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When mom groups go from bad to worse…

Sign: Please don't drop off your unwanted pets and other animals here. We will just have to dispose of them.I admit, I love belonging to mom groups in Facebookland. They are full of drama and crazy. You don’t get to see that sort of thing in public unless you hang out at Wal-Mart at two a.m., and since I have no urge to be at Wal-Mart at all, much less at two a.m., I use my groups to keep me happy.

Sometimes, though, I have the urge to respond in a way that I know will get me kicked out. I can’t get kicked out because, as I mentioned, then I’d have to go to Wal-Mart, and that isn’t a good option.

Instead of posting my responses, I just write them down for myself. But this one is something I want to share because it’s coming up on Christmastime, and I know that this isn’t going to be the only post about getting a pet for the family.

The post was pretty simple – the mom asked what kind of pet she could get that would be “low maintenance.”* 

I couldn’t resist the urge to comment, so I kept it short and sweet: if you don’t care if the animal lives or dies, any pet can be low maintenance.

I’m not sure if she saw it, or if anyone else saw it, or if someone went ahead and deleted it because I’m such a mean bastard.

So here goes my full response:
Hey, we want to get a “pet” – you know, a living, breathing creature that that needs, love, attention, and all the basics of life (food, water, shelter) – BUT we don’t want it to be a hassle.

In fact, if it would take care of itself and clean up after itself, and not cost us any money, that would be ideal.

Actually, if it kept completely to itself unless we wanted to pay attention to it or show it off, that would be the icing on the cake.

Because while we love the idea of a pet, the actual pet part of it is just totally inappropriate for our busy lifestyle.

Plus, you know, sometimes we go on vacation, so we can’t take it with us, and what if we have kids that don’t like it or don’t want to take care of it?

It’s not like you can return it, and if you just set it free, people think you’re mean and callous, and we don’t want anyone to think of us like that. I mean, here we are, wanting to open our lives to this pet – we’re obviously loving and caring or we wouldn’t even consider it!

Picture of rock on beach
My pet rock, Rocky

*(Now, look, I do get it if you haven’t owned a pet before. You might be leery of that commitment. It last for years. We’ve had cats that lived into their twenties, dogs that cracked a dozen years, and even goldfish that made it through a decade! But if you need to question your readiness, it’s time to buy a nice cactus, not an actual living being that will rely on you.)

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Facebook Friends or Foes

Southern portal and eastern (downstream) side of the Monroe County Bridge 114, which carries Friendship Road over Stephens Creek (a Salt Creek tributary) east of Bloomington in Salt Creek Township, Monroe County, Indiana, United States. It was built in 1898.
Southern portal and eastern (downstream) side of the Monroe County Bridge 114, which carries Friendship Road over Stephens Creek (a Salt Creek tributary) east of Bloomington in Salt Creek Township, Monroe County, Indiana, United States. It was built in 1898.

How do you know that someone has changed or not changed?

It may sound like a vague question, but I’m serious.  It all came up on Facebook.  One old friend asked another old friend if, since we were once again local to each other, half way across the country from where we grew up, if we ever hung out.  We had, once.  And while I’d extended several other invitations, all of them were shot down (although kindly).  And that reminded me of how our childhood friendship had ended (years and years before Facebook existed).  I had called this friend to hang out, and she told me that she thought I was “too weird” and she didn’t want to hang out anymore.  A crushing blow to a sixth grader.  Now, not so crushing, but another reason to think people are too judgmental of other’s choices in life.  This friend now seems rather “weird” herself in some ways.  But, hey, isn’t our own personal weirdness what makes us unique and fun?

But there’s still a little of that sixth grader in me, and I wonder, has this friend really become as enlightened as she seems?  Or is she still the same girl who was cruel to me all those years ago?  Do people really change?

I have one other Facebook friend I wonder this about.  She also blew me off oh-so-many years ago.  I learned where I ranked in her hierarchy of friends – as long as I was helpful, she wanted me around.  Beyond that, I was Queen in the Land of Blow-Off Land, and she would deign to shower me with her presence only when it was convenient to her.  But I still accepted her friend request on FB because somehow I still cared.  So has she changed?  Does she actually care about me and my life?

I have no idea.  I can’t answer these questions.  I’ve already culled the people who weren’t ever truly friends with me or who hadn’t changed from the pettiness of grade and high school, but sometimes it’s hard to tell.

At the same time, I’ve been happy to rekindle some friendships – people who just fell out of my life for one reason or another: moving, changing schools, bad scheduling.  And there are other people I’d like to find and “friend.”  But what if those people have changed for the worst and would disappoint me?

So how to tell who’s a FB friend or foe?

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Do you need some aloe vera for that burn?

aloe veraSometimes I think it’s kind of scary how much TV influences my life.  Most of the time, it’s amusing.  Quoting TV one liners that are funny and appropriate, like The Big Bang Theory’s line about needing aloe vera for a burn.  But other times…maybe it’s not such a good thing that so much that I say references TV. 

 I’m slowing down my Facebook addiction by limiting my log-ins, but do I need to limit more than just Facebook?  Do I also need to limit my tv watching?

Although, to be fair, if I’m going to stop checking in at Facebook and stop watching so much TV, when do I stop listening to music and surfing the web? When do I become a total Luddite and start avoiding all technology? Should I stop blogging? Should I only look for jobs that are listed in the print newspaper?

I hate to go back to the old adage of everything in moderation, but that might just be where I’m going.  I don’t want to stop doing anything, but I do want to stop doing it as often.  Checking Facebook ten times a day is probably excessive.  Checking it twice, not as bad.  Watching an hour or two of TV a day, definitely not a horrible way to unwind. 

So maybe I won’t give up everything, but I will watch it.  And maybe I’ll let myself get addicted to something better, like a bit more exercise and writing.