Family in Crisis

Welcome to this week's guest blog -- switching days this week because of the day-care study. Every week "On Balance" features the views of a guest writer. It could be your neighbor, your boss, your most loved or hated poster from the blog, or you! Send me your original, unpublished entry (300 words or fewer) for consideration. Obviously, the topic should be something related to balancing your life.

By Vegas Mom

I dove into the car to retrieve my ringing cell phone. I'd just dropped my daughter off for her last day of preschool and was running late for work. I gasped, "Hey, what's up?" My husband's voice sounded different, strained. "I'm hurt."

When we got married 15 years ago, we promised to love and care for each other "in sickness and in health." We were young and in love. I'm not sure either of us understood the gravity of that promise.

That day, I struggled to maintain my composure as my husband explained that a safety rail had failed on the scaffolding he was climbing. He had fallen 15 feet to the concrete floor. I would later find out that he had shattered almost every bone in his right wrist and the radial head of his right elbow. The talus bone in his right foot literally broke in half. Miraculously, he had no head, back, or hip injuries.

After the fall, I cared for my husband through five surgeries and almost four weeks in the hospital and rehab facility. When I realized he wasn't being bathed at the hospital, I helped myself to toiletries and towels from the supply closet and did it myself. I cancelled business trips, took my laptop everywhere, and did my best to help him through a difficult morphine withdrawal. I lugged his wheelchair in and out of our van to and from doctor and physical therapy appointments almost every day for six months. We received workers comp checks, but I was grateful for my paycheck as I paid our bills each week. My boss, a woman I'd worked with for three years, was incredibly kind as I struggled to find balance amid the chaos.

Balance did come, with the help of family and friends. My dad helped me make the house wheelchair accessible. A neighbor volunteered to mow our lawn. Friends and grandparents babysat and brought food. My days took on a routine -- work from home in the morning, take daughter to school, go to the office, take husband to therapy/doctor, back to the office, pick up daughter, make dinner, clean up, bathe daughter, bathe husband, work from home in the evening, go to bed.

My husband made an almost full recovery. He has gone back to work he loves. He can cast his fly rod and build furniture in his garage workshop. Shortly after he started walking again, our five-year-old daughter approached me with a worried look.

"Mom," she whispered, "Before the accident, I didn't love Daddy," She confessed with some trepidation, barely able to look at me. "But now, I love him SO much."

I understood immediately what she was feeling. I'd had my own horrible realization that I'd been in the presence of something precious all along that I'd failed to see. I blinked back my own tears as I assured her that her feelings were normal, that she had never NOT loved her dad. I muddled through a discussion about cherishing loved ones every day and not taking our friends and family for granted.

Our daughter is eight now, the accident four years behind us. I watched them together recently, their identical bright heads bent together, engaged in a fly-tying/entomology lesson. We made it through this crisis. It wasn't the first of our 15-year marriage, but it was certainly the biggest. I'm not naïve enough to believe it will be the last crisis, or even the worst. I'm taking my life one day at a time, one step at a time. We've all learned to treasure those sweet, simple pleasures -- like fly-tying lessons.


Vegas Mom is a semi-regular On Balance poster. She works for a major casino company in Las Vegas but retreats at the end of the day to the suburb of Henderson where she lives with her husband and daughter..

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  March 28, 2007; 7:30 AM ET  | Category:  Guest Blogs
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Comments

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Nice story.

Good boss during recovery.

Where's the balance?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 7:34 AM

Great story and I'm glad to hear that DH recovered completely. I think the "balance" part of this blog is that there isn't - and perhaps never can be - balance in the midst of this kind of a crisis. I'd imagine you just live one day at a time and do everything you can not to break down.

Posted by: londonmom | March 28, 2007 7:41 AM

I agree. Nice story, but I don't see how it fits here.

We all have had some family crisis. This is no different.

Posted by: John Q | March 28, 2007 7:44 AM

Posters 1, 2, and 3

maybe... you could focus on the help given to her during her crisis that allowed her to make it through.

Instead of asking about your own balance today - maybe we talk about how you could help someeone else with their balance?

Posted by: how about... | March 28, 2007 7:51 AM

Bravo - well said. I enjoyed this as opposed to yesterday's boring and dead topic. Sometimes a challenge such as this makes you aware of how very much you have around you. I had a recent illness where I needed someone to come pick me up in the ER at 3:00 am because dh was with the kids. I was so pleased to discover the number of people I had to choose from whom I knew would be happy to help. Made me feel grateful in the midst of the misery. Thanks Vegas Mom, people often forget the "for worse" part of the vows!
Moxiemom

Posted by: to how about | March 28, 2007 7:56 AM

I kinda thought the whole point of the story is that you should stop and appreciate what you have now and not let the details of everyday life obscure what's most important. Balance is about more than control--it's about being able to see the big picture. You can't always put off your chores, but more often than not, you're better served by doing the dishes in the morning and spending some time with your significant other or stopping yard work right in the middle and playing with your child.

Posted by: marc | March 28, 2007 7:57 AM

The huge support system around this woman no doubt helped her family deal with the crisis.

I agree that this story isn't remarkable.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 7:58 AM

Vegas Mom - Congratulations on weathering the storm. I suspect you would expect no less from your husband. My husband has had 2 work related injuries and the phone calls are jarring, the scheduling of rehab frustrating and the endless days are exhausting. However, each event made me realize how lucky we are to have the support system we do.

Taking a tip to "focus on the help" - it is important to build relationships in your community to help those in need. Family emergencies can happen at the blink of an eye and most of the time we can not do it all.

Posted by: cmac | March 28, 2007 8:02 AM

This story isn't remarkable unless you've been there! When you go through a major crisis like this, finding balance, having people around you willing to help and having an understanding boss is a very very big deal. I've been there. It's what saves you and keeps you going day after day. If you haven't been through something like this, don't discount the importantce of her story. Thank your lucky stars that you don't know what this is like.

Posted by: d's ma | March 28, 2007 8:10 AM

For every story like this, there's another where the injury/illness wiped a family out. Those who can weather it, count your blessings, and look for ways to help those who might otherwise not be able to.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 8:11 AM

"This story isn't remarkable unless you've been there!"

As written, the story is not remarkable.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 8:12 AM

how about..,

Sounds like she managed her balance pretty well without us.

Give us a conflict without a resolution and maybe we can help.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 8:15 AM

This story IS about regaining balance, setting/realizing priorities and acknoledging that life cant always be balanced. The tale also illustrates that misfortune can exhibit strong magnetism, pulling priorities back in line, a community in to help and a family closer together.

Balance is a challenge to obtain and certainly extremely difficult to maintain as life throws not only curve balls, but high and tight too. Attempting to force balance using determination and brute force is as counter productive as tensing all your muscles while on the balance beam - you are certain to fall if you cannot find a way to relax and feel your center.

I ruptured my achilles tendon last year. I appreciate many aspects of life far more now than I did before. I'll never look at a staircase the same way. Oh well, getting old I guess.

Nice story, I am glad everybody recovered.

Posted by: Fo3 | March 28, 2007 8:16 AM

Maybe the story is about balance that has already been achieved? If she didn't have balance this might have really thrown them for a loop. As someone already said, a good support system is important. You have to start constructing it well before an emergency.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 28, 2007 8:24 AM

The author didn't ask for our help, but the story is a good one anyway.

In my family, I was the one with the injury -- it happened three months ago. The strain on everyone was huge. Situations like these add long lists of chores and errands to the family schedule, while at the same time subtracting one person from the list of people who could complete those chores and errands. The resulting stress and chaos does not necessarily bring out the best in everyone. And then on top of that, there is often concern about whether the person with the injury will be able to return to the previous level of functioning or not. Will the person have to look for a different kind of job? And there may be emotional fallout for other family members as well (such as the child in this story).

If you know anyone in this kind of situation, any practical help you can provide can be very useful. Pick up the kids. Take out the trash. Offer to drive the injured person to doctor or physical therapist appointments. Ask whether there are any errands you can do for the family when you go out to do your own errands. It will help to ease the strain.

Posted by: Kathy | March 28, 2007 8:25 AM

"Before the accident, I didn't love Daddy"

What does that mean?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 8:26 AM

I disagree that the story is not remarkable.

If you live (or have ever lived) smack in the middle of what would be described as a cold, selfish big city, it is extremely heartwarming to see other pitch in and help those in need.

Are some just taking it for granted that their neighbors would pitch in and help? I, for one, find some percentage (50%?) of my dc-townhouse-community neighbors to be somewhat closed off and clique-ish against those who are not in their mostly over 60, mostly military, mostly WASPy demographic.

I would be utterly shocked if they volunteered to help those outside that demographic in a time of need.

That's why I find the story remarkable.

Thanks for the submission VegasMom.

Posted by: Proud Papa | March 28, 2007 8:28 AM

What struck me is the reaction of her daughter - kids who are in a secure, happy home (like Vegas Mom's) believe that their parents will always be there (like the sun rising every day.) Its not that she didnt "love Daddy", its that she didnt ahve to think of the possibility of somethinghappening to him. When something happens, it makes not only adults, but kids, really grasp the possibility that something can happen to the ones we. I'm not saying that bad things should happen in order to make us appreciate things - just that everyday, in the midst of the chaos, we should appreciate our health, the health of our family, etc. I know that every time I hear of something bad happening to a child on the news, I cuddle my kids - of course, they have no idea why.

Great blog - those who criticize, write your own guest blog if you can do better.

Posted by: jessker | March 28, 2007 8:29 AM

I think there are 2 points to this story. One is that you don't truly appreciate your loved ones until you're hit with a crisis. The other is that at any given moment the roof could cave in on any of us, upsetting our balance, and getting it back is no easy feat. I guess, on some level, the story is unremarkable but I think people who see it that way are not appreciating the important message this type of story delivers. Our family went through a crisis with my son in 2005. We found balance during that crisis in many of the same ways Vegas mom did - family, friends, understanding bosses. We have a new balance now and a new perspective on life. It is surviving these challenges and helping one another through such challenges that (hopefully) brings out the best in people, shows us the strength of human kindness and gives us the perspective to truly not sweat the small stuff.

Posted by: PT Fed Mof2 | March 28, 2007 8:31 AM

I agree with Proud Papa. The story is remarkable. Indeed, I venture to wonder if only those who haven't experienced needing help are saying it isn't remarkable.

I had pretty painful surgery a couple of years ago. First, I found it interesting who went out of their way to help our family and who didn't. Second, The family did indeed grow stronger because the load (hence the balance) had to shift away from me and some other family member's shoulders.

Posted by: dotted | March 28, 2007 8:35 AM

People helping other people is NOT remarkable. What is remarkable is when people don't help others. When people see that someone is in need and don't help, they make a conscience choice not to. That is remarkable because they CHOOSE not too.

We have become a society of self serving people. Vegas Mom's story goes to show that there are still some of that caring feeling going around.

That's not balance. It's a choice we make.

Posted by: John Q | March 28, 2007 8:36 AM

"how about," I like your idea.

It's true that for every story like this with a happy ending there is another with a sad ending. So we should keep in mind ways that we can help others balance emergencies like these.

I have a friend who has lymphoma. I did the TLLS TNT thing and raised $4,000, but I didn't do anything to help her family. I never offered to make dinner; I never offered to take her to the doctor. Now that I've moved away, I realize that she might have appreciated my physical presence more than my fundraising.

"Vegas Mom," congrats on getting through a tough time, and thank you for sharing your story. I hope it inspires good blog conversation.

Posted by: Meesh | March 28, 2007 8:37 AM

If the story had been better written or edited, it might be remarkable. But as it stands, nothing jumps off of the page.

Really confused about the "didn't love Daddy" statement by the daughter. That might be the real story here.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 8:43 AM

Also, having gone through an illness or injury makes a person more humble, in my opinion. In college, my appendix ruptured and I was refused treatment for a week before they decided to operate (I should have sued). I spent weeks in the hospital and a another week on bed rest in my dorm. I learned what it was like to be completely dependent on other people (some of whom I had just met that semester). It was a humbling experience for me, having friends help me to the bathroom.

Now I can imagine what a dibilitating illness or injury can do to a family, so I think I would be more willing to help because of that.

Posted by: Meesh | March 28, 2007 8:44 AM

John Q, I respect what you are saying, but I have not had the same experience with my neighbors.

My friends, on the other hand, are always great and quick to pitch in when we need something.

For example, I tore my achilles about a month before my son was due. Those I trust (friends and some of the family) were willing to lend a helping hand, as I would have guessed they'd be.

As for the kindness of strangers, I was equally un-surprised at the number of folks who consider you a nuisance (and react to you as such) as you crutch around trying to maneuver your groceries in the supermarket. Because hey, they're in a hurry and you're in the way.

I agree with you that it's a choice, but I've seen enough people choose to stick with their own and prioritize themselves ahead that I am no longer surprised by it. Jaded, I guess.

Posted by: Proud Papa | March 28, 2007 8:51 AM

Some people are either too proud or stubborn to ask for help (me). But when someone showed up with a meal or offered a ride it was always appreciated (I was on crutches for a month after knee operation).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 28, 2007 9:00 AM

I really liked this story, and think that part of its beauty is that it is not "remarkable". These tragedies can happen, and have happened, to many of us. And are in the cards for many more of us. That means that Vegas Mom has given us something real to talk about today - and those of us who have had similar experiences are invited to share them. We are all better off knowing that we truly can get past crises by reaching out for help from others.

Concerning her daughter's comment about not loving Daddy - I thought this was especially important. I can remember vividly when I was about 6 going up to my Mom with trembling fear and confessing to her that I loved her more than I loved my Dad. I thought this was so shameful. My Mom really helped me understand that my feelings were not evil, and helped me define what love is and isn't. I felt so much better having that conversation with her, and realized that I truly did love my Dad (who died just 2 years later).

Thank you, Vegas Mom, for a story full of lessons and love.

Posted by: equal | March 28, 2007 9:01 AM

Thank you for your story and I'm glad
everyone is more healthy now.

I am trying to teach my five year about helping. Sometimes it is as simple as opening up the door when someone has their
hands full. We also leave some of our
magazines for one of our neighbors to read.

I know my inlaws who not help in a crisis.
When my daughter had health issues they said bring to a doctor. The advice from the doctor, which was correct, was that she
will outgrow it. My inlaws thought the doctors were wrong.

Posted by: shdd | March 28, 2007 9:01 AM

If the story had been better written or edited, it might be remarkable. But as it stands, nothing jumps off of the page.

There is nothing wrong with her story.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 9:05 AM

I'm appalled at how so many posters immediately and venemously criticized the guest blogger today. I think we should appreciate anyone's efforts to share their story and let us into their lives and experiences, if just for one day. Heaven knows Leslie gets spanked for no good reason on a daily basis.

Further, I think Vegas mom shares a valuable experience. I for one, dread the "what ifs." A serious injury throws off "balance" in a significant way. Sure, we can say "I don't know how you made it through," but Vegas mom told us how she rebalanced and muddled through. Then she told us about the emotional impact it had on her family.

Hats off to you Vegas mom -- I'm glad you weathered the storm and showed us how to get through the tough times and have the clarity to see the impact it had on your family.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | March 28, 2007 9:08 AM

what is wrong with the cranky posters today? I think this is a good guest blog. Thank you Vegas mom, for a thought provoking, well written story.

Posted by: experienced mom | March 28, 2007 9:10 AM

Your anoin 8:43 post is remarkable? Sheesh.

Guest bloggists really shouldnt get slammed like they do here on O.B.

Have a nice day VegasMom.

Looks like there is gonna be a little turbulence fom the dart throwing anonymous peanuts out there.

Posted by: hey 8:43! | March 28, 2007 9:13 AM

I'm really not interested in reading this blog anymore because all of the mean-spirited, judgemental, and frankly unoriginal negative comments on here make me nauseous. It is not a good way to start off the morning.

Posted by: Christine | March 28, 2007 9:14 AM

My schedule is jam-packed, and I'm wondering what I would do if my friend or neighbor were in the situation Vegas Mom describes. Here's her day:

"work from home in the morning, take daughter to school, go to the office, take husband to therapy/doctor, back to the office, pick up daughter, make dinner, clean up, bathe daughter, bathe husband, work from home in the evening, go to bed."

I can make a cassrole on Sunday and drop it off. I might even be able to mow her lawn?

What would / could you do?
How long could you keep it?

Posted by: Arlington Dad | March 28, 2007 9:18 AM

Proud Papa,

Unfortunately there are not enough neighbors like yours in this world and for the very reason you state. We all seem so rushed and we are worried about ourselves. It doesn't take but a few moments of time to find out how we can help. Stopping when you see someone with a flat tire and asking if they need help, holding a door open for someone because their hands are full or they are unable to do it themselves, providing help to someone (as in Vegas Mom's case) who needs help while they or a family member recovery from an injury or sickness. These things take very little time.

I only say it's remarkable when people DON'T help because it takes so little time and effort to ask "Can I help you with that".

And let's not get into talking about the people who expect some kind a reward for their assistance. These people should be helping in the first place.

Vegas Mom had a great support system and there is nothing like great support. We should all be like the people who helped her and her family (not to discredit the sacrifices SHE had to make during that time).

Posted by: John Q | March 28, 2007 9:18 AM

"And let's not get into talking about the people who expect some kind a reward for their assistance. These people should be helping in the first place."

Random acts of kindness. They make you feel good even if nobody ever knows.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 28, 2007 9:22 AM

Vegas Mom -- wonderfully honest account of what even 4 years later feels like a life-defining event.
How many of the people dismissing your story would dare to quote their children like you did? Sayings like "I did not like my Daddy." For the reference: a five years old most likely meant "I thought I did not like my Daddy", but she did not have analytical or linguistic skills to put it that way. Of course, the children of the people who criticize Vegas Mom, always express themselves precisely...
And they never said to their parents anything like "I wish I was born in a different family/I don't think you are my real parents/I don't think you really wanted me."
By the way, the support system goes to those who are nice. Nobody wants to halp a surly demanding ungrateful creature. So, if Vegas Mom had some support for 6 months -- she did something to deserve it.

Four years later the frustration of everyday struggle is mostly forgotten, tht's why it sounds so peachy to people who never lived through it, but one can still see it. Every time we are running into insurmountable obstacles, my husband says: This is something we'll be telling our grandchildren about -- and laughing together.

Posted by: Bagheera | March 28, 2007 9:23 AM

I think this is a good guest blog and speaks to a lot of people. When I was five, my dad was almost killed in a mining accident. It's not that her little girl didn't love her dad; she just always thought he would be there and got scared when she realized that something could happen to him.

This is also a story about balance. I mean balancing work, sick husband, small child, etc. Come on people this is a little bit more than the daily grind.

In our situation, my mom didn't work, so all we had was my dad's workman's comp. It was rough for a while or so my mom says, all I remember is my dad going to the hospital and how scared my family was.

Posted by: scarry | March 28, 2007 9:23 AM

The lesson in this excellent post is that balance (which is relative) is achieved with the help of others, particularly in a crisis. The accident taught the author and her family to value things like fun, life and love, etc. even more. Realizing what's important is a different kind of balance.

Christine, yes it gets negative around here a lot. But you're still here! You're aaaddiiiccttteeedddd! :>

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | March 28, 2007 9:23 AM

And this story IS what family is about. You are there for each other - thru thick and thin.

What is sad though... say, this woman's husband left her. Would she have had this same help?

Posted by: C.W. | March 28, 2007 9:25 AM

Vegas Mom - Thank you for your story. I'm glad it had a happy ending!

It was about balance, and how sometimes it is tippy. I think it's also about living life so that we are prepared for the disasters that come along.

That job that some might have said wasn't necessary, that you worked out to buy new clothes and a fancy car - it came in handy when your husband was hurt and out of work.

How many of our SAHM have 6-9 months of salary banked or enough disability insurance to sustain a household if their bread-winner suffers a disability?

The thing about balance is that it's the flexibility to adjust and get through these things. Nobody wants to expect the worst but it's good to have some options so if it happens we can keep going.

Posted by: RoseG | March 28, 2007 9:26 AM

A conscious effort/decision not to take action to help those in need eh? Another unforgivable brand of selfishness...

I guess I'd rather appreciate those who help, contribute, commune than throw stones at the isolationists.

I like those pass on the favor ads that show how small good deeds can mulitply. Can the positive vibe really escalate? or is this simple Madison Avenue hogwash?

If I could give the world a Coke...

Peace be with you.

and re: remarkable?!

Inigo Montoya once said: That word, you keep saying that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Posted by: Fo3 | March 28, 2007 9:27 AM

KLB SS MD,

And let's not get into talking about the people who expect some kind a reward for their assistance. These people should be helping in the first place

It should have read "These people SHOULDN'T be helping...."

But you are correct. Helping someone is it's own reward. However, kindness shouldn't be random. It should be a thread in the fabric of life.

Posted by: John Q | March 28, 2007 9:27 AM

Fo3,

You get the post of the day for quoting the Princess Bride.

Posted by: jessker | March 28, 2007 9:32 AM

John Q,
I would settle for random vs nothing.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 28, 2007 9:33 AM

Vegas Mom,
Thanks for the great story. I do think that these crises can change your life, especially if you are able to weather through them. They teach you to value what is important. You learn who your true friends are. And you appreciate the little things that can so often be taken for granted when things run smoothly. I am glad your family made it through. And please ignore the snarky anon posters -- they don't deserve anybody's time or consideration.

Posted by: Emily | March 28, 2007 9:34 AM

Fo3: the word is inconceivable

Posted by: dotted | March 28, 2007 9:35 AM

"Fo3: the word is inconceivable"

Ooh, is today's topic infertility?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 9:38 AM

Well, this is just great. She shares her story, and you blast her for not writing more about balance?

I just don't get it. I thought you breeders were supposed to stick together. After all, you have teh most important jobs in da wurld!!!!1

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 9:39 AM

that's right, BREEDERS RULE!

Posted by: Arligton Dad | March 28, 2007 9:41 AM

Thanks Vegas mom, what a wonderful story. I can't even imagine keeping it all together even with friends and family chipping in.

To all the nay sayers, why don't you write your own guest blogs. Let us all see how remarkable your lives are.

I think one of the problems with this blog, is that people shoot down ordinary people with ordinary lives. But the minute someone has something extra (like money or education ex Leslie) tons jump on her for her advantages in life. So you just can't win.

This was a wonderful blog about getting through a very tough time. I can't believe people think it would be oh so easy to get through a major accident like this. No matter how much help you get mowing your lawn, it doesn't take away the fear of what might happen-he doesn't recover, never works again etc... It also tells us to appreciate everyone and everything each day. Your life, no matter how well planned out, can change in a heart beat.

Semi off topic: I recently started reading Leslie's mommy wars book. I was surprised it was very good. I was very skeptical at first. Like what could a bunch of writers tell me about balancing my life? They all can just take their assignments home and work while the kiddies go to school. Well, it is an interesting take on a lot of issues. I did learn a few snap shots about how the writing profession works. There is a little mud slinging in the mommy wars but most are pretty down right honest essays on balancing their lives and the inner turmoil we all face. There are also just some good essays about bigger then the SAHM vs WOHM debate. One article in particular about a women suffering from post partum depression and re evaluating her own abusive childhood. Anyway, it is a good read. Definitely worth taking out of the library.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 28, 2007 9:42 AM

Some may find this story unremarkable and not interesting. I do not, having been in similar situations several times in my life.

I do continue to be amazed by the sheer numbers of strangers who are still helping rebuild New Orleans and environs. We appreciate the help. I wonder if the volunteers are helping themselves to balance in their lives by helping others.

I think the takeaway from this story is to recognize that people struggle sometimes very silently. With just a little bit of help from other relatives and friends, employers and strangers live can be somewhat easier. Even if a bit of help only last the 10 seconds to open a door or help load a car. A tremendous burden can be lifted off a person when given some consideration.

Posted by: Fred | March 28, 2007 9:42 AM

I really enjoyed this story. Thanks, Vegas Mom, for giving us insight into the way you and your family stuck together through a truly difficult time. So many people make it to adulthood without the coping skills to regroup, re-plan, rearragement (remodel!) and move forward despite being scared and unsure about the outcome. You did this, and I think that's a sign of courage. Your daughter will always benefit from having witnessed the way you handled this. Bravo.

Posted by: pastryqueen | March 28, 2007 9:44 AM

Wow- what nasty people on here! It's not the worst that could happen- Vegas Mom even admitted that! But it doesn't take away that it was difficult for her- and it would be difficult for me- and most of us.

Her days sounded long and exhausting. COngrats for making it through, Vegas Mom.

How was your marriage after this? I know the exhaustion (on your part) and helplessness (on your husband's) can be tough issues for spouses.

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | March 28, 2007 9:47 AM

SAHMbacktowork:
Most of the nasty comments are anonymous (as usual). Many of the signed are positive or at least understanding and supportive.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 28, 2007 9:49 AM

Thanks, Vegas Mom, and happy to hear all turned out well. Like others, I think this is an important story because it doesn't matter how well your life is balanced today if tomorrow everything changes - and that could happen to all of us.

Fred, agree with your comments about the volunteers rebuilding New Orleans. My sister, an elementary school teacher in Slidell, has been thrilled by the help from many sources. Right after the storm, a number of Mormon missionaries came around offering help clearing debris and taking stock. A Church of Christ (I think) in Kentucky provided all new appliances to all of the teachers in my sister's school. A Baptist church in Wichita provided skilled tradesmen (carpenters, electricians, plumbers, etc.) for months, because there simply weren't enough contractors.

(And before anybody provides snide rejoinders, my sister, a practicing Catholic, says that never once did any of these groups prosletyze - they just provided assistance.)

It really helps people get through a crisis.

Posted by: Army Brat | March 28, 2007 9:54 AM

KLB-
your observation needs to be posted almost daily...whenever people talk about the general nastiness present on this blog. In general, the anons shed civility all too rapidly.

Posted by: dotted | March 28, 2007 9:55 AM

thanks Vegas Mom... for reminding me that I'm married to a hero. Why my wife decided to marry me when she knew I was going completely blind is almost beyond my comprehension to understand true love. But it's there, and it's the most powerful force I've ever experienced.

Children! don't they say the sweetest things. If you listen to any child under 6 on any given day, you will hear a quotable quote, or should we call it a "kiddie quote" or KQ for short. I already got mine for today. As I was boiling water in my whistling tea kettle, my 4 year old said, "Hey dad! When you are done cooking your coffee, come outside and check out the new weather!"

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 28, 2007 9:55 AM

Look at Fred being all philosophical. Fred is the new Gandhi.

Posted by: John Q | March 28, 2007 9:55 AM

I forgot to add, most people who sign agree to disagree without resorting to name calling, etc.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 28, 2007 9:57 AM

Fo4:
My KQ was from my teen this morning: Who can go to school and take an Algebra II test on a day like today? What kind of teacher would be soooooo mean to actually give a test?

Posted by: dotted | March 28, 2007 9:57 AM

I thougth this was the daily daycare blog. I am SOOOO glad to finally have something else to discuss. Of course we COULD say daycare is the reason why the daughter didn't love daddy... after all the study PROVED that kids from daycare are all around soulless little beasts.

Seriously though, thank you for sharing this inspirational story. I hope that others learn how important it is to stand by your spouse and weather the worst of times together- and truly care for someone when that person can not do it alone. Our humanity is about being a team and helping one another.

Lean on me, when you're not strooooong... I'll be your friend, I'll help you caaaaarryyyyyy oooon. For... it won't be loooooooong till I'm gonna need some body to leeeeaaaan on. ;-)

Posted by: Chris | March 28, 2007 9:58 AM

I think maybe this story could encourage the regular posters here to stop picking at each other, and to stop obessing about every detail of managing their families. As I wrote yesterday, save your energy for the battles that really matter.

Posted by: bkp | March 28, 2007 9:59 AM

Just saw Fred is back! YAY! missed you dude. Your post is dead on. Just a couple of seconds of help can make someone's day.

Posted by: Chris | March 28, 2007 9:59 AM

To all of you who criticize the guest blogs as boring, poorly written, poorly edited or lacking content, please tell us your story.

You probably have no concept of the mental fortitude required to write on a subject and have it posted for thousands of people to read. You may not even have the ability to write a cohesive paragraph much less a short article about a subject that you hold near and dear.

This guest blogger and many others write from the heart. Most are certainly not George Will or Molly Ivins but they feel in their being that something they write may have a positive effective on one person, maybe more.

I have seen many excellent ideas suggested for guest blogs. Maybe one of you should try your hand at it.

Posted by: Fred | March 28, 2007 9:59 AM

"I think maybe this story could encourage the regular posters here to stop picking at each other,"

I rarely see the regulars picking on each other.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 10:01 AM

Woo hoo...scarry had her irish up yesterday and Fred has his irish up today!

You go irish!!

Missed you Fred.

Posted by: dotted | March 28, 2007 10:01 AM

Aaa, there had to be a dumb "what if" question.

"What is sad though... say, this woman's husband left her. Would she have had this same help?"

Posted by C.W.

Doesn't apply in this case so it doesn't matter. We can't go through life wondering what could be and making decisions based on it.

Posted by: John Q | March 28, 2007 10:02 AM

I think this story shows how quickly your balance can get all out of whack. We go through our days on a pretty tight schedule. Sometimes you have to make adjustments - like leaving work early to pick up a sick kid frm school - but it's still manageable. But then, BAM! , a big thing comes up - like an injury, and you have to figure out on the fly how everything is going to work. If you're lucky, you have friends, family and/or neighbors to help out, but that is not always the case.

As for the little girl's comment - just last night my daughter said something similiar. Our dog died last week, and we are still working through that. DD left her cookie on the kitchen table, and went to get it. When she came back she said something like - I'm not glad we don't have a dog anymore, but I am glad that this time he wasn't here, or else he would have eaten my cookie!. She's a bit older than 5, and I think she thought ,'boy am I glad the dog's not here', and then immediatley felt bad for thinking that.

Posted by: JerseyGirl | March 28, 2007 10:02 AM

to anon at 10:01
How long have you been reading? I remember one huge blow up between two regulars before christmas and there have been others since. I do hate the word regular...

Posted by: dotted | March 28, 2007 10:02 AM

Snarkiness aside, at least we stayed on topic up till now!

Vegasmom, I thought your story was amazing. Not only in that you pulled together so well and maintained balance, but the way you wrote it as well. It was remarkable to me and I haven't been through anything like that.

Congrats to your husband on his recovery and to you, for maintaining a level head. If this entry doesn't speak of balance, I don't know what does.

Posted by: Mona | March 28, 2007 10:03 AM

Right on Fred.

Posted by: scarry | March 28, 2007 10:03 AM

As a 15 year military wife (now retired), this is what military spouses do all the time. If someone has a fever, there are 20 people lined up to feed you and take your kids to school, clean your house, and cook you dinner. I was bothered by the lack of privacy at first, the implication I couldn't do it by myself, that I was too stupid or lazy, but I soon realized it is just what people like to do to pay other back. We fed one family for 3 months because the wife was diagnosed with MS until she politely told everyone the doctor told her to keep busy!!! Contrary to popular belief, most spouse (male and female) had careers, were very well-educated, and very busy, but there is a bond that makes you find time.

Posted by: Karen | March 28, 2007 10:04 AM

FRED RULES!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: John Q | March 28, 2007 10:04 AM

Fred

"To all of you who criticize the guest blogs as boring, poorly written, poorly edited or lacking content, please tell us your story. "

That perfectly describes your guest blog!

Some people just don't have a story, plain and simple!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 10:06 AM

JerseyGirl, so... your daughter goes to daycare?


Stop that rhyming now I mean it!
Anybody want a peanut? (besides Congress?)

Posted by: Chris | March 28, 2007 10:06 AM

ACK! Leslie said it would run in a "few weeks . . . ."

Vegas Mom lives in the Pacific Time Zone. I'll check in today when I have a chance. Right now, I have to leave for work.

Thanks for the comments. I know that in many ways, my story isn't remarkable. I think most families will have to deal with a crisis (or several) in their lifetimes. We learn lessons about ourselves and others during those times.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | March 28, 2007 10:06 AM

"Look at Fred being all philosophical. Fred is the new Gandhi."

You just need to read my guest blog of last week...

Which I am told was about nothing!

Posted by: Fred | March 28, 2007 10:11 AM

Vegas Mom, don't listen to the jerks- they are just jealous. :-) It was a good story. The more positive stories, the better.

Posted by: Chris | March 28, 2007 10:11 AM

Vegas mom, ignore the nay sayers. They obviously have nothing to add except complaints. You notice none of the negative anonymous posters then go on to add something of value about balance or even take anybody up on the suggestion to write a guest blog? Seriously, the negative anonymous posts generally fall into several categories 1) this topic is so boring and yet I have nothing of value to add 2) stop hogging the blog and yet I have nothing of value to add 3) spelling and grammar police and yet I add nothing of value to the topic 4) a slam on other people's decisions which at least is citing a comment relevant to the topic at hand. Ignore them because the vast majority of negative anonymous posts will NEVER write a guest blog, NEVER add anything of a value and CONSISTENTLY complain about others taking up blog time and yet they add nothing of value to this blog.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 28, 2007 10:16 AM

Fred, dude, Gandhi. All the guest blogs are "good". They wouldn't get past Leslie if they had no merit.

Everyone has an opinion. Even if they are viscous and frankly, stupid.

I'm just stating mine.

Posted by: John Q | March 28, 2007 10:16 AM

My mother almost died when I was 6. I although I knew she was sick, I had no idea it was that serious. I have vague memories of family visiting a lot, people going to the hospital, my grandmother crying, but I really did not grasp what it all meant. When she was finally recovering, I remember asking her why she was panting like a dog (she had been on a respirator for a few weeks).

My parents had divorced recently, and the families had been at war with each other since the divorce. The illness brought a hiatus to the hostilities, but the warring resumed after my mother recovered. Years later, my father came down with cancer, and once again, the hostilities ceased. In fact, I remember that during the last year of my father's life, he and his family had dinner at my mother's house a few times, and relations were warm and friendly.

Sometimes these crises make people reassess priorities and allow them to forgive each other for whatever wrongs were committed. My experience with my family has taught me not to hold on to such grudges. Years of family hostility seem such like such a waste of time and energy, and it is unfortunate that it often takes illness and impending death to bring people to their senses.

Posted by: Emily | March 28, 2007 10:17 AM

Foamgnome for President!!

Well said!!

Posted by: John Q | March 28, 2007 10:19 AM

I think this is a wonderful story. All of us should be aware that our lives can change at any moment and our balance be completely thrown off.

I love How About's suggestion: "Instead of asking about your own balance today - maybe we talk about how you could help someeone else with their balance?"

I grew up in a small town where people may not have much but they have huge hearts and it is a way of life to help others. This is probably left over from the old days when the only help you had was from your friends and neighbors. There are many problems in my small town, however, if I were in trouble there, I know I'd get help immediately.


Posted by: Theresa | March 28, 2007 10:22 AM

"That perfectly describes your guest blog!
Some people just don't have a story, plain and simple!

Posted by: | March 28, 2007 10:06 AM "

John Q,

I was not responding to you with the comment "Which I am told was about nothing!" I was responding to the above post.

My comment to you was said with a :) re the new Gandhi.

Posted by: Fred | March 28, 2007 10:23 AM

Much of life is unremarkable and most people are not marketable writers. If someone here (particularly the anonymous ones) has something to say, please do so. Sign your name too. That would be a refreshing change of pace.

Vegas Mom was given help by friends and family during a difficult period. That may not be "remarkable", but she's giving others credit for doing so. How many people here have done the same? Written a letter of appreciation to the housekeeping staff (if you work outside of the home), for example? Thanked someone for their efforts, whether or not they met your expectations?

So, when are you going fly-fishing VegasMom? I bet you look good in rubber hip-waders!

Posted by: Wool gatherer | March 28, 2007 10:23 AM

foamgnome :

"yet they add nothing of value to this blog."

That describes all of your posts, so you can climb off of your high horse.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 10:24 AM

foamgnome :

"yet they add nothing of value to this blog."

That describes all of your posts, so you can climb off of your high horse.


Posted by: | March 28, 2007 10:24 AM

Again, notice it is anonymous. BTW, Leslie would disagree with you.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 28, 2007 10:26 AM

Chris -
"JerseyGirl, so... your daughter goes to daycare?"

I don't get it?

Posted by: JerseyGirl | March 28, 2007 10:27 AM

What did you add of value other than an ad hominem attack?

Posted by: to March 28, 2007 10:24 AM | March 28, 2007 10:29 AM

Fred

"To all of you who criticize the guest blogs as boring, poorly written, poorly edited or lacking content, please tell us your story. "

That perfectly describes your guest blog!

Some people just don't have a story, plain and simple!

Posted by: | March 28, 2007 10:06 AM

Okay, I'll be re-posting our Field Guide to Trolls later today. That comment was rude and cowardly to boot.

Although we do have FoamGnome to subdue trolls. Here's a headline:

"Gnome Triumphs Over Trolls".


Posted by: MarylandMother | March 28, 2007 10:29 AM

Fred.....I mean Gandhi and I know EVERYONE has a story to tell. That poster...I mean POSER has no idea the stories waiting to be told here.

The person who said:

"That describes all of your posts, so you can climb off of your high horse."

:really is Poser.

Posted by: John Q | March 28, 2007 10:31 AM

That describes all of your posts, so you can climb off of your high horse

Is this nasty junk all coming from one person?

Posted by: experienced mom | March 28, 2007 10:32 AM

John Q,

I am not sure if you are being facetious calling me Gandhi or not but OK.

But I did not mean and was not insulting you.

Posted by: Fred | March 28, 2007 10:35 AM

"Gnome Triumphs Over Trolls"

MarylandMother made a funny. She is now in the club!!

Posted by: John Q | March 28, 2007 10:36 AM

Seeing things from the other side makes all the difference. Sometimes we don't know how much a little kindness or assistance can help a person. Reading this gives insight into how our actions help, even if just a little bit.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 28, 2007 10:37 AM

Fred,

I didn't call you a POSER.

I called the guy who said "Some people just don't have a story, plain and simple!" one. My bad.

Posted by: John Q | March 28, 2007 10:39 AM

RE: the daycare makes kids bad article from yesterday. A study reported by the NYT and Leslie without a doubt concluded that children who go to daycare become evil zombies... If your daughter said that about the cookie, and goes to daycare, the evidence supports the study!

Of course, if there is still doubt, Vegas Mom could let us know if her kid went to daycare before she said she didn't love daddy. ;-)

I only bring this up as all on-balance blogs MUST apply to daycare in some way, shape, or form...

Posted by: Chris | March 28, 2007 10:39 AM

Thank you, VegasMom for a wonderful inspiring story! It is so helpful in a time of crisis to hear an account like this and to know it had a happy ending.

My family is still struggling to come out of a major prolonged crisis and I often feel left out when people discuss non-life-threatening problems like juggling responsibilities and finding good day care.

When I read a story like this I feel that I still belong.

Posted by: Anna | March 28, 2007 10:39 AM

Gosh people are being real jerks today! Thanks for sharing your story. I can't even imagine how hard it must have been, both for your husband having to let himself be card for and for you having to juggle so many more things at once. Thank God he came through it and you all learned to hold each other a bit more tightly. :)

Posted by: Meagan | March 28, 2007 10:40 AM

John Q, OK, I think we are straight now!

Chris, what about breastfeeding?

Posted by: Fred | March 28, 2007 10:41 AM

Fred and John Q,
Your exchange was funny but not nearly as amusing as the one yesterday late afternoon which started out as a funny headline about aspirin reducing women's risk of dying and turned into a slug fest. LMAO

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 28, 2007 10:44 AM

Fred, I should have known that you would beat me to that. I had just started to type "...except when it is about breastfeeding... and if you want balance there, switch sides." LOL

Posted by: Chris | March 28, 2007 10:44 AM

OK, Chris. Got it. Not sure it's the daycare, or like Fred referenced, the breastfeeding. Or, maybe she just misses her dog. who can tell?

Posted by: JerseyGirl | March 28, 2007 10:44 AM

What? did I start a slug-fest yesterday??? I posted that about aspirin and left! gotta go check it out...

Posted by: Chris | March 28, 2007 10:45 AM

JerseyGirl- according to NYT your daughter will become an instrument of EVIL if she is in daycare... so that must be it! ;-)

Posted by: Chris | March 28, 2007 10:46 AM

"...and if you want balance there, switch sides..."

Actually, some babies do prefer one side to the other and will not nurse from the unfavored side. There is a chemical mechanism (I do not recall the name right now) that will over time cause the unfavored breast to limit production of milk and the favored side to increase production.

This has been Today's Breastfeeding Tip of the Day.

Posted by: Fred | March 28, 2007 10:49 AM

Chris, Do go - it was funny.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 28, 2007 10:49 AM

Vegas Mom - thanks for sharing your story. My youngest son (age 2) was in the hospital for several days in January and sick with pneumonia for a few weeks after that. We have two other children and the help given by our friends and family made a world of difference to us. It was an excellent reminder of how doing the simplest of things for someone else can make their life a little easier.

Posted by: MOMto3 | March 28, 2007 10:49 AM

Where is the Balance? Come on people. This family was put in a situation where things can rapidly spin OUT of balance. This story illustrates how this family, with the help of friends and family, a) found balance during the turbulent times of illness/disability and b) returned to the balance they had before the accident. Good for them.

Thanks for sharing Sheryl. Best wishes to you and yours.

Posted by: LM in WI | March 28, 2007 10:52 AM

Why don't we all agree that daycare and the lack of breastfeeding is a huge contributor to the creation of evil kids who grow up to be dumb guys.

Posted by: John Q | March 28, 2007 10:54 AM

"This has been Today's Breastfeeding Tip of the Day."

Today's topic couldn't hold interest to 11:00 am est.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 10:54 AM

"unfavored breast to limit production of milk and the favored side to increase production."

So there would be no balance here as one would be rather lopsided.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 28, 2007 10:54 AM

"Actually, some babies do prefer one side to the other and will not nurse from the unfavored side. There is a chemical mechanism (I do not recall the name right now) that will over time cause the unfavored breast to limit production of milk and the favored side to increase production. "

Hey Fred, that happened to me. My son would only nurse on the left side. For a long time, I pumped on the right side to equalize, but it did not seem to produce very much. Eventually, I stopped producing on that side (except for a few drops). I was also lopsided for a long time in terms of size.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 10:55 AM

OOps. That was me at 10:55.

Posted by: Emily | March 28, 2007 10:56 AM

Posted by: | March 28, 2007 10:55 AM,

Are you in yesterday? Time travel is possible?

Posted by: John Q | March 28, 2007 10:57 AM

ROFLMAO! I think I need an aspirin after reading that!
New Marketing Slogan:
Forget just preventing heart attacks, take Bayer to cut risk of death!

Posted by: Chris | March 28, 2007 10:58 AM

John Q - Huh?

Posted by: Emily | March 28, 2007 10:59 AM

Chris, Never leave something out there like that without checking back - it could make your day (altho who would have thought it would go that way).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 28, 2007 11:00 AM

Damn! And I had such high hopes,........

Posted by: JerseyGirl | March 28, 2007 11:02 AM

that's ok, I got delayed gratification from it.

Emily, thanks for sharing about your lack of balance. :-P John Denver will do that to you. Now we know your son is going to be a hippie since he leaned to the left from an early age.

Ah, the internet is grand.

Posted by: Chris | March 28, 2007 11:05 AM

I disagree -- everybody has a good story. I love this one, precisely because it's a wonderful story about ordinary life. Didn't think I needed to SPELL OUT how it pertains to "balance." Silly me!

Thanks, Foamgnome, for your kind words about Mommy Wars. I've read every one of the 26 women's stories at least 50 times. They all still make me laugh, cry, and want to throw the book across the room.

I especially love the one you mentioned, Dawn Drzal's story of postpartum depression. I also think you will like Anne Marie Feld's essay about becoming a mom after her own mother committed suicide on Anne's 16th birthday. Motherhood is far more challenging than most people like to admit. But the Mommy Wars writers are amazingly candid about the joys, surprises and hard parts of being a mom, no matter what your personal story involves.

Posted by: Leslie | March 28, 2007 11:09 AM

when injuries, accidents, illnesses happen, and you actually have to ask for support--and others say oh no i couldnt possibly, oh no--and when you do not have an understanding boss, nurturing neighbors, generous friends---THAT is when you see how difficult it is to weather a storm. not everyone is blessed with support, and it can be a rude awakening to seek help and be denied. Today's blogger is very fortunate indeed.

Posted by: Ritamae | March 28, 2007 11:10 AM

Emily,

What are you asking when you say "Huh?"

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 11:12 AM

I was responding to John Q's post:

Posted by: | March 28, 2007 10:55 AM,

Are you in yesterday? Time travel is possible?

Posted by: John Q | March 28, 2007 10:57 AM

Posted by: Emily | March 28, 2007 11:14 AM

"I disagree -- everybody has a good story"

Everybody has a mediocre story - yes - a good story - no.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 11:15 AM

I can't get over how cold some people are. When my husband was 31, he had a stroke. I had a two year old and was pregnant and had no family in town. I actually had a woman (who I considered a friend) tell me that she couldn't watch my two year old while I went to see my husband in the hospital because "she really needed time for herself right now." I hung up the phone, cried for a bit and then called people from my church. People put everything on hold to help me out. I will always be grateful. So don't be so smug that of course people will help out. I found out that day who my real friends were.

Posted by: Chicago | March 28, 2007 11:16 AM

"Everybody has a mediocre story - yes - a good story - no."

And you? What's your story? Or are you just a spectator with no story at all?


Posted by: Emily | March 28, 2007 11:17 AM

"Everybody has a mediocre story - yes - a good story - no."

I suspect you don't have either.

Posted by: John Q | March 28, 2007 11:17 AM

Vegas Mom, Thanks for sharing your story. I had been wondering how other parents help younger children deal with illness of a parent, and your conversation with your daughter was an eye-opener.

Your story was not only remarkable for what it didn't include -- a divorce, a death, a family spiraling out of control -- but thought-provoking. Some posters don't seem to appreciate and relate to the wonder of making it through to the other side of health crisis with an intact family and marriage. I often feel as though my family is teetering right on the edge of balance and, while we can weather storms of a week or less, we would need to implement big changes to enable us to get through any crisis akin to the one your family addressed - in part because we do not have the support network here that we have had in the past (we're working on that), and because DH and I are both wound a bit tight. Yours was a great guest blog.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 28, 2007 11:17 AM

John Q; Since March 7, 2007 at 9:36 am, you've posted over 36 times. You are qualified as a regular

Posted by: Blog Stats | March 28, 2007 11:20 AM

Blog Stats, you scare me. You REALLY scare me. seek help.

Posted by: Chris | March 28, 2007 11:23 AM

"John Q; Since March 7, 2007 at 9:36 am, you've posted over 36 times. You are qualified as a regular"

Right, a regular bore!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 11:26 AM

Blog Stats,

That's it???? I'm slacking!!!

You're actually counting?

Posted by: John Q | March 28, 2007 11:28 AM

OK, so here's a question: How do you go about developing such a social network of people who support each other in a crisis? Especially when there already don't seem to be enough hours in the day?

Posted by: Kathrina | March 28, 2007 11:29 AM

Posted by: | March 28, 2007 11:26 AM,

I bet unknown, worthless posters such as yourself have me beat.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 11:30 AM

"OK, so here's a question: How do you go about developing such a social network of people who support each other in a crisis? Especially when there already don't seem to be enough hours in the day?"

I think that's a really good question. I have family close by, so that's mostly my network. Most of my friends are as harried as I am, if not more. I would feel really bad asking them for help. But there are a couple of people I would ask in a pinch.

Posted by: Emily | March 28, 2007 11:31 AM

"John Q; Since March 7, 2007 at 9:36 am, you've posted over 36 times. You are qualified as a regular"

Right, a regular bore!

Posted by: | March 28, 2007 11:26 AM

bore vs. jerk

Anyone want to place bets on which one is a mudder?

Posted by: Railbird | March 28, 2007 11:31 AM

Kathrina, you're late. We are off the main topic now. We needed you at 9:00 AM.

Posted by: John Q | March 28, 2007 11:32 AM

Railbird,

I'll take that bet!

Posted by: John Q | March 28, 2007 11:34 AM

OK, so here's a question: How do you go about developing such a social network of people who support each other in a crisis? Especially when there already don't seem to be enough hours in the day?"

This is really hard in an area as transient as DC. We have some good friends and we try to use our church connections. We also try to use some paid services. Like asking day care staff, if they do any emergency babysitting on weekends and stuff. But your right, it is hard and I often don't know if we are one tragedy away from chaos.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 28, 2007 11:35 AM

Emily,
Most people like to be able to help others. If you need something small, ask. As time goes on they might ask you for something. Or, when someone else is in need and you are able to help, do it. And so on and so on and so on. I know it sounds crazy but it actually works. If you have been the recipient of some assistance you are more likely to help someone else.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 28, 2007 11:37 AM

Kathrina, I'm really curious about this too. I have very supportive friends but we don't all live in the same geographic area--we can help each other by listening and giving advice but it would be hard to give physical help without coming to stay for a visit, which brings its own burdens. Ditto for extended family. In fact my dad is sick right now and my mom, while appreciative of everyone's willingness to come assist, is also stressed out by having houseguests constantly.

It's an issue I can see extending into my own future as Mr Bee and I age (or, God forbid, one of us suffers an accident like Vegas Mom's husband). We have not chosen to live close to our loved ones, and since we have a lot of loved ones elsewhere, we have not chosen to become very close to our neighbors.

I'd like to be able to help someone out, myself. I just don't know how to offer. So far I've just shovelled my neighbors' walks once in a while.

Posted by: worker bee | March 28, 2007 11:40 AM

Chicago, This one takes the cake for me:

After hurricane Isabel came through, a tree limb had fallen on the power line knocking out electricity to our house. After 3 days without power, the freezer was dripping. Our neighbors had power, so my wife and I asked our neighbor if we could run an extension cord to one of her outlets to save our food. This was the answer we got from the wife, mother of 2:

"i'm afraid it might pop a circuit breaker."

I challange anybody to beat that one.

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 28, 2007 11:41 AM

Kathrina, my wife and I are in the same boat. It is hard to make friends outside of work because everything here is always so hectic and nobody even smiles, much less talks to strangers... I mean a bunch of faceless people on the internet is great for venting, but when all is said and done, real networking for friends and support seems to have eroded quite a bit.

Posted by: Chris | March 28, 2007 11:44 AM

Vegas mom, that was an incredible story. I don't know how I would do it. I feel like I barely know how I do it most normal days.

It is the unremarkable that are the best stories. Like ordinary people who go thru ordinary lives and have ordinay friends and families. Those are actually in retrospect the remarkable people. Like my grandmother who is 97 and lost her husband when she had two young children, and lost her adult daughter to cancer. If you talk with her, she just did what she had to do, but I am so amazed by her daily (like when she helped her sister out because she wasn't producing according to quota, so she would hand her some pieces-but the foreman couldn't see or they could both be fired-all when she had her own quota to worry about and 2 mouths to feed). She would just say that she was just doing what she had to do.

I know that people always don't want to ask for help but I don't always know what to offer.

Posted by: atlmom | March 28, 2007 11:44 AM

Father or 4, I think you just summed up the current trend/state of society as a whole with that story.

Posted by: Chris | March 28, 2007 11:47 AM

I think a side note to Vegas Mom's story is the willingness to accept help when it is offered. My husband has a tremendous sense of responsibility and would rather suffer through on his own than accept help and feel like he is a "failure." My mom's the same way -- she was almost killed in a car accident when I was 6 and was laid up in bed for 6+ weeks, but refused even to tell her mother, because she knew Grandma would instantly jump on a plane and come down to take care of us. So instead, a friend grocery shopped and made casseroles, and I learned how to heat up chicken soup and spaghettios.

Sometimes, being in a position where you have no choice but to accept help makes you more aware of all of the good people out there. I know when I've dealt with significant issues (though minor in comparison), people have come out of the woodwork to provide help and support. Just knowing that there are all these people who care about me enough to put themselves out can really lift the mental burden.

Posted by: Laura | March 28, 2007 11:47 AM

The story is remarkable for the reason that we often need to experience something like VegasMom and her family went through to remember what is important. It' remarkable in that those who read this have an opportunity to take stock of what is important without having to experience the suffering before coming to that realization. It's remarkable in that it reminds us to be thankful for our friends and loved ones who are there for us, waiting to be called into action if ever the very unfortunate need should arise.

It's even more remarkable if we think about how our own hurried morning passed today. Were we grateful for our family as we rushed out the door, or were we already thinking about the day ahead, not fully engaged with those closest to us.

Thank you VegasMom, for the important reminder that we need to cherish the days we have.

Climb on.

Posted by: IndyCareerCounselor | March 28, 2007 11:47 AM

Fo4 - That is a bad one, unfortunately neighbors and friends that turn out to be no help or outright nasty are out there. It comes back and bites them in the A** though - hopefully when they least expect it!

Posted by: CMAC | March 28, 2007 11:48 AM

A little chuckle for atlmom:

Jonathan Weisman, over on this AM's political Q/A, in reply to an answer from a former Washingtonian now living in Brunswick, GA.:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2007/03/23/DI2007032301397.html?sub=AR

"Hi Brunswick, I'm a Georgian too, if you count Atlanta as Georgia..."

Posted by: catlady | March 28, 2007 11:49 AM

One poster mentioned that DC was transient, but I'll bet Vegas has DC beat in that regard. We get 5,000-7,000 new residents PER MONTH. I'm not sure on the number leaving, but I'd guess it's in the neighborhood of 2,000-3,000.

I'm not sure I knew I was "developing a social network" to help me in a time of crisis. The next-door neighbor who mowed our law for six months has a daughter the same age as mine, so we'd gotten to know each other that way. I discovered that children are a great way to meet adults! My dad lives here, so that was a big help as well. My co-workers brought food. My mom flew in to stay with DD for a few days while I took DH to UCLA for one of his surgeries. My husband's fishing buddy (and friend of 20 years) took time off and drove over from CA to stay with him while I had to go out of town for a couple of days.

Building a network just happened in the everyday business of making friends and going to work.

I hope we can return these favors one day. We recently helped the neighbor move. A sad day, but there was never a question of being "too busy."

Posted by: Vegas Mom | March 28, 2007 11:53 AM

Hi FoamGnome!

Well, I've usually started out with simply waving at the neighbours. I have one neighbour who has a dog, so we chat about that. Another one gardens, I make a point to ask about it.

Does your school provide a directory of student phone numbers? It makes it a LOT easier to contact other parents.

Ditto for any clubs you may join. Some of them have directories too. It makes it a lot easier to get support when you already know you have something in common. Even if it is simply children of the same age, in the same classroom.

And of course, I always seek out fellow carousel enthusiasts.

MdMother

Posted by: MarylandMother | March 28, 2007 11:53 AM

Random acts of kindness. They make you feel good even if nobody ever knows.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 28, 2007 09:22 AM

So true. The other morning someone brought my paper up to the house from the street. It was a matter of 15 yards and saved my 2 minutes, but it really was kind and made my day.

I think that one thing many women are bad at, myself included, is asking for help. One of the greatest gifts I've received as I've gotten older is learning how to accept help gracefully. I have always been happy to help others, but reluctant to take any myself. I finally realized that a small inconvenience to one can make a big big differencet to another and that sometimes letting someone help you is a gift to that person. I feel good when I help someone out and I know that they share that feeling when they help me. By tring not to be a nuisance, I was also denying them that good feeling.

Katharina - it is very difficult. I would recommend saying hi to anyone you see and extending yourself when you can. When we first moved here, one of my now dearest friends rang the doorbell and left a note introducing herself and noting that we had sons the same age. Bring up someone's trash cans on trash day - people will want to ge to know the nice lady. Overall, just keep extending yourself, invite people over who you think you might like or have similar circumstances. Good luck - it can be lonely.

Posted by: moxiemom | March 28, 2007 11:54 AM

Hi MdMother!

Posted by: foamgnome | March 28, 2007 11:54 AM

Fo4-
You just reminded me of a very funny story. Years and years ago, I knew a young couple that had an apartment in what I would consider a dangerous neighborhood. They were young and doing the bohemian thing. I asked them if they felt safe walking around in their neighborhood. They said that yes they felt perfectly safe. They had made friends with the neighborhood drug lord, who lived just behind them. His electricity had been turned off, so they allowed him to run an extension cord from their place to his. In return, he provided them with free joints. And all the neighbors knew to not harm them, because then the neighborhood drug lord would be ticked if he lost his access to free electricity, and nobody wanted to upset him. Apparently, it was a good arrangement for them.

Talk about making friends in high places.

Posted by: Emily | March 28, 2007 11:56 AM

That's the good thing about people who CHOOSE not to help. Karma always catches up.

Posted by: John Q | March 28, 2007 11:56 AM

"Father or 4, I think you just summed up the current trend/state of society as a whole with that story."

Interesting, I was brought up with the notion that someone who refuses to do a favor for someone doesn't like the asker.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 11:57 AM

Interesting, I was brought up with the notion that someone who refuses to do a favor for someone doesn't like the asker.

Posted by: | March 28, 2007 11:57 AM

I bet you get turned down a lot too, if you are like so many of the nameless who infest blogs.

Posted by: Bedrock | March 28, 2007 12:00 PM

Father or 4, I think you just summed up the current trend/state of society as a whole with that story.

Posted by: Chris | March 28, 2007 11:47 AM

I have to disagree Chris. I know it seems that way at times but overall I would say that most people are willing to help - particularly within their "community."

Unfortunatly the jerks and meanies in our society get a lot of attention, whether is a local curmudgeon or nationally known jack a**. Far too little attention is paid to the good that people do and perhaps Vegas Mom's story is a testament to that.

As Bing Crosby used to sing, "Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative, Latch on to the affirmative, don't mess around with Mr. In-Between."

Posted by: cmac | March 28, 2007 12:03 PM

"Fo4 - That is a bad one, unfortunately neighbors and friends that turn out to be no help or outright nasty are out there. It comes back and bites them in the A** though - hopefully when they least expect it!"

This is not what Jesus teaches!

Love the sinner ; hate the sin!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 12:03 PM

Emily, What a great story, LOL! That sounds like the kind of thing my husband would do.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 28, 2007 12:07 PM

just to clarify, my husband would not be the drug dealer - he'd be the offeror if electricity to someone the rest of the neighborhood disdains or fears :>)

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 28, 2007 12:09 PM

"That is a bad one, unfortunately neighbors and friends that turn out to be no help or outright nasty are out there. It comes back and bites them in the A** though - hopefully when they least expect it!"

Sometimes Life/Karma comes with a Clue-by-Four. Occasionally that Clue-by-Four has a nail in the business end.

Posted by: MdMother | March 28, 2007 12:11 PM

One of Vegas Mom's first posts was about a situation where she turned down spontaneous childcare for a neighbor because she didn't want to take care of the little sibling of the playdate. Most agreed Vegas Mom did the right thing and considered the neighbor rude for asking.

Brian once had an entire blog dedicated to how to say no to volunteering.

Maybe today will be a good day to balance it out.

One last thing, Emily has posted a little over 475 times this year. Just thought you might want to know.

Posted by: Blog Stats | March 28, 2007 12:14 PM

That is a bad one, unfortunately neighbors and friends that turn out to be no help or outright nasty are out there. It comes back and bites them in the A** though - hopefully when they least expect it!"

Sometimes Life/Karma comes with a Clue-by-Four. Occasionally that Clue-by-Four has a nail in the business end.

How old are you people 7? Wishing ill will to someone because you don't like them or what they do makes you no better than them. Grow up.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 12:16 PM

You have waaaaay too much time on your hands. Go volunteer somewhere that can use your talents.

Posted by: TO Blog Stats | March 28, 2007 12:16 PM

Doesn't the fact that you leave a remark, dy definition make the story, literally remarkable?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 12:17 PM

I believe Emily always has something interesting to say...

The Clue by four phrase comes back! I love it!

MN---ooohhhhh...I didn't read it as being your husband, but now I do..who was it who once posted something funny about her significant other if you really read the sentence? That one sortof restarted the best post of the day thingie..

Posted by: dotted | March 28, 2007 12:18 PM

"I believe Emily always has something to say..."

Unfortunately, that's probably true. But I exercise great self-restraint. You would not believe how many things I want to say and don't. (Paraphrased from Anne of Green Gables)

Posted by: Emily | March 28, 2007 12:22 PM

Thanks, catlady.

Well, some people say:

The problem with Atlanta is that when you leave, you're in Georgia. I only moved her 13 years ago, so my in laws still think I'm a carpet bagger.

Atlanta is VERY transient, probably similar to DC. that's why I LOVE LOVE LOVE my neighborhood - there is a very active parent's association, and we know everyone on our block. We have great weather, so in the spring (like now) we start to see people out and about - walking dogs, out with their kids, etc. I would help everyone in a heartbeat, and I know they'd help us.

The other day my neighbor was out with her 2 YO and we walked by to talk (with my 2 YO). and she kept thanking me for coming by to talk - I think they travel a lot - so we don't see them often, but of course, if people are out, we're going to go talk with them! I want to live in a neighborhood where I know my neighbors. Not a new subdivision where people drive to get their mail. Not somewhere I want to be.
We have helped out our neighbors now and then (like when one called saying they were taking the train from the airport and asked if we could pick them up - they were quite appreciative) - or they help us out (watching a kid or two while I went to the dr).
I didn't grow up like that and I wonder how much better it would have been if I did. It helps that the neighborhood I am in is growing for young families and we now have so much in common....

Posted by: atlmom | March 28, 2007 12:24 PM

Dotted, think that was Mona where it sounded like she was saying her fiance was someone else's husband.

Posted by: Laura | March 28, 2007 12:24 PM

Dotted,
Was it something about diapers and husband? I seem to remember that.

Posted by: Emily | March 28, 2007 12:24 PM

"my boyfriend is your husband"

-- Mona

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 12:26 PM

Best of the blog is Moxie's comment on setting the bar lower.

Posted by: cmac | March 28, 2007 12:27 PM

Blog stats--I wouldn't be too quick to judge those who give tips on how to say no to volunteering. Hand-icing cupcakes with kids' names on them for everyone in the class is a far cry from throwing in an extra load of laundry or babysitting for a mother whose husband (or who she herself) is ill, having financial troubles, or otherwise in dire straits.

Posted by: Mona | March 28, 2007 12:28 PM

Best of the blog is Moxie's comment on setting the bar lower.

Posted by: cmac | March 28, 2007 12:27 PM

I still like Ajax's " Isn't Easter the day Jesus woke up?"

Posted by: foamgnome | March 28, 2007 12:30 PM

Oh yeah...your husband is my boyfriend. Unintentional humor. :-) There was another nugget from me, but I forget what it was, and then there was the time I almost submitted an anecdote about father-daughter bondage, instead of bonding.

Posted by: Mona | March 28, 2007 12:30 PM

"But I exercise great self-restraint. You would not believe how many things I want to say and don't."

Really? You mean you have jucier things to talk about than your breasts?

LOL @ my own awful pun...

Posted by: Chris | March 28, 2007 12:30 PM

How are things going now Mona?

Posted by: John Q | March 28, 2007 12:31 PM

What a nice blog. Thanks so much for writing it, and I do think it's an excellent reminder of things that really matter.

Posted by: Shandra | March 28, 2007 12:31 PM

There is a wonderfulishness about anonymity here (anonymity in the sense of not repeatedly using the same moniker - because really every poster is anonymous).

I post all the time, pretty much everyday, with a different name. Sometimes, with serious posts, sometimes with jokes, sometimes just to get people angry (which, albeit mean, is a source of entertainment for me...I know, I know, we all have our faults). Sometimes I post as a woman. Sometimes as an old man. It's awesome, because I can say what I want and have it, however briefly, legitimatly scrutinized without prejudgement.

On the other hand, I love that people continue to post regularly with their own chosen monikers. I can skip any post by Fred, Mona or foamgnome because I've pretty well determined I dislike their content. I can seek out workingmomx because I enjoy disagreeing with her. I can see a post by cmac or moxiemom and read them because I'll probably get a kick out of them.

Anyway, some insight into the thoughts of a chameleon poster...

Posted by: Puppetmaster, on being anonymous | March 28, 2007 12:32 PM

I'm probably going to regret this, but here goes:

The neighbor who asked me to watch her child did not NEED childcare. In fact, I had told her that if she ever had an emergency and needed someone to watch her children to please call me. I knew she did not have any family in the area.

For the record, she wanted to drop her 2-year-old daughter (who was not yet potty trained) at my house to play with our 8-year-olds. Because the 2-year-old threw a temper tantrum when she wasn't included in her older brother's activities.

That younger child HAS played at my house while her mother is there on several occasions. We've socialized together as a family as well as our children playing together on their own.

I wouldn't have hesitated to help out if she had an emergency. But dropping her toddler on my doorstep because she was mad that big brother got to go to a friend's house was taking advantage, in my opinion.

If the child had been 5, I probably would have taken her. But what 8-year-old boy wants his 2-year-old sister tagging along to his friend's house?

Rant over.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | March 28, 2007 12:35 PM

John Q, things are better. I don't know if you've been caught up, the BF-ish and I are talking, but I'm skeptical, I've chosen a law school (my conversation with their financial aid office this morning reaffirms that I made the right choice!), and I'm feeling a whole lot better. Unfortunately, it's like the season of the breakups--I've got at least three people leaning on me because of their own breakups, all more devastating than my own. But for me, things are definitely looking up, thanks for asking! :-)

Posted by: Mona | March 28, 2007 12:35 PM

"Oh yeah...your husband is my boyfriend"

Correction: Your husband is my husband's boyfriend.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 12:36 PM

Sometimes having someone volunteer to help you leads to them trying to take advantage of you later, though.

After Hurricane Floyd blew through Raleigh several years ago, I had a limb hanging over my roof I needed to have removed. My neighbor volunteered to remove it and did a good job.

A few months later, I noticed he had put one of those underground electronic dog fences around his yard, but buried the wire in MY yard. When I asked him politely to remove it and put it in his yard, he got all defensive and came right out and said that, since he had helped me with the tree limb, I should let him use my property for his fence!

That argument turned into a near-fullscale confrontation between him, me, my wife and his wife, before cooler heads prevailed all around. It took years before they'd speak to us again, too!

Posted by: John L | March 28, 2007 12:37 PM

My first reponse to someone changing their moniker daily is what a wanker for many reasons.

Posted by: dotted | March 28, 2007 12:37 PM

Thanks for all the clarifications on Mona's boyfriend is your husband....I still chuckle over that one.

Easter the day Jesus woke up is rather timely though

Posted by: dotted | March 28, 2007 12:39 PM

Anybody out there that has an extra $20,000 for a guy that's down on his luck?

I figure right now is a good time to ask.

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 28, 2007 12:39 PM

Puppetmaster, on being anonymous,

Your not as anonymous as you might think. That is all I'm going to say on that.

Posted by: The Eye in the Sky | March 28, 2007 12:40 PM

Puppetmaster,

You don't like breasts?

I suspect that some of the regulars also post under different names sometimes.

I will say that there is one poster who bores me but that person is always kind enough to use a consistant name so I skip that person.

Posted by: Fred | March 28, 2007 12:41 PM

Best of the blog is Moxie's comment on setting the bar lower.

Posted by: cmac | March 28, 2007 12:27 PM

Thanks cmac - maybe I can be the Sanjaya of this blog.

Posted by: moxiemom | March 28, 2007 12:42 PM

Fred: Why respond to puppet master? Because he/she supposeably doesn't read yours, mine, or Mona's posts.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 28, 2007 12:43 PM

Mona,

Hang in there, Mona. Things will get even better.

I'm glad things are looking up for you.

I'm also glad you chose to hang around with us. I hope that when you are in school, you will still keep us company.

Posted by: John Q | March 28, 2007 12:44 PM

Hi All,

This is totally off subject but since you are experts (as you have been doing this much longer than I), how does one go about screening potential employers in terms of being family-friendly?

I am back to work after maternity leave and the same ol', same ol' is starting up again. I just can't take it anymore and need to make a change. But I want to make sure that the change is one that is good for me and my family. For example, I have to leave work every day at 4 pm to pick my daughter up at daycare. How does one phrase that while not scaring off employers? Also, hhow does one answer the question about overtime since I can do it once in awhile but not all of the time.

In advance, thank you!!!!!

Posted by: Formerly Soon to be Mom | March 28, 2007 12:45 PM

Puppet Master, You despicable coward. Your wanton fun-having behavior causes me inestimable stress and strain.

Posted by: obsessive compulsive | March 28, 2007 12:45 PM

Didn't puppetloser threaten to leave once? Why are you still here?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 12:45 PM

Father of 4,

Mona is going to be making that a week. Maybe she can help.

Posted by: John Q | March 28, 2007 12:46 PM

Mona: Glad things with school is working out. Keep in touch. Don't know about the BF thing. Take it slow.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 28, 2007 12:47 PM

Father of 4, I can refer you to a bunch of people in Nigeria who want to give you 100 times that!

Posted by: Chris | March 28, 2007 12:47 PM

I'm very glad the woman who wouldn't allow her neighbor to run an electric line to her house is not my neighbor. But don't judge people who turn you down the one time you ask for help. I regularly help out other people, but there have been times when I've been SO hard-pressed to keep everything running for my own family (e.g. when my mom had cancer) that I really would not have had time to watch someone else's kids or mow their lawn. (On the other hand, if people need food, it's very little extra work to make a double batch of whatever you're having for dinner -- one to keep, one to give away.)

As for where to find people who feel and behave like part of a community, I recommend the house of worship of your choice. For nonbelievers, I would think it's harder.

Posted by: Lawyermom | March 28, 2007 12:48 PM

formerlysoonto bemom: I don't have any great advice except be as honest as you can. I was with current boss and he was not too happy. But I would rather have him be not too happy then feel I lied to him. but I came right out and said I needed to leave at 4:30 sharp each day to go get DD.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 28, 2007 12:48 PM

Yeah, Fo4, ask me in four years. ;-)

Posted by: Mona | March 28, 2007 12:49 PM

Lawyermom, it IS harder for nonbelievers. But we have martial arts schools, so it all evens out. :-)

Posted by: Mona | March 28, 2007 12:50 PM

Formerly soon to be mom:

Don't say a whole lot until you have a job - then you know they want you and you have more standing to do something. You can talk with people at the company - candidly - and you can find friends/relatives/people you know who work there and can tell you how it really is.

I was very clear when i went back to work that I had little ones at home and what the situation was - I didn't make any demands but at the end of the interview process i did ask about working from home/etc.
Make sure you have ALL information about days off in writing (I was promised 3 weeks on the phone when I was told i had the job, but then it wasn't in my offer letter - my mistake...).
And my boss has three kids, so he's quite helpful when I talk with him about what I need. But I try to have it not be often.
You can ask what the job duties would be, if there's be overtime, etc, but some of that you, again, can also ask *after* getting the job.
Focus on getting the job and having the standing to be able to ask that after getting it - and then making a decision. It is definitely tough - but not impossible - to find a job while you are working - and those who will make concessions (i.e., scheduling for 5 PM interviews) are well aware of the situations...

GOOD LUCK.

Posted by: atlmom | March 28, 2007 12:52 PM

Vegas Mom - I thought this was a great blog with a strong takeaway message: Be grateful for what you have, especially those you have to love, even while things are mundane. I cried when I read what your daughter said. I could so identify with what she was trying to communicate in her little 4 year old way.

Posted by: Becky | March 28, 2007 12:53 PM

Mona,

4 years??? That is just the beginning sweeie. You will be in school forever...just like me.

But don't worry. 210K+ a year is not such a bad trade-off.

Posted by: John Q | March 28, 2007 12:54 PM

"Yeah, Fo4, ask me in four years. ;-)"

If Father of 4 went to law school himself and didn't abuse credit cards, he probably wouldn't need to ask for 20k today.

In any event, he'd be better off asking for IDEAS on how to EARN the extra money, instead of asking for a handout.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 12:54 PM

That's right - anonymous poster 12:54 - kick someone when they're down.

Posted by: atlmom | March 28, 2007 12:55 PM

Mona,

Martial arts and law school?

A lawyer superhero!!

Posted by: John Q | March 28, 2007 12:57 PM

Vegas Mom, what a beautiful blog. Thanks for the reminder to appreciate what you have, and to give help to others when you can.

Posted by: Megan | March 28, 2007 12:58 PM

Yeah, Mona, concentrate in something to do with civil law / discrimination. I could be the blind victim. We could rake in millions. How about 50 / 50 for every settlement? What did John Edwards charge?

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 28, 2007 12:58 PM

Father of 4 - there was a report on CNBC the other night of a guy in a wheelchair who basically looks for lawsuits to sue companies that supposedly aren't in compliance with ADA regulations. He's even suing a company that provides stuff (wheelchairs, vans, etc) to disabled people. They said he rakes in millions...just settling with small business owners who can't afford the legal fees.

There you go, there's a business model...

Posted by: atlmom | March 28, 2007 1:01 PM

Fred, I sure hope you weren't talking about me... that would really hurt... :-P

Formerly soon to be Mom, aside from needing a shorter name, you need to be honest with your possible employers- and then they will be honest with you. You have to be a bit gutsy without being overbearing. Employers like an edge. I was up-front with the first person who interviewed me on the phone for my present job and let them know I have a family member who from time to time may need me to leave work to take them to an appointment since they can not drive. I said, "I take my work seriously, but I believe a happy employee who knows they can take care of their family will be more dedicated to their job. That said, I will always make sure I get my work done."

They told me they in fact were very flexible with scheduling- especially where family was concerned- as long as you were putting your time in and getting things done. See if you can go in early, or maybe have working lunches at your desk (saves me money instead of eating out- and it keeps me working) so you can leave earlier? As long as everyone sees you putting in your fair share, it should be no big deal. I work 7:30- 3:30 and can be home in plenty of time to get things done and have an evening. If I need to go out to lunch to escape, I can come in early, or stay later...

As far as overtime, again, be honest. Tell them you are looking for a company that will give you a fair amount of work and not expect to need you to stay late all the time, but that you realize it may be necessary from time to time in an emergency.
If they need more resources, or are trying to do more with less constantly to the detriment of the employee's time, it can be a bad thing- unless of course you do not want a life outside of work or want/need the extra money. I'm on salary, so overtime is not an option for me... sometimes I wish it was, but if I stay late to work on a hot project, I can usually justify taking some time later. Don't be scared in discussing these things! They will pick up on it- if you are willing to discuss them, it shows them how good a match you will be for their position- you yourself said you don't want to be in a bad spot, so don't put yourself in one. Good luck!

Posted by: Chris | March 28, 2007 1:04 PM

Mona is going to be a lawyer superhero. Then she is going to run for Congress and change these foolish laws that allow people to file these foolish lawsuits. Right Mona?

Posted by: John Q | March 28, 2007 1:04 PM

Perhaps those posters who feel no empathy toward Vegas Mom (asking ridiculous questions like, "Where's the balance?") have yet to experience diasters in your own lives. My life was going just fine until my youngest son decided he was ready to be born at 26 weeks, I already had a two year old and, on top of that, my husband (now ex-husband) decided to quit the family. My preemie son was in the hospital for three months, I visited him every day while my mother cared for my older son and also worked a full-time job. I wrestled with insurance companies, kept numerous weekly specialist appointments for my son for several years, tried to keep a normal life for my two year old, etc., etc. After me and my children survived the crisis, we landed on our feet by the grace of God and with the help of my family. I now have much compassion on the plight of others because I've been carried away by the storms myself. Live and learn, those who are uncompassionate. Live on and you'll learn. By the way, re-read the story. She had quite a balancing act going on for while in having to be chauffeur, cook, nurse, mother, wife, employee, etc.

Posted by: Luv2laff | March 28, 2007 1:11 PM

Here is a lawsuit that's just waiting to happen:

You know those warnings on beer cans and packs of cigarettes? Well, they don't print them in braille.

How was I to know that excessive drinkintg and smoking was hazardous to my health?

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 28, 2007 1:14 PM

Correction to my post:

The sentence in my post should have said: "... while my mother cared for my older son because I also worked a full-time job."

Posted by: Luv2laff | March 28, 2007 1:14 PM

Luv2laff's story is what should have been posted as the guest blog today! I'd like to hear the whole thing.

Posted by: Frank | March 28, 2007 1:15 PM

Well, thanks for the vote of confidence, John Q, but I don't plan to be a superhero. I'm going into a profession that is all about the money, and going into advocacy gets you a paycheck that makes it impossible to pay off your loans! What did you go into that you're making 210K+ a year?! I don't plan on climbing the ladder too much because I want a life outside of the 80+ hour weeks, so I'm imagining I might--MIGHT--top out around 200. But I do plan on doing pro bono work for animal advocacy organizations, so that the mind-numbing, soul-sucking dullness of patent law doesn't drive me completely bonkers. And since there is a soft spot in my heart for members of this blog, any suit you're involved in, Fo4, I'll be in on, too. :-)

Posted by: Mona | March 28, 2007 1:16 PM

I hope it's not too late to jump on the bandwagon of criticizing Vegas Mom.

Her entry is a shocking 604 words -- DOUBLE the amount of words she was supposed to write.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | March 28, 2007 1:16 PM

Father of 4,

You just made 1000 lawyer's very rich. Thanks! :)

Posted by: John Q | March 28, 2007 1:17 PM

Everyone, thank you! This is great information. And yes I need a shorter name but I am stumped as to what I should call myself now that my little girl is here. My hubby likes to call me Nutty Mama, ah, that's it! I am nuts (in a good way) and a mama (I still grin like a geek when I say that). Again, thank you!

Posted by: Formerly Soon to be Mom | March 28, 2007 1:18 PM

That is a bad one, unfortunately neighbors and friends that turn out to be no help or outright nasty are out there. It comes back and bites them in the A** though - hopefully when they least expect it!"

Sometimes Life/Karma comes with a Clue-by-Four. Occasionally that Clue-by-Four has a nail in the business end.

How old are you people 7? Wishing ill will to someone because you don't like them or what they do makes you no better than them. Grow up.

Posted by: | March 28, 2007 12:16 PM

Sign using a consistent "name".

By the way, the first paragraph has the wish; the second paragraph simply comments, but no wish!

42.

Posted by: Bedrock | March 28, 2007 1:19 PM

To Arlington Dad:

that should be:
'double the NUMBER of words...'

I know, touche....

;)

Posted by: atlmom | March 28, 2007 1:21 PM

I was just kidding about the long name, it's a pain to type, but really fun. Stick with it. ;-)

Posted by: Chris | March 28, 2007 1:22 PM

Re: Family friendly employer

Do talk about your needing to leave at 4:00, but make sure you also talk about your willingness to help with things that come up after 4:00 from home, say after the kids bedtime or after your SO (if you have one) comes home - presuming your profession can be down from home.

Express willingness to be flexible within your limits and hopefully they will be flexible with you.

I had a co-worker who had to remind her boss that she had to leave at 4:30, but
she would be willing to come back after 7:30. Usually the boss would concede the task could wait for the early morning (when she normally came in) at that point.

Posted by: Robin | March 28, 2007 1:22 PM

to Altmom -- thanks for playing!

Posted by: Arlington Dad | March 28, 2007 1:24 PM

Mona,

"What did you go into that you're making 210K+ a year?"

Senior Partner.

But that is in the past.

And believe it or not, there ARE lawyers out there at actually don't do it for the money. At least not at first.

My law days are over. It's time for a new generation of professional money launderers.

Posted by: John Q | March 28, 2007 1:25 PM

ArlingtonDad: It would be pretty hard to keep it to 300 words or less. I think generally saying less then a page, probaby suffices. I think most of the blogs have been rather short in nature.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 28, 2007 1:25 PM

Rollover words instead of minutes for the longer blogs?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 28, 2007 1:27 PM

foamgnome -- I should have used some punctuation to do a nod and a wink. I think Vegas mom provided us with an intelligent and valuable blog, and I'm still stunned at the criticism she received this morning.

Posted by: Arligton Dad | March 28, 2007 1:28 PM

Ok, I finally will take the time to ask: Anyone else notice that the url says draft_vegas_mom? :-)

Posted by: Chris | March 28, 2007 1:28 PM

Formerly Soon to be Mom: as others have said, be honest with them. Put a positive spin on it, of course: make it clear that you want to be their most valuable employee, and that you can do that working the way you envision. Make it clear that you're willing to do what's necessary to complete the project/make the sale/win the contract, and that you expect to be able to do that without regular overtime. Be able to cite some examples from your previous work where you've done that.

Also, while you're interviewing, do what you can to learn about the current employees and the current work habits. That's how you learn if it's family-friendly or not. While interviewing for my current job, I mentioned that my kids come first for me. I was chatting with the VP, who was clear that his situation is the same. He noted that his two daughters were both on the high school basketball team; that games started at 5:30 and that he'd never missed a game! That's one of the ways I knew that this was a fit.

It's a corporate philosohpy - I interviewed a woman a couple of months ago that we desperately wanted to hire - she used to work for our competition and we knew she's that good. But, her employer was giving her problems, because she wanted to cut back to 32 hours a week this school year - it's her daughter's last year of high school; the daughter's going to college in California and she really wanted to spend more time with her. We were more than happy to give her that deal, and to give her the flexibility of working at home if needed. Why? Because it was very clear to us how valuable she is. Would we do this with a run-of-the-mill person who was a borderline hire to begin with? It's a tough call.

Bottom line: be honest, but with a positive spin. They don't just want you; they need you. You're the most valuable person they can have. And watch your phrasing: don't say that you 'always' leave at 4 for day-care pickup, because that sounds inflexible on your part. Say that you 'usually' do.

Posted by: Army Brat | March 28, 2007 1:32 PM

Double the number of words is a gift to the anons, more to criticize!

Mine was just under 600 words and it did say "Draft Fred" in a similar fashion

Posted by: Fred | March 28, 2007 1:33 PM

"OK, so here's a question: How do you go about developing such a social network of people who support each other in a crisis? Especially when there already don't seem to be enough hours in the day?"

Katrina, we moved into out neighborhood almost a year ago. We are DINKs, and most people on the street have kids, so we had a hard time meeting people.

We ended up leaving a key with our neighbors in case of emergency, and that sparked a conversation about helping each other out. I know we can rely on them if we need to. This echos what another poster wrote about asking for help first, which invites others to ask for help later. Other than them, we know we can rely on our co-workers, with whom we've become good friends.

However, we are always searching for more people to connnect with.

Posted by: Meesh | March 28, 2007 1:40 PM

Hey, y'all --

Check out today's Celebritology blog. Hilarious back-and-forth on Gwyneth, Stella, and Sir Paul as parents.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 1:43 PM

Oops, I forgot the important part. A different neighbor's house had just burned to the ground. This prompted the meeting the neighbors and leaving a key with them. We figured that they could let our dogs out if our house was on fire and we weren't home.

It was sort of like "Here's my key. This means that I'm counting on you in case of emergency. Please give me your key so that I feel like I'm not imposing." But it was forgivable because we were all a little on edge after that.

Posted by: Meesh | March 28, 2007 1:44 PM

Puppetmaster writes:

"I can skip any post by Fred, Mona or foamgnome because I've pretty well determined I dislike their content."

Maybe Puppetmaster's browser displays each poster's name at the top of the posting, so he can tell in advance which posts to skip. My browser, however, doesn't show who wrote a posting until the end. And by the time I get to the end, it's too late to skip the posting.

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | March 28, 2007 1:51 PM

To formerly stbm -
Nutty Mama - I like that.

Posted by: Emily | March 28, 2007 1:52 PM

Matt,

Easy enough to do, just start at the bottome comment and scroll up!

Posted by: Fred | March 28, 2007 1:54 PM

DINKs?

Posted by: Chris | March 28, 2007 1:55 PM

and sometime quite funny to read responses and then the original statement!

Posted by: Fred | March 28, 2007 1:55 PM

Dual Income No Kids

Posted by: Fred | March 28, 2007 1:56 PM

Drunk Imposing Neurotic Kooks?

Posted by: Chris | March 28, 2007 1:57 PM

dual income, no kids.

Posted by: DINKS | March 28, 2007 1:57 PM

ah, you astound me with your knowledge once again!

Posted by: Chris | March 28, 2007 1:57 PM

As opposed to SINKs.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 28, 2007 1:59 PM

Thanks cmac - maybe I can be the Sanjaya of this blog.

Posted by: moxiemom | March 28, 2007 12:42 PM

I saw Talk Soup the other day and they did a skit on "The House of Sanjaya" - a hair salon for men, owned by a Sanjaya look-a-like with a bob-haircut. They redid men's hair into all the Sanjaya dos, straight, curly, I guess now they can add the mohawk he wore last night. Did you see that? My kids were cracking up.....

Posted by: cmac | March 28, 2007 2:02 PM

CMAC, I LOVE The Soup! It isn't Talk Soup anymore altho sometimes I think it was funnier with skunk boy..

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 28, 2007 2:04 PM

No, Chris had it right! J/K

Posted by: Meesh | March 28, 2007 2:04 PM

Sober Imposing Neurotic Kooks? ;-P

Posted by: Chris | March 28, 2007 2:05 PM

VegasMom writes:

"After the fall, I cared for my husband through five surgeries and almost four weeks in the hospital and rehab facility. When I realized he wasn't being bathed at the hospital, I helped myself to toiletries and towels from the supply closet and did it myself."

My mother's friend, Rose, was married to Sam. She got cancer. He took care of her. They had to amputate Rose's leg. Sam waited on her, hand and foot, for years until the cancer finally got her.

This is the power of love.

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | March 28, 2007 2:05 PM

I love the Soup too. I loved Aisha Tyler, but Joel is really funny too. Anyone see the Hamwinkie one?

"Things just haven't been the same since the Hamwinkie factory closed down..."

Posted by: Meesh | March 28, 2007 2:06 PM

Do you guys watch Best Week Ever too? Hilarious.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 28, 2007 2:06 PM

For the additional posts, again, thank you, thank you, thank you. I feel so much better because almost all of the suggestions are things that I do in my currently. While I can't normally stay late, unless an emergency, I do have a good backup support system if I have to (my mom works near my home and can pick up my daughter if needed), I am able to get online when my husband comes home, I am able to come into work early since my hubby takes our daughter to daycare (right now I am 7:30 am-3:30 am and find that I get so much work done before others get in), I rarely take a lunch (or if I do it's not a long one), and if my child gets sick then I will work from home that day, while tending to her, and if needed I can come into work on the weekends---not that I want to:))

I make sure to get my work done. That is my #1 goal. My other goal has been to not have my child adversely affect my work place-as I have seen happen (sometimes it is unavoidable)-so now I know how to put a positive spin on it.

Thanks.

Now, I just have to go out and find that awesome new job that pays me lots of moolah, with short hours, and is five minutes from home! (One can dream, right?)

Posted by: Nutty Mama | March 28, 2007 2:07 PM

My sister's family just went through a major health crisis. One resource we found to be almost critical was Caringbridge.org.

It is a non-profit organization that allows you to set up a free website to keep people in touch with how it goes with your loved one. So nice not to have to say the same thing over and over and over and risk leaving someone out.

We also put a "how you can help" section in there, so people would know what they could do to help during the crisis period and beyond.

Posted by: back to the subject | March 28, 2007 2:07 PM

KLB: I usually catch The Soup (sorry didn't realize the name change) on the weekends - so they are repeats, but I just happened to be flicking around while making dinner the other night and was almost crying over House of Sanjaya. It is hilarious.

Posted by: cmac | March 28, 2007 2:09 PM

Matt in Aberdeen

"And by the time I get to the end, it's
too late to skip the posting."

These posters are so predictable; especially the White Knights who feel the compulsion to constantly defend cyber strangers!!! Lands sakes!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 2:09 PM

"They had to amputate Rose's leg. Sam waited on her, hand and foot."
Somewhere amidst this tragic tale we must see that there had to have been some.... iron knee.

I know... bad Chris...bad

Posted by: Chris | March 28, 2007 2:09 PM

Husband and Wife in Bed

She feels his hand rubbing her shoulder. She: "Oh, that feels good."

His hand moves to her breast. She: "Gee, honey, that feels wonderful."

His hand moves to her leg. She: "Oh, honey, don't stop."

But he stops.

She: "Why did you stop?"

He: "I found the remote."

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 28, 2007 2:10 PM

Chris,

you keep making awful puns like that and I will stop reading your posts!

Posted by: Fred | March 28, 2007 2:13 PM

Mine is about 10-15 minutes tops... I think shooting for 5 minutes is borderline greedy. :-P Try Monster and put a personal statement on there describing your situation. I had a resume sit for months and then the first call I got was the dream job.

Posted by: Chris | March 28, 2007 2:14 PM

!!!VOTE FOR SANJIA TONIGHT ON AMERICAN IDOL!!!

Posted by: Frank | March 28, 2007 2:19 PM

Husband and Wife in Bed

She feels his hand rubbing her shoulder. She: "Oh, that feels good."

His hand moves to her breast. She: "Gee, honey, that feels wonderful."

His hand moves to her leg. She: "Oh, honey, don't stop."

But he stops.

She: "Why did you stop?"

He: "I found the remote."


Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 28, 2007 02:10 PM

KLB - WHAT were you doing in our room last night?

Posted by: moxiemom | March 28, 2007 2:25 PM

I thought KLB was virtually shacking up with someone else, not moxie...I can't remember now though....

Posted by: dotted | March 28, 2007 2:33 PM

moxiemom,
I was trying to find the bathroom?

We had a going away party for my boss today. We got carry out from Macaroni grill. Instead of the little containers of olive oil they give you to dip the bread in they gave us vodka.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 28, 2007 2:33 PM

dotted, Megan was virtually living with me in Apex according to Megan's Neighbor, but KLB SS MD is more than welcome. Isn't KLB the one who makes the cocktails? You are more than welcome in our house.

"back to the subject," thanks for the info. It seems like a very good idea.

Posted by: Meesh | March 28, 2007 2:40 PM

My first reponse to someone changing their moniker daily is what a wanker for many reasons.

Posted by: dotted | March 28, 2007 12:37 PM

oh, dotted, I can always count on you to express my thoughts and add polish.

(megan is virtually shacking up with meesh in apex, in my imagined reality.)

I wonder sometimes about WorkingMomX and John L, though. Maybe there's something they are not telling us about what goes on in North Raleigh.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 28, 2007 2:41 PM

Yes, I am the cocktail lady. Maybe I should change my name. I will go where the weather is best. Maybe seasonal like the snowbirds.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 28, 2007 2:44 PM

KLB, you are welcome to visit us any time, along with your mimosa or whatever else you are mixing. We're looking at vacationing at Bald Head Island this year if you'd like to join us, LOL.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 28, 2007 2:45 PM

Actually, I live and work over here in NE Raleigh, not North Raleigh. WorkingMomX is safe from me!

And there is a LOT that goes on in North Raleigh...

(Waving from Poole Road...)

Posted by: John L | March 28, 2007 2:46 PM

You NC folks are starting to sound like an old fashioned soap opera. Fun:-)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 28, 2007 2:51 PM

John L, you're more of a Wake Forest / Triangle Town Center kind of guy, LOL?

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 28, 2007 2:53 PM

Joke time:
Subject: A Son's Profession... *smile*

An old southern country preacher form Georgia had a teenage son named
David and it was getting time the boy should give some thought to
choosing a profession. Like many young men, the boy didn't really know
he wanted to do, and he didn't seem too concerned about it.

One day, while the boy was away at school, his father decided to try an
experiment. He went into the boy's room and placed on his study table
four objects:

- a Bible,
- a silver dollar,
- a bottle of whisky and
- a Playboy magazine

I'll just hide behind the door," the old preacher said to himself, "and
when he comes home from school this afternoon, I'll see which object he
picks up. If it's the Bible, he's going to be a preacher like me, and
what a blessing that would be! If he picks up the dollar, he's going to
be a businessman, and that would be OK, But if picks up the bottle, he's
going to be a no-good drunkard, and, Lord, what a shame that would be.
And worst of all, if he picks up that magazine he's gonna be a
skirt-chasin' bum."

The old man waited anxiously, and soon heard his son's footsteps as he
entered the house whistling and headed for his room. The boy tossed his
books on the bed, and as he turned to leave the room he spotted the
objects on the table. With curiosity in his eye, he walked over to
inspect them.

Finally, he picked up the Bible and placed it under his arm. He picked
up the silver dollar and dropped it into his pocket. He uncorked the
bottle and took a big drink while he admired this month's Centerfold.

"Lord have mercy," the old preacher whispered, "he's gonna be a
Marine!".

Posted by: John Q | March 28, 2007 2:53 PM

Fstbm/nuttymama:

For my current job, I put in a 5 mile radius to my home-it is great. Yes, I didn't interview at some places(said no to headhunters a lot) but short commute was the no 1 priority. I thought: if I'm going to be paying city taxes, I might as well make it work for me.

Posted by: atlmom | March 28, 2007 3:12 PM

Puppetmaster is my hero

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 3:13 PM

Puppetmaster is my hero


Posted by: | March 28, 2007 03:13 PM

anon at 3:13, that either means you are keeping the bar low for all of us, or masturbating. Take your pick.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 3:16 PM

I will say that there is one poster who bores me but that person is always kind enough to use a consistant name so I skip that person.

Posted by: Fred | March 28, 2007 12:41 PM

Not necessary or nice. Or matture. Why do you feel the need to say that? Does it occur to you that maybe you write some skip-worthy posts yourself?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 3:17 PM

foamgnome - you seem to act like the only way to contribute to this blog is to write a guest blog. If that's the case, why exactly is there an opportunity for people to post responses and why are there hundreds of responses a day?

Every time someone says they disagree with the guest blogger/think it's boring/wonder what it has to do with balance you come back with the whole bit about how most people are too cowardly to write a guest blog. It's like because you had a guest blog published, you're now the queen of the entire blog and people who don't want to share their stories in a guest blog are just scum. Get over yourself.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 3:17 PM

I know the article was longer than recommended. I actually went through past guest blogs and other "On Balance" articles and did a word count. I took a chance and submitted to Leslie, assuming that she would let me know if it was too long to post. Her edits actually added a few MORE words -- I was originally just under 600.

I figured y'all would enjoy having more to critique!

Posted by: Vegas Mom | March 28, 2007 3:18 PM

Somebody's reference to my Easter post a while ago made me realize I hadn't posted in a while... I was about to yesterday, but felt too depressed, having had 2 kids in daycare who I am now afraid will turn out to be monsters.

Posted by: Ajax | March 28, 2007 3:21 PM

"Every time someone says they disagree with the guest blogger/think it's boring/wonder what it has to do with balance you come back with the whole bit about how most people are too cowardly to write a guest blog."

foamgnome is attempting to respond to destructive contributions of zero value with a constructive suggestion. She has not used derogatory terms like, "scum". Only you are doing that.

Get over yourself is a fine suggestion for you to take.

Posted by: to anon at 3:17 | March 28, 2007 3:22 PM

Foamgnome CAN get a little annoying at times, don't you think?

Posted by: John | March 28, 2007 3:23 PM

"foamgnome is attempting to respond to destructive contributions of zero value with a constructive suggestion. "

Oh yes, because it's so constructive to tell people they're cowards and "just jealous."

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 3:24 PM

Here we go with the White Knights again!!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 3:25 PM

Foamgnome CAN get a little annoying at times, don't you think?

Posted by: John | March 28, 2007 03:23 PM

I missed the memo about re-enrolling in seventh grade.

Unvarnished opinions are significantly more interesting then the alternative - comments posted by persons worried about whether other readers think commenters' posts are likable, correct, not annoying.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 28, 2007 3:30 PM

"Oh yes, because it's so constructive to tell people they're cowards and "just jealous."


That's RIGHT! We're in high school and don't ever forget it!!


At least foamgnome has stopped talking about Dollar Store purchases for the time being!

Ooh, look at the bunny!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 3:30 PM

Unvarnished opinions are significantly more interesting then the alternative - comments posted by persons worried about whether other readers think commenters' posts are likable, correct, not annoying.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 28, 2007 03:30 PM

Um, how can you tell the diff? Do ya REALLY know any of these folks??

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 3:33 PM

"Not necessary or nice. Or matture. Why do you feel the need to say that? Does it occur to you that maybe you write some skip-worthy posts yourself?"

Posted by: | March 28, 2007 03:17 PM

I was responding to Puppet master who definitely told me that I post nothing of value to him. But actually Puppet master posts sometime amuse me.

I know that other people consider my posts skip-worthy but as I say, I always put my name to them.

Maybe next time I will be less mature and name that person whom I find boring.

Posted by: Fred | March 28, 2007 3:48 PM

"Unvarnished opinions are significantly more interesting then the alternative - comments posted by persons worried about whether other readers think commenters' posts are likable, correct, not annoying."

Dunno, the Nursing Nazis have been on my ass since Day 1.

You do have a point about political correctness. I find it tiring and annoying to conform my words to the latest fashion and once in a while I risk the sharp knives of this blog. But it is becoming less seductive every day.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 3:49 PM

I'd like to second the call out to Caring Bridge. DH and I check a site there regularly as a friend of ours back east has a brain tumor. It's hard to be so far away during a crisis like that, and I'm always nervous about "bothering" the caregivers for updates. It helps us keep in touch without worrying that we're the 100th person to call saying "How's he doing today?"

CarePages provides a similar service. I was checking on a friend's 9-year-old son using that site. One feature they had that I liked was it sent out an automated e-mail to registered users whenever the site you visited was updated. That way, I'd know immediately when there was news.

Thanks for the comments today (the good, the bad, and the ugly). I don't think I'll be able to check in again today until late. It's been fun, albeit a bit terrifying.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | March 28, 2007 3:49 PM

Posting comments agreeing or disagreeing with the blog is one thing, calling people scum or making nasty comments is another

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 3:52 PM

Since you asked, anon at 3:33, I don't need to know any of the posters, and I have no interest in knowing whether 1 person or 5 people post as "Ajax", for an example. I'm interested only in the opinion, in the basis for that opinion, and a certain minimum level of webblog civility. If you remember the ANS blog, there were several posters who commanded, "shut up" to those with whom they disagreed because, in their universe, no one was permitted to criticize a deceased celebrity. To each his own. If she's not posting here because she died yesterday, she can't get her feelings hurt. Who can't tell the difference between a straightforward opinion on a controversial topic and one couched in pc, inoffensive, disclaimer-filled, can't we all just get along, terms?

What purpose is served, though, in identifying on a blog which posters' comments another poster finds generally annoying, generally interesting, etc.? That leads to, we wish X would post more because we LIKE him, or, conversely, Emily or foamgnome or Father of 4 should post less because a reader or two find their comments annoying. Who cares? just post useful comments rather than nonsensical personal bashing, and each reader will ignore the ones from commenters who she or he has determined have no value.

I liked junior high the first time, but don't need to experience it anon at the encouragement of WaPO. Rant over.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 28, 2007 3:55 PM

Fred

Johnny one notes are usually boring.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 3:56 PM

I would hope just one person posts as Ajax - me!!!

Posted by: Ajax | March 28, 2007 4:00 PM

Fred

Johnny one notes are usually boring.

Posted by: | March 28, 2007 03:56 PM


Explain?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 4:04 PM

Johnny one notes are usually boring.

Posted by: | March 28, 2007 03:56 PM

you get what you pay for.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 4:07 PM

Our family has been there. Our children were 10, 8, 7 and 4 when my husband had a toxic chemical inhalation injury. I spent the first few months wondering if he would still be with me in the morning because he was breathing so badly. At the same time, I tried to shield the kids from the severity of his injury. I worked, ran around like a mad dog taking care of kids and husband. I fought with worker's comp to get him the right medical care and get it all payed for. My parents were there to help as much as possible and we still had an aupair in the house for the 9-5 kid stuff. In the end we survived, and I think we are a stronger family for it. It is true, the in sickness and in health part of your wedding vows doesn't really sink in until there is a crisis. I had four children with a man that I loved very much, but never realized the mountains that I would be able to move to save him.

Posted by: carol | March 28, 2007 4:10 PM

What purpose is served, though, in identifying on a blog which posters' comments another poster finds generally annoying, generally interesting, etc.?

Isn't that pretty much what Fred did?

The "who can't tell if.." comment: Anybody can post on a blog. Are we critiquing quality of opinions at OB?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 4:13 PM

when I wrote my guest blog submission, I spent hours getting it under 300 words. It needed compression so I tried to use as many contractions as possible, then I substituted adverbs in some places and agonized over adjetives in others. My greatest fear was that it was boring and people would just post things like: "Good jog, Fo4".

Then, after a few compliments, the blog sank, deep, by 10:30 am, somebody posted "Father of 4 is worse than Hitler."

Because of my sick and twisted sense of humor, that post gave me the laugh of the day.

but that post, and all references to it got deleted. Damn!

So what am I really trying to say. Um, forgive me, but I think this is one of the most humorous blogs I know about. I mean, it's one of my "guilty pleasures", and its the contributors that make it that way. !

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 28, 2007 4:14 PM

Ok, I actually know "puppetmaster"...she's in my polisci study group - she has NO kids, is the weirdest person in our university, and is a total loon - that's all I'll say as don't wanna further 'out' her. Her girlfriend (who I used to be bff with, but so not after I saw her hanging out with some chemE's) told me about this site. She probably loves the fact that her comments helped this discussion devolve into infantilism. She's just like that.

Posted by: Jan | March 28, 2007 4:16 PM

Father of 4,
Amen to guilty pleasures. And the best part is you can do this and still be working!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 28, 2007 4:16 PM

The "who can't tell if.." comment: Anybody can post on a blog. Are we critiquing quality of opinions at OB?

Posted by: | March 28, 2007 04:13 PM

The who can't tell comment was in direct response to the quote I included, which stated, "Um, how can you tell the diff? Do ya REALLY know any of these folks??" In my opinion, whether I "really" or "not really" know any of these folks is irrelevant to whether a post has value.

I don't know what your point is about critiquing, but agree anyone can post. some posts are even valuable. See carol's 4:10 above as an example. In my opinion.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 28, 2007 4:19 PM

Jan,

No one makes us go somewhere we don't secretly want to go, LOL.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 28, 2007 4:22 PM

In all honesty, how much does anyone really "know" anyone else? How many times do you watch the news and see a neighbor of a murderer say how well they knew them and never thought this would happen or a spouse who never thought their spouse would cheat on them? All we "know" on this blog is how and what some people (who sign their posts) write on a consistent basis. You get to "know" them on a purely superficial basis, trusting that what they write is true. If you read long enough you can guess that much of what long time posters write is their true feelings because of that consistency.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 28, 2007 4:24 PM

Good gravy! What's going on up in here? It's cracking me up, though. Especially Jan. But I've got a twisted sense of humor too. Maybe Jan is really the Puppetmaster!

And the blog started off rather nice today.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | March 28, 2007 4:24 PM

Caring Bridge also has that "notify on a journal update". Such a lifesaver!

Please check it out and share with folks in need. It was recommended to us by a Pastor from our church and has been such a help. I think my BIL has had over 17K hits since the first week in Feb.

Posted by: More Caring Bridge Comment | March 28, 2007 4:25 PM

LMAO - watching Montel and he has a woman who is afraid of fountains, especially ones with statues in them! Not trying to be cruel but what a funny phobia.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 28, 2007 4:29 PM

And the blog started off rather nice today.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | March 28, 2007 04:24 PM

I suppose this post proves that "nice" can be defined in widely varying ways :>)

KLB - that's a good one!

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 28, 2007 4:31 PM

Posted by: Jan | March 28, 2007 04:16 PM

If what you say is true, I'm glad he/she doesn't read my posts.

And it crossed my mind, too, that PM is also Jan.

Posted by: Mona | March 28, 2007 4:32 PM

Jan writes:

"Ok, I actually know 'puppetmaster'...she's in my polisci study group
. . .
that's all I'll say as don't wanna further 'out' her."

No need to 'out' her. You've already told us all we need to know: she attends a school with a "Poli. Sci." department. The better colleges don't call it that. They call it the Government Department.

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | March 28, 2007 4:32 PM

Sylvia Browne said she is afraid because in one of her lives she was hung by a fountain. What a load of....

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 28, 2007 4:32 PM

I think about the murderer next door theory sometimes - and I swear I will be the one to say to the News Crew after the crime "I knew there was something wrong with that guy!"

And for the 4,359th time, if there was a sign-in on this blog the anons would have to make up a name. Even if they made up 10 names at least you could respond to a name.

Posted by: cmac | March 28, 2007 4:32 PM

cmac,
Are you saying you live next door to someone you think could go off?
The son of my neighbors drove up on the grass between the curb and sidewalk towards kids walking home from school. The cops didn't do a darned thing. He went to medical school in Granada. I want a medical alert bracelet that says if I am ever injured not to let him touch me.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 28, 2007 4:35 PM

Megan's Neighbor, there's nice and then there's the "On Balance nice."

But today's comments in the Raw Fisher blog on go-go make On Balance look like Kumbya land.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | March 28, 2007 4:39 PM

theoriginalmomof2: Ha! I understand. btw, thanks for the warning relating to the Raw Fisher blog, and here I was excited to see mention of Chuck Brown, one of my favorite artists and a homegrown DC treasure. I suspect based on your statement that reading the blog comments would make me very sad. sigh.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 28, 2007 4:42 PM

"The better colleges don't call it that."

Oookay, Matt in Aberdeen. We better call up Yale, Stanford, and Berkeley and tell them you said so.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 4:48 PM

"dotted, Megan was virtually living with me in Apex according to Megan's Neighbor, but KLB SS MD is more than welcome. Isn't KLB the one who makes the cocktails? You are more than welcome in our house."

Oh man, the party house just keeps getting better! This is great news to come back to after a loooong meeting. Whee!!

Posted by: Megan | March 28, 2007 4:49 PM

Oookay, Matt in Aberdeen. We better call up Yale, Stanford, and Berkeley and tell them you said so.

Posted by: | March 28, 2007 04:48 PM

give him Cream of the Crop's contact information. They can bore each other with uninformed elitism.

Posted by: anon for today | March 28, 2007 4:52 PM

Let me get this straight. Brantley is Whitfield?

Posted by: Howard Prescott on Jan | March 28, 2007 5:08 PM

No, Howard, jan is Chrissy.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 5:13 PM

test

Posted by: test | March 28, 2007 5:39 PM

I'm watching something similar right now. A friend just had his wife diagnosed with cancer--they've been married just over two years. He is by her side through every phase of treatment. She is so fortunate that he came into her life at the moment he did.

And it's made me stop to realize how precarious my own situation is...if I fall ill or injured, who will look after my 10-year-old daughter? Her father is 10,000 miles away and will probably never again set foot on American soil. And adding to the complication...I am now the caretaker for my 80-year-old mother, the same mother who asked me to leave home when I was 17 years old.

Life is scary without a safety net.

For me, Vegas Mom's story makes the case that those of you who sweat the little stuff about your spouse only pulling 48% of his/her weight...please think about the truly important things...like would your spouse give you a sponge bath ; )


Posted by: single western mom | March 28, 2007 5:43 PM

I for one think it's hilarious that someone (and it's likely more than one someone) is actually posting not just using one "real" name and also anonymously, but using several "real" names and several personas. All of you who think you know each other so well and are such good buddies should probably take note. And all of you who blather on about wishing people would just use a user name instead of posting anonymously - what good does it really do when "jan" "Puppetmaster" "pATRICK" "Jokester" "Chrissy" "momof14" and God knows how many "normal" posters are all the same person?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 6:06 PM

"Fred

Johnny one notes are usually boring."

Posted by: | March 28, 2007 03:56 PM

You must only read my comments that contain the word "breast" and skip the other ones!

:)

Posted by: Fred | March 28, 2007 6:31 PM

Shout out to Single Western Mom

I may not always agree you but you have something to say without saying other people are stupid or boring or whatever!

Posted by: Fred | March 28, 2007 6:39 PM

Should I switch? Tonite is a mimosa.

Posted by: Cocktail lady aka KLB SS MD | March 28, 2007 6:40 PM

Single Western Mom, LOL on the sponge bath.

My husband was fortunate that I am a former candy striper. I was experienced in pushing wheelchairs! :>) I was going to surprise him by putting on my uniform after he came home, but, uh, well, I was 17 the last time I wore it and it just wasn't happening.

I settled for the candy-striped nurse's cap instead.

:>)

Posted by: Vegas Mom | March 28, 2007 6:57 PM

single western mom;
I've been reading your posts for quite some time now and would love to give you a sponge bath, and if that meant I would have to marry you first, that wouldn't be a problem at all. :-)

Posted by: You Are so Beautiful | March 28, 2007 6:58 PM

I'm just getting home...total dissolution this evening. It is call out for pizza and maybe I'll do mimosas like KLB...nah, doesn't match well, back to the old standby....beer.

Posted by: dotted | March 28, 2007 8:15 PM

And all of you who blather on about wishing people would just use a user name instead of posting anonymously - what good does it really do when "jan" "Puppetmaster" "pATRICK" "Jokester" "Chrissy" "momof14" and God knows how many "normal" posters are all the same person?

Posted by: | March 28, 2007 06:06 PM

speaking of blather . . . .

Posted by: Anonymous | March 28, 2007 8:29 PM

Vegas Mom,
I really liked your story. For those of us who sometimes do "random acts of kindness" and don't get any feedback (not that it is necessary but we are human) it is nice to read a story like yours that shows that what we do can make a difference even if we don't think what we do is a big deal. Thank you

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 28, 2007 8:31 PM

Uh, oh, single western mom! ;> I think that comment is sweet. Cyber-sweet!

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | March 28, 2007 8:52 PM

Some of my "best" halloween costumes have been simply wearing my white nurses uniforms - guys love them.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 28, 2007 8:53 PM

KLB - I won't off someone in my neighborhood, but if there is a murderer lurking within my neighborhood I won't stand in front of the camera and say " How could this happenn, blah, blah, he was the nicest guy, yada yada..." I will just say - "HA! You never know."

BTW it is too early to be typing about neighborhood murders. I need more coffee, alto I know you have been up since 4 stinkin 30.

Posted by: cmac | March 29, 2007 7:18 AM

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