Re: ATM: Aging Parents

1

Good strategy, heebie.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 7:09 AM
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I have a better speculation!! The more lonelier, more annoying set lives further away, and the more fun, emotionally secure set lives closer.

The way I had it, you'd just shrug and say "Oh well, we'll do everything 50-50!" With the revised speculation, the question is, "Do we have to do everything 50-50, or can we favor the fun set?"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 7:16 AM
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Heebie stomps on her own thread with sound advice.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 7:16 AM
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We've given up visiting my grandmothers- 6 hour drive and they don't really remember who all these children are anyway, or that we even came to visit at all.
My in-laws, OTOH, are moving to a house that's a three minute walk away.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 7:36 AM
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My in-laws, OTOH, are moving to a house that's a three minute walk away.

So incredibly jealous.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 7:57 AM
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The boyfriend's mother is needy. She's (re)married and has one child, four (step)children, and six (step)grandchildren within 1.5 hours' drive. This does not, however, stop her from complaining every time she sees the BF that he "never" visits. Since New Year, he's been back 4(!) times (twice with me), although not to see her specifically, and she's starting to rev up insisting that she visit us in a month or two and that he go visit her this summer. This is to say that sometimes, it's impossible to actually succeed at seeing your parents or in-laws "enough." Some people are just like that. I think you can do what makes sense for you and just ignore the extra pleading.

If you feel really lousy about ignoring their guilt trips, one good way to get maximum effect from minimal effort is to visit in varying configurations so it's less of a burden on you and your spouse. My parents did a lot of this, because my grandparents were far away, making it impossible financially to have the entire family visit more than once a year. They'd send me for a week, then my sister for a week, then one of them would visit their parents alone, etc.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 8:04 AM
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I didn't even know you've met my in-laws, I'm glad you like them.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 8:05 AM
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I'm sort of stomping on the thread, but on-topic. Both speaker and audience were surprised to hear me offer to my mother that we live together in New York City. (She has enough money that if we sold the apartment I'm living in we could potentially buy something humongous to give us both space.) We both agreed we would have to be in family therapy to work on our communication were we to attempt such a thing. I just don't want her to be alone and some of the ideas she's now floating of where she could move for retirement are sounding terrible to me. Like, a ten-years-older friend of hers is moving to suburban St. Louis to be near her nephew and maybe she'd move to suburban St. Louis too? This makes no sense. She has already spent 25 years in a conservative armpit and part of the point of moving was to find more like-minded people. I don't think it will be that easy to make new friends there and she won't have any younger relatives around (unlike her friend) to help her when she gets older. There was this other plan to move to Maryland to live with another friend of hers, and that sounds like a better idea. but my mom isn't sure the friend really meant it and wants to wait till she visits her in the fall to clarify matters.

I'm sort of astonished at myself, since we haven't usually gotten along all that well and it's not as if I'm inviting someone to live with me who brings unremitting joy into my life, but I also want her to spend her old age somewhere she has family and has some chance of finding community.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 8:18 AM
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Yeah, much of my life involves stuff I can affect at some level. It's an adjustment to step back and accept that this elderly person's neuroses are not something that can be improved.

I have a hard time adjusting to complaining, I try to take the view that just listening patiently is a form of connection. Sometimes I try asking whether there are other things (besides the one being complained about right now for the nth time) that older relative would like to change.

The problem with just cutting off the complaining is that doing so truncates communication-- it's not possible to ask "please don't complain repetitively or superficially." It's necessary to listen through the first stream of "problems" to find out whether there's a blossoming medical problem or leak behind the drywall mentioned as an afterthought.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 8:19 AM
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7: I think heebie was saying your in-laws are jealous.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 8:19 AM
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I've decided that treating everyone* like kindergardeners is a pretty sound strategy. When my parents start doing weird guilt-trippy things, I try to** be very calm and patronizing and say "hm, why don't you try that again, but asking in a nicer way?" or "it sounds like you wish I would email you more often. Is that what you meant to say?"

I'm sure they find this extremely obnoxious but it does seem to cut down on the weird subtext. And also I think it is funny.

*well, everyone who irritates me. This includes my students*** and my siblings and occasionally my roommates but not (very often) my actual friends.

**I often fail.

***I threaten to put my students in timeout all the time. I haven't actually done it yet, although I did ask someone to go take a walk in the hallway to cool down once.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 8:23 AM
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The other day my mom -- in the course of apologizing for being petulant and immature over her own failure to make clear that she actually wanted to attend the Mother's Day brunch I attempted to arrange for her (that is, she explicitly said that she wouldn't be around, and then got mad that I hadn't nonetheless arranged things with her presence in mind) -- said "I know I can be immature about these things". I feel like it was a real breakthrough!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 8:27 AM
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8 sounds great. It seems charmingly old-fashioned, too.

I really miss having family around, and I don't understand why no one in my extended family feels the same way. I kind of knew all along that I wanted to live near family, but there's no clear family-spot, and I could have gone to grad school near my parents, which would have kept me closer, but just...didn't.

In a weird way, I never felt invited back, although they would have been happy to have me mover back closer. But it was more, "Obviously it is not worth the career sacrifices to move closer to us," and I felt like I needed a little nudging to make it happen. I lacked the initiative.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 8:33 AM
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I've decided that treating everyone* like kindergardeners is a pretty sound strategy.

Similarly, when someone is acting like a turd, I usually assume they're threatened or scared by something.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 8:34 AM
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I live about 5-10 minutes from my parents and it's pretty great. I never really expected to, since I think on both sides going back at least 4 generations people in their families had moved to different places for work, but it is very nice, especially with kids. I will say that when I actually lived with my parents for a few months a few years ago while renovating my house and it sucked incredibly, so definitely proximity combined with one's own space feels like the best.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 8:44 AM
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8 is really bold.

Less bold: my mother is coming to stay with us for almost the whole of June. I'm not sure whether this will be a disaster or not. My reasoning was that, given the distance, one very long visit made more sense than a bunch of short visits, and that way she could take an intensive German class and explore the city during the weekdays, lessening the pressure for the entire visit to be 100% Quality Family Time.

It definitely has the potential to be awful, largely because I'm incredibly stressed about having not gotten any work done for weeks/months. If I get fired before then, or miraculously manage to be so productive that even with taking on extra responsibilities during a boss's family leave, I still have time for doing stuff in the evenings, things will be fine, but any intermediate outcome looks grim.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 8:55 AM
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It's probably for the best that the needy grandparent - my MIL - has moved to be nearby, because that means we can accommodate her neediness in the course of normal life without much extra effort. OTOH, it's possible that, if I hadn't been overexposed to her, I wouldn't find her so needy/maddening/borderline intolerable. Obviously, she's been invaluable in helping with the kids, but we don't need her for that anymore, so now her presence is 80% about her desire to see us/the kids.

Growing up, we never lived within 300 miles of a grandparent, and never saw any of them more than once a year. What's funny is that I now know that this was due to parent/child stress (in pretty much every direction, except I think my dad liked his own folks well enough), but of course for us kids it was just normal, and I can't imagine parent or child moving to live near the other, even though my sister and I get along great with each other and with our dad.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 9:06 AM
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When I was surveying the housing options, there was an in-price-range pair of apartments in Inwood (upper Manhattan) that the broker was suggesting duplexing, but that could be left separate, or at least, if you did put in a stair, be left with two separate kitchens. So that sort of arrangement is one possibility (if this really came to pass). The thing is, I'm sure that NYC as a place she could live has been floated before, and she's rejected it preemptively. What sounded better to her about this suggestion, I think, is the feeling of being wanted and invited, and also the knowledge that she wouldn't be alone in a big city. Now that she's warming to it, maybe we could also explore nearby apartments, etc.. But that's also financially harder, just because every separate real estate transaction involves transfer costs, so two apartments are necessarily more expensive than one.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 9:14 AM
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If you want cheaper real estate, you could both move to suburban St. Louis.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 9:16 AM
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I don't even *have* a parent.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 9:18 AM
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I've decided that treating everyone* like kindergardeners is a pretty sound strategy.

I always thought it was Dsquared who advocated the Gina Ford Contented Little Baby approach to dealing with politicians. Clear boundaries. Stay calm. Don't get bent out of shape about the crying.

Actually it was Jenny Colgan: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2010/jan/12/gina-ford-contented-little-politicians

still pretty good, though.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 9:22 AM
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Same for us.


Posted by: Opinionated Menendez Brothers | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 9:22 AM
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Our 3 surviving parents are all 72 or 74 this year, and it's sort of weird that, technically, any of them could start having serious health problems/decline at any time, yet there's really no reason to think any of them will. Doctors say they're all healthy, all are active and engaged, on paper all could live another 20 years*. If I think about it too much, it's quite anxiety-inducing.

Good thing I'm not getting any older.

*although only MIL has longevity in her family


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 9:27 AM
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What if they step off the paper?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 9:28 AM
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None of my family lives close, which is great except when it comes to my MIL, who is the best. Everyone else makes my life harder because when they visit I have to take care of them and the baby, and it's a contest over who is more demanding.

My MIL is so amazing that we were considering moving all the way to NC to be closer to her and her husband. It didn't work out because my MIL's husband wasn't going to move from SC to NC and there's no way I would live in a town as backwards as theirs. But I was willing to consider Durham, NC.

When my mother tries to guilt trip me about visiting her, I tell her there's no way that I could fly four hours with the baby and then drive another 2.5 hours to see her. That will be a nice excuse for a few more years.


Posted by: LizSpigot | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 9:33 AM
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Maybe in the next few years you can convince her to move ever farther from the airport.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 9:40 AM
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She is considering moving to a remote are of FL, so that might do it.


Posted by: LizSpigot | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 9:45 AM
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What part of FL is considered remote- somewhere in his colon?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 9:51 AM
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Buck's parents are a five-hour drive (they live on a dirt road over an hour outside of Corning) and we've kind of stopped visiting them ever as Buck's job has gotten more time consuming. I vaguely feel that I should feel guilty about this, and then I look at the list of things that are higher priority as things I should feel guilty about, and forget. I think they guilt trip him some about it, but I'm not sure.

My dad, we have a standing Sunday brunch every two weeks or so, and that's easy. Mom is more complicated, and we just had a very Sifu's-mom like Mother's Day interaction (slightly less immediately absurd. She feels generally neglected, but also refuses invitations and doesn't make them herself. At which point what am I supposed to do?)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 10:01 AM
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28: That's the most traveled part. I'd vote for the top of his head.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 10:02 AM
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(they live on a dirt road over an hour outside of Corning)

Corning Where.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 10:06 AM
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Guys, I'm sure LizSpigot's Mom can find her way around any part of FL.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 10:11 AM
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Thanks, all. Any more stories on how you deal with different pull on each kid? And different expectations for daughters and sons?

The needier side probably has worse health, but it's hard to be sure because they are culturally/habitually given to going on and on about ill health. The quiet side only calls from post-surgical care. "Guess where I am! I'll be fine, but could you feed the cat?"


Posted by: John Quincy Adams | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 12:56 PM
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they are culturally/habitually given to going on and on about ill health

Antisemite.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 1:01 PM
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8 will work perfectly as long as you pad out the arrangement with two suitable friends.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 1:44 PM
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Was it ever made clear why the Golden Girls were all living in the same house? I mean I could see all living in the same condo complex but how many groups of 65 year old friends are like yeah let's move into one small ranch house with my Mom and share a bathroom.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 1:52 PM
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If anything I have the opposite problem. Cassandane and I get along fine with all four parents. (I get tired of them after spending a while together, but that's true of everyone.) However, my parents spend the summers in Vermont and the winters in New Mexico, and will probably eventually spend the summers there too, and hers live in California. Cassandane's an only child, my sister is in Colorado (so, closer than me, but still not convenient), and the only other family living close to either sets of parents are even older. I have no idea what we're going to do with them when they start needing help to take care of themselves.

But then, that's borrowing trouble. It's a long ways away, especially compared to other stuff.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 1:53 PM
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36: The series revolves around four older, single women (three widows and one divorcée) sharing a house in Miami, Florida. The owner of the house is a widow named Blanche Devereaux (Rue McClanahan), who was joined by fellow widow Rose Nylund (Betty White) and divorcée Dorothy Zbornak (Bea Arthur) after they both responded to a room-for-rent ad on the bulletin board of a local grocery store a year prior to the start of the series. In the pilot episode, the three were joined by Dorothy's 80 year-old mother, Sophia Petrillo (Estelle Getty), after the retirement home where she lived burned down


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 1:57 PM
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38 was me -- doing my job of googling for an attorney.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 1:57 PM
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But does anybody remember the gay houseboy from the pilot episode? Excellent trivia question material!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 1:59 PM
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There's a dutch-language remake with different actresses.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 2:02 PM
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My wife and I have one living parent -- my mother. For years and years my mom has wanted to get all her children and grandchildren together in one place. Now it appears to be actually happening this Labor Day weekend. I'm already anxious.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 2:03 PM
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41: But did you know about the Russian version, the Turkish version, etc?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 2:12 PM
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Betty White was in all but the Dutch one. Because standards.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 2:16 PM
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44: Did you know that Bea Arthur and Betty White didn't get along?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 2:23 PM
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I did not.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 2:30 PM
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I skimmed the Wikipedia article and now I feel like I'm the world's foremost authority on The Golden Girls!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 2:32 PM
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48

We see my parents once or twice a year -- we visit their summer home in BC, and twice if they stop off to see us on the way. They just spent a month with my sister, looking after her kids while she recovered from surgery. My niece is getting married in 3 weeks, so I'll see brothers, nephews, and my kids, along with the folks. We're not all there because my sister and her family are skipping. It's a destination moonlight and magnolias wedding at a plantation outside Charleston, which is kind of bizarre since we're not southerners, but it'll be quality entertainment.

MIL I haven't seen for several years: she won't come here, and I'm not going there anytime soon. Wife calls her every week, so the neediness is kept at bay. A decent part of their conversation each week consists of the MIL's complaints about my BIL, who lives with her.

It might have been convenient to have babysitting grandparents nearby when the kids were little, but I never thought it worth the trade off. No regrets at all on that.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 2:33 PM
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47: ogged has probably seen pictures of at least one of their buttholes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 2:35 PM
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49 to 48, of course


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 3:24 PM
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"It's a destination moonlight and magnolias wedding at a plantation outside Charleston, which is kind of bizarre since we're not southerners, but it'll be quality entertainment."

Oh man I would be a disaster at that wedding, would be inclined to feign debilitating sudden illness rather than attend.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 3:30 PM
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Curious grandmother relationships in the home of a friend: grandma lives in China, does not speak any English. Granddaughter, Born in US, age 3, has very limited Chinese (dad has no Chinese at all, mom hasn't made teaching the language a priority). Every day for a half hour during breakfast, which is after dinner for grandma, grandma babysits through Skype on the breakfast room large tv. She watches granddaughter while parents can get ready for work, sometimes teaching a little bit of Chinese, sometimes watching cartoons together. If grandchild is choking or starts a fire or whatever, grandma can text to mom who is in the house. Apparently the arrangement works well.


Posted by: Unimaginative | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 3:43 PM
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Antipodal Skype babyminding is pretty amazingly SFnal.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 3:51 PM
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I should buy my niece that new Civil War book, anyway. It cures debilitating sudden illnesses, right?

Bride and groom live in Colorado. Groom is from San Jose, and his large family lives in the Bay Area and its southern reaches. Something like 100 people are flying from California. Absolute madness.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 3:56 PM
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It's nice to think that white people from all parts of the country can join together in whitewashing the atrocities of our past.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 4:34 PM
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I have been thinking for a few years that I'd like to move back close to my parents, but during a recent visit my mom went fucking nuts. Menopause?? It's really made me reevaluate the whole scheme.


Posted by: William McKinley | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 5:25 PM
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Did she marry an African safari guide? That's the standard around here.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-12-15 6:02 PM
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Topically, we sent an email to my parents (dad & his wife, mom) to see if they'd be willing to babysit Zardoz while Blume and I go to a wedding in California. My dad and his wife responded to say sure, but they were leaving for a trip themselves so would ideally want to split duties with my mom. My mom responded to ask if it was cool if she had a party at our house while we were gone. What?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 7:03 AM
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The wtf-ness of the situation played havoc with my tenses in comment 58.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 7:04 AM
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Actually I take it back. She responded to say that she was going to have a party at our house and asked if she could use the grill.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 7:05 AM
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That seems reasonable, as long as she uses it outdoors.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 7:06 AM
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It had not occurred to us that she would be at our house at all.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 7:11 AM
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Let alone having a party there for some reason.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 7:11 AM
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Sometimes it's good to have the party at a different address. Keeps your neighbors a bit happier and the cops don't have the address in their records.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 7:18 AM
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Also, for reasons related to the amount of stuff involved, it isn't a bad idea to leave the kid in place and move the adults. Plus, kids sometimes like their own house best.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 7:19 AM
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60 is pretty awesome in terms of its assumptions about what you can take for granted.

I'd been thinking about asking the Mineshaft something related to the less-wtf part of 58, about how often partnered parents get away together and whether that's different from prior generations and that sort of thing.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 7:25 AM
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60, 63: Revenge, perhaps? Did teenage Sifu host any unauthorized parties?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 7:25 AM
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Just insist on the standard rules for parties when the home owners are away, adopted to the generational switch. (I know these rules from 90s sitcoms).

*She has to give you a list of all of the guests, and the phone numbers of their adult children, to contact in case of emergency.

*At the door, she has to collect car keys from everyone in case someone drinks too much.

*She should leave a bowl of condoms in plain sight.

*At all times, someone is responsible for keeping track of the baby. This responsibility will be handed off from time to time, and eventually the baby will get lost. When that happens, everyone has to join a neighborhood search.

*She has to clean up the place completely after the party, and if there is one thing broken or out of place, such as oen piece of your collection of priceless model trains, she is grounded for a month.



Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 7:33 AM
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the less-wtf part of 58

I like the more WTF part of 58. I'm assuming there is some sort of double-life scam happening. His mom needs a different home so she can convince somebody that she and her identical cousin are two different people.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 7:36 AM
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68.last will be taken care of the inevitable cleaning montage.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 7:37 AM
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Set to Bonnie Tyler's "Holding Out for a Hero."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 7:53 AM
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Oh, so that's why I got a FB invite that said "Party with Sifu's mom!"
So the same day I posted 4 above about how my grandmothers are out of it, I got a call from the 94 year old one because she got our mother's day card with drawings from all the kids and she wanted to hear more about them. I couldn't actually talk to her because she can't hear on the phone but her aide was all, "She'd really love to hear more about the great grandkids, can you send some more letters or pictures?"


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 7:59 AM
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72.1: The one with picture of a woman holding a baby in the back seat of a police cruiser while trying to kick out the windows.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 8:04 AM
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how often partnered parents get away together and whether that's different from prior generations and that sort of thing.

Not often, which is about the same IIRC as was the case with my folks. I think AB's folks got away a bit more, but her dad traveled constantly for work, and she was an only child (and they lived near my MIL's parents), so more opportunity.

When my sister was 16 or 17 (and I was 11 or 12), my folks went to CA, and, sure enough, my sister had a big, inappropriate party at the house. I can't recall now how much trouble she got in.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 8:08 AM
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When I was maybe 8 and my youngest sibling was still 3 or so, my parents left us with grandma and a babysitter, They went to Italy for more than a week. I was afraid they wouldn't come back because I couldn't help but notice that the Bermuda Triangle was directly between Nebraska and Italy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 8:11 AM
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Sifu's mom is horrifying and awesome. What did you say after that? "What kind of a party?" "Will it be the kind of party the baby is likely to enjoy?"


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 8:15 AM
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"Well, babies and people on E both love pacifiers."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 8:19 AM
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My dad's company regularly sent my parents on nearly annual convention trips, which ended up being a week or so, all in. I can remember that we (4) kids tagged along twice -- Williamsburg when I was 10 or so, Hawaii when I was a HS senior -- but otherwise my grandparents would come look after us.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 8:19 AM
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We've gone away without the kids a couple of times, and they've visited my mother at the beach without us a few times more than that -- just ordinary work weeks for the two of us, but time without the kids.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 8:24 AM
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I have a vague recollection of having had my parents watch kids while we went away just once -- it would have been a production to get them up from Florida -- and for the life of me can't remember what it was. The wife did go with me on one of my USVI work trips, but I don't think it was then.

25th anniversary trip to Quebec City maybe.

In 26 years of having kids at home, we probably didn't leave together for an overnight more than 5 or 6 times.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 8:26 AM
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(And I'm only remembering the two.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 8:29 AM
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82

When I was growing up, our vacations were all to visit relatives since no one lived close. My parents went to a family wedding when I was 10, so my younger brothers 7 and 4, and we stayed with family friends for the weekend. Other than that, we only had to stay somewhere else when a baby was being born.

Lee sees that a lot of our UMC friends travel without their children all the time and she's very bitter that we don't do that. It wasn't really an option when we were fostering because of the hoops they'd have to jump through, but I think it's pretty good that we've gotten to NYC for an overnight 2.5 years ago, leaving two kids with our neighbors, and did an overnight in peep's town a month or so ago, where friends who've adopted 5 thought it was no big deal to add our 3. I haven't been very supportive of this dream and I definitely don't think my parents have a responsibility to take all three girls whenever we want them to like she does. (She has no relatives anywhere nearby and none healthy enough they could do childcare anyway, probably.) I've taken friends' kids overnight and some of them have reciprocated and that's no big deal, but it's just not a priority for me.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 8:31 AM
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This is sort of an experiment on our part. I guess if my mom throws a rager it might end up as a failed experiment, but it's basically a long weekend so it seems like something everybody should be able to handle.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 8:34 AM
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Sorry, wasn't judging, Sifu! I think that sounds totally reasonable. It's just that I think the neighbors who charter a bus to go drink and watch horseraces while someone else stays with their kids are not doing anything I'd want to do anyway, because I'm a joyless hater.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 8:36 AM
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My parents went away when I was a senior in HS Christmas through New Years. I had some guys over to the house to play poker but no drinking. Oh and I hooked up with my future wife. See, leaving the kid home alone did lead to pregnancy!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 8:36 AM
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As for us, we once brought the kids (when there were only two of them) to a conference in Europe, and we've left them with grandparents a couple times- once for an overnight to Maine, once for a few days to a conference in London, once we sent the three older ones off when the baby was in the hospital during unfogcon two years ago.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 8:39 AM
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Thorn, where are your friends going, and what are they doing there? Are the kids too little to get anything out of the trip, or is the point getting away from them?

I've taken one kid or the other on trips way more often than taking the wife and leaving the kids.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 8:51 AM
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We've gone away without the kids a couple of times, and they've visited my mother at the beach without us a few times more than that -- just ordinary work weeks for the two of us, but time without the kids.

I don't remember my parents going away without us (me and my siblings) when I was a kid, but we visited grandparents and other relations without them fairly often. And of course individually we went and stayed with friends and so on all the time.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 8:55 AM
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87: She doesn't want to do anything with particular friends. She just wants us to have friends or relatives who are eager to take our children so we can have a weekend off every few months that will magically make our relationship solid and happy, which is another reason I'm not bothering to pressure people to sign up. Also she essentially gets every weekend off anyway because she rarely does anything with us and I rarely get a break. But I do think there may be a larger cultural shift outside our family, dunno.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 9:00 AM
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Last Summer, our family of three did three separate partial family vacations: Mom and kid went to visit mom's relatives in North Carolina, leaving Dad in peace; then Dad and kid went to visit relatives in New York for a few days, leaving Mom in peace; then grandma took Kid on a Disney cruise for a few days, leaving Mom and Dad on their own for a few days. I recommend this approach for all dysfunctional families, although with more kids the permutations would get complicated.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 9:01 AM
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My mom responded to ask if it was cool if she had a party at our house while we were gone. What?

The rest of you didnt get an Evite from sifu's mom?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 9:05 AM
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We have friends that seem to take elaborate luxury vacations (Paris, Coachella, Cabo, NYC) without their kids all the damn time, and we do sort of judge them a little for it. I think that one of the grandmothers is pretty into the kids staying with her and also they have some kind of fancy nanny-style childcare arrangement. But... it seems like a good thing for Zardoz to stay with her grandparents.

I definitely remember staying with my grandmother for extended-ish stretches (up to a week or so) as a kid when my mom had to travel.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 9:10 AM
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My parents so rarely went places without me that I have very distinct memories of, first, my dad going to Texas for a couple of days for a training for his job when I was five or six, and second, my parents dropping me off at my grandma's house without them while they went to the movie theater to see Dances with Wolves.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 9:17 AM
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That movie took days to watch.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 9:18 AM
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Twenty-five years later my dad still likes to quote lines from it.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 9:20 AM
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"Reap the whirlwind".


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 9:22 AM
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There was a fellow Peace Corps Volunteer my second year -- big, handsome, taciturn guy from out west someplace. Long curly black hair, curly black beard, very rugged looking.

Sitting around with him and my housemate one time, he winced, and muttered something about having nerve damage in one leg from Dances With Wolves. She was fascinated, and asked "How did that happen? Were you an extra?" And he said "Nah, it was just such a long movie, and I had my legs draped over the seat in front of me."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 9:26 AM
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I've never seen it. I assume that in the end the wolves win the dance contest and save the community center?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 9:29 AM
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I never made it to the end. I did watch Apocalypto, which was really good and sort of about the same thing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 9:34 AM
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The buffalo hunt scene was worth the price of admission. It probably doesn't work on a small screen though.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 9:36 AM
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I'm an unapologetic fan of Kevion Costner high-concept movies. I enjoyed Waterworld. I am saving my fist viewing of The Postman for a special occasion, maybe to be accompanied by a 2005 St Emilion.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 9:39 AM
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It has a truly special Tom Petty cameo, playing his post-apocalyptic self.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 9:43 AM
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I'm not going to look that up in case it isn't true.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 9:43 AM
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That makes perfect sense. He won't back down. There ain't no easy way out.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 9:45 AM
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We started taking overnights, usually a hotel downtown for our anniversary when the kids were teenagers. Since they've been in college we go for a few days at a time. But we still take trips all together too, the last one just a couple of years ago. It may not have been the last. People were taking vacations from their kids in our circle too, but that never appealed to us.

I've never seen DWWs either. Generally speaking, the more "significant" a movie is supposed to be, the more resistant I am to seeing it.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 9:45 AM
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my fist viewing of The Postman

Be prepared for disappointment. All the fisting takes place off screen.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 9:47 AM
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IME the Postman is best experienced between 1 and 3 am.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 9:50 AM
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But I do think there may be a larger cultural shift outside our family, dunno.

This one couple we're close with definitely go away for weekends sans kids more than we do, but "way more" is probably 1-2 times a year.

When we went to Palm Springs for 4 days in Feb., it was such an ordeal for MIL* that AB & I basically agreed not to do it again until Iris is old enough to watch Kai.

*because she has zero capacity any more. We got up at the crack of fucking dawn to take the super shuttle so she could have the car, then she bitched that we didn't leave her with enough groceries. WHY DO YOU THINK WE LEFT THE CAR!?!?!?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 9:51 AM
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No matter how good the experience, that will look really suspicious if the neighbors notice him at your door.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 9:51 AM
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103: Would I lie to you about a thing like that? (All right, maybe I would. But this one is totally the truth.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 9:51 AM
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111

It is, unless you are invested enough to have edited the Wikipedia entry.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 10:01 AM
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112

||
I'm on the phone/online meeting for a truly mindnumbing safety training.

Now we're going through pictures to identify the hazard. One guy keeps identifying some obscure, bizarre hazard (the rocks upslope might be loose) but missing the blatant hazard (standing in front of the culvert outfall) at the center of the photo.

|>


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 10:11 AM
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112: scorpion emoji, biohazard emoji, waving hand no-no emoji.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 10:16 AM
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I was a total obnoxious downer when dragged to DWW years ago, for the same reason I would be an obnoxious downer at CCarp's relative's "plantation" wedding. When my stepmother's daughter moved to a large southern city about 10 years ago, and my stepmother started mindlessly nattering about how she'd never realized that slavery wasn't the reason for the civil war until she went to these super informative museums they had down south I couldn't take it and nearly caused a permanent rupture in our relationship.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 10:19 AM
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97 Somewhere there's a guy in a wheelchair from watching all of Berlin Alexanderplatz in one go.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 10:25 AM
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116

Ring Cycle injuries actually have their own support groups.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 10:26 AM
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Speaking of cycling injuries, Friday is Bike To Work Day. I probably won't try it but I might go see if I can get some of the fabled "light refreshments" anyway.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 10:34 AM
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Ring Cycle injuries actually have their own support groups.

so lame. It's like, you're putting on a fucking viking helmet with horns. And to do what? To sit in a goddamn seat for 7 hours to listen to (admittedly pretty awesome) rich person music. If you're going to wear a helm, and you get injured, you better be doing some for-real plundering and pillaging, not just sitting in a fucking seat like a wuss.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 10:43 AM
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100 The buffalo hunt scene was worth the price of admission. It probably doesn't work on a small screen though.

I guess that's why my parents had to see it in the theater. They only went to the theater for a handful of movies the whole time I was growing up, some of them being the ones I insisted on (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, for instance).


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 10:45 AM
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Having parties at other peoples' places: apparently etiquette demands that one not host one's own baby shower, right? Because hosting one's own party would be seen as fishing for presents, which it actually is, but in this context that would be gauche for some reason? So I have gleaned from discussions with Cassandane. I found it a bit comical, but who am I to argue.

Re: Sifu's situation, I'd be tempted to be passive-aggressive about it. Give accurate but minimal answers to any questions, but leave out something crucial they didn't bother to ask about, like where to find the housekeys or how to turn off the alarm. When they ask why, I'd reply, "Well, how was I supposed to know you wanted to stay at our place? You never actually asked. I assumed all those other questions were hypothetical." But I realize that's just a little disproportionate.

About parents going on vacation without kids and stuff, my parents definitely did it once, and I spent the week with a friend of theirs who had kids my age. They might have done it once or twice while I was a teenager, but I can't remember for sure.

117: I bike to work most days, but am taking that day off for a couple doctors' appointments. Registered and went to one of the pit stops three or four years ago. It was fine. Crowded, and if you bike regularly you probably already have everything they were giving away, but it wasn't bad.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 10:54 AM
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112: sounds like he's having fun with it?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 10:55 AM
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That would be awesome, but I don't give him that much credit.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 10:58 AM
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Having parties at other peoples' places: apparently etiquette demands that one not host one's own baby shower, right? Because hosting one's own party would be seen as fishing for presents, which it actually is, but in this context that would be gauche for some reason?

I'm still harboring resentment over a baby shower that my mother insisted on being thrown for me, nominally hosted by her and my sister, but they were both kind of busy so I had to do most of it using them as sockpuppets. I didn't particularly want to have the shower in the first place, and having to do the work but pretend I hadn't was annoying. Sixteen years later, I should probably let go of this one.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 11:00 AM
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120.last: I have a bike that I've still never ridden and a helmet that looks stupid.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 11:06 AM
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124: Well, at least your head is protected when you ride the bus.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 11:08 AM
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Sixteen years later, I should probably let go of this one.

Or talk to a bunch of online strangers about it. "Kind of busy" is carrying a lot-- how did each of them really feel about being busy, for instance.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 11:09 AM
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We're having a live in dogsitter so we can go to my niece's wedding.* The wife wants to vet everyone in terms of whether they'll have a party -- everyone under 30 is a suspect -- or just fail to wipe off the marble counters if they spill something.

* She's a lovely and decent young woman;** I think her plantation wedding is a product of (a) a degree of cluelessness about the South and (b) acquiescence to my sister-in-law's controlling tendencies, and wish to have it close to her new home in NC -- not on the groom's family's west coast turf -- and have it be a big production. The extent to which people have been disagreeable so far is more about (b); it's enough that the plantation part of the thing hasn't been getting that much attention. We'll see how the event ends up looking.

** Does it rev you up, DQ, that last year she wrapped up a stint at the bridal department at Vera Wang in SF?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 11:29 AM
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||

Now we're being told not to enter meth labs.

|>


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 11:35 AM
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Too late?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 11:37 AM
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No, that is still prospectively useful.

We are also being warned of trip hazards on pot farms. Those pot farmers are pretty careless with the tripping hazards.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 11:38 AM
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Which sense of "tripping"?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 11:42 AM
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130.2 makes me think some guy wandered into a pot farm filled with tripwire-triggered traps that failed to detonate and drew the wrong conclusion.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 11:43 AM
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They just leave their siphons and drip tape anywhere! Not neatly stowed one bit.

Also, if they're cooking pot down with butane, stay the fuck away.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 11:45 AM
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We have moved on from pot farming to dairies. The main threat there is waste lagoons. I think I might rather trip on a pot farm.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 11:47 AM
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The waste lagoons of hog farms are far worse.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 11:48 AM
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127, ** - ummm no, is there some reason VW requires a trigger warning? I mean I usually avoid anything to do with matrimony on general principles but have no opinions on VW as compared to other cream puff dress purveyors...

I'm sure your relations are just as lovely and clueless as my generally quite nice and liberal stepmother there are just some things I can't keep a lid on, particularly when they are said in front of my kid.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 11:50 AM
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"Dangers On Farms: A Seminar" In this two-week intensive seminar, we will be discussing many farms, and many dangers.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 11:50 AM
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Agriculture generally exempt from completely sensible regs because hey bad politics to fetter Farmer Brown!


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 11:52 AM
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Hey, we're back on the 'what is the danger?' slides.

They're using one forklift to lift another to lift the barrels to the second floor. So it is probably poorly ventilated or something.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 11:55 AM
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In case they skip it, remember that you can drown in a grain bin.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 11:55 AM
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We were given rules for how far to stand from feed piles. We didn't see any slides of grain bins, but that would probably fall into the rule about not entering enclosed spaces.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 11:57 AM
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How far should you stand from a feed pile? I never heard of that rule.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 11:58 AM
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Also, if you can't enter enclosed spaces on a farm, do you have to poop outside?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 12:00 PM
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If so, I guess that's why they don't want you near the feed pile.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 12:01 PM
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One foot away for every two feet of height.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 12:02 PM
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Is that because short people run more slowly?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 12:05 PM
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They're using one forklift to lift another to lift the barrels to the second floor.

It's forklifts all the way down.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 12:08 PM
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VW

--an acronym with at least 3 completely unrelated meanings on this blog.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 12:11 PM
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Vest Wirginia.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 12:14 PM
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C and I have had a weekend or so away without the kids most years since the youngest was two. But my mum was living very nearby at the time and is always happy to have them. Since my parents moved, she has come here to stay with them whilst we go away. Actually, last summer we took the youngest and left the then 17, 16 and 13 year olds alone for two nights - two were at school, middle one (and best at looking after people) was on study leave. We haven't been away just the two of us since 2013, but my mum's coming in October this year whilst C and I go to Lisbon for four nights.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 1:46 PM
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How was the party?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 1:47 PM
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They're using one forklift to lift another to lift the barrels to the second floor.

I've seen that slide.

I also saw people using two separate forklifts and a cherry picker to lift a very badly balanced load.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 1:54 PM
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I've seen that slide.

This one, presumably.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 1:55 PM
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That looks pretty safe. There's a guy holding the second forklift.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 2:04 PM
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I love the thought process. "If we could just get our forklift a little higher..."


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 2:05 PM
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It's possible the thought was, "If we could just have about two fewer employees without having to make any unemployment payments."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 2:10 PM
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How would you tactfully describe that Clive Bundy dude who barricaded his ranch rather than pay BLM fees?

I'm trying not to say Tea Party freak, or group all ranchers into that category.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 3:04 PM
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Anarcho-racist?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 3:11 PM
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I think his allies were mostly or at least initially the Oath Keepers, and a bunch of other sovereign citizen kooks.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 3:18 PM
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"sovereign citizen kook" is an improvement over my initial attempts.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 3:31 PM
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That reminds me, what ever happened with the mine in Oregon that the oathkeepers and possibly the Bundy posse flocked to to defend?

That's near my hometown, so I was pleased to see people invent a possessive in the placename.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 3:56 PM
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161: From some quick searching, it looks like it's still theoretically under way - there's no enforcement action going on like with Bundy, the BLM just sent them a letter, so they're doing rallies and raising money and doing some low-level harassment of the BLM by phone and so forth.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-13-15 7:14 PM
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