Wednesday, October 18, 2017

My Food Network Pitch

30 Minute dinners are FABULOUS and all that but I feel like Rachel has those locked down tighter than the lid on the jar of those pickles that you made 4 years ago and are afraid to open but can’t bare to throw away yet.  And also, 30 minutes?  That’s a pretty unrealistic time for dinner preparation don’t you think? If I had 30 minutes to spend on dinner I would go to a restaurant and let them serve me.

So here’s my idea.  Work night dinners for busy professionals running between two jobs, families with kids in activities, etc.  

15 second dinners.

No really.  There is so much food that will technically keep you alive that can be prepared in next to no time at all.

BONUS for the network, this show is only 5 minutes long because, hello!, 15 seconds! If I had to fill a full timeslot I would have to do A LOT of talking to fill up that time, or make 100 dinners…and that’s like all the recipes I know for the ENTIRE run of the show, which I’m expecting to be at least 5 or 6 seasons.  This shit is going to be popular, just you wait and see.  So you'll be able to fit in like 23 minutes of commercials.  BIG BUCKS, amiright?

So here's my first episode, let me know what you think.

First recipe.  Stale tortilla chips and the off-brand hummus that was on sale that you took to work for the potluck lunch but no one would eat.  This one is also FREE really because you have both of these things in your house already.  Eat standing up at the counter using the chips as a spoon and you save extra time by having no dishes to wash.  A fun little twist on this is crushing the chips up and mixing them into the hummus so that you can eat them with a spoon while driving.  Throw the dirty dishes onto the passenger’s seat for when there is a full dishwasher’s load worth, or when you don’t have any dishes left in the cupboard you can do a “big clean up” and wash them all at the same time.

Second recipe.  Cheese and crackers.  Fancy ass restaurants put this on their menu as a “cheese board." If you have a board handy to eat off of then, sure, be fancy, but if you eat the crackers out of the box you minimize clean up (SAVING TIME HERE FOLKS). Some crackers even have whole wheat in them so, HEALTHY, and cheese is packed with protein and calcium and good shit like that to keep your bones from breaking when you inevitably get scurvy from lack of fresh fruits and veggies.

Third recipe.  Apples and peanut butter.  Get one of those apple cutters that cuts all the slices of apples at the same time, otherwise you will run out of preptime because cutting up an apple with a knife takes FOREVER as we all probably know.  The peanut butter can be eaten directly from the jar.  Pro-tip, when shopping for peanut butter look for jars with a large aperture to facilitate scooping with apple slices. Recipe variation.  Skip the apples and just eat the peanut butter directly out of the jar with a spoon. 

Fourth recipe. Grocery store chicken, eaten standing at the counter.  The trick here is remembering to buy one of those rotisserie chicken thingies as your are cruising passed the deli department.  Once it’s in your refrigerator you are ready to go with absolutely no preptime.  Just open up the chicken box and nosh away.  The legs even come with a handy built in grip for children who like to eat while running around the house.

Fifth recipe.  Deli sliced turkey wrapped around a cheese stick.  Talk about elegant AND convenient. If you made a bunch of them and lined them up on a tray you could pass this off as an appetizer at a fancy party. Just stick a toothpick in each one.  Don’t do that though, because that would take WAY longer than 15 seconds.

So what do you think?  Shoot a pilot? I could make some of those sped up facebook videos that show people prepping food.  If you sped these up each one would be like maybe 3 second long.  Before people even THOUGHT about stopping the video the video would be over.  You could defeat their short attention spans by being SHORTER than them. 

I am available to start production at anytime. 

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Quality time with Grandma.

My parents live far away and when they are in town visiting I like to make the most of our time by filling our days with meaningful memories and once in a life time experiences. 

Just kidding.  We go grocery shopping and take the kids to the park and stuff because life goes on, even when Grandma and Grandpa are here.
So I was at the grocery store with my mother and my youngest child, who interestingly enough BEGGED to go with us to the store.  Usually when I try to drag the children to the store they act like they are dying or like I am torturing them by making them participate in something which is SOOOO BORING, especially because we all know that when they beg for cookies I will say NO. Because I’m the worst.

Curious behavior to be sure, but I’m pretty sure it was just to get me and Grandma alone so she could interrogate us because as I was pushing our laden cart through the aisles of the grocery store she comes out with this: “Grandma?  Did Mom do chores when she was growing up?”  I jumped in quickly because Grandma had inexplicably choked on something, as she sputtered I said emphatically “Yes.  Yes I did.  All the time, without being asked.” 

“Grandma is that true?”  Grandma was still coughing, although it sounded suspiciously like she was trying not to snort-laugh out of her nose. I fixed her with an evil glare to let her know that she had BETTER back me up on this one.

“Yes! True, all true,” she managed to sputter.

Shockingly Athena didn’t appear convinced.

As we pushed on through the store my mother growled “You have to prepare me for these things,” behind her palm.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

How NOT to cook things.

I have perpetrated some seriously heinous kitchen disasters in my day. There was the time that I dropped the lid of the crock pot from the height of about 7 feet. I was on a stool getting it off a high shelf and the lid slid off backwards crashing to the floor in a shower of glass particles that looked like a rain of indoor hail. There was that one time that I was pureeing steamed mustard greens to make Saag and the bowl of the food processor slipped out of my hands spattering the front of the cabinets, the floor, the refrigerator across the room, myself and the baby who was in one of those bouncy “gym” thingies with a finely pureed mash of spiced greens.  There was the time I brilliantly decided to “cool off” two hot lasagna pans by spraying them with cold water.  Thermal shock, it’s a thing. It’s not a good thing.  My love of durable surfaces means that glassware is basically not safe in my kitchen, cast iron sinks, tile floors, let’s just say that I can estimate the blast radius of a dropped Correll plate with an uncanny accuracy.

I’m telling you this so that you know me to be an expert in kitchen disasters, so that when I tell you that I experienced the pinnacle of culinary catastrophes that you’ll understand I am not talking about a chipped wine glass, or a dropped mug of hot chocolate but an honest to Goddess, 4 alarm CRIME SCENE.

To set the mood.  I’m getting ready for a dinner party, because I like to torture myself apparently.  Actually it’s because inviting people over to my house is pretty much the only thing that will inspire me to clean my house and if I don’t host people on a semi-regular basis we would all be living in a nest of dirty socks, toys, soiled dishes and sweaty sports bras.  So I’m cleaning my house.  Also there’s a bunch of rhubarb wilting on the counter top which needs to be either cooked or discarded that day, also I’m making a tart crust, also I haven’t had my second cup of coffee yet, also my children seem to think I should feed them or something.  So basically just your every day Saturday morning at our house.

Oh wait there’s something else you need to know. I hate electric stoves.  I hate them, but that’s what I currently have because until it’s broken I can’t justify replacing it.

So I decide to blind bake a pie crust for the rhubarb pie while I’m mixing up my tart crust recipe, making coffee, loading the dishwasher, and toasting bread to feed the children.  Put toast in the toaster, separate egg for tart crust, find container for the egg white so that I don’t waste it, coffee is done, pour coffee in cup, put butter on toast, put tart dough in the fridge to firm up, put away dishes and reload the dishwasher, pie crust is done, pull pie out of the oven and place on stovetop before running upstairs to change out of pajamas.

Halfway up the stairs I hear a noise that sounds like the children have thrown a box of legos across the room, or possibly turned over a bookshelf full of board games.  It’s a crash combined with the tinkle of many small objects being flung in every direction.  

“What did you break!?!” I yell from the stairs. 

“NOTHING!!” comes the indignant response of 3 falsely accused children.  

I said something else which might have been “BULLSHIT!” but I won’t publicly admit to yelling something like that at three darling innocents who were just minding their own business.

I rush back down stairs.  There has been an explosion.  
This is after I've cleaned up quite a bit.

It takes me a few seconds to figure out what I’m looking at.  The glass pie plate has shattered, shards of glass in every direction, the pie pastry still on the stove with the parchment paper and dried beans from the blind bake starting to smoke.  There are pops as more glass shards jump from the stove top, and I realize that I left the burner on after making coffee in the stove top coffee maker.  And that means that I set the pie plate down on a hot burner that was cranked up to one notch below “hi” and that if I don’t get to the stove to turn it off my glass, pastry and bean explosion will turn into an actual on fire explosion.  So I tip-toe through the shards of pyrex while yelling at my children “DO NOT COME IN HERE! NO ONE COME IN HERE!” and I turn off the stove.  

The only recognizable things were the handles.

Basically everything in my kitchen is covered in glass glitter.  There are shards of glass wedged between the coils of the stove, there are dry beans covering my entire stove top. One handle of the pie plate is wedged under the fridge and the other one is 10 feet away from it on the counter top. I start separating the pile of smoking debris on my stove top with a pair of salad tongs since everything is too hot to touch.
The other handle bounced off this jug of vodka...which I didn't even start drinking!

I estimate it took me about two hours to return the scene of the crime to a habitable state. My kitchen has never been cleaner.  I wiped down parts of my countertops that probably haven’t seen a damp cloth since the day they were installed.  The container of utensils next to the stove dumped out so that glass bits could be rinsed from inside it.  I swept, swept again and then mopped.  I MOPPED. I had to vacuum out the inside of my stove. 
Oh nothing, just vacuuming glass dust out of my stove.  What are YOU up to?

The obvious moral of this story is that electric stoves are evil.  What are the chances that I would accidentally put a glass pie plate onto a gas burner that was cranked up to hi?  ZERO.  Because it would have FIRE shooting out of it and even my cavewoman brain is able to figure out that you shouldn’t set a glass pie plate down on something with FIRE shooting out of it.

There might be a lesson here too about trying to do too many things at once, or maybe it’s a cautionary tale about the dangers of trying to clean your house while making pie…

Nope. Just that electric stove thing.  That’s the only caution in this tale.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

I am sure that this is going to start a fight with about 50 people but here goes anyway...

I have probably hurt some feelings lately with my rantings about so called “work from home” business opportunities.  Another name for these types of companies is “Mulit-level Marketing,” which is a fancy way of describing a pyramid scheme. Broadly, these are companies that offer an “exclusive” line of products which can only be bought by someone who has agreed to be a distributor.  Usually these distributor agreements come with a minimum purchase, and usually the distributors are encouraged to sign up additional distributors which they will then get some sort of credit for.

If you aren’t currently living in a off grid cabin somewhere out in the bush you probably know what I’m talking about.  A huge number of these companies are diet and health related (see my rant about the diet industry here), and then there’s a jumble of household goods, fashion, etc that make up the rest of them.  I, like most other social media users, am completely fed up with being invited to “parties” where a friend of a friend will then pitch me on their exclusive line of branded products.  Here’s the thing though…I like having the opportunity to support my friends.  I shop at my friend’s stores, I get my hair cut by them, I buy their artwork…nothing makes me happier than shelling out my hard earned cash to someone who I know will get more advantage from it than if I bought a similar item in the store.  I’m even happy to pay a higher price for these things because I understand that being a small business person comes with a higher operating cost than a large corporation.

So why do I immediately delete these party requests without even looking at the product line?  Because what I absolutely cannot support is my friends being taken advantage of by large pushy corporations.

Taken advantage of?  Well that seems harsh. 

Here’s why I think that.  My work background is in purchasing and inventory management so I am familiar with how wholesale is supposed to work.  Most businesses fall into one of three categories (this is an obvious over simplification but just stay with me). You can have a Franchise, you can have a Dealership and you can have what I think of as a “Managed Inventory” store. 

When you buy a Franchise the main thing that you are buying is a brand.  The parent company has done ALL of the product development for you, they do the advertising campaigns, they do the packaging, absolutely every detail is taken care of for you.  A franchisee is successful when someone from a different town can walk into the new store and find that it is completely indistinguishable from the one down the block in their home town.  The parent company usually offers the franchisee a guarantee that they will not sell additional franchise agreements within a certain area based on geographic distance or population density.   Part of the value in being a franchise owner is knowing that people will seek you out and you will be the only option in the area.  Back in 2005 Krispy Kreme donut company got in big trouble for over inflating their sales numbers and over selling franchise agreements….fraud in other words.  Not good.

A dealership has some similarities with a franchise but it’s not so rigid.  Some stores act as dealerships for multiple brands, and frequently stock other items that are not branded the same.   Many fabric stores are also sewing machine dealerships, for instance.  The parent company wants to place their products into successful stores and the store owners want people to seek them out because of the reputation of the brands that they sell.  It’s a cooperative agreement where both sides work to prop up the other.  When a parent company and a store owner reach an agreement part of that agreement is that the parent company will not sell their products to any other stores within a certain geographic area.  This increases the value of the brand for the store owner because, again, they know that they have an exclusive product which customers will travel to purchase.

There’s a theme developing here.  Exclusivity.  Brand value.  Geographic isolation. 

And then there’s what I call “managed inventory” stores.  These are stores where the owner or purchaser chooses unique items for their stock based on their customers’ interests, rate of sales, season etc.  Most dealerships also have supporting inventory that works on this system.  In this case the exclusivity comes from the unique mix of items that the store owner has decided to stock.  Sure, you can get some of the items at different stores but then you’d have to make multiple trips.  As a purchaser one of the questions that I want to know when I add a new product line is “who else has this?”  Some companies will agree to a geographic exclusivity clause, and some won’t.  It’s up to me as the inventory manager to know what my competitors are selling, and to keep my inventory fresh and interesting so that when customers come to my store they’re excited to buy.

So here’s my main problem with these work from home “opportunities.”  For the ones that give kick-backs for people who sign up additional distributors, they are literally paying you to weaken your brand.  You may be a very conscientious, respectful marketer but if you sell “XYZ” brand diet shakes then every time some other distributor mass invites everyone in their social media address book to an “XYZ” party, your brand is tarnished.  Maybe all of these companies are not guilty of pyramid style marketing but they are ALL guilty of over oversaturation.  

In my opinion it is unethical for a company to sell you on a batch of products and then set up another distributor in the same market to compete with you.  If I agree to open a Burger Bizzaro restaurant and then the company tells me “hey, sell another franchise agreement to your friend from High School and then we can set him up right across the street from you, but don’t worry we’ll give you 10% of everything he sells!” that is NOT a good deal for me.  Basically all the customers traveling south will go to his store because it’s an easier right hand turn and all the customers going north will come to my store.  I’ve lost HALF my customers for a 10% kickback.  Plus there’s another Burger Bizzaro going in a block away from us because some other guy I don’t even know bought a franchise and he’s paying college kids in free Burgers to stand on the street in a clown costume and wave people into the parking lot.  Pretty soon there are so many Burger Bizzaros in town that people are so sick of hearing the jingle and smelling stale French fry grease that they all stay home and eat Turkey Sandwiches instead.

In summary.  These companies are TAKING ADVANTAGE OF YOU, and that makes me mad.

The End. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Kids and chores, the struggle is too real.

Have your kids help out around the house.  Teach them responsibility.  Set them up to be big winners in the game of life by having them load the dishwasher
every night.
The kids are pretending that the vacuums are proton packs and that they are Ghost Busters.  This was my husband's idea. He's a genius.

There’s only one problem with that.  Getting your kids to do chores IS a chore.  I can spend 15 minutes cleaning the kitchen after dinner OR I can split it down into tiny taskletts and parcel them out to the children and then observe and correct them (No dearest!  Sweeping doesn’t just mean dragging the broom in a circle around the floor, you have to actually look at it to make sure the bits are getting swept up.) but not ACTUALLY do it for them, keep them on task, and then of course deal with the inevitable melt down where one child loudly denounces the other children for not doing their fair share, one child curls up into a ball and moans that they are TOOO TIRED, and the other children screams at you that you have RUINED THEIR WHOLE DAY AND DOES THIS MEAN THEY WON’T GET ANY TABLET TIME?!?!? An hour later, we’re all late for bedtime and the kitchen is not clean.  But they’ve been taught about responsibility!  And then as I always do I imagine them acting in exactly this way when they are grown up.  My kid.  Lying on the floor after the manager at their first minimum wage job asks them to sweep the floor.  “BUT MY LEGS ARE SO TIRED! I can’t hold the broom, or stand.  I’m too tired to BREATHE.”

And goddess forbid that they want to help you cook dinner.  I hope you have three hours to cook.

Fold a shirt, or sit next to someone and describe in precise details 10 times in a row how to fold a shirt….or have your folding corrected by a 5 year old who thinks that your way of folding is DUMB and will greet her father at the door loudly proclaiming “GUESS WHAT PAPA!! I TAUGHT MOM HOW TO FOLD UNDERWEAR TODAY BECAUSE SHE DIDN’T KNOW HOW AND I DID, ISN’T THAT FUNNY!!!”  Hillllllarious.

Here’s the thing though.  Between the nature programs they devour on television and the environmental curriculum that they get at school, these kids will run out into oncoming traffic to pick up a piece of litter.  Baby bird fell out of a tree? ARMAGEDDON.  But pick up the thousand shreds of paper that fell to the floor during the afternoon art project?  I’M SO TIRED I CAN’T LIFT PAPER.

I’ve decided that the way to inspire them to help out around the house is to use the words from their school lectures.  Clean the living room?  Hell no. We are working on our “ENVIRONMENT.” Make your bed?  Oh no.  We are tidying up our nests. 

It’s totally not working.

Then I thought maybe some music would help them keep on task. Let’s be honest, the only time my house has ever gotten anything close to clean is if I have been having a jolly old rock out.  If I had a cleaning service it would be called “Punk Rock Get’s it DONE,” but also don’t hire me to clean your house I’m a horrible housekeeper. 

Have you ever seen 3 under 10’s mosh out to “Let it GO?” Well come by my house during after dinner clean up and you shall, oh yes, you shall.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Once upon a time, on pinterest...

I’m stating clearly, so that there can be absolutely no doubt about my opinions as you read this, that I think parenting advice is absolute bunk. “Parenting” books are a million, probably BILLION dollar industry that exists solely to make money for authors and publishers at the cost of your confidence and instinct. I’ve been the parent of a newborn three times and hope never to return to that bleak hellscape.  There’s a reason that sleep deprivation is used to torture people.  Every parent that has ever parented since the beginning of time has thought “I must be doing this WRONG! There’s NO WAY this could be the normal circumstance of raising a child!”  Spoiler alert.  Parenting is a fucking hard job and there is NO EXPERT that can tell you how to do it because no one has ever parented your child before. 

And now, bless us, there is the internet where any asshole with a digital camera can wipe the frosting off their kid’s chin, prop them up next to “baby’s first periodic table” and pretend for 30 seconds that they know what the fuck they are doing.  And hooray! Maybe they have it all figured out, I can’t say for sure, but I do know 100% that they don’t have it figured out with YOUR kid, and YOUR life and YOUR schedule of crucial but inevitably neglected tasks. 

Pinterest is a breeding ground for helpful advice from well meaning strangers.  Pinterest will tell you in NO uncertain terms that YOU are failing at life.  There are literally thousands of to-do lists, meal plans, check lists, work out challenges etc. for you to print off and post on your refrigerator to be lost among the expired coupons, soccer practice schedules, and lists of unpurchased school supplies. These “free printables” (excuse me but WHAT?  You are going to, FOR FREE, create another piece of paper to clutter up my life and make me feel guilty about not doing ENOUGH? THANK YOU SO FUCKING MUCH!!) are always full of words like “simple” and “just” and “routine,” promising that if you “Just include these simple steps in your daily routine,” that your life will be magically transformed something from the centerfold of Martha Stewart’s special House Porn edition. 

I got news for you.  There is “just” nothing “simple” about a household “routine.”  “Just do 10 push-ups before every shower!”  Sorry but I fail to see how doing 10 push ups once a week is going to do fuck-all for my core strength.  “Just print out this simple meal schedule for routine weeknight dinners!”  Great,  sounds good.  I’ll just go shopping for all of these things that I don’t normally buy during the ten minute long gap in my schedule and then spend an extra half hour making something that half my family won’t eat.  Simple!  “Just follow these simple steps to streamline your housekeeping routine.”   I would FUCKING LOVE to wipe down my counters every morning after unloading my dishwasher and making my bed.  That would be utterly fan-fucking-tastic, except that the school is actually super uncool about dropping your kids off unfed in their pajamas.  I KNOW?!  Judgemental fuckers, right?!

I do have one life hack that will totally simplify your daily routine though.  Stop believing in the perfect routine where everything gets done and everyone is happy all the time.  It’s the modern fairytale, and it’s basically as likely as opening your door and finding your fairy godmother standing there with a pair of glass slippers for you.  Good enough is GREAT. There is always going to be SOMETHING that falls short.  The best that you can do is to define for yourself how bad it can get before it’s REALLY falling apart. That’s going to be different for everyone!  And the bloggers and the pinners have a different breaking point than you do.  Maybe you really do fall apart if your bed doesn’t get made every morning.  That’s great! Make the bed! But something else is going to slide a little bit while you’re doing it.  AND THAT IS PERFECTLY NORMAL AND OKAY. 

Good enough.  It’s as good as you get.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

My opinion on unsolicited opinions.

Here’s the plus about being a six foot tall Amazon with a resting bitch face that looks like I’m ready to throw down….no one critiques my parenting skills in public!  I am sure that many denizens of the grocery store shuffle quickly to their cars thinking “Damn, I’m glad that she’s not MY mom,” but I never actually have to deal with the advice of random strangers.  I breast fed three babies in public with nary a side eye, shit, I used to bring my Boppy Pillow with us to the bar for more comfortable nursing.  I have carried screaming children over my shoulder through crowded store aisles, I even had to extract my naked son from a swimming pool locker room after he REFUSED to get out of the shower after half an hour.  Has any well meaning mother-of-the-year ever stopped in to tell me that if I just made sure he got more fiber in his diet then his behavior would improve?  No.  Has any grandmother ever stepped in to tell me that that’s not how they did it in their day?  No.  So, you know, I have to buy my clothes from the “Modern Giantess” catalog, but at least no one has interfered with the way I’ve decided to raise my kids...until now.

I will not go into detail because it would take too fucking long but let me just assure you that Mondays are not the day that you want to get in my way.  Pretty much every single second of Monday is specifically scheduled from 7:24am which is the last possible minute that can wake up my kids and still get them to school on time, until 7:24pm when I unload them from the Van, tired and already in their pajamas after their swim class.  There is something happening during every single minute of the day and if the schedule deviates even slightly then the whole thing ends up in utter catastrophe. I am not an organized person.  I don’t think three steps ahead, I like to live in the moment and take things as they come, so let’s just say that at best Monday and I have an uneasy truce.

There are 37 minutes of “waiting” on Monday afternoons, that I hold onto like a precious gem of sanity in the swirling seas of scheduled obligation.  After I drop eldest off for his tutoring appointment I can take the younger kids to a playground down the street and they (wait for it, because it’s fucking amazing...) ENTERTAIN THEMSELVES FOR AN ENTIRE HALF HOUR.  I know, I know…it’s the stuff of dreams.  Those nights when you are holding a fussy, hungry newborn in the wee small hours of the morning, you close your eyes and see a halo of golden light through which you can watch your children playing BY THEMSELVES on the playground while you fondly watch from a distance and gradually rebuild your fragile mental health. 

I defend these 37 minutes with every tactic at my disposal.  I pull up to the park, open the side panel door on the van and (not literally, but literally if that’s what is required) boot them out of the vehicle.  Then I sit by myself in the driver’s seat of the van for 37 minutes, listening to the radio, checking my email, calling my mother, knitting, or any one of a million other trivial things that have been robbed from me on this day of many obligations.   So you can imagine my annoyance when I became aware of a presence on the other side of the window, a presence which resolved itself into the face of a sweet and well intentioned woman of not-quite-elderly vintage.  The presence tapped on my driver’s side window, clearly indicating that I should lower it because she had wisdom to impart to me.  The window reluctantly lowered.

“Go!  Go and play with your children on the swings,” she twittered at me.  And then she walked along the road accompanied by her well-walked dog and her husband who muttered “Was she just sitting in the car texting?!” in a tone that clearly indicated that I was out of my ever loving mind to miss this prime bonding experience with my precious children and their fleeting childhood.

So let me clear things up for you.  I have no idea what I was doing, husband-person, I might have been texting, I could have been checking my email, or returning a phone call that I can’t return while surrounded by extremely loud children.  I might have been refining uranium, curing cancer, solving the world’s problems in a three way facebook message string between me, Obama and the Pope.  I might have been looking up porn, or announcing my candidacy for president of the universe.

What I wasn’t doing was playing with my children on the playground.  I don’t actually like playgrounds.  I’m sure that there is a lightning bolt charging up extra hot and just waiting for the right minute to strike me dead for saying so but playgrounds suck for grown ups.  And swings?  Swings are a fucking racket man.  Agree to one underdog and your life is basically over.  You have become a slave to the swing set.  They will NEVER LET YOU GO.  Observe my children playing on the swings.  They are laughing, they are pushing each other, they are experimenting with different swing positions for maximum vomit induction…they are having a blast.  You know what would happen if I went out there?  Both of them would assume the “push me” position and demand in loud, ungrateful and irritating voices that I push them FOR ETERNITY, and we would ALL be having way less fun. 

I NEED those quiet minutes in between appointments, work, errands, school, lessons, and myriad other obligations.  Those are the minutes where I can recharge my reserves of patience and understanding so that when youngest is standing on her mitten in the morning, while simultaneously telling me that she can’t find her mitten and that she looked EVERYWHERE for it!!! I can say “Sweety, darling, you are standing on it,” instead of “ohferfucksakeareyoukiddingmerightnowyouirritatinglittletwerp!”  They also need those minutes to play without me being there to be the focus of every problem and desire.  They can lean on me to direct their game, all of which dissolve instantly into “show mommy and get approval!” or they can figure out something that appeals to their weird little kid brains and they can play “hippopotamus princess rescues the dragon.”

I could have explained this to you, sweet older lady, dog and husband, but you ran away before hearing my opinion.  You probably thought you already knew what I would say.  You probably thought that I would say “Fuck off and die you interfering old busy body! This is none of your damn business.”  And you would have been TOTALLY CORRECT.