car to be fixed. Somebody tried to break into our car...sigh. It appears that a circle of thugs came into our apartment complex and tried to break into something like six or seven cars. The police were called because somebody spotted them, and when they arrived they found one of them and chased him into the woods. Nobody was caught. Meanwhile, they destroyed our ignition trying to get his car. It's funny because Alex's car is old and has 180,000 miles on it. Why try to steal that? Why not my one year old Mazda 3? Well, mine looks like it has a security system on it even though it doesn't....and the locks are way harder to pick. I guess that's the answer. So, I estimate that nothing will be put into savings until Sept when I start back up at Clemson and get paychecks. But then we should be able to put most of my paycheck into savings, so that will be good.

My job at Total Wine and More is going well on the whole. I'm learning a lot, and I'm loving the 30% discount on the wine (but not beer except some Belgian beers...and not the liquor). Since I can only work weekends, though, due to child care issues, I'm not sure how long I can last with it. I mean...weekends are the only time I can see Alex! I'll have as much fun as I can until that point, though.

The month of May has been insane. I've given exams, graded papers and exams, volunteered at the kids' school, worked at Total Wine, and had not a single day of a break so far. But at least this weekend we get to visit Grant in Atlanta again, so I'll have a good vacation then! Grant always spoils us rotten and makes us feel so damned welcome. It's always fun to see him.


There's a bully in our apartment complex. The little boy keeps trying to terrorize this three year old girl (please don't ask me why her idiot parents think that her eight-year-old sister is a sufficient babysitter to let her out on the lawn). My daughter is not very tolerant of that sort of behavior, so when he grabbed the little girl's new bike with training wheels and wouldn't give it back to her, Ariana told him he'd better give it up or else. Then he ignored her and tried to bike off, so Ari grabbed him and pushed him off the bike. Then she gave it back to the little girl while the stunned nine-year-old slunk off. Then she came in immediately and told us what happened. We've known the stunts this boy has pulled for a while, and we know he does not respond to anything approaching logic. My DSS instinct tells me that his home life is the cause of it all for a variety of reasons too long to list, but that doesn't mean that he has the right to make other children be bullied and experience hell.

I mean really, isn't that the root of Columbine and other school shootings? Kids who tease and ignore and poke at those who are different, those they think they can muscle? Somewhere, it has to be stopped. Now, Ariana is not very happy pushing or grabbing people. She's a sweet kid who would give the shirt off her back to a person who needed it. When she came up, she fretted about doing the right thing, and Alex at first sighed and said she shouldn't touch this kid but get a parent...

...except the three year old's parents don't ever care if their kids are bullied...her older sister has gone with her little sister to tell their parents what happened, and they just DO NOT CARE. What is that like, as a parent, to not care about your child's welfare? Not something I've ever experienced personally....

...and that's when I interrupted. "No, she did the right thing. He wouldn't get off; she took care of that without punching or actually hurting him. She just made it clear that he could NOT get away with hurting her friends." I know at Ari's age, I would have punched the guy in the nuts and trampled on his chest. I'm not even kidding, and my family can back me up on that. I was not very tolerant of that sort of crap, and my two older brothers taught me to fight so I usually won. I don't necessarily want her to go around beating up assholes like I did as a child, but the fact that I've raised a child who knows right from wrong and tries to stop it when she sees it makes me proud. I know some parents would be like, "oh no! You can't touch that boy! Get the parents!" and that sounds great until you read what I wrote above: her parents DO NOT CARE. Your first clue was that she's three and wandering outside the apartment without a parent watching her (and for those of you saying call DSS over this, since the parents have their porch door open and the 8 yr old is with her, they won't do anything--I know that one for sure). So, who protects her?

Well, apparently my daughter does. And she came and told us immediately, showing her concern that she did "the right thing." I told her to never punch or hit unless it was self defense and she couldn't get to us first. I told her that pushing him off the bike was acceptable as long as she wasn't aiming to slam him on the cement or anything. And I felt proud of her for wanting to defend those who have no defense.

The boy tried to tell Alex when he went to get the mail that "your daughter pushed me!" After a back and forth, he grumbled that he WAS going to get off the bike. Alex responded coolly, "Then I guess you didn't get off fast enough." But my favorite line was this one: "And you're just damn lucky my wife didn't get to you first. She'd have come after you with a chainsaw." BAHAHAHAHA! Yeah, he knows me.

The little boy does apparently look up to Ari after all that. When she told him that his continued behavior meant she wouldn't play with him, he said, "but I haven't done anything to YOU!" She responded: "But you did it to my friends, and that's the same thing."

I realize some of you will object to the idea that I told my daughter it was ok to protect that three year old that way. And...I don't care. We make these decisions as they arrive, and from every angle I have looked at the situation, I think it was absolutely fine that Ariana pushed the kid off the bike. It didn't hurt him, and it let him know that he wasn't going to get away with bullying. You may not be fine with that. But I am. And I'm also proud. My daughter will stand up for injustice, even if she could get hurt by standing up. For ME and MY ethical composition, this swells my heart with joy that I've raised her right. I couldn't love her more.