Wednesday, March 04, 2015

And now, vaccines

From equal pay to vaccines… What other third rail can I touch this week?

China Enters Worldwide Vaccine Making Market
I think kids should be vaccinated. We vaccinated our kids and I’m more than thankful for the scientists and doctors who made the medical breakthroughs possible so tetanus, whopping cough, diphtheria and other potentially deadly illnesses have, for the most part, vanished in our country. If I had a baby tomorrow, I’d follow the vaccination rotation all over again. I am pro-vaccination.

But I am not pro-forced-vaccination.

No parent should be forced to vaccinate her child. If a parent believes, for whatever reason, that vaccination is not in the best interest of her child, that parent should have the right to withhold vaccines.

It gets back to parental choice. I believe I should have the choice to raise my children as I see fit, something I feel strongly about. I wrote about this last June and people came out of the woodwork to support the position that parental rights are not to be tampered with. Others came right out and said the state should decide what's best for children. Some used those exact words, others were more nuanced, but the bottom line was some people truly believe the government is in a better position to care for my child than I am.

This blew me away then and continues to boggle my mind.

I’m not entirely sure how these White House petitions work, but there’s one up right now titled: PROHIBIT ANY LAWS MANDATING THE FORCE AND REQUIREMENT OF VACCINATIONS OF ANY KIND. The needed signatures have been reached, but adding a few more wouldn't hurt. If you believe the care and nurture of children belong to the parent, I encourage you to sign the petition. It expires on March 6, so don’t delay.

Thanks to Valerie McDaniel for bringing this to my attention. 

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Equal Pay? Please.

I wanted to let this go. Really, I did. But since Patricia Arquette used her acceptance speech at the Oscars to proclaim it’s time for equal pay for all women, I've heard this nonsense several times, including at a dance show at my daughter’s college. (Yep, the director of a dance show used her platform to proclaim this, and all kinds of other, nonsense. Sean and I looked at each other and said, “How much are we paying for Amy to be exposed to such drivel?!”) And while others have written more eloquently than I, I have to add my two cents’. Here goes:

This. Is. Stupid.

(I told you others were more eloquent.)

I am sick to death of this “equal pay” nonsense. Sick. To. Death.

Where, exactly, are women not paid the same as men? And before you answer that, ask if both of those employees have the same qualifications, skill level and number of years on the job.

I am married to a manager in one of the Big 3 car companies. He can see the salaries of the employees he manages, both men and women. In this major American corporation that employs over 200,000 people, there are black-and-white rules regarding pay. And the employee’s sex is not one of them.

Time on the job is.

That’s not all, of course, But time on the job leads to experience which (in theory) leads to better performance. And better performance is a major factor in determining pay.

Whether or not the employee has a penis: not a determining factor.

In January, The Boston Globe printed a fascinating article about this very issue. And while the Patricia Arquettes of the world would have us believe the 77-cent pay disparity is a simple fix, it clearly is not, at least not when facts are involved. I found this paragraph extremely significant:
Given that women are disproportionately responsible for child care and home duties, it’s not surprising that women are more likely to trade compensation for work flexibility and work-life balance, leading to gender pay differentials. Interestingly, this logic suggests that the gender pay differential would decrease substantially if men and women were equally likely to take on primary child care responsibilities. (This hypothesis is bolstered by the observation that the gender pay differential between men and non-married women without children is almost negligible.) 

Did you read that? Women are asking for lower pay: …women are more likely to trade compensation for work flexibility and work-life balance, leading to gender pay differentials.

You know what? That’s great! That’s freedom. That’s a mom deciding she would rather have some flexibility than more money. Sounds like she's making a choice. 

A choice.

Women, we look so dumb when we cry about this 77-cent idiocy. Let’s take responsibility for our choices and admit that taking care of a family decreases our earning potential. If you aren't interested in losing that potential income, don't plan to be a mom. Or at the very least, don't plan to be the primary caregiver. You can't have it both ways - we're paid for what we produce. If we aren't there to produce, we won't be paid. 

If this math-challenged writer can get it, seems like Patricia Arquette could, too: When you’re not making a movie, Ms. Arquette, you aren't producing anything. No paycheck for you.

What is so hard to understand about that?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Blinking will change your world

Blinking can really do a trick on a mom. For instance, I had Rebecca yesterday. What a beautiful baby! And then, I blinked. All of a sudden, she’s a beautiful 15 year old.
Today, the baby of our family is no longer a baby. And she hasn't been for a long time. But because she is the caboose of our train of three, she’ll always be considered our baby. Just last week, Sean and I were going to be out for several hours; I was talking to Amy about our plans and she said, “Who’s staying with Rebecca?” Um, no one. I reminded Amy that Rebecca is the one staying with little ones these days, and Amy said, “I forget she’s not eight.”

I think that happens with the youngest. We just think of the last as the baby, always. The babies of families are forever being hauled around to the older kids’ stuff. They have to learn to fit in to all the other members of the family’s activities. (I can remember trying to time dropping off Michael at first grade in between Rebecca’s feedings and nap times. Thanks to Atlanta traffic, my timing rarely worked out.) But that little baby who sat through countless carpools and piano recitals and soccer/volleyball/basketball games and whose naps were taken in the car more often than her crib has grown into a lovely young woman.

That lovely young woman will probably not be thrilled that I'm writing about her. But her computer is in the shop, so I may get a pass on this one.

Happy birthday, Rebecca! I love you!
Rebecca's first birthday

Hello, third driver!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Keep your shirt on!

A saying I enjoy, much to my children’s chagrin (and probably Sean’s, too) is, “Words have meaning.” It’s important to choose your words carefully; you can’t totally eliminate all confusion in a conversation, but proper word choice should be the goal to reduce as much misunderstanding as possible.

This is especially true with the written word. Again, all misunderstanding cannot be avoided because we interpret things through our own experiences. But clarity should be the goal.

Seems like this concept should be a no-brainer for people who write for a living. And yet, witness this beauty I received from the folks who performed my latest mammogram. Check out the last sentence:

See any problem there?

Surely they mean to bring any changes to the health care provider. But that sentence can also be interpreted as an instruction to bring my breasts to my doctor’s attention immediately if I notice any changes.

Just to be sure I was thinking clearly about this unclear sentence, I ran it by my good friend Ruth Ann, who knows all things grammar. She said, "Yes, this is ambiguous pronoun reference. I'm sure the doctor will be very happy with all the women rushing to bring their breasts to him, rather than bringing the 'changes' to his attention."

I can’t get the picture out of my head of open-shirted women, rushing into their doctor’s office…

Hey, y’all. You've got to find the humor where you can. 

Wonder if there's an opening for a writer at the mammogram office?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

I'll stick to the ground

Okay, y’all. I know I've lived in Michigan nearly 10 years now, but sometimes, things related to cold-weather life still boggle this Southern mind.

Case in point: We have some ponds at the entrance to our neighborhood. In the summer, ducks live by them. In the middle of the bigger pond there’s a fountain that’s awfully pretty and you’ll occasionally see people fishing on the pond’s banks. In the winter, though, those ponds are frozen. Which means no birds or fountains or fishermen.

But this morning as I drove by, I noticed someone had swept off the ice and made an ice rink. On one of the ponds:
 People, I do not venture onto frozen water unless it’s inside a building on a cooled floor.

When I was 13, I read a book with an opening scene that involved someone falling through the ice and dying. And since that day I have avoided icy ponds/lakes/rivers/streams. Not so hard to do in Georgia. Yet I find myself reliving the scene from that book regularly now that I live in the frozen tundra.

(FYI: Good job writing your book, Betsy Byars! Your descriptions have haunted me lo, these many years.)

Apparently there’s someone in my ‘hood who hasn't read Byars’ book or just likes living on the edge. Either way, I’m glad I don’t have little people any more so keep off that ice.

You can bring a Southern to the land of frozen water, but you can’t make her skate.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Sometimes the solution finds you

You really can find anything on the internet. From long-lost friends to hard-to-find replacement parts – a quick search and within seconds, you’re mere clicks away from your treasure. And sometimes, all you have to do is write that you need something and the person with the solution magically appears.

That’s exactly what happened when I wrote about Sean’s electric organ being out of commission. A friend, Rachel, read that post and sent me her father-in-law’s contact info. Get this: he used to fix organs. Seriously. When I got in touch with him, he said our brand of organ was his specialty!

Stu came over to take a look – you should have seen his toolbox! Incredible. He started talking about electrolytic capacitors and multi-voltage power supply and other stuff I had no idea about, but the bottom line was he was really excited to see this type of organ. Sean was really excited to know someone knows about the instrument. And Stu gave us hope that perhaps it can be fixed.

(He also told us it was a really expensive organ – in the 60’s it would have sold for nearly $3000. Holy cow…)

He took a part with him to inspect more closely at his home workshop – of all things it was a GM Delco part! And since he was out in January, he’s sent several emails with possible issues/fixes. He even found an original technical manual for this particular organ. Stu is a champ!

Looks like it’s possible that our home will be filled with the dulcet tones of an electric organ once again. I’m actually looking forward to it.

I can’t believe I said that…

(Many thanks to Rachel - be sure to check out her very cool blog about the moments in their Chicago life that bring her joy.)

The insides - so crazy.

A little irony here.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

That ship has sailed

As I was RSVPing for an upcoming baby shower, I noticed an advertisement for a product not generally associated with baby showers. Check out the bottom right corner:

Um, I realize these ads are generated by key word searches, but birth control ads on a baby shower invitation? Y'all, that ship left the dock a long, long time ago. 

At least 8 months, anyway.