Re: What my kid did.

1

Wow, well, I'm sure she'll get better at empathy.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:21 AM
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It's ok, you're getting a lot of do-overs.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:28 AM
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But seriously, developing empathy seems to be one of the milestones with the widest range of when it happens. I've met nearly-adult-thoughtful six-year-olds and some complete sociopaths. Some people stay sociopaths, but for the most part, they eventually come around, as long as they're directed.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:31 AM
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What's not clear from your telling is whether Hawaii was being cruel or herself kind of wigged out at the enormity of the facts on display.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:32 AM
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Knowing Hawaii, and her devotion to the granddaughter, my guess was she was pleased that she had extra scientific information about the situation, and was sharing it - not exactly maliciously, but in a know-it-all way.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:35 AM
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Death is hard for kids to cope with. I think Mara was almost 5 when her grandma died, so her next-oldest sister was 6.5 and they were both fascinated with the details of the body and what happens to the body. I didn't bring Mara to the service, but I held her sister and listened to her little litany on how different her grandma's body looked and felt now and how it was going under the dirt. Death and burial are pretty creepy. (And to ogged's point, Mara manages both empathy and sociopathy well in different contexts. I'm so glad her language has evolved past the point where she kept telling us "I want to fight you skin off and make you blood.")


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:35 AM
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The repetition was probably because kids like to keep saying the same thing, especially if it's having a visible effect, or if they think the other person didn't hear them. I don't think she was being exactly evil.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:36 AM
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Mara manages both empathy and sociopathy well in different contexts.

And this. Which is probably universal.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:38 AM
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At my great-grandmother's funeral, my six-year-old cousin climbed up the floral display pedestals into the casket and yelled to his twin sister, "Hey [sister], come feel Granny! She's all hard!"


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:43 AM
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9 may not be specifically why my tribe generally has closed-coffin funerals, but if it isn't it's certainly a significant spinoff benefit.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:45 AM
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I posted this anecdote on a funeral thread, but it also works on a "things kids say" thread.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:08 AM
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Not just any funeral thread!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:09 AM
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#NotAllCorpses


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:10 AM
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I don't think empathy is the right metric exactly. Hawaii was probably fascinated and probably trying to be helpful. I'd see it more as knowing how to tread around taboos, which is pretty hard for almost all kids. It needs a talking about, but I wouldn't worry about this one too much.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:11 AM
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At my funeral, little kids should feel free to say "why is he burning in the Viking ship drifting off to sea."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:15 AM
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I don't think empathy is the right metric exactly

In my more meta moods, I watch the threads as people (usually one of the lawyers) search and search for a point of contention, so that we can be off and running.

Can you recommend a good paleo book?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:29 AM
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There is no such thing as a paleo book.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:30 AM
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I assumed it would be inscribed on human skin.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:32 AM
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Tastes like cuticles.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:36 AM
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I don't get the open coffin thing. Sky burial is easier to understand. It's like sky burial lite or something.


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:37 AM
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Ever since not smoking, my cuticles have been chewed.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:37 AM
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By you, I assume.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:13 AM
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By the part of me that really wants a cigarette.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:15 AM
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15: At my funeral, little kids should feel free to say "why is he burning in the Viking ship drifting off to sea."

Surrounded by Viking/Ninja woman warriors, no doubt.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:18 AM
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I want to be sky buried, but statistically my wife is going to outlive me and she hates birds. I guess I'd settle for being dumped in the river.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:21 AM
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When my son was 7, a neighborhood friend about the same age died after a long fight with muscular dystrophy. The parents decided against having kids at the funeral. The next time my son
saw the father, maybe a week later, he opened with a very loud, "IS [your son] REALLY DEAD?" Father had apparently been getting a lot of that sort of thing, and quickly said yes, he's in heaven now.

Unsurprisingly, the parents moved away shortly afterwards, and divorced not long after that.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:22 AM
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As a silver lining, at least Hawaii isn't totally distraught about death as an abstract topic. My college roomate's explanation of death to her four year old concluded in a therapist's office (kid, not her).


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:24 AM
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25: Downstream from the water plant intake, please.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:25 AM
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Anything other than being eaten by scavengers seems like a waste. I want a low carbon emission disposal.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:31 AM
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Enh, if they do it after a storm if anything it should improve water quality. And I'm only suggesting a river because we don't have an ocean convenient.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:31 AM
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Is convenience really that important? It's probably only going to happen once, why not live a little.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:33 AM
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So to speak.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:33 AM
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Our cat died at home yesterday so it has been an opportunity for exciting adventures in witnessing (oof but largely I think not traumatic) and talking about death. Mostly I think it is going OK. Groundwork laid earlier in more abstract discussions is proving pretty useful. And then also there have been awkward exchanges like

"Is his body still in that room?"

"No... actually, it's in the freezer in the basement."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:33 AM
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14, 16: "Empathy" is probably the right concept, but this isn't a sociopathic lack thereof, just immature obliviousness. Empathy of that magnitude---"X is very upset about Y and utterance Z is likely to make her more upset"---is pretty advanced. Hm. Maybe it's not so much empathy as judging the likely effects of your utterances?


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:34 AM
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33: I'm sorry about the cat (although it's good she's taking it well).


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:35 AM
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I'm sorry to hear about your cat, but I hope the freezer is merely a short-term solution.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:36 AM
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31: But that wouldn't be local, you know? Unless by live a little you mean going through all the effort of bringing the shoreline closer. I don't think global warming is going to be enough, honestly.

33: Also sorry about the cat. And thanks for the reminder that I'll probably outlive my cat and should google what one does in that situation beforehand.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:38 AM
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Yes, his frozen cat body has already been delivered to the vet for burial. It was an overnight solution. How handy that we had purchased a cheap little standalone freezer when our old fridge was having problems!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:40 AM
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37.2: If you're me, you keep it in the freezer for far too long until you get your act together and drop the body off in a forest with a healthy coyote population.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:40 AM
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37.2: Be prepared.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:40 AM
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34, cont'd: "When you say, 'X is stupid,' it makes X feel bad about herself," is a first order effect. Even that takes some time to learn. "When you say, 'X, that's your dead grandmother. She's in a box,' it makes X think about the reality of her loss and this is likely to make X feel bad," is a second order effect.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:41 AM
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I like Yawnoc working his way through theory of mind. Next up: how would you feel if somebody said that to you?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:43 AM
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37.2: You have a yard. Dig a hole and put the cat in.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:45 AM
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33: I'm very sorry about your cat.

When my previous cat died, I also had to keep her in the freezer before burial. (It wasn't ages but it wasn't overnight either.) I still get teased about this.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:46 AM
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Condolences to foxtailshrub-snarkouts.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:47 AM
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Downstream from the water plant intake, please.

http://www.unfogged.com/archives/comments_11413.html#1330361


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:47 AM
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We get our water from a river.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:49 AM
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Thank you for the kind condolences. We are of course sad and very much hoped he'd live longer than this (age 13) but the general trajectory and timing of his rapid decline was pretty humane for all involved.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:49 AM
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42: The whole thread up to that point showed a stunning mastery of brain development, yes?


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:52 AM
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I'm sorry about the cat's death and glad it went as gently as it could for all involved. Our vet has a burial plot on her farm (I know, right?) and our kitten who died unexpectedly ended up buried there.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:54 AM
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the general trajectory and timing of his rapid decline was pretty humane for all involved

I can't help reading this as "he jumped off a cliff but fortunately didn't land on anyone".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:54 AM
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Our vet had a lovely brochure about a country farm with apple trees, and it cost $30 to have my cat buried that. It was just the right combination willing suspension of disbelief and convenience that I needed in my time of grief.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:57 AM
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My sister had her dog cremated. Dad has been trying to get her to bury the ashes or at least get them out of his house. I don't think he's been successful yet.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 9:02 AM
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Ah, sorry about your cat.

We had a gerbil in our freezer for quite a while. And then my brother dissected it with the kids. And put it on youtube. And got comments about what a horrible gerbil-murderer he was.

My grandad died when Kid A was about 3 1/2. I can't remember if we ended up taking her to the funeral or not, but she wanted to know all about it beforehand anyway. So I was telling her that his body would be in this big box, and she looked at me horrified and asked "what have they done with his head?"

Poor Hawaii; she was just trying to impress her second cousin.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 9:04 AM
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49: I didn't mean you got it wrong! I just liked the progression.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 9:10 AM
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Further condolences, and seconding the wish that it's a short-term solution. A friend of mine (the sister of the infamous SDB) kept two cats in her freezer for long enough that it seemed very creepy. Then she had a taxidermist fix up the hides, and now she has two little kitty carpets. They're very soft.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 9:17 AM
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A friend of mine (the sister of the infamous SDB) kept two cats in her freezer for long enough that it seemed very creepy.

My friend's ex did this. Also he did not clean up the dog crap on his carpet. He was the most atrocious procrastinator I've known, including friends in college who switched to dry round oxyclean-style pads when they ran out of toilet paper, because the sister had inexplicably been given a jumbo pack for Christmas from their step-mom, and then ran out of those and started using newspaper, which then clogged the toilet, and then they started peeing in the bathtub. I swear to god. Also they dedicated a wall in the kitchen to storing trash bags instead of taking them outside. Their existence now makes me hyperventilate, but at the time I figured it was all just a reasonable choice in how to live.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 9:20 AM
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How long can you leave a dead pet in the freezer before it seems creepy? And does it matter if there's food also stored in there?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 9:21 AM
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Thinking back, it's hard to say whether the college friends or the friend's boyfriend were worse procrastinators. Maybe such things don't always have to have a winner.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 9:21 AM
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57: Wow. That puts more own procrastination tendencies in perspective.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 9:24 AM
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57: house I lived in at eighteen, after a party we never quite finished cleaning up one room, but it smelled because it had puke on the floor, so we sealed the door. I think a year or so later somebody cleaned it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 9:28 AM
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I can't help reading this as "he jumped off a cliff but fortunately didn't land on anyone".

Ha!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 9:28 AM
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Then she had a taxidermist fix up the hides, and now she has two little kitty carpets. They're very soft.

Gosh.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 9:30 AM
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Yes. Why pay a taxidermist if you aren't going to get the skin mounted?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 9:33 AM
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Then she had a taxidermist fix up the hides, and now she has two little kitty carpets. They're very soft.

Well, that's not creepy at all.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 9:33 AM
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How have the people described in 57/59 not ended up commenting here? I thought that we were the hardcore procrastination vanguard.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 9:45 AM
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And does it matter if there's food also stored in there?

I think I've told the story of the other place I lived in with a cat in the freezer (the timber baron's mansion that burned down because the landlady, who also ran a combination wedding chapel/Rottweiler kennel, rented the basement to meth makers who torched their lab when they got word that the cops were coming*). Anyway, the sleazy realtor who rented the bottom two floors (and was trying to scam the lady out of the place) had a cat in his freezer along with tons of meats and other edibles, all of which, including the cat, looked as though it had been there for a very long time. Incidentally, his other cat, whom he introduced as male, ended up having kittens, all four of which died of flea anemia. Man, I still hate that guy.

*I swear upon the eyes of my children that every word of that is true.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 10:00 AM
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My friend's ex did this. Also he did not clean up the dog crap on his carpet.

When I was a kid, our next door neighbours did this, but it wasn't from laziness, they were just a dirt poor, desperate, completely dysfunctional family. Over eight years, there were three dogs and a huge litter of puppies, all crapping all over the place, and they'd just let the turds slowly rot into the carpet.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 10:00 AM
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How have the people described in 57/59 not ended up commenting here?

Well, they keep meaning to, but somehow...


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 10:01 AM
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67 is the Twin Peaks/Breaking Bad mash-up I've always wanted.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 10:04 AM
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I might tell my son that I might be dead soon so he better be nice to me.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 10:37 AM
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33: Deepest condolences on the loss of your cat.

To the OP, yeah, that's just one of those kid things, I guess. I remember saying a few really stupid things (not in exactly that situation, but maybe not far off) with no overt malice intended when I was little.

Relatedly, I was just scoping out cremation information yesterday, and was actually fairly surprised, contra-The Big Lebowski, to see how many modestly-priced receptacles were on offer. Like $275 for a fancy marble urn? That seems pretty reasonable. I think, though, that I might opt for the golf-themed ash-scaterer, just to give folx a laff.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 10:46 AM
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20
I don't get the open coffin thing. Sky burial is easier to understand. It's like sky burial lite or something.

It's a tradition to make sure they're really dead. In these enlightened days, most people have started to leave out the following tradition of beheading the corpse and burying it with the head backwards.

58
How long can you leave a dead pet in the freezer before it seems creepy? And does it matter if there's food also stored in there?

Yes, it matters. Without food there: until spring, assuming this is in the winter and you want to bury the pet, or a month, whichever is longer. With foot there: three business days.

67: How long ago did all that happen? Because a couple different people in that mess actually sound kinda familiar.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 10:57 AM
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73.last: 1998, I think.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:05 AM
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58: With a foot there, it would be even scarier.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:09 AM
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75 to 73.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:10 AM
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74: OK. Before the people I'm thinking of, then. Vermont's a small state but I guess it's not that small. (I'm not saying I know anyone that all that happened to, that exact story happening twice would be really weird, but a couple different parts sounded familiar and I could believe the rest had happened without my knowledge.)


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:29 AM
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75: That's why so many rabbit foots are on the market. Frozen pet bunnies.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:31 AM
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Oh, no, that was here in Portland.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:32 AM
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These stories of rotting poop and corpses are making me hyperventilate.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:33 AM
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80: Ordinarily you're made of sterner stuff, jackmormon.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:58 AM
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I lived in a place that did the garbage-sacks-against-the-wall thing (only it was garbage-sacks-around-central-50-gallon-garbage-can). It was amazing how much more spacious the kitchen got when we moved out and took all the trash out. (We had to drive around with trunks full of garbage sacks until we found unguarded dumpsters, as we were unwilling to pay the city the extra fees for taking more than one garbage can's worth of trash.) Good times.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:01 PM
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I lived in a place that did the garbage-sacks-against-the-wall thing (only it was garbage-sacks-around-central-50-gallon-garbage-can). It was amazing how much more spacious the kitchen got when we moved out and took all the trash out. (We had to drive around with trunks full of garbage sacks until we found unguarded dumpsters, as we were unwilling to pay the city the extra fees for taking more than one garbage can's worth of trash.) Good times.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:01 PM
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83: I had school friends who did the same unguarded-dumpster thing but made the mistake of including discarded envelopes with their address. They were confronted early one morning by the hauler, who then threw the open bags of fetid trash through the doorway.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:55 PM
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Did they get to say, "I cannot tell a lie, officer! I put that envelope under that garbage" ?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 1:08 PM
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This summer, I took my kids to visit the cemetary where my mother is buried. As we were walking back to the car, my daughter turned, faced the headstone, waved, and called out, "Bye, skeleton Grandma!"


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 1:40 PM
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Awesome.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 1:48 PM
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I am sorry about your cat, rfts/snark/Jane. I am enough of a wuss about pet death these days that I fear ever getting another one. However, I jumped on the opportunity to introduce the theme of death to my 3-year-old when the pet guinea pig of some friends died earlier this week. "Did they eat it?" she asked. She knows animals die before you eat them. No, we said, people don't eat their pets. She seemed very sad for a moment. Urrrgh.

It turns out that the biggest problem with the Disney princess thing in my world is that the stories are wildly age-inappropriate for a 3-year-old, and before I developed any kind of game plan for handling the age-inappropriate stuff I got swiftly sucked into hour-long explanations of the plot of "Frozen," so now this is just part of life. I've been cheerfully bowdlerizing everything, but at some point she is going to learn to read, or want to watch an entire movie, and then the shit will hit the fan. I have this sinking feeling that I'm setting her up for a pretty big hit. Timid, vegetarian parents who produce lengthy narratives rehabilitating all the villains -- this is not going to end well unless we can yank a viable organized religion onstage, is it?


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 9:39 PM
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I was SO DETERMINED not to double-post, and now my comment is gone. Short version: I do not know what to teach my 3-year-old about death. I am probably going to fuck it up. Sorry about the loss of your cat, rfts/snarkout.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 9:51 PM
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When my cousin was very young, his parents took him to visit his grandparents' graves. On the drive there, they explained that they were going to the cemetery.

"What's a cemetery?"
"When people die, that's where the put the bodies."
[very, very long pause]
"Where do they put the heads?"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:44 PM
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"On spikes on London Bridge. I'm afraid that your grandparents were traitors to the King."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-26-14 1:33 AM
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At some point "procrastination" edges over into insanity. There's a case going on in Barnstable MA that you can read about with a little googling: house full of feces, dead cat, dog and three babies (possibly stillborn). Four children, two of whom apparently never left the house. Their mother managed to keep up appearances with Facebook posts about cooking, crafts, etc.

The house involved will be demolished.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 09-26-14 6:31 AM
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Oh my god.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-26-14 6:32 AM
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I don't think you can blame the house.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-26-14 6:33 AM
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