New Alexa Feature: Wake the Dead

I got Alexa when Amazon first put her on the market, and I’ve watched her grow and develop new features. I never knew Alexa could wake the dead until yesterday morning. She really can do anything.

Let me give you some background on this one.

The husband goes fishing every now and then. Alas, he leaves at a gawdawful hour of the morning. Three o’clock should only come once a day, IMHO, and that’s PM. But this time he was going to the beach, and I do so love to see the sunrise at the beach. So I decided to go.

Of course, that’s much too early to feed our dogs and cats before we leave.

So around 11:00am I remember to call The Dude (no longer “the boy”, as he will be 20 in January). No answer. Three times, I get voicemail. The Dude is asleep.

“What can I do,” I ask myself. Then I’m struck with the most mischievous idea. And it just might work!!

I pull up my Amazon music through the Alexa app, and remotely start playing “Sister Mary Elephant”, by Cheech and Chong… at full volume. Now, for those of you too young to know this reference, here’s a sample:

I watched the track go by on my phone and let it go just long enough, then I stopped it. I gave The Dude a call. LO! HE WAS ALIVE!! And I was much amused at his adrenaline rush and confusion.

Yes, I have my evil moments.

Yes, that was one of many.

Yes, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Bratty-arsed children….

Sunday we always have a metric ton of children at renfaire, but this last Sunday was probably the worst one on the books for badly behaved children. I don’t know WTF parents are thinking, these days, other than they aren’t. I’m not advocating things so old fashioned as corporal punishment, but goddamnit! It’s ok to tell your kid “No,” and, oh, maybe teach them some common courtesy.

A mother passing my shop saw the handmade soaps, said to her family, “Oh! Handmade soaps! It smells so good! Let’s go inside.” The daughter, about 12-ish, took a look inside the shop, made eye-contact with me (I was standing near the doorway), and said, “No. I hate them,” and ran into the shop next door. The mother just … followed.

I don’t care that they didn’t come in. I don’t care that they went next door. But I just gotta’ wonder who makes the decisions in this family – the parents or that little child. You can guarandamntee that behavior goes beyond deciding what shop to go into.

Oh, and does anyone remember this little girl?

willywonka_veruca

She was in my shop this weekend … with her whole famdamly. She was about 9 years old. She purchased a lip balm, and that was all. As I ringed up her purchase, I told her I would hand it to her rather than give her the huge bag (everyone else prefers to carry the lip balms and use them…). It was very cold and my fingers were numb. I accidentally dropped her unopened lip balm when I handed it to her. Not that I cared if she exchanged it, but rather than ask, she demanded in a very hateful tone, :: disgusted sigh :: “I want another one now.” 

Her parents were right behind her and didn’t bat an eye.

I smiled and said, “Of course, my dear.”

She comes back and says, “Now I want a bag.” And to make her behavior just that much more special, she added a wee bit of a snarl to her smile. I handed her the clear plastic bag, trying to keep myself from doing society a future service….

She continues to behave badly in the background with her siblings while waiting with her grandparents and what appears to be aunts and uncles. Mummsy and Daddsy are at my register now with their purchases. Mummsy just looks over to her children and smiles, then looks back at me to pay. I look at her, then look at the demon spawn I just dealt with. I smile and say, “You’ve done such the job raising her.” (note, I didn’t say what a good job she did…)

It went right over her head, of course. Between the bright and shiny of renfaire, all the dialect, all the shopping, and oh, who has time to be a mother these days anyway…. some little girl is going to grow up to be a complete terror to her family. And to everyone else around her.

I’m not going to finish this with the standard “If I had done that when I was a kid… It’s overused and easily tuned out. You may as well start talking about how you walked uphill to school each day, in the snow, barefoot. I will say that these parents that mollycoddle their children will regret doing so someday. They aren’t doing the kids any favors. If they think they’re making life easier for them by lowering expectations, not saying “no”, or softening each little blow life gives them, the kids will never learn about the cruel realities of life when they eventually get out there on their own.

Or maybe they just want these kids to live with them forever… :/

Rites of Passage

We all have them at different points of our lives. As parents, we watch our children go through them as they grow.

Pre-K and Kindergarten Graduation.
The First Day of School.
Puberty.
High School.

Yesterday, we celebrated another rite of passage with our son:

The Big Day

 

High School Graduation

I don’t know who’s happier for school to be over – the boy, or me. But at the same time, I got all weepy yesterday. Gods! My kid is a high school graduate now! I’m not ready for this; how on earth can he be ready??? It’s not time yet. He can’t be 18.

Don’t get me wrong; I know this has to happen. But where does the time go? You mothers out there know exactly what I’m talking about. I still remember that little boy who graduated Pre-K, back in 2003. And look at him now!

 

Then and Now

 

For those who haven’t reached this milestone yet, here’s my unsolicited perspective from my experience. There are times you share the joy of your kid’s experiences, and there are times you may butt heads over grades, and perhaps late homework. Keep going to bat for your kid. STAY INVOLVED and talk to the teachers. Fight for your kid’s education, because the teachers are so busy they can’t fight for everyone. They are so relieved when the parents get involved, even when they disagree.

Is your kid not doing well in class? Is this sudden or a trend? Talk to your kid and find out why. Grounding and restrictions isn’t the way to resolve this problem, as it usually stems from external problems, physiological issues, depression, or in some cases, undiagnosed learning disorders. Work with your kid on study habits. Help them find alternatives that work if the standard skills don’t. Different people have different learning styles.

When things aren’t working, find a good friend (or two), who can stand in as a tutor for your kid. Your kid knows this person and relates to them well, and you know them. They’re friends of the family, so the relationship is already there. We couldn’t have done this without some of our close friends that we consider family. 🙂

 

Rite Of Passage

 

When it’s all said and done, your kid(s) will graduate, too, and you’ll feel as though you’ve gone through your own rite of passage as a parent. Perhaps we do. Because it’s the beginning of another phase of our kids lives, and we know they’re going to fly the nest. We have to let them go, and thus, begin the next phase of our own.

 

 

Eighteen

I’ve been trying to make the annual birthday post all day today but it just won’t flow. Maybe because I just don’t want to come to terms with the fact that my kid is 18.

HOLY FUCK!!! MY KID IS 18!!!!

No flowery, motherly poetry here. He’s 18!!!

Did you know… my kid is going to vote in the next election??? Oh holy christ, someone hand me a beer.

This is for you, dude. Happy Birthday.

 

Love,

Mom

Miss you already, my Goober boy….

My son made a gruesome discovery today while I was away from the house. Bagheera, one of our kitties, was hit by a car. We are heartbroken at the sudden loss of our Bagheera, whom we affectionately called our “Goober Kitty”. He was with us for over 11 years, and lived a long and happy life, but that doesn’t make this any easier.

Goober was the only cat I ever had who talked to his reflection in the water dish. He was so worried about that cat, and he tried to set it free on more than one occasion.

He would sit outside my office window and wonder why I couldn’t pet him.

PetMeMom

But he was such a love… He wouldn’t just rub up against you; he would push his head up to you and hold it there. I never had a cat that would “headbutt” for pettins’ rather than rub his head to the side like other cats do.

When he purred, he “chuffed” like big cats do.

He was a talkative cat. I could ask him, “Who’s my goober kitty,” and he’d answer me.

He called me, “Mooommm”; quite loudly, I might add, especially when he would get lost inside the house. Not that our house was large enough to get lost in… he would love on you in one room, walk to another room, and forget where you were.

He was a beautiful Bengal boy… and his family tree had no branches. If I could have made him a kitty banjo I would have.

And I loved him with all my heart.

Bagheera Kitty   March 2004 – June 2015

From the Mouths of Babes

My niece recently posted a list of questions she asked her young son, and shared his loving, adorable answers. I wish I’d done something similar when my son was his age. However, I firmly believe that it is never too late!

Behold, the 17-year-old perspective on the same questions. And, yes, I enjoyed going through these questions with my son. I hope he had just as much fun as I did.

  1. What is something mom always says to you?

Boy!

  1. What makes mom happy?

Coffee

  1. What makes mom sad?

When you don’t get anything for Mother’s Day from your favorite, most beloved son.

  1. How does your mom make you laugh?

When you get confused by memes.

  1. What was your mom like as a child?

Low-key “problem child”.

  1. How old is your mom?

Hmmm…. 29.

  1. How tall is your mom?

smol

  1. What is her favorite thing to do?

Drink coffee.

  1. What does your mom do when you’re not around?

I don’t want to know.

  1. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?

Can’t decide between loudest scream, weirdest dance, or “used up the entire worlds supply of coffee beans”. On second thought, all three of those.

  1. What is your mom really good at?

Making incense. Your incense is the bomb.

  1. What is your mom not very good at?

Chess. “You’re not good at chess, mom. I would totally kick your ass.”

  1. What does your mom do for a job?

You make incense and other aromatherapy products. And probably sell them as drugs. Hard core drugs. Don’t put that, though.

  1. What is your mom’s favorite food?

The souls of the damned.

  1. What makes you proud of your mom?

Do I have to choose one thing here? I mean, somehow I didn’t wind up dead. Good job! … I’ve honestly never thought about specific things. I’m just proud of you because you’re the bomb, in general, pretty much.

  1. If your mom were a character, who would she be?

Probably Kanayamaryam, from Homestuck.

  1. What do you and your mom do together?

Make a lot of tasteless jokes in the car.

  1. How are you and your mom the same?

We finish each other’s … sandwiches.

  1. How are you and your mom different?

I crave change a lot more than you do.

  1. How do you know your mom loves you?

You’re very understanding about my stance on controversial issues.

  1. What does your mom like most about your dad?

I have no idea.

  1. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go?

There are a few places. The garage, to work on her incense; Neesi’s house; Starbucks…

  1. How old was your Mom when you were born?

Hang on… ok… you were … ?? Thirty…two?? No… Thirty, right? No! You were 29.

Seventeen

My kid turned seventeen today. Every year I’ve written some blog entry or journal entry about my son on his birthday. You know, that mushy-mommy-thing. But my kid is seventeen. He’s growing into a fine young man now. It’s time to let go, while I’ll treasure these memories forever.

So, this year I’m just going to say Happy Birthday to my dude. You’re a great kid and I wouldn’t trade the world for you. And, btw, I’m so relieved you’re just having the D&D party you asked for this weekend and not the party I had for my 17th birthday that got out of hand. I had people showing up for that one I didn’t even know, and some weirdo ended up hitting on my mother!

Yeah, I’m glad you’re my kid. 🙂

17th bday